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Hector Palapa

Professor Ogden
This week I learned how similar my reading strategies are to those of my classmates.
Professor Ogden made us participate in a pair share where we shared our reading strategies with
a partner and then share with another classmate. We also learned about Threshold Concepts. A
threshold concept is a concept of knowledge that you can achieve by thinking of your thinking. It
sounds really similar to metacognition. Metacognition is basically thinking about your thinking
and applying it in school to become a better learner and student. I learned this in college one
during the summer session.
Tuesdays class was canceled. On Thursday we learned how to analyze and summarize an
article. Specifically Freewriting by Peter Elbow. The first part of the class we tried to recall
what we learned from the article the first time we read it for homework. During the second part
of class everyone got into groups of four or five and together we tried to analyze the article.
Finally we shared what we understood from the article to the rest of the class.
This week we learned how to revise and edit our compare and contrast essay. On
Tuesday, the class read our own essay outlines to find any errors and then we took some notes on
different kinds of compare and contrast essays. I learned that for every compare and contrast
essay, theres a different structure of organization. On Thursday, our second drafts were due and
we went over any mistakes that we found in our essays. We basically revised it before our final
draft that was due the following week. Ogden then taught us what to look for in our paragraphs.
For example, the organization of our ideas. Were they in correct order? Are they relevant? Do
you have supporting evidence? We looked for things that would make our paragraphs sound
more structured and our arguments stronger. Ogden even used my friends paragraph as an
example and she corrected it on the projector in order to show us what an actual paragraph looks
and sounds like.
So on Tuesday our final drafts were due. Everyone turned them in and I didnt want to
because I felt that my essay wasnt ready yet. I felt as if I didnt completely fulfill the
requirements for an A+ essay. I still had a couple questions about the articles but i decided not to
ask because I thought I would figure it out on my own. I somewhat did in a way. After turning in
our essays, we then started to prep for our timed write on Thursday by talking about the book,

Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher. In all honesty I had no clue of what Pipher was
talking about in the book. All I read about is her past and what has happened to her or what she
experienced. Pipher also writes about life events and people that I didnt even know existed. For
some reason I couldnt read between the lines and actually figure out what Pipher is trying to tell
the reader(me). Before the timed write, I tried one more time to read the book again and
understand it but no luck. I took notes and annotated but still nothing. I came into into the timed
write blind and unprepared. I felt extremely disappointed and upset with myself when I turned in
the time write. It was completely my fault because I couldnt understand the book and I didnt
seek help from peers or my professor. I have no one to blame but myself.
On Tuesday we watched a TedTalk on Natalie Warne and her amazing story on how she
helped pass a bill in order to save the children in Africa from Kony. Her message behind the
video was to motivate us to accomplish our dreams no matter how big or small of an impact we
will make. She also gave viewers hope that these dreams or the impossible come true and
transform into possibilities. Later on our class walked over to the Creveling Lounge to listen to a
couple speakers talk about educators and politicians who have helped undocumented students
achieve their dreams and make higher education a possibility. On Thursday I learned how a
proper formal outline is supposed to look like. But first, we took a reading quiz on Bell Hooks. I
didnt even bother taking the quiz because I knew I wasnt going to pass. I completely forgot that
we had to read. Then we tried to go over the preface, introduction, chapter 1 and 2.
This week the class received their timed write on Mary Pipher and also the
compare/contrast essays. I wasnt looking forward to the bad grades I have received. In fact I
actually got an A on the compare/contrast essay and a B on the timed write. I really shouldnt
have gotten those grades. I dont think I earned them. In a way I feel like Professor Ogden let it
slide because she saw how upset and disappointed I was in myself due to being behind in the
readings. On Thursday we watched a couple of TedTalks that had to do with problems in
communities. These videos are supposed to help us figure out what problems lie in our own
communities and we have to find a solution to them. I grew up in two different and very similar
cities. El Monte/South El Monte and Baldwin Park. Since I grew up in El Monte and made
friends there, some of my friends didnt have the luxury of buying what they needed to keep
them on track with other students in the class room. The lack of money is undermining their
education. My solution is to create a program similar to that of Welfare only more efficient and it
wont be taken advantage of.
This week we had to write an essay on what our discourse community means. I really
dont know what a discourse community actually is. When Professor Ogden explained, it seemed
like it was just any random group of people. In the essay we also had to include the problem in

our discourse community. Mine was on the lack of financial help for those students who actually
want to learn and pursue higher education. It was tough trying to find a problem because there
was a lot of different problems and I had to choose one that had a realistic solution. I was one of
those students who needed a little extra money to pay for school. Not necessarily to attend, but
like sports, physicals, materials and things of that nature. I didnt always need money, but it did
keep me from moving onto the next step. If I couldnt pay for a physical then I couldnt
participate in sports or in band. The thing that was also difficult was negatively defining the city
I grew up in and came to call home. Im not one to turn my back on something or someone that
was nothing but good to me.
This week we had to write a cause and effect essay for the problem in our discourse
community. I had to do a lot of research about El Monte, house prices, government spending,
money distribution and how the Welfare system functions. So much people are abusing the hell
out of the Welfare System in order to buy things that they want such as a new car, a new tv, and
things like that. Professor Ogden showed us some ways to integrate our ideas in an organized
fashion. With so much information on Welfare and why students drop out it is hard to pick and
choose which ones to use in a paper. A fourth of the information are theories as to why students
drop out of school at an early age but it sounds pretty believable. Mostly because I have seen my
friends drop out for the same reasons that the theories propose. It has been weeks and I still find
difficulty in writing a well organized essay with complete thoughts at the college level. My
writing still sounds like a freshman high school student. Im trying to learn though. I starting to
get the hang of all the essays though.
Spring Break
Its getting into crunch time for the research paper due at the end of the semester. Im a
little nervous because I find trouble in expanding my ideas for fifteen pages without sounding
redundant and repetitive. I always find myself writing extra sentences that dont relate to my
topic or idea. Im getting used to writing an essay almost like every week and its really good
practice for me. In my other English classes in elementary, middle school, and high school, I had
the same problem with my writing. I got to my main point or idea early on into the essay and
then I dont have any material to talk about for the rest ten pages. Im slowly getting there though
with all the essays Professor Ogden has been assigning us. Yes its a pain in the ass, but it
benefits me greatly. Not as much as I had hoped but enough to see a difference in my writing.
Even if it is minor. My typing actually improved greatly. I used to type looking at the keyboard
and a little slow. Now I can look at the screen and type. From time to time I look at the keyboard
if I keep pressing the wrong key, but other than that, I look at the screen while typing which is a
huge plus for me since Im eighteen years old and in college. I was born in an age of advanced
technology and if I cant use it properly then Im behind. Well thats the way I see it. Its like if a

teacher cant teach. Then what the hell? Why are you teaching you know? This might not make
any sense to you but it makes sense to me and thats all that matters.
New essay this week. Yay. This essay is on profiling someone or something in our
discourse community that epitomizes the problem in our community. Since my problem is on
how money can have a negative impact on a students education, I chose to profile myself. To
profile. It was tough because I dont like talking about my childhood and the hardships I went
through. In my essay I had to minimize and play down the real moments of my life because then
it would seem as if Im exaggerating about my growing up. I also dont like making it seem as if
I had a horrible life or my parents were terrible. That isnt the case at all! I love my parents and
the way I grew up. I wouldnt change it for anything. For the essay I didnt know where to start. I
think thats my problem with writing. I have no idea where to start because I have no
organization skills whatsoever.
I had a lot to do this week. On Monday I took my Calculus exam. On Tuesday I had one
essay due for Psychology and another for this class. Then on Thursday, I have to present a poster
board in front of a famous writer and poet named Jimmy Santiago Baca. I failed my Calculus
exam horribly with a forty eight percent. Anyway, I still feel like my writing skills havent
improved much. The freewriting helps me expand my ideas a little bit but I still struggle. My
good friend Joel gave me a few tips on how to organize my ideas and ease my frustration. He
told me to just make a bubble chart. I havent used one of these since I was in middle school.
Now that Im in college, charts like these seem childish and are undermined. I learned how
Bacas memoir and book A Place to Stand had a huge impact on so many communities and
individuals. In class we discussed how race, class, the system all interlock and overlap with bell
hooks and Mary Pipher. The poster presentation went great. I got a chance to meet Jimmy
Santiago Baca and shake his hand. He looked really pleased and impressed with all of the posters
and the young students admiring his work. Hes a really nice guy too. Unfortunately I couldnt
stay for the whole thing because I had class at one oclock and attendance is big part of my
grade. Last time I was tardy and my grade dropped two percent which is too much in my
perspective dont you think? A woman really liked our poster because she related it with her son.
Her son has been in jail since he was nineteen and now hes forty-three years old. Our poster was
mainly about racism and classism. How your race or class negatively affects you in different
aspects of your life. She really liked it and Daniela and I felt pretty good considering we only
had four hours to work on the poster.
On Tuesday the class took notes for our research paper that is coming up. The notes were
mainly about how to formally write our topic sentences and also learn the structure of the paper.
Since our paper is three essays combined into a single document, we need to learn what goes

where including our solution. On Thursday we reflected on our poster presentation and what we
can do to improve for next time. Professor Ogden said that we will have a lot more of these types
of presentations so she thought it would be a great idea for the class to give some feedback and
reflect on ourselves. I believe we should have received more time. We only had 2 days to work
on the poster. Daniela and I only had about five hours to work on it. The day it was assigned, we
had things to do at home so we decided to work on the poster the following day. Even then it was
tough figuring out what to put on our poster. We did as much research as we could and also took
trip to target to buy materials such as colored construction paper, regular printing paper, colors
and glue sticks. It was tough honestly. We made it though. We also had a timed write on our
poster presentation topic. Our topic was on the evils of race and class. Meaning how race and
class justify how and where you live as well as your status. If youre of a specific race and class
status, others will treat you differently. I hope I did well on the timed write. Writing isnt really
one of my strengths.
On Tuesday I left class to work on my annotated bibliography. I thought we were
going to work on our annotated bib on our laptops instead of on paper. I wasnt there for almost
the entire class and came back once she was done with her lecture. I ended up looking online on
how an annotated bib is supposed to look and asked my friend Daniela what Professor Ogden
wanted to see on the annotated bib. On Thursday the class worked on their drafts. First we had a
peer review and highlighted how many quotes our peers had in their essays. Professor Ogden
mainly showed us how to integrate quotes into our paragraphs and learn how to expand our ideas
in order to have well developed arguments. She gave an example on the projector screen
showing us a proper paragraph. We basically just had workshops this week that helped me and
the rest of the class perfect our essays.
This semester has challenged me to do better in my reading and writing skills.
Every other English class I had was too lenient and I didnt end up learning anything which is
why I found college level English so challenging. Professor Ogdens class has taught me several
things that will help me for future courses. Before English 1A, I typed extremely slowly, wrote
horrible drafts, encountered writers block all the time and I couldnt let my ideas flow onto the
paper. I would write stuff down but erase it because of how stupid it would sound to me. Now I
have either reduced or eliminated those setbacks. The Freewrites that Professor Ogden assigned
every week was a space I can go to without being criticized on my reading and writing skills.
This helped me become less embarrassed of how I sound on paper. That was the first step. Next I
learned how to manipulate my ideas and turn them into concrete thesis and topic sentences.
Integrating quotes into my paragraphs has become a lot easier too. English 1A STACC has taught
me many different things that will for sure help me out in future courses to come