Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Learning American English game and Edward Scissorhands

Today in class we did not do much school-like things. First we saw a movie called Edward Scissorhands which shortly was a movie about a boy with scissorhands who was created by an old scientist who died. Edward, who he was called, lived in the big old house alone until a woman found him and brought him home and took care of him. The film was very cute, and I thought it was very good! After we saw the movie we played an education game made by the U.S state department to learn better American English, and learn more about American culture. I chose to write about this game, and what it is, and what I thought about it. 
The game is called Trace Effects. I haven´t played the whole game through, but I played it for a while, and I don´t know if I think it´s a good source of learning better American English and learning about American culture. The game is also supposed to teach how to behave and how to act in different situations. There are different chapters, and when you are finished with one chapter the game tells you what you have learnt in this chapter and how many points you have gotten. 

The language is very simple, but they use American English all the time, so when people or students play it I think they unconsciously start to talk and write American English because they are used to read American English. So maybe it is a good way of learning American English, but at the same time I don´t know if so many people will find it interesting to play. It´s not much action so I don´t think students will play this game by free will, but maybe if the teacher adds it to the time schedule in class and make the students play it they will learn from it. I also think the game is made for kids in late primary school because it’s a quite simple game with a simple language, so even if the language is not too easy for high school students, I think they will find the game a bit boring over a longer time perspective. The game is also made to learn more about American culture, but so far I have played the game, I don´t think you learn especially much about American culture, but maybe you learn something about the American school system or something. But I think the game teaches in a good way how to make good decisions and how to behave, because you need to click on which answer you would like to say to the person you are talking to. 

Then in the end of each chapter you get points from how good decisions and things you have made and done. So the game is quite good in the meaning of learning how to make good decisions and to behave right.


I would also give the game points from 1 to 6. I will give the game a four on the dice because it is a good game in some ways, but I think it´s too boring to make someone play it for a longer time. So I don´t think I would recommend the game strongly to anyone, but I would rather say it´s a fun game for younger children. 
I would think that the game is most suitable for learning better American English than learning about American culture. At least in the beginning of the game I think you learn more about American English than American culture!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Second World War- Real shortstory

Norway lost around 11 000 people during the second WW which is about 0.32 percent of the population, and mostly of the people who died, died on merchant marines. Britain lost about 450,900 people totally during the second WW, where the largest amount of people died in the Military. The United Stated lost around 418.500 people, mostly in the military, which is approximately 0.32 percent of the population. So Norway and The United States both lost 0.32 percent of their population, but there are a lot more people in the United States which means that a lot more people died in the United States than in Norway. We can see that Britain lost most people, and that a huge amount died in the military, so then I would think that without Britain´s help, Norway would perhaps have lost a much larger amount of people in the war. Britain lost a lot of people by fighting and helping other countries, so they sacrificed a lot to help for example Norway. The United States also lost a great amount of people in the Second WW.

Still writing in the theme of the second WW, we have read a real story told from a person who had participated in second WW on the British side, and who had been in Norway during the war. The story I read was about a man who joined The Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) which is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy (RN) in the United Kingdom, when he was twenty years old, and then served in His Majesty's Ship when the war started. The story was a bit hard to understand with some difficult descriptions, but it seems like the British man in the start of the war was going to escort several groups of ships to Bergen (since Norway was neutral), and then to Britain. This was his first visit in Norway. Then he tells that at the outbreak of the invasion of Norway by Germany in 1940 he and some others from His Majesty´s Ship was ordered to Norway as anti-aircraft cover for relieving British land forces for the capture of Narvik. Then it´s hard to understand exactly what they did, but it seems like they started transporting several groups of ships from Tromsø to Harstad. He then tells that he was member of a gun-crew on a boat, and that there was a bomb exploding really close to the ship, so him and some others was hit by shrapnel. 
He was hit in his around his hip, and was transported to a hospital in Harstad. In the rest of the story he tells about all the hospitals he was transferred to, but in the end that he remembers the all the things on the first hospital in Harstad.
I thought this story was interesting because it´s a real story, but some of the things in the text was hard to understand sometimes, but I think I managed to understand the most important things!
The story was very well written, but for me it was hard to understand sometimes because of all the things they had special names for in the war. I have learned about second WW in school of course, but I think some of the names and words get a bit to advance for me. Also I didn´t quite understand whether the man got bad injured or just slightly injured. But the text was very interesting from what I understood!

Here is a link to the story:

In the end I thought I would tell something about the tour I went on with the White Buses in 10th grade! On the trip we went to a couple concentration- camps such as Auschwitz and Ravensbruck. It was very interesting to see and hear about all the happenings, and how they lived in the camps, at the same time as it was horrible. They lived under extremely bad conditions, and I can´t imagine how the winters must have been from the prisoners there without almost any clothes when we were freezing in the fall when we had a lot more clothes than them! For each place we visited we had a guide who told us about the horrible stories and for each place we went we had a sort of ceremony where someone sang and then laid a bouquet of flowers on a memory spot.  The trip was interesting, and we visited a lot of places, but it´s been a while since I went there so it is hard to write more detailed descriptions. But I would recommend a trip like that to get more understanding for what happened during the Second World War. 

Christmas tree from Norway to England!

Every year Norway sends a Christmas tree to England around Christmas times, and it is placed at Trafalgar square where it´s being decorated. It´s very known that Norway are sending this tree, but I think many people, including me, actually don´t know why Norway send this tree to England every year, or at least they don´t always know the whole story!  So this is what I am going to write about this week, including some other stuff connected to the theme World War II.

The Norwegian Christmas tree has been sent from Norway to England each year around Christmas times for 65 years now in 2012! It has been sent since 1947 as a symbol of Norway and Britain´s good relationship since 1947. When the tree was brought to England for the first time in 1947 it was sent as a token of Norwegian appreciation of British friendship during the second WW. When Norway was invaded by German forces in 1940, King Haakon VII escaped to Britain, and a Norwegian exile government was set up in London. To most Norwegians, London represented the spirit of freedom during those difficult years. The latest war news was broadcasted in Norway from England, along with a message and information network which became vital to the resistance movement. The tree has therefore become an important symbol of Britain and Norway´s close relationship. The tree is from the surrounding forests of Oslo, and is usually about 20 to 25 meters tall.

There is also a lighting ceremony which always takes place on the first Thursday of December, and there is also a band playing and a choir that sings Christmas carols as the Lord Mayor of Westminster arrives with his party. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The 11th hour and how to take notes!

This week we have prepared ourselves for the mock-exam next week, and we have practiced and tested different ways of taking notes. We also saw a film called “The 11th hour”, which is a documentary about how humans have adapted or not adapted to the environment, and how we are affecting the planet with our way of living. First there is a short summary of the film, and then there is about the different ways of taking notes, and what I think is the best way to learn from a lecture.
The film “the 11th hour” is a documentary about our environment today and how it will be if we continue to do as we do now. The film has collected several scientists, authors, and other people with knowledge about this theme who are talking about our environment, how humans have affected it, and the consequences of how we are treating it today.
The film starts with a lot of pictures and small clips from great nature disasters such as the hurricane Katrina, and lots of other horrible disaster who has caused a lot of damage to our society. I can´t say you get a nice, cozy feeling when you watch the first part of the movie. As we see these clips from nature disasters we listen to all these different people who talks about what the problem is, and a lot about the consequences if we continue to burn so much coal and bring so much oil from the sea. We are living in a waste society, where we are trashing so much and not recycling it. The ice is melting around the polar areas, and lots of animals such as the polar bears are threatened. Some of the consequences will also be that the temperature will rise, and the ocean level will also rise and drown a lot of countries in the future.

They also speak a lot of what the main problem in this global warming of the planet is, and they conclude that people have to change their way of thinking. We have to be more cautious with our environment and our planet.

In the end we can suddenly see a light in all this misery and we get some advanced explanations of what we can do to save our environment. Some of the things I understood were the solar panels we could possibly cover buildings with, and windmills, and some other things.

So it was very interesting to know some more about the global warming, and what can be the consequences. The movie was quite advanced, and it was hard to understand a lot of what they said, but I hope I have managed to make a short useful summary here even though!
While we were watching this movie we were separated in three groups, where one group started writing notes on paper for the first twenty minutes, and the other group started writing on their own computer notes, and the last group started writing in a sharing document in class on their computers. Then we switched after twenty minutes so everybody got to write notes in every way. I thought the best way to take notes and to learn most from the lecture was to write on my own notes. Writing on paper also worked out well, but it takes a lot more time and is much more stressing. Writing on the shared document on Google-doc was okay, but it was quite annoying when a lot of people started to write in your notes while you were writing, and just wrote rubbish for fun. So writing on my own notes worked best! I think you learn most from writing own notes on either computer or paper, depending on what you prefer and in which way you manage to concentrate best. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Edublog Awards!

This week we are nominating blogs for the Edublog Awards, where there are different types of awards you can nominate blogs for. Even though there are lots of different awards you can nominate blogs to, we have only nominated for three. If you want to know more about the Edublog Awards and how you can nominate blogs you can click here. But you can only vote for a limited time, so do it soon! 

This year I would like to nominate the following student blog in category best student blog: English School Blog (Ingeborg) 

I would also like to nominate a blog in the category "best teacher blog": Teaching using web (Ann)  

Library/Librarian blog: Leselyst (the librarian at Sandvika High School, in Norwegian). 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Blogs or paper writing?

This week we just worked on correcting some of our texts and we focused on grammar, so we were not supposed to write any long texts about a special theme or something this week. But we got some questions connected to what we think about writing blogs compared to writing texts for our teacher only that we were supposed to answer in a short blog post. Here are the questions we were going to answer:

  •       Do you think there is more pressure on how you perform/write when you use blogs instead of writing a paper for the teacher only?

I think it´s in some ways more pressure on how we perform on our blogs because when the whole world can see what you write you feel more pressure on writing correct grammar and writing coherent sentences. But at the same time when you write on a paper to a teacher you feel a slight pressure then too because you get grades from the teacher and your grade is depending on how well you write. And when you write on a blog, even though the whole world can see what you have written, you may feel a bit freer to write what you want.
  •    Do you think the use of blogs reduces the difference between your work at school and your everyday life?

Yes, I think it reduces the difference a bit, because with a blog you feel more relaxed about the writing, and you feel freer to write what you want, and it does not feel similar to what you usually think school work is.  I think that when we write our blogs we get more inspired and motivated to write more than we are supposed to, and more motivated to write better answers. When I write a blog post I don´t think of it as unnecessary homework that not even my teacher is going to look at, but I rather think of it as something fun and useful. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sandy the Hurricane

In class this week we worked in groups of three, and was supposed to choose to either write about the Presidential Election, or Sandy the Hurricane. We chose Sandy the Hurricane, and we started with writing four things we knew about the case, four things we would like to find out, and four things we could to to know some more about it. 
Here are what we did:

What do we know?
1. It was one of the most powerful storms in a long time.
2. It hit New York, New Jersey, Haiti and Iceland as far as we know.
3. A lots of people are without electricity.
4. The storm has affected the presidential election.
What would we like to know?
1. How many are injured or has died totally?
2. How much has the storm cost so far?
3. Where did the hurricane begin?
4. Which place are most damaged so far?
How can we learn more about the topic?
1. Use different search methodes on internet to find information.
2. Look at some of the links to different sources we got.
3. Search for more information about hurricane/ storms and waves.
4. We can use social networks as Twitter and search hashtags for instance to find information.

Here are the answers we found to the questions under "What we would like to know"

1. How many people are dead or injured so far? 
The hurricane, Sandy, killed more than 65 peoples in Caribbean and 106 lives got lost. Sandy first hit the Caribbean, and then the USA. Threes has fell over peoples and roads. The dirty water and lack of food makes the numbers of dead rise every day because of illness like Cholera.
Later Sandy hit the west coast of USA. A water flood came with Sandy, and now all public transport and all kind of transport are down. Also in the USA threes has fell down and killed a lots of people. People has been found hanging out their windows dead. Building and cars are destroyed and there is no electricity. Peoples can’t call or go to Facebook for example, to tell their family and friends they are alive.
Numbers of injured peoples are still not published.

2. How much has the storm cost so far? 
According to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm believes that Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business, making it one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the U.S., with a possible total cost of $50 billion. The Gov. Chris Christie said. "The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we've ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point."
The United States weren’t the only country Sandy affected. Both Cuba and Jamaica were some of the affected countries in the Caribbean, and is expected to use $88 million and $16.5 million to rebuild their countries. Haiti was also tragically touched by the storm, and while no specific number of the cost has been published, the country is suffering a great food crisis.

3 and 4. Where did the hurricane begin, and which place was most damaged?

The storm, Sandy, hit the Caribbean first, and it was Haiti who was worst hit. According to what we read Jamaica was the first to get hit, but it was still Haiti who was most affected and who got the biggest damages.

 The majority of deaths and the most extensive damage has fell upon Haiti, who was already devastated from the earthquake in 2010. The damage is especially significant since it already was 400.000 homeless people in Haiti from the earthquake in 2010, and now there are 200.000 more homeless people. On top of all this Haiti was also struggling with the aftermath of The Tropical Strom Isaac, which hit the country in August, and a cholera epidemic that killed thousands and afflicted more than half a million people.

The Hurricane hit Haiti worst, and then Jamaica and Cuba we think. As this article says, there has almost been given none attention to Haiti and the other countries in the Caribbean, only to the USA.
There has been given very much attention to the storm when it hit the USA, but almost nothing to especially Haiti who is most damaged. Lots of people are dead or injured, or without electricity in the US, but Haiti was also struggling with the damages from the earthquake in 2010 and the Tropical storm Isaac, and then they get so hit by Sandy to and gets very little attention. It’s important to help people in the USA too, but Haiti should have gotten more attention so they could get more help than they get now. Also because of the Presidential Election there is given a lot of attention to the USA, but maybe it would have been possible to wait for a little while and focus on helping all the countries who are hit? 
Heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy causes the Croix de Mission river to swell to levels that threaten to flood the homes along its bank in Port-au-Prince October 25, 2012. (Reuters/Swoan Parker)

Monday, 5 November 2012

"Big Miracle"- The Inuit and The Grey whales

In class this week we saw a movie called “Big Miracle” which was about three Grey whales who was trapped in the water in Alaska where they only had one hole where they could breathe, and where the rest of the water was covered with thick ice. We were going to find two topics this movie contained, and write about it. Since the movie is from Alaska and it involves the native people of Alaska, the first topic I chose to write about was the Inuit´s, the native people of Alaska. The second topic I chose was the Grey whales in Alaska, since they play a central part in the movie! 

The native people of Alaska

The indigenous people of Alaska are the Inuit, Aleuts, and Indians. The Inuit who numbers 30 000 of the indigenous people, are the largest of the three groups. Since the Inuit are the largest group I chose to write about them.

Before, the Inuit lived in skin tents in the summer, and sod or drift wood houses in the winter. They live in a cold climate, and because of this forced adaption to the harsh Arctic weather, the Inuit have created fur clothing even more resistant to cold than the jackets made in industrialized countries with the help of modern science.

In the summer, the Inuit wear only one layer of clothing, along with sealskin boots. During winter, Inuit tend to wear two layers of clothing consisting of a suit on the inside with fur facing the skin, and an outer suit with the fur facing the outside. This allows the air between the two layers to create insulation, while the fur on the inside evaporates any perspiration. Oftentimes, beads, fur, and good luck charms made of woodcarvings or animal parts are used as decoration in a traditional Inuit ensemble. The Inuit have also developed sunglasses made by wood, ivory, or bone, which have small, narrow slits in them to shield their eyes from the bright glare from the sun off the snow.

The Inuit people live in groups ranging from a single family to several hundred members, and have little contact with other cultures except infrequent and sometimes hostile encounters with people living farther south in the Arctic.

In spring and fall for example, Inuit come together in sizable groups to hunt large animals to ensure that all necessities are met. During the rest of the year these communities spread out along the coast and countryside in search of fish and other types of food. Men are traditionally hunters, and women raise the children and take care of the household. Depending upon location and season, food for the Inuit varies from whale to foxes and includes caribou, hares, fish, and seal. During winter on the coast a bowhead whale can provide meat for an entire Inuit community, while inland, caribou hunted in the fall can mean the same thing. The meat is usually eaten raw or frozen.

Transportation for the Inuit people during summer consists of walking on foot over land or water by boat. The two boats typically used are known as umiaks and kayaks. Umiaks carry up to ten people, are wooden, and open. During the winter months the Inuit travel via sled pulled by dogs.

Even though the Inuit are not religious, they believe in spirits. They uphold that all people, animals, things, and forces of natures have spirits. To keep the spirits happy, the Inuit follow rules and collectively believe that if these rules are ignored the spirits will punish them through sickness or misfortune.

We also got the question: "Do you think the movie gave a realistic picture of how it is to live in Alaska?"
I think the movie gave a quite realistic picture of how it is to live there. Even though I have done all this research about Alaskan natives, I do not know that much about how the people actually live there now, because I think that the major part of the society have a very similar way of living as us. But I think that the indigenous people have preserved their culture, and are still practicing their culture as Inuit at the same time as they live as normal people. So then if what I think is true, I think the movie gave a realistic picture of how they live. I don’t think that rescuing whales are everyday life, but I think the Alaskan Indigenous people has preserved their own culture while they have also adapted to the way most people live.

Alaska Whales- The Grey whales

There are eight species of whales that frequent the cold and icy waters of Alaska. The Beluga, Humpback, Grey, Orca, Bowhead, Blue, Right, and Minke whales. In the movie we saw in class “Big Miracle” the whales were three grey whales, so I chose to focus on them.

Like all mammals, whales breathe air into lungs and are warm-blooded.
Beneath the skin lies a layer of fat, the blubber. It serves as an energy reservoir and also as insulation. Whales have a four-chambered heart. The neck vertebrae are fused in most whales, which provide stability during swimming at the expense of flexibility.
The whales breathe through blowholes, located on the top of the head so the animal can remain submerged. Whales have a unique respiratory system that lets them stay underwater for long periods of time without taking in oxygen.

Whalers used to call the Grey whales "devilfish" because of the fierce defense they put up when hunted. In its lifetime, the average gray whale commutes over 400,000 miles – the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back. Each year, gray whales go back and forth between their feeding grounds in the Arctic to breeding grounds off the coast of Baja California, as we saw the Grey whales in the movie tried to do. They spend six months of the year just traveling!

It reaches a length of about 15.2 m, a weight of 36 tons, and lives 50–70 years. The gray whale is a dark slate-gray in color and covered by characteristic gray-white patterns, scars left by parasites which drop off in its cold feeding grounds. 

I hope you maybe learned something new about the Inuit or the Grey whales of Alaska, and that the text was informative! 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Informal and Formal texts

This week in class we were going to write an Informal and a formal text. I chose the topic: The 2012 US Presidential Election. To make it easier to see the contrasts between an Informal and a formal text, I am Writing about the same topic in both texts.

Here are some points you can try to look for in the texts and see if you see the differences.

  • Complex structure 
  • Objective
  • Full words
  • Third person style
  • Not a personal writing style

  • You can write almost anything you want
  • Colloquial
  • You can use simple and oral expressions .
  • Contractions/abbreviations
  • Empathy/emotion
  • You can use more subjective opinions 

The 2012 US Presidential Election
Till now, there have been three debates between the main candidates in the US Presidential Election 2012, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, and the last debate was finished Monday night the 22 of October. Mitt Romney is representing the Republican Party, and Barack Obama are representing the Democratic Party and has also been the President of the US for one period now, which is equal to four years. The states are split and Romney and Obama has almost half of the states each on their side, and some states are tilt- states. So who is going to win?

The Republican Party is considered as a conservative party, and they want free markets and a less federal state. They are also against gay marriage and abortion, and they support the death penalty.

The Democratic Party is considered as a liberal Party, and they are generally supportive of gay rights and they are also supportive to death penalty which they have in common with the Republican Party.

It is hard to describe in a short way what the parties mean about different cases in foreign policy, as Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East etc., but they have different opinions, and according to NRK´s article this is Romney’s weakest point.

In the first debate they focused on domestic policy, neither Obama nor Romney delivered a particularly “hard-hitting zinger or one-liner” according to an article in US news. Polls immediately following the debate showed that Romney was favored, and a lots of people thought Obama did a bad first debate according to the same article.

In the second debate where the audience could ask questions about domestic and foreign policy, sources say that Obama had improved, but Romney still won according to CNN.
In the third and last debate which took place yesterday, the topic was foreign policy which is considered as Romney’s weakest point, but according to NRK Romney gave Obama a hard fight, but this time Obama clearly won.

According to a research by CNN forty eight percent said that Obama won, while forty percent said that Romney won. Fifty three percent of the people, who have not decided yet who they want to vote for, said that they would have chosen Obama in this debate, while Romney only got twenty percent saying that they would have voted for him in this debate.

It seems like both candidates stands strong, but that Obama has improved. So who is going to win is still unknown.

http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/utenriks/valg-usa-2012/1.8368299 - NRK article


The Informal text: 

Till now there have been three debates between the two main candidates for the US election 2012, Romney and Obama. Mitt Romney is representing the Republican Party, while Obama is representing the Democratic Party. Obama has also been the President of the US for four years now which I believe is really good for the country! The states opinions are quite split, and both Romney and Obama have half of the states each on their side, and some states are tilt states.

The Republican and the Democratic Party have some different and some similar opinions. It´s hard to describe exactly what the main differences in their opinions are, but to be short the Republican Party are against gay´s marriage and gay´s rights, while the Democratic Party are supportive to gay´s rights and marriage. It´s easy to see why the Republican Party are being called conservative when they are holding on these old traditions like being against gay marriage and abortion like they were in the old days. Now that we have equality status between men and women, and we are so obsessed with it, why are we going to be so conservative?

A similarity is that both The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are supportive to death penalty, which I´m not so sure about. Even though lots of people have done horrible things, no one has the right to take their life from them. They may have killed somebody else, and therefore they are being punished because they have no right to take another person’s life, so the parties are kind of speaking against themselves when they say no one has the right to take other person’s life, while they are taking sentenced peoples life.

In two of three debates people has said afterwards that they think Romney has won, and that in the first debate Obama did bad, but in the second one he had improved. In the third debate when the topic was about foreign policy which is Romney’s weakest point, Obama won clearly. Even though foreign policy is Romney´s weakest point, he gave Obama a hard debate, but in the end it was Obama who won.

So who is going to win is not easy to say, but after the last debate it seemed like Obama did very well, but nothing is decided until the real election! 


I chose this theme because I think it´s very recent, because of the soon coming election in the USA. I think this topic is very interesting because the debates between Romney and Obama is fun and interesting to follow, especially since they both have a good chance of winning! I think the topic is important to the society because the election in the USA is important to the whole world since USA is considered as a super power. So some countries may be affected by who will win the election.

As told before, I have written a formal and informal text with the same topic, but of course some difference in the writing style.
In the formal text I have written it like an article, I have used an objective language by not using "I think" or "I believe" or  using my own opinions. I have also mentioned in the text where I have found information by using "according to...».
For example I have written a sentence like this:..but they have different opinions, and according to NRK´s article this is Romney’s weakest point.
Here, I have written my source, and shown that this is not my opinion, but an opinion from an objective article. If this had been a informal text, I could have written like this: but they have different opinions, and I think this is Romney’s weakest point. Here I have used my own opinion.
Here I have written a sentence where I have written "it is" instead of "it´s": It is hard to describe in a short way

In the Informal text I still have the same topic, but I have changed the writing style to more a "letter to the editor" kind of. I have used more of my opinions, a simpler language with easier sentences, and much more "I think" and used more oral writing.
For example in this sentence I have used a very informal way of writing because I have written what I think, and not used a reliable and objective source: "Obama has also been the President of the US for four years now which I believe is really good for the country!"
In this sentence I have also written it´s instead of it is: It´s hard to describe exactly...

Monday, 22 October 2012

News from Australia and South Africa!

This blog post is in collaboration with the blogpost I wrote I while ago, Social and Cultural conditions and values, because now we have worked in the same groups and found a news story each of us. We have one news story from Australia, and one from South Africa.

Kellidi Shark Warning- More sharks now?

The news article/story I found is from Kellidie Bay in South Australia. Kellidie Bay is usually a popular place to fish and to do water sports, but now there has been sent out caution warnings to people who use the spot, because of sighting a great white shark!
A recreational fisher Matt Williamson was out fishing in September when the great white shark started to nudge his boat. He said that the shark first started to give his nine foot tinny small taps before it swam off, but then it came back again. He tells that he made phone calls to other fishers in the area to warn them about the great white shark.

Another local, a farmer, says that he had never heard about a shark in this area before, and no one other can remember have seen a shark. They say that the shark has never been seen before, and they may never see one again, but they are very sure that the amount of sharks has increased over the last twenty years. Maybe we´ll have to be more aware of sharks in countries like Australia in the next twenty years? Anyway they will certainly be more aware of sharks in Kellidi Bay now!

Also in South- Africa there is a swimmer which recently won bronze medal in the men's 100-meter butterfly in Paralympics, who got his leg bitten of by a shark while saving his younger brother! While they were out swimming Achmat Hassiem (the oldest) first saw the shark, and told his brother to swim to a boat nearby while Hassiem splashed the water to distract the shark. The shark bit his leg right of, and now he uses this happening as a motivation to swim fast in the Paralympics and other competitions! So it seems like shark attacks are quite common!

Here are the links to the two articles.

South Africa as Norway is interested in Felix Baumgartners jump and I found an article about that.
He is renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career.
Felix Baumgartner jumped from “the top of the world,” 39km up in the air, Sunday. Felix broke three new records this day. He was the first breaking the sound barrier, highest jump and highest balloon flight.

The 43 years old man said he always liked to see the world form above and used to climbed trees when he was younger. Felix worked more than five years for this jump and made his childhood dream come true. Felix jump form 39.044 meter and achieved a top speed of 1342,8 km/h. That corresponds 373 meters a second. The free-fall was last 4 minutes and 20 second long.
Watch highlights from the record breaking jump from the edge of space: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHtvDA0W34I

Baumgartner is known for dangerous skydiver and a BASE jumper. In 1999 he did the opposite of his new breaking record. He has also the shortest BASE jump in history. He jumped 29 meter from the arm of Cristo Redentor (statue in Rio de Janeiro).

He jumped from buildings and bridges all around the word. He is also the first to cross the English Channel in free-fall. He is also known for jumping into the second biggest cave in the world, Oman.
Watch more stunts form Felix here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmqrZqzn3GQ
I mean this guy is like a hero. I don’t understand how he dares all this stunts. He entertains and break records whit his own life at risk.

To a reporter he said - “I hate it if someone calls me a thrill-seeker or an adrenaline junkie because I am not. I like the whole planning”. He also told reports – “When you’re standing there on top of the world, you become so humble… The only thing is you want to come back alive”

Seconds before he jumped, he said "I know the whole world is watching now. I wish they could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are. I'm coming home now”

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Comparing of two short stories

This week in english class we were supposed to compare two short stories in groups of three. We chose to compare the two short stories "Sun-Powered Car" by Robert Burton Robinson and "Homework" by Jim Schicatano.  Here we have compared the plot, characters, setting, dialog, the conflict, point of view, resolution, theme, and length. 

Sun-Powered Car - a short story by Robert Burton Robinson

Are the plots much of the same? What happens to the main characters in both of the short stories?

In "Sun-Powered Car" the plot is about Malcolm who is working at a TV- station as a news reporter and is a little bit depressed about his job because he has worked there for twenty-five years and never got a promotion. He walks into a diner, and sees Ned and his two sons driving an old car with a solar panel on the top of it. He talks to the waitress Helen, and she tells about Ned inventing the car with a solar panel. Malcolm thinks that this is very interesting, and wants to make a news story about it, and decides to talk to Ned. He talks to Ned, but it becomes a disappointment when he finds out that the car is not solar panel driven, but son pedal driven. Anyway he decides that he want to make a news story about it. 

In "Homework" the plot is about this school boy, Jason, who is arguing with mostly his father but also a little with his mother about whether he should do his homework or not. They argue about this because Jason doesn't see the point of doing his homework which is so boring, and his parents think it’s important that he does his homework so he could get a good future life. They are also discussing who of Jason and his father who had the toughest childhood. In the end when they start becoming finished with the arguing, we are told that Jason’s mother and father both order food and snacks from their robot-servant, and they set on a hologram play with actors. In the very end when Jason has decided to obey his parents, after getting grounded and yelled at, and do his homework, he walks into his room, and then we are told that all he has to do is to plug a cable into his back head, and wait for two minutes while his homework are being downloaded to his brain. He finds this terribly boring and an awful waste of time, while his parents are so tired of working four hours a day, and getting served by robot servants etc. What a hard life?

The Characters
The main character in "Sun-Powered Car" is Malcolm, and the two secondary characters are Ned and Helen. Malcolm works at a TV-station as a news reporter and seems a little depressed and he says himself that he has given up his dream of sitting in the anchor chair. Ned is a man at the diner which is a farmer, and has invented a special car. The other secondary character Helen is a waitress at the diner, and she knows Ned and his sons quite well. 

The main characters in "Homework" are the boy Jason, and his father. The secondary character is Jason's mom. Jason is a boy who doesn't want to do his homework, and would rather play with his dog. Jason's father gets mad at Jason for not doing his homework as he should, but seems lazy himself. Jason's mother is just complaining about Jason not doing his homework. 

What do these characters have in common?

They don't have much in common we think. Malcolm in "Sun powered car" seems like a person who likes to work, but Jason and his father in "Homework" doesn't seem like they like to work at all, they actually seem quite lazy. The secondary characters in both short stories doesn't really have much in common either, but they have some similarities because both Ned and Jason's mother are a bit passive, but Ned speaks more at the end of the short story, and Jason's mother speaks and the beginning. 

In the short story “Sun Powered Car” the action takes place at a diner in a small town. The man Malcolm is stopping by to eat lunch, and meets the farmer Ned and the waitress Helen. The action in “Homework” happens in their own house, and Jason’s mother and father gets mad at him for not doing his homework.

What do these settings have in common?

In our point of view they don’t have so much in common. In “Sun Powered Car” the setting takes place at a diner as we said and in “Homework” it happens in their house. The first story, “Sun powered car”, is probably in our time zone, but the second one we think may be in the future because in the end of “Homework” we can read that Jason are doing his homework by downloading them to his brain for two minutes, and his parents are watching a hologram with actors while they are served snacks by a robot servant. The settings are also different because in “Homework” there is kind of an internal conflict in the family inside the house, while in “Sun powered car” the conflict or action takes place outside where Malcolm meet some strangers.

The Dialogue

Are the dialogues much the same in the two short stories or are they very different? Do they have many dialogues
 in the texts?

The dialogues in the short stories are quite the same, and they talk directly to each other, but in the text "Sun powered car" it is not much dialogue actually. The only time there is a dialogue is when Malcolm orders, when the waitress talks, and when Malcolm talks to Ned. "Sun powered car" mostly consists of Malcolm telling, but the author has put in some dialogue to make sure the story doesn't get boring it seems. In "Homework" the text mostly consists of dialogue actually! Jason and his father are mostly having a discussing about the homework, and are comparing how it is to be a child in their time, and how it was to be a child when Jason's parents were children. 

There’s not a big conflict in “Sun Powered Car”, but something we may be able to explain as a conflict is the conflict Malcolm has with himself and his job where he doesn’t get promoted. In “Homework” the conflict is about Jason who doesn’t want to do his homework, and doesn’t want to listen to his parents when they tell him to do his homework.

Point of view
The story “Sun powered Car” is written in 3rd person and so is the story “Homework”. Both of the stories remain in one point of view and they’re therefore easy to compare. In the first one the author is telling from Malcolm’s point of view and in the second one it’s told from Jason’s point of view. But even though we hear the stories from Malcolm and Jason’s point of view there is someone else telling us about their thoughts and experiences.

What becomes the resolution in the short stories? Does both end good or bad?

In "Sun powered car" the resolution becomes that Malcolm's day gets much better than he first thought because he finds a news-story which he can use. At the same time he finds out that the solar powered car isn't solar powered, but that Ned has just made the car so his sons can make it go by tramping on pedals. But it has a good ending because in the end Ned doesn't seem as much depressed as he did in the beginning. 

In "Homework" the resolution becomes that Jason has to do his homework and his mother and father can continue with their stuff. The little twist is that the homework Jason has to do is just to plug in a cable in his head for two minutes to download his homework to his brain! In addition Jason and his father were discussing which of them who had the toughest childhood! It ends well in a way, but not for Jason who has to do his terrible homework according to himself!


Do the short stories have some of the same theme? What are the differences and are there some similarities?

The two short stories has two different themes, in “Sun Powered Car” the theme is the sun-powered car which is quite special. We also think that some of the theme in “Sun powered car” is how little things you can discover in regular working days and how they can affect you in good ways. In the second one “Homework”, the theme is the boy’s homework and how things are in the time zone they are living in. We think some of the main theme is how the family in the future lives, and the irony in the text when Jason’s parents are talking about it being so much harder being a child in their childhood when they are sitting in their chairs watching a hologram play and getting served snacks by a robot and actually seem quite lazy. Also Jason the boy is talking about it being so much harder to be a child in his time, and complaining about his homework when all he has to do is to plug in a cable to his head and wait for two minutes while his homework are being downloaded to his brain, which seems even more lazy! So the theme can be how lazy we may end as in the future!

Both of the two short stories are pretty short, “Sun-Powered Car” has 1364 words and “Homework consists of 977 words.

In the end, here are some facts about the two authors who wrote “Sun-Powered Car” and “Homework".

Robert Burton Robinson
Robert Burton Robinson is from the United States. Robinson and his wife lives near Houston in Texas and they have three children and six grandchildren. He has worked over a lot of different fields over the years. He had for example a career in the music business but he has also been a milkman. Robinson loves spending time with his family, playing his guitar, watching movies and training yoga. He has written twenty-two short stories and one of them is “Sun-powered car”.

Jim Schicatano
Jim Schicatano graduated from Penn State University in 1984 with a bachelor degree in Science. He retired from his last job at Pennsylvania Senate Republican Cancus in 2010. He loves to write and has written countless short stories since high school. He has always taken writing really seriously and has also written some novels and a non-fiction book. Katinka, Ingeborg and I read “homework”.