Final Reflection

When looking at my Unit 3 – 6 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been… 

… the improvement in my writing skills in general. For example, I feel like my essay writing has improved a lot as I learn how to properly analyse themes in texts and the literary devices used by the author that support them. In addition, I think that my creative writing has also improved a great deal. I am especially proud of my original poem. I really wanted to push myself with the poem, so I chose to do a villanelle. It was really difficult and required four different drafts of multiple ideas before I managed to write my final version. I also wanted to explore a different theme other than my usual romance-inspired work, and instead focused on the setting of a war-torn city and a different kind of love (more platonic). I had so much fun with all the writing assignments this semester and I’m really excited to continue writing in university.

When looking at my feedback on my work and Mastery Data (as found in Schoology), I noticed…

… that above all the other competencies, I have improved the most in C9 (I can revise (or rehearse) to develop a wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately and effectively) and C12 (I can revise (or rehearse) to create a balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail). I feel that these two competencies are very close to each other and they both relate to how I discuss texts, analyze them, and express my opinions about them. I think that it’s really interesting to see this connection— how with the help of projects like the Novel Teaching Table, the Novel Lecture, the in-class essays, and the original poem, my vocabulary has improved alongside my skills with noticing more general themes and using detail to back up my claims.

Considering most of the second semester was virtual learning, I’d like to say…

… that initially I was very worried, believing that it would be very difficult to communicate. I think when learning about literature, it is important to have an environment where collaboration and communication come easily. This allows for people to not only express their own opinions, but also learn from the perspectives of others and I always really valued that about our class. However, I was relieved to find that I had no reason to worry. I found it surprisingly easy to have our discussions as per usual, both in breakout rooms and as a whole class. I liked collaborating on tasks like the Hamlet reduced scenes script, as well as the Novel Lecture groups. One of my highlights from this semester was also definitely the Hamlet shared inquiry and I think it’s amazing that that was able to be carried out.

As well as that, I was worried that the combination of taking things online plus being a second semester senior would make it very hard to remain motivated. Though I definitely felt that at times, I think the decision to go straight into Unit 4 instead of immediately continuing with Unit 3 once virtual school started was a good one. It forced me to buckle down immediately as it was a largely a unit that required a lot of independent work, and that momentum managed to carry me through the rest of the semester.

When reviewing my goal for Semester 2, I can say that I… 

… have been successful in achieving that goal. In my last portfolio reflection, I had stated that I wanted to develop my close-reading skills, and subsequently improve my literary analysis skills as well. Not only did I want to do this to help me with the actual drafting process of essays (as I felt that I struggled a lot with coming up with a thesis and planning body paragraphs) but also so that I can read higher level books in the future. Although this is an ongoing goal that doesn’t really have a definable endpoint, I can definitely say that I feel like I have improved greatly. This is largely with the help of both the novels I read for this class this semester (Heart of Darkness and Pride and Prejudice) as well as the emphasis on essay-writing to help us prepare for the AP exam. Reading the novels and taking such a thorough approach to analysing them in both the Novel Teaching Table and Novel Lecture project really encouraged me to pay close attention to details and how the stylistic choices of the author can create a certain theme and set a tone that influence the rest of the book and how each character is perceived. I can’t wait to take the experience I had from reading and analysing these novels into other books that I plan to read in the future. 

A reflection on a Unit 3, 4, or 5 EQ is…  (Include the EQ and response)

Unit 5: What are the complexities and paradoxes of “family”?

According to Oxford Languages, there are two primary definitions of “family”. The first is “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit”. The parameters of who is involved are clearly defined. It emphasises physical closeness and familiarity. The second definition of family is “all the descendants of a common ancestor”. Unlike the first one, the limits of whoever consists of a family are far more vague and instead encompassing a far larger group. This, in turn, draws away from the sense of intimacy established in the first definition. These two somewhat paradoxical statements only serve to illustrate just how complicated the idea of “family” has grown in society. So many people all across so many countries have so many different experiences with what “family” is. To some, it is something purely transactional. You’re born. You help out around the house and you’re a promise of security and support for your parents in their old age. In return, you are fed and sheltered and educated. Everyone has a clear role. To others, it is completely different. Relationships are built less on inborn social structures and norms but rather on nurtured connections. There aren’t any requirements to being a part of the “family” except for those tight-knit bonds. Then there’s the spectrum of families that exist beyond these two extremes. The concept of “family” is so broad and so intangible that I believe that there is and there never will be a single way of defining it and all attempts to do so will never truly incorporate all its complexities.


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