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English 1A, Sp 19

English 1A, Sp 19

Looking ahead: The essay prompt for TRIBE is on the new TRIBE page: https://laney.edu/chris-weidenbach/english-1a-spring-19/tribe/


Monday, May 20, 10am – Noon:  Final Exam — an in-class essay

This is also the day all previous work will be returned.

For the final exam, students will be asked to read a short article, and respond to comprehension-and-analysis questions by writing an essay.

The way to succeed is to:

  1. Read the article closely, annotating as you go. (The article will be a ‘surprise’ — but it will be familiar to you, too!)
  2. Read the questions carefully, and prepare to answer them with ONE PARAGRAPH EACH.
  3. Write one paragraph at a time, taking on the simple task each question calls for.
  4. On the question about “convincingness”, consider both STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES of the author’s argument.
  5. Focus your writing on the READING until you get to the final question — and then speak freely about the subject of the article!
  6. Don’t waste time re-copying; but DO SPEND TIME EDITING & PROOFREADING — Hand-written corrections are a GOOD SIGN!

Here is the scoring guide for assessing in-class essays:



For Wednesday, May 15:

The completed TRIBE essay is due. (One print copy, please — This can be handed in any time during the class meeting time-block.)


For Monday, May 13:

A draft of the TRIBE essay is due for peer review by 10:30am. — Please bring THREE COPIES!


For Wednesday, May 8:

Finish the reading of TRIBE, if necessary, and bring in a rough draft of an essay consisting of

  • a summary of the book, including at least one sentence specifically focused on each of the four chapters.
  • some discussion of aspects of American life that you and/or Junger think could be improved if they were based on more “tribal” values and ways of organizing our society. –These MIGHT come from the three brief writing assignments we’ve done (April 22, May 1, and May 6); it is recommended that you consider those possibilities!

One print copy is fine for this day. Hopefully it’s got a trial thesis statement, a good summary, and several body paragraphs — even if the paragraphs are ‘thin’ or shorter than usual at this point. 


For Monday, May 6:  1–Please read through the end of Chapter 4 of TRIBE, “Calling Home From Mars” — and…

2–ANNOTATE as you go!

3–WRITE one juicy paragraph about some aspect of life in America that you think could be — and/or SHOULD BE — more ‘Tribe-al’.


For Wednesday, May 1:

The TRIBE essay will be assigned — and begun in class.

After reading through Chapter 3 of TRIBE, please write ONE JUICY PARAGRAPH about whatever stands out as the MOST INTERESTING PART of the chapter. –The instructor will be checking out annotations of this chapter during class.

Feel free to quote from the book, and if you do, be sure to use quoteburger framing!

Top bun: YOU, introducing the quoted language.


Bottom bun: YOU AGAIN, discussing / explaining the quotation.


For Monday, April 29:

1–Please read through the end of Chapter 3 of TRIBE, “In Bitter Safety I Awake” — and…

2–ANNOTATE as you go! –If you aren’t writing notes in the book or on Post-Its in the book, then please write some notes INCLUDING PAGE NUMBERS in a notebook. The instructor will be checking these for credit during class.

*A brief reading quiz may precede our discussion. (No studying required; you just need to read with your ‘lights on’!)


Wednesday, April 24:

1–Please read through the end of Chapter 2 of TRIBE, “War Makes You an Animal” — and…

2–ANNOTATE as you go! –If you aren’t writing notes in the book or on Post-Its in the book, then please write some notes INCLUDING PAGE NUMBERS in a notebook. The instructor will be checking these for credit during class.

*A brief reading quiz will precede our discussion. (No studying required; you just need to read with your ‘lights on’!)


Monday, April 22:

1–Please read through page 55 of Chapter 2 of TRIBE, “War Makes You an Animal” — and…

2–ANNOTATE as you go! –If you aren’t writing notes in the book or on Post-Its in the book, then please write some notes INCLUDING PAGE NUMBERS in a notebook. The instructor will be checking these for credit during class.

3–Write a ONE-PARAGRAPH RESPONSE IN WHICH YOU QUOTE FROM THE BOOK AT LEAST ONCE. –Chapter 3 of They Say / I Say will be VERY helpful with guidance for effective use of, and format for quotations. That chapter starts on page 70 of this .pdf: https://www.iss.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01000579/Centricity/Domain/2741/They%20Say%20I%20Say%20Full%20Text.pdf



Wednesday, April 17:

1–Please read through — and annotate! — Chapter 1 of TRIBE.

2–Green New Deal Essays & Presentations due, if they haven’t already been submitted.

If time allows, we will look at the Fundamental Principles of the Poor People’s Campaign — a national call for a moral revival: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/fundamental-principles/ .

A GREAT opportunity for learning and dialogue — and Extra-Credit!) takes place from 12-4pm in the Laney College Forum: 

Teach-In / Poor People’s Hearing: The Hearing is part of a national campaign to end poverty in the United States (see https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org).  The hearing will highlight testimony from students and community members experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity, challenges to health care access and the attack on public education, including the crisis for part-time faculty. This is a timely way to connect your class content to current events and a good time of the semester to give students exposure to social issues and ways to connect their learning to social justice and the social change needed to get it.


Monday, April 15:

  • Green New Deal Essays & Presentations due, if they haven’t already been submitted. 
  • Please read (and ANNOTATE!) through page 15 of Chapter 1 of TRIBE. –Start with the Introduction if you didn’t read it in class on the 8th. –If you want to keep your book squeaky-clean, use Post-It notes!
  • Be sure to bring to class a print copy of the book TRIBE: On Homecoming & Belonging.


Wednesday, April 10:


Monday, April 8:

  • Please bring to class a print copy of the book TRIBE: On Homecoming & Belonging.
  • If you haven’t yet submitted your Annotated Bibliography, it is due today.


***** April 1-6 is Laney’s Spring Break! *****

Anyone who hasn’t submitted an Annotated Bilbiography is encouraged to email it to Cdub for feedback before beginning your essay draft / presentation outline.


***This just in: an FAQ document related to the Green New Deal proposal, which might be helpful for your essay or presentation:



For Wednesday, March 27th: 

1 –  Please submit your completed, edited Annotated Bibliography (ONE PRINT COPY) for the GND project.

This is a somewhat formal list of five texts that you think will be useful for your essay or presentation, but not a simple list — 

Each “entry” or item on the list should consist of 

—- a citation (author, title, place of publication, date of publication, date you accessed it, and what form it is),

—- a brief summary,
—- a short evaluation paragraph

A GREAT example of an annotated bibliography is on this webpage: https://laney.edu/english/supporting-student-success/advice-for-students/


2 – OPTIONAL: If your essay or presentation is ready for an audience, please be ready to present, or to submit your essay for grading.

***Here is the simpler Argument Architecture template — an outline for a five-paragraph(*) essay: 5-paragraph_argument_architecture

(*–If any of your paragraphs are ‘too long’, you can break that ‘section’ into two or more paragraphs.)


For Monday, March 25:

1 – Please submit a print copy of your thesis statement, in whatever stage of development you have it, along with a one-paragraph discussion of your developing position on the Green New Deal.

2 – Please also bring three copies of your Annotated Bibliography for peer review.

3 – OPTIONAL: IF YOU’RE READY to work on a draft of your essay or presentation, please bring THREE COPIES of your essay draft (or presentation outline) for peer review.


 — The prompt for formal essay #2 is posted on the Green New Deal project page, so it will be easily accessible: https://laney.edu/chris-weidenbach/english-1a-spring-19/green-new-deal-project/


Wednesday, March 20: Class meeting in the Library, room L-104 — in the lower level.

Please see where you’re at with respect to the Green New Deal project “Recipe for success” (the yellow ‘handout’ distributed in class Monday. Extra copies will be available in the Library, and a copy posted here.)

Assignment to be completed during the library session:



For Monday, March 18:

(Please see the events listed below for march 15 & 16. Attending and writing about them will earn you extra homework credits — and you can also treat them as texts that can be referenced in your essay or presentation!)

Do, or re-do, the March 13th assignment: Highlight on a print copy, or put in writing, whatever you decide are the most compelling ideas in the two ‘anti-GND’ articles posted below under March 13th. (The one from The Economist was distributed in class as well.)

*If you have not yet submitted the Annotation Entry for David Roberts’ Vox.com article, PLEASE DO SO NOW! — Remember: Don’t respond; just give a quick citation, a brief summary, and an EVALUATION/REVIEW OF THE ARTICLE.

Optional, and Strongly Encouraged: Review the essay/presentation prompt on the Green New Deal page, as well as the questions our class generated, and think about how you will approach the assignment. Do you already have some language cooking in other pieces of homework? Do you feel like starting your draft, or maybe making an outline? If so, then GO AHEAD!


FYI: Saturday, March 16: One of the main organizations fighting for a SMART response to Climate Change is 350.org. Their East Bay chapter is meeting at Laney this Saturday, March 16th from 10am-1pm in F-202.

Also, a full-day event is happening at Laney, which is FREE for Laney students! “Downstream Pollution. Upstream Solutions! – 7th Annual ZERO WASTE Youth Convergence” –  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Laney College – Building A and Forum – Breakfast, lunch, snacks will be provided! – Raffles, workshops, speakers, games, and more.

Flyer for event


FYI: Friday, March 15: A whole lot of students and workers are going on a one-day strike to demand action on Climate Change. This link takes you to the call for participation, and a list of demands:


One rallying point is in Alameda: Youth Climate Strike March 15, 2019 • 9:00 AM Alameda City Hall 2263 Santa Clara Ave Alameda, CA 94501

Another is in SF: California Youth Climate Strike: San Francisco March 15, 2019 • 10:00 AM Nancy Pelosi’s Office 90 7th Street #2800 San Francisco, CA 94103


For Wednesday, March 13:

Please read these two articles that are quite critical of the Green New Deal, and highlight or write a list of the most compelling arguments they make AGAINST the proposed program:

The problem with the Green New Deal — A deeply unserious proposal to tackle climate change by I.K. on The Economist’s Utopia Now page: https://www.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2019/02/11/the-problem-with-the-green-new-deal

The Green New Deal Is Everything That’s Wrong with Progressive Environmentalism  by David French at the National Review: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/green-new-deal-is-everything-thats-wrong-with-progressive-environmentalism/


For Monday, March 11:

Please write (AND TYPE, AND SAVE!) a citation, a BRIEF summary, and a SHORT PARAGRAPH evaluation for either the Vox.com article on the Green New Deal, or the opinion piece at CNN.com by Michelle Romero & Van Jones: Ocasio-Cortez understands the promise of a ‘Green New Deal’ — whichever one you have not already written about!




For Wednesday, March 6:

Please write a citation, a BRIEF summary, and a SHORT PARAGRAPH evaluation for the Vox.com article on the Green New Deal:



For Monday, March 4:

  • Please read this article on the Green New Deal if you haven’t already — It REALLY explains things! — It will take 30-45 minutes to read closely, and it’s worth the time! — If you CAN, I suggest printing a copy, and annotating it.

There’s now an official Green New Deal. Here’s what’s in it. by David Roberts at VOX.com


  • Your research paper/project involving the Green New Deal will be formally assigned.
  • Monday or Wednesday, the first formal essays will be returned with feedback and grades — and opportunities for revisions will be explained.


For Wednesday, Feb. 27:

The first formal essay is due, well edited, incorporating feedback from peer review, the instructor and/or tutors — one print copy, please!


For Monday, Feb. 25:

Please READ AT LEAST ONE of the following articles on the “Green New Deal”, and

WRITE a brief (one page, max) response discussing 1) whether you think this sounds like a good proposal, and 2) whether you would consider actually getting involved in a movement to push it forward:

  • opinion piece at CNN.com by Michelle Romero & Van Jones: Ocasio-Cortez understands the promise of a ‘Green New Deal’


  • straight-forward, thorough report that presents an overview of the Green New Deal resolution just introduced into Congress last week: There’s now an official Green New Deal. Here’s what’s in it. by David Roberts at VOX.com


  • Here’s the ACTUAL RESOLUTION, submitted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is a very short (due to its format) 14-page .pdf outline — and a great introduction to how resolutions are written! RESOLUTION Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.



Wednesday, Feb. 20:

Please bring THREE COPIES of a 2 to 3-page formal essay (fussy details below #9), responding to ONE of the following options — or blending a couple together, if appropriate:

Personal perspectives:

1–Tell about your life, what you’ve been through to get to this point.

2–Why are YOU in EDU? What are your goals, plans, academic-career pathways?

3–What is one of the languages-of-experience you speak/know? Start off with some statements that make sense in light of your experience, and try to keep the experience a secret for the first paragraph or two, like the way Poet Ali does in his “TED talk”.

Social / Psychological / Economic / Political:

4–Are you interested in or involved in any socio-political organizing or activism? –If so, describe the area of focus, and explain why you are involved, or why you want to get involved.

5–Where does society say people SHOULD be, as opposed to where we ARE?

6–‘State of the Union’: Where we should be as a society vs. where we are — and how can we make PROGRESS?

Media topics:

7–What are some of the effects of the internet and social media on mental health?

8–Are we too emotionally desensitized by exposure to so many real-life violent events and images?

9–What media outlet (channel, website, radio program, newspaper) would you recommend to people who want to be well informed about what’s going on in the world?

Fussy details: 2 – 3 pages, typed, 1.5-spaced, 11- or 12-pt ‘normal’ font — with a simple heading at the top of page 1:

Spectacular Student

English 1A – Cdub

February 20, 2019

.                                        Attention-Getting Title!

Go get ’em!!!!!


Here’s a link to Poet Ali’s “TED talk”

For Monday, Feb. 11:

  • Last chance to submit previous week’s assignments! (See below)
  • PLEASE bring some ideas for our class’ first formal essay: We need a prompt that calls for a 2-3 page essay (maybe 5-7 paragraphs) on a topic that is connected with people’s real life concerns.

— One idea I’ll offer is: Write your own State of the Union (United States) essay / speech. How do you see the overall health, strength and/or happiness of people in America today?

  • ALSO: If you’ve been asked to do a writing assignment for another class, please email Cdub with the assignment prompt, or bring a print copy to class.

Note: a “PROMPT” is what teachers call the written assignment language, or the ‘directions’ that list what you are asked to read, think & write about. If you’ve been given an assignment verbally, but not in writing, then please write down what you understand to be the ‘mission’ you’ve been assigned.


In class on Monday the 11th, we’ll watch 15 minutes or so of this recent ‘town hall’ meeting on “Solving the Climate Crisis” — from around 40:00 to 58:00 the panel has a conversation with newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat, New York), one of the two leading advocates for a “Green New Deal”. –One of the panelists, Van Jones, is from Oakland, where he used to work at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0IgDgyHEfc


Looking for work? — Contact Laney Employment Services at 510-464-3352.




If you are all up-to-date, THANK YOU, AND GOOD WORK!!!!!!!!!!

We will be reviewing Dr. King’s speech, and looking at some examples of student writing.

Extra-credit option: Watch or listen to EITHER the U.S. President’s State of the Union address, OR the Democratic Party’s response by Stacey Abrams, and write a one-paragraph response focusing on WHAT IS RELEVANT TO YOU in one of those speeches.

Also, check out the Extra-Credits page for more XC opportunities: https://laney.edu/chris-weidenbach/extra-credit-opportunities-2/



  • Please read and listen to Beyond Vietnam by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –This is heavy stuff, and is perhaps the best representation of Dr. King’s culminating socio-political philosophy. This is NOT the ‘sanitized’ Dr. King that is promoted by semi-liberation-minded people and NON-liberation-minded people. The dot-com news media never make reference to this speech, despite its continued relevance.


  • Please WRITE a one-page ( typed, 1.5-spaced) response to King, focusing on WHAT IS MOST RELEVANT TODAY, even though the speech was given nearly 50 years ago?

Suggestion: LISTEN to the audio recording, and when you HEAR SOMETHING PROFOUND, track it down in the written text — You can use ctrl+F in many applications to search for specific words — and consider QUOTING or REFERENCING that language as part of your response!!!

  • Please bring a print copy to class!
  • Please note: DO WHAT YOU MUST to make your response fit on one page! –And please do NOT sacrifice readability, or use any giant fonts or whatnot! Non-serif fonts are best, like Verdana in Googledocs, or Calibri or Century Gothic in Word — and 11- or 12-pt size is the publishers’ norm.



  • Please read this document, the Society for Professional Journalism’s Code of Ethics:


  • Also, please visit DemocracyNow!’s website, and watch or listen to at least one broadcast’s opening Headlines — the first 5-10 minutes.


  • Make a few notes in a notebook: Does DemocracyNow! seem to be living up to the SPJ Ethics? –What do you notice that is perhaps different from what you see & hear at other corporate or cable news outlets?



Please read the following article (it’s the same as the one distributed in class on Wed 1/23), and…

Use annotation (highlighting, underlining, margin notes, etc.) to capture some of what you find most interesting, inspiring, questionable, or other ‘thinkative’ ideas!

You Are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring

— You will need to click this, and then click on the link on the new page to open the Word document.

ALSO – Please hit this link, and give Kiely (our FFAC presenter-guest) a quick evaluation of her presentation from Wednesday: www.bit.ly/ffacbayarea

Other links she shared:

Her Prezi slideshow: https://prezi.com/jhh9sxeectnq/monica-social-justice/

Her organization: https://www.ffacoalition.org/



–and one I just discovered, which looks very cool: https://civileats.com/



This website will serve the English 1A class taught by Chris Weidenbach (Cdub) at Laney College in Spring 2019.

A finalized syllabus will be ready by the second day of class.

The only required text is a non-fiction book entitled TRIBE: On Homecoming & Belonging by Sebastian Junger (ISBN: 9781455566389). It is available at the Laney College Bookstore. If you want to check on its availability, you can contact the bookstore at 510-464-3514, or search availability at   https://www.bkstr.com/laneystore/home/en — But please note: I urge you NOT to begin reading it yet! We will start reading it around March 1st.

Most of our readings will be very currently published commentary articles. We will focus on public discourse around relevant issues, such as climate change, poverty, and social justice — and will also spend time mastering the expectations of writing in the academic universe, and in the academic voice. This will involve looking at writing assignment prompts for other, non-English classes, and learning how to meet their demands, and build writing projects that will meet other instructors’ standards of success. As much as possible, we will be reading our classmates’ writing, and writing in response and reflection to it.

The full 1A webpage content is not yet ready for Spring 19. But it will take shape quickly!

Students, I look forward to meeting you in person — and to working with you to build a very successful, fulfilling semester!


Questions or problems? — Email the instructor: cweidenbach@peralta.edu


There are no textbooks required to be purchased for this class; however, a steady stream of reading will be demanded, much of it online.

The UNC Writing Center is a good reference site for writing advice and critical-thinking concepts:  http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/

They Say / I Say is a high-impact text on “making the right moves” as an academic writer, so that you sound as astute as you are!


Here’s our sports page:  http://www.edgeofsports.com/archive.html

–and a history text:  http://www.historyisaweapon.org/zinnapeopleshistory.html