ZIP Document of Learning #2

Question: Record a journal entry of how you used one of our in-class focus blocks. What did you accomplish during that time? What did you struggle with? What might be your next step in your next focus block?

 

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

 

Today felt really short, because I spent the block busy trying my hand at text stories. Throughout the period I tried to write my own text story, but I struggled with actually sticking with a topic, because I would start writing something and then suddenly come up with a better idea and then scrap my work so far. If I didn’t come up with another idea, it was still really hard to write a story that I was happy with, because there are a millions of ways you can write the dialogue. A constant issue that kept bugging me is that most people use slang when they write text messages to their friends or whomever. I know that I shouldn’t write with perfect grammar because that wouldn’t be realistic at all, but I also don’t want to completely write in slang either, because that is a little too informal. For example, many times in a sentence I will consider writing ‘u’ or ‘you’, and which sentences I should capitalize and which sentences I shouldn’t capitalize. It’s all about the balance between grammar and slang words, and one thing I now know is that you need to be careful with that balance, tip it too far one way and the story will be unrealistic, tip it the other way and your story will be too informal and take the reader away from the moment.

 

For my next focus block, I want to look at some popular text stories, and to really analyze the style that they are written with. This information can come in useful, because when I’m writing my own story I can recall back to the elements that made the popular story such a hit, and see if I can incorporate these elements into my story. I also plan on wrapping up my research over the next day, and to actually start getting into the habit of writing these chat stories, so I can gain as much experience and skill as possible.

ZIP Document of Learning # 1

Question: Reflect on your inquiry question and how your understanding us changing, becoming more focused, or is perhaps being reaffirmed by your research. What do you now know that you didn’t know when you started this inquiry?

 

My original inquiry question for ZIP is ‘what components make up an effective chat story?’, and so far in my research I am beginning to understand that these texting stories are a very new concept that came up only recently, just a few years ago. A hurdle I am currently facing is that there isn’t much online that directly addresses tips on how to write effective text stories, so instead I have to dissect my question and find other ways to get information. I am deciding to focus on dialogue and perspectives, because those are two crucial to chat-based stories. Since text stories are composed of messages between different characters, you must be skilled in writing dialogue that is effective. This is a lot trickier than it seems, because it is very easy to have dialogue that sounds awkward or quixotic, or even just straight up boring.

 

Another skill you must practice is perspectives, because you are writing from the heads of the characters, and it is essential you maintain their different personalities when writing; otherwise, they won’t seem genuine or real. You have to hold two different personalities, and keep them consistent for the story to seem genuine, because normally people don’t just completely change their personality every few minutes. These two topics are what I’m choosing to mainly focus on, because I know understand they are the building blocks of text stories.

ZIP Proposal

What components make up an effective text story?

 

Proposal:

 

Have you ever read those text message stories? The stories that take place in the form of a conversation between two or more people, and they are composed solely of dialogue between characters? This year for my ZIP project, I would like to research what components make up an effective text story, and I also want to do some research on perspectives, because when writing these stories it is important to maintain perspectives that seem believable to the audience; you have to speak from multiple people’s heads. Currently, I do not know anything about writing these style of stories, but I have read a few and some of them can be very interesting to read. I have a creative imagination, so I believe this skill will help me throughout the project.

 

By the end of this assignment, I hope to develop my skills in writing dialogue, because dialogue is entirely what makes up a text story. I also hope to develop my skills in writing from different perspectives, because in order to create chat stories you have to maintain different perspectives in a manner that seems authentic, and not forced or synthetic. Another skill I hope to further develop is creative thinking, because your creativity is what determines how your story turns out. If your story lacks creativity, readers will find it rather bland, whereas if you pour your creativity in the text, then others may find it a lot richer and entertaining. Other than Mr. Morris, I can talk with other English teachers if I need help with material, such as perspectives, literary devices, and dialogue.

 

To complete my inquiry, some sources that I can use for help are the internet, and I can also read examples of popular text stories so I gain an idea of what makes these stories so successful. To demonstrate my learning to the rest of the class, my plan is to write one of these stories and then have the person visiting my learning read it and tell me what they think.

 

Below is my schedule for this years ZIP project:

 

Jan 7:

Research

Jan 8:

Research

Jan 9:
Research
Jan 10:
Practice writing
Jan 11:
Practice writing
Jan 12:
Practice writing
Jan 13:
Practice writing
Jan 14:

Begin planning a story

Jan 15:
Planning
Jan 16:
Planning
Jan 17:
Planning
Jan 18:
Begin writing
Jan 19:
Writing
Jan 20:
Writing
Jan 21:

Writing

Jan 22:
Writing
Jan 23:
Writing
Jan 24:
Writing
Jan 25:
Finish up writing
Jan 26:
Editing
Jan 27:
Editing
Jan 28:
Presentations
Jan 29:
Presentations

 

A Wizard of Earthsea Style Analysis

Question: What stood out the most about Le Guin’s overall writing style in Chapter 1 of the novel?

    In Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea what stands out the most to me in Chapter One is how she foreshadows a lot throughout the first chapter. There are lots of hints that are dropped, some obvious whereas others may be more vague, but they are still there. For example, when we are told at the beginning of the story that “some say the greatest, and surely the greatest voyager, was the man called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage,” we know that this Sparrowhawk person must be a famous and well-known person (1). This quote directly lets us know we are going to go through tale of how Sparrowhawk became so great. Because of this, we now want to know how he became such a famous person and we become hooked to read on. Another example of foreshadowing is when Ogion visits Ten Alders village. The bronze-smith states that Ogion is no common folk, the latter of whom replies “nor will this boy be a common man” (15). This statement tells us that Duny will become someone great, and not just some common person. This also engages us into the story more because we want to know what exactly the mysterious newcomer means that Duny is no common man, and if he is so unique then what will he become? Foreshadowing is something in the first chapter that stands out to me the most, and I believe Ursula Le Guin did a great job maintaining our interest while giving us subtle hints about what will happen in the future.

Disagreement Blog Post

Statement: A person or thing must have a name to truly exist.

 

I disagree with this statement because nothing requires a name to truly exist. Names are labels. Nothing more. We use a name to identify people, not as a method of making sure they exist. Names are identifications, not identities. You are perfectly capable of existing without a name; think about all those unidentified species out there that we haven’t even discovered yet. Do they exist? Yes. Do they have a name yet? No. This is what I mean, you whatsoever do not require a name to exist. Many people change their name throughout their life, but do they change their existence? Exactly, they still remain themselves, however they have just altered their label. They are now known by something else, not as someone else. When we invent new food items, do they exist when they are still unnamed? When we discover new places on Earth, do they exist before we give them a name? When a baby is born but hasn’t been given a name yet, does it exist? The answer to all of these questions is yes; you absolutely do not require a name to exist in this world. These examples demonstrate how names do not decide whether something exists or not. Names are only labels. Nothing more.

John Maxwell’s 360-Degree Leader Blog Post

I learned a lot from John Maxwell’s “The 360 Degree Leader” lessons, and here I have selected some principles I want to focus on. By improving myself at these, I hope to become an effective 360 degree leader that others can look up to.

 

Section 3 (Lead Up):

 

Principle 3 (Be willing to do what others won’t):

I chose principle three because I feel it is one principle I need to improve on. Often, I don’t want to do the things others despise for the same reasons as them. Generally people don’t want to do something because it may be tough, challenging, or they don’t feel comfortable doing it. There are times that I admit I let my comfortless get the best of me, which results in me not wanting to do a task. An example is on the adventure trip when nobody wanted to clean the tent. In the end, I took it home and cleaned it, because I was fed up with arguing back and forth. Now I will try and to more tasks that others don’t want to do, because it improves your leadership skills, and you can role model to others. This also relates to TALONS because when delegating committee work there are some jobs that people may not prefer, and I need to work on choosing those tasks, so I can become a better 360-degree leader.

Principle 4 (Do more than manage- Lead!):

I chose principle four because again I feel as if I can improve in that area. There are lots of times I don’t go the extra step to become an effective leader, and because of this I just end up managing rather than leading. For example, if a project has certain criteria there are times I tend to just stick to that criteria rather than pushing the boundaries and going that extra mile. Another example is when I am managing my homework. I might put off a project that isn’t due for a while, and I don’t think long term. This isn’t always the case, but I would like to work on changing this so I am more aware of the future and I am more proactive. In TALONS it is key not to procrastinate, so if I become better at this principle I will manage my homework more efficiently.

 

Section 4 (Lead Across):

 

Principle 5 (Expand your circle of acquaintances):

I chose principle five because there are lots of times where I neglect to push beyond my comfort zone and remain stubborn on doing tasks that I am comfortable with. This causes me to not be able to expand my skillset and to be unable to improve on skills I don’t feel too good about. One way this relates to TALONS is the committee’s for adventure trips. I think I did a great job improving on this principle because I picked Forms & Finance, something I wasn’t comfortable doing last year. Nevertheless, I chose that task and now I am proud of the new skills I learned doing it. I need to try to expand my comfort zone like that more often.

Principle 6 (Let the best idea win):

I chose principle six because although I do listen to everybody’s ideas and voices, the key to not take rejection personally is what I struggle with. I am quite shy so when I get rejected with an idea, despite knowing that I shouldn’t take it personally, I still end up feeling bad about it. For example, last year during a group inquiry project I suggested an idea, and it got rejected. It wasn’t rejected in a mean way or anything, but I still ended up feeling a little bad about it. I need to open up and not take rejections as personally, which is what I will try to do in the future.

 

Section 5 (Lead Down):

   

Principle 5 (Model the behaviour you desire):

I chose principle five because there are lots of times I want to see behaviour that even I don’t implement. I want to see behaviour that even I fail to model. For example, a few times when working on a group project in TALONS I want others to utilize their time effectively and be proactive whereas even I fail to do so. This results in me being hypocritical, and I need to work on modeling the behaviour I myself desire. If I am to ask someone to act a certain way or to display certain behaviour then I need to be able to model it myself.

Principle 6 (Transfer the vision):

I chose principle six because this is another principle that I need to improve on. I am great at coming up with visions, but I have to focus on implementing them. One example in TALONS is during inquiry projects when we come up with our own ideas for projects. I think up great visions, but sometimes I don’t bother to actually implement the ideas. I need to work on following through with my visions, and carrying the plan forwards.

 

Practice Interview Themes

I learned a lot from my practice interview, and these are the 3 main themes I took away:

 

Themes:

 

  • Thinking about the future has the potential to inspire you to persevere whenever you are having trouble and feel like this isn’t working.

 

  • Self-management and autonomy has the potential to differ between struggling and having fun in your job, so be aware of how much you rely on others.

 

  • The new skills and knowledge you gain from doing a job outweighs the difficulty and struggles you face to get there.

Harrison Bergeron Blog Response

While film adaptations are entertaining, they are never 100% accurate. The most effective medium of telling the story “Harrison Bergeron” is via short story. In Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” short story, we glimpse the year 2081 when everyone is completely equal. Whereas Chandler Tuttle’s film version is inspired by Vonnegut’s book, the film is not an exact replica of it, with details being changed. The story medium is the best because it is where the original idea comes from, whereas the film is just a translation of the story into a visual piece. In the written piece, you see into the characters’ heads, and gain more insight and knowledge. In the film Hazel seems to be an normal woman, but when you read the book you see “Hazel [has] a perfectly average intelligence, which [means] she she [can’t] think about anything except in short bursts” (1). This quote shows us how perfectly average intelligence must be quite low, and also explains why Hazel can’t remember much. In the film, we aren’t told anything like this about Hazel, whereas in the book we are given more knowledge that helps us gain a better understanding of the events. Another point why the book is more effective in telling “Harrison Bergeron” is because in the book you make inferences, whereas in the film you are just directly told everything. For example, when Harrison’s picture is described, we are told that “Harrison [looks] like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison [carries] three hundred pounds” (3). When we hear this quote, we use our mind to make inferences about Harrison’s appearance, imagining the scraps of metal hanging off of his body. In the movie, this isn’t even accurate as Harrison doesn’t sport misshapen chunks of metal on his body. It looks more like the regular handicaps on ordinary citizens. His appearance isn’t exemplified like it is in the text. This relates to another scene; Hazel tells George to take off his handicaps, but in the book George says he doesn’t want to go back to the dark ages, whereas in the movie he says he’ll just want to keep them off. In the story, the reader must infer about what George means by the ‘dark ages’. The story is great at showing and not telling, and we make lot’s of inferences throughout- like the example I just gave above. This is why I believe that as a whole, the story is a more effective medium of telling the story “Harrison Bergeron”. You are given more context, and more room to use your imagination to make inferences.

Eminent Introductory Post

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”

Dreams. Such an influential part of life. In the case of my eminent person, dreams played a larger-than-large role in influencing and providing motivation to achieve such success. Whether they were crushed or made, these dreams fuelled my notable to further heights. Not once did they think about giving up, even after major downfalls.

This year, for my second and last eminent project, I chose to do A. P. J Abdul Kalam as my chosen notable. I picked Kalam because not only did he operate in an especially interesting field of science, he has shown to obtain immense grit and resilience, and I admire his exceptional personality. I can connect with Abdul Kalam in a number of ways.

 

  • We are both of Indian descent
  • We both are interested in the sciences
  • We both believe dreams play a major role in life
  • We both are/were in the Middle class
  • We both have an interest in warfare

 

Abdul’s most depressing moment was when he was attempting to become an Air Force pilot. This was a dream of Kalam’s from childhood. Unfortunately for him, Kalam placed ninth out of the potential nominees, but only the top eight were selected. After having a major dream crushed in such a way, Kalam kept going, and this led to the man he is today. Kalam played a monumental role in the development of India’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. Using that talented mindset of his, Kalam led numerous missile projects, and on the path was faced with major impediments, such as aborted projects, or failed launches. Due to this, Kalam and his group were faced with immense criticism and scorn. Despite all of this Abdul Kalam persevered through and led his workers to eventual success, forever changing India’s missile technology and their nuclear power. This is what I believe makes Kalam so eminent- the fact that he can withstand such pressuring situations without panicking.

So we caImage result for abdul kalam nuclear weapons projectsn probably tell that perseverance and resilience are among Kalam’s top strengths right? But that’s not all. Another strength in his arsenal consists of being caring and kind. Kalam can be strict when need be, but he is also a kind man. He is never legitimately harsh towards anyone, which really helps his ability to lead by forming positive relationships with his workers. He aspires to improve his nation, and all of his accomplishments led him to become president of India. A potential weakness for the Missile Man is that he is a shy individual. Although this in itself isn’t considered a ‘weakness’, being shy led to Kalam finding it a little difficult to build relationships in short amounts of time with others. Who knows, but this might’ve led to a few missed opportunities.

A prime example of when Abdul Kalam breaks the mold and perseveres in the face of obstacles is when he ranks ninth out of the Air Force pilots. Ever since Abdul was a child, he aspired to become a pilot part of the Indian Air Force. When the moment of truth was finally here, Kalam’s hopes and dreams get crushed in such a painful way. Knowing that you are just one spot off must be so painful. Yet, Kalam continued in his goals to become such a wonderful Rocket Scientist, and India’s ‘Missile Man’. Another way Abdul breaks the mold is when his missile launches fail, and he faces the criticism of the public. Some go so far as to call Kalam a failure. I’m sure they regretted that a while later when Kalam stayed positive and used the mission reports to analyze what went wrong, and built off stronger. When they saw how successful the projects went, and how much Kalam advanced India’s missile technology.Image result for abdul kalam missile projects

The Indian Air Force significantly influenced Abdul Kalam. He loved the idea of both being a pilot and helping India out in times of war by fighting for them, protecting his nation. Throughout his youth, Abdul would always look up to the military, admiring what they did for the country. This is what influenced and drove Kalam to try and become a military pilot. Abdul Kalam’s teachers and co-workers played a substantial role in shaping Kalam into the man that so many look up to. It may not seem like it, however, these people shared a close connection with Kalam, enabling them to converse together and provide one another with advice. This is how they were able to push Abdul to further heights and provide the moral support required to push through difficult situations. They may not possess the same talented mind-set as Abdul, but they still provided the influence and support necessary to move forward. Going into this year’s eminent project, I am setting a goal for myself to be able to connect to Abdul Kalam on a more personal level. If I am ever faced with a situation, no matter how difficult, I want to think of Abdul Kalam, the obstacles he has conquered without letting them get to him. I want to be able to use that to cope with my stress or to overcome challenges I am faced with.

 

Image result for ABdul Kalam

 

Time to have a blast, and finish off my last eminent with a bang!

How might we begin to “reject the single stor[ies]” in our lives?

How might we begin to “reject the single stor[ies]” in our lives?

 

Stories play a huge part of our life. In some cases, we might argue that stories influence our lives too much. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”, Chimamanda talks about how much stereotypical stories in the United States influence how she is seen by the citizens there. She comes “from a conventional, middle-class Nigerian family,” and isn’t what we may assume about all Africans. Many people assume that Africans are poor, live in poverty, are dirty, and many even think that they are savages. Chimamanda’s story shows how her life in Nigeria wasn’t like this. This especially supports her quote, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” This quote is very important because it exemplifies Chimamanda’s young life- she wasn’t poor or anything. She is correct when she says the story creates stereotypes, because when we see something, we will often believe it to be true. Because of this, we think it’s the full story, when in reality it is just a small section of a larger reality. They aren’t necessarily wrong, but they are just incomplete. In order to really understand, you must comprehend the big picture. Assumptions aren’t going to get you anywhere. “[…]there are other stories that are not about catastrophe, and it is very important, it is just as important, to talk about them.” Most often, the stories about devastation and catastrophe are the ones that are heard the most. Because of this, we don’t get to see the positive side of the situation, and thus we begin to make inferences that only accommodate the partial truth. This is why it is important to understand that it is equally important to listen to the less-heard of stories that aren’t about devastation, or mishaps. It is then that you will be able to reject the single stories, and not fall vulnerable to the stereotypes written there. Then, you can accommodate not single but multiple stories in your life, and see the larger whole.