About My Blog

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Welcome to my blog! In my school (and many other schools in Ireland), fourth year - the year after our Junior Cert - is optional. It's a non-exam-based year but there's still plenty to do like projects in various subjects, work experience, competitions and trying out loads of new things! This year, a new idea was brought into TY; for each student to write a blog on their year...so this is my blog about my experience of TY. I started writing it in Spetember/October and it'll go up to the end of May when we get our Summer holidays and TY is over... If you're thinking of doing TY or if you just want to know more make sure you send me questions and I'll try my best to answer! Enjoy reading it!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Geography Project Update

I didn't realise we had to link our map to geography so here's the stuff I added...
Mumbai is the fifth most populated city in the world and is also known as Bombay.
Chicago City faces both extremities in weather throughout the year...from very, very hot to very, very cold.
South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world and has a population of almost 50 million.
Hawaii is the newest of America's 50 states and is made up of 8 islands (including one called Hawai'i).
Dublin is a primate city and the largest city in Ireland.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Our School Website & TY Blog

Here's a link to our school website...it's updated regularly about events in the school. Also, here's a link to our TY blog, run by our year-head Ms L. She gives regular snippets from our blogs and information about whats going on in our year. :)


After several months of preparation (!) we went to the Scifest competition on Tuesday to display our projects and take part in the competition. It was an early start - we had to be at the school at around five to eight in the morning! When we arrived we had to register and then we hung up our poster. Judging started at 10am. We had two judges, a man and a woman. They were really nice and Ciara and I felt it went well overall. After lunch (chips...mmmmm....) there were loads of talks on. We could pick two to go to. Hayley and I went to one on "fun chemistry". The guy was blowing up stuff, making oxygen, freezing stuff with dry-ice and doing loads of other cool stuff. The we went to a talk on forensic science...it was fascinating seeing how forensics are used to figure out who committed a crime etc etc. There are sooo many types of forensics too - I found it really interesting.
After that we took down our posters and then the awards ceremony was on. Ciara and I didn't win anything (we were devastated! :L) but other groups in my year won prizes, including the overall winning prize! I was so proud of everyone!
It was a really good day :D

Sports Day

Yesterday was sports day in school. Everyone came in in their tracksuits and t-shirts. We had the first two classes, then break, then another class, then lunch and at 12 o'clock sports day started. It was a bit touch-and-go at first because the weather wasn't too good - there were really dark clouds and in typical Irish fashion it began to rain a bit. But it kinda stopped and sports day went on :)
There were loads of different events throughout the day - relays, shot-put, high jump, long jump, and sprint races in the more "sporty" end of things. Novelty races included wheelbarrow, 3-legged race, slow bike race, skip-a-thon and at the end there was a huge game of rounders between the 6th-years and the teachers. The teachers claim they won but I'm not so sure... :)
The slow bike race was basically exactly what it says on the tin - 50 people brought in their bikes and the race was to see who could reach the finish line fastest...but you weren't allowed stop or put your foot on the ground or you were disqualified!
There were sweets, drink and ice-creams & ice-pops on sale too throughout the day which was cool!
I'm not that sporty so I didn't really take part in much of the stuff but a few of us had fun doing unofficial "jacky-back races" and rolling down the backs...a few times it rained but the atmosphere was still great and there was loads of good music playing too :) Oh and there were hula-hoops and skipping ropes too...I must say I'm not that bad when it comes to hula-hooping!
It was such a fun day...I'll try and upload pictures soon!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - Book Review

I read "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult as part of our English class book report project.
The book focuses on the struggles of the Fitzgerald family as a result of their daughter Kate’s illness – she suffers from APL, a form of Leukaemia. She was diagnosed when she was two, and at sixteen she has undergone many surgeries, transplants and tests.  Her sister Anna is three years younger than her and was a designer baby – she was born specifically to act as spare parts for Kate, and has spent her whole life donating bone marrow, promyelocytes, tissue and more to her sister. Kate needs a kidney and Anna will have to give Kate hers, but she decides that she has had enough and looks for medical emancipation by suing her parents for the rights to her own body. This tears her already-fragile family apart at the seams.
In the novel, each family member is highlighted through their own words, as too are other key characters involved in the case, such as Anna's lawyer Campell Alexander and her guardian ad-litem Julia Romano. The book was written in a format that enabled the reader to get a deep insight into each charaters mind; I could clearly see what each character was thinking, how they felt, their reaction to the case and also their reactions to Kate's illness. Despite the main story of the novel being centred around Kate, none of the story was told from her perspective, except the final chapter, which is written after the case ends and the devastating events that follow have occured. Each chapter was written in the first person from the point of one of the characters, almost like a diary.
My favourite character was Jesse; Anna & Kates' brother. Jesse is the eldest in the family and describes himself in the novel as being "the lost cause". He is a disruptive child and his parents, especially his mother (Sara) seem to have given up on him. Jesse is a pyromaniac and regularly sets fire to vacant buildings around area where he lives. This is symbolic in many ways. Firstly, his father, Brain is a fireman, and it is he who has the job of putting out the fires that Jesse starts. It is made known in the novel that Jesse has suffered from lack of attention since Kate was diagnosed when he was four, and this could be his way of secretly looking for attention from his dad, even though Brian is oblivious to his son's actions. Also, fire also plays an important part in the novel and could be considered a key theme. At the start of each new section, there are quotes or poems based on fire, as the dysfunctional family are described as "burning themselves out". Jesse lives in an apartment above the family's garage, another indication of his parents lack of consideration for their son. In the same way that his family have given up on Jesse, he seems to have given up on his family. He has accepted in his mind that his family has no time for him; Kate gets attention because he is sick and Anna does because she can save Kate so Jesse feels inadequate. Jesse has tried to ammend this by donating blood at the hospital every three days, unbeknownst to his parents. After Sara noticed injection marks on his arm, she questioned him, believing that he was doing drugs. His reply was; "...Didn't you wonder who else was keeping Kate in platelets?" Another very symbloic quote from Jesse is "Darkness, you know, is relative." Jesse knew he had problems, and to him this was important, but he understood that Kate's problems were even more important. His philosophical views & attitude, along with his nobility made him my favourite character.
My Sister’s Keeper deals with many topical and controversial topics, such as designer babies and using one child to save another.  On the front cover of the book it posed the question; “If you use one of your children to save the life of another, are you being a good mother or a very bad one?” I found while reading the book that this question regularly ran through my mind. It certainly is a very difficult question to answer and a very debatable subject. This makes the novel very interesting and made me want to keep reading. During the court case Sara makes the point very clear that she loves both of her daughters equally. I think Sara's character is probably the most hard to understand as a teenage reader but in the end it was clear that Sara loved her children and was just doing what she believed was in her sick daughter's best interests.
I really enjoyed reading this book because it opened my eyes to some of the most touching, poignant and thought-provoking subjects written about. I thought that it was very inspiring, especially as the novel was partly inspired by a true story. It made me think a lot about what real problems are. I thought the book was very philosophical and I found that the many twists in it (especially the ending!) made it a very interesting, enjoyable and emotional read. Definitely a book I'd recommend; I'd give it 10/10! :)

Back At School Again :)

Well this week we came back after two weeks off for Easter holidays. We had Monday off because it was a bank holiday but even still the week seemed to go by really slowly!

On Tueday in Art we started painting colour wheels. We had to draw a circle with twelve segments. Every fourth segment had to contain one of the three primary colours; red, yellow o
and blue. The middle segments between each of the primary colours had to contain one of the three secondary colours; green, purple and orange. The other segments were one of the tertiary colours. (mixture of the primary and secondary colours...eg. blue-purple). Today we started painting colour list things where we focused on shading. We had to do tints and shades...tints are where you get the primary colour and add white paint and shades are where you add black paint. I added white to red and black to blue (which was very hard because the blue was already reeeally dark!).

In PE we've did tennis this week...Hayley and I were partners and we were really.....eh awful! The amount of times we had to run after the ball when we missed it was crazy!

Next Tuesday we're going to Tallaght IT for the Scifest Competition...everyone in the year who entered got in and we're going to show our projects at the exhibition and see how we do in the competition! (Honestly, I don't hold up much hope for Ciara and I!) :D

Yesterday in Home Ec we cooked again. Everyone in the class made soda bread, a traditional Irish bread. Also, each pair got to pick one other thing to make...Laura and I made vegetable soup...well actually Laura made the soup while I made the bread. In the end they both turned out really well and it was definitely nice having freshly-made soup and bread for lunch! Yuuum! :)

Yesterday in religion we started watching a documetary about NBA players from Yugoslavia who had to face civil strife and the loss of friendship as a result. It's called Once Brothers and so far, its really interesting. It's so sad to see how a good friendship could be torn apart by politics! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest next week.

In Music on Wednesday our class chose a "gradutaion son" to sing on TY night on the 30th May! It's called Count on Me by Bruno Mars and it's sooo sweet...all about friendship (but not too cheesy!). So far everyone in Emnet has enjoyed singing it in music class and for Ms L.

In Tech today we started working on a new project...mobile phone holders! We drew them out on paper and then cut them out to make a prototype! It'll be cool seeing them when they're finished...if we get them done on time!

Meanwhile in every class we've been busy focusing on our plans for TY night. Everyone in the year has a job now and we're really looking forward to it...Ms L & Amina even came up with a cool Bring-It-On-inspired intro! It should be good fun! :)

This week we started making our "documentary" (eh...video) on TY...so far the interviews with girls from our year have gone pretty well and we're looking forward to seeing the finished production!

Well that's all the news from this week...I'm glad it's Friday because I have lots of projects to work on over the weekend that I want to get done! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tag 5: Mumbai, India

I placed a tag in India because I always found Indian music very interesting...it has a haunting sound to it but at the same time its quites soothing in a different sort of way.. :)

Music in India is very varied...folk, pop, classical, R&B etc. Hindustani is a type of music that originated over 3000 years ago! (Around 1000BC). It's a type of Indian classical music and has religious links. Here's a Hindustani (eh...ignore the video...!)

Some popular instruments in India include the Sitar, the Tabla and the Shehnai.

I placed the tag in Mumbai because it was here that the film "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008) was set and filmed. It featured the song "Jai-Ho" by the Pussycat Dolls...check it out here.

Tag 4: Hawaii

I've always loved Hawaiin music (I know that's wierd). I watch the first scene of "Lilo & Stitch" on repeat all the time because the music mixed with the dancing is so nice :D By the way, Hawaii is technically part of America, but I'm treating it as part of Oceania.

An interesting fact about Hawaii is that in their language, there is no word that actually means "music".

They use chanting and hulu dance to express themselves. In Hulu dance, all the movements mean something different and are very specific. A lot of the more traditional Hawaiin music has become less popular as music from the American mainland has become part of their lives.

Here's the song from Lilo & Stitch that I love...It's called He Mele No Lilo which means "A Song For Lilo". You can look up what the lyrics mean on the internet...they mention mountains and flowers but the translations can be kinda cryptic :)

Here's another Hawaiin song, which sounds pretty cool. It's called He'eia.

Tag 3: Chicago, Illinois, N. America

American music has a HUGE influence on what we listen to, especially in Ireland and Britain. So many of our favourite musical acts are Americans (Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Chris Brown etc etc). We are literally surrounded by it, so instead I've decided to focus on an American musical - Grease - rather than popular American music.

I put the tag in Chicago because Rydell High School (in Grease) is supposedly based on an actual high school in Chicago.

The score for Grease is largely rock & roll, with the music and lyrics composed by Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey. The original score consisted of a piano, two tenor saxophones, bass guitar, percussion and two standard guitars. "You're The One That I Want" is the most popular song from the musical...see it here.

America has also brought to the world a lot of other musical-based productions, such as Chicago, Guys & Dolls, various Disney TY programmes & movies and...Glee :/

It also gave us American Idol and various other shows like it...no wonder the USA has the largest music market in the world!

Tag 2: Ladysmith, South Africa

I chose South Africa, and more importantly, Ladysmith, because this is where Joseph Shabalala, founder of the male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo if from. I studied this group for my Junior Cert music course and I like their music.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a world-famous group (they're performing in the National Concert Hall in Dublin in June) who sing in the style of Iscathamiya and Mbube. They were founded in 1960. The have had fantastic success with their album "Graceland", and were even banned from entering Iscathamiya competitions because of their excellence. They have won Grammy's and Academy Awards, among many others.

Click here for their song "Homeless".

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tag 1: Ireland, Europe (The Irish Traditional Music Archive - 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2)

Here, various items such as books, sheet music, photos and recordings are made to preserve the tradition of old Irish music. It was founded in 1987, has the largest collection of its kind, and is free & open to the public.

Irish Tarditional Music has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. It was often used in the past to tell stories, to mourn, or just for entertainment. Some traditional Irish instruments include the fiddle (like a violin), the tin whitle and the bodhrán (a type of drum). Sharon Shannon & Seán Ó Riada are two well-known singers in Irish Traditional Music. Click here for a clip of Sharon Shannon playing "The Neck Belly Reels" on accordian.

Also, many famouse musicians and bands (such as U2, Enya & Aslan) come from Ireland. Click here for a clip of U2 (With or Without You) or here for one of Aslan (Crazy World).

Geog Project - My Music Map

About a month ago we were given a project from Ms L that involved travelling around the world via Google maps to find out more about our interests all over the globe. I chose music as my interest...I loooove music! I play piano but I love every type of music and listening to music is how I chillax! For the project we had to make a map and place five tags on it from different places relating to our interest. We were supposed to connect them but I did it kinda wrong so they're not really connected but anyway...then we had to make five blog posts on the tags...this post is the intro. I'll post the rest in a while :)

The Intro:
I love music so I'm going to travel around the world and look at different types of music from various different countries across all the continents :)