English 12 – Narrative Assignment

Hi English 12 – Attached is a doc of your narrative assignment (at the bottom of this post).

I have been having conversations with people feeling worried about the images. First, the story is most important. Focus most of your energy on that. For the image, think of what you can do with an image to deepen or extend the ideas in your story. Photos have perspective, mood, tone, context…..if you are taking one (for example, of an object that is connected to your story) think about the lighting you use, the perspective you’re photographing from (close up? far away? above? eye level?), and the context in which you place it (with other things? alone?). 

Regarding the bibliography – many of you had trouble with An Ounce of Cure, which is reasonable because I now see I didn’t give you bibliographical information.

Author: Alice Munro

Story title: An Ounce of Cure

Book title: Dance of the Happy Shades

Publisher: Ryerson Press, Toronto

Year: 1968

Narrative shorts

English 12 – Essays Due Monday!

Hi team —

Your essays are due Monday. You can submit in paper or electronically (Google Doc, Word, PDF). If you are using Google Docs make sure you share it with me again and include a note stating that it is your final draft. I need to receive your essays by Monday midnight. 

Please be sure to include:

  • Your full name
  • Your class (English 12)
  • The date of submission
  • An original title (that previews the topic of your essay)
  • A bibliography in MLA format

Your essay should be double-spaced in size 12 in a fairly conservative and non-distracting font. 

Because I offered extensive comments on your first draft I won’t be writing long comments on the final copy. If there is anything you want feedback on specifically, please let me know and I’ll be happy to do that.

English 12: Citations and Bibliography

Hi English 12,

As you revise and edit your essays over the next week, you will need to complete a bibliography. 

Because you are using multiple sources in your essay, throughout your essay you will need to use in text citations. After a quote, put in brackets the author’s last name, a comma, and then the page number). For digital sources that don’t have a page number (like the Solomon talk) you only need to cite the author’s last name.

If you have done research from other sources that have informed your argument, you need to include a citation as well.

For example:

Today, Al Khatahtbeh runs a widely read media empire, followed by hundreds of thousands of people (Convery). 

Then, all the texts you discuss in your essay need to appear in your bibliography. You should use MLA formatting and put the texts in alphabetical order. 

Here is the bibliographical information you will need. Note that this list is NOT in MLA form!

“On the Rainy River” and “The Things They Carried”, The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien, Houghton-Mifflin, New York NY, 1990

Muslim Girl, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Simon and Schuster, New York NY 2016

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Random House NY NY, 2015

“Invierno” – This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz, Faber and Faber, London, England, 2012

“Theme for English B”, Langston Hughes,Selected Poems (Vintage Books,  New York, NY, 1959)

“How the worst moments on our lives make us who we are” – Andrew Solomon, TED, 2014  https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_how_the_worst_moments_in_our_lives_make_us_who_we_are?language=en

“Plight” – This Accident of Being Lost – Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, House of Anansi, Toronto ON, 2017

English 12 Synthesis Essay

Hi Team –

Here is the handout for the synthesis essay I introduced today:

Understanding Identity synthesis essay

Rough Timeline:

This weekend: Prewriting, planning, early outline

Tuesday: Confirm outline (I will have a couple of examples), begin drafting

Thursday: Continue drafting

Friday: Submit 1st draft to Ms Atkinson for feedback

If you need any of the scanned texts, you will need to go back in time to a post from last year. It is on p. 3 of the blog posts and the title is English 12 Synthesis Essay. Most of the texts are there in PDF form. 

English 12 – Paragraphs

Hi English 12,

As promised, here are some materials for you for paragraph writing.

A link to an exam answer key – scroll down for the 6 point scale I discussed in class

My planning and outline for my paragraph:

I used the process:

  • Brainstorm my big ideas
  • Look for textual support to back up my ideas
  • Make an outline of my paragraph (ideas, the order)
  • Draft it with a quick re-read for errors

And the paragraph itself:

OTRR Sample Paragraph

To make visible some of the structure, I’ve highlighted the thesis and conclusion in yellow and transitions between points in turquoise. 

For Monday, you’ll write another paragraph. You can choose from On the Rainy River, The Things They Carried, or Invierno. I’ll give you a question (or choice of 2 for each). You’ll have the block to PLAN, OUTLINE, and DRAFT your paragraph. We’ll keep the best of your 2 marks.

A bit more from today – here’s the text from my slide on criteria:

What does good literary analysis look like?

  • Beyond the surface treatment of the text(s) that goes beyond summary
  • Engagement with what’s in the text (not making unsupported assumptions)
  • Specific evidence from the text to support your ideas (in the form of properly incorporated quotes)
  • A clear thesis that sets a direction for the paragraph/essay (you may need to revise your thesis after you’re done writing)
  • Strong internal organization (subtopics that logically connect, intro, conclusion)

Creation Story (English 10)

Hi English 10,

If you want to be able to see my (first draft) creation story example, there’s a link to it below.

It should be a story you’ve been told by someone else

Part of the assignment is to think about permission and ownership of stories, and making sure that you get someone else’s story right (and have permission to tell it)

I’ll also be looking for craft in writing. Think about tools writers use (like description, detail, imagery, paragraphing, literary devices, etc).

Creation Story example

Welcome and Welcome Back

Welcome (and welcome back) to a new school year!

I’m looking forward to working with all of you this year. Course outlines are now up on the course pages. Updates – projects, assignments, examples, and other odds and ends – will appear chronologically on this page.

I don’t post daily homework, but I will post major projects/assignments, test outlines, and other important documents. 

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.