A Learning Reflection

After the freewriting exercise from last week, in relation to the last final project, I have still not changed my mind about what I would like as a final project. On my last blog post (freewrite) I wrote about how I wanted the final project to be a One-Act play, where everyone can play a certain line or character. Up to this day, I still have not changed my mind about the plan, and at this point I think is best if I just stick with it, since it is what interests me the most. I previously mentioned some of the literary works of this genre which might be of use or serve as examples. “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams; “Antigone,” by Sophocles; “The Price,” by Arthur Miller. Again, I think as a student of writing, there is a special feeling about playing a part in some of your favorite books or literary pieces. It’s like “experiencing literature LIVE”.

The reason why I picked this for a final project over other things is because stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, are some that interests me a lot, as I have spent various years of my life learning about literature through this form of writing. Because it is easy for me now to understand part of the process that goes behind stories, I am able to use that as a skill to understand other forms of literature. The reason why I bring up the concept of “literature” is because, although we have much freedom to choose what this final project could be, I think we still need to choose something that relates to any learning outcomes we experienced this semester. And despite that fact that many of us had to work on different or similar topics related to pedagogy and writing, everything was still somewhat connected to the art of literature. For me, as example, I focused on a topic relating “voice” in writing for my presentation. Voice is something big in literature and in writing overall, regardless of different types of writing. This was a big presentation and required me to do a descent amount of research and studying on the matter. Likewise, other classmates did the same for their topic, and in the end we managed to learn a lot from each other’s covered material. So I think it is safe to say that no matter the type of outcomes we all experienced, it is connected to literature.

In my experience, the learning I gained from the experience is one connected to the topic I covered (voice). Before this class, I had not gotten the chance to fully dive myself into an issue that is part of writing is the classroom: that voice is not always given much importance in certain writing setting at school, but should definitely be considered important. As I always say, “writing is almost always personal, even when you try not to make it personal.” And it is through this personal characteristic and feature, when writing, that voice is given to piece. This is the voice of the writer. Something we all have or develop, or are in the process of developing. At least this is what I think. But really what I learned ultimately, through the semester and my own presentation, is that writing is VERY personal. And it is such personal factor, which is given to it, that allow writers or students of writing to connect, feel, imagine, and experience literature through their own perception. And is the process, they can apply it to their daily lives, various situations, and other things that may not even be related. It is because of all this that I am excited for the final project to be a One-Act play. These plays are more than just writing and acting. They are a window to life and experience, as well as literature and other things I can’t even explain.

A Learning Reflection

After the freewriting exercise from last week, in relation to the last final project, I have still not changed my mind about what I would like as a final project. On my last blog post (freewrite) I wrote about how I wanted the final project to be a One-Act play, where everyone can play a certain line or character. Up to this day, I still have not changed my mind about the plan, and at this point I think is best if I just stick with it, since it is what interests me the most. I previously mentioned some of the literary works of this genre which might be of use or serve as examples. “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams; “Antigone,” by Sophocles; “The Price,” by Arthur Miller. Again, I think as a student of writing, there is a special feeling about playing a part in some of your favorite books or literary pieces. It’s like “experiencing literature LIVE”.

The reason why I picked this for a final project over other things is because stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, are some that interests me a lot, as I have spent various years of my life learning about literature through this form of writing. Because it is easy for me now to understand part of the process that goes behind stories, I am able to use that as a skill to understand other forms of literature. The reason why I bring up the concept of “literature” is because, although we have much freedom to choose what this final project could be, I think we still need to choose something that relates to any learning outcomes we experienced this semester. And despite that fact that many of us had to work on different or similar topics related to pedagogy and writing, everything was still somewhat connected to the art of literature. For me, as example, I focused on a topic relating “voice” in writing for my presentation. Voice is something big in literature and in writing overall, regardless of different types of writing. This was a big presentation and required me to do a descent amount of research and studying on the matter. Likewise, other classmates did the same for their topic, and in the end we managed to learn a lot from each other’s covered material. So I think it is safe to say that no matter the type of outcomes we all experienced, it is connected to literature.

In my experience, the learning I gained from the experience is one connected to the topic I covered (voice). Before this class, I had not gotten the chance to fully dive myself into an issue that is part of writing is the classroom: that voice is not always given much importance in certain writing setting at school, but should definitely be considered important. As I always say, “writing is almost always personal, even when you try not to make it personal.” And it is through this personal characteristic and feature, when writing, that voice is given to piece. This is the voice of the writer. Something we all have or develop, or are in the process of developing. At least this is what I think. But really what I learned ultimately, through the semester and my own presentation, is that writing is VERY personal. And it is such personal factor, which is given to it, that allow writers or students of writing to connect, feel, imagine, and experience literature through their own perception. And is the process, they can apply it to their daily lives, various situations, and other things that may not even be related. It is because of all this that I am excited for the final project to be a One-Act play. These plays are more than just writing and acting. They are a window to life and experience, as well as literature and other things I can’t even explain.

Learning Outcomes

This course has introduced me not only to the important individuals and their work in the field, but also to important and vital information. Every week and every reading was just as important to the one that became before. During this course I’ve remembered my own horror stories in education and heard worse ones from my peers and just wondering how could education have been different for us if our teachers had this information to help them become better educator. And every week as I read, learned and discussed I couldn’t help but think about the many other professors and teachers who today may not be privy to this knowledge or these important individuals and their works, yet they are in charge of educating people. So when I’m presented with the question about what learning outcomes are most important to me, its extremely difficult to answer because I believe all of the information we’ve covered is vital for educators. To me a meaningful project would be one where educators today could have a chance to learn, read and most importantly, utilize the practices we’ve discussed in this course in their own professions as educators. As much as I would want educators to be handed every single theorist and their work that we’ve encountered, I want our project to not overwhelm them. Some learning outcomes that I believe should be readily available to educators include:

  • Feedback and writing comments on student’s papers: We started with discussing the red pen of death and how this really hurt some of us early on as we were beginning our journey into writing. We’ve also discussed how feedback can be misleading and often times students are confused about their teacher’s feedback. We’ve also discussed how teachers can use effective feedback to allow students to revise their writings and learn/grow as a writer and not use feedback just as a means to just give the teacher “what they want” in order to get a good grade.
  • Process over product (importance of revision process): This learning outcome is important to me because students become too concerned with the product of their writing that they either don’t learn about process or take it seriously.
  • Equity in Education: We started the course off with Dr. Zamora speaking to us about equity in education and #unboundeq and this an important topic/ issue in today’s society that severely needs to be addressed.

Initially I wanted to focus on the red pen of death, love. After the free-write and this week’s blog post I want to create something that showcases equity in education ( maybe something similar to Dr. Zamora’s #unboundeq) while also incorporating other important learning outcomes.

New Blog 11/25

With the semester coming to a close, it has come time for my classmates and I to collaborate and figure out what it is we want to do for our final project.  First off, I would like to mention how happy and proud I am of everyone for their presentations on the readings we’ve done this semester. I think you all did such an amazing job!  Now that we’ve finished the major theoretical part of this course, Dr. Zamora has left the final project in our hands. From deciding what it is we want to do for this project, to coming up with a strategy for our class to plan and execute whatever it is we want the final project to be.  I know class on Monday night is going to be fun one, as the time has finally come for us to sit at the table and negotiate how it is we are going to go about this final project. The first thing for me is to define what I want the learning outcomes to be. Similar to Linda, I would want to do something where we can present at one of the conferences Dr. Zamora was talking about, or to create some type of publication.  These two possible choices are important to me as I am hoping to continue on to a PhD once I finish this program, and I think presenting an academic work, or having such a work published would not only aid in any future application I send in, but also work to be a kind of introduction to this type of academic, scholarly work. With that being said, I do not think a work such as this can’t be fun and creative. That first night we began to discuss this project, I think we did a great job coming up with an array of different ideas that would be a great cherry on top for (most) of our first semester in graduate school.  I have a couple of ideas that I think would be a great deal of fun, while also allowing us to produce meaningful work that everybody could get excited about. 

  1. Collection of short stories and poetry- I cannot think of a better way for each one of us to tap into our creativity.  I think throughout the semester, we’ve done a great job of collectively finding our voice, and I think allowing each of us to tap into that creativity we can create something truly special and memorable.
  2. Variety Show- This one still taps into the creativity I mentioned above, but would allow us to do so in a more entertaining, “outside the box” manner.  What I was thinking for something like this would everyone could come up with something, like a comedy sketch, reading poetry, a small scene where we act; this is similar to the open mic idea, but this would be more thought out and planned.  
  3. Presentation on what we learned this semester- Considering how much time we’ve spent learning from Peter Elbow and other scholars this semester, I think it would be neat to kind of take a deeper dive into the things that we have already learned, and present it in such a way that is simplified, but does not lose any of the pertinent information of what we’ve done.  I think it would work two-fold in a way where we can inform others of what it is we learned, while simultaneously getting a better understanding of it ourselves.  

These ideas are merely a starting point for us, and I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of my classmates have come up with as ideas for us to collaborate on.  I’m sure we’re going to be having some spirited discussions and negotiations for how these last few weeks are going to shake out in terms of the project, and I am really excited for it.  See you all Monday night! 

Learning Different Languages with Cultural Styles.

A new chapter opened up when I first stepped into my Dr.Zamora’s English course “Writing & Theory” class. I was humbled and willing to learn the importance of writing in the education system, since this course is coming to an end and it’s has been quiet an experience journey for me. Learning and engaging in each others backgrounds, strategies of writing and intaking each others information and wisdom.

What early ideas are exciting to you?

Coming up with “Learning Different Languages with Cultural Styles”. Being in a classroom with a diverse, cultural background of students we all  have our own “Voice, language and metaphors”. From posting every week on our blogs starting our final project I’m excited to say that we all get to display and tie our ideas into one. What learning outcomes matter more to you?

What learning outcomes matter more to you?

Learning outcomes matter to me from two reading I’ve actually read as being a substitute teacher I’ve used these reading as such in the classroom with my fifth grade students. “Exploring Students Writers’ Interpretive Practices” by Jennie Nelson and “Voice in Writing” by Peter Elbow.

How can you make this class project count in a way that is truly meaningful to you?

Displaying my ideas to this final project, I can look back and see how far I’ve come from learning within this course of writing that when I learned to have a voice writing on paper and standing out when it can to my performance as teaching as being in the education system.

Coming together is a beginning keeping together is progress; working together is success.” -Henry Ford

Beyond the Classroom: Developing our Public, Professional Voice

Image result for voice images

What were my expectations for my first graduate class? I was expecting to learn some writing theory, write a blog, conduct some research, and present a project. However, Dr. Zamora’s class has been truly transformative: I am developing a public, professional persona via blogging on my WordPress site, tweeting on my Twitter account, and expanding my professional network by applying to the Digital Humanities Institute. I have blossomed from a private writer to a public writer wanting to fly and expand my reach.

Student voice is important to me. Encouraging my students to share their stories, and find their voice is an integral part of my class. Therefore, I found Kendra’s and Karel’s presentations on voice and the readings (Elbow’s “Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries,” “Brannon and Knoblach’s “On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response,” and “Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum”) to be one of the most important topics and overarching theme in this course. Dr. Zamora has encouraged us to express our opinions in our weekly blogs and generously provided us with 40 minutes to present our research interest during our Discussion Leads. Along with student voice, there is student choice. Now, she is giving us an exciting opportunity to come together to collaborate on a class project. 

To encourage the theme of student voice and student choice, I like Emily’s and Nives’ idea of an Open Mic Night where Kevin can share his comedy act, Fatima can share her poetry, and Patricia can showcase her artwork. (Do we have any singers or musicians in the group?) I propose to have the event in Barnes and Noble so that we can enjoy our favorite beverages while supporting our classmates in developing their public voice. We can advertise this event to the Kean community; we can also record this first annual event on Facebook Live! and post the video on Twitter to increase exposure. As for my contribution, I am an experienced event planner who can help organize, promote, and emcee the event. I am willing to speak to the manager at Barnes and Noble.

I look forward to this class project because we all have unique skills and talents; if we all come together, we can make this a fun and worthwhile event!   

We are ready to spread our wings, and fly!

Home Stretch

We’ve spoken a lot about student choice and student perspective in this course. About how we need to stop telling our students exactly what to write and let them kind of figure it out and create their own voice. And I agree 100%.

But here we are at the near end of the semester, and Dr. Zamora is allowing us to find our voice, and I’m freaking out. I’m so used to being assigned specific topics, assignments, and projects. With that being said I’m just glad it’s a group project “We’re all in this together.”

Here are some of the projects I’ve given thought to, most taken from what I teach or PD’s:

1) Ugly wall project: In our school, we language arts teachers took the initiative to cover the old chipped walls with collages of great literary quotations. We could create a mural citing and interpreting or quoting some of the authors we have read throughout the course. This type of project helps connect the classroom with the school’s community. Also, this type of plan helps us recall and use the information we have learned.

2) Connecting to history: A lot of what we did this semester was we went back in time. We studied concepts that were present in the past and how they are relevant and different now. We can choose a topic we haven’t studied throughout this course yet. We can be like John Bean and compose an article about a controversial issue in writing, offering insights about the past, the present and pros, and cons about the specific topic. We would have to think about a topic that we are all passionate about, but it’d be super cool to have our own published research article. Once again, we will be able to recall and apply writing techniques John Bean uses in his articles to make them so engaging.

3) Writer’s block: I’ve experienced writer’s block while writing this very blog. I just didn’t know how to go about it, and I know my colleagues have felt this way at some point. We can create a workshop that maybe we can offer once a month for the upcoming semester. That would mean five seminars altogether. In this workshop, we can provide insightful information on how to overcome writer’s block. We can practice these techniques with the students who participate. It could be anything, like an hour of just yoga, to relax and meditate, which I think works for me when I’m experiencing writer’s block. The overall goal would be to provide students with a way to bust through writer’s block and help them process their writing in new ways.

Besides my ideas, I love some of the ideas other classmates have presented:

1) Tedtalk, but this one would be tough, but I would love to whether we get on the actual show or not do something like a TedTalk and maybe be able to present it at Kean research days.

2) Comedy, once again, hard, but we can host a comedy night making jokes about the concepts we have read.

I don’t know what we will decide on tomorrow night, but I’m excited!