Opinion Blog Post Recraft

Using Video Games To Your Advantage

Destructive and brain-rotting are just two terms we have come to expect when hearing about video games, but did you know video games are actually quite helpful too? Video games are becoming more and more prominent in today’s society, being found in 38% of homes in America in the year 2007[1]. As this number increases so does the number of misconceptions about video games. Some of these misconceptions include that video games make children violent or antisocial. The truth is however that video games have served to strengthen the minds of our youths in many ways by increasing the problem solving capabilities of players, leadership skills and social skills.


Video games helped to develop players problem solving skills in many ways by exposing players to open ended challenges, making players reflect on past challenges and skills and pattern analysis to progress through a story or improve in game skill. Putting players in situations without providing structure or instructions allows players to freedom to explore surroundings, as a paper from the Radboud University Nijmegen says, “Many children and youth problem-solve through trial and error, recursively collecting evidence which they test through experimentation,[2]” this allows children to learn how to be self-efficient and problem-solve without instruction. Also, making players reflect on past challenges allows gamers to learn a specific skill called, reflective sense. This ability meant players would more often choose to “gather information, evaluate various options, formulate a plan, and consider changing strategies and/or goals before proceeding further,[2]” allowing players to more efficiently tackle problems. Finally, gamers learn pattern analysis very easily in games like shooters where remembering movement patterns in opponents can give you a leg up on the competition. This pattern analysis could easily translate into math and science where catching signs of change in a pattern can make solving a problem much easier.


Leadership skills are very important to everyone as being a good leader can help you in all aspects of life and video games can play a major role in learning leadership skills by teaching gamers things such as planning, resource management and quick decision making. To start, planning is almost always needed when playing games to guarantee success. A study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus showed that when a group of adults who play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day are compared to a group that play no video games “In comparison to the control group the video gaming group showed increases of grey matter, in which the cell bodies of the nerve cells of the brain are situated…These brain regions are involved in functions such as spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills of the hands.[3]” Video games also teach resource management through strategy and RTS (real-time strategy) games by only giving a set amount of a resource and telling you the only way to gain more of it is to spend it wisely. This approach helps to promote risk-taking and reasoned judgement to become a good leader. Finally, quick decision making is always apparent in video games, especially of the shooter and action genres. This quick decision making caused by apparent and constant dangers help leaders to think on their feet and become better in crisis situations that are common to real-world leaders.


Social skills are under constant scrutiny by those against video games but video games such as MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games) and multiplayer shooters actually help to improve social skills by enforcing positive behavior, causing you to make quick decisions about trust and friendship and by allowing players to work cooperatively with others to accomplish a like goal. First, many video games do enforce prosocial behavior through bans and blocks if a player becomes too negative but many also positively reinforce prosocial behavior too by allowing you to help others through gifts such as in Farmville or Candy Crush Saga or by making challenges only available to teams or groups of people such as raids in World Of Warcraft all helping to point players in the direction cooperation rather than competition. Second, video games such as World Of Warcraft or any other MMO can cause you to make quick decisions about whether to trust someone about whether annot to watch your back or if you think your friendship is strong enough with someone to allow them to grab a stash of “loot” while you cover them entrusting them to divide it up later. These quick decision making skills in-game can help gamers later in life to decide who they can trust in social situations reinforcing positive choices both in real life and in-game. Finally, video games allow players to work together cooperatively in a team environment whether it be in a shooter like Team Fortress Two where teams work together to either protect or capture a base or in an MMO like Rust where groups can form together to help collect resources and build a home to be proud of. This helps gamers in real life to learn how to work with others and understand all roles in a group.


In conclusion video have served the new generation of youth by teaching them many lifelong skills such as problem solving, leadership and social skills. As today’s society continues to become modernized more consoles are brought into homes and more misconceptions are created. These progressions however have helped to stop the common misconceptions about video games and turn them into positive teaching tools for youth.



[1] http://www.grabstats.com/statmain.aspx?StatID=776

[2] https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf

[3] http://www.mpg.de/7588840/video-games-brain

Overall Learning Reflection


The three posts that I have linked to below are my three favourite posts that I have written. If you notice they are all the lasts posts I made in each area of study. The first being my blogger of the week which was my last opinion piece. The second my last romeo and juliet post and the third being my last literature circle post. I believe the reasons these were able to become my favourite was because I was able to grow and learn from the ones before it. I was to create  the blogger of the week post so effectively because all the helpful feedback I got about my initial “How video games can help” post. I was able to create such a spectacular Romeo and Juliet post because of all the feedback on others posts and because of the original class outline from the beginning of the year. Finally, my Illustrator post was able to be as good as it was because I was able to use my resourcefulness of which I learned throughout my other literature circle posts to create something I could be proud of.





Before writing I found it best close all other applications and any other electronics around me. This kept me from getting distracted and wasting time. If I found my mind wandering during writing I would look at the posts of others. Even if they did not pertain to what I was doing it gave my mind a productive outlet while keeping it in a work atmosphere. After writing I would always compare my work to others and if the work of the other people I compared it too were better I would take steps to figure out why and how I could use this to improve mine, such as adding visual elements or more explanation. I could improve as a writer however by procrastinating less and finding a better work atmosphere. As Ralph Keys said,

“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.”



When reading I found it helpful to reread often. Go back every once in a while because as they say, read once for enjoyment and twice for clarity. I also found it helpful to read whenever I had a little time not to wait for a big chunk of time I could get all of it done in. This helped to insure I got the reading done. I will improve as a reader by going out to the library and picking up all the books I need to read. This will put me on a timeline to read each book meaning that I will become a faster reader while also improving my vocabulary and spelling.



A strategy I used when interpreting media was to watch one short piece of a scene and then compare it to the other(s) rather than watching the whole scene and then comparing it. This helped me to be able to delve deeper into differences and find the tiny little ones others might miss. I would apply this to creating my own short video by making sure to focus on little ideas not just generalities making sure the entirety was the best it could be.



I always write out a script before voice recordings and oral presentations. This helps me by making sure that I get all my points across and do not stutter as much as if I hadn’t. I also found it helpful to look each person in the audience in the eyes and if I start getting nervous than the top of there head. This made sure that I was still looking at the audience even though I could feel as if I was speaking to noone. I could improve my oral communication by not paceing as much and not twiddling my thumbs. I think I could do this by simply presenting more and becoming used to being in front of people.


I find when listening to others it is always helpful to look them in the eyes and actually listen. there is no real trick to this but to pay attention to everything they say and to what they mean.



Overall I think I have improved greatly in writing focus. I am now able to focus more while writing meaning that I can get things done with more efficiency and attention to detail. Moving forward to grade 11 I think that I need to find a better balance between comedy and seriousness. The biggest complaint I get is that either my post is too serious or too comedic as so my point doesn’t get across. I can fix this next year through peer editing and better self review.

Blogger Of The Week Reflection

I participated in 34 comments on the Blogger of the week and 13 different Bloggers of the week.


These are the Blogs of the week i participated in:

http://cdidoned3721.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/31/online-vs-offline-blogger-of-the-week/#comment-35 (1)

http://tpaterso9231.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/24/botw-5252015-nuclear-throne-and-what-makes-a-video-game-fun/#comment-93 (1)

http://rstjean0351.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/02/robots-or-kids/ (1)

http://aegorov5534.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/09/why-you-should-start-reading/ (4)

http://sadli5478.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/04/blogger-of-the-week-sweatshops-and-modern-day-slavery/ (2)

http://mmaklad9954.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/27/what-is-a-search-engine/ (2)

http://lmarshal4109.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/13/freedom-to-an-extent/ (1)

http://jpetrell3936.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/13/is-organic-farming-really-better/ (1)

http://gcollaku0577.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/07/the-ekati-diamond-mine/ (1)

http://hyoon7682.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/23/sinkholes/ (1)

http://erepasi9082.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/10/importance-of-sleep-for-teens/ (1)

http://eivanski6650.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/12/space-colonization-mars-and-venus/ (3)

https://childrop8174.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/08/extremophiles-and-how-they-can-help/ (15)


I think I rate a 5 in contributions because even though I did not participate in every blog of the week all my contributions were well thought out and planned.



  1. During Elliot’s blogger of the week I had a question about his negative portion of his blog and he completely cleared it up for me. I didn’t know there was any negative to space colonization but thanks to Elliot’s clear and concise support I understood the negatives easily.
  2. I did not experience any growth in confusion through discussion at any point during the year.

Discussion Skills

  1. To be effective in the blogger of the week discussions I did things such as answer the questions of others even if I wasn’t the one asked such as on Elliot’s blog. On Elliot’s blog Jeremy posed a question to Elliot but because he had yet to answer it I jumped in and gave my opinion on the question (I don’t know how to screeenshot but here is a link). I have also used pictures in my many comments which many others have not. these pictures help to show the other person what they want to know much faster than I could ever explain it and I am still there in case they still don’t understand. I think I could improve by commenting more often than I have. I didn’t comment as much as I would like to and if others would help by replying to my comments this would go a long way to continuing my conversations with them.
  2. On my blogger of the week post one student very much helped to move along the discussion by just asking the questions she wanted answers to. This helped by allowing me to carry on a conversation with me in the comments that lasted 5 comments that were all well written and thought out. I was also able to then use it as an example to others when they had any questions.
  3. I would recommend the class check back more often after they comment because too many questions go unanswered because students give up and leave. conversations are different in an online space because you are able to say things to someone who isn’t even there. You are also able to post pictures, videos and links to help improve understanding and provide context. They are similar however that both sides need to contribute to keep the conversation going because a one sided conversation isn’t a conversation at all.
  4. I actually liked the blogger of the week assignments as a whole. They gave us a chance to explore a broad range of topics and allowed us an area of freedom to explore and discuss as we see fit. If I could give a suggestion I think I would say that maybe instead of having two bloggers a week at the same time you may want to have one post on monday and the other on friday and then have them both present on their separate days. I think this would allow for stronger discussions so that students would only focus on one blog at a time.


Passage Master Ch. 20-24

Passage #1 Pg. 277

The felid’s ears twitched. “I don’t like it when my food talks to me,” he growled. “I’m not your food,” Dusk said indignantly, still checking all around in case this was a trap. “You’re the one who can fly,” Carnassial said, pacing the branch. “From the island.” “How did you get off?” blurted Dusk. Carnassial purred smugly. “Ah. So you heard they tried to imprison me there. The soldiers weren’t up to the task. The island no loner pleased me, so we left.”

This is an important interaction between Dusk and Carnassial. It shows Dusk’s anxiousness and will to find out more. He’s always worrisome but sometimes he becomes defiant. This communication puts the two characters on the same level as each other and now they can speak and listen. We take in the nervousness that Dusk feels just talking to Carnassial as the tension thickens. Carnassial still seems to toughen up around chiropters like he needs to prove something to them, besides their size.

There is something about this passage that shows the beasts on level ground, yet the hierarchy still thrives to persist.

Passage #2 Pg. 291

Something pounded on the bark overhead and Dusk jerked, one of the newborns whimpered and was quickly pulled tight against its mother to stifle its cries. The hyaenodon must have leapt up onto the trunk, and now was pacing impatiently. Dusk hoped the wood was thick.

This strikes terror into anyone’s eyes reading this passage. The suspense, and wanting to know what happens next are so strong that our mind tells us to read faster, but our eyes can’t even move that fast. The hyaenodons are hirrific creatures with massive power and strength that could easily overpower any beast that I know of in the story, so when it is suspected that a hyaenodon is above them and could attack at any given moment, the pressure, as well as my heart beat goes up.

This is important as it keeps the fear in our minds and the idea that no one is safe from danger.

A Great Idea

Don’t understand me? Read along below!


Have you ever had a great idea and you just wish you had money to do it? Well I have and here are my two best ideas so far.

Idea #1

Me and my dad were driving home one day from one of my Thursday night hockey practices. We were talking about why it took me so long to get changed back into my normal clothes from my hockey equipment. I said it was because of my skates. This lead to the idea of the “Peditare”. The name is a mixture of the Latin words pedi (foot) and mutare (exchange). The Peditare is a normal running shoe that you can add on many things like a thick sole for hiking, a skate for skating/hockey and/or a tall rubber top for rainy weather. You could add on and remove all these things for the legendary wonder shoe which is the Peditare


Idea #2

It all started while I was watching an episode of the show Curiosity on T.V.. It was an episode called the dirtiest man in the world and was about the host of the show dirty jobs Mike Rowe. In this episode they looked at the world of germs and at one part looked at kitty litter. They said that a germ in kitty litter when breathed in can travel to your brain and start producing a substance called Dopamine. Dopamine is a substance that promotes no fear in your amygdala. I thought maybe this germ could be sold as a fear decreaser at amusement parks, to athletes and maybe even to soldiers.  I would call it “Dr. Hildrop’s No  Fear Elixir”.


Those are my two best ideas so far. There are many more but none of them deserve to be written here. If you have any more ideas put them down below and it would be really nice to hear from you. Thanks

Potato Personalities

This is a fun little game that a teacher in grade seven showed me to really get the creative juices flowing. You start by opening up a bag of potatoes and randomly selecting a potato. Here is mine.

Weightwatchers,. A Potato. 2015. Web. 17 June 2015.

I got mine of google because I just ran out of potatoes but an actual one is better. Now that you have a potato start feeling it. Feel it’s weight, grooves, squishiness and shape. You could even smell it. Make sure you also notice any colours or spots on your potato and any bumps. Once you finish analyzing you potato pal you must now write out as many reasons you can think of of why you would be able to pick them out of a bag based solely on your potato’s personality.

  • Optimist
  • Cheerful
  • Softy
  • Dimwitted
  • Strong
  • Loving

Once you have them all down you write a nice silly paragraph on why he is the way he is and how that leads to you being able to pick it out of a box.

My potato has always been an optimist despite hitting his head when he was younger causing that nasty indent on the top of his head. Since he hit it however he hasn’t been as smart as the other guys but that has never held him back. He is always smiling and having fun and he is never in the wrong mood for a hug. He is twice as strong as anyone I know but because of his loving nature only ever uses it for good. I think I would be able to pick him out of a bag because as soon as I looked in he would come bolting out to give me a hug that would last minutes on end. He would then proceed to tell me all the friends he made with the other potatoes in the bag. That is why I would be able to find my potato in a bag full of taters.

So I hope you had fun with this little game and will share it with all your friends. I would like to quickly say thank you to Madame Stuart for showing me this game. Thank you all and have a nice night.

Uncle John’s Weird Gift Part 3

I woke up tied up in a knot over a fire and looking skyward. “Finally your awake,” said Dakota, “It was getting kind of boring on my end.” “Where are we? Wha.. what happened?” I questioned. “Well first you passed out and left me alone with the group of natives of this time. Then they dragged us back to their camp and hung us up here.” Answered Dakota. I looked around to confirm the fact we were doomed until I spotted  a small hunting party returning in the distance carrying animal carcasses and a couple of them were raptors too. My heart jumped so much I nearly knocked myself into the fire when I saw that one of the raptors had the monocle but before we could think of a plan to get it the village chief came out of his house and snatched up the monocle. As we hung over the fire about to become a museum exhibit the chief came wandering over to see the chefs at work. “Hey chief!” Blurts out Dakota, “That’s my monocle!” “Our monocle,” I correct. “They talk?” Questioned the chief. “Yes we talk!” Answered Dakota. “Take them to my hut!” ordered the chief. The tribesman grabbed us and carried back to the chief’s hut where we were untied and sat at a table. A moment later the chief came in yelling orders to his men outside. “Hello, my name is Big Brown but most people call me Big chief Brown.” Spoke the chief. “Oh my Gosh” began Dakota “We are so sorry we didn’t know you spoke English.” “It’s quite alright I am still learning,” Said Brown, “I just met my teacher yesterday.” “Teacher?” I questioned. Just then a familiar voice called from behind a curtain “Chief Brown is that visitors you have? I’ll put on some tea.” Then like a ray of light itself from behind the curtain stepped Uncle John.

Uncle John’s Weird Gift Part 2

“Maybe if we use the monocle we can find a way home,” said Dakota. “Ya only problem is I kinda lost it.” “What!” yelled Dakota angrily, “How?” “I kind of dropped it when the Triceratops attacked.” Our gazes spin to the clearing where a T-Rex narrowly avoids the Monocle. But just as soon as it left our view a team of raptors run through the clearing after the T-Rex and just as luck would the chain of the monocle snagged the claw of one raptor and off it went with the rest of the hunting party. “Well it looks like were staying a while so let’s go find some shelter,” said Dakota. “What are you talking about?” I screamed, “We have to go after them.” “Look in any dinosaur movie that the the character actually survives, is the first thing they do get in a tussle with the baddest dinosaurs alive. I think not!” Explained Dakota “Besides maybe we will meet some cave people.” “Are you kidding? Those things aren’t real,” “Whatever let’s get going before more dinos show up” suggested Dakota. After a while of walking we came to a small apple tree in the middle of the forrest. “Let’s take a brake,” said Dakota. As we took a seat and bit into our first apples there was a rustle in the bushes. Before Dakota could yell run a group of mud covered people with yellow eyes and spears came leaping out of the bushes surrounding us. All I could think was, we are so dead.

My old short story

Ok so I was looking back through some old school journals and I found a group of short stories I wrote a long time ago so I am going to post them here as well as add to and update them. Well here we go!


Uncle John’s Weird Gift

“Good morning, rise and shine, time to get up it’s morning time!” As i open my eyes I see my mom standing there wide eyed with glee. “Come on sleepy head it’s your birthday!” Oh my gosh I forgot. I burst into action, sprinting down the hall to brush my teeth. “Don’t forget to wash your face!” called my mom down the hall. Then back to my I go to get dressed. I hop on the banister and slide downstairs to see my family. There’s mom, dad, James and Jamie but I don’t see my Uncle John anywhere. I guess i’m kind of used to it by now though since Uncle John is always out on expeditions and adventures. James and Jamie are my twin cousins, they only visit once a year. my moms a real wiz when it comes to cars and my dad is all about the math. And thats the Fay Family. There was a huge bannner reading “Happy Birthday Alex!” in the center of the room but before I could walk to it I was ambushed by Jamie and James saying “Happy birthday!” I wish my friend Dakota could be here but he’s in Germany this week. After talking with my family for a bit I cut the cake and opened the presents. All I got was a pack of gum and a sweater from my parents and a whoopie cushion from the twins. “It’s only been used once,” shouted James. After that the twins left and me and my parents stayed up to watch a movie called “Rise and Fall of the Crown” it was my favourite. Just then a package arrived from Uncle John himself. There were stamps all over it from all around the world,Sydney, Australia, Zimbabwe, Africa and even Canada! There was a note on the Box reading,

“If you’re reading this I’m deep inside the Saharan Desert. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to you’re birthday party but unfortunately my camel broke down.”

Sincerely, Uncle John.

I love the way he writes “John”. He draws a hat on the h and a bowtie on the J. I immediately rip the box to shreds. There wasn’t a piece left that was bigger than a fingernail. Inside was an old box, with engravings covering it in. They looked hand carved. I opened the box and to my Surprise there was a dusty old monocle. As i picked it up i noticed that there was a family crest underneath next to the name John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I quickly called Dakota who was on his way home from the airport and when he got home he rushed over here faster than a running back in the super bowl. I showed him the monocle and the only thing I heard from him for five straight minutes was “Woah”. Before we could make a run for the backyard my dad called us into the Other room to read an article about the uncovery of a dinosaur bone in Harlington. As he was showing it me and Dakota were goofing around with the monocle and we decided to try and read with it on. The next thing I know everything went black, all I could see were newspapers flying by my face. And then i was in Dino Times. Before me and Dakota could question physics a Triceratops came billowing out from a cave. We sprinted under a nearby outcropping and hid underneath. “What now?” asked Dakota. “I don’t know, run?”


Balcony Scene Comparison



Romeo and Juliet vs


Today I am presenting to you great fans of the internet with two great presentations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet balcony scene. The two scenes I will specifically be talking about are the ones from the movies “Romeo + Juliet” from 1996 starring Leonardo DiCaprio and 1968’s “Romeo and Juliet” starring Leonard Whiting as Romeo. In specific I will be talking about their differences. Going even more specific I will be comparing and contrasting setting, location of juliet and the presentation/mood of the scene.



The setting of each movie differ greatly. The 1968 version of the movie takes place in the wonderful town of Verona, Italy just outside the bedroom of Capulet daughter Juliet on a balcony that overlooks Verona forest. The 1996 version however takes place in Verona beach, NY, USA just beside the Capulet mansion swimming pool. These locations could be more different as they both feature a Capulet house and the word Verona and they both in the northern hemisphere but as you can most likely tell, that is really stretching it. Here is also a picture of where Verona Beach is because I had no idea.

Pix.epodunk.com,. ‘Profile For Verona Beach, New York, NY’. Web. 7 May 2015.

Location of Juliet (In relation to Romeo)

The location of the main female protagonist is something that can bring a great amount of symbolism and unfortunately is something that is greatly overlooked. In the 1968 version Juliet is located far above on her balcony while Romeo speaks from below on the ground. This is quite important because Romeo must now look up to speak to her it is as if he needs to work to gain her hand, her kiss and her true love. This means that we can almost consider her a god to Romeo and that she rather allows him to kiss her rather than her really wanting it, as is shown in the video below where it takes some convincing just for it to happen but the quick mood change after the first kiss shows the transition to true uninhibited love which would not be as prevalent if she was on the same level in the first place.


In the 1996 version however Romeo and Juliet are locate on the same level throughout the scene except when she is leaving and when they last kiss (but I think this is just to remind all it is Romeo and Juliet). This symbolizes the switch to equality of genders that really materialized between 1968 and 1996. This also shows that Romeo and Juliet are now equal contributors to the relationship although Romeo may still work hard for Juliet’s affection. Finally, I would like you all to notice the steep increase in kissing in the video below (Prezi slide 59) when compared to the 1968 version. This shows that Romeo and Juliet are even more equal as she allows him to kiss her more. It also shows how culture has shifted to allow more sexualization, this increase in kissing shows us true love because I can think that one or two short kisses as seen in the 1968 version may not have met with today’s standards of love.

Video Here (Sorry)


To me this section is the most important. In the 1968 version of this movie the mood is set more on the profession of love and the consequences/rewards that follow. I think this because of it’s quite, soft and flowing dialogue as well as its romantic music. It also makes you wait for the kiss and leaves you wanting more (much like Romeo). The 1996 version however decides to take the path of the forbidden fruit, focusing more on being caught. This movie uses raising tension levels to keep you enthralled. There is quite a noticeable change in the use of extras to build suspense, whether it be through security guards, security cameras, lights (I mean really), nurses or Juliet’s petrified scream of stranger danger, I mean love. This tactic is used quite effectively used to keep the scene flowing while staying in tune to the setting and plot and also changing it up to make it even more unique.

Bricartsmedia.org,. ‘Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet / The Love Show’. N.p., 2012. Web. 7 May 2015.

My Conclusion

Throughout this article I have analyzed the setting, location of Juliet in relation to Romeo and the overall mood/presentation of the scene. as I stated above, the two movies have many similarities and many differences and most of them work for their benefit. In my opinion I prefer the 1968 version as it really sticks to the source material and unlike most book to movie conversions it is not lost in translation and is rather exactly what I had hoped for from the balcony scene. The 1996 version however takes a whole new look at what is Romeo and Juliet. They really pull through in the balcony scene however due to all the changes it made. I do however enjoy the 1968 version the most. If you would like to know why I invite you to read my post entitled “Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Film Comparison


Finally I would like to ask you to tell me which you prefer.

Favourite R&J Movie

Thanks and have a great day.