Have a great summer!

I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching you all this year. You’ve done a fabulous job with this blog—I’m so impressed! Enjoy your summer holiday, and remember to read every day. Even if you are not coming back to SSIS in the fall I hope you will stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing from time to time.

Warmest best wishes to all of you!


Mr. MacKnight

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Have I changed?

Have I changed as a Reader?

Yes, I’ve changed as a reader. When it was September, in my english BA class, our english teacher Mrs. Adams didn’t assign us much about the independent reading, and I didn’t get really deep with reading, didn’t really spend a lot of time on reading as much as now. Previously I didn’t read a lot of books by my self unless the teacher assign me to. Or unless it’s only the books that I am interested in and want to read. Then I’ve been moved up to english A, it’s a class that we are assigned and suppose to read everyday, and it’s strongly needed for the class, so I started to read more then before everyday, and with the books, I can know more things like what is the book talking about, what would the books teach me, and I also get a new hot topic to talk about with friends and anyone. I’ve changed from a student who don’t often read books to reading books more and more often everyday.

Have I changed as a writer?

From reading my recent blog posts I can see that I do have several grammar mistakes, and they are the simple ones, which proves that I need to read more and write more. Till now, I may not feel that I’ve improved, as Mr. Macknight said, for writing, the improvements are formed like staircases, not a slope. It will suddenly improve, and improve. I may be improved from the beginning of the year, it’s just that I didn’t feel it that much. I do keep writing in english for the school year and starting beginning, before I start to write more, I was very bad at grammar, and I start to have tutors, buying in english grammar books to begin with. Then slowly, I start to do a essay everyday. Till later on, I have the abilities to write more then the word limit that is required, I began to do better in english writing assignments. Writing is all about keep writing, practicing and practicing. As long as I keep writing, my writing skill, my grammar skill will get better. The main thing to do for improving english is read for sure. Writing didn’t change me a lot in this year I think, but it DO make a difference before I started writing a lot till now.

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Discovering Myself as a Writer

There are a lot of things I could say about writing. I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been reading, yet before this year I never really thought about what my writing meant to me. I just wrote. In that way it’s similar to my reading: I hadn’t thought so hard about what I read before this class, though I did think about my reading more than my writing. Honestly, I feel like there were less changes in my writing itself than there were changes in how I view it.

When I was little, I had this grand idea that I was going to write the next Great American Novel. I enjoyed reading novels and figured that I should write them, too, so I’d start writing about whatever I was most obsessed with at that moment (Joan of Arc in one instance, Vikings in another). I had little — if any — plan, and I barely ever got past the first chapter. After many failed attempts at this, I came to the conclusion that I was terrible at writing stories and from then on only wrote the ones I was required to for my classes — and sometimes not even those.

Over the next few years I went back and forth between deciding that I was a poet, or wasn’t, but for the most part I didn’t think about writing. There were other things I thought I was much better at, such as math and history, so being a good writer didn’t really cross my mind. Sure, I got decent grades on my English assignments, and I had already developed my tendency to nitpick spelling and grammar, but I thought I just wasn’t any good at putting ideas together. I knew what good writing was, but I didn’t believe that I could create it myself.

I was still within that frame of mind by the beginning of ninth grade. Other than a few poems and the odd journal entry, I hadn’t written much that I liked, and probably nothing that I really liked. I still thought that writing wasn’t really for me — just a hobby. However, I liked the fact that I could post my assignments on a blog, where plenty of people could read it — not just my teacher. It gave me a bit of motivation to try harder: what I wrote wasn’t just for a grade — it was a representation of who I was.

I still didn’t think I was that great of a writer, however, until the assignment to write a pastiche of The Catcher in the Rye. I didn’t like the assignment at first because I couldn’t decide what to write about, but once I finally got down to it and wrote something I was pretty happy with it — and by then it was already late, so I turned it in. I was disappointed to see that none of my classmates had anything to say about it, but I was surprised to see a comment from Mr. MacKnight saying that it was really good. So maybe a bunch of other teenagers didn’t think much about what I’d written, but wow! the teacher thought it was great. I must be a better writer than I had thought.

By no means is that the only significant event that affected my writing this past year. In fact, one of the events with the largest impact has little to do with English class. The thing is, I have a lot of interests that I want to develop — music, math, history, and so on — and I realized that if I give each of them equal attention, there wouldn’t be anything that I was truly great at. “Jack of all trades, master of none,” yes? Anyway, while I think I should be good at many things, I want to have an ability that I can consider my specialty, and as much as I enjoy those other things, I can’t see myself as a musician, or a mathematician, or a historian. I can, however, see myself as a writer — not necessarily a published author, but a writer nonetheless.

Still, I don’t think that I would have realized that much without the help of the English class. Perhaps I would have decided that I needed to concentrate more on my math or history.

I realize that I’m not a great writer yet, but I also know that I don’t have to be. I’m still young, and much of what I write will be terrible, but that doesn’t have to be a setback — knowing that you aren’t perfect means knowing where you can become better. That’s the ultimate goal in life: to become better. I know that everyone who became great at something started out small, and every great writer has written a good deal of terrible writing, but they kept writing.

Ultimately, the biggest change in my writing is less what words I put together and more the way they are put together. My vocabulary has expanded, sure, but I’ve mostly just figured out how to get my point across more clearly, and how to write more concisely. Perhaps this essay itself isn’t a great example of writing concisely, but if I look at my first Independent Reading post and compare it to my more recent ones, I can see a huge difference: my more recent ones are often less than a third the length of that first one. But the biggest change I see in my writing is in my opinion pieces; the “Who Will I Be?” post is a prime example. It’s hard for me to look back at it; not only has my writing significantly improved since then, but my thoughts have changed as well. If I were to rewrite that post now, it would be hardly the same.

My current writing goal is to get better at organizing my ideas. I have a lot of ideas, but I also have the hardest time deciding what to use and what not to use, and usually I end up not writing anything at all. I freeze up. What I want is to stop freezing up, or at least stop freezing up so much, and as part of my solution to this I am working to get into the habit of writing a little bit each day. Since my Personal Project is to write a novella, this makes it slightly easier for now — though I still plan on writing more even after the project is over.

All in all, I am very glad to have been in this class because it has taught me more than I expected to learn, and helped me to realize my talent and potential as a writer. Without it, I think I would still be at the state I was a year ago, knowing that I enjoyed writing somewhat but thinking that it just wasn’t for me. But that’s what a great class does: takes a student in and sends them out changed for the better. This was a great class.

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Cento Poem

Rain is falling through the roof, and all that prospered under the sun.

Half the day lost, staring at this window. In signing and dismay.

The rain tastes like salt, and rises in the streets like a ruinous tide.

We spoke of hours and hours; we talked and talked,

O! It drives all the joy away.

‘’You are old, man’’, my dear friend said,

‘‘And some of your hair have become very white’’

And yet you incessantly stand on your head.

‘‘Do you think, at your age, it is right?’’

‘‘In my youth, I feared it might injure the brain’’, I said,

‘‘but now I’m perfectly sure I have none’’,

Why, I argue it again and again? I shall keep my strength for myself; he can keep his as well.

I wanted to know just one true thing.

Will the rain cease or it will go on falling, and I shall wait for the rain to cease up.


You are Old, Father William – Lewis Carroll

Did I Miss Anything? – Tom Wayman

The Schoolboy- William Blake

Last Lesson of the Afternoon- D.H Lawrence

After Us-Connie Wanek

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How have I changed?

How have I changed as a reader?

During the start of this school year, I never had any problems with reading and would usually pick up a book whenever I was bored and had nothing else to do. Now, nothing has change except that I now read at a faster pace and I prefer not to read too much during times when I’m bored. I still plan to keep on reading next year but just not as much as 28 pages per day. For the summer of 2010, I think I’ll just read around three times a week, the number of pages I read each time will depend on how interesting the book is.

How have I changed as a writer?

Ever since the September 2009 until now, I don’t think my writing has changed much. I can write a little more now but my writing style is still kind of repetitive. I think my strength, as a writer is that I know how to make good summaries. I think my weakness in writing is that I’m sometimes too repetitive and I some of the things I write about don’t have enough detail. I could improve my writing by practicing more. I plan on maybe writing a few essays during the summer if I have time.

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Read and Write

Since English is not my mother tongue, and I am not that kind of person who loves challenging, I hated most of the things that related to English. When I first came to SSIS and read an english book, I almost cried, I thought I was too stupid. I took almost a month to read a book, even though my English skill became better, I still hated reading. I think I would not read even one book for this year if Mr. Macknight did not require us to read. However at the beginning of the year Mr. Macknight told us a good method which is “read what you want to read”. Even though it was pain in the neck to look for new vocabulary, I wanted to because I was curious to know next issue. And this make me spend more time on reading than before. Anyway from now I need to start reading more kinds of deep meaning book rather than entertaining books.

In my opinion, my writing skill has not changed a lot, but now I think more deeply than before. One year before, when I finish reading a book I never try to think about what was author trying to say through the book. I read book just for entertaining my self, but now, I start thinking deeply. Every time I finished a book I tried to find out the meaning inside the book.

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As the writer this year I changed than the previous years but not much improved. As start of the year, I have to write journal everyday during each classes and this type of activity help me a lot on getting nervous of writing. Even though I was grade 8th I always get confused and horrified with writing, but this changed me a lots. Not just my feelings it changed my writing improved. Also reading habit help me to use the much more informal words, but still I have to be much more improve to prevent my language wall.

The only strength I got as a writer is my imagination and the think box of thinking to writing but no more. I’ve got more weakness as a writer to improve. The grammatical problems and read back is the weakness I’ve got as a writer. My plan is to read and copy the good essays and have the habit of read back to improve my writing skills for up coming grade 10th. This summer will be my own testing and fight with writing. Hope I’ll be getting some payments from my plan.

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I changed a lot in reading during this year of grad 9th. As I’m getting older, I started to become lazy on reading books. However, there were differences between the first year of semester and now the ends of semester. By the assignments from language teachers of reading books changed me a lot. Beginning was the assignments but at the end, it changed to my habit again. Not just the enforce of assignments, still now I could mentioned the books that changed me of reading. Books like ‘Secrets’ these dream guidebooks changed my mind and make me to read the books to help me and encourage me. Some books like fantasy or magical stories makes my interesting on books a lot too.

By these experiences, I changed to love reader again, as it want to be continue to be a love reader, in this summer I have plan to have the books I have to read for my age of level, all the necessary books need for grade 10th as well. Hope I follow the plan of keep tracking on reading!

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How have I changed…

As a reader…

Since I moved into Mr. MacKnight’s English class, I changed a lot, improved I think. I read a lot more than before now, and more varieties of book, think more through the books. Reading different varieties of book make me think a lot, some serious, some just imaginary, but the most is that now I think through every question from different view. Just like in a book, you have different character, having different personality; you can go into this character’s mind and see want is the way this character will look at this question. I think I will be improving more and more in my year ahead, maybe more in grammar, since my grammar is pretty bad. But for now I plan to read The Catcher in the Rye and another book by Marcus Sedgwick, I am also going to search for more good books in the book store.

As a writer…

I also changed as a writer, although not a lot I think. But my attitude to writing has changed (if it is not under test pressure); I became easier on most articles I wrote on the blog. I think my strategies haven’t change, but I think as I read more and learn more, it will eventually improve, so I am not worry about it. I think my strength in my writing is that I have better structure (maybe, haha), but my weakness in my writing is that I don’t have enough vocabulary to describe what I want to present. And as for my summer plan, I haven’t yet plan anything, but I am going to a SAT class, so I think I will write something in there.

How have I changed as a reader and a writer?

How have I changed as a reader?

I have changed as a reader, but only a bit. Compared to the first semester, I prefer books that are literature related now. I think this is because it makes me think of questions about certain things, and also think of answers about them. The books we have read in class have effected by reading literature related books. They made me really think about certain things both deeply and broadly. And it was hard for me to think about things deeply because I barely read books deeply. I just accepted and passed the important things that could have been discussed seriously, and did not really care about it. But I have improved a little on spotting important things out. Over the summer holiday, I am planning to read some of the books that were recommended by Mr. Macknight.

How have I changed as a writer?

I have changed a lot as a writer. I am not sure about the improvements on writing skills or techniques, but I am sure I have improved on expressing and actually writing down my feelings. I have stressed a lot when I had to write my feelings down, and most of all, I could not organize them well enough. After writing all the independent reading journals, personal responses and several essays, what Mr. Macknight has said about writing came to my mind. He said that we had to write and write in order to improve your writing skills and I think it is absolutely right.

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