Oh no. Here we go again!
School has been different this year. I don’t have scimatics anymore, and instead, I have to take “regular classes” like math and science (no iPads here!) It’s been quite hectic getting used to grade 10, since it feels like I just started Grade 8!
We also got a couple new PLP teachers this year and that’s pretty cool. Shout out to Ms. Madsen who led this project and has to read my 3k word long, Historical Fanfiction™, Joy Luck Club wannabe (aka my final product). Though I haven’t met the others (since Scimatics went poof), I bet they’re awesome too!
Also also- I may have dyed my hair magenta(ish) over the summer. I think it’s rad.
(Awkward teenager in it’s natural habitat, the hair salon)
Anyways, I just completed my first Humanities project for the year! Hint hint, we actually dabbled with it last year, but never got to finish it until now.
Let’s get started!
(Guess who binge watched the first 2 seasons of the Owl House instead of writing this blog post and now is super duper obsessed with it… wow couldn’t be me… totally…)
This project was all about the Gold Rush… However, it’s more like Gold RushES. British Columbia alone had at least 2 (Cariboo and Fraser River.)
Most importantly, we had to understand how the discovery of gold shaped our province and its people.
What better way to understand the people of the past than writing Historical Fan fiction™ about their lives? Seriously, I just realized “Historical Fiction” is practically fan fiction for history nerds (like me). However, writing a story in a historical setting was a lot harder than it seemed.
As I mentioned earlier, we’d started this project at the end of last year, but never got to finishing it. This time around, we had to begin from scratch (because summer had fried all our brains.) I did remember some aspects, such as Billy Barker’s role in the Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville, but I didn’t have a complete timeline of how these events begun in the first place.
This project has allowed me to research a lot about this significant event in BC history, and tie it together with my passion for storytelling.
How did we accomplish this feat? Well, let me show you our steps along the way…
We started with reviewing our knowledge of Canadian History. If you’ve been following my blog posts, the past few years, we’ve built on this topic.
We had to create a slideshow about the most important moments in Canadian History. The group that made the best argument would win a prize. Of course, the word “competition” was a dangerous one, especially in a Grade 10 classroom.
Anyways, here’s ours:
Ends up, we were victorious! Truly one of the greatest accomplishments in my life. The reward was a delicious doughnut… which I was probably allergic to and didn’t decide to risk it. However, the glory was far greater than the reward (at least that’s what I tell my stomach.)
(Lots of Ahsoka in this blog post)
Next we did a lot of research… I mean A LOT! I’ll admit, in the beginning, it felt pointless hoarding all this information, BUT as I started to write my story, I realized how much I still needed to know. I also managed to rekindle my love for useless history facts (thanks Dad, being a history geek must run in the family.)
We began to exercise our knowledge as well. We answered many questions pertaining to the Cariboo and Fraser River Gold Rushes. Though these activities weren’t as important to my ✨grade✨ as keystones, they still helped me a lot.
With this knowledge, we then moved onto creating our own personal timeline of events! I worked with Ariane to make this beautiful design…
For the first keystone, we took our research and questioned: How Did the Gold Rush Shape BC? We had to analyze the effects of migration and confederation on the people living in BC. We planned our paragraph, organizing our knowledge into a cause & consequence sheet (as we did in previous projects.)
Then we wrote our paragraph:
I’m not too proud of mine. I could’ve written it better, but I decided to limit the amount of time I spent on it. It was a good exercise to get back into writing again. However, it’s not the best thing I’ve written.
Finally, we got to begin the preparation for our final product. Well, what’s the most important aspect of a story? Is it the plot? The setting? Cheese?
I’m sure if you asked someone else, they might have a different answer. However, I’d say my favourite part of a story is it’s characters… Or, in most cases, it’s protagonist.
(PS a protagonist doesn’t have to be the ‘hero’ of the story. They could be the villain, and the hero could be the antagonist. A protagonist is simply the main figure in which the audience sees the story. I don’t know why I’m saying this, but I had one too many halloween candies, and now I’m explaining one of my biggest writer’s pet peeves. )
We were assigned a “group of people” who lived through the gold rush, and had to create our own character (or find a real one) to base our story on.
I honestly struggled a lot with creating my main character. From the start, I couldn’t find any first-hand accounts of my group (Chinese), and there were no prominent figures (at least that I know of.) Also, the most detailed information came after the gold rush was already kinda dead.
I also found it difficult writing the perspective of this character, because it didn’t seem authentic if I were to speak for a whole group of people and culture that I have little ties to (unless you count great, great, great, great, greeeaaaatttttt grandparents.)
I eventually had to ask for an extension, so that I could think about it more and research deeper.
In the end, I was very proud of my work. Although it took more time, I managed to create something I felt better about.
Here’s my “character card”:
Here’s my research:
With that out of the way, it was time to plan the actual story. I knew right away that I wanted something a little more slow paced. I wanted the characters to create and move the plot along, rather than the other way around.
My story takes place during the decline of gold in BC. The economy isn’t doing too great, and miners are forced to look for different ways to survive. I wanted the story to really relish in the feeling of insignificance that many immigrants found when they moved to BC.
All my characters are haunted by their pasts, but they deal with them differently. For example, my main character is stuck in the past, and can’t move forward. Meanwhile another character is too busy looking forward that they don’t recognize their present.
Since my story was slow paced and revolved around the characters, my “facts” are hidden between words. Each action a character takes is influenced by the factors around them, such as societal expectations and values from the time. It spans from the way a character infuses their tea to deciding not to marry someone due to the pressure of social hierarchies and the need to prove themselves higher than the situations they were born into-
I think I’m the only person who finds this interesting, so I’m going to move on.
Though I had some troubles with morality and the authenticity of my characters, I’m very proud with my final product. I think it’s a good story, and I hope it translates well.
I believe my greatest struggle was getting past the fear of being misunderstood. Sometimes I feel although my perspective, especially as a writer, is not relatable to other people. For example, the ways I communicate emotions and handle situations. I was always second guessing myself when I shouldn’t have been.
This mentality really slowed my process, and made me feel really anxious when sharing it with others. It didn’t help that I wasn’t able to finish it in time for peer critique.
However, in the end, I think my story is great, and I’m proud that I worked very hard on it!
“How did the discovery of gold shape our province and its people?”
Through completing this project, I believe I have the understanding necessary to answer this question.
The discovery of gold influenced the creation of British Columbia in many ways. It brought many people from around the world who shared a common drive and forced them to interact in ways not seen before. In doing this, the new migrants changed the demographics of the area, forever changing this region.
The gold influenced our political climate as well. The new waves of people allowed for the need of government regulation, leading to the creation of a new British territory and eventually growing the confederation.
In simple words, without the gold rush, I doubt British Columbia would’ve become a province so quickly. Whether or not this was a good change is up for debate and depends upon perspective. However, overall, there is no denial that the gold rush is deeply rooted in BC history.
That’s the end of my blog post! Thanks for reading!
Now it’s time to snack on my halloween loot…