Last week, i did my first speech. I was terrified. I was going to start writing it out so that i didn’t forget anything and so that if i said everything word-for-word, i would reach my 5 minute time limit. But as i started doing this, i realized that this would just cause me to
look at the page the entire time and not make any eye contact at all, so i decided against that. came up with what i was going to talk about and pretty much went from there. i had no outline or anything, just went off the top of my head. I know that i was probably bright red and my voice was definitely shaking. I think i did okay, but i definitely have a lot to work on. Eye contact is one of those. I get so nervous that i don’t want to look at anyone, especially not my friends because i am afraid that i would laugh! It was my turn to go and i did and i reached my time limit and more and did okay. I love talking in general to anyone but went it comes to getting up in front of a class of people that i don’t know very well, it is very nerve wrecking. This has opened my eyes and i see that i need to set some new goals that will help me with my speaking in front of strangers. I would really like to be more outgoing about things like this and be able to talk to anyone and introduce myself to anyone. This would be a great goal not only for English class but also for other classes and life.
We have just started reading AP level novels so this has kind of forced me to actually read… (Even though i am very behind.) This book is out of the typical genre that i read so it’s been a little different for me trying to read this but i like it and it is a way to get me back into reading since i haven’t been as consistent in my reading as i should. Hopefully i will start reading again like i used to after being forced to read these books in class. I still love to read but my biggest struggle is finding time or energy to just sit down and read a book without falling to sleep or not remembering a word i read the next morning. But having to sit down and read these books for school has started to push me back into that habit. I know that i will have to read a lot of books in my lifetime so having a little nudge like an assignment will hopefully get me back into that habit.
One of the reading goals that i keep setting is to branch out and read other books that wouldn’t usually interest me. But since i haven’t been reading, that goal has not been anywhere near accomplished. Hopefully i will get myself back into that habit of sitting down with a book and i will give myself a chance to accomplish this goal no matter how out of my comfort zone it may be.
I set some goals at the beginning of this school year about my writing and what i need to work on and i have gone back through each of them throughout this year, seeing how i have
improved… or not… throughout my sophomore year. We have had to write a couple On-Demands this year which is something that is not my favorite but i do what i can. I like to be able to plan out and think about what i want to say and write about, but in On-Demands it is… on demand so that is not an option. I have gotten grades back on the pieces that i have done and it is mostly little mistakes, easily fixed, like grammar, transitions from paragraph to paragraph, and varying my sentences. Making these goals in English class have actually helped me a little in other classes, like my AP World History class in writing the timed essays, to focus on how my paragraphs flow but also making sure i get all the information in. We have also ‘written’ speeches. I found that writing my speech was harder than just having key points to talk about. So i didn’t end up writing my speech but just had some key points written out about my topic.
Speaking and Listening
I am a very good listener but when it comes to speaking in front of big crowds who I don’t know I get so nervous. In front of people I know, I am completely fine. But standing in front of strangers is WAY out of my comfort zone! I have gotten so much better at speaking than I was last year though. I used to shake and feel sick before I got up in front of people but I have gotten much better this year. I still definitely get nervous but it’s not to the point of feeling sick.
Through having to speak in front of people at school I have discovered that when I am with someone I do much better. I also have learned that when I am trying to be funny or joke around in my speech, I feel much more comfortable. My listening has never really been an issue. I pay attention very easily in class and I love listening to just about anyone. In my group of friends I am the person that everyone comes to for advice or just to vent to. So I didn’t really set any goals for improving my listening skills.
From here… I think my next step is stepping out of my comfort zone in front of strangers.
I haven’t read at all out of school unless it is something required for another class. Reading Brave New World and Julius Caesar have shown me what I like and don’t like as a reader. I HATED reading Julius Caesar. I like to read modern, up-to-date things not reading in old english. I didn’t really like reading it also because it was a play. I would much rather read a story that I could relate to and understand rather than having to decipher everything going on because of the different type of speech.
Through my readings from when I started reading until now, I have discovered that I like sappy romantic books. I like things that I can relate to and I know that its something that I will go through at some point. I want to be able to imagine myself in that same situation and see how I would handle that certain situation.
My goals from the beginning of the year have not really been met. I can read just fine but lately I have not enjoyed it as much as I used to. I guess this is a goal that will carry on and I will have to continue to work on.
From writing while reading Brave New World and doing the On-Demand and writing our plays, I have learned some about how I am as a writer. When I had to summarized Brave New World, I noticed that I have to put in every single detail of the book and pretty much re-write it for them. This is definitely something that I need to work on instead of rambling on and on. I have learned that writing plays is definitely not something that I would ever do just because. I am terrible but not as bad as I thought I would be. Usually I come up with some stupid story that doesn’t really make any sense. This time I based it on real life and things that I have really been through and it turned out okay. I was okay with writing the On-Demand that we had. I have seen that I am a much better writer when I am writing essays(and plays) about solid fact and not having to make things up. I am pretty sure that I did really well on it.
In writing these pieces I have seen my goals that I made at the beginning of the year are being made. I have gotten more organized than I used to be. My essays are in a specific order so that they are not jumping all over the place and not making sense to the reader. I have had a lot of practice writing DBQs and Compare and Contrast essay in my AP class so I have definitely been able to work on improving.
From last year to this year, my writing has changed. Mostly in organization but also in my play writing. I have learned to focus on what I am best at and try to put it into every type of writing piece that I do.
There is always still room for improvement. I still need to work on my plays and poetry writing definitely. These are two things I have never been good at. I can still improve the flow of my essays and work on my wording to really HOOK the reader.
In writing the essays that I have had to write for English Summer Reading and Journal Entries is class, I have learned about myself as a writer. I have discovered that I am definitely better at writing essays than I am writing short stories or poems. I have found that I really don’t like writing poetry or stories. I want to stick to what I know is fact, not something made up or rhyming. I guess that means that is something that I will need to work on…. Get more comfortable with different types of writing. I have DEFINITELY improved my writing since last year. My paragraphs rambled on just to fill up space and I didn’t really take much time in writing it and nothing seemed to make sense. This year, I have learned how much is enough and what needs to be told and what isn’t important and also how to keep it interesting. Seeing this, my goal is now that I need to learn to work on things and writing pieces outside of my comfort zone that I may not be comfortable with.
At the beginning of middle school I read ALL the time. I could go through a book every couple of weeks and I would start series and be hooked. I would go to bed and read for about 30 minutes and then fall asleep. As I have gotten older and busier, books have become my last priority. I rarely read and if I do it takes me forever and if it’s not extremely interesting, I don’t finish it. Some of the CRAVE IQ strategies have helped me. It really helps me to visualize the scene and to analyze what is going on. I have found that the books that I really get into are the cheesy romantic love stories were the ending is happily ever after. I even have found that I like books where I can just sit down, read it, and cry. Over the summer I don’t think I would have read nearly as much as I could have. The ONLY reason I sat down and read 4 books, was because of summer reading, but… I actually really enjoyed reading them. 🙂 I definitely need to start working on reading more books and branching out in my genres.
This year, I have only had to speak in front of the class a few times. Because I don’t know many of the people in the class, i was VERY nervous! When I am around people who I don’t know, I don’t like to talk or contribute to conversations, I want to sit back and let everyone else talk and me just listen. Wanting to listen can be a good thing. My friends come to me when they need help because they know I will listen and not just try to shove advice at them but also, just listening doesn’t really get me anywhere. Honestly, since last year, I think my nervousness of talking in front of the class has gotten worse. Maybe it’s because I don’t really know as many people in my classes this year and don’t want to put myself out there, but whatever it is, it’s something I need to work on. I am definitely a listener.. I need to balance it out. Coming into this year, I seem to have set myself back. I need to catch myself back up and go further, not backwards.
…. This is me so farr. 🙂