Reading Reflections

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowery
“Take pride in your pain. You are stronger than those who have none,” said her mother. Gathering Blue is a wonderful story about a little girl who was born with a twisted leg. Where Kira lives, girls are not treated equally to boys and they are viewed as less important. Because of this, her village tries to get rid of her, but her mother will not let it happen. She sees importance, skill and talent in Kira, from her first weaving to her last. More danger comes because her dad has fallen to the beasts in the forest and her mother has also recently passed on due to age. This makes her a girl that is all alone with a large amount of land and talent, and people want to take both from her. The Council of Guardians will decide her fate. Will she be banished from the town or will she be accepted and serve the Council of Guardians by weaving?

4.5 out of 5
7.0 AR book level
Vincent Panunzio

2/3/15 Wonder

I think Via’s life is affected by having Auggie as a brother in many ways. For one thing, August is always the center of attention so that means that Via could feel like she is never the center of attention. Unfortunately, Via’s biggest sacrifice in her relationship with her parents is not being able to spend a lot of time with them. They usually need to miss her activities, such as soccer games, because they have to care for August. Also, Via has had to learn to do many things, like homework or playing, on her own. Via can’t really live a normal life compared to families that have all healthy children, because caring for August requires an enormous amount of extra work and that takes up her family’s time. Sadly, because of the way other people react to Auggie's looks, she may be teased or bullied or people may just not try to be her friend in the first place.



Hi, my name is Jack Will. It is still summer time, but I have just had the strangest meeting at my middle school with my principal Mr. Tushman. Two of my friends, Charlotte and Julian, were there. There was also a new kid named August there, who might be coming to the school. I don’t know what is wrong with the new kid, but to be honest he looks deformed. Maybe he has been in an accident. I didn’t want to stare so I really can’t be sure. The whole meeting was a little shocking and happened pretty fast. Now Mr. Tushman has asked all of us to show August around the school, and it is awkward. I am going to try really hard not to stare or say anything that is going to make this kid feel weird about this visit. I am guessing that it’s already hard enough for him.



I think that the incident that happened to the author, R.J. Palacio, was very disturbing to her because she felt embarrassed and guilty at the way she reacted when she saw the little girl. I think that the author might have felt that a good way for her to make something positive out of a negative situation was to write a book. The book Wonder would teach other people that looks on the outside are nothing, and it’s only what is on the inside that counts.
Just like the little girl, in real life who prompted the book, August was born with a challenge that most people will never have to face and might not ever understand. I think the book is meant to help people understand the challenges extraordinary people, like the little girl and August, face every day. Then, they can act respectfully and properly when they have an encounter like the one author did.


The Importance of Maintaining Biodiversity in our Ecosystems

Biodiversity means having a variety of plants, animals, and other living things in an area. All of them depend on one another for what they need to survive, such as food, shelter and even oxygen. The biodiversity of some ecosystems can being damaged or destroyed by humans taking and changing the land from its natural state to suit our purposes, over harvesting of crops or species of sea life, pollution, diseases, and the introduction of invasive species into ecosystems that are not their natural habitat. The introduction of invasive species is very dangerous because in a new environment, they may not have any predators to stop them from multiplying and could even cause other species to become extinct. Currently, there are many species in the United States that are in danger because of invasive species being introduced into their environment. Two examples of damaging invasive species in our local environment are the Snakehead fish, which came from Asia and Africa, and the Kudzu vine, which came from Asia. They are a danger because they have no natural predators or consumers in our local environment and can continue to multiply and grow with nothing to stop them. www.luckylures.nl400 frdgh.jpgserty.jpg


Fast-food protesters cuffed at higher-pay rallies


NEW YORK — Police handcuffed dozens of protesters who blocked traffic in dozens of cities across the country on Thursday in their latest attempt to escalate efforts to get McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food companies to pay employees at least $15 an hour.
The protests, which were planned by labor organizers for about 150 cities nationwide throughout Thursday, are part of a campaign called “Fight for $15.”
Since the efforts began in late 2012, organizers have switched up their tactics every few months to bring attention to the protests, which have attracted spotty crowds. Organizers previously said they planned to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience on Thursday, which they predicted might lead to arrests.
In New York, 19 people were arrested on Thursday for blocking traffic, with at least three people wearing McDonald’s uniforms taken away by police officers after standing in the middle of a busy street near Times Square. About two dozen protesters were detained in Detroit after they wouldn’t move out of a street near a McDonald’s restaurant. Others were apprehended by police in Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Denver.
Police handcuff protesters blocking traffic on Sept. 4 in Detroit as part of a national protest to push fast-food chains to pay their employees at least $15 an hour. (Paul Sancya/AP)
In Milwaukee, Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was taken away in handcuffs by police for blocking traffic at a McDonald’s.
“I take great pride in supporting Milwaukee workers as they risk arrest in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for their families,” Moore said in a statement through her communications director, Eric Harris.
Tyree Johnson also was among those hauled away in Chicago. Johnson earns $8.45 an hour after working at a Chicago McDonald’s for more than two decades. “I’ve been there 22 years and I can’t help my family,” he said.
The “Fight for $15” campaign, which is backed financially by the Service Employees International Union and others, comes at a time when the wage gap between the poor and the rich has become a hot political issue. Many fast-food workers do not make much more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which adds up to about $15,000 a year for 40 hours a week.
The protests have not resulted in workers getting higher wages, but it has gotten media coverage. In Chicago, for instance, reporters observed supporters arriving on buses and sitting on a street between a McDonald’s and Burger King, chanting: “We shall not be moved.”
“The impact is in bringing it into the public attention,” said Chris Rhomberg, an associate professor of sociology at Fordham University in New York.
President Barack Obama has taken notice too. He mentioned the campaign at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee. “If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union,” Obama said, as he pushed Congress to raise the minimum wage.
The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that the protests are an attempt by unions to “boost their dwindling membership.” The industry lobbying group said it hopes organizers will be respectful to customers and workers during the protests. McDonald’s, the world’s largest burger chain, said in a statement that there were no service disruptions at its restaurants on Thursday.
Union organizers expected thousands to show up to Thursday’s protests around the country. Previously, turnout has been fairly minimal in many places. In an effort to get more people involved, organizers asked other service workers to join protests and added more cities than it previously had.
Shanicka Primo, who was at a protest at McDonald’s in New York, said she heard about the demonstration after organizers came to the Checkers restaurant where she works. The 20-year-old earns $8 an hour at the burger chain and said a raise to $15 per hour would help her get her own apartment. “I wouldn’t have to live with my family,” Primo said.
Don Babwin in Chicago, Mike Householder in Detroit, Candice Choi in New York, John Locher in Las Vegas and Laura Wides-Muñoz in Miami contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

My Thoughts
Across the country people in the service industry are protesting the minimum wage for workers. Most of these people work in fast food type jobs. The protesters are trying to get the federal government to raise the minimum wage from about $7.00 or $8.00 to $15.00 per hour. The workers claim that they need to make at least $15.00 per hour in order to support their families and afford decent housing. In an effort to get attention for their cause, the protests have been held at many locations across the country and have been peaceful. Some people have been arrested for sitting in the road or blocking traffic, which are forms of civil disobedience. President Barack Obama has taken notice of their protests, and this year during a speech on Labor Day, the President asked congress to consider raising the minimum wage. This protesting shows what freedom of speech means to me. It means having the right to say your opinion without having to fear that the government or another group will not let you say what you want to say. In the United States of America the freedom of speech is one of our most important rights granted by our Constitution and it is in the very first amendment.


The Lost Boys

The “Lost Boys” seems like an appropriate name for Salva and the many other boys who have been forced to leave their homes or have even been orphaned because of the savage fighting in the Sudan. I believe this because they lost in the sense that they do not have a place where they can stay, be safe, and feel like they belong again. In the movie Peter Pan the “lost boys” were independent and on their own, however in the end, they realized that they wanted to be home safely with their families. Similarly, the “lost boys” of the Sudan fighting desperately want to find their way, far away from the dangers of the brutal war, and into the safety of a new home and hopefully a new family. Sadly, until they can reach their dreams, they can still be considered “lost”.