We began today’s class with a bit of a review about some of the ideas we discussed yesterday. The topic, obviously, can become a fairly serious one but the class did a great job of contributing ideas to the discussion while still taking turns.
We read aloud the story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” while students listened for examples of the stereotypes people had of Black people at the time the story was set in. We discussed the questions attached on the handout. I was pleased they were able to see the focus so clearly.
Another semester begins and I have the pleasure of having the Grade tens for their B10 English course! We started with a look at their unit outline and a brief bit of history from me on my style of teaching English.
We watched a few videos that focused on racial actions or stereotypes as a motivational set.
Fast forward this video (if you want) to 3:20 into the video to see the portion where they do the social experiment with little children. The test – to see which doll they would choose, a Black doll or a White one. You’ll be surprised … and a little saddened.
We discussed and watched an interesting video about a social experiment an elementary teacher did just after the death of Martin Luther King. Her experiment is now famous, titled “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes”. She found that by segregating the students in her elementary classroom and assigning a value to one and discriminating the other, it actually affected their test scores and personality behaviours.
This started a good discussion surrounding their ideas of race or some of the recent issues in the news lately, such as the Aboriginal father who left his daughters to freeze outside. We also talked a bit about the theory that there is no such thing as race, other than the human race. All these things were just an introduction to the topic and meant to draw their interest and prior knowledge.
The majority of students were away today with Mr. Johnson’s gym field trip. The few who were here spent their class time, and several other classes throughout the day, putting the finishing touches on either their Photo Essay or their six Blog entries, both of which are due Monday by the end of the day.
I’ll be checking over the weekend via my feed tool that notifies me when updates have been made on your student blogs. I hope everyone recognizes that project as a priority to complete and do fairly well on.
And.. with that… I will see you all Monday morning for your Final Exam. (Don’t forget that you have the reading pieces in advance and can bring in your copy of the literature as long as you don’t have any annotations or notes that are too specific, such as labelled figurative language on the poem. I’ll provide copies of the literature, as well, for those who forget to bring their own copy.)
Students were given a reading package that contained two short stories and three poems. I had explained to them last week that I would give them the readings in advance so they could become comfortable with the stories / poems and not spend test time reading. They will have choice between which of the short stories they want to answer questions on and the same with the two shorter poetry selections. There is one longer poem that I will ask everyone some questions on.Students are allowed to highlight things on their copy of the readings. They can bring it in with them for the final as long as they do not have other exam notes written on the pages, such as definitions of figurative language or some of them already identified on their poems. (This way, I can trust that the student themselves can identify and find these examples and answers instead of being shown by another student while studying.If they forget to bring their copy of the readings, or have comments written on the pages that are too specific, then I will provide them with another copy clear of comments.
We also spent a few minutes going through, once again, the four requirements for each blog entry. (We used Megan’s blog as an example.) I used a screen recorder program to video tape myself going through the steps of embedding the video or links and comments. This will be available to watch in case you forget how to do these things.I tried to make it clear that we had more computer time booked for tomorrow’s class, but with the weather causing complications for Mr. Johnson’s field trip last week, that’s taken away our class for tomorrow. The computer lab can be made available to students at lunch today and will be available all day tomorrow, for those not going on the trip. I’ve also extended the deadline for the blogs and photo essay to be Monday by the end of the day, so students have that extra time to complete their work over the weekend and even the day of the exam, once they’ve finished writing. I’ve made every effort possible to give you options and make accomodations.
Here is the screen recording and step-by-step guide for embedding the links, etc.
We gathered in the computer lab before class even began to get right into working on the projects. A few were missing, so hopefully they’ll make arrangements or efforts to make up that time on their projects, but those who were there worked very well and were intently focused on their projects.
The day before, we looked at how to add music to their powerpoints and hit a snag because the music wouldn’t continue after the first slide. I played with it yesterday and was able to show them how to do it properly today.
There is also a “timer” function with the powerpoint program that allows you to program the slides to transition carefully along to fit the music. Megan tried it out and seemed quite pleased with the results. I’m happy to see their projects coming along so nicely and the efforts they’re putting into it to add that extra polish!
Tomorrow, we’ll have another class of computer time. I’ll remind students to not forget their blog projects; it wouldn’t be good to focus too much on just the one project and forget the other. Thursday we’ll be working in the classroom and students will have that opportunity to review their notes and literature individually, ask any questions they’re unsure of, and possibly use that class time to write out on paper the blog entries they’ll just have to type in on Friday when we’ll have another computer day, if they aren’t going away on the trip with Mr. Johnson.
Reminder – I said I will accept the photo essay projects and evaluate the blogs on the Monday they write their final so they’ll have that extra weekend to work on it, if necessary.
We used today’s class for review. Anyone who handed in late assignments by last Friday had them marked and sitting on their desk. They also had an updated version of the literature lists for both the Recollections and Anticipation units. (This updated version has extra titles we included or has lines through the literature we didn’t get to study.)
We read through the unit lists and briefly discussed the themes behind them and some of the similarities between the literature sources in the sub-unit. Then we looked through the other handout that detailed the skills developed through the course. I reviewed each of them and encouraged students to make notes on their page regarding the main points I tried to highlight. (That’s a great sign of a mature student who makes notes according to the suggestions or hints made by their teacher.)
We looked at a video, then, that showed how to insert music into a powerpoint. We tried it ourselves with a powerpoint presentation I had but it had too many transitions per slide so it didn’t work as well. We’ll experiment with that as a group tomorrow. We’ll have three computer classes this week to work on their photo essay and complete their blog projects.
5.Verb tense – past / present
6.Integrating references (phrases)
7.Format for proper paragraphs
a.Major structural sentences
b.Introduction and conclusion writing
c.Three don’ts of formal essays
d.Word choice: slang vs formal English
d.Speaker (narrator / poet)
e.Theme vs subject
a.Internal : man vs self
b.External: man vs man, society, fate, nature
16.Environment / setting development
17.Parallelism – storylines that mirror each other
Students were reminded that today was that final day that I would accept any late assignments. I had written on the board for them the plan for next week, that we will have three days of computer access during class for them to work on their photo essay and complete their blog entries. I suggested that they anticipate using that computer time to their best advantage. We discussed the due date for these two final projects and I explained that I would accept them until the Monday of their final exam. That gives them two weekends and the week of classes to work on completing them or improving the quality of the work. I also encouraged them to consider writing out on paper what they would add for a blog entry so they will only have to worry about typing it during class time. By doing that portion of the blog posts in advance, they will be able to better use their computer / class time next week. Some of this may be homework for them – which some students seemed disapproving of – but there is a big discrepancy between how quickly some work versus others. They’ll each have to consider for themselves what they’re willing to do in order to create a good project.
Students were given a final essay to read independently with a question sheet to respond to. This, again, is very similar to the type of comprehension questions I may ask on their final exam.
For those who had not yet chosen what their music would be for their photo essay, I invited them to take a moment during the class (in turns) to look through my own music selection on my hard drive. A few looked through and, after trying to describe the type of emotion they wanted to create or music they were looking for, accepted one of the suggestions I gave. I copied the music to their own personal school folder on the server so they should be able to incorporate that next week into their powerpoints.
Students had today’s class to work in the PC lab to continue with their assigned Photo essay. I showed them the beginning of my own photo essay and talked about some of the specifics they can do to ensure they’re meeting the requirements. Their marks will benefit from the small added features, such as using timed transitions or the effectiveness of the music they choose that will create their desired tone.
They’ll have tomorrow to work in the PC lab as well.
We spent some time rereading three poems we’ve discussed recently. “The World is a Beautiful Place” from our last sub-unit, “Paper Matches” and “St George” were all reviewed with students contributing their personal responses to add to our understanding and appreciation of the poems. We reviewed, as well, several of the Roles young people their ages would have at this stage of their lives versus some of the new roles they would take on after graduation. (This seemed to help solidify for them the concept of “roles” in relation to the unit. We also discussed the idea that there would be a base set of responsibilities they might all share, although with different backgrounds and situations some responsibilities are more mature than others.
I gave students the last ten minutes of class to choose a missing assignment from their list (if they have any missing) to complete since the deadline for those to be handed in is Friday.