Code- Switching

Growing up, I've always been singled out because of how I talk and the way I pronounce my words. This wasn't always a bad thing, though, because it experienced me to new ways of life. Moving to Philadelphia was the transition period which had the most impact in my life. I was around so many people of color as myself, and I was not used to this. So I did what I thought was best in order to be able to fit in and adapt to this new environment which I was not used to, learn their ways. This essay really reflects on the effects code switching has had on my life. It also reflects on the role social class plays in code switching, simply because that is one of the main reasons why I do so. I could have improved this essay by including more sources, which would have made my thesis and essay even stronger.


“Wassup dog”, or “Lemme ask you something real quick.” are some of the things I would normally say to my friends or family members. But, the second someone of a higher class or professional field approaches me, that language would automatically switch. Without even thinking about it, that “wassup dog” would turn into “how are you doing today?” Code- switching is the practice of alternating between two different languages, usually to fit in more with a specific environment.

Fifth grade was the year I first encountered and discovered code-switching. Because I was raised in the suburbs around white people of high class, whom are considered the dominant members of society because of their social status and wealth, I had become accustomed to speaking Standard English as a dominant language. In today’s society, those of the high class are viewed as superior, educated, and powerful. When I first moved to an urban Philadelphia area, there were words and slang terms being used that I never knew could exist.

“Why you talking like that?”

“You talk like a white girl?”
“Stop talking like that, be yourself.”

Before even asking for my name, these were just some of the things that people said to me on my first day of attending a Philadelphia Public School. Someone had told me to be myself, yet that’s what I had been doing all along. I didn’t know how to talk any other way than standard English, so I did the only thing that I thought and knew would ensure my survival in Philly. Learn. I learned how to speak slang, what words to use and not to use. Most importantly, I learned when to use this on my own. Speaking slang around those in the higher class could cause judgement, leading to stereotypes against those who aren’t privileged. In order to not be judged and stereotyped, I learned how to code- switch in order to be able to survive not only in Philly, but the real world, which isn’t made for everyone especially not myself. The United States of America was claimed and created by white men and for white men, no one else. Yet, as one, the majority of American people have grown to be diverse and integrated. Although this is great, it doesn’t take away from the values of those in power. The only way I could succeed in a world that wasn’t made for me to succeed was to cope with and somehow learn the ways of those who America was created for.

I can not remember exactly how many times my people (black people) have told me I “talk like a white girl”. This just shows the psychological mindset of blacks in America. Speaking properly is considered “speaking white.” Yet, the most successful people, not always white, know how to speak fluently and professionally. Being able to do so can take one further in life than them not being able to or doing so, and this is because of the cultural capital of those who are superior in America. The reason many people associate speaking “black” with speaking “ghetto” or improper is because that is how blacks are viewed as a whole, regardless if they can speak properly or not.

I remember watching and observing a video project relating to code- switching and there were numerous perspectives involved. There were blacks, whites, hispanics, and those of the lower, middle and higher class. The video composed of numerous questions being asked based on code- switching, who is superior in society, and who is inferior in society. One interviewee who was a black male of the lower class said "I don't see my cultural capital to certain institutions as valuable as a white person's cultural capital". Being black in America, I can relate to what was being said. Because blacks are viewed as inferior to whites,  this inferiority can discriminate against the views of those who are inferior. The effects of this discrimination are a group of people, whose ideas and opinions are swept under the rug and viewed as abnormal to those who are superior in society (typically the high class). Which brings back the point that anything outside of society’s norms leads to stereotypes and judgements, as Black English is viewed. My language does not define who I am, rather it defines who I’m around and which way I am perceived to act.

Works Cited:

Powell, Josh. "Code-Switching and Social Class." YouTube. YouTube, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Google Dictionary
Thompson, Matt. "Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch." NPR. NPR, 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <>.

Looking Up to the Dream: Siawale's Advanced Essay #2


For this essay, I was studying the impact of culture on the definition of literacy. In particular, I was studying the Liberian culture on the definition of literacy. Liberia is heavily influenced by the United States and its definition of literacy. As a whole, first world countries have a great influence on third world countries view of literacy.


This was the second time we’ve gotten my brother’s report card and his teachers were saying he wasn’t on his grade reading level. The feeling of knowing that my brother wasn’t on the top half of the class was something my father refused to believe. Being the fastest reader between all my siblings, my dad gave me the task of teaching my brother. I saw the potential in my brother as he continued to read, but the problem that I saw was that my brother had no motivation. He would start off really strong, but then he would always just stop and say, “I don’t feel like it anymore”. That attitude is what a lot of Black boys face and it was something I could never understand. I have always had that drive to keep pushing forward. My father always told us the story of his struggle growing up in the liberian civil war. The drive was something my dad described as something people have to just keep going. Sometimes we want to just in one place and give up and life just happen, but when someone has the drive, they refuse to sit down, maybe they stand for a little bit, but they never fully give. Knowing thing and having someone just give upon himself, was something I could never relate to.

Culture has always been in direct correlation with the general ideas of literacy. Throughout the world,I believe that there is a shared understanding how literacy is important. However, in different places throughout the world, the definition and application of literacy is very different. Cultures have different beliefs that influence the way literacy is interpreted and how it influences the way of life for people. Specifically, coming from Liberia, my parents never had an opportunity to have a great education, which is why their definition of literacy is to excel above others in all aspects of school. Liberia was founded by America, so many of the definitions Liberians have is heavily influenced, or basically copied, from the American system. As a result, school is a place where literacy is the thing that defines how you will live the rest of your life. While these values are of American value, Liberia is not in the same economic standpoint of America. Upon those facts, Liberian culture has a tremendous impact of the definition of literacy and literacy is defined as education everyone must obtain in order to be happy.

When I was younger, my Father was very pressed on all of children being advanced readers. My Dad would have a set time, usually in the evening that we would have turn off the tv and all other games we had, which was little to none anyways, and he would sit us around the dining table. We would all choose books and my dad would tell us we would for read for a set amount of time, the minimum time would be 30 minutes. After reading, we would be responsible for writing a summary of what we read and my dad would check over it and then we would read our summary back to him. The process was always something that I dreaded so I would always rush to read as much as I could and write quickly so I could go back to watching tv. This was a habit that developed of the years and as I got younger, I started to rethink of why my dad was so eager to have all his kids be at a certain level. When I would ask, my dad always described his struggles as a child in the civil war and he would tell stories of how America was always the goal for the Liberian people. It is the place where happiness and wealth come intertwined with one.

The type of images and messages sent to other countries who value America as a role model for literacy makes up very high standards set by people. This is due to the fact that America has had a reputation of being the country to hold the freedom and that freedom is built off of literacy, which is just defined as education. Literacy had a huge impact on the way people see life. Specifically, literacy in the Liberian culture is to embrace the american culture. In How to Tame a Wild Tongue, the author states “ if you want to be American, speak “American”. Liberia specifically takes this statement at the heart of its definition of literacy. The bigger idea is that third world countries have always looked up to first world country fro influences on definitions of literacy. This is due to the fact that first world leaders have used their definitions on literacy in order to advance their country and third world countries want to be able to give their civilians those same opportunities.

Japan Tour tught me Noone can judge you.

Scene 1

The thing with life is that it’s only lived once, and I mean what I mean is for sure it only happens once and I’m talking about life. I was blessed enough to experience the feelings of singing and the tours that I’ve been accepted to go too.  Then the wrong feelings of people were brought in the line and the lane. I brought back the feeling  back from the memories I shared with others in Japan, and I’m pretty sure you’d do the same. I went from back to back cycles with the mind in my head going from different mindset to mindset.

Scene 2

The trip I had was amazing with the Japan tour. It had teached me that not everyone is the same because if that was true then everyone would’ve gone on that tour, and everyone in the choir would’ve been happy. I was blessed to be go on this tour because I was up against about three hundred other guys to be picked on this tour and they chose me. I was very happy with the turnout of my conductor decision. I’m not saying that because he chose well actually yes I am because  of the decisions have been made in my life and the mindset I’m in now is because of Mr.Fisher. He impacted my life so much by just being there and not being a square basically just being  a lame, but back to the story.

This story means don’t judge by the cover or give someone a chance.

I was just in the airport going through security and saw many pretty girls in the lines to get to the airport. I think they call it the terminal and so after we got all the way through. I finally went to go get something to eat in the food court and I got japanese food and it was really good chicken. The rest of the group was doing their own thing in the terminal because we were set into pairs of two and the rest of the choir was sitting down because they didn’t want to spend there money. I suppose they would rather eat Airplane food rather than real food but that’s none of my business. Finally they called our plane number on the microphone and we approached towards the plane, and someone had forgotten there snapple so the plane waited for us while one of the members Tunde Sogo ran and grabbed his raspberry Tea Snapple and got on the plane. Then as we were packing our items on the plane one of our managers had started singing On the road again and we all started to sing along even some of the older people on the flight were singing with us. It was so heavenly to hear older/elderly people sing to our songs because that means we’re history in the making or the other way around.

On the plane ride I had sat next to a good friend of mine name Adam and we liked the same music so basically for the whole plane ride we listened to Kendrick Lamar and watched the Heat back to back.  We ended up having the seats towards the window so we just chilling there, so I don’t recall if I had used the bathroom, actually I did because I remember eating five of the airport dinners then taking a huge shit in the bathroom and someone had used it right before me.

Once we got off the plane ride we had gotten on a terminal bus straight off the airport. We were driving on land and I remember some of the people were looking at our windbreakers and kept asking questions about what KSB stood for and we’d tell them and we sung for them when we were driving in the bus. I wasn’t concerned about the singing part. I was mostly worried for how some of the people would’ve responded because all of our voices were a little horse and people actually ended up applauding us for our time and our voices. One man said he couldn’t believe seven boys could combine and a voice of an angel. The reason he said that because when we’re united our voices link and we end up being the sound that everyone gets so interested in. Finally we were leaving the airport and I guess you could say we were at the entrance of the airport waiting for the cars to come, and we’re in Hiroshima (One of the best cities in Japan in my opinion). Finally the cars came and they were on time and all of us were pretty hungry but our managers told us boys that we had to go check in our hotel rooms and then we’d go get something to eat. So I ended up driving with one of the managers Mrs.Martha and she’s so cool and chill. Finally we had gotten the hotel and when we got out the cars people were already unpacking the cars and putting the luggage onto the carts that they have in hotels, but I can’t recall if they’re actually named anything. Once all that was finished we got on the elevator and took it up to our floor while our managers were finishing up the rest of the check in. In Japan they give you the room key but they have a system where they can turn in

After this trip it was a lesson that was learned and that lesson was Never judge anyone by there cover because they could be way different and I’m pretty sure my conductor figured that out after the tours he invited me too. There’s another thing when some people here that you’re in a boychoir or even some other “weird” group or some type of event they’ll make fun of you and call you names, but once they see you perform they’ll be sorry they ever did any of those things to you. Some people might go and join those activities so they can cherish the same moments that you have already captured.

Advanced Essay #2:Racial Authenticity DuBois Stewart

Most of my time on this earth has been centered around finding what made me different from others, why my skin color was so important to my social standing, and how others perceived me. When I was about 7, I had my first real encounter with the ideology of racial identity.I first encountered this ‘fence’ when I made my first friends in my neighborhood. Their names were Cory and Corby, brother and sister. As my uncle said to me in later years, everyone was friends with everyone when they were 7, so long as they could play together. This was also true for me and I played with them day in and day out. The more time we spent together, the more I noticed our differences. They both liked what I thought of at the time as ‘dude music’, whereas the music I listened to was soul, r&b, and pop. They were allowed to go roaming around the neighborhood without their parents, I wasn’t allowed off of the block without a chaperone. Discovering all of these differences also led to an eventual climax in our relationship, that challenged my opinion on who I was. This encounter spurred me into action of finding the answer to my question:who was I? Who was I supposed to be? This question I found gave me a multitude of answers, corroborated from new stories, my family, and just encounters with people at school. This answer wasn’t to who I was, but rather who I was supposed be. I believe that ethnic background and racial identity are like stakes in the ground that pin you to a certain spot, forcing you to conform to the social norms around you, or perish. This creates a society in which you are born into a class, and like a caste system that is where you live and die. I believe that to belong to a racial/ethnic group is something can be measured in authenticity, but rather in how comfortable you are with yourself and who you are first.

Continuing my story from above, The one distinct difference between us also led to the eventual termination of our friendship. One day, Cory and Corby cornered me in front of my house with my bike. I’d recently gotten a bike for Christmas. The chain had fallen off and I was trying to fix it when Cory and Corby came walking over, with determined looks. “Curse” they demanded, as they noticed that I never cursed but they always did. I refused, and they cursed instead, to show me how easy it was. However, I still wouldn’t do it, so Corby took my bike while Cory blocked my path and rode off with it. However, he didn’t get very far as the chain fell off and he fell over. He got up and motioned to his sister to come with him, deciding that I wasn’t “cool” enough to be their friend. I cried, and my brother helped me bring me back inside with my bike.

Speaking in terms of racial/ethnic identity, this experience didn’t teach me much at the time, only that Cory and Corby were jerks. Big, big, fat, meanie, nincompoopie jerks. However, and looking at this experience now, I realized that they were testing me. They weren’t testing my friendship in terms of loyalty, but rather in terms of toughness. They were trying to gauge my toughness, and my reaction was not to their liking. This form of testing I believe stemmed from an overlying dogma that encouraged black people to act tough and be tough to shield their vulnerabilities. This is just one part of the large population of sheep being harbored within this fence, but it is the only one I can say I personally relate to. I believe another factor that contributes to the ‘authenticity’ of being in an ethnic group is not just how you identify, but how you present yourself in your everyday life.In Ta Nehisi’s book, Between The world and Me, He says: “The meek shall inherit the earth” meant nothing to me.The meek were battered in West Baltimore, stomped out at Walbrook Junction, bashed upon Park Heights, and raped in the showers of the city jail. While this is a more extreme example of my argument, it still encompasses the kind of toughness that Cory and Corby were testing me for. When he says this, I believe he means to say that to fit in, to survive in his fence was to be tough, or at least feign toughness. For me, my identity would be what I said above, but underneath that layer is  my true self that you expose or hide from your ethnic group. In the end, I don’t believe ethnic identity is about proving your authenticity to others, but rather proving it to yourself. Then, I believe that is when you are able to embrace your ethnic identity, but not before then.

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

English argument

Advanced Essay #2: The Standard of Nonconformity


In this essay, I focused on developing a deep idea in my thesis that got readers thinking and questioning themselves. I also tried to support this thesis with by supporting it with direct evidence and ideas. I am proud of the complexity and development of my thesis and how I upheld it. In future writing assignments, I would like to add more descriptive and thorough information to my personal experiences.


Trend. Fad. Blind leading the blind. Mainstream. A lot of names that mean one thing: conformity.  Many people, including myself, aim to go against and question these ideals. These people in our society are usually titled nonconformists. The nonconformists that I see are just obsessed with being apart from the norm and tend to question and criticize anything popular and counteract it. I’ve also noticed they admire other people’s individuality or style and try to model it for themselves, because it is different from the current norm. These people want to be unique from popular trends, but decide to mirror what they admire in another person that is seen as distinct instead of following their own minds and hearts without second guessing. They also change just for the sake of change or to purposely try to become a nonconformist.

As the American columnist and author, Bill Vaughn, once said, "If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.” Vaughn mentions this “standard” of nonconformity which is adored in our society today. There are certain types of trends and styles that are accepted in the nonconformist world while others are viewed as too different or weird. Some of trends these include being “emo”, “hipster”, and “indie” which were once seen as outcast styles but are now famed for being unique and trendy. Styles like these have become trends themselves whether or not they are deemed as popular, because they have many followers. Many people follow these trends for the sake of being a “nonconformist” and in doing so are conforming to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.

I’ve witnessed this standard at a summer concert festival called Warped Tour that features many punk, rock, metal, and indie bands and artists. As I walked through the maze of the crowd I noticed so many people wearing similar band t-shirts, eyeliner, black skinny jeans, beanies, and Dr. Martens along with the other “emo and punk kid essentials. The crowd is a sea of dark colors in which I look like a foreigner with denim shorts, a black tank top, and Vans. I think to myself, “These people must be sweating like crazy! Why would someone wear all black, jeans, boots, and hats in this humid 95 degree weather? To prove to everyone how “edgy” you are? This isn’t a contest, it’s concert. Just be yourself!” I finally made it through the crowd to the stage where a band is about to play. The lead singer is preaching about how it's okay to be an outsider and to embrace who your individuality and rise above the bullies who try to bring you down. The crowd screams and claps with every word that pours out of the singer’s mouth. I noticed empowering words like these that preached individuality in performances from other bands whether it was in the form of a speech or it was encoded in their lyrics. Every time the uniform crowd responded with screams and words of adoration for the bands as if they were gods. I don’t doubt that these people are bullied for their music taste and fashion and I feel sorry for them, but I also don’t believe that they should be considered unique because they are blindly following this trend and the band members who don’t follow their own prophecies of being an individual. Many of the music from the bands that I heard that day sounded very similar instrumentally and lyrically. It is hypocritical to teach what you do not follow, but it is even more of a travesty to carry on the prevailing standard of nonconformity and to imprint it on to people who are searching for their unique identity.    

All in all, nonconformity for the sake of nonconforming is still conformity. If you choose to question everything, shouldn’t you also question your questioning? Shouldn’t you challenge the desire itself to question? People need to find the deeper reason for why they portray themselves the way that they do and why they go against societal norms. If it is only because they want to rebel against what is popular, they are conforming to our society’s nonconformist trends. In order to truly be a nonconformist is to live and present yourself without thinking of people’s perception of you. That is the real you and makes you unique, because it is rare for people to live and act without allowing society to have a say in who they are.

Works Cited:

"Bill Vaughan." Xplore Inc, 2015. 25 November 2015.

Chernoff, Marc. "Nonconformity for the Sake of Nonconformity Is Conformity."Marc and Angel Hack Life. N.p., 05 Sept. 2007. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.<     conformity-and-nonconformity/>.

Artist's Statement: 
The two paintings below connect to my essay by providing a visual element that implicates my thesis and thoughts. The first painting states, "In trying to be different" with two green people and one blue person. The one blue person represents the nonconformist in the group of green people. I chose to make the other two people different shades of green to show that people labeled "conformists" in our society are not exact copies of one another, but they are extremely similar. The second painting is a continuation of the previous one and finishes the sentence by saying, "we become the same" under three shades of blue people. I used three shades of blue for the people for the same reason that I did the green people in the first painting. The continuation of the painting symbolizes how people who claim to be nonconformists obsess with being different and follow these set standards of nonconformity that I discussed in my essay. 

Advanced Essay # 2

I could see her lips moving and her jaw going up and down but the words the sentences that she was speaking made no connection in my brain. When I think back to that day I think maybe it was her thick accent that I could never understand or her horrid pronunciation.  Even today I can never clearly understood what she was saying, but I will always remember her walking me into my first class walking in and seeing the kids sitting in there chairs quite focused and the teacher was sitting taken in her own world just as the students.

They all were reading their own books because they had a choice reading. Which I later learned found out and it  was  not just something Americans did in school. I remember the girl sitting next to me asked me for my name and I couldn't understand her it seemed like she was also speaking in language I did not know, I felt lost and out of place. Then she said to me would you like to borrow a book I feel like I said yes to her because after that I remember opening this book and feeling this spark of joy because there was finally something I could see and read that I could partially understand. It was weird to see how short the American's alphabet was so short I thought, but at least I am familiar with some of these words they are not all just symbols like the Greece's with their alphabet 2 letters then the rest seems like the jacked the periodic table of elements.

The way that this two people spoke were different so it came easier to understand  the girl because she has a less thick accent is the best way to describe it because the older women had a thicker accent and the region was hard to tell. It might also had to do with that she talked in a more proper way and some of the words that she was saying I could not understand that well.  The girl was saying words that I could understand because she was a first grader the boy next to me though who was the same age as me talked the same girl but when we got outside and he meet his friend the way that he was talking to to him was so different he switched his tone his way of speaking the properness.

I never put so much thought in the way that people spoke but the way that he spoke to me and then introduced himself to his “bro” was interesting because it made me curious to see if all people switched the way they talked to one another. That day I went home  with this thought in my mind do all people switcht the way they talk with one another or is it just people that have some kind close relationship. On the train ride home I saw a man interacting with one of his “boys” as he called him and when his other acquaintance came walking by he did not otter some type of saying like he did with the first two kids. That same day I went to introduce myself to the neighbours with my parents and the way that they were speaking bad but  not to the point where you could not talk they were speaking so proper on both sides and so generic it seemed like the entire time I was in a play scene waiting for it to be over but it kept going every one with these scripted words not real voice then when I went home I heard them speak normal.

This made me think of a quote from the story that we read How to Tame A Wild  Tongue

“I remember being caught speaking Spanish at recess - that was a good for three licks on the knuckles with a sharp ruler. I remember being sent to the corner of the classroom for “talking back” to the Anglo teacher when all I was trying to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. If you want to be American, speak ‘American.’ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong.” This quote was powerful to me because it made me think that this girl was me at one point I was at the end of that stick I could not read or write or even speak English does that mean I should go back a go to where I was from. When I write I write with imperfections and and my type of writing is how I speak it's my voice taking form in words on my paper, does this mean that I should be kicked out and judged because of the type of english I speak . If so then who else needs to what is perfect english in speaking and writing what is the standard who should we follow.

I think not such thing exist because everyone has an individual voice away that  they speak that represents 

them and there are times when groups of people start to speak the same because they understand one 

another and when they change the way they speak like that with one another it's because that's for them to 

understand that's a way to show their individuality a way to break from the shackles that bind is a way to 

rebel from the idea of one voice on mind. Voltaire once said “Men use thought only as authority for their 

injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.”This quote I thought was a way to describe the 

way we write and the way we speak as well I thought that writing is a way for us to not hold back and get out 

thoughts out on pen and paper for the ones that we cannot speak we write. I used this quote not for the 

meaning of men have bad thoughts but because we are not allowed to speak our mind or speak in our own

way that is holding us back suppressing us and binding people's voices but we we also put that in words it 

makes it so much worse because leaves us with nothing like Maya Angelou said “There is no greater agony 

than bearing an untold story inside you.”.

Music is the Influence


This paper is about the way that musicians, rap artists especially, use their words to influence their fans. I think this is important because everyone loves art and it is extremely important for people to share their thoughts and art. The way that rappers use literacy and change it up to tell stories is amazing and I find it very important just because they are able to inspire and influence their fans with their music.


I once told my English teacher to “Shut the fuck up”. I do not know if you have ever been pushed to the point that you had to do things that were out of line but I have. At the time I was some depressed little kid whose new days were just a copy of the previous one. I wanted and needed something to happen so I looked for the opportunity and when a career discussion came up I thought that I would be able to shock the rest of the class with my goals. “I want to be a fashion designer” I said. I then talked about my role model Kanye West and how he has inspired me to be different. They laughed and the teacher told me that Kanye West was such a ridiculous man and I should never try to shoot to be something that I can’t do. I think he was just trying to “be real” but I found it being one of the most disrespectful things someone has ever said to me. So, in a calm but apoplectic voice I said “Shut the fuck up. You’re a teacher…a teacher that is putting his stress and hate on his students. I don’t appreciate what you said and if you really think that then I guess I will grow up to be such a ridiculous man as well but at least I’ll be more paid than you are.” I was told to leave the class immediately.

Everyone is influenced by certain artists who are considered their icons. They use literacy in such a way that creates pieces or songs that are just perfect to certain listeners, viewers or readers. Literacy is universal. Every culture has their type of literacy that shapes and defines who they are. It is in our arts, it is in our schools, we speak using words, our world runs on math, science, and literacy. In music, literacy is expressed in multiple different ways. Also, artists all around the world have different fan bases who are influenced through the music that the specific artist creates. For example, rock or metal fans would speak and act a different way than hip hop/rap fans speak or act. They could also influence fans to do things that are out of their comfort zone and or raise their confidence.

Kanye West is my biggest influence by far and because of him, I can say that I talk, act, and dress differently from other people. West, 38, once said before that his “music isn’t just music — it’s medicine.” Like other fans of artists, I find things like this true. When you are influenced by someone as much as some fans are by their favorite artists, they vouch for what they say. They also take the information and change themselves because of it. For example, if a rapper states that they go to a restaurant every Friday, many of his fans might be influenced to visit that restaurant just because they believe that is what is the “cool” thing to do. As a person who is heavily influenced by West, I would not say that he influences me because he is famous and I want to follow him in order to be cool like he is.... I would say that instead of following him, I am learning from him. The masses do not truly understand the difference between following and learning and that is why some fans who are influenced by artists who do bad things are most likely to do bad things as well and that could be a problem.

Not only do artists influence the way people act but they also could influence the way they talk or the way they dress. Rappers specifically, use different types of slang words depending on where they are from or what they represent. For example, over the years rappers have used words like “jawn” to “trill” to “bud” as slang words to replace actual words for the sake of rhyming, for fun, or to replace the names of drugs. The way certain musicians speak has such a big influence on fans and a lot of times, fans do not even notice that the way they speak has changed. One big influence is A$AP Rocky. Rocky is a younger artist who has grasped the youth and influenced the way we speak and dess. He has brought words like “trill” and “jodye” to the world of slang and although he impacted the New York youth scene the most, kids from all over the world have been heard saying words that he has brought into the game.

It is believed that what artists (rap artists) wear has the most influence on the fans. Fashion is such an important subject in society and almost everyone does not realize how influenced they could be when it comes to fashion and style. Since the beginning of rap, fashion, streetwear especially, has been talked about and has influenced popular culture even to this day. From Notorious B.I.G. and his Coogi sweaters, to A$AP Rocky and his Raf Simons and Maison Margiela, to Kanye West in Haider Ackermann and other high fashion clothing, rappers have dominated pop culture influence when it comes to fashion for the masses. Kanye West is a perfect example...because of him people from all over the world have taken more notice to high fashion brands like Givenchy, Marcelo Burlon, and Haider Ackermann. We also cannot forget that every sneaker that has been designed by Kanye West has sold out in less than two hours upon release. Not everyone listens to hip-hop but everyone does wear clothes and when people see rappers wearing the clothes that they are, they have to have it because this person might be their idol or they love the piece. When people see each other wearing certain pieces, the influence spreads and artists themselves become trendsetters. I believe that fashion has the biggest influence on fans (besides the music) just because it has been relevant since the beginning of the idea of popular culture. Rap artists are not the only ones that have influenced their fans either. Musicians in every genre have set trends for their fans over and over again and that is why music and fashion go so perfectly together.

Music being the influential tool that it is, has been around for decades and decades. But not only has the music inspired people but the artists themselves have inspired and changed the listeners every since popular culture has become a more relevant subject in society. Artists have influenced people’s speech, attitude, and fashion sense and it can be said that this will happen for as long as people are able to express and share their art.

Advanced Essay #2- Eva Karlen- Literacy in Music


This is my second advanced essay. I chose to write about literacy in music after brainstorming about which skills have lead me to competency in school. At the end of the day, understanding of music has made me a more creative and dedicated student, so wouldn't you know it, that’s what you’ll be reading all about! My greatest challenge while writing this essay was refining my thesis. In fact, my thesis didn’t manifest itself in words until after I had written a couple of scenes of memory and collected outside quotes. I am proud of my utilization of evidence from personal experience and research to support my thesis. I’m also proud of my collaboration with peers; I found things to look out for in my own essay by editing peers’ essays. In the future, I would like to spend more time connecting paragraphs seamlessly with fluid transitions.


“Literacy” has multiple definitions. While the conventionally accepted definitions of literacy are, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “the ability to read and write; knowledge that relates to a specified topic,” literacy in a subject is often more complex than knowledge base, and to be literate in a topic often requires more than just comprehension. To be literate in music is to learn through music. Many people consider themselves auditory learners. Many others love music and have immersed themselves in music from young ages; these people tend to come from families that value music. All of these types of people learn about life through music, whether they use music as a teaching tool or inadvertently gain knowledge from music; because of the benefits of literacy in music, music should be taught to kids from a young age. Music is appreciated in almost all cultures and societies. Conversely, when programs must be cut in school districts in the US, music programs are often decimated and severely undervalued. There must be more advocacy for music programs in the country because literacy in music aids in becoming literate in many other subjects.

I first learned about my own literacy in music at a young age. I have a knack for memorizing song lyrics, and my ability to learn and remember words attached to music has helped me become the reader and thinker that I am today. Kelsey Tarbert from Oneota Reading Journal, in reference to a study done by Wiggins in 2007, writes “Whereas finding fluency in speaking poetry takes practice, music has the rhythm built into it. The score tells students which notes and syllables to stress and which to make longer or shorter. Performing a text in this manner can help students figure out how to do this for non-musical texts without teacher instruction. Both vocabulary and rhymes have a place within literacy and music, and these skills help students become effective language users.” In third grade, I memorized my multiplication tables with Schoolhouse Rock songs. It struck me as shocking when my third grade teacher had to pull me aside during a test on multiplication tables. I was a good student. I immediately felt panic course through my veins; I assumed that I was about to be accused of cheating or that I had broken some other rule. Instead, my teacher politely told me, “Eva, you’re humming and singing the multiplication tables. You have to quiet down.” It dawned on me that Schoolhouse Rock’s ridiculously catchy “Three is a Magic Number” had been stuck in my head throughout the week. My personal experience certainly serves as evidence to support Wiggins’ study; music helps children to remember and understand concepts that they may otherwise have had trouble grappling with.

In my education and in my life, music has played a pivotal role in my understanding of many ideas. Multiplication tables are just one example. As well as helping me to memorize important facts for school, music has helped me to learn about beauty, love, and ultimately, what it means to be human.

One of the first times where words struck me as beautiful was while listening to the Beatles’ song “In My Life” when I was a little kid. My dad carefully helped me place the record of Rubber Soul on our turntable. I turned the volume down, pressed my ear against the smooth, brushed wood of the stereo, and let the Beatles’ voices swim through my head. The fourth track of side B came on and John Lennon crooned “there are place I remember all my life, though some have changed; some forever, not for better; some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall; I know I’ll often stop and think about them. In my life… I love you more.” I quickly fell in love with the lyrics; in my mind, they were the epitome of perfect lyricism. I felt that no expression of love or sentiment about life had ever been so beautifully and eloquently delivered. The meaning I attached to this song’s words and the feeling that it filled me with still strike me with pangs of nostalgia and joy when I listen to the song, and I’ll never forget the epiphany of attaching emotion to words. This marked a beginning of learning about emotions through music.

Besides interpreting my own emotions, music has taught me how to empathize with others, because as I’ve gotten older, music has required me to attempt to understand different cultures and different people. In this way, people that are literate in music learn how to perceive the world around them differently. People that listen to music that is bold and vivid in its lyricism about political and social issues learn about these issues and, ideally, become more vocal about the issues; music encourages people to revel with each other in their shared humanity. When people become literate in music at young ages, they will find that music is an outlet and a tool for learning, thinking, and self expression.

Despite all of these benefits of literacy in music, ranging from basic cognitive skills to developing empathy for others, music education is poorly funded. Nick Rabkin, a senior research scientist at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, says, “I think the biggest reason for [the cutting of arts education] has to do with a misconception about the cognitive value of the arts. That for the most part, people think about the arts as things that are effective and expressive, but not academic and cognitive.” From my literacy in music and my research, it can be concluded that teaching music and encouraging literacy in music must be encouraged in schools and in households. Literacy in music helps people to read the word and the world.

Works Cited

"Despite White House Report Advocating Arts Education, Budgets Face Cuts | UCIRA." University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Tarbert, Kelsey. "Learning Literacy through Music." Oneota Reading Journal. Luther College & Deborah Public Library, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Artist's Statement: Children's Book/PSA (Digital Story Alternative)

Instead of creating a digital story, I chose to create a children's book/PSA to spread the messages conveyed in my essay. I took this route because I had no interest in using a video modality to express an argument, but I was intrigued by how I might express an argument by utilizing visuals and short sentences. There isn't much on each page of my story. This was a deliberate choice; I wanted white space with graphic text and line drawings to catch a viewer's eye. I believe that the central argument of my thesis is hammered in my illustrations. The series of pictures creates a sense of urgency to act to improve musical education for literacy in music, and there is an homage to a scene of memory from my essay (the child imagining multiplication tables is an excerpt of personal experience). Overall, I think that my alternate mode of storytelling is effective, but I might have liked to spruce the illustrations up with handy-dandy, super-duper collage.


The Myth of Cultural Literacy


This essay centers around the different types of literacy one can encounter in the world. Here I asked myself what does it really mean to understand a culture. I’m very proud of some of the metaphors used in this essay. I would like to further my metaphorical ability in future writing assignment.

Advanced Essay

As Americans, we are privileged to be exposed to diverse experiences. With this comes a perceived understanding of many cultures and their influences, but in fact, full cultural literacy is near impossible to achieve because the full depth of a culture is made up of many different subcultures. Culture is neither simple nor static.

My great-grandfather was born and raised in the backwoods of Mississippi during a turbulent time for African Americans. As a black man, he lived with perpetual danger. Through visits by the KKK, physical exploitation, and exploitation of black women, he has developed a much different opinion about gun ownership than I have.

My maternal great aunt, Henni, was a beautiful woman in her time. She was a tall 5’5” with long, wavy hair that rested in little curls at the ends. Her skin was a light coffee color, much like mine. Her facial features displayed an uncharacteristically delicate quality for her time. She was a nexus for all types of attention, good and bad.  

When she was at the ripe age of sixteen, a man, almost twice her age, arrived on the front porch. As he knocked on the door, he crooked a sly smile, not expecting to be greeted by the stoic face of my great grandfather. My great grandmother's exact words were something like “That big old man weren’t expecting your granddaddy to open the door. His smile dropped so quick you could feel the breeze.”

I can imagine that his smile dropped for two reasons. The first would be that my great grandfather met him at the door. The second was the shotgun Granddaddy cradled in both arms, the way a pageant queen might hold a bouquet. He cocked the gun. A hard gulp was taken. "I don't want no trouble, sir. I just wanted to see Henni," the man said, though much weaker than he intended.

Granddaddy was unbelieving. "You chased my daughter through a field, tried to snatch up her up and now I’m finding you on my porch?", he said in a low aggressive tone.  "Leave." I imagine him saying this part slowly, like a one liner from an action movie. In that instant the act of having a gun empowered him to defend his daughter from the advances of a white man in the Jim Crow South. Although he threatened violence in its expression, my great grandfather’s only intention was to protect his daughter, a pure and understandable sentiment.
One can see why easily see why my great-grandfather would favor access to guns. In his worldview, guns weren’t an offensive weapon, but rather a tool for defense. From my perspective,  I find guns to be overwhelmingly dangerous. My grandfather and I were from the same culture but at the same time we were raised by different cultures. The culture that raised me is like a tumorous growth on the back of his, a mutated and morphed version of what was once his culture. Although are part of the same origin, different experiences yield different offspring. Both create opposing views to the other.  The question about the acceptability of guns can't be answered simply. There are a thousand ways to think about this one issue, each supported by their own cultural experience.  

The writer Ravi Zacharias once said "With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference.” He’s saying that nothing is universally true, especially not on a cultural level. Think of sub cultures as different type of dance. Like dance, each subculture is founded in its own philosophy.  Like ballet and hip hop sometimes these philosophies are diametrically opposed. This makes a superficial understanding achievable but to fully understand these philosophies one must commit to them and you can’t fully commit to two opposite ideas. One might say that commitment isn’t necessary for understanding but the great Chinese philosopher Confucius would disagree. In The Analects, the sacred text of Confucianism, he says that without life long commitment learning is impossible.

To fully understand a culture, even one of origin, in all of it's dimensions would require an real world understanding and encyclopedic knowledge of each individual subculture. Culture is too vast and ever expanding to grasp in its entirety. To put it mathematically, there are just too many variables, but this doesn’t mean that we should turn inward and deny ourselves culture in all of its forms. I purpose that we embrace this unknown. There is so much culture can provide for us.

digital representation

Caroline Pitone - SLIDE


My slide is a little different than what you would probably expect from me. From looking at it, you may be like ¨What?¨. I wrote my initials in the center and upside down for a reason. That reason is being because I always feel like my life is upside at some point. But then again I can't forget about the upsides. My sisters initials are right above mine because she's up in the clouds watching over me. My background is white because there isn't a certain thing that describes me. As time goes on, I've learned that things do change and they change unexpectedly. So I can't always latch on to something and get too attached, because it could be gone in the blink of an eye. Time is an important key to my life and living. Everything is paced. I listen closely to my surroundings like music.

CCP (1)

Advanced Essay #2- Literacy and Tolerance

For this essay, I really focused on making sure that my thesis was clear and well supported by facts. It’s easy to use your own life as an example to support the thesis you created. It is another to actively search for outside sources that will support your thesis. I think I did well when picking the quotes I was going to use and in my analysis of them, given the word limit we had. I would like to continue improving my analysis and research as I continue my writing. I would also like to improve my imagery in writing, to make both my scenes of memory and analysis more engaging for the reader.


I’ve always believed that reading and writing are the closest things humans will ever get to magic. They allow us to know things and people that never were. They allow us to create worlds and people and places that never happened. We can alter the course of human history with a single story. We can change the way people see the world with one book. If you need proof of this, simply look at the Harry Potter franchise. With 7 books, JK Rowling influenced billions of lives. She’s prevent countless suicides with her characters and taught us hundreds of lessons with her stories. Her books created worlds, created movies, created thousands of fans. All simply by writing something that people wanted to read.

This pleasure isn’t something that should be withheld from anyone, yet 26% of the world’s population is illiterate. This is something that can greatly affect the rest of your life. Not only does being a literate person give you social, political, and economical advantages over an illiterate person, but it can completely alter the way you think. When author Neil Gaiman spoke for the Reading Agency in London two years ago, he made it clear how important literacy is in our lives: “How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And [scientists] found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn't read.” The fact that literacy can determine likely it is that you will go to prison in 15 years should completely dispel any sort of passivity surrounding this issue.

I’m lucky, in the sense that I grew up in a very literate home. I grew up with bedtime stories and parents and teachers who were constantly teaching and encouraging me to read. I went to a school that had a library full of different books. By the time I reached second grade, I was reading far above my grade level. And that talent became a passion. JK Rowling has said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book yet.” I was lucky that I found the right book so young.

When my second grade class reached the library on the third floor of my school, I already knew which book I wanted to check out. As Ms. Moran let us go look around the library, I made a beeline for the fantasy section. I grabbed the first copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone I could find. I had just seen the movie and I wanted to read the book. I ran to get my book checked out and then plopped myself down on one of the beanbags in the reading area. This was the biggest book I had ever read by myself, but I was determined to do it. I opened the book to the first page and dove in. By the time Ms. Moran came back to get us, I had finished the first chapter and had decided that I would read the entire series.

“What book did you get, Michaela?” my friend Lindsey asked me.

I smiled, “Harry Potter!”

Harry Potter quickly became my favorite series. I fell in love with the plot and the characters and the world they existed in. I began to explore the world of books, the world of magic. I read to both understand the world, and to escape it. I read to believe in magic and myself. In the words of Sherman Alexie, “I read with equal parts joy and desperation. I loved those books, but I also knew that love had only one purpose. I was trying to save myself.” When the world wasn’t there for me, my books were.

And all of the reading paid off. According to a 2014 study:

becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader's ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.- (Reading Fictions Improves Brain Connectivity and Function, Psychology Today, Christopher Bergland)

This study isn’t the only one of its kind. Also in 2014, researchers from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy found that children who read Harry Potter were far more likely to be open minded and less prejudiced to different people and cultures.

Reading provides escape and magic and the ability to connect with the people around us. Literacy provides so much more than practical advantages. Literacy, especially in young children, can completely change how you see the world and the people in it. Literacy can open your eyes to how terrible this world is, but it can also make you realize that you can change it. People who read are more likely to be more tolerant, empathetic, and open-minded. They see the world not how it is, but how it could be. For the literate, it is easier to look past difference in past, skin color, culture, and heritage. Our imagination knows no bounds and our reality is very different from that of the person who doesn’t read. For the man who doesn’t read, reality is small and boxy. It is their home and their community and their day-to-day routine. For the man who does read, reality is the whole world and every piece that works together to make it turn. Literacy is not simply a tool that humans use to further themselves; it is a key that unlocks different worlds and emotions and frees us from the cage of ignorance.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman. "Superman and Me." The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1997. N. pag. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 1998. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Bergland, Christopher. "Reading Fiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 04 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Eberspacher, Sarah. "Study Finds Kids Who Read Harry Potter Books Become More Tolerant of Minority Groups." The Week. Dennis Publishing Limited, 30 July 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Gaiman, Neil. "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming." Reading Agency. Barbican, London. 14 Oct. 2013. The Guardian. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

"International Literacy Day September 7, 2001 Washington, DC." International Literacy Day: Facts about Illiteracy. SIL International, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Myers, Christopher. "The Apartheid of Children’s Literature." Editorial. New York Times 16 Mar. 2014, National ed.: SR1. Print.

Zimmer, Carl. "This Is Your Brain on Writing." The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 June 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Becoming ME! By Sean DeSilva

Inspiration Is What Drives Me

Create a script to describe that slide. Why did you make the slide look the way it does? What influenced your decision making? Use new vocabulary from the websites to write this script.

The reason why I chose to make my slide the way it is, can be for many reasons. But the main reason why I chose to include the quote and the picture is because I want to inspire people who read this. You see, I play this game called "League of Legends.'' I started the game 3 years ago (October 22, 2012). I fell in love with it and wanted to get better. I was inspired by many of the famous Pro-League players and I wanted to become the best player in my area. I was driven by the inspiration that was given to me due to my discovery of the game. I want to be the best that I can of the game and I still want to, after years and years of practice and determination I am almost there to where I want to be! I want people to understand that only losers give up and winners always try no matter how hard they've fallen! Don't let your dreams be in your head, make them real for others to see!

Sean DeSilva Orange Stream Tech Slide-Presentation (1)

Advanced Essay #2 Luke Watson-Sharer Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

By Luke Watson-Sharer

things in a small highlight is apart of script

As the United States loses its resume as a financial have, it is important to understand why. Is it because of multi-national corporations, banks, or the people? The lack of instruction in basic financial literacy has contributed to the destabilization of the United States. A basic economic literacy lesson is focusing on fiat currency, banking and the, minimum wage. To become financially literate, you must understand these topics. “Economics is everywhere, and understanding economics can help you make better decisions and lead a happier life”- Tyler Cowen.

One reason financial literacy is low is because people do not make enough effort understand basic economics. The nightly news broadcasts the Dow, S and P, etc. stock markets but we do not know the importance of theses institutions and ratings. To few high schools offer an class in economics, banking or anything to promote financial responsibility and literacy. This hurts our next generation especially when the up and coming currencies such as the bitcoins emerge. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss necessary components of basic financial literacy.

Fiat Currency has a daily effect on our lives and is significant to U.S. history since 1968. Fiat Currency is money that has no commodity. Commodities can be anything from precious metals, such as gold and silver, to food. Now you’re thinking, sweet, we get free money. Well, it’s the other way around. Fiat Currency only favors those with a lot of money.  When you have fiat currency you can create money from nothing. Therefore, every next dollar makes every other dollar worth less. This hurts your money big time. Workers are already taxed a lot but this serves as a “hidden tax.” This also allows unlimited credit and loans. So some will say, “cool more free money”. The word credit is Latin for credere which means “to believe.”  By creating money through loans and credit, the money supply increases and therefore, money has less value. Citizens need to be aware of what devalues our currency. Knowing the basics of fiat currency is a step towards financial literacy.“At the end fiat money returns to its inner value—zero.” - Voltaire

Another component of financial literacy we must understand how to be financially responsible. Knowing how to bank is required in a “free market” society. Banking consist of a few essential things: credit (covered above), saving, and profits. Credit is when a bank provides a loan. Loans are lending money from one institution or person to another institution or person. Loans must be repaid usually with interest. Savings are money a person or institutions saves or does not spend. When money is in our savings, it is reinvested by a bank as a loan to another person.  For example, the other person may buy a car, home, or pay for college. This means that the interest pulled from the credit on loans is how banks profit as a business. Saving money is important because it enables the banking system to work.  Without money from savings, banks could not be make loans and be profitable.  Understanding interest, credit and savings is another step towards financial literacy. “Typically, students slide into debt through the extension (by credit card companies) of unaffordable credit lines.”- Robert Manning

        The following scene explains the basics of banking.

Client 1: “Hello clerk, I’d like to deposit ten dollars.”

Clerk: “ Certainly would you like this in your savings or checking?”

Client 1: “Savings please.”

The bank can now reinvest your ten dollars.

Client 2: Can I borrow ten dollars for a shirt?”

Clerk: “Certainly.  The interest rate is 6%”

Client 2:” Fine by me”

1 month later he must pay the bank back. But must pay them an extra 6%.

Clerk: “Good afternoon.  Are you here to pay your loan?”

Client 2: “Sure. Ten bucks.”

Clerk: “Sorry, sir. Ten bucks plus 6% interest.”

Client 2:  “Oh, yea.”

Financial literacy also requires understanding the minimum wage. The minimum wage is the lowest legal wage one can employ labor at in the U.S., adjusted by states. The minimum wage was created in 1938. As indicated by the chart, the minimum wage has not kept up with the rate of inflation.


Minimum Wage

Wage worth in today’s money


.25 cents



.75 cents














Source:  Pew Research

Many say the minimum wage isn’t for a family. Well, I agree it isn’t but it wasn’t meant to be. It was intended to be for younger workers and to raise the working age. Yes, it’s too low, but it was meant to be the minimum rather than a going rate. It’s important to understand the use of the minimum wage but also to restore it to a relevant wage of at least $12 an hour.  Since 2009, the minimum wage has lost about “8.1% of its purchasing power to inflation.” (Pew Research, 2015).  This reality is acknowledged by the twenty-nine states that have set a higher minimum wage. While workers need to know the minimum wage, more importantly, they need to know how to work for a fair or living wage. Understanding labor rights are just as important as understanding civil rights; they are connected. “I do not support raising the minimum wage, and the reason is as follows. When the minimum wage is raised, workers are priced out of the market. That is the economic reality that seems, at least so far, to be missing from this discussion”.- John Sununu

In conclusion, as we are not teaching our students financial literacy, we may potentially will lose our savings, become overly indebted, and not demand equity in pay.  Without basic financial literacy, citizens will not be able to challenge those who control capital and make policy. Because basic financial literacy has not been taught, the U.S. goal to become “middle class” has become less attainable.  To change this trend, basic economic literacy, including discussing fiat currency, basic banking and minimum  

wage, needs to be infused into the curriculum.  Financial literacy should be added to “reading, writing and arithmetic” in all schools.


A History Of The Minimum Wage." YouTube. YouTube, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2015. by Time Magazine:

White, Lawrence H. "Inflation." : The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Econlib, 2008. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.:

Tech Me Magazine Jacobo Pastor

Tech Me Magazine Jacobo (2)
​I have chose this design because it express what are the steps that I have overcome to be myself. First of all I have done a breve description saying that I am in high school for the reader to have a sense about what is he/she looking at, and what is he/she going to expect. In the second description I have chose the most important fact about me, which characterized my way of thinking, acting and expressing myself: I am from Spain what makes a different that leads the reader to be more interested in my Magazine. In the last description by saying one of the few, leads the reader to guess that I am also smart enough to get to a good high school that will help me to choose in which way I should go in the future, what should I choose and why.

Advanced Essay #2: The Importance of Handwriting


In this essay I wanted to focus on writing scenes of memory. In the previous essay I didn’t work as hard as I could have on the scene I chose to include and did not develop it very much. I also decided to focus on the development of my thesis and my ideas. I am proud of the growth of my scene of memory. I think I did a better job of writing it than the memory in my previous essay. I am also proud of the topic I chose and how I was able to tie it back to literacy and identity. As we continue to write essays I want to do a better job of making my scenes of memory more engaging. I want to be able to express my ideas more concisely and also be able to include a greater variety of ideas.


I stare steadily at the open composition book lying on my dining room table. The pencil I hold trembles slightly as I tentatively move the tip towards the empty paper waiting below me. Slowly and carefully I start copying the words my abuela has written on a separate piece of paper. La gata come su pollo. I copy the sentence over and over again until I’m sure my abuela will be satisfied. When I’m finished I look down at my handiwork and smile triumphantly. The words I just finished copying are legible, though aesthetically mediocre. My handwriting has improved drastically since I began practicing at the beginning of summer vacation. It isn’t something I chose to do. My mother insisted that I learn to write neatly. In previous school years teachers often complained of my almost illegible handwriting and my mother decided it was time for a change. My mother not only decided that I would be taking daily handwriting lessons but also decided that my abuela would be my teacher. I had not been excited and I still am not excited to have to spend hours copying meaningless sentence after sentence. For what has to be at least the hundredth time this month I wonder why handwriting seems so important to every adult I have ever met. Why do I have to have perfect my handwriting? Is handwriting still relevant in an age where we can type everything we want to write on phones, computers, and other electronic devices?

“Handwriting, e.g., using the hand to form letters on a page, is essential in the writing process and can predict the amount and quality of children‘s written ideas.” There are multiple reasons handwriting is important. One of these reasons, as quoted above, is the fact that handwriting influences the writing process and improves quality of written ideas. Handwriting influences composition, explained in the following quote: “Handwriting, and in particular the automaticity of letter production, appears to facilitate higher-order composing processes by freeing up working memory to deal with the complex tasks of planning, organising, revising and regulating the production of text. Research suggests that automatic letter writing is the single best predictor of length and quality of written composition in the primary years... in secondary school and even in the post-compulsory education years.”  Handwriting abilities are also pretty accurate reflectors of success in school, grades, and test performance: “Not only were students with better penmanship in pre-k found to have higher scores in both reading and math later on, but they also had higher grades in general and higher scores on standardized tests. Students with strong handwriting marks in pre-k were found to have an overall “B” average in second grade compared to an overall “C” average for the students that did poorly on writing tasks in pre-K.” Handwriting not only affects writing but also reading skills: “Dr. Dinehart did point out in her report that studies have found that children who physically write letters recognize them more readily than students who type them on the keyboard, possibly meaning that handwriting instruction leads to better reading skills.” All these studies and research on handwriting prove that it is a fundamental aspect of literacy because it influences writing, reading, and school success. Even with all these apparent benefits schools have stopped teaching children to write neatly, the focus is never on handwriting. Handwriting is essential to our development as writers and yet we are never encouraged nor taught to write properly and as perfectly as possible. In the past, students were graded on handwriting and taught to write neatly and legibly. Whenever adults talk about their experiences in school they almost always talk about how when they were in school they had to write neatly and they were taught how to write neatly.They complain about how that has changed and how awful their child or children’s handwriting is. After researching handwriting I have come to agree with them. Handwriting is an important part of developing literacy but it is also more than that. It is an opportunity for each one of us to express our own individual personality and interpretation of literacy.

In recent years we have been moving away from paper and pencil literacy and have been focusing on technological literacy. Although being able to type instead of always writing by hand is wonderful it is important to not dismiss the importance of handwriting. It is essential that we are be literate with technology but other types of literacy are just as important. There is no one type of literacy that can take precedence over the others and it is vital to keep all literacies balanced because different types of literacy depend on each other. To be well rounded and to truly understand the world we need to be literate in every way possible. We shouldn’t dismiss handwriting and certain other types of literacy just because we are now more technologically advanced. To do so would be to ignore a fundamental part of the development of our individual literacy and understanding of the soul, spirit, mind, body, and universe. To maintain our own individuality and uniqueness in relation to literacy we must know how to express ourselves through our handwriting. To be able to understand the ideas of the many people who use technology and social media to express themselves we must be technologically literate. To understand the music and messages spread through music we must be musically literate. None of these types of literacies outweigh each other; they all add up into a unique and complete understanding and comprehension of the world.


Clark, Gloria Jean. "The Relationship between Handwriting, Reading, Fine Motor and Visual-motor Skills in Kindergarteners."Http:// Iowa State University, 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>

Medwell, Jane, and David Wray. "Handwriting: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?" Literacy 41.1 (2007): 10-15. Apr. 2007. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Stevens, Angie. "Is Handwriting an Important Part of Language and Literacy Instruction?" - Reading Horizons. Reading Horizons, 2 Feb. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.

Second Modality:

Instead of making a digital story I decided to make some art pieces/write poetry. For the first two pieces I found two poems about literacy and then illustrated them. I used different handwriting from a variety of people in those pieces to demonstrate how handwriting is unique. For the third piece I pulled words and phrases from my essay and wrote a poem. I then illustrated that poem as well.

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Screenshot 2015-11-25 at 11.29.38 AM

Advance essay #2 [ Nobody learns the same ]

  At my old school in Wisconsin, I remember my social studies teacher yelling at me and my friend Keef for not paying attention in class, we would always play around in that class. Every day he would try to get either me or him to sit in the front of class, but it never worked. Every time he turned his head, we would make our way to the back of the classroom. It happened so much, he eventually gave up and just let us do what we wanted. He thought we would fail his class, and honestly, we probably would have failed. But he always made the same dumb move. Every test or quiz he put an answer sheet under his desk like we didn’t know he put it there. That’s how we passed the class, we would get the answer sheet before the tests or quizes started and  put them back before it was over. He knew we cheated too because he moved the answer sheet around sometimes we always found it though. After a certain amount of  good grades in his class, he eventually just put us in a different room for testing.  I believed he cared  for us because  he still gave us those good grades knowing what we were doing.

Having this past experience with my social studies teacher was helpful and harmful. It was helpful because I never failed his class that whole year I actually got straight A’s in that social studies class so it was a good short term experience. The bad long term experience is that, that whole year I honestly can’t remember anything I learned from that class. So I'm uneducated about  almost anything  that  has to pertain with social studies. From that class I learned something that helped me excel in school though. I learned that I can’t learn how I was being taught in that class and that may have something to do with the reason that I thought it was okay to cheat my whole sophomore year in social studies. Throughout my whole sophomore year in my social studies class he would do all of his work, lessons, test etc. out of a textbook and just hearing that makes me tired. I believe that made me lose a lot of focus because it's like the book is teaching me and not the teacher. Me, as a student really didn’t know why I didn't like school because how his class was, that was almost every  class,  I just thought that I would be a C student and that was good because that was what the school i went to made see okay. Until I moved back to Philadelphia. Now I go to a school called Science Leadership Academy  (SLA), and its like they so far showed me a whole different side to learning.

Attending SLA as a Junior they have showed me there is a different side to learning. A lot of their learning is based off of a computer it's usually just the classwork, and homework so the teachers are still very live in the classroom they go through lessons have classroom discussions about an assignment that you may have have not understood, your allowed to email them at a respectable time, anytime about question or concerns that you may have. My old school would just have had to call the school or tried to catch the teacher at sometime. They don't give  you so many test during the quarter it's maybe two but at the end of the quarter they give you a project which is not bad because they give you enough time to complete them. Lunch is extended an extra 30 min for any body who feel like they need extra help with their class work there is something called Math Lab where you can get extra help math by a teacher or a student how is in a higher math class. So it honestly seems like they care about your education and the teachers and the school wants to see you succeed.

Going through these experiences showed me that learning is not hard it’s all about how you get taught. Not everybody learns the same, also that not every school is the same prime example the situations i just explained. The school I'm at now which is SLA cares more about my education they just come up with ways for any student to learn were as my old school taught everybody the same way. It's important to know your students as a teacher because you could get through to some who feel like school is not for them and slowly make them realize that you care about their education and want to see all of their students succeed.

Advanced Essay #2: The Gifted Program

This essay talks about the struggles of the kids that were not placed in the gifted program. It focuses on what it does to kids when they aren’t placed in it. Usually, when people write about the gifted program, they talk about the advantages of those in the gifted program but not about those who aren’t. I talk about the long term effects that it gives to kids who weren’t placed in the gifted program.

The gifted program is used in many schools to test the knowledge of each individual student by classing them into groups based on their knowledge. While they separate kids into these two different groups, teachers tend to underestimate the kids into the group that didn’t test as well. When doing this, the kids that were not placed in the gifted program felt left out. Often students reflecting on this way of schooling speak about how the gifted program only helped the kids that were placed in it.

From a young age, I knew that I wasn’t as advanced in writing and reading as other people in my class were. This was caused by an assessment to the whole class that separated the students based on if they were good at reading and writing. I learned that I was not placed in the “gifted program,” while a new student that wasn’t assessed was automatically placed in the gifted program. Making me feel awful about myself being that I tried so hard to be accepted. Now as I am older and reflecting the big ordeal of the gifted program I wonder what exactly does it take to be placed in the gifted program? I also wonder why the kids who aren’t placed in the gifted program aren’t specially taught so they could learn as much as the students in the gifted program?

Many people who weren’t in the gifted program have written about how they weren’t taught as much just because they weren’t in the gifted program. In, “I Just Wanna Be Average,” he talks about how he was supposed to be in the gifted program but got his tests mixed up. He says, “But mostly the teachers had no idea of how to engage the imaginations of us kids who were scuttling along at the bottom of the pond. “ This shows that when kids were not placed in the gifted program, they weren’t being taught nearly as much as they could have. This is partly because of the idea that teachers have no other way of teaching these kids.  So, it can be concluded that the gifted program only helped the kids that were in the gifted program.

Another text called, “Chapter 2: Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” also talks about the problem with the gifted program. Usually, When people talk about the gifted program, they talk about the successes for the kids that are “gifted,” but they don’t talk about the kids that aren’t in the gifted program. The author of the text gives perspective for the kids weren’t placed in the gifted program. He says, “The solution is not to 'integrate" them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become "beings for themselves." This shows that you shouldn’t separate the gifted kids form the non-gifted students, instead you should be teaching all the kids but in a way where all of the kids will be able to learn.

The same text talks about how if kids were put into these environments where they simply won’t learn, they think that that is okay. “The more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them.” This talks about not only the effects the gifted program had on the gifted students, but also on the kids who were not. It shows that many kids that were not placed in the gifted program felt left out, like learning is a competition.

I know that as a kid who was not in the gifted program, other kids didn’t mind it because they didn’t mind not doing much in class, but I felt like I needed to prove the teachers wrong. I remember once when I was in the third grade, we were reading a book called, “Dumb Bunny”, by Junie B. Jones. We were reading it as a class, both groups of students. That was my first opportunity to prove that I belonged in the gifted program. So, I brought the book separately and decided to finish it on my own.When I decided to talk to the teacher about it, she said, ”Oh that’s nice, I am so proud of you.” It hurt knowing I went out of my way to finish the book to impress her and maybe have a chance of assimilating into the gifted program, but instead she kind of shrugged it off.

It didn’t make any sense to me and to this day I still don’t understand what it takes to be a gifted student. I still feel as though one should be placed in the gifted program based on effort. One is better off when knowing they will do good in school because they put effort into it rather than knowing they will do good because they know a lot of information.  This causes a competition for the students that feel like they needed to be in the program to be confident about themselves. As if they need to fight just to get to a better education.

Works Cited

I Just Wanna Be Average by Mike Rose

Rose, Mike. "I Just Want to Be Average." Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements

of America's Underprepared. New York: Free Press, 1989. 162-67. Print.

Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire

Freire, Paulo. "Chapter 2." Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1993. N. pag.

Webster University. Web.

Advance Essay #2 The Syrian Refugee Crisis and The Hunger Games

Matthew Willson


Water Stream

Advanced Essay #2


While creating this paper the skills I mainly focused on were connecting the experience I had reading The Hunger Games and what I took out of that experience to a larger idea. I am proud of how I focused on a recent topic and related it to a book I read many years ago.  I have always been a good writer when it comes to creativity and making up stories. But I have never been that good or enjoyed writing and researching about real world topics. As I grow as a writer I hope to get better at writing bigger issues around the world.


Literacy is a way to communicate and a way to share ideas. This communication allows us to understand people's perspective through time. This communication can help humans understand and ideally learn from their mistakes so they are not repeated. Without literacy, good ideas cannot be shared and people also can’t learn about bad ideas, which risks bad ideas being repeated. By looking at the present Syrian refugee crisis, we can see that crimes are being committed against humanity. We have an opportunity to help the refugees. However, there is political pressure in our country to keep the refugees out because some people are afraid they bring the risk of terrorism.  This is important because we never want to repeat the history of not helping people in crisis.

When I was 11 I read The Hunger Games, a series of three books written by Suzanne Collins.  These books take place in a world called “Panem” which is divided into a very wealthy capital and twelve very poor districts that exist solely to support the capital.  At the start of the first book, each district sends one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death.  The children are chosen by lottery, with the event staged for the capital’s entertainment and as a “reminder” to the districts of the time when they attempted to revolt against the capital and were defeated. When I first read the scene where the children, called tributes, are chosen, I was shocked.  I just couldn’t imagine being at the whim of a person picking my name out of a raffle to be killed. The characters had done nothing and it was just a sick game for the powerful people from the capital.  I thought of what my world would be like in the future.  Would it have districts and segregation?  Reading the book emphasized how cruel it is for some people to make life decisions regarding other people. Power becomes the force that decides the fate of peoples’ lives, whether they live or die. Humanity is not even considered in this type of power relationship. It’s not about what's right or wrong, it's about who has power and who doesn't.  As an 11 year old this was a lot of me to comprehend. As humans our duty should be to make sure everyone is fairly treated. Throughout history people have done many sick evil things to set people behind due to their race or beliefs like Hitler or Slavery. The human race needs to look back and make sure that those things don’t happen again. We have to make sure the world doesn’t end up in a scenario like The Hunger Games.

Right now, the Islamic group ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris that killed over 130 people. The group is forcing people in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries to either join them or abandon their Muslim religion.  At the same time, there is a civil war in Syria between the government led by Bashar al-Assad and the rebels.  As a result, there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, without homes because of the civil war, attempting to flee the country and avoid both the conflict and ISIS.  Many countries including the US are questioning whether they should allow the refugees to enter their country.  People are afraid that some ISIS terrorists will be hidden amongst the refugees, and so they feel it is just safer to say “No”.  This is not the time to abandon people we should be helping.  During the first Hunger Games, the main character, Katniss Everdeen, did not attack the other tributes.  She defended herself, and actually helped some of the other tributes to survive.  The lesson is that it is important to do the right thing, even if it may put you at some personal risk. These are the values that define who we are as a country.  We should not be afraid.  We should do the right thing and help the refugees who are in need.  Just after the attacks in Paris last week, the French President Francois Hollande said that France would allow 30,000 Syrian refugees into the country, honoring a commitment they had previously made.  Despite suffering the worst attack on French soil since World War 2, that is the right thing to do.  We need to do the same.

Advanced Essay #2 Literacy and Identity


I knew from the beginning that I wanted my essay to have really strong scenes of memory. It was important for me to have this because I felt like it would be what made my thesis the most convincing. While writing my scenes of memory I tried to make them have a lot of description so that someone reading it would be able to visualize it. I think that my favorite part of my essay is the paragraph about having writer's block in middle school. This is probably because I had a personal connection to this part, which is funny because that’s one of the main points of my essay, that people write their best work when they’re writing about something they have a connection to and are passionate about. I think that if I can analyze my quotes in a stronger way it will make my writing stronger in general as well as make it flow more and just make for a better essay.

Advanced Essay

Up until the fourth grade I wasn’t a good reader. I remember picking up one book, Tuck Everlasting, and finally understanding what the big deal was about reading. It was just a normal Thursday. Forgettable really. The sun could have been reaching its rays through my classrooms 3rd floor windows or thunderclouds could have been sitting heavily over the buildings. I can’t remember. I do remember that my teacher had told us to bring a book to class because we were going to be doing independent reading. The book I brought was of no interest to me. Just looking at the cover made me grit my teeth. My friend, Nina, looked at me. “I have an extra book if you want, it’s one of my favorites.” I looked at her as she rummaged through her backpack and finally produced her paperback copy. Hesitantly, I took it from her. I heard the teacher say to start reading and went to lie on the carpet. The book sat in front of me, I dreaded opening it to the first page. With a final sigh I began to read. My eyes scanned the lines of each page and before I knew it, the time was up. To my surprise, I was upset that I couldn’t finish the chapter. I walked up to Nina. “You don’t mind if I borrow this right?”

In a lot of schools, the books that students have the option to read are not something that they are interested in. This could cause someone to never get into reading because the only things that they have read have been chosen by their school system. This can even be seen in writing. Structured essays and stories make it hard for individuals to show and express their themselves, and therefore their identities. The best writing that someone can produce will always be when they’re writing about something they have a connection to, whether that connection is a strong opinion, or a prominent memory.

Writer’s block. I would always get it at the worst possible moments. It was 7 o’clock the night before my first english essay of 7th grade was due and the only thing on my document was my name, which was funny because the essay was about our name. My name. I thought back to all the times it was mispelled and pronounced, how when people would ask me what it meant I had to tell them that I had no clue. I couldn’t count how many times I had said “No not India, it’s just Indee,” and “Yes, that’s the whole thing, it’s not short for anything.” As if my name wasn’t good enough, because it needed to be longer. Without even realizing it my fingers started hitting the keys. I didn’t know how much anger and annoyance I had for this topic. All of the times I remember hating my name and then loving it were forming on the page in such speed that even I was surprised. I heard my mom call up the stairs. “Ind! It’s time for dinner!” Without taking my eyes from the screen and my fingers from the keyboard I yelled back, “I’m not hungry!” There was no way I would stop myself now that I was completely focused.

"Reading can offer richer, broader, and more complex models of experience, which enable people to view their own lives from a refreshed perspective and with renewed understanding," This quote from the article, How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health, talks about how reading can give someone “complex experiences.” Complex experiences can contribute greatly to a person’s identity. With each story, the number of the readers experiences grow. A book can be a different experience for two people. One person could view it this way and the other a completely different way. These different views give others insight into who the individual is. Depending on how someone interprets something can show what type of thought process they have.

The books that someone reads affects how they view the world as well as how the rest of the world views them. A piece of literature can make you notice things you never thought about, and make the readers opinions sway from their original thoughts. The reader can have so many diverse experiences from books and how these experiences imprint on them can vary. The books someone reads and the topics they write about are as important to someone’s identity as their own fingerprint. Unique, unlike anyone else's.

Work cited

Grothaus, Michael. "How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health." Fast

Company. Mansueto Ventures, LLC, 27 July 2015. Web. Nov.14, 2015.

Digital Story

Advanced Essay #2 Storytelling Versus The Worldd

Verbal storytelling and public speaking are integral parts of our culture, a key part of being intelligent is the ability to communicate that intelligence. The ability to accurately communicate ideas to someone is something we all do on a daily basis. Classrooms should adopt new ways of teaching that involve discussions, how to properly have a discussion, and, have classes on public speaking.

Navigating the school system is an impossible task, from teachers who have given up, to the bureaucracy of administrators, to the sheer fact that The Lorax was banned at one point in time. Schools don’t teach all they could, leaving many students feeling cheated because they have no idea how taxes work. The classroom presentation is something that most students dread, but it doesn’t have to be. Ignoring the issue of students not caring for right now, public speaking that strikes fear into the hearts of the youth. One article from states, “Knowing how to connect with others, being empathetic, when to speak and when to listen, is of great value in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. To learn the art of conversation is to actually do it, with peers and other varied and diverse people.” This quote mentions the art of conversation, and it really is an art. If you have ever talked to a child you realize how inept they are with speaking, they take huge pauses between words. The skill of having a conversation takes years to build. Just to be clear someone isn’t dumb for not being able to communicate ideas. There are very few jobs in modern society that do not involve some form of human interaction, and being able to do that can help you succeed in life. The world doesn’t revolve around silence; think about how many human interactions you have in a day, from the bus driver saying hi, to buying soda, to just saying something to someone you know. Imagine if almost everyone you meet knew how to have a conversation, the amount of awkward interactions would drastically decrease.

Storytelling is an integral part of my life and most people’s lives. I only recently turned into the storytelling powerhouse that I am today. The first story I put into circulation, by that I mean the first story I told most if not all of my friend groups. This story was originally gonna be a story I took to my grave, but now is just a fun and exciting story. It was an embarrassing moment of pure stupidity, and ended up being fantastic. When I was in the fifth grade I was not a smart child. My family took my brother to the chiropractor’s office when he messed up his back. At this point in time I had no idea what a Chiropractor was, so I went searching trying to find the true meaning or chiropractor. I found a man in one of the rooms not wearing pants, but luckily wearing underwear. I still have no idea why he wasn’t wearing pants to this day. So in my head my brain made the connection that chiropractic meant prostitute. At this point in my life I still thought sex was just two people naked under the sheets. I started getting all worried about my family taking my brother to the prostitute’s office. Eventually my mom starting going to the prostitute’s office. I was in distress at this because I didn’t want my mom going there because she had a husband. Then my sister started going to the prostitute, then my whole family was being taken by the prostitute. I was so afraid to go to the chiropractor, but not afraid like kicking and screaming, I was just wildly uncomfortable and on the edge of my seat. I am probably the only kid in the history of the world that was afraid of the chiropractor. Now what does that story have to do with verbal literacy and storytelling? This was a story that because of my confidence in storytelling and throwing caution to the wind allowed me to become a great storyteller. I began to tell more and more stories, to more and more people. If I had learned verbal storytelling in school, I may have been able to tell this story earlier, and be more confident about it. Adults seem to lose their ability to tell stories or stories that are interesting. Think about all the boring fishing or workplace stories you had to sit through at family dinners.

There isn’t a single class that has ever taught me nothing. Even if the lesson was an inadvertent lesson like dealing with a terrible teacher, or how to manage a class that you have no interest in. There have been many positive lessons in my life as well, like how to properly write a thesis, how discussions should be doing, or just getting invested in a topic that I thought was terrible. I would rather talk about what makes a good discussion and what should be taught. I’m not going to mention any teachers by name or any teachers from SLA. My music teacher was an eccentric guy, they told us stories about their life and man were they crazy. They once won a contest for saying “GOAL” the longest at their school, won concert tickets, but they didn’t like the band and they were too lazy so they didn’t pick them up. They taught me some valuable lessons like not saying ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ before an idea, because ‘We all know you believe that because that’s why you are saying it.’ Needless to say this person was a huge influence in my life. We had laid back discussions that didn’t feel rushed, and we all respected them, which is almost impossible for an entire class to mutually respect a teacher. When someone in the class made a joke, they would laugh along with it, and have a back and forth. I think about that class, maybe 5 times a week, that's how impactful that class was. English classes have been an experience no matter what the circumstances. This English class was incredibly stressful, but also magical. I had projects that I was completely stressed over, even before I was assigned it. This doesn’t mean I hated the class, I felt challenged, like I was putting out work that mattered. My time was respected and I respected theirs in return by not turning in garbage.They told us that we can go over the word count if we wanted to lose points, but it would be a risk because the story could be better with more words. We could take risks and be rewarded.

Verbal storytelling, discussions, and public speaking, are invaluable parts of our daily lives. A person’s ability to verbally communicate thoughts to anyone is a skill we all do, all the time. Schools, teachers, and classrooms need to adopt new ways of teaching that involve discussions, how to properly have a discussion, and, have classes on public speaking.

"20 Life Skills Not Taught In School - Successful Student." Successful Student. 16 June 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Advanced Essay #2 [What is Technological Literacy]

My essay is about the effects of Technological Literacy. I talk about many different people's definitions and their view points. I also talk about how technology effects my life.

I wake up to the sound of my phone, I grab my iPad and take it into the bathroom and play my music as I get ready for the morning. As I get dressed, I review my schedule on my iStudiez Pro app and look if there are any assignments I missed the night before.

Technology plays a major part in my life when it comes to personal advantages. However, technological literacy plays an even bigger role in my education. My school has a technology and project based learning curriculum. Everyday we are working on computers. People outside of the school is unaware of the effect technological literacy has on us.

People today can say that the way education was for them is different from how it was for them when they were my age. Technology wasn’t an easy go to thing in class for them. What's interesting about schools today is that we have different definitions of literacy, which you never expect to change. My English teacher’s definition of literacy is “To read the word and read the world.; literacy affects an individual and society”. However, my definition is the ability to comprehend and explain forms of writing. Literature is a conversation written down and it is an exchange from one person to another. When my teacher was in high school he didn’t have technology to give him advantages like I and my classmates have today. Now in this day in age we have a new branch of literacy, technological literacy. Due to this change, for the most part he learns as we do in the educational world; on some occasions he becomes the students and we become the teachers to show him the definition of technological literacy. Technological literacy from a dictionary, is the ability of an individual, working independently and with others, to responsibly, appropriately and effectively use technology tools to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information.

What many people get wrong about technological literacy is well described Albert Einstein who said that, “I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”, technology is making each generation worse to the point that we have children that simpletons. Others would disagree claiming that technology is helping us reach the peak of society. There are upsides and downsides to technology making it a grey area of good and bad. I think technological literacy do not make us dependent, they help us prosper as learners. Technological literacy in schools do not effect anything in school except how the student learn, and in doing so it doesn't make the students learning habits better or worse. Technological literacy only allows another option to a method of learning.  It does not resolve in students being more intelligent people or resolve in students being idiots. That's not even how school works at all. From how the school system works, you can't determine either case. Technology in school just makes things more convenient and easier. In an article I read, a reporter at a technology based school quoted “When students are using technology as a tool or a support for communicating with others, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher, textbook, or broadcast. The student is actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows many more students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-led lessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress.”

Schools today are becoming more modern due to technological literacy. It allows a new method to learning. Students learn in different ways and if they do not follow one specific way, they are usually left in the dust. Technology provides a pathway to what teachers can not lead. Technology will always be open minded and allow to create your own learning system. However students can survive without technology and will not become less of people using it. We have multiple ways and methods of learning and new forms of literacy; technological literacy is the latest and best solution solver for literacy, providing students more opportunities to prosper.

Advanced Essay #2: Benefits of Speaking English

My name is Ashlye Fitzmaurice and in the past few weeks, the eleventh grade English class began writing their second Advanced Essay. The focus of this paper is on literacy; reading the word and reading the world. In the process of writing the paper, I wanted to contribute a topic that I was able to relate to. Shockingly enough, I was able to do so by choosing a topic that my family had struggled with and connect it to my message. Having to go back and fourth from my general idea to relating it to my aunt and also myself, I felt was a little too much, although I some how made it to work. I just hope that in the future, I can come up with a stronger thesis and make it even more debatable! That way, I'll be able be back it up with more 'evidence' and make it a stronger essay! I hope you enjoy! 


My father came to America when he was only four years old. A year later, he started Kindergarten, learning English, and later becoming fluent; the same applied to my mother. On the other hand, it was difficult for her older brothers and sisters. Specifically, her oldest sister; my oldest aunt.

For the first thirty years of her life, she had only spoken the Vietnamese and Cantonese language. Coming to America, she knew things were going to change. A new home, a new city, a new job, and most importantly a new language. They were aware that English was this main language that was used and spoken in America and it was much more difficult for her to learn it compared to my mother. Primarily affected her in ways that sought out to little opportunities, such as receiving a job.

She always told me to be thankful. “Be thankful for the life you live, people you have, and the opportunities that are given.” For her, all she wanted and desperately needed was a job. No one would hire her because she did not speak English. At times, my mother was her translator and evidently my mother was not going to be there twenty-four hours of the day, by her side. Carelessly, my aunt tried learning English, but the only words she understood was yes, no, please, and thank you.

Although, according to scientists and, babies and young infants can easily pick up new words and sound effortlessly because of the brain’s development.  “After age one it gets more difficult, but it is still much easier for children to learn new words. Whether these words are all from one language or from two or more doesn’t matter. All of the words—English, French, Russian, etc.—are stored in the same brain map. After age 10, learning new words becomes progressively harder until, as adults, it is exceedingly difficult. The older you get, the more you use your native language and the more it comes to dominate your linguistic map.”

It perfectly sums up this idea that learning a new language at a younger age is easier than learning it at an older age. Not being able to speak the English language, it gives less of an opportunity. Therefore, the solution to this problem is to take prior classes and/or lessons to comprehend and/or improve their English skills, for their own benefit. In a way, it gives them an ability to adapt and be part of something new.

For Kyle Wiens, having correct grammar is an important commodity when applying for jobs. Not only spoken, but written. “I hire people who care about those details. Applicants who don’t think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren’t important. And I guarantee that even if other companies aren’t issuing grammar tests, they pay attention to sloppy mistakes on résumés. After all, sloppy is as sloppy does.” He adds in his article.

At first, reading Wien’s article it sounded offensive. But actually coming to senses and realizing that nowadays, job applicants do search for how professional a person is. It can vary from a person’s attire, their use of language, and in this case, how properly formatted their writing is. I can now see why people with higher degrees have more of an opportunity than those who have a lower degree and/or none at all.

Referring back to my aunt, shockingly enough just about a year ago, she decided to go back to school. She had this idea that since her children were all grown up, have a stainable job, and nothing else can make her happier, than going back to school. Education is something she loved, it made her feel apart of something much bigger than just learning. When she started school, it was difficult. She had to start from the very beginning and until this day, she is working her way up; slowly but surely she began to get the hang of it. Here and there she would show up on my door and ask for help on a few lessons. It was so shocking to see how much she had learned and where it was going to take her.  I know it is not easy, but she continues to push herself, knowing that it will only lead to better things. It allows my aunt to adapt to a new community and be part of a something she has always wanted. She can go back to the jobs she had applied for many years ago and prove to them what she was capable of!

There comes a time where you will have to do things in your favor, as your own benefit. For one, mine is stepping foot into my current high school, Science Leadership Academy (SLA). I remember the first week of school like it was yesterday. Teachers gave work after work. It did not stop. I constantly complained and I had sleepless nights.

“Mom, I can’t do it.” I whinned.

I had not slept the night before and I can feel the bags beneath my eyes screaming for rest. It was the start of benchmark season and I was not aware of what I had gotten myself into. Sheets of paper and eraser marks were all along my bed. I couldn’t find anything and I wasn’t sure where to start. It was so overwhelming.

So I decided to scramble everything together and put it all away. It was not the thought of being unorganized, more so of having so much work, yet so little time. I knew it was my time management. Yet, I told myself that tomorrow is a new day and is going to be a productive day. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling refreshed. As I gotten ready, I planned out what was going to be done. A little English here, a little math there, break, back to English and then math. It was all about being able to balance school and social life. I had to adapt to this new way of getting my work done, because from what I can remember, middle school is nothing compared to high school.
This all brings it back to the thought of being able to comprehend a skill at an earlier time rather than waiting, before it is too late. It also implies to the idea that learning a new language at a younger age is easier than learning it at an older age. Just as to I, waiting to manage my time will only set me up for more work and less freedom. And not being able to speak the English language, it gives less of an opportunity; such as a search for a job. The only way to improve their struggle is to take classes to adapt to the American culture and later allow them to be part of something new.  

It ties to the generalization of literacy. Literacy is not only a way of being able to read and write. It’s about being to comprehend with the world in ways that you think best fits your lifestyle.  


Dave Bunnell. "Why Is It Easier for Young Children to Learn a New Language?" Why Is It Easier for Young Children to Learn a New Language? N.p., 21 Aug. 2007. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Wiens, Kyle. "I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why."Harvard Business

Review. Harvard Business Publishing, 20 July 2012. Web. date accessed*.

Spanish Poem - Lilly Roman

                            Soy Artistica.

                       Soy moRena

No me gusta nada canTar

    Me gusta bastante dIbular

                                   Soy ambiciousa

                                   Tengo catorce anos

                     Soy de FIladefia

               Me gusta esCribir

                             Me llAmo Liliana Kristina Roman


Advanced Essay #2: Pure Imagination

For this essay, my goal was to go beyond the question, what is literacy? I wanted to create an essay that not only caught a reader's attention, but was also something that no one else would do or say. I only wrote one scene, that was purposeful, so that my reader could think about his/her memories while reading the essay. My whole essay was about imagination, and I wanted my reader to use their imagination while reading it. Writing this was a bit more difficult because I didn’t know how to explain what I was trying to say. Personally, I don’t think I was able to explain everything I had in mind because 1. it was too much, 2. my thoughts became more complicated while writing the essay. Next time, I’ll make sure to take my time in explaining every single thing that I want explained.

When I was younger, my father would always read to me, every night, before I would go to bed. He would sit on my bed, and I would lay next to him, with my head on his shoulder, which you might think would be for comfort, but in reality, it was so I could just read along. It wasn’t just the story my dad would read me that made me look forward to this nightly event, it was the way he read. He made me imagine and create a world just like the places in the book. It was never just one book though, and that’s what made this so wonderful. Everything he read was my ticket to escape reality. I soon began to imagine my own worlds. I stopped listening to my dad read, because I would just think about my perfect world. My head would no longer rest on his shoulder, and my eyes no longer rested on the pages of the book. It was those nights of reading that helped me fantasize of a world where everything and anything was like a dream. 

I can’t say I don’t fantasize today, because that would just be a complete utter lie, and an ugly one at most. It’s because of literacy that I allow myself to daydream from time to time. It’s because of literacy that I fear less of reality.  It is something so delicate and specific, that if you don’t practice it, you won’t understand anything. Literacy, words, are used as a way to show physical emotion that you are too scared to show on your own. It took me a while to understand that. I would always hide something, or fear to express how I felt. For that reason, I became a shy child, one who refused to go out into the world and explore. Instead, I’d explore in my books. I came to the realization that in most of the books I read, the characters were just like me. They were able to express their emotion, their feeling, in writing, or more to say, the author was able to express their feeling and emotion in writing. I envied them for being able to do that. Personally, I am unable to write the way I intend to. It’s hard to write down who I am, and easier to write about someone else.

Rumer Godden once said “When you learn to read you will be born again...and you will never be quite so alone again.” Literacy is nothing but a way to represent who you are, and who you want to be. You not only gain knowledge about the world, but you also gain knowledge about who you are. There are some people who read and write because they have to, and there are other people who read and write because they have a strong desire, a craving, that can only be fixed with literacy. Once one learns who they are and who they want to be, there’s no stopping them. Those people are the ones that inspire the next generation writers, the next generation of book worms. Literacy inspires people to do the things they once thought to be unimaginable. Literacy is merely just a way to escape. That is why you are never alone. You read a book to imagine yourself completing those desires, you feel as though you’re invincible.

As children we fantasize about a magical world, or at least a world that isn’t ours. We create a world to make us happier than we actually are. Everyone does it at least once in their life. We use our imagination to discover and rediscover ourselves, sometimes without even noticing we have. As we grow up, we lose the capability to create our own perfect worlds. Time becomes of the essence and we become so mature, that our minds tell us only children day dream. Just like that, the world of imagination disappears, and becomes a small memory tucked in the corner of your brain. To me, literacy is like another language, but only one that you can understand. No one can see the world like you, no one can fantasize the world like you, so how will they be able to read and write the world like you? We use literacy as a tool of imagination that helps us escape the hardships and pain of reality.

Digital Video 

Work Cited
"Quotes About Literacy." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015. <>.

Advance Essay #2: Code Switching In A Dominant Culture Capital

Introduction Paragraph:
In this paper, I tried to focus on the skills of perspective, one moment in time and making sure there was valuable. A part that I am very proud of is my thesis statement and the points I tried to argue. Through the scene of memory I tried to look deeply into my past and think about how I felt and some of the questions I had developed at that time. As for a writer, I plan to grow in the areas of condensing my writing. Sometimes, I feel like I don't write enough or I write too much. Especially when it comes to detail, I don't feel like I access the areas in which the reader can real see or feel the action happening. 

My Paper: 

When I was about 11 or 12 I thought my brother was two different people.  At church, his friends were all African-American and he appeared to be more loose, funny and alive. Someone once made a joke that went like “Knock knock.” Then he said, “It’s open!” We all laughed for about 2 minutes under our breaths before an older lady with a large white hat would hit one of us. That made everyone instantly be quiet. While at his robotics events that my family and I would attend it was like he was a queen’s guard. His actions in this environment were much more remote. I had assumed it was because this is how you were suppose to act in a more professional setting. It was odd but I could tell he wasn’t the only one around me that switched, but my mother also did. For example, depending on who called her she would answer the phone differently. Either she would change her voice or say her full name “Hello it’s Myracherisse Holland.”

I asked them both why do they change when they talk to certain people. My mother told me “You have to act on their level in order to fit in.” Then my brother said that that’s why he’s having a hard time deciding between attending a Private White Institution or Historically Black College/University. Attending a HBCU would include being around people that understand some of the experiences of being an African-American male in society. While also not getting all the opportunities that could be open to him if he attended a PWI. However, it would be a constant trial of trying to relate to everyone else and fit in.

Which made me question, what factors determine if ‘code switching’ should be used? In what type of environments insists for you to ‘code switch’?  Also is it necessary? According to my family members it’s necessary in order to reach for better positions in the workforce that most African-Americans don’t achieve. Such as a CEO over a Fortune 500 company, high ranked positions under an office environment or etc.    

I tugged at my feelings about this because a part of me did agree that there were certain situations that you may have to change yourself. Such as showing you that you are the best candidate for the position in a group interview. A well-known statement in other words for this fraudulence is used the statement ‘fake it til’ you make it” Which implies that impersonating who you are until you achieve a good opportunity, is the way to get what you want. This idea can definitely have an impact on who you think you are or where you think you belong.

Not too long after the conversation with my mom and brother, I noticed that I also have some of the same code switching tendencies. For example some of my peers have even called me an ‘Oreo.’ The reason was because I am an African-American and a majority of African-Americans speak using a vernacular. Coinciding with the idea of speaking proper English correlates to being white. Although we call America a melting pot, things such as speaking articulately or dressing nicely correlates to being white?

As for my brother, he did go to what would be considered a white institution although it is a public university. A source from Penn admissions and university statistics state, “...have a majority rate of 69.9% white students compared to a 6.9% of African-Americans” ("Admission and University Statistics." At Penn State. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.) He believed that choosing Penn State over Tuskegee would provide better internships and a higher chance of getting a job after college. While a study by Young Invincibles states that “The findings aren’t incredibly surprising, considering that black millennials are more than two times more likely to face unemployment than their white counterparts, at 16.6 percent compared to 7.1 percent.” (Cadet, Danielle. "A Black Male With A Degree And A White High School Grad Have The Same Chances Of Getting A Job." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.)

My overall message was to display the factors of code switching and how it can impact your future under a dominant culture capital.  By looking at the statistics and experiences, I drew an inference that, many African-Americans have a much harder time getting a job or internship because they aren’t equipped with the same opportunities to better their future as white-americans. Whom can achieve job experience or an internship more easily because employers are willing to hire them for their connections and references to better the company’s opportunities. Now making it a mainstream societal concept to hire white-americans over African-Americans.

Returning to my brother’s choice between a PWI or HBCU, which both have their pros and cons. Primarily attending a PWI provides better chances of getting a well-known company to intern with. As a con would be the difficulty of finding a friend who might be like you, in the instance of experience. In contrast to attending a HBCU where a pro would be being around people you can relate to some cultural experiences. In addition to connecting with more businesses owned by African-Americans. While a con would be losing more opportunities to join more selective programs owned by a dominant culture capital environment. As for my brother, his opportunities depend on how much and how hard he’s worked since he attended Penn State.

So in a real-life example, his ability to code switch can advance his chance entering a more selective program or internship. Yet, at the same time there will always be a chance that there’s a white-american looking at the same program who could obtain/attain it. Because we follow a dominant capital cultural system, where white-americans have a higher percentage of receiving a position than African-Americans.


(Cadet, Danielle. "A Black Male With A Degree And A White High School Grad Have The Same Chances Of Getting A Job." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.)

("Admission and University Statistics." At Penn State. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.)