Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Brain Training

I memorized the presidents today.  To be honest, I have never memorized them before.  It was hard, but the pictures for each president helped me.  I feel like I am getting smarter. 

Tangrams is a good way to expand your brain.  I had to fit them so they would make an image.  It was very difficult, but eventually, I got it!!

The craziest thing happened.  We were playing brain cards, and there was a match among the cards.  We were all looking for it.  Then all of a sudden, we all lunged for the one match.  Cards flew off of the table, cards flew everywhere!  We were having a little too much fun!

Today in Lego Robotics A, I built and added claws to my tribot.  We learned how to program it to multitask.  It is awesome. 

I played brain cards today.  I had a lot of fun distinguishing between things.  I like doing brain camp.  Because I can have fun while becoming smarter.  It's a winning combo. 


I can't believe that I named all of the presidents from 1st to last.  Also I got awesome points for doing tangrams very fast.  I love Ivy so far.  


Morning Break

Today in Morning Break we had some snacks and played two games.  We played Duck Duck Goose & Indian Chief.  I was a guesser but I did not win :(  


I learned all the 44 presidents in Brain Training.  It may sound hard, but it is pretty easy.  Everything is fun, but in some way it is educational.  We use pictures for presidents.  For example, Lincoln, is a link shaped as "N".  


memorizing the presidents using pictures!

Writing Class

Today in writing we acted out 2 play excerpts.  They were called "Harvey" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs".  We caught it on tape.


By: R.G.

Here is an essay from one of our Writing Class students.  They were enthusiastic to share as many pieces of writing as they wanted for our blog.  

Jimmy and Amanda’s brother, David, had the biggest science experiment due on Friday at Legreen High School, NJ. David had to store and observe a raspberry-colored poison. It had to stay cool in the refridgerator and not be taken out of the beaker it was given in. David thought that this science experiment would lead to his first A+.

In the middle of winter …

        “It is SO dry!” screamed Jimmy.  “Does anyone have water? I am so thirsty!!” he exclaimed. Everyone could hear him throughout the bus.

        “No, none of us have any water!” exclaimed David, Jimmy’s older brother.  It was Jimmy’s bus stop.  David reminded Jimmy not to touch his big poison project at home.  David really wanted to get an A+ on this project. He was going to have a sleep over at a friend’s house. Amanda, Jimmy’s older sister was also having a sleepover but at Jake’s house. Jimmy’s parents were at work, so Jimmy was now home alone. 

        After getting off the bus, Jimmy walked inside the house dying of thirst. He quickly opened the fridge and pulled the first drink he saw.  He thought it was raspberry lemonade, but he had accidentally grabbed David’s poison. He drank half the glass and put it aside for later.

        He sat down to watch TV after he quenched his thirst with ‘raspberry lemonade’.  He changed the channel to Teen Nick and there was a show on that he didn’t like. sees a show he doesn’t like.  His stomach growled madly. At first, he didn’t think anything of it.  He just thought that it was due to skipping lunch that day.  As he changed the channel, he felt sicker and sicker.   Eventually he was throwing up in the bathroom and doing other things every three seconds. He had to get to the phone to call a friend.

Soon, he found a bowl to throw up in. He carried the bowl to the phone so he could call his friend, Jake, to come help him. Jimmy called Jake and asked Jake, Jake’s five siblings, and Amanda come to his house and help him. Hester, Lester, Peter, Amanda, Walter, Jake, and Nicole went straight to Jimmy’s house. They were very smart so they thought they knew what to do.  Once they got there, they went straight to work.

        First, they asked Jimmy what he did since they last saw him, which was on the bus.  He explained how he walked in and drank the ‘raspberry lemonade’ from the fridge.   Then he told them that he went downstairs to the TV room and watched the Teen Nick channel. He explained that his stomach growled but he thought it was just because of skipping lunch. In reality, it wasn’t about the missed lunch, it was about the poison.

Next, they asked Jimmy where the drink that he drank was. Instead of the poison, he pulled out a glass of the real raspberry lemonade from the refrigerator.  They inspected it, and checked the carton it came in. Everything was fine. They even tried it just to make sure there was nothing wrong. They were all fine. Jimmy was perplexed because he didn’t know why they weren’t feeling sick. He didn’t know what was happening so he still assumed it was because of the missed lunch.

        Jake and Jimmy were looking around the chair in front of the TV for anything peculiar. The other six were looking upstairs for anything different too. They decided to go watch TV shows they all hate like Jimmy was doing when he first felt sick. They watched one show on TV they all hated and it was called Dora. They watched three episodes and besides their boredom they felt as fine as fresh soap.

Suddenly, Jimmy had started to feel different like he was turning into an ugly creature. He knew he had to speak up fast and he knew that the creature he was turning into was not humanoid. The creature he was turning into was raspberry colored and was very hairy. He was like a feverous gorilla with a lot of hair everywhere. He felt really weird like he was almost turning into the mane of a horse. He couldn’t believe it. For once in his life, he was scared and didn’t know what to do.

        Jake called Jimmy’s parents and told them about Jimmy’s transformation. As Jake was talking to Jimmy’s parents, Peter, Walter, Nicole, and Amanda found the glass that was half filled with poison. Amanda tried the poison to make sure it was bad and she started to turn into a different creature just like Jimmy. Jake quickly learned of what had happened and told Jimmy’s parents as they were still on the phone. Hester dialed 911 immediately and the ambulance took forever because it was too slow. These people lived in a very small town with a hospital so small it only had one old and slow ambulance.

        Jimmy’s parents were rushing to the hospital just to see their son and daughter. Jimmy wasn’t there by the time his parent’s got there. Jimmy’s parents were perplexed that Jimmy wasn’t there yet. When Jimmy and Amanda finally got to the hospital, the hospital got permission from the parents to start the procedure.

First, Jimmy and Amanda took anesthesia to knock them out. Then, with Jimmy and Amanda they squeezed all the creature’s blood out and inserted new blood to cure them. They threw out the blood in a special place leaving some in a container so they could investigate later. Amanda and Jimmy got their own rooms so that they could adjust to the new blood and rest.

        During that time, family came and friends visited. David came to the hospital at night with his parents to see his brother and sister hurt. He was sad to hear of what had happened. He also got mad as he remembered that he told Jimmy not to touch the poison. David got told the story beginning to end and then understood why Jimmy and Amanda drank the poison. Eventually Jimmy and Amanda recovered. Life was normal again and Jimmy and Amanda became healthy with they’re new blood. Even though David got an F- for his experiment, he was glad to have his brother and sister alive!!!!!

The Extraordinary Play: Hamlet

Here is an example of some creative writing from one of our students in the Writing Class.  They were allowed to share some of their outside works as well.  Please read below and share their love of writing!  


               It was a normal day at Greenville High and Eric was rushing to English class. Eric is usually late to every single class except Math as this was his favorite subject. 10th Grade English was a hard class, and as he ran, Eric thought what they were doing today in class. He sat down next to Joey and Connor and started to talk like crazy. The end of day bell rang and Eric walked to the locker room for sports.

               Eric disliked all available sports choices at Grenville High. Of these choices, he chose to play football. He changed into gear and left for the field. Today was a big game and the Greenville High Geckos lost to the Franklin High Frogs. He walked home and was upset at losing the game.

               The next day as Joey and Eric joked around in the Arts Hall, Eric saw a sign about a play informing students that five people could participate from Greenville High. The play was Shakespeare’s, Hamlet and Eric was excited about the opportunity of playing the lead part. He had seen the play with his family before and loved it. As he thought more about the lead part, he was scared that people would make fun of him if he didn’t do well. He had never acted before and he wanted the lead part.

               For the rest of the day, he was all excited and the Geckos won the second football game in a row. He ran home and told his dad, Jake, about all the good news. Jake thought of how funny it would be to see Eric playing the part of Hamlet in one of Shakespeare’s original plays. “Eric has no acting career and is aiming for the part of Hamlet,” muttered Jake. “That’s crazy!” Jake thought of how much of a failure his son would be so he decided to abandon helping Eric.

               The auditions were tomorrow so he begged Joey and Connor to come with him and try out. They didn’t care for anything having to do with acting, but they followed Eric. The auditions took up the whole sports practice and about 30 minutes of free time. Sadly, the producers needed time to think about who was going to be chosen. Eric couldn’t get the results for a for a few days. He got home and his mom started asking Eric how the auditions went. Eric told his mother that the results would be mailed to them.

               A whole week went by with no news of the auditions. Then on October 24, mail came from Highland Studios. The results said that he had earned the lead part with his perfect movement, accent, and prepared costume. Eric was overjoyed at learning this. He was glad about this great news and knew he was going to have a great time with this experience.

               When he arrived at school, he heard the most depressing and saddening news of his life. Both of his friends didn’t get a part in the play. He felt like the loneliest person on Earth. He thought they were perfect for the part they tried out for. Instead, Sally Scooter and Jerry Jester got those parts. He was going to complain to the producers why they didn’t get in.

               Eric just was just about ready to drop out of the play because of his sadness. He needed to choose between two important things: dropping out to be with his friends, or taking the lead part in the biggest play of the year. Eric chose the once in a lifetime experience, taking the lead part. After he made this decision, his friends were avoiding him all over school.

               Even though he couldn’t be with his friends, he felt like he made the right decision. He did not know what to do after making the hard decision. His football performance and participation percentage were becoming very low, as Eric didn’t go to practices. All his grades (especially Math) were being lowered and everything was turning horrible in Eric’s life. He was a mess.

               Finally, one day, his mom noticed that he was extremely sad. She promised that he would get his friends back, but he didn’t think so at all. His friends were totally avoiding him. For example, they would sit on the other side of the classroom as far as they could get. Neither liked the mess. He didn’t think that he and his friends would be back together. Eric thought that it was hopeless. That was not true.

               To help him solve this problem, she thought of something that she couldn’t afford. She decided to buy Broadway tickets. His mom searched everywhere for tickets to Broadway but couldn’t find any. Finally, their next-door neighbor didn’t want tickets she bought for a show. She gave them away to Eric’s Mom for free. They were going to the Lion King, the perfect play to show Eric and get him inspired and excited.

               Finally, the day of the Broadway show came and his mother surprised him with the tickets. That evening, they left at 5:30 so they were not late. When Eric got there, he noticed how beautiful Broadway was. When the play started, Eric was ready to enjoy his surprise. Eric fell in love with the play. At the end, he clapped really hard and noticed that everyone was clapping for the lead actor. Suddenly, he was driven to do his best.

               That night he couldn’t stop dreaming about that show. Everyday he practiced and practiced with his mom to remember the lines of the lead part. Opening night was in one week so the producers and director were having rehearsals literally everyday. He couldn’t contain his excitement with all the preparation going on of all this. He would finally start a new dream of an acting career.

               Everyone was so excited and willing to help him. Eventually, he got a costume and he practiced his movement. Everyday at least four hours of practice and he would remember his part. Finally, it was showtime and he was ready. He arrived two hours early to help set up the sets and get the props ready. One hour before show time, he put on his costume and started reciting his lines. He was ready to do his best so he practiced his parts in the back of the stage.

               With one minute before show time, the producers went on and introduced everyone. Finally, the curtain dropped and he took a deep breath. Eric smiled and went on stage for his part. He did a great job as Hamlet and everyone else didn’t mess up. The show was fabulous and people were laughing at the funny parts, clapping all over, and crying when someone died.

               At the end, Eric and his peers took a bow. Eric felt so happy and complete! Surprised, he saw Joey and Conner running up to him with his mom. They were all so happy to be back with each other again. They explained that they came back because they realized that Eric needed time to practice so he couldn’t talk to them all the time. It was a great reunion. They were all friends again and everyone was happy! Then his mom and dad walked up to him, smiled, and were pleased with his hard work! Eric smiled back and they all had a family hug! His dad told him how much he regretted not helping Eric and thinking how horrible Eric was going to be!

The Lost Island

Today in Writing Class, the students were asked to practice writing dialogues.  Here is something that one of our students actually wrote during the exercise in class.

(A young boy, Tommy Smith, is going to visit his aunt and uncle.  He is going alone and on his private jet, only with a pilot)

Tommy: Bye, Mom!  Bye, Dad!
Parents: Bye, Tommy!

(Plane takes off.  20 min. into flight sudden beeping noise comes on.  Tommy goes to pilot to see what it is.)

Tommy: What's that noise?
Tommy: WHAT?
Pilot: We're going DOWN!  WE NEED TO JUMP!

(Pilot tosses parachute to Tommy and pits his own parachute on and jumps)

Tommy: What just happened?!!  O don't even know how to skydive!

(Plane goes down and Tommy blacks out)

This class is so fun.  I made so many friends.  I wrote a act which was as fun as playing sports.  I can't wait to do more!

In writing we created videos of plays!  It was fun to do that.  So far writing is a good class.


Making one of our videos!

Today in Mad Science we learned how to make a crystals and we learned about digestions.  

Today we used acetone.  We poured packing peanuts with it.  The packing peanuts dissolved.  

Today in Mad Science we did a lot of fun stuff.  Outside we made a messy explosion.  The explosion almost hit Rebecca! (Our counselor)  We also dissolved packing peanuts with acetone.  It was very cool.  We also made our own crystals.  I hope I have as much fun tomorrow as today. 

At Mad Science today we dissolved packing peanuts with acetone.  We also went outside and did a cool experiment.  We added water, Hydrogen peroxide, detergent and yeast!  It filled up the bottle and burst out.  


Today we did a lot of experiments.  We learned what atoms are.  We mixed dish soap and acid.  It was very hot and dangerous then after a few minutes it wasn't as dangerous.  We had to wear gloves.  I had fun doing experiments! 


Two Articles

Two Articles
By: R G

Two articles called “A Dog Year” by Jon Katz and “Climbing the Ladder” by Joseph Bruchac are very interesting articles to me. “A Dog Year” is about a strong bond developed between the speaker and his two yellow Labrador retrievers. “Climbing the Ladder” is an article that talks about an important Abenaki family memory. I like “A Dog Year” the most because it has vivid imagery, has a strong bond between characters, and includes un-human characters.

            The two articles have a lot in common. They are both written in the first person. That means that they are written from the point of view of the speaker. Also, they both have memories. The article “Cleaning the Well” is a memory from when a child was three and he and his grandpa checked the peak. The article “A Dog Year” has a memory when the speaker remembers when he got his two dogs. Finally, they both have strong bonds/relationships in them. There is a great relationship between the grandfather and the son in “Cleaning the Well”. They go on the roof when the son is three and enjoy the view. In “A Dog Year,” the speaker has a strong bond with his dogs as he has raised them since they were young. Apparently, both articles have a lot in common.

            Though they have a lot in common, they have a lot of differences. “A Dog Year” is to entertain the reader with a story of loving man’s best friend and creating strong bonds with others. “Climbing the Ladder” informs the reader about the Abenaki people and the grandfather’s tradition of checking the peak. “A Dog Year” also uses a lot more vivid imagery to express what the dogs do and how the bonds between man’s best friend and man stay strong. Next, “A Dog Year” has dogs, an inhumane character not used in “Climbing the Ladder.” A dog makes the story seem different and better. Finally, a lot more dialogue is used in “Climbing the Ladder” as the grandfather and the son speak keeping their bonds strong by being with each other. As you can see, there are also a lot of differences.

            I like “A Dog Year” more out of the two because of the vivid imagery, strong bonds and use of man’s best friend, the dog. The author uses vivid imagery to express what the dogs do all day long and their love for the speaker. I understood what a dogs day is like by painting pictures in my head as I read this article. Also, “A Dog Year” is my favorite because of the strong bonds created between the speaker and the dogs. He cared for them and loved them as he raised them his whole life. These dogs were different and better as they could stop forever sometimes. Also, they didn’t play catch like most dogs. Man’s best friend was nice and caring for their owner also. Most of all these dogs were special. The speaker was lucky to have them and raise them from puppies to dogs. Now you understand why I like “A Dog Year” more.

            I like “A Dog Year” the most because it has vivid imagery, strong bonds between characters, and man’s best friend and the freedom. The poet is free to use varieties of characters, create strong bonds, and paint a vivid picture. I think that Jon Katz is a great descriptive writer who took something from everyday life and added detail to make it more interesting. I learned how to use detail properly from reading “A Dog Year.”

The Two Poems

The Two Poems
By: R G

There are two poems that we read in class. “I Love the Look of Words” is a poem by Maya Angelou and “Cleaning the Well” by Paul Ruffin. In “I Love the Look of Words,” the speaker compares eating popcorn to reading a book. In “Cleaning the Well,” the speaker recalls a childhood memory of the day his grandfather asked him to clean the well. “Cleaning the Well” is my favorite for many reasons. In this essay, I will provide the similarities and differences of the two poems and state which one I like the best and why.

The two poems have many things in common. Both of these poems are written in the first person. That means that both poems are written from the point of view of the speaker. Also, vivid imagery was used in both. “Cleaning the Well,” Lines 11-13: “The sky hovered like some pale moon above, eclipsed by this heavy red face bellowing down to me not to dally.” “I Love the Look of Words,” Lines 11-14: “like the sweet smell of butter perfuming my fingers long after the popcorn is finished.” Finally, they both have a strong idea for the poem. A comparison is a great thing to write about and a memory is a great moment to experience on paper.

The two poems have many differences too. “Cleaning the Well” takes you back in time to a moment in someone’s history that was worth writing about. “I Love the Look of Words” stays in the present and takes two different things and shows the similarities. The poem by Maya Angelou has similes comparing eating popcorn and reading a book. But the poem by Paul Ruffin doesn’t contain any similes as it focuses on creating a picture. “Cleaning the Well” provides a clear and important message. Finally, the layout/format of the poems are different as one has more stanzas. As you can see, the is a huge difference between the two poems.

I like the poem “Cleaning the Well” the most out of the two mostly for a few main reasons. First, this poem takes you to a different time period where things are different from the present. You can learn about how the people in the past had to get their water from a well and clean their own well. I also like that this poem has a certain theme/ important message that proves that everything cannot be done perfectly. This is proven in lines 34-37. I like this poem the most because of the great format. It’s still a poem, though it is not separated into many stanzas and doesn’t have a rhyme scheme. Finally, the poem uses vivid imagery to paint a picture that I can clearly see in my mind.

            I like “Cleaning the Well” more because of it’s time period, vivid imagery, important message, and poetic freedom. The poet is free to choose a certain format, provide a certain message, paint a vivid picture, and take you back in time. I think that Paul Ruffin is a great poet who can take different ideas and make them into a piece of writing. Though I do not know who he is, I appreciate the knowledge he has given me through this poem.

Second Ivy Essay

2nd Essay

            This essay is based on two articles. The first one is named “A Dog Year” by Jon Katz. The Second one is named “Climbing the Ladder” by Joseph Bruchac. My favorite article of the two is “A Dog Year” by Jon Katz. The reasons why I like that article is because it talks about man’s best friend and because it is a story about bonding.

            There are many similarities between these two articles. First, they are both about a true experience and are both first person narratives. The articles are both memories or have memories in them. Second, they have a lot of positive thoughts in them. In the article “A Dog Year” there is a positive memory about handing the dog to his daughter. “I personally don’t believe there’s a more rewarding moment for a parent than handing a happy, squirming, doe-eyed Lab puppy over to a small kid.” Third, both the articles talk about relationships. In the article “Climbing the Ladder” it talks about the relationship between the narrator and his grandfather. In the article “A Dog Year” it talks about the relationship between the narrator and his two dogs.

            There are many differences between these two articles. First, the article “A Dog Year” is longer than “Climbing the Ladder”. “A Dog Year” is 29 paragraphs while “Climbing the Ladder” is 17 paragraphs. Second, the article “A Dog Year” is wrote to entertain the reader with this exciting story. The article “Climbing the Ladder” is wrote to inform the reader about the Abenaki people’s strange characteristics. The final difference is that the article “Climbing the Ladder” has dialogue but the article “A Dog Year” doesn’t.

            My favorite article of the two articles is the article “A Dog Year”. First, it is about man’s best friend, the dog. Any article or story that involves a dog always interests me. A dog is a fun, playful animal. Second, this story involves a lot of bonding between the narrator and Julius and Stanley. The reason I know they bonded is because the narrator knows their every move. “After some years—Stanley was seven and Julius eight—we moved almost like a school of fish, the three of us veering in one direction, then another.”

            All in one, these two articles were very interesting. They had many similarities and differences. To me, I think that Joseph Bruchac and Jon Katz can illustrate their memories of these situations very well with the amount of detail they used.

First Ivy Essay

Writing Workshop
1st Essay

            This essay is based on the poem “Cleaning the Well” by Paul Ruffin and “I love the look of Words” by Maya Angelou. Both of these are very similar and different in many ways. My favorite of the two is cleaning the Well. There are many why I like that poem the most.

            There are many similarities between the two poems. First, they are both first person narratives. They are spoke by a person who says “I”. Second, both poems use vivid imagery in multiple instances. In cleaning the well, “My feet rasped against cold stone, toes selecting unnatural shapes, curling and gripping, raising them to my fingers.” The Final similarity between these 2 poems is that they both have similies. In I Love the look of Words, here is a simile. “When I have stopped reading, ideas from the words stay stuck in my mind, like the sweet smell of butter.”

            There are a lot of differences between these two poems. First, I love the Look of Words is in stanza form while cleaning the well is not. Second, Cleaning the Well is a bit longer than I love the Look of Words. Cleaning the Well is 43 lines and I love the look of Words is 18 lines. Finally, Cleaning the Well is in a story form while I love the look of words is not. Cleaning the well tells a tale of … cleaning a well!

            My favorite poem of the two is cleaning the well. First, Cleaning the well tells a story. I like poems with stories because I can be immersed in that story while it still is a poem. Second, while Maya Angelou is still an amazing poet, I feel that Paul Ruffin did a wonderful job explaining, writing, and creating a picture of this poem.

            Overall, these two poems had many similarities and differences. I liked them very much. From these two poems, I can conclude that Maya Angelou likes to compare two objects or thoughts in her poetry and Paul Ruffin likes to tell stories in his poetry. I have learned a lot from this essay.