Year-End Reflection

Year End Reflection

When looking at my Unit 3-5 portfolio, I see that my greatest achievement has been public speaking. I had a great experience delivering the novel lecture and participating in the shared inquiry about Hamlet. The latter is even more significant given that I’ve always been intimidated by Shakespeare’s works. My portfolio shows that I have not only been able to understand and develop my comprehension of Shakespearean text, but also be confident in my interpretations while sharing them with students. Overall, this semester has offered me many opportunities to grow as a reader and speaker. “The Book Thief” and Hamlet really challenged me to convey complex themes and ideas in a coherent manner.

When looking at the feedback on my work throughout this semester, I noticed that I still have many ways to improve my writing. Through my revisions of AP questions, my mastery of basic thesis formulation, evidence, and reasoning means I can move on to more nuanced aspects of writing such as style, coherence, and organisation. This is a process that I will continue in college and is very evident in my gradebook.

I don’t have any real complaints about second semester being mostly composed of virtual learning. I felt that it offered a great opportunity to judge our work habits and discipline given the vast array of potential distractions. For me, it actually gave me more time to delve deeper into the books I was reading. Of course, I did miss face-to-face interactions with my friends, but everyone could benefit from some alone time for self-reflection. Above all, virtual learning helped us develop resilience in the face of adversity. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.

I entered Semester 2 with a goal to develop a personal reading schedule to read more books outside of class. I have accomplished this goal to a certain degree – I have developed a habit of always setting aside at least 15 minutes a day to read for pleasure. Although AP season is making this harder, I’m sure I can get through it. I also entered Semester 2 with a goal to have fun, and through working with my classmates on numerous projects, I can confidently say that I’ve achieved that goal.

One EQ that jumped out for me was Unit 5’s question: What are the complexities and paradoxes of “family?” I feel like this question has become extremely relevant over the past few months, as all of us have spent considerably more time at home with our families. I’ve come to the conclusion that family is an idea that rests on love regardless of how much conflict it endures. Rosa Hubermann, Liesel’s foster mother in “The Book Thief,” might come off as foul-mouthed and unlikable at first, but we quickly come to realise she treasures Liesel like her own daughter. Rosa works hard to bring in enough money for the family, Hans (Liesel’s foster father) scrapes together money for books (roll credits), and they weather the storm that is World War II era Germany together. It’s clear that nothing can break the fundamental bonds of love that hold a family together. “Family” could be a paradox in the sense that the people you hate the most are the people you love the most. As teenage children, sometimes our parents might come off as unbearable. But at the end of the day, they are still the most important people in our lives.


Hamlet Act I

Here’s my annotations and interpretations as I read the first act of Hamlet. I was helped by a very good worksheet.


Final Semester Reflection

Final Semester Reflection

In my first two units of AP Lit, my greatest achievement has been the Dragon Notes video. I was able to collaborate with two other students to create a product that really reflects our work and understanding of the values within Lorrie Moore’s “You’re Ugly, Too.” The amount of time I spent editing the video ensured that the final product was my best product. In the past, I wasn’t the best at editing films, but I took on this challenge to see how much I’ve grown, and the result pleasantly surprised me!

Looking back through the feedback, I realise I still need to focus on honing my argumentation. I tend to take on multiple aspects all at once, sometimes biting off more than I can chew. This is especially obvious in my revised Q1 essay, where I shifted my focus on multiple characters in “The Great Gatsby” instead of just one. I need to work on diving deeper into one specific aspect of my choice and really fleshing it out. That will be the best way to improve my writing and argumentation.

When looking at my Sonny’s Blues Short Story Analysis, I identified a very interesting trend in my writing process: I spend a lot of time honing my first draft to make it as close to perfect as possible, and the final draft is more wording and grammatical tweaks than idea reorganisation. I tweak wording and make my language more concise, but most of the editing is done during the first drafting process. To improve my writing within the first draft, I re-read the story with my thesis in mind and picked out more relevant details to incorporate or replace tangential evidence. I then do a reverse outline to see how it matches up to my original outline and see how it compares. I will then tweak organisation until I feel that my piece flows well and doesn’t leave the reader confused at any point.

My Mastery data in Schoology shows that I’m at Meeting Expectations and Exceeding Expectations for all of the standards. In the ones that we have assessed, I’ve consistently achieved scores in the range of 75-100%.

One goal I have for Semester 2 is to develop a stricter daily reading schedule and stick to it. I promised myself to do it this semester, but college applications really got in the way. I hope to read more next semester and include not just material from the course but also a wide variety of books for pleasure. 

My first impression of AP Lit was, frankly, not very positive. Thomas Foster’s book gave me the impression that AP Lit was mostly about spinning something out of nothing in the most intricate, convoluted, and  unnecessary ways possible. But as we analysed poetry and short stories as a class, I started to appreciate the beauty of interpretation. I loved being able to take the same text that everyone else reads and apply my own experience and understanding to create something unique in my mind. AP Lit now seems like a fun class where I get to explore relevant themes and connect more with the human story.