In-Depth 5

Ciao! The last couple weeks of in-depth have been coming along nicely. I met up with my mentor twice, once during spring break and once after. It was hard to coordinate our schedules over spring break, as I was working full time the first week and in Ottawa the second, and her schedule was busy as well. We ended up having a two hour meeting on the Friday before I left, instead of our usual hour long meetings. It was very productive, and I ended up learning a lot of new grammar rules. We talked about the different regions of Italy and how they differ from each other; for example, each region of Italy has its own spin on Italian food, which I found very interesting. Stereotypical Italian foods such as pizza and spaghetti come from central Italy, whereas up north, they eat mostly fish, potatoes and rice. My mentor told me that she personally prefers the food down south, where tomatoes, garlic, and olives are included in most dishes.
As for the Italian language, I am right on schedule for my Italian course. I had some time while I was in Ottawa over spring break to work on the course, which was nice. I learned how to say the days of the weeks, months of the year, and nationalities. I am doing really well overall in the course, but I have been struggling with accents on the letters. The accents mean different things in Italian and in French, and since I am learning both languages, it is hard to remember which one means what. I have been working on memorizing all of the consonant sounds, and all the vowel sounds with and without accents. I am having a lot of fun in this course, and I am super excited for in-depth night!
In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, de Bono talks about a different way of thinking called the six hats. Different coloured hats represent different ways to think about a situation. My mentor and I had a lengthy conversation about how I am doing in my Italian course currently, and what I can work on to improve. I recorded the conversation, and I highlighted the different hats used. Below is a link to the conversation I had with my mentor.

I have been working very hard on my in-depth project, and it is paying off well. I am very excited to continue developing my skills, and I am even more excited to present my learning at in-depth night!

In-depth 4

Ciao! Weeks six and seven of in-depth have been going along beautifully, and I am very happy with my progress so far! I was able to meet up with my mentor, and we had a very lengthy but informative discussion about the Italian culture. I am visiting Italy for three weeks this summer, so I am very interested in the history and the traditions there. I completed a short assignment on the formation of Italy, the culture, and some of the holidays there as a part of the online course I am enrolled in, but I am always open and enthusiastic about learning more. My mentor told me about her experience with Italian culture, and about the first time she visited Italy. We had a very intriguing discussion comparing American/ Canadian cultures and societal norms to Italian cultures and societal norms. I love being able to immerse myself in new cultures and traditions, so learning as much as I can about Italy before my trip is very important to me.
As far as the learning of Italian is going, I am a little bit behind on my online course. I will be able to catch up fairly easily, but I have had a lot of homework and extracurriculars recently that have made it hard. On top of that, I am currently in a French class at school, so I need to learn to better distinguish between Italian grammar rules and French grammar rules. All that being said, I am loving the Italian class I am enrolled in, and learning this new language has been such as incredible experience so far.
In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, de Bono lists listening and asking questions as two important qualities of a good interaction. This week, I had the opportunity to do a lot of both while meeting with my mentor. As opposed to our last couple of meetings where we have gotten together and gone over the syllabus and my homework, this meeting involved a lot of me asking questions about anything I wanted to know. I was very focused on learning about the Italian culture, and I had to listen intently and take notes while she was answering my questions so that I could look into them on my own in the future. For example, I asked my mentor about the most significant Italian holidays every year, and she explained what Saint days are. Every day of the year has a Catholic Saint associated to it, and every city in Italy has a Patron Saint. This means that, if you are in the town of Pisa on June 17th, there will be a big feast to celebrate Saint Ranieri. I was very confused about this, until I asked a question about the most well know saint days. There is on coming up in just a couple of days; on March 17th many people around the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Another common one that just passed about a month ago is St Valentine’s Day. I had to ask a lot of follow up question to fully grasp the concept, such as which Saints have a day (all of them), how they decide when the day will fall (based on the Saint’s death day), and who celebrates these days (Catholic Italian citizens who live in the city where the Saint of the day was a patron). It took a lot of independent research on my part, but I finally understand more about how Saint days work. My mentor is Catholic and I am not, however she assured me that you only have to participate in the festivities if you feel comfortable, and that the feasts are not overly religious.
Throughout our meeting, I made sure to ask interesting questions that moved the conversation forwards, such as the ones I listed above. I also made sure to listen intently, as everything my mentor was saying was really cool and valuable to me. I am very excited for the next weeks of in-depth, and although I am away for a lot of spring break, I am excited to continue learning Italian with the support of my incredible mentor. Addio, ci vediamo!

Romeo and Juliet Not Children

I agree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is simply puppy love between two infatuated children. Juliet, being thirteen years old, has not had any experience with relationships in the past. Romeo, although he has experienced love before, falls in and out of it quickly. He is inexperienced with long term love and with long term relationships. Throughout Romeo and Juliet’s 48 hour relationship, all of Juliet’s actions, such as kissing Romeo, accepting his marriage proposal, and proclaiming her love for him, seem to be forced by peer pressure. This is shown when Romeo asks to kiss Juliet for the first time, and she responds “Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer” (1. 5. 102). She is saying that she doesn’t want Romeo to kiss her, but he doesn’t listen and kisses her anyways. Later, after Romeo proposes marriage, Juliet claims that “[…] my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth” (2. 6. 33-34). This explains why, after being pressured into a marriage by Romeo, she is suddenly head over heels in love with him. Romeo isn’t pressuring Juliet into loving him on purpose, but she is much younger and somewhat less experienced than he is, which causes her to look up to him for advice. Romeo’s actions surrounding relationships so far have all been related to superficial attraction to beautiful women, not about their personalities. This shows that he is still immature and believes that you can declare love while still in the “honeymoon phase”, which further proves that the love he feels for Juliet is nothing but puppy love and childish infatuation.

Kulich’s argument is somewhat effective, though it would have been more compelling had she written a short conclusion on why the information she provided was relevant to Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. Most of the information she provided was historically accurate, though she did state, in reference to 14 year olds being considered as adults, “This was so until very recently, in the First World War until after the Second World War […]”. Technically, plans to raise the minimum compulsory schooling age in Europe were not implemented until after the war, as there were financial struggles. This means that, until 1944, one year before the Second World War ended, compulsory schooling was set at age 14. Kulich’s wording is not very clear, which can leave ambiguity for the reader, causing them to have a biased opinion.

In-Depth 3

Ciao! During my fourth and fifth weeks of in-depth, I encountered a couple of problems with my project, mostly involving the weather. I was unable to meet up with my mentor for when we had scheduled due to the heavy snow, so we had to reschedule for two days later. This didn’t cause any major issues, but it was a bit frustrating to have to find another time slot that worked for both of us. Another problem that was a bit frustrating was that the online course I am enrolled in was not working during the snow day, which would have been the perfect time to get some more work done. However, everything was back to normal by Wednesday morning.
I am having a ton of fun learning Italian, and I am on schedule having almost completed the first unit. I have just learned many new helpful phrases, such as “come stai?” which means how are you, and “buongiorno” which means good morning. I am really enjoying learning simple sentences, as they are extremely useful in day to day life. My mentor is very helpful and supportive, and she is quick to give me feedback on my work.
In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, two important sections are How to be Interesting and How to Respond. Over the family day long weekend, I had a dinner with my family. I talked a bit about how my Italian course is going, and I shared some of what I have learned so far. I love talking about things I am passionate about, and teaching my family, especially my younger cousin, some words in Italian was really fun. I also spoke about what I was most interested in with my mentor. I love learning new languages, but learning about different cultures is even more interesting to me. One of the assignments in my Italian course was to learn a bit about the history of Italy, and I had a lot of fun researching the geography, independence, and past rulers of Italy. I talked a bit with my mentor about the things I have learned so far that I would love to expand on, and things I haven’t learned yet but would love to touch on at some point.
While completing one of the quizzes online, I came across a question that was a bit confusing. It was asking me to translate a sentence, but there were technically multiple correct answers. I put down the answer that made the most sense to me, but I wrote it down so that I could ask my mentor about it when we met up. I ended up getting the question right, but when I asked my mentor about it, she agreed that there was some ambiguity and room for interpretation. She said that no one had ever asked about it before, but that she would make sure to mark answers int the future accordingly. I made sure to bring up the point respectfully, and I gave multiple reasons as to why my point was valid, but also to say that the question just required a bit more logical thinking. Everything worked out well, and we didn’t have any disagreements or arguments.
To conclude, I am having so, so, so much fun learning this new language, and I have made so many connections from the Italian language and culture to the French language and culture. I can’t wait to expand on my learning, and I am more excited than ever to show off my skills not only on in-depth night, but also in Italy! Ci vediamo!

In-Depth 2

Ciao! Finally, in week three of in-depth, I have secured a mentor! She is a teacher for an online Italian course, and I am enrolled in her class. I have started the course, but I am also hoping to meet up with her once a week.
Originally, we had planned to meet up over the weekend, but unfortunately she was unable to make it. Instead, we rescheduled for a Monday afternoon for our first official meeting as mentor and mentee. During the meeting, we talked a bit about ourselves and our passions, but we mostly talked about my progress so far in the course. I have completed the intro unit to the course, and am starting on the first level. Each level is designed to take about one month, so two blog posts from now, I should be done level one. I am learning really fast, I already know the alphabet, numbers one to ten, and some common phrases and words. My mentor has been extremely helpful, and she is always encouraging me to expand on my learning and to implement it in my daily life.
In Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind, three important sections are How to Agree, How to Disagree, and How to Differ. During my meeting with my mentor, I tried my best to implement these three aspects into our conversation. I think I did a good job, but to be honest, we did not have many disagreements. The only thing that I brought up was the fact that each unit is supposed to take one month. I thought that that seemed a bit long, and also very even. What if I needed more time on lesson four than on lesson three? However, my mentor assured me that although the course was designed to be completed at a rate of one month per lesson, you can go about it at your own pace. I made sure to explain my point respectfully, as she has obviously been teaching the course for longer than I have been enrolled, and she is more knowledgeable in that area. After she explained how everything works, I was convinced that she was right and that I had nothing to worry about.
Some constructive criticism I received and agreed with was about the pronunciation of some of the letters in the alphabet. I’ve been learning which sounds correspond with which groupings of letters, and how to know what sound a letter is making based on the letters before and after it. I need to work on the pronunciation of the letters d and p, as I still have a very French pronunciation of the two. I listened to the feedback carefully, and I am making an effort to implement the feedback into my speech.
I am very excited for my next meeting with my mentor, and until then I will be working on my Italian course every day. My friends and my family have begun to notice how I replace certain simple words, such as hello or yes, with the Italian translations. I am having a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for in-depth! Arrivederci!

ZIP Final Blog Post

What are some effective ways to write a hook for a novel?

When I first started this inquiry, the questions I asked myself were “What interests me most about novels?” and “What makes good novels stand out?” After pondering these questions for a while, I realized that a good novel immediately hooks you in, draws your attention, and immerses you into the story. The very beginning of a novel, the hook, is the first thing you see when you open up a book, and it is the first thing you judge when you start to read. If you don’t like the hook, or if it isn’t captivating enough, chances are you aren’t going to like the rest of the story. I decided to research different techniques and styles for writing hooks, but at the beginning of my inquiry, I was worried my question was too narrow. I had no idea how much information I would end up finding. For this reason, my inquiry question stayed the same. I set out with the intention of broadening it as I went along, but it ended up being perfect. I had enough information to properly answer the question, but not so much that it became overwhelming.

During this project, I have expanded on so many important, relevant skills, such as time management, organization, and research skills. We had a timeline set in stone from day one, and I had a schedule that I wanted to stick to as best as possible, so I knew I would have to work to stay on top of things. Luckily, I was able to manage my time properly, something I have definitely struggled with in the past (and still struggle with to this day). I also had to make sure that I knew the deadlines for each of the smaller assignments, such as the blog posts or the rubrics, so that I didn’t accidentally turn something in late. Luckily, thank to my schedule which I checked every day, I didn’t miss anything and completed all of the assignments on time. As for the research skills, I found that it was challenging to research a topic such as hook writing since the styles can vary ever so slightly from person to person. Another impediment was the fact that personal preference was a huge factor in which styles were considered the best, and which ones were considered overused. I found multiple websites written by authors that had contradicting statements about certain styles simply because of personal preference. Looking back, it would have been useful if I had done less research and more analyzing of novels so that I could decide for myself which styles were more effective. All of the above skills that I expanded on are extremely helpful to me, and can be directly applied to most of my other school courses and extra curricular activities.

If I were to list all of the possibilities of hook writing styles, it would take up hundreds of pages. To answer my inquiry question, I took the most common forms of hook writing and wrote some examples myself. The styles I used include: introducing a problem, startling first line, moment of confusion, state a fact, unusual set up, and ask a question. These were some of the most common styles I came across during my research and while analyzing certain novels. For example, in the novel I read for my independent study, The Handmaids Tale, the hook is an unusual set up. The first line of the story reads, “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.” This hook causes the reader to ask questions, to which they want the answers. This tactic is common among authors, as it forces the reader to continue reading the novel in order to find out why something is happening.

I learned a lot about each of the different styles of writing listed above, and I wrote an example hook for each style about a man named Ryan who was on a hike through the forest with some friends. Each hook showcases the unique styles authors take on to captivate the reader and create an interesting story. One of the core competencies I chose is ‘transform ideas and information to create original texts’. I believe that I fully achieved this, and exceeded expectations by writing many hooks based on the information I gathered from my research and from analyzing novels. My final presentation clearly relates to all three of my chosen competencies, and proves that I have learned a lot about different hook writing techniques.

A new question that popped up while I was doing research is “How do you write a hook for a novel in a series where the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger?” I wanted to research this further, but I decided that this question would not end up advancing my research in any way. I am interested in looking into this style more in the future, perhaps for another similar inquiry project or simply on my own.


This resource was one of the first ones I looked at, and it was very informative. It asks questions such as ‘who are you writing for?’ and ‘what is important to your audience?’ which I found very helpful.

10 Ways To Hook Your Reader (and Reel Them in for Good)

This resource was very useful in terms of gathering information. It had ten different techniques, each with an example, which I found helpful.

6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line

This resource gave me an interesting perspective, which was things not to do. Instead of focusing on what styles to write, or what techniques to use, this resource also gave some information on what was overused or unnecessary.

How to write a hook: 8 tips to lure in readers

This resource was extremely helpful in the sense that it not only gave examples for each style, but also books which used them. This gave me a lot of insight on what books to look for when analyzing novels, which helped me a lot.

How to Write a Good Hook & Start Your Novel with a Bang!

This resource was actually the one that gave me the idea to search up ‘hooks for novels in a series in which the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger’. It is a very helpful link that also happened to give me a cool question for if I want to expand on my learning in the future.

In-Depth 1

It’s January, meaning that year two, my final year of in-depth, has officially begun! This year, I am going to be learning how to speak Italian. My family is taking a trip to Italy over the summer to visit some friends, and I would love to be able to communicate with them in Italian as well as in English. I am very excited to learn a new language, I am currently bilingual and learning languages has always been an area of passion for me.
Currently, I am still in the process of securing a mentor. I have met with someone from the Burnaby school district who teaches Italian courses, but I am still waiting to hear back from her. However, I have been learning Italian on my own, for upwards of half an hour daily. I can say simple sentences, such as ‘Ciao, come stai?’ which translates to ‘Hi, how are you?’ I have also started studying verbs, such as to eat (mangiare), to drink (bere), and to read (leggere). I am very happy with my progress so far, and I am having tons of fun learning this new language!
Currently, the only major struggles I have faced were getting started, and taking notes. When I first started learning Italian, I had no idea where to begin. Should I start with google translate? Should I use an application on my phone to teach me? Should I focus all of my attention into getting a mentor? Eventually, I decided upon using a free app called Duolingo, which teaches you any language you would like by feeding you information and asking simple questions to demonstrate your learning. The app is very easy to use, and I like the teaching style a lot.
The second problem was note taking. I needed to figure out how to write down all of the information I learned quickly and efficiently. Since I am learning an entire language with no background knowledge whatsoever, I had no idea where to start. I wrote down everything I could think of, from spelling, to pronunciation, to examples of sentences where that word may be used. After a while, I got the hang of it, and my notes started becoming a little bit clearer. However, all of my Italian notes are very messy, and definitely need some organizing.
To conclude, I am working hard and having fun, and I should have my mentor secured within the next week. I cannot wait for in-depth night, I have already started planning out what my station will look like. I am very excited to pursue my goals, an even more excited to see what comes next.

ZIP Blog Post 3

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your inquiry?

I would tell myself that looking for a specific set of rules is a bad idea. Writing is ambiguous, especially creative writing. There are no strict rules to follow to write the perfect book, or else everyone would be best selling authors. I would tell myself to spend less time looking for methods and more time analyzing hooks from popular novels, and finding the ones that stood out to me most. From there I would be able to start coming up with reasons for why certain hooks stood out to me more than others, and I would be able to create my own using the same style and techniques. I have just started this step in my inquiry, and although the research I completed is helping my in the analyzing process, I could have been more efficient had I started reading hooks sooner.

ZIP Blog Post 2

What new questions have come up in your inquiry? Will you include these in your final presentation, or might they be saved for future research or assignments? Do these questions help narrow your focus or do they distract you from your original proposal?

During my research, while looking for different techniques to write hooks for stories, I came across an article illustrating how to write a hook for a novel later on in a series, in which the previous novel ended in a cliffhanger. There was information on how to start a story back up and make it flow nicely, while still being sure to provide background details and information from the previous books. I am not planning on including any written hooks for this specific style of hook writing in my presentation, since I would need to also write a conclusion from a previous book, and it would just get complicated. I am also not planning to include an example of this highlighted in a popular novel, since the majority of the class would have to know the backstory, which would be hard. Although this question is not furthering my inquiry, it is not distracting me from my original proposal. It is a very interesting perspective to see hook writing from, and it does fit in my question, but I just won’t be mentioning it in my final presentation.