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Soulkeepers

Go read Soulkeepers 

God, Love, Death and Mystery

A teen Fantasy

Mother gone missing

Danger Paves the ground and sky

The Magic Defies

All laws of Reason

A tree warps time and season

Cat with mind of man

A knight with aquatic hands

An innocent heart

You best be quite smart and 

click here for a deeper start

 

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Throughout the year i have learned many skills in history and in english and in my different journals I show some of the skills I have learned. In this final portfolio I will put some of the quotes that I like the most and that tell a story about my general understandings the most in this final portfolio. I will also talk about some of the projects we did and the ones that I liked the most and why I liked them the most. In this paper you will learn a lot of interesting things about me and a lot about the type of person I am so read on to unveil things most people don’t know about me.


The 3 general understandings that I have chosen to write/ talk about in this paper are struggle because this year I have had a hard time and struggled in some classes, faith because when I struggled I had faith that I would be able to still move on and do better even after struggling, and hope because I had hoped to be able to do better and be able to pay more attention and do more of my work to be able to come back from my struggle. I picked these 3 because to me these 3 things are what help me to succeed in life, this class, and in school. To me if you don’t struggle in life then you come across a problem you won’t know how to solve the problem and then you might get stuck in some point of your life because you don’t know how it is to struggle. When you do struggle you need to have faith and hope to be able to get past a struggle because with faith you believe that something will help you get through your struggle and then you won’t be as concerned about struggling. If you have hope then you will believe in yourself all the time and never let anything get you down in life and always be able to get through things even if you are struggling with them. I feel like you need these 3 skills in life to be able to achieve your dream and be able to chase your dream and never let anyone get in your way or stop you from achieving your dream.  


This year my struggle has been my grades in these two classes and with my relationship with my father, in my journal I have written a lot about my dad and almost nothing that I wrote about him was positive, some of the quotes I have chose are “I don’t like my dad” thats the only quote I chose because it says a lot about my relationship with my father. This year I have had my ups and downs in history and english with my grades and from me struggling in one quarter and getting an D it made me have more hope and faith and work harder to be able to get an A the next quarter, this helped me with a lot of my other classes as well because for me to see that I was struggling in this class made me work harder to do better in all of my classes and to stop slacking off. After struggling in this class I started to be more serious about school because this was just the wake up call I needed to be able to do my best or close to it and it helped me become more successful throughout the rest of the year. The unit that I think about most when I think about struggle is the unit when we watched a movie about Radio Haiti because they had a hard time with being able to do their radio show because the people in charge in Haiti weren’t on their side so they had been forced to move away but came back twice and kept trying to do the radio show even after the place was shot up and people were killed because they had faith and hope that they would be able to continue on with their radio show.



The unit I think of most when I talk about faith is like when we were talking about the sweatshops because the people that work in the sweatshop have faith that they will be able to support their families and possibly move away from where they are now. Also this is the unit I think of most with hope because they have hope that they will make enough to be able to live a better life then they do now with their families and be able to get real jobs so that everyone in their families won’t have to be forced to work.


Overall to me these 3 general understandings are the reason why I was able to do good in history and english because if I didn’t struggle then I wouldn’t have been able to have hope and faith to be able to get out of my struggle and to continue to do good in the year and improve my grades. This class has taught me to never give up and always work hard try my best and work my hardest so that I succeed in school and have a good future for the rest of my life so I can be able to continue to chase my dream and eventually achieve my dream.       


Sweatshop Trail 

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

  Sophomore year with Mr. Block was one of the most eventful years, with both classes! From the egg on the floor to Art in the Open, nothing was ever the same each day. There were struggles, and achievements, but overall I learned a lot this year with so many different experiences. Finishing up the year, there were many things I’ve realized looking back at my work. I feel like I’ve accomplished and gained so much knowledge. For a lot for the topics we discussed, it broadened my views on things. The two main ideas I am going to discuss are about struggle and creativity. “Without struggle there will be no learning,” and “Creativity broadens our views on life.”

At one point in the year we had our playwriting unit, I remember first starting it and having no clue what to write. I had a few in my mind, but then thought too much into it, and I felt like it wasn’t going to be good. I then started looking through Mr. Block’s magazines and saw a man working in a mine, and immediately I came up with the idea for my play. My play was about a small family living in a poor part of Brazil. The younger sister eventually had to care for her baby sister because her Mom died in childbirth. Her older brother worked most of the day with the mines. The whole play unit was really great. Although I struggled with writing it and then finally submitting it, we had an amazing teacher come in and help us. Her name was Kate and she was apart of the Philly Young Playwrights. She was great because when she looked at our work, she would really take her time into helping you improve it. “You say the brother has replaced him, which is something I’ll bet happens a lot in mining families.  Keep working, don’t be afraid to use monologue, like Andressa talking out loud to the baby perhaps?  How will they feed themselves now? -K”(One of Kate’s feedbacks for a scene) This project leads to one of my general statements about struggle. I’ve always been told you need to struggle through something to be able to learn. If you just did an assignment and had no trouble with it, you most likely didn’t learn anything. Creating and putting together this play was much harder for me then I thought. I faced many struggles during the process, but in the end when I submitted it. I learned many different strategies in working on assignments productively, but also efficiently.

Creativity played a big role in both of Mr. Block’s classes this year. Almost all the projects had to have a little piece of your own in it. There were small projects that we were able to use our creativity in them, but there were also projects that helped us open up and express our creativity. There was a time in the year where we read the book Passing. At the end we were assigned to do some sort of art piece on a main point in the book. I choose to draw a picture showing different aspects of the main character's personality. This is the drawing I drew with the two faces of Clare. Art in the Open was one of the main events of the year that I saw everyone come out of their comfort zone. It was a great experience, and really fun for everyone to participate in. Here is a picture of my group’s site and our wiki. Another project towards the end of the year was creating a poetry wiki. This was very creative in ways where, although we all were on the same wiki and had the same format on each of our pages, everyone’s work had their own tweak to it. We were able to express ourselves through the writing of poetry by using our own experiences. My wiki page is here with all the assigned poems.

                This year was a really event filled year that I'll always look back on and remember the good times and the bad. We had many experiences where we learned about the world, others and ourselves in the world. My two general statements really helped me look back understand my learning throughout the year. I remember the first day of walking into room 307, and now I’ll be walking out with a lot of new interesting experiences.

       


 

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Final Portfolio: Sterling Perry


Throughout this year I’ve learned a lot in Mr. Block’s English and History class. So much so that I’ve broken it down to three general understandings. The three understandings will show take you on a journey through our year here at SLA in terms of diversity, change and struggle. I chose the three because they all have to do with everything that happened this year. I struggled with many things along the way like my grades, home life, projects given in class and with performances done for the school. I also chose to talk about change because change is the outcome of struggle, diversity and whatever i aquire or make out of the situation. Diversity can be talked about in so many ways which is why i chose it. I experienced diversity in the way I learned, what I learned, the different experiences I’ve gotten to participate in and with racial culture. With our different learning styles and curriculum we learn a lot of life lessons as well as what we need to further our learning at a higher level.

       

First general understanding I would like to present to you is that change comes with diversity. Not only racial diversity, but diverse and different experiences as well as cultures. In our classes here at SLA we experience diversity everyday by the mixture of racial ethnicity and curriculum.


One program that we had the privilage to participate in was the Art in the Open (Aio) Festival along with the Leah Stein Dance Company. In this festival we went through a process of learning a new culture and way of dance to actually making our own pieces. In a reflection I wrote I stated “ This style of dance is something I wasn’t used to. I wouldn’t even call it dancing. It’s more like being one with your environment.” I said that because all pieces that were performed were molded and inspired by the surroundings around us.


“This project has taught me a lot of things that i can use in my daily life. Although there is a lot to talk about I learned a lot about playing your part, teamwork and perseverance.” In the end of this experience it changed my personal mindset on not only dance but life in general. By being kicked out of our spot and not having our dance ready until the day of taught me about perseverance and helped me fight through my struggles.


Now that the Art in the Open Festival is over my group and I can just look back and laugh at all the hardships we went though. This brings me to my next understanding that everyone struggles with something in life. The outcome is on you, it’s what you do with the experience. In the end a struggle/ hard time can be something you look back at and laugh or let it be an obstacle to your success.


 
  In conclusion struggle isn't always a bad thing and can lead to success in the end. With the examples shown above i find this to be one hundred percent true. Below are some links to work i have done throughout the year that were mentioned or are relevant to the general understandings listed.

Art In The Open Pictures
Leah Stein Dance Company



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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Robbie McCormac

 

It has been an honor to be able to experience this amazing education I have been given the chance to have Mr. Block is an amazing teacher and he has taught all of us to try to learn in different ways and to go and try new thing’s. This year we have done a wide arrange of different thing’s in English and history. I have learned so much valuable thing’s and skills that I can use in my every day life from now on.

One of the most important thing’s I learned this year is never procrastinate just don’t do it. When I first came into Mr. Blocks class I worked really hard and handed all my work in on time but slowly I started to procrastinate and my work started to not look as good as it could and it would be late and I would do it last minute. As soon as I saw my grades go down I stopped procrastinating and got my butt to work. I’m happy this happen to me because it made me a more determined student and a better learner I think it’s really going to help me out next year. Here is a piece of my work that I procrastinated on and that I felt like I could of done better on.

Culture and change were a big part of this year we dissected the world and looked at all different cultures through out the world. Culture is very important to start change or to help cause a change. We learned in are revolution unit about Egypt’s culture and how they are trying to stop violent protest and have a more peaceful fair culture and government. We researched social change and how it can affect a culture. For a good portion of the year we were learning about Haiti and what was happening in there government and how the U.S when they tried to help them just cause more problems and weakened Haiti economy experientially. We also learned about there troubles.

Sophomore year in Mr. Block’s class has taught me how important my community is and my peer’s are. When I say my community I mean a bunch of different thing’s from my friends at school to the teachers to the surrounding area of where my school is located we have done many great thing’s around are community like putting up murals right out side are school which was meet with very positive responses and praise. We worked with the Leah Stein dance company for 2 weeks and we created are own dance with there and we chose a spot downtown and made are own dance routine it was such a new experience but I loved doing it and trying something new.

This year has been amazing I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to be in Mr. Blocks class this year I have acquired much needed skill’s to go on and learn further and continue my education all thanks to one of the best teachers Mr. Block.

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Negative Space

1.  Negative Space is the area around an object in a picture. A good example would be if you had an apple. The negative space is everything around the apple.

2. I found the negative space in my cut out by comparing the pieces on one side to the other showing what is negative space and what is not. For the stool it was easy to see what areas around the stool that could be filled in and the areas that can't.

3. Negative space helps the author see the drawling better. It helps the artist figure out which parts or the drawling needs to be shaded in the picture and what is the outline.

4. I think drawling in negative space helps enhance the drawling because it makes the drawling pop out and makes it cooler to see the drawling.
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Summer Reading Suggestion!

For the summer I would really like to recommend The Pretties, which is the sequel to The Uglies. These books by Scott Westerfield are genius in my opinion. I find them to be really intriguing. These books are best for teenage girls tho. They show you that brains are better than beauty.
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Summer Reading Recommendation

My summer reading recommendation​ is 

"The absolutely true diary of part time indian"
 

by Sharmen Alaxie

 This story is actually about trials of Native Americans. This book is very interesting to read. It's about an indian boy (Junior)  who is born with a number of physical disabilities like water in brain. His parents are poor and always busy in their lives especially his father who is always drunk. He talks about his life and his parents lives that like him they also had a lot of dreams but there was no one to fulfill their dreams. Junior has his best friend who cares about him and protects him from other people who fights with Junior. Junior is a smart kid and always afraid of people but sometimes forget that he is afraid of those people and show a strong reaction to them. 

( i have not finished this book yet ) 

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Summer Reading, don't miss this one

​This is a Wordle using words and phrases I associate with John Green's novel Looking For Alaska. 

I have read this book at least 3 times and I enjoy it more each time. It makes me think about everything from love and relationships to death and religion. 

I recommend you read it when you have some time on your hands because it induces some aimless staring or daydreaming as you attempt to digest the huge themes in the book. 
Wordle: Looking For Alaska by John Green
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Over this year, I have gained so many new experiences that its truly incredible. I came into this class expecting just an everyday English/ History class with the average, Read this book, discuss, take a test, and move on to the next unit but in this class it was a completely different agenda and curriculum that started off our year was our short story unit. In our short story unit it focused on expression of your self and to show some type of growth. Growth opens you up to new environments for example with our language autobiography project. For the Autobiography project we had to write about a personal experience in your life where you had an issue with language, whether it be coming from a different country, having your parents speak a different language, or even you speaking a different language yourself. In my autobiography (Link is found at the end of the page.) I wrote about how when I was younger and I was very shy in school. I never wanted to speak and hated having the attention focused on me. My voice didn’t need to be heard I just needed to take the characteristics of a chameleon and blend in.” this is how I came into class the beginning of the year, I didn’t want anyone to pay to much attention to me. With that being said, at this point in time I feel like I’m more outspoken than I was 8 months ago I don’t mind voicing my opinion or presenting my work in front of others because I have become more comfortable with myself.

 

 

 

One thing that has grown while being in Mr. Block’s class is my literature. Not just meaning my vocabulary but the description able to be given in my writing has exceeded an expectation I never thought possible. Expression in literature opens you up to broader new ideas, and a unit I feel that really describes this is the Poetry Wiki (Link is found at the end of the page). For this project my classmates and I took in a deeper analysis on poets and tried to define their work. We also created our own poems and then spoke one out loud in front of the classroom. I already had planned out what poem I was reading aloud until a classmate (Danielle Little) came over to me and read a poem she had written. It was called “the little black boy” I liked it so much I said you have to do one about “the little black girl” and she said if I did it with her she would. I never would have imagined doing collaboration on a poem but anything is possible in Mr. Block’s room. The day we had to present our Poem we went up and preformed it and many people enjoyed it. One of my classmates liked it so much she asked us to perform it at this talent show her church was hosting. This also ties into Growth opens you up to new environments. If this took place in the beginning of the year I would have never given thought of speaking a poem outside of class but in the end of it all I did.




Language AutoBiography
 
Poetry Wiki
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Poster- Prisilla Nieves

For our English Class, we had to create a vivid summary of a summer book we recommend for others to read. I decided to do a poster of the book "The Left Hand of Darkness" by Ursula K. LeGuin. It's an interesting book about a planet that has no gender. The book's protagonist goes to an unknown world that consists of a lot of ice (which explains the glacier in the poster). This book has a lot of adventure, collaboration between different worlds and maybe even love at the end of the novel. It's scientifically awesome. 
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SLA English 3 Summer Reading Recommandation

​My recommandation for a great Summer Reading choice is Holly Goldberg Sloan's first novel I'll Be there. I turned this book into an upcoming movie poster because I find it more intriguing when a book is turned into a movie to give the world a more visual feel towards the outlook of the book. What would turn my attention towards the book is some of my favorite inspiring actors that will be featured in the movie.  This book is adventurous, entertaining, and will leave you at the edge of your seat.

Sam Border (Dave Franco) character wishes that he could escape his unstable father's hold on him as he and his little brother travel off and on due to his fathers criminal ways. 

Riddle Border (Angus T. Jones) is not much of a talker. He has a strange unique way about him that finds interest in drawing pictures of the insides of things and waits for the day when the outsides of things will make sense. He looks up to his older brother and finds him as a great inspiration and role model. Both Sam and Riddle's world changes when Sam meets Emily Bell.

Emily Bell (Emma Stone) is a strong believer in destiny. First being placed to sing for her church choir, . She sees Sam in the back row being somewhat invisible to everything around him, Nothing, she feels, is mere coincidence. And as she is singing its only her and Sam in one room, or thats what it felt like to her.

"Everyone whose path you cross in life has the power to change you—sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in ways greater than you could have ever known. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, Holly Goldberg Sloan’s debut novel deftly explores the idea of human connection"
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9415957-i-ll-be-there


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Summer Reading Recommendation

​I recommend reading the book For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. I suggested this book, because I actually read this for summer reading a last year. I really enjoyed it. This book is actually a choreopoem. Shange, being the first one to use the term “choreopoem” when this was published in 1975. It’s basically used to define combined poetry. The characters in the poems, all women, are not known by name, but by color. Hence, the reason I just added lots of color to this poster instead of any other thing. Being someone that doesn't usually gravitate to poetry books, I enjoyed reading it. 
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Summer Reading Recommendation

A Lesson Before Dying:
A story that takes place in the 1940’s during the time of racial inequality. This book is based on real life events coming from the stand point of African Americans, “mullatos,” and Caucasian men and women living in a community where social injustices lie among them, on a daily basis. Jefferson, an African American man, experiences a horrid case of social injustice when he is caught in a bar, with three dead guys. When two Caucasian men walked in the bar, Jefferson was caught doing something that he would regret for the rest of his life. Since he was African American, and the only survivor, the jury did not believe his story of what happened that day, instead, he was proven guilty, and sentenced to death.
       At the trial, the prosecutors argued that Jefferson and his two friends went down to the bar with every intention to kill and rob Alcee Groupe. Then after everyone was dead he steals the money from the register, and starts to drink due to his progress. The defendant for Jefferson stated that, that couldn’t be true because 1. They weren’t there during the crime scene so they can’t create any predictions such as that one, 2. He stated that Jefferson is too much of a fool to even come up with such a master plan, and 3. That Jefferson is not a civilized man, and then his lawyer compared him to a hog, Then he went on by saying that Jefferson should just live for the sake of his grandmother, Ms.Emm, but still, he was proven guilty, and demanded to be sent to the electric chair. His day of death, was Friday, April eighth, between noon and three. Grant Wiggins then takes over the story.
       Grant Wiggins is an educated African American, who is an elementary school teacher in his mid-twenties, who hates everything about his society. Grant Wiggins is always slightly depressed, and judgmental about the life he’s living. Of a man of his mid-twenties he has seen and been through a great deal of heart ache, and mistreatment from black, and white man. His professor Mr. Antoine, hated Grant due to his darkness of skin, because Mr. Antoine was “mixed” and felt superior to anyone darker than him. Additionally, due to the corruption of society, Grant does not believe in church, and he does not believe in change. Later in the book, Grant Wiggins figures he would have to put all of that negative energy aside to help Jefferson die like a man, with dignity and respect for himself, instead of letting him die like a hog, or a boy, like society has labeled him to be.
       Overall, I loved this book. It was sad, but everything they said, and mentioned in the book was so real, and so true. When reading this book, you begin to think if the cycle of society ever changed. This book seemed as if it was a diary. It had no secretes, nothing to hide, it was just the truth, seen through the eyes of an African American living in the 1940’s. Which readers greatly enjoy. I would definitely recommend this book, it has romance, mysteries, and a lot of interesting points about society.  


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Summer Reading - The Andromeda Strain

This year I read The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. The book is about a mysterious extraterestrial bacteria. It came to earth in the reentry of a US satellite in the middle of a town in South West United States. Withing days the entire town dies and scientists race to find a cause and a cure to the source of this devastating event. I strongly recommend this book if your into Sci-fi.

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Summer Reading Recommendation

Facilis Descensus Averni The Descent into Hell is Easy

I am actually reading The City of Bones for the second time and have recommended it to many of my friends! It's a part of a series called, "The Mortal Instruments" which is still on-going (the 5th book came out late last month!). There is also a pre-series (the 3rd book comes out in September!) and another series is also springing from this author based in the same world. I recommend this to everyone, basically because it drops you into this world, but you are seeing it with different eyes. Cassandra Clare has created a whole new world within our own and has developed it so well, that it is believable, though the series is clearly fantasy. I love these books and just about all of them!

Clary Fray
I drew one of the serie's main characters, Clary Fray. It is interesting to see Clary go from a clueless, helpless girl, to someone who is brave and can take risks. Clare is very good at developing her characters during her story lines, in my opinion. 


Here's a short excerpt:

"A low laugh sounded behind him, and now there were hands on him, hauling him upright, throwing him against one of the concrete pillars. He could feel the damp stone under his back. His hands were pulled behind him, his wrists bound with wire. As he struggled, someone walked around the side of the pillar into his view: a boy, as young as Isabelle and just as pretty. His tawny eyes glittered like chips of amber. "So," the boy said. "Are there any more with you?"

The blue-haired boy could feel blood welling up under the too-tight metal, making his wrists slippery. "Any other what?"

"Come on now." The tawny-eyed boy held up his hands, and his dark sleeves slipped down, showing the runes inked all over his wrists, the back of his hands, his palms. "You know what I am."

Far back inside his skull, the shackled boy's second set of teeth began to grind.

"Shadowhunter," he hissed.

The other boy grinned all over his face. "Got you," he said."

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Summer Reading Recommendation!

Numbly, as if you didn’t feel the wall supporting your quivering body, you slid to the floor. What your mouth stifled, you eyes cried loud and clearly, widening as if they were prepared and ready to split down the center. Vile, wicked, and sinister, the red streaked eyes stared into yours. A blood stained smile curved menacingly, and crawled across the face of your splitting image. Yet like a defenseless creature you sat- staring in utter terror, in utter frozen fear- at the painting of yourself. The muscles in your body cowered in fear, tensing and hardening, thwarting any possible chance of escape. “Is this how foul I am? Are these sins truly mine?”….

 

Well that is not the actual text, but it is my own variation of the wonderfully dark tale, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Set in London during the late 1800’s, this a tale of the beautiful yet vain Dorian Gray. He meets Basil Hallward, who becomes infatuated with his beauty, and paints him. Gray meets his friend, Lord Henry Wotton, and is influenced heavily by his ideas of hedonism and self-pleasure. Gray foolishly wishes that the painting of him will age instead of him, and begins participating in things moral and immoral alike. This is an excellent classic focused on themes of morality and one’s self, and it is also a challenging enough text to help broaden someone’s vocabulary. I highly recommend this book for it is a reflection of something that most want- youth. Yet it teaches a lesson of life and is sure to leave a great influence upon its reader. You will find yourself lost in the hedonistic world of Gray who lives only for the pleasures that he demands. You will feel sympathy for the poor Hallward who tries to impose a better influence upon Gray. Most importantly, your heart will be pulled at its strings in this completely human tale that we could all relate to in some way.


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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Walking through room 307, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t expect the World History and English classes to be quite what they were; the curriculum was filled with new cultures, places, and experiences that shaped me as a student. My perspective has changed, along with my opinions. I was exposed to a whole different way of teaching. This consisted of interactive trials and scenarios, dancing, and freedom within the classroom. Over this school year, we’ve covered numerous topics. I hope to pull together my entire year and what I’ve learned into two general statements: the ability to express one’s self allows for freedom and culture molds humans into unique beings.

 

When writing my general statements, I thought about the different projects I created. I began to think of my favorite ones and noticed that each of them allowed me to express myself. To sum up how these projects affected me I came up with the general statement: the ability to express one’s self allows for freedom. We took part in a poetry unit, which allowed students to express themselves. I wrote many pieces, but noticed a pattern within my writing. Every one of my poems stayed true to my life and was very raw. By this I mean, I write with feelings not with thoughts. In my ode poem, Ode to the Worn Out Sneakers in the Corner, I compare my sneakers to myself: “we're bent up, and used up. / days have made us weak./ all we have left is to,/ sit in the corner.” (My Poems) This poem allowed me to become free of my past experiences and share them with the reader. I wanted them to be able to feel the words I was saying by comparing them to an everyday object.

 

The Art in the Open Festival was an amazing and quite interesting experience. After splitting up into groups we were able to come up with our own performances. This self-created performance allowed us to express whatever feeling we wanted to convey. One of my group members, Helen said in her reflection forum, “ I was expressing my opinions on my piece through movement and it came naturally.My group chose to design a dance showing a prison break and one of the prisoners breaking free. As the freed prisoner, the routine made me really feel free. The site-specific performance was freeing in itself; it was a chance for everyone to let go of their self-conscious mindsets and move around in new and weird ways. We became free of the boundaries that kept us all separate from each other. (Art in the Open Wiki)

 

A creative project we worked on all year was our plays, which we submitted to Philadelphia Young Playwrights. This was not an easy task. It took months to complete and we had to reach a deadline. I struggled with my topic because I branched off into a whole new world, literally. Every other student wrote about realistic problems that spread across the entire world; however, I wanted to take my play to a whole new level. I wrote about a human-like alien, Vara, who is sent to Earth to help humans in need. Writing The Stranger allowed for me to express my love for Science Fiction and for writing stories. I became free of the worry of what others might think. I wrote The Stranger for someone like me to read. (The Stranger)

 

Our classes were very geared to experiencing new cultures; especially in World History. We explored England, Germany, Poland, Haiti, Asia, Nigeria, and many more locations through our units and assignments. After taking this class, I can say that I’ve learned that culture molds humans into beings. To elaborate, culture is an important thing to know and take pride in. We did many activities concerning culture; however two stuck out to me the most: the language autobiography and the body biography of Edwidge Danticat.

 

            The language autobiography was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve ever written. It challenged me to look at what my culture is and the language that I speak. Yes, along with everyone I speak English; however, I thought about my culture and everyday vocabulary that reflects who I am today. In my language autobiography I mentioned the power of words on human beings, I said, “It’s language like this that puts guns to heads, ties ropes around necks, pops pills in throats, and slices a pure wrist.” This was my favorite line because I believed so strongly in the power that negative words have on people. The reason this paper was so difficult is because I never really thought about my ancestry, traditions, or culture. It gave me a chance for self-reflection. It was important that I wrote this paper to better understand myself, and the person I’ve molded into over the years.

 

            The second culture project we created was a body biography of Edwidge Danticat. Danticat is a famous Haitian author. We created a body and included words that remind us of her and quotes from her stories. Drawing the body biography helped me to look deeper into Danticat’s culture. It helped me to understand her life and words better by reflecting what meant the most to her. My body biography can be found here.

 

            My year with Mr. Block in World History and English was unforgettable. We were pushed into a corner of the room to understand what it felt like to be a holocaust victim, put into groups to see the lack of justice within the French Revolution, and became one of Hernando Cortes’ men to understand their point of view. It was a year full of understanding myself and understanding lives of people I could never know. Being in touch with my culture has made me comfortable with who I am. Expressing myself has helped me to gain freedom in sharing things about myself. 

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

When I think of the beginning of the year in English and History I think of the egg journal. Mr. Block told us to sit and take out our journals just like a normal class period, but it wasn’t. Mr. Block had a different plan for us today. As he calmed us down and had us listen to him he asked “Does everyone see what I have in my hand?” to which we all said yes. Before we could even ask why he was holding an egg he tossed the egg into the air and it splattered onto the floor. The volume in the room grew to great amounts and we were all shocked. He then had us write a journal entry as if we were from a different perspective than ourselves. We could be anything, the egg, the table, the floor and so on. This is a class that I mark as what our classes would continue to be like. We continued to see things from a different perspective then we had and searched desperately to hear opinions of people that weren’t getting heard.

One of the things I learned through Mr. Block’s classes is that greed is the world’s greatest downfall. As we went through the units this thought constantly came to mind. Our first major assignment in History was to write monologues about the pipeline from a unique perspective. In order to write correct monologues we did a lot of research on the XL pipeline project. I saw how destructive the pipeline would be to the environment how it would negatively affect the moral of the people who would have the pipeline on their land. It was then apparent to me that the only reason this pipeline project would be passed is because of greed. That if it was passed it would only be for the money and the government would be showing that all they cared for was the money.

From there we went into studying Cortez and how he had treated the Aztecs. A quote from my reflection of the trial is “Power and greed can easily be the end to anything.” I still stand by this quote because that is what killed so many of people during that time. If Cortez had not been so greedy he would have seen that the Aztecs had given him plenty and would have given him more. After the Cortez trial Mr. Block had us look an article, A People Apart, that showed descendants of the Aztecs who are indigenous people. Then he had us read Rigoberta Menchu’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. After we read the speech he had us write a response to two of her quotes. In reply to one of her quotes I said “We would have so much more if we had worked together. The division that has been set is going to harm us maybe just as much as we think that it has helped us.”

While we were doing those things in History we were also reading Lord of the Flies in English. Lord of the Flies is often read in most high schools, but it was really interesting how the themes in Lord of the Flies tied together with what we were doing in History. One of the biggest topics in Lord of the Flies is the greed that the children have. They are stuck on this island and are only trying to save themselves. In the end it was the greed of Jack and the other boys that killed Piggy and was the cause of the other horrible acts that happened.

Another thing that this year has taught me is that systems are created and defined by the people. The first time this really came up was during a journal entry where we read an excerpt from bell hooks. In the excerpt she talked about language and how it was a place of struggle and domination. She speaks on the power of words and language and how often they are undermined. While we were reading through the excerpt we had to pull out quotes that stuck out to us and respond to them in the journal entry. While responding to the quote “It speaks itself against our will” I mentioned “...nothing is done without someone making it that way...”. This was the start of my bigger understanding on how systems work. My understanding grew even farther when we did the cortez trial and the sweatshops trials. Throughout the trials I saw that the system could not be at the most blame because it was only made by the people and that the system can and has changed over time. It was extremely difficult to prosecute the system because we all knew that we were the ones making the system and could not get past that idea that was stuck in our heads. The systems errors were most prominent to me during the Sweatshops Trial. The blame would just go in circles. The system is what the circle is, the ruling country elites were seeing it as their only option to provide for their country because of how the multinational corporations made it. The multinational corporations continue to make it that way because consumers continue to buy the products and they continue to make money off of it. The workers themselves can’t even be said to be completely innocent.  They continue to work under the conditions and do not strike against the owners of the sweatshops. Someone could easily look at this and say that it is the system's fault but when taking a deeper look you see that the system is run by the people and only with the change of people can the change in the system be made.
The last thing I learned that I want to touch on that this year has taught me is that everyone goes through struggles differently and how people go through those struggles defines who they are as a person. This idea first was brought to mind during the first quarter when we did our descriptive pieces. For our descriptive pieces Mr. Block had us begin with a description of a piece of art, a poster or a picture in our home. We had to go into detail explaining the picture  as if the person never saw it. After we did that he had us read descriptive scenes from other people. He has us pull out things that we saw that made it a good written piece. After that he assigned to us the first part of a bigger project. The first part of the project was for us to write our own descriptive scenes. For my scene I wrote about a struggle my family went through. The final project was for us to write a descriptive paper. A quote I pulled from my paper is “But the greatest lesson I learned was that everyone handles these kinds of situations differently and no one ever gets it right.” This was the building block to my greater understanding. I was beginning to realize that everyone thinks differently and because of that how they deal with struggles are a reflection of their thinking.  Then we started to read Their eyes were watching God, a story about a young girl Janie who went through struggles with a lot of bad love all the way from the beginning of the book. Those struggles made her different and unique from all the people around her. Through those struggles she found her voice and became the full person that she was meant to be. She was content with herself, but how she went about dealing with the things might not be how other people would have handled it.
Through making this portfolio I have seen how much I learned this year. I am surprised and pleased with how I grew in my opinions and how I view the world. I have been giving so many wonderful opportunities in which to learn uniquely. This year was one of the years I will never forget.

Here is some other really great things we did and work that I did not mention in my portfolio:

Poetry Wiki: You can view each student in our class’ wiki page.
Art in the Open: Link 1, Link 2 (My group’s page)
Language Autobiography


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Humanities Portfolio 2012


    In my 10th grade Iron English and History classes I have accomplished so much. From writing daily journals to completing quality benchmark projects. After finishing a entire year’s worth of work and assignments it is time for me to wrap it up with a final portfolio. In this blog post I will be focusing on two-three general understandings that will help me reflect on some of my selected assignments that I have compiled this past year.

General Understanding #1 and #2: Hard Work and Challenges/Struggles
    One of my very first project’s in Mr. Block’s history class was the XL Pipeline monologue assignment. The assignment being our very first big project alone was a huge challenge to surpass. My partner Jessica and I had to do a lot of research and back up our thoughts with many different sources and facts. Something that was a struggle was choosing the five different characters, who’s point of view we had to write the five different monologues from. After a lot of thinking and discussions we decided we would write from the point of view of a police officer, construction worker, an Exxon representative, a jobless person, and President Obama. After choosing the five people, we had to build up their character and make the monologues realistic. Jessica and I had to talk to our peers and teachers and go through revisions of our monologues to make sure that they connected well with the XL Pipeline debate.
    Along with writing monologues, Mr. Block also wanted us to choose 2-3 of our monologue’s and record them as a video. Going into character of the person in whose perspective the monologue was written in was difficult. Even after many mess-ups we continued to try our best and make the videos as best as possible. We worked really hard to make sure that we were in character and that we weren’t making any mistakes.
    From all of my projects this year I think my favorite benchmark is my Language Auto Biography essay. The reason why I like this essay so much is because of all the hard work I put into it and the challenges I overcame in the process of completing the assignment. When Mr. Block first assigned this project he told us to to start off by writing a scene on a google doc that relate it to language in our own personal lives. As a class we discussed many the different ways language is weaved into our lives. Whether it’s code switching or speaking multiple languages. For me language was speaking two languages; Bengali at home and English outside. After righting out few scenes it was time to piece together the entire essay with quotes and analysis’s. This is where I started to struggle. Transitioning from writing small scenes to putting together an entire language auto biography was a challenge. I was confused on whether I should include the scenes or just start from scratch and write something new/ I talked to my peers, teachers and SAT’s (student assistant teacher) and I finally decided on using the scenes I wrote about my experiences with language, quotes by Amy Tan, dialogue and analysis to sew together the different parts of my essay into a whole. I worked really hard and make sure that my paragraphs/quotes made sense with my main theme. I also made sure to get my peers to look over the essay and revise it so that everything would turn out perfect, which it did.

General Understanding #3: Deeper Analysis
    Through deeper analysis I was able to understand the different aspects of a larger idea by engaging in in-depth group conversations. An example of this is in our poetry unit. During most the third quarter of Iron English, Mr. Block would start of class by giving us abstract and hard to understand poems. We were told to analyze the poems with our groups by highlighting and marking up the poems with different colored markers, symbols and thoughts. One of the poems that we were given was “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes. In this poem my group and I realized that Langston Hughes repeats the same ideas in both of the stanzas, but he uses different words and switches up order of the sentences in both stanza’s to make them different. We also used colors and letters to match up the sentences that are similar in both stanza’s so that we can visually see the connections in the poem.
    Another poem that we analyzed in class was the poem “Praise Song” by Lucille Clifton. In this poem we analyzed each sentence separately because reading the poem as a whole didn’t make a lot of sense. we noticed that the poem didn’t have any capital words accept for the words “Praise, Praise, Praise God” After talking about the poem as a class we all came to the conclusion that the main person who the poem was about was trying to kill herself because of her family, but was saved and was accepted back into her family.

    Overall I can say that I have done a a lot of work this year, and that all of my hard work and effort has paid off. I have completed many quality projects that I am really proud of. Some thing else that shows all the different things I’ve learned in Mr. Block’s English and History classes are shown in the wordle below.
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(Click on image to enlarge)
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Summer Reading Recommendation - The Swarm

Review 

Written by german author Frank Schätzing, translated by Sally Ann Spencer. The Swarm is a science fiction book with some of the most accurate representation of marine biology, geology and geophysics to display the apocalyptic effects that marine life could pose if their natural behaviors turned awry.

When a new species of bristleworms is discovered chewing down on methane hydrates on the continental shelf, it becomes clear to scientists around the world that something is disturbing the aquatic ecosystem as marine animals turn to their sadistic and unnaturally aggressive behaviors. Whales begin to capsize tourist boats, huge outbreaks of contaminations found in seafood, abnormal presence of sharks showing up near shores and series of catastrophic events sets the entire world in complete havoc. 


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Summer Reading Recomendation~

Loving, Living, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia is a book I would recommend for your summer reading. If you're going through a difficult time in your life, I assure you that this book will be your guide to be inspired. Leo Buscaglia is very inspirational and gives you life lessons you will carry out through your life. No, this is not a book about relationships. It's a book about all types of relationships- relationships with the world. I've read this book two times and I plan on reading it again this summer. I love this book that much. If you don't like this book you must be going crazy. “Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” - Leo Buscaglia. 
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