TED-Like Talks

In Language Arts class, we did TED-Like Talks. They were inspired by real TED talks, but we did our own version. My TED talk was about why I love sleep away camp so much and why someone should go to sleep away camp. I know that I love camp so much, but I want others to have the same experiences that I can have. I have 27 days until I go. I am SO EXCITED!!! We had two main components. We had the main part, about what our experience was or the main idea, then we had the call to action, which was what we wanted the listeners to do. I enjoyed the project a lot and loved that I could talk about my experiences and require others to listen. Usually, people just walk away. I loved this project because I got to see what others love to learn about and what they do.

Tree Books

 

In LA class, we did this cool project where we made ‘Tree Books’. This project combined Language and Arts. A local artist named Peg Gignoux came in and helped with the more artsy part. 

For making the actual book, we had this thick cardboard that was silk-screened with verses from poems. Then we used watercolor to paint the blue sky for the inside of the book. Then came my favorite part. We used Akua ink to make prints of plants we found in our yard. To print, we spread the ink onto a silicone mat, put the plant down, put a piece of paper on, and used the brayer to smooth it out. We let it dry and then we cut it out so it would fit in our books. 

For the Language part, we wrote some poem-type things. We wrote a poem called When This Is Over, one called A Salute To My Roots, and My Life List. When This is Over was about the things that we missed about life Pre-COVID and the things that we won’t take for granted anymore. Salute to my Roots was about the people who really shaped who we are now. I wrote about my fifth-grade LA teacher, Mrs. Goldstein. She is my favorite teacher because not only did she make a boring class not so boring, but she also made things like grammar more interesting and fun by playing Jeopardy or Match or something like that. I also wrote about my grandmother who got me my sewing machine and also loves that I play the piano. She encourages me to play a song over and over and over and over until it is drilled into my brain. My Life List was kind of like a bucket list. It was some of the things that we wanted to do in our lifetime. One of mine was to live in Hawaii. 

This project was pretty fun and I even enjoyed writing some of the pieces. I love doing crafty stuff, so I loved this project even more because of that. 

 

Stocks!

For my language arts class, we are reading a mystery called The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It is an amazing book! I definitely recommend it. So anyway, there is a character named Turtle Wexler and she enjoys kicking shins, whipping her braid around, and investing in stocks.

For this project, we had to ‘invest’ $20,000 dollars into six stocks of our choice. I chose Apple,(AAPL) Delta, (DAL) Tesla, (TSLA) American Express, (AXP), and Costco (COST). I was doing really well for the first few weeks, but then I lost $3358.59. I was very sad. I was the only person who only gained for that little bit but then I lost.  

I actually have no idea why I chose Apple, but I thought it was a good idea at the time. I knew that Tesla was gaining popularity so I thought it was a good idea. I chose American Express because it is the main credit card that my parents use. I chose Delta because it is the only airline we fly. I chose Costco because we shop there a lot. (They have good tortilla chips)

Stocks are actually very fun and a good way to make money. One of my parents actually went to college on the money they earned from stocks. While we didn’t actually invest, we still had the experience, which is what counts. 

 

Photo from Apple Stocks



Morehead Planetarium Field Trip!

On Wednesday, April 27, my grade went to the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, NC. I had been there before, but not recently. I enjoyed it, but what I most enjoyed was the little-known history of it. 

Something that most people don’t know is that a lot of early astronauts trained there. “Trained” might not be the best word, but they learned how to navigate using the stars. One astronaut was on a one-manned mission, but navigations broke down. He used the stars to navigate back to Earth. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, he made the most accurate landing in that series of expeditions. 

    While we were there, we went to a dome show, explored the exhibits, and saw a ‘Science Live’ show. In the dome show, we watched a movie about the training that astronauts went through. They have to exercise for two and a half hours! Every day! I am glad I don’t have to do that. There were some really cool exhibits, including one where you could press a button and some waves would startup. You could see some different strategies for keeping the water away from the houses. 

    My favorite part was the Science Live part. We got to see some not-as-fun things, but we did see dry ice do some interesting things. The dry ice has easy cleanup too. You just dump it on the floor!!!

    I learned some cool things about not just the planetarium, but also about science in general! If you ever have the chance, you should definitely go to Morehead Planetarium. 

Book Recommendation!

I just finished reading the book Just For You To Know by Cheryl Harness. It is a relatively old book, it was published in 2006. The book takes place in 1963 with Carmen Cathcart as the main character. She is thirteen years old and has four little brothers, and maybe another one. Her family has moved a lot in the past years, and she is tired of it. When her family moves into a run-down house, her dad says that they can fix it up, but Carmen has her doubts. She is mildly bored for the summer, but she does have to take care of Jimmy, Harry, Larry, and Clark. When her birthday comes around, her mother is doing some canning, when all of the sudden, there is blood everywhere, and she is rushed to the hospital. Her mother has the baby, a girl, Velvet Elizabeth. Velvet comes home and is just fine, but her mother does not. After such a tragedy, Carmen and her family must come together as they face even more adversity. Right now I am reading The Perfect Place by Teresa Harris. Just For You To Know is really sad, but honestly, it is really good and I totally recommend it. 

Wisdom Tale Comics

 

In my Language Arts class, we read wisdom tales. These stories have morals, some basic things like ‘People have different perspectives’ or ‘Have integrity’ Some basic things that lead to a better life if one adheres to them. 

    I chose to do a story called The Red and Blue Coat. The gist of the story is that there are two best friends, and they do everything together. When they grow up, they have houses right next to each other, on either side of a path. One day, a trickster comes by, but she is wearing a coat that is split down the middle, blue on one side, red on the other. When she walks by the men, they see different things. The moral is that different people have different perspectives. 

    For the creation of my comic, I used my favorite drawing app called Autodesk SketchBook. It works really well for my purposes. I had a layer with my background and a layer with my characters. I would just copy the layers for each sketch. For making the actual comic, I used Comic Life 3. It has lots of fonts and cool comic-y things that make the comics pop. 

    I really enjoyed this project, even though it was challenging at times. 

Good Books

I have been reading so much lately, so I would like to give you a few book recommendations. Over the weekend, I read The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Jacobson, and The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit. 

The Dollar Kids was a really good book about a family who is trying to get on their feet by buying a dollar home in Millville. A dollar home is exactly what it sounds like: a house that costs a dollar. Lowen Grover and his family encounter some surprises in their first week, though. Their ‘dream home’ is in awful condition, and… it is next to a funeral home. That’s why nobody wanted the house. But they can fix it up, right? Not right. Lowen’s dad is still at home because he needs his job while Lowen’s mother opens a restaurant. Lowen also loves to draw comics, so that could help his anxiety and stress, right? Again, not right. Lowen is really struggling to draw because he mentally cannot do it. His friend was over at his house when Lowen sent him to go get sweets from the store. But there was a shooting. Abe was killed. Lowen is really struggling to get through the pain of losing Abe, and all of the other stress in his life. But luckily, he’s got some other Dollar Kids to help him through his mess of a life. Jennifer Jacobson is also the author of Paper Things and Small as an Elephant. 

My other good book was called The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family. It was about a girl named Lara and her sister, Caroline. Caroline is autistic, so she uses a tablet to speak. This year, she is going to be in middle school with Lara. Lara always feels like she has to protect Caroline, but Caroline doesn’t like it. Like on the tour day for Caroline, she found some people, but before they could say anything, Lara was very rude to them. But, all of the sudden, their father is acting weird. Lara and Caroline come to find out that he was fired. Lara is trying to also find out why her two brothers and cousin are also acting weird. When she spills the beans about all of her family’s secrets at the Rosh Hashanah dinner, her family is awful to her, and it is all her fault. When she needs her family most, she has to learn to say sorry and her family must learn to forgive. I am reading another book by this author called Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen (about autistic girl and her love of baseball)

These books were really good and I hope you read them someday soon. 

Both photos from Amazon.com

Daily Habits

On September 13th, 2021, my Language Arts class started a challenge. The challenge was to do a plank for the appointed amount of time for that week. We started at thirty seconds and increased by fifteen seconds per week. We tried to do it every day, not only on the days that we had Language Arts, but also on weekends and days that we didn’t have Language Arts.

I personally thought that it was a good idea at the time, but as the time increased, I enjoyed the challenge less and less. I think it was the idea that I liked, but I did not like actually doing it. As we started getting to 1:45, 2:00, and 2:15, it got harder and harder. We started bringing books and our iPads down to the ground with us and having conversations about Which is Better? type things. 

The week of Thanksgiving, we got to 3:00 minutes. We had to do a final plank for as long as we could. My Final Plank time was only 3:34 seconds, but I did try my hardest. There were some people who had times that were so high; almost 20 minutes. My arms would have given out after that much time, but one person I talked to said that her arms were like jelly.

We now have a different daily habit that we are doing. Mine is doing five pushups a day. I try to remember, but sometimes I forget. According to my dad, I need to work on my form. My planking form was not always great, depending on the day. The planking wasn’t always fun, but we did it and we got stronger. 

My Favorite Pumpkin Bread

I have been making Pumpkin Bread almost every other week since before Halloween. My mom asked me to make it the first time, so now I make it really often. I have made five loaves since the week before Halloween. My family and I have it for breakfast most days because we love it so much. It is from this website that my mom likes called Smitten Kitchen. The recipe is really simple.

1 15oz can of pumpkin purée

3 eggs

½ cup of vegetable oil

1¼ cups of sugar (The recipe calls for 1⅔ cups. We use less)

Whisk these together in a big bowl. 

Now add:

1½ tsp of Baking powder

1⅔ tsp of Baking soda

A pinch of salt

A few good shakes of cinnamon

A few good shakes of nutmeg

A few good shakes of ground ginger

A good shake of ground cloves

Whisk until it is combined. 

2¼ cups of flour

Whisk some more. 

Butter a bread pan that is 8x4in. on the bottom, 9x5in. on top.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Combine a few teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle that mixture on top of the loaf. 

Put it in the oven at 350° for 75 minutes. 

Test it with a knife in the middle.

Sprinkle finishing salt on top. (optional)

This bread is so good because it is a little bit sweet and a little bit crunchy from the cinnamon and sugar on top. My family and I have it even though it is kind of out of season, but we don’t care because we love it. I really recommend this and hope you make it. 

Window or Mirror


A window or mirror book is an idea of a book or TV show being a mirror, where it reflects your life in someway(s);or a window book, where it is a book or show that is about a life or story that is different from yours. My book,
Something to Say, is really quite different from my life. An African American girl in sixth grade, Jenae, goes to a school where she hasn’t had friends since second grade. Then, the new kid, Aubrey, comes and he really wants to be friends with Jenae. But, having never had friends, she really doesn’t want Aubrey to be her friend, but as they get to know each other, Jenae’s feelings change. This really doesn’t relate to me because I am white, but I am a girl. I have been lucky enough to have a friend wherever I am, but others aren’t as lucky. I have befriended students who are new to my school before. This book is actually really good so far, so I recommend it for all. 

 

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