Finishing up the semester

Portfolios are due Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8 pm. You may still make minor edits until about 9 am in the morning on Dec. 16, but the portfolio must be essentially done and posted by the evening of Dec. 15 or you will receive an incomplete in the class until your portfolio can be read at the beginning of next semester.

Here’s what you need to do to accomplish that:

Your portfolio will consist of a cover letter plus three essays (chosen from Essays 1, 2, 3, and 4). Once you have some feedback on your Essay 4 (which I’ll try to give by Thursday, Dec. 8), decide which of your four essays you’d like to put in your portfolio. Note that “The Place Where You Live” is not one of the ones you can use since it is not a full essay. To make your decision, you may want to look at the rubric that will be used to assess your portfolio. If you’re considering using Essay 3, make sure it has enough text to demonstrate your writing abilities; if you chose to do an infographic, for example, text may be limited in your “summary” part of the assignment. Feel free to check with me if you’d like some advice on what to include, but the decision is yours.

The fourth essay (the one that will not be in your portfolio) can be turned in (if it hasn’t already been graded) as late as noon on Thursday, Dec. 22.

Now focus on revisions you may want to make for the three portfolio essays. With time limited, the three areas I’d suggest you focus on are these:

  • grammar and usage issues as marked on your final drafts with yellow highlights
  • focus of both essay (thesis statement for argument, unified concept for photo essay) and paragraphs (topic sentences)
  • research skills (format of Works Cited and in-text citations)

If you have additional time, you may want to do more revision, based on comments on both rough and final drafts. Note that there is a section on Revision at the top of the blog that will give some guidance as well.

Consider the order of pieces in your portfolio. The cover letter, of course, will come first. Essays do not need to be presented in the order they were written; generally the advice is to start with your strongest piece.

The next step is to compose a cover letter for your portfolio. Instructions and sample student essays from previous semesters are here. Discuss your essays in the order you will present them. I will not require that you turn in a rough draft of this letter, but I’d be glad to give you feedback if you want. For most students, it is a relatively easy task. Do remember that it is one of your portfolio pieces, so it should demonstrate your writing abilities of organization, focus, and development. It may also be a place to highlight your personal voice and sparkling wit.

Here’s a video that goes over some of these things and shows you how to set up your portfolio on your blog:

If you have any questions, either email or (maybe better) post a comment below. I will be looking over your portfolios on Thursday (or earlier, if you tell me that they are ready) to spot check assignments and make sure portfolio is complete and accessible.

4 thoughts on “Finishing up the semester

  1. Yup, that’s fine! Actually, after I get a chance to put comments on rough draft (today I hope) and you get a chance to revise it, you can go ahead and use it. I can grade it separately and as part of portfolio at the same time. Depending on how much late work comes in from other students, I may not have time to get grades done on Essay 4 until after Portfolio Day. I can at least give you some advice about whether I think it would be a good choice, and I can spot-check it to give general feedback. Just let me know…

  2. Actually neither 🙂 I’ll get that video I promised done tonight (Wed.)–I’ll demonstrate in the video how to do it.

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