English 12 – Links to Exam Materials

Hey English 12,

Some useful links for you:

Practice exams

Student Samples – more extensive than what we saw in class

Exam specifications – more info about the readings, list of terms, question terms

All these are worth spending some time with ESPECIALLY the practice exams.

Some synthesis essay tips (from another Burnaby teacher)

There are various other teacher/school websites with tips, advice, etc. Some of it is better than others, so be thoughtful as you peruse the advice. They are usually written for a teacher’s students so may use acronyms or ways of thinking that are unfamiliar to you. That’s fine. 

It’s helpful to study with friends who have other English teachers. Everyone preps their classes differently and has somewhat different advice. What your friend can show/tell you might be more helpful that my materials, and vice versa.

I may update this with more stuff as time passes so you may want to check back. Good luck with your studying! 


Poem Introduction Examples

Below are 2 examples of the introduction statement (you need one for each poem).

For the creative response, you’ll explore a similar theme or topic, connected to that time in your life. It can take inspiration from the poem, but it doesn’t need to. 

“Blackberry Picking” by Seamus Heaney

The summer Elisabeth was a baby, we spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s place on Whidbey Island. There was a brambly network of blackberry bushes just down the road, and I spent hours precipitously balanced on a stool, reaching for the best ones high up in the sun. This poem captures the obsession of picking blackberries, alongside the temporariness of late summertime.


“Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins

I’ve always loved poetry, and I want my students to love it – but I find that many think it’s boring, irrelevant, or indecipherable. I want them to know that they don’t have to understand everything – that the act of spending time with a poem, and experiencing it, can be good enough. This poem captures the way some students interact with poetry – and the sense of playful exploration that he, and I, want to encourage.


English 12 Poetry Assignment – Updated!

Grade 12s —

Here is a fun (really!) assignment for you all to do during our poetry unit. This will be due after Spring Break. We will be working on it on and off while we do other things.

Click here for the detailed document. 

(short version below)

You’ll choose one (published) poem for each year of high school – Grade 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. A poem that captures something important about that year for you. It can be serious or lighthearted or a mix of both. 

Use websites like: 

Poetry Foundation


Poetry Archive

to find your poems. All these websites allow you to look at themes

You can also include up to 2 spoken word poems, if you’d like.  (Try the Button Poetry channel on Youtube). 

You’ll also create something to go alongside THREE of the poems, to respond to it and engage with the ideas. You can do some combination of:

  • A poem of your own, on a similar theme
  • A very short memoir, on a similar theme
  • A piece of visual art, music, dance

Criteria to follow….

Due April 11

GIS – Religion presentation

Hi Class,

Here’s an example for you for the presentations:

Click here to go to the example


This is an example of the structure, not the only way to do it. If you have a lot of content on beliefs, you may need a few slides. However, I’d like you to focus as much as possible on practices and what people actually do!

We will begin presentations on WEDNESDAY next week (Feb 27). Please be practiced and prepared. You can use your notes.


Presentations Next Week

Hi everyone,

It sounds like between absences and a TOC who didn’t see the instructions, most of you have not completed my signup form for the presentation scheduling. (You can still complete it! Link is in the post below!)

For those of you who read the instructions, completed the form, and selected Tuesday or Thursday, you get the time you picked. For everyone else, I’m expecting you to be ready to go this week (yes, that means Tuesday). If you are A-L and have a grad transitions interview on Tuesday and you are in Period 2, you can go on Thursday. Otherwise you need to be ready to present. We don’t have time for this to get pushed off forever – end of term is coming up and many of you will have tests and other big assignments coming up.

If there are extenuating circumstances – you need to email me and let me know! I’ll be on and off email this weekend. 

On a more positive note the questions and ideas you are exploring are very interesting. Remember for the synthesis:

  • COMPARE your articles – what ideas/arguments did they have in common?
  • CONTRAST your articles – what were the significant or relevant differences?
  • EVALUATE – If the ideas in the articles were different, which did you find more convincing and why?
  • CONNECT – Explain how the learning you gained from the inquiry process have deepened your understanding of the novel.

Thursday February 14 – English 12

Hi English 12,

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you enjoyed your day off on Tuesday.

Today is the last day you have for working on your presentations. Good things to do today:

  • Polish up your slideshow and notes
  • Practice your presentation for a friendly audience (remember you need to know your material well enough to expressively speak TO the class)
  • Complete your bibliography in MLA style
  • Fill out the form below to schedule your presentation time

On Friday I will post a schedule of presentation times, so please check back here. Remember you need to email me your presentation in advance of your date. Presentation days will be full, so we’ll start right at the beginning of class.


Presentation Proposal

Hi English 12,

As I mentioned when we went over the project, you have a PROPOSAL due on February 4 at the end of class. It will be marked out of 3. You must submit it by the end of class on February 4.

If it is 100% complete and in on time, you will get 3/3. If it is partially complete I’ll deduct marks as needed (2/3 if most of it is there; 1/3 if only a little is there). 

You need to include:

  • Your inquiry question, or your best shot at it.
  • An explanation of the connection between your inquiry question, and the novel. Why is the question pertinent to your novel?  This should be a few sentences long.
  • The key words you plan to use in your search. If you have found any articles already, you can include their titles or links.



QUESTION: How does the death of a sibling affect teenagers?

Context: Holden Caufield, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, loses his brother Allie to leukemia at age 13. Throughout the novel, Holden, who seems to be heading towards a psychological breakdown, thinks of Allie frequently, often in moments of distress. Because Holden was sent to boarding school at a young age and seems disconnected from his family, it seems likely that he is still deeply affected by Allie’s death.

This inquiry will allow me to better understand the psychological effect of the loss of a sibling, and will give me more insight into Holden’s character. It will also help me evaluate to what degree Salinger’s portrayal of Holden accords with our present understanding of the experience of grief.

Search Keywords: sibling loss, sibling grief, sibling death, (+adolescents)