Dear American Gangster students,
Meeting only once during the first week of the semester has many drawbacks. We don’t have the benefit of a second day to discuss how everything works, practice navigating online course components, and understand how assignments are scaffolded & recursive in the EXPO approach to the writing process before the first assignment is due. I will clarify any uncertainties or confusion in class on Monday–and attempt to do so here as well!
I. In preparation for Monday’s class
a) You should practice navigating & locating materials in both the American Gangster Canvas course and on the American Gangster website. This includes creating a profile and practicing a Hypothes.is annotations on the website and reviewing the Syllabus/Unit I schedule on Canvas.
b) You should have started recording Keyterms in PRELIM 2 (Keyterm Catalog) and recording your notes from TGG in PRELIM 3 (TGGGNRJ).
c) For those of you who haven’t yet gotten a copy, I have uploaded to Unit 1 materials a PDF of the “Entering The Conversation,” the introductory chapter of They Say, I Say. You should think about how you’re entering an already existing conversation when applying/relating what Braudy explains about celebrity to gangsters. Use templates provided in the chapter (and in subsequent TSIS chapters) to better delineate your contributions For PRELIM I, what Braudy says is the “they say”, while what your analysis of what the quotation means and how it applies to gangsters is your your “I say.”
d) Create your American Gangster blog and send me the URL so that I can syndicate student blogs on the American Gangster website. I am happy to help you get started if you’ve never designed or set up a blog before. I also know who to put you in contact with to offer help if/when you need it!
e) It’s all right if you haven’t finished reading The Great Gatsby by Monday. The purpose of assigning the novel first is to get your impressions and insights about reading it as a literary gangster novel and interpreting Jay Gatsby as a gangster BEFORE you read what others have said. It’s best to have a sense of the plot, details, hints/understatement, clues, etc. RE: what happens in which chapters, and your own notes recorded in PRELIM 3, before looking at the evidence offered in arguments made by the secondary sources we will read in the next 2 weeks! You will be able to return to chapters you have read to reexamine them with new interpretive lenses offered by the secondary source readings and to add notes/quotations from those sources to PRELIM 3 to corroborate your ideas/interpretations of material from the novel.
f) In addition to what is listed on the Unit 1 course schedule, we will talk more about “The Elements of the Essay” (a handout in Unit 1) and the “writing process” in Expository Writing.
I would like to also build in time for Q/A–please note your questions or confusion to inquire about in class (or email me in advance of class).
2. Regarding PRELIMs
You will have noted that some preliminary writing assignments (PRELIMS) have hard deadlines while others aren’t due until the end of Unit 1 (Braudy Analysis) or, in the case of PRELIM 2 (Keyterm Catalog), until the end of the semester. If a PRELIM has a due date at the end of a unit, this means that you can complete it incrementally, and can revise as you add/go along–rather than complete it all at once.
That said, in the spirit of the revision process, once you have completed a PRELIM that has a hard deadline (like PRELIM 1 due Monday January 22), you have until the end of the unit to revise it after receiving a grade/initial comments. Thus: if you receive a 6/10 on PRELIM 1 after I read/grade it this week, you have the option to revise & resubmit it to receive more points.
*Once we have completed Unit I, you cannot go back to revise assignments from Unit.
** However, the above only replies if you turn in your initial/draft submission of a PRELIM assignment on time. Late PRELIMS still receive 1/2 credit (up to 5 points). If you turn in a PRELIM late (for no reason, i.e. not excused) and receive a 3/10, you can (and still should) revise, but revision can only result in receiving up to 5 total points.
3. Regarding Freewrites, Hypothes.is Annotations/Discussions, and Blogs
Remember that all of our writing (brainstorming, drafting, revising, etc.) is recursive & interrelated. You can refer to your annotations or discussion posts in a Freewrite; you can transform ideas you start to develop in annotations, discussions, and Freewrites into material for PRELIMs & Essays. You can expand your Freewrites into posts for your American Gangster blog.
*What you cannot do is copy + paste an annotation into/as a Freewrite, or copy + paste a Freewrite “as is” into a blog post.
I am looking forward to our first discussion about The Great Gatsby tomorrow afternoon!