3 May 2011
Mrs. Stephanie West-Puckett
English 1200 Professor
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
Dear Mrs. West-Puckett,
I’m Sierra Alexander and I’m currently in your English 1200 Service Learning class. Throughout this semester in your class my main goal was to work hard and to complete all assignments to the best of my ability, which I think you will be able to see in my E-Portfolio. One of the projects this semester allowed me to become engaged in East Carolina’s Native American Organization. I observed meetings and their annual Pow-Wow for a total of five hours this semester. In this part of my portfolio you will find my five hours of fieldnotes from observing the organization, my annotated bibliographies from my online sources relating to Native American students attending traditional American Universities, a picture of my artifact and information describing it, and my ethnography which is an essay that combines all the information I have consumed from working with East Carolina’s Native American Organization. Another project we completed this semester was a group project relating to Pitt County Black Schools. My group picked the schools Ayden and Grifton, which later combined to Ayden-Grifton High School. In this part of my portfolio you will find two digital timelines; one of Ayden and one of Grifton, an essay that explains the merging of the two schools to form Ayden-Grifton High School, a video interview with a former teacher of Ayden High School, and annotated bibliography entries, which will cover the online research we did in the library. Also in this portfolio you will find all class work activities and all workbook activities that we completed throughout this semester in your class.
Since the beginning of the semester I have attended every single class and I’m always on time, which helped me stay on track with my assignments. I have participated in all in-class and out of-class writing activities, which helped the progression of my two projects come along. I also attended my teacher conference and had my materials completed that we were required to have by the date of our conference. During major project # 1 I was able to work with Josh and Corressa to complete the Black Schools Project. We all worked very well together and we all attended every group meeting that we had set up. The in-class assignment where we role-played as interviewers and interviewees seemed to have the most value to me because not only did it help me in my two projects but in life itself. The assignment taught us different ways to overcome certain personalities as being and interviewer. I feel like all the assignments had value to our work but the assignment least valued to me were some of the DW Boxes. Some of the DW Boxes were related to our assignments like the artifact but some weren’t and those were the ones that didn’t have much value to me as a writer.
I have completed every assignment on time since the beginning of the semester. I also think that I’ve met the writing criteria for almost all of my assignments. My annotated bibliographies are the only assignment where I’ve had trouble meeting all the criteria. Some of my sources for the Ethnography weren’t very good so it was hard to make a good annotated bibliography for some of those sources. Two annotated bibliographies had great online sources and those were the two sources that I used in my ethnography. For the Black Schools project, my group and I met all the criteria. We made two digital timelines of Ayden and Grifton with dates, information, and pictures relating to the two towns, we wrote a short essay on the merging of the two schools, and we have a video interview with a former teacher of Ayden High School, which meets all the criteria of MP # 1. Throughout these two major projects I’ve had to think differently than I did in my other English classes since our papers weren’t just about online sources. These two projects required me to think outside of the box, we had to go out and observe and find information and then use that to write our paper. I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into both of these projects and since the assignments were different from what we were used to last semester I feel like my writing had to mature and become more creative.
Both of my projects have been revised since when I first started working on them. MP # 1 had a rough start to it at first. We knew we were doing Ayden-Grifton High School but we weren’t sure what type of product we were going to come up with. We started out doing research in ECU’s library, which didn’t go well at all. We spent about three or four days together in the library trying to find newspaper clippings, books, and any information on Ayden and Grifton but we couldn’t find any. So we then took a trip to Ayden’s library, which is where we found all of our information on Ayden and Grifton. Since we found so many dates we decided we would do make two timelines, one of Ayden and one of Grifton. We each searched through books and wrote down dates and information, which would go on our timelines. After that I organized all the dates and information we found so that they would be in chronological order. I then gave the Grifton timeline to Corressa and the Ayden timeline to Josh and they put them onto the internet and found pictures for each date. When meeting with you we were told that some of the pictures on the timelines didn’t match the dates so we had to go back through and find pictures that were more relevant to the dates that were on the timeline. After the timelines were completed we realized that there wasn’t that much information on the actual merging of the two schools so I wrote a short essay on the merging of Ayden and Grifton High Schools. Also for MP # 1 I made an interview video. We took a trip to Ayden and interviewed a former teacher of Ayden High School. The class activity about interview personalities helped with this part of the project, because the activity taught us how to deal with certain types of people and how to make the interview flow the best. Also in class we shared some of our interview questions and you and the class suggested different questions, which also helped in our interview. I recorded the interview on my camera and to us the man seemed to be talking loud, but when I uploaded it to my computer you couldn’t hear a word he was saying. So I had to go on iMovie and turn the volume up on the video as much as it would go so that we could hear what was happening in the interview. When completing MP # 2 at first I was very overwhelmed. At first I had trouble finding online sources, but after we took the trip to the library and talked about key terms to type into the database I found more sources. At first I started at with four sources and four annotated bibliographies, but as I started writing my paper I found that only two of my sources really helped me out with my ethnography so I eliminated the other two sources. Corressa was my interview partner so after my first ethnography draft she suggested that I make my thesis clearer and add more details to the ethnography which I did. After meeting with you I had a lot more things to fix in my ethnography. I fixed the title to say University instead of School, I cited my sources in the text, and mainly I used my fieldnotes more to create a scene of the organization. The DW box relating to our artifact helped me with the artifact part of my ethnography. Since I already completed the box on my artifact I didn’t have to do anymore research on the drum when it was time to write my ethnography.
I feel like my finished drafts address their respective audiences well. Both of my projects are addressed to the public and anyone who wants to read them, but I feel like a specific group of people would want to read each of my projects. For the black schools project I feel like the audience would be more of the citizens of Ayden and Grifton and possibly members of the Pitt County School System. I feel like they would be interested on the information and history my group found relating to their schools and their towns. For my ethnography I feel like the main audience would be someone from the Native American Organization or someone who is thinking about being involved in a multicultural organization. I feel like they would be interested in the organizations goals, activities, and the way they interact with each other. I feel like another audience for my ethnography could be a teacher that teaches students from different cultural backgrounds, because in my ethnography I talk about way to help students from different cultures.
I have evaluated my annotated bibliographies to the best of my ability. Throughout this whole semester I feel like writing annotated bibliographies has been my weakest spot, but I’ve been trying to improve. When evaluating my annotated bibliographies for the black schools project I felt like they were good sources and entries, but I had a harder time with my annotated bibliographies for my ethnography. With my ethnography I had to find four online sources which I had a hard time finding, two of the sources weren’t very good so I had a struggle writing my annotated bibliographies for those sources, my other two source I used in my ethnography and when evaluating them I feel like they were good sources and entries. I have used a variety of source in my two projects; newspaper clippings, books, interviews, and observing are all sources that have contributed to my research.
I have given thoughtful feedback this semester. At the beginning of the year I gave feed back in-class to Indi and later this semester I gave online feedback to Corressa. In Corressa’s ethnography I gave plenty of thoughtful feedback. I suggested that she use more detail in describing the organization, she also didn’t have any information regarding an interview, so I suggested that she uses her interview information in her ethnography to get her point across better, and I also suggested that she have a better flow to her ethnography. I felt that the feedback I gave her could really help her ethnography, and the feedback she gave me helped me in revising my ethnography.
Throughout this semester I feel like I’ve improved as a writer. In my previous English classes we would just write about a topic that we were given, but this semester you pushed us even harder. We had to go out in the world and observe and relate that into our writings. Not only did you push me to become a better writer, but also I feel like I pushed myself to become a better writer. At the beginning of the semester when we were learning about these two major projects I became overwhelmed and I had no confidence that I could get the assignments done the right way, but by the end of the semester I’m proud of the work I’ve done on the two major projects. The grade I feel like I’ve earned this semester is an ‘A.’ I’m not saying my writing is perfect and all my assignments deserve an ‘A’ because I know I still need to work on my writing, but I know that I’ve tried my hardest by showing up to every class, participating in all activities, completing every assignment on time, and taking criticism to revise my projects. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in this English class because it was set up very different from my previous English classes and I feel like I’ve grown as a writer. If I end up with a ‘B’ in this course I’ll still be satisfied because I know I tried my hardest but I also know my writing isn’t perfect and could still improve. I enjoyed having you as my English 1200 teacher. Thank you for pushing us to become better writers, and for giving us the opportunity to go out in the world and observe to write our papers. I hope you enjoy looking over my E-Portfolio.
Thank you for your time,
Sierra Alexander (English 1200 student)