With only one week of class left, I can honestly say this semester flew by. This class actually ended up teaching me a lot more than I really expected it to do. And I like how everything we learned in some way all connected together, and it was so much easier to relate our papers back to the stuff we learned in the beginning of the semester about communities. I also realized how we started the semester with the simple conversation of communities, and what our interpretations of communities were. Then we looked at articles written about communities, all showing someone’s different opinion or idea of opinion. Then we all chose a special community to really relate back to and analyze and get to know.
I chose to learn about Gang communities. I think my topic, for me, was really interesting, and I learned a lot. I think that is a key thing in research projects. If you are going to spend a lot of time on an essay, and have a chose of topics, go with the one that would interest you the most. That way, the researching is not as hard to do, because you actually are interested in what you’re learning. What really interest me the most though, and something I really didn’t even think about looking into until the day before the essay was due, but I got really interested in looking up what the most dangerous gangs are, and what makes them so powerful and dangerous. It’s a hard thing for many people to learn about, but I think since gangs are such a big part of so many communities, its good to really be educated on them. Another thing that really interested me, is that government cut spending money on gang prevention programs. It would be interesting to look more into that, to see if it is because of the lack of money they have to spend, or the lack in results they are seeing from the prevention programs.
We just turned in our essays, so I guess it is a little late to add that information in. I wouldn’t say I am completely proud of my essay, but not disappointed in it either. I go back and forth worrying about whether it had enough information, or not enough. I feel like there were so many more topics I could have touched up on. And I think my essay still needed some revising and organizing. But now I know for next time to really finish the essay early so I have plenty of time to go through it.
I also just did my presentation. It was as hard to give, as I always think its going to be. I am far from a public speaker. Usually when I get up in front of a bunch of people I forget everything I was going to say. But it wasn’t bad, I think I left some information out, but overall got the message across. Hope it all made sense to you guys! Now I just need to finish up my e-portfolio and this class will be done for the semester.
The essay so far has been going pretty well. With only two weeks left until our final essay is due, it amazes me how quick the semester flew by. Seems like just yesterday we started this whole process, learning about communities, and choosing which one we wanted to use for ours. I am about five pages in on my essay. Not quite as far as I would like to be, I still have lot to write. I know I can finish it though. I still have some article to talk about in my essay. I also need to work on the organization of my essay. The next thing I am going to do is try to finish writing the paper, hopefully within the next few days. After, I am going to organize the paragraphs better and fix up the transition sentences. Then go paragraph by paragraph and fix each one. Hopefully I am pull this off in the next week. I have been slacking on it since I turned it in for my peer revisions. I got some really good feed back though. I still don’t know which introduction paragraph to use since I wrote two. I really like the information in each, so I am trying to combined them, but not quite sure how yet.
The next part of this class, after finishing the essay is to focus of the e-portfolio. That should be pretty easy, and it’s a good way to wrap up on all our work from the semester. It is also a good way to look back on our work to see what we did to bring the whole essay together. This essay has been a good learning experience on how to write a long research essay, especially since this is the first one I have done. I am worried about how quick the semester is coming to an end, I have so much to do, and such little time! In the next few weeks we also have presentations. I think I am a little confused still on those. She gave us examples of what we can do, like a power point or an art project, or even writing a song. I just am not completely clear on what exactly the power point or art project whatever we choose to do is supposed to be one. Besides our project… but what about our project? Are we summing up what we learned?
I have to say this class has taught me a lot. I went in to this classing just thinking I had to do it for a GE requirement but I have been really happy with it. I learned a lot without it being too hard. And I am also pretty happy with grade, I hope nothing I do will lower my grade from here on out. I have made sure not to miss any more classes. And I love the no final! Haha saves me time to really focus on the classes that I AM struggling in.
So far, I have written three pages for my essay. I am surprised how much I have actually found to say for each paragraph. In class we talked about how we all should start writing, and how many people start writing their body paragraphs for their essay first, but I surprised myself with how much I actually had ready for the introduction as well. We have also started peer revisions. I am hoping I get good responses for mine, and good suggestions. I think with the peer revisions is a really good idea, it helps not only the writer improve their essay, but also helps those who are editing, notice more mistakes or expand their mind on the format of an essay, which will help with their writing as well.
My first semester here I learned how to do a annotated bibliography in my university 101 class, but I never understood who would actually go through and re-read them. Now l completely understand how it is helpful. I wish I was more thorough and gave specific examples when I was writing them, because it helps so much when writing me essay. Each of the articles I read were rather long, and it helps to not have to go and re-read each of them, but sometimes I find myself having to go back for the annotations I wasn’t as precise with. It is all a good learning experience for the next essay though!
I have also learned that with longer essays, making a layout HELPS. I went though and decided what I was going to write each paragraph on, and as I get to each paragraph, I lay out how I will write that specific paragraph, as we learned in class. They may still need some work to them, but for right now they have the basic idea down. I found it kind of confusing trying to tie in all the information into each part of my thesis, but I don’t want to leave any of the articles out since they all have such good information about gangs. I am still working on my outline to make everything fit and flow well. I don’t want it to sound choppy and disorganized.
Wow, this essay is coming up quick! I signed up for the third peer review, so i need to start writing, i have 6 pages that need to be done pretty soon. Im worried i wont have enough to write about though. The body paragraphs should be the easiest part, but its really only my into that i am feeling confident in at the moment. As i starting writing i will see, it should not be as bad as i am making it. hopefully!
This semester is flying by. I cant believe we are already starting the essay soon. Well maybe I shouldn’t jump ahead of myself. I need to finish the inquiry proposal first. I am not sure how I am going to do that yet. The diagram we were given in class always helped me when I was learning to write essays, so I think I am going to try using that to help organize my essay a lot better. I know I have a lot of good points for my essay, but I just don’t know where exactly my “argument” is. But I guess I could always look at it through the eyes of an actual gang member. I just don’t know I would be able to do that.
In class we also talked about how to start the intro to an essay by using a quote or a question or a personal story. When that was said so many ideas popped in my head. I definitely have a personal story, being that my mom is a teacher at an elementary school whose community is very similar to the one I am doing my research topic on. Or I could talk about the kids who went to my high school who were associated with gangs. I never knew any of them personally though so that one may be a little hard. Or, one last idea could be using an example of the gang activity that has happened in San Jose in the past couple of years. Two years ago, two gang members burned down the elementary school down the street from my house on Four of July. That same year, a freshman was shot and killed on New Years by another gang member. These stories are horrible, and heart wrenching, and part of the gang life that my research project is trying to stop.
When we talked about quotes though, we said we should only stick to quotes that famous people said. I am thinking about quoting something my mom said though, about her students, and relating it back to a personal story before getting into the background and my thesis. “I thought they were just being creative. I had no idea my six year olds were drawing gang signs.” To me, this seems like something that would draw my attention, even if someone famous didn’t say it. It relates perfectly back to a personal story, that leads very well to the topic of my essay.
But, I do have all spring break to think about my essay and organize it. Hopefully the earlier I start it, I will be able to organize it better and make it one of my best pieces of writing. I know that is the purpose of writing this essay, not for the research, but to improve our writing skills, and to learn how to write a research paper. We are college students now, we need to know these things! Plus this will be the longest paper I will have ever had to write, so this really will be a learning experience. I hope I have enough to write about!
This weekend I went back to my home town to spend some time with my family. While i was there i went and helped in my moms first grade classroom on friday and was amazed by the community and how different it was from the elementary school i went to and the community it was. By spending time in my moms classroom i realized it really the community that i am basing my project on. While walking around and helping kids with their art projects some of them had drawn gang signs on their paper. Gang signs! They are only six years old!! At such a young age, children learn so much form observing their families at home, and following in those footsteps. I never imagined it would make such an impression of children who are so young. Especially when i relate it back to my own experience, going to a very parent participating school, lots of involved parents and great teachers. I was never exposed to that a gang sort of community. As i went into middle school, i remember noticing a huge difference. Where is all the innocence these days? Why are we corrupting kids at such a young age?
WOW! The trip to the library was actually really helpful. Ive been there plenty of times to study, but ive never actually looked up a book, or knew where to check it out. I didnt realize how many helpful books they have there either! When i was looking for my book for my project, i found so many others right by it that we just as helpful. I actually ended up with a different book than the one i originally went in looking. I will definitely use the library as a resource more often from now on. Growing up with internet surrounding us everyday, i think we tend to forget how helpful things like books and libraries can actually be.
When we first started talking about the community project, I did not know quite to expect, or what I would even do my project on. However, when we sat down and started thinking about them, different ideas came flowing into my head! It is not quite the facebook or communities that interest me as much as the types of communities we can physically be a part of, or know people who are a part of. I wasn’t every really exposed to people who were in gangs, and i’ve only met one teen mom, but I didn’t know her well. But they have always intrigued me. How their life changes so much from others. How they deal with both the pressure of being in a gang and being a teen parent. But what interests me even more is their children that they are having, and how that situation is effecting their life. My mom is a first grade teacher at an elementary school that works with a lot of under privileged children with young parents. It amazes me to see some of their behaviors, or words they use, or even know! Language i didn’t learn until I will in middle school. But also how sweet and intelligent some of the students are too! This is the type of community i want to research.
Ted talk is a lot different from what I was expecting. I am still exploring it and figuring out how exactly it works and what useful information I can get from it that will help for our project we are going to start soon. I hope it will help me find a community that really interests me for the project. One community I find to be really interesting is one that is right in my neighborhood at home. I live just about five minutes from the HP Pavilion, also known as The Shark Tank, to those of us San Jose Shark fans. Ive noticed it really does bring my neighborhood together, and it just feels like such a different world. All Sharks fans are just so accepting of one another. I LOVE this community, and it is not like any other sports fan in my eyes. This may not be exactly the kind of community we are looking for for our projects, but is definitely one that interests me.
When I was reading the part of George’s article about the boys in college who went around paying homeless men so that they would fight, it amazed me how heartless people could be. Not only were they disrespecting the less fortunate, they were humiliating and physically hurting them! And it wasn’t just for their own personal enjoyment, they made sure to record every part of it to share with the world and make money off of it! Now that’s sick. In class we talked a lot about the new communities that the internet created, that all of use everyday! Its sad when people take something good and use it for bad, like the boys did by selling their videos of the homeless men fighting, on the internet. Its sad! :/
All three of the reading assignments really brought a new perspective to what makes up a community. My favorite article was Cooley’s, “The Looking-Glass Self.” Peoples first thought when asked what makes up a community is usually something along the lines of this “a community is a group of people brought together through a common interest.” That sounds about right to me. But what makes up each individual person within that community? Peoples thoughts about themselves really shape who they are, and who they associate themselves with. If someone is super self conscious, and think badly about themselves, they will think others think badly about them as well. Now naturally, if someone where to think others though badly of them, they would maybe distance themselves from others around them, taking away their opportunity to join a community they might actually fit into. It saddens me to think so many people distance themselves from others based on thoughts in their head. I bet so many people dont think as negatively of other people as people think.