Tag: self-assessment

Critique Own Work and Others

My own work:

My methods have not changed from semester to semester. If anything I would say that the time and effort that I put in declined. My drafts had a lot less thought and planning to them.  There were some times that I would look over my previous work and know exactly how I would like to improve the essay, where it would be best to work on and how I could make it better only to drop my motivation to do that.

In the most recent essay that I submitted, I failed to created complex paragraphs that built off of multiple sources within the paragraph itself. There was not a clear lead or idea of where I wanted to bring my paper, and the voices that were added in were shallow and did not create depth to the paper.

Before any of my peers had read my draft, I made this in response to a prompt in class:

Editing on: looking at the basic grammar, correction some comma splices, sentence fragments, as well as faulty comparisons. There was some repetition in my writing that I noted and plan to fix before my final draft. The biggest issue that I seemed to have was nonsense sentences. When read, the sentence simply wouldn’t make sense with the words that I had chosen, this led to some of the sentences being rewritten. Nonsense sentences are a typical error for me. There are a lot of times where I will think of a sentence in my head and simply type the words out incorrectly, or I will look away from the screen to type it out. Distractions that pull me from my writing lull and whatever someone says to me will make it onto the paper instead of the thought I was in the middle of. There is also a lack of quotes and speaking from other authors that need to be added in. I lead onto some points but lack the direct communication that will give my claims more weight. That’ll also be worked on between now and the final draft…

Following that, I added on some of the main things that my group would be concerned with in addition to what’s stated previously:

Addition to the point of the title. Culture of hands. Reference the comments, build into that. Japanese potter expand on that, how it applies to life, being a potter. Newcomers, to art in general can sometimes forget the value in things that are already used, they prefer new to old. Add in small section of the hand techniques, probably next to the techniques/strength it takes to actually form the clay. Expand on the conclusion, worth the effort to join.

The first and second drafts of the essays.

My opinion on other people’s work:

There seemed to be two kinds of rough drafts. The ones that have all the parts of the essay and the ones that aren’t…done. The work that people submit in a rough draft can be brutally criticized so much so that the work is completely removed and the idea scrapped.

And while the first batch of essays were a chaotic mess, none of them were so far out there that as a reader, I had no idea what they were talking about. Their essays right off the bat accomplished the main goal; it introduced me a to a discourse in a way that a newcomer would understand. I had a slight advantage in the beginning stages since I knew what a discourse was already, but the fact that I could read and understand the area that my peers were talking about spoke highly of the paper.

I tried to keep my comments limited and sparse, most of the time I would try to focus on only a couple of points a page as I’ve found more than that often leads to a shut down on the author.



Happily Ever After

At long last, we’ve reached the conclusion to 123. There have been long hours slaved over a computer, trying in vain to find the words that would be most appeasing. Reading and rereading articles, looking for the right quotes and sayings that will propel our essays just that much further.

We came in to English as a newcomer to the discourse of college. At least mostly. Looking back I’m not all that sure where I progressed. I mean I did. A bit. But that’s typical with practice, you get better. Though I will admit to never before this class spending so much time on any one piece of writing. That was a new thing for me, at most I’ve only ever gone over a paper two or three times before submitting the final version. So this submitting of rough drafts, drafting ideas, exchanging thoughts with my peers as well as my instructor has been an experience for me.

I refuse to say that anything that I submitted was perfect, there’s always room for improvement. I will say that some of it was pretty good though.

When I first came into English 122, I had the mindset not to care about what others thought of my work. I had been a decent yet reserved writer in high school; I decided that I didn’t want to be that way here are UNE. As a result, my writing took a turn for being a bit out there are times and for the most part I was only interested in the creative side of writing. That ended up as my focus.

Still in the end, one could say that English 122 & 123 taught me something.

On the other hand, what did it come to? This year has been an interesting mash of organized chaos. There were many points to this year that I looked at as a refresher while other times it was an interesting challenge.

This class made you work for your grades and essays, it was near impossible to skim any of the work without being left behind in the class. Or found out. Missing class just did not seem to be an option, though for some people that didn’t stop.

Overall, English 123 was a continuation of English 122. There was no great separation between the classes, at most the struggle came from the classes being too similar. There were times when one had to wonder why this was a two part course. The overuse of the word discourse drove one near mad.

Yes there is the benefit with working with a term for so long and building off of it, but on the other hand, it is a near nightmare. There are only so many ways to define terms in papers with your own words before you begin to plagiarize the author or yourself. There were times when I would cancel paragraphs because they had turned out to be too similar to the things that I had previously worked on.


Throughout the class, I have been here and focused on whatever was happening in class. Whether it be listening, conversing, or creating.

At times we would be broken down into groups and then we would share ideas with each other. Most of that, if not all was just discussion and there were no notes for it. Online, we commented on our questions and in the essays, we looked at our peer’s writings and pointed out areas of global revision for them to focus on.

This work was done over a few days in class. There would be points of discussion where we would look to how we could further our pieces and how it would be best to improve other’s work as well.

Other times we would look over other’s  thoughts and post responses on line.

Posts throughout on my page are other examples of participation and engagement throughout the semester.


As the year continued on, while in class, my engagement would stay focused. We did a collaborative google doc between four of us that showed idea generation, examples from papers, and references to use. From there on, most of the engagement came from discussing and reviewing each others’ work. We peer reviewed and marked up pages of fellow students, then talked about what exactly we meant in our comments and expanded on that. There were a few discussion questions posted by the instructor as well.

Integration with Others

The major idea of integration is carrying on a conversation with those that are a master. This is the the end result of active reading typically. You’ve come up with ideas from reading the works of others and now you’re combining those thoughts with theirs in a formal writing instead of along the margins.

Using the formulas that you gave us, I tried to integrate my ideas with other voices whenever possible. One post that I did was:

Sociologists call it the “Matthew Effect.” The way to the ultimate success is through success itself. The better you are, the more you get (30). The richer you are, the richer you become. All it takes is initial success to get the ball rolling, because that’s what creates opportunities. The author makes the argument that one of the biggest opportunities that individuals get is when they are born. He says that it is something that they have neither deserved nor earned the right to this head start (30).
He gets hung up on the smallest of things. It’s true that a baby does not choose when it’s born. It had no say in when it would be conceived. But the parents did, the parents are the ones who created the opportunity for their child. So yes, the child didn’t do anything to deserve or earn a head start. But the parents still worked for that to happen. Because that’s what parents do. They create opportunities for their children and put in the extra effort. One girl, Abby, wrote her narrative “The Giving Tree and Me.” She talks about when she was little and how her and her parents would read book after book. She was raised to see it as a reward. That influenced how she looked at it. Reading wasn’t a punishment, it was an enjoyable moment with her and her parents. Something that she would look forward to. Gladwell would likely say that she had an advantage over her peers. She was exposed to more books early on and was given more opportunities at reading. She was given the support she needed to be able to become better at something.
Sometimes there is no control in the opportunities that we are given. Some people get none while others get hundreds. Being exposed to something often builds a familiarity or a resistance to it. The writer of “The Giving Tree and Me” was given a safe and early environment in the world of reading. There her love for books was able to grow. Unlike other kids who weren’t exposed to the pages of a book early on. The people in her life were able to show her the joy of reading. In her mind books made a strong connection to her family as they became part of her nightly ritual. Gee would agree that her discourse was made to be around books, to the point where it could be considered part of her primary discourse. She was having books read to her by the time that she was two. This would likely affect her language skills and influence her later on in life. For her, her life didn’t have any significant negative moments that would impact how she read. And if there were negative moments, they weren’t strong enough for her to write about them now. She’s able to make connections with the characters in every book that she reads. Characters and poems would be able to influence her in her life that would further her success in reading. Characters who struggled, she faced those struggles with them and was able to survive it. People who are able to make connections to characters are able to go on their journeys with them, to make just as big as an impact, to be able to grow just as much as a character. Initial success in reading is what often leads to this particular opportunity.

This response incorporates voices from multiple sources in each paragraph. In my essay, I took Gee’s, Alexander’s, Delpit’s and Brandt’s voices and incorporated them into my essay. Voices from my peers also came forward. Those however could have been chosen more carefully to bring a move powerful feel to my essay.

Of course if you use multiple sources, you have to cite them. There was no official citing for this piece but there were in text references for the pages that I used to make my points.

I’m not sure if I’ve really made progress anywhere from where I was before. Maybe it’s because I’m too close to it that my level just always feels the same. But again, I feel like the reasoning is the same as on the recursive writing process. Lack of motivation to bring my writing to any higher level. But again, it’s not as if I feel that the work that I did was terrible. In fact, I’m happy with it. There was nothing that really screamed out to me that needed to be looked at for hours on end. That feeling will probably come back to hurt me in the end, but too late now. In the future I would definitely say that I need more attention to all my writing and a willingness to go back again and continue working.

Active Reading

Active reading is when you engage with the text. Instead of simply reading the words on a page, you’re actively thinking about them. Drawing connections between authors and adding your own thoughts. Last semester this was done repeatedly and this semester, thanks to that, the writings of Gee, Delpit, and Brandt were easily discovered again. The varying colors on the page of the different times and thoughts that were added can clearly be seen.

Yet, this semester, I don’t believe we did as many readings. One of the new readings we were introduced to were the stories from Raising Cairn. We read over the work of our peers. You could also point to our peering editing as a form of active reading. Some of my brief summaries on that were:

The Year I Started to Hate Writing
Hannah Clark

Freshmen year. English teacher was a good teacher but not at teaching students… Pretty contradicting. It’s a bit confusing. Extreme amounts of homework. She stayed after for extra help. The fish bowl. Given up on the fact that she needed help from feitas and realized that she was on her own… realized if she was struggling she would need to get help. This is very unclear. At first she was open to the idea of writing but in the end she began to hate it due to her awful teacher. There should be a limit to how much work can be assigned in one night, it gets a bit unreasonable. Though it’s another thing if the teacher can talk through all the concepts in class.

On her own

Turn Around?
Kayla Farrell

Liked writing and reading until highschool. Teacher ruined it. Put effort into a paper and got a 70. Devastated. Never enough. Then goes on to connect it to the big picture of how everyone has had that teacher that takes the fun out of a subject and ruins it for a student… (Can’t think of one, personally.)

Works lightly with the idea that constructive criticism is a necessity. Duh. Peer review is the start of her reform. Interesting ideas, would’ve loved to see them more developed.

Teacher’s influence
Constructive criticism
Your all isn’t enough

The Giving Tree and Me

Loved being read to/reading bedtime stories. Usually picks. Lets her father pick it instead for once. The giving tree. Sounds familiar. Also score, she went onto harry potter. Another booknerd. How lovely<3 This demonstrated how a positive influence early on helped to view reading as a pleasure. Something that she would stick with for the coming years.

Put aside dislike.
Exception to the norm.

Reread it until you know it. Almost line for line. Then try to forget it. So much so that you can go back another time and feel like it’s the first. A dream I wish I could live.

The Pearl
Bailey Ridley

Elementary school. Mrs. Pearl… plot twist. It’s about a lady not the book. Pushed her to work harder and reach farther. How nice. Hard work pays off, years later and she’s still using her essay as an example for the incoming classes. This is a showcase of what happens when teachers push students the right what.


There were other cases where we would make notes on pages or write responses to questions that you had posted. And one of the new readings that you introduced was Alexander’s.

With her work, I ended up focusing mostly on her ideas behind master and little narratives. Those concepts were intriguing to me and were a large part of my interest in the pieces from Rising Cairn. Parts where she analyzed the similarities in stories also received attention.

One of my struggles with Active reading is to actually make marks on the page. Most of the time I’m content with thinking thoughts or highlighting passages because I believe that I won’t need to write things down and simply seeing what I’ve marked with trigger my memory. This isn’t always the case and often later on leads to a struggle to understand where I was heading. When I write thoughts down, I am then able to build on my understanding and move forward. This was a significant issue when it came to Alexander’s piece. Since it never asked to print it out and bring it to class, I failed to print a copy for my own use. This left me with only a pdf version and a generic summary of my thoughts.

Last semester I would have considered myself close to a master of active reading. Yet with my poor performance this semester, I would downgrade myself. My writings were more of a novice than anything and failed to go beyond anything more than generic if it wasn’t printed out.

Writing as a Process

Writing isn’t just a one shot and submit process. There should be a number of layers that go into your writing process before the first draft is even started. We started out with reading stories, and then we were told to come up with a list of questions, this was mine:

1. What did the stories accomplish?
2. Why is the archive significant?
3. Besides reading/writing, what are common threads between the stories?
4. How should we look at this collection?
5. Where would potential bias come from?
6. Who are we being influenced by?
7. How do the stories compare?
8. How unbiased were the authors?
9. What does it mean to be made the villain/to be hated?
10. What did their stories reveal about who they are now?

We were given two outlines to use for our essay. From that I tailored it to my own question, just to get ideas and thoughts flowing in the order that I would want. This ended up what I typed out:

  • Welcome to discourse/literacy
  • What it is
  • What it does
  • Little/masters
  • Non/dom
  • What the f*** is my research question? (relationships play a role)
  • Connect to alex
  • Intro raising cairn
  • What does studying them have to teach us?
  • Research towards scholarly conversation about literacy
  • Bring in all the other people and discuss.
  • Conclude
  • Answer the question
  • Explain how research contributes

My rough draft followed my ideas pretty well but then on advice from my peers, the following drafts rearranged my outline to be more direct with my question which my paper would be based on and connect it more quickly with people like Alexander.

One of the most significant steps to writing in a recursive process is the global changes that are made. Without looking at the grammar and sentence structure, it’s important to look at the overall flow of the work. That’s why I redesigned my introduction to being more direct and not so wishy-washy.

Another thing I did in prep for my essay was create the 4 slide presentation that was asked of us. This was another moment of generating ideas and finding connections that I would use to build my essay. From there came my first draft.

There are simple universal concepts and actions that span all cultures and discourses. Things that all people do no matter where they are from. In groups, people socialize. There is communication between individuals. But society has advanced on the communication front. Social groups have formed their own discourses.

That was the opening for my essay originally. Afterwards, I’d set it up as:

Conflict is unavoidable because people are different throughout the world. They hold onto their own ideas and thoughts. These conflicting ideas and beliefs often lead to either the rejection or acceptance into a new social group. Kara Poe Alexander examined over seven hundred essays where students explained their story behind whether or not they were accepted into a new discourse.

Honestly, I’m not sure whether or not that I improved more in my writing this semester from last. But I feel like the writing styles from semester to semester were completely different. This semester we wrote a more serious piece, a research essay. Last semester we focused more on out personal narratives, a more creative style of writing. As always, writing will always help to improve yourself, but it still doesn’t feel like I’ve made any progress. There are several explanations that I can theorize as to why, the main two being that this semester I didn’t take a writing tutor. And While last semester’s didn’t help all that much, it at least made me look at my work more. This semester, my motivation to tear apart my work and completely rebuild or to dedicate serious amounts of hours towards a project just wasn’t there. And while I’m happy with the essay that I produced, I know that I could have done a lot more in an attempt to bring it forward.

If I was only looking at this semester’s work, I would say on a scale of 1-10 on novice to master (1 being novice and 10 being master) I’m a 7 or so.


Interestingly, I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve written about so far. I still struggle to remember or be motivated to add in multiple direct sources. I find that the newer an article is in my mind, the more challenge I’ll take in it. So the continuing use of several papers has sapped all interest in challenging ideas and finding just the right words that will give me the most impact.

Control Sentence, Level Error

I think that my control over my sentences is at a good place. There are times when I get lazy and instead of searching for another way to connect thoughts, I’ll simply use ‘and.’ My writing tutor has had fun attempting to get me to stop but I usually try to avoid advancing it. Especially in my literacy paper.

I would like to believe that my errors drop out with each rewrite. There have not been a lot of critiquing that goes on for me so to find which spots needs improvement, has been challenging more often than not. And not because they are perfect, far from it. It’s usually because I’ve stared at them for too long and can no longer spot where I’ve corrected.

Overall this year hasn’t had much of a focus on the tiny picture. Our class has had a focus on the big picture instead, the universal things instead of the sentence level and error.


“James Paul Gee, one of the foremost thinkers on the concepts of Discourse, offers a complex standing on what a Discourse is truly capable of. His paper on “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction,” explains and introduces his ideas of Discourse. One of his claims is that people are limited in their primary Discourse; this is where many people begin to reject his ideas (Gee 10).”

Document Sources (MLA)

Citing things is always important, crediting others is a must. But I’ll admit that while I know that I should, I rarely do unless told to. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to do it though.

Examples of Citations:

One of his claims is that people are limited in their primary Discourse; this is where many people begin to reject his ideas (Gee 10).

Gee has the idea that individuals are unable to overcome any of their primary Discourses that hold any conflict with new Discourses and as a result they will be unable to obtain new discourses whether they are dominant or not (Gee 8-9).

He had claimed that non-dominant discourses would bring “solidarity with a particular social network, but not a wider status and social goods in the society at large,” but in the film their non-dominant discourses were improving their status (Gee 8).

Under society’s influence, a Discourse is subjected to change; when the friends of Marcus and Kevin give their “proper support, can ‘make it’ in culturally alien environments” (Delpit 550).

Works Cited

Delpit, Lisa. “The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse.” Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York: New Press, 1995. 545-554.

Gee, James Paul. “LITERACY, DISCOURSE, AND LINGUISTICS: INTRODUCTION.” The Journal of Education, vol. 171, no. 1, 1989, pp. 5–10. www.jstor.org/stable/42743865.

White Chicks. Dir. Keenan Ivory Wayans. Perf. Marlon and Shawn Wayans. 2004. DVD.

Critique Own Work and Others

I would like to believe that I’ve done some good editing when it comes to other’s works. I try to make my comments open, so that the reader knows where I think should be changed but not exactly how to do it. But there are times when I’ll leave suggestions, paths that I think that they should take in order to improve it. english_critiques3 english_critiques2 english_critiques1

It’s harder to critique myself though. I never feel like my writing is good enough but in the end I usually come to the point of feeling helpless to fix it. In my White Chicks in Discourse, there was a lot that I had to say but by the end, it all felt useless. The prompts gave me direction but a lot of the points that I created, I struggled to tied them in neatly.

Here’s are the other self assessments that I’ve made over the course of the year:

And just in case you missed my Learning Outcomes page…


Active Critical Reading

All of the works that we’ve written have copious amounts of notes on them. They are marked up and I feel as if I’ve managed to have a good conversation with them.

Often when I’m reading, I first start by having no expectation and not looking for anything in particular. I’ll mark up the edges as my notes or underline parts that interested me. Then I’ll go back and look more deeply for what the professor wanted in the first place. There are times were I skim, but like with Gee’s paper, I still managed to get the gist of it. When I went back over the paper after only initially skimming, my overall thoughts on the piece were more or less accurate.

This is a link to some of my reading responses:

And this is one of my marked up pages: