The Hardest Puzzle In The World

So I know what ya’ll were probably thinking when you first heard the title, “What’s so important if there’s a hard game that tests knowledge?” Except this post is about something totally different and more serious. I’m talking about Autism, a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. Also about special needs, a  particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioral difficulties. Yes, you’ve probably heard before, “Every kid is special in their own way,” but what does it actually mean when people refer to special needs children. “This means any kid who might need extra help because of a medical, emotional, or learning problem. These kids have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy, or extra help in school — stuff other kids don’t typically need or only need once in awhile.” You may be thinking, “So what? I know what that is, but what more should I know?” Yes, you may know what is is, but no one I’ve ever met has ever had a full understanding of it unless they have a connection with someone who has it. However, whenever I touch this sensitive subject it’s as if people want to avoid it or just leave it out of the picture, but the truth is you can’t.

Again I know some of you reading this know not to tease or think less of the special needs, which means you were taught right. On the other hand, some are less fortunate to not have. So, when they see someone talking differently or having a helping teacher they point and laugh, but once they find out what they have they immediately stop. That’s the problem no matter if they have specials needs or not they’re human. They’re just like us and all they’ve ever wanted is to be treated the same way as everyone else. I know it may seem like I’m ranting on and on about a subject you may not care about, but I do. Why do I seem to care a lot about this matter? Is it because I want a good grade, or is it because my parents forced me to? The reason I care so much about this matter because all my life I’ve lived around special needs.

So what’s the point of this ongoing blog post? Well it’s me telling all of you to become friends with a special need. Please don’t let them wander the halls, eat alone at a lunch table, or to find that all the people they thought were their friends made nasty jokes about them behind their back. All I want is for you to open your heart to someone who needs it truly. Now is that too much to ask? I’m not asking you to dis all your friends, but to simply to make them feel accepted or hang with them with your original friends. If you think it’s too much of a risk because you might be judged by your friends,  then I guess you gotta ask yourself this question, are you hanging around the right kind of people? Another question you might want to ask yourself if you would get embarrassed being seen with a special needs kid is, what kind of person does that make you?

~Tammy

Are School Uniforms Beneficial?

Currently there is an ongoing debate in our nation on whether or not schools should have a uniform policy. Schools that require students to wear school uniforms want to promote unity in students clothes. These policies have generated an argument between parents, students, and schools. Parents and students say that uniforms take away the students’ freedom of expression and individuality. Between the school years of 2003-04 and 2011-12, the percentage of public schools that require students to wear uniforms have increased from 13 to 19 percent. Schools declare that uniforms help students to focus on school work. So is taking away student’s individuality worth the reward of decreased behavioral problems and increased test scores? To resolve this argument, research done by David L. Brunsma, University of Alabama and Kerry A. Rockquemore of Notre Dame proved that uniforms did not lead to an improvement in any of the school performances. According to their conclusion, “Student uniform use was not significantly correlated with any of the school commitment variables such as absenteeism, behavior, or substance use (drugs). In addition, students wearing uniforms did not appear to have any significantly different academic preparedness, proschool attitudes, or peer group structures with proschool attitudes than other students”.

Should schools force students to follow the uniform policy? In my opinion, schools shouldn’t make students wear uniforms. I believe that uniforms decrease student’s creativity and self-expression. Schools should create an environment that encourages students individuality and which inspires students to gain self-confidence. The only way that this can be achieved, is if students get to choose what they wear.

~Anhelina

Homework: A Gain or a Loss

Homework. A word that makes most kids cringe at the sound of it. The issue of homework being banished is just a small argument, but has become reality in certain towns, cities, and states. Homework does not improve academic achievement which is shown in a study that “kids who do 60 to 90 minutes of homework in middle school and over 2 hours in high school actually score worse [than average on standardized tests].” This shows the possibility that kids do not actually learn the information but instead rush through to try and finish homework as soon as possible. Homework also takes away a kids time to hang out with their friends or play a game and playing can build both academic and social skills. Homework is taking away many children’s childhoods.

Why parents should stop helping their kids with homework

I believe that homework is not important and that we should be able to choose when we study and how we study the material given to us in the classroom. As we grow up we learn to find certain ways of studying that are right for ourselves. Homework isn’t individualized to specific students needs and it might make the topic more confusing in the long run. Another reason homework confuses people is that when a child is sent home with homework they can not ask questions. When we don’t have a teacher or someone who knows the material that we’re learning it might become more of a challenge then necessary. As you can see homework causes more problems than it helps students.

~Kayla

Basketball Recruit Asks Friend With Autism to Prom

In Louisville, Kentucky a high schooler named Trey Moses asked  Ellie Meredith, a girl who is dealing with autism, if she would go to prom with him. Rather than bringing his girlfriend, he decided to ask Ellie by bringing flowers inside their school’s gym and holding a sign that said “Let’s party like it’s 1989,” which is a Taylor Swift reference, one off Ellie’s favorite artists. When he was being interviewed, he explained that she knew him so well and despite what people may think, they are totally alike. Although Ellie was taken by surprise when Trey suggested that they go to prom together, she said that she knew that it would be something in Trey’s nature to do.

To me, this is really cute and shows a positive part of society. Everyone mainly focuses on race, gender, and religion when it comes to unfair equality but this can make humans finally realize that mental disabilities are another aspect. My hope is for viewers of this promposal to learn a lesson and start to act the same around everyone. Personally, this should already be happening but in reality it is not. Maybe one day, Trey’s actions can be viewed as something that isn’t a big deal because autism isn’t considered a “flaw.” Nonetheless, this story truly brings a sense of comfort because it shows that people aren’t always so self conscious on how others might view them. In conclusion, I say, be friends with whoever you want!

~Lara

I’m Not Pro-Crastinating

We all have those things that we don’t want to do, and sometimes we avoid until we can’t. Even then, some of us go that extra mile and keep procrastinating. We’ve all heard it before and we’ve all done it, some more than others. When you procrastinate, you know you have something to do and you have plenty of time to do it. But somehow, every free moment you have seems like a perfect time to do something else! How will I find the time to write that essay when it’s so nice outside and all I want to do is go for a run, sit outside, walk the dog- speaking of the dog, I think I forgot to feed her. I’ll go look. Okay she has food, but I have no apples left! Man, I really want an apple. I guess I’ll add that to my grocery list. Hey look, there’s no more room on the page! I guess I’ll have to go to the store. Okay I’m back, but guess who I saw at the store. My 5th grade teacher! I wonder where my old yearbook is. I’ll go look. Well I couldn’t find the yearbook, but I found my old essay from 6th grade! Hey speaking of essay, I still have to write that. But look, it’s 7:50! My favorite TV show is on in 10 minutes! I guess I’ll write it after. Wow, that was a great episode. I think I’ll go take a shower. What? 10:00 already? I should probably get to sleep because I have to get up early tomorrow. And write that essay.

You see, procrastinators are perfectly aware of the task at hand, and have the time to do it. But when they have a week to do that project, why start now? Pretty soon, one week turns into one day, which turns into one night, which flies by until you finish with an hour to spare. Some very simple reasons that people procrastinate is because they seem too hard, too time-consuming, you don’t think you know what you’re doing, and you’re scared of failure. Who wants to write some big long hard essay when you could simply watch a movie? And who wants to spend hours preparing a speech when you can go out to dinner? And no one wants to try and do a presentation on something they know nothing about, and that can play into the fear factor too. Everyone’s going to know if you mess up, so let’s do this a little later. These are good reasons for procrastinating, and it’s not really hurting anyone, is it? They might seem like good reasons, but they actually aren’t. If the assignment is so hard, then you should do it now while you can get help from a teacher and ask questions. Something tells me they won’t be as helpful the night before it’s due. Too time-consuming? Maybe if you do it all in one sitting it is, but if you chunk it out in the time you have, it’ll be a piece of cake. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you have the time to learn what you should, even if you just haven’t been paying attention in class. As for failure, things done in three hours are going to be a lot more sloppy than something done in three days, or more. If you put more time and effort into it, there’s a higher chance for success.

As for me personally, I’m an avid procrastinator. I think it’s fun to see how long it’ll actually take, especially when the teacher says “this isn’t a project you can do in one night”. Now this of course is a horrible mindset, but it’s a hard one to shake. If you haven’t started or aren’t in too deep, I would, without a doubt, advise you to stop procrastinating and never do it again. I think it’s addictive and not good, but I just can’t stop doing it. It’s usually more with projects, and I underestimate the amount of work and time I need to put into it. Of course, this is nothing that can’t be solved by a few hours of hard, frantic work. So even though procrastination is a horrible habit, I’d say that I’m pretty good at it.

~Michelle

Should Schools Stop Assigning Homework?

Of course students would say yes to no homework, but that’s because when they think of homework, they think of time consuming school work that they have to do at home when they can be doing other things. Every day students go home with 2-3 hours of homework and not everyone is able to get it done. This is because of how time-consuming it is. Even when they do have enough time to do it they spend way more time than they needed to. Schools in the U.S have decided to completely ban homework or have a no homework policy because homework itself takes up so much time and also immensely stressful. Most teens have to deal with the pressure of having good grades and making sure all of their homework is done before they can do other things. It’s the main reason why students have stress, so they have to stay up late and lose a lot of sleep just to finish it.

I like the idea of no homework so I do agree with the no homework policies schools are trying, but sometimes it would be better to have a few examples to practice with if I’m not understanding something. I mostly disagree with the overload of homework that we usually get daily. I would rather not understand something and ask my teacher about it the next day, than stress over getting the work done when I’m most likely doing it completely wrong. Most students participate in school sports and because the practices take up a lot of after school time this means that they can’t get all of their homework done. Even extracurriculars take up most of our time. As you can see, homework has become quite a problem for many reasons and will continue to be until a better solution is found.

~Aleysia

The Causes and Effects of Bullying

I know you’ve heard this before, but bullying is a huge problem for many people all around the globe. Bullying is when one person or a group of people make rude comments towards another or harasses them repeatedly. Cyberbullying is when someone is harassing someone via text messaging, tweeting, IMing, or even video chatting.

Why Does the Bully bully?

There could be many causes for people to feel the need to bully someone. It could be that they were feeling annoyed or angry that day and needed to take their feelings out on someone else, or because there are things going on in the bully’s personal life that they think no one can understand, so they push people who are trying to help them away, and a last cause could be because they think that making fun of someone will get them into the “popular crowd” or make them look cool. Trust me, bullying someone will get you nothing.

So What Happens to the Victim?

When someone is thinking about harassing someone, they don’t think about how their words would impact the person they’re bullying. If the bullies’ words have a negative impact on the victim, it will be harder and take longer to brush off. Most bullying leads to stress, depression, low self-esteem, and, sadly, suicide. And what hurts me the most is that once the bully has seen how bad their words and actions have impacted him/her, they then start reaching out. Doesn’t make sense, right? If in the end you’re going to start feeling bad about what you did, why do it in the first place?

Bye-standers

Bystanders. Yes, I know I spelled it wrong up there, but you’ll see why in a second. Bystanders are people who witness the conviction happening, but do nothing about it. If you see something happening, tell an adult, teacher, guidance counselor, or the principal. Doing this won’t make you a tattletale, it will help stop the interrogation from continuing on. Please don’t stand there and watch without doing anything after. You could be the key to ending the problem, so why don’t you do just that?

~Emily

By Hand or By Keyboard?

The new common core standards have eliminated handwriting from the curriculum in American classrooms. Now that electronic devices are being brought to classrooms, penmanship has dropped from the list of necessities for children to learn. Some argue that handwriting brings out creativity and intelligence in students. The main two reasons why many teachers fight to keep penmanship. The first is that many tests require writing and reading from paper. The second reason is for comprehension – students can slow down their thinking process by writing out every word. Others say that typing on devices is neater and faster for kids. Seventy-eight percent of teachers surveyed think that using devices to work in school develops expression and creativity for students.

Students should be allowed to use devices for their work, but penmanship should not be completely forgotten. Many teens already have electronic devices available for use in school so teachers should take advantage of them. Also, it is much easier for teachers to read and edit student’s work on computers. On the other hand, there are still many things in life that are written down on paper so students should know how to handwrite to accomplish these tasks. Overall, common core standards need to accept the new technology, but not eliminate the older way of writing.

~Georgia

Watch me cry from the inside

Bullies

Hitting, teasing, threats, rumors, gossip, punching, stealing, and calling names are all examples of bullying. Bullying happens everyday, whether you know it or not, someone somewhere is being hurt. Whether it’s verbal, physical, or cyber bullying, it still hurts. If you call people names it has a huge impact on their mental, physical, and emotional health. Bullying can take place in crowds, or somewhere not in public. For example it can happen in school (around nobody) or even in an alley. Also, a target of a bully could be bullied by one or more kids at a time. In fact, schools worldwide are trying to prevent bullying from happening by taking action. I bet someone came to your school to talk to you about bullying, and to tell you about the bad effects from it. Now I’ll tell you honestly, about the way I feel about bullying.

Being a target of bullying stinks! So, when and if you see someone being picked on, and you do nothing about it, you are a bystander. You have just let the person down, even if you tell yourself you have done nothing to harm them. However you have walked away on the situation at hand. But really think about it, why would anyone stand there and watch someone be hurt? Is it popularity or the thought of it happening to yourself?

~Samantha

Bullying can be Worse Than it Sounds

 

Bullying is a big topic in most schools. It could be cyber or personal bullying. Cyber bullying is when someone bullies another person online. Most of the time when cyber bullying happens it’s through social media. Personal bullying is when it happens at school, work, the playground, or even at a friends house. The definition of bullying is “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.  A bully could be anyone anywhere.

Every time I hear about bullying its normally at an annual school assembly. When I hear the teachers talk about bullying I don’t actually pay attention until they start to tell us about the stories about some bully victims. Some of the stories you hear really will break your heart. Most of them are about students who attempted suicide or who have actually commited it. Did you know that there are 4,400 deaths every year from suicide caused by bullying? Also that there are at least 100 suicide attempts every year? Next time you see someone getting bullied please stick up for them so that they aren’t added to the statistics.

~Cecilia