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The syrian refugee simulation


The Book of Us 
Nov. - Dec. 2015

Project Description
    In this project, we published an anthology of nonfiction student writing. We had to write a piece about something we are passionate about using one of the following 6 writing styles: express and reflect, inform and explain, evaluate and judge, inquire and explore, analyze and interpret, or take a stand/ propose a solution. The point of this project is for students to create the best piece of writing they have ever produced. I chose the subject express and reflect and wrote about the experience of traveling to the Del Mar Fair with my best friends to go see social media stars.

    This project uses the Real-world writing purposes Field Guide. We chose a random topic, molded it to the writing styles, then wrote about each one for 5 minutes. This is what helped us get an idea and choose what to contribute to the book. 

Worksheets and Graphic Organizers
  • 1 topic= 18 topics: It was difficult for me to write this because the options were so vast. It was hard to think of what I could write around a single word or phrase. In the end I chose express and reflect because that was what I felt I could write the strongest in. 
  • Reverse Engineered Mentor Text Graphic Organizer: A mentor text is a piece of text similar to yours to help guide your writing structure. The text I used was 5,826 Miles Away. I chose it because I thought it had a lot of descriptive personal opinions and experiences. Looking back, I should have used a chapter from the book I was reading at the time, which was Binge by Tyler Oakley, because he was meeting a lot of famous people in his book, like I was. 
  • Outline Tribute Sheet: This sheet didn't help me as much because I already wrote and revised my story, so I wasn't sure how I could use it. This would have helped after I wrote the 5 minute quick write, but before I wrote my complete down draft. 
  • Sensory Images Graphic Organizer: I liked this organizer because it's simple, but think it is only applicable to a few styles of writing. It worked great for my piece, but not the other categories that weren't experiences.
  • Opening Lines Graphic Organizer: I like the idea of this organizer, but I didn't feel any section of my work besides what I already used went well to begin the story. 
Writing Pieces
  • Final Draft: I am most proud of my piece's refinement and accuracy. The original story, or my ‘downdraft’ was only 2 pages. After many worksheets and sensory detail, it grew to 6. Unfortunately, I couldn't have pictures in the final draft of my piece. Next time if possible, I want to include some.
  • Down Draft: While I was re-reading it, I realized I left out a lot of detail that was very necessary. I hadn't described any of the characters or what event I was at and lacked sensory imagery. 
  • Quick Writes- AKA Word Vomit: We had 5 minutes to write about one idea we wrote in each of the sections based on our topic. This was to help us see what idea we liked writing best, and what ones weren't interested in continuing. I liked writing about experiences the best, which was express and reflect. 
Feedback and Critique
  • Big picture critique: I personally think nobody took this critique seriously. When we did this critique, everybody was so focused on their own piece they didn't really want to critique others.

  • Scissors critique: This was the least helpful critique for me because my piece was over four pages at this point. Nobody, not even myself wanted to rearrange 20 pieces of text already having a predetermined order to make sense. I honestly think this critique was a waste of time for me.

  • No-critique critique: This was the most helpful because I could take notes for myself and didn't have to look for anything to change.

  • Author-led critique: I feel I helped the most people with this critique. Again, this wasn't extremely helpful because nobody at my table wanted to read a 5 page long final draft.
  • General: I think my piece was best critiqued by my friends who were there with me at the event because they could remind me what happened and what I left out. This made my story more accurate and funny.

    Going into this project, I had no idea what to write. There were an infinite amount of options, and I couldn't choose. So I basically just thought of what I am best at writing, which is stories and personal experiences. I thought about one experience that happened recently, but also one that I would love to recall and keep forever. Throughout every draft, I kept adding more and more detail until I felt the story would become its own book. The first draft I wrote was just thoughts put into words that only made sense to me. With a LOT of refinement, It's now at six pages and hopefully makes sense to anybody reading it. I love my piece so much that I wouldn't change anything about it.

The Humans of South Bay
Oct. - Nov. 2015

Project Description:
In this project, we learned about other people’s lives by interviewing someone we know. We capture these moments by recording and transcribing an interview and snapping a picture. We displayed our transcription at our exhibition at the Memorial Bowl in Downtown Chula Vista. The goal of this project is to work on listening, analyzing, research and public speaking.

Pre-Interview Process:
Before we jumped into interviewing, we did a lot of prep. This included listening to transcriptions and watching live interviews. We recognized the qualities of good and bad interviews. Good interviews were when the interviewer did background research on the person. The main traits of bad interviews were no eye contact, body language being closed off or uninterested and not having enough follow up questions. To prevent this, we filled out a worksheet guiding us through some of the most impactful moments in the interviewees life and what questions we could ask to trigger thoughtful answers.

Jean Miller is my grandmother. When I asked her if I could interview her, she was thrilled! I asked her because I thought she would have a lot to say about any topic given because she has such strong beliefs, values and experiences. In our 20 minute interview, I learned more about her mother and siblings and the meals she had as a child. I would love to do the same process with her again or with other members of my family to get to know more of their individual life story. 

The Transcription:
To help make the transcription process more organized and easy to write, we made an outline of the topics spoken and what time it was discussed. Then we went back and reorganized/ took out questions to make the story flow better. Then we finally wrote the entire script.

Read more stories HERE.

Script 2

The Tribes Project
September 2015

Project Description:
This project was heavily inspired by the book we read as a class called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. In this book the main character was trying to find himself and where he belonged in society. We made many poems revolved around where we come from, what home is, the unspoken rules of different subjects, and other topics contained in the book. The end result was to perform one of the pieces we wrote at our exhibition. 

The House on Mango Street Performances:
We were given a taste of the project when we performed short excerpts from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. We were put into groups of three or four, and asked to read the piece as a group, but also add in organic sound effects to it. For example, if the piece mentioned rain, we could turn on the sink. My group performed the chapter "Hairs". At the end of the day, we presented the chapters in order with sound. I really enjoyed listening to it, and also thought it was a great way to start off the year and meet new classmates.

Dialogical interview:
In this activity, we were also put in assigned pairs from the other side of our team. We had 20 minutes each to get to know them better and find out as much information on them as possible to eventually create a poem about them; "I sing to you of...". This experience took me by surprise. I barely knew my partner before the conversation, and now we are friends. 

"I sing to you" Poem drafts and Self Critique:
See my drafts HERE. I decided to change the layout of my 
poem to be more original, so my poem is not called "I sing to you of Alex".

8th Grade critique session:
To better refine our partner poems, we took a trip over to the 8th grade wing for some critique. This was particularly difficult because even though I knew my poem was incomplete, I did not get any specific feedback. However, I did spend a lot of time giving critique, and hope my 8th grader took it. What struck me about this process is how different our feedback forms were. Our forms to receive notes were very open, and theirs were extremely to the point.

Human sculptures:
Throughout this project, we read the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. In this exercise, Dr. P read aloud a sentence from the book and we had to recreate it through tableaux; a frozen picture. 

Self portrait:
View my self portrait and poem written about me HERE. I chose to take a picture of my hugging my tap 
shoes because I am a tap dancer. The photo is actually inspired by a photo of another famous tapper, Gregory Hines. Find that photo HERE.

Belonging reading:
We read short articles about belonging, and how it connected to the book we read, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. My article was The Psychological Reasons Why an American Might Join ISIS. 

Script and photos of Best Friends:
Read the script HERE. For our final performance, Marissa and I decided to create our own piece about our unique friendship. We wrote it describing how we met and how well we know each other. I did majority of the writing because Marissa was taking pictures, but she also gave many of the ideas. I loved writing a poem with one of my friends because the topic was something I really cared about. I hope we can do something like this in the future. 

How would you answer this project’s essential question, “what tribes do you belong to?”. Has this answer changed since the beginning of the year?
        - I think I belong to many tribes, but I have grown into many more "tribes" throughout this project and beginning of the year. I now belong to the tribes of poets, to the tribe of 10th graders and to the tribe of people who have read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

What did you learn about “writing for a client” that you want to remember in your next project?
        - When "writing for a client", it's important to think about not only what you want in the piece, but also 
what they want in their piece. Many people including me were uncomfortable with the topics written about them in their poems because they were more personal. Also, make sure the piece you are writing about is specific to them, not malleable to everyone.

What did you learn about descriptive writing that you want to remember about your next project?
        - I learned that one of the main elements in descriptive writing is remembering to think about the fives senses; smell, touch, taste, sight, and sound. This is very important to make your words more realistic and reader feel more enthralled in your story.

What did you learn about collaboration that you want to remember in your next project?
        - Collaboration isn't so hard if you actually collaborate. It was actually easier to collaborate with a close friend because we both are comfortable working together outside of school. We also know that the other will be pulling the same work load because we have trust. 

What’s one moment from this project that you want to remember?
        - I want to remember the actual performance itself because my poem actually made people laugh, and that was the intention and goal. Knowing I achieved that feels great. The feeling of accomplishment and completion was also very relieving.
Subpages (2): Blog I sing to you poem