Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Images of Greatness Reflection

My Image of Greatness was Mikhail Gorbachev. Mikhail Gorbachev is a former Soviet leader and he ended the Soviet Union along with it's communism. I believe Mikhail is great because communism was a terrible thing, and he took a stand and took it down. I admire how hardworking he is, because even now, he is 86 years old and still a politician. When he was a kid, he was constantly working his father's farm, and he excelled in school. I grew as a learner in this project because it was the most difficult project we have had to do in probably my entire middle school career, so it really made me think about what stuff is going to be like in high school and college. I grew my public speaking skills as well because we had to present a memorized bio-riddle in front of about 150 people. I think the most challenging part of the unit was memorizing the bio-riddle and then having to present it in front of so many people. I think the one thing I would improve would be taking more time to prepare my food. We all had to bring a themed food for our presentation, and originally I was going to make Pelmeni, a Russian dumpling, but stores around town only had Asian dumplings. If I had taken an extra day or two to make my own Pelmeni, I could have done that. Instead, I ended up bringing pickled herring, which is another Russian delicacy. Something I would do differently would definitely be how I presented. I got quite nervous and I was fiddling with my hands a lot. The best part of the Images of Greatness celebration was the field trip. It was so much fun being able to go out with all of my best friends and spending time learning at the museums we went to. We also watched a really cool iMAX movie. My favorite educational part of the field trip was the iMAX movie. It was called "Dream Big: Engineering Our World" and it was about engineers of the world and all the different impact they have. It was really interesting to me because engineering or architecture are two things I definitely want to do when I grow up and I'm out of college. I think I learned the most at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. There were many exhibits about the Civil War, World War 1, and many historical aspects of Iowa. It was really interesting to learn about how involved Iowa has been in U.S. history. 
The above picture is of all the kids on our field trip, I am the fifth one from the right in the gray hoodie with my arms crossed. One thing about the trip that really surprised me was how fast it went. We were there for almost two whole days and it only felt like an afternoon. It made me pretty sad knowing that this is the last big field trip of the year with the GOAL kids. One of my categories on the paper we wrote from the art museum was my favorite piece of art. I really liked a piece called "Red Planet "J"" by H.C. Westermann. Below is a picture of it. I really like this piece because of how abstract it is. Abstract and colorful art like this piece has always interested me. There are so many
cool aspects about it, like the red and orange, the way it all blends
together, and how many different things there are going on in it. I also really like it because it kind of gives off that mid-1900s sci-fi feels to it, like something from an old movie. The final part of the trip was an event called the "Escape Room." It was pretty much a breakout box, but it is life size and you have to find a bunch of clues 
and answer the correct code into a keypad to open the door. My group and I escaped from our room. I think a big part of why we escaped was our communication. We were all communicating very well with each other, and we helped out when someone needed help. My favorite part of the trip was the escape room. It was really fun because we had to put all our skills to the test, and when we all came together we were able to escape. I love things that challenge my brain, and I would totally go back to the escape chamber. Since we only have a few weeks left of eighth grade, our days in GOAL are running out. I think the best part of GOAL is the many different   projects and weird, fun things you will learn about. Mrs. Edlin is a really great teacher, and I'm sure everyone else in GOAL would agree. Some advice I would give to students about how to be successful in GOAL is to always try your hardest and have a growth mindset. These, in my opinion, are the two things you absolutely need to succeed in GOAL, and ultimately, in life. Something I would warn students about is how challenging some of the projects can really be. The researching phase goes by SUPER fast, even though you may have a whole two weeks. You just need to always be prepared for whatever school throws at you. Something students should be excited about is the amount of fun we have in GOAL. Our field trips are easily the best in the school, and the students in GOAL are all very well rounded, making almost every aspect of the GOAL field trips and things we do in class fun. People in GOAL also tend to understand each other better, since we have been in these classes for four years together. One thing I will definitely miss about GOAL is Mrs. Edlin. She really made this class what it is with her insanely good teaching skills. Mrs. Edlin is also funny, and really nice. I will also miss the nice, fun environment in this classroom. With GOAL being my favorite class, it will be really hard to forget this class, because it was pretty much like a second family. I will miss everybody in this class, including Mrs. Edlin, and I hope even though we might not have this class we can all still stay close friends. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Independent Project Reflection

     We recently finished Independent Projects in GOAL. Our Independent Projects are projects we create once every school year and we get to pick the topic that we want. My project was about Harambe, I wanted to research Harambe because it's still one of the big trending things on the internet and it interests me. If you haven't heard of Harambe, he was a gorilla that was shot when a kid fell into his enclosure at a zoo. I presented in Google Slides format, and the online part only contains pictures and different titles of the sections. My notes are on a real piece of paper, since Mrs. Edlin, our teacher really doesn't want us to look at the screen 24/7 when presenting.
     One thing I enjoyed about this project, and this usually goes for all my Independent Projects, is that I got to research something I wanted to. Opposed to other classes where they assign you a project to work on, GOAL is a lot more fun in my opinion because you're more enthusiastic about your topic, since you got to pick it. It was fun researching Harambe because he interested me, and since I use the internet a lot, the only things I really knew about him were the memes.
     The hardest part of this project was presenting. I really feel like I'm not good at presenting, I have a lot of "uhh" and "one second" moments because I may have forgot something or skipped over something in the notes. It definitely is harder for me to present with notes instead of them being on screen, and I'm not too sure why. I also have trouble with eye contact, so I usually just look directly over people or to the side of them.
     I improved as a learner from this project because it was something I'm enthusiastic about, therefore I think I made a better project opposed to when you're assigned a project. I also improved as a learner by knowing more about how to take notes and organize them.
     If I could do the entire thing over again, I would try and do a better job at presenting. I had good notes (60+), and I had good pictures, but my presenting skills definitely need to improve. As I said before, I say "uhh" a lot, which is a major no-no.
     I don't really see a good way to improve this assignment for future students, I think it's great that you get to choose your own topic as I said previously.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shakespeare Unit Reflection

     To basically summarize this unit, we learned a lot about Shakespeare, his writing, and his plays.

     1. A change in my feelings from when we first started the unit to where we ended was definitely my enthusiasm. At first I was like, "Ugh, I really don't enjoy writing stuff." Because that's what I thought it would be about. I was certainly wrong. The events that really changed my feelings were the Shakespearean insults and deaths. This was a lot of fun because it involved insults, which is something I like to do, and deaths, which were a lot of fun because we got to act them out. This is what kind of made the unit fun for me, and I enjoyed the rest of it from that point.

     2. In The Taming of the Shrew I do believe that Kate, in the end, was finally tamed. It just really seemed like she was because gradually along the whole movie she became more attached and tamed to Petruchio, and then the final climax was her giving a big speech about how women should act and how they're all so associated with terms like gentle and soft, which basically sealed the deal for me. I knew at the final speech she gave that she had finally been tamed. She just seemed so obedient in the final scenes of the play, and if she really just said that to give a good impression to other people, I would be very surprised.

     3. Shakespeare's First Folio was really important because it includes all of his original work. Currently there are only 288 First Folios, but a lot of historians and officials believe there are over 700 yet to be found. It was important to me because I love looking at old things that came from centuries ago, it just makes me think a lot. Like, you're looking at an original copy of all of Shakespeare's work. Just to think that 400 years ago, some man/woman was working at a press and printing all that off. And it's also important because like I've stated before, it's an original copy, not some book that was released in like 1990-2000.

     4. How Shakespearean insults and deaths helped me connect and understand more about Shakespeare is simple. They show off like what kind of person he was, what kinds of things people back then would have called each other, rather than the things we say today. I think a lot of the words Shakespeare used back then have a lot of the same meanings of things we say today, they were just spoken way better and funnier. The deaths were really dramatic and horrible. For example, one of the ones I had to act in front of the class was where a a baker cooked a mothers children into a pie, and made the mother eat them. It was the most horrific thing I've heard in a while. That's what a lot of Shakespearean deaths were like. Brutal and gory.

     5. I think it's important to learn about Shakespeare even 400 years after his death, because he had such a big influence on writing and plays. He was one of the first people to really create good plays that a lot of people watched. Back in his time, plays were not very popular, and not many people would pay to go see a play. But Shakespeare changed that because of the amazing plays he wrote. His overall influence on writing still has an effect on us nowadays, because of how amazing it was back in his time. Shakespeare really started the generation of plays and writing in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016-2017 First Blog Post

Goals I want to achieve this year:

For my improvement goal I would really like to make sure I can read at least 40 books this year, and also try some genres I'm not too fond of right now.

For my academic goal I really want to make sure I set myself right for high school, and not get a single B. I finished 7th grade with 2 B's, I B-lieve, so I am really going to strive to get all A's.

And finally for my personal behavior goal, I really want to improve my focus and the amount of learning I really take in from the teachers.

All three of these areas are good for me to improve in because I feel like they're all my problems right now. For the improvement goal, I really don't like to read that much, it just kind of bores me unless I find the perfect genre/book. I really like science fiction and horror, so I'm gonna find a lot of those and also try some new genres and get used to them for high school. For my academic goal, even though most people wouldn't complain about two B's, I really do feel like I can make them all A's and that's what I'm really going to make sure I do. And finally for the personal behavior, I think I really need to improve on my focus because this is a big reason on why I finished 7th grade with my 2 B's, so I will start directing all my focus into when the teacher is talking or teaching.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Breakout Boxes Unit: Reflection

     A Breakout Box is basically a huge box that usually has 3-6 locks on it, and there are different clues that lead up to unlock all the locks and once you get inside the box there is usually a prize if a teacher or parent set it up for you.

     We were given two Breakout Boxes to complete as a class, one with a theme of "Mark Twain" and one with a theme of "Communication Through the Ages." Major skills you need in order to solve these boxes is definitely teamwork, I don't think any one person could have solved one box all by themselves. It would've taken a very long time anyway. But teamwork is key, all of us were working together and giving each other information which ultimately lead up to the unlocking of the boxes. Another thing you need to be good at is problem solving obviously, there is a lot of that involved in Breakout Boxes and I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

     After we had completed those two boxes, we were given the task to create our own Breakout Box in teams of four. We made our box about Triangles. I worked with Claire Epperson, Liam Wells, and Zach Holcomb. Skills required to create your own box would again be teamwork, it would just be really hard without getting a bunch of other ideas from your teammates and working together to complete the whole thing. You also really need to be good at backtracking kind of, because we had to work through the whole thing and make sure everything worked, and backtracking is a pretty good way of checking yourself.

     One thing that went well when the rest of the class was solving our Breakout Box, which was themed about Triangles, was this question that was asking for them to find the area of a Star of David, and once they got the triangles on the outside they tried to get the inside by finding two trapezoids, instead of just taking six triangles which is what you can do that is a lot easier since you already found the other triangles.

     Some unexpected challenges for the class when they were solving our box was definitely the Star of David, I for sure thought they would instantly think to take the triangles and just multiply it by six for the middle. Another challenge was when they were finding the answer to a card that said "May 1st, ___" and on the back side of the card was an Illuminati symbol. May 1st, 1776 was when the Illuminati was founded, but it took them a while to figure out that the blank was 1776.

     A topic that I think would be good for a classroom is probably one about the school that you go to. You can have some pretty hard questions but a lot of them would be pretty obvious since you've been going to the school for a while, and all in all I just think a topic about a school you currently go to would be a good one. It wouldn't be too hard, and it wouldn't be too easy. Just perfect.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mark Twain Unit: Trip to Hannibal, Missouri

     For a brief summary of what we did, basically we took a bus ride up to Hannibal, Missouri from Fairfield, Iowa and we learned about Mark Twain, his life, his writing, and various other things about him. Since Hannibal was where he lived and grew up for a lot of his life, this was the best place to go to learn about him.
     I think the most educational part of the trip was probably the beginning, where we all started off in this museum which told us a lot about Mark Twain. It has everything from his birth, his life, and his death all in one pretty small building. I learned many things about his life, including that he wrote his books based on people who lived right in Hannibal with him. For example, Huckleberry Finn was based off one of Mark's friends named Tom Blankenship who was the son of the town drunk and lived in a pretty poor family. Tom Sawyer was mostly based off of Mark himself.
     The most fun part of the trip for me was going into the Mark Twain cave. I've always really loved caves, and it's a really cool cave too. There's lots of little landmarks inside, including a place that Jesse James and his gang hid out in. We learned about the inspiration from the caves that made Mark want to write about them. There is a famous character named Injun Joe, who was the town murderer and he hid out in the cave and Tom and Becky saw him once while they were lost in the cave.
     I really don't know what I could say to improve the trip, I think it was really fun and I enjoyed the whole day there. One thing that would've been nice would be to actually ride on a steamboat down the Mississippi.
     Our previous research about Mark Twain helped us prepare for the trip because if we had just gone there without knowing anything about him, I don't think we would've really taken in as much or related to Mark Twain, because we wouldn't have known basically anything about him, except for our personal knowledge of him (which probably wasn't that much.)
     In conclusion, I really loved this trip and I think everyone had fun. We all learned a lot, at least you hopefully did, and there were lots of fun things we did with our friends. All in all, it was a good day for learning and having fun, which is something I really enjoy.