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Final Portfolio World History 2014_Kevin Courtney

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             Throughout the course of World History I’ve learned that people should not judge one another. Yea, we have a lot of problems throughout the world, but we solve them. Some people don’t even have the same amount of freedom and rights while some other  people do in the world. I remember in the beginning of the year as a class we made these monologues about the Keystone Pipeline XL. People were protesting because this was not going to save the environment. So with a partner in crime, We have dived into the research and collaboration of the Keystone Xl Pipeline and all the intuitively that is carried with it. Most people applied beginning questions such as “What even is the KeyStone pipeline?” and “How does this affect me?”. Over the course of the lesson we began to learn that the pipeline was a proposed idea for an independent refined oil source that would run through the United States from Canada. Everyone was tasked to understand the viewpoints of people who were pro pipeline and people who were against it. It gave us a chance to step into someone else’s shoes and think differently. This change of thought better supported growth in our minds and helped our ability to see multiple theorems and possibilities. To view my Keystone Pipeline XL Monologue Project click here -> ].In the second quarter of World History this year we studied religion. People would always ask “What is exactly religion?” Or maybe people would “Why is religion a big part in the world?” To have thoughts as a class, we wrote our brainstorming thoughts into a World History journal. Religion is something I think of all the time. Well clearly I don’t know the true definition of religion. But what I think religion is a belief or culture that a key part of someone’s life or life style. To view my journals about religion click here In my journal I was trying point out key points of what religion truly is. During the time while studying religion, I remember we would mostly focus on Hinduism, and Buddhism. When it was coming towards the end of the religion era we had this benchmark (project) that we had to describe a specific topic in religion. I chosen food because I know what always be a big part in someones culture/religion. While the class was working on their projects we made these wiki spaces page to put all of our information on it. To view my wiki page about food in religion click here Towards the end of sophomore year of World History, this is defiantly a topic I will not forget. That was revolution. Revolution is basically an instance for resolving. In todays world mostly revolution is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. Check out my thoughts about revolution which is here As you can see I wrote a good amount about revolution. But wait theres more. For one of our benchmark projects  we had to make a digital story video, that shows pictures while hearing audio. Click here to view the digital story. For World History I felt that I learned a lot about people everywhere around the world. I finally felt the true meaning of religion and revolution. Thank you to Mr. Block.

These are just some quotes from the History Journal..
“I think the acceptable time to criticize another culture is NEVER, unless you’ve experienced it” (Journal Entry #3)

“The time I witness a powerful piece of work was the Lupe Fiasco music video ‘B**ch Bad’. It was powerful because of the true meaning of how the whites and the blacks never got along” (Journal Entry #9)

“What is Religion? Well I don’t know a true meaning of religion. It can possibly be a belief/way of life, greater power, text/guidelines/commandments/shared language/myths, Morals, self-controlled, control of others, or worship.” (Journal Entry #10) 

“Usually when I get challenges I try not to put everything on myself, but I always try my best.” (Journal Entry #16)

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Final Portfolio

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Finding your identity in this world can be a hard task to overcome. For some people, it takes their whole lives to get to know themselves. It sounds silly to say that we don’t know who we really are, but it’s true that sometimes we get lost when it comes to letting our true personalities shine. Over the course of the year, world history has taught me that the only way to truly understand yourself, is to go out of your comfort zone. 

I first started to come to this realization of finding myself when working on my first quarter benchmark. For the project, we had to create monologues from different perspectives having to do with the Keystone Pipeline. This project was especially difficult for me because I am very strongly against the pipeline being built, but I had to write a monologue through the eyes of someone who was for it. While doing this, I almost started convincing myself that the pipeline was actually beneficial. I caught myself writing passionately about the pros of the pipeline... A little too passionately. I thought to myself, “how could I possibly be convincing myself that this is okay?” I realized that once I took myself out of that comfort zone of just saying no, I started to see the other side more clearly. I was disappointed in myself for going against what I believed in, and gave up on seeing the benefits.

Looking back on my old writing pieces from the year, I realized how much I actually have thought about people having to come out of their comfort zone. For example, when learning about Galileo, I was answering why society got mad at him for his findings. I said, “I think religion was more important to them because it was all they knew, so since science was so new, they went against it.” The people in Galileo’s society didn’t want to go out of their comfort zone by believing in new information, so they punished him for sharing. 

In the second quarter, we started our unit on religion. This is the time when I truly believed in the fact that you will only truly know yourself when you go out of your comfort zone. As a class, we went into the unit with our guards up, knowing that this would be a battle no one would really win. When we came out of the unit, I think we still had our guards up... but not as much. One of the major topics we were stuck on for a while was the meaning of the hijab in the Islamic religion. I can’t speak for everyone, but I never knew what the purpose of wearing the hijab really was, and I have definitely heard the argument that it is degrading to women. When it was explained that the purpose was to preserve a woman’s modesty, I realized how quick our society is to judge, without taking the time to find the true meaning of things. 

One of my responses to the book the Power of Myth from the religion unit really stuck out to me. I said, “some people, especially Americans, tend to frown upon cultures that are strict on marriage, but maybe they just have better values than us.” I am not apart of a culture that is strict when it comes to marriage, and my family isn’t either. When I was hearing about religions and cultures that look at marriage differently from me, I started realizing how much their views actually made sense. While I look at marriage as an extremely sacred thing, I don’t necessarily think it should be something completely controlled by family members, or be looked at as a strict occasion with many rules following it. But, learning about how others look at marriage made me question how seriously I take something like that that is so important. 

As the year progressed, the more evidence I had to back up my thesis. Entering the revolutions unit in quarter 3 only made my thesis stronger. In my journal, I wrote, “I think I’d die for someone I love, but not for something I believe in.” I remember looking down at my paper, disappointed in what I had just written. Do I have no morals or values? No, I do have morals and values, but only because I broke the barrier I had made for myself to say that I would stand up for what I believe in. If someone caught me off guard, I probably would have said, “yes, I would die for something I believe in,” but once I was able to break that wall of confidence, I learned a lot about myself. Whether it be because I don’t have something that I believe in that strongly at the moment, or because I just never will care enough about my beliefs, I realized that I am not the type of person that would be able to lead a movement. This was a sad realization at first, but it only educated me on my true personality more and more. 

Still in the revolutions unit, I wrote another journal entry that showed my true personality. “If everyone was nonviolent, than that would be a greater force for change. But since that will probably never happen, violence is a better force. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is the truth.” We had just learned about how terrible violence in revolutions is, and why it should never be used, but I still wasn’t buying into it. Yes, morally, I would say that violence should never be used, no matter what, but if you want to get something done fast, then violence might just be the best option. This was another one of those cases that made me question my morality and what I actually believed in, but it just let my true feelings show. 

In the final quarter of our history class, we were talking about what makes people the way they are. It’s always safe to say that when a person does something bad, or acts out, it can be dismissed because it is just a result of their past. I think as a class, we dropped the act of saying whatever sounded best on paper, and came to the conclusion that, “people’s pasts can be an explanation for their bad behavior, but not an excuse.” Even though it is definitely more comforting to forgive someone because you know they’ve had it rough, it’s not actually right. 

In the end, I finished the year feeling strongly about my true identity. Through all of the worksheets, note taking, documentary watching, and discussing, I built a stronger name for myself. 

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Final Portfolio

What I learned and was most interested in this year in World History was: people of all races, culture, gender, religion, age, etc should be treated equally. I also learned that there are many ways to create change and that ideas can turn into big things. An example of this would be when we started working on our revolution unit. We learned about how revolutions work, how they are formed, and what causes revolutions. I did a lot of research in my own project in my Digital Revolution Guidebook. Through this project I learned the effectiveness of violent vs. nonviolent revolutions. I compared the Libyan and Tulip Revolution to portray this and explained what occurred to teach people the effectiveness of these revolutions. Revolutions don’t happen overnight, they require time, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to see or create a change.

Another example of what I learned would be in our Religion unit. In this unit I learned about different world religions to gain a better understanding of each. I explored Christianity and Judaism in my benchmark. I use prayer as my overall theme. I learned and taught how prayers are in both religions and their meanings. I also tried to show how they are similar in a sense even though they are two different religions, they are closely related. This taught me more about the people around me and different belief systems.

This connects to a journal entry I had written when we started exploring the religion unit. We discussed how certain things influence our thinking and our lives. There are societal standards that is already placed for us to follow. We had a small discussion on how women are portrayed and how they too see themselves the same society has set these standards. For example in journal #27 I discuss the concept of women being sexualized and that they too are brought learning that they must be sexualized beings. This important issue of how the things around us like media influence our daily lives.

This leads into journal #49 where this idea is delved into deeper where gender the difference if gender is discussed. We live in a world where  our gender separates us from our abilities, dressing, and even the way we talk. Gender is a label that separates from female or male. It doesn’t represent who we are as a person or our abilities to do certain things. It’s only the genetic and physical interpretation of what we came out as into this world. I learned that there isn’t a difference between genders, the difference only exists because we make it exist.

Further into the school year we get to a more general idea of society. We discussed the issue of the rich vs. poor, in the response to Pathologies of Power. In the world today the rich see are enjoying the benefits of life while the poor think that they have no reason to exist.There is such a huge gap between these two social classes in the way they live. I have learned that the lack of money makes a huge difference. While the rich are feeding off the luxuries the poor are the ones watching or creating those luxuries through labor. We need both of these social classes in our world to work. Without the poor the rich cannot keep benefitting and without the rich the poor cannot support themselves without their money. It’s a twisted system that requires for there to be a balance of the bad and good.

In conclusion, I have gained a better knowledge of the world and how it operates. I understand the conflicts and struggles that we all face whether its with race, gender, religion, culture, etc. There are so many issues in the world that we can learn about or find ways to help. Concluding this year I feel like I have a deeper understanding of different people, societies, and countries.

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Final Portfolio

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In the beginning of the year when I entered world history class, I expected to learn about history dealing with world issues such as poverty. Not only did we learn that but we also learned a lot about culture, religion and beliefs of different people. During this time, I realized that belief systems should not influence basic human rights. While doing my religion benchmark during the second quarter, a really interesting quote I wrote down was this bible verseLeviticus 20:13 - If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” This quote was showing how the bible viewed homosexuality. This showed that the bible states that most people disagree with the concept of homosexuality. I compared this quote from the bible to how Wiccans and Atheist viewed the subject. While looking at both the Wicca and Atheist religions I came to the conclusion that both their views aren’t too far from each other about homosexuality. A meaningful quote I gathered from searching a number of sites involving Atheist was this “Homosexuals and Atheist support each other because they are both looked down upon”. I found this interesting because I never came to the conclusion that Atheist are looked down upon. Another quote that I found intriguing was “based on information provided by the jordanian department of health, it states that there is an epidemic of homosexuality and the minister of health warning the population to “protect their children” from this disease.” Even though they found this quote, they still accept homosexuals so they don’t let this quote influence their beliefs. Atheist are mainly accepting people because both communities are looked down upon. The atheist community are believed to be devil worshippers and hate god, while the homosexual community are looked down upon because of them liking the same sex which is a sin. According to the Wiccan religion “Sexuality is valued. Wiccans generally accept the findings of human sexuality researchers that there are three normal, natural, and unchosen human sexual orientations: heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.” The wiccans don’t believe in discriminating against anyone and likes to acknowledge that everyone should be viewed as equal and not outcasts. The wiccans belief systems don’t affect how they view basic human rights. Wiccans appreciate diversity in any way especially sexuality. They believe that everyone should be treated with respect at all times. Some wiccans believe that homosexuals lack spirituality now according to this quote “It is foolish for those who consider homosexuality lacking spirituality. In ancient times we were the priest, the sacred ones who blurred the lines of gender and sexuality.” Even though a major number of homosexuals today aren’t priest, ministers, etc because of the fear of being judged, we still are very spiritual and go to church a lot and are very active with church events.  This quote shows that people’s belief systems does not affect how homosexuals are spiritual because they were priest at one time.


Religion Benchmark

Battle for god

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Final Portfolio 2014

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Presently, the systems that make up every government are based solely off of corruption, greed, and social gluttony. Racism no longer exists because of hatred for one another. Instead, it is brewed out of the struggle for a superior social class. People oppress the different groups of the world to gain an advantage in life. Evidence of this stems from the theory that the education  system is purposely weak to send more lower class minorities into the grasp of the judicial system. It turns into a cycle where each new generation has no degree of acceptable education and must turn to a life of crime if they are to survive. Higher levels of education are granted only to those who are born into the superior social class. Our world segregates because of the need for power, not because of the need to hate.

During the second quarter of my World History class I was assigned to write a play that emphasized the meaning of social struggle and change. I decided to base my play off of the idea that our society works in a pyramid structure of class that depends solely on somebody’s race. The play was about the different ethnicities of the world banning together to defeat a greater evil. At one point in the play, a character declares, "The oppression of a race has nothing to do with racism or hatred, it has to do with the struggle for superior social class" (Play, Brek Carlier). Brek hit an understanding here that people have to be taught to hate and are never born with hatred. What they are born with is a struggle to survive in a world where there is no social equality. This is what could drive people to oppress another race even when they know doing this is wrong. Of course, there are people born into ignorance and begin to oppress merely because that is what they know to be true.

At first I found it hard to believe that the entire world could operate in this way. After completing a worksheet called “Scientific Revolution” I realized that an idea, no matter how good or bad, can spread globally because of the amount of success it has. I wrote, “An idea works like a virus. It starts out in the deepest reaches of your mind and spreads like a framework until every last inch is infected by it. When corrupt views move like a ripple through socialism it is not very unlike an epidemic. When these views are accepted globally that is when it turns into a pandemic" (Scientific Revolution Worksheet). By this I mean that ideas are infinite and can control the minds of many if they fit people’s needs. When the world is separated by class it must have seemed appealing to be able to fight for your betterment even if it is out of corruption.

I researched further on how people segregate different social classes without seeming too openly racist. I even took it out of the World History class and into the English 10 class. I found out that our education and judicial systems co-align so that more people fill jails while less people with schools. On a worksheet I stated, "A country's crime rate is solely dictated by that country's education system. It works in a cycle where you can only invest in one. Investment in education leads to a more peaceful country while an investment in the amount of jails drastically drops the quality of education the citizens of such country receive” (Global Education Worksheet). Members of superior social classes want to keep the minorities at the bottom of the food chain so there is no sharing or equality. They do this by providing a poor education system which leads to high crime rates which then eventually leads into the incarceration of many.

As unfortunate as it is, our society works in oppression. In my opinion, the only way to fix this problem is to spread empathy and awareness amongst the public. Then and only then will we have the encouragement to try and make a difference. I wanted to focus solely on the idea above but below is some other quotes that lead me to different general understandings. I will not go into depth on them for the sake of keeping your attention. Instead, I’ll let you make what you want of them.

Additional Thoughts:

"Without the attention of the world the people of revolutions would be left unsupported. Social media can be the most effective and yet the least helpful way of communicating change globally." (History Digital Story Script)

"Religion is not a road to happiness for people. The sole purposes of religion are to lend structure and reassurance to lives." (Journal #10)

"There is never a right time to judge someone, no matter the past, the present, or the will be’s" (Journal #44)
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Final Portfolio: Brandon Yam

Throughout my year, I’ve learned many things and have increased my knowledge on various topics. One class especially would be World History. I’ve learned things about the past as well as the present. We focused quite a lot on change as well as equality. When I say change I’m talking about revolutions today and years ago. When I say equality I’m talking about how women aren’t paid as much as men, human rights, and sweatshops. There is so much that I’ve taken into consideration after stepping into the classroom. I looked at my daily life through a new lens. I looked at the clothes I wear today and wonder why I’m wearing it. I wonder why I’m wearing the clothes that someone in another country made that is underpaid and living in harsh conditions. I wondered about how technology has changed the way other changes take place, such as the Arab Spring. There is so much to touch on yet, so little time.

The first thing I want to talk about is the Arab Spring. This topic was introduced near the beginning of the year and was one of the first to introduce the topic of change in the classroom. I learned how technology helped spread the awareness and support for the revolution. The people in Egypt did not accept the way they were treated, therefore, they fought for independence and are still fighting at this very moment. There is violence and many have died. In one of my journal entries, I address the idea of nonviolence and violence.  A specific quote that stood out to me and summarizes the whole idea is “Nonviolence shouldn’t have to be trained, but just present all the time.”

Click here to view the full version of this journal.

The second thing I want to talk about is just revolutions in general. Later on in the year, we were assigned a digital story benchmark. For this benchmark we had to focus on multiple revolutions and revolve them around a certain point. I studied the French Revolution, Arab Spring, and much more. The certain point that I decided to focus on was “What is the importance of spreading awareness with the use of social media in a revolution?” I constructed an iMovie with my partner Javier on the subject. A quote that stood out to me in the video was “Outside help can and will be the difference between a gallant victory or a dreadful defeat.”

Click here to watch the full video.

Now, I would like to touch on the subject of equality. Equality plays a major role in our lives today. Just being a woman is a major factor of equality. Women are paid less than men and aren’t treated as equally in the justice system as well. The same can be said for particular charges against men and women, but that’s another topic. When I was writing a journal entry one day I had to think of a woman scientist off the top of my head. The sad thing was I couldn’t. A quote from that journal is “I could imagine a woman’s idea in science being rejected based on their gender.”

Click here to view the full journal entry.

During the year, we’ve had many trials where we can debate with our other peers on matters that are important in the world today. Towards the middle of the year, we began a trial about sweatshops and the class was divided into about 5 sections. Each section being a different part of the chain to the making of sweatshops such as U.S. consumers, Corporations, etc. After the trial was over we had to post a reflection on how we can change the global economic system. One part of the reflection that I’d like to highlight is “Companies began to be questioned and pressured to make a change in the factories they produce their products in. Some have made a change, but not enough. There is still a fair amount of factories and companies out there that are under the radar and continue to abuse their workers. Suicidal nets are set up outside of some factories to prevent people from jumping out the building to their eventual death.”

Click here to view the full reflection.

The final piece I’m going to talk about that will wrap this up nicely is the Human Rights Benchmark. For this benchmark, we got the chance to work exclusively with Kate McGrath who works for the Philly Young Playwrights. She came down to help us make our plays and give us tips as amateur playwrights. I focused on the unfair conditions in china’s factories and took readers on a journey through the eyes of a man named Minho who escapes the factory and seeks help in America. There are many twists and turns in this play, but a quote that sticks out to me is

Click here to view the full play.

I enjoyed my year in world history due to the fact that I've learned so much in such little time. I've taken many things from this class such as morales, values, and life lessons. I've learned through the perspectives of those thousands of miles away from me. Those who got to experience this class is to be envied for.

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Final Portfolio

Throughout this year, we have learned many different, interesting things in World History. We were taught to have our own opinions during different units and stand by it. During the third marking period, each student had to make a revolution guidebook digital story benchmark and the goal was to choose a key issue, investigate that issue, then using examples and quotes from different revolutions, explain your point of view about that specific idea and support it. My project evolved around the question, “which method makes a revolution more effective or successful, violence or non violence?”Here is my project.. Coming into this year, I used to think that violence is always more successful than non violence because the message doesn’t really get across and people don’t really take it seriously unless they are forced to. However, I decided that my point of view during this project is that the non violence method is the most effective one. Now I believe that non violence is the answer to every situation that is presented, violence is never a good idea no matter it is. Why? Let’s explore.

The second quarter highlighted some of the exciting things that we did. One of them was a mock trial that we did as a class. We were divided into groups and each group had to take turns prosecuting other groups and defending their own groups. The goal was for each group to convince everyone else that they are the most innocent one. This trial was for the Cortes invasion of the Aztec empire. During this trial, we saw that Cortes and his men to take control of the land and be forceful rulers. One would argue that this was a successful invasion except for the side issues since he accomplished his goal but I would argue otherwise. For the trial, we had used different characters of the invasion and my groups was the king. One of the statements that we used was, “Cortes’s group wiped out a country nearly completely. Cortes’ group set their own ship on fire so they could continue the violence when his group wanted to stop, but he wanted his men to continue the carnage making him a guilty person.This document can be found by clicking this. If you click here, you can see my group's document for another mock trial that we did as a class. We used this statement in an attempt to prove that the invasion was not out fault but indeed theirs. It is clear that there was massive murder while Cortes and his men were there and that led to nothing. They were not pleased with the way that the Aztecs were living their life while they were there but they did not realize that killing them was not the answer. This killing was unnecessary and they ended up turning on each other as time went by. This brought to my attention that maybe my conception of violence was wrong and that maybe I should find another way to perceive it.

Another unit that we did meant that we had to make a wiki document informing the public about a specific issue relating to religion. We were expected to use multiple religions for the one issue in order to go more in depth.This is the link to mine. During my project, which I used Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism as the religions that'll help me prove my point. I learned that homosexuals were being tortured, and even killed in certain religions because of their sexuality. They thought that that would help but instead that only created more protests and more violence. Violence only leads to more violence and that is never a helpful thing.

During my digital story, I used quotes from the famous Ghandi and Martin Luther King to emphasize my point. Non violence may take more time but it is worth it because of the lack of death and injuries. Human life should be more valued than an idea, no matter how brilliant it may sound. I used the Egyptian revolution and the French revolution to emphasize my point. During the Egyptian, there were peaceful protests while during the French revolution consisted of one too may deaths. While both revolutions seem to be successful since they both achieved their goal, a revolution should be judged by how little human lives were lost while the point was getting across. If this calculator is being used, the Egyptian revolution was many times better. This year’s learning helped me understand this important, key fact about violence and I am grateful for that. I never thought that violence was like an okay, normal thing but I always thought of it as an option. Now I know that I was wrong.

Journal Entries were another part of our learning in World History, below some of mine can be found:

1) Journal #40

2) Journal #50

Another piece of work that I created for this class is here.

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History Portfolio

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When I first heard of the subject of World History I was curious since in most of my other history classes they had gone over one central area in the world. At the time I had believed the world was too big to do a simple study all over all the world at once. I was proven wrong when our teacher Mr.Block showed us the connections between the different parts of the world and the unity of the areas. Eventually the leason moved beyond just telling us simple relations to understanding mindset and psychology of the people of the time. This had left a large impression on me to know that these mindsets at the time were normal.

Over the course of the year we looked over many real world issues from both the past and the present. One of these moment I found as a crucial example of psychology be a main factor in our progression was the French Revolution. During this time France was going through a very heavy debt and the people living there at the time had different views about who was to blame and what was happening. To the Rich and high class the money problems did not seem like an issue, so they simply taxed the poor. Through the eyes of the poor the rich were just trying to sustain their wealth and they should use their own money to pay. This leads to a revolution and causes much bloodshed among the people of the town. THough is is immediate that in today’s world we look at the richer leaders as the bad people, perhaps it is not their complete fault. Perhaps those who were richer we not aware of the problems going on in the poorer areas since the two sides were so separate.

Another moment of mindset is in one of my journals I had written about what gender was to me. I believed that gender is just chemicals and that their are no other differences. Though in todays world this is normal I now understand that it was widely accepted to believe that there were serious disadvantages to being a woman. This is just a matter of what you know the people of the past only loose sources and generalisation to learn from, now we have science to understand what we could not before.

Another example of the time’s mindset is the idea of religion superseding science, today many people believe in religion and science coexisting. Once people believed in the idea that religion was the head of everything and certain sciences were only secondary compared to the faith they had in their Gods. The Aztecs were told a prophecy of their Gods coming to them and coincidentally Cortes and his men came and killed them. This also happened when Galileo came tried to teach the people of his religiously trusting community of his scientific discoveries. Today we do not hold the same reliance as many of the people did in the past, we do not worry or need to pray as much as our ancestors once did. This is an impact of circumstance and the progression of our society, it is a sign that we have moved forward into new ideas.

People are much more than the character they can be seen in books they are people who have reasons for everything that they do or did. We learned this in my history class and I understand now that people that were once portrayed as good or bad were all had a psych, what they did with it was human choice.

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Final History Portfolio

Joseff Filamor


June 9th, 2014

History Portfolio

As the year comes to an end, I have come realize my strengths and weaknesses that I still need to work on for next year. I have always been bad under even the smallest bit of pressure. As we were introduced to Sophomore year’s history class, it forced me to do things I wasnt entirely comfortable with. First off; working with groups. During the Cortez trial, we were given groups and put in a courtroom to be prosecuted. My group, the Cortezs, were obviously the most guilty which made it all the more difficult. I volunteered to be a prosecutor and I went up with my knees shaking. Presenting in front of a group is one thing, but prosecuting against a group is another thing. Knowing that I am not the smartest person in the class, I was feeling the pressure. It all ended smoothly, although I wish I was a bit more organized when I went up. From doing the trial, I have come to understand that collaboration requires patience and organization. With a little more organization, I would have been able to execute the prosecution more properly. My main weakness is speaking in class. I am not exactly sure why I have the biggest fear or expressing my own opinions, I guess I am just afraid of embarrassing myself or being proved incorrect. Although, I feel confident when it comes to making video projects. In the beginning of the year, we were assigned a project to make a monolog about a pipeline. (VIDEO HERE) I am not under pressure when making a video, it is a lot more relaxing and stress free. I felt I did well on that video. Also, in the middle of the year we were assigned to research different revolutions along with an essential question to elaborate off of. We also had to make a video for that project (VIDEO HERE.) I feel like I did a solid job with those videos, I was organized and well prepared with my research. Lastly, for my journal entries. I have always loved creating journal entries because I am able to express my own opinions and not have anyone see them except the teachers. I am able to get constructive feedback and not have to worry about others seeing it. On journal 55, we were given a small sheet entitled “Does Process Matter?” A small part of my journal entry reads; Process matters in the sense of organization. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, the process can determine how ready you are and how organized you need to be. Another journal we had to write was about why religion causes conflicts. I wrote; Religion would not cause conflicts if we understood each religion. It’s because we are uninformed or not educated in every religion. We are brought up knowing if not one religion, no religion at all. If we a brought up knowing only one religion, the only we will truly understand is our own. If we understood other’s beliefs, maybe we can understand each other.

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Final Portfolio

Throughout my 10th grade World History class, I have learned a number of things. I learned about things that I didn’t even know was a thing or things I didn’t know I was capable of doing. For example, during the second quarter we started writing plays. My play was titled Fight to the End. It’s not finished but I would say that I’m very proud of this particular assignment. At first, I was like I don’t want to do this because I’m not a great writer. Luckily Mr. Block was prepared for those who didn’t feel too confident. He partnered up with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, that’s when Kate came in and helped every student with the revising process. She also gave us great ideas when we were stuck.

This class isn’t not just a class where the teacher talks and the student listens. We were given journal entries a lot and we would write what we thought. I remember writing a Journal Entry on the topic, Criticizing Another Culture. I had never really thought about this topic. I just thought criticism was wrong but in some cases it is needed. I also remember the religion unit very well. This is also something I hadn’t really thought about. Our question that day was, What is religion? As you might be able to see, I was not too fond of religions but after this unit, i discovered why I believe in a higher power.

The Revolution unit was also one of my favorites. That unit, I researched and learned about several different revolutions in addition to the one we learned as a class which I believe was the French Revolution. We made guidelines based off of opinions we made and what we think would be a great revolution.

I have so many favorites from this class I can’t choose one over the other. But if I did have to, now I would probably say the first Mock Trial we did about Cortes. I was put into the shoes of a prosecutor. Luckily I had time to prepare. From that link are all the notes I took to prepare myself for what was to come. I really did my research on Cortes because I found him the most guilty. Well because of my great prosecuting skills, the system came in second place as in second less guilty. It was very hard to beat the Aztecs who didn’t do anything but greet Cortes with happiness and riches. It was Cortes who took advantage of them.

I also like the Renaissance Art unit. We learned a lot about how paints were made and what inspired certains painting. We had to focus on specific people. The artist I chose had a lot of painting about the seven deadly sins. From this, I assumed that not only him but a lot of the people during his time were very religious, specifically focused on Christianity. I like this unit because I love Renaissance art. It not only improved the art that was before it but it shaped the way art is being made today.
Wordle: Block Class
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Final Portfolio

World History, although most commonly believed is only about things that happened in the past, is more than just stories of deceased people. I believe that world history is the study of things that affect the world and the future. In this school year, we have learned so much. As a class we explored many different topics, one that most interested me was the when we learned about social change. Through many different topics, we have studied how social change happens when people make a difference, or when they’re sick of what’s happening.

In the beginning of the school year we learned about the Age of Exploration. We began the unit by studying the Age of Exploration. As we were focusing on the Spaniards and how they were conquering different parts of the world. However controversial it may be, the Spaniards wanted a social change. Cortez and his men wanted to eradicate the “wrong ways” of the Aztecs, so they stood and decided to make a change. Although it was immoral and very fast paced, they made a social change. In class, we did a trial where the class was divided into different groups. We discussed as a whole and then the deliberations started. It was a very interesting jury, and one of the most engaging ones we had all year.

The religion unit is also something that supports the social change. In this unit, we explored many different religions and saw how they changed people who followed them. We did a benchmark in which we had to compare two or more religions. The religions I focused on were Judaism and Hinduism. I also studied how these two view the apocalypse and the hereafter. By doing research on these two religions, I was able to get a better understanding of them.

Another example of how social change makes a difference is during the revolution unit. Everyone in the class was expected to make a Digital Revolution Guidebook that compared two different revolutions. For my project, I did extensive research on both the revolution in Egypt and Cuba. Although the outcomes for these two revolutions are different, they both started with a similar cause. The people of Egypt were tired of having to follow a government that only seemed to bring them harm. The Cuban people were first against the ruling of Fidel Castro, however they received much more benefits than past leaders.

This leads to the final thing we learned about this year, colonialism. We explored the ideas of how colonialism can affect a group of people. For this benchmark I decided to focus on South Africa and how colonialism had affected their culture. This can be tied in with social change because of how the country was affected. Most people believe that with colonialism comes the change of an entire nation, however, the people of South Africa did not let that happen. They accepted bits and pieces of the change, but not the entirety of it.

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World History Final Portfolio 2014 Schwingel-Sauer


When looking back through all of the journal entries I wrote, I reflected on all of the units we learned. Throughout the year I have gained perspective and insight on many topics that delved into our world’s history. Every page of my journal had my thoughts and opinions and it was awesome to rediscover them. One journal in particular had us write down what we thought should be taught in a world history class, or what was worth learning. I came to a conclusion. History does not matter, unless we learn from it. The past shapes people, societies, countries into what they are. If you do not learn from the past however, you will not progress or advance. World History has shown patterns in religion, systems, countries, violence, and culture. 

Across the world religion serves as a structure, identity, and tool of manipulation. People use religion to structure their lives. People also rely on their religion to give them morals, values, and a purpose to their lives. Many people use religion as their identity. People find meaning in their life through religion. When comparing quotes about religion I said, “Religion takes control of people. People act through their veil of religion. You live through your religion. You are your religion. Religion is a tool of power and manipulation.” (Journal #11) Religion is corrupted by people who manipulate it and use it as a tool of power. Individuals put blind faith into their religions and are a pawn in controlling politics and society. Religion in the past has been thought of for more underdeveloped societies, but it is still very prominent in everyone's day to day life. Responding to the idea of less religion equals more advancement I said,“I agree with the statement that theoretically more "advanced" people wouldn't need religion as a source of guidance or faith. When I say advanced I don't necessarily mean intelligence wise. I mean more in almost a sense of mental health. That you can come up with your own morals and values because you have a sense of what the "right" thing to do is instinctually; not because someone/something in your religion is telling you so. That those without religious beliefs can have faith in themselves rather than a god or holy force/power. For example they can believe in themselves that they will get a big promotion and it will be because of their hard work rather than God has answered their prayers and given them the job. Almost like that not having a religion means you're more self assured and confident in your everyday life.” (Battle for God Assignment) Through this world history classes’ teachings the main issue when it comes to religion, is that multiple religions cannot live in harmony. There is never various religious people together without violence. We need to learn how to cope with others’ views as long as they are not hurting others. We need to learn to accept opinions that are not ours. 

Everyone is a part of multiple systems. In every system there are leaders and people in positions of power. In this world history course we studied revolutions and how they impact communities. We looked at how violence changed the outcome of an uprising and studied its effects. We looked at the process of a revolution; how they started, plans of actions, how/and if they ended. One fatal flaw commonly seen across many revolutions was the goal of change. Many sought to   kill or overthrow the leaders of these systems. While the leaders were certainly not contributing positively, the fault lies within the system. The system is corrupt, and you can change the leader however many times you want, but you will only truly succeed when you change the system with the injustices. When studying the French and Haitian revolutions I concluded the unit by saying,“The goal needs to be to change the system, not the leader.” (French & Haitian Written Response)

It is no secret that most of today’s modern societies are money centric. Success and and power are defined by money. Therefore when a country is without money, countries succeeding in our money centric society feel the need to intervene. Transnational companies dominate poor countries and take over their resources and people. When in fact, these ‘poor’ countries were doing just fine. By inserting corrupt values and businesses into these countries we kill their economies and essentially their people. What needs to be learned is that a country that is struggling does not benefit from outside help. In order for a country to succeed it needs to be self sufficient. By depending on other countries for money, it will never be fully independent. In response to learning about countries that are struggling, I said, “One could argue that poor countries need money to survive, but that is only what our money fueled society has spewed at countries who are economically doing terribly. When poor countries allow transnational companies to give them investments, they are sabotaging themselves. Progression in a country has to come from within, and by using outside help, countries become dependent on this outside help and end up creating awful circumstances for their people.” (Auction Follow Up)

Violence is a theme that continually is shown throughout world history. Very few people have fully embraced the nonviolent approach to wrongs. Violence only kills and harms. Normally violence is used in an uprising in a form of protest against the upper hand. The people with the power will not hesitate to use resources against the people who act out in violence in a heartbeat. While looking at colonialism, there were various methods of how to resist being colonized and the nonviolent way proved very helpful in India with Gandhi. Now since some of the world has learned how to peacefully succeed, everyone must continue to learn from this example. When each student had to make a digital revolution, I said, “It is easy to resort to injuring and killing. The fact of the matter is that the people starting the revolution are upset because something is unjust or unequal. The higher power of the revolution, the “bad” guys, will most likely have more resources, so using violence will only raise the number of deaths, and will not change anything.” (Digital Revolution BM)

The entire essence of our beings is ultimately our culture. Our identity is found through our culture; our upbringing. When Europeans colonized many countries they forced their beliefs and government on others, stripping them of who they were. The people being colonized were required to stop praying to their gods, to stop wearing their own clothes, to stop mining their resources. When reflecting I said, “Dead culture = dead people.” (Journal #49)

There were many invaluable lessons that I have learned during the course of this year. I have learned to keep an open mind and to embrace others’ ideas. I learned about the past of our world so that now, and in the future, I can learn from the past and progress. 


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History Portfolio Assignment

One thing I learned about in history was the French revolution when Napoleon conquered nearly all of Europe, and how successful this made him even when his army was small in numbers. He was a small man whom ran a huge legacy along with france's own independents by starting a revolution while Napoleon was headed out for taking over lands, yet while that was happening, the people were storming the bastille. You can read more by clicking "HERE". "Hello, I am the phantom of Napoleon Bonaparte, here to tell you my opinions and thoughts during the French Revolution." But this was more than just someone in history, it was about how we independent people changed the way how we see france. Who knows what would it have be like if french was like in the 17th? It was also the year where women's made a stand and help shed blood in the bastille, and when they were successful, the mens taught them how to arm a musket and fire it. Since it was a revolution, anybody could be in it to help so they needed all the help they could get.

There was a poem called the nobodies where people were poorly judge and not allow to get jobs and were mostly unequally treated. You can read my poem that was about people having the opportunities and possibilities by clicking "HERE". It's a parody of The nobodies where it states that everybody wants something in their life, but not what they and the others really need. It's about how we try to find a way to escape poverty but not resolve the conflict that we still face, just like the neighborhoods we see today. As I said in my own version, "Da somebodies, one we see others as a wrong thing when we don’t know at all. Da somebodies, people that has hope on others than those whom has the power but abuses it. Da somebodies! My father was the bullet, you son of a gun... Da somebodies!"

This is the pipeline XL project where people were debating wether to use dirty tar which is more polluting and CO2. Canada has a lot of tar to lend to america for whatever reason and while the president was deciding to allow for the benefit or better for our country. Before the decision was even started, the pipes all the way from america to canada, and if the president decides not to allow this, the people who built the pipes will loose money. And if the people from the Pipeline XL project were to make this happen, they would had to have a really long and sturdy pipe if they want to avoid any hazardous area such clean fishing areas and rivers without any tar leaking or breeching of any sort otherwise many life from the water including our drinking water could be poisoned. Many people have stood near the white house to protest just so they could stop killing the planet, many of which were arrested. You can read my play based on this by clicking "HERE" and learning different stories I made based on the events if it were to happen. This world as I said "this world does not have a price tag on it, you can't just own it," and I am right. If you're willing to bet the lives and the well beings of animals and humans on needless desire. By clicking "HEY, OVER HERE!" It is a well thought out idea as I see the world if we can't fix any of our human mistakes we know about, and it sucks how we don't do anything about it and this is a prime example of a world issue we just ignore while others know what is right from wrong. It's wrong to forget about our human nature and let it bypass us ever since CO2 was discovered and seeing this as and on the news and allowing this to happen even if we, the viewers and bystanders can't do much as civilians, the people in charge are suppose to make this world a better place where freedom takes place, and not by arresting others whom really cares about the earth more than their lives just to see a better future.

I read a book called Things fall apart where there is a civilization based off of religion where white men colonizes Umoufia. But before all of that, the story tells that mens are the dominant and can beat their wife, give legacies, and command others and give stories about things that may or may not happen but based on folk tales. Okonkwo is the main character of the book who was married by 3 wives and has 30 kids. One day, the city gets 'corrupted' by another religion called 'the buttocks' who are the white Catholics that will soon take over the Umoufia culture and change their people into slaves. Then after reading the end [SPOILERS] where Okonkwo kills himself because of everything including the people's religion falls apart, therefore making the entire village taken over by the whites. By clicking "HERE" to read my 26th chapter based on the book on what would have happen. This book is also relevant to the event of native Indians where we wiped out their tribes and tricked them into doing our biddings. Here is a quote from my Quiz on Part 1 of Things fall apart. "A lazy drunk who was Okokwo’s dad before he died 10 years. He was also poor borrowed unpaid money."

You can read more of my quotes from my journal entries below.
Ghandi: about a few things I noticed in a clip in world history.
Things fall apart: a comparison in over the similarities and Differences in the modern world and book.
Source for original The nobodies poem. "HEY, OVER HERE!"
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Final Portfolio

One thing I took out of this year’s history course is that we cannot wait for others to do what we want.  Many of us (including myself, admittedly) think that it would be nice if this changed.  We keep thinking about it, but do nothing, even if it is within our power to do so.  We think that someone else will do it; that it’s not our job.  But, when you think about it, if everyone thinks that, nothing will ever get done.  If we want things to happen, we must take initiative.  

We studied this from the start of the course.  In my fifth journal we discuss part of an essay written by Julius Nyerere about development in third world countries.  I responded: “Nyerere is saying that if we want to be educated or developed, we must do it ourselves.” and then “We must put our heart into what we want for ourselves, then take action.  We cannot rely on others to do it for us.”  Nyerere said how many nations relied on more developed nations to help them, and it never worked. His conclusion was the same as mine: take the initiative and don’t wait for others.

Later on in the year, in a unit focused on revolutions, this concept came up again.  Early in the unit, we defined revolutions.  My definition was, in Journal 32, “A revolution is when a large group of people collaboratively reject the authority over them (i.e. the government) and seek change.” Then, when discussing about why revolutions do not happen more often, I realized: “Revolutions do not happen more often because people are too lazy.  They want things to happen but do not want to do anything to achieve it.  They will say, "I'll do it tomorrow" or "I'm not the best person to do this.””  We as people are lazy, we want someone else to do the work.  I realized that to start a revolution is an accomplishment.  It shows that you took what you wanted into your own hands and fixed it.  But then I inquired about how exactly one does that. In my final project for the unit, a guidebook about revolutions, I stated: “It only takes one group, even one person, to start change….people must take things into their own hands.  You cannot wait for others.”  I realized this after looking at several revolutions worldwide, modern and in past centuries.  They all had one thing in common: they were started by one person or group.  Not on revolution began by people spontaneously deciding to revolt, one person always began it.  It was a spark: a spark that began change.  

This is an important lesson to learn.  We as teenagers in this era are especially lazy.  We have been given everything and expect everything to be given to us.  This course taught me that it is not anyone else’s job to do what I want.  If I want to change something, if I think that something could be better, I much change it myself.

My word art (the blog post wouldn't let me upload it.  Imgur is blocked at school, but I couldn't think of any other way.  Sorry)

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Final Porfolio

When you start a new course, specifically something that has to do with history, you don’t really expect to get much out of it, besides a pile of facts that are most likely going to be forgotten toward the end of the year. You don’t really expect to walk away with something meaningful. Then again, looking at something from one perspective has never really led to any kind of positive influence. 

 There is so much that can be said, so much insight that can be provided. Sometimes, speaking up is the difference between complete success and absolute failure. No opinion is wrong, but staying quiet can be the wrong option

Those who are taking the backend of the abuse, be it economics, for example, and are able to truthfully speak out about an issue are considered greedy, unappreciative, and asking for too much.” Journal #40 (Full journal here)

Asanextreme introvert, I have a ton of thoughts that I keep to myself, most of which, when concerning different problems can go from a broad spectrum to completely subtle to totally blatant, and really blunt. Before taking this course, I didn’t keep a keen eye on things that really mattered, on a global spectrum. When I did know something, I didn’t know enough to form any kind of opinion. As the year went on, that mindset completely changed. While in a conversation, I still struggle to let my ideas be known, in writing, I can be extremely opinionated, and sound somewhat like I know what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t have really developed that skill, if I didn’t have the class. I wouldn’t have been able to look at things from a different, less biased way, This course specifically, has shown the positive effects of expressing an opinion without fear of judgement. 

“We, as an entire nation,are greedy, judgmental, and arrogant. Judging from the treatment of almost every, ‘new,’ ethnicity besides white, America is nothing close to what it was originally supposed to be.” - Vine Deloria: Custer Died for Your Sins.  Full page here

As the year went on, we had a different array of things to look at, most of which challenged thinking, and even stepping out of our comfort zones, and switching our ways of thinking altogether.  From the thoughts of someone extremely sensitive to almost every possible thing, this was really a strong part of the course overall. It wasn’t just sitting and learning. It can literally be described as experiencing different pieces of history, with a hands-on attempt. When you have both the power and the space to have an opinion spoken about, while being both supported and not-judged, is a pretty unique aspect of a class in total. This specific quote, while seeming a bit too blunt, shows that throughout the year, I became a bit of a risk taker with my words, something this World History course has shown a lot of. 

“The poor girl. She has so much to lose if they actually think something’s wrong. There isn’t anything wrong. She has an overactive imagination. Yes, that’s what it’s called. There’s nothing serious about this. We just need to find a cure. Something to keep it at bay, until we can figure out what to do with Victoria. Ah, Miss Victoria. Such a wretched fool she is. It doesn’t matter that she’s the life and death of my job, she needs to step up and become an actual mother to her child, if that is her child, that is. The icy demeanor between the two of them is simply outrageous We need to figure out something, anything. to fix this family.- We’re All Mad Here 

This course had an exponential amount of writing, something I found to be completely within my interest. Toward the middle of the year, we began creating our own plays, pushing ourselves to an idea of a problem within the world around us. Because of my extremely close history with mental illness, my play, written from the perspective of a schizophrenic’s family, displays the unjust, and sometimes cruel world of behavioral health, and the dangerous path that little support can lead to. While the play itself has its flaws, it makes a prominent point toward society’s views on it, specifically during a time when it wasn’t as common as it is today. Using ideas from my own life, with historical prevalence, the piece was created, almost to show that in a completely imperfect world, certain things will continue to stay the way they are.

“There is nothing diverse if your race is shunned, and you must act a certain way, or face the consequences.” Vine Deloria: Custer Died for Your Sins.

The most memorable part of this course in total, has to be the recording of our initial reaction to various topics, sometimes even coming directly from documents found in history itself. I can only speak for myself when I say that history has always appeared to be something that you go over, and continuously is forgotten. This time around, I was actually engaged. I was able to look at the world in an entirely new perspective, and that, in itself, makes all the difference. 

We're All Mad Here: Bonus Artwork 

Journal #40: Bonus Artwork 

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History Final Portfolio

This year in world history class, we have learned lots of things, done lots of hands on activities, saw wonderful plays, and learned lots of things about our nation and many other places in the world. I wasn't sure how this class was going to be because most of my history classes in younger ages taught the same exact thing, but in a different way. Almost like it was al tied together, but each teacher taught that subject differently. When we started doing units and learning about certain things, I was a bit shocked because it was a new experience for me, but I soon caught on and got with the program. 
One of the units that really stood out for me was the whole revolution unit. I think that was because I  was able to voice my opinion with some strong evidence behind it. i had a lot of quotes that stood out from the unit. "In life, you need to handle the needs first, then the wants", "Religion can answer questions that are hard to be explained", "People at the top think that there isn't anything wrong with the world, but the people at the bottom live those problems everyday.", " When a country is colonized, it loses its essence and everything that they live by."
Nonviolence is the better, but longer option when it comes to revolutions. In my journal #19, I talked about when it is right to die for something that you strongly believe in. I feel that is how some of the people now feel when they are cheated out of their basic rights for something that is really stupid and has no positive future behind it. In my journal #31, I talked about whether nonviolence or violence was a better force for change. One of the projects I did in this unit was the revolution video guide.In my project, I looked at violent revolutions versus nonviolent ones,and looked at how successful and effective each were.Depending on how and what king of revolution it was, depends on the impact towards the people.I chose this topic because I wanted to point out the flaws in both violent and nonviolent.
Another project that stood out to me was the Cortes trial.What we did was, we separated ourselves in groups and had a mock trial on the the Aztec cortes issue. In the trial, I was a defense attorney and my job was to do the closing statement. I also had to find sufficient evidence and quotes that would help my group stay on the innocent side. A powerful quote from my closing statement was,"To suggest that the System is wholly responsible for the genocide is ignorant.  A person must choose for themselves what to do, and it is they who are responsible.”
In my wordle picture, I used the words, Nonviolence, Gandhi, MLK, Freedom, Independence, Bloodshed, Personal beliefs, Rights, Human rights, Movements, Violence, Weapons free,Look for change, Uprising, Battle for Algiers,and Arab Spring. I used some of these words because those were the first ones that came to mind when I thought about revolutions. I wanted to use some relevant words while also using some of the things we learned in class this year.
I hope that at the end of the year, I can remember what we learned in class and be able to sit down with my family and share my findings and some of my work so that they can go off and tell their friends and share more about the history we learned in class.
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World History Final Portfolio 2014

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Nonviolence has been said to be the better option. It is also said to be the harder and longer option. Throughout history people try to say that with the power of nonviolence you can and will get more respect, power over others, and people will not go against you. All year I have made it easy see that I’ am without a doubt all for violence when it comes to needing or wanting something. I personally feel that one; it is a faster method than nonviolence, two; people will give you more power, three; people know that the died for immediate change and not  just so the next step of the plan can be put in action.

Within the debate between violence and nonviolence a lot of people side with nonviolence because of the well known nonviolent protest leaders. People like Martin Luther King and Gandhi always are brought up into conversation based on their horrendous and outstanding nonviolent revolutions. When I join into these type of debate and I ‘am asked about my opinion I always side for violence when something needs to be done. One thing I always throw into the conversation is the fact that those two men were the  leaders of some of the greatest revolutions ever but not only our most known but are most important revolutions were fought with the help of violence. Before nonviolent revolutions the only type of revolutions were revolutionary wars. Revolutionary wars not only freed the blacks but it also freed our country so we could be our own nation.

Most people argue that nonviolence is more powerful because they think it can get your point across better. Well there is an old saying that “if you aren’t willing to die for it than there is no point in fighting for it. Now there are quotes to go against violence one of which is “nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.” -Gandhi. In one of my journals I talked about my stance on violence vs nonviolence. I also talk about how much faith I have in nonviolence. When completing that journal I was reading a piece from Gandhi and that is also where I got the famous quote. I feel like Gandhi thinks that only those who can wield the power to use nonviolence as an answer has a powerful mind. I believe that it also takes a lot of strength to decide that you actually want to use violence.

Another thing people like to argue is that the process of nonviolent revolution is easier than the process of a violent revolution. In another one of my journals I talk about how process does not matter. In the journal I go on to make the argument that if someone has a 100 man army and they succeed while I have a 10 man army and I also succeed what makes us different. Well one thing is that I will get more respect because I made a bigger impact since I did exactly what they did with less people. It is also the same thing as 100 being nonviolence while 10 is like violence.

This is just a small example of the type of work I was able to complete throughout the year. Because of my work and some time I was able to give my classmates another view on violent protest and revolutions. I believe that my work has deeply impacted the minds of my peers.

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Final Portfolio

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SLA takes a different approach to teaching History than most other schools in the city. At most schools the students are taught and forced to memorize meaningless facts and dates, then tested on their memorization capabilities and how well they know the facts. In my History class at SLA, however, we explored and discussed various topics, both historical and present day, through readings, videos, discussions, and other forms of media and communication, then applied those topics to modern day politics and events. We were then assessed, on application and knowledge, not on meaningless facts and dates, through engaging projects instead of tests. I leave the year thinking this: learning about historical and contemporary topics and ideas then applying them to present day, and learning through projects, is a much more engaging, enriching, and meaningful way to teach history than through irrelevant facts, dates, and tests. The best way to understand and learn history is through applicable ideas, not facts.

I feel that from this learning approach that SLA poses as a whole, I have taken away more from and learned more from this World History class than if I had been in a traditional World History class. So what I take away doesn’t have to do with the material and the topics, but rather with the way the material was presented and the learning style of the class and SLA as a whole.

Over the course of the year, we completed several projects on areas or topics where most classes or teachers would have given us a test. One such example is at the very beginning of the school year, our first unit was on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. We learned all about it, facts, stats, opinions, everything essentially. But at the end of the unit, instead of being tested on the material, we were assigned a project: to write three unique monologues that showed different sides to the story and how it would affect different characters and people. In one of my three monologues, which can be found here, I wrote from the perspective of a rural fisherman whose river was threatened by the pipeline. My character says, “Not only are they [Trans-Canada] not allowed to get away with this stupid and careless idea [Keystone XL Pipeline], but we most certainly will not relocate from generations of tradition so they can build their goddamn pipeline!”. However, in another monologue of a conservative senator about to address senate on the issue, my character says, “We are basically being given a freebie: no financial drawbacks with many benefits that stack up and up. Tax revenue, job creation, the list goes on and on”. This type of learning teaches its students how to think, not what to think, like how this project taught us how to think about controversial and contemporary issues by challenging us to think about different perspectives and aspects of it. With more traditional ways of teaching, we would be taught a one-sided, historically warped opinion or stance on the issue, but with this way of teaching and learning, I feel the students learn more and attain a stronger understanding of the material and its historical and modern day relevance.

Another example project and idea based learning is a play that I wrote over the course of a couple months in collaboration with a professional playwright, found here. While studying struggle and revolution around the world, we explored general ideas about the issue, but also were exposed to a variety of different materials that allowed us to form our own opinion on the topic. We then were assigned to write a play based on this broad topic that showed or addressed our opinion or stance. This form of assessment, rather than a test, resulted in more creative students and learning, and is shown in the variety of each student’s respective play and the issue they related to. My play is about the importance of ambitions and dreams in a person’s life, and the main character, Gordon, says to his son, Matthew, “You just take your dreams, and your grades for granted? Well I have news for you: you are a junior in highschool now! You’re not just some little kid with his whole bright future in front of him.” I think that learning through projects allows for more abstract and complex thinking, like how in a unit on struggle in hope I wrote a play about future and ambitions.

The comprehension fashioned by this style of learning, and my overall understanding and ability to think and connect can also be shown by looking at some of my journal entries from the year. I think the journals are a prime example of the types of students, learning, and learning environment project-based learning creates. When looking back on some of my journals I wrote over the year, I saw improvement in my complex thinking, and also complex and unique ideas. One of my first journal entries of the year, Journal 3, found here, posed the question, “When is it okay to criticize other cultures?”. I responded, “It is only acceptable to criticize another culture after we have walked in their shoes.” I feel that this response shows abstract and complex thinking. That is the goal of education, is it not? As the year progressed, my journal entries became more knowledgeable and more applicable. Much later in the year, Journal 47, found here, which related to the book Things Fall Apart, posed the question, “Can traumatic experiences ever be an excuse for negative behavior?”. In an excerpt from that entry, I responded, “Traumatic experiences can never be an excuse for negative behavior, it only makes it more understandable as to why someone behaves a certain way.” The journals showed how my ideas were changing and developing as the year progressed, and how the project based learning was shaping how I thought.

Looking back on the year, and how far I have come since September, I leave the year firmly believing that there really is no other way to teach World History other than through projects, discussion, media, and everything I already mentioned. At school you are supposed to learn how to think, not what to think, and I look back on the year knowing and understanding World History topics and ideas, and will carry them with me in their essence and application to modern day life as I progress on through high school.

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World History Final Portfolio

I was sitting there, flipping through the pages of my history journal, and I noticed something I had said in the beginning of the school year, that now in the end of the school year, I sort of disagree with.

“I think it's acceptable to criticize another culture when you also look at the good things and when the culture is new. I think you should be able to analyze and have your own opinion." - Journal entry #3 (Link for the journal entry)

In the beginning of every class, we started out with a journal entry, and the differences of what I used to think in the beginning of the year compared to what I now believe and think are very drastic. Now we are reflecting of what we have learned throughout the year, and how it's affected us, by what we got out of the material.

Throughout the year in History, the class has stored many overall understandings in how to understand History overall, and how it affects today’s world. And along with many other concepts. One of the main concepts this course has taught me is in order to understand history, you have to understand yourself as a part of today’s modern world.

The reason I now disagree with what I said is because that was one of the first journal entries for History, and I had had no proper idea or knowledge of other cultures. I knew there were different people than me, but I didn’t really take the time to get to understand them. At that time when I wrote that, I was simple an ignorant person, but now as I think about myself in today’s world, I realize that the history beyond that is so much more than my parents meeting.

Bringing up the topic about being ignorant, I learned about the Keystone XL Pipeline. At the time, my natural thoughts were, “Oh, this isn’t important. Who cares?” But then I realized a lot of people do care, and as we wrote monologues, it was interesting to take on different perspectives.

From one of my monologues I wrote, “All these people in the world just think they ought to trash an item on the ground, dig up trees, hurt the environment, and never think twice about this finite world!” - (Link to Keystone XL Pipeline Monologue Project)

And one of the reasons this connects to understanding myself is that, I realized I wasn’t always the best at making the world a better place, and there are other people like me. For years, people having been using the the Earth’s non-renewable resources, and/or trashing where we live, and this connects to a lot of history about greed from different countries.

Another way in which I had to understand myself to understand history is when we were learning about our religion unit, and the effects each religion had. We were prompted a questions on what ways we personally respond to challenges in our lives.

"I respond to different challenges in my life by worrying a lot and thinking out solutions to them. I try to work through it and try to gain from it." - Journal entry #16 (Link for Journal Entry)

I think that this is still true because I haven’t had a huge amount of impact of religion in my life, while compared to others, they are constantly surrounded by it. This entry taught me that segregation back then and even today has to do a lot with religion, and everyone has their own method for learning or expressing themselves. Which brings me up to my next point about understanding ourselves today to understand history.

In one unit we learned about the history of Galileo, which lead to the history of how women gained rights for education especially in math and science. There was a lot of segregation between women and men, and which I wrote,

Segregation happens because many men still believe women should take care of the house, the children, the food, the clothes, things that aren't "men's work." - (Link to Women in Science Discussion - second entry)

And I believe that learning about the history of womens’ fights for right helped me to understand that where I am today in school, was all affected by actions by women back then. It all correlates, and I had to understand myself as a girl, to fully grasp that it wasn’t all that easy for women back then.

My final explanation of my general understanding of this course, appeared when we were learning about revolutions. And at the end of the unit we created a digital story.

One of my explanations about the topic I was producing was, ““I became more aware of today's revolutions, and how the world isn't as "perfect" on other's people's end, as it seems to me, in my own country and government.” - (Link to Revolution Guidebook Project)

I realized that today’s revolutions, even though they aren’t the same as the one’s in history, the ones today have evolved off of those back then. I understand that, people in today’s world, take techniques that have already been used, and I think that connects to how people in today’s world have to understand their role, to understand history.

So it all ties up to, history has had an impact on today’s world, and to fully understand that, we must understand ourselves.

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Final Portfolio

Learn, change, lead. That is the motto of the World History class. This year was very tough for me as a student. However, coming into the World History class has really changed my perspective on global views and societal problems. It was also very relieving for me to be in such of a prestigious course. My general understandings of the course are that creativity is built with experience and imagination, and in order for one to understand oneself, they must step outside their comfort zone to build a better self-sense of everything around them. Those two general understandings has changed me forever.

When you have seen all kinds of things and had many experiences, it has really made my work shine. In my play, The Rolling Spray Paint Cans, It tells the tale of four young teenagers trying to survive in the 1980’s graffiti-clogged New York City. This was my idea for the playwriting project where I worked with Ms. Kate for several months. “Oh. I didnt realize you were going through decline. Im sorry. Lets just finish this tag.” That is a line from my play while the two was working on a piece of art in Harlem. While I was working on this play, I had done further research on graffiti art, specifically on the New York subway trains in the late 70’s to the mid 80’s. I also took an opportunity to work with spray paint in The Philadelphia Mural Arts Summer camp program. It was awesome. I combined the history with graffiti and street art and the experience of spray painting into account when writing this play.

During the first quarter, we wrote monologues about the Keystone XL pipeline. This time around, we had to perform our monologues as well. I was usually not the person to get up in front of a crowd of people and perform. But, for the fact that I felt comfortable to do it made all the difference. In my monologue, I play a father on his way home to see his daughter in her senior year of high school. He is on the phone while riding the train. “I'll be.., Dinner? Might have to order pizza again. I know it’s the 3rd time this week, but Its all we can afford at the moment.” He is also struggling to pay bills while working at a low-pay job as he noticed the opportunity to get the job if the Keystone XL pipeline project is passed. But then he noticed that the real jobs are far out and he would have to move. But he knew that there was a chance the pipeline would not get approved, so he backed out of another business scheme.

In the end, this class has given me a perspective like no other. The playwriting project gave me a chance to teach others about the NYC war on graffiti and change. The monologue writing has given me confidence in standing up in front of a crowd and doing a performance and public speaking as well. Other honorable mentions of experiences during the course is when we had meditated for 2 minutes as a class, the Sweatshop Trial, the Cortes Trial, and The Somebodies poem. All In all I am happy to be a part of this experience and am looking forward to next class. At the Bottom Of the post is some of my work. Please take some time to check it out!

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World History Portfolio 2014

What is a good student? How do you become a better student everyday? By collaborating? By participating? Becoming a better student for me is definitely by learning. I must admit that my biggest highlight in this year of world history has been a great learning experience. It wasn’t much of the informational facts, it was more as personal aspect as how you look at the world. One of the biggest accomplishments, if not the biggest accomplishment of this year in history class has been without a doubt the play I wrote about stereotypical views in societies. This play has definitely changed the way that I view myself as. Women and A Touch of Trophy is a play about the latin women stereotypes, and latinos in general.  Scarlett Castillo is a Colombian beautiful young girl who wins Miss Universe and tries to fight stereotypes while finding true love, forgiving her mother, and reliving her past. This play is a very long one, Kate McGrath has contributed immensely with revisions and has made the play better. It was my favorite thing to do in history class this year. Not only did I like writing this play, I now realize that I love writing plays! One of the quotes inside the play that I really liked was  “Coming from a Hispanic culture. When we think of trophy wives we immediately see an image of a rich old white man with a beautiful young woman on his arm”.This was a quote that gives a controversial side to the play. 

​In one of the units of world history class we studied revolutions.  We learned quite a lot of information about revolutions. We used guiding questions like; “What causes revolutions? What determines a successful revolution?” “Why are revolutions made?” From those guiding questions came a great project. We were assigned to make a digital story about revolutions. I decided and chose two guiding questions. What determines a revolution's success? How does media interact with a revolution? Based on these two questions I decided to focus on the way that leaders are interpreted in revolutions, and the censorship that plays in media. This project was definitely one of my favorite! Many of the media that saw during this project was that life changing and eye opening. 

The unit of Religion inside world history has been one of my favorite. In the beginning of the unit I thought that religion was just a mindset that was meant to be followed. I now realize that religion is a very touchy subject that many of us live of. “It’s a way of life”. To most of us it’s extremely important. Personally as being a catholic believer and follower it was very interesting to learn about the many religions out in the world. For this project I did a wiki page on Morals/Sins in Hinduism and Confucianism. Two completely different religions. This was a project of where I gained tons and tons of knowledge. I also enjoyed every aspect of learning, and the different views that are out in the world. 

 Also, another part that I enjoyed in history class was journaling. The journal prompts were varied in topics. Some of the topics didn’t even relate to school, and it was interesting the way that others shared their ideas. One of the journals that I enjoyed the most was about a reading called My Faith in Nonviolence (journal 28). I selected a quote and wrote about it. “Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.” I really liked the way that the word nonviolence was being presented, as if nonviolence were  actually an object you could use to harm someone. Another journal I enjoyed was about how ideas become popular (journal 22). “Social media definitely plays a big role, when it comes to making something popular”. This quote was definitely the most important one I wrote inside my journal. Overall this year has been a great learning experience in all aspects. It was a very comfortable environment that I really enjoyed.  

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Final History Portfolio

Many people see World History is about learning the history of the past. This is great but usually not helpful in dally life and most of what they learned are just facts that they won’t remember. This world history class was very different from the usual structure as it wasn’t memorizing what happened it was more about how it effects us today. When we learned about a specific topic such as the French Revolution, it usually went with a broader topic like revolutions in general and through this we connected this with the revolution in Ukraine. Because of this we learned how history affects today and how things have changed since then. Our courses about religion and inequality were also interesting and lead me to see some problems in the world in a different light. An example of this is a statement about inequality and stereotypes I made saying "I think in order to move to a point of equality we need to cut this stereotype from our lives so that we forget it and the next generate do not even know about it."

One of the courses that I found interesting was our unit on Revolution. At the beginning of the unit I wrote this about Revolutions "A Revolution is a change that changes people's perspective on the world and there purpose in it". By the end of the unit I had learned that it was more of a radical change in society lead by the people. In the unit we learned about the French, Haitian, Egyptian, and Ukraine Revolutions. For my Benchmark on the Revolutions leaders I ended up writing that "now with all the information that is out for the world to see, all a leader needs to be today, is to be someone to act on this knowledge and rally people together". It had many connections to our unit on inequality as revolutions were seen as both the cause of some of the inequalities as well as the solutions to some of the inequalities. 

Another course I found interesting was the one on colonization. In it we read the book “Things Fall Apart” about a Nigerian tribe known as the Ibo who are colonized by missionary. The book shows how the missionary do not attempt to understand the Ibo’s culture and automatically labors it as savage. After reading I wrote that "The colonists are not fighting against the Ibu’s religion but also there entire way of life and culture to try and make them in-superior". In the lesson we learned more about the arrogance of the colonists and how the “Colonizers treat the natives like animals to ease there conscience which takes away there humanity”. The colonization and revolutions unit were very similar as in some of the revolution units we learned how the people through off the burden of the colonizers.  

In conclusion World History has been a very interesting learning experience and what we’ve learned about religion, inequality, revolutions, and colonization. With the discussions and different approaches to various topics, I have gained a new perspective on many of the world’s problems. An example is after learning about problems with charities that “What they need is actual help and not us telling them we can make your country better by doing this." Another example from our religion unit I learned that “for some, a single-minded determination and refusal of much of the aspects of the society may have lead people away from religion." .The projects that we’ve done like the religion wiki and the Cortez trial will help me remember what I’ve learned and how events and ideas effects the world we live in today.

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Negative Space

Negative space is the space surrounding the main subject in a picture. In the cut out I found the negative space by looking at the two different colors. And for the drawing I knew that the negative space had to be everything around the table, the stools and the plant. Artist use negative space because it helps them see things that are usually hard to see. Negative space is useful when making art because it helps artist because it helps when drawing very detailed things and it helps make the art more pleasing.
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