A Breakdown Of “Get Out”

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.

A Breakdown of Halloween [1978]

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.

Works Cited:

https://screenrant.com/halloween-movie-true-story-killer-michael-myers/

https://www.inverse.com/article/49969-michael-myers-halloween-2018-original-costume-mask

https://halloweenmovie.fandom.com/wiki/Michael_Myers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurie_Strode

Classic Literature & Gender Roles

 

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!

Ideas > Art

It’s that time of year again! Blue Sky has come around once again. If you don’t know what Blue Sky is at this point, you’ve got some catching up to do. Click here, here and here for my past Blue Sky projects. This years theme was very interesting and unlike anything we’ve done before. Our end product would be a conceptual art piece that represented a theme of the Vietnam war. Take a look at my final project!

We begun this final unit by learning about conceptual art. Most people are intimidated by the idea of conceptual art, it almost seemed like a very mature form of art. At first glance conceptual art can seem dumb, or too simplistic (seems like a child could make it). Conceptual art is really about the meaning or idea behind the art, which makes it that much more interesting. Here’s a few famous examples (the clock one is my favourite)…

To become really comfortable with identifying the aspects of conceptual art we visited the Vancouver Art Gallery (and Chipotle… of course)! The artist we focused on was Mowry Bawden. His art is pretty easy to spot, it usually consists of everyday objects that create an interactive piece. Here’s a few examples of his art!

After we finished learning about conceptual art we began looking at the Vietnam war. We split the war into 7 themes (forces that fueled the war, beliefs and misconceptions, leadership, who fought, how the war was fought, propaganda truth and media and, the war at home) for the fluidity of it all. Our teachers were actually on a trip while we were learning about this, so we were given many different resources to power through. We also watched the Ken Burns movie on the war, and took notes. Before they got back we had to divide ourselves into the themes, which would eventually be what we would represent through our art. After lots of consideration and research I chose to do theme 4 (who fought in the war).

Once we got back we did something that we rarely do, take a test! This test was comprised of multiple choice questions as well as a writing and vocabulary portion. I ended up scoring a 9/12, so not too bad! 

Now that we knew our themes, it was time to start brainstorming and creating our art. After lots of research and conversations with our teachers we were told to fill out a form with our finalized ideas. Click on the bar below to find out my aim for the art!

The point… The piece highlights the hypocrisy of sending soldiers who are too young too vote drink or get married to a war they didn't understand and appeared unnecessary. It was like sending babies to war. Historical events… As the Vietnam war took off, the need for men had become greater. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military drafted 2.2 million American men. Thousands tried to get out of the draft by intentionally failing the aptitude tests or fleeing to Canada. Any boy over the age of 18 and not currently enrolled in college had to go to war. This attracted individuals who have no other options because they were poor or uneducated. The war went on, as more and more young lives were being lost. LBJ was running for office again, his whole campaign was based upon peace. In fact, in a campaigning he said, “we are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” (Johnson) Although he wished for peace, just a few short months after the Gulf Of Tonkin Resolution, Johnson rapidly increased US military presence. 184,000 troops were stationed in South Vietnam by the end of 1965. Of those killed in South Vietnam once the war escalated, 61% were under 21. Ethical judgement… The ethics of conscription are still greatly debated. Many historians and people view the draft as a decision to abrogate personal liberty. According to Christian Appy in Working-Class War, “most of the Americans who fought in Vietnam were powerless, working-class teenagers sent to fight an undeclared war by presidents for whom they were not even eligible to vote.” He brings across many valid points that challenge just how ethical the draft was. Why should teens who have barely reached adulthood fight in a war that they can't even vote for? As well as age- education and wealth seemed to be a pattern in draftees. Since those enrolled in universities don’t have to serve, people who can’t afford to go to university or don’t have enough money to support themselves are automatically drafted. The war turned into a battle of the young and poor, while the rich and old sat idle in power. Emotions… I want to elicit anger and devastation from my audience. The fact that so many young boys with lots of potential were killed during the war will hopefully draw out those emotions. These are similar emotions that those who lost their sons, brothers or friend during the war. Works Cited “Vietnam: Historians At War.” National Association of Scholars. nas.org/academic-questions/21/1/vietnam_historians_at_war. Accessed June 6 2019. “U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam War: the Gulf of Tonkin and Escalation, 1964.” Office Of The Historian. history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/gulf-of-tonkin. Accessed June 6 2019. Lyndon B. Johnson, “Remarks in Memorial Hall, Akron University,” October 21, 1964, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, 1964, Book II, pp. 1391-1393.

Building everything…

I began by going thrifting to buy some dolls, I found out in a very inconvenient way that one of them talked french (it was very creepy). I then created a 3×4 wooden shadow box, and was planning on covering it with plexiglass. After finding out plexi glass is like 150$ I decided to go down a different route. I found a shower curtain that was pretty clear, and stretched it out on the shadow box using lots of clamps. Then on a very sunny day I laid it out on the lawn, until it became pretty malleable. This allowed me to stretch it out even more with clamps, witch I then just screwed into the sides. Finally I hung my dolls, splattered blood everywhere and plastered some posters onto the front. 

 

At the exhibition we were split into groups by how similar our projects were. I ended up being in a group with Izzy and Simon (my two favourite people). Since our teachers wanted the rooms to look like a gallery, we decided to make things pretty simplistic. We just put up some black curtains and brought some outdoor lights and turned off the fluorescent school lights.

I think this project gave me a deeper appreciation for conceptual art. I found it very difficult for myself to create something so simplistic that represented such a deep idea with so many emotions and events. Overall I’m happy with the outcome, but feel like I could have worked on it more and really fine tune everything. That’s it for now, see ya next year!

TPOLs 2019

Well, it’s that time of year again and tPOLs are upon us. I started this year with a lot on my plate, but ended it very successfully. Through projects I have grown as a learner, and fined tuned many skills. This has resulted in a high level of learning and critical thinking.

The first thing I would like to talk about is the “World on the Brink” post. I was very proud of my final project and felt I grew from it immensely. For this post we needed to include our research essay as well as a connection to a social change. This deepened out thinking and forced us to connect events and research. I was personally very proud of this post because I used lots of different perspectives and primary resources to pack together a very thorough research assignment.

When I was putting together the post I watched “A Bunny’s Tale” the Hollywood film about Gloria Steinmans undercover work at the playboy mansion. I also read all her original journals and articles posted in the newspaper, as well as some interviews she did. Instead of purely reading a wikipedia article or a biased website, I attempted to live through the past to really grasp the perspective of Gloria. This deepened my learning and lead me to connect more events and social changes like MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. This skill is great to adapt at my age, and will be highly helpful as I transition grades.

In January, after learning about the Civil Rights Movement we were completing a video project about individual that changed a system, in Canada. The project was a partner project, therefor we had to utilise our teamwork skills and responsibility skills. I was partners with Calum, and we decided to focus on those changing the DTES, and how a community can change a lot.

Since our issue was so close to home, we decided we had no excuse to not find interviews to support our video! After some digging, our teacher told us she found a perfect contact. After doing some research on the organization we were really inspired about what they were doing/trying to accomplish. We were going to interview a lawyer from the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic. The legal clinic also took on a few students from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, so we were also hoping on interviewing a student. The indigenous community law clinic takes on lots of pro bono cases, and focus on giving back to a minority group that have been discriminated against for centuries.

Since we are battling with the idea of systems, we thought it would only be fair to gain more knowledge about our justice system. We first went to the bail court, then to the conviction court. We were only there for about an hour and a half, but I could have stayed there all day. It was so interesting to me, and also saddening to hear all the stories of those convicted. Most of them were not first time offenders, and were also living on the streets. Through this experience I saw with my own eyes how difficult it is to support yourself mentally and physically when your are living on the streets. All people really need is support.

At this point the project was relying on an interview for most of our evidence and resources, so we really had to pick up our game. We had to contact the legal clinic, set up a date, create substantial interview questions and do lots of pre-research. This put a lot of responsibility on Calum and I, and pushed us out of our comfort zones. I think this is a very important ability you should have when it comes to projects. Because the only way you can really grow though projects is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

As always, there is room for improvement. This year I would like to work on my “first drafts”, whether it be projects, essays or assignments. I find a lot of the time I view my first draft as a free pass, something to just hand in before the due date. I would like to switch that perspective and view my first draft as my final. As I said before you can’t grow as a learner without pushing your comfort zone.

During our PGP course, we’ve covered everything from goal setting to effective habits and productivity. Although all useful skills to know for the future, the most important thing I learned was “The world isn’t working against me, I’m working against myself”. I really didn’t consider this until we began learning about paradigms at the beginning of the year. I realized that my paradigm of myself does not benefit me at all. I spend almost all my time critiquing myself and focusing on all the things I do wrong. This creates a negative perception of myself and really lowers my self esteem. If I continue down this path I will never have enough confidence to take chances or accomplish goals I put my mind to. This is something I also strive to improve before the end of next year. If I can manage this negative paradigm of myself, I will be able to accomplish my goals and become much more successful in the new year.

With all my skills I’ve improved and the growth I have made I believe I will have a successful final year. On top of that, through my PGP course I have learned to timeblock and manage my life. With the busy schedule I’ll have, this will be a huge asset. This is why I feel I am ready to advance to the next grade level.

PGP Time Machine

I’m sure at this point your familiar with my PGP course. Since it’s almost June, it’s that time of the year to start wrapping up what we’ve learned. We’ve covered everything from goal setting to effective habits and productivity. Although all useful skills to know for the future, the most important thing I learned was “The world isn’t working against me, I’m working against myself”. I really didn’t consider this until we began learning about paradigms at the beginning of the year. I realized that my paradigm of myself does not benefit me at all. I spend almost all my time critiquing myself and focusing on all the things I do wrong. This creates a negative perception of myself and really lowers my self esteem. If I continue down this path I will never have enough confidence to take chances or accomplish goals I put my mind to.

“Paradigms are like glasses. When you have incomplete paradigms about yourself or life in general, it’s like wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. That lens affects how you see everything else.”

-Sean Covey

As always (since this is a project based course) I created an artifact to represent my learning. I tied in each aspect of what we’ve learned and the most valuable thing I will take away from this course all through a reflective painting. As I take you through my art piece, I will touch on each topic we have learned this year.

Take a look!

This painting was created by me! It took lots of effort and planning, overall I feel like the artistic side could have turned out better, but i’m really proud of the actual idea behind it! We begun this whole process with a pitch form, this way our ideas could be laid out and approved before we begun. My pitch form was actually a lot different than the way the piece turned out (which I didn’t plan). I felt like my old idea may have been more negative and thinking of the past, where as the painting now is more thinking of the future. That may not make any sense now, but I promise it will by the end.

My original ideas and pitch form!

So my overall idea of this painting was to create a girl looking for her future and goals using a pathway of the skills she had learnt. As you may have noticed, she is walking along the ocean. The sea has always been my home, so having my pathway of skills parallel with the ocean represented how my family have always been supportive of me. The girl is exploring who she wants to be in the outdoors, coming back to my thesis (the world isn’t against me, I’m against myself). This shows that the only thing stopping her from following the path to success is self doubt and a negative paradigm. Nothing has ever physically stopped me from achieving my goals, it's always been my self doubt. It may be hard to tell, but those binoculars actually have symbols of some goals I would like to achieve. I will go more in depth about those later.

This painting could have really helped me at the beginning of the year. It could have been a constant reminder to never doubt myself. Everytime I studied for a big test, handed in an assignment or got ready for a big soccer game it would have been a reminder of who I am. Since I am in grade 11, having the confidence to set more goals would have been really helpful. I would have explored more universities, programs and set my standards higher. Although I didn’t know this at the beginning of the year, I do know which means my grade 12 year is about to be a whole lot more successful! The great thing about the art piece is that I can now hang it in my room as a reminder every morning and night of my positive paradigm.  

Let’s get into the nitty gritty, starting with the binoculars. This portion of the art piece is all about goal setting, starting with mine. Each symbol represents something a more positive perception of myself can earn me. With grade 12 around the corner I am really worried about grades and the courses I am taking. I love chemistry but am worried I won’t be able to attain a high enough grade for it to count towards anything. This is a negative perception I would like to turn into a positive one by realizing that if I put my mind to something I can accomplish it. This is what the chemistry beaker, A+ sheet and science bubble represents. The Chinese symbol represents independence, something I lack at times. I sometimes don’t give enough credit to myself and always make excuses for why something was successful. I would like to flip that view and start gaining more independence in my achievements. Finally the airplane and UBC logo represent my future. At this moment, I am not sure what I want to do with my life which is something that I can sometimes view negatively. I would like to change that perception and focus on the things I love to do instead.

A dream board of some of my goals I created as an assignment at the beginning of this course.

The next two aspects are productivity and effective habits. These two topic were a large focus of PGP this year. This is represented by the application icons along the pathway to success. They are meant to show how much they help in my journey to achieving my goals. The Calendar icon is a symbol of time blocking. This is a very effective habit I have learned over time, and I still use to this day. It has helped me be more efficient, create better work and open up time for the things I love to do. The Things icon represents organization, and how we have learned to use it in our everyday life. Being able to have all my due dates, goals appointments and a To Do list in one spot has helped me so much in the long run. Having this application can organize my life, which means making more time to work towards my goals. Finally BaseCamp, something I use in my everyday life to retrieve information and learn. This represents an effective habit “sharpen your saw”. It’s meaning is to balance your knowledge and have a broad understanding of the world, while also being mentally stable, being healthy and having strong relationships.The habits essentially helps you become more balanced in your life. I thought basecamp would be the perfect icon because it’s where I get all my information for my classes and learn about how to have goals, effective habits and balancing my life.

Yet another piece I created in mind of Habit #7, Sharpen Your Saw.

The Overall this course I know will help me in the long run. Everything I’ve learned will help me achieve my goals, get into university and hopefully start a successful career. This course will most definitely help me in my journey to becoming my best self, and achieving the things I wish to see in my life. With all this in mind I would like to work towards switching my lens, and how I perceive myself. Now I know my strengths and weaknesses, both tools I can use to work towards my goals. Hopefully this experience, reflection and my art piece can help me gain more confidence and create a more positive paradigm of myself.

World On The Brink

The 1960s were simply a whirlwind of events, there were social and political changes left and right. The ever-changing society was filled with chatter of the first man in space, and woman changing the rules. Among them, Gloria Steinem, an independent role model for young girls through the sixties and even now. Gloria Steinem was responsible for making worldwide advancements by pushing the boundaries of journalism and exposing women’s rights. She challenged a system that has not supported minority groups for so long. Making this social change, among many others (environmental, civil rights, labour laws) has affected the political world, bringing the world to the brink.

The picture above was created by me using different forms of media. The apps I used to create this were eraser and pages. The idea behind this was to bring in both the political and social side of the 60s in a creative way. The background is actually a drawing from a Soviet space cartoon. I also added the Soviet cosmonaut in the corner which I found in a Soviet propaganda poster. The background is an obvious representation of the political space race! The poster was also put together by me, it includes many influential people and events in the 60s (Martin Luther’s King, JFK, Vietnamese war, rallies etc…). Finally, front and center is a famous Image of Gloria Steinem speaking at the 1972 Miami Democratic National Convention. The photo as a whole is what truly brought the world to the brink in the 60s.

As a woman in the 60s (and centuries before) your life was planned out like a blueprint for a building. You were sketched into society, pushed through doors and cornered into a life you don’t belong in. As you enter the world as a young woman you were told to marry, buy a house, have kids, cook and clean. You could not have a credit card, serve on a jury, go on birth control, go to an ivy league school or experience equality in the workplace.

People (especially woman) were getting inspired, there were movements happening left and rights. The civil rights movement was sparking people to challenge the system where equality was due. Gloria Steinem was a perfect example of somebody challenging a system, therefore pushing it to the brink. Her natural writing ability, leadership, strength and attitude allowed her to defy the standards for woman in 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 woman all over the world? This article sparked a change in how playboy 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.

At this point the world was changing at a pace that some were not able to keep up with. Gloria brought to light how poorly woman are treated, Martin Luther King began a black rights movement, environmental laws were changing as well as labour laws! Social change was most definitely in action, but what about political? Well, if the social world is changing so does the political. For example, after the women’s rights movement (sparked by gloria and many other talented woman) many laws were put into action like the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The same thing happens with the civil rights movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed due to the movement. The world was changing socially and politically. The space race was beginning, and the soviets had a satellite and man in space. This pushed our world even further, making the 60s the best of both worlds. Read all about how the world was at its tipping point in an essay I wrote!

First the satellite now the man, the Soviets were ahead in the space race. The year was 1961, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin had just blasted off from the Soviets' launch site in the Vostok 1 (spacecraft). Over the course of 108 minutes, Vostok 1 traveled around the Earth once and had reached a maximum height of 203 miles (327 kilometres). As the world watched, the Soviets celebrated their triumph while America feared what was to come. If they could put a man in space, why not a missile? At the lift of a finger America could be annihilated by Soviet rockets. This fear loomed like a shadow over the demoralized and fearful Western Hemisphere. The Soviets were strides in front of America in the space race, and space dominance was pertinent to national security, and a symbol of ideological superiority. They had the power in space which meant they now had the power on land. A new age had come, one where the soviets had power on land, in the ocean and in space. They had advanced their technology so much so, they had the capability to bring a man to space. This idea frightened people because at that time the Russians were so unpredictable. A daily newspaper dating back to April 1961 read, “the first man on the moon? Most likely he’ll carry a hammer and sickle” (Why We’re Behind- Will We Catch Up?). That shadow looming over America forced them to believe the Soviets would be the first in space. As I said before the soviets were very unpredictable, this scared the American government which brought tension to the two power hungry nations. As per usual JFK had a lot to say about this situation, he had made a challenge to get an American on the moon in less than a decade. JFK even prefaced in his speech to the nation that "We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding."(Kennedy, “We Choose To Go To The Moon”) His promising tone during this part showed just how dire it was for other nations to understand this. Understand that America did not want to gain more power in order to cause mass destruction but rather to gain knowledge. The president feeling the need to express this shows just how complex the nuclear age was. Aside from the fear of missiles in space cascading across America, an ideological difference brought fear as well. It was a post “witch hunt”, 1950 era and the American government was still weary of the communist ideologies. A powerful communist group could suddenly worsen trade to america and be detrimental to the nation. What does any of this have to do with space? Well, because the “Soviet Union's dominance in space was made Mimi Zanker 2 clear.” (Hansen 260) that meant that so did their ideals. If the Russians were in space, the communists were in space. What everybody must understand is that space dominance was not only pertinent to national security, but rather a symbol of ideological superiority as well. The USA felt it was up to them to prove that democracy was superior to communism. Reaching space would prove the abilities of the minds those ideals produced. Essentially, the first nation to reach beyond our atmosphere would prove to be the “smarter” among the two. The unmissable fear that loomed over the Western Hemisphere was a direct result of the first man in space. The idea that the Russians had power over America demoralized the country that was once a power hungry nation. Once again, if they could put a man in space, why not a missile? The thought of Western mass destruction lingered through the American government, and small American towns. Space dominance was a symbol of ideological superiority, feeding the shadow of fear which gave America no choice but to take action. Works Cited Hansen, Morten. How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. Harvard Business Press, 2009. Print. Kennedy, John. “We Choose To Go To The Moon.” Rice Stadium, Houston. 12 September 1962. “Why We’re Behind- Will We Catch Up.” The Voyage- Special Section, April 24 1961, p. 29.

You see, with social change comes political change. Laws and structure is what keeps our society running so when it’s challenged, it changes. People like Gloria and Martin push the world to the brink, to its tipping point. They put the world under pressure until it snaps and has no choice but to change.

Works Cited

Biography.com. “Gloria Steinem Biography.” The Biography.com website, A&E Television Networks, 2 April 2014, https://www.biography.com/activist/gloria-steinem.

McLaughlin, Katie. “5 things women couldn’t do in the 1960s” CNN, 25 August 2014, https://www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/living/sixties-women-5-things/index.html.

http://sites.dlib.nyu.edu/undercover/sites/dlib.nyu.edu.undercover/files/documents/uploads/editors/Show-A%20Bunny%27s%20Tale-Part%20Two-June%201963.pdf

Kelley, Shannon. “5 Ways Gloria Steinem Made Life Better for American Women.” TakePart, Participant Media, 25 March 2014, http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/03/25/5-ways-gloria-steinem-made-life-better-women.

We Shall Overcome

What you just watched was my final project for this past unit! The topic of that video was all about the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and how individuals knitted together can create a community of people willing to change. Although this is a very important topic, it wasn’t actually what the class was focusing on. We were actually learning all about the Civil Rights Movement, something incredibly important to American (and worldwide) history. Our driving question for this unit was… 

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

You may be wondering about the title of my post, does it sound familiar? It was actually the name of a classic song that was sung during a strike of tobacco workers in South Carolina. Soon after it became the unofficial anthem for the Civil Rights Movement. If you reflect on the statement, It’s words are actually very powerful. They helped many persevere through the tough times of the movement and even today in my opinion, shows a sign of unity and strength.

The civil rights movement was definitely an eye opener for how people were treated back then and even today. As much as the civil rights movement brought justice and equality in terms of law (civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965) the mindset of individuals still needs to change. I think this was something important that people really need to understand, that change still needs to be made.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the nation's premier civil rights legislation. The Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, required equal access to public places and employment, and enforced desegregation of schools and the right to vote. It did not end discrimination, but it did open the door to further progress.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

At the beginning of the unit we reviewed pre-1950s. This included…

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free.". Despite the act, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to few states, leaving most of the south as slave states.

Source: https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/emancipation-proclamation
Reconstruction, the era following the U.S. Civil War, was an effort to unify the divided nation and integrate African Americans into society. The controversial steps taken gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan and other divisive groups. Source: https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/reconstruction
Jim Crow laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation. Named after an insulting song lyric regarding African Americans and the laws which existed for about 100 years. Black communities and individuals that attempted to defy Jim Crow laws were often met with violence and death. Back then, the laws were thought of as “Separate but equal”. Source: https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/jim-crow-laws

After touching on pre-1950 we went on to Brown vs. Board of Education, the murder of Emmett Till and the Bus Boycott. While learning about these topics the thing that stuck with me the most was that everything was purposeful. For example, I always thought that the bus boycott was started by just Rosa Parks. In my mind, she was fed up with the system and decided to stand up for what was right. Turns out that I was wrong, the whole event was planned. In fact, a young girl named Claudette Colvin had actually already done something similar to Rosa Parks first. She ended up not being a strong candidate for the movement because of her age, and the fact she became pregnant just a few months later. The NAACP was looking for a strong candidate (like Rosa Parks) that could represent there movement. This really changed my perspective on the movement. I think it made me appreciate the ingenuity behind everything. Although now that I am reflecting on this, I guess it makes sense that the civil rights movement wasn’t just a string of coincidences.

To expand our knowledge and reflect even more on what we were learning, we had to make reflective posts. These posts had to make a connections to our modern day and the civil rights movement, all while answering the driving question. I decided to focus mine on the murder of Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin. If you would like to read about that, click here. I think writing this post really brought up the same idea as I was talking about before. That, thanks to the civil rights movement the laws have changed but people’s mindsets still need to change. Something that I find really powerful to understand, that there’s still change that needs to be made.

On top of writing this post we also participated in weekly Socratic seminars. These seminars are supposed to help us reflect and think deeper through discussions. It was named after the famous philosopher, Socrates. Each seminar we would discuss a piece of text, a documentary, novel or film. For the first few seminars we used the novel “Dear Martin”, by Nic Stone. The first time we tried this seminar it was really rough. I think we hadn’t accepted the concept that we needed to dig deeper and go below the surface (not just plot, characters and opinions). A good piece of advice we were given was to ask questions, because in reality that’s where all the good discussions were derived from. The next few seminars we used films (The Long Walk Home) as well as documentary’s (Viewers Like You). I felt like it was important to have both, because with the documentary we got the stone cold facts and truth, whereas with the films we were able to connect and empathize with the characters. This taught me the importance of using multimedia to collect evidence, it’s essentially like getting different perspectives. Through these seminars I also attained useful skills and gained experience with seminars that I can hopefully use in my post secondary education.

So by now your probably wondering what that project at the beginning was all about, right? Well, as I mentioned before it was our end of unit project. The idea was we would get into partners and create a video of a Canadian individual that changed a system, and relate it to history and present day. My partner and I (Calum) decided to actually focus on community’s knit to together by individuals who are willing to make a change. We wanted people to understand our thesis, that one individual can spark change but it takes a community to make the change. We thought the perfect example of this would be the DTES (Downtown Eastside).

Since our issue was so close to home, we decided we had no excuse to not find interviews to support our video! After some digging, our teacher told us she found a perfect contact. After doing some research on the organization we were really inspired about what they were doing/trying to accomplish. We were going to interview a lawyer from the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic. The legal clinic also took on a few students from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, so we were also hoping on interviewing a student. The indigenous community law clinic takes on lots of pro bono cases, and focus on giving back to a minority group that have been discriminated against for centuries.

Before the interview we did lots of background research and formulated many strong questions that we could get the most information from. We also created a storyboard using numbers so we could narrow down on what we needed for each section of the video.

Once we arrived at the clinic we were greeted by Mark Gervin (man in above picture), our interviewee. We sat down and discussed the purpose of our video and what we wanted to get out of the interview. As we were discussing the clinic, he told us a story about what they were trying to accomplish. The story is about a humming bird that tries to put out a wild fire. As all the animals are fleeing the forest, the hummingbird carries water from a river to the fire in his beak. The animals tell him to fly away, and there’s no point. He responds by saying he’s doing what he can. This really helped me understand the situation. The wildfire is the injustices that have taken place, the hummingbird is obviously those individuals (Mark, the clinic and students) that are doing all they can to help. This really put into perspective how damaging the years of racism, segregation and discrimination is on today’s society. Yes, the rules have changed but it doesn’t mean people aren’t still effected by what happened. With the help of communities, we can slowly help put out the fire.

Mark and the student (shay) were both very gracious to let us interview them, and we appreciate the opportunity they gave us very much. With their help we were able to make this amazing first draft!

As always, revisions are needed. But before we finished our final draft we decided to take up yet another opportunity and visit the community courts. Since we are battling with the idea of systems, we thought it would only be fair to gain more knowledge about our justice system. We first went to the bail court, then to the conviction court. We were only there for about an hour and a half, but I could have stayed there all day. It was so interesting to me, and also saddening to hear all the stories of those convicted. Most of them were not first time offenders, and were also living on the streets. Through this experience I saw with my own eyes how difficult it is to support yourself mentally and physically when your are living on the streets. All people really need is support. 

For our final draft we shortened the interview clips, removed some excess unneeded info and narrowed down on our driving question…

“How can a community of individuals make small differences that can change a system?”

In conclusion, I have learned so much over these various topics. Each assignment has taught me something different that I can connect to other situations. Like through the civil rights movement I learnt all about the laws and events that happened but I also learned that although change was made, our systems and mindsets still need to be changed. Through the Socratic seminars I learned the importance of multimedia and primary sources, as well as how to look for deeper meaning. Through the bus boycott I learned that most things that have meaning are purposeful. And finally for the video project I learned that a community knitted together by individuals willing to make a change can make a difference in a system. All these topics may not relate directly too each other, but the learning I did can apply to everything. This is something I’ve come to realize is very powerful. Overall I discovered so much, and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the civil rights movement.

Here are some powerful images that speak a million words. I came across/collected most of these over the past few months while completing this unit. Just wanted to include them at the end to keep you thinking about the effects of the movement, and what happened.

The Story of Trayvon Martin & Emmet Till

Today I will be answering the question of “how an individual can change a system”. Through the stories of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till we will see how tragedy can spark protest against a system, and challenge how that system works.

Their Stories

Emmett Till, a young African American boy who grew up on the south side of Chicago. He attended a segregated school and was described as loveable, kind and funny by friends and family. He grew up along side his hard working mother, Mamie Carthan Till-Mobley. During the summer of 1955 he was invited to go up to Money, Mississippi to visit his relatives. Before he left by train, his mother warned him of the dangers of Mississippi. A boy like him could be lynched for simply glancing at a white woman. Emmetts mother was worried he would get himself into trouble because of his charismatic, friendly personality. Emmett arrived in Mississippi with his luggage, and an initialed ring wrapped around his middle finger. This ring was given to him by his father before he was killed in Italy. Emmett arrived at the house he would be staying at, a few days went by. On August 24th, him, his cousins and some friends wandered through town. They came across Bryant’s corner store, they proceeded to go inside and buy candy from the white woman behind the counter. As they left Emmett apparently whistled at her (later we will find out that this was not true, she fabricated the story to make a stronger testimony). The boys hurried out of there in fear of what would happen to them. Days went by, they eventually forgot what had happened. August 28th, the boys were sleeping when they heard a loud knock on the door. Roy Bryant (the woman's husband) had heard about how Emmett had allegedly spoken to his wife. Him and his brother in law J.W Milam, enraged, demanded to see the boys. Despite protest and panic, the pair had managed to force Emmett into their car. After driving around Memphis they stopped at their property and began beating Till senseless in their toolshed. They then dumped him in the Tallahatchie river. Three days later his body was found, waterlogged, disfigured, basically unidentifiable except for one small detail, a ring. The ring, that as a young boy Emmett had tried on everyday until he was finally big enough for his fingers to fit. Emmett was beyond thrilled when he was able to show off his ring that once was his fathers. Now he lays still with that same ring wrapped around his middle finger.
Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American boy who grew up in Miami Gardens, Florida with his mother Sybrina Fulton. Martin was athletic, tall and enjoyed skiing and horseback riding. His favourite subjects in school were math, he was highly interested in aviation and potentially becoming a pilot. He attended Krop Senior High School, were he had just received a ten day suspension. The suspension stemmed from the discovery of drug residue in Martin's book bag. After being suspended he went to visit his father in Sanford, Florida. His father, Tracy Martin lived in a gated community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes. On February 26th Trayvon left his house to go to a local corner store. At 7:09 he left the store with iced tea and skittles in a bag, he phoned his girlfriend while he was walking home. Across the street, George Zimmerman (president of the neighbourhood watch) was watching Trayvon suspiciously. At 7:11 pm Zimmerman contacted the police department and reported a “suspicious guy with a hood”. Martin felt uncomfortable walking so began to run home, George became more suspicious so began to follow him disregarding the dispatchers orders. After a few minutes the neighbours heard yelling and quite a few pleas for help. Concerned by the amount of noise, the neighbours called dispatch and reported the incident. All the sudden three shots were fired, then silence. 7:17 pm, the sound of sirens echoed through the neighbourhood. The police arrived at the scene to find Trayvon laying on the ground with a wound in his chest. He was later pronounced dead.

How They Changed The System

Mamie, Emmett’s mother had made a very important decision after Emmett’s death. She had decided that his funeral would be open casket. The story of how Emmett Till was brutally murdered would not be hidden to the public eye. In the days leading to the funeral, Emmets’s story and pictures of his body were released in a magazine called “jet”. The media picked up on the story and news travelled fast. Two weeks after Emmett was buried the two defendants (Milam and Bryant) were put on trial in a segregated court house in Mississippi. The NAACP searched for witnesses who were willing to risk their lives in order to find justice. After some time they were able to find witnesses who would give their statements, then flea the state (in case the KKK went looking for them). On September 23rd, the two were found not guilty because the state had failed to prove the identity of the body. This sparked national outrage, and some 100 days after the murder, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. Reverend Jesse Jackson told Vanity Fair (1988) that;

“Rosa said she thought about going to the back of the bus. But then she thought about Emmett Till and she couldn’t do it.”

Eight years later, on the anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder, Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Without the tragic events of Emmett Till’s death, the bus boycott could’ve never began the way it did. The movement that changed a system in its entirety was propelled by the idea that Emmett was part of a bigger plan.

After George Zimmerman was found innocent, a group of African American woman began a movement called #blacklivesmatter to respect lives like Martins. Today the movement is known nation wide, and has the potential to become this generations Civil Rights Movement. The movement organizes protests addressing racial injustices.

Martin was slain by George Zimmerman because of an assumption he made. He saw a young African American teen, with a hoodie on, walking around at night and immediately made the assumption he was up to no good. To protest against this racial profiling, thousands of people posted on social media pictures of themselves wearing hoodies. Below is a famous picture of Trayvon Martin’s lawyers supporting the movement by wearing hoodies to court.

Trayvon Martin’s tragic death has sparked a new civil rights movement. Today, people across the nation are protesting under the movement name #blacklivesmatter, inspired by Martin. The movement is revealing the corrupt system America is being supported by each day. Without the injustices that took place, none of this would have been as powerful as it was.

Comparisons

Below is an image I created of Trayvon and Emmett. The collage shows some differences and comparisons so we can further analyze how these two individuals changed systems with their tragic stories.

On the left side of the collage we see a glimpse of Trayvon Martin’s story, and on the right we see Emmett Till’s story. Both sides include pictures of parents effected by the tragedy, and an open casket. The important part of their stories is really how they sparked outrage and protest through the injustices. For Trayvon it was the #blacklives matter movement, and for Emmett Till it was inspiring Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. This collage really portrays the similarities between the two stories. I wanted to create this as a way to show people that although there has been change, there has not been enough. Minority groups are still treated the same way as they are before, the laws have changed but the mindset of people hasn’t.

These two stories of tragedy are very similar, they both challenge a system by sparking protest. Emmetts story propelled and inspired Dr. King and Rosa Parks to challenge the system. Trayvon has inspired a generation to stand up for black lives, to challenge the system. The two boys were separated by a thousand miles, two state borders, and nearly six decades, but were somehow still able to connect and inspire people all over the world. Their stories will be remembered for generations to come as the inspiration to the greatest Civil Rights Movements in history.

https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/index.html https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/trayvon-martin https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained/ https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/emmett-till-1 https://www.biography.com/people/emmett-till-507515 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/us/emmett-till-death-investigation.html https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/emmett-tills-casket-goes-to-the-smithsonian-144696940/ https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/till-timeline/

MPOLs 2019

How are you going to progress as a learner before the end of the school year? A question that gets asked a lot in our classroom. In order to answer this question we must take into consideration some aspects of learning:  revision, teamwork, responsibility, and production of high quality work.

I feel like this past term and a half I have demonstrated all those aspects, as well as good work ethic and habits in my PGP and Humanities courses.

A perfect demonstration of all of those learning aspects is the winter Exhibition. Click here to learn more about the process. During the exhibition I volunteered to be a DRI (directly responsible individual), this was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone and showed great leadership skills. While I was DRI my main focus was making sure everybody was happy and was working as a team (teamwork skills) because when we worked together our work habits, ideas, and results were way better than if we would have done everything on our own. When we brainstormed, the whiteboard would be filled with great ideas at the end of every class. We then took those ideas and were able to class critique them, and revise until they were almost perfect. By taking these steps we were able to produce high quality work.

A few months ago we were reading the crucible (an act) and along with the reading we had to make “creative creation” blog posts. If you want to see those click here, here and here. I was actually very proud of these posts, they showed creativity, good work ethic and high quality work. Each post I used evidence by drawing from experience, used creativity to express my point and used revisions to make sure my spelling and grammar was correct. For example, for my second post I wrote about the influence of social media and how it was very powerful. I used evidence from my life to support my point. This made my writing more powerful which resulted in producing high quality work. I also learned that more isn’t always better, I tried to make my posts short but interesting. I’m slowly learning to be more concise about what I’m trying to say, so hopefully this post won’t be as long as others.

Now that we’ve discussed Humanities, let’s move onto PGP. So we’ve started doing this thing called “time blocking”, at first I wasn’t sure about it but I actually tried it and found it quite helpful. The one week I did it, it improved my work ethic and habits. I found I was focusing more at the task at hand because I wasn’t worried about what I needed to do. I also was getting less distracted by my phone or Netflix because I had blocked time to do that. This improved the habits of mind #1 and #2 (persisting and managing impulsivity). I haven’t been able to practice my time blocking skills to much, but I’m definitely willing to attempt it again. 

My last example of learning was a FAIL (first attempt in learning), it was for my PGP course. Before the holidays we were given a book called “what do you really want?”. It was all about goal setting and how to achieve those goals. Throughout the book we had to fill out forms, make dream boards and journal about our successes and failures. I completed everything ahead of schedule, and was pretty thorough. But if I’m being totally honest I wasn’t satisfied with my work nor did I feel like I was being very truthful about the goals I wanted to set. I felt like I was thinking more about the goals I should have like where I should go to university, and reading more. I feel like this is because I wasn’t in the right mindset, or felt like I just needed to get it done so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Regardless, I feel like it was a FAIL which is perfectly fine because all that means is I have another experience to learn from. 

So know that you’ve read a little about the learning we’ve done, it’s time to get back to the real question at hand: How are you going to progress as a learner before the end of the school year? I can know use everything I just wrote about as evidence to answer this question.

The exhibition will help me as a future learner to gain more confidence in my leadership ability’s. I think the experience will help me understand my weaknesses and strengths so that in the future I can progress as a learner. As for the crucible creative posts, I will be using them to set a standard for my creativity. I will try and either hit that standard of creativity or attempt to surpass it, by the end of the year this will help me progress as a learner. For the time blocking, I am planning on using it this term so I can improve my organization and time management. This will let me do more things I am passionate about, or give me more time to perfect my work. Finally I will learn from my FAIL by making sure those same mistakes don’t happen again. Hopefully all those learning experiences combined will allow me to progress as a learner by the end of the year.

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