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Personal Mechanics Guide

Personal Mechanics Guide for Strong Writing

This quarter, I would like you to identify at least 20 mechanical issues that you have struggled with in the past, or find that you are struggling with right now.  You might already know what these are (I always have to stop and think about effect vs. affect) or you might keep a running list based on our readings, class examples, and pattern errors in your writing this quarter.

You may select any format you like (with visual diagrams, photos, videos, etc.)  as long as you are able to turn in a paper copy with your final portfolio. If you really want to make a power point or compile Youtube explanations, plan accordingly to share it with me as part of your final portfolio/grade.

For each issue that you identify,  1) state the issue, 2) give an explanation and/or trick for remembering the convention, myth, rule (or exception), and 3) write or quote  a sentence or paragraph that illustrates correct use.  You may use sources, and for your illustrative sentences you may either write them or quote published writing (with credit).  I will put examples on the board during the quarter as well—you are welcome to use any or all of my examples if they work for you as memory aids.

You may also join forces with 1 or 2 other students if that helps keep you on task.


For example:

It’s vs. Its:            It’s means “it is” when an apostrophe is used to made a contraction, but its is a possessive pronoun like hers, ours, and yours, none of which take an apostrophe. (Grammar Girl)

                                Example:  It’s a sunny day outside, so the garden is showing its brightest colors.

Opinion Piece on Apostrophes  http://theweek.com/articles/536183/should-stop-using-apostrophe-s-possessives



Due Date: This guide will be due with the final portfolio.

Language and Learning


(The Joy of Reading and Writing)  http://www.teach4real.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/The-Joy-of-Reading-and-Writing.pdf

     “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie


(The Brain in Love) http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2006/02/true-love/slater-text (“Love” by Lauren Slater for National Geographic)


 (Teen Brain) http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/10/teenage-brains/dobbs-text (“Beautiful Brains” by David Dobbs for National Geographic)


(Philosophies of Education)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_education Wikipedia


(Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy) http://www.techlearning.com/article/blooms-taxonomy-blooms-digitally/44988 


 (Academic Disciplines Defined) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_academic_disciplines




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1--Meyers-Briggs: www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm

2--Project Implicit: (Three or more) https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

3--Multiple Intelligences: http://www.edutopia.org/multiple-intelligences-learning-styles-quiz

4--Political Compass Test www.politicalcompass.org/

5--Political Typology—scroll down to “take the quiz” http://www.people-press.org/2011/05/04/beyond-red-vs-blue-the-political-typology/

6--Emotional “EQ” Test  http://queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm?idRegTest=1121

7--Learning Styles Generational Learning Styles Handout—Find your chapter based on your year of birth--Print and highlight main ideas and things that ring true.

(1920-1945/Veterans and Silents)  Coates, J. (2006). Generational Learning Styles. Ch. 8 & 9: The Veterans (1920-1945)/Veterans and Silents in the Classroom, pp. 63-82. River Falls, WI: LERN Books.

(1946-1964 Baby Boomers) Coates, J. (2006). Generational Learning Styles. Ch. 10: Baby Boomers (1946-1964), pp. 83-90. River Falls, WI: LERN Books.

(1965-1980 Generation X) Coates, J. (2006). Generational Learning Styles. Ch. 11: Generation X (1965-1980), pp. 91-110. River Falls, WI: LERN Books.

(1980-2000 Generation Y) Coates, J. (2006). Generational Learning Styles. Ch. 12: Generation Y (1980-2000), pp. 111-128. River Falls, WI: LERN Books.


8--Academic Disciplines—choose one specific area of study from each of the 5 main areas. Summarize each one: What is it? What do people “do” with it? What is it good for? For one of them, research careers and pay scales for people who have that degree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_academic_disciplines

 9--Washington State Employment/Education Projections--Find at least one piece of information that relates to you--http://www.wsac.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2013.11.16.Skills.Report.pdf



Prepare,  write, revise, and type your reflection:

Prepare--Take the “tests”/surveys and gather information from #7 and #8. Print out the results page or take detailed notes for each one.  No test should cost any money—if the site has changed, or a link is broken, please let me know. (For English 99 students, these results pages are due in class throughout the quarter.)

Write--Set a timer (20 minutes) and write a continuous informal reflection on the information you have gathered. Include the most surprising or intriguing information that was revealed by this process. Ask—and, if possible, answer—any questions that arise.

For instance…What personality trait most often gets you into trouble, and how can you use this as a strength in your life?

What about yourself would you change, if you could, and how?

How could you choose a course of study or career that would feature your favorite strengths?

What are your best qualities?

What do others respect about you?

What skills did you bring with you to college and what strengths have improved recently?

Who are you as a learner? As a citizen?

Revise--Comment on the information you have assembled and reflect on who you are as a person, student, citizen, etc. Create an emphasis that is meaningful to you. Include information about your intellectual opportunities in life, your level of intellectual engagement, and your intellectual intent. Focus on positives rather than negatives.

Type--Choose a format/presentation style that communicates effectively and efficiently (i.e. a mixture of labeled sections, paragraphs, bulleted lists, charts/graphs, poems, quotes, short essays, journal entries, comments of friends, visual illustrations, etc.). Let your (theoretical) audience see the picture of you that emerges. This project should be typed and easy to read.


Syllabus and Essential Course Handouts


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