🌸Spring Exhibition🌸

       Hello all, or should’ve I say goodbye, well for now at least. It is finally summer break and I am so happy!!! But of course, PLP being what it is we have to do one final piece of homework. I’m gonna let you guess what kind of homework. Yep! It’s a blog post! (Once again a slightly sarcastic exclamation point) Anyway, the topic in question is Blue Sky. This years final maker project was all about us choosing a problem or issue that we want to try our best to fix. Big companies like Google put 20% of their employees work time towards free work period and “genius hours” in which employees can choose to peruse any project they have. This is how things like gmail were born. This year at our spring exhibition we presented our very own blue sky products and our steps towards completion, otherwise know as the LAUNCH.

WikiImages / Pixabay

   Ok so what does a LAUNCH look like. With each letter in the word comes a step going forward in our project. I’m going too start with the beginning of course. Look, listen,  and learn. With the first step we had one simple task, think about a problem and how you are going to fix it. We started with some questions and a how might we paragraph. After heavy consideration and a bunch of switching from idea to idea, I decided to work with my own problem. Being what I consider as an athlete I tend to get hurt a lot. From strains to sprains I hate that the only thing that I really had to rely on was chemically induced products like heat rub which are horrible for you body. After talking with some people in my class whom also are affected by this issue I came to the conclusion that I needed to ask more questions outside of the teenage rage. This is where asking tons of questions, step 2 comes in. As you might know from some of my previous posts, asking questions through need to know charts are a very common concept in PLP. You can see some of my need to knows below but I will warn you that these were not entirely based on questions surrounding my project but the entirety of how blue sky works.

   At this point we had to have a pretty solid idea for our pitch forms. Once I got approved I moved on to the U stage. Understand the problem or process is where we started to do primary and secondary research. This is the point in which I started to fumble. After doing my honestly kind of lazy attempt at primary research, which is asking real people that would benefit or be knowledgeable about a product such as yours, I got feedback on how I needed to redo this part. I decided to contact a company that specializes stretching and healing sports injuries. Kinstretch did not however get back to me, even after I tried and tried again to contact them via email, live chat, and phone call. Since my U stage wasn’t the best I moved on to N as fast as I could. Navigating through idea can be challenging, but try having very little to go on and it gets much harder. I somehow found a way of bunching my ideas and cutting down to a final decision. I was going to make an app targeted at teen athletes. Once I had a conversation with my teacher I was introduced to app prototyping in keynote. This saved me so much time and taught me things I probably never would’ve figured out if I’d made a website or something of the sort. But with such little time and lots of information to input I needed to slim down my ideas. I chose to target three things. Fitness, stretching, and healing. On to C…

   Okay, the creative stage in this long process was probably the most enjoyable because I got to stress test my idea to people who would benefit it. Then I got a lot of feedback which kept me working for days leading up the the exhibition. I honestly feel like if I had done more to make what I made even better, I would’ve been happier with it in the end. I had a lot of ideas that weren’t realistic in the time period of one week. However I pulled through and I fixed a lot of little things which made my app prototype better in the long run. You can check out my LAUNCH presentation below! Before you go and do that I want to say that I have some big goals for the next blue sky project, they are quiet frequent around these parts. Although I wasn’t super proud of what I made, I did pretty good for my first blue sky and all that I can do in the future is improve!




– Ciara ✌️

⛈Colonizing in a Tempest⛈

Hello ladies, gents, aliens, etc… welcome back to my blog for another episode of, “Torture With Willemse!” Obviously I’m kidding, or at least I hope its obvious. Anyway if you aren’t familiar with my many, many humanities posts added to this portfolio you should seriously check them out cause these projects are awesome. Moving on, in my final term of grade 8 PLP I have experienced Shakespeare like no other in PLP 8’s, “Colonizing in a Tempest!” 

   So what is Colonizing in a Tempest? Easy answer. Basically, our teacher decided that combining the historically significant events of New France and the first European colonizations of what is now Canada and Shakespeare’s play, “The Tempest,” would give us a unique perspective on the two subjects. As a result we staged dramatic tableaus from “The Tempest” set in New France. This project was one of my favourite and one of the most stressful as our teachers were on a field study with the grade 10’s for two weeks leaving us with multiple TOC’s. Very stressful business! As I am talking about a PLP project, there has to be milestones with many, many stepping stones that got us to the final presentation. Only a few really helped me gain a true understanding of both the history and the play itself.

   Among the stepping stones that started us off after our initial launch came our anthropology viewpoint milestone. This basically challenged us to grasp a solid understanding of how the different viewpoints of an anthropologist. We studied terms like cultural superiority, imperialism, ethnocentrism, and a few more for a week or so in order to understand that in the process of first contact between First Peoples and Europeans viewpoints were flawed. This milestone helped me grasp more than a basic understanding of the topic in question and stared me off on a path of deeper meaning and constantly searching for that during the rest of this project.

   The next steps in this mega project included reading and writing about some of the history. We covered things like treaties and wars. We moved through the beginnings of the fur trade and came to a halt at the expansion of small companies. When the european colonists and traders set up efforts all throughout New France, some along the border of British territory. This is when companies such as the infamous Hudson’s Bay Co. were started and only few thrived through the beaver wars. In learning about all of this we wrote paragraphs that showed our understanding and only one really stood out to me. The assignment entitled, “why did the First Nations choose to trade with the Europeans?” So why did this challenge me? I found that with this assignment I took the time to really think and try my best to see both sides in order to grasp an unbiased opinion on the question at hand.


My absolute favourite milestone was our timeline. I love history. From peace and war, to government, religion, and exploration I can’t get enough. I found that with every project this year, the history has been the easiest thing to understand. Learning how to read and grasp the full Shakespeare experience was a daunting task for me but I found that with time and some close examination, I learned to read and comprehend it to the best of my current abilities. Moving back to our timeline. When combining the main scenes in each act of the play, with the historically significant events we needed to keep track of how they coincided to make sense of it for the audience. We started around first contact between First Nations and Europeans and aligned it with the first contact between the plays main character, Prospero and the shipwrecked nobleman from Naples. For each scene we needed to come up with a solid plan for the parallel history. In doing so we made a huge timeline stretching from 1600 to 1765. This was the point in the project where everything was beginning to make total sense. This final milestone was the one that has helped me answer the driving question, “How can we use Shakespeare’s, The Tempest, to stage dramatic tableaus and show the lasting effects of colonization to an audience?” 

   This final play was truly amazing and I loved every moment from costume set up to rehearsal and backstage coordinations. I think that we absolutely answered the driving question and I’m really proud that we could. The question in itself can’t really be answered without the play but I can take a risky shot. I believe that we allowed for the audience to understand the lasting effects of colonization through the dramatic tableaus we performed. In doing so we showed how the play aligns with the most historically significant events in the history of New France. That might not have been much of an answer to the question if you think of it as a very literal thing, but from a different perspective it answers the question by me simply saying that my 7 year old sister could basically repeat the history and big events to me afterwards.

    See ya’ll for about one more post in my PLP 8 year. It’s been great guys!

                                                                       – Ciara ✌️

💡tPOL 2k19💡

   Salutations people, as my grade 8 year comes to a rapid close, days feel longer and I plead for summer break to come faster. This summer is going to be amazing and its like my patience has been thrown into a a blazing pit of fire, in other words they are no more. But since school goes on for three more days I have had a jam packed schedule. As you may know from some of my recent posts and the few more to come we have had so much to do lately from humanities, maker, and PGP, to scimatics and all of my other non-PLP classes. If you’ve been here before, especially around the end of January you may know about the infamous mPOL’s. Guess what, we have a year end version of that presentation, tPOL’s! (The exclamation point might’ve been a tad sarcastic.) So basically, tPOL’s are the acronym for “transitional presentation of learning.” It is simply a student lead conference in which I review and reflect on the past year in any way I (and my teachers) feel necessary. Let’s get started!

geralt / Pixabay

   When I started writing this I went off track for roughly 45 minutes just thinking about how I was going to actually put this into words. I had a hard time because after my mPOL, Ms. Willemse challenged me to challenge myself. Instead of formatting my tPOL the same as my mPOL, which was subject specific, I should just talk about my accomplishments, my improvement, my goals, and my failures. You see I failed when I started writing this. Why? I am only human, and I work really hard to be the best that I can. Sometimes I get lazy, my parents would probably say that I’m always lazy, but the only opinion that matters is mine. Am I meeting my self set standards, am I achieving everything that I can? If I can confidently say yes, then I know that I can go higher and accomplish more. As I already said, when I started writing this, I failed. I have some bad habits and I have learned to set goals to fix them. One of those habits includes overthinking to the point of procrastination. I tend to think about one thing and somehow spend and hour thinking about the infinite possibilities of how I could do it. That specifically can take a huge toll on my progress and work ethic because when you spend so much time overthinking something, it eventually turns into procrastination. My first and most important goal for next year, is to find ways to help myself stop with this simple bad habit. I’ve said so many variations of that sentence this year and I am still getting there. But like most things in life, change takes time.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

   Once I got back on track I took a look at some of the thought or sentence starters given in the shared document. The first starter asks, what I am least proud of this year. To be completely honestly, every single project that we have done this year has been something that I am proud of in more than one way. Every time I failed at something, I learned a valuable lesson. One project that I mentioned in my mPOL was the beginning of our winter exhibition project. This specific unit involved us creating an explain everything video explaining a portion of our worldview that changed recently. Mind your this project took place in late October through early December so it isn’t that recent anymore. During this project I became, almost lethargic. I didn’t want to put in the effort and I had no desire to even start the explain everything. I ended up learning an extremely relevant lesson that I’m very grateful for. After I started to flat out procrastinate, I just let the work pile up. It soon became a huge snowball tumbling down on me, leaving me stressed, tired, anxious, and frustrated in myself. This is really the only thing this year that has made me feel pure frustration. Whenever I get the feeling, “I don’t want to waste my weekend doing homework,” or, “why would I do my part instead of watching Netflix,” I remind myself of that feeling of overall disappointment in myself. I remind myself of the goals I set and the reasons I set them. This is one of the ways I have significantly improved as a student and person. I like to think of my PGP unit about setting goals when I need a bit of motivation. I find that if I find something that I want in my future, long term or short, it makes me feel like I have more power. More power to accomplish and achieve, to reach all of the goals that I set, big or small.

TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

   When I talk about work ethic, like most people you’d expect me to say that I have great habits. I know for a fact that some of my habits in and out of school are good for me and the people around me. On the other hand, I have some pretty self destructive habits that I have either overcome or have set goal to do so. Some of the best examples of my work ethic and habits, both the good and the bad come from my scimatics class. Math is a subject that is literally just repetition of steps and formulas with increasing difficulty and variables. I am not a mathematician but not horrible at math. I simply find that with some forms of math I have zero desire to even try. I absolutely hate geometry. I can’t stand integers and fractions drive me insane. I do however find algebra particularly interesting. I would love to improve my ability to listen to everything in classes like math and science even if I’m really not that interested in the topic at first. 

geralt / Pixabay

   So far I’ve mentioned scimatics, PGP, and (my favourite class,) humanities. Next is the big one. If you’ve been here before anytime from January to April, you are familiar with DI. Destination imagination was the biggest thing I think I’ve ever contributed to. I was so overwhelmed with the simple idea or DI when I first heard about it this year. To think that I would create something so magnificent that it coupled go to a global tournament was flat out insanity. That’s the thing, I spent so much time thinking about the idea itself that I didn’t take a good first look at it. It’s almost like I put on the wrong pair of glasses. I wasn’t reading it right. I constantly thought of it asan impossible thing that I myself, even with a team could not accomplish. And yet, well you can check it out here! When I stepped up to the project we just completed in humanities I thought of it as something unique that I could do. I could do. I could do. When I was introduced to DI I thought, how could I possibly do this, how? That was a bad mindset, one that was difficult too work with for myself, and I imagine my peers. After the initial launch of our ideas my mind began to set back into place. I opened up to endless possibilities that I would’ve shrugged at mere weeks before. Something that I cannot wait for next year is my second attempt at DI. Not only is the project fun and valuable to our way of learning, but I learned to look at things with a completely opened mind before even starting. With our latest and last maker project of the year I did that exactly. Blue sky has allowed me to make something that I care about with endless possibilities. To quote Ms. Willemse, “You could literally work on your blue sky project forever and still would fix everything you weren’t happy with. Most authors don’t read their own books after they’ve been published for that exact reason.” My teacher said that in class yesterday and I found it super relatable. If I could’ve worked on any project forever I would not stop until it was perfect, which it would never be. A huge goal for next year, in and out of school is having an opened mindset. 

   Combine each of the things that I’ve mentioned in this post and there you have a full lifetime’s worth of work and improvement. For me, I will use that lifetime to always improve. Accept criticism, challenge myself, take risks, and learn how to learn so that I can teach.

                                                                                               – Ciara ✌️


⏱Time Machine⏱

Hi guys, I’m back with one of the final posts of my Grade 8 year in PLP. Not only has the year gone by in a flash, but in what feels like so little time, I have learned a tremendous amount of things about myself. This post is all about the course that forced me to step back, take a look at myself and the bigger picture, and show me the endless possibilities of improvement. PGP, the acronym that stands for “Personal Growth Plan,” has been a huge part of this year for everyone in PLP. With a course with such purpose comes an insane amount of information that somehow interconnects. How you may ask? It is different for everyone. We are all at different places in our lives and how we work, change, and learn differs from person to person. In order to show that, we have done one final PGP project entitled, Time Machine.

   So what is Time Machine? Yes I know there are hundreds or variations from Back To The Future and Men in Black to The Terminator and X-Men. This version is more of an artifact that would go in a time capsule addressed to my younger self. In order to complete our course, we were required to compile all of the information taken away from the past year and put it into anything. Anything? Yes, we had the freedom to represent the things that we learned in any, physical or digital way we chose. It sounds pretty great at first but once you need to actually decide on how you will format the project, it becomes something of a daunting task. After a week or so of deep contemplation, I chose to make a video. I wanted it to be unique and not just a clip of me talking about what I learned. I fixed that issue with my ever so glorious idea to make my video a “FaceTime Therapy Session.” What do I mean by that? Good question. The video is edited to make it look like someone is on a FaceTime call with their therapist ( me ). I structured it this way because when trying to make my learning stand out I find that it works in this particular scenario. 

Pexels / Pixabay

   The next step is explaining why I chose to use this as my way of expressing my learning. Not in the technical way of “because it works best with green screen,” or “because iMovie is easier to use.” I mean the way that I connect to the video enough to make it show all that I can take away from PGP on a daily basis. The project outline requires a thesis statement, mine was simple yet informed. We weren’t supposed to write like Tolkien but to only outline the purpose your format would serve. “Habit 5’s listening specific portion really stood out to me as it involves a lot of stuff I can easily agree with, learn from, and represent using examples from my everyday life,” is my thesis and I got approved immediately. Along with the thesis, we had to decide which part of our course to focus on, goal setting, productivity, or the 7 habits. Each of these “units,” took up a semester to complete. We needed to find the one that we found is most useful, relatable, or relevant to our everyday lives. I chose to use Sean Covey’s 7 Habits, habit 5 to be specific. When making the artifact that would go into our time machine we had to give information on all of the units. I did so throug feedback the therapist gives her patient near the end of the video.

   Below is My PGP Time Machine Artifact Video



   The last piece of the big picture is the driving question itself. “What do I know now that I wish I knew before?” My answers are endless, but the things that speak to me so much are the ones that I use daily or are extremely relevant to my life. I am going to start with productivity. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have grown productivity wise in the past nine months. Last year I was a completely different person, at least in the way of handling my schedule and work. When I was introduced to Things and time blocking I was sceptical and admittedly a bit close minded. But since opening up to the idea of getting help and using strategies like those mentioned my entire experience with school has improved making me love it that much more. Honestly if I could have had these tools at my fingertips a year ago I would have probably had a different experience leading up to high school.



    Moving on to the 7 habits. In our last unit of the year, aside from this project of course, we covered the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” by Sean Covey. The book taught us about 7 different habits that can help us become happy, healthy, and more effective when building relationships, handling productivity, and becoming a healthily self. When reading the book we had to complete workbooks and a creative reflection per part. My favourite reflection was my last as it was fun to make and I really enjoy looking at the final product (see more below). When deciding what to highlight in my video for this project I chose to use habit 5, “Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood.” I found that the main outcome of reading this and doing all of the work with it was my understanding of how others use the tools mentioned throughout everyday. My video itself is entirely about the different forms of listening, which I chose because of how much I can relate to it and how relevant it is in my everyday life. The things that I wish I knew before even starting grade 8 would definitely be habits 3,5, and 7. Each of these represent huge things that go on in my life and gave me ways to fix them.



  Finally, the thing that ties it all together… Goal Setting! If I am being 100% honest, I have always dreaded goal setting. In elementary school we were told to make up a goal that we would like to achieve by the end of the year. Guess what that goal was never brought up again and seemed to be lost in time. I never like goal setting because my idea of it was flawed. In the sense that; Step 1: write down a goal Step 2: Achieve it. I mean come on people give us something to work with!!! In term 2 we started a new unit in PGP in which we read, “What Do You Really Want.” The book taught me how to properly make and achieve a goal, constantly reminding me what the next step is or at least how to make a goal ladder. Once I had learned how to set goals I felt much more confident in actually achieving them. This is the thing that really ties up my PGP experience because of how everything, 7 Habits and productivity can fit into this section.

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

   Overall, if I could really give this information to my past self I would be much, much different today. I personally think that it says a lot that with just one 10 month course I can learn all of this. This is the stuff that is going to allow me to learn all of the stuff in my other classes. I can now be better organized, listen to people properly, work interdependently (something I REALLY struggled with), and set goals. I think that my Time Machine Video really shows that, especially in the genuine listening part (near the end)!

Thanks again

– Ciara ✌️