In Depth: Last Post!

Our In Depth projects this year have only a month left! This project has gone by very quickly, but I have learned a ton. Since my last in depth post, I have completed quite a lot. First, I continued to learn and practice the songs “A Million Dreams”. This song did take me quite awhile to learn, but I now know it well, and the process was definitely worth it. I have definitely improved in my ability to learn songs off of the sheet music, although I am still fairly slow at it. After learning the accompaniment, I wanted to work on my chording skills. Using just the chords on the accompaniment, I created another simple accompaniment that could also go with the song. I found it really interesting to compare the two styles of learning a song on piano. The two methods were very different from one another, but I can’t decide which I prefer. The next thing that I needed to complete was to determine what my final performance would be. I knew that I wanted to do the song “A Million Dreams”, but since the song is about 6 minutes long, I couldn’t do the whole thing for my performance at in depth night. My mentor had already helped me come up with a possible cut version, but I have worked on it more during the past couple weeks, and decided on my final version. I worked on perfecting that piece, and then I decided I wanted to learn another song in the mean time because I still had a lot of time before in depth night. The song I have decided on is the song Found/Tonight. It is a medley of the song You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, and The Story of Tonight from Hamilton. It is an incredible medley, and the link is below:

The piano accompaniment for this song is quite tricky, so I will try and find a mixture of chording and playing the accompaniment to bring down the difficulty level to my level of playing. I have started working on this song a little bit, but I still have a long ways to go, and I hope that I can continue to learn and develop this piece!

I can’t wait for in depth night, and I am very excited to share my learning with the rest of the TALONS class!


Joni Mitchell

“She painted, she danced, nearly died, came back, danced again, and began to unfold.” (Page 1)

I found this quote about Joni Mitchell very interesting  and intriguing because it really sums up Joni Mitchell’s life in just a few words, and it left me wanting to read more. This quote shows that Joni Mitchell didn’t just ‘become’ a famous singer and songwriter, but she had to work through many things to get to where she is now. From this quote, one can infer that Canadians value people who have fought hard for their position and people who never give up on their dreams. Canadians may be more likely to support people who worked hard to get where they are rather than people who are just given their life an career.

“Joni Mitchell is more than a 1970’s icon or pop star. She is our eternal singer songwriter of sorrows, travelling through our highs and lows, the twentieth century master of the art song tradition that stretches to Franz Schubert.” (Page 4)

This quote piqued my interest because it showed how Joni Mitchell has truly affected Canadians in more ways than just being an amazing songwriter. It shows how much people seem to connect with her, even if they have never met her in person.  This quote shows that Canadians value famous figures that they can truly relate to, rather than people who are purely talented, and have no relatable qualities. From this quote we can infer that Canadians value music that tells a story that could be their story, and that they can live through rather than just listen too. This quote also showed the deep connections Canadians have with music, and how they use it to travel through their ‘highs and lows’.

“It would have been nice to know that she wasn’t purely loony, but rather a high-flying loon, part of a far-flung flock that included brave, imaginative women like Margaret Atwood.” (Page 12)

This quote interested me because once again, it shows the struggles that Joni Mitchell went through to achieve the goals that she has reached today, and how much she has accomplished throughout her lifetime. Many people including me have a natural tendency to assume all famous people have had great lives because of the single story we see them in, but this quote shows that this assumption is not true. From this quote one could infer that Canadians value famous figures that have worked their way up the ranks because it can spread hope. If Joni Mitchell felt like a loony person and then became a loon, maybe it could happen to the people who listen to her music too. A story of starting from the bottom and reaching the top also draws in the listeners, and interests them just like Joni Mitchell, so this shows that Canadians value stories of accomplishment.

“Joni may have felt she was a misunderstood member of the Canadian lunatic generation, but it was her destiny to alchemize all that loneliness into music that made people feel they were not alone.” (Page 27)

This quote interested me because it shows where Joni Mitchell’s passion and motivation came from. All singers and songwriters tend to have something that drives them to sing or write songs, and this is Joni Mitchell’s.  This quote can tell us that Canadian’s value songwriters and people that value them back. Joni Mitchell writes her songs to help make her listeners feel less lonely. The fact that she puts so much care into her songs and writes them for listeners may draw in Canadian’s to listen more than someone who wrote their songs for themselves and just happened to share them. Canadian’s have a stereotype of being over polite and kind, and maybe the reason we have that stereotype is because we value people who are thoughtful, kind, and value us.

“‘Every bit of trouble I went through, I’m grateful for,’ she said. ‘Bad fortune changed the course of my destiny. I became a musician.'” (Page 43)

I chose this quote because it shows how positive Joni Mitchell stayed throughout her life, and how she appreciates all of the challenges she went through because they helped her to become who she is. From this quote, one could infer that Canadians value people who stay positive and who are optimistic people, rather than people who complain about tough experiences. Canadians value people who can take a bad situation and find the silver lining. Joni Mitchell can find that silver lining, and she also teaches others to be positive in their lives by demonstrating it herself. Because of this, one could also infer that Canadians value people who can teach them and help them improve.

One theme that I am finding very prominent in this book is that everyone has difficult times in their lives, but if you persevere through them you will come out with more resilience and strength. The biography shows how many difficult situations Joni Mitchell had in her life and how from each of these, something good came out of it. In her case it was usually an amazing song. Each time she went through something tough, her songwriting career improved, and she improved as a person. Joni Mitchell’s biography has been very interesting so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

Our Founding Father: A Fearless Front Runner, or a Fallacious Figure?

Mr. Morris


April 17th, 2018

As Canadians, we have celebrated our founding fathers for over a hundred years; however, it may be time to change that tradition. While many view John A. Macdonald as an inspiring, influential leader and founding father of Canada, others see him as an “architect of genocide,” and argue that his name and likeness should not be recognized in public spaces (Battingall). Due to his contributions to residential schools and racism in Canada, and Canada’s progressive atmosphere, MacDonald’s name and likeness should be removed from the public sphere.

Macdonald should not be commemorated or celebrated because everyone has a right to feel comfortable and safe in their own schools and communities. By putting Macdonald’s name on schools, or his statue up in Place Du Canada, we are making people who have been negatively affected by Macdonald feel less safe in their own environment. Minority races were clearly discriminated against by Macdonald, as he “established residential schools, broke treaties by refusing to supply food to starving First Nations on the Prairies and created a pass system […] in which a status Indian living on reserve could not leave the territory without government permission” (Gwyn). Some even believe that MacDonald’s “decision to open residential schools was ‘one of the most problematic in our history.’” If Canadians ignore the fact that Macdonald was racist, and continue to honor him as an influential person, we indirectly devalue racism, stating that if one does enough good in their lifetime that it’s acceptable to hold these views.  Canadians should remove Macdonald from the public to encourage the value of equality within our country, and to ensure that all citizens are able to feel comfortable and safe in their own home.

Some feel that MacDonald should continue to be recognized because remembering history allows us to grow and learn from our mistakes. They argue that by keeping John A. MacDonald visible to all, these statues and monuments will serve as a reminder of what not to do in the future. However, as progressive Canadians, keeping the values of the past visible to all discourages the growth and change that is happening in our country. We are constantly teaching the youth of today about what it means to be Canadian, not just by our actions, but by what we have on display. If we keep someone on display in our country who thought that “the Chinese would breed a ‘mongrel’ race in British Columbia and threaten the ‘Aryan’ character of the dominion,” it perpetuates the idea that our culture supports racism (Hopper). Why keep statues and school names that teach youth that Macdonald is someone to look up to when there are so many other influential people we could have on display that weren’t racist or discriminatory? Taking Macdonald away from the public sphere does not erase him from history or prevent us from learning from the past; it allows us to learn about him in a controlled manner in schools and museums, without the danger of a single story.

When considering the welfare of our communities, as well as preserving Canada’s progressive attitude, one can see that removing Macdonald from the public eye would be beneficial to our country. MacDonald’s values were very different from Canada’s current values, and we need to update our surroundings to match what we feel and value in the present. Next time you see a statue of a famous figure, think twice about whether it should really be standing there.

In Depth: Week 11

At this stage in my in-depth project, I have moved onto working on my final song. I have decided that I will perform part of the song “A Million Dreams” at in-depth night. The reason I have started on this song so long before in-depth is because it is a more difficult, and much longer song than I have been doing so far in this project. The accompaniment sheet music is nine pages long, so it is taking me a long time to learn! It is also the first song that I am singing and playing piano at the same time, so that takes a lot of extra practice. In learning this song, I have realized how difficult it is to play piano and sing at the same time. You have both hands playing two different things, plus you have to pedal at the right time, and you have to sing, all at the same time! I have been practicing this song a lot and I am progressing slowly but surely. Here is a sample of my progress from one week ago:

I have had two in depth meetings over spring break, and both have been working on the same song. In the first meeting we worked on the first 5 pages of the song, and my mentor helped me with dynamics, pedaling, and putting the singing together with my playing. There were also a few places where I had been forgetting to play certain notes or had the fingering wrong, so Waleed helped me to correct those spots. At the second in depth meeting I had,  we worked on the last four pages of the song. The things we focused on in this meeting was getting the jumps between hand positions smoother, and making the shortened version of the song for in depth night. Because this song is very long (6 minutes), I will have to cut it down a lot for the actual in depth performance, and Waleed helped to figure out a possible cut to use. For the next meeting, I will be trying to figure out a chording version of this song, by using the written chords on the accompaniment but not the accompaniment itself.


1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

My mentor has provided me with many new learning opportunities. Some examples are different theory books that I have been able to borrow, online sights that he has recommended to find good sheet music on, and of course the knowledge that he has about piano and the mentor lessons have taught me a lot throughout this project, and exposed me to new learning opportunities that I wouldn’t have had without this project.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

Other than my mentor, there have been some other learning opportunities that I have encountered during this project that have helped to reinforce new learning. For example, I asked around for where I could find a book of easy piano accompaniments, and Jiwon said that she could lend me her book of Disney piano accompaniments which has been a very good learning opportunity for me, as this book has helped me a lot with my sight reading ability. As well as this, I have found other resources at my house that we had from when my brother and I took piano lessons, that have been very helpful during this project. I have also had help from other people, such as my mom  who has experience in piano accompaniment and Lucas, who is also a very experienced piano player.

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

During this project, there have been many opportunities that allowed me to accelerate my learning. Having a mentor, and having meetings to prepare for motivates me to work more on my project, which helps to accelerate my learning a lot. As well as this, having access to the proper equipment and sources, such as a piano and many piano books and theory books have helped to speed up my learning process, as without them, I wouldn’t know where to start. Finally, the ability to develop this project myself and decide how I want to structure it allows me to work in the best way for me, which allows me to get more learning done in a shorter amount of time.

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

At each meeting that my mentor and I have, I bring a list of questions that I would like to ask at the beginning of the meeting, about the songs that I’m learning, or just parts of piano accompaniment that I’m curious about. My mentor answers those questions and explains anything that I’m confused about, and then I play through the songs that I have been working on and we discuss how the song could be improved, and what specifically I should practice to improve the song in that way. At the end of each meeting, we go over what I should be working on before the next meeting, and what my next goal for this project is.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

One thing that is going very well in my mentoring relationship right now is that in our meetings, there is a good balance of who is ‘leading’ the lesson. My mentor allows me to decide what we are going to work on in the lesson, and lets me ask questions and inquire about the parts of piano accompaniment that I’m interested in learning. This works very well because I am able to tailor the lessons to what I have been struggling with in the weeks prior. As well as this, my  mentor provides his own feedback, comments, and suggestions, to help my piano playing improve, and to give ideas for what would be good to work on next. This balance works very well, because it is not one sided, and both of us are able to put our input into each lesson.

6. What are you learning about one another?

Through these in-depth meetings, my mentor and I are getting to know each other better, and learning more about each other’s teaching/learning styles and personalities. I have also learned more about Waleed’s experiences in the world of piano, when he started playing, and how he has reached the level of piano he is at now. I’ve learned some of his preferences in piano as well, like that he prefers keyboards to pianos, and he plays classical music more than any other genre. Throughout this in-depth project, as we get to learn more about each other, the meetings run more smoothly, as we have learned how to work  together well.

Socials Independent Investigation

For my independent investigation, my inquiry questions was “To what extent was Thomas Scott’s execution fair compared to the values of 1870? I chose this question to research because Louis Riel was such an influential person and had a huge impact on our country. He was the founder of Manitoba, and a leader for the Metis people. He was one of the first people to start spreading the idea of

Louis Riel – Image Source:

equality and having the indigenous people thought of as equal to non-indigenous people. He did a lot of great things for our country, which is why some consider him a hero. However, he also did some not so great things which is why many consider him a villain. Louis Riel’s impacts on Canada are what make this event a historically significant one, and are why I chose this question. The execution of Thomas Scott is what has kept me from believing that Louis Riel is a true hero, but this research may give me some more insight into the situation. 

To begin this process, I did some research, and got an idea of how Thomas Scott’s execution played out. This is a summary of what I found:

In 1870, John Christian Schultz and his men planned to attack Fort Garry, so Louis Riel took 45 of his men prisoner. Schultz escaped, and other prisoners were released in February 1870. Later this month, Schultz’s men got together to attack again, and once again were taken prisoner in Fort Garry. One of these men was Thomas

Thomas Scott – Image Source:

Scott. He was a rude prisoner, insulted Riel’s men, and said that if he ever got free, he would shoot Riel. Because of this, Scott appointed a military tribunal to try Thomas Scott for treason. He was accused of defying the authority of the Provisional Government, fighting with guards, and slandering the name of Louis Riel. This tribunal showed Thomas Scott to be guilty, and he was executed by a firing squad in the courtyard of Fort Garry on March 4th, 1870. He was not the only one sentenced to death for treason, but he was the only one that they actually executed.

Scott’s trial was held by Ambroise Lepine. They charged him of having “taken up arms against the provisional government” and having “struck one of the guards”. Riel was one of the three witnesses against Scott, and the prosecutor of the trial. Thomas

“The Execution of Scott” – Image Source:

Scott was not allowed any witnesses on his behalf, and he was sentenced to death. Most of the trial was in French and Scott couldn’t understand this language so he may not have even known what was going on. Some even say that Scott didn’t know what he was accused of, he was just told he was a “very bad man and must die”. He was executed by a firing squad of six intoxicated Metis, and a group of around 100 spectators. The part of his death that was particularly inhumane was that multiple reports have said that he didn’t die right away from the shots, due to the poor aim of the intoxicated firing squad.

After this execution, whether it be determined ‘fair’ or not, Louis Riel was now branded as a murderer. There were many people that protested Thomas Scott’s death, even in the crowd at the execution itself. Nowadays, there is still a lot of controversy as to whether Thomas Scott’s death was fair to the values of the time. Some people say that Scott was only ‘murdered’ to show the power of a provisional government, and some say that Scott committed treason and within the rules of the time, death was an acceptable fate. Some also say that Riel saved lives by killing Scott because he could have been a danger and stood up to the government.

To find an answer to my inquiry question, I also did some research into the rules around execution at the time so that I could assess whether the execution of Thomas Scott was ‘fair’ at the time. Here is what I found:

Before Confederation, many offences were punishable by death (including being found disguised in a forest), and execution was something that happened often, and in front of a large crowd. However, after Confederation, before Louis Riel executed Thomas

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Scott, the number of offences that you could punish by execution were brought down to three: murder, rape, and treason (and Thomas Scott did commit treason). The location of the execution must also be within the confines of the prison instead of publicly (this is a rule that Riel did not follow). Capital punishment was not completely abolished until 1976, which means that Louis Riel was still roughly following the rules of the time when he executed Thomas Scott. However, if the execution of Thomas Scott was considered to be murder, then that means that Louis Riel should be executed according to the laws at that time.

This brings me to the answer I came up with to my question, which is that Riel’s actions did roughly follow the laws of 1870, but they were still ethically questionable for that time. Thomas Scott did commit treason, so Riel did have the right to execute him. He also did get a trial, although it might not have been one of the fairest trials. There are only secondary sources that state the more detailed facts of the trial, so these details may not be correct, but most sources state that Thomas Scott was not allowed witnesses on his behalf, and therefore he did not have a chance of coming out of this trial as innocent. As well as this, there were other prisoners that had committed the same sort of crimes as Thomas Scott had, but none of them were executed, which may have contributed to the protesters at his execution. Louis Riel clearly broke the law of having executions held within the confines of the prison, as the execution had a crowd of 100 people viewing it. As well as this, if Thomas Scott was to be executed, he deserved to get a sober firing squad that would end his suffering quickly, and he did not get this, which contributes to Louis Riel being morally wrong, but not technically breaking laws. This research has allowed me to look further into why there is controversy as to whether Louis Riel should be viewed as a hero or as a villain. I still have not reached a conclusion as to which I believe. If Louis Riel had executed Thomas Scott in this day and age, then he would definitely be considered a murderer and a villain, but everything changes when you consider the values of the 1870s.

This research also allowed me to see how different laws and values are now in Canada compared to how they were in the 1870s. Back then, execution was considered a normal thing for people to witness, and before confederation it happened even more often, for things as simple as stealing a turnip. Luckily, this violence in our country has been stopped, and the last two executions to happen in Canada were in 1962. I can’t imagine living in a time where the values were similar to the way they were when Louis Riel was alive, but I’m sure the people in that time thought that those rules were for the best.

I still don’t have a definite answer for my inquiry question, but I have learned a lot more about the execution of Thomas Scott, and I still believe that this inquiry project was a success.




Document of Learning #1: Is Canada a “Postnational” state?

In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released the Truth and Reconciliation Report. The Commission was officially established on June 2, 2008, and was completed in December 2015, when the Report was completed. The goal of the

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TRC was to “guide and inspire Aboriginal peoples and Canadians in a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships that are based on mutual understanding and respect” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada).  The document contains 94 points about how Canada can improve on their relationship with the indigenous people in our country. It includes areas such as apologies, education, child welfare, and justice. The link to this document is as follows:

This document continues to have a huge impact on Canada and Canada’s identity in all four quadrants (social, political, environmental, and economic). In the social area, a big change is that Canada is striving to achieve mutual respect between indigenous and non-indigenous communities and individuals. The curriculum in schools has been changed to include more accurate history of indigenous people, so that non-indigenous people can learn about all of the history of Canada, and not just hear a single story. A second change in the social side of things which also factors into the economical quadrant is that in the 2018 federal budget that was just released, it states that $1.4-billion over six years will be designated  to First Nations child and family services. The money will “help alleviate pressures on child and family services agencies and increase prevention resources in First Nations communities so families can stay together” (2018 Federal Budget Highlights). Moving on to the economical side of things, also released in the 2018 federal budget was a proposal to invest $447-million over five years to create a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. This will “help close the employment and pay gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people by focusing on training for higher-quality, better-paying jobs” (2018 Federal Budget Highlights). This shows that the Truth and Reconciliation Report has affected where the Canadian Government is putting their money and how they are distributing their budget. As for environmental impact, a lot of indigenous people’s fundamental beliefs are based around respecting nature and the land. Greater respect for indigenous viewpoints therefore means greater respect for the environment. As well as this, land is being acknowledged at the beginning of any gathering as traditional First Nations territory more universally. Finally, the Truth and Reconciliation Report was a political document, which relates it to the political quadrant. It has had impacts on the federal budget as discussed above, meaning that this document has affected the way the government spends their money, therefore impacting the political segment.

The release of this document definitely leads to the idea of having a “postnational” state, as Justin Trudeau calls it. The document encourages diversity and the celebration of different cultures. By spreading the idea of mutual respect between indigenous and non-indigenous people within Canada, it also spreads the idea of mutual respect between all people in Canada, no matter what ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. By embracing diversity, Canada is straying away from the idea of putting everyone under the umbrella of one ‘Canadian identity’ and more towards a ‘postnational state’ where everyone is free to have their own identities.

I believe that although countries have been thought to have had identities for many years, we should try to abandon this idea. A country’s identity becomes just one more label that is put on every person living in that country. Everyone is unique, and when taking 36.3 million individuals, I don’t believe it’s possible for everyone to share the same identity, unless that identity is diversity.  I believe that every country should be trying to separate themselves from the stereotype or identity of that country, and focusing instead on the diversity that the country contains.




In Depth: Week 7

Another two weeks have gone by in my in-depth project, and I’ve still stayed very close to my original schedule. Since my last blog post, I learned the song “Once Upon A Dream” on piano, I worked on my dynamics in both “Once Upon A Dream” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, I worked on C & G double octave scales, triads, and contrary motion, and I relearned the proper timing in “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”.  After completing these tasks, I scheduled another lesson with my mentor, originally for Friday the 23rd, but then we rescheduled for Saturday the 24th after I was snowed in.

At this lesson, I brought a potential song to learn next, I inquired about the differences between playing a piece with an without a singer, I learned about harmonic and melodic scales, and we worked through each of the songs that I have learned so far. Since I have recently seen the musical “The Greatest Showman”, the song that I picked to learn next is “A Million Dreams”. The accompaniment that I will be doing to this song is definitely more complicated than the piano playing that I have been doing, so it will take me a bit longer to learn, which means that I may need to alter my schedule. This song is also the first full accompaniment that I will be doing, meaning that it doesn’t have the melody line in it, and I will be able to sing while I play! After choosing the sheet music that I would buy, I asked about the differences between playing a piano piece with and without a singer. I learned that the main difference is when you are playing with a singer, even if it’s yourself, the piano follows the voice, and the voice shouldn’t have to try and follow the piano. Next, I played through my two songs for Waleed to see if I had made improvements and to see what else I could work on. I did improve on my dynamics and I played the proper timing for the song, but my next step will now be working on pedaling. If you pedal at the wrong times, you will make the notes sound like they are ‘mushing’ together, so I need to figure out when to pedal in the songs I have. Finally, I learned some new scales. I will be adding F and Am to my list of scales to practice, and I also learned about harmonic and melodic scales, which I will be practicing. Harmonic minors are scales in which the 7th is sharpened. Melodic minors are scales in which the 6th and 7th are sharpened on the way up, but are normal on the way down, which makes it a little confusing to play. :)

Since the lesson, I have learned the first two pages of “Million Dreams” and have run through the second and fourth a few times (but very slowly). I look forward to working more on it!

The most difficult part about meeting with a mentor so far has probably been finding a time to meet. We are only 7 weeks into this project and I have already managed to miss one lesson because of being sick, and reschedule one because of snow! However, I am trying to schedule mentor sessions quite a few days in advance so that we have time to reschedule if necessary and so that me and my mentor can find a day where our schedules don’t conflict.

Something that is working well in my mentor lessons so far is that after every lesson I come away with many different things that I have learned, and can work on for the next two weeks. I don’t have so much information that it overwhelms me, but I have enough that I can work on specific things and make noticeable improvements by the next meeting. I also always have enough material to practice, as now I have three songs, and many different scales that I am working on.

One thing that I could improve on is estimating how long different items on the agenda for the lesson will take. At my first meeting, my mentor and I filled up the hour pretty easily, but for my second meeting, I overestimated the time each item would take, and I didn’t plan quite enough for the entire hour. However, we were still able to fill up the rest of the hour with playing through both my songs again.

I am really looking forward to learning my new song, and starting to sing with my piano playing!


Social Studies Post #2: Sourcing a Significant Personal Object


My significant object for this blog post is a bread wrapper, which is shown in the picture about. My inquiry questions is “What is the story of the honey bread wrapper from New England Bakery?”

This source is a primary source, as it is directly from the New England Bakery, bought 9 hours before the event I will be talking about, and is not a replica, but an original copy. It is unknown where exactly the paper was produced, but it was bought from the New England Bakery, located on 489 Coral Street in Honolulu.

Just any bread wrapper would not be very significant. However, the thing that makes this object significant to me is that it was bought 9 hours before the Pearl Harbor bombing happened (December 9th, 1941 at 7:55am Hawaii Time).  The ‘Pearl Harbor Bombing’ refers to an event when Japanese planes bombed the United States Naval Base in Hawaii. My Great Grandpa (the man who bought this bread wrapper) was serving in World War ll in the Canadian Navy, and his ship left from Pearl Harbor just hours before the bombing. The bombing beached or sank 12 ships and damaged 9 others. This shows how lucky my Great Grandpa was that his ship did not get damaged and had left before the damage was done. The Pearl Harbor bombing also destroyed 160 planes, and damaged 150. 2,400 Americans were killed, and 1,200 were injured. No one in Pearl Harbor was expecting this attack, so no measures had been taken to try and keep the harbor safe.

The reason that this source is important to me is that if my Great Grandpa had been at Pearl Harbor only a few hours later than he was, and if he had bought that bread at a different time, then he may have died in the Pearl Harbor bombing. At this point, he hadn’t had my Grandma yet, and therefore, if this bread wrapper had been bought 8 or 9 hours later, then I would never have been born. This bread wrapper shows that my Great Grandpa was 22 minutes (by car) away from Pearl Harbor at the time he bought the bread (As you can see in the picture below). His ship was docked in the Harbor and he had to get back to the ship in time before it left, putting him in Pearl Harbor. This source is proof that my Great Grandpa was in Pearl Harbor that day, and it shows how lucky he was to survive.


The owner of this bread wrapper belonged to the Canadian Navy, and was a Chief Petty Officer for them. This was an already known fact, but the time and place this bread wrapper was bought does seem to confirm that. It shows that he valued his country and was willing to risk his life for it. I don’t believe that there is a significant reason that my Great Grandpa chose this bread wrapper to buy, other than wanting some bread, and he didn’t realize it was significant until 9 hours later, when the bombing happened. This is why he kept the bread wrapper and passed it down to his children, and then their children.

From looking at this object, one would be able to learn some things about my past. For example, the fact that the bread wrapper was bought in Hawaii shows that even 3 generations back, my family was in North America. It also shows that my Great Grandma and Grandpa lived through World War ll. All of the information that I found from this bread wrapper seemed to confirm and extend what I already knew about it. The wrapper did not tell me everything, like the fact that my Great Grandpa was in the Canadian Navy, but I had to rely on prior knowledge and different evidence, like his medals, for those facts. Some further questions I have are related to why my Grandpa chose that specific bakery to go to, and what was the reason that his Navy ship was in the harbor on that day?

I think that this bread wrapper is both historically and personally significant, and my family will continue to pass it down from generation to generation.

Social Studies Post #1: Historical Thinking Review

I believe that the best historical thinking question to focus on in Social Studies this year is “Why do events happen, and what are their impacts?” Although the other questions are also very important, they tend to focus only on  either the past, or how we can  live in the present, using the past. Cause and consequence however, pulls those topics both together, and allows us to learn about them at the same time. Learning about cause and consequence helps us understand events in the past at a more in-depth level, because if we can understand the logic and reasoning of an event happening, we can relate to it more.  We can then look at the consequences of the event, and determine if the positives outweigh the negatives or not, therefore deciphering if it had a  good impact on history or not. This information can help us live in the present as well. If we know what caused an event and what the results were, this can help us prevent repeating the bad parts of history. It will allow us to think carefully about our actions in the present and what consequences they might cause. With this question, we will be able to improve our knowledge of the past, our actions in the present, and our consequences in the future.

In-Depth – Weeks 3 & 5

It is now week five of our in-depth projects, and I am still on track with my schedule and enjoying my topic! In this blog post, I will be writing about week three and five (I apologize for the length of this double post), due to the fact that I was home sick for an entire week, and wasn’t able to meet with my mentor in week three. So here is an update on my in-depth project so far:

As mentioned in my last in-depth blog post, my mentor this year is Waleed Hakeem. He was a music captain last year in Gleneagle’s musical, and now that he is graduated, he came back to be the music director. He is also a very experienced piano player, and has been playing for 11 years! Waleed has been trained in classical piano and only really started playing other types of music on piano when he started high school. He is now working on becoming a teacher for beginner pianists, and will then progress to teaching intermediate students, and so on. He says that when he first started playing piano he found the lessons really difficult, but as he gained more skill, and played for more years, he enjoyed the instrument more and more.

Before my first meeting with my mentor, I prepared one song (Can You Feel the Love Tonight), and I did one week of research (which you can see in my in-depth research post #1). I then came up with four topics that I wanted to focus on for the meeting:

  1. To go over the ‘basics’ of piano. What scales should I be practicing? For how long?
  2. What is the best way for one to improve their sight reading skills?
  3. What makes a good accompaniment? Can the melody line be played in an accompaniment?
  4. What is the best way for one to recover from a mistake made on piano?

After I had prepared for the meeting, I met with my mentor for the first time during this project. I learned a lot from the meeting!

To start, Waleed went over some scales that I should be practicing each day, and he showed me two books that I could use for both scales and sight reading practice. I think that these will be very helpful because I could definitely use a refresher on both scales and sight reading.  For my third question, the answer Waleed had was the same as what I had researched about the question. In a song where you are singing along with the piano, it is best not to play the melody line on the piano. As Waleed put it, it’s like you are singing a duet with the piano, and if you are both singing the exact same thing, then it’s not very effective. Addressing my final question, my mentor said that there is not one specific way to recover from a mistake. The main thing to do is just to keep on playing through the mistakes you make. In the next part of the meeting, I played my prepared song, and got feedback on how I could improve. One of the suggestions that I got was what I am known for when I play piano in my house: I forget to use dynamics! I now need to focus on following the dynamics written on the sheet music when I rehearse the song. The second thing that my mentor pointed out was that I had changed some of the timing of the song without even realizing it! I know the melody to the song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” so well in my head from singing it that I assume that the timing is the same in every version. However, I got a simplified piano version of the song, and the timing is a bit different from what I’m used to. Once I realized that I was changing the music, I went back and relearned the parts I was playing wrong. Here is a recording of me playing the song after my mentor session, trying to incorporate the new things I learned: (Sorry for my out of tune piano!)

I believe that during this mentor session, what went particularly well was the way the session was laid out. My mentor let me lead what topics I wanted to focus on during the lesson (which is opposite from my mentor last  year) and this allowed me to cover all of the topics on my schedule first, and then get general advice and tips at the end. At the beginning of the lesson, I asked about my four main questions and got some information about each of them, and that gave me an idea of what I should be practicing for the next couple of weeks. After that, I played my song, and I got some ideas on how I could improve it, and then Waleed helped to pick a song that I would work on for the next two weeks.

One learning challenge that emerged from trying to meet with my mentor was when I was sick during the week I was going to have my first mentor meeting. Because of this, I briefly fell behind on my project and missed my first meeting. However, I overcame this obstacle by combining my first two blog posts into one, and meeting with my mentor a week later. I also focused on both week 3 and week 5 questions during the mentor meeting.

Three of the strategies that I will use to help improve the quality of my mentor interactions are:

  1. I will make a rough outline of what I want to focus on for each lesson before I go. This way, I can get the most out of each meeting as possible.
  2. I will be flexible in the schedule’s that I make, so that if something comes up and either my mentor or I want to change something about the meeting, I will be able to do that without any sort of issues arising.
  3. I will contact my  mentor well ahead of time when I want to schedule a mentor session so that we can find a time when both of us are available without falling behind the blog post deadlines.

I believe that so far my in-depth project is going really well, although I have realized that my starting point in playing piano is even lower than I originally thought. I look forward to seeing how much I can improve throughout this project!