Pilates: During #3

While this activity is very rewarding and relaxing, it has been hard for me to keep up with it during these last few months, especially December. This is because IAs, exams, university applications, and unexpected illnesses have been preventing me from taking part in this activity as much as I would have liked to. I have to say I feel a little disappointed in myself for not being able to organise my time better, but to fix that I have decided to work hard in this activity next term, after the winter holidays are over. I know I can do this because I did so very well last year, especially during the months of April and May, which were some of the busiest for me in terms of schoolwork. And it was very fun too! Therefore, I have faith in myself and my abilities, and I will make sure to get back on track with this activity as soon as I am able to.

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Journal Club: During #5

This first term of my last year of IB has been an exciting one for the Journal Club as not only did we publish our usual end-of-term newsletter, which has been linked to below, but we also released a special midterm edition made up solely of art and creative pieces from students! This was done to promote the arts within our community, as well as to celebrate our school’s 50th anniversary! While this was a challenging endeavor, it was very rewarding to see this Special Edition completed and published, especially because we knew that, otherwise, the talents of many of our school’s students would go unnoticed.

The traditional ASB Newsletter also turned out well this term. I had very few problems with my writers, and only two articles were turned in late. However, I know that was not the case for some of my fellow Journal Club managers. Therefore, the way we divide our articles and writers should be revised next term to avoid trouble. Aside from that, the Journal-making process worked well and produced good results.

Finally, this term I wrote three pieces in total for the Journal Club: two creative ones and an article about a school visit to an art exhibition. I am quite happy with how all of them turned out, although I would have liked to make the article a little longer. However, the ASB Newsletter article word limit must be respected!

All in all, this was an entertaining term to be working in the Journal Club, and it makes me sad to think that the next will be my last, as I will then have to concentrate my energies on studying for our IB exams. Still, that is the perfect excuse to make next term’s ASB Newsletter all the more memorable!

ASB Newsletter

ASB Newsletter Special Edition

Singing Lessons: During #10

The start of a new school year always comes alongside many changes! In terms of CAS, that is no different.

First of all, my singing teacher has changed and, what is more, the way he teaches the class is definitely different from the way in which our previous instructor used to! This is especially obvious in terms of how he handles the recording of songs. With our old teacher, us students would each focus on a song until it was perfect, after which we would record it to see how we could improve our techniques. With this new teacher, however, I am unsure of whether I will be able to record anything this year! Up until now, he seems to prefer alternating between songs instead of focusing on one and recording. By doing this, he can take advantage of the different challenges each song poses for us, the singer. I started classes in September and I am already on my second song!

Despite this, my new teacher has proven to be just as good (or even better) than the last. During these last few classes, he has been teaching my classmates and I new breathing techniques and strategies regarding voice projection that we had no idea about. He is also very clear in his explanations, and I expect to improve my singing techniques a lot with his guidance!

As for the songs I have been practising, those are “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri and “Out of Reach” by Gabrielle. I cannot really talk about the latter, as I started practising it a very short time ago, but “A Thousand Years” was definitely challenging. Although it seemed like a rather easy song at first, I soon discovered that it required some sudden changes in register that I was not sure how to approach. However, I soon learned that it was all a matter of improving my mouth positioning and getting rid of my nerves.

All in all, the start of the year has been busy, but I am still enjoying my singing lessons enormously despite all their changes!

Kayaking Trip

Learning Outcome: Undertake new challenges.

Goal: To kayak from a small beach near the hotel I’m staying at to Cap Roig.

Before

Recently, my uncle decided he wanted to own a kayak, so he went and bought one this summer! This came as a pleasant surprise for the whole family. As soon as I told him I had gone canoeing with my class once before (an activity I loved), he immediately suggested we should take a trip together. We are at a summer resort near the village of L’Ampollá, in Catalonia, and waters nearby are perfect for kayaking!

We have agreed to have our trip the day after tomorrow. We will go leave our hotel at about 11 AM and return by lunch time, at about 2 PM approximately. Our trip will take off from a small beach near our hotel, and we will end it in a nearby, larger beach, Cap Roig.

I am very excited about this activity! The only inconvenience I can picture for us is bad weather, but even that is unlikely: weather in Catalonia tends to be very good during the summer!

All in all, I am very excited to be able to go kayaking again. I can’t wait!

During

The trip was amazing!

The day started out a little dull, as the weather was not as good as we had hoped for. However, despite a little wind that would constantly push us towards the shore later on, conditions were not that bad. My uncle and I set out from out hotel at about 11 AM as planned, and it took us little time to set up the kayak and be on our way. It was interesting to help out my uncle in getting ready for our trip – I had never done anything like this before!

kayak 3
Me rowing.

There are lot of parts about this trip that I remember fondly, such as my uncle’s jokes, our surprise at the strength of the wind working against us, and the beautiful scenery that surrounded us in our journey.

kayak 4
My uncle and I during out kayaking trip.

However, the best part of it all was when my uncle and I reached Cap Roig… and we decided we didn’t want to stop there! Because we did not want the fun to stop, we decided that we would continue until we reached the first beach in the village of L’Ampollá! We had considered doing this when planning our trip, but we had assumed that we would be to tired by the time we reached Cap Roig to continue. Well, turns out we were stronger than we thought!

kayak 2
My uncle and I after reaching L’Ampollá.

So, although we did alternate a bit in taking breaks from paddling to rest for a while or take pictures, we made it to L’Ampollá without much trouble at all! Once there, we just had to dismantle the kayak and we were all set.

kayak 1
My uncle and I dismantling the kayak.

Luckily, my mother came to pick us up shortly thereafter, which is a good thing because it was almost lunch time!

After

This activity was very fun to take part in. It was definitely a new challenge for me, as I had never set out to kayak out in the sea with only my uncle by my side! However, it was a great experience that taught me that I am stronger than I think I am, and that I should aim for the stars when setting new goals for myself!

If I had to change anything from how this activity turned out, I would say that I better weather would have been nice. I would also aim to take less breaks during our trip.

All in all, this activity was incredibly fun and rewarding, and I would absolutely be willing to take more trips like this in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning the Beach: Summer Edition

This activity counts for Activity and Service.

Learning Outcome: Consider the ethical implications of my actions.

Goal: Attempt to clean every beach I visit this summer.

Before

Come this summer, I will no doubt be going to the beach quite a bit. During my time there, I will aim to pick up all the trash I am able to see. In this way, I will be taking care of the environment.

The only set back I can imagine regarding this activity is that I will not be able to pick up larger pieces of trash. Unlike my pervious experiences beach cleaning, I will not be in a large group, but most likely with my family. Not only that, but I will also need to be keeping an eye on my younger cousins, previnting me from dedicating my time fully to cleaning.

Still, I am excited to start this activity, as it will help the environment at least a little bit.

During #1

Lately, I have been going to the Deba beach quite a lot. I am pleased to say that it is quite clean! However, I did find some plastic bags here and there, which I managed to take care of. I am glad the beach was clean, but it’s a shame that I could not help much! I hope to be more useful to the environment throughout the summer although, at the same time, I also wish the beaches were clean enough so I would not have to be useful to them.

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During #2

Yesterday I visited Arrigunaga beach. There, I found a plastic container which I disposed of. I could not really look around the beach all that much because I was there with my younger cousins and I needed to take care of them, but I hope that even this small action has saved some sea creature from trouble.

thing

During #3

This past week, I have been going to a relatively isolated beach near the village of L’Ampollá, in Catalonia. There, I have been able to find many pieces of plastic and other trash floating in the water. Although small, these toxic materials could have harmed the sea animals that living in waters nearby. (In fact, this region of Catalonia is commonly visited by scuba divers!)  One day, I was even able to find a large piece of cardboard lying around, although that particular piece of trash had probably been blown into the beach from a bar nearby.

Although the trash I picked up there might not seem significant, I like to think that every bit counts. It is also scary how even remote beaches have been polluted by the human race.

l'ampolla

cardboard and crap

During #4

Today I have visited Arrigunaga beach and found an incredible amount of trash! This time, I think the pictures will speak for themselves:

arrigunaga

That is the total amount of trash I was able to find (with some help from my aunt, who came with me). In order to recover some of this trash, I had to walk a little ways into the sea, which was unpleasant because of the cold, yet worth it in the end, as I recovered some large pieces of plastic as shown:

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It is horrible to see how humans are ruining the planet’s oceans, and it is sad to think about all the wildlife that we are losing because of it. Hopefully, the trash I picked up today helped out, even if in a small way.

After

This activity has helped me realise just how much humans are endangering the health and beauty of our planet. It was especially shocking because I had been to some of these beaches before, but I had never really noticed much that was wrong with them. This summer, I discovered that, if you search for it, you will most likely find human pollution at any beach you visit, no matter where it is located or how many people visit it.

If I could repeat this activity all over again, I would definitely try to visit more beaches. However, this was difficult to do this time around, as I had a very busy summer full of traveling and family. Therefore, I did not have much free time to go to the beach and productively look for trash.

However, this experience was eye-opening, and I think I will keep up picking up trash at the beach whenever I see it even after my IB times are over.

 

Art Journal

Learning Outcome: Increase my awareness of my own strengths and areas for growth.

Goal: To be creative and try out new things with my art.

Before

This summer, I wanted to really hone my drawing skills. However, I also wanted to do it in a way that allowed me to be creative and draw whatever I wanted at all times. I also wanted to explore what are my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to art. This is what led me to the idea of starting an Art Journal! In this journal, I will aim to make a new drawing every opportunity I get. I am hesitant to give myself a schedule to follow, as my summer promises to be busy and I want this activity to be fun and relaxing for me.

The only setback I can anticipate for this activity is me feeling uninspired or simply not having time to do much of anything while traveling. Still, I will try to draw in a more or less consistent manner throughout the summer.

Right now, I am eager and motivated to start this new activity!

During #1

I have decided to tackle this activity by updating my blog each month with highlights of what I have drawn in that time. So, here are my June drawings!

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This month, I have been trying out new poses for my character drawings. I tried to move away from stationary, more day-to-day poses, instead concentrating on bodies taken from pictures of work-out sessions and gymnastics. The drawings could still look more fluid and realistic, but they are definitely drawn in a personal style that I am quite proud of. Still, I definitely need to work on my anatomy!

flowers

I have also drawn the silhouette of a woman filled with flowers in a style that is not my own at all. This is based on a passage from a novel I have read recently, “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang, in which a woman gets flowers painted on her back. With this drawing, I was trying to step away from my own cartoony style into something a bit more abstract. I also wanted to try out drawing flowers. Although it could be a more detailed drawing, I do like how it looks, and I’m considering turning it into a fully fledged painting soon.

All in all, although I have not been able to draw a lot these days, I have been able to produce some pretty good drawings nevertheless. I have also managed to step out of my comfort zone a bit, something I’d like to work on more come July.

During #2

This July, I have another two works that I am rather proud of.

flowers 2

First of all, I did turn my drawing of the woman with the flowers into a painting! This was a truly new experience for me. The acrylics I used were a little tricky to get the hang of (hence the sloppiness of the black lines), but I am nevertheless proud of what I have accomplished: it looks pretty good for a first time! I’d like to work more with acrylics in the future to hone my abilities even more.

hands

In addition to this, I have also drawn a picture of two hands reaching out for one another. I am especially proud of this drawing, as I completed it using no references, yet it turned out relatively anatomically accurate given the circumstances (especially the hand at the bottom). This was another departure from my cartoony style into something more realistic, which is something I have been meaning to try for a long time. Although the top hand still needs some work, I am happy with this drawing.

All in all, I am very happy with what I accomplished this July, as I feel that I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone. Still, my works are not perfect, and I must draw more if I am to fix their imperfections.

During #3

Because of my busy travelling schedule this month, I was not able to draw too much. However, I do have a couple of drawings I do like.

silver girls

The first is this image, which I titled “Silver Girls”. This title, as well as the whole picture, was inspired by the song “Conversation 16” by The National. I was aiming to draw different types of poses and girls wearing different dresses and hairstyles in a simplistic way. The fact that The National describe the girls in the song as “silver” and giving them “black dreams” led me to draw them without faces as to add to this cold and mysterious illustration provided by the band. Although it is also a departure from my typical style (the figures being thinner than usual), it turned out very nicely. If anything, I should try to work on the way I make my characters interact with each other, as it looks awkward at times.

Finally, I also drew these two images of girls I saw while staying at a summer resort. They caught my attention due to their mildly unconventional looks. While this is a return to my more typical, cartoon-ish style of drawing, I do not usually draw real life people, so it was a relatively new experience for me. Sadly, I do not have pictures of them in real life, so I cannot post a comparison of them against my drawings. Still, you can take my word for it when I say that they look rather similar. I am happy to see that I am slowly getting better at drawing real people in my own, personal style; it’s something I have wanted to do for a very long time!

After

Now that the summer is over, it’s time for me to reflect on my work!

In general, I am happy with my Art Journal drawings. I have tried many new things (including semi-realistic drawings, new character poses, and even painting!), which I may not have dabbled with if I had not started this CAS activity. I still need to work on all of these new skills if I really want to make something out of them, but I am happy to have at least started with it. I am also pleased that my own art style is evolving, and that now I can draw real people in my own way.

Still, I am a little disappointed that I have not drawn more. It was very difficult to keep up with all my CAS activities this summer because I was constantly moving from place to place and, when I was not doing that, I was filling out university applications or doing schoolwork. Hence, this could not be helped.

If I could perform this activity all over again, I would try to make more time for drawing whenever possible. I would have also liked to work more with natural themes and landscapes. However, I was not able to, as that would have taken me a very long time.

All in all, I am happy with this CAS activity, although I wish I could have dedicated a little more time to it.

Summer Walking

Learning Outcome: Show perseverance and commitment in my activities.

Goal: Keep fit during the summer by taking walks regularly.

Before

Next week, I will start my daily 30 to 50 minute walks. These walks will take place between my home and a sports centre nearby, where I will be taking my sister to her tennis classes. Hence, this is a great opportunity for me to exercise while also being a helpful older sister.

The trip from my house to the sport centre can take anywhere between 30 to 50 minutes depending on my walking speed. In order to maintain a good pace, I will aim to arrive at my destination in about 30 minutes every day. This will ensure that I have walked at a brisk pace, burning more calories in the process. It will also ensure that my sister will not be late for her tennis classes!

The only setback I can imagine is bad weather, such as rain. Because the route I take mostly lacks spaces in which to take shelter, it will not be the best option to take on rainy days. Therefore, I might have to take the bus when it rains instead, as that at least leaves me with about a 10 minute walk from the stop to my destination.

All in all, I am excited to take part in this activity!

During #1

I have been having a lot of fun this first week of walking. It was hard to get started during the first few days, but I soon got used to my new routine, and now I can’t imagine starting the day without a walk. I really enjoy them because they allow me to wake up and start the day with some healthy exercise!

Sadly, my sister and I were forced to take the bus on one occasion due to bad weather conditions. Still, everything else is going just as planned. We have been arriving on time to nearly all of my sister’s tennis classes (the one exception being the day we took the bus due to the bus’s schedule) and our average arrival time is of about 40 minutes.

Can’t wait to keep going with this activity!

During #2

Our second week of walking has truly flown by! Everything is going just as planned and I am still enjoying the morning walks. My sister and I get to chat a lot while walking, which I think has actually improved our relationship! Our average walking time is of about 40 minutes. I am looking forward to next week!

During #3

This week, things started out rough, with temperatures on Monday and Tuesday reaching 35 ºC! Needless to say, walking for 40 minutes under these conditions was quite exhausting (although my sister and I surprisingly made some of our best times these past few days, arriving at the sport centre in 30 minutes flat!) I hope the weather will be a bit more forgiving during the next few days!

After

Luckily, the weather was much more bearable during the last few days of our walking routine. In the end, our average walking time was of about 40 minutes, which is quite close to my initial, yet quite ambitious, goal of 30 minutes per day. Still, I managed to walk almost every single week day with only very few exceptions due to bad weather. For this reason, I think I have accomplished my learning outcome “Show perseverance and commitment in my activities”.

In general, taking these walks felt very rewarding, and I think they definitely helped me keep healthy during the summer. I know this because, as the days went on, this morning exercise became easier and easier to undertake. This has led me to conclude that my endurance has gotten better, meaning these walking sessions have truly improved my health! In addition to this, the time I spent with my sister was also incredibly fun and helped strengthen our relationship. We were joking as we walked the whole time!

If I could change anything, I think I would only improve the speed of my walking, really trying to reach the 30 minute mark I had previously set. Still, I am very proud of my walking experience, and I wouldn’t mind repeating it next summer!

 Audio proof for this activity can be found by clicking here.

Singing Lesson: During #9

Due to schoolwork and a lot of exams, I have not been able to update my singing progress. However, a lot has happened ever since I last reflected on it!

To start with, I have since recorded one more song: “Army of Me” by Bjork. It was an interesting tune that, despite being simple in terms of tuning, forced me to develop a new singing style, using a type of resonance where all the sound is channelled to my forehead. I felt strange at first, but it ended up being a very enriching experience!

A new student has also joined the class now! I was worried that she would not be a good fit for our closely-knit group, but she ended up fitting in perfectly with the rest of us. I now feel that our group is more united than ever. I am very happy to have her in our team!

However, I have some bad news as well: I was not able to complete the goal I had established for myself after my singing audition was over: recording four more songs before the year was over. This is because, after recording “Army of Me”, I attempted to record “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! at the Disco (listen here) as my last song of the year. However, after working on it for a few classes, my teacher asked me to please change it, as he believes it is a song that strictly requires a male range. I obliged, but before I could choose a new song, I got sick for a week, which left me too little time to record anything. However, I do not consider this a failure, as I tried my best and I still got to record three great, varied songs that have taught me a lot!

All in all, I had a lot of fun with my signing lessons this year, and I cannot wait to return to them after my summer vacation!

Journal Club: During #4

Find this term’s Journal here!

This term, the first Journal Club written under my classmates – and my – supervision was published! I am very excited about this, as it marks the start of our go as Journal Club Managers.

My most important job as Journal Club Manager was to be in charge of coordinating and editing the articles written about the Lower School classes (1st grade to 6th grade). At first, this was rather hard to do, as they did not seem to have anything especially newsworthy going on in their classes, and I was afraid my section of the Journal was going to turn out dull. However, after digging a bit into the school’s future plans via the school newsletter, I was able to assign interesting and engaging articles to the writers under my supervision.

I did not have many problems with any of my writers or my articles, aside from a few doubts from writers that I promptly responded to. I also kept a close eye on our schedule in order to ensure that all the articles were delivered on time. This relatively calm first-time experience as a Journal Club leader made me feel comfortable and confident in my new position, as it made me realise that I would be able to solve any problem that came our way if I kept a cool head.

In addition to this, I also helped with the creation of a new ASB Journal template, which I designed and later passed on to fellow Journal Club Manager Carmen Rita Gomeza. She was the one who ultimately set up the Journal’s new look, editing a lot of what I had done, and I think she did a fantastic job! The final product definitely ended up looking much better than my template. This made me realise that working as a team will many times lead to unexpected and original results that are a lot better that what only one person will be able to come up with.

All in all, I am very happy with how this ASB Journal edition turned out, and I cannot wait to write the next one in Grade 12!

2016 Graduation Ceremony

This activity counts for both Creativity and Service

Learning Outcome: Planned and initiated activities.

Goal: Create a graduation video for the grade 12 class, as well as helping out during the graduation ceremony itself.

Before

I feel extremely excited about this new CAS activity. I love video editing, and I am constantly looking for excuses to spend my time practising this hobby! However, this time of the year might not be the best for creating complex film projects, as our mock IB finals are coming up soon. Hence, I am aiming for a short, simple video that the graduating students will remember. Still, if I organise my time wisely, I am sure I will be able to make it work.

Nevertheless, I am quite nervous about being appointed the leader of this video project, as I am not really used to having others working for me.  I am also quite a shy person, so having to talk to others to coordinate video filming will probably be hard for me. Still, I am not one to shy away from a challenge! I will do my best to direct my classmates, and I am sure they will end up making this project a lot easier to complete.

During #1

This week, we started filming different teachers to include in the graduation video. They will be giving the students inspiring messages that range from inside jokes to life advice. From what we have filmed up until now, this video will be touching, fun, and inspiring for the students, something I am happy about. I have also received a folder full of pictures of the graduating grade 12s, which I will have to sort out and use in the video.

As of now, I have been doing a good job as a leader of this project. Normally, I am rather shy and quiet. However, lately I have stepped out of my comfort zone, asking many teachers for permission to film them whenever I could. My friends and I even contacted some other teachers that left our school in recent years so that they would appear in the video as well! I also talked to a couple grade 12s myself in order to get a feeling of what they expect from the video, which was very helpful in deciding what to include and what to avoid. As for my worries about leading my classmates: I had nothing to worry about! They have all worked wonderfully by helping me film the teachers I could not get around to filming myself. Their help has been invaluable!

Although I am busy with mock exams right now, I will make sure to start editing next week as of late; the graduation is just a little over a week away as well!

During #2

All the necessary teachers have been filmed and the video editing process is almost done! The hardest part of this project by far has been editing the images in the video, as it was difficult to control how much time each picture should appear on screen. Still, I do enjoy how the rest of the video turned out. While my classmates have not been able to help me too much at this stage (after all, I was the one in charge of editing the video), they have still been wonderfully supportive of me. They have also given me a lot of advice on how to improve older versions of the video, which has been very helpful.

I am sure the video will do well in the graduation ceremony!

After

Graduation video:

The graduation ceremony was a complete adventure! My friend and I went there expecting to help out with minor roles such as decoration, but instead we were appointed to help out with the technological side of the ceremony: lights, powepoint slides, and audio. This was a problem, as neither of us knew how to operate any of these properly: we didn’t know where the light switches were, we had never seen the powerpoint slides we were in charge of, and we had no idea how to adjust the volume of the audio. I am clueless as to why we were appointed to do this instead of somebody more qualified. Due to our inexperience, the technological aspect of the ceremony turned out a little wonky from time to time, but we did quite well given the circumstances.

The graduation video, however, was a success! The grade 12s seemed moved by it, and a couple of teachers complimented me on the editing of the video. One of my friends, who had helped me in the video editing process, told me that a couple other people also stopped her to congratulate us on the video. Hence, I am very proud of it, especially due to the fact that I was so busy with mock exams during the time of editing.

All in all, I am very happy with how this graduation turned out. I felt comfortable in my new leadership role, and I found myself stepping out of my comfort zone many times without much trouble. If I could do anything differently, I would probably just make sure to study up the school audio system beforehand!

graduation
My friends and I (second from the left) on the day of the graduation.