by

September 26, 2022

 

A Day Off for Mental Health

In the article, “A Day Off for Mental Health” (Upfront, Caron,2022) I learned that teens around the country are pushing the concept of sick days to bolster mental wellness. This is due to the stress that these teens are put under because of what their school is tossing them, examples are sports practice, studying for tests, and extracurricular activities, and that’s just the minimum of what some schools expect from students. Finally taking notice of being Faced with high-stress levels among adolescents and a mental health crisis that includes rising suicide rates, some states are now allowing students to declare a mental health day. In the past few, years Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Main, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia have all passed bills permitting students to be absent from school for mental or behavioral health reasons, efforts that were often aided or spearheaded by young people.

I think that a day off for mental health is a great idea. This will help so many teens that are suffering because of the stress they endure. And schools finally taking ownership of the idea makes me hope that it will help not only the students become more open but also their families.

What do you think about having, “A Day Off for Mental Health”?


“Become Who You Are”

Born to 1st generation Dominican and Salvadoran parents and forever inspired by their perseverance to work and family, I uphold the legacy of resistance associated with the ancestors of my parents. I am a product of the Bronx public education system k-12 and the CUNY system; having graduated from Hostos Community College and Lehman College. In relation to the grassroots movement and necessity to learn the history of Puerto Rico and Latin American countries, to prevent it from being whitewashed in the classroom, I decided to acquire my bachelor’s in arts in Latino/Puerto Rican Studies. I am grateful to have learned the history of CUNY students organizing for open admissions, transforming CUNYs bilingual education and multi-literacy programs. These multicultural transformations are central to CUNYs history and the importance in relation to working class enclaves of migrant ethnic minority communities in NYC. The content of each course undertaken and understanding the value of Ethnic Studies for working class communities, persuaded me to become a global history/socials studies educator. These experiences here resonate with the habit of mind: Remaining open to continues learning because I learned to appreciate learning alongside others which is effective at avoiding complacency in my thinking.

At the age of 13 is when I began to become engaged in politics by participating in grassroots organizing work. An interest that began with my cousin inviting me to attend a meeting that was serving free pizza. Since middle school I participated in community and city school-wide campaigns, working towards improving the socio-economic conditions for low-income working-class residents of the Bronx. Overtime the exposure of organizing along with the global politics of the time, ever so determining my material conditions, contributed to my political consciousness, furthering my understanding of the fundamental contradictions of capitalism. These experiences I believe resonate with the habit of mind: Listening with understanding and empathy because it is their stories and methods in organizing for self-determination, that taught me to humble their immiseration under U.S. capitalism.

“Theory without practice is pedantic, just as practice without theory leads to foolhardy endeavors”. That is why I believe to confront the needs of today according to the appropriate social conditions, it is imperative to undertake the anti-capitalist perspective in the classroom. Meritocracy and individualized careerist aspirations are an injustice to NYC working-class public-school students. Bridging theory and practice into methods of action in the hands of the masses, like NYC public school students, demands an emphasis on a structural historical analysis examining the relations of domination and the dialectical relationships between race, class, and gender. Such practice encourages students so understand the problem of racism, capitalism, and settler colonialism in the U.S..

In relation to their methods of organizing and struggle for dignity and the right to self-determination, the interest of the hegemonic bourgeois state power in the U.S. will be an opposing force every step of the way. The recent proposal by the mayor Eric Adams to cut the Education budget by $469 million cannot be more convincing. Black, Latino, and other oppressed ethnic minority students need to possess the ability to talk about the concrete material conditions of intersectional inequalities in the U.S. social order: race, class, gender, and national oppression; in ways that are useful and liberatory. These experiences of transferring knowledge according to new material conditions resonate with the habit of mind: Applying past knowledge to new situations. I say this because I still view myself as student to the world and recognize the necessity of thinking dialectically to understand a world in constant motion and social upheaval.


Description of a Child

Javonne is a 15 years old male, is African American and is at 10th grade. He is a little tall, with light skin. He is very respectful with the teachers in the classroom. He is always late for class, we can say that he comes late because his friends also come late (they come to class together).

His situation is a bit worrying since the majority of times he does not feel motivated to do his classwork or homework. He has said many times that he doesn’t care if he get a 55 as his grade, but when his mother intervenes, he feels sad. He shows at that moment the desire to improve since he don’t want to disappoint his mother.

At every class, I had to sit with him and work with him to push him a little more, and motivate him to complete the assignments in class. He demonstrates that he don’t like reading or writing, when he seems that the activities are based on reading and writing even reading questions, and writing response he gets bored, stands aside and does nothing. When I sit with him, I read the materials to him, and explain to him, he then respond with beautiful answers, with awesome answers, even much better than his peers that a lot of them have a better academic standing.

However, in our science class, when we have fun physical activities or games, he is very active and participates so joyful. I notice that Javonne get inspired by his friends, but most of them they do their work in class, except Javonne and Carlos who is the closest to Javonne. Usually, we need to intervene both of them together because they show same attitudes at the same time in class.


Regina’s Biography

I was born in the Dominican Republic and my parents named me Regina. I was one of the eleven brothers and sisters who made my immediate family. Our main language is Spanish. My educational history in the Dominican Republic began after I left the village I was born in. I completed my elementary, intermediate, and secondary schooling in the Dominican Republic. Upon completion of high school, I entered college and became a substitute teacher. This marked the beginning of my teaching career. I attended college in the Dominican Republic known as Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) enrolled in a childhood education program. 

My life took a sharp turn after migrating to the United States. After moving here, I was able to become the person I am today. I developed a connection to the habits of the mind, persisting, thinking flexibly, and listening with understanding. Persisting is not giving up easily when pursuing a goal or objective. Challenges and differences of opinions are elements that need to be overcome as one persists in reaching a goal. This idea is a reflection of when I tried to transfer my school transcript from the Dominican Republic to a CUNY. I persisted for around five years trying to get the transcript until I finally got it. Having a flexible mind, I decided to enroll in a private school to get a medical lab degree and even with the transcript issue, it was still part of my agenda. Few years later, I made a few trips to the Dominican Republic and received the school papers to enter a CUNY school.

I started to see the implementation of the skill of thinking flexibly after working in an after school program (SCAN NY) in a public school in the Bronx. This skill showed me how to use different strategies in different situations to either meet the student or family needs. There were times when I changed my mind when disciplining or designing a lesson after thinking it over. At the same time, the skill of “listening with understanding and empathy” became apparent because while working with families in the poor community, many parents were facing different challenges and were able to listen and find solutions to some of their needs. The same occurred while working with young students in the program who were non English language speakers and I had to listen and find solutions to their problems. During this time working with these families and children, I found out that I had to persist in becoming a teacher because I am able to listen, understand and work with them to meet their social, academic, and any other possible needs. 


Introducing Myself

My name is Alexis Asencio. I’m 23 years old, and I’m working towards my goal of becoming a science teacher for grades 7-12. I was born in the Dominican Republic, and when I was 10 my parents and I decided to come to New York. From and early age in the DR I felt the passion to teach, and so I’m working towards that since that time, I say that because at every grade, I always choose the teacher that I like it the most to get inspirations, and strategies to use at the time I become a teacher. A fun fact of myself is that I like to dance a lot, to go out with friends, to have fun with loved ones, and listening to music, I also like to stay at home, watch movies or tv shows or videos, cook, and have nice foods and drinks.

The three habits of minds that I feel more connected to are; managing impulsivity, finding humor, and responding with wonderment and awe. So often I try to manage my impulsivity, when I get stress I could be impulsive in some stuff, so during my calm time I try to manage that in order to control about any impulsivity.

My big one that is quite related to me is finding humor. Everyone who knows me, characterizes me for always wearing a smile and having a good sense of humor, for laughing almost all the time. I try to emphasizes the fun part of almost everything and in that way relax myself and think in a calm way in the different  issues and things that we face daily. In my work with customers, before getting into their need, I always do a joke to them and we laugh, and then we get into the context of helping them. I noticed that doing this is a good start in serving a person, the person feel comfortable.

This third habit of mind it has been highlighted in me after I started working and being in professional settings. Always for all new things that I get know, I respond with such a wonder, my co-worker uses to joke with me telling me ‘Alexis in wonderland’ because of my reactions to new things.


Never too Young to Start Spreading Kindness

In the article, “Need a “Peptoc?” (btw) I learned that an Elementary School teacher named Jessica Martin started a hotline project with her West Side Elementary School students. Anyone who calls the provided number and selects their preferred language will be offered either a variety of pep talks from kindergarteners, hearing children laugh with delight, and more. The hotline started off small but has now accumulated to about three to four hundred calls every hour.

I think that this is a very amazing and special project. Not only does it encourage people when they are having a bad day but it also inspires these young students to start spreading kindness at a very young age. There is so much negativity in this world and the constant put down of individuals to one another. This helps spread the positivity one step at a time and slowly spread throughout.

If you could spread this type of encouragement, in what ways would you inspire?


Schools All Around

In the article Schools Around the World (BTW, 2015), I learned that in different places, schools function differently. There were six different sections that discussed how each place in the world has a unique school system. They included but were not limited to the school day, required additional learning, unique traditions, treacherous journeys to school, lunch, and recess. Schools around the world function differently and have different ways of running the school. Some schools in India have a system like Hogwarts where students are divided “into four ‘houses’” where they “compete against one another all during the school year, which culminates in an end-of-the-year award”.

I think that the diversity among different schools around the world is interesting. Seeing how different places work for the schools and what is the norm for students allows others to notice that different systems are not bad, just different. When analyzing the way students perform based on their schedules, traditions, and how their school functions overall is a key role in this topic since student engagement in school is important for their well-being.

What would you describe as the ideal functioning school?


Do you think year-round school is a good idea?

In the post, “Is Year-Round School a Good Idea?”(Upfront) I learned about two different points of view on whether students should attend school all year long. About 86% of schools use the traditional school calendar that was applied in the 19th century due to the climate. As time passes by several schools are considering switching to a year-round schedule for the reason that it’ll highly benefit students. Having school all year-long will not create an extension of how many days we attend but it’ll only create much shorter and frequent breaks throughout the school year. Doing this will help students perform “better” in school. This statement is misleading because schools that do have the one-year system have not seen raise in kids’ test scores since it does not add to the days that school is in session. If this system is applied it can interfere with a variety of things such as family schedules.

In my opinion, it would be nice to have school all year long for the reason that I easily forget all the information that was taught from the previous school year. It would help me not forget the material and I feel like I would see change within my grades. There would also be more time to do assignments and get grades up since there are more frequent breaks with having school all year long. At the same time, I do enjoy having a two-month vacation by simply just relaxing and easing my mind off the stress school puts on me.

Do you think year-round school is a good idea?


Should schools be allowed to check your social media?

In the article “School Social Media Free Speech Case” I learned that people are questioning what students are and aren allowed to post or say on social media about school. This situation is important because social media has a big impact on many teenagers’ lives. A high school freshman made a cruel social media post about her not making the varsity cheerleading team. She was upset about this and made a post that had curse words and had her middle finger up. Her friend was also part of this post. The school chose to suspend her from school due to her actions. 

I think that what is happening isn’t okay. I believe that the school should have stayed out of it. Even though it had something to do with not making the school’s cheerleading team. It was out of school and not on a school device, where and when this post was made. There was no threat or bullying to a specific person. Due to student speech or free speech values, students should be allowed to post whatever they want without the school getting involved unless it consists of bullying, threats, ect. 

What do you think, should private social media posts be regulated by school administrators?


Biden will travel to Europe next week for an extraordinary NATO meeting.

This article talked about Biden’s trip to Europe next week, including meetings with NATO and the European Union. Biden is visiting to reaffirm his firm support of Ukraine. Zelensky will also request that Congress send additional aid in a virtual address on Wednesday morning. The European Union and NATO should also discuss viable peace options at their meeting.

See my comments on this article: https://nowcomment.com/documents/308333


Were bullets the only way to keep people safe?

In the article “The Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Incident” (BTW), I came upon a contentious topic about a toddler accidentally falling into a gorilla’s enclosure. The toddler was dragged from the leg by the animal, although the harm was not done on purpose. The zoo’s team decided to intervene in order to protect the infant. The gorilla was killed on May 28, 2016, after gunshots were fired. The child remained unharmed and was soon immediately sent to the hospital, where he was left to recover. Following the incident, many people questioned if the zoo’s team members did the right thing in leading the child to safety.

In my opinion, a different strategy for rescuing the animal and the child could have been used. Children have been known to fall into animal exhibits in the past. This case is unique since it is the first time in a long time that an animal has been shot dead. Harambe was attempting to protect the infant since he was the leader and guardian of his group, hence no damage was intended, according to animal experts. I’d also like to point out that by tranquilizing Harambe, team members may have adopted a different strategy.

Would you agree?


Who is Most Affected by the School to Prison Pipeline?

The article written by American University expands on how dangerous the school to prison pipeline is for students of color. A big part of this would be the Zero Tolerance Policy and that it in fact stems from the war on drugs. It dramatically increases the number of students suspended and expelled from schools furthering the gap between the students and their schools. Students of color are disproportionately treated in comparison to white students. Most of these students are treated wrongfully based on their home and community backgrounds which is almost impossible for them to escape forcing them into the prison system. The new approach to replace Zero Tolerance Policies would be Restorative Justice. This would allow new disciplinary practices and monitoring of racial disparities. Large focus on agreement and meditation rather than punishment. Finally, professional development and training.


Should schools be allowed to control students’ social media posts?

In the article, “School Social Media Free Speech Case”(BTW) I learned about Brandi Levy’s case that involved her first amendment getting violated. It all started off when Levy tried out for her school’s cheerleading team and unfortunately didn’t make the cut. So she took out her anger on social media by trashing her school and saying negative things about it. Later on, the School took notice of Levy’s actions and decided to punish her for it. Brandi’s parents believed that the school was in the wrong for doing so since it violated her first amendment, it was off-campus when she published it and the school isn’t in the place for them to tell her what she can and can’t post. But schools should have somewhat of a say in what they are allowed to post. For example, they can get involved with something if it deals with hate speech, bullying, threats, and so on. 


So, what do you think? Shold schools participate in what students publish on social media?

In this case, I’m 50/50 on it since both sides hold great points. I understand that the schools should intervene in some of the student’s social media when it involves hurting someone, physically or mentally. But, schools shouldn’t also get someone in trouble for expressing their opinion when it doesn’t cause anyone harm.


No Summer Break?

In the article, Is Year-Round School a Good Idea? (Upfront), I learned that there has been some controversy about having either traditional schools than the year-round calendar. Many believe that it would bring a better understanding of the subjects and there would be no necessity to waste time reaching material after a long break. By distributing that long break throughout the year rather than having it piled out at the end of one summer, many will be able to one, gain a better understanding of the concept, and do better in school. Those who believe otherwise use research where it was shown that even after having year-round calendars, many students do not have better scores. Also, they talk about how it could potentially lead to all adults stressing: Teachers by having their kids in traditional calendars and having to find a child care system for their own children in those moments that there are differences and for the parents, not being able to work during the summer (as well as teenagers) and having the same issue of having some children in traditional schools and others in year-round.

I think that it would be better in a way to have a year-round school calendar because that way, instead of having students waiting for a long break at the end and just wanting to get the work done with, they have many small breaks throughout. It would also be good for their mental health since this way, they would be given consistent time to have a break from school. Although it would be an issue with having some in traditional calendars and others in year-round schools, it would be better if areas focused on getting the full area to either be all traditional calendars or all-year-round schools.

Would you prefer year-round school calendars rather than our traditional way?


What’s considered art nowadays?

In the article, “Is Digital Art Fake?” (Susannah, Mcgraw Hill) I learned that many people believe some things are considered art and some aren’t. In this article, many believe digital art isn’t really an art and is way easier to do. The author believes this is completely untrue which I also firmly believe. Whilst both have many different characteristics there are still challenges in both and are both time-worthy. You also have to understand how to use a computer and use different techniques both online and in person. 

I think these points are very true and that there is talent in both. Both have their challenges and aren’t as easy as many people think. You have to learn all the techniques of how to use brushes, pencils, and so much more. For online you have to understand how to blend things online and still add detail. There are so many aspects to both art and technology that it is a lot to learn. 

What are some other forms of art?


The flying car

In the article, “Charting a New ´Highway´ (upfront) I learned that a flying vehicle was constructed and named ¨Aircar¨. The car has two passenger seats and can be driven on the road and in the air because of its convertible wings. The vehicle can fly as high as 8,200 feet and goes up to 118mph. In order for these vehicles to be released to the public, rules for air traffic and safety need to be established and will not be ready until the next couple of years.

In my opinion, the idea of flying cars is nice. The only worry I have is how irresponsibly people could drive/fly these vehicles and seriously hurt people.  It’s hard to imagine worrying about regular cars hitting you while you walk or drive and also worry about a vehicle flying over you and could possibly malfunction or collapse on someone. 

What are your thoughts on the Aircar?


Nap Break?

In the article Naps at School (Upfront), I learned that there is a school in New Mexico that has allowed students to take 20-minute breaks whenever feeling overwhelmed during school hours that way they are never overworking themselves. By doing this students have said that they have been far better in school and that “it brings back vitality and grants you the peace of mind that you can continue the day without collapsing”. They explained how other states have thought of taking on this idea since they’ve noticed ‘the power naps being a big hit’.

I believe this is a great idea since students normally stay up late in order to complete school work hence their involvement in school or overall other life problems on the daily. By allowing them to at least have 20 minute naps every day, they will be able to excel further in school.

Would you take advantage of this resource if it was installed in your school?


The Broken Education System

The American school system is broken. “Even so, educational experiences for minority students have continued to be substantially separate and unequal.” As we’ve been going through the years, our school systems have aged, declined, and broken down. Students have been getting bullied, torn down, and have not been getting treated fairly especially when you are a minority. “It’s the measure of segregation that is most strongly correlated to the racial-achievement gap,” says Sean F. Reardon. 

A heartbreaking example of how our school system is broken is Isabella, a 10 yr old girl from Davis County UT. Isabella commited suicide as a result of her enduring horrific things and sayings from her teachers and classmates. Brittany Tichenor-Cox who is Isabella’s mother explains that her 10 year old daughter was getting bullied for being black and autistic. As this was happening they brought it to the school system but they did nothing about it. It is now coming into light that the administrators intentionally ignored the information that was brought to them and failed to respond to hundreds of reports from other black students that have been called slaves, the N-word, and threats of being lynched. I feel that this is a huge wake up call for the school systems in the US and many other places are failing miserably. We need to address how our education system is broken and take action. 

In conclusion, the American school system is struggling and we need to address that so we can make changes. The longer we wait the worse it’s going to get. It’s horrible what happened to Isabella and many other students around the country. It just shows that the education system is failing its students. We need to take action and prevent this from happening to anyone else. 


What Kind of Music Helps Students Study Better?

In my opinion classical and instrumental jazz help students study harder (at least for me). Music is a big key some people might be missing in their studying habits. When listening to music while studying, your music preferences matter. The effects on background music relates more to a listener’s fondness for that  music than the specific type of music.  

 The music can definitely be more distracting rather than focused if the listener strongly likes the music or strongly dislikes the music. “The connection within people’s brains that are responsible for internally focused thoughts and memory tend to be more active when they are listening to their favorite music, regardless of genre.” https://www.trade-schools.net/articles/music-for-studying  

Volume is a big factor as well. Volume is more important than the genre. A medium level of background noise can affect creative tasks in a good way.  

The best music also depends on what you are studying. For example you can read better while listening to music you like. And while doing math homework, you might do better listening to music you do not listen to as much. There is an opposing view that music does not help teenagers specifically, focus while studying. The reasons are the frequent use of personal devices (cell phones) which most young people grow up with. In conclusion, music helps me study and get my homework done. Especially classical and soft instrumental jazz. 


Student Speech Limits

In the article “The Limits of Student Speech” I learned that schools want to limit what students have to say about them. A student expressed their feeling on social media about not making the varsity cheerleading team. She was upset and posted negative comments about that situation. The school suspended her and she sued the school district. The appeals court said the First Amendment did not allow public schools to punish students for speech outside school grounds. 


What do you think? Should she have been suspended?

I think what is happening is an important situation. If it happened out of school then there should be no reason for the school to suspend her. Also it was on her social media having nothing to do with the school. She was just upset and had to express her feelings but there are also different ways to deal with it. Overall. I can see where both sides are coming from. 

Source: https://upfront.scholastic.com/issues/2020-21/030821/the-limits-of-student-speech.html (subscription required)


Freedom of Speech on Social Media

In this article, “School Social Media Free Speech Case”(Mcgraw Hill btw) I learned that students have free speech on social media and school districts cannot take action towards any posts on social media to a student unless there is bullying, harassment, or there are any threats involved. There was a situation where a student expressed anger which involved curse words on social media after not making the Varsity cheer team. The school took action by suspending the student from all cheer activities for a year,. The students parents then took legal action and filed a federal lawsuit and won, the student was then reinstated to the junior varsity cheer team. The school argued saying that schools should be able to regulate what a student says online, the judge believes that they are able to regulate what a student says online only under circumstances where there is bullying, threats or any harassment happening online.

I think the student was in the right and the school shouldn’t have suspended the student off the team. I think if she was just expressing how she felt the school shouldn’t have to suspend her from cheer activities because that would be like the school telling her how to feel. I also agree that schools should take action in situations where there are bullying, harassment, threats to students or teachers.

Who do you think is in the right in the situation between the student and the school?


Student’s voice free

In the article “The Limits of Student Speech” (Patricia Smith) I learn that sometimes the student doesn’t have the freedom to speak what they feel on the school because they have limitations. They feel freer on social media to express how they feel. They start to make posts about everything and express their feelings. Sometimes the campus has the authority to extend its restrictions.

I think that I was a student need to have the freedom to talk about what makes me feel good and what is not on campus. Also, the campus needs to have these moments to listen and be better for the society that is involved. Because they need to improve on listening to the students they are the people that make the school have some function.

What do you think about being limited?


No such thing as free lunch

It’s no secret that students like to joke about school lunches. But in reality, these meals provide vital sustenance for hundreds of thousands of children in the United States who otherwise might go hungry. in the article ¨No, such thing as free lunch¨ stated that these lunches have impacts on children, immigrants, and schools. By all estimates, more than 30 million U.S. schoolchildren currently receive free or reduced-price school lunches. But the Trump administration is concerned that there are students receiving this benefit who shouldn’t be.

The Trump administration has also recently proposed a new plan that would require anyone seeking citizenship to prove that they won’t rely on public assistance programs, such as food stamps. But in many households, the children are citizens (and thus eligible to receive SNAP benefits and free lunch) even if their parents are not. However, parents are reluctant to enroll their children in the program because they are afraid that doing so will keep them from being able to become citizens.

Currently, any school with at least 40 percent of its students on free lunch is allowed to provide free lunch to all of its students. This saves the school administrators a lot of time and paperwork and also eliminates the social stigma involved. (At these schools, no one feels embarrassed about receiving free lunch, because everyone does.) But under the new rules, more than 2,000 schools are at risk to drop below that threshold, meaning that they will no longer be able to provide free meals to all students.

We being able to get free lunches in school is such a blessing, that we don’t appreciate enough because, unlike others who don’t have nothing to eat, we are seemed so lucky.


The Link Between Time Management and Athleticism

Athletes require more self-discipline because athletes generally get started on their homework later and have to miss classes for races/games (both of which require communication and time management). Getting started on their homework later in turn means that they are more diligent in completing their work on time. Having less time to do homework also trains active students to get later assignments in class done early. This is underscored by the fact that student-athletes generally perform 2 percent higher than normal students on math and science subject tests. Student-athletes are also better prepared for college because they have developed good time management skills in high school.


Should Private Social Media Posts be Regulated By School Administrators?

In the article “School Social Media Free Speech Case” I learned that people are questioning what students are and aren allowed to post or say on social media about school. This situation is important because social media has a big impact on many teenagers’ lives. A highschool freshman made a curel social media post about her not making the varsity cheerleading team. She was upset about this and made a post that had curse words and had her middle finger up. Her friend was also part of this post. The school chose to suspend her from school due to her actions. 

I think that what is happening isn’t okay. I believe that the school should have stayed out of it. Even though it had something to do with not making the school’s cheerleading team. It was out of school and not on a school device, where and when this post was made. There was no threat or bullying to a specific person. Due to student speech or free speech values, students should be allowed to post whatever they want without the school getting involved unless it consists of bullying, threats, ect. 

What do you think, should private social media posts be regulated by school administrators?


How Students Lives Have Been Affected by the Ongoing Pandemic

The pandemic has affected families across the world, people have lost jobs, houses, and even family members. Life has been a struggle for low-income families during these times. Although, students have had just as a hard time. This pandemic has affected the way students learn, and the transition has taken a toll on every student’s life. It took away experiences, and our motivation to continue our education through these difficult times.

Although our teachers have done their best to make our school years manageable, the minimum amount of work still feels like piles upon piles of homework on our hands. Some students have to help their parents with siblings while they are at work, or they even have to pick up a job to bring in extra money for the family. And the seniors that went through this pandemic do not feel prepared for the jump from high school to college because of this experience. The change will be drastic and some don’t feel as if they are ready to handle such stress because we were not able to gain anything from this school year. In conclusion, the pandemic has made everyone’s lives change but the education system attempts to normalize the pandemic and force us to handle the situation as if it were a normal school year.


Fake News on Social Media

With technology advancing, fake news has become harder to identify on social media. And even in today’s events – political, social, and influential – there have been posts on multiple social media platforms that are misleading or biased.

For example, when misleading posts go viral and become shared, that information is being mislead to others. Which causes a whole cycle of spreading false information around. This happens when people do not check the sources behind the information or when they don’t fact-check it.

Other posts’ information could be misleading due to biased sources reporting on it. If a channel, station, or publisher has negative or positive extra feelings about someone or something they are reporting on, that could interfere with their honest and full judgement on that, which ends up interfering with the reported outcome. This affects their reputation and identity, which is what happens when people spread around false or misleading information/posts on the internet.


Where I’m From

I am from the lawnmower, from john deere and store bought parts.

I am from the warm bright sun coming in from the sliding glass doors.

I am from the aloe vera, sunflowers, and the pine tree planted in my backyard, the amazon sword tail, the moonflower, the plants that grow through the top of the fish tank. 

I am from Sauerkraut ball making day  and cathothilic eastern and western europeans, from Debbie and Hugh and the Meldrums.

I am from the hotheads and smart people.

From “you can be anything” and “don’t become me, be better”.

I am from reformed catholics. My parents who shed their religion.

I’m from Lansing and Ireland and Poland, Pierogies and Kielbasa

From the waking up on christmas with my mom then going to sleep on christmas night at my dads, the 11 hour drives to the U.P., and the smell of my grandma’s christmas ham

I am from the pictures hanging in my mother’s house, the young Aidan staring down on me. The recipe of my great grandma hanging above the fireplace letting us know family traditions is still alive and well. 

By. Aidan Gallagher in the style of Where I’m From by George Ella Lyons


The Mental Health Epidemic

Social media is a place that allows for media anywhere to be seen around the world. A connection between people is incredibly easy over the internet. I never thought too much about how the constant use of social media could affect mental health, until recently.

I plan to major in psychology in college. Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. It’s super intriguing because it provides a deeper understanding of why humans do what they do. A deeper understanding of where a person’s behavior and thinking are needed.

The effect of social media is interesting. On one hand, social media battles loneliness and boredom through easy communication. The ability to take a peek into someone’s life through posts is very fun, coming from a user. On the other hand, the facade that social media allows people to set up creates a distorted reality. This distorted reality causes people to question their own. “Am I good enough”? “Why am I so ugly”? “I’ll never be as cool as them.”

Let’s think about who uses social media the most. Teenagers. Teenagers are super impressionable, self-conscious, and are the least self-aware of how their minds work. The second-highest cause of death by teens is suicide. People, teens especially, who are most vulnerable to being overwhelmed by their emotions: depression, anxiety, stress, need to understand why they feel the way they do. Why they do the things they do before they start using social media. Our society needs to change its perspective on mental health. A person needs to understand themselves to be successful, to be happy.

Our society is currently being damaged by widespread mental health issues. Although social media can destroy a person’s confidence and hope for the future, there are many more contributing factors to our decline. Negative feelings form in many different ways. Something as minuscule and insignificant as tripping in front of your crush. Or something with the magnitude to change who you are as a person; like childhood trauma. We need to be taught to notice and healthily act on our feelings and thoughts.


Finals and Why They Should Be Finally Done With

At the end of each high school semester, the students are tasked with overwhelmingly difficult tests that encompass all of the knowledge taught for that semester. These tests, referred to as ‘Midterms’ or ‘Finals,’ encourage students to continue to interact with the course material, bettering their chances of remembering the material. But, while finals aim at allowing students to understand and remember the course content already learned, the tests end up placing the students in highly stressful situations and at high-risk of failing a class, he or she may have worked hard at all year (“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.”).

Finals try to help long-term retention, but only push students to memorize as much of the information as possible without actually learning it (“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.”). While finals appear to be a good option for a lasting remembrance of material, the tests increase stress and allow for little actual learning, only memorizing, to occur. 

Although finals are supposed to be a test over all the knowledge acquired, students rarely take time to thoroughly review material before the exam. Many students learn just enough to pass the test, cramming all the information into one study session, and forget it all after completion (Fox). The focus is on passing the test, rather than learning the material, defeating the purpose of what the test, and essentially school, is: to learn and grow one’s mind (Fox).

A school must ask itself when the test does not evaluate a student’s learning capabilities but instead, their memorization, is the test really necessary to have? Finals should be ended as they only examine a student’s ability to retain information for a short period rather than evaluate what the students have learned in the semester. Also, finals place students in a high-pressure environment, affecting their ability to perform well.

A student may be hardworking and diligent, but when given a little amount of time and lots of information to understand, the high stakes and high pressure can alter the true reflection of a student’s abilities (Brodeur). The stress affects the mental health of a student, a topic schools try to put importance on but rarely talk about how mental health can be affected and helped. The stress can stop a student’s eating or sleep schedule, or make him or her physically sick, something that can be easily prevented if finals are ended (Brodeur).

Schools have to ask what is more important, testing students with a difficult exam that covers material students have forgotten or preserving the healthiness of a student’s mind? The stress of the exams allows for no accurate portrayal of a student’s successes in the classroom as they only incite fear and anxiety in a student, therefore not being a viable option for evaluating students. 

Finals are tests aimed at evaluating a student’s knowledge at the end of a semester, but ultimately the exams only increase stress and are not an accurate depiction of a student’s capabilities. Instead of having final exams, schools can test students after each unit, topic, or chapter they learn, as schools normally do. These tests are just as accurate, if not more, than finals and eliminate stress and anxiety as well. No student can accurately be evaluated on a test that is influenced by stress, anxiety, and a lack of learning and preparation, ruling finals as unnecessary in a school setting. 

Works Cited

“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.” Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching 

& Learning, 13 Nov. 2015,www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/

examining-the-benefits-of-cumulative-tests-and-finals/. 

Fox, Andi. “6 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Have Final Exams.” HHS Media, hhsmedia.com/

18850/opinion/6-reasons-why-we-shouldnt-have-final-exams/. 

Brodeur, Kris. “Finals Shouldn’t Have the Power to Destroy Cumulative Grades.” The GW 

Hatchet, 22 Dec. 2017, www.gwhatchet.com/2017/12/21/finals-shouldnt-have-the-power-to-destroy-cumulative-grades/.


Virtual classes, advantage or disadvantage?

Virtual classes have gotten to their peak this past year. Many of these reasons are not only because of the high cases of covid, but also because of students who work full time jobs and students who cannot make it to traditional in-person classes. It gives them an opportunity to participate in class, without physically being there. Have the ability to learn and be part of a class without having to feel left out. However, with all these advantages there are its disadvantages. 

“With remote learning moving into the long term, experts say the mental, emotional and academic impacts of that shift are likely to be challenging”(Burke). Many disadvantages include no personal contact, poor time management skills, and lack of interaction. All of which could lead to more serious problems like poor eye sight, stress, and depression, along with many others.

 Virtual classes are worse for the younger generation. It impacts children’s health, not only physically, but mentally. Many students are more hands-on learners, being in physical classrooms.  Research has shown that “Generation Z” students — those born after 1996 — have surprising preferences for face-to-face learning, even though their parents rarely see them without their smartphone in hand”(Reed). Having to stare at a screen for 7-10 hours a day affects the eyesight, impacts sleep, and can be a major distraction. While there may be many benefits to virtual classes, there are many more disadvantages to top them. 

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Why I joined Lit Mag

Why did I join Lit Mag?

Art has always played a subtle role in keeping my sanity anchored and engaged. So when I was told one of the only available classes for 6th period was lit mag I did not hesitate. Music and writing have helped me get through the darker times in my life. Overall if you look at my apple music I listen to at least 1000 hours of music a year, that is no exaggeration either. Those long hours have really led me to look at my own writing, whether it’s a poem, story, or songs, and connect with them

I am so grateful I found a safe and secure way to express things hard to put into words. And that is what drove me to lit mag, besides the fact the actual pieces being submitted are fascinating and it is always fun to see the skills my classmates have, I truly enjoy the art and symbolism, it’s very unique to get to compile the experiences and works of people you spend every day with for hours. I am a storyteller at heart and everything submitted has its own story. My safe haven is their safe haven we just show it in different ways.


Young People On Voting

In the article, “Could Young Voters Decide the Presidency?” by Patricia Smith, past and younger generations haven’t been involved in politics, but that has shifted in recent years.  In past generations, young people have never been moved to being involved in politics due to having little knowledge about politics, thinking politics are corrupt, or feeling inferior because they’re a minority.  Not only this but they’d feel discouraged or think that their vote will not make a difference.  Recently, the younger generations have been mobilizing together through the pandemic and protests,  using their voice to motion onto their input on the election.

These younger generations are the future and it is important for them to know that they have a say on what our future will look like as Americans.  It should be mandatory for young people to be educated on politics and how the system works, so they’ll have a better understanding when voting.  They must use their voices to make a change to better the world we now live in.

Do you think young people should have the right to vote?


America; All Unique But All One

In American culture, there are many different values, cultures, and creeds that shape the way we all exist as Americans. All of these factors are influential in creating traditions, societal norms, and unique viewpoints on issues we face today. At the core of the American Society, people having different values, cultures, and ideals all shape the American Identity of everyone being unique.

Values are the fundamental beliefs that a person holds and impacts people’s actions. Some values that are often consistent with the American peoples are individualism, equality, and achievement. People like to take pride in their work and what they have built for themselves, and at that, be proud of their individual accomplishments and achievements both in work and in the family. Equality is also a strong value held among many Americans. As we see more and more issues becoming uncovered it is still a clear problem that does not have a simple solution. Equality has been an issue that many people have fought for since the very beginning of our country, and yet it is still a problem prevalent in today’s society. As stated here in a paper by L. Robert Khols on American Values, “In secular terms, this belief [equality] is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life” (Khols). Equality deems that every American should share equal opportunity. This does not mean free success, however. Theoretically, we should all share equal chances for opportunity and success. I think that the value that is above all others is equality and shared equal opportunity.

Personal culture is a lifestyle within your family or that is impacted by you or your family’s past. We all use our history and the country’s history to make decisions on life and what is correct. According to William Patterson University, “People need to develop a sense of their collective past. Events in the past have made us what we are today” (William Patterson). This means that when people look at their collective history, they can find a sense of similarity with others, bringing unity to the people. Other cultural values that vary by the person are religious beliefs. As said here, “Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.” (Fagan). Both Religion and History are important pieces that connect to make one’s personal identity. 

Identity is what makes everyone who they are. No Americans share the exact same history, background, or beliefs, resulting in a broad spectrum of different personal identities. However, because we are all Americans, we share some of the same core values such as equality for all and the importance of family. Because of this, we are all united as one, the American People. That is our shared identity.


How can students stay more energized throughout the day?

During quarantine and the beginning of the school year, I was noticing that I did not have much energy throughout the day. So I went online, as everyone does now, and researched ways to improve daily energy. I found a few websites with some recommendations on what I could do to improve my daily energy. I was able to narrow it down to two articles and took the advice that seemed the most do-able.

From the first article, the main recommendation I walked away with was to get more sleep. The more and better you sleep, the more energized you are throughout the day. There is a limit to how much sleep is beneficial without being counterproductive. The recommended amount of sleep you should get is around 7 hours. The article also recommended ways on how to fall asleep easier. The easiest one is the article said, “….you can try winding down from your day with relaxing behaviors before bed. This could be taking time to have a bath, reading a book, or getting into bed half an hour earlier than usual.”

From the second article, the most plausible recommendation for my current situation is to get more exercise. Because Swim season is starting up again, it is going to be no problem getting in daily exercise. Not only will I be reaching the daily goal but I will be far surpassing it. The article states that “Exercising 30 minutes a day for at least 3 days each week benefits all bodily systems while facilitating high-quality sleep, which in turn will increase energy levels.” After swimming for just one week I have noticed a significant change in my daily energy levels. 


What Does it Mean to Be an American?

Being an American is always staying open-minded and welcoming to others. America is filled with so many different people and different beliefs. So, it’s super important to have those two traits. Another definition would be that being an American means you have many rights other citizens in other countries might not have. According to the 2018 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the United States admitted a total of 44.8 million legal immigrants. The main reason why so many immigrants came to America was that it was perceived as the land of the free. 

American Culture consists of many other cultures. They’re all equal and many Americans celebrate different cultures. According to Western Illinois University. A characteristic of American Culture is equality. Everyone gets treated equally. An example of equality would be waiting in a school lunch line. No matter how different you are, everyone gets treated and served equally. 

Some key American values would be Liberty and Self Government. According to Working Scholars. The definition of Liberty is “The freedom of people’s speech”(Troolin para 3), as an American, we have the right to call things out that might not be right and not have any disciplinary actions taken upon us. As stated in Working Scholars. The definition of Self Government is that “Citizens control how their government is run.”(Smith para 6), such as voting for a president. This is a very important value because the government controls the people and the people can inform the government what their key interests are and what actions need to be changed. 

 A very important American Creed would be Egalitarianism. As reported by Merriam Webster. The definition of Egalitarianism is “A social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people.” Which means everyone should have an equal opportunity. This is very important because everyone deserves an equal opportunity. Opportunities wouldn’t be fair if everyone didn’t have an equal opportunity.

All of these online sources that I have mentioned above. Show that being an American can mean many different things. They all have different definitions of what being an American is. Yet, they all tie together to make one big answer to the key question. What does it mean to be an American?  That question has many answers and there isn’t just one right answer but, as I stated in the previous paragraphs, being an American means you have Freedom, Liberty, and Equality. Being an American comes with many benefits and challenges. But there are so many more benefits than challenges.

Works Cited

“America’s Core Values: Liberty, Equality & Self-GovernmentStudy.com, study.com/academy/lesson/americas-core-values-liberty-equality-self-government.html.   

“Egalitarianism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/egalitarianism. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

“Western Illinois University.” Basics of American Culture – Western Illinois University, 2016, www.wiu.edu/global_education/activities/americanculture.php
“Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.” Department of Homeland Security, 6 Jan. 2020, www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook.


When are you really an Adult?

When do you really know when you become a so called “Adult”. Some states have it to when you turn 18 you are physically turned to an adult but are you really mentally an adult. Also some people say if you cannot consume alcohol at the age of 21 but why are they making it so at the age of 16 you are being eligible to vote. In some states by the age of 14 you are being able to vote and you are considered an adult and do other things that 18 year olds can do. Also in some states if you are under 18 you are considered a minor and if you commit a crime they tend to go easier on the penalties they give you but if you turn 18 and commit a crime things won’t be as easy as the underaged.

In my opinion I say that the age to be able to do all of these things (Voting, drinking, driving, etc) should be done at the age of 21 in all states because you are mentally prepared for it. Also I believe that the law enforcement should not be so light on juveniles because most of them do know what they are doing and they see that getting introube is like a game for them.

So When is the actual age you become an adult?


Is college worth it?

The topic of whether to attend college or not has been discussed a lot.  Many have come to the conclusion that attending college is your best choice.  We are able to see this on the statistics of unemployment rates and weekly/yearly income rates.  We are able to see how having a lower education will most likely leave you unemployed than if you have a higher education.  This rate of unemployment decreases at each next upper level of education.  The income rates also help us determine how much you would make.  Those without more than a high school diploma or less have way less income than those with Bachelor degrees or higher.  Not only do the statistics show how attending college could benefit you, but also in life.  Those without higher education tend to take less specialized jobs with more risk.  These risks are often dangerous and could cause great harm to someone.  With a degree you take on a more specialized job, which decreases the risk of injury.  So all in all, it seems attending college is the best option.


Which is a better alternative: Online School vs. Traditional School?

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 or better known as the coronavirus has become widespread and caused a global pandemonium, students ranging from all ages have had to shift from traditional classes to online classes. They have been receiving homework via online to keep up with their graduation requirements. Governors in each state are requiring that schools close down and suggesting the concept of social distancing by not being in big crowds to reduce the spread of the coronavirus as it affects elderly people. For instance, my school allowed us to come earlier this week on Monday to retrieve our books and anything else we needed from our lockers before the shutdown. It is an anxious and stressful time for both teachers adn students as adjustments to the school calendar are made and new material is prepared via online for the students to stay on track.

The nice thing about doing online schooling is that it’s online, making it very flexible for the student. For instance, the student may complete the homework at any time during the day resulting in faster and early completion. Like me, they can wake up early and get the work done or they can sleep in late and do it later. Students may be very busy due to their family life taking a lot of their time from their schedule and delaying them to get their online homework done efficiently and on time as My College Guide puts it: “Most online courses provide you with more flexibility than a traditional on-campus class. This means you can do your coursework around your work schedule and family life. Rather than needing to attend a 9:00am class every week, you can, for the most part, choose when you study, so long as you submit your work by the deadlines given” (My College Guide, 2020).  

https://mycollegeguide.org/blog/2017/05/online-classes-vs-traditional-classes/

There are also hard but feasible commitments with online classes such as the student learning to have self-discipline and self-motivation for them to navigate through the self-teaching process due to not having face to face interaction with the teacher as the University of the People The Education Revolution puts it: “While professors are still accessible digitally and within forums online, there are no physical office hours where you can meet your professor face to face. Although video conferencing is an option for some, it is a different set-up than the traditional environment” (University of the People The Education Revolution, 2020).

 For instance, if the student needed to get help with a math problem, instead of waiting until the end of the traditional school day to physically go talk to the teacher they would have to send the teacher an email asking for help. Another con on top of this is the teacher taking too long to respond resulting in an anxious student because the teacher has so many other emails to respond to due to the questions and concerns proposed by the student body. Overall, it really depends on the student’s preferential option and learning style.


Is Homework Really Beneficial?

Schools are receiving increasing pressure to move to using curriculum that is more based around, self-centered learning and self taught subjects. The United States is beginning to realize the importance of teaching young kids to be creative and free thinkers. With this goal, the question of whether homework is beneficial or not has come into perspective. Now while like with any question, we want a definite answer, however there is not a definitive answer to whether homework is good or bad. The different benefits and consequences of homework vary from age group to age group. 

Second-grade teacher Fiorentino, experimented with eliminating homework to see the kinds of effects it would have on her kids. Part of the issue that comes from giving too much homework to kids too soon, is they will burnout and not learn to properly appreciate learning. It will feel more like a task than an opportunity. Mrs Fiorentino’s findings, show that as the kids did not have homework, their drive in school increased. Not only this but “when these young kids were going home they were doing more explorative learning on subjects that interested them.”  Instilling a passion for learning into young generations of America will bring great benefits to the country has a whole in the coming years. 

There was actual research performed by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found correlations between upper grade students doing homework and the benefit their test scores and grades saw. However when he looked at younger students he found, “a weak correlation from homework benefitting young students,” (Cooper.) Cooper believes that homework is meant to foster an enjoyment of learning and problem solving skills, and giving young children overwhelming amounts of homework does not foster this enjoyment. All in all when it comes to whether homework is beneficial or not, it really comes down to the age and situation of the child in question. No two children are the same and thus makes it extremely difficult to find a black and white answer answer to this question. So yes unfortunately you will still be getting homework from your teachers for now. 


Uniforms aren’t needed

Schools argue that uniforms are helpful in many different ways, such as the focus of their educations and not their apparel. They argue that uniforms help prevent bullying and that uniforms prevent the display of gang-related colors. Every one of these arguments is false.

Uniforms have nothing to do with how much attention a student gives during class, a student who wants to learn will dedicate their time to learning and paying attention. Never have I seen or heard of anyone who is incapable of learning due to clothes. Uniforms are just another reason for schools to discipline students.

Uniforms cannot hide your personality“, which also goes to say that uniforms do not prevent bullying. Bullying is a massive topic, there are multiple reasons for bullying, yes, apparel is a reason for bullying but there are so many other reasons to bully someone for and its not okay, but in all actuality, uniforms are never going to stop bullying.

Gangs have been around forever and will continue to be around. Nobody will ever be capable of stopping gangs from forming, that goes to prove that uniforms may stop kids from wearing gang-related colors but it won’t stop them from joining gangs.


Is Homework Beneficial?

Many people do not like homework, and I am one of them. Homework is indeed good or bad. Less homework will not work, and more homework will be a burden on students.

The advantage of homework is that proper homework can improve students’ academic performance and acquire independent learning skills. Homework can also enable parents to supervise their children’s learning. Homework helps students develop key skills to use throughout their lives, such as accountability, discipline, time management, and the ability to solve problems independently. At the same time, students can be better restrained by themselves.

The disadvantage of homework is that too much homework can be harmful to students because it can increase student stress. It also reduces students’ leisure and sleep time and leads to cheating. As a result, students develop many bad habits.

Finally, I want to say that there can be homework, but not too much. Otherwise the result will only be counterproductive.


Free College?

In recent years there has been a debate on whether or not the government should pay for college. Graduating from college and attending college means more job opportunities, new friends, higher paying jobs, higher satisfaction with their job, and better communication skills. The list can go on and on, but if that is the case many ask, “Why is college not free?” and, “How can we increase the amount of college graduates?” That has been a huge debate within our government and economic system. If more people go to college, this means theoretically that the poverty rate in the U.S. will go down, more people will be employed, and we will have a better healthcare system.

The problem right now is that many people will spend their first 10 to 25 years after graduating from college paying off their student loans. “Today, 70 percent of college students graduate with a significant amount of loans.” That is drastically higher than it should be. This makes it very hard for those who have very little money to pay for college, because it puts them in debt greatly. So why have we not made college free? There have been many government financial aids that have come out in recent years to help students and families pay for college like fafsa. Not only that, but many colleges offer a great amount of scholarships, but that still leaves students paying thousands of dollars for college. If the government were to help students pay for college and lower the tuition exponentially, maybe even to the point where it would be free many more citizens would be educated, which would solve many problems. 

“Meanwhile, however, another problem in higher education has attracted little attention, even though it promises to be far more consequential in the long run and much harder to solve.” If college tuition were to be lowered and addressed along with more students going to college, more problems than we know would be solved in the U.S. like was said in the quote. This would lead to fewer adults on welfare or in poverty, increased voting rates due to more educated citizens, fewer divorces, higher levels of happiness, and most importantly lower crime and substance abuse. The outcome would help our society greatly. The problem is the schools would need more government funding, which the government has not provided. If the government were to do so there would be a vast increase in taxes and property loans, therefore it would be hard to make everyone happy. That has been the debate over the last few years. Does the government make college free by increasing taxes or leave it the way it is. That is for the future generations to decide. 


Are Cellphones Effective During School?

Should students be able to use cell phones during class periods?  A lot of teenagers and parents have this concern in the back of their minds. This is a question a lot of students and teachers also have asked themselves. The invention of cell phones started a debate for many schools.  Many schools accept the use of cell phones but experience a lot of frustration over them. There are many reasons for and against the use of cell phones in schools. People who support cell phone use in schools are usually teenagers. People who disagree with cell phone use in schools are usually teachers or parents, who think cell phones are a distraction. A lot of students see cell phones as a useful device but many see them as a distraction during class.

People in many schools regularly sneak around on their cell phones, trying to hide them from teachers or administrators. Cell phones were originally against school rules. Honestly, it makes a lot of sense for students not to be able to use their cell phones during school hours. Cell phones should be banned in schools because they distract students, allow cheating in Schools, and they can be dangerous. Cell phones distract students in school. Whenever people text in class it gets other people’s attention, which makes it hard for students to learn. Also if it goes off in class it can cause the teacher to stop teaching and have everyone’s attention on that cell phone 

I honestly see both viewpoints of the controversy of phones in this particular circumstance. In my opinion, since I’m a teenager, I will have to agree with the students on this and say cellphones should not be banned from schools. There and many students who can be on their cellphone and listen to what is going on in class around them and be okay. And for those who can’t do this so well, they will just have to not use their cell phones and be responsible.

Quote:

“As a student, I understand that cell phones are distracting while a teacher is trying to help the students but at the same time, I believe they become even more distracting to the class as a whole when teachers make a huge deal out of trying to take a phone away or punish a student for having a phone out.”

“One of the many negative effects that constant cellphone use causes is an increase in risk of illness. Believe it or not, your phone is one of the most germ-infested objects that you may come in contact with throughout the course of a day.”

https://www.bartleby.com/essay/Cell-Phone-Use-in-Schools-Should-Not-FKCTA4PZVJ

Tablets vs. Textbooks

Technology has improved so much in the last decade it’s unbelievable. We have access to anything right at our fingertips, but there are really bad side effects to these technological advances. Tablets give off tons of radiation and this radiation is harmful to the human eye and brain. Other side effects of having tablets instead of textbooks are the fact that there are multiple distractions on a tablet such as notifications, games, text messages, social media, etc. Tablets require internet which might be accessible at school but not every kid has the internet at home to be able to get their homework done. Tablets are breakable and to repair them it costs quite a bit of money, textbooks are also breakable but it doesn’t need to be repaired immediately. The logical thing to do is buy the textbooks because of safety, expenses, and durability.    


College can cost an arm and a leg, but it wasn’t always like this. What happened?

For boomers and many other of the older generations, college tuition is similar to a walk in the park.   But it’s similar for the younger generations, except everything is on fire, because it’s hell. For instance, in the mid 1950s, tuition was affordable, even for the lower middle class.  The University of Chicago cost around $850 per year ($7000 adjusted to inflation), and it was the most expensive school at the time. Now, average tuition is $59,000 per year, with the current most expensive school being Harvey Mudd college, at a whopping $70,000 a year.  So what happened? 

Back in the day, most people didn’t go to college, and those who usually worked it off as they went along.  As the years passed, more and more people started going to college. In 1970, approximately 8.5 million went to college, where in 1990 it rocketed up to a staggering 13.8 million.  To keep up with the sudden increase in people going to college, schools started increasing the price to keep up with demand, but it wasn’t anything to extraordinary until about the late 1980s when these prices seemed to skyrocket, and it was starting to cost more to attend schools than it was for the average cost of living.  But the real culprit, was when the government was facing really big budget deficits.  Politicians panicked to put as much of this money as they could towards education, but they couldn’t keep up with it, so to compensate the colleges raise tuition for the mass flow of students into their schools. Which is the reason why college is now through the roof expensive.


Should students wear uniforms?

  In regards to schools making students wear a uniform, I disagree with the idea that it makes schools safer. The main issue that I see from everyone dressing the same is in regards to the student and their ability to express themselves as they choose to. Students should have the ability to dress as they choose too. Having the ability to be comfortable and confident would, in my opinion would boost confidence and allow others to get an idea of your personality, because it shows a great deal in how you dress. Also the idea that it decreases bullying is not true, just because all the students dress the same does not mean that bullies will act any different because not everyone looks the same in a uniform and some look better than others that’s just how it is.

    I read another article in favor of the matter and i still disagree after reading. One thing that I definitely did not agree with is the idea that it makes getting ready in the morning easier. This personally wouldn’t be a problem for me especially because I wear a lot of the same type of clothes just with different variations that usually match. I think this is the case for most people and you can always just pick it out the night before as well. I would rather go through the process of finding a tshirt and a pair of pants that I like a lot more than picking of the same uniform everyday, id feel more confident and be able to express myself.

    In regards that it makes everyone look the same and evens out the playing field for everyone, that is not the case. Someone will always have nicer shoes, or wear jewelry that is nicer than someone else. There is no way to fully grasp this, and I am glad to see that some people still give their own flare and style to the uniform because i do as well. Back in regards to the lack of expression, i feel like schools already have too much control of their students so adding rules about what they look like everyday is unnecessary.


Bio

I am Lainie Himebaugh, I am a dedicated swimmer, water polo player, and leader in the chieftain marching band. I have been a swimmer since first grade and a water polo player since sixth grade. I work very hard at my sports so I can have more accomplishments than what I have previously earned.

I enjoy going to school and seeing friends everyday. But I especially love going to practice after school to work hard and improve. Sports have been a huge part of my high school career and they are also a way that I found most of my current friends.

I strongly agree that tagging is an art form in the community. I believe we should have designated tagging spots. There are many cities that have that and I think it is a beautiful way for artists to present their art and style. I don’t think that graffiti is ugly and as long as it isn’t offensive I think it should be allowed.


The Discriminatory Student Debt Crisis

I am extremely interested in the student debt crisis that currently plagues college graduates. As I apply to colleges, I cannot help but notice their astronomically high price tags. Throughout my lifetime, tuition prices have been increasing and financial aid has not, which has resulted in the current economic crisis young adults are facing. The price of tuition has made a college education unattainable for some and has forced many into extreme debt. As with most cases of social and economic injustice, minorities and women are hit the hardest by student loan debt. According to The Balance and research done by the American Association of University Women, “women own nearly two-thirds of the student loan debt in the U.S.,” and “as of 2018, women working full-time earn approximately 80% of what men are paid.” The gender pay gap results in women paying off their loans for a significantly longer period of time, therefore, it is much more difficult for them to get ahead financially after college. Additionally, The Balance reports that, “hispanic and black students are more likely to graduate with higher levels of debt than white students.” 


Fight For Victims: The Results

Our project was about the dangers of sexual harassment and our overall goal was to inform people about sexual harassment and why it is a problem. In order for this to happen, we posted on our blog on wordpress, made a petition, and made various posts in social media. Our project was not extremely successful.

One of the reasons we didn’t do too well on our project was because we didn’t always post weekly on our blog and we didn’t make too many good quality posts. As a result, we didn’t get too many views and visitors. The highest number of views we had 10 views and although we did have many visitors, they never stayed due to the inconsistent blog posts. If we could change anything, we would post better blog posts. We also didn’t have too many views and visitors on our blog because we didn’t promote it on social media, where most people “live.” Although, we did occasionally did write about blog, we never described the type of work we actually did in our project. As a result, people did not know what our blog was about and they never got to visit it.

The second reason our blog post wasn’t very successful was because we didn’t get too many people to sign our petition. Once again, when we advertised our petition on our blog, we never explained all the things that would happen if we reached more than 50 signatures, which never really interested people to sign. Similar to the reason we didn’t get too many visitors and views, we always promoted our petition on social media, such as instagram and snapchat. However, once again, we never explained anything other than the fact that our petition was about sexual harassment. And obviously we never described what the outcomes of signing our petition would be. Another reason it wasn’t very successful was because many people does not use wordpress since it’s not very popular.

In conclusion, we didn’t get too many visitors and views. This is because we didn’t make good quality posts, we didn’t promote our blog and petition correctly on social media, and because not many people use wordpress so we didn’t get many visitors. There are many improvements we could have made if we decided to do this project again.  For example, if we actually explained our topic more than once, more people would be more interested. Another improvement we could have made is making better social media posts by explaining the post instead of just telling them to “follow our blog” or “sign our petition.” However, I had a very positive experience when doing this project and I am happy that I got to learn so much from it. Hopefully, someone else does a better job with a sexual harassment project.


Puppy Mills Project Pt. 2

It is known at this point that my team and I have been working on our end of year project that helps spread any type of awareness to the public about our chose topics. Our topics are based off of what we have been researching and blogging about thus far.

My topic was on puppy mills and the types of danger they present. I chose this topic because I know people personally who have adopted from a local shelter and bought from a puppy mill. It just kind of horrifies me to see animals that are oppressed in such conditions that often leads to death. The conditions are horrible and would not satisfy the needs of mere humans so why should dogs and other animals have to suffer as well. This topic just spoke to me and it made me realize I want to get the word out there so people will be a little more educated on this subject and be able to identify similar problems in the future.

In my presentation I explain what puppy mills are as a general definition and what laws there are to prevent these. There are laws that protect animals but not a lot that talk about puppy mills. Most puppy mills are regulated by local authorities but nothing that can help save the animals entirely. I also provide an example that defaces puppy mills to a great extent. This place was found recently and had the most gruesome living conditions and the animals that were found wasn’t even in shape to be sold. These profit makers only care about their income and not about the lives of some animals.

If this interests you, please check out our blog!!

https://bestfwens.home.blog/

https://youtu.be/vBkgzZGFiOc?list=PLwDN1hta9SfCnyRdPLzPRqXsjB1ozXB2D
https://youtu.be/vBkgzZGFiOc?list=PLwDN1hta9SfCnyRdPLzPRqXsjB1ozXB2D

Sexual Harassment in Schools

In tech, we are doing a digital presentation project and the issue that me and my group chose was sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a big problem that needs to be fixed because we believe everyone should be safe and feel comfortable with their surroundings. Recently, sexual harassment in society is increasing. One of the most common places where sexual harassment occurs is schools. Forms of sexual harassment in schools include peer sexual harassment and sexual harassment committed by teachers. I chose to do sexual harassment in schools because I am also a student, and to know that people my age get sexually harassed in school, makes me want to solve this conflict more. Additionally, school is supposed to be safe, which gives people more reason to stop this form of harassment as soon as possible.

Additionally, the fact that mostly teenagers are getting sexually harassed, can also lead them to not trusting anyone and getting scared at a very young age. Getting sexually harassed as a teenager will most likely cause problems later in life. The effects of sexual harassment are severe. As a result, please check out our video and blog if you want to help stop sexual harassment.

Blog: www.fight4victims.home.blog


A Broken System – College Admissions

What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything) by Eric Hoover delves into the the volatile and often unfair world of college admissions. The article start by saying that a wide majority of colleges (87%) accept over 50% of their applicants, and the where the system is really broke is the the 13% of the colleges who are highly selective and seen as the highest tier of academic institutions. This article specifically talks about the things college admissions are looking for in these high tier institutions, and how often times that is an unfair and broken system. One such thing is the focus on merit, which has seemingly been reduced to a students test scores on the ACT/SAT, and grades. More than anything else in the college admission process, “merit” is weighed the most heavily. The problem with this is that these tests are seen as unfair measures of a person’s intelligence. White and Asian descent individuals perform better on average than their African American and Minority counterparts. While for the people who fall on the higher rungs have the resources and privilege to concentrate on school and preparing for these tests, people of lower socioeconomic status are not given the same opportunity. These opportunities that fall outside of our control are often times a determining factor in the measured “success” of an individual in the game of college admissions. On the other side of the coin, around 50% of the population sees the consideration of race in college admissions as unfair. With a slew of other practices that are purely based on the luck of the draw with family ties and economic status such as legacy, demonstrated interest, and financial gain – or ability to pay for attendance of a college – many kids who perform at a high level fall through the cracks as other with privilege are allotted admittance. How do we change this? This article proposes that to fix the entire system the top must be fixed first. These high tier colleges need to take the prerogative to make the admissions process more fair and comprehensive if we hope to create equality in higher education. Many of these colleges are taking such steps, such as MIT’s maker portfolio or other colleges pushing for a measurement of a person’s EQ. The goal is to change the college admissions process from a lottery of privilege and external factors that lie outside of the applicants control to a comprehensive analysis of holistic qualities that determine the most successful and deserving students.

To see just how broken the system really is you need look no further than the recent scandal of the wealthy and affluent. In College Admissions Scandal: Department of Education opens Probe of Yale, USC, and Other Schools by Doha Madani, the Government’s efforts to see just how big the college admissions scandal reaches is described. So far over 50 people have been criminally changed for the admissions scandal where children of affluent parents were admitted to high tier colleges through cheating, fraud, and donations to make people look the other way. The government is investigating the schools involved and making sure that all those who allowed such an atrocity to happen are held accountable. Yet, personally, I am not surprised. With a system that is so subjective in choosing who is admitted, things such as donating or cheating don’t seem to be so far outside of what is feasible in determining which students are admitted. I am in no way criticizing the institutions at large, but instead suggesting that changes need to be made so scandals like this one won’t happen again.

In Elite-College Admissions are Broken by Alicia Wong describes a college system that promotes an anxiety filled highschool void of the activities a teenager should be experiences. For some high schoolers, tireless nights full of ACT/SAT studying and doing activities to solely boost their college resume is a reality. These people often feel pressure to over exaggerate or even lie about themselves. An admissions process that rewards unethical behavior is surely a broken one.

Sources

Wong, Alia. “Elite-College Admissions Are Broken.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Oct. 2018, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/10/elite-college-admissions-broken/572962/.

Madani, Doha. “College Admissions Scandal: Department of Education Opens Probe of Yale, USC, Other Schools.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/college-admissions-scandal-department-education-opens-probe-yale-usc-other-n987666.

Hoover, Eric. “What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything).” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/education/edlife/what-college-admissions-wants.html?module=inline.

Annotations

https://nowcomment.com/documents/135668

The debt we must pay

American students owe 1.5 trillion in student debt. As the numbers it costs to get a college education continue to rise, students feel the pressure to compromise their educations. The issue of the student debt crisis is one that can be turned around. Systems in other countries, where students can leave their education with minimal debt can serve as models for solutions that we can adapt in the U.S. Creating a new system by implementing new rules that have been shown to be effective is necessary for fixing the student loan crisis.   

A student in Australia borrows roughly the same amount of money that a student in the U.S. would to pay for college. Although, the differences between the U.S. system of debt payment and the Australian system differ greatly. In the U.S. student loan payments begin right after graduation although in Australia, payments don’t begin until the borrowers salary reaches a threshold of 40,000 Australian dollars(about $28,300). Another difference between the two systems is that in Australia payments fluctuate based on pay increases and decreases, whereas in America student debt payments are consistent. These leniencies in the Australian system of student debt make paying for college a more realistic choice for students.

In order to fix the student debt crisis we must implement new rules into our current system to prevent universities, especially for-profit universities, from misusing government subsidies. An article by Forbes magazine included the quote “For-profits make up only 12% of enrollment in the higher education sector, but they take 25% of all federal aid and represent half of all student defaults.” The same article proposes not giving private universities grants at all or eliminating student loans from these institutions.

The student loan crisis is an issue that can be solved in time with the right implementation of new systems and rules. Other countries can be used as an example for the direction that our student loan system should take, and light needs to be shed on universities that are taking advantage of money for financial aid. With these things in mind the student loan crisis can be greatly lessened with time.

https://nowcomment.com/documents/118086#.W-7tlpNKg2w

Works Cited

Leonhardt, Megan. “This Map Shows the States Where the Student Loan Crisis Hits the

Hardest.” CNBC, CNBC, 1 Aug. 2018,

www.cnbc.com/2018/08/01/states-with-highest-student-loan-debt.html.

Dynarski, Susan. “America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia.” The New York

Times, The New York Times, 9 July 2016,

www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/upshot/america-can-fix-its-student-loan-crisis-just-ask-au

stralia.html.

Dvorkin, Howard. “The Solution To The Student Loan Crisis? Implement New Rules.” Forbes,

Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/10/19/the-solution-to-the-student-loan-crisis-implement-new-rules/#78d6eae44eca .

“Currency Calculator Converter Australian Dollar to US Dollar.” Currency Calculator (Australian Dollar, US Dollar) – X-Rates, www.x-rates.com/calculator/?from=AUD&to=USD&amount=40,000.

 


Citizenship in Curriculum

Teachers around the world are strikingly different. We come from different backgrounds, speak different languages, believe different subjects are most important, have different strategies for correcting poor behavior; the list goes on. On the other hand, teachers around the world can boil down their goals to one main goal. This goal crosses borders, oceans, and languages. Teachers want their students to succeed. In my opinion, the key to student’s success (my philosophy) revolves around diversity, lifelong learning, and citizenship.

The first value I want to explore is diversity. Diversity is what our nation is built upon. Originally, the people that made up the United States were immigrants from countries around the world. Historically, however, the majority has always controlled the country and therefore controlled what is done to the minority. There is a disgraceful practice that has been taking place in American Schooling for years and it is our job as educators to correct this deculturalization. Deculturalization involves replacing one culture with a culture that is seen as superior. Unfortunately, there will always be a number of people that cannot see past the differences and that is why diversity will always be a value and a complication in our country. The only thing that can change these prejudice beliefs and predeterminations is education. (Spring 1).

In order to understand diversity today, it is important to understand the development of diversity in education. As many people know, schools have not always been integrated, let alone diverse. According to McGinnis, “Prominent among the causes of Ohio’s neglect to make provision for the education of colored children in the early years of statehood were certain sections of the State Constitution and the so-called ‘Black Laws’…” (McGinnis 30). The Black Laws were passed with the purpose of isolating, degrading, and demeaning the recently freed colored population. Aside from the laws themselves, their passing created an anti-black sentiment among the majority of the white population. As McGinnis explains, “The sentiment implied by the passage of these Black laws and the sentiment created by their administration made it difficult for the children of colored parents to obtain education in such schools as were in existence at the time” (McGinnis 31). The educational opportunities for white and colored children were from equal and often occurred in separate locations (if they occurred at all), thus creating a lack of diversity among races in schools.

In my schooling experience, I have seen two very different levels of diversity. Growing up, I went to a school where I was actually in the minority. I now realize that this is unusual as I am a Caucasian female. I am so thankful for this experience because I was able to learn about different cultures and more importantly how to interact respectively with people who are different from myself. I attended a high school where I was very much so part of the majority. It was a private single-sex school so not only was everyone from the middle to upper tax bracket, but we were all the same gender. I would consider the University of Toledo to be a very diverse school community. Some of my friends with different educational backgrounds have had a much harder time adjusting to the variety of cultures, norms, and ideas than I have had. I credit my early education for my success.

This is why I believe education is another value that should be examined. Education does not have to be limited to the institution itself or the picturesque classroom. Additionally, it can be the first step in fostering diversity in the classroom. It is important not only for student’s to learn about a variety of cultures, but to also see their culture represented in the classroom materials and activities. Asante states, “The role of the teacher is to make the student’s world and the classroom congruent” (Asante 3). This statement really stood out to me the first time I read this article. Student’s should be able to relate to classroom material and the only way they can do this is if people who are similar to them are present in the curriculum. This could be as simple as relating the topic being discussed in class to the background of the multicultural students in class. This empowers the students by ensuring they feel respected, important, and relevant to what they are learning. Most of the time, teachers easily use the culture, language, or social norms of the white children and do not even realize they are disassociating an entire group of students.

In my opinion, education truly means the ongoing acquisition of knowledge and experiences. As educators, it is important we instill this value of lifelong learning in our students. Personally, I highly value education and welcome every opportunity to learn about something or a new skill. This consistent drive for education has allowed me to continue developing myself as a well-rounded individual. I believe it is important to instill this value in each student to prevent them from becoming lazy or complacent. The philosophy of education named in the readings that best names my own philosophy of education is a combination of Perennialism and Progressivism (Oakes, Lipton 106-107).

As stated above, I believe the purpose of schooling is to instill a value of lifelong learning in the lives of students. This will allow them to think complexly in solving problems in democratic society. The curriculum should consist of enduring ideas and the classical intellectual achievements which are used examine and analyze problems engaged by society. Students should also be invited to present problems that interest them for the class to examine and analyze together. The role of the teacher is both the authority in the classroom as conveyer of knowledge and the creator of opportunities for student-directed learning or group problem solving. The role of the students consists of receiving knowledge and engaging in their own learning by collaborating with the teacher about the topics of study. Once they value their own personal education, they will be one step closer to becoming an ideal citizen.

Citizenship requires an educated citizen to participate in our government. In order to achieve their dreams, citizens must take an active role in society by participating in their government. Citizenship is an ongoing process. Participating in government allows the government to change for the (hopefully) betterment of our society. Those participating should be a diverse and educated group of individuals, thus my emphasis on all three of those values. Citizens who participate in government are constantly learning and implementing that knowledge into their decisions. It is important for educators to encourage students to be participating from a young age because it truly affects their lives every day. Citizenship initiates the development of two essential elements of democratic schooling.

The first element of democratic schooling I want to explore is the open flow and exchange of ideas. Through the open flow and exchange of ideas is the only way we see change. This relates to student learning, school organization, and how we run our country. Students should be encouraged to develop and share ideas with the teacher or class. If they learn this skill, it will lead to them becoming better citizens by participating in our government. If students feel confident enough to share and exchange ideas in a classroom they can carry this into their adult lives.

The second element of democratic schooling I want to explore is faith in the ability to solve problems. In my experience, when there is a lack of faith there is a lack of drive or motivation. When a student does not believe they can complete a task, they don’t try as hard (if they even try at all). This translates to the real world. People do not want to fail. Without the faith in our ability to solve problems, our problems will never be explored and solutions will not be attempted.

As a stated before, my philosophy for students’ success revolves around diversity, lifelong learning, and citizenship. Not all teachers would agree with me, however, they would agree that education should be centered around what is best for their students. It is no surprise that what children do and learn in school travels with them far beyond classroom. I hope what my students’ do and learn in school will help to shape them into educated citizens who are active in the future of their country. I hope when student’s leave my classroom they are inspired.

 

References

Asante, M. (1991). Afrocentric curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McGinnis, F. (2002). The Education of Negroes in Ohio. Blanchester, OH: Curless Printing Company.

Oakes, J., Lipton, M. (2006). Teaching to change the world. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

Spring, J. (2016). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality. New York, NY: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

 


Creating a Democratic Society in My Classroom

“In this classroom there is no such thing as democracy!” This is a very common comment from teacher all across the nation when children express their thoughts on creating a democracy in the classroom. Normally what encourages this response is when the students state “This is a free country we don’t have to do what you say.” Instead of shooting down the student’s ideas about their form of democracy, the teacher could use this interaction to teach the students what our democracy is truly like.

In American Creed, Condoleezza Rice and David Kennedy talk about the importance of education. They stress that anything is possible with education and hard work. They even interview a principal from Oklahoma who describes a child’s school day. She stresses the amount of time a student spends in the classroom. She then goes on to add how important it is to use this time to teach our students values (American Creed, 2018). One of the values which our children need to understand is Democracy. Many of our schools will never explicitly teach what the United States’ democracy looks like until their senior year, when they take a government class.

Democracy is in our daily lives, so it can be a part of my students’ daily lives as well. As a future educator I believe students have to be prepared to function in this country’s society, which is a democratic society. By breaking the different parts of our democracy apart, it will make it easier for students to understand how our democracy functions. This can be started as early as our students start using the comeback “This is a free country so I don’t have to do what you say.” Instead of putting a stop to the conversation, I will use this time to establish what a democracy can look like in an institution such as the classroom. The focus could be on how even in a free country, citizens still have rules to follow and do not actually get to do whatever they want to do. Giving my students a description of democracy in this form can make it relatable, thus making it an important part of their day. If this cycle continues and I have my students solving problems using a democratic approach, by the end of my time with them, they will be one large step closer to being functioning members of society.

Another way to bring democracy into my students’ lives daily is by looking at the principles and values discussed in Bean and Apple’s Case for a Democratic School. The five of them are as follows; “Concern for the dignity and rights of individuals and minorities. ” Concern for the welfare of others and “the common good.” Faith in the individual and collective capacity of people to create possibilities for resolving problems. The open flow of ideas, regardless of their popularity, that enables people to be as fully informed as possible. The use of critical reflection and analysis to evaluate ideas, problems, and policies. An understanding that democracy is not so much an “ideal” to be pursued as an “idealized” set of values that we must live and that must guide our life as a people.  The organization of social institutions to promote and extend the democratic way of life.” (Bean and Apple, 2007) All of these are vital for students to understand so they can fully understand a democratic society. One example of how I would incorporate this into my classroom would be using “Concern for the welfare of others and “the common good.” I would show my students how I care for the good of the class, the common good, and make decisions based on that. As an educator, I will never intentionally make a decision which does not have my students’ best interest at hand.

Another way to think about introducing democracy into the classroom is by using some of the Influential Philosophies of Education from Teaching to Change the World by Oakes and Lipton. The first philosophy is a perennialism approach to teaching. This is similar to the response “In this classroom there is no such thing as a democracy.” The students are expected to simply sit and absorb what the teacher is saying without questioning authority. In this philosophy the teacher is viewed as the authority figure and someone who holds all of the knowledge (Oakes and Lipton, 2018). On the other hand, taking a social reconstructionism approach would be similar to the response where the educator informs the students of how a democracy works. In this philosophy, students are encouraged to interact and understand social problems. The book’s description of this approach it explains how students who are raised in this type of learning environment develop “a consciousness about social problems” (Oakes and Lipton, 2018). This means our students have an understanding of the function of the world before they enter it. Preparing students for the society they will all most likely enter can be not only beneficial to the students, but also the community. Having functioning members of society at young ages means there can be much needed change coming from fully informed members.

I believe these examples of informing students about the working parts of our society is the best way to make students ready to function in our society. Just like solving math problems or preforming science experiments, students need practice to be successful. In my future classroom, I hope to provide my students with enough knowledge to solve problems in a democratic society. If the students do not get the opportunity to practice this in a safe place, they may never develop this skill. Once my students leave my classroom, they will be on their way to becoming functional members of society. If I do not prepare them for this, then I have not done my job as an educator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citations

Oakes, J., Lipton, M., Anderson, L., & Stillman, J. (2018). Teaching to Change the World. Milton: Taylor and Francis.

American Creed (2018). Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.americancreed.org/watch

Beane & Apple, (2007), The Case for Democratic Schools


Diversity and Strength in America

What does it mean to be an American? That is a great question because there are so many perspectives and answers to this question. To me being an American means that you have freedom. We often take our freedom for granted not realizing how lucky we are because not everyone has much freedom like us. The U.S. is a great place to grow up because everyone is equal for the most part. Some main American beliefs and values include democracy, freedom, equality. Many people come to America because they have a dream. Some people want to become rich and famous while some want to just have a better life than they did before. Americans fear the unknown. For example, some of us fear immigrants because we have been told they are terrorists, murders, or rapists. Even though this is not true some of us still chose to believe it because we don’t know any better. Those of us who are slightly educated know that this is not the case for the most part. America has overcome so many obstacles.

For example, 9/11 was an attack on the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers represented how great and strong America was. In an article called How New York City Rebuilt Anew After Its Darkest Day by Alina Selyukh, she talks about the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani promised that “We’re not only going to rebuild, we’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before.” The 9/11 attacks impacted many people but we bounced back so after. America has also overcome war and we are “Back to Back World War Champs”. One of the greatest challenges we are facing right now is public shootings. They are becoming more and more prevalent in our society and now that they happen so much there could be one and we wouldn’t even know about it because they happen so often they are not even breaking news anymore.

I think the biggest influence on American culture is social media. For example, in an article called There were over 12,000 poison control calls for people eating laundry pods last year by Christopher Ingram from the Washington Post, he talks about how this dangerous trend became popular. Eating these was one of the dumbest trends ever but people did it to gain online fame. Some other examples of the American dream include song lyrics, the constitution, and our free unrestricted media.

In a video and article called, What Does America Stand For? We Asked Teenagers by Anna North of the New York Times. Everyone around the country had different views on what does America stand for. Some of the teens were very conservative and some were very liberal. It shows that America is very diverse and everyone has a different perspective. America is an amazing place with an array of different people.

 

 

Works Cited

Ingraham, Christopher. “Analysis | There Were over 12,000 Poison Control Calls for People Eating Laundry Pods Last Year.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 16 Jan. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/01/16/there-were-over-10000-poison-control-calls-for-people-eating-laundry-pods-last-year/?utm_term=.467ee31f027f.

North, Anna. “What Does America Stand For?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000005313156/what-does-america-stand-for.html.

Selyukh, Alina. “How New York City Rebuilt Anew After Its Darkest Day.” NPR, NPR, 8 Sept. 2016, www.npr.org/2016/09/08/492960193/how-new-york-city-rebuilt-anew-after-its-darkest-day.

Photo Link: http://thethinkering.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_image_full_node/public/field/image/diversity.jpg?itok=h0Cv9pWQ

 


Is your teenager drinking?

Teenage years are some of the most important in a young adults life. It is also the time where they find what they are interested in and what they like. Young adults are given a sense of freedom during these years, but with freedom comes temptation. Many teens will go to parties during their high school years and many will be tempted to try alcohol. When teens try alcohol they do it in a way that is harmful to themselves, they binge drink. There are 245 annual teenage deaths from alcohol poisoning. Is lowering the drinking age the solution to that problem, or would it cause more deaths?

 

The legal age for consumption and buying alcohol in all of the United States is 21. But is this the right choice for the country? Many young adults, especially teens in highschool and college, are exposed to it and experiment with it. Even though they are well below the legal age which causes a major problem. But if we lower the minimum legal drinking age would that fix the problem of teen drinking or worsen it? According to an article by Professor Ruth C. Engs from Indiana University, the legal drinking age should be lowered 18 or 19 years old and teens should be allowed to drink in controlled environments. In situations such like drinking at restaurants and school functions, responsible drinking can be taught and educational programs can be encouraged. In the article she talks about how teens see drinking as an act of rebellion and “adulthood”. But if we took that away from them, there would be a lower chance of teen related drinking incidents.

A counter to the ideas of Professor Engs is an article written by the pen name Buddy T. In this article he talks about how in the Vietnam War era the country tried lowering the legal drinking age. But when we did this we just made more problems for ourselves. Teen traffic fatalities increased dramatically due to this new way of the law. From 1975 to 2003 there was a decrease in alcohol related traffic fatalities by 13 percent just by re-raising the drinking age. A strong argument can be made that lowering the legal drinking age puts more people at risk due to teens drinking and driving. The idea behind the laws that are in place today is that they are to save teens from hurting themselves and others.

Photo by Claude Robillard

Photo by wolfsavard


“The Fish Who Lived” – Enticing Animation by Daniella L.

In my story the main character is Blue, who lives in the ocean with his best friend Guppy. Guppy is a secondary character who is a big influence on Blue’s life. He is a resemblance of an older brother figure to Blue, and helps him view things more realistically. Overall, the story takes place when Blue and Guppy are enjoying each other’s company. Blue then becomes upset revealing to Guppy that he wants to sail around the world. Guppy then points out that he is a fish and that is impossible. Blue grows upset and tells Guppy that he will go see Electra the witch so he could become human. Guppy tries to warn Blue but he soon runs away. Upset and distraught Blue is walking on when Electra appears to him. She tells him that she thinks his dream is great, and she could possibly turn him human. But for a cost, she must own Guppy for one day only. Hesitantly after a lot of thinking Blue agrees to the deal. When Guppy appears in Electra’s possession, Blue realizes that he has made a mistake. But he is already human and sitting on the boat of the ocean. Without much thinking he dives in the water to rescue Guppy. He finds Electra’s cave and throws a potion on Electra turning her to ash and dust. Blue turns back and to a fish and reunites with Guppy. Guppy understands why Blue did what he did. Blue then comes to a conclusion that his friend Guppy is more important than his impossible desires. I wanted the script to be playful and light hearted, but to also convey a deeper insight. Creating this concept was fairly easy. I didn’t want it to be ordinary with regular backdrops. But I wanted it to be full of action, and I also wanted to use animals in the animation. Creating the animation was fairly difficult because of all the movement and costume changes I added to my fairly detailed script. But I divided my time well, and the animation ran fairly well.

Unit 2 Project Submission and Self-Evaluation

Instructions: Replace the questions/instructions in square brackets with your responses.
Your First Name
Daniella
Title of
your Story
The Fish Who Lived
Finished Story URL
https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/215295008/

Final Developer’s Log
Your Script
The Fish Who Lived

By

Daniella

Cast:

Blue- the protagonist in the story who has a deep desire to sail around the world and truly, “see” it.Yet the boundaries of the ocean and him being a fish make it difficult for him to do so.
Guppy- He is rather a secondary character in the story. Guppy is Blue’s closest campion. He is not as ambitious as Blue and sees the world realistically rather than a fantasy. He helps blue make major decisions in his life and is rather an older brother figure to put him on the right track in his life.

Electra- she is the antagonist in the story who attempts to persuade blue into trading ownership of Guppy for his dream. Electra manipulates Blue into thinking she will allow him to be human if she can have Guppy for one day.Electra is truly an evil witch who wants to use the fish for experiments. She is nothing but the epitome of cruelty and heartlessness.

ACT I

Setting:
Scene 1- the bottom of the atlantic ocean, with plants and other fish in the background.
Scene 2- A ocean bottom background with a shimmer of light coming from the surface of the ocean.

[Blue enters from top stage right and moves down to center stage, 2 seconds later Guppy follows him in the same direction]

Blue
Wow Guppy you were right this is definitely a faster way home! [Blue moves from upper stage right to center stage].

Guppy
Do I ever let you down Blue? [Guppy immediately follows behind Blue towards center stage]

Blue
Well, I should be getting home now, see you Guppy. [Blue faces turns around from Guppy and slowly starts to move right left out of the picture]

Guppy
Well, see you tomorrow Blue![Guppy smiles and moves forward towards Blue]

Blue
Yeah,I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.[Blue’s tone turns plaintive and he races off to the left into the next scene]

Guppy
Hey Blue wait a second![Guppy races off to the right left in Blue’s direction]

Scene 2- Backdrop change

Blue
I just want to go home Guppy… please just go away.[Guppy catches up with Blue and realizes that Guppy is not going away]

Guppy
Dude, I feel like every time we hang out, you’ve just been so down. Did I do something to upset you? [Guppy moves closer to Blue]

Blue
[Blue continues to be silent and starts to move away from Guppy again]

Guppy
[Guppy races in front of Blue trying to talk to him] Please tell me what’s going on with you Blue.

Blue
Do you ever get tired of this stupid ocean? Everything looks the same. We do the same thing every single day, there’s nothing to enjoy anymore.

Guppy
We do lots of things! I mean you have family, friends, and me! We just went diving for pearls yesterday.

Blue
I need something more than diving for pearls. I need to live, I need to see something. [Blue moves backwards from Guppy]

Guppy
Well if your not happy here, then where will you be happy? [Guppy slightly backs away from Blue]

Blue
Guppy I need to tell you my biggest secret.

Guppy
Yes?

Blue
I want to sail, I want to see the world. I want to experience, smell, touch and hear all these different things. [Blue rushed to Guppy with a wide smile]

Guppy
Okay then… but Blue we’re fish. We’re just fish, we can’t sail around the world. [Guppy backs away from Blue]

Blue
I don’t care what you say, I’m going to sail and I’m not going to rot in this ocean. [Blue moves backwards]
Guppy
But Blue…

Blue
I’m going to go see Electra the witch. [Blue makes his way to the right almost out of the picture]

Guppy
You can’t see her, it’s a trap Blue can’t you see that? [Guppy rushes towards Blue in a hurry]

Blue
Even if it is a trap, I have nothing else exciting in my life anyways. [Blue storms off out of the picture leaving Guppy alone]

ACT II

Setting:
Scene 1- a black blue ocean backdrop with a dark cave to the bottom right corner. Scene 2- A background above the surface of the water, with a bright blue sky and a small boat sitting on the surface.

Blue
I’m going to be stuck being a stupid fish for the rest of my life! [Blue enters from the left of the stage and crosses over towards the middle slowly. Tears streamed down his face and a snivelling sound effect is played]

Electra
Who says you have to be a fish for the rest of your life Blue? [The dialogue is in a low hissing noise, The dialogue is coming from the right of the stage]

Blue
Who was that? Who are you? How do you know my name? [Blue gasps Blue quickly moves backwards to the left side of the stage]

Electra
Oh, I know you Blue and your little plan to sail around the world, I think it’s quite brilliant. [the volume of the voice grows louder as Electra begins to step into the picture until her full body is revealed]

Blue
It’s you Electra! What do you want with me? Leave me alone [Blue begins to cry with terror, his voice grows angry]

Electra
I just want to help you Blue, I want to help you live. [Electra moves closer to blue]

Blue
How are you going to help me?

Electra
By making you human,so you can sail around the world, get out of this stupid ocean, isn’t that what you want Blue?[Electra nears closer to Blue and goes around him in a circle slowly]

Blue
No, there’s a catch I know what you do Electra, people have gone into your cave and never came out [Blue stands up and faces Electra]

Electra
There is no catch, I simply desire something of yours temporarily.

Blue
What would I have that you want?

Electra
Let me think, your little friend Guppy.

Blue
No way, Guppy is my friend [Blue steps backwards from Electra towards the left of the stage]

Electra
Just for one day, think of how he didn’t believe in you, couldn’t understand. Plus it would just be for one day. [Electra draws closer and comforts Blue]

Blue
Just one day… alright [Blue says his first line and there is a big pause. He says “alright” softly and quietly]

Electra
Then the deal is done [Electra snaps her fingers instantly and Guppy appears in her hands]

Guppy
Blue what’s going on?[Guppy shrinks down to a very small size.Guppy begins to scream with terror and squirms in Electra’s grasp.]

Blue
Guppy I’m sorry, Electra take it back. [Blue has a pained face and runs towards Guppy a few seconds after he appears]

Electra
Too late. [Electra snaps her fingers]

Guppy
Blue help me! Why am I here?

Scene 2-

Blue
Guppy I’m so sorry![Blue shoots up to the top of the ocean, where his costume is changed to a human and he sits on a boat at the surface of the ocean]

ACT III 

Setting:
{The surface of the ocean with a close up of a small row boat}

Blue
I can’t believe Guppy’s gone! [Blue looks up towards the sky, moves to the front of the boat and out to the ocean].

Blue
I can’t believe I’m human, the ocean is so beautiful… But I’d rather have Guppy [Blue hesitates for a few seconds then dives off the front of the boat to the bottom of the ocean]

Scene 2- Setting- switch backdrop to a dark cave inside, there is bottles, scrolls and chests

Blue
Yes, I found the cave now where’s Guppy [Blue finds Electra’s cave and peeks into it from the right, he then sees Guppy]

Guppy
Blue! Help me! [Guppy is in a cage, whispers softly to Blue, and looks in his direction]

Electra
Yes Guppy you will do perfectly for my new potion [She turns around to mix bottles]

Blue
Never! [Blue steps into the room]

Electra
You silly fish, when will you ever learn? [Electra begins to walk towards Blue]

Blue
I’m getting Guppy back, now move aside

Electra
No.
Blue
Okay then [Blue charges forward, grabs a potion and throws it on Electra]

Guppy
Yes, go Blue!

Electra
No![Electra turns to dust and ash on the floor, blue turns back into a fish]

Blue
[Releases the cage for Guppy] I’m so sorry.

Guppy
It’s okay, what made you come back, that was your dream?

Blue
Good friendship is worth more than any dream, your so much more important to me Guppy.
[The two fish leave the cave smiling and laughing]

Reasons for Changes to the Script
Some of the things I wrote in the script I could not create in scratch such as sound affects and a character snapping her fingers. I mostly made changes to stage directions and not dialogue, because some things such as changing a direction from left to right was more appropriate and was better fitting for the animation. Science the characters would walk away in different directions when they should be in the next scene together didn’t make sense.
Your Storyboards
http://www.storyboardthat.com/portal/storyboards2/23lazarusd

http://www.storyboardthat.com/portal/storyboards2/23lazarusd

http://www.storyboardthat.com/portal/storyboards2/23lazarusd

Self Evaluation
In your self-evaluation, you must present evidence that you have satisfied the requirements and constraints in the project Design Specification. This evidence can be in the form of a description, copying/pasting from your script, or screenshots of your storyboards/scratch animation/scratch code.
Requirement
Evidence
1. The animation must have a Three Act Structure. Act 1 (Introduction), Act 2 (Climax), Act 3 (Conclusion).
The story starts out with Blue being upset that he can’t sail. Then in the climax where he makes decisions that ultimately affect the rest of the story he trades Guppy’s ownership to fulfill his own dream. In Act 3 he learns that having friendship with Guppy is more than a dream to him. Here there is a clear presented solution.
2. The animation must have at least two characters, a protagonist and an antagonist.
The protagonist is Blue, he learns a listen in the story and is present in every scene of the animation. The antagonist is Electra who tries to trick and lure Blue into her trap. She also means to harm one of the secondary characters Guppy, and is the main source of conflict.
3. The animation must have at least one backdrop per Act.
As seen here I have more backdrops than I have acts.
4. The animation must have a conflict.
The conflict is between Blue and his self conscience but also with Electra.
5. The animation must be repeatable.
The characters begin with the same costumes and background with the touch of the green flag.
6. The animation must mostly use words understandable to speakers of English, or at least no long acronyms.
The entire script is in English and the most complex sentence is the following –

  1. Each major character must have a minimum number of lines (5) to speak in the story.
    My script if viewed above is 8 pages long, the animation code contains more than 5 lines.
  2. The conflict must be resolved by the end of the animation.

  3. The animation must have a title screen that announces the story before the plot begins.

Constraint
Evidence
1. All materials used in the creation of the animation must be original (made by you), stock characters/backdrops, or used under Creative Commons (and must be credited at the end of the animation).
All materials are under scratch and storyboard, everything created was under the license.
2. Any credits that are necessary must appear at the end of the animation in a credits roll.

  1. The animation must be between 3 minutes and 6 minutes long, including titles and credits.
    This time was taken only at Act 2 the total time was 215 seconds.
  2. Interaction by the viewer must be limited to starting the animation (clicking the Green Flag).

    Grading Rubric for Criterion D: Creation — The Final Product
    Skill A: Following the Design Cycle
    Level
    Descriptor
    3
    All requirements and constraints in the Design Specification are followed in the final product. (12-13 elements must be satisfied)
    2
    The majority of the requirements and constraints in the Design Specification are followed in the final product. ( from 7-11 elements must be satisfied)
    1
    Less than half of the requirements and constraints in the Design Specification are followed in the final product. (from 2-6 elements must be satisfied)
    0
    The design does not follow the Design Specification. (no more than one element satisfied)
    Your Self-Evaluation
    I believe I deserve a 3 because I satisfied 12-13 elements.

Skill B: Following the Script
Level
Descriptor
3
The final product closely follows the script. All dialogue and stage directions in the final script are fully reflected in the final product. Changes in the script are fully justified to align the project better to the Design Specification.
2
The final product generally follows the script. The majority of the dialogue and stage directions in the final script are reflected in the final product. Changes in the script are generally explained to align the project somewhat better to the Design Specification, though some may be made for convenience.
1
The final product does not follow the script well. The dialogue and stage directions in the script are only somewhat reflected in the final product. Changes in the script were not documented well or made to align the project to the Design Specification.
0
The final product does not reflect the script. The script does not exist. The final product does not exist.
Your Self-Evaluation
I believe I deserve a 3 because my animation closely matches my script and changes are justified.


Animation Project: Scratch It!

Project Submission and Self-Evaluation

Hi! My story is called “ Me and the Flawless Blind Boy.” The story is about this girl, Sara Quen, who meets Eli Zan. He is blind and needs Sara’s help. They become friends, but Eli betrays Sara’s trust by leading her to a group of bad people. Sara and the people fight, while Eli saves his sister who was kidnapped by them. Sara escapes the gang of people. The next day, Eli goes to Sara’s house. Sara yells that Eli for doing that, so Eli leaves after he gives Sara his phone number. Sara calls him, explaining how she now understands why he would do that. She forgives him, and they become friends again. Sara is my protagonist in the story, while Eli is the antagonist who eventually becomes a good friend of the protagonist, Sara. Sara and Eli are both in 9th grade. Sara is known a the Girl who beats boys for fun, even though she has a good cause for hitting people. Eli is notoriously handsome, and his remaining sense are very powerful compared to the average human’s.

The process of making the animation was fun, different, and sometimes seemed unnecessary. I enjoyed making a script for the animation. Thinking about the characters and their reactions/emotions was fun. The storyboards we had to do felt very unnecessary, but I did like making them. As for the animation itself, it was difficult. I drew my main characters by hand. I had many broadcasts and dialogue, so it was a pain transferring them and coding it. But all in all, I really liked making the animation.


Othello Close Reading Analysis

Iago 3.3.368-378

I will leave this handkerchief in Cassio’s house

And let him find it.  To a suspicious man

This will act as solid evidence.

And will do something.

The Moor is already falling for my plan

Ideas can be poisonous

At first they aren’t bad

But they soon take over the brain.

 

In this passage, Iago is talking about how his plan is unfolding.  This passage reveals Iago’s true intentions for Othello, and shows what a sneaky guy he is.  He states how Othello has already began to go mad over what he has told him, through his master plan.  He states, “The Moor already changes with my poison.” (3.3.373) This line shows how Othello has fallen under Iago’s manipulation because of jealousy.  This passage is a reflection by Iago after he has just talked falsely to Othello.

 

Desdemona 4.2.175-186

Oh dear Iago,

What should I do to get Othello back?

Please go to him, because I have no idea what I have done.

I am kneeling to show that I have never done anything

To destroy his love through thoughts or actions,

I never took pleasure in anyone else

My entire being knows it.

I didn’t do anything

Please help me.

 

In this passage, Desdemona has just been accused by Othello for being unloyal.  She is pleading with Iago trying to figure out what she can do. She is at a complete loss, for she actually hasn’t committed anything.  She states, “I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel-” (4.2.178-179) This line shows how upset she is. She is on the ground kneeling at this point which shows her devotion to her husband.  There is great irony in this because she is confiding to Iago, who is secretly the reason for what is happening.


Overpopulation: The Downside of Modernization

The modernization and development of our society is what makes us who we are. However, modernization and development does have its limitations. “As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears (Isaac Asimov)”. Take into consideration that within less than one century, the world population has grown by over 600%. With the broad topic of overpopulation, it branches onto other factors of life that has a negative connotation on society – malnutrition, CO2 Emission increases, natural resource depletion, etc. I used this assigned project to spread awareness of overpopulation, as our society does have a peak, where we can no longer sustain every living human.

Before researching, I knew about the fundamentals of overpopulation –  the world’s current population, how overpopulation had a correlation with the aforementioned factors of life, and that given our limited resources of soil, arable land, and water, sustaining a global population of that size is not even remotely possible. However, through the project, I was able to better understand the specifics of overpopulation, mainly based on the statistics. For instance, did you know that overpopulation has a .996/1.00 correlation with the increased emissions of carbon dioxide? This portrays a strong, negative correlation on society. But, in order to convey a more in-depth explanation of the research, watch the video below!

 


What can we do

If you’ve read my last two posts you’d know a few problems, I see, with the US education system. In “What kids can do” by Ronald Wolk he points out ways to deal with these problem and ways certain schools have been trying to counter act the lecture style of learning. The whole idea that sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture is out of date and has been failing recent generations due to its lack of engaging the student. “Students will learn more and remember more of what they learned if they learn in real world contexts, which also reduces boredom and disciplinary problems, stimulates more parental involvement, inspires self-confidence and responsibility in youth, and motivates them to learn.” Wolk explains. The best way to learn how to do something is to do it, and teaching kids to learn how they will be learning with their job will benefit the students so much more then just learning how to calculate angular velocity.

Wolk mentions that, “John Adams echoed the thought when he said, “There are two types of education: One should teach us how to make a living and the other should teach us how to live.” Our current education system is doing neither very well.” I’m not saying to completely dismiss the idea of lectures in a classroom. The lecture style teaching is still necessary for basic everyday knowledge such as reading and writing, and is the most efficient way of teaching multiple people at a time. The benefit comes when we replace lecture with learning, the only way to learn how to do is by doing. According to psychologist Joseph P. Allen teenagers are primed for action and easier to understand through physical work due to them hitting physical peak when young, teenager bodies crave work activity which schools, sadly, do not provide.

The Met school in providence, Rhode Island, is one of few schools trying to incorporate real world skill building into their curriculum. “Students gain real-world experience especially through internships that span at least a semester but could run a year or longer, and through individual projects that they design and carry out.” Wolk explains. Every week for two days, at least, the school provides the students with individual mentors to help guide them on a career path or teach them basic life skills like applying for a job. These students end up repaying the community for all their help, with a project that benefits the community  in a way the student seems fit. One young woman decided in her first semester that she wanted to be a secretary, so she interned in a physician’s office as a file clerk. She became interested in medicine, so her next internship was with a physical therapist; then she spent a semester working in a hospital emergency room. She needed to know science, so The Met arranged for her to take courses at nearby Brown University. These internships help guide the students on a clearer path of what they want in their future.

However there are problems with this model. Some students may take advantage of the freedom granted to them and not grasp the opportunity, which is their fault and their’s alone but does not bode well for the school. Is it worth dedication so much time to molding the students in such a way that is frankly a gamble and an expensive one none the less. I think schools dont have to follow the exact model The Met uses but i think all schools should have a common goal of making the student as prepared as possible for the real world.

 

 


Learning Disabilities in Schools

Are schools doing enough to accommodate students with learning disabilities?

The majority of the time, learning disabilities are hereditary, so a student cannot control or change the fact they have trouble learning in specific ways. But are schools doing enough to help them be their best? Many sources have suggested that a lot of educators see children with undiagnosed learn disabilities as naughty because they have a harder time following guidelines. Because of this, teachers tend to punish these children for not following directions or for disrupting class. The best way to help a child and see if they do indeed have some type of learning disability is to observe them over time, over the period of a couple weeks rather than one or two instances where they are having trouble in school.

The most common types of learning disabilities are dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and the ability to process deficits. Dyslexia is seen the most in schools, and is a disability in which a person has trouble reading. ADHD is also very common, but has also been disputed whether it is actually a learning disability. Whether the answer is yes or no, it does tend to impede learning ability. This disability is where someone has an overactive mental capacity, finding it difficult to pay attention and stay on task. However, this disability can be treated with medication to help students focus more. Dyscalculia and dysgraphia are two that are not as widely discussed, but are still in the top five most common disabilities. Dyscalculia is the inability of a person to perform mathematical tasks, which can range from simply being unable to order numbers correctly or being unable to problem solve. Dysgraphia is more of a physical disability causing a student to be unable to write and have trouble writing. The fifth and final most common is the ability to process deficits, which means they have difficulty processing data and facts in numbers.

This epidemic requires by law that schools have programs for children with learning disabilities. Through tests to determine a students disability, they can then be placed in an IEP (Individualized Education Program). These programs are usually specialized to cater the needs of each child’s disability. If these programs are up to the standard so that each child is able to excel at school, then the school is doing all that they can to help the student. A large part of their success also lies within the parents putting in the quality time to help their child with school work at home and in his everyday life.


The problem with education

America’s education system was created in the nineteenth century and has been weakened throughout the years to a point where less then half of those who graduate high school graduate college. The US education system suffers from a lack of effort in it’s students, nobody wants to learn anymore. The system is set up in a way that strips students of their curiosity and wanting to learn. Success, today, is defined by your GPA; students define their self worth solely on the grades they receive in class and it diminishes generations to come.

Another problem we face is in the school itself more than the students, the school is being run like a business, especially private schools. A school’s main goal is to get a student into college and it seems they don’t care how they just do, it’s their job. In an article done by Common Dreams, they state, “It’s absurd. Not everything benefits from being sold for a profit. Imagine if your spouse suggested running your marriage that way. It would turn you both into prostitutes selling yourselves at ever cheaper rates while any self respect, dignity and love disappeared”. The part of the school that teaches you how to learn and enjoy doing it has been replaced with a false sense of success which we define by how many degrees or diplomas a student receives.

Grades as well have cause a problem in our education system in that thats all students strive for. When education was first set up the grading system was used to show how much a student was excelling and now its been boiled down to numbers and scores that add up to a percent. What it does is it takes away someones want to learn and replaces it with a want for an A, because grades are seen as the definition of our success. A study done by Boston university took eighty valedictorians and followed them on their career paths and it was clear that yes they may have all gained professional careers none of them were seen as real trail blazers. They also raised the question of how can one day of standardize testing define ones intellect(The ACT)? And more importantly how can we fix this and gear students back to the track of wanting to learn and grow. Cindy Long, editor for NeaToday says, “That’s why the best teachers and schools replace grades (and grade-like reports) with narrative reports – qualitative accounts of student performance – or, better yet, conferences with students and parents.” This allows the student to focus on what they are learning and excel in it rather then just doing the bare minimum for the A.


Dress Codes Are Geared Towards Women!

sexism photoThe dress code in high schools need to change. The dress code is mainly geared to limit what females wear. Dress codes in high school are more lenient to males than females. I feel like the administration sexualizes body parts that aren’t sexual.

 

My school has some rules I find unfair to females. If a male wears a beater or racerback tee or the like an official won’t say anything, but since females have breasts were unable to wear them. Breasts shouldn’t be viewed as a sexual object, it is a part of the female body.  I Honestly feel like “shoulder-less’ shirts should not be a problem. If showing a shoulder is deemed “distracting” to others, then maybe the student needs to be talked to. A shoulder shouldn’t distract anyone. I think my school is also very contradicting we have a rule of “no wrist bands” but yet they’ll reward a student or give you a wristband for a pep assembly; “Why give out an item that’s supposedly banned”. They honestly pick and chose what dress code they want to go by. From a personal experience, when I ran Cross Country we were allowed to run in sports bras, within a few weeks we weren’t able to because it’s “inappropriate” and “distracting” to males. BUT if a football player walks around shirtless after practice nothing is said to them. Also, last year there was a rule of no thick headbands because they “LOOK” like earmuffs. I don’t see the point of this rule if the headband looks like something it’s not you can’t wear it. Although, I do make very valid points there are some rules I understand like, no gang related insignia/clothing, no bare midriff, thin tank tops and pajamas.

 

I honestly understand why school’s have dress code so kids won’t come to school wearing anything but the dress code is too strict and geared towards females


Asian American Activism

High School textbooks don’t have anything on Asian Americans during the civil rights era. There were a lot of Asian activists in the mid to late twentieth century. All of them are not well known amongst most youth in America. So I decided to research some examples of Asian American activists. Two of the more interesting and complex figures that I had come across are Richard Aoki and Yuri Kochiyama.

Richard  Aoki was born in 1938 in San Leandro California as a third generation Japanese American. He spent a large part of his early life in the Topaz Internment Camp in western Utah. After the end of WWII, he and his family moved to Oakland California in a predominantly black neighborhood. As a young adult he enlisted into the army, but discharged shortly after as conflict rose in Vietnam. During his college years, he met Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Seale and Newton would go on to form the Black Panthers Party and invited Aoki to join. As the group grew in popularity, Aoki become compelled to bring the same reform to his ethnic group and others. He separated from the Black Panthers and attended college at UC Berkeley. He would help organize many racial group for Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans. These groups would combine forces to protest at UC Berkeley for the creation of an American ethnic diversity program. In 1969, UC Berkeley gave into the demands of its students and created the Ethnic Studies Department. The department is still in effect today teaching students about the culture and perspective of minorities in America, while inspiring young adults to be loud in their political activism. Aoki would eventually become a counselor at Merrit College in California. He remained active in political and social reform until his death in 2009 at the age of 70.

Yuri Kochiyama was born in San Pedro California in 1921. She was a passionate student and a gifted writer. During her time at the Jerome Arkansas Internment Camp, she encouraged Japanese women to write letters to the GI’s of the 442nd (the United States Japanese battle regiment of WWII). After the camps, she married a Japanese GI and moved to New York City. She attended ethnic group classes and participated in many protests. After being arrested in a protest in 1963, Kochiyama and her felloe protesters were taken to a courthouse to be tried and sentenced. During the court hearing, Malcolm X came by to show his support for the activists. Kochiyama met Malcolm and was invited to his office to talk about his ideas and philosophies. Kochiyama was forever changed and became good friends with Malcolm X. She lent major support for civil rights activists by hosting meetings and providing housing for some of the most important leaders of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity. She is famously known as the women who holds Malcolm X’s head, after he had been shot, in Life Magazines infamous photo. After the death of Malcolm X, Kochiyama went on to lead protests for African Americans, Puerto Ricans, women, and Asian Americans. She died at the ripe-old age of 93 in 2014.

Today, there are not many publicly known asian american activists, nor are there Asian Americans on the level of Martin Luther King, Ceasar Chavez, or even Malcolm X. In general, Asian Americans are not represented well in media. Activists like Richard Aoki and Yuri Kochiyama should be more well known in American society and Asian people should be more active in todays landscape.

Authors Note:

My name is Keaton Yoshinaga. I am an 18 year old Japanese American from Salt Lake City, Utah. My grandmother was an internee at the Colorado Internment camp, while my grandfather was an internee at the Arkansas Camp and served in the 442nd. Growing up, I had very few asian hero’s to look up to. When it came to Civil Rights Activists, I mainly looked up to Martin Luther King. The reason why I chose more radical activists, was because I thought that it would show a very interesting and unique look at Asian American activism. There were many Asian leaders who were supporters of Martin Luther King and believed in peaceful protests (I will leave it to the reader to research them), but I thought that it was be more fascinating to shed light on the radical asian movement. I do not believe in radical protest or reform; I was simply interested in learning more about the Asian Civil Rights Movement. I hope that asian american youths (Yonsei and Gosei) across the country will take a greater role in standing up for their culture and community. I will be doing the same.


The stress of highschool

stress photoI chose my personal questions, “what causes all my stress?”. The reason I chose this is because the past three years of my life have been lived on at least three hours of homework a night and four hours of sleep barely able to function throughout the day. This stress causes almost all the rest of my problems in my life currently, whether that be bad health or mental health, or poor grades, which I somehow manage to maintain grades, or even a poor social life. The only real facts I know about this stress is that school is the main cause and it causes an imbalance in my physical and mental states.

I want to know the hard facts about stress in teens and how it affects us mentally and physically. I want to know what’s the leading factor of this stress. Also how can you prevent it from happening to you or others. How can you tell if someone is experiencing this stress?

According to an article written by Understand.org, a main factor to teen stress is the pressure to perform and succeed. They said “Kids who’ve struggled in school for many years often come to highschool with a history of setbacks.” meaning kids aren’t mentally prepared for failure or what to do if it happens, putting a lot of stress on the teens shoulders. Another article done by Healthline stated that health problems from stress can range from headache and stomach ache to increased depression and heart attack. These problems are at a much higher percentage in teens, 54% to be exact(article done by USA today).


Where do we go from here?

Oh my goodness, I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the components of this project. Excited and eager to get started, yes but also anxious about striking a healthy balance between our goals and student interest and expectations.

During our last session, I felt like as a group we were grappling with the idea of using an overarching theme. However, today’s session left me feeling like it was already a done deal and we would indeed be using the overarching question–what is justice to frame our inquiry with the youth this summer. I am not opposed to this idea but I do feel myself just pushing back a little bit. Although we have not yet come to an official consensus about this, the experience leaves me wondering about process. How do we engage with the youth using a transparent and democratic process this summer?

What are the youth’s expectations for this project? What were they told that they were signing up for and how do we honor their expectations while fulfilling our agenda for the project? As a TC, I am usually working in other teacher’s classrooms so I am thrilled to have students of my own for three weeks and want to feel some level of ownership.  I know that we all believe that our students are assets and we value what they bring to our learning community. I want to make sure that they recognize and understand that their teachers feel this way. While it is important that we provide a somewhat structured and rich learning experience, I don’t want to forget that the students’ agenda is of equal value in determining what that rich experience will be.

https://www.youthvoices.live/category/career-job-readiness/quality-education/student-centered/