Monday, January 28, 2013
The formative assessments that we worked on throughout the year helped in developing my skills in writing through constructive feedback which allowed for exploration in writing and the ability to improve my writing. One example of when formative assessments helped to develop my skills in writing in with the British imperialism paper. In the imperialism paper, a group and I devised a thesis that we all agreed on and began to write out our paper outlines. Together we explored different ideas of how to create a concrete paper that displayed the good and bad in contrast. In the drafts that were edited I explored different possibilities on how to create contrast which would support my argument that the British were mostly justified. In the feedback that i received it entailed that there were moments of unsupported claims or not enough analysis which created a weaker overall argument. With this feedback and editing from peers it allowed me to improve as a writer and realize the mistakes that often occur. Overall, I believe that formative assessments that we worked on did help me to become a better writer and learn new ways of creating strong papers and paragraphs.
Friday, January 25, 2013
When writing the nationalism essay I created three drafts until I turned my final essay in. The first draft was created from my outline which was then peer edited. My second draft was edited by my older sister, which seemed to help me a lot. Then for the third draft that lead me to my final, I edited it myself for spelling mistakes and finalized a couple of ideas. My sources for feedback where my sister who is in college, a classmate and myself. Next writing assignment I definitely would like to spend more time creating drafts that lead me to my final. The most common type of feedback that I received was to connect my analysis back to my thesis as well as elaborating on my ideas more instead of just mentioning something and jumping to the next thing. I think an issue that I struggle with is actually voicing my ideas in an organized manner more effectively. I find that sometimes I try to fit in too many ideas that don’t quite relate exactly to my thesis. Next writing assessment I want to visit the lab, and try to organize my ideas better with thorough evidence that connects directly to the thesis. One example in my first body paragraph is; “Nationalism may seem like a deconstructive force but in reality it is constructive because it brought people together through struggling commonalities that they shared.” Then after revising it became “Although at first glance nationalism may seem like a deconstructive force, it is in reality constructive because the brutality that they faced brought the populace together through universal struggles that allowed people to share and create a stronger dominant nation.”. The transition from the first draft to final showed how taking the time to work hard on the way I express my thoughts allows the message that I am trying to convey be portrayed more easily.
Extra Credit Term 2
The writing assignment I chose in which we used formative assessment is my nationalism essay. For the essay, I completed a total of six drafts. The first draft I wrote was an essay outline, which was then revised by both my peers and a teacher in the history lab. The second draft was similar to the original essay outline, except I incorporated the feedback I received into the first draft. After my second draft of my essay outline, I started writing the essay itself. After I finished my first draft of the essay (which was my third draft so far in the process), I edited it. After making the edits, which lead me to my fourth draft, I asked my mom to edit it and give me feedback. By applying her feedback, that led me to my fifth draft, which I lastly edited for spelling and grammar, leading me to my sixth and final draft. The sources of feedback I received for my essay outline came from my peers and a teacher from the social studies lab; whereas, for the four drafts of my essays, my mom and myself were my sources of feedback.
On both the essay and the essay outline, the most common feedback I received was “connect further to the thesis statement” and “work on stronger analysis.” When writing essays, one of the goals I have is to keep the feedback I’ve received in mind, so I can make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again. When editing essays myself, after someone has given me feedback, one way that I address my improvement is by highlighting examples of where I have changed my writing to incorporate some of their feedback. Keeping feedback that I commonly get from peers/teachers in the back of my mind when writing essays is a positive way for me to prevent making similar mistakes in my writing in the future.
In my imperialism essay this semester I feel through multiple drafts and revisions my essay improved. I had two drafts and also one revise paragraph in the end. I feel that even though I only had a couple a drafts it was a lot better then if I had just wrote one draft and turned it in. After my first draft I got feedback from mrs. Palferman, my learning center teacher, and also from the history lab. The most common feedback I got from these sources was to improve my analysis and to conect my evidence back to my argument.
After receiving this feedback, I began to look through my analysis and try to think how my evidence is good evidence for my argument. I also tried to create more detailed and specific points to argue. In the future I will try to prevent these mistakes by making sure to have good analysis's in my organizer. By doing this I will have everything I need for when I start to right my essay. One area I did improve on though in my Imperialism Essay was finding good evidence for my argument but I did not explain what it was evidence.
Term 2 Extra Credit
During our Imperialism Essay Assignment, I completed 6 drafts. The sources of my feedback was from social study lab teachers, especially Ms. Bel. One of the common types of feedback that I received was that my topic sentences has confusing analysis. Another common feedback that I received was that I do have a an idea/argument, but the syntax and dictions are incomprehensible. Based on the feedbacks and suggestions, I eliminated words that were unnecessary and switched the syntax to make it coherent. After revision, I checked the social studies lab schedule for Ms. Bel, and visited when she was there to ask for another feedback on the weaknesses that she mentioned before.
In order to prevent similar mistakes in my future writing, first, after I write a essay outline, I will try to ask myself if my topic sentences are argumentative and not factual, even before writing down evidences and analysis. Secondly, I will read out loud to myself and if it sounds weird, I will edit it so that I can fix some parts by myself before asking other peer for feedback.
One of the example that I improved an aspect of my writing is from my Imperialism essay thesis. For the first draft of the thesis, although I had an idea about my argument, I could not think of the words to express my thought and was not sure how I should put it into a thesis that others can understand my point. This was my first draft of thesis: “Although European’s were justified to the extent that they altered inhumane tradition of the colonies in order to establish equality and justice, their contradictory assimilation was injustice without understanding of native’s culture, which destroyed their heritage and lives of the natives”. So, for this first draft, I got a feedback that “contradictory assimilation” is confusing and unclear. Additionally, my thesis did not fully captured the arguments that I made in my three body paragraphs. After I told Ms.Bel that I was struggling to find a word that can describe the imperialist’s unjustified action to the natives that was contradictory to what they claimed to “help” the natives, she suggested the word “hypocritical”; and this was exactly the word that I wanted to describe the imperial powers in my argument. From that point, I edited my thesis with the new diction and changed my analysis(in thesis) based on my arguments from body paragraphs. After several visit to Ms.Bel and self-edit, my thesis became more coherent and relevant to my body paragraphs: “Although imperial powers attempted to establish equality and justice in the colonies’ traditions , their hypocritical assimilation countered their stated goals, making it unjustifiable to the extent that it resulted destruction of culture and livelihood in colonies”. Although I still received a feedback that my thesis is a bit wordy and I still need to work on my sentences concise and coherent, I was pleased by the improvements that I made through my effort to seek for help from teachers and by myself.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
How has this course shaped your understanding of and interaction with presidential politics in the U.S.?
This course has changed how I look at presidential politics because it has informed me about the current issues, made me more aware about the problems we face as a nation, and forced me to think critically about possible solutions and resolutions to problems. By gaining information on these subjects, I gained insight that, prior to the class, I did not have. Now with the knowledge I have acquired, I can use the critical thinking I have gained in class to establish well-informed opinions on global issues. In the past, I have allowed my opinions on politics and governmental affairs to be influenced perhaps too much by the media. However, now by learning more about the history and role of the President, as well current issues such as gun control and relations with China, I feel I can confidently form strong arguments to support my views. This course has also helped me to look at the President as more of politician who, at times, will do things that benefit himself or his reputation that may harm or fail to help others. Overall, I feel that politics, something I have always an interest in but never was very informed, is now an area in which I have a stronger interest. I look forward to researching further on my own and in college.
Before I took this course, I didn't have much knowledge about politics. I never had any strong opinions on any of the issues, and that stemmed from being uninformed. It was the perfect time for me to take this course since it was during an election year. We learned about how campaigns were financed and how they were run in general, and seeing that in action helped me get a better understanding of politics. I also learned a lot about the office of the president. The candidates made it seem during the election that they had the power to "fix" the economy and make all sorts of changes immediately and all by themselves. I learned that the president actually doesn't have the power to do those things on his own, The most useful project for me was the contemporary campaign issues. I learned a lot about all the different campaign issues, and that knowledge helped me formulate my own opinions on the different issues. After taking this course, I feel that I have a strong understanding of how politics work and a strong understanding of the current issues facing our country today.
This course was very beneficial to me in the way it helped to shape my understanding of presidential politics. In the course, not only did we learn about the electoral college and how the president is elected, we more thoroughly explored the current issues that shaped this years election. Now when I read the news, I am able to understand more of what is going on in politics, even in issues I used to not be concerned with. By taking this course, I have come to understand and have an opinion on issues I used to not know about.
I thought a very valuable activity in this course was the posters and theses we made about how the presidential power has changed over time. By investigating the beliefs of two different time periods, I could easily see how presidential power has changed over time. Being able to see the change in presidential power is another way the course shaped my understanding of presidential politics.
January 25, 2013
How has this course shaped your understanding of and interaction with presidential politics in the U.S.?
Before taking this course I did not have a clear understanding about how campaign finance worked, how the presidential election system worked, and what factors contribute to a president's power. In terms of campaign finance I was unaware of the tight restrictions placed on campaign finance. When I learned about the restriction placed on corporations by the Taft-Hartley Act, I was surprised but this restriction made sense to me. If corporations are contributing large sums of money there might be a relationship between them and the candidate to watch out of their interest. Another aspect of campaign finance I learned about was regarding the role of PACs. Before taking this course I was confused when I heard the announcer say that the ad was not associated with any candidate but now this makes sense to me. Furthermore, I learned the importance of grassroots campaigns. Before taking this course I knew about the electoral college system and interpreted it to mean that the American public did not have much say in their choice for president. However, grassroots campaigns have a large say in the end result of elections. Another part of this course that made me understand campaigns was the exit polling activity. I learned how exit polling data can teach candidates who to appeal to in future campaigns. Before taking this course I knew about the electoral college; however, this course gave me new knowledge about the electoral college. I never new of the advantage Wyoming had in the electoral college. Although they have few delegates, the population is over represented. Later on in the course when we discussed presidential power, I learned about the cabinets of presidents. I did not know that cabinet positions could be added. By adding cabinet positions, this can either increase the president's power or decrease it depending on how one looks at it. It increases presidential power because president's have a broader range on issues. It decreases power because then presidential duties are redistributed to others. I enjoyed taking this course after US history because we had touched on many of these concepts before; however, this course showed me the advantages and disadvantages of the American presidential system and process.
Term 2 Extra Credit
In the nationalism essay I used formative assessment. Using feedback from you, my classmates, Mr. Kelton, and my mom, I was able to improve my essay. My most common feedback was to create more specific evidence and analysis. Thanks to formative assessment I was able to improve on this flaw throughout the drafts of my essay. For example, during peer edits, a classmate told me that I should find a specific event in which Gandhi peacefully protested against the British, rather than just broadly stating that he staged many peaceful protests. Using this feedback, I changed my evidence from Gandhi led peaceful protests, to Gandhi led the salt march, which protested British salt taxes. However, in my later drafts it was harder to completely change evidence, so rather than creating more specific evidence I created more specific analysis, which better targeted my claim.
Throughout my three drafts, my essay improved due to formative assessment. Specific feedback helped me target my errors. In the future I know to avoid the same mistakes, I can put in the extra leg work to find good specific evidence before creating drafts.
By Thomas Berman
How has this course shaped your understanding of and interaction with presidential politics in the U.S?
Well thats a very interesting question, you see? When I came to Wellesley High School, I only had one backpack, and I didn't know anyone in my political science class (What, no friends from your job?). Ahahaha, no, but I had a great appreciation of U.S. politics and current events, so the political class complemented my interests a great deal.
So, I mean, whats the interesting part?
Well the interesting part is that I misunderstood a lot about presidential power. I had a flawed perception of the executive office. I believed the executive branch has more power than it actually has. For example, I perceived the executive branch as the branch that gets things done, and the legislative branch (congress) as the branch to keep the president in check. What I learned, and have acquired a greater appreciation for, is that it is congress's duty to get things done and the presidents duty to keep congress in check.
Over the course of U.S. history, the president has acquired more power--primarily political power. As the figurehead of the nation, the president has the spotlight for much of the time, and as a result the president has responsibilities that are not in his job description. These responsibilities include pushing congress to pass the legislation he desires, and leading on political and social movements. It is because of these unofficial responsibilities that my perception of the executive office was twisted. Thankfully, this class set my understandings straight and has enhanced my ability to interact with presidential politics in the future.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Extra Credit Term 2
Before taking this course I had a vague interest in politics. I was always intrigued by both local and national elections but was never really able to grasp what was going on. I believed that our government had a perfect, fair way in which it handled elections and day-to-day responsibilities. This course broke down my idealistic view of our government. From the Electoral College to Super PACS it became clear to me that our government is not perfect and our system for electing officials is still, in many ways, a work in progress. In terms of campaigning I was shocked that many of the primary strategies candidates use date all the way back to Ancient Rome. At the same time I was amazed at just how big of a role technology has played in the more recent elections.
When the actual election approached I was excited to finally have an understanding of what was going on. I could look at the map of big red and blue states and grasp what it meant and just how significant certain states were. In addition to this, exit polling was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Being immersed in a new community in Boston with just a clipboard and a list of questions was both intimidating and exciting. Seeing people so enthusiastic about their candidates made me proud to be from a country in which things like this are possible. I was able to gain an insight into how other people made their choices and what they valued in a President, it was eye opening. I have never really associated myself with a certain party. After this class I am even more unsure at to which side I support and am okay with that. Our class discussions brought about so many good points for both sides that, many times, I was unable to formulate one single opinion. What I did learn is that both sides have great ideas and are extremely passionate about what they believe in. As I look forward to the next four years of my life I will not soon forget what I have learned in this class. I am now considering either a major or minor in political science and look forward to continuing my studies. I had never really thought that my interest in politics would turn into a passion, but thanks to the wide range of course work and engaging discussions, I am happy to say that I have developed a passion for politics. AMERICA!
The formative assessment from this term was the Nationalism Essay. I completed three drafts, the first was from class out-line which was used for peer-editing, the second based off the lab-visit feedback, and finally my final. The sources of the feedback I received was from both the peer-editing workshop and the lab-visit. The most common feedback I received was from both the lab and a peer was that I had to make a factual observation about Nationalism in my thesis. This placing an actual observation in my thesis not just an idea, this further strengthening the thesis. I will prevent this mistake in the future by checking for facts that I can put right into my thesis to make an observation, but then make an argument off the fact. In my original thesis as my observation I wrote, "....allowing the people to make equally important sacrifices, leading them to self government". After visiting the lab I rewrote the observation to sound more like, "....the people share an overall goal to self-govern, therefore emphasizing a national rather than international goal". This formative assessment helped expand my idea into a thesis and then into a full essay.
Giuliana Psyhogeos- Blue
Giuliana Psyhogeos- Blue
Before this year, I was vaguely interested in politics, but had never really followed the specifics or the elections. During or unit on the election, I learned about the many different factors that help a candidate win over voters, and about effective campaigning strategies. I learned about how there are new strategies that have formed because of technology, such as having an online presence amongst young voters. However, a lot of the strategies are very timeless, and date back to elections in ancient Rome, such as making lots of promises to voters. We applied these strategies to the then current election of Obama and Romney, which was very cool. Generally, I just hear about the big issues in an election, like the war in Afghanistan and the economy. In class, we studied 17 different current campaign issues and learned about how they might have effected the course of the election. Although I could not vote this election, it was the first time that I felt like I was participating on one. During the other elections, I had usually just found out who won the next day without paying much attention. Although the polling site I was sent to only represented a small portion of voters in this country, I still felt like it gave me an idea of what was going on, in terms of what factors voters considered important for their candidate.
Recently, we have been learning about the expansion of Presidential power. Before this unit, I honestly did not even know that the expansion of Presidential power was a thing. I assumed that although the responsibilities of the President have changed because of the evolution of technology and world politics, their power in general would not really change that much. It was very interesting to see the chart on how much the cabinet positions have increased, and to learn about what has changed in terms of the Presidential attitudes, as evidenced by what they say in their inaugurations, and other interviews. One example is Nixon saying that "when the President does it, that means it is not illegal." Throughout this course, my understanding of Presidential politics in the US evolved from a vague interest in politics to actually understanding a lot of the issues, techniques, and factors that contribute to how the politics actually work.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
During second term I wrote a paragraph on the fall of classical civilizations. I did two drafts of the paragraph, which I received feedback on. I received feedback from a classmate and from my teachers who both saw problems with my last piece of evidence because it did not support my argument. In my later draft I changed the evidence so that it would fit more smoothly with my paragraph’s main argument. I have learned from the paragraph that sometimes the evidence that you have the most on or stood out to you the most, is not always the best evidence for your paragraph because sometimes you have to dig deeper to find more supportive evidence. Because of formative assessment I was able to change and improve my last piece of evidence from traditions to about the farmers and peasants rebelling.
The formative assignment helped me get feedback from a student and teacher. The student who peer edited my paragraph said that I needed to change the tradition evidence because it did not fit in with the paragraph. She also said that the evidence supports that economic failure within the society is the cause not the loss of control, which I was using as my main argument. The formative assignment helped me improve my writing in the fall of civilization paragraph and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.
Term two extra credit:
The example that I will choose to show improvement due to formative assessment is my Nationalism essay. I got this feedback from one of the teachers in the history, which was extremely helpful. I completed 3 drafts after I received this help from the teacher in the history lab. She was very helpful as she did not only edit my paper but also spoke to me to explain what she was doing and giving me tips on how to do it myself. This was great because it was much easier to go back home and edit twice more with the tips the teacher gave me. The most common types of feedback that I received where mostly grammatical mistakes that made it difficult to understand my big idea. This would then lead to another common edit that I needed to make which was to explain with more analysis how my ideas connect to my big idea. How I corrected all these problems was to go back and proofread my paper first for grammatical errors and then go over it once more to add more specific analysis. Proofreading was really the main thing that I needed to do in order to improve my writing. This leads to the conclusion that the way I will prevent these mistakes is to proofread a little better because as I could tell, made a gigantic difference. I spoke about one of the leaders that did not listen to anything the people said but I didn’t tie it back. But the history teacher helped me and told me to add analysis, so I did. “The people wanted a quick change and wanted to make a mark that accurately portrays their oppression as to be seen as a catapult induce change”. Formative assessment really helped me.
Term Two Extra Credit
I have always taken a stance of relative suspicion towards the government of our nation. I was as aware as one would presume a majority of the individuals in this country would be regarding the partisan politics, corrupt bribing, and the covert worldly role that the United States plays. However, I really did not have many facts to support those beliefs, aside from whatever knowledge I held on too from prior history courses. I was hoping that political science would allow me to develop a stronger foundation to base my opinions on, even if that foundation led me to no longer accept my previous feelings of suspicion. Fortunately, throughout both Term One and Term Two this course has opened my eyes to numerous aspects of our political system. Our recent focus on presidential expansion supplied an abundance of new knowledge that I was entirely unaware of. For instance, our close, analytical look at the steady rise in the size of the president’s cabinet proved to me that presidential power truly has been expanded. I never thought much about the rise of our leader’s power: I always saw our president--so long as his term followed Winston Churchill’s--as arguably the most powerful man in the world. Furthermore, I figured presidents who were Democrats would have larger governments than others, but the rising trend of presidential cabinets consists of prominent Republican leaders such as Reagan as well.
This course also allowed me to interact with the election of a president for the first time in my life. While I was too sick to attend our polling day, I was fortunate enough to be able to assist in the calculations of the poll data along with my classmates. I wish I was able to experience the magic of election day in person, but I was extremely appreciative of the opportunity to analyze actually data that members of our own community collected. I look to participate in some way on Election Day in 2016, and I would like to thank Ms. Shapero for creating that special field trip for our class.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Jan. 21st 2013Term Two Extra Credit
One of the formative assessments I completed this term was the Imperialism essay. During the process of writing this essay I revised multiple drafts. There was a total of about 6 drafts in this process. The first draft was an outline and a body paragraph. The second draft, was peer edited by my classmates. The third draft was edited by Ms Shapero. The fourth draft was one that I self edited, then revised. The fifth draft was edited by one of my peers and my dad. Then finally, I proof-read and printed my final draft. Later on, after getting back my essay, I did one final draft of a body paragraph.
The most common types of feedback I received were times where I was redundant, wasn't specific enough, had awkward phrasing, or my analysis did not connect back to the question that I was aiming to answer. I addressed those common mistakes by going to the places where the feedback occurred and made sure I understood what I could improve on. Then, I went and revised the places where my essay needed revision and kept those recurring mistakes in mind, striving not to make them again. In my future writing I will keep in mind the common mistakes I usually make, and then go over my draft and make sure there are not places where I made those mistakes. I will re-read my essay out loud seeing if there is any awkward phrasing I can re-word. Also, I will go through each of my analyses and remind myself of the question I am aiming to answer, then making sure I am successfully answering it. Also, I will make sure there are no redundant words, phrases or sentences I could get rid of. Lastly, I will read my essay multiple times and make sure there aren't any places I could be more specific. In my drafts of my writing there were a lot of times I was not being specific on who I was talking about. There were multiple times I would be vague and say “Europeans” which confused many of the people who edited my writing. The first part where I made my writing more specific was when I changed “ although the Europeans changed many things..” to “ although the British changed tradition..”. This allowed the reader to understand exactly who I was talking about and what they specifically changed. Overall I thought the process of formative assessments results in improvements throughout my writing.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Secretary of Energy and Veterans Affairs by Thomas Berman
The United States Secretary of Energy heads the department of energy, which was formed in 1977 under the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The mission of the department of energy as stated by energy.gov is “to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environment and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions”. The secretary’s job is to help implement the President’s energy agenda. For example, in the current administration, the secretary’s mission is to decrease our dependency on foreign, address climate change, and create jobs in energy. Along with the president’s agenda, the secretary was originally designated to focus on energy production and management, technology, and energy education. Since the cold war, the secretary’s job has also included supervision of nuclear energy and radiation control.
The secretary of veterans affairs is a position in the cabinet of the executive branch. The position was first implemented in 1992. The secretary is charged with supervision over the department of veterans affairs, tasked with managing issues such as veterans benefits and other concerning matters. As supervisor, the secretary is responsible for overseeing the department and advising the president on matters concerning veterans. The secretary is also responsible for implementing the president’s agenda on matters concerning veterans.