Thursday October 15/15

Today we’ll start again with silent reading of your CCA novels.

Then we will finish summarizing Act 1.

Before reading Act 2 I’ve got another video for you to watch:

Anything from Act 2 that we don’t finish in class is homework.

Here is a copy of the formative project proposal for unit 2: ENG3UE Unit 2 Project Proposal Please have it completed by Monday.Here’s the link to our brainstorming document:Othello brainstorming

Wednesday October 14/15

We’ll begin with a 5 minute meditation today and then launch into silent reading of your CCA novels.

Once we’re done that we’ll come back to Othello. I have a quick 10 mark quiz to confirm that you finished reading Act 1 Scene 3. Then we’ll do a summary of the act using the following chart:

I’d like to show you this 5 minute video where two actors discuss the characters of Othello and Iago:

Then we’ll continue reading. Please have Act 2 finished for homework and think about what you’d like to do for your formative project. I will hand out the project proposals tomorrow.

Tuesday October 13/15

Your good copies of your personal essays are due today. You must submit your good copy digitally but I will need your rough work and self evaluation now. We’ll take some time at the start of the period to complete the self evaluation.

I also need to make sure you’ve all submitted your self-evaluations for your formative projects and that your projects are submitted properly.

Then we will continue reading Othello. Curious about what a first year university lecture on Othello might look like?

Here is a really interesting modern adaptation of Othello using the themes and characters from the play but not the original text.

Big Questions to consider in Othello:

1) Is Othello’s race relevant to a critical reading of the text? Some scholars say yes, others say no–that Othello’s race is incidental and a reading of Othello as a play about race is superficial. What do you think?

2) Does Shakespeare mean to portray Othello as inferior? Or does he show Othello’s internalization of the harsh prejudice against him, ultimately believing himself incapable of winning Desdemona’s love?

3) Does Shakespeare provide Iago with enough human motivation for the malevolent acts he commits?

4) Is it plausible that the intelligent, noble Othello could fall so quickly into Iago’s trap, turning from blissful newlywed to murderer in three days?

Thursday October 8/15

Yesterday you had your sight passage test, and your personal essay is due on Tuesday. Today I’ll show you how to submit that essay (you must hand in a digital copy.)

Then we’re going to look at the learning goals and success criteria for the next unit and brainstorm ideas for formative projects.

Tomorrow you will be handing in your formative projects. You will have time tomorrow to put the finishing touches on those projects if you need to, or to work on your essay.

Learning Goals Success Criteria
We are learning to analyze and evaluate a more complex text like William Shakespeare’s Othello
  • I can use a variety of reading strategies to make meaning from the text
  • I can identify the main characters, plot, and themes in Othello
  • I can draw conclusions about the play and use specific evidence from the text to support those conclusions.
  • I can identify and explain the use of literary devices—especially symbolism (see unit 1) in Othello
  • I can classify Othello as a tragedy using archetypal theory
  • I can read critically, reading between the lines of the text to make inferences that are not obvious upon first reading
  • I can identify bias in the text and critically evaluate the missing voices in the text
  • I can make connections between Othello and other texts I’ve read
We are learning to demonstrate our understanding of a complex text like Othello through a dramatization.
  • I can recite a selection of text from memory with clarity and expression
  • I can demonstrate an understanding of text through my body language, movement and position on stage
  • I can communicate my understanding of the text through costume and set choices
We are learning to write a formal literary essay
  • I can
  • use keyhole structure which includes
    • An introduction with:
      • An effective hook
      • A general introduction that gradually becomes more specific then leads to the thesis
      • Thesis
  • Body paragraphs (at least three)
    • Organize the paragraphs in terms of time, space, or order of importance
    • Use climactic order within paragraphs so each paragraph ends strongly
    • Each topic sentence should have a transitional tag to ensure coherence
    • Each topic sentence should reflect the thesis.
    • Within each paragraph, use a literary device that creates emphasis
    • Within each paragraph ensure that there is unity and coherence
    • The concluding sentence connects to the topic sentence
  • Concluding paragraph
    • Re-state thesis
    • Summarize body
    • Universal application (this may or may not connect to the hook)
    • use active voice
    • eliminate weak verbs
    • use proofreading and editing strategies to eliminate errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
    • format quotations from Shakespeare accurately in MLA format

We had a really good discussion about potential projects for the next unit. Here’s a picture of what we came up with:


(I think you can click on it to enlarge it).

As promised, here is the rubric for your personal essay: ENG3UE Personal essay rubric

Student work

One of our classmates is bravely posting his descriptive essay for feedback. Please add your feedback by commenting on this post:

The Snowfall [ROUGH DRAFT]

The silence of a November night was broken by the two rings of a faraway clock tower.  I tossed in my flannel covers as the lingering bells permeated my dreams.  My eyes opened.  Tossing the soft sheets aside, I planted my feet one by one onto my solid bedroom floor.  I could feel the cold of late autumn seeping through the smooth wood into the pads of my bare feet.  The humming sound of the heater caused my eyes to drift shut again, but a magical sight through the frost-painted glass to the side of me seized my view.  I gazed as large white flakes drifted past my window like fragments of heavenly clouds.  I reached up to peer down onto the wintry street.  The yellow light of the lamps revealed a thick shimmering blanket that painted the landscape white.  My hands and the tip of my nose embraced the cold touch of the glass as I watched this enchanted winter scene.  With only the sight of falling snow and the sound of winter’s whirling winds as companions, my eyes set on the hypnotic sight.

That moment was an almost magical part of my childhood, and the memory of that beautiful night will stay with me for life.  The pure sight of snow brings me feelings of peace, security, and life free of responsibilities, which only a child could know.

After what seemed like hours, I tore myself from the window and slid back into the warm embrace of the comforters: excited to see what the first snowfall of that year would bring for tomorrow.

I woke that morning to radio announcements of bus cancellations and some far away school closures.  Being only eight, my mother believed skipping one day of school wouldn’t hurt, so my siblings and I were allowed to have our first snow day.  I’ll never forget the feeling of glee I had when we put our snowsuits on instead of our backpacks.  The whole day was ours to explore our vast snow-covered yard.  As we huddled in huge snowsuits onto our back porch like three little penguins, we admired just how much snow had fallen.  Once the door shut behind us, we leaped into the thick layer of snow that I had seen blanket the yard the night before, patterning its perfect surface with our tiny boots.  Soon the family dog joined in, and we tumbled around the backyard not having a care in the world.  Only one thing was on our mind at that moment: play-time in the snow.  Soon our cheeks were pink from a blend of exercise and winter’s biting wind.  We stood in the middle of the yard (now blemished from our excessive running in circles), gulping down breaths of the stinging cold air.  But the day was not over yet.  Each of us claimed a heaping snow drift to be ours and created crystalline castles out of them.  Letting our imagination run free, we created our own little world of fighting kingdoms and alliances.  A world where we were all gods, free of responsibility.  Lost in the day, we had only realized that night was falling when our mother called us for dinner.

Although—after dinner—my brother and sister had decided they had had enough activity for the day, I could not pull myself away from the wondrous magic the snow had created.  I bundled myself and forged outside again.  The wind was calming as it whispered across my face, kissing my bare cheeks.  The sky had transformed from the bright blue of day to the overcast darkness of night.  Snow was gently falling, and the traces of our day were almost covered.  The warmth of my snowsuit wrapped around me, protecting me from the biting cold.  I lay down in a soft snow drift as if it were a bed of feathers.  As I lay there, a complete sense of peace came over me, a surprising amount for a child.  Laying there in the snow I had no worries.  No thoughts of the future; no thoughts of the past.  The relaxing dance of the snow as it fell from the heavens cleared my mind.  I sat in the snow with a sense of meditation almost.  Time passed by the hours, and before I knew it, I was back in bed.  The day of the first snowfall was over.

Each year I have looked forward to the first snowfall, to relive the magic of my childhood experiences.  The first snowfall of the year after—a blizzard—caused the school to close for two days.  The year after that, I had been at my grandparents, and experienced the event from a cozy window close to their fireplace.  Each year an equally satisfying experience… except one year.  One year something changed.  The snowsuit didn’t fit.  Of course it wouldn’t be too difficult to buy a new one, but at that age was there a point?  I found myself going to school on the days of the first snowfall, catching up on much needed class time.  There was no time to enjoy the gentle snow or the beautiful winter scenes.  Night was spent studying and catching up on reading.  No time for that angelic peace.  Responsibilities went first.   There was simply no time for the snow.

Would I consider those wondrous winter days of my childhood a waste of time? Never.  Those carefree days of snow will stay in the back of my mind for life.  I now look back on them as times well spent, times I will never relive.  I look forward to days in my future when I can just enjoy the snow again like I used to, when I can truly appreciate my past, and my future.  After all, don’t we all just want time to delight in our childhood experiences?


This is a rough draft so no editing has been done yet.  The ending needs more work as well (I kind of rushed through it).  Please give me your feedback!

Tuesday October 6/15

Today is a work period for your personal essays.

Please remember you have a sight passage test tomorrow. You will have the whole period for it so bring your CCA novels in case you finish early.

Monday October 5/15

Your rough drafts of your personal essays are due today so we can do some peer editing.

I’ve got my rough draft too. We’ll start by discussing the rubric for this assignment and then you can take some time as a class giving me some suggestions for improvement based on the on the assessment criteria. Then I would like you to work with partners to do some peer editing.

I also have your rubrics for your formative projects which are due on Friday.

When you are finished peer editing, you can either work on revising your essay or work on your project. Tomorrow will be a project work period.

Please remember that Wednesday is your sight passage test where you will apply your knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices to analyse a piece of prose.