One thing that was very important that I learned this year was time management. I learned how to balance everything out and to make sure everything was done. I learned this because sometimes during the year we would have some things due in a certain amount of time and I would have to learn how to get everything done. Sometimes I would spend too much time on one thing and not have enough time to do a good job on the other. This took me some time to learn, but in the end I understood how to do it.
Another thing that I learned this year was how to be focused. Before this year I would be thinking or doing something else instead of what I would need to get done. Now I have gained how to stay focused and concentrated. I needed to learn this because sometimes we would be doing some things that I wasn't interested in. I would get off topic and push the activity off to the side. By doing this I made myself get a lot more work and it was a lot harder. After this year, even if I am not interested in the topic, I try to stay focused and get my work done.
The third thing that I learned this year was how to gain perseverance. I learned this by working hard and by keep pushing forward. During this year there was a lot of work to be done and one of the only reasons why I got it done was that I persevered and persisted into doing it. This helped me because it made everything else after that a lot easier. I will use this tool in my life because in high school, college, and life I will need to persevere through most things.
Something that we did this year that I will remember for the rest of my life is when we did our first socratic seminar for the book Bronx Masquerade. This was very memorable because I remember how deep the conversations were. We were all talking about things that spoke to us and made us feel a certain way. By talking about everything, we expressed our own opinions and thoughts. This will always be remembered because it helped me and some other people find how we really feel. It showed me that you aren't always going to agree with some people and that it is ok.
The nicest thing that someone did was that they helped me learn and grow this year. This person was my teacher, Mrs. Larson. She helped me improve the way I think and how I show it. My grades would not be the same if I had a different teacher. By guiding me and showing me how to improve I might have changed my life. I am very grateful that she was my teacher this year.
One thing that I taught my classmates and teacher this year was how to think a different way. During the year I would express my thoughts and give my own opinions. By doing this I taught my classmates and teacher how to see some things a certain way. An example of this is when we did our first Socratic seminar for Of Mice and Men. During this seminar I said that I felt sorry for Curley's wife. This comment might have showed some people the other side of something. I taught then how to realize something that they might not have been able to realize without me.
The area that I feel I made my biggest improvement was writing essays. Before this year I was unsure of what to do for the essays. I didn't know how to format them or how long they should be. Now I know when you write paragraphs you use the TIQA format. This helped me a lot because I use it all the time and it makes my paragraphs and essays a lot smoother. Now I can take this skill and use it in the future. It doesn't just have to be ELA; it could be Math, Social Studies, or Science. The progress I made from a year ago to now is phenomenal.
Something that I accomplished this year is that I learned how to think outside the box. During the year we did a lot of activities that included us thinking about different ideas and topics. Everyone discussed what he or she thought and how he or she feel towards it. When people gave their own ideas it made me think about it and then made me go to another conclusion. I would think of things that other people haven't thought of. It might have been weird, but it showed that I have the ability to be creative. I am very proud of this because I now know that I can think of things that are original.
The most challenging part of the year for me was getting all of my work done on time. Most of the time after school I would have an extra curricular activity and doing homework would be delayed. Some nights I would be rushing to get it done and I would be stressed out. When I rushed to get it done the quality wouldn't be very good, then I would have to redo it the next day. During some part of the year I stopped this cycle and put my work before everything else. I would stay home instead of doing other things and got it done without rushing. I was straightening out my priorities. Before I straightened everything out, it very challenging and hard for me to handle, but I battled through it.
I think that my best piece of writing this year was my "Where I'm From" poem. I believe that it is my best because I really had to think about it and it describes who I am and what I came from. Whenever I read it I think of when I was little and my family history. The poem itself can't be related by anyone because it is my own feeling towards my past and it shows me. It is one of a kind and people who don't know me don't understand the meaning of the poem. Every line has a story behind it and a memory that means something to me. I feel like this poem is my best because I expressed myself in a different way instead of just talking about it.
My favorite book that I read this year was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This was my favorite because the book was so interesting. It was through the perspectives of multiple people, which appeals to me. Everyone in it has different races and backgrounds. It takes place in the 60s in the south, which by itself is an engaging topic. Most of the perspectives are of black maids who write a book of their own personal encounters being "the help". Throughout the book you see racism and people dealing with it. Sometimes it makes you laugh, cry, and feel anger. It was so intriguing that I would read for hours and couldn't put the book down. I will always remember it and how it gave me a different perspective on the life I have now.
For kids next year I would like to advise them on a one particular thing. I would say that they have to be prepared to work very hard everyday. They can't get through the year with slacking off and expecting everything to be easy. If they don't focus and persevere then everything would be a lot harder and more difficult. They have to put forth the effort because in the end it will pay off.