All posts by Sheffner

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

Academic Writing I – week 11, June 29th, 2012

Today, we did in the textbook,

  1. p 52 Practice 7 (Answers 3, B, B)
  2. p 53 Your Turn – make an outline
  3. E The Conclusion and Practice 8 (Answers – the best is #4; #1 is too general, #2 is OK, #3 has no solution)
  4. p 54 Your Turn – plan your conclusion
  5. We wrote the first draft of Essay #2 – Problem-solution



Finish writing your first draft, email it to me, print out and bring to class.



Academic Writing I – week 9, June 15th, 2012

Reading each others' essays
Reading each others’ essays (photo @ jimmiescollage )

Today’s report is by Mr. Kasahara.

Class on Friday, 15th June

  • We read each others’ essays
  • We did in the textbook on page 42 (answers on looseleaf)


  • chose a topic for you “Problem-solution” essay see p46 “Your turn”.
  • Find and read the English essay “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift or a Japanese translation. Record where you found the essay using MIA guidlines.
  • About essay above
    • What is the problem
    • What is Swift’s solution?
    • Is his argument persuasive?
    • When was this essay written?
    • Your comment.

Academic Writing I – week 8, June 8th, 2012


  1. Read your essay again, and write an outline for it. Be as detailed as you can, and write in complete sentences.
  2. Read the essay, “Ray Bradbury, RIP” – Gary North writes about Ray Bradbury’s influence on him. The original article is here: Ray Bradbury’s Virtual Reality Universe 
    1. Write the outline, or at least list the key points.


  1. Print out and bring the final (perfect!) version of your first essay for Academic Writing.
  2. Read the model essay in chapter 3 of the textbook: “8 Hours Sleep”.


Academic Writing I – week 7, June 1st, 2012

Today’s class:

  • Here are the opening lines of some famous English novels.
  • Which one do you like best? Have you read any of these books? If so, which one(s)?
  1. “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.
  2. “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. “… the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like… and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’T feel like going into it.” Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
  4. “The past is a a foreign country. They do things differently there.” The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.
  5. “Hale knew they meant to murder him before he had been in Brighton three hours.” Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.
  6. “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s  new novel If on a winter’s night a traveller.” If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino.
  • Read in the textbook p. 26 (“Transitions”) and p. 27 (“Because” and “however”).
  • p. 34, Practice 16; p. 35 Practice 17; p. 36 Practice 18; p. 37 Practice 19; p. 38 Practice 20.


  • If you were absent, of if you did not finish in class, do the exercises in the textbook above.
  • Bring your essay (latest draft) to class next week.


Academic Writing I – week 6, May 25th, 2012

Today’s report is by Ms. Kamioka.

  • We learned how to make good conclusion, and did in textbook practice 14,15 on page 31.
  • We checked the second draft of our own essay with peer feedback form on page 33, and teacher’s comment.
  • We rewrote our essay, added a ‘hook’ and a good conclusion etc.


Re-write essay (third draft) in Microsoft Word, and e-mail it to Mr. Sheffner, by Wednesday May 30, midnight (23:59).


Here are some suggestions for types of “hooks” to begin your essay with; from “Ana, the Writer Today“‘s blog. Do you know any websites with good tips for writing? Whether they are in Japanese or in English, why not share them with your classmates by leaving a comment?

10 Writing Hooks

Writing Class Notes: Beginning Hooks – Strategies to use to catch your reader’s attention

1. Begin with a simile or a metaphor.
My life has been a carnival. My family is like an open book.

2. Begin with a question.
Who is the greatest athlete of all times?

3. Begin with a definition.
Amiable is the best way to describe my personality: I am friendly and caring. Perfect is the best adjective to describe me: I am flawless in every aspect of my life.

4. Begin with a quotation.
“Learn to laugh” is something my kindergarten teacher told me after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.

5. Begin with a comparison to a well-known person or celebrity.
I am as photogenic as Tyra Banks.

6. Begin with placing yourself in the future.
In the year 2012 I see myself as a supreme ballerina performing in Camelot at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

7. Begin with a dilemma.
Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.

8. Begin with a scene.
The day of my birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.

9. Begin with the best advice you have ever received.
“Butch, did you practice the piano?” Since I was six years old, this has been a daily reminder from my dear mother. “Be all you can be” has been my inspiration from my grandfather who is a retired Marine Corps colonel and my mentor.

10. Begin with an anecdote.
As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.

Academic Writing I – week 5, May 18th, 2012


College paper
College essay in MS Word
Don't forget double-spaced
Don't forget double-spaced!

Today’s report is by Ms. Ishihara. Today, we skipped the sections about outlining. I said that hardly anyone actually uses outlines. However, it may be useful to you to know how to do this, so I will go over this part briefly next week.

Today’s work

  1. We checked the homework.
  2. We did in the textbook chapter 1, section A, Practice 4 & 5 p.22,  section E, Practice 9, 11 p.27~28, section F, Practice 12, p.28~29.
  3. We read section E “Use transitions”, p.26~27.
  4. We corrected the errors and added more lines in our essay.


Re-write your essay (second draft) in Microsoft Word, and e-mail it to Mr. Sheffner, by Wednesday May 23rd, midnight (23:59).

Document titles and E-mail subjects are “AW Essay Ⅰ Second draft My Name”.

Send your emails here
Send your emails to this address


Academic Writing I – week 4, May 11th, 2012


Today’s work

Thanks to Mr. Sheffner for the report (!).

  1. We checked the homework – how to write a website using MLA format (please see today’s handout; you can download it here: MLA_BasicReferences2).
  2. We did in the textbook chapter 1, section C, Practice 1 pp 16-17, section D p. 17, Practice 2 pp 18-19, section E “Brainstorm”.
  3. We chose a topic from the list on p. 19 and we brainstormed ideas (Practice 3 p. 20).
  4. Then we showed each other our lists and gave and received some additional ideas (section F, p. 20).


Visit this blog and in the “comment” section, introduce your topic and why you chose it. Deadline is Monday May 14th, midnight (23:59).

Academic Writing I – week 3, April 27th, 2012

Today’s work

Thanks to Ms. Iguchi for the report, and to Ms. Kimura for the photo.

  1. We did in the textbook Practice 4, 5, 6, 7 on pages 9, 10, 11, 12
  2. We did “Think about the sample of essay topic” on page 14
  3. We learned “Basic Reference Citations in the MLA Handbook” (handout)



  1. Find out about C.S.Lewis and W.T. Kirkpatrick.  Who are they, and where did you find the information?
  2. Find “Politics and the English language” in English and in Japanese. Write the details using MLA format.
Homework for May 11th, 2012
Homework for May 11th, 2012. Photo by Ms. Kimura. Click on photo to see a larger image.

Academic Writing I – week 2, April 20th, 2012

Europe's oldest university is in Bologna, Italy
Europe's oldest university is in Bologna, Italy

Today’s report brought to you by Mr. Furuichi:

Today, we
1. did ” WHAT IS AN ESSAY? ” on page 2 and ” Practice 1, 2, 3 ” on pages 4, 5, 7, 8, 9.
2. we learned about the history of academic writing: the trivium of medieval education.

1. Read the textbook, ” Credit Cards: Convenient or Dangerous? ” on page 4-5 and ” Life Lessons from School ” on page 15-16.

Trivium of medieval education: grammar, logic, rhetoric