Alex’s Blog

Yee Haw


Quarter 4 – Reflection 1

And we’re back! After a very long hiatus, I have returned to the PLP classroom due to the quarter system my school is doing this year (2 classes for 10 weeks each then a switch). Of course, there’s a new project, this time we are crafting a “second brain” through a note taking system called zettelkasten. Zettelkasten connects core ideas that are derived from more informal notes. This project has so far been unlike anything I’ve ever done with PLP, it really focuses on the small steps and planting “seeds” of knowledge rather than a larger more focused and direct project (e.g Bluesky (2019)). Historically speaking, the smaller, stepping stone like aspects of projects have been the areas I’ve struggled with the most, and so far this has mostly been an exception to that rule.


We have been doing lessons on turning points throughout history, every lesson we write a “Literature note” which summarizes the lessons and allows us to take meaningful ideas from the lesson/resources provided by the teachers, we then put those ideas into our ever growing network of Zettelkasten notes. I’m fairly proud of my Riverview closure note as well as my Watergate note, because I was able to connect those to ideas I was already passionate about. 


Right now, I’m very busy with both things inside and outside of school so I’m honestly kind of pleased with how I’ve been keeping up with PLP so far this quarter, but I know that I do have the ability to extend my work to higher levels and also stay organized a bit better (this evident as this blog is being uploaded a day late) I will aim to do better as we move forward with this project.


Shrew You: Reflective Post

Welcome back readers, time for another look into my learning with PLP. This project focused on building our essay writing skills along with studying “The Taming of the Shrew” in order to answer our driving question: “How can the suffragette movement demonstrate both how much and how little has changed for women today?” you can read my answer to the question linked here in my final essay.


Similarly to my last project this quarter I’m very happy with turning everything in on time this project, it doesn’t seem like much (mostly because it isn’t) but I am pretty happy with myself for putting more effort into this course this year. I’m also really happy with the amount of learning I explored outside of the realm of the assigned curricular competencies, if that was for better or for worse is debatable, you can read about most of the extra research I did for this project here in my Milestone Two assignment. Like every project with PLP there are still a lot of things I could have done better with retrospect, for starters that milestone two document linked earlier, should have related a lot more to texts assigned in class and less about the other research I did, and I had the chance to revise yet I didn’t. I let myself get caught up in, what I determined to be, more important assignments even though if I had just managed my time better I could have revised and still done all the assignments at the same caliber I presented anyways.


The biggest blow to my performance in this project was easily my acquisition of strep throat that caused me to be absent from 6 classes. I definitely had 2 days there where I was not functional at all but I used it as an excuse to not put in 100% for the remainder of my time away from school, I barely hung on to my contracted grade of 93%, if it at all. Taking this into consideration I’m very grateful for my teachers for letting me move along with my final essay, because in Mr Hughe’s words… “We asked for a cherry pie, but you made us an apple pie, the apple pie still demonstrated my baking skills but it’s still not a cherry pie”. To that I would say that firstly, pie isn’t that good in the first place why are you teaching us how to make pie, and secondly, apple pie is better than cherry pie. All that said I am still proud of my final essay, Ms Willemse challenged me to take stance on the “right” interpretation of taming of the shrew, and I think I soundly argued my case on how the interpretations of the play over time represents a positive shift in the ideas of what place of women is in society. 


So, overall I think I did a relatively good job on this project although I should have paid more attention to feedback and/or asked for more considering the recent controversy on Suns and Rainbows (our grading system) within the PLP 11/12 cohort. I think I learned a lot and I would argue that my perspective on many things and ideas has broadened during this project, which is great. I don’t really care about my grade that much as long as I took some real things out of a course, and I did this quarter with PLP. I recommend you check out my final essay linked above, any feedback is cool with me!


Hopefully you will see some other cool blogs on here during the time in between now and the next time I’m back in the PLP class which will be in the last 4th of the school year. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great rest of your day/evening


Weekly Reflection: Week six

Hello all, welcome back to another weekly reflection. This week saw the completion of the PLP 11/12’s essays, coming in the form of Milestone 5 and 6. If you read my reflection last week you would know that I was sick for 4 days of that week, I continued to be sick for 2 more days of this week, these 6 missed days of an accelerated course are pretty much equivalent to missing 2 months of class in a regular year. I was honestly pretty proud of my performance in the class up until this point, I still am proud of the work I’ve produced yet I am not proud of the work habits I practiced during these last two weeks, my hand in times for most homework assignments went from a usual 5-10pm (if an assignment is due the next day) to a not particularly healthy 12-4am, my sleep habit is still abysmal, and it’s my fault. I let myself slip to this point, even though I am still doing my work, which is an improvement from years prior I am still leaving it to the very last moment possible, this is impacting my other classes too, I’ve been tunnel visioned with my humanities work that I forget about Physics a lot of the time, and haven’t been keeping up with the worksheets assigned much. It feels like I’m just barely hanging on to my decent marks in both classes, maybe it’s possible that I subconsciously like that, maybe it’s just a “relapse” into my old habits, the point is, I don’t know why I do this to myself. My saving grace is that I have still been working hard in class and been learning a lot, the biggest lesson I should be taking out of this week is that one slip up shouldn’t define the rest of my performance in a class, I have a tendency to let things snowball and I didn’t let my mistakes snowball exponentially like I usually do. I also know that since I have shown myself that I am capable of growth as a person (with my work habits in particular) I know that I will be able to rebuild my good habits I demonstrated earlier this quarter again throughout the rest of the year. 


I have a lot more thoughts on this unit in humanities as a whole, but because I don’t like to repeat myself I will save most of them for unit reflection post that will be posted tomorrow, for this blog I really just wanted to write down the lessons I took for myself as a person this week rather than the lessons I took for myself as a learner. Tune in next week for more self p̶i̶t̶y reflection and my thoughts on the latest PLP project: “Shrew You!” 


As always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening.


Weekly Reflection: Week Four

Hello all, welcome back to week four of my weekly reflections. This week wasn’t the greatest in all aspects mostly because I had strep throat from Tuesday and for the rest of the week, I slept through most of the week and didn’t really have a functioning brain until late Thursday which really sucked. I did participate in my group’s presentation of milestone 3 (the assignment was identifying continuity and change for the suffragette movement during the 1940s – 1950s) via facetime, I had a fever at the time and it’s probably the worst presentation I’ve ever done, I definitely could’ve prepared a bit more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost some mark for that abmissmal performance. That’s not to say I didn’t do any work for milestone three, because I did a good amount of research about feminist literature and I also compiled a list of the most important legal changes during the time period but I definitely could’ve helped a lot more with our thesis. 


With all the downtime I had this week I decided to watch two films relating to women’s cultural standards in two different time periods and places, the first was “Marriage Story” and the second was “In The Mood For Love” I had a lot of thoughts on both of these films and if your interested you can read those thoughts in my Milestone 2 document, which is my main research document for my current project in Humanities, keep in mind that this document is pretty informal and is mostly just for myself. I liked both movies a lot, the first one spoke very personally to me because it’s about divorce and that’s something I’ve been through, the second one was more of a beautiful piece of film in my opinion and I totally understand why it’s considered to be one of the best movies of the 21st century. I went a lot deeper with my reflections and interpretations of both in my milestone two, document but the biggest things I took out from the movies was how “Marriage Story” and “In The Mood For Love” show just how much and how little has changed for women over time and shows the cultural differences between Hong Kong and North America in the 60’s. This can all be tied back to my second weekly reflection, where I talked about “The Death Of The Author” the subjectivity of texts, because in my milestone 2 I did not once acknowledge the creators of either films, because it doesn’t matter to justify my interpretation, of course I would say that Wong Kar-Wai did an incredible job in using visual metaphors to add a layer of depth to his story, but I don’t think that his intentions with the movie changes my interpretation at all. They can if I want them to, but I still would argue that my takeaways are as profound as they would be if I acknowledged and looked for the creators intentions with either movies, and I think that makes my own thoughts a bit more personal and the lessons I took away from both movies will probably stick with me longer because of it. It could also be argued that I’ve stuck with this idea for a bit too long with my reflections.


I’ve also missed a lot of “Taming of The Shrew” which is probably the worst part of the entire week because it means I have to read it during my own time. 


Overall, despite missing a lot of school I still feel like I learned a lot this week which is good, I think. I feel ready for what’s to come in the upcoming week for humanities (I don’t feel ready for physics though) and most of all I’m going to make up for missed time! So as always, thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/night.



Weekly Reflection: Week Three

Hello all, welcome back to the third edition of my weekly reflections. We’ve had a mildly exciting week with our PLP humanities class this week, I’ve particularly enjoyed all of the discussions we’ve been having, I haven’t really enjoyed being labeled a contrarian, though, I see why most people think that. Our daily discussions as a class have been focused on determining whether or not songs in culture are sexist, if you’ve read my blog from last week you may know that I don’t think there’s a right answer to that but usually most of the class comes to similar consensus, I think that’s because the majority of us tend to be pretty progressive with our thoughts on society and culture. 


Last week I highlighted the essay “The Death of Author” which argues that all text (including music) should be interpreted by the individual, this week I decided I wanted to dig a little deeper into that concept and relate it to our discussions in class, this lead me down an all familiar rabbit hole of thought that ended with me going through a tiny existential crisis. I think that almost all aspects of life can be interpreted subjectively, I guess this is a pretty nihilistic take because it infers that nothing has any real meaning, but I think that fact gives the individual the power to choose their own meaning, thus my conclusion (this video by “Kurzgesagt” is great on explaining this better than me) if anyone is interested by this video I recommend checking out Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, or Plato. I don’t know if that’s the conclusion Ms Willemse wants us to come to, I think most of the PLP students would agree that right and wrong aren’t objective. Perhaps the discussions allow us to think more critically about what we think is right and wrong and realize that our perception of it can change very easily. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve taken away from the discussions, I used to think that music was just music and people really shouldn’t let themselves get offended by it, and even though I still kind of think that, I now really understand why people can get offended by certain songs or texts. These discussions have definitely helped me understand why things do or don’t matter to other individuals. I just think that being able to hear about other people’s thought processes on these things is really cool, and honestly the discussions are my favorite part of the school day. 


Moving forward I’m quite excited for the rest of this project actually, because we’ve been exploring a lot of topics I really enjoy thinking about. I’m also no longer finding the essay readings as redundant anymore because I’ve kind of realized the point in reading them. Also excited to watch Kramer vs. Kramer tomorrow!


So as always, thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening!



Weekly Reflection: Week two

Hello all, welcome back to the second addition of my weekly reflections. Overall this week was pretty decent. A highlight of my week included my cousins birthday (shoutout Lucas), during his birthday dinner my other cousin and I discussed school and the subject of humanities came up, I may or may not have complained about my humanities class more specifically the commonlit assignments we have been assigned recently, I made a point about how there can rarely be right answers about interpreting texts so my cousin said something along the lines of “I don’t want you to get in trouble with your teacher, but, you should really read ‘The Death of The Author’ by Roland Barthes” I in fact did not read it because I couldn’t find a free version on the internet but I did read a few synopsis’. 


In short, “The Death of The Author” argues against in discerning objective meanings and purposes of any text, taking into account an author’s perspective and biases usually provides an insight to the purpose and meaning of texts, or text can be used to determine an author’s perspective on life or it’s issues, Barthes argues against this citing that acknowledging an author’s perspective limits the amount of interpretations. individuals can make for themselves. Acknowledging an author’s own interpretation of their text defeats the purpose of most literature, the lessons and meaning of literature should be determined by the reader. Obviously there are some flaws to these arguments, perhaps an argument can be made that readers should learn how to interpret an author’s message before finding their own but I think that’s pointless because you will get the end result either way and I believe most PLP students are able to find their own meaningful connections with text. This is why I think commonlit is pointless for the most part and shouldn’t contribute to any of the PLP students’ grades, because we are learning how to identify an author’s meaning and message, not our own, although learning how to identify themes is good mostly. 


That was a large tangent, bringing it back to school overall, I think I had some ups and downs with most classes but I am doing better everyday and that’s great but I can still do better with keeping up with physics homework and work experience. As you can tell I’ve mostly been thinking about humanities this week but I expect next week will have more than just one connection about my learning.


As always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening. 


Deep Cove Historical Walking Tour: Project Reflection

Welcome back to my blog, today I’ll be reflecting on the first PLP project of 2020, the Deep Cove Historical Walking Tour. For this project the PLP 11/12 cohort revamped and expanded the Deep Cove Historical Walking Tour that was made by the Deep Cove Heritage Society (even though it was already amazing). Our final products were a custom google map and regular map to guide people through the tour. We also each created a video pitching our historical marker location to the Deep Cove Heritage Society, all the products are linked for where they are mentioned.

I was blessed with having Mt Seymour as my historical marker which is a place im very fond of so it definitely added a lot of interest for this project, honestly I sort of wished I could’ve had a partner for this (and more space in the pamphlet) because Seymour was such an interesting and important place to cover. I still got through it and honestly I think this project had some of my best work, I have had better final products before, but I think this is the project where I consistently showed good work throughout its entirety. I really tried my best this project to go that extra mile and I did in some regards but there a few things I could’ve done better; I could’ve contacted Alison (the owner of Seymour) sooner, I could’ve done a better video pitch of my location, and I could’ve worded my blurb for the google map a bit better too. I was compliant for those aspects, I won’t be that way for the next project. 


Overall I am genuinely proud of my work on this project, I still have a ways to go before I am actually consistently producing my absolute best work but I think this was a great start, I will keep on moving forward in a positive direction. I also only handed in 1 and a half assignments in late (if you count the video but I still blame the lateness on my old computer and crappy internet) I think this is worth noting because I don’t think I have ever been that consistent with every single stepping stone and milestone before (that’s what I call real character development)


As always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening.


Weekly Reflection: Week one

Hello all, it’s been a while. Welcome back to my blog, today marks the first day/post of my weekly reflections. This week has been a low point for the quarter, despite starting off the week really strong with getting a 93 on my physics test and wrapping up my last project in humanities fairly strong (with the exception of having trouble exporting the walking tour video, butI blame that on my old laptop and crappy internet), the switching of schedules really messed me up. Starting off the first day after the switch I was embarrassingly late for humanities, then I proceeded to struggle with some of physics as well as forget to do something for work experience. The last two days of the week were fairly miserable and embarrassing in my opinion.


I had just started to really get into better habits before the switch and I let myself slip because subconsciously I don’t do that well with change. It’s not even a big change too which has gotten me more disappointed with myself, it was just a simple change in my schedule that I let snowball. It’s not even just my habits with school either, I didn’t exercise Thursday, Friday, or Sunday, and I even forgot to floss on those days also. At the end of the day though, none of that particularly matters (well maybe if it affects my grades) what does is determining the lesson can I take away from all of this. 


To relate this to something outside of school, I went to wild play with my mom and some friends, my friend who organized it decided that it was a good idea to sign us up for the hardest course, once I got to the top I realize that it was incredibly scary, but I decided that since I was there already I may as well do it, and get some exercise and have some fun and just do it rather than let my fear of failure make go down. I aim to take that same concept into next week because I have been for the majority of the quarter. I know that I’ve slipped up like I have this week and let it snowball way more in the past, despite being capable of stopping it whenever I wanted, so what makes this upcoming week any different than others in the past? I honestly don’t know, maybe I’ll have an answer as to why I did so great next week, after next week. 


All in all I just need to fall back into the good habits that I was practicing earlier this quarter, I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. See you next week!

p.s expect to see posts relating to things other than school in the near future!


Podcast Number 1

Hello all, welcome back to my blog, I’m back here for the third blog of 2020 (I still don’t know how to start these off right), anyways it’s been another unit for the sorta PLP Cohort and I, this time not tasked with making a video or play, instead we stripped both of those down into what’s known as a podcast, our podcast had to provide an answer for our driving question which was “How did the lives & conditions change and stay the same for Canadians after WW2?” We were split up into partners (my partner was Caleb) and we then each modified the driving question to fit a specific group of people, Caleb and I turned our question into “How the lives and conditions have changed for Canadian Veterans after WW2?” In short, I think this project went well for me and you can listen to our finished podcast on Soundcloud right here


Up above I said that in short that this project went well for me, I do think that, but this project was far from perfect, and I’d say the biggest challenge for Caleb and I in this project was trying to get an Interviewee for our podcast, unfortunately neither of our potential interviewees ever responded to us. This was a huge setback for us but we made the most of it, we chose to speak about an interview that occured between a veteran named Brock and our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we actually reached out to Brock for an interview, although as I mentioned earlier he never responded. 


The biggest upside for this project was the amount of work I put in for once, I actually read and genuinely enjoyed the book that we studied for this project, and this project was probably my best in terms of keeping up with due dates up until the end portion of it, sadly. I think that the real product of this project wasn’t the main goal for me this time around, I tried my best to take all the steps for this project, but at the end I seemed to run out of gas. The final week of this project was very hectic, and I managed to contract the flu for the last two days of it, which were also the last two days before spring break. I was genuinely out of commision for about 4 days but when I could finally work again I didn’t bother doing the final two assignments of this project (those being, the literary response for “The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian” and this blog that you are reading now). Perhaps it was the social pressure of the oncoming Covid “pandemic” or maybe it was me just lashing out at that fact I really didn’t get to go outside this entire break because I could’ve of had Covid I know that was the right thing to do and I don’t think I regret that in the grand scheme of things, but I do regret what I chose to spend my time doing during this spring break, which was quite frankly nothing of use. I had plenty of things I could have done but didn’t so I am going to try my best moving forward so that the pro-activeness I started to practice with this project continues.


Overall this project, to me, felt like another sort of large step in the right direction. I hope to continue this trend, as we explore the wonders of Online schooling, which I’m sure any teacher reading this is pretty worried about, for me (that’s a joke for legal reasons).



Poetry Post (6 months later)

Hello all, welcome back to another blog, today’s topic is the poetry unit that the PLP cohort and I embarked on in October of this year. I have never really been a fan of most traditional poems, and I can say this unit has sort of changed my opinion on it. For this unit we had to answer our driving question of “How does our understanding of text help us understand and idea” in this situation, the word “text” referred to poetry, the class was put into groups and we answered a modified version of this question in a presentation that showcased our understanding of historical perspective. Our groups modified this question to fit our topic, my group (consisting of Caleb, Izzy, and Ruby)  modified it to “how does our understanding of text help us understand gender acceptance over time” we presented 4 different poems and each of us analyzed and broke down our interpretations of them, mine was “The manly Man” by Francis Duggan.


This unit we learned about different types of strutted and unstructured poetry but more importantly we learned how to understand the many ideas that poems portray. Coming into this unit I thought poetry of nothing more than “fancy words” and this has been one of the few units that has changed my opinion on a topic. Since this unit I’ve been drawn towards more Philosophical poetry as I am very interested on how other people perceive the world, I think that played into this unit nicely because one of the main themes was historical perspective.

The biggest challenge in this project for me was getting over my preconceptions of poetry, there was no real “method” on how I overcame this as it was more of a conscious dilemma. Needless to say I did get over it and I think that my presentation went pretty well, another challenge would be handing in the more minor milestones during this project, including this blog post. I can’t honestly recall all the details of this unit as I am writing this 3 months after the project ended (I genuinely did think I had already written this post but in reality, I had written 173 words). The biggest success for this project was probably our final presentation, I have never been scared of public speaking and I have always been fairly decent at it, i was also pretty confident with my own and the rest of my groups analysis of the poems.

Overall this unit wasn’t my strongest but also not my weakest this year, I am happy that it got me into poetry. Moving forward, I know that I need to focus more on the little things, I do think that I am getting better but I’m no where near where I could be at currently, with all that being said, it is time for this post to come to a close, as always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening.

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