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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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lindenwood Class Schedule For Next Week - Extra Class and Schedule Change

Remember our extra class will be next Wednesday, July 29 in Butler Library. I have also rescheduled the Tuesday night class for Thursday, July 30 in our usual room, 107. Tuesday students may also attend my Monday night class if desired.

So next week's schedule is as follows:
July 27 Monday at Westport: Regular Class meeting in Rm 253
July 28 Tuesday: No Class
July 29 Wednesday: Library Orientation 6-10 p.m. (meet at Butler Library for tour before we proceed to a computer lab)
July 30 Thursday: Tuesday class meets in room 107, 6-10 p.m.

Email if you have any questions.

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St. Charles Community College Students: Reminders for the Last Week of Class

ENG096 Developmental English: Be sure to do the reading listed for Monday, July 20, and bring the first draft of your final paper for peer review.

For Wednesday, July 22, do the reading listed and write down any remaining questions you have about writing.

ENG101 English Composition I: Remember we are only meeting for research paper conferences tomorrow (Monday, July 20). Only come for your scheduled conference.

On Wednesday, July 22, bring the 2nd draft of the research paper for editing and those with last names A-L should be prepared to give their oral presentation on the research paper. Last names M-Z will present on the day of the final, July 27.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lindenwood Students: Password

Lindenwood Students:

For security reasons, I had to change the password for the classes. I cannot post it here, so please email me, and I will send you the correct one so you can submit your paper or I will give it to you in class next week. Sorry for the confusion.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Lindenwood Classes and Class Numbers

Lindenwood Students:

I have set up the paper assignments for your classes. The first, Short Paper 1, is due next week. Your paper should be submitted to on the same day it is due in class.

Go to and join the appropriate class. You will need the class number listed here before your class and the password to join, which is tgrissom. You must join a class before you can submit papers, so be sure to choose the correct night of the week.

Let me know if you have any questions.

2771290 Monday Summer Communications Cluster 2009 (Westport)

2771292 Tuesday Summer Communications Cluster 2009 (St. Charles)

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Eight Introduction Techniques that Hook Your Reader

The introduction of your paper draws your reader into the topic and encourages them to continue reading. Here are eight methods you can use to hook your reader and keep them reading.Caution: Be sure to ask each instructor if he or she requires your thesis to be in the first paragraph after your introduction technique. Some instructors allow it at the end, but some prefer it in the first paragraph.

1) Tell a Story
We like reading about people more than ideas or issues. Your audience will connect with your topic if you show them how it affects real people. If you are writing about plastic surgery for teens, tell me about Jessica’s nose job and I will read on to find out how it turned out.

2) Describe Something
Help us see the topic by using your senses to describe something about it. Seeing people, organizations, or events can connect us with the subject. For example, if your paper is on prison reform, you could start with a description of the prison conditions you are protesting.

3) Use a Quotation
Find a well turned phrase about your subject to get your audience’s attention. For example, Mark Twain said, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." This might be a jumping off point for a discussion of book censorship. Check out Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations for ideas on your specific topic.

4) Use a Surprising Fact or Statistic
If you run across a surprising piece of information when writing or doing research, chances are it will surprise and interest your audience also. If you tell us half of all women will have heart disease, we will be interested in what your topic has to say about cardiovascular care. Show us something we didn't know, and we will conclude you have more information that may be valuable.

5) Go for Common Ground
This method works especially well if you are writing an argument paper. If you can find something both sides agree on, remind them of that common belief at the beginning and they will be more willing to listen to your side. Discussing an education issue? The majority of your audience will want students to get a good education, so start with that common goal and show how your issue connects to better learning.

6) Ask a Question
Asking a question makes your audience think about your issue; just make sure to answer the question in your paper. You don’t have to have the best answer, but you should fulfill the promise you made in asking the question by contributing your opinion. Writing about Internet censorship? Ask us what the Internet will look like in ten years, and then talk about your issue’s impact.

7) Start With a Controversial Thesis
If your thesis is controversial, start the paper with it. If you suggest reinstating the draft or eliminating Social Security, your reader will be curious enough about your provocative position to keep reading.

8) Provide Background Information
If we need a brief history to understand your topic, then give us the background – but only what we need. Some students use background information as space filler and bore themselves and their instructors with unnecessary background details. If you're writing about stem cell funding, a brief definition and explanation of their use might be in order, but we don’t need to know how they were discovered, or what cells are.

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