Rewind 2022 — tPol


In the first PLP year, I have had many meaningful, remarkable projects that shape me into a better person. At the same time, I met mature friends along the learning journey. As the school year is ending, it is time to reflect on my progress this school year. In this blog post, we will be talking about my growth as a learner, and spaces for improvement.

Did I reach my goal?

The intention of getting 96% was to get a higher GPA for the year, which will be easier when applying to universities. As you can see from the graph, my academic grades have increased rapidly after mPol. However, that may not fill up the gap to 96%.

Why?

Spaces for Improvements: Efficiency

After all, my biggest problem is being inefficient. For humanities, half of my works weren’t handed in on time, while 75% of Maker’s works were overdue. Some assignments are fast-paced, but most of them we have enough time to do. As Ms. Maxwell had pointed out, I have spent too much energy in the wrong spot. For example, the Chinese discrimination blog post could’ve caused more chaos as it was unnecessary. I am not saying putting more effort in is a bad thing, but I am saying that being effective is more important.

How might I improve?

  • Stay on topic
  • Set time-bound
  • Use tools to manage the schedule

 

What have I learned from PLP

is it worth joining in the first place?

 

Hands-on experience


Experiences like Destination Imagination challenge us to turn ideas into reality. Often, we face disappointment and frustration; however, the process of problem-solving taught us what determination and responsibility are.

Adventure

Loon Lake trip was like an adventure. We were completely away from our comfort zone, moving to a new place. There, we took risks to discover new things and new perspectives. Meanwhile, I overcame fear when rock climbing and high roping.

Influential environmental

In PLP, I have classmates as my role model who is always optimistic and problem-solving. At the same time, they take risks and challenge themselves to go beyond their comfort zone. But what is the most important is that they all have the strong desire to achieve success.

Cray Cray Yay Yay

In the last month of this school year, we studied impact makers, specifically the crazy ones, unveiling the secret of greatness. We have each created a portrait and shared it with others through the spring exhibition. Moreover, we had the honour to have some of our local impact makers with us during the exhibition night. But how do we define an impact maker in the first place? What makes someone an impact maker? In this blog post, we will talk about our last project: Cray Cray Yay Yay


Before we talk about what makes someone an impact maker, I would like to highlight the slight difference between an impact maker and a crazy one. A crazy one, originally from Apple’s ad, means someone who challenges the status quo to push the human race forward. In other words, Einstein may be a crazy one as he challenged Newton’s theory which was the foundation of science. But for this project, we focused on individuals that influence us daily. A crazy one doesn’t have to be as influential as Einstein, but the one who is determined to make impacts and changes. What is special about the impact makers and the crazy ones is that they take action on their desire to make the world better despite the situation.

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For the impact maker, I studied Don McPherson, the founder of the Grouse grind. Today, the Grouse grind is one of the most popular places in North Vancouver; however, it wasn’t anything like that in the 1980s. It was difficult to climb, and beginners could never experience its nature and environment. Interestingly enough, no one wanted him to build it, not the expert who didn’t require assistance or the land owner himself. But yet he decided to do so, spending all his free time on the trail. It was for himself and the community, and the legacy of his effort will continue to benefit us.

(Picture Source)

But the hardest part for me can be showing our understanding by making a portrait. I was unsure how my product would stand out during the presentation. As I am familiar with picture editing, I thought it’s better for me to photoshop. However, my friend Jakub inspired me to do something different, lenticular photos. It brings the effect that you see unique things from different locations. (Here’s the online version)

But even though that was a much more interesting idea, it was also chaotic. Sadly, DIY videos may turn out very differently from actual products. The idea was to cut the two images into pieces of the same size and rotate placing them. As my hands weren’t good at cutting, I took another approach. I realized that it’s best to cut it digitally because it’s more accurate and precise. After I have the picture ready, I built support in the back so that it can stand on its own.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the spring exhibition. Surely, I could’ve done a lot better in the art aspect. I didn’t focus on face and symbols which can be improved next time. Despite that, I should’ve included more elements in the picture. But without any doubt, this is one of my favourite projects of the year. Not only was it fun to experiment with different designs, but it was also meaningful and delightful to study the ones who change our life


Thank you for your time!

Post War Canada

WWII brought tremendous destruction to the world, killing over 70 million people. But have you ever wondered how we have recovered from the harm? In this unit, shore to the core, we investigated the significant developments in Canada during the post-war era; Moreover, we have applied our knowledge to publish an essay for Monava. In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my investigations and learning journey


The Significant Development — Improvements in Educational Systems

During WWII

During WWII, school enrolments were incredibly low. In 1941, high school enrolments were around 6.7 million; however, there were only 5.5 million by the end of WWII. Besides that, the teaching force also dropped by 30 percent. Dropouts were common at the time, and all post-secondary programs were shut down.

After the War

From 1945 to 1960, school enrolments continued to grow. From 2.3 million enrolments to 5 million, remarkable changes in education were visible within 15 years. At the same time, women made tremendous contributions over 70% of the total teaching force. Furthermore, many universities tripled enrolments due to the influence of baby boomers. Because of the rapid population growth, the Canadian government built campuses for necessary areas. Not only were the schools available to students, but it was also pleasurable as gyms, cafeterias and band rooms were included. Meanwhile, students in the different grades were finally separated for more effective learning.

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However, everything costs money. 90% of the funding came from the Canadian government; therefore, schools were expensive. Even though the cost of schooling was high, the majority of residents supported increasing locals tax for school developments. Meanwhile, the Universities of Canada held a conference asking for aid from the federal government. As students could get a well-paid job easily, some didn’t even finish high school. Therefore, policies were established to keep involvement.


Significance & Impacts

“Why was it significant?”

Overall, the improvements in the education system contributed to Canada’s success in other areas. Canada became the third country to arrange and construct its satellite after USSR and the US. At the same time, developments in highways and computers allowed us to be more efficient with time. Furthermore, nuclear stations and the oil industry were visible across Canada. However, everything couldn’t happen without the fundamentals. Education developments laid the foundation for Canada to achieve greater success.


The Learning Journey

Overall, this unit wasn’t easy for me. As I started writing my essay, I realized how inefficient I was if compared to others. I found it challenging to articulate my understanding through essays, so I had to spend more time catching up. Although I was never familiar with essay writing, this project helped me to communicate more clearly through writing. Despite the challenges, I still enjoyed learning this unit. As I am interested in the stories from WWII, it’s also interesting to hear the stories of post-war regeneration. Meanwhile, it’s also intriguing to learn about the past of North Vancouver, and how developments shape us uniquely


Thank you for your time

7 Habits — Becoming the Best Version of Ourselves

7 Habits for Highly Effective people is one of the most popular books in the world. It has sold over 25 million copies and translated into 40 different languages. Its impact is worldwide, impacting millions of people. The reason why it is so significant is that it summarizes the key to success. In this blog post, we will be talking about the concept of 7 habits and how I have become a better person. 


My understanding of the 7 Habits

Private Victory

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The first three chapters was explaining the idea of independence. Stephen Covey taught us that we are responsible for our lives no matter what environment we are in. He unveiled that we can become who we would like to be. At the same time, he also gave us the tool “mission table” to identify and achieve our purpose and goals in life. In brief, Private victory is about self-management that helps us to perform better when facing challenges.

Public Victory

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Habits four, five and six are about contributing to others. Public victory is about how you collaborate with others to bring greater impacts to the environment. The idea of win-win is believing there’s a perfect solution that will benefit everyone. In other words, it means collaborating rather than competing. Similar to win-win, synergy unveiled that teamwork will produce a greater impact than each individual would. Meanwhile, seeking first to understand was to consider others’ perspectives instead of being self-centred. In general, public victory is about collaboration to contribute to the world.

Renewal

The last chapter, sharpen the saw, reminds us to practice and further develop our skills. As life is a continuous journey, we will face greater and greater obstacles; therefore, it’s important to update and renew ourselves. To put it in another way, it’s about evaluating and enhancing yourself.

 

Overall, 7 Habits unveiled that everyone can achieve their goals and purpose in life. In other words, everyone can be successful and influential. Not only did it shape our core values and personalities, but it also allows us to live our lives to the fullest and be the best version of ourselves.


The Learning Journey

“How can we be our most effective selves?”

Throughout this project, we have studied 7 Habits seeking to be the best version of ourselves. Unlike other projects, this unit is about the mentality, attitudes, and how we apply them to actions. Therefore, we have created three types of products to represent our understanding. They are the visual, audio and Kinesthetic

Visual

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/9655773/

My visual product is an interactive picture. (A HUGE thanks to Keenan who discover this thing) If you scroll it from right to left, you will see the world from a dark, fixed mindset perspective. On the other hand, you will experience how proactive people see the world differently if you do the opposite. When facing the same challenge, proactive people see opportunities while reactive people see pain. Through a paradigm shift, I aim to deliver that life is only pleasurable for people with growth mindsets.

Audio

My audio product is storytelling. In the first theme, the team blame each other for the defeat as none of them wants to take any responsibility. On the other hand, the second theme is about understanding and supporting others. In the end, they accomplished something that was out of their abilities. I believe this represents the idea of public victory because it demonstrates the power of collaboration. After all, the message I want to deliver is that you must collaborate well with others to accomplish the “mission impossible”.

Kinesthetic

For kinesthetic, I have built a model analyzing my role models. John D. Rockefeller is one of the most successful people who always motivated and inspires me. He was from a pole family; however, he built dominated the oil industry and became one of the richest men ever. He used nothing but his determination, passion, and his burning desire. Studying role models can help us identify who we want to become and specify how we can accomplish success.

Overall, I believe we will be our most effective selves by continuously learning and adapting. Learning from others can help us shape our identities and core values. At the same time, learning from history is also important as it allows us to reflect on our mistakes. Although none of us are perfect, constantly adapting ourselves will open the door to opportunities and greater growth.


Special Thanks

Keenan.C — Who discovered Picture Slider

Ryder.OG,  Qyle.M  & Nathan.T — Who helped me with the audio story


Thank you for your time

Loon Lake Journey

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From April 4th to April 11th, the grade 10 PLP cohort went to Loon Lake for field studies. Within just three days, everyone developed one plan or habit that will help us later in real life. But how can a habit or characteristic be established within days? What evidence do we have to demonstrate the growth? In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my Loon Lake journey.


My goal — Becoming Independent

One of the most significant mistakes I made in DI was being dependent; therefore, I wanted to take this chance to solve one of my fundamental problems. Becoming independent is relevant to our lives because it allows us to live our lives how we want. But how can we establish independence within three days? How can we measure success? I never knew what specifically I could do to accomplish this goal. However, with assistance from peers and teachers, the structure became clear. Meanwhile, we have also shared our ideas through a gallery walk. This gallery walk was remarkable because I have gained different perspectives and further developed my goal and plan. Here’s the Smart goal I created to help me gain independence:

 

After all, the only thing I was unsure about was how I could achieve this. My partners, Quinn and Julien, brought up a valuable point: “What specifically would you do to prove that you have achieved your goal?”. Not only did they point out the weakness of this plan, but they also reminded me to take notable actions. To specify what good looks like, I have created a rubric that defines success criteria and expectations.

Throughout the journey, the rubric played a significant role in helping me achieve my goal. It allowed me to narrow my thoughts and focus on the categories that can be identified. Meanwhile, the rubric also functioned as a reminder to track my progress. The Smart goal chart and the rubric guided me to take action and reach my goal.


Actions

1. Morning walk

With the goal in mind, I immediately took action in the morning. Although taking a walk in the mornings wasn’t something I can’t do, my laziness always stop me from waking up early. Jakub and I, however, wanted to make a difference. We went on a hiking trail around Loon Lake, hoping to get a better view. During the walk, we experienced a different style of Loon Lake than we usually see. While the sun was rising, Jakub and I discovered unique flowers, lovely birds and some weird-looking trees. At that moment, I found inner peace in my mind with nature. As I intended to rule my emotions, I felt accomplished at the end of the walk. Even though we never had the time to finish our walk, this experience with nature calmed me down and prepared me for the day.

2. High rope course

On the same day, we had a high roping course. Since I was a kid, I have always been terrified of my heights; therefore, I wasn’t comfortable at all when we started our high ropes lesson. Eventually, I gained confidence as I watched my classmates go. I had the wrong assumption that everything was easy up there, so I also took the chance. As I climbed up the pole, fear took over my mind. When I arrived at the platform, I had the question: “Can I go down?”. I was terrified and the height scared the crap out of me. I didn’t want to go because I believed there was a good chance I could die up there. However, my fear disappeared as my partner, Ryder, climbed up. I realized people were supporting me, which empowered me to take risks. After all, the high rope course challenged my understanding of myself and made me a different person. It was an experience I will never forget in my life.

3. Shelter

On the next day, we learned about survival strategies in forests. According to Stantevia, you can only survive three hours on average without a proper shelter. In other words, shelters are more important than water or food. I found it shocking because we often think water has the highest priority. Fortunately, we have a chance to design and build our shelter. My team, Indy, Sophia, Nathan, Jakub and I eventually built a cabin. Although it wasn’t exactly what we suppose to do, it was still evidence of our creativity. One of my criteria for success was being able to turn ideas into reality. From that perspective, I realized I didn’t succeed our cabin was incomplete. Interestingly enough, in the end, our cabin barely fit us and neither did we have a roof. However, I have gained a lot of hands-on experiences and had fun.


 

Impacts

While I was working towards my goal, I also noticed changes that occurred in my classmates. Jakub and Liam became more determined and focused; Nathan and Ethan became better listeners, and Logan continuously expand his comfort zone. These role models and their accomplishments helped me clarify many uncertainty and confusions. Meanwhile, it’s also interesting to see how my effort towards the goal had affected others. Each of us interviewed four-person to reflect on our journey and accomplishments. While learning about other people’s goals and journeys, we also got feedback from an outsider’s perspective. (Click here to see the interviews)


Conclusion

Looking back, I have changed throughout the trip. Although I never established full, complete independence within days, the journey at Loon Lake laid a foundation for future growth. Overall, this trip offered many valuable opportunities and experiences, yet it was enjoyable. I look forward to incoming trips in the future!


Thank you for your time

The DI Era

For the past three months, we have been working on Destination Imagination. It was the longest, most challenging and arguably most significant project. But how did DI prove so affecting as to change us entirely? In this blog post, I will be talking about our DI learning journey.


Why?

Why did we have this project in the first place?

Before we can do anything, we have to begin with the end state in mind. In other words, we have to recognize what our goals and purposes are first. According to Ms. Willemse, three main benefits are doing DI are:

  1.  To inspire our creativity
  2.  To develop a problem-solving mentality
  3.  To learn how to collaborate with others

Although we never launched a rocket as Elon Musk did, DI allowed us to experience real-world and experiment or ideas at a low cost. Unfortunately, I was not in PLP throughout grade 8 or 9, which means I only have this year to participate. Therefore, I was interested in this project.


How?

How did we plan to accomplish the goal & purpose?

With the purpose in mind, we focused on the process to accomplish our goal. My team, Amy Sophia, Josh, Indy and I, also known as the “(Inset Team Name Here)”, were in the Fine Art challenge. Although there were a lot of things to do within three months, our focuses can fall into five categories:

  1. Central Challenge — Story
    The overall topic is a trickster who attempts to overcome a tricky situation. For the challenge, our trickster uses information or secrets to trick or break rules. Most of the points came from successful storytelling and dramatic character portrayal.
  2. Central Challenge — Illusion
    Illusion should be designed to be wrongly perceived and enhance the story. In other words, tricking the audience using visual and or auditory effects. The success of the illusion would be evaluated based on its impact on the story and audience. Creativity is also important
  3. Central Challenge — Costume Transformation
    The costume transformation is used to enhance the story; however, it must not be worn by the trickster. Similar to illusion, the appraisers would evaluate the impact of the costume transformation but also the technical design and method used to accomplish the task.
  4. 2 Team Choice Elements
    The two team choice elements contain 15% of the total points. It must be specific and not used for illusion or costume transformation. The team choice elements represent the interest or talents of the team. Each element would be assessed in originality, quality, effort, integration and creativity.
  5. Instant Challenge
    The instant challenge contains 25% of the total points. It would be a random, quick challenge to test how well you work under pressure and uncertainty. At the same time, the appraisers also looked for collaboration and creativity throughout the challenge.

 

(Overall Scoring)

 

(Central Challenge Scoring)

After we divide the challenge into smaller tasks, we assigned roles and responsibilities. Amy was the overall manager, and she would be working on the story; meanwhile, Indy was responsible for character development and helping Amy with costume transformation. Josh and Sophia would design and paint our backdrops according to the story, which was one of our team choice elements. On the other hand, I will be carrying out the illusions and the second team choice element — background sound effects.


What?

What actions or processes did we take to carry our ideas out?

After knowing our responsibilities, we started working on our part. However, as we were uncertain of what’s the soul of the challenge, we were lost and unsure what to do. For example, should we write a story based on Character or should we develop a character based on a story? Should the Illusion be one of the tricks used by the trickster or accidental? We were stuck on questions like that leading to the “planning period”. During the planning period, we gathered many ideas but lacked the action to turn them into reality. Fortunately, Amy came up with an awesome idea for a story about time travel. While the story and the script were processed, we experimented with our ideas. Arguably, the ideas we gained from the “planning period” laid a foundation for the “hands-on period”; however, we have lost a valuable amount of time which caused the rush later on.

Meanwhile, we practiced our instant challenge during the first and second rehearsals with the teachers. Although we struggle with different instant challenges, the experience allows us to handle our instant challenges faster and better. Looking back, it’s the more we suffer from instant challenges, the more prepared we are.

Time flew by quickly, but we were still not prepared. As we sensed the time urgency, we ended our planning stage and took action to turn ideas into reality. Although we managed to finish the costume transformation and our illusion, we still had to practice our acting and paint the backdrops. At the same time, we have created many props for our performance. However, time was not on our side as we only had one week left by the time we reached this stage. Eventually, we finished the two team choice elements before the tournament.


Results

As we pulled everything together the day before the tournament, we never had the chance to do any more rehearsals and adjustments. Worse yet, we discovered that the backdrop and the light pole, which were part of the props, were too big to fit in the room. In the end, we managed to tell the story using illusions and props. But as you can see, it wasn’t impressive nor outstanding. On the other hand, our instant challenge went well. Even though we came 2nd in the tournament, the scores or placement would change how I view my work


Key Lesson: What went wrong?

During the DI era, I made many mistakes and caused many problems, which led to my defeat at the tournament. Looking back, I realized I never put in my best effort. It was painful when I realized what I could have done to enhance our performance. In other words, I figured it was me the whole time letting the team down. Here are the six main points that summarized most of my mistakes

  1. Dependent
    Dependent was one of the most significant mistakes I have made throughout the months. I relied on environmental conditions and my teammates when working on a project. This mistake was costly because it created more workload for my teammates and decreased productivity
  2.  Lack of communication and collaboration
    While one of the purposes of this project was to collaborate with others, I have failed miserably. My miscommunication led to the failure of the double-sided backdrops, which had different sizes. Because of that, we had lots of chaos when we were trying to pull everything together before the tournament.
  3. Misplanning
    From the start of this challenge, I have overestimated the time and space we had. I lacked a sense of time and urgency which was why the planning period was so long. Because of the wrong assumptions, we have also made the backdrop and the light pole too big. Furthermore, we never have a backup plan for obstacles and surprises.
  4. No sense of risk or quality
    We took huge risks when we decided to use LED lights for costume Transformation. I found it unbelievable how I never considered the risk of that and how well it would turn out without darkness. No sense of risks or quality forced us to deal with more troubles later on, such as the backdrop transformation
  5.  Ineffective/ Inefficient use of time and resources
    Although I have devoted a decent amount of time, I was inefficient and ineffective in making remarkable progress. Because my solutions to problems were often ineffective, I have spent more time and effort than needed. Potentially, the time I “wasted” because of inefficiency could be used to help out my teammates
  6. Lost of the overall picture
    While I focused on the task and project, I lost track of the overall picture. In other words, “I have won the battle but lost the war”. Looking back, I spent too much time refining the details and spent almost no time reviewing the purpose of the task. In the end, the products I produced were often irrelevant.

Conclusion & the answer

“How might we learn and experience the creative process while developing our creativity, curiosity, and courage?”

Even though this unit was challenging, it was still enjoyable. While I was working on the light pole, I experimented with many solutions to make it stable. I have designed and built many structures aiming to prevent them from falling. Unfortunately, none of them work well in the end. Nevertheless, I have learned a lot of structural techniques and had fun. Destination Imagination is a simulator that tests our courage and resilience while encouraging us to think creatively and globally. Although the result may not be as well as expected, I have never regretted participating in DI


Special Thanks

Amy.S

Sophia.W

Indy.SL

Josh.L


Thank you for your time

Greatest Atrocities ever — WWII

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Throughout human history, WWII was the largest and bloodiest global conflict ever. Around 3% of Earth died because of the War; in other words, 70 – 85 million died because of WWII. More than 30 countries participated in the war, making it the most significant and influential atrocity. At the same time, WWII had completely changed the course of history and shaped our identity. In this blog post, I will unveil the hidden chapters of history — WWII.


Causes of WWII

Before we go into the war and its consequences, we must understand how it happened. Back when WWII, Germany was forced to sign the treaty of Versailles. The allies forced them to take responsibility for all the harm produced in WWII. Although it was beneficial for the allied forces, the treaty of Versailles ruined Germany’s economy badly. Before the Treaty of Versailles, the currency between dollars and marks was 1:4. However, the ratio immediately jumped to 1:100 after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Worse yet, the Great Depression in the 1930s further damaged Germany’s economy. In 1924, the currency ratio of dollars to marks reached 1: 4 trillion. Not only was the economy was terrible, but Germany also had to give up military forces and lots of territories. Under extreme situations, people take extreme actions. During the time, the communist and socialist parties were the most popular in Germany. Under the lead of Adolf Hitler, the socialist party won the election in 1933. Almost immediately, Hitler and the Nazis killed their political opponents. It was a turning point for Germany, from socialism to fascism.

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Pacific War

While the Nazis gained most of our attention, We often forgot Imperial Japan and the Pacific war. Like Germany, the Japanese economy was also terrible before WWII. As nationalism grew, soldiers became one of the best jobs for many Japanese. Because they fundamentally lacked natural resources, they were looking for some from another country. They capture Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. At the time, China was extremely weakened, and they couldn’t stop all this from happening. At the same time, the allies never thought Japan would be dangerous to them. The allies traded with Imperial Japan, offering all the natural resources and battleships they lacked. Moreover, Japan sent students to study and learn western technologies, which helped Japan long term.


Gaining momentum

Back in Europe, Hitler and the Nazis never stop expanding. Hitler launched a “friendly invasion” against Austria. As Austria and Germany see each other as their “cousins”, there was almost no resistance at all. Soon, Hitler launched another invasion against Czechoslovakia. The allies didn’t want to start another war, so they tried to fulfill Hitler’s desire. On September 30th, 1938, Hitler, Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact. They died together which part of Czechoslovakia should be Germany’s. In exchange, Hitler promised that he would stop invading others. However, Hitler didn’t keep his promises. On September 1st, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. France and the British immediately declared war on the Nazis. Although Poland was the 4th largest Allied arm force, it couldn’t defend the Nazis and USSR attacking from two sides.

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Meanwhile, since Japan didn’t have any predators, they could expand quickly. In 1937, the 2nd Sino-Japanese War started. It was an all-out war between China and Japan. Many historians considered this as the start of WWII. The Imperial Japan Army quickly swept through the main cities. Moreover, the Chinese Capital, Nanking, fell in the same year. As soon as they entered Nanking, the massacre began. It continued for three weeks, causing the death of 300,000 Chinese civilians. Furthermore, the Japanese generals had a competition “Who can kill more?”.

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Imperial Japan thought China would surrender once they occupied the most industrialized cities. However, they were wrong. They faced stronger and stronger resistance from Chinese fighters as they expanded in China. In 1938, the Chinese government created the yellow river flood. It was an attempt to stop the Japanese from invading. 20,000 Japanese soldiers died because of the yellow river flood. On the other hand, almost 1 million Chinese died because of the flood. I believe it was one of the most idiotic decisions the Chinese government had made.

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Meanwhile, Japan also wanted Siberia from the Soviet Union. They decided to invade Mongolia, which was a Soviet puppet state s during the time. Because Japanese tanks were underdeveloped, they lost the decisive battle at Khalkin Gol. The Imperial Japan army lost its best squads. The battle of Khalkin Gol forced Japan to abandon its plan to expand through the land. So instead, they focused on naval battles.


Axis at its peak

With the fall of Poland, the Nazis and allied powers had a “phoney war”. The phoney war was known for its peacefulness. There were no invasions or hostility from either side. It was kind of like the Cold War, except that both sides were preparing for a large-scale invasion. France and the British tried to launch a “friendly invasion” against Norway to control their Natural resources; however, the Nazis were faster. The oil, steel and coal from Norway had helped the Nazis a lot throughout the war. One month after, Hitler launched his well-prepared invasion against France. They went through the forest Ardennes and split the allies in half. The allies launched many counterattacks; however, they failed to stop the Nazis. Although It was an astounding success for Hitler, the Nazis failed to eliminate Allied soldiers. The evacuation at Dunkirk saved many people, which allowed allies to continue fighting the Nazis. Along with the evacuation at Dunkirk was the fall of France. Hitler also wanted to capture England; however, the plan was scratch as the British eventually gained air and naval superiority.

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At the same time, Imperial Japan decided to expand southward. As the United States noticed what was going on in the Pacific, they embargoed Japan from getting more natural resources. It was terrible for the Japanese, but they knew exactly how they could overcome it. If they could capture the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, they could have all the oil needed. But before their dream came true, they wanted to overcome the biggest obstacle: the United States. So on December 7, 1941, they bombed Pearl harbour. They tried to knock out the US for at least six months so they could do whatever they wanted. Specifically, they were looking for US carriers. Unfortunately for Japan, all three aircraft carriers were out to sea. They did not accomplish their objective; however, they still damaged/sunk more than 20 battleships at pearl harbour. Along with that was the fall of the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines and most importantly, the US declaration of war.

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Turning point — the year 1942

The defeat for Hitler — Battle of Stalingrad

One of Hitler’s fundamental goals was to achieve Lenbresaum(living space). He would have to expand eastward to capture all USSR territories. It is also known as operations Barbarossa. Everything was going well for the Nazis at the start. The Northern Nazi army pushed to Leningrad; the Centre army pushed to Moscow; the southern army pushed to Stalingrad. Although many Nazi generals suggested that Hitler should capture Moscow first, he decided to invade Stalingrad anyways. Because of symbolic and strategic reasons, Joseph Stalin defended the city furiously. The Soviet Union launched an encircle counterattack and trapped the Nazi army. In the end, the USSR defeated the Nazis and destroyed their best forces. The battle of Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle during WWII, suffering the death of 2 million people in total. It was the turning point for the allied powers to win against the Nazis

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Tide turning in Pacific — Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal

Meanwhile, the tide was also changing in the Pacific. The United States and Japan were both preparing for a decisive battle. Both sides knew whoever won the battle would control the Pacific Ocean. We now know the invasion would be at midway, but how did the US know that? Through decoding Japanese messages, the US knew Japan was launching an invasion towards “AF”. However, they weren’t sure if  “AF” meant midway. To ensure AF is midway, they set up a trap. They told the Japanese that Midway was running out of freshwater. Two days later, they block a radio report saying AF was running out of fresh water. The US immediately reinforce midway. On June 4, 1942, Imperial Japan launched their invasion. Although they have naval and air superiority, they failed to capture midway. In the end, the US sank all for Japanese carriers with the cost of one aircraft carrier. It was an astounding success for the allies.

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However, the defeat at midway didn’t stop Imperial Japan from its ambitious goals. They believed it was still possible for Japan to defeat the allies. They focused on Australia. From August to November, Japan took many attempts to take over the Henderson field. Once the Henderson field fell, the Japanese could isolate Australia and eventually capture all of Austria. However, they didn’t accomplish their goal because they lack air and naval powers. In total, Japan lost 22,000 men while the US only lost 1000. The series of battles was also known as the battle of Guadalcanal. From now on, Japan held on to a defensive position.

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End of the War — 1945

After the turning points, the Axis forces were weakened. Let us start with the Nazis. Since the battle of Stalingrad, the USSR had launched many counterattacks, forcing them to retreat. At the same time, the Allies captured all of northern Africa, which exposed Vichy France and Italy. The successful landing at Italy and Normandy made the situation even worse for the Nazis. Hitler tried to avoid fighting two fronts; however, now they were surrounded by all three sides. Hitler knew, sooner or later, all Nazis would get annihilated. So on April 30, 1945, he committed suicide. Along with that was the fall of Berlin and V-E day.

 

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At the same time, Imperial Japan wasn’t doing so well either. The US decided to break through their defensive line to land on the Japanese mainland. It was also known as the operation downfall. Eventually, they approached Iwo Jima, which was only 750 miles from Japan’s mainland. Because of strategic reasons, Imperial Japan defended Iwo Jima furiously. In the end, the US suffered the causality of 27,000 while almost all 22,000 Japanese fought to their death. Japanese warriors believed it was an honour to die on the battlefield; meanwhile, surrender would be the worst thing that could happen. Therefore, they never surrender nor accept POWs. With the fall of Iwo Jima, the allies approach their final step, capturing Okinawa. The battle of Okinawa was the bloodiest throughout the Pacific war. The allies suffered the death of 49,000 men while all 110,000 fought to their death. Because of the blood at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the allies realized they would suffer massive casualties to land the Japanese mainland. So they gave up on their original plan and Nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with that was the Soviet Union’s declaration of war on Japan. On September 2, Imperial Japan finally surrendered. The decision Hiroto made seemed to be unbelievable for many Japanese fighters. The V-J day officially marked the end of WWII.

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Consequences — Who won in the war?

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In total, 50 to 56 million people died directly because of WWII with an estimated an extra 20 million dying indirectly because of WWII (From starvation & disease). After all, there was no clear winner in WWII. US suffered 405,000 men throughout WWII. Meanwhile, the British suffered the death of 384,000 soldiers and 70,000 civilians. Germany lost 4.1 million soldiers, including both killed and missing. In addition, 500k – 2 million German civilians died because of USSR war crimes. Meanwhile, the Japanese lost a total of 3 million lives. The Jewish community suffered the death of 6 million. China suffered the death of 4 million soldiers and 18 million civilians. Moreover, the Soviet Union lost 10 million soldiers and 24 million civilians. So who won in WWII? The economic destruction was also remarkable. After WWII, many countries desperately needed money to rebuild their country. WWII was the most expensive war ever and it caused inflation to jump over 20%. Not only did WWII cause large-scale destruction to all nations, but it also lead to more civil wars and even the Cold War.

 


Conclusion & Answer to Driving Question

“How might we use stories to better understand to cause and consequences of WWII?”

Most of us today have never experienced WWII. Eventually, everyone who had participated in WWII would leave before us. We have paid a heavy cost in WWII, and it is our job to keep the stories alive. Not only do stories structure and organize our knowledge, but they also keep our culture alive and allow us to relate to the situation. Moreover, stories help us to shape our identity and core values. If everyone understands how brutal wars can be, no one will start the war. Therefore, I value the stories passed down from WWII, and I believe we should maintain a strong public awareness.


Learning Journey

Novel Study

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For my novel study, I have recently read Maus, written by Art Spiegleman. Everything we have talked about previously was from “god’s point of view”; however, it could be a different story if you view it from civilians’ perspective. Within 300 pages, Art Spiegleman shows the brutality of the Axis, specifically the Nazis. Through drawings, he showed how difficult life was as a Jew; moreover, he showed dynamic characteristics of human nature. Not only did Maus show the significant consequences of WWII, but it also challenged me to view different perspectives. Through unique characters, Art Spiegleman encouraged me to see things from their point of view. Although Maus was tragic, perhaps dark, it is worth reading.

Podcast

After we had enough knowledge, we created a podcast to spread our knowledge. In total, the grade 10 cohort had published over 20 episodes. Each of us chose our topic. From the vehicles to psychological impacts, we have studied diverse fields of WWII. For my podcast, I investigated the Pacific War and Imperial Japan. Although I have lots of trouble recording my script, I managed to produce a podcast with decent quality. While making the podcast, I also investigated different podcasts to increase my podcast quality. Overall, I have learned a new technique — communicating with others with just voice.

Russian and Ukrainian Studies

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One of our fundamental goals in this unit was to prevent WW3 from happening, we’ve been studying Russian-Ukraine conflicts. The Russian-Ukraine conflict was the largest conflict since WWII. Many consider this would trigger the start of WW3. I can see the effort the United Nations have made. At least, they didn’t repeat the failure of appeasement. To this date, over 600 civilians have died, with 1000 injured. It is still ongoing; in other words, we have a chance to stop WW3 from happening.


Source

 


Thank you for your time

What’s Romeo and Juliet?

Shakespeare masterpiece Hamnet is one of Bill Gates’ favourites books. William Shakespeare had influenced our culture,  English literature, and, our beliefs and philosophy for more than 400 years. But after so many years, does Shakespeare still matter to the modern world?  Why does Bill Gates like Shakespeare so much? In this post, we will be talking about the relevance of Shakespeare and how he had impacted us. 


Answer to the driving question 

In this unit, our driving question was: “Why does Shakespeare relevant to a contemporary  audience?”.  In brief, Shakespeare’s main influences can be catergrorized into three parts: English literature, art and music and philosophy. 

English Literature 

Throughout his life, Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets, 37 plays and invented over 1700 words that we still use today. He wrote the finest poems by selecting the perfect words/phases to present his emotions.  At the same time, he was the first one to connect and compare different plays so he could write creatively. Not only was Shakespeare good at writing stories, but his themes and ideas also encourage many people to create new stories. According to Wikipedia and Guinness Books of World’s Records, there are 410 Shakespeare adaptions and around 1100 projects that credit Shakespeare’s writing.

Drama, Art and Music  

Many people consider Shakespeare the father of drama as his plays paved the way for drama productions and acting. In addition, he created new genres that have mixed tragedy and comedy. The brand-new genres were like a revolution in storytelling and theatre which enhanced its effect on audiences. Meanwhile, Shakespeare’s plays have also influenced music and art through emotional experiences (Siegel). At the same time, Shakespeare had many acts associated with music and arts, which directed contributed to the growth of art and music.

Philosophy 

Arguably, Shakespeare is a philosopher. Throughout his plays and sonnets, he brought up many questions that we don’t have easy answers to. His question involves justice, honour, free will, fate, love & hate, etc….  He managed to smoothly blend in his questions and doubts into his plays; his characters are often in a complex  situation where there are no perfect answers. By comparing ourselves with his characters, we would be searching for solutions that solve the problem. Although he never told us the answer nor did he has the answers, Shakespeare taught us to think differently and encourage us to think deeply. Through understanding Shakespeare, we will gain a more mature perspective and find the value/purpose of life. 

The language we speak today contains a lot of Shakespear’s effort; meanwhile, his philosophy is still constantly influencing our everyday life. Therefore, Shakespeare and his work are still relevant to us and modern society.


My learning journey 

This unit was the shortest yet the most challenging one I had in the first semester. In this unit, we investigated the five acts of Romeo and Juliet and its film adaptations; moreover, we created our adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to represent our understanding.

Theme book 

In this milestone, we analyzed and  investigated Shakespeare’s purposed message then connect critically with film adaptations. When I first read Romeo and Juliet, I had no idea what Shakespeare is talking about in his play; however, I manage to understand the meaning and the message with the help of my friends. Meanwhile, I also found it challenging to compare and connect film adaptations with the original script. The adaptations are diverse and different from the original script, which made similarities and differences not so appealing. Overall, I am proud of my work because I have grown and learned a lot through the challenges and difficulties. If I have to do this again, I would look for the professionals’ comments because their points of view are often valuable. I would also look for directors’ and writers’ intentions when creating the adaptions because it would give me a more complete understanding when I compare and connect it.

Video 

After we had a firm understanding of the five acts of Romeo and Juliet, we started to create our own video.  Creativity and originality were our two main focuses in this milestone; our main goal when creating this video was to demonstrate our understanding and apply it to modern society. Because the first semester was ending, we only had two to three classes to plan, film and edit the video. Surprisingly, everyone in my team worked well under pressure. We didn’t face any obstacles when we film the video; however, it took us a significant amount of time just to export and edit the video. Although we have done a great job, I don’t believe it is perfect. If we have to do this video again we would probably:

  • Organize our story flow
  • Adjust audio to the same volume 
  • Include more props and costumes
  • Record different point of views
  • Enhance our emotions when acting 

At the start of this unit, I thought Romeo and Juliet were non-sense and had nothing to do with us; however, my paradigms have shifted after studying it in detail. I can relate to the characters in Romeo & Juliet and appreciate the hard work Shakespeare put into his plays. Without Shakespeare, our ideology and philosophies should never be complete.


Reference

Shakespeare’s Words

Shakespeare FAQ

Shakespeare adaptions 

Shakespeare’s Influence in theatre 

Shakespeare’s Influence in Arts and Music


Thank you for your time

MPol 2022

Did I reach my learning goals for this year? How much have I grown throughout semester 1? Since the first semester had ended, it’s now the time to summarize everything I learned from the first semester. In our blog post today, I will be enhancing my learning journey and reflecting on my growth as a learner.


The Three units

Think you can do better?

Main Growth: Personal and Social Awareness
In this unit, we investigate issues in Canada’s social, economic and political system to launch a solution to solve the issue. We created political parties and aim to make Canada a better place. Not only did we learn about politics, but this unit also brought us awareness of the current issue and inspired us to problem solve.
Self Evaluation: B+

Ology of Apology

Main Growth: Communication
In this unit, we studied Canada’s past wrongs and discrimination of minority groups. At the same time, we design our memorial to spread the story and its significance so they will never happen again in the future. By linking past to present, we can prevent mistakes from happening, bring improvements and shape our world into a better place.
Self Evaluation: A-

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet

Main Growth: Creative Thinking
In this unit, we investigated the five acts of Romeo and Juliet and learn Shakespeare’s purposed message. We studied and analyzed different film adaptations and created our version of Romeo and Juliet that will appeal to modern audiences. Learning Romeo and Juliet allows us to have a stronger appreciation of the arts and encourage us to think creatively.
Self Evaluation: B


Overall Growth

Throughout this semester, I have developed solid communication and critical thinking skills. Valid evidence of my growth is the exhibition night; I have shared the story of Japanese Internment with over 30 people, which enlarged my comfort zone of public speaking & communicating. Meanwhile, the political party we created, the Hippopotamus Party of Canada, significantly contributed to my growth of critical thinking. Through inspecting and identifying issues in our society, we would have a deeper understanding by judging critically. On the other hand, I believe there are spaces for improvements in terms of creative thinking. Although I consider the design of our memorial to be creative, my political ad and Romeo and Juliet film lacked creativity. To develop my creativity, I am looking forward to learning more about Maker 10 in the second semester.

Goal vs Reality — Taking Actions

At the start of this school year, I have set a goal for myself: to reach 93%. Unfortunately, I have not yet reached that goal. Compared to my self-evaluation, there’s a 10% gap between reality and my learning goal; however, I will not set a lower expectation for myself. To achieve my goals, I will:

  • Read more books and articles
  • Study ahead
  • Learn from past mistakes
  • Dynamically track my learning progress
  • Communicate with teachers to know expectations
  • Actively ask for feedbacks

If you have any suggestions or advice, please let me know.

At last, I would like to thank everyone who supported me on my learning journey; especially the teachers and my parents who helped me overcome challenges after challenges. Without the help and support, I would never accomplish what I have today.


Thank you for your time

Ology of Apology

How can we stop history from repeating itself? In this unit, we were studying Canada’s past wrongs and aiming to create a public memory so past wrongs never happen again. At the same time, I have gained new skills and had unique experiences with PLP. Moreover, I have learned to view things from multiple perspectives to make a fair judgement. Today, I will be telling you about my ology of apology and sharing my learning journey with you.


Answer to the driving question 

So let’s answer the driving question of this unit first: How can we create a public memory of past wrongs so they are remembered and not repeated today? After studying this unit and reading many articles, I believe there are three essential factors to create an effective public memory. They are official apology, memorial and education.

1. Official Apology

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An official apology is significant when issuing past wrongs. The apology is essential because it has the function of healing the harm and rebuilding relationships. It symbolizes the recognition and acknowledgment of wrongdoings; at the same time, it committed not to repeat past wrongs . Many consider the official apology as the beginning of a new era. Although apologies can heal and repair relationships, they can also be harmful. If an apology is insincere, it can damage the relationship furthermore.

What makes an effective apology? 

When making an apology, there are many things to be aware of. After all, I have summarized some factors that will contribute to an effective apology. Which is taking responsibility, being proactive with non-verbal communications and delivering a specific improvement plan for the future. 

Taking Responsibility 

 One of the most important characteristics that contribute to an effective apology is taking responsibility. Taking responsibility means recognizing and acknowledging the negative impacts that were caused by the offender. This can often lead to a stronger willingness to take actions repairing the harm. On the other hand, looking for excuses is perhaps the worst thing you can do when making an apology as it is a sign of insincerity 

Being Proactive Non-verbal Communications 

 

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Although you may not believe so, body language is an essential factor when delivering an apology. Most experts agree that 70-90% of our communication is non-verbal. In other words, your body language, eyes contact, tones, etc… carry out much more messages than your words. Through non-verbal communication, people can easily decode what you are saying and sense your emotion and that’s why we need to be aware of it when delivering an apology.

 

A Specific Improvement Plan for the Future 

“An Apology Without Change is Manipulation” To fundamentally solve the problem, a specific improving plan is often required in an effective apology. Instead of dwelling on the past, it is more meaningful to think about the future. The offender should explain how the improvement plan can prevent a similar event from happening again; at the same time, the improvements plan should include measurable changes to determine its effectiveness.

2. Memorial

(Iwo Jima Memorial)

The concept of memorials is easy to understand. They are built to remind people of events that happened in past and connect it to the present. At the same time, memorials can heal affected groups and bring positive effects to our society. Although it is sad when tragic incidents happen, a memorial can allow us to respect their sacrifice and celebrate our well-lived lives.

What determines the effectiveness of a memorial?

Overall, the factors that affect the effectiveness of a memorial fall into two categories: physical and spiritual appearance. 

Physical Appearance: Physical appearance determines how much attention it can get from people. Some examples can be location, size, designing and colour. As memorials are built to spread an event’s significance, it would not be effective if they can not appeal to their targeted  audience.

Spiritual appearance: Spiritual appearance determines how significant the memorial is to society. The feelings and emotions that are passed to the audiences are examples that fall into this category. A memorial with a strong spiritual appearance should be able to heal some harm of the affected group; at the same time, it should create a central place to visit and encourage visitors to revisit.

3. Education Systems

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The education system plays a significant role in creating a public memory. As time goes by, we will repeat history when future generations forgot about it. Through studying history, we can shape and develop our society better and develop a better understanding of the world. As a student myself, I appreciate having the opportunity to know what happen in past because that allows me to learn from the mistakes made in past. However, this would never happen without a truthful education system.

How do we learn from the past?

It is important to understand some information can be misleading as it may contain the author’s biased opinions. That’s why it’s beneficial to make your ethical judgements. In brief, ethical judgements are judgements you believe are the most justifiable after considering all the perspectives and possibilities. Usually, primary sources will be stronger pieces of evidence than reports and articles as they reflect the situation better. In the process of making ethical judgements, you will develop a new way to view the world and enhance your critical thinking skills.

Overall, I realized all of the factors have been included when our government redress past wrongs.  Whether it is Chinese Head Tax, Japanese Internment or the Komagata Maru incident,  they have all got these factors to create public awareness. 


Reflection  

In the end, I would like to share with you my growth and learning in this unit. Throughout this unit, field studies  and exhibitions have helped us the most on our learning journey.

The Impacts of Field Studies 

It is amazing how we have six field studies in this unit, especially during the pandemic. Through field studies, we have learned in detail about Canada’s history of discrimination and understand what life was like under a racist government. The experience we have in field studies allows us to learn faster and easier; at the same time, the memorials we saw set up great examples for us to build our memorials. Field study is relevant because it allows students to gain a deeper understanding through the extension of the curriculum; furthermore, it encourages the growth of curiosity and critical thinking.

Exhibition 

One of the most important goals in this unit is to create public memories by applying what we have learned previously. My group got Japanese Internment as our topic to create public memory. Although we understand the story and its significance, we did not know how to put it in its best form to make it outstanding. After brainstorming, we finally came up with the house design. The idea was to show the difference in living conditions between white Canadians and Japanese Canadians. You may be wondering how are we doing to do that. The house would be specialized into two floors, the white Canadians would be living on the top floor with luxury while crowded Japanese Canadians would be starving underground. 

(Art work done by Ryan)

As we started building the house, it was only two days away from the exhibition night. It seemed to be impossible to pull everything together within such a short time; however, the power of collaboration has proved that wrong. Through communications, everyone’s responsibility became clear which increased our productivity. Because of everyone’s efforts and dedication, we were able to have everything ready before the exhibition. 

Thankfully, everything went well on the exhibition night. We were able to explain in detail to our visitors what Japanese internment is as well as our memorial ideas. But there are surely spaces for improvements. I realized we were missing our group banner, which caused some confusion for visitors; meanwhile, our storyline and pictures could be bigger for better visualization. Most importantly, I did not practice presenting our script and ideas enough, which lead to poor body language and poor storytelling. But overall, I have enjoyed the process and I believe we have done a decent job.

Looking back, it was a meaningful unit throughout my PLP learning journey. I have learned a lot in communicating, critical thinking and critical thinking. Lastly, I would like to thank Ms. Willemse & Ms. Huges for the effort they have given us to make this wonderful unit possible.


References

Apology

Forbes — The Six Components of an Effective Apology

Wikipedia — Public Apology

Harvard’s Report on Apologies 

Forbes — How to Apologize the right way

Memorial

NPR.org — What makes a Successful Memorial 

Wikipedia — Memorials

Education

Habitat for Humanity — Ten benefits of Eduction 

Lumen Learning — What is Ethical Judgements 

Cee.Ne.Edu — Ethical Judgements 

Field Studies 

Pros and Cons of Field Studies

Americans for Arts — The Importance of Field Studies


Special Thanks to

PLP

Jakub. H

Liam. E

Ryan. U

and You!

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