Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #11: April 1, 2019



Family Challenge: Source Credibility 



In case, for any reason, you are still struggling with the database:

LINK to Costal’s video – Introduction to the Stockton database


Family Challenge Course Credibility Assignment:

Step 1: We RhoShamBeau for Choice of Sites: 

Buzzfeed: Nacho Average Squad

CNS News: Joe Costal Fan Club

Empire News

The Hill : Nerd Herd

Info Wars: Addams Family


News Punch: Not Fast, Just Furious

The Washington Examiner: C’s Get Degrees

Each of these sites have the following things in common: 1. they are self-proclaimed news sites.  2. They are among the initial sites carrying “news” upon my search for “Mueller report” on Google. 

Step #2: Using our OFCARL system for credibility, the family will use three recent articles to make a determination on whether or not the site in question can be deemed credible. Each family will submit a document AND a presentation to the class on Wednesday.

Step #3: THE DOCUMENT (On Google, shared among family and with Costal) will contain links and APA citations for the three articles used. For each article, the family will answer the OFCARL credibility questions below (each answer should contain a minimum of three sentences as its answer). Based on the answers, the family will determine whether the article is CREDIBLE OR NOT CREDIBLE. Based on the collection of articles, the family will determine the same for the site by adding an additional paragraph evaluating the site itself (approximately four paragraphs unless families are smaller — Costal will decide before you break).

Step #4: In class on Wednesday, the families will present the site, their articles and briefly summarize their findings. 

How to Evaluate a Document for Quality: OFCARL

  1. Are opinions adequately supported? Choose one opinion and show how the author supports it.
  2. Are facts verifiable? Give one example of a fact in the article of a verified fact.
  3. Is material out dated?
  4. Is the author credible? How do you know?
  5. What sources within the piece exist? Are they cited? Are they credible?
  6. Is the reasoning logical? Is it free of fallacy? Is it biased? Does it lean to one side of an issue or political spectrum? How do you know?
  7. What is the site’s purpose? Why do they exist? How do you know?


All revisions of FE #3 are due tomorrow night, Tuesday, April 2 by 11:59pm

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #10C: March 25, 2019


Class tonight will meet in F222. Time will be given to prepare family presentations on the questions you chose Wednesday. We will convene at 6pm then set a time to reconvene.

CLASS AGENDA: Class tonight will be devoted to giving each family time to prep their presentations (order of presentations on Wednesday: question 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 2)



  1. explanation of the concept that anchors your question:
    1. Horizon of expectation
    2. exemplary moment
    3. “What the Hell is Water” anecdote
    4. Religious vs. atheist anecdote
    5. “reduction of arrogance” concept
    6. “meaning from experience” concept

2. Each concept will be explained by at least one member of the family using some type of visual aid (Power Point, Google slides, etc)

3. Each remaining member of the family will introduce one piece of textual evidence that bolsters or explains or verifies or challenges the anchor statement. Member of family will include the textual reference in the visual (and cite it appropriately). Said member will explain the connection This step repeats for each family member present.

4. The family as a whole will provide brief summation. THE SO WHAT STATEMENT (in other words, how does all this evidence come together to create a cohesive commentary or perspective on the piece?) This portion will contain AT LEAST ONE additional piece of credible research. Presented in the visual, cited and shared with the class. This evidence should succeed in helping the family draw an overall, summarizing conclusion to the presentation.


Blog #8: Rhetoric, The President & The Mueller Report

So…yeah…this is a Rhetoric class, and this rhetorical crap show needs addressing. Attached is the official summary of the report. Then, there’s the President’s response.

I don’t need you to write anything about it, yet. But read and annotate the report itself, then consider the President’s response in light of what you have gleaned from the report.

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #10B: March 20, 2019


  1. Read and annotate “This is Water.”


  1. Family Activity: Core Values
  2. Recap Key Terms
  3. Family Activity: “This is Water” activity & discussion


Horizon of Expectation: The furthest point by which our life experiences inform our perception of a piece.

Exemplary Moment: textual evidence illustrating the best example for given purpose.

This is Water Family Start-Up Questions:

  1. Discuss each family member’s “horizon of expectation.” Then, as a family decide how your own horizon affected your read of the article. Be prepared to discuss how your own personal perspectives affected your read of the piece. Find and cite a piece of the text that most spoke to a unique experience.
  2. Find what you perceive to be one of the article’s exemplary moments. Cite the text and defend your answer.
  3. The anecdote about the fish and water that Wallace opens with — find another part of the text in which the author evinces or expounds upon the lesson portrayed in that story.
  4. The anecdote about the explorers in the tundra — find another part of the text in which the author evinces or expounds upon the lesson portrayed in that story.
  5. Consider this statement: a real education is the reduction of one’s arrogance. Find textual evidence that backs this claim.
  6. The argument could be made that Wallace’s article is about constructing meaning from experience. Find textual evidence that backs this claim.


Blog Post #7: Choose ONE of the following questions and answer completely in your blog (no fewer than 250 words)

What do you think is your “natural default setting” in how you think or perceive the world?

In what ways does your own experience in the world limit your world-view? What new perspectives do you have
since widening your world view at college?

Describe an experience you have had similar to the example Wallace shares at the supermarket. Looking back
now, how could have shifted your thinking during that experience

Wallace says, “The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.” What have you chosen, consciously or not, to assign meaning to? What is sacred? What is important? Thinking about it consciously now, is it worthy of your
time and attention?

What advice do you think Wallace is trying to give? How would you follow it?

FE #4: Research a word. Each member of your family was assigned a word today. This word should be a “value” that has meaning for you. In a one page reaction/research paper, DEFINE the word. Not denotative definition, but by explaining its meaning to YOU and SOCIETY AT LARGE. In order to do this, you must use ONE piece of credible research as evidence. One source. It can relate to your word in any meaningful way. Be creative. Get thoughtful and philosophical, but do not use a crappy source. Be sure to integrate your source and one piece of direct evidence into your response. APA formatted citations and parenthetical documentation.

Approaches to consider: answering one or more of the following questions:

  1. Why do you value this concept? What specific experiences lead people to value this?
  2. Would this choice be different if you did this activity at a different time in your life? What if you did it last semester? Or last year?
  3. In what ways does this value manifest in daily life? What actions do people take to express this? How do people allocate time and energy to express this?

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #10A, March 18, 2019

Terror abound this weekend, the latest in Dutch city of Utrecht


  1. Before spring break, I asked you to share a quiz on parallelism. Since no one has done it yet, I am going to accept the blame for miscommunication, and ask that it is done by 8pm tonight. I will end class at 7pm SHARP to accommodate extra time for families to meet and accomplish this task (as well as the peer edit for .

2. Please have a printed copy of FE#3 with you in class tonight. Peer edit sh

3. Have read “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace (given to you by hard copy prior to spring break)


  1. Parallelism Quiz?
  2. Impromptu Notes inspired by FE #2
  3. FE #3 Edit
  4. “This is Water” discussion (review of key terminology for focus during annotation: “Horizon of Expectation” & “Exemplary Moment”)


  1. Parallelism Quiz due 8pm tonight
  2. FE #2 final changes & tonight’s peed editing sheet are due 11:59pm, Tuesday, March 19th. IF you DO NOT change your header, you will not receive credit.

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #10: March 6, 2019


  1. Be prepared for quiz on parallel construction.
  2. Make sure you completed Blog #6 assignment on research questions.
  3. Please do not forget to  watch the videos posted on Class #9 blog.
  4. Read Costal’s story. Ask questions for Q&A.



  1. Costal’s Story Q&A
  2. Presentation: Taking Your Research Question to Thesis
  3. Family Challenge — Credibility
  4. Family Quiz – Parallelism
  5. Begin reading “This is Water”


Link to slides on research questions. 

How to Evaluate a Document for Quality: OFCARL

  1. Are opinions adequately supported? Choose one opinion and show how the author supports it.
  2. Are facts verifiable? Give one example of a fact in the article of a verified fact.
  3. Is material out dated? If so, provide an example.
  4. Is the author credible? How do you know?
  5. Are sources cited? If so, what are they?
  6. Is the reasoning logical? Is it free of fallacy?



IN-CLASS: Family Credibility Challenge:  WRITE FE #3: Argument Essay A: Choose a side. Turn your research question into a thesis, and defend said thesis with evidence. Write a strong opener that evinces one of the tenets of good writing we discussed. In at least two pages, include at least two or three specific reasons why you feel the way you do about the topic you chose. 

This paper must include an APA works cited page AND parenthetical documentation.

Do not simply CITE, also please ATTRIBUTE your writing. Samples of all of these concepts are available:

APA Works Cited page.

APA in-text citations. 

Plus, OWL created this handy guide. To make life easier, here are the blog posts you should have done so far…. Blog Post #1: Kevin Hart & The Oscars (Class #3) Blog Post: #2: Have Cell Phones Destroyed a Generation? (Class #4) Blog Post #3: Amazing Hour (Class #5) Blog Post #4: Visual Rhetoric (music videos) (Class #8) Blog Post #5: State of the Union (Opinion & Fact) (Class #8) Blog Post #6: Research Questions to Search Phrases (Class #9)

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition #9: March 4, 2019



  1. FE #1 & #2 are closed. They are what they are.
  2. Class tonight will meet in computer lab MCCM103
  3. Have the work you did on Blog #4 available for use tonight


  1. Questions from blogs
  2. Quick Review: WHAT WE RESEARCH: Context vs. Evidence
  3. Family Activity w/ Blog #4
  4. Library Presentation & Demonstration
  5. Family Challenge — Credibility
  6. Essential Questions for Source Credibility

Image result for trump memes


Family Activity: Each family will convene about the work each student did on Blog #4.
1. What topic from the President’s speech did you use? Why? (If there is overlap within the family, figure that out first).
2. What fact/evidence/annotation did you choose? How did you feel about it?
3. What needs to be further investigated? What concepts need further explanation or inquiry?
***becomes foundation for research questions
College Research Basics:
1. AND understood (OR, NOT)
2. Quotations bring together
3. Cave Men
4. Peer Reviewed
Family Credibility Challenge: 


You are responsible for watching this video on plagiarism created by the university:

In preparation for this weekend’s paper, let’s do some research question writing. Develop at least three questions that can arise from your Blog Post #5 assignment. For each question, use the database to find research that addresses (notice I did not say “answers”) your question.

Share this on your Blog as Post #6. But please be sure it is done before class on Wednesday. 

Also, please consider reading my story, published this weekend in Glassworks magazine.You can read it heree. Listen to it here. And read my reflection about it here. I am doing a Q&A on it at a book launch event on Thursday night. Bring questions for me to practice. Anyone who does…extra credit. If the question is good and evinces a thorough read of the story, I will give extra credit to your WHOLE FAMILY.

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #8: February 25 & 27, 2019



  1. Have a hard copy of FE #2 to work on/with 


  1. Questions about last week’s lecture
  2. Family Challenge: Effective Opener Feedback
  3. Family Challenge II: The Backwards Peer Edit
  4. Finish Costal Keys


Backwards Peer Edit instructions:

The Backwards Peer Edit —

A. Find a partner from your family, and sit so both can read from a single paper.

B. The writer holds the pen and makes all the editing decisions. Beginning with the FINAL sentence of the paper, the writer reads her concluding sentence to her editor.

C. Then, the writer begins by reading his/her paper backwards, beginning with the final sentence and reading each previous sentence until the first sentence. As the writer, reads aloud. s/he should edit for grammar and syntax. This exercise allows the reader to focus only on the grammar without becoming bogged down with the content or organization of the paper itself.

D. Editors switch roles. And rough drafts should be fixed accordingly on the document itself. THEN—the rough draft, with both editors names, should be turned in.E. The process should then be repeated for the other essay.

Costal’s 5 Keys: 

  1. Show, don’t tell
  2. Good writing = Strong Verbs
  3. Writing is rewriting, edit with your ears, not your eyes
  4. First impressions: Opening words matter most
  5. To write well, you gotta read well. Read well by reading close, like butter reads toast.

How to Evaluate a Document for Quality: 

  1. Are opinions adequately supported? Choose one opinion and show how the author supports it.
  2. Are facts verifiable? Give one example of a fact in the article of a verified fact.
  3. Is material out dated? If so, provide an example.
  4. Is the author credible? How do you know?
  5. Are sources cited? If so, what are they?
  6. Is the reasoning logical? Is it free of fallacy?


READ: From the Purdue Owl on parallel structure in sentences.



Blog Post #4:

Watch the videos included below from Cage the Elephant & Modest Mouse (respectively). See how the videos’ directors (Issac Rentz & Chris Milk) uses visual language to communicate theme. In many ways, “visual rhetoric” works the same as “compositional rhetoric.”

Choose one of the two videos to work with. Or, choose a common element found in each and consider both as comparison/contrast.

First, begin by analyzing the theme or central idea of the piece. How is this communicated in both broad and subtle ways? How, specifically, is metaphor used? How do the visuals work with the song itself (lyrics available online). Consider an “exemplary moment” and “horizon of expectation.”

Use direct reference to either the song or visuals in the video. APA citations for the videos are provided for you below the videos. No other sources are required for this assignment, but if you are welcome to use one, just would like to use one, be sure to cite and attribute.

Rentz, Issac. [CageTheElephantVEVO]. (2011, January 20). Shake Me Down. [Video File].        Retrieved from

Milk, Chris. [ModestMouseVEVO]. (2009, October 3). Ocean Breathes Salty. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Blog Post #5: 
Weekend Reading Assignments: 
We are going to dive into issues facing the national political scene. Trump’s bid for a border wall is dominating the news. 
There is an enduring sentiment that we live in times that can be called “post-truth.” The “fake news” ideology is strong, especially online; however, I have faith in how some outlets have really started to push the pendulum back towards truth.
Here are three separate news outlets that have fact-checked the recent state of the union: The Washington Post, CNN & public radio.
Read through these examples, find the a few facts and annotations that most interest you. For Blog Post #4, write the President’s words, the fact that either back or dismisses the words and the source for the fact-check. In the body of your blog, explore how the annotation illuminated the President’s words. What kinds of questions remain to get you more connected with the issue at hand?

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition Class #7: February 18, 2019



  1. Class will meet in F222 tonight
  2. Be sure you have access to your FE #2 electronically.


  1. Lecture: Functions of Rhetorical Analysis
  2. Application: Identify Rhetorical Elements in each other’s papers
  3. Class Reading period & paper application (Effective Openers)



1. Here are tonight’s notes on rhetorical functions.

2. “Writing An Effective Opener”

What follows is an explanation of each of these patterns with examples from real magazine articles to illustrate the explanations.

1 Historical review: Some topics are better understood if a brief historical review of the topic is presented to lead into the discussion of the moment. Such topics might include “a biographical sketch of a war hero,” “an upcoming execution of a convicted criminal,” or “drugs and the younger generation.” Obviously there are many, many more topics that could be introduced by reviewing the history of the topic before the writer gets down to the nitty gritty of his paper. It is important that the historical review be brief so that it does not take over the paper.

from “Integration Turns 40” by Juan Williams in Modern Maturity, April/May, 1994.

The victory brought pure elation and joy. It was May 1954, just days after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. At NAACP headquarters in New York the mood was euphoric. Telegrams of congratulations poured in from around the world; reporters and well-wishers crowded the halls.

[After reaching back forty years ago to bring up the landmark Supreme Court decision that started school desegregation, this article discusses school segregation in the present time.]

2 Anecdotal: An anecdote is a little story. Everyone loves to listen to stories. Begin a paper by relating a small story that leads into the topic of your paper. Your story should be a small episode, not a full blown story with characters and plot and setting. Read some of the anecdotes in the Reader’s Digest special sections such as “Life in These United States” to learn how to tell small but potent stories. If you do it right, your story will capture the reader’s interest so that he or she will continue to read your paper. One caution: be sure that your story does not take over the paper. Remember, it is an introduction, not the paper.

from “Going, Going, GONE to the Auction!” by Laurie Goering in Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 4, 1994.

Mike Cantlon remembers coming across his first auction ten years ago while cruising the back roads of Wisconsin. He parked his car and wandered into the crowd, toward the auctioneer’s singsong chant and wafting smell of barbecued sandwiches. Hours later, Cantlon emerged lugging a $22 beam drill-for constructing post-and-beam barns—and a passion for auctions that has clung like a cocklebur on an old saddle blanket. “It’s an addiction,” says Cantlon, a financial planner and one of the growing number of auction fanatics for whom Saturdays will never be the same.

[This is an anecdote, a little story about one man and his first auction, that is the lead to an article about auctions. In this article the author explains what auctions are, how to spot bargains in auctions, what to protect yourself from at auctions, and other facts about auctions and the people who go to them.]

Another example of this is an article I wrote years ago about a fire at Great Adventure. It has been re-posted to the blog recently.  

3 Surprising statement: A surprising statement is a favorite introductory technique of professional writers. There are many ways a statement can surprise a reader. Sometimes the statement is surprising because it is disgusting. Sometimes it is joyful. Sometimes it is shocking. Sometimes it is surprising because of who said it. Sometimes it is surprising because it includes profanity. Professional writers have honed this technique to a fine edge. It is not used as much as the first two patterns, but it is used.

from “60 Seconds That Could Save Your Child” by Cathy Perlmutter with Maureen Sangiorgio in Prevention, September, 1993.

Have a minute? Good. Because that may be all it takes to save the life of a child—your child. Accidents kill nearly 8000 children under age 15 each year. And for every fatality, 42 more children are admitted to hospitals for treatment. Yet such deaths and injuries can be avoided through these easy steps parents can take right now. You don’t have a minute to lose.

[This article begins with a surprising, even shocking, statistic, 8000 children die each year from accidents. The article then lists seven easy actions a person can take to help guard a child against accidents. These range from turning down the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to putting firearms under lock and key.]

4 Famous person: People like to know what celebrities say and do. Dropping the name of a famous person at the beginning of a paper usually gets the reader’s attention. It may be something that person said or something he or she did that can be presented as an interest grabber. You may just mention the famous person’s name to get the reader’s interest. The famous person may be dead or alive. The famous person may be a good person like the Pope, or he or she may be a bad person like John Wilkes Booth. Of course, bringing up this person’s name must be relevant to the topic. Even though the statement or action may not be readily relevant, a clever writer can convince the reader that it is relevant.

from “Dear Taxpayer” by Will Manley in Booklist, May 1, 1993.

The most widely read writer in America today is not Stephen King, Michael Chrichton or John Grisham. It’s Margaret Milner Richardson, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, whose name appears on the “1040 Forms and Instructions” booklet. I doubt that Margaret wrote the entire 1040 pamphlet, but the annual introductory letter, “A Note from the Commissioner,” bears her signature.

[This is the first paragraph of an article about the lady named above. The author used the names of three famous, modern American writers to get a reader’s interest. Notice that the first name on his list is a name that is probably more widely known than the other two. Stephen King has been around for some time now, and everyone, from teenagers to grandparents, know his name whether they have read his books or not.]

5 Declarative: This technique is quite commonly used, but it must be carefully used or the writer defeats his whole purpose of using one of these patterns, to get the reader’s interest. In this pattern, the writer simply states straight out what the topic of his paper is going to be about. It is the technique that most student writers use with only modest success most of the time, but good professional writers use it too.

from “The Tuition Tap” by Tim Lindemuth in K-Stater, February, 1994.

In the College of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering, for example, nearly one-third of the teaching faculty may retire by the year 2004. In the College of Education, more than a third of the professors are 55 years old and older. The largest turnover for a single department is projected to be in geology. More than half of its faculty this year are in the age group that will retire at the millennium, says Ron Downey of K-State’s Office of Institutional Research and Analysis. The graying of K-State’s faculty is not unique. A Regents’ report shows approximately 27 percent of the faculty at the six state universities will retire by the end of this decade, creating a shortage of senior faculty.

[This is a straight forward introduction that gets right down to the topic of the aging of the faculty of Kansas State University. There are no historical reviews, no surprising statements, no anecdotes, no quotations from or about famous people. This is a discussion that leads to further discussion about the topic. The biggest difficulty about this type of introduction is that it can get boring. It is not likely to get the interest of anyone except those who are already interested in this subject. Use this pattern with caution.]

These patterns can give a “lift” to your writing. Practice them. Try using two or three different patterns for your introductory paragraph and see which introductory paragraph is best; it’s often a delicate matter of tone and of knowing who your audience is. Do not forget, though, that your introductory paragraph should also include a thesis statement to let your reader know what your topic is and what you are going to say about that topic.

*This information was published by Capital Community College, Hartford CT


  1. FE #1: Narrative FINAL revisions due by Wednesday before class. FINAL COPY! 
  2. FE #2: 2nd draft due by class on Wednesday. Have a hard copy of the paper in class with you on Wednesday. This draft should be in addition to the edited copy we worked on tonight. New opener, clearer evidence and argument. 

2. The first person to Tweet the correct reason for the picture below gets a 100 quiz grade for their entire family.


Stockton Writing Class #6A: October 3, 2018



The directions on this post are specifically for my 330pm COLLEGE WRITING class. These directions should be ignored by my 6pm COLLEGE WRITING students. They will meet with me for class as planned.

330pm Students: I have created a document for you to work in today. Families will come together to complete this assignment. Signing into this document will count as attendance for class. Share the copy with me for credit. Directions are in the document.


Below is a copy of the narrative we read in class. For AT LEAST each paragraph break of the narrative, write an annotation that describes a device, or concept the narrative uses to make it more readable, engaging and understandable for its audience. Here is a list of potential ideas you can work with: action verbs, alliteration, allusions, appositives, hyperbole, metaphor, onomatopoeia, sensory images, sentence variety, series of three, simile, snippet of dialogue, transitional phrases & word choice. Also think about the “narrative effect” and “dominant impression” of the piece.