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Shaver 1 Tegan Shaver Dr.

Jan Rieman English 1101x 17 February 2010 Midterm Reflection Thus far, I have learned many different things. I like the fact that we keep a Daybook. I can tell that it has really helped me focus in class after I have been able to put a few thoughts onto paper, and engage my interest to the happenings of class for the day. We have learned different reading and writing strategies, and have (hopefully) gained confidence in using them. I know that I do feel somewhat challenged by them, and I am now trying to make a comparison of where I was to where I am at this point in time. We have also done in class activities, such as setting goals as an individual, as well as creating a Classroom Culture agreement that each of us had to sign. We have had a peer workshop, which for me went really well. This first part of the semester has gone really well, and I think it is important to reflect on what, and how, I have improved so far. While the preceding paragraph is important, I would first like to address our “Course Goals”. There are seven main goals to this course: to use writing and reading to make meaning, and think about what it means to be an academic writer. Also, to understand that academic writing is a complicated and multi-dimensional task, and make thoughtful writing decisions to explore composing writing in different ways, to support an interpretation of a text with examples from that text. Finally, to use key ideas, terms, or concepts from reading one or more texts as a way to interpret other texts. In response to some of these course goals, I would like for it to be noted that I believe that being an

Shaver 2 “academic writer” is not an easy task. That feat goes hand-in-hand with interpreting text. An example of this would be our critique paper. For this paper, we were required to read an essay about social class and how it relates to the quality of education. As we read, it was suggested that we take notes. I found that taking notes is not something I am particularly good at. I’ve always been one to put an asterisk by things I want to go back and look at. I have never highlighted, or underlined, what I read in my textbooks. This could be a result of high school, and not being able to mark in the text. Perhaps it is something that could benefit me, but what I have always done has always worked, so why change now? After reading, we were asked to analyze, interpret, and write a critique of the essay. My first draft was well done, but after the peer editing I found that I had many places I could improve. I also found that I did not quite understand the point of the paper. My first draft simply encompassed her ideas, while putting them into terms that I, and hopefully anyone, would be able to understand. My second draft was better, but I am still trying to figure out where I want to go with it. Many times I turned to my Daybook for ideas. Keeping a Daybook is not a new idea for me. I used one every day for my English classes in high school. In high school the Daybook was used for note taking, writing, vocabulary, and worksheets would be stapled in after they were completed. For our class we are using them as an introduction to the topics for the day, and occasionally to write a reflection at the end of class. On the first day of class, we were asked to read the syllabus and write our first impression of the class. I wrote that “the class is not demanding, but active presence and

Shaver 3 participation is expected”. Since that point in time, I have certainly changed my mind. Being able to have success in this class is very demanding. Every time I turn around I feel like there is another paper to write, or an assignment to do. I also feel that a lot of the class is somewhat internet oriented. I am not one to check all the websites I use every day to see what is going on; which leads me to the Ning site. College has been the first time that I have used the internet to keep up with my school work. Last semester, I was only relying on Moodle to see my grades. Every once in a while I would log on to it to look back over slide shows that I saw in class. Other than those few things, using the internet is something I am not quite used to. Adding Ning to my list of websites to check every day was not favorable to me. I can count on two hands how many times I have been on the site, and I do not even remember my password (my computer keeps me logged in). I also find Ning very confusing to use. I think the idea behind it was great, and it would allow for class discussions, but Moodle can do the same thing. To me the only difference is that the Ning site is more personalized and entertaining. In regards to the reading and writing strategies, I am confident in both. I understand how to use them, but it is not the way I prefer to work. As I said in my Critical Inquiry, everyone’s mind is wired different, and mine does not seem to benefit from the reading strategies. Judging from the feedback on my first paper, I think I am definitely on the right track, and I can tell that my writing has already improved. I feel that the writing strategies have helped me to be more well spoken when I put my thoughts and ideas into writing. However, I do not think that learning the reading strategies helped me at all. I have never been one to mark up my books, I only write

Shaver 4 down what I think is important. Occasionally though, I might star something (in pencil!) that way if I need to reference it later I can find it easily. The writing strategies that we learned, however, did come in handy during the peer workshop. I never like to read things out loud, and when a peer editor comes along to read it, they never seem to make well thought out comments that will benefit me. By reading aloud I was able to hear my own mistakes, and also catch minor grammar mistakes. As a reader of someone else’s paper, I felt that reading aloud to the author was a good idea. They were able to see if the way they constructed their paper matched the way they speak. Writing the way you talk is one of the bare necessities, in my opinion. What really helped me help the author was after reading it aloud, and them making little notes, for me to read it silently to myself. Reading to myself allowed me to process their thoughts easier, and write more constructive comments. The most interesting activity, in my opinion, has been the Classroom Culture document that we created as a class. I enjoyed brainstorming ideas how everyone would like the class to be. We all agreed that we want a welcoming environment, respect, and to be heard. It was kind of interesting that these concepts, among others, were what we chose to put on the final document. In high school I always wished that the kind of class we created from our document was the way it was then. I have always been a shy person, so working with other people has never been my strong point. I can already tell that the students in the class all have a similar mind set to me, and that helps me a lot to be more talkative and involved in the discussions. I am thoroughly enjoying our class right now. I really hope that it continues to go

Shaver 5 this well, and that we all have made a connection with each other by the end of the semester. I am glad that our class is small enough to allow us to do that. It will be interesting to see how much more I improve from now until the end of the semester, and while I can wait, I am excited for the end.