Introduction to Composition 110

Katherine Koll . Fall 2014 . Mrs. Undem


I have always liked writing, whether it be a long paper or a short story. I believe I am a pretty strong writer, probably because I enjoy it so much. In this class I learned how to properly reference sources, how to peer edit, the secret to writing effective summaries, and how to write many different essays, such as: descriptive, definition, and compare and contrast essays. During this course, I feel that I was really able to find topics that I really like learning about and researching. As a writer, I think I changed in the way that I can now organize my essays better and construct a good paper. I can make the paragraphs flow together smoothly, thus creating a better paper. In this portfolio, I will explain some of the topics we discussed during our first semester of taking this Composition 110 class.


intro by Marty22

Thesis Statement

When writing a good thesis statement, you want to make sure it clearly states what you will be talking about within your essay and it cannot be a question. Often, it is the main point and sometimes the most important idea of what you will be writing about.

Here is an example of one of my theses that I used in my research paper:

"These gallant animals suffered horrible wounds and diseases, yet they still loyally finished their duties, even when it seemed impossible."

This is a good thesis because it shows that I will be talking about animals and what they suffered through during war times. Using the word 'animals', leaves the subject broader than just one type of animal. It also wraps up the first paragraph, as this was the last sentence of the first paragraph, so it flows neatly into the next one.

Effective Summaries

A summary is a shortened version of the original paragraph, paper, or other form of work. A good summary is that which is written in your own writing and uses your own style, yet still has good sentence structure and represents the author's original point. You must still cite the work you got the summary from so you can put it in your paper.

In my research paper there are many instances where I summarized the works of other people and used their information in my paper.

Referencing Sources

When referencing sources in a paper, one must use MLA style formatting. MLA helps a writer correctly cite their papers by using citations and parentheticals. Parentheticals are used after quoting any person, paper, website, book, or other form of information. If the information is widely known, or would be considered 'common sense', the writer does not need to use a parenthetical. A parenthetical is usually set up in parentheses, and has the author's last name and the page number it was found on or the title of the article, chapter, or other work. An example from my research paper is a quote found in "Animals In War", a book written by Jilly Cooper:

"Despite the millions of words written to glorify the soldier's courage in war, little praise has been given to the horse that bore him" (Cooper, 232).

When referencing the actual source the information was found on, one must create a new page for the Works Cited. This page is always at the end of the document. The sources must be listed alphabetically, must be double spaced, and if one of the sources runs into more than one line, all lines under the first one must be indented in. An example of a correct cited source from my paper, "A Guide to Love" is:

Brogaard, Berit, and Kristian Maslow. "Can Animals Love?" Phsycology Today. 24 Feb. 2014.

*Web. 7 Nov. 2014.

In my paper this was the first source I listed on my Works Cited page, because it started with a B, and none of my sources started with a letter before B.

*Note: Smore would not let me indent the second line.

Peer Editing

One thing I learned in this class was how to peer edit. Peer editing is a step taken before handing a paper in to the teacher. Classmates swap papers and correct them to see if they can find any grammar errors, spelling errors, or other mistakes made. This way the paper can be seen with fresh eyes. Here is an example of a scenario in which one could peer edit:

"Are house sits next to there's on a lush green lot. on saturdays we like to have picnics together and eat foods such as watermelon chips and fried chicken."

If I were peer editing this sentence, I would first change Are to Our. There's would become theirs because it is talking about people, not a thing. The apostrophe would be deleted because there is no show of ownership of anything. The on at the beginning of the second sentence would have to be capitalized because it is the first word of the sentence. Saturdays would also have to be capitalized because it is the name of a day. The last thing I would do is put a comma after watermelon and one after chips because the food is being listed and each item must be separated by a comma. The fixed sentence would then read:

"Our house sits next to theirs on a luch green lot. On Saturdays we like to have picnics together and eat foods such as watermelon, chips, and fried chicken."

Compare and Contrast Essay

A compare and contrast essay describes the similarities and the differences of two subjects. The comparison often takes a more unfamiliar subject and compares it to one that is more known about. The contrast tells how the subjects are different, sometimes showing that one topic is primary to the other. In a subject-by-subject way of writing, the essay is organized so that the attitributes of one topic is written about, and then the same information about the other subject is written. Another way to write this type of essay is to use a point-by-point way of writing, which is where certain characteristics of each topic are talked about at the same time. To make this type of essay informative, the writer should point out facts of importance, not common knowledge.

Essay Description

The paper that I feel was my best work for this semester was my research paper, titled "Heroes Left Behind." I think this is my best work because it is well written and very informative. Some of the examples of actual animals are very interesting, so I that makes the paper interesting to read, while also educating the reader on the animals that fought in the wars. While writing this paper, I had to do very extensive research, something that I hadn't had to do on my previous essays. This required a lot of note taking, and a lot of highlighting. Since I was putting so much information that came from other sources into my paper, I also had to use a lot of parenthetical citations, which I hadn't been exposed to as much before. When writing a research paper, a writer have to be careful of what sources they use. Some sources are not reliable, so when I wrote this research paper I had to use databases to find useable information. Databases are sites that are .org, .uk, or other sites provided by the government.


conclusion by Marty22


As a writer, I am good in both writing skill levels one and two. Writing skill level one states that a writer expresses their thoughts and ideas clearly in informal writing contexts, composes structurally correct sentences in Standard America English, and can generate well-developed, coherent paragraphs. Skill level two states that the writer can process information to produce writing that clearly and accurate summarizes or reports that information. Level two writers can also write well-developed and focused essays and they know how to search for information and insert it into their work properly. In my writing I am able to display all of these qualities. As a writer one of my weaknesses is writing a thesis statement. I always struggle when it comes to writing a strong thesis. I feel my strengths as a writer are being able to write grammatically correct and descriptive essays. As a creative writer I feel I am very strong. My goals as a future writer are to be able to write even better essays and to work on understanding thesis statements.