Are we really learning, or just knowing…

During our last few Social Studies classes, we have spent a lot of time discussing our report card marks. I am fully aware we already had a class discussion regarding the marks, but prior to that, we also had a class discussion about “influential people” and how everyone is different. So, a question that comes to my mind is, if everyone is really different, then why are we all marked based on the same criteria?  I realized that it would be a pain for teachers to have to come up with a marking criteria for every individual student. However, I also know that when I signed up for the TALONS program a couple years back as well as through continuous re-evaluation during reporting periods, I have an IEP (Individualized Learning Plan). Well, if I’m allowed to have my own learning plan, why can’t I have my own marking plan as well? That’s why we are in TALONS, because we think differently and essentially we are all different. I am extremely busy, I play a lot of sports both in and out of school. After playing multiple games, I also need some down time to to relax (although this rarely happens), but, of course I always have homework. Exceeding expectations is something I could definitely do, IF I had the time. I mean after playing two games and having a practice, not to mention, travelling to 3 different cities to do so, I’m probably not about to go ham on a blog post. Although I am very serious about doing well in my academics, athletics and community involvement are very important to me as well. I believe that successfully balancing the multiple facets of school life will benefit me most.  Learning to deal with hardships and problems will benefit me extremely for life long learning and I believe that I am doing my best considering that I have not given up all that I enjoy and I am still doing well in school. Needless to say, the fact that I have to listen to people complain about their marks for an entire class, when I could actually be learning, is valuable time wasted. I don’t understand what the big deal is if someone’s grade went from a 90% last term to 86% now, it’s still an A. Go for a run tomorrow, read a book, do something that makes you happy and lighten up a bit, you’re in grade 9 or 10. Harvard isn’t about to give you a scholarship solely based on your grade 9 and 10 marks, so chill. Everyone needs to know that yes we all signed up for TALONS, but maybe we thought it was going to be different. Suck it up, finish what you started. You can’t show up to a game, start losing 3-0 and just give up and stop trying. Take the Calgary Flames, for example, did they just give up? No, they gave the Vancouver Canucks a run for their money and won the series. Finish this program in the way you want to finish it, but just know that whenever you lose, you always win – there is always something to gain from the experience.

Now that I’ve done my ranting on my own time, here is my document of learning:

We have officially passed the halfway mark of the semester and have been discussing PLO B2 “evaluate the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815 to 1914.”

I feel like this was a very emotional topic to discuss as it involved a lot of controversy and discrimination. During one of our classes we read a booklet about the Residential schools that were put into place in Canada, and it’s such a gross thing to think about. Children were ripped away from their families just so people in power could further strive by taking away their religion and beliefs as well? When we discussed this topic in class a lot of people seemed surprised at the damage that had been done to many innocent people who attended these schools. I have to say, when I learned about Aboriginal peoples throughout elementary school and middle school we always studied their culture, art, and everything they had that made them happy. I now realize, high school is not only a big jump school wise, it’s also a big jump academically, socially and emotionally. Who knew there were so many negative impacts that Canadians had on Aboriginal peoples? We made little blankets out of felt and buttons in grade 5, now here we are in grade 10 discussing the deaths and tragedies many had to go through until 1996!!! That’s only 19 years ago, some of my peers’ siblings were born before that! It’s honestly such a terrible thing, and to think that it happened in Canada, a “free” country… it doesn’t seem so free when you hear about what has happened, but “who cares” because that was in the past? Well, most people seem to forgive and forget, but do we ever really forget? Many people were scared for their life, or ended their lives because they could no longer handle the selfish, cruel, discriminatory actions of the government. This PLO (B2) is not one that you can ever really stop learning about, as we discussed in class, there was little or no evidence on the people and protocols of the Residential schools, so the researching will never really end.

Although, residential schools no longer exist, I see many similarities in today’s schools.  The hierarchy is still here, although in a different form. I believe there are ‘groups’ of students when feel like they have more popularity and power than others. People think when they have numbers, they have power. Power to cut into lines, power to block the hallways with their “squads”, and the power to influence others to follow their beliefs or to shame others into believing they are too ‘different’. The same thing that happened to thousands of people in a huge manor, most likely happens to a person every now and then in the hallways of our schools. It’s very unfortunate that many people end their lives because they are being bullied or don’t feel right being who they are. These children who ended up in the residential schools did the same thing, they could no longer handle the pressure  of being bullied because what they believed in wasn’t the “right” thing to believe in, so some of them just left everything. Although there are many measures in place today to reduce bullying and help those who are victimized from it, it still exists.  It may not be in the same direct form as residential schools, but social media has given it new roots and it may be more prevalent than we know.

I have many questions regarding this PLO B2, and I bet my classmates have many as well. Here are some of the questions that really cause me to wonder:

Were the students that were forced to go to Residential schools mentally impacted once they graduated and got back to reality?

Were the students allowed to return to their families again?

Did any of the students ever go back to following their own religion with they got out?

Is this same thing still happening today?

I think these questions are all very good questions, but the one that I really would like to know is if similar things are happening today that are like what happened to the innocent Aboriginal people.

While discussing this PLO in class, we also covered other PLO’s such as B1, C4, and A1-3. A 1-3 are PLO’s that I think will be applied almost everyday in class, but I believe that B1 and C4 have to relate with the government’s role in all of this nonsense and how daily lives of not only the students forced to go to these schools, but also their families who must’ve suffered great losses.

Throughout this half of the semester, I hope to increase my knowledge and skills sets in all the Grade 10 Social Studies PLO’s.

amira brar



Ice Hockey In-Depth #7/8

We are not too far away from In-Depth night and I have to say I have learned A LOT about ice hockey! It has been a fun yet challenging experience that has created many memories. I started off barely being able to stop on the ice, let alone skate. Now I have become a stronger skater who doesn’t rely on the boards (as much) to stop. I have learned a lot about the fundamentals of ice hockey (skating, stick handling, positioning, defending, attacking, passing patterns, etc.) and I hope to continue learning more about ice hockey in-depth as the fall season starts. My goal at the beginning of this process was to join a spring 3on3 team and learn as I played, but then I realized ice hockey is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I then joined multiple power skating lessons as well as a hockey academy (which allows me to play 3on3 games) instead and I think this benefitted me as I learned a lot more and got a lot more 1on1 attention than I probably would’ve with a team. I’ve decided that I am too far into my project to post videos, so I’ll save those for In-Depth night! I really noticed a difference in my skating and skill as the practices went on, but the videos really show my progress throughout the practices.

My first mentor (during my power skating lessons) and I had a conversation during one of my last lessons with him. We talked about how everything went and skills I was good at  and those I needed to improve on. I recall saying I was never going to be good enough to make a rep team, but he interrupted me as I was speaking and said that as long as I kept practicing and kept my confidence attitude, I would have no troubles making a team. He interrupted and then waited until later to elaborate on what he was saying. He told me that they are many levels of teams and even if I didn’t make the “highest” and “best” rep team the first time I tried out, that I shouldn’t give up. It was a reassuring conversation that really helped to motivate me during my academy lessons.

Most of my conversations with both my mentors had a fun attitude, because they always said that it’s more important to enjoy yourself and have fun than be harsh and think about the mistakes. During every conversation, no matter how serious or game-instructed it was, they always made sure to throw in a few jokes to keep the vibes good. I probably had a learner attitude during almost all the conversations as I was always trying to learn as much as I could at every opportunity I got. Whether it be learning a new move, new terminology, or just about the history of the sport, everything interested me!

I’m really sad in-depth is almost over, but I’m also really excited for In-Depth night and to see the accomplishments my peers have made!

amira brar