The Life of an Artist

The life of an artist is very appealing because it permits individual expression. If you had your way, what kinds of an artist would you like to be? Compose an essay in which you describe the achievements you would make and the acclaim success would bring you?

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As in the Beginning

“As in the Beginning” by Mary di Michele is a grimly realistic retelling of events that express regret, anger and bitterness.


A person’s loss of limb can never be adequately recompensed with money; when someone we love is injured, his/her pain can become ours.


  • parallel structure
  • simile
  • alliteration
  • personification
  • understatement


What makes us whole?

Why does the speaker describe the “man” so objectively in the first nine lines of the poem.

How does the tone of the poem change after the first nine lines?

To what extent does the speaker understate or overstate the emotions associated with his/her father’s situation?

Which lines or phrases do you think express what the speaker is feeling most powerfully? What do these lines convey to them?

What is the significance of the title?

“As in the Beginning” by Mary di Michele
A man has two hands and when one
gets caught on the belt and his fingers
are amputated and then patched
he cannot work. His hands are insured
however so he gets some money
for the work his hands have done before.
If he loses a finger he gets a flat sum
of $250 for each digit &/or $100 for a joint
missing for the rest of his stay on earth,
like an empty stool at a beggar’s banquet.
When the hands are my father’s hands
it makes me cry although my pen must keep scratching
its head across the page of another night.
To you my father is a stranger
and perhaps you think the insurance paid is enough.

Give me my father’s hands when they are not broken
and swollen,
give me my father’s hands, young again,
and holding the hands of my mother,
give me my father’s hands still brown and uncallused,
beautiful hands that broke bread for us at table,
hands smooth as marble and naked as the morning,
give me hands without a number tattooed at the wrist,
without the copper sweat of clinging change,
give my father’s hands as they were in the beginning,
and without fear

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I Shouldn’t Be Alive

View one of the following “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” episodes from CBC’s “The Passionate Eye” series.

  • Watch Shipwrecked Familyvideo icon
    Debuting Wednesay October 5: On the final leg of an amazing two year sailing voyage, the Silverwood Family hit some stormy weather 180 miles west of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. It’s no big deal, until a broken mast pin and a submerged rocky reef suddenly turns their adventure into a potentially deadly one. As the mast snaps, it falls on dad John, severing his leg. It’s up to teenage son Ben, to become the man and help to save his family. He gets the family off the sinking boat, but as they spend a terrifying night on a reef in the middle of the ocean, will rescue get to them before Ben’s father dies of blood loss?
  • Watch Crashed in the Junglevideo icon
    Debuting Wednesday October 12: Newlyweds Brandon and Brandy Wiley are on a backpacking adventure in Costa Rica, when their 8 – person Cessna crashes in dense tropical rainforest. The pilots and one passenger are killed on impact. Of the five remaining survivors two are seriously injured, including American Michael Packard. With the plane’s emergency beacon malfunctioning and the crash site obscured by thick cloud, the chances of rescue appear remote. When darkness falls, the group face poisonous spiders, swarming ants and jungle predators. By morning and with Michael’s condition worsening by the hour Brandon and Brandy face a terrible dilemma – do they go in search of help or stay with the two injured men? It’s a decision that could ultimately cost lives.
  • Watch River of Fearvideo icon
    Debuting Wednesday October 19: Running through the majestic splendour of the Grand Canyon the Colorado River offers construction contractor David Whittlesey with just the kind of challenge he craves. He embarks on a 3 week, 280 mile white-water rafting expedition, opting to tackle some of America’s most gruelling rapids on his own. Just days away from completing his journey David’s raft capsizes, gets stuck and he loses all of his life-saving supplies. As he attempts to scale a cliff face, which is his only way out, he falls and injuries himself. He is trapped, alone and knows that hypothermia could kill him before anyone even knows where he is or that his life is in danger.
  • Watch Alone in the Amazonvideo icon
    Debuting Wednesday October 26: Fresh-faced twenty two year old Brit Benedict Allen embarks on an epic six-month expedition which will take him from the mouth of the Orinoco River to the Mouth of the Amazon River through six hundred miles of uncharted jungle. On the final leg of his journey Benedict meets two gold miners who steal his guides then threaten to kill him. Fearing for his life Benedict is forced to tackle the wilds of the Amazon with only his faithful dog, Cashoe, for company. His inexperience nearly costs him dear when he capsizes his canoe, losing virtually all his provisions. Embarking on the 100 miles journey through dense rainforest to safety Benedict is struck down by near starvation, Malaria and a severe case of ‘jungle madness’. Will he ever find civilization?
  • Watch Edge of Death video icon
    Debuting Wednesday November 2: Charlie Hench has set himself a big challenge before he turns the big 50 – to fulfil his dream of a late-summer solo hike through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But he underestimates the challenge ahead. Charlie is at 9,000 feet when an early snowstorm suddenly blows in. The amateur hiker is soon out of his depth, lost in the snow-covered landscape. A missed step on the treacherous boulders and he’s crashes over the side of the mountain. Only a ledge, the size of a car bonnet, saves him from falling 500 feet to his death. Charlie is trapped and badly injured, with a shattered wrist and fractured spine. He’s alone and there’s no way up or down. He knows no-one will even know he’s missing for days, but will he survive trapped on the exposed on the side of a cliff?
  • Watch Crashed in the Rockies video icon
    Debuting Wednesday November 9: Trainee pilot Justin Kirkbride takes two friends, Tommy and Larry, on a sightseeing tour of the Rocky Mountains, but crashes on a steep, snowy mountainside. Larry breaks his leg, while best friend Tommy is knocked unconscious. Only Justin escapes unscathed. He decides to hike 45 miles down the treacherous mountainside in search of help. As darkness falls he picks up a cell signal and manages to summon a rescue helicopter. He joins the rescue pilots in the search for his two missing friends, but their crash site is hidden by thick pine forest. The search is about to be called off when disaster strikes again – the rescue helicopter clips a tree and smashes into the mountainside. Can Kirkbride escape with his life for the second time in 24 hours? And will his passengers now succumb to their injuries during the freezing night?

Write 2 posts(one Critical Essay, one Creative Narrative) in which you discuss some of these focus questions dealing with survival.

What challenges to survival does the environment present?
Related Questions:

  • What hardships and challenges do humans experience with respect to the environment?
  • What must humans do to survive with respect to the environment? Who and what will survive? Is population survival more important than individual survival? Why or why not?
  • What are the most important survival qualities in our society? What images do we associate with the idea of wilderness survival?
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Do research to create a working definition of the term dystopia. Then view a film that deals with either a utopian vision, such as Animal Farm(2000), or a dystopian vision such as 1984(1984) or Fahreheit 451(2000). Write a review of the film for a mass-circulation online news audience. Include in your review the following features: a synopsis of the plot; an explanation of how the film reflects a universal theme or archetypal pattern; and an evaluation of the effectiveness and quality of its cinematic(and other related media) techniques and their impact on viewers. Exchange draft reviews with a partner and ask for suggestions to improve your style and content.

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Macbeth: Personal Response after Act 5

Examine one of the following topics and write a narrative or personal essay:

Kingship (Consider the differences between the four Kings in the play)
Ambition (Consider the differences and similarities between the ambitions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth)
Guilt (Consider Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s response to guilt)
Order (Consider nature, politics, relationships, and how order is restored)
Deceptive Appearances
Fathers and Sons
Loyalty and Patriotism
The Ideal Marriage

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“I Am”

Read Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” detailing what a man is, based on his actions. You will write a poem about what YOU are. You have two options for the format of this poem.

1) You may model your poem after “If,” listing positive traits to embody and negative traits to shun. If you choose to do this, you must also have a simple rhyme scheme pattern, and the poem must be at least sixteen lines long.


2) You may use the following as a template and fill it in with meaningful and insightful details that reflect you as a person, not simply the outer person or shell you present to the world.

I am ___________________ (two special characteristics you have)
I wonder ___________________ (something you are actually curious about)
I hear ___________________ (an imaginary sound)
I see ___________________ (an imaginary sight)
I want ___________________ (an actual desire)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem repeated)

I pretend ___________________ (someting you pretend to do)
I feel ___________________ (a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch ___________________ (an imaginary touch)
I worry ___________________ (something that really bothers you)
I cry ___________________ (something that makes you sad)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem)

I understand ___________________ (something you know is true)
I say ___________________ (something you believe in)
I dream ___________________ (somethng you actually hope for)
I try ___________________ (something you make an effort about)
I hope ___________________ (something you actually hope for)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem repeated)

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Superman or Tarzan?

Crash Test Dummies music video “Superman’s Song” from their 1991 debut album “The Ghosts That Haunt Me”.
Written by Brad Roberts

Tarzan wasn’t a ladies’ man
He’d just come along and scoop ’em up under his arm
Like that, quick as a cat in the jungle
But Clark Kent now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sittin’ around in no
Junglescape, dumb as an ape doing nothing

Supermen never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see
Another man like him

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
Even though he could have smashed through any bank
In the United States, he had the strength, but he would not
Folks said his family were all dead
Their planet crumbled but Superman, he forced himself
To carry on, forget Krypton, and keep going

Tarzan was king of the jungle and Lord over all the apes
But he could hardly string together four words: “I Tarzan, You Jane. ”

Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back
On man, join Tarzan in the forest
But he stayed in the city, and kept on changing clothes
In dirty old phonebooths till his work was through
And nothing to do but go on home

I. Responding to the Song:

  1. Use words or phrases to from the song lyrics to describe Tarzan and Superman. Which character, if any, do you think the songwriter, Brad Roberts, respects the most?
  2. When you think of these two characters, what images come to mind? Do your images match those of the songwriter?
  3. Why is Superman trying to save the “world from Solomon Grundy”?
  4. Why would Superman be tempted to stop what he’s doing and “join Tarzan in the jungle”?
  5. Are Superman and Tarzan symbols for types of people? If so, what might they symbolize?
  6. Which character, if any, would you rather be? Explain.

II. Writing a Short Story
Which superhero would you rather be, Superman or Tarzan? Explain. Develop your answer to this question into a short story, told in the first person, about your experiences as Tarzan or Superman for a day.

III. Presenting a Song:
Work with a partener or small group to plan a reading of another song.

  • First choose the song. Think about how you will read it to the class so the meaning is clear.
  • Practise reading the song, working together to read it effectively. Focus on tone, volume, gestures, and emphasis to use as you read the lyrics. Discuss how reading a song is different from singing it.
  • Record your reading with Garageband, save it as an mp3 and share it via your blog. What elements of your recording were most effective?

Consider the following:
Focus Questions: Decisions Crime and Punishment
Superman @ wikipedia
Tarzan @ wikipedia
How to punctuate dialogue correctly

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Earth First

Research an environmental issue and organize an action in response to the issue.

Environment Canada Issues:

What you can do:

(Hints: poster, pamphlet, booklet, 4H speech, video clip, display, commercial, web app, animation, plant a tree, join a group, etc.)

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Crossword Puzzle: “Who Am I?”

Create a “Who Am I?” crossword puzzle for your group/class.

  • get every person’s name to fit somewhere
  • get at least one descriptive adverb or adjective for each person in the group
  • get at least one favorite activity listed for each person

Example clues:

  1. a friendly boy, when he’s not playing basketball
  2. Bob’s favorite sport

Use the following, or similar, crossword puzzle maker.

Attach a printable image(jpg or png) of your completed puzzle to a post in your blog.


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Do you believe in omens (signs of events that will happen)? There have been many accounts of people reporting the occurence of strange phenomena (facts or events as they appear to the senses) just before some significant event, good or bad, took place. Have you ever had or do you know someone who has had such an experience?

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Evolve a Word

Language evolves. The meaning of a word can shift over time as we use it differently – think of “cool,” “heavy,” or even “literally.” Today, give a word an evolutionary push: give a common word a new meaning, explain it to us.

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The Replacement Brother

Suppose you have a brother named Jimmy whom you love very much. One day, a crazy magician kills Jimmy, but then instantly replaces him with an exact copy. This copy is the same as Jimmy in every way, including implanted memories of the past. Would you still cry over Jimmy’s death?

According to Plato, you need not, because the copy reflects the form of beauty in the same way. Would you accept the substitute and love it just as you would the original? According to Plato, you should love them equally well. Many find this answer strange and therefore reject Plato’s theory.

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