ENG 101: SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT SHEETS
The purpose of these materials is not necessarily to provide documents that can be immediately distributed to students; rather, these sample assignment sheets are intended to inspire ideas, offer different pedagogical approaches to the course goals of ENG 101, and/or provide suggestions/guidelines for teachers writing their own documents.
- It is not recommended that one teach another’s course materials verbatim. While these materials may serve as productive guides and models, the process of writing classroom documents often helps teachers to shape materials for particular course needs, understand their own objectives for specific writing assignments, be better able to answer students’ questions (rather than second-guess the original author’s intention), and make clear connections to other coursework (and discussions/lecturers/activities). Therefore, if teachers choose to use these documents, it is strongly suggested that they at least significantly modify them before integrating them into their own courses.
- An assignment sheet is only as good as the class time dedicated to it -- accompanying lectures, discussions, and other classroom activities cannot be represented here; the ultimate quality/productivity of these assignments, then, cannot be judged by the documents alone. Assignment sheets usually outline tasks, and how to accomplish those tasks is dealt with in class.
- Some documents refer to textbooks, readings, or materials specific to a particular section of ENG 101; these ancillary materials are therefore not made available by the Department. Some documents also refer to particular syllabi and/or corresponding activity sheets/handouts; whenever possible, this material has been included in this database, and links are provided.
- Teachers collaborate and share materials frequently in the Department. As a result, some of the documents included here look very much alike. That can be an asset for greater programmatic coherence, to be certain. Yet sometimes even subtle changes (tone or word choice, just for instance) can be significant, given particular pedagogical styles and classes.
- For clarity and easier accessibility, documents are divided according to genres (listed and described below), as much as it is recognized that these categories often overlap and can be only loosely defined. Sometimes assignments will ask students to accomplish multiple tasks, allowing documents to be readily included in several sections; for simplicity, they are not cross-listed.
- Many of these documents can be easily adapted for ENG 102. (Likewise, many of the ENG 102 sample assignment sheets can be adopted for ENG 101.)
Argumentative Analyses . . .
. . . are thesis-driven, analytical essays that investigate an object other than a literary text and do not engage traditional “position paper” topics; one element of these assignments is explicit recognition of a claim/thesis statement’s significance as opposed to an argument that merely makes a claim and “supports” it (for these latter assignments, see the “Position Papers/Arguments” section). “Argumentative Analyses” are written as examples of “academic discourse,” for which scholarly publications might serve as productive models.
Diagnostic Essays/Literacy Autobiographies . . .
. . . usually represent a course’s first assignment, used as writerly “icebreakers,” or for the teacher to assess the abilities of the students in a particular section of a course. These essays ask students to perform particular skills, in part to determine where instruction should start (and to identity any specific problems that may need to be addressed early).
Evaluations . . .
. . . are essays that ask students to develop criteria by which an object of study can be judged, and then conduct that assessment in a convincing way
Explanatory/Definitional Essays . . .
. . . help students to “make knowledge” by explaining a particular idea/concept to an audience; such essays are also sometimes assigned towards the beginning of the semester as reading comprehension exercises
Exploratory Essays . . .
. . . are generally assignments that are used to “convince” students that writing is a process; in other words, they help students to use writing as a way of thinking, to invent a topic about which they can later write. Exploratory essays do not always have particular thesis statements, but often lead to potential arguments
Literary Analyses . . .
. . . are essays that focus on particular class readings, but are still analytical, thesis-driven, and use textual evidence; they have all of the attributes of an argumentative analysis, but the invention process is comparatively straight-forward (the object of study is given to the students). In addition, as all students are presumably reading and analyzing the same text, these assignments lend themselves particularly well for discussion purposes
Narratives . . .
. . . are often used as diagnostic essays (see above), and are personal in nature (and so the student-author is already the “expert” on the subject matter)
Place Analyses . . .
. . . are analytical, thesis-driven essays that focus on three-dimensional spaces (primarily buildings and other public spaces)
Portfolios . . .
. . . are compilations of students’ work for the semester used at SIUE for programmatic assessment purposes; ENG 101 teachers are required to collect portfolios from their 101 students twice each semester (see the assessment section for details)
Position Papers/Arguments . . .
. . . are claim-driven essays that are a bit more simple than the “argumentative analyses” described above; these essays include “policy declarations” (for instance, proposals to solve a problem), traditional position papers (such as those whose topics are often covered by mainstream media and are largely binary in nature), or opinion papers (which are arguments based on value judgments, but are not particularly “academic,” using imperatives and “should” statements)
Reading Responses . . .
. . . are used to enhance/create classroom discussion (or better-prepare students for it), to “lead into” longer or more sophisticated writing assignments, to “test” that students are doing the reading
Rhetorical Analyses . . .
. . . generally focus not on the content of a work (as commonly a literary analysis does), but rather on how authors/speakers communicate; rhetorical analyses concentrate on methods of persuasion directed toward specific audiences for particular purposes in defined contexts. Rhetorical analyses also might ask students to examine how a text functions as a text (how a particular paragraph, merely for instance, functions in relation to the rest of the work, etc.)
Summary & Response Papers . . .
. . . are commonly used as initial assignments to get students not only to communicate the gist of a text clearly, but also to show some preliminary engagement with the content of that text
Visual Analyses . . .
. . . are essays that focus on visual objects of studies (commonly advertisements, web documents, paintings, etc.), but are still analytical, thesis-driven, and use textual evidence
Web Essays . . .
. . . help students to create visuals as well as analyze them, to see the relationship between word and image; these essays are generally informational websites designed with particular persuasive purposes in mind