Posted on February 19, 2020
If you know anything about politics then you have probably heard of the political spectrum, and if you haven’t heard of it then you should probably read this post because it is very important. Politics can be a very tricky topic. Partly because they are extremely confusing, and partly because many people have different political views. It’s your worldview that puts you on the political spectrum. The political spectrum is commonly considered to be a straight line but many people feel it is much more complicated than that and it is actually more of a grid. Here are two examples of political spectrums.
The political spectrum shows you which ideology you most closely relate two. The common ideologies are conservatism, liberalism, communism, socialism, and fascism. The ideology you are is determined by your place on the horizontal line. The vertical line determines whether you are more authoritarian or libertarian. In case you have no idea what any of these words mean I have written a small description of a few ideologies below.
We recently learnt about the ideologies in PLP to help us understand the powers in wars better. I had a decent amount of knowledge on the different ideologies, especially the ones in Canada, because I worked the federal elections this year as a poll clerk. This gave me a good base of knowledge but I learnt so much more. To start off this unit we took a quiz on ideologies so our teachers could know how much they needed to teach us. To put it nicely, the class could have done a little better. We then did a quiz at the start of class everyday until the class showed a lot of growth in our knowledge on ideologies. We spent a couple of classes being lectured on the different ideologies and taking notes in a style we have never tried before to improve our note taking. I chose to try mind map note taking and I ended up really enjoying that style because it was easy to categorize everything.
At the end of our learning on ideologies everyone got to take a test to see where we fell on the political spectrum. I took the test and my results were both surprising and exactly what I expected. I am more towards the left side which makes sense because I am a very forward thinker and not one to follow tradition. The part that surprised me was that I wasn’t more libertarian. I thought I would be much lower on the spectrum but I guess I am still quite the rule follower and I do enjoy enforcing rules.
Learning about ideologies and the political spectrum is very important and it’s something everyone should put in the time to do. I turn 18 this year which means that I will be able to vote and I think it is very important to know about politics if you’re going to put in a vote to who is in charge of your city/country. It’s also important to remember that people can have different political beliefs and we have to be accepting of them all. I hope you learned as much about politics from this post as I did and I hope you use your knowledge to help you vote.
Posted on February 2, 2020
We have just finished a very short but sweet unit in PLP. I’m sure most of you have heard the song We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Well that was what we based this unit on, kinda. This unit was about significant events in history. The lyrics to the Billy Joel song are all significant people and events from 1949 to 1989. Our task for this unit was to pick one of these people or events and create an artifact about them and why they are significant, then we had to present it to the class. The fun part about this project was that we had complete freedom. We even got to come up with our driving question. I chose Walter Winchell as my significant person and my driving question was, “How did the introduction of gossip into the news affect the image of celebrities and politicians in the 20th century and today?”
As with every unit, we had a couple of curricular competencies we had to show through this project. The curricular competencies for this unit were historical significance and communication. To understand historical significance we had to look into factors of significance and figure which of those factors make our person significant. There are 5 main categories that can help figure out if something is historically significant. Those categories are importance, profundity, quantity, durability, and relevance. For something to be historically significant it has to be something that has affected us today or something that we still talk about. I felt like quantity and durability made Walter Winchell significant because he affected millions of people and he created something that is still a part of society today. I found that when most of my classmates talked about what makes their person or event significant, they focused on durability and I think that durability is the most important factor something has to have for it to be historically significant.
To show communication we had to clearly show our ideas and thoughts in our artifact and in our presentation. We could choose anyway to do this we wanted. I chose to make a newspaper. I chose to share my ideas in an non-opinionated way and I tried to get as many of my thoughts and ideas down as possible. In my presentation I chose to communicate my thoughts in a more fun way by only focusing on the interesting and important details. I spoke to my class and had images on the screen behind me to support my thoughts.
Walter Winchell was a very popular gossip columnist, so I thought it would be cool if I made my own newspaper about him. In my newspaper I included information about gossip, details about Walter, I had own of his gossip columns, and I made my own gossip column in his style. I also had the answer to my driving question in my newspaper. I had a lot of fun making the newspaper. I really fell in love with my topic and I enjoyed writing about it. I got to use my old book creator skills and improve on my writing skills. I also feel like my artifact was creative and I am very proud of it.
When I had to present in front of the class I was scared and excited. I made a key note to help my presentation be more exciting. I had rehearsed my presentation many times before and I felt confident in myself when I started. I made sure to make eye contact with my audience and speak with a clear voice. I had a lot of fun presenting and I hope everyone enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed working on this project. I loved that it was an individual project and that I had complete freedom over what I could do. I think it was fun getting to pick my topic because I could choose something I was interested in, which made me want to make my project great. It was also a great way to learn about history and what makes an event significant. Seeing everyone’s presentations was like getting 16 mini history lessons and they were all so interesting. I had a great time doing this unit and I’m excited for the next one.
Posted on January 19, 2020
We have finished the scariest unit we have ever done in PLP. As you may know from my past few posts, we were doing a unit on Horror. As someone who gets scared VERY easily I was not super excited for this unit, but it was actually pretty fun. As with every unit, we had a driving question and here it is.
Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?
As with every PLP unit we had a couple of core competencies to focus on while going through this unit and they were Reading and Personal Text response, Creating and Extending Shared Understanding, Continuity and Change, and Understanding Language Construction and Intent.
To start off this unit we got to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This is a classic horror novel and it was a great way for us to start to understand horror and monsters. The big question we focused on while reading Frankenstein was “Who is the monster?”, which is a more difficult question to answer than you might think. To help us answer this question we watched Gods and Monsters which is a movie about James Whale who directed Frankenstein the movie. This gave us a great insight into who the monster might be. I wrote a blog post about the monster which you can read here.
In classic PLP style, before we started the project for this unit we went on a field school. We went to Seattle to immerse ourselves in horror. Our first stop on this trip was a car museum. Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with our unit, and so was I. This car museum had a lot of old cars and we went through the museum focusing on the core competency of continuity and change. We had an assignment to focus on an aspect of cars and look at how it has changed and stayed the same throughout time. Here is mine.
Another stop on this field school was the Museum of Pop Culture. I have probably been there 4-5 times but I had never been in the horror exhibit due to being too scared. The horror exhibit there is very cool. It was full of props and costumes from horror movies and so much behind the scenes stuff of how horror movies were made. It was a great way to get ready for our project which was to make our own class horror movie. Making a class horror movie has been attempted many times by PLP classes but has never been successful. Spoiler alert, my class wasn’t successful either but I’ll get to that later. Our last horror related stop on this field school was the Georgetown Morgue. Now this is no ordinary morgue. It was an old morgue that was transformed into a haunted house. It is one of the best haunted houses in America, and by best I mean scariest. Being the little chicken I am, I was unable to gather the courage to enter the house, but all of my friends said it was terrifying.
On this field school we started our project for this unit. Our project was to make a class horror movie. This may not sound super challenging, but it was by far the hardest project I have ever done. Other PLP classes have attempted to make class movie but no class has ever been successful. To start off this project we all needed roles, and to get some of the bigger roles such as producer, director, and screenwriter, you had to go through an interview process. We being who I am I obviously wanted one of the big roles and I was lucky enough to get screenwriter, which turned out to be not so lucky in the end but I’ll get to that later. The other members of the key creative team were Sam and Alex as the producers, and Adam as the director. Our first job as a class was to come up with our story which I was in charge of making the final decisions on. We spent hours in the lobby of the hotel going through many ideas until we found our story and then we were ready to head back home.
Back in the classroom I lead my small team of writers in writing the script for the movie, and it was not easy. Writing a script means writing EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of the movie from what’s going to be said to what time of day it is and what’s going to be in the background. We spent hours writing the script and formatting it. We then took a small break from working on the movie and watched a couple of horror movies so we could make ours better. First we watched a classic horror movie, Halloween, and it was a great movie. I wrote a post about it that you can read here. After Halloween we watched Get Out and it is an amazing movie. It was a completely different type of horror and gave us many more ideas for our horror movie. I wrote a post on it that you can read here.
Finally it was back to making our movie. Our teachers read our script and had some issues with the story so they gave us lots of feedback and we went back to writing. After we had finished re-writing the script, our teachers decided to completely change the story again without anyone from my team even being in the room which did not make me happy. This meant we had to almost completely re-write the script. After we were done that we got ever more critique and had to re-write parts of the script AGAIN. All of these last minute re-writes put us behind schedule and we had to change the due date. I may have not liked all these last minute changes but it was a helpful challenge and I feel a lot more comfortable getting critique now.
Everyone else in the class got the props ready and assigned the actors and we were ready to film. We got some fancy lighting and a camera and we got to filming. Filming a 20 to 30 min movie takes a LONG time. On our first night of filming we were climb for about 4-5 hours and we got about 2 to 3 scenes which is not much. After this first day of filming we learned a lot. None of our footage was usable because we didn’t review it on set and there were a lot of other little mistakes because we honestly weren’t ready to film. Our teachers decided a change needed to happen and they replaced all of the key creative team except me because I was honestly the only person doing my job and I was doing everyone else’s job too. Our new producer was Spencer and our new director was Willa. Considering they came in so late they did a great job.
Our second attempt at filming went a lot better but still wasn’t perfect. It was extremely hard to get everyone we needed on set at the same time due to our busy schedules. I filled in as director for Willa for half of the filming. We did end up having a lot of fun filming. In the end we ran out of time to film the movie and we were only able to get a trailer together. This project took a lot of work and I am upset that we weren’t able to finish it but it was still fun. Maybe if everyone worked really hard we could have gotten it done but some people didn’t have the same motivation as me. I learned a lot of writing skills throughout this project and a lot about communication, but I never want to make a class movie again.
Posted on November 25, 2019
Everyone has heard the saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” This saying is important because as you should know, many things turn out to be different than they appear. Although we should never judge a book by its cover, most of us do all the time. Right now in PLP, we have just finished reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Almost everyone has heard of the story of Frankenstein. It’s about an evil scientist who brings a creature made of human body parts to life. That creature is known as Frankenstein’s monster, but is it really the monster?
To fully answer this question, we had to do more than just read the book. We watched Frankenstein the movie and Gods and Monsters. The movie Frankenstein is very different from the book. The book goes into way more depth about the creature and his motives. Although the book and movie were very different, they both had the overall same message. Gods and Monsters is a movie about the director of Frankenstein, James Whale. It’s about his life in is elderly years and what he thought about making the movie, and the movie in general. It gives an in-depth view into the directors view of the message of Frankenstein.
From an outside glance, the creature that Frankenstein brings to life most definitely seems like the monster of the story. Even after hearing the full story, many people still believe it is the monster, but I have to disagree. In the book, even Frankenstein is afraid of his monster. The moment he brings it to life he is too afraid to face it, and abandons it. From the first moment of its life, the creature was completely alone. All it wanted through out the entire book was to be loved. At first it was a kind gentle creature that just wanted friends. The creature understood that it was ugly and people would be disgusted by him, so he took every precaution to make sure people wouldn’t be afraid of him, yet he was still hated and not given a chance. This hatred deeply effected the monster. After the creature knew he had no chance of people liking him he said, “There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No.”(Shelley). It was only after society turned its back on the creature, that the creature turned its back on society.
In the movie Frankenstein, the storyline is slightly different. The monster is way less developed, and we don’t have the same insight into his emotions as we do in the book, but we are still able to understand him. In the book, Victor Frankenstein’s purpose of creating the monster is mostly about proving it is possible. In the movie his motive is slightly more evil. After he brings the creature to life he says “Now I know what it feels like to be god.”(Frankenstein), which shows that having power was a huge motive behind creating the creature. When the creature comes to life in the movie, it is calm and complacent. It isn’t until Victor’s assistant yells at and whips the creature that the creature turns bad and murders the assistant. Even after this has happened, the creature is still friendly deep down. There is a scene in the movie when a young girl shows kindness to the creature, and the creature returns the kindness. The creature accidentally murders girl and is labeled evil because of this. Once again, the hatred from humans turns the creature bad. The creature simply wants to be loved.
In Gods and Monsters we get to know the way the director felt about the creature. We learn a lot about James Whale and what made him direct the movie the way he did. Whale did not have an easy life. He grew up poor and different, and was not treated fairly by the people around him, even his father. He also fought in World War 1, which helped shape is perspective on evil. In the movie, James Whale right out says that the creature is not the monster, and was never intended to be. When he directed the movie he did not want the creature to be the monster.
After gathering information from these three sources, I feel confident that I know who the real monster is. The monster is not the creature, and it is not Victor Frankenstein. The monster is the judgment from society. In all 3 of the sources mentioned above, the creature is a friendly being until he encounters the cruel judgements of society. Society, whether it be villagers of a small town like in the book, or the assistant of Victor like in the movie, judged the creature simply based on its appearance, and the creature was never even given a chance to be liked. If society had more of an open mind and gave the creature a chance, the creature would not have killed anyone and would not be considered a monster. This monster is still reflected in society today. Society is full of judgment and the judgment of society can deeply effect people. This is why we can’t judge a book by its cover, and we have to give it a chance.
Posted on November 17, 2019
This is the second post I am writing on the horror in a horror movie. This corresponds with the current unit we are doing in PLP on horror. I previously wrote a post on the movie Halloween (1978), and if you would like to read it you can click here. This post as you can probably tell, is about the movie Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele. Warning! There are spoilers ahead.
Get Out is a modern horror movie released in 2017. The premise of the movie is a African American man goes to meet his girlfriends parents at their house, and they are insane people who are also racist. Unlike most other horror movies, the horror isn’t in blood and gore, even though there is some of that in this movie. The horror in this movie is confusion and mind control. For the majority of the movie you know that something is wrong, but you aren’t sure what. The unknown is a very scary thing. People like to know what is happening and what everything means, and they can become uncomfortable and scared when they don’t know. People also have a fear of the unconscious. They are afraid of the subconscious mind taking over and doing things that they would never do. Get Out contains a lot of mind control. The main goal of the villains is to take out half of a persons brain and replace it with someone else’s, making that person lose all control of their body. It is a terrifying though to be trapped in your body, watching as someone else controls what you do.
As far as I can tell from this movie, the villains don’t do any killing. What they do is kidnap African American people, hypnotize them, then put someone else’s brain in their body. The motivation for this is to keep everyone in their family alive and strong. They purposely choose young, black people as their victims because they feel that being black is “in style” and they want to be current. They also feel that they are stronger and more athletically inclined. Each individual old white person also chooses their new body based on their own personal desires. For example, the grandpa of the family chose a body that was a fast runner because he was a runner when he was young, and wanted to continue pursuing that passion. This isn’t specifically mentioned in the movie, but there is defiantly racism as a motivation for the choosing of the victims. The all white family probably doesn’t want to kidnap white people because the media would make a much bigger deal of a white person going missing than an African American person.
A huge reason this movie was so successful was they style in which it was filmed. It was directed by Jordan Peele and he did an amazing job of telling this story. The movie is shot from the perspective of Chris, the protagonist. For the majority of the movie, you only know as much as he knows. The perspective occasionally switches to show you a clue to try and help you put together what is happening. This added an element of mystery into the movie that makes it stand out even more. This movie also does a great job of using sound to tell the story. The music sets the tone and often makes you feel uncomfortable. The teacup played a big part in this movie, and it’s not easy to notice the first time you watch the movie, but after already having seen the movie before the sound of the spoon stirring in the tea cup is made very prominent. It gives you another hint into figuring out what is happening as you watch the movie.
Get Out was written and set in 2017, which also happened to be a year when police brutality came into the light and was a huge issue in America. African American people were being targeted by the police and not treated as equals to white people. This is still happening today, and African Americans are being hurt, and even killed for crimes they didn’t commit, just because of the colour of their skin. This issue was echoed in the movie. At the beginning of the movie Chris’s girlfriend hits a deer with her car on the way to her parents house, and she calls the police. They ask her for her I.D. because she was the driver of the vehicle, but they also ask Chris for his I.D. They obviously asked him this because of the colour of his skin, and when Chris’s girlfriend pointed this out, the cop backed away. Even in the last scene of the movie when the cop car pulls up and see’s Chris killing the villains, you think that Chris will be the one in trouble because of the colour of his skin. There also was and still is lots of racism in America and that is a big issue that is shown through out this movie. It really makes you think about how racism is still effecting so many lives today.
Get Out isn’t a normal horror movie. It really tackles one of the biggest issues, and that is systemic racism. I recently read an article called, Jordan Peele on How He Tackled Systemic Racism as Horror in ‘Get Out’. This article talks about how casual racism is just as bad as true racism. You still get the same pit in your stomach when you can tell that the white family is racist. Jordan Peele said, “The gut punch of the movie is ultimately meant to say that racism is a human problem and the ‘woke’ people know not to call themselves ‘woke.’”. The movie is full of metaphors for different aspects of racism and what it is like to be an African American facing it.
As mentioned in a previous post, we have just finished reading Frankenstein in PLP. There are many similarities and differences between Frankenstein and Get Out. In Frankenstein, the creature just wants to be liked by people, and does nothing wrong but is still shunned just because of his appearance. Just like how Chris is treated differently by the white family because of the colour of his skin. It is a scary thought to think that people can hate you, and want to kill you just based on how you look, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. In Frankenstein, the horror is much more obvious. It’s the fact that there is a literal scary monster that is killing everyone Frankenstein loves. In Get Out, the horror is much more complicated and harder to understand why you are afraid through most of the movie.
Get Out is a fantastic horror movie. There is a reason it is so highly rated and won so many awards. It is a new kind of horror movie that is very different from the slasher and paranormal horror movies that we are used to. It is part of the new era of horror movies that are about more than just getting scared. It is part of the reason that horror movies are so popular now. It’s a horror movie that will still scare you, but you’ll be thinking about the meaning of it for long after.
Posted on November 8, 2019
Boo! We are in the middle of a unit in PLP on horror. The project for this unit is to make our own class horror movie. Obviously to make a horror movie, we have to watch some horror movies. In class over the next few weeks, we will be watching some horror movies in class, and reflecting on them in a blog. The first horror movie we watched, and the one I will be reflecting on today is Halloween (1978). Halloween is an iconic horror movie. Even people who don’t like horror watch this movie, because it was created in such a high quality for the time, and for horror movies. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend you do, as this post will contain many spoilers.
Everyone knows that Halloween is a scary movie, but what is it about the movie that scares us? Is it the spooky music, or the scary houses, or the creepy mask? Well, all of those things play a role in scaring us, but there is a bigger reason we are truly afraid. The fear in the movie is the fact that Michael Myers doesn’t have a motive. The film shows no reason for him to be killing all those people. As humans, we try to find the reason behind things to help us understand them, and when there is no reason it scares us. It makes you afraid that there are people in the world that would kill you for no reason, and there is nothing you can do to prevent that. Another thing that is so terrifying about Halloween, is that Michael is indestructible. He can not be killed, and that is a horrible thought. It is scary because you can never escape Michael Myers. There is no way to get release from the horror.
Part of the reason Halloween was such a successful movie is the style in which it was made in. For example with the story, it was one of the first movies to use the final girl trope. This trope is that in a horror movie, the final character alive is a girl who fights back against the killer. This was such a successful storytelling technique, that it is now used in the vast majority of horror movies made. Most horror movie watchers are teenage girls, and this allows them to connect with the final girl character and have a deeper connection with the movie. Another style choice made for this movie was the fact the Michael Myers never runs. In the movie we only ever see him appear out of nowhere or walk slowly to wear he is going. This adds more fear to the film as it makes it seem even harder to escape him if he only walks and still manages to get to the people running from him. And obviously, the best style choice this movie made was the music. The Halloween song is iconic and is its own character in the movie. It lets the audience know Michael Myers is there, and it is terrifying.
In 1978, Ted Bundy, an infamous serial killer, had recently killed his last victim and was arrested. He was the first known serial killer of this era, and that terrified people. This made Halloween that much scarier, because it was showing people what they were afraid of at the time. It was also a time when women were still shamed for their sexuality. This is why they made Laurie an innocent girl who never even thought about sex. The movie also killed off all the teens that had sex, because it was a bad thing. Even the way Laurie dresses was overly conservative. She was an innocent little angel, and that is why she survived the movie.
I believe that Halloween is the greatest horror movie ever created. I had never seen Halloween up until a few weeks ago, yet Michael Myers was my greatest fear and just the thought of him would keep me up at night. In an article I read called, Is ‘Halloween’ The Greatest Horror Movie Of All Time?, they talked about the score of the movie. The makers of the movie originally played the movie to an audience with no music and nobody was scared. When the iconic, creepy score was added, people were significantly more scared. Just hearing the famous song makes my heart start to race. Halloween has a very simple storyline, but that just makes it easy to follow and something that everyone can enjoy. It’s so simple that it is even set on Halloween night, which makes it even scarier, because nothing is scarier than a night where ghosts and monsters are out to get you.
In PLP we are reading Frankenstein right now. Just like Michael Myers in Halloween, Frankenstein’s creature is a tall, ugly looking monster who is very hard to kill. Neither of these monsters die easily which makes them very scary. Also, in both Frankenstein and Halloween, the creatures randomly appear, create fear and sometimes death, then disappear and cannot be found. The fact that both the creatures are unexpected makes them even scarier. Frankenstein is less scary in my opinion because the creature has a motive. He wants to be liked by humans and wants to get back at the humans who didn’t give him a chance. The fact that Michael Myers doesn’t have a motive makes him scarier.
Halloween has been the source of my nightmares for years. From the terrifying mask, to the haunting score, everything about that movie scares me. It changed the definition of horror movies and started an era of slasher films. It is a revolutionary horror movie.
Posted on October 7, 2019
Welcome back to my blog! I hope you enjoyed my video, and I’ll get to explaining it soon. I’m very excited to share the journey of my final year of high school on here. This year, we started off by diving into classic literature. Classic literature is a little hard to define. It typically is literature that has stood the test of time, and has a couple of specific traits, such as having high artistic quality, or having universal appeal. Some examples of classic novels are books such as Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby. As with every unit, we had a couple of core competencies to focus while we worked. Here they are if you’re curious.
We technically started this unit before the school year even started. Over the summer we were given a list of classic novels to choose from. We each had to read one before school started. I chose to read The English Patient. I chose this novel because I really enjoy reading stories based around War. It took me a while to get into but I ended up really enjoying it. Our first assignment this year was to write a paragraph explaining why the novel we read was a classic. Here is mine.
When we arrived at school, we began with learning the definition of a classic. Once we had that down, we were given our project for this unit. The driving question for this unit is “How can we create animated shorts that use “The Taming of the Shrew” to explain the the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past?”. I’m case you can’t tell by that question, the project was to make an animated short of one act of The Taming of the Shrew. The Taming of the Shrew is a classic play written by William Shakespeare. It has been redone many times into plays and even movies, such as The 10 Things I Hate About You. It was written during the Elizabethan era, and our job was to set one scene of it to a different era. This meant doing a lot of work learning about the literature, and historical context. It also meant we had to sharpen up our animation skills. We were put in 5 groups as there are 5 scenes in the play. I was put in a group with Sam and Izzy.
To help us sharpen the skills we needed, we had to individually make a short video explaining the historical perspective of women in the time period we were assigned. My group was assigned the Victorian era. I did lots of research on the era and the way they spoke at the time. I even tried Puppet Pals 2 out for the first time in years to see if it was a good way to animate our scene. It wasn’t.
Throughout this unit we were also assigned an essay to write about what makes The Taming of the Shrew a classic, focusing on only one aspect of a classic. That it made it very challenging to write. Of course we couldn’t write this essay without seeing the play, so we were lucky enough that Bard on the Beach was performing it. Our teachers organized for us to go see it. It was also set in a different time era than the original. It was set in the Wild West, which helped everyone get an understanding of how they could change the era of their scene.
Once I had to good understanding of the play, I did a little more research then I was ready to write my essay. Here is my essay.
Once all of the research and learning was complete, we were ready to make our animation. My group was assigned Act 1. Before we could start the actual animating, we had to make a story board and edit the script. Editing the script to fit our era was difficult because the Victorian era is very similar to the Elizabethan era. We were able to make a few changes. We made Baptista a factory owner as the Victorian era was the start of the industrial revolution. We also made Kate a Blue Stocking, which means she was extremely into books and learning things such as science and math. That was seen as very unattractive at the time. She was also less covered up than Bianca as that was unattractive too. We completed our first draft to see what everything would look like. It was 18 mins long and very confusing. I do not recommend watching the whole thing, but here it is.
We realized we still had to cut the script a lot and make a few changes with our audio. We went write to work making new characters, cutting the script, and recording new voices. Our second draft shows a lot of improvement and is much stronger. I hope you enjoy watching it. Now that I have a greater understanding of literature and how to analyze it, I’m ready for the next unit, and it’s going to be a very spooky unit 👻.
Posted on June 18, 2019
I can’t believe grade 11 is almost over. It went by so fast. It’s the end of the year now which means it time for my transitional presentation of learning, or TPOL as most people call it. If you would like to read about my past presentations of learning you can click here. This year as by far been the most challenging. I’ve gone through a lot this year and as I have grown, so has my learning.
For the most part, I have been very proud of my work this year. I have worked harder than ever before, but there have been a few projects that haven’t been the best. One example of this is my project for the We Shall Overcome unit. I feel like I did a lot of good things in this unit such as my comparison post. Overall I loved this unit and felt that I did a lot of great learning. My end project was not great. It was boring and wasn’t put together very well. I would have loved to be able to better demonstrate my learning of the unit in the video. I also would have loved to take that project as an opportunity to improve my video editing skills.
Another project that I wish I did a little better on was my World on the Brink Essay. This unit wasn’t my favourite, and I tried my best to do as much learning as possible, but I could have done more. I feel like I had a really strong concept for my essay but my execution was weak. If I did a little more learning I could have made stronger points in my essay and connected them better. A positive of this unit is that I learned that I quite enjoy writing essays. I love finding all the points and putting them together like a puzzle. Next year, writing is definitely one of the skills that I want to focus on improving. I plan on reading a lot this summer to help improve that skill.
For PGP, I really enjoyed reading the 7 Habits and filling out the workbooks. I was amazed with how much I learned about myself throughout that assignment. For our final project, we had to make a time machine about something we learned that we wish we knew at the beginning of the year. We had complete freedom with this project and I decided to make a video. I had so many ideas of how I wanted it to turn out. I wanted to make this really fun video of me talking with lots of cool images popping up and fun clips in it. It didn’t turn out quite as I expected but I was still happy that I got the chance to improve my video making skills.
Overall this year has been absolutely crazy. I have improved a lot as a learner. I have became a much stronger learner and a stronger person. I’m a lot better at organizing my work, prioritizing my work, and getting stuff done well. I’ve also become more excited to learn. I’ve started to enjoy doing extra research and spending the extra time to make my work good. I had a lot of fun this year and I’m ready to continue learning more next year. Hopefully I’ll get even better at learning!
Posted on June 5, 2019
Throughout the year I have been enrolled in a course called the Personal Growth Plan (PGP). This course is all about growing yourself in school and in life. For this course I have read books, made a journal, and changed a lot about how a live my life. It’s been a lot of work but it has all been worth it.
There were three main parts to this course. The first part was goal setting. For this we read a book called What do you Really Want?: How to Set a Goal and Go for it. This book was full of forms and activities that helped in setting goals. To do these forms everyone was given a journal to help keep things organized. Through this I learned the importance in goal setting to be able to get a task done. I also learned how important it is to be persistent.
The second part was productivity. Productivity is all about making sure that you are using your time to its full extent. I was kinda looking forward to learning about this because I spend wayyyyyy too much time watching Netflix and I always feel unproductive. You need to be productive in order to be able to sharpen yourself. If you just nap all the time you won’t be very sharp.
The third part is the seven habits. We read a book called 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The title pretty well sums up what the book was about. I loved reading this book and some of the habits really stuck with me, which is why I chose the 7th Habit as the one for my time machine. Sharpening myself has helped me so much in being an effective teen.
Our final project was to create a PGP time machine. Sadly we weren’t actually going to make a time machine, although that would be amazing if we could. What we had to make was more like a message to our past selves on what we wish we knew before. This could be anything from an interpretive dance to a puppet show. We had complete freedom. I chose to make a YouTube style video where I am simply talking about what I wish I knew. I thought that would be the best way for my past self to take in the information. Here it is.
Posted on May 3, 2019
In the 1960’s the world was in chaos. There was a Cold War, a threat of nuclear war, and many social changes, including women rights and environmental impacts. I recently learned all about this in our latest PLP unit on the 60’s. As you may now know, in PLP we are learning through the years. We started off learning about the 50’s, then the Civil Rights Movement, which I have written blog posts on, and now we are at the 60’s. The 60’s was a challenge to learn about because A LOT of things happened, but our main focus was the Cold War, and the threat of nuclear war. Our final project for this unit was to right an essay answering the driving question, “What put the world on the brink”.
In 1949, the Cold War was raging on. Tensions were high between the United States and the Soviet Union, and they didn’t seem to be calming down anytime soon. There were a few allies post WWII, but their pacts were weak. Something had to be done to provide a framework of military rules for the allies, should this war became hot. That is when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. NATO was started by the United States, and many countries agreed to join the powerful, economically strong country, in hopes that they could help them flourish. The United States had nuclear superiority, and if they were to lose that, the commitment to NATO would be too dangerous. The leadership of NATO by the United States put a lot of pressure on them to demonstrate that they were a powerful world leader, which put them in a variety of situations of high tension.
The United States created NATO to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was originally formed as a peacetime military alliance, which means that they did not want to start any wars. They knew exactly how they were going to achieve peace and they “did not think that such a peace could be achieved through weakness” (Eisenhower). Having power over the Soviet Union was the only way they felt they would reach the world peace they desired.
Part of the reason the US wanted power so badly was to stop the spread of communism. The US was already a nuclear superpower, which means they were “capable of deterring any conceivable combinations of challengers”(Joffe 33). They did not need any allies to help them overpower the Soviet Union. The point of them getting allies was to have other nations on the side of democracy. The more nations that were in alliance with them meant fewer nations threatened by communist control. The US felt pressure to keep these nations in alliance, and to do so they needed to prove they were more powerful than the Soviets.
NATO was formed as a defensive organization meant to prevent the Soviet’s from being aggressive towards weaker nations. Their main goal was to have peace, but that is not what happened. NATO did not appear peaceful to the Soviet Union, hence why they “condemned NATO as a warmongering alliance”(North Atlantic Treaty Organization). This put the soviets on the defensive and they felt a need to stand up to NATO. The United States had to be seen as the stronger nation by NATO, thus they couldn’t sit back and be peaceful. NATO relied on “the threat of massive nuclear retaliation from the United States”(Hagland) to scare the Soviets into weakness. The US then had to do something to continue to hold their place of power in the eyes of NATO.
After the failed attempt to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro in the Bay of Pigs, America was starting to look quite weak. NATO then made the decision to place American missiles in Turkey, right outside Russia, to regain some power. This power move by America started the Cuban Missile Crisis. The easiest way to solve this crisis would have been for America to immediately pull their missiles from Turkey, which they couldn’t do without appearing weak. This was brought up in a discussion with R. Kennedy and Khrushchev where Kennedy said that they could not just pull out the missiles from Turkey because it would “damage the entire structure of NATO” specifically, “the US position of leader”(Kennedy). Pulling out the missiles would have made it look like the US was scared, and were giving into the Soviet power. It would also be against the wants of NATO, so the US couldn’t simply take them out without appearing powerless to the Soviets. All NATO wanted was peace, but they weren’t going about it the right way.
The United States tried very hard to keep up the appearance for NATO of being an almighty country which could lead the world. This forced them to make decisions in many situations where they had to demonstrate their power and authority. These rash decisions led to many conflicts with the Soviet Union that could have potentially ended with nuclear war. The resulting conflicts could have been avoided, or quickly diffused if only the U.S. were more rational, willing to compromise, and possibly look like a weaker nation for a moment. In their attempt to maintain authority as a super power, the United States revealed an insecurity about themselves. Trying to portray themselves as a world leader for NATO almost caused the United States to destroy the world.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. “The NATO Conference .” Vital Speeches of the Day . The NATO Conference , 23 Dec. 1957, Washington DC.
Haglund, David G. “North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 10 Jan. 2019, www.britannica.com/topic/North- Atlantic-Treaty-Organization.
Joffe, Josef. “NATO And The Dilemmas Of A Nuclear Alliance .” Journal of International Affairs, vol. 43, no. 1, 1989.
Kennedy, Robert. “Russian Ambassador Cable to Foreign Ministry .” Washington D.C., 27 Oct. 1962.
“North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Pact Signed.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nato-pact-signed.
To start off this unit we watched a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis called “Thirteen Days”. It was a great introduction to the unit and it also was a great answer to the driving question. We watched many other videos in this unit that explained events in the 60’s, and helped us get an idea of how to answer the driving question.
After we had learned all of the necessary information, we were given a list of topics that we could use to answer the question in our essay. We were only allowed to choose one topic and our essay had to be very focused. Here is a list of the possible topics
- Marshall Plan
- Iron Curtain
- Berlin Blockade
- Warsaw Pact
- Korean War
- Berlin Wall
- Truman Doctrine
- United Nations
- U2 spy plane
- Gagarin in space
- Bay of pigs
- Vienna meeting
- Cuban missile crisis
- Nuclear test ban
- Khrushchev resigns
I chose NATO as my main topic. I chose it because I felt that it had a large impact on the Cold War, and that it almost pushed the world to nuclear war. The hard part about this essay was narrowing my topic, because NATO is way too broad of a topic to right a focused essay about. After doing lots of research I realized that NATO made the United States power hungry, which was a huge problem, so that is what I chose to focus my essay on.
The process of writing this essay was harder than any essay I have written before. A large aspect of this was integrating quotes, which I was not very good at. After some practice, I grew at that skill. Integrating quotes was almost as difficult as find quotes to integrate. The rules for this assignment were that we had to integrate a quote from a primary source, a periodical, and an academic journal. This was particularly challenging because our essays were on uncommon topics from the 60’s. After tons of research and drafts, I feel like a wrote a pretty decent essay.
To wrap up this unit we watched a video called, “The Times They Are A’ Changin”. It was about the social changes in the 60’s. It covered almost everything including women’s rights, environmental impacts, united farm workers, the conservative movement, and gay rights. It was a really interesting show and I recommend that you watch it if you like to learn about history. As our last assignment for this unit, we had to choose one of these social changes and briefly write about how it also put the world on the brink. Read mine below.
The 1960’s was full of many social changes. It was also a time where people were constantly living in fear. In the 60’s the world was on the brink of ending. When most people think of the end of the world in the 60’s, they think about they threat of nuclear war, but there was another way the world was on the brink. The 60’s was one of the first times that people started to realize how badly they were treating the planet, and the consequences of that. The pollution in the 1960’s was putting the world on the brink of extinction.
After WWII people started to realize the extent of their pollution of the earth, due to some environmental disasters. There were oils spills, lake fires, and many more human caused disasters. Air pollution also became a very obvious issue. Rachel Carson was one of the first people to realize the extent of what they were doing, but no one listened to her until after she died. Once people realized what was happening, they started an Environmental Movement to bring awareness to the issues.
People were finally scared for the health of our planet, and knew that if they didn’t make a change the world would end. The earth was on the brink of extinction, and if they didn’t do something then the world would die. As much as people have tried to make a change, this is still an issue we deal with today. Humans have been killing the earth for years and we are almost at the point of no return. We are still so far on the brink and we need to do something to change that. Hopefully we can bring the world off the brink.
I learned so much about how the 60’s was a very scary time for people due to the Cold War and threat of nuclear war. I also learned that this fear showed people that they can’t live in fear forever, which caused many social changes. This unit not only taught me a lot about the 1960’s, it also taught me a lot about writing and the kind of writer I am. Honestly, before this unit I could not write a very good essay, but with the knew research skills I have, I feel ready for any type of essay that might be thrown my way. I’m very excited to learn about the 70’s next unit and hopefully gain some new skills.
Research for social change argument: