Blog #2

Hello, English 101 and English 102 students.

I write this from a dorm room at the very beautiful Evergreen State College.  I had no idea how expansive and extensive and tree-filled this gorgeous campus is!  Deer literally frolic (with their fawns!  I saw Bambi!) as we walk from our lodging to the buildings where we are attending seminars, working on our action plan, and receiving a LOT of homework.  Yes, teachers give each other homework at these things.

As I think about what you might write Blog #2 about this week, I find that I am hungry to read and understand your individual and group experiences in class this week.

For example, in English 101, you learned about the moves of the academic essay (like the title as a mirror, and what purpose an introduction serves, and what exactly is a topic sentence) as you read Paul Tough’s essay in more detail.  Just describing what happened as you did this (telling the narrative) and talking about what you learned (or struggled with) is valuable, because while you think you will remember . . . trust me– by Week Eight– you will NOT.  Think about it for a moment– how much, specifically, can you remember about a random day from Week Two spring quarter?  I know for me, it’s a total blur.

In English 102, Lindsey did a number of activities to help you INVENT for your research paper.  Remember that the theme for this week is The Importance of Being Curious.  How many of you have never taken this step before writing a paper?  Please also realize/keep in mind that what the T/TH class did was different than what the MW class did . . . so as you write about that chocolate bar, T/TH class, the MW class will learn from reading what you wrote.

Each class also has another assignment this week– the 102 is writing their research proposals, and the 101 is practicing a specific form of note-taking.  Both of these assignments are to be posted as Blogs, but their are NOT Blog #2.

Therefore, you could also write about the PROCESS of completing that assignment in your Blog #2.  So for the English 101 students, you might write about how long it took to complete the notes . . . how HARD it is to paraphrase the topic sentence of EVERY paragraph.  🙂  The English 102 students might write about their research process so far– what databases you consulted, whether you went to the library or stayed at home, what you found that interested you . . . how your thinking about your topic is shifting based on what you writing.

I highly urge you not to put any of these assignments off.  While they are informal, they are very important– the more mindfully you sit down and use them as exercises to “think on the page,” the better your larger, more formal projects will be.  For the English 101 class, everything you are doing is working towards a better Essay #1.  For the English 102 class, everything you are doing is getting you to a better research paper draft.

Remember that Blog #2 can cover multiple topics– you don’t have to stick to one idea and develop it for 800 words.  It can be very helpful to treat it like a diary entry about class this week– what you did, what you learned (about grit (English 101), about curiosity (English 102)), what questions you have, what you are thinking about in regards to the ideas or assignments.

I have missed you all this week, and thought about your learning (as I learn about learning!) so much.  Even if you just write 800 words about what you did in class this week, I will be fascinated.  Remember, I never assign anything I am not genuinely interested in actually reading!


8 thoughts on “Blog #2

  1. Jen, I have a funny feeling that I’m doing a paraphrasing wrong. Before I get too much farther into this could you please take a look at what I have gotten so far and tell me if it is right or wrong. In the meantime, I’m going to get started on blog # 2
    Notes English 101
    In an article by Paul Tough, “What If Secret to Success Is Failure.” We Are Introduced to the Headmaster Dominic Randolph One of New York City’s Most Prestigious, Private School. \
    Tough points out that Randolph may be a little eccentric, and maybe a bit unorthodox.
    Randolph believes placement testing is not necessary.
    Randolph thinks that a person’s character is an essential trait.
    Randolph acknowledges Christopher Peterson a psychology professor, and David Levin, the superintendent of the KIPP Schools in New York. We are also introduced to Martin Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
    Levin comments on how to provide character lessons to low-income families.
    Seligman , and Peterson reports that there are 24 common character strengths in all cultures.
    According to the author cultivating the 24 character strengths will lead to the good life.
    Levin endorses the importance of what good character is.
    Levin admits that the character building did not turn out as he expected.
    Levin points out students with character strengths like optimism and persistence were the ones who were able to recover from bad grades.
    Levin illustrates that KIPP`s wanted to instill the class values to all its students.
    Levin and Randolph acknowledge they need help with their character building so they turn to Angela Duckworth.
    Duckworth declares that a combination of passion and dedication to achieve the mission. No matter what the obstacles are.
    Duckworth introduces us to the grit scale.
    Duckworth emphasizes the connection between I.Q. and self-control.
    Levin, Duckworth, and Randolph agreed about the characteristics on the final grit

    • This is excellent: you are not just putting Tough’s ideas into your own words . . . You are (generally) explaining HOW he makes those ideas. My only suggestion (without having the text in front of me) is to be sure you are not using Tough’s words– for example, “class values.” If you cannot find synonyms, then put those words in direct quotes.

      That said, I really don’t want you to worry too much about doing this perfectly. Part of learning is trying something out and making mistakes. I will be looking at everyone’s notes for errors/mistakes to see what I might retract or explore more deeply– or common problem areas that perhaps reveal more complexity.

      Well done!


  2. Good afternoon and happy Sunday Jennifer, just making sure, was exercise 1.5 the exercise we did in class on Tuesday with the sub? We posted something very similar and commented on another person’s post comments new class. The one in class was maybe a premature idea of what you are looking for, in which case, should I start over? Use some of what I used in class? Sorry for the questions, just making sure I don’t miss anything. Thank you very much


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