WRIT 101, Tai Chi on Paper, Fall 2015


This is the assignments page.  A guide to those correction symbols is here.

   Need to use Google Scholar?  And then perhaps PLU's library? 

   The Toulmin approach to arguments is described here.   


The tai chi support page has been updated.  The new videos showing the long form from behind are here and here.  (sorry about the advertisements.)

Monday, December 7.  Your final version of paper #4 is due Thursday.  Bring your current draft to class, and we will work on them together. 

Here is the assignment for your paper #5.  Follow the instructions.  Bring to class the essay you select as your evidence paper.  Also bring to class a one-page response to the question.  Your final version will be no fewer than four doublespaced typed pages. 

Your paper #5 is due Wednesday, December 16, by 4 pm, in your sakai dropbox.  Use the class dropbox at that url, not the FYEP site. 

1) Select a Writing 101 assignment that best demonstrates your progress as a writer over the semester. This paper is “evidence” for your progress. The “evidence paper” you select must

-- Be at least 1000 words in length

-- Be claim or question-driven

-- Have been through multiple drafts

-- Have been peer reviewed


 2) Now write an essay supporting your choice of this assignment as evidence for your learning. For example, you can point to strong features of the paper; describe your drafting process for this paper and discuss why it’s an improvement over your earlier drafting process; analyze the effects of revision choices you have made from one draft to the next; describe how and why you responded as you did to peer and instructor feedback; and/or point out how writing this paper affected your understanding of the course theme. You can discuss your work in terms of the six Writing 101 Learning Outcomes. Reference your Writing 101 Common Assignment Initial Prompt Response if it helps you make your argument. 


Select the points that provide evidence for your claim that your evidence paper reflects your writing progress; note that if you identify and discuss weaker aspects of your writing in the evidence paper and then explain how you want to strengthen them in future college writing, you are also providing evidence of learning. You are making an argument for what you have learned to do and what you know about how to improve your writing, and you are supporting your claims with evidence from your own work. Organize your essay around the claims you want to make about yourself as a writer and thinker and the evidence you can supply.


Entitle the two documents: Fall 2015 Writing 101 Common Assignment Evidence Essay and Fall 2015 Writing 101 Common Assignment Final Prompt Response.  Put the two essays into your class Sakai dropbox no later than Wednesday, December 16, at 4 pm. 


Those learning outcomes mentioned in the assignment are:

1) Rhetorical Situation

The writer employs rhetorical strategies effective for a specific context, purpose, and audience and addresses the “so what” question.

2) Articulation and Development of Argument, Position, or Point of View

The writer articulates, develops, and supports an argument, point of view, or position, effectively using evidence relevant to the context. 

3) Organization and Structure

The writer implements strategies and structures to organize ideas (such as using effective paragraphing, clear transitions, and appropriate genre-based conventions)

4) Writing As Process

The writer approaches writing as a process of inquiry in which revision, peer review, and faculty feedback are essential.

5) Writing-Reading Connection

The writer demonstrates the centrality of careful, engaged reading to effective writing and participation in diverse academic conversations.

6) Mechanics

The writer produces final drafts that are virtually error-free, have varied sentence structures, and include correct citation of evidence.


Wednesday, December 9.  Bring to class a complete draft of your paper #5.  We will work with them in class.  Also bring to class your final version of paper #4. 



Monday, November 16.  Please bring to class a draft of your paper #4, described below under the Nov. 11 assignment.  We will have a workshop on paper elements.  We will, time permitting, also go through the long form and the sword form. 

Wednesday, November 18.  Bring an improved draft of your paper to class, suitable for turning in, and  incorporating ideas and suggestions raised in class Monday. 


Monday, November 9.  Paper #3 is due in class today.  We will go through the entire long form, and introduce some basic movements with the sword.... uh, theatrical props.  Our tai chi support page has videos of the sword form.  Watch Master Xie and "the guy in the courtyard."

Wednesday, November 11.  Today we start big paper #4.  It is a repeat of the first paper assignment, about how you learn a new practice like tai chi. This time, you will be expected to incorporate the two months' experience with tai chi into your paper.  Study Mellish, chapter five (pp. 105-125), plus pp. 186-7.  In addition, your paper must address the tension between the two concepts, doing nothing and using conceptual or rational mind, described briefly in this interview with Martin Mellish.  This will be a three to five page paper, and is due December 2.  We will work through several stages of the paper.    Also today, we will continue going through the entire long form.  Please remember there is a support page for the study of tai chi, which has links to the sword form, and that link to the weird and amazing features. 


Monday, November 2.  Today we work in class on drafts of your paper #3, in which you precisely describe the two postures.  Bring a draft on paper to class, make sure the description of at least one of the postures is polished and tested on an actual person.  We will test the descriptions in class.  We will also work on the long form, continuing with postures in the 6th (and last) section.

Wednesday, November 4.   For today, complete the draft, taking into account issues raised on Monday.  We will test again in class.  Remember the new due date for the paper, due to our missed day.  Your paper #3 is due next Monday, the 9th. 


Monday, October 26.  Today you should receive your graded science papers, and we can discuss them.  For today please read Mellish, chapters 3 and 4 (pp. 71-102).  Pay particular attention to imagery that helps you execute particular postures in the long form.  Also today, you receive your third paper assignment.

Third Paper:  Can language precisely guide physical activities?  In this paper students describe particular tai chi postures, and test the language by executing the descriptions written by peers.  You may choose any two postures that occur after the opening posture.  Bring your initial description of one posture to today's class.  Expect to test your description drafts in each class until the final version is due, on November 4. 

Wednesday, October 28.  We continue with our tests of the imagery in Mellish.  In addition, see the short news story in Sakai, This is your brain on writing.  Also, bring to class on paper your improved draft of one of your postures.  The paper is due in one week! 


For Friday, October 16, be sure to drop your complete paper draft into Olufs' mailbox in 101 Xavier, or under the office door in 153 Xavier, by noon. 

Monday, October 19.  Today you will receive your paper drafts, with responses.  We will discuss next steps and then work on the long form.  Remember, you are what you practice.  If you can't follow the videos of the long form, you can still do the repetitions of grasp-the-bird's-tail, right and left, and the kicks from part three of the form.  Getting better at one posture can translate into getting better at all of them.

Wednesday, October 21.  Your papers are due.  We will not meet in Admin. 210--  instead go directly to our practice space in the Phillips gallery, where you will turn in your paper.  The weather prediction is for cool and wet, so we are likely to stay inside for the practice. 


Monday October 12.  Today we meet in a different room-- Library 220, The Writing Center.  We will go over their services and have another look at Purdue Owl.  Prior to class please spend some time browsing through what Purdue Owl has to offer you.  Bring a laptop to class, if you have one, please.  At the close of the meeting we will move to the lobby of the Phillips Center, as we did on Wednesday. 

   Also for today, find at least four sources for the science paper (described below, under October 5), and write both (a) an abstract for you paper, and (b) the first two pages of a draft of your paper.  Bring both of these, on paper, to class.  The draft should show your health issue at the center of the paper and how you handle summaries of the relevant research. 

Wednesday, October 14.  Today you need to bring to class a draft of your entire science essay, on paper, described below under the October 5 assignment.  Please be sure to review Graff, Chapters 16 and 9, as part of your preparation of the draft. 


Monday, October 5.  Last Wednesday we went through the long form postures up through the double-press that follows the fan-through-back or flash arms posture, #30 on the posture list.  Please watch the Master Xie video closely:  we have gone through the postures in the first video (which ends at cross-hands), and are up to 2:42 in the second video.  

Today we will start looking at the second major paper assignment.  As noted on the syllabus, you will write a paper that answers the question, "What does the scientific literature say about the health benefits of tai chi?"  To answer this you will need to narrow the focus of what is meant by "health benefits."   Your paper might focus on tai chi practice outcomes with flexibility, balance, bone density, recovering from cancer, heart disease, heart problems, recovering from strokes, sleep issues, hypertension, fibromyalgia, psychological well-being, and so on.

The paper will be aimed at a general audience, and your goals for the review are to accurately convey the content of the literature and to engage your audience.  It will be five pages in length and cite at least eight sources.  Please read for today Graff, Chapters 9 and 16, on writing in your own voice and on writing in the sciences.  This paper will be due October 21.

Today we should spend some time looking at how to look up scientific journals on a topic. You should become familiar with Google Scholar.  The PLU library subscribes to many medical & health databases.  For example, the National Institutes of Health run PMC.  Wiley maintains an extensive online library of its journals. 


Wednesday, October 7.  Today bring to class a statement of your health issue that will be the focus of your second major assignment.  Bring to class abstracts from four sources, published within the last ten years, that speak directly to your topic.  Also bring to class on paper an abstract of your own paper, between 100 and 200 words in length.



Monday, September 28.  Today you bring to class a typed draft of your 3-page paper (about 900-1,000 words) on how you learn a new skill, in which you examine your study habits.  You will receive comments from at least two of your peers.  Your efforts may be helped by the essay on, uh, first drafts, available in the sakai resources section.  You might also be helped by the material in Graff, chapters 11, 2, and 7.  This is not a lot of reading, but the chapters are heavy on advice that many of you will find useful.  Read them!  And, the weather is supposed to be clear, upper '60s, so we should be able to practice the long form outside, as well. 


Wednesday, September 30.  Your paper is due today, in class.  That is your only pre-assigned task, so do as well on this paper as you possible can.  We will conduct a paper turn-in ritual, and then practice the form.  As of right now, a week ahead, the forecast is favorable, so we should be able to work on the form outside. 


Monday, September 21.  Read Chapter Ten of Graff (The Art of Meta-commentary, pp. 129-138) and read Mellish Chapter 2, pp. 55-69.  Is Mellish doing "meta-commentary"?  In class we will write about how we interpret the tai chi postures.  This will begin the construction of your first major writing assignment, where you are asked to examine your study habits (due Wednesday, Sept. 30).  We will also add two more postures to our long form. 


Wednesday, September 23.  We will discuss your progress on the first major writing assignment.  Bring to class a conceptual outline of your paper.  We will also add two more postures to our long form. 


earlier assignments below


Monday, September 14.  Read these three items.  (1) the online file, Ten Important Points (usually called "the ten essentials").  (2)  Mellish, the introductory material and Part I, Chapter 1.  (3) Graff pp. xvi-14 (Preface and Introduction).   After your reading, use the approach in Graff, write and bring to class on paper a one-page description of one item from the tai chi material that appears to be very clear, and one item that appears unclear or paradoxical.    Also, attempt to mimic the movements depicted in this video, starting at 0:23 and ending at 0:58.  We will begin learning them in class.  These are the first 4 movements of the long form. 


Wednesday, September 16.  We will continue to work on the postures at the start of the long form, perhaps adding one or two more, and write about our first attempt to learn them. 



Wednesday, September 9.  Today in class we will discuss and draft a response to this writing prompt: 

   Describe your writing process.  How do you approach the task?  What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?  What aspects of your writing do you hope to improve this semester? 

   You will receive comments on your draft in class.  Please type a final draft and deposit into your class Sakai drop box by 9 pm tomorrow, Thursday the 10th.