SOCIAL DISTANCING TPOLS 2020 | PLP 11

Through the past four years I have been learning, sharpening my saw, and growing into the person and learner I am today; This presentation will be exactly that, what I have done, and why I am ready to transition into the next grade level. So let’s get it on!

WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF?

It’s always preferable to start with the good news. So, let’s talk about my work that I am proud to present and what makes it so. This year more than any I can say confidently that I have the most work that I feel comfortable highlighting. And my favourite is my current project: a civil rights unit: We Shall Overcome. Justifiably so, because it is my latest project and I think it documents what I have learned from this year and how I have applied it.

So, as I was saying I think this project is a great example of my work, because it taught myself how to write from the heart and it is very relevant in today’s environment. Now I am going to give you the break down on the recipe for what I think is a successful unit. Firstly, I learned from my MPOLS – In which I talked about understanding what I am being asked to do and the competencies at hand. For example, Dear ___, is it racist? This was a milestone that was interesting, personal, and important, so it was imperative that I did not miss what was being asked. So, like clock work, whenever I felt myself losing the scent I would return to the roots of the project, that being the competencies:

A indirect plus to this was it genuinely became easier to write. I found that earlier in the year, whenever I took a blind stab at a project it usually came out wrong. Now, I take a blank piece of paper and write down an outline and how it applies to the competencies. This habit works extremely well, and helps the flow. As opposed to improvising while I write. I am sure my dad can back this up, because he is the one who was promoting and helping me do it.

Think & Create #2 | What does Racism and Justice look like in the 21st century?

Let’s talk more about the writing strategies, I have adopted this year. I have learned that to produce, the most evident, straight to the point, and textbook writing, I have to deliberately create a thesis after most points, that uses the competencies and my structured thoughts. This is illustrated in my latest think & create, a post which in my mind may be the #1 post and project I have created. Here is an example:

WHAT PROJECT WAS MOST CHALLENGING?

Poetry, poetry, poetry… I wish I was any good, but it seems I really didn’t know how to handle the artsy stuff. Intellectual insecurities, if only I knew, what I knew now.

This is something I have been thinking about a lot, and I think it poisons a majority of my work. It seems that I often, become so worried in making my work seem cool and smart but often it comes out confusing. I try so hard for people to think I am smart, that it becomes just a struggle to write with flow of ideas. From big words to vague statements, it makes it very hard to write. You can call it protein, evidence, substance, or meaning but I have been striving to find it. As opposed to writing so my thoughts appear smart, I have been trying for them to genuinely be relevant. In the poetry unit, a majority of my final poems came out to be short, fluffy, and a little fake.

Creating genuine and free flowing work, supported by evidences, and catering to competencies, will lead me to create work I am ultimately proud of. It will be a deal breaker for success in grade 12, and has been this years overarching lesson. I talked about my success, and by no coincidence, it is polar opposite to my failure. When I focus on the evidence, competencies, learning, and my understanding, it ensures I have the key part. I now have confidence that my creativity and skills will shine bright, when I follow my plan and let my words do the talking.

C’YA!

To conclude, this year was eventful, educating, and has changed me in more ways then one. I didn’t let anything stop me, sports, coronavirus, or busyness. Truly, I want it to be known, it was an awesome year. The people in front of me are the ones who made that happen; You are my support systems and have helped me, stay organized, perceiver, and learn. I continue to grow, learn, and better myself, for those reasons I am ready to advance to the final stage, grade 12.

Trust The Process | PGP 11

Trust the process.


My journey to a habit built lifestyle has been long, turbulent, and disciplined. I have succeeded, and failed, time and time again. Slowly, with small changes everyday, I am evolving into a early waker, hike taker, hydrated, and flexible student athlete. I can feel my habits solidifying into a second nature, and its as regular as a morning shower.

Atomic Habits, by James Clear – you may have heard of this book before. This book was the  pivot of our year in PGP, and the recipe book to my habit building. James Clears book has helped me come to my current understanding of habits. Whether it’s long-term achievement, compounding the 1%, systems vs goals, or the 4 overarching laws, obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.

Here are my previous posts on PGP, Atomic Habits, and James Clear:

The 4 Pillars of Building Habits | PGP 11

Heather and Her Beaten Up Shoes | PGP 11

Here is a conversation, Daniel and I had about the book, our lives, habits, and artifact. (ps. I have to work on not saying like so much.)

My Artifact

For this project, we were assigned to create an Artifact that exemplifies our understanding of Atomic Habits; considering the competency ACT. To demonstrate, I chose to once again make a podcast. I love creating podcasts because they are open ended, reflective, personal, and free flowing; all of these characteristics shine bright in this artifact. The steps to making a podcast is second nature now, but the work load never drops. When creating a standout podcast, you need to pull from a lot of pieces. A deep understanding of the topic, a solid script, killer homemade beats, and a little post-production.

Competencies


Think: How do I make choices, question decisions, and develop habits to support achievement? 

This competency can be tracked to the beginning stages of the assignment, and the decisions I made. When I set my bench mark goals at the fetus stages of this project, I already knew I wanted my project to reflect the work, use, and commitment, I had shown in my personal time. In the end, I decided to create a podcast. I came to this conclusion because my personal stories and experiences, plus the ability to create, would carry the weight and equate into an impressive project. I knew I had done podcasts before, so the production side would be a walk in the park. Lastly, I thought that the beauty of the podcast was it’s ability to act out the second competency.

Act: How do I create and demonstrate a thorough and thoughtful understanding?


Firstly, before starting the stages of creation I knew I had the cards to throughly demonstrate my understanding – and I formed the outline to do exactly that. In the podcast I begin with what I have been doing with my understanding and interest for habit building, this sets the tone for the pod. After, I talked about how I was failing in the beginning. This was an alley-oop and the most important part: my learning and understanding for these experiences. To wrap it all up nicely I also added how I applied it, and how it helped solve earlier failures. All this accumulated into what I think is a personal demonstration of my understating and interest in atomic habits.

Reflect: How do I reflect to build knowledge?

Here it is! You’re looking at it! The blog post is the most textbook and concise means of reflection and knowledge building. While writing this post I have been recounting my steps and the learning that has accompanied it. I have talked about my competencies, learning, and shared experiences. Speaking of shared experiences, my chat with Daniel was also a sophisticated and documented example of how I reflect to build knowledge. We talked about each others learning and therefor learned from each other. The biggest take away from that experience with his hydration habits and what has kept him motivated.

That’s a wrap! It’s been a gruelling and life changing year in PGP. This may sound cheesy and unauthentic, but it’s the truth. Today, I write to you as a different more improved person. Thank you to my teachers for the help and guidance along the way, and I am excited to see what next year brings! 

 

Think & Create #2 | What does Racism and Justice look like in the 21st century?

Black lives matter.

Justice for George Floyd.

This week of all weeks, it would be a disservice to not acknowledge what is unfolding right in-front of us. The recent police brutality case of George Floyd, has touched a nerve across the globe and demonstrations in cities everywhere have grown to a roar. The killing of George Floyd is one of many sickening events that have accumulated over the past few weeks.

Institutional Racism.


Regularity seems to usually point to something systemic and institutional. I believe the fact that African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated and incidences of police harassment and brutality is due to something bigger than a series of isolated incidents. Many still live with the consequences of America’s original sin: slavery and racism. It has been institutionalized over generations in the criminal justice system, the economy, the health care system, and the education system. While we like to think it is foreign to us, as Prime Minister Trudeau said today, Canada itself suffers from systemic racism and must learn to do better.

Here is an article about Canada’s faults today: https://theconversation.com/dear-white-people-wake-up-canada-is-racist-83124

Why does it look this Way?

America’s institutions including policing, healthcare, school and government were all born in a racialize and segregated environment and have yet to escape those roots. Because of its relevance let’s analyze the history of policing in America. The origins of police forces in America were a majority white, male focused on responding to ‘disorder’ than crime. Gary Potter says, “these police officers were focused on controlling a “dangerous underclass” African Americans, immigrants and the poor”. Through the early 20th century, there was a low bar for hiring and training officers. Despite the police force coming along way, recent events have reminded us we are still not there. There are identifiable problematic similarities from then until now (e.g. diversity, profiling, brutality, punishment, and training.) The reason we still have similar problems is because it is not confronted properly. Similar culture and systems will continue, if not confronted and reformed properly.

Here is an article about the police forces history: https://time.com/4779112/police-history-origins/ 

Evidence.

Here’s the evidence. George Floyd’s death is a pressing example of how the system is failing. The police officer who took his life was poorly trained and had a culture of misconduct. Derek Chauvin had 18 total complaints filed; The officer who arrived on the scene had 6 past complaints filed. Before Floyd’s tragic death they had faced little repercussion. The system gives no encouragement to act otherwise, and that is institutionalized. Barack Obama called it “tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’”. This is evident in the death of David Cornelius Smith, a precursor of the Floyd case. In 2010, David Cornelius Smith was held down with a knee on his neck for 4 minutes by a Minneapolis police officer. He ended up dying – in return the officers were never disciplined. “I can’t breathe” is not a newly coined phrase – we have heard it before.

Here is an article on the police officers past: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/01/us/derek-chauvin-what-we-know-trnd/index.html

What needs to change.

A knowledgeable and outspoken classmate said “you can’t fix a flawed system without tearing it down and rebuilding it”. This is a fact – institutional racism from centuries ago has tried to revise and reform, yet the culture has not altogether changed. Sadly, the reality is that it isn’t feasible to completely tear down these institutions. I believe the appropriate response is to take serious measures. Firstly, we need to buckle down on punishment and repercussions for misconduct. Derek Chauvin had 18 total complaints filed against him, it seems he had minimal reform, and by that point he should have already been removed. I believe, when you are not strict, you encourage events like this. Secondly, I believe we need more civilian oversight. Police officers should not be overseeing other police officers. In a podcast with ‘The Daily’, Shaila Dewan spoke about: efforts to hold problem officers accountable often face resistance from unions, and juries are reluctant to second-guess police decisions. Lastly, I believe a massive recall on training is in order. Before all these events came to light I was privileged enough to assume that the training was adequate. These recent events and all ones before it, say glaringly otherwise. 

Here’s a short podcast I enjoyed about the systems that protect police: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-daily/id1200361736?i=1000476523659

Fight the power. 

“Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” – Will Smith 

Activists are fighting the same battle from years ago, but with certainly different tools. This week, I was especially moved by the amount of solidarity, interest, communication, support, and respect on my feed. This is where my artifact comes in… I wanted to make a visual that would encapsulate the power and movement that social media has presented. Yes, at times there is fallout and senseless garbage. Yet, for the most part social media has consequently created a platform for like minded individuals to share, learn, and experience. This artifact demonstrates how the ability to share, learn, and experience on social media has greatly influenced this event and movement on a global scale to take place.

Here is a super interesting post that relates to this, by one of my classmates Daniel Wickstone: http://www.blog44.ca/danielw/2020/05/25/same-old-america/ 

Cause, Consequence, and Conclusion.

“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible-Even if you’re choking on it-Until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

This battle for justice has been around as long as time itself, but one person, one event, has once again reopened the eyes of a nation to a matter right under their noses. The video of George Floyd’s murder has consequently created a demand for real change. This event has tipped the balance and caused rightful unrest. The agent of change will prove to be the will of people, combined, with the power of social media and technology. I believe this protest will influence a greater understanding of racism and privilege, and will create major change from all levels of society.

Here are two more great podcasts that I enjoyed if you would like to further your learning on these current events:

https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/revisionist-history/id1119389968?i=1000476517088 

https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-flames-spread-protests-in-america/id151230264?i=1000476412679 

Heather and Her Beaten Up Shoes | PGP 11

About 2 Months. Thats the beginning of quarantine and the reinvention of myself. During quarantine I have took it upon myself to take measures to make sure I don’t waste away my time in solitary. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been damn fulfilling. Here are some of my daily goals and routines: 

  • Maintain a passive Calorie Deficit
  • Workout 6 times a week
  • Read and Study everyday 
  • Run 2-3 times a week
  • Plyometrics every 2nd day
  • Stretch twice a day
  • French online 7 hours a week
  • Wake up 6:55 am
  • Get up 150 shots per day
  • 10 minutes of dribbling

What’s all this about? 

David Goggins and James Clear are the only hype men I need.

James Clear’s articles on “What is actually required for success?” was an insightful look into the unfiltered truth to success and helped me realize my failures when working towards my goals. Most people believe there is a quick fix to everything. It’s on Pop-up adds and YouTube tutorials, featuring everything under the sun. Most of us are all hooked on the quick-fix and the life hack. Everyone is on the hunt for that algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. Whether it’s lifting weights, running, school, chess, checkers, or cooking there is not cheating the system. 

For this assignment, we have been tasked with reading an article from jamesclear.com and to analyze and reflect on it. As someone who has always has his eyes set on success, I chose this article: 

What is Actually Required for Success?

This article dives into the mistakes we make when striving for success. We first focus on the 10%. When did I drink my pre-workout? Do I need knee-sleeves? Should I buy a new pair of shoes? Instead of putting in the work, you’d rather distract and obsess about the 10%. When in reality, “What you do need is to make a decision, set a schedule, and get started. What you need is to do the work.”

I do it to!

This morning I woke up at 6:55am. Instead of propelling myself into today’s workout I spent approximately an hour watching videos on a particular workout. This has been my kryptonite. Over examining and regularly wasting my time on the small details. Most importantly, it throws my motivation and workout off course. This is an example of how this approach has been plaguing my goals. 

Why do I do it?

It is simply easier to distract myself from the the 90% work, than to face it. It’s much easier to claim that you need something other than hard work. Instead of you needing to constantly work, you tell yourself it’s the 10% variables. At a certain point you need to put in the hours. To anyone reading this post, I can promise you, that the reason you’re failing does not start with the proper squat form, the right guitar, or a new laptop.

Working Wonders 

Since reading this article I have been very strict with how I approach my goals. I put in the work, bad or good. I have found two gigantic upsides. Firstly, it has dramatically compacted every workout, assignment, or practice. Instead of something taking and hour and ½ they take 45 minutes. Secondly, it has helped me build a lot of character. I think this approach will carry on to everything I do. 

I have learned the 10% is always going to be there, but first figure out the 90%. The only thing that has guaranteed me success is consistency. James Clear says, “You don’t need a better guitar to learn how to play. You don’t need a better camera to become a good photographer. You don’t need more experience to become a public speaker.” This goes for anything. I’m one of the slowest kids on my team, but without a doubt you will see me every second day at Myrtle putting in the work. I’m not the greatest basketball player on my team, but without a doubt you will see me at cove cliff putting up those shots, and without a doubt you will see me improve every day.

Reading through this article was really beneficial. It has helped me reinforce and discover my views (e.g, only ingredient you really need to find success and the obstacles you will find along the way). Remember, in the end the greatest skill is always doing the work.

Shoe Polish Stains | Think and Create: Week 1

At the moment we are living in unprecedented times. Coronavirus has cast a glooming shadow over the remainder of our school year, leaving my cohort and I learning from home. During the past 3 weeks, we have been situated on Zoom, learning through our screens. To put a positive note on this conundrum, It must be said that PLP is the most familiar with this digital learning, and has had a smooth and productive transition. Over the 3 weeks, we have been exploring a topic that has been occupying my thoughts in and out of class, racism. So far, we have learned about the history of African American people in the US through reading Dear Martin, listening to 1619 project, and walked around the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. on our computers!

This is a SS of the digital walking tour I took last week. It’s very interesting and I encourage you to check it out.

Each week, I will be completing a milestone that should represent a piece of my learning and connections of the week. This project, is not a formal assignments with criteria lists and specifications you have to meet. Instead, I had to do something much harder. I need to think. This artifact had to be summative, interesting, and thoughtful; and had to pull from our two driving competencies.

  1. Connect

  2. Analyze Cause and Consequence

For this weeks artifact, I wanted to start with a topic I have been thinking a lot about, the history of BlackFace and minstrel shows. To show my thinking I presented my ideas on the matter in a podcast form.

Hope you enjoyed and drew some new information from that. Be back next week, to join us on our adventure of learning, and to see all my new artifacts.

Walls Have Ears | TWIL #3

Another Monday, another TWIL post. During the extent of this unit we have discussed WW2 conferences, economics, driving on the interstate, General Ike, and Little Richard and the pop culture boom. This week we have switched gears and learned about espionage, democracy vs communism, the spy society, and power control.

Spies are known as a star from your favourite movies, tv shows, and scandalous books, starring Matt Damon, and Daniel Craig. Yet, spies have been around for a long period of time, they have many old roots. In late 16th-century England, Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant royal who endured perpetual threats to her life and reign. A multitude of enemies and distorted fears led to her paranoia—swiftly the royal court rebuts with a secret war.

The use of spies grew again in popularity during the Cold War. A misconceived idea was that their was fighting in the Cold War, this is obviously false based of the word: ‘cold’. During this time the powers around the world, notably the USSR and America where racing for nationalistic superiority. The 2 powers were on a constant race, to space and nuclear arms. For conspicuous reasons, the power that be wanted to know the top secret and innovative work each side was creating. This spying was all based off the power control. In Macbeth and the 1950’s, you can see the way each power fights to control all.

Here are my notes from this week! I really disliked doing this set of notes, didn’t work for me.


On the western front spies were becoming a household topic. High-profile spies such as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Aldrich Ames were accused of spying and convicted for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. In the west a man named Igor Gouzenko, was a notable Canadian ‘spy’. Igor’s occupation was a steady and important job at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa. After his defection from Russia he became a Canadian citizen, and began telling Canada about important information and handed over top-secret files. In America spies and communists became a topic of frustration and worry. This spying and espionage is all stemmed from the need for power controls. When Kings, Presidents, Queens, and Dictators are fighting for power they use a popular means of control, spying. I believe that Macbeth and the 1950’s both display a need for power control. In act 4 of Macbeth, we see the breakdown of Macbeth’s powers. Macbeth is notified of Macduff and his plan on murdering him. After hearing word of Macduff’s plans, Macbeth orders two murderers to go to Macduff’s castle and murder his wife and son. Macbeth made the first move because he knew what was coming for him. This power shift and fight resemble a clear mirror image of the 1950’s.

In this image I created, I wanted to display how there is a continuity of power control in every world.

To conclude my TWIL finale, I wrote about spying, and power control. During the three weeks of lecturing and scene reading, my knowledge of Macbeth and the 1950’s has been expanded and the thought process of connecting two completely different topics. I have also improved my literacy skills, creation process, and analysis.

This is a little word search I created. Give it a try!

Evidence:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage

2. https://www.history.com/tag/spies

MPOLS Connection

During my 2020 mPols, I mentioned about my use of Basecamp and understanding assignments tasked. During these TWILS I have exemplified my understanding and visited Basecamp regularly. For this trio of posts I have been accompanied by a routine before and after visit to basecamp. My reflections were all based of the competencies assessed.

Snap, Crackle, Pop, Culture.


It’s the 1950’s! The 1950s are most often remembered as a quiet decade, a decade of conformity, stability, and normalcy. Yet, we obscure the fact that the 1950s saw real social change and awakening, and behind closed doors there was a compelling social and cultural force, Pop Culture.


In the 1950s, young Americans had more disposable income and enjoyed greater material comfort than their forebears, which allowed them to devote more to leisure activities and the consumption of popular culture. After the tumult of the war and the economic recession, they were excited to put this cash to use. These boomers, jumped in their American made automobile, cruised on the interstate, and shopped like crazy. Consumption was a ginormous factor in pop culture, but without a doubt, televisions led the charge.

Here is some of my favourite notes I took during the lectures. I used it as evidence during this post about pop culture and Americans social change.

This is an image I personally created!

Hollywood was struggling and their biggest challenger was televisions. For many American households, televisions were becoming a prime source of a homogenized society and culture. Television owned the American mind at a period dubbed the ‘golden age of television’. Television shows presented the white suburban family life: happy housewife mothers, wise fathers, and mischievous but not dangerously rebellious children. These ideals were constants on shows like Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best.

“It’s (pop culture) part of that web of narratives that we all exist within, whether we realize it or not” – Dr. Siobhan McEvoy-Levy

In a world where pop culture is expanding, it presents a funnel of information fead to everyone. Because America is watching the same broadcasts, news outlets, sports, and politics, it creates a unprecedented amount of Appearance vs. Reality. American society is being feed out the same bowl, so if the ideas are doctored, false, or bias it can create a false narrative that circulates through communities and society. In the 1950’s, shows like Leave It To Beaver, and Father Knows Best, purposefully or unknowingly, skewed the reality, and deepened racial divisions, and cemented gender roles. A great example of Appearance vs Reality in television is the Wild West. Would you know from your favourite TV western that up to a quarter of the cowboys were black?

This theme of, appearance never being the full reality is very distinct in Macbeth. An example is, the murder of Duncan. King Duncan’s perception on Macbeth was his downfall. Till the end Duncan continued to see the false friendship. Macbeth states “False face must hide what the false heart doth know”. Another example is, King Duncan’s son Donalbain recognizes that not all men are as they seem. Donalbain states that “There are daggers in men’s smiles”, meaning that despite a person’s friendly appearance, danger lurks beneath their facade. Unlike his father, however, they are better at discerning honest men from false men.

Whether it be the 1950’s, Macbeth, or present day. There is an identifiable continuity in every world, it is our struggle to separate the appearance and reality. See you next week!

Sources I used as evidence for this post and my ideas!

1. https://www.retrowaste.com/1950s/

2. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/10/19/the-future-of-truth-and-misinformation-online/

3. My brain

Work Smart… and Hard | PLP 2020 MPOLS

This year I have shed too many tears over clouds than I care too share. I have wasted away hours on homework that did not yield the coveted rainbow. When preparing myself for this presentation I really thought about a meaningful goal to share with you all. My dad told me if he witnesses another year of leadership and organization goals that will not be fulfilled, it would be a waste of time. So when creating this presentation I inaugurated this goal by using it! My learning goal that I will reach by the end of the school year is to improve my ability to complete tasks that are asked of me.

This goal took consideration, time, and thinking. This goal was born from my meeting with Ms. Willemse and company, over frustration with my marks. After countless times of being dissatisfied with my work, I wanted to figure out the missing piece of my learning. After, talks with parents and teachers over the past few months I had come to a conclusion, one that seems obvious and simple. I need to spend more time thinking about the reasons I am doing the work, the competencies involved, and what is asked of me. Work smart AND hard, is a quote which seems to be applicable to my idea. Instead of trying to write empty words and big vocabulary, I should complete the meaningful work that is being asked of me – really understanding the task and the objectives.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

Over the many units we have covered in the 2 classes that my grade 11 cohort take I have been dissatisfied with the marks I have been given and also the work I produced. I am going to access and deconstruct the work I have done and my epic failures. One piece of work that speaks to my many fails is my Poetry Analysis. This was a test of my ability to analyze text and poetic knowledge. In this test I missed countless opportunities to display my learning and understanding of the subject and instead wrote aimlessly about things that were not asked of me. We were given a class to write and I spent a majority of it pondering word choice. Instead of looking at the guidelines and requirements that were outlined.

If you are looking for a work that exemplifies the art of blindly working hard and not looking at the requirements, just look to my blog posts. Seldom, have I created a blog post that has truly been asked of me. Every time I am given feedback I see the same remarks, this post is a great reflection of the tasks given, but fails to show the expectations in basecamp. Instead of correcting the same mistake I fall victim to habit. It is a harsh pill to swallow to have spent hours on an assignment but failed because I didn’t talk the time to look at basecamp.

Here is a great example of one of these posts: http://www.blog44.ca/kaiz/2020/01/12/cynthia-a-poetry-unit/

Put the Kayaks Away.

Forget about marks. Even though I have talked a lot about marks, this means and is applicable to much more than marks. I related it to my work at the Kayak Shop. Put the Kayaks Away. This is a simple task that at face value takes only a little muscle and patience. What are they really asking for? Not just the kayaks, to be a rainbow in real life, it is sweeping the mess, cleaning the kayaks, closing up properly, and washing the wetsuits. People love when you really understand what they want and need. Another example is putting away the groceries. In my early years I thought it meant grab the bags out of the car, leave the door open, and drop them on the front porch. But I am missing the assignment by a mile. What I am really being asked to do is: Grab the bags, close the door, and put groceries in the fridge. This understanding is applicable and important after school as well.

Applying My Learning.

This year, I have promised myself it will be different. No more empty goals, and pointless work. To make sure this goal doesn’t go down the drain like the rest, I plan to put in place a system I have grown quite fond of. In PGP I read a book called Atomic Habits. This book taught me the cardinal rules of adopting a habit and strategies to do so. Before each project, assignment, and homework, I will go to basecamp, and think about how and why I will complete this task. To make sure I stay true, I will use a few of many systems I have learned. Some of my favorites are: After ___ I will _____, habit stacking, and habit contracts.


Another goal I am interested in is reading. I have contracted with myself to read 2 books by the end of the school year. This is in hopes of inspiring myself to read more and support my milestone goal. The more text I read the better my comprehension, speed, and ability to identify text and objectives become. As you can probably tell, my parents dig this goal!

 

The Pot at the End of the Rainbow.

I came to a realization this year, after being dissatisfied and frustrated with my work and results. I realized I was approaching my work incorrectly. It was not due to the effort or laziness but the silent killer, attention to detail. I have identified my objective already and have used systems from my learning this year, to implement and solidify my goal. While coming to this objective I learned many valuable lessons. Firstly, I now appreciate communication. If not for my meetings and communication with my teachers I would not have understood my shortcomings and flaws. I also realized how important having an open and interested mindset is. For the majority of my first term, I was frustrated and annoyed by my grades, and did not fully think about the why. By thinking it through and communicating I was able to find the pot at the end of the rainbow.

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

A new year, a new unit. Over the past few weeks my peers in the PLP 11 Cohort have started a new unit; This unit is a fusion of Macbeth’s Shakespeare and the 1950’s. Thus far, I have been captivated by both subjects. The history of the 1950’s is interesting and has lead some compelling classes. The drama of Macbeth’s Shakespeare is almost bested by the unfolding events of the Cold War. Yet, the fascinating plays of Shakespeare are a strong contender. As you can tell it would be an understatement to say this has been my favourite subject of the year.

With this unit we have tackled a complex and overwhelming amount of information and ideas. To properly consume this information my class and I took on our most arduous and lofty task… Note Taking. This was are first taste of lectures and surprisingly the general consensus was good. During these lectures, we practiced writing and tested out different styles of note taking. I aired to the side of standard for the first week, for both subjects (Macbeth, and 1950’s). 

 

 

“Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair.” This week I have learned an enormous amount about both subjects, from the Nuremberg Trial, to William Shakespeare’s asphyxiation with paradoxes. This is something I was quite interested with this week, his use of paradoxes. A paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. His vocabulary coupled with the use of paradoxes makes for a very attractive read. 

In both Macbeth and the 1950’s Cold Wars there are obvious connections that I have discovered. In Macbeth, Shakespeare plays with the notion of power and natural ambition.The glaring theme is: destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints. Macbeth’s ambition to become king coupled with Lady Macbeth’s desire, leads them to the plot of killing King Duncan. When the allies became the “victors” of WW2, they obtained Germany and “nurtured” its economic infrastructure, in a bleak post war Europe. At this point in time, the powers that be, in Russia had plans of world dominance. Stalin and the USSR, came soaring into Germany on a direct course to Berlin. Stalin and the Eastern Bloc had their sights set, and were ambitious for power. This act of aggression would spark the flame of the Cold War. This ambition is a key connection between, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the Cold War. 


Lastly, I was intensely interested in the Big Three dynamic and the Shakespearean drama that occurred during, The Potsdam Conference. I found inspiration in this Cold War drama and saw a clear connection between the two subjects. In one case, the Big Three: Joseph Stalin, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill, all had dirty little secrets. During this time, Harry Truman and the US, were on a mission to create and use a Nuclear Weapon. During this conference, Harry Truman would receive world changing news, a successful bomb. This is where an interesting dynamic rears it’s ugly head. Truman was not keen on telling these two huge powers on his new toy, and would only tell Churchill. This story undeniably reminds me of Macbeth’s act one, the resemblance is uncanny. Macbeth is a noble general who has returned from the bloodshed of war, he is ambitious and compelled to move up the ranks. With support from his wife, Lady Macbeth, and the sorcery from the witches he is pushed to kill the King. What a coincidence, King Duncan, is coming to their castle and would present a mirror image of the Potsdam Conference. Just like the 1950’s big three, Lady Macbeth (Truman) and Macbeth (Churchill) would hatch a plan to kill King Duncan (Stalin). Similar to the Cold War, they would present themselves as courteous and helpful but have different plans at play. 

This week I was introduced with the unit of a life time. A unsurprisingly interesting fusion of Shakespeare and the 1950’s. From my first lecture to first Shakespearean play I have learned a lot about the 1950’s, Shakespeare, and Macbeth.

This is my creation, I crafted. It is a representation of my learning thus far and the connection I have made to these different subjects. Enjoy!

The 4 Pillars of Building Habits | PGP 11

 

Over the past few months, I have been devoted in a particular assignment that has changed my excitants, big and small. To begin PGP 11, my peers and I have been tasked to read, and live, James Clear’s New York Bestselling book: Atomic Habits.

To prefix the rest of this post, I must articulate to you my surprising enjoyment for the book. This book was informative, fun, and experiential. The moment I began reading this book I was pretty hooked, most days I would plug in and do a little reading, just because I enjoyed it. I read and listened to this book. The moment I heard about the book I had Mr. Hughes plug me in to the audible. I really enjoyed listening to the book, because of my niche for podcasts and it was great to always have it accessible, whether it be on my walk to school or basketball practice.

 

Atomic Habits is built on the 4 pillars of habits and these 4 laws must be in place to follow through. In this book James Clear does a interesting take on breaking down the complex ideas that incapsulate the art of habits.

The First Law: Make it Obvious

“Every habit is initiated by a cue.”

– James Clear

A day is comprised of hundreds of habits, like code you recite these habits everyday. Think of your habits, positive or negative. These habits come natural and you soon become conditioned as if second nature. Biting my nails is a habit that myself and many others fall victim to, it many times it stems from cues. James Clear says “Habits come natural when we make them obvious”. This first law sets the ground floor and support to build upon with the laws to come.

The case may be the a majority of your habits are negative and are based off these cues, but just as easily you can use these cues to your advantage to grow new and positive habits. James Clear outlines examples on how to manipulate cues and make habits obvious. The main 2 cues to formulate a habit is time and location. Let’s use the example of working out: Ex, I will workout at 3:45 on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays in Parkgate Gym. This layout and template is a addictive, it keeps it simple and obvious.

From there I used an implementation intention for my habit: 

I will read every weekday at 9:45 on my desk.

I used habit stacking to make these behaviours defined and obvious: 

After I study, I will spend 10 minutes stretching.

The Second Law: Make it Attractive 

“Dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it.”

– James Clear

Just because your habits are obvious does not mean they are simply completed and implemented. Positive habits are a tedious and must be worked on religiously. The second law is: Making It Attractive. The glaring flaw to many of your most formidable habits for aa majority of people, is that these aspirations aren’t attractive. If the only thing habits have going for it are the idea of bettering yourself, there’s a high chance that they won’t be completed.

A goal that is appealing to me is stretching more often, the problem is that I have a low motivation after school, homework, and basketball. James Clear offers a solution, make the habit more appealing. I love listening to podcasts so I came up with the idea of sweeting the deal. This time would carve out a perfect opportunity to consume my favourite media, podcasts! This way I am much more inclined to stretch, rehab, and mediate, often and always.

 The beauty of this law is that it can be inverted. Erase those bad habits and making them as unattractive as possible!

The Third Law: Make it Easy 

“Rather than trying to overcome the friction in your life, you reduce it.”

– James Clear

Make it Easy! This third law of behaviour change goes hand in hand with the second law. This law states that habits must be easy to complete, or they just won’t stick with you. I would not consider myself lazy by no means, but everyone has a downfall sometimes.


The “Two-Minute Rule”

This rule, according to James Clear, states that when you begin a new habit it must take only 2 minutes. At first, the notion of the two-minute rule seems pointless and unimportant. Yet, after trying it on a habit I learned it is a helpful tool to begin a new habit. I have been trying to begin a habit of writing down a summative description of the day, and the goals I want to complete. This rule give the impression of the goal being easy. Building habits is pure physiology and when you believe it is easy, it will be.

Again, I felt as though you could utilize this law in a opposite manor and destroy negative habits. If you construct an environment that opposes the habit it can make it difficult to continue. The harder and more obvious it is will make it easy to begin ending that habit. 

The Fourth Law: Make it Satisfying 

“Many of the choices you make today will not benefit you immediately”

– James Clear

The final law, is arguably the most important and is based off the idea that the human brain craves immediate rewards. The reason you watch Netflix all weekend instead of going on a hike, is because we all enjoy immediate over delayed rewards. 

I pride myself in knowing my motivations; I know that competition is a prime motivator. During this section I highlighted and noted the habit streaks. Because of the tally system and accountability to not stop the streak it seemed to breach into my competitiveness and crave for satisfaction.

Schedules such as: Things, Calendar, and Notes is a rewarding and satisfying system that is accessible to me. James Clear states that missing twice births an unwanted feeling of carelessness about the habit, and makes it non-priority. These systems are a way to stay accountable of habits, and give you the satisfaction of checking the boxes. Maybe you don’t check the schedule as often as you should? If so I find telling someone who is willing to support you, can help a lot by keeping yourself accountable.

To conclude, this book was short, rewarding, and fun. Whether your a sports enthusiast, gym buff, scholar, or someone trying to turn there life around, this is the book for you. A word that I used often was accountability, if you embrace the 4 laws and find places in your life for them you will succeed, my peers and I are living proof.