W7, #3: STEADY PROGRESS

Set-Up: Now that we’ve begun to challenge what we mean by being writers/thinkers on many fronts, especially now that we’re in the midst of a novel that demands our radar remain on at all times, I’m curious how you see your own growth in this class.

Challenge: Share with us one way you have definitely grown as a student of English so far this year.

It can be something very specific or a big picture item.  Likewise, it can be something internal or external.  Finally, it can be something that has dramatically evolved or something that you think is on the verge of being an important part of how you’ll continue to write/think/debate in the future (but may be in a raw state currently).

Length: 7+ sentences

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37 responses to “W7, #3: STEADY PROGRESS

  1. So far, I have made a lot of progress as an English student. My introduction paragraphs have improved, I feel like I am more able to write a compelling thesis, and in general my essays are much better than they were before the first day of school.

    One specific area in which I have definitely grown is in my ‘active reading’. Years past I never really highlighted, underlined, or commented in my books. During English class, I would simply read the book and hoped that I would remember what happened.

    I remember one time when we were able to use our books for an essay last year for quotes. I was frantically flipping through my book trying to find a specific line I remembered, and then the bell rang…

    Even when I am reading books that aren’t for class, in my head I am saying, “Ooh… that line foreshadows this… That must symbolize this… Repetitive imagery… Underline, highlight, star…” In a way, it has changed the way I read because I pay more attention to the details and subtle hints than I have ever had.

    Plus, now I always read with a pen in hand. ‘Active reading’ is a great skill for me to use, especially when I’m reading something for an English class, and I am very glad that I am developing this skill because I see myself using it throughout my life.

    ***

    Mr. Long: Thank you for taking time to really explore your response.

    I’m not sure there is a more vital academic skill that a student your age can begin to make a regular part of her/his life than to leave a great deal of ink on every page of every book they read. I constantly do it with my own personal books that have nothing to do with my academic/professional lives; just can’t shake it!

  2. Every time I read something, I wonder about the symbolism. It’s basically impossible not to!

    Especially in Lord of the Flies. I stare at every single sentence, pondering its deep meaning. Even a single word choice can mean something. This last part is definitely huge. When I write now, I choose words carefully, or sometimes place a few foreshadowing words in my stories.

    My favorite book is very ripped up (because I’ve read it so many times!), but now I am going to return to it and underline things. When I read, I have a million thoughts go through my head, and I think it would be beneficial to myself and others who read it, to mark interesting/scary/sad/funny parts.

    Also, I’ve learned what makes up a good essay. It’s very interesting, because this method of essay-writing is much more broad than what I’m used to. At my previous school, our topic sentence had to be extraordinarily specific. It was hard to expand on ideas. Now, I feel much more freedom, and can just write my thoughts out.

    I have definitely grown ALREADY in English, and cannot wait to grow even more.

  3. I feel that I have grown as a thinker this year. I used to only think about things on the surface, not on a deeper level. Now I am constantly asking lots of ‘what if’ questions and trying to learn more about the novels we read.

    I am realizing more about novels than I used to. I find myself looking everywhere for foreshadowing, leitmotifs, and imagery. I am noticing details that I never saw before. I had read Lord of the Flies before, but now I am seeing worlds of foreshadowing, and it seems so obvious now what will come at the end.

    I would say this class has changed the way I think of the topics in the books and the way I view the characters. I believe that I have become a stronger reader because of this and that this will continue to benefit me throughout the year in English class and throughout the rest of my life.

  4. As an English student, I have become better at making good intro paragraphs. I have always had a hard time writing intro paragrahs and theses, but so far, I think I have been writing very good intros.

    This is the first time I have ever read actively. In all my previous classes, my books were all clean:no pen marks, no highlighting. “Active reading” has allowed me to be able to identify signs in the story’s future plot, and the meaning underneath it.

    To me, books were just read for fun. Active reading allow the discovery of the author’s attitude and his/her message. This makes even the most boring books to be somewhat interesting. This skill has helped me gain ideas and proof to use in our essays. I hope to use this skill in the future.

  5. I definitely feel that my essay writing has improved a huge bunch. I now have a better idea of how an introduction paragraph should be written and what components one needs to become a well-written one. I can feel that my skill of writing a thesis statement has drastically improved.

    Overall, I start to see that ideas come quicker when writing and that I don’t have to struggle to strain my mind as much during in-class essays. Integrating quotes and making them flow smoothly along with the rest of the paragraph is starting to become easier and easier. I have learned to tell the difference between plot summary and actual explanations and applying this knowledge to my writing. One of the most important ideas that I have learned is that if [at least one — edited by Mr. Long] reader doesn’t disagree with my essay, then it won’t be remembered, and therefore not the best essay there is. My essay-writing abilities have definitely grown and matured since the beginning of the school year.

    I have also learned to look deeper into stories and dig out the symbolism the author(s) put into their work(s). A book like Lord of the Flies helps train my mind to observe and analyze every detail carefully and to help finding the author’s true intentions of the story. Now I am starting to become more and more meticulous when reading novels, short stories, epics, or whatever is thrown out there.

    Very importantly, I have found that the less tired I am, the more great ideas and better thoughts come into my mind when writing an essay. It’s was kind of obvious before, but now it is even more apparent.

    I have found that my knowledge of writing and reading has developed and elevated since the beginning of the school year. All of the above are very important skills and I am content that these abilities, especially since I have always felt them to be inferior, have greatly improved so far.

  6. As student one made a great response i feel like this year so far i haven’t grown as much in how my intro is written or how many sentences i can put in my body paragraphs but i have learned how to express what i feel in the sense that everyone can understand.

    Before i would just throw a lot of words into a paragraph and hope they all work out.I have loved to write all my life and one day would love to be a writer. This year i hope to grow in many areas of reading but most importantly i want to grow as a student and in hope that my reading will fall in line with it. I hope this year that my writing not only improves in certain areas but as a whole so at the end of the year i can look at my old essays and say wow i used to write like this. B

    ut i hope with my integrity to learn and your great teaching skills, hint Mr. Long, that i grow and expand more than i thought i ever could.

  7. As an English student, I have been looking into the deeper meanings of things. Now when I read books, I try to understand from the author’s point of view. I try to see how the author manipulates the characters to further the story. I have been doing this with shows on TV also. When I watch something on TV, I notice which stages of a hero the plot follows. Many of my shows follow them! Even the reality shows follow the stages. Its interesting to see how the producers edit the footage to flow with them.

    At least in English class, I am becoming more and more comfortable in class discussions. Even if I don’t say anything in class, it doesn’t mean I did not read. I just may be nervous or unsure how to phrase my idea or question.

    Ever since this year, I have been ‘actively reading’ in all my books. When I sell my books back to Half-Price, I hope the person is not buying the books for enjoyment only. In Lord of the Flies, I have written all over the margins and ‘highlighted’ throughout. I have essentially ruined the book. I have pointed out all the foreshadowing and gone back to previous chapters and written about how they have influenced later events in the story. The reader who buys my book for ‘leisure reading’ will surely be disappointed. However, if a student buys mine, they will be very grateful.

    My time-managing has improved also. The first in-class essay, I did not come close to finishing. Now I finish right as the bell rings. Throughout the year, maybe I’ll even have extra time left over to check my paper!!

  8. As an English student, I have definitely grown in a few areas.

    One in particular is how I write my essays. I have learned how to better construct my thesis statements. I think they are stronger and more developed than earlier in this year. Now, I am confident that I can write a more convincing thesis, and, equally important, be able to defend it.

    I also think that I have become more alert when I read. I can find imagery, foreshadowing, and subliminal author tricks. When I am reading Lord of the Flies, I am constantly high-lighting sentences that I think could have a deeper meaning. I am actively reading, which I never did before this year. I hope to further advance these skills as the year progresses. I am looking forward to improving my writing ability.

  9. So far this year, I think I’ve grown as a student in a couple ways.

    First, my whole view on essay writing has changed. In the past, different teachers have instructed us to write essays different ways, but this year I am really starting to groom my writing. I am trying to clearly get my point across, and keep my reader engaged throughout my entire paper. My introductions are stronger and I’m working on effectively using the text to defend my point of view instead of just summarizing the book. I would often use a quote in my essay and end up writing half a paragraph about where the quote fits into the story, but never actually analyzing it.

    Also, as student #1 said, this class has definitely taught me to be an activer reader. There is almost always a bigger picture or message in any book and to me, it makes the entire experience better when you are able to analyze and pick up on all of the author’s little hints.

    I have also found, especially in Lord of the Flies, that I am constantly flipping back through the book, sometimes because an idea came to me, or because that passage in Chapter 3 that confused the heck out of me finally makes sense. This is an idea that I know will serve me well while im in school. Over and over I have learned that speeding through a book just once and putting it down is never enough.

  10. This year I definitely feel as though I have learned many new skills just in this first nine weeks.

    I never realized how important it is to truly make every sentence count and to make every sentence intentional when writing an essay. My usual method for writing in class essays was to simply write as much as I could and then if I got the chance to read over it, do so but it was never a huge loss if I ran out of time to edit.

    I have now found that writing less and editing the paper is a much better decision than writing too much and not having the editing opportunity. Editing is the point when I can truly see if every sentence was intentional and needed in my paper, and I have developed a whole new method for creating an essay.

    I also now see the importance in organization throughout a paper, this not only makes it easier for the reader to understand but this makes writing the essay much less difficult. While writing my in class essays I know that I needed to organize ideas and then calmly begin writing my paper, because being extremely nervous does no good.

    During my first essay my nerves definitely took over and I went into panic mode, this showed in my handwriting and the overall content of my paper, and I never want this to happen again. To prevent reliving this experience I rely on prewriting and editing to strengthen my paper. Though organization is important I have also begun to understand that predictability can be the result of a formulated paper. Though a formula for your paper is useful it is imperative that you make your point clear and if this requires straying from the format, that is acceptable and actually necessary.

    I have not lowered my expectations for myself but I have realized that no essay I write will ever be perfect and this actually is a blessing. Because my essays are in constant need of improvement I can continue to learn and grow as a writer and truly stretch myself. Being successful in college and in the real world is my long-term goal and this means learning from my mistakes and also learning to breath. Though I will always be nervous when it comes to anything test like controlling those nerves is one skill I have to master. Once my nerves are controlled I can write what I truly want to say and get that through to the reader.

    I have also begun writing my in class essays with less complex and more intentional language. The reader has no interest in how many SAT words I can squish into one run on sentence. This only makes the paper difficult to understand and truly a waste of an idea. I have to convey my ideas in a few words and then go on to explain them the best way possible and if I use some SAT words then that is a bonus.

    I no longer write essays thinking, “this is going to sound so good when read, they are really going to be impressed.” The truth of the matter is no one will be the least bit impressed if they don’t understand my point and idea.

    I have so much more to learn about writing and I am so thankful that I am learning all of this now instead of my freshman year in college. The new mindset for in class writing is: prewrite, be intentional, make a point, avoid a plethora of SAT words, and always edit.

  11. I have improved in many different areas of English this year.

    I feel like I have a better understanding of how my introduction paragraph should be, in order to catch the reader’s eye. Also I have had many opportunities to practice writing thesis and topic sentences. And in those two areas I fell like I need help, and I have already found improvement in my writing since last year.

    In past English classes, I have read many books and have only focused on plot summary. And maybe why it has been so boring for me, but now I have found a deeper meaning to reading.

    This active reading skill has helped me in two ways. One, it has made me think of the bigger picture, and helped me understand what the authors trying to portray and what the authors trying to hint at. Two, it has really helped me pick up important details that has helped me have a better understanding on what the message is. In years to come, I think I will use these techniques to help me become a better writer.

  12. So far in this English class, I have learned a lot. I have learned to write a better thesis and learn how to capture the readers attention within the first few sentences. I think my in-class essays are better now then they were the first day of school. I have also learned to “actively” read my books. Before I took this class I usually just read the book, now I always use a pen/pencil when I read a book. I think that as the year progresses I will learn new ways to help better my essays.

  13. I have greatly improved as an English student. Like student number one I have really developed my ‘active’ reading skills. I find it greatly useful and have applied it to every class. (Every one of my textbooks is full of highlighting and comments!)

    I am now able to write better within a time frame as well. I used to dread in class essays but now I find them kind of fun because they do not freak me out anymore. This is thanks to your comments on the essays we have written.

    What I have really improved on is just analytical thinking. I can’t read anything now without thinking ‘There has to be another meaning!’ or ‘(Circle, Star) this is going to be important’. It is so neat because I can get so much more out of books and movies.

    This type of thinking has again proved useful in every class. So far I have gotten a ton out of English this year and can’t wait to see what is yet to come!

  14. I think I have made much progress in the 10th grade English class.

    I’ve learned to write more coherent essays, stronger theses, and to organize my thoughts into words. I think these blogs have helped me express my thoughts about matters of life. The visual vocab has helped expand my diction. The in-class essays have helped me contrive new ideas in a short amount of time.

    I’ve also much benefited in terms of reading literature. I wouldn’t have thought about all the themes and motifs we have discussed in class by just reading something alone. As an independent reader I will start to notice symbolic things more often as I come across them. Recognizing patterns in literature is essential not only for college but also for pleasure reading.

  15. I think I’m getting better at essays. I would normally just write down all my points, but now I’m beginning to think more about how they’re organized and whether or not they’re relevant to the thesis.

    Like Student #1, I’m also underlining things in the text I read for English and other classes. (I don’t like to do it in for-fun books, though – it feels so wrong, like hitting a little boy on the beach with a rock…maybe that’s just society’s effect on me.) ** Mr. Long: Can’t help but laugh at that last comment; touche! ***

    I’m noticing a lot more foreshadowing and stuff, too. In fact, a certain TV show that I watch with my family is getting more and more predictable every time. It’s like watching a detective show and solving the case before the guy can.

    I didn’t notice until now, but I’ve been reading more lately. Usually I never read unless it’s for school or unless someone dramatically recomended something to me. Recently I simply pulled a book off the shelf to read on the bus instead of sleep like I usually do.

    (So it’s your fault, Mr. Long, if I’m tired in class!) *** (Mr. Long: As long as your imagination is still functioning, you’ll be fine. Tired, but imaginatively fine.) ***

  16. I also feel that I have learned SO MUCH just in what… seven weeks?

    I think the main thing that has influenced me in my general life is how important word choice is. I love how Golding uses single words to convey so much. It really makes me think about how each word I use, in my essays, in my daily talk, in everything can pose questions, or be specific and get my point across. I laugh at my previous writing because what I thought was really good, only sounded pleasing to the ear, and sometimes got confusing.

    I find it so much more interesting to listen to different people, and pick out the words that symbolize what they truly mean, now that I have that ‘deeper knowledge.’ I am constantly questioning pictures that I see, and I wonder what the message is.

    Right now, I am in Seussical the Musical (ha ha, yes. A musical encompassing some of Dr. Seuss’ greatest stories.) I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that those stories aren’t just little kids tales, they have a meaning and I am ‘hunting’ for it. I am Mrs. Mayor, the mayor’s wife of Whoville. We live in fear on our speck of dust called Who. ‘Who!?’ How could anyone name their characters ‘Whos’, unless they didn’t mean anything by it. Horton Hears a Who is another story that is in it. I know that Horton is the main hero of the story, and I really wanted to use this musical as an example of a hero’s journey. I love the first number of the show, because it is called, “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think” and it basically says that you can think of anything, you just have to try. Ahh! I love it. So, by the first show, I will definitely know the meaning and will be so excited to have conquered the ‘beastie’ that lies ahead.

    I also feel that because of how my eyes have been opened to specific vocabulary and the importance of words, my essay writing has gotten/still will get so much better. At least my thought process and reasoning skills have gotten better, which will in turn make my writing better overall.

    English has opened up so many doors for me, and I have by no means secretly, warily entered.

  17. I have improved so much this year I don’t even know where to start.

    Although I have improved my writing capabilities, my new vocabulary is my favorite. Because of the SAT words, and the fact that you quiz us over them, you have increased my vocabulary tremendously. Because you stress so much of the importance of word choice, you have almost opened my eyes in books that we have read so far. Also, after the day of the vocab quiz, I always go home and use them to my dad and try to sound smart.

  18. I feel like i have improved a lot in my overall writing. My introductions are much better along with my thesis sentences. These are key parts to an essay that must be good in order to write a good essay. I’ve also improved greatly on integrating quotes into my essays. I used to say piggy said (quotation) but now I blend it into the sentence. this makes my sentences sound more natural.

    One thing that I can’t quite get is active reading. I never pick up on all of the analogies and symbolism in the books we read.

  19. While I do feel that my writing style, word choice/vocabulary, and essays have improved tremendously this year, I do not think it is the biggest or most important improvement I have undergone.

    I think that the most important change is that I have been able to see the world differently. I do not always look at the world as a spontaneous participant but as a thinker. More and more often I find myself analyzing conversations I have with people, why someone did what they did, or why that happened.

    I am also able to look at the things that are going on in my life and better understand them. I have always thought that I should be able to think deeper than I did, and now I find that I am actually doing it. I do not do it all the time yet, and I still say simple things like “I like this because it is pretty.” Overall, however, I feel that I am more thoughtful a person, and if someone cut open my head to see what was inside, they would be mildly interested.

  20. From the first day of class, I knew this class would make a big difference in the way I thought about everything. Actually, it got me thinking about “thinking” itself.

    The way I used to think is more mechanically memorizing or trying to recall a set of facts. Even in solving problems, I tried to fit the problem to the various formulas I memorized. I still do that, but now I see things I would have never seen to even think about. Of course, I’ve heard of symbolisms, imagery, themes, and inferences before, but I did not bother to think about all that while reading a story.

    In the past, I would basically do my best to follow the plot, and decide if that was entertaining. If the reading was for class, I would really try to understand and memorize the plot for the test or for the assignment. But now, when I am read, I am on the lookout for so many things. Mainly, I have to figure out, “what does that REALLY say?” Each word may have significant symbols or meaning other than what is on the surface. To get all, or as much as I can, the meaning of the story, and the story underneath the story, I have to read slowly and think about each word. It is time-consuming, but I definitely get more out of the story and I am becoming a better reader.

    It is similar in my writing.

    Actually, we did not do much writing before. If I had to write an essay or paper, I would just recall the information I am supposed to know and write fast. It was mostly remembering, not thinking. So I would quickly write without organizing my thoughts or thinking about anything creative.

    I am realizing again and again the importance of each one of my words. I can’t just use whatever words that come to my mind at the moment. I am realizing that I have to think a lot before I write. What do I REALLY want to say? This is sometimes hard for me. I feel a little panicky and I feel I need to write something quick. As result, I write without feeling and without thinking a lot.

    I am trying to break the habit, because the stuff I write in that manner comes out pretty silly and unorganized. I don’t know how much I improved in that regard, but at least I know what I have do to get better. I hope I am on the verge of becoming that writer, but I have a sinking feeling I have not gotten there yet.

    I will not stop trying, and I thank you, Mr. Long, for making the big difference in the way I look at the world and think about it.

  21. There are more ways than one I have grown as an English student so far.

    One item in particular I have grown at is actually talking in class. I really do not understand why I could not do this in any other class and why I am still nervous talking in my other classes. In discussions now a days I actually sometimes raise my hand and say something. This may not seem like such a feat for some, but trust me for me it is. Though I am undoubtedly still nervous I am not having panic attacks. (ha bring this back up when we have to make a presentation in class.)

    Another thing I have grown increasingly better at is introductions and conclusions. Before I honestly had no idea what to write for these two paragraphs, which are the most important so you can imagine how bad my essays were.

    Also you should see my book. It is highlighter, underline, comments in the margins galore. Before I never really actively read so when I needed a quote you can bet I did not find it. This year though I am over highlighting and writing little things I notice in the margins.

    Lastly, I have gotten better at integrating quotes and using vocabulary correctly. Using those SAT words are becoming second nature to me and integrating quotes a breeze.

  22. Personally. iv’e never dived so far into a assigned book as I have with Lord of the Flies in your class. Before, when I went through a book, I would often (a.k.a ALL THE TIME) skip a couple pages to get to the more interesting parts of the book.

    However, in my short time in this class, iv’e seen that i’ll miss some of the most important parts of the novel. Now, my book looks like one used by a serious college student.

    Also, on a lesser note, my writing skills and speed have also improved a little since the beginning of the year. I’m not saying that they’ve become A+ material, but they’re definitely improving. And I owe it all to a certain High School English teacher.

  23. This year as a writer I have dramatically improved in my paragraph organization skills. Of course there is room for improvement, but that will always be the case. Last year, my writing was honestly a bunch of filler, with an occasional fact in here and there.

    So far this year I have been able to realize the importance of using strong vocabulary and illuminating fluff and unimportant filler sentences. Each sentence should be as important as the next, and I am beginning to make that statement true…

    Also, I have learned not to save the best sentence for the very end of the paragraph, but to instead point out the important facts and use the rest of the paragraph to back up and prove what you say. Knowing this now makes me so much more confident with my writing and this alone has drastically improved each essay that I write.

  24. Before I didn’t pay attention much attention in English class. Now I pay attention, because I find this year’s English class to be fun. In the years before I found English class to be repetitive. I never felt like I learned anything new. Now I feel like I’m learning alot. Before I didn’t like how we would overanalyze good books until I started to not like them anymore. When we analyze books in your class it’s different. They way you analyze the books we read do not ruin the books. Talking about the books with each other helps me understand the books much better than doing worksheets. All of this has made me think deeper into what we read. Also, more importantly I have been taking English class seriously.

  25. As a reader, I’ve developed a need to read with a pen or highlighter in hand. I’m trying my hardest to try and catch and analyze what Golding is dishing out and become better at using the details to discern the big picture. While I’m still a long ways from having mastered this technique, I think I’m getting better as I go through.

    Lord of the Flies is such a great book to start out with because it seems to be loaded with analytical gold, and is difficult and interesting enough to keep you thinking about it for a long time. It also has me taking my time reading it, so I don’t miss anything. I even started rereading entire chapters so as to get a better understanding of it, which is something I have never done before.

    As a writer, I’m admittedly still trying to get the hang of it.

  26. I’m always trying to improve the effectiveness of my writing. The focus for your has essays has hereto been just that, which is perfect, because I am beginning to feel more confident in my essays.

    I would also love to develop my voice in stories, but since the first two or so, I haven’t been getting feedback, and the first two helped a lot.

    As you’ve pointed out, my use of commas is a bit overdone. I’ve been trying to cut down and make each sentence sharp and directed exactly to my point.

    Another thing that has gotten better is my natural flow of eloquent sentences, which the in-class essays have a lot to do with. It makes me realize the best sounding and most efficient way to get my point across in a timely manner.

    Overall I hope that my improvement continues at this pace, raising the bar in my writing and speaking.

  27. One major thing that I’ve been able to improve on is time management. This is the first year that I’ve actually had to write a significant amount of in class essays. I always used to be nervous whenever I had to do one, but because of the constant exposure to these in class essays, mainly from English class, I’ve been able to write more productively and become more used to the time frame that we’re giving to do an assignment.

    Another thing that I’ve improved on this year, is being able to write an essay in general, especially the introductory paragraph. Every time I wrote an essay I’d have to spend about 5-10 minutes just thinking about what I have to write about and organizing my thoughts. THEN after 5-10 minutes have passed by I would start writing my essay. This year has improved my ability to write better essays while enabling to get the most out of my time.

  28. At first, I did not know what to expect out of this class. As I started becoming more familiar with how the class worked and what happened in it, I became a little more relaxed.

    I really feel like I’ve improved much more than I have in all of the other English classes I’ve ever taken. I really feel like my essays are starting to making sense and I feel as if I am on the verge of making a break through. It is a slow process and I think it will come to me sometime very soon.

    I also feel as if my thesis sentences are slowly starting to become more clear and are starting to have a more natural flow to them.

    Also, active reading has really helped me wrap my brain around The Lord of the Flies. If I had never used active reading, this book would be much harder to understand.

  29. This year’s english class has helped me improve my reading, writing, and argument skills.

    My reading skills have gotten so much better I pay attention more and remember more now that I highlight so much in my books. It also helps because it makes me reach out more and actually fully understand what is going on and what might happen next. I like putting my thoughts on the pages too. (That’s kind of weird I know, but I think its fun!)

    Writing these blog entries every week has helped alot with my typing and with writing my essays. The entries make me think more and learn more through other peoples’ work. It’s interesting to find out what their views are on certain subjects and how alike or not alike that person and I are.

    Expanding my range of language and knowledge has really helped my argumentative skills. I feel more confident in my discussions and smarter when I talk too! My discussions with people feel alot more smoother and not so much I don’t know what I am talking about and they do, so I should just be quiet. I feel like I have the upper hand now and it feels good!

  30. So far I think the biggest improvement I have made in English this year is using a wider range of words to get my point across. Next to that it would have to be being specific. Using more variety of words in my essays make it sound a lot better as well as more dramatic in some cases. As far as the being specific goes, it helps a lot in my thesis sentences and I can convey my point a lot more easily. Along with writing, I am amazed with how ‘deep’ or complex some stories can be. If I would have read Lord of The Flies one or two years ago I would have never realized how much foreshadowing and conflicts there are. Reading between the lines such as this makes English much more interesting and the more I do it, the more my abilities to analyze literature improve.

  31. I’ve improved my carefulness about comma usage now. Apparently sometimes I throw in extra commas that aren’t needed. I was pretty surprised to find this out the day we went over in-class essay excerpts (you had pointed out several comma misuses — all of which I previously would have thought to be legit).

    I have never focused on an introduction in writing before. All that had mattered to me was the body of the piece. When you explained that the introduction is the key that actually draws the reader in, it occured to me that no matter how great your essay is, no one will read it if you aren’t interesting in your first paragraph. Now I’m a lot more careful when I write introductions.

    The last thing I am aware of improving on is basically the sense to never know what to expect from your audience. Honestly, I am still kind of confused on how you will take my visual vocab stories and in-class essays every week. I will say that you are the most unpredictable teacher I’ve ever had. In the past I’ve been almost certain about what my teacher wants from me in writing, but now I’m not that sure anymore. Because of this, I try to be as interesting and unpredictable as possible… (the past three vocab stories I’ve written have had one or two twists at the end).

    English is my favorite subject and writing is something I love to do. Therefore, I hope I will impress and improve throughout the year!

  32. So far in English this year I have made many improvments. I feel great about the improvements I have made, but I know I can go beyond them and accomplish many more.

    One that has really caught my eye is that I look at quotes in the book or certain the ideas in the book we bring up in class in a more mature way. I am willing to make my point and fight for it if someone disagrees. I can find other points that will help back it up and make other people understand what im trying to say.

    This year I have also improved my writting skills. Im not anywhere near where I would like to be, but by the end of this year I really believe I can achieve my goals.

  33. As a English student I feel like I have improved dramatically in my ability to produce a well rounded essay.

    Since the beginning of the school year I believe I have approved in my ability to clearly put together an essay. Instead of chaos, it is organized facts. I can now create an essay without repeating myself multiple times.

    I believe I have also improved in my ability to deeply understand something. I put more thought into what I am reading, and try to understand. I believe making the margin notes allows me to focus on what I am writing therefore focus on what I am reading. This also helps me in the long run when I need to review a chapter, all I have to do is read over my notes.

  34. I feel that I have improved very little so far. I expected that I would be better able to understand things on a deeper level as most of my classmates do, but I’m disappointed that I don’t.

    *** Mr. Long: Be patient, my friend. It’ll come. This is a long life process, and the it’ll come to you in many ways. I was more like you as a 10th grader. In the years that followed, however, I started asking different questions when I read, I started noticing otherwise hidden patterns, and little by little it came into focus. The key is to always ask, “Why is the author doing this?” and to seek answers beyond the plot. Oh, and ‘steal’ ideas (not in a copying way) from others so that you can see pieces of a larger pattern over time. Again, hang in there. Little by little it’ll come. ***

    The only thing that I have remotley improved on is my vocabulary. I can write a sentence and sound semi smart instead of just a simple minded country person that uses the most basic words. From these vocab tests I have learned new words that I have never even heard before. When I figure out how to use one of those big words in a sentence I feel so smart.

    In the future I sincerly hope to become a better essay writer. And I have yet to get a ‘real explanation’ about how to write a good thesis which irritates me a little bit. Maybe when I do figure out how to write a thesis I can use some of my ‘big smart words’ 😉

    ***Mr. Long: Care to come talk to me one-on-one re: thesis statements? I’d be happy to help out anytime you’re free.

  35. The transition from 9th grade english to 10th grade honors english has been a learning experience. I have realized the importance of highlighters in these first weeks of the year. As I continue reading Lord of the Flies all of my past highlights help me build evidence for my ideas about the book. This evidence will soon help me prove a point to whoever reads my writing. I also use highlighters when I review draft essays. I am able to highlight what I want to keep in my final draft. The highlighter will be a key material for me as the year goes on.

  36. My answer is very simple. I have learned to think in terms of the “devil’s advocate” whenever I’m writing something. I feel as if I am really doing better in writing and in my arguments or discussions outside the classroom in first asking myself what the reverse side of my point is and then finding ways to counter it.

  37. I haven’t actually improved that much in essay writing. When I write a thesis, it’s not exactly amazing and I can’t seem to write a good conclusion paragraph/sentence. Even though my writing isn’t fantastic yet, at least I know what I need to work on. I’m paying a lot more attention to detail and how I say what I’m thinking, unfortunately it’s after I’ve written the essay when I realize what could have made it outstanding.

    I love that we have vocab quizzes every week because big words make me feel smart. I find myself using the SAT words in daily conversation and in my essays frequently. It’s a little sad that I get excited when I’m reading a book and see a vocab word, but that’s one more word in my noggin.

    This class has taught me that the highlighter is your friend. I’m so proud of myself when I have an idea and can find a quote to support it. I always have a highlighter and a pen next to me now when I’m reading. Now I find sometimes that an entire page in my book is covered in highlighter so I have to write extra notes so that I know what I’m talking about. Because I’m reading more carefully, I’m starting to pick up on patterns and interesting ideas in writing. The idea that “an author never writes anything on accident” is so obvious now that I’m focusing on that.

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