Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Updates & Links & Bonus Posts

For the week of May 24th, begin your essay #3 draft. See the guidelines below and the example from class. If you're doing option one, you'd want to start by editing your interview Terkel-style.
Try posting your first paragraph: see if you can succeed in catching your reader's attention and bringing them into your topic.

Here's is a source that might be useful:

Here, here, and here are three parts of a question and answer with Joshua Freeman, a historian (and CUNY professor!) about working class history in New York.

And now, some bonus posts:

Schlosser's article "The Most Dangerous Job" ends with Kenny's story. What did you make of Kenny's attitude towards his job and the company he works for? How does it compare to your experience and that of people you know?

Here is an article about how enforcement of imimgration laws have changed things since Schlosser's article. Notice the testimonials along the side. Describe how you would follow up on Schlosser's article if you were writing it now. How do you think current anti-immigrant laws and sentiments will affect coditions for workers?

Here is a long interview with Studs Terkel - thanks to Mwani for the link! Share your responses!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Step Three: Essay #3

Once you have done steps one and two (posted about the archives, posted about the interviews you read from Terkel, and come up with your research question), you'll begin the process of gathering sources.

For option one, this means choosing the person you'll interview and coming up with research questions. You can see some student posts of interview questions here and here.

For option two, that means selecting two course texts to help answer your question and using databases to find periodical sources (or book chapters) and selection course texts. Then you'll put together an annotated biography. Course texts can include anything we've read or watched over the course of the semester. You can find some examples of student annotated bibliographies here and here, and some guidelines here.
Once you've completed this step, for option one, you'll next conduct the interview. For essay two, you'll begin your draft. Think of the bibliography as a kind of pre-writing that suggests how each text will help answer your question.

Let's say your research question is: What long-term impact does emotional labor have on workers, the workplace and American culture as a whole?

Some preliminary database searches might take you to these three sources.

In the comments, answer the following questions for your source.

1) What *kind* of source are you looking at? Who is its audience?

2) Briefly summarize the source (you should be able to do this without reading the whole thing, at least for the first two).

3) What database do you think this writer used to find this? Why?

4) Do you think it will be a useful source for this writer? Why or why not?
1) http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=11&did=391729811&SrchMode=1&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1242161905&clientId=13053

2) http://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/12/business/when-may-i-help-you-is-a-labor-issue-the-customer-service-assembly-line.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/S/Strikes&scp=1&sq=emotional%20labor&st=cse

3) http://tigger.uic.edu/~mastracc/EL.htm

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Essay #3 Outline

For your last essay, you'll have a chance to go a bit more in-depth, explore your interests in a more open ended way, and do a little of your own research - this means seeking out or creating sources as well as using the ones we've been discussing in class.

Because this essay is a little longer, it's broken down into steps. Your grade on the essay will depend on your work on each of the steps, not just the final product. All the steps except the final essay will take place on the blog. So it's especially important that you check in. Read your colleague's blogs and leave comments and suggestions. I'm working to arrange some lab time so we can use some class time to work with these essays.

There are two main options for the final essay. With option one, you'll interview someone of about their experiences with work. Your final essay will include the notes or transcript from the interview, and edited version, and your reflections drawing connections between the interview, your own experiences, and our course text and themes.

With option two, you'll use your reading of the archive interviews and those from Terkel to select a work-related topic that's of interest to you. Then you'll do research using periodical databases to find current articles that discuss the state of this issue today. With this option, you'll do more of a traditional essay than with option one, but you will also have the opportunity to draw on your own experiences.

Step one: (Due on May 5th or 6th): Archive Blog Post (see below.)
Step two: (Due on May 10th or 11th): Select two interviews from Terkel that interest you. In a blog post of at least 250 words, discuss the issues that these interviews raise. What do they tell us about the factors that shape the experience of work? What questions does it lead you to? Draw connections to other course texts and to your own experiences. Then select a central research question you'd like to know more about.
Step three: (Due on May 17th or 18th): For option one: Select your interview subject and post your list of interview questions. Draw on the archive interviews, Terkel, and the link to the Spring 2009 blog for ideas. For option two: Find at least two outside sources from periodical databases that address the current state of your topic. Some good options: articles from the New York Times, The Daily News, or New York. In your blog post, do an annotated bibliography of your sources, which should include at least two course texts and two outside sources.
Step four: (Due May 24th or 25th) Draft of Essay. For essay one, conduct your interview and write the edited version and your reflections. For essay two, use your course and outside texts to write a text-based essay of at least 1200 words. Respond to at least two colleague's drafts by May 26th/27th.
Final Essays Due on Friday, June 4th, 5PM in my mailbox.

Post your questions in the comments!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post #5: Working with Interviews/Links and Bonus Posts

For the week of May 3rd, you'll visit the archives to look at some documents I've put together from the collection. There are some photos, Mayor Wagner's speech that we looked at during our visit, and the trasncripts of interviews.

Choose one of the interviews from the packet. In a blog post of at least 250 words, respond to the following questions:

- What is the interviewer trying to find out?
- How much insight do you think you get into the personality and experiences of the interviewee?
- What can you figure out about the historical context of the interviewee's experiences?
- How do the interviewee's experiences relate to the themes we've been discussing? Refer to at least one other course text.

This will be an important step in your work towards essay #3.
What can interviews do? Here are some recordings by the master, Studs Terkel.

Following up on our class discussions, here is an interview about how some are talking about standing up to the new anti-immigrant law in Arizona.

And here is a recent news story about the sex discrimination case against Wal-Mart.

For an extra credit/make up post, discuss either of these links and what the tell us about the themes we've been discussing in the comments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Announcements and Links!

Looking for scholarships? Did you know that you can apply online for scholarships from the CUNY foundation, and that international students are eligible to apply? Go to the foundation website
to apply.

What can be done to address some of the issues of discrimination and inequality we've been discussing?

Next Monday LaGuardia will be having a day-long event about community organizing: what people do to make change about the issues that are affecting them day to day. Here is the schedule. If you can attend any of the events, post your thoughts for extra credit.

One of the issues touched on will be the DREAM act - one proposal to credit more equity in education. Learn more about it here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Please note: Wednesday 8AM tutoring is currently not taking place as that time didn't seem to work for people.

Tutoring is still taking place on:

Wednesday at 1 PM (C415)
Thursday at 3:25 (C410)
Friday at 2:15 (C410)

If you would like to go to tutoring but can't make any of these times, please email Nilo at nabermeo@netzero.net.

Remember that attending tutoring will raise your parcipation grade, and is very like to improve your grade on our essays.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In-Class Work: Week of 4/19

Working with evidence:

Look at the New York Times article you read for today and especially the chart that goes with it.

With your group, based on the chart, is each one of these statements TRUE, FALSE, or is there not enough information to tell?

1) Regardless of your race or gender, graduating from high school and/or college helps your chances of getting a job.

2) The recession of '08-'09 has made it harder for all groups to find work.

3) The recession of '08-'09 has affected all groups equally.

4) As of '09 women, are doing better and making more money than men.

5) Currently in the United States blacks face higher unemployment because of differences in education, not because of discrimination in hiring.

Turning evidence into writing: Rewrite the following paragraph with a sandwich to make it make more sense:

Another way that discrimination happens as Luo says on page 1, "There is also the matter of how many jobs, especially higher-level ones, are never even posted and depend on word-of-mouth and informal networks, in many cases leaving blacks at a disadvantage." It's really not fair to have job and not even post an ad this just shows Luo's point.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Post #4: Working Towards Essay #2

During the week of April 19th, post at least two paragraphs from your draft of essay #2 (feel free to post more, up to a full draft). Include your thesis paragraph and a paragraph from the middle that has at least one sandwich - that introduces and gives the so what for either a direct quotation or a statistic.

Then, look at your colleagues' paragraphs and leave a comment. Tell them where the paragraphs make sense and where they don't. Remember to look at chapter 3 of They Say for help with sandwiches.

A number of you have asked if you can make up old blog posts - absolutely. You don't want to get behind, but making up the posts and adding any reflections on course materials or related ideas will help not only your participation grade but your understanding of the class and what you're able to take from it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


You may have noticed some changes to the reading schedule from our syllabus, made in accordance with the evolution of our work and your interests as a class. Here's an overview/review of where we are in the readings:

For the week of April 5th: "Who Built the Pyramids" from the preface to Working by Studs Terkel.
For the week of April 12th: "Confronting Inequality," by Paul Krugman (pages 322-340 in They Say, I Say)
For the week of April 19th: "In Job Hunt, College Degree Can't Close Racial Gap," by Michael Luo (handout) and Barack Obama, "A More Perfect Union" (pages 360-376 in They Say, I Say)
For the week of April 26th: A Pecking Order section from Working.

Chapter 1 of Ehrenreich, originally listed on your syllabus, will be an optional reading that may be useful to you in your final, researched essay in which you will use a range of primary and secondary sources.

Important Reminder: Monday/Wednesday class will meet in the archives (E238 on Wednesday, April 14th.)

A couple folks asked for a more detailed grade breakdown. Here it is:
25% participation
20% essay 1
20% essay 2
20% essay 3
15% final exam

Please note that if you revise your essays, the new grade replaces the old. Your participation grade is based on attendance (including being on time), in-class participation, and your blog posts.
If you regularly attend tutoring (at least three times), I will raise your participation grade by one letter grade.

Tutoring times are:
Wed morning (8:00) - C415
Wed afternoon (1:00) - C415
Thur (3:25) - C410
Fri (2:15) - C410

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Post 3: Class and Identity: Readers Choice

For Monday, April 12th or Tuesday, April 13th, post on one (or both) of the following topics.

1) Monday/Wednesday Class: In "Who Built the Pyramids," Mike Lefevre talks about his experiences as a steelworker. In Born Rich, a number of young people talk about being born into wealth. Talk about the connections you see between these two texts. What does being working class mean to Mike? What does being rich mean in the kids we see? What do the two texts together tell us about class in America?

Tuesday/Thursday Class: Describe Mike Lefevre's thoughts about his job, being "working class," or "a laborer." How do you think his thoughts in 1972 about class differ from what many workers feel today? (This class will watch the film next Tuesday).

2) At the beginning of his essay, "Confronting Inequality," (They Say, I Say) Paul Krugman asks "Why should we care about high and rising inequality?" What is his answer? Do you agree? How do you think inequality has affected you and the people around you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Archive Visits

This week we're starting to read Terkel's Working, a collection of interviews about how people feel about their jobs.

Along with this reading, we'll be looking at materials from LaGuardia's archives about New York labor history. We'll get an introduction to the archives this and next week.

IMPORTANT: Tuesday/Thursday class will meet in the archives, E238, on Thursday, April 8th. Monday/Wednesday class meets there on Wednesday, April 14th. It is very important you be on time at 10:30 as the archivest there are giving us their time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Preview/Bonus Post: Inequality in the U.S.

After break, we'll be talking about social class, status, and inequality in the United States.

Here is an interesting article from the New York Times about how health care reform relates to inequality in the United States.

As a bonus post (extra credit/make up), describe the essay's argument. How has inequality in the United States changed over the last 50 years? What is the importance of this? How does the article see health care reform affecting this trend?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Tutoring Has Begun! *AND* Creative Writing Club

Two exciting announcements:

1) Free API tutoring has begun!

Wednesdays at 8AM: meet outside C415
Wednesdays at 1 PM: C415.
Thursdays at 3:25 PM: C410.

There is also a possibility of Friday tutoring. If you are interested or if you have questions, you can email Nilo at nabermeo@netzero.net

Bring your essay drafts, talking about the readings, or any other course-related concerns.

2) The Creative Writing Club is looking for new members! We'll be meeting every Wednesday this semester from 2-4 in M137. If you're a poet, fiction writer, playwright, or if you just like to scribble and are looking to meet other folks and explore your creative side, come join us. We'll share work, write together, hold events, have exercsions, and whatever else you'd like to do.

You can find their website/blog here.

AND, if you'd like to share some of your work, there will be a student-faculty Read-a-Thon on Thursday, April 8th, from 1-4 PM. Folks will read their creative work of any kind and everyone will get a chance to hear the many talents of LaGuardia's teachers and students. It will be held in the Courtyard and everyone is welcome - if you'd like to read drop me a comment or send me an email.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blog Post #2: A Paragraph from your Draft

Post one paragraph from your draft onto your blog. Let you readers know if this comes from the beginning, middle, or end of your essay.

Below your paragraph describe at least one thing you think your paragraph does well. Then describe one thing you think could become stronger. Remember they key information to give your reader:

- How do you know?
- Says who?
- So what?

How might you go about doing this? Look for feedback in the comments.
Due on Thursday, March 25th, at 5PM. Remember to check back for feedback!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homework for March 22/23

As a reminder, if here's what you need to do for Monday or Tuesday's class:

1) If you haven't already, give me the address of your blog and do the first post. You can find the topics below, under "Post 1." Then look at some of your colleague's blogs linked along the side, take a look at their posts and drop them a comment.

2) Read the Introduction and Chapter 3, "Selling in Minnesota," from Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed. Think about the experiment she sets up for herself and what she finds.

3) Choose your topic for essay #1 and start your brainstorming. You can use your blog or your notes. Ask "what do I think about this topic" and "why do I think it?"

If you'd like to begin the draft of your essay, go for it! You'll bring one in Wed. or Thursday of next week, and your essay to turn in when we come back after break.

Leave any questions in the comments!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thinking about Work: Post #1

Once you've set up your blog, do you first post. In this post, introduce yourself and talk a little about your history and thoughts about your working life - past, present, and future. Some questions you might answer: What image of work did you have growing up? What has been your experience with work - both paid and unpaid (family responsibilities and so forth)? How do you imagine your future work life? What would you like to learn in our class?

If you prefer, you can talk about the readings or share any other thoughts on work related issues. You can always do any of these things in your weekly post. You can also always ask a question, or post about vocabulary you've come across in the reading.
If you see an article, image, or something else related to the class, drop a link.

IMPORTANT: leave a comment here giving me the title and address of your blog so I can add a link.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Follow Up to Day One: The Minimum Wage

How does the minimum wage in different states compare to the national one? Check out this map from the Labor Department.

Any guesses as to what the Labor Department is and what it does?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Welcome to the Squatting Toad!

This is a blog for ENG 101 for the Spring 2010 semester. Two sections will be using this blog. On this page you'll find links, discussion topics and questions, videos, audio files, and more.

Soon, you'll be setting up your own blogs that will be linked to the main page.

You can also find links to blogs for other classes, past and present - get a sense of where we're going and other classes you might want to take!

Why the Squatting Toad? Do a little research and leave your ideas in the comments.