University of Minnesota
teaching with writing
center for writing

Teaching With Writing.Center for Writing's home page.


On writing in English (for use in syllabi)

English majors are often expected to naturally write well. However, writing about literature (in English and other languages) is both an art and a craft. Students are often asked to perform literary analysis on aspects of narrative, character development, style, and genre, while situating literature historically, culturally, and aesthetically. Transforming reading and interpretation into analytical and argumentative essays is not the only kind of writing valued in the Department of English, which also nurtures creative writers. Writing poetry, prose, drama, memoire, and creative nonfiction require an advanced level of self awareness and a nuanced understanding of language.

Sample syllabi in English

English 1201W | Introduction to American Literature
Three 4-page papers and an expanded revision (7 pages) of one paper

English 1301W | Multicultural American Literature
Portfolio, daily papers, presentation

English 3006W | Survey of American Literature and Cultures II
Five essays

English 3090 | Dickinson, Emerson, Whitman: American Identity in the 19th Century
Summer class with short papers

Sample assignments in English

English 1201W | Paper 1 Assignment Sheet
4-page paper with suggested topics and grading criteria

English 1201W | Paper 2 Assignment Sheet
4-page paper with suggested topics and required MLA citations

English 1201W | Paper 3 and Revision Assignments Sheet
4-page paper with suggested topics, peerwork, and revision instructions

English 3001W | Writing Assignments for Textual Analysis: Methods
daily paragraphs and a term paper with sequenced stages

English 3005W | Response 2
2-page paper with suggested topics and grading criteria

English 3005W | Research Paper Draft and Revision
6- to 8-page paper using primary and secondary sources

Sample responding activities and handouts in English

English 3006W | Informal, Anonymous Mid-Term Evaluations
Handout assessing student engagement, preparation, and satisfaction

English 3006W | Peer Workshop for Final Paper
Handout asking students to assess where they need peer help

Sample grading grids in English

English 201 | Holistic Portfolio for Final Evaluation
Tool for differentiating individual and peer work assessment

English 3601 | Grading Rubric for Notebook: Informal Writing
Tool for assessing students' informal writing.

English 3006W | Paper 2 “Informed Opinion Essay: Article Review and Critique”
Portfolio grading sheet with general and assignment-specific criteria

Additional writing resources for instructors in English

Literary Criticism (Writing Commons)

Library Support for Instructors

Additional writing resources for students in English

OWL's Writing about Literature (Purdue)

How to Review a Play (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

How to Read a Poem (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Using Literary Quotations (University of Wisconsin - Madison)