Category Archives: English 2015

Identity Theme Planning

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Recently we went over the package of poems relating to identity: Identity

Photo Credit: Abode of Chaos via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Abode of Chaos via Compfight cc

All of those poems, as well as a lot of the things we’ve talked about this year have some connection to the theme of personal identity. Consider the dress code discussion/essay, and think about clothes and perhaps how you are perceived contributes to your identity. Think about Curley’s wife, and her identity (the way she sees herself vs. the way that the workers on the ranch see her), Crooks, Candy, Curley, or Lennie and how they’re perceived vs. how they really are.

What about Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner and the publicity surrounding that story? How much does gender and your appearance impact your personal identity? What would it be like to see yourself as a different gender than that which you were born?

There are many different approaches you could take when considering the topic of identity. Your job for today is to narrow down that topic and come up with one aspect that you could turn into an essay.

The first thing you should do is NARROW down the topic. Doing an essay on “identity” is too broad. If you narrow it down to the impact of clothing or gender stereotypes or friends, musical preferences, etc. and how one of those things impacts your identity, either how you see yourself or how others see you, then you have a narrower, more manageable topic!

Start brainstorming points related to your topic. Find articles or issues, or just come up with your own ideas. Make lots of point form notes, and then try to organize them into topics, either overall or for supporting paragraphs.

Do some reading and thinking. Come up with an opinion that you could support in 3 different ways. Be prepared to share a thesis sentence tomorrow in class. In order to make your thesis stronger, you need to come up with 3 different topics that can be explored in a supporting paragraph.

For example, I could write an essay about how becoming a parent greatly impacted my identity. I could consider how that’s changed the way that I see myself and how others see me. I could easily write an essay using the following thesis:

  • Becoming a parent drastically changes one’s identity in terms of how others see you, your children’s perception of who you are, and the way that you see yourself.

I could easily go on to explain all 3 of those things in paragraphs and wrap that up in an essay. It’s not a brilliant opinion, but it’s easy to explain and I could create a strong argument based on that idea.

That’s what you should be doing today!

Practice Essay – School Dress Codes

Watch the CBC news story here (and read the text, which is DIFFERENT):

Together we discussed the issue and worked on some ideas that would help us to form an essay about this topic. Much of the planning & preparation has been done for you. Now it’s your job to finish the job!



You may take ideas from the planning documents and expand on them or add them to your argument.

The introductory paragraph is done and included on the boys’ document. You may use it or change it as you wish.

From there, you need to fill in the 3 body paragraphs that help prove your point about school dress codes. Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence. Again, there are some provided that you are free to use. Following those, there should be at least 3-4 good sentences explaining/proving that topic sentence. Make sure that they help prove your point and make sure that they are on topic (about school dress codes and about the first sentence.) At the end, you should make some sort of point about dress codes that sums up your argument and shows how your evidence helps prove the point.

The fifth and final paragraph is where you show how you’ve proven your point. The first sentence is a REPHRASED version of your thesis. It’s often something like, “As you can see, point A, point B, and point C help to prove (your opinion on the subject). Then there are 3-4 more general statements that lead us off to other areas that we could consider or explore.

Your whole thing is 5 paragraphs and AT LEAST 25 sentences. Once it’s done, you should hand it in, and you should be prepared to complete the IMPORTANT Of Mice & Men essay!

Of Mice and Men Essay!

Now that you’ve finished the book and completed the questions and activities, you should know the book well enough to come up with a position and defend it in an essay.

Previously we talked about writing a thesis. That is your starting point, and provides direction for the rest.

Once you have a strong thesis, you can come up with an outline/plan for your essay.

Yesterday you were supposed to watch a video about the format/structure of a 5 paragraph essay. View that video here.

Following that, you were to do some activities where you planned out a simple essay. Download those activities here: five-paragraph-essay-activities

Here are some guidelines and instructions for your essay: MercyKillingEssayOutline

Your task now is to write the essay described in those instructions. Once we get some essay activities out of the way, we will finally be ready to watch the movie version!