Tag Archives: socials

Circle Synthes(es)

Well here we are again. As I described in my first document of learning one year ago, everything in life recurs, it comes back to us, happens again. So here is the recurrence of my TALONS Social Studies processes and learning. Now I can utilize that plural version of the word ‘synthesis’.  

In my leadoff post last year in, what was, Social Studies 10, I started off by explaining what synthesis meant, and why I had chosen it as the title for my first blog post, along with the word ‘circle’. The main description I gave to the former word is that it is the culmination of many parts and what you could call building blocks to create a whole. In this case I am taking pieces of the world, pieces of skills, and pieces of learning, and bringing them together to create who I am. So, of course, I will be continuing that journey this year. I added the word ‘circle’ because, as I previously mentioned, it all happens again and we go through those same synthesizing process multiple times in our different journeys.

In that first post, just to remind all of you, we were meant to discuss the questions that were brought up in class, “Where are we going?” and “Where have we been?” As I explained then, “There is an infinite number of ways to answer the questions…” however, I have a slightly better idea how to do so now, now that I’ve seen a bit of my future that is. I’ve seen what TALONS Social Studies looks like, I’ve seen more of what my life looks like, and I’ve seen more of what the world looks like. I made my way through “Social Studies 10” developing a better understanding of what is important to me in this world. One of the ways that helped me significantly in this process was the roleplay of Laura Secord in the Canadian Confederation studies, as well as the fictional character I created for my final presentation, John O’Callaghan. I used these characters to help myself see other perspectives in historical events and it gave me a lot of insight into what they would have felt, as well as what I would have felt in those situations.  This is something that I would like to do more of this year, possibly with the French Revolution, which I am very interested in learning about. I’m also excited for other major events in history like the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. These are all parts of history that I don’t know much about so I would love to delve deeper into some of the backstories of these and the impacts they had on the world.

A key message that I finished off the year with in my Final presentation, was to appreciate what you have and not to get too hung up on the past. I think this is important as I move forward, just keeping my eyes up and on the world around me as it is so special. Additionally, this is going to be my last official TALONS semester, so there’s some reason right there for enjoying the present. I would also like to take this into my learning this year, if at all possible, and try to look at not only how we changed from negative events in the past, but also how we developed from some positive ones. I completely agree that we must see how we got here, the good, the bad, AND the ugly, but I find that we do often sway more towards the latter portion of that phrase in our modern world, and possibly past, but I think it’s crucial that we appreciate the good too. It will also help us find light in times of trouble today in current issues and problems.

Another way I’d like to utilise different perspectives in my learning, other than a direct roleplay, is through our class discussions and also our many readings. I very much enjoy both of these activities and I want to make sure that I continue to participate in them enthusiastically like last year as that was a lot of fun. More so, on the note of gaining a piece to my whole, I want to particularly try to hear, value, and understand the different perspectives of the authors that we read as well as my fellow classmates. In this way I will be working towards the Curricular Competency “Explain different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, and events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews, and beliefs(perspective).” I will also be working towards the Competency “Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to: ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions.”

Much of this, was thoroughly achieved or closely attempted this week in our classes, for example. I spent a lot of time annotating the reading on Columbus that was assigned, from which I gained a lot of new ideas on various different topics, not just Columbus specifically or how the world’s view of history in general is sometimes tinted a certain shade.

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Here you can see some of my highlightings and notes in the margins of key ideas I found throughout the reading. I hope to continue this with all readings this semester.

I hope to devote more time to these readings as well as other elements of the Philosophy Pop Quiz this year as those are all things that I am passionate about and enjoy doing and they will also benefit my learning in Social Studies and in general as well.

I also gained a lot of new viewpoints through our discussions as a class and with Mr. Jackson. I think it will be very useful this semester to hear the unique perspectives of my classmates on some of the key events in the history that we will be studying, as well as on the topic of some current events, *wink *cough *the United States Election*.

Another core competency that I would like to focus on is “Asses how prevailing conditions and actions of individuals and groups affect events, decisions, and developments (cause and consequence).” This is something that I hope to look at as we move forward more this semester in major events.

I found the above also relates a lot to what I looked at this week in the Columbus package relating to the big Idea I chose, “The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.” This was an area that I also found very intriguing in our class discussion as Mr. Jackson brought up specifically the idea that all civilizations were “developed” and “civilized” just in their own ways and to their own individual environments. This is again something that I hope to focus on as we discuss other occurrences in history and why they occurred. This is the epitome of taking a different perspective at things, as, even as the often progressive-minded-citizens that we are, this is likely a new way to see things. How might life have been for us if we accepted the ways of those people? Did they need the technology Europeans brought? Why didn’t they take over the rest of the world like Europeans did? Bringing it back to that original idea of ‘circle synthesis’, you can see how this Big Idea connects infinitely to the fourth one, “Collective identity is constructed and can change over time.”

An interesting point that arose in our final discussion this week was the concept of “young” and “old” civilizations. An example of “young” being The United States of America and an example of “old” being Germany. I found the different points of this concept interesting when looking at the reasoning behind these countries’ actions in history and in the modern world. It was very a very intriguing point to think about and made me wonder, if Europe is old, what happens when they get older? What happens when we get older, will they become our grandparents? And then the inevitable, or is it, can a civilization die? How will we be affected by that? Does our civilization have emotions? Will we grieve?

Overall I think this will shape up to be a very unique and unpredictable semester. I am sure I will learn endless new things about myself and about the world, and I don’t know exactly where it will take me, or us, but one thing is for certain, it will all come around again in the end.

The Good Ol’ Days – Socials Final Address

It’s been a long and intense year, both in social studies and in many other aspects. We’ve covered a lot. Thinking back, it’s hard  to realize that it was over six months ago that I was stressing out over my first eminent person study and interviewing my idol. Now, we’ve finished off with an anything but linear political exploration. Additionally, we looked back on Canada; What can we learn from our country’s past and what made it what it was?

For my socials final address, I chose to create and present a personality who not only existed in our period of study, but also experienced many of the challenges and saw many of the issues of that time. The following is the historical life presentation I created that my personality, and guest speaker, presented to our class on our final day of socials.  It is the historical life of John O’Callaghan, who lives in Winnepeg, and is visiting our class in the late 1800s after his move from the East Coast. He focuses on his experiences and self-realization as a main theme of topic.

“Oh hello everyone! It’s an honour to be here today. You know, I’ve always wanted to speak to a group like you. It’s amazing to see such a diverse classroom, with so many different identities and backgrounds in one group of young individuals. I hope you realize how special that is. Now you’re probably wondering where I’m from, or why I have an Irish accent if I live in Canada. So let me tell you a bit about myself.

I grew up in Ireland just north of Dublin in the late 1830s. I was born in 1834, a year after Britain officially abolished the trade of slaves. Our family had a potato farm, and we were proud to be Irish. I walked home from school every day with the neighbour’s son, he was about 5 years older than me. He used to tell me about how when he was younger he didn’t have to do any work because they had slaves for that. He was always complaining about the next or newest chore he was heading home to. His father had gotten rid of their slaves when the new law was brought in, because he knew no slaves would be allowed very soon. We came from very different households. My father didn’t believe in slaves. He believed in us doing our own work that we deserved to do. We had chosen to own a farm, it was our duty to maintain it, you couldn’t pay anyone else to do it for you.

Eleven years after I was born, the Great Famine hit Ireland. People got sick and starved everywhere. We were fine for the first few years, but in 1850, my father got sick. There wasn’t enough supplies to get him healthy and there was no where we could take him. He passed away only a few months after the illness hit him. Soon after this, my mother, myself, and my two older brothers moved to Canada. It was the colony with new hope, for the crown, for the Irish, and for our family.

The first little while, we lived in Halifax,  Nova Scotia. We were welcome there, it seemed as though we arrived with our foot already two steps along the path to success in our new life. Then confederation came around. It was a big deal. By that time I was a little older and could actually think for myself. And I didn’t think much of those politicians. You know everyone says you have to agree with someone, but that’s not true. What’s really important is that you agree with yourself. I never much agreed with ol’ Johnny boy my neighbour in Ireland. Nor what his father’s views were. I don’t like to think too much about what happened to my father, because I know he wouldn’t want me spending time on him when there are so many more valuable things to be thought about. He got sick that one time because of a famine, but the slaves all around the world are still getting sick so often because of the conditions in which they live.

I thought it would be different in Canada. When they separated from the U.K. I must admit, a slight excitement passed through me. There were so many possibilities for Canada; you could see the potential, but it wasn’t what it should have been, at least not yet it hasn’t been.

I married and started my own family a few years after confederation. In 1872 we were offered land in the prairies and moved out to start a farm, just like the old days. There was an Irish community there that we became a part of, we had all been sent out there to help ‘colonize’ the west. It was exciting, but I don’t think the government realized they were getting a young man who was willing to crash his savings for transportation to the capital to protest social issues. Good ol’ John A. That man was very focused on his economy, didn’t like to think too much of others. I lived out in Winnepeg, so I got to see what the government was doing to Aboriginals. They were native to the land but had been kicked out by foreigners. It seemed weird to me. The government treated them no differently to how slaves were treated. Although actually, they treated the worse. They were given no control over their own lives.
After all these years, I look back on things, and I’ve realized a lot: about myself, about Canada, and about people. It should never be up to others to choose where you go or what you do. You can do whatever you wish if you only take the first step. I hope in the future that all of you can realize that too, and live a happy life being who you want to be. I hope politicians will be a bit better for you to follow by. I hope they care about things that really matter, like fairness for everyone, and aren’t so focused on the economy. My advice to all of you is, don’t think of taking action or standing up for yourself as a mountain to climb, think of it as a staircase, you only needing to take the first step.”

Well that’s that. My final socials post of the 2014-15 school year. I enjoyed looking at things from a new perspective this year, and seeing new parts of Canada’s history I hadn’t seen before. I look forward to what next year has in store, but for now, so long from the past, and have a good summer and future!