Blog One January 26, 2014:
Lately, you have been talking about the junior portfolio. I feel like you and only one other teacher have really talked about it and explained it to us. I feel that in advisory one day, a demonstration of what the presentation should be like should go on for us. No one really knows what to say or do. I know that I personally am scared for the junior portfolio because I am not really sure what I have to be doing. Also, I do have many rubrics saved up for this assignment, but I feel like I do not have good examples to use. Since we are the first class going through this process, I think the teachers should give us some slack, and definitely help us through this. In my opinion, the junior portfolio is a little pointless. There could have been a much better process for us to show growth throughout high school than by using this process. In our younger grades, I wish the teachers explained the junior portfolio more, gave more rubrics, and explained the importance of saving those rubrics. I feel so unprepared.

Kelly Thompson's Comment:
The discussion of Junior Portfolio becomes more and more stressful the closer we get to March. It is frustrating because it seems as though the class of 2015 are the "guinea pigs" for this and they still don't know exactly how everything is going to work. I feel that the administrators and teachers should have planned the whole thing out, and assigned the portfolio exhibition to a class when they are 100% prepared. Also, last year was when they were still figuring everything out and that seemed to be all the teachers talked about. So, my sophomore year I got a decent amount of rubrics. However, this year it seems like many teachers have completely forgotten about it because throughout the whole first semester, I only received 2 rubrics. Many teachers have not even talked about it this year and it is coming quicker than expected. Many students don't know what they even have to do because no one has fully explained it to us, or many teachers are telling us different things. We either need to have an assembly with the junior class, or we need to talk about it in depth in our advisory classes. Students cannot graduate without passing the Junior Portfolio, which is very stressful for many students, especially when we are not sure exactly what we need to do.

My response to Kelly's comment;
I agree completely with Kelly. This whole junior portfolio process is so stressful and confusing. Many teachers have referred to us as the "guinea pigs" and its true; we really are the guinea pigs because it seems as if the teachers don't really know what is going on either. Everyone is so confused about this entire process. Kelly is right about either having a huge junior assembly or talking about it in depth in our advisories. There should have been so much more planning done for this instead of pushing it on to the students without it fully prepared.

Blog Two January 30, 2014:
American Reader Response: Page 583 "We Shall Overcome"
"We Shall Overcome" was the theme song for the march on Washington on August 28, 1963, which was also the day that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. The whole song talks about how they will overcome all of their challenges and overcome the hardships to be free one day. This song was the anthem for civil rights in the 1960s. The lyrics are "We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome one day" these lyrics show that the African Americans had faith in the world changing for the better. It was perfect for what the Africa Americans were going through at this point in the past. This song has to do with the American Idea because it shows how people thought their challenges could be overcome; and how anything is possible if you put your mind to it.The American Idea is all about change and bettering the world and this song shows that. "We Shall Overcome" is a perfect song to show faith and encouragement for Americans. It may have been from a dark time, but it has a powerful message behind it.

Nate Blanusa's comment:
In the American Reader book I read Take Me out to the Ball Game (p.384) by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth. This song is the national anthem of the national pass time. The song is played at almost every ball game during the seventh inning stretch. Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norwoth who wrote the music had actually never been to a baseball game. This song is most known for its chorus. "Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd buy me some peanuts and crackerjack, I don't care if I never get back, let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame for it's one, two, three strikes you're out, at the old ball game." Mostly everyone knows the chorus to this song. This song represents the past time of America. It represents fun, getting to go out to a ball game with your family. In the past time I feel like baseball was the biggest sport to watch, but now football is the biggest sport in America.

My response to Nate's comment:
This song is such a popular song even if you don't like baseball or go to games really. I don't really care for baseball yet I know all of the lyrics. Nate is right when he says that mostly everyone knows the lyrics. He's right when he says this songs relates to the American idea because its a song about a fun time and about a sport. American's lives revolve around sports sometimes; like watching their favorite team play or watching their favorite sport. Sports just make Americans happy and that is what this song depicts. "Take me out to the Ball Game" is such a traditional American song. I agree with everything that Nate had said about it.

Blog Three February 6, 2014:
English Class Response:
Lately in class you have been trying really hard to get us all of our rubrics for the junior portfolio. Its actually been a great help because we've been getting a lot of rubrics done in a short period of time. We've done smaller projects or assignments that actually can show growth, but do not take forever to do. These quick assignments are really helpful. Lately, you have been the only teacher talking about the junior portfolio; its good and bad. More of our teachers should be talking about this to us, not just you. However, a letter was mailed home to our parents about the junior portfolio; I feel that the letter was helpful for our parents, but it should have gone into more detail about the upcoming event. I know that my own mom has a lot of questions about the junior portfolio, but I can't answer them all for her.

Kate Tucker's Response:
Today during class we watched a video that Connor McGill made for his film study class. I honestly thought that it was going to be really bad, but after watching it I realized that Connor has some talent with making videos. I know that he makes a lot of videos with his go pro. He said that the video was suppose to incorporate different camera angle, which it did. I liked how the video involved different conversations between the people in it. The conversations were ones that would actually happen between these people. Even though it was scripted, they did a good job of not making it seem so. During the second half of class we took those personality tests as Fearless. I liked taking it as myself instead. All the answers I received were true.

My response to Kate's comment:
I was surprised about how well Connor's video was, just like Kate. I thought the video was just going to be stupid and badly filmed but Connor did a great job filming. He did not shake like that other video we watched about the junior portfolio last week. That one was terrible! Connor should keep making vidoes and continue sharing them to us! The video resembled BoomTown in a way with how Connor filmed the opening conversation in different ways. Lastly, I agree with Kate about liking how we took personality tests as Fearless; it was a different way to apply what we learned about him and I liked that.

Blog Four February 13, 2014:
English Class Response:
So the other day in class we read the story Teenage Waste Land then we listened a song that had to relate. It was a good story for teenagers to read because it is a little similar to some of our lives. I know that a lot of kids have problems with their families at this age and this story shows that. Donny was a defiant kid and there a lot of those in Clinton. He had an okay upbringing; not terrible, but could have been better. His mother cared about him and how well he did in school, but he still rebelled. Donny was just having a troublesome teenage experience and Cal made it worse for him. Cal was a terrible influence on Donny. A lot of cases like that happen in our school. A kid going through just regular mixed teenage emotions can get caught up with the wrong type of friends and start making bad choices. That is just like Donny because Cal was more of a friend than tutor. That story was good to read because it shows kids that anything can really happen even if you have an okay upbringing.

Nate's Comment:
This week in English class we read a short story called "Teenage Wasteland". This story was about a boy named Donny that has trouble with school. Donny goes to a private school, but his grades aren't so good. His mom starts helping him and his grades start to improve. Donny is recommend an tutor. His parents find Cal to help Donny tutor him. When Cal started tutoring Donny his grades didn't improve, only his attitude really changed. Cal is more like a person you would hangout with not a tutor. As the story goes on Donny gets kicked out of private school for having beer in his locker. Donny says that it isn't his fault, but his parents don't believe him. Donny ends up going to public school, but during finals he never came back home. Donny ran away from home. His parents believe that it was all their fault, they never listened to Donny or trusted him on things.

My response to Nate's comment:
Nate and I both talked about Teenage Waste Land, but I feel like we both had different opinions on this story. His last sentence, "His parents believe that it was all their fault, they never listened to Donny or trusted him on things" makes me believe that Nate was blaming Donny's parents, but really this is all Donny's fault. Donny used the excuse that his parents did not trust him a lot, but how could they considering he had multiple offenses with his private school. Donny had made previous mistakes that could allow his parents to question his words. Donny was not a trustful kid at all. It was his own fault that he got kicked out of school, but he wanted to find a scapegoat to put the blame on and when he couldn't justify his answer to his parents question about who put the beer in his locker, he got all defensive and played the not trusting card.

Blog Five February 21, 2014
This week was vacation and during this week I was able to catch up on my reading. I read more on the book I have been reading as my free choice book and I started another book that my mom recommended for me. They are both good books. I love reading so much. It is such a good way to distress. I rather read than play on my phone any day. This summer I am planning on reading a lot of books. Recently I saw a really good idea about picking which book you want to read. So, you make a list of books you want to read and write tem on small slips of paper, fold the paper up and then put it in a jar. As you finish a book you just reach into the jar and pick a new book to read. This is such a great idea and I think I am going to follow through with doing it.

Nate's Comment:
Over February break I started a new TV series to watch on netflix. I started to watch the TV show called Orange Is The New Black. I got recommended by Kyle to watch this show. He said that it is a pretty good TV show. So I decided to watch it over break. From the first three episodes that I watched, I must say that this show is good. The main character ends up going to jail for something she had did when she was back in college. She has had a hard time adjusting to prison. She finally does make friends when she first gets there. This show is sort of like prison break but she isn't trying to break out of women's prison. If you are looking for a show to watch on Netflix, I would suggest this show.

My response to Nate's comment:
Nate should get off his lazy butt and read a book and be more productive with his life instead of watching tv all the time. However, I heard that Orange is the New Black by multiple people and I think I should start watching it in my spare time. I also heard that Breaking Bad is good too. I personally like The Walking Dead because of how suspenseful it is. I suggest you watch that!

Blog Six February 27, 2014:
This week and class we have been reading short stories and learning about parts of short stories. We have been learning about different point of views. We read Tell Tale Heart, The Lottery, and Tall Chairs to compare the point of views in which the stories were told. Each of the plots in the story were completely different, except for the fact that each story had a conflict. The stories were also told in different points of views. The Tell Tale Heart was told directly from the main characters point of view whereas in Tall Chairs it was told in the point of view of an outsider. Short stories are good to read in class because we can learn a lot about different forms of wring.

Aprils Comment:
Today in class we read a short story called "Tall Chairs". I thought that the plot of this story was great. it was about a man and his son who didn't see each other that often. It demonstrated relationship and point of views. the two characters had a distant This story was narrated in third person which made it have a different perspective. If the little boy was telling the story it would have been told happier because of how much the little boy loves his father. If the dad was telling the story he would be saying how taking his son to a bar is okay. Third person gives us a mutual perspective so that it leaves us with more of a question at the end of the story, instead of reading a biased opinion. We are able to see all sides of the story instead of just one to really figure out for our self if the man was a good father or not.

My response to Ape's comment:
I agree with April when she says that the plot of Tall Chairs was great, and I agree with how she says that if the story was told in a different point of view that it would become biased. This story needed to be told in a third person perspective because it shows the feelings and reactions of all the characters, not just the one telling the story. The story is more powerful being told in this perspective. If it was told in a different perspective I think that it would wreck the story because we would not know how everyone was feeling. I agree with April when she says it is stronger in a different point of view. Each story is different depending on the point of view that it is being told in.

Blog Seven March 6, 2014:
In the beginning of the year we learned about the American Idea and made our own American Ideas. Every person has their own interpretation of the American idea. Some people agree completely and others strongly disagree with what the American idea is. In class this past week we have been learning about how the American idea ties into literature. The American idea is expressed many ways in literature. For example, through setting, dialogue, food, jobs, classes of the people, and the culture in the literature. People express how they see America in the way that they write, act, talk, and pretty much with everything they do. The American Idea does not only need to be expressed through literature, which a lot of the time it is; the American idea can be expressed in so many different ways like through art, or speaking, or songs. The American idea is passed and shared through everything including literature.

Nate's comment:
The American Idea shows itself in literature through stories. It can show the American Idea throughout stories by telling a story that has to do with hard work and earnings. The American idea can be about hard work, people come to America for a new experience. They want a place where they can start a new life and get work. People work hard to buy nice things that they cherish. There are many examples that show the American Idea. For example in stories there is usually a lesson that is learned. These lessons can relate to the American Idea like if you work hard you will earn what you want. Another lesson you could learn from stories that relate to the America Idea can be about freedom. Some stories tell about freedom and how people came over to America because where they used to live it wasn't safe there.

My response to Nate's comment:
Nate is right with the examples he used to show how the American idea is expressed through literature. His examples show what the American idea is because he says how the American idea can be about people who come to America for a new experience or to start a new life. Stories are always expressing the American idea through people's hardships and growths, and stories about America. The American idea is a lot of the time expressed in stories. The American idea has also been apart of mostly everything we have done in class. It is not going to go away. The Ameican idea paper is not finished yet however, we keep relating what we learn in class to it. The American idea relates to lessons being learned, like Nate had said. Typically stories have a lesson and if the stories involve the American idea, then the lesson is revolved around that too.

James Neri Response:

I agree with you Amanda that their can be many variations of an American idea. You named examples such as setting, dialogue, food, jobs, classes of people, and culture. I would say food has the biggest effect on me. Just because whenever I think of America I think of hamburgers and french fries. In similarity, when I think of Italy I think of pasta and pizza. It's not like I think of Americans as a bunch of fat people who eat hamburgers all day, it's just I think of food when I hear a country. Also, sports come to mind when I think of the American Idea. Football, baseball, and basketball are the three huge sports in America. Pretty much everyone watches football and if they aren't fans of football they probably still watch the Superbowl because it is just something all Americans do. Baseball is America's past time and everyone watched it back in the 1900's because it was the greatest thing then. It was even more popular than football. Today, football is viewed more than baseball, but I still enjoy watching baseball more than football. Lastly, basketball is the least popular of the three sports, but is still very popular. Basketball didn't really hit people until the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson era or even the Michael Jordan era. Now, it is even more popular with players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. Especially now that the Miami Heat have a chance at winning 3 championships in a row if they win the finals this year. I'm getting kind of carried away with this, but sports and food to me are the American idea. Specifically, hamburgers and fries, and football, baseball, and basketball.

Blog Eight March 13, 2014:
The SAT article on the New Yorker had a lot of information in it; however, it was a little difficult to read. I could not keep focus on the article. It did have important information in it though. Like for example, the mother that wanted to keep retaking the tests found that the more she studied, the better she did. She also realized that the test created a lot of stress. I have not signed up for my SATs yet but I do know it is a stressful and difficult test to take. I know that I am very nervous for them and that is why I have not signed up yet, I do have to sign up soon though. The mother was saying how she went to all these different tutors and bought a ton of books to prepare for the SATs. I don't know if I think she stressed herself out too much by how much she studied and freaked out about the test, or if I think her method for studying was smart. I do know though, that this stress does not really prove anything about a students intelligence because there are really smart people that can bomb the test because they are nervous, over stressed, tired, or just bad test takers. I know that I am a terrible test taker so I am not planning on doing really well on this test. I am going to try, but I do not think it is possible. I also do not really know how to study for the SAT. This is such an unnecessary test and I am glad they are changing it in the coming years.

Nate's comment
After reading this article about the SAT's I think it is good on what Debbie Stier did. She devoted her life to getting a perfect score on the SAT's. It's good that she made a book discovering the ways to beat the SAT's. I connected when she said she would try to get her son to study for the SAT's but he would rather play halo. Personally I would rather play my play station 4 than study for the SAT's. Let alone I barely study for tests/quizzes. I feel that everyone is nervous for the SAT's. You want to do your best, so you can get into the college of your dream. The SAT's definitely put a lot of stress on you to do good. If you prepare yourself for the SAT's you should be able to get a good score.

My response to Nate:
I agree with Nate when he says he rather not study for the SATs. It is such a boring process that no one wants to do, but you have to. I rather do anything else besides study. I barely study for tests and quizzes, just like Nate had said, unless that test or quiz is very important. I know that if I studied and really applied myself, I could get an okay score on the SAT; its just the fact that I am a terrible test taker. Somehow, I will need to prepare myself to take this test on top of studying. I know it will not be an easy process, but it will need to be done. I agree with Nate when he says how it was good that she devoted her life into getting a perfect score and then writing a book about it because it is a good lesson for her son. It shows him that even someone that has not been in high school for years can still get a great score on the SATs if you just study hard and actually try. She wanted to also be there for her son and make it so he did not have to go through this test alone. I give her props for doing this because not a lot of other parents would be willing to endure the pain and stress she underwent.

Blog Nine March 20, 2014:
Personally, I like how our school grades. I like how we have the academic rubrics, letter grades, and number grades too. Each is a different way of grading, but it covers all of the information that is necessary for us to improve. The academic rubric can tell us where we need to improve, the letter and number grades show us where we are at. I do not believe in number and letter grades being bad, I think they are helpful. I do however believe that it raises cheating, and competition in the grade. I believe that most of the cheating that happens in the grade is between the honors students because they think the competition is higher and that more is at stake, but it really is not. There really is no competition when using the academic rubrics though. The grading system should not change. They should keep each of those systems involved in the curriculum.

Kate Tucker's comment:
I understand the authors thoughts about grading, but I feel like it would be hard to transfer over the systems. Overall, I agree with the way she feels about the grading system. Current students have found ways to get fly by in school without actually knowing the information. Cheating is one of the biggest issues that comes with letter grades. If all you have to do is write the correct answer down to get a good grade on a test, then why not cheat do you don't have to waste the time learning it? The real problem why most of us cheat is because we feel like we don't have enough time to spend sitting down learning each and every subject. We have 6-7 classes jammed into our schedules 5 days a week. If college students had to take 7 classes a day, 5 days a week there would probably a lower rate of students who actually make it to college, This is an issue that had led us to feeling like it is OK to cheat our way through high school. When it comes to classes like math and science where there are major concepts to learn is when this new system of grading would work out. In math it is important that you understand each topic that is covered. Falling behind in a math class usually ends up with failure. Knowing that a student is putting in their full effort to understand the topic is a great way to grade them. For people these things don't come easy so just seeing that they are putting their full effort in should be enough to give them some sort of grade.

My response to Kate:
I agree with Kate completely. It would be way too much work to change the grading system now. It simply would not work. I also agree with her when she says how students in a way have been forced to cheat because the teachers really do not give us enough time to actually learn the material. The teachers forget that we have other classes each day, they forget we learn new material each hour, and they forget that we have tests and projects every week. Teachers over estimate what our brains can actually handle. I still do not necessarily think it is still okay to cheat, but I understand why people do it. If we had longer class periods and less classes a day, I believe that students would do better, academically in school. Grades would definitely improve.

Blog Ten March 28, 2014:
I agree with so many of the critics when they answered the question, why do we study literature. We use literature in our everyday lives, and I believe everyone should know how to read and write correctly to get by in life. One of the writers, Sybylla said, "The best of my English teachers taught us literature because they wanted the art of it to expand our minds and help teach us new ways of seeing the world" I completely agree with this person when they say that because the really good English teachers do not just teach us literature to pass a test, they teach us things about literature in a way that it will stay in our minds and even change our view on aspects of life. The best English teachers want to leave life long messages upon us, that can help us in our future. Knowing literature is one of the most important tools someone can have.

Troy's comment:
According to this blog we study literature because it can make us more intelligent . Some people say that literature can help people comprehend better, it helps us understand what people are trying to sat better. "I have met very intelligent people who do not read. But all of the interesting people I know read, whether or not they are particularly intelligent.", This quote is very accurate in some cases. Some of the smartest people in the world do not like to read, but interesting people read all the time. Now I don't think that everyone that reads is interesting but they have a way to talk and to act that is different than others. We study literature to go to different worlds. to open our imagination up and go to different places that no one has ever thought about. The journey that a person goes through while enjoying a book is different to say the least. In the article someone says that they read literature to enjoy it but the also read different literature to remind themselves that the world isn't just rainbows and cupcakes. Literature can give you the facts or it can give you a world to explore

My response to Troy:
I agree with Troy when he says that all of the interesting people he knows read and that we study literature because it makes us more intelligent. Most people that read are typically smarter than those who don't because they understand more styles of writing and they have a broader vocabulary, there are some exceptions, but this is the case most of the time. I also agree with Troy when he says that we study literature to go to different words. I agree with this because I know that I read books to escape from my life; I learn about other people's problems, and about their lives. I get to leave my problems for a little while and read about there's. Also, you just get to leave your everyday life and read about the interesting life of someone else. Reading is just a great way to escape stress. Literature is such a great thing to learn.

Blog Eleven April 3, 2014:
I don't really have much to look forward to in the next few months besides summer. Summer is my favorite season because my family spends more time together and I just like the weather. I'm really looking forward to this summer because every June my family and I go to Maine and it is my favorite place ever. It is the cutest little town; everyone is so friendly and nice there. This summer I am also looking forward to going to Block Island with my friend Kasey for fourth of July. I can't really think of anything that is coming up soon that I am really looking forward too, so I have some time to wait. I always love having something to look forward too because it makes life a little less dreadful knowing tat every day that goes by is closer to the day I am looking forward too.

Nate's comment:
Over these next few months I can't wait for our lacrosse games. I've played lacrosse since 4th grade. This is my 8th year of lacrosse and I love playing the sport. I am also looking forward to the end of the school year. I want the summer. I'm tired of school and the work. It is starting to get nice out and nobody wants to be stuck in a school for 6 hours a day. Another thing I'm excited for is if we get 95% of the junior class to participate in SBAC testing than we can be exempt from finals if we have a grade of 85 or better for second semester. As of now I would only be taking one exam which is awesome for me. That is what I'm looking forward to in the next few months.

My response to Nate:
One of the only things that I am looking forward too in school is not taking a few of my exams. I wish I could say the same as Nate and say that I only have to take one exam, but a few of my classes are a little hard. I know that mostly everyone in school is getting tired of this daily routine every single day; it gets really boring after awhile. I like coming to school and all, but it gets tiring. Even some teachers are already so excited for school to be over and for it to be summer vacation again. I think after April vacation, everyone will get some motivation back though.

Blog Twelve April 10, 2014:
So far "A Raisin' in the Sun" is a good play. I like it so far and I hope that we get to read the other acts in class and finish the play. I like how this play is different from what we've read in class this year. There are many lessons behind this play and I want to be able to figure them all out from continuing to read in class. I like the characters in this play because they are all so different, but fit together. I think Ruth being pregnant puts such a twist on the story because it creates even more conflict between Ruth and Walter Lee. I think we should finish reading the play so we can find out if Ruth keeps her baby or not. I also like this play because we never know what Mama is going to do wit her money; she has so many ideas but we have not figured it out yet. I think in the end she is going to put the money down for a home for her and her family to live in so that they do not have rent anymore.

Jenna's comment:
The poem A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes, in my opinion was very well written and the use of similes and metaphors was absolutely excellent. The metaphors in the poem were actually probably the best I've read in a poem before. It's such a simple, short poem but when you read it it doesn't feel simple. It makes me think, hard, about dreams and goals and achieving them. How well Langston Hughes' poem corresponds with the play we are reading in class is pretty fascinating. The poem really reminds me of Walter, the father of Benetha and Travis, son of Mama, and wife of Ruth. It really reminds me of him because he's living his life so average, in his eyes, and he wants much more than to just be a driver, submissive to those he's driving. Walter always talks about how rich people have it better, and his episode in which he becomes so sick and tired of his average life, he argues with his family and tells everyone they don't understand. You can tell just from reading the play that Walter feels very incomplete, hence 'a dream deferred.' Overall, I think this play that takes place in South Chicago in the fifties is a great play. It's not suspenseful like a mystery book, but how it's written makes you wonder what Mama is going to do with the ten thousand dollars. I'm also curious about Ruth's new pregnancy, and how apparently she wants an abortion but Mama is extremely against it and Walter doesn't even really know how to feel about it. The play is interesting and I'm excited to continue reading it.

My response to Jenna:
The poem A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes does go greatly with A Raisin' in the Sun. I agree with Jenna greatly when she says that. It was such an excellent poem that did not seem very elaborate until you took the time to decipher it. I agree when Jenna says that it makes her think hard about dreams and goals and achieving them because it did the same for me. I also agree with Jenna when she connects the poem to Walter Lee. He feels as if his life is nothing and has no meaning. He as given up on every dream and he does not want to give up his liquor store dream. The poem says how dreams are forgotten, but there is no real place for forgotten dreams to go. Walter is going through a mid-life crisis almost. He is yearning for attention or something different in his life; he is tired of the same everyday routine that is getting him almost nowhere in life. Walter is tired of being poor, he hopes that Mama gives him the money to hopefully get him out of his rut.

Blog Thirteen April 17, 2014:
I haven't really had a lot of time to read this week but recently I have been reading Fat Angie. It is kind of a dumb book, but it is funny. It is about a girl, who is fat and doesn't really have a lot of friends. Angie is bullied by the most popular girl in the grade; the mean girl. A new girl comes along and the mean girl tries to become friends with her and turn her against Angie, but it doesn't work; she wants to become friends with Angie. So far this book is stupid, but its funny so I am going to continue reading it. There are a lot of better books out there that I should be reading. I also want to make more time for reading, but it is difficult with school, work, family, and friends.

April's comment:
Currently I am reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I'm really enjoying this book. I have not seen the movie so when a couple of people suggested it to me I decided that I should read the book. because its vacation I am working longer and more shifts so I haven't gotten much time to read this week. Also I left my book at Gabi Donofrios house. right now I love this book. I haven't gotten that as far as I hope to be but I'm really enjoying it. a college student decides not to take hi finals after finding out that his parents have died. he finds a whole new world that takes place on a train because its a traveling circus. this book reminds me of the movie Big Fish because they are both about leaving what you were told was right for a fantasy life of their own. I am looking forward to finishing the book and watching the movie afterwards but by the looks of it I wont be disappointed in the rest of it.

My response to April:
I really want to read Water for Elephants. I have never seen the movie or read the book, but I have heard it is great. I think I might read this after I finish the book I am reading now. I agree with April when she says how she hasn't had much time to read this week because of work because that's the same reason on why I haven't been able to really either. This week at work is busy because it is vacation so I have had long shifts everyday. April says how this book reminds her of the movie Big Fish, I have never seen that either so maybe I will read Water for Elephants first, then watch the movie, then watch Big Fish.

Blog Fourteen April 24, 2014:
My favorite character in A Raisin in the Sun has to be Mama because she was so head strong and old fashioned. She never once gave up on one of her children. I admire Mama for just being such a great, loving person. At the beginning of the story when Ruth found out she was pregnant, Mama was set on raising the baby and not killing it, even though times were hard and Ruth and Walter's relationship was not the best it could have been. Mama also was one of the reasons on why Walter was able to come out of his funk. She told him about how Big Walter would not have given up. She also gave him the responsibility of holding the money from the insurance check which made him feel more like a man and that he had a purpose. Even though he made the wrong choice, Mama never gave up on him. She yelled at Bennie for turning against Walter at a time he needed his family most. I like Mama so much because she was all around just a good woman.

Connor Moran's comment:
My favorite character from a raisin in the sun is Asagai. I really like Asagai because of his upbeat and positive attitude. It's always an eyeopener for me when a person from another country comes to mine and is so happy and loves everything while most people couldn't be more unhappy with how they live. People like Asagai make me appreciate how i live. I realize that running water and having food everyday is pretty nice! Most people in the world live this way now, however in some parts people still have it rough, especially 60 years ago. I feel like Beneatha should go to Africa with Asagai, it would be a great experience and it would really make her appreciate all the little things that us Americans take for granted. Everyone should travel to a country other than theirs at leats once. That way we can see what life is like outside of our American bubble. Americans are so ignorant and oblivious to the rest of the world, I do not want to be like that i want to be uplifting aware like Asagai.

My response to Connor:
I have to agree with Connor because I really liked Asagai, but he was not my favorite character. I liked him because he was different. He brought a different perspective to the story. I think that Beneatha should go with Asagai too, even though she would be far away from her family because it would be a great opportunity for her. She would have the chance of a life time; she could become a respected doctor there, could raise a family with him, and she would learn so much more about her culture. Asagai is a much better choice for her rather than George Merchinsun. He was a stuffy, rich, typical "white" black man. George looked good on paper, but not in real life. He did not have views and opinions that fit well for Beneatha. Asagai is just a good guy with a good head on his shoulders.

Blog Fifteen May 1, 2014:
My initial thoughts of Clybourne Park are a little confused because the story is hard to read, but other than that I like it so far. I like how it is an extension of Raisin in the Sun and how they both tie in. I really do not care for Karl so far though. I don't like how it is such a big deal that a black family is moving into their neighborhood. What makes their neighborhood so great and special? I am excited to continue reading this story in class because I really have no idea how this story is going to play out. So far, however, I like A Raisin in the Sun better because of the way each story was set up. I also like how the students picked for some of the roles fit perfectly with the characters, like Karli makes a good Karl and Justin makes a good Russ. They both play their parts well.

Nate's comment:
I enjoy reading the play Clybourne Park. This is a very good play and it is interesting. Every time we read it in class it catches my attention. Even though we have not gotten far into the play it is interesting. I want to know what is going to happen when Walter Lee and his family moves into the all white neighborhood. I'm wondering if they are going to get harassed when they move in there. I wonder how the kids are going to be treated too. Are the white kids going to want to hangout with them? Are their parents not going to let their children play with them because of the color of their skin? These are my initial thoughts about Clybourne Park.

My response to Nate:
I also enjoy reading Clybourne Park. I agree with Nate when he says that this story catches his attention whenever he reads it because it catches mine too. Its a fast pace play that is good at capturing the attention of the reader. I wonder the same things that Nate wonders because no one is really that happy that a black family is moving into their neighborhood, so what are they going to do? I wonder if there is going to be violence, drama, and a lot of conflict.

Blog Sixteen May 8, 2014:
How have historic events over the last fifty years shaped how we view race and class in this country today? From your point of view, have these areas been improved upon or worsened? Explain
Historic events over the last fifty years have shaped America into what it is today. In the past fifty years we have gained a black president, which no one ever thought was possible. However there is still racism today. Yes the amount of racism has improved the last fifty years, but not everyone is treated as an equal. There are still hate crimes, discrimination and racist remarks. For example, Donald Sterling has a whole team of black men, but still does not think they are as equal as white men are. He made some remarks about not liking black people. Black is not the only race that is being discriminated though. Every race has been discriminated, even whites. Everyone just needs to realize we are all people and should give up on race being an issue. It should not matter what color your skin is, but it does to some people and that is messed up.

Nate's comment:
It is difficult to discuss issues of race, class, and social - economic status because you don't know how the person is going to react to whom you are speaking. Not everyone has the same views on subjects and something that you can say could come across as offensive to them. For example, in Clybourne Park, race is used during conversations. The white family that has recently bought the house wants to destroy the house and rebuild it up and bigger. The only problem is that they need to let the black family that used to live there know what they are doing to it. Conversations arise between each other and the black family thinks it has to do with race. The white family isn't trying to come across that their choice to destroy the house and rebuild it up has nothing to do with race, but the black family does not see that. Also when talking about class with people it could be difficult. If you are in the upper class that has wealth you aren't going to want to talk about how many nice things you can afford because it is can come across to people as bragging. It is hard to discuss issues of race, class, and social economic status.

My response to Nate:
I also believe that race, social-economic status, and class are difficult topics to discuss with another person because you never know their stands on these topics and sometimes bringing it up may be awkward. It could make that other person feel bad, even though that is not your intentions. Race is a very touchy subject because many people have a wide variety of views on it. It is usually a tougher topic to talk about with someone older because they grew up being racist so it was hard for them to change and accept things. Usually younger people are more accepting to different races.

Blog Eighteen May 22, 2014
Happy Ideas, Mary Szybist
I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel
to a kitchen stool and watch it turn.
I had the happy idea to suspend some blue globes in the air
and watch them pop.
I had the happy idea to put my little copper horse on the shelf so we could stare at each other
all evening.
I had the happy idea to create a void in myself.
Then to call it natural.
Then to call it supernatural.
I had the happy idea to wrap a blue scarf around my head and spin.
I had the happy idea that somewhere a child was being born who was nothing like Helen or
Jesus except in the sense of changing everything.
I had the happy idea that someday I would find both pleasure and punishment, that I would
know them and feel them,
and that, until I did, it would be almost as good to pretend.
I had the happy idea to call myself happy.
I had the happy idea that the dog digging a hole in the yard in the twilight had his nose deep in
I had the happy idea that what I do not understand is more real than what I do,
and then the happier idea to buckle myself
into two blue velvet shoes.
I had the happy idea to polish the reflecting glass and say
hello to my own blue soul. Hello, blue soul. Hello.

It was my happiest idea.

I really liked this poem because its about being happy and having happy ideas even though the person is sad. This poem is so powerful because of the last line, "I had the happy idea to polish the reflecting glass and say hello to my own blue soul. Hello, blue soul. Hello. It was my happiest idea." This is such a powerful line because we find out that the person is actually sad and blue on the inside, but tells themselves to be happy and do happy things. The author also says, "I had the happy idea to call myself happy" this is another powerful line in the poem because they are really trying to be happy. The author uses the color blue repetitively in this poem and that also makes this poem powerful because she is not using happy, fun loving colors; she is using blue which is often associated with sadness and depression. This is a happy but sad poem.

Kyle's comment:
God Particles
This poem speaks of the atom. How they are always present, how they are what give life, and how they are passed from person-to-person; thing-to-thing. This reminds me of a central belief in many religions that everything is connected. Atoms can be the literal interpretation of reincarnation. "Giving back to the earth" so to speak. The atoms found in this keyboard may have once been inside an animal that drank river water. The atoms that we all breath out find their way to plant life. Those atoms could then be transformed into sugar or maybe oxygen. Thinking about these "God Particles" really gives me a sense of fitting into this earth. It does not necessarily give me a purpose, only a reason. It makes you appreciate being born a human. This probably makes me sound like a complete tool, but we are all "one with the earth" by way of atoms.

My response to Kyle:
I agree with everything that Kyle had said, but the author explains the atom in a more discrete way than how Kyle described it. I thought this poem was going to be more scientific than it was, but I still liked it. I thought this poem was so powerful because it had a real meaning behind it; it is the structure of the world and how things work. I like how the author used really well descriptions like "I could almost hear their soft collisions on the cold air today" he is talking about being able to hear the atoms moving, but he does it in a pretty, pulling in kind of way. It catches the reader into not being bored of the poem.

Blog Nineteen May 29, 2014:
external image Field%20family%20FM.jpg
Sharecropper's Family

We're all sittin here
Tired, dirty, hungry and sad.
We don't know what is goin to happen to us,
or even the house
All we know is that we need to keep workin
day after day, and night after night.

My family and I are simple people
with simple things,
Nothing extravagant, expensive, elegant, or extra.
Oh how I wish it could be different
For me and my kids and my wife and mama.
I wish I could give them all those fun little toys, extra clothing, fancy meals
I am the man of the house
and I need to provide for my family
They should not be doin all this extra labor
It should only be me, out there breakin my back
day after day, and night after night

I hate seein my poor little babies so tired and cold at night
I hate seein my wife cryin every night over the bills we have to pay
I hate seein my old old mama workin way to hard each day
We are a proud family, but I'm almost at my breakin point
I can't see my family suffer anymore
Day after day, and night after night