And We’re Off! -Iris

Intense music playing…. Five years ago, two visionary teachers embarked on an educational journey that no others had ever dared to embark on before. For many long days and sleepless nights, our two heroes faced Liberal budget cuts, un-replied emails, and looming deadlines.  But they never gave in. They never stopped. They never backed down.In the fall of 2005, the TALONS program opened its arms in fifteen bright-eyed but apprehensive grade nines from around the district. Classified as “gifted”, these students had taken a step into the future of education in the hands of Ms. Mulder and Mr. Mancell, and a year later, Mr. Jackson. And so began the legacy of TALONS, The Academy of Learning for Outstanding, Notable Students.

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Welcome to a new year in TALONS! This year, we are bigger (and better) than ever before. The morning class greeted their new grade nines, now officially full class. Mr. Albright has joined the team. We are already halfway through October and things are picking up FAST! Our Eminent Person Study is officially starting soon, so look out for the posts from each and every one of the TALONS students this coming up Friday. The retreat for both the morning and afternoon class has come and gone, we means we are now bonded like a bunch of covalent compounds.

A few weeks ago, a few of us grade tens approached Mr. Jackson and asked him if we could start up the class blog again. Of course, he agreed, and handed us “the reins.” Unsure of how to get started, the three of us decided to introduce blogging to the grade nines with a mini-lesson that involved the grade tens teaching the grade nines the technical aspects of a blog. Then, together as a class, we discussed “good blogging.” Putting together a small collection of posts, we managed to nail down what made a good blogpost. Here are a few points:

  • Personal
  • Honest
  • Descriptive
  • Reader is able to connect with it
  • Make sure it is your opinion
  • What do you think? What makes your point different than others? What makes your experience special?
  • Include a interesting, enticing title
  • Be not afraid!

and a few examples we liked:

And most of all, love the {Publish} button! Don’t ever be afraid to publish something you’ve written, especially if you know you want to. Often, the things we write that make us cringe from the honesty are the the things that will make people stop and think Wow. As long as the reason you cringe isn’t because of the punch in the face you imagine getting after you’ve purposefully offended them over the internet, you’ll be okay.

Oh, and a well-written post can sometimes earn a few comments. And encouraging comments are the greatest ego-boosters that exists in this world.

Starting next week, this blog, Defying Normality, will be busy and bustling with blogposts again. Three times a week, TALONS students of the afternoon class will be writing blogposts to share with the world. Topics will range from anything to everything, and fit under the categories of Masterful Mondays, Wonderous Wednesdays, and Fantastical Fridays, and will include pictures, videos, quotes and links. This is a slight change from last years names: Multimedia Monday, Whatever’s on your Mind Wednesday, and From the TALONS room Friday. We chose to do this because these categories were somewhat restrictive, so we freed them up with some fancy adjectives. However, this does not mean there will no longer be posts about interesting videos, the thoughts of angry teenagers, and the reports of strange happenings in TALONS, because I assure you, there will be plenty. Additionally, we will soon be joined by the morning class on our blogging adventure.

Thanks to Ms. Mulder and Mr. Jackson, TALONS has come a long way. Our blog, Defying Normality, is our medium to express our thoughts that no other medium has to offer. Each one of us will be giving a little piece of ourselves to the world every time we publish a blog post.

So welcome. To Defying Normality, Year Two.

Following through. -Donya

Something that irks me to no end is when good plans are left to the wayside. There’s so much potential yet the ideas and motivations necessary to keep up with the original plan were not well thought out and eventually forgotten.

I think this is exactly what might have happened to our first attempt at blogging, as a class. We understood what we wanted to do, and setting up the blog was fairly easy, but we lost momentum once we realized there had to be a deeper thought process dedicated to maintaining a class blog.

The more we put it off, the more the wall of “I can’t do it” build up, and that is why there is a 4 month gap in between this post and the last one. The wall of “I can’t do it” is mostly made up of self doubt and anxiety as to where to start. If one makes the mistake of ignoring the wall of “I can’t do it” then, one brick  at a time, the wall will rise and squelch any ray of hope you might have had with its overwhelming negativity.

This would seem like a sad story, were it not for the good news I’m going to share with you! Brace yourselves.

Currently, we are all chipping away at the wall of “I cant do it” and, with our sleeves pushed up  our arms and determined looks on our faces, we are now tackling this project in a totally different way.

This shift in thought began through a better understanding of the purpose of this blog.

This blog will be a cultivation of knowledge, via links, pictures and personal opinions.  It will promote awareness and open mindedness towards the happenings in the world, as well as the important events in the past.  We want to build confidence within everyone as far as their writing skills goes, by showing them that their opinion counts and that we are listening.

This is not going to be something that students feel the need to update because they signed up and are expected to follow through.

Even if, in the beginning, students are starting out feeling somewhat obligated to post, eventually, one hopes that there will be an understanding that sharing information this way, is something everyone should practice. Daily. Which is what we plan on doing.

To aid us on this communication escapade, we have a schedule, reliable editors (English 11 students), and the support of our Socials & English teacher, Mr. J.

I present to you:

The one and only, TALONS class blog

-revamped-

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Our posting schedule will be every Monday, Wednesday,and Friday.  All students from TALONS will post something at some point, whether it be a pressing news story, personal introspection or prompts that are provided.

Prompts include but are not limited to:

Multimedia Mondays! (Videos, pictures that are found or even captured personally can be shared accompanied with the authors thoughts on why they were posted)

Whatever is on your mind Wednesdays! (Students with a personal opinion to share, a first class organization to review, or progress to report)

From the TALONS room Friday! (What is happening currently in the TALONS room, subjects we are studying, noteworthy discussions etc.)

Without further ado, here’s to new beginnings!

-Donya

We Are TALONS

TALONS stands for ‘The Academy of Learning for Outstanding Notable Students’. This is a program for those students for whom regular classes are not enough. TALONS is program for people who think differently, who want to be challenged and not simply be taught to regurgitate information. This blog is titled ‘Defying Normality’, and this explains the purpose of the TALONS program quite well – we are different, and proud of it. To learn a little more about us, see our About Us page.

All of us have our own blogs, and many of us have been blogging for a year. Recently, we decided to start a class blog, and use it as a place to write as a class, and to publicize the best posts of individuals. This blog won’t be about anything in particular, and I can almost guarantee that we will publish posts on topics ranging from idle musings on the flight of a butterfly to historical diatribe. Our blog will be varied and colourful, so keep checking so you never miss a thing!