A visual of my inner conscience as I procrastinated on this post.

I always feel like when I read the blog posts of fellow PLP learners, they oftentimes fit into one of two categories:

  • “I am writing this because this is what I think my teacher wants to hear.”
  • “I am writing this because this is what I want heard.”

Personally, the latter is what I try to aim for, yet the former is what I usually end up creating. I swear, sometimes my peers sound like they were held at gunpoint by a teacher and told to start writing, which I can honestly relate to. These mandatory summative posts oftentimes feel like the most dreaded and exhausting part of a project, yet when I realize I have my own creative freedom to express my learning in my own way, everything changes. 

Similarly, revolutions largely happen because people want their voices to be heard. If they are not, people make it so that they are heard. That’s something that I related a lot to these past few weeks. I want my voice to be heard among my peers and teachers, yet the only thing truly stopping me is myself. I am my own tyrannical dictator pig. 

Henceforth, that’s the reason why I chose to work on my Communicating competency for this project. If you’re not in with the fancy PLP lingo, do not fret. This essentially means I worked at improving my skills at communicating purposefully with my fellow classmates and teachers. In other words, I have room to grow when it comes to communicating through speech, and this project was an opportunity to enable that growth. This is something I shall discuss more later.

Anywho, part of the reason why I was dreading writing this post is because it’s complicated. By that, I mean a lot of the learning that occurred is difficult to explain to people who were not directly involved in this project.

I don’t want this post to become a lot of mindless droning on about George Orwell’s evil politician pigs, or Crane Brinton’s Steps of an Effective Revolution and how they apply to a whole bunch of other revolutions.

Additionally, I also have to take into account the fact that these posts are technically targeted towards our teachers as an audience, and rambling explanations are not necessary. However, then I also have to acknowledge that this is a public website and the public is technically also my target audience, therefore I do need to explain things in a way normal non-PLP humans would understand. 

Have I lost you yet?

I don’t really know where I was taking this. Here’s the driving question:

“How might we as legal teams determine the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of a revolution?”

If I have been excessively mentioning pigs, this novel is the reason why. Behold, George Orwell’s wonderful work of art: Animal Farm. This novel is an allegory for the Russian Revolution 1917. It represents various aspects of this revolution in the form of farm animals, which was quite interesting to read and reflect upon.

Our class read this novel over the course of a few weeks. Our teachers scheduled it similarly to a book club. We had discussions in which we asked each other questions about events happening in each chapter. I liked the social aspect included, because having in-depth conversations about a specific book isn’t really something I get to do often with others. Here are my discussion questions:


Then, we learned about Crane Brinton’s Steps of an Effective Revolution. We first took notes during a lecture in class, which you can see here.


Afterwards, I designed a creative diagram representing my knowledge of Brinton’s theory.


Now that we developed a good understanding of Animal Farm and Brinton’s theory, we then wrote an in-class multi-paragraph response on the two of them. This is my response:

There were four different revolutions that we could research for the final portion of this project: American, French, Haitian, and Xinhai. I researched the Xinhai revolution. Per each revolution, there were two different groups.

My group members were Gwen, Max L., Max R., Ben T., and David. At the end of the project, our goal was ultimately to determine the effectiveness of the Xinhai revolution during a “mock trial” against another Xinhai revolution group. We were to present our evidence for our case as lawyers and witnesses, while the audience was our jury.

However,  my group didn’t actually collaborate together immediately after our groups were assigned. We were each given the task of independently researching our revolution and creating a graphic organizer with specific criteria that explains said revolution. Here is my graphic organizer:

This was a vital aspect of building knowledge in order to develop the necessary understanding to continue with the project. A large portion of my foundational understanding of the Xinhai revolution came from this assignment.

Not long after, our group began working on our affidavit. An affidavit is a written statement sworn under oath, used as evidence in court. We had to find evidence that proved the effectiveness of the Xinhai revolution through primary sources only, which proved to be quite difficult. Despite our struggles, our group did manage to produce something we could work with.

After exchanging our affidavits with the opposing Xinhai team, we then merged into one group. This group consisted of my aforementioned group members, as well as Alicia, Sabrina, Ava, Declan, Patrick, and Noah. Although we were working together to build a script, there was still some tension and minor squabbles seeing as we were technically also building a case against one another. Here is a final copy of our script:

Following the conclusion of multiple rehearsals with varying amounts of chaos, it was time for the Winter Exhibition. PLP 9 showcased our trials in the school’s Vortex theatre. Since my group went up last, some 8th graders actually showed up to watch. It was quite nerve-wracking.

You can watch our actual performance on the night of here:

I honestly struggled a lot in the final portion of our project. It got to the point where I felt so emotionally drained after each class, and I ended up lashing out at some friends who hadn’t actually done anything wrong, which I really regret.

I was aware that we were technically debating the effectiveness of the actions of people who have long since passed, and that winning the case hadn’t actually meant anything in the long run. My group won the case in rehearsals and in the actual exhibition, though it hadn’t actually felt like we won anything. The general consensus among my classmates was that the clerk counted the votes wrong, or that the other team deserved the win, and that my team hadn’t done nearly as good as them. Those are all points that I felt held some truth to them; and that’s why it hurt so much to hear. It hadn’t helped that the opposing team held some of my most hardworking peers, of whom I constantly compare myself to. I really struggle getting out of that fixed mindset, and my inner judgemental dictator pig voice had not made it any easier.


Reflection on Growth

  • Communicating: Profile 3: I communicate purposefully, using forms and strategies I have practiced.

If you know anything about me, you’re likely aware that I constantly struggle in projects that involve working in a group. I’m not a particularly confrontational person, nor am I talkative. In fact, I frequently get asked “Sorry, who are you again?” when talking to my fellow PLP students. Due to these facts, my group members accidentally forgot to include me in three different aspects of our project. However, I don’t blame them, since I should have spoken up about it rather than just feeling hurt by it. I had intended to work on my Communicating competency throughout the duration of this project, and I can’t help but feel I have failed in that regard when it came to collaborating with others.

However, I think I did well at the the previously mentioned competency when it came to the Animal Farm discussions. I came prepared with my questions each class, and was happy to share with my table group. 

I also did well in this regard when presenting my revolution graphic organizer to a table group. I was excited to share, and hadn’t actually stopped talking about the Xinhai revolution until the time ran out.

As such, I am under the impression that although I did well on the Communicating competency in some aspects, I do acknowledge I have more room for growth.

  • What events happened in the revolution I am studying?

I demonstrated an sufficient amount of understanding when it came to this keystone. Evidence of this includes my graphic organizer and Crane Brinton creative diagram, both of which I did a proficient job at. In particular, I did quite well on my presentation for my graphic organizer. I also gathered an overwhelmingly large amount of research regarding the Xinhai revolution, which assisted me in the completion of this project.

  • Why do Revolutions happen?

I showed an in-depth understanding for this keystone. My Nation X reflection showed insight and careful thinking when it came to the causation of revolutions. Also, evident thought and effort was put into my Animal Farm discussion questions, as well as my written response on Animal Farm.

  • How do legal teams prepare for a trial?

Although I had a small understanding of this keystone when we first began focusing on it, my understanding has since grown. My group and I heightened our understanding through the completion of our affidavit, and mock trial script. Through countless rehearsals and practices, we managed to gain insight on how legal teams operate and gear up for a trial.


How might we as legal teams determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a revolution?

We used this criteria to establish the meaning of an effective revolution. My revolution group reviewed evidence and facts in order to appeal to the aforementioned criteria, which was presented during our mock trial. This required collaborating as a team, time spent researching, and deciding how we can best display our collected evidence in a script. Furthermore, standing up on stage, and receiting said evidence in front of an audience was utterly terrifying. The completion of the project required responsibility, effort, and trust within all parties involved. It also required coaching a group member through how to pronounce my surname. Although we faced difficulties and struggles along the way, we made it in the end.

“Revolutions on Trial” was not easy. However, most things that are worth it never are.