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  • bonniebushnell 7:39 pm on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Productive Meeting 

  • bonniebushnell 3:55 am on October 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    First Essay 

    Overall, I would consider my first placement as a Writing Colleague to be going very well. Of course, I have encountered a few of the typical stereotypical students. You know, the “older” First-Year who is unfocused yet acts as though he doesn’t need the help because he isn’t an 18 year old, fresh out of high school. There is also the overly confident one, who nods along with what I’m saying as though she knows what I am saying before I get the chance to finish my sentence. Of course, I also have one (or rather two) of the “Ohhh, I missed the meeting? Well was it important?” students thrown in. Aside from these minor conflictions, however, I have been very happy with how the semester is going.


    My biggest issue then thus far has been that the students were just returned their first essays and the class average was a B-. I know, I know “we’re not responsible for their grades,” but how can I not feel somewhat guilty? I met several times with each student, working on each paper individually, and then was so displeased to hear that. I shamefacedly met with all my students the following week and although there was no hostility toward me, their obvious disappointment in their grades was almost even worse. I talked to the professor after class and he told me it wasn’t an abnormally low set of grades handed out, and part of me began to wonder if he was pulling the “your first essay in college shouldn’t be an A+ regardless of whatever,” but we also talked about what he found so dissatisfying. I am also going to ask him to send me a sample essay of what he is looking for.


    I found it interesting when I was reading papers regarding how many of them used colloquial and clichéd phrases, only one person wasn’t surprised to learn she needed a title, and the fact that you can’t just insert a quote, no context before or after provided. My professor expressed that he felt overall everyone’s paper needed to be more fully developed. Although I had tried to work with many students more on setting up quotes, I am now conscious to make sure they fully follow that through on this next essay. I have also had them all bring in their graded essays and we went over his comments in our most recent meetings.


    The techniques I have found most helpful is reading passages out loud and laying out the pages (tape optional). Reading out loud allows the students to hear wordy phrases or unclear statements without me having to specifically tell them that. I unstaple papers and lay them out when working on organization and placement.


    I would greatly appreciate any thoughts and advice regarding what to do when students receive less than satisfactory grades as well as any other approaches you all have found helpful.



  • bonniebushnell 2:10 am on April 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    B Bushnell WCS April 22 2011 My previous… 

    B. Bushnell


    April 22 2011

    My previous experiences when working with my peers has mostly consisted of writing little “a”s above misused “then”s and drawing arrows where tenses don’t match. The Writing Colleagues Program is much more than monotonous red marks reworking basic editorial errors.

    I immediately noticed the lack of written commentary on my essay the first time I worked with my Writing Colleague from my First Year Seminar. He had a yellow legal pad with my name, underlined, scrawled across the top in black ink with notes written underneath. The purpose of a Writing Colleague is to help facilitate the writers’ own ideas. This is something I have been learning how to do this semester, and a skill I will continue to develop.

    Working with Heidi has helped to shape my own personal style of working with others during my practicums. I usually begin my meetings by explaining the benefits of actually hearing how what the student wrote sounds. We then alternate reading paragraphs out loud. This allows the student to gain perspective, so I immediately ask him or her about what they felt after hearing it. This has so far proved to be a successful method, as everyone I have done it with has at once noticed places he or she wants to discuss. I will probably not continue to read the entire essay out loud every time, instead focusing on certain paragraphs or ideas, but this has helped me not to steer the conversation with only the places I see need work.

    Other facilitative questions I can fall back on is when I notice a certain area could benefit from more detail. I recently had a meeting with Kathryn Middleton (my seventh practicum). Her essay discussed the benefits of boarding school and her arguments included that she was able to form real friendships because she was able to develop her own individuality as well as develop closer relationships with her teachers. She had a long and descriptive example for the first, but the latter was more of a mention. We talked about how adding to this section would make her argument stronger, and I asked her if she had any memories of a teacher from her public middle school who she felt had judged her unfairly to contrast with her positive recollection of an English teacher from her boarding school. She came up with several ideas she quickly jotted down, and then went on to discuss how she hadn’t felt comfortable talking to her teachers in public school and had tutors, something she didn’t need in high school. I was happy to help her talk out her ideas.

    Facilitative questions are essentially the epitome of being a good Writing Colleague. After all, we are not supposed to dictate the conversation, blabbing on about an endless list of corrections. We must find a delicate balance to enable the student to help himself.

  • bonniebushnell 1:06 am on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    B Bushnell WCS April 21 2011 Sarah and… 

    B. Bushnell


    April 21 2011

    Sarah and I sat ourselves apart from the class in Scandling Lounge and pulled out our respective first drafts. Mine consisted mainly of a few preliminary pictures and an outline of what I intend to cover and how when I actually create a draft for this fifth essay. Sarah had a lot of pictures and some miscellaneous texts for her first draft.

    After we were settled I decided to read mine to her first. Although I did not have a complete draft, I still found this work shop to be beneficial. Talking my idea over with someone helped me to narrow in on a direction, and areas I will need to readjust. My topic is the 19th amendment and the protesting that occurred with women’s rights in Washington D.C. so the pictures were pretty straight forward. I only had one complex idea- the hesitance some of the women must have felt by going against their families. Sarah suggested finding a picture of a man yelling at a woman. I considered this, but I believe I can pull from their facial expressions as well as backing it up by finding an article related to this.

    Sarah then read her essay and I followed along looking at the pictures. It was still in its beginning stages, but I thought she did a good job on this draft. She seemed to embody Said successfully, as she emphasized the fact that she is Jewish heavily, and her defensive yet strong tone matched his. She seemed to be receptive when we discussed her project after she read, but clearly she was just nodding along. I talked to her about the organization of her essay and where to place certain texts. This was more of an opened-ended discussion that broadened into talking about which of her photographs to actually use. I didn’t think this part of our workshop was as essential as I guess she felt. I merely agreed with her that the picture of the two women who were saved by hiding from nuns was more redundant and therefore could be omitted. My thinking was that as she continued to write, the photographs to be used would become obvious. Hopefully her boyfriend offered better advice.

    We “finished” early but met again several minutes later. I suggested going through her essay line by line like we had done with Said in class. We were able to go over how her text either imitated Said’s well or not for the duration of class. I felt it was a good meeting but I will have to reconsider certain facilitative questions. Even if they seem like they are helpful, perhaps the student isn’t relating or understanding certain ones.

  • bonniebushnell 1:05 am on April 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    B Bushnell WCS April 21 2011 Reading Said… 

    B. Bushnell


    April 21, 2011

    Reading Said again drew my attention away from simply noticing his stylistic techniques, and I instead was more observant of what he actually had to say.

    I noticed how accusatory Said’s tone is. He takes a very controversial issue, a group he belongs to, and describes his experience through their eyes. The pronouns Said uses shift like a roller coaster throughout the text. They make readers feel uncomfortable, like outsiders. This is effective because it is exactly how he describes the Palestinians to feel.

    Said is not exactly a trustworthy author. He is passionate about his claims, but he has never even been to the locations of the photographs. He knows history form the past and personal experiences, but this issue goes much beyond just that.

    When I imitate Said I will be sure to use a lot of dashes in my writing. His thorough depiction of each photograph point out minor details that don’t initially stand out.

  • bonniebushnell 4:01 pm on April 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Hobart and William Smith Colleges Writing Colleagues Program… 

    Hobart and William Smith Colleges

    Writing Colleagues Program



    • caforbes 1:29 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This is excellent work. You really have a feel for marketing-type writing. I love the graphic you chose to use–eye-catching, bright.

  • bonniebushnell 2:58 am on April 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Said First Reading 

    B. Bushnell


    April 10, 2011: 10:4o pm

    Said’s style immediately drew me in. All of the previous readings we have done, the writer has been an observer to the community. Although they submerge themselves to the various groups they are documenting, Said speaks as an insider for the Palestine group as a whole.

    Said’s style was very captivating because of his use of fragments and repetition. Ideas were emphasized because of the short syntax of the text, and it was clear to readers that the Palestines are a group lacking in  identity. On page 382, Said discusses in-depth how even Palestines in certain countries who are held in high esteem- teachers and engineers- must carry an identity labeling them. Even in a land that feels like their home they are said to be “alien.”

    Another difference I noticed were how the photographs were embedded in the text. In Lange and Taylor’s collaboration, I agreed with the decision of breaking it up in two sections with photographs preceding both texts. For their project, setting up the plantation and showing the living conditions prior to reading Taylor’s work just makes sense. Said’s experience seems more personal, so having photographs throughout  fits better in this context.

    • caforbes 1:30 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that his rhetorical devices–and his intricate organization–make this piece memorable.

  • bonniebushnell 3:05 pm on April 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    April 6 Workshop 

    B. Bushnell


    April 10, 2011: 10:55 am


    It was both interesting and cohesive to workshop with Andrew again. In our last class, we had discussed which prompt we intended on answering and how the best way to do so was, so reading each other’s papers proved to be insightful.


    In our first workshop, we had discussed how we had both begun rather presumptuously, diving in to scrutinizing our subjects’ quirks with out pausing to plan or even outline. Doing this had allowed us to forget about including multiple components of a documentary, predominantly focusing on the immediate tendencies and patterns of our subjects.


    We both wrote in our essays that for future projects we would plan ahead first. What we initially had done doesn’t need to be completely disregarded. I didn’t read Andrew’s third essay, but from the way he discussed it, it sounded like he had approached it similarly to how I had. I know that I will keep a lot of what I already have written, while adding to it with other elements that are essential for a documentary.




    • caforbes 1:31 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      So this hints at a plan for your portfolio draft. How many intermediate drafts do you think you need to finish?

  • bonniebushnell 6:49 pm on April 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Workshop with Andrew April 4 

    B. Bushnell


    April 4, 2011: 2:35 pm


    Andrew and I began our workshop by mulling over which question we intended to answer for our fourth essay. We both felt that the second question would be the most beneficial to our first documentaries, as it would lay out a plan in order to help us with future work as well as editing our third essay.


    I told him that the main issue with my first documentary was that I hadn’t given my subject a past or future, I simply wrote about her personal idiosyncrasies to capture her insecurity. He felt that he had made the same mistake the first time. His subject was a guy doing homework in a common room. I advised him that he could give his subject a future by not succumbing to the distractions, and therefore the reward in the end would be doing well in school. I told him for his subject’s past he could write about what choices his subject had made previously, and how those decisions had impacted him thus far.


    We both agreed that the first step we would do differently this time around would be mapping out what we were trying to accomplish better. We both got too wrapped up in the social part; we left out the cultural and historical aspects.


    For this essay, I intend on making a clear outline of what I’m trying to accomplish as well as other elements such as photography and interviews I can add. I am excited to begin this essay, as I believe it will be very beneficial for me to make a plan that I can follow for future projects as well as when I begin to revise my first documentary.


    • caforbes 1:32 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      How did the outline help you? I’d like you to include it in your portfolio.

      • bonniebushnell 2:34 am on April 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Okay, I will. The outline allowed me to map out everything I needed to include so I didn’t end up overlooking things.

  • bonniebushnell 6:41 pm on April 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    B Bushnell WCS April 4 2011 2:25 pm… 

    B. Bushnell


    April 4, 2011: 2:25 pm


    Rereading Coles reiterated my belief that had we read The Tradition: Fact and Fiction before starting our own documentaries, they would have been more successful the first time around. Fortunately, it was just our first draft, and now that I have two different drafts and have read Coles’ documentary two separate times, I have a better grasp on what direction to take my own documentary in, as well as know how to begin my next documentary.

    Coles emphasizes the importance the writer plays in the documentary. It is his personal decision which elements to leave out. It also also partially an unconscious matter, as one person might narrow in on a particular trait another person wouldn’t give much thought.

    For my third and final draft of the third essay, I am beginning to understand where to take it. My first draft suffered because I spent too much time focusing on the present. I was able to capture specific idiosyncrasies of my subject regarding her mannerisms and insecurity, but I had failed to provide context, a past or a future.

    Although my second draft was able to incorporate more of the episodic progression necessary for a documentary, I was still lacking a few key aspects. My documentary is currently predominantly a projection of how I view my subject. While a lot of those details are essential, I need to gain different perspectives. I am planning on interviewing the girl along with how others see her.

    One problem is how to go about conducting this documentary, portraying this girl in an honest yet not very flattering way. After my meeting with Heidi, I believe I might begin to take my documentary in a slightly different direction. I would still keep the girl in, but I wouldn’t solely focus on her. I would interview a lot of people from different floors in JPR on how they adjusted to college.

    • caforbes 1:33 pm on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Your remark about the timing of Coles is something I’ve been wondering about reading Coles before anything else. How would that work?

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