Stockton Writing Class #12: November 19, 2018



Gearing up for Formal Writing #5:
READ & ANNOTATE the following resources for writing literary analysis papers. This is from Harvard. This is just a “self-help” website, but both are valid.
Also, check out these info-graphics for some perspective on the ubiquity of sexual assault.
Tell Them You Had a Mole Removed by Julie Hensley (poem: hard copy here, link to the audio).
Apprentice Writer at Susquehanna University story called Heels.  (we read this in class).  

The Atlantic: The Rhett Butlers by @Katherine_Heiny (story fiction story is linked here).

Formal Essay #5: Literary Analysis with Non-Fiction Reference
Though the circumstances are much different, both the narrator of Heels and the protagonist of The Rhett Butlers embody traits common to victims of sexual assault, exposing an all too prevalent reality for young women.  

In a well-developed, well-researched (at least three sources overall) paper, support the thesis worked out in class. Use textual references to both stories to draw your comparisons. Then take those comparisons, and use them to draw broader connections to real life circumstances of sexual assault.
Think outside the box. Draw comparisons and connections. Do research that enlightens this often shrouded topic.
Real-life examples of sexual assault and the changing social perceptions surrounding victims is — sadly — ALL AROUND US!
AT LEAST TWO SOURCES MUST BE SCHOLARLY OR PEER REVIEWED! Think in terms of statistics or fact about sexual assault that shed light on the situation. 
Paper a minimum of three pages.

Continue reading “Stockton Writing Class #12: November 19, 2018”

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 #6: February 13, 2019: FAMILY DAY!



  1. Meet Your Family! Family Names & Grammar Games (synthesize the quizzes)
  2. Family Read Around & Discussion (Have you been guilty of these, if so, which one and describe how you fall into the “trap” of this style of introduction)
  3. FE #2: Assignment specs & resources review
  4. Process with your Family: Purpose to persuade, free-writing



Choose Your Claim: Modern technology is making our generation lonelier or sadder.

Despite the immense changes brought on by technology, it is not responsible for making my generation lonelier or sadder.

Narrowing Questions: 

  1. Without looking at the research/can I sum up my feelings on the claim?
  2. What information have I discovered that surprised me the most? (anecdotal introduction)
  3.  What information will my reader most need to know in order to be persuaded by my claim? (your evidence)

An analysis paper is basically the union of Question #1 to Question #3


Formal Essay #2: Issue Analysis #1: Does technology make us more alone?

Prompt questions here. 

Other resources explored in class. 

Paper should be at least two and a half typed pages. Have access in class on Monday (hard or digital). Cite any sources used in APA format. Use sources. Be conscious of writing a thesis that presents an arguable answer to the prompts. Be aware of introduction. This is a rough draft for an paper style we will explore IN DEPTH this semester.


  1. Header: Your name, time of class, Formal Essay #
  2. SHOW ME! Tell a single story. SOME of you are JUST DESCRIBING CRAP…mostly your feelings. Or you are telling me ALL about something?
  3. Be concrete…the vagueness game
  4. Watch tense shifts in verbs. Be aware and read it aloud. If you want to stay in past tense (and for the most part you do, CNTRL + F present tense verbs like “is” and “am” to root out problems.
  5. Avoid the “and then” … “and then” syndrome
  6. Passive/active voice
  7. Don’t miss a chance for direct dialog.
  8. ww = wrong word / sp = spelling

student work examples.

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition #2: January 16, 2019

Great teachers are not necessarily systematic thinkers. The very act of teaching is against us – Theodore Roethke


  1. a print out out of the answers to your questionnaire. 
  2. questions about the syllabus. 


  1. Icebreaker
  2. Review the syllabus
  3. Introduction activity 
  4. Assignment Review


  1. Course Syllabus
  2.  Course Questionnaire
  3. Intro to the Purdue OWL web site
  4. Purdue OWL guide to Writing Narratives
  5. Chapter One of Shoeless Joe
  6. Glossary of Grammatical Usage from Hunter College
  7. “The Callout” Episode of Invisibilia from National Public Radio


  1. Many of you are probably familiar with the Purdue OWL. We will use this site this year to get resources without a text and keep costs down. Whether or not you have ever used the site, there is a new intro to read (#3) to become familiar with the form and function of the site.
  2. Then, read the OWL’s guide to writing narratives (#4). Since the narrative is our first formal paper this semester, be sure to pay attention. I will take questions on this Monday.
  3. Read Chapter One of Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella (#5), (approximately 19 pages). Be prepared to discuss this on Monday. Pay special attention to the characters and setting. You do not need to remember fine details of the piece. Just understand the basic ideas.
  4. Peruse the glossary of grammatical usage (#6). You do not need to study it, but get an idea of the rules. Question yourself. Are there any of these you did not know? How many?
  5. Since we do not have class on Monday, January 21st, please listen to the NPR Invisibilia podcast about the “Call Out” culture (#7). You will be asked a general question about the show in Wednesday’s quiz. So consider the overall thesis of the show as you listen.

***Please NOTE: This work should be completed for class. The assignments posted on the blog will always be due AFTER the class meeting. In other words, the blog is meant as a companion of the course lecture/discussion/activities. All assignments, unless otherwise noted, are due at  the subsequent class.  

Stockton Rhetoric & Composition #1: January 14th


  1. Introductions/Attendance
  2. Syllabus/Website/Assignment Review


  1. Course Syllabus
  2. Course Questionnaire


1. Post my website in your favorites. Subscribe to follow, so you get e-mail notifications when I post. Follow me on Twitter (@JoeCostal ). We will have a Twitter project on-going through the school year, so if you are not signed up, please do so. See me with concerns,

2. Download and thoroughly read your syllabus. This is an extremely important document. Read it, but like, for real. 

3. Complete this questionnaire. Follow the directions at the top, please. This is your first real assignment of the semester, so let’s review how I would like all assignments turned in.

  • Open Google Docs (all of you have access to Google Drive through your Stockton e-mail address).
  • Name the title using the following format LastName Assignment (i.e. Costal Questionnaire) 
  • Go to “SHARE” (the blue button in the upper right hand corner. Share with me (
  • You have now submitted the assignment.