Reflection Letter

This website is an archive of the work completed in Professor Morgen’s English 181 class during the fall semester of 2019. Here is a link to the class page (https://eng181f19.davidmorgen.org/)

Reflection Letter

In this course, I have taken on the learning outcomes of “Rhetorical Composition”, “Critical Thinking”, “Writing as a Process”, “Visual Thinking”, and “Digital Citizenship in a variety of ways. From exploring graphic novels such as ‘Stitches”, “Spinning”, and “Sabrina”, just to name a few, I have been able to expand not only my knowledge as a writer, but also my knowledge of a reader. 

The first assignment we began working on was a Sunday sketch. The challenge of this first Sunday sketch was to create an avatar to use for my new website. To complete the assignment, I had to use photoshop to create my avatar as well as use wordpress.com to create my website. While trying to edit my avatar, I remember thinking to myself “why am I doing this, I’m in an english class I should be writing”. Now, I see that this first activity was already introducing me to the learning outcomes of the class. In this case, digital citizenship and critical thinking were used. I demonstrated my digital citizenship when creating my website and the avatar to go with it. This website would be a direct reflection of my work, my thoughts. Anything I created would be put on this website and thought to be my own work, I had to make sure that I gave credit to images, authors, and who ever else’s work I incorporated in my own. My critical thinking abilities were used in this assignment as well as I had to come up with a description of why I created my avatar. I had to explain my picture and give reason to the choices I made. Although this is just one example of a Sunday sketch, there are 11 more that allowed me to explore all of the learning outcomes. 

My first major assignment was “Literacy Narrative pt. 1”. This assignment required me to write about my first memories of reading and how I have evolved as a reader. While writing this essay, I realized that I was using more of the learning objectives such as writing as a process and rhetorical composition. I used writing as a process when revising my essay and reflecting on what I thought of it. I used rhetorical composition as I organized my thoughts in my essay. After completing “Literacy Narrative Pt. 1”, I went on to complete a reflection of the essay concerning how I arranged my thoughts and what I thought was most impactful in the essay. After the completion of the reflection for part 1, I went on to part 2 which was to create a comic using your “Literacy Narrative pt. 1” as a guide and write a reflection on the final product. Then, for “Literacy Narrative pt. 3” I went back and edited my part 1 to make sure the story in my part 1 and part 2 were the same. I then wrote a reflection on part 3 as well. 

Another project I completed was my “Tracing Pages” project. The purpose of this essay was to compare trauma stories from two different graphic novels. To do this I had to find a page from two books, in my case Spinning by Tillie Walden and “Stitches” by David Small, and provide evidence of trauma in each book. The evidence was chosen by tracing out a page from each graphic novel using them as images in the essay. This was very interesting to me as it allowed me to brainstorm a lot while tracing each page so when it was time to write my essay, my head was splitting at the seam with ideas that I couldn’t wait to get on paper. This is a quote from the reflection piece I wrote after completing the “Tracing Pages” assignment, “The act of tracing a comic for this assignment was a really good brainstorming technique for me. Before tracing the panels, I had a theme in my head that I wanted to write about, however I didn’t have any specific details in mind that I could talk about. As I traced the different panels, it gave me time to think about what I was going to write about. By the time I had finished annotating, I felt confident that I could refer to certain details from the page to support the theme I wanted to talk about.” This quote is a clear example of the learning outcome writing as a process. In this example, I spend a lot of time brainstorming and thinking about what I’m going to write before even attempting to write my essay. I was able to walk through the main points of my essay and critique myself, allowing the writing process to be quick and straightforward.

The next assignment was a presentation called a “Halfa Kucha”. The style of presentation comes from a “Pecha Kucha” which is a 6 minute 40 second oral and visual presentation. Each Pecha Kucha has 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each. In our case, we were going to only have 10 slides shown for 20 seconds each, which is where the name “Halfa Kucha” comes from. In this presentation, I compared the trauma and healing of the main characters in the graphic novels Stiches and Spinning. 

Some skills that I learned from this class that I will continue to apply is that an introduction and conclusion are not always necessary when writing an essay. What you say in a  drawn out introduction can be said in a sentence, same for a conclusion. This is useful because it allows more time and space for my main ideas to be shared in my essays. 

Something else that I will take away from this class is that spending a lot of time brainstorming and setting up and essay can really help with organization and allow you to be more efficient when actually writing your essay. This reflects the learning outcome of writing as a process! 

What I see at the end of the semester when I step back and look at myself as a writer is that I have greatly progressed. I have not only progressed in my writing ability, but also my writing strategy, ability to express ideas through different mediums, and my ability to adopt the learning outcomes. Overall, I feel that this class has created a writer that is equipped with the tools necessary to take on any writing task. 

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