History Is Repeating

The past few months my class and I have been diving deep into the civil rights movement in America in the 50s/60s. This is fitting, as right now we are seeing the world uprise against similar things that the civil rights movement fought for. Still, in 2020 we are seeing issues that relate straight back to the ’50s and 60’s civil rights movement. The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013 but has been brought to the frontlines of media even more right now. In this post I’m going to talk about two murders of black Americans who’s story’s are parallel, and what we can do to help stop this.

On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American was murdered by Roy Bryant and J.W Milam. Till was on a trip with his cousins in Mississippi, and while at a country store (similar to a now convenience store) he was accused of “flirting” with the woman working at the store.
He continued on with his trip, but a few days went missing, and a few days after that, he was found dead floating in the Tallahatchie River. He was murdered by the woman’s husband and his half brother. Authorities wanted to bury the body quickly and hide all of what had happened but Till’s mother, Mamie Bradley, insisted on having the body sent back to Chicago, where Mamie and Emmett lived. She had an open casket funeral because he was so brutally mutilated, she wanted everyone and the media to see him and how he died. This was the closest thing at the time to something now going viral online nowadays. Mamie got it in multiple newspapers, and everyone saw pictures of Till’s 14-year-old body mutilated. A lot of America was shocked. Till’s murderers were never charged, even after his mother brought it to court. Emmett Till’s murder was one of the first events that forced society to look at the brutality that black Americans face. Till became an icon of the civil rights movement.

On May 25, 2020, the world was struck by a video of a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd, being murdered by a police officer. George Floyd was arrested outside a convenience store in Minneapolis, Minnesota because some accused of him using a counterfeit 20 dollar bill and called the cops on him. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed face-down on pavement repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. Three other officers were on scene, holding back the public from helping Floyd. Floyd died, on the ground, begging for his life. While some people see this as a police officer doing his job, anyone with a working brain sees it as an incredibly brutal murder to an innocent black man. All of this was filmed and brought to the media, for all the world to see. This sparked a fire in everyone around the world, fighting for the movement Black Lives Matter.


1955, 2020, 64 years apart.
Emmett Till and George Floyd’s murders were in different decades, yet remind us of the brutal problems in America (Canada isn’t innocent either I’m just talking about America right now). Floyd and Till’s murders are parallel. History is repeating, and the world is NOT having it. Since Floyd’s murder, protests, riots, petitions, resources, and so much more have been flooding our lives via the media due to the issues of racism and social injustice in America. The BLM movement has had more progress in the past 2 weeks than in the past 7 years. The video of George Floyd being murdered captured generations of injustice and brutality that black people face and the world is trying to help to stop this. Police and white Americans murdering black Americans has been a regular occurrence since forever,  but now it’s being filmed more than ever and shared online, which is an amplification of Emmett Till’s funeral. Floyd’s and Till’s murders have been society’s tipping points. But how many tipping points do there have to be until things change?

“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife. They won’t even admit it’s there.”—Malcolm X

A collage I made in honour of Till and Floyd.

As long as America runs on a white system, things like this will continue to happen. Emmett Till and George Floyd are proof of this. It’s been 64 years but now we are seeing murders and violence towards black Americans DAILY because everyone has a camera and it is now being captured. Actually seeing the violence and horror with their eyes is waking people up.

What a part of the website looks like

Why I’m bringing this up is because I want this blog post to be a reminder of what’s going on right now, and what HAS been going on, and share some resources to how we can help. Floyd and Till are just two of the thousands of black Americans that have been brutalized and murdered in the past 64 years. I’m going to link here a website made by a 17-year-old student in the states. It has a few sections and links where you can sign petitions, donate, and educate yourself.

Tic Tac Toe Highschool Edition!

Hi blog! Oh how I’ve missed you. How’s the pandemic going for you? Anyways, that’s not what this post is about. It’s about atomic habits! Ive posted a few posts on this book, here’s two of them linked here and here. Check them out if you have no idea what atomic habits is! Understanding the book, author, and habits will help make this post easier to understand! Lets get into this post…

For this PGP assignment we were given this awesome opened ended project. Ms. Maxwell made a cool visual for us students to use and guide our project. Ill put a pic here, and explain a little.

 

It consists of 3 curricular competencies, and how we should show our knowledge. As I said earlier, it’s super open ended. You could choose any of the boxes, and recommended to follow it in a horizontal line (as each box is connected to each other in that way) but of course, in Luca fashion I didn’t fully follow that (sorry Ms. Maxwell!) I chose to do these ones in the pic below this text.I chose those 3 because it felt the most natural towards my project. At first I was following just the middle row, but I felt the first two boxes in last row fitted my project best as I adapted and revised it. Anyways, these boxes inspired my project, and I’m going to go through each box and show my journey of making my final product! (A daily calendar adapted to the habits.)

THINK

“Summarize the 4 laws of atomic habits.” At first, I had decided to do the middle row box, but as I started creating my calendar I realized I could include not just ONE but ALL of the habits in it. So, I went with this box. I could go and summarize all of the habits, but past Luca did a great job at doing that in my Atomic Habits blog post. Instead, I’m going to talk about the importance of them.

So, when I first started reading atomic habits back in January, I was like hopefully this book will leave me smarter and more organized, and to my surprise, it actually did. I’m a organized person and I have a lot of techniques and routines to get stuff done, but never really though about why or why not they work. This book solidified ideas I had floating around my head, and deepened my understanding of my work habits. Connecting it to the competency THINK “how do I make choices, question decisions, and develop habits to support achievement” this book helped me with those exact statements. The book made me really focus and break down what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it. How I make the choices I do, how I question my decisions and how I develop habits to support achievement. The book basically revised my ways of thinking, and the product I made for this product is psychical evidence of my deep understanding of the book.

 

ACT

Regular calendars just don’t work for my daily needs…

“Create a tool for you and your friends to use in the future that demonstrates a thorough and thoughtful understanding of your topic.” So, as I mentioned, I created a calendar. Woohoo calendar, I know… But, this ones special, and it’s adapted to help support and organize a busy teenagers brain. I’m a procrastinator as we all know, and I’ve noticed I consistently leave all my assignments to the weekend. So I made a sort of Sunday calendar. I called it that at first because Sunday’s are my homework day, but because of corona, everyday is kind of a Sunday. My days are basically empty besides calls and seeing friends, so I just end up designating a day or two to all my assignments, so I made the calendar surrounding that habit because that’s how my brain works. Regular calendars just don’t work for my busy daily life. They are good for overall weekly plans, but for those long work days they just don’t work.

Anyways, I wanted the calendar to be something I could fill out and plan the day before a very busy workday. I find myself having a way more successful work day when my day is laid out the night before, so I highlighted that and removed the long and painful time where I’m moping around in the morning being stressed and confused on what I have to do that day. As I was developing the calendar, I was focusing on the law “make it attractive” as the calendar is all about making the busy day less scary and stressful, but as I developed and revised it I noticed I could attach a habit to each part of the calendar. Ill show my calendar draft here, and you can see the pink highlighted parts are where I show the connection to the laws.

Half of the calendar is to be written the night before, and the other half is to complete during the day. I’m going to break down the four parts of the calendar and the laws connected to it.

PART 1 (MAKE IT EASY): To do list. This is the make it easy habit, as it’s there to do the night before so the next day is easier. As I talked about before, I have a more successful work day if I have it laid out for me when I wake up. It makes everything easier to focus on. There’s no worry of “oh what is due?” “What do I have to do?” “Do I do this today or tomorrow?” It removes the stress. During the day you check off the boxes, which also connects to MAKE IT SATISFYING, as what’s more satisfying than checking off some boxes, am I right? Also, I added a cool little feature where there’s 3 colours to colour in the check box (you do this while writing the list the night before.) Each colour shows you how long (approximately) each thing will take. I like this feature as it helps me know what I should get done first, as well as showing me how long everything will approximately take all added up.

PART 2 (MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE): Nightly checklist. This is pre written, and has 3 key things that I feel are very helpful to a successful day. I don’t know about you, but If I wake up to a clean room, clothes folded ready to put on, and a to do list already pre written, I’m more likely to actually do my work then if I wake up all unorganized and stressed. This makes the day more attractive, which is why that’s the law I connected this part to.

PART 3 (MAKE IT OBVIOUS): Goals for tomorrow + one thing you’re proud of yourself for doing in the day. The goal is the part connected to the law, as make it obvious is all about breaking and setting habits. It’s a place to set a small goal for the next day. It’s not meant for big things like “raise your math mark by 10 percent” its meant for things like “stay off phone when doing homework” or “get work done before 5:00 pm.” It’s to help set goals/habits, and the proud of yourself part is either for just something like “I’m proud of myself for getting out of bed on time today” or, if you used the calendar the day before you could say “I followed my new habit of staying off my phone during homework.” I wanted to include something like this in my calendar so it makes it more meaningful, and it’s also a place to give yourself some self love by talking about what you’re proud of.

PART 4 (MAKE IT SATISFYING): This the space where you get to reward yourself after your hard day of working. You can write the thing like “watch a movie” or “hangout with friends” either in the morning, or just when something you want to do pops up in your head. I leave it blank until I’m working on my to do’s, as ill be sitting doing homework and Ill think ah I wish I could play some animal crossing on my Nintendo switch right now, and instead of giving into that craving, ill write it down as my reward so once all my to do’s are done, I get to do what I want. This is connected to the law make it satisfying as after a long day of working hard, you get to reward yourself, and that is beyond satisfying.

I’m really proud of this calendar, and I know it’ll help me and my friends out in our busy lives. As I mentioned before, the circular competency for this part is reflect, “How do I create and demonstrate thorough and thoughtful understanding.” And I fully believe I showed my understanding of the laws in this calendar.

 

REFLECT

This part of the tic tac toe board is basically this blog post, but it also requires you to talk about how you plan to move forward with atomic habits. That question fits into my project well, as my creation was a tool that I actually use. I printed out many many copies of this calendar onto thick card-stock and stapled it together into a little book. This is so I have nice paper copies to continue to use. I’ve given some friends some copies too (Adlih and Isy) and I know they will use it as they helped me revise and develop this calendar. The task was to make a tool for me and my friends to use to continue our use of atomic habits, so that’s what I did, and I’m very proud of the outcome! I put a big clear copy of the calendar at the beginning of this post, so if you want, you can screenshot it and print out to use for yourself!

I Hate Procrastination So Much

James Clear

Hi blog. Today’s post is PGP based. The topic for this post is James Clear. James Clear is the same author that wrote atomic habits. Remember, the post I made about the book? It was an awesome book and I’m glad that we’re continuing on talking about it. For this post, we were assigned to read an article from his website and connect it to our life. He has hundreds of articles about everything and anything to do with goals, habit, etc. Basically anything to help you do and feel good . The selection is great because everyone in the class can find an article that connects and relates to them. So, what article did I choose?

Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating.

The website Of course I picked an article about procrastination… If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am the procrastination queen. No matter what I do, or how I do it, I will always put it off late. It never affects the quality level, it’s just annoying. I will put something off until it is literallyI mpossible to put off any longer. I decided to read this article because well sometimes I’ll get better at avoiding procrastinating, I still struggle and I think reading about procrastination, and actually learning about the causes of it, may help me.

The apps I’ve been using a lot for online classes

The first line from this article says someone that immediately I relate to, “How to make those rare moments of productivity more routine.” Thats spot on what I want and need, especially in times like this. Being honest, this whole online school thing and being home all the time, doesn’t really work well for me. Im still hard working, but that determination starts to fade when I’m not actually going to school. Being home all day is literally ideal for me to procrastinate. I will do anything but what I have to. Yesterday I vacuumed my room, and all of the house, without being asked to by my mom, just to avoid doing this blog post. Anyways, let’s continue.

“Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. Loosely translated, you could say that akrasia is procrastination or a lack of self-control.”

Akrasia is a word that ancient Greek philosophers used before the word “procrastination.”

That definition stuck with me and honestly was a reminder that yes, it is just basically a self control issue. The overall article basically sums up what procrastination is, and then gives some tips to how to deal with it. So, what is it? Behavioural psychology research has revealed a phenomenon called “time inconsistency,” which helps explain procrastination. Us humans like short fast rewards, not long term.

He talks about how a lot of us go to bed with the motivation to get started on something, or do finish something, but then wake up unmotivated and fall into old patterns. This is because our brain VALUES long term benefits when they are in the future (the next morning in this case) but when the future actually comes (when you wake up) you then value the immediate gratification of not doing it more than the long term goal. This is really really helpful for me to learn, because I find myself in the future stage and present stage a lot (relating to this example) and I know for a fact when I’m in that future stage, and I tell myself oh yes I’ll do that tomorrow, I know I probably won’t. Which is really bad, and why I believe the best time for me to do work is when I’m actually in that future stage and have the motivation. I find the time I have best motivation is when someone is JUST assigned, and the reason I never do it then is because I’ll have a week or so to do the assignment and I think “oh yes I have a lot of time, no need to do it now” even if I have that motivation. Then, I end up doing it the morning of all stressed out.

At that point I’ve past the action line, and my motivation is purely terror to get it in. The guilt and fear and anxiety I feel when procrastinating is actually worse than the energy and dedication I have to put in when doing the assignment. The problem is not doing the work, it’s starting the work.

My goal for this post wasn’t necessarily to find a new way to help me to stop procrastinating (I feel like I’ve tried a lot of things and wanted to come at a new approach) it was more to learn about why I procrastinate, so I can tackle those issues personally, instead of using someone else’s method. I feel some (some!!! Not all) methods are just a Band-Aid but then I get bored of them and I go back to procrastinating. Learning about it, I feel will be more beneficial. Before this article, I barely knew what it meant besides the fact it’s avoiding to do work, so I’m grateful this was an assignment as I know this knowledge has made me change the way I look at procrastination and the way I think.

My ”adjusted to corona times” goal for the rest of the school year, is get stuff started and finished right when it’s assigned and I have that brief amount of motivation, as starting it is always the hardest part. I don’t have that 3:00 after school motivation anymore to set my goals on!

This Week I learnt…

Hi! This is going to be my last “This Week I Learned” post. While reading Macbeth and learning about the Cold War, I noticed a strong theme/idea that links the two together. This theme was noticeable through all of Macbeth, but during the Cold War lectures it was the first time I could really connect it to more modern times (1950’s is modern compared to the 1500’s!). The two things I’ll be comparing is the fall of the chain of power in Macbeth, and the Diefenbunker in the 1950’s. Both of these things help support the idea that a country needs to protect the hierarchy or the society will start to break down. 

I mention this in the podcast!

For this weeks artifact I decided to do a podcast. I haven’t created a podcast since grade 10 and I think it’s a good way to switch up the layout of this TWIL post. Listen to the short podcast below where I discuss the importance of protecting the hierarchy using an example of power in Macbeth, and the Diefenbunker in the Cold War.

So, I’m not going to repeat everything I just said, but I am going to repeat one thing. The King being killed in the play is the equivalent to an atomic bomb being dropped on Canada in the Cold War. If you didn’t listen to that podcast, that is going to make no sense, sorry. Anyways, here’s the Encounters with Canada post I mentioned. I hope you learned something, and if you want to know more about the topics I talk about, I linked some articles to key words in the post.

1950’s vs 1500’s

This week I learnt, part 2. You know the drill! Hello! 

After a few days of lessons about the 1950’s, and a few days of reading Macbeth, I found myself gaining an interest in the TV aspect of the 1950’s. While coming up with what to write for this blog, I began to see a solid link between the 1950’s television and the activities Elizabethans would do besides watching theatre like Macbeth in the 1500’s. You wouldn’t initially think the 1950’s and a Shakespeare play would have similarities, but my class and I have discovered… There is plenty! So how are the 50s and Macbeth (1500’s specifically for this post) connected?

My notes from this week!

Ah, the one thing that keeps us all sane…. Entertainment. Now a days this can be anything, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, Tik Tok, the list goes on. But, even less than 100 years ago, it was dramatically different. And then even farther, the 1500’s… What would you watch or do if you had absolutely no form of electronic, or couldn’t even read a book? (A lot of people in the 1500’s didn’t know how to read.) We are so used to entertainment and the media we are fed by the world, that we don’t even think about it. For the Elizabethans, they really had to do the most to find entertainment. They would do normal things like sports (wrestling, archery, juggling) and then really odd things like visiting prisons, and watching bears battle dogs. But one of the most respected and popular things they did was watch theatre. 

Theatre was a big thing in this time period. It was something to do, and the closest thing they had to television. They would watch hour long plays, either standing in the pit or in the side stands, seen in this picture beside this text. An example of a play they would watch would be Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and all those classic Shakespeare plays we study to this day. I think the things people develop in times where entertainment is what gets you through the days, is very interesting. How do they come up with these things? How long does it take to become normal? We never think about these things as now in 2020, everything is normal, but back then new ideas were constant. 

In the 1950’s, television became really popular. The price of a TV went down and 3/4 of Americans ended up having one in their house!

They didn’t watch the type of shows we are used to know, they were very stereotypical scenarios of the time period. This was to reenforce the “normal” on the country to maintain a picture perfect country. Anyways, thats not the point I’m making today. The point I’m making is that once war was over, people had money, houses, and families, they could settle. They had the luxury of the chance to watch TV, and enjoy their free time. This was crazy as in the war it was the opposite. Television/entertainment became a large part of Americas culture as they had actually had the time and resources to enjoy life.

These graphics I created represent entertainment and the way it can evolve and form through the years, and a compare/contrast of the outcome of evolving.

This one here shows a 1950’s television family cast on stage in the 1500’s.

And this one shows a 1950’s family watching a scene of Shakespeare play on stage, on their television.

Entertainment is valuable, and humans are very attracted to it. You can see that throughout every year humans have been around. We will create things to distract us from life even if it is going to a prison and watching the prisoners be in prison… (*cough cough* elizabethans)

Jacoe’s 7th POL

Hi! It’s that time of year. MPOLS! A time where I get to talk about myself for seven minutes. This is honestly a really valuable part of the year as Its a time where you’re forced to think really deeply and reflect on your work. This year has been going by so fast MPOLS is like a freeze frame to think about you and your work ethics. This post is going to be mainly on the opportunities I have for improvement, but there will also be some highlights of the year so far, and ending it off with a laser focused question that I need answers to!! I like MPOL’s. They remind me, no matter how many times I do this, I will never run out of thing I can improve on and learn... First though, here is the POL deceleration. 

Thank you for coming to my presentation of learning. I am the expert on my own learning. I am also responsible and accountable for my own learning. You can expect me to give an honest evaluation of my progress. We will discuss my strengths and weaknesses. Thank you in advance for listening and for offering feedback that I can use to improve as a learner.”

GOAL #1 STOP TRUSTING MYSELF 

Using calendar and reminder to help!

You may be thinking, uhhhhhh, what? When you read that caption, but let me explain. I trust myself when it comes to school. I know I can get done what I put my mind to. This trust has grown over the past 4 years of high school, and you would think its a good thing but its not 100% good. Its good in the way where I have high self efficacy in my school category, which helps me succeed, but it’s bad where It kind of ruins my days. I think Ive mentioned this before but I can do a lot of work in the mornings before school. I sometimes find my mind is most awake then, and the pressure of the 8:30 school time makes me go 10x faster than I would normally. Thats good I guess, I can produce quality work in the mornings. Some of my best blog posts have been written in the morning.

Why its bad is because the homework I have to do is constantly hanging over me like a sad rain cloud, and I sometimes just loose overall motivation to actually do it in the morning. Or, I don’t have enough time. A goal I made in PGP was to get my work done right away at 3 while I’m still feeling motivated, and I am going to try really hard to stick to that. I want to be nicer to myself by not leaving homework to the morning. 

GOAL: #2 MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE

While reading atomic habits, It gave me a new perspective on the way I personally approach schoolwork. I’ve noticed that I’m way more likely to do something when I’ve made myself excited for a certain aspect of it. The 2nd law in atomic habits is all about that. Its called “MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE.” Ive kind of had this overall idea in my head for a while, but never laser focused my thoughts and actually developed something connected to the idea. My goal is to use some of the rules from this law to help me gain more motivation to do my work.

Something I really liked that the author said was to pair something you WANT to to with something you HAVE to do. Ive found that if I switch up the way I do my assignment, like writing it on paper instead of my iPad, or just making a bunch of coffee/tea and settling down while doing my work. I need to attach an attractive and positive activity with the work I need to do, or I honestly lose all motivation. An example of me doing this since I read atomic habits is during this new Macbeth unit. I find Shakespeare quite hard to enjoy and understand, but I’ve been taking notes at home on the scenes writing it out and drawing things connected to it makes me actually enjoy reading Shakespeare in class. 

What project did you struggle with?

This year has been full of projects that aren’t necessarily my favourite “genre” of projects. I like really open ended projects with not a lot of creative constraints. I find thats the best way I learn, as its an attractive and fun thing but also forces you to get to know the unit content really well. This year they have been very writing based, from the New Mexico book (partially creative as it includes photo and video) to the Lord of the Flies Essays, to The poetry book, its been a lot of writing. I have expressed before that I have a hard time with writing as I just don’t like it that much. But obviously, I am still going to need to do it. The Lord of The Flies unit was quite challenging for me in the motivation category.

Writing is something I get better at every year, but it takes a lot. To see progress, I need constant critique, motivation, and dedication to revise. This unit I was missing the critique and motivation. It was a lot of writing assignments, and I’d write them and think they were great, then a week or so later get a bunch of critique on them and feel disappointed and have little to no motivation to revise and I couldn’t even remember my thought process. This was a very mentally challenging project for me, and I think it was because I just simply didn’t enjoy it and that caused no motivation. I lacked the motivation and inspiration to create and write. I handed in a lot of stuff late, and felt like I was always behind. Writing isn’t something that comes to me naturally, and I need to remember thats okay, I’ll just have to work a little harder.

So, what am I going to do to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again? I need to start relying on myself and ways I can make myself inspired to do something I don’t enjoy. Here’s a book you have to read, you don’t really like the book, and you have to write about it. A lot. I want to be able to take that un enjoyment as an opportunity to find something I enjoy about it. I don’t know how Ill do that yet, but I’m going to test out some ways as the year continues. For this project I could have taken a large interest in the film aspect of LOTF as that’s something I love, or even just taking notes each chapter to keep me motivated. 

What project surprised you? 

In the beginning of the poetry unit, I expressed my weird dislike of poetry. I didn’t hate it, just never felt an interest or connection to it. So, that’s why this project surprised me so much, because it was my favourite project out of all of them this year. I think it was a perfect combination of history, poetry and creativity.

 

I liked the amount of openness we had and freedom to do anything we wanted. Like I said earlier, writing doesn’t come easy for me, but once
I wrote a few poems and got over my weird fear of writing about poetry being cringe, it came pretty easy. I think the most nervous I’ve been all year was before a dress rehearsal in our class. I had to read 2 poems I wrote just in front of my classmates and Ms Maxwell. I was so so so so scared for some reason and remember feeling my heart beating out of my chest. I think I was so nervous because poetry is so personal and reading it out loud can be hard. 

After the dress rehearsal, my eyes opened up and I really decided I was going to take this poetry unit as an opportunity to take risks and do things I normally don’t like. This project was a learning lesson for me as well as a successful project. I learnt I need to always go into a project with an open mind, and take risks!

Laser focused question!

So we have to come up with a question to ask our parents and teachers, and mines more about you than me. I want to know how you handle a situation I personally struggle with, so I can learn from it and help myself. I find hearing about how others deal with something can help inspire me 

When motivation is lost, what route do you take to re-inspire yourself and get it done?

I know as adults you guys must be plenty of things you don’t want to do, but you have to do. I experience that more and more as I get older and I want to know what you guys do, because it would really help me out.

Macbeth Macbeth Macbeth!

Hello! This is my first post about Macbeth, but definitely not the last. We are starting a new thing called “This Week I Learned” aka a TWIL post. We are learning a lot of new content Macbeth related, but also 1950’s related! So much new information has entered my brain in the past week, and I’m going to share it with you and the connections between Macbeth and the 1950s!


In grade 9 I did a project on the yin and yang and Taoism in Star Wars (learning portfolio post linked here.) Why am I telling you this you ask? Well the themes I learnt about during that project and what I took away from it still lives with me today. Yin and yang touches on the questions about good and bad. What’s good? What’s bad? Are they the same thing? Do they compliment each other? This touches on our driving question for this project “Using Shakespeares Macbeth and the history of the 1950’s, how can we use film to explore the theme of appearance vs reality and comment on what’s changed and whats stayed the same?” The theme of good and bad in Macbeth and the 1950’s is very visible to me. Let me explain both sides of it. 

1950s

We learnt a lot about the beginning of the Cold War, how it started, and the power involved. Also just post war, before the Cold War. Here are some of my notes, incase you want to read a very detailed and long amount of information connected to pre Cold War. If not, let me give you a very mini run down of a few (not all, that would be a long blog post) major things that happened and its consequences. 

YALTA CONFERENCE

There was the Yalta conference which was where Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Stalin all met up to discuss how the post world war will work and how they will handle it. This was quite significant as it later caused a lot of problems. This comes into the theme of good and bad/appearance vs reality. They were discussing peace, and had good intentions, yet it still caused conflict in the long run. To connect it to Macbeth, although he murdered King Duncan, he had good intentions. Good intentions don’t always lead to good outcomes though, and we see that in both Macbeth and the 1950s. 

THE UN

The UN is created, this is made for the specific reason of world peace. There are 5 permanent members, and 10 elected non permanent members. Something significant that came from the creation of the UN is what they made Germany do. Germany was put to cleaning up the mess they made, and along with that their was the Neurobeurg trial which was the trial that led to the executions of many Germans who had high powers in the concentration camps and overall german crimes. Is killing the answer to killing? What’s good and bad? Was killing them the right thing to do? I think they made the right decision at the time, but I don’t know if it would be the same consequence now compared to the 50s. This connects to Macbeth a little bit by asking, was King Duncans murder the right thing to do? 

MACBETH

Macbeth is all about power. Power leads to so many questions and so much confusion. Who should get it? Who’s better? Are they doing their job right? We ask ourselves these questions while reading Macbeth. In act 1, we hear a lot of quotes that fit into the theme of good vs bad/appearance vs reality perfectly. 

QUOTE #1

Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is all about how appearance can be not what it seems. Is fair foul? Is foul fair? Are they the same thing? All that is good to someone, is foul to another. Looks can be deceiving is something we learn in Macbeth. An example in the book that kind of visualizes this quote is when Macbeth murders King Duncan. He’s killing him, but for a good reason? He wants to take the power, but not for an evil reason (that we know of.) Does the fact Macbeth will probably be a good king, balance out the fact he killed someone for it?  I personally think no, King Duncan was doing perfectly fine at being the king, but if he was bad at his job and treated his people poorly, would the murder be justified? What fair is foul and foul is fair…

QUOTE #2

There is no art to find the minds construction in the face.” This is my favourite quote from the play so far. It relates to how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth could act normal (less normal for Macbeth) around King Duncan, when they both knew they were going to kill him tonight. There isn’t an instruction sheet, or rules to figuring out how someone is feeling/thinking from their face, and that’s what makes life interesting. This relates to the Yalta conference. Stalin was there, and even though he said he wanted peace, how were Churchill and Roosevelt supposed to know later on he would go against them? There is no art to find the minds construction in the face. 

OVERALL

A quote I found very interesting

Even though Macbeth and post war/Cold War were in dramatically different time frames, the overall themes in both connect well. This shows humans don’t really ever change deep down. The actual situations aren’t identical obviously, but the good vs bad theme, appearance vs reality theme, and the power thirsty individuals all make the 1950s and the 1500’s look more similar than we initially think they are.

Atomic Habits!

Hello, hope you all are doing well. You may be confused by the title, “Atomic Habits”… let me explain! Atomic Habits is a book written by James Clear, and it’s all about how tiny changes can have remarkable results! We were assigned to read this book for PGP (personal growth plan) and write a reflective blog post. Before I get into the content, here’s a little run through about the author. 

JAMES CLEAR 

Meet James Clear! He is obviously the author of Atomic Habits, and he tells an amazing story in the beginning of the book.
He was severely injured in high school to the point of being put into a coma, and then having to re learn basic things like walking etc. Very intense and scary, especially as a teenager who just wants a simple and happy life. He was very passionate about baseball and wanted to pursue it after high school but felt hopeless as he was so injured and lost his placement on the team. Fast forward after years of hard work, he was at a good university playing baseball on the schools team. He talks about how even though it was just university baseball, he felt accomplished as he had to basically restart after his accident. There’s plenty more to the story, but that is a quick summary.

 “We all deal with setbacks but in the long run, the quality of our lives depend on the quality of our habits.” This quote said by Clear himself really gives a great perspective on life and how no matter what happens, with attention to detail and hard work, you can get anywhere… And I think thats a great start to the book. 

BEFORE THE STAGES 

Something I really like about this book is that it isn’t overwhelming. Clear believes getting 1% better everyday is the best way to do it as 1% everyday builds up ending in success. Its not that easy though, theres plenty in between that one sentence. “Habits are compound interest of self improvement” says Clear in the book. I read this book over a few days, and left a few weeks after to test out some habit setting. While reading, I took notes because if I’m going to read a book like this I want to make sure I have a deep understanding. I took notes on quotes, valuable sentences, and just the overall understanding of the chapter. So, lets get into the 4 laws! 

1st LAW: MAKE IT OBVIOUS

My notes from the first part of book

There are 4 steps to changing your behaviour and habits. Ask yourself, “how can I make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying?” So lets start at the first one. The first step to creating a new habit or destroying an old one Is to be aware. Habits are something you do without thinking about, so how are you going to notice them without paying attention? It’s always easier to repeat a bad habit then start a new good habit. Something you start do while reading this book, is you stop and reflect on whats benefiting you and whats not. Clear explains in these chapters that habits form for a reason, they’re is always a cue (or multiple) that trigger a habit to form.

What is a bad habit in your life? Staying up late? Biting your nails? Mines getting my homework done at realty weird and stressful times, for no reason…
I will do homework so last minute.. all the time…which is okay because a lot of the times my work is the same as if I was to do it at a normal time, but it’s deep down not okay because of the stress it causes. I wish I could get all my work done right after school, so I can enjoy the rest of my day. Its procrastination that dictates this habit of putting things off, so while reading this whole book that’s something I really focus on trying to fix. 

2nd LAW: MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE

Something I really like about this book is that its not only just opinions and quotes, they’re actual facts in it that help you understand the concepts better. Dopamine is something he talks about a lot in this section. We create and retreat habits because it brings us dopamine. Where dopamine is connected to an opportunity, our motivation to act rises. Think of an outcome you want but have never done because the experience is painful? Clear uses the example of going to the gym, you want the outcomes of a nice body and healthy life, but you don’t actually do it because its not attractive. This law’s concept is you basically need to convince yourself that a habit you are setting is attractive. It’s all about the anticipation of a reward, which he calls a dopamine spike. 

This law really made sense to me as I kind of have been doing this my whole life. I’m very rewards based and if I don’t connect something positive and exciting to a not fun task, I honestly won’t do it without a great struggle. For example, this book. I like reading yeah, but books like this are a little different as they aren’t fiction, and I have to actually understand things and take notes.

My notes from the 2nd law

The goal is less for enjoyment compared to outcomes and knowledge. Anyways, to make myself really excited and happy to read this book and take notes, I bought myself a paper copy and took notes on paper. Someone may not see any difference from reading it on an iPad and taking notes on there compared to paper book and paper notes, but I do. The enjoyment and satisfaction I get from reading paper books and writing with pencil makes the process of reading a 300 page book enjoyable. I associated a positive feeling to getting this assignment done, and it created an attractive habit of reading and note taking over the past month or so.

3rd LAW: MAKE IT EASY

Ah, humans. We love simple and easy stuff. Clear talking about this reminded me of a quote by my favourite man alive, Bill Gates. “Hire a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” 

Clear believes if a habit is challenging to do, we aren’t going to do it. We need to make it as simple, easy, and planned as we can to keep us motivated. Something really interesting he talks about is that you shouldn’t be asking how long it takes to form a habit, but you should be asking how many times it takes to form it. It’s all about repetition. An analogy he uses is “making your habits simple and easy is like unbending a water hose.” You can use a hose while it’s bent, but it’s just causing tension and a bigger temptation to give up. Why not just, unbend the water hose… that’s exactly what he wants us to do with our habits. Remove the tension. 

My notes from law 3

Things you can do to remove the tension to not want to do it and the worry is just, prepare. The more friction you remove from a habit the more likely you are to do it. Prime your environment. Something I’ve discovered and recently re-enforced myself to do more is to always clean my room before school, so when I get home I have a clean and ready space to get my homework done. If my rooms messy I end up avoiding cleaning AND homework which makes it all worse. 

4th LAW: MAKE IT SATISFYING

My notes from law 4

Ah I loved this part of the book. Why? Because it resigned with me so well. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a hard time getting stuff done if their isn’t a “reward” or positive outcome. This could mean having a bath after homework or bringing a cup of tea to school to make me excited for my classes. “What is immediately rewarding is repeated.” We are more likely to do something if it’s satisfying, and the satisfaction part is very personal to you. Mine examples are tea and baths, someone else’s may be watching a movie or going to a friends house. To continue with a habit, you need to feel satisfied and even just a little but of success. This keeps your brain happy and motivated. 

There’s obviously the polar opposite of being rewarding which is being punished too. “What is immediately punished is avoided.” When doing a bad habit, align it with something negative. If there is a negative feeling or consequences attached, we are less likely to do it. Make it UNsatisfying! This comes in later with the habit contract, but I’ll explain that in a bit. 

The FORMS 

We had forms to complete after or during reading the book. Let me explain..

Here’s the habit contract. This is here to help us solidify a habit we want to create, by connecting it to a consequence and having someone watching over us. Someone watching + a  consequence = new habit being repeated. Mine was the habit I’ve been talking about this whole post, starting work right away after school. I have to pay my mom now 1 dollar every time she sees me doing something that’s not homework after school, when I have work to do. This doesn’t seem like a lot but If I was to break this habit everyday, it would add up. I started this about 20ish days ago and the two weeks i’ve been in school, it’s honestly been better. Not perfect, but improving.

There were also other little forms like the habit stacker, and habit tracker. These were good to do because they kind of turn your ideas and wants into something real. Writing it down makes you accountable for it. 

OVERALL

This book was genuinely enjoyable and helpful, and I’ve already recommended it to multiple people I know. Clear does an amazing job at breaking down and explaining habits, and why we do them which in the long run solves a lot of problems. Understanding why you do something is one of the first steps to fixing it or improving it. We are all human, and we can’t feel too guilty for having bad habits, but we can fix them. I love his use of the word ATOMIC as it represents how little actions end up with great results.

“Thats the power of atomic habits. Tiny changes. Remarkable Results”

I will continue to work on my habits I’ve started, and knowing PGP there will definitely be more to this book then just this post so don’t be surprised if their is an update post on my progress!! Even after only about 20 days, my overall life experience has improved. It’s the small things like getting work done after-school, or making tea in the morning for me that honestly change my days for the better. 

The Beat Goes on…

Hello! This blog post is going to be about poetry, specifically beat poetry. Beat poetry was a literary movement started by a group of authors who did sort of avant guard style of poetry, meaning they started going against norms and exploring American politics, rules, culture, etc. This began in the 50s post war era.

Before I get too into everything, here was the driving question for this unit.

HOW CAN WE USE POETRY TO REFLECT OUR PERSPECTIVES ON PEOPLE, PLACES, ISSUES, AND BELIEFS?”

This driving question shaped the whole project.

THEIR BEAT POETRY 

So why did we study this and what did we do with it? We started focusing on the 50s era to see what we were working with, then studied poetry from the Beat Generation, as well as literary devices. We would read poetry from beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and discuss them in the class which was a very valuable experience. A poem that stood out to me as it was one of the first ones we read was “A Supermarket in California by Ginsberg” which is linked right there. Take a look at it if you want to see an example of a beat poets writing, it’s a very interesting poem.

AMIRI BARAKA

A milestone we worked on prior to the actual big project was studying an individual poet. Mine was Amiri Baraka. We had to learn about their life/worldview, and talk about one of their poems.

Poet and activist Amiri Baraka

I wont talk too much about him as there is a full essay right below this about him that I wrote but this assignment was very important. It focused on the circular competency HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. A big thing about beat poets was their story prior to poetry. How did they end up here? Why do they have the perspectives they have? These things are discovered through researching the individuals past, what they experienced while growing up, any crises they had, their family life etc. I believe my essay does a good job at explaining the different perspectives he had, as he was a man of many beliefs, constantly changing, and I did my best to explain why he did that and what influenced it.

The HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE  side of poetry is one of my favourite parts about the Beat Generation and people involved because its genuinely fascinating to me. Seeing how a piece of someone’s life story can almost be fully interpreted by a poem that has absolutely nothing to do with their life. Someone’s poem about suppose, uh… a piece of concrete, could have an underlying meaning about some sort of childhood trauma they had or a good memory they remember. I like how words can do that, and its all about their perspective. 

DAILY WRITING

Studying poetry, poets, and the techniques involved in poetry set us up for successful unit of writing. One of my favourite things from this unit was that every morning as class started we would have a topic to write about, and we could write about it in any way we wanted. It was supposed to be imperfect and not too thought out, which is something I rarely do when it comes to writing so it was a good activity to help me get out of my comfort zone. Here are some of my writings from these writing prompts.

This activity demonstrated the competency CREATE. This whole daily writing activity was about developing and focusing on our literacy skills. Finding out how we like to write, speak and what we want to represent in our text. From poetry to just free writing, this competency was constantly used and ill mention it more later on. 

THE CANTINA  

So, why are we writing this poetry? The winter exhibition! This year’s winter exhibition was Star Wars themed (because of the new movie release) and we wanted to create an awesome combination of Star Wars and the Beat Generation. Our specific Star Wars theme was the Cantina on the planet of Tatooine, which you may be wondering, why? Trust me, there are more connections to The Cantina and beat poetry than you think. The Cantina is a place where the rebels and outcasts would go to hang out. That’s basically what beat poetry was about. Rebelling against the normal and talking about things that were going on that could be controversial. People in The Cantina and people in the Beat Generation both weren’t afraid of being ridiculed and being different.

The Cantina on the left, and some beat poets preforming on the right!

Anyways, we decided on creating The Cantina in the weight room, and have everyone perform 2 acts (around 2-3 minutes each act) of beat poetry! We split the task of turning an ugly weight room into a beautiful and authentic cantina into 4 groups. Atmosphere, food, music and decor which was my group. My group was Giorgia, Isabelle, Kai, Tamara and me! We did plenty of planning, and I’m very proud of the overall outcome. I was in charge of the tables (alongside with kai) creating the sign, and overall managing. No one really stepped up as the main leader in the beginning which was okay as we all had individual tasks, but when the night came I became more vocal and decided I’d lead if no one else was going to. It was important for me to do this as there were many unanswered questions everyone had and someone had to  answer them. Things like where does this go, what are we doing with this, do you need this, were questions I had to decide and solve for all night long. It was challenging but when it comes to exhibitions, I am used to doing that. 

The bar!

MY BEAT POETRY 

Lastly, for the timeline of this project was the actual performance of poetry. But, what did I perform? Throughout the month or so of studying beat poetry, we all were writing poems. It was a sort of do it on your own time in your own way thing which I really enjoyed and hadn’t experienced in a while. I wrote poetry during the whole unit, but wasn’t too happy with it as poetry isn’t my strongest suit, but when we were assigned to create a poetry book, I had to really get down to business. 

Being honest, poetry isn’t something I’m confident in at all. I feel quite goofy writing it and have a hard time writing about emotion specifically. I feel confident writing about facts and opinions, but when it comes to emotion and being vulnerable in writing, I get a little scared. So, I wrote. A lot. A lot a lot. Tens and tens of poems. I had to get comfortable writing poetry and the only way to do it was to DO IT! I wrote and re wrote until I felt confident in around 8 poems to put into my book. Here it is.

I’m very proud of it, and I feel my poems represent me well. I’m not saying they are amazing or outstanding, but for me and my writing skills I am proud of them. They are unfiltered, honest, and goofy, which is okay! I was so scared of them being cringe to read but that’s literally was poetry is. Not every one is going to like every poem you write and thats okay! I used the competency CREATE the whole time I wrote this book. I used the literary devices we studied, and as well explored things beyond that. I really had to focus on what I wanted to represent in each poem, and once I did that they would just come to me. 

THE PERFORMANCE

Here is a short video of my act #2 performance. 

 

This was a kind of terrifying experience as a) I’m reading poetry I’ve written, and b) so many people were staring at me. But once I read a few lines, and saw smiles on peoples faces, I felt okay. I had to be confident in my writing and know it was all okay. The poems I read in this act are both included in my book. 

OVERALL REFLECTION

Ive reflected on stuff individually already in each section of this post, but for an overall reflection I believe this was a very important unit. I talk about this a lot but writing isn’t something I’ve ever been confident in, so every time we do a writing based unit, it is very helpful. I know I can make things look pretty, but I want to also be able to write. And not just write, write with a meaning and reason. I believe my writing skills have improved because of this unit, and I’m leaving this unit with a strong understanding of both competencies, and a new found respect of poetry. 

Before I finish off this post, I need to mention this as it was the highlight of the whole unit. A lady I’ve never seen in my life before came up to me after my act 2 and complimented my poetry and asked me if I write often. I told her besides school assignments, no, and she told me I should write more and that she really liked my poetry. I was feeling really scared after act 2 as I didn’t know if people liked my writing, so this really meant a lot to me. Someone genuinely  enjoyed my poetry, and that makes this whole unit worth it x10. 

That English 11 Book

Hello blog! Last month we started the classic high school assignment, reading Lord of the Flies. I’ve always wondered what grade I’d read this book in, and the time finally came! I’m a total nerd when it comes to survival stories, I love them, always have.

So, I was excited when this project came around. I was a little nervous though as this project was fully English based, and I don’t have the easier time with writing, but I was excited to improve my writing skills. Our last project was very history based, so it’s always nice to switch it up! Anyways, the driving question of this project is…

“WHAT IS THE ROLE OF TRIBALISM IN SOCIETY”

The outline for this project was reading the book, doing writing prompts/journal entries, choosing a tribe to do a project on, relating the tribe to the book, taking a book analysis test, and then presenting a keynote. To switch it up, I’m going to show you the final product of this project first, then explain all the work I and my classmates did to get there.

You have no idea what this means, let me explain from the start.

READING AND WRITING 

Once we began reading the book, deadlines were set and assignments were assigned. Every week we had a certain to chapter to read to, and a journal entry with a given prompt to write about. While reading I took notes, which was helpful while writing because I had exact events and quotes written down. Here are some of my journal entries. 

In this category of the project we worked with the curricular competency READING AND PERSONAL TEXT RESPONSE. The whole goal of reading this book was to understand the concepts and themes behind it, and we did that through group discussions and writing. Writing helped me further developed the ideas in my head which made the outcome better. Something I realized while reading and writing about this book is that its not just a survival story, its a theme about humans that’s told THROUGH the survival story. The boys, the island, the conch, were all just things Goulding used to express his beliefs.

Here’s a little video on the summary of LOTF Incase you haven’t read it but want to know the plot!

STARTING THE PROJECT

So, as I mentioned earlier we had to create a presentation. But on what? We had to choose a tribe to compare to LOTF and with that, we had to answer the driving question. My group Adlih, Lucas, and Giorgia, and I decided on doing Hells Angels as our tribe choice.

We were a little worried at first when we started researching, because honesty there isn’t much information about them on the internet. A lot of the articles about them are very brief and kind of too picture perfect to be true. They are a tribe related to a lot of suspected crime and such, so its hard to find definite facts about them. But, we researched plenty and developed a good base of information. Here is some research we did!

Our group research!

We then split up the presentation between us four. Lucas was on overall research, Giorgia was on tackling the driving question, and Adlih and I split up the task of relating it to the book. I focused on the theme of how people are always looking for a sense of belonging, and Adlih focused on how humans look for a sense of protection and hierarchy. These are two themes we came up with by using the competency UNDERSTANDING LANGUAGE CONSTRUCTION AND INTENT. This means through research and reading of the book we recognized the understood the roles and themes being shown. I wont go too the actual presentation as I have footage of the actual presentation, which I will show below. The evidence for this competency is the actual presentation which I showed earlier.

PRESENTING THE PROJECT 

So you’ve seen the video, but let me show you the deck of keynote slides we used! We all tried to choose photos that represent what we are saying well. These match up with the slides shown in the video.

Developing this project was surprisingly challenging. I thought because we had spent so much time on the book, and because we had so much research that it would be easy. I was wrong, the actual thinking part of this project and coming up with ideas and way it connects to the book, was hard. But, after much much thinking and talking about the book and Hells angels, we came up with points we felt were solid.

THE TEST

I know, I know, a test in PLP… Crazy. It wasn’t a regular test, more of just a timed assignment. We knew it was going to be 3 quotes from LOTF and we had to choose 2 to analyze. We had to talk about the plot surrounding the quote, the theme/significance of the quote, and any other connectors. I was nervous for the test but I knew I’d be okay because of my understanding of the book. So, here’s my responses on the test!

My LOTF Analysis

Being honest, I felt pretty confident while writing this test. I know I’m not the greatest writer ever, but I felt the points I was making were good and highlighted my LITERARY IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS skills. (The bolded means curricular competency.) I feel a deep understanding of the characters and themes in the book and I hope it paid off in my test! 

OVERALL 

This was a very interesting and engaging project. Tribalism is something Ive never really thought about, so looking at it this much in a small period of time was a really big eye opener. I feel a strong understanding of tribalism in this. I also feel like I strengthened my writing process.

Lord of the Flies was honestly a really good book, and I have one thing to say before I go… Simon was the best character in the book. Bye bye!