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Summer Reading Recommendation

Facilis Descensus Averni The Descent into Hell is Easy

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

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


Here's a short excerpt:

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

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

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

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

"Shadowhunter," he hissed.

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

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Summer Reading Recommendation!

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

 

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


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Humanities Portfolio 2012

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Humanities Portfolio 2012


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

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

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

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

Review 

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

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


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Summer Reading Recomendation~

Loving, Living, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia is a book I would recommend for your summer reading. If you're going through a difficult time in your life, I assure you that this book will be your guide to be inspired. Leo Buscaglia is very inspirational and gives you life lessons you will carry out through your life. No, this is not a book about relationships. It's a book about all types of relationships- relationships with the world. I've read this book two times and I plan on reading it again this summer. I love this book that much. If you don't like this book you must be going crazy. “Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” - Leo Buscaglia. 
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

This year we have worked on papers, telling stories, and working in rolls. Through this my headphones have become great tools to create work. For almost every paper or piece of artwork they have helped. And in this class there is always a project going on. The idea of perspective is something that we worked with all year. Perspective is something that we all have. We all see things differently and come at things from different points of view. 

In English one of the first things that we had to do to show our perspective was to write a poem called Theme for English 2. We where told to go home and write a page tonight and let that page form out of you- Then it will be true. When we started that I didn’t know what to do. What did a poem have to do with anything? But now looking back I see that that’s all we where looking for, the truth in the worlds that we see and use everyday. 

As we moved through the year we where made to look at other people points of view and then work through them. Like when we read How To Date A Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie by Junot Diaz. A lot of people where upset but what was written but like I wrote in my reply I thought it was funny. I mean this is the way he thinks and sees the world of girl. But you have to keep your mind open to it.

Another thing we had to do that was about perspective was our Passing art work. We had to make something that showed how a character saw things.  I picked Claire. A light skinned black woman that was posing as a white girl. So was in-between black and white but she saw how both worlds where and wanted to be able to express both. That something that everyone goes through.  Seeing two different things and wanted to have a little bit of both. It was a lot like me being a native of West Philly going to school in Center City. Being thought to be better then others just because of the school I want to was and is a hard thing to go through. Wanting to fit in with this year proving that I was born to stand out. 

But along with the way we seeing this we also had to look at how we change as these things happen around us. Like in my Chapter 26 for Things Fall Apart. In the story of Things Fall Apart Okonkwo, who is a father and a strong leader in this village, kills his self after this village is taken over by white missionaries. He saw these changes are more then he could take. In my chapter 26 his beloved daughter Ezinma lets the death of her father make her stronger. When she is at the market with her mother she stands up to a cowed of me “Who among you know anything of this man?” Ezinma mocked back at the man. “Who know his name? His motherland? Who?” She ran through the crowed. Pushing man and woman out of the way. Her mother watched unknowingly knowing what her miracle child was about to do. The translated looked on at Ezinma in shock. The side of this face was hot with the red mark of Ezinma’s hand.” Even in a place where a woman is worth less then a man she changes her perceptive to see that these man are not any better then her. And that she has every right to fight back.

            I can also see change in the way I write. From the language autobiography where I was just looking at the way I write. In this paper my first paragraph “In the world we live in there are only a few ways of expressing yourself. You can talk, sing, dance, or be a writer. I can’t sing, or dance. And even though I like writing, expressing myself verbally is the best thing for me to do. The English language is like a damn to me. It blocks off all the beautiful and elegant words I want to say and twist them into a word search,” was now as a look back at it simple compared to what I am writing how.   To the poetry unit where I was made to take steps to change the way the poem sounded and flowed.

 This change carried all the way to the end of the year when I was writing my final thesis paper, my favorite paper of the year. Where I am writing more complex papers that really make me thing and want to write. For example my firs paragraph of that “As human beings we are made to look for other human interaction. Humans are made to look for touch, sound, emotions, and feeling that only others can provide. Thus even when we are places somewhere where these things are hard to find we will find ways to make these connections. Every day people are making new technology to get to know other people. People will always look for humanity even if the most inhuman places.”

This means a lot to me. And I think that that that’s something that you can find in writing too. You find a person who is just truing to reach out and find a way to become a part of someone else. They just want there writing to resonate with others. and that’s what the goal of all of this work really is a way to make our work in this class resonate with other in and out of the class. This class has made me a better writer, person, and listener.  

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

M Saunders English/History Portfolio 2012

 

            There has been a lot done this year.  Everyday my mind has been expanding in different ways and learning new things.  There are some interesting ideas that I have for the end of the year.  These are the general statements I have learned throughout the year.

            We have look at a lot of different books and points in time.  Something stands out to me is that when someone is in power they tend to lose the power or lose their minds.  Most times power leads to insanity.  One of the books we have read is Lord Of the Flies.  This is about a group of kids that get into a plane crash and end up on an island.  Some of the kids start to lose their minds while going through being on the island. “In Lord of the Flies it shows that insanity is like gravity all you need is a little push” This is a statement I used to describe the book.  It was the right place and the right situations to easily make a person go crazy.  One of the boys ended up being a leader of the group. At first he mad all the right decisions on how to get of the island but soon after he started to lose his mind.  This shows how easily you can lose your mind.

            Also another thing we looked at was the French Revolution.  What we did was we chose people to research and we had to act like that person.  The person that I chose was Maximilien Robespierre.  He was one of the main people in the revolution.  Through out the revolution he started to get worse and worse in what he does.  At first he really helped the people. Right after the king died he took control.  It wasn’t that bad then but latter on is when it started going down hill.  A major part of the revolution was when Robespierre passed a law that said if he thought that some one was against him then he could just kill them with no trial.  From Robespierre paranoia he ended up killing a lot of people.  Soon after Robespierre was overthrown and killed.

            Another role playing activity we did was the Cortez trial.  This was about when Cortez and his men when to see the Aztecs but ended up taking over there land.  There were different roles that we had to act as.  It was Cortez, Cortez men, System, King, and Aztec people.  What we had to do in this activity was prove that a certain group was guiltier in the takeover of the Aztecs.  It was run like an actual courtroom with opening statements and cross-examinations.  At the end of the trial each group would give there closing statements and we had to assign points of guilt to the most guilty person we thought was.  Something that I thought was interesting was that in the research done Cortez didn’t listen to orders and did what he wanted.  He was the leader of the men who were just supposed to explore this land but instead he took it over.  The king sent notes and people to go after Cortez. Cortez just ended up killing them.  Having the power to just control a group of people to do what you want is too much for people.  Cortez got greedy and tried to take all of the Aztecs gold and land. Maybe if another person were in charge then the Aztec wouldn’t have been taken over.

            Throughout the year we have done a lot of interesting and creative things.  For most of these you really had to think about how to use your skills in different ways to make your project that much better.  Creative thinking can make a project better.

            One of the things that we did was called Art In the Open.  The main thing we did was we had to find a space around our school and create a piece that used different movements and used the space in different ways.  At first I wasn’t used to just moving around the way that we did in this project.  There were people that came to the school that showed us some techniques to help us create these pieces.  This was really getting out of most peoples comfort zones.  If you wanted this to go well you had to really come out of your comfort zone and be really creative with the way your body would move in this new way.  If no ideas were coming out or people weren’t really trying then it would just be a bland piece but with each groups creativity added to the project. That is what made these pieces interesting and enjoyable to watch.  With out the creativity this wouldn’t have worked.

These are other pieces I have done:
Language Autobiography
Revolution Guidebook
Play
Edwidge Danticat Letter
descriptive essay
Wordle Eng:Hist
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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Summary and Analysis of The Year

Sla has a very interesting style that was applied throughout Mr. Block’s class. This way of learning has brought out a lot of inspiration in people. It was always a different experience every day. Our poetry portfolio work has brought everyone into working with a more personal side of themselves. Our poems were very interesting. Everyone wanted to express themselves in different ways and I think we all did so in our poetry class. This class has inspired me to want to write more about anything that I find appealing to me. It has brought us all closer to ourselves.

Humanities Portfolio 

In Mr. Block’s English and History classes we learned a lot. Personally the way the work went wasn’t always appealing to me but some units were very interesting. Everything we did in class was always a process. Every unit when we wrote something we did a draft then a final version. This was beneficial to a lot of people because it gave them time to edit their work. I don’t usually edit most of my work because I try not to make mistakes the first time so I often wasted the time we had in class writing drafts and this sometimes didn’t work out for me. More interesting projects like the Poetry Portfolio sparked a lot of people’s imaginations and that made everyone want to do exemplary work. I think I speak for everyone when I say some units were disappointing. For example the Lord of The Flies unit was boring for the simple fact that I don’t think the book was any good. The project that followed was great though. Even though some things weren’t appealing to me I still learned a lot of things that I can carry over into my personal and school life.

This Final Portfolio is supposed to give 2-3 general understandings that we have learned over the year. I think the most important thing we learned over the year is that someone’s past experiences shape them into who they’ll become in the future. I think this was illustrated perfectly in a lot of work that we did. To use an example from my favorite project, the Poetry Portfolio Allen Ginsberg’s whole career was based off of his childhood. He often mentions drugs which to me is caused by the fact that his mother was a drug abuser. (Poetry Portfolio) “His greatest poem “Howl” referenced “angel-headed hipsters which to me is talking about drug abusers. Also he writes lines later “high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness” which is another reference to drugs.” He became a very popular poet because he had a strange technique, which was formed by his disturbing childhood. He often abused drugs during his lifetime and that would most likely be because people often do what they are used to. He was raised around drugs and started to do them himself.

Another example could be Things Fall Apart. This book illustrates my general understanding perfectly also. Okonkwo’s whole life was based off of his father’s failure to appeal to his fellow villagers. A lot of people looked down upon Okonkwo’s father because he was a failure who owed money to numerous people and never paid them. Okonkwo was raised around this and that made his goal as an adult to be the exact opposite of his father. He knew people’s opinion of his father and that made him strive for success his whole life. His father was also a weak man because he was scared of war and this made Okonkwo’s next goal to become a great warrior, which he was successful at. (Things Fall Apart Assessment) “I set off to find myself in my motherland and it did not go as I planned. I feel as though I am a weak man and I did not deserve this life that was given to me. My main goal in life was for my chi to be better than my fathers and I feel as though I did not reach that goal. Therefore I did not need to live my life.” This is a quote from the chapter we wrote ourselves. I think things would have really played out like this for the simple fact that this part illustrates his feelings. He tried so hard to be a better man than his father and when he disappointed his fellow villagers he became disappointed in himself and that would have caused him to kill himself.

Everyone has the ability to create something that inspires others, this is another general understanding I have learned in Mr. Block’s class. It is not illustrated as well through the work he had us do but I do have a few great examples. I think Lord of The Flies advertisement was a good example of this. We had to create an advertisement based off of the themes of the book. A lot of these themes are inspiring and to me I think that if some of them were published they would have the ability to inspire others. My advertisement was supposed to promote “Simon The Communicator”. This could inspire people to want to communicate more because everyone else on the island was oblivious to the things Simon knew because they lacked communication skills unlike him.

Another example is the Sweatshop Trial Analysis. "We need to provide for our families, were living day by day." This is a quote pulled from the sweatshop workers. I think this trial could inspire people to learn more about their clothing so they could save the people who have to live under these circumstances. They live on little to no money while some people waste money on nothing. Some people don’t know that they live like this so this could be a way to expose these companies and save the workers.

I think everyone could agree with my general understandings because I personally have been made by my experiences and I think I can inspire others. My father died last year and that put me through a slump at first but then given time to myself to sit and think I sort of had an epiphany. I knew that my father wouldn’t want me to be unsuccessful and that being so would be disappointing to him because he was a successful man himself. Therefore I decided to get my act together but because I was also raised around a lot of people who over think things I myself was caught over thinking. I came to understanding that I have seen so many people’s lives wasted away and I didn’t want to become another one of those people. This was a contradicting idea because I wanted to be successful which would mean I would have to do work but on the other hand I didn’t want to live my life in a box. Overall that experience has made me try to balance work and play more efficiently so I could become successful while making the most out of my life. 



Here are links to some of the other work i have done.

Lord of The flies Thesis Paper: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12uG8GKbJz9nZRYZ-tQtxtcYC4nB2bgmyuOeRmkvd0V8/edit

Copper Poetry Portfolio: http://copperpoetry2012.wikispaces.com/Devante+Taggart

Copper Descriptive Essay: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pQAmYM5eoes-on1AgiSXLesjj0JpbzoG7JhGorRJj_o/edit


Here is a wordle i have created out of my Humanities Portfolio:
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Chapter 26

Ezinma was sitting on the edge of the compound. Her eyes where red with salty tears. She sat there thinking about her father and the day at the market. The day the District Commissioner had brought Okonkwo’s body to the market. He talked through his interpreter saying how the customs of the Ido where unthinkable. “Who among you would want to be buried but strangers? Who here would want to see a man through into the earth with no care or concern?” everyone was silent. For what could they say. Ezinma and her mother Ekwefi where in the market to get some pal wine for those who where to bury there beloved Okonkwo. Ezinma’s eyes where locked onto her fathers body her ears where perched to hear every word of what the skinny man next to the Commissioner said. Her blood started to boil. How dare they show a man who they already broke in such a demining way? “Who among you know anything of this man?” Ezinma mocked back. “Who know his name? His mother land? Who?” She ran through the crowed. Pushing man and woman out of the way. Her mother watched unknowingly knowing what her miracle child was about to do. The translated looked on at Ezinma in shock. The side of this face was hot with the red mark of Ezinma’s hand. Ekwefi grabbed Ezinma pulling her away from the crowed. “May all the gods that you shouted and disgraced ran down there truth on you.” Ezinmas head was heave. It was hard to keep for leaning of trees. She slowing walked to Okonkwos hut with out looking up. She thought of all of the magic conversation that her father and her had had. All of the unspoken things that they had said to one an other. As she want through the last of her fathers things she found his drinking horn and the last of the clay plates that where in his hut. In the wood Ezinma found writing. It was her fathers. “Ezinma I know you will find this. I am sorry for the pain I have brought you. know that I would not be treated like an animal again. For I am a man. Know that my chi and I have come to pace and I hope one day you will have great sons that are just like your. When you think of me remember the moon and the stars.” The clay broke beneath her feet. At I was the first time she had thought of the old proverb in years. Of how the moon gave birth to the stars, but no one know that the stars where there. Oh little star you are so strong I will bring like to you. so the moon want to the sun and ask for light. The sun agreed and sent the moon more light that it shared with the little star. Now they will know how strong you are. Ezinma found herself on the floor. As the night came to her so did the memories of her father.
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Novel Recomendation - Kindred

​This book is one that's very familiar to SLA students because we all read it in our freshman year. Like most students, I read it, and loved it. To a person who is very interested in America's dark past, Kindred gives you the chance to feel experience something you wouldn't get from any other book or movie. 
As I read, I imagined Kindred on the big screen. I thought that if someone (preferably myself) could turn Kindred into a film, it would be one unlike any other. 
I could ramble about Kindred for a long time, but I guess this is supposed to be short. In the breifest of summaries, any movie can make you see and hear slavery, but Kindred makes you feel it. Somehow, author Octavia Butler captures the brutality of slavery, and squeezes it into words for us to experience. 
This book is beyond fantastic, and if you haven't read it stop what you're doing, and run, don't walk, to the nearest book store and do not leave until you've finished reading it. 
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Summer Reading Reccommendation

It tells the story of a young girl, Clara Frankofile, who is a pompous, snobbish 11-year-old who spends her evenings people-watching from a corner table in her parents' chic New York City restaurant, Pish Posh. She has the unique ability to determine which members of society's upper crust are no longer worthy to dine at the fashionable establishment.

Ultra snobby, Clara Frankofile has everything an 11-year-old could want. She's fabulously wealthy, she lives alone in a penthouse apartment with its own roller coaster and bumper cars... and all of New York City is afraid of her! Each night at the fashionable Pish Posh restaurant, she watches glittery movie actresses, princesses, and celebrities and decides who is important enough to stay...and who she will kick to the sidewalk in disgrace.

But Clara's tidy little world is suddenly turned upside down when she discovers that a most peculiar mystery is happening in the restaurant, right under her upturned nose. With the help up whip-smart 12-year-old jewel thief, Clara embarks on a wildly dangerous mission through the streets of New York to solve a 200-year-old secret.


Summer Reading Jawn
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Summer Reading Recommendation: Ryan Harris

The book I'm doing to recommend is The Absolutely True Story of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I believe it's perfect for children between my age range and about 14. While it does contain use of profanity and sexual innuendo, it fits pretty with the story of a normal-teenage boy. This is how all normal teenage boys act, with regards to girls, friends, teachers, and even surprisingly masturbation. It's a worthwhile read.

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Humanities Portfolio 2012

Summary & Analysis of the Year

In tenth grade, students go through many changes as they learn where they stand on certain issues. It gives them a new understanding of themselves to know and understand where we each are coming from, what perspectives we know we can give, and who we are becoming in our current environment. This year, I feel as though I have evolved through means of knowing better who I am, and how I affect and interact with the people around me and with the environment. A few of the most important things I believe I have learned are, for one, the importance of nonviolence used to make change, and for another, how with freedom comes struggles, and with struggles comes an inequality that we have to fight to be rid of. I learned about the Millennium Development Goals set forth by the United Nations, especially the goal that all school-age children should have the right to free education, and have access to it. This lesson especially illuminated the idea of inequality and how we really need to strive for the equal rights of all humans.

 

500+ Word Blog post

Throughout this year I have had several minor breakthroughs in my academics that have sort of shaped me into becoming a different person than I was in September. One of my understandings that I have come to is the importance of nonviolence. This entire year has spoken of what has come from nonviolence, not just one unit, and I have been able to see what it can accomplish in many different ways around the globe.

First, closer to the beginning of the year in our religion unit, we were given the task of looking up a religious figure for a class role-play in which we would speak as our religious figure in a discussion with the other figures. In this assignment, I chose to research Mohandas Gandhi. This was an interesting experience, because I had not learned before exactly who Gandhi was or what he did. I was able to learn that he was not just a religious, but also a political figure, which led most of the nonviolent protest against the English for India’s independence. He was one of the greatest minds behind nonviolent protest and developed many writings on the subject, starting a revolution of many people who took this tool and used it to change what they believed was wrong. This was my first account of something so passive becoming so powerful, as I had not thought that anything could be really changed without some show of violence.

I also saw such an impact on this when we went into our Revolution unit, and looked at several different revolutions including the French Revolution and several protests that were more current, such as Egypt and the Middle Eastern countries like Iraq. These countries, especially Egypt, was able to get what they wanted sorted out almost in a year, and while they are still in the process of obtaining the goal of what the people want, they have achieved very much in very little time, as opposed to the French revolution for example, where even though they overthrew their rulers, the country was still in the same kind of turmoil that they were in if not worse, thanks to the group of people that led the revolution, the Jacobins. The French revolution was a violent one, and led to more violence, while the nonviolent revolutions we went over were much more successful.

Another great example that we went through was a movie we watched on Apartheid, and how colonized countries like South Africa were segregating everything to the point where different colored races could not live, eat, drink, play sports, or do anything in the same place to keep the bloodline strong. In this movie, South Africa was not allowed to participate in the Olympics due to the fact that most countries would bail out of the Olympics if a segregated country participated. Eventually, it got so that South Africa could only participate in international sports if it was rugby. And so when South Africa’s all-white rugby team toured, all of the countries they toured to gave protests and made it more difficult for them to compete. People stayed on the field to stop them, kicked them out of hotels, and did anything that wasn’t violent in order to keep them from competing. Today, South Africa’s sports teams are integrated, just like normal life. All of these experiences have taught me about the importance of nonviolence in trying to change something, because now I understand how you can get further with words and expressions than you can with an expensive and sad war.



Some Works that I am proud of:

http://moodle.scienceleadership.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=2#p2

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w6tOcv3cuiYNJai0O-VdEE8Db-fcSGWXxSsKxEchPkY/edit?hl=en_US

 



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Humanities Portfolio 2012

M Saunders English/History Portfolio 2012

 

            There has been a lot done this year.  Everyday my mind has been expanding in different ways and learning new things.  There are some interesting ideas that I have for the end of the year.  These are the general statements I have learned throughout the year.

            We have look at a lot of different books and points in time.  Something stands out to me is that when someone is in power they tend to lose the power or lose their minds.  Most times power leads to insanity.  One of the books we have read is Lord Of the Flies.  This is about a group of kids that get into a plane crash and end up on an island.  Some of the kids start to lose their minds while going through being on the island. “In Lord of the Flies it shows that insanity is like gravity all you need is a little push” This is a statement I used to describe the book.  It was the right place and the right situations to easily make a person go crazy.  One of the boys ended up being a leader of the group. At first he mad all the right decisions on how to get of the island but soon after he started to lose his mind.  This shows how easily you can lose your mind.

            Also another thing we looked at was the French Revolution.  What we did was we chose people to research and we had to act like that person.  The person that I chose was Maximilien Robespierre.  He was one of the main people in the revolution.  Through out the revolution he started to get worse and worse in what he does.  At first he really helped the people. Right after the king died he took control.  It wasn’t that bad then but latter on is when it started going down hill.  A major part of the revolution was when Robespierre passed a law that said if he thought that some one was against him then he could just kill them with no trial.  From Robespierre paranoia he ended up killing a lot of people.  Soon after Robespierre was overthrown and killed.

            Another role playing activity we did was the Cortez trial.  This was about when Cortez and his men when to see the Aztecs but ended up taking over there land.  There were different roles that we had to act as.  It was Cortez, Cortez men, System, King, and Aztec people.  What we had to do in this activity was prove that a certain group was guiltier in the takeover of the Aztecs.  It was run like an actual courtroom with opening statements and cross-examinations.  At the end of the trial each group would give there closing statements and we had to assign points of guilt to the most guilty person we thought was.  Something that I thought was interesting was that in the research done Cortez didn’t listen to orders and did what he wanted.  He was the leader of the men who were just supposed to explore this land but instead he took it over.  The king sent notes and people to go after Cortez.  Cortez just ended up killing them.  Having the power to just control a group of people to do what you want is too much for people.  Cortez got greedy and tried to take all of the Aztecs gold and land.  Maybe if another person were in charge then the Aztec wouldn’t have been taken over.

            Throughout the year we have done a lot of interesting and creative things.  For most of these you really had to think about how to use your skills in different ways to make your project that much better.  Creative thinking can make a project better.

            One of the things that we did was called Art In the Open.  The main thing we did was we had to find a space around our school and create a piece that used different movements and used the space in different ways.  At first I wasn’t used to just moving around the way that we did in this project.  There were people that came to the school that showed us some techniques to help us create these pieces.  This was really getting out of most peoples comfort zones.  If you wanted this to go well you had to really come out of your comfort zone and be really creative with the way your body would move in this new way.  If no ideas were coming out or people weren’t really trying then it would just be a bland piece but with each groups creativity added to the project. That is what made these pieces interesting and enjoyable to watch.  With out the creativity this wouldn’t have worked.

These are other pieces I have done
Poetry Wiki
Language Autobiography
Revolution Guidebook
Copper Play
Edwidge Danticat Letter
Descriptive Essay
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Theme for English 2

Theme for English 2

By: Byshera Moore

 

The instuctor said,

Go home and write

A page tonight

And let that page come out of you---

Then it will be ture

 

The turth about my age and what I live through. I am fifteen years old and I live in west philly, what does that say about me. That I got to west philly high, have bad grades and live with a single parent. No I got to SLA, get good greats and live with both my patents. And today I walked into my English 2 class and was told to write a page that was true. True to me. But I don’t know what me to be true to. The me that you see, that one that is happy as can be that sits in class and dose what she is told, works hard, try’s not to step on anyone’s toes. Or the me you don’t see. The me that has bad days and sad days the me that does what to talk. The one you see on the bus with her headphones in and no music playing so that you want talk to her. The me you don’t want to see the me that cry’s or maybe the me that lies and says everything is all right even though she is dying inside. There are too sides of me I am like a coin. There is happy and sad so what do I say true to. Think I will stay true. And say that I live music rock pop rap and hiphop. I am happy and sad I laugh at things that people fine stick and cry at the jokes that you tell because they make me feel unwell.

This is my page for English 2 I hope its not to true for you.

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Humility Portfolio 2012

Through out this year our class has explored plentiful amount of topic and themes that come up in our society today. Openly we expressed our understandings to these ideas through numerous ways as a class. We often took parts in role-playing, trials, competitions, advertising, poetry and much more. Since the year is winding down, I’ve come to some generalizations on our amazing year in Mr. Block’s class. Firstly, we are coming into our own, and I realized that expressing one’s self can lead you in the path of finding out whom you are. Second we have done a ton of collaboration and I can see that collaborating can help me tell my story. Overall Mr. block’s class has shown us to think openly to the world around us, and help us to find a deeper meaning in things we know and don’t yet understand.

            Over our 10th grade year in History and English, expression of our selves was quite prominent in our assignments. One of the assignments created for our expressions was the evolvement in Art in the Open piece. The piece took place in a personally selected area, where our minds could be open to using everyday structures and objects to create movements that could show a new way of looking at the space. The process for creating this was difficult for my group and I, so I came to the general understanding about how express our selves

            “…What helped me the most was letting my self go and not being afraid to make mistakes, but instead learn from them.” (moodle post on the art in the open experience)

            The experience Leah Stein Dance Company gave my class and I was really generous. I’m grateful to have worked with such well-polished dancers and will not hesitate to join an opportunity like this again. Expression in the form of poetry was a big influences our year in 10th grade English and History. For example the somebodies poem that we had to write we got to express how we felt about people in power, and what stereotypes we have of people that our in power. As a class we came up with our own version of the poem.

“Who don’t speak dialects, but speak languages

Who don’t have superstitions, but have religions

Who don’t create handicrafts, but create art

Who don’t have folklore, but have culture

We all want to be somebodies

Are the somebodies really anything without you?”

(Moodle post of poem the “Sombodies”)

             Through out our 10th grade year we explored other poetry techniques and found way to express our selves as we wrote them. Focusing on objects for the piece, I choose to write of the mirror. In the poem I didn’t just write what I saw, but I found a deeper meaning and then expressed it through out the poem. In one stanza I wrote,

“We find

something

dear to you,

you haven't

clearly viewed,

the structure of the cheek,

the roundness of the nose,

the brownness of the eye,

and yes

they do

blink back”

(Mirror Poem poetry wiki)

            It is very common to find pieces like this in our Poetry wiki, where we all collaborated in reading and editing each other’s work. So, while thinking back on the whole year the many ways we have decide to collaborate, decide things, and give deeper insight, gave us a way to express ourselves this year.

            While 10th grade year had a bunch of individual projects, we did most of the work assigned to us by Mr. Block by collaborating. Not only did we collaboration help us it also gave us ways to express our story. As we moved along in the year we came across an assignment in our language unit of English. This assignment was to list and write out all our “Roles Rules and Responsibilities” that we either hear every day from someone in our lives.

“…this is how you introduce yourself to someone in power, with a firm handshake.”

(Roles Rules and Responsibilities moodle post)

As I wrote, I could collaborate with my classmates as they too had similar lives, I would’ve never known that if I hadn’t worked along with them. 

Crossing Boundaries
Poetry Wiki
Art in the Open
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Book Review- Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

​This book is the opening book to a 7 book series that highlights the importance of friendship and the power of being brave. It follows a young wizard named Harry Potter and the series connects his past present and future all together. It is a classified as a sciencefiction novel and the page range for the first book (the sorcerers stone) isn't too much to handle. However, as you reach the later books there is a lot more story to read and you will run into books that are over 700 pages long. Don't let this frighten you into not wanting to read it because the series is amazing. It is a must read and as you follow through the books and the characters grow up, you too seem to grow with them. 
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Book Review for Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Lately I've been reading the book Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. This book is one of the only books that can keep my attention. This book takes you into the minds of people that have negatively reacted from impulse. I love this book because it's blunt and doesn't hold back with anything. Ellen Hopkins makes the characters very realistic and their situations believable. I recommend this book to all. But, this book is not suitable for children under the age of 15.
impulse
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Elona Myftaraj Capstone

My capstone is a written play.
For my capstone I wrote a serious of plays interconnected to each other. I wanted to create something that was meaningful to me as well as enjoyable. I did a lot of brainstorming the genre I wanted to write as well as the characters I wanted to portray. The process to complete my project was long and at times difficult. Through this project I learned to overcome writers block and being shy about asking for help
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