Rain

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When people think of California, they often associate it with sandy summer scenes, the center of the celebrity world, and essentially an easy going state. As a Californian myself, I see the appeal in these things, but my favorite part of California is the rainy season. Sure, California summers shimmer and shine with promises of trips to the beaches and shops, but for me, it can’t beat the rainy season that comes and sprinkles the sky with its fluffy cotton candy clouds. I find that this season, this seemingly genius blend of winter’s end and spring’s beginning, creates this feeling of hope mixed with a good relaxation period. Almost like slowly coming to your senses after a satisfying sleep. The place between the dreamlike state and reality.

As an experienced Californian, I’ve compiled a list of activities to do that will make you avoid any rain on your parade and love this part of California as well.

  1. Surf’s up? More like bottoms up! Make a calming tea, cozy hot chocolate, or coffee.
  2. Watch a movie. I suggest movies that make you think, comedy movies, adventure/ fiction movies, but stear clear of sad movies.
  3. Fluffy armor. Arm yourself with a fluffy blanket, your favorite pj’s, and fuzzy socks.
  4. Learn a new skill. Examples: magic tricks, a new recipe, photography..
  5. Art attack. Go crazy with a coloring book, draw, sketch, scribble..
  6. Find new music. I recommend Spotify and Soundcloud.
  7. The weather calls for a brainstorm. Take out a piece of paper and brainstorm about anything.

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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Don’t rain on my parade!

Whenever I find myself there just has to be someone who tries to make me feel bad about being happy for the success and happiness that I earned. When you work your tail off to achieve your goals, you should let yourself be happy! I agree 100%. Don’t ever feel the need to stoop down to their level because you feel bad for them. YOU are the one that made it to the top and you deserve to celebrate!

Wild Souls

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More often than not, you find people disliking you because you are more successful or happier than they are. Maybe because they seek the things that you have in your life and, in turn, they develop a bitter perspective towards you. You don’t really take notice of the fact that they just want to “rain on your parade” and dampen your high spirits. I mean, somehow, most tend to think that by making someone else feel bad about their life, they will magically feel better about their own life. In the end, they just want to pull you down to their level to make their life seem not as bad.

“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”
Sean Covey

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Follow Your Passion?

Wow… my buddy Jeff. I feel you man. Dreams can be crushed by people. But dreams also have alternatives. When you realize you can no longer reach your goals, don’t stop.. find a new goal or an alternative. You wanted to be a professional basketball player? be one. Who says it has to be in the NBA? This is where the alternative goal comes in. There are many professional basketball leagues overseas who offer millions for american talent. Work now and you’ll live the rest of your life the way you want it because this alternative goal will make just as happy or even happier than your original goal. So here’s my message for you and everyone with goals: Reach for you dreams, and if you can’t reach them find the alternative goal that makes you ALMOST as happy as your original goal because believe it or not, this will make you as happy as your original goal and you WILL have NO regrets. Keep your head up Jeff, everyone.

And just in case my message didn’t get to you, here’s a little splash of motivation: 

-Brian

The Typical Parable

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I was at a restaurant. It was run-down, the food was average, flies were hovering over my bowl of noodles my parents ordered me. I was four. Despite these vivid descriptions, there was one description that stood out to me the most that day, at the end of the room there was a small T.V, not one of those flat screens, but it was decent sized. What interested me wasn’t the T.V but actually what was happening on the T.V. It was playing the Los Angeles Lakers basketball game. Immediately I was entranced by the game of basketball, I constantly asked questions about it, I made up my mind about it. I wanted to become a professional basketball player.

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Way too much homework

It’s pretty safe to say that the majority of students absolutely despise homework. Students, especially high school students, view homework as just another time consuming obstacle.The objective of homework is completely defeated when the student does homework merely to complete it and not learn from it. So what IS the point in assigning stacks and stacks of homework to students when all they are really doing is looking for answers and not explanations? How does homework help anymore?

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It’s all become a game. The objective is to win now, not learn how to play. When you switch it to game mode, the student’s work becomes mechanic and there is a lack of quality in their work. It’s like telling someone to win a game as quick as they can and as well as they can. They know the rules very vaguely because their focus is mainly set on the time limit. At the instant a time limit is uttered, everything switches mainly to quantity not quality.

Time is very important to the student. High school students feel the full force of homework probably because they transition from middle school where homework could be done in about two hours tops to high school where most students are happy enough to finish homework in time to get some hours of sleep. And yet parents still wonder why teens are so grumpy all the time.

School itself takes up six to seven hours of the day. Students in high school are expected to have about eight to nine hours of sleep every night. Most high schools start school at seven to eight in the morning and end at three in the afternoon. For the student to get the required amount of sleep, they would need to go to bed at around nine p.m. Dinner and showering would probably take an hour away as well from homework time. So the student should really have about five hours of studying. But wait, there’s more! Students are also expected to participate in extracurricular activities and sports! This takes up at least two hours, leaving the student with three available hours for homework. If the student is taking honors classes, the approximate time to complete each homework assignment is one to two hours for each class. This is not including the rest of the student’s classes that are not honors classes. The time for sleep would have to be extended. Most students taking high level classes are usually finished with homework at eleven or twelve on good days. On bad days, they could be up until three or even four a.m.  Students then have to wake up at six to prepare themselves and go to school.

What?! Students actually only get two hours of sleep sometimes?! Sadly that’s true.

Check out this article I found that talks about this too:

http://drcraigcanapari.com/2012/10/11/too-much-homework-too-little-sleep-structural-sleep-deprivation-in-teens/

A solution that has been discussed is the later start for school. It has been suggested that school should begin at a later time such as nine or ten a.m. instead of the current seven or eight a.m. This would considerably change the students’ attitude if they came to school when the sun was actually up and they actually had some more sleep. If students get a little bit more sleep and came to school at a leisurely time, most students would definitely feel better about learning. If this solution is combined with the reduction of excess homework, the students’ learning could actually improve. Their mood would improve as well. These solutions could improve the students’ attitude towards learning and their readiness towards learning. The readiness is all.

Expect the unexpected

I think expectations ruin everything. I mean look at high school students. They are the prime example of everything having to do with expectations. They go to school where they face the expectations of their teachers and peers. Then, they go home and face the expectations of their parents! It really is sad when the student believes that they don’t meet any standards because of all the pressure that is on them to be this or that. So why don’t people do anything about this? Expectations just hinder a student sometimes instead of pushing them towards a certain goal. Whether your parents pressure you to get good grades or you are pressuring yourself to meet everyone’s expectations, it can all get a bit too overwhelming.

I believe that you’re allowed to grow and explore your opportunities without all this pressure. Wouldn’t it be so great if you could go to school to just learn instead of anticipating when the bell was going to ring? Imagine everyone just going to school to learn. No pressure about grades. No pressure about college. No expectations. Zero. zip. nothing! Of course students want to challenge themselves sometimes with a test or project so … let them! However, the stress on grades is often more stressed than the actual process of creating the project and can actually hinder that process. Imagine being given a project to accomplish. No specific  instructions are given except for the condition that it has to have an effect on the audience. This is a more creative process then because once the rules of the project are limited, it forces the student to be creative. However, if this creativity is put under a time restriction and has the doom inducing feeling that projects usually have, the quality isn’t going to be very good. You’re constricting the thinking process of the student. LIke capturing a natural process and trying to change it to fit the standards of the project. That’s what a project feels like. That’s what pressure and expectations feel like.

On a grander scale, you can say you’re assigned the project of life. Of making every moment of your life worthy of a “good grade”. The pressure is multiplied and some days, you can get crushed by all the pressure.

I used a high school student example but expectations can be found anywhere. They can be found in your parents, your professors, your friends, and even yourself. I agree that expectations cannot be completely rid of, but you can make your own expectations aware. Make them aware with people who normally have expectations of you and tell them “I want to do this, but I might fail or succeed… and that’s okay!”. It’s okay because even if you failed or succeeded, you decided to meet your own expectations and not anyone else’s. When others are disappointed in you for not meeting their expectations, simply tell them to expect the unexpected. And that the unexpected is that you decided to meet your expectations. Sometimes meeting your expectations can satisfy others as well so it’s possible for there to be a win win situation! See what you can do. Evaluate yourself and meet the expectations that you made for yourself. Make people expect the unexpected: meet your own expectations, not anyone else’s.