Posted on May 26, 2020
This post is going to be all about my role models and those who inspire me to be the better version of myself. If this sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve already read about this before. In grade 9 we did a similar assignment, check it out! Because your teen years are when you change the most, obviously my role models are very different three years down the line.
My mission statement:
“To make a positive and significant impact in the world by using innovation to disrupt the systems that aren’t willing to learn and grow with the ever changing world.”
What’s a mission statement? A mission statement is essentially a statement that aligns with someone’s values and purpose. Companies most of the time have mission statements, but often individuals do as well to help align life goals. Below is a list of write ups about each of my role models that help drive my personal mission statement.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg should really be at the top of everyone’s list. She has made incredible advances in gender equality and never let the many obstacles she overcame become an excuse. She is not ambitious for herself but for her cause. In her younger adult years she got married, soon after she went to law school. Becoming the one woman in a sea of men trying to finish top of their class with a law degree. During this journey she took care of her children, battled cancer and put up with the many sexist people she met along the way. Because she was not only a woman but also a jewish mother she was stripped of many positions to work at a law firm. She never missed a day of work. As soon as she put her children to bed she would work until the early morning. She also juggled taking care of her sick husband and not too long ago she broke three ribs (at the age of 85) and continued to work! She never for one moment blamed her circumstances on a lack of quality work. Everything she ever went through was only fuel to her fire to make the world a better place. She understands her value and how she can make a difference in society. It’s her legacy.
Her natural writing ability, leadership, strength and attitude allowed her to defy the standards for women her age. As a journalist Gloria Steinem had many successful articles, one of her more famous ones being “A Bunny’s Tale”. This article was groundbreaking, it discussed inequality, sexual harassment and the lives of the bunny’s. At its core the article is truly about Steinem’s belief that the sexual revolution will fail if men are the only ones allowed to define it. The world was taken back by the article and the jaw dropping statements it made, but as Gloria puts it…
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”
So what did this change? How was it a beacon of hope for women all over the world? This article sparked a change in how playboys ran their business, after it was released Hugh Hefner was scrutinized. Although this was great news to the Bunnies working there, that wasn’t the success. It was really that, for the first time a woman was able to challenge a man in power such as Hugh Hefner. Gloria proved to the world what they thought a woman wasn’t capable of.
I admire Stephen Hawking for his daringness to live passionately and with ambition. Stephen spent the majority of his life waiting to die from a rare disease. But unlike many would think, this didn’t stop him from living each day to the fullest. With his ambition he never stopped imagining a world where people used common ground instead of reasons to argue and separate each other. He saw the world in a different way. A combination of this and his quench for knowledge led him to live a full life of unravelling the secrets of the cosmos. Stephen has taught many to live life even with the unfortunate circumstances the universe shoots in your direction. If light can escape a black hole, what’s stopping you from being the best version of yourself?
She is both the woman we want to be and the woman we know we can never become. Wonder Woman has always been somebody I look up too. She always stuck to her values no matter the situation. She never let anybody take her power away or tell her what to do. If there was a problem she dealt with it with grace, patience and fearlessness. She breaks the mold of what being feminine is supposed to look like by striving to help others in her own fearless way.
Hermione shows young girls the importance of knowledge and having the courage too speak up. Her character was never afraid to raise her hand and ask questions regardless of the relentless torment she got from others about her curiosity. She is proof of how learning and asking questions can spark a life long capability of learning. Her knowledge is the reason she was able to save so many lives and fearlessly stand up for her friends and family in the hit movie series “Harry Potter”.
Each of the individuals you just read about whether fictional or non-fictional have helped me chase my ambitions. All of them have set standards for women’s equality or have helped make a change for the better in this world. Because of their relentlessness to stick to their values, constant fearlessness, thirst for knowledge and ability to disrupt systems they inspire me everyday. Each one of them align with my personal mission statements. Every decision of mine that’s been made has been driven by what they would do. Saying this, I present to you my masterpiece…
The task was originally to create a table with each individual around it. But I thought it would be fitting to put them in a car, ‘driving me towards my mission statement’. I used Superimpose X to put it together! Overall, this assignment was enjoyable. It was interesting to compare my old post with this one and see how much my goals have changed.
Posted on May 15, 2020
During the past few crazy weeks our class has embarked in a project all about dystopias, how fitting. Our learning styles however have shifted, we are now learning entirely through zoom, basecamp and showbie. Although this was quite the adjustment for other classes, PLP is actually functioning quite well online! Anyways, back to the project. Basically what we would be doing is reading a dystopian novel, creating discussion journals as well as discussion groups. Finally we would create a presentation representing the effects and connections of a dystopian society.
Every second zoom class (so once a week) we would disperse into our break rooms where we would discuss the section of our book we were assigned for that week. During these meetings we discussed anything and everything; could be modern day connections, author’s craft, dystopian aspects or any questions we had. This kind of helped us stay on track and better understand the books we were reading. Forgot to mention this, but I was reading 1984. I ended up finishing it quite quickly so I switched over into the handmaid’s tale. Both books were classics and quite interesting to read. There were moments in the two books and overlying themes that were quite similar but many things that were totally different. Both books took on the modern day problem of privacy, or lack thereof. They also showed very clearly how much minorities struggle in these hard times. It seemed like the power gap between rich and poor just kept widening and widening.
Once we had thoroughly discussed our sections we had to complete these novel journals. The idea was to make connections from our book to real life. No more than 500 words and very focused. At the beginning of these I had a little bit of trouble narrowing down my ideas. In my first journal I talked about the lack of privacy in general, and for my second one I discussed North Korea and its lack of factual information and transparency. Although both these connections were completely valid, I still wasn’t focused enough. I really needed to pinpoint one specific idea. Like they always say, third times the charm! Personally, I thought by the third round I made tremendous progress. I ended up connecting the government’s ability to erase your live (in the 1984 novel) to one specific law called the “Right to be Forgotten” in the GDPR (general data protection regulation). This allowed me to go more in depth about one thing rather than sporadically changing topics throughout my paragraphs. Overall I would call this aspect of the project a success because progress was made!
The time had come to begin the project. My group decided to do a classic keynote and a symbolic video to represent our ideas. Our thesis was…
“When a society transitions into a dystopic state, people with lower incomes face much more adversity and misfortune than rich people.”
As I was explaining before, some people are greatly benefiting from this coronavirus, while others are severely suffering.
This isolation has impacted people’s mental health, it has increased domestic abuse, and stripped people’s assets and real estate. The following information was gathered from the research we did for our presentation as well as the presentation itself!
So how has this affected real estate? Well, people in a lower income bracket most likely rent, or have a mortgage. Eventually when they lose their jobs they will be forced onto the streets, unable to afford rent or mortgage. This will force them to become homeless or have to move to cheaper residences and sell houses at a distressed price, losing a large sum of money in the long run. We see very similar patterns in the Novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. The societal structures and lack of stable government intervention led to the freezing of women’s assets, and bank accounts. All finances were controlled by men at that point. No woman even had the opportunity to own property. In time, only men with power and money could choose what they wanted to do and what they wanted to own. On the cusp of the pandemic, this will soon be the case. The power gap between the poor and wealthy will keep soaring until it’s too difficult for those in financial crises to get back on their feet and own property and assets after this crisis is over.
How has this affected mental health? In the handmaid’s tale, when the dystopia first started, Offred was a poor/middle class citizen and was faced with not knowing what was going on, or what the future held. This caused her anxiety to increase and for her to panic. She was put under a lot of stress and pressure due to decisions she had to make about her family and their future. When anxiety levels get very high, depression can also rise and result with more people suffering with mental health issues than before. Stuff like this is happening to people all over the world right now and we are living through it. When the virus started we didn’t know if we would finish high school, our parents didn’t know if they would keep our jobs, and many people were facing more mental health issues than ever before. The only people mostly unaffected by this were people with enough money to feel comfortable not making any for a while, well poor people suffered through even more stress than usual.
Finally, how has this affected essential workers? During the current pandemic, low income essential workers are at the highest risk of getting sick. In the Handmaid’s tale the same issue is seen as women of lower class are only forced to adapt to a new society where they are oppressed to work as handmaids. The cost of food, medicines and supplies have peaked since the outbreak. This means that those that are wealthy will be able to maintain their lifestyle regardless but the lower and middle classes will become impoverished this time next year once their savings have dried up.
“How Do Literary Dystopias Help Us Understand What Is Happening Now?”
Through studying multiple real world scenarios, reading dystopian literature and most importantly living through a pandemic I have learned one thing. The modern day societies we have created are intricate and delicate. As soon as one aspect of the society is disrupted it creates a ripple effect.
One example we talked about during class was Las Vegas and pigs. Ever since the city went into lock down their famous buffets have been put on halt. Many peoples jobs are being affected, and weirdly enough also pigs lives. The scraps and leftovers from the buffets are always dinner for the pigs. So no buffets, no food for pigs. No food for pigs, pigs die. No pigs, no money or food for farmers. As soon as you begin to remove branches of systems it disrupts the rest of the society. Saying this, during these tough times we need to be especially aware and cautious of the actions we are taking.
Also the Japanese garden eels are suffering! These eels are aquatic animals and live in the sand. When people at the aquarium visit them they pop out of the sand to say hi. The issue is, nobody’s been visiting these adorable creatures so they haven’t been popping up. They’re not the sharpest tools in the shed so with their lack of brain capacity they haven’t realized that this can seriously harm their health. The aquarium is now asking people to FaceTime these creatures so they pop out of the sand! So if you have any spare time FaceTime an eel pal!
The literary dystopias that I have studied have helped me make sense of this, and the “new normal”. These novels can help us gain a broader perspective of what’s happening outside of our ‘quarantine bubbles’. They show how people from all different religions, cultures and backgrounds cope with these new dystopias. On top of this, the characters in the novel help us have little more compassion for others during times where it’s really needed.
Time to wrap this up! All I have to say is this could not have been better timed. It was very surreal to learn about dystopias while living through a pandemic. Once in a lifetime kind of experience.
Das, Satyajit. Debt, Wealth Destruction and Lower Pay Will Be Coronavirus Legacy. MarketWatch, 25 Apr. 2020, www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-coronavirus-will-widen-the-gap-dividing-rich-and-poor-2020-04-23.
Welle, Deutsche. Coronavirus Exposes the Divide between China Rich and Poor. DW.COM, 25 Feb. 2020, www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-exposes-the-divide-between-chinas-rich-and-poor/a-52526369.
DeParle, Jason. The Coronavirus Class Divide: Space and Privacy. Https://Www.Nytimes.Com/#publisher, 13 Apr. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/us/politics/coronavirus-poverty-privacy.html
Holcroft-Emmess, Natasha. “The Handmaid’s Tale Depicts Life Without Human Rights – It’s Terrifying.” EachOther, 26 Nov. 2019, eachother.org.uk/handmaids-tale-depicts-life-without-human-rights-terrifying.
“OACIQ | COVID-19 and Your Real Estate Transactions: What You Need to Know.” OACIQ, 6 Apr. 2020, www.oaciq.com/en/articles/covid-19-and-your-real-estate-transactions-what-you-need-to-know.
Posted on February 7, 2020
Recently we started learning about different ideologies. Since most of us are going to university next year we learned about the ideologies through lectures. This led us to learn about all the different styles of note taking like Standard, Cornell, Mindmap and Memory-key. I chose good ol’ fashioned Standard. After some time I got the hang of it, here’s my final set of notes!
We learned various different ideologies but the main ones were liberalism, conservatism, capitalism, communism and faschism. On a spectrum they would look like this…
It’s interesting once you realize that there never has and never will be a defining perspective for each ideology. Everybody has their own definition depending on what perspective they have on life. To one person communism may be absolute insanity, to another it may be what their whole life revolves around. If we are being honest here everybody has biased opinions, the difference is who is aware and who isn’t. When you aren’t aware of your own perspective, opinions or other paradigms is when it starts to cross some dangerous territory. Not understanding you have an ideology can hinder you from learning, growth and can create exclusion. In some cases if a ruler is able to brainwash citizens with an ideology without them realizing, it can create division, violence and isolation (ahem… North Korea).
I’ve noticed that as we go to the far left and right sides the ideologies get more extreme. For example, it’s easy to have some Conservative ideals while also having a few Liberal ideals but it’s hard to be a Fascist and Communist. There isn’t really a right or wrong to ideologies, or a better or worse. It just depends on the situation like who is ruling, how many people, the extremity, etc. However, there are a few ideologies who throughout history have been a little bit more problematic than the rest. Starting with the obvious one, Fascism. As I explained above, Fascism is very authoritarian based. This is already a downfall because as we all know too much power in the wrong hands can be very dangerous. A few examples of this are Adolf Hitler (leader of Nazi Germany) and Benito Mussolini (leader of Italy). They drove the world to a war using their ideologies, and convincing people their way is the only way. This is what I was talking about before, as soon as you stop embracing different ideology things take a turn for the worst.
As I was researching the ideologies I started to think if any of them will last. How do we know if an Ideology will stand the test of time? In my opinion the Ideologies with more flexible/progressive lenses will last. Ideologies like liberalism change with the times, they are open to new ideas and plans. On the flip side, Conservatism loves traditional values and keeping stability in those traditions. This inability to evolve can lead to a downfall in the future. So in my humble opinion I believe that the more progressive Ideologies will last significantly longer.
It’s very interesting to me that anybody is able to look at a piece of artwork, music or literature and be able to immediately tell somebody’s ideology because of the way they frame certain situations. I am trying my best to stay as unbiased as possible while writing this post but i’m sure you could even pick up hints of my lense on life throughout. To express my learning on different ideologies I am going to make you see my perspective on this topic through my lense, math. I see the world in lots of different ways, one of them happens to be numbers, functions and expressions. So here it is, one equation to represent the spectrum of politics.
To help represent the power of different perspectives on formats I created this picture below. It’s simply a pair of glasses, one side has a standard view on the political spectrum and the other side has my perspective on the spectrum. You can see a little bit of the graphed equation I created peaking through on the right lenses. This helps me express my point of the different powers ideologies and perspectives can hold. You can see something in a completely different form or light depending on your paradigm.
So far I am very intrigued by ideologies and the power they have on us. Saying I learned about different ideologies and the political spectrum would be fair to say. However, my true takeaway is to question everything. Ok not everything, just everything I think. I need to be more aware of thinking about what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking. The reality is we don’t even know what we know, so thinking about what we are thinking can make us more aware of our biased and different perspectives. That whole blurb was probably a mouth full, all I am trying to say is question everything.
Posted on January 31, 2020
How do we make choices in what is worth remembering? A question our class has been pondering for quite a while. The significance something has, changes from person to person. Something with great significance reaches a large number of people, is relevant to the past and present, stands the test of time and has profundity. A death can affect somebody deeply (profundity) and can harness a lifetime of sorrow (test of time) but may not necessarily affect a nation or the world.
I find that the most significant events often change a perspective or a worldview, creating lasting effects. That shift in paradigm can make somebody view the world through a new lense until something just as significant changes that lense again. For example, before 500 BC humans believed the earth was flat. Every belief and understanding of the world circled (ha!) around the core concept that the earth was flat. Pythagoras then discovered the earth’s spherical surface, Plato and Aristotle would follow with similar theories. This is a very significant event because it affects all of human civilization (besides a handful of flat earth believers), it has stood the test of time and has deeply affected our understanding of the world. Without this discovery, humans would be hundreds of years behind where we are today. Time is more valuable than anything, showing the significance of this discovery.
I could go on for ages about the importance of Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Let’s get back to the question…
“How do we make choices in what is worth remembering?”
To sum it up, if it affects a worldview or perspective and creates a shift in a system of understanding, it has lasting effects and is worth remembering.
You’re probably itching to know what’s with all the talk about significance? Well, recently we wrapped up a unit on significant events throughout the 20th century. We kicked off the project by listening to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. The lyrics listed approximately 107 events ranging from the early 1900s to the late 1980s that had some sort of significance. Our job was simply to pick an event/person and prove their significance.
To show our research/learning and prove the significance of the event we created an artifact to communicate our findings along with some sort of formal presentation. This process involved lots of research and a deep understanding of our topic.
For my topic I chose Watergate. I was immediately drawn to the topic because there was so much to learn and so many modern-day connections. Before I begin explaining the process, your going to want to get a grasp of what Watergate was. Take a look at the video I made below explaining the event!
So now that you have a good idea of what the scandal was, let’s get started on the presentation/process portion. As soon as we chose our topics we were assigned to do a paragraph simply explaining our event and take on it. What followed this mini assignment was 5-10 pages of research, which included our thesis and evidence explaining why our event was so significant. Normally 5-10 pages of research would stress me out just a little bit, but this time I was quite excited to start. As soon as I got home, I listened to a few hours of the Nixon tapes, visited many websites, listened to speeches and interviews and even began sifting through the documents from the trials. Once I compiled all my research together I came up with a driving question…
“How has Watergate affected the 2019 Impeachment Trials?”
I then began coming up with my thesis to my question as well as 3 pieces of key evidence. I found this very difficult because there was just so much information, theories, and connections. I came to the following conclusions:
The Watergate scandal has very clearly had a ripple effect on the 2019 Impeachment trials, specifically political reform, and journalism.
- The Court’s curb on executive power remains crucial today, they proved that not even the president is above the law. This has affected today’s impeachment trials.
- Lawyers and Attorneys for the first time were viewed in a negative way. Most law schools after the scandal implemented an ethics course, and the bar rewrote its responsibility code.
- Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (journalists at Washington Post covering scandal), created what became known as the culture of celebrity journalists.
Once I had my information, thesis and evidence laid out it was pretty simple to create a keynote along with my script. The hard part for me was shortening it, I didn’t mention this before but we only had 5 minutes! It seems like a long time until you have to explain the significance of one of the biggest political scandals of all time. I was sitting in front of my iPad for hours trying to cut down the script. Everything just seemed so important to include! After a while, I was able to cut it down to 5 minutes, which would give me 1 minute to also show the video compilation I made of the Nixon tapes. Below is my Keynote deck as well as my video compilation.
As I mentioned before we also had to have an artifact along with our project to communicate our learning. When I began researching the scandal along with the 2019 Impeachment Trials I came across hundreds of original transcripts and documents. I grew more and more interested in these documents, in particular, the recent transcripts of the call between Zelenskyy and Trump.
Although I was completely in awe by these documents I knew not everybody would be. Saying this, I came up with the idea to create a lesson plan to show the significance of Watergate as well as try to get people to see those documents/transcripts through my eyes. This was my artifact I would be using to communicate my learning to the class. Throughout this project I discovered that I communicate my ideas through teaching and sharing my love for different topics with other people. I find that whatever platform or format I’m communicating in whether it be presenting, writing or speaking I always share my ideas that I am passionate about. This is very similar to the way I presented my project, I chose to do this lesson plan because I love “teaching” people about things I am passionate about (in this case Watergate). This is another reason why I think this project went well, because communicating things I am passionate about just comes naturally.
I find I’m always drawn to creating more physical things so I ended up printing out those transcripts and ‘decoding’ them. As I presented my Keynote I passed around those marked-up documents so people could physically see and hold a historical artifact as I was explaining the importance of them.
On presentation day, I was pretty nervous just because I knew I would explain things too much than run out of time. Even though I had practiced multiple times under 5 minutes, I had so many other things to share. Overall, I felt like I did a pretty good job, I ended up taking 6.05 mins. If I could do it again I would try to speak slower and take my time on each topic. I felt like I maintained a pretty good tone and my Keynote helped get my point across and engage the class.
This project was so much fun for me, like I mentioned before, it didn’t feel like work. I was able to put my twist on the project by sharing my ideas through building artifacts, researching and presenting. Overall, I enjoyed this project and the accomplishments I made.
Posted on January 26, 2020
It’s that time of the year again, Christmas break is over and MPOLs have begun. I have done these twice a year for almost 5 years now. MPOLs have become a point of reflection, opportunities for improvement and change moving forward.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD I LIKE TO MAKE?
I would like to create a balance in my school work as well as rekindle my curiosity in the world like I used to.
During the past year or so, specifically my senior years in high school I felt like I have become so caught up in grades. My main worry is getting into university when it should really be about myself and my learning. I used to absolutely love school and learning about new things, I still do but it comes with a lot of stress. Saying this I would like to rekindle my curiosity in the world and learning. This will also come with finding balance in my life and leaving time for things that I am curious about.
HOW DID I COME TO THIS CONCLUSION?
Well during my last project I was very driven to learn more and was super curious about my topic. The project was researching and presenting a topic that has significance as well as connecting it to today. I chose Watergate as my topic and was immediately interested in the topic. The first few assignments were to make a quick write up on our topic as well as 5-10 pages of research!
Usually, 10 pages of research are the last thing I would want to do, but not this time. I went home and visited all types of sites, listened to hours of the Nixon Tapes, read hearing documents, watched interviews and listened to speeches. I was so curious about the scandal itself and the world of politics. After some thought, I quickly connected it to today’s politics, specifically Trump’s Impeachment trials. Because I was so curious I took the initiative to learn more about those trials as well. I found the documents below after learning about a conversation between Zelenskyy and Donald Trump. I broke down the transcript further so I could understand what they were talking about. Since we haven’t finalized the project by completing our portfolio of learning I will attach all artifacts of the project below.
Because my curiosity about the world was rekindled I learned way more than I could ever imagine. And the best part was that it didn’t even feel like work. I was so proud of my work because it showed responsibility and initiative in my learning as well as the production of high-quality work. If I approach more projects and assignments as I did with the last one hopefully my curiosity in the world and in my learning will be rekindled.
Another thing I was proud of as a learner was the script myself and the script team put together. The script was part of a larger project we wrapped up before the break. If you haven’t read about it yet click here. The script itself honestly might not have been my best work, I was more proud of the process I took to get there.
Since this was a class project everybody had different jobs they had to complete, ours just so happened to be first. As we were working hard on the script, the rest of the class wasn’t doing much. This definitely wasn’t their fault but it sure made it harder on us. We would complete a whole script only to be sent back to the drawing board. We revised the script too many times to count. It was so frustrating to work so hard on something then get it critiqued by people who weren’t doing anything. I was so proud of my team for persevering through that critique process and trying our best to not give up and come out with the best possible script. The revisions showed hard work even when it was the last thing we wanted to do.
I think with the curiosity that was rekindled through the Watergate project and the perseverance I was able to string together for the script was a perfect blend of tools I can use to improve my learning in the final few months of high school. In the next few months, I am going to use those newfound skills to create balance and initiative in my learning.
With every MPOL conclusion, a question has to be asked in order to spark conversation. This year’s question is…
Have you ever lost curiosity for something you used to love? How did you regain that curiosity?
THE MPOL DECLARATION
“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.”
Posted on January 17, 2020
Here we go again! Another unit wrapped up which always means another blog post. As per usual we have a driving question, this time around it’s…
Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?
To answer and learn from this driving questions we travelled to Seattle, read books, watched horror films and we even made our very own full production movie. There were too many ups and downs to count but in the long run I learned so much.
Feels like ages ago, but we originally started this unit reading the original Frankenstein novel. Let me tell you, it was not at all what I was expecting the book to be. Throughout reading the book we did lots of reflection sheets that we had to hand in as well as some in class discussion. The book itself was very confusing, it jumped through different periods of times and places and was written in old English. We played with the idea of who was the true monster, and why the book was so terrifying.
I hate to say it, but I don’t think I’ve ever read something as difficult as Frankenstein. As I said before it jumped through different timelines a lot which made it quite confusing. I felt like it was a challenge which I oddly enjoyed. When reading the book I really had to focus and get rid of all distractions (phone, music, etc…). From this I became very good at summarizing and taking notes after each chapter. I found that if I used the note taking tool in iBooks after reading a chunk of the book it would help me absorb what I just read. This also forced me to think and reflect on different themes, in turn synthesizing what I just read in my own words. This will hopefully come in handy for university next year!
Frankenstein lead perfectly into the movies we were going to watch. We began with Halloween (1978), then Frankenstein, Gods of Monsters and Get Out. Each one played with the idea of who the true monster is, why we were so afraid, and what they tell us about our society. For each movie and book I wrote other posts doing a large breakdown of my thoughts, click each title above to read them!
We were also lucky enough to go on a trip as part of our learning. We headed to Seattle for a few nights to learn about continuity, change and horror. We went to the LeMay Car Museum to deep dive into what continuity and change looks like throughout time in the automotive world. We also visited MoPOP museum specifically for their horror exhibit. MoPOP always does a very good job with their exhibits, but the horror one was exceptionally well done. They had everything from the Jason mask to decapitated heads. It was super interesting to see how horror evolved and how technology helped that change. For example while there we learned about the use of audio and sound fx. A lot of the time when they didn’t have the technology or resources to make a gruesome scene they would just get a different angle without the “gross” part in the shot and just play some sound fx. Most of the time your imagination of what might be happening will actually be ten times scarier than what you might actually see on the screen.
Our next big stop in Seattle was the Georgetown Morgue haunted house. It was a full blown haunted house experience, it was about 5 minutes but it felt like 30 minutes. It was absolutely terrifying, and Mr. Hughes shrieking the whole time didn’t help. We were chased with chainsaws, crawled into rooms and jump scared every corner we turned. Although the haunted house was super fun, of course everything was a learning experience. After we talked about what scared us and why, this kind of lead us to our driving question about what fears can tell us about our society.
The night we got back from the morgue we met in the lobby of the hotel to begin one of the biggest projects we would do as a class in high school. The production of a horror movie. We started with a brainstorming session and job interviews. We were interviewed for either producer, director or screenwriter role. I decided not to sign up for any of these roles, I was more interested in doing something I had never done before like creative director or script writer. In the end, my job was prop master and script coordinator. This meant I was in charge of finding all the props for the set and writing the script alongside the screenwriter and script team.
So after many contemplating, brainstorming and discussing the class came up with an idea for the movie. The goal was to bring light to a social issue and comment on it. Since we were a bunch of high school kids and didn’t have access to too many sets we had some parameters. We decided to focus on the issue with stereotyping teens and the issues that lead to that. We had decided it was going to be about a bunch of teens staying after school to clean up a prank they pulled, an angry janitor ends up taking revenge on the teens.
As a member of the script team it was our job to get the back rolling and start creating some outlines and prototypes for the class to critique. After many, many drafts of an outline we decided upon one rough draft.
We then began writing the script. This took many long nights and early mornings to complete. We completed it in the Celtx application to make sure we included annotations and details about each character. We also went through multiple extensive critiques, sometimes we would have to scrap the whole script and restart. On top of this, as we were working hard on the script, the rest of the class wasn’t doing much. This definitely wasn’t their fault but it sure made it harder on us. We would complete a whole script only to be sent back to the drawing board. We revised the script too many times to count. It was so frustrating to work so hard on something then get it critiqued by people who weren’t doing anything. I was so proud of my team for persevering through that critique process and trying our best to not give up and come out with the best possible script. The revisions showed hard work even when it was the last thing we wanted to do. This whole experience taught me the importance of critiquing and the purpose of them. Sometimes I would take the critiques a little to personally just because I had put so much effort into each draft of the script. Through this I learnt that critique was really to my benefit and learning, and not something to view as a negative rather a positive.
Once the script was written we began the long process of preparing for filming and gathering all the resources we needed. I gathered all the props we needed like a murder weapon… a broom. When I was done organizing all the props I helped were I could like with the storyboard, making fake blood, and reading lines. After a few weeks of preparing it was time to film! We made some call sheets with all the information we needed for one day of filming. We had a full schedule of after school filming, even Saturday mornings!
As smooth running as everything may sound it really wasn’t… we had our fair share of rollercoasters. The biggest thing I think the whole class learned from our success and failures was communication is key. Without it everybody would be lost. We learned this when we would schedule full days of filming and actors and key team members would need to leave halfway through. This made it extremely difficult to get the shots we needed in our tight timeline, and in the end what left us without all the shots needed. After many days of filming, the production was officially over and it was time to send everything to the editing team. Without all the scenes they couldn’t actually put a movie together so they made a trailer! I thought it was a pretty good plan B. The trailers attached below!
Overall I thought this unit was super interesting! This biggest thing I took away from the whole project was that COMMUNICATION IS KEY. From now on with every project I do I make it a priority. Throughout this project we had a lot of failures but also a lot of successes and most importantly learning opportunities.
Posted on November 20, 2019
Majority of us are guilty of being quick to judge a character, especially in today’s political world. We tend to divide, and immediately view somebody as a monster maybe even evil. This is similar to what happened after Frankenstein (the novel) was written. At first glance many thought the true monster was the creature (Frankenstein’s science project). Some even thought it was solely Frankenstein. The truth is, mankind was the real monster. Let me explain.
Victor Frankenstein creates the monster using modernized (at the time) methods. During this time, the exploration of human anatomy and dissection was popularized, as well as the possibility of bringing somebody back from the dead. Often, after a person’s execution, their body was dissected in front of crowds and an attempt at “revival” was taken. As more gruesome methods and experiments took place, scientists began to see the body as an engineered system rather than a ball of tissue and flesh. It seemed at the time that mankind had used the “journey for intellectuality” as a reason to not be ethically responsible, as did victor. He created a creature who never wanted to be created. He didn’t accept it, care or nurture for it. In other words, he is lacking great amounts of responsibility. But, in his eyes he thinks he knows “what it feels like to be god” (Frankenstein, 1931).
Victor was worried about what other people would think, and how the creature was a danger to society. Meanwhile, the creature was lost but curios of the new world around him. Without his physical features he could be easily mistaken as a child. His mannerisms distinctly mimic those of infants. He was constantly learning through experiences, absorbing everything that he came across. After just a while he “comprehended and could imitate almost every word that was spoken.” (Shelley, 213) Along with all the new things he learned, he quickly discovered the cold hearts of mankind. Because of his physical feature and monster like skull he was not accepted as a man in society. The creature thought he was “ alone and miserable” (265) and that “man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and horrible as myself would not deny herself to me.”(265) Through lack of support and nurture the creature couldn’t understand his emotions. Finally, when his heroism and kindness was rejected after trying to save a little girl from drowning, he grew a hatred for society and took it out on Victor’s friends and family. This revenge consisted of killing many of victors friends. He really didn’t understand what he was doing or why, since nobody had helped him make sense of his emotions.
Mary Shelley (the author of Frankenstein) was trying to comment on mankind’s lack of responsibility for their actions, because she too had felt the repercussions of this as a child. When she was young her mother passed, and not soon after her father had remarried. As Mary grew older her love for literature and education flourished. But, her stepmother had decided to send her daughter (Jane) to school and not Mary. Her step mothers lack of acceptance and responsibility towards Mary’s well being had hindered her to do what she loved, learn. Not soon after she had run away with her soon to be husband. Over the next few years she would have multiple miscarriages, which affected Mary greatly. She was ready to have a child to nurture and take the responsibility of accepting its flaws (something her father or stepmother didn’t do), yet she couldn’t.
Mary’s childhood, as well as current events could have sparked the creation of Frankenstein. A tale that highlights the lack of acceptance and responsibility mankind have for the problems they create. The tragedy and sadness she experienced through her miscarriages could have been a catalyst for her novel. In her story, the creature is a symbol of innocence and sensitivity and Frankenstein is a representation of mankind. The events that follow show just how fragile innocence can be in the face of unacceptance and irresponsibility. Saying this, the true monster in Mary Shelly’s novel is humankind.
As time went on Frankenstein was eventually created into a movie, directed by James Whale. The movie was a huge success and was a catalyst for the horror genre. It didn’t come without some roller coasters though. Many which were outlined in another movie called “Gods and Monsters”. This movie told the controversial story of James Whale’s life and career. As James talks about the monster he says, “the creature is noble and misunderstood” (Gods and Monsters). The director himself is even admitting that the monster is not truly a monster, just misunderstood. James understands the creature, because he felt as though he too was misunderstood.
I think we can learn a thing or two from Mary Shelley’s novel, especially in today’s world. We are dealing with world wide issues like climate change, school shootings, political divisions and wars. The common denominator in these issues is the lack of responsibility and acceptance. We need to take responsibility for the mass amounts of plastic being produced, the forest fires and dying species. We need to be more accepting of others political views. We need to be more inclusive and stop pushing people out of society for the way they look or act. I truly hope that one day we can prove Mary Shelley wrong; that the human race is indeed responsible and accepting, and not a monster.
Drowning deaths are very prominent throughout Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s husband tragically dies drowning, James Whales unfortunately commits suicide by drowning and the monster drowns a girl in the 1931 movie. Interestingly enough, drowning deaths were a catalyst in the research of human anatomy and the “Age of Enlightenment”. There were multiple records of people who were thought to be dead after drowning but really weren’t. Scientists were now beginning to debate where life begins and when it ends. As more and more people were being buried alive after drowning, a group of people decided to found the Royal Humane Society in 1774. This society would retrieve the bodies of drowned victims and would then give rewards for anybody who could resurrect them. The resurrection method is pretty similar to today’s lifesaving skills. They would apply heat to the body, perform artificial respiration and finally electricity (just like Frankenstein!). This led people to experiment with electricity and galvanism, as well as human anatomy and dissections. Maybe this was part of Mary Shelley’s inspiration for her novel.
Posted on November 12, 2019
Throughout this breakdown of Get Out we’ll cover all the nitty gritty from racism and American politics to Emmet Till, Rosa Parks, Frankenstein and technology. We’ll also unfold how horror has evolved in order to contribute to the critique of society and stay relevant. Spoilers ahead!
Get Out is a phenomenal movie that plays with the theme of underlying racism in today’s society. The fear of the horror movie is driven by the idea of people playing with your conscious, the ability to control somebody. We see this underlying theme when Rose leads her boyfriend of 5 months to her parents house, because of the colour of his skin they view him as property. After we discover the parents are in a racist cult that kidnaps and takes control of African American men the plot starts thickening (duh). We learn that the dad (a neuroscientist) not only forcefully kidnaps these men but physically takes control of their brain by tweaking some nerves. The patients still have a consciousness but can’t control themselves, they’re simply a “passenger” in there life. For some of us this is just a horror, something we can only experience in our nightmares. For others it was actually a reality. The movie is obviously playing with the idea of racism in society, knowing this we can connect it to the enslavement of African Americans in the 19th, 18th and 17th century. Slaves were completely controlled by their owners, they couldn’t choose when to eat, sleep, what to wear or what they wanted to do. The owning of slaves breaks just about every human rights law and somehow at the time it was legal. Similar to the movie, slaves were sadly just a “passenger” in their life. So in conclusion, the fear that drives this movie is that we may one day become a “passenger” in our life.
I think what makes this film even more frightening is that there are real people out there who have the same mindset and motivations of the family. The family’s motivation to kill or rather take control was focused on people of colour. A scene nearing the end of the film exposes the reasoning behind controlling POC, one woman said “they’re in fashion” and an other said it was because of there “physical structure”. It was almost like they were viewing the people as property, something that was disposable. No matter who you are, that mindset should terrify you.
One reason this movie was so successful was because it was introduced in a way that could relate to everybody. It starts off with Rose taking Chris to her parents house for the first time. Chris’s main worry is if her parents will accept him for who he is. Something we can all relate too, the worry of acceptance. This relatability is what hooks the audience in, you instantly make a connection with Chris’s character.
Another interesting technique that the film uses is the setting. When they arrive at Rose’s parents house it becomes obvious it’s a predominately white suburban neighbourhood. Most horror movies use the suburban neighbourhood as a victim of some kind of monster, but with this film the neighbourhood seems to be the source of horror. The plot has barely begun at this point and the audience is already weary and unsure of what to expect.
If you have watched the movie, you are already aware of “the Sunken Place”. In an interview, Jordan Peele comments on this term and says “We’re all in the Sunken Place … the Sunken Place means we’re marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.” This adds a lot of powerful context to the movie, it reveals the films exploration of cultural appropriation and America’s racism. This technique of tying modern and historical pasts into symbols throughout the movie is very frequently used.
This film is webbed with historical and modern day context. An example of this is the use of technology and the symbols they represent. We were discussing in class the significant yet hidden use of the camera in the movie, more accurately the phone camera and flash. When the people in the “Sunken Place” have their pictures taken with flash they become conscious for a split second. Like we talked about before, the “Sunken Place” is a symbol for marginalization and how the system silences people. Therefor, if the camera flash is used to pull people out of the “Sunken Place” it represents the power of social media and technology’s ability to let those who are marginalized be heard. Similar to social media nowadays, it’s essentially a platform used by millions to speak and spread truth. We can even go as far as connecting it to Emmet Till, a boy who’s story was told through a picture. This picture is what inspire Rosa Parks, and what is said to have sparked the civil rights movement.
As the movie comes to an end, the flashing lights of a police car reflect onto Chris’s bloodied body. He is surrounded by the carcass of Rose, the groundskeeper and maid. My first thought was, “here we go again another POC getting blamed for something they didn’t do”. I was so frustrated that the movie had come to this, after everything that Chris had gone through he was going to be arrested. But, to my surprise it was his TSA friend coming to his rescue. Relieved that Chris wasn’t going to jail, I reflected on my initial reaction. Why did I assume that the cops were going to arrest him? Is the world that messed up that I assumed the worst, and assumed the same old narrative? After some research I found I wasn’t alone in this presumption. In fact, the director Jordan Peele was initially going to end the move like that, with Chris sitting in jail looking at a full life sentence. As relieved as I was that he didn’t go that route, I also feel like that would have been so impactful. Don’t get me wrong the movie is already so powerful, but Chris getting arrested would have been the cherry on top of the ice cream. It would have made the audience so incredibly frustrated, and maybe inspired somebody to make some sort of change in either their perspective or somebody else’s.
This movie is so different than any other, the classics don’t even come close to it. Classic horrors such as Frankenstein use similar themes like acceptance, but besides that they don’t really come close to Get Out. The film is just so unique whether it be the deceitful characters, gut wrenching plot twists, unsettling settings and use of sound. Nowadays, classics like Frankenstein have pretty predictable plots and horror techniques. Even though the classics may not be as mature as today’s movies, Frankenstein, Psycho, and Halloween walked so Get Out could run.
Saying this, horror movies has to evolve to keep its relevance in society. Whether that be using increasingly deceitful characters or dealing with greater conflicts and themes. If Get Out where to be about some paranormal world and had nothing to do with racism it probably would not have done as well. The themes have to be relevant to society otherwise they will have no significance or make impact on people’s life’s and perspectives. Since Get Out does deal with such a predominate issue in our society it was able to relate to so many people, and make such a great impact.
Posted on November 4, 2019
This post will be a complete breakdown of the movie, Halloween. I’ll discuss anything from the horror, motivations, purpose, timeline, and similarities in other classics. We’ll start with the horror, and what made the movie so scary!
The fear from the movie Halloween derives from the unknown. We never knew what Myers motivation was, why he went after Laurie, or why he killed his sister. Michael was so experienced in stalking and analyzing, he knew how to read people. Once he had targeted his prey, they were dead. If they ran, he chased, if they fought, he fought back harder. It was like a nightmare you couldn’t control, no matter what you did, your fate would be sealed. It drills the idea into your heads that it could be you, he could decide to target you, and once he does there’s nothing you can do. In conclusion, the fear is created through the unknown, and lack of control that Michael displays in his killings.
Although Mike’s motivations are unknown, there seems to be a pattern in who he chooses as his victims. That pattern consists of irresponsible teens, who commit ‘sins’ e.g. sex and drinking. This all starts with his sister who decided against babysitting little Mike and instead decided to hook up with her boyfriend. That night, little Mike preys on his first victim, his sister.
The second killing in the movie is eerily similar to the first. Annie Brackett is babysitting a young girl, but is more focused on her boyfriend Paul coming over. As Michael methodically stalks her, he finds the perfect moment to strangle and slit her throat. The rest of the victims that follow have all either ignored their responsibility’s, drank or had sex. Although the movie does not specifically give us a motivation for killing, we can clearly see they are trying to make a comment on humanity using the patterns of the victims. The movie seems to be trying to comment on the consequences of teens not taking responsibility in society.
Not only does the movie have a thrilling story, but the way it’s told makes everything much more memorable. The sound effects and choice of POV shots are what truly made this film lead the way for many others. A great example is the classic breathing sound through Mike’s mask that brings chills up your spine. Every time he stalks, kills, or is about to kill his breath rapidly increases as if he’s aroused. This has got to be the creepiest addition to the movies soundtrack, and what makes Mike even more inhumane.
Another powerful technique the film uses is the POV shots. Many times throughout the movie, the screen cuts to inside Mikes Mask. We essentially see what Mike sees, we are put in his shoes. This change in perspective is what makes the movie so interesting. On top of that, the mask is manipulated in such a frightening way. The original mask is actually of William Shatner, but flipped inside out. Doing so they covered his facial expressions, stripping him of that last humanity he had left. This technique makes Michael Myers seem even more threatening.
This movie was released just a few years after the Vietnam War was wrapped up. Saying this, Halloween was likely influenced by its time period. Michael Myers could easily be a representation of the war, an inhumane, purposeless evil. Michael killed countless people with no motivation, so did the war. Many soldiers were killed after the president knew they wouldn’t win the war, the fighting was purposeless. Laurie represents the American people fighting against the evil of the war in that she is relentless, dignified and stuck to her values. She is the only character in the movie who actually fights back against Michael. The American people relentlessly protested on the lawn of the Whitehouse and across the nation. They knew what was happening in Vietnam wasn’t right, and because of this they took responsibility and fought back just like Laurie.
As Halloween is such a classic it set the path for many other movies, but what was before that? Who set the way for Halloween? Of course Psycho is on that list, but so are some older ones like Frankenstein. Believe it or not there were quite a few similarity between the two. Some continuity’s we see are the universal themes, these themes always battle with humanity. In Frankenstein we toy with the idea of acceptance of the monster, will people still love him even if he’s ugly? Halloween does too push the limits of humanity, and it’s acceptance of monsters. The films show us that there is no boundary’s of humanity, that really anybody can break the laws of society. Essentially there is nothing in the way from stopping anybody from killing.
As for differences, the way horror is viewed has changed. Nowadays, more blood equals more horror. As a society we have become numb to the gruesome murders caught on film, the demons and the zombies. Halloween set the path for this, at the time the movie was pretty risky to release to the media. The deaths were just so gruesome, people weren’t exposed to this type of horror. If we were to watch Halloween today, it would be comical to how un-gruesome the deaths were. The same thing could be said about Frankenstein. Back then the novel was terrifying, but nowadays it could be a bedtime story. As time changes we become numb to the past, this is why horror has changed so much over the years.
In conclusion, the movie Halloween has set the path for so many movies. Everything from the POV shots, to the sounds track and the mask. They were able to tap into society’s fears and break them down with one single character, Michael Myers. The genius behind the movie will never be forgotten.
Posted on October 6, 2019
It’s been a while… but I’m back! We kicked off this year with a unit focusing on classical literature by a handful of well known writers. To get a head start on Classic literature, we actually had to read a book over the summer. We had the choice between books like Pride and Prejudice or the Great Gatsby. Whichever book we picked, the one thing we had to do is keep precise and helpful notes on the book. That way when we got to school we could dissect our books with the class. I chose the Great Gatsby as my book, and I really enjoyed the book. I love the way the author painted a picture with his words, you could really see the book come alive inside your head. The book also toyed with a lot of interesting themes such as the American Dream, money and marriage.
When we got to school we didn’t waste anytime, the very first class we were introduced the idea of ‘What Makes a Classic’. We were then given the task to convince her that our book was a Classic through a paragraph. Although it was just writing, this paragraph was abnormally difficult for me to write. I felt like I hadn’t really thought about anything all summer so writing my ideas down on paper seemed impossible. In the end, it actually really helped me work through my ideas and focus on fine tuning my skills.
After a few classes we were introduced to the driving question…
How can we create animated shorts that use “The Taming of the Shrew” to explain the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past?
We also were shown our Milestone’s document, this included all our projects, assignments, due dates and expectations. I found this so helpful! I would know weeks in advance when assignments are due, so I could very easily work around my schedule. It also set us up for success because we knew exactly what the teachers wanted to see and the expectations.
Not soon after we were introduced to our project. It would consist of creating an animation of a scene from Taming Of The Shrew, a classic Shakespeare play. The twist was to set the scene in a different time period. Depending on the period it was set in, the play’s language and gender roles would change sightly.
Since this unit would involve a group project, we started off the class with a very fitting video…
After getting comfortable with the idea of studying classics, we went to Bard on the Beach and watched a performance of Taming of the Shrew!
I actually really enjoyed the performance. It was interesting to see the directors choices in setting the play in the “Wild West” rather than in the classic play format. I feel like it really helped me get some ideas going for my own animation. The play ended up liberating Kate in the end, that’s actually what we got our inspiration from. Through the play I got a deeper understanding of the gender roles in that time and the language/culture surrounding it. For example, all the things that Kate did that made her a “Shrew” seemed to be the norm today. It seemed as though the culture surrounding women in society has made a 180° turn.
After a few weeks of focusing on Taming of the Shrew, we switched it up and started learning about gender roles in our specific time periods. I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but our time period is one of my favourite decades, the 60s! We had to create some sort of media piece individually, that showed our understanding of our decade. Here’s mine!
This video really helped me further my understanding of the everyday life of a woman in the 60s. What I found most interesting was the advertisement directed towards women during that time. They were constantly pushing the idea of a perfect woman and family. Magazines like Cosmopolitan would teach housewives how to act, dress and cook. They even went as far as pushing the drug I mentioned in the video, “mothers little helper”. That drug was basically used for soldiers in WWII who had major PTSD issues. Regardless, people were still pushing this strong drug to essentially numb women of all emotions and opinions.
After lots of research and brainstorming it was time to start our storyboard for our animation. We had to include dialogue, angles, sound effects and music. When it was done, our storyboard was basically used as an instruction manual on how to put together our video.
Next step was actually putting together the animation. None of our group members were necessarily talented at animating so we decided to use an app we were more comfortable with, Explain Everything.
Our draft one had the right ideas but was for sure a little rough around the edges. Our audio needed to be clearer, our characters needed to be improved, we needed more music and sounds effects. The one part I really liked was at the beginning were our group set up the scene with a broadcast from the moon landing. This made sure the audience knew exactly what time period we were using. Here’s our final draft!
Overall this unit was super fun. It incorporated lots of aspects such as classic literature, women’s roles, animation, writing and history. I have deepened My understand of gender roles in society and the factors that affect it. I have also sharpened my editing and audio skills, something I needed to improve. Last but not least, my appreciation for classic literature like the Great Gatsby has definitely improved. Let’s just say, this unit was a success!