Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Hannibal Reflection

Lately, our class has been learning about Mark Twain. If you don't know who Mark Twain is, he was a very influential writer. He wrote the books The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as well as many others. Otherwise known as not an American but the American. Yesterday we went on a field trip to Hannibal, Missouri. Where Mark Twain, otherwise known as a Samuel Clemens, grew up. When he began writing he took a pen name, that's where you get Mark Twain from. Yesterday we went to all of the houses that Samuel and his friends grew up in. There was his own house as well as two of his friends' houses. Then we went to the museum with paintings by Norman Rockwell and even a steamboat whistle. After that, we climbed the steps to the lighthouse, went on a riverboat ride, and journeyed into the very caves that Mark Twain writes about in several of his books, and finally finishing the trip with a stop at the candy store and ice cream parlor.
Before our trip to Hannibal, we spent at least 2-3 or more weeks learning all of the background knowledge. I think that this helped a lot because, with that, we could make more sense of the whole story, instead of only learning bits and pieces of the pages on the tour. I think that our web-quest that we started the unit with helped the most because we could get tons of more information by using three people instead of just finding out only a little bit by ourselves. With that too, when we looked at other groups' facts, we could see all of the information that we skipped over.
When we went on the riverboat ride, the captain gave us a lot of information about everything around us. For example, a fact would be that he told us that the lighthouse that we had climbed was actually not used as a beacon for passing ships to find their way, but actually as a tribute to Mark Twain himself. The captain also pointed out how the bridge had numbers on the side so that the ships could see how much clearance they had under the bridge by how high the water was. For example, the clearance was 56 feet while we were on the boat.
The first thing that we did in Hannibal was exploring the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. There we got to see people's houses back then, mainly Mark Twain's, as well as looking at the main museum part. One thing that I learned there, was that Mark Twain didn't just write the books I mentioned before, but many others. There are a total of roughly 28, as well as some short stories. Another thing that I learned was that Mark Twain was surrounded by slavery his whole life, and it was only later on that he realized that it wasn't right. His mother, however, had never heard a word against slavery her whole life, only good ones. She was not convinced at all that slavery was a very horrible thing.
The tour of the caves was one of the best parts mostly because of our tour guide Nathan. He was hilarious and used more puns then our whole class combined. One of the things we learned was that there were many parts of the cave that was kind of smooth and oily. That was from people touching the limestone and the oils from our skin making it that way. With that there was an "alligator" made out of limestone that was supposedly good luck if you rubbed your hand on it. Another thing that we learned from Nathan was how all of the tunnels were formed. Basically, the water seeped in from a crack in the top of the ceiling and carved the caves with all of the water, and sometimes mixing with the acid of the rotten leaves as well.
My favorite part of the trip was the caves. I loved all of the history that literally surrounded us. It was a really strange feeling being down in the same place that people had explored, that Mark Twain had explored, hundreds of years later. My favorite part of being down there was seeing all of the names burned and carved into the limestone, that have survived so long. With that, our tour guide made everything more fun to learn and experience, so it was an amazing experience.
The most fun part had to be at the very end when we went into Becky's Ice Cream Parlor. I thought that because we all just got to sit outside and enjoy a homemade version of something we all love. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. I tried the ice cream flavor huckleberry and it tasted wonderful.
If I could improve something for next year, I would say that there isn't really anything that I would change. The whole day was perfect.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

History Day Reflection

Erin and I's History Day project was a performance on Ruby Bridges. We go between narrating what is going on before we take the part of characters going through the events. Ruby Bridges was one of the first African American students to take part in integrating public schools in the South.
I definitely agree with the judges because they gave us superior marks as well as really great comments. For example they said that it would be a great idea to try and get in contact with Ruby Bridges since she is still alive. Another example was that the judges talked about how we could maybe change some of the language in a part of our performance to make sure that it is more historically correct.
The most interesting thing that we learned was that even through all of this hardship that was happening to Ruby, she kept her faith with her at all times, which I think is a really amazing thing that not many people today would be able to do, including me. She prayed for the people that were protesting what she was doing. She prayed for them! Can you imagine that? Having the courage to pray for someone even though they are doing outrageously cruel things to you. I just think that that was amazing, and the most powerful thing that we learned about her. 
There were very many hard parts of this project. For example, Erin and I didn't always agree on things, even though we eventually resolved our indifferences. Another thing was that we had a lot of trouble getting started with the writing process. We knew what roles we wanted to play and how we wanted to set everything up, but we just had trouble with getting the right words to execute our point. I think that in the end, we managed to do that just fine. 
I improved as a learner and and as a student during the process of this project because I had to co-write and perform in a performance that we completely made from scratch. I think that it was a fantastic opportunity to research a topic and then make something great out of everything that we learned. Just being able to build something from the ground up. I think that another great thing that History Day has helped with is that I now know how to write annotations, which was a way easier thing to do then I thought it was going to be.
A way that we could improve our project is to definitely add the judges' ideas to make it better. Like talking more about Robert Coles, the child psychiatrist that talked with Ruby through the entire process. As well as talking more about Ruby's family. What her mom did with the younger siblings while she was walking Ruby to school, and what her dad did, too. I think that another great thing that the judges said was explaining how the events that are happening today with Black Lives Matter and other organizations connect with Ruby an her story.
The thing that I am most proud of when it comes to the whole experience overall is that we did it. We managed to take a part of history and transform it into something that we could act out and show people. Another thing that I am proud of is that we tried our best and we tried to infuse our passion into the story that we're telling. I can't forget how proud I am that we're going to state also.
A few suggestions that I would say to make this project more meaningful to future students, is to more emphasize on how they need to connect this historical event, person, thing, whatever, to something that is going on right now. Or for that matter, how it effects our or other's lives and their experiences. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

One Word

The word that I chose is possible.  To me, the word means that nothing is impossible. It's like saying to never tell myself that I can't do something. Always trying and never giving up is a really important thing to me. I absolutely hate it when people tell me that I can't do something. It drives me crazy to know that people think that I don't have the ability to do a certain thing. Sure, I might not be able to do it right that second, but if I practice and try, someday, it might happen. It's all about putting your mind to it, and that's what matters most of all. Telling yourself that you can do it. Not that you can't.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Iowa State OPPTAG Experience Reflection

Our GOAL class right after our classes. 

My first class was DNA smoothie. There we learned about biotechnology, and how humans share 70% of their DNA with a banana. We also learned how to extract DNA from bananas by blending it up. Then we mixed soap, distilled water, and salt, to make a concoction that we mixed together with the blended up banana. Then we put that mixture into a filter, and then used the clear stuff that came out to put into a test tube with a type of alcohol that is found in germ-x. The banana DNA then crystallized in the test tube and then we used a toothpick to get it out. My second class was called Stand by your Quote. There we chose a quote that we most thought described leadership, and then we had to write out why we connected to it and then words that we thought described leaders. The most educational part of my day was basically all of it. I learned a lot with everything that we did. If I had to say a certain part, I would probably go with my first class. Something that I learned about Iowa State University, was that in their library they have three million books. That's enough books laid across to equal 20 miles! The most fun part of my day would probably be lunch. Just because we got to experience how crazy it is in a college lunch room. Also, because all of us just got to talk about what we had done today, and other things like that. If I could give one piece of advice to improve it, I would say that they should have it in the spring, or at least sometime warmer then the middle of November. My biggest takeaway from this experience, was how it felt to walk around a college campus, and go to classes. It was really cool, and fun as well. I also got more ideas of what kind of job field I might want to go into someday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Independent Project Reflection

My Topic was Emma Watson. I chose her because I look up to her as a role model. I also wanted to know what she was known for other than for her role as Hermione Granger in the movie franchise, Harry Potter. A few of the most fascinating things that I learned would probably be that she is a huge feminist. She was appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 2014. As well as hosted the launch of the HeForShe campaign, which is for the advancement of women. I think that I would still like to find out things like how she felt when she got certain roles, or future roles that she might be cast as. I chose to present my research with Google Slides, as well as using notecards. The thing that makes me proud about my project is that I didn't put any text on my slides. I did that because whenever I do a project where we have to present it, I always no matter what, put too much text on the slides. The thing that I would want to improve would probably be creating a balance between pictures and text, instead of either having no text or no pictures. That way I can remember everything and have enough pictures to back up what I'm talking about.

Friday, October 20, 2017

DWA Publishing 1st Quarter

10/11/17 "A pen is mightier than the sword" -Edward Bulwer-Lytton I think that this quote means that not every solution to a problem involves violence. I agree with it because most of the conflicts in history were resolved using a pen to write treaties and things like that. A lot of things could have been avoided as well, if we had tried to talk it out first and tried for peace. Some things I guess do have to involve fighting, but you should still try to avoid it. Pens are definitely mightier then the sword.

10/18/17 "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." -Leo Tolstoy 1828-1910 To me, this quote signifies the fact that people are always talking about how they want to change the world. Although that's a good thing to do, people are hypocrites if they say that and do the thing that they are telling people not to do. I mean you have to change yourself to be a better person. You have to be a better person to have a better world. That's just how it is, and forever will be.

Hannibal Reflection

Lately, our class has been learning about Mark Twain. If you don't know who Mark Twain is, he was a very influential writer. He wrote ...