23/05/2012 § Leave a comment
Forgive me, I wrote a lot.
I had to write a lot this year. I had to write a lot for every single class. My classes this year were Maths, Social Studies, Spanish, World Literature, PE, Interlude, Publications and Physics/Environmental Science. Believe it or not, I had to write a lot for every single one of those classes. Yes, that includes Publications, Interlude and even PE. I was constantly writing investigations, reports, design cycles, lab reports, write-ups, reflections, stories, letters, anything and everything. Sometimes the writing had a clear purpose or goal – there was a certain technique that we had to study or a concept we needed to investigate. Usually this was for Social Studies, World Literature and Spanish. Some writing assignments also made up a certain part of a grade, like for PE, we’re required to make a write-up of how we plan to prepare for the mile run and then reflect and analyze the run afterwards. That was all for a grade. Other times, the majority of the writing assignments given to us were endless, always came back to the same conclusions and were, at times, pointless. (By pointless, I only mean that we’d learned and completely understood everything in class and didn’t need to spend an extra three hours at home writing a long report on something that already made sense.)
Throughout this entire year, I was given countless opportunity to develop and explore my writing. Granted, I would have liked to do more creative writing but I never really had the chance to. I did get that one chance to explore some creative writing when we had to write a pastiche for After Dark during our absurdism unit in English. Other than that, though, I wasn’t able to do anything creative this year and that really disappointed me. That was my “thumbs down” of the year. The thumbs up was the pastiche and the opportunity to use my blog more. I enjoy blogging (is it obvious?) because it’s really modern, I’m good at it, and it’s more interesting than writing a normal report. It also lets me put out my writing into the world more and that’s always a bonus despite my tentativeness to show people in the first place. (Blogging forces you to put it out into the public, no questions asked.)
Last year, I know that my writing always beat around the bush and wasn’t straight to the point all the time. I think I was able to fix that a little bit more this year and focus only on making my statement clearly and cleverly and moving on. Also, I think I was able to put a lot more personality into my writing this year. In the past, I would write and write, and be done with whatever I was writing. I may have had some personality in the past – I don’t remember and I never paid attention – but this year, I paid more attention to the voice in my writing and I think that has developed a lot. I believe this is because of my excessive use of my WordPress blog. Blogs are a lot more laid-back and casual and I was able to put a lot of pizzazz in my posts, subconsciously developing the voice of my writing in the process.
My voice is one of my strengths now, at least, that’s what I think. It makes my writing interesting and a lot more fun to read than the average paper that only drones on and on. Another strength in my writing is my organization. I tend to make at least a small plan before writing most of my essays, reports and blog posts, if not a long outline with details, example sentences and explanations. Because of this, I think my writing usually has a good and easy flow to follow. Everything is normally logical and although the details may not always be very clean and supportive, I follow a route and a path that’s basically making a point at the beginning, supporting the point with other facts and explanations, and then ending by restating the first point I made and asserting it further. Organization is one of my strengths but also something I can always work on.
I think my biggest weakness is knowing how to word things properly and concisely. I have so much to say all the time whether it’s orally or in my writing and I always try to cram all of it in at once. My mindset is that all of the things I want to say matter and I should find a way to put all of it on paper (or laptop) before I forget anything. This shouldn’t be the case, though. I think my mindset should be something along the lines of, “Okay, I have a lot of thoughts but the best way to communicate those thoughts is to filter them, choose the best and most intelligent thoughts and put that in a few sentences.” I’ve been working on that and am still in the process of developing my skill in writing concisely. It’s definitely a weakness, in my book.
Now, down to the basics and specifics. The course this year in English was quite good and rather interesting, I think. We learned a lot of techniques and specific ways to write. We studied drama for the first time in my history of learning English. I got the chance to study Antigone and I’ve always been interested in Greek history (the more tragic, the better!). I think the choices for the units were good for tenth grade. Last year, in ninth grade, there was a lot of literature in the form of novels and books. This year, we saw more short stories and plays, not all books. I think this was a good introduction for us into more mature forms of literature and now it’s clearer that books are not the only form of good writing. However, despite all that we learned this year, it would still be good to work on creative writing, as I mentioned before. I know they’ll keep all of the reports and commentaries and that’s good, keep the commentaries because we didn’t get nearly enough practice this year. But I do have to recommend that the course gives the students more chance to write creatively because I’ve seen how much my creative writing has deteriorated recently. With the lack of practice and the time to write creatively, my creative writing, though informative and still interesting, just isn’t that good anymore. I had more chances in ninth grade and tenth grade should have more chances, too.
With that said, I expect more chances to write creatively next year. Of course, I do want to continue learning how to write commentaries (because the most recent commentary I wrote was a bucket of cat food) because analyzing literature is actually interesting, contradictory to what most students think. I expect cold, hard lessons in writing and, although I’m scared of them, I expect ruthless, merciless critique. Lots of it. It will break my heart and make me feel like a worthless human being but I know that in the end, it will improve my writing and before I know it, I’ll be piling literature and writing awards in my closet. I can’t say I’m ready to face critiques next year but I expect and want a lot of it from students and teachers alike.
Finally, as a learning goal for next year, I want to expand my vocabulary, improve my use of vocabulary, continue to learn more forms of literature (I am being honest, learning about the forms of literature we did this year was so fascinating), improve my skills in analyzing literature, and write creatively a lot more. I have an entire year. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to do all of this. I love writing. I’m not quite sure why, but I do (a lot) and this year was a good growth period for me. Hopefully next year will be, too.
21/05/2012 § 1 Comment
Not by year, but by day.
a one-world article concerning Canadian Academy’s current electricity consumption.
The problem: overusing energy. The solution: common sense. In this era, we find millions of communities and schools facing the same problem involving the environment and the extensive use of energy in the form of electricity. Our own school, Canadian Academy encountered similar problems involving unnecessarily high usages of electricity. The effects of this to the local environment can be and are only negative, using up far more resources and money than the school ought to be using. Thankfully, with the recognition and awareness that CA could change for the better came a new annual week-long event called Earth Week that began in 20091, with the hopes of improving the environment. However, Earth Week only happens once a week every year. If CA truly wanted to cut down it’s overwhelming ecological footprint and start up an ecological handprint it could be proud of, shouldn’t we be aiming to conserve energy all year-round? The question then serves: what difference does Earth Week actually make in the school’s electricity consumption, and how could we utilise its programs throughout the year? For Canadian Academy to truly improve their ecological footprint, they should implement the ideals of Earth Week not just for a week, but for every single day of the year.
What is Earth Week? Earth Week is an entire week of events and activities focused on environmental issues2. It started off with the proposal of Earth Day, originally made by John McConnell at the 1969 San Francisco UNESCO conference. United States Senator Gaylord Nelson officially initiated the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Earth Day was then popularised internationally by Denis Hayes in 1990 when he organised environmental events in 141 nations3. Today, Earth Week is known globally and many different people use their resources online to draw attention to the events as well as share and educate others in the multiple ways to maintain a rich and healthy environment.
The purpose of earth week is to continue enlightening and educating people on building a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with the planet. Earth Week is organised to dedicating an entire week of activities, programs, initiatives and sometimes even workshops all connected to the sustainability of the environment and the conservation of all types of resources and energy4. In schools, the role of Earth Week is becoming increasingly important as the activities are significant in the moulding of intelligent and planet-friendly students. Earth Week mainly aims to inform people and to teach them how to better treat the planet they live in.