May 29

ELA B10: May 29 Day 2 of CPR… so no class

The Grade tens spent the day again in Mr. Heath’s room working on day two of their C.P.R. training. Next week starts the three-week countdown to the end of the year and there is lots to do. I tried to catch kids as they were leaving at the end of the day to remind them… “work on your blog this weekend!!” Some of them are behind and, though it won’t take much to catch up, it would be better to get on it sooner than later. Remember, you’ll have three other assignments given, yet, including the poetry writing assignment. Don’ t ignore your work cause you’ll be swamped before you know it!!

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May 28

ELA B10: May 28 No Class…

The kids are taking their C.P.R. training for the next few days, so we will be missing out English classes. I’d really encourage them to consider working on their Poetry assignment so they won’t fall behind.






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May 27

ELA B10: Catching up on blogging…

Some students have been pretty careful to keep up with their blog assignments as they were assigned. Others have fallen quite behind. There are five entries assigned from the Equality unit and there will be two more to be assigned in the Decisions unit.

I’d suggest some students spend a bit of time slowly getting caught up so they won’t be left scrambling at the very end. The blog project is meant to be a cumulative project where students can reflect on their insights from the discussions. It’s equally meant to offer them a forum to express themselves in their own way, present their thoughts in a unique format, use the internet and blog as a way to publish their work, while being able to share comments on peer blogs as well. It’s a great learning tool, but like all tools works better when it’s used more regularly.

Use the checklist (here) to make sure you’ve completed all that is required. Your blog project will be evaluated in the last week of June, during your final exams, and is worth 10% of your overall mark. Don’t assume it’s not important!


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May 27

ELA B10: May 27 Questions Continued and Poetry Assignment…

  1. Students completed the question sheets in response to the video we’ve just watched. They had to hand it in by the end of class.
  2. Before they were finished that, though, I explained to them the Poetry Assignment they have next. They have to write a poem along the similar theme as the movie – seizing the day and sucking the life out of marrow! We discussed all that is required by the assignment and I explained several aspects of it for them.
    See the poetry assignment handout here.
  3. We will not have class until Monday, now, as they are doing their C.P.R. training for the next two days. I’ve created a day plan handout for them (click here)  so they can see what is in store during the next three weeks before finals begin. They have three assignments to complete and will not have the luxury of having extra time to finish them – they’ll have to be completed by the due date.
  4. Students also should start focusing on getting caught up on their blog writing. They will have two more added to their list from this Decisions unit and they will all be checked and evaluated during the week of final exams.
  5. If anyone would like some help, let me know and I’d love to lend a hand. You’ll have to push through these next three weeks, though, and do your best to keep up!
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May 26

ELA B10: Finish viewing movie…

  1. With only half the class here today, we finished watching the movie Dead Poets Society. The ones here discussed parts of the plot once it was finished and we each took turns talking about what we think we would do when faced with the same situation as the boys – turn on their teacher or support him but be expelled. We also talked about whether or not your age is a factor in making decisions. Derek pointed out that at this age (teens) you know what the right and wrong decision is. Someone else pointed out, though, that being confident enough to follow through with the right decisions makes things complicated.
  2. A couple of them even tried one of the memorable parts of the movie – where they all stand up on their desks to see from a different perspective and I even heard one whisper out the famous line “Oh Captain, my Captain”. lol This is a really good movie that shares a really valuable message; I’m glad they not only liked it but got the point as well!
  3. For those here, they started answering questions on a handout and submitted them at the end of class for me to look at. They’ll finish them tomorrow and we’re going to try to write some poems about living life to its fullest tomorrow. We’ll see if we can’t maintain a bit of this energy around reading literature and play with it a bit!
  4. On a side note: The Of Mice and Men essays were due on Monday morning. Three were missing as of this morning, but I’ve accepted one because they had a doctor’s excuse. That means one person starts over from scratch this week and the second we’ll have to see when they’re back at school tomorrow.
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May 22

ELA B10: May 22 Continue viewing Dead Poets Society…

I was away today but the students were so involved yesterday in watching the movie that I’m pretty confident, Friday or no Friday, that they would quietly and attentively watch the rest of the movie. (I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been able to actually finish watching it, though, so we’ll see the ending next Tuesday.)

Reminder to students: Your Of Mice and Men literary essay is actually due today but I will accept it Monday morning. It was made especially clear, though, that while they could use the weekend to type it out and proof read, etc, they couldn’t claim they weren’t at school Monday to hand it in. I’m going along on that Track Meet with you so you have every opportunity to get it done and hand it in! Otherwise, you get a brand new essay topic and have to start over.

See you Monday… with, hopefully, warmer weather!!

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May 21

ELA B10: May 21 Dead Poets Society viewing…

  1. To my surprise and pleasure, everyone was finished their questions and seemed to have well-considered responses. We talked briefly about the decision of the main character in the story who decided to let the teacher fend for himself the second time. It seemed right of him to help the teacher the first time, but when it was clear the teacher didn’t use that help or seem to be able to help himself, it seemed right to let the man handle the situation on his own, which inevitably leads to his quitting. Again, it makes it clear that not all decisions are clearcut or easy to make.
  2. In line with the plot of that story, the movie the students started watching today is also set in a school setting. The teacher, this time, is quite capable – actually very capable! He somehow is able to inspire his students to dream, live life fully, and set outside their boundaries. The consequences of some of the boys’ decisions, though, turn out badly. In watching the movie, I’ve asked the students of this class to watch for decisions and consequences and try to mentally make a note of who is ultimately responsible for the consequences that will come. Robin Williams plays the teacher in the movie, Dead Poets Society.
    I’ll be away tomorrow so they will continue watching it with their sub. We will discuss it on Tuesday when we’re all back from Outlook’s track and field on Monday.This scene of the movie is quite an important and inspiring one. See if you feel moved the way the boys do?
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May 20

ELA B10: May 20 Beginning Decisions unit…

  1. We’re finished using class time to develop the essay students have been working on. I reminded them that it is due Friday, but I also agreed to accept it on Monday so some may use their weekends to edit and type it out.
    If I do not receive it on Monday though, they will be given a new essay topic and have to start the process from scratch. I also reminded them they have track on Monday in Outlook but still have to meet at the school to get on the bus, so they can either use the extension but be careful of the deadline or hand it in on Friday and be safe.
  2. We reviewed the main sub-units in our last unit on Equality. I also reminded them of several skill activities they have spent time on that were not necessarily part of that Equality unit – listening skills, reading skills, the reading assessments for the division and for the province, their blog development, and more recently essay writing skills. These skills will be reviewed and tested throughout the rest of their ELA classes so the time spent on them was important.
  3. To begin our second unit in the course, though, we looked at the topic of Decisions. They were given a handout with a list of the literature resources in this unit. (See it here.) They have obviously discussed decision making in several classes through their middle years and it would have especially been discussed in their history class. The concept of “cause and effect” is one people generally can recognize but to articulate it is a bit more tricky. We also talked about the reality that not all decisions are the easy ones – if you had a child who was diagnosed with a terminal illness, what would you do? if you were going to get married but felt something didn’t seem quite right, what would you do? Sometimes the choices we have seem equally compelling, and we can’t always anticipate the outcome or consequences. These are the issues we will be considering in the next few weeks through the literature.
  4. To begin, they answered some personal questions regarding their own decision-making process; this was just to set the tone of our discussions and reading. Then we read a short story together titled “A Kind of Murder” about a new teacher at a school who was too weak to defend himself and a thoughtful student tried to help him out, but when tested the second time decided to leave the man fend for himself. They have eight questions to consider that are expected to be completed for tomorrow’s class.
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May 19

ELA B10: May 19 Essay writing – final class…

  1. Kids buckled down and were fairly focused for today’s writing class. A few were able to hand their writing in for me to look over and offer suggestions for improvements. Most of the others were trying to complete their three body paragraphs before starting their introductory and conclusion paragraphs.
  2. Even asked about creating a thesis so I wrote some examples on the board for everyone and reviewed the three-step thesis they have to create. Here are a few things to remember:

Thesis examples


•1.       Your thesis has to include your three paragraph points.

•2.       It must be in the order the paragraphs are presented.

•3.       You can create a very simple thesis or create a phrase for each topic and make it seem more developed.

•4.       By setting up each topic in a similar way, you can show parallelism in your thesis sentence.

Essay topic: Lennie’s fetish for petting soft things grows more dangerous throughout the novel.
Body paragraph topics are:

  • a. The mouse
  • b. The puppy
  • c. Curley’s wife


Lennie’s habit of petting soft things 1begins with a small mouse, 2grows more dangerous with a dead puppy, and 3becomes fatal with the death of Curley’s wife.


Essay topic: The various dreams characters have in the novel.
Body paragraph topics:

  • a. Owning land
  • b. Being famous
  • c. Racial equality

Three dreams in the novel are 1to own land, 2to be someone famous, and 3to gain racial equality.

Thesis: (more developed by adding phrases)
Of all the dreams evident in the novel, the most important ones are 1the dream of owning land, 2the dream of being an actress, and 3the dream of gaining racial equality.

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