June 25

What’s on my bookshelf? Check online to see!

There are a lot of cool books on the shelves of the bookcase at the back of the room. Most are separated to fit their best course or genre that they relate to, but it can be deceiving, since many overlap and fit a number of high school ELA courses.

To help you see what your options are and decide,  I’ve created online shelves in GoodReads. At the link below, you can skim through and read summaries to every book on my shelf and get a sense of its topic, rather than judging by colour.

Curious about a book? Ask me about it!

GoodReads Shelves Ms Waldner

You’ll see on the left of the page a number of Shelves – click through them to skim books that apply and are potential choices within your class.

 

March 29

ELA A30 A6 Alternate Viewing Activity: The Secret Path

At the end of your A6 section is a viewing activity. I’ll add another option, so you can decide which you want to watch.

A. Club Native: This documentary is filmed by a woman from the Mohawk reserve that was involved in the Oka Crisis. She documents the lives of four women from her community and reflects on what it’s like to be a woman in the Mohawk nation. For example, they’re not allowed to date White men or marry them and if they do they are expected to leave the community.

That documentary is in Section A6 of the Moodle course if you choose it.
You also have instructions for Before, During, and After viewing for that documentary.


B. An alternative visual to watch is a graphic art film that was released last year by artist Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip. He heard of the story of Chanie Wenjack from 50 years ago, a boy who was taken from his family and sent to a school to train him to be white. Chanie escaped and tried walking the train tracks to find his way home, but ended up dying on the side of the railway days later from the cold.
This film has no dialogue or words, only the song lyrics to go along with the images.
It is also a challenge at practicing your perception and use of inference – you have to interpret events and read between the lines to make sense of the events and sequence of them.

That documentary is also in Section A6 of Moodle, but here (below) as well. The documentary is the first 40 minutes of the following film.

February 28

ELA A30: Canadian Literature Titles to Choose From

The A30 course is a #CanLit course – Canadian Literature.

There’s a discussion that can be had regarding what literature should be claimed as Canadian. Some authors are born and raised in other countries and only become Canadian citizens later in life, in their 50s even, and if they publish work at that point it’s considered Canadian Literature.

Some question whether CanLit shouldn’t be more about Canada – the plot happens somewhere in Canada, it reflects Canadian culture, or recounts a typical Canadian experience. Take Life of Pi, for example. Of the whole story, Canada is mentioned near the beginning because an East Indian family is selling their zoo and accompanying it and moving to Canada. It ends with a narrator who’s living in Toronto. That’s all. The rest of the story is about Indian culture, religion, customs, and happens at sea and overseas. It is still Canadian Literature, though.

So.. with that in mind, there are a lot of great titles to select from.

  1. Some are fiction.
  2. Others are non-fiction.

Here’s a GoodReads link to my ELA A30 shelf – on it you can skim through the summaries of the books I have for you to select from. If there’s another title you’re interested in reading, talk to me about it and it could be your selection if appropriate.

The main focus of this reading activity is to enjoy the book.
The second focus of your reading activity is to be an objective reader and pay attention to the writing style of your chosen text – do you like the way they use language, how they formatted the book, the way they’ve developed characters, how they’ve established a bias for the reader to follow along with, and other elements. Track this so you can identify 3-4 examples of specific elements of the author’s style of writing that you’ll later develop an essay on.

 

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September 13

ELA A30 Section A3 – Scandals of the Past (Immigration)

Some students are about to start section A3 in the course, which recognizes all the accomplishments and successes of Canada’s past that we are well versed on, but this section also puts a magnifying glass over scandals in our history that people can go a lifetime not knowing about.

Like that British subjects once arrived on our West Coast by boat and had every right to enter Canada, which was a British dominion. However, the country at that time didn’t want “brown people”, so new laws were created specifically to keep them out. Canada, the Canadian government and its leader at the time, Stephen Harper, had to make an apology to this community of Canadians for their mistreatment in our history.

Immigration is a huge hot topic right now, not just for Canada, but world-wide.

The following poem has become quite popular to express what it’s like to be the immigrant fleeing home.

 

No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark

Poem by poet Warsan Shire:

img_0058
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

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January 12

ELA A30 Jan 12/17 B16 Arriving in Canada Today

There are discussions online by Canadians who argue Canada should not support as many immigrants as they do and instead spend more money on First Nations needs or address our Homelessness problem.

What is it really like living as an immigrant in Canada today? Are the treatments and attitudes towards them improved over how they were treated in the last 50 years?

There are a few online resources that go along with this next section, exploring what it’s like being an immigrant today in our current society.

CBC Ideas Podcast: In Their Shoes

A Day in the Life of Acsana Fernando – what is it like to step inside an immigrant woman’s daily life activities?

 

Comparing an Audio Text to a Visual Text: does seeing change how you take in / make connections to a topic?

 

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December 12

ELA A30 B14 Short Story Texts – Canadian Landscape

This next section of the course specifically looks at one theme of CanLit through one genre: Canadian landscape and character relationships with the land explored through the genre of short stories.

You will soon have an assignment to develop a Canadian short story, so one of your purposes for reading is to identify techniques of the writers that you can play with to incorporate into your own writing.

The two texts we will study are linked below:

The Wedding Gift

Home Place

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December 7

ELA A30 “Bartok and the Geranium” Livesay poem

Dorothy Livesay is one of Canada’s most popular and admired poets.

She wrote strong poetry during a time in history when the role of women was stereotypically to be passive, submissive, and a housewife or mate.  She caused waves and is now admired for the confidence and forcefulness her poetry includes.

The poem of “Bartok and the Geranium” is one of contrast between a soft, quiet living thing compared to a busy, aggressive, smashing living thing that interrupts the environment it invades. Read it and see if you can make comparisons of this poem to another of Canadian literature that you’ve studied recently.

You can read the poem in one piece here at this Noteography site where I have published it, or read the two images together below.

 

poem

poem-2

 

It’s also been shared on #Twitter. 

“Bartok and the Geranium”
by Dorothy Livesay (Canadian poet)

She lifts her green umbrellas
Towards the pane
Seeking her fill of sunlight
or of rain;
Whatever falls
She has no commentary
Accepts, extends,
Blows out her furbelows,
Her bustling boughs;
And all the while he whirls
Exploding in space,
Never content with this small room:
Not even can he be
Confined to sky
But must speed high and higher still
From galaxy to galaxy,
Wrench from the stars their momentary notes
Steal music from the moon.

She’s daylight
He is dark
She’s heaven-held breath
He storms and crackles
Spits with hell’s own spark.

Yet in this room, this moment now
These together breathe and be:
She, essence of serenity,
He in a mad intensity
Soars beyond sight
Then hurls, lost Lucifer,
From heaven’s height.

And when he’s done, he’s out:
She leans a lip against the glass
And preens herself in light.

 

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December 2

ELA A30 Assignment Resources – Presenting Spoken Poetry

You’ll have an assignment where you’re asked to select a poem of at least 15 lines written by a Canadian poet of an appropriate difficulty level for Grade 12. You’ll prepare/practice your oral presentation of the poem and record it, combine that audio with image files using a multimedia program, like iMovie, and publish a polished multimedia project as a final product.

To help you get in the mindset of what proper speaking of poetry sounds like, there are resources collected here to support you.

Website of celebrities or poets presenting spoken poetry. 

  • In particular, you can listen to the very last poem spoken by actor Anthony Hopkins. Another is a Shakespeare sonnet spoken by the voice of “Darth Vader”, James Earl Jones.

Video: This resource reviews five specific things to consider when preparing to speak poetry orally.

 

Selecting a Canadian Poem:
There are hundreds of poems to select from on this resource page. 

poets

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