May 31

ELA B10 B8.1 Formal Letter Writing

You are about to write a formal Letter of Complaint. You’re becoming more and more an adult and will be responsible for change in your society. This assignment asks you to pick a topic that you think needs some adjustment or change made and write a persuasive and informed letter to someone specific in a position to create that change.

Examples of social change topics other students have written about include:

  • Writing to the Town of Kenaston to argue against their ban of certain dog breeds
  • Writing to the Saskatchewan Minister of Highways to complain with detailed points the poor upkeep of Highway 11.
  • Writing to the Sask Minister of Land about the maintenance of neighbours changing water routes that affect other people.
  • Writing to the Minister of Health (Federal) or Sask Premier to convince them to allow better access to reproductive health centers, like for abortions or the Plan B Pill
  • Write to the School Division to argue for different use of staffing at your school.
  • Write to your School Division to argue for/against neutral bathrooms being added to the schools.
  • Write to your school Principal about the school dress code. Or to the School Community Council about it, asking for change.
  • Write to your Principal or School Division asking for better maintenance of the school’s field and/or ball diamond.
  • Write to your Principal or School Division asking for funding/development of outdoor seating in the courtyard, like added permanent seating and shade sails. Or write regarding the poor maintenance of the outdoor sports facilities – the ball diamond, jump pits, basketball area, etc.
  • Write to your Principal to argue against the Hat Rule in school.
  • Write to the Sask government regarding their restrictions on tinted windows of vehicles.
  • Write to the Division or principal regarding the plan to develop gender neutral bathrooms in the schools within the division.

Big Note or Warning: If you pick a topic you feel emotionally strong about, what some students fall into doing is write a venting letter about it. If it isn’t grounded in logic, reasoned, or convincing points it may likely do poorly, marks-wise. Write without emotional passion and your recipient may be more inclined to take seriously your concerns. 

Added Advice:
The idea is to develop an argument of some substance that can convince the reader there is something withheld or affecting a fair amount of people. Writing about something that affects mostly just yourself and expressing how it makes you feel is likely not to get a response, and you should be writing with the purpose or intent to receive an actionable response. Try to include the many ways your topic actually impacts people in real ways, not just felt ways.

And… there’s a sample mentor letter included in the handout. Follow it to the letter format-wise.


April 30

ELA B10 Analytical Essay Development – supports

You’re working to develop the analytical essay after reading a novel independently. Here are a few of the supports available to you to hopefully help you with that.


Sample Essay – Waldner written – A Monster Calls essay. I used the same paragraph outlines to develop an essay too. See if this helps you.


March 2

ELA B10 A1.2 Visual Presentation to Accompany Oral Speech

Sometimes, when you’re speaking to the public, it can enhance their understanding and acceptance of your topic and message if you develop a visual presentation to accompany your live speech. It doesn’t have to include a lot of details, but just a few well-selected images or a brief video that supports your topic and message can help to enhance your presentation.

  • It helps your audience retain more of your message.
  • It helps you divert some of their attention from you to your presentation.

If you’re someone less comfortable, as well, with speaking in front of others, the visual you develop will draw much of your listener’s attention, taking the focus off of you.

There are examples in the handout below of poor and better choices in developing the visual presentation to accompany your speech.

There are also instructions included for how to embed/attach the media source you will pick to accentuate your presentation.

Feedback from previous student samples:

  • Be consistent when using capital letters in your title and headings. (If you use some capital letters in the phrase, be consistent.)
  • Missing an End slide will cost you marks.
  • Develop a Conclusion Slide before your End slide. (It will match your conclusion paragraph in your speech and round off your presentation, instead of ending abruptly.
  • Use the space of each slide. Avoid leaving lots of empty space.
  • Your speech focus is on explaining the WHY of your choice. Avoid waiting until the last or second-last slide of your visual presentation to explain the Why of your choice.
  • Avoid selecting vague image choices. These can be generic “Equality” or “Difference” images as opposed to images that directly relate to visual or non-visual minorities.
  • Avoid pasting your URL link into your slide as text. It should be able to Open when you click on it in the presentation.
  • Check your slide template for small things that can accidentally be left in your presentation. A text box you’ve overlooked. Extra lines, etc.
  • Make sure each slide has headings or phrases along with your images. These phrases help focus the viewer on what your message focus is in that part of the speech.
  • Create an interesting title to your presentation. Avoid using your assignment title as your presentation title.
  • Aim to make your text style, size, font choices consistent throughout your presentation.
  • Design your slides so that there is some consistency between design features between slides.
  • A title slide and an end slide aren’t really attached to your speech. They book-end it. Slides that support your paragraphs in your speech are the middle of your presentation. That means there should be more than 1-3 slides as middle.
  • Make sure you select your media sample for your presentation that is specific enough to your focus; some have used very generic media sources.
  • Avoid using paragraphs or whole sentences in your slides. Visual presentations are not for sentences.
  • If you create a pattern in your presentation, maintain that pattern. (Ex: Explanation slide of visual minority, samples page of visual minority, examples in media; Explanation slide of non-visual minority, samples page of non-vis, examples in media.)
  • Spell-check your work in your presentation.

Body Language During Speaking:
Also, if you haven’t stood up in front of a group to give a presentation before or for a while, you may forget some of the elements of that to consider like:

  • eye contact with your audience – what nature looks like
  • how to hold your body in a relaxed way, vs awkward tight way
  • gestures that are natural-looking vs tense
  • movement on your feet – not shifting weight back and forth a lot out of nervousness

To help you recognize uncomfortable body language vs comfortable, you’ll watch two speakers deliver their messages. They both talked about very personal topics, so should have both been as nervous as the other, but one displays that discomfort more than the other. You’ll maybe recognize these differences as you watch.

March 6

ELA B10 A2 Responsibility of Giving and Sharing

What is your responsibility or role in helping others in the world?

Instagram Search: #DoSomethingForNothing
What are the different ways ordinary people are able to impact change in their immediate environment?










Eleanor Rigby Song Study:

Podcast Links:

A: Hitler’s Mein Kampf gets a makeover (22 minutes) 

B: A Boy on the Beach (Podcast is 17 minutes long – link on website)



February 13

ELA B10 A1 Visual and Non-Visual Minorities – what would it be like?

Pros and Cons of being either a Visual or Non-visual Minority in society (*developed by a previous group of students)

Non-visual: when there is a quality of your being that people cannot visually recognize or notice, but that might cause some people to see or treat you differently. (Ex: religion not including features that are visually noticeable (like being Jewish), sexual orientation (could be same-sex oriented without people knowing your personal feelings/attractions), mental disability, race (some people may be of a race group without distinguishing features, like fair-skinned Metis)


  • if your minority identity is hidden, you can’t be discriminated against so easily
  • you could choose to hide the part of your identity you fear people wouldn’t accept, and feel a sense of being safe
  • if you eventually choose to reveal your whole self to others, that acceptance, if gained, means so much more
  • you have a chance to build up relationships that you may not otherwise have if they knew some private qualities of yourself (like a Jewish faith or same-sex attraction)
  • it is your choice to disclose parts of yourself – you have some control of who knows and when they know
  • it could free you to be yourself openly among others without people judging you


  • you’d maybe always have a worry that it would be discovered; you’d have the hurt and lose after and existing relationships may change
  • you wouldn’t ever really know if you were truly accepted, if those around you didn’t know a private part of your identity
  • you would always be withholding or protecting a part of yourself from others
  • there is the fear of that discovery moment, repeated over and over again throughout your life, if you kept part of yourself from others
  • your potential membership in a community of people you have things in common with would potentially be hidden; you wouldn’t get to know people who could support you because you wouldn’t know of each other
  • could hear insults related to your identity from those around, maybe even friends, without them knowing it hurts you (ex: David hearing his friends make Jew jokes)
  • over time, it could become a toxic environment you’re in, where you silently endure and struggle with your sense of acceptance
  • could end up perpetually hiding part of your true identity; repressing it (same-sex identity)


Visual minority: when there is a quality of your identity that can visually be recognized (and potentially judged in society) Examples: sex ( male or female), physical or mental disability (blindness, wheel chair-bound), religion (with religious clothing like a nicab or turban), race (some people of a different racial group may be recognized while others may not, depending on their features)


  • if your quality if visual, people around you would likely know they’re targetting you with insults, rather than make jokes that relate to you without them knowing it
  • you may accept yourself sooner – live life being yourself, your whole self
  • first impressions made would filter out the people you would want in your life or not; they either accept you or not
  • people would see you as you are, so if someone doesn’t accept you there wasn’t an attachment making it more disappointing a loss
  • you would be able to be part of a group or community of people who share your qualities (ex: community of believers in the same religion)


  • people may think they know you, based on assumptions or stereotypes (face criticism or harsh treatment, like targetted comments to hurt you)
  • you don’t have a choice to hide parts of yourself from those who would be unaccepting of you. (Ex: “Shopping While Black” behaviour – negative bias of shop workers towards people shopping based on prejudice)
  • you might have a hard time developing relationships, because people may judge you or you might feel self-conscious that they might be less accepting
  • you might feel/face exclusion, feeling left out of groups
  • may have a greater sense of of isolation, feeling on the outside
  • there’s the mental process a child has to go through when discovering or slowly understanding why people may see them differently, despite of who they actually are


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 or as opposed to writing out or

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.


June 25

What’s on my bookshelf? Check online to see!

There are a lot of cool books on the shelves of the bookcase at the back of the room. Most are separated to fit their best course or genre that they relate to, but it can be deceiving, since many overlap and fit a number of high school ELA courses.

To help you see what your options are and decide,  I’ve created online shelves in GoodReads. At the link below, you can skim through and read summaries to every book on my shelf and get a sense of its topic, rather than judging by colour.

Curious about a book? Ask me about it!

GoodReads Shelves Ms Waldner

You’ll see on the left of the page a number of Shelves – click through them to skim books that apply and are potential choices within your class.


June 8

ELA B10 Starting Macbeth – the Scottish play!

To begin our look at Macbeth, we considered the possible influences for our choices:

  1. Fault: we make our own decisions, exert free will, so we alone are responsible for successes or failures
  2. Fate: timing of events/sequencing can be all it takes to set up a circumstance that leads to our downfall – could it be just coincidence or destiny that leads us to success or failure?
  3. Influence: people that surround us has differing levels of influence on us. Those who are more persuasive can be quite impacting, so could it be less our success/failure and more someone else’s at times?

To start the play, it’s helpful to have a basic overview of what the play is about and who the players are. This summary cartoon does a great job of that. Watch up to about six minutes in. That leaves the ending/tragedies that unfold still to be discovered as we read/perform the play.



There’s also the continued conspiracy theory that Shakespeare isn’t the sole author of all he’s credited for writing. An interesting film/documentary was made looking into that possibility.