Spotlight on: Jacqueline Woodson
April 25, 2017 by Nora Loftus
Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning author. Her awards include The Newbery Honor Award, The Coretta Scott King Award, the National Book Award, the Caldecott Medal and so many more! Ms. Woodson lives with her family in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She was raised in South Carolina and New York, and uses her emotionally powerful poetry, verses, and books to show to her audience her view on life.
Ms. Woodson’s books are very impassioned. Specifically, some of her books revolve around what it was like to be growing up in the 1960s and 1970s as an African American and living in the Civil Rights movement and others about the bliss of looking beneath the surface . Her poignant lines of each poem also reflects the satisfaction and happiness in expressing her feelings and finding her voice through each stanza. Ms. Woodson struggled with reading but her infatuation towards moving and powerful stories contributed to the birth of a new and inspiring author that she is now.
In a recent interview, we had the honor of asking Ms. Woodson a few questions. Below are our questions and her responses.
1. Did you have a good experience in school? Can you share your best and your worst memories?
"Most of my early school memories are written about in my memoir, "Brown Girl Dreaming." I was a slow reader. My sister was the ‘brilliant’ one in the family so I wasn’t seen as anything special. I think this probably made me mad and also made me determined."
"My best memory was in 7th grade when my teacher shared with the class a song called “Stagger Lee.” I think it was Julius Lester’s version. I fell in love with the story and the way it was being presented. I kept saying “I want to do that!!” Worst memory - A girl named Clayton used to make me carry her books from class to class. She was SUCH a bully and I was SO scared of her. But one day I said to her (very quietly because I was still very afraid), “I don’t want to carry your books anymore. I’m not going to.” And she took her books from me, shrugged and never asked/made me carry them again."
2. When did you decide to become an author?
"When I was 7."
3. How do you get ideas for your books?
"Everywhere. Everything we touch and see inspires us. I can just walk the streets or read a book or talk to a friend and the ideas start flowing. There’s a saying that if you survive Kindergarten you have enough to write about for the rest of your life. I truly believe this."
4. What advice would you give to young writers?
"Write. Or as Katherine Paterson says “BIC.” Butt In Chair. You have to write and read to be a writer. And you have to have patience and dedication. But most of all, you have to have a deep believe in yourself and your stories."
5. What is your favorite book? What is your favorite book that you wrote?
"I don’t have one. I love so many books and I love all of the books I’ve written."
Diversity Talent Show
January 31, 2017 by Thomas Edgington
On January 17, 2017, MS 477 hosted their annual diversity talent show. The whole school saw it, and it was an immediate hit. Now, 447 looks back at it, and reflects the event, in, “Diversity talent show: The aftermath”.
One of the first things that comes to mind when we think of the talent show is the announcers. Some were inspiring, another very serious, and of course, a humorous one. They definitely played a big role in creating this fantastic event.
Another thing, and obviously, the performers themselves. Each one had a unique act, yet all were just as amazing. And they really brought the diversity into the diversity talent show. Some sang songs of their culture. Others played songs of their opinion, and some danced to their joy. No matter what they did, everything made this one of the most diverse talent shows MS447 has ever seen.
Next, we should give credit to the performances in general. From jazz to classical, every single performance proved to be a hit. Not one single person did something basic or easily thought of.
Finally, the backgrounds of each performance are really the part where diversity shines. While some songs may have just sounded normal, the backgrounds are fascinating. One girl played a piano song that moved everyone, but did you know it was actually from the old anime movie “Princess Mononoki"? And the dancer's who danced to the African song. Did you know they were taught that dance by Ms. Farrell? No matter how plain they sounded, each performance had such an interesting origin.
After all that, we can now look back at the talent show and know that even though it seemed so normal in the beginning, we can now see the incredible things that made this show come to life.
Hidden Figures Review
May 23, 2017 by Tyler Wong
The movie Hidden Figures really stood out because of all the amazing achievements black women made during the early roots of NASA. Behind the science and engineering scenes of the movie, one of the three women named Mary Jackson went through extreme measures to enter the big leagues of the NASA engineering program, since her task manager Karl Zielinski motivated her to do it. In order to get into the program, she had to convince the court for the chance to have an enrollment spot. However, even though she was accepted, she still had to undergo the challenges she faced with her boss, Vivian Mitchell and her husband, Levi Jackson. In the beginning, Vivian kept them from entering the program because Mary did not have the qualifications or the engineering degree that she needed to get into the program. At first, Levi didn’t want Mary to get involved in this kind of thing because of racial issues, but in the end he accepted it.
In leadership for calculations and operating their computers was Dorothy Vaughan. She struggled getting approval for her and her co workers to operate the computer room. How she got her boss to accept her was simple: she proved to her that she could get the computer up and running to do their calculations. In the end she proved how valuable she was. She not only got herself to run the computer room, but also convinced her boss to allow her whole staff to help her operate the computer room for their assistance. Katherine Goble helped them to achieve the impossible. In the beginning she was only working beside Mary and Dorothy in the lowest rank in NASA, and when she was given an opportunity to serve in the big leagues, she lacked time to complete the assignment that Al Harrison, her task manager, assigned her to. Towards the end, she was making progress in making the final preparations for Mercury 7’s astronaut, John Glenn, but was still doubting herself in hopes that she will get the recognition for doing this. In the end, she was successful in helping the Friendship 7 spaceship get back home.
By showing how they have achieved these goals, the movie not only reflects how black women were able to achieve such tremendous things even though at first they were locked out because of the gender and race barrier. It also showed us that their problems motivated them to rise up and accept that challenge which made them aspire in the whole NASA field. This was a very historical event that literally changed-- not just the face of black women-- but also a whole new generation of how people judge them.
The Next Chapter of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
June 6, 2017 by Tyler Wong
Stars Wars fans, are you ready for the next Star Wars movie? Following the events of STAR WARS: The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm announced the sequel to the blockbuster of 2015 STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI coming out in December 2017.
Star Wars fans are anticipating to hear more from Lucasfilm in the summer, when the trailers are most likely to come out. (STAR WARS FACT) Following the last part of Force Awakens, when Rey found Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber on Takdona (At Maz Kanata’s cantina, and was given to him, by Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi in STAR WARS: A New Hope was thought to be lost on the Death Star in STAR WARS: Return Of The Jedi.
(STAR WARS FACT) Since STAR WARS: Revenge Of The Sith, the Jedi was merely destroyed after the emperor’s soldiers killed almost every single member of the Jedi Order across the galaxy. It leads to Star wars fans probably thinking that Luke will try to rebuild the Jedi order after The Force Awakens main villain, Kylo Ren, grandson to Darth Vader, turned on Luke and massacred every single one of his students.
(PERSONAL PREFERENCE) As well as Luke’s role as a Jedi comes to the destruction of the New Republic supporting the resistance the rebellion. (STAR WARS FACT) After the First Order from the ashes of the galactic empire, created the super weapon Starkiller base which is even stronger and more powerful than the empire’s superweapon the death star in STAR WARS: A New Hope and ROGUE ONE A STAR WARS STORY which is not powered by kyber crystals, but can absorb power from stars. (STAR WARS FACT) When the first order completed the weapon, it destroyed most of the New Republic. However, the resistance fought back and destroyed the superweapon leaving the first order fleet scattered across the galaxy.
(PERSONAL PREFERENCE) Star Wars fans also probably think the First Order’s leader, Snoke, will reinforce the first order such as a building new star destroyer or create a new fleet of Elite starships even stronger than their TIE fighters, or something even more powerful in order to wipe out the resistance. This is purely speculation, though. Even though the first orders Starkiller base was destroyed, there was still one more part of THE LAST JEDI which could be expected from THE FORCE AWAKENS sequel: the war between the resistance and the first order yet to come after. Since Starkiller destroyed most of the resistance’s fleet as a test firing job, leaving the resistance vulnerable to the first order’s fleet after their last attack on Starkiller base.
(SPOILER ALERT!) In the trailer for STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI we think that Luke would train Rey in order to reach new heights in order to overcome Kylo Ren’s uprising for revenge against Luke for killing Darth Vader and a rematch against Rey after his defeat during their last battle on starkiller. (PERSONAL PREFERENCE) As well as Kylo Ren’s uprising comes the Resistance's next motives. Even though the starkiller was destroyed, that really only made things worse with the first orders sinister move s along with the resistance's desperate attempts to find Luke. This would mean that the First Order now has the upper hand in battle and what’s yet to come of these events will have to be seen in the movie.
(PERSONAL PREFERENCE) Lucasfilm might make STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI a significant time-teller between victory and defeat over these two long-fighting armies and ancient enemies fighting for the complete control and power over the galaxy in the world of STAR WARS since after the rise of the galactic empire and fall of the Jedi.
What's Trending, 447?
April 25, 2017 by Biruk Watling
Trends are a part of everyday life, and can be categorized into three main types: Clothing, Dance, and Language. At MS 447, there are some clear trends in these areas. The trendiest clothes right now are Adidas. The trendiest dance, that is also the most loved and hated, is the dab. And finally, trending in language are abbreviations like
"ttyl" and "lol." We see these trends every day, but do we know how these trends began?
Adidas is a popular clothing brand at MS 447 right now. Adidas, however, isn't a new brand, and its not from this country! The whole idea of Adidas started in the kitchen of a town in Germany called Bavaria in 1924. To be more specific, in the mind of a man named Adi Dassler who was inspired to create the best quality sports wear for athletes. When he was 49, Adi launched a new brand called Adi Dassler Adidas Sport Schuhfabrik. Adidas is definitely making a come back, and has grown in popularity here at 447. Students wear Adidas hats, shoes, jackets and pants. You don't have to play sports to look good in Adidas clothing.
New dances appear all the time. In some groups, your ability to dance is a big part of who you are on the social ladder. There are a lot of dancing styles, but the most danced by kids and teenagers are hip hop moves. The dab is a hip hop move that almost resembles sneezing, where the dancer drops their head while at the same time raising their arm and elbow. It seems to have come from Atlanta though there is a lot of controversy over who invented it and when it first started. Here at 447, you can catch kids dabbing, sometimes even in the classroom!
We use abbreviations in our conversations, while texting and even while speaking out loud. At MS447, these short cuts are spoken almost daily. The definition for an abbreviation is “a shortened form of a word or phrase.” Lots of phrases have an abbreviations, but they can become confusing if they are not well known. "TTYL" means talk to you later, or another way to say goodbye. "LOL" means laugh out loud, and generally is said to mean something was funny. But it doesn't literally mean the person is laughing. Another abbreviation, "SM" means so much. New ones are created every day so try to stay on top of the abbreviation trends.
Trends are a big part of our life, and especially the way we talk, dress, and dance. Trends come and go, and sometimes even come back into fashion unexpectedly. Even if you don't embrace each trend, it is fun to learn its history.
Which Book Series Will Win..?
December 2, 2016 by Margot Fitts and Maira Mendez
Which book series is the most popular? MS 447 students were interviewed and gave their opinions on which series they like best. Is it the famous Harry Potter? Or the thrilling Hunger Games series? Maybe it’s the mind blowing Divergent books? Which book series do middle school students love the most?
The series that the sixth graders like the most is Harry Potter, by JK Rowling. They like this series because they think it is a very interesting set of stories. They also thought it was very detailed. Some have also said that they like how there is an element of mystery in some chapters. One sixth grader said, “You have to read very closely to figure out some of the mysteries in these stories.”
The seventh graders also like the Harry Potter series the most. According to them, this is because they think the book is very interesting and relatable in a way. The characters in the beginning of the story are around the age of a seventh grade student, and that’s why many students saw this series as their favorite.
Lastly, the eighth graders thought that The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is the best. One eighth grader said, “It has a great description of setting.” They also thought that it was a thrilling adventure story and they couldn’t stop reading. It has great characters that you get very attached to, and you can get very scared about what’s going to happen next. This is why the eighth graders said this series was their favorite.
Now, for the final count. The series that wins the MS 447 book series competition is...
Harry Potter! The Hunger Games comes second, and Divergent, with not a single vote from any grade, comes last. Harry Potter is an amazing set of books that many people love. They are very interesting, and everyone gets sucked into these books and can’t stop reading about the magical world. While some may see reading as time-consuming, it is worth your time to read these books!
The chart below shows how many people voted for each book series in each grade. In sixth grade, four voted for Harry Potter and one voted for The Hunger Games. In seventh, three voted for Harry Potter and two for The Hunger Games. In eighth, three voted for The Hunger Games and two for Harry Potter. Surprisingly, none of the grades voted for Divergent. Could this mean that Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are on a whole different level of popularity..?
What's So Scary About Birds?
December 2, 2016 by Biruk Watling
Although Halloween has ended, there's always time to celebrate horror! Alfred Hitchcock is the creator of many suspenseful horror movies. This includes the greatest horror film ever created,“The Birds.” This film is about two strangers blossoming into a new love. Meanwhile, birds are attacking from every corner: Chimneys, the sky, school playgrounds, even their own windows. Why are they attacking? We don't know.
This film leaves you wanting more, making you want to know what happens next because of its cliffhangers. One example was in the scene where the characters are sitting in the living room, and they hear sounds from the chimney. This goes on for a while, and makes you want to keep on watching to find out if your guess of what's going to happen next is correct.
This movie also makes you think, “Could actually happen?” Birds are not mythical, and neither is anger and a need for revenge. You can really believe that birds would actually rebel against humans and attack. This realism makes the movie even scarier. You can't simply calm yourself by telling yourself, “This would never happen!” like you are able to do in most horror movies. Birds are not fake, and who knows when they might strike! Nature is unpredictable.