Hi Professor Tinberg:
Throughout the course I have learned so much and I was able to improve my writing as we went further into the semester. My classmates and I were given six writing assignments to complete; out of the six we are to put four assignments in a portfolio that we believe are our best work. The four literature pieces I chose to put in my portfolio is annotating a scholarly article, profile, analyzing a trend, and “This I Believe” essay. I arranged the articles from the work that I thought I did well to the best.
The first paper I thought I did well was annotating a scholarly article; titled “Distracted While Driving.” For this assignment I was to find a scholarly article (written by qualified peers) about a subject that interests me, read about it, and compose an annotation based on the article. The annotation should be at least two paragraphs long, containing both a summary and evaluation of the article. The annotation should also include bibliographic information in the Modern Language Association (MLA) format.
I include this piece, “Distracted While Driving” into my portfolio because it describes a major issue in our society and it increases as more people want to be involved with the lasted technology. In the article, Wilson and Stimpson analyzed the trends in distracted driving fatalities and their relation to the use of cell phones and texting. I cannot believe that the number of fatalities from distracted driving increased from 4572 in 2005 to 5870 in 2008. Distracted driving is a public safety hazard.
After writing the second draft, I went back to my writing and replaced the author’s first name from Jim to his last name Stimpson to show respect to the author. I cut out some words in the first paragraph; I cut the phrase “the major issue of accidents which is” from the sentence that begins with “Wilson and Stimpson are strictly suggesting…” I added some quotations like what you mention in the commentary, “Can you be more precise? The best part about this article is that they give evidence to show how major this issue is” to the second paragraph to be more precise, “In 2008, approximately 1 in 6 fatal vehicle collisions resulted from a driver being distracted while driving” (Wilson). In the second paper, writing a profile, I used the method of adding quotations to be more precise.
The second paper I include in my portfolio is a profile, “New Life, New Challenges.” I was asked to identify a person that was interesting to me and to others. In my profile I must include an interesting story and add a meaningful thesis. The essay should consist of 500-700 words and should also include quotations from the interview I conducted. I added this piece to my portfolio because I was very interested in my uncle’s story and I believe others would too. Ever since I was a little kid I heard about the stories of my uncle running away at a young age, living in Spain with his second family, surviving the war, and moving to the U.S. He tells me all the time that I have to be fortunate for what I have. He was able to raise himself and he found very nice people that helped him along the way.
It was very hard to revise this essay; I felt that every little detail counted to be able to understand my uncle’s story. My partner Maria stated in the peer review that I should add, “What does he think about all the things he went through and how that’s changed him?” I included in paragraph five, “Today my uncle is married, has two daughters, and a beautiful granddaughter. Many times he brings up the stories of his past challenges. These challenges made him stronger and made him who he is today.” I changed the title from “Unforgettable Challenges” to “New Life, New Challenges” so the readers would get attracted to the profile. In the teacher’s comment you stated “Why the shift to "you": that are still fresh in your mind”; I was not focusing the essay on myself I was using another method to refer to my uncle instead of Rogerio and he. You also stated “However, I'm not sure of the point or "nut graf" here. You mention "unforgettable challenges" in your title, but I'm not sure that is precise enough to capture your reader's interest. It seems to me that war itself might present a clearer and more meaningful thesis here”; the essay was trying to focus on the challenges my uncle went through life not just going to war.The methods of writing I used in the first and second papers are different from the method I used in the third paper.
In the third paper of my portfolio I included an essay on analyzing a trend titled “Increase in Obesity among American Children;” The assignment required that I construct a three- to-five page paper analyzing a significant trend that suggests a change in a community’s behavior for good or bad. The trend had to occur in recent years between five to ten years ago. This assignment made me realize how the children of America are becoming obese. In my analysis I included some causes that resulted in the increase in obesity among children, the risks involved, and what can be done to solve the issue. My partner Maria concluded that “This topic is something that is indeed increasing and it is a problem in our society and something should be done to stop it” and she commented that, “One thing I think the writer should add is current events.” In paragraph three, I included that a third grader was taken from his parents and was put into a foster home because he was obese and his mother did not help him lose the pounds. I added this event to show that it is a serious matter and a child that was not at fault was taken from his parents. I also added that McDonald’s restaurants in San Francisco are banning free toys that come with the happy meals; the parents have to pay extra if they want a toy for their child. In the fourth paper I also included events that happened to support my argument.
The last paper is on “This I Believe”; this essay is my favorite piece I dedicated it to “The Power of Family.” For this assignment I was asked to compose an essay on a core belief. The essay has to tell a story that considers the moments when my belief was formed or tested. The essay must be brief, roughly 350 to 500 words. I included this piece into my portfolio because I strongly believe this was my best essay; I was able to state my belief and show how much my family means to me. Family has always been important to me and when my grandfather died the belief was tested and we came closer together. I did not make many changes. In the teacher commentary you state, “I like what I see here. As you say, you are quite clear in announcing your belief. The challenge, as I see it, is determining whether your stories conform to the needs of the assignment: to show how the belief was formed or tested” when I went back to my story I added my information on how my grandfather’s death tested my belief. I included in paragraph two that, “We lost someone that always brought his family first and would do anything to get the family together.” This essay made me confident and it allowed me to express the writer in me.
Coming to an end to the semester; this course has helped me believe in myself, in my point of view. As a writer I constructed literature pieces that are very important to me. I am more confident when I am writing; I know that I have to write to a specific audience, write clearly and give facts to support my belief. In my writing I want my readers to understand what the point of the essay is and my argument. The peer reviews and the teacher commentaries guided me to improve my writing. In “This I Believe” essay I was able to express “The Power of Family” concluding that “No matter if we are millions of miles away, we are still a family. Friends can come and go but family is forever. I believe in the power of family; I believe that family is power.” This course allowed me to become a better writer.