TALONS Social Studies: Final

June 21, 2017

To conclude my time in TALONS Social Studies, I will be sharing my final project with you.

This final project consists of a three-part theme statement, as well three art pieces that I created to represent each part of my theme statement. In this blog post, I will also be sharing the areas of Social Studies in which I believe improved, and the areas in which I would like to work on.

Theme Statement

The development of my theme statement was not an easy task for me. As someone who is very detail-oriented and analytical, developing a theme statement for Social Studies was an assignment that seemed near-impossible at first.

Thankfully, I had the chance during class to talk to my wonderful and thoughtful friend, Renee. When I told her about my struggles to develop a theme statement, she asked me a series of questions. The conversation went something like this:

Renee: Why do you want to do well on this final?

Myself: To get a good grade and succeed in high school.

Renee: Why do you want to succeed in high school?

Myself: To go to a good university.

Renee: Why do you want to go to a good university?

The conversation continued until I came to the conclusion that all that I do in my life is fueled by the need to have a better future and the need to be happy in my future.

With this conclusion and the help of Mr. Jackson as well, I developed my three-part theme statement.

  1. Humans are driven by the need for a better future, which often involves the increase in power, status, and wealth, for individuals or the groups that these individuals represent.
  2. The idea of a better future is decided by indivduals based on perspective. A person’s morals and values, of which are influenced by the upbringing and culture, sculpt their perspective.
  3. Varying perspectives result in conflict.

Presentation 

After developing a theme statement, I moved on to brainstorming ideas for my method of presenting my theme.

The first thing I thought of was to write an analytical essay and break down the theme statement and provide various pieces of evidence for my theme. However, I realised that this method of presentation was something that I do often and am comfortable with.

That is why I decided to challenge myself by creating three art pieces to represent my theme. I decided to do different kinds of overlay art with thread, plastic, and cut-out words. I placed the various overlays on top of photos from the book Polaroids from the Dead by Douglas Coupland.

Final Product

1. Only Human 

The first piece that I created represents my first theme statement. Below, I have written part one of my theme statement in a simplified form.

1. Humans are driven by the need for a better future.

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In this piece, the words represent immoral values and one idea of a better future. The words were cut out from the same book that the photo was found, and placed like a fridge-magnet poem.

The skeleton in this piece represents death. The rectangles in the back are buildings, which represent civilisation.

The basic meaning of my piece is that immoral values result in death and that these immoral values were influenced by the culture of our “civilised nation.”

2. Perspective(s)

The second piece represents the second part of my theme statement:

2. The idea of a better future is decided by individuals based on perspective.

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This piece is an interactive piece, where the layer of plastic with the thread can flip up to show the photograph on its own. The image with the thread represents the first perspective, and the image without represents the second perspective.

The first perspective represents the idea of a better future for Aboriginal peoples. The green thread represents forest, while the wings represent a totem pole.

The second perspective represents the idea of a better future for people who want/wanted to make the world more “civilised,” such as John A. Macdonald.

3. Conflict Rising

My final piece represents part three of my theme statement:

3. Varying perspectives result in conflict.

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This piece shows two different colours of thread, red and blue, which run in opposite directions. The two different threads represent the varying perspectives, while the first rising, represents the conflict that is a result of these clashing perspectives.

The colours of the thread quite literally represent the Conservatives (blue) and the Liberals (red).

This piece was made with regards to what we learned in Social Studies quite recently, about the “pendulum swing” between the Conservatives and the Liberals in Canadian politics.

The Three Pieces

As you can tell, the meanings behind my three pieces are quite literal. This is partly because I have never been a very artistic person, and felt that when I looked at art pieces I was trying very hard to find a deeper meaning behind them. This often hurt my brain and so, I wanted to make my pieces easier to understand, especially for people like myself.

Additionally, I wanted to make my pieces literal because I wanted to express my theme statements in a bold and unapologetic way.

Social Studies: Skills

Now that I have completed my final pieces, I wanted to do a public reflection of my time throughout Social Studies and the skills I have developed and would like to further work on.

What I Have Improved

I believe that I have improved in the following areas:

1. Completion of summative assessments

Evidence:

  • I was able to develop an effective theme statement that represents many aspects of Socials Studies.
  • I was able to present my theme statements in a comprehensive way through various art pieces.

2. Creation of digital artefacts

Evidence:

  • I created effective documents of learning throughout the semester and can see visible improvements regarding my research and thought process throughout the semester through these documents of learning.
  •  I published products of my learning on my blog and described them in a concise and comprehensive way.

What I Would Like to Improve 

I would like to improve in the following areas:

1. Participation in class discussions

Reasoning:

  • I believe that I can work on being more vocal in class discussions. Although I often feel uncomfortable sharing my opinions in front of large groups of people, I believe that I should learn to be more bold and unapologetic, just like my final art pieces, when it comes to speaking in class discussions.

2. Taking time to reflect

Reason:

  • For my final project, I placed the words “willful rejection of reflection,” on my first piece. As I was doing this, I realised that throughout the semester I was not very dedicated when it came to reflecting on myself and the work that I did. Although I completed all the self-reflections that were assigned to me with a great amount of thought and care, I believe that I can improve by taking the time to reflect on myself even when I am not directly assigned to do so.

Overall, I have to say that I am quite satisfied with how my final project turned out, and my performance in Social Studies this year. I learned so much while participating in class discussions, researching for documents of learnings, and representing various characters in role-plays, just to name a few.

I would like to end off by thanking my classmates and Mr. Jackson for teaching me so much about history, powerful ideas in life, and about myself.

– Sydney

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