Title goes here…I knew that!

(Topic sentence goes here).

OKAY…So as you can clearly see I tried to follow Schaffer visual digram of the formula she provided but I stopped because my blog wasn’t going to be as entertaining to write.

In class, we discussed each other’s experiences and thoughts of the 5 body paragraph format. Due to this, I went back to search for some papers/writings I had submitted my senior year of high school. Since, most were saying that they felt like the formula was shoved down their throats, I wanted to freshen up my memory. In my findings, there were papers that I had submitted following a similar format as Schaffer. Which I cannot lie… I was surprised. I mean it has been awhile since high school and I had forgotten that I too was doing the 4 body paragraph stuff. On the other hand, some of my assignments differed completely from that structure. In this class(AP Lit), we went through readings really quick therefore, assignments were due twice a week. In class, I mentioned that I didn’t recall this format being shoved down my throat. Instead, I remembered my teacher giving us options to choose from. I am not sure why i didn’t remember writing the four body paragraph but it was probably because I was utilizing the format but not as often as others. There was an assignment in particular that made me think about one of the quotes that stood out to me from reading Wiley.

The important long-term benefit for students is that they develop multiple strategies so that they indeed have choices( Wiley 67).

In this particular assignment, we were asked to do a book analysis. Now, our teacher would give us options on how to turn in this assignment. 1. We turn it in as questions with answers(a-e options) regarding things such as, setting, tone, figurative language, etc. 2. Submit it has a four body paragraph format or 3. Identify  a following list of words in the reading(he would provide) and give examples and they should be about a paragraph each. I ended submitting the assignment as number 3 because I found  myself able to express myself the best using that strategy. In our discussion,  we mentioned that the 5 body paragraph should not be a format that students get attached to but rather a platform for them to start with. I do recall having that format in hand but it wasn’t the only thing I would think about when it came to english and writing.Taking AP Literature my senior year, really opened my options in writing. My teacher exposed us to different forms of writing strategies throughout the year. This is why the quote really stood out to me. It should not be a formula that students feel they should follow but rather an option from them to choose from.





  3 comments for “Title goes here…I knew that!

  1. Ruben Mendoza
    Ruben Mendoza
    February 19, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Hey Gaby!
    I am glad you had positive role models that provided various methods to write in your English Courses. Having an instructor that had the ability to introduce you and other students to different types of writing is simply incredible. There are moments where I will think back and wished that I had instructors that were able to introduce different forms of writing to me way back then. I faced difficulties and often had trouble creating essays, due to the little experience I had in writing. Anyways, I really liked your concluding sentence in your blog: “It should not be a formula that students feel they should follow but rather an option from them to choose from.” Reading that quote instantly made me realize that students should not be dependent on this form of writing, however, they should have the ability to use that form if they want to. Very Powerful! I agree with that quote tremendously and believe students should have the ability to use that form. Also, I think students need to learn how to challenge themselves and realize their potential by pushing the boundaries and producing work that is different. Writing is complex and as the weeks continue we will have a whole new understanding of writing.

  2. David Puerner
    David Puerner
    February 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    At Natomas High I was fortunate enough to have an old gf push me to take honors lit, and then AP lit my senior year. Those two classes, taught by the same teacher, changed my life (for the better or worse is yet to be determined lol). Day one of honors lit my junior year our prof introduced as to the theory of semiotics, and the subjectivity of signifiers and signifieds (signs and what they sign for… ex.: the word “cat” representing as “sign” that signified the animal we all know, but that we all know differently and is there for subject to mass-ambiguity and therefore subjectivity). It was like a bombshell went off. “You’re telling me we can have a conversation with the people being presented as authorities on academic and professional subjects in our lives, and that our experiences might be just as valuable as theirs?” That was an insanely seductive viewpoint.

    In Natomas I took “regular kid” classes too. So in Honors and AP we had discussions, we dabbled in psychoanalysis, and we taught our interpretations of “canonical” English texts as if we ourselves were authorities on the subject…. and in my “regular kid” classes we could very easily lose fifteen minutes of the day to sitting quietly while a drug sniffing dog ran a sweep of our classroom looking for god knows what. I remember one time in particular a security guard took my axe body spray (yes I too was one of those axe wearers) and opened the spout to hold it up under her nose. She took a big whiff, and I remember thinking, “man that gets really close to my armpits… that’s fuckin gross.” I found out later that the school had been having problems with stink bombs, and she must have thought that my axe body spray was a concealed stink bomb. Whatever the case may be the difference between messages-sent to the “regular kids” and the “honors-kids” couldn’t have been more different.

    To us “honors kids” the message was this, “You’re opinion matters, and your perspective is something valuable to enough to be cultivated. In fact your opinion matters more than grades… grades are just a formality actually.”

    To us regular kids it was, “you are a liability, and you better fucking be here when those star tests get issued because that’s part of how we make our money.”

    In one class I was a full citizen, and in the other class (in hindsight) I felt almost like some kind of refugee in a nation hostile to second class citizens for whatever reason.

    It was a hard thing to navigate honestly and my grades reflected it. I got As in honors and AP, and I could get anywhere from a D to a B in my regular kid classes depending on whether or not the teacher liked me.

    Anyway back to the formulaic writing thing. I to noticed that the 5 paragraph essay was a relic of the past in my honors classes, but it was heavily taught in my “regular kid” classes, and for me personally the “regular kid” classes where always where I had the most trouble.

    When I came to butte college in the Fall of 2008 They put m in English-2 (FYC), and I was back to being a “regular kid.” There were no drug sniffing dogs, but there was no love either. You got the feeling that grades and compliance where more important than expression and experimentation, and for the first time in 2 years I was in an English class where there was absolutely a right answer to the questions my prof was asking, and that was vastly different than the world of honors and AP that had so charmed me before. This too was a scary time in my life, and I remember feeling like I wanted to give up quite often, and feeling like if I talked to the teacher he’d probably advise me to do just so. It was a hostile environment in an unspoken kind of way, And while some people flourish under those kinds of conditions, I had a hard time with it.

    Thanks for listening and sharing your story, and I hope my input was helpful or at least interesting


  3. kjaxon
    February 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Gaby, I love that you went back and looked at your writing assignments from high school with this framework in mind. And so so interesting to see the options you were given and how even just a few options can make us feel better about writing (following what Ruben said as well). I also love that this led to David’s narrative about writing in school. Y’all have some great stories to share.

    Not that long ago, I actually got out all my writing I kept from my undergrad days in our very own English department. I was amazed to see even just the volume of writing I produced in that time and the various approaches some instructors had to feedback. Might be interesting to build in some time for us to do some in class analysis of past assignments…

    thanks for the thoughtful post!

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