Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015 Moleskine academic planner

After many years and many planners, I've finally found a process that works for me. However, I've been playing around with different organizers: Moleskine and an A5 Traveler's Notebook (TN) from LeatherPlannersPlus on Etsy. During the school year, I used a large squared Moleskine journal that I customized. I find that academic planners just don't have what I need to keep track of everything for teaching.

The first thing I do when I get a new planner is customize it! For example, I glue in end papers and an additional bookmark.

Next, I set up my monthly calendars. I've seen them drawn as a regular calendar, but I find that this works better for me:

Then, I set up my weekly pages. It took me a little bit of experimenting to find what works for me.
You see that I have my weekly task list on the left, including the weekly quotation that I put on the board for students. On the right, I have daily notes. This is usually where I write my lesson plan...very brief I know. I keep a blog for my students, and those daily blog posts are much more detailed, so I don't really need to write it down in a planner. I also use the daily notes to keep track of things that students need. I can't remember everything and it's really important for me to write things down.

I'm still in the process of setting up my TN, so when I get it how I want it, I'll post pictures.

What do you use to keep yourself organized?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

English 101, section 2162 at MJC

Basic Information for Summer 2015 English 101

I will have the full syllabus posted soon. I may take some students from the waitlist depending on how many no-shows I have on the first day. If you are not physically in class on time on day 1, you will be dropped.

It’s going to be very important to have your books in the first week as we are on a very tight schedule. The 5 week time period means you are going to be KILLING IT in this class. So if you don’t have time to devote to outside reading, writing, and visits to the Writing Center, this may not be the section for you.

The MJC bookstore should have our books.

You must have the fifth edition of the Everyday Writer by Lunsford. The fourth won’t do. Check used bookstores, Amazon, and Craigslist.

The Quiet Time, written by MJC professor Dimitri Keriotis, will be needed at the latest in week 2. This is a newer book, so there may not be used available on Amazon.

Other materials you will need:
  1. A notebook (spiral or composition), at least 70 pages.
  2. Two large Greenbooks (8 ½ by 11)
  3. Writing utensils (pen is preferred)
  4. A Google Drive Account (if you have Gmail, you already have this, otherwise sign up for an account with whatever email address you have that’s appropriate for communicating with bosses or professors)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday 3/24

Handouts on Grammar (quotations, ellipsis points, hyphens)
Curzan article-link to web article
Return midterms; handout on editing marks

Write the summary for Curzan that would be needed to include in an introduction of an essay about the topic of technology in the classroom. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 5

Tuesday 2/10

Article: Read Kids Read, by Frank Bruni
Read and annotate. Identify intro, conclusion, and body paragraph chunks. 
Write a brief summary and purpose for each chunk: 1-2 sentences summarizing what the chunk SAYS, then 1-2 sentences explaining why the author included the chunk.  What does the chunk DO for the reader's understanding? We finished the Says/Does for the intro and the first paragraph chunk. 

Finish the Says/Does for the remaining paragraph chunks. 

Thursday 2/12
Write a thesis statement for the essay on Read, Kids, Read. Discuss 3 benefits of reading. Then, compose a body paragraph that incorporates the following:

  • Topic Sentence- one benefit of reading
  • Evidence #1- a Quote, or a Paraphrase, or a personal Experience/observation
    • Explanation of evidence
    • Explanation of why evidence matters. How does it support the benefit of reading?
  • Evidence #2- Q, P, E
    • Explanation of evidence
    • Explanation of why evidence matters. How does it support the benefit of reading?
  • Concluding sentence- should mention the benefit of reading again. 

  1. Finish the body paragraph
  2. Watch the 5 minute Youtube video on Commas. Take notes on the ways we use commas.
  3. Complete Commas D handout

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Week 4

Tuesday 2/3

  • Dixon Wells presented her Supplement Instruction study group. See a classmate for more information. 
  • Crary article- work on summary. 
  • Prompt for next in-class essay (Thursday). 
  • Bubble-cluster/Brainstorm (get notes)
  • Work on a thesis statement.
  • Returned Admirable Person essays. Journal: What did you do well? What do you need to improve?


  1. Greenbook for Thursday
  2. Brainstorm filled out, article annotated. 
  3. Read Ch. 4 TSIS for next week. 

Thursday 2/5
In class essay- 2 prompt choices for article "Students Lie, Cheat, Steal, But Say They're Good."

Read Ch. 4 TSIS

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

English 49, Week Three


  • ICE handout
  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
  • Article 

Unfortunately, I don't have the documents uploaded to link yet, so you may have to get them from me on the least, print out the article.


  1. Review reading from TSIS and answer the questions posed in class in your notebook
  2. Read Zinczenko on pg. 241 and discuss how to break the article down into comprehensible pieces. 
  3. Read Article in class. 

Read Ch. 2 TSIS and review the QPS handout


Friday, January 2, 2015

MJC English 49, Section 4331

Welcome students! I know that you're probably looking for the syllabus for our course, but I am still working on it. I will post it soon, both on this site and on my MJC profile page. I have had a few emails so let me answer some questions here:

How Much Work Will I Have To Do? 
There are 8 in-class essays planned this semester, including the midterm and the final--which are common, meaning that all 49 classes in the Spring will have the same prompt. The final is graded by a committee, not me, so that means I have no say as to whether your final will pass or not. And you MUST pass the final and have a passing grade in the coursework, to pass 49.

Be prepared to work hard and be prepared to do work beyond what I assign. You are ultimately responsible for your own learning and if you're struggling with grammar or sentence structure, then you're going to have to put in extra time to accomplish your goals. I am here to help you, but I can't do the work for you. That is up to you.

What's Going On With This Blog Page? 
I plan to use this blog as a place to keep documents and assignments. You will be able to refer to the tab at the top labeled Modesto Junior College, English 49. When you go to that page, you will find information and handouts (which will eventually include the syllabus).

What Text/Supplies Do We Need? 
You will need a 1" binder and a spiral notebook. We will be using the notebook for notes and in-class writings that will help us practice becoming better writers. You can designate a section of your binder as your "notebook" if you don't want to use a spiral. I won't be collecting them, so it's up to you.

As for the text, you will need to get They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, Third Edition.  It will be available in the bookstore and you'll probably be able to find it in MJC's library. I do recommend your own copy. This is a useful book that you can use in other courses as well. Try to get the Third Edition (the newest). I'm fine with electronic copies on tablets or laptops, just know that my English 49 class will be a written paper only class (welllll, maybe there might be one typed paper, but I haven't decided yet). You will need the book by the second night of class.

I'm On The Waitlist, So What Are My Chances Of Getting Into This Class?
There is a long waitlist this time, so how I plan to handle this is to first see if anyone is a no-show for the first night. If that is the case, then they will be dropped immediately and someone from the waitlist will take their place. I can take 5 additional students from the waitlist.

If you are waitlisted, definitely come to class. You will know after we take attendance if you get in or not. You may want to show for the second class as well, just in case someone decides to drop--some people may be intimidated by the amount of work required for this class. Somehow I come off as scary when you first meet me, but as you get to know me, you'll see that I like to joke around a bit while we work. I find that a little bit of fun can make hard work seem not so bad.

Looking forward to seeing all of you next Tuesday night. If you have additional questions, you can email me at or