Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Class Reminder: Due for Tonight

Remember to bring your outline and two copies of your first draft for class tonight - in a folder. Also bring any questions you have about citations. We will use your graded short papers 1 & 2 to discuss editing, so bring those also.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How To Create An Outline for Your Paper

Answer the Following questions before you construct your outline.

1. What is my main point/thesis about this subject?

2. What are the main reasons I believe my thesis is true?

3. What details and evidence do I have to support each of these reasons?

With these answers in mind, write your thesis first, then organize your main points under it.

Example: Answers to Questions

1. My Thesis: Star Trek's Captain Kirk is a more likable starship captain than the next generation Star Trek's Captain Picard.

2. Roman Numeral I. Kirk shows more conflict in moral dilemas while Picard considers following orders more important.

Roman Numeral II. Kirk makes mistakes, like other human beings, while Picard only makes minor errors.

Roman Numeral III. Kirk agonizes over the death of any crew member while Picard only cares if the officers closest to him are killed.

3. Supporting evidence for point I.

A. episode where Kirk is used as a disease carrier to help kill off people on an overpopulated planet. Dialogue from specific scenes shows his conflict.

B. Captain Picard is faced with several situations where he would have followed the prime directive and let humans/aliens die if not for the intervention of other crew members. Dialogue shows his obesession with "the right way to do things.

Then the resulting outline would start like this:

Thesis: Star Trek's Captain Kirk is a more likable starship captain than the Next Generation Star Trek's Captain Picard.

I. Kirk shows more conflict during moral dilemas while Captain Picard considers following orders more important than anything else.

A. In one episode Kirk is used as a disease carrier to help kill off people on an overpopulated planet. His reaction to this shows his humanity.

1. Dialogue with Spock shows his conflict.

2. His scene with the girl from the planet shows his remorse.

B. Captain Picard is faced with several situations where he would have followed the prime directive and let humans/aliens die if not for the intervention of other crew members.

1. A planet is about the explode, but Picard doesn't try to help until Data contacts a little girl on the planet.

2. Wesley rebels agains the captain in an episode about the Prime Directive.

You get the idea. You may not have all your evidence yet; that's o.k. Just show me you know what your major reasons are and what evidence you can use to support them.My spacing is off because of blogger's formatting, so be sure you indent supporting information. Follow the spacing example on page 12 in our Writer's Reference book. Microsoft word also has an outline template that does the spacing for you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Play Reminder!

Don't forget the play tonight. We are meeting at 7:10 outside the ticket window. Be sure to sign in with me before you are seated.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Research Topics for Persuasion Papers

One of the best ways to organize topic brainstorming is to think of major categories and look for controversies within the subject. Listed below are some possible topics. Most are too large right now for a 10-12 page paper, so be sure to narrow them down.

Consider y0ur favorite subjects as well; there may be something controversial about your hobby or interest: fighting in hockey, laws to protect bicylists, environmental concerns for vacation homes...

These topics have been discussed recently:

Regulation of over the counter herbs/medications
Health care costs
Anti aging and plastic surgery treatments
AIDS in Africa
Genetic counseling
Genetic manipulation of people/crops
Plastic Surgery for Teens
Gastric Bypass Surgery
Childhood Obesity Issues

Google protest about releasing user records
Wiretapping American citizens
Buying personal information on the internet
Employers forcing employees to quit smoking
Internet censorship
Employee surveillance
Patriot act

Sex education
On-line education vs. brick and mortar
No Child Left Behind
Standardized testing
Cost of College
Arts Funding Cut for Schools
School Security

Politics/Social Issues
Rebuilding New Orleans
Torture vs. coercion in interrogation
Alternative energies
Homeland security issues
Immigration Issues
My Space for Teens
Requiring I.D. for voters
Electronic Voting Machines
Deaf Culture vs. Cochlear implants
Off-shore Gambling
Minimum wage
tobacco tax

Reporters revealing sources
Sports Stars salaries/crimes
NASA/Manned space travel
Music/video pirates
Rap Music Lyrics
Liberal/Conservative Bias in Media
Advertising Images of Women

For more topics, Northwestern University also provides a list of hot topics to consider writing about.

Where Can I Do Research?

Start With Lindenwood's Library

To do research from home, you will need your Lindenwood I.D. number, which is your social security number. Follow the directions for signing in. If you want to check out materials, you will need your student I.D.Contact the reference librarian for Butler Library at Lindenwood for specific reference sources for your topic. You can call them, or e-mail if you are at a distance site.

Other Places to start doing Research: The National Public Radio site has programs like Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation that discuss controversial issues. You can listen to archived versions of the programs on your computer if you have a media player. It is a great place to browse for current topics and find experts to research further. is the official portal to all U.S. government agencies. Here you can find information by topic on subjects such as health, education, technology, agriculture, history, arts, and culture.They also have an extensive reference section on data and statistics for the United States such as crime rates, census data, and economic indicators. It’s an excellent source for a variety of subjects. is a free reference site that has link to all the major news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, ABC and more. Scroll down a bit to find the listing for news sources.

The Librarians Internet Index researches websites and then recommends them on their page. It has lots of great links to credible websites that public librarians have researched for their patrons.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Class Reminder: Due for April 16th

- readings listed for April 16th
- Oral Presentations
-Final Draft of Short Paper 2 with sketch outline, draft, and written assignment title page

Don't forget the play this Thursday. Remember to sign in with me when you arrive. The Jelkyl theater is located in Roemer Hall, which is building 14 on the campus map.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Due For April 9th Class & Play Note

-Turn in your Final Draft of short paper 1. Put it in a folder with all drafts, peer review, and brainstorming for this paper. Be sure to include a written assignment title page from the copy I gave you last week.

-First Draft of Short Paper 2

-Readings listed

Don't forget to bring a magazine that has a good introduction to share in class tonight.

Play Note: One of your classmates was able to reserve 10 tickets for our class. If you plan to bring someone, you may want to purchase extra tickets over the phone at the Lindenwood Box Office or get there early the night of the play.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Four Questions That Help You Find a Topic

Sometimes students are so anxious to start a writing assignment, they don’t take the time to choose a subject that works best for them. It may take a few more minutes to come up with a topic you like, but that time will be more than made up in how much easier it is to write about something you like. It is much harder to write on subjects you aren’t interested in.

What are You an Expert On?
If you wait tables at a restaurant, you are an expert in those skills. Maybe you can classify the customers you wait on according to their personalities, or explain the steps the restaurant uses to fill orders quickly. What subjects do you have up close and personal knowledge of that you can share in various papers.

What Are You Passionate About?
Make a list of all the subjects you love to think, read, and talk about. Music, comic books, reality television, animals – whatever you love to do. Topics you care about are easier to write about and sharing what makes it entertaining to you makes the writing interesting to us.

What are Your Pet Peeves?
The things that annoy you in your world can be opportunities to explore the issues and come up with real solutions to make your world better. Is your local animal shelter running out of money? Persuade us why we should donate to them.

Who are You?
Among other things, I am a wife, mother, sister, granddaughter, employee, teacher, Star Trek fan, writer, reader, American, driver, sleeper, dieter, and volunteer. Focusing on what I know about any of these areas gives me several potential topics to write about. As a Star Trek fan I could do a comparison contrast of the old generation’s Captain Kirk to the new generation’s Captain Picard. Figure out all the labels that apply to you and investigate issues connected you can write about.