SPAN 452: Advanced Writing in Spanish
Rei Berroa Office: 215E Thompson Hall
TWR 14:45-15:45 or by appointment
Spanish 452 Meets Krug Hall 209
T&R 16:30 - 19:10  Tel.: 703 993-1241      Fax: 703 993-1245

Valdés, Dvorak and Hannum: Composición: Proceso y síntesis. McGraw Hill, Tercera edición, 1999.
[Text and Cuaderno de práctica.]
The Oxford Spanish Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, latest edition.
R.H. Pierson, Guide to Spanish Idioms/Guía de modismos españoles. Lincolnwood:
NTC, 1985.
Noble/LaCasa, Complete Handbook of Spanish Verbs. Lincolnwood: NTC, 1990.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, latest edition [highly recommended]

E-mail mason account and access to internet necessary. E-mail will be one of the communicating channels used in this class and the web will be used constantly to generate information for writing and in-class discussion.

The objective of this course is the student's written proficiency on topics of current interest: art, politics, general culture, family life, health, even sports and religion. In order to achieve this goal, the class period is going to be divided into segments which will cover different aspects of written and oral communication. We hope to accomplish this proficiency through class discussion and constant written reports. Besides the textbooks, other selected material might be used to generate interaction: short stories, poems, magazine or newspaper articles, and movie segments. Students should also have daily access to newspapers written in Spanish from other countries or from the area (La Prensa, El Tiempo Latino, El Pregonero, among others).  All this material will be used as secondary source for classroom presentations, individual observations, and group discussion.

This course fulfills the writing intensive requirement in the Spanish major. You will sharpen your writing skills by composing drafts of five major writing projects: a description (in-class project of about 400 words, not graded), a narration (length related to the intensity of the chosen subject), an exposition (this will be your oral presentation based on a written text of about 500 words), an essay (about 1000 words), and a research paper (about 1500 words). You will also have to be in constant contact with the old wine of idiomatic expressions (a fixed number of which must be learned for every class and must be used in weekly written projects). Finally all students will have to write a diario.  In this diary you will present each day things that are of interest to you, comments on events in your life or in the life of the community, reactions to political or social happenings, etc. There must be an entry for every day of the semester so that you show that every day you took the time to comment on something. Being this a confidential text, only you and your professor will have access to this part of the class, which could be requested at any time to make sure that this important exercise is being done. In order to leave its spontaneity intact it won't be "corrected."

Each one of you will belong to a grupo de consulta (three or four classmates with which you will consult and share your work during the process of composition, except the last stage). The process will be as follows: a first draft will be asked from you, then the instructor will read and indicate the areas that need correction, you will meet with your grupo, discussing all aspects of the text (form, tone, lexical or grammatical problems, etc.), and finally you will bring your corrected final version of your work and a grade will be assigned.

Class attendance and participation are mandatory to succeed in this course.  No work will be accepted without corrections. Failure to bring the report on the assigned date will mean an automatic rejection of the project unless a valid reason for the delay is given. All exercises will have to be done before coming to class, double-spaced and with ample margins. Remember that I am here to help you improve your writing skills, not to tell you how wonderful you are.  Every time you get back your written report, bear in mind two things: first, that your teacher is not a cheerleader; and second, that no one is ever done when it comes to writing. So every one -including myself- needs improvement. The axiom for this class is that no writing will be learned without writing every day.

You are also responsible for reading a Spanish paper every day. As mentioned before, you will be asked to inform your classmates about your findings on the news of your choice at every class. [Click on QUIOSCO to see newspapers from the Spanish-speaking world].

From your readings and curiosity, you should set a goal of being in contact with about 100 new words every day. The dictionary should help you there (check for Spanish Diccionarios on the web). If you reach this goal, your vocabulary could grow tremendously by the end of the semester. If you add to that your constant encounter with the idiomatic expressions, the refranes and popular sayings, the trabalenguas (tonguetwisters), jokes, songs, and the adivinanzas, this class could become a gold mine for you.  Of great interest for all should be the portal of the Academia de la Lengua and the Centro Virtual Cervantes that you should visit from time to time to find out what is the Center doing to maintain alive the cultural heritage of the language we are studying. You could also benefit from visiting the portal of Página del Idioma Español that gives information about issues related to the Spanish language and its culture. Click here for a page dedicated to essays in Spanish on contemporary issues of all kinds. You can also listen to Spanish speaking radio stations from all over the world.

As I said above, there will also be a daily exercise on memorizing and writing with idiomatic expressions. This work, though not graded, will be an important part of your final grade, since you are expected to use these expressions in your everyday conversation and writing assignments. Some group discussion about what you tried to say and didn't say in every written assignment will take place every day too.

Your final grade will be evaluated as follows:
Class participation:        10%
Assignments:                  65%
          [Narration 10 / Exposition 10 / Essay 20 / Paper 25]
Diario:                           10%
Idiomatic Expressions:  15%

All work in this schedule includes the sections in your Cuaderno de práctica that refer to these chapters
October 16- 18: Description

October 16:  General introduction to the course
In-class composition (ungraded)
October 18: Review of descriptive paragraphs

 October 18-30:  Narration

 October 18:  Chapter 2, pp. 34-51
 October 23: First draft of narration due
                              In-class discussion and rewriting
 October 25 Chapter 2, pp. 52-62
October 30:  Second draft of narration due

 October 30-November 8:  Exposition

October 30:  Chapter 3, pp. 63-96
November 1: First draft of exposition due
                            In-class rewriting and discussion
November 6:  Chapter 4, pp. 104-135
November 8:  Second draft of exposition due 

November 8-20:  Argumentation [Essay]

November 8:  Chapter 5, pp. 148-177
November 13:  First draft of argumentation due
                          In-class rewriting and discussion
November 15:  Chapter 6, pp. 186-229
November 20:  Second draft of argumentation due

November 20-December 6:  Research

November 20:  Footnoting and bibliography
November 27:  First draft of research paper due
                        In-class rewriting and discussion
November 29: Work in the Library 
                                          In-class rewriting and discussion
December 4-6:  Work in the Library
                                           In-class rewriting and discussion
December 10: Second draft of research paper due