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.
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.
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.
For a short period of time, I tried being evil. The reason being that I wanted to understand what it felt like to be the villain, who seems to have much more fun than the hero, aka the nice guy who seems to have everything and everyone he loves taken away from. It was…a difficult process. I feigned ignorance to avoid helping someone with their homework, I ignored my ‘friend’s’ need for assistance, I pretended not to see someone I didn’t like, and so on. It felt pretty good.
Instead of New Year resolutions, I had Spring Break resolutions. A super short list—actually only two things—that I had wanted to try over the week. I absolutely love digital art but not knowing anything about hands-on art could be problematic. I also wanted to try something new and maybe learn something from that experience to help me with design.
Pain(ting) was a wild experience from the beginning to the end. I bought a cheap five dollar set of acrylic paint from Michael’s, borrowed a few brushes from my friend, and sketched an outline on the canvas. As I was setting up the paints, I slowly realized that I was actually going to paint. This was going to be a work of art. Maybe.
For most of our short lives on this beautiful earth, we are waiting for something. Waiting in line for movie tickets, AP test scores, that one cute person from second period to reply, etc. You’d think after knowing that waiting is such an important element of life, people would be more patient. That’s not true at all.