When I am writing an essay, I am talking to the reader; I want to reach the reader. I used to ask myself, why would I have to use what someone else is saying to show that my point is right? What I am saying should be enough. This was my attitude about writing ever since I have begun writing essays. I would always hate using quotes because I thought that it was my paper, and my paper should have only one author. This was my constant attitude towards citing sources. Half of it had to do with selfishness and the other half in laziness. When I say selfish I mean that I wanted the reader all to myself. I wanted the reader to recognize how good a writer I am, and not how good a writer someone else was. I always knew that this was going to become a problem for me in college, but I didn't know it was going to become as important as it did.
MThe result of this was a decrease in my grade. My essay "Paradise" was a very good essay, but it hardly used any quotes and for that reason I did not receive the grade I was aiming for. I knew that it was a good essay, but I was a bit upset at the fact that the essay didn't get a grade for what it really was. I felt that the essay was powerful and it didn't matter if I hadn't used any quotes. I felt that I didn't need any quotes because the essay was an essay about the images of beaches and the effect that they have had in my life. There was no need for me to bring another persons opinion when I am talking about my life. But the fact was that my grade was on the line, and I was not going to jeopardize that for anything
This is an excerpt from my third essay called "Gangsters and Thugs" about the way that gangsters and thugs say and do everything we want to but can not, and the effect of the gangster being from another country.
Warshaw explains that "the gangster speaks for us, expressing that part of the American psyche which rejects the qualities and demands of modern life or 'Americanism itself'" (344). The gangster expresses what we can not express in our everyday lives because we would be considered somewhat crazy by American society.
I was just beginning to learn how to incorporate another person's quote into my essay. This quote was one that I would have been completely against before because it is one of those I would have felt stole the reader from me. This quote seemed to fit in perfectly with what I was trying to say in my essay. In the end I realized that the gangster topic was one that required a lot of quotations because there are so many perspectives and opinions that my paper would not be complete without them. I also realized that topics that have more perspectives and opinions make the best essays because they arouse conflict.
After the midterm portfolio I promised myself that I would always use a quote from someone else. And ever since then I can not imagine a paper without a quote. When I look back and compare my essay "Paradise" with my essay "Gangsters and Thugs" it seems as if two completely different persons wrote them. While working on "Gangsters and Thugs" I started to begin to explore with the citing technique and I actually found out that I could be very useful. Citing sources has become such an important factor in all of my essays after the Mid-Term portfolio that I can even remember how was it possible that I wrote a whole paper without challenging or agreeing with someone else's idea. The essay right after the Midterm portfolio included quotes, and the goes to show that I was willing to try this new technique immediately, and I worked pretty well. When I compare essay 2 to 3, I feel as if different people wrote the essays. Then after I began to use quotes I began to play with it a little bit and see how I could challenge what someone else was saying like in essay 4.
This essay was on the whole concept of branding and the effects that it has on society today. This quote was about The Economist newspaper and their opinion on consumers being hard to reach with advertising.
"The Economist also argues "Consumers are also harder to reach. They are busier; more distracted and have more media to choose from". One can see the truth in this statement considering all the ads, billboards, commercials and even internet Pop-Ups. But the fact is that our space is almost always being taken over by the same images, and they are usually the wealthiest companies who can afford this space"
I disagreed with the economist in a respectful way and carefully stated how I didn't necessarily disagree, but mentioned factors that play a big part in proving what he said not so accurate. This shows that I have a fair minded ethos. Showing that I have a fair minded ethos will actually allow the reader to realize that I am a fair minded writer, and that will actually gain me a type of respect from the reader that will allow him/her to feel that they aren't reading a bias essay. I also learned how I can agree with my opinion without having to put someone else's opinion down. I have realized that by disagreeing with someone else's opinion you can actually make yourself a better writer, and the readers will notice it. I realized that when I use quotes, I am not lending the paper to another author, I am just showing another persons perspective and what I think about it. By then adding on and saying what I think about the other person's perspective, I am keeping the focus of the essay on my opinion. I take the reader back from the author whose work I cited, and the paper remains "mine". I found that not only learning to use quotes, but using quotes that are relevant to the topic can be a deciding factor between an A paper and a C paper. I feel that this has been a very important step in English for me because now it seems to me as if I can not write a paper without using any quotes; it has completely changed my writing style. The irony of the story is that now I have found myself addicted to bringing in other peoples opinions to give my paper some other perspectives, when in the beginning all I wanted was to keep the focus on myself and my own opinions.
When I really come to think of it, I believe that the writer I used to be was a selfish and lazy writer. I say selfish because I would not allow my essays to include anyone else's words. I felt that if the reader has chosen to read my essay, they should get my essay and my opinions only. I also believe that I did not use quotes because of laziness. I did not want to go through the whole process of looking for a quote, adding the quote and then citing my quote at the end of my paper. In the end I found out that the laziness and selfishness were indeed like writing sins. The greed and sloth were keeping me from getting the types of grades that I deserved, it is a good thing that I realized the terrible mistake I was committing in time to be able to show my professor what I am capable of doing. I also learned that one can not say he/she likes or dislikes something without trying it first.
Introduction sets the reader up for a story of discovery (not the only way to begin).
Notice the reflection on the problem of using sources
Notice that in order to make a point about his use of sources, he cites his own writing and explains its significance.
Here the writer makes a claim about his growth in dealing with sources.
Here he provides evidence for his claim.
Here the writer discusses the meaning of the evidence that he has presented.
Notice that the conclusion is an elaboration on the material in the introduction. There’s a clear focus on a thesis.
Self-assessment would have stronger if he’d dealt with more of the Outcomes Statements.
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Students are an intrinsic part of the information sharing process. They can reflect on their learning and be involved in a number of ways.
Student-led conferences are an increasingly common way for schools to carry out some of their information sharing with parents. They give students an opportunity to share with their growth as a learner with their parents. Find out more about student-led conferences below:
Student reflection in written reports
Students can reflect on their learning as part of the school’s written reporting process. Students could write a letter to their parents or complete a template to insert into the report.
The letter or template could include some reflection stems such as:
- I feel good about…
- I used to… but now I…
- Two things I will remember about what I have learnt over the last 6 months are…
- A strategy that really helped me learn better is…
- If I could do something again differently, I would…
- One thing I will remember to do in the future is…
- One thing I really want to learn is...
Students could complete six-monthly self-assessments that are related to their important learning goals. They could develop criteria with the teacher and then assess themselves at two time points using a tool such as the one below.
These assessments could also be shared with parents during student-led conferences, through portfolios or through inserting them into written reports.
Download a template of this diagram here.
Template Student self assessment of learning dispositions (Word 2007 78 KB)
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Effective reporting involves each child in taking increasing responsibility for his or her own learning. Students need to be clear about: what they have learnt, which learning strategies were successful, what they need to focus on next and why it is important. (Principle 4)