If you associate with PLP Humanities 9, whether it be as a teacher, learner, or fellow classmate, I’m sure you’re aware this project was in actuality, titled, “People and the Environment”.
A central theme, as indicated by our driving question, was:
“How do People & the Environment affect each other?”
However, if I have learned anything from this project, it is that the environment should come first, as shown in my blog post title.
I first represented this idea in an essay we handed in at the beginning of the project, answering the question: “In your opinion, are more people today protectors of nature or destroyers of nature?”
Throughout the past few weeks, we have also completed various CommonLit activities, which primarily had to do with analyzing text and comprehending it.
These activities were for the most part about the environment, and various consequences due to damage inflicted upon it.
Since our goal was to write a letter regarding an environmental issue to a person who could help with that specific issue, we had an advice conference, in which we were to present our research document to a teacher. Within this research document, I had also included my “Current Events Connection Extension” activity – which was an opportunity we got at the beginning of this project, although it was optional.
I represented the “I can use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create original, engaging, and meaningful texts for a variety of purposes and audiences” competency within this document, since I had identified a clear target audience (North Shore News), and I had clearly identified an environmental issue to research and discuss.
Then, began our first letter drafts.
I ended up having to revise my letter quite a few times.
We were first given peer feedback, feedback from an older PLP student, then we were given feedback from a teacher as well as a grade.
When I was first given a developing, I started to stray into the dark and vast territory, otherwise known as a fixed mindset. I began to think thoughts such as:
• Maybe I’m not as good of a writer as I thought I was.
• Why can’t I be good enough?
• I always mess things up.
• Vague. Partial. Inconsistent. Erratic. Simple. (It did not help that this was shortly after the PLP meeting, in which we were introduced to the new, in-depth, profiency scale… haha.)
Before I began revisions, I had to take time to collect myself and acknowledge that the feedback given to me wasn’t meant to disappoint or inflict hurt upon me. It was to help me improve my work, and to make my overall message reach my audience in a more clear and concise manner.
It is sort of a tradition in PLP to reiterate the phrase that “Failure is the First Attempt In Learning”, which I had mentioned in my previous blog post. Until now, I hadn’t truly taken it to heart. I also got the opportunity to reflect back on a video we watched during last year’s project on Growth Mindsets; which if I recall correctly, was a study on how students who fail frequently are also the ones who excel, seeing as they know how to take feedback and improve upon it. Alternatively, students who always succeed are not as prepared to take failure as an opportunity for growth. This really resonated with me during this project; especially seeing as I oftentimes look to my grades for self-validation and a sense of self worth. Supposedly, having nearly your entire life revolve around school and education has a tendency to do that to you.
Consequently, I believe that I did well on the “I can reflect, assess, and refine texts to improve clarity, effectiveness, and impact for purpose, audience, and message” competency, seeing as I honestly feel much better about receiving feedback and revising my work as of now; and also managed to revise my letter into something acceptable. Also, if you look closely at my letter drafts, you’ll notice at some point I realized I had gotten my audience’s gender wrong nearly the entire time. I am forever glad I double checked.
We also had two guest speakers during this project: Megan Curren and Dennis Thomas. Although I was sick during their presentation, my good friend Fraser helped me out by sharing his notes, which I then used to make my own notes.
I previously mentioned the CommonLit activities we had completed throughout the duration of this project. Once our letters were just about finished, we completed a “CommonLit Connections” activity in which we connected the theme of one activity to our letter. Although we were given an hour in class to write this, I spent a few hours on an outline at home. I technically didn’t have to spend that much time, but it certainly paid off, and I’m proud of my work.
As a result, I feel that I completed the “I can analyze how texts use literary devices to enhance both meaning and impact” competency to standards. After completing the CommonLit activities, I was able to apply the skills I learned from said activities to this milestone.
On the final day of this project, our class went on a walk and mailed our letters.
The environment and people affect each other and interact in many ways; some positive, others not so much. The two are intertwined in more ways than I could possibly list. We are dependent upon the environment to provide us with natural resources necessary for survival, meanwhile the environment is dependent upon us to take care of it, as well as use resources sparingly.
At the beginning of this project, I was quite skeptical when our teachers seemed certain that writing a letter, and using our voices will have an impact. At the time, I questioned “Who would actually listen to the words of a random 13 year old?” However, I’m glad to say that I’m much more confident in the fact that educating ourselves, researching, and discussing environmental issues can have a positive influence upon others and the environment; which makes it important to do so.