Professor Belli | Fall 2022 | City Tech

Category: Unit 1

Extension for Unit 1 Final Draft!

Happy Thursday evening! I know you’ve all been working really hard, so I have a gift for you!

I am extending the deadline for final drafts of the Education Narrative (Unit 1) from tomorrow (Friday, 9/23) at noon to Saturday (9/24) at midnight. This gives you an extra 1.5 days to work on your revisions! Yay!

I have updated the dates on the Schedule and the Dropbox link. Do make sure to get your work in by the extended deadline, Saturday, 9/24 at 11:59pm, as I won’t be accepting work submitted after that time.

If you’ve already submitted your final draft but want to take some extra time to revise, no worries — feel free to submit an updated version to Dropbox and then send me an email so I know to ignore the earlier version. And if you’ve already submitted (or plan to submit tomorrow morning) and feel confident about your final version, that’s fine too. Just know that the time is there if you need / want it.

Happy revising, and happy extra time to finish 🙂

Peer Review for Education Narratives

Thanks to those of you who submitted your first drafts of the Education Narrative! Congratulations on composing your first formal assignment for your college writing course … that’s a huge (awesome) step forward 🙂

Of course, a first draft is only an initial part of our writing process — next comes revision. An important part of that process is peer review, where classmates will receive (and give) feedback on one another’s writing.

Since this is our first time doing peer review this semester, I’m going to walk you through how it will work here. If you’re anxious or feeling uncertain, no worries — I’m here to support you and, since we’ll be doing peer review throughout the rest of the semester, the process will become more seamless after this first time around. Make sure to read (and, as always, annotate!) this post before getting started on peer review.


When’s it due?

As per the weekly Schedule, your feedback on your two assignment peer’s first drafts are due Friday, 9/16. I’m going to extend the deadline to 10pm (instead of 12pm), to give you some extra time to thoughtfully complete the work (you’re welcome!). The Schedule page has been updated with that new deadline, along with a link to this post.

Of course, you and your group mates can continue to discuss and engage one another’s drafts into next week — I strongly encourage this! Peer review is not meant to be a one-shot deal or a one-way street, where one person simply reads/comments on an essay, and that is the end of the story. It’s meant to be a dialogue and an interactive process, where you all can offer feedback, ask questions, run things by one another, support the group, etc.! Writing (and revision) are a process, and an ongoing one. Embrace the process 🙂


What’s it worth?

Well, you can’t place a price on engaging with the writing process, becoming a stronger writer, collaborating and supporting your classmates, and learning. But … since I know you want to know about grading … This is an important part of your work in the course, and peer review counts as part of the 30% low-stakes (informal) writing grade for the semester.

*Note: If you did not submit a first draft by the deadline (W 9/14 by 12pm), you will not get the benefit of peer review. However, you are still part of a peer review group, and are responsible for reading and commenting on your two assigned essays. (This means that each of the five folks who DID submit their essays are going to get a lot of feedback … yay!)


Where do I go?

Peer Review for Unit 1 will be happening in Perusall (so if you didn’t already create your account and join our course site, make sure to do that ASAP!). I have uploaded all submitted student essays to Perusall (there are only a handful there, because, sadly, that’s all I received!).

UPDATE: I have created “Assignments” for each of the first drafts, so go to the two essays you are assigned to, and complete the work from there.

There is also a new “folder” in the Perusall Library, entitled “Student Work: Education Narrative First Drafts” (look within the “Unit 1 folder)”: each essay is there.You can view all submitted essays, but you are each only responsible for peer-reviewing two essays (see below for your assigned essays).


Which Essays?

Each student is only responsible for reading / providing feedback on two of essays. Please peer review the essays I listed below with your names … do not just randomly choose which essay to read / comment on! I have worked to make things equitable.

Of course, since you have access to all essays, you are welcome (and encouraged!) to read through more and comment on more if you wish. You don’t have to do the entire peer review for these additional essays — feel free to even just drop one or two comments, or even a note of praise and validation (that goes a long way!).

But you are responsible for (being graded on) your feedback on your two peers that I listed below, so make sure to do that work first, and by the stated deadline.

*If I accidentally forgot to assign you two essays (or gave you more than two!), please comment here ASAP to let me know and I will fix it.

[Submitted Essays, which will be peer-reviewed]

Holaly

The following students should peer-review Holaly’s essay:

  • Henry
  • Brandon
  • Neal
  • Logan
  • Jamani
  • David
  • Zavier
  • Ali
  • Aniyla


Tahani

The following students should peer-review Tahani’s essay:

  • Henry
  • Brandon
  • Syed Abbas
  • Logan
  • Sebastian
  • David
  • Brenda
  • Ali


Henry

The following students should peer-review Henry’s essay:

  • Holaly
  • Tahani
  • Destiny
  • Syed Ali
  • Sebastian
  • Jenry
  • Khandoker
  • Brenda
  • Javier

Neal

The following students should peer-review Neal’s essay:

  • Holaly
  • Tahani
  • Destiny
  • Syed Ali
  • McKayla
  • Atif
  • Khandoker
  • Jeffrey
  • Javier

Brandon

The following students should peer-review Brandon’s essay:

  • Neal
  • Syed Abbas
  • Jamani
  • McKayla
  • Aniyla
  • Jenry
  • Atif
  • Zavier
  • Jeffrey

What am I doing?

We’re using the Peer Review Worksheet below to guide your responses. Download this, and use it as your guide as you peer review. However, your feedback will be submitted in Perusall, as annotations — you are not submitting this worksheet anywhere else. It is for your reference.

Now that you’ve downloaded this Peer Review Worksheet and read through the questions there, go find the essays you have to peer review in Perusall. I suggest completing one peer review at a time, fully providing feedback first before moving on.

Ready to get started? Read through your group member’s essay once in Perusall to get a feel for how it works as a whole. Do not write any comments yet.

Now go through the draft again, using the provided Peer Review Worksheet to guide you in your response to it. Some questions require you to write a more holistic response (which you can do as an annotation at the end of the essay), which others require you to make marginal comments along the way. Either way, you should be clear, specific, and helpful (don’t just highlight content without an explanation).

After you address all of the Peer Review Worksheet questions, you should read through the draft again and make additional comments as you see fit.  These marginal notes (where you ask questions, make comments, etc.) are an important part of your response.

I know that often students often feel uncomfortable and/or unqualified to do peer review. They think, who am I to give advice to someone else when I too am still learning? How can I offer writing feedback when I’m not the writing professor? What if I steer them in the wrong direction? What use or value is my perspective?

While these are understandable fears and concerns, I’m here to assure you that your perspective and feedback matters … it matters so much! The most valuable thing you can offer your peers is your own experience as a reader. Sometimes a writer intends to communicate something, but it misses the mark. The tone or diction (word choice) comes off the wrong way. They don’t explain their points clearly. They aren’t providing the information you need, as a reader, in the order you need it, to keep you un-confused (is that a word?). They lose your interest. They offend you (it happens to the best of us!). They use writerly strategies that are not, in Mike Bunn’s words, appropriate or effective for their purpose or their intended audience. Miscommunication happens in a thousand ways. You can help your peer to see your experience of reading their essay, and that helps them better shape the way they revise it going forward.

To sum up: one of the most useful things you can offer your peers is your understanding (or lack thereof) of their essays: if a writer (your classmate) means to say one thing, but the reader (you) takes away something else from the essay, then there is a disconnect that needs to be addressed.  First noting and then working to bridge this gap is an important step in the revision process.

Of course, the writer does not have to accept every piece of feedback if they carefully consider it and decide it will not make their essay stronger. But each of you has to account for the feedback you receive, make intentional choices about whether (and how) you incorporate that feedback, and be ready to provide your rationale about those decisions (in fact, you will need to do that when you submit your final draft!0.

This is a chance for group work, dialogue, and an opportunity for an exchange of ideas.

A few additional tips:

  • You should start with the most important issues first … if you believe the essay doesn’t actually do what the assignment asks, you should note that first and foremost, and then all work together to help your group member brainstorm revisions.
  • Do not correct spelling, grammatical, or proofreading mistakes (you may indicate them by making annotations pointing them out, but you should not make changes to them for your peer). The goal is not to be their copy-editor, or point out all their mistakes. Of course, if you notice a something or a pattern, call attention to it by all means (that’s helpful!), but taking on the responsibility of actually doing the revision work for your peer only hurts them in the long-run.
  • Remember to offer constructive criticism, and to offer your feedback in a generous, kind manner. The framing of your comments matters (you don’t want to be insulting, harsh, mean, or alienating). If you just say, “your essay was bad” or “there was nothing good about it,” you are going to not only hurt your group member’s feelings and destroy his/her confidence, you will also lose any hope of helping her (she will become defensive and just shut down).  After you give your comments, you should listen to what she was “trying” to convey in the essay (because they can and should reply to you in Perusall), and then work together to negotiate revisions.
  • That being said, don’t be too “easy” on your peers. You should definitely ask questions (in the margins), suggest productive directions for your peers to pursue, provide helpful feedback. The least helpful thing you can do for your classmates is to just state that everything is “pretty good” or “perfect” in the essay or that you “agree” with everything. Your goal is to help her re-vision the essay, not to merely praise it.
  • However, under no circumstances is anyone to re-write any part of anyone’s essay (e.g., you should offer suggestions revision and ask questions that will help your peer to think more critically about her work and to produce more effective writing, but don’t simply give them the language–beyond a word suggestion here or there–that they should use).
  • Finally (it bears repeating!), peer review is not simply two people bombarding the writer with criticism/comments … it is a conversation. The person who wrote the essay should feel free to ask questions of the other group members as well (come prepared with any questions/concerns about your essay that you would like to discuss with your group members).

Need help? If you have any questions, please drop a comment here. Otherwise, happy reading, and I look forward to seeing your comments in Perusall!

*Next week, I’ll be offering holistic feedback to the class on first drafts of the Education Narrative in the Unit 1 Writing Workshop post. Holistic feedback means to the class as a whole, based on patterns I see and general tips that everyone can benefit from; I won’t be providing individual written comments at this point. But of course, you are all more than welcome to come to my Office Hours this week or next to discuss your draft in detail.

Unit 1: Education Narrative Assignment

This week we’ll be reviewing the Unit 1: Education Narrative assignment and discussing it in more detail as you work on your first drafts.

Before you go any further, go back and re-read the assignment, to refresh your memory on what its purpose and expectations are. After you’ve finished that, keep on reading here …


If you’ve been keeping up with the homework, you’ve already done a ton of work on this assignment (perhaps without even realizing it!). You’ve read/annotated/discussed a number of examples of Education Narratives and started drafting your own by recalling and describing an educational experience from your past that was meaningful to you in some way.

Now it’s time to expand that work into a complete first draft of the assignment. You can use the material you posted last week for your Education Narrative blog, but you can also change the incident if you decide a different one would be more effective and appropriate for this assignment. Continuing to freewrite on your own is a great way to expand your existing material — from there, you can shape this content into a fully formed first draft.

*Pro tip! A key to a successful essay for Unit 1 is to strike a good balance between the two required components (see the gray box section of the assignment, that highlights these two tasks): narrating the event and then discussing its significance. Devote sufficient time to each, rather than spending the majority of the essay describing the event and then tacking on one short (general) paragraph at the end about its impact. Be specific throughout, and make sure to help your readers understand how/why the event you’re discussing influenced you, and what that specific influence is.

Examples: Below are examples of student work (provided by the First Year Writing office, with permission of the students):


Details for this first draft, along with the Dropbox link for its submission, are on the Schedule page. Please make sure to follow the instructions for submission: file type (Microsoft Word), naming conventions, and the deadline.

*Details for the Final Draft (including information about the Reflective Cover Letter) + a new Dropbox link will be posted with the Week 5 materials next Monday.

A few friendly reminders:

  • Deadlines are not arbitrary or suggestions. As per the Syllabus, I don’t accept late work unless you have discussed with me (ideally ahead of time) and received my approval.
  • The Dropbox links are the only way that I will be collecting formal assignments, so don’t post your work to the OpenLab or email it to me. These links will be closed (and won’t accept further submissions) after the deadline passes, so please make sure to submit your work in advance of the deadline.
  • More details about the logistics of formal assignments (Unit 1 is one of these!) are in the new resource I posted, Assignments: Formatting, Guidelines, and Submission.
  • Plagiarism is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If you have any questions about plagiarism (or what constitutes it), please see me to discuss.

Feedback & Revision

Later this week you’ll be peer-reviewing one another’s first drafts in small groups. More details about how this will work (and what’s expected of you) will be posted on Wednesday after first drafts are submitted.

If you don’t turn in a first draft by the deadline (12pm on W 9/14), you won’t receive the benefit of feedback from your classmates during Peer Review (or feedback from me).


Let’s Discuss!

Here is the space to ask any & all questions about the assignment, and where I will also be posting holistic (class) feedback and tips for revision. As always, review all materials (and click all links) before asking questions, as you may find the answer you’re looking for there. But if not, ask away!

Education Narrative

We experience various things in our daily lives that lead to character development. It is possible to have educational growth. In my case, I recently underwent educational development. On my first few days in college, I was pleasantly surprised because I hadn’t anticipated how quickly things would move. I eventually came to the realization that I had grown overly accustomed to the manner in which high school instructors taught. It was only the first day and we had mastered three different math topics in one sitting, I was sitting there puzzled in math class when it all began. Even after asking questions and receiving a prompt explanation, nothing made sense. When I got home, I honestly believed that there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t figure out why I was having trouble with the math topic. My relationship with school became really poor as a result. I wasn’t sure if it was myself or the teacher, but even though it was only the beginning, I felt the urge to drop the math class. I also started to feel quite stressed out and unmotivated. I felt disoriented and stuck about everything, from the schoolwork to the forthcoming test. I started to understand that I cannot learn in a fast-paced environment. I am aware that I am not the only student that feels this way, many students do. The problem is that others who are likewise unable to learn under hurried situations end up feeling agitated and unmotivated. The education system doesn’t teach us that is it okay not to know, it’s okay to have a different learning style from the rest. The system makes myself and other kids like me feel like it’s my fault that I don’t comprehend. Things can be adjusted and just because we are in college doesn’t mean it’s not okay that I am not learning as fast, it should be normalized. Students may experience a deeper effect from this; in addition to stress, they may stop attending class altogether if they don’t grasp what is being taught. My ability to take notes of everything has improved as a result of not having to spend three hours in the class sitting in confusion. I would return home, review all of my notes, and watch YouTube videos related to the subject. I’ve never done anything like this before for school. I had developed the practice of telling myself things like, “Oh, I don’t understand, so I’ll take notes, go home slowly, and go over it.” possibly watch some videos. This is quite reflective of me because I was never the type of student to go home and study my notes; I did so only when I had an exam coming up. I now diligently study every day in order to gain comprehension and avoid falling behind. Cheating on my homework is another problem that resulted from my inability to comprehend my work. The simple solution had a lot of challenges; during tests, I would be completely lost and unable to comprehend what I was doing. I got progressively angrier at myself. It has been difficult for me to learn in a fast-paced setting. My patience and my mind were both stretched by it. I wished to give up often and never believed I would be able to comprehend. As someone who never doubts herself, this put a lot of strain on me because I was continually furious with myself and blaming myself. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep attending my demanding classes. I also know that many students who struggle like me have given up, and I don’t want to be like them. Instead, I would like to teach myself to persevere no matter how difficult things get.

My first educational conflict.

On my first day of college was already nervous enough. I already didnt know what to expect where to go, and how i was going to make any friends. Starting my actual school day I didnt think it was bad at all, it was the basic first day materials. Until I got into my class long class period. Its two hours long, with no breaks. Thats when I started to feel the pressure. Time was very slow but my teacher pace was very fast. Thats when I realized college was nothing like high school.

Now you may be wondering how something so small had such a big effect on me. To start off I was very overwhelmed. It was such a big change in class room environments. I didnt expect to go into math on the first day and hear we would be having weekly quizzes and a homework assignment the day of and because of how fast my teacher talks i couldnt pick up any knowledge. I started to ask myself “this is a 2 hour class and I still dont understand?” I became unmotivated. I dislike that class and I never want to be there just because I know that everything in that class moves fast and even if I ask questions I still dont understand. I began to realize that this learning environment is stressing me and is not for me