For Tuesday– Proposal!

Hey everyone, read over Unit Four (under UNITS at the top of this page) and for Tuesday, write (and post on OpenLab) a proposal for what you intend to do for the project. Remember that you will be switching AUDIENCE and GENRE for this revision. I want you to write at least 600 words for this project. I do count spoken words as writing. I also want it to have some visual component– photos, moving images, etc…

Your proposal should tell me:

  1. Which unit you are revising
  2. What new audience you think you would like to reach
  3. What genre you want to write in (this should be a DRASTIC change– like, change mediums, from essay to video, or from video to comic book.) 
  4. What you plan to do!

The proposal doesn’t have to be too long– 150 words or so.  And if you’re not quite sure what you want to do in all of those four categories above yet, that’s fine– but you should know most of them, and have some options for the ones you are still unsure about. 

Think of this as a new project– that is, this grade has nothing to do with your original grade for whatever project you’re revising. It won’t replace the original grade.

If you are unhappy with your grade on any of the units, you are welcome to revise those units, but that’s separate.


For Thursday

  1. If you haven’t posted your revision of the education essay, DO IT NOW!!
  2. Plan some idea for what you want to do for Unit 4. Email me with questions. We’re going to start working on this on Thursday, so you should have something in mind!
  3. We will have some time on Thursday, but not the whole class, to work on the letters to future students. If there’s something you need to do at home, please do it! We will start looking at these on Thursday.

For Tuesday– Rough Drafts of Unit Three Due!! (Final Drafts due Thurs!!)

Hey everyone– rough drafts of Unit Three are due on Tuesday. Please post them online (if possible) and bring them to class. Classtime will be used largely for workshopping of these drafts, so if you don’t have one, you’re gonna be sitting around doing nothing. Plus– this is a great opportunity for you to get some feedback!


Also: For those of you who did drawings, please remember to redo your artist’s statements. I’ve provided you with links to the info about how to write artists’ statements. Post them online, but also please send me an email to let me know you’ve done so: chall@citytech.cuny.edu.


For Thursday

Please print out, read and annotate the “Maker’s Eye,” which is about revision (below)

Also, keep working on your projects for Unit 3 (Community Projects/ Community Solutions)

As an update, the rough drafts for Unit 3 will be due on April 16. Please make these as finished as possible– FINAL DRAFTS DUE ON APRIL 18.

Also, the revision of the education essay has been postponed until after the break. It is now due on April 30.

Here’s the “Maker’s Eye”

Maker's Eye

For Tuesday

Hey everyone– good work today!

For Tuesday, I would like you all to work on Unit 3– your “Community Problems” projects. On OpenLab, please post a brief “progress report” that lets me know what you’ve done so far and how you’re doing with the unit.

Some important dates:

Tuesday, April 16: Revision of essay 1 (education narrative) is due 

Thursday, April 18: Unit 3 is due.

Please note that these are pretty close together. If you ignore these dates until the last minute, you’re gonna feel a WORLD OF PAIN! (Or just be super stressed.)


For Thursday: Research Memos due

Hey everyone! For Tuesday, please post your research memo on OpenLab and also bring in a copy for EACH MEMBER OF YOUR GROUP.

The research memo is just 1.5-2 pages in which you summarize what you learned in your research. I’m not grading you on grammar or anything. Remember! Extra credit for groups that have interviews in their research.

For the memo please click two categories: “Community Problems” AND your group’s category


  • Preventing college date rape (category: “preventing rape”)
  • Noise Pollution
  • On My Block
  • MTA: System fighters (category: “system fighters”– this is Shauntai, Ife and Josh.)
  • Living in NYC
  • Saviors of the MTA (category: “saviors” David, Pavel, Eric)
  • Homelessness

For Tuesday

We’re going back to the library! JUST KIDDING.

But really, for Tuesday, we’ll meet back in the regular classroom. Please bring links to the articles you’ve found (2-3 per person)- or if you’re doing interviews, please come with, either the info from those interviews, or a list of interview questions (HERE are some tips on writing interview questions.) 

To clarify:  Think of your group as a “think tank.” Together, you are trying to solve a problem. In the “research memo” you will be writing to the members of your group about the research you have done individually– more or less just summarizing what you have found. This way, you can get a lot more research done together!  These will be approx 450-500 words, but low-stakes (meaning I’m not grading your grammar, organization, etc).

Also, I will make a category for each of your groups for when you post. I’ll set those up on Tuesday.


In-Class Resources, Thursday

Remember, you want to find a SPECIFIC problem– if you are concerned with racism, you’d want to narrow that down to some specific issue of racial profiling in your neighborhood. On Tuesday, when we talked about poverty, someone asked “why are people getting kicked out of my building?” That’s specific!! You want questions that you can A. Research and B. Do something about through writing.

Other specific issues from Tuesday were: problems with Uber, problems with financial aid.

Okay, time to do some work!

Make some lists. Write down as many problems as you can think of. Use the internet to think of more! At LEAST 7 for each!!

  • Problems I notice around me
  • Problems I learned about from reading up on nonprofits (listed below)
  • Community problems associated with access to healthy food
  • Community problems associated with kids. For example, what are kids learning that they should not be learning? Or what aren’t they learning that they should be? What should be done?
  • Community problems related to art. What is the role between art and the health of the community?
  • Community problems related to health (food, air, water, medicine, cleanliness, hygiene, trash)
  • community problems related to transportation and traffic
  • community problems related with… create your own category.

After you’ve made your lists, circle your favorite for each.

Nonprofit links:


Papers and Projects (Unit 2) Now due by Tuesday, March 26th!

Okay, you guys, I’m extending the deadline to Unit 2 until next Tuesday, March 26th. That said, we won’t be spending any more class time on them. You can meet with me to talk about your project, though, if you feel stuck.

Also, please think more about SPECIFIC  problems that you see in your communities for unit 3– if you are concerned about racism, for example, please think about specific issues that you could work on– racial profiling by the police, lack of diversity in advertising, etc…


  • The assignment is posted under “Units” (it’s Unit Two)
  • No matter which option you’ve chosen, your final project should be posted on the OpenLab– it’s a video, please post it using the “add media” link. If you did an image, take a photo, or photos, and post them online
  • The category is “Pop Culture!”
  • For paper-writers: consider posting a link to the artwork you were inspired by– the song, the painting, a clip from the movie or tv show, somewhere in your paper.
  • For creative projects: remember! Especially if you are doing something purely visual (not a video essay or poem, etc) your Artist Statement is a BIG part of your grade. I am grading you, not on your artistic ability (this isn’t a drawing class) but on your thinking– so please explain how the original artwork inspired you to make your own artwork!

For Tuesday

Keep working! We’ll have a little more time to look at rough drafts in class. Creative project people especially, I would like you to bring in something concrete, some version of your final project to get some feedback on!

Everyone, please note that the assignment is under “Units” (it’s unit 2)

I will post some tips here later this weekend for paper writers if you are feeling stuck.


For Thursday!

Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed your unexpected free day. I sure didn’t! I’m so sick.

Anyway, just keep working on your papers/ projects, but ALSO for Thursday, please post the following:

Paper-writers– please write a paragraph of about 250 words about how you were influenced by your Mentor Article. What is this writer doing that you want to do in your own work? What would you like to avoid? Also, how do you see your own article fitting into the publication you’ve chosen– who is the audience? what kind of language and topics do you think will engage that audience?

Creative Project People:  Write about 250 words about how the artwork you’re making is influenced by your pop culture artifact. Explain to viewers, for example, how you got from a TV show to a painting, for example. This is the first draft of your artist statement, which, as you know, is a BIG part of your grade!

Here is a good formula to start with:

Step 1: Explain your vision or idea.


Step 3: What difficulties did you have? How did it work out for you?

Other ideas to include in your statement:

Title of the Piece – this alone helps the viewer understand the subject or makes him/her think about your work in a different way.Why do you like to make art?
What did you do? (Describe the artwork, including the type of art and what the main idea is.
What happened along the way? (Did anything interesting or unusual happen? Did you solve any problems in the process? Did you change your approach to doing the project? etc.)
Did the project turn out how you expected? Why or why not?
What did you learn through the art project?
What would you do differently next time?



For Tuesday

Hi everyone! For Tues we’re going to, among other things, workshop your projects. They’re due on March 21st. I just want to see what you’re doing and help you get some feedback.

Article writers:

  • Please post online and bring in a paper copy of at least 400 words of your rough draft.
  • Also post a link to your mentor article.

Creative project people:

  • Post online: a few sentences about what you are planning to do
  • Bring to class: SOMETHING to show to your peers of the progress of your project. This may be a storyboard (quick stick figure drawings of what you intend to get video of– with a few sentences beneath each drawing describing the action– look it up!) or a sketch of the painting or album cover, the lyrics of the song, a draft of the poem, etc… Just something to discuss. Please take a photo or video and post online. You can do this using the add media button.  For help posting media click HERE

For Tuesday

Hi everyone!  For Tuesday, please read and annotate one or the other (or both!) of these two articles about Beyonce’s LEMONADE:

HILTON ALS or bell hooks 

Please write and post a response of approx 200 words answering some or all of these questions — What is this writer saying about “Lemonade” that you find interesting (or confusing/ annoying?)  What did you learn from their article? And what are they doing in their writing that you would or would not like to do in your own writing?

Category: Pop Culture!

Also, please think about what pop culture artifact you would like to write about (or do a creative project about) for your next paper. This “artifact” can be a song, a video, a book, a tv show, a movie, a youtube channel, a video game,  etc… It does need to deal with social issues, but remember, most music these days does this (drugs, money, gender issues, etc…) and television often does too. Nick also mentioned that he wanted to write about issues of gender inequality in gaming– that’s great! The games he’s dealing with may not be ABOUT gender inequality directly, but he will still be able to discuss social issues– so I will accept it! 

You will need to know your artifact for next Thursday’s homework, but don’t worry about what your final paper or project will be yet. We’ll spend some time figuring those things out in class.

By the way, if you’re interested, a friend of mine just posted this story about something we talked about in class: “why white school districts have so much more money” HERE


For Thursday! (And a few meetings)

Hey everyone– just a reminder that the only homework for Thursday is to fill out the “Collaborative Project Evaluation Form” ONLY IF YOUR GROUP PRESENTED TODAY.

Also– I have meetings scheduled with the following people. My office is in Namm 525. It can be a little tough to find, so please allow yourself some extra time.

  • Weds:
  • 1:15 David
  • 1:30 Waleed


  • Thursday:
  • 5:15 Joshua
  • 5:30 Giuseppe
  • 5:45 Santi  

Presentations Tuesday!

Hi everyone! Your presentations are on Tuesday. Remember to email me your slides by noon on Tuesday. (At chall@citytech.cuny.edu) Don’t email me on the OpenLab!

You may post images on the OpenLab if you like. You may also invite me to a google slideshow if you like.

Also– if I asked you to make an appointment with me, please do so! That is David, Josh, Santi, Brianna and Waleed!


For Thursday– and a note on paper grades.

Hey guys, first of all– just a reminder that your homework for Thursday is just to keep working on your presentations for next Tuesday. YOU decide your homework, especially what research needs to be done. If you are arguing against grades, then look up who else has argued against grades (and what they think would work in their place!) If you missed class, you should be in touch with your group to figure out what they would like you to do. Most of you have contacted me about this. If you haven’t, it will affect your grade on the presentation, of course.

Also, I am slowly but surely grading those papers. If I tell you I’d like to talk to you, please set up an appointment with me in class on Thursday or by email. You can find my comments in two places: 1. there will be a link at the end of your paper that has the marginal comments on your paper and 2. there will be a private comment that has more in-depth remarks and the grade itself.


What am I looking for in the presentations?

A week from today, the 26th, you will be doing presentations on education. These will be: 

  • Approx 6-7 minutes 
  • Will refer to the themes of your education narratives– what did you guys bring up in the work you’ve written already? THIS IS KEY!!
  • Will quote from some of your education narratives. 
  • Will incorporate the work of EVERYONE  in your group somehow (you’ll evaluate each other!) 
  • Will have a visual component 
  • Will teach your audience (us!) something
  • Will include new research
  • And will answer one or both of the following questions:
    • What are some of the core problems with education in America?
    • What are some of the first steps we can take to improve the education system?

Please, please please do not oversimplify your answers! I am asking you for “first steps” for a reason– these are big questions, and over-simple answers do not do them justice.  If you’ve proposed solutions in your blog posts for today, that’s fine– but think of those as starting places for your research.

How do you get started? It’s up to you, but here are some ideas if you’re stuck:

  • First of all, look at what you’ve written.  What are some of the themes throughout the group? What can you learn from each other?
  • What topics could you research related to those themes? I like to use the KWL+ rubric for research. That is, I write about what I K(know) about a question or theme, and then what I W (want to know.) Then I do a little bit of internet research, maybe 10 mins or so. Then I write about what I L(learned) from that research and what I (+) Still want to know. This helps me get to some good research.
  • What do you think your audience needs to know? What is the best way to deliver that info in a way that will keep them interested?

Some of you have group members who are gone today.  Both Hend (group 3) and Lenesha (group 4)  have spoken to me about having to miss class. You should give them assignments and we will contact them to let them know what those assignments are.

Here are some of the questions you wrote in class last week. They might help you think about your presentations. Only use them if they help with the assignment above. Don’t let them sway you from keeping to your group’s theme!: 

  • Do you agree with Sir Ken Robinson that the education system should change from pushing a very generalized style of learning to a more individual tailored style?
  • Do you agree with Robinson that the focus on standardized testing keeps students from true learning? What is a better alternative?
  • Is education an anesthetic to young people? Does it have to be?  
  • Sir Ken Robinson claimed contemporary education systems are stuck in the past. Based on your experience with today’s way of teaching, how should we change or “modernize” the American education system?
  • According to Robinson, a college degree doesn’t guarantee a successful future, as it once did. How does this motivate or discourage you as a college student? 

For Tuesday

The book is  HERE  (that’s the cover up there!)

Sorry it’s a little late. I was waiting on an essay.

Here’s the deal: Click on the “HERE” above and you’ll get to the class eBook.  I put everyone in a group (I am very sorry that I couldn’t fit all requests. They just didn’t all work!! Some of the people requesting were just writing about totally different topics.) If you click on your group in the table of contents of the PDF in the link I’ve given, it will take you to your group.

Your homework is to read all the essays in your group. Think about what these essays as a group tell you about how education (both in and out of school) is working in the US and beyond.  What, from what you have read of your peers’ writing, might be some concrete ways to improve the education system? Don’t say “better teachers” or “better classes.” Tell me what you mean by “better!” Or, on the flip side, what are some concrete ways that the education system is failing? Use SPECIFIC examples from student writing– and look for connections between the essays! 

Please write a post of approx 250 words on OpenLab responding to the above questions. 

Spoiler Alert! The Questions in red above will be guiding questions for your presentations. 



Hey everyone, final drafts of unit one are due next Thursday, Feb 14. Remember that we do not have class on February 12. You will need to post your essay on OpenLab BEFORE class time. The category is “Education Essay” again.  Please make sure that somewhere on your paper you have clearly indicated that this is the final draft. (However, please do not title your essay “Final Draft”) Please note that titles, my name, your name, page numbers and other headings don’t count toward the word count.

Do you need exactly 850 words? No. But the shorter it is, the better it needs to be. And honestly, 500 words will not be enough. And 700 words almost certainly won’t be enough unless those are the greatest 700 words I have ever read in my life. Shoot for 850-1000. I won’t accept more than 2000. 

The guidelines for the essay are under “Unit One” which you can find in the header at the top of the webpage. I also wrote WAY too much describing this essay in my blog post below if you have more questions. If you have more questions, you can also email me.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss your essay before it’s due, I’m happy to do so, but you’ll have to come meet with me. Email me to set up an appointment.

See you next week!


For Thursday, February 7

Hey everyone– great work in class today. For Thursday, I would like you to write a rough draft of Unit 1 Part 1– your Learning Narrative. Please post this on OpenLab and bring a paper copy to class. Both copies are important!! At least 500 words. (Final is 850 words)

What do I write about? In this essay, you will be writing about an experience you had with learning that you think would be interesting or important to an audience outside yourself. What about your experience is worth hearing about? It might be something dramatic, like Gilyard’s experience, but it also might be more low-key, like Tan’s (HERE in case you lost it) or Graff’s (posted HERE. You don’t have to read this, but it’s another example, should you get lost.) You do not have to quote Tan, Gilyard or Graff (but you can if you want to!) They are there as examples of learning narratives. Remember the video we watched in class– your readers will benefit from both anecdotes about your experience and reflection that tell them why those anecdotes are important. Also remember that even if you have 3-4 anecdotes, they should be somehow related to each other. There should be some thread that connects them all.

All of that said, for Thursday, you are writing a rough draft.  I know this sounds weird, but you really just need to get enough words down on the page– you’re gonna change things. Also, you never know what you’re going to write until you actually write it. The main thing here is to get started. (HERE is an article, called “Shitty First Drafts” which talks about how to get started if you’re lost. It’s not required either, but it might help.) Also, a great place to start is in a scene– you’ve written a couple. If you get stuck, explain to your readers why this scene is important. What does it tell them about education or learning? You don’t have to start in a scene, by the way– but if you’re lost, start with something you’ve already written!

Still stuck? Here are some of the ideas we had for scenes or topics in class. You don’t need to use any of them, but they’re possible starting points:

  • Overcoming odds and obstacles(or not overcoming them) 
  • What I learned from living in New York City
  • What I learned in school
  • What I learned outside of school
  • Peer pressure
  • People who believed in you (and those who didn’t.) 
  • Personal breakthroughs
  • What I learned from my family (this doesn’t have to be positive!)
  • Being looked down upon for being different
  • Experiences with different Englishes
  • How your Mother Tongue affects your learning
  • Learning on the street

Here is a guided explanation of how to do an X-page and write a scene with someone who is not me!


For Tuesday, Feb 5.

Link to OpenLab’s Help section on “How to Write a Post” HERE

Hi! For Tuesday, please read and annotate the excerpt from Keith Gilyard’s “Voices of the Self.” If you missed class, I have put a few extra copies outside my office, which is Namm 525.

There are basically 3 sections to this reading: VII (which you should read, but can skim), VIII (which I would like you to pay close attention to) and the reflection (“Conclusion.” I have also written “Part 2 starts here” on that page). You should pay especially close attention to this section as well.

Please also post a response to the Gilyard reading on Open Lab. For this, please think of yourself as a writer, and answer the following question: What is Gilyard doing in his writing that you would like to do in your own writing? Be specific! (by which I mean, use quotes– and tell us what it is about the writing that you like– the style, the subject matter, etc.) You may also talk about what Gilyard does in his writing that you do not want to do in your own writing– again, be specific– use quotes, and explain what you do not like. DON’T SAY IT’S TOO LONG, THOUGH. That’s just…too simple. It’s only too long if it bores you. If it does bore you, explain what, specifically, is boring! This response should be 200 words or so, and posted on OpenLab.

When you post on OpenLab, you must add a category or it won’t let you post. The category for this assignment is “Gilyard” Categories are on the right side of the page in a column. Directions for writing a post can be found at the very top of this entry.



For Thursday

Please read and annotate “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan. Please also type up a response of at least 200 words in which you answer the following question. Bring it to class!:

How does Tan’s experience with education and English compare to your experience with education and English? Think about this deeply– you might not speak Chinese, for example, but you may have been made fun of for the way you talk, or you may speak in ways that are not considered “standard.” Or maybe you do speak a totally “standard” English. If so, how do you feel when you hear someone like Tan’s mom?


Me As A Writer – David Wu

David Wu


Prof Hall

Eng 1121

Me As A Writer

            I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a perfect writer. Everyone has their own set of writing skills. I believed that I was a horrible writer for a long time since elementary school. I had to take ESL to learn how to write. Till now, although I feel my writing has improved a bit then before, there is still a lot for me to learn as a writer.

Coming to this class at the beginning of this semester, I expected it to be another regular English class. I expected us to just be given research papers and regular writing assignments to work on, just hand it in to be graded, and not learn on how to become a better writer. However, the assignments given to us by Professor Hall were something I wouldn’t have expected from an English class. The assignments given to us were assignments to help us find our “inner voice” in our writing and to be able to express our ideas on topics. I felt as if these type of assignments of being able to incorporate one’s point of view or ideas on certain topics is what makes the writer interested in writing and readers being able to see and read what the writer has to say.

The first assignment given to us, we had to write a specific event that impacted us in learning something. For me, I just wrote down lessons I learned from basketball from the top of my head without giving any details or explanations. Most professors would just read it, grade it, and hand it back, but Professor Hall read the paper thoroughly and had a lot of comments on it. She told me there was nothing in the essay that makes it me, there’s no specific details to my claims, and there was a lot to write about. Hearing the feedback from her showed me on how my writing can improve than before. Given the third assignment, a revision on any of the previous units, I decided to rewrite the education essay. This time I took the feedback I heard and incorporated it into the writing. Improving this essay by going into detail about my claims and showing how it makes it me by including my point of view and ideas. I felt the revision I wrote is definitely a lot better than the first essay I wrote.

This carried on to the following units and assignments. Every unit I would incorporate my point of view and ideas on the topic. For example, the final unit which was another revision, I decided to revise the second unit which was an essay about pop culture and social responsibility. Given what I learned on how to improve my writing, I did the same for this unit, incorporating my ideas and thoughts onto the assignment. I analyzed the Kendrick Lamar video “DNA” in depth and went into detail about lyrics and scenes in how I viewed it. This made me confident and interested in writing this essay knowing I am able to incorporate my thoughts to this essay for readers to read on what I think about this topic.

To sum it all up, I feel my writing has definitely improved through the semester. Before I would struggle to write a 500 word essay and feel my essays aren’t great because I wouldn’t know what to write or to know to go into detail in my essays. But this course showed me how to improve my writing by expressing my thoughts and ideas and going into detail on topics. This course definitely helped me find my “inner voice” in my writing. To me, I feel Professor Hall has made me a better writer than before and I would take her for my future English courses if possible to learn on how to improve my writing even more.

Name: Tohuratun Chowdhury

Class: eng1121


                                            Me as a writer  


  I think I never considered myself a writer. To me, writing is not much to be enjoyed but is a necessity. When I came to the U.S. as a new immigrant 6 years ago, I did not know any English. In 2 weeks after I arrived, I started to attend classes in high school. The moment I stepped into the classes, I realized how important the English writing is! Even in the classes such as us history or Chemistry, good writing skills were still needed to come up good science reports or essay.


         Although I knew writing is extremely important for my studies in school, I still tried to avoid it most of the time. After I got any writing assignments, I always wrote many outlines, lists of idea, themes, everything I could, but except the actual essay or report. Sometimes, I could even sit in front of my desk for hours before I actually started to write. The main reason I tried to avoid writing is because I knew there were going to have many errors in my paper such as grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Until toady, I am a little bit afraid to make these mistakes when I am writing my paper.


 When I write I come across a few problems that always tend to slow me down. Finding the right words is the hardest part. While I write, I try to picture what words will follow the writing I have already completed. I can rarely find the words I want or make my writing sound the way I would like it to. When I first started writing my main problem was, and still is, writer’s block. I’ve learned to overcome that by coming up with every way I can to say what is in my head and put it on paper. It may not always work how I would like it to but it allows me to state my mind to the best of my abilities. In the end it is all about getting what is in your head onto the paper. That is one of the main factors that can affect my opinion of my writing.

         In order for me to have a good opinion of my writing, I have to like what I am writing about. If I am not interested in the topic I am writing about I will get bored of it and my disinterest will be obvious in the end result. I enjoy being able to state my opinion and write how I feel. My best work is on a topic I enjoy and includes what I think and feel about it. From past and recent experiences, I have learned that I am more proud of work I have enjoyed writing and researching for. In the past, I have enjoyed writing short stories and assignments on subjects that intrigue me or are on some of my personal interests.

          I always hated my English class for all the writing assignments. But I tried my best to improve myself as a writer. My creative project essay was one of my favourite essay. I found myself being more creative and analysis the pictures on my own way which I never did before. On our group project homelessness, I made a flyer to help the homeless people. I learn so many things when I was working on the project. One of the best things I experience in my English class is a group project its help us to communicate with our group members and help each other to be a good writer. Now I feel proud that I improve myself a lot as a writer in this class, now I like my English class.    

Me As A Writer – Waleed Qureshi

Waleed Qureshi

ENG 1121

Dr. Carrie Hall



Me As A Writer


          What is a writer? Sometimes I ask myself this question when I’m making up stories in my mind. I have had this thinking ever since I was little that every time I was extremely free, I thought up stories, putting myself in some heroic situations because even though I have no qualities as a hero or anyone responsible, I just like the thrill of a climax or unexpected turnaround. Even though I can think of fictions, this does not prove that I am a writer.

When I started this semester, I didn’t care much about writing. To say the truth, I still don’t but one thing has changed. I think just me getting encouraged was enough for me to enjoy what I write. One thing I learned in the beginning of the semester was that I really need to check my vocabulary. Before this I always thought that I know a lot of things and if I need, I will just end up getting some idea of what words I had to use and end up using them and they will be correct. The obvious problem was, I was wrong. To some extent I believe that my vocabulary was missing because I lived my life in Pakistan and I didn’t know what some words meant if I had to convert them and make people understand what I did or what I went through.

In my first essay the students had to share one part of our life where we could say that we learned something. As I said before, I lived my life in Pakistan and we had a different high school system there. In my essay I told a story when I failed my exams. Normally, they would be considered my high school years, but I didn’t know that. I thought that what I did gave me GED because at the end of the year when we finished our two years we got something called a General Certificate of Education or GCE, and I confused that. When professor read my story, she was totally confused because it made no sense that I did high school and got a GED? Professor Hall told me to come to her office. There the professor told me how much of confusing essay I had written. Luckily Professor Hall gave me a second chance, told me my mistakes. As it turns out, this feedback was just the thing I needed because I added everything that was missing to the essay.

I always thought that my less knowledge of the United States limited my capabilities because I had no memories of things other students thought as daily routines because I have not been here for as long as they have. I was reminded of this fact in the second essay when we had to choose a pop-culture artifact and write an essay on it or make something artistic with it. Since the artifact also needed to be something that had a message related to community. Everyone had something in their minds starting from songs of Rihanna to x-men movies. A friend of mine also chose a book on Malala Yousafzai who is from Pakistan and she wrote a book on her journey of how she fought her way for her studies. When my friend told me that she had picked that book as her artifact, I thought to myself, why didn’t I think of that but then I realized, even if I did I couldn’t have written anything on that because I hardly ever read any book. The professor gave us two days to think about what we wanted to write. After those two days, the only thing I managed to come up with was a Pakistani song that spoke about the problems the public cause for themselves. I wasn’t sure of this and was very confused until the professor told me that se would love to see that because that was something totally new. I listened to the professor because at first this motivated me, and another thing was I knew everything about this so making something with this was not impossible. I am somewhat good with art, so I decided that I am going to make a comic page showing the message that the song highlighted. When I first wrote and drew the piece, the professor told me that I had taken the instructions for the unit the wrong way because we had to write our opinion on the piece and I had written what the song told. The professor again gave me another chance and I wrote what I felt about that piece. Until a few days ago, I had forgotten about what I wrote until I saw the professor’s comment about how much she liked the piece because it highlighted what I truly felt about the song. I think I am getting overconfident while I write this but at this point I think it is okay.

So, what did I get out of this? How did I grow? I think, a way I grew in was that I learned seeing my mistakes and correcting them as we read about in an essay too that when a writer is writing a story, he must revise his work tirelessly and be open to his own mistakes. Accept them and find a solution to that. Professor Hall provided me with that chance to correct myself again and again and I am very thankful for that.

Artist Statement

Every individual has their own strengths and weaknesses.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve had struggles with any form of languages such as English and traditional Chinese. My journey up till now, from all the things that I learned till now shows I still have a lot to improve on.

It all started at the very beginning of elementary school. Ever since first grade, the grades I receive was high 80’s and 90’s in my English tests. I never noticed that I needed extra help with English, specifically speech. I was never aware that I received extra help in my curriculum that a speech period was added and support during test taking. Until middle school, it became apparent that I was put into a class specifically for students that need extra support because a normal classroom would have 1 teacher instead of 2. Even throughout my years in high school and my first year of college, my speech is still not as good and I have difficulty communicating with peers and professors. I don’t think it will ever improve until time will tell.

The writing requirements for high school and college are drastically different. Going into my English composition class in my first semester of college was the cross between college and high school writing. I was learning that everything I was taught from high school was incorrect and I wasn’t annoyed by it. I appreciated the college style of writing because students were able to freely choose their style of writing and topics they want for an assignment. I believe the student’s topic is most important to them because no one would want to write on a topic that the individual won’t be passionate about. Moving into English composition 2, I did terrible on my first writing assignment that required serious revisions. Before the first assignment for English composition 2, we were told to write about the setting the character was in and was able to metaphorically paint a picture. These words mean much more such as “father”, “scolded”, and “tears” to help build a paragraph. For example, “I’m home with my father. It was after school, my father confronted me to discuss with my failing grades”. I tried to incorporate this into my other writing assignments throughout the semester to give a vivid image of the story. I may not have explained it better when I spoke to Professor Hall, and there are many ways to word a sentence better to be understood. Another assignment was the Gilyard’s response taught me ways to fill in words to complete an assignment with analysis. One of the things that I wrote was “Another thing that I liked about this story and that I would prefer in my writings is the use of the first-person perspective. I do not like how this story has people talking to another individual, as reading from a 3rd person perspective…”. This taught me how to add more details such as including my own personal opinions and thoughts if the topic has an impact on my life.

English may not be easy for everyone through countless years of expertise or practice. After all these years taking English class that was taught to me throughout my entire life that is supposed to teach the student how to write. I don’t believe that writing can be taught to students because writing isn’t something that students should be bound to. My writing hasn’t changed too much even though I wasn’t forced to follow a format. When I receive feedback from professors and help centers, I would be told that this is grammatically incorrect,  its a run-on, or there is a tense problem. I may not see it the mistakes that other people may see and that’s one thing that I’ll need to improve over time. Another habit I have is being lazy, thus I have to commit and spend time in an excluded room and read my essay out loud. In the end, the effort I put into my work will reflect the grade I will receive.

My weakness will continue to be English. As time will tell, I can’t really imagine myself being good at English. Even with my limited vocabulary, I may not impress the reader. I may not even have a coherent and cohesive essay. However, it should not be the reason that I would stop writing in the future and completing an assignment


Me as a Writer – Latrell Greene

Latrell Greene

ENG 1121

Dr. Hall


Me as a Writer

My writing ability over the course of this semester, I feel, has improved. Engaging myself by being tasked in writing in different styles, genres, and formats, proved to be great exercise for my skills as a writer. Not only did I learn a lot of different ways to write, but I learned a little more about how to stay true to my own style of writing, and refine that style to convey my ideas in an effective, but distinct way.

What made this class so different, especially in regard to the comparison between this semester and my last semester’s English class, was its special emphasis on one’s “own voice”, and being able to express one’s ideas in their own unique way. In my last semester there was a quite contrasting focus on using specific writer’s templates in order to express our ideas to an audience in an effective way. For our major assignments, we were given specific articles to respond to, and templates to use as a guide. Leaving that semester and entering this new one, my expectations of the writing that I would be doing were still geared toward that template-driven form of writing. It ended up being surprising to find that this course and its professor takes a heavy approach on embracing self expression in writing.

Right off the bat, in the first unit of this course we were introduced to ideas like “everyone has their own English”. This means that a lot of us grow up in our own cultures, and in those cultures there may exist a different “normal” ways of speaking and expressing one’s self. So it’s reasonable to accept that: for a lot of us, our English-language grammar, writing and speaking won’t be so perfectly formal. This is especially true when considering that for a lot of people, English is not even a first language. Different “Englishes” can reflect different ways of expression, and that’s why they have value. After all, when writing about yourself, and your own experiences, why wouldn’t you want that piece of writing to sound as “you” as possible?

In my Unit 2 piece X-Men and Representation, what I really liked about producing that body of work, was that for the unit, I was allowed to choose upon any topic, which gave me leeay to use a subject that I could be particularly passionate about. In fact, a theme in that same writing piece also connects to one of the themes that I want to convey in this very work: That people enjoy and really appreciate having themselves be represented, whether “themself” refers to their way of thinking, their culture, their personality, or their experiences. In the X-Men piece, I wrote “representation in pop culture can be a wonderful experience for people who don’t normally see people like themselves in those mediums” (para. 5). I think that just like having someone’s background be represented in a medium can offer a deeper connection between a reader and a character, being allowed to fully embrace someone’s natural way of expression can just as well offer a deeper connection between a writer and their own work, allowing ideas and themes to come across more organically. Nowadays, I reflect off of this by reminding and allowing myself to be more conductive and fluid with my own ideas when it comes to layering my writing.

In Unit 3, we were allowed to choose any community problem that we deemed worthy of addressing. I had thought up and decided to expand upon addressing the problem of noise pollution. In one part, I had written: “the purpose of this letter is to persuade you to consider solutions to get New York City, one of the most noise polluted cities in the nation, to achieve a more considerate and moderate noise level, especially regarding our subway system”. (para. 1) What made the unit able to be interesting was that we got to choose our own problems to address, in regard to how we already felt about them. Getting to choose something like noise pollution to address, which could be a really obscure topic to many people, and having to collaborate with a team of people who would bring their own ideas to expand upon it proved to be both effective, and satisfying. I was able to see my own conceptual ideas motivate new ideas in other people, as well as have myself be inspired by those new ideas.

My work with both Units 2 and 3 really reflect the lessons that I’ve learned this semester, about the art of writing, and about the importance of expressing your own ideas; Ideas that hold value, both in the way that the ideas are expressed, and in the ideas themselves. Representation, both from the writer’s perspective as well as the reader’s, can offer a deeper connection from person to page.

Noise Pollution Effects on Health (Portfolio)

Latrell Greene

ENG 1121

Dr. Hall


Noise Pollution Effects on Health


Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Noise pollution being ever-present in big cities, like NYC, can lead to health effects that range from levels of both physical health effects, to psychological.  A multitude of studies have been conducted on the negative effects of noise pollution on the human mind and body, which goes to show how prominent the problem is. As a result, the purpose of this letter is to persuade you to consider solutions to get New York City, one of the most noise polluted cities in the nation, to achieve a more considerate and moderate noise level, especially regarding our subway system.

New York City is home to a subway system that can expose “commuters to noise as loud as a jet engine”. In an article by The Guardian, author Olga Oksman stated that in Time Square’s busy subway station, the noise levels clocked in at 80 decibels to 96 decibels when express trains pass through the station, and up to a level of 101.9 decibels at Manhattan’s Upper West Side station. A study 2011 study from the German Department of Environmental Health also stated the fact that “Noise from transportation is by far the most widespread source of noise exposure, causing most annoyance and public health concerns.” It can become very clear after analyzing this problem by taking a step back and observing just how loud the subway can get, as well as how so many people who commute to work and to school everyday by subway can be, and are affected by this.

Though the subway is arguably the loudest source of noise, it isn’t the only notable source of noise pollution. Noise pollution is also prevalent in busy streets, and there is often a lot of construction around the city, thus the noise is very spread out in the city.  Although the noise wouldn’t be exactly ear-splitting, it can still have an effect internally, on a psychological level, which could connect to problems with blood pressure and heart rate. A study from 1995 by Journal of Hypertension featured conducted research on the effects of urban noise pollution on blood pressure and heart rate in preschool children, and concluded that “the group mean blood pressure and heart rate values of preschool children from quiet areas contrasted with readings for those from noisy environments. This indicates a positive association between the level of traffic noise and a possibly increased role of sympathetic cardiovascular regulatory influence.”

The effects that noise pollution can have on people according to a 2000 study, which conducted research on the effects of noise pollution on humans, has a range including: “Noise Induced Hearing Impairment”, “Stress Related Health Effects”, “Sleep Disturbance” and “Effects on [Cognitive] Performance”.

A possible solution to the subway noise level problem could be an effort to update the subway system, and the practicality as well as the need for it is evident by a comparison between our subway system and others, like the bullet train in Japan. Even by taking steps toward it over a period of years would the outcome be significant.

X-Men and Representation (Portfolio)

Latrell Greene

ENG 1121

Dr. Hall


X-Men and Representation


Marvel’s X-Men are a symbol for the struggle of people who are seen as different to achieve equality. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men weren’t created in a vacuum. They were written into existence during a time where the civil rights movement, the fight for racial equality and the end to racial segregation, was reaching its peak. The struggle of the X-Men being ‘mutants’, and putting up with those of society who hated them, and discriminated on them simply because they were different was an effective way to get readers who might not have experienced racial or cultural discrimination, to put themselves in the shoes of, and to care about those who do.

The comics gave people who had experienced that kind of discrimination a form of representation, while giving those who might not have faced it an understanding of the ever-present situation of minorities in America. Marvel Comics are also known for its social commentary in a lot of their other properties too during various time periods, but the X-Men perhaps delves the most deep into those issues, and is perhaps the most inspired by those real world issues in comparison. In the series, the topics of racism, diversity, and antisemitism are explored.

Going further than just connecting the issues between in the comics and real life, characters are even heavily paralleled to real life figures that really embody the issues being explored. The leader of the X-Men and the Leader of the opposing team of mutants, Professor X and Magneto, respectively, are representations of their real world counterparts, the Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Professor X has connections with Martin Luther King Jr. in that their ideologies share hope that everyone can coexist peacefully in the future despite the hostile discrimination occurring in the present, while Magneto and Malcolm X hold the more opposing ideology; they’re inclined to the notion of embracing their differences but they advocate for separating from the rest, and don’t shy away from violence as an end to their means due to the discrimination.

Some might argue that: because they incorporated these issues into a comic book during a time where these issues were serious, that they made light of these issues. But in reality, including something serious like this in a comic book or a similar piece of entertainment allows it to reach more people, and its demographic being younger, it can influence and teach the next generation to be greater. It can give those who are able to relate some representation, and lets them know that their problems do matter. On top of this, it can be a lot more impactful by getting a reader to care about the characters, and then by effect, getting them to care about their problems. It gets the reader to do something watching or reading the news might not be able to for them; it takes a magnifying glass and helps the reader understand why those problems matter.

And representation in pop culture can be a wonderful experience for people who don’t normally see people like themselves in those mediums. Looking at today and our modern pop-culture, with films like Black Panther giving people African descent representation by having a blockbuster superhero movie with a black lead and mostly black cast, and having so many show up, and having it happen with female-led ones too, with Captain Marvel, there’s something about being represented in a medium you enjoy that’s so thrilling, and having the X-Men first appear and embody the struggles of those who were discriminated on probably was probably even more thrilling and satisfying for those who struggled, and also enjoyed comics. Even taking a look at one of the most iconic superhero characters from today, Spider-Man was created to be a representation of the everyday man. In contrast to the problems of heroes like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man was mean to have struggles just as much outside of his superhero life as within. His emphasized problems with his relationships, school, having to keep a job to help his aunt pay rent and time-management all while having to be a superhero were revolutionary in that he was someone everyone could relate to, and at the same time, having him be a superhero that was a kid, and wasn’t a sidekick gave younger readers representation too, and it’s one of the reasons Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

Dotting our i’s and crossing our x’s, the X-Men contributed a lot to the discussion of racial and cultural politics, and did a fantastic job of introducing the topic to young readers, allowing them to empathize with and understand what is so wrong with racial and cultural discrimination, and still with one stone, giving minorities  representation and letting them feel like they could be superheroes too.

This is my “low stakes” assignment.



I truly enjoyed Gilyard’s reading. liked the way he included a lot of details about his personal life. What Gilyard does in his writing that I would like to include in my own is talk about my personal life and how it shaped me into the person I am today. He uses specific details to connect with his audience about his life. Gilyard recalled the time when he was in court after being aprehended for a crime and he recalled the moment when his mother turned to him and “repressed hurt and anger twisted together in her face.” In this English class, I want to connect and show a side of myself in my writing so my audience could be engaged and want to read more and more and find out what happens next. For 7-8 pages Gilyard started off by sayin “Heroin was the first thing that I feared could make me late in life.” As a reader you want to find out more and more, so he drawed my attention with that line. That’s what I want to do in my writing. I don’t have anything negative to say about Gilyard’s writing, I truly enjoy it and I hope to read more pieces of it in the future.

Stanley Desir                                                                                                     02/08/19

Final Draft                                                                                                   ENG 1121

    Ayo Ock Lemme Get uhbaconeggandcheese

I’m at a family function sitting with my cousins and close friends. Were explaining our struggles with growing up in the boroughs. When it was my time to speak, I said: “Don’t trust nobody, be aware of your surroundings and shit could always be worse.” Those were the three main ideas I learned growing up in New York City. My oldest brother is 34 and he’s been in and out the feds since he was 18. He got two strikes. My other brother is 24 and it took him 7 years to get his diploma. I’m going to break down each main idea. We live in one of the most populated cities in the world. You meet a lot of people and you open up to them. Just don’t trust anyone. Growing up in Flatbush, you see a lot of behavior which we would describe it as “snake” or “shyste”. I watched my brother’s so-called “friends” snitch on him and claim he committed a number of crimes. It was painful to see at a young age. At the age of 7, I already had it instilled in me that trusting someone is dangerous. I’m now 18 and I really never had a lot of friends. Yeah, I know people and they know me but I try to keep my close friends to a small number. I got trust issues. Majority of my close friends are either Haitian or Jamaican. I’m Haitian and I grew up with a lot of Jamaicans and other Haitians so I feel like I can trust them and I connect more with them. You’re probably wondering if my brother’s experiences influenced me to be in the streets. It didn’t. Whatever happened to them, fueled me to be on a guided path throughout my life. I never got in trouble with the law, I respect everyone around me. Where I’m from most people would describe me as a “nerd” or a “citizen”, but in reality, I’m just tryna get through life.


Every day when I leave my building I always have my head on a swivel. Believe it or not, I was afraid that at any moment someone would walk behind me try to mug me and blow my brains out. I’ve kind of been feeling like this since middle school. I would always hear about drive-by shootings and stabbings in broad daylight so that easily triggered me. I learned to be aware of my surroundings very fast. I look at it as a positive because I’m always alert. Now to the last main idea. “Shit could always be worse.” That right there, any NYC baby could relate to me. 99 % of our parents are guardians work to make ends meet and provide for us. Whenever we see homeless people on the street or on the train, we sit back and say we’re grateful to be in the situation we are in because others would love to be in our situation in a heartbeat. Whenever my mom would fess me up about my school grades I would always be mad, but then I would think to myself some people wish their mother was alive to even be on their case about school. The way I learned in NYC impacted the way my academics went because I couldn’t end up like my friends. Growing up here there are 3 scenarios if you don’t have an education. You’re either going to end up in prison, a bum on the streets or 6 feet under. Since grade school, I always maintained an 85+ average in all my core subjects. Especially with my parents being Haitian, my mom was always on my ass about school because she wanted me to have a good future and didn’t want me to end up like my brothers. Caribbean/West Indian parents believe school is the number 1 thing in life and you need to complete and handle everything by a certain age. I was always stressed out because everyone in my family would say they’re counting on me and it takes a toll on a 13-year-old. I never was the one to be suicidal because who in the world would want to take their life, but I would always once in a while imagine what would it be like if I was to die or not even be born. Most of my friends or family would of never even in their wildest dreams think of me having those thoughts. I never want to think like that, but when I do it just makes me wonder. While I’m explaining myself to my cousins and friends, their faces are just in awe. I don’t think they ever knew what I was going through inside. I’m not the one to open up to people because like I said before, I don’t trust people. Some people would look at my story like I’m damaged or been through stuff. I don’t look at it like that. I’m truly thankful for it all because I believe New York City made me an adult way before I turned 18. A lot of kids in other cities don’t have my vision or attitude until after college or later on in life. I learned a lot of life lessons living in New York City.