Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poems Create Magic

Earlier this year, we studied poetry in Language Arts. Poetry is writing that conveys feelings, thoughts, and words both directly and indirectly, metaphorically and rhythmically. I love poetry because not only does it seem like a song, it also comes with a lesson. Most poems have themes, or morals. These morals apply to our everyday lives.

To finish out our poetry unit, Mrs. Barrow, our Language Arts teacher, had us each write an unexpected perspective poem. These poems are really interesting because the reader doesn't know who the speaker is. It could be anything from a mailbox to an elephant. The speaker describes its surroundings and its thoughts, and how it sees the world around them.

Poetry involves careful use of words and rhythm. Poets can write poems in several different ways, but all poets use words to write their poems. It is for this reason that I think that words are powerful. Words express emotions by using careful word choice and rhythm. 

So, I decided to write about the power of words in my unexpected perspective poem (link). I'm really proud of this poem because it was my first poem in which I used poetic devices such as figurative language that sounded so right!

I really liked the poetry unit in school this year and I hope we have one next year  - so that I can write another poem to share with others, as well as reading my peers's poems too!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Write About Writer's Block!

Charles Bukowski once said, "Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all." Writer's block can be really difficult to get through - it may feel like your creative mind has left you, and you're just boring and you can't think of anything new. I love writing, and I've gotten writer's block several times. Here are some strategies I use to get out of writer's block that I'd like to share:

1. Listen to music. You can get so many ideas from listening to music. Like writing and drawing, music is a form of art, and art is a form of inspiration. People who create music, either through an instrument or with their voices, use their words or their melody to express feelings and words. Just listen to music and pull out ideas that you'd like to use in your writing.

2. Read. I know that this sounds like something that people do everyday, but books are also a form of art and inspiration. When you find a cool idea that the author or poet used, you can borrow the idea and use it in a different way in your own writing. Authors help each other out by sharing their writings.

3. Get creative. You're probably wondering, how do I get creative if I'm missing my creative mind? Just take out your pencil and sketchbook and draw whatever comes to mind. You can just draw something in your room, such as a lamp or a potted plant. Drawing can help you get ideas that you can write about.

4. Go outside. Go for a walk, go biking, go swimming, go hiking. You could even just go outside and sit in your backyard. Nature is what makes the world work, and to me is one of the most inspiring forces on this planet. Just observe nature and you just might get a cool idea.

Even though I use strategies such as these to get rid of my writer's block, I still find that I blank a lot while I'm writing! From now on, I'll remember to practice these strategies more often so that I stay inspired and ready to write more.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Power Behind Music

Take a look at these two instruments. On the left side, you have a small, delicate flute producing light, beautiful music. On the right side, you have a huge, strong tuba producing deep, supporting music.

In our band, I consider every instrument important. In any band, every instrument plays a key role in the music the band produces, but I think that the tuba and the flute are among the most important instruments.

The flute is the highest pitched instrument overall, along with the piccolo. This is why the flute typically plays the melody of a song. A higher pitch will be more likely be heard over the deeper instruments. Without a melody, songs would sound very different.

The tuba is the lowest pitched instrument in a band. Even though it's the lowest, the tuba plays a really big role in our band music. This year in band class, I learned that tubas play supporting parts and harmony parts, keeping the band on track during the song. Our tuba player, Alex, does a really good job of this because he practices so hard on his tuba.

Bands really cannot do without these two instruments. Flutes bring out the melody while tubas support with the harmony, and although they are two very different instruments, they both play a key role in the music that is produced.

This is one of the reasons I love band - we work together to create something we love: music! We are a team, just like my swim team, but the interest that we have together is different from swimming. And that is why I am grateful for my band - because they work with me to that we can all enjoy the music that we love. The power behind music is our teamwork. I'm glad I took band because it's taught me a lot about how we can work together and create a rainbow of sound from black and white notes. I'm proud of us!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Procrastination = the Thief of Time

Everyone knows that procrastination steals your time away because you're distracted. There are a lot of procrastinators out there, and everyone feels bad when they get a bad grade in a certain subject, but who's to blame? The only person that you can blame is yourself. And why is that? Procrastination, and not studying. So, here are three study strategies that I find most useful when I'm studying for a quiz or test.

One of the study strategies that I find most useful is Quizlet. Not only does it help you review vocabulary, it's also fun to use! The games Match and Gravity test your skills and your knowledge about the words. If you'd rather do some old fashioned studying, you can use the flashcards they provide, or test yourself using a test which they'll grade for you. You can also practice spelling the words, too!

The second strategy that I enjoy using the most is filling out my study guide. Teachers hand out study guides to help you study! The thing about study guides is that they cover all topics that you've learned in the unit, so you'll practice everything again before taking your test. After answering all the answers in your study guide, you can then check with the answer key.

Finally, I love studying with a partner. Sometimes, I'll play Concentration or Go Fish with a friend using my vocabulary to get more familiar with the terms in a fun way - and this way, not only are you practicing vocab, your friend is, too!

When you study in the right way, it can be fun as well as good for your learning - and that's the way I like to study.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Swimming Technique

I recently watched a YouTube video replay of Michael Phelps's 200m IM in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, because I am a swimmer who is specialized in swimming the Individual Medley event. The first thing I noticed about this video is how all the swimmers do underwater dolphin kicks. Their kicks are so powerful that they've gone a third of the way across the pool before they even start swimming the stroke. This tells me that underwaters are incredibly important to swimming.

The second part of the IM that I focused on in the video was the breaststroke part, which is my worst stroke. I noticed how fast his arms shoot out to start his next stroke, and how he dives under the water just a bit to glide further. From this part of the video, I learned that breaststroke has fast parts and slow parts, and you need to perfect your stroke before you start sprinting.

I learned that you can learn a lot from people who enjoy the same things as you and are older, with more experience. And these tips may even let me do better at the one sport I love to do! In the future, I will both try out Michael Phelps's skills and also keep an eye out for more videos or articles that might help me with my swimming.