Quarter Reflection: The quarter reflection is your opportunity to stop and consider your progress as a student of English. The following questions are not meant to be answered mechanically in sequence; they gesture at a territory I would you to explore thoughtfully in writing. (The usual criteria apply: clarity, specificity, precision, logic, relevance, significance, breadth, and depth.)

Looking back over the first quarter, what areas of growth can you point to? What do you feel you are doing well? What work do you feel proud of? What has interested you the most? Where have you struggled? Looking ahead to the second quarter, what specific goals do you have? What do you intend to work on? What kind of experiences or support would be most helpful to you?

Sara M.

This quarter in Critical Thinking English. I feel I have grown in many ways. Coming into this class, I didn't know what to expect or what was expected of me, and this was shown through the first few grades I received. For example, my paper on thinking was not one of my best. The topic was unclear to me, and I had a hard time writing about something that I did not fully understand. However, by scheduling conferences to discuss my errors. and thoroughly examining mv weak points, my writing skills have greatly improved. I am more comfortable with writing ideas or feelings that I have about a certain assignment, even if they may be wrong. I have put more effort into my writings, and I now have a sense of confidence and accomplishment.

Over the quarter I have expanded my horizons in writing poetry. This is the first time I have ever seriously written poetry, and I feel I have done well. I liked how we went into depth on the criteria of poetry. Listening to my classmates' ideas and what they look for in a poem was very beneficial when I went about writing my own. I took into thought metaphors, structure and significant meanings. The poems that I am especially proud of are "College'' and Seven Ways of Looking at a Remote Control.'' "College'' was my first writing sample. and has gone through many revisions. The feedback I received from my classmates really helped me when writing the final draft of this poem. I learned that there is always room for improvement in poetry; there are always different routes to take to fully complete it. "Seven Way of Looking at a Remote Control'' allowed me to take a whole new approach on writing. Through this poem I was able to use my imagination and express my creativity. This is not something I get to do too often, and I enjoyed writing it.

An area I feel could be better improved on is my literary comprehension. This includes the short stories and poems we have read throughout the quarter. I have difficulty understanding the deep meanings in these writings that are not so straightforward. For example. I was confused as to what the significance of Emily Dickinson's "The Lightning is a Yellow Fork'' was. However, after going into detail in class discussions, I gained a better understanding. In the future, I would like to be able to pick out the relevant parts and understand the hidden meanings on my own before it is discussed. A way to start doing this is by keeping a log, which is what we are doing for J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. By writing chapter summaries, responses, and questions to what I have read. I have a better knowledge of what is going on in the book. It allows me to express my thoughts and feelings, and as a result I am able to grasp significant issues related to the book.

Another area of growth in which I have put much effort into is my participation. This is something that has frequently been brought up with me in English classes in the past. and I am determined to improve on it. To do this, I must be willing to take chances and come out of my comfort zone. Although this is not easy for me. It is something that I need to overcome. and high school is the perfect opportunity to do this. Speaking out and discussing in class will always be a goal which I hope will someday be reached. For now, I am putting in extra effort to participate in class, because it benefits not only me, but my classmates as well.

This first quarter has been a good experience for me. I've broadened the way I think and how I write, and have learned to intensely analyze everything I read to search for the point that the author is trying to get across. I recognize the areas where I need improvement, and I hope to be able to achieve those goals.

Sarah T.

There are many things that I learned this quarter that I didn't expect to learn in English 2CT. To tell you the truth, when I first signed up for the course I didn't know what was going to happen and what it was about. I only knew that it sounded like cool course and I would get critical thinking credit for taking a cool sounding course. As the quarter progressed I learned more about what was expected of me, what the content of the course was, and what I had to do to succeed in this course. I felt that I have always applied myself one hundred percent all of the time.

One of the hardest things that I had to do this quarter was think about my thinking. Thinking is hard enough to do. Thinking about your thinking is even harder to do. Breaking up my thinking process and writing about it was the hardest thing I had to do in English 2CT this far. The concept is hard to think about. We applied this concept to many different activities; like picking a poem and writing about what you see when you read the words or actually summarizing what you know about thinking in a paper.

One of the activities that I really enjoyed doing was reading and comparing the writing styles of two different writers. We compared Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place" and Faulkner's "Barn Burning". It was so interesting to think about how two different people, who lived in relatively same time, with the same things going on in their lives could write so differently. I really enjoyed reading the stories and analyzing the differences between them. Although both writers were equally good, I enjoyed reading Hemingway's story better because it left more to the imagination than Faulkner's did.

I have a goal for my reading. The past quarter I didn't do enough thinking while I was reading. I want to read any story and make marks where I feel necessary. I don't want to mark up my literature book, so I'm going to take notes and write about what I read after I've read it. This will help my reading comprehension and understanding of the story.

I know that I'm not a very strong writer but I enjoyed many of the writing activities that we did in class this quarter. We were given many different writing exercises and I feel that my writing has improved a lot in just this short time. As I get more and more assignments I feel that my writing is get even better. My favorite piece was the "Five Ways of Looking at a...". I wrote a poem about a dirty sock and let my imagination run wild. I also always enjoyed writing writing samples. I don't get to write many fiction and narrative stories, and I appreciated being able to do this.

Next quarter I want to try and work on my writing some more. I noticed that in many of my pieces I would have circles over typos and grammar errors. For this upcoming quarter I am making it a goal to write all of the rest of my papers and assignments without any typos and grammar errors in them. My papers can be more fully appreciated when there aren't things like typos to take away the reader's attention.

This quarter I felt that I have applied myself fully into everything that we have done. I have always tried and participated in discussions. Sometimes I even tried to get the discussions going and ask clarifying questions when I don't understand. I even asked questions when I did understand, because sometimes no one else looked like they understood and were afraid to ask. I have always been enthusiastic about my work and class. My writing greatly improved over the quarter and it shows. For this I feel I deserve an A- for the quarter. I've only gotten one other A- in English and I put in about, or even a little more effort then I did then. I know the teachers are different but the efforts the same.

This entire quarter has been a challenge in English. I didn't think that English 2CT was going to be this hard but it was. Once I realized this 1, put 100% effort into everything that I did. When I am given a challenge I take it. I love to do puzzles and to me English 2CT, so far, has been like a puzzle. It may be hard but it's a lot of fun to do. My writing improved and I enjoyed the many activities that we did. I will try even harder next quarter with the goals that I have stated above. I know that if I try hard enough I can achieve great things.

Victoria S.

My feelings about spending a week at the beginning of the year "thinking about thinking" differed from most people's. I didn't think it was a waste of time at all and was a good introduction; critical thinking is the title of this course. I thought it was interesting learning about and discussing the different types of thinking we use; how we use past experience and knowledge as well as conscious, unconscious, forced and survival thinking. Analyzing our thought process and learning the more effective thought process of defining, elaborating and explaining, exemplifying, illustrating, and an analogy was also very helpful.

I think that the critical thinking wheel is a very effective tool when put to use. However, I do not think that we spent a sufficient amount of time working with it to be able to use it comfortably and frequently. It would be nice and helpful to spend a little more time doing activities with it so that it becomes natural to apply them every time I read, write, or think critically about something. I would also benefit from some practice in writing poetry. Even though we did analyze and work with a few poems this quarter, I don't think my poem writing skills have improved, although I did enjoy poems such as The Red Wheelbarrow, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, and the Emily Dickinson poems. Next quarter I plan to use more writing samples to get some more practice in poetry writing.

I was able to gain a lot from the short story unit we did. I not only gained lots of valuable experience working with them, but I was also inspired to try writing a few; something I have not done very much of. Of the short stories we looked at, "A Clean, Well Lighted Place," "Harrison Bergeron," "Barn Burning," and "Cathedrals," "A Clean, Well Lighted Place" was my favorite. However, I did like experiencing and working with the huge difference between the three author's different techniques and styles. This unit helped me improve in my writing of short stories. I was able to experiment with and found out what was effective and what didn't work. Working with and analyzing these short stories helped me to gain a better feel for well written short stories and helped me to identify good techniques and tools for writing. I really liked the effect of Hemingway's short and concise style; it is one I try to emulate.

Right now I am really enjoying reading Catcher in the Rye. I like the activities we do in class that pertain to the novel. They have proved to be very helpful to me in understanding the story. I have also learned what to look for while reading to help better understand the story. Naturally, group work has sometimes been a little hard because there are always a few people who haven't done their homework and don't have a clue as to what we are doing. This has been a challenge, but it has also inspired me to make sure that I always do my homework so that I am not the person holding back the group and making everyone else's job much harder. I am always proud to get a 5 on a piece of work or when I am able to be a contributing factor in discussions or activities.

I was a little disappointed to receive an interim saying that I was averaging a "B" and that my effort and participation were only "OK." I almost always spend a lot of time on journals and writing samples and try new things and challenge myself; even though my pieces do not always come out well, I think I should get credit for trying and challenging myself. Also, I try to contribute my ideas and feelings to discussions whenever I can; often times it takes me a while to think about what I am going to say and by then the topic has already moved on. When I am not contributing to the discussions, I am always taking notes. Looking ahead to the next quarter, I will really focus on adding more breadth and depth to my pieces in hopes that my effort will become more apparent.