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Reading, Writing, and Coding Everyday – in #ENG2D and #ICS2O

Well, by now you’ve likely heard about the Great OSSLT System Crash of 2016. What happened? We aren’t really sure. Will there be replacement practice literacy test? Good question. Unfortunately, those decisions are outside of my hands, but we’re hopeful that the EQAO will be pressured to provide the promised opportunity for students this year. Until then, we’re pressing on.

In ENG2D – Grade 10 English, we will move to end our studying of Lord of the Flies this week. I have grouped the remaining chapters into groups of three, so we’ll focus on Ch. 7-9 on Monday and Tuesday, and Ch. 10-12 on Wednesday and Thursday. We will continue working on student-led questions and discussion to ensure a clear understanding of the novel and the messages within it. Next week, we will work on the unit test and a culminating literary essay about the themes and messages within the novel.

I have provided mark updates to all students, which includes feedback on their participation and work habits. My hope is that students will continue to work on improving both before midterms.

Meanwhile, ICS2O – Grade 10 Computer Science continues to explore coding using Codecademy and Python. Python is the programming language and Codecademy is a great tutorial. Students have been working hard on problem-solving tasks as they work their way through the Codecademy lessons. Does any of this make sense to you?


We will continue exploring Python this week, and students will be assigned some small projects, (such as a tool that creates a grocery list, a tool to calculate the area of a shape, and a Magic 8-Ball). The skills they are learning in this unit are pretty powerful ones that will hopefully open up some doors later in life.

It’s a short week because of Friday’s Professional Activity Day, so make the most of it, and have fun! As always, let me know if there are questions or comments.

The Middle of October in #ENG2D and #ICS2O

Yes, that’s right – it’s the middle of October. We’ve had our first brush of snow, most of the leaves have fallen, and the first progress reports have been handed out. Before we know it, we’ll be putting up Christmas lights. In the meantime, things are trucking along well in classes. It is clear that students appreciate opportunities for hands-on learning, (especially in Computer Science) and I am working hard to bring more of those opportunities to class. In English, our class discussions have been going very well as we wrap our thinking around Lord of the Flies. This week is a bit of an anomaly in our scheduling, though, due to the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test practice, scheduled for Thursday, October 20. That will be a major focus in Grade 10 classes this week. With that in mind, here’s our weekly plan:


ENG2D – Grade 10 English will, as mentioned, be focusing on literacy test practice this week. We will use previous copies of the test to gain a familiarity with the types of questions, the instructions, and the expectations. Students will write the test on Thursday. This is a pilot for the online version of the test and if students are unsuccessful, it does not count against them as an attempt. However, if they pass the test, then it does count. It’s a pretty sweet deal. Students and parents can find additional resources on the EQAO – OSSLT website. This is the organization that administers the test.

ICS2O – Grade 10 Computer Science students will wrap up the computer hardware  unit this week, which ends with a short unit test. We had some awesome success doing the hands-on computer disassembly/rebuild project. One group even managed to get their system running. With the cooperation of the GCHS IT Technician, we are also introducing real-world hardware problems into the class. Our students get to take on tech support roles. Yay!


We will then move on to our second coding unit. I’m still deciding if this will be Microsoft smallBASIC or Python. We’ll do both – I’m just not sure which one will come first. Both are available as free downloads if anyone wants to play at home.

Anyway, that’s it for the week. I know students are stressing about the literacy test, but they shouldn’t. We will get through it!

TEPAC Paragraph Writing in #ENG2D

While searching for resources to support the needs of my ENG2D – Grade 10 English students, I stumbled upon an amazing tool created by Sonja Munévar Gagnon of the San Diego County Office of Education Learning and Leadership. The tool is an analytical writing organizer called TEPAC (Topic, Evidence, Paraphrasing, Analysis, Conclusion) which helps students stay on-topic and produce writing that makes meaning of a text. I shared these resources with the class today:

The first resource is an explanation of TEPAC’s parts:


The second resource includes phrases and key words to help students effectively organizer their thinking:tepac_words

Finally, the third resource is a blank graphic organizer for students to use. First, I provide a prompt connected to the text we are studying, (in our case it’s Lord of the Flies) and then students respond by answering in the topic sentence.


I’m hoping that this organizer resource will help students who had difficulty coming up with organized analytical writing on the first essay assignments. Combined with the Point-Support-Explanation model, these tools should improve student’s writing.