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Maya Angelou: This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen it before.

January 12, 2016

12341551_10154211795366664_3427184595501798259_nThis is a wonderful day! It’s still the start of the new year, Sweet 2016, and today’s the first day for classes for me. Once again this semester I am teaching English 1A, college composition, the Ventura College transfer course. My challenge is to keep us out of the box –and the classroom– as much as possible while still covering the required material. It’s not a creative writing course; instead we are tasked to learn how to summarize, analyze, and respond to non-fiction writing using MLA. Fortunately, I get to choose what we read and write about.

This semester, we are starting out with Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams, an online free pdf which students can download and print or read online (or here’s a blog post from me with links and info plus a photo of me with Seth Godin!). Because Martin Luther King’s birthday is next week, it seems appropriate to pair Godin’s text with MLK’s “I Have a Dream”:

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I am also a huge fan of this speech of his, and our textbook includes his powerful “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Since it is a time of beginnings, this week we will also read Jared Diamond’s short essay “The End of the World As We Know It” where

Diamond asks, “What lessons can we draw from history?” His answer: “The most straightforward: take environmental problems seriously. They destroyed societies in the past, and they are even more likely to do so now.”

And we might go over this “Shadow Syllabus” by Sonya Huber.


This semester we will also be reading Gyre: The Plastic Ocean edited by Julie Decker (2014) going on four field trips, doing book clubs, and helping with Ventura College Earth Day.

Should be busy and fun!



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