mPOLs… Huh?

mPOLs, what are they? mPOLs are “Mid Year Reflections of Learning.” What we have to do is write a blog post about our year, goals, thoughts, questions and basically reflections about our learning. It is basically the PLP version of parent-teacher conferences, except that these are student lead.

Here is the driving question: What is your learning goal that you want  to reach by the end of this school year, and how will you meet it?

When I first started working on this presentation, I didn’t really know how to “tell a story.” So I decided to start with the things I did know. My favourite thing to do is write, I like writing essays, fiction, and even letters! So maybe if I tried to put it all down on a page that would help. So I wrote bullet points of all the things I wanted to talk about. 

  • The project that I failed on

I think the project I did very badly with this year was “The Medium Is The Message.” I didn’t really understand if something looked good or not. A lot of my ads were WAY to wordy. I didn’t get how you were supposed to convey things without words. I wasn’t good at taking photo’s, and whenever I did, they didn’t go with what I was trying to say. My parents actually helped me with one particular draft in which my words conveyed the complete opposite meaning.

“Where you used to go?” Seriously? That kind of gives the impression that it is completely run down, and that you can only go there if you’re, like,  80 years old. Also, the black line in the middle? In retrospect I probably could have made it look a little better. Now though, thinking back, I have learned something, and every draft that wasn’t good, the next one got better. I continue with this learning, and while watching TV I do identify ads based on Pathos, Ethos and Logos! 

  • The project I’m most proud of 

I think the project that I really had fun doing, and enjoyed, was our second project in scimatics, Tectonic Plates Book. Like I said earlier, reading and writing is my favourite thing EVER! I really like how I can express my thoughts and feelings, without stumbling over my words.

Here is a good example of how I think I can be creative and go outside the box with writing. Whatever I write doesn’t have to look the way other books do. It’s like whatever is in my head, I can draw with words. Of course I also learned a lot about tectonic plates. For example the fact that some hills are created by 2 different types of tectonic plates forcing under the other.

  • Things I struggle with

Some struggles I have are when we are working in groups. I try to listen to others ideas, but although I listen, I might not always go along with it. This year I really realized that just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. I’m getting better, although sometimes when there are some crazy ideas, I might veto them without considering them seriously. I have learned that sometimes the craziest of ideas make the building blocks for a good project.

  • Team work

I’m getting better at team work, and I think a good example of this is the Winter Exhibition. We worked together really well when setting up the Death Star. Some people cleaned, some added decoration, some curtained… etc. I worked really hard, and I feel like other people did too. I tried to accept all ideas, and this was a group in which we all contributed pretty equally. This leads to my goal:

The Death Star/ Library

Don’t feel responsible for others’ work and learning, just focus on your own. 

  • Goals to continue with

I think this is a good goal for me. I always feel really worried that other people won’t do their work. I become slightly freaked out when I realize that I can’t change what other people do. I need to be open. Maybe if I tried to not be in charge in one of the group projects we do next. When I try to let it go, let it be what it is, I forget to trust. I feel as though everything that needs to be done is impossible. That if I don’t do it, no one will. I need to believe that other people will step up and do it. The first part of this year has really helped me realize that I can’t just assume people will follow me. I need to lead by example. This has allowed me to think about how I could improve MY OWN work, not others.

Another problem I have is that get a teensie, little bit, very small, mediumish bit stressed. I would like how to learn to balance my school and work with some fun and time to relax! I don’t think my problem is time management, here is my Things, which is pretty full of the stuff I need to to and when. I think my problem is just to stop focusing on that, and shift my attention to something else.

Now lastly, on to my question:

While focusing on MY OWN learning, how can I do work well, and shift away from school during other activities?

Thanks for reading!


Star Wars and LAUNCH

Hello again! I know it’s been a while, but we took a break from writing blogs over winter break. But now I’m back!!! In this blog post I will be talking about our “mini Blue Sky” project, and also the winter exhibition. The winter exhibition is when we do a big project and then show off our learning to all the parents and just people who want to come. This time the theme was Star Wars and we transformed the library into the Death Star! Now to the project.

For the mini Blue Sky project, our theme was Star Wars.  To do this project we had to follow the LAUNCH cycle. The driving question was “How can we build an answer to our own inquiry?” 

The first step in our project was to Look, Listen and Learn. I think I did a pretty good job for this stage. I became totally absorbed with finding out all the things vaguely related to Star Wars I was interested in. Farther down, there is a video of my LAUNCH journal where you can see my brainstorming. Some of the things I was interested in were : animals, planets, cloning, music, bounty hunters and more. Later on I will decide to go with animals, but we’re not there yet.

The second step was to Ask Tons of Questions. I had some trouble at this stage and ended up going back to L. We had to come up with a “how might we” question. A HMW question is a question that a) starts with how might we? And b) is open ended, so you have to do a lot of thinking to come up with and answer, and two peoples answers wouldn’t be the same. I just couldn’t get the right question for the topic (music) that I had chosen. I decided to go back to L and brainstorm some more.

The third step was U, understand a problem. It was here where I finally got my HMW question: How might we see what role do animals that don’t interact with the main characters have in the movies. I did a lot of research on the animals in Star Wars and really expanded my knowledge. I noticed a general theme, the animals were only there to help the main characters continue there story, they didn’t have a story of their own, so I decided to make one.

Now onto N, navigate ideas! Once I got my HMW question, I had to narrow down my ideas to see what I should actually create! I did some more brainstorming and arrived at the idea to do a puppet show. (It took a lot of brainstorming, and I had to sort though A LOT of ideas)

Then to C, create! I had lots of fun at this stage. It took a while but I was able to make a puppet, background, and script! Here are examples of each:

Narrator: Once upon a time there was a Dianoga. Her parents named her Diane. They then abandoned her, where she was scooped up by a general working on the Death Star. They through her into a garbage chute to keep the rat population under control. She cloned herself and gave birth to babies. One day 3 humans and a Wookiee fell into her house. Diane: Well, what should I do? I’m very hungry… I haven’t found a rat in daysssssssss. I think I sssshal eat them.  I’m ssssstarving and very weak. I need to protect my children, they need to eat ssssssooon. That one looks the scrawniest… Narrator: Diane then decided to attack Luke Skywalker. The humans then tried to hit her with a stick as she dragged him under. Diane: I’m starving… I can’t keep a hold of him much longer. I must protect my children. It is crucial that they survive! Help, he’s going to drown me… I need to eat! I need to save my kids. They must have a better life! Narrator: Suddenly, Diane felt the chute begin to move! Diane: I have to get out of here fast. I need to dive deeper, to ssssave my children. Narrator: With this last chance of food gone, Diane knew she would not be able to survive much longer. Diane: Goodbye my children.  I shall try to give as much food as I can to you. Remember all I have taught you. Don’t forget how to hunt rats! Narrator: And with that, she died. So you see, there are many parts to a story. Luke, Leia, Hans, and Chewbacca inadvertently and indirectly killed her. In their quest to live, they let other innocent, starving creatures die. And I have to say. By the end of the movie, you probably forgot all about Diane too.


My final puppet

And next, H, highlight and fix. For H I basically found problems in my design, and fixed them to be more useful. Some of the problems I had was that my puppet’s eye kept falling off, it was hard to open and close the mouth, and my script was way tooo long. And this is just the beginning!!! I finally thought I had made it the best I could, and then I would find another problem! By the day of the exhibition, I was exhausted but happy.


Finally, LAUNCH to an audience! I was done! All that was left to do was share it with the world!

Here is my LAUNCH journal, where you can see in even more detail the steps it took to arrive at my beautiful finished product!

Reflection: in the end, I am very proud of the work I did. I think it really showed how much work and thought I put into it. There are some core competencies to consider however, so I will write down those as well.

1. “Engage in a period of research and empathetic observation in order to understand design opportunities”

I’m kind of proud of how I did this competency. During this stage, I went a little crazy. If anything remotely related to Star Wars popped up somewhere I would read/watch/listen to it. I found out so many things related to Star Wars, and I became fascinated with all the many different aspects of it.

The Death Star/ Library

2. “Identify potential users and their requirements for a chosen a design opportunity. “Identify criteria for success and any constraints”

I think that at this part of the project I kind of struggled a little bit. I had some trouble asking questions that were related to my topic. Another one of my weaknesses is not coming up with questions, but whenever I try to voice them. I try to ask a simple question but it just doesn’t sound the way I want it to, and people don’t understand what I’m asking.

Need to knows- some of my questions

3. “Identify and use sources of information.” “Critically analyze and
prioritize competing factors, including social, ethical, and sustainability considerations, to meet community needs for preferred futures.” “Choose an idea to pursue, keeping other potentially viable ideas open.”

I think that this was my best faze of the project, as I am generally pretty good at doing research. When I started thinking of what I was going to build, I started with an idea, but I wasn’t necessarily changing it. My idea started as a movie, but I realized that with the resources at hand, it wasn’t very possible. Instead I decided to do a live presentation/puppet show. I used the information I had gotten from my movie and tweaked it a bit to serve my puppet show. I used socks from my closet, and an old Easter egg to build my puppet.

4. “Generate potential ideas and add to others’ ideas.” “ Screen ideas against criteria and constraints.” “ Develop a step-by-step plan that identifies key stages and resources and carry it out, making changes as needed.” “Identify and use appropriate tools, technologies, and materials for production.” 

For this stage I’m very impressed with my action plan. I like that it’s very organized and I actually followed it. By now I have actually started collecting materials for it, and they are from things I already had. I used lots of things and people to help me in this part. I occasionally asked my moms if they thought it looked good, and they were happy to offer advice.

5. “Explore and test a variety of materials for effective use and potential for reuse, recycling, and biodegradability.” “Prototype making changes to tools, materials, and procedures as needed.” “Record iterations of prototyping.” “Use materials in ways that minimize waste.”

I used all reused materials for this project. This included: socks, an Easter egg, paint I already had, a recycled cardboard box and old newspapers. I made a lot of mistakes but did not give up and added and improved my product.

Me cutting a cardboard box to be the walls of my garbage chute


6. “Share progress while creating design to enable ongoing feedback. Decide on how and with whom to share or promote design.” “Critically evaluate the success of the design and explain how their design idea contributes to the individual, family, community, and/or environment.” 

I really liked presenting my project. I was very proud of what I made. I have to say though, a lot of my first designs kind of didn’t work (a lot). An example is when I tried to attach and Easter egg to a fabric sock with duct tape! Duck tape. Wow, that really didn’t work. We also made a keynote that showed all our steps along the way while presenting.


You can see the eye falling off

7. Innovative Designer. 

I think I used a lot of different types of technology to make my puppet show. I tried new and creative things and even if it didn’t work out, I’m still proud of what did.

8. Computational Thinker

I had a lot of problems with my project. Especially at the start when my HMW question didn’t go as planned. Whenever I wanted to give up, I would try to take a break and think about what was working. This usually cheered me up and I could get back to what wasn’t working.

9. Creative Communicator

I used lots of different tools to create my project. Some of my favorites were that I used and egg, and I tried to make a poster that described my project. I tried to talk to people and get their opinions on things. When presenting, instead of just talking I put on a puppet show!

Phew! We’re finally at the end of this blog post! The winter exhibition was fun and so was this project. There is one more project we did for the exhibition in scimatics, click here to check it out!