Would you kill someone, if you knew it would save 10 people? How about if you had to press a button which would kill 100,000, but save a million? This was the key question I asked my classmates to convince them that the Manhattan Project is extremely historically significant.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to my blog. we just completed our first project of grade 11. As you now know we studied the Manhattan Project (if you don’t know what that is refer to the link here). So for this project we had to write a speech. Now if you know me, you would know I’m not a quiet or shy person. I have no problem discussing topics in front of large groups of people, or presenting projects to my class. However I’ve never written or presented a true speech, and this meant I had a lot to learn.
Writing a speech is not the same as writing a presentation or essay. It’s almost like a whole other form of writing. I’ve began to think of it as similar to poetry. You have to consider the weight of your language, how your speech will flow, and how your words will effect your tone. Considering all these elements really pushed me to become a better writer. The first big challenge I came across was my introduction. I needed a hook which could be tied into the conclusion, and invoked emotion in the audience. I would say I spent almost half the time on my speech just on my introduction. I knew it was the most important part. If I didn’t have a good introduction my whole speech was doomed for failure.
I had to overcome another major obstacle during this project. I needed to slow down. Typically I speak very fast. Like a lot of people can’t keep up fast. Like a YouTube video played at 2x speed fast. This is terrible for a speech. If you speak this fast during a speech the audience wont be able to take anything in. Your words will hold no weight. While the recommended word count for our speech was 400 words for our 4 minute speech. I knew I would have to write more. Even if I slowed down my speaking as much as I could, I wouldn’t even come close to that time. So I decided I would speak as slow as I could and keep my speech to about 500 words. After refining my speech, I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. After an agonizing amount of slowing my speech down I got up to the 4 minute mark. It hurt my head to speak that slow, but I knew my speech was long enough. Until it was time to present.
The final time for my speech was something like 3 minutes and 10 seconds. While its still not crazy far off the target time, it was way to fast. I failed on the time objective. But that’s fine. We all need a First Attempt In Learning. This was only my first real speech, and I know I can get better over time. In fact I want to get better. I know public speaking can be a huge asset in future careers and in general life. In our next project I will make sure to work even more on speaking at that mind numbingly slow rate. The most important thing I took away from this project wasn’t that the manhattan project is historically significant. But that I can and must continue to develop all my forms of communication.
The year is almost over and summer is about to start. Before the year ends I have one key assignment. TPOL (Transitional Presentation Of Learning) this is similar to my MPOL (Mid year Presentation Of Learning) However TPOL’s are more focused on recapping the whole year and discussing how I can achieve growth in the next school year.
This school year was are third year in a row of adjusting to a new schedule, rules, and challenges. We finally moved past COVID which is so exciting! We also were once again allowed to compete against other schools in sports. One of my favourite experiences this year was being apart of the Seycove Junior Boys Basketball Team. We had a tough season but there was a few great games in there and I got a lot better. Another great thing about COVID restrictions lifting was the reinstatement of field schools. We had the opportunity to go to Loon Lake Lodge. Even though we barely left Vancouver Loon Lake was an amazing experience. I cant wait for more field schools next year (New Mexico 2022)!
One of my biggest goals this year was Consistency. I often get extremely focused and invested in certain assignments and completely neglect others. This became quite a problem early on in grade 10 and caused my average quality of work to go down. I have got better at this throughout the year however I still need to keep working on this into next year. One thing I need to focus on is making sure I deliver consistent high quality work throughout a project. This was evident in project Podcast. I would say episode 1 and 2 were my best episodes and episode 3 was my worst. I dont think the quality suffered to much but I definitely could have improved episode 3 and 4. Below you can check out episode 1 (top) and episode 4 (bottom) to see the difference. Next year I will focus on continually delivering consistent work throughout a project.
One goal which I achieved in the last semester is growth. This is evident in both my school work and extra curricular. My best work from this semester, podcast, zine and Portrait, is much better then my best work from the last semester, political party project, Romeo and Juliet and our memorial proposal. One place I really saw growth was the difference between my work for the winter exhibition and the spring exhibition (will be linked once posted). My presentations were more clear, my product was better, and our area was decorated better. All in all, I am quite proud of the growth I have achieved this semester.
Along with growth balance was another one of my major goals. This meant giving myself an adequate amount of time to practice my other hobbies. I got better at that this semester and it really helped me focus on my photography. I got a lot better at shooting wildlife, and started learning about studio photography. This balance actually helped my school work. Notably being able to include my photos in my zine, as well as use my knowledge of photography for my podcast. Even though I got better at balancing my school and extra curricular this semester. I have a long way to go if I am to achieve the grades I want next year.
This school year has been a strange year and I feel like both everything has changed and nothing has changed. I did well this year but I want to do much better next year as grade 11 is very important for your future. See you in September!
I just wanted to give everyone a quick update letting you know that I have a podcast! It is all about Wildlife Photography and Conservation. I have 2 episodes up right now and there will be at least 3 more coming in the next few weeks. The episodes include guest interviews with many experts in the field.
Episode 1: This episode is all about connecting with wildlife. There is a guest interview with Yellowstone based Wildlife Photographer Evan Watts. He has great insights on how wildlife photography can help change your perspective on wildlife and nature. Evan also runs a youtube channel all about wildlife photography and you can find it below.
Episode 2: This episode focuses on how wildlife photography can impact conservation. I interview award winning Wildlife and Bird Photographer Liron Gertsman. He gives his insights on how he likes to tell stories through his photos promoting conservation stories.
We just completed a project which we have had on the run since February. It was definetly a project which we did more in the background. But I took away a few key lessons.
We studied the 7 habits of highly effective people. One habit which really stood out to me was think win win. I found it interesting that the best way to get something for yourself, was to give something to others. Even though think win win stood out to me all the habits helped me be more effective as a learner.
Over the project we had to do assessment choice boards. These were little assignments which helped us summarize what we learned in the previous section of the book. Below are my assessment choice boards.
Each of threes animals represents a different element of private victory. The eagle represents beginning with the end in mind. It has one thing in mind when it’s sitting there, food. It is already thinking about how it will catch that fish. The owl represents putting first things first. When it wakes up it immediately gets ready to look for food instead of waiting around until it’s to late. The ravens represent being proactive. This mating pair paired up in February Far before most pair up. They are being proactive to make sure they’re ready for spring.
After completing our first two assessment choice boards we created final assement choice boards to summarize our understanding of the project. I created two, check them out below.
7 Habits Review
With the recent release of the 7 habits of highly effective people products you may be wondering if you should buy it, and while buying all 7 habits would be great it is simply out of the price range of many people. So which habits should you buy? Keep reading to find out.
I ended up purchasing the whole 7 habits package deal and tried out every habit in order to tell you which one to buy. I had two favourites. Habit 1: Be Proactive and Habit 4: Think Win Win. Now why should you buy these two. Habit 1: will help you stay on track and take control of your own actions. I noticed a massive boost in productivity using this habit as well as less stress. It also helps you balance your life better. Habit 4: Think win win will help your relationships. You will notice everyone being more willing to work with you and help you out. It will force you to think out of the box to find solutions helpful to everyone.
Hopefully this short review help you figure out if the 7 habits, especially habits 1 and 4 are the right product for you.
All in all his project showed me some habits I need to implement in my own life to become a more effective person. I have been working on implementing a few of the habits into my own life. I will see how they affect my last month of school this year and if I should stick to them next year.
When you think of Canada what comes to mind? Probably Maple Syrup, Poutine, Snow, and Hockey. But most people also think of the beautiful wilderness filled with iconic animals, from the ridiculously oversized moose, to the psychopathic murder duck aka the Canada Goose, or maybe our national animals the important and hard working beaver, you definitely have heard of some of our animals. All these animals can be found in our beautiful and iconic National Parks. Now you probably realize that these parks are important to the animals, and ecosystems which they protect, but what if I told you they’re important to Canada’s history, economy, and culture. Well that was the topic of a zine article I just wrote for MONOVA.
So for this project we had to find a topic which had significance in the history of the North Shore in the 1950s and 60s. My topic was the provincial parks, then we had to find a topic significant to the development of Canada in that same time period. Mine was, the rise of our national parks and eco tourism. Then connect it to a topic of global significance, mine was the importance of nature reserves to conservation. After researching our topic and formulating a thesis we had to write a 5 paragraph essay about them. After that we had to format our essay into a magazine format and add photos. Then we submittted them and they were sent to MONOVA (Museum Of North Vancouver).
Throughout this project I have learned a lot. From how small events in the history of North Vancouver, can be connected to major developments in Canada’s history as a whole. I also learned about how hard formatting a magazine article is. I spent at least 3 hours re-formatting and editing my zine article to make sure it filled the page. I also realized the impact a well placed photo can have on an article.
Two weeks ago we just returned from an iconic PLP experience which we lacked for the past 2 years. Can you guess what I’m talking about? Of course I’m talking about an overnight field study. These are a core part of the PLP experience. If you have been around my blog for awhile, and when I say awhile I mean since October 2019 when I was just 5 foot 4 and COVID didn’t repeatedly torture us all, you would know we went to Oregon on a 7 day field study. This was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had learning in “school”. Anyways we went to loon lake retreat. It is located near golden ears park and Mapleridge.
So before I get onto the learning which unless you’re my teachers won’t be the most interesting part of this blog post. I want to give you a recap of the highlights of the trip.
04/04/22 around 11am we loaded onto the bus and departed Seycove Secondary. However we weren’t heading straight to loon lake. We were going to Popeyes for lunch. The food was great but it still didn’t compare to what we did next. We stopped at Raptors Ridge Birds of Prey. This was the highlight of the day and possibly my favourite activity on the trip. I love raptors and spend a lot of time observing and photographing them, especially Bald Eagles and Barred Owls. At this stop we got to see many different Raptor Species including a white morph Gyrfalcon. An extremely rare bird from the icy north of Canada and Greenland. We also got to see a Harris Hawk, the wolf of the sky. We learned many interesting things about Raptor Conservation and why they keep these birds on there property. Overall extremely interesting 10/10 would recommend if you like birds and are in Vancouver. Then we arrived at the lake got settled in, ate and did some learning. I also watched the March Madness Finals, extremely exciting but how did UNC lose. I was so disappointed. Caleb Love was truly awful. Please leave a comment below about March Madness or NBA playoffs. I would love to discuss those.
04/05/22 This was our first of two full days at the retreat (but in PLP we don’t retreat we advance.) This day included 6 hours of outdoor activities. After Breakfast we met up and got split up into our activity groups. My first activity was canoeing. It was my favourite activity of the day and was very peaceful. We learned strokes such as the Forward, Pry, Draw, and J strokes. These are all used to effectively steer a canoe. Something I didn’t realize was difficult or complicated until then. I really loved sitting out in the lake in the cool spring morning as the sun peaked through the clouds. After that we did Archery, it was cool but I already do it quite often while camping. Then after lunch we did high ropes. This was interesting and a great opportunity to push my comfort zone. Finally we wrapped up the day with climbing which was a great workout. Then we set our goals for the rest of the advance. Something I will touch on later.
04/06/22 This was a day of learning and working towards our goals. My goal which by the way was not a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely), my goal lacked all but relevant. It’s hard to put into words but it was about reflecting on my growth as a learner in order to stay on track towards growing as well as holding myself accountable for other goals. I had some opportunities this day to work towards it. However it was hard to make serious progress to a goal this long term in a day. I think setting a more achievable and timely goal would definitely have made it easier to grow on this advance.
04/07/22 Our final day. We spent the morning learning and packing up. Then we had lunch and drove to the extreme airpark. It was super fun and a great workout. After that we returned home sleep deprived and hungry.
So as previously hinted this trip was about advancing (cause in PLP we never retreat only advance) and you know what I advanced. Not in the way I originally planned to but it was remarkable progress. The two biggest ways I advanced was in my mindfulness and note taking. These might seem remarkably different but they both came as by products of my not so great goal. How you might be wondering? While I asked myself the same thing. But I’ve come to the conclusion it came from me starting to develop my goal while canoeing. Out on the water we practiced mindfulness and it really set the tone for the rest of the day. Then that night I began using our note taking app, craft to reflect on our experiences in the day. While doing this I came to the conclusion that being more mindful led to me having better reflections and notes. Those last two achievements lend to me feeling like I made a ton of progress growing as a learner that day. Now you might be able to see how my goal was linked to these two but I probably should have focused on taking better notes during lessons instead of other goal.
Loon Lake was definitely a great experience and acted a bit of a teaser for our bigger trip in grade 11 (New Mexico?) It also taught me so much more then I expected and truly helped me grow as a learner.
Since November I have been preparing for a big contest. It’s an event called Destination Imagination or DI. This actually wasn’t my first time competing in the challenge. In grade 8 I competed as well (read post here). However this year my category was completely different and really pushed my comfort zone. My challenge was called Festival Frenzy. Also I would highly recommend checking out my group members posts. Annie, Ethan, Jakub, Logan
Video of our performance
So if you don’t know much about DI you can visit the organization’s official website here. But the quick rundown is, its a challenge where teams compete in various categories. These challenges are centred around teaching youth the skills needed to grow as a learner. Our class competed in 4 categories, Technical, Scientific, Improv, and Fine Arts. I was apart of the improv challenge which is something far outside my comfort zone.
I am not typically comfortable with acting and presenting creative work. The strange thing is I am quite comftorable public speaking but not very comfortable acting. It seems kind of strange to me. I am fully okay with talking about a project I made however, the second I have to act I freak out. Anyways getting back on topic. This challenge gave me a great opportunity to grow and become better at acting. It also taught me other skills such as teamwork, leadership, and Flexibility. These are all skills which I am always trying to improve. Overall I found that I grew a lot during this challenge.
One of the biggest points of contention throughout our team was practice. This included both how it should be execute and how often it should be done. Some group members thought we should only practice the actual challenge. Others thought we should try various improv games. This was tough to settle and often ended up in various group members not practicing for weeks on end. Practice was definitely the biggest part of our teams execution of this challenge I would change. Our group should have been more open to trying new things and should have tried more styles of practice. We also really should have practiced more often.
All in all DI was a great learning experience. I improved a lot of important skills and learned a lot of lessons. I think my team should have done some things differently but there’s nothing I can do now except reflect.
We made a Podcast! I think they turned out super well. You should definitely check them out as they get released in the coming weeks. I will update this post to include mine once it’s released. My episode was about German Propaganda during World War Two. I learned a lot about cause and consequence through my episode. I truly considered the effects of the war on both groups of people. It was very interesting to see how effective and quick they’re propaganda was. It taught me that we need to watch out for propaganda and fake news in our own lives.
Above is my podcast episode, it is apart of a collective class podcast. If you would like to learn more about all kinds of interesting aspects of the war. Go check it out. You can learn about the rise of german tanks, the failure of appeasement, music in the war, or whatever else catches your eye. There will be 23 episodes each focusing on something different in the war. New episodes are released daily so check back in.
So this project was obviously about World War Two but what did we study? The answer is, so many different topics. This was to give us a baseline understanding of the war and prepare us for our podcasts. We also read books and discussed them in literary circles. My book was called the Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender, I would highly recommend it. The book gives a super interesting, but very sad look into the lives of children, particularly Jewish Children throughout the Holocaust. Throughout this book I became interested in how the Nazis divided the communities so fast. They split up neighbours, friends, even family just because of there ethnicity. It just took them a few days after invading Poland which is mind boggling to me. I then decided to research how it works and why it was so effective. This led to my podcast topic.
“How might we use stories to better understand the causes and consequences of WWII?” That was our driving question. Something I thought about through all of our assignments and even answered in our Podcast Episode. In my opinions stories are a key way to understand the causes and consequences of WWII. They help you connect with people and they’re a good way to spark a personal interest into researching this tragic event. However I think its extremely key to read stories of both sides in order to consider both sides and how people can be mislead so quickly. We can use this research to better determine the causes and consequences, and look out for these signs in our own lives.
And they’re back, Presentations of Learning. After being cancelled last year due to COVID we have to present to our teachers and parents our learning goals, progress, and accomplishments this year. This year has been tough for me. Between a lack on consistency across projects and various classes. Ive also have found that COVID has caused group work to be incredibly difficult. I’m hoping that a lot will change after this omicron wave and once the next semester comes around. I know everything is up in the air right now but I hope next semester everything looks more normal.
I would say my biggest in school accomplishment this year has been the leap I have made in terms of writing. If you look back on my older blog posts you’ll will notice the improvement. My writing is so much more polished now then it was a year ago. I think this happened because of the amount of different styles of media I have written over the last few years. But I really noticed the jump at the start of this school year. Why, I can’t say exactly, but I believe its because of the fact that I put more effort into the actual writing now compared to my previous research and fact heavy approach. It was mostly a mindset shift which happened at the start of the year. I realized that being able to communicate your point with specific powerful information, was more important then having tons of information and facts and trying to tell your story that way. I still have a long way to go as a writer and I will continue to improve that with every project I work on.
The work Im the most proud of this year is my exhibition project. I think I did a really good job at designing a good memorial idea, as well as did a good job pitching it to visitors. I was proud of how my group pulled together even though we had troubles coming up with an idea and working designing the memorial. I definitely think we could have been more organized and used our time better but in the end the video turned out great.
I’m not very proud of my election project video. I don’t think we accomplished the task. The video was not very well made. We overall needed to work much harder to find a good objective and name. I wasn’t super into this project and neither was my group. That was probably why we didn’t really think much through. Such as filming a video about poverty and wealth inequality on the waterfront of deep cove.
Looking through my work I notice a few key things. First of all the difference in quality and care of work is astounding when I’m interested verse not interested. Just look at my blog post on why we need to change the election system verse my party video. You can tell which one I was interested in and which one I wasn’t very quickly. Also my strongest work is always done at the end of an assignment or project. I believe I need to fail once or twice to find a solution that works for me. This can be problematic on short deadlines though. A great example of this was our Romeo and Juliet Video linked below. A lot went wrong in that project. One of our group members got COVID. We also missed out on three classes for this project so our schedule had to be compressed. We also realized half way through filming that our vision was way to ambitious and we had to cut it down. The final product is a little bit rough but I think we demonstrated growth and learning. I’m also really proud of the police siren effect idea and execution.
I’ve thought a lot about whether or not my work is up to my standard this year. Now I’ve began to question how important having a standard is in the first place. Because what my standards are is an ever changing, complicated question. It depends on a number of factors, my group, the amount of time I have and how interested I am in the work. A good example is during the winter I see the lowest quality output of group work. One reason is I have less time, the Basketball team occupies most of my evenings which prevents me from staying late after school. Overall I need to find an acceptable standard to work towards in this next half of the year.
This video is a great example of the standard of work I would like to consistently be at. I think it was a unique idea, I had a lot of fun making it. As well as it was engaging to the viewer.
Now this year has been incredibly frustrating in so many ways. Obviously Omicron pretty much ruined the winter term of school. Also the weather has been terrible in every way. Finally, PLP and school in general has been really frustrating. I have found a lack of consistency in homework and expectations between not only all my classes, but between every project. I don’t know what to expect in terms of homework. I also have found there have been wildly different expectations for work output, and quality of work on every different project. However, I do understand that COVID has been tough on everyone, and I know delivering consistent results across projects from a teaching end is tough.
I have three main focuses for next semester, consistency, balance, and growth.
Next semester I will focus on having a consistent, quality and output of work. This will require me to push through projects I don’t want to do. A good example of when I did this was in my Romeo and Juliet project. Our group fell apart but I think working together we did a good job of doing a project none of us wanted to do. Another part of consistency is going to be comparing my work to other work I’m proud of to make sure it meets my standards.
Another key focus is balance. I’m often busy between sports, school, and social events. If I don’t keep a good balance I feel extremely overwhelmed. This is extremely unproductive and my quality of work suffers. Next semester I need to find a balance and flow of work which suits my style of learning. In general I put out my strongest work close to deadlines. I think when I get a sense of urgency it forces me to step up and do my best work. I generally need to large amounts of work at once. Breaking it up into small chunks does not work for me as I never achieve a good work flow. One strategy Ive found to be effective is to do a smaller bit of work related to my topic and then that leads me straight into the main work.
Finally I need to continue to grow. I don’t think I grew as learner as much this year as I could. This one much like consistency will require reflection on past work. I want to feel that my work I did during this semester is not on the same level as the work I will do next semester. In order to achieve growth I will need both consistency and balance.
To wrap things up I would like to improve my consistency in my work, as well as to continue to work on my writing. I’m proud of my communication, presentation, and writing skills. I hope to continue my improvement as a learner in this next year.
Hope you had a fantastic time over the holidays and stayed safe. It has been strange getting an extra week off. But hopefully going back to school goes well and we all stay healthy. If you’re reading this post you probably heard about the PLP winter exhibition. Maybe you even went and checked out. Anyways it went quite well and I feel like I learned a lot.
So over the last two months we finally got to go back out on field studies. Even though they were not over night and we just remained in Vancouver it was nice to go back out of the classroom. We got to go to six super interesting places all around Vancouver. We learned quite a lot about three cultures. As well as the hardships and injustices they faced in Canadas past. As the people of China, India, and Japan arrived in Canada they were met with hostility. I was shocked to learn just how many terrible injustices these groups of people faced in the past. One injustice which truly stood out to me was the horrifying conditions Chinese Canadians were subjected to in the late 19th and early 20th century. It began with Chinese Canadians beingforced to pay a large tax in order to immigrate to Canada. Then they were forced to live in the worst areas of towns (typically swampy, industrial areas) and faced anti-asian racism. Many of them also were tricked into working on the Canadian Pacific Railway. They were promised good fortune and high wages but ended up being paid extremely low wages and were forced to do the most dangerous jobs.
This brings us to the exhibition. My group which included, Dries, Julien, and Erin was tasked with creating a memorial for the Chinese Canadians. We decided on creating a giant railroad spike. You can see a photo of the model below.
This spike would be placed in across from the Canadian Pacific Railway station in downtown Vancouver. It would be in a park surrounded my vegetation in order to increase public traffic around the spike. At the spike there would be plaques with information about the racism Chinese Canadians faced in the past. There would also be information about how that racism continues to this day. See location below.
If I was to pitch this idea to city council I would probably make some minor safety edits to the spike. As well as change the location because apparently that park will be the site of a hospital in the future. I would likely need to hire an engineer and a city planner to help find a suitable safe location for the spike. The location would also need to hold significance just as the train station did.
We chose a spike for our memorial as we wanted to create a powerful and simple visual piece which memorializes the hardships Chinese Canadians faced in the past. We wanted to show the ugly history of one of our nations greatest triumphs and most important pieces of infrastructures. Even though the railway connected our nations coasts, it drove apart our people.