Rachel L

When Birds Fly

   Jan 27

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   May 21

Book Commercials

     This year, I have been doing book commercials every three weeks. You have to make a script for it, and it has to include some things. It most include a summary of the book, a quote, the author’s name, the genre, the title of the book, and who you would recommend it to. Long with that, you have to make a poster for the book. I’ve done this for a few books now, and I feel very confident about my book commercials.
     At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t that good at book commercials. I would stutter, say ‘um’ a lot, and my scripts weren’t that great. I liked my posters, though. I wasn’t confident, at all. I was good at speaking in front of people, but I didn’t like to.  A lot has changed since then.
     Since the beginning of the school year, I have definitely improved when it comes to my book commercials. My stuttering has stopped, I am more confident, and I look at the audience more often. My posters also improved. I really believe that I have improved a lot this year.
     Even though I did improve, I still have things I need to work on. I could speak clearer, which I should just do in general. I could read from my script less, and I could find better quotes from the books. I really liked working on book commercials this year, and I may do them for fun at home.

   May 11

Who Knows

This week’s pasha begins with the words, “You shall be holy, for I, the L‑rd your G‑d, am holy.” To me, I don’t know what this means. I’m still figuring out what a lot of things mean to me, and how I can be holy is no exception. Maybe when I’m older I’ll figure it out, but for now I don’t.


   May 05

Welcome to New York

This year, I went to New York City with my class. It was really interesting and exciting. We did many fun things, as well as some educational and Jewish activities.

One of my favorite things in New York City was seeing the Blue Man Group our first night. Having gotten up at three in the morning, I was exhausted and fell asleep towards the end of the show! What I do remember was hilarious. I even got a painting they made!

Wicked is one of my favorite shows on Broadway. We sat in the balcony, which was very far from the stage. We enjoyed the show, mostly; but I fell asleep yet again. I had seen the show before, but I loved it just as much as the first time.

Not everything in New York was fun. We went to the 9/11 Memorial and had a tour. We started in front of a fire station and walked over to the North Pool first. It was a square with cascading water. In the bottom, was a smaller square that the water fell into. To me, it represented infinity. The guides, who were all volunteers, all had a connection to the attack. They were either a survivor, first responder, or lost someone in the attack. It was really touching to hear their stories and learn about the tragedy. Even though I didn’t personally lose anyone on that day, it was still very emotional.

We visited the Empire State Building, an iconic American symbol. It was built in 1931. It was really cool to see all of New York from the high floors. We saw all the rivers, bridges, and the Statue of Liberty!

Being in a Jewish school, we had to do a mitzvah project. We went to Bobbie’s Place in Brooklyn. Bobbie’s Place is a gemach. A gemach is a place where people can get clothes for free or to borrow. We tagged clothes and had a lot of fun, even though we were working.

Another cool Jewish thing we saw was the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America. There were graves for people that had fought in the Civil War. Some of the graves were so old, that you couldn’t read the tombstones. It was really amazing to see something with that much history in a busy city.

This was an amazing trip that kept me up and moving. We tried to fit in as much as we could and it was very entertaining. The lack of sleep was worth this trip.


   May 05

Remembering

Shavuot is coming up soon. Shavuot celebrates the Torah being given. Scott Zimmerman was a teacher of Torah, and we are honoring him on Shavuot. Scott was the person that taught me how to read Torah and helped me learn to read trope.

Scott was always in the synagogue during services. I would always be able to find him from where I was sitting. When he died, I would still find myself looking for him in services. I can remember Scott as if I saw him just yesterday. I may not see him anymore, but I still remember him.

“Not to have felt pain is not to have been human.” -Jewish Proverbs. I choose this quote because we know that we are alive because we feel the pain of missing those that aren’t. We will miss Scott and remember him for as long as we can.


   Apr 17

How Middle School Has Changed Me

Being in middle school has changed my life substantially. In my opinion, I have matured; I have also grown intellectually. I have become more independent. Those aren’t the best things that have happened to me because of middle school. The following three topics have had true biggest impact on my life.

In middle school, you receive an abundance of homework and assignments. I wasn’t very organized when I started middle school, but that has changed. I still am disorganized, just look at my locker, but intellectually I am organized. I have learned to balance homework and recreational activities. This is a skill I will need for high school, and I am glad to have learned it now. Also, being organized has helped me change in another way.

Being ADHD, people find me annoying at times. I take medicine, but it only keeps me in my seat. I still have my loud mouth personality. I didn’t work well with others because of it. In middle school we did many group projects. My first one, let’s just say it didn’t go so well. By the second group project, I realized what needed to be done and did exactly that. This has helped me very much and will help in the future.  This has helped in some situations that weren’t good ones.

Imagine this: You are in a group project with two other people. They are arguing and you are just standing there. What do you do? I have been in that situation before, but what did I do? I took charge, made a compromise, and got us back on track. Many situations have occurred since sixth grade and all have been solved swiftly. This, I hope, will help in high school. ]

Many things have changed since fifth grade. These were the main impacts on my life, and I am glad for them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be thinking about going to an amazing high school, I would be worrying about my hair or clothes. Middle has been some of the greatest years of my life, and I would do it all over again.


   Mar 30

Mt. Carmel

Last Friday, the middle school and I went to Mt. Carmel and had a Seder. Mt. Carmel is an independent living home for the elderly. We read from the Hagada and sang traditional songs. This was the mitzvah of sharing a Seder with people that wouldn’t have celebrated Passover if it wasn’t for us. I had fun and wish I could go again.


   Mar 23

Special, Special, Read All About It!

For my second To Kill a Mockingbird reflection, I made a newspaper. I made one for when Tom Robinson was arrested. The second one was for when Bob Ewell was found dead. I hope you can read and enjoy them.

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   Mar 18

Which Song Represents Who or What?

Two weeks ago, my class and I finished To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. For my reflection, I picked six songs that represent characters or themes in the book. The lyrics had to make sense with what I paired it with. On to the music. I am not using all the lyrics, just what I explained.

My first song is Stay With Me by Sam Smith. I choose to pair this song with Mayella Ewell.

“These nights never seem to go to plan
I don’t want you to leave, will you hold my hand?”
These are the last two lines of the first verse. In this phrase, it is describing how what happened with Tom Robinson didn’t go the way she wanted it to. It is also saying she is lonely and doesn’t want to be alone. In the chorus, it is just saying that she doesn’t want to be alone. In the line, “And deep down I know this never works,” it is saying that she knows that herself, a white girl, would never be allowed to be with a African-American.

My next song was Outside by Calvin Harris. This song was paired with Boo Radley.

The first line of the song, “Look at what you’ve done,” is saying that he is upset that he is kept in his house. In the second verse, it is saying that he has to be strong and stay sane while he has no contact with the outside world. The last line is about how he watches Scout and Jem because he needs some form of entertainment.

My third song is Blackbird by the Beatles. This song is about Atticus.

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night,” is about how Atticus was the ‘blackbird’ at the trial because he was the only one to help Tom. “You were only waiting for this moment to arise,” is about how he was waiting for a trial to come and change his life and this was the trial of Tom. The rest of the lyrics are about the same.

The fourth song is Roar by Katy Perry. This is the theme courage.

“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess,” is about how Jem and Scout used to be very scared of Mrs. Dubous. The chorus is how they faced their peers and Mrs. Dubous. That is pretty much the whole song. It could also be about how Mrs. Dubose had courage because she broke her morphine addiction because she wanted to die free.

The fifth song is Innocence by Avril Lavigne. The theme is innocence. The whole song is about how having innocence makes everything seem perfect and like there are no bad things in the world.

The last song is Ain’t No Reason by Brett Dennen. The theme is racism.

“There ain’t no reason things are this way.
It’s how they always been and they intend to stay.
I can’t explain why we live this way.
We do it every day.”

The entire first verse is about how racism does not need to continue but it does. There is no reason for it, but it happens.

“Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons.
It could be a bomb, or a bullet, or a pen,
Or a thought, or a word, or a sentence.” People get hurt every day because of something. It doesn’t even need to be physical to hurt.

I hope you liked the songs and the lyrics I connected to the book!


   Feb 10

Planting

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This Friday, I went to The Bridge and planted vegetables. Tu B’Shvat was that Wednesday. Tu B’Shvat is what marks the beginning of the “new year” for trees. Planting the vegetables was related to Tu B’Shvat because we are helping the environment. I hope more people do this.