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Zachary Chen
Mrs. Pagani
ERWC Per. 1
10 May 2017
Reflection Letter
For my reflection letter I have chosen essays Into the Wild, Racial Profiling, Narrative,

and have used process work such as articles, vocabulary, and outlines to build a basis on my

essays. From this work, I will reflect on what I learned about the evidence, commentary, and

transitional skills that I have developed, and my strengths and weaknesses such as run-ons,

dumped quotes, and transitions. I will address my academic essays with new skills such as

parenthetical citations and sentence variety, skills that need improvement such as run-ons, and

goals to write an essay worthy of an A.

The three essays I used for my reflection are Into the Wild, Racial Profiling, and my

Whats Next essay. Into the Wild was a book I wrote an essay about back in November. The

essay was a literary analysis based essay, where I described my opinion of Chris McCandless. I

used quotes such as I dont want to know what time it is. I dont want to know what day it is or

where I am. None of that matters (Krakauer 17). With this quote I explained that Chris went out

into the wild for his morals and beliefs and showed true characteristics of an idealist. In my

Racial Profiling essay I concluded that racial profiling is wrong and should not be used by law

enforcement to target specific individuals for suspicious crime activity based on ethnicity. A key

quote I used for this essay showed that racial profiling is wrong and states Police powers to stop

and search vary from place to place. But profiling-the targeting for specific individuals or groups

based on appearance-constitutes illegal discrimination under U.S, European, and international

law(Foundations). This essay was an argumentative essay in which we were tasked with using
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evidence to make our point. Another essay that took a large amount of process work was my

Whats Next essay. This essay was a personal statement done back in September. To complete

this essay I used evidence from my own life to explain an incident that would eventually lead me

to the choice of going to college after high school instead of the workforce. Throughout the

school year I have written various essays. These three were chosen because they are the best at

highlighting my skill as a writer and the culmination of weeks of process work.

Behind every great essay there is preparation, or process work. Process work is the

backbone of any and every essay, and there are specific tools that have helped me out both

semesters. The first tool to have drastic effect on my essays is the annotated article. Annotated

articles serve as my main sources of evidence, and have helped me through the year when it

comes to concrete facts. If it werent for my investment in annotated articles than my essays

would be stagnant and pointless. Another piece of process work I used was the editing technique.

There has never been a time where my papers were perfect; they have always needed some

changes. For example before I turned in my final draft of the bullying research paper I noticed

there were imperfections in my essay. I had comma errors, misplaced capitals, misspelled words,

and blank spots where periods should be. With the help of editing I was able to correct my

mistakes and make my paper the best that it could be. The last piece of process work that brought

my essays great success were outlines. Outlines come in handy when preparing for timed writes

and are essential for a good essay. Before my Brave New World time write I prepared an intro

along with ordering my evidence and commentary so I could focus on the details the day of the

paper. Preparing an outline beforehand saved time and allowed me to clearly state my thesis

throughout the essay. Process work has proven to be the key to getting an A on an essay.
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Throughout the year there are five skills that I have had the chance to improve upon. One

skill that I have gotten better at is finding evidence to support my claim. For example in my

Brave New World essay I used this quote from the book, Walking and talking-that seemed a

very odd way of spending an afternoon (Huxley 89). This quote served as evidence to

strengthen my claim that our world is becoming more and more like the futuristic utopia author

Aldous Huxley imagined. Before this improvement I would use evidence that didnt quite

connect with my claim, resulting in confusing sentences. Another skill I improved upon was my

ability to annotate articles and texts. In the beginning of the school year my annotations skills

were poor, I was limited to underlining phrases and highlighting points with little to no

explanation for doing so. But towards the middle and end of the year I could annotate articles

with maximum efficiency. I could underline and highlight with reasoning on both sides of the

page, and identify the ethos, pathos, and logos in a text. The third skill I have enhanced since the

beginning of the school year is writing topic sentences. When I first started the class I had

trouble writing a good topic sentence that supported my claim, but by the end of the year my

topic sentences matched my topics and thesis statements perfectly. One example of a good topic

sentence is this piece I used for my racial profiling essay, To start out, racial profiling is not

right because it allows law enforcement to target specific ethnic groups for crime (Chen). This

topic sentence clearly matches my claim on racial profiling being wrong. My fourth developed

skill would be editing drafts. Usually in all of the english classes before this draft editing was left

to peers and the teacher. Taking this class taught and showed me how to edit my own drafts and

fix any errors both in my essay and papers that I read from other students and the internet. The

last skill that I have improved on is using tools such as google classroom and google docs.
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Before taking this class I was so used to using Word Document. I didnt really know how to

work with the recent tools that Google has provided. But soon I was able to learn how to upload

files, share documents, and fully take advantage of copy and paste control keys. These new skills

have enabled me to increase my essay performance and overall make me a better paper writer.

My main strengths and weaknesses have stayed the same throughout the year. Regarding

strengths my transitions from paragraph to paragraph have remained one of the best parts of my

essay. Another strength is my parenthetical citation placement, although this skill has been

mastered since middle school. The big problem I have had with all of my essays is the run-on

problem. That compounded with the poor commentary I sometimes put out. In the future I want

to work on making my essay smooth.

Annotation has been my biggest improvement by far this year. After reading various

articles for my Bullying Research paper and Juvenile Justice I can annotate and fully understand

the text. Even annotating instructions and templates have become easier. Along with annotation

creating and filling out a Works Cited has become easier too. These skills have definitely grown

this year and I hope to master them in college.

My critical reading skills have always been really high. There hasnt been much change

with them, one of my only problems being that I need to use focus words to better sum up a

paragraph. For example in Into the Wild I failed to use a big focus word that sums up the book.

Besides this problem I need to work on intro and exit quotes. I dont have too many problems

when it comes to critical reading skills, but I do think there is still room for improvement.

The in depth reading and annotating I have learned in ERWC have allowed me to gain an

advantage over kids from other states when it comes to college essays. Skills like annotating and
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finding the authors deep message when reading in government or word problems in math. Based

on the level of content I believe this class will have a huge impact on me when I start to study in

college. This class has helped me hone my skills, and when college comes I intend to get even

better.