Unit Reflection and Response


Portfolio Final Assessment, College Writing Semester 1



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Unit Reflection and Response

Include the link to your blog here: https://ellyswritinghell.wordpress.com/

Which of your pieces was the most challenging to write? Give three reasons and explain.

I believe that the piece for college entry was the hardest to write. I had trouble coming up with who my hero should be, his/her qualities, and what kind of information I should write about that individual. Since there were so many people I consider ‘revolutionary and heroic’, I had trouble picking one person out. Also, I had trouble coming up with qualities that qualify them as heroes as well.

However, I believe I overcame this challenge and wrote a piece that accurately reflects my thoughts and feelings.

Which of your pieces was the most enjoyable to write? Give three reasons and explain.

The most enjoyable piece to write was the Novel Review. Firstly, the book itself was very interesting to read. Second, I had lots of fun trying out different styles of writing on this piece, and third, I had fun using magic threes. The book itself spawned a lot of thoughts in me, as the main character in the book was very easy to relate to.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

I believe I have a very traditional writing style, with some moments of excellence and glamour. Grammatically, there are few to no mistakes. However, my writing are sometimes very dull and oriented to a certain type of reader, rendering it boring for another reader. I can combat this by being more rounded in my writing, including and incorporating other styles of writing into my own style.

What have you done to develop your strengths and minimize your weaknesses as a writer? How successful do you feel you have been?

I experimented with different writing styles as a writer to minimize my weakness, and by doing so, developed my strengths as well. I feel I have improved by a significant margin since 9th grade in terms of writing excellence.

What kind of future career or field of study are you considering? What kinds of writing might be important in this career or field? Explain, giving specific examples.

I am interested in careers such as scientists and economists. Professions dealing with these topics require me to write research papers, which are formal and very oriented towards a specific group of readers.

What advice would you offer the College Writing teachers as they plan this unit for next year? What might be some additional pieces of writing to add and why? How was the timing and pacing? Did you receive enough feedback? Did you receive enough instruction and input so you knew how to do each assignment? You can make specific comments about specific assignments here. What did you like or not like and why? What would make this unit more student-friendly, provide more learning, or make it more interesting?

Honestly, I have enjoyed the course so far! However, I believe there should be more opportunities for students to showcase their work in person (rather using a wordpress blog), so the writer can connect with their readers specifically.

I have learnt many different styles of writing (formal and non-formal), and can apply that to my life of future years.

I would like to write some pieces that are fictional.



Peer Feedback Comments



Jonathan Yan – ‘What gets you fired up’

Your essay is quite short – a bit too short in my opinion. There isn’t a clear beginning, middle, or end. You made your point across, however, you did so without any feelings or surprises – I felt this piece is one of your weaker ones, as there is not as much color as other pieces.

Jonathan Tai – Opinion Piece

Your opinion pieces are very crisp, precise, and on the point. Although harshly worded, you communicate your point very clearly. Word choices and sentences structures can be improved (add more descriptive and creative words and structures), but overall, it was fairly enjoyable!

Isaac Lall – Opinion Piece

I really like the use of a rhetorical question in your essay. I reflects your point of view of this topic very clearly. Your first sentence grabs the reader’s attention easily, as well. This piece ends with a suggestion, giving the reader advice, which further creates a personal feeling to the writing. Overall, good job!

Aidan Tong – Descriptive Essay

This essay was very easy to read as it flowed from one event to another. Your description of the penalty shoot-out was very crisp and did what it needed to do – paint a picture in the readers’ mind. I enjoyed this piece very much. Well done and good job!

Isaac Lall – What makes you come alive

This piece might be one of your weaker ones. Sentence structure varies from great to poor, as words are placed incorrectly in sentences. Also, word choices were quite poor, as there were no ‘surprises’ or colorful words in this piece. However, this piece ends on a good note – advise to the reader connects them to the writer, and that is quite important.



Novel Review: Playing Without the Ball (Nov 15)

bbc-playingwithouttheball-richwallace‘Playing Without the Ball’ is a fictional novel written by American author Rich Wallace. The book, released in the year 2000, covers many popular activities, celebrities, and sports at the time. Basketball, rock music, and girls was what Wallace chose to be the themes of the book.

Noting the structure of the book, one can see that it is split in 4 quarters, reflecting the 4 quarters in a basketball game. Wallace, using the ‘coming of age’ technique, also encompasses the main character’s development. From a naive, young and pure boy, to a mature, loving, and compassionate young adult, one can understand the author’s viewpoint on growing up: one must make mistakes in order to learn and become successful out of it.

The author manipulates the first-person writing style gracefully. Not only does he effectively portrays Jay’s, or the main character’s thoughts and feelings, but he also captures the core emotion of the other characters. By doing so, the reader can accurately identify the interaction between characters, and the effects of said communications.

Even if there are some non-ICS appropriate themes in there, such as premarital sex, drugs, and violence, Wallace does a wonderful job of incorporating these themes into the story as a whole – mixing basketball terminology, attractive girls, and punk music together, Wallace paints a wonderful picture; a picture that speaks to mind, a picture that converses a story, a picture that impacts the reader through the heart.

I would fully recommend this book to whoever likes an easy, engaging, and effortless book to read.

Opinion Piece (final)

Without music, the human life would become more dull and boring. Whether you are a teacher, politician, or a street cleaner, you are going to listen and appreciate tobja music through different mediums, such as commercials, concerts, or CDs.

Reflecting back on his younger days, Billie Joe Armstrong, frontman of the band Green Day believed that “…music, that has been my education. There is not a day that goes by that I take it for granted.” For him, music is his whole life – his passion and life is devoted to creating and playing music. Without music, he would have not been as successful as he is now, and definitely not as famous as well.

No matter where you are from, or what background you have, music affects us positively in ways you have never thought before.




view draft here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tZzrYhYDldLomeGzqIg2mhAGRS9O5X4veN5xD6bdQ5o/edit?usp=sharing

Searching for Bobby Fischer Reflection Essay (Nov 22, in class)

Lang Lang, a famous pianist that originated from China, has many similarities and resemblance towards Josh Waitzkin, the protagonist from the movie ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’. Both Lang Lang and Josh have strict educators, extraordinary talent, and not successful school lives.

I believe that having a strict educator for your talents is a high priority; the groundwork and beginnings of one’s gift must be well-founded, as anything learnt beyond the beginning is built on the foundation. Lang Lang originally had, during his childhood days in the suburbs, a very easy-going teacher, who encouraged and loved him as a child. He experienced compassion and kindheartedness with this teacher. lang-lagnHowever, his parents, thinking of his future, brought him into the city, where he was taught by a strict teacher, who treated him as an unfinished product which needs polishing and shaping up. Although Lang Lang strongly opposed this idea, his parents believed this was the best for him, as he had much more opportunities in the city. However, the transition between being a big fish in a small pond and a big fish in an even bigger pond was heartbreaking for him. He struggled to bring home prizes from tournaments, and ultimately, disappointed his parents. Although he had a rough time adjusting to his new environment, he ultimately overcame the struggle, and became one of the worlds’ most well known piano player.

Josh originally learnt chess and tactics from Vinny, a park-dweller who plays speed chess. However, when he showed exceptional talent in chess, a teacher, who was significantly more strict than Vinny, picked him up. Even with a stricter teacher, Josdownloadh did not show signs of giving-up, and he continued to strive for every win there possibly is. However, when he met a boy who had the same talent and skill as him during a lesson with his teacher, he learnt the valuable lesson: sometimes it is better to lose than to win. He then gave up his regional championship by losing to a player in 9 moves. Following this mishap, his teacher and father became stricter – stricter to a point where Josh’s will to play chess was shaken. However, Josh’s father took on a new approach that encouraged Josh more, and he ultimately won the national championship.

Extraordinary talent was observed both in Lang Lang and Josh as well. When Lang Lang was just starting out piano, his teacher noted that he can easily reciprocate any melodies that was played to him. Using only a class time (30 minutes), he can easily listen to a piece of classical music and play it back with ease. Also, Josh can, without teachers and other formal influence, play chess at a high level. This attribute can be observed when he was playing chess for the first time with a drunken guy in the park. Vinny observed that he used a high-level tactic – which was a surprise to many, as it was noted that this was the first time Josh had ever played chess.

I believe that schooling in the early to young ages of a child is very important, as it build the foundation to harder and more challenging material. However, Lang Lang’s schooling was very unsuccessful. He, as noted by his teachers, failed subjects such as math and science. Instead of spending time understanding these subjects, his parents urged him to ignore school and pursue and practice piano at least 5 hours a day. This led to him almost getting expelled, as he does not meet the graduation requirement for the grade. Josh, however does have grades that allow him to graduate and move on to the next grade level. It is his father that treated chess too seriously, and put chess above schoolwork, which was quite dangerous for Josh.

All in all, Lang Lang and Josh have a lot in common, however, many differences can be still identified. Both Lang Lang and Josh have strict instructors, extraordinary gift, and put their talents before education.

Cover Letter (Dec. 3)

Dear Sir/Madam,


I would like to apply for a position as a music co-instructor and educator in your institution. Please find attached my CV in application for the mentioned position

Having experience in more than 5 instruments, certified Merit in 2 instruments (grade 5), and speaking 3 languages (Cantonese, English, and Putonghua) at a professional level, I believe I can bring a sense of fresh air in your team of advanced and wonderful educators. Furthermore, I have many experiences teaching children and young teens in different parts of the world (please refer to the ‘Extra Curricular and Services’ part of my resume.) Finally, I am still a teenager – matching the age range of the current students in your institution; therefore, I can relate and understand the problems the students have, and potentially help them overcome their struggles.

 As a music fan, enthusiast, and creator for more than 5 years, I understand the struggles of a young child coming into music and trying to learn a specific instrument. I have been there before, having piano lessons twice a week, 1 hour per session – and seemingly making no progress at all. I have also experienced moments of breakthrough and success, after spending more than hundreds and hundreds of hours practicing the same song piece over and over again.

An interview could be arranged anytime at your convenience upon your request. Thank you for your time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Yours Sincerely,

Elliott Wan





draft here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qdCrIqKPZmVwqcJ59SLeKuAaRqbozJ1Q02kNLgNwjV0/edit?usp=sharing

Inflation of a Hero (Dec. 2, in class)


After reading the article ‘Hero Inflation’, I have some thoughts regarding the status of the word ‘hero’ and its risks that it puts to society.

The article states that the identification of a ‘hero’ to anyone killed in a war perpetuates the ethos of martial glory and also saps the word of its meaning. I agree with this statement to a certain extent. Heroes, in current day, can be assigned as a status to anyone in current day, as long as a group of people (no matter wrong or right) agrees, supports, and labels the heroes’ decisions as ‘heroic’. In a certain way, this word is becoming more and more ‘inflated’ of its’ meaning, as it can be labeled to anyone with actions deemed correct.

This causes some problems in society.

I believe more and more people will try to be ‘heroic’, and disregard an actions’ consequences – some effects caused by this are the glorifying of war and fighting, as the media glorifies many people who die from wars, while ignoring the horrible aftereffects to those who suffer from PTSD or similar sickness.

The diluted meaning of the word also causes more and more acts, which impact the society negatively, to occur and cause our younger generation to seek approval from the society by acting on those actions.

Overall, I believe that the media should not put as much emphasis on ‘heroes’ as they do now. They should turn to the real unsung heroes, such as city workers, cleaners and those who generally make our lives easier, 150424_2020_005_16x9_992and give them the attention needed, instead of, for example, glorifying and labeling Caitlyn Jenner as a hero (‘she’ won a woman of the year award, which is really unfair to other real women, who spent their lives devoting into science, medicine, and the advancement of humans.)





view draft: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dTEHUfyISF2JhpFvxR3HymR81A5numFX4IpEEdEpbzI/edit?usp=sharing

What makes me come alive? (August 12, in class)

We all listen to music, no matter if it is rock, metal, opera, or even rap. Music varies greatly between genres in terms of instruments and styles – but one thing common between all music is that music is a piece of art. It takes talent, dedication, and skill whether you are the one composing the music or performing the music.

When it comes to listening to music, I quite enjoy alternative rock tad-porerfieldmusic – and one band that I like in that genre are Muse. They are a 3-piece rock band formed in England, and their lyrics include but not restrained to love, hate, mind control, and many other lyrical subjects that mainstream bands would not dare writing about. This is why I love this band, and also writing about music in general – oppose the government in one song, and writing about personal relationships in another song, and a dub-step song out of nowhere.

Creating music – we all know how deep in our hearts, but we never dare step out of our comfort zone to create, perform, record, and share that song with another one else. I greatly respect people who create music, as they require a lot of courage to take and understand criticism.