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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

         “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

This past school year in English and History, I gained a better understanding about what is currently going on in the world. I learned that there is so much stuff going on around us that we are unaware of. Not only did I learn what’s going on around us, but I also got a better insight on the use of language. Language can be your own unique way of communicating. Whether it’s art, poetry, making up your own words, or just speaking how you grew up speaking, language can be versatile. Overall, I gained a better understanding of what is going on in the world around me. 

One of the things we learned about this year in History was the Renaissance. The Renaissance  involved a lot of art. Artists in the Renaissance used art to express themselves, or to express their admiration of people and places. Art in the renascence was a big form a language for the artists who made them. It was their way of communicating to the community. On one of my Renaissance assignments I wrote, “Artists discovered how to paint in three dimensions, bringing realism to their subjects. They broke away from the religious traditions of the medieval world, and the created new genres of art.” I got this from the research that I did on the Artists in the Renaissance. The artists communicated to the community by catching their eye with new genres of art. Here is one of my Renaissance assignments. This affects the world today because many of these Artists became famous legends. Today, the world is inspired by them because they made a statement saying that, you can speak through art. 

                               "Poetry is the universal language" -William Hazlitt.

Another form of language is poetry. One of our units this year in English was a poetry unit, and in this unit we had to create different types of poetry. Throughout this unit I got to communicate my thoughts and feelings into poetry. Actually poetry is one of the ways that I communicate my feelings, and also just writing. They are forms of my language because I’m free to write them however I please. I can say what I want, and not have to worry about what people may think. Here is one of my lines of poetry, “My heart was calmly waiting for me recognize what was right in front of my eyes...”. You can read more here. At the end of the unit we had a poetry festival where everyone shared their poems. Each poem was different because everyone had their own way of writing, and that’s what makes poetry a universal language. Another example is English journal #21 where I wrote about my opinion on having a mask. Society doesn't always allow us to speak freely, so we use art to speak for us. 

We also had language unit in English. In this unit we had to write a language autobiography about our own language. In my autobiography I talked about how I purposely make an effort to have perfect grammar, because I don’t want to be judged by society. Of course I still make mistakes, but I purposely correct myself. In my autobiography, I stated, “I let the use of grammar control me so much, that when I say something incorrectly I automatically feel ashamed. I get embarrassed and I come down even harder on myself. At other times I’m afraid to speak up because I’m afraid of how I will sound, that I may not sound right, or that I won’t make sense.” I came to the realization that language is whatever you want it to be, not what society wants it to be. This year in English helped me realize that one of the ways the world defines you is by how you speak. 

Not only did I get a better understanding about language, but I also learned that You have to step out of your comfort zone to embrace change. In English, we had to make a podcast called “Crossing Boundaries.” In this podcast we had to interview someone who crossed a boundary, and it could be any boundary. My interviewee was crossing the boundary of harshness to sensitivity. In the interview, the interviewee stated, “I had to learn how to be more sensitive. See, I was cut throat, I was told to be honest......and I was even honest if it hurt people, and I really didn’t care.” Being harsh was my interviewee’s “comfort zone”, and it wasn’t until something traumatic in her life happened that she decided to change by becoming more sensitive. After she stepped out of what she was comfortable with, she was able to humble herself by being sensitive. 

Another assignment we did in English was a descriptive essay. In my essay I described my experience going house hunting. My mom and I had never moved, so it was pretty new going house hunting. Moving involved adjusting to our surroundings, and we didn’t know where we were going to move. We had to step out of our comfort zone anyway, and take a leap. Since we were ready for whatever we would come across, it was easier for us to embrace moving. Now, because we did step out of our comfort zone, we moved, and adjusted to our surroundings just fine. To embrace change in this world, you have to take a leap.  

In conclusion, my knowledge and understanding has definitely expanded in History, and English. I’m very much aware of what’s going in the world that I was never aware of before. I’ve learned so much about current events in the world, past events, and things that happened in history that affect us today. I’m very grateful that I’ve learned what I’ve learned this year. Many of the things that I’ve learned, I will continue to carry with me. Like Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” I know that carrying the things I’ve learned with me will open many doors for me to go many places. 

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Never Shall I Forget- English Journal #41

Never shall I forget... that last race, spring season of my novice year. 
Never shall I forget the joy and tears of that bittersweet moment. 
Never shall I forget standing on that dock having our coach place the gold over my neck as the people in the stands stood up and cheered for us.
Never shall I forget how close we grown with our coach.
Never shall I forget how much we learned from her, and how much she inspired us. 
Never shall I forget the revenge we wanted on Merion Mercy that day and the excitement when we achieved that revenge.
Never shall I forget the commitment we had put into this sport that year.
Never shall I forget the pain, the sweat, the tears, and the smiles.
Never shall I forget... that last race, spring season of my novice year.
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For my senior project, I decided to do a fashion show, to allowed the SLA community to be apart of it by designing their clothing and showing some skills they have. At first, I did not know where to start. I was confused on how exactly I wanted my capstone to be. Finally, I decided that I wanted each designer to create something that is already made into something new. I wanted the designers to also choose who they want as their models, and what designs they want their models to have. Everyone is not perfect, some people wants to do something once in a lifetime, but they cannot because no one has given them a chance. I felt as though having anyone in my show and as my designer was fine with me. It is hard to be something you want in life when there is no one out there who is willing to help you or give you a chance. Even though I may not be the best at speaking or writing, SLA choose to give me a chance as a student, which made me who I am today. Everything I have learned, I learned it from my SLA family. Therefore, everyone has a passion for something but may not be good at it, so I was actually looking for people like that. Also, I did not want any discrimination towards anyone, so I did not do any tryouts or pick and choose people. As the week went by, I changed up a few things because I came up with new ideas, I needed the SLA community to help me donate clothes, shoes etc., or anything they did not want. The next week, I more and more about how exactly am I going to do this in so little time. I watched Youtube fashion shows and read more articles on how to create clothing, for example cutting sewing and even styles that I thought were cute. After weeks of researching, I found 5 designers who were interested in being a part of my capstone. I told them exactly how I was confused on what to do exactly but I will soon figure things out. So with the help of the SLA community, I was able to get two big bins of clothes and other things. I showed my designer some ideas I learned from researching, and how I wanted them to present their designs. 

  Each week I changed my capstone, or just made it better with some new ideas. Since I wanted it to be a creating new styles from old style I asked my SLA community to help me by donating clothes they did not want. After, I asked the designers to choose five models to model their clothing. Also, they should sketch out their designs for me. Afterwards, I let the designers buy fabrics and colors for their designer, some of them wanted to sew new clothing but did not in the end. Since it was all about the designers, I then thought of a new idea again. I decided to have five themes for the fashion show since there were five designers. Each designer made two outfits per model. As the process went on, a lot of things changed. Some people were not coming during the week to work on their clothing. Some of them were not able to sew with the sewing machine. Also, one of my of my designers dropped out. At first I wanted to freak out and cry, however I did not because I learned that it would not solve the problem and the show was in a week. So, I decided to create a theme to fill in for the designer that dropped out. I asked a teacher to teach me how to sew. I learned how to sew and dip dye in two to three days time, then I helped some of the designers who needed more time on sewing. Along with this, I asked some of friends from CHAD high school to come in to help because they were the experts at it. The week for the show, I taught the models how to walk, asked the camera crew to record for the show and got the DJ, makeup, performers, all that I needed. Overall, at the end of the day, my show went well, because everyone that I asked to help me did their part, and I made sure everything was set up correctly. A lot of the people in the SLA community helped the show to be great, so without my designers and them, the show would not have happened. 

I am most proud of myself, I really had no idea how to start at first but I just know I needed to start, so as weeks went by, I came up with more and more ideas for the designers and i never depended on anything. I always have a back up for just in case. I learned a lot of things threw out this process, I never knew anything about sewing clothes or cutting patterns for the clothes before sewing the clothes. I also learn that teamwork is the most valuable thing you need to a fashion show. But if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would start earlier on plaining things, instead of waiting, I would work with the models for a long time instead of waiting the week of the show. SLA is a better place because I allowed some of my following SLA students to show their talents or got the chance to do something they always wanted to do but never got the chance to do it. Maybe, it change some people lives, some of them may want to become a model or have more confident in performing now. Also, the diversity I made the show to have, everyone felt comfortable with what they was representing, each styles represents something and I feel really good that I was able to make some people feel confident of what they do.

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Q4 Art Drawings

This quarter in art we focused on how to make all of the things we learned throughout the other quarters and made them come to life. We had to make it so that we have developed our drawing skills. So this quarter I really focused on making my drawings life like and making them great to look at.  I believe this quarter was more difficult becasue I had to really incorporate everything I had learned over the Academic school year and make it so that I had life like portraits.  
This quarter I had the most difficulties because I was so focused on developing my skills I really had a tough time demonstrating what it was exactly what I learned. I think it is more difficult to express what it is you are learning on canvas than in any other region of art. This school year I really developed an appreciation for the way things go on in the Art community. Drawing these portraits this year really made my had more steady and I think I am a way better drawer now than I ever was.
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Voces Inocentes

Mi proyecto se trata de cómo guerra puedo violaron derechos humanos. Voces Inocentes se trata de un niño nombrado Chava y su amigos dealing con la guerra civil en El Salvador. Porque de guerra los soldados obtiene niños y forzando ellos luchar sus lado. Chava y su familia y amigos deben sobrevivir la guerra civil.

Voces Inocentes toma lugar en El Salvador en  el 1980 ’s durante el Salvadorian guerra civil. Los carácteres principal de Voces Inocentes son Chava y su familia y amigos. Chava y su amigos toman doce y los soldados de el Salvadorian guerra obtiene niños a doce y fuerza ellos luchar.

Clip 1 22:20 - 23:50


Durante el clip los soldados toman los niños de sus escuela. Este es un violación de educación derecho. Los niños son solo doce y estando fuerza luchar en la guerra. En la militaria no el cosa sola ellos enseñar los niños es como disparar un arma de fuego. Los niños no tienen escuela media y estando tomado hacen soldados.

Clip 2 de 56:50-57:10


Este es un ejemplo de un violación de no  persona debería ser tortura. Después la lucha afuera de la  escuela  los soldados golpean y tortura la sacerdote. Los soldados dijeron que la sacerdote dio permiso por soldado usar iglesias. No persona merce tortura, la sacerdote y las gentes de El Salvador quieren nunca hacer con la guerra.

Clip 3 de 58:20-59:50

Libertad de pensamiento y libertad de reunión pacíficas

Durante esto clip la sacerdote es predicación a todo de la gente sobre la guerra. Este es un ejemplo de defendiendo  libertad de pensamiento y reunión pacíficas. Como la sacerdote habló mas gentes juntaron escuchar. La sacerdote fuera haciendo mal nunca por expresando su pensamiento así los soldados no pudieron interviene.

Aprende que en el Salvadorian guerra civil niños fueran fuerza luchar a doce. De la película soy tomando lejos que todos nosotros deberíamos disfrutar las cosas pequeñas en vida y no tomamos por concede. La película también hace mi realar que allí son gentes en otros lugares que tiene ir  pasado cuando malo cosos diario.
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Final Art Blog, Good Bye Readers!

This is the last quarter of Advanced Art, and we continued to finish up on I learned so much from the site, and my drawing skills have improved. I started with Section H, which was focusing more on face, lips, and the human body. But drawing these helped me with shading and make things in 3D look more realistic. I applied all the things I learned this quarter and improved on my drawings. My favorite drawing from this section is the kid that looks as if he is running, I applied all the skills I learned into this one photo for sure.

The next and last section I focused on was section I. This was a difficult, yet very interesting section, this section tied in all of the new things I know about drawing. I expressed my creativity through my number 2 pencil creating some of the best pictures I ever drew. One of my favorite pictures from this section is the turtle, I shaded, sketched, and made sure it looked real as possible. 

Once I finished that, I remade a art project I did a while back. I copied another artist photo, on a huge paper. I believed my skills and art talents improved, so re drawing this seemed like such a great idea. Once I finished I told my self my hardwork payed off, my art skills improved and now I call my self a true artist. Look below for the final picture, good bye readers.

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A Presentation On Public Education At TFI

​Name: Andrew Chalfen
Mentor: Chris Lehmann
Supporter 1: Doug Herman
Supporter 2: Luke Van Meter
Out of School Mentor: Alice Ginsberg
Out of School Supporter 1: Fredrick Bertley

Topic Summary:

The goal of this project was to understand the economics behind public school education and immerse myself in the environments that are effected. Through that process I created a website to outline my work ( After that I set up a time at the Franklin Institute to give a presentation on my project. Through my presentation I educated and raised awareness of over sixty different people.


This project was inspired by two events in my life. First was a constant delay in transportation after an away basketball game leaving me wondering about the environments of the schools I was visiting. Second was a conversation I had with Mr Herman about white flight in the strawberry mansion area. As my project progressed I was constantly finding myself surprised by how the reputations of many schools were far worse then the school itself. I studied budets and the effects it has on educational culture and learned a lot of surprising information. My presentation at TFI was probably the biggest moment of my academic career not only being filled with my teachers and peers from SLA but also many family members and around 30 of my closest friends from outside of school came and supported me. My project created of serious issues that could potentially impact future generations of students in Philadelphia.
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The Giver - Independent Reading

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Review by Todd Samuels

This children’s novel starts out in a dystopic place. It is a fictional story. Though it is first seen as a utopia by the reader initially. The story follows the main character named Jonas, Jonas is 12 years old. In this fictional society Jonas lives in the society converted to a practice called “Sameness”. The society elects Jonas to be in the position of “Receiver Of Memory”. 

This is a custom in their society that when you turned 12 you were given the job you would have for the rest of their life. For Jonas this meant he was to remember the past ways of all the times before the practice of “Sameness”. He then meets the previous receiver The “Giver”. Jonas initially is confused at the knowledge that is being presented to him. Jonas realizes that his society is deprived of so much information but if they were to find out about what was going on outside of their little world it could cause major chaos. The people in his community are only happy because they do not know a better life. Jonas questions whether to stay with his community or to leave an to see what else is out there for him to explore.  

He asks The Giver to come with him, they both decide that the time for change was now. Jonas had been curious to know what more of the terms in their society meant like “release”. You might just think the normal definition ‘letting go of something’. The something is this society was being lethally injected upon your will. Even having twins was not legal, the smaller twin was literally thrown away. Jonas knew that this had to change. With his new found interest in the outside elements of affection and wanting change Jonas becomes attached to a child that is in the Nurturing Center which is set to be “released” the second day. He, The “Giver” and the child devise a plan to escape. They do escape and get the where was described to be a land called “Elsewhere”.

I do like this book the story constantly kept me engaged in what was going to happen next. This story was somewhat like the hunger games in a sense with the rather extreme measures that were taken in the story. I do not think that there were any in fact weaknesses in this story it is apparent that it was a well thought out plot which is meant to confuse the reader initially until the reality of the story is revealed. I would definitely change the killing of children, babies I do not think that aspect was necessary although it was a major part of the story the reader will not realize until the end though.

Yes I would recommend this book to other people, it isn’t just your average “Cinderella story” there is substance to the reading which keeps you wanting more in my opinion. The author initially draws the reader in with radical customs things that you wouldn’t expect as a first time reader of this story which drew me in as well. The story is well written; and there are three other stories that are a part of the series making four books in total. This is a great reading for all ages.

Creative Poem

 Fiction: By TJay The Poet

It's fiction but its real
This is general & the author is kinda famous 
After reading a bunch of pages at some point you're caged in
You don't want to face reality , he puts knowledge on you it follows you
You must make a decision 
So you devise a plan 
You become 
attached again 
Killing babies , 
and it's crazy 
Maybe you weren't ready , 
he had decided already , 
then he brings his accomplice ,
what he wants he accomplished , 
they go to a world where it was in the prophecy 
Shows that the giver was right 
it's not a game -

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Negative Drawing

​Negative space is the space around/between an image. In my drawing I found negative space by cutting my linoleum block with the linoleum cutters. It helps an artist to see negative space so they can see the space around the picture or drawing. I don't think seeing in negative space drawings because it still looks the same.
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Independent Reading Q4: 13 Reasons Why

Written Assignment:

For my final Independent Reading Project I read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This was a very and suspenseful novel. There were many things that intrigued me and hooked me onto this book. It tells the story of a girl by the name of Hannah Baker who killed herself. Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s acquaintances, was the one who was listening to the tapes throughout the novel.

One thing that I loved about this book was the detail in each character. Even though all you heard Hannah from was her tapes and thoughts, you could cleary guess what was going through her head. She was a depressed and stressed girl that had “reasons” for everything. I liked how Jay showed her emotions and feelings and it was also very relatable to the mind of a young teenage girl. Even though all teenage girls can’t say they killed themselves, there are things that make them want to. The reasons Hannah had were all great examples of that. (Whether it was related to relationships, friends, or family.)   

This book was really interesting to read and I didn’t want to stop. Although I couldn’t relate completely, most of Hannahs reasons were things that have happened to me before. It made me feel like I’m not the only one struggling with the kinds of problems she had. Even if I didn’t have suicidal thoughts because of my problems, I was probably pretty close. This book just reminded me of how my life used to be. It felt good to read because it was a reminder that I overcame my emotions and didn’t resort to what Hannah did. Overall, this book was actually better than I expected it to be and I would recommend it to many people.

Creative Assignment (Playlist):

Stranger by Jhene Aiko:
This song is about the artist having a connection with someone she hasn't met or someone she doesn't know too much about, but they have the same type of feelings. It also tells the story of someone not knowing what they have done or who has done something. In the book, Hannah has all these feelings for people that don't even know what they did. 

Save Me by Nicki Minaj:
This song tells the story of a girl who is lost and needs someone to help save her. She needs someone there to help before she loses her mind and does something crazy. In the book, Hannah actually went crazy and committed suicide. 

Sad Songs by Melanie Fiona:
Melanie Fiona sings her heart out about how she has no one to share or hear her feelings with. She sings about all the sad memories she has with people that brought her depression. In the book, Hannah is telling these people that broke her down what they did on the tapes.

Lost by Frank Ocean:
This song is about a young teen that lost himself and didn't know where his mind was. He let other people control him and didn't know how he could fix it. In the book, Hannah has all these reasons (13 to be exact) why she did what she did to herself. The reasons were all about what people did to her, such as Tyler, who was "creeping" in on her while she was getting dressed. Things such as this built up anger inside her that made her lose herself. 

Ordinary People by John Legend:
John sings about how everyone is very different, but more alike than you know. This song sends a message that people should be treated equally and should never feel like they a beneath someone. In the book, this is obviously the main reason why Hannah plugged the plug on herself. 

Catch Me by Nicki Minaj:
This song by Nicki talks says so much. She delivers lines about how people used to tear her down and make her feel invisible. My favorite line would have to be, "It's funny how you could always make me feel small, I have given my all. Catch me, catch me, I think I am going to fall...." That one line, I think, basically describes the whole book. People always made Hannah feel like she was small and unimportant. 
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It's Kind of a Funny Story Book Review

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a fantastic book by Ned Vizzini. It’s about this boy who finds his life so depressing or so he thinks; that is until he checks himself into a mental hospital and is admitted into the adult psychiatric ward. Once Craig gets a little tour of the hospital he finds that he does not belong. There are people with all types of problems there such as schizophrenics and psychopaths. Craig also has some personal problems. He has a really big crush on a girl named Nia. However Nia is his best friend’s girlfriend. His life seems like it sucks but he has things he also enjoys. He loves peeing. When he goes over to his friend’s house he’ll go into the bathroom and turn the lights off and pee. 

Craig has things that make him happy too. He loves drawing art. He likes to draw road maps. When he was four he lived in an apartment in Manhattan. The pipes were exposed and became very hot in the afternoon. Anyway his dad would take him out to breakfast and ordered him pancakes. The streets were sideways and the avenues were up and down. That’s how his dad would cut his pancakes and that’s how Craig learned where he lived. They’d name the streets and made their way to their address. This was a very happy time in Craig’s life. Now Craig is in the hospital and he’s enjoying the stay.

As his stay in the hospital continues he realizes that he has other things that make him happy. He finds that art such as music and drawing makes him happy. He also meets a girl named Noel. She turns his whole world upside down. She makes him feel happy and he likes her. She likes him too but they’re are kind of shy. Noel is in the hospital for cutting herself multiple times in multiple places. They learn from each other that life may get difficult but at the end it’s not worth killing yourself over. Things get pretty rough in the hospital because Nia comes and visits. While Nia is there she flirts with him and tells him that she and her boyfriend just broke up. Some things happen in the bedroom and he disgusts her so she runs out. He say something that Noel over hears and makes her mad. They soon forgive each other and fall in love. Craig gets out of the hospital and reduces the stress building up on his shoulders. 

I would recommend this book to someone else because I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty funny and it makes you stop and think. I think about my life and it could be so much worse. I’m thankful for the life I live and I’m glad I read this book.


They help you get to and from


It’s like a map but a voice

Make a right turn in a quarter mile

Make a left a the next corner


A boy who took the wrong turn

Right for happiness

Left for depression

Craig’s life wasn’t so good so he took a left

As he made that left he saw a beautiful young lady


It was like love at first sight but he then saw a boy holding her hand


They went right because they were happy

Craig continued down the left road

and came across a hospital

He went in but this time he made a right

In the hospital he discovered some interesting things

Art like music and drawing

Oh yeah and Noel

As he stay went on 

he realized right was the way to go

He fell and love with Noel

and she fell for him

it was beautiful young love

And that’s basically the end !

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Independent Reading Project: Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

Unlocked is meritorious novel by the Christian author, Karen Kingsbury. It is a modern day story into the lives of the two families. This story contains issues that take place today, such as autism, bullying, and acceptance. Unlocked is a tale of family struggle, but also miracles in the simplest things. This novel is a story of love, faith, struggle, and the supernatural. Unlocked was first released back in October of 2010. 

My book review below in pdf format:
English BMQ4 FINAL

For my creative piece, I made PECS cards. PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. PECS cards are used as a form of communication for people with autism and special needs. The person just simply holds up a card that explains what he/she is feeling. For instance, if that person is sleepy, he/she would hold up a PEC card with a picture of a bed. In Unlocked, one of the main characters, Holden Harris, used PECS cards to communicate. When he wanted to watch a movie, he showed his mother a card with a picture of a television on it. When he wanted raisins, he held up a card with a pictures of raisins on it. I made several PECS cards that Holden used in the book, such as ones that said, “I love music, I see, I hear, Movie, I pray, and Dance.” 

My PECS cards below:
PECS cards
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Here's the trailer of the book (P.S. Not made by me): 

Or click on this link

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Negative Spaces

​1. Negative space is when basically all of the colors are the opposite of what they should be.
3. IT helps artists see things from a different perspective.
4.I think Negative spaces helps enhance drawings that are not very elaborate.
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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

Throughout the year in English and history class, I would not say I found myself exactly because I do not think you can ever really find yourself, but I am admiring the person I am becoming. Before this year I used to be affected by media, and society’s ideas of who I should be, but I have found that you cannot be just another brick in the wall, you must strive to outsmart the society you are brought up in. I have been more rooted in identity. In English the biggest things that affected me were writing a descriptive essay, reading Passing, finding out how language plays a part in my life, making an interview, and understanding poetry. In History writing a play, and being a U.S. consumer during sweatshop trials. Also, our journal entries have inspired me as well.

In the beginning of the year, when I first transferred to SLA I was a bit vexatious, being the new girl, but the first day I was required to write a descriptive essay about anything I wanted to. I took out my pencil and paper (no laptop yet) and vigorously let my anxiety and emotions out to convey an essay about rowing. Rowing is my passion, my life, and being able to write about it gave me a certain peace in a different, uncomfortable environment, and that was something you cannot just give to a student, but they must find themselves. I wrote, "Sometimes, you do something you regret, or wish you didn’t, but sometimes just by chance you find something that shakes your world upside down. It was as if my heart finally found what it longed for. Crew is a sport that controls your mind and your body. It’s a dream where pain and pleasure collide. I didn’t choose rowing, rowing chose me." Being able to connect to my outside passion in school, in a certain way helped me adapt to SLA.

            After reading Passing, we had to write a reflection on how it affected us and what we can conclude to connect to the real world, and our lives. I wrote, “The truth is, we’re all broken sometimes. Whether it’s race, beauty image, or anything holding us back. We’re all fighting our own battles. The truth is you can’t be just another brick in the wall you must strive to outsmart the society you are brought up in. The truth is, it’s just like stating facts- marketing and advertising makes us insecure, convenience is the bane of democracy, and it’s easier to strive for someone else’s idea of perfection than to be our self.” I think re-reading what I wrote I learned a lot about myself, and realizing who I want to be, rooting my identity. That the hardest thing in the world is to be yourself, but it is worth every second of it. I really liked reading a book about race but connecting it in a different way to my inner conscious.

            Learning about language and how is shapes us into unique individuals really broadened my perspective on the world. I can be a stubborn person, but I am very willing to changing my perspective and learning new things. After hearing everyone’s story about how language is sincere to them, I had an opportunity to see the world through the rest of my classmate’s eyes, and my god it was breathtaking. The things that Mr. Block taught us in this unit I will never forget when I go forward in life, because whether we like it or not, we all are judgmental to everyone, but now I am a little more open minded to things I could never quite grasp before. Especially opening my classmates’ minds to my language; music.

            Making an interview about crossing boundaries was very helpful to me as a student, but also as a person. Hearing interviews about how everyone has their own struggles and how they overcome them, or cross their boundaries, shows that you are not alone. I interviewed my aunt about something she overcame, and it let me see a different side of her, and realize that when someone tells you you are not good enough, or no, it’s your job to turn around and prove them wrong. Our identity gives us the power to change the world, and a boundary should not change that. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 

            I used to hate writing poetry for school. I hate getting graded on my writing because reading what I write is like peeking into my soul so, why are you grading who I am. Somehow, though, by writing a ton of poetry this semester, I have come to actually adore it, and let people in. It is a way to express my emotions or memories through words maybe only me understands. I tend to find myself writing with a style of grammar light-ness, and not many capital letters. In a way that is sort of free and not constructed like school is, or any other formal writing. You're told to do this or it's wrong, but poetry, is yours.  I got to make a video on my rowing poem. Also, here you can find a found poem I wrote, by writing down lines I heard in one week at school.

            In History, I got to be a United States consumer in a Sweatshop Trial. I learned so much in this trial by watching a video about forever 21, and how they treat workers, something you would never except because we live in the US, and we’re under the lies and 'protection' of our government’s brainwash. I realized that when people say that you should not be complaining because people have it worse, you still have every right to feel bad about your problems because they are big and significant to you. I wrote “we feel bad because we compare them to ourselves. We feel bad because we have something better. But in reality, in the poor world, they don’t. The uncomfortable truth about sweatshops is that everyone works there by choice. So next time you buy something made in a sweatshop, you are funding the evil operation, sure, but at the same time, a bit of your money is going help one of the neediest people in the world survive another day. How bad can that really be?"

            I also got to write a play in history about finding yourself, and how media and society affects us as teenagers, and our generation is labeled the “reckless generation” but we’re only reckless with ourselves. I wrote "Our society has lost touch with reality. We find fault in everything and everyone, including ourselves. I see now that society feels that it's all about presentation. The way you look is an indication of social status. Less and less people seem to care about things such as intelligence, humor and loyalty. The media we are exposed to changes the perception of the reality." A lot of classmates personally came up to me and said they really connected to my play, and appreciated that I said it like it was, and it touched me inside that I could reach out to others.

            Our journals were a big part of my learning this year. I got to express everything and anything in one little book. One day a journal prompt was “I wish I could” and there are so many things in the world I wish I could do, that could take up my whole journal, but I just impulsively wrote down the first thing on my mind, and after reading it I realized it is the most important things within me. Another journal we wrote was supposed to be a haiku, but I started writing what I thought was a haiku but turn into a full out sincere poem about this kid I just started talking to. It is crazy how this point of the year my unconscious was thinking about this particular kid, and it came out in my writing.  

            In conclusion, I learned so much this year in English and History. I absolutely adore the way Mr. Block teaches, with theater, real life connections, and personal experiences. It has been the best way I have ever learned, and I learned a lot about myself, what I’m passionate about, what gives me stress and anxiety, what relaxes me, and what inspires me. I couldn't have had a better year in English and History, and I am going to miss these classes very much. 


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Negative Space- Joie Nearn

Negative Space is when you draw the outline of an object on one side and the other side is colored in. 

I found negative space by looking in between the spaces in the objects. Then I shaded the negative space. 

I think it is important for artist to use negative space so they can see the whole object. 

I think negative space enhances pictures so you can see the outlines of the object. 
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Elemental Project: Calcium

Inquiry: I had to find information on my element for 2 reasons.  I needed to know what has calcium in it and its background.
Research: I had to look online for some facts about calcium.  I also had textbooks in Bio-Chem to help me.
Collaboration: I asked a few friends what they thought of my sketches.  I also gave feed back on others' sketches.
Presentation:  First I made sure to post my work on SLATE.  That way my peers and others can see my work.
Reflection: I reflected on my by posting my work on SLATE and doing this assignment.
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Process Paper

Ryan Harris


Capstone Process Paper


For my capstone, I decided to work closely with 7th and 8th graders at Independence Charter School to help them create better National History Day Projects. Originally this was not my idea. My first idea was to create a class/club centered on what the children wanted to learn. I thought that this idea was perfect since it fitted perfect with what I wanted to be when I was older: a teacher. Here I could put myself into a position much like a teacher, while also engages the kids I worked with because they would learning about things they enjoyed like: sports, videos games, books, etc. After discussing the original idea with my mentor, we realized how cumbersome of a project that would be. With a project like that, I’d completely dependent on what the students wanted to learn. If they weren’t putting in any effort, I’d be out of a capstone. I would also be dedicating too much time to creating projects/lesson plans for the class every week. After discussing alternatives, we decided that I would help on existing process going on at the school: National History Day. This was definitely a better idea for me because I still got to be in a teacher-like position while having a better focus on my capstone. During the process of about 3-4 months, I learned how my capstone relates to the five core values.

With inquiry the students and myself had two major questions above our heads: “How do our NHD topics relate to the current theme of 2013?” and “If not, how can change our ideas so that they fit into this year’s topic?” Before getting into any serious work with any of the students I’d ask the kids to explain their theme and overall project in a couple sentences. This way the students can see for themselves whether they have a good idea on their hands instead of just me telling them. For research, I would try to help the students by introducing resources that can possibly collect better sources for the kids. Being that they are 7th and 8th graders, they collect almost that looks like a credible source. That’s where collaboration comes in. I’d be there to help distinguish between what’s “good” source and what’s a “bad” source. How something from a random website on the Internet is definitely less effective source that a source from something like an accredited newspaper. In addition to that, I also helped by showing the differences between primary and secondary sources. For many of them, it’s their first introduction into dealing with primary and secondary sources. Using my four years at SLA, I tried to demonstrate more effective ways of presentation a final product. I tried to show the students I worked with the idea of CARP (Contrast-Alignment- Repetition-Proximity), something we always try to implement in our final products at SLA.

The process of my capstone first began when I pay visit to some the students while they were in school. As introduced myself as an alumni of Independence Charter School and that I was once in their position with NHD projects. I told them about my experiences with the National History Day competition and even how my years at SLA have made much more proficient in creating projects. I tried not to come off as too demanding and that I was resource that they had the choice of using. When my mentor compiled as list of groups that wanted to work with me, it then transformed to weekly sessions where I would work with the groups. Although I was very optimistic about the process, I began to notice major issues even after the first meeting. I was just one person in a room full of kids that wanted my help. I quickly realized that I had to divide my attention between six different groups in only a relative short amount of time. Thankfully, my mentor was there to help me out. After one our meetings we decided that I would only work groups who were really invested in the process, but even that had problems. Every week I’d be meeting with a new group so there would be a constant dialogue between the students and myself. Even when I could meet with a group on a consistent basis, these groups already knew what they were doing. I couldn’t really add anything to the overall project. Also a lot of the time, I felt that input wasn’t even being taken into account. I would suggest something to a group and they either completely ignored it or just do it without even considering how it might affect their project.

I’m certainly proud of the fact that I stay with something like this. I was always ready to work with the groups even when it hindered my normal senior workload (benchmarks, projects). I also got to experience what a lot of teachers deal with on a daily basis. Most teachers, especially ones that teach grade school work with kids that are scatterbrained and don’t necessarily pay attention all the time. It’s certainly a difficult thing to deal with that I have to take into consideration when I become a teacher. If I could do this capstone all over again, I’d certainly recruit other people to also work with me so I wouldn’t be dividing my attention amongst so many different groups. I believe that SLA is better place for letting me attend because this is where I got to use all the things I learned in middle school and actually apply them to tangible and worthwhile things. I also believed it’s a better place because I became more invested in global issues and SLA has motivated me to become a much more globally minded citizen. 

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Kennedy Coverdale Q4 Drawings + Project

​This quater we continued using Drawspace to help us improve our drawing skills. In the unit we did, (H13-I08), we learned how to sketch figures and draw fur-related things in different textures. We worked on a lot of shading with hatching lines. During this quater, we had to do an outside project not related to what we were doing in class. I decided to create a ceiling tile in the art room. It's a picture of a the Aperture Science logo from a video game called Portal.

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Q4 Blog Post - Art

Since this will be last blog post for Art... ever... I would like to take the chance to get a little sentimental. Art, has always been a passion of mine but not exactly in the way that it may be for other artists. I lack inspiration, and I've lacked it for quite awhile, so my focus as an artist became improvement and growth. I focused on becoming one of the best and making realistic, beautiful pieces that I could be proud of. Freshman year I took advantage of learning the basics i.e depth, shading, and lighting and began working on pieces that put those concepts to use. I started out with anime pieces. Sophomore year I continued to work on those anime pieces and my shading technique but I found myself getting a little more cartoony here and there. Over the summer, before Junior year, I found myself getting more serious about my art. I was looking up photorealism techniques and how to sketch portraits. I recall getting some of the most amazing advice from Ms.Hull and taking it to heart. I credit her for the outcome of my very first portrait. That summer is when I fell deeper in love with art and decided to start putting together a portfolio. 

Throughout my high school career I never considered pursuing art professionally, although many people insisted I should or that it was a waste of my talent, but I always knew that I wanted to, at the least, minor in art in college. Knowing this, I chose to take art my senior year. Although the lesson plans (I felt) were slightly too cliche or easy, I did take the courses as a way to, if anything, exercise my abilities. Some were challenging (or took a lot longer than I was used to) simply for the fact that were not things that I was used to drawing and some were in color. I'm not particularly fond of using color, it's never been my strong suit, but I am fond of expanding my abilities and learned a few things from working with colored pencils. 

This year I have created my most treasured works and sketches. I know that this is partially due to the years I have spent at SLA, surrounded by encouraging, interesting, inspiring, and creative people. I also know that I would not be as confident as I am in my art if it were not for Ms.Hull and her personal encouragement and advice throughout the years. She has always pushed me to not to only do my best but to exceed my own expectations. She has given me the courage, confidence, and skill that has brought me to the place that I now am with my art and I appreciate that beyond belief. 

Hull, Thanks for introducing me to a whole new way of thinking, opening my mind, and helping me to unlock my talent. It means the world to me. 

Below is a slideshow containing the pictures I have done since my freshman year (at least the ones I'm truly proud of). I created an album on my Facebook dedicated to the things that I have drawn (not all of the pictures are professionally/correctly taken, forgive me). These are in order from oldest to newest and the last one being the most recent painting as well as my most recent favorite.
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Process Paper - Natalee Schiavoni

My choice for my capstone was very selective. After going through many fantastic ideas I knew that I had one passion that I wanted to pursue. My final choice was to produce and develop my art skills. Before entering Science Leadership Academy as a freshman I knew that I wanted to involve myself in the Art extra curricular class. In this class I wanted to become advance with my artistic abilities and find my ability to explore the world in the view point of a growing artist. I believe that there is no better place to learn art than in an art class room. I had the opportunity to learn not only about the world and its cultures, but themselves and their own communities. Art introduces ideas about how other artist and people live, worked and though, whiles nurturing an appreciation of their own way of life.  

I chose this project mainly because of my extraordinary love for art and how developing it became over time. My sketching and artistic abilities have immensely improved over the years and art having become such a standing point in my life that producing an art portfolio to show only felt right. In order to begin my work, I kept a close sketchbook near by.  As an artist I wanted to show my processed work and how I developed ideas by also showing how my work has matured. I also created a website to show case my finished work online as well as other information that I used such as a variety of youtube videos and resource pertaining to beginners to advanced art lessons/videos.

My capstone addresses the “presentation” core value because within my portfolio it documents visually my process of how well I developed over a course of time.  This project also involved the other core values that made my final project into a finished visual product. Though presentation best fits the representation of my project it also involved a lot of research. In order to do the research portion I needed to conduct some questions. What are some important aspects to improve as an artist? What other techniques and drawings can I challenge myself to? I needed to come up with a portfolio that embodies my ideas, research, innovations, skills, and work process. I also had to dig deep into the research to demonstrate good technical skills by making sure that I have the basics down such as anatomy, color, lighting, etc. A creative art piece without proper proportions is not going to impress and well slow down the process of improving. I collaborated with my peers and other outside sources as well as feed back on artist blogs. This feed back helped me when any questions I had on certain topics that related to art techniques and advice. For the reflection part of my capstone I was able to go to the free library of Philadelphia and get a couple books based on the fine arts and art techniques. I made sure I used all my research from the book and incorporated it into my final portfolio. 

In order to complete my final product I needed to start sketching what I learned from the research and begin my process in my sketchbook. As I began to start using all my open time into sketching I found it becoming fairly easy as I was familiar with beginners art techniques. The process started to become more and more interesting to me because I found myself coming across videos using online resources that helped me learn newer techniques and that is what gave my sketches a realistic feel.  To begin my process I first did some preliminary research on basic art techniques and art history. I then made a timeline to plan out the days I would be working in my sketchbook and updating my website, and also meetings with my capstone mentor Ms. Dunn. The videos that I research refreshed my memory on techniques that could help towards improving skills. 

One obstacle that I faced was coordinating with my set timeline and getting the right amount of time in for finishing up certain sketches. If I wasn’t done one of my sketches, it would become frustrating because I would not able to start another sketch until I was completely done the one I was originally working with. This problem keep some of the days of track and held me back from doing more sketching in little time. Obstacles as such gives a heads up for future awareness that time management can play a role in your art life. 

The thing that I’m most proud about my capstone is that I am about to represent myself as a learning artist. After finishing up anything that took you awhile to a complete, you have the greatest feeling of accomplishment. Looking back into the process of this capstone there were a lot of trials and errors due to the fact that this wasn’t my original plan and I started the portfolio idea later into the months because of my other idea not going through as planned. I feel proud of myself that I stuck through and choose something that not only helped me grow as an artist but also as a person, by finding myself through my art work. 

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