The past two tasks for my English 9 class were analytical presentations on cartoons. The first being based on a formative poster/ad and the other a summative editorial cartoon.
For the former I analyzed a US propaganda poster from World War I, titled “Destroy This Mad Brute”. I did not do enough preparing and rehearsing which ultimately resulted in me having to read off of a script, and while I did not realize how obvious it was when I kept looking down, everyone else who watched my presentation pointed it out. With the second task – where I analyzed a political cartoon on President Trump’s acquittal, named “Acquittal on 5th Avenue” – I learned my lesson (after all, it’s a summative!) and practiced ahead of time, eventually memorizing the entire script (though I did end up stuttering a little).
To add on, I improved on my organization. For the first task I had no “flow” whatsoever. In our class Zoom meeting, Ms. Wong addressed the common issue among of presentations of repetition and how that resulted in our videos being lengthy, bland, and messy. Instead of putting the techniques mentioned in random order, I sorted them out to the point where each slide would have a “linking technique” between to act as a transition (eg. “[…] is a use of symbolic images” *flip page* “[…] and speaking of symbolic images, […] is an example of that too”).
I’ve never struggled with the actual analytical aspect of analytical pieces; I find it rather soothing and pleasurable, in fact. And the secret is to dig deep, as even the smallest details can be used to aid your claim.
What I find difficulty in is organization. I find it crazy hard. All my literary pieces reflect this, even my essays. For some yet-to-be-discovered reason, I really struggle to pinpoint ideas and to lay them out in a logical and orderly manner. For example, I was writing my supplemental essay for a summer school and decided to let my parents take a look for some feedback, and they both reflected back to me how the flow was odd and confusing. This lack of control on structure has made writing so much more difficult to me than it should be.
The Interdisciplinary Unit (will be referenced as IDU for short further on) is three-week system developed for the students to contemplate, create, and collaborate (It’s 3Cs! They sound strange together but I tried hard). This year, our challenge was to “design a solution (product, system, campaign) that will make ISB more inclusive for a specific group of people” (copied from assessment document).
My IDU team Baguette and Eggs consisted of three members: Jiyu, Ronan, and of course quite obviously myself. None of us were familiar with each other at first, but our personalities didn’t make it hard for us to merge and develop into a team together. The unit started off with our team creating group norms for all of us to go by in the following weeks. Each of us had something to contribute and I made sure that it was very clear that everyone was going to take their own part in the group and care for their individual responsibilities; this had its pros and cons. Basically, the workload was distributed in equivalent portions, meaning that no one wrote the script for anyone else or anything, but team members could still put a small amount of time into the work and present not-up-to-standard material, meaning that the overall team product would seem a little sloppy. If I had a chance to do this again, this would be our team norms in order of importance:
Know your responsibilities (complete work with high quality by due date).
Actively participate in group discussions.
Work should be equally distributed.
Communicate with maturity/respect others through WeChat group.
When conflict arises between team members, we initially will negotiate to make a deal and if further help is required we will consult a teacher/mentor.
If one team member is absent on any given day, he/she may attempt work from home, and when the above option isn’t available the other members may split the extra workload.
Personally, I would rate myself a satisfactory-exemplary on the student as a learner; in fact, I would rate all of my team members that grade. Even though, as said above, some team members put less effort than others, everybody improved themselves in the process. From barely completing work and procrastinating all day long (we were terribly behind at first – no even having a target audience when some teams had their solutions ready), our team started video conferencing for hours and hours and often stayed well past midnight.
But coming back to a self-analysis, I think my strengths would be organization and leadership. I tried my best to announce homework in our WeChat group and created/managed a Onenote for better organization (thanks to Ronan for the idea). My weaknesses are obvious – I procrastinate way too much and am not very good with helping others (which Jiyu is good at).
Honestly, I would rate this experience an 85/100, mostly because of my team. Our team atmosphere was never tense and most obstacles were easily overcome with a little bit of communication. We’ve all gotten to be good friends through the process.
Barry: My four-year plan is to hit the ground running with a strong foundation in the first three quarters, synergizing from the word Go, and by 2020 have fully reinvented our relationship using a game-changing, scalable approach to seamless integration.
How exactly do I plan to accomplish this? I’ll tell you:
Giving 110 percent.
Pushing the envelope.
Squaring the circle.
And finally…making sure we call ahead if one of us is going to be late for a movie or something.
Girl: I do have one question.
Can you tell me how it’s possible that I’ve actually had worse dates than this one?
Barry: (confidently) they didn’t use pie charts, huh…?
Barry – It is actually directly stated in the script that he is dressed “all business”, hence the reason for the fancy suit and complex layers, though it was what I would have given him anyways. Barry is a self-assured, assertive, and ever so slightly cocky man. His personality is so dominant that it outshines all other characteristics of him, which is why I chose to not add any other accessories on – there would be no point though it wouldn’t actually clash with his perky personality traits – aside from the blue handkerchief. I gave Barry a red tie because he obviously had a strong personality and a forceful voice and huge ambitions; he was literally the symbolization for dominance, which is what the color red is known for. The blue handkerchief only existed because I pictured him as a well-planned, sophisticated man but at times quite effeminate; if he could write a PPT on his four-year plan with this stranger girl while still possessing that confident, sassy tone, of course he would bring a handkerchief to his first date. I was reluctant to give Barry an overexaggerated costume, because it was evident that although he did seem halfwitted due to his whole excessive speech, he had some sort of sense. He knew that when his date was going to slip off to the ladies’ room and came face-to-face with Guy, she had absolutely no means to come back, and so he accordingly asked for check right after. As a result, in the end I decided on a tone-down but still deluxe suit for Barry.
Girl – Compared to Barry’s personality traits in the text, the unnamed girl’s character was much more mute. She was certainly smart with her slip away to the bathroom, she was definitely pretty – or at least her style of fashion was pretty decent – considering Barry’s satisfactory responses, and she was straightforward, with no hesitance to show her disliking for Barry. The combination of the three I associated with blue, and to be more precise, denim blue (which is the one only color of coloring pencils that I could not find in my house, thus the lighter and brighter blue in the rendering drawing). I estimated her age to be on the slight higher side, or else she probably would not have chosen to come attend this almost “speed-dating” occurrence nor would she have said to Barry “can you tell me how it’s possible that I’ve actually had worse dates than this one? “which implies that she had already been on several. This is the reason why I chose to not give her a cute short dress; I felt as if she was already far worn out past that pinky cute girl phrase. From her enthusiasm at the start with the exclamation mark at the “Hi! “I assumed that she came to the date with genuine and hopeful intentions which is why I stayed away from the plain white t-shirt with jeans and decided with a dress on the slightly longer side. The high heels originated from the ideas above that she treated this occasion as a semi-formal one yet didn’t want to overdress. Ultimately, I gave her a denim blue past-knee length dress with light blue and white chiffon and plain black high heels.
I recently completed my costume design of two characters from Check Please: Take 3, Scene 10. The plot consists of three characters, two of which – Barry and the girl – I focused on and surrounds the occasion of an awkward first date between Barry and the girl. The two rendering drawings above were created upon my imagination of what I pictured the two to look like.
This costume design unit, though short, has really taught me a lot on creativity and text interpretation and has helped me develop my actual drawing skills. It has also educated me on the actual details and process of creating a product and has helped me confirm the difficulties as a costume designer.
As the semester is coming to a close, I just had to announce that I will be forever genuinely grateful for this semester in Stagecraft with my teacher and peers and will never forget the knowledge learnt here. I’ve developed a sincere interest in costume designing and will continue this practice for hopefully years on. Thank you to everyone.
Personally, I felt pretty good about my claims/interpretations on “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” – although I only shared the major idea of Junior having unattainable dreams. This short novel is certainly one that has A LOT to be talked about, and I think that, solely based on the socratic seminar, that I was not able to share enough to say now that I did good.
Criterion B: Understanding of the Use and Effects of Stylistic Features
In this particular socratic seminar, I did not share anything around the use and effects of stylistic features.
Criterion C: Speaking and Listening
Out of consideration for personal benefits, I definitely prefer smaller socratic seminar groups (like last time). This time’s groups were – despite being random – still a little uneven, and of course everyone was dying to talk in order to receive a good grade. In some topics I didn’t have a lot to say, and even in the topics in which I did have a lot to say, I didn’t have many opportunities. Some of my main points, such as Junior’s “coming-of-age”, I did not get a chance to share.
Criterion D: Language
“Like”s and “um”s were quite common when I talked, especially because I “blanked out” at times for a little bit and couldn’t find anything else as “fillers”. Next time I’ll try to structure my sentences a little before I speak.
This socratic seminar has further challenged me to ask more questions and share more personal thoughts. My teammates were overall-y great (I’ve been loving the team arrangement lately) which has encouraged me to be more active. I was able to put forward open-ended questions and answer other people’s (Maxim loves asking people questions). I believe smaller groups is the key to getting more self participation as it, in-a-way, forces you to speak up when all others are silent (I say “self participation” because some people still like staying mostly silent, not contributing to overall team participation).
Further Improvement (“to be”s):
Later on I would like to develop a “sharper” and deeper perspective on the book itself and to take better-quality annotations. I have a decent understanding on theme but perhaps not enough clarity on evidence, an example being when a peer asked “is identity is formed by personality or surroundings” (something along those lines) I did not have enough textual evidence to back up my claim of “both”.
As someone born into a “white-supremacy” world, I was one who developed a state of mind in which it was acceptable for those with white skin color to perform acts that were perhaps not so glamorous. But, as your age gains years, you gradually learn to develop your own thinking methods through thousands of turning points, and it just so happens to be that this TEDtalk was one of them. I was taught of the, um, I don’t want to use the nasty word “misfortune” or “suffering” – I’ll leave that word blank for now and come back later when I find the right turning point to teach me the correct term – that Native Americans had went through, and it was life-changing.
*What realizations do you have about the novel’s characters, plot, themes, and symbols now?
To be honest, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” isn’t exactly specified on the realistic hardships of a Native American. Sure, they talk about the white doctor and so and so, but really everyone in this story (mostly) are kind and loving and the story ends with everyone happy as a big family (apart from Grandma, Eugene, and Mary Runs Away haha) – but of course, this is a young adult story. Thought of together with this TEDtalk allows me to create a broader and more realistic view on the lives of past and current Native Americans which helps me to understand the alcoholism and “bonds” (not allowing “treason”) in the Native American society.
*How does this TEDtalk help you better understand some of the context for Alexie’s portrayal of the fictional Wellpinit Reservation and Junior’s life?
The Native American story is one that is rarely ever told or seen. To think of, the majority of educated people out there could go on talking for a little bit on the Auschwitz concentration camp or the Nanking Massacre, but aside from “oh, they were treated unfairly”, how much do people actually know about America’s native prisoners? This TEDtalk opened a gate for me, a gate that led to the real, harsh world.
*Why do you think Alexie chose to write a young adult novel instead of something aimed at an adult audience?
Young adults are usually going through significant points of change in their lives, which only just adds to the connections they’re able to make. Teens are every bit just as complex as adults and can be just as demanding. But really, this book can be enjoyed by all age levels (just not below 13 years of age).
book: “The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie (yes, the one with sexual harassment allegations)
I think I’ll get used to this soon, it’s actually quite nice.
My brain works great in this environment. I’m so glad I did this.
The door’s jammed.
My phone’s battery was dying and I had just realized I had forgotten a charger. I went to unlock the door, but I couldn’t. Hopefully someone will come check up on me soon.
I have enough food and water to last for a long time.
No one’s gotten here yet. I’m starting to get worried.
But Anne arrived. She got here a few hours ago, and we’re really getting along.
Still stuck here.
Anne is starting to get annoying. She won’t stop talking and refuses to show up.
in my head?
Anne’s still talking.
I miss my dog.
She wants me to bang my head against the wall.
I have lost track of time
I don’t know what to do know
I think Anne will stop talking soon
But before then, I want to leave a little something, for whoever finds me later on
I was a strong business women, cold to the heart, hating the world for its disorder. In this world of chaos, I craved for a mute button, a place that would keep me forever safe from the noise, so I locked myself in a chamber with food and water supply for months. I only wanted to stay two months here, but the door got jammed and the lock got stuck. At first, I wasn’t anxious about it, none of my friends or family members knew about this little break I was taking, they’d have to come searching for me soon. But no one has come. I have been stuck here for a long time, too long. The quieter the room, the more things I hear. I hear my heart beating, my lungs breathing, and most of all, the voices inside my head. In this dead-silent chamber, I am the sound. I don’t know what I’ll die first of, starvation, thirst, or insanity.
NIGHTMARE WORLD – REFLECTION
Designer Concept and Elements of Design
There are a lot of sounds you cannot hear in your everyday life, scientifically termed as ‘infrasonic sounds’. These very sounds can lead you to fear and depression and sometimes may also lead you to imagine supernatural things which may just be nothing but the vibration of your eyeball. This is the case of Ms. Sally Willston, the protagonist in my nightmare world. Unlike the stereotypical nightmare world (absolutely nothing wrong to it though) with gore and limbs and all that stuff, Sally is going through her own difficulties, happening in her brain. I loved the concept of a white, pure, silent room while the person inside was going through the exact opposite; the contrast was stunning. A lot of this isn’t exactly portrayed directly in the project itself, but with the white walls, plain bed, existing-but-not-open door, and the marked off days in red on the walls, you can probably guess half of it.
A professor in a horror screenwriter workshop once said this about horror as a genre:
Most of the best horror films work because the characters have a story that would work if the horror element was omitted. That story doesn’t have to necessarily be something we’d like to watch, but its presence means that the character has a dynamic that is not generic or merely thrown in there, but part of what the character wants and is dealing with.
For instance, take out the shark in JAWS and you have a story about a sheriff trying to fit into a community that doesn’t accept him and the difficulty of that. Take out the devil from the Exorcist and it’s a movie about a mother who is trying to deal with her daughter’s issues.
The professor also said that most really good horror films (he mentioned It Follows and The Babadook) draw their horror not just from universal fears, but from modern society.
Success and Room for Improvement
I didn’t really have a complete idea at first, but as everyone else drove straight in, I thought I’d follow on. Luckily, the more I got into my project, the clearer of an idea I had. I soon decided that this was going to be a brain-mess-up kind of thing, with my protagonist driven crazy with complete silence and absolute loneliness. It was going to teach a story, that people need company to survive and that too much of anything is bad. As I was putting the finishing touches on my project, I instantly came up with the back story of my protagonist. Ms. Sally Willston, a businesswoman driven with work and wanting some quiet alone time. I’m quite proud of it.
Unfortunately, compared to the slim list of success, the “room for improvement” isle has grown increasingly long.
Wasn’t planned out at all from the start. There was a very frantic phrase where I didn’t really know what to do.
Every single time I look at my product itself I sigh at the lack of detail. I somehow could not be bothered to look for a thin brush, so I took the first brush I laid eyes on and randomly painted the calendar on the walls. So awful.
Lacks a lot of creativity. Looks really bland.
A lot of things weren’t thought clear. How was the spider webs going to be portrayed as on stage? How big is the bed? Do I really only want a bloody calendar as the background?
But overall, decent first project.
When I saw this for the first time, my jaw literally dropped in awe. It perhaps isn’t the most clear in this photo, but the detail on this lizard head is absolutely stunning. I could totally see this happening on stage – I can even picture the plot! – it actually seems like something created from the hands of a professional stage set maker. Kudos to you. I will definitely learn from this and be more attentive to detail in future projects.
The biggest challenge that we were met with this week is that whilst understanding topics may be simple, explaining and teaching it to others is not (so kudos to you, Khan). Due to considerations about time (an excuse for not being skilled enough to explain things concisely), our video didn’t cover topics in depth – we just skimmed them over briefly – and so it resulted in our video not being understandable enough :(.
Inspiration – Me and my team member @DorotyDu (spelled wrong intentionally) have always shared a common interest in economics. During the FA launch of Ignite Week, we instantly went eye-to-eye and decided to make our project based on macroeconomics. Simple as that.
Challenges – As the name macroeconomics suggests, it’s about big scaled economics, revolving around inflation, politics, trade, etc. And so, of course it is a little bit difficult to comprehend, but we do persist and carry on (with the help of chips and A LOT of brain breaks).