In-depth, here we go!

Guess what? In depth is starting again! As you may recall, last year I studied the art of SLAM poetry, which left me craving more of this project. Well its back, and for a long time I was unsure of what I wanted to study. I have figured it out, and have decided to study Spanish. Over my Christmas break, I visited the beautiful country of Mexico, and acted as my family’s amateur tour guide. I failed. I thought that my Spanish skills were somewhat proficient, but once the pressure of speaking to people with thick accents, at top speeds, kicked in, I was useless. My conjugation was off, I was slow, and I kept having to ask people to write things down, as I can read better than I can speak. Since I have always wanted to study Spanish in university, and travel once I graduate, I figured that the in-depth project would be the perfect learning environment for the culmination of my language skills. Last year I completed my first year of Spanish in school, and am currently taking intro 11 online. This allows me plenty of resources, to make this project as fun, and stimulating as it was last year. I will probably consult with many Spanish speakers on a regular basis, however, I have found one person who I can call my mentor. Last year, Señora Galliford taught me grade nine Spanish, and I consult her occasionally when I have questions about the Spanish I am learning. I talked to her, and she agreed to be my mentor. She will help me with my pronunciation, speed while speaking Spanish, and she has also agreed to help me write my biweekly blogposts, IN SPANISH! I will have an English translation, (don’t worry non-spanish speakers), but this will help me see the growth that has occurred in my language skills, throughout the course of this project. I also obtained several contacts during my trip, who agreed to help me with the project, by allowing me to phone them occasionally, to practice speaking to a native Spanish speaker. Since I know the stress that these phone calls will provide me, I plan on doing three throughout my project. Speaking will be the focus of this project, as writing is usually easier, but not very useful while travelling. Obviously not much has happened in the means of process so far, as I am just beginning my project. Over the reading break I plan on completing one research session, and ideally one of the units on Rosetta Stone, but that is likely pushing it a bit too far. As for my plans for the project on he whole: I hope to complete two Duolingo sessions every week, since there are seventy in total. That will leave me a few weeks before the final project, to prepare my presentation in the time usually designated to Duolingo. I will also do two grammar lessons every week on, as they have a similar number of lessons as Duolingo. Altogether, these two forums will amount to approximately an hour a week. However, I would also like to do one unit on Rosetta Stone every two weeks. Each unit requires ten hours or more, so I will have my hands full. I don’t think I will mind putting in six hours a week or more, as this is a project of passion, and I am excited to get started. So, let’s begin the road of conjugation and present participles, and hope that one day fluency is attainable!

Check back in two weeks for an update on how my reading break plans worked out, or didn’t… Wish me luck!

Zip document of learning number 4

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your inquiry?

I would tell myself to slow down, and stop being so ambitious. I have spent so long editing these stories, that I had to take a week long break during winter break, from zip, so that I could get the words out of my head. Obviously there are still a lot of errors in the stories, but I had no interest in dealing with them all, when I had the stories memorized word by word. I stopped seeing my own mistakes, and simply reciting the stories in my head. Setting goals are important, but I need to stop wearing myself out with the goals that I set, for it is not beneficial in the long run. Today, will be the first time I look at the stories in over a week, so hopefully my eyes will be refreshed. I have also refrained from having peers edit the stories, as I am taking what Mr. Morris said on the last day of school, to heart. I am worried that if they edit it for more than grammatical, and spelling errors, it will be considered plagiarism, which I do not want to get into. In TALONS we have habits of changing sentence structure and style on our peers work, because we want them to succeed, but there is a thin line between helping and hindering here. I only had people who I trusted to edit the stories without changing everything, edit them; and I was extremely critical of the edits I received, petrified they would change too much. Hopefully, this turns out alright.

Zip document of learning number 3

Hola reader(s),

As you know, I have now been working on Zip for a few weeks, which brings us to Christmas break! Unfortunately I am still struggling with the Zip work load this year, much more than I did last year. I did too much last year, so I thought that I was setting goals that were less ambitious… I was wrong. I am pushing through though, and should hopefully be done writing/editing my stories by the end of the break, so that afterwards can be dedicated to working on my presentation. The best part of Zip, is that I love my topic, and am very motivated to do it, but the worst part is how frustrating it is that I can’t spend all of my homework time, working on it. I want to finish it, but it is a lot to do, and I have other priorities. I also love the fact that not much research is required for this project. With all of the online searches that I racked up over eminent, Zip is a nice break. It is a chance to focus on the subject I find most interesting, within my favourite subject. Zip has been a fairly smooth ride, in terms of evenly spreading out the workload, but I am afraid that I haven’t put enough time into it. In the past, I have written short stories in the matter of a few days, but these ones took me almost a week each just to get a draft that I was really happy with. I’ve also been writing a lot more poetry, than I have stories lately, so quite frequently I start writing a sentence, only to realize that I am trying to rhyme it, or add alliteration etc; These are all unnecessary aspects to the kind of story I am going for.

Unfortunately I have to go catch a plane to Mexico now, but I’ll update you when I get back… Feliz Navidad

Zip document of learning – Numero dos


So, I have been working away at Zip all weekend, furiously trying to get to the point I had set out for myself in the beginning of this project, and I’m beginning to realize it is not possible. I am still in the midst of really writing my second story, which is taking WAY longer than I expected it to. This also means that the editing I was supposed to do on Friday, didn’t happen, and the peer editing I had planned for tomorrow probably isn’t going to happen either… ughhh. Unfortunately this means that I have to alter my schedule a bit, as I don’t have much time over the break to dedicate to this project. The changes are as follows…

Tomorrow (Monday) I will continue writing my second story, and complete it over the week.

On Friday, I will edit my stories.

Over the break I will ask a few of my peers (2-3) to edit my stories, and another few to select which one they prefer. I will be doing this over the break, as it would take away from my classmate’s zip work block success if I did it during school time.

Once we get back (and if I can spare any time during the break) I will work on my presentation of the project.

This should lighten my load a bit, as I have a lot of homework, and other things to do that relate to the Holidays.

Jingle Jingle!

John Maxwell Leadership Lessons

One of the major takeaways for me from the John Maxwell The 360 Degree Leader video sessions, was the “How to be Fulfilled in the Middle of the Pack” lesson. I, as someone with growing leadership skills, like to be recognized for my contributions. Sometimes I do extra work on projects, and tasks, for the intrinsic motivation of recognition. As John says, I need to start “Defin[ing] a win in terms of teamwork” rather than my own work. As I have been learning, delegation should be priority when I become stressed, or overworked, instead of trying to finish everything so that I get the credit. Henrietta Mears says that “The person who keeps busy helping the one who is below him won’t have time to envy the person above him.” In my case, I need to stop worrying about the people who hold the same position as myself (my peers) because of their instant gratification when they do things well, and instead start putting more of my attention on people below me, who’s voices aren’t heard as often. With the Talent Show coming up, this challenge is especially relevant. I will be working with Grade 9’s and 10’s on this project. It is my responsibility to have the grade nines prepared to lead the event next year, which means they have to know their tasks. Unlike most projects, I have to delegate work to the grade nines, and understand that they deserve just as much credit as myself on the night of. This isn’t my project, nor would it be the same if I did it alone. By measuring my successes based on that of my team, the successes will be a lot bigger, and I can have some weight lifted off of my shoulders. The job of the leader isn’t to complete all of the work, but rather know who would do the work best.

ZIP pidee doo dah, ZIP pideeday. I love writing, and Zip seems okay…

Hello TALONted readers, (although there may only be one of you… I don’t actually know who reads these.)

So, we have started Zip again this year, as I’m sure you got from the last post. I am researching how Freytag’s pyramid affects a readers understanding of a story. During our last work block, I started writing my first short story for this project! yipeee

During Zip, I hope to completely write two short stories, one with a Freytagged plot, and the other following a completely different structure. Since all of the research that I needed to do, was completed by Friday, I got the whole block to just write. I didn’t have much of a plan for what my story was going to be about, or who the characters were or anything, because most of my planning happens when my pen hits the paper (or my fingers to the keyboard in this situation.) I knew that it would be an adventure story, so that starting at the climax for my second story, would be easy to see. However, because I don’t read adventure novels, I found it really hard to find an original idea that wasn’t a direct copy of another book I’ve read. By the end of the block, I had written some 2000 unedited words about a young girl who gets kidnapped. I liked the plot of the story, and how it naturally grew suspenseful, but my words required a TON of editing. At this point, my first story is roughly completed, as I want to write both versions of the short story before fine-tuning more details. This is all so exciting to me!

I missed truly creative writing; this much freedom with my writing is bringing back a few memories of short stories that I wrote in grade five, and was so proud of! I wonder if I can find them in any of the old files on my mom’s computer… perhaps that would be a good part of my presentation, to compare deliberate rebellion against Freytag’s pyramid, versus naiveness, and see if it makes a difference in the overall flow of the story. Although there might be too many grammatical errors to even know what I was trying to say… We shall see.

Here We Go… Back at it Again With The Freytagging of 3D Triangles

Zip Proposal


“To what extent are the points on Freytag’s pyramid vital in the creation of a short story?”

Propose and Plan

I have always loved creative writing, so when the zip project was introduced, I saw it as an opportunity to pursue a passion of mine. I want to study short story writing, and the effect that Freytag’s pyramid has on the success of a plot. Specifically, I want to know: to what extent are the points on Freytag’s pyramid vital in the creation of a short story?

I have always loved reading, but when a book starts at the climax, I get particularly interested. I’ve only ever followed the structured pyramid that we are given in class, without question. However, I want to gain the skill of starting a plot at different points on the pyramid, or skipping over them entirely, and view the difference that it makes in a readers understanding of the story.

I have never been taught anything about starting at different parts of the pyramid, so I am walking on uncharted territory here. I know that books which start at the climax, drag readers in quicker, and are typically action or adventure genre stories. I don’t generally write action stories, because I prefer slower paced reading, and savouring the words on the page. It will be a challenge to write in a new style, and a different plot order, but I am up to it! I do a lot of creative writing, so that should help. I have also spent years studying Freytag’s pyramid, and thoroughly understand the structure. You must know the rules before you break them!

By the end of my Zip project, I hope to improve my short story writing skills, including but not limited to concision, and free writing. I also hope to better my understanding of the short story structure.

I will need help in the completion of my Zip project, mostly from my laptop,  but also from other living breathing humans. If need be, I can always contact my mentor from last year, Emma Fields, who is a skilled creative writer. Besides her, I can look to Mr. Morris for help, or even some of my past English teachers. I may also contact an author in our community to perhaps conduct an interview.

As for items that will be on my desk, my laptop and a copy of Freytag’s pyramid will definitely be present. And perhaps a cup of hot tea may join them occasionally. In all seriousness, I can look to the internet, or books for resources. Like during the Eminent person project, the library will be my new home.

For my final presentation, I think that I am going to record myself reading over the final draft of my short story. Depending on how long the story takes to read, I might also record the other story, which has a different Freytag structure to it. I may also include short video clips of my progress, without sound.



Thursday, November 30th: Choose my zip inquiry question, and begin proposal.

Monday, December 4th: Complete the proposal, and begin researching Freytag’s pyramid and alterations to it.

Friday, December 8th: Begin writing the short story with the regular format. Finish writing it over the weekend.

Monday, December 11th: Write the second short story using the same plot, but start at the climax, followed by the exposition/inciting incident/rising action, then the falling action, and the resolution.

Friday, December 15th: Edit both of the stories, and have three peer reviews completed on each story.

Monday, December 18th: Have three people who have yet to read my short stories, read the irregular format one and write a short summary about it. Have them read the second one and write another short summary. They will compare their understanding of each story, and which one was more effective at:

a) interesting them from the beginning

b) explaining all of the information needed to understand the plot

c) rank the stories on a scale of 1-10, choosing which one they prefer and why.

Friday, December 22nd: Reflect on my audiences choices, and consider why they made them. Did they prefer the story which I expected, or did they choose the other story? Is this because of my writing/would it change with other stories, or is this the general preference and understanding of our population?


Hello TALONted folks, here is my final eminent post, ever… my biBLOGraphy enjoy, and feel free to use these awesome resources for your future projects, or Julia CHILDish endeavours. Okay I’ll stop.

Works Cited

AreYouSavingDaylight. “Julia Child Burns Food.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Aug. 2009,

This is another video of Julia Child making mistakes, which helped with my speech. However at the end, another man comes on the show, which didn’t really add to my presentation much. It did help me capture her joking behaviour though.

Bell, Emily. “The Legacy of Julia Child.” The Legacy of Julia Child |, May 2010,

This page, again had some baseline information, but also invited the idea of Julia Child’s humbleness, by referencing the quote “If pressed she would say ‘I guess I’m a pretty good teacher.’” Despite all of the accomplishments that Julia had made in the cooking world, she never referred to herself as a chef.

Child, Julia, et al. As Always, Julia: the Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

This book contained the letters which Julia Child and Avis DeVoto sent back and forth to each other for years! This book spares no details, and let me meet Julia Child in a very personal way, along with one of her closest friends.

Child, Julia, et al. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Vol.2. A.A. Knopf, 1983.

This recipe book was a collection of Julia and Simone Beck’s favourite dishes. I browsed it when trying to choose which dishes to make for my learning centre.

Child, Julia. Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1. Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Being the first of Julia Child’s cookbooks, I simply had to have this. It is a collection of some of her favourite recipes, in her classic longhand style. This book was on feature at my learning centre, and I used it when trying to find recipes to showcase.

denisbehr. “Julia Child – Favorite Moments from The French Chef.” YouTube, YouTube, 28 June 2015,

This video is a whole “The French Chef” episode, on how to roast chickens, and it was extremely helpful. This was the turning point in my project. After watching this on repeat, my accent improved a ton, and so did my knowledge on cooking chickens.

DeRevolutionibus. “Meryl Streep vs. Julia Child.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Dec. 2009,

This was yet another video, comparing Julia Child to Meryl Streep, because I wanted to see how people of the past had imitated Julia Child in a way which was considered respectful.

GotGarlic, et al. “Omelet Ideas? – Discuss Cooking – Cooking Forums.” Discuss Cooking Cooking Forums RSS, 1 Aug. 2014,

This was “The Omelette Show” on “The French Chef”. I watched this video to gain some insight on Julia Child’s mannerisms and accent, as well as to have some classic Julia authenticity in my speech. I however, also had much better omelette skills after watching this.

Greenspan, Dorie, and Julia Child. Baking with Julia: Based on the PBS Series Hosted by Julia Child. Morrow, 1996.

This book had some of Julia Child’s recipes that were sweeter. I consulted it during some practice cooking for my learning centre.

Hunt, Kristin. “15 Fascinating Facts About Julia Child.” Mental Floss, 16 Aug. 2017,

This was a beautiful article containing fifteen hard to find facts about Julia Child. From her cancer, to her years as a spy, this went in to great detail about my Eminent person and was greatly appreciated to refresh my brain before Night of the Notables.

Jordan, Ellen. “Julia Child.” Coping with Cancer, 1997,

This website brought up the commonly avoided topic of Julia Child’s life, her cancer. Julia lived past her cancer, and didn’t mention it much because she had a “don’t let it feed on my attention” kind of mind frame. This helped me get to know my eminent person better.

“Julia Child.”, A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017,

Biography provided an extensive summary of Julia Child’s life, and her principle accomplishments. It was a great starting point for my research, being similar to a concise wikipedia page. This page introduced the idea that Julia had originally wanted to become a writer, and was eventually able to reach that goal.

pierqueer. “Julia Flubs Her Flip.” YouTube, YouTube, 14 Sept. 2011,

This is a clip from Julia Child’s potato pancake show, where she messes up when attempting to flip the pancake. It helped me master her “oh well” attitude that I had to embody a few times in my speech. I wanted to make my reaction to burning myself authentic, and this helped.

Shapiro, Laura. Julia Child: a Life. Lipper/Penguin, 2009.

This book was like Julia Child’s biography. It helped me learn more about her and Paul’s relationship, and I actually found it oddly entertaining.

slatester. “The Many Voices of Meryl Streep.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Aug. 2009,

This youtube clip contains a variety of different accents that Meryl Streep has done in various movies, including a how-to for beginners. It was helpful for some Julia insight, but I only listened when she started using Julia’s accent. The rest I just tuned out.

TheVladbocean. “Julia Child The French Chef- Your Own French Onion Soup.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 Feb. 2013,

This is another “French Chef” episode, on Julia’s all-time favourite recipe, french onion soup. This video improved my accent, and helped me perfect the Julia mannerisms which I had to capture during my speech and learning centre. I made this recipe for my family, and I can understand why she loved this dish so much!

TVLEGENDS. “Julia Child – Archive Interview Excerpts w/ Kitchen Tour.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Aug. 2009,

This is an interview with Julia Child from later on in her career. It helped me gain insight about the later parts of her life, and improved the validity of the information that I was able to share at my learning centre.

XxMerylStreepxX. “Julie & Julia: Meryl Streep Interview.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Aug. 2009,

This is an interview with Meryl Streep, who played Julia Child in the movie “Julie and Julia.” I wanted to see if she ever gave tips on perfecting the accent of Julia, as I was terrified that I was doing it wrong. Unfortunately, she only occasionally switched into the iconic voice, so it wasn’t much help.



ps, enjoy the new layout of my blog, and savour the aesthetic!

Eminent Reflection

After twenty seven hours slaving away in the kitchen, hours worth of research, and years of acting preparation for my take on Julia Child, eminent was a success; and I lived to tell the story. What surprised me the most about Eminent, is how much I enjoyed it. Last year, eminent was my favourite project out of all the things we did that year; but I assumed it was because of my passion for my eminent person. This year I chose Julia Child, who I didn’t know much about previously, and still thoroughly enjoyed the project. I think that because of the high stress level of eminent, you are unable to appreciate all of the small things that occur during your research, so when the project is done, you can relish in your success, and realize what a great job you did. I did a lot more research on Julia Child’s mannerisms this year, as I had to embody her in a respectful way, and I was particularly afraid that the audience would think I was mimicking her. I would say that my acting skills improved during this portion of my research, and I even got to put it on my resume. Perhaps, this should lead to my IEP acting goal.

I also developed what one might consider a deep connection with my eminent person throughout this project, considering how often I felt that I had talked to her. I started referring to her as “Julia,” which annoyed my family. Even my mom says that she feels she knows Julia, because of how frequently I mentioned her. I learnt a lot from this project without trying to, on top of the answers to questions which I knew I needed. I however, certainly didn’t know as many biographical details this year as I did last year. I knew the basic things, like her birthdate, but I didn’t know facts about her second cousins or anything, like I did in grade nine. I feel like those details allowed me to know my eminent person last year, in a way which I didn’t meet Julia this year. Those little details that mean seemingly nothing, form a picture in the end which could be important. So, if there was some kind of way which I could have spared some extra time, I would memorize little facts about Julia in the future. For example, wish that I knew her childhood address, or her first boss’ name.

My favourite part of Night of the Notables were the speeches, as can be expected. I love acting and public speaking, so getting up on stage and embodying someone as special as Julia Child, was an honour. I loved being calm backstage while my friends were nervous beyond compare, I loved our little energy warmup right before and after the evening occured, and I loved that we all celebrated each other’s success. Everyone was helping others who in a last minute struggle had forgotten items at home, or who’s hair needed more bobby pins, or who needed a hug to calm them from the crying. I love the friendly community which TALONS encompass’ and I love how close we are, despite only knowing each other for a year and a bit.

I would like to recognize all of the work which Mr. Morris put in. It was especially hard for him, considering it was his first eminent evening, and he had to somehow teach, us grade tens how to do something new to him. He did a great job at making my eminent experience as easy and stress free as possible. And the grade nines seemed to do pretty well at eminent as far as I could tell. Congratulations on a job well done Mr. Morris. Congratulations fellow grade tens, we did awesome; and good luck to any future TALONS working at conquering eminent. You will do great!

In the words of a very wise woman:

“Learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun” -Julia Child

Julia’s gateau

Now I have a story, which I would like to share, about an eminentish experience which I had.

As some of you may know, I have a younger sister, who has Celiac disease. Celiac, is an extreme intolerance to gluten; gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and similar products. Because of her Celiac, my house is entirely gluten free and dairy free. If you’ve ever tried to bake gluten free, you understand the challenges of flat cakes, crumbly brownies, and dry goods which are supposed to be moist.

As a sister of a Celiac, you might think that I would know better than to choose Julia Child as my eminent person, and choose to bake as my final presentation. But, I chose Julia Child, and I chose to make crepes for my learning centre, because why not challenge myself. Because of the gluten free challenges, I knew that I would have to alter the recipes a little bit, but little did I know how much.

I used a crepe recipe which I found online, requiring four different kinds of gluten free flour, none of which might I add, are bleached. So I made these crepes, and dealt with the challenges which I had, while learning how to make crepes (it was only my second time ever seeing a crepe). The crepes were gritty, and had an overall bland taste. I wasn’t sure exactly what crepes were supposed to taste like, but I couldn’t quite understand the hype for anything that tasted like that. Especially considering the multicolour brown spectrum of the crepes, due to the flours which I used. I got my mom to try it, but she was hesitant due to their appearance. After one bite, she cringed and told me to try a different dish. I however, was determined to make my crepe cake succeed.

So, I spent more time on the internet, searching for a  recipe, especially when the reviews contained words like moist, beautiful, and “almost like gluten,” I also required that the flours were bleached, so that the people who visited my station weren’t turned off by the appearance. Finally, I came across a recipe which looked perfect. I made the batter, left it refrigerating overnight as the recipe suggests, and made my first crepe with the new batter, the next morning. I was so excited, but then the crepe came out of the pan, thicker than most pancakes. I tried a bite, and it tasted awesome, so I figured that I just needed to improve my crepe skills. After six more that I produced came out looking like pancakes, I figured something was wrong. My dad helped me when he came in the kitchen, and saw how thick my batter was. I forgot to add a whole cup of milk! So after some alterations, my batter looked like thick cream, which was perfect according to my parents.

I tried again, and the crepe turned out a lot thinner. I continued to make the crepes, and each time they turned out thinner and thinner as my skills improved, until they were nearly paper thin. I took a break for lunch, came back, and realized that every one of my crepes had turned solid as rocks. They were like taco shells, crunchy, and definitely not what I was looking for. After some research online, I came back with no results. No one had ever complained of anything like this happening to their crepes… Where had I gone wrong? Because of my drive to succeed, I continued to try different techniques. Finally, I tried continuously pouring water on the crepe while it cooked, so that it almost looked soggy. This somehow worked, as after an hour or so sitting, all of the moisture was gone and the crepe looked normal. I made fifty six crepes in total, but only used twelve in the final recipe, because I wanted my crepe cake to look attractive, taste good, and have an appealing texture.

Finally, the crepes were ready, and I began making the altered filling for the cake, using apples and cinnamon, trying to accommodate for our current diet. I layered the crepes with the filling, and put butter all over it, trying to keep those crepes moist. Julia wanted me to cook the cake within an hour of serving, but I couldn’t quite do so. Instead, I completely prepared it, then my mom put it in the oven an hour before she came to the speeches. As I was downstairs getting ready, she dropped it off at my learning centre, all ready for the guests.

It was warm, which the guests liked, and they all enjoyed the texture and flavour. The crepe cake was completely finished halfway through the night because it was so popular. I only received one complaint about the cake, claiming that the crepes were slightly crunchy, which I expected. However, I didn’t expect that same man to come back to my station three times to have more of the cake… Perhaps that is why it was gone so soon. The point of this story, is how important perseverance is towards your success. I spent nearly sixteen hours working on this cake alone (although there were two other dishes which I was monitoring at the same time) and without those hours, my cake would not have tasted as good, but my family probably also wouldn’t have been as sick as we were of crepes. No pain, no gain I suppose.