May 31

May 31/16 Sample Letter of Concern – My Letter to Saskatchewan Roughriders Organization

Your next assignment coming up is to write a Letter of Concern or Complaint. This will include formatting your message, tone, and purpose more carefully in order to get the type of response you’re hoping for.

As an example of this type of writing, I’m sharing with you the Letter of Concern I wrote earlier this year to the Saskatchewan Roughriders Organization. It was in response to bullying behaviour my family and I were subjected to by a number of people in a group of seasons ticket holders. I spent quite a bit of time drafting and revising this Letter of Concern, specifically because I wanted it to be well-received and result in action on the Roughrider Organization’s part, which it certainly did.

I was very pleased that, after reading this letter, the following happened:

  • the Security Manager called my brother personally to offer an apology for how we were treated and got more information from him of the day’s events
  • the Security Manager was able to finally get a meeting, specifically as a result of this letter, with the Rider Organization Managers to address security issues that were ongoing and not yet addressed
  • it resulted in some formal changes being approved after that meeting and more specific security features enacted, such as:
    • more security personnel in specific parts of the stadium
    • cards being handed out pre-game with text info to request security’s assistance during the game
  • for my brother, 10 already-purchased seats for an upcoming game were upgraded to be positioned directly behind the Roughrider bench
  • He was also given pre-game field passes for h to observe the warm up and interact with the Rider players.

We were very happy with the actions taken by the organization as a result of the concerns relayed through this letter. A carefully articulated message can definitely draw results, which is what you are to consider as you will play a role in future issues being addressed in Canada.

Sample Letter of Concern: My letter sent to the Roughrider Organization


May 29

May 30/16 Mentor Texts to Study – Articles on Current Social Issues

You’ll be writing a Letter of Concern soon related to a social issue that’s currently being debated or developed in our society. Before writing that, you’ll read some of the writing of others developed to promote out understanding of these issues and move the conversation forward.

You’ll have lots of options for which article you will choose. Pick a topic that interest you.



Ontario to ban vaping in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited

Ontario to ban vaping in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited

At ground zero of assisted death

Pot law coming next spring: Health Minister Jane Philpott

Grieving Canadian moms to UN: ‘Tough love’ doesn’t work for drugs

University of Alberta students call for action to reduce fentanyl deaths

Ontario to ban vaping in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited

How universities are helping students with ‘invisible’ disabilities

Energy drinks are all the buzz. But they may also be dangerous.

Physician assisted dying should be publicly funded: advisory group

Lawyers appealing $1B NFL concussion deal

The changing face of lung cancer: Young non-smokers

What you don’t know about a leading morning-sickness drug

Canadian doctors want proof of immunization for school children

Cabinet ministers say little about newly approved abortion pill


We know drunk driving is bad. So what about … drunk parking?

P.E.I. combats drunk driving hangover

A life lost and a life destroyed




May 24

May 24/16 B7 Consequences of decisions

Here are the steps for this section:

  1. Before Viewing
    Split the class in half (2 rows in each group) and discuss and come up with the following: Make sure someone is your group’s Notetaker.

    1. Identify the pros and cons of Rainer Wenger’s teaching, the teacher from the movie Die Welle who convinced his students to become Nazis. What were the positives of this influence on his students and the obvious negatives.
    2. Discuss whether you really make many big decisions in your life to choose your own path or whether you mostly follow along with what’s expected of you. How much do your family circumstances, financial limitations, marks and school capabilities etc narrow or widen the types of choices you can make after graduation? If your circumstances limit your choices, do you still have choice? (Example: Maybe your don’t have the marks or money access to choose post-secondary training.)  If your circumstances allow for any learning/work opportunity after graduation, do most people follow the same path anyway – head to University or SIAST?
    3. Do you believe it’s better to live life fully or just do life well? Should you do what’s expected of you by society and others and enjoy what you’ve got or should you aim for more and find what you’re passionate about, even if it may not afford you a comfortable life or approval of friends and family?
  2. During Viewing
    You’ll watch this film – it’s just over 2 hours long. After it, you’ll identify common elements of literature from it as part of your Comprehend and Response skills. This section will count towards your course mark.
  3. After Viewing
    We’ll get to this later.
May 13

May 13/16 Getting ideas for your Journal Writing

Other Kenaston students have completed the same type of journal writing as you are going to soon. Their entries are only in response to “The Michelle I Know”. You’ll be able to get an idea of how they took on the persona of a character to create these fictional writing pieces along with some creative techniques like:

  • spreading out the dates of when the entries were written
  • deciding which character’s perspective to write from
  • school appropriate language but you can be creative with your language choice
  • explore the emotions the character may be feeling – the highs and lows
  • you can play with writing using inference – things hinted to for the reader but not expressly told
  • you can vary sentences – their length and formation, include some for dramatic effect and others for narrative use
  • you can think of a creative ending – something to surprise a reader
  • you can write as if these entries happen along with the storyline plot or they might occur and foreshadow their beginning or you could explore what happens once the storyline portion has ended
  • Lots of potential in this type of writing assignment.


I’ll post these examples as comments below.  Thanks to Bethany, Bernice, Kaity, and Eve for giving permission to use these blog entries.


May 12

May 12/16 B5 Short Story Options – Choose One

For this next section, you’ll have the choice between reading one of two short stories. They both focus on a character faced with a decision, but it’s a decision that’s based on Values.

“The Michelle I Know” is a story about a young girl battling an illness in the hospital. She’s scared her boyfriend will find someone else to spend time with and is befriended by another patient.

“Just Lather, That’s All is a story about a young man whose community is disrupted by a war. The leader of the opposition group enters his store for a shave and the young man must decide whether to take this opportunity or let it pass.

Open the Google Doc here with both stories in it. Make a Copy for yourself and follow the instructions below.

Pick one of the stories and complete the following steps:

  1. Open the Google Doc file linked above to access both stories. 
    1. Once you open it in Google Docs, you’ll be able to highlight a portion of the text you want to respond to or make an observation of and add a comment that includes your observation/analysis.
  2. As you read through the story, watch for the following qualities of the text and identify any 20 as a comment.
    1. Make a connection to yourself
    2. Make a judgement – what do you think about… ?
    3. Make a connection to the world or society
    4. Share what you visualize
    5. Identify a single phrase or sentence that is significant for some reason to you and explain the reasoning
    6. Share what puzzles you
    7. Clarify something
    8. Identify something that you feel is irrelevant or relevant
    9. Identify something that you feel is irrelevant or relevant
    10. Summarize what’s happening
    11. Ask a question about something related to the plot
    12. Ask a question about something related to the plot
    13. Identify something unique about the writing
    14. Identify what is motivating characters right now
    15. Identify what is motivating characters right now
    16. Make a connection to another text you know of (story, movie, tv show)
    17. Identify an example of inference (what is hinted at that the reader needs to read-between-the-lines to understand)
    18. Identify an example of inference (what is hinted at that the reader needs to read-between-the-lines to understand)
    19. Share what puzzles you near the highest point of tension; what is unclear to you for the moment
    20. Clarify something relevant to the falling action or resolution
    21. Make a prediction
    22. Make a prediction
    23. Make a prediction
  3. Let me know when you’ve completed these comments/observations in your document.
May 10

May 10/16 Inquiry Project Examples for Gr 9 ELA

Hi 9s! We started talking last Friday about the next big project we will tackle – completing an Inquiry Project in ELA. You decided to use the Unit on Survival and Conquering things, so your choice of topic for your inquiry will have to fit inside that theme in some way. It was difficult to start thinking of ideas for your project, though we spent some time trying to drum up ideas.

To get an idea of the different ways you can approach your inquiry question, I want you to look at some of the topics chosen by a group of students online.

Their teacher, Mr. Schoenbart, has gathered their inquiry ideas, blog links, and names together into this document here. Spend some time today looking at the inquiry questions and what sort of work went into each project.

  1. Track your search. Keep a record of the inquiry topic you looked into as well as the student blog address you looked through.
  2. Look through at least five blog sites.
  3. Once you’ve finished that, I want you to also watch a few student examples of the final project – the presentation of the inquiry project to your class. Watch the videos below AFTER you have carefully looked through at least 5 of the student inquiry projects on the link above. 



May 10

May 10/16 AR Task: Reflecting on Blended Learning Model in ELA

To finish off this section, you have an Assess and Reflect task to complete. Remember these tasks are meant for you to look back at how you’re learning, evaluate which tasks you can be more successful in completing, what your stronger skills are and what are the skills you need to develop. The Assess and Reflect sections are also worth 20% of your ELA B10 mark and are assessed not on a right or wrong answer but on how thoughtful and well-considered your self-reflection is.

For this AR task, follow along in the blog post and read along while listening to the audio recording. I’ve recorded the explanation of this AR task to help you understand well the background to this reflective question and the question itself you’re being asked to consider and respond to.

Write out and attach your paragraph response to submit with your section B5 work. If you feel it will help you to represent this self-assessment in an additional way, like a pro/con t-chart you can add that along with your reflective paragraph.


Listen to the recording as you follow along:

In review of Section B5 our Poetry studies, you had:

  • Choice
  • Pace
  • Path
  • collaborative work in small groups to generate and share learning
  • identified your own skills – strengths and weaknesses
  • used technology for part of the learning
    • apps for recording speaking/doing representing
    • instruction was given on the blog posts for section activities
    • comprehension responses were added to the blog post
    • resources for enriched learning given to challenge students at a higher level

These characteristics are what blended learning looks like in an ELA classroom.

Our division and school wants to incorporate more blended learning.

I want you to really consider what you learned or gained, if anything, from this method of ELA study of the poetry in section B5.  In contrast, when studying Poetry we have typically done some smaller group activities, but largely studied the text as a whole group. For example, when we studied “The Raven” or other poems like “Frankenstein” or “The Listeners”, we:

  • worked through the poem together with a partner or small group first to try to make meaning of the poem
  • identified responses to questions related to the poem to consider
  • shared what you’d learned together as a whole class
  • small activities like piecing together a stanza from “The Raven”
  • going up and down the rows asking everyone to contribute something to the learning

You have to think about this. We are not abandoning the whole group learning in ELA, but I’d like your reflective feedback on what you like about the blended learning model in ELA and what you don’t like. This is your Assess and Reflect (AR) Task for this section. It is not marked on what answer you give; it is marked on how well-considered and thoughtful the response developed is. Mull over the question, jot some ideas down or maybe make a pro/con list, and develop your personal reflection of the question in an informal paragraph.

Write it up (can type and print) but submit together with your Section B5 work.

Don’t forget that you had to add a comment response to each of the Poetry tasks and also submit your Speaking/Writing/Representing work done with your partner through a Google Doc.


May 6

May 6/16 Taking on an Inquiry Project – long term activity

We’re about to start our next unit and I’d like you to choose the direction we take. We have three Unit Themes to choose from: you need to discuss them as a group and decide which we’ll take on next and when you’ve decided we’re going to tackle it through an Inquiry Based Project. You’re each going to pick your own topic within that theme, research and develop an understanding of your topic, create a product of some type and then present it to the group. But we’ll get to that part later.

Your Units Left to Choose From:  Read through the description and the Big Questions for each and mull it over individually and with your classmates to narrow down which Unit we’ll move forward with.

  1. Indigenous and Norse Narratives: All cultures have their stories. These stories contain those beliefs and values that are considered important by each culture. They reflect a people’s worldview and allow us to gain insight into their cultural knowledge and heritage. Because Indigenous stories and traditions are an integral part of Canadian society, they provide important opportunities for us to deepen out understanding of who we are and to understand our linguistic and cultural roots.
    Big Questions:

    1. Why do people tell stories and tales?
    2. How do these stories help people understand their world?
    3. What lessons do we learn about people through these tales?
    4. How are these stories and tales alike and different?
    5. Why is it important for each generation to hear and to retell these tales?
  2. Surviving and Conquering: Survivors never give up, no matter what difficulties they find themselves facing. The word “survival” literally means “to live” but also implies the triumph of the spirit and the body over formidable obstacles. As individuals, and as groups, people face physical, emotional, and social difficulties that force them to survive and, indeed, conquer. They must draw on their inner resources and overcome the obstacles. In their attempt to survive, they often learn a great deal about themselves and others.
    Big Questions:

    1. What does it take to survive on planet Earth and in our society?
    2. What kinds of survival challenges have others faced?
    3. What decisions do people have to make to survive?
    4. How can we help one another survive?
    5. Why is important to do more than just survive?
  3. Our Shared Linguistic and Cultural Roots: Each language has its unique beauty, power, and history. English is no exception. It is one of the dominant languages in the world and a chief means of communication among people and nations. Understanding and being understood in English at home, in school, and in the work place are important for success. By studying how English works, its history, and its impact on others, we can better understand our linguistic identity and our heritage.
    Big Questions:

    1. When, where and how was English first used and by whom?
    2. How does a linguist analyze and explain the English language?
    3. How do we learn a language such as English?
    4. How is English used by different people in different roles and occupations?
    5. How is languages affected by gender, age, ethnic heritage group, and educational background?

After reviewing each, decide which would be your personal preference and reasoning for that choice. Share that decision with a friend and have them share their choice. Then share preferences with the larger group to hash out your final choice.

Good luck!

May 3

May 3/16 Studying “The Road Not Taken” – Frost

In your group or in smaller pairs, work through the questions given below:

  • Read the poem together
  • Summarize the stanzas/find the poem’s literal meaning
  • Identify the poem’s theme and purpose
  • Analyze specifically the most famous line
    “two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less traveled by” for meaning

    • debate meaning – personal choice or destined fate
    • Any other lines in the poem significant in hinting at meaning?
  • Analyze Ford Commercial –
    • summarize what is inferred by the commercial/ how does the commercial interpret the poem? Is it the same as your interpretation?
  • Read the Article “The Most Misread Poem in America” (link below)
    • What’s the error everyone makes in understanding this poem?
    • What’s the poem’s true meaning? Do you see it/understand it? Were you correct in your own understanding?
  • (Each) Write a blog post Comment reviewing what you’ve learned from studying this text and media. Formal paragraph writing
  • After: View any 2 of the student videos representing the poem (below)

The Road not Taken – Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Article: The Most Misread Poem in America


Viewing Activity:
Below are student video representations of the poem. If you have time after studying the poem and writing your comment below, you can watch the two videos and leave a second comment to this blog post explaining which you feel is a better representation of the poem. Be sure to support your answer with a specific reason.