Historical Thinking: new Socials Studies Semester

How can history help us to live in the present?

The most important question to be considered is how history can help us live in the present, because it directly relates the past to ourselves. As said by the German poet Goethe, “he who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand-to-mouth.” Goethe was someone who was very learned, and he was able to apply his knowledge to his lifestyle. Somebody living from hand to mouth does not have the time to consider the past or make ethical judgements about people of the past. There are also repercussions for past actions that need to be considered. And using the past as a springboard, we are able to make more informed decisions so as to not repeat history. Using this question as a guideline for this year’s Social Studies class will create challenging questions regarding morals and allow for a very interesting class.

In-Depth post #3

This week, I moved up to the third book of guzheng. The pieces increased in difficulty, as to be expected, but I’m still keeping up. So far, this project has been going swimmingly.

I was assigned three new songs, and I have been working hard on them. I don’t have any recorded audio yet, but I’ll continue to improve on these songs. Most of the new techniques are building on ones that I already know, so once I understand the concept, it’s pretty easy to master the technique. My mentor was very impressed with my progress so far.

  1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

What went very well last week was the way my teacher taught the lesson. She taught me the techniques, made sure I knew them, then let me practice on my own for a bit. After that, she checked in on me and confirmed that I had mastered it.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

The lessons  were fun, but they still had some challenges. At times, the communication wasn’t very effective due to a language barrier. My Mandarin isn’t very good, so it was hard for me to convey what I wanted to my teacher. On the other hand, my mentor’s English isn’t the best, so a compromise had to be made, and I thought it might be good to brush up on my Mandarin skills as well.

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

Three strategies I can use for future meetings include taking notes during meetings to remember the techniques better. I can also make sure there is better eye contact between my mentor and I for open and honest communication. And lastly, I will make sure that I come prepared with more questions to ask her.

As for the next two weeks, I’ll continue practicing for the final performance and keep working hard!

Tybalt, Prince of Cats

Throughout all of Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt is referred to as the Prince of Cats for his feisty attitude. He is outgoing, energetic, and a risk-taker, which makes him an ESTP-T, or Entrepreneur who is turbulent. Upon hearing Romeo’s voice at the Capulets’ party, Tybalt says, “Now by the stock and honour of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin” (1.5 57-58). For Tybalt, rules do not matter very much, and he is willing to take risks. He misses the bigger picture and the consequences that would arise from him killing Romeo in the spur of the moment. Moreover, Tybalt is shown to be insensitive and unstructured. When Tybalt meets Romeo in the square, Romeo overlooks him calling him a villain, but Tybalt responds with, “Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw” (65-66). He challenges Romeo even though the Prince has threatened those who duel with death. In this sense, Tybalt lives for honour and very much in the moment. Tybalt lives life on the edge without deeper thought into the consequences like an ESTP.

Romeo and Juliet response

  1. Based on our readings so far, do you agree or disagree that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is one of “’infatuated children’ engaging in ‘puppy love’”? Why or why not? Provide at least two pieces of textual evidence.

In William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the love which they engage in cannot be called that of “infatuated children engaging in puppy love.” Despite her youth, Juliet proceeds with the relationship in a careful manner, telling him, “I have no joy of this contract to-night. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden” (2.2 116-118). Juliet is not impulsive, or childlike in her actions; rather, she dislikes Romeo’s sudden appearance underneath her balcony. She proceeds with caution, knowing what she is getting herself into. Romeo as well, though he seems a playboy and a flirt, is very serious on this matter. He tells Friar Lawrence his intentions, saying, “I’ll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray, that thou consent to marry us to-day” (2.3 63-64) Romeo has the intention to marry Juliet, and in his time period, divorce would have been very difficult. He loves her so much that he wishes to marry her the very next day, and in 14th century Verona this would’ve been a lifelong commitment. Romeo and Juliet are making conscientious decisions well aware of the consequences that lie ahead of them.

  1. To what extent is Kulich’s argument that Romeo and Juliet should not be viewed as children effective, or even historically accurate? Do some brief online research to back up your claim, providing links/citation to your research at the end of your response.

Kulich’s argument about how Romeo and Juliet should be viewed as mature adults proves to be historically accurate. In the 14th century, girls were eligible for marriage at the age of 12. All that was needed for the couple to not be related, consent to be given and the marriage vows to be clandestine, exchanged in public or in front of a priest. However, this argument proves to be somewhat ineffective, seeing as the original source material The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, translated by Brooke, was adapted by Shakespeare to emphasize certain themes. For example, Juliet’s age is reduced from 16 to 13 to make her seem more vulnerable and youthful. Brooke’s version had Romeo and Juliet married for several months before Tybalt died, causing their separation. Shakespeare condenses these months into a mere four days, making it seem as though Romeo and Juliet childishly rush headlong into their untimely deaths. Though Kulich’s argument stands from a historical standpoint, it may have been Shakespeare’s intention to make it seem as though Romeo and Juliet are merely “infatuated children.”


Anon, (2018). Marriage in 14th Century England. [online] Available at: https://ctlsites.uga.edu/whatthehistory/marriage-in-14th-century-england/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Cliffsnotes.com. (2018). About Romeo and Juliet. [online] Available at: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/r/romeo-and-juliet/about-romeo-and-juliet-2 [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].

Crossref-it.info. (2018). Marriage in England in the fourteenth century » The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale Study Guide from Crossref-it.info. [online] Available at: http://crossref-it.info/textguide/The-Wife-of-Bath’s-Prologue-and-Tale/30/2014?jump=h2-4 [Accessed 23 Jan. 2018].


*I know it seems like I might’ve disagreed with myself due to the discrepancies in the first and second paragraph, but I wanted to see this from all points, and not let my own opinion influence the second answer too much.

In-Depth 2018: Introduction

Immediately after In-Depth last year, I wondered about what I would do this year. Seeing as everyone in our class is fortunate enough to pursue one area of study they’re interested in, I thought a lot about my options. Of course, I wanted to do something related to art again at first, but then I thought that it might be good to try something different. After a suggestion by Yuwen, I decided to play the guzheng for In-Depth this year.

The guzheng is a traditional Chinese instrument with a history thousands of years long. I knew that as soon as I picked this as my topic I would have to put in some extra work outside the allotted five months time. It would be pretty hard to make satisfactory progress during that period, so I promptly began to learn in August. I was glad because I found my mentor almost immediately because I knew that there was guzheng classes taught in Henderson Mall.

I have to admit I was kind of embarrassed at first, because there were eight-year-olds coming in there and they were already playing at a very high-level while I was stuck at level one. However, I used to play the piano, so I had some basic knowledge regarding theory and rhythms. It’s a really interesting instrument, and it sounds really beautiful when played.

My goal is to be able to perform a guzheng quartet with prerecorded audio with Yuwen. This is a goal which will require a lot of practice and adhering to the plan I outlined for myself. But I think this is a project I’ll have a lot of fun doing, and it’s also part of my cultural heritage as well, which is really interesting. In-Depth is a unique opportunity and a very valuable one for us to take control of our own learning, so hopefully I’ll be able to use this chance wisely!



For my research, I read the first two chapters of the book Understanding Comics during yesterday’s work block. So far, it’s a really interesting read, and it made me think a lot about art and writing in the same form. I’ve always appreciated art, and enjoyed going to museums, but the idea of putting comics in a museum is kind of appalling. But comics have been around for thousands of years. The book defines them as juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians’ paintings were also a form of comic. The books usage of comic mechanics to tell the story makes it even more effective in helping the reader understand comics. It also introduced different forms of abstraction. I’ll continue reading this book even as I start storyboarding for my final project.

In this block, I also finished two storyboards, and I wanted to put them in this blog post as well as the character designs I was doing. Since I am a bit behind schedule, I’ll work really hard in the upcoming days to finish the first few pages of my graphic novel rather than writing the whole thing.

So these are the character designs! The storyboard might be linked on my blog, but since it’s pretty rough, probably not. I had a lot of fun with it though.

360 degree Leadership

Throughout our lessons with John Maxwell about 360 degree leadership, I can say that I’ve learned a lot of challenges leaders face, and myths those in the middle believe. The challenge which stuck out to me was the Ego challenge, because being in TALONS with so many talented people means that it’s easy to get buried under everyone else’s ingenuity. But applying the techniques described by John Maxwell, I can still lead to the best of my ability. I can lead consistently within my leadership project and guide the 9s to success. I should focus on my own duties, which is to help make our vision a reality, and mentor the 9s so that they can continue this event and teach it to the new grade 9s, and so on, and so forth. I will also appreciate the value of my position: I am able to talk with the other 10s as well as act as a mentoring figure towards the 9s. Like this, I think that through my leadership project, I will be able to overcome the Ego challenge.

ZIP log #1

Today I did some basic research on the features of graphic novels, and read a graphic novel for reference. The book I read is called Noragami, or Stray God in translation, and it is a comedy with the basis being the old Japanese concept of there being millions of gods. However, the story is based around the lowest-ranking god who does odd jobs at the price of 5 yen. It is a very interesting example of a graphic novel, and it exemplifies many key components of graphic novels, such as an effective use of the gutter and emanata to show their disgust at Yato, the protagonist. My reading tied in with the different features I had researched at the beginning of the block. This was where I got the basic research from. I also took some notes to help me keep these things in mind. 

Components of a graphic novel

  • Voice overs
  • Borderless panels
  • Emanata
    • Tear drops, sweatdrops, or motion lines used to portray emotion
  • Splashes
    • A panel which is the width of the page
    • If it runs entirely off the page it is called a “bleed”
  • Speech bubbles
  • Icon
  • Panels
    • The framed image
  • Gutters
    • The space between panels
    • Readers need to infer what happens between the panels
  • Style
  • Narration
  • Colour
  • Graphic Weight
  • Time
  • Foreground
  • Midground
  • Background
  • Camera Angle
  • Transitions


Noragami (Stray God)

  • Comedy interspersed between seriousness and action
  • Action to action, subject to subject, scene to scene (transitions)
  • Based on the old concept of there being millions of gods
  • Modern day fantasy setting
  • Concept of the nearshore and farshore, the line between death and life
  • Exposition: sets the scene showing how Yato operates. Introduces a side character before the main character

ZIP take two


Inquiry question: What are the main components that make a graphic novel effective?

Big Idea: Creative writers are observant of the world

I love to draw, I love to read, and I love to write. When I think of these things, graphic novels are the first thing to come to mind. I kind of hate to admit it, but I have been an avid reader of Japanese-style manga ever since middle school. I may have even had the ridiculous dream of becoming a mangaka when I grew up… which is why I wrote my own graphic novel in collaboration with a friend of mine. I wanted to take another crack at it sometime, then ZIP presented the perfect opportunity for me. 

Through ZIP I want to gain a better understanding of the graphic novels as literature, and find out what makes them so unique.  I find pleasure when I’m reading, so I’ve never really thought about the difficult things like themes when I read. I already have a good understanding of literary analysis, so I’m sure that this will help me when I take apart the novels and find what makes them effective.

By the end of our 3 weeks, I hope to be able to pen a successful graphic novel, understand the components of a graphic novel, and analyze works which are not conventional literature. I know that if I need any help with this assignment, I can ask Mr. Morris any questions that I have. As well, Phia is doing something related, so I could always find her for advice. I plan on using graphic novels across different genres as my resources, and definitely any online resources.I plan on presenting my learning in the form of a graphic novel, and probably some time-lapsed videos of my work alongside the finished product. I’ll probably describe the process that I went through to acquire these skills as well.

Plan which I really hope will work:

Dec 11: Finish analyzing (at least) 5 different graphic novels (coming up with thematic statements?)

Dec 11: Begin Storyboarding

Dec 15: Begin writing/drawing

Dec 22/during winter break: Finish the novel!

I’m so excited to get a second chance to do this, though I feel really nerdy and lame when I think about what I’m going to make my graphic novel about. But I’ll definitely have fun with this project!


Goodbye Monet- Eminent Reflection

Eminent this year was every bit as bittersweet as I had thought it would be. I can still remember when I finished Night of the Notables last year and was filled with expectations for myself to do better next year. I wonder if the past me’s expectations were met?

I’d love to say that I’m incredibly proud of myself and am satisfied with the work I’ve done, but as the eternal perfectionist, I see only the flaws in my work. This is one trait which I share with my eminent person– he was never happy with his water lilies and kept holding on to them until his eventual death. Even as I worked on my painting for the Night of the Notables, I was constantly sighing and I thought the flowers looked like simple blobs or that the sea looked like squirming caterpillars. Even as I wrote and rewrote my speech, I kept worrying.

But on the actual night of, as we got more and more pumped up, I began to feel the energy as well. It was our last time doing this– might as well enjoy it, right? But when I got on stage, my breath hitched and I actually mixed up several lines of my speech, and I could feel myself losing my grasp on something that I had already drilled into my mind. But instead of panicking, I continued on and wove the lines I had forgotten earlier back into my speech. But in doing so, my speech lost some of the emotion and sounded more rushed because of how nervous I was. Even though I feel I outdid myself from last year, I know that when I look back on this night, I’ll only think of how I forgot the lines in the middle of my speech and feel regret and shame.

As for my learning center, I think that it was an excellent improvement from last year as well. I probably put in the most hours of our whole class just working on the Garden at Sainte-Andresse. I felt so frustrated at the painting so many times that I wanted to cry. I spent much of the time painting rambling and raving, and generally being very turbulent and mildly aggressive. Thank goodness Celine (she was at Bamfield and came to in-depth last year) was there to help me through all that craziness. When I finally brought it to school, a lot of people were really impressed, and I felt like an artist for once. Being angry, unhappy, and borderline psycho where all things that Monet had also lived through while painting. But besides the painting, my focal point, my learning center had other interesting components as well.

I really wanted to make my center like Monet’s famous garden in Giverny, though I think my rendition fell a little short. I put in flowers but they were obscured by other things. Most people who stopped simply commented on the superb job I had done on my painting. I was really happy, but I felt like something was lacking. Not a lot of people participated in my interactive part as well, which was to try painting the water lilies in Monet’s style. But this is the full (hopefully immersive) tour of my learning center.

I tend to be a pessimist and focus on the negative, but there are several moments where I was so truly happy to be a part of this program. When we were backstage right before our speeches, getting pumped up, and practically yelling, there was a strong sense of community and the bond which ties all of us together. We took the time to encourage and reassure each other, all while getting ourselves hyped and ready to have the best Eminent night ever.

I’m pretty sad to see the project go– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unlike last year, I can’t say that “I’ll improve next year!” But at the same time, with all that stress, maybe I’m a little glad to see it go… or not. I’ll enjoy Eminent from the alumni side of things next year!