What AP 3 has taught me


By June 12th, I would’ve attended a total of 180 days at school… which means an estimate of 180 hours alone in my AP English class.

So to sum up 10,800 minutes of my life in Mr. Z’s classroom, I will list what I have learned.



1.) We don’t use pathos, logos, or ethos.

We APPEAL pathos & logos and we ESTABLISH ethos.




2.) The Rhetorical Precis is an essay life saver.

It works for every introduction whether it’s an article, column, or essay.


3.) Always refer to literature in the PRESENT TENSE.


4.) Everything is rhetorical. Yes, even food.



5.) SOAPStone is not soap on a stone.


S: Speaker O: Occasion A: Audience P: Purpose S: Subject Tone: Tone

SOAPStone is a great tool for analyzing literature or even an advertisement.




There are tons more that I have learned this year in which I wouldn’t have gotten the privilege to learn if I wasn’t in Mr. Z’s wonderful and hilarious class. I also loved using technology to participate in this class. This class was one of a kind! #ZAPFVForever


Film of the Week: City of Ember (2008)

I dare you to read the novel, City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau, analyze its rhetorical strategies, and then watch the film 😉


A reflection on DIY Project



“For my English class, we are each assigned a Do It Yourself project. This involves an individual or group project that helps us make a difference and inspire other people. We get every Friday of class time to work on it. We call this: Idea Farming. Idea Farming involves taking a seed, planting it, and eventually growing it enough to be fed. Our goal is to turn seed to feed. That’s what this project is all about. We want to use our class time and out of school time to accomplish this DIY mission. Why? So we can make our Junior year memorable and have a story to tell when we apply for college! Most importantly… so we can make a difference!

What is the difference I want to make? My project involves changing guidevisement to FUN guidevisement! My classmate, A.J. and I have created a goal to evolve the traditional long and boring videos regarding college readiness into new short and fun videos that make every student in every grade stress less!

Our mission is to make Guidevisement entertaining and informative, without boring students to sleep. Powerpoints and four-year plan worksheets don’t work, but the collective talents of the BBN crew might! These 10-minute videos will show specific grade levels everything there is to know about college readiness.

We hope to change up Guidevisement for the better. Our ambition is make the videos as fun as possible and at the same time include an abundant amount of information regarding serious matters of college preparedness. The two sides of Guidevisement will be set to an equal balance. This is our DIY project and we will do our best to achieve this and create success not only for us but also for the students of FVHS.” –Me in September




Ladies and gentlemen, it is now MAY 2014. When I first planned this project back in September with my project partner, AJ, we never would’ve guessed how much work would be needed to put into one single video.

We were originally going to make each video ten minutes long and we would’ve made at least four guidevisement videos, one for each grade.

But we layered it down to only one video, for the seniors, because of the fact that Financial Aid is such an important topic.

Although the finished product was only two minutes long, it managed to fit in all the information necessary for applying and even some comedic bits. I mean… look at this face: HAHA


While researching FAFSA for the video, I actually learned a lot about applying myself. The information we collected has been very useful not just for the video, but for ourselves, juniors-about-to-be-seniors.

And I hope that it was just as helpful for our seniors and possibly for our future seniors at FVHS.

All in all, I learned a couple things…

1.) Plan before planning.

2.) Don’t get distracted by procrastinating.

3.) There’s a lot of work put into even the simplest things.

4.) You can end up learning a lot even without trying.

5.) The feeling after you’ve accomplished something is phenomenal. (AKA: SUCCESS)



^Courtesy of Loki.

Working on this project has been a blast and even though we’d encountered multiple dilemmas during it, it all worked out at the end because we did our best and best is always enough!



Film of the Week: The Avengers (2012)-


A Cure to AP Tests


This upcoming week is the week that shall not be named.

It’s…  AP Testing Week.


AP Tests-

Definition #1: Exam that includes culmination of year-long Advanced Placement courses. All but one of the AP exams combine multiple-choice questions with a free-response section in either essay or problem-solving format. (Source: Wikipedia)

Definition #2: Suicide that costs $89. Slow and painful, lasts about 4 hours. (Source: Urban Dictionary)


In all seriousness, the AP tests are super important, especially when it comes to our future careers. So here’s a special tip  to prepare us all AP students before the big day:

DON’T procrastinate (For some of us this might be too late.)




Also, DON’T stress out too much. Imagine… after studying for hours and hours, you finally sit face to face with your AP exam… only to pass out in front of it.



I know it’s difficult not to stress out at a time like this, especially when we are so close to the AP tests. So, here are some wise movie quotes that’ll hopefully cure your stress:


1. “I don’t need no math. I got a solar calculator with my dozen donuts.”  -Stand and Deliver (1988)

2. “Experience is a cruel teacher – it gives the exam first, then the lesson.” -Red Trails (2012)

3. “If people die the moment that they graduate, then surely it’s the things we do beforehand that count.” -An Education (2009)

4. “The main thing is to pay attention, pay clear attention to everything you see.  Notice what no one else notices and you’ll know what no one else knows.” -City of Ember (2008)

5. “You can go through all the training in the world but eventually you have to follow your instincts.” -Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

6. “High school – those are your prime suffering years.  They don’t get better suffering than that.” -Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

7. “Any process worth going through will get tougher before it gets easier. That’s what makes learning a gift, even though pain is your teacher.” -The Ultimate Gift (2006)

8. “Anyone can memorize facts and figures.  The real way to learn anything is to go out and experience it.  Let your curiosity lead you.” -Curious George (2006)

9. “Classes will dull your mind, destroy the potential for authentic creativity.” -A Beautiful Mind (2001)

10. “Intellectuals are the jocks of the mind.” -Semi-Tough (1977)


Films of the Week:

All the movies used for a quote. Yes, all ten of them 🙂

Movie quotes to poem: An Illusion



April is Poetry month. Therefore, this past month in my English class, our teacher, Mr. Z has been reading us various short poems. One was written by his very own self titled “When I Have Thumbs”. (Picture via: thescriptedtangent)



And so to honor this month of endless poetry, I decided to try and find a good poem from a movie to present and analyze. But it was difficult to find a specific poem. Instead, I found different quotes from different movies about life, and put them all together to create one poem.


Tomorrow is another day,

Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’

Life comes at you fast, it hits you and tries to escape

If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,

5 All energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back

All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us,

7 This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time,

8 Get busy living… or get busy dying,

9 Carpe diem. Seize the day… Make your lives extraordinary,

10 Because we live alone [and] we die alone

11 Everything else is just an illusion.






Movie credits by order of lines:

1 Gone With the Wind (1939)

2 The Empire Strikes Back (1990)

3 Struck By Lightning (2012)

4 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

5 Avatar (2009)

6 Lord of the Rings (2001)

7 Fight Club (1999)

8 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

9 Dead Poets Society (1989)

10-11 The Art of Getting By (2011)


Films of the Week:

All the movies used to make this poem for April Poetry Month!

King Kong during Rush Hour

I feel like King Kong on top of the world… Happy without a care.


Why? Because… My DIY project is finally finished! My partner, AJ, and I started this project back around September and it has been months since we came up with our Guidevisement idea. It took a while to prepare for writing and filming. But these past few months have been a rush of progress.


We teamed up with the powerful BBN to help us edit, film, and edit our FAFSA video. AJ and I both visited the set once each, and it was a blast!


Pleasantly, the video was completed very soon after filming. The final product came out way better than I suspected. I knew BBN knew what they were doing, but I didn’t know how fast they worked. The video was professional, and I was more than pleasant and satisfied.


What is the video about exactly? Well, it is a short yet informational PSA video regarding the FAFSA application that “ debuts one of [AJ’s] close friends, Catt, and her friend Kleon. After the long and tiring process of submitting college apps, Catt doesn’t even consider all the money she’ll need to pay for college. Kleon helps her by guiding her through the FAFSA Application Process.”


I was surprised that even though the video was quite short, it fit every information in and found a way to complete itself. My favorite part was the last line. Watch the video, and tell me you don’t agree :P. Haha. It’s amazing how words on a page became a live video. I definitely want to be part of something like this again!


Thanks to our crew, Catt, Kleon, Ashley and Karen!


Films of the Week:

King Kong (2005)-


Rush Hour (2001)-


Block schedule, Computers, and Testing all in one




I used to own guinea pigs… I never thought I’d become one…

Last week, the juniors at our school became the guinea pigs of the SBACT aka the Smarter Balance Assessment. It’s a new standardized test that will follow for the years to come. We, the class of 2015, became the first to take it.



The first time I heard about it, I was a bit bewildered, especially by the fact that it’s a “virtual” test taken on the computer. I mean, I like computers, I’m on them way more than I should be… but I’m traditional with the paper booklet, scantron, and #2 pencil.



When taking the test, I found it sort of difficult to work on the computer, which to me was surprising. Multiple choice and bubbling was a foreign concept; we had to type our own personal responses. For math, some questions were down-right ridiculous, and many times I struggled with the virtual calculator. For English, I didn’t like that I had to scroll down to read the full passages. Also, the sections with audio of the excerpts was annoying because I couldn’t focus or follow along while the passage was being read to me.

The whole “technology” concept was the biggest flaw of this new testing ordeal. My classmates on Twitter agreed.



However, one thing that made the week easier was block schedule. It was the first time we’d experienced a schedule like this at our school. I enjoyed it. Although classes were 76 minutes long, there were only three periods a day which gave us more time to finish what we started in class and an extra day to do homework.


Overall, the SBACT was decent. The questions were somewhat difficult (especially in math), but the entire testing was short. I also appreciated the fact that our scores wouldn’t count because it takes off unwanted stress. Junior year is full of testing already, this made it a bit easier. Here are some of my classmate’s thoughts on the testing:



If the SBACT wasn’t on computers, I wouldn’t complain as much. I understand that we are the new generation of “technology”, but we’re not ready for this much of a change. I like working on paper, it makes me feel more… human. What would happen if schools didn’t have enough computers for the students? Or if the wi-fi stopped working?



I’m glad us juniors got the test out of the way. It was a different way of testing. I just hope that school tests won’t all end up being done on computers. It’s scary just thinking about it…


Film of the Week: Since the SBACT was dependent on computers, this is a film that follows various characters who collide in this “riveting dramatic thriller about ordinary people struggling to connect in today’s wired world.”  It may have you looking at your cell phone and laptop with a new distrust after watching it…

Disconnect (2012)-



The Finished Product!

Our finished product!


Hello Readers,

I haven’t blogged about my DIY project in a while…and there’s been a good reason for that. Over the past month(ish), we’ve been working with BBN to film, edit, and present our final product for the video. After we finished the script, we got in touch with Karen and Ashley from BBN, who were assigned to help us with the filming aspect. They made the necessary changes on the script, and immediately started filming. Maggie and I visited the set a day each, because that was all that could fit into our schedules. Honestly, I wish I could have helped more during the latter part of this process. But alas, I do not have any filming or editing skills whatsoever.

Drum roll please…. *trumpets*

This short PSA debuts one of my close friends, Catt, and her friend Kleon. After the long and tiring process of submitting college apps, Catt…

View original post 87 more words

The Most Depressing Person in the World


I’ve recently discovered that one of my friends is possibly the most depressing person in my class the world. I mean, she’s a happy person and she’s never pessimistic, but she has been missing out. She doesn’t watch movies!

I mean, you know, the GOOD movies.

It might not be a big deal, let alone any deal, to some people… but to me, it’s complete madness. It internally hurts my movie-loving soul.

It affects me so much that I’ve decided to find an excuse to rant about it using my English class blog. Recently, we’ve been using a new argument essay tool, called an argument map. It organizes claims, transitions, and evidence.

I am now obligated to argue against my wonderful-yet-depressing friend–Let’s call her “Raining Chocolate”.


First of all, she hasn’t seen some of my favorite movies… Poseidon, Matilda, The Proposal, etc…. this fact doesn’t just make her depressing to me, but it makes me depressed as well knowing she hasn’t seen these spectacular cinematic masterpieces. And even when we both agreed that we love Romantic Comedies, aka RomComs, we still can’t settle with one that we both find particularly amazing.


In addition, she doesn’t like horror films! Nightmare on Elm Street, Insidious, House of Wax, Mirrors, Freddy VS. Jason–Scary movies are one of the best genres in the world. I’m not trying to sound like I’m not fearful of anything–In fact, I do get startled while watching horror films… but that’s why I love them. The feeling of chills running down your spine as the serial killer/evil spirit targets a protagonist in the safety of your own home is ever-lasting. It’s like a roller-coaster ride, except you know you’re not actually on it. Someone’s going die, you just know it’s not gonna be you. It’s beyond exciting.


Of course, I understand that Raining Chocolate might not have common interests in movies with me because she watches mostly foreign films. So when I asked her if she had ever watched the Chinese film, Ip Man–To which she answered “No”–I almost fell apart. It has drama, it has heart, and most importantly it has Martial Arts, Chinese Kung Fu, Wing Chun! Each movie in the Ip Man series contains all the action necessary to entertain someone for more than the two hours it plays, but forever afterwards when it pops into your mind. Although Raining Chocolate and I both love foreign movies, we still manage to disagree on the best one. Raining Chocolate’s unfamiliarity with Ip Man, my favorite foreign film, is another reason why she’s “depressing”.


However, there are some reasons why Raining Chocolate is not “super depressing”. These are R.C.’s top three movies:

1. Titanic

2. Frozen

3. Despicable Me

I have seen two out of the three. I watched Despicable Me in theaters when it first came out. I’ll admit it was quite hilarious and entertaining, I agree that it’s a good movie. I have yet seen Frozen, so I cannot argue for or against it. Finally… TITANIC.


Can I just say Titanic is my favorite movie?

Titanic is my favorite movie.

I’m not exaggerating at all–I watched Titanic before I was born! When I was in my mother’s stomach, I was already a fan of Titanic. I know that because my mother said I kicked her in the stomach when the ship began sinking (Spoiler alert, not really) so that obviously meant that I was loving the movie.

In conclusion, Raining Chocolate and I do have our differences in what movies and types of movies we watch. She doesn’t like some of my favorite movies, she hates scary movies and she likes different foreign films. But in the end, we do have one huge thing in common. That is our praise for one of the best movies ever, Titanic. Raining Chocolate is still one of the most depressing people in the world to me, but at least she has good taste for certain films. 🙂

Thanks for letting me argue against you, Raining Chocolate. Friends forever<3

To the readers who want to visit Raining Chocolate’s blog, you can find her here:




Tips, please.


“On 66 the traffic whizzed by. trucks and fine streamlined cars and jalopies; and they went by with a vicious whiz.” -John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

In Chapter 15 of The Grapes of Wrath, a diner was associated with along with a cook and a waitress.  Al is in a white cap, “moody, rarely speaking, looking up for a moment at each new entry.” Mae is “smiling, irritated, near to outbreak; smiling while her eyes look on past–unless for truck drivers.” Al and Mae get into a conversation about truckers, and how they leave the biggest tips. Their philosophy is that “the bigger the car they got, the more they [stole]”.


     Immediately after two truck drivers walk in for some food and drinks, Mae puts on a big smile and takes their order. Later on, a man and his two boys arrive inside and asks for some water and bread. Mae, annoyed, responds that they need their bread to makes sandwiches. Al, from behind the counter, tells Mae to give them the bread and she eventually does. Afterwards, the two boys fell frozen over the candy counter, hungry and desperate. Mae notices and announces the candy a penny for two pieces. The man pays a penny and the boys leave, happy. The trucker, who witnessed the act, states that “[they weren’t] two-for-a-cent candy” to which Mae replies that she was aware. When the truckers leave, Mae checks the money they left to find an extra large tip.


      And to that, I concluded that the trucker left a huge tip due to Mae’s sincerity towards the man and the young boys. Then I asked myself, When do I leave a big tip? I leave a big tip when the waiter/waitress asks about my meal. I leave a big tip when they get my orders right and deals with my constant requests of napkins and refills. I might even leave a huge tip if they smiled a lot… or even if we get into a small conversation that changes my day. Their sincerity encourages me to give them a bigger tip.


       When do I leave a small tip?

       I leave a smaller tip when the workers are impatient… when they’re rude or even when they’re annoyed of me and my never-ending yet necessary requests. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, they shouldn’t expect a very big tip.


       A worker’s actions determines the tips they deserve and the reason I decided to discuss about this was because I found it interesting that chapter 15 had a scene so simple yet relatable to everyday situations in diners or even restaurants. After reading it, I’ve been more aware of the amount of tips I leave. And I’m observing the waiters/ waitresses more than I ever have. I guess this is what reading does to me.

Thanks, John Steinbeck. Tips will now be forever in your favor.


Film of the Week:

Courtesy of the photos used in this post to represent the 50s diner, check out the movie in which they came from… A Cinderella Story (2004)


The Grapes of Wrath: 1-pager

ImageDraw and color. Analyze and write. Color and draw. Write and analyze.

      Thursday, we were assigned a small class-time assignment. A 1-pager. It has been donkey years since I had been given such a fun assignment. I got to draw and color! Yes, draw and color!


      A 1-pager is a single-page response to a reading that connects verbal and visuals. It is a way to be creative and experimental. For my 1-pager, I analyzed Chapter 3 of The Grapes of Wrath.


     I used the quote, “I seen turtles all my life. They’re always goin’ someplace. And they always seem to want to get there” said by the brilliant Tom Joad. For my interpretive statement, I made a Lit in 6 (summary in six words): “It walked, crawled, and dragged along.” I found phrases that supported my interpretive statement and the author’s tone which was patient and tired.

“His hard legs… dragging his shell along.”

“For a moment he stopped, his head held high.”

“…It hurried on, for the highway was burning hot.”

“The old humorous eyes looked ahead.”


       To be honest, I’m very proud of the result of my 1-pager. I had a lot of fun doing it and I noticed my classmates did too. So, I decided to share some of theirs!



Credits to:  Tiffany Tran

      California! The land of opportunities.

       This 1-pager was dedicated to chapter 8 when Ma talked about moving west to California. “I hope things is alright in California.” All the families were hoping to change their lives by leaving to the west where they assumed there were “little white houses…” and “…orange trees.” It was an opportunity for everyone to start their lives again. Hope was in their favor.

Selling possessions-


Credits to: Amelia Ooi

      Chapter 9 described the process people took to prepare for the west. This was a more realistic take on the conditions of leaving. Families didn’t just leave for California, they had to get money for their trip. The only way they could do that was to sell all their possessions for little money and burn their sentimental keeps. It was sad to read to about everything they had to leave behind. But they had no choice. If they wanted a better opportunity in California, they’d have to give up everything they’d started. “No. Leave it. Burn it.”

Used cars salesman-


Credits to: Sarah Kang

     Prior to the journey for the west, you’d have to buy a car for transportation. And so this 1-pager was dedicated to chapter 7 in which the narration was told as a cars salesman. His thoughts, actions, and words were told very quickly which made the chapter quite entertaining. I could hear the words and phrases repeating through my mind as I read it in my head. Used cars–Good used cars–Cheap–Transportation–Lookin’ for a car–Today’s bargain– The salesman never stopped talking.

It was revealed that the “good used cars”  were actually “bad used cars”. They were from the junkyards and was only fixed to look acceptable and usable… for the moment. They filled the engines with sawdust and they were only temporarily working. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Matilda. Matilda’s deceptive father, owner of  used cars, sold junk cars for more money than they were worth just like the salesman in chapter 7. I thought they made an interesting connection.



       Each of the chapters had so many meanings. And I must admit the 1-pagers helped me notice that. We’re not even halfway done with the book yet, and so much has been told. I hope we’ll be assigned more 1-pagers along finishing the novel!


Film of the Week: Matilda (1996)-

See the connection of The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 7 to one of my favorite films… Matilda!