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Advance Essay #3 Reality

My goal in this paper Is to focus on how you see yourselves vs how other people see you. they view literacy. I focused more on a personal experience to better express what I know and inform everyone real life issues people are going through. I am proud that I get to talk about an experience that I have struggled with personally. This paper is something that is very common nowadays and I wanted to get the point across that we live in a place where you get judge no matter what you look like or how you are their is always someone there to bring you down but you just have to ignore the others on what they say because you know who you are and that's all that matters.

“She is really shy,” are words the stick on me like glue. I hear it often, almost everywhere, especially inside my house or school. These words attack me like a monster who taunts the mind of a little kid watching a scary movie. How can people start rumors like this when they don’t even know the truth about me? In middle school, I was judged for being that kid who always raised their hand. They would try to discourage me by saying things like: “Stop being a teacher’s pet,” or “Stop being a nerd!” I tell people all the time to don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but they  do it anyway. No matter what I said they always continued with their abusive words they seem to mentally affect me.

“We must not allow other people’s limited perceptions to define us,” said Virginia Satir who was an american writer who was known for her approach to family therapy . Yet I have seemed to allowed other people’s limited perceptions to define me. I stopped being the “nerd” and “teacher’s pet” and became popular because I changed my appearance. Once I did people wanted to know  who I really was as a person. It’s funny how words from another person can have such a huge impact on you and make you change the way they viewed yourself as a person. Often people do not allow you to express yourself without  judgement before you can even introduce yourself.

Today many people, maybe even most, talk to other people saying one thing about about you that is not true without you being able to tell them about yourself. “It’s taken my entire life to negotiate how to identify, and I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of studying,”  says Rachel Anne Dolezal during an interview. “I could have a long conversation, an academic conversation about that. I don’t know. I just feel like I didn’t mislead anybody; I didn’t deceive anybody. If people feel misled or deceived, then sorry that they feel that way, but I believe that’s more due to their definition and construct of race in their own minds than it is to my integrity or honesty, because I wouldn’t say I’m African American, but I would say I’m black, and there’s a difference in those terms.” She changed her appearance because that is how she defines herself. I look up to her in this way, she was judged by that but she did not let it get the best of her unlike how I let people’s judgement get the best of me.

“Research shows that we normally try to work out how we are viewed by others by thinking about how we view ourselves, then extrapolating from that. The problem with this approach is that to varying degrees we all suffer from an ‘egocentric bias: we think we’re at the center of the world and everything is about us. We shouldn’t be blamed for this — it’s a natural consequence of the fact that we’re locked inside our own head.” said Jeremy Dean from a blog on I tried to work out how I was view by changing my appearance to attract more attention, just so people could see the real me and what I was on the inside before I had glasses and I would always raise my hand so I changed that. I stopped wearing glasses even tho I could barely see, I started wearing makeup and stopped raising my hand. That’s when people began to notice me. More popular people began talking to me and suddenly I was one of them.

One day I went to my Aunt Carol’s house because she was having a block party for my cousin’s graduation party. I never met this her until that day because my immediate family didn’t know she existed until she contacted my dad. She told him that  since my grandpa had another kid after he and my grand-mom split up they never told my dad about it because they didn’t want him getting hurt because he was young and did not understand about them being apart. We got to her street and I noticed a lot of my friends from around my neighborhood were there, so I knew it was going to be a fun party. We went in her house, where she was cooking in the kitchen. When I walked in her living room, she rushed over to me before I could even say “Hello.” I didn’t really say much to her because I didn’t know what to say to her. As my dad introduced us, he said, “She is really shy.” I passively disagreed, because I’m really not a shy person. I just can’t start conversations with people I don’t really know, but this is not the only time people tell others I am shy.

A lot of people think I’m “shy” person, or a goody two shoes, because I like to get my work done in class and not talk during the process. However, that was before and this is now the way I define myself, which is totally different to how others define me. In middle school, I used to agree with the kids that didn’t have any idea who they were. I defined myself as a somewhat independent person, who just likes to get my work done on time. At school now, I’m known as a social person, but don’t often participate in class. I have this fear of getting judged of saying something stupid or wrong, so, instead, I just keep quiet. We live in a place where you get judge no matter what you look like or how you are their is always someone there to bring you down but you just have to ignore the others on what they say because you know who you are and that's all that matters.

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Macbeth Pokemon - Ayala and Shamus

Shamus and I decided that creating an original game for our Macbeth creative project would be the best approach. We thought a play or video would be harder with only two people, and we aren’t the best actors, so we decided to cross that off the list. We didn’t want to do a playbill because we aren’t the best artists, and we didn’t think it would be that entertaining. In the end we went with a game mainly because we both like games and had an idea for designs that would work with the play’s themes and characters. We also thought it would be fun for us and for potential players.
After deciding on a game, we had to think about what the game would be about. We thought of interactive, roleplaying board games that are popular and most people might know. At first, we thought about making a Dungeons & Dragons type game, and started planning that. Then at lunch while planning, we thought it would be great to make a Pokemon type game. Because we had a decent idea of how Pokemon was played, we didn’t need to research it too much.
After Ms. Giknis approved the idea, we started thinking of characters we would make and how to present them. We had an original list of about 7 before we realized that we didn’t have some characters we met recently, or haven’t met yet, in the reading. The final product ended up having 13 cards. Once we had our characters planned, we thought about how to make the cards. We found a website where you can design your own Pokemon card, so we just had to think about the details for each card. For some characters we gave them a meaning for their type of Pokemon. For example, King Duncan would be a colorless type because he is dead and has no color in his life.
We then came up with moves, which are like actions, for each card that worked to make sure each interaction between players would end up like a scene in the book. Once we had our moves and descriptions written, we just had to add them to the actual cards. After that, we printed them out, and put them in a folder so they could all stay together.
The purpose of the project was to make a game that would be fun for the players, and at the same time could teach them about Macbeth. Since Pokemon is a very famous card game, we thought it would be a good way to teach people about Macbeth while simultaneously being fun to play. To understand the game, you don’t need to know much about Pokemon, except that it is a turn based game. To play, the players take turns fighting back and forth, until one player’s Pokemon faints. In our game, a player doesn't necessarily have to faint, but instead the round ends when the scene would. For Duncan and Banquo, they would die, and that is where the round ends. The entirety of the game would be played once we reached the end of the book.

Process Pictures:

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Final Product:

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Advanced Essay #3: Cartoons and Self Identity by Xavier A. Carroll


This essay centers around how cartoons can be used as a tool for self discovery. Here I asked myself were some key factors in my development and how these same factors may play a role in the development of others. I’m very proud of the evidence used in this essay. I would like to further my analytical ability in future writing assignment.

Advanced Essay #3:

When I was ten, I loved weekends. Saturday mornings were filled with the  color and noise of children’s cartoons.  My Saturday nights were spent hanging out with my dad. I would pick his brain for hours on the nature of existence. On Sundays I would wake up around ten o’clock. I would do anything to fill the time. Two hours before sunset, I would open up my brick of a computer and watch anime for hours.  The world seemed to be quiet and peaceful  in the warmth of that orange spotlight and for brief moments it allowed for me to immerse myself in that cartoon world. I saw these strange, giant eyed, animations as very real. Intellectually I knew that they were just drawings projected in pixels on my screen, but I could empathize with them. The connection that I felt towards these characters was founded on a sense of belonging. I could identify traits in myself that also lay in these characters.
I’m now sixteen and proud to say that I am still a cartoon enthusiast. There is a broad constituency of people who find themselves engaged in cartoons. The diversity of the cartoon fan base has recently been growing. In 2006 “Cartoon Network ranked #1 among boys age 9-14 during early primetime hours” according to anime news network, but as of 2015 “Ratings among girls in January spiked more than 50% from the previous year.” according to Variety.
In American animation, cartoons are becoming more real, characters have deep seated flaws and are more like real people rather than superheroes and this has only added to the popularity of cartoons.
Take for example, one of my favorite shows, Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. It’s  about a boy named Steven who is half human and half “gem”. The gems are aliens, their bodies are projections of light that come from stones that hold their consciousness. Steven’s mother fell in love with his father and gave up her physical form to give birth to Steven. Steven’s mother was the leader of the Crystal Gems, a team of four gems who fight to protect mankind. The Crystal gems also deal with real issues that affect real people like body image and grief. One thing that makes Steven Universe so groundbreaking is that all gems identify as women and even though it's never actually said it's evident that some gems are lesbians.
This attracts a demographic that has never been targeted by the cartoon industry, the LGBT community. It allows an LGBT viewer to closely identify with these characters. By being aligned with these characters one is given the chance to embrace that piece of their identity.
“Expert after expert says that when kids see people like them positively portrayed in the media they consume, they are positively impacted, .... Especially when we’re still developing, and especially when we are still discovering and exploring our genders and sexuality” says Mey, a transgender, lesbian, writer for Autostraddle in her article “Steven Universe and the Importance of All-Ages Queer Representation”  

I theorize that cartoons make it easy to explore the depths of one’s identity. When presented with a cartoon character it’s easy to find qualities that resonate with the viewer. That is because what makes the cartoon characters different from those of books or movies is their limited dimensionality. Although this could be thought of as the result of bad storytelling; often the objective of cartoons is to be simple. In this new type of American animation, characters often are limited to one dimension which makes thinking objectively easier. This mixed with the passive nature of watching television makes coming to an unconscious conclusion about one’s own character and identity seem fluid.   
As a toddler, I had a mild obsession with the Powerpuff Girls. The Powerpuff Girls are a group of girls who battle the forces of evil. Each is powerful in their own right. I easily identified the qualities of each character that I too had. As a toddler, I identified with  Bubbles, the kind and gentile member of the group and Mojo-jojo, the super genius monkey. I recognized things that we had in common and wanted to cultivate those parts of myself.
Childhood is a very tender time for the development of self, where every little thing could be internalized. Cartoons are useful tools for the discovery of not only social identity but also self identity. Self discovery is a key part of growing up and giving children tools for that purpose is important.

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Advanced Essay #3: Monarchy

We were instructed on writing a essay on terms of identity and belonging. Using the topic of how to view one self in response to dimensions and considerations by society, we were tasked in writing a short essay. I decided to talk about why it is indeed important for society to judge others in response to the topic of monarchy. I believe I achieved what I wanted to, I wrote a essay meant for all in a democracy looking in to a monarchy based nation, may view the topic. Using real life examples, I achieved just that! 

Most of us are born into families where life is quite simple. We having a loving or two loving parents, who are attentive to our needs as we grow and expand in the world. Some of us have siblings, who immediately become discouraged at our birth with the realization that there is a new thing in town to be more prominent in our parents’ eye. We grow up normally. Eating three well balanced meals a day, enjoying playing and talking with friends, and learning from everything around us inside and outside of our schools. We try our entire lives trying to figure out who we are.

Yet, there are few whose lives have been written in the history books for them. The monarchs, those whose bloodline ranges from some of the most prominent and high-ranking leaders of their nation's history. The House of Saud, House of Bourbon, House of Windsor, simply to name three of the 26 principal royal families worldwide. Acknowledged across many nations, few still have a reigning, single family in charge of the country politically. Compared to the 18th Century, royal families have severely died down due to conflicts regarding their power and society's outlook towards them. The question remains as to why after so many deaths, problems, and public outrage across the history of our world, why countries (both internationally leading and minor) continue to have these families incorporated as either the nations head of state and/or head of government.

The most universally recognized royal family today, is the House of Windsor. The Queen (or the reigning monarch at the time) is the head of state for the United Kingdom. In the case of the UK, the royal family does not play a role politically. However, they have the opportunity in recognizing treaties, in addition to lesser roles in the government. The royal family gets their funds from the people, to note the cash that goes to the royal family is not a large amount at all. That is in the case of the UK however, for Saudi Arabia where the royal family rule the government of the country and which includes thousands of members, the taxation numbers are much greater. For the UK, the royal family receives over 40 million pounds each year from taxation (in many ways their salary for doing very little), while the Prime Minister who runs the country and is elected by the people of the UK only gets a salary of 142,500 per year.

Not all royals are good people. King Juan Carlos I of Spain, last summer abdicated his throne to his son a 39 year reign. The King was a celebrated liberal, peacemaker who created and developed democracy in the country. As good of a man and well liked domestically and internationally King Juan Carlos was, his family wasn’t as appreciated. His daughter and 6th in line to the Spanish throne, Princess Cristina and her husband have dealt with severe fraud charges in recent years. Due to the negative press involving the scandal, King Juan Carlos I of Spain had to abdicate his throne to his son Prince Felipe (a much more favorable, public figure) and his very much loved wife Princess Letizia, in hopes of saving the monarchy. For now that stands, but the Spanish people are still not sold on the monarchy anymore.

It's important to realize that royal families, especially in the case of the UK, cannot successfully survive without the people's support. Throughout history we have seen that, especially in our country. The United States of America developed into a nation with the extradition of the British royal family. We didn’t like what they were doing or how they treated us, and through their actions we demolished them from our borders. It’s important that the people are in charge of the royals. It’s similar to the tools and values of dictators. They can stay in power for so long and do what they will but once the people bring distrust and lack of partnership, the tables turn.
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Advanced Essay #3 - Michael Thayres

Most of us have been in a position at some point in our lives where we’re nervous, and someone tells us, “just be yourself,” as if it is so simple as to just do it. But it’s almost never that clear. It’s more than likely that there is something in the way of that, whether you haven’t had enough time to develop those ideas clearly, or you’re being influenced by something else outside of the current scenario. Bottom line, you are being influenced by something else in your life. From the start, from the moment you’re born.

After all, the only point of reference you have in life is what you perceive. In the words of Emile Durkheim, “Man is only a moral being because he lives in society, since morality consists in solidarity with the group, and varies according to that solidarity. Cause all social life to vanish, and moral life would vanish at the same time, having no object to cling to.” So the conclusions that you make about yourself and your identity are always influenced by something. Thandie Newton talks a lot about, “The self”, or in this context self identity, in her TED talk. I kept waiting for some evidence to back up all the claims she was making, because many of them had serious implications about human nature and were spoken so matter of factly, but I was never given any.

That’s not to say I disagreed with everything either, she talks about the function of self identity in society and communication, but in general, she spoke about the self and “oneness” as if they were concrete. Fact. But the way she describes, it’s hardly concrete. I’ll admit a lot of the claims I will make in this essay are opinions, and are completely debatable. She was being more idealistic than anything. But, I don’t disagree with that.

Even if the things she was saying didn’t have a solid base, they make sense in the way that they can be used to better yourself, and give someone satisfaction over who you have chosen to be and the choices you have made in life. Even if you never will get to a 100% uninfluenced self identity, that doesn’t mean trying to won’t help. Even though having 100% self identity won’t be realized, it makes sense as an ideal. A good example of this is Muhammad Ali, who before he converted to Islam was named Cassius Clay.

He says, “I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”  Is he 100% free of society’s influence? No. And I don’t believe anyone or anything ever will be. But he is certainly deciding for himself, and taking at least some control of his self identity. He won’t get there, but that doesn’t mean that chasing after it is a pointless endeavor. He has control in some way, and from his perspective, he bettered himself. He was presumably happier in life than he was with the name Cassius Clay and even know that isn’t uninfluenced, it payed to off to chase it. Just because something isn’t realistic doesn’t mean it’s not worth chasing.

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Macbeth Creative Project- Majd Bostani and Jakob Klemash-Kresge

My partner is Jakob Klemash-Kresge

        After considering the options, we chose to make the playbill because we both agreed that we didn’t have any groundbreaking creative project ideas. We thought that a playbill would be perfect because if one of us has an idea, we could always just put it into the playbill. For the cover we chose to use a piece of art that was hand drawn because we thought that this would be very original and very interesting. We put a lot of effort into the cover. We both aren’t the best artists in the world, so we just did a cover of a pivotal part of the story. This is one of the parts  we believe we could’ve done better, but no one is a perfect artist so we just kept that the way it is.
The quotes that we used were very important in the play Macbeth and some of the quotes Ms. Giknis featured in class. For example on the cover, we wrote “Is this a dagger which I see before me. The handle toward my hand.” That was an important quote as it showcased how Macbeth felt before the most important part of the story, in our opinion. We also chose ads that were relevant to the theater. For example, the ad we put in for the theater lessons is the real number and dates and we used the actual Barrymore´s Cafe. We chose to showcase Macbeth at the Walnut Street Theater because we wanted to have a theater that was located in Center City Philadelphia. We also think that it is appropriate that we showcase Shakespeare in America's oldest theater. 
The characters are in the play of Macbeth and the actors were people in Red Stream.  We thought that this would be interesting because we had them tell us facts about themselves so that we can a make a simulated bio about them. This also gave us an opportunity to collaborate with our classmates. We figured that everyone would e-mail us a short paragraph about themselves, but that turned out to be one of the biggest challenges of our project. When the due date was close, we were thinking of scrapping the idea, although we thought it would be a dumb move. It wasn’t until I had the idea to improvise. Improvising is one of the most important life skills we have learned at SLA! We wrote the actor’s bios of those that didn’t respond to our email based off of what they usually say in class. That turned out better than we thought! The costumes were just pictures off of the internet. We just brainstormed about what we wanted each character to wear, entered it into Google Images, and found the closest match. We did this as we believed that words won't do justice for costumes, but we only realized we needed costumes on the last day so we couldn't draw them.
We did research on the Curse of Macbeth so we can put that in our playbill so no one would say Macbeth during our production, unless it’s a part of the script. We also thought it would be important to fill everyone in about it. Majd and I also included a short bio about William Shakespeare in the playbill so that the people would have background knowledge on Shakespeare. We also wanted them to know about Shakespeare’s contributions to literature and drama.
We both learned a lot while doing this project, both academic lessons and life lessons. One major lesson that we both learned was to always apply skills that you learned somewhere else in a pinch. For example, with our character piece, if we didn’t learn to improvise, we would’ve never completed it. Aside from that, we also learned some secret stuff about Shakespeare and his theater.
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Here's an overhead picture of Jakob typing out ideas for our playbill!
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Here's an over-the-shoulder of Jakob at work brainstorming some ideas for our playbill.
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Doing my work at home. But first, let me take a selfie!
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Come on Majd, if you try hard enough, you have the potential of being the next Picasso!
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Looking at the computer for cover inspiration!
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Jakob typing up some advertisements!

Advanced Essay #3: The Truth Hurts

​I started writing this essay with one specific goal, convince the reader that there is no such thing as change. To me, identity is about who you are and who you will become, and through out the years, I have been told that your identity can change, and change is okay. I believed that for a long time, but after many experiences, both good and bad, I have come to a realization that change is only an excuse we use when we don't like the truth. I thought using a very personal experience and a very eye opening introduction scene could at least have the reader understand my point of view. I'm not saying that the reader has to agree, just understand and explore the ideas that I present. 

The Truth Hurts

You see them, staring right at you. They’ve changed, and you can see it. Their smile, more crooked than ever, as if they’re being forced by a puppeteer. They’re still, and so are you, no words, no clear understanding or explanation as to why they chose to become someone they knew they couldn’t handle. It’s destroyed them, but they’re too scared to admit it, so, they lie to you. They’re staring right at you, with nothing but a blank stare that for some reason you seem to understand, ‘Help me, I can’t escape what I have created.’ It scares you, yet you still stay, you stare at them. Why do they look so familiar? It’s time to say goodbye, to let go of the person you once knew and loved. They’re laugh merely became a grin, they’re touch was just like ice, and they’re love, drying up like leaves. You fear them, yet you allow yourself to stay for just a couple more minutes, because you miss them, even though you try to deny it everyday. You stare at them, their eyes, those familiar eyes, lost in what seems to be misery. Help can’t be given, and it hurts, but it’s also the truth. You can’t help them, you can simply just wait and be patient. You’re staring at yourself, right in the mirror.

Change, it’s such a bland word, it’s overused, and slowly losing its meaning. How can someone have an identity, a uniqueness that can only be seen in them, if they’re trying to steal someone else's?Steal, it’s such a dirty word, but it’s the truth. A change occurs because of fear of judgement and disapproval from society. We grew up thinking and being told by many adult figures that society has grown to accept everything and everyone, but I have learned that statement to be untrue. The world hasn’t been more rejectful of a person then they are today. It’s thought that if you don’t think or look the same way as the rest of the world, then you do not belong, so people “change”, become better not for themselves, but for the benefits of others. Does change really exist? Are people capable of change, or is it all just a lie created to fit in a world you think you don’t fit in?

I grew up surrounded by media that advertised the “perfect figure” to little girls. Size 00, make- up everyday, perfect tan, and many more ridiculous things. These advertisements were everywhere, and there was no escape, it was as if it was stalking me, but it didn’t care that I saw it, it wanted to be seen. I saw it very clearly, so clearly, that I began believing all the propaganda behind the “perfect body”, and what I had wasn’t the perfect body. My 13 year old mind was convinced I had follow these demands, or I wouldn’t be accepted into the world I wanted to be in. My 13 year old mind became cautious of every single item I put in my stomach. My innocent 13 year old mind was tangled in a web of lies, and I couldn’t set myself free. I went from size 4 to size 00, I would stand in front of the mirror everyday, and judge myself, the way I thought society was judging me. It became an addiction, and like any addiction, I saw no slowing down anytime soon, but why did I still feel loathed? I was scared and confused, isn’t this what people wanted? I became uncomfortable, shy, dishonest not only with others, but with myself.

To my surprise, I had been caught in a trap like many other people. My body was taken over like ghosts, whispering every intuition they can think of in my ear, and screaming it in my face. There’s no escape to this trap called reality, once you're in it, there’s nothing you can do to set yourself free. Society has imprisoned the minds of the weak. Once in the trap of lost identity, you consider all your mistakes, and accept the fact that you can never be free because there will always be a voice of judgment in the back of your head. All that can be done now, is accepting who you are and who you want to be, reality won’t change, you cannot change. I understand society now, and have accepted the fact that I can never be free from reality, but I can now live in reality knowing that I can overcome all the judgement and shunning.

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Invisible Monsters, describes identity as something fake, “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.” He’s right, at some point in your life you experience denial, denial of yourself. You refuse to see your beauty and uniqueness, and instead, you focus on the beauty of someone else. You think that’s not enough, you need more, so you focus on another person's beauty. You’ve glued the beauty of other people to yourself, and now you look ridiculous. The pieces are put together incorrectly, and the glue isn’t even strong enough. Not only have you lost your beauty, but no one else can see your beauty anymore because you are hiding behind the scraps of other people. You’re aware of what you have done, and you remove all the pieces, and now you're stuck with the remnants that actually did stick on.

When people “change”, at some point they always find themselves back to who they used to be. It’s hard to accept yourself because fitting in is the only thing people care about. Your veins are filled with determination to push you to be someone you are not, someone you cannot be. Every move you make, every breath you take, it’s watched and judged. What you don’t know is that you can’t change, change is impossible, you can’t be someone else because their identity is created by their past, a past you never had. You might think you are convincing the people around you, but really, all you’re doing is showing them that you would do anything to fit in, proving that you are weak. Soon, you become their puppet, and they take advantage of the power they have against you, because you have allowed them to become your puppeteer. People don’t change, no one can, people just get better at hiding who they truly are and who they want to be. Once the truth comes out, life becomes easier, and acceptance becomes something of the past.


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Advanced Essay #3 + Beauty In You

The goal of my essay is to acknowledge the trickiness in being a woman. I want my audience, especially women,  to understand that we have to continue to respect ourselves in a society that does not. Overall I want to point out that the journey through “Identity & Belonging” never ends, some questions will remain unanswered .

Kayla Cassumba

English 3

Identity & Belonging

“It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.”

In the mirror we see our truth. The curve in our hips. The thinness of our waists. The stride in our step. We strive to love  ourselves to the maximum of our ability. However,  most people do not understand how difficult it is for women to love themselves.  But how can women and how can  I love myself in a society that continues to degrades me?

In the documentary titled Beyond Beats & Rhymes, director Byron Hurt discusses the problems that hip hop music faces in regards to social changes in society. The director interviewed an up- and- coming artist named “J-hood”, for a section of the film named “Sisters and Bitches.” Hurt asked the artist to describe the difference between the two words that are used to describe women. He pointed to women in their bikinis on Daytona Beach and stated that they were “bitches.”

This quote raises a conflict about how women are viewed. On one hand, a woman has the right to wear what she pleases, especially since the environment mentioned above allowed her to do so, without suffering the backlash of men. But on the other hand, when viewing what they wore OFF the beach,  the “invitation” became clearer. This by no means gives men the right to objectify women, but we have to realize that humans are sexual beings."’ We live in a culture in which we constantly see women objectified in interactions on television and in the media. When you turn your own lens on everyday, ordinary women, we focus on those parts, too,’ says lead author and social psychologist Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.”  As human beings we rely on what we see, that's how arousal occur. However, the natural attraction that occurs between human beings has been exploited. This saturation in media and other outlets  compels us to view one another as objects or representations.

On the contrary, as women we need to respect ourselves and realize that how we dress is a reflection of our self love, morals, and style. We should respect our bodies and know that some things are better left as a mystery. Everyone does not have to see what God has blessed us with. We should carry ourselves in a manner that reflects who we want to attract.  In truth, we should dress for ourselves first. We need to get past what we see being represented in the media.  Let us humanize ourselves and understand that every women should develop a love for themselves before loving anyone else. We can't expect someone to love us unconditionally if we don't love ourselves unconditionally.

Fierce strides were made toward the trolley stop.  I walked alone, blocking everyone and everything around me, until I felt someone's eyes on me like an itch that I just could not scratch. We make eye contact.  Ahead of me stands a tall, pale man whose eyes reflect the sea. The bluest of blues. He stops, stares at me and says , “Wow, your eyes are beautiful.” My eyes are beautiful. And he continued to make his way down the trolley steps.

Men who are genuinely interested in a female are attracted to natural beauty and the way they carry ourselves.  People can identify if confidence radiates out of our bodies. And even though I see myself as fairly confident, when a non-African American man complimented me, I subconsciously held it to a higher standard than when an African-American man gives me the same compliment. I’d won a prize, the validation prize.  Still, questions began running through my mind : does this validate my beauty any more than a compliment from a black man? Does a compliment from a non-black man make me any more beautiful? Do “they” also see beauty in me? But more importantly, do I see the beauty within myself? Finding yourself was never a straight road, and it will never be.

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Advanced Essay #3: Identity and Belonging

  My goal for this paper was to try and explain that you don’t need a high education level to succeed in life or to achieve that american dream the way that society tries to tell you,  through my great grandmother. It’s taught the only way you will evey and or do anything important in life in must go to college and if you don’t you will automatically be a failure in life and i think that i explained pretty well that that’s not necessarily true all the time.

Success comes in many different shapes and forms, but success all depends on what you want it to be it could range from owning a big house to being able to buy yourself a pair of sneakers as long as you know your goal is obtainable there should be no doubt that you can achieve it , but  Society tries to tell you a lot of the time that the only way you can live a great life or try to achieve the american dream of becoming rich is by having a high education, that’s the only way that you will be rich and be happy in life but, I say other wise.  My great grandmother was a prime example that you do not need a high education to achieve that American Dream. She had no more than a fourth grade education and had her first of three kids when she was fourteen also getting married at sixteen years.  When you hear something like this you would think that her life would be HELL. People would automatically assume that she set her life up for failure, that there was no way she could succeed yet alone achieve the american dream most would  assume that, that is out of the question.

Let me tell you first off my great grandma  came a long way Richard Island in North Philly she is a short woman 5”2  and most would say she was a beautiful young lady but she says most people doubted her, that all she would be was a beautiful dummy flash forward  She now lives in condo in Plymouth Meeting that she owns, and lived in what I would say not a mansion but a very large house in Germantown , also was a property owner multiple properties  . She also owned a business a video store the store boomed and the the only reason for her closing the store was because that there was a another video store that opened up right across the street that took most of her customers called Block Busters. These are  some of my great grandma's achievements throughout her life still keep in  mind she never went to college and never graduated from high school.       

This situation is like a chapter ripped right out The Great Gatsby. The man Gatsby went to college for two week just two! He decided that college wasn’t something for him but instead of sitting on his butt waiting for something to happen good in his life he went out and was searching for that one great thing to happen to him and it eventually did. He went out and introduced himself to a man that would change his life forever. He was taught how to look and act like a business man even though he knew we was no such thing and eventually he would become one the most know wealthiest men around a town called East Egg. The moral of the story is that you can come from nothing and make something of yourself to achieve that American Dream. Not necessarily having an education defines your true potential all you really need is some determination in yourself, recognizing your true identity and not falling into society’s arms trying to be another somebody else to achieve your dream.

My grandma explained to me that she had to grow up fast. She had three kids by the age of 17 , her mom no longer wanted to deal with her and her father died so she had to fend for herself but had no money. she first worked at a candy so  from there she learned how to deal with money. working at a candy store wasn’t doing enough for her family. flash forward two years she is a case  worker making enough and know is married to a man she would spend the rest of his life with. Throughout her life she had a lot of  people talk to her about life things to give  her that right guidance because she needed it nobody who was a big father or mother figure was in her life. She told me Bill Cosby gave her some good advice on how to approach life and what the correct steps she should take to be successful in life, and she told be it was good advice and it looks like it was b

Because the way she is living right now looks like her life is great she never complains about anything. All of this success without a high education, just a little guidance, hard work, and dedication if you have those three things you can have your life any way you picture including achieving that american dream.

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Advanced Essay #3: Neighborhood Identity

My goal in writing this paper was to understand a bit more about how we identify based on where we live. Housing affects many facets of our lives, and shapes the way we think about ourselves throughout our lives. By understanding how people feel their neighborhood ties into their identity, we can better understand the intersections between housing, race, and income, factors that play upon one another especially in Philadelphia.​

I have lived in west Philadelphia for my entire life. West Philadelphia, born and raised, that’s me. I was born at Penn hospital, I played in the jungle gyms of clark park, I went to PIC, I lived at 46th, 37th, and 48th streets at an apartment and two houses. All of my early friends were my neighbors, and all of my neighbors are still my friends. Ray, Tim, Stella… peas in a pod. We’ve stuck together for 16+ years because a mutual zip code bred mutual attraction. However, a mutual sense of otherness united us in a way darker than childhood games of 4-square. There were two kinds of “west philly kid”: the white PAS kids at my church and the co-op, and the black “dangerous” kids that lived on the other side of the tracks (quite literally) past 49th and Chester. Always outside the PAS catchment, I was cut off from the close-knit world of the families that sent their kids to the University City Arts League and payed for Suzuki piano lessons at the place on 47th and Baltimore. My house wasn’t nice enough, wasn’t close enough, wasn’t on Baltimore. I took the 13, not the 34. I lived looking into a fishbowl, one of them but not one of them.

Neither was I the kids across the street. I didn’t ride bikes dangerously in front of cars on Grays Ferry, I spoke in American Standard Straight-Outta-the-Dictionary English, I wore glasses, sang opera, and got in the most trouble for staying up with a book and a flashlight. I was far removed from that world, not by distance (I was literally around the corner), but by the insurmountable culture barrier that separated black and white. The barrier that I could almost feel the car pushing through as it crossed 49th street. I was too close to the physical barrier to be a white west philadelphian, and too culturally removed to ever hope to cross the barrier into Will Smith’s all-black west philadelphia.

Philadelphia, ranked 5th among the top 10 metro areas on the Residential Income Segregation Index, is easy to separate into nice little squares of homogenous culture. Residents of Philadelphia can easily narrow down their location based on looking out of the window at the skin tone and aesthetic of the people they see. A survey using 2010 Census numbers to look at segregation in urban areas was compiled by John Paul DeWitt of and the University of Michigan's Social Science Data Analysis Network, and found Philly to be the 9th most segregated metro area in the U.S. reports about this study, saying that

“If you live here in the Philadelphia area, you probably don't need to look

at the control panel at the bottom to know which color code is for whites, which one is

for African-Americans and which one is for Latinos. And therein lies the problem.”

It’s clear that our city is in dire need of racial and socioeconomic revitalization, but how do we accomplish that? Many feel that “cleaning up” neighborhoods through public or privately funded programs is the answer. The often white, young, urban professionals, better known as YUPpies, now feel empowered to move into depreciating neighborhoods not just for the economic potential (the value of the house will triple!) but for what they feel is a moral duty to their city. Superficially, the influx of wealthier, more educated residents is beneficial to a community- stores are nicer, crime is lower, schools get better. However, when we look past the surface, the clandestine evils of neighborhood revitalization are all too evident for the original members of a community. This negative impact, commonly known as gentrification, is hazily defined and seldom discussed, but as members of a rapidly gentrifying city, it must take priority in our conversations about community.

Opinions about gentrification range across neighborhood, racial, and economic boundaries. As such a charged issue, perspectives are often imbued with emotion and personal experience, which can bring unwanted defensiveness and anger to our dialogue. Though this can be difficult to face, addressing it is a key part of understanding the multifarious experiences that make this such a hot button issue. Patricia Valoy of Everyday Feminism writes of gentrification as “new-wave colonialism” with “economic, societal, and public health repercussions for poor communities of color.” She speaks from first-hand experience, as landlords bullied members of her family into abandoning their homes in favor of wealthier residents. Her opinion, and others like it, should not and cannot be silenced by YUPpies and real-estate companies in the name of “revitalization”. Too often does this situation result in the very real problem of simply displacing, instead of erasing, crime. In order to achieve true community revitalization, companies, home buyers, and community residents must work together in spaces that foster a sense of safety and understanding to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. Ideally, this is a comprehensive solution endorsed by all parties, but in reality there is no easy way to account for the plethora of experiences and emotions that make up a community. There are always going to be winners and losers, and addressing the issue of gentrification while improving a city for all residents is an impractical and unachievable goal. Our role, as Philly residents (gentrifiers and gentrify-ees) is to acknowledge and own up to our shortcomings, and attempt to chip away at the walls between neighborhoods with the knowledge that we might not always succeed. We must work for the good of all while knowing that not all will end up being good.

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Advanced Essay #3- Influence on Identity

I really enjoyed writing this paper, simply because I could connect to it so much and reflect my own personal identity. Starting off, the claim for my paper was not clear nor evident to me. I started off with a thesis of how making your own decisions can reflect on the type of person you are,  but with the help of my teachers and peers I came to a different yet stronger conclusion. Overall, I am satisfied with my paper and completely comfortable with what I wrote. I reached the goal of making sure my scene of memory was clear and descriptive, and also including different types of outside sources in my paper to make connections to. 
Identity reflects on the qualities and beliefs that make a particular person different from others. In order to have a belief, there must be some sort of external influence on a person regarding to that belief. An infant child doesn’t learn their name by just guessing it, instead their parents or grandparents are constantly influencing them and speaking to them their name. A person without some sort of influence, whether bad or good, is a lost soul. An American author known as Napoleon Hill once said “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” This quote reflects on the influencer on a person, and shows just how powerful words can be.

Growing up, my father was a Pastor and my mom was an ordained minister. I was always in the church; Sundays would be for service, Tuesdays bible study, Fridays dance practice, Saturday's community service, and the cycle would repeat itself. I was taught many different things growing up as a child, from don’t cross the street without looking twice and always pray before going to bed. Even after my parents divorced, they still remained consistent with keeping my sister and I in church. As I got older my mom began giving me bits and slices of freedom, allowing me to make my own life decisions. But, one thing she always reminded me of was to value my body and my virginity. I didn’t think much of it, though, simply because I was more focused on the new episode of “That’s So Raven” coming on TV than having sex.

The older I got, the more I experienced different encounters and I finally discovered that more kids were having sex than I thought. By then, I had made the promise to God and myself that I would save my purity and virginity until I married to have sex. Although this was a great goal set for myself, I felt like I didn’t belong. The people around me were in Corner A, stacked like sardines while there I was in Corner B. I felt like a needle in a haystack. Everyone looked at me as if I had done something to them, as if I thought I was better than them.

I remember in the fifth grade, when the beginning of me feeling like I didn’t belong due to who I was and what I believed in, someone came up to me and said “You’re weird for waiting to have sex. Don’t you get it, nobody will want you by then. You’ll be all old and dried up and disgusting.” I could feel my lips twist and my brown skin boil like eggs in scorching water. The tears began to swell, but I swallowed them back down preventing them from revealing themselves. All I could do was run away. I ran far, and didn’t looked back, I needed to escape.

In a TED Talk featuring Thandie Newton, she begins off her talk by saying “The self is a projection based on other people’s projections.” This particular quote supports my claim on how our identity is a reflection on external and internal influences. Thandie is saying the projection of oneself is dependent upon the projections of others. This isn’t necessarily negative thing, because some projections can be positive ones. But, what I can say is one can decide exactly which projections of others they want to be reflected upon them. For example, I decided to choose to wait until marriage because of the influence from my parents.

Over time, though, I became comfortable with who I was. Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” The only person that I knew I could be was me, and I was great at it. I had finally been content and fully loved myself, and once I’d done this other began to do the same towards me. I learned how to use who I was as my strength and not a weakness, and it felt amazing. I know that I am constantly changing as an individual, but I’m confident that I have figured out the basics of my identity and who I am. I may not belong to a specific group of people, but I belong to myself and am perfectly fine with that.

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Macbeth Art -Kaitlyn and Ariana

For our Macbeth Creative Project me and Ariana wanted something that showed we had a clear understanding of the play yet allowed us to make our own interpretations of scenes from Macbeth. This is why we chose an artistic approach by illustrating scenes we hand selected because of their depth in meaning and creative wordplay. We each made three illustrations.
One was an image of a sword with a crown on the end. The sword and crown were made to be incredibly fancy with jewels and designs engraved on them. This is because it seemed like that was the way Macbeth viewed the status of King. He expected it to be luxurious and to bring him fame and respect, not how it actually turned out for him. The quote wrapping around the sword says, “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well, it were done quickly.” (1.7.1-2) This is a quote from Macbeth, it basically means that when something is being done, it’s being done quickly and right. When he said this, he was talking about the assassination of King Duncan, which brings back the element of the crown and the sword.
Another illustrated depiction is of a hand dropping a crown and another hand reaching up to grab it. The hand dropping the crown is meant to be Duncan letting go of his crown as he is dying and the hand coming up from the bottom is Macbeth’s hand reaching to grab it. The crown in this illustration is much simpler than the one from the previous drawing. The reason being Duncan was a good King, he wasn’t a tyrant. and people loved him. It makes me feel like he was a simple person who didn’t need jewels to make him feel like his power is validated, he was fine with just a plain crown. On the bottom of the image, Macbeth’s wrist is smudged and it looks like he’s fading. I did this to represent his doubt. As you can tell by the scene right after he finally murders Duncan , Macbeth is very uncertain about what he did. He is telling Lady Macbeth that he heard Malcolm and Donalbain wake up in the next room and the play suggests that he was hallucinating (2.2.24-28).
The third illustration was an image of an eye inside of a hole with three hands holding onto the edge. The hands are meant to be the witches’, since the witches were described as horribly ugly, the hands all have something weird and nasty about them. When the witches were first introduced to Macbeth, he was in awe (1.3.57), which is why the eye is so wide. The hole is supposed to represent the prophecies and how the were good at first, but after just a little bit it all went downhill for Macbeth and he was basically in a hole of lies and deceit. Near each of the hands are one of the first three prophecies Macbeth received, obviously because each witch gave him one prophecy.
Another illustration was one of a large smile. One half of the smile is straight pearly whites, while the other side has crooked daggers for teeth. On the evil side of the smile there is also a culmination of blood around the bottom edge, dripping with blood. To enforce the next door neighbor, friendly face esque vibe, I also added a tongue sticking. This is purely for humor and adds a bit of innocence. It’d look harmless with the straight white teeth straight across, but with the dagger half of the smile, it gives off a feeling of “I know something you don’t.” The scene is a representation of Malcolm’s line “There’s daggers in men’s smiles; the near in blood, the nearer bloody.” (2.3.138-139)
The second image is of a lighter, but with a star where the flame would be. This represents “Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires.” (1.4.50-51) I chose to illustrate it this way to make it literally look like the stars’ shine would be hidden by the lid of the lighter. To add even more emphasis, I utilized contrast by using yellow paint, orange paint, dark blue paint, and a tad bit of glitter to make the star a stark against the  black and white theme. For a little humor, I had the name of the company that made the lighter be “What, you egg?” (4.2.83) This makes the lighter a bit jazzier compared to the bare grey-toned lighter.
The last picture is of a large flower that bleeds off the page. Underneath is a scaly serpent, and it’s head is not revealed. I did that for two reasons. One is because I thought it was unnecessary, and the second is because I thought there wouldn’t be enough space on the page to put all the detail I wanted to put, into it. The scene I depicted was “Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t.” (1.5.64-65) I wanted to draw this scene because the way I interpreted through art, spoke to me. I felt like this was the perfect way to portray this scene in the book.
Our Process Pictures:
Sword Process Picture.JPGSword Process Picture 2.JPGCrown Falling Process Picture.JPGEye Circle Process Picture.JPG
The Final Product:
Sword Final.JPGCrow Picture FInal.JPGEye Circle Final.JPG

Macbeth Playbill by Becca and Avi

We chose to do a Playbill for a few reasons. First, it’s an element to the play that can’t be forgotten. Every time a play is scene, the audience receives a Playbill. Therefore, we believe it’s more connected to reality than doing a game or other formats. Second, it’s a straightforward way to explain the play and everything we have learned from it. Third, the creativity that can be expressed in a Playbill really appealed to us. There were so many ways to make it our own and it was fun to organize and format every included element.

Every element of our playbill relates back to the ideas and elements of Macbeth. First, our cover says that our version is shown at The Globe Theater. We decided on this theater because it was one of the main theaters that Shakespeare's plays were performed. As this is a Shakespeare play, we thought it would be a suitable stage. The image on our cover has an outline of Macbeth’s face. But there are more elements to the cover. First, there is a floating bloody dagger to represent the bloody dagger hallucination from act 2 scene 1. Second, there’s an image of a crown in the window to represent Macbeth’s longing to become king and how it is within reach. Third, in the other window there is a star and a fire. This represents the quote from Macbeth in act 1, scene 4 when he says “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

Next, we chose the actors to play the characters. All of the actors were chosen based on the roles they typically play. Some actors are known to play leads well, so we chose them for Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Banquo. Some actors are also good at playing certain types of roles. For instance, Donald Sutherland is playing King Duncan due to his past experiences of playing kings and because he looks older and wise. The actresses to play the witches were chosen due to their past experiences of playing witch-like roles.

Our ads were based on common things of the time. For example, one of our ads is for the “best ruffs in England”. A ruff is a piece of clothing, somewhat similar to a scarf, that both men and women wore in Elizabethan times. The second ad is for another Shakespeare play called, The Tempest. Typically playbills have ads for similar productions so we thought The Tempest would be perfect.   

Every act summary was written based on notes taken for each act. The main events were explained so that the reader can follow along through the play if they find themselves lost. We also explained crucial elements that could be easily missed. Costumes were chosen based on typical costumes in Shakespearean plays. Macbeth has an outfit for the beginning when he was a soldier, as this doesn’t require royal garb. When he is king he wears a crown and more royal looking capes. Lady Macbeth wears a gown the whole play, as this is common for a wealthy woman of the time. King Duncan wears a crown and royal cape for the extension of his life in the play. Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, and Fleance all wear similar clothing typical for a wealthy man of the time. As they aren’t kings, they don’t wear capes but since they’re wealthier they still wear nice clothing. The murderers all wear black clothing to show contrast with the other characters and disguise on their mission. The witches wear long black capes and have beards, as described in the first scene of the play.

We chose three sets that apply to the most influential scenes and can be used for the most scenes. The set for Banquo’s murder can also be used for the scenes before they attack the palace when they cut down trees and when Macbeth is murdered. The table set where they host the dinner can be used for all scenes in the palace that don’t take place in the bedroom. The bedroom set is used for the scene where Lady Macbeth is going crazy but can also be used for all scenes that take place in the bedroom and conversations in the palace between her and her husband.

I worked with Avi Cantor on this project.

Below are pictures of our process. The calendar we came up with, our brainstorm, costume page table, and actors description table. The last image is the pdf of our final product.
Screenshot 2016-01-18 at 7.04.32 PM
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Macbeth Playbill

Advanced Essay #3: Identity & Belonging

My goal for this paper was to write about something everyone my age could relate to.  I wanted to write a paper with a strong thesis and facts to back up that thesis.  I wanted to write something I could feel proud of went I put it on Slate.  Overall I think I achieved my goals and was able to tell a good story.

High school. It’s kind of like a zoo especially made for teenagers.  So many different kinds of teenagers with different shapes, colors, personalities and skills in one enclosed area with others always watching our every move.  We are at an age where our bodies are changing, we start to like other people and the slightest of things can change our mood for the rest of the day.  Our parents go from our idols to our worst enemies who sometimes ruin our Friday night plans because we have to go to Grandma’s house for dinner at 5. This is also the time of our lives where we try to find who we are and where we belong.  As high school students all we want to do it is fit in with some kind of group. Finding a group of friends will allow us to find who we are now and who we want to become.  Finding the group we exactly belong to can be hard process but once we do find that group of friends we belong we can finally find out who exactly we are and meant to be.

I remember how I would try to fit in my first year of high school.  I was coming from a middle school where I didn’t really fit in.  I had my own group of friends but was never was fully accepted by the other students so I never felt like I belonged there.  I went to SLA because I wanted a fresh start.  No one else from my middle school came to SLA with me and I thought that a new environment and new people would allow me to find exactly who I was.  That I would suddenly have a sense of belonging finally but when I finally got to high school I was completely wrong.  For the first few months I didn’t really know who was my friends. I didn’t feel like I belonged with any group. I remember the first day of school.  I walked in and I already saw groups forming.  I was scared out of my mind because I thought that I wasn’t going to fit in with any group. It wasn’t until the spring of my freshman year that I finally felt some type of belonging.  I was part of the varsity baseball team and we were a family.  When you are part of a family you always want the best for the other members.  That’s what members of the baseball team wanted for each other.  We all knew our common goal was a championship so when we stepped onto the field we gave 120% effort to each other.  We wanted the best for each other and we knew what we had to give to acheive that best. This family feeling I got from the team gave me the feeling of belong I wanted for months.

So why do teenagers need to have a sense of belonging, especially teenagers in high school?  Amanda Enayati, who wrote a special to CNN called The importance of belonging said “Because as humans, we need to belong.  To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world.  Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.”   Karyn Hall who has a Ph.D in Psychology wrote “Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions.” As teenagers we can have so many different factors stress us out.  School, family and relationships are just some of the many things that can stress us out.  With these stress factors it can feel like the world is against us and we can have no one to talk to.  For some these feelings like depression can bring them to the point of killing themselves.  According to 1 in 8 teens could suffer from depression.  That is why we want to belong somewhere.  So that we can have people we can talk to.  So that we can have some to vent to about all the problems that we are facing in everyday life.

We see wanting to belong in the media everyday.  Since we are surrounded by this all the time we are influenced by it.   In every movie about teens and high school there is an “in” group and there is an “out” group and the main protagonist is always trying to get in the “in” group.  Or on Twitter or Instagram.  We see stuff like #squadgoals, #bestfriendgoals or #relationshipgoals.  Dancing, Singing, or doing any type of activity, these people have found someone or someones who they can identify with others.  Someone they can have fun with or be silly with

So how can teenagers find belonging?  First, they should find what they are passionate about.  When they find that thing they should find people who are passionate about the same thing.  That is what happened to me.  I love baseball.  I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love baseball.  I remember Saturday mornings as a little kid and my dad would toss me wiffle balls and I would hit them over our garage.  Baseball was part of my identity and it made me who I was. When I came to high school that is how I found where I belonged.  I joined the baseball team and I became friends with people who loved to play the same game as me.

Teenagers.  The teenage years can be filled with ups and downs especially for my generation.  The little things now are big things and the big things become bigger things.  In this time of tweeting and snapchatting it is important to us to have a sense of belonging.  It can be to someone or a group.  This can be balance to our lives and allow to to express who we really are.  They can help us find our identity and who we are meant to be in the future.

Annotated Bibliography

"Understanding Depression." KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. Ed. Arcy Lyness. The Nemours Foundation, 01 Mar. 2015. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <>.

Hall, Karyn. "Create A Sense of Belonging." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <>.

Enayati, Amanda. "The Importance of Belonging -" CNN. Cable News Network, 1 June 2012. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <>.

Dokmanovic, Greer. "The Importance of Belonging | Valuing Our Teenagers | The Kids Are All Right." The Kids Are All Right. N.p., 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <>.

Richards, Patti. "The Importance of Belonging in Teenagers."LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 17 May 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <>.

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Macbeth Playbill (Autumn and Amelia)

My partner is Amelia Benamara and we choose to do the theoretical playbill because we felt that it would be a little bit harder than the other ones. Because we thought that it had more steps, due to getting the bios of all the characters, in this case we only got a few. We also got a few costumes for the main characters and we had trouble picking out a theater because when we picked out the theater, we had to look for some of the background information for it. We also took the time to look at different playbills (examples) to compare ours to an actual playbill. Something that was really difficult was getting the correct dimensions of the playbill. It was easy to get the size online but it was hard to figure out how to get those dimensions and create it while using Google Docs. While having it on Google Docs was a little bit hard, then I realized that if you took a piece of paper and folded it in half, it will create the perfect size for playbill. So what I did was create tables throughout the whole document then made the color of the table white to make it transparent to the paper. I only left the line down the middle to separate the two sides and show where the paper would fold. As we were doing this project, we kind of went out of order. We did most of it as we planned but we took some days off to do other projects, just to keep everything balanced out. We had so many things going on at once. However the calendar and list we previously made helped a lot with the organizations and keeping the whole project smooth.

The first thing we did was split up as soon as we started (after reading the details of what we need). Amelia worked on getting people’s names for the cast and created questions for their bio. While she did that I create a format for the project and after sending out the email together, then typed up the bios into paragraph form. Amelia drew most of the art work and I got some of the customs online. And we talked at least three times a week about the projects. Mainly about if we got all the pictures, Amelia was able to get everyone’s picture for their bio while I put the pictures in and made a new format. In the end we edited each other work a little bit show show the difference and express our true thoughts.

Working with each other was very easy because of the great communication we had going with one another. We would always remember to work on the document on certain days and would use the time we get in class very wisely. Also, we worked pretty well on time management, as you can tell by the pictures on google hangout and our well organized calendar is. We, as a team, respected each other’s choices and would always find a way to mix our ideas together as one. Amelia thought we did a pretty good job together on dividing the work up, equally. Everything was fair to both of us throughout the entire playbill creation. Overall, we think we made a pretty good team and had fun at the same time. So, we’re glad this project was enjoyable, instead of stressful. We are proud of the outcome!

These are some pictures of us working on our project in different classes during a work period. 
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We also spent a lot of time on Google Hangout. These are just some pictures of us working while being able to talk to each other about the project. 
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We also wanted to share some sample pictures of the project. 
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Here is the final project of the playbill. The first page is an ad for posters. The last page is blank because we couldn't get rid of it, we spent almost 40 mins trying to delete it. 
Click the first picture down below to reveal the advertisement for the playbill. There might be some problems with seeing the other pages, so click the next picture to see the PDF of the actually playbill.
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Macbeth Benchmark (Kiah and Harlem)

The purpose of our project, the board game, is to show how we can incorporate creativity and fun into learning about Shakespeare's book, Macbeth. When reading Macbeth, we know how it feels to be confused and you don't understand what the book is saying, but by playing our game, our trivia would inform you all about the book!



The Rationale

The process of creating the game board of Macbeth was surprisingly easy, but there were a few challenges we had to overcome. We chose to make a game board because we felt that kids love to play board games, and if they can learn and play games at the same time, they would be enjoying themselves while getting an education. Shakespeare and his plays can be hard to understand at first glance, so why not make on into something simpler, like a game? It also gave us a chance to use our creativity skills, such as the 3D printer, which we used to make the game’s pieces.

For the game board’s creation, we decided to make it look like the original game, Candy Land We made it look like Candy Land because we thought that Candy Land was a great game that people loved to play with their families, so we just figured that if the game looked liked Candy Land, they would want to play for a long time. From then on, we tried to make everything that goes along with Candy Land, like making the game board colorful and making the squares loop, twist, and turn. The game’s objective obviously had to be different than Candy Land, so we settled on was to show how Macbeth started as a soldier who was loyal to his king, the war zone, to an evil mastermind that wants to kill people who get in his way, at Inverness.  Every piece on the board has a their own function, adding a challenge to the game and making getting to Inverness difficult, since Macbeth’s transformation from good to bad was the same exact way.

Originally, we weren’t planning on doing a game board box, but since we got an extension for the project, we decided that we could make our project a little better by making a box for it. To start, we got a shoe box and covered the whole box with brown paper, and then we ended up not liking it so much, so we wrapped it with red paper, and it looked a lot better. After, we both came up with our own sketches of the box front, then we chose which one was better and we drew it on the box. We decided on the sketch of the crown hovering over the hand with the blood dripping from it. The story behind the sketch was that it was snowing, and people normally put the hand out of the window and feel the snow on their hand, and it’s a happy time. We figured Macbeth is the complete opposite, so we made a crown instead of a cloud, to show that Macbeth wants the crown so he is holding his hand out for the crown. After we did that, we replaced the snow with rain, and then we made the rain into drops of blood. We did this because we realized Macbeth had to kill a lot of people for the crown, so the blood is coming from the crown into his hand. Lastly, we made the blood drip from his hand to the floor so it looks like it is too much blood for him to hold, since Macbeth killed so many people, it was too much for him to handle, therefore too much blood to hold.
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Macbeth Creative Project Koffi & Zimmerman

In creating this project, Eli and I wanted to do something different that we felt would truly portray our knowledge of Macbeth. We decided to make a newspaper in the perspective of a newspaper reporter that is to the everyday citizens in Scotland. We made this decision because we all know what happens in the castle, but by having the newsletter made in a citizen’s perspective we are revealing how citizens are reacting to the things that are happening in the book. It gives us the non royal view of the situation, we’re looking in on the royal family's life.

Our letter consists of things that we felt all newspapers have, like articles, a crossword, and an ad . Our headline article is about the crowning of Macbeth. We agreed that this would be the main article because a new king’s crowning would be very apparent, especially after the sudden untimely death of King Duncan. In addition we decided if the reporter was in this situation he would’ve wanted to make Macbeth the headline because he essentially has a major influence over the reporter life. Our second article was on the fleeing of Prince Malcolm and Prince Donalbain. This article went into depth about why the two princes left from the reporter's point of view. Our third and final article was about the death of King Duncan. In this article the reporter got in depth with the conspiracy behind why certain people would have a motive to kill King Duncan. The article also went on to explain how the murder would have been laid out, meaning how the murderer would have gotten into the king’s room.      

Doing this project taught us that communication is important. Throughout the duration of this project we had long periods of time where we didn’t talk. This lead to us misinterpreting information and finishing the main aspects of the project. Luckily being done early isn’t much of a problem, but if we communicated better this misunderstanding could’ve been avoided. We also learned that having a written calendar is a great idea and one that we will use in our future projects. Having a calendar is like having a written contract that holds us both accountable to the work we do and do not finish on time.

Both Eli and I are satisfied with the final product of our project. Before we started we established goals and we feel as though all those goals were met. Our project looks like a real newspaper that could have been written around the time of Macbeth. It has all the things we felt a basic newspaper should have. If we were to do this project again we would have added more of a creative element to the project. In our minds a newspaper seemed to have more of an artistic appeal than what our outcome was. Even though the newspaper was a good idea it was not as unique as we originally thought it to be.

We had several days during class and outside of school of just taking notes and annotating the things we wanted to use in our newspaper

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We also had multiple sessions on google hangouts to share ideas and thoughts throughout the winter break
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We had to communicate a lot outside o f class. These are pictures of how technology helped in the process of completing this project
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​This is our final product. The completed, official Scotland Post
Macbeth Newspaper

Macbeth: The Least Tyrant King By Hamidou Doumbia,Antonio Derock

Hamidou Doumbia : Hamidou Doumbia — Science Leadership Academy

Antonio Derock: Antonio Derock — Science Leadership Academy

Google Doc:Q2 English Project - Google Docs


Macbeth: The least Tyrant King Rational

   My partner and I chose to do a board game. We chose a board game because we both have a lot of good ideas for a good board game. We don't have any good ideas for the other choices. We also chose this project because me and my partner Antonio love playing games so we want to create our own game for everyone to play.

Our board game is going to have one route to the end. The end is going to be who can kill King Macbeth  first, whoever does that, wins the game. Players are going to start at the part of the play when Macbeth meets the witches, and when he starts to go insane. People can only play as Donalbain, Malcolm, Macduff, and Fleance. Then you will have a card with a question, if you land on a question spot on the board, and you will have to answer it.. The card will have a number on the top left hand corner, and after you answer the question, you check if it's right. If you’re wrong you go back the number of spaces it says on the card. The board will be decorated with the theme of the medieval era/scenes from the story.

Our board game will have a spot for the cards and a little square for the characters to move spaces. On the board you will be going through the different acts we read.  The question card will also state the act so you will know where we got the question from and it will have a question mark on the card. On the board it will be questions mark on the board if you land on the questions mark you will have to answer the question card. Also if you think the question isn't hard then you can try the Life or death cards. Life cards have a cross on the front and the death card has a skull. It is random so if you chose one card then you can go back if its wrong, if its correct you go up an act but death cards you stay at the same place or go back.You will get a personality card because thatt is how your character is decided. If you make it to the end you are the new king of Scotland and take the crown from the former king, Macbeth.


This is a picture of our card creation process and how we got our information.


This is our Brainstorm for the board and we created a spot where we will place our cards and the design which will fit our board game.


This is part of the board, a little example of the project. We also created pictures for each  acts.


This is our final product.

I hope you will like our board game we really put a lot of time into this project. Me and my partner Antonio like our final project. This project took about two weeks to finish. Most of the time we worked on it was in class, home, and sometimes at lunch. It was really fun to work with my best friend Antonio DeRock.


Advanced Essay #3, Identity: The Journey of a Lifetime


In the following essay, I reflect upon and analyze the different types of identity we are faced with in the world, and our journeys that help us to build onto that. Identity is complex, and it is certainly not concrete. There will always be pre-conceived ideas about ourselves due to the history and nature of our world, but then it is up to ourselves to deal with those ideas as we wish, and form the identity that we want others to find true about ourselves. This essay speaks on my own experience in identity, and how I have chosen to make sense of it.


We are brought into this world looking outward. The first specks of light gleaming into our eyes, the first bits of sound from the outside world entering our ears. Life is absorbed into us. We observe people, situations, social interactions, our surroundings. As we grow older, we begin to look inward. There comes a time where with everything we’ve collected and stored in our brain, we begin to connect it to this “self” that we discover. We are never-ending puzzles, and we pick up the pieces to it as we go along the way. But what happens when the pieces don’t fit in? When people hand us pieces, and tell us, “This is who you are, this is who you are supposed to be...this is what the world thinks of you,” then what happens then? Do the pieces stay as parts of us anyway? Building your identity is a constant battle between what you think of yourself, and other people’s judgement and expectations. It is up to us to fight for what we believe ourselves to be, so that one day, the rest of the world can see us for who we truly are.

One thing for me that I have found has shaped much of my identity is the people I surround myself by, that I converse and build relationships with- my friends. As I began to cultivate just a few strong friendships, I found myself learning life lessons that I otherwise would not have learned until much later. I know what a good relationship looks like, what a bad relationship looks like. I know how I should be treated, and the situations I may find myself in in the future. It all gives me time to think about life deeply now, and make the best of it when the time comes to make the real decisions that will impact my identity. But with all of the lessons I have learned, all of the pieces I have collected, I found that I couldn’t just leave them all sitting around. It was time to start connecting them, time to start focussing inward, finding where they apply to myself. To be honest, this is something I have started very recently, coming into this new year.

In focussing inward, I find that there are a lot of things make up my identity. Being both white and Puerto Rican, it’s not particularly easy to claim the Puerto Rican part of my identity. Many times people are shocked, as if they can’t even believe that that is actually part of my identity. “How could you possibly be Puerto Rican?,” I’ll hear them say. As if I didn’t already have trouble claiming that part of my identity, due to more personal reasons, people’s disbelief made it a lot easier to just ignore that side of me. Growing up, however, I realize that it is a part of me, and I share experiences with other people who are in the same position that I am. In a New York Times article written by Wesley Morris on self identity, he says, ‘‘Self-identified’’ means ‘‘I’ve seen myself and not because of anything you did.’’ It certainly takes time and dedication to tear down everyone else’s ideas about you, and although they will still remain there because we’ve been so conditioned to listen to them, we know the truth about ourselves.

It just wouldn’t be true to say, however, that the way that we self-identify is all that identity is. Identity is a lot more complex than that. I have decided that there are mainly three different types of identity: self, or private identity, public identity, and perceived identity. Public identity and perceived identity are not one in the same. Public identity is the information that we choose to share with others, the parts of our private identity which we are willing enough to be open about. Perceived identity is how others choose to view that information, and the identity that they wind up forming for you. It can be difficult to think about, that there are so many ways to view identity, but that’s a huge part of what life’s all about. We’re all on this journey together.

Sometimes when everything gets confusing, and all of the pieces of my life are scattered all over the place, I’ll go back to a time of peace. Around eleven o'clock at night, the moon shining full and bright behind some clouds. Even a few stars scattered through the otherwise pitch-black sky. I can hear the ocean’s waves crashing in the distance, a familiar, soothing sound. Smaller waves crash onto the shore, creeping up to my toes and swallowing my ankles whole, until eventually the cold water recedes back into the depths. I get chills up my spine that make the strands of hair on my arm stand up. I look up at the moon and feel it looking back at me; and in that moment, I feel as one with the world, and both me and the world know who I am.

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Handcrafting your own Mask

​The goal of my paper was to shine light on the topic of African American males conforming to the ideas and viewpoints society has on us. Reflecting on my paper, I believe I did a phenomenal job at getting my point across of how we only confirm the thoughts and stereotype of society when we commit murders and do other things that negatively impact our communities. I believe that everyone on this planet has a chance to be great in life regardless of the preconceived dilemmas set against them. But in order to be great you have to be different; create your own identity. Writing this paper was something that came pretty easy due to the fact that this directly applies to my life and how I’m perceived.

Question I am investigating: How does society construct or destroy feelings of identity and belonging?

“Wassup Lew. Where you going, yo!?” he shouted as he galloped across the street as if it was his light.

“What’s up Tyreke. I’m headed to the Library. What are you getting into tonight?” I responded.

“Oh you that type nigga!? I didn’t even know we had a library around here! Why the hell you going to the damn library?”

“What do you mean, Tyreke? The type “nigga” that cares about his future?! I retorted as I stormed away…

The feeling I got after this moment was dreadful. I didn’t understand what was wrong or abnormal about an African American male who cares about his future. I couldn’t grasp the idea of why more African American males cared about their future. Then it hit me; I felt like I could answer this question. I was surprised at how simple the answer was actually. I came to the conclusion that us African American males were victims; victims of ourselves and of the system. By this I mean that blacks hold other black back from prosperous, positive lifestyles and so does the system.

The system being how things work and are structured in America.  All the way from 1746 (when blacks were first enslaved 1) to now we have conformed to the lense that society sees us in. We are viewed as these beasts who have no control over what they do. 

“In that first year, my first away from my hometown, I was to become thoroughly familiar with the language of fear. At dark, shadowy intersections, I could cross in front of a car stopped at a traffic light and elicit the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk of the driver--black, white, male, or female--hammering down the door locks. On less traveled streets after dark, I grew accustomed to but never comfortable with people crossing to the other side of the street rather than pass me. Then there were the standard unpleasantries with policemen, doormen, bouncers, cab drivers, and others whose business it is to screen out troublesome individuals before there is any nastiness.2” Personally, each and every line in this quote is a stereotype of this black man. Throughout the whole journal, he had not displayed any actions to warrant these “precautions” taken against him. And that’s what leads me to believe it’s a racial and sex problem.

This is half of the problem. The other half is how us blacks respond to these acts of “safety”. I see why people are scared of us. We confirm every stereotype they have about us. Out of the 21 black males who have been murdered this year, 18 have been murdered by another black man.3  This is a prime example of conforming to the lense society uses to view us.

By Tyreke saying “Oh you that type nigga!?”, he was boxing himself in; taking away a source of knowledge that could propel him to create his own identity instead of wearing the social mask handcrafted for our kind.

                                             “Progress is impossible without change

                                            and those who cannot change their minds

                                                         cannot change anything.”

                                                            ~  George Shaw

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The Great Macbeth- Doniesha Hinson & Sydney Rogers

Sydney and I chose to create a game board as a way to reflect our knowledge on the Macbeth play because we thought it would be both interesting and informative.The game is a mixture of a trivia game and a common Candy Land style game board. We decided to make the game this way because we figured it would be more interactive than a simple, long and boring old-fashioned game. We thought this would also be a good way to get people thinking outside of the box.

One way we proved our understanding of the play was by using trivia and prophecy cards to embrace the usage of the paradoxes, the prophecies and the tragedies that occurred throughout the play. The two main characters frequently used throughout the game were Macbeth and Banquo. We chose to use those to characters in specific because they were, in our opinion, the two protagonists of the play.

Some of the “prophecy cards” featured include the paradoxes Banquo received from the three weird sisters. We incorporated these specific paradoxes because in the game you can either move forward or backwards. Either way you moved you were always closer yet farther away. In addition we included events that Macbeth came across all through the play. Such as when he became King or when he killed Duncan. We involved events like these because they were the most significant in the changing of characterization we saw in Macbeth.

Another way we demonstrated our knowledge was by making a “metaphoric” board. The board is colored red to create the bloody atmosphere portrayed in the play. Further, the board has 8 spaces titled “Banquo”. This represents the last apparition Macbeth saw — Banquo’s line of infinite Kings. Moreover, we included 3 “Macbeth” spots that represent the repetition of 3’s. There were 3 main witches, 3 prophecies, 3 apparitions and the repeatings of idiocy. Idiocy is the act of really stupid behavior. Macbeth killed Duncan — which in our opinion was insane — this drove him to begin hallucinating weird things. (ex. II.2.44-46 “Still it cried, ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house; ‘Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more.’”) This quote is also foreshadowing the ending of the play where Macbeth is murdered.

Last but not least, we created a dungeon space. It is similar to the Monopoly’s “JAIL” section and plays a similar role. We included this space on this game board because it refers back to “The Stanford Experiment”. As time went on Lady Macbeth turned Macbeth from good to evil. He was influenced once and took the power to his head, which left Lady Macbeth uncontrollable of his actions. Additionally, Lady Macbeth created a mental prison for herself. She held on to dark secrets and information which made her start to act jittery and insane.

Overall, we generally determined that this would be the most efficient way to show our creative skills and comprehension of the wonderful yet dreadful “Macbeth” play.

My Partner's Blog: Sydney Rogers

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The Macbeth Games - Sarah Berg and Leah Bradstreet

For our project, Leah and I decided to create an original board game called The Macbeth Games. It’s playable for all of our classmates, and has the perfect ratio of education and fun. We wanted to do a board game because it was the best way to incorporate all of our ideas and creativity into one cohesive project. It was also doable in a way where Leah could create most of the artistic aspects, and I could supply the written details.

In The Macbeth Games, the players fight to the death, eliminating each other one by one. We chose to do this because it’s an understandable format and quite relevant to the book. Our board itself contains various types of spaces. This was done to make the game-play more complex and exciting. Along the border of the course, we’re including small drawings and their descriptions. There’s usually one for each scene, so we had to keep them small. These drawings acted as a recap/guide of the plot of Macbeth, educating the player along their journey.

We included a set of instructions with our game that describe how to play it in detail. Here, I am going to include them and explain why did it the way we did.

Goal: to be the last one standing

As stated earlier, this is a simple and straightforward goal that is relevant to what goes on in Macbeth.  

Players: 4-6

We chose a small range of players because it helps control the length of the game. If there were too many people playing, the game would take a long time to finish, and we don’t want people to get bored. However, 4 is our minimum because with any fewer players, there would not be much excitement.

Setup: Each player picks a character and their card. Everyone starts at the first box of the board with 12 health. Use your card as a marker to remember where your character is.

12 might seem to be a random or unusual number. However, each character has 12 health because that is the most you can roll on 2 dice, this will be explained in the Duel/Alliance section.

Gameplay: Establish an order to take turns in. This would preferably be clockwise or counterclockwise from the person reading the instructions. Each player rolls the 2 dice and moves that many spaces. Once you reach the end, go back to the start.

We tried to keep the game-play as simple as possible, and this style was a good way to do so.

Food/Water spaces: you can roll again if you land on a normal food or water space. However, if you land on Lady Macbeth’s special poisoned food, go back 3 spaces.

We added these as a way to change up and add variety, but also to incorporate an essential character.

Duel/Alliance spaces: when you land on an alliance, you have the opportunity to choose any other player to team up with. This comes into play if you land on a duel space. If this happens, spin the spinner to choose your opponent. If you have an alliance with that person, you will not have to fight. However, this only works once. Continue otherwise in a duel as so:

  • take turns rolling the dice. The difference between the total of each player’s rolled numbers is the damage that the player with the lower number takes. For example, if Banquo rolled an 11 and Macduff rolled a 7, Macduff takes 4 units of damage.

  • repeat this process until a player reaches 0 health. That player is dead.

  • continue the game without the eliminated player. The winner of the duel gets restored health once the duel ends.

This may be the most confusing part of our game, but the instructions should be enough to clarify everyone’s understanding of what to do. The alliance aspect was added to introduce some competition and resentment within the players. The duel aspect was added to move the game along, as it is how each player is eliminated until only one is left and wins. Since each player has 12 health, each duel should not last too long, but it won’t be over immediately. The design of this game is all about balance.

Along the way: stop to read our information about each scene in order to refresh your memory and give your character that spite and urge to kill.

The side pieces are the way that we kept the game informative and original.

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Becoming Macbeth- Leo Cassel-Siskind, Raymond Rochester, and Brendan Hall

Macbeth Game

Our group made a game about Macbeth’s life. In the game you become Macbeth and make the decisions we saw he had to make in the story for him. You begin the game by reading the first scenario and question and then choosing one of the answers. Each answer will be a link to a new slide where you will read another scenario and answer another question. Eventually you will reach a point where you win and stay king forever or die and someone else becomes king.

The reason we made a game like this was so everyone could have a fun interesting experience where you get to become Macbeth. It’s a unique experience to try to make the decisions that Macbeth had to make. While many people in the class were saying that the decisions Macbeth was making were stupid now they have the chance to be put into the same scenario with one major goal and the odds strongly against them like they were for Macbeth.

While we made a way that you could make the decisions Macbeth did there are also many ways to select a new approach in an effort to become king. One of the major things you could do began from the first question you see; do you take the witches seriously? Should you select no you have taken a whole different course than Macbeth and the questions you are asked are different. Instead of following a Macbeth approach where you can decide to kill the king and you focus much more on Malcolm, because he becomes king (as his father of course made him heir). You focus on becoming his prince so that you eventually take over and you also get the option at a point of killing him as to become king. All the things that took place here are what we expect would happen had Macbeth made this decision.

If you take the witches seriously it becomes a lot more straightforward. You can decide if you should kill the king or wait for fate (just like Macbeth did in the story). If you decide to kill the king you can second guess yourself like Macbeth did for a little bit or just be tough and kill the king. Then should you kill the king you move on to Banquo and you must decide if it is necessary that he be killed. He could be your best friend, but he could also be a threat. The next thing that will come up is Macduff. He doesn’t attend your celebration as well and you have to decide if he should be killed. If you don’t he goes off to England to find Malcolm and comes back to fight you. Finally you have the choice of whether or not to help your people. If you don’t, everyone hates you even more than they already do and turn on you. If you do help them they rise up and beat England. This entire part is similar to the book and should you stray from what Macbeth does the results are very predictable.

The entire game can take between three and ten questions depending on your choices. Normally it will be somewhere in the middle. The odds of winning are very low, because Macbeth’s odds at becoming king and remaining king are very low. We also wanted to include a reward. Should the class win the game when we present, our group will bring in some prize (dessert) to be handed out the next day or two days later at lunch. The final thing we wanted to do was make a video around each scenario for the classes entertainment and to enhance our overall project.




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Black Boy In White SCHool

Being black while going to a private school is like being an exotic animal at the zoo. You’re a spectacle for the people there, because they rarely see black people. Because of your race’s rarity in these areas, stereotypes are given and expectations are laid out for you that you don’t understand or simply disagree with. For some, coming to these schools provide a challenge like no other:Increased workloads, more tests, etc. However, the most difficult part isn’t the class work, but rather what happens outside of class. If you’re not good at the sport assigned to you stereotype, it’s even harder to fit in than if you had. If you don’t act like your stereotype it’s hard to even be socially accepted. My only example can be my personal one, from when I went to private school.

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I’d been going to private school since lower school, but none had been like the middle school I ended up transferring to. The school was called Chestnut Hill Academy, or CHA and it was built like a college campus. Possibly the most memorable event i’d had at CHA was when I was waiting for my father to pick me up. A boy, A.J came up to me and I glanced over, unsure of what he was going to say. He was kind of popular, being a varsity player in every sport he played and even played on the high school team for baseball in middle school. “Do you like, wash your hair?”  He asked. I was appalled and responded “Well yeah, it’s you?”, hoping he was joking but knowing he wasn’t. “Well I heard you couldn’t like wash your hair for years to get dreads. How do you wash it?”, he responded. “I use shampoo like you.”. We went back and forth like this for awhile until I got tired of answering his questions and tried to cut the conversation short. Apparently I wasn’t quick enough, because now he felt comfortable to give me a nickname. “Mophead. Yeah, that’s what you are, a mophead!”. If i’d been a little older, this wouldn’t have affected me at all, but at the tender age of 12, it felt like a punch in the gut. What right did this random boy have, to prod at my culture and completely disrespect what I wore around as my pride and joy? I was a hotheaded kid, and had already thought of a response to his branding, but my father pulled up so I left without a word. This wasn’t the only time stuff like this happened, and I’d even had a teacher with dreadlocks like mine who was asked the same questions. He was stronger than me though, and knew how draw the line between joking and strictness. He soon became my advisor, and through him I learned to numb myself to the stereotypical, borderline racist comments spewing from teacher and student mouths alike.

This book, A Hope In The Unseen is a story about a young African American boy who miraculously gets into an Ivy League college and follows his story from the process beforehand to his college life after getting in. The first time the author talks about Cedric Jennings as a student is in the beginning of the book, as an  introduction of sorts. “Cedric Jennings is not, by nature, a loner, but he finds himself evermore isolated, walking a gauntlet through the halls, sitting unaccompanied in class, and spending hours in this room.”(page 5)

I chose this quote because it spoke to the lifestyle the protagonist had received when he decided to try to be his best self. This scene is still in public school, but you can tell that based on the way he’s described, he’s an outsider. It is made clear later in the book that it’s because the other kids are afraid he thinks he’s better than them, and because of that they try not to associate with him or if a they do, insult his intelligence. However, when he gets to Brown University, a different, but equally as isolating encounter awaits the protagonist

When I went to SCH, it was fairly eye opening for me about finding myself. I noticed that overall, black people going to white schools has always been a life changing moment, and not always for the better. Going to these schools puts you in between two worlds, and you can never fit perfectly in either. At home, people begin to think you’re bourgeois, or simply trying to be better than them, while at private school, people think you’re a spectacle. One to be poked, prodded, tested, but not to make friends with. There will be the rare occasion where there are people who you’ll be friends with, but it’s not always the case. I was fortunate to be one of the people who did make friends at my school. However, In A Hope In The Unseen, Cedric struggled to make any friends and went through his entire high school years with only the support of his mother and his faith in church. Through the corroboration of these two sources, I believe that the only true way to find and hold onto your identity as a black student in a private school or even just being the best student you can be is to find what makes you happy and then the rest will follow (friends, jobs, camps, etc.).That, in a nutshell, is a peek inside of the world of a preppy black student.

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