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Course : Intermediate Composition and Grammar

Course Number
Section Number
Summer I 2020
Bea Wood Hall, Online
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time
Thursday, July 02, 2020 12:00 am

TWO Required Books:

LB Brief. 6th ed. Jane E. Aaron. Pearson.

The Best American Essays 2019. Edited by Rebecca Solnit. Mariner.

Course Goals:

Write thesis-based essays that provide strong support and specific details.

Engage in a writing process that includes invention, drafting, and revision.

Demonstrate critical and creative thinking about a timely issue or debatable topic.

Demonstrate proficient use of Standard Written English.


Ten Qs (quizzes) on D2L  10 percent (each is 1 point)

Five Essays – the Ws       50 percent (50 points out of 100)

W1      5%   

W2     10%   

W3      12%   

W4      13%   

W5      10%  

Multiple Choice Grammar Test                20 percent (20 points out of 100)

Final Essay (same model as the Ws)      20 percent (20 points out of 100)

Grading (out of 100):

A 100-90; B 89-80; C 79-70; D 69-60; F 59-0 (no rounding up).  

LATE Policy: Late essays are penalized 10 points out of 100.  


Each W essay is a response to a prompt. The prompt is a specific question that the student’s essay is supposed to answer. For instance, the W1 & W2 thread Enclosed Space begins Monday, June 1. The W1 & W2 assignment (with prompt question) will already be open. The W assignment with prompt question opens the night before each new W thread.


PROCTOR U: Wait until I give you the all clear. Then schedule to take our GRAMMAR TEST (60 minutes) and FINAL ESSAY (2 hours) as an online proctored exam through ProctorU. Schedule the test between Monday, June 29 and Thursday, July 2 (first possible appointment at 8:00 AM CDT June 29; last possible appointment at 6:00 PM CDT, July 2). This proctoring requires access to a computer with a camera and payment to ProctorU of their fee. Read the following on setting up an account with ProctorU and making reservations: ProctorU: How It Works.



Online Pre-Test & Q1 open as of 10:00 AM, today, June 1, and close as of 10:00 AM, Monday, June 8.

Thread for W1 Enclosed Space, Part One, due in D2l Drop Box this Thursday June 4.

The W1 & W2 Enclosed Space Assignment and Prompt question is already open.   

Camille T. Dungy, “Is All Writing Environmental Writing?” See esp. p. 71.



Thread for W1, continued.

Grammar Thread 1:

LB CH 21 Parts of Speech

LB CH 22 The sentence



Thread for W2 Enclosed Space, Part Two, due in drop box Monday, June 8.

Elizabeth Kolbert, “How to Write about a Vanishing World.” See esp. 124-25.

Grammar Thread 1, concluded. Do Q1: subject/verb identification.



W1 Enclosed Space, Part One, due today June 4.



W2 Enclosed Space, Part Two is due in drop box on D2L.

Qs 2, 3, and 4 are open this week as of 10:00 AM today, Monday, June 8, and close as of 10:00 AM, Monday, June 15.

Thread for W3 Losing something, due in D2L Drop Box this Thursday, June 11.

J. Drew Lanham, “Forever Gone.” See esp. pp. 132, 135-36, 137-39.


Grammar Thread 2:

LB CH 23 Phrases & Clauses

LB CH 35 Fragments

Do Q2: Phrases, clauses, and /fragments.


W3 Losing Something Thread and Grammar Thread 2, cont.

LB CH 36 Commas

LB CH 24 Sentences

Do Q3: Comma splices and fused sentences.



W3 Losing Something Thread and Grammar Thread 2, concluded.

LB CH 25 Verb forms

LB CH 29 Subject/Verb

Do Q4: Subject/verb agreement.



W3 Losing Something is due today in the drop box.



Qs 5, 6, and 7 open as of 10:00 AM today, June 17, and close as of 10:00 AM, Monday, June 22.

Thread for W4 Fitting In, which is due this Thursday in the drop box.

Lacy M. Johnson, “On Likability.” Esp. pp. 105-106.

Walter Johnson, “Guns in the Family.” Esp. pp. 113-15, 116-17, 117-18, 120-22.

Grammar Thread 3:

LB CH 30 Pronoun Case

LB CH 31 Pron. Agreement

LB CH 32 Pronoun reference

Do Q5: Pronoun Agreement.



W4 Fitting in thread.

Grammar Thread 3.

Do Q 6: Pronoun Case.



W4 Fitting in thread.

Grammar Thread 3.

LB CH 39 The Comma.

In-class Blue Book writing for W4: Intro. Par. and first Body Par. 1.

Do Q7: The Comma.



W4 Fitting In is due today in the drop box.



Qs 8, 9, and 10 open as of 10:00 AM today, June 24, and close as of 10:00 AM, Monday, June 29.

Thread for W5 Not Fitting In, which is due Thursday June 25 in the dropbox.

Dawn Lundy Martin, “When a Person Goes Missing.” See esp. 162-64, 164-69.

Kai Minosh Pyle, “Autobiography of an Iceheart.” Esp. 176-77, 181-84, 186-88.

Grammar Thread 4: LB CH 40 The Semicolon; CH 41 The Colon.

Do Q 8: Colons & Semicolons.



Grammar Thread 4, cont. 

LB CH 16 Parallelism.

Do Q9: Parallelism.



Grammar Thread 4, cont.

LB CH 42 The Apostrophe

LB CH 43 Quotation Marks

Do Q 10: Apostrophes.


W5 Not Fitting In is due today in the drop box.



Now begins the Proctor U sessions for Grammar Test & Final Essay.

Final Essay Thread: TO BE ANNOUNCED.

Grammar Review Thread.

Reviewing our lists—preps, subordinating words, transitional expressions, etc.



Final Essay Thread. Grammar Review Thread.



Final Essay Thread, concluded.  Grammar Review Thread, concluded.















[1] Introduction Paragraph 1

Starts with overall idea/thesis position (answer to prompt w. because/why); offers two supporting ideas; previews two examples, each with sensory detail.

Exceptional in most respects

Dynamic in some respect

Provides answer to prompt & because/why, two supporting ideas; previews two examples, a sensory detail for each.  

Introduction is problematic.

Missing most components.

[2] Topic idea at start of pars. 2 and 3

Each body paragraph begins with an explanation of the relevant supporting idea as topic idea.


In most respects. 

Dynamic in some respect.


Explains the relevant supporting idea as topic idea at the beginning of the paragraph.  

Topic ideas are problematic.

No topic ideas

[3] Example in pars. two & three

Each body paragraph develops an example previewed in the introduction; provides three descriptive attributes. Demonstrates proficient use of Standard Written English.


Exceptional in most respects.


Dynamic in some respect.

Phrasing is mostly effective. Starts example with situation and describes in three respects with sensory details.

Development is problematic.

No examples.


[4] The third paragraph uses something from the required essay after the topic sentence and provides quote just before the 2nd example.

Exceptional in most respects.

Dynamic in some respect


Indicates author and essay title from our book, provides author’s idea in student’s words, and concludes with relevant quote. Provides page in parentheses.

Use of required essay is problematic.

No use of required essay.

[5] Conclusion revisits answer to prompt and why/because in light of redeployment of a sensory detail from par. 2 or 3.  

Exceptional in most respects.

Dynamic in some respect


Conclusion briefly re-develops descriptive detail from par. two or three and revisits answer to prompt and why/because.

Problematic in some respect.

Conclusion does not follow directions.


My comments are really important because they advise the student on how to improve for the next W assignment and Final Essay, based on shortcomings in the present essay. A rubric will be attached to the D2L grade.




















Grading Rubric: Let us say someone did not provide most of the components in paragraph one. That would be a 50 for the first horizontal category. NOTE: Shading indicates the squares I settled on for evaluation.

Let us also suppose the student achieved in the SATISFACTORY column in categories, 2, 4, and 5. For category 3, the student went much higher—reaching the EXCELLENT column. Moving left from the lowest score (the 50 column in this case), each square is worth 2 points. We need to add 12 points (six squares that reach SATISFACTORY) to the starting point of 50; we also need to add 8 points (category three’s four squares to reach EXCELLENT). That would be 70. 

EXCELLENT (unique among our columns) allows for a bonus of four more points (notice the 96-100 at the top of the EXCELLENT column), if excellence for category 3 was truly remarkable.

The highest possible grade for this assignment would be a 74: 50 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 8 (+ 4 points) = 74.

LATE Policy: Late essays are penalized 10 points out of 100.  

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

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As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

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