Stock Market Game

In my language arts class at Durham Academy we read The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. The Westing Game is a mystery novel about the pairs of the hiers of Sam Westing trying to figure out who murdered Sam Westing. In this book, each pair of heirs has a different strategy. One pair, Turtle Wexler and Flora Baumbach, try to use their clues and money they’ve obtained and invest into the stock market.

Because of Turtle Wexler and Flora Baumbach’s adventure into the Stock market, my language arts class decided to do the same. We worked with Mrs. Sprague, a math teacher here at Durham Academy, and Mrs. Donnelly, a language arts teacher here at Durham Academy, to set up spreadsheets with formulas to make updating our current stock prices easier. Each of the students in my class put 20,000 fake dollars into the stock market and over the course of the month of may,  we either gained or lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In the end, on May 30, 2023, I gained $740.94.

What I learned through this experience is to always check the news and the stocks history.  I checked the news and the monthly history of at least 20 stocks and finally decided that these four stocks were by far the most consistent. I bought 29 shares of McDonald’s, 15 shares of Costco, 5 shares of Microsoft, and 8 shares of Netflix.

Storied Planets

One of the books we read during language arts class at Durham Academy is The Last Cuintista by Donna Barba Higuera. The Last Cuentista is about a girl named Petra Peña who, along with her family and hundreds of others, has to travel to a different planet to escape from an incoming asteroid that would soon destroy Earth. After waking up on the ship in which she left home, Petra realizes she is the only person who remembers Earth and must use storytelling to keep both her Hispanic heritage and overall human history alive. An important theme in The Last Cuentista is how keeping stories going is vital to understanding the history of humans. In addition, stories are vital in learning and understanding more about people and their culture in general.

After this 3 month long book project, my language arts class took up another challenge, creating our very own ideal worlds. During this project, I imagined a whole semi-realistic (but not really) world, wrote a report on my planet, its political system, and things you can do there, and drew an illustration of my WHOLE planet. Overall, I enjoyed this project because of the creativity I could put into it from imaging and designing my planet to writing a six paragraph report about my planet’s goats and Glacier Frost Gatorade Cherry river.

I may have enjoyed this part of creating my very own Ideal World, but what came after this was even better… turning our six paragraph report into a 3D handmade book! We cut, glued, and painted with the help and support from the well known artist, Peg Gignoux! We started this book by akua ink printing on several different pieces of paper from graph paper to music pieces. After this, we cut out different shapes to get ready for the next step, gluing and collaging. We started gluing and collaging the different shapes and sizes of paper we cut out earlier into rocket ships, Gatorade rivers, aliens, and anything else you can imagine! Finally, after we were all finished with the insides of our 3D books, we glued on the cover, decorated them, and added the finishing touches to all of our amazing, creative, and kind of sticky, 3D books.

I would just like to give a big thanks to Peg Gignoux for helping me create my 3D Ideal world and Mrs. Donnelly for both planning the whole unit and for helping me keep my writing neat and legible.

My Spin on Spin

Giving a Ted-like Talk was a really good experience not only because it taught me the life lessons of public speaking but because it allowed me to teach and speak out about something that is important to me. My Durham Academy 6th grade language arts class worked tirelessly for the whole month of May to create our very own Ted-like Talks. In my Ted-like Talk, My Spin on Spin, I showed through tennis that succeeding is not just about the strength and brute force one puts into something, but it’s the technique and care one puts into something that leads them to success. 

Watching my peers’ Ted-like Talks I was amazed by their presentation and public speaking skills, even more because I hadn’t even started my Ted-like Talk until several of them were already done. One of the hardest things for me when creating a Ted-like Talk was deciding my topic. When deciding, I had to think about what I have been doing my whole life, what I love, and what is important to me. Still with hundreds of options this was an extremely hard decision. I realized: I can’t only have a topic that I like and that is important to me; my topic also has to be about something I can teach about through either a life lesson or something that my peers and maybe others do not fully understand. Then it hit me… Tennis! The spins of tennis would fill all of these requirements and make a perfect Ted-like Talk.

When creating my presentation, because I was talking about spin, some of the concepts I was trying to communicate needed a visual or even a video to help people understand. Spin is created by the angle of your tennis racket so with videos I could show how the angle of the tennis racket affected and spun the ball in an easy to understand and descriptive video. The hard part was making these videos… This process took hours, especially because I had to draw each individual frame in FlipaClip, an animation app. Research for this project was light, but writing even one paragraph per video explaining a pretty complicated topic such as the spin of a tennis ball is also a long process. Even with descriptive videos to go along with those several paragraphs this was still a hard and long process to discuss in a five minute talk. 

On the day of my presentation, I walked into our language arts feeling extremely nervous but confident in the long, painful hours of preparation of my talk. Being first out of numerous peers on my presenting day, I walked to the podium as some people settled into their seats with others still walking in.

Once everyone in my class took their seats, I took a deep, long, awkward breath to calm myself and started. In the first few slides in my presentation, I spoke both fast and with uncertainty, probably only taking one or two breaths every slide. As I coughed the words out that I had been practicing for hours before, I glanced at each and every one of my peers at least once to see if there was even a trace of confusion. Over the course of My Ted-like Talk, I became less nervous, speaking with both confidence and good pace, pointing out and explaining videos more thoroughly. Before I knew it, I was at the end of my talk and both clapping and compliments filled the air. I was overjoyed with the result and because my hard work paid off.

In the end, the process of making and presenting my Ted-like Talk and watching my peers’ Ted-like Talks was extremely rewarding because I could connect with peers who had similar interests on topics, learn about topics that I never heard of before but sounded really interesting, and learn more facts about topics I may have known about before. In large part, I owe these amazing rewards of Ted-like Talks to Mrs. Donnelly, my language arts teacher, for planning and pushing our class to write the best possible talks we could give about something that is important to each of us. 


Mardi Gras Party!

In French class we spent a couple of classes planning, learning, and celebrating Mardi Gras. We decorated the room in green, purple, and gold and made traditional masks. We brought in a variety of food including a king cake, bread pudding, beignets, and cookies. We painted faces and I got my face painted like a goat! It was all so fun!

Mardis Gras, translated from French to English as Fat Tuesday, is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which is the start of Lent. Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday where some Christian people give up something they value. This means Mardi Gras is the last day of the week-long celebration leading to Ash Wednesday.

People usually celebrate Mardi Gras with green, purple, and gold which represent faith, justice, and power. People also celebrate Mardi Gras with masks so they can do things they usually would not do without ruining their reputation. Another way people celebrate Mardi Gras is with a king cake, which I brought into my class. The king cake originated from the Christian story of the three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. In fact, one of the special things about a king cake is that there is a tiny plastic baby hidden in it, who represents baby Jesus. If you get the plastic baby in your slice then you are the king or queen of the day but you have to bring in the king cake next Mardi Gras.

I have learned so much about Mardi Gras and had a fun time celebrating it. This is all thanks to my amazing French teacher. Merci for reading this!

My Ideal World

Hello and welcome to Planet Penn. My name is Deuce and I will be your tour guide for today. Grab your cameras, because we will be exploring the natural, technological, and political wonders of Planet Penn. Oh, and thank you for touring today with Planet Penn tours.

We are now passing one of nature’s greatest treasures, the massive glacier frost Gatorade cherry river! Not only is this river massive, but it sustains over half a billion goats worldwide. As you can see, the goats are not only drinking the Gatorade, but they are also eating the planet plant… GRASS! But this grass isn’t just any random grass, this grass is bouncy and lets the average person jump six feet in the air!

Here we are at our first stop, tennis town. One of tennis towns biggest tourist hits is the court. This may just sound like a big room with a bunch of judges but going to court on Planet Penn is a lot different here than anywhere else. Let’s say you and your friend had an argument, you go to court and play a tennis match to see who is right. And don’t worry about unfairness, because everyone has equal power at Planet Penn. You may also find hundreds of smoothie shops all around tennis town. Smoothies are a legacy at tennis town and are part of everyone’s diet. Oh, and don’t worry about how fresh the fruit is, the fruit is freshly shipped in from Planet Prince.

We are now here at our second stop, Planet Penn’s Match-Point Mountain! Match-Point Mountain is a popular tourist attraction because of the amazing view of Planet Prince and the yearly Overhead Open. Everyone in the galaxy of II Serve can come and compete at the Overhead Open for the Clay Court Cup. The galaxy of II Serve is huge and is home to thousands of planets, which makes this tournament the largest tournament in the universe. Last year the finals were against Ace who plays for Planet Penn and Ad who plays for Planet Prince. This was a very exciting match because Planet Penn and Planet Prince orbit each other in the galaxy of II Serve. Ace finally won the match 3 sets to 1 set.

Here we are at our third and last stop, our biggest company, Triple T or Tennis Town Tech. Here Planet Penn’s amazing scientist invented the huge, luxury, racket ships you probably got here in. These racket ships are the biggest in the galaxy and have amazing technologies within them including our 60 mph moving walkways through the strings of the racket and a humongous jet that can carry a huge ship and thousands of people from planet to planet. Tennis Town Tech has other amazing technologies including outer space tennis which is exactly how it sounds and the Apple phone 2554 which you can now ride on!

Thank you for flying with Planet Penn tours and we hope to see you again soon. We hope you learned lots about Planet Penn. Don’t forget your cameras!

 NC Museum of Natural Sciences

(Photo taken by DA teacher)

The Durham Academy 6th graders had an amazing time at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a museum in Raleigh that has four floors with things about North Carolina I never knew. The exhibits not only showed me things about North Carolina that I never knew but showed them to me in an engaging way.

One amazing thing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was the Research Center. The Research Center was a place where, through a glass panel, you could watch paleontologists study real fossils! This was really cool to me because I have never seen scientists at work.

Another amazing thing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was Prehistoric North Carolina. Prehistoric North Carolina was a place with actual skeletons of dinosaurs that walked on the lands of North Carolina including the acrocanthosaurus atokensis. This was awesome to me because it’s cool to know you might be standing in a place where a dinosaur once stood.

We had an amazing time at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and we learned so much. The exhibits taught me things I never knew in a memorable way. It gave me new reasons to love North Carolina. I hope to go back sometime soon!

Window or Mirror?

One book I have enjoyed reading recently is The Compound by S. A. Bodeen. This book is a mirror because the main character, Eli, like me, has a lot of siblings and sometimes feels kind of stuck with his family. This book is also a window book because he is 15, which is older than I am, and has lived underground for six years because there may have been a nuclear attack. Fortunately, I have lived above ground and never lived through a war. This book is both a mirror and a window book.

A window and a mirror book are expressions to show how a book relates to you. A mirror book is a book that relates to you in general. A window book is a book that you can’t relate with at all. If you are reading a book that’s a window and mirror then that book relates to you in some ways and doesn’t relate to you at all in other ways.


My Baking Adventure!

If you didn’t know already, I love baking, tennis and skiing. For this blog post, I will be talking about baking. This September, 2022 I baked some cupcakes for my class.

This inspired my whole class to start baking. I started baking more and so did the rest of my classmates. Sweet treats after sweet treats until I finally ended up with my ganache covered, fake blood stained, vanilla cake.

I love baking because of all the exciting fun you can have. Baking for me is like making the most fun DIY kit in the world that’s also edible. I also love baking because baking makes other people want to bake. Right when I started baking for my class I started a chain reaction of everyone wanting to bake. I love baking!

Wisdom Tale Rap

Terrick and I partnered up for our Wisdom Tale project. The wisdom tale we choose was « A Monk with Heavy Thoughts «  and we presented it in a rap. Rap lyrics:

beat x2  Two zen monks walked on a muddy road [beat] but when the elder monk saw a woman! Scooped her up and walked over, puddle! [beat]  hours and hours and hours and hours lateeer![beat]  the younger monk said (PAUSE)  We dont touch dem woman [beat] the elder monk says    why then hours and hours and hours and hours later! [beat] why are u still carryin her. (Say ohhhhhhhh)

Bold is Terrick

Not bold is William



Cold is cool, Tennis is life

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