As the year comes to an end, I tend to look back at some of the objectives that I did during the year in English 4. The objectives that we look at throughout the year were the objectives in writing, the objectives in reading, and the objectives in the community. It was a long journey but looking back at it, I think those objectives have shaped and developed my growth in reading, writing and getting involved in the community.
To begin with, first of all, I would like to address my objectives in my writing. I think I’ve come a long way to fully understand and fulfill the requirements of the writing objective. I’ve written a lot of papers from reflective essays, reading responses, heroism essay, imperialism/colonialism essay, multi-genre projects, and the big research paper on the social issue inquiry paper. All of those writings have developed my thoughts and ideas in ways that either help me to understand a topic and writing structures in general.
However, as a writer, I have learned a lot of amazing genres that have helped me to express my personal voice. So far, I’ve used some amazing genres throughout the year such as poetry, memoir, and drama. I used those genres in my multi-genre project. This project was one of my first challenge that I took as a writer. I had fun with those three genres and also, I learned a lot of ways of trying to meet each requirement for each genre. Learning about new genres and getting used to them could be a little bit challenging because you would want to meet their specific requirements. For example, I thought writing “THE GRACEFUL GRANNY,” is different from expressing my voice in “The Bird of Paradise” because when I composed my script, I had a long of fun creating the dialogue with the selected characters and fulfilling the other basic requirements for writing a drama. While in my poem, I had to find great rhyming words that have a certain rhythm for the different forms of writing the poems. But I thought that writing “Eldorado Springs” was interesting because I had to use a lot of descriptive words also synonyms of repetitive words to make the memoir more interesting and fun to read. This multi-genre project was challenging but at the same time fun and creative in which I had the freedom of expressing my voice in different genres. However, on a scale of 1-5, I would say that the multigenre project ranked at 3-4 because it was fun and yet a little bit challenging. On the other end, with my biggest research paper in class, I would definitely rank it as 5 because that Social Issue Inquiry paper was really challenging.
Not saying that it was challenging because it was my first research paper because I did one during my year freshman and junior year. But it was challenging because there were a lot of specific fields such as the conventions, the overall content of the paper itself and maybe the other basic requirements for the format. I understand that an engaging title is as important as my thesis and the main topic of my paper because I had some few bumps there. While writing my paper, I think that I might have sentences that needs to be short and to the point, rather than one long sentence because I feel that long sentences causes dragging and sometimes lead to getting out of the topic. Research papers are always third person neutral but I failed in some areas where I used first person pronouns in areas that were not necessary. Also, explaining and expanding on analyzing quotes from specific sources would make the paper more interesting and engaging. I failed on doing accomplishing that in some areas. I also feel that having a great transitioning sentence that leads to the next point will make it more easy and understanding for the reader to understand the point of the topic. A good research paper contains great sentences that are to the point, good transitioning, engaging title, well-analyzed quotes and connected ideas with points, clear sentences that flow with the idea of the point, and most importantly conventions and the overall content of the paper.
Also, while writing a big research paper, make sure to understand the main causes of the topic and focus on getting the main idea across the reader. Use valuable sources that both support and contradict the topic so that you have a neat paper that contains great points that support or go against your topic in which you stand. This will make the paper more interesting to read because you’re indirectly having a debate on your topic of why it is really significant. Even though I feel that I didn’t accomplish my research paper by upgrading them to where they needed to be, I think I achieve a decent grade at the end of the year. It was challenging but it also helped me to learn from my mistakes and understand the places where I needed more work and places that needed to be continued in the future. After all, I think I at least did well on getting some great transitions, stating my point and supporting them with great sources, explaining quotes, and most importantly learning from my mistakes.
As much as I want to talk about my other writings, I would like to transition to my next objective of the year, reading. I really enjoyed all the readings we did in class. I remembered reading about Fahrenheit 451, and V for Vendetta in class. Also, we had a reading challenge that we did in class for October and April. For the reading challenge, I read The Red Dog by Bill Wallace, Sandpebbles by Patricia Hickman, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, and also Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. We also had a small group literature circles that we were given a book to read that deals with indigenous people, colonialism, and imperialism. In that group literature circle, I was fortunate enough to read the amazing novel by Alex Haley, Roots, which is by far one of the most interesting books I’ve read before.
At first, I really didn’t have a steady pace at my reading. Speaking from the perspective of a slow reader, I am thankful that I got to read a lot of amazing books in English 4 because they have helped me to keep up with a steady pace. After getting used to the first reading challenge, I find myself reading more quickly now. Reading is a really great way of upgrading your skills in understanding the text and connecting an idea to the big picture like applying the context to the society. With the help of class discussions, small group discussion, and even writing journals by using the critical theories of literature (Aestheticism, Marxist literary criticism, Reader response, Authorial intent, Post-colonialism, New criticism, New historicism, or Feminist) that we studied in class, I have come to a point where I understand the text more clearly.
As a reader, I really enjoy fiction books that have a lot of mystery behind them, more horror and humorous type of styles and even realistic books too. After reading different styles from different authors, it has given me the idea that reading from other authors with different styles will help you find the kind of reading and style that you enjoy and also stepping out of the box that contains the same style.
As I mentioned earlier, reading and applying the context to our society now help us to become familiar with what is actually going on in our societies today. For example, Roots helped me to understand the history behind the idea of how slavery came to be in the United States. I really enjoyed the style that Alex Haley used in Roots. It’s very descriptive and well written that it captures the heart of the reader. I talked about how the history of slavery has captured my understanding of imperialism and colonization and what they look like from the non-white perspective. Also reading V for Vendetta has helped me to understand what it means to be a hero by comparing the book to The Dark Knight movie. It was a really interesting book that focuses on the idea of how a hero is seen in the society full of corruption and bad governance. Fahrenheit 451 was another book too that focused on society too. It helped me to see how a dystopia and utopia society exists in our lives. From writing responses and reflective essays from those three books, I feel that they have helped me to understand our society a little bit more. I think I had a great start of analyzing quotes and relating those ideas back to our society today. But there may be some few areas where my weaknesses arise such as conventions. Overall, I feel like a did a great job by understanding and using the literary criticism and applying them to our society today. It’s always good to analyze because you will have a clear and greater understanding of what the text really means in our society.
Speaking about understanding our society today, throughout the year, we also got a chance to get involve in our community. We got to know a lot about what our community offers from community experiences and even identifying problems within our community. From our community experiences or awareness, we focused on four categories consisted of arts, business, ethnicity, and community improvement. After experiencing each category, we had to talk about them by using specific genres that fit well within our experiences. For my first experience, I used how-to/need to know list and that didn’t turn out well. I had little information and presented my ideas in a format that didn’t quite fit the requirement. But then as I progress onto my next experience, I used poetry by expressing my voice through a free verse poem. I felt like I at least did a great job by writing about it. Then I continued to improve more on my third and fourth experience because I used genres that really fit in well with my experienced. I used memoir for my third experience and then I tried using journalism review for my fourth post, which surprisingly turned out great. Overall, it was fun to experience the community and express my voice in different genres of writing.
Speaking of issues in our community, I talked about how our hunger exists in our community. That was my issue I focused on in my research paper. After researching about how hunger is an issue in our world as a broader picture, I got to help by doing my social action project. With the project, I did a fundraising by helping the poor and needy and those who need help under the World Food Programme USA organization. Unfortunately, the result didn’t turn out as I expected because I didn’t get any money from the fundraising. But I hope people got the idea of how hunger is an issue in our community and how they can be a part of it by donating to the people in need.
As I glance back on what I’ve learned so far throughout the year, I am thankful that I had the best English class that did a lot of writing, reading, and getting more involved within the community. It was a long and journey but I am proud of how those three objectives have helped and shaped my understanding of what it means to be a successful student at the end of the year. I gained more knowledge from all of those objectives that I mentioned earlier as a student and as an individual of the society that I live in today. I am really glad and thankful that I have learned a lot this year because I know that I will continue to my knowledge in the future as I go to college. So thank you, Mrs. Jank, for helping me to understand, learn, and put into practice of the valuable knowledge and advice I got from you throughout the year. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of great things in English 4. You made English 4 to be the most enjoyable, accomplishing, and the exciting class full of unique ways of expressing and experiencing literature.