Thursday, March 31, 2011



I realized that I didn't put a numerical value next to the very first graded assignment from the first blog post. I also did not mention that there is a quiz that needs to be made up.

So, in addition to the assignments already listed, if you were not here for the past month and a bit, you will need to make-up a quiz on TFA and do an entry task, which is a free write.

In class we have been watching The Mission. The English exam is on Monday, and it will be an essay based on TFA.

Good luck!

Mrs. O

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome Back!

We had a whopping 9 students in class today!

In order to prepare for the English exam on April 4th, we went over the March 14th blog entry with all of the essential questions. I made it very clear to the students in class, and to you out there as well, that the essay exam on Monday is an exam on Things Fall Apart and in order to do well, you must discuss Things Fall Apart. For those of you who were here over the past weeks, you can also augment your argument using the additional texts, videos and interviews we went over in class, but the main focus is Things Fall Apart.

The practice essay topic is: Is colonization wrong? Why or why not?

We then moved on to watching The Mission, another resource you can site on your essay next week.

I hope to see you soon!

Mrs. O

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eat Your Veggies!

Hey gang, good luck on the upcoming exam!

Eat well and get some sleep. I hope to see you soon.

Mrs. O

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Head Count: Four that Dwindled to One

Hello out there,

Today we did one full lesson, one that gave all of the answers to the universe. You missed out if you weren't here!

On the board we went over the main objectives for the unit. They are:

Essential Questions:
1. Why is storytelling important?
2. How does perspective affect a story?
3. What is colonialism, and how does it work?

You will know:
The definition of colonialism
That proverbs reflect human experience, and may be cross-cultural

You will understand that:
Storytelling is key to human history
Power determines which stories are told
Colonialism devastates some cultures and empowers others

To exemplify this, we read an excerpt from the book The Art of Travel by Sir Francis Gaxton (1822-1911). We read a few pages from the chapter The Management of Savages.

We discussed the following questions:

1. Who is telling the story and why?
2. What do we learn about the "savages" from the narrative?
3. Who is in the better position and why?

Then the bell rang, and I was left with one lone student, who joined another grade 12 class with more students.

The word on the street is that you will be here on Friday, so I will have a lesson planned for you.

Last week was a wash with low attendance by both you and me. We watched Blood Diamond with another senior class, being careful to view it with a critical eye.

I hope to see you Friday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spotlight on Chinua Achebe

Hi there!

Obviously you have figured out a way to access the class blog, good to see you here.

Today we read an article from the New Yorker titled "After Empire: Chinua Achebe and the great African novel" by Ruth Franklin.

The six members of class who attended, read the article, highlighting areas they thought would be points of discussion. Then each person started a discussion on the article. I asked three questions:

What stories did Achebe read when he was growing up? How was Africa portrayed?
Why does Nwoye join the missionaries?
What is the gist of the discussion about the African novel?

On Friday we will look more into the affects of colonialism.

Until then!

Mrs. O

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Makes the Man?

Good morning!

Today we had a whopping ten students in class (8 in the second, two students escaped), which is much better than I expected. I wonder when the numbers will really start to dwindle?

Today we looked at what makes the man. The E.T.: What does it mean to you "be a man?" (10 points)

After a discussion on manliness, which included a brief discussion on the lack of nurturing qualities, making us question if our list isn't lopsided, we looked at passages from Things Fall Apart and applied our thoughts on manliness to different ways that Okonkwo interacted with his world.

Those passages can be found here:

page 13 the first paragraph
page 33
page 61-62

For each section from the book, pairs of students did this:

1. Summarize each section.
2. For each section, discuss what character traits are present.

At the end, we answered our essential questions: Who is Okonkwo and what moves him? How does the idea of manliness affect his perception and actions? Is he different from us?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is Your Story?

Hello absentee gang,

Today we finished the interview with Chinua Achebe and answered questions about the important and interesting things he said. We also discussed his answers and the way he was "evasive" (thanks for that Mert) and didn't answer anything too directly. We connected that to Adichie's idea of the danger of the single story. Achebe is sure to make it clear that there is no one way to read his book, nor is there only one thing that you should take away from it, other than the fact that we are all humans and it is the human experience that links us together.

In that vein, we brieflydiscussed how the issues that Onkonkwo deals with are similar to those that Willy Loman struggled with that Macbeth struggled with as well, highlighting the point that there are only so many human experiences available therefore we are linked by our humanity. Hopefully in a later class we can further explore this interesting notion.

The second part of the lesson was an excursion into the self, with a writing assignment focused on your favorite!

This was an extension to Monday's entry task where I asked you to write "your story." The assignment (20 points): If you could only tell one story that defines you, what would it be? Also, you need to find a metaphor that represents you.

So the story will start with something like this:

If I had I had to choose one object that defines me, I would choose_______.
The the rest will be an explanation of the metaphor through the story of you.

Any questions? E-mail me!

No class tomorrow because of a ceremony.

See you Monday !?