Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Poetic Journey and All American Boys

For my English summative at school, I was tasked with writing a blog post summarizing two interesting units of my choice. I learned and discovered interesting things in the Poetic Journey and expanded my learning in the novel All American Boys. Here it is!

Poetic Journey

During our poetry unit at school, we learned about Gord Downie from the Tragically Hip, wrote our own poems and read Shakespeare. The greatest lesson I took out of this exciting unit, was the impact poetry can have on people- different views, emotion and storylines.

The very first thing we did was analyze the song Wheat Kings by Gord Downie. It tells a story of one of Canada’s darkest moments: when David Milgaard was unjustly convicted of the rape and murder of Gail Miller. The song tells the story very well; my favourite line is “A nation whispers “We always known he’d go free.” You can sense the relief of all the people that were following this event. I love when I read something and it evokes emotion in me because different people feel different things and it makes the line more powerful.

When we made our own presentations, analyzing one of the Tragically Hip’s songs, we were able to get to feel the emotion and see the images created by the lyrics. We also got to know Gord Downie through his music. There were so many different ways people interpreted the words and presented their presentations. I think this is because poetry is open and there’s no one particular way to write, read, and view the themes.

When we wrote our own poems, we communicated something to ourselves and/or the readers. I wrote mine about the War of 1812. One line of the poem is “Fire’s fever swallowed the city’s fresh skin and vein.” This brings the image of the city, York, on fire and crumbling to the ground. You can see the events unfolding in your head even though you weren't physically there.

When we read the Shakespearean play King Lear, we were able to precisely sense what each of the characters saw, heard, touched, tasted and felt. This was made possible by using poetry to communicate the deepest meaning. I learned how different words can be interpreted differently. One example is the blindness within the characters. Most people interpreted that as the characters being unaware of what’s happening, physically and mentally. I interpreted it as the characters affected by this were scared of something or someone.

One of the best parts of poetry is that there are no rules, except for the fact that it has to make sense to you and the reader- if there is one. You can make up words or put two together. For example, here are some words I created- idositiy, image-root, rainbow-ouse and clenzy. You don’t need periods and the list just goes on. The lack of rules only exists in poetry.




All American Boys

All American Boys was the book chosen for the high school students in the Global Read Aloud. The main problem in the novel is the police brutality towards black people. In the novel there are two main characters: Rashad and Quinn. Rashad (black) was buying chips from a store and was wrongly mistaken for stealing the snacks. The police officer started to beat him, even though Rashad was unarmed and had his hands up. All the characters start taking sides, one side says that the police officer reacted on his biases towards black people and the other says that the police officer was just doing his job.

Quinn (white) was a witness of the beating of Rashad and knows what he saw wasn’t right but he’s also extremely good friends with the police officer, Paul. Quinn is caught between the two sides, but at the end he realizes that he deserves to stand up for what he believes. Quinn decides to stand with Rashad and joins a protest at the police station, with Rashad. The interesting part in the novel is that the two characters never actually meet.

Reading this novel has opened my eyes up and has made me more curious about the fact that racism still exists in modernized countries, where we say there is no racism. This novel didn’t only teach me that, but also introduced me to the Black Lives Matter movement, which I didn’t know about. The greatest thing the novel helped me realize is that just because you're not affected by it, doesn’t mean that others aren't.

The class read the book out loud together. I think that made the book more enjoyable because I remember more information. I found this very effective because while I was listening, I was able to pause and make connections. I think this is because when you’re reading on your own, you might skip a few words, read too quickly (so you don’t have time to think about it more) and also you might read too much per day (for your brain to gather all the information).

After reading every chapter, the class would answer interesting questions on a global online chat and we could start discussions on the chat, have someone respond or we could respond to different answers. I think this enhanced our learning because we could communicate with other students and educators to get different perspectives.

I didn’t want to stop reading the novel because it was very engaging and well thought out. All American Boys is an amazing book and I would recommend it to anyone.














Thursday, 17 November 2016

Algernon Review

     I enjoyed reading the book  Flowers For Algernon and watching the movie Charly. The book provided unique access into another individual's mind and expanded my view on the world. The movie created a new insight into reality, even though the movie was made in the late 60's.
     In this post I'm going to compare the book and movie on four aspects- the two Charlie's, Charlie's perspective when he was intellectually impaired, his thought process when he was intelligent and the ethics of how people with a low I.Q. should be treated. Then I will be addressing three questions that I thought were very interesting and important- is Charlie the same person in the movie as he is in the book? What perspective/point of view was the film told from and what impact it had? And how were emotions evoked differently on screen and on the page?

The Two Charlie's


In the book intelligent Charlie reflects back on his old self many times and it seems as if his mind is split in two. I think this has a bigger meaning then him being haunted by memories and hallucinating. The larger meaning could be his own emotional state; he's seeing his old self because the surgery made his mind smarter but not his emotional state (heart). In the movie there are two Charlie's seen when he gets to the peak of his intelligence, but it's only during one scene and doesn't communicate the bigger meaning and his old memories clearly. Though there could have been different interpretations of what the two Charlie's actually mean.


Charlie's Perspective When He Was Intellectually Impaired


In the novel he had a small amount of social intelligence and had a mindset like a child who is intrigued to learn. I think the movie did a great job at communicating and showing this. You could easily pick up the childish behaviour and his compassion/desire to learn.

Charlie's Thought Process When He Was Intelligent


     Charlie had a very poetic, scientific and professional way of thinking and communicating in the novel. But in the movie he was more romantic, slightly harder to follow but still had a scientific and professional way. I was a little disappointed that the poetic part was left out because I have that way of thinking and I loved that about Charlie. I even wrote a poem while watching the movie that I will share later in this post.

Ethics Of How People With A Low I.Q. Should Be Treated

     It was about the same in the novel and in the movie because each of the characters had their own thoughts. Those were communicated throughout the movie even though some characters were missing. For example, when the police called Charlie stupid and how Nemur thinks Charlie is more human after getting his surgery.


Is Charlie The Same Person In The Movie As He Is In The Book

     I think that the not so intelligent Charlie has stayed the same but the intelligent Charlie was presented differently. In the book Charlie is more poetic and being a poet, I love that about him, but in the movie he was more romantic. I even wrote a poem while watching the movie.
             
              Born in a twisted split sky world
             A dancing, a galaxy, star bird
             With eyes that window an oak trees roots
             That holds the sun and the sky's boots
              Full of glows of soaring ocean, Charlie Gordon

What Perspective/Point Of View Was The Film Told From And What Impact It Had?

     The film had no specific perspective as it did in the novel. The film told Charlie's story but we also got perspectives of other characters too and in the novel it was just Charlie's. I think the reasoning behind this is that in movies it's nearly impossible to showcase it from one character's view. In movies you're looking through a window but in the book you're in the character's mind. The film impacted how we saw Charlie because in the novel I got to know Charlie very well but in the movie a lot of that was hidden.

How Were Emotions Evoked Differently On Screen And On The Page?



     In the novel you could sense what Charlie was feeling throughout his journey. It gave me a strong feeling of Charlie's mood because I could follow his thought process. In the movie you could see the emotions in other characters too(not just Charlie), but it wasn't as strong. For example, it didn't clearly show the mood every step of the journey. I wish that there was more emotion, so I can get to know the characters more, as I did in the book.

Conclusion

     Flowers For Algernon (the book) is outstanding and is one of my favourite books. It talks about an interesting ethical topic and shows life for people with low I.Q. in the 1960's. The movie, Charly, is well done even though some scenes were forgotten. I especially loved the ending because it doesn't actually say the journey of him going back to his old self. It's more like going from one picture to the other; there are no words to describe the scene but you still know what happened and what's going on.











Sunday, 13 November 2016

Design Sprint

 What Is It?- Design sprints are a method to create and organize idea's to help reach a goal.

My Assignment-  My task was to create an design sprint about a problem in the world that I want to help solve. My issue was that humans in modernized countries need more opportunities to influence their community, country and the world.

     The first step was to brainstorm ideas of solutions and causes of the problem. My favourite part is that you can just dump all of your thoughts on to the paper, so you don't miss any great and wild idea's.

     This is what mine looked like.


     The second step was to empathize by figuring out two extreme users. For example, my extreme users were someone with little money in a modernized country and someone with a lot of money in a modernized country. Then I had to interview two of my classmates and they had to pretend they were in these situations. Their job was to provide me with feedback of what they need and what they want. In the real world you would actually interview people who are living in these situations. A strategy I used was asking certain questions to get the best results.

     These are mine results:

 
   Next, I had to define the problem by turning it into a opportunity. The problem was that humans in modernized countries need more opportunities to influence their community, country and world. The opportunity is how might we create this where everyone has a chance for change?

     Then I had to create 8 different solutions to the problem and pick one I liked. After, I shared it with a partner, who then gave me feedback, asked questions and gave other ideas for a solution. For this step I wrote down any idea that came into my mind; this is helpful because sometimes the craziest and the wildest idea's can be the best ones.

Next I wrote down a brief description of my problem, idea and solution. Then my classmates gave me feedback on what they liked, what I could improve on, connections and questions. I organized it in three different sections: one describing the problem, second describing the solution and the third getting into more detail of the solution and impacts.

I then took the feedback to improve my idea.

This is mine:

Who has the power to create change? You do.

     Adults,seniors and children in modernized countries don't have enough opportunity, encouragement and motivation to create change. I believe everyone should have a chance for change. There are a lot of limits in our world: you have to be an adult to create change, only people with money can have this opportunity,that there's no point, there are too many problems in the world and I can't do anything about it. I want to destroy all of those limits planted into people's brains; we should love the world and not fear it.

     To create these opportunities, I'm going to create an organization. This organization will provide these opportunities online, in schools, work places and at different events. The best part is that anyone will be able to access it from anywhere. All types of people will be able to attend - poor, rich and/or those that have a disability. The organization would first start off in Ottawa, then it would grow to a national and hopefully burst into an international program.

     What are the ways to help? There will be events held in different locations, for everyone to attend. Students and/or anyone could help host the events and assist in many of the activities in the events. There will also be clubs and workshops too, so people can take more charge into what they believe and what they want to do. Who would run the clubs and workshops? The workshops will be run by our team and online clubs. But anything run in schools and workplaces won't be. The reasons are that it's optional and it's up to the people who want to organize it, on how and which way to help. Our team will be able to provide assist with feedback and addressing any questions you may have. People can assist/organize fundraisers, designs and costs. They can do this on their own or in these clubs. People will also get educated more on the topic they chose to influence in. Everyone will also have the opportunity to decide on which topics should be focused on for a certain period of time. There will be an online survey where people can decide on different topics and give idea's. The idea behind this is so that people can have more of a say and to look for patterns. For example, if a certain area is more interested in environmental issues or if children are more interested in health. The best way to reach my audiences is by creating a website for the organization. On the website all the issues that are currently being worked on or need the most change will be listed. There will be a description of each and the different ways to help.

















Friday, 4 November 2016

Survey Results

Survey Results From “How Would You And How Do You Help Your Community?”




Introduction

I conducted a survey called "How Do You And How Would You Like To Help Your Community?"  Seven people responded to the survey, and from these results I have made positive and surprising conclusions that I will share in this report.

The purpose of this survey was for me to see what causes interest people the most and to see how the individuals respond to these causes. For example, do they think the homeless should be cared for or if they should get a job and make money on their own.

This is important because I believe that every single person should have many opportunities and motivation to help them solve world problems. The survey helped me and the individuals to see what causes they want to influence and hopefully it got them thinking - motivating them to discover their passion.




Results

I asked 11 important questions. Some of these are multiple choice while others require short answers. I will also be giving a brief summary of the results and mainly make conclusions on the results, analysis and the different perspectives.These are the questions that I asked:

  • Are you part of a group or organization that helps people?(ex., Aboriginal youth group, Free The Children….)
  • If you responded with a yes for question 2, please give a brief description of what your part of and what you do.
  • Have you ever fundraised or been part of a club before?( If yes please specify what you did and what you were part of).
  • Would you want to donate to research foundations?(ex., cancer, heart disease...)
  • Would you want to donate/help hunger?
  • Would you want to donate/help homelessness?
  • Would you want to donate/help a child of war?
  • Would you want to donate/help a youth group?
  • Would you want to donate/help to aid people in a natural disaster or cause?(Fort McMurray fire, Hurricane Mathew…)
  • What other causes would you like to donate/help or be involved in?
  • Do you have any ideas on how to help your community or any other place in the world?


For the first question(Are you part of a group or organization that helps people?) , only one of the several individuals responded with with a yes. This didn’t surprise me because many people don’t have one particular cause they’re passionate about. I think this question got the individuals to reflect back on themselves and ask themselves “what have I done?”

I’m very satisfied with the results from the third question(Have you ever fundraised or been part of a club before?). Six of the seven individuals responded saying that they had either fundraised on their own/family/friends or they have donated to an event at their school or club. As you can tell, these results are very positive and this tells me that a lot more people are doing wonderful things to make a change than I expected. I didn’t expect the results to be so positive, the reason being is that from experience only a few fundraisers that I have either helped with or small fundraisers I’ve seen have been considered successful. This conclusion has expanded my perspective that more people try to make a change than those who don’t to try to make an impact or simply enjoy ruining the event.

The next six questions are multiple choice and ask if you would want to donate/help to a specific cause, for example hunger, children of war, natural disasters, youth groups and/or scientific research. The results were as I expected, some people would be engaged to help one cause while others wouldn’t.
Here’s an example of one of the questions that was asked about environmental issues and only five individuals responded with a positive, one individual was uncertain and one with a negative response. These results specifically are interesting because the results had responses from each of the three options,yes, no and other. This shows that people are not always keen on what they believe; some individuals are not fully certain on whether they agree to one cause or if they disagree.

When I asked the question,’What other causes would you like to donate/help or be involved in?” All of the respondents had a cause/ways of donating that they wanted to do to influence change. For example, one individual wanted to help with all causes while another wanted to focus on environmental issues. Then when I asked “Do you have any ideas on how to help your community or any other place in the world?’’ only one individual had an idea on how they were going to influence change. All of the individuals have at least one cause that they want to influence but most of them don’t have an idea of how their going to do it. This conclusion had an impact on me because I, generally speaking, can create a plan right away and the results show me that not everyone can do this or don’t feel confident enough to share.



Conclusion

The results from this survey has provided me a new insight on different perspectives and ways of thinking. I can apply this knowledge for future school assignments and problem solving in general because the survey allowed me to think in not just one perspective,but many. I believe that thinking in different perspectives makes you more knowledgeable and your opinion stronger. Overall the survey and results were interesting and a very productive experience.




Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Sketchnote

 What is it- Sketchnoting is drawing aspects, ideas and/or details while listening to something, for example a presentation.

 To help you better understand what a sketchnote is, here's an example I did on an episode called Becoming a Badger. link




 As you can see I didn't just use doodles but some texts to. First I wrote the title than I used a line
(you can use arrows or any organization method you want) to organize and structure my sketchnote. You don't need to use this method, you could even have your thoughts spread out all over the place.

This is one of my favourite parts of sketchnoting, it's that you can have the structure, pic. , text and the look itself any way you like. No one is going to see it but you and there is no limit for creativity.
One of the best parts is that you don't need great drawing skills. The most important skill you need is to be able to summarize texts/images visually.

If you're a visual learner this might just be for you!

If you want to learn how to do sketchnotes in more detail or get a more detailed understanding of what it is, here are some links.
A Sketchnote Primer
Sketchnoting Tutorial

Becoming A Badger ( Sketchnote) link

Here's a brief summary of the prologue of the episode.
It's about Charles Foster who was a veterinarian that did an experiment on what it would be like to be a badger. He knew he wouldn't be able to tell exactly what it would think,feel and conceive of themselves and the world, but he could tell their physical experience. So him and his son went out into the woods and lived as if they were a badger. Foster discovered many things like how each oak tree has a different smell and how worms have different flavours.

One point it made that really spoke to me was that by just acting like a badger Foster and his son were able to discover many things about the animal. Like some aspects of how badgers perceived and things they know of the world, for example how oak trees each have a different smell.

What really opened my eyes was that animals know so many things the humans don't know and probably wouldn't figure out with the help of technology. This is also a good example of a lesson I learned; put yourself in others shoes to understand them and see a different world. In this case Foster is putting himself in the shoes of the badger. I think this is truly amazing on how we can connect with anyone and anything just by putting ourselves in their shoes.

What do you think?


















Saturday, 29 October 2016

Gord Downie's Life Mission

In my 21st Century Literacy Class we studied Gord Downie from the Tragically Hip. Our task last week was to write a essay on an interesting topic involving Gord Downie. So here's mine!

Seetal                                                                                           Wednesday., October. 28, 2016
               Gord Downie’s Life Mission

Gord Downie’s life mission is to share stories and values of Canada, life lessons and create change to bring the people and the country closer together. What I mean by this is that he wants to tell the world about the stories that lie in Canada and lessons he has learned. I have three reasons to support his mission: the meaning in his music, his passion to undue the damage done to the Aboriginals and his desire to help people and unite us all as one.

Gord’s music always tells stories including interesting details. This is done by bringing stories and values out of his or the country’s past, to make a point. For example, the song “Wheat Kings” tells a murder story that is unique to Canada. The point it makes is that the suspect was innocent all along and he wrote the song as a request from the suspect’s sister. This song not only tells a true story but also gives people a new perspective on what really happened. Another song he wrote, “Boots and Hearts” tells a story of a love that is dying. The point it makes is that when love starts to slowly end it’s going to hurt. Most people can relate to this kind of life experience. This could be a lesson he has learned from his own experience or something he heard that he thought everyone should know. Gord’s music shares stories about Canada’s past and lessons he has learned over time. This quote by Gord Downie shows how much he wants to share his music with world:

“A great song’s greatest attribute is how it hints at more. The Hip has always had a strong curiosity to see what’s around the next corner. To see what more we can do, what more we can say — to each other, primarily. We try and serve the song. If we’re any good at all it’s because we’re together on that.” (Gord Downie)
The inspiring quote shows how far the Tragically Hip has expanded in their songs and the aspects they touch. For example when it says “To see what more we can do, what more we can say” it shows that the Tragically Hip write their songs to influence the world and do something for it. Also how words inspire change, for example how the quote inspires me.

Gord’s passion to undue the damage Canadians have done to Aboriginals sparks hope for change. During his last performance in Ottawa he called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, thanking him for his work with the Aboriginals. He even wrote a song about the issue and he states all the terrible things Canadians have done to them. An example are the residential schools Aboriginal children were put in. Gord is making us aware that we don’t talk about the suffering and stolen values, like not allowing Aboriginal children to practise their religions. But this was not right and we all have to take the scars away together. Gord has also started a fundraiser called Secret Path which is inspired by Chanie Wenjack(1954-1966). Chanie was an Aboriginal and was put into a residential school and died escaping from the school. When he escaped he walked down the train tracks near his school trying to get home. This inspired Gord to start a fundraiser to help close the gap between Aboriginals and Non-Aboriginals. By doing this he is attempting to influence change and this is what he is doing to bring the people and the country closer together.

Gord’s desire to inspire, bring hope and bring people together as one has impacted many people’s lives. During an interview Gord talked about the brain cancer he is battling and how he has to fight to remember people's names, like his children. He got emotional and this shows how caring he is and how he values his relationships. Even though this type of cancer will end his life and has cost him so much, Gord has somehow pulled away from it all. For example he started a fundraiser to research more about the type of cancer he has, Glioblastoma, so maybe in the future no one else will have to suffer so much. His actions have sparked hope that cancer will be curable and has drawn more attention to the brain cancer he has. By drawing attention he could be inspiring scientists to deepen their research. These are a couple of quotes by Gord Downie that show how much he wants to inspire, bring hope and everyone together. “It would be hard for me now, at this age and stage, to leave a song without a glimmer of hope……..I always like to have a glimmer of hopefulness, even in collapse.” In this quote Gord clearly states how he likes to bring hope, even when everything is going terribly. “Music brings people together. So my function in anything I do is to help bring people together.” This quote shows another reason for the purpose of his music and reveals that Gord’s intentions are to unite everyone through his creativity.  
At the end of Gord’s career his music, passion and influence has inspired and implemented change for Canada.

“I love this country. I love my idea of this country.”(Gord Downie)


Resources
Class projects/lessons