December 9

A Centaur in the Playground

A Centaur in the Playground

by Luna

I really wanted my oboe. I was so enthusiastic about it. I really wanted to play my first note. I was eager to feel the oboe in my hands. I wanted to try out my reed. My hope for that was ruined, ripped into pieces by evil Mr. Griggs. Who would have guessed that evil Mr. Griggs was going to make us walk up and down the stairs for the whole 2 periods of band class, with an extra setting-up-the-band-room? Well, just walking up and down the stairs wouldn’t have been twice as bad as being forced to do so in a PERFECT straight line, in instrumental order, with our mouths completely zipped. One stair at a time, we carefully and almost flawlessly climbed the stairs.

It all started in the playground on a Tuesday afternoon in 5th grade.

“Wheeeeeeeeuuuuuuuwww Wheeeeeee!” Mr. Griggs whistled loud like an out-of-tune flute. All of us, 5th graders, stared at him as if he was a centaur. None of us knew him, and as he refers to now, he was the ‘New-Young-Man’ at the Saint Maur International School, who smelled like cologne. I don’t think anybody was expecting such a boring class with harsh labor; and what do I mean by that? I mean, the walking-up-and-down-the-stairs-in-a-PERFECT-straight-line-in-instrumental-order-flawlessly. My longing to get my oboe — that dream — had completely disappeared.

All of us sat in a straight line behind the behind the sign on the playground that said ‘5H’ and ‘5R’, waiting eagerly for Mr. Griggs to come and pick us up. It was our usual after-recess routine to sit and wait for our teacher to come.

We thought we had been doing the right thing, when Mr. Griggs came and started shouting, “Grade 5! I want you to line up in instrumental order! First is flutes, and oboes, then clarinets in the first row! In row 2, saxophones, trumpets, and low brass with percussion at the end! Let’s get going guys! Hurry up!” in a humongous voice that the citizens of Brazil could hear.

“Whhhhaaaaattt?” all of us whined while reluctantly moving to our new spots in the line.

After five minutes of trying to line up, Mr. Griggs’ eardrum-breaking-loud-voice interrupted us again:

“Ok. Now guys, remember exactly where you are standing. Look to your right, and your left. Memorize the spot you are currently in!”

All of us, once again, reluctantly obeyed his instructions, while he continued to yell: “Once that’s done, I need you guys to go off and play again. Listen carefully for my whistle though!”

That moment we were waiting for! Free time! But the happy moment barely lasted 10 seconds before Mr. Griggs blew the whistle.

“Get back in order! Hurry up! We’re going to the music room now! Chop chop!”

I was furious, maybe more like apoplectic. I felt like being stubborn, and standing still without budging the slightest millimeter. I thought it would be too much of a risk though, considering the fact that he was a new teacher, and I didn’t want my first impression to be a bad one.

We spent about 7 minutes walking up the metal slope that led from the playground to the entrance of the fine arts center, and all the way up the staircase to arrive on the 2nd floor of the building, where the music room is. So far, we had wasted about 20 minutes of band class already. I was relieved that we had arrived, but again, this relief didn’t last long.

The third time we heard this come out of Mr Griggs’ mouth, “Now we’re going back down in the same exact order! You better hurry up or else you won’t get your instruments today!”

I got extremely excited. Just the thought that I could get my oboe — the dream I thought was gone — made me line up like an army soldier, without wavering. His very words, ‘You better hurry up or else you won’t get your instruments today!’, had lit up my heart with ray of hope. I was waiting for everybody to get ready, anxious to get my instrument.

Nobody could have possibly predicted what happened after we got back to the music room. Guess what? All the stress of lining-up-and-climbing-up-and-down-the-stairs-perfectly was for nothing. We heard Mr. Griggs’ voice unexpectedly, again. “Nah uh, I expect something better from you guys! No chitter chatter! We’re going to do that again! Come on! We’ve only got half an hour of class time left!”

At this point, all of us had suspected that we weren’t going to get our instruments, so I guess it was apt for us to go back down and come up to the music room again halfheartedly; we unwillingly started climbing the stairs again, hesitating at every stair and giving a bad attitude, with the desire that Mr. Griggs would give up on us.

None of us should have been expecting to receive our instruments when the bell rang a few minutes afterwards despite whining at him, saying things like: “Mr. Griggs! You’re the worst teacher ever! I hate you!” and, “Such a liar! You said you would give us our instruments!”

I guess it was our fault for talking and chatting continuously, and that was why we couldn’t get our instruments, but Mr. Griggs had received dozens of emails from parents with content along the lines of, “How dare you make my sweet and innocent child miserable with stair-climbing! You ruined his day!”

After all, we got our instruments during our 3rd band class, and although I still hold a grudge against Mr. Griggs for doing this to us, I am pleased that this lead to my current passion in music.

Today, Mr. Griggs still remains a teacher at Saint Maur, and hasn’t been fired for the harsh labor he made us do, and I am glad about that. This is because today, he does not make us walk up and down the stairs, and he is a very supportive and encouraging teacher.

He says things like, “Guys, you have to do less chatting and more listening. You have a lot of potential as a band, but the chitter chatter is what ruins everything.” He makes a good point that we are quite terrible listeners, and we are quite talented at talking very loudly. However, Mr. Griggs has beared our annoyingness and has encouraged a lot of potential in us, as well as challenging us in ways that can take us further into the musical world.

November 10

Ishikawa

The birds were tweeting their morning song. The sun rising from its slumber. It was time to go. We all met at Yamate Station. It took a long time to get to our destination, Ishikawa, the prefecture of Japan. Once we had arrived from our forever lasting train ride, we were in Ishikawa. The first thing we did was make our way to our hotel. When we had arrived at the hotel we had some time to rest and then we had to do some communication and collaboration activities/games as it was our topic for our school year. We played games such as “what are you doing” and “gibberish”. The games were really fun and interesting as everyone had to come up with their own idea in the game. After we had finished, we ate dinner and went out for a nightwalk in the park. The park at night was pretty eerie as there were skeletons and weird silhouettes that we couldn’t see well. And because the girls were scared half to death, the boys were scaring them and it soon became into a horror movie with all of them screaming. Once we had come back from the nightwalk we took a bath in the onsen and then we eventually went to sleep.

On the next day we went to harvest rice with the local farmers. Once we had arrived we started immediately after they had told us the instructions. It took us a long period of time to even clear out half of the field. But at the end it was fun as everyone helped each other getting out of the mud. After we had harvested the rice we went back to the camp and started pounding rice until it was soft. Almost everybody had a go carrying the oversized wooden hammer and pounding it. We made our lunch which was the rice pounded into mochi which was delicious.

After everyone had their third meal, we were ready to leave. We went on the bus and we were on our way. We went into a dye workshop. We had to make patterns onto a cloth using a unique technique that the people used here. We first were given instructions on how to make unique patterns onto the cloth that we had chosen. We had to fold it in different ways and put rubber bands around it and had to make sure that the rubber bands were tight. Then we had to set it in a bucket of green tea for three minutes and then change over to setting it in mud while massaging it for three minutes and then washing it in water for three minutes. We had to do this cycle three times which felt like forever. Once we were all done we could unfold our cloth and see what type of pattern we made as no one could know when they were folding it. Everyone had different patterns and not one was the same. After we had finished we went back to the hotel and got ready for the night.

On the next day, it was the day that we were leaving. But we had one more trip to make. We went to an elementary school. And as soon as we got there, they led us to their hall where they had prepared a presentation for us. The presentation was very informative on their school and they had even worked on a dance for us. After the presentation was over we played some games with them such as fine the letters and a new game a little bit like snap. Then once everyone was done, we had lunch with them. We split into groups to go into different grades. I was chosen to be eating lunch with the first grades. Once we were done we went to have recess with them and we played dodgeball. Surprisingly the students there in the lower grades were strong and could catch our balls. Then it was time for us to leave. They handed their presents to us which were sushi magnets that they had made themselves. Once we thanked them we made our way to where we started, the station. We went back to the station and went back to Yamate Station. And there was where the journey had ended.

All in all, the Ishikawa trip was a great experience as I felt like it brought the students together as there were many times to communicate and collaborate. The students were also able to grow new relationships with new students and teachers. The activities were amazing as all of them had linked to our school theme and all of them were fun. During this trip I feel like people were more included in activities and thought that it was a great trip for students and the teachers.

~Jeremy W.

March 9

Time

Time

By Ariane S

 

Time is like words,

once you say it,

it can never come back,

like a balloon floating in the air.

 

I feel like everyday is dwindling day per day,

If in the past,

you made an egregious mistake,

just forget about it and move on to the future.

 

Move on to the future,

never come back,

because the balloon will never come back.

Photo by Natalie Bowers

Photo by Natalie Bowers

 

March 8

The Crossover Book Review

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

By Sean. T Tokyo Japan

 

Josh Bell, the basketball King. And his brother Jordan, the basketball prince. Together they are like Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr as basketball players. And these are some of the characters from The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.

 

Chuck Bell, also known as “Da Man”, is the father of Josh and Jordan Bell. He is the Michael Jordan of The Crossover. Once a basketball legend, these days he cheers at his son’s basketball games. Chuck Bell has hypertension, but he doesn’t want to see a doctor because his father died in a hospital and has a fear of doctors.

 

The thing about The Crossover is that there’s a ton of free verse writing which I love and you would probably love too. It gives an interesting appeal to the text so it is fascinating to read. What’s interesting about the free verse writing is that it is used extremely well. It’s like you can see what Josh and Jordan Bell see when they play basketball.

 

Some of the chapters have captivating vocabulary as a title and the meaning is written below like it is a dictionary. For example, the word pulchritudinous, which means to have great appeal, and the word profusely, which means to spend or giving freely and in large amount.

 

I would recommend this book for people who really like sports especially basketball and for ages 9 and up. This book has had a lot positive reviews from multiple book review sites. I highly recommend it.

 

March 3

Five Kingdoms

Book Review: Five Kingdoms by Brandon Mull

Cole is an ordinary boy. Nothing extraordinarily special has come from him. That’s until one Halloween.

Cole gets sucked into a magical world called the Outskirts by slavers in a supposed “Haunted House”. In a kingdom called Sambria, he is mistreated and beaten upon until he is separated from his friends from earth and sold to the Sky Raiders, who use him to venture into and raid floating castles coming from a big cloud. Cole becomes an extraordinary adventurer. Later in his week of fighting for the Sky Raiders, he discovers someone who forces him to leave with two others for the sake of their lives.

Full of adventure and suspense, this book has kept me reading for a long, long time. Compared to other modern fantasy books, I think that this one is in the top ten. Being a good page turner, and good for any age and any gender, I suggest it to everyone who loves fantasy, or to those interested in the sound, sight, smell, and taste of adventure, and even reading in general. I felt the clear emotions of the characters and almost heard the action happening as well as the words being said. I even skipped words sometimes because I was so sucked in and reading so fast to finish it. The fourth one is coming out rather soon, and overall, 5 big, golden, shining stars!

by Tyson H.

December 3

I Hate Divergent And So Should YOU!

By Devin T

It was Thursday in December, I had been bored out of my mind for a week waiting for the next book in the Warriors series to come out. The Warriors series has been the only thing  been reading since 5th grade. My mother thought it was time for a change, so she went out and bought the most popular book of the year, Divergent. She gave it to me and said “Read something new”.

So the next day at school, when it was reader’s workshop, I pull out the book, only to find out the book I have was the second one. But even tho it was the second one, I read it anyway. I was the only other boy in my class besides my friend Evan to be reading the series. And because of this the sexist girls in my class mocked us for it. Maybe it was the mocking, maybe it was that it made no sense because I hadn’t read the first book. Regardless, I hated the series. But my friend Evan loved the series and was already on the 3rd book. So at lunch, four friends and I were having an intense discussion  our horrible teacher Mrs. *&$#@$, Evan was sitting there reading Divergent, It was insanity, Evan hated Mrs. *&$#@$ even more than us. So I leaned over to him and said “I hate Divergent and so should you.”.

But since I had never understood the books, I decided to use what I know from the Divergent movie. Sadly, I could not convince him that Divergent was a lazy series, so hopefully I can convince you.

Divergent follows a girl named Beatrice Prior. Already there is a problem, who in their right mind names their daughter Beatrice? Beatrice is an old lady name. Not only is Beatrice an old lady name, but it’s the future, when the names should be more “unique”.

Anyway, “Beatrice” lives in a dystopian Chicago, why’s it always Chicago?, where the place is divided into five groups, the Humble Narcissist , the Viral Friendship, the Conspiracy Theorist, the Trolls and the Grammar Police, wait sorry I meant Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellectual). Everyone who isn’t a part of a group are deemed useless and left to starve. When children reach the age of 16, they take a some kind of mix of marijuana, LSD, and crack that can be controlled with a computer.  What. The. Heck. I’ll elaborate some more on that later. So they take this “Mari-S-rack” and how they solve a problem in their dream decides their future group?

That’s not healthy.

Had enough of this story? You wanna leave? Too bad there’s more! If you solved the problem differently than how they wanted you to solve it, it means you are Divergent ( a.k.a that means you’re special). So they kick you out to starve because you’re different. And as you would guess, Beatrice is a divergent. So without spoiling this horrible excuse of a movie, i’m gonna tell you why it’s another waste of time movie.

Let’s start with the forgettable characters, they have no development other than “Four”, I mean seriously, get better names. Beatrice’s best friend Chrissy, no Clair, no Chole, forget it, can only be remembered as the actress’s name Zoë Kravitz. And when Can’t-Remember-Her-Name-But-She’s-Zoë-Kravitz’s boyfriend dies we don’t even care. Nor do we care when anyone else dies because we never got character development on them.

In most movies, you want the main character to win/survive, but in Divergent, you want Beatrice to die. She’s just an annoying character, simple as that. Shailene Woodley just is bad at acting in an action movie and the studio just wanted some quick money.

Now here’s the part we’ve all been waiting for………… The Magic Drug aka “Mari-S-ack”

The drug is a serum that causes the user to fall asleep, produces a psychological test and the physiological test depends on the user. So the drug is some kind of hallucinogen for one thing. And it must also slow down the central nervous system of the user making them fall asleep. So judging by how the drug affects the user, I would say that it’s the liquid form of LSD, but LSD keeps people awake and the drug in divergent makes the user fall asleep. But since this movie takes place in the future all I can say that it is a strong hallucinogen mixed with a strong depressant.

In conclusion, Divergent is generic, lazy, money grab movie that disappoints everyone that was a fans of the horrible books. Glad I hated the books.

 

November 4

Saint Mary’s

By Sean T.

 

Saint Mary’s

It’s a soccer match against Saint Mary’s. I’m nervous.

But not too nervous. My hands aren’t shaking. I don’t have

a sore stomach. My heart isn’t pumping tremendously. But

I know some people are nervous. The referee

blows the whistle. The match begins.

There’s the kick-off.

 

My position is a midfielder. I’m a right midfielder. We’re

all doing what we’re supposed to do. The stickers get

a long or short pass from the midfielders and

and tries to take a shot and score a goal. The defenders are

trying to defend the goal by not letting any opponent getting

past them so they can score a goal.

 

The goalkeeper has to also defend the goal but with his

hands. The midfielders (which is what I am) is basically a

striker and defender. Midfielders have to run all around the court.

They have to attack and defend. We’re losing brutally

losing by more than ten points.

 

Eventually, we lost count. So did the coach. I bet we’re

all thinking the same thing which is that we are definitely not

going to win this match. Then I see the ball. I get the ball.

I dribble with the ball. I pass to one of the stickers. He does his skills

to get past the defenders. He passes it to the other striker.

He takes the shot. He scores. It’s the first goal of the season.

 

He shouts out “YEAH! FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON!”

Some people start to celebrate. But I don’t with some

of my other teammates. Because even though we scored, we lost.

I’m disappointed that we lost but we still scored our first goal

of the season.

 

I am definitely sure that the opponent thinks we’re weird

because even though we lost, some of us are celebrating.

But as I say again, we still did score our first goal of the season.

It was a step forward. We all know we can’t play like

this in our next match. We all have to improve our game.

November 4

Bullying Leads to Committing Suicide

by Karen S.

 

In October 2006,  Megan, a 13 year old teenager, hung herself in her bedroom closet. She struggled with attention deficit disorder and depression, as well as issues with her weight. About 5 weeks before her death, she met a 16 year old boy named Josh Evans to be friends online. They started talking regularly, even though they had never met. In mid-October, Josh suddenly became cruel to her and sending her vicious messages, and then it became worse when her classmates and people from school also started being cruel to her. This was called the Megan Meier case. Twenty minutes after she left her computer looking at those terrible comments, she had hung herself in her bedroom closet. This is an example of how bullying can take people’s lives very easily. There are many types of bullying and ways to deal with each type of bullying.  

The first and most common type is verbal bullying. Some examples are name-calling, taunting the victim, insulting  them. This is a type of direct bullying; direct and in front of the victim. In addition, the big problem about this type of bullying is that it is usually mistaken as teasing. However, there is a clear difference between these two things: with teasing it involves a sense of play, done with not bad intentions. Bullying, on the other hand, is an intended way to hurt someone. The first and the easiest way to deal with this type of bullying is to ignore it. Verbal bullying is usually said to the face and right at you. The best way is to laugh at it and not care. If it is possible may have a quick response to show you really do not care.

The next type of common bullying is covert or hidden bullying. Unlike verbal bullying, this sort of bullying is hard to recognize. The usual main purpose of this type of bullying is to humiliate the person. For instance, lying or spreading rumors, nasty jokes, and encouraging other people to exclude a person. This is a complicated type of bullying. Because, it is not direct, it is indirect. This means that they don’t show their identity but they are hurting you. Dealing with covert bullying can be very complicated. When you don’t really know who is in charge of spreading all these rumors, you should talk to a parent or a teacher. Try to find out who is doing it and starting the rumor. Rumors will be around until you destroy it so do it as fast as you can.

The last type of bullying is cyber bullying. This type of bullying is common because of the technology we have these days. This can happen anytime. The hard thing is you can’t see the bully because you can’t see them directly. It’s just through the screen.

The first step is to block the senders. The main thing is you need to cut them off of your social media. If they still coming back, the most smartest way is to delete your account. The most important thing is to keep evidence of the what the bully online said to you.  No one is going to believe you with you just claiming that he/she did it. So, remember to print out  (or take a screenshot of) what was written to you by the bully. Be sure to collect enough evidence and then go talk to someone. Having evidence or proof is a very important thing when you are reporting it to your parents or your teachers. 

We do not need anymore cases like the Megan Meier case. We need to protect and look out for each other to see if anyone’s life is in danger. It is our responsibility to help one another and to seek help if we are the victims of bullying. Remember, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Things will get better; never give up.

 

 

http://nobullying.com/six-unforgettable-cyber-bullying-cases/