Creative Writing 10

CWRW 10 is designed to look at how text and story deepens our understanding of diverse, complex ideas about identity, others and the world.  We will explore the cultural, geographic and historical construction of texts and delve into the manner in which language shapes ideas and influences others.  To ensure your success in this course please make use of resources provided for you to advocate for your learning needs:  utilize on-line resources, email me, and arrange for a “buddy” to inform you of information you may have missed if absent.  Attend daily.  The number one reason why students do not do well in any course is due to absence.  The time we spent in class cannot be recreated in a handout or with a 10-minute conversation.  I am available to meet with you before and after class and after PM block with appointments.  A quick email will often suffice to set up an appointment.

Throughout the semester you will have numerous opportunities for personal and intellectual growth through speaking, listening, reading, viewing, writing, and representing to make meaning of the world and to prepare you to participate effectively in all aspects of society. Language is fundamental to thinking, learning, and communicating in all cultures. The skilled use of language is associated with many opportunities in life, including further education, work, and social interaction.  As you come to understand and use language more fully, you will be able to enjoy the benefits and pleasures of language in all its forms­ from reading and writing, to literature, theatre, public speaking, film, and other media.

Throughout this quarter we will use the following literary areas of study to meet the goals of the BC Curriculum:

  1. poetry, essay study and media:  teacher compilation of resources
  2. short story:  Inside Stories II
  3. play:  Romeo and Juliet
  4. novel: an independent novel study unit

Grading:  all means of assessment are assigned a category (though multiple categories are sometimes used) under which your assessment is recorded.  The following table details the three categories with examples of means of assessment. Weighting is equal for all.   

Writing SkillsExpository, narrative and descriptive writing style and conventions, poetry writing, literary response
Oral Skillscircle-in circle, debates, public speaking, group presentations
Reading CompReading journals, content of essays, unit tests, preparation for oral assessments

Formative vs. Summative Assessment:  the principles of learning under which I teach are these:

  • Learning requires the active participation of the student.
  • People learn in a variety of ways and at different rates.
  • Learning is both an individual and a group process.
  • A student cannot be adequately assessed on learning until teaching has taken place.

Before a teacher can begin to teach, they must first assess students’ prior knowledge and skills against the expected learning outcomes of the grade.  This is the formative assessment.  Once educational needs are determined, design of curriculum can begin.  Formative assessment occurs throughout the school year as new learning outcomes are addressed using the curriculum.  Some assignments, or even portions of assignments, are formative.  These assignments will not be used in the final grade (though they will be used to create the first formal report), as they are indicators of your abilities BEFORE teaching begins.  The completion of these assignments is necessary to your overall success within the course and will be used as indicators of your ability at the first interim and first formal report (when limited summative assessments have been completed).  The final report card makes use of summative assessment only to determine your grade level based on the learning standards for grade 10. 

Late Assignments/Incomplete assignments:  whether formative or summative, these effect your grade as they are either not providing the necessary data to ensure your learning needs are being met, they are not being provided in time to affect the design of instruction, or they are not giving you the necessary feed-back you require to aid in skill acquisition.  Students not completing summative assignments will find themselves receiving first an “I” which could become a “0” as assessments of their abilities could not be made due to assignments not submitted.  If you are absent or you do not have an assignment completed on time, it is expected that you will do so.  We will collaborate on how and when.    

Alternate Assignments:  these are used when students have excused absences, but alternates can also be provided if you do not feel that your abilities have been adequately represented on an assessment.  For example, I assess students’ knowledge of a short story in a circle discussion.  You are still working on the skills required to be an effective speaker in this situation and you feel that if you could try again, you could do better.  An alternate assessment time with an alternate topic may be provided.  It is up to you to advocate for those needs and to ensure that you are attending alternate appointments. 

Assessment is an art:  in determining a final letter grade for you for this course I apply a method that requires analysis of the scope of your learning.  Are you demonstrating growth at the end of a unit and at the end of the course?  If so, I would give less weight to summative assessments at the beginning when learning was just starting to happen.  Did you seem to misunderstand instruction on an assessment and so did not perform as well as you had been doing on other similar assessments?  If so, I would also give less weight to that assessment.  In essence, I am looking for a pattern.  In addition, I do not assign numbers for your work, only letter grades.  Here is the grid showing how that grade will be represented as a percent for the purposes of formal reporting:


As a final note:  Fundamentally I believe that respect and honesty are extremely important.  To that end, I ask that you be always honest with yourself and me.  If you do not understand something, if you have gotten behind, if you are having a bad day, it is best to be honest about how that is affecting your learning and deal with it accordingly.  “I forgot to do the homework” is often the reply given by someone who actually found the work too difficult or just didn’t know how to begin and did not want to admit it to themselves or their teacher.  Honesty will only help you get the job done, with help as required.  Finally, respect within the classroom doesn’t mean liking everyone, but respecting everyone’s right to their education and a productive and conducive environment within which to learn.  If those needs, in my opinion, are not being met adjustment to the learning environment will occur.