While reading the excerpt from Walden by Thoreau, I came to the realization that Thoreau and Emerson share the same thoughts in regards to life. They ways in which they discuss nature really is what made me make a connection between them. Both writers used nature as a metaphor for life. In the first portion of “Where I Lived and What I Lived?”, Thoreau’s main point was that life should be lived in a simple manner. He says that life would be much more enjoyable if you lived simply instead of getting caught up in all of the little details and caring too much about things that are not important in our lives. The main point of “The Conclusion” is that you should be yourself and live life how you want and not live how others want you to. This main idea is very closely related to Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” which talks about how you will feel a bigger sense of pride and dignity if you do things on your own and in your own way. Thoreau’s leaving behind society to live in the woods would highlight the simplicity of life and would show that he truly only needs the simple things in life in order to live a good, happy life. This experiment would pretty much be like you are leaving the realm of society and focusing deeply on your inner self and wanting to create a better you. You would not have to go through the everyday worries of trying to fit in with the people of society. I believe we need to do this more often because today, there are so many people acting as followers and people imitating each other rather than being themselves and being a leader in the world. I do not think I could do this experiment because I would miss people and would miss being able to interact with them on a personal level. I would get way too lonely. I believe the biggest thing to learn from our readings of Transcendentalism is that everybody needs to embrace individuality instead of being too afraid to be who we are and not be focused on trying to fit in with everybody. We need to live simply and live for ourselves more than trying to please other people.
The purpose of independent reading is to ensure that students can still read and are keeping up on their education through books. As a school, to ensure and make kids read more is we could make one book for an actual grade and then for every other book we read per marking period, it could be an extra two bonus points. The first book that I picked for the third quarter was When the Game Stands Tall. I selected this book because I have seen the movie and it is an incredible sports story and I want to see how the book relates to the movie. I just picked my book today so I have not had time to read any of it, but what I think is going to happen in the first chapter is it will give an intro into the sports program and its history. It will explain and give reports about what happens in their football games during their historic record of 151 games in a row. A concern that I have about making this book trailer is that I am not quite sure how I am going to do it yet and am hoping that it is not very hard to do. But, I do think that it will be cool to watch once we are all done and it will get more students to read if they can watch a book trailer on the book. It is a pretty cool idea in my mind and I hope that my trailer turns out to be good.
My first thoughts on Transcendentalism was that I was really confused and could not quite understand what it was talking about or what it meant. The philosophical idea of transcendentalism’s central figure was Ralph Emerson, who lead the movement in the mid nineteenth century. When I first read Nature and Self-Reliance by Ralph Emerson, I understood the basics of what it was trying to get at, but I did not understand the deeper meaning to it all. I knew that it was talking about nature and the way that man nature interact with another and that Emerson was talking about how people need to be less about themselves and not be so self-centered. I believe that men are naturally good. I believe they are capable of being able to control themselves and do not need to have society and its rules keep them from doing bad things. They are able to make a conscious decision to either do something or not do something depending on if it is right or wrong. If people were to have to listen to other people to tell them how to live their lives, things would get messy. They would not follow the rules and would in fact make things much worse for society. They need to be able to do what they want when they want and live their lives free of other people. To get the most out of life, you need to be able to do what makes you happy and being told by society’s rules what you can or cannot do is just total misery and would make a person’s life gloomy and no fun and not worth living. Now granted we do have to follow certain rules or the world would be utter chaos, but for things that will not harm others, people should definitely be able to make their own decisions. But, if their actions and decisions hurt other people, I believe they should be punished and not able to make their own choices anymore. As long as they are using the power that they have for good, I believe in Transcendentalism!
Throughout the course of our unit on argument, I have learned a lot on what and what not to say while arguing. Before we started, I wasn’t quite sure how to construct a good argument or what needed to be said in order to crush the opponent. By the end though, I figured out that you need to have a lot of facts and statistics to back up your argument. Then you need to have good questions for your opponent that makes them give answers they do not want to give. Also, you need to have a strong rebuttal which means you have to pay attention to the points they are trying to make so then you can spew out more facts defending what they are saying and figuring out why they are wrong. I really enjoyed listening to my peers argue one another in their debates. Although, obviously, everyone including myself could have done better, I thought for the most part they were very good. I thought that our rebuttals could have been better, but everything else was good and fun to listen to. The best debate other than my own, in my opinion, was Roli’s debate because he and his opponent had very good facts on marijuana and why it should and should not be legal. The experience of creating a persuasive speech was difficult at times. I believe that it would have been even more difficult had I not got such an important and relevant topic to my life. I use technology and also textbooks every single day, which made it easier for me to construct my debate. It was easy to find facts on my topic and it was easy to come up with questions that I knew my opponent could not answer without admitting something he did not want to admit. The most difficult part by far was the rebuttal. I had to use what he said and turn that against him and try to tell everybody that he was wrong. This was difficult because I could not plan out what I was going to say so I had to listen very carefully to what he was saying in order to do my debate well. Overall I really enjoyed the debate and hope we can do it again.
My opinion on my topic has changed with more research. It has changed because I came to the realization that it is much more convenient to use electronics in the classroom and is more realistic in today’s world. The most interesting piece of information I found on my topic is the amount of Americans that do not have access to wireless internet connections at their homes. It is interesting to me because I take for granted the fact that I get to come home and have internet and am able to do my schoolwork whenever I want. This fact should be compelling to others because they need to also not take for granted that they have an internet connection. I did know that many American citizens did not have internet at their homes due to either poverty or location of where they live, but I did not know the number was around 60 million. The source that gave me this information is recode.net. An emotional element to my debate topic is the fact that all of the children in the country without internet cannot do their homework and will fall behind their classmates, which can bring out the emotion of feeling bad for those children. My topic brings out this emotion in society because it is natural for people to feel bad for less fortunate kids, in this case these kids to not have internet at home which most Americans do have. My debate is one that is emotionally charged because we all use technology everyday at school and at home, so all of my classmates understand the argument. Ethically, debate about this topic is important because it relevant in our lives today. We are transitioning into an electronic world therefore it is a very valuable argument. Ethics enters into my debate topic because with new technology in schools, it is easier to cheat on schoolwork, and cheating is wrong. An ethical argument against my side of the topic is that making all of those textbooks kills trees, which is bad for the environment. One ethical argument in favor of textbooks is that students cannot cheat on their work like they can with tablets and computers. I believe the logical appeal is most important for my topic. The most common logical argument for my side is that the price of electronic devices and electronic textbooks are more expensive than textbooks using paper. The most common logical argument against my side is that if we use textbooks, we are teaching in a style like we did over 50 years ago. The most common fallacious argument for my side is that if we use textbooks we will not be as smart as people who use technology. The most common fallacious argument for the other side is that if we use technology, we are going to fail more tests. Since we started creating a valid argument, I have learned that you need to gather a lot of factual information both for your side and the opponent’s side. This will affect future arguments that I will have because I will now get more research for the other side of my debate topics so that when they spew out statistics and facts I can come right back with a few of my own.
Stuart Scott was an American sportscaster and anchor for ESPN. He had a battle with cancer of the appendix, a seven year battle that changed the lives of many sports fans everywhere. He had two daughters named Sydni and Taelor who helped fight their dad’s fight. They were his inspiration day in and day out. At the 2014 Espys, one of his famous quotes reads, “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live. So live. Live! Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.” After he said this there tears in the eyes of everyone in attendance and everyone watching the show live. His daughters walked up onto the stage and he said this, “The best thing I’ve ever done — the best thing I will ever do — is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni. I can’t ever give up, because I can’t leave my daughters. I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express. You are my heartbeat.” This made his girls erupt in tears and sadness and while reading the quotes out of this book, I got very sad as well. I grew up watching Stuart Scott on ESPN announcing every morning on Sports Center where I would watch the day’s sports highlights. Reading the book on his life just made me reflect back to all of the times I watched him growing up and it made me not be able to put the book down. He was an inspiration to all and the news of when he had cancer first came out, it was a shock to the sports world. At those 2014 Espys, Stuart Scott was awarded with the Jimmy V award for perseverance, an award he himself used to present to other people in the sports world. He made one of the best speeches in history and raised tens of millions of dollars for the Jimmy V foundation. His life and legacy is one that will never be forgotten and the sadness that I felt for his daughters was tremendous. I felt a sort of anger towards cancer itself. I made a connection with Stuart Scott’s girls, family members and coworkers because a few years ago my grandma died of cancer. She first found out about in June of 2012, and fought it for 3 years. She was a warrior and so was Stuart Scott and that is another reason I enjoyed this book. The weight of the world came crashing down on sports fans and family members of Stuart Scott on January 4, 2015 when Scott’s seven year battle with cancer came to an end. It was a very sad time around the country. There were so many things about his life that I didn’t know until I read this book. He was a really cool guy and gave his daughters all of his free time and wanted to give them a perfect life. I couldn’t believe what he did for people and the ways that people felt about him. If there is one guy I want to live my life like, after reading this book it would definitely be Stuart Scott. He left such a legacy that everyone knew about even in other countries. Stuart Scott is an inspiration to all and his quote about living and fighting like Hell is one of the most famous quotes to this day and for good reason. I really enjoyed this book and the toll it took on me.
When I opened up the book Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork, I instantly became attached. I just could not put the book down for the life of me. I knew it was going to be an amazing book because it really appealed to me. I enjoy a good mystery book, one with suspense and also some sadness. Disappeared is a book based in Mexico, so I didn’t know much about the setting or what was going to happen throughout. All I knew was that Sara, local news reporter, was searching for missing girls in their town after her best friend went missing and nobody knew where she was. The thrilling action and constant adventure really kept me reading. I really liked Sara’s character because she was very persistent and knew what needed to get done and how to accomplish that. She was fighting for a cause that everyone around her told her she should stop what she was doing and not risk her life to find these missing girls. She received death threats at her place of work, which I found very disturbing and I figured she would stop her search, but nope. She kept on going and that is the main reason I liked Sara’s character throughout the story. Before starting her search for her friend, she had a very sad life. Her dad walked in one day and threw divorce papers on the counter and left for the states, leaving her and her family in the dust. This though, along with being poor, helped her along her search because she knew she had a cause to fight for. She wanted to get those girls back to their families and give them what she didn’t have anymore: a father. The next character that I got attached with was Sara’s brother Emiliano. Emiliano had to be Sara’s father figure now that their father moved out and that made him a different person. He had to look out for his family now and needed to get some money around for them. This would lead to some shady business with Emiliano and his “friends”. His girlfriend Perla Rubi came into his life and he could not have been more excited. She made him the character that I admired. She made him strong and helped him fight off the temptations to get back with his friends that were into dealing drugs and made him care more for his sister and her feelings. He is a very passionate character that makes the story the way that it is. I have never read such an interesting story. Even though the story was very interesting, it made me kind of sad as well. It made me feel sad when I learned about their home life and also when Sara’s friend went missing. It angered me to the core when I found out that Sara’s boss was not helping her in her search because he was afraid of taking the risks. He knew that the girls could be dead and did not care. He did not care one bit about those poor girls and was too worried about saving his own behind. He even told her to stop reporting about the missing girls! I didn’t even understand that because he owns a newspaper! A newspaper is supposed to get the big stories and he should have wanted to follow her stories, but one threat via email scared him away and turned him to a coward. I did not like Sara’s boss. The end of the book made me happy due to the fact that Sara found her friend! She went against the odds, proved her boss, community, and brother wrong. She found her best friend and created the best news story in Mexico. She became a very famous news reporter after that day and made a name for herself. This was a great read and I highly recommend it!
The debate topic that I was given was “Textbooks vs. Tablets”. My assigned position for this topic is the pro side, which is that textbooks are better than tablets for schoolwork use. This is not my personal position on the topic. I believe that tablets are better and more effective for school than textbooks are because we have everything we need right at our fingertips. We can go to google and type in what we need to know and it comes up in a second, whereas if we didn’t have electronics in a school setting, it would take us a lot longer to find out what we need to know. Also if students have an electronic device for their schoolwork, they will not have to carry around big, heavy textbooks and will only have to carry around one compact device that holds everything we need for every single class. Things that I already knew about this topic prior to research include that textbooks cost less than tablets or other electronic devices, teachers think that tablets help students learn more faster and are very beneficial. When I used a basic google search for my topic, I found a lot of results. I found a couple websites that had multiple pros and cons for the debate topic. One way that I plan on discussing this topic in a logical way is that textbooks are much cheaper than tablets and also it is easier to cheat on assignments and tests with tablets than when you just have textbooks. An ethical issue for this topic is that it would be wrong to change the traditional ways of education for electronic devices. Some emotions that can be brought into play with this issue is that teachers can become upset with having to change the ways of how they teach due to the changing curriculum regarding teaching using electronics instead of paper and pencil and regular, plain textbooks.
The article that I chose to read was written by Jeremy Lin, an Asian-American basketball player who is in the NBA, and adapted by the Newsela staff. The issue that he was discussing was bullying and how bullying is not good and needs to be stopped. He experienced bullying and harassment while playing collegiate basketball at Harvard University. Opposing fans would shout offensive things like, “You’re a Chinese import, and Go back to China!” These comments made him play horrible and he let it really get under his skin, and sadly the bullying transpired to when he played in the NBA as well.
Bullying is not an issue and should not be pressed as such a big deal. There are many benefits to being bullied, people just do not realize it. Bullying makes you stronger. One California study with children ages eleven and twelve said, “Children who returned hostility with hostility appeared to be the most mature.” The study also stated, “Mutual dislike can help students develop healthy social and emotional skills – and can sometimes have a bigger impact on their development than friendships.”
Another piece of evidence that I found from that study is that girls who did the same were more popular and more admired by teachers and peers. The evidence that I have found indicates to me that bullying can be good for you in many ways and it is not always bad and it should not be such a big issue.
On an emotional level… Even though people who are bullied get upset and sad, they become more brave and more self confident in themselves. If a kid was once shy, after getting bullied they will not be so shy and will get a better personality afterwards. Everybody thinks that kids who get teased and picked on get emotionally hurt on the inside, but in reality they get pissed off and need to fight back. Show the bully who is boss so he or she leaves you alone. If you do not show that their bullying is hurting you, they will stop because they are looking for a reaction out the kid they are bullying.
Ethically it would seem wrong for people to say that bullying is okay and just, but actually that is the truth. Don’t you think kids need someone to pick on them and show them their flaws so that they can fix themselves and become a better them? Many people agree with that statement and so do I. Bullying for children is a good way to start maturing and growing into a young adult.
When reading the Benjamin Franklin paper, I became very curious as to how Ben Franklin thought that anyone let alone himself could perfect the thirteen virtues he created. I knew that it would be impossible to not break one of the virtues and when I tested it, I was right. The one that I thought would be the hardest to not do was industry, which I defined as wasting time on social media, or really wasting your time doing anything when you should be doing something productive. When starting my checklist on Wednesday, I found that I wasted a lot of time each day on my phone when I should be doing schoolwork or anything worth my time. It was definitely the most challenging virtue to try not to violate due to the fact that you have so much time during the day and you spend much of that time on electronics. Another virtue that I thought would be very hard was temperance. Temperance is not eating or drinking to access, meaning that you do not drink until you’re drunk and you do not eat until you are so full you kind of go sleepy. I tried to be really good with this one but the temptation of food got to me this weekend. I was in Towanda with the basketball team for a tip-off tournament. We played Friday at 7:30 and after we won, we went back to our hotel and started to eat like crazy. I was eating chips, chocolate, chugging Gatorade, really anything I saw I was eating it because I was so hungry. Then after all of the junk food, most of the team walked over to the Sheetz by the hotel and got some made to go orders. I got a huge chicken sandwich with bacon, pickles, ranch, cheese, and a bag of fries. It was delicious. But after I was done, I was so full I felt sick to my stomach, and well you can probably guess what happened next… At the end of my experiment with the virtues, I came to the same conclusion as Ben Franklin himself: It was realistically impossible to follow the virtues and be the “perfect’ person.