Hi, Sophomores! SIX Options… Depth over breadth

Published on: Author: Ms. Allesandrine 61 Comments

Hello!  I hope everyone is doing well.  Here is our newest assignment, and this time you have SIX options from which to select.  Your writing is due by 9:30 PM on Thursday, February 14, and must be a minimum of 275 wordsProofreading each word & each sentence is essential.  Compose your writing on a Word document so you can misspellings and punctuation/grammar errors.

Follow these DIRECTIONS:  Acquaint yourself with each news story, and select oneto study in depth.  Identify and explain two reasons why the news story you’ve selected is interesting and important for other people to know about.  Use a separate paragraph for each reason.  Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, and include deep details and your own interpretation in your writing.  “C.S.I.: Claim, Support, Interpret” is the idea!   (Handwriting a “Somebody/Wants/But/So” on paper could be a good way to help you go deep.)  You may write more than two paragraphs. 

PROOFREAD EACH WORD and SENTENCE before you share your work.  It’s important.  Read/listen to/watch the option you select MULTIPLE times.  Do your best!   Remember that you can email Ms. A for help.

*“Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager”

*“6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”

*“Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”

*“Teacher Brings Opera to Elementary Students”

*“A Mobile Oasis in a ‘Food Desert'”

*“Rise Early and Shine: Teachers and Students Try Out Longer School Days”

Look back at the previous assignment to read each other’s work and Ms. A’s comments.  ALSO, it’s a good idea to post comments on each other’s work here, too.   :)  The next Cupcake assignment will have a different spin. 



61 Responses to Hi, Sophomores! SIX Options… Depth over breadth Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. I chose to watch “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. Savanna Trapp is a 6’9” basketball player from Esko, Minnesota. She is one of the tallest players in the country this season. Savanna is a very talented center and started receiving recruiting letters in 8th grade but, she will go on to play at UCLA. Savannah is a sight to see on the basketball court but she’s also an inspiration for other people. She explains how people message her and contact her telling her their stories and asking questions.

    One reason I think people should watch this video is that Savanna acts as a role model for people who are uncomfortable with themselves. Savanna could shy away from others in fear of standing out but instead she embraces it and she also tries not to be intimidating. For other people who are maybe tall like her or have a defining characteristic, Savanna basically says you should take what you’re given and work with it and not be ashamed. If Savanna was ashamed of her height she may not have ever gone out for basketball but look at all the great opportunities it has provided her with. Savanna says she’s, “Content with being who I am” because after basketball she’s still going to be 6’9”. I think for many girls and even guys who are insecure watching Savanna tell her story would help them to realize they can be happy with the way they are too.

    Other people should watch this video because it also shows how hard work can pay off. Being 6’9”, Savanna’s obvious choice was to play basketball which she came to love. Because of her height she stood out at a young age and began receiving recruiting letters in 8th grade. Although I’m sure she has natural ability, you don’t score 30 points in a game by slacking off in practice. Practice makes perfect. Now that she has committed to UCLA, Savanna admits that to compete at the next level she was to step up her game. This means conditioning a lot more and making herself stronger. From field hockey I know that to get success out of something you have to put a lot more work into it. You can’t win a State Championship by fooling around during practice and not giving it your full attention. As a team we ran and practiced every day until we wanted to jump off a bridge. But, in the end the work we put into gave us the result we wanted, a title. Although the story does not really touch on Savannas practicing and preparation I can infer that she’s not a slacker. If more people watched this video I think that people would realize if you don’t put squat in you’re going to get squat out and you’re not going to be playing at UCLA.

    • Well done, Julia! (And nice job being the first one to post this time!) You’ve selected two important messages conveyed through this story, and you’ve supported each with strong details. The connection between her success with basketball and your team’s success this fall is apparent, and I’m glad you included it here. Nice job creating clear context for the connection. Keep up the good work! Also, I hope you’ll consider replying to other students’ posts.

  2. http://www.nytimes.com/pages/giving/index.html

    Here is a link to several articles and videos in the “Giving” section of The New York Times. Isn’t it great that a newspaper has such a section? Take a look.

    One story that especially interests me is “A Mobile Oasis in a ‘Food Desert’.” Hunger is a serious and pervasive issue across the country, yet very often it is only whispered about. It can be difficult for people to put their pride aside and discuss how they are unable to bring enough food home to feed themselves and their families. Further, many Americans live in neighborhoods that do not offer healthy food options; such places are called “food deserts.” This story is important for people to read because it provides a detailed look at the crisis of hunger around Boston, and because it also explains a clever solution to the serious problem of food deserts.

    (I decided to begin my response with an introduction paragraph. Notice the two reasons I provide as to why others should read this story. My first body paragraph will be about the details in the story that illuminate the condition of hunger around Boston. My second body paragraph will be about the solution described in the story to alleviate the problem of food desserts in this community. The story offers enough information for me to support both of these topics, and I also have enough ideas in response to the story so I can be sure my own interpretation is clear, too.)

    ALSO, the slideshow that accompanies this article is interesting. See the link on the left. There is also a link to a good related article. Remember that one trait of a scholar is intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn, learn, learn.

  3. I chose the article “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”. One thing I found interesting about this article was when it said “students who rarely raise a hand to express themselves via a medium they find as natural as breathing”. I found this interesting because it reminded me of YouTube. Many people I watch on YouTube are actually very shy but find themselves comfortable making videos because they aren’t actually talking to any one person. It’s a place to be able to get ideas out and do what they are comfortable with doing. Most students are comfortable on the computer and may be even more social on the internet than in person because they are behind a screen. Being able to put your thoughts out there without actually speaking them is usually much easier for a person to do. This way of speaking their mind without being nervous about talking in front of others can help students say everything they were thinking quicker. I know that when I speak in class I have so much to say but I can only get a little bit to come out, and with other students speaking as well, I might have to wait a while to speak, which makes me forget what I was going to say. Being able to put down all of your thoughts as soon as you have them would be very helpful and help you remember them later on.

    As many of the teachers in this article said, I believe using a “backchannel” in class could be very distracting, but I think it would do more good than harm. Although students could easily access other websites, which would distract them in class, if a student has something to do and is interested in it, they shouldn’t get distracted. Also, teachers could always look at a transcript to make sure students aren’t going onto irrelevant websites. Having students be able to contribute to the class without being scared will be able to make the class much stronger and grow. The teacher can see just how smart each student is and their thoughts on topics. This way of speaking in class could be a great way to have every student participate to the best of their abilities.

    • Hi, Christina. I’m glad that you found this article interesting. You make a good point about people’s comfort level on YouTube. It’s not always easy for people of any age to share their thoughts with others, yet technology is providing people with many new and helpful options. I can think of one in particular that I like a lot!

      You note that some teachers are nervous that students will become too distracted if they use social media in class. What are some other concerns that teachers may have? What are some groundrules that students would have to agree to in advance?

      Do you think that H-K teachers should read this article? I wonder if there are some departments that would that would be able to embrace social media in the classroom more easily than others.

  4. The article “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager” shows how people who don’t have the luxuries that the states provide will do anything deemed necessary to be able to leave their current housing and gain any form of the “American dream”. However, this article also provides another critical aspect of persevering to be able to achieve your ultimate goal.

    For Jose Gongora, the American dream consists of providing his family with a stable environment that covers all his family’s needs, especially the main concern of providing his son, Vladimir, with opportunities to converse with people outside his immediate family and gain a proper education. This layer of the article is critical for people to be exposed to because it shows how lucky people naturally born in America are to possess what they currently have. In the article it states that the Gongora’s home town has “no health center and, until recently, no road access for cars.” This statement mines as well be a parallel universe to the vast majority of America. Most Americans not only have open access to a medical facility but the transportation to get them there as well, usually we’re even blessed enough to be within an hour of any type of medical facility. While on the contrary in Cuyantepeque, El Salvador the residents there have no access to this daily American necessity. This aspect would generally shock the American public which is why I feel this article is crucial for people to be notified about this article. I can only infer how drastically different Gongora’s life and priorities would differ if he was able to lead the American dream all along. Not only would he not have to be forced to leave his two eldest daughters back in Cuyantepeque, but his son, Vladimir would most likely be a flourishing adolescent with the proper equipment to lead an ordinary life. Fundamentally, this article is important just in the fact that it can be a wakeup call to all that suffer in America for situations can also be worse and nothing should be taken for granted.

    Though the fact that the typical American lifestyle isn’t achievable everywhere, it isn’t the only eye opener in this article. Valdimir’s passion to learn and communicate with the world is an amazing aspect of this story in its self. Early on in the article is portrays Valdimir as a boy who thirst for understanding and an education but was denied by the school because he couldn’t hear nor speak. However, with his father’s hard work Valdimir was able to make it to America where he was then able to learn genuine sign language and to hopefully even speak with his 30 percent of hearing being advanced with a hearing aid. The elbow grease Valdimir has clearly put into being able to communicate effectively just goes to show with determination and hard work one can achieve anything “one step at a time.” This message is important for people to witness because even the best of us sometimes need a little nudge here and there to be encouraged enough to reach our goals and this article may defiantly be that push someone needs to be inspired to succeed.

    • Hi, Crystal. Your comment about how El Salvador is a “parallel universe” compared to the US is interesting. Good job using important details from the article to support your claim. You point out contrasts that reflect your understanding of some issues raised in the article. Access to healthcare is widely researched and discussed in the US today, and is perhaps a topic you may wish to research in greater depth.

      I also like how you narrow your focus specifically to Vladimir as an individual. It’s great to know that a young person with so much determination and desire to learn is getting some rich opportunities to fulfill his potential. His father is surely a role model as well. Your closing statement about the message conveyed in this article is insightful. Keep up the good work!

  5. I chose the story is “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager.” This story is about a boy, Vladimir Gongora, who is deaf and cannot talk. His family lives in the poor part of El Salvador but then they move to New York. In this article, his family did whatever they could to support each other. He also couldn’t communicate with anyone other than his grandparents and two sisters and they communicated by hand signals that they made up.

    One reason this story is interesting to me is because the story is showing how far parents will go to be able to provide for their family’s needs. Vladimir’s father moved to New York to work so that he could support his family and give them everything they needed. When the rest of his family moved from El Salvador to New York, he made sure that his son got a good education in the United States. His enrolled his son the school called Lexington School for the Deaf. Here his son was able to get a good education with other people who were exactly like him. This school was also one of the main schools that worked with kids from outside of the United States who were deaf. Lastly, when his family discoveres about the hearing aid, he needs to raise the money in order to get it for his son, because he wants the best for this son.

    Another reason I chose this article was that I found it interesting how he and his family communicated. In the beginning if the article, it talks about how he communicated with his family by hand signals that they made up., they made them up so they didn’t know about sign language. I thought that sign language happened all over the world and that everyone knew about it, but I guess not. Even though Vladimir was deaf, his family still wanted to be able to communicate with him, and I thought that that was very special that they never gave up on him. Then in the article, it also said that when he started going to Lexington School for the Deaf he learned about sign language and started learning the American version. I found it interesting that he was communicating with his family through sing language without even knowing it was sign language. Vladimir, a boy who is deaf and doesn’t speak, wants to communicate with his family, but he is unable to because he is deaf, so they make up hand signals for each other so they can communicate.

    • Hi, Emma. (Proofread super closely! Look at your opening words!) Your two main topics are interesting and important. Good thinking. You also use relevant, specific information from the article to support your topics, which is great to see. This is the key to a successful, organized analysis.

      I like how you explain what you find interesting in this article. Your comment about Vladimir’s family never giving up on him is really nice! Your interpretation is strongly supported in the article. Keep up the good work.

  6. I chose the article, “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media.” This article was about the question whether social media is a good way to get students involved within the classroom. Many teachers have the fear that this could be a distraction in class while others are all for this idea. The article gives examples of the classes who have used this new strategy of learning and how this has affected their everyday lessons.

    One reason why this is an interesting article is because it catches the reader’s attention with a topic that is so commonly debated, electronics in class. In many classes, like Nicholas Provenzano’s, an English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School in Detroit, has the usual 12 or so students that always participate out of a total of 30. Provenzano believes that by using the social media, he could have at least 8 more participants in no time. Other high schools face a similar problem. There is always a majority of students who sit back and are afraid to speak. Justin Lansink, a 17 year old attending Sioux Rapids, Iowa, tells the reporter that he feels that he could freely say something he wouldn’t normally say in an oral discussion. Many teachers are now trying to use this strategy to get their students to speak up in class discussions. However, other teachers feel the need to approach and encourage discussion other ways, like Sandra Sydnor-Bousso, who prefers to walk around and encourage dialogue. Another example is Ms. A who has class discussions warning everyone that they will be graded on participation. However, there are a handful of students who continue to say nothing. This is a problem in many other English classes as well as other academics. Many teachers are afraid that the social media will be a distraction because the students are already distracted with their phones, e-mail, texting, tweeting, and what not. Derek Bruff, a math lecturer, believes that the teachers can reduce this student activity by distracting them with other activities that is class related on their mobile-devices. The issues of distractions and speechless discussions have made their way into this argument.

    Another reason why this is an interesting article is because this idea of social media can meet both expectations of the teachers and desire of the students. In the article, it is addressing a possible happy ending to both teachers and students. In the teacher’s eyes, they want all their kids to speak up but they don’t want a distraction of electronics among the students. However, this generation is addicted to electronics. Within this distraction, there is conversations and opinions everywhere just not academic related. I believe that this article proposes the idea that the teachers could take what this generation is so good at and make it class related. That is why many of these new social media users are so successful. They take what the students are already comfortable with and challenge them with class related activities. In this case, the students are happy because they get to use electronics which is the way they are most comfortable and free to express themselves with. Also, the teachers will be able to get there lessons across in a more effective way. This article is expressing a happy medium to the fear of teachers and their student’s distractions while reaching the students’ want for their electronics in school and a less “boring” learning environment.

    • Hi, Sarah. It’s great to see that you’ve elaborated on your ideas so extensively here. You make claims of your own and support them with relevant details from the article. Keep this up! You’re approaching the issue of student participation from a balanced perspective, thinking like both a student and a teacher. Indeed, it is a struggle sometimes to find ways to bring reluctant students into class discussions. Students certainly notice this.

      I really like the first sentence of your final paragraph. Not only is it well written, but it also captures the main idea of the article. The question of whether to let students use social media during class as part of the lesson needs to be addressed by both stakeholders.

      Do you see our use of Cupcake English Blog as part of the solution to the issues addressed in the article? This is a topic that we’ll address in class.

  7. The technology today in 2013 is amazing. It can be very helpful with finding information online, communicating with people, and for just pleasure. Different schools are starting to use modern technology which can be a good learning concept or a distracting one to students. For example in the article, ” Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social
    Media,” is about how schools are using different strategies to help students speak their minds.

    An English teacher in Iowa named Mrs.Olson has her students drain their thoughts on a website she manages whether it’s a class discussion or even a poem they are talking about. I find it interesting that internet is being taken over by schools to help students learn better. That fact that in just a couple years laptops, websites, and even iPods are being used in schools blows my mind. Thinking back in elementary all those were unheard of. One reason why this news article is important and should be read by people is so that other schools can get an idea of new technology and how it can help students learn. Also when the article uses specific resources that an actual teacher has said that technology is very helpful it can give a person another point of view of the concept. Mrs. Olson and others say, “social media, once kept outside the school door, can entice students who rarely raise a hand to express themselves via a medium they find as natural as breathing.” That tells readers that it can get students more involved in discussions by typing their thoughts online.

    Every type of person is different some can be talkative and some not so much. Class discussions can be dreadful for a few students and they might feel as if they can’t get their thoughts out in one sitting or there’s always that one kid who can’t keep his or her mouth shut and let other people talk. Everyone is trying to be polite and nod their heads but inside they seriously want to duck tape that persons mouth shut. Anyways this article is perfect for letting other teachers know about the new idea of having assignments online. Purdue University, in Indiana has it’s own “blackchannel,” system where students can post comments and questions. A teacher named Sugato Chakrava says that before this program he could never get his students to speak up, now he has them express themselves in different ways. Another reason why this article is important Is because students learning abilities are all different. The new technology of having teacher websites can make the world stronger writers. People should read the article because it shows strong opinions on whether the internet is helpful for students to write about comments or questions they have about the class. For some big colleges even, it would be very helpful because the teacher can’t get to everyone and it would be as simple as going online to see if students posted any comments or questions.

    • Good work, Kaitlyn. You write about your topics in depth and bring your own voice into your work. Keep this up! In your first main paragraph, I like how you write a sentence of your own analysis after the quotation. This is essential.

      You share important points about the nature of class discussion. There are some pitfalls that can frustrate students. Using technology to foster new kinds of discussion is an emerging method, and one that we can continue to use here on Cupcake English Blog. I really love that you see how using technology can help make people stronger writers! What a great observation!

  8. I chose to watch the video about the 6’9″ athlete that has been making a impression. I chose this article because I am also an athlete so it appealed to me. This article is about student athletes that are just as interested in their school work as they are in sports.

    I feel that this story should be more publicized because it’s not very often that you hear about a girl that is 6’9. I think that it’s very important because the girl that the mention(Savanna) in the video has what most people might not see is a very difficult life. I say this because; being so tall the body has to work harder to move everything around and she might be faced with complications later on in life. If you paid really close attention it said that she also had to buy certain clothes custom fit, and wear shoes that were made for men. Not many girls are faced with that trouble of wearing, or actually trying to find a shoe in a size 15 for everyday use and during their sport. Savanna’s life may indeed be hard in certain people’s eyes, but when you look on the bright side she may have a better life then most because she has the advantage in her sport of being that tall so it might be a little easier for her to go pro. So there are pros and cons to being as tall as she is.

    I also feel that people should listen to this story because it shows that she is not only committed to her sport but also committed to her school work. She mentioned in the video that she would like to major in marine biology when she hits that next milestone in life: college. This story shows the true student athlete because it shows that she is not only interested in sports but also in her studies. My parents always told me that school comes before anything in life, and this is what she knows because if you interpreted the story it didn’t say that she was only interested in going professional in basketball, she mentioned school and college before her basketball career. This story should be read by more people because it shows that athletes that get scholarships to colleges are not always interested in becoming professional in the sport they got the scholarship for, that there are some athletes that are interested in becoming something more than being a professional athlete.

    • Good job, Fernando. Your writing is organized and you’ve used important information to support your claims. I like the perspective you take about how there may be pros and cons to Savanna’s height. She certainly isn’t seeking our pity, although needing to wear custom-fit clothes and men’s sneakers does not sound like a simple way to live.

      You also write well about your second topic. Savanna makes it clear that her school work and college plans are top priorities. You make a nice connection to your own concentration on school, and then bring your foucs back to this news story. Well done. Keep up the good work.

  9. 0101010001111001011011000110010101110010001000000101001101100001011000010111001001101001 says:

    I read the article titled “Speaking up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”. Something that stuck out to me in the article was when Mrs. Olson’s student Justin said, “When you type something down, it’s a lot easier to say what I feel.” I found this to be interesting because of how in today’s society, technology is the key. In most jobs, you are using some form of technology that is aiding in the spread of ideas or motifs. When he said that it is easier for him to say what he feels, I think this reflects today’s generation the most. Student’s main form of communication in the modern world is through social messaging and the internet. This can be connected therefore with what people say on the internet. For example, as a YouTube content creator I get feedback from many different age groups, but mainly teenagers and young adults. Some of the feedback is positive; however a good 20% is negative because that is how today’s world works. Connecting to the article, it’s easier to leave a comment on a video online saying how awful someone is and that they should stop and kill themselves rather than in real life. The same I feel goes for in the classroom. Some students tend to not talk out in the fear of getting judged or ridiculed for their ideas, but saying something online and typing it is more flexible and such minds.

    It is important to know about this article because of how it can connect to the classroom in today’s society. Students will not speak out with all their ideas as commonly in class then they would online. With the resource that is the internet, students are able to express themselves more thoroughly online, however not as much in person and in the classroom.

    • Hi, Tyler. I’m glad that you found this to be an interesting article. Technology absolutely is prominent in our society, especially among teenagers. However, is it possible that face-to-face communication remains the most important of all communication? Not only the verbal interaction, but also the non-verbal ways we communicate? I hope that this is the case!

      Indeed, sharing thoughts and responses online is helpful for many students. Surely you note the irony here! What are some other reasons why this article is worthwhile for people to read? Is it just as important for teachers as it is for students? Another question: How might we continue to use Cupcake English Blog to our full advantage as a class?

  10. The article “A Mobile Oasis in a ‘Food Desert’” really made me realize how fortunate i actually am. It showed me that less than two hours away maybe even a few minutes away from me there are people that come home with hunger and are unable to satisfy it, their pantries empty and refrigerators unfilled. This article really says that its the little things in life that count. It shows that some of us are more aware of the things that are important in life and are also more thankful for what they have.

    The title itself connects to a small detail in the story. The author said that the truck that arrived at the town was like a camel arriving in a desert. In the title when the author states “A Mobile Oasis” he means the truck filled with food. An oasis is a small fertile or green area in a desert. This small fertile green area is what provides the nearby animals food. It is the vegetation for the animals, there is no food nearby, it is the closest source of food that they can receive. This is just like the truck. The people of Quincy are not able to always go to the supermarket that is eight miles away. The people there are less fortunate than most of us. They are unable to get into their cars in the middle of winter, crank the heat and go to a store thats in the next town over, or maybe just two miles away, like most of us can. Looking at the slideshow provided on one of the pictures it shows the line of people that are waiting to receive food. This shows how many people depend on the truck and the help of others.

    Many of us might not be able to see the people around us that are less fortunate than we are. Believe it or not Quincy, MA is just eleven miles away from Boston. Boston is a very well developed and not cheap city. But go just eleven miles away and you will see people that suffer from hunger. You don’t even have to go that far. Approximately one in seven households are low on food. Meaning that the house is filled with worry if they will be capable to provide food for the table. When you step outside most of us are capable to see at least seven houses. One of those seven houses is less fortunate and even though you might not notice this when driving by but one of them is suffering hunger or food insecurity. This shows that sometimes we should take a step back in our own lives and help out those who are not as fortunate. Wether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating food, you should know that your help/donation will help people to stop worrying about hunger for at least one day. You will be able to see that happiness on the people you’re helping faces when they see all the volunteers trying to help. For example, in the article the author states that the people waiting for the truck filled with food to arrive, applauded and cheered when it did. This brings warmth to the volunteer’s hearts and also a smile on their faces.

    • Hi, Michal. Your analysis of the title is relevant and important to your understanding of the article. I’m glad you looked at the slideshow to gain a deeper understanding of the content; the line of people confirms that the mobile “oasis” is making a positive difference for many people in Quincy.

      You cite the statistic that one in seven households is low on food, and you make this number personal by suggesting we stand on our own front steps and consider our neighborhoods. This is a powerful idea, Michal, and I’m glad that you’ve made this suggestion. As you continue to think about this topic, what are some questions that arise? Two ideas: What are the consequences of hunger for children under age 10? Do elementary schools have the resources to feed hungry children beyond the mid-day lunch?

      Keep up the good thinking and writing!

  11. The story “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” is one unlike any other. Savannah Trapp, who is still in high school,is a 6 foot female basketball player. She is among the tallest female basketball players in Minnesota and is an inspiration to players around the entire country. This is an important story because it can help with people that aren’t comfortable with themselves. Savannah proves it’s not always bad to be different. This story also shows that no matter how great someone may seem to be, there’s always room for improvement at the end of the day.

    In this story, Trapp states that she is completely comfortable with the way she is, but that doesn’t always mean it is easy. Teenage girls are always having self esteem issues even if they say they aren’t and I believe that by hearing Savannah’s story it will help them to more self accepting. Being 6 foot 9, it’s going to be hard to find clothes that fit and shoes that are her size. For example, the news story states that Trapp has to wear men shoes sizing 15. Average girls worry about being too skinny or too big, not all of them have to worry about being too tall for most clothes. However,Savannah also proves that it’s not always a bad thing to be different. Due to her height, she is an extrordinary basketball player and has many more advantages than other players her age. Since 8th grade Savannah has been recieving letters from schools all across the country because of her outstanding basketball skills. Outside of basketball she is a great student and her height doesn’t seem to get in the way of her personal life at all.

    Nobody’s perfect. This is what I believe this article is mainly about. I can actually make a personal connection to this. In the article it is said that even though Savannah is amazing, she can still be improved. Her strength and strategy needs to be worked on and though all the other players look up to her(literally and metaphorically) she can also look to them for ways to be better. This makes me think of all the state champs in track. When I played, I would envy them because of how good they were and never would have believed I could compare. However, this story let me know that not only can they be improved, but I can as well. Basically: you can only get better and never give up because you’ll never know how much you are able to accomplish if you do.

    • Hi, Ashley. You’ve organized your writing really well here. Good job! You also discuss important ideas and support your deep interpretation with details. The topic of self-esteem is very relevant here, and your observations about teenage girls in general would surely make Savanna nod in agreement. However, I think it is also the case that Savanna has found ways to be comfortable in her own skin. No doubt she has had several people to help her and cheer her on along the way—and not just on the basketball court.

      I really like the connection you draw to your experiences with track. Good insight! The desire to continually improve is often what drives us to success. You’ve got the right idea! Keep up the clever thinking and the clear writing.

  12. The article “Rise Early and Shine: Teachers and Students Try Out Longer School Days” by Charles Lane is about the search to improve education. An elementary school in Meriden, Connecticut is experimenting with longer school days in order to increase education. Students arrive earlier, and participate in 80 minutes worth of enrichment class. This story is interesting and worth knowing about because it could expose a more effective way to educate students, and to give every student, regardless of class, an opportunity to shine.

    This story exposes a new, creative way to enhance the education of students. Every day, 80 minutes of enrichment classes and activities are provided. This is to improve students’ performance in academic classes. There is speculation as to whether extra enrichment time, rather than increased academic time, will improve performance. A professor at the University of Oregon says that “There’s really concrete evidence that more academic time leads to improved performance.” Yet, there is also evidence that after school activities can lead to higher attendance and graduation rates. Pulaski elementary school is serving as an experiment to study the impacts of the enrichment program. If the results are positive, this program and similar cost effective programs could change the way students are educated across not only the United States but also across the world. With greater education, the world can become a greater place to live and life quality can be improved.

    Another reason this story is interesting is because the program is an alternative, cost effective version that is possibly just as amazing. Not only will it be cheaper for schools, but it will provide equal opportunities for lower class families. Higher class families have already begun to search and enroll their students into extracurricular activities, such as sports, music and other talents. Providing enrichment activities for everyone could open doors for many students that could not access them before. Students will thrive and prosper in ways they never could before. All students will benefit from these activities.

    Longer school days, although in my opinion would add stress, could be very effective in creating a better society.

  13. The video “6’9” HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” is a very beneficial video to watch. It’s about a girl named Savanna Trapp who lives in small town Esko, Minnesota. She is the tallest girl to have played basketball in Minnesota and one of the tallest in the country measuring at 6’9’’. She is someone that is comfortable with who she is and using her advantage to the best of her ability. Savanna isn’t perfect but she tries to be perfect at what she does, basketball. She may intimidate you on the court but off the court she is a regular girl.

    As a woman at 6’9”, you would think Savanna would be self conscious of how tall she is. Surprisingly, she is pretty content with who she is. Although she may stick out in the crowd and have to custom order her own clothes being tall doesn’t bother her. Savanna may have been insecure about her height at one point but she has overcome it. This is important for teenagers to see because at this time we all have some sort of insecurity. It is important to see how savannah really doesn’t care about her height and adjusted well. Many girls nowadays would not like to be almost 7 feet tall and seeing someone saying she doesn’t care is inspirational. “How would I have a boyfriend? Can I wear heels?” are probably many questions running through someone’s head imagining themselves at 6’9”. Savanna can help people get over there own insecurities by showing how she overcame hers or by showing how she is confident in who she is even if she is different.

    Another reason this is a good story is because it shows how practice makes perfect. Savannah has a great advantage because she is so tall. She uses this to block opponent’s shots, make easy shots, and even dunk. She made 30 points in one game and her height definitely plays a factor in that. She has received college letters to recruit her since she was in eighth grade and just accepted one to UCLA. She is a hardworking student who plans to study marine biology. She plans to condition herself even more to compete at a college level, to become stronger and faster. Savanna isn’t just good naturally at what she does just because she is tall, she works for it. She is an all around good student and player and that isn’t easy to balance. No doubt her height has played into her basketball career and how successful she is but why not use here difference to her full advantage? This video tells people to do just that and use their advantages to be the best they can be no matter what.

  14. I chose “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”. One thing I was intrigued by in this article was “She and others say social media, once kept outside the school door, can entice students who rarely raise a hand to express themselves via a medium they find as natural as breathing.” This reminds me of Facebook. There are people everywhere, who are shy in classes and decide, “I will listen, no need to participate”, but on Facebook, it is a whole different story. On Facebook, many shy kids will speak up, and not be afraid to talk to others, or to everyone, for them it’s just, easier. Backchannels help make school more like Facebook for some, and that is vary beneficial for those few.

    Another reason this article is important is because people across the nation, are shy. In general, 15-20% of people do not speak up in their classes. Online blogs, or Twitter like chatting services could become very helpful for people to get their ideas out online and in front of other classmates. Although, there are 2 sides to the backchannel, the good, more communications throughout the classroom, but there are problems, like, students staying on task, or going and doing their own thing online. Even with these problems, I believe the rewards outweigh the risks, and online backchannels could help classes with a lot of shy people in them.

    So it is important people read this article, and familiarizes them with this way of learning, as it could be a big part of some classes eventually. Not only would it be beneficial to shy people, but could be more interesting to others also.

    • Hi, Eric. Good job noting the possible pros and cons to integrating social media in the classroom. You note that the pros are stronger, and that this recent technology will prove more helpful than harmful to students. Do you see our own class blog as an example of the benefits that can be gained? I wonder what you and others think about this topic as it pertains to us.

      You also note that such technology may soon become more prevalent in classrooms. I suspect that you’re correct about this. What considerations will teachers and college professors have to keep in mind as this shift occurs? And what are some possible drawbacks that will need to be addressed? I agree that there are more pros than cons, but there are many issues that any teacher must consider in order to keep student learning a top priority.

  15. I picked to watch “6’9” HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. Before I even began to watch this, I thought it was going to be about a boy who was this tall; I never imagined it would be a girl. Savanna Trapp, who is a 6’9” basketball player, is one of the tallest girl basketball players ever in the state of Minnesota and one of the tallest in the country this season. Savanna plays on her school’s basketball team in a small town named Esko. Savanna being this good of a basketball player attracts a lot of attention. At her house, she has a big blue bin full of recruiting letters from different colleges. Her first recruiting letter came from the University of Wisconsin when she was only in 8th grade. These letters didn’t stop until Savanna signed a college tender at UCLA.

    One reason why I think people should know about this news story is because she seems very positive and confident with how she looks and what she does. I think girls who are insecure about how tall they may be would look up to her because Savanna is not shy about how tall she is. She states “I am content being just the way I am.” Savanna saying this about herself says a lot to me. It says that she doesn’t mind standing out in a crowd and I think it’s a very good thing to be happy with the way you are.

    Another reason why people should know about this news story is because Savanna is a very hard worker and whenever she doesn’t succeed at something she tries it again. Ever though Savanna is a very good blocker and shooter, she states that her conditioning could be better and she could always get a little stronger. Not only is she a phenomenal basketball player, but she also is a hard worker with her school work. This shows that she gives it her all with everything she wants to accomplish in her life, and I think she is a great role model for all girls around the country.

    • Hi, Alyssa. You and I had the same initial response to the title of this story. I like it when my expectations are happily turned inside-out! Savanna does this herself when she shares that she’s content just as she is. Indeed, insecurity is widespread among all people, especially teenagers, but she reminds us that it is far better to accept yourself and concentrate on positive traits–the ones inside us all.

      You also note Savanna’s perseverance, which is one of the best qualities we can cultivate within ourselves. She works on her conditioning in basketball, and she also concentrates on her school work. Your last sentence is a great final note. Keep your own wisdom in mind! And keep up the good work!

  16. I chose the article, “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media.” Today technology is a big part of everyday life; we use it to get information about new, weather, and sometimes about celebrities. Many High school students, including my self use it to keep up with grades and projects. It is a resource I can not imagine living without, my Dad always talks about how he never had the internet as a resource growing up. When technology first came out many schools did not want to see students with cell phones or any electronic, it was said to be distracting and not a useful thing to have in school. Technology is growing fast and to keep up with it many schools opened up to the idea of using in a class room. Including an English teacher in Iowa, Mrs.Olson has her students put their thoughts on a website about the article, poem, or story they are learning about. By typing this blog we are doing the exact same thing as her students are, we are writing out our ideas and posting them.

    Another reason I found this article interesting is because in the article a student named Justin said “When you type something down, it’s a lot easier to say what I feel.” This shows that even students who may not talk out as much have great ideas to. People have many different ways of learning and not everyone has a strong point when voicing an opinion. By having a way of communicating by typing may keep students involved, focused, and more prepared because they are able to participate more and retain more information. I think more teachers should be open to this idea because it may show a side of the student the teacher did not know about. It pushes students as well, to do better and try harder when it comes to participation.

    More schools or teachers should read this article because it can give them a new way of teaching students. This is also helpful for students because we are growing up with technology growing fast around us; it’s a way of communicating with students because teens rely very much on technology today.

  17. I chose to watch “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. I chose this clip after taking a sneak-peek at all of them. After viewing a bit of each, I ended up picking this one because I stand in a great position to relate. Savanna Trapp stands 6’9” inches as a basketball player in high school. Savannah attracts the eyes of many people, not only as a giant but as an inspiration. I would recommend this to anyone who feels uncomfortable with themselves or has goals like Savanna.

    I think it’s important that everyone hears a story like Savanna’s. Savanna shares her disadvantages and advantages with her height. Savanna’s height is what some of us might call crazy. She’s so tall some of her clothes and shoes have to be custom made to fit her. I think this would be categorized in a disadvantage because not everybody gets custom made clothing. Savanna has to because of her height which means she can’t wear that cute shirt all of her friends are sharing. But she does have an advantage on the court because of her height. I think Savanna’s height has built up her confidence after receiving letters of invitations to join so many teams. I’m not 6’9”; I’m not even 5’2”. But I still can relate to her situations. It’s like the complete opposite for me. I was always made fun of for my height, I still am, but hearing Savanna’s story about being too tall has inspired me personally to be okay with my height because I do have some advantages. From hearing this story I was able to boost my own confidence. I think anyone that feels uncomfortable with their height, or anything in general, should listen to this. I was able to understand how she deals with her own struggles which can teach other people how to deal with theirs. Savanna came to love basketball thanks to her height; she then was able to accept herself.

    Another reason I think people should listen to this story is because Savanna has good goals. She wants to pursue herself in marine biology during college. The only way you can fail at achieving your goal is if you don’t set yourself up to reach it. Savanna not only puts all her effort in on the court but also in her school work. I interpreted that Savannah saw her school work as more important than sports, which might be accurate for a normal teen. Coaches, teachers, and parents all tell their kids that school comes first. Savanna shows hard work pays off when she hits the courts with her team. She continues to work hard in school to achieve her goal yet can keep playing basketball. I think this shows a great goal plan because she’s able to keep a balance of everything. I am, no doubt, majoring in criminal justice to become a profiler. Although I had already made this goal, this story has helped me learn a little more on how I can still balance other things I enjoy while trying to reach it.

  18. The article “A Mobile Oasis in a ‘Food Desert’” defiantly has a strong reaction to people across the US. Even though they are not the ones being affected by these Food Deserts, it still might be touching to people who have everything when they know that thousands do not have the same. I chose this mostly because I know what it is like to see people in a starving manner, and not able to provide for their family.

    Food Deserts are very important for people to take consideration to because this sort of topic is well known/talked about. Food Deserts are increasing in the US and I think that this type of situation should be addressed. It is addressed, but in a way that is not effective whatsoever. The great thing is, is that these Mobile Pantry’s are doing great community service to make sure these people in Germantown, in Quincy, Massachusetts, get food. I don’t understand why people in America are still having trouble with buying food and providing for their family to survive. Why hasn’t the government looked into this subject in more depth? I have volunteered at a soup kitchen before, which is kind of like the Mobile Pantries, except it’s not mobile. I know for a fact that there are not just 30 people waiting in line, but over a hundred minimum. This was very touching for me because it’s not every day that you see these starving and desperate people either feeding themselves or a family of 6. It is very sad to think that I have so much, when other people have so little.

    These Mobile Pantries are giving out food for free. Not just any type of food, but healthy food. This came as a surprise to me because you would think that a food pantry just gives out any type of food they could get their hands on. I absolutely adore how people in this organization think about a community’s heath, and give them the best. For example, the article states “For the food bank, it is not a question of just getting food to the desert; it is the quality of food. ‘We used to talk about the amount of calories,’ says Catherine D’Amato, the food bank’s chief executive. ‘Now it’s the nutritional value of those calories.’” This says a lot about our citizens because they are thinking about the health of these families in need.

  19. The article “Rise Early and Shine: Teachers and Students Try out Longer School Days,” deals with a popular dilemma in almost every country, education. With many kids today not graduating high school people look for a solution to raise the number of graduates. The solution that seems to appeal to the majority of people is increasing the school day.

    One reason why I think this is an interesting topic for people to know about is because it’s something that will affect everyone in high school and below. It’s also an issue that seems unfair to us kids. From this article anyone can see that they don’t care (that much) about whether the kids want this or not, all they want is better test scores and more graduates. They never ask kids if they would want longer school days, all they are doing is focusing on cost and testing to see any improvement. I know that I wouldn’t want a longer school day and I can guarantee that barley anyone going to H-K would. However, I do believe that it would be good for students and it would improve test scores but it shouldn’t be forced upon kids. I understand that they know the majority of students today would not approve of longer school days so instead of trying to incorporate the system into schools they should just find another way.

    Another reason why I think people should read this article is because it shows how if people were more committed to the school work then radical changes like this wouldn’t have to happen. The only reason that Obama, or really anyone else concerned on this topic, is pushing on this issue is because there are fewer graduates and lower test scores. If more people took pride in their school work and were more involved in there learning then making school days longer wouldn’t be an issue. Many kids today don’t see the important of getting an education because they think the real world will be easy, but if people would just listen to good role models then they would be better prepared and issues like this would be resolved. If teacher stress kids on the importance of learning and actually took the time to get through to them then I believe that could be the solution to the issue of better education.

    • Hi, Conor. You raise important topics in your response to this article, especially whether students’ own perspectives are taken into consideration when it comes to extending the school day. You state that longer days would be good for students, but also that most H-K kids would likely resist such a move. How could this contradiction be reconciled? Hmm… What might happen if attending an extended school day were voluntary? Would those students receive a better education?

      The high school gradutaion rate in many places is alarmingly low. You note schools “should just find another way” to bring up the number of graduates. This solution is much easier said than done, of course. Taking greater pride in one’s work, as you suggest, is certainly important, though how to inspire such a pride can be difficult for teachers.

      I like how you’re thinking about this issue, and I’m glad you shared your response to this article. Keep up the good thinking. This could be a topic you choose to research in greater depth later this school year.

  20. I chose the article “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” which is a story about an amazing athlete called Savanna. This athlete isn’t just an ordinary athlete but she is an amazing basketball athlete and she is 6’9″. Savannah is like most student athlete she is focused on school and the sport which she enjoys which is basketball. Savannah has talent which was discovered when she was in eighth grade when she got her first college recruiting letter.

    This story is important for all people to watch because it shows how to role with the punches that are given to you. Savannah shows this because she uses her height to succeed in basketball in many ways. She is able to dunk, block shots and intimidate the other opponents. Savannah was given a gift so she accepted it and it is really benefitting her in many ways. Savannah might have been picked on by some kids because of her height which might have made her reluctant of her gift. She describes this because she said she tries not to be intimidating in school so people won’t be afraid of her. People might have been afraid and picked on her put this is actually a great gift which I would enjoy. I am short and whish to be taller so I envy Savannah a little bit. This is how people should role with the punches, accept what you have like Savannah did and exploit the best of it no matter what it is. Showing this article should make people strive more to be like Savannah.

    Savannah does not only have sports dreams but also has education dreams about being a marine biologist. When Savannah talks about her dream it shows that she is a well rounded athlete. Savannah isn’t relying on her height and basketball skill to get her through life but she has plans beyond the court, she works hard in the class room to achieve this goal just like she works hard on the court. This is what makes her a student athlete, this strive for success is what separates her from the other people in her state and the country. Savannah is a role model to all people and shows how hard work and dedication will change yourself and other people.

    • Hi, Ben. You use several relevant details in your writing. I like how you refer to Savanna’s height as a a “gift.” You also make good inferences about how her height may have caused her to be picked on as a child. However, it’s clear that Savanna has qualities we wish to see in a role model. It is clear in the story and in your response that education is a key part of Savanna’s life, and that she is not resting on her basketball skills alone. Keep up the good work with using important details.

  21. I chose to watch “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” a girl named Savannah that lives in the small town of Esko Minnesota. She is 6”9 and a very good basketball player. I found this so interesting because she is in High school and she is 6”9. She has been playing basket ball for a good portion of her life, she plans on going to UCLA for collage. To be that tall and still be normal in high school is amazing. If I were that tall I would feel different from everyone, but you can tell that Savannah fits in perfectly. She still does all the same things that a normal teenager would do. Since she is so tall she wanted to find a way to fit in, so she made a Facebook group called tall girls this is interesting because all of the tall girls in the country can all talk about tall girl problems.

    I found this news story important because it can really show you that everyone can fit in. Savannah is 6”9 and she still has the normal life of a teenager. I think that a lot of people can relate to this because a lot of people have physical differences. This article really shows that all People of different shapes and sizes can fit in.

    Another reason why I found this article so interesting is because Savannah does not seem like a cocky person that brags about being that tall. I expected her to be really cocky about being that big because she feels that better than everyone else. Most people that have such a physical advantage usually make a big deal out of it.

  22. I chose to watch “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. Savanna Trapp is from Esko, Minnesota, is also 6’9” basketball player. Savanna has been receiving letters for college since 8th grade, but she chose to go to play at UCLA. She is one of the tallest female basketball players in Minnesota and is an inspiration to many.

    One reason why I found this video interesting is how comfortable Savanna is with her height. Being 6’9, Savanna has difficulty finding clothes and shoes that actually fit her. I like how Savannah shows that being different is not a bad thing at all. Being Savanna’s height has actually brought her many amazing opportunities. For example, she will be going to play at UCLA. For example, in the video she had a bin filled with papers from colleges wanting her to attend their school. I also found it interesting how Savanna said that say she likes her height and who she is. Usually teenagers are very insecure about themselves, their appearance, and being judged on what they look like. I think anyone who feels insecure should watch this. I think this because Savanna has come to love who she is and I think Savanna’s story is very inspirational.

    Other people should watch this video because it also shows how hard work can pay off and sometimes your ‘differences’ can benefit you. But, you also have to be committed. Savanna says that she has to step up her game in order to prepare for college. Also, the fact that she still focuses on her school work. Sometimes once kids get accepted into a college the start not doing their work. Savanna says that she also wants to study Marine Biology at college. Savanna also puts school before basketball. I think that Savanna can be a big inspiration to many.

  23. Savanna Trapp is a high school senior with big shoes to fill… literally. She is 6’9 and an amazing basketball player. She stands out on the court and definitely gives the opposing team a run for their money. She is believed to be the tallest girls’ basketball player in Minnesota, which makes her extremely intimidating on the court. At home, she has a tub full of college recruitment letters that started when she was in eighth grade. This reminds me of my cousin Matt. He plays for Daniel Hand’s football team. Starting his junior year, he started getting offers from schools statewide for football scholarships. I know that all of the offers can be both intimidating and overwhelming so a young athlete, so I can only imagine how Savanna must feel having dealt with it since eighth grade.

    “Off the court I try not to be intimidating at all, um, smiling helps with that,” she tells her interviewer. Although her future is bright in basketball, she still has to deal with her extreme height. However, she claims that she is perfectly content just the way she is. She also admits that the attention factor is kind of fun sometimes. If I were Savanna, I would be very self conscious and be afraid to put myself out there. However, she is the exact opposite. She isn’t self-centered and is friendly to everyone she comes across. I actually envy the fact that Savanna, despite her being so much different than most girls her age, is completely comfortable in her own skin. Not many people can say that they love themselves, especially teenage girls. That is what I have taken most from this video. If you carry yourself with confidence, people will have more respect for you. I also respect the fact that her life doesn’t completely revolve around basketball. In the video it states that Savanna is a very good student and plans to study marine biology at UCLA. I enjoyed watching this video and hearing her story.

    • Hi, Haili. The connection to your cousin is relevant and not uncommon for athletes who show great promise in high school. Hopefully both Savanna and your cousin have also been able to enjoy the recognition as a result of hard work and talent.

      You provide a relevant quotation. Good job integrating it into your own sentence. This is essential with all quotations. Further, the content of the quotation is important. Savanna’s comfort within her own skin is admirable. You note that she seems to love herself, but that this is not ubiquitous (not commonly seen) among teenage girls. I love the message you’ve taken away from this story: “If you carry yourself with confidence, people will have more respect for you.” You’re wise to pick up on this fact!

      I’m glad that you enjoyed this story, Haili! Take Savanna’s positive message to heart! :)


    The article I read was “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager.” What first caught my eye to this piece was the title, I drew a connection thinking it was going to be about a deaf boy. That caught my attention because it relates to me in a weird way, ever since I was 10 I have wanted to be a translator for the deaf, and learn sign language, so reading I thought this piece might help me learn more about the deaf and how they live/their strangles. As I kept reading I came onto an another connection relating to The American Dream. In Spanish we are learning around Spanish immigrants in the United States working hard labor to make money for their family and this relates to Jose Gongora, Vladimir’s father. Gongora moved to the United States from El Salvador to try to make more money for his family. I could tie what my Spanish teacher, Mr. Vazquez, because he has taught my class why and how Spanish immigrants move to the United States.

    The article kind of taught me to be more thankful for what I have. Julie Turkewitz, writer of “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager” talked about a boy named Vlamdirmir from El Salvador being deaf but not being surrounded by the tools he needed to succeed in life. She said Vlamdirmir didn’t even know there were other people around him who where deaf too. This made me stop and think I should be thankful that I do have the proper utensils to reach a full potential in my life, I go to a school that meets my needs when this poor teenager doesn’t understand why he can’t learn everything else all the rest of his peers are learning. What also made me feel thankful was when Julie talked about Jose Gongora leaving his family and risking his life to make his family’s life better. I feel appreciative that I didn’t have to not see my father for who knows how long and even having the risk of him not coming back, but also that my family doesn’t have to go through the rough challenges the Gongora family went through.

    If I could ask one question to Vlamdirmir, it would be, “After trying the hearing aid once, what was the biggest difference from your life of 17 years, and what were your first few thoughts that came to mind when you first tried the hearing aid?” I would want to ask Vlamdirmir the question because I am interested to know really what he thought he missed out of for 17 years, and if he got the hearing aid sooner what things does he think he could have done that the hearing aid would have helped. Another reason why I would ask that question is because I would want to see the activities he now can do with the hearing aid, and if those activities are in my daily life that would make others feel more fortunate.

    • Zoey, you’ve done a good job explaining a range of meaningful thoughts you have in response to this article. I can tell that you read with a careful, attentive eye. First, it’s interesting to know that you would like to learn American Sign Language. It’s a useful skill to acquire, and one that can open many new doors for you throughout your life. For example, you could meet and work with people such as Vladimir and his family, and make a wonderful difference in their lives. Second, your connections to Spanish class are timely and important. Do you think that the Gongora family made the best choice in moving to the US?

      Your question for Vladimir opens a wide array of possible topics. I wish you could ask him and learn his response. Perhaps he was not entirely at a loss. Where there had been the absence of sound, there was the presence of something else he could explain.

      You’re doing some great thinking and writing! Keep up the good work.


    “Mobile Oasis in a Food Desert” is an article explaining the tough life of your average Germantown citizen. Germantown is an area known as a food desert, which would indicate that the town does not possess any means for obtaining food via supermarket or grocery store. You and I do not have this problem at all as we live in a very well off area of this country. This news article is important for readers to understand so that the American masses that live in a town which can afford to harbor commercial food distribution buildings see that not every town is lucky, and that we should feel privileged to be so fortunate as to be able to obtain food at will. It is better for the richer part of the country to support its lesser parts in order to strengthen it as a whole. It is important for people to see united we stand, divided we fall.

    It is also very important for people to realize that there is a way they can help. The mobile food pantry is a user funded organization set on helping those who need them. People that see this and have maybe a surplus in food need only make a small donation. If everyone donates one small thing, it adds up to be far larger than one would expect. It is more than likely this article was present in the paper to inform the readers of such places in the US and to raise awareness. It is that neighborly helping hand that keeps all of us in this country happy and healthy. It is the same relationship between family members even though we don’t always see it that way. A family doesn’t intentionally leave certain members unfed unless it is severely dysfunctional. The same goes for a country and its occupants. We as a country are all one big family, and we should help one another like such.

    • Hi, Cade. Your response makes me wonder about what it means to be privileged. Is it truly a privilege to be able to easily visit a grocery store and purchase food? It seems to me that being able to do so ought not be considered a privilege, but rather seen as a basic right easily granted to all Americans. However, as you explain, we know from the article that this is not the case. Your point, “united we stand, divided we fall,” is relevant and powerful. Do you see the mobile food pantry as a step toward unifying people?

      I like that you offer such a positive interpretation of this article. What specific details are most prominent as you read? Did the article broaden your understanding in any new ways? Remember that strong supporting details need to accompany your interpretation. And perhaps we can talk some more about the ideas you’ve expressed here.

  26. FOR KATE M.:

    I read the article, “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”. I chose this article because of the title with mentioning how students are starting to use social media to learn. I found this very relatable I have always been a shy student and never liked to speak up.

    Ever since I started school I have always been the one to never speak up. I was intimidated by having to be the only one speaking at that time. Having all of the attention on you can be very scary to someone who is self-conscience or shy. Up until this year I have never volunteered in class and I learned to speak up. It started in English with my teacher starting a class blog to share work. I was nervous to start opening up and sharing my work so I realized that the whole class would have to share their work and everyone would see it. This made me want to improve my work. Teachers around the country are starting to realize that they could use this tool that many kids are comfortable with and used to using. With the confidence in the technology kids are comfortable with sharing their work on typically used thing. I feel very confident writing on this blog because I can express my thoughts without feeling like all of the attention is on me. I feel like many kids are very shy and are scared to share what they think because they are worried about what others may say about them but after being able to start sharing thoughts in a more comfortable way then confidence is gained to share thoughts in class. People like Professor Chakravarty even admitted to never being able to speak up in class because he was intimidated.

    Technology is still looked as a negative thing to many teachers for many reasons. They are very legitimate reasons like having social media being distracting and that is very true. I am sure that if a teacher said okay you can use your hones today in class to look up information that at least five people would check something else that is going on in their phone. Electronics can be very tempting and distracting because all of the many applications on phones. I know that I have been able to do my homework while listing to music on my phone and I go on something else because I get very distracted. Many teens are easily distracted with social Medias 2 second updates and reloads. For example, if you refresh your page on twitter there are new tweets about everyone’s daily lives. As we are growing up we are curious to what someone is doing or thinking because we all want to understand each other and relate to each other and social media has given us that opportunity to Meet new people and understand people better. This has persuaded enough teachers not to use social media to improve their classroom and learning skills.

    This theory is a trial and error process. It also is about the teachers gaining trust in the students to do the right thing and this cannot just affect school work but it can affect the relationships between teachers and students which can lead back to gaining more confidence in the classroom and speaking up.

  27. I read the article “ Rise Early and Shine: Teachers and Students Try Out Longer School Days.” This article brings up the major issue that has been circulating across the nation. There has been much debate on whether or not extended school hours are in fact, the correct choice to improve the country’s incredibly low test scores. Pulaski elementary school, in Meriden, Connecticut has taken action in trying to fix this issue by extending school hours. Elementary school kids are starting school around 7:30 am. They are not only taught the academic subjects, but enrichments as well.

    The school day is divided between academic and elective courses to keep the children occupied and interested. It’s debatable whether or not this actually helps with the children’s learning. However, it seems to provide only benefits as of right now. It not only allows poverty stricken families to put their children through courses such as piano lessons, but it also very cheap cost wise. The children are receiving a better education, while enjoying it – for the most part.

    The enrichment the school is giving allows for the cost of making longer school days much more effective. Parents approve of the system that includes more than just “plain old reading and writing”. Improvements like this will most likely solve the nation’s issue regarding the low scores. The students are learning to become well- rounded in everything they do. No matter what career they may choose to pursue, they will have the necessary skills and experience to excel in the subject. The children participate in activities until around 9:00 am, when the normal school day starts. The cost effectiveness and other benefits make the extended hours of school time seem like a perfect solution for the educational crisis in America. Many schools in the U.S., including Haddam- Killingworth High will most likely follow the example of Pulaski Elementary.

  28. FOR JACK H.:

    I chose to write about the video clip 6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. Savanna Trapp is a high school student from Esko, Minnesota, School is said to be the tallest Minnesota girls’ basketball player ever. Savanna has been getting bombarded with college offers to play in the big leagues since she was an 8th grader. The letters finally stopped when she signed up to play for the college of UCLA.

    Savanna is not only an amazing Basketball player because of her height but she also helps other tall girls with their problems especially when they are uncomfortable with their height. Savanna is perfectly okay with how tall she is, which I think is what makes her such a good basketball player. Even though she is often wearing custom fit clothes and a men’s size 15 shoe, her mood is not the least bit dampened. However one thing that makes me curios about savanna is why she never has dunked in a game. The coach says that you can hear the rim bounce during practice and you don’t have to look to know who it was. I believe that savanna avoids dunking because she doesn’t want to be looked at as a show off she is already the best player on the team and doesn’t need to show off any more.

    I believe that savanna is ready for college. The fact that she is a good student, and loves to read will help her a lot. Savanna also talks about how she loves her small home town but is ready for a change. This is what I think makes her ready for college because it is mostly a mindset. she Has to believe that she is ready to play in a college basketball league. Also the fact that she admits her week points like strength and conditioning will help. This is related to her being fine with her height because she is not afraid to show the world her real self.


    I choose to write about the video report on Savannah, The 6’9” high school athlete, because as a basketball player myself it attracted my attention. At first while watching the video I thought it would just be about how this girl is very tall and how that makes her unique, but after watching longer I realized what the report was really about. It is about someone who realizes what she means to others around the world, and serves as a role model to those people. It is about someone who despite having a trait that makes them stands out, is able to fit in and be recognized as someone who is a leader to others.

    One reason I think it’s important for people to read this article is because it gives an example of how someone who may be different in some ways can accept that and be a leader and role model to others. For example, in the video, Savannah talks about how she is contacted from tons of people who look up to her who are in a similar situation to hers. It shows how she affects many people just by doing what she does day-to-day. I know personally for me there are many people who I look up to that make them role models just for being who they are and doing what they do.

    Another reason I highly recommend that people watch this report is it shows how even when things are at their best for someone with a sport they are doing, they always will need to do good in school so that when they are done with their sport, they have a fall back plan. Savannah acts as a role model to her community representing how important it is to work to your potential in school just as hard as you do in your sport.

  30. “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” is truly inspiring and really grabbed my attention. You don’t often her about a person being 6’9” let alone a girl that tall. It’s remarkable to hear. It’s not common but there are people that tall. People, especially high school students, should hear Savannah’s story because what she goes through is very inspirational and also because taller people can relate to what she goes through.

    This story can inspire many people. You don’t need to be tall to be able to be inspired by Savannah’s story. Savannah lives her life being 6’9” while being confident, “I am content with being just the way I am.” Many people live with the fear of being judged because of what they look like. Having teenagers hear this story can help them love the way they are. I know for a fact watching this has inspired me. It’s encouraged me in two ways; not to judge others for the way the look and be more confident in myself. Savannah obviously gets judged for being so tall be she embraces it. She does basketball which she is really good at and she is okay with getting attention; she thinks it’s kind of fun. Getting attention can be good and bad. People don’t want negative attention, they want positive attention. Savannah teaches that people just have to ignore negative comments, keep your head up high, and smile.

    People in general can relate to Savannah but other tall girls can relate to her on another level. Many tall girls have contacted Savannah so they could have someone that understands what they are going through. They talk about other things too like where they get their clothes. They don’t want to be judged, nobody does. That’s why they go to Savannah; they feel comfortable enough with her to open up. Not only girls but guys that are taller than normal can relate to this story too. Guys that are taller can go through the same difficulties that tall girls go through, like trying to find clothes. Savannah just wants people to be able to connect with one another and enjoy their life no matter how tall they are.


    The news story “6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression” helps give the reader an inside view of how an extremely gifted athlete deals with her day to day life. On the court, Savannah, a 6’9” high school basketball player who was given a gift by God which was her phenomenal height, wants to have a normal teenage life, but isn’t exactly the common teenage girl. Savannah doesn’t see a problem with her height, however, one can clearly see just from watching her play that it is extremely useful.

    This news story is extremely helpful to many people around the world because it provides confidence to those who might have an abnormality whether it is height, weight, speed, or personality. Savannah is the perfect example for anyone who is discouraged and believes that they won’t be accepted for their differences. Savannah is completely comfortable in her own skin and is proud to go out beyond her small town and tackle the real world head on with it. However she is completely modest about her talent and to see her able to go on without bragging or showing it off is absolutely amazing.

    Savannah also is questioned what she is like off the court because day after day, at the end she is still 6’9” and that height can be intimidating. However Savannah explains how she tries her best to not be intimidating and act normally which she is. Another topic the reporter brings up is how she has become contacted by a small group of other extremely tall girls which shows what people really are deep down and that is accepting and especially that people look out for others with differences such as their own.

  32. I chose the story “6’9″ HS Student Makes Big Impression”. I chose this story because anything sports related interests me. Also because I am on the shorter side and it is cool to see how taller people live.

    This story is important because it shows that you can get recognized no matter where you’re from. People are always looking for good talent and you could be from the smallest town in the world and people will find you if you’re good at what you do.
    Savanna Trapp is a 6’9” basketball player at Esko High School, Minnesota. She is the tallest girl in Minnesota ever and is one of the tallest girls in the country this season. She is one of the few girls in the country that can dunk. She is a beast in the paint and blocks shots like it’s her job, which is cool because when I play basketball with my friends I like to block shots too but I’m usually too short. But anyway, Savanna started getting mail from colleges earlier than most people in high school and they wouldn’t stop coming until she finally chose to go to UCLA. She is going to UCLA to obviously play basketball and she plans to study marine biology.

    Savanna seems like a nice person and she doesn’t try to intimidate people unless she is on the court. I would love to meet her someday and play her one on one. Also I need my smoke detector batteries changed and she could probably reach that without a stool. It would be a big help to me. But all joking aside, she seems like she is on the right track to success.
    You don’t have to be tall to succeed, you just have to work hard, love what you do, and do your best and hopefully your dreams will come true.

  33. I chose the story“6’9″ HS Athlete Makes Big Impression”. This article is interesting because it was about Savannah Trapp, a High School basketball player who it way taller than most girls her age. It is about her above average skills in basketball and how big of an impact she has on her team. I found it interesting how Savannah has two split personalities. On the court, Savannah is an aggressive and intimidating shot blocker. But off the court she is a friendly down to earth “people person.” She tries not to be intimidating off the court. I also found this interesting because almost anything about basketball intrigues me and I particularly liked this story. This is also interesting because Savannah is from the small town of Esko, Minnesota. It is an isolated town and there probably isn’t much diversity there and it probably is boring at times. She is working hard to go to college so she can get out of Esko and explore the world and discover new things. Although she loves Esko, Savannah said she is ready to move on.

    This story is important for people to know about because it is a good example of hard work. In this story Savannah shares that she has been recruited by hundreds of colleges. She started being recruited as early as eighth grade. She was being recruited for her dominating basketball talent at such a young age. But that’s not the only thing getting her into a good college. Savannah also is a very good student with good grades. This shows that even though basketball comes easy to Savannah, she still had to work hard in other areas to be successful.

  34. After starting the article “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media” I saw that it sparked my interest. I then read the whole article to find I enjoyed the idea. I really like it because it allows people who are afraid to speak up to give what they think to the group, even though it’s through text. It also allows the mind to flow freely and helps some people get there thoughts down better. I know that I have a tendency to talk in a more elaborate and hopefully more professional way when I type. I think that since we have a chance to change what we say, instead of messing up, it increases the speech among teens on these websites because we will no longer need to fear of being ridiculed for a slight mess up of the tongue.
    I can see how most people would find a bad side to this. Having computers and phones in class is an oddity among most as a common tool. Teachers usually fear their students will get off task or not participate in class. I can see where they are coming from because that is how teens are. But if all computers are being monitored by the teacher then they should have less of a fear of such students getting of task like they expect. In fact if they were to they could catch them in the act.
    This article also kind of reminds of the blog. We are doing some form of work for the class and are able to speak our minds on the given subjects. I feel like if we were told to do this in class you’d have less people respond or afraid to participate. But here on the computer we are given the chance to express our thoughts, edit them and make sure they are “good enough” for others to read.

  35. The first reason why I chose this news story is because when I saw the title “A Mobile Food Pantry in a ‘Food Desert’,” it brought to my attention the large portion of our country that is in starvation. As I read the article I realized the extent of the hunger’s devastation. I also find it terrible that the number of people who can’t obtain food is growing. Like Mr. Sambataro stated, “This woke me up.” I can also agree with him that stories like these really make me appreciate what comes to me. The fact that 37 million people have to be fed by food pantries every year really puts a dent into our country. Just in a Boston area 14,000 pounds of food is required to feed the hungry. “It’s sad that America has come to this point,” said a client of the food truck. When I saw this quote I could not help to think of all the food deserts across the world. World hunger has been increasing drastically and nobody but the people serving in kitchens and other facilities realize the measures. I couldn’t imagine not going a day without food. Life without Dora fruit snacks is just unimaginable, but when I’m eating them I don’t realize that some little girl is on the streets praying to god food and hope comes her way. On the other hand, it also helps out those who are on slim budgets. For example, “Sam,” agrees that the food truck is, “awesome,” because his wife is ill at home and their budget isn’t taking a damper due to food costs.

    I found the idea of a, “Mobile Oasis,” interesting because it’s creative and different for the community. When I think of a soup kitchen I think of dirty unfriendly people who got into some sort of trouble and have to do community service hours to revive themselves. But, a, “Mobile Oasis,” sounds like a moving retreat, which in my head is pictured a lot more colorful than a soup kitchen. This idea is so up lifting because of the mobility. Now, the truck can make stops in the areas where the food is needed and people don’t have to worry about walking real far or trying to get a ride. “It is based on a simple idea: If Germantown cannot get to the food, the Mobile Pantry will get the food to Germantown.” I think that more towns all over the country should participate in this act and get their own food trucks to help fill empty stomachs across the nation. This story is similar to a newscast I watched in class about the hungry also. In California a group of people would go around in trashcans and pick out food that has not been damaged and is perfectly fine to cook, and then food the food to the hungry people on the streets. If more organizations are created to help this cause, the rate of the starving will go down, and that is what America and countries across the globe need.

  36. “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media”
    This story is important for people to know about because it really opens up a new mindset on what new techniques in a class can do for it. In the article the author talks about how many teachers saw an improvement in their students’ participation and communication skills with one another. I believe that by stating this and supporting it with specific justifiable details, many teachers may start to follow in this path of teaching. From what I have read in the article, I think that by trying something new in a class, you can explore a student’s potential more and see what they are and aren’t capable of. A new direction of teaching can lead to a more effective use of teaching time. Students could actually participate in the event that is currently happening in the class without losing complete interest in what the class is discussing. This new method of teaching requires people to think about what they actually want to say instead of hiding what you want to say in a vocal class discussion. I believe that students and teachers should take notice on new ways of teaching to make the class more productive.

    Another reason that this story can be interesting for people to read about is because it can show kids that are afraid to speak aloud in class how to say what they want to say. Holding back on what you want to say in class is a very persistent thing that students seem to do throughout their school years. From past experience I know that this is not the right path to take. I have held myself back in class from asking a question or making a statement, and it ended up hurting me in the long run. I either noticed the question on a test or quiz and I didn’t know it, or I could have used that knowledge on something that was important. Though, most students don’t realize that holding back can do this to you until it actually happens. By incorporating these new teaching and communication techniques, teachers and students can avoid holding back a lot more and making classwork a time to really say what you want to say without the fear of holding back. The new techniques described in this article can not only allow the teacher to experience a new type of teaching, but it can help students everywhere speak aloud and say what they actually want to say without holding back.

    • Luigi, you’ve elaborated well on your two main ideas. This is great to see! You assert your claims in well-written sentences, and your ideas are clear. Your statement about “a more effective use of teaching time” is interesting and relevant; technology as the potential to bring everyone into a class discussion on a more equal basis. Consider, however, whether they may be drawbacks—unintended consequences—to such new technology. There are details in the article that address such possibilities. Remember to provide more supporting details from the text as you write.

      You make a relevant personal connection in your response, and I imagine that most people can relate to your experience. “Holding back” can prove frustrating in the moment and in the longrun, yet several students do not bring themselves to speak out. Do you think that our class blog is helping to address this issue in positive ways?

  37. I read, “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager.” This was about a teenager who is hearing impaired and didn’t really know how he was going to live with being the only deaf person he knew, or anyone else around him knew. The author wrote that he would spend recess waiting to hold doors open for his classmates. I sense that Vladimir is not too comfortable with his surroundings and is unsure about how he’s going to cope with his problem.
    Vladimir’s father worked very hard to come to the states and make a better life for Vladimir and his family. One thing that has me asking myself is how much has the hearing aid affected his life and what he think he would do if he hadn’t ever got a hearing aid to help him. It would be interesting to hear from him first hand, because for a long part of his life he was dealing with a problem that most everyday kids don’t go through at school.

  38. I think that this article is interesting because the students that attend the school that are taking part in this addition of time probably won’t be happy. As a student in school I already feel as if school is long enough. By the time its lunch time I am already zoned out and it’s hard to concentrate. Then, attending to go to 2-3 classes after lunch makes it a lot harder to concentrate for me. As in the morning I am wide awake by the time its first period. But those who are not morning people may be more awake in the afternoon. This is interesting to me because of the amount of students who will be unhappy and won’t be able to concentrate. Students in our school still to this day have controversy over how long the school day is and how long it should be. This acquisition would create more of a controversy between parents, teachers, students, and possibly even administrators. Interesting? Very, because of the acts that could occur when or if this happens.

    I think that this could be important because it would affect many people’s lives. It would be a difference in the world. It will definitely be a change to see and might cause great dysfunction or great satisfaction. Having more time in school to be educated would be an importance because a good education is ok but a great education is beyond. Having a very extraodinary sense of education is good thing because then you will learn for the best of everything. You would have more of an education and will be accepted to many more jobs or colleges. Thereof adding more time school day would probably be an importance to people’s lives, it would defiantly be a change.


    “Borrowed Hearing Aid Opens New World to Teenager”
    When I read this article I thought how bad it must be in country like El Salvidor where Vladmir couldn’t even learn with the other kids but then I thought how it wasn’t the teacher’s fault that he couldn’t talk. It is such a poor farming village that the teachers probably don’t have that great of an education so they don’t have very many ways to communicate with him. I’m not saying that the teachers should have excluded him because they could have tried to helped him by using other means of communication. I also thought that it was very interesting how the article shows how poverty stricken people can be even after they immigrate to America. For example Mr. Gongora makes about 2400 dollars a month; subtract 1500 dollars from that for rent then there are other bills plus food they probably only get to save about a hundred dollars which goes back to their family in El Salvidor. Many of the things they get come from donations like the hearing aid Vladmir is allowed to borrow from the Lexington school. To buy one costs about 1500 dollars; that’s half of Mr. Gongoras monthly salary. Then they applied for a grant from the New York Times neediest cases fund for 440 dollars so they could buy a laptop that Vladimir could use for his learning. I thought this story was very nice because the family may be going through a tough time but they still keep an upbeat attitude considering all the problems that go on in their country like the fact that El Salvidor has one of the highest murder rate in the world. I guess the parents know that the problems with juvenile delinquency and gangs are big in El Salvidor and think how lucky they have it knowing there son won’t have to deal with that as much in America.


    I chose the story “Six Foot Nine High School Athlete Makes Big Impression.” I think it is an important article because even though Savannah Trap is a star athlete because of her height she still has to be more than just a basketball player. For example, this news clip said that Savannah wants to study things to do with science. So to me she cares about her school work as much as basketball. It’s just like me. I like to play basketball but for Savannah and I to play we have to keep are grades up. This also shows that Savannah has plans to do more than just play basketball.

    The second reason why this article is important is because Savannah can be a good role model for people who are different. She can show that you can be different and still have a normal life. For example in this news clip it says Savannah has to duck her head in the hall ways to get to class. When I first saw that is was a girl being this tall I was in shock. Actually, if I tell the truth, my gut reaction to seeing Savannah was that she might not be someone I would like or could relate to. But, after reading about her I realized she is just like anyone else. I judged her based on appearance. When people are different, they usually get made fun of. But after watching this news clip, Savannah to me seems like a nice person. She a good student, but when it comes down to the game, she turn into a beast.

  41. I chose the article “speaking up in class, silently,using social media” it really interested me how kids that didn’t speak up in class actually spoke up while on social media websites. I can understand when a kid is shy and doesn’t want to answer during class because it can be embarrassing sometimes. I thought that it was cool how a kid who doesn’t normally speak up shares his/her feelings over the Internet. The article says how people are more comfortable talking over the social media websites because they are in the comfort of their own home and they have time to think about what they are posting and revise it.

    It also interested me that not all kids used this as a way to goof off during class. At first teachers thought that would be a huge problem but it turned out that kids given a chance to work on the Internet talking about a topic given by a teacher really works. Kids stayed on topic and contributes way more then they would in class. A study was taken and it showed that 12 kids out of 30 participated in the conversation and an additional 8 contributed over the Internet

  42. 6’9″ Girl
    This senior from Esko Minnesota, Savanna Trapp, is a 6’9” female basketball player who is different from everyone else because of her size.
    This article is interesting because they portray her as a freak such as when the reporter says, “it’s not everyday that you walk through the hallways and see a girl duck to go under the doors.” I see this, as a remark about her height as in she’s a freak. They complete this report on her like she is the only girl to ever be her height and are treating her like the half-ton man or the conjoined twins. But, then again, I believe that she has a gift and not a problem. With her height, she could accomplish anything she wanted to from basketball to swimming to successful marine biologist. To herself, she seems as though she is grateful for her height because it grants her the success she has in basketball which an advantage most girls don’t have since the average height of a female is 5’4 for the U.S so she has quite the advantage.
    This article also gives her the publicity for her to increase her popularity as a person and a player, and as a player, you want as much publicity as you can get which is why this article is one I chose because it benefitted Savanna. This girl’s future also intrigues me because I think her future is going to be very bright and successful, with the large potential to go to the WNBA or get a job as a Marine Biologist like she plans to major in at UCLA. Her life is pretty much mapped out for her as long as she stays true to her dreams and stays with basketball throughout college and keeps her grades up. This publicity can carry her through college and gain her respect for her talent at basketball and possibly lead fans to support her that could of never heard of her.

Leave a Reply