Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Dear reader,

It is crazy to even think how fast this year went. I remember writing my first ever blog post, and wondering what to title it. To be honest, I’m not sure I was very excited about writing blog posts at first, but I can safely say that I love writing them and enjoyed having to come home on a Monday after school and write a blog post (even if I complained and procrastinated doing my other million algebra and chemistry assignments). That is just one of the things I have learnt from AP lang, and I am grateful for everything that I have taken from this class.

Before I took AP lang, my writing was not the best. I added so much clutter and extra words that didn’t need to be there, and that didn’t add to my point. Something that AP lang taught me is to remove all the extra words and to understand that my writing can be as good if not better if I remove the clutter and communicate my point clearly, and as I have learnt from class and the Princeton review book multiple times, quality over quantity. I want to be a lawyer and being able to analyze and annotate texts really helped me. Although I wouldn’t call all the homework assignments, multiple choice practice, timed writes, and vocab quizzes that we have done “fun”, I am grateful that we did all of that as it really helped me learn and understand more about writing techniques, use vocabulary words effectively, understand, analyze, and annotate texts, and write cohesive (one of our vocab words by the way 🙂 pieces.

I also really appreciate Ms. Magnuson as our teacher, mentor, and friend and how she helped us with everything and even though our lessons diverged into the randomest of topics sometimes, I really enjoy how we still learn but have fun and are able to apply other concepts to our learning. Something else I also really enjoyed about AP lang was our class and how we (even though it sounds kinda cheesy) grew together and how we built a great classroom community. In October, we wrote a blog post on the role and significance of community in the writing process, and how it plays a big role in writing. In AP lang, since it is a small class and we do so many group and team projects, and have Ms. Magnuson teach and interact with us, we were able to grow as a class and learn to constructively help our classmates as well as appreciate and learn from one another’s writing and work.

I am so grateful that I took this class and I want to continue writing (maybe even blog posts) and being able to grow as a writer and enjoy it as well. I’m grateful for the amazing experiences we had and for us to apply what we have learnt in our lives and of course remember to reference the 259 and more vocab words we learnt. 🙂

Adhya 🙂

“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” – Brian Herbert

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Expressing Gratitude

Dear papa,

Thank you for being the greatest dad and thank you for being here for me always and helping me succeed this year. Through all the laughs, stressful moments (especially of junior year), chemistry and algebra questions, scheduling advice, TV shows that we follow religiously and make us laugh for days, and so much more. Whether it’s just hanging out and watching tv, or walking our dog, or going out to get me cake (my favorite), or helping with homework questions and explaining what just happened in the chemistry lab we just did, it always helps with calm down if i’m stressed and makes me smile.

Thank you for your ability to help and be here for everyone no matter what, and for all the laughs and fun banter, but also for all the lectures – even though I may complain at the time, they’re actually helpful :). You always seek to do well and set an amazing example for me and those around you, and are so caring and bring joy wherever you are. Our moments of just chilling and talking help me calm down from the stress that is schoolwork, and for understanding and helping me through work. Thank you for being excited about the amazing parts too, like doing well on a test, hanging out with amazing friends, appreciating the great teachers and great events we have, etc.

Even though junior year has been such a tough year in highschool, you always teach me how to be grateful for everything. How I should look at the positive side of things, and how even though I may be moody and not be having the best day, you help me remember that we have so many amazing opportunities, and that it’s okay to be tired and stressed sometimes, but to remember to always strive to the best of my ability and be joyful. Thank you for always being so understanding and being not only an amazing dad, but an amazing friend.

I’m so grateful for you, love you!

Adhya 🙂

“Dad, you’re someone to look up to no matter how tall I grow.”

Creative or Standardized Thinking?

Dear reader,

Standardized testing is something that is used greatly in educational systems all around the world. A definition of standardized testing is, “A standardized test is any form of test that (1) requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from common bank of questions, in the same way, and that (2) is scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of individual students or groups of students.” (edglossary.org). I believe that standardized testing should not be the only or a major deciding factor in a students education and potential.

Although many people would have the same or similar opinions towards standardized testing that I do, there are some that believe that standardized testing has mostly positive effects on students. A testing research done by Richard P. Phelps, a testing scholar, in 2011, “93% of studies on student testing, including the use of large-scale and high-stakes standardized tests, found a “positive effect” on student achievement.” (ProCon.org). Another point that people who believe that standardized testing is good have is that “standardized tests are inclusive and non-discriminatory because they ensure content is equivalent for all students.” (ProCon.org). I do see the point that they make sure that the content that students are being tested on is equivalent, and these claims do make sense, and have statistical evidence for some of their points. There are a few pros of standardized testing, but there are also cons of standardized testing.

Some of the counters to the pros are that standardized tests measure a limited amount of knowledge a person has and how meaningful that knowledge and education is. They do not test a students creative, curious, enthusiastic, self-discipline, leadership, humility, fair-minded, and integrity qualities, as also shown in a study according to Gerald W. Bracey, PhD. Standardized tests also do not provide students with the skills set of finding multiple solutions to a problem, as multiple choice questions have either a right or wrong answer set to it, and being able to find multiple solutions to a problem is an important skill to have as we grow up and in life. It may inhibit our creative thinking by posing only black and white answers to problems, that don’t let us think outside the box and use our minds to the amazing potential we have.

Everything about standardized testing is not wrong. It is a good way of seeing ones progress throughout their education, but then again, standardized testing seeks to measure a person’s intelligence and everything they have acquired in a span of around four hours, when we have spent elementary, middle, and high school trying and achieving to learn what we have. Perhaps instead of the heavy influence standardized testing has, we could propose that not only standardized testing, but extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations, tests based on one’s major, leadership involvements, service to others, and grades accumulated throughout one’s education should be factors in seeing where we want to study or what we want to do. 

Instead of putting so much emphasis on standardized testing that stresses students out and doesn’t always accurately measure intelligence, we should focus on our abilities to think creatively, innovatively, and our strive for knowledge, service, and leadership to see the amazing potential we all have.

Adhya 🙂

“Sometimes the most brilliant and intelligent students do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.” – Diane Ravitch

 

Partnership, Great Schools. “Standardized Test Definition.” The Glossary of Education Reform, 12 Nov. 2015, www.edglossary.org/standardized-test/.

“Standardized Tests – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines, standardizedtests.procon.org/.

Entertainment

Dear reader,

Entertainment is an important and relevant part of our lives. Whether it’s having a laugh with your family and friends, bonding over the humor in a book, or watching a television show together, entertainment surrounds us, and if used without being manipulated or distracted, it can be amusing and provide enjoyment when used in moderation. Entertainment does have the capacity to “ruin” society, though, if it is used to manipulate or take away from a person’s thought processes and opinions.

In his book published in 1998 named Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, Neal Gabler wrote, “one does not necessarily have to cluck in disapproval to admit that entertainment is all things its detractors say it is: fun, effortless, sensational, mindless, formulaic, predictable, and subversive.” These adjectives can be true, but a key one in this phrase is the word effortless. Although entertainment has benefits and is entertaining and holds interest to people, it does have the ability to manipulate or give a person quick facts or answers without them thinking for themselves. For example, the word effortless may have a positive connotation to it, being that it may be easy to access and use, especially if you are in a rush and can’t look something up in the dictionary. But it can also have a negative connotation, being that effortless could also mean too easy, able to look up without having any of your own or family’s or peers response, and giving any thought or opinions on whatever you need to find.

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman writes, “[It] is not that television is entertaining but that it has made entertainment itself the natural format for the representation of all experience. […] The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining.” This shows how television is not always entertaining, but it is made to be like that, through dramatics and ads that may look to appeal to people’s hobbies. Postman also talks about how we have so many amazing experiences and that entertainment itself has become a main forum, and so all or most parts of television or entertainment shown in such formats try to broadcast or dramatize our experiences, taking away the main point of that being we should experience rather than keep looking at that persons vacation or anything, so our time is spent wishing we were at the beach where that hotel ad was taken rather than actually experiencing the moment.  Entertainment shouldn’t take away from our experiences, or dramatize it on television, but rather make us laugh and delight but encourage us to go out and experience the world and think for ourselves.

Entertainment, if used well, can be an interesting and enjoyment and amusement filled form of activity, but with the influence it has on our society and the world right now, it can easily be used to manipulate and deceive people from thinking and experiencing for themselves. Have a laugh with your family and friends over a funny television show, but entertainment is more than just that. Entertain and be entertained, but remember to experience, think, and laugh too!

Adhya 🙂

“We aren’t in an information age, we are in an entertainment age.” – Tony Robbins

Logical?

Dear reader,

There are so many articles that talk about multiple topics, each presenting creative and unique arguments. Some articles would have logical fallacies within them, which are flaws in reasoning, like tricks or illusions of thought. I recently read an article named “How Innovative Ideas Arise” by James Clear. It talked about someone wanted to rebuild a toaster from scratch, so they broke it down and undid all the parts, but ended up not being able to rebuild it into a toaster or even make it look like one. The author then connected this toaster project story to “lessons” on how to become an innovative thinker. He then gave tips such as “Don’t Start From Scratch” and “Iterate, Don’t Originate” to imply that old ideas and building off what is already known is better than originality (I disagree with this logic). Although this article did have interesting approaches, I found some logical fallacies in this article.

The first logical fallacy is the slippery slope. This is when you say that if we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen, therefore A should not happen. In the article, the author starts off by putting a story of Thomas Thwaites and him building a toaster from scratch. It did not go too well for him, as his new rebuilt toaster is described as looking like a “melted cake.” This fallacy was used in this article as the author brings this story up, and suggests to the reader that since Thwaites was not able to rebuild the toaster, he was not able to build it without the help of previous procedure and perhaps not able to think innovatively, therefore we shouldn’t let anyone attempt at rebuilding a toaster as they may not be innovative thinkers.

Another logical fallacy shown is anecdotal. This is when a personal experience or isolated example is used instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence. The author gives the example of the toaster project and the feathers of birds. Although these examples are creative and add to his point, the one about the toaster is based off of personal experience, and an example that the author knows of. The author doesn’t give statistics on creativity in the workplace or a longitudinal or cross-sectional study on innovative thinkers and ideas and how they can be stimulated. There is just an example but no sound argument or compelling evidence.

The composition/division fallacy is also shown in this article. This logical fallacy is when it is  assumed that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it; or that the whole must apply to its parts. This is shown where the toaster project example was used as an entire part of innovation and innovative ideas, and there wasn’t really another argument other than the feathers of birds and how they eventually are developed into larger feathers capable of flight, and how inventors such as the Wright brothers learned from the work of Otto Lilienthal, Samuel Langley, and Octave Chanute in their journey to create the world’s first flying machine. Although these arguments were presented, the toaster is used as a whole summary on innovative ideas and if we can be innovative thinkers based on if we can rebuild a toaster.

Logical fallacies are present in so many articles, and picking them out can show you the power they have and how logical thinking is always important!  

Adhya 🙂

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.” – Leonard Nimoy

Knowledge Is Power

Dear reader,

Education is an incredibly powerful tool, and has different meanings for different people. I think that education is an incredible opportunity to use our talents and knowledge to our best potential. A definition of education is, “Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.” I like this definition because it talks about how education is also the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits, as those are what make up what each of us values and what we strive for.

We go to school as we are growing up, and by around 17 or 18, and those years, while they may seem boring at times, are extremely important in us growing up. Even though school may seem like we’re learning facts and facts and facts all the time, (which we do learn about) we are also learning how to process and understand information and problem solve, which is an extremely important skill to have.

Problem solving is something we hear all the time, mainly in math class. Although problem solving does pertain a lot towards solving quadratic equations and logarithmic functions, it also helps us understand how to solve problems in our own lives, and use skills we learn in school to help us in our everyday lives. Education really helps us utilize the skills we learn and apply them into our lives, to solve problems and think of solutions, as started out in your Algebra 1 class.

A key part of education is also about seeing what you enjoy and love to learn about, and strive to practice that all the time. When we really enjoy learning about a certain subject or topic, we tend to engage and develop more interest, and educate ourselves on it. Learning is also about finding what we

Our skills, values, beliefs, and habits ultimately make us who we are and show our personality, and as seen in the definition of education, learning about applying curiosity, courage, honesty, humility, and using intellect in our education helps us truly benefit and acquire amazing knowledge. Remember, knowledge is power.

Adhya 🙂

“There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” – John Adams

Puppy Love

Dear reader,

Dogs are the best and cutest pets and all the good adjectives in the world. Not only are they the best to give cuddles and play fetch with, they are also extremely loyal caring. I love that dogs always greet you when you get home, and are always trying to make you happy.  I have a dog, named Layla, and she is very cute. I got her when she was still a puppy, and even though she is so naughty, she is so loving too. Dogs are incredibly friendly and want to make you happy.

If you own a dog as a pet, you know that they will most of the time be waiting for you at the door when you arrive home. That shows how while other pets may be loving and friendly, dogs are always eagerly waiting for you with their tails wagging to say hi. Even in the movies, or if you have a dog, you’ll notice how when the see you (their owner and best friend), their whole body stance changes and they get so excited to see you, proving they have so much love for humans. This excitement is also contagious and helps put others in good moods too.

Dogs also help us stay active and are incredibly loyal to us. If you’re just feeling lazy but know you need to take your dog for a walk or to run around a bit, that helps them and you stay active and live a healthier life. If they see another pet on the road, they will bark and try claim their territory, as well as protect you, showing the protective and caring side of their personalities. Some dogs also serve as guide dogs, who help assist and guide people who are blind or visually impaired. They help those who are unable to see around obstacles. This is an amazing asset of dogs.

Another reason dogs are my favorite pets is because of their ability to make us laugh. They are so silly and naughty at times that it’s just funny. My dog does this thing where when we get home, she’ll come to the car to see us, and then sprint like the speed of light around the front yard and almost run into us. It’s so entertaining and makes me laugh all the time, and I love that about dogs. They can always amuse us and make us laugh at their silly antics and their cuteness.

Dogs are the best pets and are able to form strong bonds with humans, and their ability to make us happy and laugh make them such lovable pets.

Adhya 🙂

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he/she loves themself.” – Josh Billings