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Welcome to the English Department at Bur Oak Secondary School.  Our contemporary program aims to develop students’ thinking and communication skills so that they can thrive in our ethnically diverse, political, digital, and rapidly changing world.  In our classes, students read current novels, discuss current events, and use current online software.

 

Our Reading Program

Book clubs or literature circles are a main feature of our program. Students in academic and university classes do not read traditional, whole class novels.  Instead, students choose from a wide variety of current novels and form small groups.  Students read their novels independently and chronicle their thinking about the novel in a journal. Then, students meet in their small groups with the teacher to discuss the ideas in their journals.  Students also select current texts at our school library for their independent reading projects.

Students in locally developed, applied, workplace, and college classes read the same novel together as a class to allow the teacher to set the pace and provide support during reading.  Though students in these classes read the same text together at the same pace, the fiction and non-fiction selections in these courses are still current and engaging.

The Inquiry Model

The inquiry model is another main feature of our program that enables students to develop their critical thinking skills as they pass through different stages of the writing process.  Students either select or formulate a central topic or question which they examine throughout the course.  Through each unit, students must reflect on how their recent reading experiences, viewing experiences, and discussions have altered their thinking about the central topic or question.  This topic or question serves as the ‘thesis’ of their major writing task which is developed and revised on an ongoing basis through one-to-one conferencing with the teacher, whole-class writing workshops, editing and feedback days with peers, and formative written feedback from the teacher upon first submission. 

While the inquiry model is combined with the writing process in all academic and university classes, it is not used in locally developed and applied classes. Students in these classes focus on the standard five-paragraph argumentative essay.  Using inquiry to produce written work that goes beyond the five-paragraph argument occurs once these students enter workplace and college courses.  

Technology

Students in all classes use software tools to create slide shows, podcasts, public service announcements, mini-documentaries, and digital anthologies.  Resources and tasks for each class are accessible on Moodle or in Google Classroom.  All written work can be produced, submitted, and assessed electronically using a combination of word processing software, Google Apps (e.g. Docs, Slides, Sites), Moodle, and Turnitin.​

Course Outlines

Grade 9 Academic English Outline

Grade 9 Applied English Outline

Grade 9 Locally Developed English Outline

Grade 10 Academic English Outline

Grade 10 Applied English Outline

Grade 10 Locally Developed English Outline

Grade 11 University English Outline

Grade 11 College/Workplace English Outline

Grade 11 Open Presentation and Speaking Skills Outline

Grade 12 University English Outline

Grade 12 College/Workplace English Outline

Grade 12 University/College Writer's Craft Outline

 
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