GCD – Academic Skills

At the end of each semester, over the course of my high school, I’ve had time to reflect on my classes and the ATL’s for each of my subjects. Here are three ATL’s that I have shown in two or more subjects.


Research

One clear area of research done in a subject was in my Extended Essay on music, where I focused on the Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and the themes created for each of the characters. The Extended Essay is a huge research project, involving several different secondary sources, while doing my own primary research based directly off the sheet music. The secondary sources were used from various sources on the Internet such as HookTheory, which helped me understand the fundamentals of music theory, which aided me when analysing the music directly. Other sources from sites such as Britannica were used to further guide me when explaining the importance of certain musical techniques, such as tone or rhythm. A large part of the research done for my EE however was all primary and done by me. Most time was spent on annotating the sheet music, marking down certain types of chords and the emotion that they portrayed, and other musical techniques like that. This was the first time that I had ever done a research project like this, so I was able to gain various skills when it came to analysing music, something I was always interested in. When it came to secondary sources, multiple sources were used to back up the information found in order to ensure that the information was accurate. All of my sources were cited in the essay using the MLA8 format. My Extended Essay can be found here.

Another research project was the Internal Assessment for Geography. This projected involved collecting evidence and comparing it to theories. Various different sources was used in this assessment. Often information was taken from text books from class, such as talking about the characteristics of a destructive wave, while other times sources were taken from the Internet, either in text for or in picture form, such as the formation of a sand dune. Often the sources from the Internet was backed by the theories that were taught in class or in the textbooks. This was a large research project due to the fact that the evidence found had to be explained through theories, leading me to often research more about theories and ideas that I only knew the basics of. My Geography IA can be found here.


Transfer

There is one class that I have been able to connect theories and ideas from other classes into. I take biology at a standard level, while taking geography and psychology as a higher level. One unit that I’ve learned in biology is ecology. The ecology unit has a section about global warming and how greenhouse gases work. This is similar to a unit in Geography about the environment. While naturally in biology, there is more focus on the science behind greenhouse gases and global warming, whereas in geography there is more focus on the geographical consequences of global warming. However, there is a lot of overlap, and being able to transfer the information between classes is quite helpful during revision time. Along with this, techniques for writing long answer questions  that I’ve learned in geography have proven to be useful in my biology test. For one question, focusing on antibiotics, I was able to gain several extra points by following the main rule ingrained into my brain from geography – define and explain terms. Small skills like this for organisation have been quite helpful for several other subjects as well.

Another area of transfer has been between psychology and biology. In psychology there is a unit focusing on the biological level of analysis (BLOA), whereas in biology the options unit is neurobiology. In psychology, there is focus on areas such as localisation of areas of the brain, or the role of neurotransmitters such as adrenaline or dopamine. These aspects are also explored in biology, but just to different extents. In biology the development of the brain and the different sections are heavily focused on, whereas in psychology this is not as important. However, it is pleasent to see the similarities and connections between the two subjects, especially when recognising some of the aspects from one class – such as mentioning Broca’s area or neuroplasticity in biology, and already recalling the case studies or experiments towards this ideas from psychology.


Reflection

First of all, my GCD’s are one example of reflection done on several subjects and activities that are a part of my life. However, there are other cases of reflection in my school life as well.

There was much reflection done in preparation of many English assignments. Firstly, for our TransLit Essays, we had done one introduction paragraph and one first body paragraph for each of the possible books that we were allowed to write the essay on. Reflection had to be done for each of the practice paragraphs based off the grades received as eventually we would have to chose one of the essays to continue upon for our final essay. There were different aspects that had to be considered for each practice essay. I didn’t chose the essay topic solely based on which had the highest score. Instead I considered the grade, but more on how passionate I felt about the thesis of the essay, along with other factors such as organisation of the evidence. Based off this, I decided to write on my final practice essay, as it was one of the better books out of the selection, had the most interesting thesis, and had one of the better scores.

Another aspect of reflection is one that is done at the end of every semester, where students are asked to reflect upon their work and development in school and activities. By doing this every semester allows me to look back and see how much I’ve improved throughout the months, but also gives me motivation to realise where I currently am, and areas that I can continue to improve upon for the next semester. Here is one example of my reflection from the first semester of 11th grade:

I was nervous starting the IB this year, and I truly felt the pressure with my grades. But with that being said I don’t think that I’m doing too bad so far. The subjects that I’m doing best in are the Geography and Psychology, which are lucky both my HLs. These two classes, along with my other HL English Literature are the ones that I’m enjoying the most. But, when it comes to my SLs, I’m having most difficulty with Japanese and especially Maths. The level of math that I’m learning this year is completely different to what I learned in previous years, so I’m finding it difficult to adapt to the level that everyone else is at, but I think throughout the one semester I’ve worked well attempting to understand the units learned in the class. Japanese is another subject that I’m struggling in, as my Japanese level has been quite low, and I’m finding it hard to catch up to the level being expected of the class.

GCD – Personal Goal

In Grade 10, as part of the MYP, I was required to take part in the Personal Project. The Personal Project is where students work towards creating a product over a prolonged period of time. At the time, I was very interested in graphic designing and TV shows, and so naturally I used this opportunity to combine both of these interests. My goal was to learn more about graphic designing though creating 5 movie style posters that represented and advertised some of my favourite episodes from 5 different TV shows.

So with this goal in mind, this was the plan that I created for myself. Firstly, I focused solely on researching graphic designing, through various sources. I focused on looking up on Google or Youtube methods for creating movie posters, while I looked in books at different types of graphic designs, for inspiration. After using the sources, I created both my TSC, along with an action plan.

There were 3 TSC drafts, with my final one focusing on the smaller details, as my first couple were quite general and vague, such as “viewer is impressed by poster”, as “impressed” is a subjective term. Then, I included points in the TSC directed towards whether the viewer had watched the episode before or not, as this would allow me to focus certain points depending on the viewer.

As for my action plan, it was quite simple as there are not many steps towards creating posters. The action plan focused on both short term deadlines – such as asking opinions on my sketches, and long term deadlines – such as sketching the posters to creating the actual posters.

When it comes to achieving my goal, I was pretty pleased with my outcome. Here’s an extract from my Personal Project Report, where I reflected on my achievement:

“Overall I am pretty happy with the results of my final products (Appendix F). I am impressed with the fact that I actually managed to complete them, and I think the overall reaction to the posters were good, as seen at the personal project exhibition. In terms of the TSC I developed, I think that I hit some of the criteria quite well, such as “4+ posters made” as I ended up creating 5. But for the more specific and complicated criteria, I think for some posters I hit higher than with there other posters. At the exhibition, many of the viewers were impressed with the posters created, and that was one of my main criteria. Often the more popular posters were the ones that the viewers watched, and so that helped show me that I had designed the poster well, and that it portrayed the episode well. For those who had watched the episode, many times they would point to the poster and mention about how they love that episode and that TV show. For those who did not know the TV shows, they seemed interested in the posters by exclaiming that they were really well done, and I recall one person having a fright when one of my posters were presented on the computer, which was one of the emotions I wanted to portray in some of my posters. All the posters were related to the episode, and I think that they did not spoil the episode. There was one poster however, the Almost Human one, that I feel did not portray the episode well, and was similar to existing posters because I tried to use Karl Urban to try attract the viewers into watching it. That is a technique often used in movie posters, as famous actors or actresses encourage the viewers to watch the movie. I think with a couple of posters it was easy to understand, but also with the Almost Human poster it was hard to tell what the TV show or the episode was about. With the other posters, it was easy to understand what the general plot or story of the TV show or episode was, as the images were more precise. But I think overall, the posters hit the high points on the TSC I had created.”

As for reflecting, looking back on the project, I’m glad that I was able to do it as it helped me enhance my creativity skills, seen through various pages in the yearbook, but also helped prepare me for the IB, especially in terms of the Extended Essay, as this was also a project that was done over a prolonged period of time. At the time of completing the Personal Project, this is what the project meant to me:

The impact of this project was perhaps not big on the community, but it was mainly on me. But that is what initiated when I chose my global context, as I wanted to  focus on my and improving my skills. When doing this project it helped me realise the potential that I had for graphic designing. But the general project itself also impacted me. It helped to keep on striving throughout the ten months, while at times I just wanted to stop working on it, the project helped me learn to keep on working for a long time. Something I did not expect to learn from this project was to know when to take breaks. While this was a very long project in which I had to slowly keep on working on throughout time, this project made me realise that at times, my mental health is more important than trying to complete a project in a specific amount of time. My personal project helped me realise how graphic designers think, and more specifically, how those who design movie posters think. At times, some movie posters do not have a lot of thought put into them, because the money for the movie is used for other factors. Creating the posters made me realise the struggle that designers might potentially have to go through.

For more evidence of the Personal Project, please see here for my Personal Project Report.

GCD – Community Engagement + Digital Citizenship

Please listen to the audio reflection here.

An official description of Tag Wrangling from the website is:

“Sorts and organizes tags on the Archive of Our Own according to the Archive’s Tag Wrangling guidelines, linking related tags together for better filtering and searching, while allowing users to tag their works however they prefer.”

Solving a problem with a character tag with a Co-Wrangler

Solving a problem with a character tag with a Co-Wrangler

Working with a Co-wrangler about a problem with a relationship tag.

Working with a Co-wrangler about a problem with a relationship tag.

Part of the Intermediate Stage of learning how to wrangle

Part of the Intermediate Stage of learning how to wrangle

My current homepage of the fandoms that I wrangle.

My current homepage of the fandoms that I wrangle.

GCD – Management

There are two positions that I’ve held in two different activities that have shown my responsibility in managing groups and events. This can be seen in my contribution as Vice-Officer, therefore the Elections Officer during the President and Vice-President elections, and as an editor in the 2015-2016 Chowa Yearbook Team. I have been in both of these activities since Grade 6 until Grade 12.

 


Elections Officer 2015-2016

As the Vice-Officer of the Student Council 2015-2016, I was also the Elections Officer during the election term as I decided to not run for any position. During this time I worked with another council member, and to work out many different details to ensure that the elections ran smoothly.

Firstly, dates had to be organised for a series of events that annually take place during the election season. This involved setting the dates for the class elections, the nomination forms being submitted for the presidential/vice-presidential candidates, for when campaigning begins, the final speeches for the presidential/vice-presidential candidates, the final voting, and then the meeting for the new student council. Communicating with the one of the Student Council supervisors, we worked out the dates and informed the administration.

Secondly, we had to focus on creating the scenarios to give to the candidates. Scenarios are given to challenge the candidates, and allows the voters to see the way that think, and how they’d react to situations as either the President or Vice-President. It was felt that the scenarios of the previous year were not serious nor realstic, and therefore didn’t represent the Student Council properly. The finalisation of the scenrios was done during a lunch time and here’s an example of one for the president:

A broadcaster has gone home to parents explaining that next year, the school day will be extended to 5 o’clock, before after-school activities. After hearing about it from their parents, a number of students are upset about the change and are threatening to go on strike. They are rallying support. What would you do to represent them?”

Thirdly, smaller details, such as the order of candidates or the order of the official day was finalised, along with writing the script for the actual day. It was decided that the Vice-P would go first, seeing as there was only one nominee. Then the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. After the President candidates were to give their speeches, with the order to be selected at random beforehand. After the speeches, questions could be asked, and then an introduction to the scenarios was given. Then after each candidate answered their scenario, the audience was allowed to ask general

Hosting the Presidential Speeches with Kate. M

Hosting the Presidential Speeches with Kate. M

questions to the candidates. During this time, the presenters–me and the other student council member–had to select members from the audience based on grade, as we didn’t want to focus on one grade in particular. The script can be found here.


Chowa Yearbook Editor 2015-2017

Being a Yearbook Editor  for two years has really pushed my dedication to this group. In the 2015-2016, Yearbook ran twice a week, from 4-6. However, as an editor, when we had meetings for the editors they would often run past 6 o’clock on a school evening. This proved to be tough, but I didn’t particularly mind because I enjoy helping out the Yearbook team, because everyone looks forward to it at the end of the year. This dedication was really important in the time when the Yearbook was due to be sent to the publisher, as many pages were unfinished. This required me to stay everyday after school for many many hours, checking which pages were in, editing pages, and more. This time was stressful, but we managed to complete it in the end .

One aspect that I was in charge of was the communication between the school’s literary magazine group and the Yearbook group, as we wanted a collaboration in which they would help write up some parts of the Yearbook. I initiated this with the supervisor of the activity, and we’re still working together now, in which I am still the spokesperson between the two groups.

This year, 2016-2017, I’m one of the senior editors, which is one of the most important positions as the seniors are given a large proportion of the book. Along with this, the senior editors are given the responsibility to ultimately control and organise the majority of the book, such as choosing the theme, colours, and more. So far it’s going so good, except the actual test will be during the week that the yearbook is due. The Senior Editors have talked to the seniors again about their pages, and it’s been a very organised system.

GCD Communications – Multilingual

Please listen to the audio post here for my reflection, and there is something that I’d like to add. I’m fascinated by the way that language works, and so being around various types of languages is something that I truly appreciate in my daily life, and I hope that in the future I still try keep Japanese and my other languages in my life. My Duolingo account can be found here. An elaborated audio file is found here.

Global Perspectives

Throughout the years, I had done a couple of activities that give me more perspective in global issues.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREdsc05903

Firstly, in the 9th grade, we went to Phuket, Thailand, and one of my most memorable moments of that trip was being able to help clean up and build a school in a Burmese refugee camp. This moment was quite important to me as I had not really realised that how lucky I was to be studying in YIS and in Japan. It made me understand and realise that not everyone is lucky as I am, and while I had known this before, it gave me a reality check about the whole situation in the world about those who are not as fortunate.

In the school, we helped clean up, and repaint it. I helped mainly with the repainting of the walls. While other students helped paint a design for the one wall, I helped with just the simple painting of one colour. Firstly, I helped by painting the outside of the school, by repainting the doors and the walls. And after the outside was done, we moved into the classrooms and painted the inside. The entire experience is something I had never been through, and really opened my mind up especially when we got to see the children come to school and work with them.

This experience reminded me of how lucky am I to be in a lifestyle that allows me for an good education, where everything I need is available. Along with this, this trip showed me that Thailand is not only beaches and resorts –  there is the other side of it, that is so often ignored by tourists. It’s a reminder for me that because some countries have a luxury side to them, it’s too easy to forget that there are so many that are less fortunate, and don’t get the support that they deserve.


My seating at the conference.

My seating at the conference.

Another more recent trip I’ve been on that opened my global perspectives was the MUN trip to IASAS in Bangkok, from November 12 to the 14th. I was the delegate of Sierra Leone in the Human Rights Council, so from the beginning I had to keep my mind open as Sierra Leone had different opinions of the topics then I did. The three topics were: the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, the question of increasing the economic, social and political inclusion of women and the question of treatment of protesters by security forces. Through research and multiple drafts of my speeches, I realised that my personal views had to be discarded for the next couple of days, to accurately represent Sierra Leone. After giving the opening speech to the council, the delegates separated into groups for one of the topics, and prepared to create resolutions for the topic chosen.

I had chosen to focus on the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, and worked with countries such as Qatar, Sudan, and Cuba. Through creating the resolution, I understood how certain types of governments might work through saying one thing but saying the other. I felt this because this was the Human Rights Council, and humans deserve the right of freedom of speech. But, not all countries, such as Sierra Leone, want to achieve this due to the want of controlling the population. Because of this clauses had to be written in a way that the submitters’ countries would agree with, with the other delegates (not a part of the resolution) would not find suspicious and not morally right.

Later on in the conference when we debated all the resolutions, there had been situations in which my personal views had to be placed aside in order to accurately represent the situation in Sierra Leone – such as with women empowerment, where a strong argument was that by banning certain practices, such as female genital mutilation, insults the country’s cultural practices. Arguments such as this occurred throughout the conference and it allowed me to really understand the different situations that occurs in less economically developed countries.

Through seeing situations first hand in Phuket, or representing an LEDC that is so different to my own country, I’m able to have a broader view of the different types of lives that occur in different countries.

An elabroated audio file is found here.

Media Fair

In the Grade 10 English classes, we’ve been learning about media, and the way that it effects society. We focused mainly on the different portrayals of topics and how they were shown through different types of media. At the end of this unit we held a media fair, where each student chose a controversial topic, and analysed different types of media. The student had to analyse the intended audience, the perspective of the media, and how they represent that perspective.  This media fair was hosted on June 4th, on Thursday.


 May – Little Red Riding Hood

One of the posters I analysed was May’s, who focused on Little Red Riding Hood in them media. Little Red Riding Hood is a popular and famous children’s story, with a very clear moral of “don’t talk to strangers”. However, May had focused on different types of medium on this topic. She included a politically correct version of the story, a digital drawing, a children’s cartoon, an online TV show, and a song. The two that interested me the most was the political cartoon, and the TV show called RWBY.

Politically Correct Little Red Riding Hood by James Finn Garner

This was one of the interesting mediums for me because it was weird to read the story in such a view. And as someone who is a feminist, it was interesting to read the folktale that incorporated very extreme views of feminism. This was shown through writing women as “womyn” as to not include the word “men”. Other comments throughout the story only proved how far it was going to be politically correct. The story itself seems to be from a feminist’s point of view, but instead going very extreme in their views that it almost sounds more like misandry than actual feminism. Also throughout the story the comments spoken from the characters seem incredibly out of character, and very forced, which adds to the comedy feeling of the overall story.

RWBY “Red” Trailer by Monty Oum (Roosterteeth)

As someone who is a big fan of RWBY, I was naturally more interested in this source compared to the others. Though I have watched the entire series, and know that the majority of the characters are based off of fairytales and folktales, I had not stopped to think about what that really meant. However, May’s points about the Red Trailer were really interesting, but also made a lot of sense. Throughout the trailer, Ruby, who is based off of Red Riding Hood, is killing wolf monsters, called beowolves. Now this is interesting and different compared to the typically known story. Because in the folk tales Red Riding Hood is seen as a helpless naive little girl, who can’t protect herself from the evils in the world. However, in this trailer it is quite the opposite. While Ruby looks innocent and young, it is soon shown that she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve, and goes on to kill all of the beowolves.


 

Markus – Punk Rock

Another poster that I took a look at was Markus’ about the music genre: Punk Rock. This topic I found just interesting in general, because it was something I didn’t think about in this project, but as someone who listens to the occasional punk rock song, I was intrigued by the different types of media that portrayed punk rock genre in different ways. He included a movie, a political cartoon, a song, manifesto, and a blog post.

What really interested me was the movie, and I’m planning to watch this in the future perhaps. This movie focused on what the stereotype of punks were, and how that changed over time throughout the movie. I found this very interesting as I hadn’t known that such a movie existed. I was not aware that there were such conflicting sides to punk rock as a topic, and so many of the sources looked from the different perspectives of this topic.



Touko – Body Dysmorphic Disorder

I found this topic incredibly interesting. I understood that often people would have bad views about their body, and that could often lead to depression and anorexia, but I hadn’t realised that this disorder was an actual thing that people went through. The types of sources Touko focused on were a trailer, an article, a TV show episode, and a song.

There are many interesting aspects of this topic. This disorder is not very well known, so a lot of the time when I was looking at this poster I was trying to get my mind around how it works and what exactly it is. I learned that this disorder is when people focus on their little imperfections, so much to the point where it just plagues their entire day, and it’s all that they can focus on.

A trailer for a documentary was one of the first times that this disorder had really been explained, especially by BBC. This documentary focused on a young women and her experience with this disorder. The entire thing seems very intense as she suffered with several different types of negative emotions for a very long time. The article described people with this disorder as being “preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see.” Which is also very interesting as these people suffering are suffering ultimately over something that doesn’t exist, but exists to them.

 

PE Dance Plan Evaluation

In PE we had to plan our own lesson to teach a dance to half of the class. I partnered with Aude, and together we taught a hiphop dance routine. Together we planned out our aims, warm up, and then the final routine, on a Google Document that we later on shared with the students. Both the warm up and routine were found on YouTube, but together we had to find the perfect warmup and routine that allowed us to fully teach our aims – energy and timing.

I think that my planning was effective overall, because I knew what had to be done. This way I was able to be organised throughout the entire time, and let things move from one activity to another. Along with that, as I knew what exactly had to be done we managed to finish everything on time, with everything that had to be done, finished. The planning allowed me to know what was supposed to be done, so it was then easier for me to see if someone was actually doing the activity properly or not.

I think my strongest teaching component was being comfortable and confident with everyone. As the class being taught were my peers, I didn’t mind going up to them personally and asking how the dance was going. Along with that, I was able to speak to the class as a whole, and not be afraid to tell them to stop doing something that wasn’t correct, or tell them that they needed to improve on something.

My weakest teaching component was perhaps being too nice or lenient. Originally we had planned that we were going to make the students create a part themselves at the end, but when looking at the time we decided that it was there choice. This resulted in no one doing it, while they could have had the time, or people fooling around during this creation stage. Instead of this, perhaps we could have said either to do one or the other, not allow them to choose. But I think overall being nice was alright, as it didn’t bring any fuss among the students.

As mentioned before, one of the challenges was trying to make the students focused towards the end when we allowed the studnets either create their own moves, or continue practicing the dance. Because some of the students weren’t doing either and were just talking to each other or sitting with each other. But we solved this by going up to them and asking them what they were doing, and if they were just gonna continue practicing or creating their own part. But this may have been due to another problem, in which we could have used a little more time in the end, but it turned out alright.

I think that I’d use the video for the routine again, and especially with going up to the students throughout and asking them how they were doing, and if they needed any help or such. But instead of having the warmup as a video, perhaps I would create my own so I can have some more connection with them in the beginning, instead of allowing them to be using the laptops and videos throughout the entire lesson.

I think the happiest part for me was when we made everyone dance their parts together just to see where everyone was, that they all did really well, and nearly aced the dance already. It was great to see them be able to dance the piece properly, and well.

Everything went mainly to plan, except for the ending in which we wanted everyone to preform in their pairs [but we just made them preform as an entire class] and that we also wanted people to create their own dance for the ending, but in the end just allowed them to do it if they wanted to.

 

Book Trailer – The Blood of Olympus

One of the books I had read that I recommend is the final book in the “The Heroes of Olympus” series by Rick Riordan, The Blood of Olympus. After reading the first Percy Jackson series, and this series, I’m sad to see it go, because I have always been a fan of Rick Riordan since I was a child, and his greek/roman mythology stories are always going to be my favourites. While there are some factors that I am a little annoyed with, I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice the ending is, and I can gladly admit that I did shed a few tears at the end of it.

For those who don’t know, this is a second series to the Percy Jackson series. Each of these series have 5 books in them, and if you’re going to start reading books by Rick Riordan, I recommend starting with The Lightning Thief, and working your way through the greek mythology books to this one. It’s a story full of action and adventure, with heartfelt moments about difficulty with family and love. While certain parts can be cliche, I continue to always enjoy Rick Riordan’s writing style, and can’t wait to see some more of his work.

 

 

The trailer that I made for this book can be seen here:

And the books that I have read on Shelfari are here: