Category Archives: EN20 2017-18

Generals Die In Bed Chapter 5: On Rest Again

Generals Die In Bed Chapter 5: On Rest Again

Pg 35-48

Please answer all of the following questions thoughtfully in complete sentences on loose-leaf. Make reference to the book WITH PAGE NUMBERS as often as possible.

  1. How has the men’s attitude toward Brown changed after his death?
  2. Explain the condition of the French civilian population in the town. How are they managing? Find proof of the actual living conditions in the town and make reference with a quote/page number in your answer.
  3. Why do you think the soldiers ‘celebrate’ as much as they do when they are off the line? What does the book say that they do? How do you think they’re feeling?
  4. “We thought we were safe” (p.48) What happens that makes the protagonist say this? Explain why they thought that they were safe, and what happened to remind him that they probably are not? How does their behavior change after their discovery?


Bully beef – tinned corned beef

Billets – civilian homes where soldiers stay

Janes – slang term for girls

Exam Review 2: Essay Practice

With your exam looming and some people still struggling with essay writing, I am asking you to work through the steps of planning and writing an exam. If you get this done early this week (Wednesday or sooner) I can mark it and give you feedback before your exam.

Here is your topic:

Using one text or movie studied in class, explain how a character, relationships, conflict, events, or situation is the same OR different from you and your experience.

Basically, I am asking you to connect something we’ve studied this semester with your life.

We’ve studied/watched:

  • Generals Die in Bed
  • Passchendaele
  • Sherlock Holmes (text and movie)
  • April Raintree
  • Dances with Wolves
  • The Friday Everything Changed
  • (The Hunger Games… almost)

This topic is DIFFERENT than the other one, because it is PERSONAL. In the last, expository essay, I told you NOT to use the word I, because the essay wasn’t about you. This one IS ABOUT YOU, so you NEED TO INSERT YOURSELF into the essay. It allows you to do things a bit differently, but still tie the topic to a text that we’ve studied. The process of planning and the structure of the writing should be very similar.

So, what do we need to do first to make sure that we’re on the right track and going to get a good mark?

For example:

I decided that I could see some similarities between myself and George from Of Mice and Men. I figured out some ways  in which we were similar, then narrowed it down to 3 that I can write paragraphs about.

Here is the thesis that I came up with:

George Milton and I share several characteristics, key among them George’s leadership skills, his concern for others, and his serious, curmudgeonly personality.

Writing a Review

Most of our writing so far has been objective and impersonal, but it can often be a lot of fun to infuse yourself into your writing as well. One of the easiest and most enjoyable types of writing that we’ll look at is a review of a book, movie, tv show, CD, etc.

You may choose your own topic to review. I would recommend choosing something that you know well, so you don’t have to do much research or review, and something that you’re passionate about. It DOES NOT have to be something that you really LOVE! It can be really fun to review something that you really HATE, as well. Choosing something to review should be easy. Pick a movie that you’ve seen recently or a bunch of times, or a tv show that you really enjoyed, a book that you liked or hated, or whatever is on your mind! It should be some kind of work of art, though. Reviewing things like food or your English class can be interesting, but there’s a bit more of a challenge involved, because there are certain things that I want you to include.

1) Do a bit of research. You need to provide some background/context on the thing that you’re reviewing. I read a lot of music reviews, and I hate it when a reviewer assumes that I know a lot about that band already. Assume that your reader knows nothing about the CD, book, movie, etc. and give them enough background information to understand where this thing comes from (who wrote it, directed it, produced it, whatever…)

2) You need to accurately describe the thing you’re reviewing, again assuming that your reader has never seen the show/movie, never read the book, never heard the music, etc. What is it like? Generally reviews avoid spoilers, but contain enough of an overview to help the reader understand the story/project.

3) The fun part – your opinion! Why do you love or hate this thing? What makes it work or not work for you? This is entirely subjective, but you’re giving advice to someone else. If one of your friends came up and asked you if he/she should see the movie/tv show you’ve written about, read the book, buy the CD, etc., what would you say? The thing here is that you have to EXPLAIN WHY you love or hate this thing. If you love it, what makes you love it? If you hate it, what’s wrong with it? You can compare it to other things if you wish (ie this movie is nowhere near as good as… , because…)

This is supposed to be easy and FUN, so put some personality into it!

Your finished review should be around 1/2-3/4 page (single-spaced, 12 pt type – around 500 words or so.) In a good review the 3 sections are mixed, but for your first draft, you can write them out as separate paragraphs if you like, just to make sure that you’re covering each part well.

Here’s a sample review, written about a series that I LOVED over the holidays: TEOTFWreview

April Raintree Expository Essay

Upon completion of reading the entire novel, April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton, you are now asked to write a 5 paragraph expository essay explaining how a key theme is used in the novel. You need to include quotes & page numbers from the book to prove your points.

In the Foreward to April Raintree, Joyce Carlson writes, “The Theme of APRIL RAINTREE, simply stated, is a young woman’s search for her identity.” She goes on to say that, “A strong sense of self-identity is a prerequisite to self-determination.” Starting with her birth as a Metis person and the family that she was born into, and events that occur throughout the book, April’s sense of her identity is shaped by various factors. In a 5-paragraph essay, explain 3 major factors that impact how she sees herself and lives her life by the end of the book. Your events must include an early influence and a later in life influence.

Your first step is to come up with a clear, concise, arguable thesis.

For some advice on creating a good thesis, read this document: thesis_statements (source)

Your essay should follow a very specific format:

Paragraph 1:

  • (1 sentence) Attention Getter/Thought Starter (vague/general statement designed to get people interested in your topic. Often a question.)
  • 2-4 sentences minimum) Slowly work toward your specific point
  • (1 sentence) Thesis – the point of your essay. In this case, NOT in the first person (No “I”). Arguable. Specific. Shows how you will prove your point. ONE sentence long. The entire point/summary of your essay is in this one sentence.

Paragraph 2, 3, 4:

  • (1 sentence) Introduce paragraph topic (topic is one main bit of evidence that proves your thesis)
  • 2-4 sentences minimum) Proof/examples/support
  • (1 sentence) Show how this paragraph proves your thesis.

Paragraph 5:

  • (1 sentence) Show how your 3 paragraph points prove your thesis
  • 2-4 sentences – explain & lead off for further thought

You will be marked with rubrics like those used to assess the essay portion of your final exam. You should look those over here: ExamEssayRubrics

Sample essay. Thank you Ethan for your most valuable assistance!

The Hour of Code 2017

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and there’s a huge worldwide activity going on this week called The Hour of Code, where millions of people will learn how fun and easy it can be to learn to write computer code. Whether you’re trying to build or fix your own website, animate your designs, write an app for your phone or tablet, or just see what you can teach computers to do, learning code is really important and fun. You have no idea how much you’re capable of doing right now, until you try.

These skills will help make you part of a growing workforce of people who require computer science skills. These skills are becoming more important in almost every area of society, and sadly, there aren’t nearly enough people with those skills to fill important positions. By increasing your skills, you give yourself a far greater chance of landing a good job in the future, and unlock worlds of new possibilities now.

Please Join our class:

OR you can try it out at Code Combat (a bit more challenging):

OR you can try it out at CodeHS (a bit more challenging):

The tragic life of Richard Cardinal

Richard Cardinal was a Metis boy who had a very sad, tragic life being moved from foster home to foster home. He encountered racism directly and by a child welfare system that was inherently discriminatory. His experience in the system and growing up Metis is much like the experiences faced by April Raintree. He ended his life at the age of 17. He left behind very detailed, intelligent, and emotional diary entries. This film is based on those and follows the events that led up to his death.

Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

April Raintree Background

Alone or with a partner, I want you to conduct some research AS WELL AS provide your own thoughts, experiences, and opinions to answer the following questions. DO NOT copy and paste if you’re doing research online. Write it yourself!

  • Who are the Métis? What does it mean to be Métis, both in a modern and historical context?
  • What biases and stereotypes about First Nations and Métis have been reflected in Canada’s history (portrayal of Louis Riel, treaties, reserves, residential schools, child welfare system)?
  • What impact have these prejudices had on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples?
  • What forms of prejudice and discrimination of the First Nations and Métis are still evident today? (real and perceived)

Who Are You?

Like Sponge Bob in the clip above, sometimes, especially at your age, we struggle with the question, “Who Am I?” There are obvious answers to that question, obviously, I’m Mr. Robson, but what are the things that make me Mr. Robson, other than my name?

Sometimes we get so used to one aspect of our identities that we think of ourselves as being just one thing. People who meet you for the first time might just think of you as someone who’s tall, short, stunningly handsome (thank you so much), grumpy, etc. But there’s so much more to a person than just one trait.

I want you to consider the things that make each person unique. The things that make you unique contribute to form your personal identity.

I would like you to make a list of what kinds of things make up a person’s identity.

It might be helpful and interesting to you to consider what things make up YOUR identity as well. You can keep that list private unless you’d really like to share.




Elements that make up an identity Elements that make up YOUR identity
What you are

What you aren’t

What you wish you could be/would like to be