“1984” vs Today

Your main assignment for this book is connecting what you read in 1984 to today’s world.  Whether it is a particular passage, term, name or idea, your task is to explain in an articulate paragraph how our age is not so different from George Orwell’s dystopian future.  Here is an example of what we are looking for:

The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible to put his scattered thoughts in order…The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you already know. (page 208)

Response:  Winston lives in a world that is designed to keep his thoughts scattered and his nerves on edge through constant distraction from the telescreen, propaganda, fear of authority.  As he reads the book, he is able to put the jumbles threads in his mind into some cohesive message guided by Goldstein’s words.  In our world, we are at the mercy of constant distraction and increasing anxiety and it is in sustained reading where our minds are quieted and we are able to see ideas that we did not even know we had.  Good writing puts into words what you could possibly think and feel and we improve our thinking skills by reading great writing.

Assignment: Use the “1984” vs. Today sheet as your guide. Your can use those 4 quotes and 6 of your own or use all your own quotes.  You need 10 comparisons by the time you have finished reading the book.  You should have the book finished by Friday, Jan 12th.  Here’s the chart if you need a copy – How 1984 relates to today




Shakespeare and Sonnets

We begin the play Twelfth Night on Monday and our Sonnets are due Wednesday.  This week we will introduce the play with a class reading as well as divide into groups for the project.  On Tuesday we will write an in-class composition in order to get a sense of what it is like to write in a 40 minute time frame.  Monday we will brainstorm and outline and talk about techniques that work.

Monday’s Flex block is dedicated to those who missed Friday’s class and need to see the end of the movie.  I will dedicate Flex this week to Grade 12s so those who need can come and work on Sonnets and other English work (or pre-Calc if you reeeally need to).



War Stories

This week is Remembrance Week and we are focused on what it was like to be in a war.  There are a number of different types of writing we are exploring culminating in a group project.  Here is the list of assignments:

  • Letters home: one from the perspective of a private going through basic training and another from a captain training these would be soldiers.
  • War Poem: “A Jump in the Dark” is a poem about going into combat and what it was like
  • Group Assignment: as a squad you complete an operation and have to report on it in a number of ways
    • Officer’s Report
    • War Diary
    • Newspaper Article
    • Letter to a friend

The assignments for the Soldiers of War unit are due Tuesday, November 14th


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian – Eng 9

Finally something on here for the grade 9s!  From now on unit overviews and assignment lists will be posted here to help parents and students keep up with what is going on in English 9.   This week is the end of the True Diary novel study and we are working on our final writing and journal work.  The written response topic is the following:

When Junior looks down on the rez, he has a feeling of hope.  Explain why he has hope for the future even though there are still many problems amongst his people.

The scene is on page 226 when Junior remembers when he and Rowdy climbed the tallest tree on the reservation.  In your response support your ideas with evidence from the book and connect to other stories you know.  We will edit rough drafts in class and the good copy, typed, is due Friday, Oct 27th.


Short Book Study week

This week the focus is on our two novels and the topics about teen culture.  There are discussion topics for both that need to be completed in order to participate fully in the discussion groups.  Groups will start Tuesday and go through Friday.






We are also at the end of Term one and grades  are being put together now.  If you would like a detailed discussion about your progress this term, Flex Time is the best time to come in and talk.


Creating Your Playlist

This week is music week. There is one assignment only and that is to create a playlist.  You have the assignment sheet so go forth and work.


Greed is the root of all evil

Why do we do what we do and more importantly, how do we justify our actions?  We are capable of great and heinous deeds and it is in our ability to rationalize that distinguishes us from the other species on the planet.

This unit is about greed and our feelings towards money and it’s power over peoples’ actions.  Through “The Pardoner’s Tale” and A Simple Plan we see the dark side of us and must ask the question, “What would we do if faced with such a dilemma?”  Here is a breakdown of the texts and assignments:


  • “The Pardoner’s Tale” from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • A Simple Plan 
  • “Live Rich” (video) Gary Turk
  • The Corruption of Smeagol (from Return of the King)


  • Journal Response:  What would you do if you found $5 million?  How would your decision change if there were two other people with you? – due Thursday Oct 5th
  • Formal Paragraph Response (see below) – due Oct 10th
  • Creative Writing:  write a scene that depicts a moral dilemma involving money – due Tuesday Oct 10th

Deep thinking questions: Write a formal response to one of the following topics

  • Why do we feel we need to justify an action that may be objectively wrong?  
  • Jacob asks Hank if he ever feels evil which begs the question,  What is evil?  
  • Do you think what Hank did was his true nature or is it a case of a good guy turned bad? Explain.
  • Discuss the symbolism of the crows
  • Connect to other sources: explain how other stories you know connect with this story.  

What keeps us trapped in the Cave?

The focus of this unit is the need for us to be present to the world around us and our failure to do so.  We are all trapped in the cave of our own making and need to find a way to break the chains and struggle towards the light.  Here are the sources we have looked at thus far:

  • “Look Up”  (look to the right and find it)
  • “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” (article)
    • read and summarize in a short paragraph
  • Plato’s “The Cave”
  • Black Mirror – “Nosedive”