In-Depth post 3

Over the past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time developing my skills in choreography. My mentor Sarah has a lot of experience in this field as she choreographs multiple pieces every year! While my weekly class with Sarah is a big help to developing my skills I must also hold myself accountable for my learning. In order to do this I have been attending extra learning opportunities such as conventions and competitions where I have been getting a lot of exposure to other points of view and spending a lot of time dancing and learning to improv. Every week we spend about 15 minutes in Sarah’s class working on improv which is a building block to choreography. Sarah’s time has been hugely helpful and I am really improving! The three strategies that could improve the quality of our mentoring interactions are discussing more of my questions, showing her some of my own choreography and discussing some of the pieces I have seen that stood out to me and why they did. I can accomplish these things by having a list of questions or thoughts ready before class so that I can discuss them with Sarah, recording some of my work so I can email it to her and get her thoughts on it and by keeping a list of the pieces I see that stand out to me when I am at competitions or performances. These steps will improve the quality of our mentoring interactions and cause me to learn and develop my skills even more quickly! I have been having a great time working on my In-Depth project so far and I am so excited to dive even deeper into my topic.

In-Depth #3 -My Mentor

untitledI’ve been going to my wheel-throwing class for 5 weeks so far, each week my mentor has been there teaching me different tips and skills to get better at making pots, bowls, vases and cups. Although I did have to miss this week because of a very important basketball game, which is too bad the two overlap because of how fun each wheel-throwing class has been. Everything is really running smoothly, especially with my mentor, Clive. Clive has been extremely helpful showing me all the ways of wheel-throwing. Without him, I probably would have just wasted a bunch of clay, not making anything. I think it helps that Clive and I have strong communication within our learning relationship. When I don’t understand something, I just get him to help me out, or reshow me how to do a specific skill. He listens to me equally so that I don’t feel ignored, or rushed to hurry up and understand each skill. Although it is a logical challenge that when communicating, I sometimes get frustrated because it takes so much patience to create a neat object, yet Clive can make them so easily without even trying. I just need to remember that I am just starting out and have to keep practising. Having my mentor as my teacher works really well because he is so knowledgeable in his field and has lots of years of experience teaching beginner wheel-throwers. Overall, the last couple weeks have been a great success and I couldn’t think of any better way to learn my wheel-throwing skills.

In-depth Post #3

So, after another two weeks here we are. Over the time period, I am starting to understand a lot more about C and binary. I can program some basic scripts and I can read binary and hexadecimal. My mentor also gave me an assignment to make a program that will take an input and print a line that will say what the input is equal too. Not sure why that specific program, but I did it none the less.

Here is a picture of my script.

Also I have started to familiarize myself with some programming with the Arduino chip and bread boards. An Arduino chip is a basic type micro controller, it works in conjunction with  a breadboard to power the robot. There are many types of Arduino chips, however the one I will be working with one of the more popular and simpler models. It is called the Arduino Uno Rev3. My mentor and I will be discussing the robot on Sunday and likely be ordering the parts then. We will most likely obtain the parts here at:

A basic breadboard equipped with a microcontroller.


1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I think that my mentor is doing a wonderful job helping me just do what I want to do. Obviously there are guidelines and I’m still taking all his advice in but he is being flexible and patient in a positive way. I’m not too sure how to word this but he is just able to teach me what I need to know but at the same time he lets me choose what direction I want to go in. He offers an abundance of ideas and can relate to me easily, letting him guide me appropriately. I have had many teachers who are extremely conservative and are never able to offer that kind of flexibility. I think having a balance of liberalness and conservativeness is always essential in teaching (don’t worry Ms. Mulder, you are great).

2.  What relationship challenges did you face?  Address some of the sub- questions below

a. Were you communicating effectively with one another? Explain

Despite the fact that my mentor doesn’t know any English and that I barely know any Cantonese, I think we are communicating fine. My mentor can adapt to my poor Chinese and explain to me complex ideas withing a simple context. There are some programming references in Cantonese that may be complicated, obviously I wont catch it but I will just end up asking him then can just explain it back to me making connections and key words. For example, I was asking him about how the micro-controller connects to the robot, then when he explained it to me he mentioned breadboards. Obviously I didn’t know what it was in Chinese, so he replied with, bread (food bread) boards, then I immediately knew what he was referring too.

d. Were you actually listening to each other? Explain

Obviously there were times where I couldn’t quite understand my mentor and times where I think he thought I was speaking gibberish, but for the most part we could still understand each other fine. I think because we are both thoroughly enjoying the subject, we don’t have a legitimate reason to not listen to each other.   Also because programming is so intense and complicated, I have a motivation to not miss anything because all ideas connect to each other and are necessary to understand.

5. What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring  interactions?

We meet every Sunday because my dad has church and the timings are rather convenient for the both of us, however, because he is still part of the church, our meetings may be cut short because he has to go to a meeting or something. So if we could extend the time of our meetings, it would help.

This next strategy, my mentor and I have already implemented because it is quite effective. When explaining a complicated concept, we my mentor would draw out a diagram to help explain it. Whether it is the use of binary or real life metaphors, he uses them to make connections to the topic.

For a final strategy, we could diarize the things that we learned after every meeting. Not only will the information help remind me what I need to do, but I could review the topics that I had troubles understanding.

February 21, 2014: In-depth post #3

Another two weeks since the last in-depth post. I’ve been learning how to play the song “Beauty and the Beast” on violin and a part of a song called “Illusory Light” that has a violin, piano and voice part. Jessica S., my friend who plays piano, is learning it as well and her younger sister might sing the vocals. (On SoundCloud, my practice:  and ). I learned the first few major keys that have flats as well:

  • F major (B flat)
  • B flat major (B flat, E flat)
  • E flat major (B flat, E flat, A flat)
  • A flat major (B flat, E flat, A flat and D flat)

I’ve played in each of these keys on my flute before, but I never had known what they were called, so this is an interesting development for me. The flats will be easier to learn now that I know most of the sharps because they overlap. In music, an F sharp is one semitone up from F. There is one full semitone between F and G, so since G flat is one semitone down from G, it is also one semitone up from F. Therefore, F sharp and G flat are the same notes. Some of the notes I’ve never played before, like A flat, are going to take a while to get used to, but I’m really happy to be able to play in so many keys now.

Filming is finally getting under way, come this Friday! My original schedule got kind of reversed because of locations I had to be in (volunteer training) which weren’t good for filming. Anyways, the first short (and experimental) film I’m going to do will be a basic montage. A montage is a technique used in editing that condenses a lot of short shots into one long sequence, usually a kind of time-lapse idea. There isn’t much talking during a montage, aside from the odd scene if plot needs to be added, so the track is usually either one song or a mash-up of songs for the entire duration. For more info: This won’t be edited until at least next blog post, but quite possibly later as well. I may put up a short, unedited clip with a cinematic technique such as an over-the-shoulder shot, pull back zoom or voiceover.

This week in TALONS, we are focusing on the context in our mentorship. The three questions I chose to answer were:

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I have been consistently learning loads of new, sometimes unexpected information with each lesson. The quality of information and knowledge that I have been receiving is relevant to what I am playing or sight-reading, but I am also learning different keys and scale patterns that are applicable to any kind of music, on any instrument, which is pretty cool. My learning is going at a much more rapid pace than I would have thought, and I really enjoy learning more about my topic.

3. What learning challenges emerged?

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

Well, it was definitely a challenge to take violin back up while I am still playing the flute in band. I have been prioritizing between which one to practice with the time I have, but it’s really difficult to keep it even, especially when band occurs 2-3 times a week and I have violin lessons only once a week. I feel a lot of pressure to practice my flute more, but I didn’t want to fall behind in violin, so set myself up a practice plan: because I have more school time to practice my flute, I practice after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights I practice violin (which is nice because on Wednesday I preview for my next lesson, and on Friday I go over what we did on my Thursday lesson). Choir doesn’t give me a lot of time to play my violin so I only record my practice sessions over the weekend, and then I usually post them in soundcloud on Sunday or Monday night. If I get to school earlier than usual in the morning and I don’t have any unfinished homework, I go down to the band room and practice my flute as well.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

The main challenge that affects my communication with my mentor is contacting each other outside of a lesson. She comes to Coquitlam and does her lessons here, where most of her clients are, but she lives in Maple Ridge. So we have to find ways of being able to contact each other without actually meeting face to face very often! To get around this, we use emails and call/text each other; however, she only checks her email once or twice daily, and I have 15 texts per month on my phone. Using my parents’ phones isn’t an option because I am not around them for most of the day and both of their phones are used mainly for their work. So far I have been making sure to email my mentor a couple of days in advance to avoid any communication problems, and unless there is a drastic change of plans (in which case we call each other) that takes care of our needs.

The  most common factors that affect my ability to interact effectively are distance, scheduling errors or unexpected circumstances, and (rarely – this used to happen more often as I didn’t know my mentor very well in the beginning) being to shy to ask for something or tell my mentor what I wanted to do. As I got to know my mentor better, over several practice sessions and numerous emails, it was easier for me to open up to her and talk about what I liked about different pieces and what I wanted to learn more about. I wasn’t really sure how things would go since the last time I had seen my mentor for a lesson was the first of October, but she was still very friendly and open with me. We talk about what our favourite kinds of music are and different pieces I might like to learn (for example: I never knew she had the sheet music for Skyrim until she asked me if I wanted to learn it when she heard how much I liked fantasy and dragons); it is a lot easier to interact with my mentor when we have a casual and supportive environment. I find that it helped me a lot to have private lessons because I feel a lot less exposed and vunerable when it’s just me and my mentor. I used to think it would be the opposite way around, until I realized that I had nothing to fear from making a mistake in front of my mentor.

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    The first two weeks of In-Depth have gone by like a flash. I’ve found a mentor for an aspect of my project and started playing around with a sound-editing program. I’ve been having some trouble coming up with a plotline for the movie, but I have some rough ideas of what I want to shoot.…
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    Another two weeks into our In-Depth project, and time is flying by. The links from the last little while on soundcloud are in a playlist here: I've been learning the E minor scale, and also that you can get blisters if you play violin for an extended period of time. E minor has the same…
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In-depth Post Week #6: Working the Ground Considering the Context

Zachary (2000) defines “context” as, “the circumstances, conditions, and contributing forces that affect how we connect, interact with, and learn from one another” (p. 29).  Every talons learner should realize that this statement does not only apply to our in-depth project, but also, for example, to our group projects in our quads and committee work for our upcoming adventure trip.  Even though each of these examples has a context, they vary from one another significantly. These contexts are situational and complex. In other words, the context changes from project to project, but also from moment to moment during one project.

Let’s say that someone makes  a remark in a group that someone does not appreciate or takes offense with. The context in which we work will have slightly altered the relationship the group members have with one another.  The person most deeply affected by the comment may be assertive and point out how the comment was perceived or may remain silent and no one will know that something in the group has slightly shifted. Every act and every word will change the context in which we work with one another. At the same time, what we do or say in one context may not be appropriate in another context.  How we interpret a situation will depend on our own experiences and history.  Daloz (1986) points out that we, individually and collectively, respond to people’s behaviours and values in a context and in turn the context responds to us as well.

Zachary (2000) states, “The context of a mentoring relationship adds its own unique layer of complexity…Because multiple  contextual layers affect an individual simultaneously, learning partners in a mentoring relationship need to communicate expectations and establish ground rules and processes that work for them in specific context” (p. 30).

Is the context of the mentoring relationship, for example:

1. long distance?

2. cross-cultural?

3. cross-gender?

4. cross-generational?

In any mentoring relationship, some ground rules need to be set up in advance so the mentor and mentee have a clear picture of what the purpose, processes and product are going to be at the end of their time together.

Some of the questions and points to address are:

1. How many times are we going to be meeting?   How regular?  How long is each session? Time commitment?

2. How are we going to be communicating?  Online?  In person? Over the phone?

3. Where are we meeting?  Why?

4. How do we maintain our connection with one another?


Your task this week (week 7 and 8 – Feb. 7th until Feb. 21st) is to answer at least three of the following questions as well as report on your progress so far.

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

2.  What relationship challenges did you face?  Address some of the sub- questions below

a. Were you communicating effectively with one another? Explain

b. Were you candid and open in your communication? Explain

c. Did you take care to check out assumptions with each other? Explain

d. Were you actually listening to each other? Explain

3. What learning challenges emerged?

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

5. What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring  interactions?

6. What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?


Context affects the learning that is going to take place. Zachary (2000) writes, “Context is an intimate part of who we are.  We bring contextual layering to our relationships-and, in fact, to everything we do. Consciously reflecting on context helps us ensure integrity of the learning process” (p. 47).


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Document of Learning

How would our civilization differ if the land bridge between Alaska and Russia stayed there and did not submerge underwater? Think about that. I know I did. So did everyone around me. I asked my classmates, friends, family, teammates and then recorded a number of answers in the list below.

  • “Indian” culture would be much better preserved.
  • Trading’s between the whole world.
  • Killings by the Europeans would not be so great.
  • Not as much “European” inspired culture today.
  • Cultures would have merged together more.
  • Columbus would have not sailed to find a path to India, because he would have known about the Americas being in the way.
  • More wars because of wanting to conquer more land??
  • Less wars because the Europeans would know about the different tribes of people in the Americas already conquering that land.

In a parallel universe, where the land bridge stayed, there lived a TALONS classroom, similar to ours. This is where our story begins…

“So TALONS class, you understand the assignment?” Mr. Jackson, my elder asked. The question I tweeted yesterday was “How would our civilization differ if the land bridge between Alaska and Russia went underwater and stayed there instead?”. Wow. Just think about how different our world would be. Instead of our cultures being mixed from all the trading and mingling that has happened over the thousands of years. Maybe Europe might not have even known about North and South America until they had enough technology to boat across. For all we know the world could be torn into wars from different races hating each other, for weird reasons like “racism”. That wouldn’t happen with our land bridge because our cultures are too mixed. Thankfully, here in Sochi Columbia (British Columbia) it’s peaceful as always because of  our strong relationships with the other countries of the world. For all I know, if the land bridge wasn’t there, the First Nations could have never showed the rest of the world their ways of sharing resources. That could even lead to wars. I’ve decided for my Socials assignment I will write just a short bit of a parallel universe of what I would be doing if the land bridge was not there.

-Translated from Parallel Universe North America’s language to Modern-Day English.

In conclusion, we do not know what would happen if the land bridge between Alaska and Russia stayed, but we can inference different answers if we think of how humans have reacted to different situations in history.

The First of Many: The World of Columbus

So we just recently started our social studies unit on Columbus, and to be totally honest; I’m as lost as a seal in a walrus world.

Not that I do not follow along with the class discussions and such, it’s just the fact that one thing leads to another, and sometimes I don’t know where we’re going. I would ask questions, but sometimes there are too many things going on to ask one, and sometimes I feel like I would ask the wrong question. I will admit, the following weeks will be  little hard to follow, but at the end, I know I will get it. (Or least some of it).

Carrying on, my question, which is “What did Spain get out of death and brutality in the Americas?” could have a lot of answers to it. This kind of question, cannot be answered with a simple respond like “gold”, because the Spanish got a lot more than just gold. The Spanish got power, land, reputation, and all led to the evolution of modern society. When asking this question, you probably need to be a little more specific in order to get a a more understood answer. For example, “What did Spain achieve inside their culture when they invaded the Americas?” This kind of question would get a more specific answer to a question. The reason I asked this question and the topic I want to focus more on as I continue with this subject is “Is it necessary to destroy a civilization to grow a better one?”  This question intrigues me because in history, many civilizations are colonized and faded, but I wonder if it is possible for new societies to grow without old societies  becoming a thing of the past. And I believe that to build a better civilization, you must know what causes it to become worse. This principle can be applied to everything in my opinion. To learn and grow, we need to make mistakes and cause our own problems.
Credited by imgflip
Okay okay, I must admit. Compared to everyone’s GIFs and photos, mine does not look good at all. And I agree. I’m still very new to GIFs and the fact that I didn’t know what we had to do 100% made it a little harder.
Anyways, my GIF was taken from a scene in Home Alone, created in 1990, which starred a little boy being home alone for the winter holidays. The reason I took this scene and created a GIF out of this one is the fact that Columbus showed no mercy towards the natives when he arrived. As the person in the GIF shows, he shot blindly into the area in front of him, not knowing the consequences he would have caused. Columbus can be compared to this situation as he decided his actions blindly and did not care about the consequences, metaphorically, shooting in all directions.
I hope this sums up the things I want to learn out of my question, and that even though I’m a confused seal, anybody can pretend to be a walrus.

Socials: Mill’s Ideology

Mill’s Ideology in a nutshell could be defined by the statement: “For the Greater Good.” Why try to make peace with your warring neighbors when you can massacre most of them quickly and efficiently?

Afternoon TALONS will understand this meme without the need for explanation, but essentially, during a class discussion on ethics with regards to ‘insert sarcasm here’ the greatest humanitarian ever, Christopher Columbus; Emma, thinking no one would hear, quietly spoke: “It’s easier to just kill everyone.”

Now, because I don’t want Emma to be investigated because of the lack of vocal inflection in the written language, I’ll make sure I clearly state that she was not serious.

In our TALONS Social Studies *cough* Philosophy *cough* class I recently came across one of the more intriguing ethical dilemmas that history can throw at you: Is the mindset of accepting atrocities as the price for greater human progress still with us today?

To answer this question, I must first separate it into chewable bites.

1) What, in clearly defined terms, is this “Mindset?”, and

2) How do we (dis)prove that we have evolved from our oftentimes, seemingly barbaric roots?

The latter is rather difficult to address, however the former can be shown very cleanly by the piece of media above: “It’s easier to just kill everyone.” This statement demonstrates the disconnect between what I, and many others regard as moral (e.g. not aimlessly murdering), and the concept of efficiency = good.

Keeping that in mind, I can now examine whether that ideology of seeing atrocities as acceptable when needed, has changed since Columbus.

I understand I will not be fully accurate, especially seeing as I live as a privileged, white male who arguably has never experienced true hardship; but I shall remain a student of perseverance.

The reason it is difficult to find out whether or not we accept atrocities as: uncool, but okay if it brings us new stuff- is mainly that history is generally dehumanized. Howard Zinn futilely attempted to ignore the effect that examining the past has on the story itself, but to no avail. Bias leaks through, and the humanity of it always, always bleeds away. Despite remaining consciously aware that it is happening, you can read about the most awful events to ever occur in human history and feel less emotion than you would if you stubbed your toe.

“Those tears, that anger, cast into the past depletes our moral energy for the present.” -Howard Zinn

The past simply does not bring up the emotion that the present does, and so it is frustrating to answer Question #2 because you cannot examine history and identify the feelings that it conjures up. So you have to look at the present. Anyone can do this, in fact, I recommend that you attempt this for yourself in a second: really think about the world, think hard about something that is happening right now, or something that you could postulate happening in the future.

For example, think about the revolutions in the Middle East: does the deposition of corrupt governments justify the thousands, or tens of thousands of people that have died and are dying?

Or what if North Korea did actually initiate war instead of only threatening it? Personally I can’t see an outcome where North Korea emerges victorious, but again: does the reintegration of a culture back into the international world actually outweigh the lives lost, the families ruined, the homes destroyed?

When I think about these questions, I get angry because my answer seems to vary depending on how empathic I feel that day, which isn’t exactly ideal for when you want to write down something concrete.

But ultimately, the answer is something personal. So if you want to find out, close your eyes, do you best to imagine those scenarios, and feel.

And then take those feelings and dissect them with cold, hard logic.

Skateboarding – In Depth #2

I am very reluctant to have found a mentor, and on Sunday, I got to meet up with my mentor, Brad Abram. I was introduced to Brad by my soccer coach, after I asked my team if anyone could teach me to skateboard. Brad learned how to skateboard when he was a teenager, by his father, so he definitely has plenty on experience. He also has background in coaching his son’s baseball and soccer teams, so he will also have experience in coaching. On Sunday, I met up with Brad at the skate park at Town Centre, where he *tried* to teach me the basics of skateboarding. It was pretty hard to even balance on my reasonably loose skateboard, but it allowed me to learn how to stop and turn easier. Although the first day was cut short due to his other commitements, I at least gained some knowledge about how to turn, stop, and glide on skateboard. The first step is always the hardest…right?

Future of Society

My theme is all revolved around the moral value of society, and what it will look like in the past, present, and future. From this, my inquiry that has interested me is,

“If the more powerful society/nation still oppress others for individual gain in modern time like the past, what will the future’s society look like?”



After I found out my computer was too slow to process and render a video, I created this picture, which represents my question, comparing my views of the future to “The Capitol”, described in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I will be explaining my thought process, by going over the past, present, and my views of the future.

From our discussions and readings in class, Columbus and his men showed little to none kindness or empathy towards the natives, nor did they talk about any doubt or guilt in their cruel actions. The Europeans were more advanced in weaponry, and were ruthless in their actions. Overall, Columbus and the Europeans, being able to take advantage of the natives’ peaceful lifestyle, showed next to no moral values, wiping out the majority of the natives.

Now in modern time, society has developed since the 1500’s and we have a general knowledge of what is right and wrong. Cultures have developed set common morals, ethics, and beliefs, which has helped guide people to make “right” decisions according to that culture. Even though the majority of humans stick to their moral values, powerful groups still abuse their power. In the 20th and 21st centrury, there have been wars because one country’s want for land or resources, such as both World Wars and the Iraq War.

Now, what does the future hold? Of course, no one can answer this completely accurately, but it really reminded me of the The Capitol, in the Hunger Games. I find it relates to my question because in the books, The Capitol is the central and dominant state in the country, Panem. The Hunger Games illustrate how the dominant society (Capitol) abuses their powers with no moral values, all for personal gain and pleasure. They do this by holding an annual event, where they select two twenty-four tributes from all of the lesser, poorer, districts, and force them to fight to the death for their amusement, and to remind the other districts of the Capitol’s power. The citizens of the Capitol show no empathy towards the other districts, stuffing their faces with food while watching others fight for their lives. Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, but it intrigued me how the Hunger Games related to what our society may look like in the distant future.