August 31

ELA 10: Aug 31 A poem and spooooky stories…

  1. We started by reviewing the questions students had worked on yesterday regarding “The Deathtrap”. Everyone completed their questions and had full responses to share in the discussion. Great work!
  2. Next, we watched a little Disney montage of cartoon scary stories with eerie music about monsters and ghosts being invited out to play tricks on people. It set the tone for the poem we were about to read titled “The Witch of Coos” by Robert Frost.
  3. We read through the poem aloud fully once and then went back to piece together its parts and figure out whose bones were in the cellar and if they even existed at all. Could it be the guilty conscience eating away at the old woman?
  4. Lastly, we had a very enthusiastic and involved discussion about things mysterious and unknown like odd dreams, deja vu moments, and hearing things we shouldn’t. Everyone took a turn sharing a scary story that’s happened to them. Now they have to try to come up with a scary legend or ghost story to tell to the class orally for Tuesday. We’re going to find the darkest corner of the school, gather round with a flashlight for special effect, and see how high the goosebumps will rise!! This is their first assignment and I would like their rough draft handed in, but they will be evaluated on the beginning of their story, their effective ending, and their effort in making it a haunting experience for their classmates. We’ll see what creative stories they come up with! Maybe I’ll have one of my own to share….  

Enjoy this little video of spooky things.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Category: ELA 10 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 31

ELA 20: Aug 31 Interview assignment / poems….

  1. Students came in with smiles to hand in their homework from last class. What did they have to do? Color a children’s booklet about the Letter P.  They did a great job and their work is hanging on the front bulletin board with a fancy new sticker attached. Good job!
    All fun aside, the ones who did the coloring blushed to admit it was actually fun for them to color because they don’t do it anymore. Going back to the things we did as children can bring back some great memories.
  2. Students divided into pairs to interview someone for details they remember about their childhood. They had thirty minutes to share information, write down the details they’d like to include in their writing, and laugh a little about kid stuff as well.  They were reminded to pick one specific detail and try to focus on that.
  3. They were given ten minutes of writing time, after an example was read from the board. I wanted to give them an example of what I am looking for with this assignment, and we discussed how the topic sentence catches the reader’s attention and the final sentence brings everything to a close nicely. I am looking to see that their assignments will do the same. These paragraphs are due, typed, for Tuesday’s class.
  4. Next, we started looking at the first of a few poems for us to read. Bruce Springsteen’s song, “My Hometown”, obviously focuses on the place of his youth. However, the tone is not a happy or warm one.
August 31

ELA 30: Aug 31 “Between Two Furious Oceans”…

  1. Students started off with a handout containing three poems and the questions for each. We discussed the notion that, though the geography of Canada fights to divide Canada, it remains united as one and embraces the diversity.
  2. Students watched a video of a couple’s kayak trip through five days of tenting and paddling. There are beautiful, breathtaking photographs and video clips they have taken and pieced together with mellow music in this video. The students watched it and were asked to focus on the nature they see, its sights and sounds, and the wonder that exists in Canada’s natural world.
  3. They completed a journal response to capture the thoughts the video brought forward. Then I asked if they could figure out the following poem.

    I (a



The art of poetry is in trying to capture the beauty of nature through the precision of words. The following poets tried to do the same.

  1. We then studied the poem “Between Two Furious Oceans” and discussed the imagery throughout. We discussed the questions together.
  2. Next, we moved on to a poem where the author attempted to capture not the natural environment of Canada, but the personality of each province according to the history of each province. We were just discussing that when the bell rang for the end of class. AND THEN I KEPT THEM… through their break by accident until the next bell went to begin the second class. They didn’t stir or seem eager to leave at all, even though they were missing their break. I was appologetic but quite impressed by how polite and attentive this young group seems to be.

Have a great Long Weekend.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
This is the kayak trip we watched. It looked like a fantastic get-away.

Category: ELA 30 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 30

ELA 10: Aug 30 “The Deathtrap” ending…

  1. Since Brent was missing yesterday, the kids filled him in on the events in the story that we read yesterday. We continued reading, taking turns aloud, and found out the fate of the Great Armando. It was a great story and the kids seemed fairly enthusiastic about it. I was pleased.
  2. The kids wrote a journal response in their notebooks right after to reflect on what they thought of it. I asked them to think about what it was about the story they enjoyed so much. Once finished, they had to write out what events they think happened after Armando was lowered into the cold river water. Do you think it was Armando that the main character saw years later, or was it just a coincidence and did the Great escape artist die?
  3. We reviewed, on a handout, the elements of literature that are included in every piece of writing. We discussed them all briefly and applied them to the story. Students then spent the last few minutes of class answering the questions attached that asked them to dissect the elements of literature from this story. What was the setting, who were the characters and what types were they, were there any elements of symbolism in the story: these were the questions they were to consider. They are to be completed for tomorrow’s class.
Category: ELA 10 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 29

ELA A30: Aug 29 Intro to course…



  1. Students started the class by filling out a question sheet for me. I’d like to learn a bit more about themselves as individuals and their thoughts about their community. They also were allowed to include a personal question for me and I read through them with the class and answered a few of their questions.
  2. Students received an outline for the A30 class and we read through the initial parts of it. They also were given a handout with the list of sources we will be reading from and the specific assignments they will be required to complete.
  3. We talked briefly about the geography of Canada, the actual foundation that all of Canada stands on, and how it is essential in any piece of Canadian writing. One of the most precious experiences people can have of our country is one that involves the landscape, regions, or environment that is so unique to Canada.
  4. To look into this idea, we watched a few videos that focused on the landscape of Canada, some of the differences geographically, and reminded us of the diversity and vastness of Canada as a whole.
  5. Students did a great job of filling in information on the blank outline of Canada drawn on the whiteboard. They then watched a few more videos and were asked to come up with three adjectives, descriptive words, for each of the provinces and territories. These adjectives will be used in an upcoming activity.
  6. We compared, on a world map, the size of Canada, it’s shape and system of division for the provinces. Compared to other countries in Europe, our straight-line-borders seem very foreign and peculiar, whereas they form their soverign boundaries by natural boundaries, such as water or mountain formations. We also discussed the North-South Pull reality where the majority of Canada’s population lives within the bottom portion of the country, leaving vast areas sparsley populated. Canada is a unique country, physically, and this is the basis of what our study will be to begin with.

Here are a few of the videos we watched, if you’d like to see for yourself. (They especially liked the “Rocks and Trees…” song.)

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Category: ELA 30 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 29

ELA 20: Aug 29 Intro to course…




  1. Students were given handouts today that outlined what their class theme was, the subunits, and the literature they will be reading.
  2. Classroom expectations were discussed but they’re all ones that have been fairly well established by previous teachers so the students shouldn’t struggle with them.
  3. We talked about how much of who you become in life comes from who you were growing up. Your experiences in youth, the people you’ve come into contact with, and lessons learned of life all play a strong role in guiding you into becoming the person you will be and the path you will choose to take. The past is always with us.
  4. To look into this further, we watched a few video clips of people going back to childhood places (an old fort they once had, a teacher they really liked, or fun activities they used to take pleasure in) to see if things seemed the same. Judging from the videos, there’s really no going back.  See what you think.
  5. Yes, that’s right! There’s an assignment already! Students were given an assignment of interviewing someone else in the class to discuss childhood memories. Once finished their interviews, students have to write either a narrative or descriptive paragraph reciting what they’ve learned about their friend’s youthful memories. We will work on this in the next class, on Friday, and the assignment will be due Tuesday, September 4 when we return from the break. Click on the attachment at the top to see the assignment sheet.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Category: ELA 20 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 29

ELA 10: Aug 29 Intro to course, reading…



  1. Students started off with a handout describing the expectations for the class. They are familiar to students and generally focus on showing respect for others.
  2. Students followed through the outline for the class with me. The theme of the unknown has several components that we will discover together.
  3. They were also given a list of the literature we will study and the assignments they will be evaluated on throughout the unit. It will be handy to have so they will know when larger assignments will be coming up.
  4. We watched some videos together. We’re going to be talking about things unknown or mysterious, so we watched a few videos that got us thinking about the possibility of things existing in our world that we cannot explain, through science or rational thinking. Our mind craves and answer, whether it’s true or not.
  5. The last video we watched was of the movie The Prestige, a fantastic recent movie about magicians performing their stunts and trying to outdo each other. It was a great transition into our reading for the day, which covers the story of a great magician who meets an untimely death. We took turns reading and stopped to discuss plot changes or the added tension that can be added simply by using the word “But” in the writing. They seemed very interested in the story so they kept the stories behind in the classroom for the night (so no one can read ahead) and we will continue and discuss the story tomorrow.  We’re off to a great start!

Watch a few of these videos that all fall into the theme of mysteries and suspense.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Category: ELA 10 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 28

ELA A30: Aug 28 Canada: Diverse Landscape and People

cana3.gif        Welcome to English A30, the first unit. You’re, by now, very familiar with Canada and a lot of the trivia to know. You’ve been taught the capital cities, the provinces and where they are on a map, and should know who our current Prime Minister is and maybe even who came before him. Could you tell me the most important part of being a Canadian, though? Could you explain to me why someone who lives in another country but visited Canada for a year can write a book that it labelled as Canadian literature? Could you difinitively explain what separates Canadians from Americans, other than the 49th Parallel? We’ll talk about Canada in this unit, but we’ll look into some more thought-provoking or patriotic topics. You may feel a bit differently about the country you live in, once we’re finished this unit. It will help you understand a bit better your role within our country.

That national anthem you sing every morning, also, may start to sound real again.

Category: ELA 30 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 28

ELA 20: Aug 28 Recollections of Childhood…

1animated10-thumb.gif             Wasn’t life great when you were a kid? You had all the time in the world to play games, use your wild imagination, and life wasn’t too rough on you yet. Of course, that was before chores really started or major run-ins with parents. You could color pictures with crayons for school projects and bundle up in that big comfy scarf when you were going outside. A new set of kittens were the highlight of the year! Life was great when you were a kid.

Well, this part of the course is all about looking back – looking to childhood – to see if things match up in our memory. Could you accurately describe your old classroom? Do you think the way you remember it is the way it really was? Why did your parents work so hard with you to practice your piano or get through those math lessons? Did you really have it rough or was it pretty good compared to what others have to deal with in life? We’ll see what you think of your childhood once we’re finished with this first unit of ELA 20. It’s a very enriching topic to discuss – how did you become the person you are today?

We’ll find out!

Category: ELA 20 | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 28

ELA A10:Aug 28 The Unknown…


Welcome to The Unknown unit. If you’re interested in mysteries and suspence, you’ll enjoy this class! This unit studies, through several types of literature, the ideas that surround the things “unknown” about our world. When we are not able to explain things, through science or through our rational thinking, it often leaves us perplexed and unsure of what to believe. How do you know what reality is if things exist in your world that cannot be explained? This question drives some people literally insane. Hopefully, none of you will suffer this fate!

Welcome to the course, though. It will be a spooky journey but you won’t be alone.


Category: ELA 10 | LEAVE A COMMENT