Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Electronic Portfolio/Final Reflection


Electronic Portfolio

Brayden Chapman
10/28/13
Curious Incident Essay

      In my opinion, the quote “Sometimes people are born with disabilities, but it’s communities that handicap them” is correct. A person may have a disability, but that doesn’t mean they are useless. Unfortunately, some communities do not understand that. Instead, they focus on the problems caused by the person’s condition and not the person’s strengths. If society would let the men, women, and children with mental conditions focus on their strengths, they wouldn’t be weighed down by their disabilities. There are many examples of men and women with physical or mental conditions excelling in subjects most people find quite difficult.
      In the book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” the main character is Christopher, a fifteen year old boy with autism. He is actually a genius, despite the setbacks his disability causes. He is very good at math, making observations, and finding complicated patterns. Unfortunately, he has trouble talking and communicating with people. Because of this, the community he lives in doesn’t appreciate him for his mathematical talents. For example, when he was walking down his street and knocking on people’s doors, he was trying to obtain information about the murder of Wellington, Ms. Shear’s dog. He was actually trying to do a very nice thing and discover who the murderer was so they would be punished. Sadly, Christopher was seen as an idiot by the people he talked to because he acted odd when questioning them about the murder of Wellington. He was acting so strange around them because of his autism, which made talking to strangers very hard for him. Unfortunately, the people didn’t care if he had autism or not. All they knew was, there was a fifteen year old boy acting like an idiot and asking questions about a dead dog. If they had known just how smart Christopher really was and that he was simply trying to do a nice thing, they might have actually taken him seriously. This connects to the quote because Christopher was just trying to do a nice thing, but society judged and insulted him because of his autism.
      In the “Sherlock Holmes” book series, the main character, Sherlock Homes, is believed to have autism. The series follows Sherlock solving mysteries using mere logic and his intellect, which is very high because of his mental condition. He can spot and remember things people with normal brains would never be able to. In the book “The Hounds of the Baskervilles,” a stick of some sort was found in Holme’s home. By observing the stick, Holmes was able to determine a great many things about the person who had left it there. When the man came to the door looking for Sherlock Holmes, he told them he had left the stick there. After talking to him for a while, it was revealed that almost all of Holme’s theories about the man were correct. Throughout the entire series, Sherlock uses his amazing observation skills, which he demonstrated in my example, to help people and solve all sorts of mysteries. This is an example of someone using their disability to help people and make the world a better place. If people were to judge Sherlock like they judged Christopher in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,” many of the mysteries in the books would have gone unsolved and criminals the would not have been punished. Although this is just a fictional book series, a person with autism could do the exact same thing as Sherlock in real life, but because society shuns them, they would never get the chance to help people like Sherlock Holmes.
      Like in both of my other examples, in the movie “Silent Fall,” there is a child who has autism. Because of his autism, he hates round foods and doesn’t like it when his food is touching other kinds of food on his plate. When getting lunch with his family, he told the waitress he didn’t want the peas because he didn’t like round food. Ignoring the boy’s request, she put the peas on the plate and set it in front of him anyway. The boy became upset and enraged by this. He began to scream and throw plates onto the ground, throwing a fit and disrupting the entire restaurant. The boy may have had some hidden talent, but everyone in the establishment looked at him like he was some insane monster. If people tried talking to the boy instead of judging him for his actions which were caused by his autism, they might have learned that the boy wasn’t that bad after all. But, as usual, people jumped to conclusions and thought very poorly of the young boy.
      As you can clearly see, the examples I gave support the quote “Sometimes people are born with disabilities, but it’s communities that handicap them.”  People with disabilities can have amazing talents and do great things. If society could focus on a person’s strengths instead of shunning them because of their disabilities, then people who were once thought of as morons could actually excel in many things and change the world for the better. Unfortunately, people will always judge a person from one glance, but if we all make an effort to talk and get to know people with disabilities, we may actually enjoy speaking with them and learn that there is a lot more to them than a physical or mental condition.


Brayden Chapman
8/18/13
Literacy Autobiography

      Looking back, I have come a long way since I started learning how to read and write. During my younger years, I enjoyed a book series called “Henry and Mudge,” a collection of books about a young boy and his large dog named Mudge. Although the books are quite short, I was still learning how to read so I enjoyed them a lot. Around that same time, I was starting to write stories in class. Most of mine were quite short, measuring to about six to twelve sentences. 
      After that stage, I became very interested in a book series called The Magic Treehouse, much like many other kids in my class. The series was about two children that could go into any book using a magical tree house they found in the woods. Like the other book series I mentioned earlier, this one was also quite childish, but I was still young and enjoyed reading such books.  I believe there were fifty-one books in the series and most of them were about thirty pages in length. During this time, my writing was slowly improving. Each of my stories slowly grew in length, although I still enjoyed drawing pictures to go along with the story I was writing. 
      As my reading capability slowly increased, the length of the books I was reading increased as well. I became quite interested in a book series about four children who frequently encountered fictional monsters such as vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, (And no, I am not referring to the Scooby-Doo franchise, despite how similar the two series sound.) Sadly these books were only a bit longer than the Magic Tree House books so my reading ability did not greatly improve for those few months, but my writing ability soared. I began writing stories about a full page length and stopped drawing pictures to go along with them. 
      After that book franchise began to bore me, I was unable to find another that I enjoyed. So I simply began reading a lot of mystery books since they intrigued me at the time. The books I started to read were much longer than the other ones I had been reading, so my reading skills began to increase exponentially.  I continued reading those kinds of books for several years, as I was unable to find a new series that I found interesting. The whole time, my writing skills were growing and expanding. I began writing longer stories, most reaching about two to three pages. As the length of my writings increased, my vocabulary did as well. My favorite thing to write about was my two dogs which I gave voices and personalities while putting them in many bazar situations. As I did this, my love for stories about animals began to grow. I slowly stopped reading mystery stories and began reading books and novels about animals. 
      During this time I had also grown to love survival books. I began reading short survival books and series such as “My Side of the Mountain” and “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.” I was still looking for a new book series to read as my supply of enjoyable books began to dwindle. During that time I slowly stopped reading for fun and only read for school, but that changed as new friends came into the picture. One of my close friends introduced me to a series called “Warriors.” The books were about clans of cats living in the woods. There were four clans; Wind clan, Shadow clan, River clan, and Thunder clan. The characters in Thunder Clan played the role of the protagonists of the series, which of course was the clan of the main character, Fireheart. The series sounded quite silly and childish at first, but my friend proceeded to tell me all about it, and I soon learned that the books were actually a lot more serious than what I first thought and not just a collection of kitty books. After reading the first book, I realized that they were actually quite good, containing many wars and interesting characters. I read that series for quite some time until I reached the end and noticed that the quality of the books had slowly decreased as the series progressed. I had read all of the books that had been released and decided to stop reading the series instead of eagerly waiting for the next one to come out. With the enjoyment I found in that series gone, I began reading the oh so popular Hunger games series, which was a good read but I didn’t believe it deserved all the praise it had received over the years. I would explain what the books were about, but I highly doubt I need to. Considering all of the publicity the books have received in the past few years.
      After reading that series I was once again unable to find a new collection of books that I enjoyed. I began reading more and more required books for my classes, but I didn’t enjoy very many of them. At the time, I had been playing a video game called Halo, a very interesting game with loads of lore and background. While talking to my brother, I found out that the Halo franchise was not just a collection of games, but a large collection of novels that went into great depth about the halo universe as well! The games simply followed the adventures of one character, but the books followed many new and different characters that had nothing to do with any of the missions in the video game. I began reading these books one after another, loving each one even more than the previous one. Each book was about 350-700 pages in length and kept me intrigued throughout the entire novel. Sadly, during the period of time when I was reading the Warriors, Hunger Games, and the Halo series, I had stopped writing fictional stories and focused on essays and reports. During that time however, I had continued to expand my vocabulary with much more descriptive words and improved the contents of my writings.

      Now, we have finally caught up to the present. My skills as a reader and writer have come a long way, but I have yet to reach the pinnacle of my capabilities. Both skills are constantly improving as I continue to progress through high school. I look forward to seeing just how good of a writer I will become in the future.


Brayden Chapman
12/27/13

Duel for the Derekus Stone
(Writers Craft 2)


Xith slowly climbed the spiral staircase of stone to the top of Glacial Tower. He had battled alongside other knights of the land for years in an attempt to destroy The Cult of Chaos. Xith had fought his way through waves of armored enemies to reach the glacial tower where the greatest fight of his life awaited him. The cloaked man was nearing the end of his quest to kill Malakarth, the Chaos King. It had taken five hundred years, but the Derekus Stone had finally regained enough power to grant another wish. The last time the stone had been used was when Malakarth had traveled to Glacial Tower and wished for immortality. That was how the Chaos King had lived for over five hundred years without aging a day. if he died in battle, his body would regenerate the very next day. After hundreds of years, Malakarth would finally get the chance to make another wish on the stone.
Malakarth stood with the Derekus stone glinting on the handle of his battleaxe, watching Xith step onto the roof of the tower, ready to kill. “Xith! What a pleasure to see you again! I believe the last time we met was the day I killed your pathetic friends during my attack on Noctus!” He chuckled as he met Xith in the center of the tower. “I doubt you arriving here is a coincidence, considering the Derekus Stone can only grant a wish in the location where it was forged. The stone can only be used when the full moon is directly above us… so how would you like to hear what I’m going to wish for before you die by my hand?” Xith glared at the Chaos King, not responding. “I’ll take your silence as a yes,” Malakarth sneered. “As you know, my soldiers and myself use weapons and armor forged by The Order of the Night, an army existing in ancient times. Their- ahem, OUR armor and weapons grant us limitless power. As long as we are under the moon, that is. Sadly, because of your metaling… my soldiers don’t live very long lives. So I thought of a way to make my soldiers less incompetent.” Malakarth grinned. “I realized the only time my men could get anything done was during the night when the moon was giving them strength. So if I could prevent the sun from rising…”
Xith’s eyes widened as he realized what Malakarth was going to wish for. Marakarth chuckled as he saw Xith’s expression. “I’m going to wish for eternal darkness! My soldier’s strength shall never again falter!” The Malakarth laughed loudly. “We have fought before Xith, you know how strong I am! Do you really want to fight the mighty Chaos King?”
Xith stared into Malakarth’s soulless, unblinking eyes. With a sigh, he summoned his remaining courage and finally spoke. “Fight you? No, I want to kill you.”
Metal clashed as their weapons met. Xith pulled his swords back as adrenalin overtook him. His rage guided his blades towards his foe’s legs. Malakarth stepped backwards just in time. The two enemies glared at one another from opposite sides of the tower, trying to predict what the other would do. “Perhaps…” Xith’s thoughts were interrupted as Malakarth lept towards him, axe swinging. Xith ducked, sidestepped, and jumped, trying to avoid the onslaught of blows. Regaining control, Xith struck back in a flurry of slashes. The two warriors swung at each other in a fast-paced battle. Malakarth swinging fiercely at Xith as he dodged each blow, finding time to cut through Malakarth’s armor. Finally, the two were locked in a standstill, Xith trying to hold back Malakarth’s axe with his two broadswords. Malakarth quickly extended his leg and knocked Xith onto his back, unarmed and defenseless.
“You’re even more idiotic than your friends!” laughed Malakarth as he aimed his axe at Xith. “At least they had the sense to fight me as a group!” Xith quickly glanced at the sky and noticed the moon was directly above them. He had bought himself enough time. “Now perish! Just like the fools that have died before you!” Malakarth swung his axe towards Xith’s head, but Xith rolled to the left. He reached out and touched the Derekus Stone. The Chaos King frantically tried to pull his weapon away from Xith, but it was stuck inside the stone.
“Derekus Stone, bring me to a time before Malakarth’s name struck fear into anyone who heard it! Bring me to a time before the Chaos King was immortal!”


Final Reflection
1/28/13

      From a writing standpoint, this year has been fantastic for me. I feel I have improved exponentially ever since the school year began. In my portfolio, I put three pieces I have written this year. The first one is my Literacy Essay. Last Summer, we were assigned to write an essay about the steps we took on our journeys to become the readers and writers we are today. To write the essay, I had to search through my mind for the books I had read in the past sixteen years and uncover countless forgotten memories that had remained untouched for years. After that, I wrote it down in the order I read the books. Since I wrote it close to the end of the Summer, I hadn’t actually written any sort of paper for several months. Because of that, the piece was worse than all of my current work. It had plenty of grammar mistakes that I can now spot with ease. For example, throughout the entire essay, I forgot to put commas after words such as “however” and “Also”. Because of this, I decided to correct most of the mistakes I saw in the piece. Although I couldn’t make the essay as good as my current writings, I decided to use the piece since it gives people a good idea of how much I’ve improved since the start of the year. 
      The second piece I used in my portfolio was my “Curious Incident” essay. The piece was about how men and women with mental conditions can easily excel at so many different things, but are held back by society and its refusal to accept them because of their mental illnesses. To write the piece, I had to look back through all of the stories and movies we had watched this year and find examples of society looking down on someone just because the person’s mental condition. I feel the piece is well written, but I could have used a larger variety of words. I chose to include the piece in my portfolio because, despite its flaws, I feel I did a great job writing it and can relate with those who are shunned because of a condition. I feel very strongly about the topic, so I believe I put more effort into this essay than all of my other pieces this year. 
     ]The last story I used in my portfolio was my second writers craft. The piece was about a duel between Xith, a skilled swordsman, and Malakarth, the Chaos King. I chose to use the story because I felt it was important to include a piece I actually enjoyed writing. I believe the piece’s greatest strength is the large amount of lore I was able to create and put into the story. Although, its greatest strength also caused its greatest weakness. Because it exceeded the word limit, I had to delete most of the details which made the story bland and boring. The writing process was simple; I thought of a setting, the reason for the duel, and let the ideas flow from my head as I typed. Then I went back and trimmed it until it fit within the word limit. 
      Of course, my writing portfolio isn’t the only thing I’d like to talk about in this letter. Looking back, I have met one of three of my writing goals I set for myself this year. One of my goals was to improve upon character dialogue in stories, which I have definitely done. For example, almost half of my second writers craft was dialogue, and I feel it went very well. My second goal was to make my stories much longer, which I have achieved in a way. Normally, I am forced to go back and shorten my pieces since they exceed the word limit. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to see if I can write an actual story and make it long since there is always a word limit. Which brings be to my final goal, I planned on making transitions in my stories better. But, like my second goal, I haven’t had a chance to practice that since I mainly write essays.

Brayden Chapman









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