Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!

I hope that Santa brought you EVERYTHING that you asked for.  Did you ask for some books, or Amazon Kindle gift cards?


Enjoy this time with your family and friends!

Love ya!

Dr. Cee

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Holidays/Recent article

Dear Students and Parents:

Happy Holidays!  I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

I wanted to share my recent article with you:

I cannot encourage students enough to engage in leisure reading.  Reading and writing are intertwined.  If students elect not to read, it will come out in the "wash" (i.e. their writing).  On average, students should be reading on a nightly basis.  Parents with Christmas break two weeks away, I encourage you to:

* Put some books in your children's Christmas stockings
* Enforce reading time in your household
* Read along with your children
* Quiz them about the books that they are reading
* Have your children read the newspaper

Then, see how the above pointers influence your learner's grade.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Strengthening your academic vocabulary skills

Dear Students:

I hope that you enjoyed your three day weekend!

As an instructor, I have witnessed many students struggle with their vocabulary skills.  At times, some find it difficult to answer test questions, because the vocabulary found in the questions is too challenging (for them).  Also, when asking questions from the textbook aloud, students have oftentimes asked for clarification.

What steps are you taking to ensure that your academic vocabulary is grade-appropriate?

If your vocabulary is stagnant, you will find that your writing is not growing.  Please review the following information:

Weekly, you should:

1. Try and learn five new words per week.
2. Write these words into sentences
3. Use these words in your daily writing activities

Friday, October 4, 2013

One Quarter Down. Three More to GO!

I cannot believe that the first nine weeks of school are over.  Didn't we just start the semester last week?  Time has flown by.  Truly, I am looking forward to having the next week off.  It is time to engage in some me-time and regroup.

How did you fare this quarter?  Were your grades strong, or is there need for improvement?  For many students, the first nine weeks is difficult.  Some spend the first month catching up with friends, meeting new acquaintances, and trying to "feel" their new instructors.

Spend the next week focusing on YOU.  Get some rest and be prepared to give your studies your full 100% starting on October 14th.

Have a wonderful and safe Fall Break!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Dear Readers:

Coach LaBrum deserves an award for his actions. I applaud him for letting not only his players, but his community know who is in CHARGE.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thank you, HARVARD!

Thank you for opening the door for students who simply cannot be faulted for being poor.  Thank you for having a heart.  This article has really touched me.


Monday, September 23, 2013

"The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963: The Movie!"

Be sure to set your DVR to record this wonderful film adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis' novel!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Balancing Act

Dear Readers:

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend.  I have a series of conversations with students on a daily basis.  I have former FHE students, who are now trying to balance all of their Honors students; and, Juniors and Seniors, who are trying to juggle work and school.

I have some advice for you:  Enjoy your high school experience!  Although you are trying to multitask academics with work, do carve out some time for yourself.  This is essential, and most important, it is HEALTHY.  If you are not taking some "me time," the stress will eventually take its toll.

I speak from experience.  Throughout high school, college, and graduate school, I was 'chasing' that 'grade.' As I look back, I realize that I missed out on SO many wonderful dances, games, etc. . . I have only a few high school photos in contrast to the albums of pictures that I have taken since I received my doctorate.

Enjoy your life!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


On this day 50 years ago, four little African American girls died.  Their death opened the door for me and all those who have benefited from the Civil Rights Movement.

This post is dedicated to them.

Thank you, Carol, Addie Mae, Cynthia, and Denise.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Ain't Nobody Got Time For That": Concentrating in class

Dear Students:

We are approaching Week 5 in school.  The one issue that starts to emerge in classrooms across the nation is student disengagement.  By now, new friendships have been formed; old friends are bonding over similar summer experiences, and the gossip has started.

There is a time and a place for everything.  When instructors are teaching, that is the moment where you need to:

* Remain quiet
* Become focused

In essence, "ain't nobody got time" for unnecessary chatter.   For years, I have said, "Whatever is not being done in the classroom will come out in the wash" (i.e. gradebook).

In order to get my point across, I am sharing the following video with you:

Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Make sure that your "game" is tight: The benefits of using a day planner

Dear Students:

I hope that your first two weeks of school have been WONDERFUL!  I have been so busy.  The past ten business days have been an absolute blur.  I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to teach American Studies and Senior English.  My doctorate is in American Studies, and it is nice to demonstrate my expertise in the subject on a daily basis.

This year, it is mandatory that my students use a day planner.  My aim is to treat my learners as professionals.  As a professional, you must be organized.  Daily, I instruct my class to take out their day planner and record their assignment due dates. The usage of an agenda is not enough.  Students receive five agendas per week, and oftentimes, they are buried in their folders and never seen again.  Due dates should be located in one spot..  Thus far, the feedback has been positive.

To my former students, utilize the day planner that DV gave you during the first week of school.  You my elect to:

* highlight due dates in different colors (based on the subject)
* purchase binder clippers
* create reminder alarms in your cell phone

On a personal note, it has been wonderful seeing so many of my former Freshmen Honor English students.  Thank you for stopping me in the hallway and corridors.  As a reminder, I do offer tutoring services, and it begins today.  I am quite familiar with the Sophomore Honors curriculum since one of my "tutees" aced it last school year.

Go Thunder!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I will start the day tomorrow with a SMILE. . .": A New Year, A New Set of Rules, and a New Attitude

Dear Students:

I cannot believe that the 2013-2014 school year begins TOMORROW.  Where has the summer gone?  Did I really start this blog exactly a year ago tomorrow?!?!?!?  Yikes!

  I thoroughly enjoyed my break.  I have included some photos from my trip to Los Angeles.  I returned to Desert Vista last Thursday, and I have been nonstop busy since.  Also, I am including a photo of my former students (recent graduates).  They wanted to see me prior to leaving for college.  Truly, I was honored.  I wish them continued success!  They are a wonderful group of young women, and it was a pleasure of being their instructor/mentor.

Are you ready for your reading quiz?  :)  This year, Mrs. Wisenger and Mrs. Calo will be teaching Sophomore Honors English.  You are in excellent hands.  I look forward to hearing about your progress.  Be sure to review the pointers that I gave you regarding critical reading and analysis. 

I have a classroom - C 211!  Please feel free to stop by and say hello. 

By now, you have probably heard that President Barack Obama will be at Desert Vista on TUESDAY.  I am beyond excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I informed my grandmother, aka "CNN Reporter for the Geriatrics" about our great news.  She screamed, "WWWWHAT?!?!!"  This is a wonderful accomplishment. 

This year, I would like for you to build upon the skills that you learned during your Freshman year of high school.  Also, embrace the following advice:

1. Be a professional.
2. Refrain from idle gossip/being judgemental.
3. Take what you learn from one course and apply it across the curriculum.,
4. Help a lost Freshman.  As a reminder, you were a Freshman last year.  :)

I wish you a WONDERFUL return to campus!

Go Thunder!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Dear Students:

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing a former Freshmen Honors English student.  For the purpose of this post, I will call her Miss Aspire.  Last semester, I encouraged several students to apply to ASU's Upward Bound program.  Traditionally, Upward Bound was exclusive to minority students from households where the parents did not attend college.  Since affirmative action policies have been revised, UB is now open to all races.

Only one former student applied to UB.   SHE LOVED IT!  Without going into specifics, Miss Aspire was not inspired by the literature/assignments in FHE.  Her mother and I  struggled to help her meet the necessary expectations.  By March, 2013, a lightbulb went off, and she finally rose to the occasion.  I was in absolute shock when her mother informed me that Miss Aspire was selected as the top English student in the program.  Miss Aspire stated, "Dr. Cobb, I now know what an all-nighter is.. . .   I got a large cup of coffee, drank it, and wrote my paper all night long.  My roommate helped me.  I was so thankful to have this experience.  Thank you."

It is important to note that Miss A. received two awards during her summer participation.  This fall, she will be attending a  weekly Saturday class at ASU.

I took a photo with Miss Aspire (Y'all *know* that my camera is always with me).  I emailed the picture to Miss A's mother, and I received the nicest response back:

Thanks Dr Cobb for encouraging Miss Aspire to apply for the Upward Bound program. I believe I was more excited than she was when we got the call that she was accepted into the program. I cried tears of joy!  I know Miss Aspire didn't share with you that she made straight A's in the program and was  also recognized as 2013 top Aspire student. 

Thank you Dr Cobb for taking time out to push Miss Aspire to her fullest potential. 

I believe that I talked to my coworkers everyday about Miss Aspire being at ASU. I'm a very proud mom.

Again words can't express how grateful I am to you.

My aim has always been to challenge my students.  I wanted to them to "stretch" so that they could surpass the "norm."  Miss Aspire did.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Whole Month!

Dear Students:

Howdy!  It is hard to believe that school has been out for an entire month (It is always hard to believe that Christmas is exactly six months away)!!  How are you?  Are you enjoying your Summer vacation? For one student in particular, have you been eating your share of Dairy Queen ice cream cones?  :)

J., something tells me that you have read (and re-read) your Sophomore Honors English book, and you will probably be able to assist Mrs. Wiesinger/Mrs. Summers with teaching it.

Indeed, I am thoroughly enjoying my summer break.  I am thankful to the parents who have stopped me at Fry's Marketplace and profusely thanked me for challenging their child during the 2012-2013 school year.  Once again, thank you for your support!

GC, thank you for screaming my name while you were at the light near 50th and Ray Road.  Be sure to email me a copy of the photo that you took.

Next month, I will be flying to Los Angeles.  My brother is now Dr. Ryon Jayson Cobb.  The question that people have recently asked me is, "How did your parents manage to produce not one, but two children who have a Ph.D?"  I responded that they prayed and pushed us to do our best.

That's the recipe.

Ryon has accepted a Post Doctoral fellowship at The University of Southern California.  I am looking forward to leaving the 602 and the 100 and hell degree weather.

I hope that you are READING.  Please continue to hone your critical reading/thinking skills throughout the summer months.  You have a reading quiz during the first week of Sophomore Honors English.  Know your quotations!  Remember how to identify significant ones.

Since I believe in "practicing" what I "preach," I am currently reading:

Of course, I am capturing my Summer, 2013 via photos and scrapbooking.  It has been so nice to spend time with my friends.

Last week, members of the Senior English team had to report to campus in order to plan for the 2013-2014 school year.  Yes, teachers do work during the summer.  :)

I wanted to share this article with you.  The story truly captured my heart.  It only takes one teacher to truly to touch a child's heart.  Please share this story with your parents and friends:

Go Thunder!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Dear Students:

I hope that you are enjoying the second week of your summer vacation.  Are you feeling relaxed?

Indeed, I AM.  I am:

* Getting some rest
* Putting my brain on "ice"
* Scrapbooking - I am working on a Becky Higgins Project Life for my family

(  I purchased my kits @ Hobby Lobby.
* Reading.  Currently, I am reading Americanah.  Please spend some time reading on a daily basis.  It is imperative that you continue to hone your critical reading/thinking skills.

How are you coming along with Cyrano?

FYI:  Since I am no longer your instructor, I can offer my tutoring services to you.  Last year, I tutored students from Sophomore Honors English.  I am quite familiar with the curriculum.  Your parents' question may be:  "What were the results?"  My student

was exempt from his Spring Honors English Final examination.


His parents were extremely thankful for my assistance.  Also, I had an Advanced Composition student go from "F" to "B" work within weeks.

Typically, I tutor at the Ironwood Library

Cost:  $40/hr (per session)

We review the assigned literature's themes, characters, etc. . .   Also, I spend time helping students prepare for their writing assignments.  I have seen students go from "C" to "A" work under my guidance.

If you/your parents are interested, please email me at:

Sophomore Honors English is a WONDERFUL course.  The instructors are fabulous.  Please do note that the work, however, is rather challenging.

Key pointers:

* Visit the instructors' Fusion pages.  Review some of their agendas and essay topics
* Start reading your book within the next couple of weeks.  Take notes.  Highlight the information.
* Create study guides/quizzes for yourself.
* Use the strategies that I gave you throughout the 2012-2013 academic year
* Review your Turn It In feedback.  What were your writing strengths? Weaknesses?  Work on your weaknesses over the Summer break.

Go Thunder!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Dear Students:

I do apologize for the delay.  The past month has been a whirlwind of grading and answering questions.  I cannot believe that today, the last day of the 2012-2013 school year has arrived.

HOORAY! HOORAY!  HOORAY!  As the late Michael Jackson said, "THIS IS IT!!!!"

I would like to thank you for a WONDERFUL school year.  It has been amazing to see your growth in  regards to critical reading/thinking and writing.

Please remain in touch throughout the summer.  I will be updating my blog on a weekly basis.

Now, put on your favorite sneakers, and get ready to do the Cupid Shuffle!  Trust me, I will be shuffling all the way home starting @ 3:12pm.

Love y'all!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Gal, You Better Know Your Place": Harper Lee, Jim Crow, and Racism in 2013

This week, my Freshmen and I will be reading Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.  In order to prepare for this journey, I have been reviewing information regarding Jim Crow.  Also, I saw 42.  While in the theater, I asked myself the following question:

Does Jim Crow still exist?

My response:  Yes.

Last week, I asked my Freshmen what was the relevance of teaching Lee's novel in 2013.  Surprisingly, the majority of my students stated that due to America's issues with race, the book must be taught.  Inwardly, I agreed.  Despite the fact that President Obama was re-elected, racism is alive and well in 2013.   As a woman of color, who holds a Ph.D., I am constantly having to "prove" myself.  I've had to bite my tongue so hard that I am surprised that I have any taste buds. One of the worst incidents of racism that I have experienced occurred two years ago.  A former colleague said, "Dr. Cobb, would you please "water down" your vocabulary?  It makes others feel somewhat inferior." 

How does one even begin to respond to a comment of this nature?  

Yesterday, I sat back and watched the depiction of Jackie and Rachel Robinson's life.  I watched as Hollywood attempted to share Mr. Robinson's ordeals with his teammates and America.  It was the "salve" that I needed.  For, if he could handle adversity of this nature, then my so-called problems are minuscule.  I said, "Cicely, as your mother told you every day last week, you are authentic.  Remember that."  

My 2nd hour class stated that America's new racist is their age group.  I cringed.  This is the first generation where interracial marriages and biracial children are the "norm"; however, they contend that this same group should be society's most feared.

What can be done to change this?  Whitney Houston urged us to "teach the children" in order for them to "show us the way."  We are doing that; however, my friends, who take public transportation, recently heard a group of children repeatedly saying the N-word.  Across America, are children simply wearing masks while in school, and once the bell rings, their true self emerges?

Freshmen, in order to understand Jim Crow, I encourage you to see 42.

Oh, Harper Lee, if you were to write a novel in 2013, what would you have to say about America and race?  As my friend, Dr. Gwen Tarbox, would say, "Cee, it's time for you to begin where Lee left off and write. that. book."

Friday, March 29, 2013

English 101 and Your Summer Plans

Dear Seniors:

Recently, I have received emails from parents inquiring about what their child can do in order to prepare for college writing.  I shared with your parents that you should take ENG 101/102 at the local community college and/or the university of their choice.  College writing can sometimes be a harsh reality.  For the past 17 years, I have taught Freshman composition; I am extremely acquainted with the, "Dr. Cobb, I earned nothing but "As in high school (English).  HOW can you give me a "D" on this paper?  Did you even read it?" 

If you perform well in the course, the grade can transfer to the university of their choice.  If the grade is poor, this will allow you to be introduced to your  writing strengths/weaknesses at the college level.

Do take the course in person rather than online.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to post a comment or ask me in class.

Let the graduation countdown BEGIN!!!

Hippity Hop!

Dear Students:

I am wishing both you and your family a WONDERFUL Easter weekend!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Celebrating DIFFERENCE!

Dear Students:

Recently, I was moved to consider writing a post regarding the need to celebrate difference.  As young adults, you will find yourself realizing that not everyone looks nor acts like you.  You cannot take for granted that everyone's parents are married; each parent is married to someone of the opposite sex, etc . . .  Also, realize that our nation is composed of individuals who embrace alternative lifestyles.

I am requesting that you CELEBRATE change.  Celebrate and TOLERATE difference!  If you see these differences, do not succumb to laughter and gossip.

Go Thunder!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Dear Students:

I hope that you are enjoying your Spring Break.  Indeed, you deserve it!   :)

I would like for you to take a moment and read the following article:,,20681679,00.html

Dr. Constantino's Access Books emerged from her dissertation.  She focused upon the impact that luxury has on children.    Each of you are aware of the importance of literacy to me.  I have shared with you about my family's history with illiteracy and the importance of education to my relatives.

This Spring, as your mother says, "Go into that room and CLEAN OUT that closet!," I would like for you to comb through your bookshelves.  Ask yourself the following questions:

* Which of these books impacted me?  How would these same books transform the lives of others?
* Why should I donate books?
* How would my life be different if I had not been exposed to the library? Parents who could afford to take me to Barnes and Noble?

GIVE BACK.  Throughout Ahwatukee, there are bins to donate books.  You can also donate books to the Phoenix Public Library.

Speaking of books, did you read anything over break?  Currently, I am reading The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat.  It is a decent, Dr. Cobb-needs-to-escape-from-reality-with-a-capital-R read.

I look forward to seeing you on Monday!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Dear Students and Parents:

Please review the following video.  I would like to THANK YOU for your support.  I am extremely thankful to the Ahwatukee Foothills News.  Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be featured as the COVER STORY!!!  Ms. Kelly Mixer and Ms. Diana Martinez, THANK YOU.  To David Jolkovski, AFI's wonderful photographer, THANK YOU!!!!!  Mr. Kent Johnson, thank you for your wonderful paper and GREAT STAFF!!!

Go Thunder!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Is Your Compass Broken?: Writing An Effective Thesis Statement

Dear Students:

On Wednesday, I discussed the importance of having an effective thesis statement.  In 1997, I was a 2nd year Masters student at The University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill (TAR HEEL PPPRIDE!!!!).  That year, I began teaching Freshman Composition (aka English 101).  I have always attempted to create catchy phrases, and before I knew it, I informed my students, "A thesis statement serves as a binding contract to your audience. You should see your statement as a compass that navigates your readers from one page to the next.  If your compass is broken, then your audience will be lost."  Please file this statement in your "Dr. Cobbisms" folder. :)  Danny Hoffman, one of my former ASU students, still remarks about the witty statements that I said during our English 301 lectures.

Please review your older writing assignments and note my feedback.  Consider the following questions:

* How often has Dr. Cee stated that my essays lack a thesis statement?
* What problems do I have creating a solid argument?
* Do I brainstorm my thesis statement?

The next post will be regarding MLA documentation.  Freshmen - today's class will partially consist of a lecture pertaining to this topic.


Dr. Cee

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It is a writing weekend for YOU!

Dear Students:

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend.  It is a writing weekend for YOU!  Please dedicate a portion of this weekend to working on your Jane Eyre/ The Taming of the Shrew/"10 Things" essay.  The clock is a tickin'. . .

Freshman, next week we will spend some time working on MLA documentation.  Please review the following website:

Bookmark this information.

I would like for you to spend some time and answer the following questions:

* How is your writing progressing?  If it is not, what is making it stagnant?

Freshman, it is imperative that you are staying away from!  READ. THE. BOOK.  Once again, READ. THE. BOOK.  A significant number of students are struggling with the weekly quizzes.  Much of this stems from students electing to read chapter summaries than the actual primary text.  Don't con the con artist.  Don't think for a minute that Dr. Cobb did not "cheat" and read Clifs Notes.  My parents's basement is filled with them.    Freshman parents, please do the following on a nightly basis:

* Review Parent Vie.  Keep abreast of your child's progress.
* Ask to see your child's English notebook on a nightly basis.  If you do not see any notes, then ask your learner what s/he was doing in class?  A significant amount of information is conveyed on a daily basis.
* If you are not happy with your student's grades, ask them, "Have you visited Dr. Cobb during office hours?  If not, you need to do so, pronto."

My Freshman know that I only like to see the letter, "C" in my name, not the grade book.   I have much confidence that they can keep their grades in the "A/B" range.

Enjoy the Superbowl!

Go Thunder!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

HELLO! Miss me? ; )

Dear Students:

Greetings!  I will be away from campus until Monday.   I will be checking my email twice per day.  I will also be posting announcements on my Fusion page.

I hope that each of you are:

* respecting the substitute instructor
* completing your assignments

Go Thunder!