Advanced Essay #2: Who am I?

 For this essay, my goal was to try to fully utilize the quotes into making my essay better. In other words, I want to use my quotes in a way to make my essay more understanding to my readers. One part in my essay that I am really proud of is the first paragraph because I tried something that I never done before. I contradicted my own argument, so that my thesis can be more clearly understood. I want to continue thinking of ways to make my writing more powerful and understanding to the writer. I think this time, I've been more proactive in asking my friends to check/edit my essay, and that helped me a lot.

“So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity; I am my language.” This quote was pulled out of, How to Tame a Wild Tongue, by Gloria Anzaldua. This is great story that revolves around culture because she passionately explain her culture and her people very specifically. With that, we can most definitely say that she is proud of her nationality and ethnicity. “There are more subtle ways that we internalize identification, especially in the forms of images and emotions. For me food and certain smells are tied to my identity, to my homeland. Woodsmoke curling up to an immense blue; woodsmoke perfuming my grandmother’s clothes, her skin.” When she is not at home, there is a lot of things that remind her of home like some of the examples provided above. This same type of home sickness goes for a lot of immigrants in the United States today. they are out here working hard to be able to provide for themselves and their family. Maybe once in every couple of years, they travel back to visit, but for the most part, it is the same hard working life for them. As interesting as her story may be, it is sad to say that not all of the immigrant’s experiences are like that. As a matter of fact, majority of the immigrants that came here to make a life, end up having the complete opposite experience. They often are too busy to celebrate their culture and perform their rituals and traditions. With that, it puts a negative impact towards the kids and their future of remembering their culture.

America has become a really diverse country consisting of many different cultures. One of the main reasons why is because of its capitalist society. Owning property and making business has become a easy way to make money to gain wealth for a lot of immigrants in America compared to the work force they were involved in back at their native location. As for many great systems and ideas created in this world, there is always a cause and effect.

I came here when I was 4 years old because of my parents looking for a better life. My father worked as a delivery man, delivering different packages of food and beverages to different companies that purchased them, so he is hardly ever home in the daytime, and he comes home late at night. My mother work with my grandpa in the restaurant, so I am just left with my sister. My parents are working extremely hard for money and sometimes forget about taking time off to celebrate some of the most important holidays in the Chinese culture. For example, Chinese New Year, Ching Ming Day, etc. For a lot of my childhood, I was very independent, and the only way I would learn is through school. As of today, I have been asked why I do not have an accent because it is common for Chinese or Asian natives to have an accent. A lot of times, I really do not know how to answer that question. For the most part, I think that it is because most of my time is spent on critically learning English. I do not really have religion or rituals or traditions to distract me from it, although I wish that was the case. In other words, if my family was more involved in our Chinese traditions instead making wealth, it would have made a big impact in my understanding of my culture as well as the “accent” I was suppose to have.

Being able to create something that is yours and make gains and wealth out of it, is an amazing achievement to a lot of the foreigners coming here. But people are often too caught up in making money and forget to celebrate their rituals or traditions. Even if they do, a lot of people do it to get it over with because it is like a yearly chore to them. It is important for kids to know who they really are and where they came from. With them not taking their culture rituals/traditions seriously, it puts a negative impact on the kids growing up. Money needs to be made to provide for their family, but culture also needs to be taught and primarily defined to the new generation of kids, so they have somewhere to start off on.

Advance Essay #2: Independent Thinking

Since literacy was the focus area for these essay, I focused on the importance of children developing independent thinking. I focused on the importance of schools allowing students to speak their mind in class about what they are learning. In my advance essay, I am most proud of my ability to use the quotes to express my ideas about independent thinking. I was able to further explain what the author wrote. As I continue to write, I want to further my analysis of outside sources so that they are understandable to the reader.

I was six when I picked up the first Harry Potter book. I had never read a book that was so large before. There were so many pages, it looked like the biggest book I had ever seen. It felt like a giant mountain that I had to cross on my own. I sat back down in one of the small, cushy green chairs in the reading area set up for kids in Barnes & Noble. I opened up the book and felt the emptiness of the front cover in one hand and the heaviness of all the pages in the other hand. I started reading and was immediately transported into another world. I felt as though I was right next to Harry, discovering some of the secrets of Hogwarts. I never felt this way with another book, I just would read about the characters for a couple of pages then carried on with my day. This book made me want to read even more. As my mother called my name, I begged her to buy the book. Checking at the registry, I was excited to have my own “grownup” book. Turning through that many pages made me feel older, as though I could read anything I wanted to.

The sheer fact that I was able to pick a book out for myself was what excited me. As we get older, we can sometimes become less engaged in reading. Part of the reason is that some teachers don’t give a choice in what students read in classrooms. They say you should teach the student how to think instead of what to think. In chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire wrote:

The outstanding characteristic of this narrative education, then, is the sonority of words,

not their transforming power. "Four times four is sixteen; the capital of Para is Belem." The student records, memorizes, and repeats these phrases without perceiving what four times four really means, or realizing the true significance of "capital" in the affirmation "the capital of Para is Belem," that is, what Belem means for Para and what Para means for Brazil.” Narration (with the teacher as narrator) leads the student to memorize mechanically the narrated account. Worse yet, it turns them into “containers,” into “receptacles” to be filled by the teachers. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.

Students shouldn’t be stuck in a room and told to memorize a bunch of facts, this doesn’t help them in the real world. If all they’ve ever known is what the teacher tells them to do, you end up with kids who don’t know how to independently think. Without independent thinking, the child doesn’t know how to interact in the real world but at least they know that the capital of Para is Belem. Independent thinking is a freedom that anyone should be given. It helps the student create coherent thoughts so that they can survive on their own without needing a teacher by their side telling them what to do.

The old method was cramming the student with as much knowledge as possible without getting them to know how to obtain knowledge. This recognized result of cram teaching is why schools are starting to change. Some schools are giving their students more freedom, having discussions so that the student can give out their own opinion. With a discussion, different opinions are added and you can build ideas and thoughts on different subjects. This gives an opportunity for a child to know that they are heard and to know that they can have an opinion. When they know that their opinion is heard, they feel as though they can share more and will be more confident share the opinions as an adult.

Another excerpt from Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed stated:

Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow.

In the education system, there shouldn’t be one person over the other. The teacher could not only teach the student by standing at the blackboard, pointing to what to memorize. Education should be a system in where the teacher also learns from the student. With opinions brought in by students, the teacher can see from different perspectives. It can be a mutual teaching experience between the teacher and student. If both parties learn from each other, they get used to there being views on the same subject but the students also learn how to refine their perspectives so that they are not always biased.

People are starting to realize the way that teachers and students can have an effect on each other in a way that the student can grow into an adult who knows their own opinions but can hear out others. The straightforward way of telling a student what to think is being broken in down by having mutual relationships between teacher and student to allow a way to input their thoughts.

Works Cited:

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

Webster University. Web.

Advanced Essay #2: Narratives Being Taught About Minorities

Using the theme of literacy as our focal point of this essay I wrote about an issue that directly affects me as a student. In my advanced essay I am most proud of the way I was able to express my opinion. The essay revolved around the question about the narratives that schools teach about minorities. In my experience I have seen a myriad of approaches to the teaching of minorities in history. However, in my essay I tried to target the idea of empowering minorities instead of continuously degrading them. As a growing writer I plan to continue to analyze different perspectives in order to gain a proper understanding of the core issue that will help me better formulate my ideas and clearly articulate them to others through my writing.

“A smart Indian is dangerous.” A quote taken from Sherman Alexie in his essay titled “The Joy of Reading Superman and Me’.”  This is the reality of what we see. A minority that is considered “smart” or knowledgeable is “dangerous.” We might ask ourselves why that is but the answer is quite clear. A minority who is knowledgeable about the world around them realizes that something is not right. That their is an injustice and ignorance that seeps through the particles of air.

Overall minorities are underrepresented both in popular texts used in the formal education system and vocal leaders in our society.  Children all across the United States spend too much time on the same single story of minorities and the foundation of this country.  However, it is necessary for everyone to learn about the upsetting foundation of this country but there are multiple ways to view it and educate people about it. It is an educator's responsibility to teach students on the different perspectives that minorities have and instead of only focusing on the degradation , we need to focus on empowerment.

It was third grade and we had been practicing for over a month. I knew my lines and I was ready to go on stage to perform my first play. The topic black history month and I was Madam CJ Walker. I was overjoyed and proud as I saw the reaction of the audience. I saw faces of all colors rejoicing and applauding as I begin to perform. Looking back I find that I felt empowered. A strong black rich woman, a narrative that is rarely acclaimed.  

Malcolm X once said that we are not taught to “hate the white, but to love ourselves.” History should not be a blame game.  Our focus needs to be shifted away from the degradation of minorities and steered to the empowerment of minorities.

In the United States, Latinos learn about the Aztecs and Incas and how their civilization was conquered, then wiped out . African-Americans learn about slavery all day everyday and how we can never fully succeed in society. Japanese Americans, learn about the World War 2 and their horrible treatment in the concentration camps . But that is only if we get to that part of the curriculum, because I was never taught about Asian history.  We continue to diminish the existence of Native Americans existence placing them in reservations in harsh conditions. Instead of viewing them as “The Owners of the Land,” we too often we rely on Pocahontas as a primary source. With all of this talk about the influence in has on society and the young children growing up.

There must be a balance.  When we are taught about the history of minorities the only focal point is on the enslavement and the abasement of said minorities. This leads to a mind set of “since we have always been teared down , we will never rise up.” And that way of thinking leads to the ignorance in the minority community and the lack of knowledge about their own culture and ridiculing other about their own roots. Examples are everywhere, especially on television where they portray images of all African people live in huts and alluding to the fact that all the people in that area are starving. The global issue is called world hunger not African hunger. Even though there are situations like those happening in Africa and other continents, the bad is often the only perspective that we have.   The faults of a single side story, we get taught the way that the majority wants us to be taught. “His story is History.”

Work Cited:

1. Malcolm X. Dir. Spike Lee. Prod. Spike Lee. By Spike Lee and Arnold Perl. Perf. Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, and Al Freeman. Warner Bros., 1992. Online.

2. 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. <>.

Advanced Essay #2 [What is Literacy to You?]


In this paper I focused on the definition of literacy and why we cannot assess how literate someone is. I am very proud of my thesis and think that I was able to clearly articulate the point I was trying to make. I focused on trying to connect my scene to my thesis. This is something that I would like to work on. There is always something to improve on as a writer. For the next piece my focus will be on transitions and connections.

We all have moments in our lives that shape our definitions of literacy. For me a big factor was living in a home where three languages were spoken. Farsi with my father, Italian with my mother, and English with my siblings. I learned early on that being literate did not only refer to how well one wrote, but if you understood what a person was saying, not only in your mother tongue but any other languages you have picked up on your way to adulthood.

One of my favorite memories that has shaped my definition of literacy is of when I was little and my sister and I would curl up beside our mom and read italian fables together.This is one of my earliest memories of reading. She’d ask us which story we should start with that night. The answer was always the same.

Fiabe italiane

There came a point when we knew the story so well we’d say the next line before our mom read it out loud. My favorite part of the fables was the cover of the book. It was an elephant holding the same book we were reading. Within his cover there was a smaller elephant holding the book. It went on until I could no longer see the elephant holding another book with another elephant on it.

This got me to thinking, what if each elephant was reading the same story but seeing it differently. I thought there was a universal definition for literacy but found that each site I visited had a different definition for literacy.

a person's knowledge of a particular subject or field”

“the quality or state of being literate” -Merriam-Webster

The condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.”-The Free Dictionary

“Literacy is the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential.” -National Center for Education Statistics.

All of these definitions have one thing in common. They assess someone's knowledge and their ability to write. But through all I have experienced I have learned that because there are so many different dialects and accents, we cannot and do not tell someone that the way they speak is incorrect. We acknowledge that there are accents and dialects within one language. Why is it different when we write or read? Isn’t writing and reading a type of language that is spoken? It is an expression, an art, that must be interpreted by each individual person. The artist's feelings might be different than the observer's feelings. That is the beautiful thing about art, it allows us to express what we are feeling and allow another to see our work and let it become something to them, even if it is different from our interpretation. Just as each elephant on the cover of the italian fables may have interpreted the story they were reading differently. Just like how my sister and I had different reasons for loving the stories in “Fiabe Italiane”

Literacy is unique because it has to be molded to the person it is describing. In some schools English class is labeled as Literacy class, but are the teachers teaching them what it means to be literate? They are teaching them grammar, rules of the English language, how to read, how to analyze a text. They are not teaching them to express themselves through the things they read and the stories they write, or the drawings they draw. As I write, I realize that I am writing with bias, but rightfully so. My definition of literacy has shaped the way I have written this essay. But in a way to you, the reader, I am allowing you to see my views and allowing you to form your own opinions about the questions and opinions I am raising.

I’ve often wondered if we can assess how literate someone is. We each obviously have a different definition of what it means. I understand not writing with correct grammar. But grammar is something that has a set of rules that must be followed for each language. In class we wrote down our definitions for literacy, but in the end we were given a definition(“Reading the word and reading the world”) to follow for our project. The thing that makes literacy so unique is the vast amount of different definitions people have. These definitions show how the person grew up and how they see the world around them. I read books to see the world through the main character's eyes. I love to see and understand the way others read the world. My definition is different than yours. Isn’t that the great part of literacy? It has so many interpretations, meanings, and impacts. It sets us apart and lets us appreciate how one act or image can be described in so many unique and diverse ways.

Work Cited:

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

<>., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.


"National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) - Definition of Literacy." National Assessment

of Adult Literacy (NAAL) - Definition of Literacy. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. <>.

"Literacy." The Free Dictionary. Farlex, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.


Advanced Essay #2: Children’s Books: Importance in Influencing World Views of Children

The following essay discusses the influence of children’s books in how children view and interact with the world around them. I specifically focused on the certain skills that children gain by reading children’s books, and why parents or apps on a tablet can’t always teach them as books can. Children’s books serve as a guide for parents when it comes to teaching their children other life lessons, and this is something that cannot be forgotten. I think that I probably could have tightened up my thesis to make it more controversial, however I still think that my analysis was strong, and my thesis had its strengths as well. As a writer I am always looking to improve, to make my writing more powerful, so I will continue to do this in the future.


I sat in bed, my tiny fingers clinging to the soft blanket that comforted me. I was just four years old. My mom sat beside me, a square shaped hardcover book in her hand. This was routine; every night I waited for the words to pop up and catch my attention, for my mind to fill with new ideas and concepts. Tonight, she held a new book in her hands- Leo the Late Bloomer. My Aunt Lisa had given it to me as a present, and even had it signed by the author himself, Robert Kraus. I distinctly remember the images of the tiger fretting over not being able to do what the other animals did, and his parents being worried about him. As the book concluded though, I learned that it sometimes takes more time for people to grow up and mature, and that was okay. This book taught me not only to be patient with other people, but to be patient with myself, because someday I too would get to the place where I wanted to be.

Learning how to read is one of the most essential things that we associate with growing up and developing. Our lives center around the fact that we can read. Reading helps us to understand the world around us, and view things from multiple perspectives. For many of us, it all starts with children’s books. Many of our first intellectual concepts of the world came from us learning how to read children’s books. The ideas prevalent in them helps for a young mind to develop thoughts and ideas about the world. Without children’s books, we would not have the same ability to communicate with others in a thoughtful, genuine, empathetic, and open-minded manner. It is the responsibility of the authors of children’s books to create books with meaningful lessons about life and human interaction, lessons that our parents can’t always teach us; it is additionally the responsibility of parents to be there to answer questions as they read to their child and pass knowledge onto them through books.

As a child, it was important for me to understand that people developed at different times; after all, no one is the same, and when the concepts of “right” and “wrong” are shoved into our faces by the world at young ages, it is important to know that they do not just apply to everything. Not everything is clean-cut or concise. Had I not learned this lesson from a children’s book, I might have been held back in the way I viewed the world, and in turn may a different person than I know myself to be today. Of course our parents can teach us all of the lessons that they want to, but lessons like this one can sometimes get lost more easily than we may expect them to. The least parents can do is just sit down and read with their child, allowing them to answer questions and further understand the material being presented to them. It is an important experience for children when their parents read them life lessons that were specifically engineered for them to hear.

Similarly, in an article titled How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health, Michael Grothaus, the author, quotes Dr. Josie Billington, who works at the University of Liverpool as the deputy director of the Centre for Research into Reading. She says, "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 renewed understanding gives readers a greater ability to cope with difficult situations by expanding their ‘repertoires and sense of possible avenues of action or attitude.’" It is imperative that this logic is applied as early as possible, because the sooner we can give kids “refreshed perspectives,” the sooner they will learn to think open-mindedly. Of course kids are going to disagree with each other and get into arguments, but the more accepting they can be towards each other at that young age, the more accepting they will be towards their peers as they grow older, going into their teens and even adulthood.

Christopher Myers wrote The Apartheid of Children’s Literature, an article in The New York Times. In this article, Myers wrote about the representation of black people in children’s books. Speaking about children as a whole, he says, “They see books less as mirrors and more as maps. They are indeed searching for their place in the world, but they are also deciding where they want to go. They create, through the stories they’re given, an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, of their possible destinations.” As this states, when children read books they see them as ways to go about their life, with new thoughts and ideas about their existence emerging as they read them. Not providing children with as many maps as they can get their hands on would be an injustice to them. Depriving them of new roads and paths to travel down, and not helping them understand the world and how to interact with it would prove to be a failure of society, with us being responsible for it.

In conclusion, children’s books are essential for creating empathy, thoughtfulness, open-mindedness, and an overall understanding in the minds of children as they communicate and interact with others. Seeing as though we are in the digital age, and books as a whole have become less valuable, we cannot forget the value of children’s books. A world without children’s books and the messages they teach children would prove to be a world where the future of our society is less understanding of the world and how it works. No educational apps on a tablet or phone can teach them lessons quite like children’s books. Words written on paper hold a lot more power than we seem to think. They are more thoughtful, descriptive, and allow children to actually grasp them in their hands. Books create a more personal experience. Between personal experiences of my own and professionals who have done research on literacy for years, it can be concluded that children’s books are the requisite for an accepting, understanding, and progressive youth.

Works Cited

“How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health.” Fast Company. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015. <>

Myers, Christopher. “The Apartheid Of Children’s Literature.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2015. <>


​          Comer pollo
             Odio tomates
           Me gusta comer 

Screenshot 2015-11-25 at 8.01.33 AM
Screenshot 2015-11-25 at 8.01.33 AM

Soy Lilianna


Soy Lilianna

Casi siempre, soy

tranquila y fiel

Cuando tengo tiempre libre, me encanta jugar videojueogs,

hablar por teléfono  con mis amigos y escuchar musica por muchas horas.

No soy ni codiciosa,

ni deshonesta.

Yo soy...



Josh Dun, By Julia Hood

                Soy Josh Dun
                Siempre, soy
              juapo y talentoso
cuando tengo tiempo libre me encanta comer taco bell,
      tocar la percussions y domir.
            No soy mentrioso 
                  ni vilento.
                   Yo soy...

Leo's Life: Leo Cassel-Siskind

My slide tells about me. The most important three things in my life are sports friends and school so they were the ones I wanted to show on this slide. 

I spend hours each day playing and practicing sports. Sometimes it's on my own and sometimes I do it with friends. I also spend a lot of times talking or texting my friends. It's relaxing and a good way to catch up. School is also very important to me. Now that I'm in high school my goal is getting into a good college so I try to work hard and do my best. 

I choose the design for my slide, because I wanted everything to jump out at you. It's a pretty plain blue background so that the first thing you notice are the images. I thought the clip art design would be easy to see and make my intentions obvious. I wanted to make everything obvious so instead of wondering what each one was people can think about why it's really important to me. I also wanted my name large in the center of the page so everyone would know who I am and who's life these things are important to. Finally I didn't want to clutter up the page with too much stuff. I wanted to keep it to the basics of my life. 

A Car Ride Home and Recollection of God

​A car ride home: 

I sit in the back seat of a red car, passed down to us by my father, who received it second hand from his father. My mother has only purchased one car in my lifetime, an old silver one modeled around 1980. The back left door couldn’t open, the windows unable roll down, and the air conditioner cried freon if we traveled more than thirty miles. Soon we realized her golden years had past, she began to gag at traffic lights and stop signs. As time speeds past my window, I count farms as they zip by. I have always longed for Rochester in autumn. The crisp air burning my cheeks, only to reminded me of my name as a welcome, Rosie. I remember my Grandpa Jack’s truck, pale red, modeled around 1970. He kept a spare pair of prescription aviators in the glove box, beside his fishing hat. I hear my mother's voice, muffled by my thoughts. She is crying  “the tree’s they’re beautiful.” My mother’s sensitivity towards blessing details has always been breathtaking. 

Recollection of god: 

I don’t remember much of my grandfather

He’d showed me his teeth a few times

I’d watch as he crunched on his own fortune

twisting his back to see my words clearer

mirroring shrill sounds of his attempt at picking up a new instrument

His life am I told had always resembled a prism

one through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum

It's true, I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of the world moving forward without me, of my absence going unnoticed, or worse, being some natural force propelling life on. Is it selfish? Am I such a bad person for dreaming of a world that ends when I do? I don't mean the world ending with respect to me, but every set of eyes closing with mine, I wish not to be alone in endless silence.

After death I am told that, The bruises go away, and so does how you hate, and so does the feeling that everything you receive from life is something you have earned.

The only way to overcome sadness is to consume it.

I am always sad, I think. Perhaps this signifies that I am not sad at all, because sadness is something lower than your normal disposition, and I am always the same thing. Perhaps I am the only person in the world, then, who never becomes sad. Perhaps I am lucky.

The only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad

The only thing more painful than being an active forgetter is to be an inert rememberer.

I pray to god that I forget each day as it passes.

All I want is to speak to God. He has given me that longing... and now made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to praise him, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?

I don’t believe in god

I wish not to be pitied, for I never pitied any man

If I were to stumble across my true love, I suppose I would say this:

If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it walls, and we will furnish it with soft, red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweller's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.

If we communicated with something like music, we would never be misunderstood, because there is nothing in music to understand...... But until we find this new way of speaking, until we can find a non approximate vocabulary, nonsense words are the best thing we've got.

Computer Science Slide: Colin Taylor-McGrane

Tech Slide
​I have been interested in computer science my whole life and I wanted to show that in this slide. I 
My favorite image that I saw when I looked up computer science was an image of a light blue tunnel that is completely covered in binary code. I thought that it was a very eye-catching image, and it really made me think technology when I saw it. I took the advice of the sites we visited and decided to experiment with bleeding, and I was satisfied with the results when I bled. 
I thought that the picture just was not enough to put on the slide so I decided to sum up computer science in one short and intriguing sentence. The sentence was "You use computers for everything, but how does it work, what else can you do with a computer." I wanted to make sure that the colors of the text blended well together. I had a fairly dark blue for the background and made my name red and the sentence about computer science a light shade of green. I thought that these colors went well together and the red and light green also stood out against the blue.  

Advanced Essay #2: A Bilingual Education


My newest advanced essay revolved around being bilingual and its impact in my life and its benefits to modern education. As it stands, there is a bill currently that would implement a English-only system in Pennsylvania. Skills I focused on in my paper were understanding. Because my situation was very unique I really worked on the skill of having you feel like you were there with me. Another skill I wanted to work on was improving my grammar. Overall, I have good grammar but it can always improve. A part of my piece I’m proud of is having the courage to write about being bilingual and my past that relates to my education. I’ve always avoided writing about my previous education but I’m glad I started now. I plan to become more of a creative writer who can improve on editing. I think the skill in seeing your flaws in writing is very important, and I’d love to acquire it.

In September 2015, members of the Pennsylvania Legislature issued an “English Only” legislation, Bill 1506. Currently, 31 US states have similar legislation. The bill would require all state and local government business to be conducted in English. Some are against this bill, like opinion writer Charlie Deitch who says “It’s hard to make meaningful gains in government when most of the time is spent parsing crap legislation meant to appease the citizenry sitting with closed minds.” As a child, I was born into a bilingual home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both my parents were born in Nicaragua, a multilingual but predominantly Spanish speaking country. My mother grew up in the United States and does not speak fluent Spanish. Her parents spoke Spanish but did not teach their children. My father lived in Nicaragua until he was 27;  he speaks Miskito, Creole English and Spanish. As a child, I primarily learned one language, English. My mother would say a few words in Spanish. My father prefered Creole English and Miskito to Spanish.  Then, when I was five years old, I was enrolled at Independence Charter School, a school with a bilingual program so I would become fluent in Spanish. Some members of the  Pennsylvania Legislature apparently fear multilingualism and multiculturalism. My story should alleviate their fears.

From kindergarten through fifth grade, I spent 80 - 90% of my school day learning in Spanish. Besides Spanish Language Arts, math, science and social studies were in Spanish. I had one period a day of English. For example, I learned the world's’ countries in Spanish. I never knew Switzerland, England or Belgium. I knew them as Suiza, Inglaterra and Bélgica. Math operations were la adición, división, multiplicación, and resta or subtracción. Classes had a “Spanish only rule.” You couldn’t speak English in classes;  if we have something to say, it had to be in Spanish. What I learned in Spanish in third grade, SLA students learn in Spanish II.

Despite the challenge of learning in a second language, I enjoyed learning in Spanish.  Most of my teachers were Latina and born in Spanish speaking countries. They spoke Spanish from birth. I learned proper pronunciation. In addition, they exposed us to their cultural traditions. This helped me embrace my heritage. Because of my physical appearance, especially my freckles, most people assume I am only white. But when I learned Spanish, I gained the confidence to embrace and love my complex heritage.

When I started middle school, the language demands increased. Now, math and science were in English. Only Spanish Language Arts and social studies were in Spanish. It was difficult and frustrating to shift and learn new information in English.  I had to learn more new vocabulary in a month than I had in five years. I almost lost five years of Spanish to a month of confusion. I wasn’t alone; many of us found learning math and science in English challenging. I learned to say “integers and acute” instead of “agudo y enteros”  and “DNA and ecosystem” instead of “ADN  y ecosistema.” In addition, my ADHD made it difficult to focus. There was also enormous pressure to have high grades and test scores to get into a magnet high school.

Nevertheless, while being bilingual has its perks, it made the infamous PSSA’s, extremely stressful.  The PSSA’s are the standardized test in Pennsylvania; high test scores are required to enroll into a favorable high school. The tests are in English. The teachers couldn’t help me during the test. No definition of terms. No explanation of a math  concept I had learned in Spanish but could not explain in English. The only thing my teacher could say was “try your best!” This response instilled more fear. This is when I realized my education was partially flawed.

A bilingual education made standardized testing very stressful because I was not fully prepared in English but there were significant benefits. Since entering high school, I have become a more confident student. Many of my peers from the immersion or bilingual program are succeeding in quality schools. My complicated heritage and bilingualism have made me a more insightful and creative student, rather than a textbook student. I believe I have the skills and drive to succeed.

While bilingualism assists my learning in school and is a bridge with my family, there are many other benefits to being bilingual. Being bilingual is a skill that will always be in demand in the work force. I learned from teachers, parents and extended family who see and experience life through many different lens.  Whether the Pennsylvania Legislators who support “English only” like it or not, by 2050 less than half of the United States will be of European descent.

Apparently, some members of the Pennsylvania legislature want to deny Pennsylvanians who either do not speak English or prefer another language second class citizenship. Many other countries encourage bilingualism or multilingualism, far too many people in the U.S. fear bilingualism and want to legislate against it. The bill has reached some support. The bill's’ authors suggests “Bill 1506 is meant to bring the country together under one language.” The bill will do nothing but hold our language skills back. But Although learning in school in my second language was often challenging, I am better student and citizen because of it.  

My bilingual education gave me real world skills to work skills. I had cultural experiences that I would not have had in a monolingual school.  My language skills have given me opportunities that I now appreciate.  A bilingual education is a privilege, not a burden. The proposed “English Only” bill in the Pennsylvania Legislature is grounded in fear and narrow nationalism.  Rather than limit our learning, the Pennsylvania Legislature should encourage bilingualism and cross cultural experiences. Learning in two languages may take a toll on a young learner but the benefits outweigh the initial burden. Rather than promoting “English Only,” the Pennsylvania Legislature should be funding multilingual public education and expanding opportunities for cultural exchange.

Esack, Steve. "English Language Bill Backlash Grows in Capitol." Morning Call. The Morning Call, 26 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Deitch, Charlie. "The Only Purpose of English-Only Legislation Is to Obstruct the Real Business of Government." Pghcitypaper. Pittsburgh CityPaper, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Barnes, Tom. "Bills Seek to Make English Official Pa. Language." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pitt PG, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

"Bill Information - House Bill 2132; Regular Session 2013-2014." The Official Website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Pennsylvania General Assembly, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

"Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Would Make English the Official Language in Pennsylvania." WPMT FOX43. FOX News, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.


​                                          Soy Cartman
    Siempre soy
      Gordo y Bajo siempre
                                Me encanta Kentucky Frito Pollo,
    Jugar basquetbul, y Jugar videojuegos
         No soy ni Delgado
       Ni Feo
       Yo soy

Advanced Essay #2

Technology inside and outside the classroom is changing the way future generations of humans think. Despite what many people think, the use of technology for communication and education has negative effects on the way humans think. If children from a young age are overexposed to technology, they greatly affect the child’s ability to focus in a standard academic society. By looking at the overuse technology in young children, we can see a decrease in critical analysis and comprehension of literature, which most people do not see; this is important because it can be detrimental to the success of future humanity .

I sat in the chair as I chowed down on my dinner in the restaurant. Pineapple fried rice is pretty tasty, but there was something about my meal that was off. I could here the busty clanking of silverware on plates. I looked up and saw a small child at maybe the age of six performing a drum solo with his utensils on his food filled plate. The not-so-radical drum solo was interrupted by the child’s mother who told the child to stop. I was happy to see that child stopped the noise. The child took out a small portable video game device from his pocket and continued to play games on that, I went back to my meal but when I finished I looked up and noticed the child had still not touched his food.

Although there are some positive sides to learning with technology, our familiarity with technology and desire for quicker knowledge is reducing our ability to do critical thinking and analyzing, especially of literature. As we become more technologically literate, we become less literate with literature. The effects of being overly dependent on technology can especially be observed through younger generations who are often referred to as “digital natives.” These digital natives have also been referred to as people of the “app generation” a phrase coined by psychologists Howard Gardner and Katie Davis which describes the generation “which grew up with phones in hand and apps at the ready. It tends toward impatience, expecting the world to respond like an app, quickly and efficiently. The app way of thinking starts with the idea that actions in the world will work like algorithms: Certain actions will lead to predictable results.”  

As the student assistant tech helper at my middle school, I had several duties. One of my main duties was to assist the children in lower school classes with any questions they had with the computers or tablets. During the silent reading portion of the class a young girl came up to me and asked for one of the school tablets. When I asked her why she needed the tablet, she said it was to look up the meaning of a word. Generally kids are not allowed to be on technology during silent reading time, so I suggested that young girl should use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word. I was then surprised when the young girl claimed that she had know idea how to use a dictionary and that nobody uses them nowadays anyway. It didn’t make sense to me, a fifth grade student not knowing how to use a dictionary.

When reading literature, one must be able to comprehend and react to it, this is what literacy is all about. If some explanation to the meaning of a word is needed the reader will attempt to find the meaning of the word. Using a search bar on an online search engine gives almost immediate solution to any inquiries and chances to do independent thinking. Of course, if a person, especially a young person, has difficulty understanding or analyzing literature through traditional methods, it may be a result of the overuse of digital learning and literature. According to an article from Brockport College on Effects of Technology on Literacy Skills and Motivation to Read and Write “Results from Grimshaw, Dungworth and McKnight’s (2007) study provided data on the effects that digital texts have on comprehension and motivation compared to traditional texts. According to Grimshaw et al., participants came into the study with a strong background knowledge in technology navigation. According to Grimshaw et al., children who read using digital texts were not able to manually follow along while they were reading.”

The ability to be technologically literate is important for preserving literature and communication but traditional communication and education that is taught with people and traditional, unabridged texts opens up more chances to interpret different meanings to expand and provide greater variety for literacy. With a greater understanding and variety of literacy people can make connections with fellow human beings and have a greater ability to do independent analysis of literature and communication.


Fox, Leah C.C., "Effects of Technology on Literacy Skills and Motivation to Read and Write." Education and Human Development Master's Theses. Paper 522, 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2015


Turkle, Sherry. "Stop Googling. Let’s Talk." The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <>.

Advance Essay #2: Code-Switching by Jason Greene

While I was writing this essay, one thing I tried to do was tell to my mom’s personal story and my personal story with code-switching in a way that engaged the reader and could allow them to relate.  We all code-switch at one point or another.  It is just if we notice when it happens or not.  There is not just one part of this essay that I can say I am the most proud of.  I am proud of all of the essay.  As I continue to grow as a writer one thing I plan on working on is my storytelling skills.  

The year was 1973.  My mother was born in a small town in Ethiopia. Because my grandmother was not able to provide for my mother and uncle, she decided to give my mother up for adoption.  She knew that if she kept her that she would end up dying of malnutrition.  She lived in the hospital for the rest of the years and the nurses took care of her.  Then two missionaries from the United States heard about her though one of the nurses and fell in love at first sight.  The next year my mom was heading to the other side of the country with a whole another family.  Because of this she learned two languages.  Slang or “black” language she would use with friends and “white” language or talking proper.  The transition from one way of talking to another is code-switching. Growing up she would get teased by her black friends at school for talking “white”.  Her friends would say things like “Sara you talk so white.” or “Why are you talking like that?”  She felt different. She once told me that, she felt like she was between two very different worlds. I also had to go through the same thing.  When I talked to my family that was white I talked a certain way.  More proper.  When I am with my friends I talk another way.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in both Philadelphia and the suburbs my mother still had to deal with the side affects of racism and the civil rights movement.  When she lived in the suburbs, white families would ask why that white family had a black child.  When her family lived in the city, black families would ask why that white family had a black child.  Since she grew up in a white household she adopted parts of the white culture including the language.  When she was at a school and social events with black people, the transition from one language to another was difficult.  The kids would make fun for the way she talked.  It wasn’t her fault because of the environment she was in on a daily basis.

Growing up I didn’t see that side of my family as white.  I honestly did not see color.  I knew my mom was adopted but I just saw them as family.  They were people who loved me and people who I loved back.  It wasn’t until a couple years ago I noticed that they didn’t look like me.  I remember the moment when I realized this.  We were in church and the pastor said “If you can please stand up for our final prayer.” As we stood up I noticed that my sister, mom and I were not just the only black people in our row but the only black people in the audience.  All I saw was white faces.  None of them looked like me, but it wasn’t until two years ago I realized that I spoke differently when around them.  I was going to visit my aunt and her family in Arizona.  I was going to a baseball camp at ASU.  It was my first time going to see them by myself.  When my uncle and cousin picked me up from the airport I noticed that I would talk differently.  When I first noticed it I hated it.  I was allowing my environment to choose how I talked.  I realized that the reason I was doing this to make up for the fact I wasn’t like them.  I didn’t look like them and I thought that the way we spoke our common language could make up for that.

Today our society in this country is divided in many different ways.  Gender, race, sexual orientation are just one of the many ways people group themselves.  Language is also one of the ways we group ourselves. Gene Demby of NPR said “When you're attuned to the phenomenon of code-switching, you start to see it everywhere, and you begin to see the way race, ethnicity and culture plays out all over the place.” We tend to stay with people who speak the same language as us.  We can overcome these divisions though.  We have to learn to accept that people are different.  I am not just talking about language but all aspects of someone’s life.  When we can accept people for who they are and not for what they aren’t we will see society come together.

Sometimes we as humans allow ourselves to get caught up into trying to fit in.  My mother and I experienced this first hand.  With her it was trying to fit into people to looked like her and with me it was trying to fit in with my family that had a lighter skin tone than me.  Matt Thompson, writer for NPR wrote a piece on called Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch. He said “Very often, people code-switch — both consciously and unconsciously — to act or talk more like those around them. While this can be effective, it can also be perilous…” I agree with this.  In some situations it is a necessary and useful skill.  In others it is not.  We should not allow pressure from society and our environment dictate how we speak.  If we allow this, we change who we are and who we will become.


Demby, Gene. "How Code-Switching Explains The World." NPR. NPR, 8 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2015. <>.

Thompson, Matt. "Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch." NPR. NPR, 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <>.

¿Soy Emilia, y tú?

          Me gusta andar en patientea
                          Sin embargo yo no soy muy buena
                     Soy valiente para aprender 
 Me gusta también escuchar música y bailar
    No me gusta escribir y cantar
  Aun que soy divertida soy también perezosa
    Me gusta pasar tiempo con amigos 
                 Odio ir de compras 
      ¿Qué te interesa?
Screenshot 2015-11-24 at 10.15.04 PM
Screenshot 2015-11-24 at 10.15.04 PM

Media Fluency- Lily Rivera

Media Fluency-Me Mag. Slide
I originally got the idea for my slide when I kept seeing the words simple, big, to the point, and short repeated often in the articles I found when researching for this assignment. The samples of the Ikea billboards on Presentation Zen were a big inspiration for my slide. Basically what I got from the articles that I read was to not have any unimportant details, just give the main idea and be straight to the point. I chose to display the title of my Me Magazine because it really does the job of summing up my slide in one short sentence..while also not giving enough information for the viewer to really know what my magazine is about. This will most likely make them want to know more about it and therefore pay more attention to me when I’m talking about it (the magazine). For my slide, I decided to use 4-5 of the 8 lessons from Presentation Zen. The first one I decided to incorporate was, “(1) Make it visual,” which states, “Slides are visual aids, not ‘text aids’...” Using this lesson, along with numbers 2, “One slide, one point,” and 3, “Make text big,” I decided to make the two main focuses of my slide a picture of myself (visual) and the title/main idea of my magazine (big text). Together, they give my slide that ‘one point’ aspect. Lastly, I chose the background color and the text color with the contrast lesson in mind to really make the bright colors in my picture and the color of the text stand out.

Spanish Poem by Sean DeSilva

Soy Sean.

   (Casi) Siempre, soy

       cómico y amable.

         de vez en cuando, me encanta jugar videojuegos,

                     dibujar y juegos de computadora.

No si ni serio

                                    ni aburrido

Yo soy…

   ¡ YO!