Last Week of the Summer Semester?!

This is it?! The final full week of the course. I’m actively correcting Poetry Essays so those grades should be submitted by the close of the day tomorrow, Monday, July 31. I should also have most all other grades submitted at that point as well to give you all the best idea of your running grade while your finish the last week.

I’ve included both this and next week’s assignment list so you can plan ahead best if you’re hoping to turn in your research essay by the extra credit deadline. Note about extra credit: I think it’s a worthy goal but two points isn’t going to save you from rushing to turn in an incomplete essay. Better to have all your citation in order than to turn it in before proofreading and get a letter grade lower (or more) as a result.

Week 8—July 31: Revision and Course Assessment

  • Drafting Update #3 due 11:59 PM Mon.
  • Research Essay Rough Draft uploaded to group page by 11:59 PM Tues.
  • DB Response #11: Works Cited Page share due 11:59 PM Tues.
  • Peer-Review comments posted to group page by 11:59 PM Thurs.
  • Peer-review reflection due noon Friday
  • Course Reflection and Assessment due 11:59 PM Sat.


  • Research Essay 2 points Extra Credit Early Deadline noon Monday
  • Research Essay Due 11:59 PM Tues., August 8

Also, grades are due the morning of Aug. 10 so you’ll know your “fate,” so to speak fairly quickly after the essays are due. However, please contact me now and/or ASAP if you’re wondering if I’ve made a mistake on a grade or something. It’s best to get any grade questions out of the way before I input grades to “WebAdvisor” so a grade change, which can be done, won’t slow any fall course prerequisite requirements or transfer eligibility, etc. As always, email with any questions or concerns.


Research Essay Library Resources

For most students, being tasked with a research essay is always a daunting and scary task. Research can be tricky if you’re new to the expectation, so please be sure to use the resources I’m providing and reach out for assistance when needed.

NOTE: students who use these resources spend much less time worrying about, generally freaking out about, or completely redoing research, even though the video feels like a time commitment. Every semester I read student reflections about their research essays that mention they should have spent more time using the provided resources; some of them even discover them a few days before the essay due date and end up reworking their entire paper as a result.

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Citation Sandwich Expectations

This can be used as an example for my ENG 1001 and ENG 1002 essays. And while I’ll be specifically grading for citation sandwiches, sandwiching your evidence within your body paragraphs in the way I’ve outlined below will bring a couple key things to your academic writing:

  1. Academic Authority: providing appropriate signal phrases and explanation will show readers that you’re using credible and relevant sources that fit within the context of your argument.
  2. Organization: preparing readers for what is coming with a topic sentence, signal phrase, and helping them see the connections that you’ve just made with your citation examples and wrap-up sentences will help them understand the content that you’re providing them. It’s like a little mini 5-paragraph essay within your body paragraphs.
  3. Grading: while my grading expectations include citation sandwich structure specifically, I’ve simply named a common grading expectation the “citation sandwich” to make things more clear for students. Additionally, most IVCC English instructors use the department grading guidelines that look for strong organization, thesis and support within student writing, something use of citation sandwiches will generally provide your essay.

Citation Sandwich Expectations

Every body paragraph needs to contain the following elements. These will add academic authority to your writing, showcase the relevance/credibility of the sources you’ve chosen as evidence of your claims, and help readers see the context of your evidence within your paragraph and essay claims.

  • Body Paragraph Topic Sentence
  • 2-3 sentences that state your claim
  • Evidence: signal phrase with citation
  • 2-3 sentences that explain (1) how the quote supports your claim or (2) context for the quote
  • Repeat “claim, evidence, explain” steps, as needed (at least once is suggested)
  • 1-3 sentences that wrap up the paragraph’s point and may transition to the next paragraph.

Here’s an Example Direct Quote

Topic sentence of body paragraph. 2-3 sentences that set-up or build the paragraph’s point. The article “Generation X Defined” from Slate Magazine makes the claim “The great drawback to becoming a celebrated voice of a generation is that it encourages writers to believe that whatever idle thoughts drift through their minds … are automatically of interest (Pond et al. 455). While those in previous generations were taught that children should be seen, not heard, the up-and-coming Generation X has generally been encouraged for individual opinions. Repeat steps 2-4 as needed. 1-3 wrap-up and transitional sentence (remember that your transitions can be at the end of this paragraph, the beginning of the next paragraph, or combination of the two via connecting language/words.

Things to note about this example:

  1. The parenthetical documentation formatting of this source tells readers this article includes an author name (and the page number of the citation, when known–often this is not known on Internet source). On the Works Cited page, this entry would begin with the last name of Pond.
  2. The use of the introductory signal phrase as well as the continued reference back to the source while including additional information helps show readers the credibility of your source while reminding them that you’re using borrowed information.
  3. The explanation or context provided by you the student is nearly as long as the paraphrase citation, making your voice be just as strong (or stronger) than the voice of the citation. 

Additional Resources:

And here’s a link to transitional language post if you’re looking for ways to provide more transition within and between your paragraphs.

Writing About Literature

When writing a literary analysis, many students focus heavily on their chosen interpretation of the literary work(s), their unique thesis, and/or finding and using appropriate sources to support their arguments. And that is absolutely what they should be doing.

However, because those are big tasks and students are almost always taking at least one other course and working at the same time (some are even raising children, working full time, running businesses, or dealing with big family or personal health concerns), it’s very easy to overlook the tiny details that professors expect into a college-level literary essay. Here’s a quick list that will help you stay in the grade range your argument deserves rather than lose you points due to the “important small stuff.”

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