Review of the Week 13 and Preview of Week 14
[by Devin and Hannah]
On Tuesday we began class by talking about how that would be our final discussion class. We discussed plans for this upcoming Tuesday including looking at a couple drafts/ sections of drafts of our classmates. We were reminded that the revision for the paper is due on Monday, April 23rd (before finals start). For those who are interested, the extra credit paper prompt, containing 2 options, is now online and due April 19th, the last day we have class. The extra credit paper can add up to five percent extra to your grade for formal writing- a great incentive to write it! Professor Seaman then showed the class how to insert “more tab” to shorten the space the proposals take on the course blog. She then discussed important tips to include in our paper such as transitioning the topic sentence to the rest of the paragraph, using They Say I Say as a writing reference, integrating sources and not just relying solely on a few, and incorportating “quote sandwiches” for quotes connect them to the essay. Remember also to note grammar errors (especially comma splices and sentence fragments).
Some students spent the 4th hour this week having conferences and the rest of the class will have theirs next week. In the conference you will discuss how your paper is going, the main idea and development of the thesis, the incorporation of sources, and have time to ask Professor Seaman any questions and for guidance/advice. People found that creating an outline for the paper is the most effective way to spend the time and successfully plan out their paper. The class then turned to page 129 in They Say I Say to discuss Metacommentary. Metacommentary, in brief, is when in your paper you further explain what you are actually saying. It is an opportunity to imagine what your reader might be misreading and limit what you are claiming by clarifying what you are saying and even pointing out what you’re not saying. Meta translates to “stepping outside itself; reflect on itself”. It is essentially commentary on commentary and helpful by developing ideas more fully and can also make a paper longer. It also injects a little more personality into the writing; it can be used to separate the author from the idea he or she is trying to convey. We unknowingly made use of Metacommentary in the proposal to “map out” the paper. One of the more surprising times Metacommentary can be used is in the title of the paper in order to exploit the first opportunity to hook the reader.
The class then discussed the recent viewing of Freedom Writers. The following questions were asked, “how did the producer of the film convey the message? What are students expected to learn? What is the movie’s intention?” In Freedom Writers, Mrs. Gruwell fought against the message of what education should be. She put everyone in her classroom on the same level and position so they could further understand each other. The main aim of the school for students like the ones in Mrs. G’s class is to teach them discipline. However, Mrs. G’s approach was quite different; she taught against the curriculum in more beneficial way for her students. Mrs. G changed her style of teaching for the students rather than change her students to her style. The other teachers are more concerned with their students getting to the next class, next grade, to graduate then they are on teaching and what the kids learn. Mrs. G plays the role of a naïve white women and lets the children teach her as much as she teaches them.
We then discussed the movie in terms of it being realistic. Yes, the movie is based on a true story, but it was most likely exaggerated. It was made in Hollywood; they tend to use “based on” very loosely. For example, Mrs. G does not look like Hilary Swank in real life. The intention of the movie is to be inspirational and show that one person can make a difference. Mrs. G makes many huge sacrifices such as giving up her marriage and having three jobs but she believes it was all worth it. This is extreme and not realistic for the common person, or even the common teacher in the same position. The question was asked who should be the teachers for schools like the one in the movie? For example, Mrs. G was a first time teacher, making little money since she worked at a poor school; however, most everyone in class felt that the more experienced teachers be the ones responsible for kids like Mrs. G’s. Freedom Writers also gives the viewer the illusion that “all can get along.” The reality is not everyone is like Mrs. Gruwell and there is great need for alternatives.
The class then talked about the other movie we watched, The Class. We all agreed the teacher was not a good teacher, immature in fact. Almost all of the students in our class thought that the children in the movie are all rude and obnoxious, but Dr. Seaman pointed out that that could just be a cultural difference between an American classroom and a European classroom. For example, we raise our hands to speak when called on while they speak out in class without being addressed. The class noted that the teachers fall back on old curriculum style to force learning. Mr. Marin lacks sensitivity and oversteps his teaching authority especially when he calls two of his students “skanks.” We found it dishonest and wrong of him to not initially report the true story, seeing as how so many unfortunate events unfolded because of his comment. He seemed as if he wanted to be a dominant authority figure and that he thought himself superior.
As far as the take away message, The Freedom Writers left us all feeling a little more hopeful than The Class did. The Freedom Writers was over when we expected it to be, with a happy-as-can-be conclusion, while The Class was sort of abrupt, with only a slight glimmer of hope as the students and teachers are seen playing soccer together in the recess yard.
On Thursday Mr. Vander Zee came to oversee our peer-editing. Students used a peer-review guideline to answer fundamental questions relevant to our papers.
Preview of Week 13
[by Dr. Seaman]
This week is, somehow, our final week! On Tuesday we will discuss together one or more sample student drafts that were submitted on Saturday. We will be mining these samples for assistance in thinking about how we might revise our drafts differently to achieve the ends we have in mind. Those revisions will be due the following Monday (April 23) at 3:30. Many of you will be meeting with me on Tuesday throughout the day, as our Fourth Hour meeting for that week to discuss your revision plans. Anyone who would like to meet with me on Thursday should feel free to do so: 1-1:30, 3-3:50, 5:20-5:50.
On Thursday, we will no doubt be talking further about revisions and will also discuss style, some of which we’ve addressed here and there throughout the semester (such as voice), but we’ll do that specifically in terms of your final paper on Thursday, which will be our last class meeting.