Category Archives: Writing


Argument Project 3 – Abduction (Haiti)

February 22, 2013, by

For our third unit in Argument, we learned about abduction, and at the same time the Haitian revolution. Learning about this revolution was very interesting, and one of the craziest things that I learned was that the revolution was the only successful slave revolt to end in the founding of a free state. To conclude this unit, we went to a Haitian restaurant and created a student written constitution. Here is a link to it…

Here is the full version of my amendment.

Result – Antsy/active students who need to blow off steam have no opportunities to during the day. GCE used to have lunch time to go the gym and play basketball/mess around when the gym was empty. This fun aspect of GCE disappeared for some reason and now is seemingly impossible to resurrect. If we are able to go the gym half-way through the lunch period on non-FE days when our plates are clean it will bring many benefits to the school. The cleanup process will go quicker, as the majority of kids will already have cleaned their plates in order to go the gym. It will also be a fun relaxation time for kids who are stuck in classrooms all day.

Rule – 1 of the 2 teachers must be available for the last half of lunch to let kids go to the gym. Unless if the privilege is lost due to bad behavior or lack of clean up, 1 teacher suffices to handle the remaining lunch duty. The other teacher (must be agreed upon in advance to not waste the small amount of time we already have) will take whoever is ready to go, half way through the lunch period on Mon,Wed, and Fridays.

Outcome – Kids get to blow off steam without disturbing lunch eaters. Some kids definitely need a time and place to run around and it is unreasonable that the privilege has just disappeared since basketball season came around. Greater student focus and a quicker cleanup will be the result of guaranteed gym time.

Deduction on Trial (Congo)

February 20, 2013, by

For our english/history class (Argument), we had a “global conference” based in 1914, on weather European colonization in Africa was beneficial for both sides. My group was defending Congo, one of the most brutally colonized countries of all time. At the same time as learning about European colonization, we were learning about the art of deduction in an argument.

General Rule :

Rule : European colonization in Africa brutally exploits the people.

Case : Belgium wants to colonize in Africa.

Result : It would not benefit the people of Congo.

Particular Case :

The Congo was one of the most violent colonizations in our earth’s history and set the country back for the future.

In a nation that has been ravished of it’s resources and people for over a century now, we have to look at the root source of this. 8 million Africans are estimated to have been killed during King Leopold’s rape of the country. That King didn’t even set foot in the Congo to look at what he was doing. Rubber “Quotas” were put into place, and the heads of operations in Congo were paid on a commision basis, they had to produce materials or they would be replaced. This triggered a culture of violence and brutal demands of the people who were enslaved in their own country. Soldiers who enforced the work had modern day weapons and whips, but maybe most disgustingly of all, cut off people’s hands as trophies, or punishment for not working properly. The silent genocide of Congo was silenced even more when King Leopold ordered all official documents of the country to be burned in a furnace, leaving little official evidence behind.

In modern day Congo, over 5.4 million people have died in what is called “The Great African War” since 1998, the deadliest battle since World War 2. The number is made even more morbid when you consider that 47% of those deaths were children. The essential reason for this war isn’t necessarily because of what Belgium did to us, however our problems have stemmed from their colonization and we believe we deserve some help from the West to stop our war, especially from Belgium. Our country, the size of Western Europe, had more resources than most in the world, but when Belgium took some of them, it made what we did have more precious. Instead of being able to prosper and develop with other first world countries, we were left behind fending for ourselves as our neighbors do. Although the Berlin conference has something to do with the poor dividing of Africa, this war is a power struggle of minerals which we wouldn’t have needed to fight over if the colonization didn’t occur.


Results – As humans, colonization was completely inhumane. The process of our country and people being colonized was not only brutal and torturous but left most of us dead. The issues colonization began for us are deeply rooted and continue to have a major affect on us today, making us unable to successfully and constructively operate and resolve conflict.

Citations/Evidence –

colonization long lasting affects
A major IRC survey found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998 – the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II. The vast majority died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition—easily preventable and treatable conditions when people have access to health care and nutritious food.

Proposed Amendment to the GCE Code of Conduct

January 24, 2013, by

For our Argument (English/History class), we were asked to review the code of conduct for our school and propose an amendment to it. Before this assignment, we studied the U.S constitution, and the Arab Spring in detail. The constitution is a prime example of a place where amendments have been implemented successfully, we observed this in action by watching the movie “Lincoln” together as a class. Revolutions in the Middle East bring about a new need for revised constitutions, which makes what we’re doing very relevant. Here is my proposed amendment…

Off Campus Lunch

Shout Out Poem

January 3, 2013, by

My first action project for my Counter Culture class was to write a Shout Out poem. Even though it was open to interpretation, the goal of the poem was to reach out to the obscurities of society (basically anybody or anything that is in any way counter culture). My poem, “Call to the Neglected” talks about all the people/things that I believe are neglected in any way or form. I think that the reason I chose to write about such a deep topic is because of how often I think about these things. It made it a lot easier since I had at the very least a small personal connection to each thing that I mentioned (even if it was only wishful thinking). I am very proud of how this poem turned out wince I haven’t written any poetry for a few years and I’m just now coming back into it.


Call To The Neglected

This is for the teen who’s best friend is a tree
and doesn’t hesitate to tell her so
This is for the rocks that can’t sit still
and the folding chairs that don’t have a will

This is for the miscarriage that lives on in our dreams
the children who’d rather live in a library
and the politicians who just want to get out and play

This is for the writers that inspire new ones
and the ones who couldn’t care less
This is for the artists that can’t stop no matter what
and their unknown inspiration

This is for Andrew Bird’s “Masterswarm”
the people in King’s dream
and the homeless man waiting for Godot

This is for the board games gathering dust
the cats that stare you down
and the teddy bear you’d never dream of throwing out

This is for a bed without a home
power without a cause
and a Catholic without religion

This is for the song that needs to be sung
the pills that need to be taken
and the puzzle that needs to be solved

This is for the sidekicks
the defenders
the disputed
and the crazy

This is a call to the neglected




Common App College Essay

December 20, 2012, by

 For my Art of Rhetoric’s third action project, I had to write up an example of a college essay. Since I haven’t decided on a college yet, I chose a prompt from the Common App. I think that the reason my teacher assigned this as the project as action is because while its’ main purpose is to practice writing college essays, it’s also a great way to work on being able to write about oneself. I am extremely proud and happy with my essay mostly because of what the prompt enabled me to write about. I got to write about how my favorite literary character has influenced me and in doing so further deepened my closeness to him. I learned that even though it is important, writing about yourself is extremely hard even when you have a conduit that makes it comparatively easier to writing without one. This was especially apparent when during a workshop on a rough draft of our essays, my peers noted that mine read very similar to a book report in the sense that it spoke more of my character than of myself. It was hard to take since I had originally thought my essay a masterpiece. Take it I did though, and here below stands the finalized version that will without a doubt, take your breath away.


Common App Essay

Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

(approximately 250-500 words)

Ed Kennedy’s life is, in essence, the definition of normality. So then why was he chosen to undertake the seemingly impossible task of changing people’s lives for the better? “I am The Messenger” by Markus Zusak tells the story of Ed, whose life of a simple cab driver is altered drastically when for unknown reasons, he starts to receive playing cards in the mail. Each card points him in the direction of a random person who is having problems in life. His task to help solve the problems is non-negotiable; if Ed refuses to deliver one of these messages, he will be killed. The author shows that with enough motivation, even a 19 year old deadbeat cab driver in a dingy old town can do more than live his ordinary life. He can morph hopeless situations into ones full of happiness and joy.

Although Ed was forced to deliver these messages, I admire that he took on the tasks with conviction. Everybody has bad days at school, work, and/or at home. I have found that the easiest way to lift my spirits is to help somebody else out. Whether it is giving advice, helping peers with homework, or getting people out of their own funk through humor and wit, all of these acts brighten my day even if only temporarily. Ed Kennedy expressed similar feelings of joy and pleasure by making connections to people he had never known before.

The way Ed Kennedy questions the meaning of life when he asks, “why me”, as he does a number of times, resonates with me. I have often questioned my purpose in life. Reading about Ed’s experience and the ways in which he rises to meet his challenges has helped me when I have felt hopeless to make a difference and to find purpose.  I realized, when reading about Ed that he was transformed in the process of helping others. When I volunteer at the food pantry or when I can afford to give money to a homeless person, I find my perspective on life changes.

When Ed started out by following the instructions of the cards, he did not know where they would lead, yet he completed them anyway. When I feel gloomy and confused about life, I try to remember that you don’t always have to know where things will end up, but that each step you take along the way can help you get to a better place, even without a map that guides you there.

Ed saw firsthand the unfairness of this world and did not let it stop him. By the end of the book, Ed discovered that in addition to the good feelings he had gained from helping others, he was also stronger and could make positive changes in his own life. His story gives me hope and reassurance and motivates me to continue to reach out and help people without needing them to first express their own need for support.

Micro-Mentary: Cake

December 11, 2012, by

   For this Civic Engagement term, the school has been divided into 4 groups of GCE’s values. Purpose, Accountability, Autonomy, and Gratitude. I was chosen to be in the purpose group. In these groups we’ve learned the basics of making a micro-mentary, how to write a letter or email, and how to write a movie critique. Throughout this term, we’ve used resources and experts’ advice on how to improve our story and techniques used for this micro-mentary.

   The purpose of this was to explore and discover those values using media and technology and exploring ways we can share what we’ve learned with others. Our micro-mentary is about 2 minutes and we chose to make this using stop motion. Stop motion is a technique to make a physically manipulated object seem like it moves on its own. The making of this short film took a lot of patience, participation, communication, and time. I am very proud of the final product because it portrayed a message, showed our theme, purpose, and it turned out great. Here’s the video we made below.


Blog entry-KG

December 7, 2012, by

For this civic engagement term, I’ve written several journal entries. The purpose of this journal was for us to keep a record of each of our learning experiences and the reflection of the day. I am proud of the notes I’ve taken of each movie we’ve watched at Facets and my overall note taking. I learned the basics of how to write a journal entry. Here is one of my journal entries below.

Monday 11/12/12

Today we went to Facets and took notes of each film. In my notes, I included the title, main characters, director(s), character traits, and more. I liked all of the short films. Most of the films portrayed a message to the audience. In the films there was a boy with a missing leg, an abused boy, a boy whose mom died, and many other depressing predicaments. I’ve learned to appreciate what I have and to look on the brighter side of things because it could be worse.


Movie Critique-KG

November 16, 2012, by






International Competition of Animated Films for Children

For the Civic Engagement term, we’ve completed a movie critique about any film we’ve watched this week. The purpose of this critique was develop specific skills of how to make a film or documentary. It gives us a clear idea of what to include in our documentary. I am proud of the movie critique I’ve written because it’s another skills that I’ve learned.  I’ve learned how to write a movie critique and what is required in a movie. 

Poem and Illustration: HIV and AIDS Awarness

November 3, 2012, by


For our MDGs Unit 3 Action Project, we’ve written a poem and created an illustration to inform people about our target and indicator. We chose MDG 6, Target 6.1: HIV Prevalence Among Population aged 15-24 years. We’ve received our information from these two sources, UNFPA State of world Population 2005, and We hope you enjoy and have deep thoughts about the message in this poem and illustration.





What are the red ribbons?
What do they symbolize?
Could it be blood and aid?
maybe sorrow and pain…
HIV is not easily seen
it sneaks up from behind,
and never lets go
there’s no protection once it catches you

It doesn’t care who it gets
big or small
young or old
rich or poor
just don’t let it get you

It feeds off of us
and doesn’t go away
once it multiplies,
there’s no going back

10 million people  are living with HIV
even under the age of 24

AIDS is next in line
the weaker you get,
the closer you are to your death

Only 26% of pregnant women
living in these countries
received HIV tests

It can be prevented
only if you choose to prevent it

6000 youth are infected
each day
with HIV

HIV as an MDG was just for show
solved by 2015
I don’t think so

Country Profile: MDGs Course

October 28, 2012, by

For Unit 2 in this MDG course, I’ve completed a Country Profile about Target 3.1: Ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. The purpose of this project was to demonstrate my research about Brazil related to this target. I am proud of the whole country profile and the effort I put into the making of it. I’ve learned that Brazil has an equal amount of both genders receiving an education, as shown below.


MDGs & You Action Project 1-Country Profile

October 10, 2012

    This country profile demonstrates how Brazil has contributed so far to MDG 3 using maps and research, from the internet and an interview, in terms of education. I found research about Target 3.1: Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary, tertiary education. The United Nations wanted to accomplish this goal preferably by 2005, but no later than the year of 2015.    

    These maps demonstrate the percentage of gross enrollment of each gender. Each map shows the value of primary, secondary, and tertiary education. According to World Bank, primary schooling has 122.5% girls and 132.2% boys. Secondary schooling has 106.5% girls and 96.4% boys. Tertiary schooling has 39.1% girls and 30.4% boys. Most of the percentages are closely equal, which means there is gender equality taking place. This graph relates to my target because it explains that there is equality between the two genders in each step of education.

    In Brazil, there looks like there’s a great amount of equality in primary, secondary, and tertiary schooling. Depending on where a student lives, they may or may not receive a great education. In a situation like this, gender wouldn’t take place. The subject of having equal opportunities would occur more to this situation.

“ According to the UNFPA report, the secondary net school enrollment percentage of the school age population for females have risen by 13%, from 1999-2007. The primary school gross enrollment percentages of the school age population are; males 134%, females 125% in 2007.”

    In a recent conversation I had with Elenanoria, she said, “Where I grew up is very much like Chicago. You have people who are well dressed and you see people begging for money on the streets.” She informed me that when she went to school, all of her classes had half and half, boys and girls. I also discovered that if a student attends their neighborhood school, the student has to advance into the next grade, even if they don’t understand the material they’re learning. There is no such thing as failing. I think there wouldn’t be any benefits of going to a school such as this one because this student wouldn’t really have a future full of opportunities. These students who aren’t understanding the material being taught, are advancing to the next grade, but they aren’t a step ahead.

    In my opinion equality can vary in definition depending on the subject of the matter or the situation it’s placed in. I think equality means to have a balance between things. I think equality, in this case, means that both genders, male and female, have the same amount of respect and opportunities. After gathering all of my information, I’ve discovered that Brazil has been contributing to promote gender equality, especially in education.