Ronald McDonald House

On Friday, we volunteered to cook lunch for the families at the Ronald McDonal House. Families at the Ronald McDonald House are there because they cannot afford a hotel room because their child’s medical bills are too high. The House relies on volunteers because even though the families are asked to pay 15 dollars a night to stay there, the average amount a family pays per night is only $4 because again, medical bills are often through the roof. Families are never turned away even if they can’t pay to stay at the House. Since medical bills are very high for these families, the House invites volunteers to come and cook meals so that on top of their children being very sick, families do not have to worry about paying for food. This is why we went to cook, because we understand how these families feel and know that we should give as much as we can.

A week before we cooked, we came up with a meal plan. We had to make sure that food allergies and habits would be met, so we put a lot of effort into making sure there would be something for everyone to eat. Finally, we came up with our “menu”: Mac and cheese, Caesar Salad, and Vegetable Soup. We thought this meal was a good idea because if there was a vegetarian, the could eat the soup and salad. If there was someone who was gluten free, they could have the soup. Also, our meal was kid-friendly with mac and cheese, so everyone could eat.

We bought all our ingredients and arrived at the House on Friday at about 10:00. We had about two hours to cook up and clean up. We washed hands and got right to work. We split up into two groups: four people went to start cutting vegetables for the soup and the two others made the mac and cheese. I made the mac and cheese with a friend. First, we started to boil water to cook the pasta. Next, while we were waiting, we started shredding the cheese for the cheesy rue that would go over the pasta. There was a LOT of cheese!

After our meal was cooked, we went on a tour of the House. There was a movie theater for the kids to use, a sun room, and a play room. The House has a rule called Within Eyesight. This means that a parent has to be able to see their kids at all times. Neighboring the playroom, there was a room for the parents. There was nice furniture and even a TV so that their child/children could be playing in the other room and parents could watch TV and still be able to see their kid.

I had a great time cooking at the House, and I know that what we did was very nice for the families that are suffering.

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Constitution Center

On Thursday, we took an expeditionary learning trip to the Constitution Center. We arrived at school for a brief summary of what we would see and do while in Philadelphia. After our morning meeting, we drove to the train station where we boarded the SEPTA for a short ride into the city. On the train, we started listening to an audiobook written and read by Rush Limbaugh. We had already read one of his other books, Rush Revere and the Pilgrims. Now, we are listening to Rush Revere and the First Patriots. We listen to these books to a) make the hour long train ride really fun and b) learn a bit of background information about where we are traveling to. In this book, we learned about the speech Benjamin Franklin gave in England to convince Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act. Our train rides are very educational!

After we got off of the train, we walked a short distance to the Visitor Center. We walked through a brief introductory exhibit before heading to the main building. After we entered the Constitution Center, we walked to the main exhibit where there were two paths. The first path was the outer path that took you on a tour of the history leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There were many interactive activities on the outer path. One that I really liked was a continuos conversation between a man and a woman. They were debating over historical issues like slavery, women’s rights to vote, and the taxes. These gave you the idea that there were many people who were for independence, but there were also some who were against it.

After the outer path, we continued to the inner path. This was an activities path. It was filled with fun interactive games that helped teach you about what the Constitution did for the US. One of my favorite activities was a voting booth. You entered a booth just like a real one and pressed start on the screen. The computer would shuffle through and pick a random democrat and a random republican. It was possible for you to get two different people who ran in two different years. After you accepted the delegates, the screen showed you two different quotes. The quotes were on different topics. Your job was to pick which quote you agreed with most. The trick is, you don’t know who said each quote. At the end, the computer calculates the percent you agreed with each person. I thought this was super cool because we got to see who we agreed with on different issues like education, politics, and crime. I really liked this because I got to learn different perspectives on the same issues.

After this exhibit, we entered another room. This contained many statues of all the men who signed the Constitution. We walked around and looked for different people we had been learning about through our history lessons. I thought this was a lot of fun!

Soon, we entered a new room. This had an actual copy of the Constitution. It was very interesting because the document had so many writing differences than the way we write today. Also, there was one of the only copies around of the Bill of Rights. I learned that there were twelve amendments to start with. However, the first two were not approved, therefore there are ten original amendments in the Bill of Rights today.

I really enjoyed our expeditionary learning trip. I can’t wait fro the next one to the Hispanic Ballet!

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Ballet Hispanico

On Friday, we took a trip to the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. Our Spanish teacher joined us because we were going to watch a Spanish ballet. There were four dances: two from Cuba, one from Spain, and one from Mexico. These dances demonstrated the culture of dance for those countries.

My favorite dance was Sombreisimo, a ballet about how a hat can change your mood. This ballet was an all male ensemble, and it was very interesting. They all wore hats, danced around, and at the end, threw their hats into the air. There was also a dance involving accra yoga. This is where one person lays on the ground and uses their legs to lift another person up into the air. This dance was a duet, and I loved it. The man laid on the ground and lifted the girl into the air. She gently waved her arms around before he put her down. There was much ooing and ahhing during this performance.

I really enjoyed the ballet, and I can’t wait for our next field trip to the Maryland Science Center!

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Social Studies

For social studies, we watched a documentary called 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the American Revolution. It included, as the title explains, 10 things that most people do not know about the American Revolution.

One of the things I remember most vividly is that the first submarine was used during the American Revolution. It was created by David Bushnell, and he named it the Turtle because it looked like two turtle shells squashed together. Here is a link to an image of the Turtle:

Bushnell had been perfecting the idea of a submarine for a long time, and George Washington recognized his ingenuity and asked him to create a submarine for the war. Bushnell could not ride in the Turtle. Instead, Ezra Lee volunteered. His mission was to take the turtle out into the New York Bay and attach a bomb to the bottom of the Eagle, one of the British flag ships. Then, after attaching the explosive, he had to get away as fast as possible. Lee was basically volunteering to operate a suicide mission. The outcome was much different. While Lee was trying to get to the Eagle, he got off course. He began to run out of air, so he surfaced the Turtle. The submarine was spotted by the British and he was shot at. He was able to abandon the Turtle and swim to shore safely. Even though the Turtle did not succeed, it was still the first submarine used in American history.

Another thing I remember from the documentary is that a 16 year old girl named Sybil Luddington rode twice as far as Paul Revere, accomplished something more important than he did, and is never recognized. Her father was a kernel in the army and needed someone to round up an army, and Sybil volunteered. She picked up a stick and banged on all the doors and said, “Hurry. There is trouble. We need everyone we can get.” She rode 40 miles in length, and about 9 hours in time. For a 16 year old girl, this is incredible.

There was so much more to learn, and I was shocked. If you want to watch this for yourself, the link is below:

When you get to the website, scroll down until you see the American Revolution. Then watch and learn about the American Revolution!

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First Day Back: Science 1/4/16

Our first day back from winter break was great. We started the day with morning meeting. Later, we moved on to Science, one of my favorites. In Science, we had a review of what we had learned in the last few weeks. We had learned how to calculate the final temperature of a hot liquid mixed with a cold liquid. Then, we practiced using this formula with given scenarios. I think that was the most fun thing we learned.

We had a Science review because we were going to have an assessment on Wednesday and our teacher wanted to make sure that we all understood what we had learned so far. He always gives us a lesson, then a homework assignment, then an experiment, followed by a review before an assessment. Most times, he also throws in a pop quiz (but most times we all know it’s coming).

Science is definitely a fun class!

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Last Friday, we took the train into Philadelphia for a fun filled field trip (wow! Tongue twister!). We walked form the train to the Annenberg Center for a Motown meets Jazz performance by Arpeggio Jazz ensemble. In Music, our recent “Music era of the month” was Motown, so we decided that this would be a really fun way to experience how live Motown sounds.

During the performance, the cello player of the ensemble talked about how Motown and Jazz seemed like the perfect fit. He talked about musicians like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson. He explained that their goal was to create a type of music that brought people together and that everyone would like. I think they definitely accomplished their goal!

After the performance, we went to Escape the Room. Escape the Room is where you and your team enter a room and have one hour to follow the clues and get out. Only 20% have been able to do it, and we did it by using teamwork! I was so excited that we completed the challenge, and I can’t wait to see what our next challenge is!

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Recently, we began a filming class. Our film class teaches us about different types of short films, how to film different “shots” and how to edit films.

Our first project was a promo video about PRIED. We each came up with a few reasons why we liked PRIED before recording ourselves. Later, we edited the video and came up with a finished project. This video was our first project in film class, and it came out great!

Our second project is a partner project. With our partner, we are creating a short film about anything we want, as long as it has a story line. We are going to work on this over a period of time, so we will be adding to our film as we go along. I am really excited to do this project because my little brother is going to be our actor!

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Every Friday, we have a Music class. Through Music, we learn to sight read, clap rhythms, sing alto and soprano pieces, and sing in different languages. The singing is all considered our Choral work which I find the best part of Music.

Before we sing our choral pieces, we warm up. Our first warm up usually helps us to sing the higher notes. We start at the bottom of the scale and go up and up until we are all just squealing. Then we start at the top of the scale and go down. We do two to three of these warm ups before singing our chorus pieces.

Our first chorus piece is a Latin piece called Kyrie Cannon. It is a two part song and sounds really pretty when we sing it. The altos start with melody one. Then, the altos sing melody two, and the sopranos sing melody one. Then, the altos sing melody three while the sopranos sing melody two. It sounds confusing, but our Music teacher teaches each section to all of us in a way that is very easy to understand.

Our second choral piece is Kusimama. This is an African song that means Peace. It has a much more up beat tempo, and we all love to sing it. There is stomping and clapping and we all get really excited when our teacher asks us to sing it.

I love our chorus pieces, and I am glad we have Music every week!

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Writing 11/12/15

In our writing curriculum, we are currently writing persuasive essays. My topic for my essay is that immigration in the U.S. is an important issue. We were given graphic oragnizers to help us organize our ideas before we write the first draft. We fill in the blanks on our organizers with simple, not too specific, topics. This is so that in our outlines we are able to include more details such as the actual facts that we plan to include in the final essay. After our outlines our completed, we will begin writing the first draft of our essay. We will use MLA formatting and will edit our drafts with our teachers and peers several times. At the end of our paper, we will have a works cited page including all the websites of resources from which we gathered our facts from.

Our pursuasive essays are well under way. If you would like to see the website we use to learn the proper MLA formating, here is the link:

I really enjoy formal writing, and that’s not a lie!

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Flipped Math 11/8

Every day, we have at least a half an hour to complete daily tasks. This time is called work time. Our tasks  for work time include a writing lesson, a math assignment, and if we have extra time we are permitted to read.

I find  the math program at PRIED very interesting and diverse. The students of PRIED are all at different places in the math curriculum. Aside from that, we all learn at different paces. To make sure we all learn effectively, we learn our math in a specific way called flipped math.

In most schools the students learn about a new topic in school. They go home and complete a math assignment containing math problems that correspond with the lesson from that day. Many students can learn this way, but for the students that can’t, it is difficult for them to keep up with the class. They struggle because they don’t understand the lesson. When they get home, their parents may not be involved in their studies and the student is left on their own. If the student’s parents are involved, they may not be able to help in a way that the student understands. They go to school the next day, and the process repeats.

At PRIED, our teacher tries her best to make sure we all learn and understand what we are learning. We do this through a process called flipped math. In flipped math, we go home and watch a Khan Academy video that teaches us a new type of problem solving skill or math topic. We also read several pages in our math text books to back up what we learned. We then take notes on what we learned. We write three things we learned, two questions we have, and one example problem. The next day, we ask our teacher our questions. If we were confused, she gives us a mini lesson to clarify what we learned the previous night. We move on to complete an assignment of practice problems in the classroom. When we go home, the process repeats.

To sum up flipped math, we learn our lesson at home and complete practice problems at school.

I think flipped math is very helpful, and I hope we continue this technique in the future.


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