Fliss - LL ED 597G - Final e-Portfolio


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Fliss - LL ED 597G - Final e-Portfolio

  1. 1. Jennifer D. Fliss Pennsylvania State University Writing for Children LL ED 597G Fall 2011Dr. Susan Campbell BartolettiImage: http://raisingcreativeandcuriouskids.blogspot.com/2010/06/creative-summer-games.html 1|Page
  2. 2. Image: http://www.valdosta.edu/~ammathis/ © 2011 by Jennifer D. Fliss All rights reserved.No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Jennifer D. Fliss. 2|Page
  3. 3. This is dedicated to the two most important men in my life…. The man of my past….. My grandfather, Auggie, ……and the man of my present and my future….. My son, Matthew. 3|Page
  4. 4. Writing for Children e-portfolio Table of ContentsPart 1 – Original Work Personal Mantra………………………………………………………………..Page 5 Goodbye, Summer…………………………………………….......……………Page 7 Pennsylvania Autumn……………………………..………………………….Page 9 My Friend……………………………………………..…………….………....Page 11 A Childhood Memory…………………………………….…………………Page 13 Child Centric Haiku…………………………………………………………Page 15Part 2 – Critiques and Personal Philosophy Assessed Critique One ………….………………………………….……… Page 18 Assessed Critique Two…………………………………………..…………..Page 19 Received Critique One…………………………………….……….………..Page 20 Received Critique Two…………………………….………..……………….Page 22 Personal Philosophy of Children’s Literature…………………….……..Page 23Part 3 – Appendix Author’s Note…………………………………………………..…………….Page 26 Biographical Information about the Author…………..…………..……Page 27 Five Blurbs…………………………………………………………..………..Page 28 4|Page
  5. 5. Personal MantraI believe every day is a purpose.I believe every breath is a miracle.I believe every child is a blessing.I believe every death is a beginning.I believe every giggle is a treasure.I believe every tear is a reflection.I believe every family is a challenge.I believe every smile is a chance. 5|Page
  6. 6. Personal Reflection: Personal Mantra truly tells who and what is important in my life. I have been so lucky to have loved and lost; to have laughed and cried; to have welcomed life and watched it slip away. Each of these experiences has made me stronger and has changed my life for the better; creating my personal mantra, I believe, allowed me to reflect on that fact. Now, every time I say or read my Personal Mantra, I recall a person or moment in time and I reminisce about what significance that person or moment has in my life. It is a piece that is very special to me and I am glad that I had the opportunity to finally put my thoughts to paper in this course. 6|Page
  7. 7. Goodbye, Summer!Goodbye, Summer!Goodbye, Summer. I am sad to see you go.I’ll miss all the fun we had while school was out and I was free.Goodbye, swimming pool. I’ll miss splashing in your water and making giganticwaves!Goodbye, green grass and blue skies. I’llmiss tumbling on your blanket of green andwatching your puffy clouds that makeshapes of horses and dragons, too.Goodbye, amusement parks. I’ll miss ridingyour belly-twisting roller coasters and eatingcotton candy until my stomach hurts!Goodbye, fireworks. I’ll miss watching your Matthew and Pappy on his first rollerexplosions in the sky that make me shriek! coaster ride.Goodbye, fireflies. I’ll miss running around my backyard at night, mayonnaisejar in hand, seeing how many of you I can catch!Goodbye, rainstorms. I’ll miss jumping in the mud puddles you leave as Momwatches with a frown!Goodbye, creek. I’ll miss searching for crayfish under your rocks as your coldwater trickles over my toes.Goodbye, swings. I’ll miss pumping my legs higher and higher, trying to reachthe sun with each stretch. Goodbye, Summer. See you next year. Matthew enjoying Summertime fun in the pool. 7|Page
  8. 8. Personal Reflection: Goodbye, Summer is a piece very near and dear to my heart. I was genuinely attempting to write this through the eyes of my six and a half year old son, Matthew. We got a new pool this summer that he practically lived in; he rode his first “real” roller coaster at Kennywood Park; he spent countless hours scanning the creek for crayfish; he ran around catching lightening bugs in our back yard nearly every night. I wanted to capture every detail of his fantastic summer vacation via his perception, yet I wanted to make it a “writers” piece, filled with descriptors and illustrators that would bring the piece to life. However, it came to pass that I learned that child-centric doesn’t necessarily need to have fancy vocabularies to bring meaning to a piece. In fact, quite the opposite is true as long as other details fall into place. I loved writing this poem and it still makes me smile every time I read it. It brings back memories of the wonderful summer I just spent with Matthew, yet it makes me see how I’ve grown as a writer as well. 8|Page
  9. 9. Pennsylvania AutumnStrolling through the rolling hills of rural Pennsylvania in the fall is like nothingelse.Shivering from the chill of the early morning crispness still left in the air….Smelling the faint scent of smoke from wood burning furnaces whose homesare nestled deep in the forest glens….Watching the sun illuminate a kaleidoscope of colors on trees whose leavesharvest their hues straight from a crayon box….Hearing the snapping and splintering of breaking branches as deer cautiouslytread amidst the protection of the massive towering pines….Captivated by the beauty of God’s divinely-painted canvas,The wonder of nature is all around me.Its simplicity is mesmerizing and its wonder is inspiring.I am at peace. A view from my back deck…the true beauty of autumn! 9|Page
  10. 10. Personal Reflection: Pennsylvania Autumn is a piece that I wrote as my family drove to the Franklin Apple Festival early one Sunday morning. I did hear some of the sounds, and I could smell and see other things that I tried to bring to fruition in this poem. The remaining sensory descriptions were conjured up in my mind having lived in a relatively woodsy area of Pennsylvania all my life. I love fall and all of the sights, sounds, and scents it brings so this piece really spoke to me and writing it was an amazing experience. I found this piece a challenge to write, however, because bringing to life each of the senses and to trying to illustrate each one in a way that truly expressed what was going on in my mind was tough, but enjoyable. I also had a difficult time trying to cut each line (after the suggestion of my classmates via their critiques) to make each more uniform in length. Quite a struggle! Nonetheless, I love this piece as I learned to incorporate sensory detail in my writing. Plus, this poem reflects one of my favorite times of the year and I never pass up an opportunity to share my thoughts on such a beautiful season! 10 | P a g e
  11. 11. My FriendI see the ugliness of Your anger, but I still appreciate the beauty of Yourpatience.I see the darkness of Your jealousy, but I still appreciate the brilliance of Yourgoodwill.I see the emptiness of Your sadness, but I still appreciate the totality of Yourjoy.I see the surliness of Your frustration, but I still appreciate the merriment ofYour achievements.I see the dispiritedness of Your exhaustion, but I still appreciate the fervor ofYour strength.I see the gloominess of Your fear, but I still appreciate euphoria of Yourconfidence.I see the aloofness of Your loneliness, but I still appreciate the tenderness ofYour companionship.I see the coldness of Your malice, but I still appreciate the warmth of Yourbenevolence.I see the forebodingness of Your pain, but I still appreciate the serenity of Yourcontentment.I see the lovingness that is all of You.You are My Friend. This is my best friend, Courtney, and I at her wedding in 2000. She and I have been best friends since elementary school. 11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Personal Reflection: My Friend is a powerful, passionate piece based off of the popular saying, “A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view.” I was unsure if this assignment was meant to be a child-centric poem, so I opted to make it bold and forceful instead. There is nothing about this poem that is child-centric, but I feel confident that I showed my versatility as a writer should I choose to move on to write something for older children or even adults in the future. This piece shows the direct contrast of personality traits – ugliness/beauty, aloofness/tenderness, coldness/warmth – and the dichotomy that we all can display during our most trying times. I chose this way of expressing my interpretation of the aforementioned saying because I think this contradiction is something we definitely see in the test of true friendship. I am very proud of this piece; it is one of my favorites. 12 | P a g e
  13. 13. A Childhood MemoryAlone.Scared.Away from home.Away from Mommy.This room is dark.Shadows from trees outside creep along the ceiling like giants and creakingfloor boards make noises that remind me of monsters lurking in every corner.The bed is too big - it’s as big as the old fishing pond and the covers smellmusty and old like great-grandma’s dirty basement.I miss my pretty pink bedspread and my fluffy pillows that smell fresh andclean like my favorite dress when Mommy takes it out of the dryer.The paintings and pictures on the walls are ugly - the people in them look likethey have been dead for years and I don’t think the places in them really exist.I want to cuddle my kitty cat stuffed animal; I have nothing here to hold.Why is Daddy saying that I have to stay overnight?I always go home to Mommy after I visit with Daddy and Grandma for the day.I want my Mommy.I want my happy bedroom, not this horrible room that’s cold and creepy.This room is dark.Away from MommyAway from home.Scared.Alone. 13 | P a g e
  14. 14. Personal Reflection: A Childhood Memory is an actual memory from my past. It is from a visitation I went on with my father when I was very young. My visitations were always only during the day at my grandmother’s (his mother’s) and I was always taken home at night. However, for whatever reason during this particular visit, it got too late and my father didn’t want to drive me home. I was forced to stay overnight. I was terrified because it was my first night away from my mother – ever. I recall the terror that went through my mind so vividly in this piece – the shadows and sounds, the large bed the smelled so terrible compared to my sheets at home, how much I missed my stuffed animals. I missed my mother so much and I was so petrified. I wanted to cry but I didn’t dare. I was so confused. This piece allowed me to open my mind and let the flood gates spill. It was so easy to let the memories tumble out of my mind, but getting the details out was difficult. I went through so many revisions of this piece and each one seemed to get mixed feedback. My initial pass through this piece was too vague; as I changed and altered, some liked what I wrote, others thought it got worse. This was my first reality check that sometimes you can overcorrect a piece and it’s better left alone! Nonetheless, it was the feedback and critiques of others in the class that help to really bring this scary room in my memory to vivid reality! 14 | P a g e
  15. 15. Child Centric HaikuThe falling raindropsCreates a display of lightA rainbow is bornFluffy white snowflakesFalling all around my houseMake marshmallow crèmeThe firefly blinksIn the dark summertime skyLightning flashes bright The beautiful snow-capped trees in my backyard! 15 | P a g e
  16. 16. Personal Reflection Child Centric Haikus was one of the most difficult assignments for me to write this semester. I was not familiar at all with haiku before this lesson and disciplining myself to write haiku was trying. However, once I got used to writing in 5-7-5 syllables, I found myself enjoying writing these mini poems. I have always been touched by nature and found that when I am surrounded by nature, I am at my most creative. The fact that haiku is typically grounded in nature, feelings, or experiences appealed to me and the more I played with writing my haiku for this assignment, the more the words and expressions flowed without effort. I think this was reflected in the fact that my fellow classmates seemed to be quite pleased with my haikus in their critiques with most being quite complimentary of my poems. I had very positive feedback, which made me feel very confident in my growing abilities. 16 | P a g e
  17. 17. Part 2 - Critiques & Personal Philosophy A. Two examples of two critiques you gave to someone in your assigned workshop. Include our classmate’s name and workshop number so that your instructor can locate it, if necessary). Include a reflection that explains why these critiques were helpful. Perhaps you might consider why the critiques helped you learn about your own writing. B. Two critiques that someone gave you with a short reflections upon the critique and how it helped (include workshop number so that your instructor can locate it, if necessary). Include a reflection. Why was the critique helpful? C. Your personal philosophy of children’s literature and how that philosophy evolved over the semester. This is the time for you to reflect upon the philosophy that you wrote in Class 1 and how your philosophy has changed or evolved over the semester. In a well-written short essay, consider one or more of the following questions:  How does your work read against your early philosophy?  Has your philosophy changed or evolved?  How has the experience of writing for children impacted or changed your philosophy?  Is there anything you’d like to revise?  Is there anything you’d like to add or change? 17 | P a g e
  18. 18. Assessed Critique One Title: Lisa’s Short Story Beginning Author: Lisa Moe Workshop: 5.7 My critique of Lisa’s short story was short, but sweet. I think that my suggestions were useful for Lisa as I believe that they helped her find confidence in her writing style and assisted with the flow of her story as well as the development of her main character. My goal was to be sure to point out a few inconsistencies and confusing parts of her story (about Josie and the death of her little brother, Noel) while at the same time showing Lisa that she used emotion to bring a very touching element to the piece without become too overpowered by the feelings shown by the characters. I told Lisa that she had a very tasteful and tactful way of writing; one that subtly gets her message across without making glaring references or blatant observations. This is a true sign of an exceptional writer and something that I aspire to be like someday. I truly hope my critique was able to help her realize her potential and talents as a writer. 18 | P a g e
  19. 19. Assessed Critique Two Title: My Observation Piece from 6.1 Author: Courtney Riggin Workshop: 6.4 My critique of Courtney’s piece was a little harsher than what I typically write, but I think it was merited in this case. Courtney had asked that our workshop give her feedback on how to make this piece (about a child observing individuals in a church environment) more child-centric, which is exactly what I did in my critique of her work. Many of the descriptors Courtney used were very adult-driven and the goal of my critique was to bring Courtney’s focus back to the child’s point of view. Additionally, I tried to make Courtney reach for the use of other expressive terms when describing various objects within her piece, such as the “heavy pine beams” and “rigid wooden pews”. She used these same phrases a couple of times in her piece, and although I understand wanting to repeat them for consistency purposes, I think finding other terms to describe the beams and pews would add depth to her piece. Courtney has such a knack for bringing life to her compositions with her vibrant details and imageries that sweep you into the middle of scenes; I know that by coaxing her to make a few minor alterations her works can be magnificent. I hope my critique was able to do just that! 19 | P a g e
  20. 20. Received Critique One Title: A Walk in the Pennsylvania Woods Critiqued by: Lisa Moe Workshop: 6.4 Lisa’s critique really made me take a step back and look at writing this piece from a different perspective. Although she was very complimentary and found many things she liked in my piece, Lisa made many suggestions that helped to improve this piece substantially. Initially I wanted to write this strictly from a first person point of view, but Lisa’s comments made me see that the overuse of the “I” pronoun at the beginning of each stanza took away from the powerful impact its use could make at the very end of the piece when I really wanted to make a bold statement with the “I am at peace” proclamation. By removing the “I” and rewriting the stanza to read as more of me telling the story from an abstract perspective, I think the piece became much more impressive. Lisa also pointed out how I brought to light so many beautiful illustrations in my piece, only to then describe nature as God’s “untouched” canvas. Lisa’s comment made me realize that an untouched canvas would be plain - void of the colors, scents, and details that I so richly described. This was a wonderful observation! In a final remark, Lisa caught a weakness in my writing where I had deer searching for food and asked, ‘how did I know the deer were searching for food?’ This was an excellent point – how would I know if the deer were looking for food or if they were just meandering around? Thanks to Lisa’s comment, I learned that when writing, one should never make observations that cannot be substantiated! Overall, Lisa’s critique showed me that good writing can be tweaked to become better writing and that small changes can make the biggest, most significant differences. Her critique provided invaluable insights and 20 | P a g e
  21. 21. feedback that I have used since Workshop 6.4 to try to tighten and hone mywriting skills. 21 | P a g e
  22. 22. Received Critique Two Title: Jenn’s Abstract Apostrophe Poem (8.2) Revised Critiqued by: Courtney Riggin Workshop: 8.9 Although I did not include this poem in my e-portfolio, the critique that Courtney wrote for this piece helped me to better my writing style and tighten my wording for other pieces that I did include in the e-portfolio. In a prior critique, you had told me that if a noun or verb is strong enough, it should not need a modifier. I believe that is the point that Courtney is trying to get across in her critique of my abstract apostrophe poem entitle, “My Bed, My Sanctuary” with comments like “remove softly” and “remove truly”. She points out that these words are not necessary and only serve to clutter the piece. I also found Courtney’s keen eye helped me to find ways that I could rearrange what I already had on paper to make it sound so much better. For example, Courtney suggested that I say “broken from sickness and tattered from exhaustion”, which seemed to make the piece flow much easier than the way I had originally written the stanza. She was quick to point out where I was overzealous with my writing and made a subtle suggestion to rethink the obvious, indicating that verbose doesn’t necessarily mean impressive from a creative writing perspective. There were several other things that Courtney pointed out that helped me see both the positives and the negatives of my writing techniques. She made some excellent points that helped me to see what was right in front of me, but I couldn’t see for myself. I learned a lot from not only this critique but from many of Courtney’s critiques throughout this course. I hope that she knows that I will benefit from her kindness and wisdom as I work on my writings for years to come. 22 | P a g e
  23. 23. Personal Philosophy of Children’s LiteratureGet an idea with a simple message, add a character or two that kids can relateto, create a few cute drawings, and slap them all between two covers. Done.That is what my basic philosophy of writing for children was at the beginningof this course. Well, not really, but it is pretty close.So much has changed since those early days of Writing for Children. Myphilosophy has changed so much. I realize now that there is so much morethan just the message and the characters when writing for children, they arejust a minimal part in the grand scheme of it all and can change drastically as astory develops and builds into a work of art with a real identity all its own.One of the most important things I’ve learned is that a writer really needs toknow her audience. What age is specifically being targeted? What are thelikes/dislikes/interests for that age range? What are the social, developmental,educational needs for that age range? Is there anything in particular that kidsat this age do or do they like to go any place in particular? These questionshelp a writer get into the heart and soul of her target audience and really canhelp her develop a character that relates to her peers. These are questions thatI would have never originally thought to originally probe.Another epiphany for me was that a writer needs to incorporate all of thesenses into the scenes. I am ashamed to say that this is something I never evengave a second thought. However, throughout this course, I have thoroughlyenjoyed learning to add depth to my poems and stories by pulling in sights,sounds, smells, and tastes that I would never have integrated into my writingsin the past. I’ve learned that this makes scenes more complete and threedimensional, more life-like and inviting to readers.I have learned much more that I will cover in my final paper, but I think theoverall idea that want to convey in this brief essay is that my philosophy is no 23 | P a g e
  24. 24. longer to simply get a message, add a character or two that kids can relate to,create a few cute drawings, and slap them all between two covers. I nowunderstand that there is much, much more that goes on between those coversand I am glad that I am now the wiser. 24 | P a g e
  25. 25. Part 3 – Appendix A. Author’s Note B. Biographical information about the author C. Five blurbs solicited from other readers 25 | P a g e
  26. 26. Author’s NoteI have never thought of myself as a writer. I certainly never thought of myselfas an author. I absolutely never thought of myself as someday publishing awork for children. However, thanks to this course, that thought process haschanged.I have always been told that I have had a gift for writing and I have always beenproud of what I have been able to take out of my head and put on to a piece ofpaper. However, what I have been able to make magically flow from my brainand out through my fingertips has always been for my own personal use, forbusiness, or for academic purposes. Never in my wildest dreams had I everconsidered truly writing anything for entertainment value……until now.This class has given me not only the tools and the techniques, but it has givenme the confidence I needed and the vision I was lacking to make me trulybelieve that I may actually have what it takes to write a book for childrensomeday. I already know that I have a gift for putting words on to paper; now Ihave the added knowledge and have a better understanding of the craft that Ineed to explore my mind, absorb my surroundings, and build upon myexperiences to create a work of art that has endless possibilities. The World isa blank journal just waiting for me to fill it in with my writings!It is my sincerest hope that my works included here touch you as much as theytouched me as I composed them and they inspire you to create your ownmasterpieces.Best Wishes….Jenn Artwork Copyright Original Country Clipart by Lisa www.countryclipart.com 26 | P a g e
  27. 27. Biographical information about the authorJennifer D. Fliss has lived in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania for her entire life.Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree and MBA from Robert MorrisUniversity in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before earning her M.Ed. in AdultEducation and Distance Certification from Penn State University. She hadsuccessful careers in Banking, Project Management, and Strategic Planningbefore leaving the corporate workforce to serve as the full-time caregiver to herelderly grandfather and as a full-time mommy to her son, Matthew.Jennifer now works as an aide at a local elementary school and does freelanceconsultant work as she continues to work on honing her craft as a writer. Herhobbies include watching the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins, reading,volunteering, and enjoying quality time with Matthew at his numerous afterschool activities, such as Cub Scouts and Taekwondo. Jennifer most enjoysspending time with her family, which aside from Matthew includes her parents,Diane and Chuck, and her brother, Steven, who all also live in Lower Burrell.She also loves to run around with her dog, Molly. Jenn (center) and Matthew her parents, & Uncle Diane & Steven Chuck Good, Golly, Matthew Miss Molly! & Mommy 27 | P a g e
  28. 28. Five blurbs Jennifer has always been a talented writer. Her writing is always thought- provoking and inspiring. I always know that what she writes comes from the heart and is written with such feeling that it will either bring me to tears, make me laugh, or fire me up! - Diane Labecki, Lower Burrell, PA Jenn’s writing is comparable to none. Her heart and her spirit are in everything she writes. I don’t know how she channels her thoughts and emotions, but they always end up in a finished product that I can’t wait to read. - Michelle Letteratis, Paramus, NJ Every assignment Jennifer has submitted is so impeccably written; there have been many times I’ve wondered why she has not written something professionally. Her attention to detail, careful choice of words and the overall refinement of her work really make me proud to call her a former student and a friend. - Nell Hartley, Pittsburgh, PA I love reading Jenn’s work. I’ve come to her so many times for help with my own assignments because I know that she will always have excellent suggestions that make my pieces better than I ever imagined. She’s the best! - Mindy Larko, Lower Burrell, PA I have always enjoyed Jenn’s writings, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what she’s written in recent months. I’ve seen her blossom in her creativity and her confidence which has made her an even better writer than before. Jenn brings emotions, playfulness, craftiness – a true myriad of thoughts and sentiments to the table that I’ve never seen in her work before. She’s grown as a writer and as a woman. Beautiful on both counts! - Sue Kenney, Portland, OR 28 | P a g e