I am the first to admit that my annotation skills need some work. I tend to write very little when I annotate, and when I am annotating non-fiction or critical text I often rely on highlighters to indicate what I think is important rather than elaborate on what I think makes that particular passage important. It’s not that I have anything against writing in my books, it’s that a lot of the time I feel like I just don’t know what to write, or if my thoughts on the text are valid or relevant in any way. In September 2015, I actually spent some time trying to improve my annotation skills through reading blogs and watching videos on YouTube.
This video helped me reflect on annotating in my personal, but also academic reading as a way to communicate with the text and to make my books MY books,
and this flow chart is a good reminder that it’s okay to be vulnerable and ask questions when annotating.
When I revisited my close reading scene for this blog post, it became very evident to me that I still have a lot of work to do on the asking questions and sharing my thoughts/feelings part of annotating a text. My annotations for this scene are primarily concerned with words and patterns; I notice repetition, alliteration and rhyme. When it comes to the question “How do you determine their success?”, I believe that these annotations are somewhat successful because they are a reminder of the literary devices I found to be important while close reading, but upon revisiting the text these annotations fail to remind me of my overall impression and feelings about this scene. I need to also make notes of my own thoughts for my annotations to be truly successful and beneficial to my learning. I also believe I need to improve on including the “Why” in my annotations – why do I believe a line is repetitive or alliterative? Why do I believe it is important that a certain line is written in perfect iambic pentameter? These are things I included in my close reading paper, but it would be more beneficial for these thoughts to be written directly on my text so I can be reminded of them for future readings. I think part of my inability to annotate about my thoughts and feelings effectively in this particular close reading may be because I found the margins of this edition quite small for annotating, but I want to make more of an effort to rely on sticky notes or my notebook for when this happens.
When it comes to taking notes while watching films, however, I think I tend to take the opposite approach and focus on my feelings
My notes from watching the 2013 film Romeo and Juliet are comprised almost entirely of my thoughts and impressions. Upon rereading these notes I remember how I felt watching the first few minutes of the film, but I don’t remember much about Crowl’s film elements that we read about and discussed in class, beyond script/screenplay. While my notes from this viewing are certainly “successful” in regards to reminding me of my feelings about the film and allow me to recall certain elements of the acting, music, and direction, I remember very little about the camera and editing. I think when it comes to my annotating and note taking techniques, I need to combine how I notice literary devices in text and my ability to write my feelings about film for my annotations and notes to be more successful and beneficial. I think my failure to discuss film technique in my notes is because this is the first time I have been writing critically and academically about film, but I’m going to try to rely on Crowl’s text to improve my notes.
When it comes to close reading scenes from Hamlet this weekend and next, I am going to make more of an effort to elaborate in my annotations. I’m going to note why I think a literary device is important and what it makes me think or makes me feel. I’m going to purchase sticky notes to make my annotations longer. When I watch Hamlet next week I am going to have Crowl’s book as well as the original text in front of me so that I can make notes about film elements beyond the screenplay. I want my film notes to be just as elaborate as my text annotations and to write in language that understands elements of film.