In depth #3!

In-depth week four!

My goals for this week were to continue to eat healthily and to start doing some research on composting. My meal plans have gotten more and more extravagant and frivolous.

One of the biggest milestones of in-depth so far is this weekend, I went to a bulk store! This way, I can get everyday food items like rice and beans but instead of buying them in plastic packaging, I can just get it in jars and other eco-friendly containers. I didn’t get much this trip, I simply got white rice because my family buys a lot of that in plastic packaging. The bulk store I went to was Weigh to go Bulk store in Vancouver (3534 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6N 3E6). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a bulk store in the Tri-City area except for the bulk section in certain grocery stores.

Recently, I’ve tagged along with my mom when we go grocery shopping. I try to help her choose produce items that don’t have plastic wrap and I bring mesh bags as reusable produce bags. We always bring our own bags to pack out our groceries, so we don’t use grocery bags or have to pay for them (every dime is worth it). I’ve been on a lookout for reusable straws but for the time being I’ve been asking restaurants to give me my drinks with no straws. Something that I’ve missed is when I eat out, they always have napkins which create waste. I plan on not using the napkins and bringing my own handkerchiefs around.

As for my mentor, she’s sent me a lot of recipes. I some tasty roasted vegetables the other night with carrots, onions, cauliflower, tomatoes, and sweet potato. I couldn’t find an alternative for parchment paper; however, I did wash the parchment paper to reuse it for next time. All of these were bought without packaging and I brought the leftovers to lunch the next day.

Unfortunately, due to her own circumstances, my mentor said that she might not be able to meet with me as consistently as I would like, so as a solution I’ve been trying to get in contact with Ms. Voykin, the head of our green team. I’ve sent her a brief email explaining the mentorship and asking for her assistance; however, she hasn’t replied. I plan on going to see her in CL on Tuesday to ask her in person.

My current mentor though has been a lot of help. The two of us have been able to connect on a lot of topics. I’ve been sharing things I’ve learned about zero waste living and she’s been connecting her meal plans and cooking tactics back to it. She told me that she once gardened and had a composting system she put in place but when she moved into an apartment, she had to minimize her composting system. I plan on asking Ms. Voykin for more help on composting because I am definitely lost in that department.

Until next post!

In depth 2!

Just from the past two weeks, I’ve already started to feel the stress of in-depth kick in! Even with the stress, I am very excited to watch the rest of it unfold.

My goal up to today was to find a mentor, do some research on zero-waste living and start to go zero waste in my food. I can happily say I’ve achieved 2.5 of these goals. I found a mentor who is vegetarian and eats relatively clean. Although she isn’t zero waste, she has some insight on eating healthier and the general rule of thumb is the healthier you eat the less trash is formed.

I found my mentor through my mom. I’ve added her on wechat which is primarily where I text her. I’ve met up with her once briefly and she showed me her fridge and what meals she cooks for breakfast. She showed me simple alternatives for breakfast that use almost all zero waste foods. The one that I have incorporated yesterday was banana and oatmeal. Basically, you mash two bananas and mix it with around one cup of oatmeal. Afterwards, you add the amount of honey you desire and some trail mix and it makes a delicious breakfast. All these materials I can find zero waste (bulk store, glass packaging). However, I am still trying to find alternatives for lunch and dinner.

When I met up with her, I asked her questions such about her choice to go vegetarian and how it impacts her life. She told me that as a child she wasn’t allowed to eat beef because of religion and as time passed, she just started to eat vegetarian. Her husband eats gluten-free, so it also helps with that. She told me eating vegetarian has helped her with healthy living and planning her meals. I told her that I was an impulsive eater where when I crave something, I usually buy it. There have been multiple times where I have impulsively bought something from the cafeteria or skip the dishes when I knew I wasn’t that hungry. Through our hour together, I learned a lot about her lifestyle and how I can apply some of her techniques to my life. The biggest technique I learned was to wait 10 minutes before I buy something to eat from outside and drink water first. I might just be thirsty rather than hungry.

Although my goal for this month was to eat zero waste, there have already been times I’ve slipped and its only been three days! The main reason is because this weekend has been the Chinese New Year weekend, so I’ve been going out a lot to have hot pot or going out for lunches and dinners. But, after this weekend, I am determined to stick to my plan!

As for the research part, the majority of my research was from this blog This has helped me a lot because it shows me the pros and cons and as well as how to slowly transition into zero waste. I’ve commented on some blog posts to ask questions and learned a lot through this website. If I can find the money, I am defiantly going to buy the book 101 ways to go zero waste.  Something obvious but interesting I’ve learned is that going zero waste is also engages a healthier lifestyle. This is because going zero waste means I can’t have food with packaging which means no junk food or preservatives. I’ve also subscribed to some zero waste youtube channels Shelbizlee.

My next steps in in depth as stated before is to continue eating zero waste for hopefully all three meals by the end of the month and also to continue doing research and reading blogs.

Until next next Sunday!


Final ZIP Blog post

ZIP is coming to a close and I can proudly say this ZIP was a lot more productive than my ZIP last year. This year I was guided by the question of what makes an effective impromptu speech. I focused on learning different techniques and methods and practicing them in front of my peers and family. I was motivated to choose this topic because public speaking has held a big role in my life but I’ve always struggled with impromptu speaking.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to attack this project at first. I knew I wanted to improve my speaking skills, but I had no clue where to start. Going to effective speaking classes helped me find a place to start. There, I was able to learn and practice different techniques in a safe environment. Outside of classes, I did some research on my own time. I interoperated different Toastmasters’ PowerPoints and watched some examples of impromptu speeches on Youtube. Through this, I learned the skill of finding relevant information. I had to fan through lots and lots of different speeches until I found ones that I wanted to emulate. I also worked on some organization skills because I had to make sure all my notes stayed in one folder or notebook and that I only took notes on things that would be relevant to me. These skills not only will help me with ZIP but also as a person.

After a couple days of research and multiple impromptu speeches later, I finally found my speaking technique. I found what works for me. I learned that impromptu speeches don’t have a specific form or method that is applicable to everyone. Although there are templates, it’s important to try it and morph it to fit your speaking style. I found that the key for me is preparation. This sounds redundant because the point of an impromptu speech is to have little time to prepare, but every second count. Whether it’s formatting of how you jot down notes and how it corresponds with the way you recall points or just forming an intro point, body points and conclusion points, the preparation time is the most crucial time; however, if the preparation of your speech is botched or not as well as you’d like it, it can always be covered up with delivery. I’ve learned that 90% of the mistakes I make during a speech, no one notices but me. Confidence and being passionate about the speech you are delivering are two crucial parts of delivery and leading back to my first point, delivery can be refined with preparation.

To demonstrate my learning, to make guides that show the different techniques. While a peer is at my station, I will let them draw an impromptu speech topic and I will have one minute to prepare at 2-3 minute speech. The reason I chose to do this live rather than through a recording is because a large part of impromptu speaking is speaking to a live audience and being able to connect and relate with them.  Along with that, I’ll be displaying the notes I took for each speech as they are collected over time.

This relates back to the curricular competency of “use[ing] and experiment[ing] with oral storytelling processes” (BC Curriculum). I display this not only during my live speeches but also in the video clip of three impromptu speeches over time that I will hand into Mr. Morris. The second curricular competency that it touches on is “use[ing] writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences”. Below I have attached photos of notes I took for impromptu speeches that I had to present. The prompt for this one in specific was simply just an introduction speech. Beside it, I’ve attached a photo of some notes I took of other peoples speeches so I could apply them to my own.

Last but not least I also worked on the curricular competency of “transform[ing] ideas and information to create original texts”; however, ‘texts’ in this case is the speech itself. Again, this is demonstrated during my speeches as well as in the video clip I will be handing in. I also asked a couple of friends to help me write prompts that I can use.

As ZIP comes to a close, my question has shifted from what makes an effective impromptu speech to how I can improve my speaking skills. This question is a little more generalized than my original ZIP question, but it motivates me because I constantly want to get better in something I am passionate for.

Here are some sources I used during ZIP that were really helpful!

This website touched a lot more on the actual technique and strategy to use when planning an impromptu speech. The two main strategies it gave me was expressing an opinion or addressing cause and effect. It stated that these two would be more effective because when one is stating an opinion or a chain reaction, the audience can connect to the speaker a little more than just saying facts or rambling.

This link focused on presenting a solution to a problem. Its formatted in a way where its really easy to follow. It discussed a lot of tips and tricks of what you can do if you get stumped. It also covered a lot about the preparation of a speech both mentally and the speech itself. As well as, there were links at the bottom of the website that led me to more in-depth information.

This link gave me a literal overview of what impromptu speaking is. It broke speeches up into two categories abstract and nonabstract conversation. It talked about the dynamic of an impromptu speech and which topic fit best into which scenario. This link also taught me how to identify an error in an impromptu speech and how to improve after identifying them.

This video displayed what in my eyes could be an exceeding expectations speech. There were still some parts where I thought could have been different but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this speech. I used this speech as a reference to a lot of my own learning. I considered the way she formatted her speech and the way she transitioned. This was one of the many impromptu speeches I watched online.

This TED Talk video helped me understand the concept that public speaking is transferring an idea rather than spitting words at people. It focused more on the idea behind the reason to give a speech rather than the actual logistics of giving one. However, I still found this beneficial to my research because it guided me in the right direction of why I should enjoy public speaking.


ZIP DoL #3

Related to your learning evidence, what have you done to make retrieving information easier or more effective in class?

Related to my last DoL, I said I would do some speeches in the halls to myself. I realized that wasn’t effective and I didn’t like the idea after sleeping on it. Therefore, I decided to record some audio of my own impromptu speeches to decipher in class. This way, I can spend my in-class time picking apart my speech and relating them back to my notes that I used to plan my speech. I limit myself to 5 minutes of preparation time for a 3-4 minute speech.

It also helps when I find something specific, I don’t like, I can spend my in-class time doing more research on how to fix or why it isn’t working out. Recently, I’ve been comparing my impromptu speeches to others impromptu speeches I found online that I like. The link goes to a video of some impromptu speeches that really stuck with me.

This speech helped me because although it wasn’t perfect, her body language is open and she has a steady tone. I’ve been using this as my main example to learn and grow off of.

ZIP DoL #2

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 next focus block? Set a Goal.

During Thursdays in class time, I started the block off by reviewing my notes from before my notes from before. I took notes on techniques and strategies to use from a Toastmasters pdf. These strategies include, express an opinion, address cause and effect, break the topic into components and then discuss each component individually, discuss past, present and future. After gaining a better understanding of strategy and technique, I spent the rest of the block watching impromptu speech competitions online.

I used the tactics I learned from effective speaking the earlier Monday and took notes on the things I liked and didn’t like about these speeches. I noticed that a lot of people used long pauses for effect. If used correctly, they can be beneficial and add time to a speech. I also noticed people who used a lot of emotion to convey something very simple. This engaged me in the speech more and made me more inclined to listen. On the other hand, some people used too many hand gestures or had too many ideas in one speech. I’ve realized that impromptu speeches are a lot like paragraph structure, where it has to convey a lot in a little time/space.

However, last block I did struggle with maintaining my attention in class. I found myself distracted and zoning out ever 15 minutes or so. I think this is because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before as long as the seating arrangement I was at. I’ll make sure to keep those things in mind during our next ZIP work block.

As for the next work block, I plan on actually getting started on trying to do impromptu speeches. Over the weekends I’ll print some prompts. I’ll ask Mr. Morris if I can go out in the hall to try a couple, using the techniques I tried. I won’t ask any of my peers to asses me yet, I’ll just run a couple through myself. After I’m done each one, I’ll write some notes on what I think I did well and could improve on. Overtime, I’ll be able to compare these notes and see where my weaknesses lie and what I need to specifically work on.


ZIP DoL #1

What specific source of information that you have found valuable in answering your inquiry question? How has it proved valuable? Explain.

In class yesterday, I spent a little bit of time learning about the difference between a prepared speech and impromptu speech. Although this seems obsolete because the two are very different, I still found it beneficial to lay it out, so I could see it and realize that I can’t use prepared speech technique on an impromptu speech. Below I have attached a T-chart comparing the two different methods of speech.

Impromptu Prepared
–          No preparation time

–          Shorter time frame (usually)

–          Quickly interoperating a prompt

–          No access to outside information

–          Solely based on previous knowledge

–          Less structure

–          Preparation time

–          Synthesizing information

–          Have access to internet and sources for research

–          Longer time

–          More structure

As for sources, I found that going to a class was very beneficial. I’m lucky that ZIP just so happens to line up with effective speaking season so the two can cross. Last night was the first class and we worked on impromptu speeches. I learned a lot about technique and using my teacher, Mr. Munroe’s, words “faking it till you make it”. He explained how because of the short time frame we have to prepare the speech; a lot of the actual speech is engaging filler. We went around, and each did a 2-3-minute impromptu speech and Mr. Monroe made us evaluate each and every one of them. This helped a lot because I was able to take tips from my peers and keep in mind what I like and didn’t like. If I didn’t like it, most likely the judges or my peers won’t either.

I found doing impromptu speeches with peers valuable because it gave me someone to bounce ideas off of. They were able to give me honest and critical feedback to help me grow with my impromptu speaking. It also gave me a safe stage to practice speaking. I look forward to more classes in the future.


ZIP 2019 Proposal

What factors and context create an impactful impromptu speech?

Public speaking has always been a big part of my life. I always feel like I’m at home when I’m in front of an audience, presenting a speech I spent weeks editing, rehearsing, perfecting. However, something that I’ve struggled with is impromptu speeches. I was never able to grasp the concept of pulling together a structured speech and performing it within just a mere 2-7 minutes. Hence, for my final ZIP, I want to explore what factors and skills are needed to create an impactful impromptu speech.

I am motivated to focus on this topic for ZIP this year because during Effective Speaking last year I knew impromptu speeches were one of my weaker traits. However, with my other courses and extracurricular, working on those skills would always slip my mind. ZIP is the perfect opportunity to expand on my current knowledge on speech delivery and improve right before competition season because I will have dedicated school time to learn about something I am passionate for.

I will not be learning a new concept from scratch, I’ll simply be improving and adding on to my current knowledge. This is helpful because I already have a simple foundation and it’ll be easier for me to get into the flow of learning. I know the basics of delivering a speech and composing a persuasive speech structure. I also have experience doing impromptu speeches, so I know where my weaker areas are and have a general idea of what I need to work on. I would also like to work on keeping track of my learning. I tend to be messy and have a hard time recording all my learning on one document. Through ZIP, I wish to become more organized with my learning and keeping track of my knowledge.

Over the course of the next month, I want to be able to differentiate between the composure of a prepared and impromptu speech, as well as learn the most effective way to deliver a speech written in under 10 minutes. This process will also help me dust off my formal speech skills because although eminent has come and gone, I can’t do speeches as Coco Chanel forever. However, I do wish to take the feedback I’ve gotten from previous speeches and apply those to my ZIP project where applicable.

I plan on reaching out to Dr. Albert Seah, an SFU professor, for some help and advice. He’s been the mentor for Effective Speaking for the past three years and has helped with my public speaking skills immensely. I will also be doing a lot of research on my own using online sources. I might even involve my peers and get them to asses my progress by doing impromptu speeches with them, so I can see how others are perceiving my speeches.

To present my learning, I’ll pre-record me doing some impromptu speeches as the main artifact. Around that, I will create a trifold or poster showing the factors needed to present an impactful impromptu speech. Beside it, I’ll place a jar of impromptu topics and I’ll walk through my peers how I would attack the topic and compose the structure of the speech.


January 7-12: Learn about the differences between prepared speeches and impromptu speeches and the difference in composure/how to compose an impactful impromptu speech

January 14-19: work on the delivery of impromptu speeches, deliver a couple of impromptu speeches to some peers to hear feedback

Work on demonstration of learning in the background

January 21-25: film final impromptu speech, finish demonstration of learning

January 28/19: present!

Wizard of Earthsea blog post #1

Ursula Le Guins’ The Wizard of Earthsea uses many literary devices to portray not only a story but also an image. Through her writing, I can see that she uses imagery and expanded moments to get her point across. She chooses exact moments to write in detail, giving us snippets of information so we can slowly start to piece it together ourselves. For example, when Le Guin writes, “it was low and dusky, windowless, fragrant with herbs that hung dry […]” it gives the reader a vivid image of the aunt’s cottage. Just from this excerpt, we start to visualize what the aunt is like, without even reading about her. Her writing style flows and creates a swift river out of the plot. (pg. 3-4) She uses compound-complex sentence’s more than anything and makes it seem as if we’re gliding. Le Guin also uses time gaps in her writing. It teleports readers from one setting to another from just a simple paragraph change. Unlike most writers who ease their readers into the time change, Le Guin simply shifts the view. This is effective for it keeps the writing concise, engaging and challenges the reader to read between the lines. For example, the paragraphs on page 8 seem like two entirely different stories but after analyzing, it becomes clear that there is a jump in time. This keeps the reader hooked because she shows them rather than telling them. Overall, I am very intrigued by the plotline of this book and can’t wait to continue reading!

A Wizard of Earthsea anticipation theme

Statement: People lose their identities when they pretend to be something their not.

I deeply agree with this statement. There is never a way where we can truly be ourselves. Even though the final decision comes to us, social influence will always play its part. However, as long as we stay in touch with ourselves we will never lose a sense of who we are; as soon as we turn face, we lose our identity. We start to derail and lose touch of reality. We believe we are one thing and we push above and beyond to strive to hold that standard, sometimes hurting others or even ourselves in the way. Losing our identity isn’t always voluntary. Manipulation can create a performance where we don’t know we are the actors. Someone or something may pull strings in our brains and emotions to make us think we are something we’re not and if held long enough we become what they want us to be, losing our past self. An example is Stockholm syndrome, a feeling of trust or affection in a hostile situation. The captor can create illusions in your head to make you feel that you trust them, that’d you do anything for them and when serious, they will take advantage of you. I lost myself to Stockholm syndrome. I thought I loved someone I didn’t and it took me a dire experience to realize that I was no longer the person I knew. I was changed completely, and it took me time and courage to find myself again. That’s the thing, if we lose something, there is always a chance we can find it again.

6 principles of being a 360 degree leader

Leadership plays a key role in all our lives; however, some people, myself included, believe it’s a position rather than a mindset. After watching John Maxwell’s, The 360 degree Leader, my opinion changed and I believe after practicing the principles I’ve been taught I can become a better leader in TALONS and in general.
The biggest principle I learned from the lectures we watched is to lead yourself exceptionally well. I’ve always known leading starts from within, but I never realized how critical it is to lead yourself before others. I’m a people pleaser and I want to appeal to all, so I take on most tasks people ask me to do. This results in overwhelming stress and me getting derailed. Through this principle, I’ve learned that I have to self-manage before anything because if I can’t manage myself, how am I going to manage others. This will benefit me greatly in TALONS because it makes sure I’m in check, so I can help the leader and lead a group of my peers towards success. This principle relates to model the behavior you desire. If I am derailed and frazzled, then the people I am leading will take that as an example and the entire team will derail. However, if the leader is to model calm cool and collected, the team will most likely follow. This principle is especially useful during the April May June season. Especially during the adventure trip planning time, everyone was stressed and on edge, but because our team leaders were always calm and focused, we had an organized and great backpacking trip!
One principle that I know I struggle with is knowing the balance between knowing when to push and back off. I am a strong opinion person and I tend to get caught in the moment and push too fast without acknowledging the group. Through TALONS I have improved on this greatly, but I still need to work on it. I believe that one can become their greatest self when they can both follow and be followed. This brings out both sides of a person and TALONS works on both through committee work and delegating tasks. Being able to adapt to this principle also builds up to the principle of developing each team member as a person. Once we can establish the balance between pushing and backing off, we start to develop rather than equip ourselves as a person. As a grade 10 this year, I am going to use this principle a lot. I want to help develop the nines this year, so they can teach the nines next year. This way it benefits both them and the program. In my eyes, these two principles are large building blocks of TALONS.
The next two principles are what I believe to be the most important ones. The first being understanding the leadership loop. The leadership loop proves that leadership is more than telling people to do things. It shows that leadership is a two-way street, and both ends have to respect each other. TALONS demonstrates this really well because we always give credit where credit is deserved. Everyone has creative ideas that adds value and we all influence one another. The one part that we could work on is verbalizing. Sometimes in the rush of things, messages get muffled and communication is lost. TALONS foundation runs off the leadership loop and keeps everything in line; however, the most important principle in my eyes is to be a friend. Be approachable and someone that people want to work with. This all goes back to the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. This makes the process is easier, the achievement is greater, and the celebration is more eventful when it’s done with friends.
TALONS gives us a multitude of leadership opportunities that most people our age can’t get. With these six principles in mind, TALONS can move forward towards a common goal and success.