Our Innovation Project

Here is the slide presentations for our project: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1_8bHLjry5r-MVMih_pny6PcbmfUg59HLwEm-QJ4_6HA/edit?usp=sharing

For our innovation project, my partner and I set out to see what we can do to recreate and beautify a temple. We learned many things from this project. For example, when we were trying to contact temples, we gradually became aware of the problem of a language barrier and confusion from those we wanted to assist. We had to contact our relatives who just did not understand what we were trying to do exactly. A second one was that the temple was gearing up for a huge celebration at the time which would not allow us the time nor consent to recreate and beautify the temple.

Innovation: Not Your Typical School Day

School can cause so much stress that nobody wants to deal with. From the stressful projects to the limitless amounts of tests we’re forced to take nobody feels at rest. To make matters worse, it was a week before finals week, one of the most dreaded time periods each semester. To try and defeat this upcoming disaster, We (Evan and Brian) thought up a great idea with a little help from Mr. T. We chose to help lessen the student’s worries and give everyone a little time to relax and view the better side of the school, the side that gives you a REASON to go to school. A reason OTHER THAN to get into a good college. We helped design an innovative goof course for students to enjoy. We set it up as a one day event and hosted our day of lessons for June 5th, 2015, a Friday. We had limited supplies due to both our busy schedules, but I was able to make three posters and buy a couple golf clubs that the “masters” could only use. Evan on the other hand was responsible for bringing the sock balls and editing our documented presentation video.

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BRAWL

Rock your socks. That was the goal of my brawl group when it was announced that we would be going head to head with our fellow classmates about some controversial topics. Our brawl group’s name was The Sock Rockers.. unfortunately haha. It was a last minute decision and we decided that it was better than nothing. So what I learned from the brawl…

Well, I’ve got to give it to my fellow classmates. They said some pretty cool stuff about all kinds of topics ranging from fingerprint guns to the something about presidential elections. I think we all had some pretty good arguments and we definitely spoke our minds… some more than others.

At first, the debate aspect of the whole brawl seemed to be organized very well. Students would come up with controversial questions and our instructor would discuss with the class about which questions were worth answering. This way, no student could say that they didn’t agree with one of the questions or that one was completely off.

However, this was changed later. We would apparently come up with questions to which there was no answers to and debate about the right way to go about things according to the question. This time, students had no say in which questions should have been asked. Naturally there were a lot of disagreements about them. One question that I remember clearly because I along with numerous amounts of classmates disagreed with it, was this: “How do we make firearms or weapons safer to use domestically and in warfare?” Now I know what you are thinking. Weapons are supposed to harm. That is why they are weapons!! My classmates and I thought that as well and were completely oblivious as to why we had to answer this question because it just seemed so pointless. I know the questions were made so that it would be impossible to answer but I’m pretty sure that once the basically half the class is not okay with the question, it’s not a good question! We even learned to ask good questions in this class! We should have continued the act of involving students in what they were going to debate about so as not to have students upset like this specific occurrence.

It also seemed that with every debate that went on, people were saying abstract things in their arguments that did not clearly show the point very well which made their argument weak overall. Some just used blatant sass against their opponents as well. I even remember our instructor saying that the brawl was not meant to give students the opportunity to attack other students. I thought that those moments were very rude and not at all a debate of intelligence.

I learned that we should have clear and concise ways to argue and to consider all sides of the argument. Our points should be clear and should easily be connected to our solution to the problem in question. If you are going to use something like a skit or video to support your argument, it should be useful and should not tell us anything that we don’t already know. For example, if a teacher is known for being not too nice, everyone is going to know that because they hear it from their peers and it is not necessary to have that there. Debates are not meant to entertain, they are there to prove a point and to prove your point well by using effective examples and such.

My Blogging Experience

My blog is called Blogtastique which I think is quite ironic because I think it’s rather the opposite. When I made that name for my blog, it was just to get the grade. I’m just going to be honest here. Now, it’s rather difficult to come up with a name on the spot for this thing, this blog, where I was going to write my thoughts in for one whole year. At first, I can honestly say that I was excited for this new version of learning. We would not have homework, just weekly blog posts! It was the creative writer’s dream! The idea seems great. I mean it’s a pretty good way for students to share with the world, but there were a couple problems.

In case you did not know, I run my blog with a partner which was a challenge for me because we were both very different. My partner, Brian, is very into sports and things like that while I prefer to delve into the way people think or just my favorite past times such as reading and watching movies.

I think all in all, our blog has a unique spin on it because there are two totally different people working on it. I mean the more viewpoints, the better!

The positives for my blogging experience were that it allowed me to share, create, and learn. I think I speak for a majority of the students when I say that we were not used to this type of writing assignment. It was basically a free for all. You could choose to put what you wanted in the world and it was all going to count for your grade! Now, the students’ literary works and thoughts would be put out there for everyone to see, not just give it to a teacher for a grade and never see that piece of writing again.

However, the downside for this aspect of the assignment was that students who were not comfortable with sharing their blog and blog posts just ended up writing with very little people seeing because receiving a massive number of views from their own social media was not an option. I think the solution to this would be to create a class account to which everyone would have the password and can post their blogs and blog posts or anything worth sharing on the account. Of course, there would have to be some type of regulation that will prevent any inappropriate posts. The teacher could look over the assignment before allowing for it to be posted which will make the teacher interact with the students, creating a bigger chance for some blogging or literary advice to reach the student from the teacher.

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Creating. The second positive thing that came out of my blogging experience. We all love creating whether other people enjoy our creations or not. Creating is in the human nature so the blogging assignment was of course very exciting to do. At first.

As we were weeks into the school year, blogging soon became some what of a burden. Purposely making weekly creations which forced us to call upon our creative skills was getting some what intense. We’ve all had that period of time where we can’t write at all which is known as a Writer’s block. Not to mention that there were circumstances that came with the blogging that changed so often that we never really got used to learning one concept of writing for long. This resulted in unmemorable lessons because we did not practice the skill or lesson enough times to remember.

The third positive that came out of my experience was learning. I learned the many, many styles of writing by reading other people’s blogs. I did not really get anything out of our lessons at school mostly because I found that they were sometimes a bit too abstract for us mere students who were so used to things being straight forward. I mean we have been conditioned to write a certain way for an essay or use a certain word this way or that way for all of our school lives. This should not come as a shock when it is discovered that students are having trouble with creative writing.

All in all, my experience has had lots of ups and downs, positives and negatives, as every experience should have. I look forward to blogging by myself with no partner or teacher soon so as to have more freedom and less pressure and to express strictly my thoughts and views without any ever changing circumstances.

Surviving a BRAWL

For the past three weeks, the brawling experience for me, was also a learning experience. This had been the first time I experienced any debate like projects so I tried to make sure I was more prepared than usual. We were a group of four, known as the Sock Rockers, and in preparation for my very first brawl, all four members of my group pitched in equally to get the most out of each question. When it was time for me to brawl, of course I was a bit nervous. While presenting it was hard to remember everything about the question being asked but for someone brawling for the first time, I accepted my performance with approval.

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After that first brawl, I learned a couple things. Two of the most important things I learned from my experience in the first brawl was that one, confidence was a key component, and secondly, I learned that the best answers to questions were the ones that could connect to different topics and subjects such as Timothy did when he connected student’s brains to a rusty old car engine after being overly worked for a while.

CGHbv0SU4AAXonKOverall, the brawl was a really fun experience that I wouldn’t mind going back to again. Although the brawls in our class were very intense, based on stories, I’m guessing other classes (Period 5) had even more intense brawls than we did, resulting in yelling and very tense arguing. Next time, I’m hoping to bring the same intensity seen from period 5 in order to make my arguments more convincing.

CGJm86EUgAAf64lAs for the workload, during the first brawl, I felt my whole group worked together as one to get the job done in preparation for a successful brawl. We all worked efficiently on the questions in class and finished up with extra evidence such as pictures and videos at home. When the second brawl came up, the story was a little different. I felt my fellow group member, Donna, and I did most of the work for the questions, including the videos and pictures as memorable evidence, in the second part of the brawl while my other two group members did significantly less work. We were hit with a difficult question (number 10) about how we could make guns not violent. We did not perform as well as expected and were actually silently praying for question 4. This question asked how we as people could prevent others from taking advantage of one another. We believed in order to prevent people from taking advantage of each other we had to either change the way we were raised from an early age or, if that was too late, to put a person in another’s shoes. This answer instantly made me think of a touching video I saw about a job interview about an extremely difficult job that many people voluntarily do even though often times, they are taken for granted (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWcJZ210AaM). The video touched my heart and changed my life, showing me how important people are and to value all that someone has to offer, never taking advantage of anyone.

In order to interact with the novel, my group and I connected the ideas and experiences of Paul Baumer to real life events and  even my own experiences. We were able to find many views on society that matched the way Paul and the men viewed war. I viewed this book as connecting to the outside world because it showed themes of brotherhood and peace. The way Paul cared for others, even for the enemy after Paul had stabbed him, showed that war was not a choice for the men and that love would prevail over hate. Even though the French man’s objective was to kill the enemy (Paul), Paul’s love for others and his caring personality couldn’t help but cause him to sit there in despair as the French man laid dying. I felt this connected to the outside world because Paul’s personality was, in this part of the book, an expectation for society since very few people showed the love and compassion that was portrayed in Paul. Points like this, ad many others were found throughout the book while working on this BRAWL. I felt connecting the book through situations like those brought the book to life, to the outside world. In the end, I felt the BRAWL had helped my group and I understand the book and learn more about the book by connecting the book to different views and topics that thoroughly expressed the true meaning of same questionable themes or sections in the book. It was a great experience to be able to BRAWL with my friends and really dissect a book apart. I enjoyed the experience and had very much fun with my fellow Sock Rockers.

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A Crazy Experience From a Rookie’s Perspective…

Late 2014 was the time I was introduced to a new world. Not a world we live in, not a Utopian society like in movies, but something bigger.. The Blogging World, the Blogging Experience, the Global Conversation. This blogging experience that was so new to me was honestly intimidating at first. A lot of the time, it felt like a school project to me, not a way for people of all ages to enter into a worldwide conversation about anything and everything. Oh how things have changed… Through a good eight or nine months of blogging, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. Blogging has become less of a chore and more of a privilege and sometimes an escape. My blog has, at times, become a place where I could talk about whatever I wanted without my friends judging me for what I thought or my classmates mocking me for a specific view on something. It became a place where only I judged myself, a place where I was the driver of a bus, and I controlled the destination. Blogging became a great way to interact with people who wrote and talked about similar things as I, similar to how a hash tag brings people together on twitter.

Some things I specifically liked about my blogging experience included the fact that there really wasn’t a limit to the topics I could write about. Usually the only limits were the different styles of writing focused on during different weeks which was a good learning experience. In addition, searching for photos that related to what I was talking about in a post helped me create a lasting effect for each post. With the images, I was able to connect my writing to other events and items, making it more memorable for me. My favorite things to write about included inspirational ideas or stories to motivate myself and others (such as this one: https://blogtastique.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/292/) along with rants about what I was dealing with during a particular week (such as this one: https://blogtastique.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/what-annoys-you-pet-peeves-library-edition/) Overall, there were many positives that I found while working with blogs and I would definitely love to continue to blog in the future.

If I were to do something different in the future, I would have taught myself all the secrets to a successful blog BEFORE I started blogging. For example, I struggled greatly when I started my blog due to horrible titles and very few tags and variety in my writing. As the year progressed, I learned in class and online, different hacks to make your writing or your blog better. I feel this all would have been even more useful if I were to have had access to it sooner. As for next year’s up and coming bloggers, I would recommend that they not treat blogging as a school assignment but more as a way to express your everyday lives, inside and outside the classroom, out to the world, and to enter into the global conversation.

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As for Mr. T, when we were introduced to using turnitin.com, I felt the blogging experience started feeling more like a school assignment and caused much confusion among many of us. But although I didn’t like the idea of turnitin.com, what I did like was the one week when we did peer reviews with our blogs. It was really great to be able to see what other students felt when they read my work and some left very useful comments for improvement. In the end, I felt this blogging experience was extremely beneficial to me and I would love to continue contributing to the global conversation as I advance through the stages of my life.

-Brian