Wildfire in the west

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WRTG 3020 -038, -048 Spring ‘08
Instructor: Tory Tuttle

Office: Temporary Building 1, Rm. 204 (TB-1 is east of Sewall Hall and west of Clare Small Gym)

Mailbox: In the hall on the left, after you enter TB-1 through the main door.

Office Hours: MW 1:30-3:00, or by appointment

Office phone: (303) 492-6011

E-Mail Address: Victoria.tuttle@colorado.edu

Course Description: Thirteen young firefighters were killed in August 1949 when a Montana wildfire exploded into an inferno. In his book Young Men and Fire, Norman Maclean searches for the story of that fire, the Mann Gulch fire, and ponders lessons to be learned from it. In Fire on the Mountain his son, John Maclean, analyzes a strikingly similar fire—the South Canyon Fire--that killed fourteen firefighters in 1994. Clearly, the lessons from the Mann Gulch fire had been, too soon, forgotten. When man runs up against wildfire, a necessary component of most natural ecosystems, questions arise for which there are no easy answers. In this course we’ll draw on issues of firefighting, fire control, technology, and decision-making as we enhance critical thinking skills and delve into inquiry based writing. We’ll analyze successful firefighting plans and plans gone awry. We’ll examine not only the issues, but also the choices a writer makes as she writes about such issues. During the course, along with many short assignments, you’ll write two major papers—one analytical and one argumentative—on wildfire issues that particularly interest you. Drafts of these papers will be the principal text of the course, which is an intensive writing workshop. By developing your critical thinking skills and focusing on strategies of analysis and argument, this course will help you improve your ability to communicate your ideas effectively through clear, strong writing.

Texts Norman Maclean, Young Men and Fire

John Maclean, Fire on the Mountain

Alianor True, Wildfire: a Reader

Your writing

Your journal (a loose-leaf binder that will hold your journal pages and short assignments)

Occasions (available online )

Readings on Electronic Reserve (see below under “Email; on-line materials”)

A good writing handbook (such as Ann Raimes, Pocket Keys for Writers. Use a recent handbook that includes a section on documenting internet sources in MLA style.)

Coursework: You will have frequent short assignments, as you read, analyze, and react to assigned readings. These assignments will go in your loose-leaf binder. In addition, you will write and revise several drafts of your two major papers and you will present drafts of these papers in workshop. You will be expected to work on these drafts throughout the semester, even on days when your draft may not come up for discussion. While the drafts will, at first, be short, and while the working drafts will not be graded, I expect you to give considerable thought and attention to all drafts you turn in.

Attendance: Attendance is required—we need your input. I allow three absences, excused or unexcused, but after that,you will lose five points from your final grade for each subsequent absence. If you do miss a class, please contact another student to find out what happened in class. You are responsible for knowing what went on. Moreover, if you miss a class before a workshop day, please pick up and prepare the drafts for that next workshop. (Those drafts will be in my mailbox, on the 1st floor of TB-1). Come to class prepared and on time; late arrivals count as absences.
Email, on-line materials: We will frequently use email communication. Please check your email account several times each week, particularly on days when drafts are circulated. If you live off campus, to access databases and on-line library materials such as eReserves and the Library Research Tutorial, you need to be authenticated as a CU student. See the Libraries website < http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu>. Under “Services” click on “Off campus access;”then follow the instructions.
To access Electronic Reserve materials (eReserves) go to the Libraries website, Under “Research Resources” click on “Course Reserves/E-Reserves.” You’ll then see: “Reserve lists by instructor or class”. Enter my last name (Tuttle) or the class (WRTG 3020). Follow the links to access a list of the readings for the class. Print out a copy, complete the assignment, and bring the article to class on the day the assignment is due.
Workshop: In workshop we’ll collaborate to help class members revise their work. Of course this act carries with it an obligation for civil discussion and understanding the needs of the workshop’s other members. See http://www.colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html for information about classroom conduct. After you receive the workshop schedule, it will be your responsibility, about once a week, to prepare 19 copies of your draft for workshop (photocopying is a textbook cost). Copies are due at the beginning of class, one class before the day your workshop is scheduled. Unless you have made prior arrangements with me, I will only accept a draft or paper on or before the date due. Failure to turn in drafts on time will lower the final grade of your paper. I will take five points off the final grade for each time you fail to turn in a draft on time. (Allow time for printer problems. Plan ahead to have money to make copies. Staple pages before class.) In workshop we will critique the drafts, point out strengths and weaknesses, present options for revision. You’ll find, as you give and receive feedback in the supportive workshop environment, that you’ll begin to view your own work in a new way. Keep in mind that major papers must be reviewed several times in workshop.

Participation: Your participation is essential for classroom discussion and workshop, so be sure you pick up, read, and mark the papers of your colleagues before class. Come to class ready to comment on their papers. Failure to prepare for workshop ahead of time will hurt your participation grade. Ten percent of your grade depends on participation.
Paper Format: Except for double entry journals, and in class assignments, all short assignments and drafts must be typed, double-spaced, with at least 1” margins on all sides. Please include in the heading: your name, my name, the course number, your workshop group (if any), and the due date. I will provide specific instructions and schedules for major papers. Be sure you keep a copy of every paper you turn in, in the unlikely event that the original paper gets lost. Save all materials (papers, notes, short assignments, etc) on your computer and back them all up on a flash drive, floppy disk, or. . .) Keep all returned short assignments, handouts, and instructions in your journal binder. For short assignments be sure to include the due date and assignment title in the heading. All work must be original and written for this class. All quotations, research, etc. must be properly documented, using MLA style (see me if you wish to use another style such as APA).
Plagiarism: Your work must be original. If you present the work or ideas of someone else as your own, you are plagiarizing. If you fail to use quotation marks for directly quoted work, if you fail to document another’s ideas, if you document falsely, if you submit someone else’s work as your own, you are plagiarizing. Any paper that contains plagiarism will fail; plagiarism is grounds for failing the course. See the Student Honor Code, http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html.
GRADING: Grading standards are rigorous. The grades of your two major papers, short assignments (including journal assignments), participation, and attendance will determine your final grade.
Grade Breakdown:

Analytical Essay: 30%

Argumentative Essay: 30%

Journal and Short Assignments (includes summaries): 30%

Participation: 10%

(Also remember that attendance can affect your grade.)

Grading Standards

A: A paper that is exceptional in form and content; original, substantive, insightful, beautifully organized. Clear, graceful, error-free style.

B: A clearly written, well-developed, very interesting paper that shows above average thought and writing craft. No major flaws.

C: A reasonably well-organized paper that works to supports a thesis. It may have unresolved problems in presentation and distracting grammatical errors and stylistic flaws. A mixture of strengths and weaknesses. A paper that works to fulfill the basic requirements of the assignment.

D: A paper seriously deficient in content, form, style, or mechanics. It may be disorganized, illogical, confusing, unfocused, or contain pervasive errors that impair readability.

F: A paper that is incoherent, disastrously flawed, unacceptably late, plagiarized, or nonexistent.

Disabilities: If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Willard 322, 303-492-8671, or www.colorado.edu/disabilityservices. Whether you “qualify” for accommodations or not, please let me know if your learning style varies significantly from the norm. Most likely we can work out our own accommodations.
Religious Observance. In accordance with university policy, I will make reasonable accommodation for religious observance. If, because of your observance, any conflicts come up with work due, talk to me so we can reschedule. See http://www.colorado.edu/policies/fac_relig.html.
Also, be sure you are familiar with University policies on

Sexual Discrimination http://www.colorado.edu/policies/discrimination.html .

and the Honor Code (http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html  .

Double Entry Journal (DEJ) Instructions

When you read, read actively. Use your pencil to mark anything that strikes you: important ideas, concepts, anything that is confusing. Write questions and comments in the margins. Also, keep a “double entry journal” (DEJ) on the readings as you read, or after you have read and marked significant passages. To create a DEJ divide a notebook page in two. On the left, quote the text for a passage that catches you interest or bothers you. On the right, respond to the text—see below. Be sure to note page numbers and paragraph #s for each passage. At the top of the page note the bibliographic information of the source.


What the text says. What I think

Write out the passage: any- Write out your response in

thing that interests you, surprises sentences.

you, confuses you.
Write down material accurately. Give quick thoughts,

Use direct quotes, paraphrase, or fastwrite


List questions you have.

Indicate beginning and end of passage Tell what bothers you.


As you read or reread, move back and forth from one column to the other. Explore your responses. Make connections to other ideas. Analyze.

(Adapted from Ballenger Bruce and Michelle Payne, The Curious Reader, New York: Longman, 2003, 29; and Ballenger, Bruce, The Curious Researcher, New York: Longman, 2004, 147.)

SCHEDULE FOR THE COURSE—n.b. schedule may be adjusted.

(With a pencil, respond actively to the readings in your book. Feel free to read full chapters instead of trying to locate the selections I’ve chosen. Except where noted, the selections beginnings and endings coincide with chapter or section beginnings and endings.
Along with each reading assignment , you’ll respond to the reading with some kind of short assignment:

DEJ: Please keep a “double entry journal”. Two sides of a page, or so, is fine. Don’t let the DEJ take over

or you won’t have time to read.

Short assignment: I’ll give you specific instructions for that day’s short assignment.

Reaction paragraph: In a paragraph (or two) react to an issue that particularly interests. This is informal

writing—just let yourself go.

5 imp. points: List 5 of the most significant points of the selection—significant for you.

Summary: Write a brief summary. Instructions will follow.)

Week 1—Policies. Reading discussion.

Due: W 1/16DEJ “Publisher’s note”(xiii-xiv)

Young Men and Fire, Chapters 1-5, (19-109)
Week 2-- Reading discussion. Introductions.

Due: W 1/23Short assignment

Young Men and Fire, Chapter 6 (115-123)

Chapter 7 (124-134)

Chapter 8 (144, 1st full para.-->145, end of 1st full para.)

Chapter 9 (164, para. 1) (176, 1st full para.—>181)

Chapter 10 (189, para. 1& 2) ( 195,1st \ full para. , ending on “Aug. 5, 1949”) (204 (1st full para. “I told Laird” 207)

Chapter 11 (209-222)

Chapter 12 (223-228) (241, 2nd full para. and 3rd para.) (256) (257, last para.—266)

Chapter 14 (267-278) (282-289) (296-301).

Week 3 -- Reading discussion; summary, analysis discussion; questions at issue.

Due: M 1/28—Thoele, “Fireline” in Wildfire (WF)--DEJ.

W 1/30 Williams, “Incineration of Yellowstone” (in WF)--Summary (½ --1 page).

Bring Occasions essays.

Week 4 – Discuss structure--analytical essay; analysis topics. Anal essay—thesis paragraph, workshop.

Due: M 2/4—Murphy, “Form and the Essay” (eReserve)—5 imp. points. Wildfire (WF) intro xiii-xxiv--Reaction paragraph.

Due: W 2/6 – Pyne, “The Big Blowup” (WF)--Reaction paragraph. Thesis paragraphs (19 copies).
Week 5—Thesis paragraph workshop. Who’s Kicking Who?” video. Anal. Essay—1st draft

Due: W 2/13— Lanham (eRes)—read; p. 6-7, revise 2 sent.. Anal. essay--1st draft (19 copies).

Week 6 – Anal. essay--1st draft, workshop. Discuss WF essays.

Due: W 2/20WF part III, intro--read. Part III --select one essay--DEJ.

Week 7-- Analytical essay--1st draft, workshop. Discuss readings. Language work

Due: W 2/27 WF Part III-- select one essay--Summary (1/2—1 page). Analytical essay--2nd draft (10 copies).

Week 8 – Analytical essay--2nd draft, workshop.

Due: W 3/5 -- Begin reading Fire on the Mountain.

Week 9 – Analytical essay workshop.

Due: W 3/12 Fire on the Mountain, Chapters 1-5--DEJ

Week 10 -- Discuss readings, argument, topics.

Due: M 3/17 -- Analytical essay—final draft (attach early drafts). Bring Occasions essays.

W 3/19-- Fire on the Mountain, Chapters 6-10, 18--Short assignment.
Week 12 – Argument topics; discuss readings.

Due: M 3/31 -- Junger, “Blowup ” (eReserve)--Reaction paragraph (This article is

comparatively short. You can also catch up on the earlier reading assignments).

Bring Occasions essays.

W 4/2 -- Argumentative essay—“1st draft”, 20 copies.
Week 13 -- Argumentative essay—“1st draft” workshop.

Due: M 4/7 --Library Research Tutorial—Module 3, “Evaluate.”

W 4/9-- Library Research Tutorial—Module 4, “Cite.”
Week 14 – Citations. Argumentative essay—2nd draft workshop.

Due: M 4/14— Argumentative essay—2nd draft (10 copies).

W 4/16- WF Part III--select one essay: DEJ.
Week 15 -- Argumentative essay—full draft workshop.

Due: M 4/21--WF Part I & II--select one essay: Reaction paragraph

W 4/23--WF--select one essay: Three interpretive discussion questions.

Week 16 –Argumentative essay workshop

Due: M 4/28-- Complete Workshop; catch up.

W 4/30 -- Argumentative essay –final draft.

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