Thursday, December 9, 2010

Author's Note Draft 1

Lakes, ponds, rivers and other bodies of water across the country are currently being polluted. Pollution in water is very dangerous its inhabitants, and also for other animals and humans around it. Some of this pollution comes from lawn fertilizer and pesticides in rain, or gasoline, oil, and litter ending up in the water.  "Americans tend to think water pollution problems are pretty well under control, but we still face enormous challenges," says Peter B. McIntyre, a zoologist. Many states are taking action to get the water fixed, but still there are some who are not. Water in many areas is growing worse. In Lake Erie, there are visible clouds of pollution in the water.

Water being polluted is not the only environmental problem we are facing right now. Curently 60,000 square miles of forest is beign destroyed a year. 6,000 trees a day are chopped down just to make paper for schools. Though the amount of people and states taking action has increased, there are still some people who do not care very much. Those are the people we need to get the message to. It only takes one person to make the right decision.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Social Awareness Research Response

I decided to research the arctic, and problems Antarctica is currently having. I made a decision to research this based off my interest in the arctic and the animals living there. I researched the arctic also because many of my favorite childhood picture books take place in the arctic.
One of the articles I read and printed about the arctic was one I found on SIRS. The article discusses different scenarios the arctic could be in by 2040. A few of the scenarios involve a very different environment, or a more industrial Antarctica. Some involved there being very little ice left, hardly enough to maintain a stable living environment.
 Many people are now very aware of how the climate is changing in the arctic. Pollution from cars and factories enters the air, and rises into the atmosphere, and causes it to get thicker and more dense. Sunlight that comes through the atmosphere to the earth would normally rise back up through the atmosphere, but because of the density of the atmosphere, is unable to, and stays close to the earth, warming our planet. Temperatures everywhere have been rising gradually. Ice in the arctic is melting. If we do not act soon to prevent global warming, there might be no arctic in 2040. If that does happen, animals living there will forced to adapt to new habitats and climates or go down with their home.
Animals are not the only ones who are and will be affected by this drastic climate change. If all of that ice does melt, it will increase the sea level by at least twenty feet. Cities near oceans will have large areas flooded. Some theories state that entire cities (inlcuding New York City) may end up completely flooded.
Global Warming is our problem. We caused it. Now it if affected others, and soon has will affect us unless we act. Stopping cars and factories is definitely not an option for easing down global warming, but we could drive less often, and use potentially more energy efficient cars and factory solutions. it is up to us to take action. If we act now, there may be a bright future for the arctic and its inhabitants.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Social Awareness part 2- List and Entry

-fight next to Prospect Park
-homeless man at the seventh avenue subway station that I have seen every time I have been in there for the past 3 years
-a dad yelling at his kid, hitting her
-a mom beating her son on the street
-crowded emergency room- people without healthcare


There is a man that always sits in the seventh avenue train station. In this certain place right near the ninth street exit. He always sits there, sometimes asleep, sometimes awake observing the people that walk speedily past him. He always wears a black coat and a black hat. That man is probably there right at this minute, while I am writing this entry for homework to post on a blog, sitting there. I first saw him when I was 10 years old. It was 7:00. The man was sitting in a corner. He wasn't holding out a cup asking for change, just sitting. As I walked by, I looked at him, and he smiled, a grim, sad smile, then looked back down. Ever since then, I have noticed him every time I pass through the station, wearing the  same thing. Sometimes I wonder what he does, if he counts all of the people that pass by him in a day, if he looks for people that passed by earlier when it is late, or if he just waits. Waits for change to come. Not the kind of change that  you might drop in a homeless person's cup, the kind of change  that could really help a homeless person. Kids run by the man in the subway station that walk past him as adults later.
  He he sitting there now, unaware that somewhere, a teenager is writing a homework entry about him. There is one thing that I know that man has: hope.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Social Awareness- Reflection

When I started this first part of our Social Awareness unit five days ago,  I was unsure about how i would do this research, and what kind of problems I would find. Since then, I have increased my knowledge on current social problems by a lot just by watching and reading the news.
  One current issue is the contreversy about the mosque being build near ground zero. There have been several debates and protests about the construction of it. Many people who lost loved ones in 9/11 feel like the construction of this mosque is dishonoring the memories of them.
  Another problem is poverty. There is poverty all over the world. In New York City alone, 1 in 20 people are or have been homeless. As we learned from the song "World On Fire," people all over the world are hungry, poor, and in need of our help.
  Today during Project Real we took a survey about bullying. I thought that some of the questions the survey asked were strange, because I never heard of anyone from our school being in some of the situations. I checked disagree is basically every box. As I began writing this reflection, I realized that in other school all over the country, there are kids in those bullying situations. Some feel insecure, like they cannot tell anyone. Bullying affects how they perform in school, and other things. Recently, several people have commited suicide because of the amount of pressure they were under.
  Many people are aware of the social problems going on right now, but not enough are taking action. This is the time to change, to make a difference.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Entry 8- Mother To Son, by Langston Hughes

Mother To Son, by Langston Hughes is a really deep poem. As everyone reading this knows, it is a poem written from a mothers perspective giving advice to her son. The beginning of the poem is about the mothers experience with life, and the end of the poem is the advice to the son, which to sum up, is to "never give up." Mother to Son is full of metaphors, but the most important metaphor is the comparison of life to a staircase. The first line of the poem is "Well son, I'll tell you: life for me ain't been no crystal stair." I believe the the crystal stair represents a perfect life, one with no flaws or challenges. I believe that what makes up a good life is the challenges, the flaws. A perfect life would be, well, no fun. No one has a perfect life. Langston Hughes goes on to say "it had tacks in it, and splinters, and places with no carpet on the floor, bare." I really like this part of the poem. It is basically saying "my life has had it's challenges, and it's hard times." The next part of the poem is where the mother says "but all the time I's been a-climbin' on.." which I think means "I have never given up."
Overall, I believe that Mother to Son is saying "Life has been hard for me, but I never gave up on it, I kept on going, and so should you, because waiting for your problems to solve themselves will only make things worse. Just keep on living your life."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Entry 7

"The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster is one book I always wanted to learn more about, so this entry was a great opportunity to do so.
Norton Juster wrote "The Phantom Tollbooth" in 1960. His neighbor, Jules Feiffer, did the illustrations. Norton Juster claimed that his inspiration  came from his fathers fondness for humor, and also the Marx Brothers movies. "The Phantom Tollbooth" was referred to in the critic world as "advanced for most children," which I think is true. The book has a surprisingly complicated story line, and also a lot of advanced wordplay and number theory.
"The Phantom Tollbooth" was also adapted into a movie, and several plays, which is another thing about the book that I never knew before.
Not many books have the ability to be funny, intelligent, and daring at the same time. "The Phantom Tollbooth"does.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"The Phantom Tollbooth" Appreciation

Not many books have to ability to be intelligent, daring, and funny.
"You can pick any assortment you like or buy a special box complete with all letters, punctuation marks, and a book of instructions. Here, taste an A; they're quite good."
Milo nibbled carefully at the letter and discovered that it was quite sweet and delicious- just the way you'd expect an A to taste.
"I knew you'd like it," laughed the letter man, popping two G's and an R into his mouth and letting the juice drip down his chin.
  I first read "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster when I was seven years old. It took me four weeks to read it. Quite honestly, I went through a lot of feelings about the book. I was first confused. I didn't really know what a tollbooth was, and I didn't understand why Milo wasn't excited about being in a different world. Then a little scared of the Doldrums and Tock, then interested, once Dictionopolis came into the story, then entertained, then confused again, this time about Dischord and Dyne, then happy that Milo completed his journey, and finally, sad that the book was over.
  "The Phantom Tollbooth" is a book about a bored, lonely boy named Milo, who has no interest in anything at all. He discovers a strange tollbooth in his bedroom, and a card that says "For Milo, who has all the time in the world." Milo, who is still barely interested, hops into a toy car, enters the tollbooth, and ends up in a different world. He encounters several characters, including the Whether Man, and a literal "watch" dog named Tock. He enters Dictionopolis, and learns that in order  to bring peace between Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, he must rescue Rhyme and Reason, and teach the two places that they cannot function without words (Digitopolis,) and numbers (Dictionopolis.)

     Re-discovering "The Phantom Tollbooth" was wonderful. It is still the same book that it was six years ago; worn-out red hard cover, blue drawn map of Milo's tollbooth world, pencil illustrations. I remember how much I liked Tock and the Humbug when I was younger, and this time reading it, I tried to focus on the smaller details I missed last time I read it, like how Milo's feelings change throughout the book about the tollbooth world, and life in general. When I was seven, I felt connected to the book. I felt the the journey was funny, yet serious, the characters were true, and the overall story was a joy to read.

 On the surface, "The Phantom Tollbooth" is about a fantasy rescue mission, but really, it is a story of friendship, a desire to learn, and appreciation of the beauty in life. When I was younger, I waited for the tollbooth the come to me, but like Milo, I realized that there is so much to do in life. Some books we read when we are young change us. "The Phantom Tollbooth" is one of those books.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Phantom Tollbooth, Entry 6


One idea I have been tracking in "The Phantom Tollbooth," by Norton Juster, is the idea that Milo learns a lesson in almost each chapter.
     The lesson Milo learned from chapter four was how to appreciate the use of words. On page 65, Milo says "You can get in a lot of trouble mixing up words or just not knowing how to spell them. If we ever get out of here, I'm going to make sure to learn all about them."
   For example, there is chapter nine. Chapter nine is about Alec, the boy who is a few feet off the ground. Before Milo entered the Tollbooth, he had no point of view. He did not care about anything, he did not want to do anything. This chapter taught Milo to look at the world in a different way, to appreciate the world.
  Milo's quest was to rescue Rhyme and Reason, but his true purpose was to learn how to appreciate sound, sight, numbers, letters, words, colour, time, and most of all, true friendship.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Person's a Person, No Matter How Small

  One thing I appreciate about the book "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White are the morals and lessons we learn from the book.

  At the beginning of the story, Wilbur is intimidated by the way Charlotte catches and eats her food. He is disturbed, and pictures her as an inhumane and bloodthirsty creature. As Wilbur's image of Charlotte throughout the book shifts from inhumane to kind and gentle, Wilbur begins to feel ashamed, and completely regrets that he ever thought Charlotte was not the kind animal she was.  E.B. White sends the message to the reader that you can never judge a book by its cover. Just because someone does something differently does not mean they are a certain way.

  Charlotte is one of the strongest characters in the book. She saved Wilbur's life, got him attention, and was a great friend to him till the day she died. She was always there for Wilbur. I think that the character Charlotte gives the message that even the smallest things in life can make the biggest difference.

  "Charlotte's Web" is not only a story of friendship. It is a story of courage, confidence, growing up, and new life. The lessons we learn from "Charlotte's Web" stay with us forever. "Charlotte's Web" is truly some book.