Saturday, July 5, 2014

Reflections of Osborn

Graduation from Osborn was delayed this year because of Osborn having to end alongside Rye High School. Finally, after more than half my life, I've finished. I was pretty proud of myself before the ceremony, but the way the crowd cheered made me even happier. However, looking back on it, they probably hadn't even cheered that loudly, I had just adjusted my ears to hear the fake speeches read by students and even worse, the speeches of Rye politicians.

Then my parents took me to eat sushi, we went to the beach, and they gave me my first smart phone. I felt like I could cry with joy. I was so happy to, most importantly be with my family having fun, and also be done with the annoying graduation practices. Even though the long hours spent practicing walking onto the stage, singing our songs, and getting our 'will be' diplomas gave me lots of time to reflect on my time at Osborn.

During my time at Osborn the most common phrase I heard was “you need to respect each other.” I have learned from my teachers how to cooperate for the greater good. I think that despite any of my academic skill improvement, I was a horrible learner in this subject. You might be wondering why you don’t just pull it together and be nice and the reason I wouldn't do that is because I could get projects and assignments done easier and faster all by myself (in the short term). It was hard to keep telling myself that in the long run cooperating with people would be more beneficial than doing it by myself, as well as give me a friend. It didn't help that my classmates were going through the same problems. However, I think that my greatest teacher, guide, and friend through this subject and year was Lorenzo Gurgitano, my kindergarten buddy. He was my friend and when it came to being friendly, he wouldn't hold back. You didn't have to try to determine whether you were boring him or not. You didn't have to be ultra polite to the point of slowness. We understood each other.

Even though I enjoyed this experience, and friendship was the most valuable thing I learned at Osborn, it was not by much. During my time at Osborn the second most common phrase I heard was “study for the test." If it was a language arts test then I would be a little nervous. Just a little. One thing I remember is that at the end of every year at Osborn I thought that I had learned all that there was to know about language arts and that next year we would move onto other things. This year having gone to Mr. Masset’s Middle School classroom, I now know two things. First, I know there is still more to cover in language arts, and there probably will be beyond my college graduation. Second, I know not to leave cheese in a locker overnight (courtesy of the mouse that visited us). There is so much language arts I learned at school. I advanced my reading skills, expanded my vocabulary (including some basic profanity), and learned to form sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Then I edited and revised my skills and learned how to keep readers interested, and prove a point. I’m trying to use these skills in my writing and I hope that if dad, or a new teacher that I don’t know the name of yet, is reading this, you think I did a good job.

Now onto math. Math is where I excel at school (though this might change because there is now an entire subject devoted to science) and I think we haven't been going through it fast enough. Lots of time and not enough advancement. In first grade we did time and addition. In second grade we did addition and subtraction. In third grade we did multiplication and division. In fourth grade we did more multiplication and division. In fifth grade we did still more multiplication and division. I used my three years of multiplication and division to figure out that I've spent approximately 1,683 hours on math in school...on arithmetic. Maybe I’m so anxious to do more advanced math because I do advanced math at Khan Academy. On Khan Academy I focus on trig functions, algebraic expressions with 3 variables and exponents, as well as the multiplication my teacher used to assign for me for homework instead of the common core work books that contained what was on the test, not what I needed to know for the real world.

I've never thought that the common core was all that great. Having one test that everyone in the state takes is great, but when districts turn that into everyone in the state is taught the exact same and is given a number every year, then it even sounds messed up on the surface. With the way people use the common core you have to work on state exam material whether you don’t understand the testing idea, or don’t like it, or aren't at that level. I’m really happy that my fourth and fifth grade teachers weren't fans of it. Especially my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Mehler.

Mrs. Mehler, one of my favorite teachers at Osborn, was put on leave over a questionable and controversial accusation. Mrs. Winnicki replaced Mrs. Mehler and continued the year as a horrible substitute. She made our math unit start over again, made us write essays every day, and definitely didn't teach us any social studies, which isn't surprising. We had enough thoughts of revolution as it was.

Social Studies is a very interesting subject, but I've only had it for four years. It is a mix between history, politics, geography and economy. In second grade, our grand introduction to social studies was creating a classroom community (electing a leader, creating our jobs, learning all the things a town has to take care of, etc.). In third grade we didn't do much social studies, even though we did memorize the seven continents, and the four oceans. It was really in fourth grade that we started picking up speed in our social studies unit. We learned about lots of individual countries, learned the basics of buying and selling, and most importantly learned about the history of America, from the Vikings arrival to the New World to The Declaration of Independence. We learned about the Native Americans, the Seven Years War, multiple taxes, the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence, and many other things. In fifth grade we continued our social studies unit enormously. We continued our history from the Declaration of Independence through the treaty of Paris, the writing of the constitution, the Louisiana Purchase, the trail of tears, the Texas War of Independence, and further movement west, down to Hawaii. We had to memorize the states and capitals, which was hard enough without having to find out about the different regions and what they're known for. We also had to submit a weekly report on each region. We increased our knowledge of the economy watching Living on One, studying different markets, selling paper copies of our own fictional products to see what it’s like for a business owner. An interesting fact for the History of Osborn: we covered all the Spanish speaking countries in our foreign language special, if that counts as social studies.

At Osborn we have lots of specials (Spanish, gym, music, art, library, computers, orchestra/band/melody makers). My favorite is gym by far. I love running around especially after spending so long in a chair. In the other specials, the teachers have a hard time getting to know us and there is often a lot of yelling (especially art, music, and library). I am very excited for Middle School, but I could wait till the end of the summer. In the Meantime I will be going to camp, visiting my grandparents house, writing these reports, as well as doing math, science and social studies.