Goodbye…

Today is the day. This is my last post for my English class.  To be honest I’m kind of sad about it, I really enjoy blogging and writing about what I learn.  For this last entry I’m supposed to reflect on what I’ve learned about writing and my own writing process, so that’s what I’ll be doing.

I’ve learned so much these past eleven weeks it’s kind of hard to distinguish things.  I remember when I first started this class I was completely overwhelmed with the magnitude of the assignments and types of writing we’d be doing. I had never done anything like this class before, there were so many things I didn’t know about.  I want to let you in on a little secret, I don’t know if it will surprise you or not. I’m only thirteen years old. There were a lot of things that I needed to learn.

The first term that we learned about in class was rhetoric. I had heard of that word before but I always thought that it had something to do with public speaking in ancient times. After reading about it in our textbook I found that it is basically the building block of all writing and speaking, all of us use rhetoric without knowing it.  Rhetoric taught me that all types of writing have things in common. Usually anything that you write has a purpose; to inform, persuade, explain, etc. Realizing that if you identify your writing’s exact purpose made it a lot easier for me to compose my papers, because it gave me good insight.  At the same time, though, I found that the same piece of writing can have many different purposes, so you really have to decide what purpose is best for your intended audience.

Throughout this class I have discovered that my favorite type of writing is reflective or informative writing. I think that this is mainly because they can be a little more personal, and I find personal writing much easier than the other genres. For instance my favorite assignment in this class was the literacy memoir that we had to write in the second week. I love how writing reflectively allows you to learn so much about whatever it is you’re reflecting on just by basically thinking about it.

There were assignments that I didn’t enjoy so much. One example would be my persuasive essay. I found it incredibly difficult to find a topic that I wanted to argue.  Every time I tried to write I leaned more towards an informative writing style, which was not the goal of the assignment.  I tried my best to be persuasive and argumentative but still found it difficult, so that is an area that I would like to work on.

As I look back on my writing timeline during the course of this semester I have found that I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to organize anything before I write.  I rather just dive in and start writing than map out exactly what I’m going to do.  I think that’s what attracts me to writing in this blog. I don’t think about anything, i just write and let what happens happen.  But that doesn’t really work too well in academic writing, and I have struggled with organization in my writing. That’s another area that I would like to work on, because both approaches are important to master.

It seems like this semester has gone by really fast, but at the same time too slow because I can’t wait for it to be over.  That sounds bad, but I desperately want a break from homework. I am thankful that I took this class, and to my Professor, Professor Henzel for being such an excellent teacher.  She has taught me so much about writing these past couple months I can’t thank her enough.  I would like to think that I’ve grown as a writer during this class, but I’m not really sure if I have or not. It’s definitely been an enjoyable experience, stressful but enjoyable nonetheless. We have finals week coming up and I’m excited. I’m going to miss writing to you every week, it has truly become one of my favorite things to do. I think that I might even start a personal blog when I’m done with school this year. I’ll have to see.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading my reflections, and that they didn’t annoy all of you awesome writers too much. I guess this is goodbye….

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Ethnography

I’m writing to you early this week, I hope you don’t mind.  I won’t be able to write to you on Sunday so this Friday will have to suffice.  We’re already almost done with this semester.  Time has literally flown by so fast.  It seems like a couple of hours ago I was trying to figure out how to take an online class, now everything seems so natural.  This week we were presented with our biggest project yet.  We have to make an ethnography of a subculture in our community.  In case you don’t know what an ethnography is here’s a quick definition:

Ethno = People

Graph = Writing

Ethnography = Writing about People

Personally I think that ethnography is quite interesting.  I like people and I like to talk to them and learn about them.  Ethnology kind of reminds me of archaeology except with ethnology you are studying people in real-time, in the here and now.

For this project I had a hard time finding a subculture in my community to study, I live in a small town with not a lot of interesting subcultures.  I did finally find one and am excited to start the research process.  It’s like I’m an unpaid private investigator.

I hope that this project will help me to grow not only as a writer but also as a person, and I look forward to learning a lot in both areas.

Every Angle

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So this was the week.  This week we had to submit our digital reviews.  We could choose any format that we wanted, and I chose to do mine as a blog (I’ll include a link at the end of this post) because I really enjoy this blogging stuff.  Now I know I say this every week, but this week I really really enjoyed this project.  I think that it is the funnest (I know ‘funnest’ is not a word) project we have done all year.  Writing a review is quite different from any other writing we’ve done.  It’s very opinionated, but at the same time it’s not.  I just love it. I think that writing reviews can be used as a great writing tool, because they make you look at all the perspectives on the topic you are reviewing.  They cause you to take in every angle for what it’s worth.  I think that perspective is one of the most important skills for a writer to posses.  Because, think about it, people love it when something ordinary is presented from a new perspective, a different angle.  Why do we love it?  I don’t know for sure but I think that looking at things from a different perspective gives people hope. I mean, you can look at something terrible, like a tragedy or horrible person, and still find the beauty in them.  Anything can be beautiful if you look at it the right way.  At least that’s what I like to think.  But at the same time you can look at every part of something; the good, the bad and, the ugly, and appreciate them for everything that their worth, even if we don’t particularly like them.  What is life without perspective?   Where would we be without different perspectives?  The world would be a pretty flat and dull place, don’t ya think?

Here is the link to my digital review if you would like to look at it.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

Biased or Unbiased?

Hello blogging people! This week we learned about writing to analyze and evaluate things.  At first I was thinking, “aren’t these topics kind of exactly the same?” but when I began to read about them I found that, in fact, that they are different.  Both are extremely important, and both are used to dissect something.  When you write to analyze something you have to look at absolutely EVERYTHING about that topic so that you can get a good understanding of how it works.  On the contrary with evaluative writing you only look at your subject according to a certain set of criteria.  This criteria is based on the things that are most important or crucial to someone reading the evaluation. An example of an evaluation would be a movie review, restaurant review, or any other sort of review.  We learned how to write reviews this week.  Something that really confused me about reviews was that they are supposed to be unbiased, or as unbiased as possible.  I think that trying to be unbiased in a review is kind of contradictory to the purpose in writing a review.  I mean, isn’t a review supposed to be your opinion on something?  And an opinion is something that is usually pretty biased; after all, an opinion is your thoughts and feelings on something.  Personally I don’t really think that a review could really go in-depth about its subject matter without being a little bit biased.  However, when I really think about it the more confused I get.  One of the main reasons for my confusion is this thought, “just because a review is positive or negative might not automatically mean that it’s biased, maybe the thing being reviewed just deserved that judgment.”  But then I think of that saying that beauty is in the eye of beholder, and I think that’s a true statement.  So the conclusion that I come to is that a review is always biased because no one is ever going to agree on a positive or negative representation of something because everyone has a different view of things.

Perspective is Everything

Our assignment this week was to write a profile.  I have to say I truly enjoyed this project.  There was quite a bit of work that we had to put into this paper.  First of all we had to pick either a person or event to profile.  I chose to write about the 2013 Boston marathon bombings.  I had to do A LOT of research, but it was definitely worth it. It’s amazing how much you think you know about something but then when you start reading about it you’re met with so many surprises.  Then after reading so many different things I was met with the task of creating an original take on the whole thing.  That was the hardest, and funnest (I know funnest is not a word), part of the assignment. It challenges you to see things from a different perspective, and that is something that is both valuable in writing and in life.

New Eyes

MIDTERMS! That was the name of the game this week.  For our assignment we had to revise the persuasive essays that we wrote a couple of weeks ago.  The goal was to make follow the teacher’s notes and corrections as extensively as possible.  It wasn’t at all easy.  One of the things that our textbook always talks about is how hard it is to read your own work with new eyes.  Boy is it true!  I think that it is so hard because, in our heads we already know what we want to say, and we have all the knowledge that our words are trying to portray. So, maybe since we already know what we’re saying we don’t really pay attention to our words that are written out on the paper in front of us.  That’s why it is so important to ask people around you to read your paper, I did this quite frequently and it helps a lot.

Another thing that I did this week was explore some of the blogs here on WordPress and, man oh man, were they inspiring! I think that it’s amazing what the world of blogging can do for writers, and just people who want to share with others.  I’m really glad that keeping a blog was one of the requirements for this class.  At first I was kind of skeptical of it but now it’s one of my favorite parts of English!

What if I fall?

This post from Cristian Mihai is very inspiring for when you feel like you’re failing or when you’re scared and doubtful…it’s amazing.

Cristian Mihai

fly

“What if I fall?” 
“Oh my darling, what if you fly?”

Do you ever ask yourself if you like the person you are? If you are who you’ve always wanted to be? Do you know who you want to be?

To be honest, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized who I really wanted to be. I want to be that guy who tells people they can fly. I want to see the magic they have stored up in their hearts for so long. And I want to make them see it, I want to make them use it. Because, truth be told, falling is just another way to fly.

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