As I worked out a version of the syllabus (see Kate's sample syllabus), I built in multiple opportunities for students to write on topics that would fit the first two essay assignments. Typically, I give students less formal prompts, such as my Daily writing tasks, to get them started on this informal writing. I usually wouldn't give out the detailed assignments sheets linked below until after students have drafted one or two attempts at the general topic. Then I talk about how to revise the informal work to meet the specific goals of the assignment as outlined on the assignment sheet. You'll notice that because I ask students to specify their target audiences, I have revised this element of the assignment sheet, as well as some of the strategies for completing the paper.