Average

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

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Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium?

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War

Read “War,” by Timothy Findley.

Do you think you really understand why adults do the things they do?

Respond to the Story

  • Whose war does the author refer to in the title? Support your view with examples from the story.
  • With a small group, discuss whether you think the way Neil reacts to his father leaving is typical of a ten-year-old boy. Why do you think he throws the stones?
  • Like most stories, the action builds up to an event that’s the high point or climax. What is the climax of “War”?

Explore Personal Feelings
Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you lost control of your emotions or the way you acted? What event or situation in your life made you lose control? Jot down in note form what happened, how you felt at the time, how you felt afterwards, and how the situation was resolved.

Use your notes to write a story about that incident. You might use a structure similar to “War.” The beginning could introduce the main characters and the problem or situation. The middle section could explore how everyone had to deal with this problem. The climax could occur when you (or your character) lose control. The end could briefly describe how everything was resolved.

When you write your story, how do you write conversations between characters? Could your style be improved? How?

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Wake Up

Write down the first sight, sound, smell, and sensation you experienced on waking up today. Pick the one you’re most drawn to, and write. (For a bigger challenge, pick the one you’re least drawn to.)

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$5,000,000

You’ve inherited $5 million, with instructions that you must give it all away – but you can choose any organizations you like to be the beneficiaries. Where does the money go?

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The Life Cycle of …

Analyze the life cycle of a particular person, animal, place, or thing, dividing the cycle into appropriate stages and steps within each stage. Write an informational process analysis of this life cycle, describing the specific details of what occurs at each stage and how they are related to the whole process.

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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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Blast from the Past

Investigate tropes.  What is a trope?

  1. View the film Blast from the Past (1999) and review it with the aim of pointing out several tropes.
    • note the broad categories tropes fall into, identify several examples from at least 3 categories.
    • You may want to consider scanning the script from Blast from the Bast (1999) for your favorite moments/quotes.
  2. Write a short story(that one day could be turned into a feature film) based on an idea generated by tvtropes.org Story Idea Generator.
    • Incorporate at least one common trope from the film into your story. There is no need for your story to parallel the film in any other way.
    • Synthesize some element of cold-war paranoia into your story.(view The Atomic Cafe (1982) for some witty inspiration about the comic horrors of the cold-war era.)
    • Focus/comment somewhere in your story on the theme of searching for identity.
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How do you know it is good?

Select two works of art(visual, musical, or literary): one that is good and one that is bad.

Explain the reasons for your judgements in a short piece of writing. Include a thumbnail, embedded clip, or snippet of each and ask your classmates to submit a comment with their own analysis and judgement.

Respond to your classmates criticism and discuss together the similarities and differences in your evaluations.

http://www.wga.hu/index1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_art

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Looking at Masks

Masks have been worn in many different cultures over the centuries. No matter what culture or time period it is from, the visual impact of a mask is often dramatic. Even though you might know very little about the cultural or historical significance of a mask, you can still understand a great deal about it by considering its effect on you.

  1. Brainstorm a list of masks that people wear. Consider masks worn to protect as well as masks worn to disguise. How do you feel when you encounter someone wearing a mask? Does your reaction depend on the situation? Explain your response.
  2. Brainstorm a list of movies, songs, plays, short stories, comics, and television programs featuring characters that wear masks. Why do the characters wear masks? How does the mask affect your perception of the character?
  3. Write about your own experience wearing masks. On what occasions have you worn masks? Did wearing a mask affect your actions and feelings?

African Masks: Baule Mask - This type of Baule mask is known as a Goli mask. It is used in dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honour distinguished visitors and at the funerals of important figures.

Jacque Plante's original goalie mask

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Omens

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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Learning Style

What?s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?

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The Medium is the Message

According to Marshall McLuhan, television is a “cool” medium because it provides little information and makes the user fill in what is missing. How do the House Hippo and Media Monkey ads make the user fill in the information?

House Hippo

Media Monkey

Do young people accept what they see in media as being reality? Provide specific examples to support your opinion.

Facts on Childhood Issues

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Wordle: The Human Condition

a Wordle

a Wordle created on a Mac or PC

Tagul "Word Cloud"

Tagul “Word Cloud” created on Google Chrome

Search the net for a few quotes about the human condition. Review these focus questions to help you in your search.

Collect a handful of phrases that give you pause to think. Avoid anonymous quotes, note the author. (Keep the unharmed list safe in your notes somewhere.)

Go to wordle.net (on Chromebooks try tagul clouds while logged in with a google account) and and blast one, or some, or a whole pile into your own “wordle”. Try several attempts till you have something rich in thought, an inspiration to a deep thinker like yourself.

When you have a “wordle” you like, take a screen capture of it (Mac: command+shift+4 or Windows: Print Screen key) and upload the “png” to your blog and ….

Write a creative narrative (a short short story of about 500-1000 words) that develops an idea about the human condition inspired from your “wordle“.

Warning: These example short short stories from the net are certainly not inspired by this activity, but they are playful in form and have a certain lexical density.

Dinosaur

Periwinkles

Extract from a Novel

Warning: the ideas you spawn from generators like these should be used with caution, seriously.

Story Idea Generator

Story Idea Generator (tv tropes)

How to Write a Short Story

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Protecting the Nation?

http://www.canadianmysteries.ca

A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 14-18

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.

Was this violent conflict an early attempt by First Nations in Canada to assert their legal right to their lands — to their nationhood? Did members of the Chilcotin First Nation kill 17 members of a British road-building crew moving through their territory in 1864 to protect the “national” sovereignty of the Chilcotin nation? Perhaps the motives were more cultural and less political: was it an attempt to protect the Chilcotin culture and way of life from outside forces? Or, as some historians have suggested, were the Chilcotin people lashing out against these non-Natives for reasons that had little to do with politics and cultural preservation?

The Task

In this MysteryQuest, you are asked to take on the role of an historian creating a public monument to commemorate the Chilcotin War of the 1860s. Your main task is to investigate to what extent this war was an attempt to protect a “nation” from invaders.

First, you will examine definitions of “nation” and learn about the two meanings of this term. Then, you will be introduced to the facts of the Chilcotin War. You will refer to an historical overview and maps to get a snapshot of the key events in the group’s history and insight into the relationship between the Chilcotin people and developers who were determined to access the rich resources of the British Columbia interior. You will then examine a number of primary documents from the period, looking for evidence of the Chilcotin motivations for this conflict. Your final task is to prepare a statement on the extent to which this was a war for nationhood. Your ideas will be used by an historical panel investigating the causes of the Chilcotin War to create a plaque commemorating the event.

continue investigation …

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