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The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

The book that I read was the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published in 1925 by Charles Scribner’s and sons. In its first year The Great Gatsby was not on the best seller list or in the New York Times. It received mixed reviews and sold poorly. In the first year of its publishing only 20,000 copies were sold. In 1940 Fitzgerald died. Feeling that his work was a failure and would go on to be forgotten. It would later be brought back to America’s attention during World War II, and soon became a part of the high school curriculum throughout decades. The Great Gatsby is now considered to be an American classic, and is now ranked one of the greatest pieces of literature in American History. 

The book The Great Gatsby is a love story filled with party’s and affairs. It follows some of the most wealthy type of people in the 1920’s. It was Fitzgerald’siration from the party’s that he had attended in long island. The book takes place in the fictional  town of West Egg and is narrated by Nick Carraway who is the cousin of another major character Daisy Buchanan. Along with Daisy’s friend that Nick is fond of Jordan Baker. A championship golf player. Nick is a veteran of the war and decides to take up the bond business and move away from his home to be in New York. Nick is not apart of the wealthier West Egg he lives “In the less fashionable part” as he puts it. His neighbor however is the handsome and rich Jay Gatsby who befriends Nick to reunite with his great love Daisy. Daisy however is married to Tom Buchanan. A millionaire brute of a man who was a acquainted with Nick in college and is cheating on Daisy  with a woman in New York Myrtle Wilson who is the wife of a struggling mechanic and owner of his own garage George B. Wilson. During this summer of 1922 Nick receives and invitation from Gatsby to attend one of his parties. After Nick had become acquainted with Jay Gatsby, Gatsby asks nick to invite daisy over to his house for tea. When Daisy arrives it is discovered that her and Gatsby have history together and were once in love. They began to have an affair, and over time Tom the husband of Daisy becomes increasingly suspicious of her whereabouts and relationship with this “Gatsby”. This leads to a series of events and chaos that impacts the lives of all of the characters drastically, but Daisy. She selfish and glib moves on with no regrets. 

My favorite character in the book is Nick Carraway. Nick Carraway is incredibly selfless and does not even touch being superficial. He helps others and follows what he believes is best. Even at times you may see moments of doubt he very seldomly feels that what he has contributed he should regret ever. While going through the book I saw much growth in Nick and him being the sort of wall flower of the group while still in the mix of this rich superficial society. It became clear to me that Nick was the only rational person between Gatsby and Daisy. I say this because Tom is trying to releive his suspicions while Gatsby is blinded by love and Jordan is the long time friend of Daisy who would never betray the wishes of one of her comrades. Nick being poor made him more humble and empathetic to the situations of others. Which was why he was such a joy to be around for these rich people. When everything had unfolded and was said and done he realized that the only thing he could do to benefit himself was leave, and so he did. 

What people should take away from this book is many things. The Great Gatsby is complex and has many ideas using symbolism. What I think people should take away is whatever they find. The book has an amazing take on materialism and love. How people appreciate one another and what others mean to them. They should take away the idea that people should not consume who you are and your takes on life no matter what your feelings are for them. You should be true to yourself and if someone comes into your life and uses you to accommodate those needs and tries to take who you are away from you do not let them. Another reason why Nick Carraway is my favorite character is because I can relate to some of his experiences throughout the book. Even though Nick proceeds to have connections and relations with all of the people that he is around he is still a wall flower in many ways. He lives in different conditions that in some ways allow him to be the most observant character in the book. Aside from being the narrator you get a sense of how Nick feels misplaced sometimes in these rich higher class environments. I can relate with that because I find myself in the position of a wall flower apart of the action many times. Watching the actions and reactions of others and how they interact. A lot of times I can see these things because I have different experiences than they have. I used to be the only person of color in my old group of friends, and while I enjoyed being around them there were many times that I had felt uncomfortable because of certain customs and normalities that I partake in my everyday life that they do not. 

I loved The Great Gatsby for many reasons. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and gives you amazing visuals of where you are and how people are acting you legitimately feel as if you are in 1922 with these characters and high class people. I also enjoyed the story and plot of it. So many things are so far below the surface that one has to think and ponder much of what is going on. The issues and conflicts that come up are not those of normal people but non the less they are interesting. I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys love stories and appreciates literature and creative writing very much. Also to people who would be interested in the times of the 1920’s. This book having been written in that time frame gives you a vivid perspective of what is was like back then, how the people thought, dressed, interacted with one another. Whether interaction took place at parties or a golf game or a small dinner how these wealthy privileged people used their time.



For the creative portion of my project I had decided to create a portrait of The Great Gatsby cover. With the night sky and at the bottom the lights of Gatsby’s parties. The face in the sky I decided to interpret as that of Daisy’s, and instead of having her hover over the night sky I decided to have it look like her face had ripped the sky apart with her face to represent Gatsby’s desperation to find Daisy. 
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Element Project

Inquiry - I used inquiry to figure out what element I had and what I was going to draw because I was confused in deciding.

Research - I used research to figure out what I needed to know about my element. I had to find out what it's in, used for, etc. That's how I figured out what I was going to draw.

Collaboration - I used collaboration when I needed help and gave out help to others. I needed help cutting out my negative space, because it wasn't working out well for me.

Presentation - I used presentation when I had to paint it and choose colors I thought would look nice and then I had to center it to make it look really good and for the most part, I think I did well.

Reflection - I looked at my pictures just to examine and realize, "I did this(:" and then I completed this reflection. 
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Elemental Print: Iron

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Inquiry: When pursuing this assignment, I asked a question. How can I portray the element Iron in the most creative way possible while maintain it's value? The next steps I took extended from here then on.

Research: Having no prior knowledge to what gives Iron it's flare, I began research on the element. I figured out the origin of the element, it's components and uses. I found out that iron is within the core of the earth. The electromagnetic is (fe). I used this in combination to project the earthly elements and electric elements of iron.

Collaboration: I collaborated with my peers after sketching three different designs for Iron. They each gave their feedback and helped me decide which would be the best to officially create.

Presentation: The sketches I created were than carved in linoleum, matted, and printed. I presented the matted and printed versions to my class/teacher. These were then hanged in order for the rest of the student body to see as well.

Reflection: If I were to do this project again, I would carve neater and wider lines in the linoleum in order to give the print a fresh and matted look. Overall, this project was a lot of fun, considering I had prior experience with cutting linoleum. I learned about a new element and it's value in the world, while also using it in an artistic manner in order create something new. 

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ELEMENTary Block Printing (Scandium, 21)

Inquiry
Throughout the project, whenever I didn't understand how to do something or couldn't find an art supply, I would ask Ms. Hull for help.  Luckily, every time it was pretty easy to understand!

Research
When we started the project, I spent an entire period researching my element, and its uses.  It was a little harder than I expected, since my element is pretty rare!

Collaboration
Me and Avery helped each other with our research in the first couple of classes.  We also helped each other with the carving process, and picking out which sketch to print.  

Presentation
When I was matting my block print, I made sure to be careful with my measurements.  I also tried to carve and paint my linoleum as carefully as I could. 

Reflection
     This project was really fun for me.  First of all, I thought it was a really cool way to incorporate science and learning into art, and I just thought it was a fun project, with the right amount of challenge. 

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Negative Space Reflection

  A. What is negative space (explain this concept to a fourth grader that has never heard of it)
    B. Explain how you found negative space in 1. your cut out?, 2. in your still life drawing?

    C. Why does it help an artist to see in negative space?

    D. Does seeing in negative space enhance drawings, why or why not?


ANSWERS
A. Negative space is the space around an object in a drawling.

B. In my cut out I did find negative space throughout by mixing the colors up in different spaces, but as the final product it didn't come out as I wanted to. For the still life I saw the negative space between the shapes and the outside part of the shapes. My favorite still life is the one with the two stools.

C. It helps an artist to see negative by knowing where any objects intersect with each other. 

 D. Yes it does because the more negative space you see the better you enhance your details of the objects you try to draw.
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Slaugherhouse-Five Book Review

Slaughterhouse-Five is a American classic that combines science fiction, philosophy, and a haunting recount of World War II, written by Kurt Vonnegut and published in 1969. The story revolves around the bombing of the German city Dresden by Americans in World War II, a bomb that caused more destruction and fatalities than the bomb on Hiroshima. Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in World War II and witnessed the bombing of Dresden first hand from the basement of Schlachthof fünf - Slaughterhouse-five. 

The book begins in first person in the perspective of Kurt Vonnegut. He is visiting an old friend from the war, Bernard V. O’Hare, and they are reminiscing about the war. Vonnegut mentions that he is trying to write a book about the bombing of Dresden. O’Hare’s wife says that he should name is book the Children’s Crusade, because she believes that the war is talked about like it was a great gallant fight fought by heroes, but it was actually the gory slaughter of children sent to war. That dialogue sets the stage for the book in discussing the meaningless of war, and, the meaningless of life itself. Vonnegut goes on to think to himself about the fluidity and intricacies of time, a theme carried throughout the rest of the book. He then introduces Billy Pilgrim, a boring man from a boring town with a boring life who becomes unstuck in time. 

The story of Billy Pilgrim is not a linear one. It begins with Billy old and senile in his death bed, and then he awakens on his wedding day, and then to the war, and then to his birth and then to his death. Billy’s story is centered around two different parts of his life; the bombing of Dresden, and Billy’s life on the planet Tralfamadore. Through the repetition of phrases, random anecdotes, science fiction, and history, Kurt Vonnegut uses the life of Billy Pilgrim to convey his own confusions about the meaning and the meaninglessness of existence and what it means to be a human being.

Billy Pilgrim floats through time with no start, no end, and no purpose. Aimless and lost, Billy does not feel like he has a solid, down-to-earth impact anywhere, and doubts the significance of his own existence. I related to Billy’s uncertainty. I, too, have questioned who I am, and what the meaning of my existence is. Do I matter? I am significant? Will I have an impact? The philosophy Billy learns on Tralfamdore teaches him that no one is ever truly dead, as they are alive in every other moment at the same time. He learns every moment happened, is happening, and always will happen the same exact way, as it is “structured that way”. Billy raises more relatable life questions I too brood over sometimes. What happens when you die? Do I have a predetermined destiny? If I am simply a compilation of memories than who will I be when no one is left to remember?

Various other characters are introduced in different moments of Billy’s life. There are his wife and his children and his war friends and fellow war prisoners. There is Eliot Rosewater, another man in a mental hospital with Billy. Montana Wildhack, the hollywood actress in the Tralfamadorian zoo exhibit with Billy. And of course, Kilgore Trout, a science fiction novelist no one has ever heard of. My favorite character, or set of characters, where the English soldiers living in the heart of a Russian war camp. They had befriended the Russian guards and recieved extra food and provisions. The Englishmen created a happy and structured life in the center of chaos and captivity and destruction. That contrast, and the recognition of the human ability to create lemonade out of any lemons, was strikingly beautiful.

Slaughterhouse-Five is hauntingly well written and is a book that, as Life Magazine remarked, “a funny book at which you are not permitted to laugh, a sad book without tears, a tale told in a slaughterhouse.” Although the story progression in the book is not linear, Kurt Vonnegut is able to create a sense of continuity through his writing styles and his repetition. Vonnegut takes advantage of the simplicity of the human brain and how easily we can make connections. For example, in the beginning of the book, Vonnegut explains that at the end of a massacre, all you can hear are the birds, and they sound like “poo-tee-weet”. The last line in the book is “poo-tee-weet”, telling the reader that the book was a story of a massacre and a a story of death. The reader knows, even though Vonnegut did not tell. Kurt Vonnegut is a master of words and a master of the mind, and his book is a masterpiece.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes be intellectually engaged while reading. Anyone who likes science fiction, World War II, classic literature, or anyone who is looking for a short and satisfying read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you could too.

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My creative piece is a collage of many different repeated phrases in the book. The most repeated phrase is "so it goes", which is written after any sentence or paragraph about someone's death. Because it represents death, it is written in black. The green paper and marker color represents alien or science fiction involvement. Orange represents Billy Pilgrim's confusion. Pink represents love. The shape of the blurb also says something about the themes repeated in Slaughterhouse-five, giving a abstract summary of everything to book covers.
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Q4 Art Blog

Starting art class I was thinking to myself how much I couldn't draw, but then Ms Hull told me that I could. She told me that everybody can do art but in different types of ways like drawing, writing, painting, etc. So I started out drawing little things like cartoons and I knew right there that that was my strength. Throughout the year I continued to draw cartoons and different stuff. Last Quarter I tried shading but that didn't work out to well but at least I tried. I loved this art class this year because I love Ms Hull and she is one of my favorite teachers at SLA. She was helpful and I could go to her about anything. For the 4th Quarter I was going to do a painting but that was kind of out of my little bubble so I just decided to do a couple more drawings and reflect on it. Other than that I had a great year in art. 
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Element Project

​Inquiry- We used inquiry to figure out what number represent our element and had to find out how we can represent it in a drawing.
Research-I used research to help me figure out a object that would help me represent my element. I searched for things that contained my element in them.
Collaboration- I worked together with my peers to figure out how to center my print on the matt. I talked and used trial/error to come up with a way to do so with my classmates.
Presentation- We has to make our print look presentable and clean so I made sure that my paint was clean and that it was correctly centered onto the matting paper.
Reflection- I reflected by talking about how each core value was implemented in my process to create my print. I also had to make sure that what I was doing looked good and correctly done.
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Element Project- 17 Chlorine

Inquiry - Research - Collaboration - Presentation - Reflection

To do this project you have to do a research. I found some websites about negative space. You need to know what is negative space and how you look at something. After you know what it is you should try and draw some pictures. You use linoleum to cut out and form an image. Me and my friends helped each other because sometimes we were confused. You have to be careful when you cut out linoleum to not hurt yourself. Then you print your image on the paper with the ink. 



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Element 37: Rubidium

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Inquiry: We used inquiry, because we had to figure out which element matched our number. We also had to use our creativity to come up with a quality drawing.

Research: Research was a big part of this project. We had to research a lot of background information about our element, such as it's uses, how it was discovered, and who discovered it.

Collaboration: There was part of the project that Ms. Hull didn't tell us how to do. We had to collaborate with others to figure how to correctly complete that part.

Presentation: We had to make our prints look presentable, by centering them on another piece of paper. We also had to make sure that the lines were straight.

Reflection: In order to reflect, we had to make sure that our prints were complete. We have to reflect on how our process went, and even before we finished, you can reflect on if what you are doing is right.

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Negative Space

a. Negative space: Let's say you have a picture of a chair with a red background. Negative space is everything that is not the actual drawing of the chair. It is the background; all the red. 
b. I found the negative space by starting with the half of a tree. Within the tree there were certain shapes you needed to cut out. What I did was take the parts I had cut out of the tree shape and lay them opposite of the original cut out. This made it look like on one side there was a hollow tree and on the other was the missing piece of the tree. Then I took 2 pieces of paper and laid half of the pieces on 1 sheet of paper and half on the other. Then I cut out all the pieces and kept all of them so when I put the pieces together it would reflect the opposite. In my still life drawings I just outlined the object and shaded in the negative space, as that was the easiest and best outcome. 
c. It helps artists to see a negative space because it can achieve balance and symmetry in a design. It makes the artist look at the picture as a whole; not just focusing on the single object.
d. Seeing negative space does enhance drawings because it gives you depth and perception of the entire drawing. It balances out the picture more and makes it more precise. 
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Independent Reading- Paper Towns

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Paper Towns is a book that before they die, everyone should read. While it isn’t a book that makes you think, it has good morals and life lessons incorporated into it. It incorporates love and mystery and a good old road trip, with lots of humor.

The book starts off with Quentin Jacobsen, a senior who has been in love with his neighbor since he was little. Margo Roth Speiglman. They grew apart as they grew up so they don’t talk as much anymore. Then one night, out of the blue, Margo knocks on his window and takes him around the same town they live in to pull pranks on people she doesn’t like. The next morning, Q thinks that she will acknowledge him at least in the hallways but he finds out that she is not there. She ran away. Again. Q knows about her runaway stories and she often leaves clues behind, to make it a fun adventure for everyone. Since Q just spent the night with Margo, he believes that she must have left clues for him. She did. He follows her clues to abandoned buildings, pseudovisions, and finally a made-up town in New York. He finds this clue on Graduation Day and of course he has to drag his friends into coming along with him on a 22 hour road trip. When they finally find her, she acts completely different than what they thought that she would. The ending is for you to find out, I won’t spoil it.

I can relate to Q because I find that I think I know people but I don’t really know them. He finds that people have different views of someone but they are completely wrong about that person. I feel like I learned that you shouldn’t be satisfied with just accepting the mask that the person puts up, you should try to look behind it and see if the person needs help with becoming who they are. I also think that a lot of people who seem like they have a great life and a perfect face, can really be wearing a mask and hiding their other self. The weaknesses in this book are very slim but I would hope for John Green to write a sequel or an epilogue because you want to know more after the end of the book. A strength of this book is the way they mark the chapters. In the hours of the road trip, they mark the time by saying 21st hour or 18th hour. Also John Green split up the book into 3 different sections which makes the reader connect different things that they are learning about in the book. Overall this book helped me connect to other people and helped become a better friend.


Click here for the creative piece.


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Maze Runner Book Review

The “Maze Runner” series by James Dashner is a book series that consists of three books and a prequel that has a different storyline than what the other three books cover. The first book, “The Maze Runner” was a New York Times Bestseller. The series is a dystopia series that take place in the future. The first book “The Maze Runner” is also becoming a movie in 2014. I hope they use the imagery in the books to their advantage when making the movie or movie series.

 In the future depicted in the book the world is in bad shape. The people have been going through this disease called the flare. When the governments found out about the Flare and how rapidly it was spreading they joined forces to create an organization named WICKED. WICKED collects a group of  “test subjects” into a place called the maze. In the maze there is a glade where “the subjects” are sent through an elevator. The walls of the maze changes every night with the walls to the maze from the glade closed every night. In the first book there is a code that is revealed through the maze. The code is the key to the next book. 

The books are narrated by an unknown person who knows everything. Thomas the main character’s head is the one that this unknown narrator knows most about. Then there is Teresa the only girl Glader. Newt the "nice" guy and Minho the tough one. Teresa, Newt, and Minho are Thomas’ only friends for a while and they are by his side for the most part. Thomas goes through some crazy things and the conflicts he has are with everyone. James Dashner made sure to put in person vs. person, person vs. society, person vs. self evenly through the series. Thomas has so much conflict he ends up expecting it by the end. My favorite character is Teresa because she is the good best friend she is always there for Thomas even before Thomas knows it and everything she does is to protect him no matter how much it hurts her doing those things. The series is about survival, readers should understand that through surviving something you may lose something else and all you can do is pick up where you left off because if you look back you won’t be able to handle it.

The series is hard to relate to situation wise but when you look at the thematic content you realize that you might have done the same things. These kids go through so much by the end of the series I can barely remember how they got there and I think that was the point. I think James Dashner wanted to make the point that as long as the ones you love are around you then you will be all right and that is what I believe to be true every day. I cannot relate to any specific character yet because they go through so many changes so quickly that when I start to relate they do something that I don’t understand again. I have felt the way every “glader” felt when they were a “shuck greenie” because you feel alone in a new place and you don’t know where you fit it you just know you better start to because right now you are the odd one out. 

The series is wonderfully and skillfully crafted a story that takes you through a train that you want to be an express one with only stops are for the 3:00 am coffee breaks and end of book potty breaks. James Dashner remains what the future might look like and shows you the imagery of the maze in the first book and the world in the second and third books. Throughout the three books Dashner is consistent with the amount of suspense and tension he gives through each book. The series has so many strengths and I think that the biggest strength is how James Dashner creates this world for you and he doesn’t drag it along with details about the smallest of things like other writers might have if they had this subject. I would change very little in this book only the deaths because all my favorite characters go for Thomas. I would recommend these books just based on the writing style and speed because it is very hard to make a person want to read a story so bad that they have to put it down to get through the ending. Dashner gives you these characters that you want to get to know and through the situations they are put through they reveal themselves increasingly to you.


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Above is the code they find when they traced the maps onto wax paper, stacked them, and held them to the light.
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PAYBACK TIME BOOK REVIEW

PAYBACK TIME BY CARL DEUKER

   This book is primarily about sports but not fully. This book is also about uncovering a secret and making a great story out of that secret. The main character in this book Daniel (Mitch) True is getting ready to go college and plans on uncovering the biggest story of his life in his senior year of high school. This book PAYBACK TIME received a one star review from Booklist that said “ Definitely one for the top shelf ”. The book PAYBACK TIME received A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION.      


The book PAYBACK TIME is a book about a high school journalist named Daniel (Mitch) True who wants to be the editor of his school newspaper and he wants go to Columbia University to study journalism. An important character in the book is Kimi Yon. She is the sports photographer for the school newspaper and is Mitch's newspaper partner. Mitch and Kimi worked on the sports section of the newspaper together throughout the school year. Another important character in this book is Angel Marchial. Angel is a football player who is a new kid at Lincoln High school and new to the football team at the school. The conflict in this story is Mitch and Kimi are trying to uncover a secret about Angel Marchial who transferred from a different high school. My favorite character in this book is Daniel (Mitch) True. The reason being is Mitch grew throughout the book. Mitch did not have things go his way all of the time but that did not stop him from continuing to try to uncover this story. Furthermore Mitch had a weight problem and throughout the book he lost a lot of weight because he did not give up or let anyone stop him. I believe that readers should take self motivation away from this book. I believe that this book gives good examples about self motivation. Furthermore readers should take away hope from this book. The reason being is that Mitch did not always have the answer to all of the questions that he had about Angel but he knew that at the end of the football season he would have some information to write a story.


I could relate to Angel Marichal. One reason is I have been in his situation about starting on the bench and eventually starting in the starting lineup. The second way I could relate to Angel is because of his quiet leadership. I understand at first why he did not want to be one that talked a lot. Furthermore I can relate to Angel being the one to sit at the end of the bench and not be getting into the game. The mindset that Angel had was remarkable because he played well but he only played a little and would not be warmed up when he was put into the game. This gave him a disadvantage because he was not warmed up and was not prepared to be in the games.  


I did like the book. The book was great and had very interesting themes. One strength of the book was the imagery. When I was reading the book I could imagine the football field and I could imagine the energy from the sports fans in the stadium. Another strength from the book was the action in the book. This book had a lot of football play by play detail and kept the reader interested throughout the book. One weakness from this book was the ending. The ending did not close the book properly. The ending could have been better. Another weakness in this book was the detail of certain places in the book. For example where Mitch had gone running was not described well and was hard to imagine what it would look like in real life. I would change the ending of the book. The reason being is the ending was not what I expected and could have closed the book better. The author left it up to the readers imagination but I would have liked to have a clear ending at the end of the book.



  I would recommend this book to other people. I believe that this book is 


for everyone and that probably could take something away from this book. I  


definitely recommend this book to sports fans. This book has great play by


play detail and really makes the reader feel like they are at the game. Another


thing that this book has is a theme about self motivation. In this book the main 


character Daniel (Mitch) True deals with a weight problem and he tells 


himself that he must get into better shape so he could be healthy. At first 


Mitch was losing weight to impress Kimi Yon but at the end he realizes that 


he was doing it for himself.        



Click here to view my video about my book. 
  

    


 
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Revised Performance Schedule for SLA's Rainy Hidden City

Here is a revised schedule for Friday afternoon performances, due to the weather:

1:15: RECESS-- Croskey Street (North of Arch between 22nd and 23rd)  

1:25: HIDEOUT-- Appletree Street (north of Arch, enter next to Aya's, go next to playground)

1:35: PEBBLES-- Shack on 20th Street between Arch and JFK

1:45: UNDERBRIDGE-- Cobblestone Alley under RR across 22nd from SLA  


2:05: CLANK: Under RR bridge in parking lot @ 22nd Street & Arch

2:15: ANIMATRONIC SOLDIERS-- Van Pelt  (bet. 21st & 22nd, bet. Cherry & Race)

2:25: ESCAPE-- Stand on Walden street below Stairwells on side of SLA building

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Treasure Island - Independent Reading Book Project

"Treasure Island Book Review"

Treasure Island is a novel published in 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson. The book was meant to just be stories that he told to his stepson, and ended up being published into a great story that has been famous and told for generations. The movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” was based off of the well-known novel, and for that I have based my creative portion of the individual reading book project on the movie’s ‘theme song.’ “He’s a Pirate” was composed by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt and is used in the movie as the background and occasional ambient music. I think it goes perfectly with the book beccause I couldn’t help but imagine that music playing while I was reading. The song has an epic feel, and for that I decided to play it on piano and use it as my creative piece.

Billy Bones leaves a chest at the Admiral Benbow for safekeeping, and stays there along with it. He dies from a fatal stroke. Jim Hawkins, the protagonist, finds a treasure map in the chest, and with the help of characters that were introduced earlier in the novel, he goes in search of Treasure Island with the crew. The treasure is from the already deceased Captain Flint. Will the treasure be found? Read the rest to figure out what happens in the rest of the gripping story.

The main character is Jim Hawkins, the narrator, and son of the owner of the Admiral Benbow. Jim tells about his adventures with the pirate crew, and his experience in his “coming of age.” He uses his feelings and emotions to portray the story in his own way, explaining everything that happens in good detail.

The main conflict is getting along with Captain Flint’s old crew, and getting to Treasure Island. It isn’t until they get there that they all realize something has happened, which could change the entire story from the expected outcome.

My favorite character is Jim Hawkins. I think this because first of all, his name is pretty darn epic and awesome. Also, he has a sort of mysterious nature. It’s hard to explain, but when he explains the story from the narration point of view, he tells it in his own way, unlike any other books that I have read previously. He also has a sense of adventure, and I like his personality. It really fits the story.

I think the reader should take away the fact that even if the book is old and a little challenging, it can still be a treasureable story. The words and lingo used are a little more traditional, and adding the fact that it contains a lot of vocabulary that I’m not used to, it was a challenge to read. There were words like “dubloons” that I have never really heard as part of a story before. It was interesting to see how pirates would have talked, too. I think one huge theme is how when you “come of age” you can prove how heroic or gallant you can be.


I don’t think I can relate to anyone in the book, considering the setting was in the eighteenth century, and most of the characters were pirates, but I still enjoyed the book either way. I don’t think books need to cater to the reader and have to be relatable to be enjoyable. Adding to this, I haven’t had any similar experiences to the characters in the book either, because, well... The characters are fantastical pirates from the eighteenth century that go on adventures in search of treasure!

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much because it was a challenge to read and comprehend, and I’m not usually a fan of old fiction. I think it’s something that I wouldn’t pick up first if I were given a pile of books to choose from, but I’m very happy that I did pick it up to read, because it’s a very enthralling novel.

I think a major strength of the book is the ability for the writer to change perspectives. It was very interesting to read when Jim Hawkins traded in telling the story with Doctor Livesey, who had a more accurate version of the story, while Jim included what he felt like. Also, the reader is painted a picture of exactly what every staggering detail is. Without the visualization in a fiction book, the book easily becomes boring, and it’s not as fun to imagine or think about the plot.

I don’t think I would change such a classic book, but if I had to, I would change the beginning. I find it very confusing on how the events take place, and I had to reread a lot of parts, just to understand what was going on. Once I did understand it, it was really worth it, and I was glad that I had gone through again to read it. 


I think I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys suspense and adventure. I often times found myself wondering where something that had happened in the beginning of the book would come back. It made me wonder if it was foreshadowing, or if it was going to eventually tie into the later plot.

I enjoyed the book, and am proud of my creative portion that I have created. I don’t think I would change a single thing about it. Please watch my video of me playing “He’s a Pirate” on piano. 



Click this link.




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Desert Revelations

This is the product of studying science fiction. I have been working on this novel/short story since about last year, but this year I really began to develop it. After the 3rd quarter benchmark, I decided that I would revisit this story and revise is as much as possible. This also included creating some rough sketches for scenery and characters; to further develop the novel. The story is still a work in progress, constantly evolving. Hope you enjoy it!
Desert Revelations
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Independent Reading Project (Catching Fire)

If you ask me, this book is absolutely breathtaking. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is a book that constantly has you wanting for more. The author may sound familiar because she is also the author for The Hunger Games. Catching Fire is the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. You don’t ever want to put it down. This is being made into a movie coming out November 22, 2013. It was also in the “Top 10 books of 2009” in the Times magazine. The trilogy has earned various of achievements and publicity ever since it’s beginning in 2008.

It’s hard to give a book review without giving away any spoilers to people that haven’t read it yet. I’ll just list the important events. So, the first book ended with Katniss and Peeta winning the Hunger Games. Book two starts right where the first one left off. Katniss and Peeta are on their victory tour and President Snow does not like the fact that Katniss is the “leader” of a rebellion soon to rise, even though she doesn’t know it herself. President Snow threatens Katniss that he will erase everyone she loves if she doesn’t calm the rebellion down or show the people that the only reason why she used the berries in the arena before was because she was madly in love with Peeta, not because she was being rebellious against the Capitol. You would think nothing worse could happen after that, right? Nope. It’s the complete opposite actually.

As you work your way through the story you find that Katniss, Peeta, and 22 other victors from different districts are put back into the arena. This was the 75th Hunger Games. Every 25 years there is something called a Quarter Quell which is a Hunger Game with a twist. This Quarter Quell two victors, a boy and a girl, would be pulled from each district from the existing pool of victors. Since Katniss is the only girl in her district that has been crowned victor, she has no choice but to go back in, but this time it’s not the same. This time she is not fighting to save herself, but to save Peeta.

Haymitch, their mentor, was in no condition to be the other male tribute so Peeta, without a doubt, took his place. Peeta has the mindset that he would be the one protecting Katniss, but like I said earlier, that isn’t the plan. Once their in the arena it’s basically the same as the first Hunger Games. There’s alliances are made, tons of blood spilled, friends die, the usual for any regular Hunger Games. However, the games isn’t completed this time around. Katniss’s ally “Volts” explains to her that there is always a “chink” in the armour that the Capitol wears. Katniss knows very well that the arena is just an illusion, it is all the Capitol’s doing and that it isn’t an actual island. She looks around the arena and then at the sky. There. She finds what seems to be a space where the air looks distorted. She shoots an arrow through it. Next thing you know the illusion is dispersed and reality has set back in.

The Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee, rescues Katniss, Volts, and Finnick before the Capitol could reach them. At first Katniss is confused because she doesn’t understand why Plutarch would save her and she’s also angry because he didn’t save the others. That means Peeta and the others are in the hands of the Capitol. Plutarch begins to explain to Katniss that he, himself is going to aid in the rebellion and that she will be the leader. Haymitch knew about this all along and they were just waiting for the right time.

Gale, Katniss’s dear friend, visits her while she’s resting. He comes in to break horrible news. He tells her that her family is safe, but there is no longer a District 12. There has been a devastating bombing at District 12 that has wiped out basically everything.

The main characters throughout this book is Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Finnick, and Plutarch Heavensbee. What did they do? Well Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick were all participants in the Hunger Games and they basically defy the Capitol. Katniss destroys the arena and Peeta is siding with Katniss. Finnick is in the rebellion as well once he is picked up by Plutarch. Haymitch is Katniss and Peeta’s mentor throughout the Hunger Games and supplied necessities. Plutarch, Head Gamemaker, rescues everyone that he can when the arena is destroyed and is helping with the rebellion. These characters played a major role through the book, without them the book would be changed dramatically.

I believe the conflict in the story is person vs. person. The reason I say this is because there is one man who is continuing the Hunger Games. That man would be President Snow. I say it’s only one man because as I’ve read the book I got the feeling that nobody else in the Capitol likes the idea of the Hunger Games. Especially, when Katniss was invited to the feast at the Capitol. Everyone there sent their regards to her and how it was such a shame or how unfair it was to put her back into the games. Once he is stopped surely, the Hunger Games itself would stop too. If I were to put names in this, it would be Katniss vs. President Snow. That feels more fitting.  

My favorite character is Haymitch. This may be controversial to many because he can seem like a drunk lunatic in the book, but he is a great guy. He’s just really cool. Sure, he gets drunk and lives his life poorly, but when it’s time to be serious, you better believe he’s serious. He’s one of those guys that prefer to fool around and take life easily, but can also get straight into business if needed.

I think readers should take away the idea that one person can make a difference. That person can be you too. I mean take Katniss for example. Katniss was just an ordinary girl living in District 12 doing all that she can to support her family. You can say she was a little bit more than ordinary since she knew how to hunt, which is a skill that a lot of people, especially in District 12, didn’t know how to do. She was the spark to an uprising against the Capitol from many Districts and she didn’t even know till later. Whether she wanted to or not, Katniss and her mockingjay pin are the symbol of freedom. She rose through the “ranks” and is now an iconic figure for everyone. Yes, this book is indeed fiction, but why does that matter? The ideas that it teaches are real and attainable for anyone.

Personally, I don’t think I can relate to any of the characters in the story or the story at all. The reason I say this is because this story is set in the distant future, where many things are different from how I live today. We’re not separated into twelve districts, not forced to send children to death battles, and there is not one group who rules over all. So, I don’t know how I can relate to someone that has gone through this when I’ve never had to experience any of it. The problems that the characters encountered in the story has also never came to me. I haven’t had my home or family taken away from me and I haven’t had my friends die in front of my own eyes. These are the reason why I can’t relate to the characters in the book.

I do like this book a lot. I swear I did not want to stop reading this book. Every time I put the book down to go do something else, I ended back in my chair reading it again. Every chapter is essential and so meaningful. How could I put a book like this down?

There is a fair amount of strengths and weaknesses in the book. For example, the strengths to the book is the “cliffhangers” at the end of each chapter. A cliffhanger is basically the last couple of sentences to a chapter or the last few minutes of a show that’ll make you come back wanting for more. For example, a cliffhanger could go like this: “Then Gerald said something to me I would never forget.”. You’d want to know what Gerald said, right? Well you would never know unless you read the next chapter or watched the next episode.

I find this to be a strength because it keeps bringing the reader back for more. They’re need for more would be insatiable.

One of the weaknesses to this book is the way it’s laid out. I think the book was rushed because I felt like the actual Hunger Games only lasted for a few chapters. I thought it was much longer in the first book than in this one. Then again, the Hunger Games in the second book didn’t finish to its entirety because of Katniss. So, I do understand a little bit about why it would be shorter, but I still feel as if the whole book itself was rushed.

If I could change something in the book it would be how certain parts of the book was worded. For example, when Katniss is in the actual Hunger Games I found some of the visuals hard to imagine because the wording was tricky. It could be thought in many ways, but it seemed as if Suzanne Collins wanted us, the readers, to see the same thing she was seeing. That’s not all though. In the part where Katniss was in charge of planting an electrical wire into the sea to carry out a plan, I was confused. The reason I was confused is because a lot of events occurred at the same time. I knew what happened in a general sense, but if you asked me about specific details I couldn’t tell you because I’m unsure myself.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this book to someone else. The reason I say this is because Catching Fire is truly a marvelous book as a whole. Sure, it has it’s weaknesses, but it has just as many strengths to back it up. The plot and concept is absolutely astonishing. It can’t even compare to any of the previous books I’ve read. If you haven’t read the Hunger Games yet, I highly recommend that you do. You are missing such a great piece of modern literature. There’s a reason why this book is famous. Do you want to know what the craze is about? Why don’t you find out yourself!


Creative Piece: Alternate Ending

I shot my arrow through the space and then everything went black. Suddenly, I was blinded by a bright light. As soon as I was able to look around me, I saw the island, the arena...disappearing bit by bit. I blacked out soon after due to my wounds. Next time I awoke, I was greeted by Plutarch Heavensbee. The rage built up inside of me rapidly. All I wanted to do was scream and kill this man. The man that has put me through this sick game. I just want to destroy him, but my body isn’t responding.

Wait...What’s going on? I’m in a bed and who’s that? It’s...It’s...It’s Haymitch! What’s he doing here? I have so many things going through my head right now I can’t even think straight. I manage to sit up and I’m prepared to have a long talk. “Looks like you’re finally awake there.” Haymitch says “Yeah...” I respond. “We have a few things to talk about.” “Why’s Plutarch here?” “Don’t worry Katniss. He’s on our side.” Normally, I wouldn’t believe what people said, but something about Haymitch’s tone makes me trust him. “Let’s get straight to business then.” I reply. “First things first. You realize what you’ve done right?” “Do you mean the arena?” “Precisely.” I’m prepared to hear the worst and turn my head, but I didn’t expect what he said next. “That’s my girl.” I turn back to him confused. Surely I would get a scolding or yelled at for doing such a thing because we all know that I’m already in trouble. I could be executed at any time and I’ve probably just made things worse for everyone around me.

“Katniss, Plutarch is the one who saved you when the arena exploded.” Haymitch said “Oh...Thanks” I responded. Plutarch gave me a little smile and a nod. “Plutarch and I have been waiting for a moment like this for a while. We are going to overthrow the Capitol.” I thought I was hearing things for a second, but then reality set back in. “That’s all we can tell you at the moment because we’ve got to work out other plans. We’ll leave you to think about it for a bit because it is quite the amount of information.” Haymitch said. Then the two leave the room without another word.

I lay there staring at the white ceiling, thinking...just thinking. I don’t know what to say or do honestly. Is this seriously happening? Yes. Yes, it is. I start to drift off to sleep again and I let it happen. I need to be separated from the world right now.

Then I hear a chair screech next to me. I slowly open my eyes to find someone familiar sitting next to me. This smell...I know this scent. I start to remember the smell of the woods, coal mines, and dust... This is Gale! I immediately sit upright and this startles him. “Gale!” I scream out. “Hey there, Katnip.” he says with a smirk. I embrace him, but he doesn’t seem to like it very much. He slowly pulls me away. “What’s wrong, Gale?” I say puzzled and concerned. “Look, Katniss...I’ve got something to tell you.” he says “What is it?” I respond. “It’s about Peeta...” he said. “Gale, it’s a misunderstanding! I didn’t really love him, it was all an act for the Capitol to save the others-” then he cuts me off. “Katniss, that’s not what here to tell you. I’m here to tell you that Peeta...is no longer with us.” He looks at me with such serious eyes I’m confused. “ What do you mean?” I say. Then he says the two words I dreaded the most. “He’s dead.”

End


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Element Print


Reflection (two sentences on each core value relating to such project):

Inquiry:
How does this project reflect our intuitive knowledge in both art class and bio-chem?

This project can lead to us exploring new possibilities and questions in cooperative acts in other projects.

Research:
There was substantial research in this project especially listening to Ms. Hull to know how everything is done.
We all had to go online to research our element to have an equilibrium of everything we could use it in during art class. 

Collaboration:
I found myself asking for help and working together with many other classmates.

If someone had a good idea for a different element than their own they would go and tell that person who had the element. 

Presentation: 
Although not an assignment I saw a lot of kids in the hallway and at lunch using this project to practice their presenting skills.
This project gave us a good idea how presenting works because if you have a bad eject then you will have a bad presentation. 

Reflection:
Some of my classmates and I all sat down at lunch and thought on what we learned from this project due to the fact that if we don't understand what the point of everything was then we wouldn't be able to take anything from it. 

I incorporated this project in life lessons like to push yourself harder and surprisingly in reflective thought I came up with many that could help us in the tough journey that lies ahead. 



Photo on 6-7-13 at 8.54 AM
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Negative Space

A. Negative space is the area around and between objects. It uses the space around something to show it, without inner detail.

B. In my drawing, I found negative space by replacing the outer portions of the drawing with a mirror of the inner, so that they both reflected the outside of the object.

C. It helps an artist to see in negative space because that makes them aware of the surrounding area of an object, even if they aren't shown. It also helps them display objects without relying on inner details.

D. Seeing in negative space does not enhance drawings, it just is a different way of drawing, a different style.

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Capstone - Natalee Schiavoni

Science Leadership Academy - Senior Capstone 2013

Student Name: Natalee Schiavoni

In school Mentor: Ms. Dunn

Link to my Capstone website:

http://716596935655210608.weebly.com/


Cover Page -

The goal of this project was to create an artistic portfolio of my most recent sketching and drawings to show my understanding for the techniques artist use to produce successful artwork. I want to mold together an artistic view point and practical techniques to create functional blog/website to help others find great resources.

Abstract -

My sketch portfolio is a collection of my best and most recent artwork that highlights my love for art and shows my experience throughout the year. It is a visual archive of my artistic accomplishments that demonstrates my ability and potential as an artist.  My finished portfolio documents additional work that demonstrates an awareness of formal visual organizational principles and experience with a variety of tools, media, styles, and approaches. You will be viewing still life, landscape, figure drawings, portrait, perspective, and diagrammatic drawings.

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Blubber Island

I am Lindsey Jones and I’m going to take you through a thorough and thoughtful review of the dark comedy, philosophical thriller, Blubber Island. Blubber Island is written by Ismael Galvan. An author known for encrypting his stories with characters that are at the bottom of the social food chain and putting them in the oddest situations and eventually letting them flourish. Galvan, currently resides in Japan with wife an English teacher. He most famous work is in fact Blubber Island and writes in a Gutter Surrealist style.    


Elis, a social outcast sits in his small hut by a fire drinking tea. He is then abruptly affronted by a man in a business suit who tells him that he has torn a hole in his head. Elis is taken back by this and asks what exactly does he mean by this. The businessman continues on and Elis defensively drives to attack him with a spear when all of a sudden his world is turned inside out. Zombies come from nowhere and begin eating Elis. As his flesh was being torn apart, Elis is eventually saved by a tribe of gorillas summoned by an old man. Elis meets the old man, who tells him the zombie virus is spreading rapidly throughout his body. They both begin to argue, ending in the old man's home being caught afire. The old man urges for Elis to go inside the fire and rescue the antidote, or else he will become a zombie. Elis opposes to this, and expresses that he'd rather be a zombie than deal with such a nasty world. The both suddenly wind up in a forest, meeting an old samurai, and man named Casper. Casper takes Elis to a ballroom filled with awfully cheerful souls. The party is ambushed by a group of ninjas and gorillas. Everyone begins to oddly want Elis to dance with them. At random moments, the people begin shooting themselves. A man named Suit tries to keep Elis hostage as the chaos resumes and zombies appear. Elis is able to free himself and escapes the party with Casper. They both end up falling down a dark tunnel.

    A homeless girl named Jamie attends a prestigious university with her best friend, Green boy. They blend in with the students, who are the same age. However, they are different from them. Jamie expresses her dislike towards the students that come from affluent families and could pay their way through anything. Green boy, her ambitious best friend, convinces Jamie to help him break into an experiment laboratory within the university’s boundaries. Green boy attacks the scientists inside and runs off campus with Jamie. They are almost caught by security but stow away in a van and drive to a local pharmacy. Green boy holds the pharmacy at gun point. The victims inside begin fussing with Green boy, some even attempt to escape from through the front doors only to get gunned down police. The boy and girl somehow are able to avoid the police and leave with the upper hand down into the sewers. Inside the sewer realm, Jamie and Green boy accidentally meet an aggressive homeless man. The man scolds Jamie for dropping a bottle on him, but also tells about him getting tricked into selling his drugs. He needed the drugs to communicate with “aliens”. The homeless man tells Jamie the story of a suited man coming into the sewers offering the homeless food. The people that ate the food would quickly fall asleep and were pulled into the shadows the man. Later, they would turn up with their eyelids missing. The people then tried to the homeless man to cut his eyelids off as well. The strange conversation continues until Jamie and Green boy tire and descend back into their resting place.

    Jake, a man imprisoned sits in his cell. Blank. His failed attempts at suicide were told, and he ends up giving up. He is then approached by a small cockroach that quietly invaded his cell. Jake is blithe at this notion and attempts to claim the cockroach as his own. He was afraid of the roach leaving, and him being alone and abandoned. Jake begins to fantasize about falling in love with the roach and the endless literature that he would write on his/her behalf. When Jake attempts to befriend the roach, a toxic smoke enters the room. Jake refuses to give up the insect and shouts in despair. The room overfilled with smoke until a woman in a green suit is presented strapped to the ground. Jake realizes in order to save his roach friend and leave the room, the woman must be the key. Jake brutally rapes the woman until her true face is revealed, Jamie. The doors of the prison cell open and Jake and his roach are able to escape.

    The continues as the initial main characters are introduced. Each scenario revolving around Jake, Elis, Green boy and Jamie connecting another to piece to the puzzle. Green boy and Jamie realize their worth in the world and attempt to make another tear in the universe similar to that of Elis'. They do so, but the tear is not large enough for them to escape entirely. During this journey, they come of up with an idea to do a “take-over show”. This show involving gathering mass amounts of people in hopes of helping them stretch the tear so they can escape. They call this plan, Blubber Island. After Jake's escape from the hospital, he stops in the middle of nowhere on a highway. He captures of group of Indians and is invited to join their activities. Jake comes in the middle of a ceremony for an infant that had died early. The tribe was mourning the child's death and attempts to explain the meaning of the celebration to Jake. The death of the baby was compared to that of a bird's death by tourists and it's children starving. Jake gets high with the Indians and eventually leaves them.

    Elis is reunited with the old man at random. Elis tells the old man that he had forgotten who he was, but then realized it was the same man from dream. The old man tells him the reason for him invading his dream was because of the danger humanity was in. Elis still doesn't understand what he means. The man explains that the evolution of the universe is now conscious of it's existence, therefore defying the law of physics. The mind is merely a building block and is now attempting to evolve into something else. He tells Elis of the tear that is slowly altering and ripping apart the reality around him. Elis interrupts the old man and tells him he has lost the dream. The old man is bewildered and attacks Elis for dooming the entire existence of the human race.

    Once their intense battle subsided with a rainstorm, the old man tells Elis of “collective unconscious”. A psychic universe in which human experience connects everyone. A place that he prefers to call, Blubber Island. The old man longs to go there, as the mind is in it's most fragile state and highly unpredictable. A spiritual realm that has its own demons as well. A place that also interacts with the real world. If violence occurs in the real world, the event manifests itself in Blubber Island. This is the same for Blubber Island as well. The positive and negative things that happen there, also come to light in reality. The old man had found Elis' tear, as it was so big it made his own journey unnatural. The tear grew larger and larger until the old man had to interfere. The tear had become so big that corrupt creatures not only exist in Elis' mind, but his reality as well.

    Jamie and Green boy began their take-over show. A large band began player, accompanied by hoards of punks and other bystanders. The music suddenly turned angry and sour. Jamie was confused. The audience began going mad. Stomping to death those who accidentally were pushed into the crowd. People smashing into each other. Punching, kicking. All out chaos ensued. Mounds of blubber globs arose and began being thrown around the crowd. Everything and everyone was being destroyed. The police attempted to handle the event, but were pummeled to death. Jesus appears and tells the audience of how he has given up and wants time for himself. He then leaves, and random pedestrians attempt to claim the title of the All Mighty. Suit appears and summons a horde of zombies on the crowd. Chaos continues until of Green boy, Jamie and Elis all meet face to face. Elis attempts to let a bomb off in order to “fix” everything, but is stopped by Green boy. Jamie realizes that Green boy was drunk with a sense of invincible power and gives the bomb back to Elis. As Elis is about to set the bomb, he is eaten whole by a giant. Suit captures Green boy and attempts to eat him as well, but is stopped by Casper who appears at random. Suit tells Jamie he will give her back Green boy if she gives him the dream. She refuses and shoots Suit whilst receiving Green boy. Suit begins laughing maniacally as he slowly dies. Casper is in distraught. Green boy is bleeding through his neck. Jamie is left in shock of what she has done. This triggers the end of the world.

    Blubber Island has a wide variety of characters whose own stories are told every few chapters. Somehow, these stories are all connected. Each of the characters come from different backgrounds, but all have a similar goal. The reader is unable to tell which character knows who, or if they know each other at all. In the beginning of the book, it can be assumed that the stories are completely different between chapters, but as the book carries on, the connections between each character is known. These links are either made known between dialogue or through hints until the very last chapter.

    The initial main character is Elis. A science professor at a university who seems to be unsure of himself. He maintains a cocky attitude on the outside while having endless reflection in Blubber Island. Elis is the root of Blubber Island. His decisions in life affect the realm, and could possibly doom of all humanity. The book centers around his own selfish needs and how he takes to being the most important piece to the complex world of Blubber Island. Upon his supposed death, his importance his highlighted.

    Green boy could be seen as a younger, reckless version of Elis. He acts on his own terms, not thinking about the consequences of his actions. Green boy is another player in the game Blubber Island hosts. The boy gets thrills from the harmful chaos his tear in the universe causes and doesn't seem to mind it. The bigger his tear gets, the madder he becomes. His sociopathic ways are seen upon the uprising of the take-over-show.

    Jamie is the only relevant female character of the cast and seems to be the most sane despite her condition. Her origin is of an abusive home on the countryside. Jamie ran away from home after becoming fed up with her drunkard father and nonchalant mother. She was able to fend on the streets for herself, creating new names and stories for her upon each meeting. She meets Green boy and is instantly attached. They become two halves of a whole.

    Jake, an oddly written character with an indefinite background. His reasons for jail time are unknown. But his disparity for human contact give hint that he was a resident in prison for a long time.When he escapes from prison, his personality is seemingly normal. However, he is the most absent character out of the main quad. This could be because of his need to establish himself from once a mentally insane prison occupant, to a normal acceptable man.

The main conflict in this story is person vs. self. The four main characters are constantly in battle with their need for self pleasure. They take drugs in order to enter Blubber Island in an escape from the real world. This is shows the character's true selfishnesses. As they continually sin in the real world, they are affecting Blubber Island. The tears they created only get bigger and bigger, causing humanity to become potentially extinct. The characters do not seem to care how their actions affect a mass majority and do as they please.



    Green boy seems to be my favored of the vast majority. Despite being a very selfish and arrogant person, his actions are what really drew me into this book. Green boy always had a goal and would stop at nothing to reach it. He was unbreakable and stubborn at most. The plans and ideas he came up with most likely would have not worked in the real world, but it was nice being able to use my imagination through Green boy's. Green boy isn't a perfect character. He has nooks and crannies and open wounds that would usually make a reader look in the other direction. But his annoying imperfections are what makes him a roughly lovable character.

    Readers should definitely feel a sense of entertainment and a “thirst for more” after reading Blubber Island. Yes, this book isn't perfect, but if an author is able to make me reread a paragraph and go “What exactly did I just read?”, then the book was written right. For future writers, Blubber Island is a great introduction into figuratively writing gore and physiological scenes.

    A theme that isn't major, but is surely relevant is friendship. Jamie and Green boy stick together through thick and thin. They treat each other as family despite having contrasting personalities. Towards the end of the book, when Jamie realizes the trouble Green boy has caused, she still sacrifices the entire planet for the sake of him. Friendship isn't a big topic isn't this book, but is surely alive in between the lines and in small parts of the story. Between the gunshots and gore, there is still affection and love between the characters.

     The characters in this story weren't exactly the most relatable human beings. But they did have moments, even if they were split seconds, that I could connect with. In the very beginning of the book, within Elis' dream, he says “I'm sick of humanity. This is why I came here-to get away from everyone...”. After finishing this book and seeing the type of person Elis can be, I was able to spot a contrast in this quote and his further demeanor. Elis is in a extremely fragile state with in dream. He expresses not his hatred of humanity, but of his dislikes towards the people who wronged him. It clearly angers him, but at the same time, saddens him. Throughout the entire story, there is not a moment when Elis is emotional except at this point. I never like to be seen in a vulnerable state, like Elis. Our true personalities are completely different than what we portray to the rest of the world. However, when we get in a comfortable state within ourselves or someone else, our true thoughts come pouring out.

    On another spectrum, it was rather difficult to relate to anyone else in this book. The situations and characters were so goofy that it was hard to try and create a true connection with any of them. One of the main genres in this book is comedy and action, and these aspects outshined the rest of the characters. The small moments in the book are what when the components of reality come in and the reader is able to make a true connection.

     In all honesty this book was breathtaking. It had it's weird moments, events that even made me question what the author was thinking about when writing. But overall, it was a book that really made me question myself. Sure, it definitely wasn't what I was expecting when originally reading the summary on the back. But I guess that's what made me appreciate the book much more after all. However, this wasn't a perfect book. Yes, it is one of my favorites, but there are small aspects that left me confused.

    The main weakness that this book has is character development in my opinion. The characters weren't terrible, but it seemed as though the author mainly focused on writing a face paced, action-packed, psychological thriller that kept the audience engaged. The character's weren't given much depth or background for the reader to feel connected or interested in how they should be perceived. Jamie was the only credible character that was given a background story, despite being a second main character. The rest of the character's seemed to be almost identical in personality’s and how they dealt with their lives. In my opinion, characters should have dimension. Within each chapter of a story, the layers of their being should be unfolded. With Blubber Island, I never felt that.

    I wouldn't change much about this book. But I would definitely change the way in which the rest of the characters are gradually developed. This book would have been just as good, or even better, if characters like Elis and Green Boy were seen not just as faces for each situation they are in, but individually. Also, it seemed that there was a ridiculous amount of bloodshed and detailed gore. This aspect was fine at first, but became repulsive as the story progressed. Most situations, in reality, wouldn't have required loads of blood to seem as gruesome as in Blubber Island.

I do not recommend this book to those who prefer books with deep meanings, long journeys, and characters that have a deep past and connectable personalities. This book is more targeted towards readers that have a wide imagination and a little bit of immaturity to them. Blubber Island is a fun book with entertaining characters and doesn't really have to make an effort to impress the reader. It makes one raise an eyebrow just by existing and being included in a genre of books that most don't necessarily run to read. Discovering this book was a challenge, it was that far down the food-chain of book types that most would look over in a heartbeat. I wanted a specific type of book that was out of my element and could possibly introduce me to a new genre I had not previously explored. This book did exactly that. Every scene and moment was unexpected and kept me engaged. I devoured this book and wanted more after reading. Blubber Island is a great book for those wanting to start out reading a “different” genre of books.


blubberisland
​For the creative portion of this project, I decided to illustrate my own depiction of the four main characters. (From left to right) Jamie, Green boy, Elis and Jake all sit in Blubber Island. A place where they finally feel at ease from the stresses and pressures of the real world. Their escape and use for selfishness. The same place that brought about their doom.
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Rburenstein Process Paper

Capstone Process Paper

Ruben Burenstein

 

 

For my senior capstone I worked privately with students in the Spanish 2 class I assistant teach as well as research teaching techniques. At the end of the first quarter Don Marcos and I sat down to choose students that I would help. We chose the students that seemed to be struggling in the class. During the warm ups of class I would take the designated students out of class and give them a worksheet to complete, or an activity. The worksheets would cover things like conjugations of different tenses, and the activities would be based on conversation and practical uses of what they’re learning in class. The second part of my capstone was researching teaching material to help me look back on my experience teaching these kids, and seeing what I did right or wrong.

I chose this project mainly because of my history with teaching. My dad used to teach classes at Drexel so I was first introduced to teaching at a very young age. I didn’t really want to be a teacher until 8th grade. In 8th grade I had an amazing Spanish teacher that made me love the language and the class. It was from this moment until half way through junior year that wanted to be a Spanish teacher. In the middle of junior year I had a crisis where I completely lost my faith in teaching and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. This is what inspired me to do my capstone. I found out that I would be SAT’ing Don Marcos’ Spanish 2 class, so I thought that this would be a great opportunity to see if I enjoyed teaching as much as I thought for three and a half years. I used my capstone to see if education was something that I could envision myself doing in the future.

My capstone addresses the “Inquiry” core value because I had to ask myself what I already knew about teaching. I also had to ask what kinds of different teaching methods are useful for different situations, like does a language require a different style than math? The research I had to do mostly revolved around these questions, and then occasionally refreshing myself on the material that I would prepare for an activity or worksheet. I collaborated with my peers and teachers during this project. I had to collaborate with the kids that I was teaching because there would be on capstone without them. I also had to collaborate with Don Marcos and Mr. Sanchez. Don Marcos helped me organize my capstone, as well as being there as a mentor and support throughout the process. Mr. Sanchez helped me when I needed a book to help me analyze my work, providing several that were exactly what I needed. For the presentation core value, I had to present activities and worksheets to the kids, as well as do the capstone presentation during the last week of school. For the reflection part of capstone I read a book The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong in order to see what I did correctly, and what I could have improve on. I compared the techniques discussed in the book to ones that I had used in order to see how I could improve as an educator.

To complete my capstone I first did some preliminary research on basic education techniques. I then made a timeline to make sure that I actually planned worksheets or activities. Next I started creating or planning the work that the students would complete. This sometimes required me refreshing myself on the material they were learning in class incase I had forgotten since I took Spanish 2. I didn’t take the kids out every day, and stopped creating worksheets and activities around the middle of April. At this point I got a book to read so that I could learn more about teaching techniques and compare them to what I did.

The main obstacles that I encountered were complications with planning and lack of motivation. The second problem seemed to stem from the first problem. There were many days where I had something planned, and then the kids didn’t have a warm up in class. If they had to work on a project I didn’t feel that it was fair of me to take them away from something that was significant to the real class and replace it with practice. There wasn’t really a way for me to overcome this because I just had to accept that there were days they definitely couldn’t come with me, and that I would have to find other days. This caused the lack of motivation because sometimes I would make a worksheet and then the students wouldn’t have a warm up for a week. After this week was up there was usually a new topic introduced so all of the things that I planned kind of seemed outdated. This made me feel like the work I was doing wasn’t being useful so I would get demotivated and stop creating ideas for a while. I overcame this at several points by realizing that I had to continue working, but it continued to be a problem throughout the process.

The main resources I used were my teachers and father. Don Marcos helped a lot in identifying the students that I needed to work with being a large reason that I wanted to teach Spanish. He also provides his Spanish 2 students with links to help them improve Spanish on their own time, which are the websites that I mostly used to refresh my memory on topics. Another teacher that was extremely helpful was Mr. Sanchez. He was there to help me as an advisor whenever I was stuck on something, and also provided me with the book that I used to reflect along with several other useful books. Getting information from Mr. Sanchez and Don Marcos was much more useful than information from a library because they have been teachers for several years instead of a book that could be inaccurate.

The thing that I’m most proud of in this capstone isn’t my final result, but little moments that happened along the way. Whenever a student I was helping said “oh I understand that now” because of something I showed them it made me feel really good. I also liked seeing their progress after they said this to see if they actually understood it, and if they did I was very proud. I also liked seeing the kids that I was helping perform in class and do better than they were before whether it was on tests or simply their accent.

From this process I learned a lot about how to interact with other kids as a teacher. I realized that it’s hard a lot harder for a teacher that is close in age to the students because they are taken less seriously. I learned the most about teaching techniques and ways to be a more effective teacher. The book that Mr. Sanchez gave me clearly talked about several problems that first time teachers could have and I could see myself having them if I continued in the style that I had been. This project helped me realize that even if I feel something might not be used, I have to do it anyway for my own self-improvement.

If I could do my capstone all over again I would first write down every mistake that I made this time and try to fix them. I think that if I fixed all of the mistakes that I made in teaching this time and work prepared for the students more often, then I could have made a greater impact on their Spanish speaking skills. I also think that I could then look back at that process and see what I was still doing wrong. I would also try to thoroughly document the process of the kids that I was helping in the class to see if my lessons were helping. I think looking at their grades starting from when my lessons began and looking again every week would be interesting to see, as well as provide information on how I could be more effective.  I would also try to make a larger variety of lessons, or make sure that all of my lessons were as effective as possible.

My capstone made SLA a better place because of the people that I helped. Although the kids that I helped didn’t completely change around their act and start doing great in Spanish, they did improve a little. I could see when they started to understand something because of my lesson, and then use it without my help in class. I also helped because I will now be able to share my information of teaching methods to other people. I can tell them the basics of how to progress a students learning, instead of just giving them busywork. SLA is better because I helped students learn material that they didn’t understand, while improving my knowledge of teaching.

 

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