My 8th grade year was a year filled with improvement and learning. Humanities class this year involved a variety of activities and projects: projects and presentations with group members, writing reports and summaries on various information we learned during class, and much more. We learned about a specific tribe of Native Americans by having a presentation project in a small group. It was the first presentation of the year, and everyone was very nervous and unsure about it. An enticing debate took place in the middle of the year, when we had to debate about the Boston Massacre. The class was divided into two groups, loyalists and rebels, and had to argue with each other and support their group. Article of the Week was an activity that we did every one to two weeks, where there was an article that we had to read and reflect on, by typing up a blog post. Finally, we finished the year off with a fairly new concept of writing a research report on a human rights issue, and also had to prepare a campaign on the issue to share with the class. All of these projects throughout the year enhanced many skills that I use in my daily life: thinking deeply about certain topics, writing and using English at a more advanced level, reading, and creating good learning habits.
Over the course of this year, the way I think, in general, has changed quite a bit. When I read articles in the past, all I thought was usually: oh, so those kind of problems occur in the world. Interesting. After reading an article, that was all that came to my mind. Then, a few minutes would pass by, and I would be back to watching T.V. or playing video games, the thought of the article completely washed away. However, when I read an article now, hordes of questions flow right into my mind. What is the cause of this? Who is affected by this? What are possible solutions? I also found myself connecting something I read to my life or a current event happening to me or my environment. The advance in my thinking really helped me throughout the year, because it allowed me to think outside the box more often. This was influenced by the many Article of the Weeks and project assignments we had this year. I think this will help a lot in high school, because I would need to analyze what I read very carefully, and be able to take organized and detailed notes.
My writing and English usage has improved quite a lot throughout this year as well. What really stands out and is noticeable to me is the vocabulary usage. Comparing a piece of writing from the beginning of the year and my research report, I can see the significant change in the vocabulary I use. The vocabulary I use now was clearly much more advanced than my previous essays and documents. Also, another change in my writing that I noticed over the school year was editing. To be honest, I didn’t really care much about editing in the beginning of the year. When it was time to edit a piece of work, I just fixed a few words, switched some words around, and that was pretty much it. However, this year I learned that editing is the most important part of the writing process. If I have to edit a writing piece, then I try to change as much as I can; use better word choice, sentence structure, and punctuation. To try to write the best I could, I had a peer editor make suggestions for me. In the past, I didn’t really take peer editing seriously. Very few changes would be made after a peer edit, because I thought that most of them were not necessary. Nowadays, I try to always ask a peer to check over my writing, just in case there were some points that didn’t make sense to other people, or supposedly mistakes in the writing format. What I need to improve in my writing for the future is sentence arrangement. Sometimes, I notice that I try to put too much information in one sentence, and it ends up sounding awkward. Therefore, my goal for next year is to keep my sentences short, but enough for the reader to understand what I am talking about.
Reading has been the most important skill to me throughout the eighth grade year. It was a skill that was vital in all of the subjects. What helped me improve my reading skills in Humanities this year were novel studies and researching. Novel studies involved gathering in groups of people that read the same novel, and sharing each other’s opinions and thoughts about the book. This really innovated my reading skills, because I had to pay attention while reading the book, in order to fulfill my novel study roles. Then, the concentration I used while reading the novel study books continued on to other books, until it became a habit to ask myself questions as I read a book. Researching for projects and presentations was a fun way to improve my reading skills as well. Since I had to read in order to find the information for this year’s projects, I had to pay full attention to the sources. This improved my reading strategy because it taught me how to extract as much information as I could, but leave out the useless bits. What was hard for me this year as a reader was trying out different books. This year, I mostly read series and books from the usual authors of books I’ve read in the past. It was challenging for me to read different types of genres, because I really like realistic fiction and fantasy. My goal for the future is to try reading a variety of book genres, not just fantasy or realistic fiction, which I usually read. This would help me in writing various types of essays, because I would remember how the authors wrote their books, and use some of their skills in my writing.
Creating good learning habits is a skill I still have a lot to work on. This year was filled with work that took up so much time. Some days I would stay up till two in the morning trying to finish up my homework. I tried to stay pretty organized most of the time, but even though I did, it was hard finishing up my homework early. However, I have become much more responsible. I’ve never submitted anything after the due date, or had missing homework this school year. That shows that my study responsibility and study skills have improved. But, concentration is what I need to focus on for high school. This year, I was often distracted from homework and went on the Social Network to chat with friends. I also went online and looked at comics while doing my homework. That was the reason why I had to stay up until the next day sometimes, trying to complete my work. In order to stop that, I decided to put aside all the distractions while doing my work: my phone, personal laptop, and magazines. I’ve started to do this for the past few weeks, and it had a great impact on my sleeping hours. In order to become a high schooler with good learning habits, I decided to promise myself to not go on other websites while studying (for example, Facebook) and concentrate on my studies until the work is finished.
Eighth grade was an innovative school year for me. It was the last chance to improve my thinking, language usage, reading, and learning habits before I entered high school. There were lots of improvements, but also realizations that I needed more improvement in the future. This year was a chance to show myself what I needed to become in order to move into high school. I feel that I am finally ready for high school, after all the training we did in Humanities 8. Eighth grade will be an unforgettable year of improvement and change.
Young, Immature Laborers: Where is the Freedom for Them?
Imagine being forced to work in a factory, while not knowing anyone around you. Some of the world’s citizens do not have jobs due to accessibility issues and lack of requirements and experience. Therefore, they have hard times supporting their families and flourishing in society. This is what happens to children in the middle eastern country, Afghanistan. Children from Afghanistan live harsh lives in the midst of war and droughts. My research is on the slave trade of Afghan citizens in the neighboring country, Pakistan. “Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Afghan families — eager to flee 20 years of war and three years of drought — have sought safe haven in Pakistan, only to spend the rest of their lives working to pay off the debts they accumulated to get there” (Bushell) .This slave trade going on across the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan has continued for several years (Bushell) . This report will unveil why the slave trade first started, how the slave trade takes place, and what the children do for the industries and their owners. The Pakistan slave trade started because of two important reasons, both happening in Afghanistan.
The Pakistan slave trade came into existence as a result of environmental issues, and most importantly, twenty ceaseless years of war. Afghan citizens had to live through endless droughts (Bushell) . There were three consecutive years of this in the country; can you even imagine one year without rain? How would the farmers earn money, if there is no water for their crops? How would everyone live their daily lives working and taking care of families in the unpredictable, harsh climate of Afghanistan? Three years of drought, and to top that up, twenty endless years of war; can you imagine living through all this trouble, and still being able to earn the money to support your family? Keep in mind, the people I am talking about are children of various ages. As a result, many Afghans had no choice but to be involved in the Pakistan slave trade. These unfortunate children had to work in various environments and jobs (Bushell) .
Afghan families and sometimes even children alone passed the border of Afghanistan, to enter the neighboring country, Pakistan. The children were picked up by rich Pakistani men who would hire them as night watchmen, indentured servants, and housemaids, or worked in brick factories. Most of these children were sent to work in carpet factories (“Child Labor in Pakistan”) . These industries needed small and nimble hands to carefully weave the handmade carpets, according to interviews with carpet masters (Bushell) . A large number of the Afghan children working for Pakistani families and industries were sold off to rich men by their very own parents. They were sold off because their parents needed the money to survive, and simply could not feed the child (Bushell) . Can you imagine being sold off to someone you don’t even know a tiny little bit about, and having to do anything they forced you to do? Parents send their children to these men that appear and talk all friendly, but who knows if they are actually cruel beasts underneath? It is not an easy decision to sell your own child, especially to someone that you do not know at all. How guilty would these parents feel if the only solution to their survival was this sad decision?
Children are still working in Pakistan at this moment, employed in carpet factories, brick factories, and as indentured slaves. Imagine working a whole day in the hot, middle-eastern climate for days and days, with not enough sleep or breaks. This is basically suicide for underage children who work these harsh hours to support themselves, and sometimes even for nothing at all, as they were sold off as slaves (“Child Labor in Pakistan”) . “I hire them first and foremost because they’re economical. For what I’d pay one second-class adult weaver I can get three boys, sometimes four, who can produce first-class rugs in no time” (“Child Labor in Pakistan Atlantic”) . This is what a carpet master said during an interview. Children do not deserve to live such a pitiful life; these child slaves are at an age to play with friends of their age and enjoy their young and free lives. Children are hired in these carpet industries by the selfishness of adults. How menacing and evil do you think the impression of the man is to the children, that they’re as obedient as he says in the interview? This slave trade involves young boys and girls into work and businesses meant for adults, and should be stopped because children are children. They do not have the mental and physical capabilities of a full grown man or woman; working full-time as laborers prevents these children from learning properly in schools.
In conclusion, we have to notice these poor children working in these terrible environments. The Afghans passed the border and entered Pakistan in order to find jobs, and children were sold off to rich Pakistanis so they could work for them as indentured slaves, or work in their industry (Bushell) . While we are living in this rich town, with a surplus of resources available for us, we should know that a child is dying while working in a mine, factory, or some place else because of child labor (“Child Labor in Pakistan”) . “Child Labour is a complex problem which demands a range of solutions. There is no better way to prevent child Labour than to make education compulsory” (“Child Labor in Pakistan Atlantic”) . Many people have great suggestions to help stop child labor. “There is no better way to prevent child Labour than to make education compulsory. The West understood this a long time ago. Laws were enacted very early to secure continued education for working children; and now they have gone a step forward, and required completion of at least the preliminary education of the child before he or she starts work” (“Child Labor in Pakistan”) . Why not make schools and education more accessible for everyone (“Child Labor in Pakistan”) ? Child labor is a growing problem in society. Children from the ages of five to eighteen are suffering as indentured workers or slaves while we live our grand, comfortable lives (“Child Labor in Pakistan Atlantic”) .
Bushell, Andrew. “Pakistan’s Slave Trade.” The Phoenix. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May
“Child Labor in Pakistan.” The Atlantic. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2012.
“Child Labor in Pakistan.” Hamariweb. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2012.
Everyone loves observing animals at the zoo, especially children. They love watching lions, penguins, seals, and the animals that are usually seen in encyclopedias and story books. However, is there really a need to look at animals such as lion-tailed macaques that people rarely know about? This week’s article was called “To Save Some Species, Zoos Must Let Others Die,” by Leslie Kaufman.
In my opinion, this article was one of the hardest articles to understand clearly. It had so many details about so many different animals, so it was hard to focus on one topic. However, there was one thought that stayed in my mind while tracking through the AOW. I didn’t understand why zoos were trying to add these endangered species to their facilities. All the people want to see are the basic animals that everyone think about: lions, penguins, tigers, animals like that. Most people in this world, exception of biologists, have no clue what animals like lion-tailed macaques are. We tend to generalize animals; for example, all colorful animals to most people are just parrots. All the fish, no matter what color, shape, or form, are just fish to us. What I’m trying to say is that, there is no need for people to capture endangered animals, just to display them in zoos. I guarantee you, trapping those poor, endangered species in an exhibit will not increase the profit. People don’t need to know about every single animal in the world. ““We as a society have to decide if it is going to be ethically and morally appropriate to simply display animals for entertainment purposes,” said Dr. Steven L. Monfort, the director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, part of the National Zoo in Washington.” No, shoving endangered animals that might even be the last of its species is not ethically and morally appropriate.
This article changes my view of people in the world. It shocks me how selfish people are sometimes. I hope one day, these zookeepers will realize that there was no need to trap all these endangered species in their zoos. People should think more about what and how their decisions affect so many others. It’s all like a domino effect. One zoo exhibits these outstanding, endangered species, then other zoos will follow along, in order to equalize the rivalry. As this continues, these endangered species would soon be lost from the wild, their habitat, and only found in zoos. How long do you think animals can survive in zoos? I know for sure that they do not live as long as they could live in the wilderness. I always found it funny how zoos showed how endangered each animal was in a little stand next to the animal’s exhibit. When I would go to a zoo in Korea, there would always be a stand in front of an exhibit, telling the average size, habitat, and population of the animal’s species. Sometimes the signs would say: “There are not many species of this animal in the world.” Why are you caging the animals that you know are endangered? Some people just need to have more common sense. No one would want to be trapped in a glass room, and have people taking pictures and pointing at them.
Middle school is near its end,
and all that’s left are the many memories.
The video project is reminding me of many different
both embarrassing and exciting.
The clearest 6th grade memory was getting in trouble.
I couldn’t stop talking with my friends in Humanities,
until my teacher’s face became crimson red,
and forced us out of the classroom.
I was in a state of panic,
and instantly felt like a horrendous kid.
I was always obedient and nice,
but it felt like I was becoming someone different every day,
into someone who wasn’t me.
My worst memory of middle school.
There isn’t really a significant memory of 7th grade that I can recall,
but 8th grade made up for it all.
The year started off with an epic WWW trip.
The gigantic mountains were coated with shades of green,
covered with a thin, smoke-like layer of fog.
The smell of rice fields was in the air,
and I could feel the awkward, cold tingling on my skin,
since HCMC was always warm.
It was the best sight I’ve ever seen,
walking through the mountains,
on a dirt path filled with gruesome, stenching cow manure.
Middle school has strengthened my friendships,
and taught me lessons from my mistakes.
I hope high school will be much better,
and can’t wait for the last few weeks of school to be over.
Chut Wutty was a courageous man that fought for change in his country. While most people didn’t care about what happened to one of the last vast old-growth forests of Southeast Asia, he decided to act and make an effort to preserve the great forest Prey Lang. This man was unjustly shot while trying to collect evidence of illegal logging. This week’s Article of the Week was called “A Cause-And Questions-in Cambodia,” by Matt McCann.
This week’s AOW brought about several questions that were left unanswered as I read the whole article. First of all, the government declared that the forest area was protected land. However, why did they “illegally” allow big industries to start logging operations on the forest? A government’s role is to protect and create laws that have to be applied to everyone; they have to do what’s right and keep the country away from harm. Prey Lang was a massive forest where numerous tribes of indigenous people lived. If the government gives major industries the right to deforest Prey Lang and other forest areas, then how about the indigenous people? They are Cambodian citizens too. If the forests were to lose all its trees and greenlife, then the animals would die off, due to the lack of food. If the animals start to die off, the indigenous tribes in Prey Lang would not be able to survive, because they would not have a stable supply of food. The big question here is, why is Cambodia’s government committing actions that could possibly kill off hundreds of Cambodian citizens? “The government would say this is a protected land, and he’d say ‘Yeah, the chain saws are louder than the law,’ ” Mr. Young said. In this quote, Chut Wutty is absolutely right. The government did actions that were the exact opposite from what they first told the Cambodian citizens. Nature is everything to everyone; take that away, and we are nothing.
This article completely changed my view of governments around the world. My view of a government was a vast group of sophisticated people that gathered for the improvement and support of the country. This article totally broke that image; a government not telling the truth to its citizens was just outrageous and corrupt to me. What would the Cambodian citizens think of their government now? However, a government is apt to deny change no matter what the citizens’ opinions are unless they want to change; in this case, the Cambodian government has no intention of stopping what they are doing right now. So, I hope that the people who respected Chut Wutty while he was alive would actually make an effort to continue what he has done to try to save the forests of Cambodia, because in order for illegal logging and deforestation to stop, they have to try, like Chut Wutty did.
Annotated Link: http://diigo.com/0qidx
Seafood is a major part of most people’s daily diets, and 40% of it comes from Mexico, where the BP oil spill happened. Now, there are a bunch of mutated sea creatures out there, suffering from the cleanup process of the area, all caused by the chemicals used to clean up the oil. The article of the week was called BP Oil Spill Aftermath, by Casey Chan.
This week’s article was on the BP oil cleanup crisis. When I read this article, I found it interesting how a cleanup process led to a bigger mess later on. Did anyone know what the after effects of the cleanup process would lead to, and how bad it could influence everything in the area? It was hard to believe that BP would not take responsibility to this crisis. If someone caused something to happen and decided to clean it up, but caused another incident to happen, then they should take full responsibility for what they have done. What I don’t understand is that the government doesn’t want to do anything about this, and BP thinks there is nothing wrong with this. “BP, the company who created this mess in the first place, refuse to take the blame, saying the seafood in the Gulf is “as safe now as it was before the accident.” The evidence, of course, indicates otherwise.” How could a company this famous and complex be so irresponsible?
If I worked for BP and this same incident had happened, then I would gladly take full responsibility of all the mutated sea creatures and polluted water. Well, not exactly gladly, but I would take full responsibility because that is the right thing to do, and it was BP who had caused all this. If BP never had an oil spill, then no one would have needed to clean up the mess with the toxic chemicals used to exterminate the oil. This problem can’t just be left unsolved. So many people eat seafood every day, and if these creatures die of mutations, then many people will not be able to earn money, and seafood will be harder to find and buy. This article showed how selfish and irresponsible some people in this world were, and how the foolishness of world citizens caused great problems around the globe.
Annotated link: http://diigo.com/0qbb2
Nowadays, everyone has smartphones or tablets that have apps and programs that give them as much functions as a computer. However, have you ever imagined having all of that in a pair of glasses?
This week’s article was about a futuristic project that Google was working on, called “Project Glass.” What I found interesting was the fact that Google sounded so confident on successfully making the Google Glasses. To me, this project sounded more like a dream than an actual project in progress. How can a pair of glasses be able to function basically as a computer? This was my thought about them, until I found out that prototypes will soon be tested. I really wondered what the prototypes that would be tried out in Summer 2012 will look and how it will function. After reading the whole article, I still had one more question in mind. I had no idea how it will be controlled. Will you have to talk out loud to the glasses in order to control them? I hope to find the answer of this in the future, by having a chance to try the Google Glasses, just to know what it is like.
In my opinion, this sounds like a great invention that will change everyone’s daily lives. Instead of holding smartphones, which are still very new inventions, you could just put on a pair of glasses that can function as a smartphone. Some people might declare that this is another device that separates people from thinking, but I personally think it will influence everyone in a positive way. I decided to take a look at the video introducing Project Glass (its features and design) as well, since it was embedded in the article. I was amazed how much the expected Google Glasses could do. “If you see a closed subway stop, the glasses could tell you why it’s closed and give you an alternate route; if you see a book you like, you could get book reviews and (controversially) prices from other retailers; if you’re waiting for your friend, your glasses could show you where he is, exactly, and how far away he is from you, using GPS-sharing capabilities already present on Google’s Latitude service.” If your glasses told you either if the subway stop was closed or not and told you an alternative route in a super fast speed, you would not have a chance being late to your destination. These features are very useful for all types of different people around the world. The present day is starting to look more like what we have seen in movies a few years ago. I’ve never imagined such innovative technology to be introduced into the world just a few years ago. I hope the Project Classes becomes a success, and benefits the whole world and makes everyone’s lives more convenient with its useful predicted features.
For the last quarter of middle school, my goal is to read at least fifteen more books. I don’t think I’ve read as much books compared to last year, so I think I should read more, since I enjoy reading too. To achieve this goal, I will try to borrow books from the library, and take more time looking for good books that I would actually enjoy reading. Also, I will read books that I haven’t read in my bookshelf or at least just see what each one is about, and read one if it seems interesting. I’ll read these books during the weekend, and before I sleep on the weekdays, because I usually take an hour to fall asleep after I lie down on my bed.
Kony wasn’t bothered for years,
and has gained his power for too long.
He has abducted innocent children like a predator takes its prey,
and forced them to fight in war.
These children need to be free,
not captured and forced to do something they do not want.
The opinions of these children need to be heard.
These children were forced to kill their own parents.
They were forced to cause violence to the people of their own country,
cause violence and destruction in their own nation.
Child slavery is not right,
especially if these poor children,
hungry and scared,
are forced to be put in war.
Children should have the privilege to play,
be free, and enjoy their lives.
The Lord’s Resistance of Uganda should be stopped;
they have done enough havoc,
and betrayal of peace treaties.
To end this crisis, there must be discussions;
about Kony and The Lord’s Resistance Army.
We have to make this a topic of debate of the U.S. government.
Arguments and discussions on whether to send troops to Uganda,
are the talks that should take place in the world.
These children need to be free,
not captured and forced to do something they do not want.
Many have remonstrated to grab the attention of the Parliament,
which would spread the information around the world,
leading to the resolution of what Kony has caused until now.
Invisible Children Inc. have supplicated,
and pleaded the world to take part in Kony 2012 and help the African children.
Kony’s army needs to be broken apart,
and his child slaves need to be released from the battlefield.
Kony and his army need to be disarmed,
and stopped from causing any more tragedy in Africa.
Kony wasn’t bothered for years,
and has gained his power for too long.
He has grown overpowered over the years,
kidnapped great numbers of children,
and grown his army like a nest of wasps.
In order to stop Kony,
the whole world should reconcile and join forces.
Kony 2012 is what everyone can agree on.
The years of irresolution have to be stopped now,
and action needs to take place in 2012.
The hope of global citizens will not be lost,
and everyone will fight for the liberty of the suffering children.
the hope of the world is to stop Kony,
and create peace and tranquility in Uganda by the end of 2012.