The Basketball Diaries- 100 pages

In these last fifty pages, the book has continued to progress in the direction it was already headed. This boy continues to get into trouble with his friends with drugs and alcohol, and basketball still seems to be the number on thing in his life. However, more alcohol, weed, and prescription drugs are being abused by the boy as the book progresses, and he begins to do more daring things to acquire these drugs. The inappropriate content of this book has also increased significantly in the last fifty pages, I definitely am completely sure that parents of ninth graders would not want their children reading this book. 

I definitely do not think this book should be the all school read. Although the journey as the main character falls into a life of drugs is interesting, I am sure this book is far too inappropriate to be the all school read.  It uses too much foul language and explicit sexual content. If this was the all school read, speakers could talk about drug abuse and the stages of recovery. They could also focus on the influence of one’s environment on one’s present and future actions. However, generally I don’t think there would be that much to talk about if this book was chosen as the all school read. 

Definitely the issues of having this as the all school read are the aforementioned issues of inappropriate content and also a lack of interesting topics to discuss on all school read day. I positively think this is not the right book for the all school read next year. 

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The Basketball Diaries- First 50 pages

The first 50 pages of The Basketball Diaries so far has shown the story of a twelve year old boy growing up in the poor neighborhoods of New York. The book begins by mainly describing the life of the boy in basketball, but then transitions to more stories about his friends and his private life. This boy and his friends aren’t exactly what you would call “good kids”, they steal, lie, and do drugs regularly. 

The book is an easy read, lacking complex diction or vocabulary. It is written in diary format and is in first person voice. The book is not boring or slow, it is fast enough from the beginning to keep a readers attention. The ninth grade would definitely be able to read this book easily. However, I’m not sure that the book is exactly appropriate for that young of an audience. This book discusses mature topics in sometimes vulgar detail, especially concerning the sex life of the boy. I don’t think parents would approve of their children reading this book.

It is interesting but difficult to watch the boy transform from just lying and stealing to alcoholism and drugs. Im sure the boy’s life will continue to unravel in the next 50 pages.

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Logical Fallacies in Life

Some logical fallacies that I often hear throughout my day or week are post hoc ergo propter hoc, slippery slope, hasty generalization, red herring, and straw man. I mainly hear these used on television, especially on the news. I think people use so many logical fallacies because they are used to hearing these fallacies on a daily bases and have grown up hearing them, therefore they are simply accustomed to them. Also, I think many people use logical fallacies when they have no other argument to use and they dont have any real claims to support their argument. In an attempt to win their argument and make it appear that they know what they are talking about, people use logical fallacies to fake their ideas.

Especially on television and in news debates, individuals often try to refute an argument that uses a logical fallacy by using another logical fallacy. The purpose of this over use of logical fallacies, I believe, is to quite simply make one’s self appear more well versed on a particular topic than he or she actually is. I definitely believe these logical fallacies are often overlooked in day to day conversation for several reasons, the first being that most people aren’t educated enough to even realize they are using these logical fallacies. The second being that individuals are so desperate to win an argument that they will use these invalid tactics in a desperate attempt to achieve victory by appearing knowledgable when they are in fact ignorant on a particular subject.

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Logical Fallacies in Advertising: Advertisement for Rev. E. F. Briggs

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This billboard is an advertisement using the logical fallacy slippery slope. This fallacy is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of events, something much worse and more dramatic will happen. So it is used to convince an audience that if they don’t want Z (the very dramatic, bad event) to occur, then they must not let A occur. This advertisement uses this fallacy by saying that people who are Anti-god will cause civil war. The Reverend that produced this advertisement is trying to help bring god to more people and convince people to join the church by telling them something awful, in this case civil war, will happen if they don’t.The Reverend probably chose to use this type of logical fallacy for his advertisement in an attempt to dramatically affect his viewers in a desperate attempt to impel them to go to church and believe in the bible and in god.

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This Super Bowl advertisement was used to promote the popular snack Doritos by utilizing the logical fallacy bandwagon. The bandwagon fallacy comes from the phrase “to jump on the bandwagon” and is used to encourage individuals to follow what is popular and conform to a common idea or action. In this ad, a father is sitting on his couching watching the Super Bowl and eating Doritos while wearing his favored team’s jersey. When his team begins to lose, the man quickly changed jerseys to the winning team. He continues to do this throughout the game. This man is portraying the logical fallacy bandwagon by continuing to support which ever team is the most popular and is winning. By showing that this man only does what is always popular, and by portraying him eating a bag of Doritos, this commercial is suggesting that Doritos are the most popular snack and the public should “jump on the bandwagon” and begin eating more Doritos. Frito-Lay probably used this logical fallacy to advertise its product because they know that Doritos are in fact a very popular food and that many Americans would easily “jump on the bandwagon” if they believe Doritos are the most popular food of the time.

English Presentation Self Review: SAT Prep

My presentation to the leadership board addressed the issue of college preparation and SAT prep at our school. Gail and I think the school does not have a solid college or SAT preparatory program, so we proposed an SAT prep class that would largely fill this gap.

I think our presentation was informative, complete, and interesting. I am satisfied with how all of our slides turned out, especially the graphs. The results of our surveys, as shown on our graph slides, were very impactful and I think were actually quite shocking. Generally I think the information on our slides was reputable, informative, and succinct, and I believe the leadership board thought so to. 

As far as my performance as a speaker is concerned, I’m pretty proud of myself. It’s difficult for me to grade myself since I can’t watch my own presentation, but I feel like I did a good job. I think I spoke clearly and professionally, but I don’t think I was too boring or dull. I’m not sure if I smiled enough, since the topic was serious, but I think I did. Overall I think I spoke well, and I’m satisfied with the presentation.

I was happy to read that many members of the leadership committee liked Gail and my presentation, and would consider our proposal. It gave me confidence and confirmed my thoughts that our presentation was complete and informative, and that Gail and I spoke like professionals. The experience of forming and presenting this presentation taught me of the importance of writing a presentation to appeal to your audience, not just to yourself and your own agenda. It also taught me not to put too much pressure or criticism on myself, because through the eyes of those I was presenting to, I did a fantastic job. I’m really glad this was our English trimeter project. It combined many aspects of a project that often cant be combined; fun, education, and a feeling of accomplishment and impact. I really enjoyed this project and would recommend the same project for the next AP English class!

 

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School Wide Survey 

Questions: 

1. Do you feel this school provides students sufficient preparation for the SAT/ACT and the college process?

2. Do you feel the need to seek help from outside prep classes/tutors for SAT/ACT preparation?

  1. Have you ever had the school schedule you a meeting with the school college counselor to discuss college options or your college future?
  2. Based on the resources currently made available to you by TSS, do you feel that by your senior year the school will have adequately prepared you for and informed you completely about the college process?

Results

9th Grade: 

Question 1: Yes 84%  No16%

Question 2: Yes 56%  No 44%

Question 3: Yes 12%  No 88%

Question 4: Yes 84%  No 16%

 

10th Grade:

Question 1: Yes 60%   No 40%

Question 2: Yes 64%  No 36%

Question 3: Yes 24%  No 76%

Question 4: Yes 60%  No 40%

 

11th Grade:

Question 1: Yes 36%  No 64%

Question 2: Yes 64%  No 36%

Question 3: Yes 24%  No 76%

Question 4: Yes 48%  No 52%

 

12th Grade:

Question 1: Yes 5%    No 95%

Question 2: Yes 82%  No 18%

Question 3: Yes 45%  No 55%

Question 4: Yes 45%  No 55%

 

Senior Survey 

Questions: 

1. Do you feel that by your senior year this school had adequately educated you and informed you enough to begin the college application process?

2. Do you feel you received enough assistance from your school advisors and college counselor during the college application process?

3. Did you feel the need to consult outside help during the college application process?

  1. Do you wish you received more college consulting and preparation from this school in you freshman through junior year, and more college application assistance in your senior year?

Results

Question 1: Yes 45%  No 55%

Question 2: Yes 59%  No 41%

Question 3: Yes 68%  No 32%

Question 4: Yes 73%  No 27%

 

These results reflect that lower classmen generally have high expectations for the amount of college prep and SAT/ACT prep they will receive from their school, but by their senior year they are dissatisfied with the preparation they received. In the 9th grade, the majority of students believe this school provides sufficient preparation for the SAT/ACT and college process, and will  have adequately prepared them by their senior year. However, senior surveys show that this attitude changes by senior year, as the majority of seniors answered that they did not receive enough preparation and wished they received more assistance from their school advisors and counselors in 9th-12th grade years. These results show that there is a serious gap between the perceived reality of the upper school’s SAT/ACT and college preparation program, and the reality that such a program is insufficient and virtually nonexistent. This gap needs to be closed immediately, and the school’s college preparation system must be dramatically transformed to do so.

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