En 12 – The Final Week

And yet this will be a final like no other.

We have come to the end of all things. It is the final week in your final class (for Grade 12s) and while I wish we were all together to say our farewells, alas, it cannot be so.

For our final assignment/exam, you are going to tell the tale of this pandemic with the new media known as memes. Seems silly right? Oh but it’s not. New media has been used since humans could communicate to express our stories and memes are part of this communication. Sure, a lot of theme are ridiculous nonsense but so are a lot of TV shows, books, comics, movies, YouTube videos etc. It is your job to critically think about the topic and show your thinking in your presentation. Here is an example of how one might look


En 10 – Final Assessment


En 12 – The final weeks

We are almost there…the end of the course, the year, high school (for some of you) and we’ve made it because we’ve risen to the challenge of being dispersed throughout Langley in our own homes. I’m proud of you all.

So there is one last piece to put in place and that is the final two weeks. I am pushing the assignment to Wednesday because I want you all to focus on your final essay and get that completed. It is due Friday and it is a key piece in evaluating your thinking and writing skills. So write well and send me any questions you have. If your essay isn’t good enough, I’ll send it back with edits for you to make it better.

Let’s get it done!


En 10 – Choose your own story

We’re in Week 6! Crazy.

Let’s change it up a bit and give you the choice of the text you want to write about. By text, I mean any story, fiction or non-fiction, that you really, really like and want to tell me about. It can be a show you’ve binged or a movie you’ve watched many times (I saw Braveheart in the theatre 7 times! Movies were a lot cheaper in 1995). I simply want to hear about what you enjoy.

Today’s video will explain more and I will give some examples of shows I devoured and continue to devour. I’m having too much fun making these…

So pick something to make a project about and good luck.


En 12 Week 6 – Synthesis Writing part II

Hey all. I looked at some of the note charts you created in prep for your essay and they’re good…but there aren’t enough! Proper planning leads to a proper essay so gather your data and let’s get planning.

The goal this week is to make an outline and write a rough draft. Create a Word doc in the Assignment and start writing. Here’s the video with some hopefully helpful comments. If not, enjoy the pipes.

So get to work. This is Week 2 of a 3 week process and the more you do ahead of time the better your final outcome will be. This essay also covers the major curricular outcomes for English 12 so your final grade depends on it. Work well and plan and you will be fine.


En 10 – “The Sniper”

This week’s lesson is called Sentence, Phrase, Word and is an activity to do while reading the short story, “The Sniper.” It involves you finding meaning in the story and writing about your discovery. The video recording of Tuesday’s live class explains the process.

To review, the activity is as follows:

  • Read the short story “The Sniper”
  • Choose a sentence (or sentences) that has a deeper meaning
  • Reduce the sentence (or sentences) to a Phrase
  • Reduce further to one Word
  • Write a paragraph explaining what it means

That is all for the week. Our goal is to get everyone caught up by Tuesday and I will send out a current grade to everyone to let you know how you’re doing.


En 12 Week 5 – Synthesis Essay Writing

For the next 3 weeks we will be working on writing a Synthesis Essay. It is the highest form of essay writing we will do in high school because it involves a conversation between texts around your ideas. Think of it like this: all stories have messages for the audience to decipher and these messages overlap between stories. You need to be able to see the bigger picture and synthesize these messages into a cohesive message. That, is your Synthesis Essay.

Here is the video from today’s live class. I go through an example of a synthesis process and explain the texts we will use for our own essay.

The focus topic for the essay is:

Why do people do bad things and what are the personal and societal consequences of evil?

You must use evidence from the following text in your writing.

  • “The Bastard”
  • Black Mirror “Crocodile” (season 4 episode 3)
  • Macbeth

This week, watch and read the sources and make notes in a chart. Anytime you see something that may help you answer the essay questions write it down. Having more evidence than you need is better than not having enough. If there is another story that comes to mind then include it in the conversation.

The Macbeth graphic novel can be found on the Sora site. In the video you can see how to find it and how to login. We all have free access to it and it is very easy to get the graphic novel. As always, I am here to answer questions. Just send me a chat.


En 10 – Week 4

It’s week 4! Have we gone completely crazy yet…or is there a little bit of sanity still in there? Whatever the case, onward!

The reading for this week is the short story by Richard Wagamese, “How the Animal People Choose a Leader.” Leadership is an interesting topic. I’ve taught for 20 years, coached for longer, been involved in many groups and events involving lots of people and it is always interesting to see people in leadership. Some are good, some are terrible, some are forgettable, and what you inevitably see is that people are different, and those in leadership reveal these differences in the many different situations that arise.

In the short story, think of the different types of leaders that arise and think about yourself; What type of leader are you capable of being? You can write about this in your journal this week (last week you had the week off). Stay tuned for videos about writing this week as we work towards writing a full-length essay by the end of the year. This week, work on being academic in your writing. Do not do the following:

  • use “I think…” or “In this essay I am going to tell you about…”
  • use a comma instead of a period. If the sentence is over, then end it.

Start with those, and we will go from there.

What makes a good leader?

En 12 – Week 4

It’s May the Fourth! Normally we would watch a Star Wars video, argue about which movie is the best (still can’t believe Sheppard likes The Phantom Menace!) but alas, here we are. So it’s up to you to get your Star Wars fix today, even if you don’t like it…for some reason I can’t fathom.

Onward to this weeks’ work. The questions I want you to think about is this

Why do we do bad things? Is it a flaw in our nature? Or are we mostly influenced by outside forces that form us?

The short story, “The Bastard,” is about an anti-hero, a villain as the protagonist, whose goal is to swindle and rob people. He uses their vices to manipulate others into giving them what he wants. The story raises interesting questions about us and what we are capable of.

Read the story, and write a response to the 1st question at the end of the PDF (Page 75 Reading for Meaning). I have also included a link to the online version of the story as well because the scanned version isn’t of the greatest quality.

The Bastard – short story


En 10 Blk 4 – Week 3

Hey all! Look who’s back to finish off his practicum! Mr. Shantz has created the assignment for you this week and will be available for help on the Teams chat.

Let’s write a Travel Journal

It’s nice to be in touch with everyone again! I hope all of you are well.

I’ve enjoyed reading your Alternate History stories, although there were a few of you whose work I haven’t seen yet, so if you haven’t submitted them to Mr Rowe, get them in soon.

This week we’re going to be talking about Travel Journals — basically, a story about a person’s adventures while travelling, told from that person’s point of view. It could be that the person is writing the story down in their journal, or telling friends/family about it over supper, or writing a message in a bottle, or writing a letter/email to someone.

There are lots of famous stories that are essentially Travel Journals, including:

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat

What’s important to remember is that this kind of story is personal, it uses the first person past tense, or “I did this” perspective. Because it is personal, when you write this kind of story, you really have to bring your character’s personality through in their narrative voice.

A character’s narrative voice is the way they tell their story:

  • The type of language, or words they use.
  • Do they use big words or simple words?
  • Are they formal or speaking in a common way the way you might talk to someone on the street?
  • Their tone, or what kind of emotion is coming through in their writing to show how they’re feeling about what they went through.

All of these little details in how you write the way your narrator is speaking can make the Travel Log story more believable because they make your character more believable.

Take a look at the example PDF, which has an excerpt from the classic novel The War of the Worlds. Can you get a sense of:

  • What this character’s personality is like?
  • What kind of background he might have?
  • What country and what point in history he might be living in?
  • What he was feeling in the moment he describes?
  • What he might be feeling now as he remembers that moment?

This week, you’re going to be writing a short story in the form of a Travel Journal. In Teams, in the Files folder there are photos to choose from.

  1. Pick one of the photos.
  2. Write a story about travelling to the place in your photo.
    • The story must be at least one page long.

You can make up anything you like about the place in the picture — it doesn’t matter what it’s like or where it is in real life. You can make up all the details you want and you can make anything you want happen in your story.

Your narrator must have a clear narrative voice:

  • Ask yourself, what kind of person is your narrator? How would they speak? What are they feeling — excited, sarcastic, sad, annoyed, happy, angry, something else?
  • Be sure to write the story in that tone so we can really feel your character’s narrative voice.
  • Your story must also contain:
    • Two similes and One metaphor
    • Your similes and metaphor must be underlined.

I’m looking forward to reading where you’re going to be taking us on your imaginary travels!