Wednesday, December 19, 2012

America's "Gray" Area

       Freedom. Protection. Rights. These are the words that most people associate with the First Amendment. other words that should come to mind but rarely do are limitations and boundaries. Where criminal offense meets the First Amendment there is a gray area. In many cases, juries take weeks debating whether the offender should be convicted or if the are protected under the first amendment.
       What are the boundaries?  At what point does the First Amendment stop being a valid protection? In the case of Commonwealth vs. Twitchell the entire case circled around Americas gray area. Parents were accused of involuntary manslaughter when their two year old son died because they didn't give him medicine. The reason they denied giving him medicine was because they were Christian Scientists. They didn't believe in medicine and thought that through prayer and homemade remedies they could cure the child. This was a difficult case because even though they were following their religion they weren't taking the necessary means to protect they're child who was only an infant. They were convicted and got ten year probation but actually got an appeal and got released. The issue is that the system is like a giant balance. On one side you have the laws. On the other you have the first amendment. The scale at first weighed greater towards law which sent the Twitchells to jail but later there was a shift where the first amendment took greater precedence and they received an appeal and were released. I personally think that they were guilty but I'm not 100%. Their child is dead and that won't change but that doesn't mean they woke up one morning and said "I don't want my child to have medicine so that he will die". They honestly believed that he would get better if they prayed hard enough but that doesn't make up for the fact that they could've prevented his death. That is where the gray area comes in. There is actually no right answer.
       I think it is all a matter of offense. If you are endangering a life no matter who you are or what your beliefs you should go to jail. When the effect of your religion damages the life of someone else you are no longer protected under the first amendment. That's the boundary. That's the limit but there will still always be a gray area.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grades: Strandard-based or Letter Grades.

    Grades can be what make or break you as a student. The purpose of grades is to asses how much you are learning. To  be honest I don't mind the grading system we have now. Since it is all numbers and letters the grades are based primarily on how much you understand the concept. By using the 100 point grading system a teacher can't take off 5 points because they don't like you. It is also easy to calculate how many things you got wrong by looking at your grade. If each questions worth 10 points and you get a 90% you got two questions wrong. The system we have no is easily understood and doesn't have any major problems.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creativity Killers.

          "When I was your age I spent all my time outside", "When I was your age I rode my bike every day,", "When i was your age I had to use my imagination for fun,". I'm sure every person has heard similar statements made  by their parents. They are always complaining that we don't use our imagination as much as previous generations did. Well this point is true but it isn't our fault, schools are the ones killing our creativity. Or at least this what is believed by Sir Ken Robinson. He addressed this issue during a TED talk. Basically what he was saying was that schools create a fear of being wrong. I believe this is true. There are always the moments in class when the teacher is looking around for the answer and you think you know the answer but you aren't exactly positive. You sit there though with your hand down because you don't want  to give a completely wrong answer. This whole fear of being wrong is insane but sadly its true for me too. I went to an eye doctors appointment the other day and i was really nervous when i was asked to read the letters on the wall. I kept thinking "Oh my goodness, i can't see it. I'm wrong!" Schools are also teaching us that being wrong is like a crime. Every year the main curriculum focus making sure every student passes the NJ ASK. We take months in advance to do practice prompts, practice math packets, sample writing responses. If your answer doesn't match the New Jersey standard answer it is wrong. If you aren't allowed to use the creativity you have than it won't be there the next time you go looking Its like when you know all the words to a song but then a year passes. When you hear that song sure you might know the chorus but you don't know how it begins. If you don't use it you loose it. Schools are contributing by assigning projects with a structured outline which prohibit creativity. They also use :"the drill and kill" method. This is where you practice one skill repetitively until you are practically doing it in your sleep. This doesn't let you express new ideas. If you only know one way than all other ways seem wrong and out of place. Everyone is born with creativity but not everyone knows just how to hold on to it. It is similar to holding water in your hands. If you try hard enough you can keep it from slipping through the cracks. Creativity is dwindling but it isn't fully gone. It is our school's job to teach us to use our creativity and encourage us to incorporate our imagination into things. Creativity is like a super power that we all have and it is important that we learn to use it. Once creativity is gone its not coming back so we must hold on to every drop we have left.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gardner and Gregorc Learning Sytles

     Many people don't know things about themselves. For instance, I learned a ton from taking these two tests. Starting with the Gregorc test, I learned that I am Concrete Random/Abstract Random (I scored a sixteen on both). I really was shocked! I always knew i was independent and imaginative but I didn't realize that these characteristics had anything to do with the way I learn. From the Gardner test I learned that I am musical. I've always loved music so it was quite interesting to find out that this actually helps me learn. I got none of the Bodily Kinsethic and that was interesting to learn as well.
     There are quite a few people I admire. One person is my mom. She is always humming and singing even though she claims she isnt "musical". Another is the actress Emma Watson. Not only is she living my dream of acting proffesionally, but she is also thoroughly  educated. She actaully took a break from her acting career (Harry Potter films) to go to college. A final person I admire is Mrs. English. She was a teacher at my elemantarty school (M.T.E.S.) and she deicated her whole life to teaching. Every student she had, said she was their favorite. She was always smiling and hjappy and she influenced everyone around her. She taught through song and always promoted creativity. I think i really learned a lot from taking these intelligence/learning style tests.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Reality of Being Gifted

    There are many stereotypes about being gifted.  Of course there are ups but what many don't realize is that there are downs that come along for the ride. You have to learn to separate the truths from the myths to find out what it is really like to be gifted. There are many known "ups" to being gifted. First of all, being gifted, students often end up learning certain subjects quicker than their peers.This often result in higher placement such as A.P. or Honor courses  which look better on college applications and allow students to work at a quicker pace. Being gifted also means people think more highly of you. Sadly there are a set  of downs that walk hand and hand with the ups. One down is that more is expected from you  as a gifted student. You are expected to be perfect in every way. Another down is that as a gifted student you can feel more stressed. If you do something wrong than there are more consequences and people are more disappointed in you. You try to please everyone so it adds stress.I know I hold myself to a  higher standard to fit the mold of being gifted .Also if you are placed in a class that is too slow you feel bored most of the time. Then you zone out and can miss important pieces of information. Finally being gifted you can be bullied more often. You can be called a "nerd", "loser", or a "know-it-all".
      Many people have trouble separating the truths and myths of gifted people because they don't know which belong in each categories. One example of a myth is that gifted people are stuck up or egotistic. You can't stereotype people like this. Some gifted people are kind while others are arrogant. It's the same as putting people into groups according to race or gender.The truth is you can't tell a gifted person from others by just analyzing how they treat others. Another myth is that all gifted kids are outcasts or loners.  I am gifted but i have a lot of friends. I like to be social and that doesn't mean i am "less gifted" it just means i have a more social personality. There is truth to the myth which is that since the smarter kids can get bullied they can become outcasts but being born gifted doesn't mean you are an automatic loser. A final myth is all gifted students get straight A's because they are smarter. That myth is just wrong. I hate when people assume this of me. For example, I have a really good memory so classes like history come easier for me. On the other hand it doesn't help me in math so i have to really work hard and pay attention to earn the A. Not all gifted students get straight A's. Sure we may get A's in some of our classes but that doesn't mean we don't have to work or that we don't ace other classes. I hope this clears things up and that i have given a new perspective on the reality of being a gifted student.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Post Numero Uno

Hi my name's Emily Virok and I'm in 8th grade. My favorite subject is Spanish. My least favorite is science (first period, ugh!). My favorite sport is softball.  I guess basically in my little free time i just like to hangout with friends. When i grow up my dream is to be an actress and i don't really have a practical plan so..... My favorite thing to learn about outside of school is soccer. Well I think I've covered all the topics. I hope you enjoy my blog!!!