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Dear Malcolm,

I am writing to you to share my overall view of my work and give more insight.
My ePortfolio shines a light on all the assignments that I completed, but I will share the
specific benefits and drawbacks of each in more detail. I will walk you through each
process and describe my thoughts on everything. This will show my progression
throughout the semester and how each assignment, whether big or small, helped me grow.
On the first day of class, we completed our first daybook entry. When this was
first assigned, I was worried that it was going to entail more than what it did. I thought
that our entries were going to have a length requirement and that we were going to have
to share what we wrote with the class. For the first entry, we had to define what we
thought writing was. I was initially confused about this, because the question was more
complex than I had initially thought. Once students were asked to share what their
opinions were, I realized that this required deeper thinking than what I had put into it. As
each class went by and we were asked to reflect on different statements, I began to form
an opinion on how this class was laid out. Daybook entries were not just busy work to get
a participation grade. These entries were used to stimulate our brain. They required deep
thinking. Well, I cant say the necessarily required anything, because it was pretty much
voluntary since our daybooks were not checked. What I mean by this is we could have
written about something completely off topic and no one would have known. But, if we
put in the effort, this assignment was solely for our benefit. It allowed us to express our
own views and sometimes even hear how our classmates felt about the topic.
The same situation happened with the blog assignment. I had never made a blog
before this class, so I was not sure what I really needed to do. Each week we were asked

to either read a selected article or watch a video. I feel that each of these was carefully
selected, because they all were very relatable. This assignment allowed me to open my
mind to different ways of thinking. I was able to gain more knowledge and reflect on
what I had read/heard. This was very helpful to me, because I would not have done
something like this on my own. Other than how I share my opinions on Twitter, as I
mention in my ePortfolio. But that is not necessarily the same as keeping up a blog. Also,
the information was something that I feel people my age should be exposed to. I really
enjoyed this assignment and think that it should be a requirement in more classes to help
students think deeper on the material.
The first paper we had to complete was the literacy narrative. For this assignment
we were asked to think of a time we remember learning to read or write. Initially, I could
not think of a time that I remember learning to read or write English. So I thought deeper
about the assignment and decided to write about a time in one of my French classes in
high school. This was acceptable for the assignment, because I was becoming literate in
French. Although I had chose I was going to write about my French class, I wasnt sure
what specifically I was going to say since this assignment had to be in the format of a
story and it had to involve some kind of conflict. It was hard for me to think of a story to
tell and for this I feel that this was the most difficult assignment for me to complete. I
decided to tell the story of how I had to learn to recite the pledge of allegiance in French.
The story was completely true, but I believe in the paper I said the story took place during
one semester but I ended up putting events from two different semesters into one. Also, as
I mentioned previously, the assignment was supposed to be in the format of a story but I
just ended up describing what happened instead of writing it as a story. I think this

happened because I wrote it the day before it was due and I just wanted to get it done so I
could turn it in on time. This was definitely a mistake. I should have started the
assignment earlier and made sure I followed the directions. I also think that if I would
have put more thought into it, I could have come up with a better story.
As the semester progressed, we were introduced to the extended inquiry project,
which included a few different assignments. The first assignment was a topic proposal.
The purpose of this was to pretty much prove that the topic we decided on was suitable
for us. What I mean by this is the topic had to be of some interest to us, there had to be
different viewpoints on it and there had to be current research available. As I mentioned
in my ePortfolio, choosing a topic was not easy for me. I had a couple different ideas,
such as cohabitation, divorce in general, mission trips, and medicating children for
attention related behavior problems. I ended up deciding on divorce and how it affects
adolescents; this slightly changes, as I will mention later. I chose this topic, because I
have a personal relationship to it so I thought that I would be able to be passionate about
my work. I was aware that this assignment required some initial research. Although, the
only research I did prior to this assignment was only to decide on a topic and this affected
the quality of my work. I should have done more in depth research to see if this was
really the best topic for me. I say that because as the semester went by, I began to lose
interest in my topic. I feel that I thought this assignment was more than what it was, but it
was simply explaining why we chose our topic and discussing our inquiry questions.
After we wrote a draft of our topic proposal, we were put into groups to
implement peer review. I feel that peer review is a very crucial part of any writing
assignment. It can sometimes be nerve racking to share your work with others, especially

your first draft, because you could be worried that they are going to judge you.
Something that I had to come to terms with is that we were all in the same boat and that
my classmates were there to help me, not make me feel like my work was not good
enough. This activity was very effective in my opinion. This is because I received
feedback from my peers that described not only what I could improve on but also what
they thought was good about my work. It is important to have someone look over your
work to make sure you stay on topic and what you are saying makes sense to others.
When you are looking at something for a long period of time, you tend to lose sight of the
small details. I feel that this happens in literary work as well, so it is always a good idea
to receive someone elses view of your work.
The next assignment for the EIP was an annotated bibliography. The purpose of
this was to force us to perform more in depth research and find credible sources. I had
never done an annotated bibliography beforehand, so I was not excited about this
assignment at first. I was aware of which sources were credible from previous
assignments in other classes, but it was difficult to find them for my topic. This was
because a lot of the information that I found was the same from a previous source. It was
hard to find sources that covered different points. I know that the library website is a
great place to start when doing research, but I always find it difficult to find articles that
are specifically on my topic so I decided not to use it. I found the four different sources
that were required for the assignment: an article from a popular source, a scholarly
journal, a reliable website and another of my choosing. But that was not all that the
assignment entailed. After I found the sources, I had to write annotations for each. This
means that I had to include a summary of the source, an evaluation of the quality and why

I thought it was credible and describe how it was or was not useful for my paper. Just as
the topic proposal, I initially thought that this would be more difficult than it was. It was
pretty easy to describe why I thought the source was credible, because if it was then it
was clear as to how.
Once I conducted all of the necessary research and was very familiar with my
topic, it was time to begin writing the first draft. I started out by relating the life of an
actor from one of my favorite shows to my topic, which became my introduction. The
beginning of an essay is always the hardest for me, because when I have a bunch of
information I find it difficult deciding where to start. So with my introduction out of the
way, it was easy to write the rest of the paper. I was familiar with quoting sources in a
paper, because I had to do something similar to this in high school. It was also easy to
give my commentary on the cited material since I have strong opinions on the topic. After
completing the first couple of assignments, I felt comfortable writing this paper. This is
because the assignments built upon each other and by the time it came down to writing
the first draft, I felt pretty prepared.
When I received the comments from my draft, I knew I had a lot of revising to do.
But I was struggling with where to begin. Writing has never really been my thing, so I
needed guidance to get my work where I wanted it to be. Plus, I was completely clueless
as to how I was going to write a full eight pages, considering it was kind of difficult to
write five. I received a lot of useful help from you and I followed your directions
carefully. In my revision, I elaborated on many different ideas that I had only briefly
touched on in my first draft. This required more research. It was difficult to find
information on the specific effects that divorce imposes on children, but I was determined

to find it. I also elaborated on how parents can intervene in the process and help keep
their children out of the divorce as much as possible, because I felt that this would
decrease the impact. As I did more research, I came to the conclusion that I could no
longer focus solely on adolescents. I had to broaden my topic just a little to cover about
all children, from birth to teens. This made it easier to find information. I also included
the opposing side to the argument on my topic, which is that sometimes divorce is better
for the children rather than them witnessing a bad marriage. I feel that this really helped
in the quality of my paper. If I had more time, there would definitely be things that I
would have done differently, but I feel that I put a lot of effort into this assignment.
After each of these assignments were completed, I compiled everything onto a
website. I really enjoyed creating my ePortfolio. I loved being creative about the layout
and displaying all the work that I completed this semester. I took my time on each page,
making sure that everything was just how I wanted it to be. One of my favorite parts of
my website is the second picture on my home page. I took this picture of a mural in
Miami, because it is the title of a song by my favorite artist. I incorporated it into my
ePortfolio, because I felt that it went along with my topic. The mural reads love harder
and I feel that loving hard is a key aspect to marriage. My ePortfolio is the most
important assignment that I completed, in my opinion. It shows my progression this
semester, from simply completing daybook entries to writing a complete essay. I would
honestly do it all over again if I had to, thats how much I enjoyed it.
Overall, I feel that this class has benefitted me in many ways. Not only did I
improve in my writing, I also learned things that I can use daily. This class helped me to
think more critically. What I mean by this is I am better at thinking about a specific topic

and reflecting on it. How else would I have written six pages solely based on
assignments? I have always had an open mind, but I feel that this class allowed me to be
more active about that. What Im saying is I am able to understand different view points
on a topic, even if I dont necessarily agree. Writing is a big part of college, so I feel that
this class will definitely be in the back of my mind over the next few years. I know this
letter is supposed to be about my work, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate all
that you did to help us grow. Thanks for a great semester!

Taylor Bivans