Learning Outcome 1
The first draft of a paper I write does not really look the same as my final draft for the paper. Once I initially write my ideas down and begin writing my main idea, I list additional points I want to include in paper. After writing a certain number of words I often find a shift in my overall idea and what I want to talk about and therefore I adjust everything to match my new perspective or I just start over. After I get over that initial hump in my writing I tend to focus more on local revision on the rest of the essay. Peer review assists me in figuring out where I specifically need to focus my revision. They provide fresh eyes which allows me to understand how my audience would perceive what I am saying.
Revision is a process that can not be done in one sitting. In one moment you may think one way about a particular subject and write what you believe is a strong point supporting it, however a day or more later when you look back on it you may realize it is not as strong or does not convey the message you want to send to the reader. One and done is not a successful way to write anymore. To properly engage with the materials you are using and the piece you are writing you must look over it many, many times, thus ensuring you are putting as much work into a piece of writing as you want your audience to receive.
Attached is a 500 word draft and then the final draft of the same project. As you can see, my the first and final draft are completely different. My overall focus of the paper changes, and during peer review they assisted in my global idea to make sure I was staying focused on one idea and local issues like sentence structure and quote use.
Learning Outcome 2
Sources are extremely useful in obtaining support for the argument you are making in your essay. By including outside source it demonstrates to the reader that you are not simply making information up, and it shows that there are other people who are thinking about the same issue you are. Sources give your opinion more credibility because it shows that you did your research, even if the sources do not support your belief. You can take sources that counter your argument and use that to point out weakness in their side, making yours stronger.
My use of quotes from the beginning of semester to now has changed drastically. Looking back at my first paper I included many relevant quotes, however explanations to quotes where not present or if it was present, it was not strong in nature. I worked on having smoother transitions into my quotes and giving an explanation of each quote directly after it. The course material, “They Say I Say” was helpful in developing my quote explanations and introducing it as well. Here is an example from my last project of my quote use.
Learning Outcome 3
My approach to active and critical reading involves a few different techniques and what I have access to at the moment. I used a colored pen and occasionally a highlighter(if I have one on hand) and I read through the passage to determine what is important. I typically define what is important by if I had to summarize that page I will highlight or underline words or phrases that demonstrate the key points of that section. I additionally makes notes in the margins about my thoughts and things I find. So if there is a passage that relates to the overall theme or argument I will do a short summary on the side. I also address the argument by what particular passages say and then change it as I make my way through the passage. I often make comparisons and ask questions in the margins as well to further think about why what the author is saying in a particular section matters to the overall argument or the overall issue.
Gilroy describes annotating as, “an ongoing conversation with yourself as you move through the text” and this describes my way of annotating. You can see a shift in my comments as an author further develops their idea. At the start I am more all over the place trying to figure out what the baseline idea is and then with each page my thinking will narrow down a bit more and I more clearly relate the piece back to itself or think of something similar to it. I may ask a question on one page and then answer it on the next. I am constantly thinking about how each point relates and reveals a new side to the argument which I need to incorporate in the process of forming my own opinion.
Attached is an example of annotations.
Learning Outcome 4
My peer review practice now is very different from what I thought peer review was when I first came into college. Peer review before was not focused on idea development, instead it focused on spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure kind of things. What I do for peer review now is I try to make the writer really think about where they are going with their piece and if they are getting their message across the best way. I do not want to tell them what they must do, but instead make suggestions to help improve it and I explain why I think it would improve their piece. Looking at past peer review comments I made one thing that I make a habit to include it breaking paragraphs up so ideas are not rushed through and so more depth can be brought to them. I tend to focus more on ideas and organization when I go through a peer’s piece. For example in my peer review for Lyle, I said:
Looking back on my peer review experience in high school I would never of said that or had enough time to think through those comments and express my ideas with her about it. Taking the time to go through what is did is vital to becoming a better writer and while editing others essays I notice some things I do in my own work that I am trying to improve. Looking back at my peer review now there are still things I wish to improve in my own process. I need to give more attention to looking at their evidence and how that relates to their thesis which I did not look at much this semester. I want to be able to give useful information on all categories instead of looking just at organizational issues or their general ideas. Whole review can be found here.
Learning Outcome 5 &6
My significant writing piece demonstrates that I can successfully cite sources in MLA format. My works cited page is properly formatted along with all of my in text citations. Every quote I used was accompanied by the authors name and the page it was written on. By checking over my MLA work it also helps me review more local issues in my essay. For example I typically have problems writing my sentences so I could forget to put a word in it and when I read it through I would read it like it is there. To help me fix this and making sure my sentences make sense I will read my essay at a low volume to make sure these problems get resolved. Additionally the final read through in class is extremely beneficial because it allows me to review any last minute work I did before I was ready to hand it in. Significant writing piece can be found here.