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.


January 22

ELA A30 In-class Skills Exam

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.

ELA A30 prototype 2004-pages-38-42

For your exam:Image result for student typing on laptop

  • you’ll have a number of essay prompts to choose from that will represent the topics and themes we have discussed in the course
  • you will be able to bring your binder in and any essay writing supports you’ve used in the past
  • you’ll be able to use/refer to any of the literature you’ve studied in the course
  • you’ll be asked to develop the essay in a Google doc, so have your laptop handy and charged/available to use. You’ll have to share your essay with me at the start of class.
    • handwritten on paper will be your back up
  • you’ll be able to use Grammarly within your Google Doc

Here is how your writing will be assessed:





Topics or Themes your essay options may touch on include:

  • the shared Canadian experience
  • the unique Canadian experience or perspectives of different groups
  • voices included in Canada’s history and stories and voices less included in these histories
  • unique experiences from living on the land in different regions of Canada or different time eras of our past
  • the natural landscape vesus constructed landscape and its impact on the emotions and experiences of individuals
  • the theme of “survival” that is constant in Canadian literature
  • how the various experiences of Canadians contributes to a sense of national identity

Text Resources Used in Class Available at this Link

January 8

ELA A30 B10 The Land: Past and Present Section resources

Intro Pages

Pg 3 Handout:

Pg 3 Short Story #1 “The Wedding Gift”

Pg 4-6 Short Story #2 “Home Place”

Pg 7-12 Canadian Film The Snow Walker 


December 19

Looking back 11/12s: We’ve been busy since September!

As everyone is happily getting closer to the Christmas Break, it’s good to look backwards and consider all that’s happened over the last number of months. It’s especially important for our Grade 12s as there will be no other fall experience at Kenaston School for them! It was their last Halloween night, Student-Staff Hockey Game, and sports games like football and volleyball. But we’ve had a great few months together in this school year and have a lot to look forward to in the new year/decade!

You may already peek in on my school Instagram account to see some of the goings-on in our classroom since September, but if you haven’t, let me share with you a few of the memorable moments we’ve had, the grade 11 and 12s together.

ELA A30 Update

They were a combined class this semester for ELA A30, which is the Canadian literature course. It uses poetry, short stories, essays, film, and novel choices to explore past events of Canada, current national issues or influences on Canadians, and helps contribute to a greater sense of awareness in our students in understanding what their country has been about, is about, and what it may become yet. Our class size has doubled(!) but they’ve done really well in benefiting from more peers in the group to team up with or mentor, etc. At times, we pick a target date when we’ll all study the same text together as a whole group, to benefit from some discussion and sharing of experiences and ideas, and other times they individually take their own path in their learning, with some jumping past an assignment to start another project and hoping to come back to it, while others work chronologically through the work as it’s assigned. This year, I’ve developed more instructional supports to help students if they feel they need the review or instruction. I’ve included instructional videos on my blog for them to use as they need with examples or overviews of assignments. Since the whole class doesn’t exactly start the same assignment at the same time, being able to still follow along with the overview of the assignment from me, even if they’re starting it a week after many others, I hope is helping keep students supported and informed about the course content. Here’s a video where I try to explain what this looks like.

Some of their projects and topics of study in the Canlit course have included:

  • texts trying to pinpoint the thing that makes each person Canadian, culture or living on the land
  • texts that explore regrettable events of Canadian history, like the Komagata Maru ship turned away from Vancouver harbour carrying 300+ British subjects of Indo Asian descent
  • writing an editorial on a topic of conflict in Canada using a method designed to acknowledge part of the opposite position while convincing them of the other side
  • picking from a range of novels and non-fiction books written by Canadians, for an individual book study and later a Book Talk with a peer (podcast style talk, for some!)
  • writing a critical analysis essay, not studying the content of a text, but the manner of writing in it
  • poems that reflect on the natural environment or little memorable moments in relationships
  • A field trip to Saskatoon to watch court trials and attend a Red Cross International Humanitarian Rights conference on Canada’s arms trade. Their understanding of what Canada is like has broadened, become more complex, I hope.


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We are about to finish the ELA A30 in the new year with just three weeks left of classes before exams. For most of the Grade 12s, that will mean the last of their ELA classes in high school! A lot of them took their ELA B30 last year already, so there are only 5 students who will have an ELA class in semester 2, in grade 12. For the grade 11 students, then, they’ll continue in semester 2 with their ELA 20 course and only have one semester of ELA to complete in their grade 12 year. It sounds exciting, to not have to have ELA again for semester 2, but I think some of them might miss it. (I think at least a few would admit that. lol)


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History 30 Update

The 11s and 12s are also together this year, the whole year through, for History 30. Some of them have different levels of background knowledge in the subject area and Mr. Jamieson’s shoes are certainly big ones to fill, but I’m trying to keep them engaged through some group or team activities as well as including some direct instruction using a lot of primary documents, for interest sake. Recently, they’ve been working on New France projects that will reveal an understanding of what it was like to live there at that time. There are a few board games under development, a tv show about wife swapping(!), a Dating Website love connection, a professional LinkedIn Inn Keeper’s profile, some journals and letter writing projects. It all sounds quite interesting, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they submit.

Some of the topics of study we’ve covered in History include:

  • the team challenge of trying to draw out a complete map of Canada and label provinces, territories, cities, and regions by memory… quiet library-style (without going over 60 decibels noise level)
  • reading primary documents about the early contact of European traders with Amerindian groups in North America
  • trying to transfer basic knowledge information and use it to answer higher level questions that require combining that knowledge to new understanding (open book but no direct answers to find)
  • taking a digital copy of the summary notes from a History video and trying to digitally format it in a document to organize into main and secondary ideas – requires higher level thinking and develops practice identifying support types
  • reading through primary documents of New France living, like restrictions among the settlers for who they could sell their vegetables to, how to measure a cord of wood to sell, or the requirement of ladders on rooves to help fight house fires.
  • individually or with partners studying the Seven Years War, that actually spanned 23 years, and trying to decide if it counts as the actual First World War of history.



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It’s been a great year so far. I’ve seen a lot of personal growth, students stretching or challenging themselves to grow in skills, some who’ve had highs and lows, but there’s a lot of laughter and shared experiences. I’m looking forward to more when we return after the break!

Here are a few highlights from the Instagram page (below) that include the 11/12s. (These are taken/shared with student permission.) Happy Holidays to you and your family!



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December 13

Hist 30 1.4 b Canada: The Story of Us Ep 3

One of the biggest moments defining Canadian history is the War of 1812 when British/American troops tried to take territory in French-held lands. Outnumbered and with fewer weaponry, the colonists, First Nations, and paid fighters worked together to defend Canadian land from British (American) control.

These are their stories. (Play sound file below)

Video Episode 3 Notes:

December 11

ELA A30 B8 Regions Explored – Poetry Practice

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.

Figurative Language Handout – coloured samples added 2019

December 11

Hist 30 1.4 Britain Policies in Canada – The 7 yrs War – Research

You have the challenge to learn on your own about the causes and results of the Seven Years War. Here are some resources assembled to help support you in that learning.

Sample Google Search Phrases:

  • The Seven Years War Causes and Consequences
  • The Seven Years War Countries Involved
  • The Seven Years War Timeline
  • The Seven Years War Map Before – After
  • The French Indian War Summary
  • Before the Seven Years War
  • French British Relationship Before Treaty of Paris
  • Canadian History Textbook pdf 1700s
  • Seven Years’ War – Khan Academy Instructional Videos

You can also add “pdf” or “PPT” into your searches and read through the notes/slides of teachers who have posted their course resources online. Sample here. 


Class Instruction/Review of the Seven Years’ War (Jan 8th, 2020)


The Expulsion of the Acadians – what happened and why is it relevant to Canada today?

December 9

ELA A30 B9 Expressions of the Land

  1. 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.

  2. Before Reading Activity: Draw out the scenery you picture while listening to the loons call out.
  3. Poem # 1 (Unnamed Poem) Below is the poem read aloud; it may help with your comprehension of it.

  4. Poem #2 “Between Two Furious Oceans”(Audio narration of the poem is given below.)


December 6

Soc 10 05 Making Decisions in Parliamentary Democracy

We’ve just recently gone through our election process in Canada and you’ve been fortunate enough to have time to discuss and learn about this decision-making power through real, current events.

Some other examples related to parliament and the ways decision-making is fairly made and balanced in Canada are included below:

  1. Parliament/Provincial Legislative: What’s the difference between minority and majority governments? And what examples have we had of them in Canada’s recent government? Find out what number of seats the different parties had that allowed for the party forming the government to be designated as either a majority or minority government.
  2. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition:

  3. Regular Elections:
  4. Supreme Court of Canada:
  5. Freedom of the Press:
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…….