“How can history help us to live in the present?”
I think that this is the most important question to consider in our Social Studies unit because we have to use collected information from both the past and present to properly analyze history itself. In order to move forward in our Social Studies unit, we should also collectively be aware of what exactly we’re studying. I believe history is not only the events, but the people, places, ideas, and ideologies of the past. The past and history, while synonyms, do differ a little from each other in the way that the past is everything that happened before this very second, while history is the cream of the crop; the most important and future-altering things the people of the past decided to preserve so we could learn about it today.
Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” and if you take a look at history, you’ll see many patterns. People and societies over the ages have had the same wants, fears, and dreams. By looking at past events, we can become more informed and make judgements and decisions about present-day life. Historical analysis can allow us to look at data, demographics, and other relevant information to make comparisons. For instance, when it comes to topics like climate change, we can look at information from the past like temperatures and ecological impacts, compare it to the present, and justify claims. If we look at patterns, we can even extrapolate into the future. History allows us to widen our understanding of ourselves, the present, and the future.
Since my last post, I’ve been busy in trying to acquire a mentor. I’ve glad to say that I struck gold in finding Susanne, a yoga instructor who teaches classes at Hyde Creek Recreational Centre. She’s been doing yoga from a very early age, and through her various certifications and experiences with yoga has found a love and passion for the activity. After attending one of her classes and feeling the benefits of the various exercises, I think I’ll have a great time pursuing yoga as my In-Depth.
I’ve already met and conversed with Susanne, explaining the role a mentor takes during this inquiry. We agreed to meet about once every two weeks when I attend her one-hour classes. Any other questions or information I have for her we’ve agreed to send via email.
During our mentoring sessions she has been extremely helpful, guiding me through the various poses and helping me improve my technique. I’ve learned a lot from her in a very short amount of time, which is really great. Some learning challenges I experienced were mostly with technique. I’m not very flexible or good at balancing, so it was definitely an interesting experience to try some of these moves for the first time. I made sure that if I had trouble I asked for help, and Susanne would give me pointers or demonstrate when needed.
Three strategies that could improve our relationship are to figure out how to communicate effectively and concisely, to schedule and plan things beforehand (give lots of notice) and to make sure effort is a two-way street in the mentorship. All three strategies can be done easily by preparing things in advance. If I already know what I need to say and have all the documents I need to give her, then I can maximize the time she does have to mentor me. In addition, I can utilize email and send her questions and reminders so we’re both on the same page. If I spend time outside of class doing yoga and researching, then when I go to her class I’ll have ideas and questions to contribute and I’ll be able to show that I take yoga seriously and appreciate her guidance.
I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to achieve now that I have a mentor, and I can’t wait to share my progress!
It’s week three of In-Depth and I’m still powering through my inquiry. Unfortunately, I have not yet secured a mentor, but I have sent out many emails and am hoping for a positive reply soon. In the meantime, I’ve been watching online yoga classes, researching, and planning to start attending drop-in yoga classes at Hyde Creek Recreational Centre whenever I can. Since my topic was confirmed, I’ve been looking into both yoga and meditation. There are many different types of both practices, and I’ve perused them to find the ones that would most benefit me. I’ve chosen to focus on restorative yoga, Qigong, and Heart Rhythm Meditation (or HRM).
Restorative yoga’s purpose is to achieve physical, mental, and emotional wellness to reduce fatigue and stress in your everyday life. Props are often used in this type of meditation. The core exercises in this particular type of yoga branch into other types as well, so it’s a good place to start for beginners such as myself. HRM is focused on the inward applications of meditation, specifically the heart and lungs. Thus, it involves mostly breathing exercises. Qigong emphasizes fluid movement, meditation, controlled breathing, and physical exercises with the goal of cultivating/mastering one’s personal energy. This type of meditation originated from Ancient China and is said to better your health and help you control stress while improving all aspects of your life.
To learn about Qigong and HRM, I’ll most likely have to rely on the internet as my primary source. For yoga, however, I’ll start going to classes sometime next week and record my progress in the form of videos, pictures, and written logs. In the midst of all this, I’ve learned that a good mentor puts him/herself out there so they can really help those who want guidance. You have to be willing and able to work around both their life and your own, so they can get the most out of the experience as possible. In-Depth will be a great way to develop my future mentorship skills!
In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we see that our emotions often influence our perceptions of the world around us when we feel a certain emotion very strongly and allow it to move from our hearts to blanket our brains. In the story, there are multiple relationships that weave a tangled and intricate web of love, hate, and mischief. The emotions felt by the characters of this story cloud their judgement and project outwards to influence their actions and perception of the world around them. After Egeus asks Theseus to invoke the ancient law that would keep Lysander and Hermia apart, Lysander tells Hermia that they should run away together and meet “In the wood, a league without the town, / Where I did meet thee once with Helena, / To do observance to a morn of May, / There will I stay for thee” (1.1.165-168). Lysander wants to be with Hermia, so much so that he is willing to risk both their safety in the darkness of the woods to be with her. Not only that, but Hermia’s father may come after them, as well as the king himself. This plan was not very thought out, which references Lysander’s spontaneity when it comes to love.
Oberon and Titania are also guilty of succumbing to their emotions. They are rulers of the fairy kingdom and love each other, but Oberon’s jealousy of Titania’s newly acquired changeling outweighed that love. Oberon told Puck “I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep, / And drop the liquor of it in her eyes. / The next thing then she waking looks upon, / Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, / On meddling monkey, or on busy ape, / She shall pursue it with the soul of love:” (2.1.177-182). Oberon was consumed by jealousy for Titania, and despite his love for her wished to put her under a spell that would make her fall in love with a beast. This was not a positive emotion, as Oberon was fixated on one thing and wouldn’t let anything get in his way, not even his queen. Overall, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the tale of people who are overcome and driven by their emotions, whether positive or negative.
Another month, another inquiry!
When first hearing about In-Depth, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t ecstatic. It sounded like just another project to add on to my ever-growing inventory of work and commitments. This was just before Winter Break. I used those two weeks off to reflect on the first four months of high school and life in TALONS, and what exactly I wanted to do for one of the last big projects of the year. I realized that I had extremely stressed and tense since I started high school. This got me thinking about what I could do to combat that and make my last few months of grade 9 more relaxing. I came to the conclusion that yoga was the most logical choice for my In-Depth.
My goal is to learn various yoga poses and techniques, and if I can, to also try meditation and breathing exercises over the course of In-Depth. I would like to have 1-hour sessions with my (yet-to-be-determined) mentor at least once every two weeks. I want to confirm a mentor soon, and then start doing background research and acquiring materials I’ll need for my inquiry.
“Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date in your inquiry. Specifically when you were frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?”
Over the break, I have managed to complete a lot and nothing at all simultaneously. In my previous post I stated that I was going create a video for my presentation, but after further analysis of my resources and limited time, I decided against that idea. Realizing this had me very worried and frantic, as there isn’t a lot of time left before school commences again. I brainstormed various alternatives I could do and settled upon a PowerPoint presentation accompanied with an activity. I will admit, I am not exactly where I imagined I would be at this point in time during the inquiry. However, I am working hard to make up for lost time and create a good presentation that represents my learning thus far.
“Record a journal entry of how you used one of our in-class focus blocks. What did you accomplish during this time? What did you struggle with? What might be your next step in your focus block? Set a goal.”
For the purposes of my post, I’ll be referring to the time we’ve had off for Winter Break rather than a focus block. Among the festivities, this break I’ve had to seriously think about what I wanted to present for my ZIP inquiry. I’d already finished the bulk of my research prior to the break. I knew that I could easily throw together a good PowerPoint presentation with the time I had left, but for some reason the simple solution wasn’t as appealing to me as it usually was. I eventually decided to create a video, but not a normal video presentation. I wanted to create some kind of skit (most likely comedy) about three different people who watch a movie for the first time; one who hasn’t read the original, one who has read the original book and wants the movie to be similar, and a third who has read the book but wants artistic independence. I want the video to be something along those lines, but with my lack of filming equipment and editing skills, it may not turn out as great as I hope. My goal is to finish filming (and hopefully editing as well) by the end of Winter Break.
“What is a specific source of information that you have found valuable in answering you inquiry question? How has it proved valuable? Explain.”
I am absolutely jazzed to say that I have successfully completed my first real interview of this school year! I’ve succeeded in securing and performing an interview where I failed during Eminent, and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at the moment. I emailed a journalist named Gretchen Turonek after reading a lengthy post she made on her blog about book-to-film adaptations. It was exactly the kind of resource I had been looking for, and I was thrilled when I saw that her contact information was listed. I emailed her asking for an interview and within the next 24 hours, she replied agreeing.
I made sure to create questions that I thought would get me the answers I needed to further my research in the project. The answers she sent back were very insightful and a lot more thorough than I expected, which was a great surprise. I got a lot of information about audiences and what filmmakers might do to appeal to them. I’m planning on analyzing adaptations for my presentation, and Ms. Turonek’s insight on the topic has given me better criteria and understanding of my topic and what I plan to do with it in the future. I’ve linked the post and interview below.
Ms. Turonek’s Post:
In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Junior’s most significant conflict is with his race and privilege because his struggle with coming to terms with who he really is is negatively impacting his life and relationships. Junior realizes this and transfers to Reardan to try and break the barrier between the community on the reservation and the rest of the world. He wants to become successful and receive the same opportunities and treatment that he would get if he was of more privilege, or more specifically, white. When Junior first arrives at Reardan, the white kids stare at him as if he’s “Bigfoot or a UFO,” and he asks himself what he’s doing at “racist Reardan, where more than half of every graduating class went to college […] nobody in [his] family had ever gone near a college,” (56). One of the biggest barriers between him and his wants are his struggles with his societal standing. Indians aren’t known to succeed, at least based on Junior’s observations; no one in Junior’s family, or even on the reservation, is really succeeding in life. They don’t take chances or challenge the system that was so lovingly crafted by the United States Congress once upon a time. His race is always going to be a defining part of who he is, but Junior wants to be dynamic and to not be just another example of a washed-up Indian on the rez. As Mr. P tells Junior before Junior transfers to Reardan, “all these [reservation] kids have given up. All your friends. All the bullies. And their mothers and fathers have given up, too […] we’re all defeated,” (42). This spurs Junior to realize that he has to change in order to escape the hopeless cycle that his community is trapped in. He’s still a kid and often perpetuates the racism and injustice shown towards his people (whether intentionally or not) but at the end of the day, he knows that he can’t be static if he wants to stop enduring the alcohol-fueled resignation of the Indians around him. In conclusion, he wants to rise above stereotypes and racism and be given the opportunities and the success that he deserves.