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Article posted May 15, 2013 at 02:09 PM GMT • comment • Reads 594

There's a book called The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It. I haven't read it, but the title fits seventh grade perfectly. And there's really no other way to describe it. It was amazing, but also my worst year academically. I learned that you can get bad grades in a lot of classes if you have a gazillion missing assignments...like me. But! Mrs. Gagnon gave me an awesome planner trick: you write your homework on an index card that you use as a bookmark. And I always have a book, so I always have my planner. What wasn't successful was trying to carry my actual planner around. I didn't write in it--just doodled--anyway, and I always forgot to bring it to class, and I'm not sure where it is now. I learned (the hard way) that you should always be careful in Science class when you're learning about the circulatory system if you have an unknown seizure disorder. Another thing I learned is the fact this chatterbox authoress will always have longer blog posts than everything. There isn't much I would change about seventh grade, except maybe the homework. I do not like homework. Some students argue projects are simply awful, but I think having only big projects would be so much better than lots of little worksheets due every day. Oh! And I learned all my seventh grade teachers are AMAZING! Oh no. Eighth grade?! That sounds so mature, so...difficult. In eighth grade, I will definitely get, like, no missing assignments. I hope. FUTURE SEVENTH GRADERS: If you're a bookworm like me, use Mrs. Gagnon's index card trick. If you have blogs, do them before Saturday and Sunday--otherwise you'll be too busy to do them, or you'll forget (unless you have a planner index card). And finally, have fun! Seriously. THIS IS THE LAST BLOG OF SARIAH THE AUTHORESS.

Article posted May 15, 2013 at 02:09 PM GMT • comment • Reads 594

Article posted May 12, 2013 at 06:55 PM GMT • comment • Reads 253

My guiding question was "How and why were humans mummified in ancient Egypt?" (Yes, cheesy blog title, but I couldn't resist.) Through research, I learned that people can learn a lot about ancient Egypt through mummies. They can find out what a person's last meal was, so they can learn what people ate then and there. They can learn what gods they worshiped just by looking at the sarcophagus. One of the most interesting things I learned was the fact Howard Carter, the scientist who discovered the boy king, and his team damaged King Tut when he found the mummy.

From the other seventh graders I learned what life was like for the ancient Greeks, what ancient Chinese art was, what ancient Egyptians ate, some Japanese myths, and--unfortunately; no offense to the project, it was awesome, just a little disturbing--several different ways to torture Barbies. I thought it was cool that people built round castles (Taylor's project).

Article posted May 12, 2013 at 06:55 PM GMT • comment • Reads 253

Article posted May 12, 2013 at 06:44 PM GMT • comment • Reads 84

Article posted May 12, 2013 at 06:44 PM GMT • comment • Reads 84

Article posted May 5, 2013 at 06:33 PM GMT • comment • Reads 69

I think Hero is an amazing book--the kind I like to read, the kind I hope to write. My mom requested the book early. She wanted to pre-read it and make sure it was okay for me, but I stole it from her and had it read before she could ask where it went (I read the last two pages moments before the ASR assembly started). It is a realistic book with a slice-of-life feel and a great message: heroes exist, and if you just listen to them, they can change your life...no matter how nasty it seems right now. Also, it is funny, which is always a nice plus.

I like how the dialogue feels like an actual, real-life conversation; Mrs. Gagnon read the first chapter aloud in Enrichment, and everyone was so shocked. She said, "What? You hear that stuff every day!" The class responded, "Yeah, but you don't expect it in a book." And the ending was awesome--depressing, but somehow perfect, like it was made for the book. There is almost nothing I would change about Hero, but I feel the narrative voice changes over time. Sean changes over time too, but I felt like the change from slang to poetry was quite sudden. Like at first he describes the ranch as "a pretty nice spread," but later I feel he would call it "a nice place, like it came from a picture book" or something to that effect. Is that just me?

I was at Century Middle School in Thornton last year, and we didn't have ASR, so unfortunately, I cannot answer the last question. But whatever it was, I'm sure Hero is just as good or better.

Article posted May 5, 2013 at 06:33 PM GMT • comment • Reads 69

Article posted May 5, 2013 at 06:20 PM GMT • comment • Reads 77

On my postcard, I wrote a note to Mr. Sterk, asking him to give us study hall at the end of the day. There are academic, mental, and social benefits from study hall. I don't know if study hall can change the world, but I know it could maybe make our lives a little better here and now.

I think education is a powerful tool. Look what an educated Nelson Mandela did! If we can learn how to read and write when we're young, we can reach out to people around the world when we're older. If we can learn about cells and such in Science now, we can find a cure for cancer later. If we can learn about ancient civilizations through our textbooks today, we can solve mysteries of the past tomorrow. If we can learn problem solving skills when solving algebra equations at age thirteen, we can solve life problems at age 31. Whenever you complain about school (and believe me, I don't love homework either), remember your powerful weapon: education. American children are lucky to have it.

Article posted May 5, 2013 at 06:20 PM GMT • comment • Reads 77

Article posted April 21, 2013 at 04:47 AM GMT • comment • Reads 77

This was a great experience. It was almost as good as Young AmeriTowne from fifth grade--maybe 'cause they're in the same building? I learned that you have to watch the clock during your off shift very closely. I learned that while things might look expensive in, for instance, the fictional AmeriLat notes when you have only (also fictional) EuRussia notes, but that's because you get many more AmeriLat notes for each EuRussia note. If I could, I would probably change the sashes we had to wear--they were hard to put on. I would rather have badges or ID cards. But other than that, it was pretty much all good. The best part was being able to buy such awesome things, like the rings from Israel and especially the bracelet from Singapore; I'm wearing my Singapore bracelet right now. I-Towne was an entertaining, educational--teachers like the "e-word," do they not?--field trip. Thank you for letting us go, teachers!

Article posted April 21, 2013 at 04:47 AM GMT • comment • Reads 77

Article posted April 11, 2013 at 11:56 PM GMT • comment • Reads 449

No thanks to those chicken wings, Mrs. Lubich!

I've heard mixed reviews of the chicken wing dissection lab: "Awesome!" "Disgusting!" "Cool!" "Disturbing!" When people ask me how I liked it, I put it bluntly. "The mere thought of it caused my brain to go haywire and almost made me go unconscious. So anyway, how's that KFC now, hm?"

I suppose I really must explain that statement; as many of you know, I've been diagnosed with a seizure disorder. Not epilepsy. The main trigger for my seizures is blood, injury, et cetera. (Fourth quarter has not been my favorite in Science.) But Mrs. Kosters has been AWESOME in making sure I do okay, for which I thank her profusely!

Anyway, when we were discussing this particular lab, I was not feeling well. I was lightheaded; I felt weak and faint. During the YouTube video where we watched someone dissecting a chicken wing, I put my head on my desk and turned pale (so I assume). When the lights were turned back on after the video, Mrs. Kosters told us all how we could skip this if we liked but encouraged us not to--I could tell no one would be skipping but me--then assigned us groups. I hovered around the safety glasses cabinet like a phantom, 103% sure I wouldn't be able to survive the daunting task. Though I usually sheepishly mumble this next part, I have to admit it for accuracy's sake: I started to cry a bit when Mrs. Kosters came over. I blame the tears on feeling awful. Mrs. Kosters--did I mention how awesome a teacher she is?--gave me some graph paper and a table recording weights of different dog breeds. The table was surrounded by pictures of adorable puppies...I find it ironic how cute those illustrations were compared to what the rest of the class was doing. Then she wrote me a pass for Mr. Howard, whose classroom I was going to; I found it fitting to do a graph in math class. I must've thanked her seven billion times before I left.

"Chicken wing dissection?" he asked me as soon as he saw me in his classroom. He wore a sympathetic smile.

Still sniffling a little, I replied, "Yeah. I was feeling bad, so I asked Mrs. Kosters if I could come here, and she said yes, so...um...yeah..."

He directed me to that one empty table where he usually sits when we're grading homework, and I told him thank you. Also about seven billion times. Mr. Howard, too, is AWESOME!

Tearstained and grateful, I sat down and set about graphing the weights of various canines.

So there you have it! My tragic story. The tale of my tears, two awesome teachers, and a class--minus one--that dissected an aforementioned birdy.


"An epileptic seizure (colloquially a fit) is a transient symptom of 'abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain'. The outward effect can be as dramatic as a wild thrashing movement (tonic-clonic seizure) [sounds dramatic more dramatic than mine, but I suppose that's most like my seizures] or as mild as a brief loss of awareness (absence seizure). It can manifest as an alteration in mental state [I don't have that], tonic or clonic movements [I don't think I have that], convulsions [I have that], and various other psychic symptoms (such as déjà vu or jamais vu [I don't have that]." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epileptic_seizure

Article posted April 11, 2013 at 11:56 PM GMT • comment • Reads 449

Article posted April 3, 2013 at 12:48 AM GMT • comment • Reads 189


I am really excited about our world history projects. My question is the following: How and why were humans mummified in ancient Egypt? I have found a lot of information, most of it from Abc-Clio.com. I actually found so much that I had to completely fill 3 research packet pages front and back. I'm confident about writing my research paper, but I'm rather dreading the "answer to research question" because I don't really know what to write for it. What I am most excited for, though, is the actual fair. I want the papers on my poster board to look ancient (you know, torn edges, yellowed, the works), and I would like to dress up like an ancient Egyptian...not an actual mummy, thank you very much! It would be cool to have some scarabs, fake jewels, and perfume bottles on display, since those are some things used during the mummification process. If I can pull it off, I would also like to make a 3-D model of a mummy you can take apart to demonstrate the process of mummification. So, call me an ancient Egypt addict--it's true, I love learning about it--and a nerd, but yes, I am loving both my research question and the project itself. 

Article posted April 3, 2013 at 12:48 AM GMT • comment • Reads 189

Article posted March 18, 2013 at 02:28 AM GMT • comment • Reads 74

I loved The Ernest Green Story! It was so-o-o-o sad, though. I almost cried. I was shocked someone could bear to be so cruel to people just because of the color of their skin. Considering I am Christian, I was brought up to be like Jesus: kind to everyone. (I apologize if I've offended anyone.)

If I had been one of the Little Rock 9, I'm sure I would've given up pretty quickly. I wouldn't have been able to stand the people who hated me--I'm just not strong enough to do so. If I had been white...I don't know what I would have done. We all would like to think we would have been the few who were kind to Ernest Green and his friends, but we don't know because we weren't raised the way white people were back then. I'd love to imagine me being kind to Erny, but I'm not certain. I have a scientific mind when it comes to people saying things like skin/hair color affects intelligence, so I probably wouldn't have thought the Little Rock 9 was any different me. And I also try to stick up for people; last year, some of my classmates made fun of a super-sweet girl because of her stutter, so I told those people to stop. But since hundreds of people were being hateful to the Little Rock 9, I wonder if I would have stood up for them.

Of course discrimination is still going on today! Maybe not so much with skin color, but we've all heard dumb blonde jokes (which are just plain mean, and anyway, it's been scientifically proven hair color does not affect intelligence.) The kids with disabilities or disorders...like my AWESOME autistic brother. People who don't dress "right." People who get certain grades. There's still discrimination, just different types.

I loved The Ernest Green Story, but am disappointed there's still discrimination in the world today, fifty years later. So, hey--who'd like the Constitution to be followed for once, and have EVERYONE be equal?

Article posted March 18, 2013 at 02:28 AM GMT • comment • Reads 74

Article posted March 2, 2013 at 01:14 AM GMT • comment • Reads 82

This is a long blog post including the beginning of a story I'm sorta-kinda writing.

The first time I met Tobias, he painted a spell on my right arm and I couldn’t move my fingers for three hours.

We met at the sixth grade dance everyone was required to go to. Don’t ask me why we had to go to a dance during the last two hours of school before Christmas break; my school is weird. I’d tell you what its name is, but then the Wickeds would find you.

And you don't want the Wickeds to find you.

Of course, Tobias isn’t named Tobias, either. You probably couldn’t pronounce his real name anyway. And my name isn’t Cassandra, either, but I’ll tell you it is. And you’d better believe it, too, if you don’t want to get into a world of chaos.

Ack. I’m speaking in riddles. I do that a lot, now that I’ve met Tobias. I suppose he would want me to start from the beginning, though he wouldn’t want me to be telling you this at all.

Whatever. He can’t stop me now.

Okay, fine, Tobias. I’ll start from the beginning like you want me to.


I hated this dance. Loathed it, despised it, detested it. Why? I’m not antisocial or don’t like fun or anything. Let’s just say when you’ve just moved in two weeks before winter break, you have no friends. If you’re me. And let’s just say these cursed...no, not cursed. I don't use that word lightly. Let me rephrase: these mindless--there, that describes them perfectly--dances aren’t even close to fun without any friends.

So I lurked in the corner of the gym, watching everyone else bounce around like hyper frogs on caffeine pills (weird image, though I’d like to see that). I was bored out of my mind, and swiping extra cookies from the refreshment table didn’t do anything for that. Then, as I snuck another cookie, I noticed someone else in my corner. Had I not seen him before? Had he just got there? I didn’t know, but I cautiously crept back to my corner to see who it was.

He wore a black t-shirt, black jeans, black tennis shoes. Ugh, I thought. Some goth dude. Wait, can you be goth in sixth grade? His hair was reddish brown, though, not dyed black, which was a good sign, as was the lack of facial piercings and black leather. I sat down by him.

“Hey,” I said.

He said nothing.

“This was my corner,” I said nonchalantly. “Is it yours now?”


“Oka-a-ay. That’s nice. Who are you, anyway?”


“Yeah right. What’s your real name?”


“I’m Cass. I’m gonna bug you until you answer.” I poked his arm, and he jerked it away from me as though I’d bitten him.

“Tobias! Tobias, okay?”

“Tobias, huh? That’s kind of old-fashioned.” If looks could kill. “But cool,” I amended. “Tobias.”

“That’s my name. Don’t overuse it.”

Who could respond to that? I mean, right? I shifted my position so that I wasn’t facing him, then nibbled my cookie. After a few minutes, he said, “What team are you on?”

There were three teams in sixth grade--each with four teachers for Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies--and each sixth grader was sorted into one of the teams. Like the houses in Harry Potter.

“643,” I said.

“Me too.”

There was an awkward silence.

“So,” I said, “stupid dance, right? I mean, right?”

“Yeah,” he said. “How much longer do we have to tolerate this?”

I checked my watch. “We’ve survived for...45 minutes. So, yeah. Hour and fifteen minutes to go.”

He groaned. “I shall die.”

I snorted. “Shall?”

For a split second, he looked like a first grader, hiding from a fifth grade bully, finally found cowering behind a trash can. Caught. Then he slid back into his cool facade. “Yes. Do you have a problem with it?”

No!” I said. “Just...Well, you are a sixth grader.”

He scowled at me and turned away. Be warned: ten minutes of silence next to an antagonistic boy you’ve never met before stinks. When he finally said something again, I felt like the entire school should have turned into High School Musical, complete with a disco ball and the Energizer Bunny. Like in the commercials, once the person takes a sip of the Coke or whatever.

“What are you supposed to do at these sort of things?” he muttered.

“At dances? Uh, dance?” I replied, fighting to keep sarcasm out of my voice.

“Who would I dance with?”

“Um, there’s someone right next to you, you realise.”

He sounded appalled. “Are you implying that I should dance with you?”

I felt my face turn maraschino cherry red, and I snapped, “Well, sor-ry it’s such a horrifying option!”

“But you would have no idea how to dan--”

He got up, moved several yards away from me, and plopped down again, his back facing me.

Not rude at all.

I sullenly crossed my arms, set my jaw, and forced myself to watch the other sixth graders “dance.” Swaying was more like it. Oh, horrors, was that a couple?

I couldn’t help it; I glanced back at Tobias. Then I gasped, because a cloud of wispy grey smoke hung over him. How did the teachers not see this? What had the boy done? Someone had to do something if the kid was gonna blow up the school, and considering the teachers weren’t paying attention, I had to do their dirty work. Even though I'd probably end up with a bloody nose.

I moaned as I stood, then I stomped over to him.

“What on Earth are you doing?”

He held a tiny paintbrush in his hand. Completely dry. As he brushed it over his arm, glistening black marks appeared. Smoke curled off his skin.

“What the--” I trailed off into minor hyperventilation.

He stared at me for a few seconds, squinting. “Sit down. Calm yourself...Cass.”

Helplessly, I obeyed.

“Give me your hand.” I gave him my right hand. “This may feel a bit odd, but I promise you, the smoke will disappear once I am done.” He began to paint the back of my hand. It didn’t hurt, but it tingled.

And there was a perfectly straight black line shining from my wrist to my knuckles. A black line spewing smoke.

My mouth hung open like a trout’s, but he seemed pleased. I choked in horror. With a small scared noise, I pinched my side. Hard. But I didn’t hear my alarm clock.

He noticed my distress, and I heard him cuss quietly. The paintbrush whisked across my wrist again. Another line appeared parallel to the first. As smoke began to rise again, I gasped, and he scowled. Across my forearm, he began to paint a beautiful swirling symbol. About the size of my fist and painfully intricate. The marks started to sting a little; I unconsciously flinched. A line skittered through the mark’s center, and he dropped the brush immediately.

“Oh, no...” he said, squinting at the black gash across the symbol. “If I didn’t know better I would say that stray mark turned it into the hex sign for finger-paralysis...”

“What?” I had my eyes trained on his paintbrush. Maybe if I was quick, I could grab it before him. See what it was. I shot out my hand to snatch it, and--well, I tried to snatch it.

My arm didn’t move.

I tried rotating my right wrist. Nothing happened. I tried wiggling my fingers; they were frozen into a fist.

“Cass, it should only last a few hours, don’t worry,” he said, attempting to be soothing, I guess. He failed. Epically.

Article posted March 2, 2013 at 01:14 AM GMT • comment • Reads 82

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