No Wonder, 5 Paragraph Essay

dog food

In Ann Hodgman’s No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch, the author employs descriptive writing and humor to describe her experiences eating dog food.  After reading and discussing the passage, the students are tasked with the following assignment (page 113 in “The Norton Sampler”):

Choose a category of food products–gummy worms, breath mints, canned soup, frozen pizza, breakfast cereal, cookies–and study the packaging carefully.  Write an essay in which you describe how the manufacturers of your samples typically [portray and] describe their products.


“Ulysses” by James Joyce — HUGE mistake

I am participating in Debra’s Around the World Reading Challenge 2015.  I made the huge mistake of choosing “Ulysses” by James Joyce for the Europe requirement.  If this post is rambling and incoherent, it is because I have spent too much time reading that worthless and ridiculous book.

I chose “Ulysses” because it is the only book I ever started but didn’t finish, unless you want to include the Bible, which I have read much of, but never in it’s entirety from start to finish.  (If I were Joyce, I would go one for about 50 pages here about the Bible, any ministers I ever met, a random church that I went to once when I was three years old, what the woman in the pew in front of me was wearing, and then hallucinate about being an angel.) Continue reading

Assistance or Genocide?

An in-class discussion kermit food stamptook a strange turn today.

We read The Toxic Truth About Sugar, and discussion ensued.  Students always love this article. We talked about choices
regarding what to eat and what to spend on food, and somehow the conversation turned to government assistance, food stamps, and the WIC program. Someone pointed out the part in the passage where it says that New York City tried to ban soft drinks for food stamp users, and the USDA nixed it.  One student, a bright, engaged, and rational young man whose parents are immigrants from a third world country, insisted that the food stamp program was a form of genocide.

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is it time to put down our phones?

Weekend Reblog!
Reblogging this post by Nomad Hacks. I have a terrible time getting my students to put their phones away. This post is great, and the photo is priceless.

nomad hacks


Hello Nomads!

A couple weeks ago, this story went viral about the man who missed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a humpback whale and her calf breaching just a few short feet away from him. The photographer who caught this image, which he titled ‘Sign of the Times’, was quoted as saying “We’re all guilty being buried in our phones, even me. You think life is better on your phone, but we’re missing what’s happening around us.”

And he’s right, Ah, God, is he right.

We see it every day – couples out to dinner who don’t speak a word to each other, too engrossed in their phones to actually look into their loved one’s eyes for a minute. I see it the most riding public transportation here in Chicago. Everyone seems so desperate to not be forced to look at the people they’re riding the train with that they…

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F is also for Flabbergasted

f in red

Yesterday, after the midterm exam, I spoke to H___, a student who plagiarized his first essay last month.  No, not the future terrorist I wrote about in this post, another student.  Yeah, I see lots of plagiarized papers.  This is the one I wrote about in this post.  He was the no-show student whom I was forced to accept in my class after a month of absense.  Let me also explain that H___ is a foreign student who, in my opinion, would have been better served in ESL.  Also, he took English 085 last semester and failed it, and has shown no motivation to pass this semester.

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