Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reflective Essay

When I was referred to English 12 Honors last year I was a bit skeptical. The majority of my high school career I took college prep courses and a few honors courses in my old school, but schools and teachers are very different so I was afraid to take risks. When I got to Malden High my junior year I was placed in a college prep English course to begin with, in order to test it out. I realized that I really liked the classroom and the teacher so I never switched to Honors, because of the sole fact that I heard from other students that it was twice the work and many ended up going back to college prep English. I was excelling in my junior College Prep English class and if it was not for my junior year English teacher I would of never been able to experience what hard dedicated work and serious writing was all about.

The first few weeks of English Honors were overwhelming because the first assignment that was due I did incorrectly. We had to do Journal entries for our summer reading. I used the format we were introduced to in my Junior English class, which was writing the quote on the top of the page and the other half would consist of your comments, thoughts, theories about the text. The new format I had to learn was the two column notes. The quote is to be written on the left side of the page and the right side would be your reactions to the text. The first assignment was not as encouraging, but as the class went on I coped to the demand of homework and vocabulary quizzes. I was memorizing at least 20 words every other week, the positive side to that was that my memorization skills were improving and I learned so many new words that I was able to use in my writing. My Junior year we did not have that many vocabulary quizzes and we were not learning many new words to improve our writing and language, for example this year I noticed that before I say something I think about a more sophisticated synonyms in my language and communication skills.

As for my writing I noticed myself having the dictionary on my computer open as I was writing my papers, last year I would use the dictionary but not much as I do present day. The first paper I wrote that I felt showed an improvement was the painting of “The Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” essay because it was an analytic essay that required an in depth interpretation of the piece with a detailed rubric. Before that essay I was never exposed to that type of writing, it was very difficult but I attempted to maintain the authors purpose in mind and the rubric in mind at all times. The connection with art and writing I never did I usually separated the two because that was what I was taught to do. The project with our independent reading books was also very challenging but I learned my weaknesses and my strengths when it came to a project with art and writing. I read Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden, the project had three different parts to it but the part that was easier for me was the part where you could fill in a chapter between chapters that were already written. I enjoyed getting into character and simply creating a chapter that I felt would have been important to add onto the book, I felt like this sort of free creative writing was a strength for me. My weakness was creating an art piece. I am not the artist type but I created a book cover of the book and it was challenging due to the fact that I am not as talented as others with computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop, which was the program I used to create my book cover. I learned so much and I am so glad that I chose to challenge myself with two elements that are both my weaknesses such as art and the program Adobe Photoshop. The final piece was very clean and the way I envisioned it to come out to be. I was very proud of the work I did for that project and I was very proud of all the outcomes of the project, it encouraged me to challenge myself a lot more in my English honors class and to not be afraid of a little work. The last piece I was astonished that I began it and finished it correctly was my A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, by James Joyce critical essay, which I titled my essay as “The Metamorphose of Stephen Dedalus.” This essay by far tested my writing abilities and my patience. I have never written an essay nine pages long before, but I was bound to have to write one sometime in my educational career. I have also never written an essay with that much information and that many theories. I compared the essay to my essays in the beginning of the year and intellectually I believe I shifted to a more sophisticated and grown up thought processes since the beginning of the year.

I no longer think that the hard part of writing an essay is reaching the requirements, such as the length and the margins and other little details that need to be taken into account but was is really important is the quality and the organization of your theories and the amount of information in the essay. I am grateful that I was able to go through these shifts and experiences because if I never had that extra push from my Junior year English teacher I think that I would of never been able to be as prepared as I am for college presently, if I had stayed in a College Prep English Class. All the writing that I did from the beginning of the year up until today had a purpose, I am very proud and glad I did all the assignments because they transformed me as a writer, and my writing skills are sure to be needed as I move on into a higher educational career.


Jessica F. 6 said...

The reflective piece is one of my favorite pieces. I enjoy thinking critically about my progress in the clas over the year and wrapping up all the work I did for the year. My Portfolio is full of diverse versions and styles of my writing that I felt were my best pieces throughout my whole senior year. In this reflective piece I discusses a few pieces that are in the portfolio and some that were not added into my portfolio.

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