Monday, April 22, 2013

Diary Of A Baller: Azar "A.Z. Swain (Boston, MA) Entry #6


What Up Diary, I wanted to change it up a little bit this week. I say that I am the definition of a student-athlete a lot because I feel like I am. If I say that I’m in the gym working hard almost everyday, I am. If I say that I’m doing homework until 12 am and up at 4:30 am, I am. All of that plus trying to maintain a social life does not always balance each other out. When I say I don’t have the time to talk to friends, I mean it. It’s nearly impossible to be your best in school, in athletics, and be the best friend. Here is the result of my work in the classroom:

Azar Marque Swain 
Grade Level: 8 
Advisor: Mr. John Bower 
The Rivers School School Year: 2012 - 2013 
MS Spring Semester MS Term III Report 

COMMENT: Azar, I am so impressed with the focus and attention you brought to each and every one of your classes this term. You took the feedback that was given to you in the second term and you applied it willingly and effectively - great work! You are coming to all of your classes prepared with homework thoroughly completed, and you even took it upon yourself to get ahead over spring break in a couple of your classes so you knew you wouldn’t get behind when you returned. That is the type of student I know you are and I hope you continue to be during this final term and beyond. In humanities and science, you are thinking about the material in depth, which allows for you to make some astute connections in your written work. Be sure to participate actively in those classes, as well as in math, so that others can share in the insights you have into the material. Your leadership skills continue to develop, Azar, and it has been great to see those come to fruition both in advisory and on the baseball diamond. Students look to you as an example to follow, and this third term, the example has been mostly positive. You continue to improve in Spanish class and it has been a breath of fresh air for Ms. Costello to see you taking steps in the right direction toward not getting distracted during small group work. Overall a very fine term for you, Azar, and I look forward to watching you end the year on a high note. 

ALGEBRA: You are genuinely curious about the material, Azar, and always put your best effort into all of your work, both inside and outside of class. Your homework is always completed to the best of your ability, and you have developed the skill to really challenge yourself on problems that require you to pull together all of the topics you have learned in one unit. This term, you were proactive in staying ahead by asking for extra material over spring break, which helped you to better understand linear systems of equations. You continue to demonstrate a solid grasp of the material, as the unit assessment on quadratic functions tested your ability to pull together multiple topics in order to solve a more complex problem. You are also extremely careful with your calculations, which help you to better make the connections between the topics. I encourage you to be more of a leader in the classroom, especially during group work, by collaborating more with your peers and by actively participating during class discussions. 

ART: Azar, your progress and growth as an artist this term is impressive. Just compare your day-one face to your ½ face drawing or your self-portrait! Wow. You did a good job using the grid, capturing a full range of values, and making lots of little revisions throughout your drawing process. You set a great example for your classmates by working diligently to make sure your self-portrait accurately looked like your photo. I know I can always count on you to cheerfully take on challenges, to explore new ideas, and to communicate honestly, Azar. I really like teaching you every day, and have loved seeing your skills improve as an artist and student. I am so glad you learned to value consistently working hard to get great results by completing your self-portrait project. You expressed your ideas clearly in your written reflection. 

HUMANITIES: Azar, I have really been impressed with your work over the past weeks, and I am totally enjoying working with you this year. You are so honest about yourself and your effort and preparation for class. Your journal reflections are excellent and have been all year. I am so pleased to see you making connections and pushing yourself to go beyond the literal level with your thinking. I agree with you that there are days when you participate and are engaged in class and days when you are not nearly so engaged. I urge you to push toward making your participation a goal for the final term and that you prepare consistently for class each day with the best effort you can bring to the table. Along with that, keep working hard on your formal writing and keep asking for help and use the feedback you receive from peers and me. On formal writing, you still have trouble accurately explaining how the factual evidence you have selected really does support the thesis you have for the paper. This is an area to work on over the final term along with making an effort to prepare and participate positively in class every day. When you do, your maturity and responses and your questions as well, really benefit you and everyone in the class. You have come a long way this year, Azar, and I am pleased with your progress. Keep up the effort, and I believe that this final term will be the best of the year for you in our class. 

THEATER ARTS: Azar, I’ve noticed over the past few weeks an increase in your focus and attention to the work onstage. I’ve also seen your efforts to move if you are feeling distracted by your peers and not add to the distraction. I really appreciate your maturity and leadership in this regard - thank you! We are really going to need to pull together in the coming weeks in order to make this performance ready for an audience. We have quite a few technical details: lights, costumes, props, to add to the work and sometimes when we start adding these elements we lose sight of the actor’s work. I think this piece has the potential to really come together as something funny and right on the mark and the audience is going to love it! I think your “weatherman” is a highlight for me right now - so perfect in its smiling, confident characterization. 

SCIENCE: Azar, you are thoughtful and meticulous and try your best to fully understand everything. Your effort toward figuring out labs continually improves and your RAEs, quizzes and tests this term showed a solid understanding of the material; your scores were strong during a unit that was quite difficult and asked for many manipulations from graphs and solubilities of different substances. You are patient and take your time to add in details and make any revisions to improve the accuracy of your work. You continue to work on adding depth and complexity to your purpose questions, predictions and analysis in your conclusions. When going over trends in lab, you are able to understand them, though the timeframe in which you come to your understandings is often after we have moved on, thus your contributions in class discussions are minimal; you are attentive and listen carefully when others are talking, helping to build on your knowledge. Your lab skills are sometimes inconsistent, as you aren’t always sure how to create a procedure that initially makes sense to you and you sometimes have trouble with setting-up data tables and measuring data with full accuracy and precision. Azar, before March break you took initiative to ask questions after class so that you would come back to school with a full understanding; continue to do this, as seeking immediate feedback will help quicken the process time for you. Keep up the strong work! 

SPANISH 8: Azar, I always enjoy the genuine curiosity and positive attitude you bring to Spanish class. This term you have gained some great momentum - you consistently come prepared, your work is thorough, and you are a leader in participation in class activities. You are improving at redirecting your focus when you get distracted, and this continues to be an area for you to put effort into. You can apply correct sentence structure and verb conjugation; often you do not pay close enough attention to checking for agreement and using the correct verb to answer open-ended questions. In response to last term’s comments, you have been stepping up your spoken Spanish skills, trying out new ways to apply vocabulary and grammar concepts. Moving forward, set goals for yourself to push even further in this area by using Spanish conversationally when working with partners, chatting with classmates and speaking with me. Keep pushing to raise the bar by setting higher expectations for yourself and meeting them. ¡Adelante L├ízaro! 

This has been a crazy week in Massachusetts because of the Boston Marathon Bombings. My city was locked down until they found both suspects. The search was on television all day and all night. A lot of people were hurt and a few people died including a little boy. Crazy week up here in Boston, but I’m sure it affected the entire country! Could you ever get that mad to hurt innocent people? I know I couldn’t. #BostonStrong 

Peace, A.Z.