How my writing has progressed

My writing has improved tremendously throughout the semester. Before I took this class, I didn’t really know the proper way to write a paper. Now, I learned how to approach writing a paper. I learned several ways to outline my information. The thing that I learned that has been most helpful to me this year is how to write a first draft. Before, I would always write a draft and make a few changes to it and call it my final copy. Now, I just get as much information as I can into a draft and revise and edit it as much as I can until the paper is due. Everything I learned this year has helped me to develop some sort of writing process. Now, I tend to outline what I’m going to write about and then write a first draft by just writing everything that comes to mind. My writing has definitely improved from work in class, but I feel like it mostly improved from the work out of class. It has improved from all the essays at home I’ve had to write. It also improved thanks to the blog. Writing a blog every week helped improved my writing skills. I feel like the blog has been beneficial because every week we write about something different. One week we need to analyze a video, while another week we might have to summarize and react to an article. By doing something different every week, I learned how to write with different approaches. I also learned how to write about videos I watched and how to write a reaction about an article I’ve read. This class also improved my writing skills because it taught me to explain everything. Everything needs some sort of explanation to it or else it could be taken in many different ways. Also, I realized I need to be very specific when writing. I learned that instead of just saying a car I need to say a black Subaru. Writing in and out of class every week has improved my skills tremendously. I now know the proper way to write an essay, which will be a very helpful skill throughout the next several years of my life.

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Reaction to “Did you know?” video

I really enjoyed this video. I enjoy talking about facts and statistics and many of these stats were shocking. I liked the first fact about “if your one in a million in China, there’s 1300 people just like you.” I found this fact very shocking. I knew that China was a very heavily populated area, but I had no idea how much a billion actually was. Another favorite fact of mine from this video is that “25% of India’s population with the highest IQ’s is greater than the total population of the United States.” Not only does this statistic show that India has a high population, but it shows that people in India are very smart. It is shocking to think that India has more honors kids than America has kids. This also shows that India must be doing something right with their education program or the United States must be doing something wrong. I also found it interesting that the top ten demanded jobs in 2010 didn’t exist six years earlier. This shows that in the future, will be holding jobs that don’t even exist yet. It is also interesting to think what jobs could be created that don’t already exist. I am also amazed how common online dating has become. I did not know that 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. met online. It will be interesting to see what that number will be in the future. My guess is that more people will start to use online dating and marry someone they met online. It is also shocking to see how popular goggle has become. This video was made in 2009. In 2009, there were 31 billion goggle searches every month. Three years earlier, that number was only 2.7 billion. I can’t believe how much we rely on goggle to help us find answers. I say this now, but I am just like everyone else. If I can’t find an answer to a homework question, I immediately go to goggle.com and type in the question to find the answer. Once again, this video was made in 2009, so one can only imagine the number of goggle searches every month in the year 2011. A text message is another type of technology that has come a long way in a short period of time. I normally don’t text a lot, so I can’t imagine how people send hundreds and thousands of text messages a day. It’s hard to believe that “the number of text messages sent and received everyday exceeds the total population of the planet.” Although I did enjoy all these facts stated in the video, my favorite part of the video was the ending that showed what happened in the course of this presentation. In only five minutes, 67 babies were born in the United States. That’s a lot of babies in 5 minutes. But, right after they showed this, the video showed that 274 babies were born in China. This is almost (but not quite) equivalent to a baby being born every second. A baby in China is being born about every 1.1 seconds. I also find it interesting that in only five minutes, 694,000 songs were downloaded illegally. This is the number of songs downloaded illegally in five minutes so I can’t even to begin to imagine how many songs are downloaded illegally in the course of one day. I really enjoyed this video, because it provided many facts and statistics that are shocking to think about. It is also interesting to think about how these numbers will change in the future.

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Japan Article Reaction

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/radiation-levels-reach-new-highs-as-conditions-worsen-for-workers/2011/03/27/AFsMLFiB_story.html

To me, one of the most powerful aspects what has happened in Japan is the radiation. The radiation is still a big problem weeks after the earthquake occurred. This article explains how the radiation levels are higher than they have ever been. Water that was sampled was 100,000 times more radioactive than normal background levels. Also, seawater iodine levels 1,000 feet away from the facility are 1,850.5 times the legal limit. This article also talks about the workers who are trying to stop the radiation from leaking. Already, 17 works have been exposed to high levels of radiation. To control this radiation, it will take months. The workers are trying to stabilize the cooling systems and keep the reactors from overheating. So far, the radiation has done a lot of damage to Japan and places around it. It has had an impact on me, because the radiation can reach the United States. This not only has an impact on me, it has an impact on the entire world. Already, radiation has been found in rainwater over the United States. Also, this has impacted me because it is showing me who the true heroes are in life. Everyday, Japanese workers are risking their lives trying to keep the rest of the county and the rest of the world safe. This has showed me that true heroes are everyday people. They’re not the guys we see on television all the time making a lot of money for playing a sport. The workers in Japan are constantly putting themselves at risk and already, some of them have been exposed to high levels of radiation. The radiation in Japan has got so bad, that a worker could reach his occupational exposure limit in just 15 minutes. These workers have shown me and continue to show me what the definition of a true hero really is.

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Plagiarism

http://media.www.clarksonintegrator.com/media/storage/paper280/news/2002/11/11/CampusNews/Biology.Instructor.Resigns.After.Plagiarism.Incident-320664.shtml

In this article, a biology teacher, Ken Hoekstra, resigned from Clarkson University after he plagiarized another teacher’s work. A student was searching for information on the Internet when he noticed a website from a professor at another school had the identical information that his professor, Ken Hoekstra, had on his website. After the student informed the school about what he discovered, they confirmed that Mr. Hoekstra had plagiarized and they thought it would be best if he resigned at the end of the semester. Plagiarism is a major offense and can get people in a lot of trouble. In this case, it cost a man his job. I’m sure there are many more cases similar to this. I’ve heard many stories about how people resigned or were fired from a job because they plagiarized. I don’t understand why people keep trying to steal other people’s ideas when they know it’s not their own. It is very easy to give someone else credit for their work. Too many people these days are taking other people’s work and calling it their own. Many people are plagiarizing that you would never think of, for example, the current Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden. Joseph Biden admitted to plagiarism while he was in school (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE3DB143FF93BA2575AC0A961948260). Also, many times in speech’s people forget to give credit to the person who came up with the idea. It confuses me to how people can ever plagiarize in a public speech. It’s very easy to add a few extra words and say “from the ideas of so and so….” Plagiarism is a major problem in the United States and all over the world. Too many people are taking credit for work that is not theirs. Major consequences occur if you are caught plagiarizing, so it is safe to take the extra step and to cite all the information that is not yours.

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Technology

I believe that most of the technological advances have been for the good. Many of these technological advances have made our lives so much easier and comfortable, but most of it is not necessary for survival. One bad thing that technology created is that technology is starting to consume our lives. For example, instead of going outside on a nice day and playing with your friends, many kids will stay inside and either watch television, sit at their computer, or play video games. Also, everywhere you go you see many people on their cell phones, most of them texting or checking their email. Technology has moved a little too fast for society to catch up with. Ten years ago, many items that we have in our house didn’t even exist. Technology is moving very fast. Every year, look how many new items of the same product are being invented. It wasn’t too long ago that the iPad came onto the shelves and it didn’t even take two years, (possibly not even one year) and Apple is already coming out with an iPad 2 this week. Also, the iPhone was released only a few years ago and this summer the iPhone 5 is being released. Today, technology is making us lazy. A remote is coming with everything, even with some air conditioners. Today, the sky is not the limit for technology. There is no limit. If someone has an idea technology can and will make that idea into a reality. It will be interesting to see what the future will be like if technology continues to grow at this amazing rate. 50 years ago, technology wasn’t anything like today. Most people 50 years ago didn’t even have checking accounts or bank-issued credit cards. 50 years ago they were just starting to build the “first system of automation for commercial banking” (http://techcrunch.com/2009/03/01/information-technology-50-years-ago/). People did not need a lot of technology to survive 50 years ago; they were only trying to make difficult tasks easier for them, such as this system of automation for commercial banking. 200 years ago, there wasn’t technology at all. People did not rely on technology to survive. When someone was sick, they did not take the medicine we take today. They would just wait for the sickness to leave their body. Technology has changed greatly over the past 200 years. It has helped us grow as a society, but it also changed the way we live by depending on technology for survival.

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“The answers you get depend on the questions you ask”

The quote, “the answers you get depend on the questions you ask” is very truthful. When we first watched the Simpsons, the question was “what was funny in this episode?” When watching this, we found many funny parts. I wrote down a whole page of funny parts from the episode. Also, everyone was laughing at least once a minute because of how funny the episode was. The second time we watched the Simpsons, the question changed to “how does this relate to society at that time?” When we watched the episode this time, people weren’t laughing as much. Of course we still laughed sometimes, but not nearly as much as the first time. The second time we watched the episode, we were trying to figure out how parts of the episode, signs that were shown and statements said by the characters, related to something in society. The title of the episode (A streetcar named Marge) even had to do with society. It was based on the movie “A streetcar Named Desire.” Even the music related to society. When the babies were trying to get their pacifiers, the theme song from the movie “The Great Escape” started playing. When we also watched the movie the second time, we realized how it was a social commentary about family life. In many families, husbands and kids don’t fully listen to their mothers. This can be seen when Marge said she was going to audition for this play. Nobody listened to her and when she brought it up again the rest of the family she never brought this to their attention before. When Homer said she was wrong, the kids agreed with him. Many variations of this scene can be seen in many families today. Also, during the play, Homer was just sitting their not paying attention. This also happens a lot too. Homer doesn’t fully support Marge’s decision to be in the play and this happens in society a lot. A husband sometimes doesn’t fully support their spouse’s decision and vice versa. This whole episode is a social commentary about family life.
“The answers you get depend on the questions you ask” is an insightful quote. It’s very interesting the think about this quote and how true it actually is. It’s still shocking to me that by asking a different question an episode of the Simpsons had a different affect on me. At first I thought it was funny because the question was how is it funny? Then I realized how the episode compared to society because that is what the question was about. This quote is true in all aspects of life.

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Reaction to presentation from Sir Ken Robinson

This was a great presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. He states how all-educational systems stress the importance of mathematics and literacy but how they don’t put enough importance towards ones creativity and imagination. He also states that the education process pushes kids away from music and art because they believe people will never get jobs in those areas. I agree with all the ideas presented by Sir Ken Robinson. The public schools are putting way more emphasis on mathematics, English, science, etc. but they are not allowing students to be creative and do what they want to do. Many students enjoy music, art, acting, etc. and the schools offer a limited amount of those courses. The students are limited if they are interested in these subjects while if a student is interested in math or sciences, they have a wide range of courses to select.
This presentation relates to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence test, because it is all about how we learn best. Some people learn best through logic and reasoning, while others learn best through music, their own creativity, etc. This presentation and the Multiple Intelligence test relate to each other, because the intelligence test is about the way we learn and the presentation is about how schools force us to learn a certain way and that is why kids aren’t performing as well as they can. For example, in the presentation he talks about a girl, Jillian. He states how the school thought she had a learning disorder. When the parents took Jillian to a doctor the doctor realized that Jillian is a dancer. Jillian had to move to think. They took Jillian to a dance school. Jillian ended up being a huge success in life and ended up being a multi-millionaire. This shows that educational systems only focus on one or two ways of learning, and that is why many students are not performing as well as they can, because the style learning the school uses is not the style that some students prefer.
This relates to me in my life, because in some classes I’m taking in school the teachers teach a certain way and I have difficulty learning that way. For example, some teachers just read notes off the projector and it is difficult for me to comprehend most of the notes. I need some sort of example to go along with the notes or some sort of explanation. My learning style is different from everyone else’s, and that is why in some classes I don’t perform as well as other do, but in other classes (such as math) I perform a lot better than others.
I believe that the panda example is a relevant explanation for this. I believed that the panda example was about how people tend to take things so literally and never think outside the box. They don’t use their creativity. They believe that eats, shoots and leaves, literally means eats, shoots, and leaves. This could mean something completely different. It might have to do with how panda’s react in their environment, or how panda’s hunt their prey. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with eating, shooting and leaving. This example shows how people need to use their creativity more often and think about what exactly the “encyclopedia definition of a panda” really means.

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Reaction to “a class divided” video

This video was crazy. At first, before even knowing what the video was about, I was not looking forward to watching it. But then, my eyes were glued to the computer. I couldn’t stop watching it because it was shocking.
At first, I thought the teacher should not have made her students go through that. I thought she would have been in a lot of trouble and other teachers and parents would have been mad and reported her. But, after seeing how the experiment was going and how the students reacted at the end of it, I realized that making her students go through that was the right thing to do. These students were in third grade when Mrs. Elliot taught them about discrimination and they still remembered everything about that lesson fourteen years later. I was in third grade nine years ago and I can barley remember anything I learned from that grade (other than cursive). All of the students remembered the lesson they were taught and it stuck with them through their lives.
The experience that she forced upon them was definitely worth what they went through. Even in third grade, they realized what they were doing was wrong. They realized that judging people based on their eye color was not right. The experience was also worth it, because the students were able to make the connection to society and how the whites always discriminated against the blacks.
This relates to the reading from Gloria Naylor, “The Meaning of a Word,” because in that story, the boy said a bad word to her just by looking at her. He made judgments just by looking at her and not getting to know her. This relates to the experiment, because when people were told that students of the opposite eye color were terrible people, they changed their entire view about that person. They knew everyone before the experiment started, but that didn’t stop them. It was like they never met them before. They treated them horribly just because of the color of their eyes. Just like the boy did to the girl in the story “The Meaning of a Word” except with skin color. What also shocked me was how much worse students did on the tests when they were the ones being discriminated against. It’s shocking to know that discrimination relates to test scores. What also shocked me was how much the adults were getting into it. The brown-eyed people actually believed they were better than blue-eyed people. The blue-eyed people were getting very upset over this and it was shocking to watch all of this occur. I believe in what Mrs. Elliot said, everyone should have to go through this experiment (but given the correct way by a teacher). The experiment, if done correctly, can really teach students about discrimination and at a young age. In psychology class right now, were talking about discrimination and prejudice, so right when the video was over, I emailed my teacher and sent her the link to the video. I think she will have the same reaction I did after watching this video.

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Reflection of Observation Essay

Writing with the intent to observe was very different then the other forms of writing I’ve been used to. I have never done an observation essay before and it was really cool to do. It was fun to study people’s actions and watch to see what they would do. While writing the observation essay, I just transferred my notes into sentences and typed them in order with no organization and called it my first draft. Normally, I would have some organization with my essays, and I would only change a few parts of my paper and then call it my final essay. But, for the observation essay I had to revise and edit more than I ever had to for any other essay I have ever done before. I enjoyed it though, because it’s making me learn good habits. Also, this observation essay is different from other types of writing I’ve done, because pretty much all other writings I’ve done has to do with informing and proving my thesis. Although I was still proving a thesis for this observation essay, my thesis seemed weak compared to the very straightforward theses of my other essays.
I thought it was difficult to write in this manner. But I’m sure most of this difficulty was because it was my first time ever writing an observation essay. The format of this essay was much different than the essays I’m used to. I’m used to writing specifically on an idea and supporting that idea, not just stating what I saw, heard, felt, etc.
One thing that helped my essay greatly was having someone else read my first draft. He helped me greatly. Some sentences seemed like they needed to be reworded after he read them. I never picked up on that after I read my draft. Also, having someone else read my draft helped me to realize that I was repeating the same words over and over again. He also helped me notice that I could use some better transitions and have more specific detail with each observation I stated. He truly helped me make my paper 100 times better.
Reading someone else’s paper also helped me in my own writing. When I went back to revise my first draft, I had more ideas of how to make my essay flow better from reading someone else’s essay. For example, instead of just stating everything I saw, I decided to turn it into a story and state within that story all the observations I made. I got this idea from reading someone else’s essay and it worked very well. Reading someone else’s essay also helped the organization of mine. I came up with a few more ideas of how to organize my essay from reading another’s.
Taking some time away from my first draft really helped my final draft. By the time I came back to my computer to revise, some sentences didn’t make sense so I had to reword them. Also, I realized that I could add more details to certain parts of the essay, strengthening the overall quality of the essay. I realized that some things shouldn’t have belonged and that I needed to explain more parts of my essay so the reader could have the same image I had while looking out the window.

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Slam Poetry Response

The first video that I chose is by Alicia Keys, and it is called “P.O.W.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkSObnpCimA). I chose this poem, because it has a great meaning and I can relate to it. She states that P.O.W. doesn’t stand for prisoner of war, but a prisoner of words. She also says that she should start to speak but then ends up staying quiet. I can relate to this line because I feel the same way at times. I feel like I need to speak up and say something, or get my ideas out there, but I don’t. I get so close but then I continue to stay silent, just like Alicia Keys said. I also liked how she uses the bars of steel and the jail within her poem. It’s a great metaphor that goes well with the poem. This poem has a very powerful meaning, and Alicia Keys adds to it by the way she performs the poem. She uses great tone, and she lowers and raises her voice at times. She also shows emotion throughout the performance. All of these things she does adds to the poem greatly. This poem fits my life at times, and everything about it was great (the meaning, the performance, the metaphors, etc).
I can also relate to the poem by Taylor Mali called “What Teachers Make” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpog1_NFd2Q). I can relate to this poem, because I hope to be a math teacher some day. Taylor Mali makes great points throughout his performance and he speaks the poem well, just like Alicia Keys with her poem. One thing he said that really relates to my life in school is “I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with less than your very best.” Throughout school, I always try to do my best. My parents always said similar words to what Taylor Mali said. They were always proud of the grade I got no matter if it was a C or an A, as long as I did my best. I also hope to take these words in my teaching career someday and hope to drive students that I will have to do their best. I also enjoyed listening to this poem because whenever I talk to this one man where I work at All-American Fitness Center, he always tries to tell me that teachers “brainwash us.” I always disagree with him. In fact, most of the influential people in my life are teachers. One reason why I enjoy school as much as I do is because of the teachers. They make class fun and they teach us more than what they’re supposed to. They teach us life lessons that none of us will ever forget. I agree with this poem by Taylor Mali 100 percent. If it weren’t for teachers, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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