Archive for May, 2010

English Department Textbook Adoption

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

By Varsha Ranjit

This year, El Camino’s English department has been taking part in the textbook adoption process. Throughout the year, English teachers have been attending adoption meetings where they are able to look over textbook systems in order to adopt one for the department. 
 English teachers from both El Camino and South San Francisco High Schools have been involved in a total of four textbook adoption meetings last semester.  The teachers assessed four systems, eventually deciding upon two options: to explore Glencoe and McDougall Littel. Teachers have had January through March to pilot these textbooks before deciding on the one text that will best fit students’ needs.
 Many English teachers are using written surveys for students to critique and analyze the books, after using them for assignment or as the basis of an entire unit.  These surveys are being used to give teachers a idea of which textbooks students deem useful and efficient to use, and revealing the pros and cons of each textbook.  This allows not only the teachers but the students to also take part in the adoption process.
 English teacher Mary Sobrero, who proposed and organized these surveys, shared the feedback she received from her students.  “The students actually like the parts of the book which the teachers dislike,” Sobrero said. “Teachers favor the McDougall textbooks, whereas the students like the Glencoe textbooks better, because it highlights key information.” 
 Junior Elaina Revilla is currently testing the two books in her English class. “I think the online supplements are actually really beneficial because not only do we get the physical book, but we also get an online textbook so we don’t have to take the larger, heavier one with us everywhere; it’s made my backpack a lot lighter and also helped me with my dedication to my studies,” Revilla said.
 After using a great deal of the textbooks during class along with conducting student surveys, English teachers plan to attend two other textbook adoption meetings this spring with not only their own critiques in mind, but the input of their students as well. The meetings held this semester will ultimately be to finalize which textbooks are chosen for each class level.

Categories: Campus & Student Life

How to Start a Club

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

By Kamille Mercado

Starting a club sounds easy, right? But there’s more to beginning a club than just gathering a group of people and holding a meeting. Specific steps need to be taken before a club can take form. Here are some easy steps to help interested club-starters on their way.

Step #1: What’s the big idea?!

All clubs start with an idea. Ideas for school clubs should have a focus, either academic or interest-based. Think: what would be a club that other students would be interested in joining and is appropriate for school? Consider ideas for a club that could stay around for more than one year. Clubs should be positive, open environments for students and allow them to share their ideas. Try to think of clubs that could encompass a diversity of students, from any grade and background.

Step #2: Seek the guru in room 13A

Once you have come up with a suitable idea for a club, talk to Mr. Padilla who is charge of approving clubs. Inform him that you would like to start a club and if he gives the green light for your idea, you will receive the necessary forms, applications, and instructions for starting up your club.

Step #3: Find an adviser

Every club needs an adviser. Obtain their approval and agree upon a meeting place and dates. The adviser’s responsibility is to supervise club meetings, sign off any papers related to the club, coordinate events, keep an eye on the treasury and of course, advise the club members on what they need to be doing. Any teacher can be an adviser as long as they are available and agree to do so. Keep good communication with your club advisers because they can always help out with club activities and events.

Step #4: What?! A constitution?

Forming a club requires the creation of a club constitution. The constitution states the name of the club, its purpose, the names of club officers, membership requirements, when meetings will take place and the duties of the club and its officers. Go online to find examples of high school club constitutions and base your club constitution off of those. Type your club constitution so it will be neat and clear. Make sure to keep it in a safe place so you can always refer back to it any time. You will also need to decide on club officers: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. El Camino requires that club officers need a 2.0 GPA or higher.

Step #5: Petition time!

After writing the club constitution, ten people willing to attend club meetings must sign a petition. When you have at least ten signatures, turn in all your forms, applications, petition, and constitution to Mr. Padilla. Once you’ve done that, the approval process begins.

Step #6: Wait for the “green light”

Your application is sent to the student council and House of Representatives for approval. When they approve your club, the application will go either to Mrs. Berg or Mrs. Wetteland for final approval. If they approve your application, then you will be granted a charter and your club will be on “probation” for a semester. The ASB chairperson will check in on you to see if your club is doing what it should be doing and if meetings are going well. When the club’s “probation” is over, the club officially exists.

Step #7: Come one, come all!

Attracting members may be difficult, but there are easy ways to gain students’ interests. Rush Week at the beginning of the year is the best way to get a club on its feet with new members. Word of mouth is another method. Get one person to join the club and soon, a network of friends telling friends to join will form. Broadcast information about the club in the announcements or on ECTV. You can tape posters and flyers around the school, as long as you have Mr. Padilla’s approval. Holding club events, like contests or performances, can catch the attentions of students and interest them into becoming members. Offering or selling food at club meetings is especially alluring, since teens are always hungry and are sure to flock to places where food is.

By following these steps, the club you imagine could become real in no time. It will take time, but with patience and determination, the club will successfully be established. For further assistance, you can talk to teachers, club officers, or club members.

30 Days: Procrastination

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

By Yasmine Mahmoud

Procrastination (the act of saving tasks until the last minute) is usually an act associated with idleness and sloth. Both being undesirable traits, all types laziness force you to freak out constantly because you constantly worry about tasks that should have been completed long ago, adding unnecessary stress to your life. Time devoted to schoolwork or study may be interrupted by daily life, but you need to be prepared for such things. Being one that has to constantly balance many tasks had a lot of trouble keeping up work without procrastinating for thirty days. Never being truly prepared for everything, many different obstacles thwarted my attempts to stay on top of all I needed to do.
I believe that it really difficult to stay organized, but I thought this month would be easy because I have so much work in the first place. I have never created a formal schedule, because I was always able to function without one. I soon discovered that to avoid procrastination I need to get organized fast.
Day one was, in all seriousness, exhilarating. Being the second week back from winter break, my homework load was approximately an hour per day and I powered through it as soon as I came home from whichever extracurricular activity I had that day. I kept this up for a few days, but my study schedule began to suffer. I had opted out of studying for a test because I figured the homework load was so light that the test would be just as simple. I was wrong; the other students in the class who had chosen to study easily surpassed me.
The third week was grueling; I was unable to keep up with any of my work because I got strep throat and the stomach flu simultaneously. Slightly in capacitated, I began to drown in my work. Unable to keep up, I seriously considered taking an unnecessary day off to make it up, but decided that that would not be very fruitful because I would also be behind on that day’s work as well.
The last week, I could not keep it up. Still trying to catch up from being absent for three days, I grew tired easily, and kept forgetting my work in my locker or at home. It was incredibly difficult to get all my work done, let alone on time. This made me realize, that I do indeed need to make a schedule.
In retrospect, I recognized that without a short break from work after coming home my study habits suffer, illustrating that I have to utilize and manage my time more wisely. Regardless of how many things I take on, I will always feel more stressed if I have to pull an all-nighter because I felt I was entitled to “ me time” for the weeks prior to my major deadlines.

Nutrition Article

May 17, 2010 Leave a comment

By Emily McMonigle

Did you know that your eating habits can affect your grades? Your body needs nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats to help it function properly throughout the day. If you have parents who nag on you to stop eating junk food or stop skipping meals- these tips will sound pretty familiar. You truly are what you eat. If your nutrients are lacking, your capacity to think, focus and achieve will as well.

Tip 1- Don’t Skip Breakfast.
Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast, it robs your body of the daily energy you need and the essential vitamins that are necessary in a well balanced diet. When you eat breakfast, you will be less likely to be tempted to overindulge during lunch.
 Example of a healthy breakfast: A low fat yogurt and one piece of whole grain toast topped with two tablespoons of peanut butter.
+Low fat yogurt provides calcium, but remains light on the calories. +Whole grain toast is more filling, satisfying and less depleted of nutrients as to “white” bread.
+ Peanut butter provides energy due to being mainly made up of carbohydrates. It also prevents snacking throughout the day because it contains proteins and (the healthy) fat.
Tip 2- Lunchtime!
 Example of a healthy lunch: Chicken, avocado and nut salad or an apple and a turkey sandwich.
+ Both of these meals are on the ‘light’ side and is low in calories but still provides protein from the nuts and chicken. (Try to stay away from fried chicken due to being high in trans fats, grilled chicken is the way to go).

Tip 3- Where’s the beef?
Well, it should be in your dinner. Not only is beef very delicious, it is very high in protein and is very good to help build muscles. Beef has gotten a bad reputation lately due to the ‘mad cow’ hype and being high in calories. Like any other type of food, besides water based fruits and vegetables,  it should be eaten in moderation.
 Example of a healthy dinner : Any type of meat in a healthy proportion, bread, potatoes and vegetables.
+ Bread and potatoes provide an excellent source of carbohydrates and will provide your brain with the power it needs to survive those late night study sessions.
+ Vegetables can be prepared however you like, but try to stay away from going overboard with butter. Try substituting butter with olive oil- tastes just as good, but better for your heart and waistline! 

****If you are vegetarian, you can get your protein from foods such as tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, brown rice, and so much more. Visit  for more info for a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. ****

Tip 4-Sensible Snacking
Snacking can be a good thing to do, as long as your consuming the correct foods at the right time and in the right amount. Six small and less calorie dense meals throughout the day, is better than eating three big meals. This type of snacking can prevent binging and feeling bloated.
 Examples of healthy snacks: One cup of blueberries, grapefruit, any type of fruit, or a small serving of low fat wheat thins.
+Blueberries are a good and non-fatty source of amino acids which can lead to better concentration. (Other foods such as salmon are high in amino acids as well).

Dear John Review

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

By Emily Ann McMonigle

Photo Screen Gems

The Dear John movie and novel are both equally captivating and  tear- jerking. The story of Dear John is about a young soldier, John Tyree (Channing Tatum) who falls in love with a typical college girl, Savannah Lee Curtis (Amanda Seyfried).

John and Savannah first meet at the beach after John jumps off the pier to retrieve Savannah’s purse which accidently falls into the ocean. For the next two weeks while John is on leave, they fall in love. When John has to return back to the army, the only way they can keep in contact are through the love letters they send to each other. Their love remains strong over the course of two years but breaks apart after John reenlists in the army after 9/11.

Author Nicholas Sparks did an outstanding job of capturing John’s heartbreak over leaving Savannah. By reading the book and watching the movie it was almost as if I could feel John’s pain.  Although the movie was enjoyable, the book goes into more detail about John’s past lovers, rebel days, and especially his strained relationship with his mentally disabled father father. The movie focused more on the love between John and Savannah while the novel was more in depth with their romance along with John’s struggling relationship with his father.

Channing Tatum was perfect for the role of John Tyree. Not only was the plotline of the story great, Tatum’s toned body kept the audience hooked.  Amanda Seyfried also was a great casting choice.

I would definitely give the story of Dear John a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. Reading the book before watching the movie is not a must , however, if you are planning on watching this movie or reading the novel, don’t forget to bring along a box of Kleenex.

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