Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Team Reflection

"One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites."  ~Jin Kwon

This quotation that our team picked out together basically describes us. We worked well together. We had the ability to distribute our work evenly. We were strong. Our individual strengths collectively outweighed our weaknesses. For example, we did really well on our group Novel Study presentation. We all contributed evenly and recieved decent grades.

But we are not perfect, there were bumps during this mission. We bombed our Poetry assignment. The amount of effort and time that was put into the assignment was less than satisfactory. Summer must be to blame.

All in all, our team was very effective. Even if we missed a day of school, the team did our own parts and contributed to what the assignment was asking.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Team Bibliography

Team Bibliography

Abuelaish, D. I. (2010). I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey. Toronto: Random House Canada.

Gladwell, M. (2000). The Tipping Point. New York: Little Brown.

Hosseini, K. (2003). The Kite Runner. Toronto: Anchor Canada.

Mortenson, G. (2006). Three Cups of Tea. New York: Penguin.

Nicholas D. Kristof, S. W. (2009). Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fourth Diplomatic Posting: Reflection

This posting was quite short in comparison to the last three. It went by fast. I thoroughly enjoyed all the assignments, especially the non-fiction book study.

The book I read was amazing. It opened my eyes, and I think I finally realized my role as a global citizen. I need to help people. It's crazy to think that one book changed my whole perspective on life. I'm so lucky, and I should really show gratitude every day. It's helped me to set goals. I'm excited to "be the change I want to see in the world".  This book inspired me to go out there, and do what I can to change the lives of countless people who are not as priveledged as I am. I'm finally becoming exactly who I want to be.

I enjoyed working with my team this posting. We got along really well, and we actually accomplished things. It was good.  We each had something to offer, and it complimented our work well.

I'm not sure what else to write. My team was good. I loved my book. My vocabulary assignment went great. My short story assignment was a breeze. That's really it:)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Half The Sky: Individual Assignment 2

Annotated Bibliography

Nicholas D. Kristof, S. W. (2009). Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Oppurtunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
This text analyzes the life of women in parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It provides personal experiences of the women there, and their lives. They share their stories, however heartbreaking they may be. It exposes controversial information about life in countries outside of the Americas and Europe. It proves that women can make a difference in the world around them, beating incredible odds. It explains that if we all help just a little, we can change the world. It’s a book that has the potential to change the world.

Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
By Naomi Hill

An old Chinese proverb states, “Women hold up half the sky”. What does that mean, really? It can’t actually be true, considering that there are approximately 2 males to every female, so two thirds of the sky would be held up by the men in this world. So, if it can’t be scientifically proven, then it must mean something else. Basically, the role of a woman holds up half of the sky. Without women, the world could not go on. Women are the reason that men exist today. Life could not continue if it weren’t for women.
For some reason, despite their almost divine role, women are mistreated all over the world. In this book, stories of many women who were exploited, misunderstood, murdered, or convicted of crimes they did not do, are told, and it breaks one’s heart to hear of these ridiculous situations and horrible environments. Many of these women are victims of sexual crimes, such as rape, but also kidnapping. Many of them are forced into loveless marriages, where they are unwanted, and live a life of distress, and in most cases, abuse. Some are forced into marriage, only to be killed later, either by their husbands, or during childbirth.
One story of a young girl was particularly striking. Zainab Salbi was 20 years old, a brand new university student, when she was forced into an abusive marriage with an older Pakistani man who had moved to America. Zainab had spent the majority of her life living with Sadam Hussein. He was family to her, just not by blood. She spent many summers swimming in his pool with his children. Her father was Sadam’s personal pilot. Her mother forced her into this marriage, and she was confused. Eventually she divorced the man, and married a young Palestinian doctoral student. When Zainab finally gathered the courage to ask her mother what her reasons were for forcing her into the marriage, her mother was on her deathbed. Unable to speak, she wrote Zainab a note, which simply said, “He wanted you, Zainab. I didn’t see any other way.”  The “he” was Sadam Hussein. Her mother didn’t know what to do. Sadam wanted Zainab as a human plaything, a mistress, and when he tired of her, she’d be killed. Her mother forced her into the marriage to save her life.
Another issue discussed in this book was that of prostitution, the process of human trafficking, and life in the brothels. There are multiple accounts of girls as young as 12 being sold into the brothel lifestyle, and forced to have unprotected sex with much older men. Most of them contract HIV/AIDS. Some commit suicide. Many of them contract other sexually transmitted diseases, and are left untreated, eventually causing their deaths. The majority of them become addicted to illicit substances, especially methamphetamines. They are worn down, exhausted, and if they have the chance to escape, most of them return to the brothel because of their addictions. It’s a terrible thing, but in some places, it’s the only way these girls survive.They are fed, clothed, and sheltered. Most of them are there because their families couldn’t provide for them, and the male children were more important.
This book mentions an interesting paradox. That is that of honor killings. The societies with the most strict morals and values end up allowing the killing of innocents, an incredibly immoral behaviour. One girl was just seventeen years old. She fell in love with a boy, and they stayed out all night. Nobody actually knows if they had sex, but they both denied it. The men in her tribe banded together, and killed her. Another instance provided basically the same back story, except that an autopsy was performed and it was found that they had not had sex, but the girl was killed anyways. Honor killing is just a term. It has no meaning any more, as in some countries, they kill girls just because they are girls.
The relationship between globalization, democratization and human rights in this case boils down to one key item. That key thing is the treatment of women. Women are human too, and in some places, they aren’t treated that way. In the places where women are treated the worst, there is not a democracy, and if there is, a woman’s vote doesn’t count. As for globalization, because of the efforts of women and men all over the world, the situation is changing, slowly. It’s not going to change overnight, but the women in those places will tell you that it is getting better. They are allowed to to go to school. In some places, they are allowed to leave with their faces uncovered, and they don’t need to be accompanied by a man. Basically, if the world keeps changing the way it is, eventually women will have equal rights everywhere, which is what this book is trying to say. The bottom line is that women are changing the world. The effort they put forth is changing the way they are treated. It is a lot like bullying. If they stand up for themselves, for their beliefs, then it will get better. It’s only a matter of time.

Critique Assignment
Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
By Naomi Hill

This text is incredibly amazing. It speaks of things that we don’t fully understand, because we’ve never had to go through it. We are able to feel the way these women feel, just by reading this book. Our hearts break as we learn of their situations. The message conveyed by the authors was one of hope, and we can all take something from it. There was nothing wrong with this book. Honestly, not a single improvement could be made. It tells the truth, however horrifying that may be, and we learn from it. I think if we all read the story of Zainab, we’d count our lucky stars. We have it good here, and this book teaches that. Our sex crime rates are nowhere near as high as they could be, and we should be so thankful for that. Overall, my only critique of this book is that there should be a sequel. We need to know more about these amazingly brave women. Their stories are not over yet, and their legacy needs to be upheld. They are strong, independent women, and they deserve recognition for the incredible things they have done. We have the opportunity to learn from their experiences, and we need to seize that. It can change their lives, but it can also change ours. Through helping them, we are able to gain a perspective of how truly wonderful our lives are. Take a minute and consider their experiences. We have nothing to complain about. This novel was well researched, and it was an easy read. You didn’t have to read the sections in order, but I did anyways. It didn’t read like a newspaper article, which I appreciated. It used strong vocabulary, and it made sense. It was the best non-fiction book I’ve ever read. It teaches lessons that everyone can learn from. These women, whose stories are told,  sacrifice themselves for a better world, and their stories could not have been told in a better way.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Individual Assignment #3: Short Stories

Short Stories

-most require readers to bring a prior knowledge or understanding of the situation
-dramatic conflict---may not always be resolved in the climax
-foreshadowing---gives the reader a glimpse into the future, or a sense of what may happen
-repetition---helps drive the point home, most people learn best by repetition
-suspense--draws a reader into the idea of the story
-setting can include mood or atmosphere
-could be any of the perspectives (first person, second person, and third person)
-the theme, or total meaning of the story doesn’t have to be just one moral....could encompass more than 1 valuable life lesson
-plot, setting, characters and theme are perhaps the most important details of a short story
  • arresting opening
  • well developed and appropriate structure
  • action
  • tension
  • clearly recognisable climax
  • effective use of language in word choice and imagery
  • one or two well developed characters
  • effective use of narrative voice
  • revealing use of interior dialogue
  • dialogue that makes a contribution to narrative development and/or to characterisation
  • skillful exploitation of conventions of the chosen genre
  • use of setting to enhance narrative

            The excerpt of Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King is both short and concise. Everything happens quite quickly. While the plot isn’t complex, there is a clearly defined plot line. The setting enhances the plot, by creating the problem. There is not a clearly recognisable climax or action, but there is obvious tension between the mother and father. There are two well developed characters, that of the mother and the son. The son’s thoughts are made known to the reader. It is a third person narrative, meaning the reader is able to know everything about what’s going on. There is foreshadowing when the father talks about work before they leave on their holiday. The story does stay true to most of the characteristics of a short story. 

This is a picture I took of Waterton Lake. It represents the theme of the story. 

The theme of the story Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King is that of crossing boundaries. In the excerpt, this applies to Waterton Lake. The border runs through the lake, and the character of the son is able to cross it. The idea of the border is a figurative boundary, but it represents a very real boundary. The son’s parents are not getting along, and his father has to cross a boundary, and leave. The son learns a lesson from the lake, and it’s a valuable one. Sometimes, to get where you want, you have to cross boundaries, even though it may hurt someone you love. 

Situational irony is when the exact opposite of what is intended happens or a very different outcome becomes apparent.  
Dramatic irony is irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play.
Verbal irony is when the exact opposite of what is said is meant.
Situational and verbal ironies are used in the short story The Wall by Gilles Vigneault. Situational irony applies to the fact that the man is repairing his own prison cell, meaning he could break out if he wanted to. Verbal irony applies to what the man says to the people around him. Dramatic irony is used when the man leaves the prison by his own volition, and nobody stops him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reflection: Third Diplomatic Posting

The Third Diplomatic Posting seemed easier in some ways. We read one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet. I've loved that play for years.

We focussed a lot on current events. With all of the political instability throughout the world, we had to explore, and find out what was actually going on. We've spent a lot of time discussing the issue in Libya. We talked about natural disasters, like the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. We've been discussing the current nuclear issues and the tsunami/earthquake in Japan. A lot is going on now, and if we do not learn from now, but also the past, we are doomed to repeat it.

I found that I did quite well in this posting, because everything we did involved something I was quite passionate about. I look forward to writing my essay:) I enjoyed all of the assignments involving Romeo and Juliet, but I also enjoyed the assignments that allowed us to discuss both past and current events. Basically, this posting was good to me. I enjoyed it a lot.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baz Luhrman's Romeo&Juliet: In Review

The key question in this assignment was, "How does this adaptation capture the mood and atmosphere of the original script?"
Keep in mind that in this adaptation, the characters are thrust forward into 20th Century Verona Beach, and use guns instead of swords. While they are still families, they resemble gangs. It's a more modern adaptation in setting and action, but they use the Old English that we are all so familiar with. The setting is pretty much perfect. While some people were not sure it would work, it did, and the end result is fascinating. I've been a fan of Baz's work forever, and this just adds to my love of his work.
Using anyone else other than Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Juliet probably would have resulted in failure. They are pretty much the whole mood and atmosphere. Without them, I'm fairly certain that Baz Luhrman would not have been able to pull it off.
I realize that a lot of people did not like this movie, but I think it's a lot better than Zeffirelli's 1968 version. The actors in that one were flat, and pretty boring. They had little to no emotion. While shooting the 1996 version, Claire Danes reported that when Leo was giving the speech that ends with "Thus with a kiss, I die..." she was supposed to be dead, but he brought her to tears, and they had to cut as soon as Leo stopped talking, or they would ruin the take. If that's not emotion, I'm not sure what is.
I think that if I were to suggest an adaptation to watch, I would definitely go with this one. It's pretty much perfect.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Romeo And Juliet: Statements

I would/would not consider doing what Juliet decides to do because...
I don't think I could ever consider doing what Juliet did. She committed suicide for love. Was it so impossible for her to move on? To find another? I'm not like that. I'm pretty sure I could move on, find another, and live my life to the fullest. You have to consider that Juliet is only 13. She really doesn't know what love is. She made a mistake. Her "forever" lasted a total of 3 days. While her pain was probably unbearable, she could have dealt with it differently, but at 13, hormones are raging, and your thoughts are not yours. They are controlled by the hormones. I'd like to think that I was more mature at 13. I think I knew, even then, that I could never do what Juliet did. They say your first love is your worst if it comes with a broken heart. While Juliet's didn't come with a broken heart, it did eventually come with death. As for me, my first love hasn't come along yet, and when it does, there is no way I could ever even consider attempting Juliet's decision.

What I've discovered thus far about Juliet is...
Juliet has some delusions about love. She doesn't know what real love is. She loved one boy, for all of 5 days. She thought they were forever. She didn't realize that things can change in an instant. Your life, your forever, can end in a single moment. A small glitch in the plan can cause a tragic ending. She made a mistake, rushing into love. She made an even bigger mistake rushing into a marriage. If it was me, I would have made some different decisions. She could have waited, and maybe everything would have been different. If she had waited to get married, I'm willing to bet that Tybalt would still be alive, as well as Romeo's mother. She could have done everything differently, but her hormones were raging, and she had no control. She made some serious mistakes, mistakes that couldn't be undone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Journal Entries

For this assignment I was given two topics to write journal entries on. The first topic is, "Being a teenager can be difficult..." To be perfectly honest, I could probably write a 2000 page novel on that. The other topic I'll probably struggle with. It is, "The worst decision I have ever made..." I've never really made a bad decision. I did toy with the idea of writing, " The worst decision I have ever made is to not complete this assignment, " but thought better of it. Here we go:)

Being a teenager can be difficult. I think a better word here would probably be is or will be. It will be hard, not matter who you are. The older people reading this know it was hard. I know it's hard, and I'm not all the way through being a teenager yet.
You have to deal with other teenagers, which may be the hardest part of it. At that age, they think they're perfect, that they know everything, that they're unstoppable. I guess I'm the exception to that, but I've grown up faster than most. I know I'm not perfect. I probably will never be perfect. I don't know everything, and I most likely never will. I am most definitely not unstoppable. I struggle with fears every day. I have pretty low self-esteem. I am comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am....but I still worry about what others think. That's one of the worst parts of being a teenager.
The second worst part, in my opinion, is the changes. You have to deal with changes in your body, but more importantly your emotions and reactions. In some cases, you have no control over it. That's what being hormonally imbalanced is all about:) You can go from being happier than you've ever been to incredibly depressed. You have to learn to adapt, no matter how hard it is.
The assignment said I was supposed to relate this to Romeo and Juliet somehow, so how about this? They faced the persecution of their friends, just like we do. They had to deal with stubborn parents, just like us. They had to battle their own personal demons, although I'm pretty sure death isn't one for many of us. Being a teenager then wasn't really all that different from how it is now. That's a strange thought. Nearly 520 years can go by, but the basics are still the same.
Basically, while being a teenager can be difficult, try to make it a good experience. I'm trying to do that everyday. While some days are bad, forget and move on. Remember the good times, always!

The worst decision I've ever made is nonexistent at the moment. Either that, or I just haven't made it yet. I was raised to think through choices before finalizing decisions, and that's exactly what I've done. I've never made a truly terrible choice. My life is good, and I wouldn't go back and change anything. I've learned from any mistakes I've made, and none of them were the result of a bad decision.
I guess it depends on your definition of WORST. I'm thinking something terrible, like attempting suicide or something. Can't say I've ever done that. I'm happy. There's no reason for me to make a bad choice.
In relating this to Romeo and Juliet, they both made bad choices. Romeo killed Tybalt and Paris. Juliet married Romeo without parental consent. In the end, they both committed suicide, which would be the worst decision either of them have ever made.
I really don't think I can write a page and a half on not making bad choices. Take my advice: There is no point to bad choices. There are no rewards, and while sometimes you may have instant gratification, in the long run, it often doesn't work out. Like my dad says every day when he drops me off at school, "Have a good day. Make good choices!"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Logo: Revised and Updated

The book and the pen represent the fact that I'm a writer, and I love to read. They represent the fact that the written word travels, and it is translated so that all of us may read it at one point or another.  

The picture depicting the music note represents my love for music. It shows that music is the international language, and it doesn't matter if you understand the words, as long as the music makes you feel something.  

The flag represents my English roots. I love my family, and they are a huge part of my identity. I am only second generation Canadian, and I find that interesting. I have an appreciation for England, and for its contributions to the world.

The picture of the old camera represents my love of photography, but at the same time, it represents the beauty of this world that can be found anywhere. There are no language barriers when it comes to photography.  

The photograph of the piano represents the fact that I play the piano. It's a significant part of me. I play pieces from all over the world, and that's really neat. We don't all have to speak the same language to love music, whether classical or contemporary.

Finally, my name appears on my logo because it is obviously a big part of my identity, but it also comes from both Hebrew and Japanese roots, proving that names are international.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Second Diplomatic Posting: Let's Look Back

It's a little bit crazy to think that Grade 10 is halfway over. With the end of the semester came a new Humanities teacher, and the end of the Second Diplomatic Posting.
I enjoyed this unit. It seemed to go really well. All of the assignments were interesting and intriguing. They were challenging, which is good. I was able to write an essay. I love essays!!
In this posting, we read To Kill A Mockingbird. I'd heard bad things about the book, but I wanted to form my own opinion. While I didn't really enjoy the book, it did have a lot to offer, meaning the themes. These included social inequality, racism, prejudice, courage, bravery, and many other important aspects. While I personally don't enjoy the book, it did teach me some valuable life lessons. Those lessons could help others as well, and it was interesting to analyze the text.
One thing I definitely want to do more of is write essays. I love to think critically and analytically, which is quite different than most people. I enjoy delving deeper into a topic. That's probably why I'm looking into the literary field for after high school.
I want to work on taking more time to work on assignments. I did feel like I rushed too much in this semester, but I will work on it. That will change.
Overall, it was a very good posting, in my eyes. I enjoyed it, and I hope that Humanities keeps getting better.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pieces of Me

Okay, so a few posts ago, I promised a more personal post. While this is personal, it was an assignment for Humanities. I love it, and I thought I'd share it....so enjoy. I call this, "Pieces of Me."

In grade 7, I was given an assignment. The assignment was to write a poem about who I was, how I viewed myself, and how others viewed me. This is what I wrote:
I am a writer and a dreamer.
I wonder why.
I hear thoughts of others and myself.
I see life through different eyes every day.
I want to be myself, and carefree.
I am a writer and a dreamer.

I pretend to be someone I’m not.
I feel every emotion at once.
I touch a pen and words flow.
I worry entirely too much for a teenager.
I cry when things are rough, or too good to be true.
I am a writer and a dreamer.

I understand so much more than I did before.
I say that hate is easy, but love takes courage.
I dream of everything.
I try so hard.
I hope for the impossible.
I am a writer and a dreamer.

And whether you like it or not,
I am me.

            The truth is, who I am hasn’t changed a whole lot. I know that deep down I’m the same. I’ve matured, sure, but then again, I’ve always been “older” than those my own age. Somebody once told me that I was born 30, and get older every year, and it’s true. I don’t act like I’m not quite 16, but that’s because I’ve been through a lot of changes. When you move a lot, you learn to adapt. You change when a relationship that you’ve always viewed as unbreakable falls apart. You never expect you maternal grandparents to split up and file for divorce. You change when your Great Aunt, whom you thought was happy and healthy, dies suddenly. You change whenever life throws something new at you, be it immature teenage boys bullying you, or having to deal with the pointless drama that teenage girls somehow get you involved in. You grow as a person. That’s me. The things that have happened in my life have changed who I am, my identity. Remember my poem? All those things happened after I wrote my poem. What does that say about me? I was mature long before my life changed so completely.

            My interests also contribute to my identity. I love music. I love listening to it, but also making it. I play the piano and sing, and that’s a huge part of me. It’s one of my ways of expressing myself. Writing is one of my passions. I love the feeling of a pen in my hand. I feel unstoppable. I love reading as well. There is a wealth of knowledge to be found in literature. I started reading at 4 years old, and I haven’t stopped yet. I’m a part-time movie buff. Name a movie, and if I haven’t seen it, I’ve probably heard of it. Most people know that I love the TV show, Glee. They don’t know why. I love the music, but I also like that I can relate to the members of the glee club. Rachel Berry and I have a lot of similarities. I also love history. I don’t remember who it was that said, “If you do not learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it,” but it’s true. I’ve seen it in my short lifetime, which is why I love history so much. It’s something that I can continuously learn from.

            When it comes to my identity, my beliefs and my religion go hand in hand. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m a Mormon. I believe my church’s teachings completely. They have altered my perception of the world, and I am grateful for them.

            My language is not a huge part of me. I speak English fluently, and can understand some French, Spanish, and Italian. I also understand real English, meaning the kind that comes from England, slang and all.

            To be perfectly honest, my traditions don’t really contribute to my identity. I don’t think that getting new pyjamas every Christmas Eve alters who I am, and my family’s Christmas breakfast doesn’t either. The only tradition that affects me in any way is our family’s reading of the Christmas story (as found in the Bible; book of Luke) every Christmas Eve, as it reaffirms my beliefs.

            My ethnicity and background shape me to some extent. First and foremost, I’m second generation Canadian. My grandparents came from England 40 years ago. That’s a big part of who I am. I have quirks that are quite obviously British. Having an English background affects my views on historical matters, such as wars and settlements. To some degree, it also affects my taste in music and movies. A strong British accent makes me feel at home, so a lot of my favourite actors and actresses are from England. My background does affect me in other ways, like food. My family does a lot of traditional English cooking, and that’s something that I’ve grown used to. My grandparents are a big part of my life, and they’ve brought England into it.

            I think that my style affects my identity a little bit, but not a whole lot. I had a hard time thinking of how to describe my style, but then I remembered something said by Kurt Hummel in Glee.  “Rachel manages to dress like a grandmother and a toddler at the same time.” He’s referring to Rachel Berry, the character I feel I identify the most with. I don’t dress like other people my age. I wear cardigans. I put little bows in my hair, bows that a toddler would wear. My hair isn’t long, or blonde, like every other teenage girl. My style is unique to me.

            One of the things that affects my identity in a huge way is who I look up to, my role models. My mother is my primary role model. She is always there for me, through the good and the bad. She is a strong, loving individual, and I hope I can measure up to her example. She has faced adversity, and shown me how to be strong. My next role model would be my paternal grandmother, Pauline. She came to Canada in 1970, with her husband and two toddlers. They had next to nothing in terms of money and belongings. She made do with what little they had, and even added two more children to the family, including my father. She has had her fair share of difficulties in her life, but she still manages to stay fairly positive, and she has influenced me far more than she’ll ever know. My third role model is my Auntie Margaret, my Grandma Pauline’s older sister. She was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. She didn’t let life get her down. She was kind to everyone she met, and willing to help in whatever capacity she could. She was a great example to me, and I just wish I could have told her that before she left us. These three women have inspired and assisted me more than words can express, and without their example, I would not be who I am today.

            All of these things make up who I am, my identity. They are what I see in myself, but also what others see in me. I AM ME.