NOTE: Like a few others I’ve seen, this is the tweaked version of Christine’s!
We are now at our final writing assignment of a challenging semester. I am so proud of you all for making it to this point. Now it is time for you, as the title suggests, reflect on your work over the semester. For this final assignment, reflect upon the following questions:
- What have you learned about yourself as a reader, writer, and scholar this semester?
- How will you be able to use what you have learned this semester and transfer that knowledge to other writing situations—either in college or in your community?
The Reflection is due with your Final Portfolio and should be a minimum of X words.
As a way to begin your Final Reflection, look back through all your work for this class: the three major essays/projects, journal assignments, reflections, and so on. As you browse through your work, ask yourself about and take notes on the following questions:
- How would you compare/contrast work done early on in the semester to now?
- What was your favorite/least favorite assignment and why?
- What are some notable lessons that have stuck with you after completing certain assignments?
- What changed in your writing (and reading and thinking) as the genres changed?
- How did you make decisions in your assignment about content and design in Unit 3?
- What were your early assumptions/beliefs about yourself and writing? Have they since changed? Explain.
- What was your experience revising assignments?
- Was there any peer feedback that stands out to you and why?
- What was particularly challenging for you in our course this semester and how did you overcome it (or attempt to)?
Don’t simply answer the above questions in your final reflection; they are just meant to help you brainstorm ideas. This isn’t just you writing off-the-top of your head; this is a finished piece of writing. Treat yourself as a respected author: you are someone with something to say.
Here’s what I will be looking for:
- Attention to audience. This essay will be the first item any reader will see in your Final Portfolio. This essay will set a “tone” for all the work that follows. Don’t just list off a bunch of random opinions about your writing—write about what you’ve learned. Prepare the reader for what they’ll see in your Portfolio. This Portfolio will not just be read by me—perfect strangers may read it, and you want them to be impressed!
- Attention to organization. This does not have to be a traditional organization, but you should have paragraphs (not just a 1,000 word paragraph, please) and some reason for why they’re in the order they’re in!
- Evidence and analysis. If you tell me you learned something about yourself as a writer, show me proof! By proof, I specifically mean quotes from your own writing. PLEASE NOTE: All reflections should have at least three quotes from your own writing this semester. And, as usual, don’t just drop those quotes in there and expect your readers to figure out why you’ve chosen them. Explain why that passage is important to your readers and to your “so what?”
- Proofread. Make sure it’s long enough. As usual, you can use whatever language you see fit to use, but make decisions about your language—that is, the words that are there should be there for a reason.
- It’s gotta be on time. Make sure to post it for the Peer Review session! (The Rough Draft’s due date is X.) You’ve probably never written anything like this before, so I’m sure you’ll want to get some feedback! The final draft of the Final Portfolio (including this Reflection) are due on the last day of this class and I don’t have any leeway because I need to turn grades in.
Units 2 & 3 Topics & Assignment Descriptions
In order to explain Unit 2, I have to talk about Units 2 + 3 together first, because you’re going to have to use some foresight in the research decisions you make; there will be planning, trial, error, planning again. It’s all part of the process.
In Unit 3, you’ll be writing a document in a new genre, one you haven’t written in before, about the question you’ve decided to research in Unit 2. For example, in Unit 3, you might write a journal article for readers of the American Sociological Review, or the Society and Mental Health journal, or a science article for the readers of Scientific American, or for the readers of a Newsletter series, or create a How-To manual, report, manifesto, or a comic book. You might decide to write in a literary genre. Maybe you want to write a speech addressing a problem you outlined or discovered in your research for Unit 2.
You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to be doing in Unit 3 yet. HOWEVER, you’ll be doing some things in Unit 2 that you’ll need for Unit 3.
What you need to do for Unit 2…
- Researching a question you are truly curious about. You will use your research from Unit 2 when you write Unit 3.
- Researching a variety of different genres, which will inform what you write in Unit 3.
UNIT 2: Genre Investigation & Analysis – Reflective Annotative Bibliography
Unit 2 will be an investigation into and a report on a specific question about a topic that interests you. You will conduct research into various genres (four sources), gather, and evaluate the information in those sources, and present a report on your findings, called a Reflective Annotative Bibliography. This report will be thesis-driven based on your investigating, analysis, and thinking of your sources, and what you have learned from your investigation. You may arrive at an answer to your initial question, or you may find you’re asking the wrong questions and will need to rethink your approach.
Outline of Tasks and Due Dates
- Ask and develop a specific question. This should be something you care about, something you’ve always wondered about—something that will keep you engaged, as you’ll be continuing this line of inquiry in Unit 3 as well. Complete the Formulating Your Research Question Worksheet and have your question approved by me. If you change your question, your new question must be approved. (You cannot change your question past X.) The question is due X.
- Research and analyze four sources consisting of at least three different genres. Complete a Reflective Annotated Bibliography for each of your sources. Instructions for this are after this outline.
- Write the rough draft of your report. This will have three sections: The Introduction (detailing your initial question), the Reflective Annotative Bibliography, and the conclusion. Remember that format and appearance count, so give yourself time to proofread and make it look great! Include a Works Cited page of your sources. The rough draft is due X.
- Prepare the final draft of your report. Include a Works Cited page of your sources. The entire report consisting of an introduction, Reflective Annotative Bibliography, and conclusion should be at least 1800 words (excluding the Works Cited page). Due X.
- Reflect on your reading and writing in Unit 2 and write a reflective letter about the process. Consider: What did I learn from this process? About my own process of thought? About my reading process? My writing process? How can I apply what I have learned to other contexts? Your reflective letter should be at least 500 words. Due X.
- Is your document readable and informative? Does it teach us about what you’ve learned, as it relates to question? Does it teach us, not only about the content of the sources you’ve chosen, but also the
rhetorical situation surrounding those sources?
- Did you do solid research here? One of the main goals of the assignment is to learn something new about your topic AND to help you learn to find information on your own, to be applied to future situations. If you simply choose the first three options on Google, that’s not doing enough, and your topic will most likely not be as nuanced as it could be.
- Did you find sources in at least three different genres? Did the genres you chose “gel” with the content – that is, did the genres you chose make sense for the goals of both Units 2 and 3?
Your report must look great and must be organized in a way that makes sense to the reader you have in mind (and to me!).
- Is your language appropriate to the audience you have in mind? No matter how you chose to write it, the type of language you use (how it is written) must be consistent and must be appropriate to your audience. You should be able to explain with a good line of reasoning why you chose the language you chose.
- Cite your sources and include a Works Cited page.
Reflective Annotated Bibliography Directions
The reflective annotated bibliography works as a research device, having been adapted from the traditional academic document called an annotated bibliography. While the conventional form only includes a bibliographic entry and a précis, this adapted annotated bibliography adds a terminology/key word list, a reflection component, and a quotables section. These additional sections help you as a writer differentiate between “objective” reporting of the author’s ideas from your “subjective” editorial remarks about the reading (aka, your opinions, speculations, counter-arguments, questions). It also acts as a mnemonic device to help your retain terminologies, key terms and phrases, and an author’s memorable quotes. While this reflective annotated bibliography could conceivably help you review for exams or store information for future pieces of research scholarship, you can also use it to help you formulate paragraphs for an essay.
Note: The example is color-coded, listed as Part 1, 2, and 3, and explained simply to help you become more aware of each section. When you create your own Reflective Annotated Bibliography, you do not have to add these things!
Bibliographic Entry: This section gives the publication information: author, date, title, book or journal, vol., page numbers, print or web. (Please put this in regular Times New Roman, 12 point font.)
Fitzgerald, Jill. “Research on Revision in Writing” Review of Educational Research. 57.4 (Winter 1987): 481-506.
Terminology/Key Words: This section lists key words that the author uses that indicate a relationship to a disciplinary discourse community. You may also use this section to list unfamiliar vocabulary. (Notice the differentiation that I make between “vocabulary” (general words) and terminology/key terms (vocabulary used within a particular, sometimes specialized discourse community.))
Précis: This section articulates an objective summary of the reading. It should only convey exactly what the author states in the article without including your opinions. (1) It should state the author’s primary claim and, maybe sub-claims. What argument does the author want to assert? (2) It should acknowledge the types of evidence the author uses to support this claim. What data/facts/evidence does the author use to justify the claims of the article? (3) It should reveal the interpretations that this author arrives at through the claims and evidence. What point or conclusion does the author surmise? (Please put in regular Times New Roman, 12 point font.)
From a two decade period, his author compiles research studies, perspectives, and re-definitions about revision and its role in the improvement of writing. According to the author, these last twenty years of revision studies have reshaped the definition of meaningful revision to move beyond editorial actions. As the author states, “This paper presents a brief historical perspective on the development of the meaning of revision, presents findings from research on revision, and, finally, discusses limitations of the research” (481). Moreover, this survey of revision research consider various aspects of revision decision-making, including age, grade-level, expertise, and instructional response (aka, response to drafts). After summarizing and analyzing the revision studies and limitations, the author suggests further research studies that future composition/rhetoric researchers should pursue.
Reflection: This sections reveals your opinion about what the author has stated. Do you agree or disagree? What speculations do you want to make about this author’s methods of research? What questions do you have? What don’t you understand? What other information do you need to look up to better understand this article? This unconventional section puts forward your ideas. (Please put in italics, Times New Roman, 12 point font.)
This article provides an historical viewpoint for my articles albeit one which needs updating since 1987. Along with articles from 1987 to the present, this information provides a framework to discuss revision and the types of assessment systems in which productive revision—beyond editorial actions (aka: surface characteristics such as spelling, punctuation, and sentence correction)—can take place. The point accrual system that I suggest offers students a course policy system in which they can take control of their earned grade and see the value in revisionary efforts. By reviewing these methodologies of tracking revision habits, I can make a better argument for the types of classroom policies we might put in place to encourage, even instigate, revision.
If American public schools ask students to do little revision (and most of my students come from public schools) then incoming freshmen must be “unlearned” of the counter-productive habits that they were taught about revising in high school. If conditioned for twelve years not to revise, the freshman year composition course must place some re-conditioning structures in place to induce students to alter their normativized habits of textual-stagnation (Note to self: What would be the opposite term for revising in terms of writing? Textual stagnating/textual complacency/textual satisfying/ stifling/ impairing / ossifying/idling/constipating/fossilizing. I’ll need to figure out this specialized antonym for revising/revision. Fallowing?
Quotables: This section directly quotes one to three statements that the author made in the article that you feel really exemplify its claims or interpretations. Or, you will choose a sentence that you feel the author expressed exceptionally well. Include page number(s) where you find the quote. Place quotation marks around the chosen phrase and make sure you cite the phrase verbatim. (Put in regular Times New Roman, 12 point font.)
[T]heory has not always mirrored the practitioner’s belief that revision has a central role in writing. Early views of revision were theoretically dry and uninteresting. (481)
Most recently, Scardamalia and Bereiter (1986) coined the term “reprocessing” to refer to the metnal aspects of revision […] Reprocessing “spans everything from editing for mistakes to reformulating goals. Revision is a special case of reprocessing, applied to actual texts” (790)
Revision means making any changes at any point in the writing process. It involves identifying discrepancies between intended and instantiated text, deciding what could or should be changed in the text and how to make dsired changes, and operating, that is, making the desired changes. Changes may or may not affect meaning of the text, and they may be major or minor. Also, changes may be made in the writer’s mind before being instantiated in written text, at the teim text is first written, and/or after text is first written [list of authors contributing to this definition]. (484)
Over the last decade, particularly during the last  few years, methods of revealing individuals’ knowledge of revision, as well as actual revision made on paper, proliferated. The development of methodology mirrored the 1970s’ and 1980s’ reconceptualization of revision as potentially major and significant in nature, not just editorial, as both process and product, and as a subprocess that could occur at any point in the writing process. Five clusters of research methods emerged: coding systems for categorizing revisions; process-tracing methods, including think-aloud techniques, questionnaires, interviews and taped self-evaluations; a particpant-observer method; a simulation by intervention method; and an error detection method. (484-485)
Research on cognitive aspects of the problem-solving view of revision has focused on reasons for breakdowns. Several reasons are plausible. First, one break-down may occur if a writer does not clearly establish intentions for text. (489)
Intentions may be for content or for form or presentation so writers may have difficulty establishing intentions because of lack of knowledge about what to say (i.e., about content-related goals) and/or because of lack of knowledge about how to say it (i.e., about presentation-related goals such as structure, style, format, etc.). On the other hand, writers may actually have the requisite knowledge, but may have difficulty recalling and/or representing the knowledge. (489)
Expert professional writers made one meaning-related revision for every two surface changes; advanced college student writers made one for every three; and inexperienced college student writers made one for every seven. (492)
As a preface to a synthesis of findings of intervention research, it is perhaps useful to note that some research indicates that little emphasis is placed on revision in writing in American public schools. [article offers statistics about this claim]
Research on revision in writing is at a pivotal point. A view of revision that bgins to capture its potential complexity is developing. Research has documented the recursive and problem-solving nature of revision and has described how much writers revise, when they revise, and what kinds of revision operations they make. However, work on the cognitive aspects of the revision process is scant. Issues of how and when writers learn through revision remain virtually unexplored. . Little is known about the circumstances under which the reiviosn process is related to judgements of quality of writing, and intervention studies are just beginning to provide insight into ways of nurturing the development of revision knowledge and abilities. (497)
A crucial design factor is likely to be the extent to which new research examines revision in a broader context than it has in the past. […] The inescapable conclusion is that more research might be shaped to enlighten our knowledge about writers’ revisions in relation to “what’s needed,” rather than merely describing revision operations that are done. (497)
UNIT 3: Writing in a New Genre
In Unit 3, you will be using your research from Unit 2 to compose a document/artifact in a new genre. You might want to write a declaration, a manifesto, a rulebook, a magazine article (from a particular publication), a comic book, a children’s book, short story, a video essay. Perhaps you want to create a multigenre piece that mixes multiple genres in the same document, or a multimedia piece with a written component. I hope you get the sense that the possibilities are endless; you have multiple publishing options for your Unit 3 genre. Hint: Think about your audience and the best way to communicate with them. Where could you publish or present your piece? At a TEDx conference? A gathering of experts in your field of study? To an arm of the government? To a school district? Or others? The possibilities are virtually endless.
- You must have a rhetorical understanding of the genre you choose.
- You must make use of the research you did in Unit 2. You cannot simply write an “article.” You’ll need to be specific, and the genre must contain words. It would help you to have a specific example (or model) of the genre in which you choose to write. You will have written about this genre, in some form, so use the knowledge you already have, and the knowledge you will gain from further research, to craft the best version of a document in the genre you’ve chosen. If you are choosing to do something say in video or song, you must transcribe the words.
- The final word count for this will be 1500 words, at least.
Some ways you might want to get started…
- Question your intent. Think, “What do I have to say? Why do I care about this topic? What is the best genre for me to communicate what I have to say?”
- Choose a genre you like and that you think best fits your intent. If you decide for instance that you want to talk about bodegas, or your bodega specifically, perhaps an exposé is best. The point here is, the topic and genre should gel.
Outline of Tasks & Due Dates
- Proposal. Consider again how your research and genre analysis in Unit 2 has addressed/influenced your line of questioning. What do you want to say? Why is your topic important to you and to the community at large? Which genre is best suited to communicating your message? Type your proposal. Due X
- Outline with sources chosen and genre mentor text (model or example of the genre you would like to compose in). Once you’ve narrowed your focus/have chosen your genre, outline your argument. How will you support your general claim? What kind of sources would strengthen your argument? Which genre will serve as your mentor text? Due X
- Rough draft. Begin writing. Bring in research and the methodological knowledge you’ve gained from our investigation into genre and rhetoric. Look to your source/mentor text for ideas about structure. Due X
- Based on feedback on your rough draft, conduct further research, if necessary, to support your
claims/vision. Incorporate reflection and feedback in order to improve the final product.
- Final draft. Due X
- Reflection. Your reflective letter should be at least 500 words. Due X
- Genre Awareness. You must show an understanding of the “rules” of the genre you are working in. Part of the Unit 3 assignment is a “genre report” (similar to those you did in Unit 2). Is this thoughtful, and well-reasoned? Do you follow these guidelines in your final project?
- Audience Awareness. Does your project do a good job at anticipating and accommodating the group to which it is addressed? Does your project make the diction, argument, genre, and design choices appropriate to your chosen audience?
- Care. How carefully have you constructed a “finished work” in the genre of your choosing? For instance, a great deal of care was put into how a documentary organizes information and image to convey a particular message to an audience. This criterion will vary depending on your genre, but you must in all cases turn in a finished, organized project that is consistent and free of typos and formatting errors. You should be able to explain why everything is where it is.
- Effectiveness of Message. Do you communicate a clear message to your intended audience? Your audience should walk away either having learned something that could change how they think about your topic, or else with productive questions about your topic. It should inspire nuanced engagement and curiosity in your audience.
Q: What are some strategies or low-stakes assignments you might use to teach your students what genre is, and how and why we move between genres in order to reach our audiences and achieve our desired outcomes? Try to think of strategies that you might be able to use online.
A: I liked the idea presented in the Murder/Rhetoric piece we read, since my trashy TV of choice is crime drama. Having a student review how one documents a crime scene is a good way to look for specific details. Then having a student write those details in different forms: from police report to a newspaper article–from newspaper article to a feature piece or eulogy–from a feature piece to… I’d say you could do the same with other jumping off points, and you could have a series of questions with each genre used: Who is the audience in A? Why do you say this? What does A want to see? What about B? (And so forth.) All of these would easily be taken from the internet.
Unit 1: Literacy Narrative Essay
In this unit, we are investigating the place of language and writing in our lives. We’ve read and discussed (formally and informally) narratives that examine language—both spoken and written, with the following goals in mind:
- reflected on the varied experiences of language and writing, and how language shapes our identity and community, and the role writing (and reading) plays;
- reflected on the languages we use with friends, with relatives, immediate family, fellow students, teachers, supervisors, etc;
- reflected on our relationships to language and looked critically at our own writing processes.
Part I: Narrative (800 words, minimum)
We will write an essay about a significant event in your experience as a writer/student. Consider what you’ve written in the journal entries: perhaps you want to expand on some of the things you have written there. Remember the different ways the writers we’ve discussed write about their own experience as writers/speakers of language.
You may want to write about:
- an event in your educational career that was particularly formative;
- a specific literacy/learning event that led you to become the thinker you are today;
- the first time you had a profound experience related to language;
- your experience as a writer in this class so far, or in writing classes in general
Whatever the context you choose from the examples above, you should:
- talk about how the event shaped your relationship to reading and writing, or to school/education in general;
- how your particular experience relates to some of the bigger social and cultural issues we discussed in class, such as race, the education system, Standard Written English (SWE), etc;
- reflect upon how your experience has enabled you to understand something specific about reading, writing, learning, or language AND how that understanding reflects on the communities/world you inhabit.
This assignment isn’t meant to be a traditional essay with a thesis statement and five structured paragraphs. Instead, this is you relating to your peers the story of who you are as someone who belongs to a particular speech and/or writing community, and your history as a reader and writer. In that spirit, you can choose to format or write this in whatever way you think best communicates your story honestly.
Part 2: Share, Respond, and Reflect
After you have completed the first draft, you will bring in copies of you to share with your peers. You will share these essays with your group, and, after reading each other’s essays, provide thoughtful, critical feedback (a worksheet will be provided).
Note what you think works and what you think could use some work. After the session, write an email based on your responses on the worksheet (~250 words) to each of your group members responding to their paper with your comments and suggestions. You will attach a copy of this email to your final draft.
In addition to the email, you will write a reflection (250 words), also to be attached to the final draft. In this, you will explain:
- why you chose to write the way you wrote
- what insights you’ve gained from the readings, the journals, and your peers
- what you think worked and what you might improve on
- Conceptual Outline: XX
- Rough Draft: XX
- Final Draft: XX
All deadlines are absolute. If you do not turn in the assignments on the published deadlines, you will receive zero points for that particular deadline. This will be discussed further in class.
You will receive two grades on this assignment. The first grade will be on your narrative. The grade will depend on the following:
- depth and clarity of your writing
- organization of thoughts
- concreteness of details
- details support the greater narrative/argument
The second grade will be on the responses to your peers and your reflection. The grade will depend on the following:
- thoughtful response to each peer (this must cover both the things you think worked as well as suggestions for improvement)
- thoughtful reflection on why you chose to write the way you wrote, what insights you gained, and what you think worked on your narrative and what you hope to improve upon
This assignment was adapted from Andrew Stone’s U1 assignment on https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/fywpd/category/unit-assignments/