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Writing has always been a part of my life. I remember writing letters thanking family and friends for gifts I was given. I didn't always liked writing these letters but I enjoyed the way I felt after they were completed and sent. Before the letter was dropped off in a blue mailbox, I would have my mother proofread it and check for any mistakes that I had made. Every now and then, there would be something wrong and I would immediately make changes to these letters but usually I would receive praise on the way they were written. This praise definitely helped shape me into becoming a writer with a little more confidence. As the years progressed, I included current news about myself in the letters instead of using them as a nice way to say 'thanks."
For me, the process of writing used to only be a simple two step process. I would write something down and quickly print it. After reviewing it with a few close friends, I was likely to change a couple things based on their suggestions. However, after a few weeks in Composition I, I learned that a good piece requires a lot more effort and time that I had become accustomed to. I used journaling to stir up a few ideas for several papers such as the memoir at the beginning of the course. Writing is no longer a process where I only type, shortly revise, and turn it in. I learned the importance of revising it with other readers and getting their feedback on what I created. This feedback has become a critical resource in helping me revise my work. With this growth, writing has turned into a challenge, but also allowed me to feel rewarded in the end.
The first step of effective writing is invention. Invention strategies have become a basic part of my writing. I learned that using a variety of invention techniques is the most effective way of coming up with a topic. Journaling on a daily basis and also compiling a list of topics that interested me and consulting with others made this process more effective. When I reached a road block in figuring out a topic for an assignment during Composition I, I realized talking with family and friends to be a useful way of deciding topics. Each of these strategies ended up being an effective way to start my essays.
Revision is another essential step in writing. One thing I have learned about revision from this class is that errors can slip through any reader, no matter how many drafts I have written or how many people I had read the piece. For example, in my memoir I found that I had forgotten to spell out a word: "I tried one day, when I was in 6th gradeâ€¦" Even with several reviews of my memoir, I never noticed this error. This incident has taught me that I need to become more attentive during the revision process of writing. I also need to check my drafts more carefully for basic grammar problems.
The second expected student outcome is being able to conduct research. When I am fully interested in writing about a topic that I know very little about, research is crucial to helping me find out what to write. Even with knowing very little about a certain subject, using dependable sources effectively makes it possible to write well. I learned spending extra time gaining thorough research is important because the final paper turns out more effective and convincing.
Modern day technology has been a great aid in my writing. While creating my report, I used an assortment of sources. Internet proved to be a valuable tool for finding research. I relied on information gathered through different websites as my main source of research and also relied on the use of books. While using my print sources, I expanded my knowledge of using the different tools available to find information, such as an electronic card catalog. Another very important thing from Composition I regarding research, was to always paraphrase information and use quotations if using word-for-word sentences. This information allowed me to practice proper citation during the report in MLA format. For example, I wrote "It is estimated that 15 billion gallons of soda is consumed annually (Klosterman 33)." I used to formatting used for book sources for that sentence since I paraphrased it from a print source I used.
For many assignments, we were to follow MLA format. Some of those assignments included the memoir and the report. It was vital to use MLA format and the Hacker book while writing the report. MLA requires alphabetizing sources used on the Works Cited page by author's last name or title of the source if no author is given. For example, I put "Drummond, Karen. " Caffeine." Faqs.org. n.d. Web. 03 July 2010" before "Klosterman, Lorrie. The Facts about Caffeine. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2007. Print." Another thing I learned about MLA format is that it is required to put titles of articles and other sources in italics. MLA was a complex thing for me to learn because it is always changing and requires new things each year.
Student outcome number three involves developing critical reading and thinking skills. Throughout Composition I, I practiced this skill during each unit's reading response from the reading in the book. All through these fifteen weeks I had to think critically and try to figure out what the author was trying to say. For instance, topic two memoir questions from "Sweat is Good" required a lot of critical thinking on my behalf because I had to figure out what he meant by adding certain details about the sweat shop and the rivalry between Buford and Vikram. I also had to answer on how the conflict between these two characters affected the rest of the story. In my answer I stated "This competition told me that work in the sweatshop was pretty much full of competitors and possible hatred among the employees to see who could work the fastest. It also told me that Buford was determined to make money in the sweatshop. The conflict affects the story because it changes the way Vikram acts and therefore changing the relationship between him and Buford" and I feel that I did an okay job in answering and the question and thinking critically.
Another way I practiced critical reading and thinking skills was when I was asked to peer edit a classmate's papers. For some, I had to read their work several times to be able to understand what they were trying to say. It was important to read their essays critically because it would possible to miss certain key elements and be confused while reading. I also had to put these abilities to work regarding my own writing when I was working on revising my own assignments and correcting mistakes.
All of the writing projects that I finished throughout this course were beneficial in teaching me new writing strategies and skills. While working on the Profile, I learned about several design principles-such as alignment-that go into creating delightful articles and writing pieces. Writing the Profile allowed me to add visuals and also different colors and fonts to make it seem more presentable to the reader. I also got to practice effectively communicating ideas and information through a variety of formats during the Brochure. For this piece, I had to practice aligning words, pictures, and also tables and graphs so it would all fit on each of the pages. It was crucial to do this so it would be appealing but yet still informative to the reader.
The final student outcome involves taking responsibility for individual learning and success. One of the competencies that I had to complete was attending "class" on a regular basis. I did this by frequently logged on to FlexNet to check assignments that needed to be done and also turning in the writing projects I completed. Even though I slacked during the first month, I learned it was important to complete things early on so I wouldn't be rushed to finish on time and panic the last few hours of the course. The final competency in Composition I was to communicate to plan appropriate action if problems arise. I learned that was significant because I would not have had the opportunity to redo my report if I did not communicate. So thank you very much for that! Another reason it was critical to communicate throughout these last fifteen weeks is that there could be errors in a grade, but so far everything seemed to be graded and inputted correctly.
All through the fifteen weeks of Composition I, I learned amazing new skills and strategies about each step of the writing process. Each writing assignment has pushed me into becoming a more effective writer. I am thankful for being able to expand my knowledge during this course and participate. I look forward to building my writing skills even further in my next writing class.