6th Grade Blues

I had a bad day at school yesterday.  It wasn’t my first and I know it won’t be my last.  I spent all first semester getting used to middle school.  In all honesty, I’m not there yet – almost, but….not….quite….there….yet.  Anyway, it doesn’t help that when people in my class are talking the reading teacher sent the whole class out in the hall, where we stayed almost the entire class period.  I mean really, what purpose did that serve?  So, the kids who were talking in the classroom were now the kids who were talking in the hallway and all the rest of us who weren’t talking were punished by missing class and sitting in the hall while the teacher yelled at us.  I have the 6th grade blues!

Then there’s band – my favorite class.  Not!  Well, I am not the biggest fan of my teacher.  Let’s call him Mr. Band Teacher.  I don’t think he likes me very much.  My mom says that every kid who is having trouble in a class thinks the teacher doesn’t like them very much.  She did, however, go on to cite a few circumstances where it was actually true – with her teacher and my sister’s teacher and my brother’s teachers.  Notice his is teachers, plural.  So, why not me, I protested.  For example, my teacher has chair tests, where he gives us something to play on our instruments and then grades us and ranks us by how we did.  First chair is best in a section of instruments and so on.  We have these chair tests several times a week.  I get first chair in the clarinet section a lot, but I have also dropped to sixth or seventh, which I hate.  And I swear that sometimes when I make first chair, he doesn’t move me to first chair, but if I screw up that day, he makes sure I get my behind into that last chair.  I’ve seen him do this to other kids who play other instruments in different sections too.  When my mom called him on this, he said that sometimes it’s a chair test and sometimes it’s just an “assessment” and that I have been misunderstanding the difference.  You know what I say to that……bull hockey!!!

Well, yesterday, he did it again.  I got second chair this time and I played perfectly.  I practiced all weekend.  I practice that stupid clarinet every single night, as a matter of fact.  And back in December I started having a weekly lesson with a really good clarinet player in my brother’s high school band.  She’s first chair clarinet and drum major in the marching band.  She also made the state-wide honor band.  And what did Mr. Band Teacher do?  He gave first chair to a girl who squeaked on both “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” and “Michael Finnigan.”  I didn’t squeak!  My mom said that either he has a rationale behind what he is doing, some great teaching method or something, or else he is just being plain old unfair.  I vote for plain old unfair!!!  I have the 6th grade blues!

The kid who hasn’t brought his instrument to school in a week because it has been broken is still sitting in first chair.  He’s been sitting there through each and every chair test and he hasn’t been moved to last chair for not bringing his instrument to school.  Is that fair to the kids in his section who have their instruments?  I think not.  And yesterday, Mr. Band Teacher took my phone when I looked at it to check the time.  There’s no clock on the wall in our classroom.  He said that it didn’t matter what time it was and that I shouldn’t need to check the time.  My friend, who shall remain nameless, however, got in trouble earlier during class for being on Instagram.  Instagram!  And all he told her to do was to put her phone away.  And she’s the last chair in the clarinet section.  She’s always the last chair.  She hates band, doesn’t practice, and always gets in trouble.  It’s true; Mr. Band Teacher doesn’t like me.  Well, guess what, Mr. Band Teacher?  I don’t like you either!  My mom said that she will speak to him about all of this during parent teacher conference in the spring.  She said life wasn’t fair, blah, blah, blah.  She said that sometimes issues are too petty and incidents are too small to bring up and constantly be in somebody else’s face about.  She agreed that the guy is a jerk, but said this is a lesson in how not to treat others and what it is important to be fair.  She also said that I was learning a bigger life lesson – coping skills.  I don’t want to learn any coping skills.  I want Mr. Band Teacher to blow away and shrivel up like autumn leaves!  And I want what I earned, every single time I earn it, and that’s the position of first chair!  I have the 6th grade blues!

And then there was science, I made a “C” on my test.  I don’t like to make “C’s.”  That’s more my brother’s area of expertise than it is mine.  I studied, but apparently not well enough.  Sixth grade requires more time studying too.  And to top it all off, somebody accidentally hit me in the face with their lanyard yesterday and I slipped on the wet floor on the way to lunch and ripped my tights.  Good thing I listened to my mom and wore shorts under my dress, or my hiney would have been hanging out for the entire sixth grade to see.  I am half way through it and I can’t wait for this school year to be over with and for the 6th grade blues to go away.

Outfit of the Day

My Michelle Big Girls’ Geo Pattern Cap Sleeve Dress with Necklace from Amazon.com.

Michelle Big Girls Geo Pattern Cap Sleeve Dress                             DSCF0642
I paired mine with my hot pink cropped cardigan sweater from Children’s Place.

DSCF2523b DSCF2537b
It’s winter and pretty chilly, so I paired it with black opaque tights and my black bow flats.




Martin Luther King Jr.

ML KingMartin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929.  He was a Baptist minister and social activist who was very important to the Civil Rights Movement in America.  He worked for equal rights for African Americans during the mid-1950s and into the 1960s until he was assassinated in 1968.  Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired by the teachings of nonviolence from Mahatma Gandhi.  Martin Luther King wanted equality for African Americans, the poor, and victims of injustice.  He used peaceful protests to create change in society.  He was the driving force behind events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington.  These events were responsible for changing the laws in America such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.   He is remembered each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.

POn December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a secretary of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus and was arrested.  Activists, led by Martin Luther King Jr., coordinated a bus boycott that lasted for 381 days.  This caused the bus company and local downtown business owners to lose a lot of money.  The Supreme Court ruled segregated seating on public buses was unconstitutional in November 1956.

During what became the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world.  He gave lectures and speeches on nonviolent protest and civil rights.  He met with religious leaders, activists, and political leaders.  He wrote books and articles and advocated for changes to laws that discriminated against African Americans all around the country.  His house was firebombed.  He was stabbed.  He received death threats, but he did not quit.

King and other Civil Rights leaders used the philosophy of nonviolence during the Birmingham, Alabama campaign of 1963, in which activists used a boycott, sit-ins and marches to protest segregation, unfair hiring practices, and other injustices in one of America’s most racially divided cities.  Martin Luther King was arrested for his involvement on April 12, 1963.  While he was in jail he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an letter to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.  In that letter he defended his use of nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about change.

Later that year, Martin Luther King Jr. worked with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  He organized a peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country.  Held on August 28, 1963 the March on Washington was attended by 200,000 to 300,000 people.  The March on Washington was thought of as one of the most important moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.  It helped to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

During the March on Washington, Martin Luther King made his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”  He called for peace and equality between the races.  It was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – a monument to the president who a century earlier had brought down the institution of slavery in the United States — he shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”  Later that year he was named Man of the Year by TIME magazine and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the spring of 1965, Martin Luther King went to Selma, Alabama to protest for voting rights for African Americans.  The protesters were treated very badly and subjected to significant violence, even though they were peaceful.  What made Selma different is that the violence was captured on television.  The brutal scene outraged many Americans and inspired supporters from across the country to gather in Selma and take part in a march to Montgomery led by King and supported by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who sent in federal troops to keep the peace. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote – first awarded by the 15th Amendment of the Constitution – to all African Americans.

Later, Martin Luther King began to address issues beyond African American Civil Rights to issues such as the Vietnam War and poverty among Americans of all races.  In 1967, he involved himself in a program known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which was to include a massive march on the capital.  On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee where he had traveled to support a sanitation workers’ strike.  He died at the age of 39.  After years of campaigning by activists, members of Congress, Coretta Scott King, and many others, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 creating a United States federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King.  It is observed on the third Monday in January and was first celebrated in 1986.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  We may celebrate his life and accomplishments one day of the year, but we should celebrate his philosophy every day of every year.  And more than that, we should honor him by supporting equality and practicing nonviolence and tolerance and love every day of our lives.

New Year’s Resolutions

Hi everybody,

We’re two weeks into 2015 already.  I never asked if anyone made any New Year’s Resolutions.  My dad said that he doesn’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions.  He said that most people who make them don’t stick to them and break them within the first week.  Since we’re two weeks in, believing my dad means that hardly anybody is still committed to trying something new or changing their behavior in 2015.  I looked up the history of New Year’s Resolutions and this is what I found.

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the West but found around the world, in which a person makes a promise on New Year’s Eve to make certain changes or self-improvements in the year ahead.  It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions around 4,000 years ago, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since!

The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, which began in mid-March, that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  March was a logical time period for the New Year because spring begins and crops are planted.  But the Babylonians had a greater motivation to stick to their promises than what we have today, because for the ancient people of Mesopotamia, keeping their promise would mean that their gods would bestow their grace on them throughout the course of the following twelve months, and breaking them would put them out of favour.

The practice carried over into Roman times with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to the two-faced deity named Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, who looks backward into the old year and forward into the new.  By the way, Janus is where the month of January got its name, the first month or “beginning” of each calendar year.

King Janus

Today, the only thing that has changed (for some) is that, rather than making promises to gods, we make promises to ourselves.  And since we cannot possibly rain thunders and lightning on ourselves as punishment for not keeping our promises, it need not surprise us that sooner or later we fail in staying true to our words.

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions failed, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.

But all is not lost, the study also showed that men could achieve their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

My New Year’s Resolutions are already coming true.  I vowed that this year I would:

  1. Get all A’s on my report card. In both the first and second quarters I got all A’s and one B.  That Pre-Algebra keeps getting me.  Well, this week I got a 100% on my first math test of the third quarter, which just started last week, so I’m off to a good start.
  2. Move up in dance and go en pointe. Much to my surprise, when I got back to dance from the holiday break last week, my dance teacher informed me that I was moving up from Division II to Division III – the beginning pointe class!  She said that she had never had a student move up half way through the year before!  Pointe shoes here I come!
  3. Make my bed every day and keep my room clean. I’m still working on this one!
  4. Get along better with my brother. I’ve messed this one up a few times already, but I haven’t given up on it just yet.

Two weeks in, so far so good!  What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?

See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-news-general/ancient-history-new-year-s-resolutions-001185#sthash.fq0uHgjK.dpuf