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.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Featured Poet Katie Troupin

Sorry for the delay posting poems. Our first featured poet from class is Katie Troupin. She sums up the holiday emotional snow storm quite nicely in her poem. I like the line about politics in the air. It could be family politics or those good old American political discussions that get everyone going.

Holiday Emotion
By Katie Troupin

In a whirl wind of emotion,
Beginning with excitement and joy
Come family guests from far and wide;
Followed by scrutiny of those remaining near
as dinner approaches with politics in the air.

Full bellies after a feast of plenty
Leave many tired and others aware;
Self consciousness growing amongst those still alert
By growing waistlines, anguish, even hurt
As few wash the many dinner plates
and prepare the dessert.

After feast drinks leave some feeling free
To express hurtful words not to agree
With those who are present
The dirty laundry publicly hung
Embarrassment alluding to resentment
And agony all in one.

Card games are played and fun is had,
The rest of the night if filled
With yuletide and reminiscing.

End of the night brings
Hugging and kissing,
Until next year, the loved ones
We’ll be missing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Class is On For Tonight

It looks like mostly rain from here on out, so class is on for tonight unless conditions change.

Remember to bring all assignments due, remind me of any oral presentations you missed, and bring an SASE if you want your assignments returned. Please write instructions regarding what you want mailed back - your whole folder, only the final draft, and so on.

We will take the exam and watch/discuss Hamlet.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Literature Assignment is Posted for

Just a note to let everyone know I've posted the Literature Assignment over at Please submit your finished paper as soon as possible. You have until Saturday, December 15, 2007.

I cannot consider the paper turned in until you have submitted it. Let me know if you have any problems submitting.


Quiz - Which Famous Poet Are You?

Thanks to Brandon for telling me about this quiz that determines which famous poet you most resemble. I'm not sure it's the same one he took, but he inspired me to look for the quiz and post it. I need to work on getting my debauchery score higher.

Here are my results:

Your Score: William Wordsworth!

You scored 54 Demeanour, 27 Debauchery, 83 Traditionalism, and 50 Expression!

You are a happy person who looks for the beauty in everything. You play by the rules, but hey, people respect you for it. Don't they? Your masterpiece is "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey."

Link: The Which Famous Poet Are You Test written by Torontop on OkCupid Free Online Dating

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Review of Microsoft Student with Encarta 2008

Microsoft Student with Encarta 2008 is a software program designed with lots of extras to help students complete homework assignments. It includes the Encarta 2008 encyclopedia, and retails for $49.95 to download at Microsoft’s website or $33.99 for a hard copy at Amazon.

The program’s main menu is divided into three categories: Homework, Projects, and Discover and Learn.

Homework deals with math and basic foreign languages like Spanish, German, French, and Italian with a link section that also discusses Latin and Japanese. The math section has an onscreen calculator and basic math explanations – helpful for me to review when I’m trying to help my children with their math.

As some of you know, they don’t call all math concepts by the same name they did when many of us were in school. They don’t “borrow” any more, they “regroup” in my children’s math classes. Plus my kids aren’t using an official book, so I can’t look over the explanation – they get supplementary handouts without any additional information on how to do the problems. So the math section looked like a godsend to me.

I didn’t like their link referral to because some video features on that site cost more money – you feel a bit bait and switched – and the pop ups to enter contests and register are annoying.

The Project section deals with writing papers and giving presentations. Presentations have become big at my kids’ school, so this section has great tips on how to present – whether my kids actually read the tips, I’m a bit iffy on. This segment shows you how to design PowerPoint Presentations, give speeches, and use Microsoft to create charts and graphs for your papers, including templates that make it really easy to produce spiffy looking graphics. The latter I know they will use.

Discover and Learn has the Encarta Encyclopedia, a section on Colleges and Careers, and a Fun and Games segment. College and Careers has lots of valuable tools to help you find admissions information and even financial aid advice. It has resume and cover letter templates and a place to track the paperwork you submit to different employers.

Fun and Games is organized by subjects like Geography, History, and Animals and Science. My eleven-year-old didn’t like them. The educational games didn’t seem enough like Playstation for him. My fourteen-year-old daughter loved the games, especially the ones about animals. She thought some of the resources were “cool.”

The best part about the Microsoft Student is the use of multimedia – sound clips, videos, virtual tours, as well as pictures and text. I also loved that my kids had a safer place to search for information than the World Wide Web. The sources were vetted, and I didn’t have to worry about checking every site they might run across.

My teenager did think some of the program was overly complicated. She needed to write a group of small essays for class and when she clicked on the “Reports” section it demanded to know what kind of essay she wanted to write before she could proceed. Different books and instructors label essays differently. Since she didn’t see anything that applied to her assignment, she went back to regular Microsoft Word to type the report. She says she “didn’t have time to figure it out” because she had to get her assignment finished. It tries to be a bit too helpful and provide too many templates.

These templates abound in the program – for essays, for PowerPoint presentations, for foreign language homework. If your student likes direction, this would be an excellent program. Mine are a bit more free spirits. We had a limited period of time to try it out, but I think my daughter prefers to design her own PowerPoint – she’s been doing it for years already, and she likes to be creative rather than follow a program’s format.

My favorite part is I can use Microsoft Student to assign my children summer homework instead of buying the expensive supplementary material the school sends home at the end of each year. To keep their brains from leaking info they learned in school, I’ll let them explore whatever interests them in Encarta and use some of the templates to write reports and make some PowerPoints for me. It also has math assignments they can complete. So there’s plenty of age-appropriate material to keep them occupied this summer and many summers to come.

Overall this program is best for late middle school to high school/college age students. My eleven-year-old boy didn’t have much patience for it while my 8th grader said she could see it being useful in high school next year. In spite of including too many templates in some sections, it’s a huge resource that would take months to explore. I only had a week, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of it as my kids use it for the rest of the school year.

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Online Resources for Literature Research

I've heard that Lindenwood's Library Page is currently inaccessible. I can extend the deadline to next week for any one unable to research their Literature Paper. Below is my usual post on where to find resources. Just skip to the section on our book if you can't get into Butler's databases.

For research, first check out Lindenwood’s Literature databases. You will need to sign in for access to the databases. They are listed under the heading Humanities.

Our Literature Book Literature and Its Writers
Next you can go to the companion site for our Literature book. It has study guides for each piece of literature. The names of the authors are alphabetized in groups, so you have to click on a group of names to find study questions on the stories. So to find questions for Kate Chopin, you have to click on Alexie-Erdrich because her name is located alphabetically between theirs, much like an encyclopedia. Most features don’t require registration, but for the quizzes and some other material, you will need to register.

One section of the site explains the elements of short fiction and provides examples. This would be good to look at before our final exam. Another part of the website explains different approaches to looking at literature – feminist, reader response, Marxist, and more.

Context explores how the life and times of the author influence their work. Examples are provided on the site for Young Goodman Brown, Girl, and The Story of an Hour.

Our book's website also has LitLinks, a list of web links related to specfic authors. Click on the author's name and you will find sites specific to that author. Purdue’s Owl explains how to write about Literature, including choosing a topic for a paper and using MLA to document research.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Links Pertaining to Various Class Discussions

Here is the link to with all the citizen journalists, including the sex workers covering the trial of a Canadian serial killer who hunted their friends.

Here is the 6-year-old wunderkid Jeremy mentioned in class. Get out the hankies.

Don't Forget to Claim Your Poet!

If you haven't already, get me the name of your poet for the oral presentation. I'm updating the list with those I've received so far.