Category Archives: Who Am I?

Who is Braver?

Who is braver: a person who leads a group of people, or someone who decides not to follow along with the behavior of a group? Answer the queson in the form of a full-length essay. Be sure to support your response with evidence from stories, movies, real world events, or experiences from your life.



Argumentative Essay Tips:
Start with an outline: figure out your main points and the evidence you’ll be presenting.
Start each body paragraph (3) with a topic sentence.
Be certain each topic sentence relates back to your thesis statement.
Use effective transitions between paragraphs and ideas within each paragraph.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Conduct Your Own Oral History Project

The Courage of Conviction
Conduct Your Own Oral History Project

An oral history project preserves part of a person’s life history—as viewed through that person’s eyes, experiences, and memories. In general, oral history projects add to the knowledge we share about our lives and also add details to our understanding of the past. History is not simply a series of isolated events that you read about in text books. History is truly made up of the life experiences of individuals just like you.

To gather oral history, it is important to conduct a good interview and to take good notes.

Get Started: This activity can be done with a friend or two—while one person interviews by asking questions the others can take written notes or record what is said on tape. Successful oral history inter- views will cause the person being interviewed to start telling colorful stories—just like those captured on film and in the book form of Glory Road.

You, too, can capture the story of a person who has acted on his or her beliefs or convictions.

Think about someone you know who has done something wonderful, overcome a hardship, or committed an act of courage.

Make an appointment to talk with this person and to interview them. Tell the person you will need about an hour of their time. Be sure to bring a note pad. A tape recorder would also be help- ful, if you have one. You may also wish to bring a camera to take a picture of the person you are interviewing. And, bring a friend or two to help if possible.

Before you go, make a list of questions that you would like to ask. 10-12 questions are about the right number. Here are a few oral history questions you might use:

  1. What is your full name? Did you have a nickname when you were growing up?
  2. Where were you born and when?
  3. What would you consider to be the most important inventions that have been made during your lifetime?
  4. How is the world now different from what it was like when you were a child?
  5. Do you remember your friends and/or family discussing world events and politics? What did you talk about?
  6. Who was the person that had the most positive influence on your life? What did this person do?
  7. Is there a person that really changed the course of your life by something that he or she did? Who was it and why?
  8. Do you remember someone saying something to you that had a big impact on how you lived your life? What was it?
  9. What were the hardest choices that you ever had to make? Do you feel like you made the right choices? What would you do differently?
  10. Have you done something that you feel especially proud of? Please describe it.
  11. As you see it, what are the biggest problems that face our nation today and how do you think they could be solved?
  12. Describe a time and place when you remember feeling truly at peace and happy to be alive. Where were you? What were you doing?

Be sure to thank the person you have interviewed and let them know that you will share what you write. Remember to ask permission to share their story with others. You could even write them a thank you note!

Now, write or record the stories you heard during the interview in a way that will be of interest to other young people.

If granted permission by the person you interviewed, be sure to share your oral history with others—adults, your peers, younger children or your local paper!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Conversation Starters

Are you a good listener?

Turn to the person beside you and ask them to talk to you for about 30 seconds about one of the following:

  • Tell me what you would do if you won a million dollars?
  • Tell me about the last movie you watched?
  • Tell me about why this school year is (or is not) better that last year?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Stand Up

Have you ever stood up for something you believe in?  A brave and proud woman takes a different path at the … Borders.

Background Check:
Locate the following on a map:

  • Western Canada
  • Western United States
  • Alberta
  • Montana
  • Follow Alberta Highway 4 to the border where it becomes Interstate 15 in Montana.
  • Follow I-15 through the states of Montana, Idaho, and Utah to Salt Lake City
  • Locate other place names: Vancouver, Edmonton, Vermilion, Lethbridge, Coutts, Sweetgrass, Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Kicking Horse Pass, Banff, Cardston, Browning, Calgary, Pincher Creek, Chief Mountain.
  • Locate the Blackfoot reservations closest to Coutts.

Refresh your familiarity with the Blackfoot. What details did you already know? What new interesting details(3-5) have you found?

Read the short story “Borders,” by Thomas King.

Respond to the Story

  1. Why is not stating her nationality such an important issue for Laetitia’s mother?
  2. Do you think the mother did the right thing in not telling the border guards what they wanted to hear? Explain fully.
  3. What role does one’s nationality play in forming your identity
  4. “Native literature gives readers new ways of looking at the distinctions between the real and the imaginary, diffusing the tensions of identity checking by looking beyond to wider contexts.” Discuss.
  5. To what extent do you believe the mother and her son suffered discrimination from both the American and Canadian border guards. Use explicit information from the story to support your view.
  6. When asked what he found so “compelling” about borders, Thomas King, in a 1999 interview, replied, “The fact that there is one. The fact that right in the middle of this perfectly contiguous landscape someone has drawn a line and on one side it’s Canadian and therefore very different from the side that is American. Borders are these very artificial and subjective barriers that we throw up around our lives in all sorts of different ways. National borders are just indicative of the kinds of borders we build around ourselves.” He speaks further of the need to keep constructing new borders: “As soon as we get rid of the old ones we construct new ones” (Interview with Jennifer Andrews). Discuss.

Editor’s Desk
In “Borders,” Thomas King uses a variety of sentence structures: simple, compound, complex, and parallel structures. Any story that is full of simple sentences tends to be choppy and sound, um, boring. King uses different sentence types to create variety and keep the reader interested.

Write a post about Thomas King’s sentence structure.

“Her gun was silver.”

“The Canadian border guard was a young woman, and she seemed happy to see us.”

“The border was actually two towns, though neither one was big enough to amount to anything.

“He leaned into the window, looked into the back seat, and looked at my mother and me.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pick 5 and Synthesize (Part 2)

Pick 5 of the following words and synthesize them into a piece of your writing:

  • divergent
  • amity
  • pseudovision
  • extremities
  • abnegation
  • transcribe
  • apparitions
  • prototype
  • plod
  • cultivating a narcotic
  • contingency
  • incrementally
  • unfathomable
  • threshold
  • gumbo
  • dauntless
  • perpetual
  • candour
  • idyllic
  • perfunctory
  • polyurethane
  • bureaucrats
  • ontologically
  • erudite
  • intuitive
  • ventilator
  • roundabouts
  • decompensating
  • reverberated
  • skeletons
  • ghosts
  • invisible
  • primal
  • vigilant
  • tenuous
  • gourmet
  • pungent
  • hyperthyroidism
  • catastrophic
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Pick 5 and Synthesize (Part 1)

Pick 5 of the following words and synthesize them into a piece of your writing:

  • psychological
  • scorn
  • elitism
  • promenade
  • demeanour
  • crystalline
  • bickering
  • furrow
  • gilded
  • a rococo motif
  • absently
  • deprived
  • orrery
  • turnover
  • endowed
  • haunches
  • evanescent
  • wiry
  • claustrophobic
  • disembodied
  • matronly
  • oblation
  • hackles
  • bedraggled
  • frump
  • decisively
  • vehemently
  • tote
  • tentatively
  • resentfully
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Write a Descriptive Paragraph

Think about a family member who has had an impact on your life. What memories stand out in your mind? Jot down words or phrases that describe the person. Consider character traits and physical appearance, as well as memories you have of the person. Write a descriptive paragraph using these details. Will your readers be able to picture the person your describe? Use concrete nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs to create your description.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Create a story from this list of random words

Create a story from this list of random words:

  1. ornate
  2. mirth
  3. accordion
  4. pinprick
  5. askew
  6. motley
  7. reverie
  8. vanquish
  9. discordant
  10. symposium
  11. discard
  12. oregano
  13. summon
  14. skewer
  15. protrude
  16. scythe
  17. fathom
  18. blasphemous
  19. scaffold
  20. enthusiastic
  21. incredulous
  22. groin
  23. comradeship
  24. absurdity
  25. requisition
  26. charade
  27. suspicion
  28. sophisticated
  29. assertive
  30. colonel
  31. conscript
  32. Berkely Street
  33. Jesus
  34. Grandma Redbird
  35. gazillion
  36. phony
  37. quarrel
  38. illuminate
  39. commiserate
  40. juvenile
  41. capitulate
  42. idiocy
  43. deprive
  44. implacability
  45. protrude
  46. glower
  47. shovel
  48. subversive
  49. corridor
  50. abuse
  51. bollocks
  52. extenuate
  53. tank top
  54. dark sweater
  55. shorts
  56. pullover
  57. hat
  58. robe
  59. jeans
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Create a story from this list of random words

Create a story from this list of random words:

  1. Richard
  2. verge
  3. exhaustion
  4. doctor
  5. ferocity
  6. goddess
  7. Friday
  8. selflessness
  9. rosebush
  10. inconsolable
  11. bucket
  12. phalanx
  13. silent
  14. peas
  15. limbo
  16. dandelions
  17. guard
  18. tree
  19. cassette
  20. imbibed
  21. politics
  22. disembodied
  23. pocket
  24. Lord
  25. cots
  26. avail
  27. sluggard
  28. snowstorm
  29. chef
  30. amid
  31. surge
  32. Thanksgiving
  33. influx
  34. lingered
  35. rapacious
  36. melancholy
  37. perspicacious
  38. Sam
  39. finite
  40. pursed
  41. pilgrim
  42. marauding
  43. kingdom
  44. naïveté
  45. self-possession
  46. madame
  47. heaven
  48. grass
  49. seize
  50. indication
  51. pokerfaced
  52. distorted
  53. halcyon
  54. offended
  55. dingy
  56. arduous
  57. epaulettes
  58. schizophrenic
  59. aphorism
  60. Sophie
  61. bourgeois
  62. facetious
  63. antecedents
  64. erudite
  65. radiantly
  66. aloof
  67. knave
  68. amid
  69. transitory
  70. surge
  71. influx
  72. lingered
  73. combative
  74. sanctimonious
  75. biology
  76. audacity
  77. remorse
  78. perpetual
  79. leveler
  80. indolent
  81. aghast
  82. taboo
  83. dwindling
  84. revisionist
  85. lavender
  86. raspy
  87. haunches
  88. curves
  89. flaccid
  90. earthly
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


In recognition of “Pink Shirt Day” …

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Add a jerk to your story.

Here are some suggestions …

  • Jerks are mean – have the jerk get our attention by saying or doing things to your protagonist that are upsetting.
  • Jerks ignore us – have your jerk ignore the protagonist but pay attention to someone else. Have the Jerk only pretend to listen and act like your protagonist doesn’t even exist.
  • Jerks make us feel stupid – have your jerk make comments about what your protagonist says that makes him/her feel stupid.
  • Jerks are sneaky – have your jerk act all nice to others or around teachers or adults and then have the jerk do something that only the protagonist sees when no one else is looking.
  • Jerks lie – have your jerk try and make someone look bad to make themselves look better by lying.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Sunrise on the Veld

Read “A Sunrise on the Veld,” by Doris Lessing

Respond to the Story

  • Describe the boy’s feelings and state of mind before he comes upon the buck. Describe a time in your life when you experienced a similar emotion.
  • Why does the boy not shoot the buck?
  • How does the boy feel at the end of the story? What has caused his mood to change so dramatically?

Poetic Language
The author, Doris Lessing, expresses the boy’s thoughts and feelings very poetically in the two paragraphs before the boy hears the buck’s cries. With a partner, discuss some of these phrases and the images they create. What emotions do the images raise? Is the use of poetic language effective? What types of writing techniques are used?

Using phrases from these two paragraphs, write a poem that expresses the character’s joy at being young and alive. You could draw or find an illustration that captures the spirit of your poem.

(Extra: use any Walt Whitman poem as a model)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thank You Ma’am

Read “Thank You Ma’am,” by Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes


Respond to the Story

  • The first sentence of the story suggests that the tone will be humorous. What other details in the story add to the humorous effect?
  • Despite the light tone, the story deals with a serious subject. Which details in the story tell you that the purpose of the story is more serious?
  • Do you think that meeting Mrs. Jones will turn out to be a turning point in Roger’s life? Explain.
  • What is the kindest thing that a stranger has ever done for you or someone you know?

Create a Thank-You Letter
Write a thank-you letter to Mrs. Jones using the point of view or voice of Roger after several years have passed. In the letter, you should review the events and the effect her kindness had on Roger. Tell her about what has happened since. Remember the course focus, “The Human Condition – In Search of Self.” Try to include some comments about how Mrs. Jones changed Roger’s life.

Use the following address information for your letter:
Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones lives in the city of Joplin, Missouri. She lives on the first floor of a rooming house, Unit 4, at 123 5th Street. Her United States postal code is 64802.

Roger Hughes now works in Columbia, Missouri in an office at 230 Jesse Hall. The United States postal code there is 65211.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Create a Sequel

Read “Kath and Mouse,” by Janet McNaughton.

Responding to the Story

  • What does it mean to play “cat and mouse”? Give an example from a personal experience or from a movie, book, or TV show you have seen.
  • In what way does Kath play a “cat and mouse” game with Helen?
  • What pun has the author used in the title?
  • Explain the significance of the character Christine. Why did the author bring her into the story?
  • Revisit the definition of narrative conflict. Discuss how the author used the conflict between characters to create tension. Why is conflict an important element of a story? How does conflict create a tense, fast-paced story? Discuss the types of conflict that exist in other stories(novels) you have read recently.

Create a Sequel
What happens to Kath, Helen, and Kevin after the story ends? Continue the story. Be sure that the details and events you relate are consistent with the original story.

Here are a few suggestions to help you write your own short story sequel:
Developing an Idea

  • Think about “Kath and Mouse.” What do you think the characters have learned in the story? Try to predict what they will do next.
  • Develop a plot idea. Does Kath continue to bully others around her?
  • List the characters that you want to include


  • Write an outline that describes the plot, setting, point of view, and main conflict. Will you tell the story from Kath’s or Helen’s point of view, or as an outsider looking in on the situation?
  • Using your outline as a guide, write your story. Think about an exciting way to start. Grab your reader’s interest right at the start.
  • What will the mood or tone of your story be – funny, serious, or realistic?
  • Use dialogue between characters to move the plot along and to reveal character

Read your story, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the plot make sense? Is it interesting to the reader?
  • Have you remained true to the original story?
  • Are the characters’ actions believable?

Oh, and one more thing…
First, … look up the word “eclectic”. If you think you know what it means, identify example from the story of something “eclectic.” Include something eclectic in your sequel.

Second, … look through several quotes from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” Include a direct or indirect reference to at least one quote from “The Art of War.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On the Sidewalk Bleeding

Read “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” by Evan Hunter

Respond to the following questions on the various aspects of the story:

  1. Who is the protagonist?
  2. What is/are the conflict(s)?
  3. The conflict is developed through the use of names that apply to the boy: Andy and a Royal. Skim the story to note how the names appear in critical places. What do these names represent?
  4. What effect does Andy’s jacket have on the people who find him in the alley?
  5. What are the reasons why these people do not help Andy?
  6. At what point does Andy realize he is dying?
  7. What does Andy do with the last of his strength? How is this important to the theme and to the outcome of the conflict?
  8. What is the climax or turning point? Sketch a Plot Diagram. Try this Plot Diagram Generator or find another.

    Create a Plot Diagram

    Create a Plot Diagram

    Plot Diagram created with Gliffy Diagrams from Chrome Webstore

    Plot Diagram created with Gliffy Diagrams from Chrome Webstore

  9. What is the police officer’s reaction to Andy? How does this contribute to the author’s message?

Assessment Activity: Who Am I?

Consider an essay planning map for this expository writing task

Consider an essay planning map for this expository writing task

Consider your own identity: who are you, what makes you unique, how do others see you, what do you want others to know and see about you. Write a post in your blog that represents yourself: embed visual elements and/or other suitable medium.

You may wish to include some of the following elements:

  • a personal motto or saying
  • a symbol that represents something about you
  • your attitudes about yourself
  • your strengths and talents
  • your hopes and dreams for the future
  • what you most like about yourself
  • what you are working on improving about yourself (with a positive focus) not what you dislike about yourself

Focus on the positive and create a post that makes you feel good about yourself while showing others all that is good about you.

Spend time reviewing the criteria from the assessment rubric.

Blog Post Rubric

Blog Post Rubric

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tabula Rasa?

Immigration has occurred at some point in the background of all Canadians, even those who are now called “native” or “first nation” peoples. Choose one of these topics:

  • My ancestral homeland
  • The arrival of my ancestor(s) in Canada
  • My immigration to Canada

Select the most appropriate to you. Focus it to fit your circumstances, knowledge, and interest.

Now take a page of notes, perhaps consulting a parent, grandparent, or family records. Think about the importance, even the heroic, legendary, or mythic qualities you may see in this topic – then write your “discovery draft.” In the next version heighten these overtones by clothing bare fact in a variety of poetical devices (especially metaphor). Test your prose by reading aloud, before publishing the final version.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“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)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Wordle: Decisions

a Wordle created with a Mac or PC

a Wordle created with a Mac or PC

a Togul created with a Chromebook

a Togul created with a Chromebook

Search the net for a few quotes about decisions. Recall 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 (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 words) that develops an idea about decisions inspired from your “wordle“.

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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 (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.



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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Studying God’s Finished Picture

Spend 5 minutes trying to complete a 200+ piece jigsaw puzzle WITHOUT looking at the picture.

Now look at the picture and see how many pieces you can add in the next 5 minutes.

In what ways is putting the puzzle together like or unlike putting your life together?

In what ways is the puzzle like or unlike answering the question, “Who Am I?”

Choose one of the following passages to study:

  • read the passage
  • write about what you think the passage says
  • explain what you think the passage means in each of your lives today
  • describe what the passage says we are in God’s eyes


  • Genesis 1:26-31
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Colossians 3:5-17
  • Luke 4:18-19
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:22-40
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • Ephesians 4:1-32
  • Galatians 5:13-26
  • Psalm 139
  • John 14:12
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What Does God Think About Us?

Read 2Corinthians 5:17-18 and Jeremiah 1:4-8.

As we try to answer the question “Who Am I?” we need to know what God wants for us. What does he think about us?

We also need to look at ourselves – our interests, abilities, weaknesses.

As we go about answering this question we also need to talk with other people. Hearing about our strengths and weaknesses from others often tells us things about ourselves that we overlook.

Try to keep everything you write positive – no jokes or putdowns.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email