Conceptual Art and Vietnam War

For our final unit in grade 11 we went in depth into the Vietnam war. As you know from previous posts, every year we participate in two exhibitions every year. This year we presented our themes of the Vietnam war in a way that had never been done before in PLP, using conceptual art. 

Now the first question you are probably wondering is what is conceptual art?

My Conceptual art:

Examples of conceptual art:

Conceptual art is all about the idea behind the art, not the art it self. I was a little optimistic at the beginning about the fact we had to make art since I am not an artist. However, we were reinsured that our art didn’t have to be a masterpiece, it just had to have a solid idea behind it. The idea/story becomes the machine that makes the art. I was happy to hear that to make good conceptual art you don’t need any artistic skill or any technical abilities.

Interestingly we looked at the neuroscience behind it:

In class we looked into the neuroscience behind conceptual art, this made me really think about how to get my art piece to catch someone’s eye. It is all to do with what people find appealing to the eye. It is about what colours, form or even the spatial arrangement. The main questions is “What is beauty in the brain?”. Interestingly the simplest art is the most appealing, reduction and constant. It makes people focus on the things or concepts. For contrast the article was referring to the artist placing an object within a specific context, to make the art noticeable.



The Research…

We did a lot of lessons on conceptual art and some activities where we had to try and figure out what the artists story was. It was pretty challenging at times to try and figure out the idea behind it. It was interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives of the story, since everyone had a different take on the art. That just shows that with conceptual art, the audience can interpret the story how they want. I was surprised on how many stories can be made from just one piece of art.    

With all that knowledge of conceptual art, our task was to create conceptual art to represent an aspect of the Vietnam war. We learned about the Vietnam war in class an then our teachers had to go on a trip with another class. That being said, we were given the resources we needed to learn about the Vietnam war independently. Our teacher had spilt up the war into themes (ex; leadership and decision making, who fought in the war, how the war was fought etc).

We were told that when they come back, we would have an “exam” on the Vietnam war… We thought they were kidding but they came back and gave us a test, half multiple choice, half written. We never received our marks for the written but lets just say I should have studied more for the multiple choice!

By the time they got back, we were able to sort the class out into themes. I chose to focus on leadership and decision making. When we were learning about the war, there was a lot about Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) sending troops to Vietnam. I thought it would be interesting to do some further research on his decision to deploy more troops. Something that I was unaware of, was how fixated LBJ was on the number of Viet Cong killed vs US killed. He even manipulated the statistics to make it look like more Viet Cong where dead when of those numbers weren’t just Viet Cong but civilians and US troops. 

“I counted sixty-two bodies, when he later read the official tally of dead, he found that it listed them as 130 Viet Cong killed”(Turse, p 210).”

For our art work, since we were creating a gallery we had to write a historical and ethical judgment piece to go along with our art. The historical paragraph basically explains what my piece is and what it is all about. To constrict these paragraphs we went through a process of getting our pitch approved. The first pitch was not to satisfactory so I had to revise my writing. I actually decided to slightly change my idea and I did more research on my new topic so I could write a well written paragraph. 

Historical paragraph During Lyndon B. Johnson’s (LBJ) presidency, he made some clouded decisions that could be argued as morally wrong. LBJ did anything he could to halt the spread of communism, such as being fixated on inaccurate statistics of deaths in the war. This was to show that America was governing the Viet Cong in North Vietnam. His ideology was that if there were more Viet Cong deaths than US troops, America’s propaganda made the public believe that they were winning. LBJ was so obsessed with the numbers, that he demanded that his troops were to “Kill any thing that moves”(Turse, p 211). This implies that US troops were detonating Vietnamese villages, or even shooting at unarmed women and children in the area, “I described them as so many women between fifteen and twenty-five and so many children, usually in their mothers arms or very close to them.” (Turse, p 212). At the time American civilians were oblivious to what LBJ’s intentions were. In this situation LBJ was not the enemy, he was escorting the US to “victory”. However, from a troops perspective they could all see through LBJ’s plans and it was obvious to them that the deaths were being miscounted on purpose,. “I counted sixty-two bodies, when he later read the official tally of dead, he found that it listed them as 130 Viet Cong killed”(Turse, p 210). Moreover, LBJ wasn’t aware that by sending more troops to Vietnam just widened the war. In reality the constant deploy of troops blocked any kind of victory for the US.
Artist Statement In my art piece, I wanted to reveal the unknown truth about what LBJ was suppressing to the public. I think that when people think about sending troops to Vietnam, they don’t consider what was really happening behind the scenes. Even I was unaware at the beginning of how LBJ managed to persuade government to keep sending more troops until it got to around nine million troops. I found it really upsetting that LBJ was sending troops based on inaccurate statistics. In my art piece, as you look through the tunnel, you will notice more and more troops until they block out the light at the end of the tunnel. This exemplifies that by sending more troops to Vietnam, just widened the war. The troops at the front is what the American public saw, just Viet Cong deaths. However, if you delve further into LBJ’s decision you can see that unarmed civilians and American troops were being killed at a higher rate than the Viet Cong.



The Building…

My art work wasn’t too difficult to build. However, it was definitely time consuming. It involved multiple trips to the Dollar Store to pick up more paint or lollipop sticks. Essentially I used a giant card board box to be the tunnel and then I just create a bunch of people representing Viet Cong, civilians and US troops (read historical paragraph to find out what they mean in my piece). It was challenging to place the figures in the tunnel so you could see them all. I also had to find a very bright light to light up all of the people. I chose to use tissue paper so that it would look cool when a light is shining from the back. 


The exhibition…

For the exhibition we had the trouble of dividing up us up into rooms. We wanted people with the same sort of ideas to be in the same room. Mimi, Simon and I all had a similar topic.

We were focused on the troops that were sent, therefore we were all in the same room. We had our usual chaos an hour before the exhibition started with not finding enough curtains and making our room fit the theme. 

Over all I would say that the exhibition was a success! We got a lot of  really positive feed back on our projects. Also as I was explaining my project to the parents, I realized how much I really learned about the Vietnam war. I had a quick look at my peers projects and it really showed that I think our grade got a good grasp on the Vietnam War. 

TPol 2019

It is that time of the year again when we present to our teachers how we have grown as a learner. For our Tpols we are required to answer the question, why do you feel you are ready to advance to the next grade level?

A capture of what we have covered this year

A personal twist

Grade 11 has definitely been the most demanding grade so far. Unlike in grade 10 when all of our classes were enrolled with PLP, this year we had multiple other classes as well as PLP.  It was certainly a challenge to adjust to the new course load. However, I think I did a good job with keeping up with everything. This year we have covered a lot from the Civil Rights Movement to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Civil Rights Movement project I think had the most impact on me as a learner. We didn’t just focus on the past events, but we connected them to  contemporary and Canadian events. From connecting events through a timeline, you really see the big picture. You see what is getting better and what mistakes have been repeated. Where I live, you could say it is in its own little bubble and this unit made me step outside that bubble and really delve into events that were covered up.  For the contemporary event I was able to relate my thesis to multiple events. I did lots of outside research so I could get find the most evidence to back up my point. I branched out and watched a documentary that was a similar story to Damilola Taylor (our contemporary event).

As well as video making, this year we covered a lot of literature and really focused on our writing skills. This was definitely a skill that I needed to work on…

I think I will start off with a fail attempt of an essay. This was the first essay we wrote of the year. It was an in class timed essay! The essay was based on the all of the ideas we had covered in the Civil Rights Movement. Let’s just say I had basically forgotten how to write an essay. I did not feel confident about my essay at all when I was done. Moving forward, I realized that I should probably practice writing more and I think our teacher realized that also with the class. After lots of practice we wrote our final essay about the unit, ‘The World On the Brink’. 

The world on the brink essay, in my opinion, was pretty good compared to the first essay I wrote. I spent a lot of time researching and organizing my essay. I used the resources our teachers gave us, such the research data bases. I was able to find speeches and documents that I could incorporate in my essay. I even was able to use other events that JFK was involved in to backup my point and how he learnt from previous mistakes. The post I wrote to tie the unit together, connected all of the events we focused on and how they relate to each other. I also made some small graphics to make my post more interesting. 

Finally, I wanted to highlight my PGP progress. In PGP this year we covered a lot!! The biggest take away for me in the course, was how to stay productive and setting achievable goals.




At the beginning of the year we made many short and long term goals. Looking back now I was able to reach some of these goals school related and in my personal life. I think what made me achieve them was by writing them down. I learnt that by writing down your goals, it reminds you everyday of what you are working towards. Even having my dream board visible was a good motivator to try and strive for my goals. In PGP as I mentioned earlier, I discovered many new tools to stay productive. After reading the 7 Habits of Mind, I reminded myself to prioritize and to “put first things first”. This was a good quote for me. With all of the course work and outside school activities I had this year, it was important to prioritize to get tasks done. 

Overall I think it is fair to say that I am ready to advance to the next grade level. I think all my skills from PGP will be useful next year especially for grade 12! I have also really learned how to stay motivated and how to stay determined. Also with my growth as a learner, from writing skills to time management, I think I will be ready for next year.  

My Time Machine

This year we were introduced to a new course that would enhance our learning to the next level, Personal Growth Plan (PGP). This course is basically the behind the scenes of a project. It was all about reflection and  just getting to know yourself as a learner. We learnt many new skills, some I knew, some I didn’t, but we went into more depth so I could improve those skills, and use them to my advantage. 

The whole course was leading up to the final project, the Time Machine. Basically it was all the concepts we had learned into one. We had to answer the following question:

What do I know now that I wish I knew before?

It involved reflecting and really unfolding what I learned that really benefits me now. I tried to tie in all three of the main concepts, productivity, goal setting and the 7 Habits Of Mind. In my artifact, I highlighted the most significant points and brought them to life. All of the skills I chose to highlight, will benefit me in the future to be more productive and manage my time wisely. 

Here is my product:

My Time Machine

Leading up to the final project, there were multiple steps we took from the beginning of the year. We started off by learning about setting goals and getting to know ourselves, which is something that I definitely wish I knew in the past. I think getting to known your self is where you have to start off with before setting any goals. It was all about knowing what you want. We even read a novel that was pretty interesting. It really made me think about goals I want to set and what I want to accomplish in the future. At the end of each section, we completed a creative reflection that highlighted the key points of the section. Our first task was to create a dream board. I really enjoyed completing the dream board because it made me excited for the future. 

My Dream Board

The next part of the course was rolled around the 7 Habits Of Mind. I learned many new skills that I will definitely use in the future.

We were introduced to tools that would help us to stay productive and would help us manage our time. In all of my previous Mpols, something I wanted to work on was how to manage my time. Now I have been given the tools such as Things and Time-blocking, and I will 100% use these strategies in University. 

Back to my Time Machine…

The book I created is done on Pages. I spent a lot of time colouring and drawing all of the little icons using Sketches Pro!!! The first page of my book, is one of the 7 Habits Of Mind, Put First Things First. Sometimes you just need to prioritize in order to get a task done. Even now before hanging out with friends, or going to a fun event I make sure I don’t have any close deadlines in school. This is a skill that I can take with me to University. I made sure that sleep and food is my first priority since I can’t function if I am tired and hungry. 

My second page is all about goal setting. I already talked about setting goals earlier, however the goals that I included in the time machine are the goals I set at the beginning of the year. The two that I have already accomplished was getting my N and passing my Level 1 VASS course.

It just shows that by thinking out goals and writing them down can help you accomplish goals. I wish I knew how to set reachable goals in the begging of high school. Although, next year for Grade 12, I will make sure I set many goals at the beginning of the year that I can work on. For me, writing them down was a huge take away. You may verbally say you want to achieve something, but by writing it down is like a reminder that you can look at everyday. By setting goals also makes me feel more productive which is what my overall take away is. 

In my experience, for me to complete any kind of project or goal, it has to by somewhat interesting to me. This was apart of the 7 Habits, Begin with an end in mind. 

“Think about your own life”

It is important to use your strengths to your advantage. In PLP, we have multiple opportunities to come up with ideas for projects. I am more motivated when I chose a topic I am really interested in. Also if I can use my strengths it will make my final product stronger. In my book I showed some examples of my strengths and interests, and the two almost intertwine. You want to highlight your strengths into something you are interested in. This technique of focusing on my interests has made a difference for me in school. I am more motivated when I am doing something I enjoy. Overall to relate back to productivity, if I am motivated I am significantly more productive. 

Reflection (part 2), What inspires me

My final but most important point that I really want to empathize is REWARDING yourself. Sometime you just need to look back at what you have accomplished and be proud of yourself.

This could be from hanging out with friends to going on a vacation. Even after a day of tests, I could reward myself by going for sushi with my friends. Something that I have learned about myself is that I have to a break after a busy week. I will not function the next week if I haven’t given myself any rest! I would say this year I have put a lot of effort into my school work and I think at the end of the year I need to reward my self.

To conclude this course, I think I have taken away so much that will really benefit me in the future. Getting into the habit of using these tools will make University a lot less stressful. Not just have I learned new tools, but I also learned about my self, my interests and strengths. Now I know them I can use them to my advantage in the future.

Posted in PGP

World On The Brink

Imagine living with the fear of a nuclear war arising, making everyday feel like your last. This is what it was like to live in the sixties. The world was literally on the brink of a nuclear war. This unit really made me realize how lucky we are today. Sometimes it may not feel like a peace era, we have to deal with small issues but nothing compared to what living was like in the sixties. I could never imagine living with that kind of fear. In this unit we looked back at the sixties to learn and understand how the world was on the brink of destruction.  This unit we got to write an essay arguing why we thought the world was on the brink.

The trust between the government and the CIA is such a significant relationship. The two work together to come up with solutions towards world problems. However the president will always get the final say. JFK an inexperienced president, was blind to what the CIA’s priorities were back in 1961. The past exemplifies that breaches of trust between few individuals with a position of power, can steer the world to the brink. Some may have said it was,“The brilliant disaster”(Feinberg &Richard.The Brilliant Disaster 2012). It is the flaws that were made in the past, that influence our views today. With Cuba being only 90 miles away from the coast of Florida, on going conflicts between the Communist government in Cuba and Capitalist government United States, tensions inevitable. The Bay of Pigs was an invasion to remove the Communist Castro government from power in Cuba. At this point, John F Kennedy (JFK). was new to his position of presidency. He was inexperienced and young “But he was so young!”(Feinberg & Richard. The Brilliant Disaster, 2012), implying that he was easily persuaded by his Central Intelligence Agency(CIA). Basically JFK had pressure to make a decision that could either make or break America. It is important to realize that by sitting around a group of experienced members of government with the tendency to invade, would have swayed JFK’s overall opinion. Being confused by his wise advisors telling him one thing, he let his inexperience shadow over him. So what would you do if you had to make a decision that you knew was morally wrong, but your advisors were telling you different? The decision to invade the Bay of Pigs, was up to two of the most powerful influences in America, JFK and the CIA. When you have individuals with an abundance of power, they have the capability to steer the world to the brink with one decision. In this case it was a biased military approach that brought the world to a tipping point. It may have been “the worst foreign-policy decision of Kennedy’s administration” (Feinberg & Richard.The Brilliant Disaster 2012) many people would have recalled it as. Nevertheless surly it isn’t fair to push the blame onto JFK for a decision that was shaped by the CIA. At the time JFK was the president of the US, and had the overall final say. Although this may be true, as I mentioned earlier the CIA had a huge impact on JFK’s views. By putting all of JFK’s trust into the CIA made them have control over the operation “the CIA drew up these plans”(The Bay of Pigs, JFK Library). JFK was like a puppet on a string with the CIA constantly shadowing over him. This breach of trust lead to the invasion of the Bay of Pigs which brought the world to the brink. The invasion caused destruction in Cuba and made America look inadequate as a nation. A key strategy that the CIA imposed, was to try and cover up America’s footsteps, by recruiting Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro’s government. The CIA believed that the invasion would lead to a rebellion inside the country, “Efforts of the US State Department to hide the involvement of the CIA”(The Bay of Pigs Invasion, Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). With this in mind, there was a lot of information that JFK wasn’t aware of involving the invasion. Reports said that the CIA should have told JFK the mission had changed strategies. A once tactful plan soon turned into a war, “[Castro] assumed it was just the start of a war”(Bradlee & Benjamin C.11.22.63, What Was Lost, 2003). This was not JFK’s intent, to result in a war. Following the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis became JFK’s priority. His approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis was completely to opposite to the Bay of Pigs. From his previous misjudgment in the CIA, he resolved this problem by following his own instincts and morals. Like in the past invasion, the CIA were adamant to go with their militant approach. If JFK followed along again with the CIA, the world would have passed the tipping point and a nuclear war would have occurred. JFK’s instinct was acted upon and he was able to avoid a nuclear war. All in all, trust between the government and the CIA have grown apart. JFK’s decision has been recognized by many other members of the government, which makes the government second guess the CIA’s judgments. To steer the world to the brink it doesn’t take much, just a poor decision made by someone with the position of power. So the real question is, if a new president were to trust the CIA’s militant approach, could history repeat itself and have another crisis?

Using our past knowledge of the Cold War, we started this unit off by learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cold War was significantly different to a war such as WWI and WWII. I soon learnt that the reason the Cold War is called a COLD war as a pose to a HOT war is because there actually wasn’t any physical fighting involving a battle. The Cold War was essentially a war of fear. With two powerful individuals with very powerful weapons is enough to start a war but with no contact.

Something that I noticed, is that the Cuban Missile Crisis was just a few individuals (JFK, Castro and Khrushchev) with a position of power fighting like children. The ideologies between Communist Cuba and the Capitalist US were very different. The fear of communism spreading, shadowed over the US and caused major tensions between the two nations. I didn’t quite realize that one small disagreement could lead to something so serious. 

JFK: Capitalist Castro and Khrushchev: Communist

In class we watched a movie called Thirteen Days. This movie was all about the tense 13 days where everyone was in panic mode. It was interesting to watch a movie instead of a documentary. I think it has its pros and cons. For example, the movie was good in a way that the important events were highlighted, and it was more dramatic. However, with a movie some things could have been left out or over exaggerated events.

Anyways, the movie definitely gave me a better understanding on the behind the scene on the political side. Within the government there are two approaches to these types of conflicts. You can either have a militant approach and just invade, or think of the picture. Think of a solution that won’t end up in a worse conflict. John F. Kennedy (JFK) was the president at the time. I was pretty surprised how well he dealt with the situation. Instead of letting the CIA task over and invade Cuba, JFK went with his instinct to compromise instead. 

JFK’s decision may have been for the best, and I was surprised that such a young president would stand up to the CIA. However, something that I realized is that the reason he ignored the CIA in the Cuban Missile Crisis, is because of his past mistake or trusting the CIA. 

This leads us to our essay/ project for this unit. This term we went into depth with English. We discovered different writing techniques and just practiced writing. You could day we were on a writing boot camp. This writing unit I think really benefited me! I learned a lot about my writing which was one of my goals from last year, to find my own writing style. By knowing my writing style I was then able to improve it and make it stronger. I stepped out of my comfort zone you could say when we wrote an essay using imagery and metaphors.

Marshall Plan, Iron Curtain, Berlin Blockade, Bay of Pigs, NATO, Warsaw Packed Korean War Berlin Wall, Truman Doctrine, League Of Nations (United Nations)

Something that really sparked my interest was the Bay of Pigs invasion, and how different the approach was compared to the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

The purpose of the invasion was to remove the Communist Castro government from power in Cuba. Castro had signed with Khrushchev and proclaimed himself a communist and had formally allied Cuba with the Soviet Union. With America only being 90 miles from Cuba, the fear of communism spreading shadowed the US. This fear resulted in a invasion that lead the world to the brink on a nuclear war.

To put it simple, the Bay of Pigs was one heck of a disaster. It was one of JFK’s worst decisions. The Bay of Pigs was in my opinion the closest the world came to being on the brink politically.

That was the political side of how the world was on the brink. To get a different perspective of how the world was on the brink, we looked into the social perspective. We watched an episode of the Sixties to get a better understanding of the social issues. I decided to go in depth into the environmental issues.

Back in the Sixties, there were multiple factors for how the world was on the Brink. Today everyone is aware of major environmental issues. We have the technology to discover new cures, climate change patterns, etc. Back in the sixties, health and environmental issues was a new idea to society. It was a concept that people weren’t prepared for. There were so many things people were doing, using or eating in their everyday lives that turned out had a negative side affect. An example is synthetic pesticides. Synthetic pesticides are what help food grow, and they are located on many different kinds of food. It was only soon after people started to get sick, scientists discovered that the pesticides can cause cancer. In fact, Rachel Carson, a marine biologist was a “game changer” she passed away due to cancer. She was a legacy whom wrote books and other writings to try and advance the global environmental movement. After she passed away, people were left with a fear of, will it be me next? Many other environmental factors lead the world to the tipping point. However the synthetic pesticides were individuals priority.

In my argument I mention Rachel Carson. She wrote a book named Silent Spring. It was her most important contribution to the world since it launched the global environmental movement today.

The big take away from the whole unit is how easy it is to tip the world to the brink. It can start from the smallest disagreements between individuals with power, to something the has escalated so much that change is inevitable.

Work Cited for environmental argument:

Lear, Linda. “Rachel Carson, The Life and Legacy.” Rachel Carson, The Life and Legacy,

“Rachel Carson.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 May 2019,

“We Shall Over Come”-MLK

The Civil Rights Movement is a significant part of history that shaped the way we live today. I think out of all the units we have covered, the Civil Rights Movement was the most interesting to me. I think mainly because it was a time period that involved so many brave individuals, such as Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders, Mamie Till, and more. We followed the timeline of the 1950’s and 60’s. Like always we had a driving question to keep us on track. 

“How can the actions of an individual change a system?”

Now for this project I worked with Isobel. Our video had to connect to historical, modern and a Canadian individual. In our video we used the idea of how an individual can impact a society, and even have a contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. In our video we use the term

, we believe that for a system to be changed, the un sugarcoated truth needs to be revealed.

If individuals had sugar coated these groundbreaking moments, would the Civil Rights Movement have still advanced?

Let’s find out…



To rewind a little, I will talk about the learning that I did to get to my final understanding of the question. In our last until we discovered the 1950’s and in this unit, we kept following the timeline.

Through out this unit, we have covered a lot of the ground breaking moments. We didn’t just learn about these events, to really push our learning we had to connect these events together. We started off by learning about the Rosa Parks bus boycott. 

Rosa Parks 1955
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to white man on a Montgomery city bus. Rosa sparked the bus boycott. By not giving up her seat, it helped end segregation on public buses.

Rosa Parks was one of the first sparks of the civil rights movement. By not giving up her seat sparked the sparked the movement. We also looked into Cauldette Colvin, another bus boycott. We looked into the similarities and the differences between the two events. Something that surprised me was the fact that Cauldette  had refused too give up her seat before Rosa Parks. The reason Rosa Parks Boycott became popular is because she was a good symbol for the civil rights movement. Rosa was educated and wealthy. The difference for Cauldette Colvin was that she was only 15 years old and also pregnant. Implying that she wouldn’t be a good “role model”. The movement leaders thought that people would focus more on the pregnancy than what she actually did. It showed me that the Civil Rights Movement was more planned out than I thought it was.

Claudette Colvin
Claudette Colvin was known as a pioneer of the civil rights movement. Claudette refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white women, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing.Claudette argued that it was her "constitutional right".

This was pretty much the first topic that we had looked into that really changed a type of system, the bus system. After the boycott, African Americans refused to take the bus until they were granted equal seating rights. 

From the bus boycott I realized that that was only the beginning of the civil rights movement and there were many more events that took place, such as Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of schools. 



As I mentioned earlier in the video we had to connect the topic to a contemporary event. I think it was important to look at modern events because it is important to not be in a little bubble, but to be oblivious that racism still exists today. 

We started off by reading a novel called Dear Martin by Nic Stone. This novel took place in America. Before I read the book, I didn’t quite realize that racism is still a big problem today. The novel made me think about what I can do to educate others about the issues that are still happening today. 

To really get as much out of the book and get an understanding of it, we had to participate in a seminar every week. Not going to lie but I wasn’t too excited to start off with since we would have someone marking how much we participated. I’m not the type of person who loves saying my ideas in front of everyone. The first seminar was a little nerve racking, however I realized how chill they were. By the end of the seminars I enjoyed them! From the seminar we challenged each other’s thinking. The first seminar was ok. I think it took the class a while to be able to dissect the novel and really challenge each other. In our seminars we also talked about movies and documentaries that we had watched along the way. Something that I took away from the seminar was that by connecting all of the events we had covered, was the most effective way to learn. Each event were building blocks that followed one after another. We discussed how each event falls into one another by making historical connections and contemporary connections. I also learned from doing these seminars, how to formulate my own opinions using a resource, and to have evidence to back it up. 

I missed one of the seminars so for a make up assignment I partnered up with Hannah, and we discussed basically all the events we had encountered. A point that Hannah and I discussed was how other countries viewed America during the civil rights movement. I had never really thought about the perspectives of other countries on America. America was always known as this perfect country, “the American dream”. But my question is what do they mean? America had so many issues to do with racism that have still been carried out today, like we saw in Dear Martin. 

Similar the murdering of Manny in the novel, an event that happened in the year 2000, was a 10 year old African American, Damilola Taylor was also murdered for racial hate. I had knew about this event for a while, although I had never really looked into the case until I started to learn about the civil rights movement. 

I looked into Damilola Taylor when we were introduced to a reflection portfolio post to connect historical and contemporary events. This is where I thought that I could talk about Damilola Taylor. I then just had to find a historical event. 


Emmett Till 1955
Emmett Till lived in Mississippi when we was murdered by two white men for wold whistling at a white woman. Mamie Till, his mother decided to display the body of Emmett at his funeral. By showing the body, made African Americans realize what the white people were capable of. Mamie encouraged people to be more vocal. Emmett Till's death was the opening to the civil rights movement.

Just like Damilola, Emmett Till was murdered for racial hate. Something that I found really interesting about both events is they wouldn’t have been as popular if the parents for the kids hadn’t said anything. Before Emmett was murdered, there had been so many other horrible murders that didn’t make the media, because they had been altered or pushed under the covers. This is where the idea sparked that if people don’t unsugar coat these events, people will realize change needs to happen. The mother of Emmett Till, Mamie had spoken out about Emmetts death and at the funeral she had even shown the body of Emmett for everyone to look at. I never thought that by showing people the body we have that much of an influence on people to want to change society. Connecting to Mamie Till, Richard and Gloria Taylor had advocated for their son also. I think the fact that I was able to find the connection to those events, has made me more aware and I am able to make connections to even more recent events.

Recently I watched a short documentary about an African American called “Black Sheep”. The documentary conveyed the message that racism is still a huge problem today.

To fit in he bleached his face and put in blue eye contacts just so he wouldn’t get beaten up. This was a true story and I think like we discussed in the seminars and from researching Damilola, I can conclude that racism is still a huge problem today. 



Now you are probably wondering about the video Isobel and I made, and how it connects to everything we have covered. For the video as I said earlier, we could make our own thesis to answer the overall driving question. We also had to connect a modern individual to a historical and Canadian individual. Isobel and I did some brain storming and then we realized that we both did a similar topic for our reflection post. We decided to go the idea of by un sugarcoating events, it can reveal the imperfections in society. We ended up using Damilola Taylor, Emmett Till and Carrie Best (the Canadian).  I had never quite realized that the reason Emmett Till’s death was so significant was because it was publicized. I think that was my take away from this unit, for something to change, people need to be vocal. I can take this message away with me and use it in my life. This unit has made me open my eyes and made me be more alert to the problems in my community. 

Emmitt Till & Damilola Taylor

In PLP we are currently learning about the Civil Rights movement. Our unit is called ‘We Shall Over Come’. The term, ‘We Shall Over Come is the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Some key people that we have researched so far are, Rosa Parks, Emmitt Till, Claudette Colvin and a bit of Martin Luther King Jr. We have also looked into connecting contemporary events with historical events which was our task for this post. As always we have a driving question to consider;

How can the actions of an individual change a system?

I chose to research Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. Both of these young individuals were murdered because of racial hate. The reason I chose these two individuals, is because for both cases at first the murder was sugarcoated and people were clueless of what really happened. It was because of the parents, of that reviled the truth to the media and to a crowd, that people acknowledged these defaults in society. The media is the most powerful tool. If an event ends up on the front page of the news paper, people will read it and the word spreads. This is why the parents of the individuals I researched, stood up and let out the truth, to encourage people to fight for justice. 

My post will be answering, by not sugar coating the truth such as Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor’s murder, it can reveal the imperfections in society. My two examples is the death of Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. This collage I created is so you can visually see the two events historical and current and how there are still devastating events happening in modern day. The pictures of Mamie and the parents of Damilola’s parents speaking up, imply the importance of saying something instead of pushing the truth under the covers. 


The historic event I chose is the death of Emmitt Till.

Emmitt Till was the age of 14, when he was killed by two white men for wolf whistling at a white women. In my opinion I think it is outrageous that a 14 year would be killed for something as small as wolf whistling at a white woman. Since Emmitt Till was colored, white people didn’t pay much attention to the case. The suspects were taken to court for a trial, but of course the white men won, and weren’t pressed any charges. At Emmitt’s funeral, his mother, Mamie, decided to display the body. People could realize what the white people were capable of. The impact of Emmitt’s mother un sugarcoating the murder was a contribution to the civil rights movement.  


My contemporary event I chose to research is Damilola Taylor’s death.

Damiloa was only 10 years old when he was stabbed by a group of white teens. The theory accepted by the police is that he was attacked and fell on a broken bottle, later bleeding to death (which is a lie). He died 10 days before his 11th birthday.


His parents took the news and explained that there needs to be change. There is even a film on the BBC which is a documentary of Damilola. 

His mother Gloria Taylor, was popular on the news and on various panels. In fact in a centre was set up in memory of Damilola. The Damilola Taylor Trust was established in May 2001 in memory of Damilola Taylor who was tragically killed in 2000 by an act of violence by two boys not much older than him. The Damilola centre is a place where youths can have fun and be away from violence. Gloria also confronted the authorities to get their facts straight about her son. 

I’m not saying that it was a good thing that these two innocent boys were killed. However if non of this happened, it wouldn’t have sparked that change in society that needs to happen. By un sugarcoating these murders, people realize that there are imperfections in society and this is when people want change. After researching these topics I have realized that even in modern day nothing is perfect. In my collage as I mentioned earlier, you can see that a lot of the pictures were of news papers and the parents standing up implying that by letting the truth out, will improve society.The end of racism may be on the right tracks however, there is still a long way to go. If more people like  Manny, Gloria Taylor and Richard Taylor can change a system then may be one day racism will come to an end.

The season of mPOLs

It’s that time of the year, mPol season. Our mPols are a way to show our growth of a learner. We do them twice a year, in January and May ish. Our driving question is, how are you going to progress as a learner before the end of the school year?

This year we have been introduced to a new way to think about learning, PGP which stands for Personal Growth Plan. In PGP we learn skills such as goal setting, timeblocking, and productivity. Something that I have gotten better at is time management. An app for that we were introduced to is Things. Things has helped me so much with getting things done. I use it to set goals, track my homework etc. You can set due dates which is a huge benefit to me because since we have so much going on its nice to see it all laid out.

Timblocking has also helped me with time management, I can plan out my day so I get everything done. Here is an example of a day where I had a lot of work and I needed to timeblock to help me stay productive.

With in PGP we were also introduced to curricular competencies and to habits of mind. “Curricular competencies are skills, strategies, and processes that as a student you develop over time”. Every project we do in PLP strengthens one or many of the curricular competencies.

A curricular competency that I think I have improved on is speaking. This is from practicing presentations, I am enrolled in DLSC and I oftern have to talk in front of an audience about problems in the schools. Even though I have improved, there is always room for improvement. For example I could work on voice tone, not speaking too fast etc.

Next for PGP, I’ll talk about my work habits. For the most part I am very good at getting my work done, and I never hand in work late. However sometimes I can procrastinate. From using my new PGP skills, I have set goals to stay on track and not procrastinate. Something I have started doing is when I get home take an hour break from school work, and then start studying. I have found for myself that I need to take breaks in between studying and then I can be productive. I even did one of my Crucible posts about procrastination. I was very proud of my Cricible posts, I spent a lot of time working on all three of them.

A huge part of PGP is setting goals. I read What do I really Want? and even took some note of key quotes that stood out to me. While we were reading we had to fill in forms. I did pretty much all of the forms and completed my dream board. From reading the book and doing the forms I now now ish some of my goals for this year, long and short term. I had a lot of fun creating my dream board. I included dream job (architect), sports, what I care for etc.

Something I said last year that I want to improve is my leadership skills. Last year in a group project I wouldn’t be the one to stand up and become the leader/DRI however, I think this term I have demonstrated that role of a leader. To start off with, in my Hanford project and the Exhibiton I took a leader role. For the Hanford video, I became the DRI. I was making sure my group members were on track. 

I think that the Hanford video is my best work this year that I created with Alex and Robbie. With the video, we used all of our previous skills such as videos, interviewing, audio and script/story writing. I also learnt so much so much about the Manhattan Project and I demonstrated that in my Hanford post.

Another example is the Winter Exhibition. Within the main DRI’s we have smaller DRI’s for each section of the project. For example, hair and makeup, script and set design. I put my self forwards as DRI for set design. I was in charge of making sure everyone had a job, getting the building done, also I had to clear everything before we built. From being a DRI of two projects I feel more comfortable taking that role. As always there is more room for improvement from example I didn’t feel ready to stand up as the main DRI for the Winter Exhibition.


I am also very proud of my post I did for the exhibition. I spent a lot of time reflecting what went well and what didn’t. I also demonstated how much I learned from that experienc. I learned so so much about the 1950’s!!!!!! Out of everything we have done in PLP this year, the exhibition was my favourite. It was an amazing experience especially working with the whole class. Surprisingly when we put our heads together we can produce some pretty good work.

As always there is room for improvemnt. However, there is no such thing as “failing”. If anything its good to make mistake because you will learn from them. Something that I really want to work on is staying positive and motivating myself to do homework. I think this is so important and it can help me with all of my classes. To motivate myself I can set more goal and award myself. Form completing the forms I set some goals and ways to award myself, I think that is a good place to start. Also having a more positive attitude will make my work have better quality.

Winter Exhibition part 2

The first exhibition of the year. Every year we have two exhibitions that demonstrates all of our learning we have done. Take a look at my exhibition from last year (Part 1)!

This year we focused on the 1950’s which is a very busy period in time. It involved, the Korea War, the Cold War, the baby boom, communism vs capitalism, a new life style including suburbia and consumerism etc. We also studied The Crucible which tied in communism vs capitalism. Basically our exhibition had to cover all of those topics and themes. All the other exhibitions I have done, have been either a partner project or an individual project. This time it was a class project and we had the whole gym to present our work. The goal was to turn the gym into a walk way and some student would guide the guests around while the others act out a story. It was kind of a test to see how well we could work together and surprising I would say our class did an amazing job, especially since our teachers weren’t there to guide us. We also learned a seance of independace since we had to come up with the ideas all on own.

To rewind, to create our exhibition there was a lot of research and thought put into the final product. We started off by looking at life in the 1950’s. Post WWII was the time where husbands were coming home from war to their family’s, which lead to the baby boom and the idea of having a nuclear family. After WWII, North America experienced a spike in birth rates. This generation of Baby Boomers was the result of a strong postwar economy. In fact around 40% of the population now are baby boomers.A nuclear family is simply a family with a husband and wife and their kids.

From there new concepts grew such as consumerism, people were by new fridges, blenders etc. People were also able to buy houses in the suburbs. Families left the cities and into the suburbs. All the houses looked identical with the typical white picket fence. 

This video that we watched really opened my eyes to what a nuclear family is. Before I hadn’t really heard of the term.

We also went into depth with President Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a war hero and had a eight year presidency. This help him with his presidency techniques since he knew how war worked. Eisenhower was played a significant role in our exhibition. In fact our first scene was one of his speeches. Eisenhower understood the Americans needs for security.

Communism vs Capitalism

Communism vs capitalism and the McCarthy Trials were a huge concept in the exhibition. The Americans were very anti communist and considered them their enemies.

There were revelations that spies inside the US atomic program had passed secrets to the Soviet Union which set off nationwide panic that communist spies might be infiltrating American institutions. In this unit we talked about what injust means. We were able to connect that concept to the Crusible. The fact that it is injust to accuse innocent people!

Check out my MindNode I created all about the McCarthy Trials!!

A huge concept of this unit was The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The Crucible is a play that was written in the 1950’s about witches and the witch trials. While reading the book we made connections to history and modern day. We also learned about the different themes and how they connected to our unit, the 1950’s.

We did a separate project for The Crusible. Here is an example of the one I think is the best out of the three we did.. The main plot was to get rid of all of the ‘witches’. They would accuse innocent people and punish them if they were the slightest bit guilty.  At first I was a little confuse on how this connected with the ideology of communism vs capitalism. I was soon mind blown to find out that Arthur Miller was referring the witches to communists. All of the witches being on trial was a metaphor for the communism trials. The whole theme was one big witch hunt. This was an important theme that we could include in our exhibition.

From the concept of a witch hunt, we could connect it to modern day, Donald Trump. I think the Crusible a highlight for my learning because it had such an important theme that we were able to connect to modern day and historical events.

The Exhibition      

Now to the exhibition. Sadly I wasn’t going to be able to attend the exhibition so I helped with the planning and put my self forward for DRI of set design. To make sure we would get work done we had two voted DRI’s that were in charge of everything. Within the group we divided each section up and each section had a DRI. We had set design, costumes and makeup and the script. Overall I think that system was very effective and we got the work all done.

Here are the processes we took to come up with a solid plan:

We had to figure what our themes were going to be and how many stations to have etc. Once we had an idea we could start constructing the story line. A huge part of the exhibition were the guides. We needed four guides to guide the guests round. The guide had the most complex role. The guides were Sofia, Claire, Sam and Adam. Everyone else was put into sections and they had to be in charge of making prop lists for their scene and writing a brief script. With the script each group wrote a script and the DRI and the others in script read over them to make sure they we all related to each other.

My role in the exhibition was to make sure we had all the props and to make sure all the building was done. The set designers also had to sketch out a plan for the gym, like were everything was going to be.

Our class room pretty much turned into a workshop with drills saws etc. Early on in the process, we started build props that we new we needed like the white picket fence and a stop sign for the street scene.

The last few days leading up to the exhibition were pretty chaos. We were trying to finish any building we had to.

As I said earlier, I wasn’t there for the exhibition. I was really annoyed because I wanted to see the work put to life. However a classmate filmed it with a Go Pro:

From the exhibition I  didn’t just learn about the 1950’s, I learned a lot of different skills. These skills were storytelling, bringing all of our knowledge together and creating a story. I’m sure if I was there I would have practiced public speaking and acting. From doing this exhibition, I really got a good idea of the 1950’s. From creating a story around the information, I connected with the learning a lot better, and know so much about the 1950’s. All of the work we did leading up to the exhibition, all helped us execute a story connecting all of the events together.

How To Spot A Ski Intructor

This will be my final Crusible post, and we have officially finished reading the play. You can check out my first post and second post. The themes of the Crusible include, revenge, witchcraft and more. The This time I answered the question, how to spot___(A witch). The main plot in the Crucible is the ideology of witchcraft. In the play everyone accuses everyone of being a witch. Even if you have the slightest bit suspicious, they will call you a witch and put you on a witch trial. Either way the result won’t end well.

I chose how to spot a ski intructor. I am currently teaching on Mt.Seymour and there are many ways to spot one. Here is a book I created, after you read it you will always be able to spot an intructor on the slopes.

For those procrastinators, read this post!

You have an assignment due in a month, how are you going plan ahead, or are you and leave it until the last minute?

Recently we have been creating these post that are related to the Crusible. If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out my lastest post that explains the task. In this post I will be talking about guilt. In the Crusible guilt was implied when the girls were caught doing sinful activities in the forest. These girls felt guilty knowing they did all these sinful activities.

My example (procrastination) isn’t as big as doing a sinful activity. However, some may consider procrastination is a sin to yourself. I’m sure everyone is guilty for procrastinating. It could be for studying for a test, writing an essay, you name it. All I can say is everyone is a procrastinator, and in education this can affect your grades and work ethic. 

For example, your are given an essay to write. The rationalize decision will plan out how you will finish the essay. Then you have the other half of your head saying NO we want easy and fun. This can result in guilt from knowing you should have been working than watching Netflix. 

This is what happens when you let the “monkey” take control:

If you are a procrastinator you may want to take a quick look at this post. Believe it or not, procrastination can turn into guilt. Guilt is the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime. In this case procrastination is a crime to yourself, yet people do it anyway. The guilt follows soon after, when you realize you got nothing done and now feel guilty that you didn’t accomplish anything.    

Lets have look at what goes on in their head:

As you can see there is the rational decision maker that is in charge of planning and looking at the big picture. Then of coarse there is the “monkey” that causes the procrastination.

To conclude, I think that it is fair to say that procrastination can fall into guilt. When you know the reason that you failed a test is because you watched nextflix, you will look back and wish you had just got the job done. I mean who am I to say don’t procrastinate. In fact I found the idea to do procrastination procrastinating because I found an article about it!