Where Did My Name Come From?

Perseverance + Patience + Passion = Ji Won Bae

These three characteristics were selected to represent my identity even before I had the opportunity to explore the real world. Before I could toddle across the living room, before I could say the word ‘mom,’ and before I could experiment with numerous wonders of the world, my name was already chosen by my dad who wanted me to grow into a girl with the three defining characteristics.

I initially thought that my name could’ve been prettier, or at least I could’ve changed by last name into a more common one, such as Kim, Lee or Park. I had a hard time accepting the fact that unique names could stand out more easily, or that usual names could attract more eyes. Back in the days, I simply didn’t like how I would be the first one to be called to participate in class discussions as my name would appear in the first row of the class list, and I simply didn’t like how my assignments would be graded the first in Edmodo. Because I am a shy and introverted girl, I also didn’t like how I was forced to be the first person to introduce myself on the first day of my freshman year. These thought processes have changed recently, however, as I gradually realized that being the first could be a positive phenomenon. For example, I was always the first person to stand in line inside the yearbooks. Because names are assigned in alphabetical orders, I frequently feel confident about myself and take pride in the words that express my identity in an effective way.

Many nicknames are associated with my name. When I attended QSI, everyone used to call me ‘Bae Ji Mil,’ which is another name for a Korean soybean milk. Because my name had similar pronunciations to ‘Bae Ji Mil,’ almost everyone called me with the nickname instead of my real name. When I first came to SIS in 8th grade, Nitay started to spread my nickname since we were close friends since QSI. However, because people had difficulty pronouncing the Korean words, people started to make slight changes to the pronunciation. Instead of calling me ‘Bae Ji Mil,’ people began to call me ‘pigeon’. Mr. Robins, the math and science teacher back in the days, also called my nickname during class instead of referring to my real name. Although I was uncomfortable at first, I started to enjoy my nickname because not only was it an opportunity to spread my name in my first year of SIS, but it was also a chance to communicate with others interactively.

IB Math: Semester 2 Reflection

Jiwon Bae

Mrs. Gilmore

April 17, 2015

Blog Reflection for Semester 2 Progress SL Math

Question 4. Up to present day, when was your most stressful time frame during your high school years?  Do you have advice for the incoming Junior class concerning time management/college applications/IB requirements (EE, CAS, IB Assessments, Sports, Extracurricular Activities, College Essays, Applications, Teacher Recommendations, etc.)

I actually receive the most stress these days because not only am I surrounded with the fear of all those upcoming grades, but I’m also surrounded with the stressful college preparations. I usually do a good job with relieving stress, but I actually find myself not doing a successful job in relieving stress or becoming more comfortable these days. Therefore, I sometimes find myself getting too lazy or incompetent to do simple things. I understand my current situation, but I feel that I get too disorganized time to time that I actually don’t perform the best of my abilities in school. For example, when I normally have math tests, I prepare ahead of time and try not to cram in a lot of information the day before the test. However, because of the stress I receive from so many different places, I feel that I haven’t been able to perform my best in any of the tests in semester two. Whenever I end one test, I normally reflect to see how I need to change in order to become organized again. However, I sometimes find myself having trouble reflecting the way I did before. I actually don’t know why, to be honest, but I feel that the overwhelming stress is distracting me. Even so, because I know that I am the one that has the most control over myself, I will eventually find ways to overcome the stress. In fact, I will try my best to perform the best I could. My goal for the remaining school year is to get an A for Math, as well as the final reassessment opportunity. I will attain this goal by working and solving math problems every night, and will also ask questions if I have any to ask my peers or Mrs. Gilmore. Since math is one of the weakest subjects for me, I will try my best to attain this goal and to show that I can eventually pursue things that can seem hard and challenging.

If I were to give advice to the upcoming juniors, I would definitely tell them to be organized. Since time is important, and time judges overall success, I think they should keep track of time schedules and follow them accordingly. I wanted to make this happen ever since I entered junior year, but it seemed to disappear after a few months. Therefore, I would strongly recommend them to find ways to be organized with all those hard assignments and tests.

Mini-Essay Question: What’s so odd about odd numbers?

Odd numbers are different from even numbers in that they don’t associate themselves with the number zero. In other words, since zero is an even number, odd numbers don’t work with zeros, and they don’t go along together. In fact, due to the absence of zeros, odd numbers don’t divide properly; they are often left alone or are even left undivided.

Odd numbers, in my opinion, represent life. Since life isn’t always peaceful, straight, or quiet, and is rather bumpy, rough, and odd, I believe that odd numbers portray life accurately. Odd numbers don’t divide, and so they are often left alone. Not only does this show how people can also be left in cases, but it also refers to the undiscovered part of society. Since life is unpredictable, and people live in order to discover those unpredicted, undiscovered parts of the world, odd numbers provide the same function in this case.

IB Math: Reflection on First Semester

Jiwon Bae
Mrs. Gilmore
IB Math SL
January 20, 2015

Semester 1 Reflection

  1. What goals did you set? Were they achieved? Why or why not?

This semester, my goal was to not go below A- on my final report. This goal was achieved because I ultimately received an A-. To be honest, I wanted to get an A for the first semester because I knew the report for the first semester would have the largest influence on my college applications. However, because I made too many simple mistakes on the final reassessment opportunity, such as looking at the questions wrong or calculating the numbers incorrectly, I was not able to receive an A. I was depressed because the gap between A- and A for me was only 3%, and I knew that if I hadn’t made any mistakes, I could’ve received an A. However, because I learned a lesson to read the questions and numbers carefully, especially for the IB test, I think I’ll be able to correct myself next semester and increase my grades to an A or A+. In order to do so, I will definitely solve more problems and pay more attention as I continue to solve even harder problems. I will also pay more attention to the patterns of different problems so that I could gain a full understanding of the concepts.

2. What are your new goals for semester 2?

Since I was not able to attain my goal of getting an A for the first semester, I would definitely like to get an A for the second semester. Not only that, I would also like to get either Proficient or Exemplary on the tests we take before the final reassessment opportunity in order to show consistency in my grades. Not only will this show that I’ve worked hard, but it’d also show that I have been ready to answer all specific forms of questions in detail. Because I realized that getting good grades before the final reassessment opportunity could give a positive influence on the final grades, I would definitely like to aim for either Proficient or Exemplary on all tests. That way, I would be satisfied with myself and show Mrs. Gilmore that I’ve worked hard enough to get those high scores.

3. What are your specific plans on how to achieve them?

In order to get an A or an A+ for the second semester, I will work extremely hard and solve “more than enough” problems. By that, not only does it mean that I will solve both odd and even problems, but it also means that I will find Mrs. Gilmore for extra resources to get ready for the tests. Because I don’t want to make simple mistakes ever again, I will also increase my concentration skills by not getting on the phone while solving math problems. Because increasing concentrations skills are very important when it gets to IB tests or in the future too, I will do whatever I could do to make sure that I can focus on my work solely. Not only that, in order to get an A, I will also ask questions and focus during class so that I can study easily at home. I will finish homework on a daily basis and make sure that I don’t have any problems that I have trouble with; if so, I will ask my peers or Mrs. Gilmore so that I can have a full understanding of the topics.

4. Common Application?

(Prompt on 2014-2015 Common Application) Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

When I first entered high school as a freshman, I didn’t know how grades would take up a large portion of my life. In fact, I didn’t know how grades were so important and influential as to determining my future. Therefore, I can now confess that I did some Facebook during class, played some Tetris, went online, etc. The result of continuing this cycle was disastrous. When I first received my report card, with some hope, I was shocked to find that my GPA was lower than what I had expected. Not only was I disappointed in myself, but I was also afraid to tell this to my parents. Because I knew that my parents would scream or yell at the mess I made, I was too scared to even tell that the report cards came out. However, because I ultimately needed to show them, I did… with anxiousness. Just like what I had expected, tears rolled down my face and I wasn’t able to refute their words in any way. When I came back to my room and reflected on my progress, I felt more miserable. It felt like my life had ended because I had to be silent for a couple of days, and I also had to reflect on how lazy I had been. After realizing all my faults, I learned a new lesson: to stay active all the time. Since all this happened due to my laziness and continuous procrastination, I learned not to repeat the same cycle the next time. In fact, I learned that I was the one that needed to change in order to benefit myself for the future. If I wasn’t determined enough to change, I realized that I wouldn’t receive any advantages. Because I had this in mind, I was able to change rapidly. Not only did I began controlling myself, but I also began changing my lifestyle. Due to this, I was able to increase my grades rapidly and see how much progress I could make in a short amount of time. I was able to self-reflect and gain a new lesson in order to make myself a more successful person in the future.

IB Biology: Mesocosm Reflection

Questions for Mesocosm Reflection

  1. What is producing oxygen in your mesocosm?
  2. What is producing CO2 in your mesocosm?
  3. What is converting energy from light to organic molecules in your mesocosm?
  4. What is/are the producers in your mesocosm?
  5. What is/are the consumers in your mesocosm?
  6. What is the decomposing nutrient? How does it recycle for producers?
  7. How do you plan on testing the “health” of your mesocosm?

Mesocosm is a controlled environment that reflects a small portion of the natural environment. As in our case, Alex and I set our mesocosm as an aquarium to see whether or not living animals or creatures could thrive in a fixed environment with limited amount of oxygen. Not only that, we worked to not lose any of the organisms while being able to maintain a stable ecosystem. Dissolved oxygen is extremely important for any creature living in sea or ocean because that’s the only way for them to breathe in the surrounding air. Therefore, some of the oxygen-producing materials we had were elodea, pondweed, and small pieces of plants. Some of the materials that we had to ensure CO2, or carbon dioxide, were snails. For our mesocosm, snails were the creatures that we primarily experimented on. Because we knew that we couldn’t use fish, we used snails instead in order to see how they could actually thrive in a controlled environment with fixed amount of air and carbon dioxide. The producers of our mesocosm were zooplankton (CO2), algae (O2), pondweed (O2), and elodea (O2). Feeding on to the producers were consumers, or snails; we relied on them to maintain the most stable ecosystem we could possibly make. The decomposers of the mesocosm were bacteria and snails. We are planning to test the “health” of the mesocosm by seeing how long our snails can live. Because our aquarium was different from other groups in that we used pond water instead of fresh water, we will see and measure how there is a difference as time goes. If our aquarium proves to be the most effective aquarium, maybe pond water could be one of the causes for the longest survival.

IB Math: First Reflection

Jiwon Bae
Mrs. Gilmore
IB Math SL

1. What are some major differences between your previous math courses and IB level math?

I’ve been in Shekou International School for almost five years now, and I can definitely see a clear distinction between previous math courses and IB level math. Some of the math courses that I previously took were Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. During the years of studying these courses, it didn’t feel like I had a lot of trouble understanding or comprehending the concepts. Even if I did, I immediately asked my teacher and my peers in order to accurately understand what I was studying. To be honest, the time taken to prepare for the tests in freshman or sophomore years was not too long. However, now that I’ve entered IB and have realized how I needed to improve and develop so badly, I am definitely spending much more time to understand and prepare for the tests. Not only that, I also learned a lesson not to be careless on all the things that I learned up to now because I was definitely shocked by the scores on my first diagnosis test after summer. I did a poor job on the diagnosis, which prompted me to work more diligently for the next assessments. After the diagnosis test, I realized that I needed to change immediately and needed to find myself improving day after day. Now that I’ve taken other assessments and am gradually finding out IB-styled test papers, I will continue to do a good job and work to master the IB tests that will happen in 2016.

2. As there are 3 IB Math levels, do you feel that you are appropriately placed?  Why or why not?  If yes, what are your goals in for this class?  Are you achieving them and if not, what do you need to do different in order to meet those goals?

I believe that SL Math suits me properly because not only does it challenge me to work diligently, but it also gives me a chance to carefully explore the concepts as well. To be honest, even if I’m a Korean, which others call to be “good” at math, I’m a little different. I usually place myself in lower rank when it comes to math because I don’t have much confidence in mathematical skills or abilities. Therefore, I believe that SL Math will be a great suit for me because I can always challenge myself and work to improve for the best. After being in SL Math, I’ve always found myself studying a lot more than usual; because it is my duty as a student to fully understand the concepts, I think I’m running away from being lazy and transforming to become much more diligent and hardworking. Therefore, I think that this course will be helpful to my academic studies and prompt me to work harder in my own time. When it comes to goals, I always strive to meet the highest standards by working to the best of my ability. A short-term goal that I’ve set for the semester is to not go below A- on the final report. Since Mrs. Gilmore told us that it is normal for us to go below two letter grades when it comes to first year of IB, I will try to break that and aim for the best always. Even if this may be hard and difficult, I will not give up and rather become more determined because I know that this method will be the key to success. In order to meet my goals, I will always study and review math 2~3 times a week and ask questions whenever I have to do so. I will not wait until the very last moment to ask questions or clarifications because I know that this will ultimately make me become more lazy.

3. As you have progressed through the course with a couple of assessments, what have you learned about yourself in math, your study habits and goals that you need to work on?

After taking the diagnosis test, I realized that I needed to slightly change my study habits in order to become more successful. Therefore, instead of just reviewing the notes or the textbook over and over, I realized that I needed to learn the ability to think more critically by myself. And because I knew that I had relied on textbooks too much for the past few years, I realized that I needed to think by myself and learn to understand more instead of memorizing all the chapters. After changing my study habits a bit, I gained much more confidence in math and developed the ability to think by myself. When I had things that weren’t clear, I tried to think by myself for a couple of minutes or even hours to get the correct solutions. Not only that, when preparing for tests, I noticed that I use time much more efficiently and effectively when I practice on plain white paper instead of lined papers. On white papers, I usually tend to get more careful with all the steps because there aren’t proper lines to support my work; ultimately, I realized that I become more thorough and explicit with all the steps. After all these realizations, I performed a great improvement on my first and second tests. Not only did I earn satisfying grades, but I also managed to learn more about myself as an individual. Since the results reflected my progress, I believe that I’ve done a nice job until now to meet my goals for the semester.

4. Have you completed your homework assignments and/or learned how to work through the problems that you did not understand?

I always completed homework assignments on time because I knew that if I don’t do one, or fall apart from others, I will tend to get more lazy and lethargic at the end. Previously, teachers always checked our homework on a daily basis and collected them in order to make sure we actually did it. However, now that we are juniors and have entered IB, where responsibility and determination is heavily important, I believe that the process of letting us do our homework by ourselves is, in fact, a great opportunity for us to raise and practice responsibility. Whenever I didn’t understand a problem properly, I tried to think by myself first in order to see if I either made a simple calculation mistake or a mistake in logic. When I saw problems that I got wrong, I corrected them in red in order to see my mistakes clearly and to not make the mistakes over again. When I still got the same question wrong the next time I reviewed, I solved the problem repeatedly in order to get the steps right and to understand the problem fully.

5. Do you feel that you have maximized your learning efforts to earn a grade that is indicative of your work?  How did you prepare for your first assessments?

I believe that I’ve maximized my learning efforts in order to earn a satisfying grade. After being shocked by the diagnosis test, I studied much more harder in order to improve on the first assessment, which was basically a repeated style of the diagnosis, but in a more IB style. In order to study for the test, I solved numerous problems over and over again in order to make the problems become identifiable right away. Not only that, I also studied in different time periods so that I could increase my ability to concentrate and focus in a fixed amount of time. Because I divided time equally and did not procrastinate at the end, I believe that I was able to show great improvements on the first fundamental test. In fact, I scored 56/60, which was incomparable from my first diagnosis test! I was extremely happy when I got the score because not only was it a sign of all the hard work I accomplished, but it was also an indication of how much improvements I could make next time. After gaining experience and confidence from the first fundamental test, I tried not to lose focus for the second test, which was on functions and equations. Because I found this topic to be extremely hard and confusing, at least at the beginning, I studied even harder than the first test and used up to ten pages of white paper. I solved problems repeatedly and really made sure that I could understand the concepts well so that I could apply them in different problems as well. I think the hard work also paid off on the second assessment as well. I would love to continue my progress throughout the year and show the ability to improve even when topics continuously get harder and complex.

6. From what you have learned about yourself in math this year, what can you change now to realign your preparation for the upcoming assessment?  How do you plan on working this into your schedule?

Now that I know what to prepare in order to improve, I will continue to think by myself when it comes to problems that I cannot solve immediately. Previously, I always asked others and looked at the answers at the back when I couldn’t solve such problems. Then, I noticed that I lacked the ability to comprehend other problems in tests or other assessments because I wasn’t able to think critically. Therefore, now that I’ve had enough and know that I will need to improve in order to meet better standards and requirements, I will try to think by myself and ask less questions. If I cannot solve problems even if I thought multiple times, then I will ask others for help. Not only will I ask, but I will also record and repeat the process of getting the answers so that I could fully understand the problems and apply the process to other problems as well. I will always review math at least two or three times a week in order to prepare for the final assessment and the upcoming assessments as well. I will not procrastinate because I know that this will not benefit me in anyway in IB. Since IB requires responsibility and preparedness, I will always stay in schedule and maximum my time managing skills. Even if this may be hard to accomplish for a couple of weeks, I know that I will eventually get accustomed to this process later and find myself getting advantages.

7. How do you feel you can be additionally supported this year?  Please explore various options that seem plausible.

I believe that I can benefit myself more if I get extra help from Mrs. Gilmore. When I feel that I need more support by solving more questions, I will immediately go to Mrs. Gilmore and ask for more practice questions so that I can understand everything completely and be ready for tests or assessments. Since I know myself the best and know what suits me the best, I will be the one that will show responsibility to approach Mrs. Gilmore or other peers. And since Mrs. Gilmore knows a lot about college admission, I will approach her to ask any of the colleges I would like to attend. When I have any questions, I won’t hesitate to ask immediately because I know that I should maximize my time in order to receive the best benefits possible.

8. Has independent study been helpful or would you appreciate more discipline/structured time to help meet your goals.  Please provide suggestions.

Until now, I believe that independent study time has been a great source for me to review and prepare for other classes ahead of time. Since it is an independent study time where I can review for other classes myself, I think this has allowed me to improve and develop on spots that I actually needed improvements on. To be honest, I had times where I lost focus and started playing on my computer. However, even if this may happen time to time, I still think that independent study time has been able to provide me opportunities to study more effectively. Because it is a time for me to approach other peers or teachers, it has been a great time for me to develop my skills to communicate effectively and to work collaboratively with peers. In order to make my independent study time much more efficient, I believe that I would need to use less time on computers and work to maximize my time on textbooks or problems.


Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 9.47.03 AM



我六岁的时候,因为爸爸的工作所以突然来中国了。我小时候比较内向,不太喜欢说话。而且,听到要去中国的时候,妈妈的话吓了我一跳。因为我想我再也不能看到我的朋友和奶奶,我哭了又哭, 也遇到了很多困难。可是,来到中国以后,我的心情慢慢的变了。

来中国以后我很快就学到了中国的文化,语言,和风俗习惯。这跟韩国有相同的部分,也有不相同的地方。我来中国没去过中国学校,只去了国际学校。现在看来,我觉得这不是学中文的好办法。因为我来的时候就开始学英文,我觉得我的中文现在不太好。但是我爸爸的中文特别好, 所以我很小就跟爸爸一起学中文练习口语和听力,也去了中国的很多地方旅游。比如说,我去了北京,桂林,广州等等地方。学到他们有什么样的文化和习惯以后,我就觉得汉语有很多魅力。



“I’m just not a math person” Reflection

Reflection on “I’m just not a math person”

The main purpose of the article on “I’m just not a math person” is to basically show how people can work and study diligently to earn a high grade. The common misconception that revolves around the world is that academic ability is genetic. However, it is directly claimed in the article that academic ability is only genetic to a certain degree, and that it is the amount of hard work that determines one’s outcome. Not only that, it is stated that preparation and self-confidence outweighs talent for math because as you study more often, you’ll get in a habit of studying more. Seeing that many professors and teachers were able to prove this outcome by showing how well-prepared kids performed better on exams compared to those who believed that they were “math people,” it certainly demonstrates how we are also able to demonstrate better through repeated practice.

A: Initial Thoughts: Agree/Disagree? Why? List various points from both perspectives with specific reasons to back up your claim.

I absolutely agree with the article as a whole because it simply states that the more you work, the more you’ll succeed in math, or basically any academic subjects. There were many trials and experiments that proved my judgement: first of all, professors, teaching assistants, and private tutors discovered that compared to those who believed they were excelling at math, the other half that worked harder and felt well-prepared had ultimately succeeded at the subject. In fact, from the experiment, it was shown that intelligence can increase directly with effort. Not only that, it demonstrated how it actually doesn’t matter whether you are smart or not because the more you strive for better outcomes, the more you’ll attain your goal easily. I also agree with the article in that it said math can allow us to find better jobs. With math, you’ll be able to compete more often in a global economy, and find yourself doing better in diverse areas that others may not even imagine of. Last but not least, I agreed with the topic in that math skills are not self-destructive, but are convincing.

B: If you forget the language of mathematics and how to apply specific formulas, what does the article suggest happens to your knowledge?

The article suggests that if you forget any of your mathematic formulas or the language of this subject, you should most definitely try harder and work diligently. Because not being able to memorize specific formulas means that you aren’t perfect enough, or that you are not yet a “math person,” it means that you should strive for better outcomes and work harder.

C: Answer: “When Will I Ever Use This Again in My Life?” Do you study math just to learn mathematics? How does math class expand your horizons? Why would this be important? What does this mean to you personally and how would it affect your life?

I believe that this article would be a good basis for my future because it basically teaches how studying and trying hard will provide effective outcomes at the end. The whole lesson of this article was to show how studying extra hours can overweigh the basic talent you have in yourself. After reading this article, I’ve discovered that I learn math because I can also expand my choices for job opportunities. Because studying math can allow us to work for different fields such as technology or science, I’ll be able to have a broader spectrum as to where to work. Not only that, I learn math because it makes us better thinkers. For the past two months during summer holiday, I was told from my math tutor that math can ultimately help you think creatively and expand your knowledge extensively. I strongly agree with his words because the more you solve hard math problems, the more you’ll use your brain and think. As a result, you will increase your knowledge, and most definitely, you’ll improve in other areas as well. Last but not least, math can also help us develop perseverance and determination. Math is a hard subject, so the more you aim for solving hard problems, the more you’ll be determined to solve for more. Therefore, you’ll become a better thinker as well and be determined to face any problems in the world.


English: Final End of Unit Reflection

Final End of Unit Reflection

1. Describe the pros and cons of creating a video essay. Do you prefer a video essay to a traditional written essay? Why or why not?

I believe that there were both pros and cons of creating a video essay because even though it was a creative way to show our ideas and perspectives, the process of making the essay as a whole required much more work than the traditional way. First of all, creating the video essay was good in that I was able to collaborate and communicate with my group members. Because I made the video with a group of four, I was able to learn how to communicate and to talk in order to manage time efficiently. Not only that, because I was able to work with those who I wanted to be with, we were able to collaborate much more effectively and finish the workload easily. However, I believe that there were more cons of making the video essay because it required a lot of time to find the pictures and videos. In other words, because we, as a group, decided that acting wouldn’t work for us, we attempted to use videos from the original movie. However, the process took most of the time and it was hard to find more of the “general” pictures that’d match to our essay because whenever we would enter “A raisin in the Sun,” “Walter,” or “Ruth,” only pictures from the video would come up. Therefore, it was difficult to find pictures other than those from the original movie. However, because we didn’t want to make our video essay boring and cliche, we drew some of the pictures ourselves and managed to put them in. I believe that doing this actually enhanced the video itself because we were able to incorporate different aspects and use our thoughts creatively. After going through the process of creating a video essay, I’d say that I prefer the traditional written essay because not only does everything flow fast, but it also allows me to concentrate more on the precise details of the book. For example, I usually take a lot of time processing or going through the book to find evidence; therefore, I take time more efficiently during the actual part of writing the essay itself. However, because I needed to focus on other aspects for the video essay, such as sound, music, or the content itself, I’d say that I lost focus sometimes. Even so, creating the video essay was a good experience and I learned how I could improve the next time if I’d have another chance to work on the video essay with my group.

2. Compare and contrast the traditional formative assessments used in this unit (vocab test, comprehension quizzes) with past formative assessments (literature circle group roles, short answer questions, group projects). Which type of assessment do you prefer? Why?

This year, we did a lot of assessments with different methods. I personally enjoyed the past formative assessments, which was working in our literature circle groups, answering short questions, working on group projects, etc. The main reason why I prefer the past formative assessments is because it gives us a lot more opportunities for me to talk and communicate. For example, I loved working in our literature circle groups because it gave all of the group members a way to contribute and to talk. We had a lot of fun preparing for the roles and coming up with ideas to make our final project. I’m definitely sure that the folder we made for The Chocolate War would remain as one of the proudest projects I’ve ever worked with as a group. Working as a member of the literature group gave me many opportunities to explore other activities as well because we were always assigned a different role for each class. For example, there were roles of being a summarizer, vocabulary expert, illustrator, investigator, discussion director, etc. These roles clearly had different objectives and I believe that this was one of the best ways to show collaboration; not only did I have to lead a group through various questions, but I also had to draw and summarize the book as well. This was a nice way for me to show my talents and skills as well. Even though traditional formative assessments were good in a way, I still believe that the past assessments gave me more benefits and learning advantages. The traditional formative assessments didn’t require us to talk or collaborate much with others; because it was required us to write, write, and write, the assessments seemed to be a bit boring. However, when we started the literary circle groups, I gained much more interest, and I seemed to be enjoying what I actually needed to be assessed on. I’d strongly recommend the upcoming 10th graders next year to be doing the literary circles as a form of assessment because it really gives a lot of opportunities to collaborate with others. Not only did I learn know to communicate with others more frequently, but I also learned that it was the “collaboration” between team members that actually allowed me to enhance my skills. And because English was one of my favorite subjects at all times, I believe that I was able to enjoy the whole process and do an even better job to motivate myself each class.

3. Looking back over all of the units and project this year, which were your favorite and why? Which were your least favorite and why?

Looking over what I’ve studied over the past year, I’d say that I had two favorite projects that I enjoyed the most: graphic novel and portfolios. I enjoyed making the graphic novels because not only did I gain the chance of studying a historical figure, but I also learned how to process my information in a graphic. It was my first time making a graphic novel, but I enjoyed the process because it was a creative and an interesting project. Because I also like drawing and coloring, making the graphic novel was, in fact, the project that I spent the most time in. Not only that, because Ms. Dowty gave us a lot of time to research, process information, create storyboard, etc., I believe that I was able to finish the project on time and enhance the quality of the project. For the portfolios, I’d definitely need to say that it was one of the best group projects ever; because all of our group mates collaborated well and acknowledged each others’ strengths, we understood each other and improved as we went along. Just like what I’ve stated above, our group was outstanding in sharing out ideas and making creative thoughts as to what we’d do to make the ultimate project stand out the most. Because we were collaborative, we easily gave out ideas and contributed to each aspect of the project. 🙂 I didn’t have any projects that I didn’t like over the past year, but if I were to pick one, I’d say that my least favorite was The Stranger unit. One reason I chose the unit was because I felt that the unit passed by so quickly. Everything was due in a short amount of period, and I believe that it could’ve been better if we could’ve spent more time on focusing on the novel itself, as well as making more connections. Even so, I’d say that I enjoyed everything in English during the past year. It was a class that really helped me to think more creatively, and to think more critically in terms of the content, as well as the lesson itself. Even though the process was hard, I’d definitely say that I learned and improved a lot; the whole process has allowed me to think outside of the box.

4. Assess your own growth regarding the following Learning Objectives and ESLRs. What have you gotten better at? What do you need to improve upon? What are your goals in English class for next year?

– Reading and analyzing literary and non-literary texts
– Writing complete sentences with sophisticated vocabulary and complex structure
– Writing organized paragraphs and essays
– Verbal articulation of ideas and participating in group discussions
– Using various forms of media to convey complex ideas

Even though I’ve improved on every aspect of the learning objectives as I participated more during class, I believe that I’ve improved the most in reading and analyzing literary and non-literary texts. The main reason that I believe that I’ve developed the most is because there were many opportunities during class for us to analyze certain texts. This year, we were instructed to read many novels and difficult texts; during the process, we had to analyze the importance of the message and find evidence to support our analysis. We wrote many essays about analyzing literary and non-literary texts, and I was able to get constructive feedback from Ms. Dowty as well. I believe that this whole process helped me get ready for next year in IB; because we’d have to analyze a lot of hard texts, I believe that this years’ learning will impact my future learning as well. On the other hand, I still believe that I should improve in writing complete sentences with sophisticated vocabulary and complex structure. The reason I need to improve on this is because, since English is not my first language, I make a lot of grammar mistakes, especially with writing correct word choices. Whenever I wrote essays, the only part that I had trouble getting an exemplary was on selecting word choices. Even though I received many suggestions, since I know that improving on word choice wouldn’t happen in a sudden, I firmly believe that I’d need to read more books and familiarize the language. Therefore, during the sumer, I’ll read many books and watch more movies so that I’d be making connections more easily. Next year, I’ll be entering IB and I know it’ll be extremely tough. I’ve continuously heard that English is one of the hardest subjects, so I’ll work diligently and strive to work for my highest expectations. Therefore, my goal will be to read more books and to be ready for each class; I will also pay attention in actively participating during class so that I can get ready for any of the oral IAs that’d happen in the future.

Social Studies: Essay on US Containment Policy

To what extent was the US policy of “containment” a success in Asia?

The Cold War was an extended period of conflict and hostility during 1945-1989. During this time, United States and USSR grew as two superpowers that eventually turned out to become rivals. The two superpowers were explicitly different from each other, as United States supported Capitalism, whereas USSR advocated Communism. Each country tried its best to place their type of government to the winning side.

The Containment was a policy made by the United States in order to stop the spread of Communism, which was led by the country that had been in consistent hostility with United States, Soviet Union. The main purpose of the policy was to prevent the influence of Communism, otherwise known as the “domino effect” spreading to Europe, Korea, Vietnam, and China. In order to pursuit the goal, the US eventually brought out numerous methods such as NSC-68, NATO, Truman Doctrine, US Foreign Policy, etc. These methods were all introduced with the purpose of stopping Communism, while also trying to enhance the influence of United States. After America had succeeded in containing Communism in Europe through Truman Doctrine and NATO, US continued its goal by moving to Asia. While America focused its attention mostly on Korea and Vietnam, it could be said that there were both successes and failures due to the policy.

When World War Two had ended, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel due to the official occupation of Japan. During this time, it was agreed that USA and USSR would take responsibility for repatriating Japanese forces. Officially, USSR declared to occupy the north, while USA claiming to occupy the south of Korea. With the support of the Soviets, North Korea launched a gruesome attack in South Korea on June 25, 1950. America, viewing the invasion as a warning of Soviet expansionism, as well as a sign on the spread of Communism, immediately reacted by bringing out the Containment Policy. General MacArthur, along with the UN forces, landed at Inchon. During its constant fight over the country with North Korea, USA eventually seized control on Seoul and repelled North Korea back to the 38th parallel. Therefore, it was evident that the Containment policy had succeeded in keeping Communism away from South Korea. Without the help from US, it is apparent that South Korea would’ve been controlled under Communism, being limited with individual freedom continuously even today.

Even if it can said that the Containment policy had success, there were still failures behind. When General MacArthur was encouraged by the success, he went further than his original goal of pushing back the North Koreans. As a result, he started to promote “rollback,” which was a strategy made to reunite Korea by releasing Communism. When American soldiers invaded North Korea, and successfully captured Pyongyang, China was worried about their own protection. Therefore, China eventually launched 200,000 soldiers along with 150,000 North Koreans. Together, they were able to retake and recapture all of the land back. Indeed, capturing the entire Korea eventually triggered more conflict among the neighboring countries. Even though there were benefits to the US support, it was apparent that there would be a negative impact on the future US policy. If America had stopped after its original purpose, then both South Korea and America would’ve safely ended the conflict against the North. However, because America chose to expand its goal, it was evident that America had to suffer imminent effects.

The most noticeable failure of the Containment policy happened in Vietnam. When Vietnam was declared its independence from Japan in 1945, hostility between France and Vietnam erupted due to Frances’ strong opposition of its independence. Therefore, it was agreed during the Geneva Conference that Vietnam would eventually divide into two, where the North would support Communism under Ho Chi Minh. Instead of signing the Geneva Accords, USA rather established SEATO, which included and supported South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, in opposition of the Geneva Accords. As in South Vietnam, America strongly supported Ngo Dinh Diem, who became the president of the South. However, he turned out to become a brutal leader who did not know how to control the country. Even if John F. Kennedy used the “flexible response” and made Diem useless, while increasing his power, none of these methods succeeded. When Richard Nixon became the president of America, he finally accepted American withdrawal from war. Instead, he declared the Nixon Doctrine, which encouraged all Asia countries to stand up and fight for themselves. Therefore, it was evident that North Vietnam took over South Vietnam, and that the whole Indochina had fallen back into Communism again. America’s attempt to stop the spread of Communism had rather stimulated its growth. As a result of this, not only did Vietnam fall into Communism, but Americans also lost millions of lives, had to endure severe economic losses, and see the breakup of US public opinion.

Even if the Vietnam War was a striking failure of the Containment policy, the policy itself still alerted other countries of Asia to become aware of the rapid spread of Communism. Even if there were many leading causes of the failure, it was still successful in that it warned countries to stay away from the domino effect, especially towards Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

During the constant fight between the US and the USSR, it was evident that the Containment policy had both positive and negative impacts on Asia. Even if the policy proved to be weak in blocking Vietnam from becoming a Communist state, it still cannot be regarded as a policy that only produced negative influences. Not only did the policy alert other countries to be aware of the instant spread of Communism, but it also helped South Korea become a state with individual freedom and choice.


English: Maus II Questions

1. Does it surprise you that Vladek shows little concern for all those who died in his train car? (He says “They closed us again. We were very happy, we had now room where to stand.”)  Why or Why not?

During the period when the prisoners were continuously forced to work, they were suddenly taken into a train that filled hundreds of people and animals. Just like matches and herrings, the prisoners were crowded so tightly that nobody could even take a small step forward. When the train stopped every moment, innocent people were treated with no more resources and food; they gradually began to die and faint. Some prisoners also showed the natural human tendency to express aggression and hatred if they were provided with the lack of fundamental resources: “so he jabbed to their legs with a knife, but usually he anyway died.” When Vladek barely survived with little snow from the train roof, a German finally unlocked the door and demanded prisoners to throw out the dead. It wasn’t surprising to see Vladek showing little concern for the dead because everyone that survived were too exhausted and vulnerable to suggest assistance for others. I believe that this situation can be portrayed as a game of tug of war; while one side of the mind pulls you over and reminds you to support others in any difficult situations, the other side demands you to think about yourself first. In this case, the side that demanded priority of self won the game; If I were also presented in that situation, I would’ve revealed the sense of slight happiness because relief and safety increase as more and more people leave the train.

2. On page 89, Francoise says, “I’ll bet you that Anja’s notebooks were written on both sides of the page…” -What does her comment tell you about how she views Vladek?

The fact that Francoise says “If there were any blank pages Vladek would never have burned them” emphasizes Vladek’s frugal and thrifty characteristics. In other words, she means that if any of the pages inside Anja’s notebook was left blank, then he must’ve kept it for other uses in the future. Prior to the quote, Francoise was looking at Vladek, who was trying to angrily negotiate with the grocery manager about the food. Even though Art and Francoise both wanted to block him from taking such action, Vladek couldn’t stop his temper; therefore, the comment has shown the slight frustration inside Francoise’s voice – the tone reveals a slight annoyance on the fact that Vladek is continuously taking things aggressively. In the previous chapters, we could also see that Vladek hfad a frugal characteristic, as he was upset about the salt and wooden match Mala had opened up. Not only that, Vladek had always reminded Francoise and Art to think about the left-overs carefully: “I cannot forget it…ever since Hitler I don’t like to throw out even a crumb.” From these evidences, we can infer that Vladek’s experiences in the holocaust remained a big effect on his psychological thoughts.

3. Where do Vladek’s troubles begin? (hint: not in Auschwitz)

Vladek’s trouble erupted when he was unfortunately sent to another camp, Dachau. When prisoners were hopelessly closed in barracks, waiting to die sitting on straws, they saw lice everywhere. Whenever Germans saw that prisoners had lice on any of their shirts, they immediately stopped providing soup. It was impossible for the prisoners to get soup since everywhere had lice. If someone spilled a drop of soup on any of the hungry prisoners, then they fought until there came blood. During the camp, Vladek also got an infection in his hand; fortunately, he liked the way he was being sent to the infirmary. Everyday was like a paradise because he had food, bed to sleep, and most of all, the freedom to act with relief. When Vladek was caught of staying to long, though, a German came and harshly poked his hand that needed more recovery. The hurt remained too strong that he still has a scar on his hand.

4. What is the number one killer in Dachau? (hint: it is what almost kills Vladek).

After Vladek’s short arrival in Dachau, he immediately got sick due to typhus, a disease spread by lice or harmful bacterium. While most of the people suffered from this killer, Vladek was also one of the victims. At night when he had to go to the toilet, he saw the room filled with full of people lying down restlessly. Dead people were piled in one corner, and space didn’t allow him to take a small step forwards. He always had to go on top of peoples’ heads; it was terrifying because the texture of the skin was slippery and uncomfortable. When Vladek got infected by typhus, he thought “Now it’s my time. Now I will be laying like this ones and somebody will step on me!”

5. How does Vladek “organize” so that he and his French friend were always able to get soup? (91-94)

When Vladek returned from the infirmary and hopelessly stood around, a young French man came to Vladek and asked about the languages he could speak. When Vladek responded by saying that he could speak German, Yiddish, Polish and English, the man was surprised to discover that he has finally found a friend to speak with. The French man came to Vladek almost everyday; the man was always happy to share the box of sardines, biscuits, and chocolates. Luckily, Vladek was clever enough to come up with an intelligent idea: to trade chocolates with clean shirts. Even though the t-shirt didn’t equal to the original value of the chocolate, the piece of cloth was important in Auschwitz. When Vladek received a new shirt, he rinsed the shirt very carefully and made sure it was dried. Therefore, when the Germans came back to provide food, he immediately unwrapped the dried t-shirt and showed the new one. Finally, Vladek had the chance to taste the soup.

6. How is Vladek able to get on the train which carries him away from Dachau? (97-98)

When Vladek was continuously suffering from typhus, a German soldier appeared and demanded all prisoners who were strong enough to line up outside. He declared that these prisoners were to be exchanged as war prisoners in the Swiss border. Even though Vladek felt extremely weak and vulnerable, he urged himself to head front immediately. With his remaining bread, Vladek was able to receive support from his two friends; when he came outside the gate, he immediately saw the “train” – it was not the train for hundreds of animals and humans, but it was a train for passengers. The train took the prisoners into Switzerland, and there, Vladek was finally able to release himself from Dachau.

7. Francoise picks up a friendly hitch-hiker; but Vladek is outraged. Why does Vladek object so strongly to the hitch-hiker? What characteristic of the hitch-hiker does he particularly object to? What does Vladek think the hitch-hiker will do? Does this incident surprise you, considering how well Vladek usually gets along with strangers? (98-100)

Vladek is absolutely outraged with the hitch-hiker because he recalls the man as “Shvartser,” an unfavorable way of portraying Blacks. He was trembling in fear and nervousness because he argued that the shvartser might’ve stolen the groceries from the back seat. Recalling the early experience with the Germans, Art and Francoise both argued that Vladek shouldn’t be racist towards the Black. However, he strongly opposed and showed that the man was distrustful and deceitful. Vladek clarified his point by saying that he witnessed black people stealing his valuables when he first came to New York. This incident surprised me on the fact that Vladek wasn’t opened to different races when he actually had the experience of being with Germans a long time ago. Many of the prisoners from the holocaust were misleading because they stole others’ food without even claiming whose it was. The main reason that the hitch-hiker could’ve seen untrustworthy was because of the broken faith from the camps.

8. On page 105 we learn that the war is over; yet Vladek does not immediately gain his freedom. Why not? Why didn’t the German soldiers put down their weapons and surrender?

When the prisoners finally got off the long train ride and stood in front of the frontier for hours, people suddenly shouted “The war is over!” Even though the claim that war had ended was announced, the prisoners weren’t freed immediately; the German soldiers insisted that Americans needed to come and save them free. When the prisoners came out from the train and gradually walked around, the Germans came and declared “HALT or we’ll shoot!” The Germans didn’t put down weapons immediately because they weren’t sure whether or not the war had completely ended; therefore, the soldiers forced all prisoners to gather in front of a big lake, and had guarded so tightly that nobody could run away. The prisoners had to wait nervously for days; each time they cried and prayed for the situation to end immediately. It could’ve also been that the Germans wanted to portray their last moment of power vividly, to show that they are higher in rank.

9. The German soldiers had planned to kill Vladek and his comrades at the lake. Why didn’t they? (107-108)

The German soldiers were originally planning to kill Vladek and his comrades at the lake, but they only wrapped around the prisoners and made sure nobody had escaped. For the whole night, the prisoners had to tremble from fear and terror because they could get killed in that last moment of war. Some prisoners mentioned “We overheard. They intend to murder every one of us tonight, right on this spot!” – the next day when they woke up though, they were surprised to find that German soldiers had abandoned the place.

10. After their reprieve, why didn’t Vladek and his comrades keep the abandoned Nazi machine guns? (108)

After spending a horrifying night trying to pray for the war to have ended, the prisoners discovered that all of the German soldiers ran away and left their guns. The whole situation was seen as a miracle because no more Germans could be found in any of the places by now. The reason why Vladek and his comrades abandoned the Nazi machine guns was because people were absolutely sure that war had been resolved by now. Last night, one of the prisoners lied near the officer’s tent and heard the conversation between a German soldier and his girlfriend; the girlfriend pleaded and begged to leave in order to avoid punishments. As soon as the prisoners heard this story, everybody had been extremely overjoyed; they called out “Let’s run away! She saved us!” I think I also would’ve been overly content if I were in that situation because the end of the four horrible years are finally marking an end. I would’ve shed my tears in the form of both satisfaction and depression; happy because the war is finally over, or sad trying to reflect back on the horrible treatments I’ve received.

11. What treasure does Vladek find for Artie?  What does Vladek’s treasure teach Artie about his family’s history? (113-114)

Vladek gave a special treasure to Artie, which turned out to be valuable snapshots of Anja’s families in Poland. Uncle Herman was Anja’s oldest brother, and he entered war in 1939 when he ran the Family Hosiery Factory. Unfortunately, Herman died during war in 1964, and Anja’s life had gradually turned miserable. Josef was another brother of Anja, and he was a great painter that had always been a role model for herself. When the Germans took away the factory from Anja’s family and the brother couldn’t stand from the lack of profit, he has committed suicide. The middle brother was Levek, and he never returned after escaping to Russia during the war. With Anja being the only survivor of the family, Vladek has learned that prisoners and innocent people were led to death by different causes in different situations. Vladek has reflected on the fact that the holocaust was a terrible incident that killed blameless people all over the world.

12. These items are priceless, yet Vladek wants to keep the cigar box where he has been storing them. Why does this seem so odd to us? Why would this seem like perfectly acceptable behavior to Vladek?

The fact that Vladek urged to keep the cigar box was odd because nobody usually keeps items that might be priceless and useless. Even though this may seem incomprehensible to us, it still makes sense for Vladek because it reflects his lifestyle from the holocaust. The quote “I cannot forget it…ever since Hitler I don’t like to throw out even a crumb” illustrates that it has become usual for him to collect small objects. Even though the object may be small as a battery, Vladek learned to value objects with extreme care and purpose. Also, because hoarding objects increased the chance of exchanging things on a daily basis, Vladek might’ve kept this in note and have repeated the lifestyle of the ancient times.