I honestly have no idea how to start this blog.  I don’t know what I should say.  Summer school has been an experience.    I think most of it was fun and exciting.  It was good.  Some parts weren’t as great.  I don’t like presenting.  I never have.  I was never good at it.  I think I have gotten better though.  I have been able to make more eye contact with the audience and I have been able to engage the audience in my speaking.  I was even able to ask a question during one of my presentations.  I thought my summative presentation was one of the best presentations I have ever given.  Then again, I was still shaking out of my shoes and didn’t get the mark I had hoped for.

I believe that I have gotten better at almost every aspect of English.  I have worked hard to improve and I can see in my writing and reading comprehension that I have!  I am so happy with my experience here and I hope that it gets even better towards the end.  I have learned to question everything!  Why?  What does it matter?  What is the point of it?  How?  Any question that I can ask, I feel, is a good one.  Even if it sounds dumb at the beginning, I am able to revise and edit it to make it “deeper”.

Today we were told to edit our blogs on the computer.  I don’t like to do this because I find it easier to edit and proofread with an actual sheet of paper in front of me.  Even the little things like this, I have learned this summer.  All of the little, and big, things I have learned during this course will help me so much in the future.

I don’t like the fact that we don’t receive marks.  They do matter!  I need to know where I stand and how I am doing.  The feedback was sometimes confusing and I never knew what I was supposed to write for assignments.

I thought summer school was okay.  I was expecting more.  I was expecting to take a lot of notes and to listen to the teacher talk about the conventions of English.  We never did this.  I took notes on important things and what the teacher said, but we never took an actual note.  I like to take notes because that is how I learn.

Overall, I didn’t mind the course.  I was hoping for a much better mark and I was honestly trying so hard but it didn’t seem like the outcome was any different.  English is a very introspective subject and it is very opinionated.  I believe that I have improved in many aspects of the language and I will also strive to continue improving.

Three strengths
How you know they are your strengths
How you will use them/ are using them outside of the classroom

Three weaknesses
How you will improve on them (skills or strategies)

I find that my strengths in English include writing creative stories with no guidelines, reading and asking questions and sometimes doing presentations.

I believe that I do well at writing creative stories when I am not given any guidelines.  I know that this is one of my strengths because I usually get good feedback and good marks on my creative stories.  Since marks don’t matter, I won’t count that.  I know that this is one of my strengths because I feel comfortable writing my own thoughts and stories.  I also have fun doing it because I am allowed to make things up and change how I view the world.  Reading is also one of my strengths if I find a book that I like.  I can read a book and answer questions about it.  I can also ask questions about the book to get myself, and others, thinking.  I like to ask questions about a book because the question could get me thinking about what the world can turn into in the future. Finally, I feel as though I sometimes I do well in presentations.  I have good eye contact, I speak loudly and I try to engage the audience.  I feel confident in myself after I sit down from the presentation.

I am not entirely sure how I could use creative writing in the future unless I become a children’s author.  I could use that skill to change the creative writing into another form of writing.  I can use my reading and writing questions skill to ask deeper questions about everyday situations.  I can question what I hear and see in the real world.  I don’t have to “just believe” what people say and accept it.  I can question it and I can   start a real conversation.  I will read newspapers, articles and I can be more informed with the world around me.  Presentations are used in many occupations even if you do not have the job of a public speaker.  Doctors, teachers, scientists and even builders have to have presentation skills.  They need to communicate with people whether in a group or a single person.  No matter what job I obtain, I am almost guaranteed to have to do some public speaking.  At meetings, at assemblies or just in the office, I will most likely need to have some sort of presentation skills.

I am not very good at writing essays, debating or using proper grammar.  I am trying very hard to improve on my essay writing by making outlines before I start my actual writing, trying not to use improper or incomplete sentences, trying to write properly without using a lot of informal language and to include evidence and illustrations with each point.  I am not good at debating at all!  I never know what to say and I am not very good at arguing a point that I don’t believe in.  I am alright if I know a lot about the subject and I can debate for a very long time if I believe in what I am saying.  I am also not good at using proper grammar because I often write how I speak.  I am trying to prevent this by reading over my writing after I have written it and changing some sentences and words.  I also read it over to make sure it all makes sense because it sometimes does not make sense since I am not sure how to explain it.

Feed-Monday, July 23, 2012

Overall, I thought this was a very well-written book.  It appeals to teenagers because it is written like a teenager wrote it from the perspective of a teenager.  This book teaches the reader that technology has an upside and a downside.  We need to explore the technology before we are given it and relying on technology can be fatal.  At the same time, if you use it correctly and you don’t take advantage of the technology you can live a happy life like Violet’s father. 

As well, we see that technology can be leading us to our beginning or our end.  I would say that it is leading us to our end since it is so much easier to hack somebody with a feed than a computer and if the person has a feed, they can die.  At the end of the book Violet died from the hack because her feed was not working properly.  I believe that M. T. Anderson did this on purpose to show that technology has a negative impact on humans.  We are not meant to have a computer inside of our head.

I believe that this book also explores the question “How does the individual impact the collective?”.   Violet’s goal was to get people to think twice about the feed.  As stated in the book, “she’s always looking for like evidence of the decline of civilization.”  (Anderson 184).  This passage shows that Violet truly believed that civilization did not need the feed and she was determined to get people to stop using the feed as much as they do now.  Violet (the individual) was trying to impact the collective.  She impacted Titus who then impacted his friends, at least a little bit, and his friends could have impacted others.  So essentially, she could have impacted the collective.  She just died before she could see the results.

The message in the book was that not all technology is bad and not all technology is good.  We have to explore and test the pros and cons of the technology and try to make it better before we use it.  It also says that one person can impact the collective even if it takes a long time.

Is Violet powerful enough to get people to stop using their feed?

            “She’s always looking for like evidence of the decline of civilization.”  (Anderson 184).  If she has evidence, she will be more powerful and in return she will be able to persuade more people to stop using their feed.  The decline of civilization is primarily caused by the feed.  Since people use the feed so much they are not using their own minds and they don’t think for themselves.  They are communicating using more modern-type words such as “null”, “brag”, and “omigod”.  They have let a language die and now Violet and her father are trying to bring it back.  She was made fun of because she “talks smart”.  She wanted to leave the party at one point because Loga said, “Oh, sorry.  I thought it was good to use stupid, long words that no one can understand.”  She may be able to start to bring back the language as she is speaking it around others.  They are starting to think like her and ask questions about everything around them.  It is mainly Titus who starts to talk “smarter” by using longer words and less slang but he also begins to see things as she sees them and he begins to ask more questions about the feed.  She was able to convince Titus to leave the party with her and she was also able to convince Titus to start looking at things her way.  If she can convince one person who is to say that she can’t convince more?  Titus may also try to convince others and it will just keep going on and on.  This just goes to prove that the individual can impact the collective, even if it takes a long time to do so.

How has the idea of our appearance changed?

            In today’s time we care about how we look.  We want to dress properly for an activity and we also want to fit in with the majority of other people, especially our peers.  In the novel “Feed,” it says, “…the tooth extensions that people were wearing, the white ones which you slid over your real teeth and they made your mouth just like one big single tooth going all the way across.” (Anderson 96).  This shows that the trend or fab at the time was to have a tooth extension.  In today’s time we have trends which include Lululemon sweaters, yoga pants and high-wasted shorts.  Trends tend to change over time but I believe that they will always be around for people to follow.  The idea of our appearance in the future may change with the trends but as long as we have trends people will still follow them.  People today think a great deal about their appearance.  People are being monitored more than ever before by the media and we are having more pictures taken of us.  These pictures will most likely appear on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.  Many more people will see these pictures than just the family and friends of the person in the photo.  Times have changed and we are becoming more and more obsessed with our looks.  In the past we would dress for efficiency and for the job we were doing.  Now we “dress to impress.”  We want to look good for anybody that will see us because we are often being compared to others in social media, particularly Facebook.  I say this because we want to get “likes” on our pictures.  The more “likes” we get, the better we feel about ourselves.  I don’t think this will change in the future.  If anything it will just get worse.

What is the feed?

After reading the first part of the book, I believe that the feed is a device that is connected to a person’s brain.  It controls their thoughts and actions.  These people are very dependent on the device.  Basically, it is like a tiny computer in somebody’s brain.

It is like a computer because it sends messages on “m-chat”.  That is how they communicate.  For instance, “…she would pause and we could tell she was m-chatting all the news back to our friends on earth.” (Anderson 52).  In this quote we can see that the people on the moon can communicate using the device with people that are on earth.  This is exactly like e-mailing now which we do on the computer.  Therefore, the device is like a miniature computer implanted in their brains.

Next, the feed seems to censor some parts of a conversation, or only take in what is important.  Throughout the book we see parts like, “Da da da, liability, da da da, think you’re doing.” (Anderson 18).  We interpret this to mean that the “da da da” parts are not important.  This could be the feed only passing through important information.

The characters in the book are also very dependent on the device.  They jump for joy when they get the feed back after going a day without it.  After they get back the feeds, it explains, “And the feed was pouring in on us now, all of it, all of the feednet, and we could feel all of our favorites, and there were our files, and our m-chatlines.  It came down on us like water.  It came down like frickin’ spring rains, and we were dancing in it.”  (Anderson 70).  We clearly see that they are happy to be getting their feeds back since Titus describes it as “spring rains”.  Spring rains are usually associated with good things.  Finally, they “were dancing in it.”  They danced for joy.  They are dependent because it is how the girls watch their favourite show, “Oh? Wow! Thing!”.  It is also how they interact without actually talking.  They are able to m-chat with anybody on the moon or on earth.  Most of their parents are on earth so it is handy to talk to them.

The feed is like an advanced version of the media that we currently use.  The feed is controlled by companies that monitor what the people see and what they say.  Today’s media, in a way, does the same thing.  They put out certain things in advertisements or in television shows that we can relate to and the media also teaches us certain things such as the news, weather, what to buy, how to cook certain foods, etc..

The people with the feed don’t think for themselves.  They are told everything by the feed.  They chat through the feed, they search locations through the feed and they depend on the feed for just about everything.  Imagine a life where everything you will ever need to know is implanted into your brain.  You don’t have to think or do any research.  This is provided by the feed.

Summer School Experience

In summer school this year, I expected to be reading short stories and poems and to be writing a paragraph at least, every night.  We haven’t really done that.  We have written blog posts and those are like writing a paragraph but, for some reason, they aren’t as bad.  I honestly expected more work this year but I don’t think I should speak too soon.  We have learned to think more deeply into pieces of literature and to ask questions that lead to more questions.  The questions also get us thinking beneath the surface, something we probably don’t usually do.  Last year, I worked on homework from the time I got home to the time I went to bed.  Some days I would skip supper because I had too much homework.  Not this year.  I work but I get stuff done quicker.  It is easy to write the blog posts because they are what we think and how we feel.  I enjoy doing the work because it is something different, something that you wouldn’t usually learn in an English class.  I enjoy getting the chance to be done with a subject in just 18 days but it is usually hard work.  That’s okay though.  It is a small price to pay for a major credit in a short amount of time.  We also get to meet different people.  I usually like to stay with my group of people that are most like me.  Some call us the “nerds”, I call us “successful”.  English is my worst subject though, and I usually don’t enjoy it.  In this class, I don’t feel like I am in a regular English class.  There is no Shakespeare or short stories; we get to chose what we want to talk about.  I like that.  I like talking about something that I actually want to talk about.  Overall, this class has not been what I expected.  It is opinionated, pro-presentations and people have a say.  Other than the presentations, I actually am starting to enjoy this class.

I really need to work on getting to the point of my writing.  I have found that I “dance” around the point instead of digging right into it.  I make sentences more complicated than they need to be, and in the end, they don’t make the point that I wanted that sentence to make, they don’t make sense.  Also, I go on about something for too long, again not getting to my point.  I go on about something to try to make my point but it just doesn’t seem well written.  I stress too much about everything and I think that shows in my writing.  When I am too stressed, I write poorly.  Usually I am stressed about my writing and my marks so it is kind of ironic that my stress shows in my writing.  I am usually just stressed out about my marks.  Marks matter, to me at least.  It is a way of knowing how I am doing.  I don’t like not knowing what I am getting in a course or what my teacher thinks of me.  I stress out until a week after I receive the mark.  I don’t know why, but I always think that one mark will affect my whole life.  One bad mark will mean that I am a failure in life and that I will never be successful.  That is why I am stressed out even after I receive my mark, because I think it will affect my whole life.  Even if the mark is good, and I know that it is, I can’t help but be stressed out.  It is just who I am.

Why I choose Feed:

I chose the book Feed because it was easy to relate to.  Technology is advancing and, in this book, we see how far it can advance.  Maybe it will go further, maybe not.  This book is also about teenagers, another thing I can relate to.  Finally, this book is well known and talked about a lot.  Everywhere I go in my school, there is usually somebody who has read the book.  I hear about how good this book is and how I should read it.  I guess my chance has come.  It is also written like how a teenager would talk; confusing at times but, to a teenager, easier to understand.  The thing that caught my attention was the last sentence on the back of the book, “A girl who decides to fight the feed.”  This reminds me of The Hunger Games, I enjoyed that series and I liked how Katniss went against the Capital.  So why not try this book, where a girl goes against the “feed”?  It seems similar, and if it’s not, there are many other reasons why I wanted to read it.  It relates to me, it involves the use of technology; something that we all wonder about and it is a popular book that has great reviews.

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