Reflective Letter

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<ul><li> 1. Reflective Letter Matt Blanchard Professor McCrimmonEnglish 111 03CP</li></ul><p> 2. Dear Professor McCrimmon, </p> <ul><li>I have chosen to do my reflective letter as a power point because I feel that it will help me to organize all of my thoughts better than just dumping them on to a word document.</li></ul><ul><li>I hope that you will notice that almost every slide has a hyperlink to an artifact and clicking on it when playing the slideshow will take you to the artifact.</li></ul><p> 3. Habits of Mind </p> <ul><li>I would like to start off my portfolio with how I have been able to develop some of my 16 habits of mind during the last semester.</li></ul><ul><li>At the beginning of this course I would reflect on how I had developed my habits of mind almost every week in my reflections but I lost some interest in it.</li></ul><ul><li>Looking back on the semester I realized that I had really grown as a student and developed many of my habits of mind.</li></ul><p> 4. The 16 Habits of Mind 5. Persisting </p> <ul><li>I have only very recently learned to really develop this habit of mind. The past two weeks I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, and now an intestinal infection which I am still not quite over yet. </li></ul><ul><li>This has all been while I have been dealing with tests, final projects, presentations, and exams. I didnt know if I could do it with the lack of sleep from the coughing and all of the demands I was facing.</li></ul><ul><li>It took a few days of rest to get back to normal and countless late hours putting the final touches on papers and studying for exams but I was able to get through all of it.</li></ul><p> 6. Managing Impulsivity </p> <ul><li>I reflected on this particular habit in my first reflection.( A1 ) I talked about how I pass two Starbucks on the way to school and I would always get coffee before class until I realized what a waste of money it was.</li></ul><ul><li>I think I have further developed this because to this day I havent stopped before school, or after for that matter, to get coffee.</li></ul><p> 7. Taking Responsible Risks(A1) </p> <ul><li>When I first enrolled at JSRCC I thought that I was going to be able to handle going to class until 12:15 and then coming back to class for a 2:30 class until 3:30 then running to work at 4:00.</li></ul><ul><li>It sounded fine at the time, until I realized how much gas that was going to cost me a week and how much driving it would entail.</li></ul><ul><li>Instead of just quitting the class however I decided to take a test to clep the credits so that I would still get credit for the class.</li></ul><ul><li>I passed the test and was very happy with the outcome because I was able to keep the credits and my schedule wouldn't be so tight.</li></ul><p> 8. Thinking Flexibly( A2 ) </p> <ul><li>As I talked about in my fourth blog ( A2 ), I chose to go to a community college because I know how bad the economy is and since I have a twin brother going to college the same time I am, I decided to give my parents a break and save them some money.</li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to go off to a four year university like all of my friends but I realized that I could do that in two years and I will of saved a lot of money in the process.</li></ul><p> 9. Striving for Accuracy( A3 ) </p> <ul><li>When I was enrolling in my classes for this semester I was stressing to my advisor that I only wanted to take transferable classes since I wanted to transfer to JMU in a year.</li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately I was put into a non transferable math class that would take two semesters to complete.</li></ul><ul><li>Since it is an online math class I realized that I was going to be able to work at my own pace, that meant that I would be able to get through both math classes in one semester so that I could at least get one college level math class under my belt for when I transfer.</li></ul><ul><li>I knew that it was going to take a lot of hard work and self motivation but I was up to the challenge because I knew that it would ultimately help me accomplish my goal.</li></ul><p> 10. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations </p> <ul><li>I would like to think that this is what I am doing here. </li></ul><ul><li>I have always preferred to do power points instead of papers because I think that I can organize my thoughts better and be a little more creative.</li></ul><ul><li>I have also developed this skill by working on the class wiki.( A5 ) I made a lot of changes to the wiki including adding pictures, posting my articles, and leaving comments. </li></ul><ul><li>I made a website for my business class ( A4 ) this semester and have made several others in high school so working on a wiki site was really fun for me and I was hopefully able to bring a little experience to the table. </li></ul><p> 11. Questioning and Posing Problems(A6) </p> <ul><li>Over the thanksgiving holiday I was stressing out over the wiki that was due and the reflection. </li></ul><ul><li>I didnt know if they were put on hold until the next week or if we were supposed to turn them in on the regularly assigned days.</li></ul><ul><li>My solution to this problem was to simply email you. Im really glad I did too because it put my mind at ease.</li></ul><ul><li>I am constantly questioning things and I think that its a good way to live because if I am always questioning then I can always find out the right answers instead of being uninformed. </li></ul><p> 12. Reflection </p> <ul><li>I know that I have become a better student and person over the last semester because of the education I have received and all of the new challenges I have had to face. There were so many tough decisions that I had to make and I know that by developing my habits of mind this semester I was better able to adjust to them. I may not have known at the time that I was developing them but I realize now that its exactly what I was doing. I can honestly say that I am a better person because of taking this class.</li></ul><p> 13. Writing</p> <ul><li>I have always thought of myself as being an above average writer, especially when it came to papers for school. I knew that when it came down to researching a topic and writing a full size paper on it, I would have no problem.</li></ul><ul><li>In your class I developed my writing skills to the fullest because of your mandatory blogs, wikis, and reflections. </li></ul><ul><li>At first I thought that it was going to be a hassle and that no fun could come of it at all but I quickly realized that having group mates respond to your entries and give input on what your talking about is really great.</li></ul><p> 14. Writing Contd.</p> <ul><li>I have to admit that at the beginning of the semester I didnt care about reading my group mates entries, I just wanted to post mine and be done with it but at about a quarter of the way through the semester I found myself reading all of my group mates entries and in some cases responding to them.</li></ul><ul><li>It was a great feeling to know that I had an impact on other peoples writing and that I actually had an audience for my writing.</li></ul><p> 15. Writing Contd. ( A7 )</p> <ul><li>At the beginning of the semester we took a writing assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Then you asked us to write our second blog about how we feel about standardized tests and of the assessment we were given.</li></ul><ul><li>My opinion still holds strong that they are not a good way of showing how capable a student is because there is not prior preparation. </li></ul><ul><li>However my theory of why the prompt have changed since grade school has changed. I now think that they have only changed because the new ones require us to think more about how we feel and our opinions on life.</li></ul><p> 16. Groups </p> <ul><li>At the beginning of the semester I didnt understand why we had to be put into groups and was not very thrilled with the idea because I thought that it would require a lot of awkward experiences.</li></ul><ul><li>It turned out that it did require a good amount of group work but it was enjoyable, and not awkward at all.</li></ul><ul><li>My group in particular got to be pretty close and we were able to talk pretty freely with each other. I actually started to look forward to coming to class on Tuesdays so that we could talk about our previous writing assignment.</li></ul><p> 17. Artifact 1 </p> <ul><li>While I was looking through the blogs by my group mates, I started to notice that we all had many of the same strengths and weaknesses. Almost all of us find it hard to respond to things with wonder and awe. I think that the reason for this is that its hard to listen to another persons opinion of something and be completely impressed by it. Most of us all like to think our way or the highway when it comes to doing things. Almost everyone who posted also thought that they needed to develop their impulsivity. I am one of them. A lot of people do however feel very comfortable when it comes to finding humor in a situation. I think its such a big hit with all of us because its very easy to do and it comes naturally. We all apparently need to work on being persistent and sticking with it, which I know is a very hard thing to do sometimes. It was one of my weaknesses too but it may be the most important of the 16. If a situation gets too stressful we are all inclined to quit. But with that mind state we wont get very much accomplished, especially if its something like trying to plan a trip to a foreign country. This week I think that I have slowly but surely started to develop my impulsivity. When driving to school I pass two Starbucks and I always used to stop and get a coffee before school but lately when I drive by them I just think that it is a waste of money and that I dont need it. I have to admit that when I registered for my classes I thought that I could handle leaving at 12:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and coming back for a 2:30 class then going straight to work from there. I was wrong and I wanted to drop the class after the first week, but I decided to do the right thing and instead of just quitting, I took the test to get the credits before I dropped the class. That may not be strengthening my persistence but I will take it as a personal success. This week I have also developed my skills with listening to what others have to say. I am usually not too great at this but when I was talking to my parents about dropping the class mentioned above, they suggested that I take the test to clep the class. I normally wouldnt have listened and just dropped the class but I realized that they had a good point. This coming week I hope to enhance my persistence some more so that I will not always quit when the going gets tough. </li></ul><p> 18. Artifact 2 </p> <ul><li>I chose to go to a community college because I have a twin brother who is going to a four year university and I wanted to take it a little easier on my parents financially. I told them that I would go to JSRCC if they bought me a new car and turned the addition to our house into an apartment for me. They agreed and I hope to transfer at the end of this school year. But I think that JSRCC is the perfect place to go to get ready for high school. I visit all of my friends at their colleges every weekend and they all say that college is so much different than high school and I think that Sarge is the perfect way to transition between high school and a four year college. By going here I feel that we can get used to the amount of work expected of us while still being in the comfort of our own houses so that we will know how to adjust when we are on our own. I would definitely agree with Tim when he said that JSRCC is a melting pot of different ages, races, and ethnic back grounds and that it is a good environment to be studying in. Starting at J Sarge I was expecting to have a relatively small class size where the instructors are able to help me on a more personal level instead of some larger universities where there are hundreds of students in a lecture hall. I also expected there to be many more assignments than high school, which there is. I expect to get the same education as the students at four year institutes but for a much smaller price. And to answer the last question that you put in our B4 guideline, I think that everyone has the right to an education. Anyone who wants an education should be able to get one to better themselves and to help excel in their work. </li></ul><p> 19. Artifact 3 </p> <ul><li>I thought that I would take this opportunity to tell everyone about an experience that I had at the beginning of this year. As I have said before I plan to transfer at the end of the year, hopefully to JMU, but when I was registering for classes I tried to stress to the teacher that I only wanted to take classes that were transferable but they still ended up putting me in a non transferable math class. This was really going to hinder my ability to transfer, luckily I found out that if I do twice as much work then I will be able to take a college level math class next semester so that I will be able to transfer next year. It is going to be a lot harder and much more time intensive but I know that it will be ultimately worth it. I also have developed my habit of listening to other peoples ideas. My parents had suggested to me to take this math course where I do twice as much work and they also suggested that I take a test to clep my computer class. I had taken a similar class in high school and it was at a very awkward time of the day so there was no reason for me to take the class except for I wanted the credits. By taking the test I was able to get the credits for the class and drop the class which really helped me because it gave me more time to work on my other school work, which I am really going to need now that I am taking this route with my math. I know that these decisions and sacrifices that I have made are ultimately going to help me accomplish my goal of transferring next year. </li></ul><p> 20. Artifact 4 </p> <ul><li>URL for website I made in business class. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><p> 21. Artifact 5 </p> <ul><li>Class wiki URL</li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><p> 22. Artifact 6 </p> <ul><li>To you: </li></ul><ul><li>The fourth wiki is due next Tuesday right? I just wanted to make sure because that's what I thought and there are no posts on blackboard from anyone.</li></ul><ul><li>From you: </li></ul><ul><li>You are correct, sir. We're in a Thanksgiving hiatus, though I'm trying to get some feedback on W3s to everyone over the holiday. Have a good one tomorrow. Don't eat and drive... </li></ul><p> 23. Artifact 7 </p> <ul><li>These standardized tests that we have been given since our first day of school thirteen years ago are, in my opinion, not used to measure your actual writing skills but are instead used to observe how well we are able to think quickly and organize our thoughts. Thats why they set a time limit. I also feel like they are used to assess our grammar and vocabulary. If we had been given a few days to write an assessment like the one that we were given last Tuesday, then we would have been able to read over it to look for spelling errors and grammatical errors. We also would have been able to think about the topic more and develop a better response to it. That doesnt appear to be what they are looking for. If that had been the case then it would not have been timed and we would have been given a few days to prepare the final paper. I dont think that a short writing assignment like the one we took can tell anyone that much about our actual writing skills, but it can probably tell a lot about our vocabulary and organization. I have never had a problem taking these tests because I think that I have a pretty solid vocabulary and am reasonably good at quickly organizing my thou...</li></ul>