Sunday, May 4, 2008

Three Headed Frog

So imagine your in your garden, watering your plants, and you see a three headed frog hopping around? What would you think? Children in a nursery in England spotted a three headed frog and were completely shocked! The creature has six legs which are all fully functional. It looks almost as if three frogs were fused together. The frog is believed to be the result of environmental changes. Others believe that the embryo just got banged around. What is really weird is that my brother saw the video of this frog on you tube and he said he would like a three-headed pet of his own. However, I don’t think he will be getting one anytime soon. I feel bad for the frog head at the bottom

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Fish!

With my sister moving out of my room last weekend I have the whole room to myself. I decided what better way to celebrate then with a new fish. So I drove down to pet land and decided to buy a red scissortail Siamese Fighting Fish, commonly called a “scissortail betta,”. It is one of the most popular species of freshwater aquarium fish. They are known for there brilliant coloration, and long flowing fins. They can grow up to three inches and live for two to three years. In nature Bettas eat insects and insect larvae. They are built with an upturned mouth that is well suited to snatching any insect that might fall into the water. Internally their digestive system is geared for meat, having a much shorter alimentary track than vegetarian fish. For this reason, live foods are the ideal diet for the betta, however they adapt to eating flake foods and frozen and freeze dried foods. What I found interesting about the Betta when reading a fact sheet that they had at the pet store is that Bettas have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breath air directly from the surface. In fact they inherently must do so. In experiments where the labyrinth organ was removed, the fish died from suffocation even though the water was saturated with oxygen. For this reason, Bettas must have access to the water surface to breath air directly from the atmosphere. Ive had the fish for two days now and he seems to be doing well. I haven’t decided a name yet but I will keep you posted!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV

Im sure everybody either has heard about the new release of Grand Theft Auto IV, is dying to play, or has already played it. My little brother has the game, and every previous version too it, also every violent game that exists. This new game has all the “hottest features”, intense violence, strong language, use of drugs, sex, and nudity. Grand Theft Auto IV is a game where you play the bad guy who steals and commits crimes to win. The issues regarding the game has been all over the news lately, and I think it’s a good thing because not many parents, like my mom, know about how bad this game is for young kids to be playing. A local child and adolescent psychiatrist says not only should children not watch such games, but also questions why any adult would want to. He says the desensitization is just like what the military does to train troops to go into battle. This game rewards bad behavior, which is how you win. Children who watch and play these games can be negatively effected.


You Keep Me Up
Wiping away these tears
Of everything I fear
Screaming in your face
Just to find my place
Fading into the night
This just doesn’t seem right
Letting go of the past
Hoping to make us last
What should I see
Who should I be
Slipping into a dream
Where I’m not even seen
Falling over this edge
Your love is my ledge

Monday, April 28, 2008


I got the iPhone a few months after it came out and I must say it is pretty awesome. It is probably the most futuristic phone out there. What makes me so mad that as soon as it came out what's the first thing people do? That's right, figure out all the things that are wrong with it. These people don’t even own the phone and say how badly it “sucks”. A number of people complained about the price of the phone when it first came out $400 for a 4G and $600 for an 8, wow. Nobody seems to remember that when the RAZR came out, it was $500, and now you can get it for free at walmart. Everyone keeps saying that the Verizon voyager is so much better than the iphone but its really not. At first glance the Voyager looks like an iPhone knock-off. The iPhone is an mp3 player with the largest highest resolution screen, 10 years of iPod technology and also applies mac software which blows the voyagers software out of the water. The only thing I like about the voyager is the keyboard.. I like the design of the iPhone a lot better and of course its much sleeker and nicer looking than the voyager. It also has a built-in memory and double-click zoom. I don’t think the iPhone is in any danger of extinction because Apple has such a loyal fan base. The iPhone is very innovative, the first of its kind, and will only get better as Apple updates the software.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Quote I Liked


Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the Classroom

Last semester for my special education class we had to complete so many hours of observations. I would like to share this experience because I feel that being in the classroom and seeing what it is like day by day had a big impact on my life. I thought it would be a breeze being a special education teacher because there are so many paras in the room. This experience did not change my mind about wanted to become a special education teacher but it certainly had a huge impact on the way I felt about it.
I did my observations at P.S.30 elementary school. The principal is Mrs. D. Spina, the assistant principal is Mrs. K. Nuzzela. I picked this school because I went there and my little brother still goes there. The class I observed was a third and fourth grade special education class. There was a total of thirteen children in the class. The teacher is Ms J Owens, and the paraprofessionals are Ms. Mucchino, Ms. G. Persico and Mrs C. Miskowitz.
At first I was a little nervous because I did not know what to expect. When I got into the classroom I said good morning and surprisingly all of them said it back at the same time. From that point on I realized that there was nothing to be worried about and that these children seemed to be a nice, respectful group. The teacher told the class that they had a visitor because people want to see how wonderful they all were doing, and that seemed to put a smile on most of their faces.
On the board all the way on the right hand side there was a list titled “Flow of the Day”, it said 8-9 science, 9-10 reading (tree of birds/word study), 10-11 math patterns of the day, 11-12 lunch, and 12-1 HW/ writers workshops. I thought that this was a good idea because the children can understand what needs to be done to have a successful day at school. Next to the “Flow of the Day” was homework and one of the first things the class did was to copy down the homework in the brown homework book. I would say that it took the class a good twenty minutes to write down the four things they had for homework. The teacher and the paraprofessionals kept walking around the room to push them along if they got distracted or began to daydream. When they were finished the teacher began the math lesson. The Obj (objective) was to use patterns of hundreds and thousands. The rule was when adding or subtracting hundreds only the hundred place changes, and when adding or subtracting thousands only the thousand place changes. The students did not really grasp the math lesson. The teacher seemed to be getting frustration that they were not grasping the lesson. She finallysaid that they needed more practice and crossed off the math homework. I noticed that a lot of the children seemed to be in a different world. They kept making funny noises and squirming around as if they were bored, and the teacher would yell.
When they were finished with the word study the teacher told the class to get into their assigned reading groups. One of the boys refused and began to curse at the paraprofessional. The para seemed to get really frustrated and began to yell back at him. He finally calmed down and got into his group. There ware three different groups, the teacher was working with one group and the paraprofessionals were working with the other two. One of them went over word study words using flash cards. The other group worked on book called “Tree of Birds” and they did a story map, and the last group worked on vocabulary words.
I feel that doing observations was very rewarding. I got the chance to see what it was like being in the classroom with these special needs children. It is defiantly not as easy as some people think it may be. You have to have a lot of patience with these kids. Im glad I was assigned to do this because I received first hand knowledge on the way special needs children learn and behave. I feel that the only way of knowing if a career as a teacher is right for you is to actually observe in the classroom. I am looking forward to spending more time in the classroom.

Corn Snake

I’ve always wondered why a number of people are afraid of snakes. They make excellent pets. I currently own a snow corn snake also called a complete albino corn snake. My snake is very beautiful, his name is Pinky. He has striking ruby red eyes and a white body with pink markings. I got him at a carnival of some sort about two years ago. I felt sorry for him because it was late and pretty chilly out and he was the last creature to be sold besides a couple of fish that were on the table. He eats frozen mice, I started him with pinkys and as he grew I gave him fuzzies. Right now he is about two and a half feet long but he can grow up to 6 feet. Pinky is very mild tempered and will only strike at me if I scare him, otherwise he is very friendly. I love him very much and I recommend a snow corn to anyone who is a beginner snake owner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

World of Warcraft

Many of you might of heard of the game World of Warcraft. My little brother plays and he got me into it. At first it looked really stupid. Like why would I ever want to play this stupid looking game for $15 a month? After weeks of my brother begging me to try it I finally sat down and got feel of it and learned how to do everything. The game got really exciting for me. Maybe even too exciting. This game is a very popular MMORPGs (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games), created by Blizzard entertainment, and it is known for being extremely addicting. You strive to train your character to make him/her stronger, more advanced. As your character advances, his or her progress begins to slow. It takes longer and longer to get to the next level, because you need more and more experience points each time. You feel compelled to continue because at when you get to a new level you get a really cool spell or other ability that's supposed to make the game more fun. The game is designed to make you play as much as possible. Dr. Orzack, who is the founder and coordinator of the Computer Addiction Service, says “This isn't about willpower or restraint,” she said in an interview. “These games are very elaborately designed to ease you in gently, entice you, and keep you there. And it’s a cycle: people begin to spend too much time playing and their careers and personal relationships begin to deteriorate.” I think that this is really scary. People have to worry about being addicted to a video game just like they have to worry about becoming addicted to cigarettes or drugs. Maybe it would be a good idea if these kinds of games came with warning label just like cigarette boxes have warning labels. I know if I didn’t go to school, or have a job, or a life I would be sitting home playing this game. Its going to be a great summer! I should of listened to that guy at best buy who told me not to buy it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My New Pet

I got this Green Iguana a couple of weeks ago from my friend who was moving to Florida and couldn’t take it with her. She was very upset but knew I would be able to take care of it good. She had it in a 20 gallon take which was clearly too small for the lizard who is about 3 and a half to 4 feet long, so I went to the store and the guy said that a big rabbit cage would be perfect for it. Green Iguanas can average around 6.5 feet in length and weigh about 11 pounds. They are also among the most popular reptile pets in the United States, despite being quite difficult to care for properly. In fact, most captive iguanas die within the first year, and many are either turned loose by their owners or given to reptile rescue groups. Unlike my bearded dragons the iguana is a herbivore, which means they feeding on leaves, flowers, and fruit. She has a strong jaw with razor-sharp teeth and a sharp tail, which makes up half of her body length. Her tail can be used as a whip to drive off predators. She is really very sweet, until she tries to whip my dog. She taught Cocoa (my dog) a valuable lesson, stay away from the iguana!

Yankees Opening Day

The game was postponed due to the rain but it was worth the wait! Yankees beat the blue jays 3-2, winning the first game of the season. Chien-Ming Wang did awesome, limiting Toronto to only 2 runs and 6 hits spread over 7 innings of work. Cabrera had 2 catches out in center field, and also was responsible for a run, he knocked it over the fence! It was a great game, New York Yankees (1-0) win this one, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays (0-1)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Creative Nonfiction

There are many ways to define Creative Nonfiction. So what is Creative Nonfiction? It is a genre that is thought of as another way of writing fiction, because of the way writing about a subject inevitably changes the way we know a subject. Creative nonfiction writing can embody both personal and public history. It is a form that utilizes memory, experience, observation, opinion, and all kinds of research. It is defined as “literary journalism” or the “literature of fact,” creative nonfiction is that branch of writing which employs literary techniques and artistic vision usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on actual persons and events.
According to Melissa Hart, the genre of creative nonfiction is “not just memoir; nor is it simply a research-driven article. Rather, it's an exciting hybrid that allows writers to explore their lives and the lives of others through investigation and revelation.” Lee Gutkind, a creative nonfiction author and the founder/editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction says that, “the most important quality that a creative nonfiction writer can have is passion: “A passion for the written word; a passion for the search and discovery of knowledge; and a passion for ... understanding intimately how things in this world work.” “There is a line between fiction and non-fiction. We all have our different ideas about where that line will be,” says Lee Gutkind.
In Herbert Asbury’s All Around the Town he demonstrates the style of creative nonfiction. In “The Sawing off of Manhattan Island”, Lozier and Mayor Allen had reached a conclusion that Manhattan Island was too heavy on the Battery end because of the buildings. They worried that it might become too heavy, break off, and sink into the sea. They decided that the island must be sawed off at Kingsbridge, at the northern end, and turned around, so that the Kingsbridge end would be where the Battery end had been. The weaker end of the island would be anchored to the mainland so that it won’t fall in. The information is given in a vivid and dramatic way keeping the readers interested but at the same time telling an important “hoax” of the time. Also, in John McPhee’s The Curve of Binding Energy, we can see that it is a perfect example of creative nonfiction. He writes with fictional techniques but provides non fictional information. McPhee writes about dangers of the availability of raw nuclear material but, he does not simply state the facts. He puts his own style of writing in it to make it more appealing to the reader.
In the future I want to be a teacher and in order to get kids to read, teachers need to grab their interest right away and keep them turning pages. Susan Taylor Brown says that “If you want to teach young readers about the Irish potato famine, the rain forest, or even math, tell them a story. Tell an interesting tale about interesting people doing interesting things and readers come back for more, sometimes not even realizing they are reading about something that really happened. This is creative nonfiction.” I knew that creative nonfiction was available to the adult market but I never realized how much of an impact it could have on children. “Good creative nonfiction helps kids learn to think by engaging their curiosity,” says Shannon Barefield, Senior Editor at Lerner Publishing Group. "It makes readers ask, ‘Then what happened? Why?’ and so on. An engaged reader retains information and often goes on to seek more. Creative nonfiction is of great use with reluctant and challenged readers, making the work of reading more rewarding than usual. Finally, storytelling techniques can bring to life a subject’s significance in a way that just-the-facts writing can't always do. It’s crucial for kids to learn the nuts-and-bolts facts of the Holocaust, for example, but to learn the human side of those events is critically important as well. Creative nonfiction evokes the humanity within our history.”
Carolyn Yoder explains that “The difference between straight nonfiction and creative nonfiction has to do with structure. Straight nonfiction relies solely on the parts, the facts for the most part, and not on the whole. Creative nonfiction is all about the whole and how the parts make it up. Creative non-fiction, like fiction, is all about story or theme. Creative nonfiction tends to have strong characters, strong sense of place, rich details, obvious themes, conflicts, arcs-everything.”
In my personal opinion Creative nonfiction is a great tool to incorporate in writing and in the classroom. It is a creative blend of nonfiction and the author’s own personal style. It is definitely a useful method that I will be looking to incorporate it in some of my writing, reading, and my future lessons. Creative Nonfiction brings nonfiction literature to life instead of just presenting factual information.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sulcata Tortise

The Sulcata tortoise is the largest continental land tortoise with recorded lengths of over 2.5 feet and a maximum recorded weight of about 340 lbs. It is the 3rd largest tortoise in the world. Of course I had no idea my tortoises were going to grow that big when I bought it from the weird guy at the flea market. After I found out they were going to grow that big I had to ask myself questions like what do they eat? What would they need for housing? How much are they like the other reptiles I had living in my house at the time? They outgrew every tank we ever got for them so my dad had to build a giant wooden box for them to live in. When I got them five years ago they were just hatched. Currently Shelly (female) weighs twenty-seven pounds and Myrtle (male) weighs over thirty-five pounds. When I first got them they were very shy. However, I learned that they will do anything for a piece of there favorite food, romaine lettuce, so that was how we got to know each other.=)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Worst Album Cover

According to recent celebrity news, Geffen Records has released the official cover art for Ashlee Simpson’s new album, Bittersweet World, which will be released on April 22nd. This is by far the worst album cover I have ever seen in my life! I am a very big fan of Ashlee Simpson but come on now what is she thinking? She looks so grundgy looking and the colors and artwork on the new cover are gross. If I was ever to buy this CD I would be embarrassed. I probably won’t buy it just because it looks like that. I have heard and seen the music video for one of her new songs in the CD called “out of my head”, and it wasn’t anything special at all. I guess I was just a big fan of her first CD, now her music is just whatever. Hopefully there is at least one good song. On February 26, Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz celebrated at the Bittersweet World album release party at NYC’s Marquee on Tuesday night.

Subliminal Messages

In my psychology class last year we talked a lot about subliminal messages in Disney movies. Why? I don’t really know, but what is a subliminal message? It’s something in a movie that you don’t really notice unless it is pointed out. These messages are indiscernible by the conscious mind, but can affect the subconscious or deeper mind and later actions or attitudes. For over 10 years people have argued that there are hidden sexual subliminal messages in Disney movies. I watched the movies myself to see what the deal was and there was hidden sexual things that I wouldn’t have noticed if nobody told me about it. In Aladdin he allegedly says "Good teenagers take off your clothes!!" at the part where he goes up to her balcony and the tiger is growling at him. Also in the lion king where Simba lies down in this little pile of dust and the dust blows up and spells out "sex". Disney claims that it says “SFX” which supposedly means special effects, but you can clearly see the word “sex”. There is a lot of other ones too in different Disney movies. I think it’s kind of creepy.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I can’t wait until next weekend! I’m going on vacation. Finally!! A vacation. I don’t know why we couldn’t have gone during spring break but whatever. I am very excited. I am going Friday, Saturday, and coming home Sunday afternoon, to a resort called Woodloch Pines, with my cousins. It is supposed to be voted one of Americas best resorts but I will be the judge of that. Im looking forward to the skiing, which is “the finest in the area”, horseback riding, paint balling, and of course, the pool, and spa. It may not be one of the most exciting or “coolest” vacations but I’m just happy to be getting away from work, school and most of all, this island.

Step Up 2 the Streets.

Yesterday I saw the movie Step Up 2 the Streets. I never saw the first movie but I went anyway. Everyone said that it was going to be really bad but I thought it was alright. I only thought it was cool when they were dancing, but when they weren’t it was pretty boring. Most of the time, I was waiting for the climax of the movie, when the two dance crews battle it out. They shouldn’t have spent so much time on the characters back stories. I didn’t really care that Andie was in danger of being shipped off to Texas or that Chase is living in his brother's shadow. These things were kind of irrelevant to the movie. I wish I could have fast forwarded the boring parts and got right to the action.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children. Children with ADHD have great difficulty with tasks that involve sitting still and paying attention. The symptoms of ADHD are divided into two behavioral categories, inattention and hyperactivity or impulsiveness. Some children have symptoms of both types. And other children have mostly one type and not the other. Individuals with symptoms of inattention have trouble concentrating and finishing school assignments. They are easily distracted, and often forgetful. Children with symptoms of hyperactivity fidget and talk excessively. They have trouble waiting their turn. ADHD symptoms are distinct from normal childhood energy. The behaviors of children with ADHD are extreme compared with those of other children of the same age. The behaviors also cause significant problems at home and at school. About 3 to 5 percent of school-age children in the United States are thought to have ADHD. This means for a classroom of 20 to 30 students, on average there is one child with ADHD. Boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD
Last semester for a few weeks I was observing a third and fourth grade special education class. It had been a very rewarding experience. I saw and worked with all different types of children and got to talk to the paras and the teacher about what it’s like to work everyday with these special needs children. All the kids leave at different times because of the buses and things like that so one day, at the end of the day the teacher asked me if I wanted to sit with a kid named James and try to help him out with his math. He often seemed very distracted always squirming in his seat and sometimes acted out. These were clearly signs of ADHD. So everyday for two weeks I was sitting with James and helping him out. He is really a very bright child he knows all of the answers. Sometimes he will blurt them out before im even done asking the question. You have to have a lot of patience working with kids like this but they can really understand and learn new things. I think that maybe one day I might want to become a special education teacher. Working with James and the other children has really been a great experience

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reaching Out to Students When They Talk and Text

The city is planning an intensive campaign that would use cell phones to help motivate students, most of them minorities and from poor families, in two dozen schools. The pilot program will include mentoring and incentives for high performance, like free concerts and sporting events and free minutes and ring tones for their phones. Every student in each of the schools will be given a cell phone. It will use text messages, drawn up by an advertising agency and sent over the phones, that promote achievement.
The plan, designed by Roland G. Fryer, a Harvard University economist who is overseeing the school system’s program of paying students who do well on tests, was approved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Details about how much will be spent and where the money will come from are still to be worked out, Education Department officials said. Although it is not clear which of the plans education officials will choose, they are enthusiastic about one that tries to make poor teenagers aware that academic success can lead to jobs that pay enough to support a middle- or upper-middle-class way of life.
The focus group research showed that cell phones were the primary means of communication for many teenagers, and that reaching them through a concerted campaign of text messages or through the Internet was far more likely to be effective than a traditional billboard and television campaign. Some City Hall officials were initially skeptical of the program because it had the potential to create more uproar about the mayor’s strict policy of banning cell phones in schools. But Mr. Bloomberg, according to several city officials, decided that the project was worth the risk The program will begin in January and involve 10,000 to 15,000 students at four city charter schools run by the Knowledge Is Power Program and 20 schools run by New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit group.
If the program is successful in improving student attendance and grades, it would most likely be expanded, Mr. Klein said. “If it doesn’t work, we won’t continue it,” he said. “Let’s be candid in some places, if you’re doing well, you’re like a dork. We’re saying, ‘No, no, it’s not dorky.’”
I think that this is a pretty good idea. This will really get the attention of students. Although people are going to think mayor Bloomberg is an idiot because he was just banning cell phones and now he is encouraging them. I wish that they thought of these programs when I was in school.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Superbowl

So the other day was the superbowl and of course I was at work. I hate my job. I work at a bakery. I’ve been working there for at least three years and I have to work every single holiday for long hours and little pay. Anyway, it was the superbowl and I never realized until the other day how much people like to pig out during the superbowl. The line was seriously out the door and around the corner. People were coming in and buying like three or four dozen pastry, Italian breads, cakes, all kinds of junk. I don’t think I rung up anything under forty bucks. What is the need for all this junk food? I honestly don’t even really understand football at all and I am pretty sure not everyone who walks around in giants jerseys and writes “go giants!” on there myspace understands either. Its just a bunch of guys, one minute there standing up and the next there falling down. Whats the big deal? People I knew that had not followed football all season long, suddenly is a big die hard, canoli eating, giants fan?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lazy Dog!!

I have a chocolate lab and her name is Cocoa. She is the laziest dog I ever seen in my whole life. All she does is sleep all day and when she’s not sleeping she’s eating or begging for food near the kitchen table. I have to say she doesn’t really have to beg because she gets everything she wants. She’s a little brat! I am a little bit jealous. I would love to be doing nothing all day except sleeping and eating. When we first saw her and asked to pet her when she was a little puppy we thought she would be happy and jumping on us and wagging her tail but no. The lady put her down and she rolled right on her back with her paws in the air and my dad was like “yup, this is the dog!”. I think Cocoa is a very weird dog, but I still love her =)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pledged- The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins

Before I came to college I read a book called Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexander Robbins. I didn’t know anything about sororities, and I was slightly afraid of them, so my friend told me it was a good book and that I should read it. My friend turned out to be completely wrong! Looking back now, now that I myself am in a sorority, most of the things that go on in this book are completely untrue. All it does is expose the dark side of Greek life, a side that is entirely nonexistent, well at least in my case.
All Alexander Robbins did was take sorority stereotypes, (such as drugs, psychological abuse, extreme promiscuity, racism, violence, and rampant eating disorders were just a few), and write about them in her book so more people would want to buy it. If you want an over the top, non true, portrayal of sororities and college life, then read this book! Or you can watch Animal House instead, its way funnier. =)