Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Maine born. Soccer, lacrosse, track. Gimpy. Kevinettes. Lizzy McGiure. "Happiness is only real when shared."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reflection this semester

Dear reader,

So far this year I have greatly enjoyed writing. I find that this year it is easier to come up with ideas than it has been in past years. I find it easier to be inspired by the little things, therefore it's easier to build off of ideas. I've struggled somewhat with organization and time management. To fix those problems I have already tried writing outlines. The outlines creat a structure that help immensely. I have already found that using them makes my pieces much better.
In my portfolio I have included pieces from the beginning of the year, the end of the first quarter, and the end of the first semester.  I wanted to show my progress throughout the year.
My first piece was my literacy autobiography. From just reading the piece I can already tell that my spelling, punctuation, and organization have improved. I wrote about how I hated reading and writing when I was younger, and learned to appreciate and love both of those things. I chose this piece because it was the first thing I wrote this school year. I said "​writing was one of my favorite things to do in school. The freedom of getting to write what I wanted was very appealing. " This piece showed my passion for getting to write what I want, which I believe improves the quality of writing by a lot.
The second piece I included was a critical lense essay. This piece showcased how I am able to translate information into ideas. I remember how much I enjoyed writing the piece because I got to use facts and translate them into an opinion. In that piece I noticed that my organization was still a little weak, but my ideas were strong. "Observation is defined as 'the action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information.' When something is observed the small details are noticed first." I tried to take actual information to support my point.
My last piece was a writers craft. I decided to use that piece because I wanted to show how I have progressed in organization since the beginning if the year. My writers craft was a persuasive essay that I gathered actual information from to support my ideas. I find the organization of my final piece is very good. I like the way I put facts into the piece and then brought them all together at the end.  "Sports can create a supportive group of peers, they provide physical activity that can improve health and fitness, as well as teach control and discipline." Through my last writing piece I wanted to show the passion I have for the subject by providing facts to support my idea.
From the first semester I have improved my writing. I have found ways to circumvent the problems I previously had. In some ways I can still improve on organization and grammar, but I feel as if that will be something I can improve for the rest of my life. I want to be more aware of my faults in he future, so I plan on spending more time looking for things to improve.

Literacy autobiography

My first memory of reading, well of books, is faint. Every night I would request the same book to be read to me, Honey bunny Funny bunny.  After a few times, I started memorizing the book. Sometimes my mother would ask me to “read” it to her.  In reality I couldn’t actually read, I just memorized the words and what pages they went with.  
Reading was not something I enjoyed as a young, very hyper, child.  The thought of sitting still, not being able to talk brought chills to me. The fact that reading became homework when I got to school didn’t improve on my feelings towards it either. Reading out loud was part of something everyone has to learn in school. Reading aloud was also not something I was good at. I was assigned to a special class that helped me improve on it. The one-on-one class helped me improve not only my skills of reading out loud, but reading in general.
I thought of reading as more of a punishment, until I got to about fifth grade. The GreenMile was a series that I started reading after my father recommended it. These were the first books I read for the enjoyment of reading. After reading the series I found books more interesting, I found genres I liked; overall I found that reading could be fun. After reading The Green Mile, I started reading more science fiction books, which lead to me reading mysteries and other genres. The series opened my eyes to a whole new literacy world. I became intrigued by books that were not offered in school.
The first book I read multiple times was The Dead tossed wavesThe Dead tossed Wavesis a zombie apocalypse book based from the point of view of a young girl. The girl fell in love with a boy who was bitten by a zombie, but was found to be immune to the bite. The book made me feel mature, and grown up, which is why I think I enjoyed it so much. The rich language and vivid descriptions made it very realistic, which was great for my young imagination. After I was shown that reading could take you to a different place, I enjoyed it a lot more. I found that reading is like a movie that I can direct.
I went from being someone that had to be bribed with candy to read, to someone who would bribe my mother to buy me a new book.
Writing was one of my favorite things to do in school. The freedom of getting to write what I wanted was very appealing.  I liked that there was nothing we were forced to write; only having guide lines. Having the ability to choose something when you’re younger is like candy, because every day we were all forced to do the same thing. Writing was a way for us to express our own opinions and not have anyone change them. Although when I was younger I probably didn’t understand that that was the reason I enjoyed it so much.  The variety of different pieces we were assigned to write also brought new perspective to literature. While learning to write different forms of writing (poems, essays, etc.) we were also inspired by them. The pieces thatwere presented to us made us want to be better writer. . Being taught about poems and proper essay format (stuff like that) gave me inspiration to want to write good pieces like the ones used as examples.
My first memorable piece of writing was a short story I wrote in fourth grade. I remember it so vividly because I was thoroughly impressed with myself. The piece was “inspired” by the poem Peanut-Butter Sandwich by Shel Silverstein, a poem about a king whose mouth gets stuck shut by sticky peanut butter. My inspired piece was about a queen whose mouth got frozen shut by an ice-cream sundae.  Although I only changed a couple items in the story, I was still amazed at my ability to write something that I enjoyed.
Research papers are something I’ve always enjoyed. My first research essay was about Pompeii, in fourth grade.  The weird and interesting facts that I acquired while doing research for papers has always been enjoyable. I also appreciate the organization of the notes that have to be taken in order to write a research essay. This research paper that we had to write had a certain assemblage process. We first had to acquire the notes and facts. Then organize them in a way that would flow together. After, we would write the actual essay and have a peer edit it. Finally we had to go through and revise until the paper was free of mistakes, which was difficult for a fourth grader.  Editing my own papers made me feel very official about everything, I felt as if my paper was actually going to be published. Although the editing process was long and boring, I liked it because I got to see others people reaction to my piece.  
Looking back at what I have done as a reader and writer inspires me to want to be better.  Seeing the struggles I had with the two subjects really motivates me to continuously become stronger. Because language arts has been my weakest subject, I am very proud of what I have accomplished in the past few years.

Critical Lense essay

Seeing and observing, the two sound the same, but are completely different. When we see we do not make note of certain details, we do not retain all of the information in the scene. Observation is defined as "the action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information." When something is observed the small details are noticed first. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, “You see, but you do not observe.” Normal minds are trained to focus on what we intend to see. Autistic minds are able to pick out small details first, in order to gain the information they need.
In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time the main character, Christopher, states how normal people are able to see only the big picture and the autistic mind can see small details. Christopher said,
        But most people are lazy. They never look at everything. They do what is called glancing, which is the same word for bumping off something and carrying on in almost the same direction, e.g., when a snooker ball glances off another snooker ball. And the information in their head is really simple. For example, if they are in the countryside, it might be:
I am standing in a field that is full of grass.
There are some cows in the fields.
It is sunny with a few clouds.
There are some flowers in the grass.
There is a village in the distance.
There is a fence at the edge of the field and it has a gate in it.
         And then they would stop noticing anything because they would be thinking something else like, “Oh, it is very beautiful here,” or “I’m worried that I might have left the gas cooker on,” or “I wonder if Julie has given birth yet.” This is really true because I asked Siobhan what people thought about when they looked at things, and that’s what she said.
Christopher was referring to the fact that he can see and comprehend different aspects of situations faster than the normal brain. Christopher also discussed how, in his mind, he see's things like movies. Normal minds cam visualize things that didn't happen, but autistic minds use memories to comprehend new ideas. When they think of an object, they picture things that they've already seen. I believe that this affects how they comprehend new information. Because when they see something, their brains want to gather all the information that thing has to offer. Therefor, when they see something new, they can use that information to make connections to other scenes, objects,
Temple Grandin is a public speaker, that talks on behalf of the autistic community, as well as a professor, author, doctor in animal sciences, and a consultant on the topic of livestock and animal behavior.  Temple herself is autistic. Temple has done loads of research on how autistic minds function compared to "normal minds." In her speech on Ted Talks Temple talks about how autistic minds can pick out small details before they see the big picture, and how normal minds see big picture first, "...A test where you either have to pick out the big letters, or pick out the little letters and the autistic mind picks out the little letters more quickly. And the thing is, the normal brain ignores the details."  Temple, like Christopher, is referring to how autistic minds are not trained to focus on the big picture.
The difference in minds between autistic and normal brains can vary immensely. There is no good or bad brain. Normal minds and autistic minds have pros and cons, just like seeing and observing can have pros and cons. “You see, but you do not observe," this sounds like a bad thing, but, in reality, everyone has the capability to do both.

Writers craft - persuasive

There is no doubt that sports impact the lives of student athletes. Sports can create a supportive  group of peers, they provide physical activity that can improve health and fitness, as well as teach control and discipline. Students who participate in sports on average are in less trouble, more fit, have more self esteem, have better grades, and tend to pay more attention to nutrition than those who do not participate in sports.
All athletes are required to maintain a certain grade point average during the season of the sport they participate in. The point of this eligibility requirement is suppose to be a motivational rule to assist in students maintaining good grades. Freeport gives a probation period in which, a student who does not meet the eligibility, is required to bring their grade to passing. After the probation period the athlete it suspended until the grade is fixed. Being suspended means the athlete is not allowed to participate in practices or games. This may motivate students to work hard on studies, but that does not mean it helps or assists in increasing the grade.
The coalition between coaches and teachers may not exist in most situations. Some teachers have policies where no test, quiz, or homework corrections are allowed. This means that if the student gets one bad grade, it can impact the entire grade for that class. However, receiving one bad grade does not mean the student did not try. There are other forces that can impact a grade, such as not understanding the material that is given in the class. This means the probation period can be extended longer than necessary. Students who are not allowed the opportunity to improve past school work may have to wait a long period for another assignment that can bring their grade point average up.
Studies show that students who are more fit receive higher grades than those who are not as fit. This fluctuation between grades can be as high as 20-30%. Not only do athletes show higher grades, but also students who are more physically fit. Athletes learn many skills while playing sports. These skills do not only include those required for that specific sports but also life skills. Students who participate in sports show leadership skills, responsibility, discipline and time management skills that carry over into the classroom . By suspending all things that have to do with the team, how are athletes expected to maintain the qualities of a participant of the team?
So who says that taking away sports can help a grade? It seems as though a huge impact on whether or not a grade is average, is participating in sports and being fit. Taking away motivation for physical activity, as well as a stable environment for athletes may not help at all. The reason for this foolish suspension may be motivation, but some believe it's doing the complete opposite. In the opinion of many student athletes the suspension period seems silly and just a unreasonable and cruel punishment. So why keep something that is perceived as unreasonable when another solution may not be?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stopping repetitiveness

  • Identify a problem you have had in your writing this week and talk about what you will do next to try to solve it.

This week I've noticed that I have been repetitive by either repeating information or the same idea over again. To try and solve this problem I want to try to make outlines for the things I'm writing about. An outline can ensure that you don't go over the same subject twice and also can help get all the information in a piece organized.