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space cadet
2005-Feb-28, 06:36 PM
Hey BABBlers...

My application for student teaching is due tomorrow and in it I have to include a short autobiography about myself. I was counting on my mother to proofread it for me but she's stuck in Arizona with car problems. If any of you could read through it and point out any errors or make suggestions, I'd be very grateful! I pride myself on good English skills, but it seems like I always manage to overlook something. Thanks!

Autobiography
(may be handwritten or typewritten)
(please be creative and professional)
(AUDIENCE: Classroom Students)



When I was about two years old, I discovered a bright red marker that had somehow found its way underneath the couch, and, feeling suddenly inspired, I used it to illustrate my motherís piano. Iíve been a dedicated artist from that day forth, although Iíve since restricted myself to paper and canvasóunderstandably, exercising oneís creativity on the furniture does not result in positive reactions from friends and family.

Besides drawing pictures, I also spent a lot of time making up stories. One day when I was in second grade, my art teacher told me that I should try to get a book published. I began to write a lot of stories and draw pictures for them too. The majority of these stories were about animals because I was so fascinated by them. Fortunately, Mom let me keep a lot of pets around the house. My brother and sisters and I had dogs, cats, parakeets, a fish tank, and four iguanas. Sometimes I even brought home wild animals that were lost or hurt and kept them for pets too. I had a tame magpie named Domino that I trained to fly home at night when I whistled for him and a mother duck with ten ducklings that followed me everywhere.

Every year I wrote a book and sent it to a publisher but they all got sent back. I knew that if I wanted to get published, I needed to come up with an exceptionally good story idea, but I was having a hard time thinking of one. Then one year when I was in ninth grade, I read a chapter in my Biology textbook about extinct animals. One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. It was a giant, flightless bird that weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.

I decided it might be fun to write a story about moas, so I went to the local library and found out everything I could about them. Then I wrote a story about how the moas were hunted into extinction, and about the one moa who got away. When I was finished writing the story and drawing pictures for it, I sent it to Landmark Editions in Kansas City. I was very excited when I found out I had won their annual publishing contest.

After that, I had to work very hard drawing more pictures for my story and making it even better than before. The Moas finally came out in print my senior year of high school.

A lot of elementary schools in Utah and Idaho wanted me to come visit them and tell the students how I had finally achieved my dream of publishing a book. Even though I was very busy with college and work, I still managed to find time to share the story of the moas with the children. Going to all those schools reminded me of how much fun Iíd had when I was an elementary school student, and it made me want to be around kids even more. Thatís why I decided to change my major from Art to Elementary Education. Even though I like to draw a lot, I realized that I would have even more fun inspiring children to be creative. Besides that, there are a lot of other subjects that Iím interested in, and being a teacher would give me the opportunity to teach kids about science, reading, and mathematics.

Now that I finally have a book published, Iíve started paying more attention to my other interests and hobbies, such as astronomy. I donít have a telescope yet, but Iíve found that if you have a good star map and a set of binoculars, youíd be surprised at how many interesting things you can see. Iíve also been learning a great deal about computers because a lot of my friends from college are computer geniuses. Iíve found that building your own computer can be very interesting and a lot of fun. There are hundreds of creative things you can do with a computer once you learn how. Iíve recently learned how to make professional-looking movies using a simple editing program and a digital camcorder. Hopefully all these computer skills will come in handy in the classroom someday. In the meantime, Iím working hard towards my teaching degree and canít wait to become a student teacher.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Feb-28, 06:44 PM
Well done. I would be interested.

Nicolas
2005-Feb-28, 06:46 PM
Good application indeed
Just don't end your application with

"One nuclear bomb could wreck your whole day."

It is kind of threatening :lol: :D

Lurker
2005-Feb-28, 06:52 PM
Excellent essay.

My spell checker sees no gramatical errors.

Interesting my spell checker recognizes moa but not moas... are you sure there's more than one of these birds in the world?? ;)

ToSeek
2005-Feb-28, 06:53 PM
I began to write a lot of stories and draw pictures for them too.

Should be a comma before "too."

kept them for pets too.

Likewise.

Every year I wrote a book and sent it to a publisher but they all got sent back.

Comma between "publisher" and "but".

Hopefully all these computer skills will come in handy in the classroom someday.

Controversial usage of "hopefully." Safer to say something like "I hope that."

space cadet
2005-Feb-28, 06:55 PM
Wow ToSeek, you're good! I would have never caught that.

Sometimes I really hate commas. *goes back to insert commas*

ToSeek
2005-Feb-28, 07:06 PM
Wow ToSeek, you're good! I would have never caught that.

Seems to be something I was born with. I got fired as a proofreader once because, "At the rate you keep finding errors, we'll never get this newsletter out!"

It's a nice read, overall - I doubt the trivial punctuation issues would have made much difference in the eyes of those hiring.

cyswxman
2005-Feb-28, 07:08 PM
Every year I wrote a book and sent it to a publisher but they all got sent back. I knew that if I wanted to get published, I needed to come up with an exceptionally good story idea, but I was having a hard time thinking of one. Then one year when I was in ninth grade, I read a chapter in my Biology textbook about extinct animals. One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. It was a giant, flightless bird that weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.


Just one little nit, but it may be non-consequential. You describe the moa, but don't mention its name until the end. Perhaps you could append "Known as a Moa, it...." just after "three hundred years ago". Other than that, looks great! :)

space cadet
2005-Feb-28, 07:17 PM
Every year I wrote a book and sent it to a publisher but they all got sent back. I knew that if I wanted to get published, I needed to come up with an exceptionally good story idea, but I was having a hard time thinking of one. Then one year when I was in ninth grade, I read a chapter in my Biology textbook about extinct animals. One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. It was a giant, flightless bird that weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.


Just one little nit, but it may be non-consequential. You describe the moa, but don't mention its name until the end. Perhaps you could append "Known as a Moa, it...." just after "three hundred years ago". Other than that, looks great! :)


How about this:
. . .One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. These giant, flightless birds, known as moas, weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.

space cadet
2005-Feb-28, 07:19 PM
Excellent essay.

My spell checker sees no gramatical errors.

Interesting my spell checker recognizes moa but not moas... are you sure there's more than one of these birds in the world?? ;)


Well, technically they're extinct, so I guess there aren't any at all. :P

cyswxman
2005-Feb-28, 07:23 PM
Every year I wrote a book and sent it to a publisher but they all got sent back. I knew that if I wanted to get published, I needed to come up with an exceptionally good story idea, but I was having a hard time thinking of one. Then one year when I was in ninth grade, I read a chapter in my Biology textbook about extinct animals. One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. It was a giant, flightless bird that weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.


Just one little nit, but it may be non-consequential. You describe the moa, but don't mention its name until the end. Perhaps you could append "Known as a Moa, it...." just after "three hundred years ago". Other than that, looks great! :)


How about this:
. . .One of the animals I read about lived in New Zealand three hundred years ago. These giant, flightless birds, known as moas, weighed over five hundred pounds and laid eggs the size of watermelons! I knew a lot about birds, but Iíd never heard of a moa before.

That looks real good! :D

cyswxman
2005-Feb-28, 07:24 PM
Oh, and let us know how it turns out. Good luck!! :D

frogesque
2005-Feb-28, 07:32 PM
I'm not so sure the commas are required. If you replace,'too' by, 'as well' you will see what I mean although it is a difficult convention. The only other thing I would change would be some of the 'stories'. Not overly so but there is a bit of repetition there.

Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Good luck with the application =D>

space cadet
2005-Feb-28, 08:17 PM
I'm not so sure the commas are required. If you replace,'too' by, 'as well' you will see what I mean although it is a difficult convention. The only other thing I would change would be some of the 'stories'. Not overly so but there is a bit of repetition there.

Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Good luck with the application =D>

This better?

Besides drawing pictures, I also spent a lot of time making up stories. One day when I was in second grade, my art teacher told me that I should try to get a book published. I began to write down a lot of my stories and draw pictures for them, too. The majority of these tales were about animals because I was so fascinated by them. Fortunately, Mom let me keep a lot of pets around the house. My brother and sisters and I had dogs, cats, parakeets, a fish tank, and four iguanas. Sometimes I even brought home wild animals that were lost or hurt and kept them for pets as well. I had a tame magpie named Domino that I trained to fly home at night when I whistled for him and a mother duck with ten ducklings that followed me everywhere.

frogesque
2005-Feb-28, 08:47 PM
space cadet wrote: ...This better?

It's a wrap!

jrkeller
2005-Feb-28, 10:54 PM
Is this your book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0933849737/qid=1109631012/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/104-3740735-0656728?v=glance&s=books)?

Gillianren
2005-Feb-28, 11:30 PM
with one exception, everything I'd point out has been already.

you tell us how many iguanas you had, but not how many cats or dogs. I think it would be better not to give numbers for any; giving numbers for just one lacks symmetry to me.

I used to be a copy editor, too, and your work is a marvel compared to some I've read. for example, I knew what all of your sentences meant.

the comma is a much-maligned little punctuation mark. I'd recommend picking up a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves or Strunk & White to study it--but I suggest that everybody do that.

space cadet
2005-Mar-01, 01:13 AM
Is this your book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0933849737/qid=1109631012/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/104-3740735-0656728?v=glance&s=books)?


Yup. :)

jrkeller
2005-Mar-01, 01:42 AM
Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Nope,

according to Webster's the plural is Moas

jrkeller
2005-Mar-01, 01:44 AM
Is this your book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0933849737/qid=1109631012/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/104-3740735-0656728?v=glance&s=books)?


Yup. :)

Just ordered one from amazon.com. My son is 10 and loves the outdoors, so this should be perfect.

BTW, keep writing

Gmann
2005-Mar-01, 02:11 AM
Excellent job, and pretty neat book as well. =D>


One day when I was in second grade

I would remove the "One day", and start with "When I was..."



Then one year when I was in ninth grade

I would also remove "Then one year" and start with "When I was in..."

There is probably nothing grammatically wrong with those two sentences, but extra beginning makes them sound "bumpy". Otherwise, wonderful story.

Grendl
2005-Mar-01, 02:19 AM
It's a great essay and I think I'll buy your book for my niece, since I'm "the book-buying aunt."

I subjected your essay to my grammar check and it didn't care about the commas, though I agree the one between 'publisher' and 'but" should be there, but not with the "toos."

It also pointed out: "moas were hunted into extinction, and about the one moa who got away.

Only people get a 'who'...it should be the moa that got away.

It also found two "wordy" sentences, but I don't think they were a big deal.

As ToSeek mentioned, the grammar check didn't like 'Hopefully." It preferred, "I hope that these computer skills will come in handy in the classroom someday." But imo, those computer skills will definitely come in handy and "someday" is sort of vague. You are going to be in the classroom one day! I would sound a little more sure of their handiness along the lines of "I look forward to using these computer skills in the classroom to make lessons fun or exciting" or whatever.

You'll make a great teacher. Good luck!

space cadet
2005-Mar-01, 08:58 AM
Wow, I am really flattered! I hope the kids enjoy reading it.



.

Only people get a 'who'...it should be the moa that got away.


I actually debated on that one myself for a while, but finally decided on "who" since the moa in question, although I refrained from completely anthropomorphizing him, has many human characteristics. The animals in my story can talk (it is a kid's book after all.)

I fixed the last couple of lines since I see your point about the computer skills coming in handy, and I also fixed the "one day, one year" problem and the "four iguanas" problem. :P Thanks again everyone for the great advice!

frogesque
2005-Mar-01, 09:02 AM
Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Nope,

according to Webster's the plural is Moas

Ok thanks, I stand corrected.

ToSeek
2005-Mar-01, 03:06 PM
Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Nope,

according to Webster's the plural is Moas

One moa moa. :D

space cadet
2005-Mar-01, 03:59 PM
Moa is, I believe, its own plural but since you have already had the book published I would leave it.

Nope,

according to Webster's the plural is Moas

One moa moa. :D

Yup, the word "moa" actually originates from the word "more."

When the first Europeans arrived in New Zealand shortly after the moas had been hunted into extinction, they were fascinated by all the gigantic bird remains that were scattered around the island. They kept telling the native Maoris to bring them more bones. The Maoris thought that the Europeans were saying "moa" bones, so that's what they've been called ever since.

Grendl
2005-Mar-03, 02:22 AM
Grendl wrote: .

Only people get a 'who'...it should be the moa that got away.

Space Cadet:
I actually debated on that one myself for a while, but finally decided on "who" since the moa in question, although I refrained from completely anthropomorphizing him, has many human characteristics. The animals in my story can talk (it is a kid's book after all.)
I came across a blurb in my book "Sin and Syntax" and it mentions:
"A couple of other random points: in restrictive/essential/defining clauses, the relative pronoun that can stand in for people or things; the relative pronoun who can also stand in for people and, for those of the Garbo persuasion, pets."

I have to catch myself on using who with animals since I tend to think of them as more than things.

BTW, "Sin and Syntax" is a fun grammar book to read. I especially like her "Carnal Pleasures" at the end of each chapter: http://tinyurl.com/4b3lc

Let us know when you hear something about your application!

Grendl
2005-Mar-31, 10:38 AM
I just wanted to say that I had purchased and read Space Cadet's book, "The Moas," and that the pencil illustrations are beautiful and so professionally drawn--for a 16 year old, no less! It's a short and sweet story of the demise of the moas and at the bottom of some pages there are highlighted definitions of terms, such as Maori, Australia, etc., and historical notes.

Her book apparently won the 1998 National Written & Illustrated By...Award for the 14 to 19 age catagory. I can see why. I'm amazed that her pencil drawings are so vibrant for not being colored. Imagine what they would look like in color (though I don't think they would show the precise detail in color pencils).

Very nice work. Space Cadet, do you have any more drawings you can share? Also, how did your application go?