Skip to contentSkip to Main Site NavigationSkip to Site Left NavigationSkip to Site Utility NavigationSkip to Site SearchSkip to FooterDownload Adobe Reader
English 120 impact banner
Home » People » Karl Sherlock » English 120 » Resources » xrcs | Things You Know

Everything You Know Or Think You Know

This simple exercise has three parts.


Get into small groups of five or six and introduce yourselves to one another using your Writing Sample as a starting point:  what is your name and what is something interesting about you that will help others to remember you.


Once introductions have been made, solicit a volunteer in your group who will write down the decisions your group makes about the following three tasks; do these in exactly the order presented here:

Task #1.

Writing down everything you know or think you know about me (i.e., your instructor, Karl Sherlock), from the obvious details (professional, physiological, physiognomic) to what you believe to be my hidden traits (my interests outside of the classroom; my hobbies; my viewing habits; the kind of music I listen to; the kind of car I drive; where I live; my background; my upbringing; my goals; etc.)

Task #2.

Based solely on the your answers to the Task #1, set up a charitable cause (such as a foundation, trust, a scholarship, or a grant) in my name and explain what its mission would be and why.  Be prepared to tell the class how you arrived at these decisions by connecting them to specific traits you know or think you know about me in Task #1.  (If you cannot do this easily, then you should back into your list for Task #1 and add or revise some of the traits so that they do connect.NOTE: Everyone already assumes that being an educator is a calling; try to "think outside the box" for this and consider a less obvious charity or cause.

Task #3.

Choose a name for this charitable cause that would adequately capture the spirit of your answers in Task #2 and, if ever introduced to the public, would appropriately advertise it to them.  Treat it as you would a product name or the name of a new hospital wing, or a newly dedicated library, but sell the idea of its mission in whatever name you give it.



The goal of this exercise is to test your abilities to "filter" information and to examine it so that you may arrive at an interpretation and identify an underlying agenda behind it.  In short, you have "read" me like a text, a collection of details to classify me, bring a focus to me, and highlight an underlying agenda or purpose.  The crux of the matter, then is in narrowing a focus progressively until a purpose can be identified:

a general focus                                               = SUBJECT
featured themes or commonalities                    = TOPIC
a point of view or argument about the topic      = THESIS


Apparent features; established truths:  observations; events; collected data, such as statistical information
Claims of Fact


Assumptions that can be made safely based on the facts:  extrapolations; predictions; interpretations

Repertoires of Experience

Personal Filters
Cultural Biases
Societal Norms
Common Contexts

Claims of Value


Reading and Response

Highlighting and Annotation

Single out certain features of the text.
Comment on those in the margins with questions about

    1. meaning
    2. your feelings or opinions (self-analysis)
    3. your questions about the writer's intentions or agendas:
      1. Why was this work written?  To inform?  To persuade? To explain?  To entertain?
      2. For whom is intended?  (audience)  What do you know about the audience?  What do you not know about it? What inferences and assumptions can you make about it that help you to understand the intentions of the work?
      3. Why should I care?  What is the value of this work to me? How should I use it, or apply it in my life?  How should it change me?
Last Updated: 01/13/2016


Karl J. Sherlock
Associate Professor, English
Office Hours: 558A (inside Bldg. 52)
Phone: 619-644-7871

  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District