In addition to writing, we also had to record and make a video of ourselves presenting the content of our writing as if we are virtually talking to an audience. Unfortunately, the video’s file size is too big for me to upload and include in this post, so I have uploaded it to Google Drive and made it accessible for anyone and everyone who is interested in watching.
In the natural world, numerous animals live and thrive together in groups. Essentially, animal aggregation provides protection from predators, which often target the outliers, but it also significantly reduces the chances of an attack. Staying in groups can be found in an incredibly big number of species, ranging from the smallest, like ants, to the largest, like elephants and whales. This is especially true for mammals, including us humans. Almost all mammals are very social creatures and depend on one another for survival. But benefits usually don’t come freely without some sort of disadvantage. Let’s take a look at the behavior of animals when they are in groups, or more commonly referred to, herds. More specifically, let’s look at sheep.
Sheep are hoofed mammals that are usually kept as livestock. The behavior of sheep is what allows farmers to easily manage, move, and look after large numbers of them. Sheep are extremely gregarious animals. They require company for the same reason previously mentioned, which is protection. Sheep, and a lot of other animals that live in herds, have something called the herd mentality. Let’s take a look at this picture here.
For animals, the herd mentality is an instinct of following other animals in the herd, whether it is doing something or traveling somewhere. As for sheep, whatever a single sheep in the herd chooses to do, the rest strongly follows. However, varying from animal to animal, this innate behavior can be so powerful that animals don’t really think about it. For sheep, it is hard-wired and strong. This means that sheep will do whatever the herd does no matter what it is, even if it leads them to their death, as you can see in the picture with cows. If a sheep is led to the slaughterhouse, the rest will follow without hesitation. If a few sheep decide to jump off a cliff for no reason, the others will likely follow. After all, sheep are prey animals and their only defense is to flee together, so they constantly feel the need to be in a flock, especially in the center, as a way to ensure they’re safe from predators. A fun fact is that if a sheep is not accompanied by at least 4 or 5 other sheep when grazing, it will start acting incredibly agitated. They need each other. So that is the nature of sheep and the herd mentality.
Why am I telling you this? The herd mentality, also referred to as mob mentality, is often used to portray the human tendency of blindly following the crowd, even though possible harm is involved. When I say crowd, I mean any social group, whether it is your class, your family, your group of friends, coworkers, or just society as a whole. And by blindly following the crowd, I mean making decisions based on other people, decisions that are different from what you would make on your own. It is also more based on emotion, rather than logical consideration. When most of the people in a group do something, it creates this pressure and compels others to copy. Simultaneously, but subtly, it also instills into those people fear of social rejection, meaning that if you’re different or not doing what we’re doing, we will exclude you from the group. Herd mentality is following the crowd in doing something because of no other reason than that there are a lot of people doing it and that you don’t want to be an outlier.
There’s a similar behavior that is more present in human society nowadays known as conformity. Conformity is the act of changing one’s attitude to behave the way that other people do in a social group, to match its norms in hopes of gaining social security and acceptance. Simply put, norms are implicit and unspoken rules of how you should act, of what is considered socially acceptable. So in a way, it is pretending to be someone who you are actually not. I’m confident I can say that a lot of us have experienced conformity before. When was the last time you changed your answer to a question on the board just because when the teacher called on many other students, they had a different answer? This is how we instinctively function, it is hammered into our DNA. In a more primal sense, being a part of a group reassures you of your survival. We conform because we fear social rejection, because we feel a lack of social security in ourselves. To be a part of a group is to be accepted and to be accepted, in today’s world, is to conform. And that, the fear of being excluded and alone, known as social rejection, for a lot of us in society, dictates how we act.
To visualize conformity, let’s take a look at this image. There are two halves. In the first half, you see a group of 3 girls who are wearing similar clothing, jeans, striped tops, and slip-on shoes, hanging out together and another girl who’s wearing differently, spotted clothing, a skirt, and boots, looking at them with a slightly upset face. In the second half, you see that the girl has changed her clothes and shoes to match those of the group of girls. You can also see that she is approaching and interacting with them with a smile, rather than staring at them with an upset face. This is what conformity may look like for students at school. It is caused by the desire to have company and to fit in, as a response to the fear of being socially rejected.
Despite the idea of changing yourself in any way just to fit into a social group seeming somewhat negative, conformity is not necessarily bad. I believe that a double-edged sword is the idiom that describes conformity. Whether conformity has a negative or positive effect solely depends on who or what you conform to. According to researchers, many people conform for a variety of reasons. We’re going to take a look at the positive and negative side of conformity.
For a large number of individuals, in the process of conforming, they lose their identity as people. Because they changed to fit into a group, they’re no longer themselves, but rather are imitating the behavior of others. They may even feel pressured to keep acting that way because if they don’t, they might not be considered a part of the group anymore. That is unhealthy and toxic. Additionally, on a large scale, this can lead to a lack of diversity in people. There would be groups of people acting the same way. They would like the same things and do the same things. There just wouldn’t be any diversity in people and everything can feel very boring, robotic you could say. These are some of the negative effects of conformity.
Turning to the bright side, in conforming for social security, it can benefit us in ways that we didn’t initially think of. When you conform to a group of people, you can change drastically, depending on how long you stick with them. Things about your character that can change include your habits and your interests. If you have bad habits, the group may notice them and by spending more time with the group, you will slowly learn to get rid of those bad habits, and maybe even adopt some good habits that other people in the group hold. Of course it also depends on the type of people that are in the group, but if you have the right people, there are sure to be positive changes. Being a part of a group also means that you have people who will provide you with company, support, and protection. When you’re feeling down, you will have people who will talk and help you, in addition to your family. They’re basically friends. At some point in life, you will go through some sort of conformity, especially when you’re growing up or moving to a new place, and it can lead to many great things, like best friends, and shape you in different ways.
Comparing the effects of conformity, it all comes down to how you ultimately view them. Following the crowd, disregarding whether it is herd mentality or caused by conformity, is a behavior that a lot of us have experienced, and still do. It’s even in animals. Despite its negative connotations, conformity is not something that is always going to have bad outcomes. As I said, it is like a double-edged sword. Depending on who or what you conform to, the effects can either be positive or negative. You just need to evaluate the situation and how you conform. If you’re a conformist, think about the group of people you’re conforming to, but also think about yourself. Is this really worth it? How are people treating me? Personally, I believe that conformity is something that we all go through at some point in our lives. It may or may not lead to great things, but I believe that it is essential in keeping balance in society. How worthy is a solution if there was not even a problem in the first place? Conformists or nonconformists, they all are a part of society. And that is the beauty of it all.
According to a survey conducted In 2010, 60% of 18 to 34 year olds claimed they often felt lonely. Recently in 2018, another survey found that 46% of the entire US population felt lonely on a regular basis. Being human, we yearn for company and social connection with the people we live around. It is the feeling of being included and wanted in a group of people. Without social contact, we feel lonely.
Even though technology is the most developed and advanced it has ever been, allowing us to conveniently reach out to our loved ones and others, an number astonishing people all over the world still feel lonely, isolated, and/or disconnected. But what does it mean to be lonely, to experience loneliness? What happens when we feel lonely? Why do we feel it? What can it lead to? And how can we get rid of it?
What is loneliness?
Simply defined, loneliness, also known as social isolation, is the emotion of being socially detached and empty. It is the feeling of being excluded and unneeded around others. The human tendency when we are faced with loneliness is to crave social interactions as a way of getting rid of it. Though some types of people are more likely to be affected, such as teenagers and the elderly, anyone can become lonely. No matter your age or personality, if under the required circumstances, absolutely anyone can experience loneliness.
What people might confuse loneliness with is solitude, the state of being alone. There are differences between the two. The presence of one emotion does not necessarily mean the presence of the other as well. Put into perspective, you can feel isolated while being in a room full of people and you can be enjoying every second of being alone. You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. In today’s world, being alone is more of a choice while loneliness is not. Additionally, others are less able to recognize loneliness than solitude.
On the more scientific side of loneliness, it is in our biology. As social mammals, we depend on the company of others as support and protection. In prehistoric times, our brains believed loneliness was a sign you are less likely to survive. It believed being surrounded and socially connected with others increased our chances of survival. It still does and so, it is the reason for our loneliness today. When we feel lonely, activity in the areas of our brain that process pain increases which, in a way, means that part of loneliness is physical pain as well.
What are the effects of loneliness?
As already stated, being lonely makes you desire greatly for social contact. It is an instinctive response as well as a solution. But facing loneliness has adverse effects that cause you to hold yourself back from getting rid of loneliness and using that instinctive solution. Being one of the most unhealthy emotions it is, social isolation affects both your physical and mental health negatively in numerous ways.
Loneliness substantially weakens your immune system which allows for other illnesses and disease to easily affect you. You age quicker and are susceptible to physical conditions including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It can interrupt your sleep or even give you insomnia. Due to the increased brain activity, you face much more stress. The chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease also doubles for people who feel lonely.
Loneliness itself is not a mental health problem, but rather a state of mind. However, one can be the cause for the other. If you are mentally ill, you may face stigma, which could lead you to experience loneliness. If you are lonely and are not doing anything about it, it could make you mentally ill. It can cause you to have social anxiety, or social phobia, low self-esteem, or even depression. And when it comes to depression, suicide could also be a problem. There are many mental illnesses that could be caused by loneliness. It is not something that you should neglect.
How can loneliness affect my behavior?
The long-term effects that social isolation have on your cognitive and psychological behavior are detrimental and are those that prevent you from getting rid of loneliness. When loneliness persists for a long time, you become socially sensitive. Due to having not experienced close and social contact for a very long time, you understand people less, can become paranoid, interpret the actions and behaviors of others in ways that are incorrect, you may feel scared because of social anxiety, and you may make assumptions that are not true– usually negative ones about others. This can lead to selfishness which worsens your condition even more.
As you become selfish, you also become unfriendly and socially awkward. You focus more on the bad of others and may develop a certain view of them. Not only that, you may also have negative thoughts of yourself because of the way you assume most people see you. This paves way for antisocial behavior and fear of social interactions, both of which also worsens your condition of loneliness. Loneliness can become chronic and the longer it stays untreated, the worse it becomes as you start to cut people out of your life, become mentally ill, and fear people even more. So how do you get rid of and treat this unhealthy emotion?
What causes you to be lonely?
Like in solving most problems, it is important to look for and identify the cause. The factors that contribute to the growth of loneliness in people’s well-being can vary from person to person, especially in age. Loneliness can be caused by many things. In teenagers, it can be caused by moving to a new school or a new city, or losing a family member. In adults, it can be living alone for a very long time, ending a relationship, working far from home, or even just too much work. Keep in mind that the experience of loneliness is completely individual and personal, so no one is able to identify it better than you are.
How do you treat loneliness?
It can be handy to remember that loneliness is a universal human emotion when trying to treat it. It is normal for people to feel lonely from time to time. Everybody experiences loneliness. It could help to just get yourself used to feeling lonely. However, if loneliness becomes chronic and it starts to have adverse effects on you, it does not help to ignore. The effects may not be harmful at first, but overtime, your condition can worsen and become damaging to both your mental and physical health.
When it comes to treating and getting rid of loneliness, it can be daunting. It can take a very long time and a lot of effort. If you know someone who you think or know is lonely, it would be of great value if you could help them. The most important part is to connect, socialize, and spend more time with other people than alone, all while trying not to make negative assumptions about others. It is also crucial to identify the negative effects loneliness has on you and act in accordance to your needs. It could help to join small public events, to meet new people, and start new friendships. When doing so, be optimistic and expect the best out of situations because it could help you feel better. If you need, do not be afraid to seek professional help. It never hurts to look for help. There are many ways to get rid of loneliness and different people treat it differently. You just need to figure out what your needs are and then go from there.
In the second round of English literacy this year, we did a case study on why people flee home, mainly with refugees and their experiences. The book Inside Out & Back Again written by Thanhha Lai was very important and helpful to us in this case study as we used it constantly in discussions of topics regarding what it feels like to be a refugee as well as the factors of becoming a refugee. At the end of the round, we studied refugees from many parts of the world and what was going on their country. As products of this round, we each wrote our own Inside Out & Back Again poem. These poems convey the experience of being a refugee, in a state of discomfort and vulnerability, and being lost, far from home. Below are the first 6 stanzas of my Inside Out & Back Again poem, entitled “Scared and Separated”. This round was one I enjoyed very much.
Scared and Separated
Freed and imprisoned, we cannot help, but fear the silence.
Return home, Azfaar. Bring your brother with you as well. We’ll be with you shortly, I promise.
Sweat is pouring down on my face. I hear shouts and screams far behind me, distant, yet loud and violent, but I dare not turn. I keep on going.
I recall when Father said while smiling, Not too soon, you’ll be in school with your friends again.
Thinking about it makes me miss them more and more.
Badrawi eyes me. Then his grip tightens. Our steps quicken gradually, then our stride breaks into a run…
It is recommended for easy reference that the following is read with the original lyrics of the song which can be found here.
One More Light is the 9th and eponymous track of the seventh studio album by famous American rock band Linkin Park. Set in a melancholic tone, the band’s lead vocalist, Chester Bennington, sings about the daunting and tragic experience of losing a loved one — a light. Throughout parts of the song, Chester refers to human life as sources of light, with the idea of a person being able to illuminate and make someone else’s life better with just their presence and company. With the repetitive pattern of a wavy synthesizer and melodious electric guitar played from beginning to end, the song places the listener in an environment soothing to the human soul and mind. With Chester’s soulful voice accompanied by the calming instrumentation, the song is able to achieve the goal of putting the listener in a tranquil state in a fashion so simple, yet artful and true. Since its creation, One More Light has been a track dedicated to many wonderful people whom the band has worked with and those who have passed, including dear Chester himself, though it is for those who are going through a harsh time in life as well. The structure in which the song is written gives it versatility and ambiguity, making it able to be seen from different perspectives and very relatable for the listener. The lyrics are able to encompass the mind of the listener, put them in the singer’s viewpoint, and translate their thoughts in addition to also being able to expressively speak to them. For long-time fans and supporters of Linkin Park, the track is one that acts as a reminder of the truly unbreakable bond between them and the band and what they have created. Thus, it is regarded as a deeply emotional piece. Embedded within, One More Light is home to a cathartic message that has undoubtedly helped save the lives of millions of people: “You matter. Stay Alive.”
Composed of four lines, Chester begins the song by talking to the listener and the person he recently lost from his life in the first verse. In the starting line, after having lost the person, he finally realizes that they had been suffering, presumably from a mental illness, all along. He is regretful that he took their actions for granted, that he didn’t pay them with enough care and attention to notice the pain they were going through. Hence, he wishes he had been more aware as to provide them with the proper love they needed. In the second line of the verse, Chester asks the person if he can help them. After seeing their pain, he wants to ease their troubles as to rid and compensate for all the harm he may have done to them in the past, to free them from whatever’s holding them down. This line also makes the listener, who may be in a situation similar to the person Chester’s talking to, feel that someone cares for them and wants to help as to make up for what they have been going through. The subsequent line, he recalls a time when he was with the person, struggling together, when everyone else didn’t notice so. They promised each other that there would be light for both of them at the end of the dismal tunnel they were in; they saw hope for one another and that there was an end to the hardship. As time went by, Chester’s worries likely vanished. He might’ve forgotten about the person, occupied by events in life, allowing their connection to slowly fade. Therefore, he regrets that he was not aware enough to stay and help the person as expressed in the first line similarly. The last line of the verse refers to the bittersweetness of being able to have wonderful things in life, but not to keep forever. Now that the person is no longer with Chester, he misses them, but even so, he is still grateful to have had them in his life. As the introductory part of the song, the first verse talks to the listener as to relieve them from their worries and makes them feel cared for by the singer. As part of the song’s ambiguity, it is also possible for the listener to relate to the story being told if they viewed it from Chester’s perspective; it makes them feel that they are not the only one who is going through the experience and in doing so, eases their mind and thoughts.
Being the most important part of the song, the chorus is what makes One More Light the powerful and heartwarming song that it is. This part of the song repeats three times: once after each verse and one at the end of the song. Represented as a million stars in the chorus, there are over 7 billion people in today’s world, so the death and significance of one person’s life may be comprehended by many people as relatively unimportant. In the chorus of the song, Chester opposes those who think in that way by answering the question: “Who cares if one more light goes out?”, as to refute them, with the first verse acting to support his argument as evidence. He speaks to the listener and describes a light, a person’s life, as flickering and dying alone in a sky of a million stars that is the world. Someone who’s going through a tough time in life may be thinking about suicide and deciding whether or not they want to complete it. In those moments of intense thinking and pressure, they have very little time to make a choice because their life is on the line. Thus, “if a moment is all we are”. Some have more time to decide while some have less, varying in different situations. So even though a single life, compared to billions, may seem insignificant and extremely small, it does not mean the impact they have on other people is so. The death of someone can affect other people tremendously, especially if they are family, and thus being a great loss, as already expressed in the first verse. Consequently and as the main message of the song, he is saying that he cares immensely for each and every life in this world because they all matter. After having asked the listener if he could help them with their troubles in the first verse, Chester is now building up on the care he expressed to further show his love and concern for the listener, relieving and making them feel safe.
Also comprising four lines, Chester speaks to himself, and the listener, in the second verse of this track. In the starting line, Chester goes on to fill his mind with thoughts and memories associated with the person he lost and dearly loved. After their death, life is different from what it used to be. In recollecting past moments he made with the person, he comes to be filled with extreme sadness and sorrow. In the succeeding line, Chester expands on the picture of life being different without the person. He describes that the chair that the person used to always sit in in the kitchen is still there while they themself are not, indicating a feeling of incompletion; he had become so used to having the person around that his life now without them just feels like it is missing a very important piece. In the third line of this verse, Chester tells himself, and the listener, that it is okay and completely normal to feel strong emotions such as anger in a time like this. He is angry that the person is no longer here because it doesn’t seem fair for them to leave this world so unexpectedly, without allowing him to give them the love and care they much deserved; he wishes the person to still be in his life. The fourth and final line refers to the concealment of pain and suffering in today’s society. Chester lets the listener know that just because they are not able to see or perceive something does not mean that it’s nonexistent. Whether mental or physical, people face challenges personally every day, although it might not seem like they are. And it is the case in the world today that most people hide them, which includes the person whom Chester lost. However, just because it is not shown that they are facing challenges, it does not mean they are not there. Someone could be going through a very hard time and you might not be able to tell because of the way and how well they hide it. Concealment of pain is just another sign that indicates that the person may be struggling and might not have someone who cares for them enough to listen and help. This part of the song is what makes it very soulful; it strengthens the emotional bond between the listener and the singer, allowing for them to relate to and contemplate what is being described, similar to the first verse.
On July 20, 2017, Chester completed suicide by hanging. For many, it was a very unexpected and tragic catastrophe. Released later in September the same year, the band dedicated the music video for One More Light to Chester for everything he has done to help not only his band, but millions of others in the world through their music. One More Light is a work of art by Linkin Park that, along with other songs, has helped many people push through hardships in their lives and make them believe that they truly matter. There are numerous individuals around the world in every corner this instance who may be suffering and going through the toughest and harshest, or maybe even the darkest time of their lives, who might feel that nobody cares for them whatsoever. The lyrics of this song, however, apprise the listener that they are what illuminates the sky and permeates it with millions of stars. A single life going out is tragic for anyone. And we are all under the same sky. One more light going out just means the sky becoming even darker. And Chester’s soothing vocals concinnate and convey that message in a way that resonates mentally with the listener on a personal level. To me, the ambiguity and versatility of this song are what make it verily unique and moving. As the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, Chester has been regarded as one of the greatest rock influencers and singers of his generation. He had been and continues to be an inspiration for numerous people all over the world today. And One More Light is one of the many testaments of that statement.
You wake up, but you don’t get out of bed. You just stare at the ceiling. There’s nothing going on in your brain. No thoughts are present as if your brain had stopped working. It’s just a void of nothing when you try to visualize it. You just lay on your bed still and stare at the ceiling without thinking of doing anything nor do you do anything. You don’t try to think. You aren’t worried about life and you don’t care. You’re not sad. You’re not happy. You’re apathetic.
Imagine that everyday you’re like that. You’re just empty. The goals you had and were excited about seem to have become targets without reason and you don’t even think about why it is. You’re just a black simple dot on a white simple page of paper that is the world. There’s nothing else. That is what apathy feels like. Would you want to feel that way?
What is apathy?
Apathy is defined as the absence of emotions; a feeling of no enthusiasm, interest, or concern. It’s nothing, just emptiness and non-existence. Now apply apathy to a person and the result would be someone who doesn’t feel anything at all due to the absence of emotions. Their life could be a mess, they can turn on their computer, see that the report they spent an enormous amount of time and effort on is gone, even if it’s due tomorrow, and they still wouldn’t be sad. They would just accept the fact that they lost it and move on.
What can it lead to?
You are not to be ignorant of apathy. It’s a serious state of indifference and it shouldn’t be left alone. It should be rid of. Often times, apathy will trap you in its cage of ’emotionlessness’, then it will lure you gradually into depression. If you neglect it, you’ll find everything to be daunting when you finally crash into depression. There are ways to prevent or rather, mitigate this however. Someone who’s apathetic is like a dead light bulb. It just needs some energy to turn on! So if you’re in apathy’s cage, I implore you to use whatever energy’s left in you to try and break out of it! And this guide will give you the fuel you’ll need to tear those bars down!
Where does it come from?
Apathy can be caused by anything. Identifying the cause can be important. In the process of getting rid of apathy, it might help to identify the cause and then make changes based off it. It will help you out with deciding the things you want to change when you need to get rid of apathy. When you feel apathy, think about yesterday. It’s mostly likely that recent events are the cause of your apathy. Think about what happened before you became apathetic.
How do you know if you’re apathetic?
What you can do to know whether you’re apathetic or not is to compare, to look at the traits of an apathetic and see if you have them. You’re not interested in anything when you’re apathetic. You may be somewhat bored. There’s no rhapsody in you and you don’t have any concerns. You just feel nothing – emptiness and void. One of the easier ways to know you’re apathetic is when you get bored of the things you thought would spark the light inside you. Your hobbies don’t bring you pleasure anymore or hanging out with your friends is now a waste of time. Everything bores you. Just look at the traits of an apathetic and see if you have them. Look at the introduction of this guide, the traits.
How do you get rid of it?
There is never one way to solve a problem. Try to get rid of apathy in different ways or in ways you prefer – if you’ve ever been through it before. Getting rid of apathy means finding something that will interest you once more and spark that flame of excitement and motivation inside you. The initial goal is to create change, get you occupied and get you energized!
What I conventionally do first is do what I always enjoy doing – a hobby! Invest some time into your hobby and see if that brings you happiness – the pleasure you always found to be comforting. Although becoming apathetic means you’ve probably already lost interest in it, it never hurts to give it a shot and see again.
If that doesn’t work, what I encourage you to do is ‘kick it up a notch’. Make lots of changes. Change your routine! Change the order of the things you do in your routine! Reverse the order! Maybe all you need is some revitalization. Change your schedule and see if there are spaces left. If there are, fill it! With everything and anything. Spend time at the park if you live near one. Go to the beach. Run a marathon. Do yoga. Learn a new language or instrument. Whatever! Change things up! Just freshen up your schedule and live a new life with new energy!
Don’t stay inside too much, get some sun and fresh air! According to studies, spending time in the sun increases the release of serotonin, the happy chemical, in the brain, which makes you happy! This will somewhat slow down or even halt the process of you crashing into depression and get your a bit more prepared. You might even just become happy and not even become depressed. Try to spend about 10-15 minutes in the sun, you’ll feel much better! Or try to see if there are any free events in your area. Join them and meet new people. Make new friends! And ask them to the movies or to hangout. Building new connections can also make you happy and bring you pleasure. You just need to feel occupied and alive! Maybe get out, run around, and just have fun!
The best way to get excited again is to explore and discover something new; see what the world has to offer. If you’re someone who stays inside a lot, go hunting on the internet. Play a new game, start watching a new series, learn something new, read a new book, start a diary, listen to new music, just explore! There are more than enough things on the internet and in the world that’ll help you get excited and happy again.
Feel apathetic? Need some energy? There’s free fuel here! Whenever you feel apathetic or know someone who is, take a look at this short guide and see if it can help you. When being apathetic, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to renew, revitalize and reorganize as well as get occupied! Switch things up! Change your gears! Even though apathy is the feeling of emptiness and the absence of emotions, you can always get rid of it and fill that hole of nothingness with excitement and ecstasy again. And this guide’s your help-out buddy!
In English Literacy, we had happiness as our theme. We read articles about happiness, learned what makes us happy, what doesn’t make us happy, how to be happy, and many other happiness-related things. A lot of poetry was also involved. We learned two new forms of happiness which were the Found poem form and the Golden Shovel poem form. Near the end of the round, we had to write poems. We could choose to write either of the two new poem forms we learned. I chose, or at least tried, to write a golden shovel form. The line I choose is from a song called “falling in reverse” by EDEN. The reason for that is because the song is so much different from any that I’ve listened to. It’s like a message and I really like it. So here’s my golden shovel poem talking about happiness. Enjoy the poem!
Line: “Don’t let the monsters inside your head become your fears.”
Stars fade and become forgotten in a matter of time, they don’t.
For flowers to prosper and flourish, its world had let.
Every night, they come, the
whisperers of anxiety, you call them monsters.
Come out and sprout, don’t hide inside.
There is nothing that’ll make the sky fall in front of your
very eyes. It’s all in your head.
You come out. And with one deep breath, you look at them. In less than a second, you realize that nothing, but thin, empty spaces of air they’ve become.
It was then that you knew, you can always overcome your
demons. You look at the moon, it tells you, you are not afraid of your fears.
Don’t let the monsters in your head become your fears.
“Round 3, what will we see? What will it be?” Pan said at the end of round 2, excited to finally uncover what round 3 has for all the junior students. “New round, new theme. And that theme is…” said Hannah, the Junior Literacy Facilitator. Pan sat quietly as he waited for the sentence to finish. “The theme for round 3 is The Search for Identity!”.
The Search for Identity talked mainly, considering it’s the theme, about what defines a person’s identity or something along the path of that. Throughout our journey of literacy, we read, we wrote, we listened, we spoke, and we worked as a class. The main things we did, to me, were novel studies and where-I’m-from poems.
The poems came first. A where-I’m-from poem is a type of poem that tells the reader a little bit about the author and where they’re from. In a where-I’m-from poem, there are childhood memories of the author, good and bad, people they miss, details about their past, and feelings of what it’s like to be home. I like to think of them as artistic and ambiguous poems that make you feel farm and cosy as if you’re at home. Everyone in class had to write one and so we did. Click on the link at the end of this post to access my poem in picture form! I really enjoyed looking back at some of my oldest memories while writing the poem and I realized that a lot have changed since when I was younger. Note: I made a mistake saying that the date was 2018. It’s supposed to be 2019.
Halfway through the round, we split into groups and each group was assigned a novel to read about and discuss. There were four possible novels that could be assigned to a group which were The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Wonder by R. J. Palacio and Monster by Walter Dean Myers. My group’s novel was Looking for Alaska, a story about teenage life, love, heartbreak, and friends. One day every week for the rest of the round, we met in groups and discussed while also taking the time outside of class to read the required number of pages in the book. At the end of the round, each team had to put up a presentation for the whole class about the book they read. Looking for Alaska was a book that I will never forget. Ever. I love everything about the book. The plot, the characters, just the entire story. It’s really sad. I didn’t expect the ending at all. That’s all I can give you about the book because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who want to read it
Summing up, this round was another unique and wonderful round. I shall wait for the next round to come and see what secrets it’ll unfold in front of my very eyes. In other words, I look forward to the following rounds and hope that they’ll be as great as, or even greater than, this round. Thank you for reading!
In my last post about English Literacy, I forgot to mention that each year in this class, there will be at least one student product which is usually a piece of writing considering it’s literacy class and that we do a lot of writing. The theme for Literacy this round was Social and Environmental Injustice. The goal for the round was to create an argumentative essay which I think was the student product for this year, but I might be wrong. Writing an argumentative essay was a big thing which is why I think it is the student product. There may be more than one student product this year, but I’m not sure. This round, it was similar to last round. A lot of reading and writing. What I really want to talk about is the argumentative essay.
For the first half of the round, we did a lot of learning on Social and Environmental Injustice which means we learned a lot of about unfair things happening in the world related to society and the environment. Some of the unfair things were pollution-related problems and conflicts. At the halfway point of the round, we started our argumentative essays. We spent the first week learning how to write an argumentative essay while doing research then we just worked on the essay. For our essays, we were required to either write about an SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) or a past exploration. I chose to write about one of SDGs and that was SDG #14, Life Below Water. One fact about me is that I love the ocean very much. It’s so important and wonderful and fascinating. Many problems in the oceans have arisen in the past few decades. And the effects of those problems are devastating. One of those many problems was whaling. I didn’t know what whaling was before I started the essay research, but I felt like I wanted to write about it, so I chose whaling. Whaling is the hunting and killing of whales for the materials they provide. The last two weeks of this round was spent doing research, writing, and polishing the argumentative essay and I don’t have much else to say. So, I will leave a link for my argumentative essay at the end of this post for anyone who wants to read it. This round of literacy might be one of the best so far because I’m proud of myself for writing an argumentative essay about a topic that really interests me. Thank you for reading!
For each round of English literacy this year, there will be a theme. This round’s theme was Etymology which is the study of the origins of words and how they’ve changed throughout history. At the beginning of every week on Mondays, we were each given a homework packet which was required to be completed before the week after. These homework packets contained root words, their definitions and origins, 10 words which contain the root words, and a few exercises based off them. When the following week came, we would have an assessment on the homework packet and given another one to complete. Throughout the round, we learned about the history of the English language, its origin, its influences, and how it’s evolved overtime. There were many activities related to it; one of which was creating videos that taught people the root words we were studying. Along with that, we also did a lot of other things. We read at least a text every week and most of the texts required us to complete the activities that came with it which included writing. Sometimes, we would also discuss after reading. We read about 9/11, the black death, William Shakespeare, Mahatma Gandhi, and many more. Somewhere in the second half of the round, we wrote a mini personal narrative about a memory with our family members; if you want to look at mine, there will be a link to it at the end of this post. We also made videos about famous people and why their work should be honored. In literacy, our facilitator tries to find and use as many great resources as we can and I am grateful for that. For the last two weeks of literacy, we read ‘Poison’ by Roald Dahl and completed a hyperdoc which is a document that contains many great resources for something in order to improve the learning experience, in this case, the resources were for the story ‘Poison’. This round was a great first round of English literacy and I learned a lot about the history of the English language as well as many other things. I think what will happen next round is we will develop more on our mini personal narrative, but I’m not sure. If you want to get updated with all the things we will be doing next round then you can do so by visiting this blog every once in a while.