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. 

Great Poets Teaching Project

This was a project where we selected a poet, analysed his or her poetry, and presented our experience and findings to a small group of fellow students. I chose William Carlos Williams, whose infuriatingly simple poems provided a lot of room for interpretation. Below are my supporting documents and the poems I analysed.

GPTP Presentation

Student Handout

U1 Great Poets WCW Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

U1 Great Poets_ WCW The Great Figure

U1 Great Poets_ WCW The Red Wheelbarrow

U1 Great Poets_ WCW This Is Just To Say

U1 Great Poets_ WCW Winter Trees

Poetry Essential Question Reflection

How do poets and poetry invite us to see, feel, and experience the world?

This unit, I read poems from a large variety of poets, ranging from ones with over a hundred lines to William Carlos Williams’ that barely reached ten. But through all of them, the poets were able to portray their emotions and convey vivid scenes through the masterful implementation of rhetorical devices. By controlling the flow of the poem and emphasising some words over others, different ideas are communicated, leaving readers free to interpret and create their own versions of the poem. The words that a poet chooses to use (diction) carry connotations, positive or negative, that work towards conveying an attitude or feeling towards a subject. For example, in describing a happy scene, poets might choose to use “brilliant,” “fantastic,” or “magnificent,” while a sad scene might employ words like “somber,” “torment,” and “desperation.” Sentence structure and particularly enjambment also serves to bring attention to key words that define the tone or message of a poem. After all, enjambing a sentence focuses attention on the last word or phrase before the seemingly unconventional line break. In imagist poetry like William Carlos Williams’, tactical enjambment is crucial in communicating deeper meaning when the poems are as simple as they can get.

While I’ve only talked about two specific techniques poets use to invite us into their worlds, they have at their disposal a laundry list of other techniques such as personification, simile, metaphor, iambic pentameter, and apostrophe that each serve a unique purpose and impart a particular effect. Poets are often defined by a unique combination of techniques they employ. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed analysing poems and searching for hidden meanings this unit.