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For the College Classroom

For the College Classroom

•  S C R I B B L I N G S  •

Hunting Through
Medieval Literature

Classroom Comics: Children's
Medium and the New Literacy

The Maiden with a Thousand

Peter Pan

Graphic Novel Reporter

A Whisper and a Prayer

The Masculine Mind
of Shakespeare's Women

Christine de Pizan

Hostages in the Rose Garden

Murder Will Out

Links for WRITERS


Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award - Do you have an unpublished or self-published novel you know Amazon.com readers will love? Enter your novel in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for a chance to win one of two $15,000 publishing contracts with Penguin USA and distribution of your novel on Amazon.com (This was for 2011).

Eric Hoffer Award for Independent Books - Each year, independent publishers (academic, independent, small press, and self-published authors) release extraordinary books to little or no recognition. The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions.


Are you researching an article? Not sure if an item you want to use is copyrighted? Here are a couple of copyright links:

U.S. Copyright Office - search for items published after 1978.

Copyright Registration and Renewal before 1978.


Smashwords - "Smashwords is a free service that helps you publish, promote, distribute and sell your masterpiece as a multi-format ebook, ready for immediate sale online at a price you determine. Because Smashwords publishes your book in multiple ebook formats, your book is readable on any e-reading device."

The Fine Print of Self Publishing - Mark Levine has written a great book providing valuable information about specific e-publishing houses. The book's website includes links to information about specific publishers regarding upfront costs and marketing help, including Arbor Books, AuthorHouse, Aventine Press, BookLocker, BookPros, CreateSpace, Dog Ear Publishing, Dorrance Publishing, Infinity Publishing, iUniverse, Llumina Press, Lulu, Magic Valley Publishing, Outskirts Press, PublishAmerica, Trafford Publishing, Wasteland Press, Xlibris, and Wordclay.


Book Junkie Reviews - Do you need a review of your latest book? Here's the place for a free review and helpful critique.


If you're self-publishing, your publisher offers some kind of marketing program - take advantage of it.

Good Reads - "The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers. This is the perfect place for new and established authors to promote their books." They do accept self-published works.


It's what I tell my students, and it's what every writer should practice.

READ anything including magazines, newspapers, comic books, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction full-length books.

READ every genre, including sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, poetry, thriller, essay anthologies, historical fiction, short story collections, literary fiction and non-fiction and every medium AND that includes comics.

Dr. Eliot was a Harvard University President who gathered a 51-volume anthology together of the "classics" to provide students an excellent liberal studies education. A list of Dr. Eliot's Classic titles can be found at Wikipedia under "Harvard Classics".

For More READING Lists and Links to History and Favorite authors click on >Links

For Comic READING sites and lists click on >Graphic Novels for the College Classroom

Links for ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS

After reviewing ethos, pathos, and logos, a good way for students to understand these rhetorical concepts is by analyzing television commercials.

As I tell my students, the greatest practioners of rhetoric are advertisers. Their whole job is to convince you to part with your money. One of the best shows in recent television history is Mad Men and they present some really good lessons in ethos, pathos, logos.

According to Aristotle, the best speakers (or writers) utilize all three appeals when it comes to arguments, but if you really want to move people to action (such as opening their wallets), you must resort to pathos (the basest form of argumentation) -- think about those horrible "Save the abused animal" commercial.
>Ethos, Pathos, Logos powerpoint.

Old Spice

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Let's start off with a presentation of ethos, pathos, and logos in "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like"
Rhetorical Analysis of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Now it's your turn. How does Old Spice use ethos, pathos, and logos in the next commercial?

Should your Man Smell Like an Old Spice Man?

Logical Fallacies

Before moving on let's take a look at how logical fallacies are used in advertising, politics, and popular at the Logical Fallacies Project, including slippery slope, red herring, non sequitur, post hoc, bandwagon, ad hominem, false authority, hasty generalization.

Your logical fallacy is . . . is a website that offers a great handout and some interactive examples. This shows that there are quite a few different kinds of fallacies.
          How to Think, Not what to Think is a TedTalk by the creator of the logical fallacies website, Jesse Richardson, and make some good points about rhetoric.

This prezi project on Logical Fallacies within Advertising points out some fallacies in the Old Spice commercial above.

Here's a further look at logical fallacies as explained in "You're Using Fallacies and You Don't Even Know It: Part One", featuring slippery slope, post hoc, appeal to authority, and bandwagon. Some of the commercials have bee disabled, so I've linked them here:
     Slippery slope on Direct TV
Post hoc fallacy from Bud Light

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments combines two of my favorite things - comics and rhetoric. A fun look at fallacies that tries to make understanding them a bit easier.

Mad Men

Let's look at the Mad Men expert, Don Draper, and how he explains his use of ethos, pathos, and logos in advertising.

Pitches based on nostalgia: Kodak Carousel and Hershey's Chocolate.

Pitches based on sex appeal: Jaguar, Gillette, and Lipstick, Jantzen Swimsuits.

But why choose one cigarette, toothpaste, or cereal over another? Cigarettes are what is known as a parity product--a product that is functionally equivalent to its competitiors.
          At Mad Men they have given up on ethos (positive medical testimony) and are going to stick with logos when pitching Lucky Strikes.

Q) All successful ads combine all three elements of argument--ethos, pathos and logos--to sell products. Can you identify how each ad uses these three elements of appeal?

Q) What logical fallacies can you spot?


Teaching rhetoric with McDonalds. Here's a look at ethos:

"The Showdown" - Bird vs. Jordan McDonald's ad - 1993

and a modern remake

McDonald's Commercial with LeBron James and Dwight Howard

Q) How does McDonald's use ethos in these commercials? (Wanna be an athlete like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Dwight Howard, or LeBron James - eat McDonald's)

Q) Why did McDonald's create the same commercial with different athletes? (Appeal to younger generation audience)

Teaching pathos:

You don't even need to understand the words to get what's going on in this commercial:

McDonalds Shrek 3 Commercial in Spanish

Q) How does McDonald's use pathos in this commercial? (Appeals to the baser emotion of greed - children want all the cups)

Teaching logos:

McDonald's Happy Meal Ad Cha Cha Slide

Q) How does McDonald's use logos in this commercial? (McDonald's has healthy food - apples. It's convenient.)

More ethos:

Two Japanese McGrand commercials. The first was created via a Project Runway segment:

Tomato McGrand

The second is designed for young men?

Japanese Ronald McDonald

Q) How does McDonald's use ethos in these commercials? (Wanna be a skinny model? Eat McDonald's).

And now for something completely different, especially if you are coulrophobic. The Happy Meal


WRITING For the College Classroom

Read-Think-b4-u-write. blogspot.com has lots of writing prompts, grammar tips and exercises. It also contains posts about rhetoric, careers, advertising, comics, and reading.

A Curious Question offers hundreds of prompts to jumpstart your journaling. Remember, practice makes perfect and that includes writing, the more you write the better you'll get.

GRAMMAR - The problem with English grammar is that most rules have exceptions. In this electronic age, grammar standards are changing to keep pace with changing technology. The more I read, the more I see author's breaking language rules, changes which may now be conventions. What's a writer to do? Avoid some of the most common grammar errors (see a few tips below).

I hesitate devoting large segments of class time to grammar because it often leads to that "deer in the headlights" look that means my students have just gone into the "fear or flight" mode. College students should be familiar with the basics, and often are, however they don't know what your talking about when you use phrases like "faulty parallelism," "dangling modifier," or "verb agreement." One suggestion I give students is to buy a good, cheap "Handbook for Writers." They include basic grammar and can be found in any used bookstore. Then as a teacher you need to show them how to use the index.

For students who want to write beyond the basics, I recommend William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's Elements of Style, it is well worth studying. It's super short—the copy I have is only 85 pages—and worth the read.

Here's a few basic grammar tips for the things I see most often:

• Avoid overuse of the verb "to be" (is, was, were, are, been, being)
My favorite professor's pet peeve.

• Avoid starting sentences with "It," "There is," or "There was." When you do it sounds like amateur hour, especially when you use them over and over, then it just gets annoying.

• Limit common dialect and contractions to dialogue, and then use sparingly.

• Do NOT use text messaging language in papers. While this form of verbal short hand is good for taking notes, it is not appropriate in any college level paper or manuscript.

• Avoid the overuse of "I". Many students have been taught by their high school teachers to avoid I because it leads to too much personal opinion. In college, on the other hand, professors strive towards informed personal opinions. The problem lies in finding ten "I"s on a single page, or a paper where every other sentence starts with "I did this" or "I believe that." Again, repetition just gets annoying.

• And the first of my personal favorites (meaning, "the hardest error for me to break"): avoid Yoda speak, i.e. the pointy-eared little monk from Star Wars. "Tax returns they have filed," should be "Filed tax returns." "The newspaper was taken by the dog," should be, "The dog took the newspaper." "Plans to marry," should be, "Marriage plans."

• Favorite bad habit number two (yes, that's mine): Contrary to purple pens, adjectives and adverbs often do not strengthen verbs, they weaken them.

     held tightly = gripped, clutched

     froze over completely = froze

     wrapped tightly = bundled

     pull energetically = jerk

     moved slowly = sauntered

     sat heavily = plopped

     desperately wanted = desired

• Which leads to favorite bad habit no. 3: When the crew of the USS Enterprise decided to "Boldy go where no man has gone before" they split their infinitives. They should have decided “To go boldly where no man has gone before." A split infinitive occurs when an adverb or adverbial phrase is placed between to and the verb.

School House ROCK

I use "School House Rock" as a refresher and then ask students to define the grammar term and provide an example in a complete sentence. These short videos are memorable and fun, but BEWARE, you'll be singing "Conjunction Junction, what's your function," for the rest of the day.

And you can explain rhetoric at the same time? Remember, nostalgia is a great selling point, and as teachers we are selling the proper use of the English language all the time.

Mr. Morton - Subjects and Predicates


Verb: That's What's Happening

Conjunction Junction

Rufus Xavier Sarsasparilla (Pronoun)

Busy Prepositions

Unpack your Adjectives


Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here

Online Grammar RESOURCES

Cengage Learning - These grammar quizzes can be emailed to the instructor and cover everything from subjects and verbs in simple sentences to capitalization and punctuation. Quizzes take anywhere from three to five minutes to complete and there are about 100 to choose from. I often use as an extra credit possibility.

Identifying Sentence Errors - SAT Practice Test - Sentences ask students to identify specific errors. There is also a "show me the answer" option with an explanation of the error.

Grammar COMICS
Grammar can be fun?
brought to you by The Oatmeal

How and why to use Whom in a sentence - he=who, him=whom

How to use an apostrophe - "The soldiers' rifles were no match for Bob's amazing lightning pants."

How to use a semicolon - the most feared punctuation on earth.

How to use "literally" - without exaggeration.

Ten Words you need to stop misspelling - "alot is not a word, you don't write alittle or abunch..."

When to use i.e. in a sentence - "The best way to take out a unicorn is with a claymore, i.e. a directional mine which explodes shrapnel into a designated kill zone."

Online Writing LABS

Owl at Purdue - A great site for basic grammar and citation questions. From practice questions to tips for avoiding plagiarism and writing a résumé, there is something here for every college student.

Hypergrammar - University of Ottawa Writing Centre - Lots of basic grammar pages with lots of good examples, but they use British spellings . . . like centre rather than center, so beware.