ELA 30-1

September 25 Recap:

Students were given today's class to work on their Independent Short Story projects. Don't forget - they are due on Tuesday!

September 24 Recap:

For #1000WordsThursday, we examined Vincent Van Gogh's painting Prisoners Exercising. Through an analysis of colour, context, character, composition, and construction, we were able to develop a few potential theme statements for the image, most revolving around the one man looking directly at the viewer. Interestingly, Van Gogh painted this when he himself was a patient in a mental institution, and knowing that context influences our own emotions when we look at this image. For an example of an analysis based on this painting, click the image below. 

We spent the rest of the class analyzing the text excerpt "The Man Who Loved His Kind". Starting with the questions generated by students in their group work yesterday, we discussed the four components of the story - context, character, conflict, and theme. Then, we were ready to try some multiple choice style questions. 

Students were introduced to the first of several reading comprehension test strategies. This one is called divide and conquer! In order to break the question down into smaller, more manageable tasks, students cover the answer choices and write in an answer that they feel answers the question. Then, they uncover the multiple choice options and match one to their answer. Some students liked this strategy and others didn't, but it's one they can add to their toolkit regardless. These strategies are handy to pull out in a test situation!

A whole-class review of the answers went quite well. Most of the students seemed to have a proficient understanding of the story. 

September 23 Recap:

For #WillyShakesWednesday, we tried to paraphrase the following sonnet. Students weren't given the author or title, but they eventually figured it out! See? We can read Shakespeare! 

In preparation for reading comprehension testing, we learned about close reading strategies. In our classroom, the number one rule is read with a pen in your hand. Using the acronym QUICK, we discussed the types of things we should jot down when reading a text:
  • Questions
  • Unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Interesting and important moments
  • Confusion
  • Knowledge
Here is a link to an article from Harvard University, explaining why annotating is more effective than simply highlighting. 

We used the QUICK method of annotating while we read "The Man Who Loved His Kind". After reading, students gathered in small groups to clarify their understanding of Context, Character, Conflict, and Theme. In their groups, they wrote "good" questions to pose to their classmates to deepen their understanding. Tomorrow, we will use these questions as our launching point. 

September 22 Recap:

Mrs. Campbell started the class by reviewing the poem "The Painted Door" and making sure that everyone understood it. We talked about connotation and theme. 

For #ToTooTuesday, we examined the critical analytical rubric more closely. Developing a deeper understanding of the rubric descriptors and learning to recognize the difference between satisfactory and excellent will help students improve their writing. Putting the rubric into our own language demonstrates this understanding in a more tangible way. Click here to see the handout and here for the rubric.

The Short Story Independent Project was assigned today. We spent time in class reviewing the various components. In addition to the project sheet, students will need the Essential Questions handout. The assignment will be assessed with the critical analytical rubric. Students are also encouraged to review the Academic Honesty Policy, found at the bottom of the Welcome page.

Short Story Independent Project

September 21 Recap:

Today, the class was lucky to have Mr. Muno as their substitute teacher! Our warm-up was #MediaMonday, using the newspaper article posted here as a journal prompt. (Click here for the journal questions.) 

We examined a poem by Canadian poet Lorna Crozier, who presented her take on "The Painted Door". Using the TPCASTT method of analysis, students were encouraged to work in groups to figure out the poem's perspective. Afterwards, students were asked to share their findings in an analytical paragraph.

September 17 Recap:

Our daily warm-up was #1000WordsThursday (focussing on visual literacy). We learned about key things to look for when interpreting a piece of art.

Students presented their Blendspaces to the class, and we had some great discussion, particularly about character motivation. Keep thinking about John and Steven. Why are they interested in Ann? What is their "end goal"?

To organize and record the information pulled from the student presentations, students recorded answers to #5-7 in their notebooks. If these were not finished in class, they are assigned for homework. 

September 16 Recap:

Our warm-up today was #WillyShakesWednesday (which eases us into our study of Shakespeare by giving us more time to become comfortable with his style of writing). Students worked through a speech from The Merchant of Venice to see if they could get the main idea.

To explore the main concepts of Sinclair Ross's short story "The Painted Door", students worked in groups to complete the following task on Blendspace. E-mail me for our log-in code if you didn't get it in class!

  • Context - establish an alternate setting for the story that maintains the same emotional context. Drop an image to represent this setting into Blendspace, and link one quotation from the story to your own image. 
  • Character - find song lyrics that most clearly express John's views on his relationship with Ann AND Steven's views on his relationship with Ann. For each, include one piece of textual evidence. 
  • Conflict - find or create a piece of art that best represents Ann's inner conflict. Again, support your choice with one piece of textual evidence.
  • Theme - write a theme statement for the story. Include 3 pieces of textual evidence and a symbolic representation.

September 15 Recap: 

Our warm-up today was #ToTooTuesday (which focuses on grammar and conventions). We looked at how to fluidly incorporate quotations into our writing, using student work as exemplars. For practice, we worked with the handout titled Don't Float Your Quotes

As we gear up to write a analytical essays, we are focusing on common needs. Analysis is something that is difficult for most of us to understand, so we came up with some concrete questions to ask ourselves when we're required to analyze a text. Again, we used student exemplars to demonstrate the point. See the info sheet here

We used our new-found knowledge of analysis and "quotation integration" to write an analytical paragraph answering the question: 

In "Horses of the Night", which theme is most strongly developed? 
This will be assessed summatively.

Finally, we began reading Sinclair Ross's short story "The Painted Door", which is found on page 225 of the text. Click on the link to read a pdf version. 

Please finish reading it this evening!

September 14 Recap: 

Today, we had our first #MediaMonday, using the newspaper article posted here as a journal prompt. (Click here for the journal questions.) We continued examining the symbolism present in "Horses of the Night", using the weekend's homework as a launching pad for a mind map. This assignment helped us see the interconnectedness of the symbols, and helped us determine theme. (For a refresher on theme, view the video below). We checked our understanding by posting a potential theme statement on our Google Classroom page, so check them out for inspiration!

YouTube Video

September 11 Recap:

We finished our discussion of character by examining Vanessa's role in the story. To demonstrate a complete understanding of her character, students were asked to complete question #9 on page 303. Next, we focussed on conflict, answering (and discussing together) question #5 on page 302. 

Homework: Complete any work that was not done in class. Also, see the Symbolism Assignment posted on Google Classroom, to be turned in (digitally) before Monday's class.


September 10 Recap:

There are 4 major components to consider when analyzing a text: context, character, conflict, and theme. We began exploring these concepts in relation to "Horses of the Night" in today's class. The context of the story is Manawaka, Manitoba, during the Great Depression. For information on the Great Depression, check out this video. Pay close attention to how farmers in particular were affected, and what this might mean for a young man whose dream is to see the world.

Next, we looked at character, charting the attributes of Chris, Vanessa, and their relationship from the beginning of the story to the end. (Find the handout here.) Incorporating textual evidence into our descriptions will give us a solid foundation for understanding character. We reviewed the terms "static character" and "dynamic" character" in relation to Chris. Tomorrow, we will examine Vanessa more closely.

Assignment: Complete #7 (from Inside Stories) for homework. If you've forgotten your book, I've attached an image of the page, as well as a link to the story. You're welcome! :)

September 9 Recap:

We had to be flexible today, to accommodate the students that completed their required reading and those who didn't. It is early in the semester, and we're all still adjusting to being back to school, so today was a "freebie" day for those students who didn't get the reading finished. Students who did complete their reading were given time to participate in small group discussion, clarifying and extending their understanding of the story. They were then given time to complete the next assigned chunk of text (p. 293 - end) Students who did not complete their assigned reading were given class time to do so.

When everyone finished reading, we had another round of small group discussion, using student-generated topics of discussion.

Homework: If any part of the reading is still causing you confusion, re-read that particular section and e-mail me your questions. 

September 8 Recap:

Today, we put everything together and wrote our first analytical paragraph. Students looked at the work they completed in analyzing Miss Brill as a character and at the literary elements as a means of reinforcing those character traits.  Today's analytical paragraph required them to express these ideas in their own words. The question to be answered is: Which one of Miss Brill's character traits is most strongly expressed in Katherine Mansfield's short story? 

These paragraphs will be assessed formatively. We will then use them to determine which areas of the writing program we need to focus on most. 

Students have also begun reading "Horses of the Night" by Margaret Laurence. We will begin discussing the first half of this story (p. 282-293) tomorrow in class! I'm excited - it's one of my favourites! 

September 3 Recap: 

In addition to understanding plot and character, we need to understand the construction of a text. Authors consciously use literary elements to further develop our understanding of a text. Today's lesson looks at how Katherine Mansfield achieves this in her short story, "Miss Brill". After a quick Kahoot refresher of literary elements , we worked in small groups to explore how a variety of literary terms reinforce the development of Miss Brill as a character. 

The literary terms we examined today are found here.  If this assignment is not finished today, please have it completed for Tuesday. A list of the adjectives students have generated to describe her character, which are reinforced by the literary elements, is available here

September 2 Recap: 

We read Katherine Mansfield's short story Miss Brill in class today, after some pre-reading discussion based on the file attached below. After reading the story, we discussed the general plot, and learned the definition of the literary term "pathos".  Assignment to be completed (if not done in class) is attached here.

September 1 Recap

Today we began exploring the concept of the Power of Story. Through sharing stories with one another, reminiscing over the best stories and storytellers we've ever encountered, and thinking critically about why we continue to share stories, we have begun to form an understanding of the importance of making a connection between author and audience. Today's assessment (formative) includes small-group work on the reasons we share stories and an individual assignment in which we created our own 6-Word stories. Please complete your story for homework if it is not done in class. 

Today's materials: The Power of Story

Overview of the Next Few Weeks (Aug. 31): 

Tuesday's class will have us begin our critical study of the short story genre. This mini-unit will provide the groundwork for our novel study, which we will be starting soon. We will explore such things as 
  • the elements of fiction
  • how to approach critical reading
  • how to analyze an author's stylistic choices in relation to theme and characterization
  • how to relate author's purpose to our understanding of the text as a whole
Come prepared to read, write, and think critically!

Katherine Campbell,
Sep 22, 2015, 5:57 PM
Katherine Campbell,
Sep 14, 2015, 1:34 PM