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For me, the hybrid online English course I took this year was the biggest blessing, but slightly a curse… and the curse part was only a self inflicted issue, so really, I’m all for these classes. It taught me a lot, not in the traditional grammar sense you normally are stuck learning in a normal face-to-face English course, not a ton of somewhat pointless material from books that happen to be older than your actual school, but in the way of new, relevant information on what’s happening in the real world around us- not the literary world. I so appreciate the fact that most of our assignments were based on relating the literary world to what’s happening in our world around us right now, it made the work feel a little more meaningful. It also helped that my teacher constantly introduced new social media and outreach platforms to us, which is helpful because I know college most likely expect us to know various platforms and how they work. Most of the knowledge I walk away with having gained from the online course I took has to do with communicative skills in technology. These things are important for a high school student to have access to and know;edge of, and therefor I feel like this course should’ve been taken sophomore year in order to apply the new knowledge and skills to various relating courses Junior year. It’s great for students to get the experience because most college and career activities in the future will be online based since that is the day and age we are learning in. Although I sucked at it, I’m definitely glad I got this experience in high school to prepare for my future. Painful at times, but definitely needed. My favorite part about the class is the fact that t was extremely flexible with my crazy schedule, and not at all time sensitive. In this sense, my life would be much less hectic if all my other classes were like this too. I definitely needed the extra time to take care of things around the house, for my job, my sport, and my nieces and nephews whom I help raise. I can’t pinpoint anything I’d really want more of in a future online course, except structure, but I went into the class knowing there wouldn’t be much of that because the teacher was as new to teaching an online class as we were to taking it, so we were all learning. I’d tell future online course teachers that online learning feels more intimidating and challenging to students because we don;t have the security of thinking, “oh it’s okay if I don’t get this, I’ll just ask him/her tomorrow in class.” Often times, I found myself frantically asking my fellow peers what to do and how to do something online because, well, to put it simply, I’m technologically challenged. I’m not complaining by any means, just bringing other online course teachers to attention that that is why we need you to be extra patient with us, just like my online teacher was. I think some students experience more success in an online course than others because some students simply have better self discipline when it comes to turning in work with a teacher that is super lenient with due dates. I, for instance, was terrible at that. Online classes are so much less stressful in this sense because for other classes, I sometimes stay up until 2am and wake up at 4am doing projects that I have to physically hand in in class the next day. On nights like those when I have at least 20 gallons of Starbucks coffee in my system just trying to keep a centimeter of my twitching left eye open to continue my projects, the last thing on my mind is finishing an assignment for another class. That was the beauty of the online class. On stressful nights like those, I could tel myself, “It’s okay, turn in the online assignment tomorrow night after you get some sleep and it wont even make any difference.”, where as to my other classes, teachers would take off 10% of the grade of the assignment regardless of if I got a combined total of 3 minutes of sleep the past 4 days or not. So, to teachers that say online classes are a joke, I’m sorry, but your grading system is a joke! If online class gives me the chance to turn in something a few hours late if it means learning about the subject instead of rushing to hand some half-effort work in on something I just made up to get a grade and not be scolded, then so be it. School should be more about learning than it is about grades. Students aren’t going to school to get an education anymore, they’re going to school to get a meaningless grade, and that’s sad. Online class saves us from classes with ridiculous logic like that which make us put a letter grade on a sheet of paper before our education. I would take another online course at the same time if I could, and make my schedule that much less stressful. However, I would stay away from taking an online course in a subject that I know I struggle in and need to speak to a teacher face-to-face for on the daily (take algebra for instance in my situation). English online was a good fit for me because English has always been my easiest and most favorite course. So if you’re a student considering taking on online class, I say go for it… not everyone tells you this, but you’re definitely going to need this experience. And to school admin considering adding more online courses, I also say go for it. In my opinion, it teaches students more than a class does that we rush to get a grade in for. And last but not least, Mr. Theriault, thank you for this experience and for being patient with us.
When the word “trope” got brought up in a discussion recently, I was so excited and the first thing that popped in my head was one word: riddles. Ever since I was little, riddles have been my favorite thing to do in my free time. I can sit and think about riddles for hours. One of my favorite movies, The Hobbit, has an amazing riddle scene (the exchange between Bilbo and Gollum over the ring) that I could sit and watch over and over again. From time to time, I’ll sit and read the riddles from the book just to admire the amazing logical structure behind the riddle JRR Tolkien has gifted us with. I think riddles fascinate me so much because it’s the ability to make one idea into a metaphor and wait for it to connect with another human’s mind when they get it. In a sense, it feels like communicating in code without a single explanation, and waiting for it to register in somebody’s mind. It makes books feel so much more interactive when they include riddles because the reader gets to sit there and try to solve the riddle for themselves before they read on, and sometimes if they can figure it out, they know the answer before the main character does, it’s in a way creating your own sense of foreshadowing. Here’s the riddle interaction from The Hobbit as a good example of what I’m talking about. hubpages.com/…/The-Riddles-In-The-Hobbit-Riddles-In-The-Dark-Answers
The second example I’d like to give is from my favorite show, Psych. This 3 part episode is about a tag team serial killer in Santa Barbra that leaves notes and riddles all around the city for the police to find in order for them to find the victim, and eventually possibly the killer. Here’s the first full episode, it’s time consuming (and $2) but so well written and thought out, and most definitely worth watching. youtube.com/watch
This blog is about expectation vs reality (I know what you’re thinking- “obviously…. it’s in the title”, but it’s not just about expectation vs reality in general; it’s about expectation vs reality o the topic of grades. I’m pretty sure that every student can relate when I tell you that each new semester, without fail, we think to ourselves “This semester, I’ll do whatever it takes to get a 4.0 on that report card, no matter how many hours of sleep I’ll have to lose.” That’s what we genuinely expect from ourselves… for about this first week into the semester when teachers really start giving the heavy work. Then, we start thinking to ourselves, “well… maybe letting this one assignment go won’t be a big deal.”… and it’s not until we do it about 5 more times in the class if we start getting really lazy- and spoiler alert we do. No matter how many times we claim we won’t, we always, always do. The expectation here is that we’ll keep the A we start off with in the class, but the harsh reality is, we don’t want to keep up with the work. Some do end up with an A, most don’t, but one thing is for sure: the effort difference between a 70% in the class and a 95% is a huge difference, but they’re both passing grades, so perhaps that is why we settle so much. At the end of the semester when many students get our report cards and they have 3.0’s instead of 4.0s like we told ourselves we would get 4 months ago, the sometimes painful reality sets in that our expectations aren’t always our reality- and most of the time, they aren’t.
The movie I chose to relate Holden from The Catcher In The Rye to is Finding Forrester. The three major ways Holden is similar to Jamal would be: the vulnerability they allowed themselves to show in order to accomplish personal growth, the dedication they had to being strong-willed in what they wanted, and the way they were both extremely talented, but lacked the motivation to succeed in the area when it was not what they wanted for themselves.
Referring back to my first comparison point, both Jamal and Holden allowed themselves to be exposed in front of their teacher/mentor in order to benefit their lives and learn from them. I asked my dad recently why it is commonly thought hard for most men to ask directions, or ask where something in the store is, or overall where stereotypes about men like this one come from, and his reply reminded me of the Catcher In The Rye. He told me that that stereotype is derived from the thought that men are often too protective of their egos to ask for help from somebody else, that they’d rather prove to themselves and everyone that they are smart enough or strong enough to do it themselves. So for Holden or Jamal to be able to let their guard down in order for their mentors’ to be able to help them grow up and build their character.
My other point of comparison is the fact that both main characters are dedicated to holding their stance and being hard-headed in a good way, because they know what mentality they want for themselves and they know they won’t accept anything different. But, in some instances, it can be a bad thing because the characters can get something negative in their mind and then it’s set there. In the example, Jamal had it negatively set in his mind that he couldn’t make the basketball shot that he needed to make, and he didn’t. Holden wasn’t holding good grades, except in English class he shone. That tells me he wasn’t applying himself because he had the talent and the smarts to achieve the grades but only applied himself in the subject he found interesting.
Both the movie and the book were great works of art, but I personally favored the book more because I felt I could relate more to Holden.
My favorite quote overall from the Catcher In The Rye is this, from page 77 in chapter 11. It says this, “She was a funny girl, old Jane. I wouldn’t exactly describe her as strictly beautiful. She knocked me out, though. She was sort of muckle-mouthed. I mean when she was talking and she got excited about something, her mouth sort of went off in about 50 directions, her lips and all. That killed me. And she never really closed it all the way either, her mouth. It was always just a little bit open, especially when she got in her golf stance, or when she was reading a book.” I love this quote because it shows how much attention to detail he payed when it came to Jane, and I think that’s something beautiful that people need to do more often. I feel as though when you live with someone for a while, or hang out with them often, you start to subconsciously notice all the little things about them and all their manerisms, but you don’t notice you know all these things until someone asks you about the person. Or, perhaps you think “well she would do it this way”, or “that sounds like something ____ would say!”. Or, when someone asks about a person and you start to picture all your little memories with them, and what they were doing in the moment, and exactly how they did it. The way their smile forms, certain expressions they make in different situations, or when you can see their brain working something out. Or perhaps when they’re eating, reading, the way they’re sitting, or even just being on their phone. After being with someone for that long, it’s easy to picture how they live their life, and I think it’s such a stunning way to represent a relationship. Think about it- that person you were friends with 5 years ago that you think about maybe every 6 months, is so much more difficult to picture than is your parents or best friend. Think of them right now, you can probably see them in your mind doing whatever little everyday thing you always see them doing, and it means so much because you can see their personality through it, too.
One thing that stuck out to me from the early chapters of Catcher In The Rye was how real the author is, first of all. He makes the writing more relatable, and he writes exactly how people talk. I appreciate that because most books are so proper that you don’t even want to bother reading them considering it’s like having a conversation with someone who speaks in Old English or something. It’s just not real. Sure, some books are relatable, but I’ve never read a novel as real as this one- because the main character who just happens to be my age tells it exactly like it is. He doesn’t sugar coat things, he doesn’t make things sound better than they are- even if they’re negative statements about his own self. My favorite example of this from the book so far is on page 16, when he tells us one of his biggest faults. “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.” Even though he most likely isn’t too proud to admit that, he does, for the sake of being real with us. That’s something I wish I could do more easily- say my own faults. I mean don’t get me wrong- I’m the first to admit my faults to myself or to God, but saying them out loud is a different story, and I think it’s because I fear human judgement, which has formed the society we live in. Another thing i liked so far and found different about this book is the way in which Caulfield describes his friends (or acquaintances)- he gives us the real description of them, not just the good things, not just the bad, because there’s both in everyone and both are what make our personalities- not just one or the other. It also helps us get a better grip on how to character acts and moves and helps us get a better mental picture while reading. That’s a big deal to me, because often times, I judge a writers descriptive ability based on how much detail my brain draws up while reading their book, and of course, the more the merrier. The way his roommates are described (Ackley and Stradlater), I can place their images in my head to look like guys around their age and physical features I know, and for me personally, it helps the story flow better in my mind.
A link i used to look more into this:
My hour of play this week was spent with one of my most favorite people in this world- my niece, Parker. She’s fun, spunky, sassy and hilarious – but most of all, the girl LOVES to play dress up, I know, I know, just like most four year old girls to ever exist. The only thing with this little one is that her favorite people to play dress up with is my friends, specifically the boy ones- because she finds it hilarious sticking a tiara and tutu on a 6’0 ripped teenage boy, because, well, who wouldn’t I suppose.
One major point in the TedTalk video I enjoyed hearing about was the mental health affect that the neglect of play has on kids. Sure, we talk about how it’s great for their social skills and creativity and just better for them over all, but does anybody ever talk about how it really effects them physically or how it affects their future? I thought it was great that this video shares with us the facts at hand about how play effects children neurologically. The speaker in the video tells us that children suffer from depression and anxiety orders 5-8 times more since the importance of play for children has been decreased gradually. One of the best parts about my three or so hours of play with Parker and my friend Jake was being able to witness and relate to the freeness in which my little one’s mind roams. I mean in this case, Jake was a chef in a tutu making us cupcakes with pink heart shaped sprinkles one second and he was a professional fighter the next. The things kids think of and where these thoughts can branch off to are endless, and its fascinating to see them translate it into a physical form from just their mental thoughts.
Something I, along with so many other people, think is terrifying about this society is the face that play has turned from a 5PM game of hide and go seek around the block with the neighborhood kids, into a virtual reality of playing dress up on a figure on the IPad instead of digging out Mom’s old clothes and seeing what you can create. The scary part is that this leaves little encouragement in our next generation for pure creativity and engineering, because everything is being done for them on a screen and all they have to do is click a button to select what they want to do, while sitting on the couch. Kids can’t entertain themselves or make friends as easily anymore because so much of the day is being spent focusing on a technological base rather than socializing face to face with other people their age and coming up with one of the endless activities they could do together. What’s sad is that parents see nothing wrong with it- it’s become such a norm that parents think they’re depriving their children of technological advances when they deny the kids time on technology, yet they are completely oblivious to the social and mental mark this has on their kids. The other day while out at dinner with my family, I look over and see a baby in a carseat carriage crying while his parents were eating dinner. I wish this was a joke, but it’s not- his mother pulls out an IPad and presses the play button on a video she had recorded of herself comforting her baby in hopes of getting him to calm down. Allowing so much technology in our lives effects us so much more than we realize- and it breaks so many capable bonds we could have. Though i just barely missed it by a few years, I am so thankful I spent my childhood hiding in any crevice i could find in my neighborhood while my friends yelled “READY OR NOT HERE I COME” while playing hide and seek rather than sitting in a dark room listening to a screen say “press play when you want to start the game!”
The quote that caught my eye in an article i just read about childrens books was this: “What exactly is so powerful about something so simple you don’t even need a highschool diploma in order to do…” and to me, this quote taken out of context means that creating a childrens book is so simple- perhaps one of the most simple forms of literature to create- and yet it leaves such a big impression on many children and therefor growing teenagers, and then adults. Books that help shape our childhood are not ones we easily forget. They bring back pleasant home and family memories and bring us back to simpler times when our parents had to help us sound out words like “horse” or “color”. What astonishes me is how much of an impact and lasting impression these books have on so many kids and teenagers, yet the authors of them are just creating simple, often kindergarten level and below, books. It is amazing to think about the fact that so many authors try to reach out to readers and make a lasting impression with their words- their 1,000 page, complicated novels- but most of the time we don’t remember what it was even about a year or so later. Ten years after my mom sat on the couch with me and read these childhood books aloud to me, i still remember them almost word for word. Sometimes it really is the simple things that our hearts grab hold of. One book I think people should continue to read to their kids is “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Numeroff. This book teaches kids that when they are not just grateful and happy with what they have, it is always best to remember how blessed they have it- and refrain from asking for more, more, more as we often hear kids do as they are learning the values of gratefulness and working toward stepping away from selfishness. This book teaches a great lesson in a simple, cute story that kids will continue to remember.
One of the most interesting things to me is makeup. I love the way you can express your mood and senses through using you own face as the palette. Seeing peoples’ different makeup styles, looks, and creations brings me joy because you can tell a lot about a person through their artwork. When an artist uses a normal canvas palette, they aren’t exactly able to show it to everyone they interact with throughout their day, but with makeup art, it is possible. People think we wear makeup to cover insecurities, to feel better about ourselves. It isn’t always about that. It’s also about showing your feelings and art to people. Getting your inner perception and disposition out.