Hi, and welcome to my portfolio! 🙂
My name is Sophia Heredia and I am currently a first-year in Dr. Cooke’s Expository Writing Course. Throughout the semester, you can see a significant improvement in my writing, and this portfolio is an adequate demonstration of that. My portfolio features various examples of writing I have done, but specifically highlights the major improvements in the in the syntax and paragraph structure of my writing.
The first example of syntax is prevalent in my in class writing assignment about Paul Robeson. The class was assigned to write about Robeson and his life connections to several of his photographs. While doing this, my sentences all have well thought out ideas, but the execution could be improved with more clear and concise sentences. It is evident that there is a difference from this piece of writing to my narrative essay, because the words flow more smoothly. Also, many of the sentences start off the same way or contain poor word choice which can make the piece of writing seem boring and a chore to read. In writing pieces following this one, you can tell my sentence structure has been given extra thought which made a significant difference.
“At the time, only white Americans could act in the plays, and to play an African American, they would use black face. So for him to play Othello was a big thing at the time, he was creating a way for African Americans to have equal rights, even in theater”
pictured: Paul Robeson during his performance in Othello
A second example is my proposal research on Ed Bullins. You can see a sense of progress in this work compared to my writing about Paul Robeson. My sentences are not as lengthy, but become more cohesive and easy to read without becoming choppy. The piece also includes a good mix of long and short sentences, which makes the writing more entertaining to read. The sentences begin to have different transitions and beginnings which is an improvement. However, the structure of the sentences still need some work. There needs to be more variation in the way sentences are phrased that does not improve until after this piece.
“It was typed and had illustrations on the front cover, introducing two of the characters to the reader and the audience. The first prominent figure that takes up the majority of the cover is an African American male who appears to be fixing his jacket to make sure he’s looking nice. The second figure who appears slightly more in the distance is an African American woman who is wearing a dress and appears to be amused by the male slightly in front of her.”
The curated exhibit was a way for us to tie ideas from a play created in the past to ideas of today. The play I chose is entitled I am Lucy Terry, and it tells the story of a slave that received an education even though it was illegal at the time. I used this background story to connect to the idea that education has always been, and continues to be, limited in some way. In order to do this, I used both primary and secondary sources collected in my research for support. They demonstrated that in the past, education was only available to white males with racism and sexism the reasoning behind the law. Currently, it is limited based on funding and resources that not all students or institutions have. I use photographs and videos to complete the exhibit to show the progression and evolution of education availability over time.
This piece of my writing is a great last example in my progression of the use of syntax. I feel that this piece highlights my use of word choice to make the audience able to read it with no problems. The words flow much more than before and are much more clear and concise which was the goal since I used a lot of description about my topic and my exhibit as a whole in this piece of writing. Each word draws the reader in to make them curious about what could happen next, instead of the confusion of the phrasing and meaning of the sentences. The curated exhibit is a great example of my writing and comparing this to my first in-class assignment about Paul Robeson demonstrates a monumental difference.
“Since civil rights have been in action, education has been offered to all races. Currently, everyone has the opportunity to attend public school for elementary, middle, and high school for free, no matter the gender, race, or socioeconomic class. However, the fight for more education availability is not over. It is now in discussion if community college and public universities should be free. Those opposed to this argue not about racism but economical cost and repercussions.”
The proposal was an assignment made to introduce the theme I created for my curated exhibit and the ideas and sources I collected and developed for it. The proposal includes and introduction, statement of purpose, objective, plan of action, and annotated bibliography. I analyzed each source to develop ideas on how I could use them in my exhibit and provided a summary of each of them to demonstrate their relevancy in my proposal. The quote below comes from the introduction.
“My artifact, “I am Lucy Terry” by Ed Bullins was paper, textured, a little worn out while remaining put together. There is also slight discoloration that comes naturally because of its life through the years. It was typed and had illustrations on the front cover, introducing two of the characters to the reader and the audience. The first most prominent figure that takes up the majority of the cover is an African American male who appears to be fixing his jacket to make sure he’s looking nice. The second figure who appears slightly more in the distance is an African American woman who is wearing a dress and appears to be amused by the male slightly in front of her. She has a sort of mesmerized look on her face that makes her seem as though the man did something to draw her attention, possibly his appearance of being slightly dressed up. The book is medium sized.”
The paragraph structure is relevant since everything in the first paragraph discusses the appearance of just the front cover of the play used. It is important that the play was talked about first since the rest of the proposal stems from ideas about the play. However, the paragraph does have a sense of disorganization as there is no introduction or conclusion sentence, so some ideas may seem random. For example, the last sentence does not relate to the few sentences before it, and there is a slight transition in the beginning from discussing the book as a whole to explaining the two figures pictured on the front cover. There is a loss of cohesiveness that improves as the semester goes on.
This is a photograph of the page in the script of the play I am Lucy Terry that states the title, author, and purpose of writing.
This is another example of improvement visible in my curated exhibit.
In each of my powerpoint slides, I discuss an artifact and how I analyzed sources to relate them to my overall idea. This was a crucial time where paragraph structure was important. At the start of each slide, you could tell what the artifact and slide would be about with the aid of a photograph or video link. All of my paragraphs and all of my slides discussed one main idea, and even had transitions to switch to different topics in the same theme to make it more interesting to read. This developed a sense of cohesion in that each powerpoint slide had details that complimented one another. The only thing I would do to improve would be to split up a few of the slides into two slides when they have very long paragraphs. Since some of the slides discuss the importance and relevance of the artifact in great detail, I could make a separate slide to discuss this which would make the slides easier to read and less overwhelming with information.
“I am Lucy Terry tells the story of an African American woman that is a slave, but desires an education that is not legally available to her. Her mistress sees the value of an education as well, however, so she does gain the education that she deserves. Her mistress volunteers to teach her even at the risk of serious consequences. This is important because it shows that even at the time of slavery, everyone saw the value in education.”
This is the first slide in my curated exhibit. It was made to appear in the style of an arts exhibit, and the title effectively demonstrated the purpose of the curated exhibit.
This diary entry was the last writing assignment given, besides my portfolio of course. The assignment was based on a book titled “Portfolio Keeping”, specifically Chapter 5. The prompt was also to answer the questions on page 35 regarding peer review of this portfolio. The portfolio as a whole was a process, from brainstorming ideas to typing them up on Scholar Blogs, and peer review was definitely a major part in the success of it.
The diary demonstrates paragraph structure very clearly. It is only about a 500 word assignment, but I broke up my thoughts into three distinct paragraph, each with different ideas. My first paragraph was focused on the importance of peer review, specifically the steps in it and how it was beneficial to my writing. Then, I moved on to discuss the power that the peer reviewer has while evaluating someone else’s work and the responsibility given to us to give our best effort in giving feedback to our partner. I concluded to add that we gave specific feedback and genuine responses, all as a discussion rather than a list of ideas so that benefit could be maximized. Lastly, I discussed how overall, my peer review with my partner was session was successful. We did everything suggested to us from discussing in person as we were reading, to ending with questions given to us.
The narrative essay assignment was the last formal piece of writing of the semester, so naturally, it is a good representation of my writing. In this assignment, I imagined what it would be like to walk through my exhibit and think about how and why everything was done the way I designed it. It was a way for me to experience my curated exhibit through the eyes of an outsider. I explained what I did in a new, creative, and interesting way for people to read rather than just a description of what is there.
As you can see, I have a much better idea of how to phrase sentences so that they are both interesting to read and make more sense with flow instead of choppiness. The sentences in my writing are now more entertaining and with much less confusion. The sentences each have a sense of cohesiveness in phrasing that makes a good impression on the reader upon reading it.
“Walking in to this exhibit, I imagined what it would be like if I did not legally have the right to any form of an education and how my education may be limited today.”
My paragraph structure was demonstrated at its peak in this assignment. For example, I had to make sure each paragraph focused on one topic. Instead of discussing multiple details about one piece in the exhibit, I broke the details and subjects up into separate paragraphs to make it more organized. I had to switch back and forth with how my sentences began and ended so the sentence structure would not always be the same. This assignment was a great way for me to practice this and demonstrate my ability to showcase clear, focused paragraphs to make my writing much more interesting. The known-new rule was demonstrated so that my narrative essay would not appear to be random and would flow cohesively, making it easy to follow and understand. The transitions flowed very smoothly and it caused my writing to just made much more sense overall.
“Education has always been held in high importance to me and this exhibit makes it clear that it always has been important. Before the civil rights movement, African Americans made risks to illegally get an education. This is first demonstrated in the play script I am Lucy Terry by Ed Bullins, the first part of the exhibit after the introduction. It made sense to look at the play Heredia 2 first since the entire exhibit was based on it and the values it holds, and I believed it would give some insight to the exhibit to have a background story. This insight gave me an idea to what life was like at the time.”
I hope you enjoyed a short overview of my semester in my first-year writing course. This portfolio represents both the type of work that I did along with the improvement achieved in my writing throughout the semester. Each of the 6 exhibits demonstrate crucial steps to where I am today. I will no longer have choppy, hard to read sentences, or long, unfocused paragraphs. Syntax and paragraph structure were displayed in this portfolio, but many other improvements are prevalent in the writing I have done. These improvements will continue to carry on in my future writing. My last attachment is a reflection letter describing my work over the semester.