I am convinced PLP has cursed me to be an eternal hunchback.

These past few weeks, I have found myself hunching over my iPad drawing comics, editing videos, reading books… and worst of all, writing summative blog posts. My neck has not been having a fun time.

Lately, in Maker, our focus has been on reading about several habits we can utilize to become “highly effective people.” These habits were first written about by Stephen Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

We were provided with 3 variations of this book: the adult version, teen version, and children’s version. I opted to choose the teen version, called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey (Stephen Covey’s son.)

When I had initially picked up this book, I honestly felt vaguely insulted that there was a teen edition in the first place. I had been under the assumption that it would be a sugar coated version of the original book, targeted towards impressionable, young, children with a lower level of reading comprehension. I had expected the tone of the author’s writing to be akin to an adult condescendingly talking to an adolescent child.

Thankfully, the book was no such thing… at some parts, at least. I actually enjoyed the book more than I originally expected myself to. Although there are some aspects of the book that I don’t personally fully agree with, I found myself immersed in the vast amount of stories retelling people’s experiences. It was an interesting read, and provided an intriguing outlook on how a person can better oneself.


“How can I be my most effective self?”

We completed an “Assessment Choice Board” activity for each section of the book: The Set Up, Private Victory, Public Victory, and Renewal. We had the choice to choose from a list of various written, visual, audio, or kinesthetic activities… though we were heavily encouraged to try a variety. 



The Set-Up:


The visuals and photos included in this collage represent various aspects of "Part 1" that stood out to me. At the top, the photo of the bird and of the puddle reflection represent a "paradigm shift", or looking at things with a new perspective. The principle/sun image is a metaphor of sorts for how it is suggested that your center should be a principle or two. I also included photos of words that stood out to me, and wrote out some principles (ie. honesty, balance) that were mentioned in the book. As a whole, this collage demonstrates my understanding of "Part 1" visually.

I chose to create a photo collage for this activity. Looking back on it, I definitely could have made better design choices… though I feel that it gives off the “scrapbook/abstract” vibe I was aiming for. This section of the book mentioned a lot about choosing a principle to center your life around, and went into an overview of the habits.


The Private Victory: Habits 1, 2, 3

1. Be Proactive

2. Begin With the End in Mind

3. Put First Things First


For my "The Private Victory" Choice board, I decided to write 3 different poems explaining 3 different habits in my perspective.

Be Proactive: "Homework" is a poem that includes 2 different haikus. These two haikus, though similar, represent Reactivity vs. Proactivity. In the first, I reacted to the situation through screaming. Meanwhile, in the second, I reacted to the situation by persevering and getting my work done.

Begin With the End in Mind: "Grow Up" is a freeverse poem that explains how when I first began schooling, at the age of 4, I thought I would become a doctor. I knew at the time it was what would make my mother happy. More recently, my mother asked me what I was considering studying in university. Instead, I dodged around the question because I knew my answer would not make her happy. Looking back on my responses, and the effort I have put into my academics… despite the contrasts and contradictions in my answers to her, the one correlation is that I just want to make her happy. In that sense, I push myself to do well because I value the happiness of those close to me.

Put First Things First: "Future, Past, Present" is a bit of a reference to how whenever I procrastinate, I always say, "It is future me's problem." However, despite the fact that I am talking about my present and future self as two different individuals, it is still myself that I am ruining by procrastinating. I can overcome this by utilizing time management tools such as Things and prioritizing my tasks. However, "Present Me", as depicted in the poem, definitely hasn't heard of either of those!

For this activity, I decided to create 3 poems representing these habits as a nod towards a poetry project we completed not too long ago, titled “Working With Words“. I am admittedly very satisfied with how my poems turned out… and I feel that poetry is definitely one of my favourite methods of self expression. It was nice to create work that felt authentically like myself.


Personal Mission Statement Table


The people I included for my Personal Mission Statement table include my sister, and various other friends I have made throughout the years. I opted to draw them out rather than adding in photos, seeing as I know some of them would feel uncomfortable if I used their photos.

Nev is a very encouraging and uplifting friend. She is a person of strong morals, and values small acts of kindness. Although she is the same age as me, she oftentimes gives me insightful advice when I confide in her.

Tracy is my sister, and I know she has endured so much. I really admire her, and I am glad for the relationship I have with her now, despite not always being the closest. She knows when to push me in order to better myself.

Hunter is a friend of mine who does not judge. He has a generally upbeat and charismatic persona, and never fails to make others laugh. I admire his ability to get along with nearly anyone.

Jordan is a friend who cares dearly for all living things, big and small. They are unafraid to handle small insects, and enjoys visiting farm animals.

Andy has an infinite amount of patience, especially when I mess up or fail. He always gives thoughtful advice, and indulges in philosophical and long conversations.

Each person at my Personal Mission Statement table is unique, yet similar in the sense that they all support and lift me up. They all encourage and support me, especially when it comes to viewing things in a more positive manner. I believe that through showing me acts of kindness, they act as an example for how I can adjust my outlook to cherish the good things in life.

We created a Personal Mission Statement Table in order to further practice Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind.

Within my table, I included various friends I have made over the years, as well as my sister. During the time of my table’s creation, my good friend, Sabrina had introduced me to a game called Undertale. I definitely got into the game a couple years too late, but nonetheless, I decided to design my table to be Undertale-themed. 



The Public Victory: Habits 4, 5, 6


4. Think Win-Win

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

6. Synergize

I chose to explain my understanding of the Public victory in a Keynote presentation, in which I redrew meme templates that I felt fit various aspects of these habits.

The RBA meme I made was based off a true scenario that happened to me the other week. In particular, I wanted to highlight how RBA withdrawals and deposits occur regularly whether you want them to or not. Comments and actions (even small ones) do have an impact.

The Habit 4: Think Win-Win meme is a sketch I made of a relatively overused meme template. Something that truly stood out to me in regards to this habit is changing one's mindset from competitive to cooperative– especially since I struggle a lot with being competitive.

The Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood meme is a method I used to highlight how people truly wanted to be listened to. When I was reading the 7 Habits teen edition book, there was a poem about people wanting to be listened to, which I connected very strongly to.

The Habit 6: Synergize meme is a spin-off of a well known Office meme. When this habit was being explained to us, the following quote was repeated regularly: "The smartest person in the room is the room." This quote in particular helped me grasp exactly what synergy is.

For this activity, I chose to redraw some memes and apply them to the Public Victory. Looking back on it, I definitely think I could have done better in terms of the artistic design… though I like to think it turned out decently.


Personal Bank Account

We also created individual “Personal Bank Accounts” in order to keep track of personal withdrawals and deposits in our everyday life. I thought of it as an interesting method of self-reflection, and I actually liked completing it enough to the extent where I forgot to hand it in and kept adding to it past the deadline… which definitely wasn’t the best decision on my part.


Renewal: Habit 7

7. Sharpen the Saw

For this Choice Board Activity, I chose to create a 3D die out of paper to use whenever I feel that I am in need of renewing myself. On this die, I have included the following sides: Body, Mind, Spirit, Heart, Self, and Any. With each side, I have included an activity that I enjoy that pertains to the category; such as dancing, playing music, reading tarot, and more. While the categories that pertain to Habit 7 are "officially" physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual, my die creation was inspired by a different visual we were shown in class. Through the use of this die, I can exercise my understanding of renewal, or sharpening the saw… and actually utilize this tool when I feel overwhelmed or stressed.

I created a kinesthetic 3D die with different sides representing activities I enjoy to renew myself. These activities included playing the clarinet, doing tarot readings, dancing, and more. As a student, I feel that this is the habit I need to exercise the most, especially since I tend to become overwhelmed with workload really easily. These past few months have been quite stressful for myself personally, with all the deadlines that I have been struggling to meet. Awhile back, it got to the point where I was convinced I would keel over and die at any moment simply because I was so stressed. In order to be able to complete my work, I need to be functional both mentally and physically; which I feel this habit helps significantly with.


Pitch Form

After weeks of frantic reading, writing, drawing, and photo editing, it was time to submit our Pitch Form for our final product. We had to create various Assessment Choice Board activities that applied to the 7 Habits as well as the Communicating, Thinking, and Personal/social aspects of our learning. After I pitched my ideas, I immediately began to brainstorm the specific details of my final product. However, not everything went according to plan, and I did somewhat stray from my original ideas.



Thinking/Visual: Habits 1, 2, 3

I designed a painted collage representing the Private Victory, with the process shown within a video. Within this video, I wanted to highlight how thinking ahead of time, envisioning a final product, prioritizing, and proper planning can lead to success.


Communcation/Audio: Habits 4, 5

I created a language video of me reciting the beginning of an American Sign Language (ASL) story titled “The Gum Story”. I recited a short excerpt of this story in English, French, and ASL. 

I had originally planned to have a conversation with a friend in these languages… however, I realized I definitely do not have any friends who know ASL, so I scrapped that idea.

Although I am fluent in English, I am by no means an expert on French nor ASL. I study French in school as a Canadian student, and I took an ASL course over the summer out of personal interest in the language. In ASL syntax/grammar, this is the story in its entirety:


Personal & Social/Kinesthetic: Habits 6, 7

I created a magnifying glass representing different quadrants of Renewal and the people at my Personal Mission Statement table. The intention was to represent the synergy of people in my life, and how they help renew myself. Special thanks to Teva, who helped me take this photo!


How can I be my most effective self?

After weeks of reading, note-taking, and creating… I must say, I definitely am not my most effective self. Through the definition of a “highly effective person”, as prophesied by Sean Covey, I am under the impression that becoming highly effective requires a lot of discipline and mastery on oneself. 

It isn’t something that happens overnight – years, even. However, I know that practising these habits and applying them to my life is absolutely something I can partake in to improve myself. Whether it be as a learner, a friend, a daughter, or an individual, I believe that if I applied myself and tried to balance the 7 Habits, I can grow both personally and academically.

I am aware that I’m not always going to make the right choices, and that ingraining new habits into oneself is a difficult task, to say the least. I think that it’s definitely hard to “believe in good”, especially as a teenager. It’s easy to let myself enter a spiral of negative thinking and self deprecation. It’s easy to blame a multitude of things, rather than taking accountability for myself. Despite that, if I have learned anything from this project, it is that a small change can go a long way.