In the beginning of the second semester, Mr. T vaguely mentioned the innovation project and I was a little interested, but at that time I didn’t have any ideas. So when the last few weeks rolled by, my friends and I partnered up with one goal in mind: art. After about two days of much deliberation and long talks during practice, one of my partners had an idea. How about we set up a small art exhibition using the art from the Special Education students, with all donations going to their choice of charity? Once the teachers gave us their approval, we were pretty much set.
So we had the idea, now we had to do was make it work. They made a Twitter and an Instagram, while I designed a banner and flyers to hand out. We had a lot of places in mind for the art exhibition, but it seemed to be a little difficult to get anyone to give us a serious response. We wanted to do it at the library, but there were some issues here and there regarding the location. Luckily, one of the amazing people at City Hall helped us by offering a spot at the Recreation Center. He told us that it would be pretty much empty on Saturday, so we had the whole area to ourselves from 12pm to 3pm. After getting the location, we hurriedly handed out flyers to all of our friends to spread the news. Even better, one of my (favorite) teachers happened to hear about it and he offered extra credit to those who went to support us.
When Saturday came by, the three of us were hyped. We arrived at the FV Recreation Center around 11 in order to set up the paintings. It involved a lot of running around, lots of panicking, but we were able to set everything up successfully. Around 12:30, people started coming, taking pictures, and asking us about the exhibition. Some classmates of ours came by, some friends, and some people who just happened to see and were interested. Overall, we raised over ninety dollars, thanks to the support of everyone who came.
This past month or so, me and a group of my friends started a project we titled, “Fleece 4 Furry Friends.” And now, at the end of the month we…
- gained the approval of the NKLA[No-Kill Los Angeles] Pet Adoption Center
- made about 10 NKLA themed blankets
- contacted local businesses to see if they could sponsor us and house a donation box in their stores
- donated $50 worth of blankets
- raised a total of $62(the extra $12 will be put back into the project and used to make more blankets).
This is us with our blankets at the shelter!!
For my innovation project, I decided to make succulent terrariums and sell them to my classmates. At first, I was in a group with my friends who did their project “Fleece for Furry Friends” but I decided that I wanted to split off from the group and do my own thing. It was kind of a last minute idea (like 11:30 pm idea) so i had 29 minutes to decide whether I wanted to do it or not. This idea derived from me wanting to make terrariums and because California is in a drought, I think this is a great alternative to other plants. So after 10 minutes of deciding, in the end, I did it. I created my slide explaining what I was doing and submitted it by 11:59 pm. At first, I thought I was going to regret it. And… I guessed right. I absolutely regretted it. The first few weeks I was totally confused. I didn’t know how my budget was going to work. I was afraid I might lose money rather than gain. I had to research how much succulents costed. But I manage to figure it out by May 30.
In most English classes, a book is assigned to be read in a certain number of weeks, long lists of vocabulary words are thrown at the students, and tests are slammed onto the desks of the students who are probably about to fall asleep from staying up until 3AM in the morning to study for this said test. It’s a very standard, normal way of making sure that the students actually read the book but it’s not a great way for the us students to learn the material. So, when our teacher introduced the BRAWL to us, I was really hyped. Our assignment was to create three questions per group, in which our teacher would choose 10 questions that we’d have to research on. Then on a chosen day, two groups will go against to see who has the better argument and evidence. It’s somewhat like a debate, but a little shorter with more freedom for opinions from the audience.
For our BRAWL, my job was to focus on finding evidence to support our arguments. I wanted to connect as much of the novel to relatable things that people knew about, such as the current news or personal experiences. And judging from the reaction of the audience during the BRAWL, I feel that I did a solid job intertwining All Quiet on the Western Front with our lives. In doing this, I feel that people are able to grasp a better understanding of our arguments, even if they didn’t agree with us.
As I was searching for evidence, I was able to realize a few things that I wouldn’t have normally noticed if I only just read the book by itself. When I read the book, I was able to see that war was horrible and atrocious and ultimately a waste of lives. But I didn’t make a connection between the book and the real world until I saw how war affected our society. It kind of blew my mind. It’s one thing to see someone suffering inside a novel, but it’s another thing to realize that this suffering applies to the victims of war. It’s all coming together now and I feel the same sense of satisfaction when I finish a connect the dots activity.
When our teacher called up the teams, my team mate who sat next to be took out her phone and started playing LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!! She’d just be right there all pumped up and trying to get the class all hyped. Then there was me. I thought this was going to be like an actual debate, where we sat down and argued against each other. But this wasn’t anything like a regular debate. No, it was better.
I’m a thinker. I like to think about a lot of things, which is why the books I enjoy most are usually about psychology or politics. I’m invested in learning as much as I can, from coding to understanding the stock market just because all of it seems so intricate. Being a thinker is totally awesome, but there’s one problem I’ve always had: communication. I have so many abstract ideas and thoughts that are just flying around in my head but when someone asks me what for an opinion, my brain blanks out. Or even worse, I give an answer that doesn’t make sense, getting confused glances, and it mostly ends up with the both of us being very lost and bewildered. But with blogging, I find it easier to be able to express my thoughts in a way that the audience is able to really understand. My communication skills are getting better, but they’re still weak. I hope that in the future, I’ll be able to talk to others the same way I blog.
Generally, I find posts where I told stories to be more popular. The stories were usually a reflection or a lesson that I learned from the past. I also really liked writing these posts because I was able to relive some old memories and realize how much I’ve grown and changed over the years. My favorite blog post would be this one, where I talked about my (former) angst with art and my overcoming of said angst.
For next time, I would definitely focus more on writing something personal(ish) and less on attempting to sound like a student writing an essay. For almost all of my blog posts, I felt that my writing was awfully bland since I wasn’t really sure of how to write. I’m so familiar with the typical, standard way of writing that I was struggling a little with ideas for the blog posts. For some of my posts, there seemed to be a lack of personality and creativity, something that I find to be important for someone who wants to be an awesome blogger. For next year’s students, I recommend that they try different writing techniques (story telling, comparisons,etc.) because it definitely spices things up.
In my opinion, I think that blogging was a good experience for me and other students. It was a place for us to express our ideas without suffering from the consequences of normal ways of grading, while also learning how to write. If anything, the only thing that I would to see for next time would be to implement more of what we learned in class. I felt that a lot of blog posts were unrelated to what we learned in class and were somewhat a little bit too personal.
After about a third of a year blogging I’ve really gained a newfound sense of accomplishment as well as the ability to write blogposts about, well, just about anything. Anything meaning things that make me angry, or that are extremely rant worthy—which is basically what all my blogposts are about.