Category Archives: English 30

Parent Guide: Altruism

This week in class, we’re reading “Altruism: Why We Risk Our Own Well-Being to Help Others” by Kendra Cherry.

In the informational text “Altruism: Why We Risk Our Own Well-Being to Help Others,” Kendra Cherry discusses various theories for why humans act altruistically.

As we read, we will be discussing the themes of CommunityEducation & Knowledge, and Morality as they relate to the text. We are trying to answer these big questions :

“What is the importance of community?”, “How do we understand the world around us?”, and “What is good and how do we know?”

Ways to support your child:

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Parent Guide: Nice Chimps

This week in class, we’re reading “Nice Chimps” by Emily Sohn.

In the informational text “Nice Chimps,” Emily Sohn discusses a study that explores the altruistic nature of young children and chimpanzees.

As we read, we will be discussing the theme of Education & Knowledge as it relates to the text. We are trying to answer this big question :

“How do we understand the world around us?”

Ways to support your child:

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Parent Guide: Readtheory KP Goal (100)

Students will be assigned a Readtheory goal in Google Classroom that depends on their accumulated “Knowledge Point” score or KP.

You can help support your child’s learning by asking them to show you their “Readtheory Dashboard” and recording their “Knowledge Point” total at the beginning of the week.  Periodically check that that number is increasing during the week.

I have asked that they accumulate 100 KP this week. I hope this is attainable in the 3 hours work limit per week per course per child.

If the 100 points goal is too hard (or too easy) to achieve in one week, let me know – have the student leave a comment in the assignment stream in Google Classroom. I will make adjustments where necessary.

How can students earn knowledge points?

Students can earn knowledge points in the following ways:
• Answer a regular question correctly: 1KP
• Answer a challenge question correctly: 2KP (+1KP for regular question)
• Pass a quiz: 15KP awarded
• Get a perfect score on a quiz: 30KP awarded

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Parent Guide: Move to the Beat

This week in class, we’re reading “Move to the Beat ” by Colin Hickey.

In the informational text “Move to the Beat,” Colin Hickey discusses a West African musician who teaches kids about music by playing for them.

As we read, we will be discussing the themes of CommunityEducation & Knowledge, and Identity as they relate to the text. We are trying to answer these big questions :

“What is the goal of education?”, “What makes you who you are?”, and “How are communities formed?”

Ways to support your child:

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Read “Someday” by Drew Hayden Taylor.

Read Alfred Fisher’s brief review of the play from the author’s site:


Page 393:

Write an essay exploring any one of the following statements from the review:
1. “A short, tight work of finely calculated tension and economy, SOMEDAY is an effective play that develops the inherent power of a desolating, all too well-known scenario in Canadian Native communities: the removal of
Native infants for the adoption trade in the 50s and 60s.”
2. “(Taylor) has mastered his craft and is able to construct drama in which word and expression, as well as the medium of time itself are selected and modelled; in which expression is not a function of description, but the product of a dynamic internal and exclusive cycle of language, gesture and response.”
3. “Taylor’s craft and feeling for theatre are of a depth and subtlety sufficient to contain as well as project a message of explosive power.”
4. “Tension generated by the grinding of nested contexts of Native and White perception as represented within the family is handled intelligently and [with] sensitivity as is the strip of comedy injected by the mother’s lottery win.”
5. “Given the relation of the author to the painful experience forming the central preoccupation of the work, it can also be credited as the gift that lends reflection of the dramatic potency of irony, wit, and taut containment, rather than the waste of bombast and encoded rage.”
6. “The critical event of reunification and trauma set within the context of snowy Reserve and the sardonically coloured presence of the Christmas season all contribute to a level of incongruity that lead to the definition of character in ways that are as subtle as they are telling.”
7. “SOMEDAY will be an especially powerful read for those who care about Canadian drama.”

“A feature of Canadian life that has been noted by writers from Susanna Moodie onward is the paradox of vast empty spaces and lack of privacy, with no defences against the prying or avaricious eye.” – Northrop Frye
“Families in Canadian fiction huddle together like sheep in a storm or chickens in a coop: miserable and crowded, but unwilling to leave because the alternative is seen as cold empty space.” – Margaret Atwood

Tip #1 – Thoughts and Ideas:
Tip #2 – Critical Questions:
Tip #3 – Structure:

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Journey of Discovery

Describe and discuss Taylor’s journey of discovery.

As you write your composition, remember to:

  • In your introduction, give the title and author of the text.
  • Give specific examples, reasons, and details from the text to explain Taylor’s journey of discovery.
  • Give any necessary plot information but avoid giving a plot summary.
  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Write coherent and well-developed paragraphs.
  • Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization

Use Microsoft Word in the iMac lab, no notes, no texts. 80 minutes.


Critical Response Rubric

Critical Response Rubric

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Themes in Canadian Literature

  1. We are myth destroyers.
  2. We are paradoxical – we search for our own identity.
  3. We celebrate victims.
  4. We celebrate individual suffering – defeated by rebellion.
  5. Truly authentic Canadian experience is shrouded in violence and paranoia.
  6. External world defines who we are.
  7. Fear of America, Europe, “Old World.”
  8. Interior Separation
  9. Garrison Mentality
  10. Exploration and Discovery: Quest
  11. Canada is the great asylum for victims the world over.
  12. Long periods of death followed by the rush to (re)produce.
  13. Authors explore three key relationships to determine who we are:
    1. our relationship with the environment
    2. our relationship with each other
    3. our relationship with the Divine.
  14. Societal barriers, systems of all kinds are pulled back to uncover briefly who we are.
  15. Immigrants could not control the land or nature – so they controlled the indians.

Find a few more from Conclusion to ‘A Literary History of Canada’:

A feature of Canadian life that has been noted by writers from Susanna Moodie onward is the paradox of vast empty spaces and lack of privacy, with no defences against the prying or avaricious eye. – Northrop Frye

Other nuggets from Frye:

  • Myth of the hero brought up in the forest retreat, awaiting the moment when his giant strength will-be fully grown and he can emerge into the world.
  • We feel constantly that all the energy has been absorbed in meeting a standard, a self-defeating enterprise because real standards can only be established, not met.
  • The sense of probing into the distance, of fixing the eyes on the skyline, is something that Canadian sensibility has inherited from the voyageurs.
  • Canadian novels associate nobility of character with a faraway look, or base their perorations on a long-range perspective.
  • The feeling of nomadic movement over great distances persists even into the age of the aeroplane, in a country where writers can hardly meet one other without a social organization that provides travel grants.
  • There is something Hebraic about the Canadian tendency to read its conquest of a promised land, its Maccabean victories of 1812, its struggle for the central fortress on the hill at Quebec, as oracles of a future.
  • Civilization in Canada, as elsewhere, has advanced geometrically across the country, throwing down the long parallel lines of the railways, dividing up the farm lands into chessboards of square-mile sections and concession-line roads. There is little adaptation to nature: in both architecture and arrangement, Canadian cities and villages express rather an arrogant abstraction, the conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it.
  • Small and isolated communities surrounded with a physical or psychological “frontier,” separated from one another and from their American and British cultural sources: communities that provide all that their members have in the way of distinctively human values, and that are compelled to feel a great respect for the law and order that holds them together, yet confronted with a huge, unthinking, menacing, and formidable physical setting — such communities are bound to develop what we may provisionally call a garrison mentality.
  • The real terror comes when the individual feels himself becoming an individual, pulling away from the group, losing the sense of driving power that the group gives him, aware of a conflict within himself far subtler than the struggle of morality against evil.
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ELA 30-1 Diploma Suggested Reading List


The following is a compilation of literary texts that students have discussed on diploma examinations. If you are not in a classroom setting or wish to broaden your range of choices, you may want to study one or more selections from each of the categories on this list. This list is not prescriptive. Choosing literature from this list does not guarantee success. You may choose from this list or from other appropriate literary sources, including film. You will find previous experience with a variety of texts valuable in your preparation for writing the Critical/Analytical Response to Literary Texts Assignment and essential to your preparation for the reading comprehension required of you in Part B of the diploma examination.

Many of the short stories, poems, and drama selections in the following list are available in anthologies. These and other helpful resources are available through many public and school libraries.

Short Stories
“A & P”–Updike
“The Boat”-MacLeod
“Boys and Girls”–Munro
“Dancing Bear”–Vanderhaege
“The Destructors”–Greene
“The Glass Roses”–Nowlan
“The Guest”–Camus
“Horses of the Night”–Laurence
“I Stand Here Ironing”–Olsen
“The Lost Salt Gift of Blood”–MacLeod
“Miss Brill”–Mansfield
“On the Rainy River”–O’Brien
“The Painted Door”–Ross
“Paul’s Case”–Cather
“The Rocking-Horse Winner”–Lawrence
“The Shining Houses”–Munro
“Sonny’s Blues”–Baldwin
“The Spaces Between Stars”–Kothari
“To Set Our House in Order”–Laurence
“Touching Bottom”–Strutt
“The Wall”–Sartre
“The Yellow Wallpaper”–Perkins

All My Sons–Miller
The Crucible–Miller
Death of a Salesman–Miller
A Doll’s House–Ibsen
The Drawer Boy–Healey
The Glass Menagerie–Williams
A Man for All Seasons–Bolt
Oedipus Rex–Sophocles
Man of La Mancha–Wasserman
A Raisin in the Sun–Hansberry
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead–Stoppard
A Streetcar Named Desire–Williams

Apollo 13–Lovell and Kluger
The Glass Castle–Walls
Into the Wild–Krakauer
Into Thin Air–Krakauer
A Long Way Gone–Beah
On Running Away–Keats
Tuesdays with Morrie–Albom
Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing–Lees

Full–length Fiction
The Ash Garden–Bock
The Bean Trees–Kingsolver
The Cellist of Sarajevo–Galloway
Crime and Punishment–Dostoevsky
Crow Lake–Lawson
Fifth Business–Davies
The Grapes of Wrath–Steinbeck
Great Expectations–Dickens
The Great Gatsby–Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale–Atwood
Heart of Darkness–Conrad
The Hero’s Walk–Badami
The Kite Runner–Hosseini
House of the Spirits–Allende
The Lovely Bones–Sebold
Life of Pi–Martel
The Metamorphosis–Kafka
Monsignor Quixote–Greene
The Mosquito Coast–Theroux
My Name is Asher Lev–Potok
No Great Mischief–MacLeod
The Outsider–Camus
The Poisonwood Bible–Kingsolver
Pride and Prejudice–Austen
Snow Falling on Cedars–Guterson
The Stone Angel–Laurence
The Stone Carvers–Urquhart
Things Fall Apart–Achebe
Truth and Bright Water–King
The Wars–Findley
Wild Geese–Ostenso
Wuthering Heights–Brontë

My Last Dutchess–Browning
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock–Eliot

Shakespearean Plays
King Lear
The Tempest

Not all films studied in Grade 12 are effective choices for diploma examination purposes. Ensure that your choice is one that you have studied in detail and know well. The list below contains both original film presentations and adaptations of written literary works. If you are using the film version of a written text, indicate this choice clearly on the Initial Planning page.
American Beauty
A Beautiful Mind
Big Fish
Billy Elliot
Children of Men
Dead Poets Society
The Godfather
Gran Torino
Lars and the Real Girl
Life is Beautiful
Million Dollar Baby
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Pianist
Schindler’s List
The Shawshank Redemption
Stranger than Fiction
The Truman Show

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ELA 30 Midterm

ELA 30-1
Discuss the idea(s) developed by Elie Wiesel in Night about the role adversity plays in shaping an individual’s identity.
You must

  • carefully consider your controlling idea and how you will create a strong unifying effect in your response
  • develop your ideas and support them with appropriate, relevant, and meaningful examples from Night.

ELA 30-2
What is your opinion of the idea that the ability to face hardship is an essential human quality?
You must

  • discuss a character from Night, by Elie Wiesel. You may choose to discuss more than one character.
  • ensure the details you select support your opinion of the idea that the ability to face hardship is an essential human quality
  • reflect upon your own knowledge and/or experience
  • present your ideas in an organized discussion so that your ideas are clearly and effectively presented.

Carefully Consider the following in preparation …

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ELA 30 Writing Assignments: Modernism

First and second assignments:
30-1, 30-2, and 30-4 do the following:

Third assignment:
30-1 do the following:

30-2 do the following:

30-4 do the following:

Fourth assignment:
30-1, 30-2, and 30-4 do the following:

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