Friday, September 11, 2015

Crossing Off The Bucket List

    Traveling is a good way to relax, learn about culture, and just have fun! Some of my favorite places I've traveled is Paris, Jamestown, and Hawaii. The best places to go to if you want to relax is definitely the Hawaiian islands. Whether you stay at a 5 star hotel or a cheap rental, you can always go to the beach. At the beach you can do many activities such as surfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and many other fun things. Also the amazing weather creates the perfect environment to take a nap on the shore. Jamestown, Virginia was a great experience, and is an amazing place to go to learn about early American history. It has beautiful trees everywhere, and every building has a piece of history in it. The entire place makes it feel like you've been taken back in time, but you can also go to Jamestown where there are reenactments, and you can visit historic buildings. People there dress is colonial clothing and tour you around to places. Paris, France is an overall amazing experience. The city bustle is exciting and there are always fun things in the streets to see, as well as amazing museums and monuments to visit. If you decide to step out of Paris a little bit, there are breathtaking palaces with outstanding gardens. All these places are fantastic to visit and should be on everyone's bucket list.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What My Room Says About Me

  My room is brightly lit with sunshine by two large windows. Underneath the widows is my bed. It has a bedspread with my two favorite colors on it. Next to my bed is a nightstand and lamp. Next to that is a shelf where I store my books. I have a chair on the other side of the room, that I often spend hours reading in. Beside my chair, I have a dresser with a bulletin board hanging above it. I also decorated my walls with things that represent my personality.
  My room represents my love for the outdoors because I have posters and pictures of my outdoor adventures. I also like to keep my windows open to let the breeze and sun in. My shelf and chair show how I enjoy to read. The turquoise and teal in my room make my two favorite colors very obvious. Overall, my room is filled with many memories, hobbies, and enjoyments.

Raven's Gate

The book I read is Raven's Gate, by Anthony Horowitz. I chose this book because the book looked like a adventure book, and I wanted a book that wouldn't be boring. Also, the title stood out to me because I was interested in what Raven's Gate meant. The exposition of my book introduces the main character; Matt. The story starts with Matt sitting on a wall dressed in suspicious looking clothing. He is waiting for a friend and he is anxious because he is not sure if he wants to do what he is planning on doing in just a few minutes. In the end, his friend arrives just as he is about to leaves, and pressures him into breaking into a factory and stealing expensive electronics. That's when the trouble begins.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Beating Yourself

    Have you ever thought that nobody else in the world would understand you? Have you ever felt like  you're one person one second and then the next second you've become someone totally different just to fit in? Not only have I looked at myself and noticed this but I've noticed that a lot of people struggle with this. But what exactly is "fitting in"?  Is it different for every school and group? Or is it something you make up in your mind?
    I think that it's all made up in people's minds. You may think that when other people look at you they see someone who isn't good enough, but the truth is, they're probably more worried about fitting in. Sure there are those people who try to bring you down by calling you names but mostly it's because they are insecure too. People who bully are the cowards.
    Changing your personality to fit in is another issue. Once people realize that they are fine the way they are people will start to feel the pressure lessen. School is often the most stressful part of people's lives and this is normally not because of the load of work but because of the stress of social life. There's always going to be that circle of insecurity but that's not necessarily because people are actually socially awkward but mostly because of the inward battle everyone struggles with at some point. When you finally find yourself and stop the inward battle you'll never change your personality again.
    I've noticed that people don't except people that aren't okay. It's really weird because nobody is ever honest that they aren't feeling well or are sad. It's like you always have to be happy. This causes people to think that they are the only people with struggles. This is obviously not true. Nobody is happy and excited all the time and life isn't easy.
     I think the key to change this is to be open,  trustworthy, and confident in yourself. If all people were more like this than there would be less stress and inside battles with everyone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Successful, Bilingual Generation

Nicole McGuire
Period: 1
A Successful, Bilingual Generation

“ teach a foreign language is also to teach a foreign culture,” says Englebert from CCSE Journals Online. In other words, by learning a foreign language you are opening a door to new opportunities and experiences. The United States is falling behind in teaching foreign languages in elementary schools. Other countries have programs that prioritize teaching their students to speak fluently in many languages. This advantage helps the students to be more successful in getting jobs in the future. Schools need to make learning a foreign language a requirement. Although some people say it shouldn’t be required to learn a foreign language because it takes away time from other areas of school, I believe it should be required because there are so many advantages to learning a second language at an early age. Learning a foreign language increases the use of the brain, helps students to become more culturally aware, and it also helps students to get jobs in the future.
Teaching students a foreign language in elementary school is greatly beneficial because it increases the use of the brain and how well children can speak languages overall. Beth Walton wrote an article about a four year old named Azure, published by USA today. Azure was taught by her parents, and is now able to speak Japanese and Spanish. She understands French, Arabic, German, and Italian as well. Azure is an example of of a child that has greatly benefitted from learning multiple languages at a young age. It is also good to learn a language while young because it is as easy to learn a second language at a young age as it is to learn a first language.  "Learning another language actually enhances a child's overall verbal development," says Roberta Michnick Golinkoff Ph.D., author of How Babies Talk from the source, "The Benefits of Learning Language Young." The Benefits of Learning Language Young. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2015. Azure is an example of a child that has learned languages successfully at a young age and will benefit from it with better verbal development at a young age.
Another benefit to bilingual education is that it helps students develop multiple areas of their brain. People who are bilingual have better memories and are better at multitasking and switching attention. The executive control system in the brain is made up of these skills. The source, "The Benefits of Learning Language Young." The Benefits of Learning Language Young. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2015, says that learning a language at a young age has even more benefits. Some of these benefits include, more flexible thinking, better problem-solving skills, more creativity, and better communication skills. Also, the source, "Dimensions of Second Language Identity." Second Language Identity in Narratives of Study Abroad (2013): n. pag. Web, includes evidence of multiple studies that have shown that kids who have been taught other languages score better on tests and do better academically than students who have not been taught a foreign language.  
Another benefit to learning a foreign language, is that it will help students to be more culturally aware. Knowing another language can help kids to accept the people from that culture and can help the problem of kids being bullied because they are from another race. The source, "Dimensions of Second Language Identity." Second Language Identity in Narratives of Study Abroad (2013): n. pag. Web, has research that proves that if children are exposed to another language, and their cultures, while young, they can learn about the culture because they are still open minded.
The United States does not make learning a foreign language a priority in schools and that is another reason why children aren’t as culturally aware as they could be today. “Foreign language learners are more tolerant of the differences among people.” (Carpenter & Torney 1974) Because children are more aware of other cultures when they are bilingual, it would be helpful for children to grow up speaking multiple languages. Many children are learning about other places around the world primarily  through TV or internet exposure. This can be beneficial, however, many things found on the internet or TV are not accurate and can cause kids to have misconceptions. If children were learning a foreign language, they could experience a piece of the culture in a more hands-on way and would be more accepting of other cultures. These are many reasons why children should be taught a foreign language, and yet there are still some people who argue that they shouldn’t.
Some people argue that it shouldn’t be required to learn a foreign language because it takes away time from other school subjects.  However, while researching this concern, I’ve learned that being bilingual actually helps children do better in other school subjects.  People are concerned that learning another language will take away time from more important subjects, such as math or english. But studies have shown that by learning a foreign language at a young age, students test higher than other students who have not learned a foreign language. The source, "Duke TIP." Cognitive Benefits of Learning Languages. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2015, says that students who learned a foreign language tested higher in math than students who are not bilingual. People worry that learning another language in elementary school will prevent students from doing as well in math, when in fact, it’s doing the opposite.  
A final important reason why elementary schools should be required to teach students a foreign language, is because being bilingual will help students to get jobs in the future. American’s are not as successful in competing for global jobs because most American’s aren’t bilingual. Other countries require a second or third language, while schools in America are cutting foreign language classes because their budgets are tight. "[Other] countries recognize that language is a tool for economic competitiveness and national security, so they have mandatory language programs," says Shuhan Wang of the National Foreign Language Center.  Nancy Rhodes of the Center for Applied Linguistic agrees with Wang and says, “Things cannot get worse. We are at the bottom of the barrel now.” I agree with both of them.  Learning a foreign language should be a top priority, if schools want their students to be successful in the future.
Not only will being bilingual help students get global jobs in the future but it can help them get jobs within their own community. The source, "Dimensions of Second Language Identity." Second Language Identity in Narratives of Study Abroad (2013): n. pag. Web, shares information on how the U.S. government was in need of people who could speak fluently in a foreign language. In a survey of graduates from Arizona, it was shown that students who spoke a foreign language had clear advantage in the job market.  This, among the other clear advantages to learning a foreign language, are why elementary schools in the United States should make it a requirement to teach children a foreign language.   

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Gift of Learning and Loving

     It was getting late, about 9:00 at night, and I was just finishing up my homework. "Are you ready to do the interview?" My grandmother who I call Grammy asked. "Oh, yes, just finishing up", I said as I wrote down the last few sentences in my notebook. "Okay, take your time", she replied. Minutes later we walked into her bedroom and got warm under blankets because it was a cold night. I turned my voice recorder on and she began to talk.
     Grammy has very short brown hair with gray roots. Her hair is curly but she flattens it out. She has smile wrinkles and dimples that have begun to fade. She has a loud long laugh that makes you want to laugh with her and she has a big, slightly crooked, smile. She has light blue eyes, which are similar to mine. She can never find her glasses so she's always wearing a different pair. Grammy is 69 years old and lives in San Luis Obispo, California in my childhood home. She likes to spend time with her grandchildren, go to church, watch TV, cook, garden, and take walks on the beach. I chose Grammy because, for one, she's a talker and a good story teller, and two she's always been there for me and has learned a lot from her past.    
     "What are some of your funniest childhood memories?" I asked. 
She contemplated and tried to remember and then finally answered, "Well, I remember getting all dressed up with my white everything and going to a Easter egg hunt. I had to have been really little. Anyway, I was never taught to push or shove so when all the kids ran and my brother got the golden egg, I just stood there crying and crying. To this day I've never really enjoyed Easter egg hunts." 
"Who were people that you admired or looked up to as a child?" I questioned.
Out of the people that she looked up to, my Grammy especially looked up to her grandparents because they were caring, loving, considerate, and everyone in town admired them. "What were your favorite activities to do when growing up?" 
"I remember going to Balboa Island with my Uncle and Aunt and just dying of excitement before we even got there because it was just so perfect and there were no waves and you could just float on the little raft." She paused for a moment and then said, "Oh and I also remember a huge part of my childhood was ballet lessons and they could never get me to leave the studio." She laughed. Grammy just liked to be in her home town, Laguna Beach, so her activities surrounded her home and she liked to be with her grandparents, and get ice cream from the Good Humor man.

     "What are the most important lessons you have learned and principles that you live by?"
"One thing is not to rush to judgment because of how someone looks." My Grammy said. 
She got that lesson young from her grandparents because her grandparents were always kind to everyone, even the beachcomber who everyone called "Dirty George". 
"You said there were many things so what other things have you learned?"
"That time is precious and once you put something out there you can never take it back." Grammy said. A quote that she lives by are, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." She also said, "Once it's out there you can't grab it and bring it back." 
Grammy responded to the question, "What has been the best age of your life?",  that the best ages of her life were not what age she was but who she was with at the time. The best ages of her life were when she was around the people she loved and the people who loved her. Although she did love being young and remembered the quote, "Youth is wasted on the young." 

     "What is the most difficult decision that you have made?" Was a question that stumped Grammy for a while before she finally answered, 
"Probably the two most difficult decisions were ones that scared me because I was afraid to move to Guam and I was afraid to have children because I didn't want to mess them up."
"What helped you make those decisions?" I replied.
"Well I know exactly what helped me make those decisions. I love your Daddygrand and I knew that I wanted to be with him so I moved to Guam and I knew he wanted children so I had children and we figured it out together." 
"What was the best moment of your life?" I asked next. 
"I know that there are those big moment in life like accepting Christ, getting married, having children and grandchildren", she responded, "but it's also those little moments in life where everything just seems perfect. I remember dancing around the Christmas tree with you and your mom and you mother turned to me and said that these are the "good old days." I just said, "I know." 
"Wow. Do you remember any childhood moments that seemed perfect to you?" I added. 
"Yes", Grammy said,"I remember looking out at Laguna Beach thinking that I was the luckiest girl in the world. I remember thinking that other people might look at my life a say what a sad life I have because I was very poor and my dad was in jail, but I was happy because I was loved."

     Grammy is a wonderful person with a lot of wise thoughts and wonderful words. There are so many things I have learned from Grammy over the years. Like how the things in life that hurt make you a better person, and how you always have to be kind, but most of all I have learned that love is most important and being loved is the greatest gift someone can give you. 



Thursday, April 16, 2015

One Wrong Turn

The book I am reading is called An Abundance of Katherines. The main character is named Colin. An important decision that he made was to get off the freeway and take the tour of the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. If he hadn't gone on that tour he would have never met a stranger named Lindsey who soon became his friend. If he had not met Lindsey he and his friend, Hassan, would have never gotten a job, so Colin would have had to return home with Hassan jobless. They made a deal with Hassan's dad saying that they could go on a road trip and stay away as long as they wanted if they got jobs.