The Pen Was Powerful Last Saturday.

                                 Logan Elm Writing Competition

By: Nathan

     This past Saturday, our school hosted our first ever writing competition.  Members of McDowell’s Power of the Pen group could attend, as well as students from Salt Creek, where fifth and sixth grade students go, and students from the high school.  The competition lasted from about nine in the morning to one-thirty in the afternoon.

     The way that the competition worked is students were given a writing prompt, and were given 40 minutes to create a story out of it.  Overall, there were two different prompts, and each grade was given the same prompt.  The first prompt was called “The Wish”, and we had to center our story around some sort of, well, wish.  

     The second prompt was centered around bugs.  We had to tell as story from a bug’s perspective, and had to tell how bugs felt about humans.  What I thought was cool was that instead of calling us by our names, we were referred to as an author’s last name, and a number after it.  For example, I was given the name “Lowry 2”, which is named after the author Lois Lowry.  Once we were finished with those two prompts, we had lunch, and were given an hour of free time before the awards ceremony.

     There were fifteen awards handed out altogether.  Each of the three schools had a runner up, and a first place winner for each of the two rounds.  At the end, awards were handed out for the most striking stories from each school.  These awards were given to the people whose stories stood out the most to the judges.  I happened to win this award for my grade.

     Overall, this competition was very fun and well thought out.  It challenged the writers, and really made us think about how we could make our stories the best they could be.  There will be two more competitions this year, but they will be against other schools.  For a competition that is brand new to our school, it went very smoothly and I hope that it will continue for years to come.

The McDowell Band

     Here at McDowell Exchange School, second period is an interesting one.  This is because we have a choice of what class to take during that period.  We can choose from band, choir, or just guided study.  All of these classes are a great thing to do, but today we are just going to talk about one particular class: Band.

     The junior high band is, in my opinion (I might be a tad bit biased), is a great class to take and a fun and rewarding one as well.  We are given songs which we practice everyday on our instruments, and all of that practice leads up to a big concert or parade.  Band is also a great place to make friends that we wouldn’t of made if we had not taken the class.  The band, like all school bands, is divided into three groups of instruments:  The woodwind, percussion, and brass.

     The brass family includes some notable instruments like the trumpet, trombone, and tuba.  I play the trumpet. The woodwind family includes instruments like the flute, clarinet, and the saxophone.  Finally, we have the percussion family:  The backbone of the band.  This family of instruments provide the beat of the song.  Some instruments in this family include the snare drum, bass drum, tenor drums (only in marching band), cymbals, xylophones, triangles, and…  woodblocks?  Yeah…  Anyway, in the end, it all comes down to how we sound as a group, rather than how we sound individually.

   The McDowell band is actually two bands.  One for eighth grade, and one for seventh grade.  We practice separately, but perform together.  Our seventh grade band consists of fourteen kids.  Five trumpets, one flute, one clarinet, one tuba, four drums, and two xylophones.  For concerts, we rely on the eighth grade band for trombones and saxophones, since the seventh grade band doesn’t have anyone who plays those instruments.  We have a winter and spring concert, and we marched in some parades at the local Pumpkin Show just recently.

     So, there you have it.  The McDowell band is a great class that this school offers and there are many benefits that you people gain from this class.  Anyways, thank you for reading my blog.  Comment if any of you are in band and what instrument you play.  Bye!



The Xbox One X

On this day, November 7th, the most powerful home video game console was released for sale.  This console, made by Microsoft, is a more powerful version of their four year old Xbox One console, which came out in 2013.  This new console, called the Xbox One X, is supposedly 40 percent more powerful than any other console on the market.  It has been said that this console is on the same level as high-end gaming personal computers (PC’s).  It is truly a feat of technological engineering in the console world. 

Now, down to the specifics.  However, before we get in to that subject, we first need to know what 4k resolution is.  Many televisions in peoples’ houses transmit with 1920 x 1080 pixels on the screen, simply called 1080p.  These horizontal and vertical lines of pixels add up to 2.1 million pixels on the screen.  4k resolution, however, contains 3840 x 2160, which adds up to 8.3 million pixels.  This increase in pixel count makes the picture much clearer than what it would be in 108p.  However, 4k resolution can only be achieved on a 4k television, which is much less common among American households than the traditional 1080p or 720p televisions.  However, games will still look better on your traditional televisions, so you do not necessarily a 4k TV unless you want to take full advantage of this console.   Now that we have that out of the way, we can finally get to the specifics of this monster of a console.

Source:  Microsoft

 Now, many of you reading right now might be thinking:  What does all of this nonsense mean?!?!?!?  Well, fear not, for I have the answers to your questions (I think…)  I have already told you what 4k resolution means, which is what many games on the Xbox One X will run at, but what does all of this other stuff mean?  Well, the six teraflop GPU gives the console the ability to easily run games at the resolution of 4k, and gives video games graphics more detail and realism.  The twelve gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM, which even I have no idea what it means or stands for, will allow for bigger game worlds, and further horizons.  Finally, the 326 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth will allow for much faster loading times, which will make games more immersive.  This console, which is the most powerful console ever, is also the smallest Xbox ever, which is another engineering feat.  This console will also have a built in 4k blu-ray player, that lets you watch your movies in stunning 4k as well, while a 4k blu-ray player by itself can cost hundreds of dollars.  This brings us to our next important topic about this console:  The price.

     Upon release, this console will cost 500 dollars, which many people find to be too much for a console.  Luckily, you will not have to spend more money on new games or controllers, since normal Xbox One games and accessories will work on this console.  However, compared to the high end PC’s that I mentioned earlier, which can cost thousands of dollars, this console is a great deal due to the power that it has.  Another issue that this console could face is its rather lackluster amount of games that will take full advantage of this console at launch.  In order for a game to support 4k on this console, the video game developer has to update their game to support this resolution, which not very many best selling games are doing as of yet.

     Microsoft has said that this console is for the hardcore gamer who wants to have the best graphics and best way to play their games on a console.  However, casual gamers can still buy this console, but you should really have a 4k TV and the money to take full advantage of this console, which I do not have the money for right now, unfortunately.  Do you have the money though?  Will you buy this console?  Tell me your opinions in the comments.  Thank you for reading my blog post!  Bye!!!

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