Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ramadan Fasting Reflection, Day 1

My first day fasting was definitely difficult. All throughout the day, I was counting how many hours it has been since I last eaten and feeling the aches of hunger come and go. I think the most interesting thing about this fast is that I wanted to see how long I could go and how strong I could be--I participated in P.E. with nothing in my stomach, stayed approximately fifteen minutes in the cafeteria looking a mounds of spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread and apple cake before cracking and announcing that I was going to quit, tried to go on longer and not to complain. I almost did quit at the cafeteria. The food was almost too delicious for me to bear. Fortunately, Laura Chamorro entered with a bottle of water and dragged me off to walk around the track before I got my plate. She was my savior that day--the only reason I didn't stop and restart after Halloween. Mentally, the fasting wasn't affecting my mind too much--other than the occasional longing stares at food advertisements and drooling when I noticed that Subway had very appealing sandwiches, my mental ability wasn't harmed and I was doing just fine. Physically was another story. Although I didn't feel hungry the entire thirteen hours of no food or drink, sometimes it got the point where my stomach ached and water only made it worse, I got shivers and felt very cold, and got so exhausted, for the last three hours I was spread out on the couch, unable to do anything except watch Doctor Who until sundown finally arrived. It wasn't horrible, it wasn't easy, and I was tempted many times, but I resisted. Perhaps that's one of the reasons Muslims choose to fast--resisting temptation is so important in almost every religion and this fast requires you to do just that. It makes you feel powerful, in a sense. "I may be weak and tired and hungry," you could say, "but I am resisting the urge to eat and the temptation of food because I am strong."

On afterthought, you could also add, "And also because it's fun to brag that I'm strong enough to go without eating for fourteen hours."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

General Reflection

In which of the core values have you shown the most success? Why?

I think that in the values Reflective, and Balanced, I have shown the most success. This is because I took time this year to balance out all of my homework for all the classes. I tried to figure out what homework was worth doing tonight and what could be saved for tomorrow. Although sometimes my homework piled up, I tried my best to be Balanced and I succeeded to some degree. I also think that I was particularly Reflective this quarter. I've made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot, and in the end, looked back and thought what I could do better this next quarter. Already, I have several different goals that I'd like to accomplish this second quarter that will make it much more successful than the last one.

In which of the core values have you shown the most progress or growth? Why?

I think that I shown growth in Responsibility. This is my first year of middle school in which I really struggled with classes and my grades began to slip. I turned in several assignments late and did not end up with as good grades as I would've liked. Because of my experiences this quarter, I am now much more responsible in the aspect of emailing teachers and talking to them about my late or not turned in assignments.

Which core value is most challenging for you? Why?

I think that the core value that was most challenging for me was Innovative. I try my best to be creative and original with my ideas and thoughts, but when it comes to everyday assignments, I hardly do more than what's expected of us. I usually depend on other people to think of a creative way to display information. I think that this quarter I'll try to be more creative and original with my projects and strive towards innovation.

What the are your goals for the rest of the school year?

I am striving towards turning in all assignments on time, even if I was ill. Organization and punctuality has been an issue all quarter, and I really want to prove that I can turn everything in. It was also an issue last year, so I want to get better at it just in case it's a problem next year as well. That would be really inconvenient considering the fact that I will be starting high school next year and everything will be much more difficult in the first place. I also want to be more efficient with Accelerated Math and master five objectives every week, in order to be within the acceptable range by the end of the quarter. I think that if I go at this pace, I'll do okay and not fall so miserably behind as I was this quarter. I really think this following quarter will be much more successful than last year because I find out what things work and what isn't as great for my grades. I also have a comfortable routine, and will not have as much after school as I have now with the play.

Accelerated Math Artifact and Reflection

For my Artifact for Math, I chose my Accelerated Math. Accelerated Math is a website where we complete practices and tests in order to master objectives, which are different types of math problems. I always struggled with Accelerated Math because some particular objectives gave me more trouble and I therefore didn't complete practices easily. The ones I had the most trouble with were the Rate, Times, Distance problems. Here's an example of one, taken from Accelerated Math.

Despite the amount of time I spent on these problems and asking people like Mr.Swartz and Jenny Lee, I never understood these problems. Because of this, I couldn'’ get enough objectives ready to test, and then couldn't take tests.

I tried several different attempts to solving these problems, qualifying in the core value Critical Thinker, but still the problems continue to stump me. I think that I need to go to an After-School and clarify once and for all how to do these problems, so that I can continue with Accelerated Math and master more objectives. I'm planning on mastering at least five objectives each week with Accelerated Math this quarter. I think that this is a good plan, considering how if I go at this pace, I'll definitely be in the acceptable range by the end of the quarter, and it actually isn't that much work. It'll be much better than working in a frenzy in the last couple of weeks.

St.Anthony Chorale Artifact and Reflection

For my band artifact, I chose my Band Audition. It took me a long time to turn in, because it was a fairly difficult song, named St.Anthony Chorale. It had some difficult places, especially towards the end when you had to mix the upper octave with the lower octave. You can see on the assessment that I struggled with that a bit. I had to replay it several times on SmartMusic in order to get it right.
I think that I was Curious with this piece. I really wanted to get it right, so even when I got a good grade on it, I tried again. I tested out different rhythms and different strategies with breathing, trying to find out which way was the best for this piece. After several different breathless tries, and missed notes, I ended up with taking a breath in specific measures. It didn't end up as well as I wanted it too, but it was good enough for me and I submitted it. Also, I had been working on it for hours and really felt like I never wanted to play it again.

"CWW Text" Artifact and Reflection

This quarter, we had several writing assignments that required us to use different verbs and styles. On of them was a movie review, the other a PFL dialogue, and the one I chose to show to you today, a 200 word essay about the mines in Minas Gerais.

Because I was sick, I did not complete this in and time and turned it in late. However, I still received feedback that is visible on the document and I learned from it. The assignment required the use of three different new verbs, and had to describe our experience in the mines. It was a difficult assignment for me because I have never been particularly skilled at writing in Portuguese--I have several problems with grammar and accents which I am still working on.

It took me a while because those verbs were difficult for me to understand, but I finally finished something I was proud of. I was really happy when I received minimal feedback and got 80% on it. I think that I did particularly well on this piece and really learned how to use the verbs.  

"Experimental Design" Artifact and Reflection

The assignment I chose as my artifact for Science class was my Experimental Design project. We had to ask a question, form a hypothesis, write out a procedure carry out an experiment and record our results using graphs and writing down what happened. This was a difficult project because we had to choose what to experiment on--you had to choose between something you think would be interesting but tough to experiment, or something along those lines.  

This project took a few weeks to complete and throughout that time, me and my partner Kat encountered several different problems and obstacles. Here are the documents we used in that time:

First there was the problem of choosing how to experiment on this particular question. It was easy enough to find out information about it, but finding out how to test its viscosity and how many different types of water we should test took some time to organize. As a result, we had to change the procedure in order to fit in the new information and way of testing it. When we started experimenting, new situations occurred--we had too much wood, there wasn't enough time to freeze the water to that certain temperatures, the hot plates were constantly occupied, and so on. Along the way, there were moments when we couldn't record certain information and later mixed up and had to test it again, which caused general confusion. Luckily, in the end it was cleared up enough for us to understand our graph, although some of our information was missing or not included.

Although I do wish we chose a different subject for our experiment, I believe we did a good job with the procedure and our persistence paid off.

"Book Mosaic" Artifact and Reflection

This quarter in Humanities Class, we had an assignment called Book Mosaic. In this, we were supposed to choose a Historical Fiction or award-winning book, read it, and then complete a project showing different aspects of the story, answering questions, and formed into a symbolic shape that was important to the story. Although many people choose a regular-sized poster and organized the information in a way that was symbolic, I wanted to do something different. I didn't want to clog up the poster with too much information, and I also wanted to use the shape of a book without creating just a regular sized book, which I knew other people would do.

So, I decided I'd take a poster and use different colored poster papers to make the image of the girl (Lesiel) holding a book, which would have all of the information. At first, the poster would seem simplistic and hold almost no information. Once you open the book, you'd realize that all of the answers and images were cleanly stored away. Unfortunately, because of the time frame, I ended up only making the book and presenting it like that.

The project did not turn out as great as I had hoped, but mainly because of my time limit. The week before, when the entire class was working on it in Humanities, I was sick and missed the valuable work time. That weekend as well, I felt too unfocused to get anything done efficiently. Because of this, I only had a couple of days to complete the written aspect of the project, organize my thoughts on what I wanted to do, create the physical poster (or book, in this case) and prepare for presenting to the class. I was in a hurry and didn't do it as well as I would've done if I had more time.  I felt as if the text was hastily written and the project was not completely accurate. Although I know I couldn't do anything about the situation, I know that if I could do it again, I'd spend a lot more time on it, and put more effort into it.

This experience caused me to be a risk-taker, because I knew this project wouldn't end up as well as I wanted it to, but I had to finish it and present it anyway. I had to sacrifice some aspects that could've made it better in order to complete it, and risk getting a lower grade in order to turn it in on time. I think I learned that sometimes you don't do your best on projects, and that's okay.