Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In Their Words

     As a kid, I enjoyed Family Circus comics. The convoluted ways the cartoonist's kids went about carrying out the simplest assignments such as fetching the newspaper or mail as depicted by dashed line routes and diversions—birds nest, garden hose, mud puddle etc.—were some of my favorites as well as when Bill Keane's son supposedly filled in for Dad as cartoonist-for-the-day (even though it was obvious no such thing happened and Dad just wanted to do the strip as if through Billy's eyes). Following his lead, then, here are my kids' writings. (No, joke, they did them themselves and I didn't change a thing except for a few added line spaces for readability.) The only ground rules were minimum word counts of a hundred for Jaren, four hundred for Penelope, and five hundred for Braden. And they had to be works they'd feel proud of and wouldn't later regret for bad spelling, grammar, or punctuation. 
     Braden and Penelope asked, Can we do it on computer? 
     I said, Okay, but you have to touch-type, you can't look at the keys. 
     I caught Braden looking at his hands while typing, so I covered them with a dish cloth. He seemed amused, but continued so I guess he knows the keys well enough. 

Flu + Virus

     Now here's a question: which is better a flu or disease? Any ways, Do you know if there's a new flu and/or virus? Yes or no? I do. If you do than whats the flu? ________________________ If you didn't catch the flu - than your lucky. AND helpful to the hospital workers and medicine-makers. Getting back to the flu question did you answer it? If not, please do. Here's another question: Have you seen the inside of an hospital? Yes, I have No, I didn't. (and please answer this once you see it!) And by heart I find it troubling that a new flu is here and there is no vaccine for the flu.

                                Best wishes for you,

(Penelope essay)
Just Something To Think About

     Living in Honolulu, HI isn't all that's it cracked up to be. As a not-so-typical teenager, it definitely has it's ups and downs. But it isn't necessary to go into that, since that's not what I'm writing about. I want to tell you a story. A story about someone that's maybe a bit like you. 
     You know what drives me crazy? When people act like they can control their life. And maybe they can-to a certain extent. But things won't happen just because you say so. Reality check-in people. For instance, when I was little, I announced to all that cared to listen that I would never have to wear glasses. And now in the year of 2015, here I am with-you guessed it-glasses. Morale of the story? Don't tempt fate that way, people.
     Another thing that drives me nuts are my siblings. I'm writing a little bit about them even though they won't be happy. It's my essay. I'll write what I want about them. And they can't stop me. Hah! But to prove that I'm not totally heartless, I'll stop writing about them.
     I'm a reader at heart. I read and dream and (occasionally) take the pen to the paper and write. I've read tons and tons of books. Books that make you cry and books that'll make you laugh and some very solemn and silly books. But I won't read just any book, just like you won't read anything your parents set before you. I have a criteria for my books. Every time I pick up a book, I run through a mental criteria, as shown below:

My Criteria for Books

  1. Is the book fiction? If no, then I probably won't read it. Refer to #4. If yes, keep going.
  2. Is the book a series? Is the series recent? Keep going if yes or no.
  3. Is the book weird in any way? If yes, then return to shelf. If no, keep going.
  4. Does it have any basis in history? If nonfiction and no to last question, return to shelf.
  5. Does the synopsis scream absurd? If yes, return to shelf and us
     And what I don't like about reading so much is that my teachers keep pestering me to read nonfiction. I despise having to read nonfiction. It's so, so... dull. Like the other week when my English teacher assigned us an article on this website called TeenBiz300. It consists of nonfiction articles that supposedly prepare us for our standardized tests. Do I look like I want to waste my time doing some standardized test?! 
     Anyways, the article I mentioned earlier is about this art collector who bought this relic of a painting and paid some money for it. Then later these guys find a fingerprint and decide that the painting was worth three times as much money than the retail price was. Blah, blah, blah. Incidentally the article was soooo very boring that I nearly fell asleep doing it. I told my teacher that my score is determined by my interest level because she was lamenting the fact that so many of her students did poorly on it. But she scoffed it off. However, I'm positive that its at least a bit true. Back to the article, another reason why I don't like it is because I wasn't the one who was ripped off. I mean, sure I have some sympathy but in the end, I don't care. Bad luck for the retailer. Do you understand what I mean about nonfiction?
     While we're on the topic of school, you might be able to empathize when I say that I detest standardized testing more than nonfiction. I feel that standardized testing is ridiculous. To what extent do colleges check what you got on a test that you did in elementary and middle school? It's a complete waste of time to take those tests, but in the end you still have to take them. Sigh.
     Alright, back to the other things or else I'll just keep on ranting. As you know I like fiction books and dislike nonfiction books. I also like movies, comics and trivia books. When it comes to comics, my family enjoys Peanuts. Really, what's there not to love about Snoopy? He'd make a great person, but a horrible dog. Such is the irony, since Charlie Brown, Snoopy's owner, would make a wonderful dog but a horrible human. 
     When the kids were little we would read Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh and his friends are now the source of countless very naughty jokes, like: Why did Tigger look into the toilet? Answer: He was looking for his friend Pooh. ( Get it? Poo, Pooh) But something interesting I was told by my older brother was that everyone in those books had a human-like trait. Tigger can't sit still, Piglet is always afraid of everything and is timid, Eeyore is constantly depressed, Kanga has OCD, and Rabbit is always upset about something or someone. Go figure.
     I also read trivia books (as mentioned before) that are usually filled with interesting and (pretty useless) facts. So, actually, I do read nonfiction, just not the type of nonfiction my teachers want me to read. I learn quite a few different things. Things like:
  • the secret recipe for Coke isn't so secret
  • all of the numbers share a letter with the numbers that follow (one, two, three, four, etc)
  • there is no speed of sound
  • bulls don't get angry at the sight of the color red
  • camels don't store water in their humps.
Interesting, no?
     My reading has it's ups and downs. I can't tell you who won the football game but I can tell you what is a good book. I can't tell you what my favorite video game is but I can tell you something I think I know about the states. I think. Maybe you should try to read a book. See how far you get. 
     How did you like my story? Perhaps I'll come back another day and tell you more. But for now, I think you have enough to think about. Aloha!

(Braden essay)
The Different Benefits of Computers in School

     Computers are very useful tools. They can be used for an almost endless amount of things, from word processing to sending information across the world in the blink of an eye, to solving equations that can take humans countless days to solve to cracking complex codes. All of these things can prove very useful for students to use. Of course students probably will not be solving super hard equations that they will need a computer to solve nor will they be cracking complex codes.
     However students can use computers for other things, such as accessing a countless amount of useful websites, sending information to each other and even using it to revive information.
     All of these thing can be done with a simple computer. Now, one does not need a top of the line high speed processing computer to do this, a simple basic computer will do that. With that computer they can do all of this and even more. In fact, the usefulness of a computer is only limited by one's imagination and one's open mind.
     Because of all these possible things to do with computers I believe students can greatly benefit from being issued a computer to use for his or her studies. Like I said it does not have to be some top of the line name brand computer, a simple inexpensive laptop will be useful and very helpful as well.
     Other than the educational reasons, computers can be used for other things a well. Taking care of a computer will teach students responsibility. They can also learn other life skills as well such as the ability to use technology effectively and efficiently. Also, with the internet, they can learn about what other common people think about a matter and not just a group of “experts” said in some textbook students can benefit from this by learning to keep an open mind. Other benefits can include, being able to use technology in a way that will keep the interest of a student and by using technology a teacher can teach students in new ways. Also, using a computer can also teach important and necessary skills that people will need to have in the future.
     Of course there are many downsides to using computers, but they can be neutralized. Probably the most common thing that will come up is the fact that the computers can be abused and not used properly. To counteract this all you have to do is to put some tracking program in the computers and insure that the students know about it, to eliminate secrecy issues (you can also set up an firewall to prevent students from accessing inappropriate sites. Another concern would be the security issue but, a good firewall should be able to prevent hackers form making trouble.
     (Another thing to think about is the fact that the exact same thing can be said about the teachers and the computers that they are issued.)
     For all of these reasons a computer should be given to each student to use for educational reasons. I strongly believe that students can and will benefit from using computers for school.

     It's I again. 
     It's my belief that good writing is imprinted with the soul of the writer and like a finger print, can not be replicated by any other. My kids' above writings, though not good—in fact, they repulse me—are fair and indicative samples of their current psyches. 
     My inside observations: All three went about their assignments without complaint and even with marked enthusiasm, which alone made them worthwhile. 
     Jaren speaks and writes sloppily. He can do well when he tries, but seldom bothers. 
     Rather than produce quality, Pene went for quantity.
     Braden at age fourteen knows it all including my error in thinking computers don't make kids smarter. 
     All three did age appropriate work, especially considering I gave them only one afternoon and evening to complete their assignments because I wanted them to enjoy them and not feel burdened, for writings often reflect the author's feelings. And I wanted their essay tones to be fun and light, not serious and heavy. (Based on what came out, perhaps next time I'll tell them to try a lot, lot harder and force them to edit again and again and again! Even though I, at their ages, couldn't have done any better, they, by now, should be able to do lots better considering they're far more studious at their ages than I ever was because of today's foolish academic more-is-always-better attitudes toward student achievement. Deanne blames their poor writing on their schools' deemphasis on writing. I blame it on society's over-emphasis on standardized tests, which forces schools to teach-to-the-stupid-tests as opposed to sticking to the tried and true fundamentals—reading, writing, and arithmetic.)

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