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.

Beelzebub on a Stick

Leadership is tricky. Power is a balance. And every human is capable of ‘sharpening a stick on both ends’. Welcome to Lord of the Flies.

For this project, we had to read, you might have guessed, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This book, though old, relates on a very deep level to our society, and how pretty much tribalism runs our society. Now, tribe is a kind of loaded word. You may be thinking of ancient man, but the actual definition of a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” So you can see how this definition of a tribe can actually apply to our society. The driving question for this project is actually 

What is the Role of Tribalism in Society?

Before we get to that, I’m going to talk about, well, the book. 

THIS PORTION OF THE POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ LORD OF THE FLIES, SKIP OVER THE BOOK SECTION.


William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was written to sort of make a point. He is quoted as saying “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I wrote a book about children on an island, children who behave in the way children really would behave?”. This quote is directly attacking R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island. In this book three English boys, Jack, Ralph and Peterkin, are the only survivors of a shipwreck. In the book, they quickly decide on Jack as the leader, and have many great adventures with inhabitants of the surrounding islands and themselves.

 

Golding didn’t think that was realistic. He wrote the Lord of the Flies to show how, when unbounded by the rules of society, people will resort to savagery. In the book, it was boys who lost society, but the idea applies to all humans. He just used children because they would lose their civility sooner. 

Without civilization, humans resort to savagery.

All power needs to be balanced by a shared responsibility.

Innocent people have the ability to become evil when removed from civilization.

When no longer bound by the confines of societal consequences, humans feel free to act upon their initial instincts and detach themselves from civil society.

In the absence of societal structure, humans fall back on their violent and destructive nature. A primordial instinct is released.

The book is full of symbolism. Each of the boys represent a different part of society, and the different styles of leadership. One of my favourite pieces of symbolism in the book is that of the fire. The fire, the thing Ralph clings to for most of the book, represents their ties to society, their ties to civilization. At the beginning of the book, the ties are still there, and the fire burns well. The first time the fire goes out, when they killed their first pig, they lost a part of themselves. They killed a living thing, and that took something from them. As the book goes on, the fires continue to die, until at last, there is no society left. The final fire, the one that ravages the island, has no ties to civilization. It is just destruction, chaos, and everything the boys become.

The book was very interesting. Honestly, the ending was more traumatizing than I thought it would be. There was so much more death than I thought. Also, Rodger is a total psycho. I can forgive him for the Piggy thing, but wanted to behead Ralph and mount his head on a stick is a totally different issue. Children are psycho. 

As I mentioned before, the project was on tribalism, like the tribes in Lord of the Flies. Tribes run our society, groups of people brought together by common ideals. In this project, we were studying some of these tribes. Some examples of these are self help groups, gangs, fan bases, but the tribe our group decided to study was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!


The RCMP is a very interesting tribe, and a vital one in our society. They have a recognized leader, common values, and have a great sense of pride in their identity. We were actually able to interview a retired RCMP officer, Mr. Bob Bell.

Emily- What is the identity of the RCMP? What is their image, their values, what are they trying to preserve? 

Mr. Bell- The RCMP has a proud history. Formed in 1873 by the government of PM John A McDonald as the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) the objective was to protect the huge empty territory between the new provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia. There had been a massacre at Cypress Hills there was fear of US military intervention, violence against the indigenous people by whisky traders. 300 NWMP officers marched west on July 8th 1874 to protect all of those issues which they did very quickly. The NWMP became the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) in 1904 and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1920. When the Headquarters moved from Regina to Ottawa. My last posting before I retired was in Regina and my office was that of the Commissioner of the RNWMP. Cadets are taught and immersed in that proud history, taught those values and taught to preserve the image and values of the proud history of the RCMP.

Emily- How do you think having an identity benefits the RCMP (perhaps focuses missions, gives the public role models, etc.)?

Mr. Bell- The RCMP have a world wide reputation. The iconoclastic uniform is known everywhere. With Liaison Officers at embassies around the globe the RCMP Foreign Service  have  contacts with police officers and investigative agencies, for two examples, the FBI in the USA and the Australian Federal Police in Australia. ( I was a liaison officer in London, England and Washington DC at different times in my career. ) So the identity of the RCMP and its members gives the public a role model in towns and villages across Canada as well as helping the RCMP in their mission worldwide.

Logan- How would you des ride the community inside the police force?

Mr. Bell-  All cadet training is carried out at the RCMP Training Academy, Depot Division at Regina, Saskatchewan. Every cadet must live in the barracks. Even if your home is in Regina you have to live in. Troops are formed 32 at a time. Cadets come from every corner of Canada and the course lasts for six months. So in terms of group dynamics, each cadet troop forms an identity, comradeship, an esprit de corps and friendships which last a lifetime. I graduated more than sixty years ago and I am still in touch with troop members although the numbers get less every year. Every year there are Troop Reunions, often held at the Training Academy, fifty, forty thirty years, after graduation they get together to swop stories and compare notes about their careers. For those who have retired from the RCMP there is the RCMP Veteran’s Association across Canada one in Victoria and another further north on the Island. So that tells you about the community inside the RCMP. I ended my career as the Commanding Officer of the Training Academy and Depot Division in Regina.

Alivia- Why did you join the RCMP? Did you always know that you wanted to be a RCMP officer?

Mr. Bell- I always had an interest in police work. I was bored with my office job as a cost accountant, living in Toronto, looked into joining the RCMP and had no interest in the Toronto City Police, I wanted adventure  and thought that the RCMP would be more adventurous by sending me somewhere across Canada. Got that right as the cadet from Toronto was sent to Prince Rupert as my first posting.

Our final product for this was a keynote presentation to the class. My group, which you may have been able to discern, was Logan, Emily and I. It was a very interesting group to work with, seeing as we are all leaders in our own way. But it was a successful though interesting ride, and I think our final presentation reflects that.

Overall, I think we done good. Though it was difficult at first, finding deeper messages within the text really helped me understand the book, and it’s ties to our world. I also learned a lot about the writing process. We had a lot of writing in this project, including a literary analysis test and journals, and all that writing really helps. Sometimes in projects we don’t do a lot of writing, other than the blog posts, but in this project we were able to practice our writing skills. Also, I had a lot of practice doing MLA’s, because I did all of ours for the project. I enjoyed this project because I was able to improve some of my skills that aren’t often used!

What a Wild Ride

Grade 10. What a year. I’ve learned so much. The biggest highlight of the year was probably the Circle BC trip. 

Circle BC was a 12 day road trip to some of the coolest places BC has to offer. From Vancouver, up to Prince George, over to Prince Rupert, with a 22 hour ferry ride back down the coast. This trip was also the inspiration for our Exhibition this year. As such, this post will talk about it all.

Circle BC

This trip was definitely the best PLP trip I’ve done so far. It was amazing to explore our province, and to see what it has to offer. As this was a 12 day trip, I’m only going to be talking about the highlights for me, but check out some of the other PLP 10 circle bc posts to learn some more!

Learning

The place that I learned the most at was Barkerville. We spent 2 full days exploring the heritage site, full with costumes and interpreters. We did a bunch of cool school-group things, like a court room session where Kai was on trial, and a school house lesson where all the girls had to wear bonnets! It was interesting to see BC’s past in this way. I was most interested in the gender roles, and how their were so many rules for women and what they had to wear. Learning by experiencing was why I wanted to join PLP, and this stop was full of that!

Reflected on Canada

This was a big one. There were many places that made me do a lot of this, including many of the First Nations focused stops. The biggest one, though, was probably the Port of Prince Rupert Interpretive Centre. It was there I realized just how much Canada’s exports mean to BC, and how many jobs this market creates. It also made me think about what we are doing to protect the environment with this, or really how little. Some of the technologies that you think would be so much more advanced, like devices to record sound pollution, are only just being installed now. The stuff that the ports are doing, while benefiting Canada and many Canadians, could be really screwing up our environment.

Place I’d Go Back To

Onto a happier note, the place is like to go back to is probably the Nass Valley. I learned so much up there, and there is still more to experience! One thing I definitely want to go back and do is the 3 km hike to see the crater. We didn’t do it in the trip due to time restrictions, but I think it would be so cool. After the hike, I’d want to go back to the Aiyansh Hot Springs, a natural hot springs. I’ve always really liked natural hot springs, so this was super cool. 

Most Fun

The most fun I had on the trip was definitely on the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Tour. First of all, it was on my birthday, so that was pretty great. Also, I learned I really like boats. It was a seven hour tour, where the boat took us to near the edge of the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear sanctuary, where grizzly bears live completely untouched by humans. On the boat we were near, but not right at the reserve. We saw like 9 Grizzly bears, it was amazing! I’m really glad we were on the boat, though. Grizzly bears are huge. I had such a cool time hanging out with friends on the outside deck and looking for wildlife. 

On the way back to Prince Rupert, we saw 2 whales! It was awesome! We also saw seals, sea lions, and a whole bunch of eagles. That is a 16th birthday I will never forget! Oh, also, the teachers bought me a cake, so that was pretty cool too!

Exhibition

Now that I’ve rambled along about the trip, it’s time to get to the Exhibition. But first, here’s a podcast to introduce you to the idea. 

This podcast was done during the actual Circle BC trip. The first draft was actually due on the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver. So a lot of us, me included, did the editing and everything on the 22 hour ferry ride. Due to this, on our first drafts the audio quality kinda sucked. Luckily, though, I had been recording tons of audio from the trip, and was able to work that into the first draft. That made it better, in my opinion. This podcast was definitely something, man.

For the actual exhibition, as you may know, we have to have an artifact. So I had this idea, about First Nations Oral Traditions, but I didn’t know how to present this. I spent many hours trying to come up with ideas, and then finally, it hit me. 

I couldn’t tell the stories myself, because I don’t know the stories, and I didn’t want to mess something up, or have them be culturally appropriated. So instead, I decided to create something where people can find out where to learn about First Nations oral traditions. It’s actually on this very blog! 

I created a separate page, called First Nations Oral Histories Resources. On this page, which you can visit yourself, holds as much knowledge as I can find. Each nation has a labeled image, and when you click on it, it takes you to a post where you can find books and websites with First Nations traditional stories. 

Some of these were very hard to find. I did find at least one thing for each nation, but it was very difficult. I think this is because most First Nations stories are told orally, and many are specific to families. Because of this, many aren’t written down. 

I’m really happy with how this project turned out. Not only did I learn so much about First Nations oral histories, I mad something that people can visit and learn about them. I feel like this made an impact, no matter how small, and I really hope this will help people in the future.

The night of the exhibition went really well. Our groups theme was education, so we didn’t really have to do tons. I’m really proud of a couple things I did for our room, though. First, we wanted to have some sort of intro at the beginning. I wrote that, with some help from Ms. Maxwell, and it went at the entrance. How many people actually read it, I don’t know. 

The other thing I’m pretty proud of is my pencils. We were the education theme, so I wanted to give people something that was kinda educational. So we got pencils, and I got a bunch of places that we went to, and made them like little flags on the pencils, so people could get a pencil and learn about some of the places we went! Again, not a lot of people took pencils, but they made me happy!

If I were to go back and do this project again, with all the time in the world, I think I would have liked to contact each of the nations, and asked them if they had oral traditions they wanted to share, or if they knew of more places to find them. Maybe also putting these contacts in the post, so people could learn about the stories right from the people. 

SLCs the Sixth: TPOLs

The end of June marks the end of another era in PLP, Grade 10. This was a remarkable year, with ups and downs, triumphs and tribulations, but we made it to the other side, mostly unscathed. So, let us reflect on what we have done, and look forward to our next great adventure.

Of your work completed this year, what are you most proud of? Why?

The project that I am probably most proud of is the WW2 podcast. I had a lot of fun with this project, which makes everything 100x better. This was one of the first podcasts we had done, so it was opening a new chapter for us. This year I’ve had a lot of fun doing podcasts, and this one was no different. The experience of going and meeting with these people was really cool, because instead of just learning about something in a textbook, we got to meet people with first hand experience. I also learned a lot when I talked to Abigail Foulds and my Grandpa, Frank Ward. I am proud of the work I have done for this project.

What piece of work done this year would you share with a class visitor? Why?

A project that I would want to show to a visitor is definitely the generator project. Not necessarily the video that went along with it, but the generator itself. In science, and especially in this project, I fell as though the product is the bigger thing, and the video secondary. This doesn’t really make sense in practical terms, since we are mostly graded on the videos, but I’m usually pro under of what we have actually created. In this project, we took a current issue, and created a project that has actual meaning in the real world. This is why I wanted to do PLP in the first place, and that’s what I would want to show visitors.

How do these projects connect to the adult world outside the classroom?

Math is kind of a constant. Sometimes it can be hard to relate math concepts to the real world. This project did a really good job of that, though. For this project, we were looking at real data that scientists and governments had collected, and we had to graph it. Taking these arbitrary numbers, and creating graphs was cool, but to actually see the impact that this could have was even cooler. Emily and I checked the levels where the water rise would start to impact us, and added this to the graphs. It really puts into perspective what is happening in our world, and brings it to us.

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

Finally, we have Destination Imagination. Every year,  talk about Destination Imagination, and how I am working to be a better teammate, but his year I actually did it. Within our group, we had some pretty strong personalities, and with that, some disagreements. There was one pretty bad disagreement, and instead of getting mad or whatever, I took the time to talk to both sides of the argument, and helped them sort it out. It was sometimes frustrating, but in the end it worked out. I’m really proud of how I handled it, and am looking forward to continuing my learning!

Dear Past Me…

This year was the launch for the new PLP course PGP, or personal growth plan. In this course, we learned strategies to help us with our other classes, and over all. This was a very interesting project, and I am taking a lot away from it. 

In the course, we had three main topics, though all are very linked. They were as follows.

PRODUCTIVITY

GOAL SETTING

7 HABITS

So, as most of my posts do, I’ll explain each area and what I took away from it. But first, I want to talk to the reader specifically. Our final project for this was the time machine project, where we were to create an artifact that if we sent to ourselves at the beginning of this year, we would have been more successful. I made a puppet show!

I decided to make a puppet show because I like seeing, and I thought it would be a fun way to represent my learning! This was a bit difficult, making all the little props and things. It definitely took a while to sew all the puppets, make all the props, and set up the scene.

I think this final project was really cool. It made you take a look at everything we’ve learned over the last year, and choose what really helped you. I know I’ve always had a hard time organizing my time, and having these visual things really helped me this year. We also had a lot of creative freedom when deciding what to have as our artifact, which was really nice. Sometimes having to much creative freedom in a project is bad, but I think this was a project it worked really well for. I’m excited to see what other people are doing for theirs!

 If I were to do this project again, or any other project involving puppets, I would create a more interesting set. I also did have a bit of a hard time filming the puppets while moving them with both my hands and not having them come into frame. I do believe you can see my hand at one point. Overall, I am pretty proud of this!

In the video, I touched on each of the three sections, but I only represented some of each of them. Remember the three titles? Well, now I’m going to walk you through all of them!

PRODUCTIVITY

This was the topic most represented in my time machine project. Productivity is really important for high schoolers, because we have so much going on. There were kinda two main points about productivity that we learned about. 

Time Blocking 

Time blocking, which I kinda explained in my time machine project, has really helped me this year. Time blocking is a really cool feature of pretty much any calendar app. You can make events for anything, really. I have all my classes time blocked, my sports games, any homework I have to do, work, holidays, it’s really everything. I even time blocked time to do this blog Post! I really find it helpful to find time to work on projects. If I have something due in two weeks, I can look ahead in my time blocked calendar to see when I’ll have time to do it. Time blocking is one of my favourite things to do now, because now time isn’t just this concept in my head. It’s an actual, semi physical thing that I can add things to. Speaking of things…

Things 

Things is an app. It is an amazing app. It’s kinda like reminders, but way better. You make to do’s, about projects or whatever. You can even have project folders that can organize all the work for one project in one place. I have all my subjects as folders, and if there is a humanities project we’re working on, I can make a section in the folder about that project. 

The app works very well in tandem with time blocking. If you have something that you want to complete during a time blocked section, you can set it as a task in things, or vice versa! Say you set a reminder that in two days you need to finish an assignment. When setting up your time blocking, you can check things to see what you have to do and by when. Using Things and Calendars together has really helped me stay on top of everything!

Oh, I almost forgot about the other part of productivity, the Weekly Review.

The weekly review is something you do, well every week. First, you clear out all of your inboxes. You make sure you have checked off the tasks you’ve completed in things, check your email, that kind of thing. Then, you look back. In things, you can see everything that you have completed. You can also look back at your time blocking to see what you did. This also involves keeping a journal type of thing, where you document all of this. Next, you look ahead. Check your things, time block for next week, and see what you are looking forwards to.

I didn’t really find the weekly review that helpful. I understand the purpose, and I did try it for a while, but I always found myself dreading it. I kinda just time blocked when I was bored, or finished my work. I also kept time blocking the weekly review for Sunday’s, and I work Sunday’s, so it never worked out that great.

The next two sections went along with books, which was interesting. I have never really read self help books before, and I don’t think it’s something I would want to do again. They really made me look at myself with a new perspective, but two is enough.

GOAL SETTING

The book we read was called What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! by Beverly K. Bachel. In the book, we learned about ourselves, and like it says, what we really want. Each part of the book would teach you about something, and then it would have a worksheet thing for you to fill out. I thought this was cool, because you had to really think about what you had read, and yourself, to fill out the worksheets well. It wasn’t only worksheets though. 

The coolest part of the book was when we had to create the dream board. The dream board shows you, your goals, your passions, all that stuff. It was really cool to see this physical manifestation of myself. I had to actually think about myself, my passions, and my future. It was a fun time.

The goal setting skills really fit in with the productivity part of PGP, specifically Things. There are sections of Things where your can put to do’s in Someday. This can help you organize your goals, and having these in Things can encourage you to work towards them. If the first step of your goal is to read a book, then put it in Things. You can even time block time to work towards the goal!

Goal setting is really cool, I think. All these tips I learned in the book can make me reflect on my goals, and make sure they are achievable. One of my goals is to go to Post Secondary, and I can start working towards that now. Knowing my goals can help me make sure I do everything to achieve my goal. For this specific goal, I know I will have to research what courses I need to get into university, and plan my courses accordingly. I will also have to get good grades, which I can work towards everyday. Goals are very important if you want to be productive. Hey, they really are connected!

7 HABITS

The other book we read was 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. This was a very interesting book. I don’t know what else to say about it. Again, you had to look very inward, but I thought it was a bit strange. It was formatted strange, switching between stories about people, the knowledge part, quotes, and other stuff. I may just think this because the book ended up being weird in Books, but it was very, interesting.

The seven habits were very helpful, though. The were as follows.

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize 
  7. Sharpen the Saw

A lot of these intertwined with the other things we had learned. An example of this was Begin with the End in Mind. This kinda followed up on what we had talked about with regards to goal setting. When you start something, you should know where it’s going. Having the end in mind can help you make sure you stay on track, rather than derailing to something completely different. I have a it of problem with this. Sometimes I have an idea of the end, then my train of thought veers onto another track, gets blocked and has to turn around to find another route, or falls off a cliff to a fiery death. 

Another thing that connects these habits to the other parts of PGP is Habit 1, Be Proactive. If you handed in a project late, it’s not because the teacher didn’t give you enough time. You can’t blame other people. There are 24 hours in a day, you just didn’t prioritize the project. The time quadrants from Habit 3 fit into this also. If you spend all your time in quadrant 3, quadrant 4, or even quadrant 2, you obviously aren’t going do fantastically. You do have to find a balance, like it says in Sharpen the Saw. Everything in life is about balance. Time block some relaxation, to make sure you can decompress. Add it to Things. It never good to overwork yourself.

Overall, this PGP course was really helpful. With all of these tools in my toolkit, I’ve been able to really stay on top of everything this year. Staying on top of everything has really helped my mental health this year. Last year at this time, I was not doing great. Now, I know how to cope with tons of work! If I were to go back and do this again, I think I would’ve made more notes within the books for me to reflect back on. I know the gist of each of the books, but having the overviews in note form within the book would’ve helped me understand what I was learning a bit more. Also, having these would be helpful if I wanted to remember the main ideas without rereading the book!