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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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.

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. <>.)

Advanced Essay #2: Women of the World

Introduction Paragraph

In my advanced essay I choose to explore the way women are viewed by men in American society. Women are taught to have skills in many fields, and be literate but they should never interfere with the skills of a man. After reading many essays such as, “To Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua, I questioned whether it was possible to tame (control) a woman when she has so many skills and attributes. In conclusion, I have learned that it is not possible to tame a woman because her skills and attributes are powerful. I am most proud of my scenes of memory. I worked hard on them for this essay and believe that the quality of them improved in this essay.

V. Women of the World

The first mistake I made in giving up my power was thinking I didn’t have any. Honestly, most of my insecurities about my power came from being the only girl (and the youngest) with 5 brothers. Many would think that because of me being the only daughter and the youngest, many would expect me to have been praised, treated like a princess, and in fact, some parts of me were. But the generalization of who women should be and what we should be doing was shown to me early on. I was also underestimated and other qualities of myself were not praised. “Oh you’re such a beautiful girl,” I would hear from my brothers because evidently, to men, beauty is most important. I would wanted to have been recognized for me intelligence. This does not compensate for the ugly stigma that remains unspoken but clearly seen. A woman can aspire to have skills in many fields, and be literate, but they should never interfere with the skills of a man. This stigma was obvious between us and is obvious in many American families. My personal views have changed as I’ve gotten older. I have read different articles and pieces that have changed my view on what women are able to do. In the essay, “To Tame a Wild Tongue” author Gloria Anzaldua questioned, “Is it possible to tame someone’s tongue when they have so many?”. This made me question if it was possible to tame (control) a woman when she has so many skills and attributes.  

I have been exposed stigmas through woman empowerment programs and organizations.

  • women accept this stigma

  • women fade into the shadow of men

  • Men rely on women to do the “behind the scenes work” and then reward them with the gift of superficial compliments

  • Girls need only women to teach them how to love being a woman.

As many times as I fell into the shadow of my brothers, I’ve learned that as much as men are involved in the demise of women, they can help women understand their worth worth. My fifth oldest brother, Ali was involved in building my confidence in positive ways.  I remember the day he taught me the first lesson of how to love being a woman.

Lesson 1: Love being smart.

My father’s office was so quiet that only the clocks ticking could be heard. I brushed my pencil lightly across the homework page looking for answers that weren’t coming to my head. I was trying to do my math homework but it just wasn’t happening for me. The door opened, closed and the room went pitch black. I could smell the stench of hard working hands. “Assalam Walikum” Ali said. “Walikum Assalam” I said, barely containing my smile. I knew it was him. “Whatcha doing.” he asked. He didn’t know that I had been doing the same thing for twenty minutes. Brushing led against paper, back and forth, back and forth. I tried telling him that my math homework “wasn’t working out” and “math isn’t for me” but all I received was, “You’re smart...try it again.” repeated 10 times and “You surely won’t get anywhere if you don’t apply yourself. I tell you you’re smart all the time, you just have to believe it.” I was silent after that last part. Everyone had told me I was smart but when he had told me I believed it. I had learned lesson one of loving being a young woman.

I wish I had paid a lot more attention to Lesson 1 and the many other lessons. Hearing them from my other brothers was a lost cause and shortly after that office visit, Ali had died from a motorcycle accident. Stepping out of my house after 3 days in hibernation, I became the lost cause. I had forgotten all the lessons he taught me about loving myself just because he had left. On the day of his funeral, silence filled the air. Tears fell and hit my chest almost in a rhythmic tune. My mom walked me to the car and I slipped in, but no words slipped out from either of our mouths. The entire ride I kept looking at the bright orange paper in the wind shield screaming FUNERAL. Ironically, cyclists zoomed past my car crossing through traffic in weird dangerous patterns. I made eye contact with one. Four seconds of contact and my brother’s face became the man’s face. “You’re smart...try it again” I heard in my head. I ended eye contact with the driver immediately. I saw her face and the screaming orange sign.

    Slowly but surely I began to live out the lessons he taught me. Women should love different things about themselves and shouldn’t fade into the shadow of men.

Works Cited
A, Gloria. "To Tame A Wild Tongue." Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987. Print.


But you don’t understand! It's not always me! I didn't mean to do it jeez! You Don't know what i’m going through. I don’t feel well and I really don’t need to be bothered with you right now! Don’t focus on me! Just teach your fricken class I’m not even distracting anyone! That's it! I’m leaving now!

I’ve had it with you. Every day I wake up normal but by the time I get to school so much happens. Every morning I have to take this crappy medication for my adhd which only makes me unhappy and never hungry. So when I get home I am starving and depressed. I can’t go through life like this. My parents blame the not eating on me when in reality they're the ones giving me this fricken medicine every damn morning. They say it will help me but it never does. So now I have to go through life in the worst way possible. I always feel upset in class because I feel like a part of me is missing everyday. Then when I’m upset in class and my teachers write petty emails home, my parents never even think about the damn medicine. They always think it’s my fault for everything. They think i’d do worse without the medication. They don’t know anything about me. All they seem to talk about with me is my “blame shifting” and my attitude in school, but those meds ruin me everyday and they don’t get it yet.

I don’t know how long it will take them to get or something dumb happens. I already ran away freshmen year from the same thing and now they're pushing me further and further to do it again. It was never genetically proven that i had adhd either! All because I was a very loud and happy boisterous person. So they thought that after hearing about me being loud in school that I had to have adhd. And they just HAD to have a fricken perfect damn child and they gave me all this crap to take in the morning. And then I get in trouble for not eating. They always change the subject or cut me off when i’m talking to them about it. They think I blame everything on it and that I must take it.

My parents are catholic education at heart and I can’t do this on the daily. They could at least give me my scoot back. I used to be able to de stress and relax before school, but now they took it because of school and now i’m having twice as many problems. I tried to have this conversation with them many times, but they're not budging at all. They think whatever my teachers say is always true and that i’m always lying. I already ran away once and it’s like they never learned from it. They are so tangled up in my adhd (that I probably don’t even have) that they are losing their own son and don’t even notice it.

“David you can go ahead and walk up to the office then!”

No, I am NOT going to the office. You know what, forget you. (Walks away.)

I need to talk to someone. (pulls out phone)

(texting on phone) Why cant my friends give me any advice! I'm gonna get another progress note when I get home and I’ll have to deal with my parents again for the 100th time!

(sarcastically) Now that's just GREAT! Now I have to get the train home and deal with this!

Then I come home to a progress note about my behavior in class and I notice the teacher has disregarded all that I said about my condition, “Here we go again”, I say to myself. Now I am where i’ve been 100 times before. The future seems dark for me.  

At This Time

Hey, bro I need some help. I’m 26 now, and this is a very important age. This is the first step to adulthood, and every decision I make counts. My jobs determine my career. However, I want to make sure that whatever jobs I get are for me. Something I both love and want to do. Same thing for college, I want to go to a college that is the right fit for me and that I will learn a lot from. I’ve  been struggling with this decision for months now. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this for a long time.

Yea bro, you know  I love Djing but college will also open up many doors for me. I don’t know if I should i keep djing or if I should i go to school and get a degree. Right now there is only one college that seems fit for me. It has so many programs. At least if I could do Djing as at least a major, I would be good.

What school? Oh NC State. They have many programs and classes that could expand my knowledge.

Yea I would be far away but I would still visit. You're my best friend man, you blood.

What do you mean what you have to do with Djing. It has A LOT to do with Djing. Djing takes learning and focus. Two of the things I can learn in college bro.

I mean college could be fun, you just have to have the right people around.. thats kind of my fear. Going into the Djing business exposes me to a lot of influence both of which are good and bad. College exposes me to better influence and a better atmosphere.

You right, you right, I should do whatever my heart tells me, but right now my heart is confusing me. I feel like I want to go to college. But… I love Djing so much. Ever since I was a boy. You and I used to act like we were rappers and even come up with beats and mix them around.  You’re right here it is, here is my opportunity to share my dream with the world.

But… is it also my opportunity to learn new things and make a great impression on my future career.

So you know what bro? I’m going to college, getting my education and achieving a great career.

Djing would be a great career and I could still do it part time.

But my heart is telling me that I should go to college. That’s what I’m going to do and that’s what is going to make my life more successful.

I’m 26 now and wise enough to see that going to college is the best thing for me.

Should I keep having fun because I love to DJ

Or should I go thousands of dollars into debt

Should I just keep enjoying my job

Or should I get a degree for thousands in return

Should I get use to the fun I'm having DJing parties

Or should I be miserable studying for 6 exams for the next day

Should I just accept the job i have now

Or should I go job hunting and hope to even I get an interview

Should I like meeting new people every night

Or should I get use to seeing the same people everyday

Should I enjoy going all over to perform

Or should I like going to the same building day after day

Should I like coming home at 6 am feeling like I just made so many people's night

Or should I wake up at 6 am tired wishing I got more sleep

Should I

Voice 006

Kid Sits On Chair

New Recording 5

Kid sits on a chair

Ugh! Not again! Every day these smelly, big, ugly teenagers sit on me. Why? I have seen it all, children have farted, peed, and thrown up on me. I just wish I was unused, thrown away, like so many others before me. (Child drags chair across the room.) Please God make it stop! I cannot take more of this, I am disrespected in every way. I bet these kids would not like it if I dragged them across the floor. I swear if one of these kids steps on me, with their shoe I am gonna break myself. I look now at my legs - the way they have been dirtied, and scratched, I wish I was new again, back to the where people were fighting over having me to sit on. Now people try and avoid me, but they cannot. I am here, I will always be here in this damned place. Sitting in this one room for kids to use and abuse me. (School bell rings.) Finally! These kids are leaving, I think it’s lunch and no kids come into the classroom at lunch. I have this whole hour to be by myself. (Door opens and a heavy kid walks in.) Please don’t pick me please don’t. (Child sits on chair and breaks it.) Why me? I’m old and weak! I cannot hold this child for much longer. My legs are breaking, oh please get up! Please, please, please, please, please! Now this beast of a human is sweating, he knows he broke me. (Child picks up chair and starts carrying it outside) At least I am going to my final resting place. Now no more kids are going to be sitting on me, making me smell bad. (Kid sits chair down outside and starts to cry.) He’s crying? I am the one who’s in pain though. Well, he did break me, I guess, he is embarrassed. He didn’t break me that bad (a couple second pause)  I guess. I wish this kid could hear me, maybe I can try to fix myself, he can still sit on me. Damn, I feel bad now. Hey Kid if you can hear me stop crying! It is okay you will grow up and change. Just believe you can be healthy and you will be. Don’t let these kids get you down, most of  them smell bad anyway. Things will get better (pause) I have seen it happen. You are young with no worries please kid (sigh), please believe me!

Diamond Poem

       Soy Imani,

      Los fines de semana, soy

   boba y divertida  

                  Cuando tengo tiempo libre, me encanta practicar deportes,

  ir de compras y escuchar música

           No soy ni antipatica

               ni aburrida

                   Yo soy….



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.