Monday, April 30, 2018

What Makes a Great Teacher? by Brandi

Everyone has teachers they will remember forever. These are the teachers who make students want learn. These are the teachers that inspire, motivate, and encourage students to reach for the stars. What makes these teachers so great, though? In my opinion, a great teacher is defined by three things: their level of optimism about their students, the enthusiasm they show for teaching, and the creativity they express in their class.

Teachers who students remember are those that are optimistic, even when it isn’t the brightest day. Even when a student might be struggling on a topic, failing tests, or just not believing in his or herself, great teachers are a source of hope. They push students farther to help them grow from their struggles and are always optimistic about a student’s potential.

Nothing is better for a student than when a teacher is enthusiastic about the topic they are teaching. How can a student love a subject, when a teacher doesn't love teaching it? The best teachers are those who come in excited and enthusiastic to teach students about whatever the subject is - and not just on the first day of school, but even on the dullest of days.

    Finally, what makes a teacher and a class fun is the creativity. Creative teachers who come up with new and fun activities to teach students all of the subjects are able to get more excitement back from their students. Both the student and the teacher enjoy the class more and students are more eager to learn when learning doesn’t seem like a chore.

    I want to say thank you to all of Byram’s great teachers - their optimism, enthusiasm, and creativity makes our school a better place! I will miss you next year!

The Matrix by Natalie B.

The Matrix is a movie that is about a man named Neo who believes that Morpheus an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question,what is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity, a stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a team of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.

    The movie was released in 1999 and starred Keanu Reeves as Neo.  It was the most popular action movie of the times and also invented some camera tricks that are used today.  Some other cast members are Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, and Hugo Weaving.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Reading Shakespeare by Brandi

Reading Shakespeare

For the second marking period, in Mrs.Loredo’s period 8/9, 8th grade ELA class, my peers and I spent a marking period reading and learning from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We spent the marking period reading the play, thinking about the important themes, writing essays, performing in acting companies, and engaging in Socratic. Overall, the marking period was a great introduction to Shakespeare and his work to eighth graders.

William Shakespeare’s work is read around the world by all different types of people. By young and by old; students, teachers, and beyond. Shakespeare’s work was popular back when it was written - in the 16th and 17th century and continues to be popular to this day. Some consider Shakespeare to be the best writer of all time and some don’t even believe Shakespeare to really have penned his own work. Despite all this, Shakespeare's work has the influence it does, because of the amazing themes it touches on, the challenge of reading it, the insight it provides, and most of all the beauty of the writing.

Shakespeare’s comedic play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream features idiotic tradesmen putting on a play, four lovers who run away into a forest, and magical fairies who love to cause mischief. Forbidden love, rebellion, controlling parents, magic love potions, and fairy rulers conflicts are all parts that make the play a true page turner.

Overall, I thought the play was an excellent one to be the first one students are exposed to. It is light-hearted, funny, and still gives an excellent understanding of what Shakespeare's plays are so famous for. This play is excellent for eighth graders to read and study, because it shows us the beauty of Shakespeare's work, lets us learn how to work through the sometimes hard-to-understand text of Shakespeare's writing, and allows us to begin studying the themes Shakespeare puts into his plays.

After reading my first Shakespearean play, I can say I definitely do see the value in reading Shakespeare and studying his work. I am looking forward to seeing which of Shakespeare's plays I will be able to read and study in high school.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Jazz Band by Natalie B

Hi guys! Our school’s Jazz Band, also known as The Byram Blues Jazz band, has started again with new members from 6th, 7th and 8th grade. We had about a week or two to practice and prepare for tryouts. I had about 3 to 4 days to practice since I agreed to tryout much later.

We sat in the music room and improvised a solo, played some scales, and in the end, we all made it! After tryouts, we were given songs to practice and play. We have rehearsals afterschool on Mondays ,and before school on Fridays. Plus, we are able to have some practice time during school. We have worked very hard to play as a band. We currently know "Five Spot after Dark", "Listen Here" and 2 other songs.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Political Cartoons by Brandi

Political Cartoons

Political cartoons - You can find them in newspapers and online. They aren’t like regular cartoons, because they aren’t simply meant to entertain. They are created by artists who want to convey a political point. Sometimes they poke fun, sometime they are a source of inspiration, and sometimes they simply depict what is going on in the world today.

Political cartoons are an important part of political expression in the now. The artist is trying to show how they feel about a current event through art and humor. However, not all political cartoons are happy. Some have a somber feel. Take a look at the feeling conveyed in one after the September 11th attack.

Political cartoons can convey important political messages or mark history. In fact, some very famous political cartoons are still looked at today in classroom’s to explain history and how people felt about important events that we now call ‘history’. The image below is an example.

This political cartoon is hard to analyze, but it is actually about the Embargo Act of 1807. During Jefferson’s presidency he banned all trading on foreign ports, because of conflict with Great Britain. This caused an uproar for people, because it significantly hurt jobs and the American economy. This political cartoon showed how people felt about the Embargo Act. Ograbme is actually Embargo spelled backwards. The man who wants to trade goods is struggling, because the turtle, Ograbme, is holding him back. The other man is swearing and saying how this nicks the man.

This cartoon is actually something my peers and I analyzed in Mrs.Ward’s 8th Grade American History class, when learning about the Embargo Act during our study of Jefferson’s presidency. After our analysis, we begin working on a project learning about current day political cartoons and making our own political cartoon. The project is supposed to convey a political viewpoint. We hand drew our cartoons and then wrote a few paragraphs explaining what techniques we used in our cartoon. We also wrote about our viewpoints and what different parts of our cartoon symbolize.

I found this project to be really interesting, because of how it related to something going on in the real world. So maybe next time you see a political cartoon, in the newspaper, or even online you will think about what political message the author is trying to convey.

Interested in more? Here is the link to a political cartoonist website that 8th graders looked at in Mrs.Ward’s 8th grade class: