It’s that time of year… tpol time! Tpols are where I get to reflect on the whole year, and what went well, and what went wrong. Let’s just say there were a lot of things that went wrong. And not too many that went right… I decided to organize this tpol around different themes, so I could really reflect on what I learned during this last year. I ended up with 3 themes for this project. What I’m planning on doing for this tpol is to talk about a theme and bring up a few examples of projects that help show what I mean.
Let’s start off with the bad/frustrating. My first theme for today was about what I found hard and/or frustrating with this last year of PLP. Right off the bat, one new, and slightly off-putting thing was not having any of my really close friends in the program. This was challenging because I had just spent the last year making new friends, and always being with them, and then all of a sudden not having that was pretty strange, and hard to get used to. Another thing that I found really frustrating was that the first projects were extremely hard for me. I think that I wasn’t prepared for the format of learning that PLP has. I was expecting more of an introduction to how we were doing things, but we dove into things right away, and that caught me off guard, leading me to fall behind. It was then really challenging to catch up, which unfortunately set a bad tone for the start of the year that carried on for a while. One main example of falling behind this year was the fall blogging challenge. This was a project that I found really difficult for a few different reasons. I think the main reason was that it wasn’t really assigned by any of my classes, so I was never reminded to do it, or told to at all, and it would slip my mind really easily. Also, I really didn’t like the idea of being told what to write all the time, so not only would I forget about it most of the time, when I did remember, I’d tell myself that I’d do it later, just to forget about it. I think getting another chance to do the blogging challenge this past spring was really helpful because I learned a lot about organizational skills and how I have to write things down if I want to remember to do them.
The next theme that I want to talk about is what I liked about PLP. Despite the frustrations of it, there were some things that I liked about PLP. One of the highlights of the year for me was the field trip to the Oregon coast. I liked how I got to really connect with the other kids in PLP at the beginning of the year, which helped with the problem of not having many friends in the program. I liked the hands-on learning that we did on the trip, especially the interviewing. I also was really proud of the book that I did from the field trip, even though I handed it in a day late and it didn’t end up counting towards my PGP grade. I also enjoyed the exhibitions because we got to really be creative and find our own solutions to problems, which we then presented to lots of other people. The field trips and the exhibitions are two of the strengths of PLP in my opinion.
The third and final theme that I want to discuss is what I learned throughout the last year. One thing that I wanted to do to show what I’ve learned over the last year is to compare an old project, and a more recent project to see what has changed and improved over the last year. The two projects that I chose were the Big Life journal, which obviously wasn’t my favourite project considering I can’t find the blog post for it, as an early project, and the End of the World project. I didn’t choose these two for any reason, but I figured if I changed over the last year, it shouldn’t matter what project I choose. First, let’s talk about the Big Life journal… This was a pretty rough project for me. I really struggled to understand how the milestones and stepping stones worked, and I fell behind quickly. Once I fell behind, it was challenging to get caught back up. On the contrary though, one of the main things I remember about the End of the World project, is making sure I didn’t fall behind, because it had happened a lot of times before, and it always ended in frustration, or lack of a finished project. Overall, I think this shows a major improvement in my ability to stay organized and on track to complete a project.
The End of the World project also brought together a lot of other things for me. For example, I was more motivated for this project and I found the format more interesting because it was a more creative project. This project was one of the first where I used feedback to make revisions to my work, and in the end the project was better because of that. The project also really showed the value of teamwork, because I had to work in a team and my group was really helpful. We worked well together and in the end our group song was much better than our individual songs. This project was also one of the many that helped me realize that it was really important to read all of the directions and make sure I cover every topic.
In the end, I learned a lot about each of the subject areas throughout my year in PLP. For example, in Humanities, I learned a lot about organization and a strong work ethic so I could keep working on a project until I was happy with it. In Maker, I learned a lot about how I can express my creativity as a learner. In Scimatics, I learned a lot how to stay focused in class (even if it is occasionally boring). For the future, I think I can work on staying organized and focused, and doing what interests me in school.