Reflecting on Sophomore Year Through my PoL

On May 31 during Humanities class I had my oral Presentation of Learning. I talked about my Sophomore year and the times where I was successful, and areas where I could improve. The Greenwich Public School system has a set of goals they want each student to get to before they graduate high school. These goals are the “Vision of the Graduate Capacities”, there are 12 of them, but I have chosen four of them to talk about  and reflect on my experiences with them this year in Innovation Lab. Each Innovation Lab student has had their oral Presentation of Learning in which we prepare to talk about two of the four capacities in front of our four InLab teachers. Once we finished presenting and reflecting on our projects and learning from this year while relating it back to the capacity, we were asked questions about our presentation by each of the four teachers. Since I have included my video where I talk about “Communicating effectively for a given purpose” and “Responding to failures and success with reflection and resilience”, I will be further talking about my other two capacities I have chosen that relate to STEM, Humanities and Design Studio. I will explain why and how they have related and played such a big role in my academic career and learning this year, and how I will continue to reflect and grow based on these past experiences from sophomore year. Below is the video from my oral Presentation of Learning, where I talk about “Communicate effectively for a given purpose” and  “Respond to failures and success with reflection and resilience”.

My first Vision of the Graduate capacity is to “critically interpret, evaluate, and synthesize information”. In my own language, this means you are able to restate and explain something in a way that is easy to understand key points and main ideas. I have had experience with this capacity through my social issue project during the first semester of the year. This project was individual, so each student had to come up with a social issue they were passionate about and wanted to learn more about. The topic I was most passionate about, was the effect of social media with teen body image. I chose this topic because most people don’t realize how bad this issue is and how much of an impact one photo shopped Instagram post can have on a teenager. I further researched this topic to the point where I had enough information to take a side and form a strong opinion. I chose to go against it and enforce “natural beauty” so that teens in today’s society can start to realize and grow up knowing they are perfect just the way they are. As a product of all this research, I created both a physical piece, and a chemical reaction all in one project. For my physical piece I created a box that displayed symbolism of the positive and negative sides of body image. I had taken a football display box and put a divider in the middle that cut halfway across the box where I created a room of a teen girl. I made the room look happy and bright, and I included positive words that describe someone; beautiful, strong, powerful, etc.

I wanted to make it clear that I was trying to make a statement, so on the negative side I included smashed mirrors and dim lighting. I used words that teens are name called to reflect the negative body image teens face everyday. I used the words; ugly, fat, skinny, ashamed, etc. My chemical reaction was the epoxy glue I used to keep the broken mirror pieces on the inside of the display. Through this project I was not only able to find an issue I was passionate about, but I was able to share it with other people at the Bruce Museum exhibition. I had to prepare and research my topic before the exhibition, so I was ready to explain the problem and the key points to an audience. The overall experience was really rewarding and breathtaking, to know I talked to so many important people about this issue that is so relevant in today’s society. This exhibition was a final result of all my hard work and research for both my STEM and Humanities classes. While in the process of creating this project, I wrote a blog post about why I chose this topic, and after the Bruce Museum exhibit, I made another blog post reflecting on all the feedback I received and how I made an impact. I was able to share this issue once more through this blog post, which my readers were able to read about the process and key points in a short piece of writing with photos and experiences. My areas of strength include being able to understand and comprehend information, then communicate it to an audience. I have practiced this at the Bruce Museum exhibition when I spoke with many important people including parents, teachers, people from the Board of Education, Dr. Winters and classmates. I was able to communicate my thinking and learning, then synthesize and share with my viewers. I was able to share my strong research I gathered over time, and explain it to those interested in my topic. Many people who came up to my project asked questions and had some previous knowledge with a negative body image, whether it was with a teen, or with an adult. This capacity has taught me that I must work on and practice my communication skills, so that I can grow and be able to better share and communicate my ideas and learning in the best possible way. This capacity has also taught me to pick out the key points only, from all of my information and research. This is especially important to the exhibition, because I had to give my audience the most important information without taking a half hour to inform them on the big risks and issues of teen body image. Timing and planning what you are going to say is very important and I think this is something I still need to work on.

My other Vision of the Graduate Capacity I chose to reflect on was “Generate innovative, creative ideas and products”. To me, this capacity means to use one thing in multiple ways, to have an end product that is creative and different. In Humanities I was able to experience the same thing, but with my National History Day documentary. (Click the link to see the documentary) When working on this documentary about the impact religion had on the Japanese American internment camps, I noticed my teammates Nina, Alex and Ben B all brought something different to the table and were able to contribute different ideas. We all split up the work so that we could get it done in a shorter amount of time, rather than all working on it at once. Not only did this method help the entire group with time management and getting the documentary done on time, but it kept me on track and gave me a chance to add and contribute my own ideas and style to the documentary. Since I was in charge of the interview, I added my own style with the editing and cuts of the clips, which in my opinion, brought the entire documentary because the interview was brought up all throughout the video. Besides our individual assignments to the video, we all had a section of the script to write, so I was able to change photos and the speech of the documentary. Overall this documentary was very successful because the idea of the impact of religion on the Japanese internment camps was so creative and original. Among the strengths of this project, I also found some areas of growth. One of my areas of growth include making something that will have a purpose. This mainly applied to my documentary because we had to make sure we were only putting information that was necessary in order to understand our topic. This was somewhat difficult because there was a lot of information we researched, but not all of it was necessary to understand how religion impacted the Japanese internment camps. Another area of growth was with teamwork. In order to be a successful and come up with a lot of creative and innovative ideas, you have to be able to allow everyone to speak and contribute their ideas without taking control. I think everyone in my group faced this problem when it came to what each person liked, and what they didn’t because in the end we each had to come up with a solution that everyone could settle on.

Overall, I thought I did really well on my oral Presentation of Learning. Although I was very nervous,d I said everything I wanted to while still speaking in the language of the capacities. I kept my points short and to the point, while still giving enough information so I was clear and thorough with balancing both capacities between all four classes. I also thought I did a good job with relating all my examples and projects back to the idea of reflecting and communicating. I thought I included stories that were necessary and helped keep the presentation alive and flowing for the purpose of my argument. The questions at the end of my presentations also helped me to think about some ideas and long term goals that I did not previously think about, which also helped my teachers get to better understand how well my Sophomore year went. Although I did have a successful presentation, there is always room for improvement. After watching the video of my PoL, I realized I kept fidgeting with my note cards and touching my face. During the presentation I did not realize I was doing this because I was too nervous and focused on what I was going to say. To work on and improve my confidence I will continue to practice public speaking with family, friends, teachers and classmates. To fix my orientation, I will stand with my hands in front of me or by my sides.

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My sophomore year was more successful than freshman year, and I owe it all to the amazing Innovation Lab teachers and students who have helped me over the course of this year. I have made amazing new friends that I will continue to grow with for the rest of my time here at GHS, which you can see some of the memories from the photo collage above. I will continue to follow the 12 capacities and reflect on my learning throughout my academic career. Just like capacity number 8 says, “Respond to failures and successes with reflection and resilience”, I will continue to look back on and keep a documentation of all my achievements and failures. Last year, before I joined Innovation Lab my learning was not as independent and strong. I did not reflect on what I learned, so I would quickly forget the knowledge and information I studied. The change from last year to now is significantly better and although I still have a math grade I would like to bring up, I will continue to accept my failures and learn from these mistakes. 

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One thought on “Reflecting on Sophomore Year Through my PoL

  1. Reblogged this on GHS Innovation Lab and commented:

    As we move into final exams, we can think of no better way to summarize the Innovation Lab year than to share a student’s experience with her end-of-year Presentation of Learning. This blog is WELL worth the read, and the videos worth the time to watch, to get a real sense of what a year in the life of an InLab student is really like. A million thanks to Jessica for sharing….

    Liked by 1 person

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