Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 103 - The BHS 30 Day Responsible Citizenship Challenge - Mrs. Janovitz's AP Lit Students

Please check out the all of the information and resources at the website and register for this challenge! 

Who are we?
We are students in Mrs. Janovitz’s 2017 Senior AP Literature and Composition class. We have spent much of this year reading and analyzing literature and nonfiction texts that address various social and political issues. That work led us here. Our discussions of these texts made us realize that civic engagement is essential. So, here at Burlington High School in Massachusetts, we are working to promote responsible citizenship throughout the community. We have made a 30 day challenge in order to get the students, teachers, community, and YOU involved.  Please join us in our effort to promote responsible citizenship and better our community and our country!

What is a responsible citizen?
While ideas about responsible citizenship may vary, our team has developed the following definition:
     Being a responsible citizen in 21st century America requires individuals to uphold and promote core democratic values by seeking knowledge and understanding, communicating openly and honestly, serving the common good, engaging in civic action, and expressing both loyalty to America and respect for other cultures. 

What’s the challenge?
 The 30-Day Responsible Citizenship Challenge offers concrete actions you can take to engage in responsible citizenship. The actions range in intensity and vary in terms of the values they promote, but they are all relevant and accessible. In creating and participating in this 30-Day Responsible Citizenship Challenge, we hope to help others promote the democratic values of equality, justice, diversity, liberty, community, and popular sovereignty. Check out the specific actions on our calendar

Citizen Squad!!!

I believe that positive change is like the ripples on an ocean’s surface. At first it is timid and polite, but after a while these ripples turn into tsunamis and hurricanes of positive change, sweeping prejudices and negative actions away from communities and replacing them a fresh clean start and positive mindset.

America became strong through its acceptance of diversity of voices and perspectives. We are built on hard work, determination, and perseverance for change and the future. As a citizen of America who truly cares about our country, I believe that civic action and responsible citizenship will steer us into improvement and create a strong future for everyone.

In a perfect world, America would be fair, safe, and full of love; however, perfect worlds do not exist. But if responsible citizens who value loyalty and moral goodness work as a unit to promote kindness and conscientiousness, the country as a whole can become a more welcoming and accepting place. America will be a place where all are allowed to express their rights and be free, just as our founding fathers had intended.

I am a woman of the future. I am an active citizen and I will participate in community actions to stand up as a responsible and powerful woman. My dream for our future is to ensure every citizen experiences equality, happiness, and peace. We all matter. We are all the future, so together we must act as one and make the changes we believe are necessary.

Though for us, high school students in Burlington, it may not seem possible to make nationwide changes, we may be able to spread the idea of responsible citizenship and become a stronger community. As a result, we could inspire other communities around us to strive for the same goals. We can make a change. It starts with us. If we care enough and work hard enough, we can make a difference.

I will personally fulfill all of these tasks to become a responsible citizen, but I am not enough alone. This effort needs to be something that we do together. We must wake up everyday and do what we need to do to make our country what we want it to be. I truly am proud to be an American, and I hope that we, as citizens of the United States, can be proud together. 

If Americans can come together to overcome our differences and engage in responsible citizenship, we can create a safe, positive, and progressive culture that is sustainable. We can make effective change.

As citizens, we must make the changes we want to see. We need to vote; we need to accept one another; we need to resist. It is time to take responsibility as citizens of the United States. Political awareness, empathy, strength, and determination are crucial qualities that will aid us in our work as responsible citizens.

I think we can make a significant difference for the future of America by creating a more accepting environment. People do not have to agree with each other. They can, however, disagree responsibly — in ways that will not cause harm or destruction. If we teach people more effective and respectful ways to communicate and disagree, many of the problems we are facing in the country today could end. We all have the same goal: to become our best selves.

My dreams for this country consist of living in a society where gender equality is assumed, in a nation where social activists have less to fight for, in a place that values education over economic standing. While a single individual accomplishing these ideals takes an immense amount of work and involves a lot of pressure, there is hope and strength in numbers. We should begin this work within our own community, together.

Citizenship isn’t about looking out for yourself, it's about realizing that we’re all in this together whether you like it or not. Social and political change rarely come from government. Change comes from the people. That's the beauty of democracy. The power is in us, we just have to use it. We’ve all received, so we all have the obligation to give back. The power of the individual is limited only by that individual.

 Forming ideas to better engage in responsible citizenship is a big part of the promotion of democratic values in the United States. In addition to collaborating with others, individuals may take personal action to better the community. Regardless of whether my personal actions are impactful in the large scheme of the country’s progress, my duty to demonstrate responsibility as a citizen living in the United States is important to me and to my efforts to uphold my own values.


A dream that I have for this country is that instead of being against one another, we, as a country, start to work together. I think Americans as a whole can make a difference together rather than apart. Because our country is so diverse, communicating with others and understanding others’ beliefs strengthens our sense of community. 

As a society, we have made huge strides to get to where we are, but to meet our modern societal goals, we have to make changes in our individual communities. We need to incorporate the idea of being a responsible citizen into our daily lives and start taking action on issues that need to be addressed.

Being a responsible citizen means being accepting of other people — accepting who they are and their outlook on life. It means being brave and kind and open to change and other perspectives besides your own. My dream for this country is that one day everyone will see others as they see themselves, as humans.

I hope that Americans can come together and support our democratic ideas. I want everyone to be equal, safe, happy, and healthy. Accepting other cultures and religions doesn’t mean that we lose our own culture.

My dream for the future is filled with equality, happiness, and opportunity. Everyone should be heard, should feel that their voice matters and is powerful. Constantly beating down “opponents” enables failure and a lack of community. If everyone respected, listened to, and valued each other, our society would be much more productive. If we worked together and encouraged each other to reach our full potential, what this society could accomplish is limitless.

I think that to improve America, we have to talk more and make a greater effort to keep an open mind. Along with honest communication, I’d like to see more kindness — not just to people, but to nature and animals as well. The more kindness we have the more it will spread. 

Our country is named the United States of America for a reason. We as citizens must stay united through acceptance and respect. Diversity makes the United States great, and a responsible citizen in today’s America needs to be open-minded and actively try to understand the views and values of others. You may not agree with them, but it is imperative to disagree respectfully and learn about others' ideas. In this way, even one person can play a role in making America a stronger, more unified country. 

I am very proud to be an American, but there is still work to be done. I believe that the first step is to be kind to everyone. Whether it be helping out a person in need, extending yourself to someone that you do not usually interact with, or performing random acts of kindness, we can build a society characterized by kindness, ultimately leading to a country characterized by acceptance of all.

We must be understanding, respectful, and empathetic of others, and we must set aside our differences to take advantage of the one similarity we all possess as Americans: the power of being a citizen.

 I wish to be actively involved in history, a living history that will affect every person out there in our great land, people who will remember our past -- its glories, triumphs, and yes, its failures. To do this is our responsibility to future generations, to make our nation a more thoughtful nation and our people more thoughtful people.

Mrs. Janovitz
I believe that responsible citizens are change agents; they are people who work to make a difference in the world around them. The students in this action team are agents of change who have accepted their role as citizens and are working towards fulfilling the responsibilities that go along with that role. I am exceptionally proud of their efforts to promote responsible citizenship here at BHS and to inform positive change in the world.

Don't forget to check out all of the details for this challenge

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 102 - Monday in Madrid - BHS Spanish Exchange Blog

Monday was our first official day in Madrid. Not only was this our first official field trip, but it was also the day the students got to meet my personal hero, Ramón. Ramón is an incredible educator who loves life, languages, learning and people.  Is incredible as he is, he is notorious for changing his walking direction 32 times in 1 minute and sprinting through Madrid! We walked 8.5 miles in total.  We started off at the National Library, took a brisk walk to El Museo del Prado, arguably one of the most important museums in the world, where our Spanish 4 curriculum came to life.  We took a break for lunch and shopping only to reunite at El parque de Retiro. More on our trip and Ramón below.
The walk around madrid was a blast! Such a beautiful place. Ramon is amazing! We went to El Retiro and it was such a beautiful scenery. The best part was riding the boats in the water and finally eating churros con chocolate. During the boat ride, we almost went under the fountain and tipped the boat. We got a little wet, while the boat got soaked. It was so funny because everyone on the stairs sitting and looking out at the water saw us and heard us screaming and freaking out. We caused a scene, but a great memory for all. The rain stopped and it became such a beautiful day, and we walked so much, but it was a great adventure.”
On Monday we went to Madrid and saw El Museo del Prado. We met Ramon and he is the cutest little man I’ve ever met. I feel like he’s probably been alive forever. We also saw this glass palace when we walked through Parque Retiro. We also went on these little boats and made Coleman row it.”
Madrid was really fun. We got to see paintings in El Prado that we had learned about previously in Spanish class. My favorite part was definitely the row boats in the park and the Crystal Palace. It was gorgeous. Ramon, our guide was awesome. He’s so nice and knows so much, though he never seems to know which direction to go!”
“Madrid was amazing!! I think I’ve walked more here these past couple days than I have in my whole life, but it is totally worth it.
The Museo Del Prado was awesome and it was cool learning about the backstory of all the pieces of art, even though we got lost once or twice or… 7 times.
The park was beautiful, and everything about it was calming and soothing expect probably Angela, Brie, and I laughing the whole time, and it was nice to relax and take photos. We went on paddle boats here and although I’m not a big fan I got to watch people get soaked by the water fountain, and people laughing at us as we almost get soaked our selves, so I guess it was worth it.
Palacio de Cristal was amazingly beautiful, and it reminded me of Uncle Montys reptile room, which is a great comparison, and also movie.
This exchange is such an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I did this, I cannot wait to see what other great things and great laughs are in store for me!!!!”
Today has been my absolute favorite day so far. Ramon was so cute and the best tour guide we could ask for he knew so much about everything. The museum was so cool to see the three different periods of Goya. The boats were amazing and the weather turned out so beautiful and it was so relaxing and an amazing experience.”
Today was the best day so far!! We first got to meet the amazing Ramon:) then went to a beautiful museum. After, we got to walk around and see a new part of Madrid and also got to go on the boats a la Parque de El Retiro. It was by far the absolute best 6€ spent!!!”
Monday in Madrid i had the best day ever! We saw many beautiful places including an old royal church, a museum, the library, and their center city park. My favorite part was walking around the park. Inside the park was many things including, a lake which we went on a fun row boat ride (which was my favorite part of the day) and then we walked around and saw a building completely made of glass it was so beautiful. but not once did i see a squirrel inside the park? it was weird. Spain is very different from America, I like it much more here.”
“Hola everyone,
On Monday, we visited Madrid and got to meet the infamous Ramon. The day began bus us losing him in the train station in Villalba, and having to wait at the National Library. Once we reconnected, we saw many of the very famous paintings in the Prado Museum. From Goya to Velazquez to Rubens, we saw many of the works we studied in Spanish VI, and were able to understand parts of them better because of that. Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures within the museum, but my picture is of the black swans on the lake by “El Palacio de Cristal” in the Parque del Retiro. I really enjoyed the buildings, the art, and the atmosphere associated with the park.”Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 6.38.11 PM.png
On Monday, we took our first field trip to Madrid. It was incredible! El Museo Del Prado is so big I feel like I could spend days there and still not see all of the art. I really loved El Parque de Retiro, which is a park in Madrid similar to Central Park in New York. I think the one in Madrid is much prettier. There are even some wild cats who roam the park! We went out on the lake that’s in the park in canoes, which was very fun, especially because the weather was so nice. The sun came out and it was a lovely day to walk 10 miles.”
-Laura F.
One of my favorite experiences in Madrid today was the rowboats at the Parque del Retiro. The Parque del Retiro was so beautiful and I enjoyed walking down the seemingly endless rows of trees and shrubbery because I did not feel like I was in the middle of a bustling city. The weather was also great as we finally saw the sun shine brightly along with a blue sky while in Spain. The rowboats were my favorite part of the park because it was fun to spend time with my friends in them and enjoy the natural beauty of the scenery of the park together.”
“On Monday, we all went to the famous museum Prado and saw paintings by Velazquez, a little bit of Greco, and Goya. After that we walked to Retiro Park and got churros, went row boating, and looked around the gardens of the park. We continued to walk throughout the park the whole day and saw many different fountains, animals, and monuments. We visited a building called the Glass Palace which is completely made up of glass and took many photos, then finished up our walk to the train station and went home.”
Our first field trip to Madrid was amazing. Ramon took us to everywhere and had facts and stories to go with everything that he showed us. The park was incredible as it looked perfect in every way. The Prado was an overwhelming amount of art. There was so much to see and it was breathtaking to walk around in.”
“Today was very fun, my favorite part of the day was the big park and going on the boats. At the park I got churros con chocolate which is my new favorite food :). I also enjoyed the dog we saw that was “singing” to the guy playing the tuba. The museum had many cool pieces of art and they were interesting to learn about especially with Ramon.”
Monday in Madrid was my favorite day in Spain so far. We saw so many cool things and the weather was so nice! We first stopped at a library and Ms. De Sousa’s friend, Ramon, told us about the statues outside. He then took us around Madrid and told us about important and cool buildings we would pass. Then, we went to Museo de Prado and Ramon showed us his favorite paintings. After, he took us to Retiro Park. After an hour to explore, we got to ride row boats. Before we left, we saw a “rain forest” in the train station.”
Beautiful day in Madrid! I had so much fun on the boats and had some delicious churros too.”
I had so much fun in Madrid yesterday. I’d have to say my favorite part was row boating. Everything around us was so beautiful and it was such a fun experience with friends. I also immensely enjoyed the glass palace. I have never been to a more peaceful place I could not believe it. I finally got to try churros with chocolate which, of course, were great!”