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  English Language Arts 11 and 12:
Worksheets and Notes (Fall and Winter, 2005/2006)



(February 8, 2006)
Blog Resources for First Class: English 11 and 12

Full information for the first class, including a link to Writing for Websites by Crawford Kilian.


New Students' Blog

The Pearson ALC English Students Blog is up and running at! For now, it's a work in progress. Students from Brad's English 11 class (seven so far) have joined. Members can post questions or comments that are instantly available to others. Nonmembers may freely read the postings but may not comment or post.

Next term, I hope to make the blog an integral part of both of our senior English classes. One way it may help is by providing a place that students may ask questions about a tricky concept or difficult writing problem. Answers can come from the teacher or the students!

Stay tuned for more. Right now there are several posts of interest, including the first half draft of Brad's personal narrative essay being written as a demonstration for the students.



Study Guide for the Novel, Of Mice and Men


I hope everyone is enjoying the break. Since the novel, Of Mice and Men, contains a wealth of interesting vocabulary and idiom, it is helpful to have some support materials. Searching the Internet can be tricky, with most of the resources in the first searches trying to sell you an essay!

After a bit of frustration, I found a wonderful resource at a California high school. In the guide, you will find a detailed vocabulary, idiom and allusions for each chapter with definitions and links to photographs.

I hope you find it useful!

Of Mice and Men: The Student Survival Guide




On Writing Poetry

“Nothing’s a gift; it’s all on loan.”—Wislawa Szymborska

before you go
writing lines
speaking words
our laughter
our silence
our pens

voice your poems
our eyes our ears
will listen

hear your words
for the first time
on tongues on breath

destroying silence
keeping nothingness at bay

—Brad; third draft with major changes from the second.




On Writing Poetry

“Nothing’s a gift; it’s all on loan.”—Wislawa Szymborska

before you go
the lines written
the words spoken
the laughter
the silence
our pens scratching out words

give voice to your poems
our eyes our ears
are listening
maybe for the first time
by listening
we hear the words
for the first time

our tongues our breath
destroy the silence
keep nothingness at bay

—Brad; second draft and now a named poem. Final draft next Wednesday! See the first draft below.



“Nothing’s a gift; it’s all on loan.”—Wislawa Szymborska

before you go
the lines written
the words spoken
the laughter
the silence
our pens scratching out words

giving voice to poems
all eyes all ears
were listening
maybe for the first time
and maybe
by listening
we hear words
for the first time

giving voice
all tongues all breath

and so
silence is destroyed
and nothing kept away
—Brad; first draft based (loosely) on the First Lines/Last Lines exercise on 
Page 6 of "Designs for Writing Poetry"












This week, students discussed how they might work more effectively in groups.

Group Roles:

Listener: Listens and then reflects.

Debater: The devil’s advocate role. He or she takes the opposite view to test an idea.

Timekeeper: Divides the task into parts. Sets the time limits. Tells the group when time is up.

Speaker: Oral expert in the group who isn’t afraid of public speaking.

Writer/note taker: Neatness counts here.

Leader/organizer: Keeps the focus on the task

Float (multi-tasking) May act much as the intermediary.

Intermediary: Reports progress to teacher and is the interface between the group and the teacher.

Good group members should:

be active and cooperative

focus on the topic

participate and listen respectfully (allow for contrary opinions)

support the final decision

listen carefully and patiently

avoid bias if possible


Poor group members often:

get off topic

fail to participate

are inefficient

are emotional inappropriately

talk too much

talk too little



Sample answers to the current assignment, Practicing the Art of the Short Story

Third Person (Omniscient)

In the following excerpt, we know what both John and his mother are thinking and know. The author can tell us everything we might need to know.

John wore his dirty t-shirt that day. His mom hated it when he did that.

“Can I go out riding my bike?” he asked her.

“Sure, but make sure you’re home for lunch,” she answered.

John shrugged his shoulders, thinking to himself how moms were such worriers. But his mom had reason to worry—John was prone to forgetting to come home on time. (64 words)

First Person (identical situation)

In this second excerpt, John tells his own story. Note how losing his mom’s thoughts changes how the story is told and how John’s opinion of his t-shirt is different from his mother’s.

I found my favourite t-shirt under my bed and put it on. Today, I was going out to ride my bike.

“Can I go out riding my bike?” I asked my mom.

“Sure, but make sure you’re home for lunch,” she answered.

Just because I forgot to come home one time, she’s always worried. She should really find something more important to worry about! (64 words)


This is John’s favourite place. Perhaps his love of the place is why he sometimes forgets to come home!

Down by the river, John laid his bike down and walked along the road that ran beside it. The water glimmered between the alders that lined the road. Above him, the wind rustled the dry, late-summer leaves. Some of them had fallen, crunching underfoot, releasing their leaf smell as he trudged along. (52 words)


A boy like John, who loves nature and doesn’t mind getting dirty, might help illustrate an important truth about life: children need some time and freedom in order to experience the world first hand and learn. Clearly, with a worried mother, chances exist for conflicts with her need to protect him and his need for freedom. John’s absent-mindedness can surely get him into trouble, but that, too, could help him learn. (71 words)


English 11: Writing about “The Singing Silence”

Today, we will begin writing about the story, “The Singing Silence.” First, we will review key terms. Then, we will write our individual responses. Finally, we will form groups to compare and to take notes on our fellow students’ work. Homework: Revise your work based on what you’ve learned in class today. Due Weds. October 5

The Story as a Whole (theme):

Write your personal response to the story. Use one supporting quote.

What do you think Eva-Lis Wuorio says to us about human relationships through her story of Vicente and his search for an amphora? Point out evidence in the story to support your answer.


I am most struck by Wuorio’s description of the sailors’ generosity as, “quick, unthinking,” in supporting Vicente in his quest. Although Vicente is unusual, they respect the old man. Human beings often give willingly to others.

Setting: Atmosphere

The story, “The Singing Silence,” creates an atmosphere that affects our emotions. Identify a part of the setting that creates atmosphere. (Remember setting includes the social environments of the characters; for example, what is the nature of Vicente’s society?).

What atmosphere is created? How, as a reader, do you react to the emotions the author tries to create? (some emotions you may feel: pity, sympathy, anger,  . . .)


The American calls the amphora “that thing” and seems more interested that it is “an antique” than anything else. He is interested in the financial value of things. As a reader, I feel anger at his lack of appreciation for the “water jug of a Phoenician sailor,” already rare at the time.

Point of View: Story Narration

The story is told by a narrator, “I.” What effect does the narrator’s character have on how the story is told? (Remember: the narrator of the story is not necessarily the author.) Note places where the narrator says things that reveal character.


The narrator says, “At Cala Pujol it is easy to forget,” and then goes on to describe the beauty of the place, ending with, “In peace, one forgets.” It seems that war is on the narrator’s mind. Perhaps he searches for meaning after a wartime experience and finds an answer in Vicente’s dogged quest.

Notes from other students on this question:



English 11: Writing about Literature Evaluation Sheet

Today, we will exchange the writing we did on the Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day.” Each partner will make detailed comments on the writing and make suggestions for improvement. With these comments, students will revise their work and hand in next Wednesday for marking.

The comments you make will be given a mark of 10 and entered under your Writing and Grammar scores for the term.

Name of Student Writer:

Name of Student Reader:

1. Read the paragraph once. Make a comment on the title of the piece. Does it accurately reflect the content? Can you suggest a better title?

2. Find an example where the student writer has used a quotation. Is the quotation introduced well? (is it clear to you what is being said?) Do the words quoted help you to understand the literary term? (plot, conflict etc.) Copy the sentence on the lines below and explain why you make your comment.

3. Examine the topic and concluding sentences carefully. Do they indicate the contents of the paragraph clearly? Explain why they do OR make suggestions for improvement.

4. Finally, make a detailed comment on the general effectiveness of the student writing you have read today. If you were the teacher, what mark would you give out of 10? Explain your reasons.

Teacher’s Comment:



English 11: How to Answer Questions Well

Follow the suggestions below to increase your chances for good marks on your English assignments.

1. Read and understand the question before you answer.

2. Know exactly what the question word used requires you to do. Comment means to give an opinion, but it also means to give evidence from a story to support that opinion!

3. Refer to authors by their last name (e.g.: write Shakespeare writes . . . when referring to William Shakespeare) when referring to stories. Use a writer’s full name only the first time you mention it. Never use a writer’s first name in a reference.

4. Follow logical order when answering a question. First, give your answer. Then, give your evidence (a quote or a description of an event or a character etc.) Finally, reach a conclusion.

5. Avoid sentences beginning with “there” or “it”. Begin with your true subject: The bleak setting causes Paul’s desire to leave the farm.

6. Use the active voice in your sentences. Use passive voice sentences only when absolutely necessary (which is not often).

7. Avoid fancy vocabulary; plain words communicate equally well.

8. Try to be simple, concise but still intelligent. Avoid summarizing or retelling the plot. Summary rarely answers a question. The more you explain a quote or example, the better your answer will be.

9. Don't plagiarize. See the handout on Plagiary for more information.

10. Avoid ellipsis in the middle of quotations. ( . . . ). Make sure that a person who has not read the story can understand the quotation you use.

11. Use literary terms correctly in your writing.

12. Analysis answers the question, “Why?”. Examples alone will not answer this question. Say why the author used irony rather than only saying that he/she used it).

13. When quoting dialogue, identify who says it.

When Harry says, “Other women want to buy a house, other women want their kids to have a yard to play in,” he shows how his desire to be ordinary had forced him to look at other people for a model of behaviour different from his own. The quote should fit in the grammatical structure of your sentence as in the above example.

14. Quote accurately. Inaccurate quotation is careless.

15. Refer to any story in the present tense. For example: Romeo loves Juliet.

See my Weekly Feature on How to Answer Questions Well

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