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I made a few changes to my composition. I chose to focus on perfecting my introductory paragraph and my conclusion, since these paragraphs need to be strong in order to hook the reader and leave the reader with something to think about. When editing my first paragraph, I started by reviewing the edits that my peers made for me. The only suggestion I received was that putting quotations around some of the words in the paragraph allowed for the essay to have an unintentional sarcastic feel. So, I deleted the quotations on those words. Next, I read the paragraph out loud and noticed where some words did not sound right. I reworded my opening sentence a little and also reworded a little bit of my thesis and last sentence of the paragraph. I believe that these changes did affect my composition overall because they worked to strengthen my introduction paragraph, something that serves as a model for the following paragraphs.
Similarly, I made a few changes to my conclusion paragraph. I started by, once again, removing the quotations around certain words so that I could make my tone less sarcastic. Next, I reread this paragraph out loud and changed some of the wording. I did this by adding a little more detail within these sentences. I also received a suggestion from a peer that my conclusion was too short, so, I added in a few more sentences to explain my point of view and relate it back to my thesis. I really worked to summarize my main points in order for this paragraph to have an impact on readers, since that is the purpose of the conclusion. I believe these changes had an effect on my overall composition by expanding my conclusion through adding new ideas and perfecting some mistakes. It also created a stronger message to get readers thinking.
When reading “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott, I related to some things she mentioned about first drafts. One piece of my writing process that I compared to what she said was the relief she had when she realized that no one had to see her first draft and that it was mainly for her to view. I can relate to this idea because I found comfort in this as well as I wrote my piece. However, she said that first drafts are the “child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place…” I am not sure if I relate to this detail. I am very organized and big on fixing grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors so I found it difficult for me to take this advice. I can’t write a paper where I get all the ideas out, then edit. I am usually one to edit as I go. I liked this essay. It provided me with a sense of reassurance that someone was feeling the same way about their first draft as I do.
Revision Plan: My goals are to fix any spelling or grammar mistakes, reorganize certain paragraphs, and work to add in a few more quotes. The steps I plan to take include reviewing the peer edits I received, reading my essay out loud a few times, and consulting my sources for additional ideas/quotes. I see my biggest challenge as trying to reorganize and review my paragraphs. One piece of feedback I received was that my conclusion is a bit short. I think I will struggle to find more to include in my conclusion. If this happens and it proves to be too difficult for me to solve, I will consult the resources I have, such as The Little Seagull book and the grading rubric for this essay.
From doing this first stage of peer review, I learned a lot about the idea using my voice within my paper. It is so easy and common to evaluate and summarize what the sources are saying, but not how you, as the writer, feel. I made some marks on my peers’ essays to remember to include more personal insight, and it reminded me to try to do this more within my paper. Including personal opinion and thoughts is essential to an argumentative essay.
After reading and digesting, “Is it OK to make art?,” and watching, “How Can Public Art Projects Transform Rough Neighborhoods?,” I noticed some connections between the two. It also allowed me to create my own opinion about art in this world. I believe that art can do good in this world and that it is, in fact, “ok” to make art. If the right intentions are there, an artist can affect someone or something in a positive way. For example, in the TED Talk, “How Can Public Art Projects Transform Rough Neighborhoods?,” Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas work to create colorful art in some of the poorest cities in the world. This gave the citizens in these cities pride in their homes and themselves. In my opinion, this is just as great, if not better, than simply donating some of your income to a cause.
This brainstorming activity allowed me to start brainstorming my own ideas and connect them with others. It allowed me to synthesize the information in two texts to create an argument of my own. Before doing the brainstorming activity, I did not realize that these two sources had so many connections. There are several overlapping ideas within both of them that relate to the idea of art doing good in the world. Visually mapping out these connections has allowed me to form my argument and start brainstorming my thesis and main points.
My choice TED Talk is “How Can Public Arts Projects Transform Rough Neighborhoods?” This talk is given by Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas. These two men started their project to transform rough neighborhoods into beautiful works of art in Rio. Later, they received a call asking for them to do a project in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, north Philadelphia. Both of these projects allowed for these two men to live in the neighborhood at the time of their projects. This, they said, was almost a better experience than the painting itself.
One of the limits of the art discussed in this TED Talk would have to be funding. Urhahn and Koolhaas had great ideas but lacked the funding for the projects in the beginning. There was not a lot of funding and so many questions from people asking about the specifics, like how many people will you need and how much paint will you need. The process, however, was not planned and mapped out. The men wanted to create a spontaneous effect and so they did not have the answers to these questions. Later, they ended up starting a campaign and received $100,000 in donations. Another limit discussed in this talk is time. The projects, both in Rio and Philadelphia, took a lot of time. The men found themselves having to rethink certain aspects of the project due to the amount of space they had to paint in a certain amount of time. Today, some of the projects are still going on.
The power of the art, however, certainly outweighed the limits in this TED Talk. One of the powers of the art was the ability to transform these rundown and poor neighborhoods into something bright and colorful. Urhahn and Koolhaas took the neighborhoods that struggled with these kinds of issues and made it their mission to create a vibrant environment. Some of the houses in these neighborhoods were not even finished, and hadn’t planned on being finished if it weren’t for Urhahn, Koolhaas, and their team. In this way, art was used to do “good” for others. Art took something that needed help and transformed it into something amazing. Which, in my opinion, was a charitable act through art that was just as powerful, if not better, than a donation.
After viewing the website for Effective Altruism, having discussions in class today, and rereading Southan’s essay, “Is it OK to make art?,” I made some new connections and observations. First, I noticed the specific structure that Southan employs in the essay. Most of his piece is strictly factual with little to no bias. The first part of the essay starts with information about the Effective Altruists and what they do. I did not notice that he barely included his own opinions about art within the essay. Almost the entire essay included all that EAs believe, while Southan inserted some pieces about his personal life.
Secondly, I noticed a claim that Southan, but really the EAs made, that I now disagree with. Michael Bitton states that “nothing is sacred.” After reading through the essay and discussing it in class, I realized that I do not agree with this philosophy. Wouldn’t the “good” that Bitton, as an EA, does in the world and the impact he has on others be considered “sacred?” Initially, I agreed with this statement because I looked at it as the concept of art. Now, looking at this idea, I disagree.
There was not much that I needed to decode in this piece. I seemed to have a pretty good understanding of most of the terms. The only thing that I needed clarification on was the definition of “utilitarianism.” When I first read the article, I did not stop to define this term. After reading it again, I decoded it so that I could have a better idea of the meaning of that section. I used “Dictionary.com” to define this term. I found that with this knowledge in mind, I uncovered a major point within Southan’s essay that I did not really grasp before.
The process of doing an initial read, discussion in class, deeper research, and second read of the text was very beneficial. It allowed me to find new meaning within the text and connect with it more deeply.
After reading and connecting with “Is it OK to make art?” by Rhys Southan, I noticed a few parts of the text that stuck with me. The first connection I made to the text was when the author described the analogy of a child drowning in a pond and whether or not we would jump in to save her, even if it meant taking some risks. The author expressed that most of us wouldn’t say no, so why is it that “most of us manage to ignore those dying of poverty and preventable disease all over the world, though we could easily help them (Southan)?” I felt that this analogy really affected me. We are so eager to claim that we will help those in need, but if it were to come down to it, we don’t. There should be more of an effort to help. The next point he makes in this analogy is that anytime we stop helping those in need, we are taking a “leisurely nap beside a lake where thousands of children are screaming for our help.” We hear the children screaming, yet we choose to ignore it.
Another connection I made was when I read the idea that your profession should be based around helping others and you should consider the ways in which your chosen profession makes a positive impact on the world. Michael Bitton shared his personal experience, “I wanted to be a filmmaker, and then I thought, ‘Well what good does this do?’…’So I kind of stopped wanting to be a filmmaker.'” I disagreed with this point within the reading. Although I agree that professions that help others are essential and beneficial, I don’t feel that it is necessary. My mindset is that your profession should be something that you love and are proud to do. The piece that comes with a profession like this is finding other ways to help others, outside of your profession. The time not spent doing work for your field should be spent donating and helping. You can also find the ways to help others within your profession. I want to be an educator. I know that there is an aspect of help within this field by giving children their education and allowing them to be successful from it.
Overall, I enjoyed this reading. I was able to make connections with this text, whether I disagreed or agreed with the points made.
The process of using ePortfolio to create my own website has been very enjoyable. I am usually able to navigate technology pretty well and the ePortfolio application made it even easier. I like the idea of being able to have my own website that I can creatively customize to make it how I like. Also, I love the aspect of being able to express by ideas in a space that I designed. I have always wanted to create my own website with my own content and this is the perfect opportunity to get started. I like the visual elements on ePortfolio and how you can make the website look visually appealing. When reviewing my classmates’ blogs, I found a few visual elements that I liked in Elizabeth’s website and Jonathan’s website. They both incorporated a header image that I thought positively added to the website. I can see that there may be a problem with organization on my website. I feel that the blog posts should be grouped into sections and separated or else it will look messy. It might be challenging to stay organized. I am still familiarizing myself with the tools of ePortfolio and I hope to gain more knowledge about it as I continue to use it!