1. How do you feel concerning the pace of the course so far? Some students have mentioned they feel as if they've done more in this marking period than all of their previous years. Is this a good thing? Why or why not?
I feel like I am learning a lot in this course due to the large workload which we have been given. This aspect is a good thing, because for once I feel as if I am actually accomplishing a lot of things in an English class, whereas little learning was involved. However, I feel as if the pace of the class is a little too fast. I feel as if I get as much work in this class as most of my other classes combined, and therefore I often find it difficult to meet deadlines. All in all, though, I think the work being done is definitely a positive.
2. There was a fairly rigid calendar of activities and assignments; did you feel this structure helped you? Why or why not? How did you feel about the way classroom time was organized? (Friday was discussion day; Monday was journal day, etc.)
I feel like the organized structure to the calendar of activities and assignments in the class was helpful because I always knew what to expect. I knew when I would need to have certain assignments done by, and this made keeping up a lot easier, because there were rarely activities done in class which I was not expecting to do. However, I feel like the calendar was not flexible enough. Though some assignments were extended, for example, we had an extra weekend to complete the first half of Huck Finn, I still felt like more time was needed in some cases. For instance, I think we needed more time in the computer lab to complete our web sites, but due to the rigid calendar, we were not given more days. In general though, the organized classroom time worked well for me, especially concerning the book discussion time and journal due dates.
3. What did you think of the books we selected for reading throughout this unit?
I feel that the books selected for reading throughout the unit have been very good choices so far. I can honestly say that I enjoyed "The Catcher in the Rye" a lot. It was a smooth flowing book, and I was very interested in it. "The Hobbit" was also a good choice. I found it easy to read, and that aspect encouraged me to read on. The one book that I did not like as much, was "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" because I felt it was too descriptive which made it boring to read. Additionally I felt as if that book just dragged on. Overall the book was good however.
4. How do you feel about the digital portfolios? Did you find it more or less difficult than you expected? Why do you think that is?
I was surprised to find that I am now enjoying the digital portfolios. At first the idea sounded fun and interesting. However, once I learned all the details to creating the web pages I thought I would not enjoy making them. This is because there are so many details included in making them. However, it wound up being less difficult than I expected. This is because once I became accustomed to the setup of them, it was easy to do. I feel that now that I know how to do the portfolios it is actually an easy task. I look forward to adding to them throughout the year.
5. If you were to be given the opportunity to work with your teacher on updating and revising this project, what would you change? And why would you change it?
If I were given the opportunity to work with the teacher to update and revise the project, I would make some changes. One thing that I would revise, is to give students the option of what assignments go on the web site. I would give this option because I feel that there are some assignments that students will want to keep personal, rather than having their classmates read. However, I would tell the students the minimum number of assignments that they need to turn into web pages. The other thing that I would change, is concerning class time to work on them. I would give the class more lab time so that they can make their site as good as it can be.
6. Given the same circumstance, what would you fight to maintain? Why?
Given the circumstances, there are some things in this class that I would fight to maintain. For one, I would make sure that we continued to do the web pages throughout the year because I enjoy working on it, and feel that knowing how to write in HTML will be very beneficial as I grow up. I would also fight to maintain the organization of the class (for instance, having the calendar), because I feel that it helps to always know what to expect each class day.
7. What do you think your teachers could have done to help you learn more from this unit?
There are some things that the teachers could have done to help me learn more from this unit. For instance, I think that if there had not been so many back to back assignments, that students would have been able to learn the information given to us better. For instance, if we had more time to write our newspaper articles I feel that I would have been able to gather more relevant information, and I think I would have had a better understanding of what a newspaper article is supposed to be like. Another way I think the teachers could have helped the students to learn more this unit by concentrating more class time to the three books that we read. I feel that this would have increased learning because the more a book is discussed, the more in depth you can be about it.
8. What would you do differently, knowing what you now know, if we were to do a lesson similar to this in the future?
If we were to do a unit similar to this in the future, there are some things I would do differently, based on the experience I have gained. For instance, I would make sure that I always kept up with the class assignments, so that I would not fall behind and wind up having a large workload right before an assignment was due. Additionally, I would make a change during the reading section of the lesson. I would assign myself a certain number of pages which I would make myself read a night to be sure that I completed the book without a problem. Another thing I would do differently is write my journal entries. I would try to make them be more about my thoughts on the book, rather than focus on one main idea which I chose from the book.
9. If you were asked by a neutral person about this unit, and you weren't in a good mood but not in a bad one either, and the weather outside was fair and partly cloudy, what would you say? What criteria would you use to make this statement?
If I were asked by a neutral person about this unit I would tell them everything that we have done. I would tell them that about all of the things that I have learned, including writing in HTML, the correct way to write a newspaper article, and the vocabulary words that I learned. I would say that I enjoy some aspects of the unit, like creating web pages, writing personal narratives, and reading the "Catcher in the Rye." Then I would explain to the aspects of the unit which have not been as good. I would tell the person that the amount of work is somewhat overwhelming. I would also explain that reading the novels is a difficult task because there is only two weeks to read it, and such novels like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" are slow moving.
10. Tell us anything else that's on your mind concerning this project, even if it is reiteration of a previous thought.
There are some things on my mind concerning this project. For one, it has been very beneficial because for once I am actually learning new things in an English class. However, I feel that it is the amount of work that needs to be put into it is very hard to keep up with. Even so, I am enjoying all of the new things which I am learning from this class.