The following is my argument for an A in my Gifted Honors English Class this marking period, outlining my areas of growth as well as where I fell short:
Before I go into the nitty-gritty details of this marking period, I would like to say I believe I’ve earned an A. While I haven’t met all the goals I set for myself last marking period, I have seen significant growth in both my work and my general work ethic. One of my main concerns was my formal writing. Last marking period, I wanted to improve my organization and crystallize my voice as a writer, because I had issues with getting all my thoughts onto paper in a way that people can actually understand it. I think this was an entire marking-period long process for me that culminated with the final Othello essay.
First, the freewriting: while sometimes I wouldn’t be able to get thoughts going, repeatedly doing freewriting helped me a lot with quickly getting my thoughts onto paper without having to worry about revising (something that stresses me out, but I’ll get to that later…) and peer editing it. Constantly writing and getting my thoughts out without having to worry about perfect grammar and sentence structure ended up being something that was really helpful for me. I realized that getting my raw, uncensored ideas out there really allowed me to progress later on in the writing process. You can find some examples of this on my blog, especially the post about the Joshua Medcalf podcast (link), or my book review on Fahrenheit 451 (link). While this didn’t have anything to do with Haroun or Othello, I thought it was a good representation of my unique voice as a writer, which is really important to me.
Next was the Othello Double Entry Journals (link), which I like to call “Freewriting Except I Put More Effort Into My Thoughts.” While I ended up ignoring many of my quote analyses, I definitely had some diamonds in the rough (again, I’ll get to that in a bit…). When I went to write my thinkpiece (link), it was 2am and I was completely taken by surprise when I saw the “late” notification on classroom because I had no idea you assigned it while I was gone– but I the urgency ended up helping me, and it got rid of my chronic laziness in a matter of seconds. I really tried to write my essay through a unique lens (Focus Standard #3) and not the usual “Iago is a vice character and poor Othello was deceived!!” While it definitely wasn’t anywhere near my best work, it helped me more than I can imagine when I went to write my final essay.
I think the final essay (link) is really where I saw my progress come through. Working in steps (journals>thinkpiece>rough draft) helped me a lot with getting everything done on time, and creating a clear-cut focus (Focus Standard #7). And while it was a little on the long side, I’m proud of this piece as I was able to discuss all of my thoughts in a formal matter and analyze quotes (Focus Standard #1) while still maintaining my voice as a writer, which was really the main goal I set in the very beginning of the year (maybe even since last year). I also actually revised that essay with the help of my peers (Focus Standard #9) which I don’t think I’ve done in months because I hate reading my own work after staying up late to finish it.
Overall, I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made this marking period in terms of developing my work ethic/organization, and my formal writing. However, I know that, like with all things, there is always room for improvement. Apart from making further improvements in the things I just mentioned, I hope to see growth next marking period in my reading habits (Focus Standard #5) and my voice, especially when analyzing texts and using literary devices (Focus Standard #10).
note: I was absent for all of the Othello socratic seminars.