Ms. Gokturk

Writing for the 21st Century




The second half of this course asks you to think critically about issues in our world. You will choose to write about many of the issues raised in your journals. Your journal will keep a record of your perspective.


Use the following guidelines and topics to guide your critical eye. Look at your home, community, school, and world. Observe those around you, teachers, students, parents, police, and watch the news, read the newspaper. Notice how types of people are represented in ads and TV shows. Look around! What is wrong with what you see? Where do you see good things?


How are notebooks graded?

You will be provided with a start date and an end date. You should have one entry for each date. Each entry will receive 10 points and will be graded on the following criteria:


·        the entry is at least 1-2 pages each

·        the entry is dated and titled

·        is legible and carefully written (PLEASE!)

·        shows active involvement in the class (incorporates points from class discussion, continues a class comment, asks questions and attempts to answer questions left unsaid or incomplete)

·        is thoughtful and includes meaningful writing

·        is original writing and not plagiarized

·        is proofread for content and mechanics

·        shows effort and thought (please no junk)

·        the entry has demonstrated critical thinking about the world, local or global


Please complete the entries for the dates indicated.

You may write about the topic for that entry in your own way as long as you address the topic. Some guidelines have been provided to help you think and observe.


For Wed 4/6

JOURNAL 1: Stereotypes & Equality. Write an entry that focuses on how people are not always treated equally or at a disadvantage/advantage because of stereotypes. Consider groups of people.  Individuals can be seen as members of groups. Analyze the attitudes, beliefs, feelings you see in some of the groups around you. Some groups just are and cannot be “chosen”: males, females, Latinos, blacks, whites, Asians, poor, rich, gay, straight, old….). Other groups are groups of choice (jocks, drama people, Goths, skinheads, conservatives, liberals, gangs, etc.). Within groups or between groups, you’ll see inequalities of power and/or expression. Ask yourself if the playing field is fair. Why do people choose a group? How can people break out of a group?  What are the stereotypes of the groups you are observing? How does this impact your perception?


For Thursday 4/7

JOURNAL 2: Gender Issues. Write an entry that illustrates how you observe how females and males are treated by each other and teachers in our school.  Thinking about gender involves thinking about how both females and males are represented and treated in our culture. Look at how males and females are treated in regards to strength/power, action, importance, respect, opportunity, relationships, looks, etc.


For Friday 4/8

JOURNAL #3: Discrimination. Write an entry that examines how the different races or groups in our school or society interact. How is similar or different to what you see in the media or what you would like to see? What are the stereotypes of the different races and do you see them at Schreiber? Do they influence your perception of strangers? You may also want to examine: Language. There are plenty of stereotypes about language. Think about your assumptions of others and what others assume of you, either locally or from a bigger picture. Think about what you think of people with thick accents (Long Island, Asian, Urban, Southern, Russian, Hispanic, etc.). What sorts of stereotypes do you have about these people? What do others see when they see/hear you?


For Monday 4/11

JOURNAL # 4: Class Issues. Examine how money plays a role at Schreiber.

How does money impact students’ lives? Most money is in few people’s hands. Where is the money? How divided is this community? Other places? Consider how money determines where one attends college, or examine what some have and others don’t. Where do you fall? How does this make you feel for the other groups?


For Tuesday 4/12

Journal #5: Self Esteem & Self-Perception. What are some problems with teens today about their views of self and others? Consider how teachers/parents/friends sometimes don’t want to tell a person they are wrong, while other times can cause great damage by being harsh…


For Wednesday 4/13

Journal #6: The Environment. Examine the world around you, our water, our natural resources. What is going on here and elsewhere? Recall your travels. Examine your actions on recycling, littering, what products you use. What does your family do? Rethink where you could cut back should you think it necessary.


For Thursday 4/14

Journal #7: Relationships and Families. What is the “typical” American family? How do you perceive where you fall? What kinds of problems does your family (or other families you know) experience? Is peer pressure a problem?


For Friday 4/15

Journal #8: Violence and Peace. Pay attention to the violence you see or experience. Analyze the type of violence and what causes it, and how it may be stopped. Consider domestic abuse, bullying, or greater incidents of violence like war.


For Monday 4/18

Journal #9: Ethics & Honesty. Are we honest? Are you honest? Is cheating a problem? Are people faithful? Examine some of the problems you see and experience. Examine other people’s manners as well as your own. Do you respect others? Do they afford you respect, too?


For Tuesday 4/19

Journal #10: Health. Consider some health issues that you see in our school and what causes them. Drugs, steroids, overeating, smoking, anorexia, stress, drinking, etc. are all real teen issues. Observe where you see them occurring in your school and groups. Why is this like this?


TOTAL: 100 points to be collected on 4/20 Thursday.