My Life as a Reader

When I was a little girl, I really wanted to read. I didn’t just want to read books for my age; I wanted to read larger chapter books. I recall struggling through big words and long sentences just to get through a page. Part of this determination was due to wanting, no needing to keep up with my brother. Throughout our lives, we have had an ongoing competition. Well, really, it is just me trying to keep up with everything he does.

Aside, from reading books that I was not ready for, I loved the Dr. Suess books. One of my absolute favorites was There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. I was really amused by all of the made-up characters and their illustrations. I also enjoyed the Shel Silverstein books. I thought that his poems were entertaining and fun.

I remember sitting on the couch on a Saturday engrossed in a suspenseful Nancy Drew book. I read so many of those books as a child and loved every one of them. At one point, I wanted to read as many Nancy Drew books as I could, so I read two or three at a time. It got awfully confusing and I soon gave up on that tactic.

My next big memory of reading was the Harry Potter series. When I was about nine, my mom checked the first book out of the library and we read it aloud together. At first, I’m ashamed to say, I thought they were absolutely stupid, pointless books. I soon learned that I was very wrong. I began to see how magical J.K. Rowling’s creations were. I decided “Enough reading out loud!”, took the book and breezed through it. I proceeded to read the following books, and from then on, I was an avid Harry Potter fan.

Currently, I am very busy reading with our Chai Reading in English class. We have to read two books a month and write a summary, review, and another paragraph with a separate assignment for each book. At first, I thought this was impossible. I am a slow reader and had to make plenty of extra time to read so I could finish the books in time. Chai Reading has helped me read a large variety of genres (Mystery/Suspense remains my favorite). I also believe that it has made me a faster reader.

Overall, my life as a reader has been fantastic. From struggling through books above my reading level to the amazing Harry Potter series, I have enjoyed reading and will continue to for years to come.


Posted in 8th Grade, Learning Log | Leave a comment

Million Dollar Journey

The sky was swirling with anger. Thunder exploded like a grenade in a battle field. Simultaneously, lightning split through the sky, a frightening burst of light in the dark. Rain thrashed through the night causing raucous [drumbeats] on the rooftops of houses. Hour after hour, the storm failed to lapse. Children cried beneath their blankets, dogs howled in fright, and two boys wandered down the street.
One was slightly taller than the other. He was fifteen years old by the name of Ryan. This boy had shaggy brown hair with dark eyes. He was quiet and mindful. The latter went by the name Bobby and had dirty blond hair, cloudy eyes, and a slightly smaller build than his friend. Their clothing was drenched from the rain, yet they walked on, not knowing who they were looking for or what they would tell them. Let me take you back a bit…
It was just a normal Autumn day for these two teenagers at Smith HS, their high school institution. After school, they went home and followed through on their daily routine – taking a walk in the afternoon together to escape from the busy schedule of life. A forest lay behind their street with trees as high as sky scrapers and endless adventure possibilities. That one afternoon, Ryan and Bobby decided to explore the forest. Usually they would just walk along the forest edge, both slightly apprehensive to enter the dark, mysterious trees. Today however, Ryan felt that it was time to explore the woods, even though their mothers, with their matronly instincts, would not approve. But why would they have to know? Bobby, on the other hand was not so certain. “It’s dangerous in there!” he exclaimed. Ryan insolently responded, “Are you afraid?”
As soon as the teenagers entered the forest, they were immediately encased in leaves, branches, and wildlife. They ventured on, enjoying the many sounds and aspects of nature. Time got away from them and before they knew it, it was becoming dark. The boys decided to turn around and venture back home. They kept on walking and the sky kept on getting darker. Bobby spoke up first, “I think that we are lost.” Ryan, incredulously, replied, “No, we’re fine,” though he had some doubt himself. An owl’s hoot echoed through the stillness of the forest. Out of nowhere, the skies opened up and it began to rain. That did not help reform the situation. Hopeless and exhausted, feeling conquered, both of them were ready to renounce their adventure. It was right then, that Ryan and Bobby came across a small cabin.
With major curiosity, the two boys approached the wooded shack-like structure. They turned to each other, getting a good look at the other for the first time in the whole afternoon and realized that they both had very haggard appearances. Ryan knocked on the door. No one answered. He slowly opened the door. What he saw astounded him. Dozens of stacks of money were piled on the floor. There must have been hundreds, probably thousands of $100 bills in the small cabin in the woods. “Bobby,” Ryan said softly. “Somebody was here….and they left millions of dollars.” Cynically, Bobby said, “Yea right.” But then he took a look inside.
The two boys both sat down on the floor swapping elaborate tales as to what might have happened. Maybe there was a massive bank robbery and the robbers were hiding the money there. Maybe a thief stole an extremely valuable gem from a museum and sold it. Their imaginations were filled with possibilities. Maybe, at any moment,  a man would come swaggering inside, and find them there…what would they do then? After half an hour, the boys decided that they would take a look outside, around the cabin. When they went outside, to their amazement, they saw a clearing in the forest and lights that appeared to be from street lamps.
The teenagers walked towards the street in what seemed like a normal neighborhood, fast asleep in the moonlit sky, but they soon discovered that it was not their own. Exhausted and beat, the boys continued walking, finally deciding to go back to the cabin and sleep for the night. Once they were there, Ryan lay down on the floor. He thought, “In the morning, we will…” Well, he couldn’t think about the morning yet, and a wave of sleep swept over him.

Reflection: I wrote this story for an English Worldy Wise vocabulary assignment. I wanted to use the vocabulary words in an interesting and entertaining story. I enjoy mystery and suspense stories, and so I wanted to incorporate some of those factors into this piece of writing. I am proud of the plot and and characters because I feel like I described what was happening, and to whom it was happening to very well. I believe that I have a good hook that draws readers in and an ending that leaves room for many different scenarios for a sequel. If I were to continue this story, I would like to develop the plot more and make it more complex. Overall, I enjoyed writing this vocabulary story and am happy with the end result.

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Memoirs of Paul Revere

Tonight, as I sit in my rocking chair by the fire, I glance out at the full moon. The trees surrounding my house cast eerie shadows through the windows. It is May 22, 1817 and I am 82 years old. As I gaze into the fire, I see the ghosts of my friends from adventures long ago; from a time when I was young and our country was young.  I open my leather-bound journal and look back through memories of my life. I am writing these memoirs as a testimony to future generations that this country will always stand up for liberty. Our stories shall never be lost and our honor shall shine through for eternity. I want my children and grandchildren to remember the sacrifices that we made for our beloved country. I dip my quill in ink and continue writing as my mind goes back in time and I relive my adventures.

Chapter 6: Boston Tea Party

It is December 16, 1773. I, along with others including Samuel Adams, was overwhelmed with anger when the British, three years ago, repealed all of the Townshend duties except for the tax on tea. Tea! What a simple thing to harbor such outrage…but there is so much more to it. The British believe that they can take away everything from us; to the last cent that we own. We need to let them know that that is absolutely not true. We will stand up for our rights and what we know is right.

And so, my fellow citizens and I administered these series of actions. First, we encouraged everyone to refuse buying the tea, and we smuggled it in from Holland. In addition, the dockworkers began refusing to unload the tea from ships. This left the British East India Company with warehouses full of unsold tea and the company was in danger of going out of business. In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act. It gave the East India Company a chance to avoid bankruptcy with new regulations that allowed the company to sell tea to the colonists at a low price, even lower than the price of smuggled tea. The British reasoned that the Americans would willingly pay the tax if they were able to pay a low price for it.

On November 28, a ship, the Dartmouth, arrived in the Boston Harbor with Darjeeling tea from the East India Company. We were determined not to let the cargo land in the city. Two other ships, the Beaver and the Eleanor, arrived with more tea. Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the British Royal governor of colonial Massachusetts, insisted that the tea be brought into port. Despite warnings from other officials, he remained firm and stated that the cargos would be brought ashore and taxed in compliance with the law.

The Tea Act required that the necessary tax must be collected within twenty days of a ship’s arrival. That made the deadline today, December 16. During that time, Samuel Adams held public meetings at the Old South Meeting House about the situation. Crowds consisting of up to 5,000 people clogged the surrounding streets. At one of the meetings, we made a decision to ask the deliverers to return the tea. Today, the owner of the Dartmouth agreed to sail his ship back to England. However, the British officials denied permission for the ship to clear the port. The British then began preparations to seize the ship since the taxes were not paid. When the ship owner told us that he was not able to depart from Boston, we decided to take action. Tonight, we are disguising in Indian garb and casting crates of tea into the harbor.

A gust of wind sweeps through the house, bringing me back to reality. A cloud just covered the moon, temporarily blocking out the light that emanated from it. I can smell the hint of summer in the air. Soon, the temperature will rise and thunderstorms will be common. I sigh, pick up my quill and return to my writings.

At the moment, I am hiding in a dark cargo hold beneath the Beaver. The air is crisp and chilly and I can see my breath each time I exhale. Not even an hour before this, I disguised myself in Indian attire, equipped with a small hatchet and painted my face and hands with coal from a blacksmith. I then departed to Griffin’s Wharf where the ships that contained the tea were. When I first arrived on the streets, I saw many others dressed and painted like I was. We then marched together to our destination with the name, “Sons of Liberty”.

I abandon my hiding place and go to the deck of the ship where we heave crates of tea into the Boston Harbor. Oh what a feeling it is to protest! We must be brave and stand up for our rights at all times. I dump crate after crate of tea into the harbor. The winter air bites at my face but I ignore it. The crates are wooden and rather heavy yet nothing deters me.

When it was time to leave, I walked away feeling accomplished. That night, I, together with sixty other American patriots, had thrown a total of 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company into the Boston Harbor. This was a magnificent day. It was extraordinary. And it will be known for all eternity as the Boston Tea Party.

I lift my head up and remember how I felt on that brilliant day.  I pray that no one will ever forget the Boston Tea Party, when determined men decided to not let the British take control of their lives. Whoever is reading my memoirs, I hope that you pass down this story to be certain that it never be lost.

Reflection: I am proud of this essay because I feel that I succeeded in making the story come alive. I focused on making the events that I wrote about real to the reader. I mixed facts and information to make the essay informative while being enjoyable.  This piece was for a History DAR Contest. The prompt was “Memoirs of Paul Revere”. We were told to take it any way and write about Paul Revere’s life. I decided to mainly write about the Boston Tea Party because most people do not associate Paul Revere with that, rather with his famous “The British are Coming!” horse ride. I worked very hard on this essay and enjoyed writing it. Before I even began writing, I spent a lot of time researching Paul Revere so I could truly get a feel for what his life was like. While I was writing, I concentrated on using a combination of figurative language, interesting details, and facts to result in an essay that would appeal to most people. I wanted to produce a piece of writing that people would enjoy reading while learning about Paul Revere. I feel that the end result is excellent, and I am extremely proud of it.

Posted in 8th Grade, Social Studies | Leave a comment

Math Communicative, Distributive, and Associative Properties

Commutative Property:


1. Notice the numbers in the equation (Only for problems with 3 or more numbers)

2. Rearrange the numbers to make it easier to solve (Only in parenthesis if there are parenthesis).

3. Solve the equation.

Example 1:



Example 2:

2. 2(1+4) =X


Distributive Property:


1. Distribute the numbers outside of the parenthesis to the numbers inside the parenthesis.
2. Solve the rest of the equation by addition/subtraction/multiplication/division of the numbers.

Example 1:

3 (5+2)=?

Example 2:

Associative Property


1. Take note of the numbers in the equation.
2. Move the parenthesis to make it easier to solve.
2. Solve the equation.

Example 1:

(21+9)+3 = 33

The parenthesis are moved to make a new problem:


The answer remained the same.

Example 2:



And again, the answer remained the same.



Reflection: I wrote these math instructions for our 7th grade algebra math wiki. Our goal was to break down math lessons into simple steps so they would be more clear. I believe that I accomplished this goal very well. Our math wiki was meant to help future students at MJGDS and people all around the world do algebra without hesitation or uncertainty. These math steps are to explain the Communicative, Distributive, and Associative properties in math. These properties make it easier to solve algebra equations. I explained the steps in short, simple sentences. Following the steps, I wrote examples so the reader could see how it is done. I think that simplifying the math lesson makes it much easier to understand the math. Overall, I am very proud of this work and all of our work on the math wiki.

Posted in 7th Grade, Math, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ransom of Red Chief News Article

Summit Star

March 2, 1890

Dorset Kidnapping Leads to Backwards Ransom

By Manya S. Goldstein

At 8:32 PM, last Tuesday, Johnny Dorset, son of well known townsman, Ebenezer Dorset, was reported missing from his home in Summit. The next day, a ransom note was anonymously delivered, demanding $1,500 for the return the boy. It was signed “Two Desperate Men”. Those men were later identified as “Sam and Bill”. Ebenezer Dorset sent a letter back with a surprising counteroffer. It demanded that the kidnappers pay him $150. That night, at midnight, the boy was returned and the $150 was paid in full by the kidnappers. Baffled? Here are two exclusive interviews from the people involved in the situation that will help make the story clearer.

Interview #1- Kidnapper- “Sam”

R: Good morning, Mr. Sam, first off, why did you and your friend kidnap the son of Ebenezer Dorset?
S: Well, ya see Ma’am, we, uh, needed some money and what better way to get it than kidnapping a kid for ransom.
R: I see, how would you describe the kidnapping?
S: Well, we rode onto his street and saw him throwing rocks at a cat. And then we just snatched him.
R: Did he put up a fight?
S: Yes, he put up a big fight.
R: Where did you take the boy?
S: We took ‘em into the mountains and stayed in a cave.
R: How did the boy act?
S: He was a wild child! He gave himself the name “Red Chief” and drove my partner, Bill, and me crazy! He even was able to scare both of us to death!
R: So, then, I understand, you wrote the ransom note?
S: Yes, we did. We asked $1,500 for the boy. I delivered the ransom note and then went back to the cave. Some time later, we received a note back with a counteroffer.
R: What was the counteroffer?
S: Well by that time we were at our wits end! We wanted to get rid of him! His father must have known this would happen too…He asked for us to pay him $150!
R: Did you accept?
S: You bet we did. The boy was returned at midnight, no harm done.
R: Thank you

Interview #2- Father-Ebenezer Dorset

R: Hello, Mr. Dorset. How are you doing?
D: I’m fine, thank you.
R: I have some questions for you about the kidnapping of your son. When did you realize that he was kidnapped?
D: I believe a good amount of time after the kidnapping. My boy is a very…busy child; has a lot of spunk. It is not uncommon that he is not home when he should be.
R: I understand that you then received the ransom note.
D: Yes, that was the next day. It demanded $1,500 for the return of the boy. Those kidnappers made a big mistake…
R: What do you mean by that, sir?
D: That boy would make anyone, including me, want to pull their hair out! He has a large imagination and is very rambunctious.
R: And then you wrote a letter with a counteroffer,
D: That is right. I demanded that the kidnappers pay me $150. I knew that they would accept because by that time, they would want to get rid of the boy for good.
R: And as you predicted, they did accept the offer and returned the boy.
D: Yes Ma’am. At 12 AM that night, the boy was returned. He was fine and dandy, just like he always is.
R: How does the boy describe the kidnapping?
D: Little Johnny says it was amazing. He says he wants to get kidnapped again! He tells these wild stories about some “Red Chief”…what a kid, what a kid…
R: You can say that again, Mr. Dorset. Thank you.

Reflection: I am very pleased with this piece of work. The assignment was part of a Readers Choice project. I read “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, a story about kidnappers who kidnapped a boy for ransom and ended up paying money to return the boy because he was an extremely difficult child. I wrote a newspaper article about the event which includes a summary of the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of the story and made-up interviews with two of the main characters in the story. I enjoyed putting myself in the mind of the characters to write this article. I have always been interested in writing newspaper articles. It can be challenging to summarize all of the important information and make it interesting in a concise first paragraph. Overall, I enjoyed this assignment and believe that it helped strengthen my writing skills.


Posted in 8th Grade, Language Arts | Leave a comment

Matter Chatter

Matter is here and matter is there,

And matter is simply everywhere.

You can find it in three states that you will see,

Are interesting and as cool as can be!

First there are solids which retain shape,

The particles are close together and cannot escape.

An ice-cube is a solid but just you wait,

Leave it out in the sun and it will change state.

It turns into water, a liquid, also known as H2O,

Liquid particles are looser and have more places to go.

Liquids can change shape if they so choose,

But volume is something that they can’t gain or lose

Leave a glass of water out in the sun,

And you will soon find that there is none.

It became a gas through evaporation,

But don’t get confused with a gas station.

Gasses can expand indefinitely like air,

They’re all over the place and quite enough to spare.

That is the start but there is much more to learn,

Matter is complicated in all of its forms.

A crystal is a 3D pattern that repeats,

It is called a crystalline solid such as salt which we eat.

Yet, some solids do not form crystals you see,

They are called amorphous solids and are as random as can be.

Viscosity is a liquid’s resistance to flow,

Honey has a high viscosity, did you know.

Overall, that is all you need to know about matter,

I hope you enjoyed Matter Chatter!

Reflection: This is a piece work that I am proud of because I spent a lot of time trying to make it just perfect for my science assignment. This is a poem that  I wrote for my science “chapter challenge” and is about the states of matter and other topics in the chapter. This was a new type of project for me; I never had to do a poem for science before. In the end, I think that it came out nicely. I think that this poem is an entertaining way to learn about matter.


Posted in 8th Grade, Poetry, Science | Leave a comment

What I am Good At

Everyone has something that they are great at. It can either be something that they are good at at school or something that they really enjoy. I believe that one of my strengths is writing. Throughout my life, I have had excellent teachers who served as mentors to me and taught me how to write. From poetry contests to class assignments, I have been immersed in writing for as long as I can remember. When I read, I think of the authors who spent hours, days, months, even years writing the books to share their imaginations and creativity with people. I would like to take my passion for writing, especially creative writing, to the next level. I want to possibly pursue a career in writing, like journalism. In the end, it all comes down to practice. When you want to get better at anything, practice, practice, practice!

Overall, personal strengths are what make each and every one of us a unique individual. We should all work hard to find our strengths and make good use of them throughout our lives.


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Beauty of the Beach

As I bask in the warm, lemon drop sun of the Hawaiian beach, I breathe in the fresh, salty air. Palm trees sway in the refreshing breeze and I hear the chirping of the native birds. The cotton-candy-like clouds stand out against the brilliant blue sky. The waves crash at the shore and the sandpipers scurry away from the water. I brush my foot against the silky, white sand and gaze at the turquoise water that expands vastly for miles on end. Every once and a while, a dolphin gracefully leaps out of the water. I can taste the saltwater on my lips and cannot imagine a more perfect place to be than here.

There are no upcoming exams here, no deadlines….there is only peace. All of your worries fly away like little birds escaping from a locked cage. I breathe in the fresh, cool air, taking in the beauty and serenity of the beach-then breathe out. The only thing that exists here is tranquility.

The warm sun beams down on me; It’s rays offer happiness and hope. The ocean is a cerulean blue and it contains millions of sparkling sapphires. With each crash at the shore, the sandpipers scurry away. They are happy to dwell at the beach and call the ocean their home. I feel the sand, as white as sugar, against my feet. It makes up such an important part of the beach experience.

The fluffy, white clouds slowly dance across the sky, providing hours of entertainment for children pointing at the shapes and animals that they form. The dazzling white of the clouds against the gorgeous blue sky is as beautiful as bright orange lilies across a grassy valley. Palm trees rustle in the gentle breeze; a soft breeze just enough to be noticed.

With the ocean, the sky, the sun, and the sand, a Hawaiian beach offers relaxation and peace. What is not to love in a place where you have no worries and where you can dream any dream and have high hopes of it coming true?

Reflection: I think that this is an example of my best work because I focused on using descriptions and metaphors to enhance my writing. I wrote this essay for an English figurative language writing assignment. Figuritive language includes similes and metaphors. This type of language in the piece of writing makes it more interesting and enjoyable to read. Overall, I am very proud of my work!

Posted in 7th Grade, Writing | Leave a comment