Advice for Next Semester

As you leave my class, I’d like to give you some last-week advice. There have been a variety of things that I let slide or that I know I handle differently from other teachers. With this advice, I’d like to make you aware of those things to help you do well in your next writing class:

  1. Put your name on your work to make sure you get credit for your work.
  2. Use the format your teacher asks for if you’re sending electronic work. Your teacher may not have the software to open your file otherwise. Even if she has to convert the file, the format and layout may no longer appear as you want them to.
  3. If you can’t turn something in using the system your teacher wants, email the teacher AND attach the work. That way, your teacher knows that you completed the work on time.
  4. Listen to and follow the instructions for your assignments. If the teacher says to underline your thesis or include a bibliography, be sure that you do.
  5. Always check the syllabus before you ask questions. You’re likely to find things like the late policy, the grade scale, and attendance policies there.
  6. Don’t assume that your teacher next term will do things the same way I have. If you’re not sure about something, ask.
  7. Definitely be sure that you understand the teacher’s policy on using your laptop, tablet, or cell phone in class. The details may be on the syllabus. If they are not, ask.
  8. Realize that the teacher can see you, and don’t make a bad impression. I knew when you were sleeping, doodling, fooling around on Facebook, or generally not doing the work I asked you to. There’s a meme teachers share with one another: - Teachers know when you're texting in class, kids. Seriously, nobody just looks at their crotch and smiles.
  9. Don’t say things like “Does this matter for the assignment?” or “Did we do anything important in class?” Check out this advice on things to say and things not to say, and follow it.
  10. Remember that the Writing Center can help you next term too. Your teacher may not talk about it, but it is a resource that is available for you during your entire time here at Virginia Tech.

Dressing for Your Presentation

There's no need to dress formally for your presentations. The regular clothes you wear to class are fine. Just use common sense, and avoid anything that your be distracting or somehow undercut your credibility. 

Here are 5 things not to wear: 

Your Pajama Pants
Rigo Recalls Children's Lounge Pants and Boxers

Your tutu
tutu tuesday

Your Unusual Hat
Cow Head

Your Bacon Costume or Hulu Skirt
Imagination + Bacon

Anything Lady Gaga Would Wear
Lady Gaga

Oral Presentation Tips & Evaluation

Tips for Your Oral Presentations

Once you have a draft of your slideshow, use the Oral Presentation Tips & Checklist to review, revise, and practice your presentation. The checklist in WAVT will help you make sure that you have everything you need in your presentation, so be sure to bring the book to class and check your slideshow.

Evaluation of Oral Presentations

I have added a document to the fourth assignment: Oral Presentation Evaluation. This document explains all the things that will go into your grade for the group project as well as the assignment for a self and group assessment writing that you need to complete by the end of the last day of classes. 

Because this final assignment has many parameters and everyone's grade can be different, I didn't break the grade  out into percentages. As an example, let's say the presentation is a B, but one member of your group was absent for half the classes and only contributed the title slide. That student's grade would be different from a student who was in class every day and wrote 1/3 of the slideshow. 

Please review the document before the next class session (Wed, 12/4) and be prepared to ask any questions. Group work time is limited so I will not read the document in class. I'll just answer questions.

Logistics for the Assessment Writing
Feel free to get started on the self and group assessment writing as you have time, but you will not submit the information via Tests & Quizzes in Scholar until the last day of class (so that you will have had time to see all of the oral presentations). Just work in a word processor and copy your answers over into Scholar on that last day of class.

Review of Rhetorical Appeals

Be sure that your paper labels the rhetorical appeals from the commercial correctly. You can find details on the reviews in the Persuasive Techniques in Advertising text in the Resources section of Scholar as well as in your WAVT textbook on pp. 20-22.

Here's a review of what each term means, with examples from this WWE commercial I shared in class:

Ethos: the appeal to credibility
In the commercial with WWE Superstar The Miz, the mother, father, and son are a model happy family that adds ethos to the commercial. The unspoken argument is that if this family loves these gifts, the viewer's family will too. The family provides credibility to the message that the toys will be fun for the whole family.
Pathos: the appeal to emotions or feelings
The surprise and excitement of the family and children at the birthday party in the KMart commercial appeal to pathos. The advertisers show viewers that the WWE gifts will bring happiness and joy to the receiver. The use of a family birthday party as the setting reminds viewers of similar celebrations they have been a part of and suggests that purchasing WWE Action Figures and other gifts will help them create such fond memories for a child they know.
Logos: the appeal to logic and fact
The WWE commercial includes few concrete facts, by the facts there are focus on demonstrating how shopping at Kmart is an economical, money-saving choice. The price of the Wrestlemania folding chair in the commercial appeals to logos by listing the cost of the chair in large numbers on the screen and its regular price in smaller print. The chair will cost a shopper only $79.99 with a $30 purchase of WWE merchandise. The regular price of the chair alone is $129.99. The savvy Kmart shopper can save $50 on the cost of the chair simply by spending $30 on WWE presents. Even adding in the required purchase, the viewer can still save $20 on the cost of the chair.  

Ad Analysis Essay Tips

  1. Add a title. Make it smart, attention-grabbing, and unique. Connect it to the hook in the introduction if you can.
  2. Add the URL to your commercial under your title.
  3. Apply the ideas from the presentations on Introductions and Conclusions.
  4. Underline or bold your thesis statement.
  5. Make sure you meet the basic requirements. Compare to the rubric to be sure you have everything in your paper.
  6. Review the grammar presentation and check your commas.

Grammar and Punctuation Rules

I used some abbreviations for grammatical and punctuation errors that I encountered as I was grading your papers. We'll talk about grammar in class on Wednesday, but in the meantime, if you want to learn more about an error that I have marked in your paper, you can find the details in your textbook on these pages:

Colon Use a colon when a list of items follows a complete sentence (an independent clause). See page 108 of WAVT.
Comma Splice This is a comma splice. See page 112 of WAVT.
Compound Use a comma before a Coordinating Conjunction that joins two independent clauses (e.g., a compound sentence). See page 109 of WAVT.
Conj Adv Use a semicolon before and a comma after a Conjunctive Adverb that joins two independent clauses. See page 104 of WAVT.
Fragment This highlighted phrase is a sentence fragment. See page 107 of WAVT.
Intro Use a comma after an introductory word, phrase, or clause. See page 110 of WAVT.
Nonessential Use a comma on either side of nonessential word groups (unless there is a period at the end). See page 111 of WAVT.
Parallel Use parallel structure (words that have the same pattern) for consistency. See page 106-107 of WAVT.
Run-on This is a run-on, or a fused sentence. See page 112 of WAVT.
Vague Pronoun Reference Clarify the noun that the pronoun refers to in this sentence. See page 115 of WAVT.