Tag Archives: week 1

AW2: WEEK 1, October 4th, 2019


  1. Refresh your memory about the correct email format here
  2. Send me an email with a short comment about today’s class. Use the correct format! Subject: AW2 HW1
  3. Finish noting about the introductory paragraphs in today’s handout (download today’s handout here)
  4. Read the sample essay in the textbook pp 91-2. We will answer questions about this essay in class next week. Be prepared.

Today’s class

  • Textbook for this semester is the same: Writers at Work – The Essay. We will use chapters 4-6.
  • To pass the course, you must write and hand in by the deadline THREE essays of a satisfactory quality.
  • Checklist for introductory paragraphs + sample paragraphs from previous years.
    • read the student introductory paragraphs and evaluate them using the 4-point checklist . If you attended this class, you received everything on a single handout. If not, you can download them as two separate handouts below:
  • Here’s the checklist:
    1. The title should clearly state the content and author’s position.
      • Good example – “School Uniforms are Necessary”
      • Not so good example – “Take it for Free?”
    2. Avoid rhetorical questions: “a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.”
    3. Introductory paragraph must contain a thesis statement.
    4. Detailed information belongs in the body paragraphs, not the introduction. The introduction is to introduce the topic (the problem, the matter being discussed in the essay) and the author’s position on it.
  • DIscuss in groups.
  • Textbook p. 94 D, p. 96 Practice 3, p. 98 D, p. 99 E.

AW1: WEEK 1, April 12th, 2019

Welcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing I (AW1) class.

The textbook is

Writers at Work: The Essay (Upper-Intermediate) Student’s Book. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Dorothy Zemach & Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz (authors) ISBN: 978-0521-693-028

We will start using this from next week.

You can download today’s (Friday April 12th) presentation here:

Homework: send me an email.

  • Introduce yourself briefly
  • tell me why you are taking this class (briefly)
  • make a short comment about today’s class (April 12th).
  • Use a current email address that you check regularly. I will use this to contact you from time to time during the semester.

Check out the email format image if you’re not sure of the format.

I’m looking forward to this semester. See you next Friday, April 19th.

Today’s class

  • Course intro (see link above)
  • What is academic writing?
  • What is the origin of the word “academic”?
  • Who started it? Where?
  • What are the characteristics of academic writing?
    • Asking questions BEFORE judging
      • What? When? Where? Who? How?Why?
    • Defininitions / define your terms
  • Liberal Arts:
    • grammar
    • logic
    • rhetoric
  • Free writing – 5 minutes – tell me about your spring vacation. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or logical order. Just write. Do not edit while writing. Writing and editing are two different activities that use different parts of the brain. Trying to do both at the same time is a bad idea.
  • 5 American principles:
    1. God helps those who help themselves
    2. Mind your own business
    3. Live and let live
    4. Let’s make a deal
    5. Our children’s future will be better
  • Write your own list of Japanese or your own personal principles, and a brief comparison with the 5 American ones.
  • Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. To persuade others, it is necessary to understand how they think. Therefore, it is important and necessary for writing persuasively in English to understand English-speakers’ principles and values.

AW2: Week 1, October 5th, 2018


Read the sample essay in the textbook pp 91-2. The theme is decline birth-rate. Don’t read uncritically! Don’t drink the Koolaid! Ask yourself: “Is this really a problem? What is the problem, exactly?”

Today’s class

  1. Quiz about British universities
  2. Quick review of key points about academic writing
    1. History:
      1. Plato’s “akademia“: not a school as we understand it today, but rather a community of inquiry, discussing big questions and sharpening the minds of the participants through discussion and conversation.
      2. The Scientific Revolution: e.g. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton – questioning the accepted knowledge (what “everyone knows”), searching for objective evidence (what they can sense with their own senses and understand with their own minds)
      3. The trivium: grammar, logic, rhetoric – was the fundamental education used in the Middle Ages in Europe.
    2. THEREFORE, when you write your essay,
    3. Start with a question, e.g. “What is a good life? What is a good person?”  or question what everybody knows:  “Is the earth REALLY at the centre of the universe, AS EVERYONE BELIEVES? Is separating the garbage REALLY a good idea? Is homework REALLY beneficial?
    4. Check / re-confirm your understanding of key words (i.e. find objective meaning, not relying on your own “image” of the word). E.g., to teach “Academic Writing” I need to first clearly understand the meaning of “academic”: where does this word come from? What is the original meaning? Use a good English-English dictionary to help you learn the history of a word and the root meaning.
  3. “Dragons and Giants” (from “Frog and Toad Together”).
    1. Summarize the story: what did they do and who did they meet?
    2. Answer and discuss the discussion questions on the worksheet.


AW1: week 1, April 13th, 2018

Welcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing I (AW1), Friday 4th period.


  • Leave a comment on this blog about today’s class.
    1. Your name is public, but your email is private. Any email address that you regularly use is ok. Do not write your email address in the comment!
  • Read the sample essay in the textbook, pp 4-5.

Today’s class

  1. Small-group discussion and individual written answers: What is “academic writing”?
  2. Mini-lecture on the history of academic writing (download a basic PDF worksheet: What is academic writing_short
    1. summarise your notes of the mini-lecture
  3. Introduce yourself in writing; explain how you came to be here, in this class, in KPU.
  4. Outline of the course (handout). You can download the outline of the course here: aw1, 2018 – course intro

AW2: week 1, October 6th, 2017


  1. Read the sample essay in chapter 4 (pp.91-2)
  2. List 5 controversial topics you might write about for your persuasive essay

Today’s class

  • logos, ethos, pathos – 3 modes for persuading other people
  • schedule (may change slightly):
    • Essay #4 – Persuasive – due Nov. 17th
    • Essay #5 – Response to a text – due Dec. 22nd
    • Essay #6 – timed writing – to be done in class Jan 26 and Feb. 2nd
    • p. 96 A and practice 3

AW1, Week 1, April 7th, 2017

Wekcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing 1  (AW1 ) class blog.

On this blog I will post classwork and homework assignments each week.


  1. Your first assignment, if you decide to continue this class is
    leave a comment about today’s class

    1. To leave a comment, click on the words “LEAVE A COMMENT” up here below this blog post title. ↑
    2. You need to type in your name (family name only) and an email address. Your email address will NOT be public. Your  name WILL be public.
    3. All comments are moderated. That means I must approve them. So your comment will not appear  immediately. Please be patient.
  2. Send me an email briefly  introducing yourself and saying what you hope to achieve by taking this class.

Today’s class

  1. Instructor’s self-introduction
  2. Introduction to the course
  3. Lesson 1 worksheet and mini-lecture. (Download the worksheet here: AW1_Lesson1_worksheet
  4. Free writing #1: 5 minutes on any topic you like.
  5. Free writing #2: 5 minutes, something in English you are reading now or read recently.
  6. Mini-lecture on the value and usefulness of learning academic writing.
  7. Free writing #3: a formative past experience.

Welcome! Academic Writing I, week 1: April 8th, 2016

IMG_1895Welcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing class blog.


  1. Read the essay on credit cards on pp. 4-5 of the text book.
  2. Read the longer Japanese article on Bloom’s taxonomy and write a response in the comments to this blog (click “Comments please!” at the bottom of this post; you will need to write your name and your KPU email address; your name is visible to everyone, your email address is not visible).
  3. Watch the video below and answer the questions below (also on the handout from today).
  4. Read (at least, start reading) something easy and interesting in English, write the details and bring them class next week to tell your classmates. “Something easy” means something that you can understand (at least 90%) without a dictionary.

ビデオが「ブルームの目標分類学」(Bloom’s Taxonomy)を簡単に説明します。それを観賞したあとに、次の正誤問題に答えてください。

“Bloom’s Taxonomy”
1. Understanding is being able to write down the information from memory.
2. Once you have understanding of concepts, you can easily see how something works.
3. Applying involves utilizing information to solve problems.
4. Breaking down information into components is an example of synthesizing.
5. Analysis allows you to illustrate how different ideas relate to one another.
6. When you engage in criticism, you are evaluating information.

Today’s class

  • Schedule AW1_schedule
  • Academic Writing:
    • What is it? (definition)
    • Where did it come from? (from letters written by scientists to other scientists)
    • Characteristics (see worksheet Characteristics of Genre)
  • Free writing #1 (private): self-introduction
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Short comment about today’s class. Was it interesting? Boring? Too easy? Too difficult? Did you understand Sheffner’s English? How much? (etc).

Academic Writing II, week 1: October 2nd, 2015


  • Read the sample essay in chapter 4 of the textbook.
  • Write arguments and counter-arguments for one of the following topics:
    • Joining a club
    • nuclear power
    • accepting refugees

Today’s class

  1. Free writing
  2. Editing
  3. Making writing more academic.
    1. use objective facts
    2. use the 3rd-person
    3. avoid subjective matters.
  4. Practice: how could you express “hot” in a more objective way?
  5. 10 mins. Write about some topic, in the 3rd-person. Try and make it objective and academic.
  6. Arguments and counter-arguments. To make your persuasive essay more persuasive, include counter-arguments. Counter-arguments take the opposite point of view. Then you answer those counter-arguments. E.g.
    1. travelling abroad
      1. arguments
        1. “traveling broadens the mind”
        2. stimulating
        3. breaks the boredom of every day
      2. counter-arguments
        1. but it’s expensive!
        2. but it’s dangerous!
        3. but I only eat Japanese food!
      3. Now, answer those counter-arguments. E.g.
        1. travel to a nearby Asian country, not an expensive country far away. There are plenty of interesting things to see in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bhutan.
        2. Travel in a tour group, rather than alone. THat’s safer.
        3. Take Japanese food with you! Also, if you travel to a big city, you can probably buy some Japanese food there.


Academic Writing II, week 1: October 3rd, 2014


Read the sample essay on pages 90-91 of the textbook.

Today’s class

  1. Free writing (6 minutes, then editing time)
  2. Characteristics (rules) of academic writing
    1. Use correct format
    2. have at least 5 paragraphs
    3. logical order
    4. avoid using personal pronouns, especially I, you and we.
    5. avoid using contractions, such as e.g. and etc.
    6. avoid using contractions such as I’ll, they’re, won’t, isn’t, and so on.
  3. Re-write your free writing.
  4. Essay-writing points
    1. Define your terms: do your readers need some background information?
    2. Have a clear purpose for your essay, and state that purpose early on, ideally in the first paragraph.
    3. Use facts and figures
    4. Give references to show where you got your facts and figures from.
    5. Give value to the reader.
    6. The reader is not interested in you personally.
  5. We read the first and last paragraphs of the model essay on pages 90-91.