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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FMS Promotional Video Reflection

     Well first of all our promotional video for Fairfield Middle School was a fun project assigned to the 7th grade GOAL classes, in which we had to create well.. a promotional video for our middle school. So basically Mrs. Atwood (our principal) came into our room and told us about this. We have 12 people in our class, so each one of us was decided a different role in the movie, and most everyone got the role they wanted. 

     1. My role in the film was the special effects / music editor. I basically added transitions, text, and other effects into the iMovie project. My partner (pretty much) was Kyle, and he was the editor, so we basically worked hand-in-hand on producing the project in iMovie. A few challenges we had were in the beginning when iMovie wasn't functioning properly, and a lot of our files weren't saving. A lot of successes we had were related to clips fitting really well, and everything going our way.

     2. What I learned about film making was a lot of stuff, honestly. I really learned about all the time and requirements needed to make a good movie/video. I came into the project thinking this was going to be pretty easy, but Kyle and I's role didn't come in until a bit later, sheerly because the other processes were taking a long time. The requirements and teamwork required are really important too, and you have to know how to manage your time well.

     3. What I learned about teamwork was how every single person involved in this project were all related somehow, like every role depended on another role. It was really cool once it all started to come together, and the teamwork was a huge part of why our movie was so successful. Say if some of our people weren't working together on a part of the movie, it could've all fallen apart.

     4. What I learned about my school wasn't much really, I mean this year is moving along very fast and we're almost out of the middle school, so I've been here quite a while and I know everything about our school. One thing that I knew we had, but I wasn't sure exactly how it worked was the IDEA class that Mr. Owen teaches. Well, he doesn't really teach it, because it's more of a student run class and they get to choose something they want to research or learn how to do.

     5. I think by far my favorite part of the video was the ending (the video will be on my blog very soon) where this one song came together and it worked perfectly with the ending. Basically when I was looking for some royalty free music I found this one song which Kyle and I put at the end, and I didn't listen through it fully, but right at the end of our video, to our surprise, there was this great instrumental thing that happened in the song and it really made the video awesome.

     6. I think the things that I would improve on the video would be the opening picture (of our school) because it was a really small picture and it was very blurry, but we couldn't really go outside and take a new one because all of the trees were dead and it was basically the end of winter, so everything looked bad outside. Another thing we could've improved on is probably the interviews, some of them there was a LOT of background noise, and some of them were just really bad angles, in my opinion.