So as a fun last project we made a poster with our brains on it! It was a drawing of course!! Well we could do almost anything as long as it had a brain on it so see what I did above! ⬆ Well anyway something that has been in my brain lately is 7th grade! There are only 3 days of school until summer!!
I’m really excited about 7th grade but at the same time I’m kind of scared! I’m really psyched about being able to participate in school sports which is going to be a lot of fun and also about study hall!! It’s going to be very useful to be able to have a whole period to do homework!! But up has its downs. Starting next year we will have to start taking exams!! That means having to take tons of notes over the year and keeping them safe until the end of the year when we have to study them!! For the most part I’m really happy and excited for 7th grade and I think most people are too!
This year, as you probably know, was the first year of our middle school issuing everyone an iPad! First off, I would like to say that it was an awesome experience! It was so cool to have iPads in my everyday life at school!!
In previous years, I didn’t really like using pen and paper because it was a lot harder to keep up with 300 sheets of paper than one lightweight iPad! The class we use it the most is by far Language Arts. You can kind of tell because all these posts have been from the iPads! It saves a ton of time by not having to go down to the computer lab. It also enables us to use websites and apps in the classroom which makes learning a lot more fun than just sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher talk!! So it has definitely been the best learning tool I have ever used!
This year the 6th graders tried out a program called Membean. It’s a program that teaches and tests you in vocabulary. Now since it’s on the Internet it has a lot more sections and questions on each word! So much that when you learn and restudy words it has a whole page of different pieces of information! This includes cool features such as short video to help you understand the word.
I have really enjoyed Membean this year a lot more than normal everyday vocabulary on paper! Your teacher can just send you a quiz and it takes two seconds!! My friend and I have little contests to see who can answer the most correct questions so it actually makes learning vocabulary fun!
So, as you know, we are reading The Giver. Since it is an ideal society, there must be ideal teachers. In my mind an ideal teacher must be a lot of things. One is interesting! I have had a lot of teachers that are just reading from the book and don’t make an effort to get the kids engaged and involved. This is mainly in history because there are few other ways to get the proper information they need to know to them. Well this year I have a history teacher that uses one of the other ways! She doesn’t use the textbook most of the time and she rarely gives homework! Most of the homework is reading the textbook on your own but that is like once every three weeks!
Now I know that you think that I picked her as an example of an ideal teacher just because she doesn’t give homework often but that is wrong! She doesn’t believe in homework because she thinks other things such as sleep and exercise are better. Another thing that makes me very interested is she often tells you these facts that you would not normally know about. Some days we spend the whole period discussing a topic such as the war going on in Afghanistan and in Iraq while we are studying the Middle East. Another thing that we do often are Keynote presentations. We actually just finished one about certain regions of India. We have done several of these throughout the year and they really help you remember information while you are still interested and involved. What is awesome about this approach on teaching is that not only are we enjoying the class but we actually make high grades and have high class averages!!
So an ideal teacher to me makes learning interesting, fun, involving, and informing!
U.S. Army photo by Al Zdarsky
In Language Arts we have started the book “The Giver” after finishing “The Westing Game” recently. The Giver is about a utopian society where everything is organized and nobody has a choice. In the beginning of the book the main character Jonas is an eleven. In that December he would become a twelve in a ceremony. Becoming a Twelve is a big deal in the community because that is when you are assigned a job that you will carry out doing until you become an elder.
If I were assigned a job in my country I think I know what I would probably be chosen to do! Definitely be put in the military! It’s just in my character to fight for what I believe in and that would be the USA! Everybody else asks me why I want to be shipped off to maybe be killed and I just say “To fight for my country!” One thing that I have always wanted to know what it feels like is to be shot. I have no clue why but its just one of those things, although it’s a relatively bad one. So really nothing scares me about war and half the time it’s interacting with other people from around to world such as Afghanistan. Another thing is that I want to be a Navy SEAL because of the missions they carry out! They were the ones who killed Osama Bin Laden and other major things!
Well that’s what I would want to be chosen to do!
Our latest project in Donnelly Language Arts was a book called “The Westing Game”. I had already read the book and didn’t really enjoy it so I was not excited to read it again. Part of the reason I didn’t like it was that it was so confusing and hard to keep up with all the characters. There are over 25 characters and in order to understand the book you need to know well!
I was very shocked to find that I actually enjoyed the book on the second time around! The book is so complicated that even though you know what happens in the end you never stop finding all these little hints and clues. For instance, there are 16 heirs in the book and that’s how many pieces one side has in chess! This is something that is very neat because the main character who dies loves chess.
Another thing that really helps in understanding the whole book more was using an app called Trading Cards. Using the information given in the book we made drawings of the character and filled out details and facts about each character in the form of a trading card. It was hard work to make 26 of them but it payed off in the end! Also, we went over “mystery” vocabulary words that helped with this cozy mystery. So now I would recommend this book where as before I would not!!
Our latest project in Language Arts was to make a pop-out book about a person that you know well and has influenced your life; your hero. My hero is my uncle Daniel, who taught me many things including surfing!
Late last year he had pain in his lower back which they thought had to do with his spine and playing sports. They found out the real cause when they took an MRI. They found a tumor in his back. The type of cancer was similar to Lance Armstrong’s. This came as a shock to me and all of our family because he was a healthy guy in great shape! My story was mainly on how he fought through cancer. Because of all of it being tied to my uncle’s life and cancer it was very emotional for me. A few days after I completed the project we received news that Daniel was cancer free after many weeks of chemotherapy and then surgery!
A big part of the project was making an art scene of your hero by cutting and pasting paper with the help of Peg Gignoux, a well-known artist. My scene showed my uncle and me surfing. For the first year ever these books are on display at the Frank Gallery until April 6th! When I walked into the gallery I was amazed to find all the different stories and great works of art! My uncle hasn’t seen the book yet because he lives in Morehead City so I can’t wait to show him!
Right then, I was in the most precarious position of my life; one decision deciding my fate. One of two things could happen. I could start over with a new wife and live, or be painfully killed. Few have made the choice before and most have died. “That is odd that most of the people choose the door with the bad fate,” I thought. “Something is not right.” Right then and there a light bulb went off in my head. A plan so simple I wonder why no one has used it before!
The crowd held their breath as he went to the door on the right and tried opening it. He acted as though the door wouldn’t budge as part of the plan. He yelled to the king, “Your majesty, the door is not open yet due to my arms broken by your guards when they tugged on the manacles bound to my wrists. I need assistance from a guard of yours. You may armor this guard as much as you would like, and he can hide behind the door as he opens it.”
The king pondered for a bit before agreeing and sent a guard with three times the armor of a normal one. This guard I could tell would do for the plan for he was big and slow, probably dimwitted as well, as most guards were. He was at the center of attention of thousands, all waiting for the next moments to happen. There it was, the split second he had for it to work.
He surprised the guard by taking his sword and stabbing him right through the heart. He then opened the door on the right and in a fury the tiger sprang out. The bright orange and black beast sat deciding on which person he should eat. The tiger, sparing his energy, pounced on the dead guard.
With that, another window of opportunity opened, and he dashed down the passage behind the tiger’s door. With a goal of freedom, he killed every guard that crossed his way ending with dozens dead for he was the best swordsman in the nation. He finally broke out of the stadium and dashed for the border which happened to be only a mile away. He passed through and was a free man with a new life in a new place.
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Photo by Me
Whenever I look at this photo that I took on the south beach of Bald Head Island I am in my own world. It calms me in seconds even when I am amped up! I can feel the cool ocean breeze and the sound of waves smacking against the shore in a rhythm. I remember this exact moment when I took this and I thought, “This is MY picture!” It explains my life. The grass swaying in the wind are my friends and family rooted to me but will sway to the world. The waves crashing in the background are the rough times but eventually will be smooth and calm. The sand is what the rough times make stronger and is what the grass is anchored to. The sand is me. Many things that make a whole. Please comment what happens to you when you look at it or what you see in this photo!
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The Wooden Tools
One day a poor farmer had set out early to start the growing season. When he came to his shed he was shocked to find all his tools had been stolen. He was outraged because he didn’t have enough money to buy new tools. Making some iron tools would be nice but time consuming and hard work. He would have to go buy a tiny bit of iron and make a pickaxe. He would then find and iron vein, smelt the iron, form the tools and then fasten the tools to wooden handles. He thought, “I’ll never make the harvest in time!”
He then got an idea that was easy and fast. He would carve to tools out of wood. The farmer set out right away for wood. As soon as he got into the forest he came upon a problem. He couldn’t get all the good branches and wood because he had no axe so he had to do with rotten dry branches. Then came making the tools. The wood was brittle so he had many splinters as he made just one shovel and even worse the shovel broke on the first load of dirt.
It took many days to make tools that would last at least a day or two. He finally made an axe and went to chop some good wood down. He was horrified to find he couldn’t move the axe an inch for his hands were chewed up with thousands of splinters in them, some as big as two inches. He needed the wood so badly he decided to use his teeth to chew the wood down. Of course he got the branch down but with major consequences. His teeth were worn down to the gums so when he tried to eat he couldn’t. He thought, “Oh well who needs to eat when work is to be done!” The farmer skipped meals for a few days putting the time into making the nicer wood tools instead of putting it into making the food mash.
After a week of solid working he hadn’t eaten anything, but finally finished the tools. He was so ravenous he ate half his food and after got very sick. By this time the growing season was halfway over and most farms were just taking care of the crops the poor farmer was sick in his bed. When he got better he worked as hard as he could to get a harvest in time. Working in overdrive, the farmer broke all his tools just as the season ended and the first frost came. He checked what he got in his harvest. All that was in the harvest stockpile was a handful of grain.
The farmer wept for days for he knew he was going to starve in the coming winter. Very depressed the farmer went into the market and found a young beggar. The boy wasn’t more than seven and looked like he was starving with tattered clothes. The farmer gave the boy all he had including his land. The boy hugged the farmer and ran to his mother in glee. He had saved a few cents to buy a rope which he later used in a way no other person should.
The moral is: Procrastination pays off today, hard pays off eventually.