new blogs — not by me   You’ve written your first posts on your blog but you might want to look at other people’s posts. I’ve created them according to age, not grade, because I can’t think of a human being in the whole world who would be enticed to read something titled “Grade 11 Blog.” (I’d run from it and I’m the teacher!) The more stories you send, the more I post. I will just keep adding to each blog as the stories come in. Don’t forget to click “Older Stories” under the circles and if you want to comment, you have to click “like” first and the “comment” box will show up.






Hi again. Here’s your review for the day. This is the blog you go to that’s the general one. If you’re in English 10, go to the English 10 blog at the right and if you’re in English 11, go to the English 11 blog at the right.

Here’s the review for everyone: Get your mom and/or dad to sign the Course Outline so I know they know about this blog. Create your own wordpress blog and give me the link on a comment on my blog. Create a twitter account and click follow to follow me. (If you don’t want me to follow you, create a school oriented twitter account. I can’t send you messages if we don’t follow each other, though.)

That’s it! All homework info is on your English 10 or English 11 blog.

New Year. Same Chairs.

welcomeWelcome back to school and welcome to my classroom. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one of the two lawn chairs but if you don’t today, don’t despair: You’ll get one another day. I’m really looking forward to the new year and hope you are, too. If you want to know the basic stuff about the year (ie. when the holidays are, etc.) go to my Year Overview/Misc Info blog. If you want to know the kind of things we’ll be doing this year, go to the blog for your course. It’s all at the right side of this message. Be warned, however. I like being organized, but it’s not a train schedule. I might not do exactly the same things I did last year. We shall see.

What are we doing?


what we're doing

puppy diesEnglish 10: Week of May 27 – 31: You will be working on your Poetry Analysis and completing any of three Poetry handouts you missed. Handouts: Sea Lullaby, Velvet Shoes, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

English 11: Week of May 27 – 31: You will be working on your Poetry Analysis and completing any of the of three Poetry handouts you missed. Handouts: Sea Lullaby, The Brook, Kindness.

English 12: Week of May 27 – 31: You will be working on your Poetry Analysis and completing any of the four Poetry handouts you missed. Handouts: Kindness, The Brook, Sonnet 116, It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers.


Useless Fact of the Day

  • d63f0d4d10598d8e2b77cca515bb5285In 1829, two sisters in the US, Susan and Deborah, weighed 205and 124 pounds. Susan was five years old and Deborah was three.
  • It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years,there have been only 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world.
  • In 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats.
  • Pirates thought having an earring would improve their eyesight.
  • Before 1800, there were no specially designed shoes for the right and left feet.
  • Marilyn Monroe had 11 toes.
  • There was once a town named 6 in West Virginia.
  • The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.
  • A can of Diet Coke will float in water, while a can of regular Coke sinks.  
  • The oldest word in the English language is “town.” 
  • Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.
  • Grasshoppers have white blood. 
  • China’s Beijing Duck Restaurant can seat 9,000 people at one time. 
  • On average there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonald’s Big Mac bun. 
  • The Bible is the number one shoplifted book in America.
  • Average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000.
  • Your nose and ears never stop growing.
  • It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs.
  • The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.
  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself.
  • To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs — it will let you go instantly.
  • A group of unicorns is called a blessing. Twelve or more cows are known as a “flink.” A group of frogs is called an army. A group of rhinos is called a crash. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. A group of whales is called a pod. A group of geese is called a gaggle. A group of crows is called a murder. A group of officers is called a mess. A group of larks is called an exaltation. A group of owls is called a parliament.

Absolutely Fascinating

tandyGo here! The Oxford Project.

My first thought was Oxford, England because that’s the only Oxford I ever think of, but apparently there’s also an Oxford, Iowa and in Oxford, Iowa there is one very enterprising photographer with an ingenious mind. What this photographer did was photograph every single citizen of this tiny little American town and then twenty years later, come back and photograph them again, this time writing down their stories and connecting them to the photographs. The pictures are interesting in themselves but the stories are even more interesting. He first photographed the town in 1984. A lot changed in that 20 year period. That’s what’s fascinating about the stories. Look yourself.

A Good Change

screenshot_44English 10:

English 11:

English 12:

When you return from Spring Break you will have somewhere new to go. I have created separate blogs for each grade I teach. This means info for you will be easier to find! Everything will be the same, except you won’t have to look at posts and pages from other classes.

This blog will remain as is to keep your comments intact. All of your Term 1 and Term 2 work is still here!


12: 1984: Propaganda Techniques

 NB: See 1984 Major Assignment at 12: CURRENT ASSIGNMENTS. 


  • Red Herring: presenting data or issues that are irrelevant to the argument at hand and then   claiming it validates the argument
  • Reductio ad Hitlerum: persuading a target audience to disapprove of an action or idea by suggesting that idea is popular with groups hated by the target audience; eg. if you support Obamacare then the terrorists win
  • Ad hominem arguments: attacking the opponent, not their ideas
  • Straw man: an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
  • Black and white fallacy: two options are given; eg. “you are with us or against us”
  • Bandwagon: “everyone else thinks like we do” and “eventually we will win”


  • Intentional vagueness: generalities that are deliberately vague so that the audience assumes the speaker agrees with what he thinks; the listener is fooled because he/she doesn’t bother to analyze what is said
  • Oversimplification: favourable generalities are used to provide simple answers for complex social, political, economic, military problems; eg. stopping  immigration will create jobs
  • Pensée unique: discussion limited by overly simplistic phrases or arguments
  • Glittering generalities: emotionally appealing words applied to a product or idea with no concrete reason or analysis
  • Thought terminating cliché: a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance

Truth and Lies:

  • Quotes out of context: selective editing of quotes to change meaning; eg. using quotes taken out of context  against a political candidate
  • Rationalization: using favourable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs; eg. the generalization that  “torture is necessary for national security”
  • Disinformation: creation or deletion of information from public records; making a false record of an event or the actions of a person or organization, including forgery of photographs, motion pictures, broadcasts, sound recordings, printed documents, emails, etc.
  • Half truth: deceptive statements that may be partly true or only part of the whole truth; could include double meaning or evasion or misrepresentation
  • Big lie: repeating a false version of events over and over until people don’t remember the real event
  • Direct order: giving only one choice as if it is the only choice; eg. we must go to war
  • Unstated assumption: This technique is used when the idea the propagandist wants to plant would seem less credible if explicitly stated; the concept is instead repeatedly assumed or implied


  • Repetition: a message is continuously propagated in order to take hold within the  consciousness of the whole country; eg. jingles, advertising, images placed on billboards, etc.
  • Imagery: propaganda is embedded within appealing imagery; could be pictorial or descriptive; eg. movies and music
  • Slogan: a brief, striking phrase that may include labelling or stereotyping; usually intended to be an emotional appeal
  • Flag waving: justifying an action on the grounds that doing so will make one more patriotic and benefit a group, country, or idea
  • Simplicity: message is designed to appeal to lowest intellectual level; eg. sound bites on TV news, tweets, headline news. Lowers level of attention span, reinforces level of attention span. Lower attention span = less ability to discern deception.

   Appeal to emotions:

  • Name calling: inciting fears or prejudice in the audience by using terms that have a loaded meaning; eg. terrorist, murderer, anti-American
  • Euphoria: using an event to generate extreme happiness or boost morale; declaring a holiday, making luxury items available, having a parade or ceremony
  • Sentiment: message  containing as little detail as possible; instead is designed in such a way that it appeals to some strong emotion or sentiment—such as sex or sympathy
  • Appeal to fear: instill anxiety and panic in the general population
  • Loaded language: using words with a strong connotation to influence an audience so they have a gut level reaction; eg. something is a reform instead of just a change

 Treatment of those in opposition:

  • Scapegoating: assigning blame to an individual or group; this distracts attention from genuine problems and bonds people dysfunctionally
  • Labelling: a type of sloppy prejudice; opposing parties make assumptions about all members of that party; eg. all liberals are …; all conservatives are …
  • Demonizing the enemy: creating a scapegoat within society for citizens to hate; eg. Jews in WWII, Muslims after9/11, Japanese in WWII
  • Stereotyping: an attempt to arouse prejudice in an audience by focusing on the undesirable traits of a social group or country; this could include stereotypical racial features
  • Appeal to prejudice: used negatively and positively; eg. “good” citizens and “bad” citizens


  • Testimonial: Quotations given in or out of context to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation of the person giving the testimonial is most significant; the target audience identifies with the speaker and accepts his or her opinions and beliefs as his own.
  • Appeal to authority: use of politicians, celebrities, authorities to support ideas, course of action
  • Plain folks/common man: the idea that there is a typical, down to earth citizen; eg. politicians who are wealthy campaigning in casual clothes, eating hot dogs, etc.
  • Virtue words: words in the value system of the target audience that produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue; eg. peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, truth, family values
  • Transfer/association: technique that involves projecting the positive or negative qualities of one person, entity, object, or value onto another to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. It evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities. Often highly visual, this technique often utilizes symbols (eg. flags, swastikas)

11: Ask a Question/Find a Link

images-2Due Thursday! No Day of Grace. Go to the blog post titled Elizabethans Loved Circles or Macbeth, Act 1: Sc 1 – 3 and read the post. Then, in the Comment section, pose an intelligent question or provide a link on some element of the post. This is for marks!! Do not ask the same question others ask.

12: 1984: Propaganda Posters

Propaganda: 1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc. 2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc. 3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement




















11: Macbeth, Act 1: Sc 1 – 3

Act 1: Scenes 1 – 3: Here’s a nice little Latin term for you: In media res. It means “in the middle of” and that’s exactly how Shakespeare starts this play. He just dumps you right in the middle of the action.

images-2There’s a battle. There’s a king. There’s an enemy. There’s Macbeth and Banquo. The king is Duncan. He’s a good guy, a good king; this is very important in the Elizabethan World View. The King is God’s man and you don’t mess with God’s man. Duncan’s kingdom is being attacked and his noble soldiers are defending it. The Thane of Cawdor hasn’t been much use, however; he’s been a traitor and is  1) about to lose his title and 2) about to lose his life. His title will be given to Macbeth. That’s the background.

Now the foreground: the witches. Here’s the thing about witches: When they’re hanging around a blasted heath, thinking about you, it’s not a good sign. And when they’re thinking of how to get you and you’re too dense to notice, that’s also not a good sign. You know the idea of having a guardian angel? Think the opposite. These are like stalker witches. And the object of their desire is Macbeth.

This is what is amazing about Shakespeare: He is into psychology and psychology hasn’t even been invented. Watch these witches. They are devious. They figure out Macbeth’s weak spots. So far all we know about Macbeth is that he’s a good soldier and he’s got a good buddy, Banquo. The witches know much more. They know that Macbeth has ambition and pride. To you, in the 21st century, those are good things. To an Elizabethan, they are bad things. Think back to the Wheel of Life and everyone having a God ordained position in life. An Elizabethan is slotted into life and it would be wrong to try to go above your station in life; it would be rebelling against the Natural Order of things. At this point, does Macbeth know he has this potential for pride and rebellion? Nope. But the witches do.

DownloadedFile-1The first thing the witches do (after bragging a little about their individual witchiness) is set up a spell. It’s aimed at catching Macbeth. And here he comes. He and Banquo are on their way back from the battle and what do they see but three hairy chinned hags. Macbeth and Banquo don’t even know what they’re looking at. Are these humans? Hallucinations? They stop and ask. Instantly, the witches tell Macbeth he will be Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King.

This is the equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying you’re going to be in the NHL or you just won Roll up the Rim. Macbeth is already Thane of Glamis so that’s no surprise, but how can he be Thane of Cawdor when the Thane of Cawdor is alive and was fighting beside them in the battle? And more importantly, how could Macbeth possibly become King when everyone knows you have to be the son of the King to become King? Last time he looked, he wasn’t King Duncan’s son.

Now this is an odd thing for Banquo to do, particularly when the play isn’t called Banquo. Banquo says to the witch, “Since you’re so good at giving prophecies, how about a prophecy for me, too?” And she complies! Banquo will will be lesser than Macbeth but greater, not as happy as Macbeth but happier, and his sons will be Kings but  he won’t. This is even odder than Macbeth’s prophecies. How can his sons be kings and how can he be lesser and greater and not as happy but happier? With one fleeting look at Banquo’s confused face, the witches disappear into thin air. Poof!

macbethNow take a look at the very last scene. Here we have Macbeth thinking his thoughts in a series of asides. This is where Shakespeare gives us the inner working of Macbeth’s mind. Who instantly banks their future on the ravings of three creepy looking strangers? I shall tell you. A guy who has already been thinking those things. A guy who is open to power and ambition. The witches plant the seed but it is planted in already fertile ground. Look at what Macbeth says about Duncan: If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir.  What’s wrong with this? Well, it’s a hint. It tells us about Macbeth’s faulty thinking. First of all, he shouldn’t be buying into the idea that fate will overrule God’s system. The Divine Right of Kings is inviolable. Witches on a heath don’t trump it. And it is only logical that if you want to become the new King you first have to get rid of the current King and you also have to get rid of the King’s sons. That involves murder. Killing people in battle is one thing; murdering the King is something completely different. We might not get it but Shakespeare’s audience would immediately understand. Witches: bad. Killing the King: bad. Ambition: bad. Going against the Divine Order: bad.

12: 1984

The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.

Is acquiring power the #1 goal in human beings?