Humanity and Halloween

Greetings!

Before I get anyone coming for me, I know it’s November. I know its past the traditional spooky season. That being said, we’re ignoring that and talking about horror. So put your decorations back up and your jack-o-lanterns back, we’re getting spooky in November.

Over the past few weeks, our class has taken on a few things. First, we went down to Seattle to do things like check out a car museum and study the history of horror at the MoPop. Second, we took on reading one of the most classic horror books, Frankenstein, and looking at the differences and similarities between horror back then and horror today. Finally, we’ve taken on a horror movie (but more on that at a later date). 

So back that second point about seeing continuity and change in horror. To really see what has stayed the same and what hasn’t, we’re also looking at more ‘modern’ horror stories (using the term ‘modern’ loosely here seeing as a lot of this is from before the 2000’s). As a first comparison, we watched the classic movie of Halloween.

Already, that theme has probably put you on edge. It’s the most iconic horror theme of all time, arguably. Automatically you start thinking of that creepy mask and the guy with the knife, that moment when the doctor looks out the window and Michael is gone. And that is precisely what makes this movie so scary. The sound effects and the music is truly what makes the film halloween so scary.

In an interview with John Carpenter on medium.com, Carpenter states that when he showed the movie with no music or sound effects to an audience, they just weren’t scared. There were no shrieking violins or ominous piano notes to go alongside Michael walking across the street to Laurie in that eerily calm way. There were no crashing symbols to go with Laurie discovering her friend in the bed, or in the closet. It just wasn’t scary.

 So he set out to “save the movie” with the music. That iconic Halloween score, with all of the sound effects? It was made in two weeks, and it’s truly what makes the movie horrific. Because, let’s face it, it’s not the blood and guts (if we can even call it that).

Though let’s think more in terms of setting and plot. Why was Halloween so monumental and why does it still hold up today? Watching the movie from todays eyes, it frankly wasn’t that scary. But for the time, people were looking away, uncomfortable in their movie theatre seats. Why? Because it was one of the first ‘slasher’ films. Michael doesn’t have any motivation (I’m looking at it through the angle of 1978, so none of the sequels and that terrible new one count here). He’s just a man who isn’t right in the head and decides to go on a killing spree after escaping a mental institution. At the time, the idea of someone who was just blatantly human killing other people for no reason hadn’t been done in film before.

However, it had been done in real life. The 1970’s had had some bad experiences with killers out in the real world. Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, so on and so forth. It was already a reality in the 70’s that people like that were out there, and Halloween was a reminder of that. Though the end of Halloween doesn’t provide the closure of Michael being arrested, he instead gets away. It left that lingering feeling of unsafety that the news of Charles Manson being arrested had taken away.

The movie could have possibly been done today, but it wouldn’t have the same cultural impact that it did back then. Most horror movies these days would have to focus on more pressing issues, such as Us. On the flip side, there are things that would work today. The setting of suburbia, that feeling of a safe place suddenly feeling unsafe it something that will always work for horror. Having Michael Meyers as a human killer would also work, as long as he still had some more real motivation.

We understand that in the later movies, they give Michael Myers more of a back story. They try to make him more human, almost develop sympathy for him. Much like in Frankenstein, where we get to actually see the Monster’s perspective of things. It gives the viewer an internal horror, because we start to sympathize with the Monster just a bit. Of course he’s upset, everyone hates him because he’s ugly. The original Halloween, however, doesn’t have that. Both stories deal with that struggle of ‘what is humanity’, but in different ways. Frankenstein takes a slightly not-human entity and tries to humanize it, while Halloween takes someone human and does the opposite. It’s that non stop debate in your mind of ‘is this killer properly human? If they are, what does that mean about the rest of society?’ That constant struggle of what that means about the ‘monster within’.

What makes the movie Halloween such a horror phenomenon? It’s a mix of two things. On the technical side, it’s all about that terrifying soundtrack, which helps add on suspense. But on the moral side of it, it’s all about that one question:

What makes someone human?

1950’s Unit Pt. 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

We’re back for one last year! This year started off with everyone’s favourite thing: summer reading. Over the summer, I read The Great Gatsby, and had to write a paragraph on why it was a classic. The gist of it was that the Great Gatsby is a classic because it has themes that reflect on the modern times.

Speaking of a classic, I was very excited to hear that we would also be studying Shakespear. A bit less excited when I found out it was Taming Of The Shrew, but still excited. Don’t get me wrong, I like Shakespear’s works. But Taming of the Shrew is sexist, not very funny, and none of the characters are likeable. Which is why it was perfect to study. See, we were studying gender roles in different places in history.

The Taming of the Shrew. (l-r) Andrew McNee and Jennifer Lines in Bard on the Beach production. 2019 [PNG Merlin Archive]

Taming of the Shrew, for a quick recap, is the story of Kathrine, a ‘shrew’, also known in as a woman who wanted a bit of free will. She refuses to get married, but her younger sister really wants to get married. Nobody knows who to, because there are three different men after her and she seems to both like them and not like them at the same time. Anyways, Bianca and Kate’s dad says that Bianca can’t get married until Kate does. This leads to two of Bianca’s suitors making a guy called Petruchio get married to Kate, and he makes a big display of proving that he can own Kate. There is a side plot about fake identities and threatening a strangers life but that isn’t relevant to our gender roles topic.

Our group, which consisted of Willa, Hannah and Calum, was told to make an animated short with a chosen time period and one act of the play. We wound up making a 50’s themed version of Act III, were Kate gets married and Bianca gets lessons.

Our way of showing gender roles was quite easy, as the 50’s was a rough time for women. As you can see in the video, Bianca is being taught cooking and music, as in the 50’s most education for women was aimed at them being housewives. The example of gender roles in the second scene could stay the same, as it’s Petruchio treating Kate like an object, which was how the 50’s was.

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Over all, this project was a really great way to learn about different gender roles in different time periods, and going in depth about Shakespear.

Read ya later

Sincerely, Parker

Gotta Go Back In Time

It’s almost the end of the year. Crazy, right? A whole year has passed since this. But we’re wrapping up our classes, one of this is PGP. This is probably a new term for some of you, as I’ve never made a proper blog post on it. PGP stands for Personal Growth Plan, and is a course to help us get organized in life. We focussed on three main things, on idea for each term. Term 1 was all about productivity, and how we use our time. Term 2 focussed on Goals, how to make them, and what they’re good for. Term 3 went into the 7 Habits, which you can read more about <here>.

I think over all, the most useful thing for me has been Timeblocking. I am, as we all know, not the most organized person . Timeblocking has really helped that, as I have a time limit on things so that I can work out when I need to be doing what. No more 3 am paragraphs (sorry Willemse)

So, to finish this whole course up, we had to do a final project. What was something that we would send back to our past selves so that they could get a basic idea of PGP? What did we wish we knew at the start of the year? I chose to focus on the 7 Habits, which have been super helpful to get my life in a bit more order. The format I chose was a playbill (those things you get when you go to see a play/musical)

 

I Can’t (But You Really Can)

Overall, PGP was something I wasn’t a fan of at first, but it really grew on me. I am going to keep on growing the skills I’ve learned in this course, and I think they’ll help me become actually functional.

Read you later,

Sincerely, Parker

TPol 2019

Welcome back! For those of you who are reading this online, this is my TPoL, or Transitional Presentation of Learning. I went through the first half of the year last time, so let’s pick up where we left off: I wasn’t a fan of PGP, I felt confident in myself. Oh, how things were going to change.

We started our civil rights movement unit and I was excited. Social justice is something I’m passionate about, and I wanted to learn more in depth about what was going on socially in the 50’s. It wasn’t too different to how it is now: straight, white, cis men had all of the power. I felt confident that I would do well.

For the most part it was fine, but my project with Hannah fell flat. It was there, it was a complete project, but it wasn’t something to put on a pedestal. It was mediocre. It felt a bit like a step down, which sucked, because it was a project I was passionate about.

Things didn’t get much better in our writing unit. Once more, I went in feeling confident. I love writing, writing is what I know. And then I was handing in prompts late, not really doing the assignments. I let my confidence overtake me. I had the attitude of “I know this, so I can take it easy.” It was a learning opportunity, because I figured that I probably should have worked harder. I knew what I was doing, so I should have used that and expanded in areas of writing I wasn’t that good at.

Meanwhile, PGP was back with a vengeance. My Time blocking had gotten much better (show difference) and I had ticked off a lot in Things. The workbook was helpful to me, actually. I got to take a deeper look into things like “how do I handle self care” and the “relationship bank account”. The creative reflections allowed me to think about what I had learned and put it out in a way that wasn’t just a summarizing paragraph. I really liked them, and I plan on using them more in the future to let me thing in a multitude of ways about my learning.

Back on the humanities train, we get to where we are now. The Vietnam War. Well, we aren’t in the Vietnam war, we’re studying it. But this is a unit I feel confident about. Because, for once, I didn’t know much about it going into it. I didn’t have that confidence high that I had earlier in the year, and we got options on what we studied. Personally, I’m not a fan of learning about who killed who and what battle tactic each side used. So I didn’t have to focus on that much, I got to focus on the fact that the government lies and people are gullible.

The conceptual art is a really great way to get us to think deeper about the war, because it lets us get behind the ethics and we’re always thinking “what does this mean?” Overall, this is my favourite project that we’ve done this year, and I am confident, but not too confident, about the end of year projects

So what happens next year? It’s my final year at seycove, and I know what I need to focus on. I need to prepare myself for life outside of high school, and start applying to universities and scholarships. I plan on focussing on that, as well as really pushing myself to make my final year great.

I also want to focus on community next year. I want to reach out more, and be involved with the Seycove and north shore community. I plan on finding someone to TA with next year, because that’s really helped me this year, as well as finding volunteer opportunities and chances to get involved with the people around me. I’ll be taking a gap year between grade 12 and university, so I’m hoping to seize that for all it’s worth and making sure I have good connections and prepare myself for real life.

Read You later,

Sincerely, Parker

A Tipping Point

Hi!

If you recall my last post spoke about the 1950’s and early 60’s and how they weren’t that fun for anyone involved. Well, the 60’s seemed to be just as bad. Because this is when the Cold War really went full steam ahead.

Well, almost. And that is exactly what we were studying. The 60’s seemed to be the closest to nuclear war the world had been at that point (I think we all know why I’m saying this in past tense) Our job was to come up with a thesis on a specific point in the 1960’s that caused the world to be on the brink of destruction, and then write an essay about it.

I decided to choose the assassination of JFK. This was a huge point in American history that I figured I wanted to do more research on and get a good argument for. And I did, it was very interesting

JFK Essay

The 60’s was a real time to be alive. One one hand you had the Cold War with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Wall, on the other hand you had your nice apple pie life, and on the other other hand you had social change. As an example, there was Stonewall.

Stonewall was a huge point in LGBTQ+ history, in which the police raided a gay bar and the people fought back. It led to a series of riots lead by two trans women of colour who just wanted a place where they could be themselves. It’s something I was very relieved to actually learn about because it’s not often that we get to learn about gay history and, personally, I like knowing about my own history.

But the Stonewall riots became a huge protest that, on most nights, got very violent. It got into the press, and for the first time people were opening their eyes to see that gay and trans people were there and they deserved rights, and they would fight to get them.

The media has such a big influence on people. A similar thing happened with JFK, when Lee Harvey Oswald shot him. It became aware that the Soviets were in their borders. Not Cuba, not Russia. In America. Even if Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t associated with the Russian government, people were still thinking about it.

Those two events were almost wake up slaps for America. Things are changing, some for the better and some not so much. People were opening their eyes.

This isn’t just a thing of the past. We always think that people in the past were blind but we see everything. We really don’t, sometimes you look at a piece of media and it really makes you think. I’m going to leave links to a few things that really did that for me, and I hope you get to thinking more.

Fahrenheit 11/9

John Oliver: Transgender Rights

Caster Semenya Looses Fight Over Testosterone Rules

Police Brutality

Read you later

Sincerely, Parker

The 1950’s Really Sucked

So in case you haven’t caught up on my last post, we’re going a unit on the Civil Rights Movement. Well, we just finished it. The end product was a wonderful video that I made with Hannah

Okay, that was probably a lot to take in. So let’s take a step back. How did we get here? Now, I could go through every single historical event. But for those of you who aren’t readers, feel free to skip past these. It’s just a few bullet points of the ‘who, what, where, when, why’ when it comes to segregation.

Pre-1950’s:

  • American Civil War 
    • Basically North vs. South
    • Confederates vs. Republicans
    • Led to the 13th Amendment
  • Thirteenth Amendment (Dec 1865)
    • Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery
    • He added onto the constitution saying that all men were equal
    • The last state to ratify the amendment was Mississippi in 2013
  • Separate But Equal – Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)
    • Plessy was on train, didn’t want to sit on black car
    • Court didn’t agree with him
    • Enforced laws about discrimination
    • “There is a seat for you, but it’s just separate”
  • Jim Crow Laws (1896)
    • Laws after slavery laws
    • Based off of 1820’s song
    • Racist laws that made segregation a thing
    • Seperate But Equal
  • De Facto vs. De Jure Segregation
    • Helped enforce the above two
    • Difference between laws being enforced by preference instead of by law
    • De Facto: Preference (water fountains) De Jure: Law (interracial marriage)

1950’s:

  • End of School Segregation (1954)
    • School girl had to go an hour to her all black school
    • Sued the school board to be able to go to closer all white school
    • Went to Supreme Court
    • Smashed down on laws related to segregation in schools
    • Argued that it wasn’t equal because she had to commute an hour and the resources weren’t at the same level
  • Claudette Colvin (1954)
    • Refused to give up her seat
    • Was arrested and kept in an adult jail
    • Happened before Rosa Parks, but didn’t have the same affect
    • She got pregnant so the NAACP didn’t want to have her be the face of the movement
  • Murder of Emmett Till (July 1955)
    • ‘Winked’ at a white woman
    • Was lynched by white men
    • Got killed and his mother put his body on display for people tosee
    • Lost the court case
    • Men who killed him admitted it to Time
    • Still nothing happened
  • Rosa Parks (1955)
    • Refused to give up her seat
    • The news spread quickly in Mongomery
    • Myth that she was tired is wrong, it was an act of protest
    • Sparked the bus boycott
  • Bus Boycott (Dec 5, 1955 – Dec 20, 1956)
    • Led by event where Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat
    • Black people in Montgomery decided to stop taking buses until they stopped segregation
    • Had white people join their side
    • Took over a year before the busses gave in
    • Made the busses loose a lot of business
  • Little Rock Nine (1957)
    • Group of nine African American students who enrolled in an all white high school. Organizer: Daisy Bates brought the students together. Elizabeth Echford, Carlotta Walls, Ernest Green, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Beals, Jefferson Thomas
    • White protesters outside, military sent to protect
    • Little Rock, Arkansas, Deep South, America, Central High School (Little Rock High?)
    • 1957, September 4th, 3 years after the Brown v. Board of education ruling
    • Created a pathway for other black students, showed that they were equals and also deserved rights.

1960’s:

  • Lunch Counter Sit-Ins (1960):
    • Group of kids sitting at lunch counters meant for white people
    • Were harassed and arrested
    • Didn’t spark legal action
    • Forms SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Comittee
  • Freedom Riders (1961):
    • Fighting to end segregation on interstate busses
    • Got attacked, one bus blown up
    • First group were arrested, then young people showed up to take their place
    • MLK didn’t join them, not wanting to cause an outrage
    • Caused the prisons to fill up to prove they couldn’t be stopped
  • March On Washington (1963)
    • For jobs and freedom
    • JFK at first didn’t support it, but then was forced to
    • March was very successful, showing that they were a large group of people who supported this
    • Biracial march
    • Civil Rights Act is passed
  • Freedom Summer (1964):
    • Wanted to register to vote
    • Teach people how to vote
    • White people put in so many obsticals so black people couldn’t vote
    • Three men went missing because they tried to vote
    • Found dead in river after whole town denied knowing them
    • People helping others to vote
  • Selma March (1965):
    • MLK wanted to lead March from Selma to Montgomery
    • First time the group was beaten by police and retreated
    • Second time, they were unprepared. Police stepped aside but MLK walked away
    • Third time they were more prepared and did the full march, wanting to prove that they could vote without racism from people who run the polls
    • To get LBJ to pass laws for legal rights to vote without complications
    • Afterwards, the act to let people vote with no issues is passed
  • Black Power (1966)
    • More violent than MLK
    • More political
    • Led by Malcom X
    • Tied in with Nation of Islam (African Political Religious Movement)
    • Popular in prisons
    • Formed by members of SNCC because they were tired of non-violence
  • MLK Assassination (1968):
    • MLK was shot in Memphis, Tennessee
    • Goes to support Black Sanitation Public workers on strike for better wages and better treatment
    • Gives the I’ve Been To The Mountaintop speech
    •  Was used to living under threat of death, shown by the fact that his plane was delayed due to a bomb threat
    • Stood on balcony and was shot from longe range
    • James Earl Ray had escaped prison and shot King and then charged
    • Many conspiracies about his death

Another thing we studied was the book Dear Martin. It’s about a boy called Justyce and his experiences with racism and police brutality in 2017. I personally really enjoyed it, and I suggest you go read it. Yes, you reading this right now. As part of our reflection on the book, and a few other things we studied, we had a Socratic Seminar.

A Socratic Seminar is basically a time where we reflect on the book, and then go deep into discussion on themes, characters, and relations to today. There’s two circles, and people sit like this:

I know, aren’t I just an artist. But we had a few of these. Some were on the book, others were on things like the Freedom Riders (see above) and the March from Selma to Montgomery (also see above).

Now we get into the meat of the project: the final product. We had to make another video, but this was a bit different.

We started the unit with the basic driving question: How Can The Acts Of An Individual Change A System? We got to look at some really cool people, such as Claudette Colvin and Little Rock Nine. The original plan was to choose a Canadian who had changed a system. Then… plans changed. We were put into groups, told us to think of a driving question and make a six minute video.

I know. I got paired with Hannah, and we got to work researching. We eventually settled on something that both of us are passionate about, and really impacted the Civil Rights Movement: music.

It was easy from there, just finding examples such as We Shall Overcome, which was the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, and Same Love by Macklemore.

Over all, I really liked this unit. It got us to look at the bigger picture of what the Civil Rights Movement represented, not just the historical events and people. We focussed a lot on the youth, and how much they did. It makes me feel like I could be that person, I can do something simple and change an entire system. We have people now that are doing that. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting. Rahaf Mohammed, who escaped Saudi Arabia and is now an activist.

We have historical figures here in 2019, they will be remembered. All of us can be, if we just speak out.

Read you later

Sincerely, Parker

The 1950’s Were Racist And We Aren’t Much Better

 

In our most recent unit in Humanities, we’re focusing on the civil rights movement. As you know, we already spoke about the 50’s, but we skipped past the civil rights movement so that we could go back into it later with more depth. Part of what we have to do is create blog posts, much like our ones from last round. It’s different this time, however, because we get to have more choice on what we make. All we have is a driving question, and we have to make a thesis around that and then show a final product. The driving question: how can the actions of an individual change a system?

One of the big examples we got in class was Rosa Parks. She refused to give up her seat on the bus because she didn’t like that she was bein oppressed. That spiked the bus boycott, which then caused the rules on the bus to change. Her actions changed an entire system. So I started thinking about how I could demonstrate that while also relating it back to today? What has a big affect on people and systems: the media. I had my thesis down. “

The Media Hasn’t Changed From The Past As Much As We Think.

How am I gonna tackle that? Well let’s look at a few examples here.

I think we all now who Martin Luther King Jr. was. Important civil rights activist, preacher, you get the gist. Seeing as he was a civil rights activist, the police didn’t like him much. He got arrested for being a leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and his mugshot was later published. Though, here’s the thing. Some newspapers published the mugshot to make his skin look darker.

It was mainly newspapers with predominantly white readers that published the darker version, used possibly as a scare tactic. Because that’s how things were back then, men with dark skin were seen as more intimidating. But this would never happen today, we would all hope.

I’d like to draw your attention now to the OJ Simpson case. Anyone who was alive in the 90’s knows about it, and most people afterwards do too. The unsolved case, nobody really knows if he did it. But when he was arrested, it went everywhere. It was the 90’s, football was big. OJ was well known. And guess what Time Magazine decided to do.

That’s right. They darkened the photo (even worse than what they did to Martin Luther King) as a scare tactic. Unfortunately, it was printed along side other mugshots that hadn’t been altered, and Time got a lot of flack for it.

 

Example 2: What is being reported? The media is now people get most, if of not all, of their information. Read the newspaper, watch the news, check social media, get a text from a friend. It’s how things work. But there are people who control how it’s being put out, and what is being put out. Back to the 50’s, there was a common occurrence called ‘lynching’. This was when if a black person stepped outside of the social boundaries, they would get beaten, whipped and possibly killed. It was terrible, and brutal, and it was now a lot of white people kept their power in the south. There was knowledge that it happened, but no media ever spoke of it. That was until Emmett Till was lynched, and his mother did something about it.

She put his body on display for people to see, she was showing them that things weren’t right because her son had been killed for whistling at a white woman. Then and only then did the media pick up on it. She had to make so much noise that it forced people to listen to her. And the worst part is: no one was convicted. The men that beat and shot this kid went on trial and weren’t convicted. They later went to Time magazine and pretty much admitted to it. But the jury was all white men, the entire court staff were white men. So no wonder they weren’t convicted.

Let’s bring this back to today. White men beating up black kids and not being convicted. That surely doesn’t happen?

Of course it does. All the time you hear the headline ‘black man shot by police’, or ‘unarmed black teen brutalized’. This still happens, but we’ve almost because immune to it. So much so that we can put the word ‘another’ in there because it’s just become normal. I can be so sure that almost none of these cops have done a single night in jail because of it. Is it still being reported on? Yes, that’s an advance. But nothing is being done.

So we thought the 50’s were so bad with racism and bigotry? We’re just as bad. I am embarrassed that there are still things going on. But it’s just more hidden now. People are suffering and dying and we go about our day to day lives like it’s nothing. I still see racist cartoon sometimes. That is a fact. We learn about racist cartoons in school and people feel sick. But during the summer, Serena Williams lost a tennis game. Then this came out:

This Mark Knight’s cartoon published by the Herald Sun depicts Serena Williams as an irate, hulking, big-mouthed black woman jumping up and down on a broken racket. The umpire was shown telling a blond, slender woman — meant to be Naomi Osaka, who is actually Japanese and Haitian — “Can you just let her win?” (Mark Knight/Heral Sun-News Corp. via AP)

Just because we only see a portion of racism does not mean it isn’t still there.

The 50’s were racist, and we aren’t much better.

mPOL 2019

We’re back once again for another mPOL! Over these past few months, the question “how are you going to advance as a learner by the end of the year?” has come up a lot. Clearly it’s not the end of the year, as it’s January, but we’re already (almost) halfway through the school year. But how much have I advanced in these past few months? How can I continue to advance? For this we’re going to look at things such as my teamwork skills, wanting to expand my knowledge of things taught in class, getting involved and my management skills.

Lets start with teamwork. I feel like probably everyone has heard me talk about how I want to improve my teamwork in about every single mPOL I’ve done. I feel like this year was definitely my time to shine, as we’ve done nothing but team projects. Starting with our Manhattan Project² , I was definitely a team player in that. My other two team members were Ethan and Sam, and all in all I think we all contributed a lot into that project, making it very strong. Though I wasn’t in the actual video, I did a lot more behind the scenes things. I did a lot of the research, I wrote most of the script, as well as I helped with filming, B-Roll and audio editing. That project was something I’m really proud of, and it shows what we’re capable of when we Think Interdependently.

In this term and term 1, I also found myself doing more research outside of class on certain topic we’re working on. I’ve been wanting to expand my knowledge of things said in class, so I’ll find myself reading articles and websites to get a better understanding. An example of this would be during our 50’s exhibition, I got very interested in McCarthyism and the blacklist and everything surrounding that. I did a lot more research on that as we were editing the script, which made it hard to break down everything I wanted to say into key points for our portion of the exhibition. Even in the unit we’re doing now on the Civil Rights Movement, I’ve got a list of movies I want to watch that would help me get more of a historical perspective, and I’ve also been reading the additional resources Hughes has put in Basecamp. Getting a better understanding of what I’m learning is helpful because when it comes time to do a project or voice my opinion during class, I can know what I’m talking about and have some more background information.

I’ve also found myself working towards getting more involved in class. To draw upon the exhibition again, I got assigned to script writing. It was fun while we had to write the script, seeing as I got to write about Hollywood and do all that research. But once the script was done and Willa took over editing, I didn’t have much to do. This forced me to have to go up to people working on things and asking ‘how can I help?’ Because I did this I got to make things like the end video, help paint doors for the street scene, and work on other decorations. Even when we were setting up in the gym, I was making sure that, once I finished one task, I could move onto another one easily. I’m hoping to grow on this in the future not just with Team work, but with my own personal work. When I’m done an assignment, I’ll find myself looking at it and going ‘what else can I do’. This is helping me make sure I don’t just go for what’s expected, but do a bit more to make my work stand out. This is something that I’m planning on doing in term 2 and 3.

 

My last point here is talking about my management skills. I’m always working to improve my management skills, mainly with time management but also organization and making sure I can manage the tasks given to me. A huge help with this has been time blocking, in while I block out things in my day such as each class, the time it takes to bus home, how much time I get flake infront of the TV before dinner, etc. This has been a huge help because I have more of schedule, and it’s good to know that ‘alright, if I start doing Task A at this time for X amount of time, Task B can happen at this time’. It gives me an excuse to tell myself to get off the couch and do my homework, which I often need reminding of.

Another big help with this has been Things, where I can keep all my calendar stuff together. It gives me reminders like ‘hand in worksheet tomorrow’ or ‘bring camera for photography’. It doesn’t just help manage my school life, though that’s what I mainly use it for, it also manages my personal life. I check things every Sunday and go through what I did and didn’t achieve, and write it down in my weekly review to see what I can improve upon in the next week. It has a checkbox system, so when you complete and assignment you can check it off. And let me tell you, there is nothing more relieving than checking off boxes in things.

How I plan to improve my management skills is to work harder to time block. My time blocks are very loose right now, so I need to make sure they’re a bit more strict so that I know when I can do what. I also need to work on taking breaks, and reminding myself that I can take breaks. When I have a large task, I tend to start dreading it because it’s so big and I don’t want to spend all that time on it. Breaking a large task up into smaller chunks helps it seem more manageable, and I’m working towards doing that. Think of it like the Goal Ladders from What Do I Really Want. One step at a time, and then I’ll reach the top in no time.

So I hope you all enjoyed attending (or reading) my mPOL! See you soon!

Read you later

Sincerely, Parker

Someone’s Halls Are Getting DECKED

Heyo, it’s me. Back with another blog post. This time on the wonderful time that was the 50’s. Ah yes, good times. Dancing, beat poetry and the constant looming fear of communism taking over.

So we got to do a project on that time. We studied a lot, on things such as McCarthyism. McCarthyism was pretty much a period where a guy called Joseph McCarthy put a whole bunch of people on trial because of the Red Scare. Everyone was being accused of communism for tiny things, and a lot of people lost their jobs.

Our project was simple (not). All we had to do was create a walk-through exhibit showing off important bits from the 50’s, while also relating it back to our research on The Crucible and also also relating it back to today. The experience had to be interactive with the audience, and we had to save a minimum of five stations, making the whole experience 40 minutes. Simple, clearly. The best part was: we had two and a half weeks.

It started with plotting out the ideas for each of the six stations we had to do. Our final plan was this:

Scene one: President Eisenhower gives a speech addressing the people of America and talking about the threat of communism

Scene two: An American household. The husband has just returned from the war, the wife is the classic housewife with one child on the way and a baby already there. They talk about how the GI Bill has helped them so much, and how much consumerism has affected them

Scene three: The guide and the Audience go to a Street, where there’s a rally for pro-communism. They talk about how the government is bad and how they shouldn’t arrested. They move on quickly.

Scene four: The guide and the Audience run into a scene of military officers trying to recruit a veteran to go to the Korean War. They explain the point of the Korean War was to fight the Communists over there so we don’t have to deal with them here. The guides low-key get accused of communism and its revealed they were drafted for war and dodged the draft.

Scene five: Hollywood, Baby. The guide gets cast in a Hollywood production of The Crucible, with A Wonderful Person as the cameraman. They explain what the blacklist was, and why Hollywood was especially affected. They shoot a bit of the film, until the police come in and make the guide stand on trial on the grounds of being accused of communist practices.

Scene six: The court scene. The audience have been given pieces of evidence of how the guide is a communist. They face Joseph McCarthy, which eventually leads to the guide being set free.

Then there’s a video relating back to today, and how Trump is going on a Russian witch-hunt, much like it was back then.

We wrote the script, though we were still editing days before the exhibition. People worked a lot on props, such as making a white picket fence and doors:

Then it was performance day. And… the wall broke. See, the gym has a mechanical wall that separates it. Super handy for our thing, but… we couldn’t use it. We had to improvise, using barriers and curtains and the backboards for the wall and to make it easier the move around without exposing everything.

We hadn’t had the chance to do a full runthrough of our lines, but we were pretty sure it was fine. I got to shout at people for being late, call people idiots. Good time.

We actually have a video of our preformance that you can see here:

Overall, this exhibition was a great way to learn about the time period. We really had to use our historical perspective and go into roles of people who maybe didn’t believe what we believed. We had to immerse ourselves in the culture, and learn about every side of the story. I would definitely do this project again, it helped me learn a lot more than I would have normally

That’s all,

Read you later!

Sincerely, Parker

What Does This Play Meme?

So, the Crucible is a play we’re reading in class right now. We’ve currently finished Act II, and it’s… quite a lot. The Crucible is set during the Salem Witch Trials, which went from 1692-1693. Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, there were no burnings during the witch trails in Salem. They were normally hung and stuff instead. The more you know about murdering people.

So, back to the Crucible. Let’s talk about Act I for a second. It escalates very quickly. It starts off with the Preist’s daughter, Betty Parrish, in bed. She’s sick after being caught doing witchcraft in the woods. Her friend, Abigail, insists they were just dancing. Though after the Putnam’s, who’s daughter is in the same state, come in, the story evolves into the fact that Tituba, the Parrish’s slave, was trying to summon a bunch of the Putnam’s dead babies to see who killed them. After everyone leaves, the story is revealed in it’s whole truth: Abigail and the other girls were drinking blood and trying to use witchcraft to kill off Elizabeth Proctor, who had earlier fired Abigail from working for her. But when everyone comes back in and they start pointing fingers, things escalate.

So naturally all of the girls start naming off other women in the village who have danced with the devil.

Alright, that was probably a lot of information. So, how does one communicate that to a classroom full of kids? Well, the language of Gen Z: memes. Yes, I made a meme to translate Act I. Because of course I did.

Ah yes, the classic meme of brain evolution, which also shows the escalation of the blame in Act I. See, memes work. Education kids with memes, word of advice.

Anyways, I’ll read you later

Sincerely, Parker

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