The Horror in Halloween (1978)

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.

The Taming of the Blue Stocking

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.

Explain and infer different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews, and beliefs
Appreciate and recognize and understand the role of personal, social, and cultural contexts, values, and perspectives in texts, including culture, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic factors and how language is used to construct personal, social, and cultural identity, including discerning nuances in the meanings of words, considering social, political, historical, and literary contexts.

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.

The English Patient was written in such a thoughtful and descriptive way. The text is extremely meaningful and paints pictures in your head. It is of a quality so high, that few other authors could right texts like this. It contains outstanding imagery, and the writing can be compared to poetry at points. Ondaatje makes even the most simple of things, such as an evening sky, into a stunning image that you can feel in every sense. “The long Cairo evenings. The sea of night sky, hawks in rows until they are released at dusk, arcing towards the last colour of the desert. A unison of performance like a handful of thrown seed”(Ondaatje 280). Everything about the descriptions in this book are beautiful. It is so beautifully written that you don’t just read it, but you see it as if you were living through the story. The English Patient is a piece of artwork that everyone can appreciate, even if they don’t like the story. That’s what makes this book a classic.

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.

Throughout time there have been pieces of art that have stood the test of time. These pieces, whether they be stories, poems, plays, or movies, are considered classics because of their outstanding, high quality. Literature is a form of art that has many different classics. There is no true definition of being a classic, but there are certain qualities that classic literature must have to be generally agreed upon as being a classic. The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare is a classic, and not only because of whom it was written by. It has many of the qualities that make literature a classic. One quality of a classic that stands out is the artistic quality of The Taming of the Shrew. The Taming of the Shrew was written during the Elizabethan era in England. It is believed that The Taming of the Shrew was one of the earliest plays that Shakespeare wrote. Everyone knows that Shakespeare was a talented play write, but that is because he was quite well educated for the time he lived in. His education allowed him to write amazing plays that not only had engaging stories, but also had beautiful, poetic language. That is what stands out in The Taming of the Shrew. The story of this play no longer connects with or appeals to the audience. It is the language that draws people in. The poetry is so beautiful that it is what makes you feel emotions while reading or watching the play, as the story struggles to do that in present time. It is the way that Lucentio describes seeing Bianca for the first time, “I saw her coral lips to move, And with her breath she did perfume the air. Sacred and sweet was all I saw in her.”(Shakespeare 48), that keeps this play popular. Poetry is something people can really connect to. It draws out more emotions from people. The poetry in The Taming of the Shrew helps the play flow and is truly touching to read and hear. It is moving, and people like to be moved. People can really learn from this type of literature, as poetry like this isn’t commonly used today. It is not just the poetry, but also the language that makes The Taming of the Shrew stand the test of time. There is a certain beauty to the Middle English that this play is written in. This play as been performed thousands of times in many different ways, but many people choose to keep the original language, as it provokes more emotions. You wouldn’t get to experience the same feelings if it was written in modern English. It takes you back to the time period of Shakespeare and makes you feel connected to the history of the time. People read this play for language such as, “Well mayst thou woo, and happy be thy speed! But be thou arm’d for some unhappy words.”(Shakespeare 77). It wouldn’t have the same effect if it had words such as “dude” or “totally” in it. The language may also be a challenge for some people to understand, so it draws people back to it multiple times. This way they can truly appreciate how fascinating it is. It’s almost as if you are learning a new language while you read. There is something so graceful about the language. It’s both pleasing to read an hear. It flows so nicely and is very refreshing to hear. It gives a quality to The Taming of the Shrew that many other pieces of literature don’t have, and many people enjoy. People still want to read and see The Taming of the Shrew because of how it was written. It is a true piece of literary art. The poetry is quiet alluring. It draws you in and keeps you hooked onto every word. It makes you feel emotions in ways that only the story can’t do. The language it is written in is inspiring. It connects you to history, and is something any generation can learn from. The Taming of the Shrew has been a popular piece of literature for hundreds of years, and it will probably continue to be popular for many more years. It is written in a very high standard that can appeal to the hardest critics. The pure beauty and poetry of the play is something that can appeal to everyone of all generations. This is the reason that it has stood the test of time and is considered a classic.

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 👻.

tPOL 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!

 

PGP Time Machine

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.

The World on the Brink

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. 

Works Cited 

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
  • NATO
  • 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:

https://www.history.com/topics/natural-disasters-and-environment/water-and-air-pollution

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_movement

http://michiganintheworld.history.lsa.umich.edu/environmentalism/exhibits/show/main_exhibit/origins/-environmental-crisis–in-the-

We Shall Overcome

The What you just watched was a video that my partner Alex and I made as a project for PLP. We just finished a very important unit. This unit included stuff that is very hard to talk about, and that made this unit quite mentally challenging. For this unit, we learned about the civil rights movement in the United States. You’re probably confused now, because that video has nothing to do with civil rights or the United States. Well, our video does have something to do with our driving question which is, How can the actions of an individual change a system? Let me explain how we learned about the answer to our question.

In grade 11, the history we learn about is mostly the mid to late 1900’s. As you may know, our last unit was on the 1950’s. Here is the blog post on that unit. If our last unit was on the 50’s, that means that this unit had to be on the 1960’s. Specifically we focused on the civil rights movement because that was a huge part of the 60’s. Before we could learn anything we needed to figure out what we needed to learn. As a class we created a numbers document where we wrote down what we already knew about the topic, what we needed to know, and the goals we had for this unit. We continued to edit this document throughout the unit as we learned about what we needed to know. 

Before we could learn about the movement, we had to learn about the history of racism and slavery in America. We learned about the civil war, reconstruction, and the Jim Crow laws. This set up the basis for the unit, and I learned about how after slavery was abolished, white people still felt the need to control African Americans, and created the Jim Crow laws to do so. The Jim Crow laws were a set of very racist laws that were put into place so white people would still have power over African Americans.

As part of the English part of this unit, we had to do Socratic Seminars. These seminars consisted of everybody in the class reading a piece of text or watching movie, then discussing the texts in groups of about 8-9. The first text we had to read was a book called Dear Martin. We divided it into two sections and discussed each section in a seminar. We also watched a couple of different movies about the movement to discuss in seminars. I really enjoyed the seminars because they helped me get a deeper understanding of the texts. Here is a little bit of one of my seminar reflections so you can have an idea of how they went. 

The civil rights movement had most of its momentum in the 1960’s, but the spark that started it was ignited in the 1950’s. The laws in America stated that African Americans should be treated equally but should be separated from white people. The problem with this was that they were separated, but they weren’t treated equally. One of the ways the African Americans first started to fight for their equality was with the law. For example, Brown v. Board of Education, which was a case where an African American girl wanted to go to a white school because it was significantly closer to her and it was a better school. They ended up winning the court case because the schools were separate but not equal. Here are some other significant events of the 1950’s if you would like to read about them.

Emmett Till was a 14 year old boy who lived in Chicago with his mom. His father was killed in the war, so Emmett wore his ring everyday. One summer, Emmett decided to go to Mississippi to work on a farm with some of his family. Growing up in Chicago, Emmett had no idea how bad the racism was in the south. His mother warned him to always do what he was told and to never even look at a white person. One day, while working on the farm, it got really hot so Emmett and some of his family went to a grocery store to get some refreshments. They didn’t want to make a scene at the store, so they al went in in groups of 1-2. While at the grocery store Emmett had an interaction with the white woman working at the store. She says he wolf whistled at her, but what really happened will never be known. The lady told her husband and he and his brother wanted revenge. They stole Emmett from his house, and brutally murdered him. The men tried to sink his body but they were unsuccessful. Emmett’s body was found in a river with a fan tied to his neck with barbed wire. His body was so deformed they could barely recognize him. The only reason they knew it was him was because of his fathers ring. His body was sent back to his mother in Chicago where she had a funeral. She made a brave decision to have an open casket and show everyone what the racists in Mississippi did to her son. Thousands of people came to Emmett’s funeral to see his body. This sparked outrage across the world. No one could believe how bad the racism was in America. The men who did this were taken to court where they were found not guilty for their crime because the all white jury couldn’t be sure that the body was even Emmett’s. A few years later, the brothers completely confessed to the crime and sold the story. Even after that, they still got no punishment. Emmett’s murder wasn’t completely in vain. It showed the people up north, and around the world how bad the racism was in the south. It was a spark for the civil rights movement.
In December of 1955, Rosa Parks, a women who worked for the NAACP, was riding the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was sitting in the first row of the coloured section and the bus was starting to get full. When this happened, the people in the front of the coloured section are supposed to move to the back of the bus. The bus driver came to the back of the bus and asked Rosa, and three other coloured passengers to move to the back. The three passengers complied, but Rosa did not. She refused to give up her seat. She was arrested and fined $10. This sparked a movement. Everyone was tired of giving up their seats to white people, so they decided to boycott the buses. For a whole year, African Americans refused to ride the bus. This was bad for white people because most of their help was African American, and without the buses they couldn’t get to their jobs. The boycott ended when the African Americans won a court case to sit wherever they wanted on the bus, and not have to give up tear seats for white people.

Another aspect of this unit was writing a reflection on our blog. This reflection had to compare an event we learned about in this unit to a contemporary event. When we did this post, we had only learnt about the movement in the 50’s, so I chose to compare and event to Emmett Tills murder. This post was a great way to get me thinking about how important the civil rights movement was for today. It has helped lessen racism all over North America, but it is still a huge problem that we need to solve. You can read my reflection post here.

The 1960’s was when the civil rights movement really started to pick up. Martin Luther King was the leader of the movement, and he was a great leader. He thought that the best way to fight would be to do it non-violently. This meant that instead of physically fighting and having violent riots, the movement consisted of marches and sit ins. MLK felt that the movement had to be non-violent because it needed to show that African Americans didn’t have to be feared and that they just wanted equality. Also, when the white people were violent to the people of the movement and they didn’t fight back, it made the white people look like the villains, which they were. Here are some key events of the movement in the 60’s if you would like to read about them.

In 1961, racism was supposed to have been not as much as an issue on the bus. The Montgomery Bus Boycott allowed African Americans to sit wherever they wanted, but it wasn’t the same on interstate buses. There was still a lot of racial segregation on interstate buses, so a movement was started to end that. In May of 1961, a group of people called Freedom Riders, decided to bus into the deep South. They were trained to face brutal racism and not react to it at all, but nothing could prepare them for what they would face. The freedom riders were attacked at bus stops all along their trip. One bus was even set on fire while passengers were on it. Luckily no one was killed. The first group of riders were too beat up to finish their trip, so another group was sent to finish what they started, and this time they knew what to expect. Mobs of people continuously attacked the riders. At the end of their journey, the riders were arrested for no good reason. They were sent to a horrible prison to try and stop more freedom riders from coming. The riders kept coming and coming. They refused to stop. The riders finally got what they were asking for, and all the Jim Crow laws were abolished.
On August 28, 1963, a march that was a pivotal part of history happened. This was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. This march was organized by all of the great leaders of the civil rights movement. The march happened because President Roosevelt proposed a bill that would end all discrimination in the work place. This was exactly what the African Americans wanted, so they had to do something to get it. A lot of organization went into this march, and they wanted as many people to come as possible. On the day of the march 200,000-300,000 people showed up to Washington D.C. There were celebrities, politicians, and many other important people. The march was a huge success. Way more people than any was even expedition showed up. This is also the march where Martin Luther King made is famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” The speech was seen all over the world and it made a huge impact. The march resulted in a catalyst to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights act of 1965.

After years of hard work and many lives lost, the movement finally started to get some of the rights they were fighting for. Throughout the movement segregation was ended, African Americans were able to go to school, they were able to get more jobs and paid more fairly, they gained the right to vote, they abolished the Jim Crow laws, and many, many more amazing things happened. But they didn’t get complete equality and we still live in a world full of racism. Throughout this unit we saw many different examples of how an individual can change a system. We then had the knowledge to answer the driving question in our final project for this unit.

For our project everyone in the class was partnered up, then had to make a video about a Canadian issue. This is the video that you watched at the beginning of this post. We also had to answer the driving question and come up with our own question for our video. I was partnered up with Alex, which I was very happy about because he is very intelligent, and I knew that we would work very well together. The issue we focused on for our issue was the history of discrimination Chinese Candians have had to face. Here is a pitch form with all of the detail of work we had to do for this video.

Alex and I spent a ton of time on this video. The first draft was full of information but was quite boring. We knew we had som work to do for the final draft. We wanted it to have our own creations in it so Alex made animations on Explain Everything, and I made the background music on GarageBand. The rest of our editing was done in iMovie. This video was really interesting to make. It really showed how much I learned throughout the unit, and how easy it was for me to answer the driving question by the end.

I really enjoyed working through this unit. Learning about the civil rights movement was very eye opening. I had no idea how awful the racism was in America. It was also amazing to see how much impact a single person could have on a system. MLK is a great example of this. He had such an impact that he had private meetings with the president at the time demanding that he do something to help. I feel like I have a completely different view on American history now.

 

 

 

Racism Is Still An Issue: Civil Rights Movement vs Today

Currently in PLP we are in the middle of a unit about the civil rights movement. The driving question for this unit is, How can the actions of an individual change a system? For this unit we have to make 2 learning portfolio posts comparing the civil rights events we learn about to contemporary events. We also had to make a product to enhance these posts.

Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed at someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Racism has been around for a very, very long time and as much as we would like to think it doesn’t exist anymore, it is still a very big problem. Racism is something that people like to believe doesn’t exist. For example, back in the 1950’s people in the north of American tried to pretend that racism in the south didn’t exist. Today, people all over Canada try to pretend like racism has been fixed but it is still a huge problem and I’d like to share an example of it. I have put together a book comparing an event in history to a contemporary event. I have compared the murder of Emmett Till to the way police in Thunder Bay, Ontario treat indigenous people. Here it is.

After putting this book together I have a deeper understanding about how an individual can change a system. Emmett Till wasn’t the only African American who was brutally murdered but his mom decided to stand up to the system and show everyone just how bad racism in the south can be. Indigenous people in Canada have been discriminated against since the first European came to Canada. The people of Thunder Bay are standing up to the systemic racism in the police force by challenging their work and sharing their disappointment with way their cases were being handled. These are both examples of how spreading information can help change a system.

After doing lots of research about these topics it is clear that racism is still a huge issue. When a whole system is racist it can ruin the trust between people. Emmett Till’s family couldn’t trust that the law would be able to deliver justice because they were racist. The indigenous people of Thunder Bay can’t trust the police to treat them equally. People in positions of power have to treat everyone equally or they shouldn’t be in a position of power. Hopefully, we can one day have no more racism in our world.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-oiprd-report-1.4942388 https://www.cbc.ca/radio/frontburner/how-thunder-bay-police-fail-indigenous-people-1.4945694 https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/carolyn-bennett-reaction-thunder-bay-police-youth-1.4930574 https://globalnews.ca/news/3959681/thunder-bay-ont-police-moving-to-address-allegations-of-systemic-racism/ https://www.biography.com/video/emmett-till-legacy-109203523793

Mpol 2019

I can not believe that I am already half way through grade 11. The first half of this school year has gone by so quickly. It’s had it’s ups and downs but overall I am quite happy with how this year has gone so far. This is my 7th presentation at learning so I am actually excited for it. I’ve started to really enjoy sharing my learning and thinking about how I can improve. If you want to learn more about presentations of learning you can read on of my past posts here.

This year I have challenged myself and set many goals, and I’ve been working very hard to reach my goals. Coming into PLP this year I knew I wanted to produce top quality work. PGP has really helped me set goals for this year and know what I need to work on. One habit of mind that I really want to focus on for this year is remaining open to continuous learning. I want to be able to know when I don’t understand something, and be able to find a way to learn more about it. A ISTE standard that I really want to improve on is being a creative communicator. I want to communicate my learning in very creative ways and express myself more through my work.

Getting started this year after the summer was a little challenging and I didn’t get off to the best start. The first project we did was a History in Five video about the making of the atomic bomb in Hanford. This was a group project that was part of a field school. Here is my post on it.

My groups video wasn’t bad. It had strong information, and great shots on location, but it was very boring. It was not very creative at all. Also I did not do really challenge myself much with this project or take on much of a leadership role. My group did work very well together and we made some strong revisions but it could have turned out better. I also didn’t learn as much as I could have. I thought I knew enough and didn’t do any extra research to help me learn more. As much as I wasn’t happy with the outcome of this video I am happy about this project. It helped me see what I can improve on for my projects in the rest of the year.

 

The next big project we did in PLP went way better. Coming into this project I knew my goals and what I wanted to improve on. I also was really excited to work on this project so it made it easier to want to challenge myself. This project was to create an interactive experience about the 1950’s with themes from the crucible. You can read my post on it here.

My first goal I wanted to work on in this project was to be more of a leader. This was a class project so it was up to the class to vote for 2 leaders. Sadly the class didn’t vote for me. The people they chose for leaders had been leaders in projects many times before so everyone knew they would be good. To help everyone see that I can be a good leader I am going to start being a leader in very small projects and build my way hope. Hopefully next time a project like this comes along I will be able to be one of the main leaders. Even though I wasn’t chosen for a main leader I still wanted to use my leadership in some way so I became the DRI of costumes and makeup.

 

Another way I challenged myself with this project was taking on a big role in the performance. I have very bad anxiety and talking in front of people scares me a lot. I have gotten a lot better at it since I started PLP, but I can still improve. I decided that I wanted to be a guide which was the biggest role in our experience. I worked very hard to memorize my script and do a good job. I was nervous at first but I ended up having a very good time. It was a huge challenge for me to be so over the top in this role but I’m so happy I did it. I want to continue challenging myself in this way for future projects.

Me as a guide

YPart of this unit was reading the crucible. One way that we used to show our understanding of the play was to make 3 Creative Creation blog posts on it. I thought this was a great way to step out of my box and be really creative. Here are my three Creative Creation posts.

Instead of just writing a paragraph or drawing a picture I wanted to be more unique. For my posts I made a collage, made a book, and used new tools/short codes in my blog. I was very happy with how all of these turned out. I felt like I learned a lot in this project and showed it through my work. When I didn’t understand something or wanted to learn more I did the extra research I needed.

Throughout all of this year we have also been working on Personal Growth Plans (PGP). This has included learning about certain habits of mind and ISTE standards that we will be working on this year. Another big part of it is setting goals and finding ways to reach them. We had to read a book called, What Do You Really Want? How To Set A Goal And Go For It! A Guide For Teens, and we had to fill out forms and do activities while we read it. I feel like I’ve set some pretty strong goals for myself this year and I am already working hard on reaching them. I can’t wait to see where I get to by the end of the year.

The last part of the mpol is to come up with a question for my teachers and parents about how I can improve as a learner. How can I challenge myself to communicate my learning in different, more innovated ways?

Carousel of Communism

December isn’t the most wonderful time of the year only because of Christmas. It is also the time for the PLP Winter Exhibition! I have written countless posts on exhibitions now that this is my fourth year in PLP, but in case you don’t know what an PLP Exhibition is I’ll explain it to you. The Winter Exhibition is a chance for PLP students to showcase projects that they worked on before the break. Each grade has a different project and presents them in different ways. Here is one of my past posts on the Winter Exhibition.This years Exhibition was a little different than ones we’ve had in the past. For the grade 11’s (my grade) instead of each person doing an individual project, we all worked on one project together, and it was so much fun. Let me tell you more about it.

For the exhibition this year we didn’t have free range on the project, which I actually preferred. The project was based on part of the curriculum for this year, the 1950’s. We started off this unit by learning about life in the 1950’s. We watched an episode of an old TV show called Leave It To Beaver, which is a show about the ideal family of the 1950’s. The ideal family consisted of a stay at home mom, working dad, and two to three kids. Here is a little taste of the show.

Our main theme for this unit was Injustice. Injustice was a big part of the 1950’s as there were many injustices happening in America, such as sexism. To help us develope a better understanding of injustices we read a play called The Crucible. It is a play written by Arthur Miller about the Salem witch trials. The play was a little challenging to read because it had language from 1600’s, but I very much enjoyed reading it.

As we were reading the crucible we had to make three different creative creations for our blog. We were given 10 choices of themes from the crucible to write about such as revenge and remorse. We could choose any way we wanted to represent these themes. Here are some examples.

I really enjoyed writing these posts because they required me to think deeper about the themes and develope a greater understanding of them. Here are my three posts.

After we had finished reading The Crucible we started to learn more about the 1950’s. We watched a couple of documentaries and we discussed everything we learned. Although the 1950’s were called the best years of America, they weren’t all fun times. It was also the time of the Red scare. The Red scare was the fear in America that communist spies were living all around them. Many people were accused of being communists and brought to trial by Senator McCarthy. It was interesting learning about the 1950’s after the crucible because they connected in so many ways. For example, the injustice in the Salem witch trials was very similar to the injustice in the McCarthy trials.

Once we had learned everything we needed to about the 1950’s and injustice, we started working on our project for the exhibition. The project was to create an immersive experience set in the 1950’s with the themes from the crucible. Pretty much we had to create an interactive, walk through play. A couple of years ago another grade 11 glass did a very similar thing. Here is one of their posts on it. I was very excited about this project. I loved the idea of working with the whole class. Almost all of us have been together since grade 8, so we know each other very well.

One of my goals for this year was to be more of a leader in projects so when I heard about this project I thought it was the perfect chance to use my leadership skills. Sadly, a couple of other people wanted to be leaders and because they had been leaders before, the class voted for them instead. Our Directly Responsible Individuals (DRI’s) were Adam and Mimi. Our first step of this project was to plan everything out. Our teachers were away on a field school with another class while we did this so we didn’t have any help. I feel like we worked better without our teachers because we all knew we had to step up to make this amazing. We divided up the work between us and worked very well together. Here is our first draft of stations and the themes from the crucible.

Once we had all of our stations planned we had to start getting everything ready for the exhibition. We had sets to design, props to build, a script to write, and costumes to get. The script was the first thing to be done and once that was done everyone was assigned a role. There were roles in each of the 6 scenes and 4 guides to take everyone through. I got to be a guide which I was happy about because it was the biggest part and it pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot. I was also the DRI for costumes so I was in charge of deciding what everyone would wear and making sure we had everything we needed. Building everything was probably my favourite part of making this project because everyone worked very hard and were very eager to help. After everything was done it was finally time for the exhibition.

As always, the exhibition day was very stressful. We built last minute props, made sure we had everything we needed, and made sure we knew all of our lines. We got to do this in the gym so we had to set everything up after school which only gave us 3 hours. We had curtains to divide the scenes and a big wall down the centre of the gym. When we went to open up the wall we discovered that it was broken. After 10 minutes of panic we figured out a solution and made use of the dividers we had. Here is a video of the beginning of the set up.

We set everything up and it looked really good. The gym looked so different when we were done setting up. Everyone got in their costumes and we were ready to go. I couldn’t wait to get started.

I was the second guide to do a tour and it went pretty well. We took in groups of 15-25 people every 15 mins. I was very nervous at first but I quickly warmed up to it. The experience was shorter than we wanted it to be so the guides doubled up and did the tours together. This allowed more improvisation to make the experience longer. I partnered up with Adam and we worked very well together. My improv skills improved a lot and so did my people skills. This project made me a lot more comfortable presenting in front of people. Here is a video of the experience. Sorry about the camera blocking it a bit.

This was by far my favourite project I have ever done. I loved doing a class project. I got to work with everyone and it was so much fun. Even though I wasn’t a leader of the project I didn’t let it get me down and I still took on as much of a leadership role as I could. The end product turned out way better than I could have ever imagined. It was so much fun to be a guide and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. The class worked so well together and I was so proud of everyone. I really hope we get to do another project like this again soon.

How to Spot a Gym Rat

This is part 3/3 of my Crucible creations blog posts. You can also read my First and Second post of Crucible creations. We have just finished reading a play called The CrucibleThis play deals with a lot of themes including revenge, injustice, witchery, and more. For this assignment we have to focus in on one of the theme and make a creation for it. We then had to put it in a blog post. For my final post in this assignment I read an essay called, How to Spot a Witch, so I had to make a creation that shows how to spot something. I chose to show you how to spot a gym rat.

In case you don’t know, a gym rat is a person who spends all of their leisure time in a gym or playing sports. They love working out and do it as much as possible. Some gym rats are harder to spot than others but the average gym rat is quite noticeable. Here is how to spot a gym rat.

What They Wear: 

Most gym rats always dress like they are going to the gym. This way they can always be ready for a workout. They wear athletic clothing everywhere they can including work, shopping, and out for dinner. Click the bars to read more.

Most gym rats wear tank tops, even when it’s cold. They do this so everyone can always see the muscles they worked so hard to get. If they aren’t wearing a tank top they are probably wearing some other kind of an athletic shirt. If it is realllllllly cold outside they will put on a jacket, but they will take it off as soon as they get inside so you can see their muscles.
Most gym rats only wear athletic wear for their bottoms. For men it’s most commonly gym shorts. They even wear shorts when it’s winter! Women most commonly wear leggings or yoga pants. They will even wear them to fancy occasions with a nice top. If they aren’t wearin* shorts or leggings, they are probably wearing sweat pants, but those are mostly worn on their days off which don’t happen very often.
Gym rats don’t wear many accessories, but the ones they do wear make it really obvious that they love to workout. They are ALWAYS wearing training shoes, and if they aren’t than there is probably something wrong with them. Gym rats often have a fit bit or Apple Watch. This way they can track their fitness at all times. If they have a bag with them it will probably be a gym bag or a drawstring bag. The gym rats with long hair will also probably have a hair elastic around their wrist so they can put their hair up at any time.

What They Say:

To be honest, most gym rats will probably tell you that they go to the gym a lot to make sure you know that they work out, but if they don’t here are a few things they might say to let you know they are a gym rat. If you go out for dinner, they will probably mention something about the diet they are on to help them get more muscle. If you go for a walk, they will probably complain about how sore they are from their workout. If you try and make plans with them, they will probably say they can’t because they have plans to go to the gym. Even if they don’t specifically tell you that they go to the gym a lot, a gym rat will always find a way to let you know.


What They Do:

A gym rat often does a lot of little things that help you to spot them. One thing they do is try to make plans to do things that will show off their muscles. Examples of these things include, going to the beach, doing something athletic (rock climbing, kayaking, etc.), or going shopping for athletic wear. Another things they do is try to show off their strength. They can do this by offering to open something for you, and offering to help carry heavy stuff.


I hope this helps you to spot a gym rat!

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