June 6

The Universal Language of Sports and Why People Participate in Them

Why do people participate in sports? Well, that was what my TED-like talk was about. I love sports and have always been interested in them, so when I got the opportunity to write about something I’m passionate about, I knew exactly what to write!

 

We started our TED-like talks about two weeks ago, and I’ve been working on it nonstop! I’m really passionate about this topic because sports are a big chunk of my life. Not only that, but it’s also a large part of my personality, and who I am. Sports to me are a step into a whole different universe, where all past worries and sorrows are washed away, and my only concern is the game. I love playing sports, watching sports, talking about sports, and anything sports-related I LOVE.

 

I made my presentation on Google Slides and wrote my script on Google Docs. I hadn’t planned to memorize my script, but I had practiced it so much that it was practically indented in my mind at that point.

 

I used an acronym-like statement in my TED-like talk. The acronym was CCCCC, but the 5 c’s sound better. Essentially, it’s all the reasons why people enjoy sports so much. What are they you ask? Well, it’s: Competency, Carefree, Community, Competition, and Contentment. I’d love to go into more detail, but then this blog post would be WAY too long. The words are pretty self-explanatory, and I think it’s a pretty solid statement as to why people play sports.

 

Overall, this was probably my favorite thing I’ve done in Language Arts class (excluding the tree books) and I had a great time coming up with a TED-like talk to present in front of my class.

 

 

June 2

Tree Book Project

In Language Arts class, we (surprisingly) explored the world of arts and crafts! From cutting cardboard to collaging Akua ink leaves, there is so much to talk about with this project. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

The first step in this project was rolling a stencil of words across a large piece of cardboard. Now, that may not make a lot of sense, but since we were making a tree, we took tree-related poems and practically stamped them onto (what would become) the base of the book. By doing this, it catches people’s eyes. In my opinion, it’s what makes me interested to open the book and look at what’s inside.

Some other minor steps were painting our base paper with water-based paint, using broad and open strokes to fully cover a piece of card-stock paper in a blueish-purple hue. The other minor step was cutting the branches into the word-covered cardboard. This now actually gives an aesthetic of a tree.

Next, we used leaves, paper, and Akua ink. Basically, we took the design and physique of the leaves and replicated that onto a piece of paper with Akua ink. But Vera, I hear you ask, what is Akua ink? Well, it’s an oil-based paint with very strong pigment. The ink has a thick and opaque consistency, which was perfect for this project. So, once we put the imprint of the leaves onto the paper with the Akua ink, that step was done! They all looked so beautiful, and this was probably my favorite part. We repeated this process several times, making many spares, so they were all put in a box in order for anyone else that was interested in them to have the opportunity to use them.

The next step was collaging these leaves into our tree. This step was pretty simple, considering all we did was take glue and apply it to the leaves, and scatter them around the tree book.

Now the last and final step was filling the book with art. No, not painting art, literature art! After all, it is Language Arts class. I wrote 1 poem, 1 list, and 1 piece of writing. The poem I made was titled “When This is Over” and it’s about what the world had to miss during covid, and how the experience shaped us into better versions of ourselves. The list was my Life List, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s pretty much a bucket list, just things in life that I wish to accomplish. Lastly, the piece of writing I composed is titled “Salute To My Roots” and it pays homage to the person that shaped me into the person I am today. I wrote this piece about my Grandmother since she has always been there to take care of me, I don’t know what I would do without her.

That’s all I have for you today, until next time!

May 19

So Many Stocks!!

My stocks, prices, and losses over the course of 3 months.

 

In language arts class, we learned about and imagined investing in up to 6 different stock companies of our choice. We had a budget of 20,000 dollars, and in the end, I lost 4,456.05. Here’s what I learned!

Now, I know, that’s a lot of (imaginary) money that I lost, right? Well, that may be true, but it also leads me to realize something. By the end of this activity, I’ve learned that stocks are not an easy task. In my opinion, it takes guts to participate in the stock market. Especially when everything is going wrong, and you’re losing a bunch of money, I have respect for people that are able to stay calm and wait for the stocks to go back up. I don’t participate in the stock market out of class, but if I did, I don’t think I could handle it!

On a separate note, I also learned some basic formulas for setting up a spreadsheet. One of the teachers at my school came in and taught us about spreadsheets. It was really helpful, and I’ll use this skill for many years to come.

My language arts class has also been reading a book called The Westing Game, and one character (my personal favorite) named Turtle is a stock fanatic. As my class was reading this book, Turtle would have a headphone in her ear during school to keep track of the stocks. So I found it very fitting that we started learning about stocks while reading this book.

All in all, this was a great experience, and there was so much to take away that I haven’t even named! Do you participate in the stock market? If not, I hope this post has convinced you too! If so, what stocks have you invested in? I’d love to know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

May 17

Morehead Planetarium Field Trip

Hi! That’s part of my grade, and on April 27th we went to the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, NC.

The picture you see above is my grade riding in the Carolina Livery buses. If you haven’t heard of them, they are SO amazing. The seats are super comfortable, everything is so clean, and the bus driver was super kind! I’m glad that I got the opportunity to ride on these buses, it was like a luxury.

 

Once we got there, my group went to the planetarium show called Astronaut, and it was so engaging. The way it works is that two projectors produce a video that spans across the ceiling, which is in a dome shape. I just sat back, and relaxed. At the end, there was a Q&A section where the employees were super kind, and happy to answer any questions we had. If you live in the area, I’d definitely recommend this show, it was awesome!

Shortly after that, we had lunch, and played tag!

Sadly, I don’t have a photo of this part, but we also got to explore the interior of the planetarium where there were many exhibits demonstrating things that happen in space. The section my group was most interested in was the building area. In this area, there were lego-like cardboard blocks that you could stack to build anything! Even though this part was probably my favorite part, it was also the most chaotic. Long story short, my group and I built a mansion, but as we were adding finishing touches (those who shall not be named) knocked it down!

That incident was pretty tragic, but I put it behind me as we went to a live science show! You read that right, my grade got to go to a live show and observe a bunch of different scientific principles! The person that was presenting was doing so in such an exciting and fascinating manner that made it so fun to watch. First, we looked at the properties of gravity and force by dropping and rolling a basketball. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “That may be fun and all, but was that it?” And yes, even I thought it was starting a little slow. But boy did it get way more exciting! Shortly after we started experimenting with dry ice, and that was the really good part! We also looked at static electricity, metals, and how many electrons they each conduct, and we even got to see electricity!

All in all, this opening number back into field trips after COVID was nothing short of what I was hoping for. I’m so glad I got this opportunity, and I recommend checking it out for yourself! There were so many places that I didn’t get to experience, so I definitely recommend going if you haven’t already.

April 2

Book Recommendations

Hello! Today I’m going to recommend some of the books I’ve been reading recently.

The first book I recommend is called Fullmetal Alchemist. This is a book series, and I’ve genuinely been loving it. This is what the back cover of vol.1 says:

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art, and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill. Except his powers aren’t unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…

If that sounds like anything you’d be interested in, be sure to check it out! It’s a manga (Japanese comic), so it’s not a long chapter book or anything, but it’s a great read if you are into adventure fiction, fantasy, steampunk, etc.

Personally, I really enjoyed this book series. It had constant action, with some emotional bits thrown in at times. The best way I can describe it is that it was action with a purpose. It has also been made into a tv series, and a video game. The book is, in my opinion, much better than either of those though.

 

Source: Amazon.com

The next book that I’ll recommend to you is called Dragon Hoops. It’s a non-fiction comic, and all I have to say is that this is a masterpiece. I can’t explain enough how good this book is. By reading this book, you get an inside look at the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons basketball team and their dedication to the sport. But enough of my rambling, here is what the cover says:

Sports wasn’t something Gene Luen Yang really understood when he was younger. Never was fit to play, turned towards other things- like comics with their superheroes and other action protagonists. But a change occurs, at the high school he taught at when he gets to know the players of the Dragons’ team. These players’ stories are as just as thrilling as those same cool action heroes of comics.

Wow. Honestly, I highly recommend it. It might start slow at first, but trust me, it is REALLY good. Near the end, it had me on the edge of my seat. It’s also a true story, so all of the things in this book have actually happened. It also gives a historical look on basketball and some things you may not know. Overall, its a great book and I couldn’t praise it enough.

 

February 8

The Red and Blue Coat

 

Hello! In Language Arts class, we’ve been reading wisdom tales. Wisdom tales are fables from around the world, and I picked one to turn into a comic! The wisdom tale I picked was The Red and Blue Coat, and I chose this because I really liked the story and the moral behind it. Basically, The Red and Blue Coat is about viewing problems from other perspectives and considering different approaches. I made this comic by drawing the background first, then going back in and adding textures. I did all of this on ibis paint X and Comic Life 3. I enjoy using ibis paint because it has so many great features such as the blend tool, selection layer, and lasso.

What digital drawing platform do you like best?

January 24

Egg Drop Science Project

Hi! In science, we’re doing an egg drop project, where you have to build something that can protect an egg from cracking. I haven’t dropped my egg yet, but here’s my design. So, my key feature is rubber bands. I’m planning to have my egg in a little swing being held up by rubber bands inside an enclosed area, so when it drops, the rubber bands will stretch, taking the egg with it. I don’t know many science terms, but I do know that the egg (hopefully) won’t break! I thought about the recoil when the egg launches back up, so I put some cotton balls so it cushions the impact. I also considered if it were to hit the side. I assumed that a direct hit would break the egg, so I put popsicle sticks on the side to divert the impact onto the popsicle stick, and not the container itself. Lastly, I have a parachute at the top to increase the drag as much as possible. I will test it next week, so hopefully it works!

 

December 5

Daily Habits

 

My daily habit tracker to keep track of when I was planking

Planking for 3 minutes is, in my opinion, very challenging. But that’s what I had to do in my LA class. We slowly increased the time we planked each week, and  it made it much easier to do. If you build up to a number, it doesn’t seem as bad. By using the compound effect, your body adapts each time to the increase in time, rather than starting with three minutes and not being used to it.

When I did the plank, I learned that doing something consistently is difficult to keep track of. I also discovered that persisting through will eventually pay off. In this case it made me more active. Next, I realized that the plank is difficult to do for long periods of time. Lastly, I noticed that having a daily habit is easier said than done. Not only to remind yourself daily, but also to have the effort to do it each day.

Some of the challenges that I experienced were mainly motivation. I had many reminders each day to plank when not in class, it was just the fact whether I would get up and actually do it, or just not bother. When I did the plank, the feeling was good. Being able to have a consistent habit that you do every day feels good. It made me feel really accomplished and proud of myself.

I have a new habit, and that is to drink water. I chose this because I’m not very good at drinking water during the day. It’s either I don’t drink water at all, or I drink soda that isn’t healthy. My goal is to stay hydrated and healthy.

November 16

Window or Mirror

 

Today, in Language Arts class we talked about whether a book we were reading is a window or mirror story. Here is my response:

The Compound is essentially talking about a world in which a nuclear bomb hits forcing the Yanakakis family, whose father is a very wealthy man, into the Compound. The Compound is a nuclear bomb shelter which had been planned to last them 15 years. This book takes many twists and turns, but overall I believe that The Compound is a window. If a book is a window, there would be a glimpse into something make-believe, or something that I cannot relate to. A mirror would be reflecting on my own life. Having said that, I can guarantee you that I am not living in a nuclear bunker, and my family is not that wealthy. Therefore, in my opinion this book is a window.

November 2

My Backpack Writing

Wikimedia

 

Have you ever experienced a hurricane before? Reesie has in the novel Finding Someplace, which is all about her journey to reconnect to her parents after she gets separated from them by Hurricane Katrina. In this book, Reesie has to bring a backpack full of items to live off of. If I had to bring a backpack like she did, this is what I would bring.

Similar to Reesie who liked to draw, I also enjoy drawing which is why I have a sketchbook in my backpack just like her. This brings me to things I packed for entertainment. First, I included my phone for contacting others as well as an opportunity to play video games and watch videos. Also, I included my iPad for similar reasons. Secondly, I have a book, so I am able to read (only when worst comes to worst) if I decide to. Next, I brought a diary, and a journal to either draw or write my thoughts. These items are all mainly to stay sane if I had to survive longer than expected.

Reesie packed a photo of her grandmother, which I think was a really good idea, so, I took from that idea and also packed some photos of my loved ones. Next, I decided to bring cash so if the world goes back to normal, I have some way to take care of myself. If I do end up needing to survive on my own, I brought a Swiss Army knife to defend myself, Matches to start a fire, and medicine in case I get sick. All in all, these items don’t really fit into any specific category, but I believe they are definitely needed.

A few other items, that are more like necessities rather than entertainment, are a lunchbox full of food, water, a water purifier, and a blanket. I brought food and water since those are necessary to live. Next, I brought a water purifier in case I ran out of water and needed to get more. Lastly I brought a blanket so in any cold or rough weather, I’d have that to keep me warm. In conclusion, without these items I wouldn’t be able to survive.

I included a couple of things for hygiene purposes, and here they are: a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush my teeth, change of clothes in case this disaster is long term, masks so I can interact with people (if COVID still exists), and hair ties to tie my hair. To conclude, these items are simply to ensure I don’t get sick and stay healthy.

With that being said, this would sum up what I would bring if I only had one backpack to live off of, just like Reesie.