Category: PGP

Jacoe’s TPOL

Hello TPOL readers or watchers! How you are all doing well. This post is all about my grade 11 TPOL! I’m going to be wrapping up my grade eleven year by talking about all the work my class did. This year was a busy one, and because of COVID-19, it wasn’t a fully traditional year.  So, let’s get into it!


“Fair is foul, and foul is fair”. If you recognize that quote, you probably were forced to read Macbeth in high school too! Lucky you! All jokes aside, I was worried when I started to read Macbeth as I have a very hard time interpreting and understanding Shakespeare’s writing. But, Ms. Willemse did a great job of teaching this unit. We read the whole play as a class, making it an enjoyable and understandable piece of writing instead of a scary gibberish book. Anyways, everything I made in this unit was something I felt really good about. We did a lot of reading, writing, and discussing this unit but what stood out to me most was the movie my class and I made.

A bedroom I designed for a Lady Macbeth scene

I was assigned production manager, which I didn’t know how to feel about as I really wanted director or director of photography, but by the end of filming the movie, I had done parts of both of those because what my role was was to basically fill in the gaps. When Giorgia (director) or Lucas (director of photography) wasn’t there on set, I filled their roles. I’m proud of myself for a few things to do with this movie…

1. Being okay with not having all the power, working with Alivia, Jessie, and Giorgia smoothly.

2. Coming up with the plot and characters of the whole movie.

3. Being able to adapt when in crisis and help others.


Shots from set

As production manager, I did a little more than what a traditional production manager does, but I was okay with that. Movies are what I love. Making them, watching them, anything to do with them. I was quite frustrated the first week or so of the movie part of this project because I, and the other key creatives decided on my storyline instead of Giorgia’s, so it was hard to not be able to direct my own ideas. But, I did make sure my ideas were being heard. I’m used to being a loud voice in the PLP classroom, and I was making sure the rest of the crew knew what was going on. I also tried to back away at some points and let the two main powers (Director and Producer), do their work. I didn’t want to take over, I wanted the rest of the crew to try somethings I may have already experienced.

It’s odd, because not being in control is out of my comfort zone. While the outcome of the movie is what I’m mainly proud of, I’m also very proud of the process. Macbeth is a cursed project in PLP history, as class productions never according to plan, but I feel my class did a 10/10 job. We argued, laughed, worked hard, and got closer in the process. I had never seen my class so unified. This is one of my all-time favourite PLP projects, and I’m really proud of it. (Not to mention I was a boss boom mic holder).



The past 2-3 months we have been focusing on the civil rights movement, and everything connected to it. I was really glad to start this unit, as I’ve been looking forward to it all year. While the trip was canceled, I still knew it’d be a good unit because Willemse and Hughes can adapt to almost anything. Why I’m bringing up this unit is not because I’m proud of the finished project, it’s literally not done yet, but because of what state the world is in right now. It’s the most current and important thing to be learning about right now.

Most kids leave high school not knowing much about the civil rights movement, or the black panthers, or icons like Rosa Park, Claudette Colvin, MLK, or Malcolm X, basically any black history. I think that’s terrible as it’s probably one of the most important things teenagers should be being taught and learn. While we in Canada don’t necessarily
see racism daily in our privileged little bubble of Deep Cove, there are black Americans AND Canadians and other minorities being killed and brutalized at a disgustingly high rate. I think learning about the civil rights movement is so important, as history is repeating, and we are seeing the Black Lives Matter movement being brought to the frontlines of media more than ever- Right Now. We are in a 2020 revolution against the police brutality and systematic racism in North America, and I’m so grateful I can fight while feeling educated.

If the topic of BLM is ever brought up with anyone (very often right now) I feel educated enough to where I can spew facts and the resources. It’s so important to be able to educate on topics like this as it’s not something that’s just going to go away easily. It’s something we as a world are going to have to fight against. More than ever, the civil rights movement is now being brought to the frontlines of the global conversation.

I found myself coming back to these

Anyways, the whole ‘claim supports and questions’ idea Hughes has been driving into my brain for the past few weeks is honestly very helpful to actually discussing hard topics in real life. There is always going to be someone fighting against you, and the least you can do is try to educate them. Click HERE to see how you can help/learn more about the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Pictures I took at the protest in Vancouver last week



Ah, poetry, one of my least favourite things. Or at least, that’s what I used to think. I’ve never been the biggest fan of poetry…when it comes to mushy writing you have to share to the public, it makes me cringe a little. But this unit gave me a whole new outlook on poetry and how I think and feel about it.


Ms. Maxwell approached this project in a really cool way as before we started writing poetry
, she really broke it down to it’s most simple form AND we got to learn about a cool form of poetry, popular in the 50s called beat poetry. Anyways, why this project was hard for me is because as happy I am to talk and talk and talk, I get quite get scared to be vulnerable with my words in a school way. Poetry is normally a pretty genuine form of writing, so I was scared. Also, it makes me cringe a little like I said before. When I used to think of poetry I’d think of like 6 foot hipster men with bad mustaches performing their bad poetry at a weird cafe on a Wednesday night. I don’t think like that anymore, I think of awesome beat poets like Jack Kerouac and Amiri Baraka.

I remember having a really hard time sitting down and writing poetry. I am such a perfectionist, I wanted it to be perfect. Thankfully, I came to a realization that poetry doesn’t have to be perfect, or even… good. It’s YOUR writing, and it’s up for interpretation.
I remember letting my words flow and I wrote about 10 in an hour. Moving on from the writing process, I remember having to stand in front of the class and read two of my poems ON A MIC as a dress rehearsal. I never ever ever get nervous when it comes to presenting stuff to my small PLP class, but I remember the absolute terror and nervousness I felt before presenting.

Poems can be such vulnerable sensitive pieces of work, sharing them seemed like a nightmare to me. I was happy with the poems I wrote, but I assumed everyone else in the class would hate them and I’d be embarrassed. But, after reading my poems with my shaky hands and dry nervous mouth, I saw my peers and Ms. Maxwell smiling and clapping. It was instant relief. School can be quite repetitive, but this project was new and exciting.Later on had to present my poetry to basically everyone I ever know in a small gym room for the winter exhibition, dressed as an…. Ewok. But surprisingly I wasn’t as scared as I was when presenting to just my class. I had overcome my fear and hate towards poetry, and that was for sure one of the hardest things I did that year.


Overall, this year was a beautiful mess. With corona infiltrating my end of the year, to dressing up as Ewoks, to filming Macbeth, it was an awesome year. I tried a lot of new things and I can tell my little learning brain has grown, and that’s why I feel I’m ready for grade 12. (Scary). Thank you to everyone who put up with me this year!

Picture I took in New Mexico!

Atomic Habits!

Hello, hope you all are doing well. You may be confused by the title, “Atomic Habits”… let me explain! Atomic Habits is a book written by James Clear, and it’s all about how tiny changes can have remarkable results! We were assigned to read this book for PGP (personal growth plan) and write a reflective blog post. Before I get into the content, here’s a little run through about the author. 


Meet James Clear! He is obviously the author of Atomic Habits, and he tells an amazing story in the beginning of the book.
He was severely injured in high school to the point of being put into a coma, and then having to re learn basic things like walking etc. Very intense and scary, especially as a teenager who just wants a simple and happy life. He was very passionate about baseball and wanted to pursue it after high school but felt hopeless as he was so injured and lost his placement on the team. Fast forward after years of hard work, he was at a good university playing baseball on the schools team. He talks about how even though it was just university baseball, he felt accomplished as he had to basically restart after his accident. There’s plenty more to the story, but that is a quick summary.

 “We all deal with setbacks but in the long run, the quality of our lives depend on the quality of our habits.” This quote said by Clear himself really gives a great perspective on life and how no matter what happens, with attention to detail and hard work, you can get anywhere… And I think thats a great start to the book. 


Something I really like about this book is that it isn’t overwhelming. Clear believes getting 1% better everyday is the best way to do it as 1% everyday builds up ending in success. Its not that easy though, theres plenty in between that one sentence. “Habits are compound interest of self improvement” says Clear in the book. I read this book over a few days, and left a few weeks after to test out some habit setting. While reading, I took notes because if I’m going to read a book like this I want to make sure I have a deep understanding. I took notes on quotes, valuable sentences, and just the overall understanding of the chapter. So, lets get into the 4 laws! 


My notes from the first part of book

There are 4 steps to changing your behaviour and habits. Ask yourself, “how can I make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying?” So lets start at the first one. The first step to creating a new habit or destroying an old one Is to be aware. Habits are something you do without thinking about, so how are you going to notice them without paying attention? It’s always easier to repeat a bad habit then start a new good habit. Something you start do while reading this book, is you stop and reflect on whats benefiting you and whats not. Clear explains in these chapters that habits form for a reason, they’re is always a cue (or multiple) that trigger a habit to form.

What is a bad habit in your life? Staying up late? Biting your nails? Mines getting my homework done at realty weird and stressful times, for no reason…
I will do homework so last minute.. all the time…which is okay because a lot of the times my work is the same as if I was to do it at a normal time, but it’s deep down not okay because of the stress it causes. I wish I could get all my work done right after school, so I can enjoy the rest of my day. Its procrastination that dictates this habit of putting things off, so while reading this whole book that’s something I really focus on trying to fix. 


Something I really like about this book is that its not only just opinions and quotes, they’re actual facts in it that help you understand the concepts better. Dopamine is something he talks about a lot in this section. We create and retreat habits because it brings us dopamine. Where dopamine is connected to an opportunity, our motivation to act rises. Think of an outcome you want but have never done because the experience is painful? Clear uses the example of going to the gym, you want the outcomes of a nice body and healthy life, but you don’t actually do it because its not attractive. This law’s concept is you basically need to convince yourself that a habit you are setting is attractive. It’s all about the anticipation of a reward, which he calls a dopamine spike. 

This law really made sense to me as I kind of have been doing this my whole life. I’m very rewards based and if I don’t connect something positive and exciting to a not fun task, I honestly won’t do it without a great struggle. For example, this book. I like reading yeah, but books like this are a little different as they aren’t fiction, and I have to actually understand things and take notes.

My notes from the 2nd law

The goal is less for enjoyment compared to outcomes and knowledge. Anyways, to make myself really excited and happy to read this book and take notes, I bought myself a paper copy and took notes on paper. Someone may not see any difference from reading it on an iPad and taking notes on there compared to paper book and paper notes, but I do. The enjoyment and satisfaction I get from reading paper books and writing with pencil makes the process of reading a 300 page book enjoyable. I associated a positive feeling to getting this assignment done, and it created an attractive habit of reading and note taking over the past month or so.


Ah, humans. We love simple and easy stuff. Clear talking about this reminded me of a quote by my favourite man alive, Bill Gates. “Hire a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” 

Clear believes if a habit is challenging to do, we aren’t going to do it. We need to make it as simple, easy, and planned as we can to keep us motivated. Something really interesting he talks about is that you shouldn’t be asking how long it takes to form a habit, but you should be asking how many times it takes to form it. It’s all about repetition. An analogy he uses is “making your habits simple and easy is like unbending a water hose.” You can use a hose while it’s bent, but it’s just causing tension and a bigger temptation to give up. Why not just, unbend the water hose… that’s exactly what he wants us to do with our habits. Remove the tension. 

My notes from law 3

Things you can do to remove the tension to not want to do it and the worry is just, prepare. The more friction you remove from a habit the more likely you are to do it. Prime your environment. Something I’ve discovered and recently re-enforced myself to do more is to always clean my room before school, so when I get home I have a clean and ready space to get my homework done. If my rooms messy I end up avoiding cleaning AND homework which makes it all worse. 


My notes from law 4

Ah I loved this part of the book. Why? Because it resigned with me so well. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a hard time getting stuff done if their isn’t a “reward” or positive outcome. This could mean having a bath after homework or bringing a cup of tea to school to make me excited for my classes. “What is immediately rewarding is repeated.” We are more likely to do something if it’s satisfying, and the satisfaction part is very personal to you. Mine examples are tea and baths, someone else’s may be watching a movie or going to a friends house. To continue with a habit, you need to feel satisfied and even just a little but of success. This keeps your brain happy and motivated. 

There’s obviously the polar opposite of being rewarding which is being punished too. “What is immediately punished is avoided.” When doing a bad habit, align it with something negative. If there is a negative feeling or consequences attached, we are less likely to do it. Make it UNsatisfying! This comes in later with the habit contract, but I’ll explain that in a bit. 


We had forms to complete after or during reading the book. Let me explain..

Here’s the habit contract. This is here to help us solidify a habit we want to create, by connecting it to a consequence and having someone watching over us. Someone watching + a  consequence = new habit being repeated. Mine was the habit I’ve been talking about this whole post, starting work right away after school. I have to pay my mom now 1 dollar every time she sees me doing something that’s not homework after school, when I have work to do. This doesn’t seem like a lot but If I was to break this habit everyday, it would add up. I started this about 20ish days ago and the two weeks i’ve been in school, it’s honestly been better. Not perfect, but improving.

There were also other little forms like the habit stacker, and habit tracker. These were good to do because they kind of turn your ideas and wants into something real. Writing it down makes you accountable for it. 


This book was genuinely enjoyable and helpful, and I’ve already recommended it to multiple people I know. Clear does an amazing job at breaking down and explaining habits, and why we do them which in the long run solves a lot of problems. Understanding why you do something is one of the first steps to fixing it or improving it. We are all human, and we can’t feel too guilty for having bad habits, but we can fix them. I love his use of the word ATOMIC as it represents how little actions end up with great results.

“Thats the power of atomic habits. Tiny changes. Remarkable Results”

I will continue to work on my habits I’ve started, and knowing PGP there will definitely be more to this book then just this post so don’t be surprised if their is an update post on my progress!! Even after only about 20 days, my overall life experience has improved. It’s the small things like getting work done after-school, or making tea in the morning for me that honestly change my days for the better. 

A Letter To My Past Self

Hello! Welcome to my first and sadly last blog post about my Personal Growth Plan. This is a class I participated in this year! It focuses on productivity, the 7 habits of a highly effective teen,  and organization. It seemed a little intimidating at first but after 9 months of it, I can say it affected me positively. To end off this class with a bang, we were assigned the TIME MACHINE project! This is basically an artifact that you would want your past self to see and learn from. So, lets get into what I created! 



I created this short video about what I wished grade 8 and 9 knew. I took the task of a “time machine” quite literally as I did a letter to my past self, but it’s what felt the best to create. While writing the script I put down in point form the main 3 points I wanted to get across, my work environment, organization, and preparation/planning. I wrote out exactly what habits I wish I knew before grade 10, and habits from the two books we read especially “7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen” stood out for me in each point I wanted to make. I talk about the Habits that stuck with me the most like being proactive, and beginning with end in mind. Through all the books, worksheets, podcasts, and sketches I did connected to PGP, I can honestly say everything I say in the video is genuine. Its not stuff that always sounds good, its not stuff that will give me a good mark, its stuff that actually helps me on a daily basis. 


The biggest thing I walked into PGP with was that I wanted to create a work routine than gets the work done efficiently, and enjoyably. I normally end up with work I’m happy with, but I never enjoy the process I have to get there. Things
like procrastination, late nights, early mornings, busy after schools, etc were all caused from my lack of organization, planning, and not having a healthy workspace. Through all of PGP I took parts and pieces of what I learnt and molded it to my working style, and it ended up with a nice and efficient work routine. I learnt this year that the process of creating is just as important as the final product!


I’m going to lots of work to do in the future, if its school connected, family connected, work connected, it’s always going to be there. So why not create a routine that makes the process as enjoyable as having a great end product? PGP made me get my stuff together and figure out that exact problem, and I can confidently say I believe my video shows that. I’m happy I took PGP seriously, and that I went into it with a drive, because I’m not sure I would have gotten as much out of if I didn’t.