December 13

ELA 20: Dec 13 Unfortunate work period…

  1. There was some confusion, on my part, today. I thought I had booked the computers for students to continue working on their photo essays they began Tuesday. However, I was mistaken. Most students used their time well by working on the essay writing portion of the assignment, brainstorming and planning the essay they will create through media, or finding the fitting music that will compliment their project. Students will have the laptops for tomorrow’s class. 
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December 12

ELA 30: Dec 12 A Listening Skills treat… and work period…

  1. The Grade Twelves had this class to work on several assignments for Mrs. Campbell but, to remind them of our last class together and discussion about the value of improving Listening Skills, I shared a quick video with them. Listen carefully and see if you can figure out what negative listening skills prohibit understanding for these two men.

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December 12

ELA 20: Dec 13 “The Most Important Day” and poem about “The World is a Beautiful Place”…

  1. We began today with a bit of a discussion for clarification about yesterday’s assigned photo essay. There is both an essay and a photo essay due. The essay portion should be much more simple for students to approach because they have recently written a more formal (more difficult) essay and spent some time focusing on writing better intros and conclusions. This is more of a practice essay and their topic is of their choice so it is more about going through the process again.
  2. For the photo essay portion, we talked about details and options. I showed students a few examples through the projector cart to give them some ideas about possibilities. I think they have a fair understanding of what is expected.
  3. We started talking about the Helen Keller essay titled “The Most Important Day”. We went into some background to her story and the ultimate difference her teacher Anne Sullivan made in her life. We read the essay, which focused on the one particular day when a future was unveiled before her once she was given that first touch of communication. Then we thought about the idea, as a class, of having such potential and possibilities at our personal fingertips, for none of us have physical limitations, but realized that the number of people to actually take advantage of their potential is disappointing. When compared to what Helen Keller has accomplished, you would think we each would do great things in life. Can we hope for that?
  4. We also read the poem titled “The World is a Beautiful Place” and some were surprised by harsh criticism of the world, war, politics, etc at the beginning, the happy-go-lucky, fun-in-the-sun mood at the end and the final “smiling” mortician. Students discussed its mood and purpose and shared a few thoughts about the message. It was an intriguing poem and worth a few read-throughs.
  5. Tomorrow, students will have time to work on their essay projects.
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December 11

ELA 20: Dec 11 Goosebumps and Grins…


  1. Yesterday, a few students said they were having difficulty accessing attached documents from the blog so Ms. Dionne put her efforts towards the problem and things have been cleared up. You should be able to open the documents attached to blog posts now, so life is good once again! Also, I would appreciate, for those of you who submitted your intro/conclusion paragraphs without the three body paragraphs that were available online, would you please copy the body and attach it to your head and tail and hand in another copy of the full essay? (Attach the body… sounds sinister!!)
  2. The goosebumps and grins, though, are not from that thought but from my reaction to reading the Intro/Conclusion that both Eric and Matt submitted as comments to yesterday’s ELA 20 blog. They’re both very good! There are a few unsuspecting mistakes and one is slightly guilty of being too vague at the end but they are both wonderful examples of how intriguing and engaging introductions and conclusions should and can be! Well done! I’m looking forward to reading the others that have been handed in! 
  3. And, on that note, I was thinking about Evan’s comment about the literary essay handed back yesterday being “the first time [he had] ever tried such a thing” and I have to compliment you all for doing such a great job even though it was a first time. It will only get easier from here!
  4. Now, with this assignment, you at least have the chance to choose a topic of your own desire. We have been talking about Values, Goals, things you Hope for – your topic should really be something important to you and hopefully be easily decided on. Like I said yesterday, you get two classes of research time today in the computer lab. I hope you come to class knowing your topic and ready to study it instead of deciding when you sit down that THAT is the time to think about your topic. Time waits for no man, or woman! Use it carefully, please!
  5. Open the attachment above to read your assignment sheet and go to it! (It would be helpful if one of you printed it and had the sub make copies for you. I’ll provide copies tomorrow if you don’t.) I hope you find some personal value or pleasure in working to share this topic with your classmates. It may be the one essay you’ll keep and reread somewhere down the line and reflect on. (My essay that I’ve reread often is titled “Alternative Health Care: Till Death Do Us Part”. I’m gonna take a guess that yours will not be on the same topic. lol)

There are links to videos of photo-essay examples to give you an idea of what to create. Share the video with a few people so not everyone is using up the bandwidth at the same time. Thanks!

  1.   Joys and Sorrows    
  2. Sunshine Victim of Lauren (criticism here is the font is much too small)
  3.  Fitness photo-essay
  4.  PowerPoint of Winter’s Snowy Bite 


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December 10

ELA 10: Dec 10 Reading about a test, not writing one!!

1. Students were given their essays back from their Chrysalids analysis. They did a good job on them and will hopefully read the comments carefully to avoid future similar mistakes.
2. We began discussing driving statistics last class and that led nicely up to the reading of this story titled “Test”. Students answered questions designed for Before, During, and After analysis. The story is an unusual one and they responded strongly once it was finished. They answered their questions, we discussed several of the questions and some of their own until it seemed we were pretty satisfied.
3. Alana ended things off nicely with her presentation of her speech.

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December 10

ELA 20: Dec 10 Values and Goals sub-unit…

1. Students were given back their TKAM essays and we briefly discussed a few of the most common errors. These were very well written, some of the best I have seen, so I am very pleased.
2. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about “values”. We started with people listing things “of” value to them but then tried to go deeper and define the concept of personal values and it was made clear that, while we all have them, they are not easily defined or explained. We talked a lot about where our values come from, whether we absorb them from our surroundings or they are directly taught to us. We also talked about the idea that there are exceptions to every rule and this would relate to values and beliefs as well – for every belief you have, you’ll find some exception to it and it is these exceptions that can cause complications in our lives.
3. We read the essay “How Poverty Affects My Kids” and it was interesting to hear how some let out a heavy sigh once we had finished. There were four different journal writing activities given with the story and students were asked to choose one of them and write a page for this Wednesday’s class in response to the reading.
4. I will be away tomorrow but the students will have two periods in the afternoon to use computers in researching their essay topic of their choosing. They can check tomorrow’s blog entry for more information.

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December 6

ELA 10: Dec 6 Speeches continued / Intro Adventures…


  1. We finished off a few of the speeches that were not presented yesterday. We caught a bit of the laughing bug just as much today, although some students did a really beautiful job.
  2. Once we finished, we started discussing the next Sub unit within this Challenges course – the topic of Quests and Adventures. We talked about what either of those terms could mean and the question was put to them whether they could think of any of their own personal quests of adventures. I’ve asked the students to consider sharing them, not for marking, but simply to think it through and analyze for themselves why that experience was a challenge.
  3. We moved along and started talking about a story we will be reading soon and I shared with the students the worst day I can remember when a former student of mine was killed in a car accident and how terribly the students took it when they found out at school. We talked about statistics of deaths from driving involving young people, nearly 90% of which are males. We were interupted by the bell but will continue next class.

You’re welcome to post your adventure story under today’s post. Click below under ‘(No) Comments’ and submit it there. I hope you enjoy writing it out!

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December 6

ELA 20: Dec 6 Writing Intro and Conclusion paragraphs…


  1. Students came to class and were given a copy of the three body paragraphs constructed for them to write their intro and conclusion around. I had only intended to use another fifteen minutes of class time for their writing but they worked with so much focus it was hard to move on. I was pleased with several of the opening paragraphs students came to have read and seek suggestions on. They look like interesting introductions. I’m looking forward to the final drafts.
  2. Just before the bell went, I explained the sub unit that we will begin next class based on Values and Goals. I talked a little bit about the ideas behind the unit and mentioned a poem we will study within it. I read a short bit to them and hopefully piqued their interest. We will continue next week. 
  3. Their intro and conclusion paragraphs are due on Monday. (They have access to the three body paragraphs in a word document file that is attached to Wednesday’s ELA 20 blog entry. They can open that file, type in their own intro/conclusion paragraphs around those paragraphs and hand in the whole essay for their final submission.
December 5

ELA 10 Introduction toasts/speeches…

Videos from today’s speeches will be uploaded soon. You’ll want to see them!! [kml_flashembed movie=”” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] The presentation started out all right. It was when Eric mentioned the two sisters, Fred and Daryl, “and a sister named Judith”. It certainly was laugh-worthy.  [kml_flashembed movie=”” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]His friends fill him in on why the laughter started.   [kml_flashembed movie=”–FT_g” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] My mistake… wrong phrasing. [kml_flashembed movie=”” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] Back on track!  [kml_flashembed movie=”” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]  He actually did quite well. They’re a work in progress, this bunch! 

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December 5

ELA 10: Dec 5 Presentations of introductory speeches…

  1. Wow! Students came prepared for this activity! (Well, most of them.) Students were appropriately dressed with some of the boys wearing their Sunday best and some of the girls wearing… their dad’s Sunday best. The students arranged the desks in a circle, put the podium at the front, we poured the sparkling cider (really white grape juice infused with Sprite) into the tiny little champaign glasses I was able to find and we were ready for the introductions. 
  2. The focus of the writing assignment was to write an interesting introduction of someone who has faced a challenge of some sort. The secondary focus of the assignment, also, was to use transitional phrases between sentences and paragraphs to help improve the flow of the writing. Some students did a great job and it clearly made their presentation much better than others. 
  3. We had fun. I have to say, we broke out laughing a few times during a speech or two, and that is not to say that we make light of the person’s challenge that they were discussing. It only means this is a great bunch of students who seem to know when ‘serious’ is necessary and when its not. Part of my favorite of the afternoon, also, was the “clinking” of the plastic glasses as they toasted each person. It was cute.                   dsc02410.JPG                            dsc02412.JPG     
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