Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Check your PowerSchool. Do you have missing grades? Last date for resubmission of any work from the 1st Semester: Dec 8th

For Tomorrow

Grammar Paragraph - Opening and Delayed Paragraph (Submitted to Seesaw as video and text - or performed live)

Bullying Presentations - Due Wednesday

Monday, November 20, 2017

This Week

Check your PowerSchool. Do you have missing grades? Last date for resubmission of any work from the 1st Semester: Dec 8th

Argument Writing Format - Resources

Your task is to take a position on whether or not music should be allowed while working. Write an argument essay in which you clearly state your position either for or against music while working, and then support that claim with evidence from the texts you’ve read, “3 Reasons You Should Try Studying While Listening to Music"” and watched “Listening to Music While Studying.” Now you can read, “How Music Could Help You  Concentrate While Studying

Summatives this week
Grammar Paragraph - Opening and Delayed Paragraph
Bullying Presentations - Wednesday

You will have all class Tuesday to work on these topics

Friday, November 17, 2017

Next Week's Summatives

I am still missing some EMAIL HOME from the last unit - Get these to me before Friday 8pm. After this time, grades will be recorded in PowerSchool . This cannot be resubmitted

C/D and E/F Classes - On Monday, you must be ready to pitch your idea for your final project on bullying. This will be needed to be finished by Wednesday.

Grammar Summative - Opening and Delayed Adjectives and Adverbs - Due Wed. (You will have class time to work on this on Mon. and Tue.)

Sample Video - Even little kids can do this! (These kids are very special though!)

Plan your work like this - Read the tips

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Course of Study - Day 4

Last chance - Make sure you bring your 'reading challenge books to class tomorrow - You will receive a responsibility grade

I am still missing some EMAIL HOME from the last unit - Get these to me before the end of the week. Don't let me have to chase you up! - If you do not have a grade in power school - it means I do not have your email yet!

Return all book club books that you have finished with please :-)

Argument  Preassessment

H/W - Go to one last source on 'bullying' and collect information. You will have your last debate tomorrow.
This is a pre-assessment for our NEW unit after Thanksgiving. We just want to see what you know on these two skills - Main ideas and Perspectives

Question 1: Listening to Music While Studying
Question 2: How Music Could Help You to Concentrate While Studying

You will have 30mins to finish these two questions

Grammar Recap - Opening and Delayed Adverbs

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Instructions for Wednsday's Classes

HomeBase - Tritime project slide show

Instructions for grammar formative

Students may choose their own sentence starter if they want to.

Do your work in google doc first - color code you opening adjectives one color and your delayed adjectives another. Screen shot your work and paste into SEESAW

FYI - typical sample piece

E/F Class - Extra Subjects and predicate practice

Stephen - Jayden - Adam - Richard - Arya - Same paragraph but with an emphasis on advanced subjects and predicates.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Course of Study: Day 2 and Opening Adjectives

IMPORTANT - Return all BOOK CLUB BOOKS to the cart in my room. 

H/W - Take notes on ONE new source from the bullying list - be prepared to share your notes with your partner

Grammar Recap - Opening adjectives
In class tomorrow - you will need to write a short scene using both opening and delayed adjectives. Will you be ready? - Watch this video for help

Growing Ideas - Summative

If you want to know what a 4 looks like - read these excellent pieces from some of your fellow 7th graders

Monday, November 13, 2017

Course of Study: Day 1

Day 1 Tritime - HB H/W - Go to the toolkit. Find one thing on the toolkit that you noticed. Be ready to share that we class tomorrow. (Approx. time to complete - 5mins)

H/W - Watch this video on delayed adjectives to help you with this new sentence technique

For Class today

                                                            Course of Study - Bullying

Grammar Recap

Friday, November 10, 2017

Reflection Email Home

Make sure you have images and EVIDENCE to support your opinions

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Growing Ideas in Book Clubs

Use these resources to help you with your summative today on the short story - Popularity

Tomorrow Fri - Membean TEST
Minutes needed 35mins/Meets 45/Exemplary 
Book Club Conversation Assessment (Make sure your book club is ready to discuss something significant)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Today's Activity

Discuss an ‘important choice/action/inaction’ that was made by  your main characters or a supporting character. Do you agree with the character's decision? What does the character’s choice teach you about the person, the stage of character change he/she is at, what he/she values, the character’s blind spots, or the message from the story?

Use the lenses that you were given in yesterday’s class to collect your thinking (Interpretive thinking sheet) - examples of lenses

Work Submission
Book club use the graphic organizer to do a video recording in Seesaw (as a team) sharing their thinking/answer to the prompt given above

Monday, November 6, 2017

Interpreting Characters Actions/Inaction

Student Samples - Part to Whole Sumative - Why didn't I get a 4? Read this work and decide what you need to do to improve your grade in your retake!

Lesson Recap - Critiqing character's actions

Friday, November 3, 2017

Next Week

Next WEEK - Membean week - 35mins (MEETS) 45mins (Exemplary) TEST NEXT FRIDAY
Thursday - Growing Ideas in Book Clubs - Summative (text: Popularity)
Friday- Book Club Discussion Summative (Your present book club book)

Subjects and Predicates Grammar Assessment

Lesson Recap: Tracking character change

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Part to Whole: Mentor Samples

H/W - Have you done enough practice for your subjects and predicates assessment?
You will get TWO grades. Language grade and a Writing grade. (look below for a BIG tip!)
Grammar Summative is tomorrow: I am telling you EXACTLY what you need to do for tomorrow's writing grammar summative. How will you use this information? It is an open book and open notes assessment!!!

These are mentor samples of answers: Part to Whole
1) Notice how the  argument is structured using transitions
2) Notice how the author's  use analogical thinking

Sample 1

The entire theme of the story is portrayed beautifully on page 249. Sumiko is thinking about Jiichan and the unfair prejudices he’s been through, and how he is still brave and happy. The author writes, “And yet Jiichan had found a type of success. She realized suddenly that he had been a happy man. And a brave one. She spotted a weed and jumped up and pulled it out. Then she saw another one and yanked that out.” Although the sudden transition between contemplating Jiichan’s life journey and pulling out weeds may seem abrupt and irrelevant, it is actually an extremely clever move on the author’s part. In the scene, Sumiko was thinking about how Jiichan has faced many wrongs on his journey of life, but he’s still happy and brave. This angers her, as she feels the way Jiichan and countless others are treated is unfair and prejudiced. In her anger, she pulls out a weed. Then, she spotted another weed. She pulls this out as well. The weeds symbolize the problems and prejudice society has in our world. The fact that there were more weeds, represents how no matter how much we try to solve problems, there will always be more. It also conveys that the victims of the evils of the world can’t fix the wrongs alone, and it is up to us to stand up for them and help right the wrongs in this world that is corruption and prejudice. It is amazing to think that in the beginning of the book, Sumiko wouldn’t have even known about half the wrongdoings of the war and the world, let alone try and fix them, but now, she is trying to help make the world a better place, and inspire others, such as when she pulls the weeds out, helps Mr. Moto with his garden, protects Frank, etc. In the beginning of the book, when Sumiko saw something wrong, she wouldn’t have interfered at all, but rather, kept away and hid her emotions inside. For example, when she was rejected from Marsha’s party, although she was more angry than sad, she didn’t do anything, just walked away. She hid the events, and pretended they never happened, not telling anyone else about being “uninvited” (pg 36). Whereas now, she is willing to be an upstander for people like Frank, when he is being beat by other boys for no apparent reason. By being upstanders, and pulling out the weeds that is the diseased evil of our garden, the world, you are not only making space for other, better flowers to grow, you are also reducing the contagious aspects of prejudice in the world. Only when we pull out the weeds, face evil and stand up for others, like flowers growing in a garden, can our world flourish.

Sample 2
  Suzy Swanson’s way of coping with change and loss was clearly shown on pg. 17 when Suzy’s mom told her about Franny’s death, saying, “Some things just happen.” This scene was vital in expressing what Ali Benjamin the author of “The Thing About Jellyfish” was trying to say; “Like poison hidden in wine, the things hurting us the most are the ones we can’t see.” Usually when things happen without an explanation, we would just focus on moving on. However, Suzy desperately tries to find a reason to explain Franny's death instead of just accepting it.This can be shown when her life starts to revolve around finding a cause for her friend’s death. “... everyone else had just given up.” She was so determined to figure out what happened that she considered traveling to a different continent without her parents. Although it was written all over the text, Suzy didn’t realize that sometimes relationships fizzle out. This was represented most importantly by melting of the pee disks Suzy made. This resembles the relationship between Suzy and Franny and one of the greater themes. As the pee disks started to melt, it symbolises their relationship starting to melt, fizzle out, and tear apart. It also symbolizes the two of them slowly drifting away from each other, until their relationship is no more. The end of Suzy and Franny’s friendship shows that change is inescapable but vital. In addition to that, Franny’s death show is definitely one of the most pivotal moments in the story, but how her death was unexplained shows that change is vital but there isn’t always a reason behind it. Change is a one way street that you have to drive down and there’s no turning back. Just as change is inevitable, so is death. And similar to change, you never know when it’s going to happen and sometimes (like in Franny’s death) why it happens. Dealing with loss and change is difficult; sometimes they are unexplained, but have to be accepted. The events in this story show that, life is like an ocean, you can’t control which way the current flows, but you have to follow the flow.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ASK - If you need help on subjects and predicates, bring a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) that uses a variety of subjects and predicates that flow together about one topic to ASK.

Parts to Whole - Summative Tomorrow ( You can use ALL your NOTES from this week) You will be given a text that you have already read and you will have to explain how one part, captures the whole - using 'analogical interpretation techniques.

Friday - Grammar TEST - Make sure you have studied some of the online practice exercises.
Test will be in two part:
Grammar Grade - Naming different subjects and predicates in a multiple choice format
Writing Grade - Writing a short paragraph that correctly uses different subjects and predicates. Example below

Writing Grading Rubric

4- Students used advanced subjects and predicates accurately in 4 sentences and named them correctly. Some sentence tools are also correctly used
3- Students used advanced subjects and predicates accurately in 3 sentences and name them correctly.
2- Students used some advanced subjects and predicates accurately in  3 sentences and named most of  them correctly. Some errors were present.
1- Students mostly confused advanced subjects and predicates and could not craft at least   3 sentences correctly or name the types of subjects and predicates used. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No H/W - Enjoy your halloween!

Lesson Recap - Showing how a 'part'  can capture the 'whole' of a story.

Monday, October 30, 2017

ALL CLASSES Install the Add-ON - SASwriting reviser into your google docs.

Add ONs  - GET Add ONs - Search SAS WritingReviser

Part to Whole Day 1

H/W - Choose a 'part' of your book club book (line, scene, quote etc') - that you believe captures the message of the entire story or the state of character change. Come ready to share that part with your book club.

Use these databases to help with 'abstract brainstorm'

Symbols word list

Lesson RECAP - Thinking abstractly about events

Grammar - Subjects and Predicates (TEST is MOVED to FRIDAY)

  • Subjects and Predicates Test - FRIDAY - IF - you want to do more practice on subjects and predicates - see these links below. 


Optional Practice: Try to spend 5 mins each night practicing some of these exercises.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Clubs

Next Week - Do this for Monday...
You need JUST an IDEA to write about
The idea is that you come to class with a moment in your life that was  a 'A Ha'  - moment.

Grammar Recap

You will have a grammar test on Subjects and Predicates next THURSDAY

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Memoir Resubmissions - If you have worked on your piece since conferences, you need to email me to let me know that it needs to be regarded. Window to resubmit memoirs only stays open until next Friday.

As you read tonight, make sure you interact with the text at the Head and Heart level.

Sentence Starters

You will have your first formal - graded - book club meeting on Friday. Will your team be ready?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Notice and Note

H/W - All classes - Make sure you come to class with something you want to discuss from your book club book. Tonight - you should be on the look on for Notice and Note signposts and their impact.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Introduction to Book clubs

H/W - All classes - Make sure you come to class with something you want to discuss from your book club book.

Book Club note taking sheet

If you miss class on Monday - Make sure you read this entire story BEFORE Tuesday's class.
Thirteen and Half By Rachel Viel

Lesson recap - How to interact with ANY book...Level 1

Friday, October 13, 2017

IMPORTANT - Please return classroom reading books that you have finished reading after the break.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Parts of Speech: Retake

Reading Challenge Oct - Dec

Text for Meaning and Craft - Retake

Have a great holiday. Make sure you keep up with your reading. New reading challenge coming after the break.

Monday, October 9, 2017


H/W - Conferences slideshow MUST be completed for tomorrow. You will have a dry run through speaking about your growth with a classmate.

Tomorrow, those who wish to do so, can take a 'Parts of Speech' retake. You must show evidence of further studying before you do so. e.g.  screenshot of online practice, an image that helps you remember the parts of speech

Because Membean has been down, I am pushing the Membean test back to tomorrow (Tue)

Unit 1 - Retake - Option tomorrow

Memoir Student Samples 
Enjoy Nikhil's piece. What stands out? Comments appreciated

Alternative;y - Enjoy Liam's superb piece. Full of powerful reflection starting with the title itself!!!

Shatt  ered

I am, indeed, a person of resilience, is what I wish I could say. I’m susceptible to peoples hate, letting people induce suffering in me. I used to cry at the thought of “mean” names, baffled at what they meant. I often let people do wrong to me, leaving me with less than I originally had. I let people spread rumors about me, talk behind my back, and let people who I thought were “friends” leave me. People's insults and anger clouded my thought, clouded what I should do. I would try to bottle my emotions, pushing them far down, but I couldn’t. I was a glass vase, always being dropped. Scratch that. I wasn’t a glass vase, I am a glass vase, inside a box labeled, “fragile”. I would let people look me in the eyes and break me, drop the fragile glass I am. I try to stop that, I try and take control of myself, but I never can. I see the path I have gone through, to be the person I am, but whatever happens, I am always hurt. I am always broken. I had been broken, until I had to glue myself together.
I had walked down the hall, finding my locker number. Reaching into my backpack, I took out my folder and computer. My friend slumped over me, waiting for me to be ready. His friend was right behind him, staring at me. At the time, I was hesitant to join them, thinking that the kid peering over my friends shoulder, at me, would only bring something complex. Something that I wouldn’t like. But, oblivious, I joined them. I started walking to their class first. “How’s it?” he had said.
“Good.” I replied with a solid tone. He continued to talk to me, becoming louder. A stereotypical “gay” joke, which he thought was funny, was how he started off our conversation. I didn’t think much of it, passing it off as the “normal” middle school humor. His friend, still trailing behind, asked, “Aren’t you gay, Liam? Can you explain the joke to me?” When hearing that, I wasn’t hurt, but shocked. Back then, I was shocked that this would still follow me around. Shocked that people would still be so cruel. Shocked that people who said things like these, were just like the first. Everyone who followed reminded me of the first. Everyone that followed could never fill me up with as much melancholy as the first, but they still made my eyes water. But, the first person didn't just make my eyes water, but they made my eyes swell with tears. The first person, was a boy with chocolate brown skin from a basketball camp. The first was scary, merciless, but not hateful. Not hateful, but insecure, looking for a laugh. He acted so confident, so brave, and was the favorite of all. The favorite of all inside the basketball camp.
I had been told I was going to basketball camp from my dad, which I was reluctant to go to. It had been my first time overnight for many days without my parents. And being a 9 year old, I was frightened, you know? I had been standing in line, waiting for my turn in the drill. It was a simple lay up drill, just normal practice, nothing special. A tall, thin teen with chocolate skin, a couple of people front of me, spun around, turning towards me, and started talking to his friends. He looked around and immediately spotted my blonde hair. His eyes met mine, and “scanned” me. His eyes went from up, to down, noticing my posture and movements. His eyes jolted back up, back to my eyes. A dirty, malevolent grin danced across his face, which only grew larger.
His mouth opened, and and I had been scared to hear what came out.
He said, “You’re so gay, just look at yourself. You look like a girl, you sound like a girl, you basically are a girl! You hand hangs like this,” he said, his hand slung forward, “You are so ******* gay”
At the time, Broken, filled with pain, I took a deep breath. Having an uncanny susception to hurt, pain filled me.
When I was in that situation, I didn’t understand, I was filled with hurt. I didn’t understand that all he wanted to do was give himself a laugh. I should’ve known that he didn’t actually care about me enough to be mad with me or hateful towards me. Now that I look back at that moment, the pain inside of me was a jumble of confusion and shock, not actual hurt. But, I wasn’t mature enough to make an adult - like situation.
So, all I could muster to the head coach was, “Can I go to the bathroom?”

I ran to the bathroom, my feet pounding, my head hung low. When I reached the bathroom, I looked into the mirror, noticing my red eyes. Tears poured out of my eyes, almost as if a river sprung free, almost as if a dam had been destroyed, and all the water was gushing out. My 9 year old self couldn’t fathom what just happened. I had trouble understanding what gay even was! I was shocked, and surprised that someone waaaay older than me, would do this. This 15 year old had no care for what I felt, and only wanted to laugh at me, because he had nothing to laugh at. I walked out of the bathroom, and saw the head coach of the entire camp, and ran over to him. I told him everything.
The head coach brought me upstairs, to a sort of gym area. He had a talk with me, telling me what to do. He told me that I was walking a trail, one up a mountain, rough and rigid. I had to walk it, persevering through it. The mountain I had to climb was the insult thrown at me, a long hot walk. I had to get to the end, to walk past the issue. If I ended up walking past the problem, I would have closure, I would feel better, I would feel fulfilled.
He had told me stories, many of them, actually. But, the one that stuck with me was the story of him and his brother. One time he was making fun of his brother, teasing him for everything he did wrong. When his brother didn’t listen, and instead ignored him, he got pissed. So pissed in fact, that he would go make fun of his other brother because it made him laugh and made him feel in a strange way, “good”. He loved making fun of his brothers, but when they learned to ignore him, he hated it, and got mad. “Got it?” he had said. My tears stopped flowing out, and instead, they were contained. Instead of tears, I had formed a smile, not a joyous smile, but a smile ready for the future.
I was at the summit of my mountain adventure, just about to walk down it. The easy part. That’s what I had thought. Little did I know that walking down and getting past the problem was the hardest part. That finding “closure” which I didn’t know what was, was the hardest part. taking one more step forward, I got to the stairs. I slowly walked down, looking around me. The courts were silent, no one still playing. I walked out of the building, and walked to my room. On the way, I saw the guy who earlier had called me gay, called me a girl. He looked at me with disgust, and turned the other way, facing his friends. He turned around one more, and just stared at me. I did mind but, instead of focusing my energy on him, I walked past him, trying to be as emotionless as I could. His face turned into a red mess seeing me not react. At the time, I had still felt the pain, but I had tried to hide it. I had thought that I understood what I was supposed to do. What I didn’t know was that my perception was a mess of what it actually was. Thinking that I just had to not get sad. But, I realized that when he continued to press me, that I had to not just be emotionless, but I had to tell him to stop. “Stop! Okay?” I had said. Instead of swelling up with anger, his face settled. He looked at me, annoyed, and stopped. I realize now that I am a lot weaker than I was, It still shocks me by how strong I had been. I had thought that resilience was to cut off my emotions. But looking back at this moment, it’s quite the opposite. I embraced my emotions, I showed him that I wouldn’t let him take control of my emotions. I needed to learn from this, I needed to be like my past self. I needed to walk the road of resilience once more, without my fragile self cracking.
I had walked a road of resilience, the road I had journeyed through to get people to stop calling me names. Steve Goodier said “My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment...” I guess, in a sense, that surviving my wounds was an accomplishment, and it reminded me of how I learned about resilience, about how I had built up this resilient wall at that time, and that I let people just tear it down. People calling me names happened, and it would always happen, and all I could do was to try and ignore them, and leave the situation with a bigger smile on my face then when I came in. I had to be like the past strong me.
Smiling as bright as I could, smiling like my past self, I looked back at the guy behind me, and focused right on his eyes. “I am not gay. So, stop saying things like these, please.” He looked at me in disbelief, before a wash of red fell over his face. I walked into RLA, and sat down. I started to unpack my supplies, and unzipped my computer. My eyes swelled just a bit, and I bit my lip to stop the tears from falling out. All I could think was, thank god I had been called gay in basketball camp, thank god that I was given a lesson, thank god that I now know how to deal with hurt.

Friday, October 6, 2017

SLC - Slideshow

H/W - Your slideshow needs to be finished by Tuesday. (You will have 30mins to work on this on Monday too.

Student Led Conferences: Student Sample 1, Student Sample 2, Student Sample 3

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Student Led: Goal Setting Conferences

H/W - All classes - Spend 15mins collecting evidence that proves your 'learning growth' - e.g. the answers you stated about your 'strengths' in the questionnaire below
Evidence could be: Screenshots of your reader's notebook, seesaw, sections of your writing,  reading log, teacher feedback, grades, membean scores etc...

Link to SLC - Questionnaire 

Bring your Memoir to life with Adobe Spark

Celebration Monday - Use this link to fill in what you will bring

Reading Challenge - Ends Monday.

I know this is long - but it is REALLY worth reading. Why is this piece EXEMPLARY?

                                         Out of    Reach
                                           By: Sophie Baca

I guess I consider myself a pushover. Letting people walk all over me like an innocuous doormat, their footprints leaving stains and indents imprinted on me. Believe me, I don’t want to be a doormat. Who does anyway? It makes me feel like just a shell of a person. Half of who I want to be.  I’ve never really been able to stand up, for anyone and mostly for my own cowardly self. Even in the toughest of situations I am yelling and screaming inside so loud and plan the perfect words of action that I can feel tremors  rupturing my bones. But my face always lies still, unable to speak due to my vocal cords giving out on me at that precise moment. Instead I bottle it up, to stifle my anger, saving it for later I guess. Or just regret the person I am entirely. This might sound like a sob story at this point, all about how I hate myself, but I actually don’t. I only hate the person I can not be. That girl is tenacious and strong. She knows who she is. She doesn’t care about the stares of everyone else.  She’s more than herself. Not half or just a shell or her like someone I know all too well.  But for me, she’s always just out of reach. I lunge for her hand to find her, but she always runs away.   I yearn to meet her. I need to. But I guess she’s not ready to come out yet. They say that opposites attract, but then why haven’t I met her?

I darted out of the noisy lunchroom with my eyes set on the wet, sandy small soccer pitch I called home. I couldn’t wait to get the ball at my feet and be sprinting to and fro around like a cheetah.

I lived and breathed soccer. I loved the quick shove of another player and the screams of my coach from the sidelines. If I could play soccer at school, believe me I was going to.

“Sophie! Wait up!” Someone called to me in an exasperated voice from somewhere behind me. I  kept running but turned around stopping only when I reached the pitch and saw Abbey and Elise running over to me.  I had just moved to this new country called Singapore and they were my very first friends here. I waited impatiently for them to get to where I stood tapping my foot occasionally  glancing over at the pitch eager to get on it. However more kids started to file in waiting to start the game. I paced and tapped and jumped waiting for my friends to get over to me. After what seemed like ages they arrived at my feet. We got into a tiny circle formation facing not even a foot away from each other.

“What do you guys want to do?” Abbey asked swaying her feet. Around our little circle, noise erupted everywhere. The monkey bars already had tiny monkeys swinging about and pandemonium whirled out of control as kids raced around in different tag and running games. High pitch screeches banging against my ear drumes obnoxiously.
“Let’s play soccer!” I announced excitedly, stealing a peek at the pitch. It looked like most of the kids had arrived and they would be picking teams any second now.  
“No we can’t we’re not allowed.” Elise said, denouncing my idea. The piercing words rolled right off her tongue ever so easily.
“What?” I said with my eyes widened at saucer size, “How come? Look, everyone over there is about to play.” I flopped my arm in the direction of the pitch to show her.
Man she must be blind as a bat! I thought to myself. How silly Elise was being.
“They’re all boys, we can’t because we’re girls.”
I looked over with a swift turn of my head. Elise was correct. All the kids over there wore rudimentary khaki shorts and had short hair that didn’t even go over their ears. Their sketchers were all blue and black. All of them didn’t have their shirt collars buttoned at all unlike the girls who mostly buttoned both. I looked to my other two friends to see if they could verify this information, and they just nodded their heads looking straight ahead as if they didn’t even notice our conversation.The fire that had once so burned brightly keeping my passion warm and alive was being suffocated so quickly, so intensely and all I could do was stand watching and waiting to creep into the cold without my fire I’d grown so close to.  I played rapidly with the thought in my head like how I played with my soccer ball.  

It couldn’t possibly be true. I thought and both prayed at the same time, Mom promised that there was plenty of soccer in Singapore.  I yearned to play but I couldn’t leave my friends behind.

That’s not what a good friend does after all. I rationale, plus I don’t want the boys to make fun of me. maybe that’s why I couldn’t play, so the boys would be nice. I might not have friends afterwards either.  The once blue skies slowly turned to a bleak grey in my mind whilst fear and paranoia crept in so slowly while still being evident. Like standing in the ocean while waves crashed into me over and over barely giving me my chance to breath. Over and over again swallowing my small stature whole, playing an evil game where I didn’t know the rules.

“Oh. Ok” I said staring directly down at my pink shoes and little skirt. My hair fell around my face and I pulled it away quickly behind my ears like how I did 1000 times every day. The fear and paranoia screaming in my head seemed to force a duct tape strip over my mouth all the while I didn’t even struggle.

After that we played tag and didn’t play soccer. We didn’t play soccer the day after that either. Or the day after that or the day after that. Or the rest of the year. Now I regret that decision every day. Many think peer pressure happens mostly in your teen years. But for me it sprouted as young as 7. Fear was driven into me with a drill. The fact that I was scared to play at recess without my friends seems so stupid when I think about it. But if I was honest with myself now, I’d probably do the exact same thing.  It’s like I never learn. I never want to learn. Just say no! They say but even just that two letter word made so hard by just two seven year old girls who didn’t want to play soccer.
Abbey and Elise. They are characters, always have been. Elise and abbey are my best friends and I miss them everyday . They both moved about two years ago or so. Elise is animated. She is just simply funny and making the jokes. Her laugh has a ripple effect and Whenever I see her my stomach aches horribly afterwards from all the laughter.   Abbey was the opposite, she always and only laughs at the jokes and was more like the leader. Abbey is brave and and willing to do anything just to make you smile. But both did have something in common. They were intimidating. Like sharks. Even to me.  Their eyes can give the iciest death stares. I love them and they can use their power for good, but sometimes for bad. Maybe that’s why I relived my nightmare of a somewhat soccer moment five years later when the girl I can’t be ran away again.  

I propped myself gently against the railing on Elise's bunk in our  new cabin, my hair still damp from the shower. "Five minutes till lights out!" called out the camp counselors. I oriented myself with the strange new surroundings of Independent Lake Camp.

camp was something Elise and Abbey had been going to for a long time. I decided to come this year hoping I wouldn’t be a tag-a-long and viewed as a nuisance.

Our cabin was wooden from head to toe keeping the warm in and pushing away the cold mountain air trying to slip in through the windows, the floor creaked in that special place just before entering the bathroom and it felt ever so warm inside our little cabin we called home for now. My bunk sat on the bottom closest to the floor, however I'd rather hang out on Abbey and Elise's bunks. With my best friends I felt a little more comfortable in this strange new community I immersed myself into head on. The many other girls scattered about made quite some noise chitter and chattering, rushing to get their teeth brushed seconds before lights out. My thoughts were broken by the sounds of my best friend's voices. "I didn't even bother call my mom today." Abbey said sitting on top of her bunk, across from Elise and I.
"I don't ever call my mom at camp." Elise said shrugging her shoulders lightly, as she talked.

She was a veteran at this camp, who I thought should be respected.  

"Really?" I said sputtering, "But we're gone for 2 weeks!" I exclaimed with my eye beginning to widen. I couldn't imagine not calling mom, she'd probably be so worried.
"So? My mom just sends me care packages." Elise said letting out a little chuckle. Abbey laughed to. Their eyes gave me a familiar stare I knew all too well.
So I shrugged letting the subject go quickly avoiding the conversation. After all, Elise has been going to camp for 5 years now, she probably knew more about it than I ever will.

"I haven't called my mom either, I can't even remember her phone number." I chimed in adding a little chuckle to strategically make it seem as though I didn’t care at all. I hoped to not sound like I wasn't a Mama's girl. Even though I secretly had a pit in my stomach because I promised my mom I would call her today. I just hadn't gotten around to it. Today was much to exciting to drop everything for a phone call. Plus there was such a long line for the phone and I wanted to play gaga. What was I supposed to do? But what if she's worried I'll be homesick. I really hope I won't be. That'd be so embarrassing.As I wrestled with this reasoning a thought emerged of Elise and Abbey making fun of me for the next two weeks for wanting my mommy. It almost made my face go red and I chased the frightful image out of my racing mind.

"Lights out!" The words echoed from the tired councilors voice  and through my ears and I swiftly leaped down like a kangaroo, so light on my feet from their top bunks down to my own. "I think I'm gonna read before I sleep." I called up to Abbey and Elise before I got ready to tuck in to bed. I looked down at my sleeping place and a yawn crawled its way from my mouth. Just looking at this temptation was enough for me to readily pull away my fuzzy blankets and jump in. As I did so, my achy muscles thanked the heavens as I lie down. I yanked my cozy blankets up to my chin and eagerly flopped my head on my cloud of a pillow. The lights flickered off and the thought of reading fluttered out my mind the second my eyelids began to droop out of my control. I was so utterly exhausted and Elise's huge blankets flopping out of her bunk was like a curtain blocking out my bunkmates reading lights, whispers, and the rest of the world, leaving me alone with my last thoughts, moments before sleep would be victorious and take over my heavily fatigued body. I'll call mom tomorrow. I reassured myself whilst fumbling wearily with my wrist band. it was only my third day after all, and I'll have time tomorrow. I had trouble keeping these thoughts alive. My brain was behaving like a flickering light bulb, only half working while sleep continued to overtake like thunder storm clouds rolling over mountain tops. It's a new day tomorrow, I can call her tomorrow.

My final lasting thought before everything went black and my head fell to the side. I didn't call my mom that day or the day after that, or the day after. It took me a long time to even bring myself to the phone. The procrastination was relentless and I only called because the guilt was eating away at me like my conscious was trailing after me.  

I wonder if after all these times I’ve given in, could I actually stand up for myself? Be who I say that I am? Get some backbone?  If I couldn’t what kind of person does that make me? A coward? A pushover? So many unwanted traits in one neatly tied trojan horse like gift. I hope I could actually try some time because right now is one of those times that I’m screaming inside for the girl who is simply out of reach.

“Click”. Only half awake, I slammed my locker shut, like a zombie. Without any friends at school yet in the morning, I decided to just wander around school aimlessly.

I usually got to school early so this was normal. I did this a lot to be honest.
I got up and headed in the direction of the stairs. But I snapped to attention and quickly dodged out of the way when a boy lunging for what seemed like just air. I quickly whipped around to see who and what had almost just tackled me. To give just a suitable dirty look. I expected to see a few knucklehead boys wrestling or just messing around like usual, but instead I saw a backpack swinging around in the air in a humorous yet taunting manner. I took a few steps back not wanting to get hit by the crazy flying backpack and instead looked at the arm it was attached to.   

“HAHAHA” The snickers and laughter filled the almost empty hallway. I groaned, it was too early for excitement today.

Of course the one and only Ben held the backpack above his head. He wasn’t exactly the nicest and most polite kid in our grade. I shifted my gaze to a smaller kid jumping and grasping and lunging while Ben barely moved. The small kid wore glasses and was probably at Ben’s shoulders, not even. I knew his face, his hair, the glasses, but the name wouldn’t come to me. Couldn’t come to my mind. All the while my gaze fluctuated. From Ben to the boy.

“Ben give it back!” The small boy laughed while jumping for the bag which was too high up for him. This only amused Ben more.

The scene was so textbook, exactly like a movie scene. The small kid being teased by the big kid while his friends just laughed close by.  

I wondered what to do. No teacher in sight, just a few kids putting away their bags, and myself. I had been trained on how to handle this moment so many times. It’d been jammed into my head with a hammer since grade school. Every peer council meeting, every peer support meeting. But my voice refused to work. My feet were glued to the floor now. I watched from afar. Then I did it. I turned my head and did it. With a quick eye roll I took down the stairs. A hundred at a time.

It was nothing. I told myself. They probably were just messing around in a playful way. I didn’t want to overreact. But the laughing and ruffle of the backpack still lingered in my ears. But I just kept walking away. Faster and faster with each pacing step.

Being blind to the situation, I didn’t see it happen again. The boy being “teased”.  But I knew it was happening. Maybe because of me even. Playing the victim far too often even if I don’t intend too. Playing the victim so well I guess because it became a part of me. Like an extension of my shell. Maybe it’s time to start to change. Begin the transition into filling my shell of a person. Playing the victim when I let that happen to someone else. Perhaps I’ve changed. Not in myself, but who I want to be. Maybe there isn’t a person I want to be. Maybe that’s the girl who I can be. I could make a few tweaks here and there, and my shell is hardly full, but I can be that girl. I do have  a voice. I do not play the victim. I won’t play the victim. Even though it took 12 years and a memoir to figure it out, maybe it’s not too late too late to grab that girl’s hand and meet her.

Author’s Note
My meaning I’m trying to convey in my memoir is that if you’re living life to please someone else you’re not living a life at all.   Because I believe life is what you make of yourself. In my memoir I was constantly trying to reach my idolized “girl” in the story, but I just now realized another “girl” will appear and I’ll start chasing her. I wanted this theme to let out the bottle in myself. Sometimes I think people think that I’m stronger than I actually am. I wanted to come clean and release that weight on my shoulders. I made subtle moves like in my title I put three spaces between “of” and “reach” to convey as early as I could about me never really reaching the ultimate satisfaction in myself and accepting that at the end. I also used the girl I am trying so hard to reach as symbolism for always having self doubt and never getting full satisfaction because throughout the story I often say how she is out of reach to keep pounding in the idea. I also added in my “trojan horse gift” idea because I wanted to relate myself to that. The trojan horse looked like something good when really inside it was all destruction and malice. I wanted to show how I think about all these bad ideas and traits of myself but on the outside you can’t see that. I used the skies turning to a bleak gray to show my starting of realization from myself to something I wasn’t but chose to become. I used waves crashing over me to show how I was really feeling inside like I didn’t have a chance to breath anymore and with every coming wave I lost a part of myself at sea.

I used dialogue to enhance my piece. In my first anecdote I used back and forth dialogue to convey the first hints at my theme and how I was being shaped into different person. Then I used reflection as well at the end of each anecdote to add a so what factor to it and show why it’s important for example in my second anecdote I talked about asking myself if I really had the courage to take my words into actions, this was important to show my own realization of my disposition throughout the story. The last thing I used was figurative language to enhance my story. Like I said before I used the trojan horse, doormat, and waves to indicate the theme to the reader. And also the girl was a constant symbol through the whole memoir.

I used different types of structures that were effective to my memoir. I used the before and after structure about how I changed from being myself, to being a people pleaser. But also reflected on how I could change that as well. I also used inner thinking so readers would feel in the moment. Like when I was contemplating about soccer in my first anecdote. And I used the item structure by bringing up my idolized girl in the story throughout, this was to get my theme fully across.  

I think this memoir helped me grow really evidently as a writer. I feel now that I’m not afraid to put myself out there and really be honest about myself and my experiences. I also think that now I can use figurative language and symbolism better to really convey the theme to help the reader think. I could still use work on paragraphing and general structure so I can be effective as possible.
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