a. Midterm Reflection - I have really enjoyed this English class thus far in the semester. It is nice to look at literature and stories in a new light such as collages rather than through just a paper. My favorite assignment was the Playlist assignment. I love music and I love reading, so getting to combine those elements, for a grade no less, was a lot of fun. Franny and Zooey is one of my favorite books and creating a playlist was a great excuse to read it yet again. Creating the collages was interesting as well. I worked with adobe photoshop a lot in high school for my publications class so I had a pretty easy time learning how to use the program GIMP. I had the most fun creating the character collage as I had just recently read the book Atonement and watched the movie. I am basically in love with that story so, like with Franny and Zooey, the collage was a great excuse to read it and reflect on it again. One of the most interesting things about the Yellow Wallpaper assignment was that it made me notice certain things about the story that I had not previously noticed. For example, I would be looking at the story on Wikilit and see a link for a sentence that I had not really thought that much of. However, reading a comment someone made about it made me realized things that I had not previously thought of. The story I liked the most thus far was the Hills Like White Elephants while my least favorite story was the Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. Overall, I have had a great time in this class and can't wait to start on the next project.
b. Final Reflection – This has been one of the most interesting English classes I have ever been in. I enjoyed most of the stories we studied and I really liked that the atmosphere of the classroom when we discussed the stories was relaxed and unintimidating. I think the atmosphere of the classroom really fostered a better understanding of the story for everyone because people weren’t as afraid to speak up as they may have been in a different English class. Using technology also helped because it got me to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I am by far more computer savvy than I was before this class. However, probably what I most enjoyed from this class was the freedom we had with most of the projects. With many of the projects, we had the choice of what we wanted to do it on. This allowed me to study many of my favorite topics more closely. With the playlist I got to revisit my one of my favorite books, Franny and Zooey. I got to apply the knowledge I learned from another class with the poem collage. And of course, for the video I got to research all about Jane Austen, one of my favorite authors. I loved the fact that my ‘assignments’ were to study my favorite topics in literature/media. I believe I improved a lot from the first part of the semester to the second part. I was not technically in this class for the very first day and I guess I missed out on learning the basics of the blog. So for the first part I did not comment much as I was unsure about how to do it/when we should do it. But I talked with some of my classmates who had posted a lot and I made sure to participate much more in the blog. I really did enjoy this class. I honestly don’t think there is a single bad thing I could say about it beyond expressing my frustrations over the slow death of my computer towards the end of the semester. And though, the final revision of my video technically isn’t included in this portfolio. That video is probably the project I am most proud of out of all of the projects I have worked on for this class. I spent a lot of time understanding how to use the Windows Movie Maker program and how to properly express my ideas through this video, which, I think, was one of the main points of this class - learning how to express yourself and your thoughts more than one way.
II. Comments/Blog postings
III. Poem Collage
a. Reflection – What excited me most about beginning this collage was that I was going to get to apply what I had been learning in my English 121 class to this class. My English 121 class had recently been studying the poet John Keats, so I thought it would be perfect to use him for this collage. The poem I chose is a fairly simple poem. There aren’t too many hidden allusions or anything. It is simply about John Keat’s fear of dying before writing all of the poetry that he wants to write and marrying the woman he loves. I think one of the original comments on this poem was that it was almost too simple. However, that was the point of the collage. He had a simple, straightforward fear so I made the collage as straightforward as the poem. In fact, in revising it I ended up making it even simpler by making all of the collage black and white. The poem is a rather gloomy poem so I made the entire collage black and white so that it would be gloomy too. I enjoyed making this collage for the most part though. However, for some odd reason the GIMP program would randomly “encounter a problem” and close out on me, causing me to have to re do any work that I had done. I have no idea why program kept doing this, but I simply adjusted to it and learned to save my work as often as possible. Through the course of revisions, I think I have created a collage that fully represents what the poem was trying to portray and the tone that it set as well.
b. First draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/65
c. Second Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/114
d. Final Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/201
IV. Character Collage
a. Reflection - I was happy when we got this assignment in class because I had used such programs as adobe photoshop and adobe indesign over the years in high school. However, while learning how to use the GIMP program was fairly easy, I kept trying to use it as though it was adobe photoshop. So it took me a while to acclimate myself to using the program. But, once I finally got the hang of using the GIMP program, Ihad a lot of fun with this assignment. I was mainly excited because I had just recently read the book Atonement and proceeded to go see the movie version, which had just come out (and I loved) and was glad that I would get to apply my new love of this book/movie to a class I was in. I was originally going to do the collage on the character of Cecilia, however after searching through images and reflecting on the book I realized that the character with the most complexities was Briony; so I created a collage based on her instead. At first I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to portray Briony and her story through images to where somebody who had no idea who she was would understand the character. I was trying to create the collage for those who didn’t know her. However, I finally acknowledged the fact that Briony and all that she goes through are far too complicated to fully portray through a small collage. So, I created it for those (such as myself) who did know her. I think that with the final version of the collage, I achieved creating something that portrays Briony’s story.
b. First Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/63
c. Second Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/113
d. Final Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/200
a. Reflection – As I previously said in my reflection. The playlist assignment was my favorite assignment. I love music and books; so getting to combine each element was a lot of fun. Looking back, probably my biggest issue with this project was simply trying to figure out what subject I wanted to do it on. There are so many great characters and personalities in this world that it was hard to chose just one. However, I finally chose the complicated character of Franny because I feel like I know her so well. I have read J.D Salinger’s books on the Glass family so many times that I felt I could do her justice in creating this playlist. I spent a lot of time reviewing all of the music in my itunes library because so many songs related to what Franny was going through. She was experiencing a personal crisis and when it comes to music, if the song isn’t about love the next safest bet is that it is about some emotional issue or crisis. It took me a long time to narrow the music down to just under ten songs. It also took me a while to decide how to order the songs. I had to figure out how each song would work for both what was going on in Franny’s mind and for what was going on around her, in the physical world. The second time I revised it, I tried to better explain how each song applied to Franny in the physical world, not just her emotional world – a world that is fairly easy to get lost in. A part from the video, I am most proud of the final version of this project. I think I successfully portrayed the character of Franny so that both people who already know her and those who don’t could understand her.
b. First and Second Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/25
c. Final Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/208
VI. Yellow Wallpaper
a. Reflection – Although this project was my least favorite, the story was one of the more intricate and interesting stories we read this semester so I understand why we spent so much time studying it. I am glad we spent so much time on it because, honestly, the first time I read it I didn’t understand it very well at all. Watching the movie version and looking back on it in preparation for adding comments/thoughts to the story in wikepedia helped me greatly in fully understanding what was occurring in a way that simply reading the text did not. However, I think why in comparison to the other projects I liked this one the least is because every time I would have some kind of realization that I would want to link to the story, I discovered someone had already put it. On the one hand that is good because it helped verify that what I was thinking was true, but it was also frustrating coming up with things to say because I didn’t want to simply restate what the person already said. However, once I finished it and looked back over my contributions to the story links I am still satisfied. I think I managed to still come up with insightful things to say.
b. Links to comments
a. Reflection – Out of all of the projects we have done, this was the one I was most worried about, but it ended up being the most rewarding. I was worried because I had no idea how to use video software and I had never made a video before. However, the Windows moviemaker ended up being really easy to use and I had a lot of fun researching my topic. This was also the most stressful project because after turning in the first version of my video, my computer began its slow death. I spent a lot of time on the revisions for the final version of the video, completed it, and saved it to my jump drive, but I saved it as the wrong kind of file. By the time I discovered this though, my computer was officially dead. I realize that everyone encounters computer difficulties and we are supposed to work through them. I got a new computer yesterday, my first Mac. I have spent quite sometime trying to understand how to use the imovie software and have yet to come up with anything like the final version of the movie I created on windows moviemaker. I will not be able to show you the final version of my video, but I am including in my portfolio the reflection of the revisions I wrote just after completing it. I am proud of my video, but the final version was by far better than the first version. So hopefully an idea of what the final version was like can be understood from the reflection
b. First Draft - http://www.teachmix.com/itsfiction/?q=node/175
c. Final Draft - I changed the size, color, and font for all of the text. Several people commented that some of the text was hard to read so I changed all of it to keep it uniform and make it easier to read. I also made the video clip shorter. I left the very end part with the credits are on because of how well it transitioned back to the slides. I took out several of the middle scenes instead in order to keep the nice transitions in. I tried to fade out with other parts of the clip and it didn't work nearly as well. I also made it so the credits scroll down at the end. I didn't realize you could do that before, so they are now easier to read. The last thing I did was change the music a little bit. I realized that the music at the beginning was a little slow to start, but at the time I didn’t understand exactly how to edit the clips of music. But, I went back and learned more about audio stuff of Windows Movie Maker. So I changed it up so that the more interesting music of the soundtrack is playing during the video. Overall, I think the changes I made help the video be a little more fast paced without taking away from the over all slower, quieter tone of the video.
VIII. Final Podcast
b. Reflection – I really liked this final project because it allowed me to revisit stories from earlier in the semester that I may have otherwise forgotten about. My favorite story from the semester was The Hills Like White Elephants. That is one of the stories we focused on in my podcast, so I was really excited to get to go back and review that story. My group went on the first day and we were still a little unsure of exactly how to proceed. After seeing everyone else’s podcast I wish ours had more discussion in it. We talked about having discussion before we went, however – at least for me – I got kind of nervous and forgot to give others in my group a real chance to discuss the story I had been focusing on. I think Ashley did a good job in remembering that we needed to incorporate more discussion and helped stimulate that towards the end of the podcast. So, I think we had one of the weaker podcasts. However, as I said before, I don’t think it was for lack of effort but more out of nervousness.