All posts by Sheffner

Part-time instructor of Academic Writing in English @ Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan.

AW1, July 3rd, 2020

Lesson Plan AW1 July 3rd, 2020 & Assignment #8

Lesson Goals


  • understand and agree to the proposed change to the AW1 syllabus: 3 essays -> 2 essays
  • review and understand the most common annotations used by the instructor in feedback to students.
    • download the Marking Key from Sheffner’s website or from Webdisk: [wpdm_package id=’2091′]
    • download the Essay 1 Draft 2 Combined Statistics overview from Sheffner’s website or Webdisk [wpdm_package id=’2089′]
  • clarify the form and purpose of the conclusion in an English academic essay:
    • read the textbook p.53 “Conclusion”
    • the conclusion summarises the thesis statement and the topic sentences in each body paragraph using the same or very similar words;
    • no new information is introduced in the conclusion
    • Textbook p. 44 Practice 1 question #7 – “For each sentence in the conclusion of the sample essay on p. 43-4, find the original sentence or sentences in the introduction that it mirrors.”
  • tell the instructor your preferred feedback method for future AW1 writing. Complete the form at:

Assignment #8: Essay2 Conclusion

Assignment Goals


  • show your understanding of the form and purpose of the conclusion in an English academic essay:
    • the conclusion summarises the thesis statement and the topic sentences in each body paragraph using the same or very similar words;
    • no new information in the conclusion
  • tell the instructor your preferred feedback method for future AW1 writing. Complete the form at

Writing Topic

You should keep the same topic you chose for writing your outline. If you change topics, you will of course have to write a new outline AND the conclusion. 

Writing Requirements

  • Using what you learned in today’s class, write your conclusion paragraph.
  • Upload to Webdisk (or email it to your instructor) with the name “AW1 Essay2 Conclusion Name” (“Name = your family name only), by midnight Wednesday July 8th.

AW1, June 26th, 2020


  1. Choose a topic from the textbook “Your Turn” p. 46 (not 48) . Write an outline. Save as “Essay2 Outline Name” and upload to Webdisk by Wednesday midnight July 1st. (See sample outlines on p. 49 & 52, and the template on p. 53 “Your Turn”.)
  2. Do the exercise on NoRedInk called “AW1 Possessives”. Click here to access it directly.

Today’s class

AW1 Essay1 release form. You have all written wonderful essays. I want to use your essays in class (sharing my screen) next week (June 26th) to show examples of grammatical and logical problems as well as examples of good writing. Before class, please take the Essay 1 Release form: 

Please take the other two surveys below, but there is no hurry for those

In today’s class, you will

  1. review some sample student writing from Essay 1 Draft 2 and the instructor’s corrections. You will learn the meaning of the most common errors and comments.  You can see a detailed table of the marking key in the files section of Teams or download it from here

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You can also download the overall statistics for this class’s Essay #1 draft #2 on Teams or below:

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  1. You are not required to rewrite your Essay 1 Draft3 (that was the final draft), but what you learn today will help you write good Problem-Solution and Compare-and-Contrast essays, the other two essays you are going to write this semester.
  2. do some of the textbook exercises (small group discussions).
    1. Chapter 2. Today, we will focus on
      1. the structure of a Problem-Solution essay –
        1. p. 44-5,
        2. p. 48-9, 
        3. p. 50 B,
        4. p. 51 C
      2. hedging:
        1. C p. 58 Practice 10,
        2. A p. 60,
        3. Practice 11 & 12 p. 61,
        4. Practice 13 p. 62,
        5. Practice 14, 15, 16 p. 63 (We may not do all these, depending on time). c) choosing a topic pp 45-6.

AW1, June 19th, 2020


(This assignment can also be downloaded from Webdisk, but there is some problem with Teams and I cannot login or post the link there, so I am uploading it here.)

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Today’s class

(This document can also be downloaded from Webdisk, but there is some problem with Teams and I cannot login or post the link there, so I am uploading it here.)

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AW1, June 12th, 2020


  • Keep the same topic you chose for draft #1.  
  • Read the notes you took from Friday June 12th’s class review of student writing and make any changes you wish.
  • Save your document with this name: AW1_Essay1_Draft2_Name (replace “Name” with your family name ONLY). Upload it to the Webdisk folder “AW1 Upload folder to submit homework” or email it to me by the deadline of Thursday midnight, June 18th.

Today’s class

  1. In today’s class, you will first visit a number of websites and watch some video.  Then you will have some time to discuss what you learned in your small groups.  Then you will come back to the main “general” group, and look at last week’s homework. Here’s the list of websites you need to visit: 1) 
  2. (and in Japanese here:年ミネアポリス反人種差別デモ

What did you learn from those websites and what is the connection with academic writing?

Finally, please take a few minutes to answer the survey. Link is on Teams.

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AW1 June 5TH, 2020


  • Choose a topic from the list on p. 19 of the textbook (“Your Turn”). This will be draft 1 of Essay1 (Explanatory Essay)
  • Save your document as AW1 Essay1 Draft1 Name and upload to webdisk by the usual deadline.

Download the assignment details below or from Webdisk.

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  • Quiz on academic writing
  • Review and general comments about last week’s homework (assignment #3).
  • Reading of sample essay pp. 15-16 and review of thesis statement and topic sentences.


Please take a minute to answer a short survey on today’s class on Google Forms. Thank you. (Anonymous – no names or email addresses are collected).

AW1 June 5th 2020 Online meeting survey

AW1 MAY 29th, 2020


Assignment #3: how the pandemic and state of emergency has affected and will affect your life

Assignment Goals

To show

  • your ability to organize your thoughts logically,
  • your ability to consider your audience (what background information might they need to know? What would be interesting or informative for them?) Your audience is English speaking and university-educated.
  • your understanding of academic format: indented paragraphs, one topic per paragraph, no contractions (“don’t, can’t” etc); do not begin sentences with “and, but” or “because”; use the same font throughout; and use the spellchecking and grammar-checking functions of your software program.

Writing Topic

In your first assignment, you answered the following questions:

  1. Tell me something or somethings that you are not able to do now because of the state of emergency and corona virus pandemic.
  2. Tell me something new you have done recently which you might not have done were if not for the pandemic.
    In today’s class, you read that this crisis is an opportunity to shape a different future. After reading the document on Webdisk entitled AW1 Classwork May 29.pdf, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts about the future? How will the pandemic and the state of emergency shape your future and that of your community, your country, the world? Will classes resume in September? Will some people prefer to study online only? “What kind of a world do you want to live in?”
    Your answers to the two questions and your response to the text in the document will naturally create three paragraphs. However, you may increase or decrease that number depending on your content. (For example, you might want to have one paragraph about your thoughts about the future of you and your family, and a separate paragraph to write about Japan and the world.) Keep different topics in separate paragraphs.

Writing Requirements

  • Save your document with this name: AW1_Hmwk3_Name (replace “Name” with your family name). Upload it to the same Webdisk folder as last week “AW1 Upload folder to submit homework” or email it to me
  • Use a 12-point LATIN font ONLY (no Chinese characters anywhere) such as Century or Times New Roman. Do not use a Japanese font.
  • Use the same font throughout.
  • Length:
    • 200-400 words
  • Due date:
    • Upload your writing to WebDisk by next Wednesday, June 3rd, 23:55.
    • If at all possible, use Microsoft Word and upload your document as a Word document (*.doc or *.docx) rather than a PDF because it is more difficult for me to edit a PDF.
    • If you are not using Microsoft Word, please save your document as an RTF file (*.rtf)
    • If you cannot type or use a word-processor for some reason, you may write by hand, then take a picture of your writing and upload the pictures as a PDF or an image (JPG or PNG).


In today’s class, students

  • discussed in small groups their answers to two of the homework 1 questions (“what cannot you do now because of the pandemic and what new thing are you doing or have you done because of the pandemic”) and also discussed the idea that this pandemic may be a good time to think about what kind of world we human beings want to live in. What kind of world do you want to live in? Do you think this is a good opportunity to consider this? Do you want things to go “back to normal”?
  • read the sample essay “Life Lessons from School” on pages 15-16.
  • discussed in small groups the questions and answers to “Practice 1” on pages 16-17.
  • read section D on p. 17 about selecting a topic.

AW1 May 22nd, 2020

This week we will start using the textbook. First, we will read the introductory chapter, and discuss some questions in small groups.

The files are available on Webdisk at the links below. Please download before class. If you have the textbook, you don’t need File 1, only file 2.

From now on, please use the following folder on Webdisk to submit your homework. (If you have difficulty, you can email it to me.)

  • File name – AW1 Upload folder to submit homework


The homework is explained in the file linked below and also in the file on Webdisk (file name AW1 Assignment2 Questions about WAW_Chap0.pdf )

Save your writing as a document named AW1 Hmwk2 Name (replace “Name” with your family name) and upload it to the Webdisk folder named “AW1 Upload folder to submit homework” (link was given in the chat in the Teams meeting).

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Please take a few minutes to answer the survey here. Thank you.

Welcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing I, 2020

Hello, Academic Writing I (AW1) students. Marc Sheffner here, your instructor for this semester. Friday 8th May will be our first “class”. This will be the first time for all of us to meet online using Microsoft Teams. 
You can contact me by leaving a message for me here on Teams, or by emailing me, Marc Sheffner or leaving a comment here on this blog.

Rules for our online classes on Teams:

1) before you join the class on Friday May 8th at 2:30 pm, please mute your mic and turn your video off. When I see that you want to join, I will let you into the “classroom”.
2) KPU has asked all teachers NOT to use video, so you will only hear my voice, no picture.
3) We will communicate by voice and by the chat window.
4) When you want to speak, first unmute your mic, then say your name and speak.
5) Or you can write in the chat window.
6) I will use the chat window to send you text information, e.g. URLs and documents.
7) There will be a live meeting (class) every Friday 2:30 – 4 p.m. Please login at that time.
8) Except for the first time (May 8th), you will be expected to have done the assignments BEFORE class. 
9) Deadline for assignments is Wednesday midnight. 

Today’s May 8th class

We will not be using the textbook today (Writers at Work: the Essay, by Dorothy Zemack. Amazon link: )
1) Self-introduction by Sheffner
2) Self-introduction by each student using a) voice, then b) chat window
3) Explanation of some Teams functions (survey, calendar, etc)
4) Explanation and discussion about WebDisk – how to access Sheffner’s folder, how to download Sheffner’s documents and upload your homework assignments.
5) Explanation of class blog . You can use this as a backup to Teams and WebDisk for downloading files and communicating with me.
6) Explanation of assignments #1 and #2.

What is the meaning of “academic”? Where does this word come from and what was the original meaning? Please write your answer in a comment below. Thank you.

Update: Some students posted their comments on a different page. You can see them here:


See the presentations below about Academic Writing. There are questions to answer at the end of each one. Write your answers to each presentation before looking at the next one. The 3 presentations will be posted on Webdisk and here on the blog after 4 pm today. Write your answers to the 3 presentation questions in ONE document, save your document as “AW1_Hmwk1_YourName” (replace “YourName” with your full name), and attach it to an email. The subject ( 件名) of the email should be the same as your document.

Please see this image for details of correct email format:

In your email, please introduce yourself briefly and answer these questions:

  1. Do you have the textbook?
  2. What kind of device are you using to connect to Teams?
  3. Tell me something or somethings that you are not able to do now because of the state of emergency and corona virus pandemic.
  4. Tell me something new you have done recently.

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AW2: week 14, January 17th, 2020


None, but prepare for next week’s timed essay writing.

You can read some timed essays by AW2 students from 2017 on the download page here:

Today’s class

  1. Textbook p. 136 C
  2. p. 139 E
  3. p. 141 Practice 6
  4. p. 141 B
  5. p. 143 Practice 8
  6. p. 144 Practice 9
  7. p. 145 Practice 10
  8. p. 146 E
  9. p. 147 Practice 11
  10. p. 148 A
  11. p. 151 B

AW2: Week13 January 10th, 2020


None. But email me your Essay 5 if you have not done so already. Also, make sure you have given me your Essay 4 Final version. I will write comments on your Essay 5 and return it to you next week.

Also, please answer the survey here about the Essay 4 Class Collection, if you would like your essay to be included:

Today’s class


  • Jan 10th – chapter 6, timed essays, textbook exercises
  • Jan 17th – in-class timed essays (practice)
  • Jan 24th – in-class timed essays (test: no dictionaries or devices)
  1. Examples from student writing of inappropriate, subjective sentences.
  2. Review: citation examples from Wikipedia
  3. Textbook p. 133
  4. p. 134 questions 1-4
  5. p. 136 C and Practice 1
  6. p. 138 Practice 3
  7. p. 140 A and Practice 5