I beg to differ

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Hello my wonderful readers,


Today was the last day of my AP English 3 class. Sad face.

We were supposed to turn in this blog post last week, but I couldn’t get myself to write this until right now.

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I think I’m clever…round 2

It’s been one interesting year, for sure. I’ve learned, laughed, thought, written, and published so much. As I told Mr. Z earlier, I never knew coming into this class how different of an experience it would be from my previous English classes. That’s definitely a good thing, though – this was my favorite class after a long time!

I never took multiple-choice test to end a book, I wrote more of what I wanted to write (on here) than I wrote essays, we held discussions through Twitter, and sometimes in class, we discussed the rhetoric of FOOD very seriously.

Blogging has been extremely fun, and I want to thank you all as my readers for reading, liking, and some even commenting on my posts. All of it has given me invaluable encouragement that I greatly appreciate. I learned a lot about my opinions and how I could present them to the world. I learned how to remix two different ideas to make them more relatable and entertaining. I learned (through you all, my followers) that people want to hear what I have to say! And that feels amazing.

So thank you 🙂

I plan to keep up with this blog through the summer, whether it’s for more marginalia of Show Your Work!, or my experience in a collaborative reading of Smarter Than You Think, or maybe even my actual summer reading assignment: Candide. I hope that I will also be blogging for English class next year.

Whatever the case is, I hope you enjoy your summer!
…There is one last thing, however. If you have enjoyed reading my blog so far, and/or you think my writing has improved over the course of the year, please let me know! I would love to hear your feedback, no matter how little. If you don’t have the time, that’s okay too.


HB Tech Fest Review


Yesterday, May 29, 2014, I had the privilege of attending and briefly presenting at Huntington Beach Tech Fest. It was an awesome, 80s-themed experience for students and teachers alike. I learned so much about social media and technology!

The event started with a social breakfast. We were organized into teams to complete “quests” for points. I found that this was the only activity lacking throughout the day – I submitted a few quests before the keynote, but totally forgot about them later. I met a lot of teachers from other schools, some of them who surprisingly knew who I was…through my twitter handle!

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My nametag…I think I’m clever

The morning started off with an introduction by Mr. Chris Long, the organizer. Then there was a wonderful keynote by Amy Burvall, co-creator of ‘historyteachers’ music videos on Youtube, and Theory of Knowledge teacher at Le Jardin Academy. I have been following her on Twitter for some time now, so I am familiar with her work…but even the people who had never heard of her were captivated by her talk on “MTV: mobile, transliterate, visible”. During the talk, I was busy moderating the @HBTechFest Twitter account by following the #HBtechfest tag and retweeting key points. Funnily enough, when I looked up from my phone, half the audience was looking at their iPads, computers, or phones. It wasn’t that they weren’t paying attention, they were just listening and tweeting!


My first drawing made with Paper

Mrs. Burvall creates amazing hand-drawn slides with an app called “Paper” by 53. See her slide notes here.

Next was my presentation with Mr. Ziebarth. We discussed our networked reading of Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! with @Braddo on Twitter (post on that here). I received a lot of positive feedback from teachers 🙂 which was enough to make my day.

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Believe it or not, seeing teachers share your work is super encouraging

We split up into groups to read, annotate, and discuss different chapters of the book. I even received my own free copy of Show Your Work! 😀 THEN, as a lovely surprise, we all got onto a Google Hangout with Austin Kleon! Austin was very straightforward and humble when he answered questions – he wasn’t afraid to admit his shortcomings and doubts, which I thought was admirable.

selfie with austin kleon

#selfie #collannotationsgang

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Straight-faced but he’s really fanboying inside

Even @Braddo joined in on the fun!

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After that was a karaoke lunch full of 80s songs. (Side note: Weirdly enough, I knew most of the songs on the day’s playlist because my siblings were born in the late 80s, haha.) I got to interview Amy for the tech fest video! and there were Twitter cookies! and delicious MTV cupcakes! and Mr. Z did not one, but TWO karaoke songs! Yeah, lunch was fun.

I was conflicted on what session to attend next, but finally decided to stick to Amy’s Remix{ED}. I’m glad I did! Her presentation showed so many examples of remixes, a lot of which were HILARIOUS. Then, we created our own cut-up poems & mashup monsters.


Overall, HB Tech Fest was unforgettable experience that was WAY better than the day of school I missed. I hope it inspired all the attendees to transform education into a much more interactive and fun experience!


Thank Yous (because it is that nostalgic, end-of-the-year time):

Mr. Ziebarth, for being a great, creative teacher that lets us use tech in the classroom. I have learned so much in your class!

Mr. G-O, for introducing me to the potential of Google services way back in freshman year, and for supporting me.

Mr. Theriault, for encouraging me to apply for English Honors 2 (also way back in freshman year) and for showing me how fun English class can be.

Mr. Long, for inviting me to Tech Fest and letting me take over the @HBTechFest account.

and finally, Mrs. Amy Burvall and Mr. Brad Ovenell-Carter, for liking my work and having awesome conversations with me over Twitter. I hope we continue to chat 🙂

All of you are amazing teachers!!!


Ten Things I Didn’t Know When I Started Junior Year

I either didn’t know it, or didn’t fully realize it.

1. Literary analysis does not equal language analysis. They are completely different and that’s why there are two different AP classes for them. (OK, so I learned this like two days ago…)

2. Teachers take so. many. selfies.

3. Everything does not need background/summary. In the AP Language and Composition Exam, your thesis can be your very first sentence. “Just get to the point!”

4. I’m a really good note-taker.

5. Sometimes teachers are so active on social media that you tweet them about the homework instead of emailing them. (This is a sign that you have a really cool teacher.)

6. Interviews are not as scary as they seem. Just be prepared.

7. It’s really important to develop good relationships with your teachers and mentors.

8. Show your work. In math class, of course, but also in Chemistry and English class. and life.

9. American literature just isn’t my plate of cookies. (because I don’t like cups of tea)

10. Everything is a remix. Nothing is original.

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I’m not a poet.

April is National Poetry Month! Or NaPoWriMo, here on WordPress.

On the first of the month, Mr. Z read the class “Words” by Dana Gioia. It was nice and had out-of-the box thinking. It introduced me to a new perspective on words, and I think that’s what poetry is supposed to do.

I’ve always (hesitantly) admired poetry from afar. Anything with more than a few verses was not worth my time. My favorite poems are ones that rhyme (You rock, Dr. Seuss!). But for this week’s blog post, I decided to try and write a poem myself.

I felt really dramatic and cynical while writing it. And I think I really went to town with the punctuation and [lack of] capitalization, so that’s cool.

I was hesitant to publish it for a few reasons: 1) it’s very sardonic, 2) people will start thinking I’m a totally insincere person – which I am not, pinky promise!, and 3) this is my first time writing a poem outside of 3rd grade haikus, so it’s probably not very good. But in the end, I liked how it turned out for a first try. So here it is. If you have the time, I’d love feedback.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I used to write confusedly, then I took an arrow to the knee.

you go girlll

sorry i tried to be funny in the title

A few weeks ago, my Girl Scout troop went to a local park for an archery lesson. I hadn’t shot an arrow in about 6 years. I was excited to be reintroduced to the sport, even if it would be difficult.

Although Katniss, Hawkeye, and Merida make it seem so effortless, archery is a strength sport that takes focus, technique, and concentration. When I was out on the field, my instructor told me to perfect my technique before my aim. This way, it would be easier to find out which way to shoot. First, I worked on getting my stance directly perpendicular to the target. Then, I practiced holding the bow correctly and pulling the string all the way to my cheek. After shooting a few arrows, I found that my aim was too high. When my technique was satisfactory, all I had to do was to lower the bow to shoot lower. In no time, I made the bullseye 🙂

Writing a rhetorical precis is a lot like archery because it has a specific form. On the first precis we turned in, Mr. Z gave us all feedback. I did well, but the only thing I was missing was explaining how the writer developed an audience with the reader.

 precis format

Now, every time I write a precis, I go back to an old one and tweak it to fit the current article. It’s just like keeping my technique while I shift my aim, in archery!


Déjame leer, por favor

Can I please have this plastered on my bedroom wall?

Everyone has a few friends that say, “I don’t like to read.” I don’t think that’s entirely true. I believe what they are trying to say is “I don’t like to read that.” That is what we often read in schools, is the classics so many love, is what everyone else is reading. Not liking to read what others read does not mean you do not like reading at all. All you need is to find an author, medium, or genre that interests you. There are so many non-mainstream types of things to read, for example: science journals, poem books, newspapers/websites, fan-fiction, biographies, self-help books, memoirs, short stories, and older books.

Reading is important. When we read, we learn, whether consciously or not. Our vocabulary expands and we learn new facts. Reading different genres allows us to make connections that can help us in school and daily life. We might find new ways to compare things in metaphors or finally understand a science concept better. It also helps us stay more in touch with the world.

Lately I’ve been falling behind in reading – our English book (The Grapes of Wrath), my chemistry textbook, my fun-reading books, my US history textbook, and my religious study books. In effect, I feel like I am behind on everything. I’ve missed assignments and failed quizzes. But now, I’ve finally found the root cause – all I need to do is sit down, and read.


The World’s a Stage – don’t forget who’s watching

Lately I’ve been thinking about audience. It’s the third letter in SOAPStone and the final sentence in a rhetorical precis. It’s absolutely essential to consider when writing an analytical paper: who is the audience? what is the audience like? how does the author build a relationship with the audience? what is the author’s tone towards the audience? etc.

But audience can be found in everyday situations. The music you listen to is written for an audience that relates to it (you). The advertising in the market is made appealing to its audience (consumers). And when you do all your chores without anyone needing to tell you because you want to go somewhere Friday night, you’re catering to an audience (your parents).

Recently I’ve had a few experiences in Girl Scouts that have made me more aware of how audience intuitively affects people’s diction and tone. It all has to do with the annual cookie sale.

  • When I asked my friends to buy, I texted them something along the lines of, “Hi! Wanna buy Girl Scout cookies from me? :)”

  • When I advertised on social media, I used memes and other funnies about cookies. oh girl scout cookies

  • When I asked long-time customers to buy, I said, “Hey! It’s Girl Scout Cookie time again! I know Thin Mints are your favorite since you’ve bought so many, would you like to order a box from me this year as well?”

  • When I asked older neighbors: “Hello. Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies from me? I’m saving up to go to camp this summer. Here are pictures of our 8 delicious flavors!”

  • When I was at a booth sale asking random strangers: “Hi, would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies? Only $4 a box!”

  • And finally, when I email the board of a company to support their local Girl Scouts: “Dear Board Members: Happy Cookie Season! Here are two ways you can support the world’s largest girl-led business: 1. Buy Cookies, or 2. Participate in the Cookie Share program.”

Did you notice the change in word choice? These quotes were all by me! As an experienced seller (this was my eleventh year…wow I feel old) I instinctively knew how to appeal to my different audience. When I asked my friends, I was more informal. When I approached long-time customers, I showed them that I remembered and cared about their purchases from at least a year earlier. With new and older customers, I was polite. And when I asked business people, I reminded them of the value of the Cookie Business.

Remembering your audience is not just a tip for writers and students. In order to be a successful in your career and life, you need to improve your interpersonal skills. For me, the Girl Scout program has been a doorway to learning new things such as this.

Which cookie are you? Take the quiz:

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How to Run a Somewhat-Successful Student Blog

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin

For the past few weeks we’ve done blog reviews, where we made a short presentation in class about our blogs. We were required to talk about our favorite posts, our statistics, and our struggles. Following is a not-so-short summary of what I’ve learned.

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The problems:

1. People write posts just so that they exist.

2. They write them all at once. Vivienne suggested to set them on an automatic update so that even if you write them at once, posts appear freshly written every week.

3. They write to no audience. Therefore, they don’t really care about how they are writing.

4. They don’t really care about the content. Many of my peers publish short, ranty posts that make no sense. It shows that they didn’t learn anything, and that they are just trying to get something up on their blogs to turn in.

5. They look boring. Everyone has a theme, but not everyone includes pictures.


The suggestions:

1. Use tags.

2. Follow your friends. Chances are, they’ll follow you back!

3. Write about your personal interests. Then reflect those interests in your tags, so people like you can find your posts!

4. Make it funny. People like to be entertained!

5. Use graphics. If I’ve learned anything from the countless recipe blogs I look through in the spare time I don’t have, pictures make a post friendly and inviting. They encourage the reader to keep scrolling. You can even use original photos!

6. Get to the point. This is something I need to work on. A blog post is not a book, so it needs no lengthy exposition. *sings* Say what you wanna say, just let the words fall out! Then make it look pretty and hit publish.

7. Advertise your blog. Social media is your friend! Tell your friends/followers to check your work out. Or, trick them into it.

8. And to my classmates who don’t know what to write about: if you come across something interesting in class, write it down in your zero drafting journal. Then look back at your list, pick a few topics, and write about them. A post per week is not that hard. Here are some things you can blog about:

Posts should be 200-500 words long and you should post once a week. Most importantly, don’t stress and write about what YOU want.


SPOILER ALERT: Nick lies, Daisy cries, Gatsby dies

Mr. Z does this really fun and innovative activity called Lit in 6, where we read a book and summarize it in 6 words. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” and by We did this for the first book we read in class, The Scarlet Letter. Immediately, I was hooked. I thought of phrases like “Three sinners, two lovers, one letter.” My favorite Lit in 6 for that book was, “Scarlet sin reflected in later kin.”

The idea is that simpler is better, less is more. We try to condense a book of hundreds of pages down into six words. Language is flexible like that.

On Thursday, we had our final discussion about The Great Gatsby. We discussed this article  and whether or not Nick Carraway is an honest narrator. At the end of class, Mr. Z announced that we could participate in the #litin6 hashtag on twitter for Gatsby: #gatsby6 (go check it out to see all my classmates’ amazing six-word stories!)

Here are some of my favorites for this book:

I posted a few myself. Some I rhymed (Nick lies, Daisy cries, Gatsby dies), some I quoted (“I hope she’ll be a fool”) and some I remixed (The green light foreshadowed Avada Kedavra). All in all, this is one of my favorite little assignments. It allows you to be so creative, and the six-word limit is perfect length to not go overboard with it. Each word must be used wisely, and that’s an important skill to learn.

A few teachers on twitter saw the Lit in 6s that my classmates and I posted, and were interested in doing a twitter challenge! I think that sounds really cool, and I’d love to see it happen!