Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sophomore No Longer...

The origins of the word "sophomore" are Greek, "sophos" meaning wise and "moros" meaning foolish. "Wise fool". I find this label most appropriate for most tenth-graders, including myself.

Despite reading Sean Covey's Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Teen, I found myself slacking off for a majority of the year. Without a doubt, procrastination was my toughest challenge, and I would be lying to myself if I said it was a problem of the past. I wish putting things off until the last minute was a habit I would grow out of, but for some reason, I think a lot more effort will be required to change my poor study habits. I can already tell that, as a junior, self-discipline is vital.

I remember being in second grade and thinking about my older cousins ...Seventh grade?! Wow, you are old! Now seventh grade seems a lifetime ago, when really, it was only about four years ago. (I don't feel that old!)

Now, I only have two years of highschool left. Two years until I graduate. Two years until I step out into the world outside of BHS. Just two. Amazing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Mice and Men...In Review

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men...

Hmm.What to write?

I cannot figure out why, but this was one of my favorite books we have read in class this year. This particular novel takes place during the Great Depression near Soledad, California. The drastic difference between the way of life for Lennie and George, the two main characters, and how I live intrigues me. I am unfamiliar with the challenges of managing money so that expenses for living space, food, and other necessities fit into a $50 a month budget. I have never had to worry about finding or keeping a job, or looking out for an over-sized, trouble-prone "kid" who means well but always ends up causing harm.

So, without completely understanding all the hardships he faces, I sympathize with George and the monsterous kid Lennie

House On Mango St.

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is a collection of descriptions of a neighborhood and life in general through the eyes of Esperanza, a hispanic girl, as she grows from pre-teen to young adult.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the writing style used by Cisneros. While the reading is not a challenge, the inferring and connecting required to comprehend some of what Cisneros is portraying is difficult. The racial descrimination against hispanics was evident, but I did not realize, until I was nearing the end of the novel, that Esperanza was getting older. The end did not come together as well as I hoped it would, leaving me slightly unsatisfied. Although I was not fond of this book, the unique writing style was a pleasant change from the norm.

I would only recommend this book for someone who is specifically looking for books about different cultures/social groups...not for just leisure reading.

The Giver

Lois Lowry's The Giver caused me to think about government control. The way the society in the novel is set up makes for a perfect community, or so the members believed.

These are just a few of the "checks" their government had on the community:
  • Job Assignment-though requesting a different assignment was allowed
  • Family-choice of spouse or children were not allowed, though a request for up to two children could be made (only 1 boy, 1 girl per family unit)
  • Responsibilities-bikes were given only when a child became the "appropriate" age
  • Meals-food was delivered at the same predetermined times each day
  • Grandparents-did not really exist, no one really met their parents' parents
  • Curfew-was against the law for people to be outside during certain hours (unless job-related)
  • Clothing/Hair-the way children dressed and wore their hair was mandated according to age
  • Social Conduct-certain behaviors were considered wrong and rude and apologies for these transgressions were standard
  • Climate-while not a social aspect of the community was also controlled by government
Reading The Giver changed my perspective on many aspects of life. Everyone would benefit from reading this thought-provoking novel at least once in their lifetime.

Modeled after Wheelbarrow

So much depends upon

the devoted piano teacher

aged with experience

from the clueless students.

Well...maybe not. I don't know why I wrote about a piano teacher. The last time I took piano lessons was in fourth grade. I barely remember my piano teacher, but I know that she was always thoughtful. I guess this subject was just the first that came to mind.