Last mPOL :(

Thank you for coming to my presentation of learning. I am the expert of my own learning. I am also responsible and accountable for my own learning. You can expect me to give an honest evaluation of my progress. We will discuss my strengths and opportunities for growth. Thank you in advance for listening and offering feedback that I can use to improve as a learner.

Last year I looked back at my combined experience in high-school, and decided that I would live by the theme of having no regrets for my very last year. That is why I decided to play a higher level of soccer this year, aim to go to provincials for track & field again, applied to six universities, applied to thirteen scholarships so far and took on the role as producer in our film production. 

A big example of living by no regrets and going out of my comfort zone has been in our horror project, in which I took on one of the biggest and most sleep-depriving roles. Although it was challenging, I was grateful to be given the role and was able to learn a lot from it. Working with eighteen other people can be challenging which means that communication is key in order for things to run smoothly. I chose our
director knowing I’d work very well with her. In fact, our communication was top notch and we were always on the same page. However, where I failed was making false assumptions. Assuming that the other members of my class would check the schedule I told them all about and updated every day to know what they had to do and where they had to be, as well as have the drive to do them. If I were to do it again, I would’ve been even more clear by conducting meetings in the mornings and afternoons during production to make sure everyone was on the same page and had something to do. 

 

I also learned the nuances of being a good leader. On the upside, I realized that I have a natural ability to be organized. My organization in this project permitted us to have all the materials we needed up at loon lake, kept us on track by making sure we knew what had to be filmed and what could be filmed back at home, gave everyone roles that were crucial to helping make our production run smoothly and kept post-production on track with drafts and finally finishing our film. However, reflecting back I would have done things differently by being more assertive at certain times earlier in the process. I later fixed this mistake by being more assertive in post-production. 

When it came to public speaking, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that my need to be organized and prepared also translates to my ability to perform while presenting. In situations where I don’t feel prepared I become red-faced and nervous. Maybe overtime, as I continue to put myself in situations where I have to public speak I might get better at “winging it”, but today, my confidence in public speaking only resides in situations where i feel prepared. When I was asked to present my last year’s mPOL to all the PLP grade 10s and 12s, my face went red and remained that way throughout the entire presentation. Even though I wrote it, it was a whole year ago, and plus I didn’t have the time to prepare. However, at our PGP book exhibition last week, I wasn’t nervous at all and my presentation ran smoothly with every single person I encountered. Even though it was something that mattered a lot more, the fact that I was prepared and had all of the background knowledge I did made all the difference. Having read the book, done extensive research on it and on the authors, I knew exactly what I was talking about and felt confident in my words. This is something that I’ll certainly take on to my next projects by assuring that I’m very well prepared. This same thing applied to when I gained a boost in confidence speaking in Socratic Seminars, I simply began taking better notes and doing more research to back up the points I had. 

Finally, my writing skills have never been as good as they are now. My writing has improved immensely especially these past couple months due to writing admission essays to universities and scholarships. This has not only been because I’ve simply been a lot writing more than usual, but because I’ve been forced to write in my own way and use my own voice. Even when I faced uncertainties in my writing in projects, I’ve always gone to tutorial times to make sure my points and themes were what the teacher was looking for. 

To conclude, I’m happy about my performance in every project, even though there are things I may have wanted to change. For the remainder of this year I’d like to continue living by “having no regrets” and going out of my comfort zone, whether that means to take on more big roles in projects, take opportunities to speak in front of the class, take an acting role if it comes up or apply to be valedictorian. Going out of my comfort zone so far has improved my self-confidence and overall performance in projects which I’d like to keep up.

Girls Just Wanna Have (Fun)damental Human Rights

What has happened to the word “feminist”? In this day it’s somehow used as an insult, but let’s not forget what it’s true meaning is. Feminism means to have equal rights and opportunities for all genders. Without feminism, we would still be living in a world where women didn’t have the right to vote, to own their own property or even have jobs the same way as men. That being said, there is still work to be done, which is why people of all ages should still be educated and shown that history is not to repeat itself and we are only to move forward. In this project, we created children’s books to get younger generations interested and educated in the concept. 

How do we encourage children to support women’s rights?

As this project was a bit on the shorter side, we were quick to chose our book topics after having a few lectures on suffrage and the second, third and fourth waves of feminism. Ciara, Holly and I were inspired by the book on David Bowie by the “Little People, Big Dreams” series. We decided to make our book about Gloria Steinem’s life who was a nationally recognized leader in particularly the second wave of feminism. We were soon to realize how it was a lot tougher than it seemed to simplify her life, as well as breakdown complex topics such as abortion. 

Our first step was to create a storyboard. We decided to focus our story primarily on women’s healthcare, because Gloria’s experience with undergoing an abortion at a young age and her mother being mistreated in the hospital due to her mental illness were some of the biggest reasons she decided to become an activist. Obviously we couldn’t state abortion by name in the book, but considering it as healthcare made almost the same impact. 

As a class, we watched The Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You to come up with an answer as to how women are depicted in literature across time, and why it’s important to have strong representations of women. Meg and I agreed that it’s important to have positive representations of women, because it allows children to see that women are strong and independent. However, a positive representation doesn’t always necessarily mean a woman that doesn’t want to get married or have kids, or fit into what you call a “stay-at-home mom”. We compared the two Disney stories of Merida from Brave and Rapunzel from Tangled. Merida wanted to rule her family’s clan by herself and without a man she was forced to marry. Rapunzel did fall in love and get married in the end, yet she was still a strong and independent woman that was curious to see and experience the world. Thus, a strong representation of a woman isn’t restricted to one representation. In fact, the more the better, as it allows children to see that they could be whatever they want.

www.insider.com

In the end, we presented our books to a kindergarten class at a nearby elementary school. The book was well-received by the children and they quote-on-quote “loved everything” about it. Although I wish my drawing skills were a lot better, the message was the most important part. Children at that age may still have trouble understanding the concept of feminism, but our book certainly depicted a strong woman that did a lot for the world in terms of equality and I hope that they were able to realize that. 

Great Success…Through Effective Thinking

Hello and welcome to my first blog post on PGP in a long time. This project has been themed around self-improvement, which has provided me with a lot of useful tips and advice that I will incorporate now and into my future. Tips such as making great resumes, listening to guest speakers about their career and university life, and reading books that promote the art of self-improvement. In this project, we were tasked to chose a book in the “self-help” genre, create an artifact to represent it and present it to the other grade 12s at our school. 

What do I need to know to move forward with lifelong learning and active citizenship?

 

 

I decided to read “The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking”, a book that arguably gives you the ultimate key to success in anything and everything. I was quite fond of the book for the most part, and had quite a few takeaways that I’ll certainly remember for a long time. One piece of advice that I took back came from the element called “following the flow of ideas”. This described an ability to step back in your thoughts, and come up with a number of ideas and themes that you want to ensure are addressed in your essay. Only once you have determined these ideas, you start to craft the essay. This allows you to come up with a good essay, perhaps even better, in a faster amount of time. 

Now before even starting to read the book, we were tasked to create author biographies, which actually allowed me to make more sense of the contents of the book. It was written by Michael Starbird and Edward Burger, both of which who are professors in mathematics but who’s witty personalities even come out in their writing. Edward is CEO of the St David’s Foundation that advocates for health equity in central Texas, and Michael is chair of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and uses his position to advocate for the use of inquiry-based learning methods. This shows how much they truly care about making a difference in the world, outside of forming the young minds of students. I believe this knowledge also contributed to more success when it came to my final presentation, as the audience could tell how much I truly knew about the book and the authors. 

 

 

I decided to base my artifact off of a metaphor that the authors mention in the book. They argue that using the 5 elements allows you to think with your “eyes open”, which essentially means excelling to your full potential. These elements are meant to make your life easier with very little additional work, as doing any task with your eyes open is much easier than doing it with your eyes closed. To represent this metaphor I created two boards, one titled “eyes open” and another “eyes closed”. I asked the audience to pick one of the elements from a list and write it down with their eyes closed and then again with their eyes open. By the end of the presentation, I expected to have a board that was very messy and disorganized, and another that was much better looking. This outcome would support the author’s argument in a simple and engaging way as well as hopefully get a few audience members interested in the concept. 

Having trouble starting that essay? Solving that super tough math problem? Want to know how to truly master your skills on your beloved instrument? Well this book is the book for you. Recently, I read the only edition of The Five Elements of Effective Thinking written by Michael Starbird and Edward Burger. While I think this book is meant for someone who is the type to always be eager to learn – which is why they’d be interested in reading it in the first place – the book gives out specific evidence proving that these elements can truly apply to anyone or anything. This is essentially the main theme mentioned throughout the entirety of the book: the root of success in anything is thinking, so learning to think more effectively will therefore make you more successful. It is thinking more effectively that will allow you to think with your “eyes open” and reach your full potential. While using much of the language and messages often said throughout my school’s Performance Learning Program, Michael and Edward illustrate to you, the reader, how to become better in anything with hardly any extra work…just thinking differently. Michael is chair of the academy of distinguished teachers as well as promotes the use of inquiry based learning throughout his teachings, workshops and lectures. Having been working in education for several years, having papers published and a dozen books written, you can certainly be assured that the information being read is dependable and useful. As it eludes to in the title, the book was divided into 5 elements – earth, wind, fire, water and the quintessential. It consistently included an introduction to the individual element, expressing how it would apply to real-life, short activities to perform as you read and finally a couple paragraphs to conclude their thoughts. Within each topic, I found that the authors wrote in such an illustrative way that makes it much easier for any reader to better understand the concept and recognize how it can apply to their everyday life, something that I think would exceed any other books in the “self-help” genre. As I said before, about 40% of the advice and language used within the book had already been told to me throughout my five years in the Performance Learning Program, such as through failing to succeed. However, upon reading the book, I’ve been able to realize how the 5 elements can also apply to my life outside of school (ie.sports, work and my volunteer jobs). Even the people that you believe are the geniuses of the world aren’t that way instinctively. They simply see the world differently by applying habits of mind that have allowed them to discover and create new and profound ideas. Now, this underlying theme of the book has been evidenced in several ways. One example from the book being that of a woman who lost 80 pounds by simply changing her mindset to exercise and healthy eating being something that comes naturally to her as she no longer sees it as a task but rather as something fun. Many of the stories used to support the authors’ thesis were of their personal experience as teachers, which I enjoyed immensely and made me want to sit in on one of their lessons. Ultimately, I agree with the thesis stated in the book. The root of success truly is all about your mindset and the way you think. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and arguably Elon Musk are examples of individuals who have used effective thinking strategies uniquely in their pursuits to change the world. They didn’t back out from failures and solved sub-problems to get to the core issue, just a couple thinking strategies that have allowed them to see the world differently and with their “eyes open”.

 

In the end, the execution of my artifact and presentation was quite successful. The audience was generally engaged in my presentation and thoroughly enjoyed seeing how badly they could write with their eyes closed. I not only made it fun and interactive, but had great knowledge and evidence to back up the metaphor it represented, which allowed me to have insightful conversations with audience members including teachers. Finally, I was happy that I was able to establish a personal connection to each assignment and activity, as I believe that it is an essential pathway to success in the course. I always brought things back to my “calling in life”, and how I hope to affect the world through my future career aspirations in the form of healthcare. The book I read expressed that success is not something you attain, it’s something you’re constantly aiming for and this a piece of advice that will certainly allow me to move forward with lifelong learning. 

Horror Part 2

Horror. Arguably the most challenging project I’ve ever done, and not entirely because I took on a big role. Being someone who has never been interested in the genre, I was soon able to realize how it is so simple yet surprisingly complex as I began studying it. We first started by asking ourselves what we were scared of, which led us to make sense of the driving question given horror is a direct representation of our fears as a society. 

Why is horror an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?

We took a field school to Seattle, most notably visiting the Museum of Pop Culture’s horror exhibit. Upon visiting the exhibit, I was soon able to realize how many of these killers, monsters or boogey men that have been used to scare us all these years have such human-like features, yet something is still not right…they just can’t be human. This is because, typically, they are what tap into and physically represent our fears as a society, which also allows the audience to associate them with the abstract concept of evil and fear them even more. Thus, allowing the film to more effectively share an important form of social commentary. 

Watching Halloween (1978) prior to beginning our production was quite effective in representing how good a film can turn out no matter how simple the story, as well as introducing us to classical aspects of movies from the genre such as the “final girl” trope. This method was also used in another popular horror saga, Friday The 13th with their killer – the all-mighty Jason Vorhees. In my previous post, I explained the kind of power that these select antagonists have held over their franchises which have led them to star in a dozen films. In our slasher movie, we adapted the tactic of de-humanizing our killer from both the movies and the horror exhibit in Seattle by not ever revealing her face and keeping her primarily mute. Drawing from outside media as inspiration has certainly improved the quality of our movie. I hope to continue doing so through extra research on the topics that we would be studying in future projects to bring in a wider range of ideas and ultimately come to a greater final product. 

Now we had already made a movie before, but there were a couple new challenges that arose: we knew how to make a movie, but not exactly how to make it scary and didn’t have a story to work off of like we did in Macbeth. We also had previous experience on analyzing how certain genres acted as social commentary, as our last project had been on dystopias. 

As I always look back on projects we’ve done, there’s always little bits and pieces that bug me because I wish I could’ve changed them or done them differently. I could go on and on about the things that went wrong but it would just be pointless, so I decided to talk about the things that were in my control. Being given the role of Producer has permitted me to learn and take back a lot from this project. I was quite proud of all the effort I put into organization during production and post-production, but I believe there were a few things that I could’ve done that would’ve set us up for more success. First of all, improving the communication by conducting rundowns at the beginning of everyday, especially throughout our filming days. Second, training a select few individuals to know a detailed version of our director’s vision to be able to conduct small shots without her, which would have kept us more on track. Third, doing a few more class read-throughs of the script to assure everyone would know the story fairly well and potentially take more initiative to figure out what to do. I know that I’ll certainly be able to take back several leadership lessons such as being more assertive, delegating tasks and roles rather than leaving them up to one person as well as communication, as there can never be too much of that. 

 

Fear is a part of our basic biological makeup as it ignites primary survival instincts such as fight or flight. This genre is an effective way of presenting social commentary and topics, even perhaps taboo, to reach large audiences by igniting such fear. Being put into the perspective of a movie creator has allowed me to truly realize the appeal and point of the genre. Horror is a way for viewers to escape their personal fears and instead experience them on a screen. We based our film’s story on the idea of social media, which is just another form in which us humans use to escape our own reality.

What Power Do Horror Franchises Hold Over Their Killers?

Halloween (1978) singlehandedly launched the era of the slasher film, where the main character became the villain. Halloween soon became a popular series, creating thirteen movies, along with Friday the 13th that made twelve. Sequels in many other genres have never been nearly as successful as these franchises, which has left me wondering how these movies were so popular despite having much of the same plot. 

When it comes to Friday the 13th, it’s always the same thing: killer takes out a bunch of teenagers. Upon watching Eli Roth’s History of Horror episode on the slasher sub-genre, one of his guest speakers said something that sparked my interest. Elijah Wood said that the subsequent sequels to Friday the 13th became “who are these awful kids that we sort of hate and why can’t we wait for Jason totake them out?”. This was answered by Joe Hill, another guest speaker, stating that each movie of this franchise only ever included these one-dimensional characters (gang of teenagers with a jock, stoner, virgin, etc). This permits the audience from ever caring about them or falling in love with them, which makes it easier and more entertaining to watch them be taken out by a serial killer. My theory is that people go in to watch a Friday the 13th film expecting to see gore and many kills, especially of teenagers, but they are drawn in by the unique and creative ways in which they are all done by the oh-so-famous Jason Vorhees. 

fridaythe13th.fandom.com

The reasoning behind the Halloween franchise’s popularity however, is different. Halloween introduces the world to Lorie Strode, who was the first to begin the classic horror trope of the “final girl”. Contrary to Friday the 13th, you care about Lorie and don’t want her to die as she is the one that you relate to the most — the smart and logical one. Lorie Strode is the ultimate horror movie heroine because she represents all that is beautiful about humanity. She is a fighter and survivor, as well as the only one capable of finally ending Michael Myers. Although Michael Myers’ motivation to target Lorie is partially revealed in a couple of the sequels by the fact that she is his younger sister, what made the first film so good was the fact that you have no idea what makes him want to focus on her. 

offscreen.com

Lorie Strode is only in seven out of the thirteen movies in this franchise, so, what makes Michael Myers such an interesting killer that you’d wanna see him in so many movies? An article from digitaltrends.com stated that “no matter what film he’s in, Michael is always a formidable force of nature that is almost impossible to defeat in the Halloween franchise.” He’s the human that just ain’t human, and the living description of The Boogey Man. By being faceless, he appears as less human while also allowing viewers to associate him with the abstract concept of evil itself. The fact that he never says a word even further adds to this effect. 

pennlive.com

I believe that this is what the directors of Friday the 13th wanted to bring into their franchise, as Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees are not all that different. Both Jason and Michael have remained the face of their franchises throughout almost every movie, whereas other franchises have had to rely on additional antagonists to keep their stories fresh. The killers’ abilities to carry forty years of cinema by themselves further distinguishes them from their murderous colleagues. 

 

 

Sources Cited:

Farrell, 07-04-2020 by D., & Kalifa, 06-30-2020 by P. (2013, March 19). Why I love Michael Myers: An essay. somethingawful.com. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.somethingawful.com/news/michael-meyers-halloween/

Joiner, L. (2022, February 16). Here’s what makes Friday the 13th popular enough for 12 movies. MovieWeb. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://movieweb.com/friday-the-13th-movies/

Murrian, S. R. (2022, October 12). John Carpenter’s 1978 ‘Halloween’ is one of the best, Scariest Horror Movies of All Time-Here’s why – parade: Entertainment, recipes, health, life, holidays. Parade. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://parade.com/606101/samuelmurrian/7-reasons-why-john-carpenters-halloween-is-one-of-the-most-beloved-horror-films-of-all-time/

Osborne, J. (2022, October 14). Jason Voorhees explained: Who is the Friday the 13th movie killer? The Digital Fix. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.thedigitalfix.com/friday-the-13th/jason-voorhees-explained

Roth, E. (2018, October 21). Slasher Part 1 . Eli Roth’s History of Horror. Episode 2. Season 1

Zimmerman, D. (2022, October 3). The 10 best things about Halloween’s Michael Myers. CBR. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.cbr.com/michael-myers-halloween-best-things/

The Handmaid’s Tale…a world not too far from reality?

 

Good afternoon. I am here to introduce PLP 12’s first project of the year on dystopias. In this project’s final product, we were to analyze a novel we chose to read and explain how an issue in that novel acts as social commentary in a final film of our creation. 

How does dystopian literature act as social commentary?

We started by identifying the common attributes of a dystopian society, which I
believe had contributed to helping me analyze the dystopian texts we had been exposed to this project. 

We subsequently watched the dystopian movie “V for Vendetta” and conducted a Socratic seminar on the film. I had previously said in my most recent project and tPOL that I wanted to improve on my skills in Socratic seminars, and I’m certainly headed in the right direction. I feel as though I made a great contribution to the conversation, was well prepared with my notes, and introduced new ideas and connections from the film.

www.chapters.indigo.ca

I chose to read The Handmaid’s Tale as I thought that the issues presented in the book were quite relevant to today. Throughout our experience of reading the books, we wrote in response journals to get ourselves thinking about what issues we’d like to analyze. Then, we wrote paragraphs analyzing two themes in the book. I made mine on identity and how fear suppresses the act of rebellion. My analyses on these themes well exemplify the fact that I continue to improve in text analysis in every coming project.

Offred’s dialogue, as she dwells in the past, demonstrates how it’s difficult to value identity until it is stripped away from her. The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel in which the leaders of Gilead control women’s bodies and rights as a form of political fodder, in an attempt to suppress them from liberties and freedoms such as their identity. Offred’s reminiscence of her past life humanizes her in the sense that when she loses something, she then realizes how grateful she is for it and how important it was before it was taken. Offred often compares her previous life to her current one. Throughout the book, we continually gain more insight as to how her identity and freedoms have been stripped away. In an effort to create a collective identity amongst the people of Gilead, as it’s fundamental to a working dystopian regime, those in power separate their citizens into classes (eg. Handmaids, Marthas, Commanders). The handmaids, for example, are forced to wear red robes to symbolize their only true purpose – menstruation, and therefore fertility. Additionally, they are given new names such as Offred, stating that they are owned by their Commander, just like an object (Of-Fred). Offred wonders if she “Can be blamed for wanting a real body, to put her arms around?” Part of Offred’s identity, prior to the control gained by the Gileadean regime, was that of being a mother and wife. She experiences the feeling of dissociation, as she is no longer able to care for her family or receive any kind of affection. This represents how a lack of love can be detrimental to the human spirit, and how it is essential to living a content life. The suppression of individualism also extends to Gilead’s theocratic state. This dystopic novel contains several allusions to the bible, maintaining only one collective religion in it’s society. Religion is an aspect of identity, and those that may have been atheist, Jewish, Islamic, etc before the regime overthrew the U.S. government, are forced into a contrary set of beliefs. Margaret Atwood’s plot point could be argued to point towards historical predecessors, such as the indigenous residential schools or the Crusades, in which forced conversion occurred. This theocracy acts as an outlet to eliminate free thought, aspects such as the routine bible readings and lectures from Aunts in the Red Centre work to create a collective belief, and therefore a collective identity.
The plot of The Handmaid’s Tale exemplifies that fear suppresses the act of rebellion, but it’s desire will ultimately create a spark and cause members of the population to act out. Following in the theme of a collective identity, The Handmaid’s Tale’s world enforces their people to look and act in a similar way. This of which makes it increasingly frightening for members to ever have the desire to stand out or rebel against their regime. While this is the goal of Gilead, nearly every character rebels in one way or another. The commander and his wife, for example, rebel for their own personal benefit. Offred may not be what we consider to be a traditional rebel such as Ofglen and Moira, as she struggles with an internal conflict – rebelliousness vs fear. Throughout the novel, she is given numerous opportunities to escape but becomes frightened within her enslaved position in Gilead due to the fearful elements of her current society. The dead bodies hanging on the wall, for example, are a relentless reminder to the civilians of what rebellion and conflict will result in. Over time, Offred begins to “make a life for herself, here, of a sort” as she begins seeing Nick secretly, which makes her feel like she has something more to live for. “Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.” In this sense, a compensation such as comfort may also act as a suppressor of rebellion. Her situation has improved, which has made her circumstances more tolerable. This may have led her to believe that life isn’t so bad in Gilead anymore, and there is therefore far less desire for her to leave. Through this recurring theme, Margaret Atwood expresses that while a heroic and rebellious protagonist may always be exciting, it is humanizing the character that will strengthen the message by making it’s story hauntingly realistic and therefore inflicting fear on it’s readers of our real world’s social issues. It is more difficult for members of an oppressive society to rebel as it is human’s nature to survive. Although Offred cared more for her own safety rather than standing up against the Gileadean regime, she lived to tell her story, which in a society that aims to silence her, could in fact, be an act of rebellion.

 

Then, we went on to start the creation of our films. At first, I wasn’t exactly sure as to how I should approach my film making, so, I decided to email several members of the English Department at UBC that specialized in Canadian Literature to get some inspiration from them. I received one answer from Glenn Deer who gave me many connections to other forms of literature such as The Complete Persepolis and WE. 

 

Upon much research, I decided that I would focus my film on women’s reproductive rights, an issue very relevant to the US, but also in Canada. I learned about the issue of Crisis Pregnancy Centres that was well described by John Oliver on one of his talk shows, which was what had sparked my interest in using this topic for my documentary. Futhermore, I spoke to a counsellor from an abortion clinic in Vancouver in the form of an interview and was given much insight based on their professional experience and personal opinions. This information really amped up the quality of my film’s content. 

Excerpt from my film’s script

Even though I have been a “PLP kid” for the last five years, my editing skills are not top notch, which I think was where I fell short in my film. However, my content was there and I had a very well thought-out script. My theme analysis, research and organization thrived in this project. I am looking forward to further grow my skills in text analysis and public speaking through Socratic Seminars as well as incorporate what I learned in this project to our next one on Horror. 

TPOL 2022

“Thank you for coming to my presentation of learning. I am the expert on my own learning. I am also responsible and accountable for my own learning. You can expect me to give an honest evaluation of my progress. We will discuss my strengths and opportunities for growth. Thank you in advance for listening and for offering feedback that I can use to improve as a learner.”

Hello all and welcome to my very last tPOL…eeeek. It is truly nerve-racking to think that this time next year I’ll be graduating, but let’s get onto this presentation shall we? 

I want to begin this tPOL with the goals I set in my mPOL earlier this school year. My first goal was that of Communicating which meant that by the end of the year, I wanted to feel more comfortable and confident while speaking in front of others. Around the time of my mPOL, I would get excessively nervous before and while I had to speak in front of others. Now…I still get excessively nervous. However, there were still ways that I actually improved in this competency. Coming into this project that we just completed for the spring exhibition, there were two opportunities in which heavily included speaking – Socratic Seminars and presenting our products at the exhibition. 

Looking back at the Socratic Seminars that were held the semester before, I hardly spoke if anything not at all. On the other hand, I had spoken much more when it came to the set of Socratic Seminars held in this project. This is because I put in the effort to make myself feel much more prepared before the seminars. I decided that I would not only heavily review my notes on the text,
but do additional research as well as read analyses made on the films. Doing such made me feel much more sure about what I had to say, making me therefore feel more confident. This also applies to presenting my portrait at the spring exhibition as I had done extensive research on my Community Impact Maker which was well received by those that I was presenting to.

My next goal was in regards to Collaboration – using leadership skills in a group context that fit best with my strengths and weaknesses as well as taking on leadership roles more often. I believe that the spring exhibition is a good example of how my leadership skills have grown. The “Service” group in which I was in was only working together for about a week, which is what made working as a team very important. I took on a leading role in this group, but that didn’t just mean I was telling everyone what to do. I was aware that one of my biggest strengths is organization, so my priority was to make sure that we were getting everything done and staying on task.

Some of the group members I worked with this last exhibition!

This school year, I’ve ultimately gained a new understanding for the term “leadership” and have started to apply it to actual projects. Being the “leader” of a group project doesn’t just mean you’re bossing people around, it means that you are ensuring every member gets their ideas in. The final execution is not only limited to the leader’s own vision, and the leader should strive to bring the people and ideas together because everyone needs to collaborate. Where I really think I’ve represented this was in the Spring Exhibition because I used my strengths to my advantage which lead to the success of my group’s area. *


My number one objective for next year is to finish my last year of PLP with no regrets, I’m also applying this to every other aspect of my life. I did however have one primary regret from this school year, the Macbeth production. We started this project after I had finished my mPOL with the goals I stated earlier in Collaboration and Communication. In this production I could’ve participated in either by taking on a big role in a department or taking on an acting role. I unfortunately did neither which lead me to highly regretting the ends of this project. I consider this to be my F.A.I.L of the school year, but now I know that it won’t happen again. 

Another lesson that I learned from this school year came from the Manhattan Project Project and Winter Exhibition. I took a risk in having my project’s topic to do with the effect of chemo therapy. I later realized that it was perhaps too sensitive, personal and sometimes even tragic to talk about especially in a exhibition setting. Presenting to others during the exhibition became very uncomfortable and I came to regret both my topic and art choice. Although I regret it, it was a huge learning experience for me. 


Now onto something I feel I should celebrate. Obviously, I felt my Spring Exhibition went successfully but I also consider the Playlist of My Life project to be quite worth celebrating. Although a short project, the Playlist of My Life showcased the best of my skills in text analysis. I was able to naturally integrate poetic devices as well as describe my connection to the songs in perfect detail. Most importantly, I went deeply into my own interpretation of the meaning behind each song – well explained and found as interesting by my peers. 

If you look back at where I was at in grade 8, coming out of an entirely french school in which I was “learning” english as a second language – my writing wasn’t all the greatest. Now I’ve improved immensely and have finally gotten to the same level as my peers. 

Why do I feel I am ready to advance to the next grade level? On the outside I’m not, in fact I’m terrified to start grade 12 next year just like any other high-schooler. However, on the inside I feel as though I have adapted to a senior level of education in humanities. I have well developed skills in text analysis as well as in persuasive writing. I’ve improved my leadership skills and broken “speech related barriers”. Finally, I’ve finally started to find my voice when it comes to my blog posts. Blog posts aren’t particularly meant to be as formal as a traditional essay, so I’ve always carried that kind of mentality with me – which has allowed me to better express my personality through the media and writing used in posts. Through that, I’ve found how I’d like to represent myself to those viewing my university applications – because this is ultimately what the purpose of my learning portfolio has been all these years. *

Mighty Impactful

In this year’s spring exhibition, the grade 10s, 11s and 12s all collaborated together to showcase a project called “Cray, Cray Yay! Yay!”.

What Makes Someone A Community Impact Maker?

We first began with an introduction to the term “crazy ones” through an advertisement for Apple Inc. created by Steve Jobs in the 2000s. After developing a strong definition as a class, we went along and watched three consecutive movies that all represented one or more so-called “crazy ones”. Those movies were Hidden Figures, Amadeus and Gandhi. After we reached the end of a movie, we conducted a Socratic Seminar to showcase our detailed understanding as well as deeper thoughts and connections we might have made. Compared to the Socratic seminars held last semester, I would say that I’ve gained improvement in this area but not as much as I was hoping for. I would love to participate in more next year as I believe that they are a great way of getting me out of my comfort zone in expressing thoughts and opinions in-front of my peers. 

Next we got into our individual products. We each chose someone who we considered to be a “Community Impact Maker”, which is essentially a “crazy one” but on a slightly lesser scale. We would also be personally interviewing and inviting these impact makers to our exhibition, so we gave them a name that would sound less controversial. 

Some literature notes on my research

I decided to base my project on David Foster, the founder of the Harvest Project (and not the famous music producer). In choosing him, I found out so much about how big of a role this organization plays in our community. I gained the most knowledge through my
interview with Joe McGuinness, the Community Engagement Coordinator at Harvest Project. I learned lots about their history and their continued impact today, as well as struggles they have faced as a foundation through obstacles such as COVID-19. 

My Original Design

Finally, let’s get onto the creation itself. Our class was tasked with creating a portrait to represent our Community Impact Makers. From the beginning, I knew that I wanted the main focus of my portrait to be a lot more symbolic rather than showing many details of David Foster’s physical appearance. From that, it meant that I would keep it more simplistic to not distract the audience from the main focus. In my portrait, I wanted to represent the slogan at Harvest Project: “Extending a hand up, not a hand out”. To portray this, I wanted a hand to be pulling another out of a “black hole” which could be seen as poverty or whatever challenges one of Harvest Project’s clients may face. As you can see from my original design, I was hoping to use hands made out of styrofoam as I felt that they would look the most realistic. In the end, I had to use latex gloves that I would stuff with tissue paper that ultimately turned out better than the styrofoam would have.

Once our portraits were done, we had a limited time to prepare the set up for our areas. Everyone’s presentations were separated into different categories: Environment, Business, Arts, Athletics and Service. As the Service section of the gym, my group had a good challenge in decorating an area with this broad
topic. However, we were all quite happy with the way it turned out and managed to have everything fit the theme, even the food. We had Lemon-aid, Caring Cookies and Purposeful Popcorn. Cheesy I know, but it worked!

Me with my final product, credits to my mom

Overall, I believe that this exhibition was actually one of my best. I showed the right level leadership with my exhibition group and broke a small barrier within my speech comfort zone in both the exhibition and Socratic seminars. Through this project, I’ve come to learn that a Community Impact Maker is not just someone who’s done something to impact the community, but also how they’ve inspired others to do the same. This is why I couldn’t have
picked a better person to base my project on, as it was more than just about David Foster’s legacy, but how a dozen staff and hundreds of volunteers continue to help countless individuals and families in a number of different ways every year.

 

I’ll Change Your Mind

Hi everyone, welcome to another one of my project reflections. Now this one was another short project, but I’m actually starting to quite like these lengths- as often times they require developing our writing skills. In our final product, our end goal was to have persuaded an audience of our choice through text. 

“How can we use our voices to effect change?”

In order for our products to be successful in the end, we had done several activities and assignments. What I believed helped me the most when it came to the success in my persuasive text was reviewing the 6+1 traits, reading examples of persuasive texts as well as reflecting on them and keeping my writing record throughout the course of the project. The 6+1 traits and persuasive text examples were very effective in giving me inspiration, as well as figuring out what approaches I would take to persuade my own audience.

The next step we took in our project was to choose and narrow down our topics. Although I really enjoyed the freedom of choosing a topic that I was passionate about, this was probably the least enjoyable part of the project for me as it required me to change my topic a few times. As this was a short project, I wasn’t able to choose one that was too complex as it would require much more time. I finally decided that I would convince my little brother to shave his facial hair – making the topic and audience not too complicated, while still giving me a decent challenge as my brother doesn’t enjoy being proven wrong. 

My Empathy Map

To take the first step in creating my persuasive text, I had to put myself in my brother’s shoes to figure out the best techniques I could use to convince him. I figured that I would approach things that are of value to him, as well as things that he knows will be in the future. I also needed to make sure my word choice would be done correctly, as to not make him think that I’m attacking him, but looking out for him. I followed up with a short interview with him, which confirmed what I had already thought and provided me with a few extra things that turned out to be quite helpful. 

It is humans’ given right to do whatever they please regarding their individual looks. However, as it is also humans’ given right to free speech, I am here to persuade you into otherwise shaving your moustache. Shaving facial hair is a valuable skill that will likely be of use to you for your future milestones. You still have coming: job interviews, prom and working in a professional environment. I won’t speak for you, but being your best for those would be a priority. Although you have some worries and doubts (such as getting nicks or cuts), with the proper instructions from our father, you would have no issues with that. As it could still be possible to get nicks and cuts, it would be more ideal for them to happen now rather than before something important. Although you probably wouldn’t wait until prom to shave your face, I know you would hate to look back at those photos. So, why not start now? Now that you aren’t worried, and know your future milestones, what about that future career? You wish to pursue a career in Dentistry and possibly Orthodontics, where hygiene is an essential part of these jobs. It would be difficult to pursue a career in this field if hygiene is not something that appears to be valuable to you, as that could possibly reduce your chance in being successful in that career. Zach, I am looking very far forward into the future here. But let me ask you this, would you trust a dentist that had a perfect smile, but a moustache like yours? Maybe, but would you trust one more with the same smile and a well shaved moustache? Shaving facial hair is the inevitable reality for men, and as you move into this next stage of your life, it’s now time to embark into this next transition.
My brother with a facial razor

After writing up my first draft, we had a critique session in class. My classmates gave me some advice on what I could tweak a little that would make all the difference to persuading my audience. There was one sentence in particular, regarding hygiene, that stuck out from the rest of the text and came off a different way than I had hoped. After creating my second draft, I presented it to my brother. He had a couple things he said he didn’t like such as mentioning “crushes” and saying a couple words that I wouldn’t usually use while speaking to him. On the other hand, he told me that he was convinced and asked our mom to buy a razor the next time she goes shopping – so overall…a success! 

Some Literature Notes from this project

This was actually a great project for me, as I’ll always enjoy learning ways to improve my writing. The skills I learned from this will definitely be somethings that I’ll find quite helpful in the future. Coming out of this project, I feel much more confident in my own persuasive writing skills which will definitely be something beneficial to me in the near future. Something that I would’ve done differently however, would’ve been creating more literature notes from those examples we read in class, much earlier on in the project rather than the last two texts we read.

 

A Macbeth Production

*video*

Well hello there, welcome to another one of my blog posts. As you’ve seen above, this last project was quite interesting, and clearly required a lot of collaboration as the whole class was in on it. 

“How might we create a compelling vision of “Macbeth” set in the 1950s?”

This project started like any other, we’re given the spiel of what we should be expecting, which includes the new driving question (as seen above). We were then taught the knowledge necessary to completing the final product of this project, which was compiled of two separate topics –  The Cold War and infamous play Macbeth. By the time our final film production is compete, we would’ve ultimately connected the two topics to compile them into one engaging story and production. In order to learn about these two subjects, we were given a series of lectures on the Cold War, and read the play, as well as watched a film based on it for inspiration.

Now onto the film process. Out of all the projects I’ve done in PLP, this one has been the most difficult for me. Less on the content and assignments themselves (although they were still challenging), but because I had the most difficulty in trying to find my place in this project. I didn’t get to participate in this project as much as I had hoped in order to begin to achieve the goals I had set out in my mPOL. Although, I regret not applying for a bigger role, as head for one of the departments for example. 

An excerpt from the annotated script

The role I was given in the production was Sound Assistant, working with Noah who was head of the department. The placings weren’t very relevant however, because our roles and jobs were the same. Our camera guy made a last-minute decision to not need a boom mic, so instead of focusing on the sounds while on set, we only focused on the sounds that would be added during post-production. We annotated the whole script to figure out places where certain sounds could be added. I then wrote up a list in Basecamp to put all the sounds needed in one place. Finally, we found/created some of the sounds that we’d like to be used. 

The competency I decided to focus on was Collaborating, previously mentioned in my mPOL. This meant that I would be able to not only work well with others, but also take on a leading role. As I said before, I really regret not applying for a bigger role, as it would’ve enabled me to accomplish this competency much more successfully. Being Sound Assistant allowed me to collaborate and lead to a certain level, but not nearly at the level I had hoped to be. Another competency I could’ve focused on was that of Communicating, which would’ve been effective in a big acting role but there were complications that lead to me not applying for one. 

Some of the Literature Notes I made this project

Despite the tough situation, one thing I learned and made sure to keep in mind during the entirety of this project was to focus on the things I could control. I may not have been able to have as big of a role in this production, but there were other things we were being graded on. That’s why I tried to focus largely on the writing portion of this project – my Zettlekasten as well as an Act Quest on the Macbeth play. 

Draft 1

Now onto the Act Quest, this was an analysis written on the first three acts of the play Macbeth. This assignment was first assigned to be written up in class under a certain time constraint, where we had to discuss the play in regards to theme, plot and character. I was decently happy with my first attempt, but it was not exactly what our teacher was looking for and I still could’ve done much better. I wasn’t specific enough when it came to the plot and took the wrong approach when I chose to connect the play’s theme to something in our world, when I should’ve stuck to that of the play and connected it to us as readers. As I was determined to get the highest grade possible in this assignment, I went to the teacher a few times before/after school to achieve a better understanding of what she was looking for, in order to make my text the best it could be. If you’d like to read my final Act Quest, click on the accordion bellow. 

“Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time, for from this instant There’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead, The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees/Is left this vault to brag of.” The King is dead, all is lost. All Macbeth has to live for is the remains of wine at the bottom of the barrel, as life has been drained from the kingdom. This was likely a common feeling throughout the kingdom, but more specifically relates to Macbeth’s direct suffering after committing an act of treason from killing Duncan himself. This passage from the play also represents irony as everyone around him believes that he had said that in result of the death of the king, when it was in reality Macbeth speaking of his own murder of the king. Immediately after doing such actions, it’s pretty clear that he feels some sort of remorse or guilt as he dramatically implies that the blood could stain the world’s oceans red. In other words, the consequences of his actions will not be easily hidden and he will forever be a changed man – which is inevitably true for his character as he doesn’t ever turn back from his tainted future. This specific passage is one of many representations of Macbeth’s past, present and future. Past, as it is no secret that he had spoken about this dark desire before (but after it’s done, he and his wife’s thoughts change as their lives drastically change). Present, he had just killed Duncan, and is now realizing that his life will never be the same. From this moment on, there is nothing left to live for. If only he had died an hour before this event, he could say he’s lived a blessed life. Finally future, as he steps in deeper to his new “legacy” as a murderer as he later accepts the fact that there is no turning back – it would take just as much effort to reverse what he’s done as to keep killing. This is one of many lines that represents the reoccurring theme and message throughout the play. Shakespeare is telling us, the readers, that before making a decision, you must first consider your own actions and judgement to assure that it is not being influenced by others. It’s not ideal to be the type of person who is so easily manipulated, as it will involve major consequences. Macbeth’s only form of motivation to commit treason was his ambition. He then allowed himself to be easily swayed by his wife, as he was then suddenly very set out on his decision.

 

Although this may have been a tough project, it was a memorable one. It is quite exciting to think of the fact that our class created a whole movie…and the acting wasn’t that bad either ;). Not only that, but I did also learn a valuable lesson – choosing to focus on what was within my own control, those of which I thought went pretty successfully. However, if I were to do a project like this again, I would certainly apply for a bigger role in the production or as an actor.