ENG 110 – H5
Professor Jesse Miller
22 April 2019
Significant Writing Project: Project #2 – Cooking in Modern Times
Learning Outcome 1
My revision process has been stuck in a high school mindset. This, at my school, involved simply rereading an essay before turning it in, or occasionally having a friend review it for me before I actually handed in the finished product. I never really considered writing as “recursive” before I got to college, thinking I could simply hand in an essay after sitting down and writing it, rereading it once or twice for grammar and spelling mistakes, then turning it in as a finished product. I learned quickly that was not going to work for me in ENG 110, so I needed to adapt, and I think I’ve done well in that. Recently, I have begun reading papers out loud, so that I do not focus on grammar and spelling mistakes (local revision) and instead listen to the words I’m reading and whether they flow or if something would sound better in a different spot (global revision). This shows that I have improved in my ability to look at reading as local and global revision, having only focused on local until now. This also makes it easier for me to look at writing as recursive, because I need to give it multiple reads before I think it is done. We have discussed, at length, how writing and revision in this course would be different than it was in high school, and I feel that I’ve shown vast improvement from my previous rushed editing sessions. My process has evolved into at least two global revision checks, one time through, edit then through again, and at least two local revision read throughs.
Learning Outcome 2
I believe that the second essay project completed in ENG 110 is the best example of my ability to synthesize works together to make a point, using text in unison with other texts. In this particular essay, we played off Michael Pollan’s critique of cooking and cooking culture in America in modern times. Other sources were chosen from a list of Favorite Meal Essays from classmates and previous ENG 110 students. One of the best examples of using text in context from my essay was:
“They use the Old El Paso brand Enchilada Dinner kit. Just because they use a kit to create this meal, does not make it any less special to them. Sarah writes in her essay, “… the important part is not that the meal reached completion but rather how the meal was made and who contributed to it” (Smith, 2019). Sarah and her father may not make everything they eat from scratch, but this does not mean that the meal holds any less value.”
I believe this is the best example of my synthesis of sources because Pollan’s essay almost directly states that not making something from scratch diminishes the meaning and significance of the meal to the person who made it and the people who are sharing it; which simply isn’t true, evidenced by Sarah Smith’s exact words in her essay. Another example of my source synthesis could be:
“Just because cooking has become easier over the years, does not mean that it has any less meaning to Americans. For his article, Pollan interviewed Harry Blazer, a food-marketing researcher, and he said, “a hundred years ago, chicken for dinner meant going out and catching, killing, plucking and gutting a chicken.” (Pollan, 2009).”
I thought this was a great example because the quote relates directly to the argument my paper was trying to make, which is that eating and food do not have any less meaning if they are not prepared completely from scratch, evidenced by Pollan’s quote from Harry Blazer, mentioning how cooking from scratch used to be much, much more difficult for people.
Learning Outcome 3
I have been an avid reader since I was very young; I could tear through 300-page books in two days or less. This, however, becomes a problem for me when I am told to actively read an annotate something, because I like to just read and pay way too close attention to details, instead of the bigger picture. However, ENG 110 has helped me map out a system of reading for myself. I have begun mapping out certain goals for myself when I am struggling. Normally, I read a page and underline/highlight anything that sounds interesting or useful to me; jotting down any thoughts I have while reading. After I have finished a page, I look and see just how many annotations I have made and if that represents me thinking critically or not, based on the contents of the page I just read. If I decide I have not made enough annotations, I go back and write down interesting things I found on that page and write a brief summary of my thoughts and the information on that page. This is how I have trained myself to really think critically about the papers and articles I’m reading. As I mentioned, I mark anything that sounds useful or interesting to me. I like to do outside research along with articles provided, so if I find something that I would like to research on my own, I usually mark it down or write a comment on it. Other than that, everything I mark is usually related to the paper I am trying to write in some way or another.
I think that critical reading and annotating articles are useful skills for integrating other sources into one’s own work. Critical reading enhances the understanding of what the reader is learning about, making it easier to draw connections and to use the information in their own essay. This is because, as Gilroy puts it, you are “interrogating” the readings. This basically just means that while reading, you must ask questions, as if interrogating someone. Annotations and markings are somewhat of a nonverbal, one-way conversation with the author. This conversation is meant for questions, whether it is things you’d like to look up on your own time, points that the author didn’t fully explain, or if it is simply something you found interesting.
Learning Outcome 4
My early experience with peer review was in high school, mostly reading over classmate’s papers and making grammatical and sentence flow edits. I came to know this as “local revision”. This is a term I’d never heard before, mostly thinking of reviewing papers as just reading over and editing any spelling or punctuation errors. During Project #1, my peer review skills were lacking in substance and “global revision” suggestions. I was hesitant to make notes on my group members’ papers, because I was concerned that they would not understand where I was coming from with what I was saying. After we met and discussed, however, I felt much better about making comments and more understanding of global revision for the second time around. Project #2 went better, in my opinion, as I was able to focus more on global revision and not be worried that my partners would not understand what I was saying with my comments, as we had discussed it the last time that we met. Many of my comments on the first session of peer review were along the lines of local revision, such as these:
“Maybe you could add in a little bit about how Soylent could help with a busy college schedule.” Or,
“Not so much a comment but I like this choice of wording, makes it really urgent in a way.”
While these can be helpful to the author, they are not particularly the global revision that I should have been focusing on during this part of the peer review process. However, I feel I did improve between the first and second peer review rounds. During Project #2, I focused more on global revision to begin with, which produced comments such as these:
“Maybe add a little hint at why Julia’s (Child) show wouldn’t have done well these days, then expand on it later like you did.” And,
“What resources? Add context”
I believe that these types of comments were more helpful to my peer review group members because they are more directed than just saying to add some idea to their existing ones or just that I simply liked something that they wrote. I feel that these examples really show progress in my peer review skills and demonstrate how I’ve developed as a writer.
Learning Outcomes 5 &6
The significant writing project I chose was my second essay, Cooking in Modern Times. This particular project only cited one source that was not from within the ENG 110 class community. However, it demonstrates my ability to create MLA citations and follow proper MLA organization. The biggest changes in local revision to my paper were after peer review and before I finished the rest of the essay. When peer review was conducted, I only had about three pages, not nearly finished. This lead to having peer review edits to make on the first half of my paper and not the second. One of the most notable sections that I changed was the first paragraph after the introduction, switching around how I introduced Julia Child’s show and how it affected Michael Pollan’s life. This was a bit of a tricky part to write with the wording, but I ended up making it flow well, in my own opinion.
In class work also helped my newfound MLA skills. We discussed MLA format at length in class, both as a whole class and in our reading in textbooks and worksheets and such in class. At one point during the semester, we read a sample MLA paper, which showed, in practice, how a paper was supposed to be set up for MLA. This helped a lot. For example, I did not know that I was supposed to have my last name and page number on every page. As an animal behavior major, I mostly write in APA style and the sample paper provided was the largest help. Along with that, there was some in class writing time for every assignment when we had time to ask questions to the professor and get an answer immediately.