The Commonplace Book Epilogue

At the end of the semester, you will look back at your entire Commonplace Book and write a longer, more-sustained final reflection. As a part of this process, you will also make some revisions to your Commonplace Book so that it more accurately illustrates your growth as a writer from the beginning of the semester to the end. The final post itself  is an opportunity for you to reconsider your earlier reflections, and then identify and name the concepts or frameworks of your learning this semester that are most significant to your academic identity.

Your teacher will spend more time with this part of the Commonplace Book assignment towards the end of the semester, but it might be helpful to learn some key concepts about how the project ends here at the beginning.

Comments

Comments are a major part of the epilogue assignment process. You will use the comment feature to (in essence) have a conversation with yourself. Though your teacher will give you specific instructions, ultimately you will select the posts you consider most impactful to you and write thoughtful comments in response to them. For example, you might have written a unit reflection in September that detailed your struggles with a particular concept. Your comment might reflect on how your perception of that struggle has changed since the beginning of the semester.

These comments aren’t meant to evaluate your writing or critique your ideas. Just write down your reactions to reading your earlier ideas with fresh eyes.

Tags

Tags are another essential component of the final reflection process for the Commonplace Book. It’s important to understand the difference between tags and categories (which divide your posts into daily writes, weekly writes, etc.). Think of it this way: categories are like chapter names for a book whereas tags are like all of the words listed in the index.

Tags are a lot like hashtags on Twitter or Instagram (in fact, in a technical sense, they are exactly the same). They are a way to add descriptive metadata to a post or other content. Tags add dynamic links between posts so that you can link content you’ve written by “big ideas” rather than just chronology.

You’ll go through your Commonplace Book posts from the semester and come up with 5-10 tags that capture the major concepts, ideas, and strategies you think are illustrated in these posts. Your teacher may provide specific instructions for tagging, but the idea is to add at least one tag to each post to link it to other posts that address the same concept or idea.

Practice: Tag a Daily Write

Read this sample daily write and come up with three descriptive tags that might apply to it. Separate your tags with commas.

I think timed writing benefits the writer because it gets out primal thoughts that he had about a certain subject and can tell the person reading how good of a writer they are based on their ability to formulate thoughts, arguments, or a well-structured paper. Some of the challenges however is that good writing takes time and it takes multiple perspectives and thought processes. A person could be having an off day, may not have gotten enough sleep, or might not be in the right state of mind to be writing or formulating any sort of argument. Essentially at the end of the day though, you have to get over excuses like that and show that you are competent enough to put together at least a coherent thesis with points of support about a subject you are given in a certain time period. For me I benefit from timed writing because I spent a couple classes in high school practicing it so that when I have more time to put together solid, formulated papers with multiple days to write, I have a better understanding of what I need to get done. Timed writing is kind of a microcosm of expanded papers because you get the bare bones of what the essay is about without too much investigation or digging.

The Final Post

Your final reflection for the semester will be longer than your other reflections (usually at least 900 words). You will think about how your entire Commonplace Book reflects your academic learning over the course of the semester and how your concepts of writing process, critical thinking, and academic discourse have changed over time. The final post should represent what being an academic learner means to you. You will use the tags and comments you developed to frame the final post, and you will include links and references to other posts you’ve made over the course of the semester.

You can use the DEAL model or the DIEP model to organize your thinking for the final reflective post. Though this last part of the assignment is months away, you’ll be better prepared to write the final reflection if you start thinking about it now.

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