Echoes of History

On Tuesday, April 30th, the PLP 12 cohort presented our picture books to grade 4s and 5s at Carisbrooke Elementary to spread awareness of the significant consequences of intolerance and hatred. To me, this is the most stressful yet meaningful project this year as we get the opportunity to work with youngsters and see how our work impacts others in the real world. For this blog post, I will be talking about my journey in the most recent project: echoes of history.


Project Overview

In this unit, we learned about the significant consequences of intolerance and hatred through historical examples, specifically the Holocaust. At the same time, we learned about the importance, the reasons, and the methods of conveying such dark histories to the younger generation. Moreover, we even had field studies at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre to see and analyze primary sources. Ultimately, those knowledge and experiences help us to construct our picture books. Here’s the final product in collaboration with Story Spark AI:

Shapes of Society


 

Answer to the Driving question

How is storytelling an effective weapon against hate?

Quoting my interviewee Dianne Whelan from the last project, “Storytelling is the ancient way we connected and shape the narrative of our culture.” Storytelling has the power to motivate and unite each and every one of us to change society for the better. Through novels like Night by Elie Wiesel, and historical examples like Nazi propaganda, we see how effective uses of words and visuals can shift our perspectives and worldviews. If hatred in our society is produced with misleading, hateful propaganda, then the only cure is heartwarming, uniting storytelling. One of the most memorable examples comes from personal testimonies/stories of a Holocaust survivor after WWII. To me, the story of the 60-year-old woman begging to live was touching, as you recognize that even at an old age, under such extreme pressure filled with despair, she still had a burning desire to live. That testimony provoked strong yet mixed emotions while inspiring questions like “What does it mean to be alive?”, “Why would you want to be alive?” and “If it is easier to die and harder to live in this world, why did people persist?”. As Stalin stated: “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.” The power of storytelling is that it can turn cold names, numbers, and statistics back into deep, touching, and reflective moments that can help us recognize the mistakes in the past and move forward.

 


Reflection

About the project & book feedback

The moment I knew my book creation was going to be read to elementary students and perhaps stored in their library was the moment I decided to exert every bit of my effort. While most PLP projects are about your growth and your learning, this project also allowed you to impact others with what you know. For myself, I stood up till 3 AM three days in a row to learn and work on the project; with that in mind, however, many things could’ve been better.

(Aria writing feedback for me, photo taken by Ms, Madsen)

Looking at Delilah’s and Aria’s feedback, I realized that the book would’ve been more effective if I paid more attention to those tiny details. After all, it was my ignorance of the contradicting details that distracted the children from the book itself. At the same time, I also should’ve made the storyline more attention-grabbing to surprise and engage with the readers more. Moving forward, I will remember the lessons and feedback elementary students like Aria and Delilah gave me and strive for perfection in every aspect of my work. Overall, I am happy that I exerted my best effort on the book, but I am more about the fact that those elementary children understood, liked, and learned from the story. Their learnings and the realization that I could help and impact others with my knowledge were worth the stress and workload.

 

About our Social Responsibility


Through this project, I have gained a deeper understanding of the responsibilities I carry as a citizen in society. When first designing my picture book, I had a protagonist, Charlie the Circle, advocating for changes and reinforcing the new world; however, I don’t believe it was appropriate for the story as no individuals should be held accountable to take Charlie’s role in our society. In the real world, no individual can change the world alone; therefore, I decided to remove the only main character from my book. As I removed the heroic figure from the story, I realized that the hero of the story, the hero of our society, is each and every one of us. Looking back, I am glad that I removed the protagonist before presenting to the children as I don’t want them to depend and count on an imaginary hero to save the world. As a citizen of our society, like a cube shape-being in the story, I learned that it’s our responsibility to create a better world for each other.

 

Philosophical wonders

(Picture Source)

During the project, the stories and the testimonies from Holocaust survivors were depressingly memorable. Referring to the 60-year-old woman’s story mentioned earlier, I questioned what it means to be alive as a human. No one deserves to die, but at what cost survival should be maintained? Is it better to die with dignity if I was a victim myself? Why would I want to be alive if the world is like hell? Those philosophical, late-night questions remained unanswered. As Victor Frankl stated himself, “The best of us did not return,” I started wondering if human nature can be tested under extreme circumstances, and I started wondering if I myself can be tested under such circumstances. But looking back, it is clear to me that our goals were never to test the boundaries of human nature but rather prevent such extreme conditions from taking place in the first place. It is only until I reflect on those philosophical questions, I realize how nice it is that my friends and I are not fighting over a bowl of soup and some bread. It is only until I reflect on those philosophical questions I realize how fortunate we are to live in the 21st century. It is only until I reflect on those philosophical questions I recognize the importance of passing down those stories to children and preventing this dark chapter of our history from repeating itself.

Our Pacific Perspectives

For our first group project in 2024, we studied the innovators, those who can see around corners and their impact on our collective identity. Although I couldn’t attend the field studies in LA, this project has been exciting and meaningful as I visited different places and met industry professionals across Vancouver. Now, without further ado, let me share with you my learning journey.


About the Project

Overview

In this project, I had the pleasure of working with Annie and Erin to create an episode of a documentary on the entertainment industry, specifically the film industry, of the West Coast and how it shapes us as a whole. We collaborated well and worked hard throughout the project as a team. Each one of us dedicated ourselves to the creation of the episode, from scripting, filming, to editing, and I hope you like it:

Learning from the innovators

As a class, we have studied influential innovators worldwide, such as Walt Disney and Frank Gehry, and their impact on our society. However, meeting and interviewing the innovators was a new level of experience. For the first week, I visited the Vancouver Film Festival with Jakub to seek insight from industry experts. Seeing how these individuals think and work and how their storytelling has shaped the film industry as we know it today was truly eye-opening. Specifically, I am grateful for the opportunity to interview Dianne Whelan, an award-winning director/producer, and Alan Formanke, the festival director, for their input in our video. Conversations with respectable industry professionals like them have helped me understand the meaning and purpose behind films and the potential impact stories can bring to our lives. On the festival night, Jakub and I witnessed how filmmakers or storytellers, I should say, are always trying to make the world better by using their films as mediums to address social issues and speak up for minorities. As Tom Sherak, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science President, stated in an interview: “Movies are stories. Movies tell us things that we never could’ve known. They tell us things we might not know and give us a way to explore the past, present, and future.” This journey to the Vancouver Film Festival helped me to understand and appreciate the film industry better.

 

Side Journeys

For us folks staying in Vancouver, we are also responsible for filming B-rolls and creating the collective intro for our documentary series. While capturing footage from places like Lonsdale Avenue, Deep Cove, and Stanley Park, I developed my video editing skills with the help of Dries and Josh. Additionally, I am happy that I was able to help other groups with some Vancouver footage while they were away. The side journeys behind the project, whether catching/missing buses to Stanley Park, hiking with Dries to get quality footage, or editing and animating with Josh, are unique experiences that have made this project exceptionally joyful, effective, and fulfilling for me.

 


Driving Question

Why are some people able to see around corners in ways others are not, and by doing, shape how we see ourselves in this changing world?

 

(Picture Source)

Looking back, I found similarities between Walt Disney, Frank Gehry, Dianne Whelan, and Alan Formanke throughout this project: they all dare to think and do outside the box. They don’t allow traditional social norms to define what’s possible and are not on their journey to make this world a better place. Walt Disney, for example, has created a world through their films and theme parks where fantasies become reality, nostalgia reigns supreme, and happiness is guaranteed. On the other hand, Gehry defies the laws of architecture with his unconventional and avant-garde designs that challenge the status quo. Those improvements in our society cannot be established if we limit ourselves to the traditional norm. Similarly, Dianne Whelan, with her documentary films “40 Days at Base Camp” and “500 Days in the Wild,” challenges conventional storytelling by immersing herself in the world of mountain climbing and exploring the meaning of life and death. She pushes boundaries and takes risks to shed light on important issues and provoke thought. Through the stories of those individuals, it becomes clear that innovation and progress in our community come from those willing to break free from the constraints of traditional thinking and pave their path. The courage to think and act differently, after all, is how we can make a difference and leave a lasting impact on the world.

 


Reflections

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Overall, I believe I learned more and enjoyed more from this project because I took on more risks and responsibilities. Particularly, reaching out to strangers always makes me nervous; however, meeting and talking with those respectable industry professionals before your eyes was impactful and meaningful to my learning journey. The advice and insights I gained beyond my comfort zone talking to Dianne and Alan have helped me to drive my thinking forward and deeper while widening my perspectives with different views. Looking back, I realized I grew more when pushing my boundaries and overloading myself to work beyond my capacity. To me, this project serves as a reminder of the importance and benefits of going beyond your comfort zone. This learning journey allowed me to see the potential difference I can bring to myself and my surroundings by dedicating myself and exerting my best effort.


Thank you for your time 

Our Dark Society


For the last project in 2023, we learned about the history, ideas, and significance of feminism in modern society. Through conceptual art, we presented our learning in the winter exhibition. Without further ado, I’ll share my journey in this project and the thoughts and wonder it sparked.


About the project

What is feminism about?

(Picture Source)

A feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else.

—Zendaya.

Initially, I thought feminism was only about women fighting for their rights and their voices to be heard; however, I soon realized that feminism is not only about women. At its core, feminism is fighting for a more just society, a world where people are not discriminated against based on their self-identity or assigned sex at birth. In reality, it is about equality in payment, work conditions, and respect that is often overlooked. According to the Pew Research Centre, American women typically earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn. Additionally, women reported a higher probability than men of being harassed at work, quoting Statistics Canada. After all, feminist ideas were never about getting that 20 more cents but rather about creating a more equitable society for everyone.

 


The Learning Journey

Significant Keystone for this Project — The Handmaid’s Tale

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Beyond researching on the internet, we have read a dystopian novel to understand our society better. My reading group, Ryan, Ryder, Jakub and I, studied The Handmaid’s Tale by Magaret Atwood, a fictional, dystopian novel set in the early 2000s. A key takeaway from this book was that our civilization society doesn’t grow on hatred, fear, or divinity but rather on collaboration, unity, and respect. Men versus women, white versus coloured, old versus young, all of these are artificial divisions created by some people for their benefit, to manipulate our worldviews into “one of us” or “one of them.” Quoting Martin Luther King, “Hate cannot drive us out of hate; only love can do that.” Through The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood taught me the significance of respect and diversity.

(Check my Backgrounders and Journals for a more detailed analysis)

 

Final Product — Conceptual Art


For this project, we used conceptual arts to present our learning. My conceptual art, the Black Society, intends to provoke a cannon shot effect on the audience by showcasing how our society, similar to the black market, is exploiting and objectifying women with falsely rooted stereotypes and stigmas. A key element in my station, perhaps the spirit of the theme, is a Barbie girl hanging from the ceiling. In this case, the nuce executing the women was a pretty necklace, symbolizing society’s experience and standard of beliefs. A quote from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood inspired the creation of this art:

 

I have given myself over into the hands of strangers because it can’t be helped.

 

The quote expresses the loneliness and helplessness of women in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a dystopian society that suppresses women’s rights and freedom; such feelings and characteristics echo and reflect the world we live in today. Through the contrast between the black market’s monetary appreciation (for their organs) and society’s ignorance of women’s contribution to our civilization, my art argues that the black market values women more than we do.
My feedback from the exhibition, however, was mostly silence. Ryder and Jakub’s red-dimmed lights and the hanging Barbie and human organs made my station one of the scariest, if I may say so myself. “Dark, but true to some extent,” I remember one of my audiences said that. The purpose of this art to raise public awareness of the ongoing discrimination and prejudice women face today. Although I don’t expect my art to change one’s worldview immediately, I hope my art has planted a seed for a more just society in my audiences’ minds.

 


Thoughts behind the themes

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Learning about dystopian societies from The Handmaid’s Tale made me wonder what a perfect utopian society should look like. In that ideal world, no one is judged because of their sex assigned at birth or their identity. In that ideal world, anyone can achieve their dreams without discrimination or limitation because of who they are. In that ideal world, everyone is happy as the division and tension among us are seized. I thought about the present while imagining the great thing that could happen. I started wondering what can we do to make that dream come true. Globalwide protests to capture our attention? Or reinforcement in feminist organizations to ensure their voices are heard? I am not sure how to be honest. One way or another, I believe we, as a whole, can only achieve, or get closer to, a utopian society by resolving imperfectness in our society, and that must be an ongoing action.


Thank you for your time!

Don’t be Dictators

Are you tired of boring politicians with all the fake promises they never redeem? Are you tired of waiting for social changes? Are you tired of how inefficient our society is? Beyond running for elections, we look at ways to make the country “better” as dictators. In this blog post, I want to share what I have learned about authoritarianism in the “Don’t be a DICtator project.”


About the project

The final products for this project are slideshows and debates. For this project, Dries and I were Canadian dictators taking over Canada during the pandemic. Choosing Canada to take over was interesting because you are challenging one of the most democratic political systems globally. But it was truly shocking, depressing, and almost terrifying after you researched all the feasible ways to execute your dictator dream. From locking down the border to controlling media, there’s virtually nothing you can’t do as the Prime Minister of Canada. See the below slides for an example:


Driving Questions

How can we use a speech to explore the threat posed by authoritarian rule?

As the dictator in the debate, I have sparked emotions of anger, fear, and hatred that will justify my actions as we unite to fight against “our enemy.” Understanding the dictator’s perspective helps me better understand how well our thoughts and emotions can be manipulated and controlled. Through speech research, I realized common tactics: instilling anger, fear, and hatred in our minds. Exploiting our feelings and perspectives creates a sense of urgency and desperation among the masses, thus turning us into machines and tools for their ambitions. To them, we are sheep waiting to be slaughtered after being used.


Some Insights and Thinking Inspired

 

Political Party, Beliefs, & Divisions

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Although we are different from one another, why do we hate each other?

For some unknown reasons, talking about politics always creates tension among us. Political debates turn citizens into “one of them” and “one of us” based on their beliefs. To me, this project is a wake-up call that we need different voices among us to keep us engaged and resilient as a nation. To me, this project is a wake-up call that our emotions and feelings could be dangerous when it comes to decision-making & judgments. To me, this project is a wake-up call that our hate towards each other contributes to violence and the destruction of the community we love. Perhaps our society needs never judgments and criticism but respect and acceptance.

Efficiency vs Democracy?

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A wonder I had during the project was how we can balance our nation’s efficiency while ensuring democracy is secured. To some extent, higher efficiency requires higher concentrated power and resources, leading to more significant risks to authoritarian rule. Judging by the decision-making duration, planning and implementing stages, authoritarian governments are often more efficient. But along with that efficiency are oppressive measures, unjust laws, and abolishing fundamental freedom and rights. So I wondered, how can we sustain high efficiency in our government without enduring the risk of authoritarian regimes? Is there a way, potentially a better system, to prevent the risks? How do we balance efficiencies and safety?


One potential answer that derives from the learning process is that the effectiveness of the policy and the impact the policy brings to our society is more important than the establishment of the policy. In other words, it is more important to solve a problem thoroughly than quickly. Similar to a test, you don’t get any points for solving a question faster but rather for getting the correct answer. The world, however, is never as clear as black and white; therefore, we can only be sure of our decisions by reviewing, analyzing, and perhaps criticizing them. Through the heated debates, we learn from others as we work to craft a better world. Only then can we ensure those revised policies and laws are suitable and beneficial to us as a nation.


Thank you for your time!

Rewind 2022 — tPol


In the first PLP year, I have had many meaningful, remarkable projects that shape me into a better person. At the same time, I met mature friends along the learning journey. As the school year is ending, it is time to reflect on my progress this school year. In this blog post, we will be talking about my growth as a learner, and spaces for improvement.

Did I reach my goal?

The intention of getting 96% was to get a higher GPA for the year, which will be easier when applying to universities. As you can see from the graph, my academic grades have increased rapidly after mPol. However, that may not fill up the gap to 96%.

Why?

Spaces for Improvements: Efficiency

After all, my biggest problem is being inefficient. For humanities, half of my works weren’t handed in on time, while 75% of Maker’s works were overdue. Some assignments are fast-paced, but most of them we have enough time to do. As Ms. Maxwell had pointed out, I have spent too much energy in the wrong spot. For example, the Chinese discrimination blog post could’ve caused more chaos as it was unnecessary. I am not saying putting more effort in is a bad thing, but I am saying that being effective is more important.

How might I improve?

  • Stay on topic
  • Set time-bound
  • Use tools to manage the schedule

 

What have I learned from PLP

is it worth joining in the first place?

 

Hands-on experience


Experiences like Destination Imagination challenge us to turn ideas into reality. Often, we face disappointment and frustration; however, the process of problem-solving taught us what determination and responsibility are.

Adventure

Loon Lake trip was like an adventure. We were completely away from our comfort zone, moving to a new place. There, we took risks to discover new things and new perspectives. Meanwhile, I overcame fear when rock climbing and high roping.

Influential environmental

In PLP, I have classmates as my role model who is always optimistic and problem-solving. At the same time, they take risks and challenge themselves to go beyond their comfort zone. But what is the most important is that they all have the strong desire to achieve success.

Cray Cray Yay Yay

In the last month of this school year, we studied impact makers, specifically the crazy ones, unveiling the secret of greatness. We have each created a portrait and shared it with others through the spring exhibition. Moreover, we had the honour to have some of our local impact makers with us during the exhibition night. But how do we define an impact maker in the first place? What makes someone an impact maker? In this blog post, we will talk about our last project: Cray Cray Yay Yay


Before we talk about what makes someone an impact maker, I would like to highlight the slight difference between an impact maker and a crazy one. A crazy one, originally from Apple’s ad, means someone who challenges the status quo to push the human race forward. In other words, Einstein may be a crazy one as he challenged Newton’s theory which was the foundation of science. But for this project, we focused on individuals that influence us daily. A crazy one doesn’t have to be as influential as Einstein, but the one who is determined to make impacts and changes. What is special about the impact makers and the crazy ones is that they take action on their desire to make the world better despite the situation.

(Picture Source)

For the impact maker, I studied Don McPherson, the founder of the Grouse grind. Today, the Grouse grind is one of the most popular places in North Vancouver; however, it wasn’t anything like that in the 1980s. It was difficult to climb, and beginners could never experience its nature and environment. Interestingly enough, no one wanted him to build it, not the expert who didn’t require assistance or the land owner himself. But yet he decided to do so, spending all his free time on the trail. It was for himself and the community, and the legacy of his effort will continue to benefit us.

(Picture Source)

But the hardest part for me can be showing our understanding by making a portrait. I was unsure how my product would stand out during the presentation. As I am familiar with picture editing, I thought it’s better for me to photoshop. However, my friend Jakub inspired me to do something different, lenticular photos. It brings the effect that you see unique things from different locations. (Here’s the online version)

But even though that was a much more interesting idea, it was also chaotic. Sadly, DIY videos may turn out very differently from actual products. The idea was to cut the two images into pieces of the same size and rotate placing them. As my hands weren’t good at cutting, I took another approach. I realized that it’s best to cut it digitally because it’s more accurate and precise. After I have the picture ready, I built support in the back so that it can stand on its own.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the spring exhibition. Surely, I could’ve done a lot better in the art aspect. I didn’t focus on face and symbols which can be improved next time. Despite that, I should’ve included more elements in the picture. But without any doubt, this is one of my favourite projects of the year. Not only was it fun to experiment with different designs, but it was also meaningful and delightful to study the ones who change our life


Thank you for your time!

Post War Canada

WWII brought tremendous destruction to the world, killing over 70 million people. But have you ever wondered how we have recovered from the harm? In this unit, shore to the core, we investigated the significant developments in Canada during the post-war era; Moreover, we have applied our knowledge to publish an essay for Monava. In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my investigations and learning journey


The Significant Development — Improvements in Educational Systems

During WWII

During WWII, school enrolments were incredibly low. In 1941, high school enrolments were around 6.7 million; however, there were only 5.5 million by the end of WWII. Besides that, the teaching force also dropped by 30 percent. Dropouts were common at the time, and all post-secondary programs were shut down.

After the War

From 1945 to 1960, school enrolments continued to grow. From 2.3 million enrolments to 5 million, remarkable changes in education were visible within 15 years. At the same time, women made tremendous contributions over 70% of the total teaching force. Furthermore, many universities tripled enrolments due to the influence of baby boomers. Because of the rapid population growth, the Canadian government built campuses for necessary areas. Not only were the schools available to students, but it was also pleasurable as gyms, cafeterias and band rooms were included. Meanwhile, students in the different grades were finally separated for more effective learning.

(Picture Source)

However, everything costs money. 90% of the funding came from the Canadian government; therefore, schools were expensive. Even though the cost of schooling was high, the majority of residents supported increasing locals tax for school developments. Meanwhile, the Universities of Canada held a conference asking for aid from the federal government. As students could get a well-paid job easily, some didn’t even finish high school. Therefore, policies were established to keep involvement.


Significance & Impacts

“Why was it significant?”

Overall, the improvements in the education system contributed to Canada’s success in other areas. Canada became the third country to arrange and construct its satellite after USSR and the US. At the same time, developments in highways and computers allowed us to be more efficient with time. Furthermore, nuclear stations and the oil industry were visible across Canada. However, everything couldn’t happen without the fundamentals. Education developments laid the foundation for Canada to achieve greater success.


The Learning Journey

Overall, this unit wasn’t easy for me. As I started writing my essay, I realized how inefficient I was if compared to others. I found it challenging to articulate my understanding through essays, so I had to spend more time catching up. Although I was never familiar with essay writing, this project helped me to communicate more clearly through writing. Despite the challenges, I still enjoyed learning this unit. As I am interested in the stories from WWII, it’s also interesting to hear the stories of post-war regeneration. Meanwhile, it’s also intriguing to learn about the past of North Vancouver, and how developments shape us uniquely


Thank you for your time

7 Habits — Becoming the Best Version of Ourselves

7 Habits for Highly Effective people is one of the most popular books in the world. It has sold over 25 million copies and translated into 40 different languages. Its impact is worldwide, impacting millions of people. The reason why it is so significant is that it summarizes the key to success. In this blog post, we will be talking about the concept of 7 habits and how I have become a better person. 


My understanding of the 7 Habits

Private Victory

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The first three chapters was explaining the idea of independence. Stephen Covey taught us that we are responsible for our lives no matter what environment we are in. He unveiled that we can become who we would like to be. At the same time, he also gave us the tool “mission table” to identify and achieve our purpose and goals in life. In brief, Private victory is about self-management that helps us to perform better when facing challenges.

Public Victory

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Habits four, five and six are about contributing to others. Public victory is about how you collaborate with others to bring greater impacts to the environment. The idea of win-win is believing there’s a perfect solution that will benefit everyone. In other words, it means collaborating rather than competing. Similar to win-win, synergy unveiled that teamwork will produce a greater impact than each individual would. Meanwhile, seeking first to understand was to consider others’ perspectives instead of being self-centred. In general, public victory is about collaboration to contribute to the world.

Renewal

The last chapter, sharpen the saw, reminds us to practice and further develop our skills. As life is a continuous journey, we will face greater and greater obstacles; therefore, it’s important to update and renew ourselves. To put it in another way, it’s about evaluating and enhancing yourself.

 

Overall, 7 Habits unveiled that everyone can achieve their goals and purpose in life. In other words, everyone can be successful and influential. Not only did it shape our core values and personalities, but it also allows us to live our lives to the fullest and be the best version of ourselves.


The Learning Journey

“How can we be our most effective selves?”

Throughout this project, we have studied 7 Habits seeking to be the best version of ourselves. Unlike other projects, this unit is about the mentality, attitudes, and how we apply them to actions. Therefore, we have created three types of products to represent our understanding. They are the visual, audio and Kinesthetic

Visual

https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/9655773/

My visual product is an interactive picture. (A HUGE thanks to Keenan who discover this thing) If you scroll it from right to left, you will see the world from a dark, fixed mindset perspective. On the other hand, you will experience how proactive people see the world differently if you do the opposite. When facing the same challenge, proactive people see opportunities while reactive people see pain. Through a paradigm shift, I aim to deliver that life is only pleasurable for people with growth mindsets.

Audio

My audio product is storytelling. In the first theme, the team blame each other for the defeat as none of them wants to take any responsibility. On the other hand, the second theme is about understanding and supporting others. In the end, they accomplished something that was out of their abilities. I believe this represents the idea of public victory because it demonstrates the power of collaboration. After all, the message I want to deliver is that you must collaborate well with others to accomplish the “mission impossible”.

Kinesthetic

For kinesthetic, I have built a model analyzing my role models. John D. Rockefeller is one of the most successful people who always motivated and inspires me. He was from a pole family; however, he built dominated the oil industry and became one of the richest men ever. He used nothing but his determination, passion, and his burning desire. Studying role models can help us identify who we want to become and specify how we can accomplish success.

Overall, I believe we will be our most effective selves by continuously learning and adapting. Learning from others can help us shape our identities and core values. At the same time, learning from history is also important as it allows us to reflect on our mistakes. Although none of us are perfect, constantly adapting ourselves will open the door to opportunities and greater growth.


Special Thanks

Keenan.C — Who discovered Picture Slider

Ryder.OG,  Qyle.M  & Nathan.T — Who helped me with the audio story


Thank you for your time

Loon Lake Journey

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From April 4th to April 11th, the grade 10 PLP cohort went to Loon Lake for field studies. Within just three days, everyone developed one plan or habit that will help us later in real life. But how can a habit or characteristic be established within days? What evidence do we have to demonstrate the growth? In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my Loon Lake journey.


My goal — Becoming Independent

One of the most significant mistakes I made in DI was being dependent; therefore, I wanted to take this chance to solve one of my fundamental problems. Becoming independent is relevant to our lives because it allows us to live our lives how we want. But how can we establish independence within three days? How can we measure success? I never knew what specifically I could do to accomplish this goal. However, with assistance from peers and teachers, the structure became clear. Meanwhile, we have also shared our ideas through a gallery walk. This gallery walk was remarkable because I have gained different perspectives and further developed my goal and plan. Here’s the Smart goal I created to help me gain independence:

 

After all, the only thing I was unsure about was how I could achieve this. My partners, Quinn and Julien, brought up a valuable point: “What specifically would you do to prove that you have achieved your goal?”. Not only did they point out the weakness of this plan, but they also reminded me to take notable actions. To specify what good looks like, I have created a rubric that defines success criteria and expectations.

Throughout the journey, the rubric played a significant role in helping me achieve my goal. It allowed me to narrow my thoughts and focus on the categories that can be identified. Meanwhile, the rubric also functioned as a reminder to track my progress. The Smart goal chart and the rubric guided me to take action and reach my goal.


Actions

1. Morning walk

With the goal in mind, I immediately took action in the morning. Although taking a walk in the mornings wasn’t something I can’t do, my laziness always stop me from waking up early. Jakub and I, however, wanted to make a difference. We went on a hiking trail around Loon Lake, hoping to get a better view. During the walk, we experienced a different style of Loon Lake than we usually see. While the sun was rising, Jakub and I discovered unique flowers, lovely birds and some weird-looking trees. At that moment, I found inner peace in my mind with nature. As I intended to rule my emotions, I felt accomplished at the end of the walk. Even though we never had the time to finish our walk, this experience with nature calmed me down and prepared me for the day.

2. High rope course

On the same day, we had a high roping course. Since I was a kid, I have always been terrified of my heights; therefore, I wasn’t comfortable at all when we started our high ropes lesson. Eventually, I gained confidence as I watched my classmates go. I had the wrong assumption that everything was easy up there, so I also took the chance. As I climbed up the pole, fear took over my mind. When I arrived at the platform, I had the question: “Can I go down?”. I was terrified and the height scared the crap out of me. I didn’t want to go because I believed there was a good chance I could die up there. However, my fear disappeared as my partner, Ryder, climbed up. I realized people were supporting me, which empowered me to take risks. After all, the high rope course challenged my understanding of myself and made me a different person. It was an experience I will never forget in my life.

3. Shelter

On the next day, we learned about survival strategies in forests. According to Stantevia, you can only survive three hours on average without a proper shelter. In other words, shelters are more important than water or food. I found it shocking because we often think water has the highest priority. Fortunately, we have a chance to design and build our shelter. My team, Indy, Sophia, Nathan, Jakub and I eventually built a cabin. Although it wasn’t exactly what we suppose to do, it was still evidence of our creativity. One of my criteria for success was being able to turn ideas into reality. From that perspective, I realized I didn’t succeed our cabin was incomplete. Interestingly enough, in the end, our cabin barely fit us and neither did we have a roof. However, I have gained a lot of hands-on experiences and had fun.


 

Impacts

While I was working towards my goal, I also noticed changes that occurred in my classmates. Jakub and Liam became more determined and focused; Nathan and Ethan became better listeners, and Logan continuously expand his comfort zone. These role models and their accomplishments helped me clarify many uncertainty and confusions. Meanwhile, it’s also interesting to see how my effort towards the goal had affected others. Each of us interviewed four-person to reflect on our journey and accomplishments. While learning about other people’s goals and journeys, we also got feedback from an outsider’s perspective. (Click here to see the interviews)


Conclusion

Looking back, I have changed throughout the trip. Although I never established full, complete independence within days, the journey at Loon Lake laid a foundation for future growth. Overall, this trip offered many valuable opportunities and experiences, yet it was enjoyable. I look forward to incoming trips in the future!


Thank you for your time

The DI Era

For the past three months, we have been working on Destination Imagination. It was the longest, most challenging and arguably most significant project. But how did DI prove so affecting as to change us entirely? In this blog post, I will be talking about our DI learning journey.


Why?

Why did we have this project in the first place?

Before we can do anything, we have to begin with the end state in mind. In other words, we have to recognize what our goals and purposes are first. According to Ms. Willemse, three main benefits are doing DI are:

  1.  To inspire our creativity
  2.  To develop a problem-solving mentality
  3.  To learn how to collaborate with others

Although we never launched a rocket as Elon Musk did, DI allowed us to experience real-world and experiment or ideas at a low cost. Unfortunately, I was not in PLP throughout grade 8 or 9, which means I only have this year to participate. Therefore, I was interested in this project.


How?

How did we plan to accomplish the goal & purpose?

With the purpose in mind, we focused on the process to accomplish our goal. My team, Amy Sophia, Josh, Indy and I, also known as the “(Inset Team Name Here)”, were in the Fine Art challenge. Although there were a lot of things to do within three months, our focuses can fall into five categories:

  1. Central Challenge — Story
    The overall topic is a trickster who attempts to overcome a tricky situation. For the challenge, our trickster uses information or secrets to trick or break rules. Most of the points came from successful storytelling and dramatic character portrayal.
  2. Central Challenge — Illusion
    Illusion should be designed to be wrongly perceived and enhance the story. In other words, tricking the audience using visual and or auditory effects. The success of the illusion would be evaluated based on its impact on the story and audience. Creativity is also important
  3. Central Challenge — Costume Transformation
    The costume transformation is used to enhance the story; however, it must not be worn by the trickster. Similar to illusion, the appraisers would evaluate the impact of the costume transformation but also the technical design and method used to accomplish the task.
  4. 2 Team Choice Elements
    The two team choice elements contain 15% of the total points. It must be specific and not used for illusion or costume transformation. The team choice elements represent the interest or talents of the team. Each element would be assessed in originality, quality, effort, integration and creativity.
  5. Instant Challenge
    The instant challenge contains 25% of the total points. It would be a random, quick challenge to test how well you work under pressure and uncertainty. At the same time, the appraisers also looked for collaboration and creativity throughout the challenge.

 

(Overall Scoring)

 

(Central Challenge Scoring)

After we divide the challenge into smaller tasks, we assigned roles and responsibilities. Amy was the overall manager, and she would be working on the story; meanwhile, Indy was responsible for character development and helping Amy with costume transformation. Josh and Sophia would design and paint our backdrops according to the story, which was one of our team choice elements. On the other hand, I will be carrying out the illusions and the second team choice element — background sound effects.


What?

What actions or processes did we take to carry our ideas out?

After knowing our responsibilities, we started working on our part. However, as we were uncertain of what’s the soul of the challenge, we were lost and unsure what to do. For example, should we write a story based on Character or should we develop a character based on a story? Should the Illusion be one of the tricks used by the trickster or accidental? We were stuck on questions like that leading to the “planning period”. During the planning period, we gathered many ideas but lacked the action to turn them into reality. Fortunately, Amy came up with an awesome idea for a story about time travel. While the story and the script were processed, we experimented with our ideas. Arguably, the ideas we gained from the “planning period” laid a foundation for the “hands-on period”; however, we have lost a valuable amount of time which caused the rush later on.

Meanwhile, we practiced our instant challenge during the first and second rehearsals with the teachers. Although we struggle with different instant challenges, the experience allows us to handle our instant challenges faster and better. Looking back, it’s the more we suffer from instant challenges, the more prepared we are.

Time flew by quickly, but we were still not prepared. As we sensed the time urgency, we ended our planning stage and took action to turn ideas into reality. Although we managed to finish the costume transformation and our illusion, we still had to practice our acting and paint the backdrops. At the same time, we have created many props for our performance. However, time was not on our side as we only had one week left by the time we reached this stage. Eventually, we finished the two team choice elements before the tournament.


Results

As we pulled everything together the day before the tournament, we never had the chance to do any more rehearsals and adjustments. Worse yet, we discovered that the backdrop and the light pole, which were part of the props, were too big to fit in the room. In the end, we managed to tell the story using illusions and props. But as you can see, it wasn’t impressive nor outstanding. On the other hand, our instant challenge went well. Even though we came 2nd in the tournament, the scores or placement would change how I view my work


Key Lesson: What went wrong?

During the DI era, I made many mistakes and caused many problems, which led to my defeat at the tournament. Looking back, I realized I never put in my best effort. It was painful when I realized what I could have done to enhance our performance. In other words, I figured it was me the whole time letting the team down. Here are the six main points that summarized most of my mistakes

  1. Dependent
    Dependent was one of the most significant mistakes I have made throughout the months. I relied on environmental conditions and my teammates when working on a project. This mistake was costly because it created more workload for my teammates and decreased productivity
  2.  Lack of communication and collaboration
    While one of the purposes of this project was to collaborate with others, I have failed miserably. My miscommunication led to the failure of the double-sided backdrops, which had different sizes. Because of that, we had lots of chaos when we were trying to pull everything together before the tournament.
  3. Misplanning
    From the start of this challenge, I have overestimated the time and space we had. I lacked a sense of time and urgency which was why the planning period was so long. Because of the wrong assumptions, we have also made the backdrop and the light pole too big. Furthermore, we never have a backup plan for obstacles and surprises.
  4. No sense of risk or quality
    We took huge risks when we decided to use LED lights for costume Transformation. I found it unbelievable how I never considered the risk of that and how well it would turn out without darkness. No sense of risks or quality forced us to deal with more troubles later on, such as the backdrop transformation
  5.  Ineffective/ Inefficient use of time and resources
    Although I have devoted a decent amount of time, I was inefficient and ineffective in making remarkable progress. Because my solutions to problems were often ineffective, I have spent more time and effort than needed. Potentially, the time I “wasted” because of inefficiency could be used to help out my teammates
  6. Lost of the overall picture
    While I focused on the task and project, I lost track of the overall picture. In other words, “I have won the battle but lost the war”. Looking back, I spent too much time refining the details and spent almost no time reviewing the purpose of the task. In the end, the products I produced were often irrelevant.

Conclusion & the answer

“How might we learn and experience the creative process while developing our creativity, curiosity, and courage?”

Even though this unit was challenging, it was still enjoyable. While I was working on the light pole, I experimented with many solutions to make it stable. I have designed and built many structures aiming to prevent them from falling. Unfortunately, none of them work well in the end. Nevertheless, I have learned a lot of structural techniques and had fun. Destination Imagination is a simulator that tests our courage and resilience while encouraging us to think creatively and globally. Although the result may not be as well as expected, I have never regretted participating in DI


Special Thanks

Amy.S

Sophia.W

Indy.SL

Josh.L


Thank you for your time

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