Here are the art pieces I created for socials class, sorry that they are so late!
My theme statement was split into three parts and each part of the theme statement corresponds with a piece in the same order:
I. People are driven by the need for connection and this need for connection drives action.
II. This action can be moral or amoral but humans are inherently altruistic.
III. Understanding the two previous statements is important for me to better understand my actions, the actions of others and relationships between myself and others as well as the relationships of others.
As I don’t want to write a long blog post to explain everything, I have posted some photos of my talking points and notes during my presentation about examples of my theme in learning and in my life, where I think I should improve and where I think I did well this year and some brief explanations of each piece.
Since starting the book, I was interested by the contrast the book created between concepts that would be considered at odds, or even opposites, like life and death, ocean and the forest, light and dark. However, the dichotomy that stood out most to me was that between the urban world and the natural world. I thought that this theme was explored a lot more explicitly in the book from a wider variety of perspectives. I liked that this theme was explored through the perspective of European traders and settlers, First Nations peoples, the logging industry, the British Columbian economy, the environmental impacts, and through the perspective of Grant Hadwin. This theme really stood out to me, as it did to many others, and I was very excited to start this project with this idea in mind.
I wanted to show the dichotomy between the natural world and the urban world. At first, I was unsure about how to do this, but I knew that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something that was artistic, symbolic, and less traditionally analytical. This decision to push my boundaries, and forced me to think for some time about how I could to show my ideas physically. Showing my ideas in a physical medium is not something that I am used to, so it took me a lot of time to figure out how I could show my ideas, and to learn how to properly achieve the techniques I wanted to showcase.
One day Mr. Jackson left an old aerial picture of Coquitlam on the table, and I became very intrigued by it; this photograph gave me some inspiration. I found a few more similar pictures with the help of Mr. Jackson, and decided to use the two photographs as my medium and to show the dichotomy between the natural world and the urban world through those pictures.
I struggled for a long time about how to show the urban world and how to show the natural world, but decided in the end on mediums that I was relatively familiar in working with in other contexts. Yet, it still took me some time to learn how to sew through the picture and how to create textures with paint on the photo paper. However, I am glad that I took my time to learn how to properly do the techniques because I think that they turned out well on the good copies.
The two pieces are meant to go together to show the relationship between the natural and urban world. I will now do a piece by piece explanation of the pictures.
Picture 1: The green paint is meant to represent the nature, and I wanted to show with the paint how powerful the forest can be even when it is tamed, and how different the forest looks in contrast to the surrounding urban development. I tried to create some depth of colour and texture to show that the forest varies a lot where as urban development looks similar across the world. The part of the book when Grant Hadwin begins to get upset about the ways of the logging industry inspired me to do this piece. Looking at the pictures of Coquitlam reminded me how close to home the issue of deforestation is.
Picture 2: I strung yellow string across the second picture where there were urban environments to show how linear and unnatural urban areas look in comparison with the curving land and bodies of water surrounding it. I chose yellow because the Golden Spruce meant a lot to the Haida people, and it symbolized the sacred relationship between nature and humans. I thought that yellow would show the relationship between the urban environment and nature; the urban environment was created on top of the natural environment with materials from the natural environment; the natural environment was used to create the urban environment, but was disregarded afterwards. I also wanted to almost create a cage-like look with the string, to show how the urban environment can imprison the natural potential of an area.
With both images, I really liked that they depicted areas that are familiar to me. It made me think on a deeper level about these themes in the context of my community. I really enjoyed pushing myself during this project to show my ideas in a new way. I really enjoyed doing this project, and I was so happy to see the projects of others! Everyone was so creative, thoughtful, and everyone had such unique ways of expressing their ideas, so good job everyone!
In social studies, we have been reading The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. This week, we were tasked with the challenge of creating a “blackout” poem using one or two pages from the book. I chose to use pages 8 and 9 because the imagery the author used to describe the forests of the west coast was very striking, and I liked the idea explored on those pages of the forest being a very powerful force. I really liked the language of many of the sentences on the pages I chose, so there were sections that I did not blackout as much because I liked the sentence as a whole. Though this was quite a bit out of my comfort zone, I am glad that I did attempt to write a blackout poem. I know that it is not the best, but I think that I definitely gained a new appreciation for poetry, the book itself, and also some new problem-solving skills. This was a very involved task and I like that this activity encouraged us to synthesize something from a page of the book into poetry. I think that this activity was a lot of fun, and I would like to do more creative activities like this in the future to push my boundaries and see in what new ways I can apply the knowledge I have gained from The Golden Spruce.
Here is the poem that I came up with:
If you cannot read it from the picture, here it is in written format:
The trail of person, the thread of a story,
is easily lost in such a place.
It is not a particularly comfortable place to be,
you can become disoriented.
No future, no past,
Boundaries between life and death,
blur and blend.
everyone wants a piece of the sky,
the feeling that you will be over grown,
by the slow ancient riot around you,
can be suffocating.
The need to see the sun can become overpowering,
you could easily,
if it weren’t for all those,
It rained enough to float an ark,
to support life on a grand scale.
The other part of this activity was to choose a photograph or drawing to go with the poem. Since the first line is about “the trail of a person” I thought back to my time in the mountains, at home, and in Nepal. And the last line about “supporting life on a grand scale” also made me think of this picture as the valleys and mountains were so large and the scale was so grand it made me realize that life can be so large. I thought that a picture of a trail in Nepal would be appropriate and would be a good accompaniment to the poem. This is a picture of the stretch of trail just after Namche Bazaar.
Though I have still not found a mentor, Ms. Mulder has put me in contact with Laurie Brookbank who has run half marathons before and has met up with me to give me some advice. I think that I really benefited from the advice of someone who has actually run half marathons before. Though I have read a book about training, it is not the same as getting advice from someone in person. I really appreciated her advice and expertise, it was very helpful. I will elaborate later.
Being back at school, it has been difficult to find time to train. I have only trained three times in the past two weeks (and I should be training at least three days a week), which is not good especially so close to the half marathon which is on June 11th. I am very upset that I have not had time to run, however, I understand that this is a crazy time of year. I still think that with the training I have done so far that I could run a half marathon, but I know that because I lost a lot of training time these past two weeks that my time will not be as good as it could be. I think that I have to commit to training in the mornings, if this means saying that I cannot meet in the mornings because I have to run, then I think that is what it may come to. I am very disappointed with myself for not training as much as I should, however, I think that with everything going on right now, it is unrealistic to expect so much from myself. I have still continued to train a little bit these past two weeks however.
I have also met with Ms. Brookbank last week to talk about in-depth, and I will elaborate on our conversation below under the “A Beautiful Mind” heading.
Difficulties / Goals
It has continued to be difficult to train without a mentor, without someone to keep me accountable for training. I hope that I can find a mentor when I train with Kinetic. This time of year gets very busy and stressful; and, part of the reason that I picked this in-depth project was because I knew that jogging could help me to de-stress. I think that by finding time to jog, it will help me be more relaxed about school work while still making some progress. I really hope to crack-down and train hard in these next few weeks. I think that training is one of my favourite things to do, but I don’t prioritize this as a need, so a lot of times I don’t get to it. However, I think that I will begin to prioritize more effectively to make sure that I get to train and do other things I love as well.
A Beautiful Mind
For this week, we have read about concepts and alternatives. I found that reading this part of De Bono’s book before the meeting I had was very helpful to asking Ms. Brookbank clarifications about her answers, and asking for further elaboration to answers. Using the idea of pulling out concepts to clarify answers to my questions also helped me to take notes during our conversation.
Some examples of concepts we spoke about during our meeting include: listening to our body and its needs, preparing for anything that could happen on the day of the half-marathon, goal-setting in a variety of contexts, positive visualization, nutrition, importance of professional help, importance of community support in running, and importance of various types of cross-training.
Ms. Brookbank also talked to me about some lesser known knowledge about running and some creative alternatives for my situation. Through this conversation, Ms. Brookbank offered many alternatives to the same question, which was very helpful. What she said came from life-experience and I really appreciated her honesty about running. However, some of things I have read in books, had placed emphasis on different aspects of training. John Stanton, who wrote the two books I read about training, had slightly different views on nutrition and had different alternatives for cross-training. I look at John Stanton as an honorary mentor of mine after reading his books. To illustrate what alternatives Ms. Brookbank offered me and what alternatives other resources have given me, I have made a list below with some of the questions I asked Ms. Brookbank. Her answers are written below the question, and I have included other alternatives from other resources as well, then I will write about it below and explore the two alternatives in a contrasting way.
What is the best way to eat before a short jog (under 10km)? A long jog (over 10km)?
For runs under about an hour and a half, it is best to eat 45 or 50 minutes before the run and to eat something light that will give energy and will make sure that I will not get hungry while running. Some examples include: a banana, toast with peanut butter, applesauce, and other food that is easily digested. For longer runs or a race, Ms. Brookbank recommended: oatmeal, cheese, nuts, crackers, sandwich with a salad, pancakes, or even just a good meal the night before. Ms. Brookbank stressed the importance of eating what you know works best for you and what you know is sure to give you enough energy but will not make you sick. She suggested avoiding seafood, as from her experience, it has not always been the best option.
A fair amount of resources I looked at including John Stanton’s book Running Start to Finish put more emphasis on eating things that will give energy, like carbs, rather than eating food that is light and sure to not make you sick.
2. The week of the half marathon, what are some important things I should keep in mind or do?
Get 8-10 hours of sleep at night leading up to the half marathon to give your body time to regenerate and re-cooperate. Drink a lot of water, especially in the two days before the half marathon. Don’t try any new foods. Rest for two full days before the race, or only do a very light jog (like a 15-minute or 20-minute jog). Prepare mentally for the race by using positive visualization and by setting three types of goals for yourself: a best case scenario goal, a worst case scenario goal, and a realistic goal. Pack your race bag the week before (include things like a change of clothes- for different weather, a change of shoes, a change of socks, a light jacket, gloves, a snack, a body glide, etc.).
In Running Start to Finish, the training program suggests that you run 3km the day before the half marathon, which differs a little bit from Ms. Brookbank’s advice.
3. What type of cross-training options do you recommend and what are the benefits of each?
Ms. Brookbank stressed doing other types of cardio, core-strengthening exercises (like planks, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups), quad as well as glut-strengthening exercises (like squats, for example), low-impact activities to build up resistance (like swimming, and cycling), and activities to improve agility (like yoga and Pilates). Ms. Brookbank suggested any activity that builds up strength in muscles used for running, cardio, resistance, and agility. She stressed the importance of doing activities you love in a way that also benefits you as a runner.
The other resources I have read place similar emphasis on agility, cardio, and resistance as Ms. Brookbank did. However, I imagine that another mentor could suggest not doing cross-training and focusing solely on running instead.
These are just three examples of questions that I asked Ms. Brookbank, the alternatives she gave, and other alternatives that could also be possibilities for me. Ms. Brookbank placed a lot of emphasis on finding what strategies work best for me and experimenting with them until I find the right balance of cross-training, jogging, nutrition, rest, and other such things. However, other resources I read gave very specific and narrow advice. Ms. Brookbank gave me a variety of alternatives, and I really appreciated her efforts to educate me about this topic. We were both very willing to look for alternatives and I believe that we were creative in doing so. This blog post along with the note-taking I did helped to evaluate the alternatives that I now have as options. I will definitely focus a lot on the nutrition alternatives and experiment with that in coming weeks as it has been something that I have struggled with in the past. Knowing information from other resources and other perspectives, helped me to better appreciate the knowledge and perceptions of Ms. Brookbank. I am so grateful that Ms. Brookbank talked to me about my in-depth and her knowledge has been in-valuable to me. I am very excited to put these alternatives into action.
Though I have been very busy lately, I am making it a goal for myself to make time to train, to keep myself accountable, to try new alternatives for nutrition, cross training, as well as stretching, and to use this running in-depth project to my advantage when dealing with stress. Though I am disappointed that I have not spent as much time doing my in-depth as I would like; I am still proud of the work I have done so far and am now trying to use that disappointing feeling to motivate me to train. I am very happy with how the meeting with Ms. Brookbank went and I will definitely use the information she provided me with in my training process. I am looking forward to the next few weeks of training and starting to train with Kinetic.
I hope that everyone’s in-depth projects are going well, good luck to everyone as they reach the half-way point in their in-depth projects!
For the past few weeks in social studies, we have thought and talked about our documents of learning. As we began to talk about ideas and Canadian history itself, I realized that I felt weighed down. Our history was something that didn’t make me feel good, I felt like I was responsible for our past wrong-doings, and helpless knowing that there was nothing I could do to change the past. The negative parts of history seemed monumentally larger than the positive parts of history and it reminded me of all the negative events that are going on today. Personally, this is very hard to deal with, and I explore this a little bit in my previous blog post. It is hard for me to look at history with objectivity because of the strong emotions I have around history and the strong emotions that others have around history. It is hard not to be upset knowing that so many minorities were overlooked in confederation. It is hard not to be upset knowing about the lasting effects of residential schools. It is hard not to be upset knowing that the negative parts of history still have a big impact today on so many people across Canada. Its hard to not get upset with so many negative things, seemingly out weighing the good.
It was, in fact, this type of thought process that brought me to an idea for my document of learning. The question that I will be focusing on is:
How can we view Canadian history without getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history and without ignoring the negative parts of history?
This question is very important to me. I find that it applies to many parts of my life and answering it could help me change my mindset around certain topics. By answering this question, it may also give me some reassurance that there is still a lot of good in the world. Though this is a rather large question, I hope to have a better, more realistic, understanding of Canadian history after answering it. Through this blog post, I hope to make sense of the different perspectives that shaped Canadian history and perhaps develop my own perspective. Throughout this blog post, I hope to connect my question to the following “big idea”: World views lead to different perspectives and ideas about developments in Canadian society.
To help answer my question, I have been looking at my mother’s library of books and researching online with quite a few interesting findings.
How history can be influenced to seem more negative than it may actually be…
I think that first part of my question that I have to tackle is why we tend to focus on the negative so much. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University, said:
“Research over and over again shows [the tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive] is a basic and wide-ranging principle of psychology,” he said. “It’s in human nature, and there are even signs of it in animals.”
So now, here you have it, it is completely natural to focus on the negative things. As humans, our brains are wired to focus on the negative so that we can improve and stay out of danger; in fact, the brain even handles positive information and negative information in separate hemispheres of the brain. The following ratio has become accepted in the field of psychology: for every one bad thing that happens five good things are needed to happen to counter balance the first negative event. This ratio along with the fact that we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative, could be a major reason why history is portrayed way it is in the first place.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” And it is true, history is written by those who win, this already greatly changes the way that we look at history today. However, “winning” implies that there was a conflict. In history, we often focus on conflicts, in fact one of the curricular competencies is: Global and regional conflicts have been a powerful force in shaping our contemporary world and identities. Knowing about events that are out of the norm (like conflicts) rather than everyday events is a lot more beneficial as we can learn about how we can avoid those same conflicts in the future and make for more positive outcomes. In social studies this term, we found out that Canadian confederation was rather peaceful compared to the unison of other countries, and I found myself and others in the class looking for the negative parts of confederation. Canadian confederation went pretty smoothly, but because of our urge to find the problem, to learn about how we can solve the problems of today, we searched for the things that should have been approved upon in confederation. When we did our ending role-play in class, a lot of the content poked fun at some of the negative parts of confederation, I think partially because, it is simply more interesting. There is good in looking at conflicts and events that are out of the norm because we can learn so much from them, but focusing on conflicts may also become overwhelming for many people, including me.
How can we stop from getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history, without ignoring the negative parts of history?
Now that we have explored why we as human focus on the negative, and how history is fundamentally recorded to focus on a lot of negative events, we can talk about how to overcome this. There is no solid answer to this question, everyone deals with things in different ways; however, what I will discuss in the following paragraphs is what I thought was most relevant to me.
One obvious way to overcome feeling overwhelmed by the negative parts of our history is to simply focus on the positive (sounds a little crazy, right?).
“One of the ways of being kind to ourselves is not to let the pain in the world overwhelm us. This is not to say that we need to be indifferent to it; we may feel deep sorrow about it, and the sorrow can help us to cultivate compassion for others as well as for ourselves and motivate us to help and contribute in ways that we can. But getting too far into our own personal distress doesn’t help anyone else, and it doesn’t help us either. There are good people everywhere who are working to make the world a better place and to build trust among all peoples,” – Lynne Henderson, Ph.D
Who has written multiple articles and a book on the topic of compassion focused therapy. This is a simple solution. Focusing on the positive does not mean ignoring the negative, it means that we can look at history keeping both positive and negative events in mind, and in balance (think of five good events for every one bad event). Also, having compassion does not mean that we have to suffer with the people who have been wronged in history, it means that we are “motivated to relieve suffering” using our empathy, according to an article published by Berkeley University. I found this interesting video (mostly on a tangent) but I think that the content about empathy is very relevant to current issues today. Empathy is very important to solving Canadian issues that have come from past wrong doings, like the ongoing struggle for the Canadian government to reconcile with Aboriginals. I have added this video if you are interested to watch it, it may look familiar from a video we watched in planning…
Speaking of compassion and empathy, another way that we can overcome the overwhelming feeling our negative history can bring on, can be to practice meditation. Matthieu Ricard, (who I would have done for my eminent project because he is so cool, but he is bald, which means I would have had to wear some kind of bald cap, and I did not think it would be a good look for me) is known to many as the “happiest man alive”. He was involved in a 12-year long neuroscience study on meditation and compassion.
“Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves… Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree. It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are… The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world…” – Matthieu Ricard
Meditation studies have been shown to enhance the function of the brain and meditation is an important part of the healing process in many mental health illnesses. Meditation is one way we can heal some of traumas of our history together.
I think the last important piece of learning to focus on the positive parts of history without ignoring the hardships, is learning about how to take action.
“When we ally ourselves with the excluded in society, not only are we enabled to see people as people and to join them in their struggle for justice, to work for community and places of belonging, but we also develop the critical tools for seeing what is wrong with our own society… As the human heart opens up and becomes compassionate, we discover our fundamental unity, our common humanity.” -Jean Vanier,
A Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian and humanitarian who has touched the lives of many around the world with his humanitarian work.I do not think that anyone else could have said it any better. It is important to take action on our positive thoughts, on the wrong-doings of history that can be righted, on our meditations, on our empathy and on our compassion. Taking action on the thoughts and ideas cultivated by thinking optimistically, meditation, being compassionate, and showing empathy is important to do as a community, for others, and for ourselves.
The Best Way I Can Answer the Question… For Now
Learning to think optimistically, cultivating and sharing that positivity, then using that positivity to motivate action is the way that we can view Canadian history without getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history without ignoring the negative parts of history. In fact, I believe that taking action not just helps us to not ignore the negative parts of history, it may help to repair some of the damage caused by the negative parts of our history. Not just world views, but our personal views, and the action that we take lead to different perspectives and ideas about developments in Canadian society. We are wired to think negatively, and this can affect us greatly; but learning to accept reality as a whole, for better or worse, is a very good way to fight of negative feelings. However, thinking positively does not mean minimizing or ignoring the negative, it is not an either-or perspective, but keeping both perspectives in balance. Though what we learn may seem to be focused on the negative, we can create balance by focusing on the positive.
After this blog post, I hope to continue to look answer this question in my own life more thoroughly and I hope to develop a stronger perspective about Canadian history; I hope that I can cultivate this in the last few months of socials. However, I have learned a lot through this blog post and I am very happy that we had the opportunity to do a document of learning like this. I am looking forward to reading this back at the end of the year to see how my thoughts have changes and to see what I have learned.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Becoming Human by Jean Vanier
Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard
Though I have still not found a mentor, Ms. Mulder has put me in contact with a teacher who has run half marathons before and may be able to meet with me to give me some advice on training. I think that I would really benefit from some advice from someone who has actually run a half marathon. Though I have read a book about training, it is not the same as getting advice from someone in person. Even though I have not had someone to mentor me in this process so far, I will hopefully have a mentor when I start the training program at Kinetic on April 29th. However, I am going to turn 16 very soon and may be able to begin training with the running room before that time by doing some drop-in classes. This may be beneficial and give me a better idea of what training with Kinetic will look like. I am looking forward to continue training and have found that the closest half-marathon event that I can attend is on June 11th; it is at Garry Point park in Steveston and the fee is only $15 all together.
Over the spring break I had more time to train and I think that I made a lot of progress. Having more time to train has really been helpful since I have to begin running longer distances now. Over the spring break I did two 10 km runs with times under 1 hour and 10 minutes. I am really proud of this accomplishment, and I can now see that doing speed training and hill training has helped me to be faster when I run longer distances as well. However, I also now know that I do need to work harder to build up my stamina and to keep a constant pace while running longer distances. Being back at school, it has been more difficult to find as much time to train as I would like. However, I hope that I can keep my good habits from the spring break on until the end of this year.
Difficulties / Goals
It has continued to be difficult to train without a mentor. I find that I don’t keep myself as accountable, and if I have questions about training, I have to find ways to answer the questions myself. I hope that I can find a mentor where I will train with Kinetic. For the next few weeks, I want to make sure that I keep myself accountable and make time to run and train. This is the time of year when school gets a lot busier and more stressful, and part of the reason that I picked this in-depth project was because I knew that jogging could help me to de-stress. I think that by finding time to train, it will help me be more relaxed about school work while still making progress with my in-depth.
A Beautiful Mind
I really enjoyed the reading this week, I never thought to break down conversation by the six hat method; but I find that after reading about it, I think about the six hats in everyday conversations. To be productive, I think that it is really important to be on the same page and have a similar mindset as the person you are working with about the situation at hand. Using these “hats” can result in better more productive thinking, shorter and more productive meetings, as well as improved communication, collaboration and understanding. There are a lot of applications of the six hats, including in working with a mentor. Since I have not found a mentor, I will analyze a chain of e-mails with the running room when I asked them to train with them and identify the hats in the conversation. If you have not read Edward De Bono’s A Beautiful Mind below is a helpful graphic to understand what each of the six thinking hats mean.
Dear Port Coquitlam Running Room,
(White Hat) I am Renee Boldut, a grade ten student at Gleneagle Secondary and I would like to take part in the Running Room marathon training program.(Red hat) I would like to take part in the marathon training and will be 16 on April 2nd but would like to start training as soon as possible.(Green hat) I was wondering if I would still be eligible with my age.(Yellow Hat) I have a five-month long in-depth study project where we get to cultivate or learn new skills in any field. I have chosen to train for a marathon to push myself physically and have already started training hard towards my goal.(Red hat) I would ideally like to run a marathon and I think that training with the Running Room would really help me. (Green hat)If I am not eligible, do you know of any other marathon training programs that I may qualify for with my age?
(Yellow hat) Thank you for your help and support, I really appreciate it. I hope to be in touch soon!
(Red hat) How fantastic that you are so keen on running! (White and black hat) For our running programs you will need to be 16 year old.(Green hat) You could try the community centre or even your school about possible running programs- programs geared for your age. Maybe a PE teacher/coach could advise you. (Yellow hat) In a few years you will be good to go here and I would be happy to have you!
Manager Port Coquitlam Running Room
I think that this exercise was helpful to analyze my own thinking and communicating styles in conversation with others. I think that from this exercise I have learned that I rarely use the black hat, and that maybe I should learn to practice more critical judgment and caution in conversations. Voicing my negative opinions more often may help in areas of my life and may help me to come to solutions more quickly.
I hope that everyone’s in-depth projects are going well! From looking at everyone’s blogs, it seems like most people are having a lot of fun with this project and making the best of this opportunity! I cannot wait to see all of the final products at in-depth!
Below is my second confederation blog post, if you have not read my other blog post, then go here to read it. My character is Henrietta Muir Edwards who was a women’s rights activist and reformer. My twitter account for the confederation role play is @Henrietta_Muir.
This blog post was to take place between 1860-1866 leading up to confederation. It is meant to show the aim, obstacle and action of Henrietta at this time. It is also meant to show Henrietta’s predictions and hopes about confederation as well as any “requests” about how confederation should be.
Aujourd’hui est très excitant! Today the Quebec conference has ended, with quite a few interesting results. I was happy that the conference was so close to Montreal, it took place in Quebec City, just up the river. I thought that I might get to see some of the politicians from different parties fighting, but I saw very few politicians here in Montreal, and everyone was really very civil. I found a card the other day with Etienne Cartier’s face and information on it! At first I could not imagine what this card would be used for, but later mother explained that each politician had a deck of cards (“calling cards” she called them) with pictures and information of other politicians so that they could memorize them when talking to each other! To me that sounds pretty funny, but of course those old guys would need a little help with their memories.
I am happy that confederation is in the process of becoming a reality, I think that it will lead to a lot of economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. Father, who is an avid reader of the news paper, says that the Americans had a whole civil war because their central government was weak. I don’t necessarily think it was weak, but they did give a lot of power to individual states. I hope that confederation does really happen, and that it happens with no blood shed.
However, I don’t think that confederation is enough to make for economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. French Canadians, First Nations, Inuit, Metis, women, and all minorities of Canada need to be recognized and be given a seat at the table. We need to be given equal rights, and to be treated as equals in society as well as in the eyes of the law. We need to be given the right to speak up, and make a difference in the way confederation plays out. We are just as much Canadians as anyone else, and we all deserve to have the chance to contribute to the confederation of a place we all call home. The legislature that they are creating will affect us as much as it will the law-makers themselves, so I think that it is really important to not over look the rights of minorities while creating the legislature of confederation.
Though I have great hopes for confederation, I do not think that equal rights for all in Canada will be a reality for quite some time. Though this confederation is more civilized than others (the American’s for example) it does not mean that it will include more forward laws. Though there is inclusion of French Canadians in negotiations, not everyone has been given a voice, and this means that the population of Canada will not be equally represented in government. This is a hard reality. There is still a lot of misogyny and racism in our society in this day and age, and there is not a lot I can do as a 15-year-old girl here in Montreal.
I have written several times to the local newspaper in response to some articles, but none of my letters to the editor have been published. I have written in about misconceptions, stereotypes, and falsehoods written in the newspaper about women. My sister sometimes says that it is hopeless to write in to the newspaper about those matters, but I insist on continuing to writing, to continue to try my best to break down the stigma around minorities so that we can have a real voice in confederation and real power to create change.
The Quebec conference is coming to an end today, and though I feel very happy that confederation is becoming a reality, I feel hopeless that there is not a lot I can do so that minorities are represented in the future government in Canada.
I hope to make a difference in the future, I have said for a long time now that when I grow up, I would like to go into politics, but right now, it is a rather un-realistic dream.
I have joined a running clinic at Kinetic in Port Moody, however, I have found out this week that because I have joined the half marathon program, it does not start until April 29th. Once I join, I will go running twice a week with a professional and a group. As a part of the program, a professional will also help me figure out what gear works best for me while training and racing. I really like that extra add on, I think that it will be very helpful to know what gear is best for my needs an price range. I once had a bad experience using a pair of shoes that were too small for me while jogging and some of my toenails fell of as a result; I hope to avoid that situation in the future.
I have been lagging behind a bit with my training. I have not had as much time lately to go running. For the past two weeks instead of running 4-5 times a week I am only running 2-3 times a week. I still do at least one day of hills for strengthening my legs and one day of distance to build up my endurance; however, I have not been doing all of my speed training. I am not happy that I have not done as much as I wanted to over these past two weeks; but on the other hand it has been very busy and it has been difficult to find an hour a day or more to jog. I think that my pace is still pretty good, and by focusing a bit more on strengthening my legs now, I will be able to run faster in the future.
I have continued to look for mentors through family friends and the running clinic but have not found people who are willing. Training for a half-marathon is very time-consuming and it is a difficult process. It is difficult to find someone who is willing to basically train a long side me. I am pretty sure that once I begin the running clinic however, that the professional there would be willing to be my mentor. When I went to the store front I talked to some of the trainers there and asked if they could mentor me before the clinic starts, but was unsuccessful. Most trainers are very busy and could use the same time mentoring to instead mentor a paying client. It has been disappointing to come up empty handed once again, however, I am hopeful that a family friend may be able to guide me or that I will get a mentor once the running clinic starts.
Difficulties / Goals
Though running is an individual sport, there are a lot of benefits to training with a partner or in a group such as: keeping each other accountable, giving each other helpful advice from observations running together, and being able to relate to at least one other person who is going through the training process as well. I think that my experience is not as rich as it could be as, right now, I am going through the training process by myself. I think that by finding some friends to train with, at the very least, would be helpful. Ideally, I would find a mentor that I could train with; that would be extremely helpful. I think that right now, I am struggling with my speed training and have hit a rut; I am not improving as much as I would like in that area and I think that running with someone who has insight on the issue may help. Though I have read about the topic, it is difficult to put it in practice all the time.
I have planned to partake in some of the MEC running series races as a part of my training; however, most of the race dates coincide with practice hike days for adventure trip. Though I also get good exercise through practice hikes, it is not the same as training. This is frustrating, however, there is very little I can do about this issue. I think that the best thing to do is go to as many races as I can and adjust to do similar distances as the races on different days around the same time for a similar effect when there is a practice hike.
A Beautiful Mind
Though I do not have a mentor, I have used de Bono’s suggestions to try and convince people to be my mentor. When talking to the trainers at Kinetic, I asked them many questions about their profession and about how to train properly. I believe that asking them questions and listening has helped me gain more knowledge, but it has also helped me to form a deeper connection with them. I asked a lot of “fishing” questions to try and start interesting conversations. Through the conversations I learned more about the proper footwear for different types of running (trail running versus running on the street) and I learned that proper nutrition for training may actually look markedly different from person to person and that I need to find what works best for me and my training program. Different trainers had different outlooks on running as a sport and it was interesting to see how people can have so many different perspectives about the same topic. I really enjoyed the section of the reading this week that asked us to look at how we ask questions, how effective we are at asking questions, and suggested creative strategies to asking questions. This type of metacognitive thinking is something that I rarely get the chance to do and I think this reflection on my communication skills, especially how I ask questions, has really helped me to become more specific about my questions. I usually ask fishing questions, and this upcoming week, I want to aim to ask more shooting questions by using some of the strategies listed in the book. My favourite strategy is: #11 Ask a multiple choice question. Was this useful? I like this because I would have never thought to pose a question verbatim as a multiple choice and I am curious to see how realistic it is to do so.
I hope that everyone is doing well with their in-depth projects, I cannot wait to read all of your blog posts and see your final products!
We have started role-plays again in social studies this year, this time focusing on the Canadian confederation. I have chosen to be Henrietta Muir Edwards. This role is not as far out of my comfort zone as I would have liked to be; but I am happy that I have a role as a woman as I can better understand her struggles at the time and relate to her on a more personal level. I hope to better understand the evolution of women’s rights by studying and pretending to be Henrietta as well as the evolution of government in Canada through the role play in general. I feel very excited for this year’s role play and I hope to get more involved and embrace the twitter format more. If you want to follow the role play from Henrietta’s perspective, the twitter handle is @Henrietta_Muir.
In the following post I will be writing from Henrietta’s perspective and I will strive to do the following things…
Introduce my character before 1860.
Include date at top (journal entry style).
Explain what my character wants, what is in their way, and what they are doing to over come their obstacles.
Explain hat is going on at the time (conflicts, who they know, where they live, treaties, wars etc.).
18 December 1860
Aujourd’hui il neige, il fait froid cet hiver! Pardon my French, but this winter really has been very cold here in Montreal. Mother has bought me a new coat, not because of the cold, but because it is my birthday. The coat is very warm, it is made of wool and it has three buttons made of wood.
I am turning 11 now, and father has joked about me getting married soon; though I know that it is really not that far off. There are a lot of pressures on women in these modern times. Pressure to get married, and to please others, pressure to remain silent and passive about injustices. It really does frustrate me.
On my birthday, my family and I eat a nice meal together (mother, father, and my sister Amélia). At the table we talk about what happened around the year that I was born (1849) and what is going on this eyar.
The Act of Union took place in 1841. My parents did not like the act, they said that it “assimilated” Francophone culture and society. French was not considered an official language! There were petitions to repeal the Act. The reaction was so intense that London recognized and accepted the use of French in 1848.
This year, 1860, the Americans have begun a civil war to try and become independent from Britain. I understand why they would want to become independent; the Brits are not always the nicest people, after all, they have undermined French culture and the French language for years now. However, I don’t know if a war is the best way to gain independence.
Later in the evening, I secretly stay up with my sister Amélia and we talk about our futures. We say that we may want to create a Working Girls’ Association in Montreal one day to provide meals, reading rooms, and study classes for women. We also dream about publishing a periodical; we would call it The Working Women of Canada. It would be written by women for women. I also want to write books in my life time, about legal problems women must overcome; I would call the first book, Legal Status of Canadian Women and the second book Legal Status of Women in Alberta. My sister and I love to read Le Canadien, but there isn’t always a lot of female authors, or subjects.
We talk about growing up and getting married and having children and moving far away from Montreal as well. I want to marry a doctor, have three children, and move somewhere in the prairies, where there is peace and quite. I want to pursue women’s rights when I’m older, maybe even create a feminist organization of my own or with some friends. I know that its not technically a job, but, I feel like I should follow my passions. Amélia agrees. I think that I may even want to get into politics, really make a change in legislature. Amélia thinks that I am crazy to think that I could be in politics, especially as a woman. But I like to imagine that one day I will not only have the same rights as a man, but also the same respect and status.
There are a lot of things that I hope to accomplish in my life time, I have a lot of passion for women’s rights. I know that there will be a lot of obstacles that will stand in my way; social standards, a misogynistic system and society, the fact that I am a woman and do not have equal rights. I could write on for a long time about that topic. There are a lot of things I will have to overcome but I not only have passion, but I have drive. I have perseverance. I have diligence. Talking to Amélia and my friends about my passions has also helped me realize that I am not alone in the fight for women’s rights, there are many other girls out there, right now, who also want to fight for the same things. We have strength in numbers, and if we work together, we can achieve great things.
I look forward to the future, both the obstacles and the successes.
The introduction to the report by Parks Canada called, Unearthing the Law: Archaeological Legislature on Lands in Canada was a good insight into archaeological evidence that support the fact that people lived in Canada long before European settlers and uses helpful examples to explain these ideas. It uses archaeological evidence (on land) to show that groups of people lived in different areas of North America at different times in history. The goal of this report was to better understand North America’s history as a whole. The report is very comprehensive and well organized; if you are interested in archaeology in its relation to Canadian history, this is a good report to read.
“For at least the first 20 millennia of human occupation in Canada, no written records were kept to describe lives and events. Even after the arrival of writing, records were usually sparse in describing how our ancestors lived. Sometimes, major events were commemorated in oral traditions; but memories often fade, particularly in details of how the vast majority of any given population lived day to day. Nonetheless, Canada still has powerful tools to illuminate its own roots. Archaeological resources are Canada’s archive of its ancient and historic past.”
Here is the link to the introduction of the report: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/r/pfa-fap/sec1.aspx