Carousel of Communism

December isn’t the most wonderful time of the year only because of Christmas. It is also the time for the PLP Winter Exhibition! I have written countless posts on exhibitions now that this is my fourth year in PLP, but in case you don’t know what an PLP Exhibition is I’ll explain it to you. The Winter Exhibition is a chance for PLP students to showcase projects that they worked on before the break. Each grade has a different project and presents them in different ways. Here is one of my past posts on the Winter Exhibition.This years Exhibition was a little different than ones we’ve had in the past. For the grade 11’s (my grade) instead of each person doing an individual project, we all worked on one project together, and it was so much fun. Let me tell you more about it.

For the exhibition this year we didn’t have free range on the project, which I actually preferred. The project was based on part of the curriculum for this year, the 1950’s. We started off this unit by learning about life in the 1950’s. We watched an episode of an old TV show called Leave It To Beaver, which is a show about the ideal family of the 1950’s. The ideal family consisted of a stay at home mom, working dad, and two to three kids. Here is a little taste of the show.

Our main theme for this unit was Injustice. Injustice was a big part of the 1950’s as there were many injustices happening in America, such as sexism. To help us develope a better understanding of injustices we read a play called The Crucible. It is a play written by Arthur Miller about the Salem witch trials. The play was a little challenging to read because it had language from 1600’s, but I very much enjoyed reading it.

As we were reading the crucible we had to make three different creative creations for our blog. We were given 10 choices of themes from the crucible to write about such as revenge and remorse. We could choose any way we wanted to represent these themes. Here are some examples.

I really enjoyed writing these posts because they required me to think deeper about the themes and develope a greater understanding of them. Here are my three posts.

After we had finished reading The Crucible we started to learn more about the 1950’s. We watched a couple of documentaries and we discussed everything we learned. Although the 1950’s were called the best years of America, they weren’t all fun times. It was also the time of the Red scare. The Red scare was the fear in America that communist spies were living all around them. Many people were accused of being communists and brought to trial by Senator McCarthy. It was interesting learning about the 1950’s after the crucible because they connected in so many ways. For example, the injustice in the Salem witch trials was very similar to the injustice in the McCarthy trials.

Once we had learned everything we needed to about the 1950’s and injustice, we started working on our project for the exhibition. The project was to create an immersive experience set in the 1950’s with the themes from the crucible. Pretty much we had to create an interactive, walk through play. A couple of years ago another grade 11 glass did a very similar thing. Here is one of their posts on it. I was very excited about this project. I loved the idea of working with the whole class. Almost all of us have been together since grade 8, so we know each other very well.

One of my goals for this year was to be more of a leader in projects so when I heard about this project I thought it was the perfect chance to use my leadership skills. Sadly, a couple of other people wanted to be leaders and because they had been leaders before, the class voted for them instead. Our Directly Responsible Individuals (DRI’s) were Adam and Mimi. Our first step of this project was to plan everything out. Our teachers were away on a field school with another class while we did this so we didn’t have any help. I feel like we worked better without our teachers because we all knew we had to step up to make this amazing. We divided up the work between us and worked very well together. Here is our first draft of stations and the themes from the crucible.

Once we had all of our stations planned we had to start getting everything ready for the exhibition. We had sets to design, props to build, a script to write, and costumes to get. The script was the first thing to be done and once that was done everyone was assigned a role. There were roles in each of the 6 scenes and 4 guides to take everyone through. I got to be a guide which I was happy about because it was the biggest part and it pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot. I was also the DRI for costumes so I was in charge of deciding what everyone would wear and making sure we had everything we needed. Building everything was probably my favourite part of making this project because everyone worked very hard and were very eager to help. After everything was done it was finally time for the exhibition.

As always, the exhibition day was very stressful. We built last minute props, made sure we had everything we needed, and made sure we knew all of our lines. We got to do this in the gym so we had to set everything up after school which only gave us 3 hours. We had curtains to divide the scenes and a big wall down the centre of the gym. When we went to open up the wall we discovered that it was broken. After 10 minutes of panic we figured out a solution and made use of the dividers we had. Here is a video of the beginning of the set up.

We set everything up and it looked really good. The gym looked so different when we were done setting up. Everyone got in their costumes and we were ready to go. I couldn’t wait to get started.

I was the second guide to do a tour and it went pretty well. We took in groups of 15-25 people every 15 mins. I was very nervous at first but I quickly warmed up to it. The experience was shorter than we wanted it to be so the guides doubled up and did the tours together. This allowed more improvisation to make the experience longer. I partnered up with Adam and we worked very well together. My improv skills improved a lot and so did my people skills. This project made me a lot more comfortable presenting in front of people. Here is a video of the experience. Sorry about the camera blocking it a bit.

This was by far my favourite project I have ever done. I loved doing a class project. I got to work with everyone and it was so much fun. Even though I wasn’t a leader of the project I didn’t let it get me down and I still took on as much of a leadership role as I could. The end product turned out way better than I could have ever imagined. It was so much fun to be a guide and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. The class worked so well together and I was so proud of everyone. I really hope we get to do another project like this again soon.

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