Independent Study Final Reflection

When I first started this semester, I continued the work I planned to accomplish: a frog jump game. I first began by planning out the different elements that I would need to add into Unity to construct the game. This included different obstacles (cars, other vehicles), moving platforms ( lily pads and tree stumps), and the character player. Below are my initial notes for these different elements and what functionality would be required for each. I also listed all of the questions I had about this process and other things I would need to to more research on.

Once I had put together my initial notes about the game, I started to sketch out the basic design for the elements, as seen above. I knew from the very start of this project that I wanted to incorporate more aspects of graphic design and visual elements. I wanted to focus directly on game graphics this semester. I used the frogger game as a jumping-off point (no pun intended). I first started to design the general design of my frog in Adobe Illustrator, as seen below. This was much more difficult than I expected it to be; there were many different elements and tools in Illustrator that I was not familiar with. At this point, I realized I was going to need to use online resources and materials in order to learn more about graphic design in a short amount of time.

I found multiple different websites with resources available on the topic of graphic design, as seen on the left. These websites were of varying quality, most of them only included a small amount of useful information. But, by putting all the resources together, I was able to establish a much more defined idea of both what graphic design is and how I can best apply it to the idea of game design.

Below are my compiled notes from the articles and courses I found. Most of these were focused on graphic design rather than directly how to use Illustrator, but once I had a grasp of these basic concepts, I was able to apply them to different practice projects.

At this stage, I started to return to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to start practicing these new found skills. Below are several projects that I created over this process. Although these projects are less connected to the ideas of game design, I was continuing to develop my graphic design skills.

By the end of this semester, my work and accomplishments looked very different from what I expected at the start. At some point, I moved more towards what I wanted to work on all along, graphic design and art. Through this project, I brought these two, seemingly separate concepts together. Now that I have finished this project, I feel like I have been able to do everything I intended to do, even if the process was different from what I expected. I am very pleased with what I have accomplished, and I feel like I will be able to apply these concepts in the work I do in the future.


U4 – Hamlet Discussion Post

The Question: What was witty about Hamlet’s interaction with Polonius when he called Polonius a “fishmonger” etc. Act 2 scene 2?

My answer:

During Hamlet’s exchange with Polonius in Act 2 scene 2, he refers to Polonius as “fishmonger.” This is a very intentional word choice on Hamlet’s part because it acts as a sort of double entendre. In Elizabethan English, fishmonger refers both to a seller of fish and also associated with prosecution. This demonstrates Hamlet’s wit, by creating this double meaning, while he is also insulting Polonius. He is somewhat poking fun at Polonius’ attempt to use Ophelia to gather information on Hamlet. This interaction with Polonius is also essential to the plot, because it is one of the first times the audience gets to see Hamlet intentionally or unintentionally losing his mind. Later in the scene, Polonius says in an aside to the audience, “Yet he knew me not at first;  he said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone.” It is unclear whether Polonius understands Hamlet’s intentions to insult him, or if he is still confused.

Question: How does Hamlet’s interaction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Act 2 Scene 2 develop Shakespeare’s characterization of Hamlet?

U4 – Hamlet Shared Inquiry

Notes for the Shared Inquiry:

1. Function of plot, characters, and/or setting within a text. (C3) : How does Gertrude’s interactions with
Hamlet in her bedchamber effect of perception of him as a character?
2. Function of contrasts within a text. (C3) : How does the contrast between Hamlet’s euphemistic
language and Polonius’ genuine reaction develop the conflict between them?
3. Function of a symbol. (C2) : How does the skull Hamlet finds in the grave symbolize his ever-changing
relationship with death?
4. Function of specific textual details in revealing character motivation and perspective.
(C2) : What is the
relevance of Ophelia’s songs she sings as she is going mad? Do the lyrics apply to her relationship with
5. Function of specific textual details in the development of theme. (C6) : How does Hamlet’s indecision
and internal conflict in the “To be or not to be” monologue develop the theme of turmoil?

End of Year Reflection

When looking at my Unit 3 – 6 portfolio, I see my greatest achievement has been. . . 

I believe my greatest achievement this semester was my novel lecture on Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I feel like this presentation most accurately displays how I’ve grown of the course of the year, and how I have been able to more accurately understand how author’s use characters and symbolism to contribute to theme. For this novel project, I decided to read Orlando by myself. Although this meant I was not able to collaborate with my peers in this project, I still believe this was the right decision, due to me being overseas and not being able to attend all the Zoom classes. This presented an extra challenge because I was relying on my own analysis and understanding of the novel. Reading the novel was, overall, a very rewarding experience, because I was able to direct my understanding by myself. For certain, more challenging aspects of the reading, I was able to reference different recourses online. The process of creating three different possible presentations was also new and challenging at first. By choosing three distinct theses and finding evidence for each, I was able to develop a strong understanding of the themes of the novel. While reading, I demonstrated my understanding of the characters through my sociogram with a recorded explanation. Once we actually had to choose the presentation to give, I chose the topic that was most pertinent throughout my whole time reading the novel.  I chose this novel in particular because Virginia Woolf interests me, both as an author and a historical figure. 

When looking at my feedback on my work and Mastery Data (as found in Schoology), I noticed. .. 

Overall my mastery data is consistently within 75% – 100%. I think this data shows that although there has been some discrepancy in my work during virtual learning, I have overall demonstrated a strong understanding of the concepts. 

Considering most of second semester was virtual learning, I’d like to say. . . 

I think virtual learning significantly impacted my experience in this course because I missed classes due to the time difference. I still feel that I learned a lot through this experience, and gained a strong understanding of English Literature. Virtual learning also affected my participation in group projects, but I was able to work around these barriers. For example, while reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard with group members in Hong Kong, I was able to continue communicating with them, via Messenger and Email. I stayed on track and read the play at their same pace so that our notes made sense and we were able to discuss questions we had along the way. For the final presentation for that project, I was able to bring in outside knowledge and my own understanding of absurdist theatre and then enhancing the whole group’s understanding. In some ways, this experience this semester has positively contributed to my learning. For example, applying the current situation to the ideas in Hamlet prompted discussion and intrigued my to delve deeper into my readings, especially in the final Hamlet Shared Inquiry. This application of real-world experiences has been consistent throughout all my work in this class. 

When reviewing my goal for Semester 2, I can say that i . . . 

By the end of Semester 1, I felt like I had a strong understanding of the main concepts in class, but I still had issues fully communicating my understanding. At that point, shared inquiries and in-class discussions were my strengths but I still had issues communicating those same ideas through well-crafted, written arguments. I specifically wanted to focus on my timed in-class writings and formulating an argument in a short amount of time. I practiced this skill through the 10 minutes drills for AP Q1 and Q3. The in-class writing assignments have also given me opportunities to work on this. Another, less direct way that I have practiced this skill is by formulating my presentations in a similar, argumentative style. For example, in any notes and preparations for presentations, I made sure to structure them like an essay. This allowed me to both solidify my argument and more clearly understand how to structure an argument. 

A reflection on a Unit 3, 4, or 5 EQ is. . . (Include the EQ and response)

U3: How is a writer’s voice and writing style significant to the meaning of a text?

A writer’s voice and style are essential to the meaning of a text and the audience’s understanding. Depending on the topic and characters of a piece, the writer’s stylistic choices can form the audience’s interpretation. For example, the novel Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro. purposefully utilizing a more conversational, informal style to discuss foreign and complex ideas of cloning. This creates a very different effect and overall meaning in comparison to other dystopian novels, like 1984 by George Orwell. Orwell use a more distinct and strange style in his novel, creating an uncertain and dreary atmosphere. These are just two examples of how varying writing styles can change the meaning of texts that are focused on the same general themes.

Semester Video Reflection


second video:

video transcript:

This semester I have been independent learning how to use and program in Unity, by creating games. This process has been motivated solely by my own passions and pursuits, and through it, I have been able to learn a lot about game design and furthering my understanding of programming. I initially set out to make a full game by the end of the year, but I did not realize the amount of work and learning that was ahead of me. I assumed that, to some extent, the unity platform would not be hard to learn how to use, and that I would be able to code in Java, a language I already know. The first roadblock I hit was when I realized this would not be the case: instead, I would have to learn C#, a language I have never used before, through this. I was able to accomplish by finding online recourses, such as Stack Overflow, to solve specific programming errors, and general unity programming recourses. These helped me a lot over the process. As the class progressed, I grew to understand the fundamental elements of the code more, and relied on these outside recourses less.

With collaboration with my teacher mentor, Mr. Lin, I structured the semester. I would begin with a simple pong game and try to progress to larger-scale projects with each progression. I would record my progression through my blog, which I will link. This plan left room for changes and developments along the way, which did appear, but I was able to follow this general structure throughout. I first started with getting the absolute basics of Unity down, using the pre-downloaded tutorials provided by Unity. I also began to use more video recourses. Initially, these recourses were complicated for me. I needed to watch them several times and study the code in order to get my own code to work. After going through that process, I realized I needed to rely more on my own skills and less on the work of others online.

My first version of the pong game was simple, but it worked. Then, Mr. Lin challenged me to flip the game, to be vertical rather than horizontal. This tested my understanding of the code and physics within the platform of unity. It also displayed to me the areas that I wanted to work more on: fundamentally explaining and understanding the code, as well as using the code to power the game instead of the drag and drop functions of the unity platform.

Once I had a basic, functional pong game, in both vertical and horizontal orientations, I could deal with more complex ideas of scene changes. When I first researched and looked into the scene changing, it seemed simple enough. Then, I realized I was wrong. The recourses I found online were not answering my specific questions and when I did find some, they provided multiple different ways to solve them, but nothing was working. I decided to step back, try to solve a different problem in the code and return to this issue later. I think this was the best thing I could have done for myself in this situation, because, through this space, I was able to analyze exactly why my code was not working instead of obsessing over it. I think this was the biggest point of resilience for me through this semester because it did genuinely feel as if nothing was working and nothing would ever work. But, I stuck through it, brought myself back up again, and eventually, was able to solve my problem in a very simple way, that only required one line of code.

Next, I moved on to a closed box, a ball creation game. I don’t know how exactly to describe this, so here is a picture of the final product. The biggest challenge of this game was that I could not have any objects in the scene before the game started. This meant that a significant portion of the work I did in my first game was irrelevant. I know needed to focus on getting these objects in the scene, and then worry about physics and the objects interacting with one another. Through trial and error, as well as extensive research, I was able to come up with the solution: Prefabs! Prefabs are objects stored by within Unity that can be dragged and dropped into any scene (or instantiated by the code!) This process was also not easy; I had to research prefabs and apply the information I found to my specific area of code. Once I had this game working, Mr. Lin also challenged me to add an additional object, the triangle, with different physics, to see how they would interact with one another. This was not very difficult, because at this point I had a very strong understanding of the code and how it worked.

Final Reflection

  • When looking at my Unit 1 and Unit 2 portfolio, I see my most significant achievement has been…

I believe my most significant achievement this semester was the Great Poets Teaching Project. For one of the first more substantial projects in this class, I felt this assignment was a daunting task; I love poetry, but I had never studied the work of one poet at this level before. I thought this project would be an excellent way to introduce myself to a prominent female writer and poet of the 20th century: Sylvia Plath. Although I had heard of Sylvia Plath, I had not read any of her work before this project. Through the project, I read many different works by her and focused on the one that I felt was the most representative of her style. During the presentation, I felt very comfortable analyzing and breaking apart Plath’s style, as demonstrated in my original poem in her form and my presentation tool. I believe this project was my greatest achievement this semester because I could see my growth over a short amount of time, and I got to learn more about a poet I now love. This project was challenging, but overall I learned a lot from it and created a successful final product.

  • When looking at my feedback on my work (as found in Schoology), I see I still struggle with and/or I am improving upon …

I still need to work on my in-depth analysis of longer-form pieces, such as short stories. I also need to work on textual evidence used in my interpretation and analysis. I think I am still struggling to articulate my ideas in the most effective way possible. For example, one of the schoology comments on my portion of the dragon notes video on “A Rose For Emily” was that I missed the part of my analysis in which I connect the final death and body to Emily’s male love interest. I did, however, mention this in my earlier Values Discussion Post. Although I recognized what was happening in the text, I was unable to display this idea through my video. In this way, I think I still struggle with visualizing and adding my thoughts to the final product of my work.

  • When looking at my process piece, Short Story Written Interpretation (drafts 1-3), this was my approach to improving that work…

For this paper, as seen here, I followed several stages of drafting. First, I began with the initial writing process, including putting my ideas onto the page and writing a thesis statement. For my second draft, I tried to tighten my paragraphs, ensuring that my thesis was consistent throughout the whole piece. My organizational structure was still abstract and not exactly clear, which I later improved in the third draft. I also reread the story to find the best quotes to fit my thesis. Although I was already revisiting the story in the initial drafting, my quotes did not all work with my revised thesis statement. There were some other sections that I overlooked in my first read-through that, under the new lense of my paper, would further my thesis more effectively. In the revision, I refocused my topic, defined my terms, and clarified my organization. I also removed large sections that did not move my paper forward. This progression helped me improve the overall piece and construct a more effective argument.

  • When looking at my Mastery data on Schooogy for this course, I notice that…

Overall, I am in the green area. I believe this shows that I am generally improving and showing growth. Most of the standards do not have an overwhelming amount of data supporting them. I think I am still demonstrating my learning and understanding of most of these standards. One of the primary standards that I need to work on is C1, or “read and understand (and choose) complex imaginative literature (fiction, drama, and poetry) appropriate for college-level study.” My formative work, which is also included in the mastery data, demonstrates my consistent practice and usage of the ideas we study in class. Generally, my mastery data shows that I have a good grasp of all these different ideas in the class, with room to grow and learn in the second semester.

  • Having reviewed the semester’s reading writing, speaking, listing, and critical thinking, as well as my collaboration, creativity, and resilience, a goal I have for Semester 2 is…

My goal for the second semester is to more effectively display my ideas and point of view, both in my writing and project work. I feel this is a good, reasonable goal for me because I believe that the second semester of this course will present many opportunities for me to demonstrate this understanding. Once I improve this crucial aspect of communicating my ideas, I feel I will be able to make my arguments more efficient and succinct.

  • My relationship with creative writing is personal, as seen in my Original Poem 1. I enjoyed writing this piece because it was one of the first times in class where I was able to completely embrace my own creativity. I like writing poetry, and I feel this assignment was an opportunity for me to further develop my individual voice. The lack of direction and specificity for this assignment also helped me develop my own idea, allowing me to take the general prompt of gratitude and build upon it in my own way. I also tried to use some of the literary devices that we studied in class, naming them in my reflective blog post. In this way, I was able to understand how the things I wrote worked together and within the larger literary canon. AP Lit, in general, has helped me do this; by understanding how other writers use intertextuality, I can more effectively communicate my ideas.