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Sindy Fields

B.S. English, Radford University 1996

M.A. English, Wake Forest University 2000


My Schedule

1st Period English 10
2nd Period DC ENG 111
3rd Period English 11
4th Period Duty/Planning

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Course Syllabus
DC English 111

  • Course Number and Title:  English 111 – English Composition
  • Instructor:  Sindy Fields –Room 409.  Email:  sifields517@gmail.com
  • Planning -1st period -
  • Course Description:  Develops writing ability for study, work, and other areas of writing based on experience, observation, research, and reading of selected literature; guides students in learning writing as a process:  understanding audience and purpose, exploring ideas and information, composing, revising, and editing; and supports writing by integrating experiences in thinking, reading, listening, and speaking.
  • Goals

Rhetorical Knowledge
By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Focus on a purpose or prove a thesis
  • Understand and respond to the needs of different audiences
  • Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to

the rhetorical situation

  • Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
  • Understand how genres shape reading and writing
  • Write in several genres

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking,

and communicating

  • Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks,

including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and
synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary

  • Integrate their own ideas with those of others
  • Understand the relationships among language,

knowledge, and power
By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Be aware that it usually takes multiple drafts to create

and complete a successful text

  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising,

editing, and proof-reading

  • Understand writing as an open process that permits

writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise
their work

  • Understand the collaborative and social aspects of

writing processes

  • Learn to critique their own and others‘ works
  • Learn to balance the advantages of relying on others

with the responsibility of doing their part

  • Use a variety of technologies to address a range of

Knowledge of Conventions
By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Learn common formats for different kinds of texts
  • Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from

structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics

  • Practice appropriate means of documenting their work
  • Control such surface features as syntax, grammar,

punctuation, and spelling.
Composing in Electronic Environments
By the end of first-year composition, students should:

  • Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing,

revising, editing, and sharing texts

  • Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material

collected from electronic sources, including scholarly
library databases; other official databases; and informal electronic networks and Internet sources

  • Understand and exploit the differences in the rhetorical

strategies and in the affordances available for both
print and electronic composing processes and texts.
(adapted from Leigh Graziano)
VI. Process
Lecture; small group discussions and peer group editing; individual conferences
Each essay that you write will go through a revision process which will include pre-writing, peer editing, and conferencing; each stage of the writing process will constitute a grade! The course is designed to help you learn to do academic research and to use secondary materials to help support your own ideas, following a standard documentation format (we will use MLA in this class). 
For the purposes of our class, we will use a program called Goggle Docs.  Students are required to create a gmail account and set up a Goggle Docs account (both of which are free).  Students will also have access to Blackboard through MECC.  Class assignments will be posted on Blackboard and students will use the site for discussions and submission of many assignments.  Essays will be electronically submitted using Google Docs or Blackboard per the instructor’s preference; however, a final paper copy of essays may be required!  If a student is absent from class unexcused, an on-line submission does NOT negate late submission point deductions!  Google Docs registers the time of the last edit, so I can easily check the submission time, and Blackboard registers time of submissions as well.

In addition, ANY paragraphs or additional writing assignments will be considered LATE if a student submits the work electronically but is absent from class!

Essays will be written in a paragraphing process, meaning that paragraphs will be submitted for comments/suggestions or for a completion check.   These paragraphs will comprise your ROUGH DRAFT. I will NOT correct your grammar errors, etc. or in any way write or edit your paper for you!  If paragraphs are not submitted on time, they will not receive comments!  When paragraphs are completed, students will submit a final draft.  This draft will be graded, and on some essays, students will have the option of revising for a higher grade.  The final essay of the semester cannot be revised!

VII.  Blog
Students will create a blog, using blospot.com, a free blogger site.  This semester, students must create and publish 5 blog posts, comprising at least 400 words and one image.  Students will be assigned particular topics –many of which require thought, field research (interviews), and creativity.  Additionally, students are required to respond to at least five fellow students’ blog posts per nine weeks.  Students MUST print the blog entries (including a word count on each blog) and peer responses and submit to the instructor in order to receive credit! Student blogs will be linked to a common classroom blog and will be monitored for content, language, appropriateness, etc.  Any blog post containing inappropriate language, information, photos, etc. will be removed and students will receive a zero for the assignment for the remainder of the semester!  Blog posts are graded based on completion, creativity, and effectiveness and will receive the following rating:   ACCEPTABLE (which means you did an effective job on your post and earn
full credit), UNACCEPTABLE (which means you did an ineffective job on your post and will earn half credit), and INCOMPLETE (which means you did not complete a post and earn no credit). If you are putting thought and effort into your posts and completing word requirements, then you can expect to earn full credit on your blog posts.  These will be submitted at every other week; therefore, work on the blog CANNOT be put off until the end of the grading period!  You may work ahead and submit any entries in advance.


VIII. Grading
The scale is as follows:                                   
A=90-100 B=80-89 C=70-79 D=60-69 F=0-59                                   
General Grading Criteria and Writing Competencies, English 111

Overall Content and Style

Grammar and Mechanics

Clear and appropriate thesis/controlling idea

Complete and grammatical sentences: no fragment, comma splices, or run-on sentences.

Clear, logical structure appropriate to the purpose of the essay (clear mode(s) of development; use of transition and coherence devices)

Subject-verb agreement: verbs agree with their subjects.

Effective introductory and concluding paragraphs

Pronoun usage: pronouns clear and agree with their antecedents.

Topic sentences (paragraphing around a single idea)

Diction: strong verbs, concrete language, clear editing.

Unified paragraphs developed through specific examples and details

Punctuation: virtually free of punctuation errors, particularly comma usage.

Awareness of audience and point of view (no shifts in person, tense, number, voice)

Correct spelling: minimal typos.

General Description of Paper Grades


This paper fully addresses the assignment with originality and imagination; presents a clear, complex, and thought-provoking thesis; paragraphs demonstrate clear, coherent organization, fully and richly developed with relevant and even surprising details and examples; diction reveals a broad, vigorous, precise vocabulary; sentence structure is varied and interesting with a clear command of transition and coherence devices; virtually free of surface errors; demonstrates a coherent and satisfying overall structure; speaks with a clearly identifiable authorial voice with a clear grasp of audience expectations. Generally, the reader is enlightened by this carefully thought-out and prepared paper.


This paper fully explores the complexity of the assignment; the thesis is clear and interesting; paragraphs are effectively organized and coherently developed, balancing supporting generalizations with relevant, specific details; diction is competent and appropriate; sentence structure is varied and logical; few, if any, surface errors; introduction and conclusion offer compelling views of the subject; the essay presents a clear sense of authorial voice and audience expectations. Generally, this well-organized and logically structured paper offers an interesting and readable view of the subject.


This paper in some way grapples with the assignment; thesis may be cloudy, perfunctory, or simplistic; paragraphs show evidence of organization and transition, though paragraph development is uneven, brief, or shallow; diction is acceptable, though limited or vague; sentences are generally grammatical, though repetitive; some bothersome grammatical errors don't interfere with reading; introduction and conclusion are acceptable though uninteresting; essay has some sense of voice and audience; Generally, this essay addresses the assignment but doesn't invoke interest or invite rereading.


This paper attempts the assignment but is unsuccessful; thesis may be underdeveloped or clichéd; paragraphs ramble and appear disorganized and underdeveloped; language is marred by flaws in diction and usage; sentences contain many awkward, vague, and ungrammatical sentences which interfere with reading; punctuation is confused and inconsistent; organization is rough, choppy, and illogical; little or no awareness of voice or audience. Generally, this essay appears to have been put together quickly and carelessly or betrays major difficulties in writing skills.


This paper fails to do one or more of the following: address the assignment; find a thesis or controlling idea; paragraph around as single, central idea; write standard, college-level English; form grammatical sentences; punctuate correctly.


This grade indicates major serious flaws with the assignment, and this paper must be revised after consulting with the instructor. In that consultation, we will identify exactly what needs to be done to bring the paper to a passing level. An NG allows me to avoid a failing grade for the paper and allows the student to correct the flaw(s) in the essay. If a student chooses not to revise and turn-in an NG essay, the grade will be recorded as a zero.

Poor proofreading (spelling, typos, etc) and multiple surface errors can significantly lower your grade.

IX.  Grading Criteria:  Each assignment will be graded based on its adherence to a grading rubric and/or its adherence to instructions regarding the completion of the assignments.  All grades are final.  Students may NOT consult other faculty as to their opinions regarding grades; the LHS English department policy stands that teachers will NOT grade/evaluate/comment on work submitted to another English teacher.  Students will have opportunity to conference with me regarding any questions concerning their grades and/or progress in the course.

All assignments are due at the beginning of class; unless you have made prior arrangements with the instructor, late papers, including paragraphs or rough drafts, will be penalized ten points for each day they are late, including weekends and/or holidays.  If you check out before class, you must turn in the assignment before you leave school or your essay will be considered late.  If you turn in an assignment at the end of class or the end of the day, your assignment is still considered late and subject to the same late penalty!

ALL ESSAYS MUST BE TYPED!  If a student does not have access to a computer, then other arrangements must be made. The public library has computers available for free use.  See the instructor for extenuating circumstances.


X. Attendance:  Due to the nature of this course, any absence from class should be avoided.  In the event of an absence, students remain responsible for all material covered in class.  Students are required to be prepared, participate fully in class discussion, and submit any assignment which is due the day they return to class

If you are unexpectedly absent from class, you have three days to provide an excused absence to the office.  At that time, you will be given the opportunity to make-up the work missed.  Papers over three days late will not be accepted


Two attendance grades will be taken per semester, one per/nine weeks grading period.  The attendance grade will comprise 10% of the student’s average.  Every student will be assigned a 100 for an attendance grade at the beginning of each nine weeks.  A 10 point deduction will be taken from this grade for EVERY UNEXCUSED ABSENCE that he/she accrues.  In addition tardiness will not be tolerated; three tardies will count as an absence.  The attendance grade will be taken at the end of the nine weeks; any excused absences that are submitted AFTER the nine weeks will NOT be accepted with regard to the attendance grade.  Therefore, you must submit excuses during the nine weeks in order for your attendance grade to remain at 100.  Additionally, if a student is absent from class unexcused, an on-line submission of an assignment does NOT negate late submission point deductions! 

PLEASE NOTE: I do not accept computers (or any other kind of technology) as an excuse for late work. Such issues indicate that the student waited until the last minute to finished the assignment.  Papers CANNOT be printed via my classroom computer!  I simply do NOT have enough time or ink to accommodate printing!

XI.  Plagiarism:  Plagiarism results when one person tries to claim credit for another person’s work, whether the person is a student, a published author, or anyone else.  Plagiarism includes borrowed ideas and unacknowledged paraphrasings of another’s work, as well as direct quotations without documentation.  Plagiarism is a direct violation of any institution’s honor system.  All offenses result in a zero for the assignment with no possibility of making up the work; according to the handbook, a day of OSS and a parent conference are consequences for plagiarism as well.  Additionally, MECC’s penalties for plagiarism, which could include expulsion from the course or college, are also in effect.  Throughout the course, students may be asked to submit essays to Turnitin.com or SafeAssign, software that both scans for plagiarism and prints reports of violations.

XII.  Instructions for individuals with Disabilities
Students may request academic accommodations for disabilities through the Office of Student Services.  That office will evaluate the request and make recommendations for appropriate and reasonable accommodations, which the student will provide to the instructor.  Individuals requiring temporary handicapped parking accommodations due to short-term illness should also contact Student Services.  All correspondence will be kept confidential.

XIII.  Participation/Behavioral Expectations
I expect students to come to class having completed ALL assignments and ready to participate with the day’s activities whether that includes essay drafting, peer editing, or literature discussion. Participation will often include reading and editing others’ work –as well as having work submitted on time during a class in which peer editing will take place.

Because this is a college class, mature behavior is expected.  This includes displaying an attitude of respect for me and fellow classmates.  Additionally, all school rules are in force.  Please keep your cell phones in your locker.  Cell phone use will result in a confiscated phone; students who fail to comply with this rule will be directed to an administrator.  Students are required to adhere to the school dress code and all codes of conduct.

XIV.  Emergency Statement:  In the event of a college-wide emergency, course requirements are subject to chances that may include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, class materials, and/or classmates.  Please refer to the College Website for more info or call:  276-523-7495

XV.  Instructional Materials: 
Text:    St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. 9th ed.  Eds.  Axelrod, Rise B. and Charles R. Cooper.  Boston:  Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 20010.

3 Ring Binder/Loose leaf paper/black pens/multicolor pens for editing



Grade Breakdown:

1st nine weeks:
Narrative Snap Shots: 25%
College Essay: 15%
Concept Essay:  25%
Rough Drafts -10%
Participation/Grammar/Peer Revision (3): % 5%
Blog:  10%
Attendance:  10%

2nd nine weeks:
Essay 1: 25%
Media Essay: 20%
Final Essay 20%
Rough Drafts:  10%
Participation/Grammar/Peer revision (3):5 %
Blog: 10%
Attendance:  10%



The instructor reserves the right to make necessary changes to the syllabus!

Blog entries

  1.  Introduce yourself in some way –it’s your blog, and your readers want to know you and your story.  Please don’t be boring –NO ONE wants to read a boring blog.  So, if your first sentence begins with “My name is _______ and I’m 17,” then what follows MUST be amazing!
  2.  Go back to the past and choose one of the two topics: 

A.  What was your favorite childhood food(s)? Who introduced you to this delicacy and what do you associate with eating it?  For instance, apparently I ate only Rice Krispies for several years as a young girl –and the sound of the crackling still takes me back to the kitchen I grew up in.  What does this food tell you about your family?  My mom, for instance, gave in to my toddler stubbornness and declares that I came out “okay” despite all the cereal.
B.  What was your favorite childhood activity(ies).  Who accompanied you in this activity?  What feelings does it still evoke? 

  1. What object in your home has most value to you and why?  Where did it come from –what memories are attached to it?  This is a difficult question for me –I would probably pick my Bible –because it is a bit ratty from use and underlined and annotated.  My youngest son would more than likely pick a Lego guy or maybe the actual screws that were taken out of his knee –the doctor allowed him to keep them! My daughter would definitely choose a baby doll.  Our possessions say a lot about us –especially those that we value most.
  2. Interview someone in your family –asking them to tell them their favorite story (or stories) about YOU.  Explain the relationship you have with this family member and whether or not the story they chose surprises you.
  3. Revise and upload your snapshot essays

2nd nine weeks –Blogging becomes proactive!  Bloggers typically blog because they have something to SAY about something of IMPORTANCE to them!  The final 5 blog entries have to be focused on a particular topic or subject.  The goal is for you to identify yourself as a cultural critic, which you should feel comfortable doing at this point in the semester. This assignment requires you to choose a specific angle from which to attack/analyze/comment on the world. You might choose to organize your work thematically and decide that, say, advertising is going to be your focal point and
proceed from there, looking at anything from a specific ad campaign to a quick rant on the nature of advertising as a whole. You might take the position of music critic and look at the top hits on YouTube. Perhaps you are interested in sports, Foxnews, gardening, reading, gourmet food, etc… Be careful –you cannot, for instance, rant about your stance on a subject in a way that is degrading or demeaning to others.  In my personal blog, one of my main focuses is my faith and aspects of it that I believe are important and helpful for others.  I certainly present what I believe to be TRUTH, but I do not call others with differing opinions “idiots” for instance. 


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