Monday October 30

Marshall McLuhan once famously said “the medium is the message,” but what does that actually mean? It means that the message–the idea being communicated–is different depending on the medium being used to communicate the message. So what does this mean for a story? How is a story different when told as a graphic novel rather than a traditional novel? How is it different if told using song? How is it different if told using animation?

You will be looking at a graphic novel in this activity, but before you do that, it might be helpful for you to understand the background and context of this graphic novel. Watch the following video:

Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack (born 19 January 1954), died on October 23, 1966 near Redditt, ON. He was an Anishinaabe boy from Ontario who ran away from his residential school near Kenora at age 12, and subsequently died from hunger and exposure to the harsh weather. His death in 1966 sparked national attention and the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.

In October 2016, Tragically Hip frontman, Gord Downie, released The Secret Path, a multimedia project that includes an album, graphic novel (illustrations by Jeff Lemire) and animated film (aired by the CBC on 23 October) based on Wenjack’s story. Proceeds from the project will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation through The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

Graphic Novels

Using the term “graphic novel” can be a bit misleading in a way, because as a medium, graphic novels or comics are a lot closer to film than they are to novels. As Scott McCloud illustrates,

Master comics artists Will Eisner uses the term sequential art when describing comics. Taken individually, the pictures below are merely that--pictures. However when part of a sequence, even a sequence of only two, the art of the image is transformed into something more: the art of comics. Notice that this definition is strictly neutral on matters of style, quality or subject matter. Much has already been written on the various schools of comic art; on particular artists, particular titles, particular trends. But to define comics, we must first do a little aesthetic surgery and separate form from content!

Comics are very close to animation. However, the sequential images of animation occupy the same space whereas the sequential images of comics occupy different spaces. Space is very important when it comes to conveying the passage of time in comics. Small spaces usually signify small amounts of time, whereas large spaces signify larger amounts of time.

Codes and Conventions of Comics

Now let’s take a closer look at the codes and conventions of comics.

Reading a Graphic Novel

As you read Secret Path, think about how these codes and conventions help to create meaning, and consider how the experience of reading a graphic novel compares to reading a traditional novel.

Code: A system of signs which create meaning. (e.g., motion lines, close-ups, dominating images, periphery images)

Convention: An accepted way of doing things. (e.g., using balloon shapes for speech)


  • these contain the comics art

  • a sequence of panels can show one or more characters/pieces of action moving through time, or can show a number of characters/pieces of action at one point in time

  • the nature of panel borders (smooth, jagged, bold or none) can also provide meaning


  • these are the spaces between panels

  • changes of character, scene, time and point of view can occur in these spaces

  • as the reader moves across the gutter he/she must relate one panel to the next (this is called the act of “closure”)

Speech/Thought Balloons

  • these are the spaces for the characters’ spoken words or thoughts

  • their shape, style and colour can convey meaning

  • balloons are not always used

Motion lines

  • these convey speed, length and direction of the action


  • can provide narration, speech, thoughts or sounds (through onomatopoeia)

  • the font size, style, colour and capitalization can all convey meaning


  • colour, style shading, perspective can all convey information and mood

This is the dropbox icon. Double-Entry Journal

Your task is to keep a double-entry journal as you read. In this journal, make note of the way the codes and conventions of the text create/affect meaning. You may use this graphic organizer to keep track of your thinking as you read. You will see a sample entry to help you get started.

You do not need to comment on every page. Focus on things that you think are significant, unusual, or that raise questions for you. Point form notes are acceptable. You should have about 10-15 entries. Use the following list to help you figure out what kinds of things you should be making notes on:

  • Look for places where space, in terms of panel size or shape, indicate the passage of time. Why might the illustrator have made the choice to convey time in this way?
  • Identify panels with close-ups. What do these close-ups communicate?
  • How does the illustrator indicate emotion?
  • What messages are sent by the colour choices in this graphic novel?
  • How is movement communicated?
  • How does the illustrator indicate changes in time or setting?
  • Identify places where you consider how this graphic medium is able to do things that a narrative text can’t. (e.g., What does the lack of written narration and dialogue add to the reader’s experience with the text?)

Wednesday October 25

Silent reading

Take up “Liking is for Cowards”

Choose the corner that represents your favourite season and go to the corresponding corner.


2) download

3) images

4) shutterstock_84094621


For tomorrow please bring a blanket and a doll or stuffed animal that was special to you as a child.

Monday October 23

Your Digital Footprint

The term “digital footprint” refers to the magnitude of your presence online. It’s almost impossible these days to completely avoid leaving a digital footprint. If you use email, have ever been in the newspaper, or placed an ad on a site like Kijiji, you have a digital footprint even if you don’t have a Facebook profile or an Instagram account. How big is your digital footprint?


How do you feel about the magnitude of your digital footprint? The ways in which we leave a footprint online creates a media message about who we are. How well do you think your digital footprint represents who you feel you really are?


Is Social Media Positive or Negative?

Social media is almost an inescapable part of modern life. Some argue that it is a positive force in our lives because it allows us to maintain connections, while others suggest it has created a culture of narcissism and leads to bullying. Consider the following essay by American author, Jonathan Franzen. It is adapted from a speech Franzen originally gave at a college commencement ceremony. As you read, make it a goal to really focus on your reading. Eliminate any other distractions, such as alerts on your phone or other windows open on your computer. Pause after each paragraph and ask a question of the text or make a connection.

Liking Is for Cowards

Answer the questions that follow the essay on a separate sheet of paper. Use evidence (quotation, summary, and or paraphrase).

Please remember to bring a rough draft of your essay for tomorrow for peer editing. No rough draft, no marks for peer editing.

Friday October 20

Final work period for the essay (not including our peer editing session next Tuesday).

In order to get marks for peer editing you MUST have a rough draft ready for Tuesday.

Please remember the assessment criteria for your essay:

I will know I am successful when I can….

  • have an effective introduction that includes a clearly stated thesis
  • use logos, pathos, and ethos effectively to persuade/convince my reader
  • avoid obvious errors in logic that would allow a reader to poke holes in my thesis
  • follow all six of Orwell’s rules:
    • don’t use pretentious diction/jargon
    • never use a long word when a short one will do
    • never use the passive when you can use the active
    • never use a metaphor you’re used to seeing
    • if it’s possible to cut a word out–do it
    • break a rule if following these rules makes your writing sound awful
  • express my ideas concisely
  • support my ideas with sufficient evidence
  • use MLA format (citations, indenting paragraphs, double spacing, etc.)
  • include citations if necessary (if I used a quotation or referenced a fact or idea that is not my own)
  • include properly formatted Works Cited if I used citations
  • demonstrate the difference between an essay of argument or a persuasive essay
  • use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • express my ideas in well-developed paragraphs: state, illustrate, explain
  • have an effective conclusion that restates the thesis (and if the essay is persuasive, prompts readers to change their thinking)

Thursday October 19

Essay work period in 301. Essays are due by the end of next week. Please have a rough draft ready for Tuesday for peer editing.

Wednesday October 18

Yesterday I had you completing an assignment on how to/when to paraphrase, summarize, and quote. I only got assignments from a few people. I know that some of you were at the student voice conference but I also got a note from our supply teacher saying that some of you were distracted and talking to each other.

I realize that it’s possible that you weren’t aware that I wanted it submitted before the end of the period, but that’s not an excuse to waste time. This was an assignment that required some thought but you had more than enough time to complete this assignment and do work on your essays.

We have a lab period today for you to work on your essays and I had planned on giving you more in class time but right now I’m planning on cancelling any future work periods for this unless I see a dramatic change today.

The paraphrase, summary, quote assignment needs to be submitted today. Please use your time wisely and remember to consult the assessment criteria as you work on your essay.

Monday October 16

Good morning everyone!

We’ll start with silent reading today and then move on to a reminder about comment moderation on your blogs.

Next we will discuss one of Orwell’s rules that some people were a little unclear about: never use passive voice when you can use active:


Here’s an illustration of why you should avoid passive voice in your writing if you can.


What is Plagiarism?

Here’s where things get tricky. Different institutions have slightly different definitions of plagiarism:

Example Icon Definition #1

The Council of Writing Program Administrators defines plagiarism as:

“In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.”

“Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices.” Council of Writing Program Administrators. 16 Feb. 2015. <>.

Example Icon Definition #2

“Three different acts are considered plagiarism:

failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas,

failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, and

failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words” (570).

Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook. 5 th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 1998.

Example Icon Definition #3


The University of Toronto’s code of behavior defines plagiarism as follows:

It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:

(d) to represent as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism.

Wherever in the Code an offence is described as depending on “knowing”, the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the person ought reasonably to have known.

Procter, Margaret. “How Not to Plagiarize.” 16 Feb. 2015. <>

These definitions are all similar but there are subtle differences between each one. In the first example, the definition uses the word “deliberately.” This might lead you to believe that if you accidentally commit an act of plagiarism by forgetting to cite a source, or if you didn’t know a source needed to be cited, you’re not guilty of plagiarism; however, the third example adds a stipulation that it’s plagiarism if the person “ought reasonably to have known.” So you’re still on the hook even if you didn’t mean to do it.

The first example also mentions the idea of common knowledge. You do not have to cite something that is common knowledge. So what constitutes common knowledge? The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University explains that something can be considered common knowledge if “you find the same information undocumented in at least five credible sources. Additionally, it might be common knowledge if you think the information you’re presenting is something your readers will already know, or something that a person could easily find in general reference sources.”

Academic Citation

One way to ensure you avoid accidental plagiarism is making sure you cite all your sources properly. Not only do you prevent unintentional plagiarism, you establish your own credibility as a responsible and ethical writer and researcher.

In English, instructors usually require students to use the Modern Language Association style guide, often simply referred to as MLA. However, different disciplines use other style guides such as APA or Chicago. Therefore, it’s not particularly helpful or necessary to memorize how to cite different sources using a specific style guide. What is useful, is knowing how to access and use a variety of different style guides.

The Most Common Style Guides

Style Guide Discipline Examples Resources
Modern Languages Association (MLA) English literature, art Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
American Psychological Association (APA) psychology, education The American Psychological Association
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) history, science The Chicago Manual of Style


You’ll notice that there is some overlap. Ultimately, your instructor will decide which style guide he or she wants you to use so if in doubt, ask.

When to Paraphrase, Summarize, and Quote

Paraphrases, summaries, and quotations are used to support—not replace—your own ideas.

Paraphrase: restatement of a portion text in your own words using approximately the same number of words for the purpose of helping the reader understand the meaning.

Summary: a shortened version of the text in your own words for the purpose of providing the reader with the essential understanding of a source.

Quotation: a repetition of someone’s exact words for the purpose of using someone else’s words to support or illustrate your ideas, analyzing another’s writing, or to point out an element in the writing.

The following examples all come from Williams College: Citing and Documenting online student resource.

You should use a quotation when specific words, or a phrase are essential to support the point you are making.

Example Icon Direct Quotation Example


Buffy, a small, delicate-looking blonde of superhuman strength, relies on Giles not only for adult support and coaching, but also for the research necessary to do that for which the Vampire Slayer has been chosen.

Quote in Paper (MLA)

According to DeCandido, Buffy “relies on Giles not only for adult support and coaching, but also for the research necessary to do that for which the Vampire Slayer has been chosen” (44).

The full citation that would appear in the Works Cited page would be:

DeCandido, Graceanne A. “Bibliographic Good vs. Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”American Libraries Sept. 1999: 44-47. Print.

The student chose a direct quotation because the student felt the author’s exact words were important to convey the main idea. Notice how the student seamlessly weaves the quotation into his own text. He begins the sentence and uses the quotation to end it. Notice too how the student does not include the author’s last name in the parenthetical citation because he used it when introducing the quotation.

Summaries are helpful when you want to condense a large amount of information. You still need to put it in your own words. Focus on the details that help support your point and omit the ones that don’t.

Example Icon Summary Example


Buffy, a small, delicate-looking blonde of superhuman strength, relies on Giles not only for adult support and coaching, but also for the research necessary to do that for which the Vampire Slayer has been chosen. In the third season, Giles was officially relieved from his Watcher duties, but he ignores that and continues as Buffy’s trainer, confidant, and father-figure.

Summary in Paper (MLA)

To help her fulfill her Slayer duties, Buffy can always turn to Giles (DeCandido 44).

The full citation that would appear in the Works Cited page would be:

DeCandido, Graceanne A. “Bibliographic Good vs. Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”American Libraries Sept. 1999: 44-47. Print.

In this case, the facts were important in terms of supporting the point the student was making, but the exact words were not, and he just wanted to include the most important facts. Notice how the student includes some of the details in his summary but ignores others. He is focusing on the details that help support his point.

Paraphrasing is a good idea when all of the ideas are important, but you don’t want to use a quotation and you want the language to sound like the rest of your essay. Paraphrasing can be tricky because you want to ensure that you capture all the key ideas, while still sounding like yourself. A good tip is to read the passage, cover it up, and then try to write the paraphrase in your own words without looking at it. Don’t just use a thesaurus to look up synonyms. It’s also important that you don’t change the meaning from what the author originally wrote. When you paraphrase, sometimes you need to use more words than the author because you need to explain complex concepts and ideas in a more understandable way.

Example Icon Paraphrase Example


In the third season, Giles was officially relieved from his Watcher duties, but he ignores that and continues as Buffy’s trainer, confidant, and father-figure.

Paraphrase in Paper (MLA)

Despite his termination by the Watcher’s Council in season three, Giles persists to teach and counsel Buffy while playing a “father-figure” role (DeCandido 44)

The full citation that would appear in the Works Cited page would be:

DeCandido, Graceanne A. “Bibliographic Good vs. Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”American Libraries Sept. 1999: 44-47. Print.

Notice how the words, phrases, and even sentence structure are different from the original while still maintaining the original meaning. The student has put the words “father-figure” in quotation marks because it is a specific term used in the original, but even if he hadn’t used that quotation, he still would have needed the citation because the ideas are not his own.


External Video External Video

Watch this video explaining the difference between a summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation.


What does it mean to “cite” a source?

When you cite a source, you are giving credit to the person who created that source. Ideally, you want to make sure that the person reading your work can find the exact same source you used. In fact, sometimes the reader may want to know more, and actually find the source to read more about the area of research. This requires you to provide quite a bit of detailed information in a standardized format so that whenever anyone reads your work, or when you read theirs, there is a clear way of recognizing when others’ work is cited. Now, you don’t want that information to distract your reader from the points you’re trying to make so you usually cite your source in two ways:

  1. In the body of your paper, immediately after the quotation or idea you borrowed, using a shorter form of a citation. In English, you will usually use a parenthetical citation.
  2. At the end of your paper on a new page, using a longer, more detailed citation. In English, this is usually in a Works Cited page

When should you cite a source?

Any time you are using a quotation, fact, idea, or phrase that you didn’t come up with yourself, and that isn’t common knowledge, cite it.

Resources Icon Resources

  1. Purdue Online Writing Lab’s Is It Plagiarism Yet?
  2. The University of Toronto’s How Not to Plagiarize
  3. William’s College’s Citing and Documenting guide.

Citation Tools

There are a number of tools available online to help you cite your sources correctly; however, you will still need to refer to a style guide to confirm that the tool cited your source using the proper style.

Resources Icon Resources

  1. Bibme
  2. Citation Machine
  3. EasyBib is free for MLA formatting but you have to pay to use other style guides.



Friday October 13

Hi folks,

I have the lab booked for you today. So when you head up there, please log in to Google Classroom and download a copy of the file I posted under the outline assignment.

Fill put the template with as much detail as possible and submit it by the end of the period whether it’s done or not.