Injustice in Film

Justice seems to have many faces
It does not want to play if my skin is not the right hue,
Or correct the wrong we long for
Action hanging off-balance
Justice is like an open field
We observe, but are afraid to approach.

We have been burned before
Hence the broken stride
And the lingering doubt
We often hide

Justice may want to play
If we have an open smile
And offer the hand of communication
To make it worthwhile

Justice has to make me see
Hear, feel.
Then I wil know the truth is like a toy
To be enjoyed or broken — Poem by Rita Joe

View a film that addresses the theme of injustice. In what ways are the character’s attitudes to injustice similar to, or different from, the attitude presented in the poem? How do the charactersdemonstrate their attitudes?

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A Room with a View (or Just a View)

We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

— Joan Didion

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

from Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View) by Ben Huberman

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The Art of Nature

In our highly industrialized and urbanized society, sometimes we forget about or ignore or overlook the beauties of nature. But when we do go to nature, we often have a rich experience. Choose an outstanding example from your contact with nature and write an essay about it. Be descriptive so that the reader can also enjoy your discoveries.

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A Personal Connection to Art

Identify a work of art that for you holds a personal connection or significance. Select one of the following quotations and write an essay explaining how your chosen work of art does or does not support the quote.

“Art is coming face to face with yourself.” – Jackson Pollock

“The task which the artist implicitly sets himself, is to overthrow existing values, to make of the chaos about him an order which is his own, to sow strife and ferment, so that by the emotional release those who are dead may be restored to life.” – Henry Miller

“The subject matter of art is life, life as it actually is; but the function of art is to make life better.” – George Santayana

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Isolation and “otherness”

The motif of isolation and “otherness” is a common one in art and literature.

Select a text from your own reading or viewing that focuses on a character who is isolated and longs for another place or connection where he or she can feel a sense of belonging.

Write an essay analyzing this theme and showing how it is developed.

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Process Analysis

Tell your reader how to perform one of these processes. (See also the guidelines that follow.)

1. How to avoid debt
2. How to survive driving in city traffic
3. How to windsurf
4. How the average person can help to reduce pollution
5. How to choose your style in clothing
6. How to avoid burnout in a high-pressure job
7. How to take a good picture
8. How a woman breaks into a male-dominated profession
9. How to find low-cost entertainment in the city
10. How to train a dog (or other pet)
11. How to get a raise from your employer
12. How to avoid criminal attack in the big city at night
13. How to decorate a room on a low budget
14. How to become a Canadian citizen
15. How to survive eating at the school cafeteria

Explain how one of these processes is performed, or how it occurs. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
16. How a piano works
17. How a fax machine works
18. How a television set works
19. How a transistor works
20. How paper is recycled
21. How the human circulatory system functions
22. How the human liver functions
23. How food is metabolized in the body
24. How a muscle functions
25. How animals hibernate
26. How a bird flies
27. How a plant synthesizes food
28. How hail is formed
29. How sedimentary rock is formed
30. How ______________________. (If you choose your own topic in this final item, check it with your teacher before proceeding.)

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

1. Choose the topic that most appeals to you, so your motivation will increase your performance.

2. Visualize your audience (see step 6 below), and choose the level of terminology accordingly.

3. Fill a page with brief notes. Scan and sort them to choose the steps of your process analysis, and their order.

4. Write a rapid first draft, leave extra white space, not stopping now to revise or edit. If you do notice a word that needs replacing or a passage that needs work, underline it so you can find and fix it later.

5. A. When this draft has “cooled off,” look it over. If you are giving actual directions (topics 1-15), are all steps there? Do TRANSITIONS introduce them? Have you defined any technical terms that may puzzle your audience? Revise accordingly.

5. B. In explaining how your process is carried out or occurs (topics 16-30), have you provided enough examples and IMAGES to interest your audience? Revise accordingly.

6. Share the second draft with a small group of classmates. Do they think they could actually follow these directions? Or do they show interest in a process performed by others? Revise accordingly.

7. If you have consulted books, sites, or periodicals to write this paper, follow standard practice in quoting and in documenting your sources.

8. Now edit for spelling and grammar. Write the good copy and proofread word by word. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revisions.

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Family Violence and the Reluctance to Speak Up


A critical thinking challenge for students, ages 16-18

WARNING: Child abuse can be a very emotional and disturbing topic, and the case of Aurore Gagnon is one of the most terrible on record. If you need to talk to someone, remember that your teacher, counsellor, or parents are available.


It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Families and communities usually raise children in loving environments, protecting them and making sacrifices to give the very best life possible. But what happens when something goes terribly wrong, and instead of being loved and protected by their family, a child is harmed? What is the responsibility of individuals and organizations outside the family to notice abuse and stop it? What does it take for someone to break the silence and speak up?

Aurore Gagnon was a ten-year-old girl who died of abuse on February 12, 1920. Her story shocked her community and “Aurore, the Child Martyr” has become a famous figure in Québec popular culture. She lived and died in the small community of Sainte-Philomène de Fortierville. Much of what we know of her life is based on the testimony of those who witnessed her abuse and did nothing to save her. How did this small community become so dangerous for this young girl? Why did no one intervene?

The Task

In this MysteryQuest, you will investigate what kind of person might have saved Aurore’s life when so many others did not. Your first step is to understand the facts of the case. You will begin by reading about the murder and the shock across the province as the details of the case became known during the trial of Aurore’s father and stepmother. Next, you will consider present-day explanations of why child abuse within a family may not be reported. Armed with this background information, you will analyse the behaviour of five witnesses in the trials of Aurore’s parents as you answer the question “Why didn’t they help Aurore?” Your final task is to select a fictional character who might have overcome the factors that prevent people from speaking out. In the role of this character, you will imagine the inner thoughts as this individual decides to “do the right thing” for Aurore by reporting the abuse. You will present these thoughts as a first person “interior monologue.”

continue investigation …

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No Words

Tell us about a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express. What do you think the barrier was? For bonus points, try again.

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