I don’t like history. With that said, this project in Humanities was all about history! Specifically as it relates to the controversial Canadian figure Louis Riel. Luckily this project didn’t solely revolve around history, it also featured a major writing focus. If I’m being Riel, thanks to PLP, history is slowly finding a special place in my heart. Very, very slowly, but still. I digress. The meat of this project was found within our composure of a multi-paragraph response to our driving question, “How has the portrayal of Riel changed over time?”. To create this response we first had to learn about everyone’s “favourite thing”, history. Who was Louis Riel? Why was he hanged? Why did we watch a video where Riel was a duck that got his head bitten off? All these questions will be answered in due time, dear reader, do not fret.

Louis Riel was many things, a leader, a hero, a heretic, it really depends on who you ask. The PLP grade 9s saw him as anything and everything, while we explored the many contrasting perspectives on Riel. During the launch phase of this project we were asked to do a writing sample for the teachers to evaluate where we are in our writing journies. The requirements for this sample were that it was written in 2 paragraphs and that it expressed 3 symbols we feel represent Canada. Initially I was struggling because I was overthinking instead of simply writing and revising. My procrastination eventually made it so I was still writing my paragraphs the morning they were due. The time crunch forced me to write without time to overthink, which ended up being oddly beneficial. Here the writing sample I submitted:

On day 1 we explored a timeline of events relating to Louis Riel. I learned that Louis Riel’s first act, or rebellion, or resistance, was driving away surveyors looking to take the land of the Métis people on October 11, 1869. I also learned about the governments justification behind Riel being hanged. Riel was held responsible for the death of a man named Thomas Scott, and was hanged for his crime. On day 2 we used Frayer models to work on descriptions and vocabulary and then did an analysis of Louis Riel statues. I found this activity to be quite engaging and useful, as we were forced to exercise our descriptive language. On day 3 we viewed a secondary source, a heritage minute by Historica Canada on Louis Riel. We were then asked to write a reflection on how Historica Canada’s heritage minute portrayed Riel. I was able to write this without much trouble, I believe this was partially due to being forced to write without overthinking earlier in the project. By day 4 we were working on topic sentences. I generally find it difficult to start writing, especially topic sentences, so I started with other related writing and eventually by the end of class wrote somewhat of a topic sentence. Here is my work from that day: On day 5 we were given the very important task of evaluating primary and secondary sources and looking at the lenses they portray Louis Riel through.

The last thing we did before composing our responses and arguably the most important (kidding) was watching a fever dream of an animation. Ms. McWilliam informed us that she had come across it in her first year of teacher and found it necessary to scar all children with its horrors. I would implore you to witness its utter shenanigans but am having trouble finding the video. We held a brief discussion on the meaning behind the video and it was interesting hearing different perspectives on the animation. One person thought that Riel being the head of a duck represented how Métis people we seen as lesser, and treated accordingly. Another interpretation is a literal one, of Riel being hanged. And by day 6 we were ready to write! This response acts as both the final end goal of the project, and a response to the driving question. Through feedback from peers and teachers different iterations were developed, here are all of mine in chronological order.

Draft 1: https://kids-admire-syj.craft.me/cmRzXiruPAOGFI
Draft 2: https://kids-admire-syj.craft.me/jXVrWKVK3tkVTp
Final version: https://kids-admire-syj.craft.me/zyxHlw6ki75VV0

I feel as though this project was immensely beneficial to me as a learner. Not only because of the writing improvement and history learned. I have struggled with putting words to paper for years. This struggle causes some academic struggle, and within this project I found myself writing without overthinking, and because of this getting work done on time. Of the work, I am proud.