While many other Saskatchewan ELA students write final exams to end their courses, you’ve had many experiences with the Exit Interview. This focuses on your mindset through your work in the course, the goals you hoped to achieve and looking back to see whether you came close or met them, as well as identifying the skills you grew in and continue to build.
You’ll have an Exit Interview again this end of semester, but you’ll also enjoy writing a simple exam that will demonstrate your skill in writing the literary analytical essay.
The final product that you develop in this one class period will NOT be developed to the level you are familiar with for your other essay projects, since those projects will be the result of several hours of work.
This essay may be somewhat simplistic, but will demonstrate your ability to:
develop an appropriate and thoughtful analysis in response to an essay prompt of your choosing
show your ability to connect the texts you’ve studied to a theme or concept and explore it through the analytical writing
develop an essay with clear organization and structure, including transitions and topic sentences
technique of your writing, including punctuation habits, even though it may be unpolished
basic sense of writing voice, including your language choices and unqiue style of writing
Student-written Sample Essays:
Here (link below) are two examples of essays taken from a Provincial Exam. Students writing these essays had three hours to write their whole exam, which included much more than this essay. These essay samples are a good example of what you might expect to complete in your in-class exam.
This section is a formative one to review and grow in your skills in analyzing poetry. It also includes an interesting poetry that you may find links to of our History 30 studies, the formation and question of what Canadian nationality is about.
I offered to study the poem together live with a group of students, if they wanted the guidance and support. Here is the recording of that discussion analyzing “The Provinces”
If you need a reminder, here is a handout that includes examples of figurative devices identified and how to properly identify them.
Listening to Canadian Poetry Samples: Poetry can cover all sorts of topics and experiences, but in this section you’ll read poems that are grounded in an experience or perspective of the landscape, nothing else.
Depending on your experience with poetry, you may have encountered some particular poems you really enjoyed or others you just didn’t get. It’s interesting to realize poems can be about any topic, even some surprising ones.
Below are two poems written by Canadian author Al Purdy: one is narrated by the author himself and the other was developed into a performance video and partially narrated by Canadian singer Gord Downie. The topics of these aren’t maybe what you’d expect!
Audio file: “Homemade Beer” – you can follow along with the written poem on your handout cover page.
The “yellow flowers” in this poem aren’t like the ones you’ll typically find in poetry.
Before Reading Activity: Draw out the scenery you picture while listening to the loons call out.
Poem # 1 (Unnamed Poem) Below is the poem read aloud; it may help with your comprehension of it.
One of the creative types of projects you can do in ELA is to develop either a video or audio recording and include sound effects. There’s an assignment like this in both ELA A10 and A30.
You could take the ELA A30 Poetry Project Assignment where you have to pick a Canadian poem and record an oral performance reading it with emotion and plays on sounds, but add some soft background music or other sound effects into the file, for one overall polished creation. It demonstrates creativity, attention to detail, and also that you took the project to a developed/polished level, rather than developing just the basics.
You can use a video making program to add in some quiet background music or one or two sound effects. Remember to use these extras like you use salt & pepper – just a little goes a long way!
There’s also a Poetry Performance to develop in ELA A10 – it’s just a voice recording of a poem spoken and performed, but again you can enhance it by adding sound layers to it. What extra type of mood could you create by different sound choices or music?
Note: Be sure to check at the bottom of the blog post to confirm how to save/submit your project. It must be exported to be shared.
Resources to help support you:
Sound Effects Websites:
Freesound.org: username kenastonela password kenaston306
This site includes all sorts of sound clips people have recorded and uploaded. We had a hoot listening to some real crazy stuff!
Soundsnap.com: If you find sounds on this website you badly want to use, talk to me. I’ll get them for you!
GrSites.com: You have to click in your browser to Allow Flash to run in order to play these sounds and download.
Bensound.com: Another website that includes Royalty Free music. so long as you source the site.
EpidemicSound.com: Another website with both sound effects as well as music. This one also requires a subscription, but if there’s a song/sound effect you badly need, we can talk about purchasing it. (There’s a free trial period.)
Artlist.io: This is another website with instrumental music of different genres and sound. Royalty Free
Musicbed.com: If you’re looking for background music for your project, there are lots of categories and “moods” of music posted here. Many are instrumental, which would be appropriate for a video project. Let me know if you’re interested in music here – we could get a school account to access it.
Video and Image Files: Creative Commons
Pexels.com: Free creative commons images and videos to download
Audio File Online Converter: Sometimes, the audio files you want to use aren’t in a file format a program will recognize. This online site will let you load your audio file and convert it to a file type that’s usable in your program, like mp3.
This website even lets you use videos and will convert a visual file into simply an audio file. Cool!
Video Making Software/Programs:
Animotica: This is a free video making program from the Windows App Store. You can download it on your school device and it allows you to create an image file (just a black screen for background) that you can then attach your layers of sound files onto.
iMovie: Some people have (surprisingly) successfully developed their Poetry Project on their iPhones. Use a program you’re comfortable with and have access to.
Preparing to Export and Submit your Video Project:
Regardless of which program you’re using, you can’t share the Project without Exporting it and Saving it in a file type that can be shared.
What Not To Do: You can’t just share your Project. To open the project, the computer needs to access the additional files included in the project and that only works on the original device it was developed on. Avoid this mistake.
What To Do: Save/Export your project as a Video. That means the program saves all the sound pieces and files together into one single file that can be played on another device. It will also export the video into a playable file type, like Mp4.
Big Ideas: The questions to get you thinking, connect to your prior knowledge and personal experiences, so you can benefit more from the literature in this section. Here’s an explanation of the meaning behind these Big Ideas for A5.
Book Chapter: “The Oka Crisis” Will Ferguson (section pgs 2-4)
Oral recording to follow along with while reading the chapter – embedded player below (Waldner 2019)
You can expand this player and download the audio, if it suits you better.
(Optional Viewing: Waneek Horn-Miller was a teenager within the standoff. She was stabbed by a Canadian soldier and later went on to become a Canadian Olympian. )
Poem #1: “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” Buffy St. Marie (section pgs 4-7)
Comparative text: “Standing Rock” song re: NoDAPL pipeline standoff
Poem #2: “The Devil’s Language” Marilyn Dumont (section pgs 8-14)
Image Collage: the writer includes many specific references related to the methods and topics the Indigenous students were taught in the Residential Schools, including many forms of formal English speaking and writing, books about caucasian culture, Catholic beliefs, and others. This collage may help you understand the English culture was the focus of these schools. Note:You can click to enlarge this poster.
After viewing Representation Question in your handout: Which image with the different arrangement of words from the poem (below) is the best representation of the author’s tone, in your opinion? Note:You can click to enlarge this poster.
Documentary Viewing – Choice of films to watch
Club Native (Ask me for the DVD or a private link to watch online)
You’re well-practiced at writing Literary Analytical types of essays, but maybe less sure about writing a regular essay or report. Here’s an instructional video that walks you through things to consider in your planning and organization stage, as well as looks at the body paragraph and a potential sentence plan for them.
Instructional Video: How to organize your report essay.
Here’s a screenshot of a potential outline for your body paragraphs: (image)
Here’s a rough outline for how you could organize your sentences in a report body paragraph. Remember to include transitions for smooth writing.
The second essay you’ll write for your Canadian Lit course is one that reviews the good and bad of the author’s writing in the novel you chose. While you read, it is helpful to look for examples that you could take note of and use while developing your essay.
As you read, keep a running list of what you like or don’t like about their writing, including things like:
There is a list of characteristics to consider for Fiction reading
And another list of characteristics specific to Non-fiction reading (true stories)
For Fiction Texts:
their development of characters – Are they believable characters or have a well-developed background? Are the characters (especially main one) slowly developed as the story moves on or does the author clump details of a character together at once?
the pace of the writing – do some things happen too slow or too fast? Some events that build in excitement likely should speed up in pace, but some authors develop them too slowly, which can kill the vibe of the moment.
what about language choice? Do they use too many unfamiliar words making it challenging to follow along with the idea of the story? Does their use of bigger vocabular seem awkwardly used, like the words don’t fit smoothly? Is the language written below the reading level you expected and is dull to read because of the word selections?
Length of chapters: Are the chapters too long to maintain an interest in what’s happening? Is there a natural and appropriate break developed between chapter events, or does that author stop chapters at times that are inconvenient for you as a reader?
Sentence writing complexity: Are the sentences comfortable to read or just at the right level of challenge for you as a reader, or are they too simple and short? Or could they be overly wordy and long, making it challenging to understand the writing.
Descriptive writing: Does the author do a good job of developing description in the writing, creating images for you to imagine as you read, or do they just “tell” a lot in their writing. Is the manner of their descriptive writing effective, or is it done poorly and falls below what you’d judge as “good writing”?
The Storyline: Have they created an interesting story? One that you’re drawn into and compelled to follow along with? Have they developed in you the reader an interest in the outcome of the story?
Supporting characters: Who else for characters has the author developed for the storyline? Are there too many characters introduced too close together so that it makes it challenging as the reader to keep people separated in your mind? Do they include too complex of a cast of characters that it’s hard to keep everyone straight, what their relationships are too each other?
Setting: How does the author use the location and span or placement of time to help support the plot elements in the story? Do things happen over the right amount of time or are they squished into too short a time period/drawn out into too long of one? Does the location support the plot or interfere with it?
Point of view: The author will have told the story from the perspective of a voice – was that voice in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd perspective (limited or omniscient)? Sometimes a 1st person point of view narrative can be limiting, so maybe was’nt the best choice or was challenging to accept as the reader. Did your author’s selection and development of the point of view work well or poorly in the reading, according to you?
Rising Action/Complications: How did the author continue to develop tension throughout the book? Did they drop it in occasionally and clumsily, or was it well developed and grew in a way that drew you in as the reader?
Climax: Did the tension leading to the climax moment in the book support that pivotal moment or did the climax happen sort of awkwardly, jumping ahead in intensity without being properly developed for the reader?
For Non-fiction Texts:
Word choice throughout the writing: by their personal choices, do they make it interesting and engaging for a reader, regardless of the complexity of the topic?
Inclusion of anecdotal stories (personal stories): are they developed clearly enough? Does the author tell you more than is needed or do they miss some key parts of a personal story?
Pace of the information: Does the author write too much about something that isn’t quite interesting, making the pace seem to drag on? Or do they give equal time to all topics, when they could benefit from expanding on some topics in the non-fiction that are more interesting to the reader?
Sentence variety and mechanics: What kinds of sentence variety do you notice in the writing? Do they stick to basic and simple sentence formations, or is it clear they play with the sentence variety, using repetition, parallelism or other techniques for personal style?
Method and amount of referencing included: Often times, non-fiction texts will include reference to several types of other sources, to help support the subject covered, like published journals, personal interviews, news reports, or statistics. Does your author include these smoothly and use the right amount? Or does their inclusion of their references and sources slow and bog down the reading, making it uninteresting for you the reader?
Writing suits target audience: It is often clear what target audience an author is writing to. If their subject matter is more serious, they’re likely writing to a more-adult audience. With the words they choose, the complexity of sentences and paragraph/chapter lengths developed, is it clear they’ve written to suit the reading and interest level of their target audience, or have they developed something too childish or mature to match the audience they’re likely targeting?
Agenda or bias that may be distracting: Some non-fiction texts are written with a particular agenda on the part of the author. They may want people to become more supportive or open-minded of a topic, so they may write with the goal of convincing the reader of a perspective; this may be distracting if you’re someone who can’t believe as they do.
Depth the author delves into the topic: Some non-fiction books may be written by a celebrity of someone with assumed knowledge on a topic, but their actual coverage of that topic in the writing may be quite superficial. Is the topic covered in enough detail to be interesting or is it only generally and vaguely discussed? Or you may find the opposite, that their coverage of a topic may be more academic or detailed than is appropriate for a general audience.