Ela 30-1 Week Two

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ELA 30-1

Week Two

This week, you will be looking at The English Language Arts 30-1 written component of the diploma exam, and in particular, the first essay you write during this exam, the Personal Response to Literature. You will be doing some reading from various sources, and writing a personal response to a poem. You may wish to connect some of the ideas from your previous writing exercise last week. Then you will be starting some research on the periods of history that have shaped our society, and starting your research for next week’s assignment on the Renaissance.

Explaining the Diploma Exam

As you previously read on the course outline, your school based mark contributes to 50% of your mark in English 30-1, and the diploma exams in January contribute to the other 50% of your mark.

Diploma Exam Dates:

Part A: Written Monday, January 13, 2014 9:00– 12:00pm

(Accounts for 25% of your mark.)

Part B: Reading Monday, January 20, 2014 9:00 – 12:00pm

(*Accounts for 25% of your mark.)

Take a few minutes to read and familiarize yourself with the following document about the ELA 30-1 diploma exam, and refer to this bulletin any time you have a question about the exam. In particular, read pages 5-10, and 29-30, which addresses the Personal Response portion of the exam.


Writing Assignment: The Personal Response to Literature

Read this next link to familiarize yourself with Personal Response to Literature portion of the Diploma Exam: http://stirlinge30.wordpress.com/diploma-exam-prep/1-the-personal-response/

This one written response is worth 10% of the Diploma Exam, and 5% of your overall mark in English 30. You can choose to look at this assignment one of two ways:

  1. “One essay worth 5%of my mark!!!!!! I’m freaking out here!!!”

  2. Or the preferred response: “I get to choose one of three sources and connect it to the topic. I get to choose to write an analytical, personal, or creative response, and get my creative juices flowing and ready for the Critical Response. BRING IT ON!!”

The really great thing about the Personal Response to Literature is that you are not limited to a traditional essay response. You can write a story, a letter(s), or a journal response (but please, PLEASE don’t call it ‘Dear Journal!!’). But the majority of students tend to write an analytical / personal response, and this is the style we are going to look at for this assignment.

Take a look at the link below, and refer it throughout the course. (Put it in your Favorites Bar” This is a collection of student responses for various Diploma Exams, and it gives you an idea of what a “Satisfactory”, “Proficient”, and “Excellent” response looks like, often giving examples of both creative and essay responses. Take a look at the Examples of the Personal Responses in January 2013. Pages 3-8 give you the assignment, and pages 12-42 look at examples and scoring results of the students’ responses.


Your writing assignment this week:


Suggested time: Approximately 60-80 minutes

Carefully read and consider the poem Dwelling Place by P.K. Page and consider the assignment that follows:


This habitation – bones and flesh and skin –

Where I reside, proceeds through sun and rain

A mobile home with windows and a door

And pistons plunging, like a soft machine.

Conforming as a bus, its ‘metal’ is

More sensitive than chrome or brass. It knows

A pebble in its shoe or heat or cold.

I scrutinize it through some aperture

That gives me godsview – see it twist and change.

It sleeps, it weeps, its poor heart breaks,

It dances like a bear, it laughs, opines

(and therefore is). It has a leafy smell

Of being young in all the halls of heaven.

It serves a term in anterooms of hell,

Greying and losing luster. It is dull.

A lifeless empty skin. I plot its course

And watch it as it moves – a house, a bus;

I, its inhabitant, inhabitant, indweller – eye

To that tiny chink where two worlds meet –

Or – if you so discern – two divide.

P.K. Page

The Assignment:

What does this poem suggest about the ways in which individuals respond to the conflict between illusion and reality?

Support your ideas with reference to one or more of the texts presented and to your previous knowledge and / or experience.

This was the poem and the assignment question that was used in the June, 2014 Diploma Exam. For the purposes of this exercise, you will formulate your response as an analytical / personal response essay. This is probably the most common format students respond with. (This is just one approach to the Personal Response, but it is a nice little strategy to keep in your back pocket.)

Here is the four paragraph outline you can follow, and expand on for this assignment:

1. Introduction Paragraph:

-introductory statement about the topic of the exam (in this case, the conflict between illusion and reality) that will capture the readers’ attention. (2-4 sentences)

-state your thesis:

*”This is demonstrated in the poem [title by [author], as well as……(personal connection)”

2. Body #1 – Analysis of the poem

-explain the story of the poem and how it relates to the theme

-use quotations and explain how they relate to the topic and your argument

3. Body #2-4 – Personal Connection

-how does the theme apply to you (or society)

-how do the quotations you used from your analysis paragraph also relate to your personal experience(s)

-use other quotes as well

4. Conclusion

-re-state your thesis

-summarize your support (1-2 sentences for each body paragraph)

-wrap it up, make it sound good!

*end with a quote from the poem, if possible. Due: Friday, September 12, 2014

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