Grade 10 Course Selection

Sometime next week will be the final day to submit course selections for next year at my school. I’ve already chosen what courses I’m going to take, so this week I’ll be writing about the different courses I’ve chosen to take. More specifically, the three electives I chose since the majority of the courses in grade 10 are still compulsory.

I’ll start with the compulsory courses which are English, Maths, Science, History, and Civics. These courses are all pretty self-explanatory and every grade 10 has to take them. Some of my friends are planning on taking their History course in summer school, but since my family plans on going on vacation over the summer, I won’t be taking summer school. However, if I had the choice, I still wouldn’t choose to attend summer school.

The first elective I selected was Orchestral Strings which is pretty much the exact same music course I took earlier on in grade 9. Almost everything about the course is identical, but you just learn more theory and improve your playing. Most of my friends in my grade aren’t planning on taking the course in grade 10, but I still have some people I know in the older grades that plan on taking the course again. I enjoyed the course in grade 9, and it was a pretty easy course to get by. However, I think in grade 10 I should probably practice and study the theory a bit more.

My second elective is Technological Design, and according to the course description, it is all about designing and researching how to design different things such as making prototypes and building models. I’m not sure if the course is going to be involving any hands-on work, and according to my older brother, it shouldn’t. However, his Technological Design class was in the workshop by chance and so they were able to build their designs. I chose the course since it seemed interesting and fun, but also because several of my friends are going to be taking it.

For my third elective, I have Computer Studies. To be more specific the Introduction to Computer Studies course, and it’s supposed to introduce students to programming. I’ve tried learning programming before, but it didn’t really interest me since I kept on trying to do different things when I didn’t understand how or why they worked. I’m hoping that by taking this introductory course I’ll be able to slowly learn step by step. With a few of my other friends also taking the course I hope it’ll be less frustrating than trying to learn on my own.

In addition to our three electives, we were also instructed to select two back up courses in case there isn’t enough room in the classes for our first three. My two back up courses are Food and Nutrition and Fitness. Food and Nutrition is a course that I feel like would still be fun and interesting even if it replaced one of my first three choices. Fitness is a course that a lot of my friends have as one of their first three choices. I’m still not sure if choosing the course was a good idea or not, but at least if I do end up with it there’ll be a lot of people I know in the class.

Overall, those were my course selections for my grade 10 year and I’m pretty satisfied with the choices I’ve made. I feel like most of the courses are ones that I would enjoy being in, but I still haven’t really thought too much about what I want to do in the future. In the end though, I don’t really think one course I don’t like will end up mattering too much though because at the start of the semester you can always go to the guidance office and request a course change as long as it’s at the beginning of the semester.

Second Semester Courses

It has been two weeks since the start of my school’s second semester, and that means that I have new courses with different classmates. After having gotten to know my new courses I’ll be sharing which courses I am currently taking and my thoughts on each class.

My first-period class is English and so far we haven’t actually done too much. Throughout the first week, we’ve gone over basic grammar such as proper sentence structure and how to use conjunctions. We even took a day to make posters for the “Seven Grandfather” teachings which is basically how you should treat other people. It was only until recently that we started with the grade 9 curriculum with storytelling and narratives. The class material hasn’t been too difficult so far though.

As for the people in the class, there are some students that just don’t stop talking, and it doesn’t matter whether the teacher is presenting or if we’re doing independent work. What I find most annoying about it though is that the teacher doesn’t even try to keep them quiet and instead talks back to them. This can become quite distracting, especially when we’re assigned in-class reading and all you can hear is the teacher and students talking back and forth really loudly.

After English, I have Non-Tradition Arts and the course revolves around art, except it’s mainly using computer technology such as animation and Photoshop. During the first week, it was quite interesting and fun learning how to use Photoshop, but the current assignment that we are working on right now is pretty frustrating.

Since the teacher doesn’t exactly have time to go around showing every single what they should be doing, she put up an example online. However, she explained how a majority of the examples would only get you around a 70-79% mark. The instructions on what to do haven’t been really clear. Even if you follow the guidelines she set at the start of the assignment she’ll tell you to change something because “I might not catch it when I’m marking it.”

For my third-period class, I have Science which has actually been relatively well. Taking notes in class is quite easy since we take them using a PDF file course package that the teacher has given us. I’m also really glad that we had the option to take a digital version of the textbook so my bag doesn’t get too heavy. The only problem I have in the class is with the people. Just like my English class, it feels like some students can’t stop talking and just want attention. At times you can visually see on everyone else’s faces that they’re just annoyed after a while. Other than that though, Science has been fun and we even get to use the lab room.

My last-period class is French which is probably the most normal class I have this semester. The only problem I have with the class is that I’m really bad at French. If we’re covering reading and writing I can usually do alright, but when we get to listening comprehension I can’t really figure anything out. Despite that, I feel like French class passes the most quickly out of all of my other classes which might be a good thing.

Overall, I would definitely prefer my classes from semester one over the current one. However, I think that if even just a couple of this semester’s classes start to shape up a little bit better I just might start enjoying it a bit better.

Arknights

Arknights is a mobile game that released globally around a month ago. The game is a tower defense that follows a story where you’re the main character that commands different operators. This week I’ll be sharing my thoughts and experience while playing Arknights.

The way the gameplay of Arknights works is that you have different units called operators, and each operator belongs to a certain class with different skills, traits, and abilities. Operators have different rarity values and usually, the rarer ones are better, but that’s not always the case depending on the situation. Since each operator can only be deployed once in a battle, you get to have twelve different operators to use each battle. Experimenting with different combinations of operators on different stages is part of the game.

Your objective in each stage or battle is to prevent enemies from entering your zone which is represented by one or more blue cubes. Depending on the stage there will also be red cubes where the enemies come from, and different stages have different types of enemies that have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes there are boss enemies that usually have very unique traits such as being able to teleport through your operators or disable certain tiles.

Arknights at the beginning is pretty easy and it follows you through most of the mechanics. For the first few stages, you can get by without using too much strategy, but later on in the game, you’ll have to figure out which operators to specifically level up and use. A lot of the times you won’t be able to use the exact same twelve operators for every single stage, so you’ll have to end up changing your roster depending on the layout of the stage and what enemies come out.

There’s also base that you have where you can produce and sell resources, and the layout is extremely similar to Fallout Shelter with different types of facilities and jobs that need to be filled. Even though the base isn’t too interesting, it’s very important if you want to be able to efficiently upgrade and level up your operators.

New operators can be obtained through a recruitment system that happens over time or you can spend in-game currency to roll for a random operator. Some operators have increased chances when you roll, but they rotate every few weeks. Since Arknights was released in China first, there are currently operators that are still limited to the Chinese servers.

As of now, I have completed almost all of the content in the main story except for the challenge modes, but there are still unreleased chapters of the story. In the meantime, I’ll be spending time upgrading my operators and trying to finish the side missions while I wait for the next content release.

Overall, I’ve had a lot of fun playing Arknights, and I usually don’t really play mobile games too much. There have been times where I was struggling on certain stages and had to look up some tutorials, but I’ve been able to get through a decent portion of the game on my own.

Playing The Violin For 5 Months

During my first semester of high school, I was in the school’s orchestral strings class. At the beginning of the semester, I hadn’t played the violin at all before. After five months in the class, I feel like I’ve made some progress from the beginning of the school year, and this blog post I’ll share most of the things that happened while I was learning how to play the instrument.

One of the first things that the music teacher wanted to teach the new students was how to take care of the instrument such as how to store the instrument and how you’re supposed to maintain the different parts. Maintenence for a violin is much more different than for a guitar which is what I’m used to. With a guitar, the only thing you really have to do is make sure you change the strings every once in a while and don’t let the wood get too dry. However, with a violin, every time you want to play you have to make sure that you’re bow has the right amount of rosin on it and is tightened to an appropriate amount. You also have to wipe down your strings after you play and should keep it stored inside its case most when you’re not playing.

In terms of playing, the violin was really difficult to get used to because I wasn’t really familiar with using something like a bow to play. Even now I still have trouble keeping the bow straight properly, but it’s definitely better than when I first started. For now, I’ve only learned how to play the basic scales like G, D, A, and C major which is generally what is expected by the end of the course. For the duration of the course, the beginner students including myself have only been playing in first position which is where your left hand is at the very end of the fingerboard on the violin. I plan on taking the course again next year, so hopefully, I’ll be able to improve my playing ability.

Additionally, I learned a little bit of theory during the course since usually I just use tablature for guitar. For our written exam, we had to have a certain amount of knowledge with intervals, key signatures, and scales which I was able to pick up relatively well by the end of the semester. I think that the theory element of the course is where I ended up having to practice the most because I’ve never really had to look at key signatures when playing on my own.

Overall, I think that I ended up progressing quite a lot by the end of the semester and the teacher thinks that I have too. I’m most likely going to take the course again next year, and since we’ve been allowed to keep the instruments until the end of the school year I have a chance to keep practicing. However, I feel like the violin will just end up sitting in its case most of the time.