In our eleventh week as Tarheels, English 105 has reached the beginning of the end as we work on our Unit 3 project. The arrival of our final unit shows just how close the end of the semester looms. Our chaotic and challenging first semester is drawing to a close. Unit 3, writing in the humanities, allows us to work in a familiar style while also providing an opportunity for creativity through presenting our information in a video essay. Before our Tuesday class, we had to complete Feeder 3.1 which required a close reading of our selected stories and answering several questions that guide towards producing a thesis statement. After our class check-in, we briefly discussed best practices for close readings, and then we began our peer editing workshop.
The workshop provided much need input as the assignment was not easy. Close reading may sound simple, but it was challenging to read beyond the obvious message of the story. I selected the story “What We Talk About When We Talk About ” which I was previously unfamiliar with. Not having read the story before this assignment allowed me to read with no preconceived notions about the themes beforehand. However, it was also challenging as I had to take time to learn and understand the plot and characters. My breakout room collectively agreed that this forum was challenging, but it was pushing us to be better readers and would greatly aid in our unit project.
On Thursday class began with a fun class check-in where we shared what music we had been listening to. Our virtual semester has caused many students to feel isolated, and this simple question reminded us of the humanity of the faces we see in our Zoom meetings. Our class’s main focus for the day is writing strong and effective thesis statements. We do several exercises that allow us to explore what an effective thesis statement is. Our breakout groups are assigned multiple pairs of thesis statements of which we have to decide which is stronger, and then we are given a prompt and are told to write a thesis for an essay on this topic. The session ends, and I leave feeling connected to the others in my class for the first time in a long time.
This week allowed for both personal growth in our writing abilities as well as space for our breakout rooms to work collectively. The variety provided an engaging week of classes in English 105. With the semester approaching completion, the return to a more familiar style of writing is greatly appreciated. Students are losing steam, but there is not much time left. Thanksgiving is a mere month away and Carolina football is in full swing. The fall leaves are dropping like pieces into place, and there is a routine that has developed. No longer do we feel uprooted and without schedule or purpose. Life may not look how we expected it to, but that is okay. It is the beginning of the end of the fall semester, and hopes are high for a return to normalcy next semester.
Featured Image: Pixabay. “Dirt Road Cover by Dried Leaves.” 20 November 2016. Photograph. Pexels. https://www.pexels.com/photo/alley-autumn-autumn-colours-autumn-leaves-235721/ Accessed 26 October 2020