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RCL# 10: HofPC Concept Contract

Group Members:

“Me Too” Movement

For our history of a public controversy movement project, we are going to investigate the controversial “me too” movement that has sparked conversation across social media these last few months. In our video, we will highlight the different opinions on this subject and controversy and how influential it is to our society.

Below is our group contract of our assigned roles for the project.

 Editor- Kristin Sickau

  • This role will fulfill our final edits on the research of our project as well as digital editing of the video

Filming- Nora Tietjens and Malisa Yin

  • This role will function as the main camera person and director of the video portion

Research- Liz Druschel, Emma Davies, and Eva Ragonese

  • This role will focus on gathering sufficient information to fulfill the video portion of the assignment and research the controversy behind this movement

Speakers- Liz Druschel, Eva Rangonese

Through the project, we will follow our assigned roles and timeline to collaborate and create our final project.

Timeline for Completion

  • Thursday (11/30)
      • Research day, compile information
      • Conversation of the different sides of the story
      • Find the point we want to discuss in the video
      • Start a rough script for the video
  • Saturday (12/2): video day
      • Create  script layout for the video
      • Record video clips
  • Tuesday (12/5): video day/editing
      • Finishing video clips
      • Editing videos and media components
  • Thursday (12/7): final editing
    • Complete editing of the video and video clips

RCL #9: TED Talk Script

My Topic: Common Core Standards

Introduction:

While timing may have varied from school to school, my high school shifted from the New York State Regents Exams to Common Core curriculum as I entered freshman year.  Since I was a year ahead in math, I continued with the “old” version of math courses, but received exposure to Common Core English classes.  As my high school career progressed, many of my underclassmen friends approached me for help with their questions in STEM fields.  Since science courses did not undergo any significant changes, I provided assistance in classes such as Regents Biology, Chemistry, and Physics with ease, along with other AP courses.  However, the math my younger peers were struggling with took me aback.  Since Mathematics and English education underwent a significant paradigm shift, I struggled to understand the new way courses such as Geometry and Trigonometry were being taught.  While the course matter was quite similar at the end of the day, the bizarre and unusual methods applied to the subjects dazed me.

According to the organization itself, the Common Core strives to set a national standard for how students in grades K-12 should perform in the classroom.  While a great emphasis is placed on the fact that the Common Core is a set of goals (as opposed to a rigid curriculum), its standards impact how Mathematics and English are taught across America.  As opposed to regurgitation, a deeper understanding of the content at hand is encouraged.  However, the methods through which this is attempted prove confusing at times.  Educators nationwide have adopted a paradigm shift from teaching students how to arrive at the answer to a complex evaluation of the journey which leads the student to the answer.  However, we must question the usefulness of such a system.  Are we creating a highly analytical, problem-solving group of youths or simply confusing them by upheaving an educational system which needs only minor adjustments?

Education Before Common Core

 Generalization of Prior Educational Methods

  • More decentralized approach: each state implemented its own standards for education.

New York State as an Example

  • In New York specifically, the Board of Regents developed curriculum and exams.
    • NYS Testing in grades 3-8
    • Regents Exams in grades 8-12

Cause of the Shift to Common Core

Overarching Statement from the Developers

  • A group of administrators, teachers, and state officials from 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia met to develop an educational system which recognized the importance of “consistent, real-world learning goals” (“Development Process”).

Analysis of Their Claims

  • Wanted to bridge the differences in education among the states and ensure that all kids, regardless of where they grew up, are well-prepared for college, or whatever future lies in front of them.
  • Trying to ensure that America does not fall significantly behind other countries in terms of educating our youth.

What is Common Core?

Claims of the Developers

  • Common Core is a set of standards, not a curriculum.
  • Teachers have flexibility to do whatever they desire as long as these standards are met at the end of the day

Questioning of Claims

  • Is this actually true?  Common Core seems to have vastly affected how teachers teach.
  • Bring in several interviews & analyze accordingly
    • Interview 1: Student who has experienced Common Core Mathematics and English
    • Interview 2: Teacher of Common Core Mathematics from Clarence High School
    • Interview 3: Student who took Common Core English and Regents Mathematics

Implications of the Shift

Who Does the Shift Effect?

  • Not all states have to adopt the Common Core Standards
  • 42 of the 50 states, along with district of Columbia, have adopted the standards.  Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska, Indiana, and South Carolina have not (ASCD).

The Future of Common Core

  • Seems to be having little/no positive effects on learning according to a study conducted from 2009-2015 (Samel)
  • Low on the totem poll in 2016 presidential election
  • Most likely going to be phased out.

Conclusion:

While the Common Core was rich with innovation and superb ideas, its actual implementation proved ineffective.  With this in mind, what will the future of education look like?  Is yet another dramatic paradigm shift in the making?  One side may see few harmful effects of Common Core and assume the continuation of its usage.  However, pioneers of reform may see the ineffectiveness of the current system and predict an eventual upheaval of Common Core standards.  Despite diverging opinions, it can be agreed upon that the face of education continues to be shaped and will remain to be scrutinized, molded, and revolutionized.

RCL #8: Paradigm Shift Rough Draft

Paradigm Shift Paper

My Paradigm Shift: Educational Goals in the United States

Introduction:

  • Common Core example from personal life

While timing may have varied from school to school, my high school shifted from the New York State Regents Exams to Common Core curriculum as I entered freshman year.  Since I was a year ahead in math, I continued with the “old” version of math courses, but received exposure to Common Core English classes.  As my high school career progressed, many of my underclassmen friends approached me for help with their questions in STEM fields.  Since science courses did not undergo any significant changes, I provided assistance in classes such as Regents Biology, Chemistry, and Physics with ease, along with other AP courses.  However, the math my younger peers were struggling with took me aback.  Since Mathematics and English education underwent a significant paradigm shift, I struggled to understand the new way courses such as Geometry and Trigonometry were being taught.  While the course matter was quite similar at the end of the day, the bizarre and unusual methods applied to the subjects dazed me.  

 

According to the organization itself, the Common Core strives to set a national standard for how students in grades K-12 should perform in the classroom.  While a great emphasis is placed on the fact that the Common Core is a set of goals (as opposed to a rigid curriculum), its standards impact how Mathematics and English are taught across America.  As opposed to regurgitation, a deeper understanding of the content at hand is encouraged.  However, the methods through which this is attempted prove confusing at times.  Educators nationwide have adopted a paradigm shift from teaching students how to arrive at the answer to a complex evaluation of the journey which leads the student to the answer.  However, we must question the usefulness of such a system.  Are we creating a highly analytical, problem-solving group of youths or simply confusing them by upheaving an educational system which needs only minor adjustments?

  • Expand to education as a whole
  • Thesis: A shift has occurred which moved the educational importance from what a teacher teaches to how a student performs.  
    • Eg: Standardized tests (role in college admissions, AP, SAT, ACT, individualized state testing) and Common Core (trying to create overarching guidelines for American education)

Historical Context

  • Development of compulsory public education and its initial purpose
    • Draw extensively from Ken Robinson’s TED Talk
  • How has life as a whole changed since then?
  • A need for improvement in the performance of American students has emerged, but how will we achieve it?

Defining the Shift

  • Heightened competition serves as the overall factor from which the paradigm shift in educational goals derives.  
    • Fear of falling behind the rest of the world in terms of educational standards
  • College admissions processes rely heavily on standardised testing scores (AP, SAT, ACT)
  • Standardized testing within individual states: evaluating students based on that state’s standards
    • Birth of Common Core: desire for overarching educational goals.  From this unity derives a nation on the forefront of revolutionizing education (in theory!!)
  • The takeaway from this all: standardized tests and common core serve as products of an American desire to be more competitive in the educational realm.  

__________________________________________________________________________

Topic 1: Common Core

Education Before Common Core

Generalization of Prior Educational Methods

  • More decentralized approach: each state implemented its own standards for education.  

New York State as an Example

  • In New York specifically, the Board of Regents developed curriculum and exams.  
    • NYS Testing in grades 3-8
    • Regents Exams in grades 8-12

Cause of the Shift to Common Core

Overarching Statement from the Developers

  • A group of administrators, teachers, and state officials from 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia met to develop an educational system which recognized the importance of “consistent, real-world learning goals” (“Development Process”).  

Analysis of Their Claims

  • Wanted to bridge the differences in education among the states and ensure that all kids, regardless of where they grew up, are well-prepared for college, or whatever future lies in front of them.  
  • Trying to ensure that America does not fall significantly behind other countries in terms of educating our youth.  

What is Common Core?

Claims of the Developers

  • Common Core is a set of standards, not a curriculum.  
  • Teachers have flexibility to do whatever they desire as long as these standards are met at the end of the day

Questioning of Claims

  • Is this actually true?  Common Core seems to have vastly affected how teachers teach.
  • Bring in several interviews & analyze accordingly
    • Interview 1: Student who has experienced Common Core Mathematics and English
    • Interview 2: Teacher of Common Core Mathematics from Clarence High School
    • Interview 3: Student who took Common Core English and Regents Mathematics

Implications of the Shift

Who Does the Shift Effect?

  • Not all states have to adopt the Common Core Standards
  • 42 of the 50 states, along with district of Columbia, have adopted the standards.  Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska, Indiana, and South Carolina have not (ASCD).  

The Future of Common Core

  • Seems to be having little/no positive effects on learning according to a study conducted from 2009-2015 (Samel)
  • Low on the totem poll in 2016 presidential election
  • Most likely going to be phased out.

__________________________________________________________________________

Topic 2: Standardized Tests

History of Standardized Tests

  • Date back to the civil service exams in Confucian society
  • Purpose: To determine the level of competency of members of society

Cause of the Shift

  • The credibility of public schools began to deteriorate in the twentieth century.  
  • The period of lower-than-average test scores prompted a shift in the purpose of standardized tests.  
  • An intense period of concern about lower-than-average test scores that took place throughout the twentieth century resulted in a transformation of these tests’ purposes.

What is a Standardized Test?

Criteria

  • Comparison of scores to a norm group
  • All participants complete the exam under the same standardized conditions
  • Formed by specialists in the test’s subject area
  • Objective standards for grading

Purpose of Standardized Tests

The SAT

  • According to the College Board, these are just a few of the benefits of the SAT:
    • Helps pinpoint a student’s potential in various AP courses
    • Encourages problem-solving strategies similar to those needed in the classroom
    • Connects students to scholarship opportunities
    • Helps students plan their careers
    • Helps students earn admission to many colleges

New York State Testing

  • Includes assessments in Math, Science, and English in grades 3-8 along with Regents Exams for High School.  
  • Main factor in deciding whether or not to promote a student to the next grade level
  • Evaluate how well public schools are serving their students

Analysis of Claims

Are They Truly Effective?

  • Many parents pull their kids out of these situations (NYS Testing) because they find it to be a waste of time and an unnecessary stressor
  • Kids tend to master the format as opposed to the concepts
  • Difference between being a good test taker and being truly intelligent and innovative
  • Great source of stress
  • Drive kids to extreme measures
    • Cheating, having someone else take the exam, performance enhancing drugs, etc.
    • Bring in the ADHD “epidemic” from Ken Robinson’s TED Talk
  • Serve as a large portion of college admissions, yet an extremely intelligent student may have a poor SAT score or an average kid may receive a 1590
  • Seem to cause more harm than good

Do They Truly Serve Their Purpose?

    • In some cases, yes
      • AP testing: allows college students to “place out” of classes they already mastered the material of in high school.  
      • NYS Regents exam serve as a good indicator of whether or not a student learned all the material

 

  • However, these exams encourage professors to “teach to the test.”  While the students learn exactly what is on the exam, they cannot apply it in all cases

 

    • For example, It is quite simple to memorize a few key phrases and get a 100% on the Chemistry Regents, but a student really needs to understand concepts to receive a 5 on the AP Physics exam.  
    • Even in the case of Physics, the lecturer will adjust his/her teaching methods to mirror how the AP tests the material as opposed to promoting a true interest in the material
  • Is the purpose of education simply passing the exam, or figuring out what a student is truly passionate about and wants to devote his/her life to?

Schreyer Admissions and Standardized Testing

  • While I read this in on the Schreyer website before applying, the Dean of Admissions stressed the fact in an Information Session I spoke at
  • While Penn State looks at standardized test scores, Schreyer does not
  • They feel that there are myriad more important factors determining a student’s ability level/well-rounded nature.  
  • Agree with this!!

Implications of Shift:

Who Does the Shift Effect?

  • Students
    • Effects college admissions, promotion to another grade level, graduating with honors, and how classes are structured
    • Drive students toward unhealthy competition and extreme stress
    • Leads to a mindset of simply desiring to get through “the next quiz” or “the next big paper”
    • Makes learning torturous and agonizing
  • Teachers
    • Changes how they teach the course
    • Emphasis on teaching to the test vs what they love most about the course
      • When a teacher adds a small blurb about a related subject they are passionate about, students don’t care simply because it isn’t on the test

The Future of Standardized Tests

  • Unlike Common Core, it looks like standardized tests aren’t going anywhere
  • Since they help “standardize” material across the nation, they are highly favored by those attempting to elevate the performance of American children.  

__________________________________________________________________________

Conclusion:

  • Problem identified: the US is falling behind the world in the educational realm
  • Solution:
    • Attempted to place greater emphasis on student performance
    • In reality, we need to look at why education is structured the way it is
  • As the times evolve, education must do the same

 

RCL #7 It’s What I Do -Writing Prompt 5

When analyzing a piece of literature, many critics rave about an author’s implementation of stellar imagery.  The use of strong verbs, vivid adjectives, and rich descriptions paints a picture in a reader’s mind.  While imagery assists readers with the visualization of text, nothing does the job quite like an image itself.  In her book It’s What I Do, Lynsey Addario craftily integrates her photographs into the novel itself, helping readers see the horrors of the Middle East which words sometimes cannot do justice to.  

The first image I found intriguing appears on pages 4-5 of the photo inserts between pages 210 and 211.  Here, a member of the U.S Air Force looks off into the distance with a look of devastation.  Behind him lies a man hooked up to myriad wires and machines.  Is the injured individual a friend of the photograph’s subject?  Is the grieving man a trauma surgeon who just lost another patient?  There is simplytoo much we do not know about the setting.  However, seeing a visual of it displays the pain and suffering associated with loss; a feeling which one simply cannot put into words.

 

My second image of interest appears on page 8 of the photo inserts between pages 210 and 211.  I absolutely loved the angle from which this photo was taken.  The camera is on ground level, facing a skeleton on the barren tundra.  However, everyone around the dead man continues on fighting as if he isn’t there.  It is almost as if the dead man wants to send a message to those still living, but simply cannot, so the photo must be taken from an angle which showcases him.  His message is up for interpretation.  Does he want to tell his fellow soldiers the best plan of attack?  Is he begging them to fight in his honor?  Or is he  telling them that maybe it’s better off being dead than fighting a war which dooms most all to the fate of death.  

 

While my blog is of a much more lighthearted nature, I strive to incorporate photographs as well.  I can use myriad descriptors when discussing my lunch or coffee, but a visual of the food greatly assists readers to evision my meals.  In addition, pictures showcase the atmosphere of the cafes I visit, which is, for many, a large part of the experience in these types of places.  However, I have never considered including a video in my blog.  Since I do not need to include tutorials, aural imagery, or explanations, I do not see where videos would help me.  If you feel differently though, please let me know!

Conflict Paves the Way for Discovery (RCL #6)

While Lynsey Addario, author of It’s What I Do adores photography, conflicted feelings begin emerging once she sets out on her journey through the Middle East.  Back at home, she loved her passion, and strived to take her skills to the next level by embarking upon a meaningful international expedition.  However, the grueling, unusual circumstances existing in the Middle East caused Addario to begin questioning whether or not she loves the photographic art enough to participate in such a trip.  

 

While not as serious of a commitment, one can compare her feelings to declaring a major in college.  For example, I decided to pursue a minor in flute performance, basing the decision on an affinity for playing my instrument in high school groups and local competitions.  I practiced about an hour a day at home and improved steadily over the past several years, but receive an eye opener at the university level.  The students around me are extremely hardcore and practice for hours on end.  They eat, breathe, and sleep music.  Suddenly an old passion has become intimidating, mundane, and time consuming, and I begin wondering if I am truly cut out for such a path of study.  Can I be an engineering major and find the time for a rigorous, daunting hobby?

The 2017-2018 Penn State Flute Choir

While Addario’s conflict is not identical to mine, she makes hers relatable by following her unique remarks with the “light at the end of the tunnel.”  She may have endured horrible things such as “air hot and dry as a blow dryer,” no clean water sources, and “sun that seared [her] light skin,” that I may never experience, but we both came out on the other side and realized how the journey was worth the destination.  Whether pain is measured as days in a grueling hot desert or hours on end in an uninsulated practice room, having yourself as your own worst enemy, it becomes worth it when you take an exceptionally candid photo, or play a beautiful recital piece for all of Penn State’s Music majors.  In Addario’s case, she reached a sign which said “Save the children.”  With her recent journey in mind, she could easily relate the perfectly staged photo to what she has just conquered.  

A Lynsey Addario photo showcasing the scarcity of water and brutal heat of the desert

In my passion blog, I strive to show how obstacles in my life yield new discoveries.  While I previously focused on relating cafes and coffee shops to my friends at home, I begin shifting towards how my struggles here bring me new places.  Whether a scheduling conflict brings me to Au Bon Pain cafe and the Steidle Building study lounges, or a math review session opens my eyes to the unique Cafe Laura, my own conflicts pave the way for trying new things.  

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rough Draft

Politics and frozen yogurt.  Quite rarely would the two topics appear in the same conversation.  One appears as a divisive subject for myriad Americans and individuals nationwide, while little controversy surrounds a delectable, trendy dessert.  However, a deeper analysis of such broad thoughts yields an interesting comparison.  Specifically, the image of an inverted American flag, dating back to World War II, and frozen yogurt prove to possess a common ideology.  While deriving from greatly differing sources, both frozen yogurt and the inverted American flag as used in the Netflix series House of Cards urge American citizens to engage in the same thought process: a constant questioning of the status quo.  Just because one multimillion dollar company boasts that frozen yogurt is a healthy dessert alternative, or a politician insists that the current government actions are for the best of all citizens does not mean we should simply accept these claims as true and valid.  As Americans, the innovators of the world,  it is our civic duty to understand exactly what we are engaging in, and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.

While most people are well-aware of the growing frozen yogurt trend, they can rarely cite the origin of the phenomenon. Frozen yogurt derives from consumer demand for a sweet treat containing less unhealthy attributes than ice cream.  In 1981, “The Country’s Best Yogurt” responded to aforementioned wishes by opening a shop which sells soft-serve frozen yogurt.  Sales increased exponentially during the 1980s and myriad other companies decided to jump on the rising trend.  In the 1990s, Americans strived for high-protein, high-fat diets and frozen yogurt sales declined.  However, when John Wudel invented live probiotic powder-based mixes, the froyo trend emerged once again.  In this decade, demand for frozen yogurt has reached an all-time high, with large chains and small businesses taking advantage of the trendy alternative to ice cream.  

Inverting the American flag has been a sign of extreme distress dating back to rebellion groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the Nazis, who were the first people to use the flag in this manner.  Commonly, those protesting American ideals invert the flag as a show of their disapproval of governmental behaviors, whether this be the ideologies of another party, the corruption which governs politics, or something else.  A key example of such use of the flag occurred a few months ago as Americans protested the first Independence Day with Donald Trump serving as the nation’s president.  Appalled by Trump’s policies and ideology, they inverted the flag as a display of their disapproval of what America may become under the new leader.  When utilized by the show House of Cards, the inverted American flag symbolizes both distress and corruption.  A behind- the- scenes look at the Underwood administration reveals the Machiavellian actions the fictional president took to come to power and make the government run smoothly.  While appearing as a democracy on the surface, those who dug deep enough uncovered the totalitarian nature of their president, and lost their lives as a result.   

The greater meaning of both artifacts derives from an analysis of their rhetorical elements.  In the case of frozen yogurt, rhetors become bombarded with sensory appeals, deceptive selection of details, and stellar marketing.  Most frozen yogurt companies place a heavy emphasis on the product’s sweet and savory nature, along with the abundance of toppings one can choose from.  However, they obscure any negative aspects of the product at the same.  They boast a sweet treat healthier than ice cream without revealing frozen yogurt’s high sugar content, fail to address struggles with unhealthy toppings and portion control, and act as if the removal of the probiotics making the yogurt “healthy” does not occur.  By marketing a “best of both worlds” healthy dessert without addressing any downsides to it, frozen yogurt companies attract a great audience of Americans who fail to question their claims.  

Normally, an American flag symbolizes freedom, liberty, and independence.  However, the inversion of the quintessential American icon portrays an upheaval of such ideals.  Therefore, distress, abnormality, disrespect, and rebellion stand among the several meanings of the inverted flag.  In addition, some find an interest in studying the lack of stars on the House of Cards logo.  Do they represent disunity and the dissolution of democracy, or are they simply the product of an artist who did not feel like cramming them into the small logo?  One should question the artistic choice just like an American should question his/her government.  Overall the flag encourages readers to ponder the true nature of our government.  We cannot simply assume that the democracy is all good due to the principles it is founded on, or all bad due to the corruption and disliked political leaders of this time period.  

Aristotle’s three appeals play a key role in the analysis of these artifacts in addition.  Tying closely to the strategic marketing of frozen yogurt, industries claim that their facts prove that ice cream is far worse for an individual that frozen yogurt.  Frozen yogurt chains boast the fact that their product is low in fat and calories while containing fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamin D.  After hearing this, why would anyone doubt that froyo isn’t a bad option?  One can indulge in the sweet decadence without feeling the remorse associated with an ice cream binge, and legitimate nutritional information is on the consumer’s side. By claiming that this info is common sense, the rhetors are encouraged not to question the facts at hand.  Overall, logos claims that an individual does not need to scrutinize frozen yogurt because it is “obviously” the more logical, healthy dessert alternative.  

Additionally, pathos comes into play on this point.  As health conscious individuals, Americans are united by an ideology that making healthy choices yields a happier, more successful individual with a longer life.  Consequently, this population will opt for any food choice which is marketed as a feel-good food.  

The civic duty of the American population comes into play on a large scale when analyzing the inverted American flag.  One who looks at the artifact’s ethos appeals claims that It is the civic duty of Americans to constantly question the actions and claims of their government.  The population receives constant encouragement to play an active role in the democracy.  The democracy only works if all of the population possesses a grand knowledge of the key political issues at hand.  When looking at the logical, or logos, claims, many claim that those who are educated are most always better off than those who are ignorant and uninformed.  With a higher education comes a greater pondering of the world around an individual.  Just assuming that all he/she views on the news no longer serves as a viable option.  It is only logical to question the claims made by opposing viewpoints.  Appeals to emotion derive from reflections on patriotic actions.  For centuries, people have been fighting for the basic rights and freedoms of American citizens.  Soldiers have died in order to ensure a safe, prosperous life for his/her fellow citizens.  Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, Americans must respect such sacrifices and play an active role in democracy.  Pathos demands a call to action.  

Whether considering a choice as simple as dessert, or one as prominent as playing a role in the democratic process, Americans must respond to the call for action and use their great breadth of knowledge to make an informed decision.  Through the artifacts of frozen yogurt and the inverted American flag showcased in the House of Cards logo, an analysis of the American duties may be conducted.  Both present a surface issue which seems simple without excavating deeper.  Advertisements boast that frozen yogurt is a healthy, trendy dessert alternative, and the government claims it is function as well as it can to ensure Americans life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  However, reality proves otherwise.  Frozen yogurt abounds with sugar and increases chances of overeating, while the government hides myriad corruptions on a daily basis.  Without probing for the true facts, Americans allow a society to become ignorant and brainwashed.  Much like Lucas and Zoey attempted to reveal the true corruption of the Underwood administration in House of Cards, importance exists in exposing the false notion that frozen yogurt prevails as a “health food.”

Speech Outline: Frozen Yogurt Frenzy

Introduction:  

After the Chem 110 exam, my friends and I experienced exhaustion and a desire to reward ourselves for the hours of studying we did in preparation.  We were a 5 minute walk from a bus stop, making the Creamery a viable option.  Then, one of my friends interjected, saying “I ate way too much junk food while studying, let’s get Kiwi froyo instead!”  Over the past several years, frozen yogurt shops have been popping up across the nation.  The trendy, modern facilities boast a sweet treat you can feel good about eating.  Let’s face it, eating yogurt sounds so much healthier than sitting down with a bowl of ice cream. However, the true facts of the matter undermine the commonplace that froyo is healthier than ice cream.  Once one considers the issues of portion sizes, unlimited toppings, and a false notion that the dessert is healthy, frozen yogurt begins shifting from a good thing to a misconception which it is our civic duty to correct.  

Body 1: History

Transition: While most people are well-aware of the growing frozen yogurt trend, they can rarely cite the origin of the phenomenon.

 

  • Debuted at “The Country’s Best Yogurtin 1981 (“Our Story”)
  • Exponential growth of sales in 1980s
  • An abundance of companies jumped in on the trend as well
  • In the 1990s, Americans strived for high-protein, high-fat diets and frozen yogurt sales decline
  • When John Wudel invented live probiotic powder-based mixes, the froyo trend emerged once again (“The Origins of Frozen Yogurt”)
  • In this decade, demand for frozen yogurt has reached an all-time high, with large chains and small businesses taking advantage of the trendy alternative to ice cream

Body 2: Commonplace

Transition: With the overwhelming abundance of frozen yogurt shops in existence today, many individuals who are trying to be health-conscious decide to try the trend out.  This isn’t surprising since the commonplace that frozen yogurt trumps ice cream as a healthier dessert alternative is accepted by the vast majority of Americans

  • Contains fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamin D (“Healthy Benefits”)
  • Under 120 calories (“Healthy Benefits”)
  • Low fat (“Healthy Benefits”)
  • Contains 7 types of live and active cultures (“Healthy Benefits”)
  • Why would anyone disagree?  Everyone indulges in the decadence without feeling the remorse associated with an ice cream binge
  • Modern atmosphere makes froyo places feel like a “health food” cafe

Body 3: Refutation

Transition: While some of these benefits may be 100% accurate, many important factors are being buried by the manufacturer.  As opposed to exposing the possible negative aspects of the treat, the shops hide the facts and disregard their civic duty to inform the consumers of what they are actually consuming.  

  • Self-serve nature leads to increased portion sizes
  • Many places remove and then re-add the probiotics, thus causing them to lose some of their health benefits (Orlov)
  • Myriad unhealthy toppings to choose from
  • Most people choose sprinkles, peanut butter cups, and gummy bears before looking at blueberries, strawberries, or chopped nuts
  • People think froyo is healthy, so they don’t exercise self-control
  • Sometimes, frozen yogurt can contain more sugar than ice cream (Orlov)

Conclusion:

After analyzing the positive and negative attributes of frozen yogurt, I do not strive to discourage anyone from indulging in the sweet treat.  I simply urge all to educate themselves briefly on the latest trends before simply becoming a follower.  It is our civic duty to understand what exactly we are engaging in, and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.  Frozen yogurt prevails as a unique dessert which I highly recommend, but simply accepting the commonplace that it is healthier than ice cream creates an uneducated community.  While it’s good to moderate the consumption of any dessert, feel free to treat yourself to froyo in the near future, whether it be Kiwi or the cheaper option in Redifer!

________________________________________________________________________

Works Cited

“Healthy Benefits.” The Country’s Best Yogurt, TCBY, 2017. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.

“The Origins of Frozen Yogurt.” Frozen Yogurt Solutions, 8 June 2015. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.

Orlov, Alex. “The Real Scoop.” CNN, 10 Aug. 2015. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.

“Our Story.” The Country’s Best Yogurt, TCBY, 2017. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.

Crafty Contrast

While the vast majority of Lynsey Addario’s It’s What I Do engages and captivates my attention, the first full paragraph of page 91 (part of Section II) prevails as an extremely vivid section.  From utilization of stark contrasts between the feminine, confident Elizabeth and hesitant Addario’s masculine facade, employment of active verbs, and vivid imagery, a standout piece of literature derives.

 

Though the juxtaposition of herself and Elizabeth, Addario creates a rich, intriguing selection of writing.  As opposed to simply mentioning Elizabeth’s feminine aspects, Addario milks the opportunity to emphasize the polar opposite nature of her and her colleague.  While describing her own clothes, Addaio remarked that she donned “…jeans or army pants, sturdy hiking boots, a modest top.”  Employment of asyndeton produces a list of traits which lack excitement and vividness.  Such a description accurately mirrors Addario’s current state: a lost woman attempting to blend in with the men surrounding her.

 

Color serves as an outlet through which Addario expresses her feelings.  While attempting to blend in with surroundings, she cloaked herself in basic hues, including “black, brown, (and) gray.”  Conveying a bleak, boring, drab connotation, dark colors express Addario’s lack of a “sense of normalcy.”  As she attempts to conceal her femininity, Addario obstructs her true character in addition, which, in turn, disrupts her sense of normalcy.

Addario, pictured above, wearing basic colors: blue and navy green

 

The false sense of identity Addario suffers from made this section particularly compelling as well.  After thoroughly depicting her attempts at a masculine presentation, she notes her drastically differing appearance at home, where she “wear(s) tiny miniskirts and high heels.” While Addario yearns for a sense of belonging and blending in with the predominantly male population in her field of work, the drab colors and “sexless clothing” inaccurately reflect her personality.  Just like any other art form, successful photography results from a blend of technical skills and personal artistic vision.  However, the discomfort associated with attempting to be someone she is not harms Addario’s comfort level, thus impeding her work.

 

Myriad techniques employed by Addario can enhance the quality of my passion blog, too.  Through use of asyndeton, I will create a description of each coffee shop (in addition to the parallel stories about friends from my hometown) with equal emphasis on all parts of the experience.  This proves an extremely helpful technique since I want to convey the idea that the food and beverages hold the same significance as the surroundings and people I meet in a cafe setting.

The inhabitants of Starbucks, in conjunction with the murals on the walls, lighting, food, and drinks jointly create the ambience

 

While vivid imagery serves as a crucial portion of any descriptive passage, I strive to employ color imagery and stark contrasts much like Addario.  The multi-colored strands of lights of Penny Lane Cafe, small, yellow globe lights at Irving’s, and dimly-lit nature of Clarence Center coffee all contribute to the overall experience of inhabiting the establishments.  In addition, colors viewed can symbolize the individuals I meet in a cafe (strands of lights surrounded by darkness may symbolize a friendship which both began and ended in the same place).

 

While Addario and I possess quite different passions, similar techniques can convey the intricacies and personal nature of our interests.

Seize the Day

When I took AP Physics C, one of three “phases” of the course involved adding calculus principles to the algebra-based mechanics explored in AP Physics 1 the previous year.  In order to distinguish between the algebra and the calculus, our teacher created two catchy terms: “living in the average” and “living in the instant.”  When looking for an average velocity, displacement, acceleration, or other kinematic quantity, algebra provides a totally acceptable answer, and we were therefore “living in the average.”  However, when the velocity of a car when t=4s is required, an instantaneous velocity is necessary and calculus provides a correct answer (therefore we were “living in the instant”).

Pictured above: Mr. Smith’s teaching methods at their finest!

 

My classmates and I turned the idea of “living in the instant” into a “carpe diem” type of saying.  When one would complain about a bad fight with a friend earlier in the day or dwell on a bad grade in calculus, we told him or her to “live in the instant!”  Instead of letting the past hold a classmate back, we encouraged each other to seize the day and take advantage of future opportunities.

 

In a similar manner, Linsey Addario recounts Nina’s experiences with love.  While Nina boasted a successful, satisfactory life with a man who cared for her, she settled for a peaceful, average life.  While appreciating her husband, her true feelings of passion lured her to an old lover.  However, she did not act upon these feelings.  Whether her complacency derived from fear, a desire for normalcy, or something else, kissing Sal after years of separation reminder her of the true, deep love she missed out on.

 

By including this story in her memoir, Addario distinguishes between existing and truly living.  Much like “living in the average,” an individual who just lets things happen to them and accepts good instead of striving for great cannot truly be happy.  By pursuing a true passion and doing whatever must be done to succeed in such endeavors, one beings “living in the instant” and gains control of his or her life.  I believe Addario thinks of her passion in a similar fashion.  Having an affinity for something means nothing unless she acts upon in and makes a difference.

 

While coffee shops and cafes appear as a passion void of true importance, they contain a direct link to many of my friendships.  A cafe served as the place where I bonded with the friend who helped me come out of my shell and become a more vocal, ambitious, and independent individual.  Through trying new establishments and connecting them to my experiences at local eateries with the people I love, I can shape the story of my evolution as an individual.

Just a few of my favorite coffee shops and cafes in the Buffalo, NY area!

A Plethora of Passions

Upon reading Addario’s insights in the section of It’s What I Do titled “Prelude,” a variety of my own passions came to mind.  While all play a significant role in my life, some emerge as quirky and whimsical while others possess a more serious side.

Back in the spring, I attended an Accepted Students Day while determining which college I wished to attend.  With about an hour to spare, my roommate (a sophomore at the time) led a tour of Atherton Hall and the surrounding area.  Being an avid caffeine lover, I proceeded to ask about the various cafes and coffee shops.  This quickly sparked a conversation with no end in sight.  From chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts to local options, such as Irving’s and Bagel Crust, there seemed to be an infinite number of locations which serve as both study corners and delicious eateries.  Once I told my current neighbor about the experience, we jokingly decided to try every possible coffee shop in the State College area.   However, a passion blog would be a great excuse to try a new cafe every week!

Music emerges as one of my passions as well: one which I could take in a number of directions.  My love for playing the flute serves as a more-serious hobby, but from it derives more whimsical ideas.  On Snapchat, I send a daily music pun as opposed to the classic “streaks.”  Maybe I could create a band geeks/ music jokes blog?  Here I would attract a more specific audience.

 

While still uncertain, I believe I have found several solid pics for my first ever blog!  Please let me know your thoughts and what you feel would be most interesting.