Historical Thinking Review

Based on our conversations in class today, your prior experience, and the “Guideposts to Historical Thinking” handout, which historical thinking question do you believe is the most important to consider for a vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience this year? Why?

The question that I’ve chosen to accompany my exploration of the Socials 9 curriculum is “How can we better understand the people of the past?” I have chosen this question because I am very interested in different worldviews and I would like to push myself to be more empathetic and strive to “avoid presentism”. However, if I am to accomplish this, I need to think critically about this idea (presentism) to fully understand it and avoid merely accepting it. I wish to also improve on my empathy so I can turn my gaze to the modern world and apply what I’ve learned to help myself understand others.

In Depth post #3: Week Five

Status Update:

In my previous post, I talked about how my relationship with my mentor was going, so this week I will be focusing on how I am progressing as a baker.

I very recently made a batch of French macrons for Valentine’s day, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. They were sweet and crispy, and overall very delicious. I found that the egg white was more stable while being whipped into a meringue if I added a splash of white vinegar (which can be substituted with lemon juice or tartar powder).

I have found that the recipe I’ve been following has the oven at to high of a temperature, so I plan on turning down by 30 degrees. Another problem that I’ve run into is that the recipe I’ve been using for the French macrons, and all the recipes that I’ve found so far, contain some kind of nut flour. TALONS has a no-nut rule, so I may have to look at substituting the nut flour for something else.

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

Something that is going particularly well in my mentoring session is the rate at which I am learning. I am finding myself growing as a baker, and I am constantly able to take on new responsibilities. For example, at the bakery where I am being mentored, I often am baking the cupcake mixes that will be used during the week.

2.  What relationship challenges did you face?  Address some of the sub- questions below

a. Were you communicating effectively with one another? Explain

I find that my mentor and I are communicating relatively effectively. For example, when she is explaining something to me, I am able to understand the technical baking vocabulary that she is using, and instantly understand what she is asking me to do.

However, I would describe myself as a little shy and timid, so I struggle to make small talk with my mentor. I find that I am getting better at it though, and I hope to keep improving.

b. Were you candid and open in your communication? Explain

c. Did you take care to check out assumptions with each other? Explain

I am often checking out assumptions with my mentors, and the team that I bake with during my mentorship. For example, when I am unsure of what to do, I can ask someone that is in my general vicinity, and they will assist. Also, when my mentor assigns me a task, she always checks that I understand and know what I am supposed to be doing.

d. Were you actually listening to each other? Explain

Yes, my mentor and I where actually listening to each other. I find in a situation like baking, which interests and engages me, I have little desire to be off-task or unfocused, and it is easy for me to listen and understand what my mentor is saying. I imagine that it may be similar for her, but I do not know for certain.

3. What learning challenges emerged?

A learning challenge that emerged while I was working on in-depth was the fact that I am a perfectionist. In baking, accuracy and an eye for detail can be helpful, but an overactive one can be limiting. I find that I am often worried that I will mess up, and the batch that I am making will become usable. Baking in Cakes n Sweets, where I am doing my mentorship, makes it even worse, as they are a business and I do not want to waste any of their resources.

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

I am dedicated to finishing what I started, and this holds me accountable. Also, I am very grateful that my mentor has chosen to mentor me, so I own it to her to finish what I started.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

A logical challenge that affected my communication with my mentor was the fact that she went to Hawaii for a week, so that impacted our communication in that she wasn’t there to answer my emails. Another challenge that is impacting our communication is that my mentor and I sometimes have conflicting schedules, so we are unable to meet.

a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

Some factors that impacted our ability to interact affectively were the fact that I am quite quiet, so I should probably come out of my shell more.

5. What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring  interactions?

Three strategies I could use to come out of my shell are:

  • Make small talk
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Engage the other bakers in conversation

6. What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?

  • To make small talk, I could ask how their weeks are going, and what they’ve been up to.
  • To not be afraid to ask for help, I can remember to calm down and remind myself that no one will judge me.
  • To engage other bakers in conversation, I can talk about what high schools they went to, and ask them about why they wanted to become bakers.

How do our emotions influence our perceptions of the world around us?

In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the author shows how emotions, particularly love, influence our perception of the world, and ultimately our actions. For example, when Titania becomes infatuated with Bottom, she is willing to give up the changeling boy, and does not seem to care about him. Before she became enamored, she expressed an opposing opinion, and said “Set your heart at rest: / The fairyland buys not the child of me” (II. I, 121-122). When Titania is in this love-crazed state, she acts out of character, and relinquishes a child that she was willing to give up all of fairyland for. In this instance, Titania acts rashly because of her emotions, and her views have been altered because of her love for Bottom. This is one of the many examples where Shakespeare expresses his belief that emotions can influence our perceptions of the world around us.

Another example of a character’s perception in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream being altered by emotion is when Helena follows Demetrius into the woods. She is making a wise decision, and that is pointed out by Demetrius, who says “You do impeach your modesty too much, / To leave the city and commit yourself / Into the hands of one that loves you not;” (II. I, 214-216). He is telling her that she is to trusting, and has gotten herself in to a dangerous situation. If Helena was not in love with Demetrius, then she would not have gone in to the forest with him, putting herself in harm’s way. Her love has blinded her to the need common sense and safety, demonstrating how emotions can influence people’s perception of reality.

In Depth Post #2: Mentorship

Status Update:

So, I am ecstatic to report that I have found a mentor! As my project was baking, I reached out to a plethora of local bakeries. I only heard back from one, which was expected. I am disappointed that the other bakeries neglected to reply to my emails, but the opportunity that I did have panned out. I had my first meeting at Cakes n Sweets on Saturday, and it was fun and educational.

I learned about the facilities and layout of Cakes n Sweets, as well as practical skills to assist me in my project. Sheila, the owner of Cakes n Sweets, showed me how to frost a cake and how to pipe chocolate lettering.

I was able to help out with making sandwiches for High Tea, a service that Cakes n Sweets provides. I also made them a thank-you card to show my appreciation.


How did your mentor gain their expertise?

My mentor gained most of her experience by owning and operating a business.

What were those experiences like for your mentor?

Owning and operating a business can be trying, especially when one must interact with rude and impatient customers.  I believe that has taught her a lot about being patient, as well as given her a calm and steady demeanor.

What wisdom have you learned from your mentor?

I have learned some of the practical skills required for baking, including icing and piping. Also, my mentor is a very strong leader, and I hope to emulate her ability to organize as well as lead.

What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?

I have learned some effective teaching strategies that will assist me in teaching others, including:

In Depth Post #1: An Introduction

This year,  for my first in depth project, I plan to immerse myself in the world of baking. Specifically, meringues, French macaroons, mirror glaze cakes, and other sorts of pastries and sweets.

I choose this project for a number of reasons, first and foremost being my love for baking. I have always enjoyed the sweet satisfaction of pulling a  perfectly rounded, piping hot, delicious creation from the oven, and being able to share this dessert with my friends and family. I also find desserts that have been decorated well oddly satisfying, and I look forward to create an aesthetic beauty with my creations.

Currently, I have not found a mentor, but I am confidant that I will find one soon. I have sent out emails to several local bakeries, and I am hoping for a response sometime soon. Also, my grandma is an excellent baker, and while she can’t be my primary mentor, I look forward to baking and learning with her.

I have started my project, as I recently baked a batch of meringues. Unfortunately, they melted into blobs, so they were not as pretty as I had hoped. Next time I will try popping them in the fridge before I put them in the oven, as this is said to help.

Here are some pictures of what I hope to accomplish:

Image result for mirror-glazed cake

A mirror-glazed cake

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French Macarons

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Images from Bing

I looking forward to starting my project, and I hope that I’ll have a lot of fun!


ZIP! Document of Learning #4

As ZIP is drawing to a close, I have some time to reflect on the resources that assisted me in this inquiry. One resource that I found very helpful was episode 37 of the Crash Course Philosophy series, titled “Contractarianism”. It was about Hobbes’ thoughts on the idea of a social contract, and it was stated in very simple terms that made complex, abstract ideas tangible. I found Hobbes’ Leviathan filled with jargon and often hard to follow, so I had to supplement my reading with online resources. “Contractarianism” was a helpful final review (even though I didn’t finish the entire book) as it went over on of the overarching themes in Leviathan, and I was able to review for my presentation.

EDIT: It turns out this post has been sitting in “pending” for over a week. I apologize for any inconvenience.

ZIP! Document of Learning #3


Take a moment to reflect on your inquiry plan (calendar). Do you need to make any revisions to your inquiry plan? If so, why?

WOW! I can’t believe how far I am in to this project! I feel that I’ve learned a lot, and have a better understanding of how I want show what I’ve learned. I have taken time to reflect on my original inquiry plan, and what I want others to take away from my presentation. I have decided, instead of crafting an argument and creating a text to show my learning, I will put together a lesson that I will teach to the class. I believe that a lesson would contribute more to everyone’s understanding of my topic and question, and I have been told that one does not fully understand something until they teach it.

In addition, I have decided to switch my learning artefact because of the mounting stress of other projects. Even though I have started writing my text, it is not moving along as fast as I would have liked. Teaching a lesson would take less time, and allow me to spend more time with my family over the winter break.

Document of Learning #2

A skill that I am utilizing in my research that I can use again and again is the ability to take concise, focused notes. This skill is very important as it limits my notes to my inquiry question, and keeps me from branching off into new topics. I have found that as I read, I am tempted to record notes on the ideas as opposed to the persuasive devices used, and this would bog down my notes with an excess of information. This skill will be useful to years to come as notes are an integral part of learning. I am striving to be a lifelong leaner, so taking focused notes will help me for the rest of my life.

PTI Check-In Paragraph

The most significant internal conflict that Junior faces in Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian is his constant struggle with his identity. Namely, as a reservation Indian leaving his home to go to a white school in Reardan. Junior expresses his struggle by saying “Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I alway felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other” (118). This quote demonstrates Junior’s struggle with identity because it shows his lack of belonging, of being a “stranger”, even in his hometown.  It shows his loneliness and how he doesn’t fit in with either the white Reardan kids or the reservation Indians. This absence of acceptance drives many of his decisions and is a major plot point in this book.

ZIP! Document of Learning #1


A concept that I have learned about is the idea of asking questions to further a political argument. The book I am currently reading is called The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.I find that Rousseau does a good job of asking questions to further his argument. For example, while discussing the ‘right of the first occupant’, Rousseau poses the question “Is it enough to put one’s feet on a piece of common land in order to claim it at once as one’s own?” (67). This question is thought-provoking, deep, and forces the reader to reflect on the status quo. He provokes curiosity and inquisitiveness, and encourages the reader to continue reading. Finally, the way the question is worded is designed to nudge the reader towards Rousseau’s opinion. All these factors fit together to persuade and convince the reader that Rousseau’s argument is sound.

This information will be useful for others as it will help make their writing more effective. Asking questions in writing encourages readers to think anout the topic, and pushes the reader to continue reading.