After reading through peer critiques and discussing with my blog group, I am extremely grateful for the praise as well as the constructive criticism I received. It really made me think about how cool this minor really is! Collaboration with peers that are passionate about writing just as much as I am really helps when it comes to feedback! Amen to that.
I think after synthesizing these critiques, I came up with a list of 6 major things that I really need to focus in on when revising this first rough cut. After creating a revision plan, the sum of my reflection in my head was “shit I have a lot of work to do,” but I know that in the end, this time and energy will be translated into something I will be proud of.
First things first, the biggest thing I need to work on is making my audience more clear. I think I did an okay job of presenting the issues a squeaky new sixth grader was having, but I didn’t really acknowledge the audience as being teachers until the end when I state “I wish my teacher knew…” for both narratives. I will definitely need to incorporate that somewhere in the beginning to really get my point across throughout.
Next, it was brought to my attention that the motivation behind the sixth grader writing this narrative was a little confusing. Is it an assignment? Is it a journal entry? The world may never know apparently. Just kidding, I think I want to structure this in a way that it is supposed to be an assignment turned in to a teacher, but it is more of a practice of journaling and getting more comfortable with the teacher. Maybe I will include a rubric/prompt on top of the narratives? I fear this will take away from what the students are saying so I may just include the prompt at the top of the narrative rather than making it an addition page. I want the assignment to be somewhat similar to this prompt a third grade teacher in Colorado did.
I also have an awkward break between genders. I wanted to include both genders in my piece in order to make a clear statement that self-esteem is not only an issue for girls, but boys too. I definitely had different issues regarding both genders individually, but I need to find a way to make the distinction more clear rather than kind of concluding that they’re different based on the issues they have. I may also try to make this more of a back and forth dialogue that the boy and girl have (each in speaking in a different font), to kind of highlight the similarities as well as differences (subtly, that is) that arise in both girls and boys regarding self-esteem and body issues.
I was praised in my diction in regards to the examples I was giving and the jargon I used but I was also given further suggestions on how to make the narrative more realistic to what a sixth grader might actually write. Someone in my blog group suggested (based on her little brother’s recent writing) that maybe I include some grammar errors and or run on sentences. I know that this will probably urk my many years of practicing proper writing skills but I think this was a great suggestion. I will definitely have to channel my sixth grade Nikki to achieve this specific idea.
Another piece of advice I plan to take and run with is downloading a font that looks like a child’s handwriting. I originally wanted to hand write this piece of my project but I think my handwriting is significantly different than a sixth grader’s so I plan on maybe doing some research on a font (maybe similar to the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” font?) that would really add to the aesthetic of my piece.
With all of this constructive criticism as well as praise, I have also thought of a few more questions I might need input on in order to execute this the way that I want to. First, if I did sort of a back and forth dialogue, would this take away from the journalistic feel of the piece? And how would I maybe make it more clear that that’s what was meant of the piece? Next, do I add a title to the piece that kind of connects both of the genders in order to get the same feel if I were to make it a back and forth dialogue? Also, I know I received feedback that maybe 2.5 pages was too long for a written narrative by a sixth grader, do you have any suggestions on how long it should ultimately be? I think I’m most concerned with looking like I’m slacking length wise in this project.
Ultimately, in the end, I want this project to be a kind of scary realization to those “transformation into the awkward years” teachers that feeling uncomfortable raising a hand or going to lunch or being in a new school in general is much more of an issue than I think anyone really sees. It is mind-blowing to me the dramatic drop in self-esteem (I forgot how much percentage wise but I know it is large) kids face as they make that transition to middle school. I want it to inspire the future teacher in myself to create a website of useful information and prevention methods/lesson plans/etc. for not only myself, but other teachers who interact with these kids all day long for 9 months out of the year. Because after all, school should not be a place of fear, but acceptance, which I hold very close to heart.