Monday, December 3, 2012

Assignment #9: Effective Composition Blog

Argument Strategies

First, read pages 131-151 (Planning, Collecting Evidence, Opposition, Distortion, Slanting, Quoting, Drafting, Analyzing the Audience, Arranging the Evidence, Appeals, Eliminating Fallacies)

Secondly, summarize in one to two paragraphs the main points under each category.  

Next, in an additional paragraph, do the exercise on page 141.  This exercise is based upon the example in the chapter.  Examine the list.  Identify readers who might belong to more than one group.  Then discuss how each group of readers might see the issue.  

Finally, for full credit, respond to at least one other student’s blog answer.

This blog is due Monday, December 9, 2012 at 9 AM.

Assignment #8: Effective Composition Blog

Developing a Thesis and Outline

First, read pages 57-70 (Scratch Outline, Drafting a Hypothesis, Descriptive Outline, Effective Thesis, Formal Outline)

Secondly, summarize in one to two paragraphs the main points under each category.  

Next, in an additional paragraph, do the exercise on page 67.  Explain your reasons for rejecting those that are unacceptable.

Finally, for full credit, respond to at least one other student’s blog answer.

This blog is due Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 9 AM.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Assignment #7: Effective Communication Blog

Argument Essay Samples

First, read four examples of argumentation essays: "The Penalty of Death" (p. 154), "Execution" (p. 156), "Fighting for Our Lives" (p.158), "Crypto-Security and a Strange Thing Called Key Recovery." (p. 164).

Next, answer two of the following questions on the blog:

1)     Examine your emotional response to H. L. Mencken's argument for capital punishment.  How do various features of his tone and language encourage you to accept or reject his argument?  What personal experiences or beliefs make you more likely to agree or disagree with his position?  Present your analysis in progress; that is, trace your emotional reactions as you read through each section of Menken’s essay. How did you feel when he said X?  What did you think when he said Y? 

2)     Analyze the types of evidence that Anna Quindlen uses in her essay, “Execution.”  Identify what are fact, judgment, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony. Sort out the kinds of evidence that make it difficult for Quindlen to decide where she stands on the issue.  Then analyze which argument – H.L., Menken’s or Quindlen’s – is more effective.  Explain the reasons for your decision. 

3)     Evaluate Jamie Miles’s THREE drafts (found on pages 137, 147, 162). Then write him a blog to convince him which of the three drafts he should place in his writing portfolio for final assessment.  Your purpose is to convince him to submit his “best” essay.  Your problem is to determine which of these essays has the “best” argument.  Be sure to give reasons with evidence from the best essay.

Finally, for full credit, respond to at least one other student’s blog answer.

This assignment is due by Friday, November 30, 2012 by 9 AM.

PROJECT:  Read the Purdue University website on how to write a cover letter.  Follow one of the samples.  Remember you are applying to a college.  The site is at  Your Cover Letter is due Monday, December 3, 2012.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Assignment #6: Effective Composition Blog

Resume Workshop


This week, you will be going through an on-line resume workshop created by Palomar College Career Center of San Marcos, CA.  You will need to read through every section of the workshop including

  1. The Introduction,
  2. Preparing The Resume,
  3. Resume Clinic,
  4. Online Resume,
  5. Cover Letter, and
  6. Resume Samples. 
After you have read each section (#1 through #5) you will make a two sentence comment on the blog sharing at least one thing you felt was the most important information to you for that section.  You will have 5 separate comments (one for each workshop section) for this part of the assignment.

Next, you will then look at the sample resumes (section #6) and choose the layout you are most interested in.  Simply leave a 6th blog stating which sample you intend to follow (for example: “I will be using the chronological format under Kelly – preschool”). 
Finally, you will then begin creating your own resume using the format you chose.   
  • Your SIX TOTAL BLOGS are due by Friday, November 16, 2012. 
  • Your resume must be e-mailed to Mr. Dawursk at by Tuesday, November 20, 2012.
The workshop is located on the internet at:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Assignment #5: Effective Composition Blog

My Reflections on Resumes and Cover Letters

  • For the past week you have been working with your group on a specific topic about resumes and your group was to prepare a 10 minimum slide presentation for class by Tuesday 11/6.  Please summarize in your own words what you learned about your topic (groups 1 & 4: Resume Strategies;  groups 2 & 5: Cover Letter Strategies; groups 3 & 6: the History of  Resumes). 
  • Include what strategy or information was the most enlightening to you and why.   After you have submitted your minimum one paragraph blog, then respond to at least one other student's blog for full credit. 
  • This blog assignment is due by Monday, November 12 at 9 AM.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Assignment #4: Effective Composition Blog

Causal Analysis / Literature Analysis
So far, we have explored the keyhole template for essay writing, have worked on sentence and paragraph development, grammar issues (dangling modifiers, parallelism, inference use, etc), have wrote personal expository essays, an informational (teaching) essay, a professional narrative paragraph, weekly blogs and daily journals. Our next project paper is a Literary Analysis Report/Essay.  For this essay, you will use the library book you have been reading every Friday and develop a paper around it.  Using the criteria discussed in class, you will develop an essay which analyzes at least two elements of the story.  While this is not a full blown “persuasive essay,” a literary analysis does use some persuasive techniques to convince the reader about your perspective on the elements you are exploring in your paper.  This is sometimes also referred to as a “causal analysis.”

    ·        Read in your textbook (Writing with a Purpose) pages 459 to 468.

    ·     Pick one of the following questions to answer for this week’s blog:

    1) How do Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee
demonstrate that the "trickle down"
 is not relevant to parent-child relationships?
    2) How do the authors illustrate some of the effects of divorce on children (e.g., fear, rejection, anger, loneliness, guilt, and grief)?
    3) How do the authors use the metaphor of "tapestry of many threads" to suggests the complex, long-term effects of the postdivorce period on children?

·    Also, for full credit, respond to at least one other student’s blog. 

·    This is due by Wednesday, October 24, 2012.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Assignment #3: Effective Communication Blog

Planning an Essay:
  • Read your text (Writing with a Purpose) pp. 26-42.
  • It will discuss strategies for writing, how to write journals, free writing, speculating, interviewing, reading, and evaluating each of these types.
  • Summarize your reading in one paragraph highlighting the most important parts of the reading.
  • After you have submitted your "blog" answer. Write at least a one sentence response to at least one other person's blog answer.
  • Your blog response is due by Monday, October 15th at 9AM.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Assignment #2: Effective Communication Blog

Toward Purposeful Writing
  • Read the readings in your textbook "Writing with a Purpose" pages 19-23. 
  • After reading, CHOOSE JUST ONE of the following to respond to.
  • You receive full credit for writing a minimum one paragraph response AND at least a one sentence response to another person's blog paragraph.
  • Your second blog is due by next week Monday at 9 AM (10/8)
1) RESPOND: Respond to Wallace Armstrong's "Brandon's Clown" by trying to remember some words of wisdom that your parents or a trusted friend passed on to you as guidelines for giving your life a sense of purpose.  Then describe an incident in which you tried to follow those guidelines.
2) EVALUATE: Make a list of the explanations Howard Gardner uses to interpret Mozart's claim that he could hear an entire piece of music in his head at one time.  Then evaluate which of Gardner's explanations make the most sense.  Give your reason's why or why not.
3) ARGUE: Consider what you have learned in this chapter about the ways in which various professional writers work.  Next consider the differences between the writing they do and the writing you have done as schoolwork (this class and others).  Then develop an argument in which you demonstrate in some detail why their advice helps or hinders the "school writer." 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Assignment #1: Effective Communiation Blog

Paragraph Structure:

  • Read your text (Writing with a Purpose) pp. 166-181.
  • It will discuss topic and supporting sentences, unity, completeness, order, and coherence. 
  • Summarize your reading in one paragraph highlighting the most important parts of the reading.  
  •  After you have submitted your "blog" answer.  Write at least a one sentence response to at least one other person's blog answer.
  • Your blog response is due by Saturday, September 29th at Noon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Effective Composition Blog

We will start our "Effective Composition" Blog on Monday, September 24.  You must respond to the blog and then check back during the week to respond to at least one other person's response.  That is a total of two responses each week: one to the teacher and one to another stduent.  I will be recording your number of total responses at the end of the month for your grade.  I will publish a new "main" comment every Sunday night or Monday morning of every week.  Keep-up.  You don't want to fall behind.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Excitement vs. The Fear

Well, we have just one week and another school year begins; but it really never ended for most teachers.  Through courses like we have been taking for the past two months (online teaching certification), we have really had “school” on our mind all summer.  Summer definitely gives us the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the past school year and the opportunity to recharge and re-energize us on news ideas or topics.  For me, all I have thought about is technology.  We were told last semester that students could bring and use in class phones, kindles, iPads, and laptops for 2012-13.  So this summer, I have been thinking predominately about when and how I am going to use these new technologies in my classroom this year. 
Frankly, I am constantly amazed at how innovative the internet has become.  I remember using my first TI-99-4A in my classroom back in the early 80’s.  I remember how excited I was when I got my first 5” floppy drive – no more cassettes with the obnoxious scratching sound as it loaded my data.  I remember the excitement of writing my first basic program which allowed me to test my students for their learning modality.  That excitement continues today as I discover new applications and programs which use more visual, sound and collaborative concepts.  I am especially excited about the BYOD (bring your own device) has become the standard for WAWM classrooms. 

However, my excitement also brings some worry – will I be able to “keep-up.”  As technology changes so quickly today, I fear missing or falling behind. More than ever, I need to maintain and surpass my natural desire to learn.  It is critical today for a teacher to not only maintain their content area; they must also be proficient in “how” they teach it.  Using technology to engage students is no longer an option it is a requirement.  I worry about falling behind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Second Course: A Rocky Start

Steven Curtis Chapman in his song Pray sings “when you say ‘Amen’ just start up again.”  That is how I feel about these summer online endorsement courses; I just get done with one and I have to immediately start again with another one. Unfortunately my start has been rather rocky.  Literally, I went camping at Devil’s Lake state park and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) had no access to the internet, or moodles, or blogs, or blackboards.  So, I am now behind and trying frantically to catch-up.

This weeks focus on the e-learning pedagogy seems to be in contrast to normal upper-level and adult education.  Pedagogy has long been associated with the concept of “telling” our kids what they have to know; whereas andragogy has always been our goal in older youth and adult education.  We want to have our students become “self-motivated” by the learning so they will want and desire to learn more.  It seems to be an oxymoron to say we are really discussing the pedagogy of andragogy, but in essence that is what we have been doing.  We have been discussing the requirements for creating an e-environment which will motivate our students to be intrinsically motivated to learn.  E-learning to be effective requires this internal motivation to be successful.  Students who have no motivation would find it hard to take on-line courses such as Waukesha’s Q program.  The balance of internal and external motivation is really the crutch for e-success.  The real discussion after setting the technology stage is knowing when to let go of the bike and let the student ride and possibly fall by themselves. 

 There is no real perfect pedagogy to learning anyway as all students are unique. The studies we read about are based upon a general consensus and very few kids are really “normal.”  As teachers we will still have to tweak and modify and prescription our student’s e-experiences in order to make them proficient and profitable. 

Well, that is all the ramblings I can do for now.  I have to read some of my cohort’s blogs.  Until next week…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Course Conclusion -- Blog #3

Well, the first part of my teaching online endorsement course is almost over.  While I am not a novice at computers, internet or technology in general, I still found the course inviting and interesting.  It is always fun to hear how others either are or speculate how they will use technology in their classroom.  I have always been a proponent of classroom technology as long as it does not become the focus of the education.  I worked for a year at a school which embraced technology.  Even their name oozed innovation, Central City Cyber School.  The classrooms were equipped with smart boards, LCD projectors, credit card entry points, online cameras, a cyber library, and every student got a laptop.  AND there were no textbooks.  Mind you, it started that way over ten years ago. 

The innovation and use of technology at Cyber School was truly impressive.  However, after the first few years, they no longer allowed the students to take the laptops home as they were often lost, stolen, damaged or sold.  The school also had a hard time maintaining battery life for an entire day.  The technology was at an infant stage and the principal correctly emphasized that the technology was not the focus – student learning was and the technology was simply an optional tool toward a successful outcome. 

Today, technology has caught-up.  Lithium batteries will run up to 8 hours, laptops, hard drives, and cameras are cheap and smart phones with online storage and fast 4G access would overwhelm much of Cyber School’s original technology.   Today, the idea of “online” education is a reality as many districts across the country adopt online schools or have public WIFI throughout their campuses.  As the singers of the sixties lamented, “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”  Innovation and its use in the classroom is no longer limited to the classroom.  It is exciting to be at the brink of a new way to educate our nation.  I can’t wait to see what is coming next.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Course Post #2

Well, I have been gone for a week with 8 youth on a Mission trip in New Orleans. While trying to serve others, I could not get my mind off of all the homework I had to catch-up on when I got home. I finally think I'm almost caught up.

I got back just in time for last week’s on-line class. However, before I left, I worked in my small group discussing the prior class discussion and how we would apply this course to our classroom. I feel we all desire to use technology to benefit our student's learning, but fear that the learning curve of using the technology (especially for the parents) is of concern.

This week I completed my browser comparative. Frankly, I am not sold on any particular browser and have used all of them except Chrome. I will attack that browser before the end of summer. As I stated in one of my moodle responses, I still feel that the consistency of Microsoft's Internet Explorer makes it the mark for comparison. The product has always kept-up with internet changes and maintains a reasonable backwards compatibility. While maybe not as "glitzy" as some of its contemporaries, it continues to be the workhorse standard. So I find myself comfortable with it.

As for social bookmarking, I have been incorporating the concept for years as part of my classroom website I include and update URL's with video, audio and interactive websites which support my classroom lessons and assignments. I do like the ease of use Diiago offers, but also like the stronger integration I have developed on my own website. Unlike many teachers, I am proficient in HTML and keep-up with plug-ins and language variations so I can make my site fairly interactive. While I like the tightness and ownership I have in my own site, I may create a Diiago section so that students may add their own unit resources. It may be a “frame” attached within my own site; I can see significant potential there.

Finally, I just completed my collaborative essay with my group members. I have to honestly say it went very well and the end product is well written. I have done collaborative writing before using the group editing feature of word. The concept requires a certain maturity. Our group was successful because we equally had a vested interest, were mature enough to understand that our part was necessary for the success of the whole, and each of us executed our portion. The problem is with high school students, too often one person writes the essay and the others contribute very little. We need to teach our students “how to collaborate” before we can expect an amazing group outcome.

Oh well, that's all for now.   

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to my classroom blog.  We will be using this resource throughout the school year as a place for responding to course content and readings, and a place for further discussion about various classroom topics.  Keep posting!

This blog was created originally as part of a summer course I took with other teachers from our WAWM school district.  Our first class taught us about blogs and google doc.  We also learned about how to access a common classroom through a program called "Blackboard."   I found it pretty easy to get started as I have had a lot of experience in internet technology.  I hope that I will be able to share some of my knowledge with my classes and also be able to use it often in my classroom.