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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Lifelong Benefits of Debating

Decades of academic research have proven that the benefits that accrue as a result of engaging in debate are numerous. 
Speech and debate provides students an opportunity to 
  • develop skills in research,
  • critical thinking, 
  • organization, 
  • persuasion and 
  • communication.
Students learn to accept constructive criticism from judges in each round and use it to improve their future performance. 
By Basia

Debate provides experiences that are conducive to life-changing, cognitive, and presentational skills. In addition, through debate debaters acquire unique educational benefits as they learn and polish skills far beyond what can be learnt in any other setting. At the very least, debate helps learners to see the power of deploying rational, reasoned arguments and compelling evidence in action. It enables them to elucidate their standpoint through utilizing rhetorical eloquence. It instills in debaters a great sense of poise and confidence. It teaches them the skills of researching, organizing, and presenting information in a compelling fashion.

In general, the benefits of debate include:
  1. Gaining broad, multi-faceted knowledge cutting across several disciplines outside the learner's normal academic subjects.
  2. Increasing learners’ confidence, self-control, and self-esteem.
  3. Providing an engaging, active, learner-centered activity.
  4. Improving rigorous higher order and critical thinking skills.
  5. Enhancing the ability to structure and organize thoughts.
  6. Enhancing learners’ analytical, research and note-taking kills
  7. Improving learners’ ability to form balanced, informed arguments and to use reasoning and evidence.
  8. Developing effective speech composition and delivery.
  9. Encouraging teamwork.
Check "12 Ways Debating Will Help You for the Rest of Your Life," St. John's-Ravenscourt 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Typeface Font Designed to Ease Reading – Dyslexia Font

There are several fonts that have been designed for the dyslexic readers to ease their reading.

Lexia Readable (Keith Bates, 2004),
Dyslexie (Christian Boer, 2008),
OpenDyslexic (Abelardo Gonzalez, 2011),
Read Regular,
Sylexiad (Dr. Robert Hillier, 2006),

and more... 

Let’s have a closer look.

Lexia Readable 
Originally created by Keith Bates in 2004
Lexia Readable (or Lexie Readable) was designed by Keith Bates in 2004 to capture the strength and clarity of Comic Sans. 
This font can be freely downloaded from either the K-Type web site or from the site. It is free for individual use, or for use by academic or charitable organizations. For commercial licensing, there is a one-time fee.

Developed and designed by Christian Boer in 2008
Dyslexie is a typeface font developed and designed by Christian Boer, dyslexic himself, a Dutch graphic designer, to moderate some of the issues that people with dyslexia experience when reading. He worked on it to help fight his own dyslexia. 
Dyslexie font was a finalist for the Fast Company Innovate Through Design Award in 2012 and went on to many highlights in 2013, including a nomination for the Rabobank New Generation Pitch.
Typeface That Helps Dyslexics Read
Christian Boar designs typeface for readers with dyslexia, by Dan Hawarth, 9 November 2014
Christian Boar designs typeface - letters
OpenDyslexic is a free typeface/fond designed to mitigate some of the common reading errors caused by dyslexia. The typeface was created by Abelardo Gonzalez, who released it through an open-source license. The design is based on that of Déjà Vu Sans, also an open-source font.
Read Regular is a typeface designed specifically to help people with dyslexia read and write more effectively. Read Regular aims at preventing a neglect of dyslexia, creating a more confident feeling regarding the problems that occur with dyslexia.

By Dr. Robert Hillier in 2006
Dr. Robert Hillier, a Senior Lecturer at Norwich University College of Arts designed and developed ‘Rob’s Fonts’. One of them is Sylexiad font for adult dyslexic readers, presented as part of his doctoral research (2006).

To read more
Dyslexia Font and Style Guide

Typefaces for dyslexia

Typeface writing

Dixy: A Connection Between the “Typographic Appearance” and the Brain of Children, María Fernanda del Real García, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
Journal of Literature and Art Studies, ISSN 2159-5836, January 2014, Vol. 4, No. 1, 55-61

“The third type of letter (Dixy) was specially developed for typographic research purposes, following graphic features that according to literature and previous studies on reading patterns favor the dyslexic, and could improve reading skills in these individuals. To examine the quality of reading (speed and accuracy) between fonts, a small—but significant—sample was used. Ten children in Madrid, from eight to 10 years old were examined while reading words and pseudo words with three different fonts (Arial, MeMimas, and Dixy). The result of the study shows the influence of the shapes of the letters in the legibility of texts with familiar and unfamiliar words (pseudo words) in children with dyslexia. The study showed that using the font Dixy, despite not being known by the children, reading is more accurate than using fonts known to them, such as Arial and MeMimas. As to the reading speed, the results indicate that, although the Dixy is a font never seen before by the children, reading speed is similar to a known font for them, as is the Arial, and greater than a hand writing font such as MeMimas.” Page 55

Good Fonts for Dyslexia by Luz Rello and Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Do Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts Really Work? By Guinevere Eden, Ph.D.
“Since then, however, there have been three solid, peer-reviewed research studies on these fonts. They were done in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Together they conclude that the Dyslexie or Open Dyslexic font have no measurable benefits or deliver any reading gains.
It’s important to create the most successful learning environment for your child. But the most valuable thing is to get your child the best instruction possible to build skills. That means using evidence-basedapproaches that are shown to improve reading.”

Friday, November 2, 2018

Help Diagramming Sentences

My daughter asked me to help her to diagram the sentences. Since in the past I only used parse tree (parse tree) I needed to teach myself how to diagram sentences her way. See some hints.

What is sentence diagram?
Sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a sentence to demonstrate its structure. The model shows the relations between words and the nature of syntactic structure.

Diagraming Sentence, Basic Sentence Parts and Patterns

Diagraming Basic Sentence Parts; Explanation, examples and exercises. Page 198-199

Diagramming Sentences; Grammar Exercise Workbook, page 75-79, by Prentice-Hall, Inc


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Lucy by Basia for IKEA Soft Toy Drawing Competition 2018

“My friend Lucy is full of grace. She moves through my room effortlessly, always with a smile and ready for a new adventure, with her head up, looking for a great new day to come. "Never give up, and be confident in what you do." she says. "If you fall behind, run faster." she adds. "Have no fear. Lucy is here!” she shouts, picks me up and swirls me in the air. She truly believes in me.” 
By Basia Panko

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Happy Birthday The Poetry Society of America

The Poetry Society of America is the nation's oldest poetry organization and was founded in 1910.
15 Gramercy Park, NYC

On October 10, 1910 the first formal meeting of the Poetry Society of America was held in New York at the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park, NYC.
Forty of the country's leading poets and writers enroll as charter members.

The Poetry Society of America brings the writers together to read and talk about their work, supports poets through an array of programs and awards, and encourages a deeper appreciation of poetry in the cultural conversation.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Essay to Get to Hunter College High School

Have you ever built anything from scratch? Describe it.

Writing Prompts
  1. Who is your favorite book character and why?
  2. Describe your favorite character in a book or novel.
  3. What is the best thing you have ever written?
  4. Describe your best friend.
  5. Which friend has had the best influence on you? Describe the friend and cite examples.
  6. Who do you admire or respect and why?
  7. If you could do one thing to make the world into a better place, what would it be?
  8. Describe your favorite school teacher.
  9. Describe the greatest thing you learned in school.
  10. What is your favorite school subject and why.
  11. What motivates you to learn?
  12. Describe what you like the most about New York City.
  13. If you could live in another state or country, where would it be and why?
  14. Who do you want to be (professionally) when you grow up and why?
  15. What mistake did you make that you learned a valuable lesson from?
  16. What is the most favorite object you own? Describe its sentimental value to you.
  17. What is your favorite color? Describe why.
  18. Describe your ideal day.
  19. Describe a typical Sunday.
  20. Describe the most recent thing you did during your spare time.
  21. Describe your favorite animal at the zoo.
  22. What is your favorite activity at the park?
  23. Where have you traveled recently? What was the trip like?
  24. Have you ever built anything from scratch? Describe it.
  25. What do you wish to get as a birthday gift this year?
  26. What do you think is the best invention ever?
  27. What was the best movie you ever saw?
  28. If you could discover a cure to a life-threatening disease, which one would it be and why?
  29. Tell us about a peer who has made a difference in your life.
  30. What do you hope will change about the place where you live?
  31. What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you want for us to know?
  32. What is one thing you will definitely bring to school with you?
  33. What is your proudest accomplishment for which you did not receive recognition?
  34. Have you ever owned a pet? If not, which pet do you wish you owned?
  35. Describe your favorite piece of clothing.
  36. Why do you want to go to this school?
  37. If you could choose any profession (such as becoming a lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, accountant), which one would it be and why?
  38. If you could give money to any charity, which one would it be any why?
  39. Describe the best vacation you ever went on.
  40. Describe a cell phone.
  41. Describe a treasured belonging you carry with you every day.
  42. Describe your favorite meal.
  43. Describe your dream house.
  44. Describe a memory of a place you visited as a child.
  45. Describe your ideal college roommate.
  46. Describe the streets or path that leads from your home to your school.
  47. Describe your favorite fruit.
  48. Describe a recent gift you received and its importance to you.
  49. Describe a person you will never forget.
  50. Describe a sport you play/ Describe your favorite sport.
  51. How did you spend your last two summers?
  52. What’s your favorite word and why?
  53. What is your least favorite aspect of traveling? Describe a place you visited.
  54. Describe a phobia (fear) you had and how you overcame it.
  55. Describe what it would be like to meet a famous celebrity. If you have met one already, describe what the experience was like.
  56. If you could add a subject or class at your school, what would it be? Please describe how this subject or class would benefit not only you, but also all your classmates.
  57. Describe an obstacle you have overcome.
  58. Describe your most memorable moment.
  59. Describe a specific interest or talent and how you have pursued it to date or wish to pursue it in the future.
  60. Tell us about a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and how it impacted you personally.
  61. You are required to spend the next year in either the past or the future. To what year would you travel and why?
  62. We are a community with quirks, both in language and in traditions. Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.
  63. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  64. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  65. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  66. Tell us about the place, or places, you call home. These can be physical places where you have lived, or a community or group that is important to you.
  67. Reflect on your unique background and tell us about a time when you had to relate to someone whose life experience was very different from your own. How did you approach the difference? If put in a similar situation again today, would you respond differently? If so, how?
If you could live in another state or country, where would it be and why?

Introduction: This should take up 3-6 sentences
  • Must generalize the topic to a universal audience
  • Must answer the essay prompt question
  • Must NOT let the reader realize that they are reading an essay
  • Must address the supporting paragraph topics without listing them
Body Paragraphs: Each one should be 7-10 sentences
  • Must stay on one SUPPORTING topic; if you start another topic then create a new paragraph
  • Must refer back to the essay prompt question
  • Must use the SHOW DON’T TELL method
  • Use figurative language
  • Have a clear flow of ideas; Transitions should be smooth from one paragraph to another.  Should have topic sentences and a concluding sentence, summing up the paragraph while relating back to the essay topic.  DO NOT use traditional transitions too much, i.e. for example, in conclusion, one reason is, another reason…
  • DO NOT be repetitive
  • Must summarize the introduction WITHOUT repeating the same sentences/phrases used in the introduction
  • Must answer the essay prompt question again
  • Must NOT let the reader realize that this is an essay and that this is the end of it without saying it outright, i.e. DO NOT use the phrase: in conclusion
  • Concluding sentence must clearly indicate that this is the end of the essay without saying it outright, i.e. All in all Christmas is my favorite holiday and I cannot wait for next Christmas to come quickly enough. 
Describe what you like the most about New York City.

Examples of Essays
How to Approach the Essay
Describe a typical morning.

Overall Comments:
Format – The essay should be 4-5 paragraphs long; should include: An introduction, 2/3 paragraphs, and a conclusion. THIS ESSAY IS ABOUT YOU, so use “I” instead of you.
Spatial Awareness – DO NOT cram words closely together, DO NOT space out words too much, DO NOT write too little (leaving many blank lines on the essay), DO NOT write too much (going past the number of line numbers allotted for the essay). QUANTITY & QUALITY are equally important for the essay.
Vocabulary – Use higher-level vocabulary but only if the vocabulary word makes sense to use in the context.  Don’t just use a “big” word for the sake of using a “big” word. You need to actually make sure the word fits into the sentence. Only use higher-level vocabulary that you know the definition of.  SPELL THE WORDS PROPERLY.  Using vocabulary improperly or awkwardly (not the right vocabulary word for the content of the essay) will hurt your essay grade, not help it.
Contractions – Contractions are shortening words such as cannot to can’t.  DO NOT use them because they are too informal. Again stay away from “can’t”; instead use cannot. I don't care that you learned them for months at school. Stop using them on your Hunter essays!
Sensory Details – Use adjectives/adverbs to describe parts of your essay.  The SHOW DON’T TELL method is key.  You need to be descriptive in order to keep the reader engaged, make the reader feel like they are in the essay, experiencing its content rather then just reading it. Know at least 100 adjectives and be comfortable incorporating them into your essay. Hunter is a HUMANITIES based school. The graders spend a lot of time grading the essay.
Figurative Language – Use similes, metaphors, and idioms in your writing to make it jump out at the reader.  There are 3,000 students taking the exam, and 3,000 essays that teachers may potentially be reading, so make yours stand out from the competition.
Punctuation – DO NOT use exclamation points or quotation marks.  This is a personal essay, not a play or story, which means NO DIALOGUE.  Kids should especially stay away from drawing any sort of hearts or designs or triple exclamation marks to prove a point (!!!) Watch for semicolons and commas.  Commas are used to separate 2 related phrases that CANNOT stand-alone if the comma was replaced with a period.  Semicolons are used to separate 2 related phrases that COULD stand-alone if the semi-colon was replaced with a period.  A semicolon (;) is stronger than a comma (,) but weaker than a period.
Proof Read – You should be able to reread your essay at least twice during the exam. Look out for awkward, unclear sentences, grammar problems, structure.
What is the best thing you have ever written?

Transitional  Words  and Phrases 
Using transitional words and phrases helps papers read more smoothly, and at the same time allows the reader to flow more smoothly from one point to the next.
Transitions enhance logical organization and understandability and improve the connections between thoughts. They indicate relations, whether within a sentence, paragraph, or paper.

This list illustrates categories of "relationships" between ideas, followed by words and phrases that can make the connections:
Also, Again, As well as, Besides, Coupled with, Furthermore, In addition, Likewise, Moreover, Similarly
Accordingly, As a result, Consequently, For this reason, For this purpose,
Hence, Otherwise, So then, Subsequently, Therefore, Thus, Thereupon, Wherefore
Highway traffic came to a stop as a result of an accident that morning.
Contrast and Comparison:
Contrast, By the same token, Conversely, Instead, Likewise, On one hand, On the other hand, On the contrary, Rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast
The children were very happy. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, their parents were very proactive in providing good care.
Here, There, Beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
She scanned the horizon for any sign though in the distance she could not see the surprise coming her way.
By the way, Incidentally
He stumbled upon the nesting pair incidentally found only on this hill.
Above all, Chiefly, With attention to, Especially, Particularly, Singularly
The Quakers gathered each month with attention to deciding the business of their Meeting.
Aside from, Barring, Beside, Except, Excepting, Excluding, Exclusive of, Other than, Outside of, Save
Consensus was arrived at by all of the members exclusive of those who could not vote.
Chiefly, Especially, For instance, In particular, Markedly, Namely, Particularly, Including, Specifically, Such as
Some friends and I drove up the beautiful coast chiefly to avoid the heat island of the city.
As a rule, As usual, For the most part, Generally, Generally speaking, Ordinarily, Usually
There were a few very talented artists in the class, but for the most part the students only wanted to avoid the alternative course.
For example, For instance, For one thing, As an illustration, Illustrated with, As an example, In this case
The chapter provided complex sequences and examples illustrated with a very simple schematic diagram.
Comparatively, Coupled with, Correspondingly, Identically, Likewise, Similar, Moreover, Together with
The research was presented in a very dry style though was coupled with examples that made the audience tear up.
In essence, In other words, Namely, That is, That is to say, In short, In brief, To put it differently
In their advertising business, saying things directly was not the rule. That is to say, they tried to convey the message subtly through with creativity.
At first, First of all, To begin with, In the first place, At the same time, For now, For The time being, The next step, In time, In turn, Later on, Meanwhile, Next, Then,Soon, In the meantime, Later, While, Earlier, Simultaneously, Afterward, In conclusion, With this in mind,
The music had a very retro sound but at the same time incorporated a complex modern rhythm.
After all, All in all, All things considered, Briefly, By and large, In any case, In any event, in brief, In conclusion, On the whole, In short, In summary, In the final analysis, In the long run, To sum up, To summarize, Finally
Where have you traveled recently? What was the trip like?
More Writing Prompts
  1. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  2. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  3. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  4. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
  5. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  6. Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution.
  7. Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  8. What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  9. Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.
  10. Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.
  11. Your moment has arrived. Share with us the moments or experiences that have led you to take a test to Hunter High School.
  12. Great art evokes a sense of wonder. It nourishes the mind and spirit. Is there a particular song, poem, speech, or novel from which you have drawn insight or inspiration?
  13. When you choose Hunter High School, you will join a new community of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. What is it about your background, your experiences, or your story, that will enrich Hunter’s community?
  14. Jesuit education considers the liberal arts a pathway to intellectual growth and character formation. What beliefs and values inform your decisions and actions today, and how will Hunter High School assist you in becoming a person who thinks and acts for the common good?
  15. Creativity is found in many forms including artistic avenues, intellectual pursuits, social interactions, innovative solutions, et cetera. Tell us how you express your creativity.
  16. Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.
  17. Describe a problem, possibly related to your area of study, which you would like to solve. Explain its importance to you and what actions you would take to solve this issue.