Human History

Do you belong in this day and age? Do you feel comfortable being a citizen of the 21st-century? If you do, explain why – and if you don’t, when in human history would you rather be?

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Fight, Fight, Fight

Respond to the following:

  • What are some things that could cause a fight between two people your age?
  • Describe a person you know who is always looking for a fight. What are his/her characteristics?
  • Describe a person you know who never wants to fight under any circumstances. What are his/her characteristics?
  • What conversation might occur between a person seeking a fight and a person wishing to avoid a fight? What argument finally decides whether they do or do not fight?
  • How do you feel about fighting as a way of settling differences?
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Plinky Prompt

You’re making a documentary about something that you feel so passionate about that you’ve saved up for a decade to get it made. Ok, you’re not making a documentary really, but you’re writing a post about the same subject. Go write it!

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Nature

Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city?

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Script

Write a script for a late-night infomercial – where the product is your blog. How do you market yourself? What qualities do you embody that other “products” don’t? What are the benefits of reading your blog?

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Advice to a Panicky Friend

One of your friends has shared some of his/her problems with you. Your friend wants advice on how to handle these difficulties because things seem to be going from bad to worse. In fact, your friend is becoming panicky. Write a post/comment/letter to your friend, giving both your advice on how to relieve the panic and your suggestions about how to proceed next. In the opening paragraph, identify the problem and make sure it is serious enough to warrant such a response from you.

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Sonnet LV

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover’s eyes.
– William Shakespeare

“Sonnet LV” by William Shakespeare is a rather complicated tribute to the beauty or character of the speaker’s loved one. According to the speaker, her beauty will live on within the sonnet.

Theme:
Creative works can endure for centuries (and give longer life to those people the works describe).

Techniques:
Sonnet structure, comparison, allusion, alliteration

Issues:
Can a rhyme outlive statues or more permanent structures? Can that rhyme give life to the beauty it describes (“But you shall shine more bright in these contents”)?

Summarize the sonnet in your own words.

According to Shakespeare, what else will endure besides his “powerful rhyme”?

Shakespeare argues that the works of the imagination are more enduring than material things. To what extent do you agree with him?

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War, Massacre, or Terrorism?

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca

A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 16-18

Introduction

In the spring of 1864 a series of killings sent a chill across Canada. The blood of 14 men, spilled into the Homathco River before dawn on the morning of April 29th, 1864, was only the beginning of this conflict. By the end of May, 19 road-builders, packers, and a farmer were dead. Within six weeks an army of over 100 men had arrived in the area to catch the killers.

The killings took place in a remote triangle in central British Columbia that, at the time, was inaccessible by road or even horse trail. The dead men had all been part of the teams trying to build a road from the Pacific coast to the recently discovered goldfields of the Cariboo.

This area was traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in people who had lived on the high Chilcotin Plateau for centuries, perhaps for thousands of years. The survivors of the attacks identified the principal leader of the more than 20 people involved in the killings as a Tsilhqot’in chief, who was called “Klatsassin” by his people.

Historians have variously called this incident a war, a massacre, or an act of terrorism. But which is it? Soldiers who kill many others during the course of war are not likely to be punished for these killings; in fact they may be honoured for these actions. Committing the same killings outside the context of war would likely result in serious consequences. But here again it may depend whether the killers were acting on behalf of their people to bring about a desired political goal, or simply acting for personal gain or revenge. In short, there is much at stake in deciding upon the kind of incident. You will be invited to examine selected historical documents from the time and draw your own conclusions about which term — war, massacre, or terrorism — most fairly describes this event.

The Task

This MysteryQuest invites you to assess the underlying nature of a violent conflict between whites and First Nations peoples in 1864. Was the killing of the road crew an act of terrorism by the Tsilhqot’in to discourage further trade and traffic in the area? Or were they defending their territory against an invading population? Perhaps they were avenging the deaths of their people who were killed by the European introduction of smallpox years earlier?

You will begin by considering the differences between the terms “war,” “massacre,” and “terrorism.” You will read about the background to this incident and then examine historical documents looking for statements that suggest how this event should be described. Finally, you will decide on the most appropriate term and explain your choice in a one-page essay.

continue investigation ….

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Time Traveling Yourself Out of Existence

Imagine you’ve been studying the history of warfare in the 20th century. Then you travel back in time to 1939 and tell someone how the Nazis could win World War II. Suppose your information is overheard by someone else who becomes a Nazi general and uses it to actually win World War II for the Nazis. Suppose further that your mother dies as a result of the Nazi victory before giving birth to you. Well, if you are never born then you could never have traveled back in time to give away the information that causes you not to be born. Here we have another version of the time travel paradox.

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Man in Motion

It seems that people are often fascinated by individuals who do extraordinary things to better the lives of others. Research Rick Hansen and write a report about him. Be sure to include a character description in which you suggest how Rick Hansen’s character might have influenced his life. Share your report with your classmates.

Include links to 3-5 sources of information. Check your information for relevance, bias, and accuracy.

Embed one or two images or media clips.

Adjectives to describe character traits.

“Pillars of Character”

Consider writing a report on another Canadian hero: fact or fiction.

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Could It Be Love?

The two following poems express different attitudes toward love. The first poem, “How do I Love Thee?,” was written in the nineteenth century and the second one, “First Person Demonstrative” was written in the twentieth century.

"How do I love thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"First Person Demonstrative" by Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-2009)
I'd rather
heave half a brick than say
I love you, though I do
I'd rather
crawl in a hole than call you
darling, though you are
I'd rather
wrench off an arm than hug you though
it's what I long to do
I'd rather
gather a posy of poison ivy than
ask if you love me

so if my
hair doesn't stand on end it's because
I never tease it
and if my
heart isn't in my mouth it's because
it knows its place
and if I
don't take a bite of your ear it's because
gristle gripes my guts
and if you
miss the message better get new
glasses and read it twice
  1. How did you feel after reading “How Do I Love Thee?” How did you feel after reading “First Person Demonstrative”? Which poem do you like better? Why? Which do you think is the more appealing poem?
  2. Compare the thoughts and feelings of the two poets. How do the poems differ? How are they similar? Does this comparison change your feelings toward either of the poems?
Picasso: The Two Saltimbanques

Picasso: The Two Saltimbanques

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Film Study

Describe a movie you think is a fairly realistic depiction of your life, or the lives of people your age.

Alternatively, think of some movies that are aimed at your age group and explain how they are not realistic.

Do you have a preference? Do you think movies reflect who we are or who we want to be?

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Comparison and Contrast

Compare and/or contrast one of the following pairs. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. A newborn and an elderly person
2. Front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive cars
3. The newspaper and the TV newcast
4. Cats and dogs
5. Renting and owning your home
6. Using credit and using cash
7. Touring bikes and mountain bikes
8. The novel and the short story
9. Any two martial arts
10. The classical music fan and the rock music fan
11. A Canadian city and an American city of the same size
12. A wedding and a funeral
13. Writing on paper and using a word processor
14. Natural and synthetic fabrics
15. The authoritarian parent and the permissive parent
16. Luxury cars and economy cars
17. Speaking and writing
18. Community college and university
19. The analogue watch and the digital watch
20. A team sport and an individual sport
21. Sales tax and income tax
22. Glasses and contact lenses
23. Driving a motorcycle and driving a car
24. Two newspapers(news channels or news sites) that you know
25. Large families and small families

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of comparison and contrast.

1. Spend enough time with the topic list to choose the item that best fits your interest and experience.

2. Draw a line down the middle of a blank page. Now brainstorm: jot down notes for subject “A” on the lefl and for subject “B” on the right. Join related items with lines, then take stock of what you have: Is A better than B? Is it worse? Similar? Opposite? Or what? Express their relationship to each other in a thesis statement.

3. Now choose either “halves” or “separate points” to organize your argument, depending on the nature and size of your subject, then work your notes into a brief outline.

4. Write a rapid first draft, leave extra white space, not stopping now to revise or edit.

5. Later analyze what you have produced. Does it follow your outline? If not, is the new material off-topic, or is it a worthwhile addition, an example of “thinking in writing”? Revise accordingly.

6. In your second draft cut all deadwood. Sharpen word choice. Add any missing examples. Strengthen TRANSITIONS.

7. Test your prose aloud before writing the good copy. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Classification

Develop one of the following topics into an essay of classification. (See also the guidelines that follow.)

1. Conversations
2. Television commercials
3. Crime
4. Music lovers
5. Wine
6. Martial arts
7. Roommates
8. Bosses
9. Horses
10. Grandparents
11. Education
12. Drugs
13. Novels
14. Lovers
15. Police officers
16. Landlords
17. Slang
18. Marriages
19. Readers
20. Salespersons
21. Handicapped people
22. Parties
23. Families
24. Teachers
25. Success

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of classification.

1. Write a short outline, since the logic of classifying can be difficult. Once you have chosen the principle on which to classify your topic, decide on the categories. Then ask: Do all relate to the same principle? If not, revise. Do any categories overlap? If so, revise. Have you left out an obvious category? Add it.

2. Write your thesis statement.

3. Now arrange the categories in some climactic order that supports your thesis: smallest to largest, least important to most important, worst to best, etc.

4. Write a rapid first draft, double-spaced, not stopping now to revise or edit.

5. When this draft has “cooled off,” look it over. Does it follow the outline? If not, do the changes make sense? Does every part support the thesis? If not, revise.

6. In your second draft sharpen word choice. Add missing IMAGES or examples. Heighten TRANSITIONS. Cut deadwood.

7. Now edit for spelling and grammar, and write the good copy. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Cities

Is the big city “a wondrous toy” as the song goes, or is it a hill of swarming ants? Is it a creative showcase for a country’s talent and skill or is it a drain on the energies of millions of people who must struggle for survival from day to day? Can it be both? Is it something else? What does the city mean to you? Describe your view of the city in specific detail.

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Relationships

The following poem is from The Journals of Susanna Moodie, by Margaret Atwood.

How relevant is this poem to the way we understand relationships, to the way we imagine relationships to be?

Support your response with reference (comparison/contrast) to one or more poems you’ve studied and to your previous knowledge and/or experience.

Further Arrivals
After we had crossed the long illness
that was the ocean, we sailed up-river

On the first island
the immigrants threw off their clothes
and danced like sandflies

We left behind one by one
the cities rotting with cholera,
one by one our civilized
distinctions

and entered a large darkness.

It was our own
ignorance we entered.

I have not come out yet

My brain gropes nervous
tentacles in the night, sends out
fears hairy as bears,
demands lamps; or waiting

for my shadowy husband, hears
malice in the trees’ whispers.

I need wolf’s eyes to see
the truth.

I refuse to look in the mirror.

Whether the wilderness is
real or not
depends on who lives there.

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