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Test Review Video Tutorials!
February 22, 2013 4:04 pm • 2,427 views • No Comments

To prepare for their math test next week, the eighth graders divided up problems and created short tutorials to share on kidblog.
 

The Giver Discussions
February 22, 2013 8:10 am • 4,423 views • No Comments

by the Sixth Grade

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May 20, 2013 8:05 pm • 41,935 views • No Comments

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

by the Seventh Grade

Kyle Garden Final“A grey pillbug skitters across the towering woodchips. The trees are swaying with the smooth breeze. They are green with health, blooming out with the mighty force of spring… Out with the cold and frost, in with an explosion of life.”

“When you are away from society and everyday life, you start to think about the little things… You start to pay attention to that one little leaf or branch that can’t seem to hold onto its home and unfortunately falls to the ground… All of the stress of society seems to leave you with the wind… Before, I never really paid attention to this bush, but now I find it really fascinating. The bush has a mixture of bright golden leaves and dark, rich green leaves. The colors of the leaves really catch my eye. In society, there are paints and colored pencils which are dark green and golden, but they don’t have the exact pigment as the leaves on the bush.”

“I don’t want the rules and demands of now. But this is where humans have chosen to go, so there must be a reason. Right? A tree blows in the wind, so complex in its simplicity. I, as a person, have trouble seeing the “now,” as Mr. Choi wants us to. I close my eyes, lay back, and just breathe for a moment. Time to go. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. Maybe we need rules, requirements, in order to live life as civil creatures. But we also need this. Nature.”

“All around I hear the birds singing. They repeat the same thing over and over again. As for smelling, I can’t smell anything. The pollen from the plants and the trees is plugging up my nose.”

“I feel that it would be better to come [out to nature] with a child. Out in the open, with no one around except for us two. Teach it that there is more to life than video games and money. Teach them that the world is something to appreciate and not take advantage of.”

“Someday all of this could be gone. I have to make the best of the cooling wind, the bird calls, the burning sun.. I love how the birds communicate like we speak to each other… used to speak to each other. Now we have technology to talk: telephone, skype, texting, etc. The sounds of nature are like an entire orchestra playing for the whole world but some people refuse to listen.”

“Of course, living in the city is just as good. But sometimes, you need some separation from human-made things and stress, and take some time to soak in what nature has to offer.”

“Though they are all around me, I try to block out the sight of brick buildings. They are simply a reminder of the indoor society I have come from. Through technology is appealing, this is better.

In my honest opinion, not even for the sake of this essay, if I could leave my troubles behind and sit here in the shade, it would be bliss. And yet, sadly, I cannot. My mind is plugged in with ideas of Literature Projects and Algebra exams.”

“I’ll be honest – 99% of the time I hate nature. It’s so moist and there are so many animals and so many places to injure yourself. Occasionally, a retreat outside is very relaxing. The soft, gentle breeze dancing on my skin makes me breathe in calm and relaxation. The cool rock I’m sitting on feels unknown to my urban-oriented body. Birdsong is echoing in my ears, the sun’s rays warming my clothing. This is actually a great feeling.

As an airplane flies above me, I realize that even though humanity is ever so much becoming globalized, humanity and nature are united. Water echoes and forms waves, heading to the edge very slowly, like cotton floating in the air.”

“The warm sun shines down on me as the wind works to cool me off with a small breeze. If it weren’t for the sounds of the city plaguing the garden, I might believe I was away from all things urban. The lively bugs seem to catch my interest far more than any colorful flower gently swaying. But I’ve always taken more of a liking to the beings that dwell in the dirt more than what lurks in the grass.”

“…if I close my eyes, I am no longer in the school’s garden, but in a forest, filled with trees and small animals. But one cannot stay in Paradise forever.”

“It’s difficult to really enjoy nature and its beauty because even though there’s still fresh mud, tall and looming trees, the smell of grass still wet from this morning’s shower, this nature is not pure. It has been tainted by civilization. As I look around me I see flowers that were trampled, fences put up, bits of wrappers shining in the sunlight, and the low hum of a garbage truck that is picking up its daily trash that is only a few feet away from this supposedly beauteous area.

When I look around myself I don’t feel exactly sad. How can I feel sad about something that doesn’t even have feelings of its own? No, more than that I feel guilty. I feel that over the decades man has tampered so much with nature that there is no chance of return. That we have somehow destroyed this fresh, innocent, and free life and caged it like an animal at the zoo… But maybe that is life itself. Nature is much like an infant. They are born pure, innocent, and clean of any darkening record. But as life continues, just like everyone else, they are colored by dirty civilization.”

“Nature is so peaceful, and sadly most people don’t have time to experience it. What I like about nature is that feeling you get when the wind makes the trees rustle. The sun is almost at its highest point, and it’s a clear sky, basically a perfect day.”

“We can no longer escape into our backyards because we are swamped with tomorrow’s worry. Even now, as I sit outside surrounded by leafy plants and skinny trees, I’m forced to think of everything that I going on at the current time. A garbage truck roars by, there’s a faint smell of food in the distance and my paper rests right above a folder packed with homework and projects to complete. As we all grow and attain responsibilities, the purpose of life doesn’t seem to be “just living” and it instead becomes achieving and living to the absolute fullest. This idea in society may seem like a good thing but it instead plagues our idea and thwarts our perspective into believing that we cannot be happy without society’s greatest values.

Being in society gives you an automatic background that begins at your birth and teaches everyone exactly what to think of you. A fresh start gives you another chance. If we as people could put everything behind us and not judge people by their clothes, hair, or even first impressions and knowledge we would find the cleanest slate there is. It is difficult to believe that that would ever be achievable in modern day society. It clearly isn’t. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t judge unless an action is too unforgivable. What we live in is far form a perfect society and even in my tiny spot of wilderness I am forced to look down on others and think highly of some. Without society, even in the forest preserve, a person can forget what they think of everyone and everything.”

“You will never be able to escape society. The garden is only a façade masking the outside city. Apartment buildings tower over, blocking the sun. Steel machines and garbage trucks can be heard in the background. You can travel thousands and thousands of miles but society will always find you.”

“While [nature] may be calming, I know it is not something I would dedicate my life to. Even as a cool breeze blows along, and I see a line of rocks, with my feet on the woodchips, my mind drifts to school, projects, and society. I could never bring myself to leave, no matter how stressful it is. My priority is school and grades, not so much peace and nature. I have grown accustomed to society and the comfort it grants in me.”

“I also see a monkey staring at me. This monkey appears to be wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and basketball shoes. He makes funny noises when he speaks. Not only is there one monkey, there are 32 in all, all different sizes and shapes, wearing different things, making different noises.”

“This is where I belong, not trapped in normal civilization. Out here, in nature, where I know I am free. Where I feel I am free, where I am free… Why do the animals not have the same rules?”

“…it can’t be held back forever. The city comes rushing back.”

“Society is like a machine. You are expected to work like clockwork, and keep under the power of one central part. The outside world, though, is more like an experiment… Society keeps us all alive, and well, and fed, but it leaves an empty feeling.”

“To be honest, nothing really matters. The stress of 7th grade isn’t worth it. We shouldn’t be worrying about high schools. The main thing is we need to survive. You don’t need to know Algebra, and I shouldn’t have to worry about correct grammar. What we need is shelter, food, and water. A lot of times the question is, “Why us Why do we have the thinking capacity we do? What separates us from animals?… Why should we stress ourselves out to the point of exhaustion, and physical consequences, for something that doesn’t matter? My guess is that we need a goal. But is our goal to provide us with success or to stay alive?

“The things that do last forever are good friendships and family.”

“The warmth of the sun feels good on my neck. I might have sunburn later, but that’s later and this is now. Living in the moment is something I always have trouble with. I can never take a moment to stop and enjoy living. Somewhere in the back of my head, I’m always thinking about what I have to do and how I need to finish this and that. It’s nice to just sit down here in the garden and reflect. But even here, it isn’t like I’m in some secluded area. I can hear lawn mowers and other machines humming, and there are cars chugging their way noisily down the street. Sometimes, I honestly hate how civilization ruins everything, but I’m a part of the problem.”

“There are an infinite number of hidden places… nooks and crannies and no rules against them.”

“Nature in general has more flavor than society. That’s why some people can only take it in small bits. You have to work harder to get everything, and everything becomes more precious. You have to remember that everything else around you is living too. It gives you respect for everything because everything is living with you. Speaking and voices sound out of place, because we hear other voices too.”

“The sun is shining Why must we deny and disregard what is there? Are we that insensitive to life?”

“I think I’d actually enjoy being a hermit. To get away from all of the pressure. But that would be running away, wouldn’t it? It would be admitting defeat… That’s why I will never hide. And soon, everyone’s problems will be over, because everything’s got an end… That’s one thing in common with nature and society: the weaklings get killed, and the strong ones stay alive.

“What is important? Is this important? Are questions important? Seeing things with a clear mind is seeing things in a new light. Every little rock, every leaf and every woodchip garners new importance, new possibilities. New questions come to mind, new goals, new philosophies.

On a nice day like this, with warm air and a slight breeze, and nature swirling around you, nothing seems to matter. Basked in sunlight, while leaves chase each other around the pavement, you relax. It doesn’t seem to matter if you fail a test. Harsh reality gives way to a fresh, calm, relaxed perspective. You can almost picture yourself in 20 years, frolicking in meadows amidst bird calls and rustling branches. Almost. But there is always a nagging sensation in the back of your mind. Responsibility.

But nature also has that kind of stress. Survival. Reproduction. Harsh winters and blazing summers. Predators, hunger. That’s we invented modern society. To get away from that. In the end, it all goes full circle, and to truly live, you need to balance modern life with ancient life, civilization with the wilderness, and enjoy life while it lasts.”

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April 12, 2013 11:09 am • 9,643 views • No Comments

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 5.25.02 PMby the Sixth Grade

To start our Holocaust unit, we began by thinking about the historical beginnings of the Holocaust. We started with a discussion and reflection (on Kidblog) on prejudice — what it is and where it exists, as far away as foreign countries, as near as our classroom. We examined a few poems, including one about Hitler as a baby, and the issue of personal responsibility vs. life circumstances. Then we began jotting down what we knew as a class about the Holocaust, then generated questions that we want to know. We spent a few periods researching WWII and the Holocaust. And before beginning our Holocaust-related fiction books, we came together for a ~15 minute long discussion around an eduational Holocaust website.

Poetry »

April 11, 2013 6:55 pm • 3,548 views • No Comments

by Esther, Seventh Grade

Be who you want to be

That’s a lie

We are who the world wants us to be

We are who our labels dictate that we are

You don’t think about who you are

You think about who the world thinks you are

You think about how to keep that mask on

You think about how you can be another of them

Another mass produced Barbie

No brains

No personality

That perfect doll the world wants you to be

And we’re spoon-fed what they call knowledge

And our eyes are closed to the truth

And we can try to fight the system

But the truth is that we’ll never win

Middle age faking youth

You can put on pounds of makeup but will that really be you?

Little girls in low cut shirts

Honey, you don’t wanna grow up

Better have a childhood while you can

Cause you’ll never get it back

Teenage girls wearing too much on their face

Too little on their bodies

Having babies left and right

You can complain about your problems

But you should’ve kept your legs shut tight

We live a hoax everyday

Convince ourselves that we’re A-OK

We talk about saving children in Africa

Save our own children first

They have everything but can we save them from themselves?

At least in Africa, children want to learn

8 years olds here, pants down to their knees

“I’ve got swag, who needs school?”

I’ll speak in your language,

Bro, you think that’s cool?

You won’t think that anymore

When you hear in front of you,

“One McMuffin, please, and a medium coffee too.”

We’re told that we’re one of a kind,

They were lying to us the entire time

No one is unique in this twisted world,

You can’t keep yourself

From the molds of today’s time

But you can try

At least you won’t be a stereotype

Dumb blonde, nerdy Asian, put all that aside

You’re a person, not a label,

You’re an individual, not a group

We are separate parts of a larger wave

We are the generation

That just might make

Our ancestors roll over in their graves.

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April 11, 2013 6:26 pm • 6,040 views • No Comments

by Leo, Sixth Grade

#1

I think that I have a lot of dream talents but this is probably number 1. I would want to be able to read really fast like Anchen and be able to remember it all and understand it like Nicolas Benedict or George (Sticky) Washington from “The Mysterious Benedict Society.” With this talent I could gain knowledge really fast and read quickly for enjoyment. If I had this talent I would be done with the Giver the day we got it. It would be awesome. Also I am not very good at French and if I had this talent I could probably read the book 40 times through and perhaps have a better understanding. This would also help me on the ISATs because I could breeze through the passages for reading and get right on to the questions. It would help for history fair too. For research instead of trying to skim through an article or something you could simply read the whole thing really fast. Finally, it would be good for tests, quizzes, or other memorization required assignments. Imagine if you could, like Sticky, glance at the piece of paper for your vocabulary test tomorrow and memorize every single word, definition, and extra credit root on the paper.

#2

The second talent I would want to have would be to be able to learn languages really easily. I would want this talent so, like said before, I could do well in French. Also with this talent I would want to learn how to speak Korean (actually all languages but mainly Korean) because then I can talk to my grandparents who aren’t as good at speaking English. Also my mom always says stuff in Korean if she doesn’t want me to know what she is saying and I don’t like that so I would want to learn how to speak Korean to prevent her from doing that. Furthermore, I would learn all languages so that if I were to go somewhere out of the country I could communicate with anyone.

#3

My third and final talent I would want would be to be athletic as in I can play many sports very well, have a good understanding of the game, and know what to do with the puck, ball, etc. I think that this would be a good talent for enjoying sports and to have fun with.

These talents I think would help me everywhere including school.

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April 11, 2013 6:17 pm • 41,149 views • No Comments

by Grant, Sixth Grade

Everywhere you look, you will probably find prejudice in one form or another. It can be small, like excluding someone from a game, or it could be a horrific mess, like the Holocaust. The problem is, we can never be completely rid of this terrible thing. It could be primal nature to form a “pack”, and say other “packs” are evil. Or it could be fear of the unknown. If there was, say, some random guy who met someone from a country that he had never heard of, or heard bad things about that country, it’s possible that could egg on a prejudice side.

There are so many things people are prejudice about too. It could be religion, nationality, clothes, intelligence, gender, strengths, the list goes on; There are also a ton of ways to act out prejudice, it could be calling names, or hurting physically, or stealing from them, the list goes on here too. his could also be bad for this said prejudice person, revenge is something that could be acted on them. Things can also go from bad to worse when other people try to “solve the problem” but most likely make it worse. The best thing to do (usually) is to find and tell an authority, be that a teacher, or police man/woman. Why would people become prejudice? Well, that might just be because they have some crazy theory about a nationality or a religion; It could also be caused by a rumor or plain out lie they heard, or the person that someone’s prejudice about said or did something they didn’t explain. Also people can be taught to be prejudice because of a religion or a group of people telling then they should be prejudice (possibly with an “or else” at the end). So, in all, prejudice is a bad thing (obviously) and it really bothers people it’s still out there; but there going to need to put up with it1
wherever people differ in race, gender, religion, etc. there will always be prejudice.

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April 11, 2013 6:17 pm • 23,458 views • No Comments

by Molly, Sixth Grade

One thing I have never understood is one man cannot get married. The brain knows no limits of love to other humans so why try to stop it? I understand if it’s against your religion, i have no problem with that. That doesn’t mean you have to go and tell people that they can’t get married because its against your religion. Everyone has to know the difference between opinion and limit of man.

This has been a big deal in the christian religion. Their argument is that in the book of Leviticus (from the Bible) says something against the gay marriage. What they fail to acknowledge is that in that same book it say we can’t get a haircut. A HAIRCUT. I guess we’re skipping that one? People say it’s against religion, but know who had two dads, people saying it says no in the bible.? Jesus.

Then there are the people that say that we have no need to change and that is how we have been running things since the dawn of time and has been accepted until the the past 100 or 200 years. I encourage people to have ideas of their own, but at least have the dignity to keep those opinions to yourself and have respect for your others human beings. Did you know that homosexuality- same sex marriage/ mating- exists in 450 species, homophobia- discrimination against gays- exists in one. Which seems unnatural now?

When the Decloration of Indepandance was signed in 1776, America pledged to give the people freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to the pursuit of happiness. The freedom intends that you are free, of in a state of freedom. In this case doing what you want freely. Pursuit of happiness intends that you can do what makes you happy. When you put the two together you get the freedom to do what makes you happy freely. Unless the definition of Pursuit of Happiness has changed I believe being able to start a family of someone of the same sex is included in the pursuit of happiness, if it makes you happy.

Even from a young age gay marriage can be frowned upon in the simplest ways. Maybe not even frowned upon, maybe just not acknowledged, because of the thought of going against the status quo. Why Jack and Jill? Can it be Jack and Bill? I honestly don’t know who would stop people from rebelling from society to get their right to start a family with two mothers or fathers, because I bet, if Martin Luther King was still alive, he would say we need another movement for Gay Rights.

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April 11, 2013 6:16 pm • 15,336 views • No Comments

Adapted from The Giver, by Sophie, Sixth Grade

“What is your favorite?” Jonas asked me. “You don’t have to give it away yet,” he added quickly. “Just tell me about it, so I can look forward to it, because I’ll have to receive it when your job is done.”

I smiled. “Lie down,” I said. “I’m happy to give it to you.”

Jonas smiled as soon as the memory left my hands and entered his mind. It was my memory from before I became the Receiver. Before everything and everyone became the same.

080It was a summer day, in late July. The sun was rising. You could begin to see the light from the sun breaking through the treetops. Green trees swayed in the light breeze. Jonas now stood where I once stood. He stood before the lake. The water quietly rippled along with the breeze. Jonas stood in the shadow of a large tree. The branches stretched down to about 3 or 4 feet above the ground. A few people walked toward him. He realized they were two girls. One smiled and said “Come on we are going to be late!” They motioned for him to follow. They ran down a dirt road and Jonas followed out of curiousity. He saw the dirt lift into the air as they sped down the road. He kept his eyes on the people, that’s when it came to him. Their names: Anna and Amy . They were both blonde. Amy had glasses rimmed with a light blue color. Amy and Anna slowed down so Jonas could catch up when Anna said “Hey Sophie, you okay?” Jonas looked puzzled.

“Sophie,” he thought to himself, “that must be her name. She never told me her name. The Receiver’s name must be Sophie!” He then said to the girls, “Yeah, I just don’t run a lot. I’m not used to this.” He then motioned his hands to the surrounding nature.

Amy laughed softly then replied, “I know how you feel! Running isn’t my favorite sport either. But we’re almost there so, no complaining!” Jonas was confused by this, but he soon realized Amy was joking. She pointed to a spot just above a small hill. Jonas followed her finger with his eyes and took off running up the hill.

“It’s about to start! Come on, sit by us.” Anna said as she walked over to a wooden log. They were all rotten and covered in moss. The logs were “built” into the ground. Amy followed her sitting on the log, like there wasn’t anything weird about it. Jonas followed in pursuit. As he sat on the log, he realized it was soft. It was not rough like the trees he had felt in other memories. Jonas felt comfortable sitting there.

Jonas first heard it in some other language. He did not understand it, at first. But then the words popped in to his head: ”Let the ceremony begin!” someone said with a microphone. People began to dance in traditional garments. The colors of the garments grew more vibrant as they moved around with the dancers. At the bottom of the hill was a… basketball court. He thought it was strange that something so modern would be in such an untouched place. Then followed… singers and speakers. Once it was all over a… band performed until morning. As for Jonas, he stayed with his new friends and ran around. The memory ended with laughter. All at once everyone smiled at one another and laughed. Somewhere a bell rung, it was midnight.

“Jonas, did you enjoy it?” I asked him.

“I loved it. There was nature everywhere! I made even new friends!” Jonas told me. I smiled, wishing he had been there when it happened, when it happened for real. Jonas smiled at me, and continued to babble on about the memory. All I could do was smile.