Tag Archives: rubric

ELA 20 Final Writing Assignment

Write a post in response to a text you read in ELA 20 in which you discuss 3-5 ideas the text creator suggests to you about The Human Condition-In Search of Self.

Consider the course focus:

The most profound discovery that we can make is our discovery of self. Our identity rests in the kind of people we are. To understand who we are and to develop fully as human beings, we must explore the nature of our humanness and the purpose of our lives.

  • Who and what are we?
  • What are the common human qualities and ideals we hold?
  • What roles do other people (e.g., friends, family) play in our lives?
  • What brings us joy, inspiration, and fulfillment?
  • What doubts and fears do we have? By examining our lives and searching for answers to these and other questions, we can find meaning and fulfillment as human beings.

Consider the rubric:

2009-10 Courses Underway: “Out of the frying pan and into the Lab”

After two days the Grade 8, 9a and 9b classes have created a blog, changed their Profile password, started their Blogroll, and been introduced to a general pattern for a new post:

It looks like it’ll take a period or two just to get the blogroll done, then “widgets”, then … the “clown pants”. It’ll likely be a while before a post is ready. It feels like the class is a “do everything I tell you” class so far. And that’s expected as every click on the school site is new. Problem solving and creativity will come soon enough. I’ve asked all English students to have a reading book handy, I expected the unexpected with the lab, but we have been able to get a tonne done. No reading time yet. Each class is filled with eager students willing to step up and master a skill and share it with a class mate. Terrific stuff!

The Grade 10s have already handed in their first post, each with 3-5 comments tallied on a Google Docs spreadsheet and scored out of 8 on the critical thinking skills rubric. Many have started their reading logs, half the class went to the library to get a new book today, many of the the others already had a book and it looks like everyone should be ready to track their reading on their reading log. Some have noticed that we haven’t picked a course focus. That issue will be chatted about in the STJ forums before a decision is made. The focus in the beginning becomes the final exam in the end, so we’ll want to think through our choices carefully.

Math Applied 20 students will choose partners and come up with a strategy to complete the “Glyphs” project from the Project book. They’ll need to pay attention to the 10 day timeline on the Topic outline page and keep up with the assigned work from the Source book as well. I think they think I’m going to assign every question in the text from here on in. So far I’ve looked at 4 questions. I don’t know their strengths and weaknesses yet to decide which questions or sections to drop. I’ll need to continue meeting one on one with each throughout the class to check notes and discuss their thinking strategies to know who knows what and how they know it. Trying to keep the class focused, quiet, and productive, while I spend time meeting with students one on one is tough and makes most – err me – rather . . . moody. It’ll get better as we fall into the routines. If this leads to success on the Unit test for Chapter 1, we’ll all be happier. I’ve created a Math 20 site just for outlines, timelines, hints and tips. Students can login and leave comments or questions there, too. I like it best when students can share how they arrived at a solution, rather than just telling the solution. After all, the answers are in the back of the book. The journey matters. The more wordy the explanations, the better, I figure. Oh, since we are in a chapter called Graphs, make those graphs sparkle. We’ll be hanging projects on the walls soon enough.

Grade 3s came to the computer lab for period 8 today, after the grade 8s had stacked the chairs they didn’t stack yesterday. So I unstacked and re-stacked all the chairs. Oh, well. We went to cbc.ca/kids for 10 minutes. It was soooo hot in the lab.

The best tip for any student in the computer lab after the first 2 days is to “restart” or shutdown after every use. With so many students using the computer to login to sites, folders, servers, email – a restart is the best way to be certain the “cookies” are fresh. I’ve gone around the lab a few times to securely logout students, but they have to make sure they restart when the leave.

Students will soon have new, working, _______.______@ecacs16.ab.ca gmail accounts. We’ve guessed our email addresses to get up and running right away. When I know the official email, we’ll be into google docs -spreadsheets, presentations- chat, video linking, site building sharing, etc, etc, etc. Very exciting stuff this year awaits.

English Language Arts 8 Course Outline
English Language Arts 9 Course Outline
English Language Arts 10 Course Outline
Applied Mathematics 11 Course Outine

English 10: Final Essay 2008

Choose one of the following:

  1. Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines Life Pressures. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding Life Pressures?
  2. Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines Values. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding Values?
  3. Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines Consequences. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding Consequences?
  4. Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines Career Decisions. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding Career Decisions?
  5. Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines Apathy versus Action. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding Apathy versus Action?

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English 10: Decisions–Action or Apathy

We must constantly make decisions in daily life. Some decisions are simple choices while others affect people’s entire lives. Furthermore, every decision has consequences and often there is not a clear alternative. Decisions involve weighing alternatives and considering the consequences. This is an opportunity for students to examine values, beliefs, and pressures that surround decision making.

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. -William James   

Write an essay based on literature you have studied in which the author examines decisions involving weighing alternatives and considering the consequences. What idea(s) does the writer develop regarding decisions involving weighing alternatives and considering the consequences?

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Novel Study Preflight Checklist

Read a Novel from the Reading List:

Tracback a “map” of your response here.

Hamlet: Final Response

Choose a focus for your final response to Hamlet.

Synthesize alternative points of view, (include links to sources: your posts, STJ blogs, etc.).

Review your responses throughout our study:

Writing tips:


PS: “To thine own rubric be true.”

November 9th is the “cut off” day for submission of my marks to the office.
Any assignment to be (re)submitted for grading must be “in my hand” before 2:00PM November 9th.

Prepare for English Language Arts Finals

For those in the midst, or looking ahead at finals in my LA classes(9, 10-1, 20-1, 20-2, 30-1, 30-2).

Consider the outcomes we’ve tried to achieve.

Enhancing the artistry of communication has been a strong technical focus. Skills mastered include using online blogging tools, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, even graphical enhancements using Photoshop or audio/video podcasting tools have been included where time permitted and initiative taken. Participation on an online forum has generated a myriad of useful tips/reminders, questions/answers. There will be no speadsheets on the final, the use of Word will be necessary for English 30.

Each course has been structured around Focus Questions and related questions: English 10, English 9.

Emphasis on social networking, peer review/support/criticism has been critical for developing critical thought and reflection for writers defending an idea.

Each course has a reading list: English 10, English 30. Not every title has been studied intensively(or at all), but the proportion of attention paid to those pieces that were studied in class deserve the same level of attention on the final. Of course, those who choose additional literature from the list to focus on in the final deserve to have that initiative rewarded as well. If you choose to focus on Shakespeare, your audience gets tougher, I’ve noticed.

An English 30 paper looking at how the images/symbols/archetypes of Sophocles and Kingsolver relate to personal freedom to would be intriguing. Why not an English 10 paper discussing the threat of fanaticism by comparing the speeches of Mark Antony, Joseph Strorm, and Eamon De valera? What does Søren Kierkegaard have to do with every page you’ve ever read or written?

Extras, everyone should be able to link to Wikipedia for literary terms, difficult vocabulary, or just the odd or eccentric idea; can anyone incorporate the Hayflick Limit into their paper? Everyone has seen video and heard an mp3, but are any daring enough to Podcast their final essay? A carefully edited U2 mp3 snip, an embedded flash video of Ophelia Simpson, a slideshow?

rubric.pngThe only limit is to abide the first line of every rubric you’ve ever attached to any assignment:

I _________________ honestly declare that the work is what I have done. In circumstances when I have quoted a certain authority, I have clearly indicated what is a quote and the author. 

A Blogger’s Code of Ethics contains truths far older than the phenomenon of blogging.

English 30s will have no access to internet, filesharing, etc etc. English 10s can have it all.

Bloggiest start to the bloggiest year ever.

What a funny word, “bloggiest”. Should I say it is a “most bloggy” start to the year? Does correct English matter in a blog?

All students I teach have begun a blog, of sorts. For the most part, I’ve insisted the content of the blog must be school or course related, the myriad responses to Macbeth fit this category. Other responses are more like “snowflakes”, snowflakes is my term to describe the phenomena of no two responses to the same prompt being identical.

I aggregate(not related to the term aggravate) RSS feeds from each class to aid in tracking down assigned work. Each student has a spreadsheet I term the Data Collector that averages rubric scores and totals moderated comment feeds, too. I then collect the Data Collectors periodically to determine scores to enter into GradeLogic. The data collectors serve a dual purpose, a foundation to build a grade obviously, but a powerful device to bring a landslide of peer pressure and collaborative assistance on the lazy, slower, or reluctant bloggers. Those that finish first have always shown a willingness to “share their secrets” with others.

Students are also instructed to collect and deposit appropriate comments on each other’s blogs, too. It is proving to be a fine art to learn to comment. Last year I found the aspect of commenting to be more valuable than the creation of the posts. Comments must contain evidence of critical thinking, I said, not simply “gladhanding”. If you troll the blogs you’ll notice the biggest difference right now between a veteran blogger and a newbie is the quality/quantity of appropriate comments. Students complete work earlier to benefit from positive/any attention from peer “commentors”. Any student who doesn’t get their blog post done on time, gets punished by receiving low or no rubric scores from their peers. However, unlike class discussions, the very nature of blogging allows anyone to catch up at any time. The students themselves seem to have an unofficial pecking order for who writes the best comments. They have internalized their own standards for what they will accept as a comment on their blog and are very persuasive at convincing each other to measure up. A few students are positively verbose and comment on all they can. Others choose fewer responses yet measure their words very carefully. Those that finish writing a post early, are left to hustle remaining students.

The grade 10s are shifting their attention to Keyboarding modules for a while, although I keep prodding them about “Turing Tests”. iGod is our most recent fascination.

The grade 9s get their prompts from Mrs. Fraser’s class then I help them become a bit more tech savvy.

The Grade 11s are in the midst of Macbeth and may see no reprieve for at least 2 more weeks, I figure. The more traditional assignments I’ve used for the last 14 years are as appropriate in a blog as they have ever been in my class. Doing it with blogs is just so cool!

Anti-Bullying Song Research Assignment

Blog an online research about a song that relates to Heather’s workshop(s) about:

  • Bullying
  • Domestic Violence
  • Peace
  • Getting Along


  1. Lyrics, portions cut’pasted with hyperlink to source.
  2. 250-words:
  • What is going on in the song?
  • What is the message the artist is trying to send?
  • How do you feel about this message?
  • How does it focus on the workshop topics?

3. Composer, performer, dates, album art, awards.

4. History, background, items/ideas of interest

5. Hyperlink all sources.

6. Add to Assessment Data Spreadsheet and apply Critical Thinking rubric (1-4)

7. Moderate three comments on your own. Leave plenty of comments, at least three, on other iblog.stjschool.org blogs.