Apparently Petruchio has No Authority

I’d like to preface this post with the fact that I’m still not 100% sure what the teachers want from these posts. Unclear if that’s just me being less than smart, or something else. Regardless, I came up with this idea for my weekly reflection and so were going with it.

One thing that I’ve noticed, that we’ve touched on a wee bit, is the amount of adaptations of The Taming of the Shrew. By adaptations, I mean movies, television shows, plays of course, all that jazz. Believe you me, there are more than enough. The thing is, I guess the themes are timeless or whatever, so people keep making them.

I was curious. So, as one does, I went investigating. Like I mentioned before, there are quite a few adaptations that I could choose from. I decided to look into two of them, and kinda give the low down on them in this post. The ones I’ve chosen are all movies, to be clear, but interesting enough in their own rights.

Just a note, I haven’t actually seen these movies, or not the entire thing. 

The first movie version that we’ll be talking about is the 1929 version of the film, directed by Sam Taylor. This version was in fact talkie*, and the first talkie of The Taming of the Shrew. It starred Mary Pickford as Kate, and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks as Petruchio.

The film is most notable for how Pickford delivered Kate’s last speech of the movie. When Kate goes through the reasons that a wife should obey her husband, she makes a subtle communication with Bianca, which Petruchio does not notice, that shows that Kate has not actually been tamed. This opposes the idea in the original Shakespeare version, where in the end Kate is tamed. In Taylor’s version, Kate knows what’s going on, and responds accordingly. 

The next version is the 1967 adaptation, which I have seen parts of as it is the version we are watching in class. This one, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, is probably the most famous version. Something that is an interesting connection between both this version and the previous version is that in both, Kate and Petruchio are played by real life couples. Zeffirelli’s version starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. 

In this version, there does seem to be a bit more of the idea that Kate and Petruchio actually fall in love. It is also noted that Kate tends to cast longing glances at Petruchio, as we’ve discussed in class a few times. 

The biggest difference in Taylor’s performance then Pickford’s comes again to Kate’s last speech. Taylor chose to deliver the speech with seniority, much to the dismay of Burton and Zeffirelli. However, she continues to undermine Petruchio’s authority by leaving the banquet without him. 

I wanted to compare these two because of the different ideals of women in the time period, and how both Pickford and Taylor play the character of Katherina. I think its interesting how in both versions, the decision was made to show that Kate was never actually tamed. That speaks a lot to the idea of the perfect wife, and something to consider when watching these. 

*talkie: a movie with a soundtrack, as opposed to a silent film

SLC’s the Eighth: tPOLs

It’s that time of the year again, where we reflect on all that has transpired, and prepare to move into the next year. PLP is a program focused on growth, and this year I have strived to go further than I have before. From leaving my comfort zone on Field schools, to running a class project, everything this year has pushed me farther along the path to success. For this tPOL, I’m going to draw from three different projects that really stretched my thinking, and reflect on how they have prepared me for the future.

What skills did you use and what skills do you want to continue to develop?

One thing that has definitely been a challenge over the past few months is learning online. It has not been easy, even for PLP. PLP was definitely quicker to adapt than some of my other courses, but having no contact, really, with a lot of the teachers has been extremely difficult. Being in PLP, though, has definitely been an advantage. I was able to use skills that I developed in this program, that made the switch a lot easier. From being comfortable on a device, to just straight up having applications on our devices, made online work seem more accessible. Even with all that, it’s still a struggle to motivate yourself to get things done. I’ve had a very hard time with exactly that, motivation. With school, and work, it is hard to get everything done. So I’ve had to use a lot of skills from our PGP course to help. Making to-do lists, tracking habits, it’s all really helped. The ideas that we’ve learned from that over the past two years have been incredible beneficial in this crazy time.

Did your goals for your work change as you worked on it?

Speaking of habits and PGP, I want to talk about our most recent PGP project, and how my ideas, and goals, changed as I worked on it. So, basically, as a summary of the project we were reflecting on all that we had learned from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Now, I started out wanting to make a little, like, vague habit tracking book, where you could have a physical place to mark off what you have done. But the I took another look back at atomic habits, and looked at the laws, and saw how I could incorporate more of those ideas into my journal. And once I had done all of that, I was pretty proud of myself. I took a flimsy little idea, and turned it into something I am really proud of. It became something that anyone, whether or not you had read the book, could use to help them with their goals.

What problems did you encounter? How did you solve them?

The final example that I’d like to bring up is the Macbeth project. This was probably one of the most difficult projects that I’ve ever done, and not even because of the subject matter. That was confusing an a whole other level. The difficult part was being the producer. I’ve always struggled with group work, because I find people weird and confusing, but this took it a step higher. As producer, I had to work with everyone, and not act superior, but also be their superior. We have some strong people in the class, and so already when roles were chosen there was a bit of strife. Add to that the fact that we basically had two and a half weeks to write, prepare and film the movie, well, I started stress baking. It was difficult to try and work with others who were very set in their ways. Our key creative team, though, did pretty well under the circumstances, though. We tried to solve disagreements in a calm manner, and spent a lot of time working through tough patches. We were pretty adaptable, and when everything started to fall apart I tried my darnedest to keep it together. Overall, I learned a lot about myself, and the other people in the class.

And that concludes my tPOL. Thank you for listening to me, and I would just like to leave you with a question: How have I demonstrated teamwork in the past, and how have I progressed since then?

I Don’t Know Why We Didn’t Call it the Scottish Play

Good morning. It’s not the morning when I’m writing this, but that’s not the point. Anyways, yes, right, the post. Over the past few months, starting in January I think, we’ve been reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It is a very interesting play within itself, and has many interesting themes. The one we studied was the idea of appearance vs. reality. This, through some unknown channel, was connected to our social studies timeline, and so we were basically studying the 1950’s, as well as a Scottish play from the 17th century.

This may seem like an odd connection, but there really are quite a few connections you could draw. That was one of our assignments, actually. We had to write blog posts connecting Macbeth and the 1950’s. It was definitely hard to start, but by the end of these posts, I think I had really done some good work.

Another big part of the unit were what we called ‘Act Quests’. Basically, while reading the play, we would have these test-like things where we would be given quotes from Macbeth, and have to: recount the events that took place before, during and after the quote, identify who said it and why it was important to the character and those it was said to, and how it relates to theme. These were definitely not easy. In PLP, we don’t have a lot of tests, which is why sometimes things like this can catch us off guard. We did do something similar to this in the LOTF project, but to a much lesser degree. Its definitely important to do things like this, to prepare for university and stuff, but it’s still not my favourite. I guess my biggest issue was putting too much information down, which makes sense, because I do tend to do info dumps. But overall, I think it was a really good practice in an area we sometimes don’t spend tons of time in.

Now, you might be thinking, well, these are only small parts of the project, they can’t be the final product. And believe me buddy, you’d be right. Also, if you’re familiar with past PLP Macbeth projects, you’ll know that there have been attempts at a class film adaptation of Macbeth. Notice how I say attempt. This has never worked. So of course we had to do exactly that. But it’s never that simple. We also had to set the movie in the 1950’s, and change it so it fits in that year. Goodie.

One of the things we stated with was trying to figure out a story outline. Everyone would try and come up with an idea on how we could set it in the 50’s. At first, we had grandiose ideas, like having it set in a mayors office, or during a presidential race. But we had to rethink, because we were going to be the ones acting, and we are children. I mean the in the nicest way possible, but nonetheless it’s true. We’re also not that great actors, but thats another issue altogether. We ended up going with a private school with a secret society.

Now came the really difficult part: deciding roles. This can either be a very big deal, or a very small deal. To us, it was big. I wasn’t sure what I should do, because although the whole class was working together, a group called the key creatives were mostly in charge of the movie. The key creatives were the people who everyone reported to, and were responsible more or less for the success. all the roles were similar to what would be on an actual movie set. The key creatives were the producer, who was head of everything, the director, who had the vision for the film, and the screenwriter, who, with a team, would write the film. We did add a fourth key creative, production manager, which was similar to producer, but in more of a day to day sense. I decided to apply for the producer, because though it is a lot of responsibility, I thought I could do a good job leading our class to success. Also, I had a vision on what the film could look like, and as a key creative I thought I could help with that part.

Applying for the positions was pretty stressful. First, we had to go home and write a pitch for what roles we wanted. After that, everyone who had applied to be a key creative had to, in class, write out their vision for what the film would look like. And… I got it! I was chosen to be the producer. But that’s not the be all and end all. Off the bat, I was told that I could be fired at anytime. I knew this beforehand, but that really put the pressure on. Not that I thought I’d do a bad job, but its kinda scary. The rest of the team was Giorgia as director, Jesse as screenwriter, and Luca J as production manager. A pretty solid team.

The next part was not fun. Being a key creative was difficult, but way more than I thought it would be. We had a very tight schedule as well, because we were supposed to have it done before spring break and we got our roles like, 2 and a half weeks before then. We had to cast, get costumes, props, write the script, and film in that small window. There were some fun parts, though. We had to find 50’s lingo for the script, which was fun, and reading around the tables was cool. There was a bit of drama around casting, and key creatives spent a lot of time outside of school trying to figure things out, but once we had the prep out of the way, we were more or less set to film.

That’s when things started to fall apart a bit. The teachers left for Vietnam with the grade 12s, so we were left completely on our own. But it was fine. We had a solid film schedule, and we were going to be fine. Everything was blocked in, and the first filming day went smoothly, mostly. I did end up having to be in the movie and sprained my ankle in the process, but we were adapting as things were thrown at us. Even when our Macbeth had to reschedule a shoot because he wasn’t feeling well, it was fine. We adjusted, and filmed everything we could without him. Except, he was still sick the next day. And when we thought he was getting better, and had everything set, he was sick again and wasn’t sure wether or not to come. The key creatives discussed, and said we needed to keep everyone safe and so we cancelled. This was a difficult decision, but it was for the best. We had got all we could without our main character, and everyone had worked so hard.

Then spring break hit, and we were working with what we had. The post production crew did a great job with what they had, and we planned to film the rest after the break. But, as you might have guessed, the break never ended. Well, it did, but you know what I mean. School was cancelled, and we were forced to accept what we had. It was really though to face. Being the head of a big project like this was a really amazing learning experience for me, and to see all that work not pan out was really sucky. Everyone tried their hardest, and though there were some hiccups, if it hadn’t been for the sickness of Macbeth, I think we would have pulled it off. Its dissapeointng, but I know how hard everyone worked, and the experience within itself was pretty cool.

I do have a theory on why it didn’t work, though. A dumb, superstitious theory, but still. So, when actors are putting on the play of Macbeth, they call it the Scottish Play. There are documented cases of when people didn’t do this, and then actors got sick or hurt. I just find it kinda fishy how it was Macbeth who got sick, and no one else. But that’s just the raving of some student. Who really knows?

Think and Create: Essay time

These think and create posts are harder than you’d think. We cover a lot of content, but it’s not always easy to find, or rather, come up with a feasible connection. I came up with this idea, actually, after talking to my grandpa about school when he was a kid in Vancouver, around the 50s. Drawing from his experience, the book Dear Martin, and our discussions in class, I have written an essay on segregation within unsegregated schools. It’s an interesting topic, one that I have found interesting opinions on.


Essay: Self Segregation 

       Throughout history, people have been judged by the colour of their skin. When you picture a racist, though, you can’t fully have an idea of what they look like. It’s not always white men with pitchforks in KKK get up. It can be parents, people drilling into their young child this idea of segregation. Sometimes it’s not even on purpose. Hate is easy, jointing a mob mentality can bring you closer with your peers. When people get to high school, in unsegregated schools, they sometimes segregate themselves, on purpose or not. It can be hard to notice, but from the 50’s, till today, it’s still there. 

In Dear Martin by Nic Stone, the main character is pushed in this direction of ‘self segregation’. He has internal struggles when he wants to date a white girl, for example. His mother, growing up in a time when it was very frowned upon for an African American man to be with a white woman, drills this idea into his head, until he makes decisions to push this girl away for his mother’s sake. Also, when his best friend is shot, he seeks comfort in his old, bad neighbourhood, wanting to be around people he thinks will understand. He separates himself from his best friends white friends, for other people like him who are bad influences. In both scenarios, he does understand the risk, but the racial pressures set upon him urge him towards a stereotype that will do him no good. He tries to do better, but this separate idea always comes to his mind. 

Although in the 1950’s in Vancouver schools were not segregated, people still divided according to race and ethnicity. In one example from Frank Ward, who went to a mainly white school with some people of East Indian descent, there was a very large culture barrier. The white boys and East Indian boys formed tight cliches, avoiding each other, but often getting into brawls. While this was surely discouraged by the teachers, the brawling part, it helped maintain the divide of culture, and this idea that a non-white man couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be with a white woman. Whether drilled into them by their parents, or the media, this idea would have shaped not only the boys in the cliches, but the younger students and siblings. It can be hard to change a behaviour you’ve never been told is wrong. 

After the Brown vs the Board of Education case was settled, and the United States declared that ‘separate but equal’ was not fair, integration of African American students into white schools began. Or it sort of did. There was nothing to say how soon this desegregation was to be done, and so it was up to the schools and communities to sort it out. One school that did integrate, though painfully, was in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine African American students were enrolled to go to the school, but of course this was absolutely appalling to the white folk. There were riots and death threats as the children tried to enter the school, and the POTUS ended up having to send down the 101st Airborne Division to help them enter the school, but once they were in the school, they had no further help. The 9 students endured terrible abuse at the school, forcing upon them that they were not welcome to attend a school which the law said they could attend. They suffered for years because of this idea of segregation that had been drilled into the white children’s heads, that African American people were not people, and they had no respect for them.

This idea of segregation has done terrible damage to the world and its people, but it doesn’t seem to ever end. The stereotypes that were introduced then still impact our world today, shaping the minds of young children who know no better. Though having a rallying point is strong core of many communities, one so deep in hate should not be allowed. It can be hard to undo the past generations hate, but it is every generations job to learn about what happened before, and make sure it never happens again.


It is very hard to write an essay after being away from school for months, not to mention being in a room that smells like paint (long story). Essays are sometimes hard to do, but I felt is was a medium I could express these ideas on well. This is a very interesting project we are working towards, and each day teaches us more about the mistakes people have made and how we have to learn from them.

Think and Create: Statistics

When your teachers give you a project with basically no criteria, it can be difficult. It can be even more difficult when you are stuck at home and haven’t seen your friends or teachers in over a month. But we soldier on, and keep doing blog posts!

We’ve just started a new project about civil rights in America, and African American and Canadian people in their battle for this. So to start it off, we’ve been assigned something similar to the this week I learned posts from our last project, except we have basically no criteria.

For this week’s Think and Create post, I was interested in, well, statistics. We mentioned a few times in class how there isn’t as huge an African Canadian population in Vancouver as some other places, but I was interested in the specifics. I made some infographics to help inform us of those specific stats using data from Statistics Canada, which had data only from 2016. Hope you learn something!

EVERYBODY IS LYING

Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, here’s the thing. People lie. They always have. Some people are bad at lying. Some people are good at lying. Some people are so fantastic at lying that they make a career out of it. But the thing about lying is that you really can’t tell sometimes. One thing, maybe, that’s off putting, but nothing else. Then that one thing puts you on edge. And you get suspicious. And then everyone is lying and everyone is out to get you. Yay!

This weeks TWIL post, which you might have guessed, is about suspicion. Not necessarily if that suspicion was justified, but I mean that’s not the point. Something is happening, and it’s someone’s fault, so you gotta blame someone!

As of right now in Macbeth, which is up to the end of act three, tensions are high in ye old Scotland. King Duncan is dead, killed by his own guards. These guards were conveniently killed before anyone could question them. So it’s a classic case of whodunit. There are a few suspects at play.

  1. The sons, Malcom and Donalbain. Parricide is a bit extreme, and doesn’t exactly make sense. Early on in the play, Duncan appointed Malcom his successor, which was uncommon for the Scotland monarchy. What were the sons motives then? The biggest point against them is that they fled after their fathers death, which does seem a bit suspicious. They are not trusting of their fathers court, and believe it was one of the other nobles who killed their father, and would be coming after them next. 
  1. Macbeth, yes, good old Macbeth. A loyal subject to the great king, or so it would seem. Macbeth killed many a man for king and country, so what’s one more on his belt. Or three, if you count the guards who Macbeth just happened to kill in a fit of passion over the dead king. Macbeth did have a remorseful look about him, but again, people lie. It was also Macbeth who ascended to the throne once the mighty Duncan was slain in his sleep. He had the most to gain by Duncan’s eternal slumber. Of course Macbeth is in full favour of accusing the sons, but you would be too if you murdered someone and there was another suspect. 
  1. I’m sure there are more. Duncan was all to trusting. Why, in the second scene of the play we learn of another who had betrayed the oh so gracious king. In any case, Malcom, Donalbain, and Macbeth are the lead suspects. 

The 1950’s was not so different. The 50’s were a time filled with suspicion of communism, spies, and the Soviets. Everyone was at risk. Well, everyone was at ‘risk’ of being spied on. There were a few groups of people, however, who just had to be spies. 

  1. Hollywood. Not a specific person, I know. It’s a place. That’s the thing. Everyone in Hollywood was under scrutiny. HUAC, House Un-American Activity Committee, started investigating Hollywood, actors, directors and writers alike. They decided that they could have been promoting un-American propaganda. They started subpoenaing people, trying to get them to either confess or accuse friends or colleagues. Many people were blacklisted, and unable to get work in the industry. Some writers and directors used  pseudonyms to continue their work. This blacklisting continued straight through the 50’s, finally ended in the 60’s.
  1. Homosexuals. This, less obvious, and not for why you’d think. At least, I don’t think you’d think of this. I certainly didn’t. To the point. Homosexuals, yes. See, being gay or lesbian wasn’t a good thing in this timeline. Cause, see, if you were LGBT, other governments could blackmail you into getting them secrets. Which, I mean, isn’t that far fetched. In 1953, President Eisenhower made an act thingy that made it so employees could track down and fire you if you belonged to the LGBT community. Tons of people were fired or quit, cause they were scared. Everyone was scared.
  1. Last, but certainly not least, communists, or sympathizers. This one is a little more obvious, I know. Political ideologies, religion, all this made them ‘perfect’ candidates for sympathizers. Some people, including some from Hollywood, plead the first amendment from the constitution saying that they could belong to any political party. American’s may be stubborn, but the one thing they will always stand by is freedom. 

Again, I’m sure there were others. These are just some big ones that I wanted to focus on. Anyone could be a spy, that’s the thing. That’s why suspicions were so high. But by pushing this hysteria onto a specific group of people, it definitely made it seem like the government was doing something. That was, of course, until Senator McCarthy accused the United States Army. Everything went downhill for him at that point.

For my artefact for this weeks TWIL post, I decided to make suspect folders on some of the people I mentioned in this post. For Macbeth, it’ll be Macbeth, obviously, and Malcom and Donalbain. For the 1950’s side, I made up these people. Keep in mind, the FBI did have files on suspected communists, sympathizers, or LGBT people, but they probably didn’t look like this. I made these using, well, mostly keynote, and Splice for the editing. 

 

The Foundation Of Every Success

For my second TWIL post, I’m shifting my gaze from the political side of things, to the social aspect of both the 1950’s. More specifically, I’ll be focusing on the role of women, and how important they are to a household in both these time periods.

 

What does 11th century Scotland have in common with post WW2 America? How have women’s roles changed over the centuries? Why can’t men do their own laundry? Podcast time! Women’s roles during WW2 and post WW2 were drastically different. After working in factories for years while the men were away, manufacturing munitions and the like for the war, women were expected to go back to being house wives. And for the most part, they did. Only one third of the workforce in America were women. The rest were conforming to the ‘American dream’. This American dream, of 2.5 kids, a house in the ‘burbs, dominated the media. Society demanded this idea, and people, as they do, conformed. Women needed a husband, a house, somewhere to become this thing, this housewife. Men also needed a wife. Being a bachelor in the 1950’s was not a good idea. Being seen as a homosexual, at this time, was really bad. Whispers of communism were everywhere. By being someone who could be blackmailed into communism, you were at risk. So by obtaining a wife, this suspicion was gone. Of course, that’s just one reason they got married. In this American dream, the housewife literally held the house together. Cooking, cleaning, all of this was extremely important for the ‘successful man’. She was the support of the house, the support of the success. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth really is that supporting wife. Macbeth sees her as an equal, calling her in the play ‘my dearest partner of greatness’. And yet, it is still her who prepares the house for the king, ordering the servants about in preparation for the occasion. In the 11th century, women had roles akin to the ones in the 16th century, as in the 20th. Lady Macbeth’s status brings her above many tasks, but she still runs the household. Lady Macbeth is also the support behind her husband, driving him forward alongside his ambition. Without Lady Macbeth, Macbeth wouldn’t be where he is in act 3 of the play. She supported his ideas, was counsel before the plot, created the plan for the murder. At each step Macbeth took forward, Lady Macbeth was right there with him. In both times, women were seen as the weaker sex, only capable of housework and the like. Lady Macbeth has to perform witchcraft, ‘unsex’ herself, to be able to perform the deed of killing Duncan. Women were the ‘innocent flower’ then, as they were in the 50’s. Though society moves forwards, some stereotypes move as well. In any case, both timelines need the support of the women, them, working behind the scenes, keeping everything together.

For this TWL, my artifact is a podcast. I brought this together using my GarageBand and sound skills we’ve been learning over the past couple years. Sound is one of my favourite mediums to work with, so this was a blast!

 

Liars in the Midst of Friends

Shakespeare has been something that people study in school for, well, a long time. The 1950’s are a very interesting part of history, full of threats and standoffs. So why not combine the two into a project?

For this project, we’ve been studying Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and the world post WW2, and the Cold War. While learning about these topics, we’ve been assigned something called This Week I Learned posts, or TWIL posts. Each week, with our teachers lectures and our study of Macbeth, we have to find a connection between Macbeth and the 50’s. This week, I’ll be focusing on secrets, and the impact they have.

The Potsdam Conference, which took place July 17-August 2nd, 1945, was the last time The Big Three met. The Big Three were the leaders of some of the biggest players in WW2; Harry Truman, president of the United States who just replaced FD Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, British prime minister who was replaced halfway through the conference by Clement Attlee due to an election, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The Potsdam Conference was where they, among others, discussed post-war Europe. During this conference, Truman got the phone call that told him the Trinity test was successful. Now, Truman had this huge power, and didn’t really want to tell those at the conference, chiefly among them Stalin. He did tell Churchill the news, creating a ‘two against one’ dynamic.

In Macbeth, after fighting many great battles, Macbeth returns home to his Lady Macbeth with strange news. While returning from battle, he was visited by three witches, who declared he would be king. Macbeth has great ambition, so with the spurring on from the witches and his wife, they hatch a plan to kill the king, Duncan. One fortunate part of their timing is that King Duncan is coming to stay at their home for one night. These three big players, the killers and the killee, creating a ‘two against one’ dynamic.

In both cases, Macbeth and Truman know the repercussions their actions can have. In Truman’s case, the superpower that man has discovered can create mass destruction. in Macbeth’s case, he knows the death of the king will have a devastating impact on their kingdom. That doesn’t stop either of them, though. Two of the three are in on the secret as well, but in both cases Macbeth and Truman aren’t super great at keeping the secret. Macbeth has a moral struggle, and cannot act the part of ‘the innocent flower’. Truman mentions to Stalin that they have a weapon, not hiding it as well as maybe he should.

Both Macbeth and Truman are in the midst of a Shakespearean ‘fair is foul, foul is fair’. Macbeth can become king, but only by killing King Duncan, his kinsman and honoured guest. Truman can end WW2, one of the worst wars in history, but only by murdering tens of thousands of innocent people. There is no good decision for either of them.

In the Middle of the Desert at 5am

One thing I don’t think people talk about enough is the fact that there is a huge cultural difference between the different parts of the United States of America. It’s not that surprising, but actually experiencing it is a whole other thing. Before this trip, I had only been to the west coast of the United States, which is similar enough with culture to Canada’s west coast. This trip was something truly different.

First of all, I had no idea where New Mexico is. No idea. I knew it was kinda south, but I definitely couldn’t have pointed it out on a map.

 

The trip was the destination for this project, but before we went, we had to learn about where we were going. I can honestly tell you this is the most informed I’ve ever been on a trip.

This project kicked off in the middle of summer vacation, I kid you not. We were assigned summer readings. Our class had one book to read, and I quickly made the connection between the book and the New Mexico Field School. Knowing this, I was enticed to read the book, to get a head start on the new school year. It was difficult at times, because the book, Age of Radiance by Craig Nelson, had some very scientific knowledge that I did not have. At times it was hard to follow, but making notes helped a lot.

Reading the book, though confusing at times, was hugely helpful in understanding what we were going to be doing on the trip, and in the learning before hand. I had that insiders knowledge, and I think that made the trip, and the project, the success that it was. If I were to go back and do it again, I think I would try and do more research while I was reading the book, and have a better understanding of each thing they talked about.

The next ‘milestone’-ey thing that I thought was really helpful, or interesting, was the Manhattan Project Character Card. This is something that the teachers had very strict guidelines for. They were also not present while we were doing this milestone, which made things, well, interesting.

Us, as a class, had to pick the 16 most significant people to the Manhattan project, and each person in the class was assigned one of these people to make a ‘character card’. Except it wasn’t make, it was fill in a very restrictive template. Some people fought this more than others. I thought having a template pre-made would make things easier, but it didn’t. The template had a very small area for us to explain who the person was, what they did, and why they were significant. It’s that word again. Significant. This is what the entire project was on.

How did the development of the atomic bomb change the world in a historically significant way?

This milestone helped us have a better understanding of the driving question, stated above. Why were these people significant, and why were they more significant than someone else. My person, Klaus Fuchs, had a very interesting story, which you can read all about on the card!

Now, we come to the final product for the trip, our books. In grade 8, and grade 9, for field schools, our teachers made book templates in book creator for us to fill out during the trip. They had photos, videos, audio clips and text. Our job was to make a book that answers the driving question, using the trip to gather evidence.

At first, I thought I had a good idea. I was going to follow a theme inspired by —. It seemed like a good plan, and was commended by the teachers. Once I did it though, I was not pleased. I had all the content I wanted, the information was, I thought, pretty solid. I just HATED how it looked. It was awful.

It took me a while, but with help from my friends, I scrapped that entire theme and started again. I kept the content, which took a while to collect and I was very proud of, but I changed everything else. Also remember, this was during the trip, at the airport. I have a post all about how I used efficiently, but that’s not the point. I realized that I could do another theme, which I am very pleased with.

I’m very happy with my book. If I were to go back, I would definitely have done the newspaper theme the first go around, but it worked out just the same. I think the time I put into it really shows. Something about this really sparked my interest, so I wanted to do a good job. There were maybe more opportunities for long and well edited videos, but I did my best to capture everything I needed, and was flexible with my ideas.

And now, drumroll please,

This was probably the coolest field school I’ve ever been on. We had long days, jam packed with learning and other things, but it was amazing. I also got a lot of patches, which is some good I collect and am really happy about!

As I said, this trip was packed full of crazy stuff. So I’m just going to talk about a couple places we went to, the ones that I think best describe our trip.

Los Alamos Historic Sites Walking Tour

This was the first stop on our trip. And honestly? It really was a great first introduction to New Mexico, and The Manhattan Project. Our guide, Aimee Slaughter, was amazingly knowledgeable about, not just the Manhattan Project, but of the history of the area. She told us about the Pueblo people, the First Nations who lived in Los Alamos before the Manhattan project, and how they all tied together. She told us a really cool story about someone who lived on the land before, worked in the town, and has relatives there today. That story is in my book.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

One thing about learning about radiation is that it’s kinda scary. It’s this awesome power that can blow up cities, but it’s also everywhere. We did an amazing workshop with David Gibson about radioactivity. We got to use geiger counters and everything. I thought it was cool to know that radiation is everywhere, because atoms are constantly decaying and letting off radiation, but that doesn’t hurt you. It’s called background radiation!

Meow Wolf

There are no words for this. It’s like a trip of hallucinogenic drugs, but you are definitely not on drugs. There are secret passageways, slides through washing machines, portals with doors that open with hand prints, like honestly, you kinda have to go there. You could spend hours exploring that place.

Trinity

On July 16th, 1945, the first ever atomic bomb was dropped in the middle of the New Mexico desert. This one event completely changed the world, ushering in a new age of science, technology, warfare, and so much more. We got to go there. Where it all happened. It was so cool. Jesse and I spent a while conducting interviews of people, just regular people, to see why they were there. Everyone had their own reasons, but the core message was the same. This is where it happened. This is where the course of the war changed. This is where the world changed.

This was an amazing trip. We’re not that far away, and yet, there are so many differences between our culture, and the New Mexico culture. Though we have different food, and different ideas, there’s one thing we can all agree on. There was a time before the bomb was dropped, and a time after.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

PLP 11. Wow, I’m old. Since coming to this program in grade 8, I’ve learned so much about thinking flexibly, and on the recent Albuquerque, New Mexico trip, I did just that. It was 6 days of waking up ridiculously early, learning about bombs of all things, and collecting evidence.

For the Albuquerque trip instead of, as many of our field schools are, just collecting everything you can on the trip without knowing what the final product was, we did actually know what we needed. It was still a race to get information, but we knew specifically what we needed. See, for this project, we were making a book. I talk more about it in the Albuquerque trip post, but basically we had to use this book to prove that the atomic bomb was a kind of turning point for the world, that there was a time before the bomb was dropped, and a time after. Which it really is. The world has never been the same. But more on that in the other post.

For the trip, I knew a moderately vague outline of what I needed for my project. I had what goes where, all that, but I wanted to collect as much as possible so I would have it when making the book. The first thing I decided was to ask Emily if I could use her mic. PLP has lapel mic’s, but Emily’s you can just hook up to your phone, and record holding it. At first when I asked, she said she wouldn’t have room, but I said I could pack it. And I am so glad I brought it. It didn’t only help me, either. We did a lot of media sharing on this trip, between classmates. I think that decision was a huge help in all of our projects. Maybe if you didn’t get exactly what you needed, someone else did, and you could share.

Another thing that I think was a bit of a risk was talking to strangers. When we were actually at the Trinity Site, Jesse and I went around to people who had come to the site and ask them why they came. It was a risk because we didn’t know exactly how those interviews would work out. Originally, I was going to ask people about their opinions on nuclear power, but some people might not have answers. I had to adapt my book to what happened, and boy, did it pan out. I got some amazing interviews with people who came to the site. Most people wanted to come here because it changed the world, and that’s exactly what our books are about. How this one event changed the world forever.

Another thing that I did on the trip was to take advantage of time. The first draft of my book had the content I wanted, but the theme looked like literal garbage. I knew that due to the early mornings, I wouldn’t have tons of time at night to edit, because we needed as much sleep as we could get. So while driving, and even on the plane, I edited. I used the extra time, so I wouldn’t have as much work to do on the trip. Also, but constantly adding things to my book and editing it, I knew what I still needed to collect from the sites.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. Talking to so many people, it was amazing to hear how this still impacts people today. I learned so much, so much of it that I wouldn’t have been able to learn in a classroom.