Mae Jemison: Teach arts and sciences together

Earlier this weekend I watched a Ted Talks video. It was called, “Mae Jemison: Teach arts and sciences together.” It was a twenty minute video or so and honestly I didn’t know what to expect. To start off, the title sounded interesting. Teaching arts and sciences together, kind of made me think about Innovation Lab. How everything connects and is so similar. And that’s exactly what Mae Jemison talked about. She mentioned how their should be no line between the two. Yes, there may be huge differences between the two but they’re not all that different, the arts and sciences.

In the sciences you expect to only learn about scientific things. How can there be creativity to biology or chemistry or even physics? A lot of people believe that their is no creativity in the sciences, but what about scientific experiments in chemistry? Mixing different chemicals together and trying to create slime, isn’t that creative? I remember freshman year, Biology was a total disaster for me. We did less experiments and mostly learned through videos or reading passages from a textbook. Some classes, are like this. And it really depends to the class. Not all science classes allow students to show their creative sides, but creativity doesn’t just come from the arts like photography, painting, or writing. It also can be seen on the flip side, on the more scientific systematic side.

Sophomore year science, Chemistry, was a bit different. It related more to Mae Jemison and how she believed science and the arts are similar. She mentions how the difference between the  arts and sciences is not constructive vs. deconstructive, because we use both techniques in everything. Sophomore year, when we first began Innovation Lab and started experimenting in our Chemistry class, one day we were told to make slime. We were given the tools to do so and the materials and had to follow step by step directions to get the task done.

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This experiment, slime making experiment, was constructive in a way because it helped us, as students, as scientists, to learn how to create new things and try new experiments. While at the same time, taking different safety precautions and working and collaborating with others. It served a useful purpose. Although it was also a deconstructive experiment. After creating the slime (which in fact, I did incorrectly at first and had to redo), we had to write a critical analysis of what we did and how we did it. Like Mae Jemison once said,“The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity”, they work together and they need each other, because the sciences without creativity may in fact be tedious, and the arts without analysis may never help us to investigate or use meta cognition to think deeper into what we are doing and or reading.

Although, no matter the differences between the sciences and the arts, our imagination is what helps us become better and more creative thinkers in both. With these two, comes different types of intuitive and analytical ideas and creations. In the arts, humanities, and in Innovation lab, we not only read literature and write stories, but we also use analysis to anatomize different quotes in books (like The Great Gatsby or Huck Finn). In the sciences, Stem, and also in Innovation lab, we not only learn what consists of physics such as kinetic energy or velocity, but we use our creativity to learn with our hands and construct dissimilar ideas and experiments as a new way of learning. I think what I’m trying to say is that, no matter the differences of science and art, no matter the differences of physics and modern literature, they are, without even realization, a manifestation of the same thing.

 

STEM experiments

Recently in our STEM class, Mr. Walach and Mr. Schlosser had informed the whole class on doing two different experiments. One experiment focusing most on the conservation of mass and volumetric flow rate, and the other focusing most on water weight and head height.

In the first experiment, experiment 1, we had to measure the speed water exits a hose and how it changes based on the diameter of the input hose and output hose. The formula for speed based on height is;

v=x2hg

where v = velocity of the fluid, x = horizontal distance traveled,
h = height of fluid above ground, g = gravitational constant (-9.8m/s2)

In the second experiment, experiment 2, we had to determine fluid flow rates at the bottom of a system due to gravity. The formula for speed based on height is;

v=x2hg

where v = velocity of the fluid, x = horizontal distance traveled, 

h = height of fluid above ground, g = gravitational constant (-9.8m/s2)

While doing these experiments, I came across many positives but also negatives. During my first experiment I had worked with a group of people I wasn’t so familiar with. During my second experiment I had worked with a group of people I did know, some of my friends. What was most interesting was that the experiment that I had done with the people I knew, had the best results. I think this might be because we were more focused and determined to get the work. But of course, with a little bit of fun.

Here is one photo of my experiment 2 group and I finding the distance of which the water lands:

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When we designed our experiment we created a hose that had about 3”8 in diameter, while the tube was 65 centimeters. We varied the height of the tube to see what will change while measuring the distance of the water that hit of the bottom of the bucket. The constant of this experiment was the height in which the fluid had exited. And the height had constantly changed.

As we did this experiment by measuring the distance, we collected an extensive amount of data. We wrote down the initial starting height (cm) which changed frequently, height from ground (cm), and lastly, the distance water flows (cm).

 

 

Here is some of the data we gathered:

 

Initial starting height [cm] Height from ground [cm] Distance water flows [cm]
Test 1: 95

Test 2: 95

Test 3: 95

35

35

35

56

52

57

Test 1: 90

Test 2: 90

Test 3: 90

35

35

35

45 cm

48 cm

50 cm

Test 1: 85

Test 2: 85

Test 3: 85

35

35

35

49 cm

49cm

47cm

Test 1:80

Test 2:80

Test 3: 80

35

35

35

36 cm

38 cm

40 cm

During and after, we did these two experiments we learned about velocity and distance. Velocity is the speed of something in a given direction. Distance is a scalar (having only magnitude, not direction) quantity that refers to “how much ground an object has covered” during its motion.

We also not only learned more about different physics terms and about experimenting different trials, but we learned more about how to create these experiments on our own and solve problems on our own. Within these two first experiments that we have done this year, we were very self directed and had to make sure we motivated ourselves to get the work done. We also had to not only solve problems on our own but we were able to talk them out with our group members, if we were stuck on something.

I really enjoyed these experiments that we did in STEM and I really hope we do more of these in the future. And hopefully, if they involve water again, I’ll get more water into the bucket than on the floor.

 

My Sanctuary

I’d watch the sunset just sitting their on the edge of the rock that was overlooking the field and the playground as the sun shifted colors. What once was a bright blue sky with white marshmallow clouds, turned into pink cotton candy clouds of red and orange mixed into one each other. It was as if someone was on the other side of the sky, taking a brush and mixing different warm colors together, to create a painting for others to see, for others to capture with their own eyes. Moment’s like these were the moments that I lived for. These were the days where my mom would call me downstairs to look at the sky, as I’d race down the stairs to look up at the beauty the artist had created for me to see.

Looking up at the sky gave me a type of peaceful feeling. a  feeling whereas I internally became more and more relaxed just by even looking up at the sky. This feeling drew away my worries, my fears, the things that were making me upset. The sunset was full of serenity; and it lifted me up when I was feeling down. It reminded me that life is full of colors. Full of different experiences, not just the good , but sometimes the bad. Although, we shouldn’t worry, because every single day we have a new painting created for ourselves. A new painting filled with new goals, different values, different things that makes us original from everyone else. This painting reflects who we are as people and everyone looks at the sunsets differently in a way.

When I look at sunsets I think of the things that I look forward to every single day. The things I like about school and the things that make me excited just to even do in my classes. When I look at sunsets I completely block out all of the negatives. The things that I don’t look forward to when it comes to school, or the things that that I’m thinking about too much and probably shouldn’t be. As human beings, it is human nature to overthink and allow the negativity to draw out all of the positives in your life and all of the happiness. Although, each and every one of us has something that takes us away from that overthinking, from those negatives. To me, one of them is the sunset. To others, it may be taking long walks to clear your mind, or sometimes people may even organize everything just to simply be able to think straight.

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Some people may look up at sunsets and think about a specific memory they have of someone, or even think of someone who loves the color pink. We all are looking at the same sunset but one sunset can remind each and every one of us of different memories. We don’t all have to be thinking about the positives and the good things that makes us happy in school. Instead, you can be looking at the sunset and thinking of your family or of someone who you really really love but could never tell them.

Our thoughts are like sunsets; filled with so much color and emotion but they could never be written down. We think so much about how we feel about different things or other people, but we never really feel the need to write them down. Usually people feel silly writing down what they feel. Although, in my sanctuaries, whether it is outside in my front yard or the park near my house, {Bible st. Park} I usually like to write down what I’m thinking. Whether it is a journal entry, a poem or even a bunch of random things that I heard people say or quotes that I’ve seen online, I’ll write them all down. Writing things down gives me a sense of safety, a sense of security. My journals and my writing are the closest things that I have.

I mean, if we were talking about a person here, I’d mention my sister, because well, she and I are very close. Even just being with her and hanging out with her is something that I love but holding onto someone for so long, for them to be your sanctuary probably isn’t the best thing for you and that other person. I remember, a while ago, someone told me that I was their medicine. That I apparently solved all their problems and without me they would be lost. To them, for some time, I was their sanctuary. Now they have moved on and found a different place, or more realistically,  a different thing to help them with the negativeness that was going on in their lives.

Unlike this person, who instead used people and objects to feel safe and loved, my sanctuary is not only the sunsets in the sky and the writing in my journals but it’s that lovely feeling of sitting outside and being able to feel the earth beneath you. To just be able to sit outside and allow yourself to lay on the grass not worrying about how many mosquitoes might bite you or whether or not your clothes will get dirt on them. My sanctuary is to just be able to sit outside and open up The Clearing by: Heather Davis and get consumed by this other world written on these soft felt pages. My sanctuary is being able to sit outside on the edge of the rock overlooking the field and the playground and listen to some of my favorite songs on one of my spotify playlists. Songs that reminded me of the good memories and the things I looked forward to in the day. Things like writing new poems and taking more walks. Or rather, things like the sunsets and the pink cotton candy clouds floating over my head.

Designing Labs for Ethical Sustainability

“Considering your initial design and what you see of the intro labs, what is the importance of pre-planning  especially when we connect our design to ethical sustainability?” 

In an article named Ethical Aspects of Sustainability by Bruce Jennings, he once said that; “a sustainable society lives within the carrying capacity of its natural and social system. It has a system of rules and incentives that promote replenishing and limit-depletion and pollution. A sustainable society builds upon the commitment of it’s members to conform to these rules voluntarily, and it enforces them when necessary.”
When it comes to pre-planning, as a group in STEM, we need to acknowledge that creating the ethical aspects of sustainability comes within a certain system of rules. As a group we must be aware and well known that a sustainable society builds up more and more with commitment of members through the communication of members and the teamwork. First before anything else you must be able to have an effective amount teamwork skills and listening to other peoples ideas. When we were first introduced to our project we were asked to choose a partner we wanted to work with and a vegetable or fruit that we were interested in growing. Later on Mr. Walach and Mr. Schlosser, told the whole class that they were going to create groups of four with your partner that you had chosen. This led to a bit of worrisome and fear to a lot of people because this meant that you would have to get out of your comfort zone and talk to different people. Which can sometimes be difficult to others. But, as the project progresses, learning how to have effective communication and a strong sense of teamwork is important when trying to plan and create the best work possible. Therefore I believe, that if you want to create a sustainable aeroponic system before anything else you must find that line of communication and teamwork to make sure that your experiment will be as ethically sustainable as you had wanted it to be.

After we were introduced to this project of creating an ‘automatic aeroponic system’we were told to begin researching what we wanted to grow and the materials that we needed for the experiment. We put our research in a shared google document so that we had a safe place to store our notes and go back to it when we needed it. This past couple of weeks of school my group and I have done an extensive amount of planning, we created many goals for ourselves although a goal without a plan is simply a wish. As Stephen Keague once said, “Proper planning and preparation is important because it prevents poor performance.” Since our project is about creating an ethical and sustainable environment for the fruits and vegetables that we are growing, we must be fully aware and open minded with our planning.

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As Frank Zappa once said; “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open.” Take studying for example, if you don’t study for a test and simply go into it and wing it, your outcome may be not what you had hoped. Studying is like planning and also like a parachute. In relation to our STEM project, If you’re not open minded you won’t have the motivation and determination to plan for something that is important to you. Your outcome might not be as efficient as you had imagined, and your Aeroponic System may not be as sustainable. Therefore, you must need to keep an open mind, put in your best income, create goals and plan for yourself, have an awakened spirit, create good communication, value teamwork and hope for the best outcome.

Ethical Responsibility

 

Ethical Decisions is the act of making refers to the process of evaluating and choosing among alternatives in a manner consistent with ethical principles. In making ethical decisions, it is necessary to perceive and eliminate unethical options and select the best ethical alternative. In relation to leaders making ethical decisions, they may begin to face some challenges. Some challenges that leaders may face in making ethical decisions, is that a leader may want to do what is best for himself but also what is best for his people. This can cause difficulty when you want to stay true to your own values but also make the right choices for your community. This also comes in difficulty if the leader has different moral dilemmas. A moral dilemma is a situation in which there is a choice to be made between two options, in a leader’s case, it is between doing the right for yourself for the others other you. Although, as a leader you have a moral set of values that you must achieve to stay that type of leader. A leader is a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country. In Andrea Walker – Leidy’s words leadership is; “the ability to see a problem and be the solution. So many people are willing to talk about problems or even empathize, but not many can see the problem as a challenge and want to drive toward it. That is what causes people to want to follow, and a true leader has a following.”

Leaders regularly face challenges when it comes to trying to make the ‘right’ decision. Age, culture, and the way someone grew up all came into play when leaders or simply everyday people are trying to make what they believe is the ‘right’ decision from the ‘wrong’. A leader may treat one person differently to another due to the gaps in their age. A leader may also make different decisions, what they believe is the right decision to people who are used to a different culture. If a group of adults got together from Brazil to go to church and have a religious night out the leader may change the way they lead and go with them because that is what many people value in Brazil. The leader would have to make what they believe is the right decision at that moment, to either go with them to respect the culture and their religion or back down and say no.

Every single person has different life values and it’s important to know what personal values we want to achieve in our lives whether it is in relation to education, work, or simply ourselves and other people. We all want to be able to work more on our strengths but also our weaknesses. Each and every one of us want different things. We all want to have freedom and flexibility, to make and set priorities for ourselves, and to decide values for ourselves that we believe is important. Every leader has their own set values, values for themselves and sometimes for others. Every leader wants to be brave, to have the strength, and to maybe even be a hero to others. But every leader has a different strength and weakness in making decisions, specifically ethical decisions. For example, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,

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she values children and their learning experience at school. She has the urge to make sure that teachers are building each and every child as an ideal citizen of the country through instilling ethics and values into their minds and hearts. She believes that; “it is your teacher’s duty to impart the knowledge of good and bad, justice and injustice, and brotherhood to students and thus build such a generation which would be fit for leading the country towards greater prosperity.” The prime minister of Bangladesh also mentioned that she would call upon all to take initiatives so that Bangladesh could be declared an illiteracy-free country soon. The literacy rate in Bangladesh is about 61.5% for all and 64.6% for male. The global literacy rate for all people aged 15 and above is 86.3%. While the global literacy rate for men is 90.0% and for females it’s 82.7%. As the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 2009, Sheikh Hasina goals and values was to make sure every teacher was teaching to their fullest and making sure each and every child had the best and right education. As the leader of a country, Sheikh Hasina believed that her views and her decisions were the right ones. Not only was she so focused on what best for herself but also what’s best to empower the people that are looking up to her, hoping she’ll make the best and right decisions.

To the prime minister of Bangladesh, she had a passion for education and making sure that each child is improving in their education. Not only did she remain true to her own values, she still made sure to make the right choices for her community. As a leader, that is how she as a prime minister worked and that’s how she dealt with solving decisions and making choices. Other leaders, may have a more difficult time making decisions, preferably the ‘right’ decision. They’re too involved in themselves and only want what they believe is the best for them and other people without actually listening to other people. Good leaders are the ones that try to face and solve ethical decisions making sure that not only they are true to their own values but others are in agreement with those decisions. Good leaders are the ones that listen to others and give the people the freedom and flexibility to be who they want to be, learn what they want, create what they want and speak what they want. A good team leader is a leader that shows respect and love to all.

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A leader in relation with followers understands that people differ and are all different. Each and every person has different beliefs, religions, views, and perspectives. A leader who manages followers and strengths and weaknesses are able to be humble with progress. Lastly, a leader who gives credit to others can do what it takes to get the job done without damaging others and their views. Leaders all come in different types, each and every one of us is different, and we all have different values. Whether that is our education like the prime minister of Bangladesh idolized in children or our family. We all have different values that affect the way we make our own ethical decisions.

The Cellar ~ Natasha Preston

When I picked up this book at the library I didn’t know what to expect. I had known who the author Natasha Preston was and actually read another one of her books, ‘Silence’, on Wattpad and I didn’t think I’d find myself reading another one of her novels. I guess I thought wrong.

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The Cellar by Natasha Preston is about a girl named Summer Robinson who is kidnapped by a man that keeps her and three other women trapped in a cellar. Seems like a pretty basic novel topic. Although, the power of the three point of views; Summer’s, Lewis’s, and Clover’s reveals different tones of voices and emotions that are laid out in vivid imagery. In Summer’s POV’s she explains her heart-throbbing want to escape and or get out of the man’s house. She repeatedly mentions that if she didn’t have the hope of getting out, and or Lewis coming to save her, she wouldn’t have minded if Colin had killed her or not. That is how desperate Summer had been trapped, 7 months, in the cellar.

 

In Lewis’s POV’s he explains how much he severely wants to see Summer and hopes that she is still alive rather than dead. He spends most of his days getting no sleep and having search groups for Summer.

 

In Clover’s POV’s he explains how much he loves his ‘little flowers’ and believes that his family is much better than any other family out there, especially Summer’s that was currently looking for her. In his POV he mentions a lot how he is ‘in control’ and won’t disappoint his mother. Psychologically, I’m sure that Colin had been brainwashed into thinking that what he was doing was okay because it really wasn’t.

 

Besides the three POV’s, this novel spoke to me on a spiritual level. I felt as if I had a strong connection to Summer as she was struggling to survive, trapped in the cellar. As she was trapped she told herself over and over again she wasn’t going to become ‘Lily’ and she wasn’t going to become brainwashed like Rose. She thought about how strong she was and how she was going to get through it because she knew she would. Like Summer, in sticky situations, I think about the positive rather than the negative. Sometimes the more you begin to think about something to more you begin to believe it. So as Summer went through her days, she began thinking more and more about having hope and waiting for the day where Lewis comes to save her.

 

Another character that I strongly connected to was Lewis. As Lewis had heard that Summer was missing he did nothing but try to find her and prayed that he would find her. He loved her with all his heart and would do anything to get her back. Like Lewis, everyone has someone that they feel strongly about and cares about with all their hearts. If something had happened to my little sister whether she was in the same situation as Summer or was being bullied in middle school (when the time comes) I would be there for her for every one of her problems and every one of her situations. She has always been there for me when I was sick or when I have had a bad day and she talks things through with me like she is my older sister, although she is six years younger than me. If it ever comes down to her being faced with something challenging and her needing help I will be there for her every step of the way, just like Lewis had been there for Summer.

 

Besides the character connections, this novel this tugged on my emotions like a Tug O’ War game, moving one way and another way, causing me to feel different types of feelings. As each character slowly progressed, some kept alive and some killed, I got to know each and every character and feel their emotions as if they were right in front of me, with me even. Although this novel is so surreal it is one that makes you wonder a lot especially towards Colin, one of the main characters. After finishing The Cellar I still don’t know as to why Colin had been the way he had been. He fell in love with the girls he kidnapped, named them after flowers, and then abused them when he had lost his control. Although he was twisted minded and very scary at times when he felt the need to murder prostitutes in the cellar as the other girls watched, reading his thoughts and getting to know more about him through different hints became fascinating. As much as the story was about Summer being kidnapped that is not the main purpose of the story. I believe that the main purpose was to uncover how Colin’s mother had a huge affect on his life before and after her death. Colin regularly went to visit his mother’s grave, collected flowers because she once said that they’re ‘the purest form of nature’ and murdered prostitutes because his mother had walked in on her husband cheating on her with a hooker.

 

As I read this novel I had become more and more in love with Natasha Preston’s writing. The first book I had read of hers was Silence. She had originally written it on a social media reading platform called Wattpad and later created it into a novel. As I read Silence, a novel about a girl named Oakley Farrell who had been silent since she was five years old, I read it quickly in about a week. Silence had about 206 pages, so it wasn’t very difficult to read. I originally, myself, began writing my poetry on Wattpad and had seen her book Silence in the featured section of the website. I am glad that I took the time to read her story because if I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book, The Cellar and decide to read it. I admire Natasha Preston not only for her writing but for making me believe that you can achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it. She never thought, as a writer, that her novel would become so big and or she would become a well-known author. She has given me the confidence and the strength to reach for my goals and to gradually become a better writer.

My 2016 Summer Vacation Pt.2

The last time I wrote a summer related blog post I was talking about my very first weeks of this summer vacation. I wrote about how everything had been moving slowly and how I was sleeping more than going outside and doing actual things and talking to more people. I drank large consumptions of coffee and did things that interested me as the summer vacation slowly progressed. I took a substantial amount of photos to improve my photography skills and volunteered at the Cos Cob Summer School to work with little kids and help them improve with the things that they were struggling with.

At that time Summer felt endless. The days moved slowly and lasted longly as if summer was never to end. At that time I felt both happiness and sadness. Happiness because I knew that this summer would be something great and the longer that it lasted the more time I have to create new experiences and to onto different adventures. But sadness because at that time, I wasn’t doing as much as I’d hoped. I wasn’t hanging out with many of my friends because they were gone traveling. I wasn’t filled with busy schedules and waking up earlier than eleven in the morning to do things. At that time summer had been slow and also felt slow.

Just yesterday, I waited for my parents outside of the Alpine’s and stood along the people that I had met at a place that I can call my home, Camp Hazen, I felt completely different as I did earlier on this summer. Standing around the people I had met for the first time and got to know for three weeks, we all stood waiting for our parents to pick us up. It had been 6:30 pm and the three weeks that we had spent together had felt like the longest three weeks in my life yet also the shortest. The girls in my Alpine, Alpine 1, Alison, Kira, Hannah, and Lia, we didn’t know each other before camp. But as we got to know each other more and more and bonded and connected, as the last day arrived we felt as if we had lost each other. Tears had fallen and everyone hugged simply standing together like a family of birds flying together in the sky. All twenty of us, we were inseparable.

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As Lea’s (which means that we were basically CIT’s and doing a leadership program), we had been through seminars. We learned about different ways to cope with kids who were missing home or were being bullied and how to handle things like that if we were ever to see it happening. We learned about strife-guarding and making sure that every kid we see is safe and happy and having fun. As a LEA, I had the opportunity to talk to more kids, do Cabin Nights with them and evening activities with them. With Cabin 6 I remember the first week I did Senior Citizen Night with the eight and nine-year-olds. We dressed up as old people and walked around with sticks telling everyone else around to “get off our lawns” or to “stop playing the pop music”.  As a LEA, y0u get to get to know all the different kids ranging from the ages of 8 through 15. I got to talk to kids in groups, play games with them, talk to some individually. I never knew how much kids loved to draw until they started drawing their favorite band names on my legs or signing their names on my legs telling me that it could help me remember them. As a LEA, I got to experience working in Day Camp which I love with all of my heart. Day camp has a different feeling to it and all the kids are enthusiastic, energetic, kind, polite. They all say things that make you wish you were a little kid again and tell you that you’re there best friend. Day Camp had been one of my favorite program times that I had assisted in although I loved everything else as well.

I worked/assisted in CA (Creative Arts), Land Sports, OP (Outdoor Pursuits), and Water Sports where I helped kids with their swimming lessons. During Day Camp, when I was with the group called ‘The Turtles’ which was a group of kids going into second or third grade, they had a schedule that looked like this:

  1. Shelter Building

2. Lunch

3. Water Mat

4. Swimming Lessons

When they had Water Mat one girl named Kailey was so scared and didn’t know how to swim so as she was terrified of the water and still scared that she wouldn’t float even with a life-jacket on, she held onto me and held my hands. As we both got onto the water mat, she told me that if I fell in she would fall too because we were best friends. At times like this, I cherished every moment I had at camp.

Not only did I have such a great time with the campers and getting to know every camper from every cabin, I got to bond with the other 20 LEA’s who were all the same age as me. As we bonded and got to know each other we connected in a way that you can’t connect with people back at home or at school. Nobody judges nobody and we were all weird and different in our own ways but we connected and became closer with one another beyond our differences. We experienced different adventures together like the Values Journey where we were all driven to the woods to walk a new path and think about our Values and the things we live for and love. We challenged ourselves to sleep outdoors one night by ourselves. We talked to nobody around us. We were simply left to think about the moments we’ve created and our thoughts that were swarming in our minds. We were left to write it all down on paper to share the following day. In the morning I woke at 6 a.m with tired eyes and a shining sun in my face. My gift to the group was a letter, 11 pages, I always write more than I have to, take back to my English and History Essays. But in my letter I wrote about each and every person, I wrote about all of the 20 LEA’s and mentioned all the things I admired about them. Each and every one of us had to make a gift to the group and share it the next day. It could’ve been a letter, poem, story, picture, anything that you wanted to. Lindsay, one of the LEA’s I got to know drew a picture. It was a sketch of a picture she took on her camera as all of the girls were walking up to their sleeping spots. Here’s what it looks like:

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Overall, I can simply say that my summer has been incredible. Simply getting to know everyone, and working with kids from all different ages was amazing. Being drawn in that photo (on the left), creating memories with the other LEA’s, helping a little girl swim and have fun in the water, and just being at the place I love, Camp Hazen.

I miss it every day, and I’ve only been home for three days. I guess that’s the thing about camp, the spirit of Camp always stays within you.

 

 

Station Eleven ~ Emily St. John Mandel

“- not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure (60.)”

As a student who has a strong passion for reading, I usually come across many many books. There are some that I may adore, while others, I may question. While reading Station Eleven by; Emily St. John Mandel, I was introduced to an apocalyptic story where “survival is insufficient”. In Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic story she created a new world that took all of the things we cherished and taken for granted. Within this new world, she constructed new friendships and relationships with different characters while damaging and destroying the connections that they had made along the way. Mandel wrote a story that connected the modern world to her world and connected how us humans feel, think, and try to survive in our everyday lives. Even if we’re not sick with a Georgian Flu, endurance can be difficult at times and we all know it.

I remember in one classic dystopian novel that I read this year in English, Fahrenheit 451 by; Ray Bradbury the main character had struggled with many things to simply try and stay alive, or to at least ‘feel alive’. The main character Montag simply had wanted to preserve the banned books and to keep the things that had meant something to him to continue in existence. In connection to Station Eleven, one significant character, Clark had done something similar. To preserve the past and the world that he had once lived in and had taken part in, Clark had created the; Museum of Civilization’. Which was located in the abandoned SkyMiles Lounge in a part of the airport that he had currently been living at. As I as a reader, noticed these similarities between the two novels, I began to notice the similarities between the characters and myself.

As we go about our lives trying to find our reason to this world, trying to find our calling. Each and every one of us is finding different adventures and experiencing different perspectives. We are thinking about new things and even if we don’t realize it, trying to find different ways to survive in this world. Each of us wants to gain something from the world. Some of us may want to be loved, while others may want to be appreciated. We all want to feel a certain way, to be treated a certain way and sometimes we may feel like we won’t survive until we’ve gotten these things in return. Sometimes I feel like I won’t survive in this world. I won’t be able to face what will soon come to me in the future. I always seem to over think about my ‘reason’ for this world and what I will grow up to do. I hope to do my best and to make people question and think about my writing just like I do to Mandel’s because “first we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered (187.)” And as a writer, I would love to become noticed, but what’s most important to me is to become remembered and for people to actually like and listen to my voice in my writing.

I want to be remembered like how the Traveling Symphony remembered how to go back to look for each other when one went lost or missing. Even so, the Symphony struggled with survival. The Symphony was insufferable, picked at each other like siblings but instead of fighting over who would eat the last cookie, the Symphony fought over who had used the last of the rosin, or whoever missed the most rehearsals. But no matter how hard it was for the Traveling Symphony, no matter how many steps they had to take to reach their new destinations, or how many steps they had to reach for a place with actual civilization, the Symphony was their only home and they only had each other. They were connected by their love for performing and for playing music and for acting. They were so close that in a heartbeat, they would do anything to make sure that they were okay and that they were surviving together.

survival_is_insufficient_by_baleineau-d93zn5l.jpg

Credit: http://baleineau.deviantart.com/art/Survival-Is-Insufficient-550897401

Like the Traveling Symphony I have my own ‘home’. Yes, a home that I live in and that I have clothing, food, shelter and water and all the basic things that I need for survival yet there are other things that we all wake up to in the morning for, there are things that motivate us to do the things that we dream of and to accomplish the goals that we create for ourselves. To some of us, it can be a goal that motivates us, others it can be a person. Like the Traveling Symphony my home is my family. My home is my Mom who asks way too many questions and always makes sure to see if I am okay but that’s her way of being a ‘Mom’. She’s always there for me, even on my not so good days. My home is my Dad who drives way too fast and doesn’t understand why I like taco bell so much but he and I have a great connection, and that is we both reach for what we want and do what makes us happy. My home is my little sister who knows how to do flips that I don’t even know the names for and talks about going to the Olympics for gymnastics when she’s older. And even though my sister and I are six years apart she is my best friend.

So even if life gets hard and ‘survival becomes insufficient’, you’ll always be able to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I mean Kirsten did. As she looked through the telescope she saw, “pinpricks of light that arranged into a grid. There plainly visible on the side of a hill some miles distant: a town, or a village, whose streets were lit up with electricity.” Sometimes all we have to do to see the light is to have hope; because hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

My 2016 Stay-Cation pt.1

Summer. The word that sparks smiles in little kids faces and ignites happiness and adventure in teenagers lives. Summer. The season of the year where kids are allowed to explore different ideas and different activities. Summer. The two syllable word that lingers in people’s minds. Just the fascination, the thought, of travelling, of being able to swim in the depths of the sea, Summer. Summer.

My summer, or shall I say my ‘Stay-Cation’ has consisted of sleeping in for longer than I should be and staying online watching way too many Netflix shows. My summer, or may I say my ‘Stay-Cation’ has been composed of reading too many pages and too many chapters of Station Eleven until 1 a.m. My summer or might I say my ‘Stay-Cation’ has not only contained a lack of sleep but also a large consumption of coffee.

Enough with the repetition.

So, Okay.

My summer so far has definitely been different from other summers that I have experienced. At this time of the summer break, I would be at my sleepaway camp. Although instead, I am either finding myself reading a book, scrolling the web, writing a story or simply waiting for my camp days to arrive. August is when I leave.

But man, Isn’t that such a long wait…

Okay, okay, okay, let’s not get too mellow now.. You have a while until camp but let’s look at what else you have to look forward to!

Ok. So, in less than a week, I will be volunteering at the Cos Cob School summer school. Working with a group of about fifteen first graders. Helping them with their math, their reading and writing skills. During my summer last year, I did something similar. I didn’t work at the summer school but I did find a new volunteering opportunity to work with little kids as a CIT at a local day camp. Camp Simmons.

Ah, great memories…

Okay, back to the point.

Anyways, during my Stay-Cation, I hope to be able to inspire these little kids to do better in school, to become more creative in their writing and to become more passionate in their learning. I hope to become a mentor to them, just as much as I was a mentor to the kids at Camp Simmons.

I can’t say that my Stay-Cation has been horrible because then I would be lying. Sure, I’m not going to Cuba or I’m not in Paris right now taking photos of the Eiffel tower (which I still need to complete on my bucket list) but I am spending a lot more time with my family this summer which is actually really fun.

Sure,

My sister and I fight sometimes, but we are sisters. I mean come on, who doesn’t fight with their brothers and sisters? It’s a family thing, you are bound to pick fights over the simplest of things. Although, no matter how many little fights my sister and I may get into, each and every day we are getting closer and closer. Like two peas in a pod, I would say.

This summer my sister and I have created way too many Musically’s together and it mostly consisted of her teaching me how to tut. Which in fact, is really hard. She figured out how to this dance and I absolutely hate how she can do it and I can’t. I mean really?!? So unfair.

Look at how cool it is:

Well.. the video is sideways but that’s okay.

I mean, I don’t know. I may be overreacting just a little bit but my sister has been really good at a lot of things lately. She’s fantastic at gymnastics and she can do flips and things that makes me think, “is she even human?!?”. She’s great at reading, I mean she says that she doesn’t like to read that much but she’s going to be in advanced learning in fifth grade, which is pretty impressive if you ask me.

Anyways,

Not only am I able to spend more time with family since I have so much time left until August, I am trying to expand more on my interests and my talents. I decided to take more pictures with my camera and to explore different ways to write poems and to write stories. I started writing a story called Willow and hopefully it will be something I can continue and not quit after a few weeks. I also have taken lots of more photos of different kinds and here are some of them:

Even though this summer I am staying in Greenwich Connecticut I decided to take some nice beach pictures when I went to Tod’s Point. Some of these photos are from the walk I took while others are right on the beach. This summer I want to be able to expand my photography skills and to be able to share my pictures with more people, to express something with the photos that I take, the beauty that words cannot create.

My 2016 Stay-Cation, so far has been great. During my next blogpost I will be talking more about some goals that I have for this summer and some DIY things I would like to try.

Till next time..

– Juliana Salamone

Vision of The Graduate:Collaborate With Others to Produce a Unified Work and or/heightened Understanding

As an end of the year project we were told to choose four capacities from the Vision of the Graduate list on the Greenwich Public Schools website. As we chose our four capacities that had related to us the most during the year, we studied our capacities and practiced writing about our acheivements, accomplishments, and sometimes even failures within these capacities. Not only did we write about them but each innovator in Inlab was given the opportunity to speak about two of the four capacities for five minutes in front of each Inlab teacher to reflect on their past school year. One capacity that I had chosen to not only write about but talk about, was the Collaborate With Others to Produce a Unified Work and or/heightened Understanding: 

One project that made a big impact on my life in school and out of school and helped me learn more about how to collaborate with others in group work was the National History Day Project.

My group and I struggled a bit with getting along and working together because we were friends. Sometimes, working with friends is not only good but sometimes bad. I know that sometimes for me, even, working with friends gives me the opportunity to be myself and to put in my best work and not worry about being judged.

Being able to work in group projects, you need to be able to collaborate with others and make sure that there is a certain understanding of what is expected and how to work together without any issues. I know that my group and I had trouble finding our common ground.

It was hard working like this because there was no accurate collaboration or communication. When there was collaboration and communication it wasn’t effective enough. It wasn’t effective enough  to make sure that everyone in the group had the correct mindset to keep going without wanting to create another fight with one of the members in the group.

We had group meets to talk about these struggles but we never actually accomplished anything good from it, we just ended up yelling at each-other more and more. Not only have I been through something like this in my NHD project but with my STEM water cycle project, and with some of my relationships with my past friends. It stinks, because you really want to be able to get along with your group members, especially if you are friends with them, but if the collaboration and communication is lacking, so will the power of a good, healthy friendship.

Next year I hope to overcome the struggles of working in groups and try to receive more help on math problems that I am not so sure about without having to be my own teacher. As Brian Herbert once said, “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice”.  So next year as a junior and in the future, I want to be able to learn how to improve these capacities, and improve these skills, to be able to learn with willingness and understanding.