December 21

ELA 10: Dec 21 One Mile of Ice… or maybe not…

  1. Today was my last day of classes with the Grade tens, as well as being the last day of classes for the year. They had asked and asked, what was the plan for the day and what were we going to be doing – “reading and questions” was my response. They took it upon themselves, though, to alter that.
  2. It was such a thoughtful gesture I feel I have to describe it for posterity:
    1. First, I was told to “stay out!!” They were in the room before me, door closed and with a guard (Brent D :)) to ensure I waited until I was instructed to do otherwise.
    2. Then, I was escorted into the room to find that Brandon S was standing at the front of the room behind the podium, there was a chair sitting empty and waiting for me near him to his right, and the rest of the students sat with cheery faces in a semi-circle at the back of the room facing us. I knew they were scheming up something but had nothing so elaborate as this imagined.
    3. They passed me a drink so I could toast with them all, and Brandon began to read aloud an Introduction he had written the night before, scrawled out on two sides of scrap paper that was torn and made of yellow construction paper, that began as an introduction, recalled some of the memories we have shared, and relayed to me the impact they feel I have had in their class, in their school and in their lives. I was incredibly touched! I was so saddened that my camera battery had been drained by the pictures taken of the rest of the day that I was unable to capture this moment with them!
    4. They asked from along the back row what some of my favorite memories were, and they included four of them in the card they had made: 1) the day that Jordon reflected on how Alan (in The Chrysalids) “found an arrow in his neck”, 2) the “Nine” from when I wanted their attention and barked out the command, the Nazi-German word for no, 3) the day when Brian was giving an oral presentation and suddenly turned ghetto for a moment when he mentioned “two thousand fo”, and 4) the day when I was ever-so tired and broke out laughing for no apparent reason when Brian was talking about a poor individual who lost part of his lower leg to a boating accident. (I still appologize and am serious when I say I meant no disrespect to the person who is struggling with such a challenge. )
    5. I opened the gifts they had on the table, we shared the box of chocolates they had there, along with the angel food cake. They certainly seem to know me well, since two of them got me several packages of “my brand” of gum. (A personal joke we have.)
    6. I love this class. They were homeroom, and somehow we were able to bond just a bit more than some of the other classes I taught. They told me, admitted to me, that I am “hard core” – that I didn’t raise my voice often but when I was serious and meant it I got their attention in a way that moved them to act, which I find funny but am glad for. This class treated me with respect, always, and didn’t push the line or test me, though they tried to recall if they actually had.
    7. Some of the best memories I will take with me, from being with this particular class, will be:
      1. Reading “The Raven” over and over again with such enthusiasm and interest and, since I was trying to memorize the poem, all 17 or so stanzas, I really enjoyed that one day when at the end of class I made an attempt to recite by memory as much of it as I could. It was so great that I sat there in front of them, sitting on a desktop facing them, just going through the poem, adding in as much drama and inflection to my voice as possible, and they all had their poems in front of them, following along, grinning, waiting to see when I’d need a little prompt. I loved that.
      2. Of course, we presented speeches / introductions recently and even got all dressed up for the occasion and drank sparkling grape juice, but we got a little giddy from the atmosphere I think and got to a point where some presenters couldn’t speak, they were laughing too hard, or the rest of us interupted them with laughing because we were still laughing from before when the last presenter couldn’t speak! Sometimes, our bodies betray us!
      3. I really enjoyed the scary poetry readings where they came dressed with props, and the halloween sound effects were in the background. Eric did a great job of entralling us with his ghost story in the dark in the locker room. I enjoyed how much the group seemed to be mesmorized by my telling of my personal scary story of being lost in Australia with the “serial killer after me”. I have never told that story with such detail, or in the surrounding such as that in the dark with all of them, but enjoyed the ending when I said my last word and there was silence …… until they all murmered how creeped out they were. lol
      4. I Loved, and honestly was so proud, when they all stayed after school that one Friday, After School and on a Friday!!, to stay and watch The Mothman Prophesies. We didn’t have time to watch it during class time and they wanted to watch it together, as a class, so they stayed and brought munchies, we set up the projector and speakers in the locker room and watched the scary movie. I was proud of them that day.
      5. Our reading of The Chrysalids and the tension-filled pauses every time we came to a cliff-hanger or whenever we encountered the three dots of suspense . . . and they would whisper the Venture Brother henchman song of “da dadada da dadada da…”
      6. I just loved the time I spent with this class. All of it! And I honestly have never enjoyed the Unknown unit as much as this year. We looked into the things not understood and really took a turn at investigating why it bothers people. It was a learning experience for me as well.

      I love you all… and wish you a most happy holiday and New Year. All God’s best to you… dsc03129web.jpg

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December 21

ELA 20: Dec 21 Last of presentations and goodbyes…

  1. For today, the final day of English 20 in this year and their final class with me, the grade elevens had a few photo essay presentations to present. With all the projectors booked throughout the school for classes watching Christmas movies, it was a cozy setting for students to gather round my laptop to watch and listen to the few projects left to watch. Some people obviously put much more effort into their projects than others, but everyone completed them and “finished” just has a nice ring to it, I can understand. 
  2. We reviewed some of the skills the students have learned throughout this course. Ms. Campbell and I sat recently to discuss what their ELA 20 comprehensive exam might look like. Since she will have intimate knowledge only of what they do for the last two weeks of the class, she got several of the readings and examples of student work from some of the assignments, such as what exactly is expected now of these bright students when they write an essay or the tell-tale signs of a piece of writing being reflective. Integrating quotations smoothly into a formal essay body paragraph is another of their new talents, along with using commas and transitional phrases. (Did you see how I just used both a comma And a transitional phrase there? See it? Yeah…. it’s like that!)
  3. Alas, it was our final class and we shared our hugs, laughs, and goodbyes. I have to honestly say this class is an exceptionally bright and mature class, even though a few of them were walking around toting a toy gun. It was a sincere pleasure to share the class time with you, the personal reflections and discussions we had in reading the literature together, and especially being able to share this class, the course that focuses on looking back to your childhood to find its value and influence and then looking towards your future to take an honest look at what may come – it may have possibly changed me. Thank you for all of it! 

God bless and have a safe and happy holiday!!   Students were so excited for the last day of school they were jumping for joy! (Or rather, they had my camera and were enjoying the novelty of being able to capture action shots so quickly and clearly. This sophisticated and technologically advanced piece of photographic equipment was reduced to being … just a toy for a while. lol Kids will be kids!!  [rockyou96351954]

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December 20

ELA 20: Dec 20 Presentation of Photo Essays…

  1. Today was the deadline for the Photo Essays and Personal essays. (They will be received until tomorrow, in case you were unable to complete them. My patience and understanding regarding due dates is heightened with the “Reason for the Season”.)
  2. Students surprised me with a presentation of a gift and cake! It was not anticipated – today! I expected to say our goodbyes tomorrow, on the final day, but they caught me off guard and it ended up showing through my teary thank you. This was witnessed by a few students wandering in and out of the room… so I thank you, Grade elevens, for thinking of me. 
  3. The presentations were wonderfully done and some were quite emotionally revealing, touching on personally intimate subjects. I thank everyone for sharing and putting their efforts into these projects. I am glad they were an enjoyable assignment for you, as well. 
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December 20

Changes made to the yearbook ladder…

      Hey Yearbook staff!  Before you get back into more creative planning for your pages, you’ll notice a few changes that were made to some pages. There were a few errors and continuity issues that were fixed to help you out. Some people were doing the right topic for their pages but started two pages ahead where someone else should have been working. Those issues have been rectified. Now what are some of the final touches you should consider before you get your editor(s) or Ms. Campbell to double check things? Here’s a handy list:

  1. You should make sure that all of your photo boxes, maybe even some of your shadow or text boxes, have a border around them. You’ll find the border tool on the second row of the toolbar and it may start off saying 0 border. You click it and choose which width of border you want, no greater than 2 likely, and then you can click the paintbrush icon beside it to choose which colors between white to black that your border will be. You can change the colors of your borders or choose for them to all be the same, either all pictures bordered by white or black. This border will help add a finished touch to your page.
  2. Look at the two page spread you have in front of you. Does it look like the pages match and work well together. The point in having you do a two-page spread was to make sure it flows well. 
  3. And speaking of flow, take a moment to look at other pages that are similar to yours. What are some of the other people doing with their pages. If they all used a certain type of font for their header, and they have the same kind of page as you like Class pages, then you should try to keep that consistancy and use the same font. 
  4. Find the box at the bottom of your pages in the far corners where the page number is. If you have put a white background there you want to make sure your font color is dark enough that it will be seen. If you have instead added a black or darker background, you’ll want to change the page number color to white. It is just a small detail that needs to be double checked.
  5. Try to add a lot of variety to the pictures you put on your page. We have A LOT to choose from. There are lots of great pictures there so try to change it up and not put three pictures that look very similar to each other, unless you are putting them together and overlapping them so it looks like a series of pictures. That is fine, like sports pictures where the group posed for pictures – it would look great to have their serious group picture overlapping slightly their goofy group picture. 
  6. Did you add a background to your page? This is really quite easily done. You create a new photo box on both of your pages, left and right. You open the image viewer and select Backgrounds under Clip Art. You can choose to have a different background than most of the other pages will have but be sure it will not be too dark or be unsuitable considering the page topic you have. (Ie. If you are doing Grad pages, you won’t want anything too crazy because the Grad pages should have a more serious tone to them.) Drag the background image that you want, into the new photo box you have just created, for both pages. Then, on the bottom line of the toolbar, on the far right side is an icon that will make the image the background. Note: You can take a picture that we have taken, ie of people standing in front of the Christmas tree, and try to make that a background image. (You’ll have to see how dark it turns out to be.)  
December 19

ELA 20: Dec 19 Two work periods on essay projects…

  1. The deadline for the photo essays has been pushed back one day, one day that includes two work periods for students today. We will (hopefully) view their finished products tomorrow, the new official deadline for the photo essay and Values essay, leaving students with one day’s grace to present Friday if they have to or use the class to read their independent reading novel. 
  2. For today’s two classes, the laptops are booked for the fourth period class and the computer lab is booked for the fifth period class. Students were informed of this yesterday and advised to consider and plan out how best to use their time. I stayed after school yesterday and will also today for those students who need to use the computer lab after school to complete their work. It seems clear to me that they’re putting their efforts into this work so I am not concerned they will fall short in the end. I am Very Much looking forward to seeing the presentations!! Keep up the good work.
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December 18

ELA 10: Dec 18 Finish viewing Cinderella Man…

  1. Before class started, I shared with the students the beautiful scenic pictures I took along the road from North Battleford to Goodsoil. They mocked me and my obsession a bit but I explained that they have had fifteen years to become desensitized to how beautiful this landscape is and that for sentimental reasons I was really enjoying it. It was nice to hear about the view some of them have from their own yards that they were enticing me with. “I could get you a better picture than that,” was a nice thought to share. lol 
  2. Students had the rest of the movie to complete. It is quite emotionally intense towards the ending and wonderfully done. We talked after the movie about some of the possible themes to be taken from it, that good wins out over all, or the underdog should never be overlooked, even that some succeed where others would fail. Students are aware there will potentially be a question regarding the movie on their ELA 10 Final exam after Christmas. They should recall for themselves the order of events in the movie. (Hint? Perhaps) 


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December 14

ELA 20: Dec 14 Work period on Photo essay…

  1. The students will have access to computers today to continue work on their photo essays. If there are complications with that technology (cross your fingers, please!), then students have other work options like hand-writing their rough draft for their written essay or reading their independent novel. 
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December 13

ELA 10: Dec 13 Cinderella Man viewing 1 of 2…

  1. Within this unit focusing on “Challenges”, we have discussed several types of challenges through literature. Today, the students were given a treat to watch a movie, Cinderella Man. However, there’s a lot of learning to be had from viewing this movie. Understanding the hardships of the Depression, how families suffered despite the sacrifices they made, and the tension that grows between people who are forced to make difficult decisions are all valuable lessons to learn from. Students were asking great questions during the movie.
  2. They will have a sub tomorrow and Paul has volunteered to set the movie up for the class. (They were 45 minutes into the movie today so they’ll continue tomorrow.)

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

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