My writing workshop experience as a freshman was successful, time devoting, and different. It is different from my past experiences in writing, because I had the opportunity to chose my own topic, and had most of the year to improve each of my pieces. I enjoyed the process, and thought it was very helpful to receive feedback from both my peers, family, and teacher. I had enough time to edit mistakes I missed the first time around,, and the chance to receive edits from others who had different perspectives and ideas on my pieces.
Teacher conferences were the most effective, because Mr. Ferges was very honest, and not only showed me my grammatical weaknesses, but also my writing weaknesses in specific spots that needed improvement. My favorite part about the writing workshop was that we could chose our own topic to write about, and our own style of writing. Whether that is a poem, persuasive essay, personal narrative, or about an object, place, person, belief, or experience. That opportunity opens up the student’s mind to anything they find they enjoy writing about. Although, sometimes I struggled with picking a topic, because I am so use to being forced to write about a specific prompt.
Each piece took a different approach from the beginning, and a different process to perfect it in the end. Overall, I think that evaluating your writing and always working to make it better is important, because I believe there is always room for growth and improvement. Writing workshop changed who I am as a writer, and improved my writing skills. I think these four pieces shows my evident growth from the first draft, as how I would write if I were still in middle school to my final drafts, which are well developed, mature pieces.
Being able to chose my own topics made me find my interests, and what I feel strongly and passionate about. For example, In my first writing workshop, “Cabo San Lucas” I showed the most improvement from a simple travel brochure, to a personal and persuasive essay. In my second writing workshop, “Second Chances” I expressed a strong belief that I never knew I felt so strongly about. My third writing workshop, “Dreams” was poorly and immaturely written with random thoughts, because I was not familiar with writing poems and it was hard for me to expand on ideas in a short haikou.
On the other hand, my “Dreams” piece taught me a new technique of writing, and not focusing on the content of the story, but more importantly the structure or rhyming involved. I personally think my Once and Future King essay was my strongest, because it was the one piece that I was strictly directed on what to write about. I also used an outline, that helped me structure and organize my ideas throughout the essay. Each of the four pieces in my portfolio, helped me to become a different writer in various ways.
Cabo San Lucas”, my first writing workshop piece showed my most growth out of all the pieces, because I had the most time to make it better. It was the easiest piece out of them all, because I worked with an outline that guided me as I wrote the essay. I worked on correcting it multiple times, rather than only improving it from the original draft to the final draft, My teacher conferences and peer conferences helped me realize that my persuasive essay was too much like a travel brochure, and included too much factual information.
Such as exact location, land features, and specific weather conditions. Throught the process, I worked on transforming the travel brochure into a personal persuasive narrative with more vivid imagery. For example, I expanded my experience and thoughts of the whales in Cabo into a detailed story. I also reorganized my piece, making it flow together smoothly, and eliminated the amount of facts. For example, when a paragraph contained too many thoughts, I chopped it in half, and included a transition in between.
I also worked on making my piece longer, with more detail and description, so the reader could feel more connected. I think my piece was persuasive in the beginning, but was also very factual. I am concerned with the grammar and vocab in my piece, because I think that is my weakness in writing. I worked on eliminating the facts, and making people want to visit Cabo after hearing about my personal adventures instead. My final draft compared to my first shows an extraordinary difference from a short factual paragraph to a well structured, interesting narrative.
My second piece, “Second Chances” is the first piece of writing that i’ve wrote showing all of my own thoughts and opinions. I think it was important and reasonable to be included in my portfolio, because the portfolio is connected to me. It was very easy to write about, but had the potential of becoming very repetitive in such a short piece. I worked mostly on eliminating my repetition, and incorporating new thoughts to back up my reasoning.
I was mostly concerned with my grammar in this piece too, along with staying in the same tense throughout the whole essay to not confuse the reader. Similarly, to my first writing workshop, my second needed to be focused on more personal experiences too! Since I am writing about a personal belief, I think it is relevant that I include personal stories, like my track experience where I received a second chance. In my final draft, I added a personal experience where I lied to my parents and connected the experience to the idea of second chances.
I think this piece is most important to the portfolio, because I express such an important thought that no one knew I thought about or felt so strongly about. I have grown from this piece, in being able to successfully support a big idea in many ways with specific examples and real life situations. My final draft is well written, longer, and more specific! “Dreams” was my weakest writing workshop piece out of my whole portfolio, because I wrote it in the least time and tried a new style I wasn’t as familiar with. This piece is the one I am most worried about and not as happy with.
I struggled in fitting all my ideas in a 5, 7, 5 pattern, because the limitation on words limits the ability to expand on ideas and give specific examples. Throughout the writing process, I made the most edits to this piece and if I could highlight the whole piece to show where I made the major changes I would. I erased the idea of sticking with a simple haikou, and instead developed an abab pattern throughout the piece. By doing this, I was able to include more examples for the readers, eliminate my constant random thoughts, and making the poem flow from idea to idea.
Still the rhyming was a little tricky, because I was still limited to few words, when a different word could have been more appropriate for the line. My lines did not only get longer, but my whole poem did. Although this was difficult, I am glad I included a poem in my personal portfolio, because It challenged my writing skills and addressed my weaknesses. This process contributed to my growth as a writer by getting feedback from my teacher, and by trying something new. Lastly, my “One and Future KIng” essay from the beginning of the year was by far my strongest.
I received a high score on the original essay, with little improvement needed for the second, revised one. Throughout the process, I showed the most growth in my introduction, because my teacher did not think my thesis was present. In my opinion, the thesis is the most important, so the readers know the main idea I am trying to address in my bodies. I therefore worked on reorganizing my thesis and mapping statements in my introduction, and limiting the plot I included, which is unnecessary.
I also took out the quote I used for my grabber from inside the book, and instead included a quote from outside the book to show my idea is relevant in day to day lives. Besides my introduction, I revisited the MLA citation format, because I seemed to be citing my quotes wrong in my original. I read over my essay again and saw that it was filled with quote after quote, avoiding explanation and support. I worked on the analysis of the quotes and representing my own voice, to show the reader what I am thinking, because this is included in my personal portfolio.
I think my final Once and Future King essay is strongly written, with accurate citations, excellent support, and good grammar. Each and every writing sample made me a stronger writer with new ideas and techniques. I learned my weaknesses and what I should focus on more in writing. I also noticed my stronger skills in writing and how I can try new things to challenge myself. I am going to continue to execute my improvements and new writing skills I learned from all four pieces into my future writing samples.
I also can still improve these four pieces over time with new thoughts and other opinions coming my way. The most important aspects of writing I focused on were connecting my ideas to myself, the organization of my thoughts, staying in the same tense, less repetition and more relative, specific thoughts. I also developed a better understanding of poetry, and how it is very hard to develop a detailed, understandable poem. The writing workshop process was very effective for me as a growing, open-minded, curious writer.