The Real Fix!

Every so often problems arise in a community, and are quickly
dealt with, but what happens to the ones that have not been put into the
spotlight? On many occasions theses are issues that only few people know about,
and nobody tries to fix. Take Kenaston’s walking trail for example. Not many
people go on it because they do not realize how beautiful and calming it really
is, or even that it exists. The underuse of our walking trail caught my attention
because the few times I have been on it, I noticed how well thought out and
gorgeous it is, but how unrecognized. If the walking trail was a better known
attraction for our community, people would have a quiet, relaxing, and beautiful
place to go for a walk on. We need to realize that is not going to happen on
its own.

As a community, we could take initiative and volunteer to promote the walking trail.
Anyone who wanted to pitch in with ideas of promotion, or ways to improve the
trail, with the goal of more visitors could do so as they wished. That idea
would cause problems if no one wanted to help, if people did the same jobs or
had the same promotion ideas. An alternative idea would be to take the issue of
the underuse of our walking trail to the town council. The council could then
create a committee to promote the trail and assign people jobs. This idea would
not work if the town council had no time to create a committee or if the people
they asked to help would not agree. Although those ideas may fail on their own,
if they were combined they would create usable solution. People in the community
could volunteer to be on a committee that would promote and improve our walking
trail. The committee could then designate people to specific areas of improvement
and promotion. This plan would be doable because people would volunteer to help
with the trail, but work together with a group of people to share ideas.

The walking trail can be promoted and improved if some people in our community would step
up to help. To start off with this project, I will create a sign-up sheet for
people who would like to volunteer their time for the benefit of the community.
I would put this sheet in the town office where everyone will have access to
it.  Once the committee is formed, we
will meet to ensure everyone is willing to help carry out the plan. Every
person on the committee will be given a job to either promote or help improve the
trail. The job will vary from designing and distributing brochures that advertise
the walking trail, to creating poster directing people to it, or even planting
pots of flowers to place around the trail and cleaning up the benches. If those
jobs are completed, then visitors will become aware that we have this trail and
will be intrigued to visit it. It will create a place where people can go for a
walk right near nature, but within the community. If all these steps are achieved,
we will ideally have more visitors come to our community to enjoy the beauty in
nature surrounding our peaceful town. Once initiative is taken, our walking trail
will not only benefit our community, but people from other communities around
us. After all, the more the merrier!

Which one would you be?

In English
we have been learning about race, we watched a movie, did research and even
listened to a podcast talking about what race is. This had our whole class
thinking about what race really is. Once we figured out what we thought race
was, our teacher sprung a bigger question upon us that we would have to create
an informal talk on. She asked us if we had a choice, would we rather be a
visual or a non-minority. With many days of thinking, planning and of course
answering the question, we were finally prepared to present our informal talks.
On Thursday, April 5 in front of our whole class, we answered the question that
had been haunting our whole class and gave support for what we chose. Our
teacher was quite impressed with the results so our whole class is now placing
these talks on our blogs. This is why I would rather be a visual minority over
a non-visual minority and why I made that decision.

So let’s say someone new moves to your school. You their just like you and your friends,
nothing’s different about them, why would there be? In a few weeks something
completely unexpected happens where you find out they’re not who you thought
they were, not at all. Turns out their parents are Jewish. Now what do you
think of them? Aren’t you mad? I mean, you were friends, right?

Now what if you’re that kid? Who’s trying to fit in but things don’t quite go as planned,
and it all backfires on you. How would you feel? Would you really want to be a
non-visual minority? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just be a visual minority? I
think it would.

If I had to make the choice to be a non-visual minority or a visual minority, I would
choose to be a visual minority because of my personality and who I am inside.

If you were a visual minority, when people met you they could take it or leave it. If
someone didn’t like my minority, then go for it, but if people will accept me
with it, that’s great! As a visual minority, people see you as you are and have
the choice to like you or not as soon as they meet you because they can see in
which way you are different than them. When someone meets you, they can make an
opinion on you right away because they know the obvious minority that you have,
instead of them getting shocked later when they find out who you really are. If
you are a visual minority, people don’t have to change for when they do find
out about your minority. If they like you, they like you and if they don’t,
well then you know it.

Also if you are a visual minority, nothing’s hidden. You don’t hide what makes you up and
is a big part of you, let’s face it, you can’t because it’s visible. You also
don’t hid what’s a part of your identity just so that you can fit in. Being a
visible minority allows you to know who your true friends are from the start
because they know you’re a minority. If they are going to be a good friend,
they’ll accept your minority. If you were a non-visual minority, you may think
someone is your friend but then they end up not liking you when they discover
your minority. People see you as you are and they don’t have to change for you.
In the podcast that we watched, we learned about a man who appeared to be
African, but really had no African whatsoever in him. When his wife married
him, she was Jewish and she went against her family so that she could marry
this “black” man. When the man took a DNA test, he found out that he had no
African in him, so his wife went against her family for nothing. As you can
see, if he would have been a visual minority, his wife wouldn’t have had to go
against her family.

Last of all, if you are a visual minority, you don’t have to pretend. You’re not trying to
be something that you’re not. You aren’t wasting your life being “undercover”
instead of living life how you want it. If you are a visual minority, there’s
no need to be fake, you can be who you are, and you don’t need to worry about
hiding something to impress others.

Now I’m not saying that being a non-visual minority would be bad because there are some
good points to it. Such as how it would be easier to fit in with the people
around you. You wouldn’t stand out as a minority; you could blend in very
easily. But I still would rather be a visual minority.

I would think that it would also be easier on the people around you to know that you
are a visual minority right from the start. Instead of them thinking they know
you, then finding out a huge part of your life suddenly. That is why I would
rather be a visual minority over a non-visual minority.

Whirlwind Life

These journal
writings are in response to the short story “The Michelle I Know” by Alison
Lohans. None of these are true experiences of a real person, it is completely
fictional. If you want to read the true story it is on the following link. http://iblog.stjschool.org/stories/2011/09/13/the-michelle-i-know/

I hope you
enjoy these short journal entries representing a surprise day, a bad day, and a
good day!

July 27, 2011

I had the most
confusing and shocking day of my life today. Well, except for when I was
diagnosed, but I try not to think about that. Anyways, when I woke up, I had a
feeling I would have a great day, but then there was that nagging feeling in
the back of my mind saying be careful, anything could happen.

I picked up my mirror
to get a quick look at myself when no one was around, just as I do every
morning. I don’t really know why I bother, I mean, it wasn’t a surprise. I saw
that same pale, hollow face starting with sunken in eyes staring back at me,
just as it does day after day. I guess I keep hoping that something will
miraculously change overnight, but it never does. Nothing in my life ever does.
Just as I set the mirror down, I heard the best noise in the world; Rob’s
voice.

Hello beautiful!

Hello beautiful!

The two best words
ever! Every time I hear them, my day is brightened. Anyways, as it turned out
Rob had come to take me to the fair. The fair! I gathered my stuff and headed
out the door with Rob. My Rob. Not Vanessa’s Rob, as I thought; MINE! And only
mine!

The fair was
gorgeous, the weather was gorgeous, and even I felt gorgeous.

For the first time in a long time.

I have a hard time remembering what all the day held, but I
knew it when my fantasy ENDED. It was just after Rob gave me that stuffed panda
bear. The same one that now lies at my bedside. My HOSPITAL bedside. I was so
excited that we were finally spending time together once again. Thing were
maybe starting to be NORMAL again. But NO, normal would never happen for me. My
stomach started to feel sick. WORSE than ever.

And I got a bit shaky, and light headed.

I blamed it on the sun.

Well
that was until I passed out.

The next thing I remember is being, once again, jabbed with
needles. And holding onto something for dear life. Rob’s hand. And Brenda, she
brought me this, my journal, before the lights were shut out. But why? Was this
the end? Is that why Rob took me out today? Does everyone know something that I
am yet to figure out?

 

Oh, why do I even care. I’ll never make it. I’m too tired
to fight with fate. I may as well accept it now. Everyone else has. Haven’t
they?

Michelle

August
3, 2011

I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I would’ve been
better to give up. So why didn’t I? I was foolish. FOOLISH. Because I believed
in that glimmer of hope I once saw, and it has since disappeared. HE has since
disappeared.

My HOPE.

My GUIDANCE.

The
one who I had clung to when I had nothing else. Is all gone. Forever.

Why’d
I even ask? It was dumb of me. All I wanted to do was have a nice relaxing walk
through the hallways. Brenda and I. It was good. We were talking about life and
how well I was finally doing after the little scare last week. How I had
recovered without any difficulty. Then we passed HIS room. I asked if we could
stop and say hi. Brenda’s face dropped. She told me we had no time and we had
better get back to my room. She grabbed my arm. I ripped it away and pushed the
door open in fury. It was empty. The room was EMPTY! I started to smile, and I
only could say two words. He recovered. He was actually all better! I was soooo
happy! But Brenda wasn’t. She only shook her head and lead me back to my room.
When we got there she explained about what really happened to Claude. He was
gone. Not only out of the hospital, but gone, for good. Claude had died. DIED.
Everything that gave me hope was gone.

I
sat back in my room, depressed and in shock. I waited to see if Rob would come
to visit. But he didn’t. Of course. Why would he? He had no reason. I was UGLY.
Yeah, that’s it. The reason he didn’t come to see me. I continued to wait. NO
ONE came. When Brenda’s shift was done, she left. Different nurses came in. All
grumpy. No one cared. All they could think about was getting home. Not me.
Getting home. Well I won’t get home for a long time. Nothing went my way today.
It was terrible. I hope the rest of my days won’t ever be this bad. EVER. I
honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to take it if this keeps on going on.

Michelle

August
15, 2011

It was an absolutely
perfect day today, in every way. The only thing I could have wished to make it
better would be for me to be cured. But I’m not. Early in the morning I was
lying there looking out the window at the shining sun. It was perfect. I
honestly don’t think it could’ve been any brighter. It made everything appear
to be glowing. As I was staring out the window, I heard footsteps come
alongside my bed. I knew those soft footsteps, it was Rob. Rob! He came to
visit, but it wasn’t one of his normal visits. No, this time he had something.
Flowers! A bouquet of flowers, all for me. I couldn’t believe it, I don’t know
if I have ever been happier!

Rob stayed with me
for a long time, but it was good. I didn’t feel tired at all when he was with
me. Brenda came in and out occasionally, just to check on me, but nothing was
wrong. Rob was with me, how could it be bad? Rob had dinner with me and then
shortly after we finished eating he left. He didn’t want me to be too tired for
the rest of my day. I thought this was kind of strange, but I didn’t care, I
needed to rest. In a while I opened my eyes and saw Brenda looking down at me.
I was immediately worried that something was wrong. When she saw the concern
that must have been written all over my face she smiled and told me that I had
some more visitors. All of a sudden the door opened and people came piling in.
It was my friends. I couldn’t believe that they had all come to visit me! I was
so excited, they had actually come to visit me! I hadn’t seen so many of them
in a long time. Some of them had flowers, some had cards, but almost everyone
had a smile. They stayed and visited me for a long time, well until Brenda
kicked them out! She said that I needed some more rest, she thought I was
getting overwhelmed! I couldn’t believe it, they had all come to visit me. I
couldn’t imagine how this day could get any better.

When I woke up from
my second rest, I felt great, even though it was almost 9:00 at night! Brenda
was once again by my bed and I couldn’t figure out why she was still here, her
shift must have ended almost an hour ago! But Brenda had something behind her,
and she had a weird look on her face. My insides were shifting, I couldn’t
figure out what was going on. But then I saw it, a guitar. Claude’s guitar.
Brenda said that he left it for me when he passed. She said he wanted me to
have it and possibly learn to play it. I was so touched. He left it for me.
When he could’ve left it for anyone, he chose me. Me! Who he had only met a
little while ago. When I finally fell asleep for the night, I had a smile on my
face, I didn’t ever want this day to end!

Michelle

Go from Bland to BAM!

Have you ever wanted your writing to make a splash? Well to
make that interesting impact all you have to do is toss in some figurative
language into your literature. Figurative language can make a huge difference
in your writing, with a few metaphors, similes, a bit of alliteration, or an
onomatopoeia your writing can go from bland to ‘BAM’. Most people don’t realize
how important figurative language is or that we use it daily. Here’s a test on
the effect figurative language can have on a sentence. Which sentence would you
rather read? Here are two example sentences.

  1. The dog walked down the street.

OR

  1. The devious, dangerous, dog waltzed down the
    startled street like he owned it.

Sentence number two is a lot more
interesting, right? It catches your attention and sounds a lot better. Just
from that little test, you should be able to make the decision to put
figurative language in your writing. Wouldn’t you rather have a devious, dangerous
dog than just a plain old boring dog? And why not make him waltz down the
street? With just a little figurative language you can jazz up your writing.

At that time we not only worked
on our figurative language skills, but we also presented poetry in groups. My
group read our poem, in the dark, behind a sheet, with flashlights and shadow
puppets. It created an eerie mood to the presentation. I usually don’t like
poetry, but when we presented the poems, it added a more fun and exciting
element to poetry. Some of the other groups did a really cool thing; they made
us sit in a circle, set tea lights up around us, and were standing in different
places in the room reciting their poem. This assignment made me respect poetry
more than I ever have, and I have to admit, I enjoyed it!

Join the many; take action!

Kate Winslet, an Oscar Award winning actress, is known for following
other Hollywood stars in urging retailers to stop making the delicacy called
foie gras. Foie gras is made from duck or geese liver and it actually
translates into “fatty liver”. To make this delicacy, people shove feeding
tubes down the throats of ducks and geese to fill them with fats and grains.
This inhumane method of force feeding can cause tissue damage and internal
bleeding all so that they can sell engorged livers as a delicacy. Kate is
involved in and narrates a video add about foie gras that includes undercover
footage of the torture of the ducks and geese. The group that Kate was working
with to create this video was called PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals). This video demonstrates how they force feed the birds to make their
liver swell up to several times the normal amount. In her video, Kate Winslet
reveals the sick nature behind the delicacy that people pay so much money for.
Kate’s exclusive video displays to the world that she cares about how animals
are treated and that she is willing to stand up for what is right.

There are so many causes in the world that could use people’s help, but if I had the time,
the resources and the money, the cause that I would likely choose to help would
be PETA. I think that it would be interesting to help promote good treatment
for all animals. PETA focuses on four main areas that animals suffer in. Those
four areas involve laboratories, clothing trade, the entertainment industry and
factory farms. PETA also helps get rid of the cruel killing of beavers, birds,
and other pests that should not be treated the way that they are. I think it
would be really cool to do what Kate Winslet has done with this program, but
the one thing that I would do to improve the program would be help them release
more videos on how inhumane and cruel people can be to animals all for money. I
would do this by gathering up lots of my friends and other people who I know
that care about animals to join this program. To help better the cause, I would
also spread the word about PETA and what they do by making flyers and posters
and hanging them around a few towns. The more people involved in a cause, the
more action we can take to fixing the problems. PETA can change so many animals’
lives and that is why I want to help them be a part in those meaningful
changes.  If each of us helps one cause, we will be helping the world become a better place one step at a time.

If you want to see the activism that Betty White has been a part of go to my friend Sam’s post at www.sheldoncooper30.edublogs.org

Assesing My Writing

In English class this past week, we finished writing our first complete, structured essay. It took a long time to finish the essay,
probably about 2 weeks, but through the process I learned a lot about my own
writing. I really learned what strategies worked well for me and what I found
wasn’t as effective for my writing. With finishing this large writing project,
I learned more skills of a strong writer, and I was able to identify these
skills in my own writing. This caused me to take time and look at my writing
while I was proof reading it so that I could pick out the aspects that I shared
with a strong writer. I feel that that was effective in improving my quality of
writing.

Once I had completed my essay, I was able to determine some strategies that were effective for my writing and it
gave me ideas why they were effective. For example, after getting used to the
structured style of writing the 7 sentence body paragraphs, it seemed a lot
easier to write the paragraphs. For me, it seemed easier to write the second
and third body paragraphs with the sentence structure as a guide line, once I
completed my first paragraph. I believe that this strategy and style of writing
worked very well for me. Another strategy that I believe improved my writing
was the technique of writing my body paragraphs before my introduction
paragraph. This helped my writing because it let me write the intro using ideas
that I included in my body paragraph. One of the strategies that was effective
for me, but I would like to learn how to improve on would be finding my
references before I started my essay. I did find my references before I wrote
my essay, but in the end, I used different ones than I originally chose. When I
first chose my references I was really excited to start my essay, so I rushed
to find them. In my opinion, that was evident in my third body paragraph. I
don’t feel as if my reference was as strong in that paragraph, because I
changed references numerous times, and I settled for one in the end. I finally
chose a reference that would fit that paragraph topic, but I was not satisfied.

A strong writer is something that most young authors strive to become. There are many skills that outline a
strong writer, but these are the few examples that are prominent to me. The first
example is word choice. In many accomplished authors’ literature, you will find
a huge variety of word choice. Not only are large words that create vivid
images in reader’s minds impressive, but the fact that authors can fit them
smoothly into their writing without making the literature confusing. In my
opinion, that symbolizes a strong writer. Another quality that strong writers
possess is the smoothness of their paragraphs. Many strong writers’ paragraphs
flow into each other as a result of the transitions they use. I find this
impressive because it is something that I am weaker at.

In my writing there are a few things that I would like to improve on. One of them is the smoothness of my
transitions. I feel that my transitions weren’t as good as I could have made
them. I would like to be able to use transitions more in my writing so that they
do not seem out of place and they become natural to me. I would also like to
improve on my skills in finding good references the first time. That would save
me a lot of time if I could choose a respectable reference in the beginning. I
would also like to improve on becoming a more effective writer. In my next
essay, I would like to be able to write in a more effective and purposeful way.

After writing my essay, I feel that writing has become more natural to me. With the next essay that I write, I
would like to be able to demonstrate some of the basic skills of strong
writers. This essay has improved my writing ability and made me more comfortable
with writing.

Letters from the Fringes

Dear David,

Thanks for writing to me, I really
miss you. I’m sorry that my family secret got you in trouble. I know my apology
is six years late, but I thought that if I sent a letter to you it would get
you in trouble.  When they picked me up,
they took my family to the Fringes and dumped us off there. Life in the Fringes
isn’t easy but it’s better than the alternative. My family was only punished by
being sent to the Fringes, luckily my dad was captured without a fight or we may
have been in more trouble. It was hard for him to adjust to life in the
Fringes, but he is getting used to it now.

I don’t blame you for telling your
father about me and I’m sorry that you were beat. I can imagine how angry he
was. My mother says that we are grateful for you and she would like me to thank
you for her. It was unfortunate that were picked up by accident, but it was
likely better than if your dad caught us. No offense.

The Fringes is alright, but it’s
nothing like Waknuk. People there are nicer than you’d think; they’re not near
as scary either. Most people only have small, unnoticeable blasphemies, like I
do. I guess it’s where I fit in, but I get looked at weirdly because my
blasphemy is so hidden. It’s really weird; my father said that one of the men,
who is the head of the Fringes, looks like your father. My parents are fine and
luckily weren’t sent away as I mentioned above. I will tell them that you are
sorry, but they don’t hold it against you.

It is great that you have a new sister;
I wish I could meet her sometime! I’m very sorry about your aunt and it is odd
that she may have killed herself.  I have
heard that there have been many blasphemies this year; your father must be in a
bad mood about that.

I am so happy that you sent me that
letter, and I miss you so much. Please write back soon. I hope that all is well
and this letter doesn’t cause any problems in your family.  

Sincerely,

Sophie

If you would like to see the letter I’m replying to, go to …….http://harrypotterfan07.edublogs.org

A Climax Controversy on “The Death Trap”

       Suspense, romance, and revenge; three words to describe what Paul Gallico’s short story,
“The Death Trap” is all about. The Great Armando is up to one of his old,
entertaining magic tricks when he finds out that the sheriff of Ossowa County,
the place where Armando is performing his trick, is an old foe of his. In the trick
Armando is supposed to get out of a strait jacket while inside of a locked
mailbag, which is inside a locked crate, while underwater. When the sheriff
gives Armando the strait jacket, his assistant discovers that it has been
gaffed with Chinese finger traps in the fingers of the jacket. Will Armando
once again defeat the trick, or will he fall captive to the sheriff’s evil
tricks?

        Paul Gallico’s plot in this story keeps you reading no matter what part you’re at.
Right once you’ve thought you’ve reached the climax, another curveball is
thrown your way. I thought the story was exciting all the way to the end. There
were many high points in the story but I thought the climax was when everyone
thought that Armando had been defeated. This is the sentence that I thought was
the climax; “But there was not a chance in the world that that Great Armando
was still alive.” ‘The Death Trap’ is a great choice for anyone looking for a
high action story.