Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Crack!


Recently, my health class and I completed the egg baby project. This was probably the most interesting project I have ever done at school. What we had to do, was act like a teen parent for 24 hours, for 09:30 on April 22nd to 09:30 on April 23rd. 

1. What did you like about being an egg baby parent?
Something that I really enjoyed about being an egg baby parent, was all naming, decorating, and deciding. To me, the name had to be something very special, since, in theory, we were pretending that the baby could live. So I used my favourite names for my twins: Tessa for the girl and Marcus for the boy. For the decorating, I was thinking more about "Yay! I can finally control someone's room and keep it tidy" rather than: "hmm, what colours should I pick?" I'm the type of person that likes to keep things simple and organised  so that's exactly how my baby's carrier looked like. Finally, I thought the deciding was super fun. That includes the naming and the decorating, but also things such as what should I do know with the baby. This was fun to me, because I actually had the responsibility to take care of someone. I'm the third out of four children in my family, so things such as babysitting is always done by my older siblings. That means I don't get the opportunity to do these kinds of things, so it was fun for me to actually be responsible of "someone". 
2. What activities or responsibilities did you find difficult?
Throughout this project, something that I found difficult, was changing my behaviour. Socially, but also the things I do on a daily basis. Out of habit, I go to the field and hang out with my friends. Usually we jump around to music and such, but with the egg baby we had to really stay calm and be careful with the baby. That was a challenge for me, because usually I'm the energetic girl. Although, since I knew it was only for a little while, I pushed through and tried to stand with both feet on the ground for as long as possible (although if it was a real baby I would probably have had to change my behaviour a lot...). Furthermore, I changed my day-to-day behaviour when I had to wake up in the middle of the night. In the pictures above, you can see I woke up early to take care of my baby! At 2:30 in the morning and at 4:45 am on April 23rd. Getting up was hard because it was a school night and I was very tired. I know, though, that if this were reality I would have had to wake up more times, which totally deprives me of my sleep. 

3+4. What do you think it would be like being a real teen parent? How would a real baby change your own teen life?
I think that being a real teen parent would bring many difficulties. I think there are two main changes that would impact someone's life the most. Firstly, I think that the change socially is going to have a big effect on a teen parent. If you have to spend time with your baby, you'll be spending less time with your friends. That way, you won't be keeping a bond as strong. Additionally, when fellow classmates or friends find out, they could start to gossip and that could definitely give the parent a negative social profile. On the other hand, even though it occurs less, people could accept the person was pregnant at such a young age, and help this person. This could also increase bonds. Secondly, when taking care of your baby, you won't be paying as much attention to your education. Things such as studying and doing homework will most likely become less of a priority when caring for a human being. Because of that, if the teen parent goes to school, they'd be less likely to do well on exams or other tests. A baby could even take them out of school as a whole.  So clearly, being a teenage parent could seriously affect your future. 

5. Choose one core value/learning habit that shows what you learned about being an Egg baby parent. Explain why this core value represents your experience.
An obvious core value that demonstrates what I learned during this experiment, was that I became more responsible. The reason for this is I had to take care of another "human being". Even though it was my twins were eggs, I had to make sure that their needs were met. I had to take some of my personal time to spend time with my eggs. It shows I was responsible because I took other people's lives into consideration. For example, I had to make sure the baby was entertained, so I watched an episode of "My Little Pony" with them. To be honest, it was quite childish to me, but it was for my egg baby, so I stayed and watched the show anyways.

6. Choose one core value that you could improve on? Explain.
A core value that I could improve on from this project, is to be more innovative. Not in terms of the decorative parts of the design or anything, more in the sense that I wasn't that creative in managing my egg baby's and their carrier. I think it would have been better if I found a carrier that actually suited me. The carrier I had was really nice and open, although it was not practical. Right now I'm thinking that maybe if I had done something such as add a string to it so I could carry it around my neck or made a small hand-hold that it would have been an easier for me to handle the baby's. The original carrier was stuffed almost to the top with paper towels and cotton wads, so the chance was actually quite high that they would fall out of it. That was something I should have thought about as well.

Overall, I had a ton of fun when doing this project. It was such a great opportunity to learn new things about taking care of my egg and such. I know for sure that future 7th graders would love this creative way of learning knew things. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Difficulties Since the Beginning

Slide 4

Unit Questions:
What is the role of the citizens in various societies?
What rights and responsibilities do people have to maintain balance between the individual needs and he general welfare? 
What are the challenges to creating and maintaining a democracy? 

        To end our unit in Humanities, we created a culminating slide. This quarter, we looked into the power of relationships, and how they affect societies from the past, the present, and the future. When forming this slide, I had the third unit question in mind: what are the challenges to creating and maintaining a democracy.
        Firstly, in the bottom right, there is a scale, perfectly balanced, with a group of people on the right to represent the general welfare, and an individual to represent individual needs. What I was thinking, is that a challenge in a democracy is to keep both of those focuses equal. In a society, a government cannot only direct their attention on one thing, they have to share it, otherwise some things will never improve and others will, and the society will become unbalanced. Next, similar to the equality of the general welfare and the individual needs, in the top right, there is a man and a women. In the picture, they are arm wrestling. Though, both of their arms are in the middle, meaning they can't beat each other. To me, this demonstrate that they both have the same amount of power in a society. Although in our society, it is a challenge to maintain this because people have different beliefs which could affect this. The governments job is to be able to control this, and that's also a difficulty. Additionally, I thought that the gavel represents law and order, but also power. The person who hits the gavel down on wood, the judge, decides things, by using the law, which maintains a society as well. By using the image, I'm showing three different things. Furthermore, in the top left, the American Declaration of Independence. Personally, I think this shows power because the writers, and the signers, came together to take back the power from the King, and use it correctly. This was probably a challenge, because they had to get the courage, and they had to get people to agree with them. In the end, it all worked out though, as most people know that the United States is an independent country right now. This historical event shows one example on how to create a democracy as well. The last image on my slide, is a group of women together. I chose this to simply demonstrate relationships, as this is a very important thing in society. People have to get along together to prevent conflicts, and that will help a community function better. Also, the women are all holding different objects; three with food, and another with clothing. This proves two things. The first is that people have to do specific things to help one another in he community. In the image, I'm interpreting that the women are bringing things to their families or something like that, therefore they are helping out others. Secondly, I think it demonstrates how people can have different forms of relationships, such as being colleagues or husband and wife.
Source
        As those talked about the meaning of the images, now I'll be explaining the value of the fonts and the colours. On the slide, in a font called Berkshire Swash, I tried to represent some kind of oldness. I did this to tell the viewers that relationships were formed since the beginning of time. Also, democracies with challenges were seen such a long time ago as well. For the text, I used a subtle red to show multiple things: love and hate, strength, and importance, because these all have value when talking about the power of relationships. Another thing is that I capitalised the "P" in power. I did this to show that it has strength, and to give it "oemf." Finally, the background colour, which is grey. When picking the colour, I was thinking of a shading scale. You have black on one side, and white on the other, and then in the middle, there is grey -- a colour that mixes both. For a democratic society to function properly and efficiently, I think that you need to find balance, and that comes through seeing multiple options. Nothing is ever black and white, neither black or white. It is in between. A democracy focuses on a variety of people's opinions, not just one person's. That's why things are grey, and not black or white.  
This is challenges of maintaining a democratic society, and starting a democracy.

Links included in slide 4:
LINK to balance
LINK to women and men
LINK to general welfare
LINK to individual needs
LINK to gavel
LINK to Declaration of Independence
LINK to Greek women

Monday, April 06, 2015

Are We Really All Equal?

Source
After some researching, I've gained quite some knowledge on gender inequality. One of the most important questions that I wanted to research for this project, was where it was seen the most. For that, I had to deepen my understanding about the roots of gender inequality and I had to look up specific facts about the form of unfairness that happens the most in the modern world. The answer I got, was that it was seen the most at work; especially when comparing a man's earn to a woman's. According to an article, Females who work in the European Union only earn an average of 16.4% less than what men earn. This number varies per country though; in Poland the gap is only 2%, while in Estonia it is over 27%. (Revolting Europe, page 1) I'm guessing that the difference in percentages is because the development of the country, but that is something I'll need to look into and find facts to prove that claim. Additionally, from what I read, I'm understanding that the roots of gender inequality go way back. An investigator, Kitch, did an inquiry all about it. She found out that having a child was a very important factor that affected a woman's status in a society. “For some reason, societies have decided that there’s something inherently inferior about having a female body and producing offspring,” Kitch informed. Her project was directed at six different American tribes, so I'm wondering now if this was the case for European or Latin American countries as well. I know from a Huffington Post article that gender inequality among the Latinos is improving a lot though, while in North America and Europe, not that much progress has been made.
LINK to my a presentation with all
my sources and information!
I do have a lot more information, and with that more wonderings, so now I know for sure that I should research more. After a bit of thinking, I realized that I should interview my dad, or other people who hire workers, as they could give me an exclusive interview about what their perspectives are and such. Finally, on the google presentation above, I've been recording my information. There are some links to articles from the Economist and the New York times that I'm planning to read for homework and next class.

Here are the questions I prepared for the people I'm going to interview:
  1. What do you know about gender inequality?
    1. How do you think someone’s knowledge on this affects their views?
  2. What have you seen from it at work?
  3. What do you think on a woman's potential at work compared to men’s potential?
  4. How do you hire people at work? (Which qualities do you seek?)
  5. Have people influenced you to favour one gender over the other before?
    1. If so, how?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Moving to the Future!

Source
Through the course of this last semester, I've learned many things. The value of your learning, the importance of a student's commitment in school.

If I were to walk through a hall with my school experiences from my middle school, I would clearly see areas where I've grown, where I might have struggled, and where I was very successful.

GROWTH:

Growing in my academics has always been something high on my priority list. It makes moving forward in life a lot easier.


An area where I improved the most in, was my Portuguese. When I skipped B, so going directly from PFL A to PFL C, it showed I was showing growth in my knowledge of the language. Especially in my writing have I improved. Take this blog post from 6th grade, and this one from 7th grade. In the newest one, I wrote it all by myself, and I finalised it without many teacher-corrections. On the other hand, in 6th grade, I hardly wrote anything. Most of it was my teachers or google translate... This is why I'm really proud of myself, as I know I've improved a lot. Additionally, I used to think that if I just listened in Portuguese class, I could pick up the language easily. Though now I know that participating in class is essential to be able to practice it as well. Also, writing challenging things could help me know what I should aim for in my Portuguese career. For example, you could check out this legend I wrote, called O Lugar de Negociacao. I wrote it based of a Dutch legend, called Vrouwe Van Stavoren. I know for sure that last year, I wouldn't at all be able to have done this. Throughout my growth in Portuguese, I demonstrated perseverance, for keep on trying to write the correct things. When I struggled, I kept in mind that everything would be cool in the end, and it did!
The whole class wrote a legend, and in the end, we put it together in a cool online book! Here it is:


Another area where I showed growth was in Math. Last year, in 6th grade, my teacher, Ms. J, assigned us the project of making a video that explains how to do certain problems. She called it the metacognition project. This year, my 7th grade math teacher, Mr. Hancock, assigned us almost the same thing! We had to create some kind of presentation that would explain a problem. Before I started the project in 6th grade, I thought that if I just knew the formulas, I could solve a problem quicker. Though now, after both of these metacognition problems, I know that understanding the problem helps you to apply your knowledge in other math situations as well.

Lastly, I showed growth in my reflections in PE class. I used to think that PE was just about exercising and writing reflections wasn’t something that would help me in this class. Now I think that reflecting helps me understand things better, and it also shows me how I’ve been doing in this class and how I can improve for the future. Furthermore, I've improved in my reflection writing. Since my teacher, Ms. Arcenas, is very strict (in a good way) with our reflections, I was able to write it to the best of my ability. Now I know how to write a good one, and make sure it is effective.

CHALLENGES:

Of course, I faced challenges throughout this semester. They occur everywhere, you just need to find the right way to overcome them. That's something very important that I've learned over the course of time, and I applied that knowledge in my classes.


Source
One challenge was probably being curious in science. I used to think that projects in science were just about doing the work and getting it done. Now I think that these projects help me know more about the world. After doing some good projects, I know more about how I can impact the world and change some of the troubling situations. For example, we recently completed our water issue presentations. I did a prezi on ocean acidification. To be honest, I was shocked to find out what it was. That's why, when presenting my speech to the class, I wanted to be as 'emotional' as possible and advertise the extremism of this issue, as it really is extreme. When researching, I was actually devastated to learn about all the bad things human activity is doing to the ocean. I got curious and I asked myself questions, which I looked up, answered, and included in my presentation. I know that being curious will help me get very far in life, as it is a skill a life-long learner would have.

Furthermore, during advisory, I didn't think that being innovative was that important. Basically, I thought that these 45 minutes weren't as important compared to my other classes. Now I believe it has just as much value. For example, through the passion project we got to be creative and that is something good to be as well. When we started this long process, I didn't really spend time on it, though near the middle end, I actually wanted to and I knew it was always good to put in my best effort, so I spent a lot of time on it. Now I know that this class is just as good as others. For my final passion project presentation, I created a prezi. With that, I flipped through the pages of my book to point out cool things that would interest the audience more. In the end, I think that I overcame this challenge, which I'm happy about!



SUCCESSES:

Finally, there were many successes during this academic journey. From experiences, I know that by working hard and trying your best will get you somewhere.

Firstly, I was very balanced, especially in humanities. In this specific class, I used to think it was all about writing and reading, meaning there wouldn't be that many interesting things. Now I know for sure that it is important to be balanced in humanities, and that writing and reading aren’t the only things you do in this class. Presenting and making comics is also something we do! I’ve been very successful at these things. In December, my classmate, Talia de Beer, and I created a comic about plastic pollution, and how it is affecting our society. We also recently learned about governments, and we had to write a blogpost. This shows that I was very balanced at doing different things to represent my learning. Lastly, for my book presentations, I did a prezi, a poster, and an oral talk. I wanted to mix it up to keep it interesting!
These is a little sneak peak from the comic... 


Furthermore, in Geography, I've demonstrated clear responsibility. I used to think that this wasn’t a very important class, as it is considered an elective. That is why I didn’t want to put that much effort into it in the beginning. Now I think it is equally important as math, science, or humanities as it teaches me skills I could use as a lifelong learner. As I quickly noticed this in the beginning, I was responsible and I was prepared for something such as my infographics presentation. It was a lot of work, but it turned out really nice, and I'm glad that I reflected and thought about the responsibility that was needed in this class, as otherwise I don't know how I would have made that final presentation!

Last but not least, I (personally) think I was a great communicator in the Arts subjects. In the past, I thought that the Arts electives were just hobbies and students did them for fun. Now I understand that the Arts can help a person make better sense of things, and it also makes something a lot more fun! Additionally, I’ve communicated my messages and ideas very successfully, as is seen in my theatre blog posts or my art and clay website. In theatre, my classmates and I did a Theatre in Education project, which is when you create a short skit that will send a message to people. I never knew about this, but when we had to create this, I think I was successful in educating people on the topic we were acting on, which was cyberbullying. Also, in my Art and Clay projects, I sent messages about myself through sculptures, which I thought was really interesting as well.


GOALS

Pixabay.
Source
Now, with all these core values, subject areas, and experiences in mind, I can easily make a good and helpful goal for myself. I think that to end this year strongly, I am going to be a better curious person. As I said before, I was did improve in science, but I think I could still improve even more. Not just in how something works, but knowing more about events or issues in the world. I don't feel that I'm really exposed to that as much as I should be. A way to achieve this goal by the end of the year, is to involve myself more in things such as Model United Nations, as they debate about real-life topics. Also, just motivating myself to read the news at least three times a week is good. I know I'm on my phone a lot, so I think that if I download a news app, such as the BBC, then chances are I'd visit it a lot more.

Patching With Plastic

Here is a sneak peak to the graphic novel I wrote and designed with Talia de Beer, my classmate:

The LINK to the full story...

Our story was about a couple who were environmentalists, going on a cruise for their first anniversary. When they are sailing, they encounter a lot of plastic in the ocean. One night, the boat suddenly stops, and the captain says over a loud speak that a bunch of sharp plastic broke one of the propellers. The two protagonists come up with a plan to go down into the ocean and fix the propeller with the same material, as it is very useful and handy. In the end, the couple fix everything and live happily ever after!

In December of 2014, my class and I were assigned the task of writing a graphic novel. The topic had to be on what we wrote about in our research papers before that, which was about something that impacted the world. We were allowed to pair up, so my friend, Talia de Beer, and I worked together. Since we had to focus on one topic, we picked mine, which was plastic, as it was a lot easier and more effective than hers, which was borders. The first thing we had to do for this assignment, was write a story line. Next, we started designing the comic strip online on a program called Pixton and eventually put it all into a google doc.
When doing this project, I think I demonstrated innovation the most. Firstly, there were guidelines for the story. There had to be a point where the 'something' impacted the story. In our case, the 'something' was plastic, and it broke one of the propellers, although it got fixed with the same material after some thinking. To add on, the story has to be fun for the reader to read as well, meaning that the story in general couldn't be boring. Before Talia and I started working together, we had to brainstorm ideas separately. I'd come up with this idea of re-enacting the Titanic. When Talia and I talked about it, we used that initial idea and tweaked it to fit our likings. That's why we have the happy couple and the part where the boat gets a hole.
The last reason why throughout this project I presented innovation, and this was also a challenge I'd faced throughout this process, was when the program we were using didn't have what I'd want to have used in the scene I was creating. It was a challenge to find alternatives that would fit just as good. For example, when putting the scenes when the protagonists are fixing the propellers together, I couldn't quite get the propeller to like an actually propeller. So I roamed through all the props I could use, and I eventually used a wind cane and some blurring effects.
Finally, the finished comic strip was definitely a success. Together, Talia and I worked a lot on this and we accomplished a lot. The story turned out great and the comics looked fantastic. I wouldn't change anything if I were to do this again.
Finally, by being a life-long learner, the skills I learned when doing this project are skills I can apply in real life. The most important ability I developed when doing this project, is designing something that is interesting to the audience. This is especially good when doing a visual project. If the visual, such as a poster, is attractive, people would like to know more about it. I'm glad I learned this, as in the future I can make sure not to bore people or confuse people with a bad presentation. This shows who I am as a learner, as I am reflective to apply class activities to the outside world.

Which Event Impacted the World?

SOURCE
This semester, my second elective was geography. One of the main projects that we did this quarter already, was our current event presentations. This is when a student researches into an event that is very recent, and students get to ask questions. We all had to present two: one formative (the first one) and one summative (the second one).
A core value that I demonstrated throughout these two projects, was critical thinker. To begin with, I showed this when I was picking my event. I had to choose something that impacted the world, and had a base in North or South America. The place was easy, although when finding out how it impacted the world: that was harder. Additionally, since for the summative presentation, four people were going on the same day, I didn't want to choose a topic that was in the centre of attention as I was worried that people would chose the same topic as me. Another time when I demonstrated being a critical thinker, was throughout keeping my understanding of the topic. For my first current event project, I did a simpler topic than my second current event. I'd done it on a man who scaled the Niagara Falls when they were frozen this winter. This was easier because it had a more direct path, and specifics. The summative issue was on the Brazilian protests, and why. This had a lot more depth, as it was all about economics and the variety of views that the citizens had or still wanted to express. For that, I needed to question more, and find answers. Lastly, when answering questions after my presentation, I showed a lot of critical thinking. The questions asked were a lot on what was my view and what was going to happen, a lot of the questions that would start with 'what if'. I had to really think about everything I had learned and try to form the best answer possible. These three examples clearly showed I had presented evidence of critical thinking.
A challenge for this project was finding the right, and most recent topic. I was always searching through BBC, and wondering what other people were going to do, not wanting to repeat anything. Because of that, I started preparing a bit later, hoping that I would have a less likely chance to be presenting about the same issue that other people are doing. For summative project, my current event was scheduled on a Wednesday, and with worry, I only started preparing on a Monday. I did work hard on it though, and I practiced talking about it Monday and Tuesday whenever I had time. Because of that hard work, I did get a good final grade, which I am happy about. In comparison, for the formative presentation, the topic I had chosen wasn't the headline in any big newspaper, because of that I had prepared a bit earlier and was less anxious. A success for the presentations, was the presenting part. Mainly because I don't really mind presenting in public, and it's a fun thing to do for me. As I had said before, I had practiced a lot whenever I could, so I knew what to say when the day came. Since I had done that, that, my 'stage-presence' was good as well as I could make eye-contact and emphasise when necessary in the correct parts. Furthermore, connects to me being a life-long learner, as these presenting skills are perfect for future things such as book presentations, or other projects. Moreover, this could be used in the real world when doing things such as telling colleagues about the company's progress.

Lifeless Water - Thinking Back

Recently, my science class and I were assigned to do a presentation about a water issue. The water issue I chose was about ocean acidification.

The next time I do a presentation, I want to research more. In my presentation, the problem was explained with strong evidence of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, as was said on my rubric, although I could research more about the future of the problem. To be honest, that was a little hard with ocean acidification. Although now I realise I could have explained more how investigations and publicity would help the situation a lot. Furthermore, for this presentation, the best thing I did was present! I practiced a lot and my rubric said that I was very clear with my speaking. The language I used was good and it enhanced my performance. Finally, a core value I demonstrated throughout this project was communicator. Sharing the information with my peers and my teacher was an important thing to be able to do, and that was something I did well. I'm really proud of myself, as I was a bit nervous, but my practice and hard work paid off.

Here is the link to the document with my outline and my speech.
This is the prezi I made for my presentation.