Personal Object


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Inquiry question: What is the story of my great grandmothers ring?

First, some backstory on my object. When my grandmother was 12 years old, my great grandfather gave a ring to my great grandmother. He bought it at the department store he worked for, Sears (the first Sears in BC). The ring has been passed down through my family for generations. Soon, when I am old enough, I will get the ring from my mom.

Source: The ring is a primary source, because it is an artefact. The producer of the ring is unknown, however it was purchased at a Sears by my great grandfather so it was likely mass produced.

Context: The ring was bought in the mid 1950’s, around ten years after the Second World War. This is important because in the Second World War, a new plastic made from acrylic resin, called Lucite, was developed. Lucite was used in aircrafts in the war, but once the war ended, there was no use for it anymore. Jewellers bought it and started to make rings and fake gems with it, as it was much less expensive than actual jewels. The ring that now belongs to my mom is made from Lucite, which shows how the object was influenced by events that had happened around the time the object was created.

Description: This source is important because it is a family heirloom, and it has been passed down for generations. It symbolizes my heritage and my family history. What I find interesting about the source is the writing on it. On the inside of the ring, there is a word or an initial scribed into the gold. It looks like it is written in Arabic, or some other foreign language. I can’t read it, and neither my mom or my grandmother know what it says or means. This is also something that I can’t explain about the artefact.

Inferences about perspective: This writing shows that the creator may have been of Arabic decent, or the writing was carved in after the ring was bought. I think that the creator made this source to get payed. If the creator didn’t make this source, than they would probably be fired. This ring was created for anyone looking to buy a ring. My great grandfather happened to be the audience, as he was looking for a ring as a present for my great grandmother. The background and values of the creator could have influenced the source because the creator most likely write something in another language on the artefact, wether it be his initials or a word. The background and values of my grandfather could have influenced the artefact because if he had been from another background or had different values, he might have believed that rings weren’t a proper present to give. He might have instead given my great grandmother a dress, or some chocolates. If my grandfather had had different values, the source may not still be in my family (and may have never been in the first place).

Inferences about inquiry question: From examining the source, I have learned about the type of jewelry that was popular in the 1950’s, and that the creator of the artefact was most likely from a foreign country. This does help me to answer my inquiry question, because the more I know about my object, the more I am able to answer my question. What I have learned extends what I know, because I was aware that the large jewel was not real but I didn’t know that it was made of Lucite until further examination and information from secondary sources. What I learned did not tell me if the smaller diamonds on the side of the ring are real or not. I know for a fact that the gold is real, but the jewel is not. Therefore, I have no simple way of figuring out wether the diamonds are real. Some further questions I have are, what is written on the inside of the ring? Are the diamonds on the ring real or fake? Why did my great grandfather choose this particular ring to gift to my great grandmother? Was there a special occasion that required my great grandfather to give the ring to my great grandmother? Is the ring worth more now than it was when it was purchased over 60 years ago?

Social Studies Blog Post

How do we know what we know about the past?

In schools today, kids are being taught social studies out of textbooks. But how do we know that the information in those books is true? And where did it come from?

The most obvious explanation is texts. When we study texts from the past, it can give us insights as to what the world was like back then. For example, if someone wrote in detail about a war that happened, we could assume that the information was correct and that it happened as told in the text. But what if it isn’t true? For example, if two war generals are battling, one obviously has to lose. But after the battle, both generals could write stories about their victory because the loser doesn’t want to be discredited. For this reason, we don’t solely look at texts.

Another thing we look at are stories that have been passed down. Everyone’s grandparents have some crazy story that came from their grandparents which came from their grandparents. How do we know if these stories are true, exaggerated or completely made up? We could look at the third point, evidence.

Physical evidence is an extremely important component. Without physical evidence, there is no proof and therefore no truth. For example, if it was described in a text that an emperor was killed by falling and breaking his neck, his body could be exhumed to verify this claim. If his neck and spine are intact, this could mean he died a different way, or this isn’t the right body. Or, for another example, if your grandparents say that their grandparents said that their grandparents were alive during the biggest war in history which happened in Iceland, but there is no evidence to support this, then you have valid reason to believe that this story might not be true.

In Depth Post #3

Over the past two weeks since the last blog post, I have met with my mentor twice. We were only planning on meeting up once, but there was a huge coincidence and he ended up being at work (my mom’s school) on the Friday that I had the day off. During his lunch break, I came over with my guitar and he taught me a new song to practice. Although we only spent 45 minutes together the first meeting, I learned as much as I would have in a 2 hour one. During our second meet up, I played him the first two bars of one of the songs I chose to learn over the course of the project. I also played him the original song so he could compare the two. He gave me some tips on how to improve, and he asked me to send him a video of me playing the first four bars once I learn them. Below, I have answered some of the questions.

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I recently started to learn the first of two (or more) songs that I need to know as a part of my criteria for this project. During our two meetings, I played my mentor small pieces and chords from the song. With his help, I was able to easily piece things together, and to make the music sound complete. I will obviously require more practice, but so far this is something that is going really well.

2. What logical challenges affected your communication?

During our first meeting, we met in my mentors office (which he shares with my mom and two other teachers) during the schools lunch break. It was obviously loud, and there were many students and teachers inside the office that were talking at a volume which made it sometimes difficult to communicate with my mentor. Since my in-depth subject is guitar, I especially needed quiet because I needed to be able to hear the notes to see if they were right, therefore the noise was a large problem. We ended up finding an empty classroom in a desolate hallway which was quiet enough to work in.

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

I could improve my patience skills, because I often want to try everything I am taught before my mentor has the chance to teach me the right way to do it. For example, if my mentor strums a note, I won’t wait for him to teach it to me. Instead, I will attempt to play it on my own, which is more than often a bad idea because I get the notes wrong. The second skill I would improve is my enthusiasm. I often get frustrated to the point where I want to give up, but I can usually get motivated pretty quickly after. However, I would like to be able to not lose the motivation in the first place. If I try my best to keep an open, enthusiastic attitude, maybe I will be able to accomplish this. The final skill I would improve is my focus. During our first meeting, when there were students having conversations near us, I realized how easily I got distracted. During the second meeting, I began to notice this as well. By paying attention better and directing all of my energy into listening and processing what my mentor is saying, I hope to improve my focus.

Overall, the past two meetings have been very helpful and I have learned a lot, not just about guitar but about my mentor and my abilities.

In-depth blog post #2

During my second meeting with my primary mentor, I learned a lot. We had been communicating via email for the past two weeks, but we haven’t met in person since the winter break. We have planned to meet every other week from now on, as he lives in Vancouver so the commute isn’t easy. Below is a short summary of some of the things we covered during our meeting.

How did your mentor gain their experience/ expertise?

My mentor has been playing guitar his whole life, as his parents and siblings all played. His older brother actually taught him how to play, and he went on to start playing in high school bands. Up until three years ago, when his daughter was born, he was in a band in Vancouver.

What were those experiences like for your mentor?

Growing up, my mentors house was always full of music. His father used to tell him things like “Music is it’s own reward”. My mentor took this to mean that you need to love the music first, and anything else (success, career, etc) will come later. This has always been his approach to music, whether it’s playing for his three year old daughter or playing for a pub full of strangers.

What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?

I have learned so much that I don’t think it is possible to sum it all up, but I will do my best. I have learned how to play many chords, I have learned how to read tablature and sheet music, I have learned the proper posture needed to play the guitar properly, I have learned how to tilt the guitar at the best angle to play, and I have learned how to play a chord so that it doesn’t echo or buzz at all. But most of all, I have learned the attitude in which you have to approach guitar with. You always need to have an open and positive attitude, and be ready to experience and learn. If you aren’t happy, the listeners won’t be happy, which will have a huge affect on your performance.

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

I have learned many important qualities and teaching strategies from my mentor that I would apply to my teaching and mentor ship. For example, my mentor is very patient, open/easy to talk to, thorough, and nice. One of my favourite things about working with him is the pace he teaches at. He can easily pick up on how much I understand of what he taught me, and how fast I learn it. If I seem to be getting everything on the first try, he’ll speed up a bit without even having to ask. And when I don’t fully understand what he teaches me, he slows down so that I have a chance to catch up with him.