Thursday, September 30, 2010

Class Minutes for Thursday Sept 30th - Lit Devices Quiz and Tattoo Paragraph

1. Prayer

2. Literary Device Quiz
Class will rewrite quiz every class until everyone scores above 80%

3. Review Smiley Face Tricks
-Starting the sentence with a verb/adverb
-The power of three

4. Time in the computer lab to write a paragraph explaining the symbolism of your tattoo (focus on style)

5. Homework: Read "The Rocking Horse Winner" for next class. Write one question and one comment about the story.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Class Minutes from Tuesday Sept 27 - Rhetorical Devices

1. Prayer

2. Revising "The Lottery" Paragraphs
25 minutes to finish revising "The Lottery" paragraph.  Make sure to indicate (using STAR) how the draft has changed.

3. Rhetorical Devices
Ms Meakes gave out a list with explanations of common rhetorical and persuasive devices. We should keep these as reference throughout the year.

4. Quiet Conversations
We had different questions and statements to respond to, which we passed around, in order to have quiet conversations on important ideas that will appear in our next short story "The Rocking Horse Winner".

5. Homework:  Study for Literary Device Quiz next class
For Tuesday: Read "The Rocking Horse Winner" and write one question and one comment about the story (please try for intelligent, insightful, and literary type questions/comments, not simple plot comprehension questions and comments)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Class Minutes for Friday Sept 24th - Rubrics, Tattoo, STARs Revision

1. Prayer

2. Marking with the Rubric
We used a paragraph from a former student (on symbolism in "The Lottery") to mark together. We used the rubric.

3.Tattoo Assignment
Ms Meakes explained and assigned the tattoo assignment. There were ten minutes to start the planning process. The drawing is due next class. The paragraph will be completed in an upcoming class.

4. STARs revision.
STARs is a way of revising written work. "S" stands for substitute, "T" is take out, "A" is add,  and "R" is rearrange.

5. Revising "The Lottery" paragraphs
Time to start revising "The Lottery" paragraphs based on the STARs and comments given by Ms Meakes,

6. HOMEWORK: complete the image for the tattoo assignment. It should be between 1/2 and 1/3 of a page in size.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Class Minutes for Wednesday September 22nd - Rubrics and :) Style Tricks

1. Prayer

2. Rubric
We discussed the grade 11/12 prose response rubric. Highlights of the discussion were the names for the categories (exemplary, accomplished, developing, beginning, and incomplete/incorrect); the "descriptors" included in each section of the rubric; and how the six writing traits fit into the rubric. 

3. Smiley Face Style Tricks
We spoke about three different ways to "add spice" to our writing.
A. Starting our sentences with a verb/adverb
B. The Power of Three
C. Repetition for Effect

4. Trouble Stories
Using the smiley face style tricks and a "power triplet" we wrote personal compositions about a time that we were in some sort of trouble.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Class Minutes for Monday Sept 20th - "The Lottery" class 4 and 6 Traits

1. Prayer

2. Discussion/ Review of The Lottery film questions

Many people seemed to be disturbed by the film adaptation. In 1-5, most people preferred the short story to the film.  Many people in both classes expressed the opinion that the theme in the film version was different because of the mayor's explanation of the reason for the lottery. The specific reason of prosperity, they argued, means that "tradition without reason" does not apply to the film.

3. Creation of Portfolios

Everyone needs to make a 4-pocket portfolio with the following sections: Writing Log, Personal Compositions, Literary Compositions, and Reference.

4. 6 Traits of Writing

Ms Meakes introduced six qualities that all good writing has. The six qualities are ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. Ms Meakes gave a handout with a list of characteristics that fit within those six traits. Students chose one focus characteristic from each trait and identified any characteristics that they did not understand.

5. Ticket Out the Door: six characteristics to work on. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Patrick Webb Essay Competition

If you're interested in flexing your essay-writing muscles and possibly getting $200 or $300 as a reward, check out this essay competition for students in grade 11 and 12.  If you would like more information, or help with getting started, send me an email ( or see me at school. 
-Ms Meakes
The Patrick Webb Essay Competition 2010-2011: Students Tackle Life Issues 
The first topic in the Patrick Webb Essay Competition for grades 11-12 secondary students follows from the decisive defeat this year of Bill-384, which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada . What dangers, the students are asked, might have emerged if the bill had been passed. The second topic for the senior secondary students indicates that a number of legislatures in North America are considering “window on the womb” laws that would requite women thinking about abortion to first witness ultrasound pictures of their unborn babies. What, the students are asked, do you think might be the benefit of such laws? Studies have already suggested that such pictures can cause the mother to bond with the child she is carrying.
The competition is open to grade 11 or 12 B.C. secondary school students, and is designed to encourage students to recognize the dignity of every human life.

First Prize                                                         $300
Second Prize                                                     $200
Topic 1. Bill 384, which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, was defeated in the House of Commons on April 21, 2010 by a vote of 228 to 59. Many people in the country breathed a sigh of relief including many handicapped citizens. What dangers do you think might have emerged if the bill had been passed?
Topic 2. Writing in Time magazine (June 1, 2009), columnist Nancy Gibbs noted that a number of U.S. states were considering enacting “window to the womb” laws that would require women thinking of having abortions to first witness ultrasound pictures of their unborn babies. What do you think might be the benefits of such laws?
 The deadline for essays to be received is December 15, 2010
Further info here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Class Minutes for Thursday Sept 16th - "The Lottery" class 3


2.In-Class Paragraph Draft (30 minutes)
“Comment on Shirley Jackson’s use of symbols to reveal theme. Your topic sentence must be theme-based.” Focus on style. (Sentence length, word choice, transitions, quotation integration)

3.The Lottery Film Adaptation
Guiding Question: How do literary devices translate to film?
We watched an excerpt from the film focusing on how the director tried to create tone and mood, how he tried to create foreshadowing, how he incorporated symbols, and how he conveyed the theme.

4.Homework: Finish the film worksheet.

Class Minutes for Tuesday Sept 14th - "The Lottery" Class 2

1. Prayer

2. Symbolism in "The Lottery"
Jackson uses symbols to convey her message. There names of many of the characters are important because they give clues (foreshadow) the outcome of the lottery.  For example, Mr. Graves’ name represents death and Mrs. Hutchinson’s name is symbolic of the historical figure Anne Hutchinson, who was banished because of her heretical beliefs.  Two of the important and central symbols of the story are the black box and the three-legged stool.

3. Review of theme statements
A theme has two parts: a subject (topic) and a predicate (the author’s opinion or message on that topic).

4. Theme statement for "The Lottery"
In the short story, “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson uses the symbols the black box and the three-legged stool to suggest that tradition can be dangerous without reason. 

5. Homework: None. Next class there will be an in-class paragraph on symbolism in "The Lottery"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Minutes for Friday September 10th - "The Lottery" Part 1

1. Prayer

2. Brainstorm: "Lottery"
Most of the words associated with "lottery" were positive. Generally, lottery has a positive connotation.

3. Controversy Article
We read the first few paragraphs of an article that detailed the controversy that the short story "The Lottery" caused.  The story was banned in South Africa, and caused many readers to cancel their subscriptions to The New Yorker.

4. Predictions
Based on our knowledge of Shirley Jackson (who also wrote "The Possibility of Evil") our brainstorm, and the article we just read, we made predictions about the story. Many people thought it would have a twist or dark ending.  Some people predicted that it would be about evil or be a dystopian story.

5. "The Lottery"
Ms Meakes read "The Lottery" to us.  After the first paragraph we noticed that the mood of the story was cheerful and light, however the ending was dark.

6. Think - Pair - Share

  • Was the ending a surprise? Why or why not?
    • Some people were surprised, others were not. Most who were not surprised thought that Shirley Jackson would put in a twist to show the imperfections of a seemingly perfect place, just as she did in "The Possibility of Evil".
  • Were there any clues?
    • Yes! The boys were collecting rocks at the beginning of the story (foreshadowing). The townspeople were quiet and seemed nervous, nobody wanted to acknowledge anyone else. They smiled instead of laughing at each other's jokes. 
  • What is the primary device in this story?
    • Situation irony - usually we expect that winning a lottery is a positive event.
7.  Video on technical literacy in the classroom 
It is important for us to learn how to use technology to communicate in powerful ways.  Learning these skills will help us run with the literacy stampede.

8. Homework: register (using a gmail address) on the class blog.

Ekphrastic Poems

Do you remember our Ekphrastic poetry assignment from the end of grade 10?  There is a zine for young poets called Reverse and they are calling for submissions of Ekphrastic poetry Here.  You could submit your assignment or an entirely new poem. The deadline is October 1st. (Wouldn't it be cool to be a published author?)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Minutes for Wednesday September 8th

1. Prayer
2. Think-Pair-Share: Why is English important?
  • to get a job
  • to communicate with people around the world
  • for higher education
  • foundation of our society
  • many of the "superpowers" of history spoke English
3.  Q: What should you do if a stampede of bulls runs towards you?
      A: run along with them, even if you can't keep up

4. Watched video: Shift Happens 2010
gave many statistics about how quickly the world is changing. We were surprised by how quickly jobs are invented and how fast technology is advancing.

5. Literacy Stampede
The literacy stampede is upon us. "Literacy Stampede" means that things change so quickly that we need to keep up or we will be overrun.  We need to elevate our reading and writing to a competitive level so that we are able to be successful.  Most jobs now evaluate writing during the hiring process.

6. Course Outline given out and moodle access password is "flies"

7. Exit Slip: reactions to our literacy stampede discussion or goals for English 11

Register for Literacy Stampede