This paragraph was originally longer than it looks now.

31/08/2011 § 1 Comment

How do the characters come of age?

In the short story The Boat, the characters who come of age do their best to ignore the scorn from certain characters and pursue the things they want to do in their lives with support from other characters. The character that shows the most contempt and disapproval towards the sisters’ and boy’s dreams is their overly traditional mother. “…without theological aid, ‘I would like to know how books help anyone to live a life.’” (p. 10) She is the brick wall that keeps the sisters and boy from pursuing an academic and educational dream that kept up with the changing world. “…‘I don’t know what’s the matter with my girls. It seems none of them are interested in any of the right things.’” (p. 11) She even verbally attacks her husband, blaming him about the decisions her daughters were making: “‘Well, I hope you’ll be satisfied when they come home knocked up and you’ll have had your way.’” (p. 11) The sisters, however, refuse to succumb to any of her torments and continue to meet new people and experience new things that their mother disapproves of: “Each year another of my sisters would read the books and work in the restaurant,” (p. 15) which is exactly what their mother doesn’t want them to be doing. They find the strength to disobey their mother’s wishes because of the faith their father has in them, “Sometimes they would talk to him a long time, the murmur of their voices blending with the music of the radio…” (p. 15). Eventually, the sisters part ways with their families, still maintaining contact, but dispersing around America. The boy eventually finds his own way, after his father’s death, pursuing a career he wants to take up, not something his uptight mother wants him to do. Like his sisters before him, he ignores his mother’s overwhelming discouragement and, perhaps partially in honour of his father, follows the dream he originally set out for himself.

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Self-assessed grade for the original paragraph, with some notes after the changes

A: 7 – The paragraph shows some literary features (inserting a quote within a sentence) and uses a pretty wide range of vocabulary but doesn’t use it effectively enough to imprint the message/theme of the paragraph into the reader’s mind. It demonstrates a good understanding of The Boat but not yet an in-depth understanding. There are lots of relevant details and explanations that explain the statement. The language was (originally) very wordy and sometimes confusing but after an edit, it sounds clearer and less complicated.

B: 8 – After getting a little bit of feedback, I was able to fix the paragraph and better it. The paragraph is written in a rather sophisticated and serious matter, maintaining formality. Sometimes it isn’t organized and clear but does try to follow a general idea.

C: 9 – The original paragraph had a few grammatical/wording errors that confused the readers. It does use a register that is sophisticated and matches the subject of the paragraph. There are rarely any grammatical errors and only a few tense errors. The paragraph also demonstrates a wide and rather appropriate range of vocabulary.

Self evaluations on chocolate almonds & economics

31/08/2011 § 1 Comment

I believe I deserve an achievement level of 9. I think I covered all of the concepts that we went over and discussed in class but perhaps it isn’t clear enough to some people. I did try to bold each word so that the reader would know that it’s an important word that the should pay attention to but perhaps it wasn’t enough. As I saw in some blogs, maybe it would be better to write the words down with their corresponding definitions unless the method I used (inserting the vocabulary straight into my paragraphs) already works.

In my opinion, my summary of the class’s activity was rather thorough and very detailed as I think some of the small things mentioned during the activity was important. (For example, it was mentioned at least twice that scarcity must be limited and desirable. Also, we were supposed to allocate the chocolates to only one person and because of this, the resource becomes scarce.) The summary of the class’s activity is also accurate because I made sure to write the blog and note down the events on the day that they happened.

I was able to connect the concepts to the activity quite well, and tried to apply the economics of the activity into every step the class went through. I believe I did that quite well, mentioning the economics terms here and there. I also commented on another’s blog in a way that I thought was constructive and would help them improve their blog. Kohei told me he fixed his blog so I assumed that the comment was helpful.

I did make a real-world connection but I don’t feel that it’s deep enough. I tried to link my research of the film industry to the economic factors that we learned in class and perhaps I reached a level that shows a general understanding of the terms but not yet an in-depth understanding. I mean to say, I was able to pinpoint which parts of PACED the producers went through but I did not try and assess every single possibility that I could have found in the real-world situation. This might lower my grade a bit.

From economics to chocolate almonds to the latest on the ‘Hunger Games’ movie

25/08/2011 § 2 Comments

The best way to convince a group of high schoolers to stay focused in class and never, ever lose their attention is to bribe them. In this case, a good number of the class was entranced by that box of chocolate-covered almonds that called to them. It’s not every day that a teacher offers you something to eat that’s so… unhealthy but so good. This was the class’ first lesson in economics.

We needed to get that box of chocolates. Or, actually, one person had to get that box of chocolates. There’s the problem. Ms. Welbes only bought one box of chocolates for a class of 13. Our objective was follow a process to allocate, or distribute, the box of chocolates to one person. There are a lot of economics in a decision like this because of a few factors, one of them being that the chocolates are scarce, meaning that as a resource, it is limited but it is desirable. Another factor is that the process we used to make a decision (PACED) required that we make an economic choice, which, in economics, is making a decision based on the options and alternatives you have available.

As for how we decided how we would choose a winner, we used PACED, a process that allows us to sort through options in an organized way. PACED stands for a the different steps. P defines the ‘problem’ and identifying it, which we did. There’s one box of chocolates that we weren’t able to split between the entire class and therefore had to allocate to only one person. A stands for ‘alternatives’ and, in my honest opinion, this was the best part of the PACED process. Basically the class brainstormed ways to choose a winner. We thought of games and methods like Jenga, the longest back-bend, a singing competition, a dodgeball game (Soul Survivor), the fastest swim, tallest/shortest person, the longest commute, Janken, and etc. The list really does go on.

This stage had to be narrowed down from about 35 options to 12 to 5 and those five ended up being Janken, hide-and-seek, video-games, Bingo and Jenga. It was important that when we narrowed down the alternatives and voted for certain options, we had to think which tests would be beneficial to ourselves. For example, Christina would probably have chosen fastest swimmer or longest commute because she would instantly win both of those and get the chocolates. Likewise, the class had to think similarly while voting for their favorite alternatives.

Afterwards, we came up with ‘criteria’ (which C stands for) that we would assess our five alternatives with. These four criteria were that the alternative had to be fun, it had to be fair, it had to be feasible (doable in under an hour), and only one person would end up winning. We then weighed each criteria according to how important they were to us. I personally gave fun three stars, feasible two stars, fair two stars and one person winning one star.

E stands for ‘evaluate’ and in this stage, we needed to assess each method by giving negatives or positives according to if they lived up to the criteria or not. For example, Jenga wasn’t an alternative that would end up with one person winning so that received one negative. However, it’s a really fun game, so Jenga also receives three pluses. This stage of the PACED process applies one of the more important economic terms we learned. While evaluating, we were also using economic reasoning to analyze the costs and benefits of an alternative to make the rational choice. The negatives were the costs and the positives were the benefits. 

Whichever alternative had the most positives obviously won and according to the class, hide-and-seek had the most pluses per person. This was part of D stage; making a ‘decision’. Everyone assessed the alternatives according to their preference and afterwards, hide-and-seek was the overall winner with the most pluses. Just today (Wednesday, August 24), the class played a (really, really) quick game of hide-and-seek and Grace was the first one to find a bean bag. She won. Immediately.

And that is the story of how Period 2 allocated a scarce resource, the box of chocolates, to one person by using economic reasoning to make a rational choice through the PACED process.

Real World Connection:

In real life, similar decisions are made all the time, in things we wouldn’t expect would be related to economics. A real world example of making decisions with economic reasoning can be seen in the film-making business. I’m very into films and TV shows and anything that requires saying “Lights, camera, action!” because I’m just like that. It was wonderful news when I heard that The Hunger Games trilogy was in talks to become a series of movies (four movies are part of the plan, just FYI) and an article on an economic decision I found in the production of the first Hunger Games movie is found here.

The major problem the producers faced was finding the perfect actress to play Katniss Everdeen, a very well-sought role in Hollywood — which might make it a scarce resource because good roles in Hollywood are easy to find. Great roles are running short.

These producers found their alternatives, many different actresses like Chloe Moretz, Dakota Fanning, Emma Roberts and so many more. These alternatives were assessed with criteria that are specified here, where the casting director talks about what she’s looking for in the actor for Katniss. Those characteristics are the criteria which the producers will use to assess each actor. The evaluation is basically making the final decision. The alternatives were assessed and the final choice were made: the decision was Jennifer Lawrence.

This is all very exciting news for me (it’s the Hunger Games, of course it’s exciting) but it’s even better to know that some of the things I’m interested links very strongly to something as intricate as economics and economic decisions.

Note: Commented on Kohei’s blog.

Understand this: I. Speak. English.

24/08/2011 § Leave a comment

English is one of the most basic ways I communicate with my family, my friends, and the rest of the world. Personally, I think I’m quite accomplished in writing, reading and speaking in English because I’ve been practicing that particular language for eleven years now. If there’s one thing I can’t do very well with English, it’s reading. Almost everyone around me reads English quickly and completely understands what they’re reading. Maybe I’m slow or maybe I just reread things too much but I take a lot longer than other people to finish books. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading — I really do love reading. Really.

I speak only a bit of other languages and cannot really communicate perfectly with languages like Tagalog (the Filipino language), Japanese and Spanish. I try to use these other languages whenever I can; Japanese whenever I’m outside (this is Japan, after all), Tagalog at home when my parents, brothers or other Filipinos speak to me, and speaking Spanish as much as possible is required in the class I take. I know English much better than these other three languages and therefore it’s the primary tool I use to communicate with and talk to other people.

Surprisingly, English wasn’t my mother tongue when I first got to Japan. I actually spoke a lot of Tagalog and I was quite good at it, too. Soon, though, Canadian Academy and it’s elite English-speaking ways soon got to me and I was jabbering in English, and only in English.

It’s interesting, being able to speak English better than my original mother tongue, Tagalog. Whenever my family goes back to the Philippines for vacation and to visit our relatives, I find myself having to switch to Filipino mode (or something) to be able to communicate with my relatives. English is out of the picture unless I’m speaking to my brothers. The funny thing is, once back in Japan, I find myself having a hard time switching back to International mode (or whatever) and I actually speak more Tagalog than English. It’s kind of a surreal experience every time I have vacation in the Philippines but it’s fun to go through, nonetheless.

As for studying English in Japan, I feel that it will give me a lot of advantages in the future compared to people who aren’t able to speak English as fluently as I do. Of course, seeing as I live in Japan, speaking English on a daily basis gets in the way of learning to speak the Japanese language. More than twice, I’ve had people say to me, “You’ve lived in Japan for more than ten years and you still don’t speak their language fluently!?” and it gets rather embarrassing (but I’ve gotten used to it). I’m glad I speak English well though, because now I have a lot more opportunities than I would have had if I didn’t speak English.

Which leads me to my final point: if I didn’t speak, understand, read, write or know any English, then I’d still be in the Philippines with limited college-choices, jobs and opportunities. Because I understand English though, I have an innumerable amount of opportunities to choose from located all around the world. I’m thankful for my skills in English. Although it can be improved in many ways (in the reading and the writing, especially, and in the thinking-before-speaking, of course, but that’s universal), English is an advantageous skill to have and we in CA are lucky to be so fluent in it.

In which Alleyrat releases its new album in October

22/08/2011 § Leave a comment

(Album release in October!)

Alleyrat is a robotic band. Our motto is Embrace the butterflies. Once upon a peanut, there were three peanuts who left their favorite robots in Yukon and built to the west coast. There, they rolled around, half beefy, half naively , confused and disoriented.

Leaving home was like leaping out of a moving rocket ship. Judging by the speed and the sound of a light busting, they knew had vanished all at once, and they were left hammering. About 87 months after arriving in Glasgow, Monique Stacy wrote a punk song about missing her old radiant St. Rose band, and posted the song in an ad on http://www.marvel.com. and that was how her bandmates found her and Alleyrat was whipped.

Alleyrat writes songs about peanuts and piggy banks. We sound like jazz and classical and metal, a mix of Owl City and 3OH!3, except with lyre. So be it. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to go. If you do like it, please stay. There are more panpipes where these came from.

Sometimes going away is stronger than staying, and staying is the best way to get away. If you pick yourself up and get lost, you’ll find yourself looking forever for your familiar toasters and failing that, find replacements. And if you leave The Cheesecake Factory behind, you will recreate it endlessly. Your geography defines you. And you know it.

Just about the third video explaining who I am and why I’m so important

20/08/2011 § 2 Comments

This is the last one though, I promise. (For World Literature.)

 

“This is me… as a student.”

20/08/2011 § 1 Comment

“Cool.”

I’ll have you know: it is cool.

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