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.)


March 31

ELA B30 Types of Relationships – Exploring Expressions of Them

The Lumineers – the lead singer, Wesley, mentioned his father died ten years ago and he thought he was managing that loss, until one day he needed a pair of black dress socks and went to borrow a pair from his father’s sock drawer. In it, he found a pistol – a pistol he never knew his father owned.

The following song is about that moment and his processing of that new information. He mentioned the struggle, the reality of his father’s loss then, realizing he had questions he knew could never be answered.

A question a young student might ask is “why do people write poetry” and “why do we read poetry”?

People write poetry in moments like Wesley’s, in an effort to process something important in their life.

Others then will read that poetry to help them understand their own experiences, see how others processed those difficult thoughts and emotions, and develop a wider understanding of what it means to be human and interact with others.


We also watched another video, a true exchange between two exes who still held hurt from their relationship. Does this seem like a typical type of exchange between two exes, from your experience of romantic relationships?




December 2

ELA A30 Assignment: Presenting Spoken Poetry (Resources)

You’ll have an assignment where you’re asked to select a poem of at least 15 lines written by a Canadian poet of an appropriate difficulty level for Grade 12. You’ll prepare/practice your oral presentation of the poem and record it, combine that audio with image files using a multimedia program, like iMovie, and publish a polished multimedia project as a final product.

Here is my advice on constructing your poetry media project: focus on Layering, Leveling, and Staggering your media pieces.

Here are student samples of this project, shared with their permission:

This student really played with the technology options, by even using a voice modifier to make the narration in the poem sound like it was spoken by someone else.

This student developed a nearly flawless multimedia project, using a collection of videos, sound effects, and background music to really accentuate the tension within the poem he chose. It’s an excellent representation of what your project should be as a finished product.

This project includes a great example of well-selected visual images (both photos and video clips) along with music to accurately portray the tone developed by the poem.

  1. Listening to Samples of Spoken Poetry: To help you get in the mindset of what proper speaking of poetry sounds like, there are resources collected here to support you.


      • In particular, you can listen to the very last poem spoken by actor Anthony Hopkins. Another is a Shakespeare sonnet spoken by the voice of “Darth Vader”, James Earl Jones.

    Video Reviewing Poetry Speaking: This resource reviews five specific things to consider when preparing to speak poetry orally.

  2. Here’s a copy of my poetry narration: this one is an example of the A10 Assignment that didn’t require video or images. I enjoyed finding the right sound effects and music in the background.
  3. Selecting a Canadian Poem:
    1. I’ve assembled dozens of poem options and wrote on each page a quick summary of what the poem is about. It could be easy to pick from this pdf collection (a) or this second pdf collection (b).
    2. There are hundreds of poems to select from on this resource page. 
    3. There are also Canadian poetry anthologies (poetry collections) in books in the classroom to flip through.


Starting Your Poetry Project:

  • Instructional Video – reviews the characteristics of multimedia, the tools to consider using in video making, and some of the steps to begin.




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. 


April 28

Ap 28/16 Station A – Individually – find a poem about Choice

Do some online digging and find a poem that stands out to you related to our common topic of Decision-making. 

Task: on your own  (each)

  1. Look online for a poem that suits the following criteria:
    1. is at least 10 – 15 lines long
    2. is of an appropriate difficulty level for Grade 10
    3. is related to the theme of choices/influences of decisions/decision-making
  2. Copy the poem text to a document (Word/Google Doc/Email)
  3. Identify 5 qualities of the poem that stand out or draw a reaction from you. For each of the 5, write one sentence explaining what you recognize or what stands out as being important to you. Number each sentence and try to make your points specific about this particular poem you’ve selected.
  4. Once you have your poem and 5 points made about it, copy and paste that into the comment space to this post. Make sure you leave your name.

Note: If your comments are general enough that they can be applied to another random poem about Choices, your point is not specific enough.


You can search for this on Poetry Websites or even by images.


April 28

Ap 28/16 Exploring Decision-making Poetry: rotation stations

In this section, we’re going to focus more on shorter texts, poems, rather than articles or short stories. There will be several stations set up and you can work through them in the order you want and on your own or with a partner. If you’re not able to finish within a certain amount of time, you’ll be able to complete from home as well.

The paper copies are posted in the different corners of the room to work through if you like, or the same information is available online if it’s your preference to stay in one spot and chose the order you’ll work through the tasks.


Note: After completing each section, make sure to leave a comment on the blog post. Follow the directions for what the purpose of that comment will be for each.

Before Reading Either Story – Reminders on Theme vs Tone:

  • Theme is the moral of the story, the message an author wants to leave readers with. Theme can be a single word or a phrase that relates to the ideas developed in the story. Examples of themes include:
    • Vulnerability of people
    • Family relationships & conflicts
    • Struggles
    • Isolation & loneliness
    • Mentoring of old to young
    • Regret
    • The role of women in families
    • Here is a Huge List of Themes online
  • Tone is the mood developed in a story. By the events and language the author uses in the story, how is it intending to make readers feel? Tone is expressed as an “emotion”; if your tone answer isn’t an emotion, a feeling, you’ve misunderstood tone. Examples of tone include:

Station A: Choose your own poem 

Station B: Judgement – is the poem negative or positive?

Station C: Comparison of two poems – mostly similar or different?

Station D: Layered Annotations – add your thoughts and respond to others Continue reading

January 20

ELA Instruction Videos

Students will be writing their ELA A10 final exam next week and were given a handout that lists all the “skills” covered in the course that they are expected to have Mastered at this point. Their final exam will measure how well they have learned and can demonstrate those skills.

Understanding that some students are still struggling with a few of these skills, I have recorded some instruction videos to embed here so they can access the videos from home. These should be a helpful review in particular areas, if they need it.

The videos cover:

  • Elements of Literature (pt 1) *pt 2 failed to record, so that’s still coming
  • Figurative Language explanations and examples
  • Practice finding figurative language in poems
  • Integrating references into your own sentence (for body paragraphs)

Hope they’re of some use to you.

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