December 9, 2005
Thanks and Farewell
It is quite a wonderful surprise to hear from you once more before the end of the semester. I began to think that you would not respond to any of my entries anymore. I appreciate it. I missed our short, informative conversations. I really enjoyed taking several or more minutes out of the day to learn more about you and what it is like at Lincoln Elementary. How are you doing? How is school? I do hope all is well for you. As for myself, I am doing quite well. I feel so much better than before. I slept quite a bit during Thanksgiving. I also spent some quality time with several friends and family. My older brother and his wife came to visit my family for a week. It was nice having him over at my house. It was a wonderful feeling to have shift my thoughts elsewhere other than education for once. How was Thanksgiving? What did you do for Thanksgiving? I hope it was fun. I have some unfortunate news for you. Sadly, this will be my final entry for the semester. I would like to thank you for taking some time out of your life to respond to my entries. I truly appreciate it. Before I leave, I would like to leave you with some advice. You can do anything if you are willing to put forth the time and effort needed to succeed. Do not give up. Try your best and work hard. Keep it up and someday you will be an archaeologist or scientist. I wish the best for you now and for years to come. Best of luck to you. Well, I am afraid I must go now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you and farewell my friend.
November 15, 2005
Responding to Comments
It is good to hear from you again. How are you doing? How is school treating you? I do hope all is well for you. As for myself, I am starting to feel a little sick. It appears to be a cold. It might be from me not getting any rest. I haven't slept lately. I have been too busy to get some sleep. I have so many things to do before Thanksgiving. I can feel the stress slowly building up inside me. Do you have a lot of homework? Speaking of which, what are you doing for Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for this year? I am going to spend time with some friends and family. I have two brothers; I have a younger and an older brother. My younger brother can be annoying at times, but life without him wouldn't be the same. I just ignore him when he is annoying and go about my business. My older brother is married, so I have a sister-in-law. My brother and his wife will be visiting soon. Is it difficult to learn in class while everyone is shouting and being disrespectful? I am glad to hear that you are trying your best. Keep it up and someday you'll be an archaeologist or a scientist. I want to be a psychologist. I find the topics covered in psychology to be quite interesting. It is something I truly want to do. Life at home for me is quite similar to yours. It is in between good and bad. I can live with how it is. It could be worse. We're also similar in what music we listen to. What sort of techno do you listen to? Have you heard of ATB? Do you like to dance? Well, I must go. I hope to hear from you soon. Feel free to ask me more questions. Thanks for your time.
November 7, 2005
Another Response to the Comments
How are you? I hope all is well. To begin, I would like to thank you once again for taking some time out of your life to respond to my last entry. Thank you for your patience too. I apologize for not responding to your questions until just now. My attention was somewhere else these past couple of days. I have been a little preoccupied lately with several assignments that are due in some of my classes. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with homework before? I strongly dislike such a feeling. Even so, I usually just ignore it and work until I am finished. It is similar to the saying, "Work before play." Anyhow, it is a pleasure to continue to communicate with you and other students over at Lincoln Elementary. I believe I will visit Lincoln next Friday with a number of other students in this course. It's a possibility I might see you and your class. I do hope you do decide on what you want to do when you grow up someday. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up though. You should enjoy life and all the little things in it. I didn't figure out what I wanted to do until just recently. Our decisions on what to be in the future change as we grow up and mature. At first, I wanted to be involved in chemistry, but I discovered I had a stronger interest in psychology. If you truly like science, I highly encourage you to continue on in it. It could possibly be a career for you. I'm glad to hear that your teachers are doing well in teaching the material. If you are failing in a course, the professor will let you know. At certain points in the semester, professors notify you of your progress through e-mail. Even though your classes may seem difficult, do not give up. Try your best and work hard. What is it like in class? It seems as though we have a lot in common. I go biking quite often with my younger brother when it is warm outside. Do you have any brothers or sisters? What is life like at home? Outside of education, I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family. I also have a strong interest in music. I collect all sorts of music, including rock and techno. What sort of music do you listen to? I like to listen to punk rock. I do not live on campus. I live at home with my family, and I drive to the University of Minnesota everyday to attend my classes. The reason I am living at home is that there are more benefits to living at home than a dorm. I apologize because I must leave to help my younger brother out with his project. I hope to hear from you soon though. Feel free to ask me more questions. Thank you for your time.
October 31, 2005
Response to the Comments
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and respond to my previous entry. It is a pleasure to finally be able to hear from you and get to know more about you and what it's like at Lincoln Elementary. I would like to begin by apologizing if I had offended you in any way by making incorrect assumptions about Lincoln. When I made such an assumption, I was under the impression that students at Lincoln have great difficulty in learning because of the environment, which appeared to be unsafe from my perspective. I'm glad to hear that your school provides a good environment for students to learn, but do you feel safe at home? A large number of crimes do occur in North Minneapolis. What's life like in your neighborhood? Anyhow, I highly encourage you to continue your education. You can do anything if you are willing to put forth the time and effort needed to succeed. The University of Minnesota is a wonderful learning experience with many opportunities for students. A large number of majors and minors are available for you to choose from. What do you want to be in the future? I'm sure you will enjoy it if you decide to attend there in the future. The U of M provides students with many resources to support your education such as advisors, libraries, resource centers, and tutors to help you whenever you are in need of help. Depending on the professor, they do take the time to help you, but it usually occurs outside of class. Outside of education, you will have the opportunity to meet all sorts of people. I find topics covered in psychology to be really interesting. It's a lot of work though, but I enjoy the course. I am doing quite well in the course. Thank you for asking. How about you? What is your favorite class? Do you find your classes to be difficult? Do your teachers teach the material well? What do you like to do for fun outside of school? Once again, if you have anymore questions for me, feel free to ask. Thank you for your time.
October 21, 2005
To Lincoln Elementary Students
After much difficulty, it is a pleasure to be able to write to you. From this experience, I hope to get to know some of you students and to have a better understanding of Lincoln Elementary. First of all, allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Andy, and I am 19 years old. I am from Newport, MN, a small city outside of Saint Paul. I am currently a student at the University of Minnesota. My reason for going on to further my education at the U is to have a successful life in the future. I hope to enter the field of psychology, which I have a strong interest in as of now. Outside of education, I have interests in collecting all sorts of music from rock to techno, driving, and spending time with friends and family. Now that I have introduced myself, I would like to ask you several questions, which I hope you would take the time to respond for me. What is the environment like at Lincoln Elementary? Do you enjoy going to school? Do you have any difficulty in paying attention in class? Do you like your teachers? Do you feel safe at school? What is your neighborhood like? I hope to hear from you soon. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. Thank you for your time.
October 17, 2005
The topic of discussion this week in Basic Writing is methods we should follow when developing a formal voice in our writing. It is necessary for students to learn how to speak and write in a manner that is fitting in the academic community. You are still able to be yourself in your writing though but to a certain extent. In writing, you must be careful, trying to avoid unnecessary sentences that tend to be a distraction from the topic at hand. Also, you should try to avoid using contractions and the use of inappropriate language. When writing, do not write as though you are speaking because it is more than likely that the use of contractions and slang would occur, which may be confusing to readers. Don't be too general when you are in the process of describing something. Instead of using really plain words such as the word "good" to describe how someone appears, you could use more descriptive words like "beautiful" or "stunning." If your writing requires the use of evidence, you should search for solid evidence and fit it in with the topic. All of the above should be considered when writing because such methods develop a formal voice in your writing.
October 12, 2005
Differences in Lincoln Elementary and New Life Academy
In comparison of myself and the children who attend Lincoln Elementary, I was quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to New Life Academy. The price for attending such a school was immense, but my family made sacrifices in order for my younger brother and I to go there. Such minor sacrifices cannot be compared to those made by families residing in North Minneapolis. They face far greater hardships than most would in my area. The question of where to send their children to school is the last thing on the parents' minds. They have more important things to worry about like making enough money to continue living in their home and to be able to put food on the table. Survival is far more important than education. According to a map of North Minneapolis, 26.8% are living below the poverty level. In such a position, a majority of the children are on Free and Reduced Price Lunch to be able to purchase food. They would not have anything else to eat if they choose not to participate. Because parents place most of their attention in making money, it is difficult for the children to receive necessary love and attention from them. New Life is located in Woodbury. It is a whole different story when compared to North Minneapolis. Families living in Woodbury are doing well financially. They have little trouble in giving their children the love and attention that they need. Even more, they are capable of sending their children to nice schools. Such schools are able to provide the children going there with necessary materials and resources such as pencils, crayons, paper, books, and computers. Lincoln Elementary, however, has some difficulty in providing such things for the students. Woodbury provides the residents with a safe neighborhood. In doing so, the children feel safe. For children going to Lincoln Elementary, however, they feel unsafe even at the school. The school is located in the heart of North Minneapolis. The area is known to be the center of criminal activity including the sale of drugs and prostitution. When asked, 59% of the students said that they felt unsafe. All of the above are possible factors that contribute to students doing poorly at Lincoln Elementary.
October 10, 2005
Children in America's Schools
It is rather difficult to believe that children in the state of Ohio actually attend educational facilities that are under terrible conditions. At such facilities, the structure contains large openings in the ceilings and walls. These openings would cause tremendous leaks inside the classrooms and halls. It may also lead to unwanted guests such as insects and rodents entering the structure. Because of the leaks, students would have to use an umbrella inside while walking to their classes. The children are limited in their access to a computer. If they were to use a computer, it would be old and not updated. Teachers would spend their own money to provide the children with needed materials such as paper and crayons. The textbooks being used are in poor condition with torn or missing pages and inappropriate words. The encyclopedias are old as to say, "We will someday send a man to the moon." Since the caffeteria was unavailable to students, they would go and purchase some food at a local bar or gas station. They would usually purchase unhealthy food items such as candy and pop. Free breakfast and lunch is available to a number of students. They would not have anything else to eat if they did not eat there. The children need care, love, and attention because they do not seem to receive it at home. There are too many students in one class, which makes it extremely difficult for teachers to give them their attention. After viewing such conditions, I have come to realize how fortunate I was to attend New Life Academy. Any of those students would have given anything to have been in my position. I am truly grateful and lucky to have had such an opportunity to go there.
October 5, 2005
The topic of discussion during our recent class was methods of avoiding plagiarism and MLA citation. I am quite familiar with MLA citation when it comes down to using sources such as books and websites in writing assignments. While in high school, I took a College Writing course, which focused on several aspects of writing such as the writing process, the basic elements of writing, and the forms of writing. The course, however, placed great emphasis on writing responsibly to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is known as stealing someone else's ideas and presenting them as your own. In order to avoid plagiarism, methods such as paraphrasing and quoting are available for one to use. To paraphrase is to use your words and your interpretations of and comments on the ideas you find in your sources. One should give credit when it is necessary. In such times, citing sources is important. There are numerous ways one could cite sources. It would be rather difficult to remember them all. I usually refer back to my College Writing textbook in order to properly cite my sources in any writing assignment. It's quite troublesome, but it is necessary.
October 3, 2005
Comparing LaRhonda Johnson and Sherman Alexie
Though LaRhonda may feel as though she is a leader in her school, she experiences great difficulty in the classroom. Her teachers see tremendous potential in her, but she is on the verge of failing most of her classes. She was good at school until after fifth grade. She considers such a time of her academic excellence as a time when she was being a "white girl." Because she hung out with white girls, she did well in school and was focused. After fifth grade, her family moved to a rough neighborhood. Drugs would be sold outside her house. She started hanging out with black girls, and her performance inside the classroom began to decline. The African-American community tends to not do well in academics. LaRhonda is the oldest of six children. She finds her family more important than her education. Taking care of her family is important. Being in school is not important. Though she doesn't want to make similar mistakes as her mother, she won't abandon her in such a time either. Since she is a woman, she is expected to take care of her family. When a teacher intervenes to meet her needs, she finds joy in teaching children.
Sherman finds joy in reading books. He learned how to read with a comic book. His father truly loved to read. He would spend his money on purchasing a number of books. Since his father loved books, he loved books too. When he understood the purpose of paragraph, he saw the world in paragraphs. Inside the classroom, Native American children were thought to be unable to understand any of the material. His classmates encouraged him to live up to those expectations. He refused to fail. He discovered his purpose in writing.