January 4

ELA A10 B8.1 Assignment: Presentation Deconstructing Media Source

You’ve recently studied a documentary of your choice that likely attempted to inform or convince viewers of some issue of society that needs addressing, whether related to poverty, education, inequality of opportunities for people, or maybe even environmental concerns.

We talked and you studied a bit how documentaries are a different type of text and need to be approached/studied with a particular strategy. You can’t lay back and just consume it like you get to with films, being able to turn your critical thinking brain off and go along with whatever plot the film offers.

With documentaries, you have to question, have to listen/watch with caution, watching for things like:

  • claims made by the documentary that aren’t supported with evidence
  • overly manipulative music use to impact the emotion of the viewers
  • cutting and selecting only parts of a person’s speech to use what portions of it are useful and exclude what parts don’t support their narrative
  • the bias the documentary makers may have; their agenda that you maybe should keep in mind while you view
  • the methods of construction used to create the documentary, like using audio of interviews overtop of video, transitions by the video making programming, etc.

To work through the process of critically considering a media text like a documentary, you have this next assignment. In the same way you have to plan for your essay writing and ensure all the paragraph portions of it contribute to a single topic, you have to plan out your presentation message and supports. There is a graphic organizer you can use to do that, along with step by step suggestions of what to consider for that part of your presentation.

BEFORE YOU MAKE YOURS: You’ll complete another of our AR Assess and Reflect tasks; you’ll look at Sample Student Presentations to consider what they did well and did poorly. From this, you should have a strong understanding of how to develop a proficient presentation yourself.

Student Sample Presentations Links:

  1. Presentation 1
  2. Presentation 2
  3. Presentation 3
  4. Presentation 4
  5. Presentation 5

Use the handout provided to try to make a list of techniques done well and done poorly for each presentation. You’ll also be asked to rank them from best developed presentations to worst.

Here is a list of many of the feedback comments I gave to the last group of students who developed these presentations. Maybe you can learn from mistakes in design or development that others made to avoid them in your own presentation. 

  • each slide looks exactly the same. Want to create variety for interest of your viewer’s sake
  • an extra slide is included (slide 2 – no content)
  • good headings at top of slide to direct focus of topic
  • use the same punctuation you would in writing – capitals, periods
  • Slide 16 & 8 examples: text boxes overlap (in parts overlap a lot)
  • unfinished presentation – end slides are there without content/nothing on the slides
  • No images in whole presentation?
  • like your coloured outline at the start and that the categories of slides for each coloured heading match (manipulation heading is green, makers heading is blue, etc) Very organized.
  • very nice design choice
  • like the added quote on the title slide
  • good use of spatial layout
  • could make font larger in some places – overall well done.
  • went off topic w documentary choice and presentation
  • some font quite small – hard for viewers to read
  • inconsistent use of capitals, punctuation
  • lots of blank space left on some slides – use it up
  • no “end” – no conclusion to presentation
  • really nice design/style for presentation
  • missing some required content of the assignment – why you have to approach watching documentaries so differently than movies
  • presentation is very short – 6 slides?
  • visually a nice presentation
  • not sure it should be in 2nd person point of view – Slide 2 “share with you”
  • Presentations are meant to be visually engaging for viewers – your slides are a solid dark blue background. A little loud and monotonous for every slide
  • “4 guys” – write out numbers that are less than 10
  • background of every slide is white – underwhelming visual presentation. Presents as if it’s a word doc – blank white.
  • slides developed with paragraphs – but paragraphs are for written texts, not visual ones. PPTs are for bullet points that then the speaker will elaborate on.
  • starting sentences without capital letters. Be more careful
  • included a summary of the documentary, instead of the deconstruction and analysis of the making/construction of this documentary as a social constructed text (manipulations)
  • your slide topics don’t quite flow well one to another. You cover ideas sort of out of the order I’d expect. You mention: why they made this documentary, how it motivates viewers, and THEN you introduced the people it was focused on. A bit out of order
  • slides with lots of blank space – should have included images then if you had the space for it. Visual presentation – need that image to engage with on the topic.
  • gave you formative (during the development) feedback there was info required by assignment not included and additional information (distraction) added that shouldn’t be
  • Slide 6 text falls behind/is blocked by images
  • Slide 7 Text box should be widened or font made smaller. Last letter of the word is broken up on the 2nd line.
  • at times you’ve got lots of space unsured on slides so you could increase font
  • should have an “End” slide. An ending
  • nice design right from slide 1
  • if this is for viewers, remove the parts of your slides/info that hint to it being an assignment (ex alphabatized labels with headers or bullets)
  • nice use of the pages – you didn’t leave blank space left
  • I like your design template choice
  • use up your space. Small font with blank spaces can be made larger. Use the space you’re given
  • some missing punctuation
  • some slides lacking support/details from documentary
November 5

ELA 10 Independent Reading: Sci fi/fantasy

One of the requirements for the ELA A10 curriculum is to do some prolonged independent reading. There are a number of books on the classroom bookshelf you could consider, so long as they fit within the genres or themes below:

  • mysteries
  • the unknown
  • science fiction
  • fantasy
  • imagination/curiosity
  • challenges
  • a hero’s journey/quest

This year in particular, we’ve used a few more classes for some of the coursework than is usually needed in a regular year. We’re building up skills together, though, that otherwise may have already been established/built on if there wasn’t a loss of time/learning progress when we were sent home during the initial days of the Pandemic. We’re not pushing through the work too quickly that you’re overwhelmed by it, but that then means we need to make some adjustments for that extra time used.

You can choose to read a novel and see how far into the text you get. Some novel titles that fit include:

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gallaxy
  • The Chrysalids
  • A Brave New World
  • Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
  • Dune (Frank Herbert)
  • The Martian (Andy Weir)
  • Enders Game

So… let me introduce to you some longer science fiction short stories.

They’re long enough in length they offer some prolonged, independent reading. There’s enough of a story developed that it requires some careful consideration of events, characters involved, motivations and tensions, and will be enough text to be the source of your following essay writing.

Some options to consider this year:

  • “A Sound of Thunder”: A sci-fi story of people going back in time for sport hunting – to kill a dinosaur – but, even though they’re warned not to cause any other changes in the past because it could have a ripple effect and change the present, it happens. (One of the most popular sci-fi short stories written, by a favourite author for many – Ray Bradbury.)
    Note – this was also made into a Simpsons episode.
  • “Actually Naneen”: A little into our future, there are robots used as nannies, but what do you do when yours is getting a little run-down and her operating software won’t upgrade anymore? (There is some empathy involved in this reading.) Author Malka Older – American, female scientist.
  • “By Degrees and Dilatory Time”: A sci-fi story of a man who has cancer of the optic nerve (eyes) and gets new robotic eyes. It’s an adjustment for him to get used to seeing the world through this perspective.
    Author S. L. Huang
  • “Cooking Time”: There is no food in the future; it’s all artificially made. With time travel, though, some can go back and cook, seeing what it’s like with read food. One young decides to go on a quest in the past to see if she can change the future, so there could be food still.
    Anita Roy
October 20

A4 Texts That Leave Lasting Impressions – The Raven

What is it about some pieces of literature that they’re so well-loved, well remembered, stand out apart from all the others? 

For example:

  • So many people who have read the novella Of Mice and Men have a life-long appreciation for the character Lennie. Why? Why does he stand out to people so specifically?
  • The Harry Potter series has a whole global following, making the author a billionaire!
  • Or the Lord of the Rings series and characters are still read and appreciated even though other similar texts and storylines have been attempted.

“The Raven” – this is the poem you’re going to read. Realizing a famous phrase from this poem has been etched into his gravestone in his place of rest, what does that tell you about how significant and popular still that one piece of writing came to be?

Did You Know You Can Visit Edgar Allan Poe's Grave? | The Wayside Inn


Creativity leads to creative writing:

    • Look at an author like Stephanie Meyers and her Twilight series that led to a fan loyalty face-off between Team Edward and Team Jacob!
    • The author of the book The Martian studied space as a hobby. His fascination with that topic and possibilities led to him writing this book that was turned into a blockbuster film! And the book is so creative, still a better experience than the great film created from it.
    • Symbolism of Ravens vs Owls: you’ll look this up to understand the significance of why he chose to base this poem/plot on a Raven and not another bird type.
    • Ravens: Smart and Talkative

The Raven on the bust of Pallas by Dianna-Art on DeviantArt Perched Upon a Bust of Pallas

Take A Listen

If you’re strapped for time, listen to one of these great readings of The Raven by five frightening fellows (all available on Youtube):

And, of course, The Simpsons’ take on the poem (also narrated by James Earl Jones) at TeacherTube.

January 22

ELA A10 Body Paragraph Writing – Essay Skill Development

You’re going to try developing your own body paragraphs for a new essay. I will support you with an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your Assignment is to try developing two body paragraphs for this essay.

Essay Focus:

The effectiveness of author’s choices in developing elements of “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Sample topics for your paragraphs:

  • author’s choice to narrate from first person rather than third person omniscient
  • author’s choice to narrate from an unreliable narrator (regardless of point of view) – how that impacts the story for the reader
  • author’s choice in the narrator using second person point of view, to speak to the reader
  • author’s development of tone established by events, word choices, and early comments by the narrator
  • author’s inclusion of gothic elements, like death of a loved one, fixation on heaven and hell, monsters and zombies, etc.
  • other – can you think of another observation of the author’s choices in the outcome of the story?


Intro Paragraph:

Great authors consider even the smallest elements of a story to develop engaging and memorable stories for readers. The types and number of characters developed, the relationships they have to have to each other, and even where and when the story is placed can be the difference between a story readers love or are indifferent to. This is especially clear in the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” written by Edgar Allen Poe, the father of gothic literature. The story is mostly-set in a lone house with two occupants who have a relationship, but there is tension from the narrator towards the second unnamed character; he narrates to readers of events that may have already happened, when he stalks and finally kills the old man. The story is a popular one among fiction readers, who are attracted to many of the unique elements of the story, including a single narrator, short time span of events. Some of the most distinctive qualities included by the author are the use of the second person point of view, an unreliable narrator relaying the plot events, and the use of gothic elements. Through these style choices and others, readers explore a carefully-crafted short story.


Body One:


Body Two:


Body Three:



Conclusion Paragraph:

The choices made by the author in developing this text establish it among all the others as being an especially perfect example of storytelling and story writing. While many others may be developing their writing styles, they may look to popular pieces of literature to study and recognize what decisions authors made in developing those loved texts. Poe is one such author studied and envied for the many short stories he developed that leave a lasting impact on readers, not just for the ideas the stories convey, but also for the style the writer establishes and perfects.


December 5

ELA A10 B7 Quests and Adventures


Personal Online Search:
Find an article online that explores the benefits of engaging in long literature texts, like in novel reading. You will find a partner(s) and have a brief group discussion (6-10 minutes long) to compare what you find.

** Make sure a partner in the group records the discussion and submits it with a proper file name.

Active Reading Activity: “The Sniper”

  • We have practiced reading a short story and using the active reading slips of paper to help you start looking for elements within the text, such as predictions, or confirming beliefs.
  • Make a COPY of this digital copy, give it your own title (Name – The Sniper), and read through the text WHILE looking for examples of the list of active reading prompts within the text.
    • Highlight a portion of the text you want to make an observation of and Add a Comment that includes:
      • the number correlating to the prompt
      • the prompt name
      • your observation explained.
    • Example: #3 Clarify something – I think…….



October 2

ELA A10 The Value of Imagination – pgs 1-5 links/digital resources

This section looks at some of the most creative ways people have used their imagination, as well as some of the very strange uses of it.

(Below) Audio narration and text of the story. Listen while you read, if it helps with your comprehension.

Additional Examples of Creativity and Imagination:

September 3

A1 Mystery and Suspense – Writing Challenge Samples

What makes a good mystery story? Is it something different than the key elements that make a good regular story?

We reviewed the plot diagram of stories: starts with a problem, rising action, a climax point of tension, the falling action, and a resolution of some time at the end. It always includes a character in a situation they don’t want to be in.

You were challenged to write your own mystery story, but with a catch – you only had 8-9 minutes to do it and were restricted to a max of 10-12 sentences. Now we want to see how everyone did!

These are the stories you each developed.

December 4

ELA A10 What Makes a Hero?

In your Quests and Adventures section, you’re asked to consider what qualities, in your experience, make someone a hero. Having made that list and considered your own opinion on the subject, pick one of the following articles to read and develop a response to. Instructions are included in your handout for after reading. 

  1. Choose which of the two above articles you want to read and make a list of the points made within the article.

What Makes a Hero (article) if the criteria for what makes a hero were changed, would there be more or less labelled heroes in the world?

Why we Need Saviours (article) the benefits and reason for heroism stories popularity in media

2. Following your reading, you’ll engage in a discussion with others who selected the same text. 


October 30

ELA MLA Citation Guide & Links

If you pursue post-secondary education, the odds are you’ll have to develop a piece of writing that requires in-text citations and a Works Cited page. Here are some resources to use as a guide for that:

In-text citation guide:

  • author and page #
  • anonymous authors
  • text from an anthology or collection
  • multiple authors
  • internet sources

Citing non-print or sources from the Internet

With more and more scholarly work being posted on the Internet, you may have to cite research you have completed in virtual environments. While many sources on the Internet should not be used for scholarly work (reference the OWL’s Evaluating Sources of Information resource), some Web sources are perfectly acceptable for research. When creating in-text citations for electronic, film, or Internet sources, remember that your citation must reference the source in your Works Cited.

Sometimes writers are confused with how to craft parenthetical citations for electronic sources because of the absence of page numbers, but often, these sorts of entries do not require a page number in the parenthetical citation. For electronic and Internet sources, follow the following guidelines:

  • Include in the text the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry that corresponds to the citation (e.g. author name, article name, website name, film name).
  • You do not need to give paragraph numbers or page numbers based on your Web browser’s print preview function.
  • Unless you must list the Web site name in the signal phrase in order to get the reader to the appropriate entry, do not include URLs in-text. Only provide partial URLs such as when the name of the site includes, for example, a domain name, like CNN.com or Forbes.com as opposed to writing out http://www.cnn.com or http://www.forbes.com.

Works Cited page – basic guidelines

Basic rules

  • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
  • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
  • List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as 225-250. Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
  • If you’re citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.

Easybib Citation Maker: this website can be helpful for easily making your Works Cited page.