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How To Write A Perfect Fcat Essay

First Year Composition Mission Statement
First-Year Writing courses at FSU teach writing as a recursive and frequently collaborative process of invention, drafting, and revising. Writing is both personal and social, and students should learn how to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Since writing is a process of making meaning as well as communicating, FYW teachers respond to the content of students’ writing as well as to surface errors. Students should expect frequent written and oral response on the content of their writing from both teacher and peers. Classes rely heavily on a workshop format. Instruction emphasizes the connection between writing, reading, and critical thinking; students should give thoughtful, reasoned responses to the readings. Both reading and writing are the subjects of class discussions and workshops, and students are expected to be active participants of the classroom community. Learning from each other will be a large part of the classroom experience. If you would like further information regarding the First-Year Composition Program, feel free to contact the program director, Dr. Deborah Coxwell-Teague at dteague@fsu.edu.

Our Course Goals
This course will help you to grow as a writer and a critical thinker by encouraging you to explore the ways that the expectations of college writing may differ from what you have experienced in the past. We will be discussing not only the process of writing, but also other tactics that may lead to academic success at Florida State University.

This course aims to help you improve your writing and communication skills in all areas: discovering what you have to say, organizing your thoughts for a variety of audiences, and improving fluency and rhetorical sophistication. Much of this exploration and growth will be done through personal writing as well as narrative scholarship (using a mixture of your own personal experiences in addition to what you’ve read in course materials). Please remember that you are always in control of how much you choose to share and who you share it with. Keeping this in mind will not only keep you within your safety zone as a writer, but will also encourage you to gain a better understanding of how you, as a writer, will choose to interact with different audiences. The goal of this class is not to get you to spill your guts about your deepest, darkest secrets, it’s to help you become a better writer. If you ever feel like the previous sentence is not true of the class, please come chat with me during office hours and we can figure out what adjustments may need to be made.

Required Materials

  • On Writing 4th Edition, FSU Edition (Bishop) (OW on the schedule)
  • The New McGraw-Hill Handbook (Maimon, Pertiz, Yancy) (MH on the schedule)
  • Our Own Words available at http://english3.fsu.edu/writing/oow
  • Access to a Computer (the university provides a number of computer labs)


Requirements of Course
All of the formal written assignments below must be turned in to me in order to pass the course. (If you have questions about what “all” means, please come see me and I can clarify.) Attendance is also a requirement. More than three absences in a 6 week course is grounds for failure. Three “tardies” will constitute an absence.

5 Short Essays: 25% (5% per paper)
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: 20%
Success Plan: 30%
Final Presentation: 5%
Journals: 15%
Participation: 5%

I take attendance every day and will adhere to the First-Year Writing rule that an excess of three absences in a 6 week class is grounds for failure. All absences, no matter what the reason, count toward the total number. Save your absences for when you actually need them and not just to hang out on Landis Green with your new friends, who, I’m sure, are awesome, but not awesome enough to fail a class for. Seriously, no one is worth failing a class for and if they’re really your friends they’ll understand and if they don’t, they’re jerks. (Just my opinion, maybe they’re lovely people who just don’t understand about attendance policies, who knows, the point is, no more than three absences).

If you are late to class (and/or a conference) three times, it will be counted as an absence. Not showing up for a conference counts as an absence and will make me feel like being stood up for the Homecoming dance freshman year. He said he had an asthma attack, he’d never mentioned having asthma before. This made me sad. Don’t make me sad….plus, it’ll count as an absence.

First-Year Composition Course Drop Policy
This course is NOT eligible to be dropped in accordance with the “Drop Policy” adopted by the Faculty Senate in the spring of 2004. The Undergraduate Studies Dean will not consider drop requests for a First-Year Composition course unless there are extraordinary and extenuating circumstances utterly beyond the student’s control (e.g.:death of a parent or sibling, illness requiring hospitalization, etc.). The Faculty Senate specifically eliminated First-Year Composition courses from the University Drop Policy because of the overriding requirement that First-Year Composition be completed during students’ initial enrollment at FSU.

Reading/Writing Center
The RWC offers one-on-one help for students with their writing, whether they need help with a writing problem, understanding what their teacher wants, or just want to do better on their writing assignments. Your fees have already paid for this service, so it’d be silly not to use it. The RWC has tutors available in the Williams Building, The Johnston Building, and in Strozier depending on times and availability. Find more information about how to schedule an appointment at their website: http://wr.english.fsu.edu/Reading-Writing-Center

Plagiarism is grounds for suspension from the university as well as for failure in this course. It will not be tolerated. Any instance of plagiarism (including self-plagiarism which means turning in the same paper for two classes without the permission of BOTH instructors even if the classes are not happening during the same semester or even from the same school) must be reported to the Director of First-Year Composition and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Plagiarism is a counterproductive, non-writing behavior that is unacceptable in a course intended to aid the growth of individual writers.

Plagiarism is included among the violations defined in the Academic Honor Code, section b), paragraph 2, as follows: “Regarding academic assignments, violations of the Academic Honor Code shall include representing another’s work or any part thereof, be it published or unpublished, as one’s own.” Additionally, turning in work you have completed for another course without prior permission from both the past and the current instructor will be considered plagiarism. A plagiarism education assignment that further explains this issue will be administered during the second week of class.

The Civility Clause: Don’t be a jerk. In this day and age we know what that means in its many manifestations. You have the right to express your opinions and others have the right to be in a safe environment, thus we must all learn to balance these two things in our writing and in our everyday lives. Let’s start getting the hang of it now.

The Cupcake/Doughnut Clause: If your cell phone goes off or you are caught using your cell phone or laptop in class for a non-class related purpose (stupid smart phones making this more complex!), you will need to bring cupcakes or doughnuts (or something else delicious) for all of your classmates to make amends for the disruption. If you decide not to bring in the treats, you will take a 5 point deduction on your final grade for each occurrence. Easiest way around this? Turn off your phone and forget you have it while you’re in class.

On Late Papers, Revisions, and All That Jazz
This class is only six weeks long. We’re going to be running hard and fast the whole time, I don’t recommend getting behind in your work. But, that said, you’re a human being, and maybe it’ll happen. If you are unable to turn a paper in during class on the due date do NOT email me a copy. Do NOT email me a copy!!!! I understand that you’re trying to “prove” you had it done on time, but the fact is, you didn’t. Done would mean printed out and handed in during class. You can however turn your hard copy in late. Any paper in the box on my door (Williams 314) by the next time I’m on campus (which can be anywhere from one day to four days depending on when it is, not a gamble you want to take though), will receive a one letter grade deduction. The paper will go down a letter grade for each day I arrive to campus after that until the paper is turned in.

If you would like to do revisions on an essay you may do so unless it’s the last paper due, or you got an A- or A on the paper the first time OR had points deducted for the paper being late. Again though, we are jamming this course. 6 weeks to do all this writing! Do your best the first time around and with any luck you won’t need to take advantage of this, but if you do: Revisions are due the last day of class in hard copy at the start of the appointed class time (8:00 am).

Gordon Rule
Successful completion of all writings in this course and a final course grade of C- or better will allow you to satisfy the Gordon Rule requirement.

American Disability Act
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should in the FIRST WEEK OF CLASS . For accommodations, you must register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) and bring a letter to me from SDRC indicating the need for academic accommodations. This and all other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.


Papers and Projects

5 Short Essays: 25% (5% per paper), 10-15 pages (2-3 per paper)
Due Dates: June 27, July 8 (for material covered the previous week), July 11, July 18, July 25
Each week you will be asked to write a 2-3 page paper connecting the week’s reading to the world outside the classroom. I’ll provide a topic as a guideline, but you’re not required to adhere to it strictly. Follow what you find most important to discuss about the readings and the world. What you ARE required to do is write 2-3 pages of lucid, interesting prose in 12 point font (Times New Roman), 1 inch margins, double-spaced and turn it in to me as a HARD COPY on the day it is due. You are also required to cite EACH of the week’s readings at least once in the essay. This should be done in MLA-style. Papers will be due in HARD COPY (oh, did I say that twice AND bold it? If you try to turn it in to me as a digital copy….just don’t do it. Best case scenario is that I just won’t accept the paper and will let you live. Worst case……).

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: 25%, 6-8 pages
Due Date: July 8
Who have you been as a student? What were middle school and high school like for you? What was elementary school like for you? The audience for this paper is comprised of past and future instructors, not peers. You must present yourself in a professional manner, but in a human and personable manner. This is not an easy task. This paper will have three sections The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. The first sections are self-explanatory, the third section you get to define for yourself. Each section will be approximately 2 pages long and will contain a description of an overall pattern in your education (can be a pattern during just part of your education, but must involve more than just one incident). Each section will also include a detailed description of one specific moment that exhibits this pattern as well as what meaning you draw from this pattern and this event. The paper will be evaluated on coherence and flow of thought, use of tone to convey personality and meaning, and concise yet effective use of language. Oh, and this might go without saying, but, 12 point Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced, hard copy.

Success Plan: 25%, 6-8 pages
Due Date: August 1st
Draft Due for Peer Review: July 25th
Florida State University typically has between 40,000 and 41,000 enrolled students, around 80% of which are undergraduates. That means you have between 32,000 and 33,000 “peers” here at FSU. Not to freak you out or anything, but that’s a lot of people. Forget being a big fish, it’s gonna’ take a plan just to not get eaten in this pond. This paper will ask you to make a plan for your successful career as a student at FSU. There will be three audiences for this paper: one is yourself on a good day, one is yourself on a bad day, and the other is your current instructor (me!). Although you must also keep in mind that you will be sharing this project with a peer during the peer review process. The paper will have four sections.
The first section will clearly articulate and provide a rationale for your goals while at FSU. Providing a rationale means that you will need to support your choice of these goals. If your goal is to be on the Dean’s List here at FSU, your rationale will need to be something other than “Well duh, good grades are good, everybody knows that” Why is it important (or rather, why is it important to you, because your reasons may be different from those of your peers or society at large)?
The second section will be an explanation of the resources you either have access to or will need to find access to in order to achieve your goal. Example: If part of your success goal is to travel abroad while at FSU, one of your resources might be money. How can you getappropriate access to this funding?
The third section will be an explanation of the challenges you think you may encounter in reaching your goals. These challenges may be systemic or internal or a mixture of both. Example: If your goal is the Dean’s List every semester and you know what you’re not a morning person but a class you need in the fall is only offered at 8 am, well, you’ve got yourself a challenge here. You are not required to explain how you will deal with these challenges, but you may if you’d like.
The fourth section will be written in the voice of youon August 1, 2018. It’s been five years since you wrapped up your first semester at Florida State University. Where are you? What have you accomplished? What are your new goals in life? Is this voice different from the voice of you now? Show you have an understanding of voice and tone.

Remember that throughout this piece, you are in control of how much personal information you share. Never share more than you’re comfortable sharing just because you think it’s somehow “required” by the assignment. If you’re struggling with this, come talk to me and we can figure out a way that allows you to successfully complete the project without leaving your emotional safety zone or making you feel forced to write about something you don’t want to write about. Oh, and this might go without saying, but, 12 point Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced, hard copy.

Final Presentation: 5%,
Due Date: July 30 or 31
The final presentation is mainly to give you experience getting up in front of a classroom by yourself. Depending on your major, you may have to do it two or three times a semester or you may never have to do it again. It’s good to give it a go with a small audience. You will need to present something interesting about FSU to your peers (and me and the teaching intern). You will need to have one visual (visual can include digital image). Your audience for this presentation is comprised of your peers. Wait, let me amend that, it’s “your peers in a classroom setting.” That’s a tricky audience to prepare for. You want to be engaging and cool, but there are certain lines you can’t step over. The “something interesting about FSU” can be anything from a cool resource you’ve discovered to a ghost story about one of the residence halls on campus. During the 5th week of the course I’ll ask you to share with me what your “something interesting” is going to be (you won’t have to know exactly how the presentation will go at that time), this will allow me to head off any duplicate presentations, or at least as much as possible. If you know before the 5th week what you want to present on, please let me know since if there’s a duplicate it’ll be a “first come, first served” sort of situation with topics. Presentations will be around 5 minutes. They will be graded on your ability to meet your audience’s needs, the uniqueness of the presentation and information, clarity of information presented, and accuracy of information presented.

Journals: 15%
Due Dates: Will be collected randomly in class twice during the semester.
Please keep your journal in a three prong folder. Note: This is NOT a big old plastic BINDER, just a little paper folder. But the three prong part is what’s important. This will allow you to continue to write journal entries even when I have your journal for grading. Please date each entry and write the prompt at the top of the entry. Please put page numbers on each page of the journal. I will be “spot checking” these journals, which means I won’t read every single word of every single entry that you make. I will be reading a few in detail and glancing over the rest to make sure you haven’t written “Noles noles noles” over and over for an entire entry. If there is an entry you do not want me to read in detail, please fold the corner of the entry down so I will know to only glance at that one. You will need a journal entry for every single reading assigned for class in addition to other prompts I will give you. Journal entries on the readings should include the main point of the reading as well as three highlights from the reading and your reaction to the reading. These journals will help you prepare your thoughts for the weekly papers (the weekly papers will be much more formal than the journal entries). You should spend at least an hour on journal entries per weekday between entries about the readings and the other prompts. Some of you may spend more. If you’re spending less than an hour on a consistent basis, you might not be doing what you need to do in order to do well on this part of your grade.

Participation: 5%
Due Date: Every class, June 24- August 1st
I don’t expect cartwheels and constant chatter from students, however I do expect attention and engagement. Knowing that that looks different for each individual, I request that if your attentive behavior might look inattentive to me that you please let me know within the first week of class so that I understand (Just remember, no one’s “attentive behavior” looks like texting or sleeping with their head on the desk, so don’t even try it. Also, no one’s “attentive behavior” looks like making snide remarks about the teacher to the person next to you. But if you have something funny to say about what’s happening in class [that we’ll ALL find funny, including me], I encourage you to say it out loud to the whole class unless you’d interrupt someone to do it and in that case, just hold off until there’s a break in the conversation and maybe you can still say it.)

Class Schedule
(Take a deep breath, it’s Summer Session C so we gotta’ jam on this)

Week 1
June 24: Introduction to class and to each other
Reading due: None

June 25: Relax, but work harder, faster, stronger
Readings due: “Shitty First Drafts” pg. 279 OW
“The Writer” pg. 19 OW
“Interview Excerpt: I find out that a story isn’t working or isn’t good enough in two ways” pg. 21 OW
“1,2,3…I’m Perfect Starting Now” Blackboard

June 26: Invention strategies: The Best Way to Get Started Writing Is to Write…or Not
Readings due: “Invention Exercises: Writing for Inspiration” pg. 243 OW

June 27: Is change possible?
Readings due: “Self-Regulation and Depletion of Limited Resources” Blackboard
Assignments due: 1st short essay

Week 2
July 1: Writing publicly about the personal (with a special guest appearance by The Plagiarism Exercise!)
Readings due: “The Helpful Link” pg. 118 OW
“Drop Everything and Read” pg. 110 OW
“Is English Your First Language” pg. 113 OW
“Going Home Again” pg. 75 OW
“Dyslexia” pg. 85 OW
I will have conference times available on this day also.

July 2: No class (Conferences)
Readings due: Chapters 38-46, pg. 612 MH
Assignments due: bring draft or outline of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” to conference.

July 3: No class (Conferences)
Readings due: Chapters 47-49, pg. 678 MH
Assignments due: bring draft or outline of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” to conference.

July 4: No class (Independence Day)
Readings due: Declaration of Independence: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Week 3
July 8: Goal Setting and Writing for an Audience
Readings due: “A Brief Explanation of Classical Rhetoric” pg. 134 OW
“Making Meaning—Your Own Meaning— When Your Read” pg. 186
“To Make a Prairie” pg. 156 OW
Assignments due: 2nd Short Essay and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

July 9: MLA Day

Readings due: Chapter 23, pg. 342 MH

July 10: I’ve Never Ever……
Readings due: “False Rules and What Is True About Them” pg. 542 OW
Assignments: Bring one of your first two short essays with you.

July 11: I’m Nobody! Who Are You?
Readings due: “Do People’s Self-Views Matter?” Blackboard
“Is Allure of Self-Esteem a Mirage After All?” Blackboard
“Imposters Have Goals Too” Blackboard
“I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15392
Assignments due: 3rd short essay

Week 4
July 15: Revisions vs. Editing
Readings due: “Transfiguration” and “How I Wrote the Moth Essay— and Why” pg. 299 OW

July 16: Time Management (or Oh! NOW You Tell Us!) and Paper Planning
Readings due: None

July 17: Stress and Anxiety: A Writer’s Worst Enemy (and Best Friend)
Readings due: None

July 18: TBD (These days will depend on how you all are doing on drafts for your Success Plans)
Readings due: TBD
Assignment due: 4th short essay

Week 5
July 22: TBD
Readings due: TBD

July 23: Conferences
Readings due: None

July 24: Conferences
Readings due: None

July 25: What Is Peer Review?
Readings due: “Responding- Really Responding- to Other Students” pg. 309 OW
“Summary of Ways of Responding” pg. 318 OW
Assignment due: 5th short essay and copy of Success Plan for peer review

Week 6
July 29: Peer Review Day
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Review Sheet for Peer Review Day

July 30: Presentations
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Presentations

July 31: Presentations
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Presentations

August 1: Course Evaluation and Wrap-Up
Readings due: None
Assignment due: Success Plan

Wayward Bears - Extended Response Samples

How are the two bear sightings alike and different? Explain your answer with details and information from the article.

To get a 4, a paper must include the following:

  • ways the two sightings are alike
  • ways the two sightings are different
  • sufficient details from the article

Related information from the article:


  • Both were black bears.
  • Both were where they aren't supposed to be.
  • Both were probably on their own for the first time.
  • Both were spotted crossing roads.
  • "They're trying to find a territory of their own, where they won't get beat up." (Lieutenant Rip Stalvey, a game commission spokesman)


Brooksville Bear

  • 258 pounds
  • Crossing SR 50
  • Spotted on Thursday/weekend
  • Spotted in several places:
    • Tom Varn Park
    • Brooksville Quarry
    • Broad Street
    • Luigi's Pizza
  • Details of capture given in article
    • Tranquilizer spear
    • Tranquilizer gun
    • Transmitter collar
    • Ride to Chassahowitzka

Spring Hill Bear

  • 100 pounds
  • Crossing US 19
  • Spotted on Saturday
  • Spotted in one place only
  • No details of capture given in article

Sample Responses

Score of 4 - This response shows a thorough understanding of the task. It is accurate and includes excellent support from the article.

The two bear sightings are alike because they're both black bears, both trying to establish their territory near people. They both were about 2 years old, and both crossed streets. The two bear sightings are different because: One bear was 100 pounds, the other was 258 pounds. The Brooksville bear was spotted late Thursday while the one that crossed US 19 was spotted on a Saturday. The Brooksville bear had police and fire fighters tracking and chasing after him, the other didn't. The Brooksville bear was tranquilized with a tranquilizer gun from Land O' Lakes, the other one seemed not a threat. The smaller bear was found in Spring Hill, the other was collared to a wildlife area.
Both bear sightings occurred in public near residential areas. Both were black bears looking for their own territory. The first bear, which weighed 258 lb., crossed State Road 50 and headed toward Tom Varn Park. The bear went through the park and into the Brooksville Quarry golf course. The bear was hit with a tranquilizer gun and fitted with a transmitter collar, after being surrounded near Luigi's Pizza on Broad Street. The second bear, which weighed 100 lb. was spotted crossing US 19 near a retirement community.

Score of 3 - This response shows a complete understanding of the task. It is accurate and fulfills all the requirements, but the support is not as complete as a "4" paper. Additional details from the article would improve this response.

The two bear sightings are alike because they both are black bears and they're both young bears on their own for the first time. These bears are different by, one bear that was spotted in Brooksville was 258 pounds, and the one in Spring Hill was just 100 pounds. The bigger bear had to be tranquilized and a collar was put on him, and was put in Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. The small bear was near a retirement community.
These two bear sightings are alike these ways: They are black bears, they both were spotted in Florida, they were both spotted in the same weekend, and they both were found in residential areas. The ways in which these bear sightings are different are the following. One bear weighed 258 pounds, and the other one weighed 100 pounds. So therefore, they were very different in size. One of the bears was spotted in Brooksville and the other near Spring Hill.

Score of 2 - This response indicates a partial understanding of the task. It is essentially correct, but it needs more specific details from the article.

The bears have 2 things in common. They are both trying to find them some new territory so they won't "get beat up." The 2 bears are different in some ways. One of them weighs 258 lbs. and another weighs 100 lbs.
The two bear sightings are alike because, the black bear's wondered off into busy roadways because they can't find their own territory to live. The two bear sightings are different because on bear was 258 pounds, and the other was 100 pounds. They both were spotted on different roads, U.S. 19, and State Road 50.

Score of 1 - This response indicates a very limited understanding. It does not address all requirements of the task, and it needs more details from the article to explain each part of the question.

The two bear sightings are similar by the fact that the two bears were spotted in an area where most bears do not go to make their territory.
These two sightings are alike because they are only trying to find territory to call home so they won't get beat up. Mothers boot the cubs out at the age of 2.

Score of 0 - This response is not relevant to the question. The student failed to respond to the task. This is a confused response.

Both bears were spotted on U.S. 19 looking for the mother before they got beat up. Too many people feed bears pizza and that makes them tame in the parks.
They weren't really that different. I don't really think there should be bears in Florida because there are no real open areas without buildings are people. They should be in a place like Colorado or great falls Canada, some place where both the bears and humans can both be safe.

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