Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Giver and City of Ember

The City of Ember - Brief Summary of the Novel
In the underground city of Ember, young Lina and Doon struggle with clues in order to reveal both the history of their city and a way to save the population before their source of light dwindles away to nothing.
Jeanne DuPrau presents a colorless society with a bleak future in The City of Ember. The citizens of Ember live underground where they face daily blackouts, food shortages, and corrupt politicians. With the source of light waning, two young citizens take it upon themselves to unlock the secret to Ember’s mysterious past. Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow navigate this post-apocalyptic world in an attempt to decode a cryptic message that may save them all.

Pre-Reading Activities

Watch the video below:

The City of Ember Pre-Reading Activity: 
Mock Assignment Day
Imagine that today is “Assignment Day” and each of you will get a job placement that will determine your future within the community. Mock job assignments will be distributed to you, and there will be a short talk about service to one’s community. 
After Activity, think about...
-How did you feel about being assigned to a profession?
-What kind of world are we going to read about, where people are assigned jobs to work as messengers, laborers, electrician’s helpers, and supply clerks? 
-What do these jobs show about the society of Ember?
-What do you predict the government is like? 

During Novel Activities

Post - Reading Novel Activities

Partner Poetry Assignment...

Partner Poems for Two Voices and the Theme of Community in 
The City of Embers

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is for you to examine life in your community and to compare/contrast it with life in the community created in The City of Embers. You are going to express your understanding of the contrast of the two communities by writing a poem for two voices. (To further understand the format for a poem with two voices, please refer to "Honeybees" or  "Two Women" for more ideas).

1. Close your eyes and imagine being part of The City of Embers community.  Imagine life in a city with the only source of light coming from light bulbs. Imagine most food coming from cans (with some produce being grown in greenhouses), your whole life is in a small town of under 500 people, no t.v.'s, no radios, no computers, no ipods and at twelve years old you are given your job assignment... and you start work. How would you feel about your daily life? What would life be like in this community? What would your goals be for the future? Keep in mind, you only know about this kind of life.

2. Share your brainstorm with people in your assigned group (provided by Ms. Steawart-Mitchell).

3. On a T- chart labeled, GIVER COMMUNITY and MY COMMUNITY; list characteristics for both communities and what life is like. Be sure to compare and contrast the two communities. Explore both the similarities and the differences.

Drafting the Poem for Two Voices:
Now start drafting a poem that shows two very different points of view.  One point of view is life as a member of Ember the other a person living in Regina. You will write the poem with a partner and it must express the differences between the two communities. Some other ideas that you and partner can develop might be living in the community, family life,  jobs, daily life, school or what's it's like being a particular age.

Here is an example. Examine the language and the form in the following lines.
*Notice that phrases on the same line are read together. Notice that colour is used to separate what is read separately. Lines in both colours are read together.

Living in my community...
I have many choices. I choose my job. 
Families in my community
Can be two, three, four, or more people.

Living in my community. . . I have very few choices I am given an Assignment.
Families in my community
Are always small.

But we always can depend on our family... (said together in unison)

Display: Create a small poster for your poem (1/2 size of bristle board), that includes your poem typed attractively and 10 visuals that reflect the differences and the similarities of the two communities. Decorate with pencil crayon and other mediums that would be eye catching and would offer "texture" to your display (suggestions: glitter, string, yarn - reflects Ember, tinfoil... be creative with your ideas on how to represent your poem).

Presentation: Present your poem to the class. Try to develop the mood and the tone of the poem by adding costumes or props. But be sure to practice the tone and parts that are in unison.

Thematic and Curricular Connections
Questions for Discussion and Essay Writing...

Grade 7's: Choose one of the writing activities listed below, be sure to fully explore all the questions given.

Grade 8's: Choose two of the writing activities listed below, again be sure to fully explore all the questions given.

Relationships Family and Friendship

Family - The main characters of the novel have nontraditional family structures. How do the main characters acclimate to their unconventional families in the towns of Ember and Sparks? How do their family relationships change from one book to the next? How does the absence of a mother affect both Doon and Lina? Both Doon and Lina are very responsible young people. How are their responsible dispositions related to their family roles?

Lina and Doon share a friendship in the novel. Lina and Doon recognize positive and negative qualities in their friendships, a key aspect of accepting someone as your friend.  What personality traits do they admire in one another? What qualities do they find troublesome in each other?  

Write a multi paragraph essay that explores the relationships of family and friends in the novel.

The Effects of War–
The novel is set in a post apocalyptic world. Ember is a last refuge for the human race (later if you read Sparks, it is a post-disaster society starting over.) Identify the lasting effects of war on both societies. What is the author’s message to readers? Imagine a world where technology and abundant resources no longer exist. How would their lives be altered? Explore all the ways that the lives of the citizens are different from our lives. Make connections to other societies in history or today that are impacted by war.

How does greed escalate to conflict? Trace incidents of greed by both townspeople and politicians throughout the novel. What is the ultimate message about greed in the novel? What is the author trying to say about corruption and power? Are the events of these novels a realistic reflection of human nature? Find an example in history or today, of how corruption and power can be destructive to a country or to an organization.

Community Leadership–
In small groups, discuss the role of community leadership in The City of Ember and whether the leaders acted as good role models. Which characters provided true leadership for the town? Find an example of leaders in our society who act as role models for citizens. Show through examples how they are true leaders.

Art–Lina dreams of a world full of color and wonders what it might look like. She uses drawing as a way to express her dreams about faraway cities and unknown regions. She says that pictures can capture an idea or a place in ways language cannot. Sketch a place of a utopian society, like Lina does, and carefully select colors that reflect the mood and tone. Accompany your artwork with a one-page explanatory essay of your utopian city.

Language Arts–Write a magazine article for a travel magazine that describes either Ember as a travel destination. Cite lines from the novel's text that describe what it’s like to live in Ember. Use elements of descriptive language like imagery, simile, and metaphor in your writing.

Science– The novel hinges on dependence on electricity, even if it's a waning light source like in The City of Ember. Using the internet resources in this guide, research the fundamentals of electricity. How does it work? Who discovered it? What are the key scientific principles behind it? Explore the Watt’s on Your Mind Web site to learn about wasting electricity in our society.

Generators... visit:

The idea of growing food and nurturing plants from seeds is paramount in this novel. Explore the benefits of growing food and buying local produce. Also, explore the benefits of composting as a means of creating a sustainable future. Besides growing their own food, how do the citizens reuse items? How do the citizens live sustainably? Why must they embrace this lifestyle for their existence?

Social Studies and Geography–When the citizens of Ember escape their dark society for a more promising land, they became refugees. Define the word refugee and research the global refugee crisis. Where are the top 10 locations on the planet with the highest population of refugees? Choose one, and then write a three page report of that location’s current refugee situation as well as a brief history of its cause.

With your report, include map to pinpoint the 10 areas of the world with the most refugees: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Eritrea, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Somalia, and Sudan. Why  must refugees flee their homelands and why do some countries deny refugees access into their territories?

Economics–The principles of supply and demand dictate what resources are available in the town of Ember. As Lina says in The City of Ember, “You can’t divide a can of applesauce evenly among all the people in the city” (p. 153). Explore the concept of supply and demand; make a list of all the items in the novel that are in demand. Think about the creative ways in which the novel’s characters supply these items. How are the people of the novel experts on reusing things? What can we learn in our society from the lifestyle of the people of Ember? Write an essay that explores the questions above.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Map Projection Assignment


GLOBES: It is a model of the earth. It is a true representation of 4 important properties of the earth because it is the correct shape.

These properties are: 1. Size, 2. Shape, 3. Distance, 4. Direction

Some disadvantages of globes are due to its size. Because globes are small, many details are lost. It is for that reason that maps can be more accurate.

MAP PROJECTIONS: Many Ways of Looking at the World

Over the centuries many different ways of representing the round Earth on flat paper have been developed. Each of these methods is referred to as a map projection. What does it mean to project something? Have you ever been to the movie theatre? How does the movie get on the movie screen? The image you watch on the screen is projected using a high powered light, from the back of the theatre. Now, imagine placing a projector inside of a globe, and projecting the different continents, islands, and other features onto a flat screen. What would the projection look like? This depends on where you place the screen.

Cartographers (map makers) face a huge challenge to minimize distortion when they try to represent a spherical earth on a flat piece of paper. In order to tackle this problem, cartographers have developed various map projections. Because a globe is 3 dimensional and it is difficult to flatten onto a piece of paper, there will never be a perfect representation; these imperfections are called distortions. There are 2 major techniques for projecting the surface area onto maps, they are: conformal map projection (retains the proper shape of surface features. All conformal projections have meridians and parallels crossing each other at right angles) and equivalent map projection (shows the relative sizes of places correctly in all areas of a map – has disfigured shapes; often called the equal-area map).


VISIT: – geography (search map projections)

or go to:
Be sure to click on “Chapter Two, Describing Our Planet”.

* Examine the map projections provided on the site. What do you notice about the differences? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each projection?

A. Make jot notes ( and sketch) on the following map projections: cylindrical projection, conic projection, plane projected and interrupted projection.

MAP PROJECTIONS JOT NOTES (Advantages, disadvantages)
Make jot notes and sketch information for the following...

Cylindrical projection

Conic projection

Plane projection

Interrupted projection

Make more jot notes and sketches on the following projections. See the following site:


Mercator projection

Robinson  projection

B. Complete the following questions on map making…
1. What some of the challenges that cartographers face? (examine the information under the subtitle, “Shape Vs. Size – Conformality Vs. Equivalency”)

2. What is a “hybrid map”? What are the benefits?

3. What is remote sensing? How does it map an area without actually going to the location?

4. How are aerial photographs used when mapping?

5. How is infrared sensing used? What are the advantages over aerial photography?

6. Explain how 1 other form of sensing is used.

Discussion Questions:

The earth has been plotted and charted for many years. Do you think there are still new places to discover? Where do you think these locations are? Why would these places be uncharted? How has technology helped us discover new places?

Source Websites:

Monday, November 22, 2010



- Protractor, Ruler etc. bring geometry set.
- Calculator
- 2 pencils and a eraser


Where's Waldo Presentation

This assignment is a location - coordinates assignment. You will be expected to do the following...


A. You have attached a GPS transmitter to your friend Waldo, and as he travels to 6 locations around the world, you are able to tell exactly where he is. Discover where your friend has gone by looking at the following coordinates in atlas or using an on-line resource.

He leaves 49 53’N 9710’W  and arrives in sunny 34 00’N 11815’W

After a short layover his plane takes off again. He waves as he crosses the International Date Line. He lands in 3355’S 15110’E for a few weeks of back packing.

At 8 0’N 72 51’E he feels really sweaty, so he buys some more cotton (of course in red and white strips) shirts for a few rupees.

After that he is off to see some “3-D very historic geometrical shapes with 3 triangular faces… do you get the ‘clue’ ) at 3000’N 31 15’E.

His last stop on the world tour ends in 52 22’N 04 54’E, and he spends a few weeks there travelling along the canals and biking before heading home.

B. Mark and label the above locations on a blank map. Add photos that relate to these destinations and of course a picture of Waldo!
Be sure to also include your destinations that you create (If you are working alone, create 4 more destinations; in partners, create 6 more; in groups of 3, create 8 more.) Be sure to create destinations on your map, riddles and pictures of landmarks.

C. Final Task: Imagine a rich aunt sends Waldo some money to visit a few more locations. Where would he go? Why would he go there? Create 4 more destinations for Waldo to visit using the format above.
If you are working alone, create 4 more destinations; in partners, create 6 more; in groups of 3, create 8 more.

Slide 1: map with all coordinates (my six that are above - see riddles - and either 4, 6 or 8 that you create). Label these coordinates on your map.
Slide 2: 6 photos of key landmarks for my destinations and either 4, 6, or 8 more for your destinations. Be sure to label these coordinates.
Slide 3: Your riddles for your coordinates
Slide 4: Your answer key. Include names of all the places I gave you, plus the answers to your  Coordinate riddles.
DUE: Tuesday. Note that this assignment has an extention to the due date. Marks will be deducted everyday it is late.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Novel Study - City of Ember

Our new novel study will start November 28th, and it is The City of Ember.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Learning Styles, Goal Setting and Portfolios

In class you were asked to complete different questionnaires to help you determine work habits and learning.

We are exploring learning styles so that you can appreciate your strengths and talents, but also learn what areas you need to develop.

There are also many good websites on-line that can help you analyse your learning style. Here are a few:

VAK - Visual Auditory Kinethetic Questionnaire
click on start quiz....

Multiple Intelligences Quiz

What are the M.I.'s? How can you develop this ability? See link below, explore the diagram...,1156,63-12410,00.html

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Current Events - Iran's Bid to Join UN Agency


Equality for men and women... something we might take for granted here in Canada. Yet around the world there are many people who do not know the luxary of "equality". The United Nations works hard to promote equality for men and women around the world... Yet in Iran, a country that is trying to join a new UN agency on the equality of women, has sentenced a woman to death by stoning. Yes stoning!!! Sounds barbaric and something out of ancient times, right? Even more unbelievable that the country wants to join a special board for the UN.  It really is hard to believe... read the articles below.

As you read, think about the following questions...
1) What's the issue presented?
2) Why is this an issue to be concerned about?
3) Why should we Canadians be concerned?
4) Why are people around the world outraged by this event?
5) Whose rights are being abused? 
6) How is Jesus present in this news story? 
Who is being mistreated? 
Who is helping?

B) HUMAN RIGHTS IN OUR WORLD: Find an article or newscast that also explores issues relating to human rights. In the form of a PARAGRAPH explain how it connects to this article. You must cite your source for the article (newspaper, on-line news source, or news channel, author of the article or story, and the date.)
Good sites may include:

ARTICLES... SOURCE: cbc and ctv...

Click on the videos on the cbc site link above. 

Iranian woman's execution delayed amid backlash News Staff 
The execution of an Iranian woman who has been sentenced to death has reportedly been stayed for the time being, amid growing criticism of the case from South America to Europe. 
The International Committee against Execution said the Iranian government decided to delay the execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, after members of the international community called the sentence troubling and barbaric.
Ashtiani currently faces death by hanging, after Iran changed her charges from adultery to playing a role in the 2005 murder of her husband.
Earlier this week, a Germany-based rights group said that 43-year-old mother's hanging was imminent, reportedly on Wednesday.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon condemned the country, accusing Iran of failing in nearly every category related to law and order.
"Canada is deeply concerned by reports that Ms. Ashtiani may be sentenced to death by hanging on Wednesday, November 3, 2010," Cannon said in a statement. "We are also concerned by Ms. Ashtiani's ongoing detention, harassment by judicial authorities and denial of due process, as well as by the use of false or coerced confessions in her trial."
The 43-year-old mother of two has been held in prison since 2006 and has already received 99 lashes for having an "illicit relationship" with two men.
She was originally charged with adultery, a sentence that ends in stoning, which elicited Western backlash to the form of execution.
Ashtiani has since been convicted of being an accomplice in her husband's death, which could result in her being hanged instead.
France's foreign minister said on Wednesday that he had received assurances that Iran has not reached a final verdict in the case and that reports of the impending execution were inaccurate.
He also said the French government is "very worried" about the case.
Brazil's female president-elect, Dilma Rousseff, said it would be "barbaric" to stone Ashtiani to death for adultery. However, she did not say what she would do regarding the case once she takes office on Jan. 1.
The European Union and the human rights organization Council of Europe have already condemned Iran. Before her punishment was changed to hanging, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called stoning "barbaric."
Two German reporters were arrested while reportedly trying to interview Ashtiani's son in October, highlighting how sensitive Iran is over the case.
Laureen Harper, the wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, co-authored an open letter with Heather Reisman, president of Indigo Books, on Tuesday decrying the "flagrant disregard of women's rights in Iran."
The letter urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release Ashtiani unconditionally.
"Certainly, this would be welcomed by women around the world as seen as a deeply symbolic gesture toward the betterment of all Iranian women," the letter concludes.
Cannon said the case was more evidence of the deterioration of human rights in Iran.
In September, an Iranian-Canadian blogger was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for insulting Islamic thoughts and religious figures online.
With files from The Associated Press

Woman's stoning execution undecided: Iran

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 12:12 PM ET

Iran's foreign minister says no final decision has been made about a woman who could be stoned to death for adultery, France's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday amid reports her execution is imminent.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement he has spoken to his Iranian counterpart about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose case has sparked an international outcry.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution had been reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday in Iran. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution had been reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday in Iran. (Amnesty International/Associated Press)
Kouchner says Manouchehr Mottaki assured him that a final verdict in Ashtiani's case has not been issued yet and reports "about her eventual execution don't correspond to reality."
Iran has temporarily suspended the stoning verdict and suggested Ashtiani might be hanged instead.
Kouchner said France is "very worried" about the case.
The International Committee against Stoning and International Commitee against Execution said in a statement this week that Iranian authorities had given the go-ahead for Ashtiani's execution, and that it could happen Wednesday. The group would not provide details on where its information came from.
But its report raised alarm in western capitals. The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was "deeply concerned" by the reports and "demands that Iran halt the execution and convert her sentence," Ashton's office said in a statement.
Ashtiani was first convicted in May 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the death of her husband, and a court in Tabriz sentenced her to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery, despite having retracted a confession she claims was made under duress.
Ashtiani's case has further elevated tensions between Iran and the West, already running high over suspicions about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen Harper, and Heather Reisman, president of Indigo, issued an open letter to the president of Iran, urging him to release Ashtiani, saying her case is an "affront to any sense of moral or human decency and is symbolic of the plight of Iranian women."
"As mothers, sisters and daughters, we are gravely concerned about the unfair, undue legal processes faced by women in Iran. Repugnant sentences, such as death by stoning, are routinely rendered against women in Iran," they wrote.

Iranian woman to be hanged Wednesday

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | 10:05 PM ET

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution is reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday, in Iran. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution is reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday, in Iran.(Amnesty International/Associated Press)
An Iranian woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning will instead be hanged, a German human rights group said Tuesday.
According to a Reuters report, the International Committee against Stoning posted on its website that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is due to be put to death on Wednesday.
Ashtiani, 43, and a mother of two, was convicted in 2006 of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. She had been convicted earlier that year of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the murder of her husband in 2005. For that, she had been sentenced to 99 lashes.
In September, Iran's English-language television reported that Ashtiani's sentence had been suspended for further review.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country is deeply concerned about the fate of Ashtiani.
"We once again urge the government of Iran to reverse the trend of the deterioration of its human rights situation and to meet its legal obligations," he said. "These include ensuring due process for all those that have been detained."
The White House also condemned the planned execution of the woman.

Read more:

Iran loses bid to join UN Women

Saudi Arabia gets seat

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 6:26 PM ET 

Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, seen in this September 2010 file photo, said Iran should not be awarded a seat on the board of a new UN agency to promote women's equality. Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, seen in this September 2010 file photo, said Iran should not be awarded a seat on the board of a new UN agency to promote women's equality. (Thierry Roge/Reuters)
Iran has lost its bid for a seat on the board of a new United Nations agency meant to promote equality for women.
Iran was one of 11 nations on a slate put forward by Asian nations for the election Wednesday to the board of UN Women, which merges four UN agencies dealing with women's issues into a single organization. After the vote, Iran was in last place.
Canada, the United States and Australia had been lobbying behind the scenes to deny Iran a seat.
East Timor, a last-minute entrant on the ballot, was successful.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a release welcoming Iran's exclusion, saying Canada was "deeply troubled by the prospect of Iran's membership" because of its deplorable human rights record, particularly with regard to women.
"Even when it comes to its own citizens, Iranian authorities continue to threaten the protection of the most fundamental human rights," Cannon said. "Canada will continue to urge the Iranian authorities to improve its human rights record and will take every opportunity to do so publicly."

Ex-Chilean president Bachelet to head agency

Meanwhile, another controversial candidate, Saudi Arabia, was also awarded a seat on the board.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi said she thinks it's "a joke" that Iran and Saudi Arabia were running for places on the board of UN Women.
The new super-agency was created last July to promote women's rights and gender equality. Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet will run UN Women, which will have a 41-member executive board, with 35 members chosen by regional groups and six representing donor nations.
Speaking at the UN on Tuesday, Ebadi said the situation in Iran is "deteriorating daily" and that repression in the country has intensified.
"The membership of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia on this board is like a joke," she said. "This is a mocking situation for the board from the commencement of its work."
Ebadi pointed to Iranian rules that make it difficult for a woman to obtain a passport and noted that in Iran the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.

Human Rights Watch 'relieved'

Iran has also faced an international outcry over its decision to sentence 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to death by stoning for adultery. Human rights groups around the world criticized the decision and Iran's foreign minister later said a final verdict in Ashtiani's case hadn't been issued yet.
A resolution adopted by the General Assembly last year expressed "deep concern" at Iran's increasing use of executions, death by stoning, torture, flogging and amputations, and its increasing discrimination against religious, ethnic and other minorities.
"We are relieved that the Asia group in the end is not offering Iran a free pass to the board of UN Women," Philippe Bolopion, UN advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
He said his organization has concerns with many countries that are going to be on the board.
"But what sets Iran apart is not just its dismal record on women's rights but also the fact that it's aggressively going after women's rights advocates who dare to speak out against their discriminatory laws," Bolopion said.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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