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.