We Are Happy From …

Grab your smart phone and make your own “We Are Happy From…” video.

Team up with a group of friends, classmates, teammates … and work on your “lip dub.”


(name it Pharrell Williams – Happy – We Are from [name of the city])


Read about Pharrell Williams at wikipedia.

Read about youth who cannot create and share such a video.


Watch, but not all of it at once, a 24 hour version of Happy, http://24hoursofhappy.com


Put your town on the map: http://wearehappyfrom.com/map



Google Drive

WeVideo and WeVideo Help

iPhone WeVideo App


©2014 Mr. D. Sader | snowflakes | All Rights Reserved

Random ideas for a short story

  • fate vs free choice
  • a secret reason
  • a quiet sacrifice
  • betrayal of an old relative
  • flirting with a stranger
  • flirting with an old friend
  • predator vs prey
  • a symbolic object
  • jealousy
  • second language words or phrases
  • specialty jargon
  • animal captivity
  • symbol of good
  • symbol of evil
  • annoy your brother
  • regret a decision
  • choose safety over risk
  • something mythologically familiar
  • a song without words
  • a song with words
  • a passage from scripture
  • describe a colour
  • focus on hands somewhere
  • current piece of technology
  • a current event in the news
  • some natural phenomenon with infinite details
  • notice dirt, mud, dust, rust or decay in some small way
  • refer to a classic book by name
  • have a character cut something with scissors or a knife
  • have a character write something on a sticky-note
  • quit something
  • cuss but don’t write the word
  • flashback
  • whiffle ball accidents
  • two faced
  • dream with a shadow in it
  • eat healthy at a fast food restaurant
  • loss of your own soul
  • a falling object
  • focus on a facial expression
  • loss of a significant other
  • betrayal of another
  • poison from a secret
  • chaos from order
  • have a character say “Huh?” and really mean it.
  • smile fiercely
  • smile falsely

©2014 Mr. D. Sader | snowflakes | All Rights Reserved

Words Not Spoken

Write a story featuring the “words not spoken” in a <a href="relationship“>relationship between a father and son.

Develop some otherwise common object as a metaphor for the “words not spoken” between a father and son: stone, hammer, photograph, hockey sweater, guitar, slide rule.

Read “War” by Timothy Findley.
Read “My Father is a Simple Man” by Luis Omar Salinas.

©2014 Mr. D. Sader | snowflakes | All Rights Reserved

After the Harvest

Write a comprehensive film review of the film “After the Harvest.”

If you have read “Wild Geese” by Martha Ostenso, be sure to compare and contrast.

Consider especially details from class discussions, notes, essays or any other ideas to help you out.

Tip: consider a 5-paragraph essay as an organizational structure for your review. Perhaps one third focusing on literal elements, one third on figurative elements, and the final third thematic elements.



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©2014 Mr. D. Sader | snowflakes | All Rights Reserved

Write a Short Story

Imagine your story is already done:

Who is the hero in your story? Explain why you think so.

  • What is the turning point? In what way does your protagonist change?
  • What is the overall message and mood?
  • Is humour an important part of this story?
  • Why is your story title significant?

Now begin with a fuzzy plan:

Investigate drawing a plot diagram for your story. Use an online tool or draw your own chart. Complete it by adding story details under each of the following: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Have you read other stories like yours? Discuss these stories. How were their plots similar or different?

Think about a big idea:

In most good stories the characters undergo a significant change. What are some good ideas for a short story about an ordinary person who undergoes a significant change? Which idea would make an especially entertaining story for an audience of your peers?

Plan out the details:

Add details to your outline for your short story, including notes on the following: main character and personality, setting, conflict, initial incident, rising action, changes, climax, and conclusion/denouement/resolution.

Write a first draft:

Use this outline to write a first draft.


Ask a partner to give you feedback about improving your story. Revise your draft using this feedback.


©2014 Mr. D. Sader | snowflakes | All Rights Reserved

A Canadian Family Portrait: The Gares

In Canadian literature the family is handled quite differently. If in England the family is a mansion you live in, and if in America it’s a skin you shed, then in Canada it’s a trap in which you’re caught. The Canadian protagonist often feels just as trapped inside his family as his American counterpart; he feels the need for escape, but somehow he is unable to break away.

Families in Canadian fiction huddle together like sheep in a storm or chickens in a coop: miserable and crowded, but unwilling to leave because the alternative is seen as cold empty space.

Grandparents are not necessarily settlers, . . .instead of pitting their force of will against the land– that’s been done for them by their ancestors – they pit it against other people, most notably their descendants.

Parents lack the will, the attachment to the land and the metallic strength of their parents, but they have been unable to replace it by anything more positive and attractive.

Children try to escape both previous generations. They desire neither the Calvinism and commitment to the land of the Grandparents, nor the grey placelessness and undefined guilt of the parents. They want, somehow, to live, but they have trouble finding a way to do this. They sometimes feel a double pull – back to the tough values and the land, like the Grandparents, or away – farther away than the parents managed to get. –Margaret Atwood, Survival.

Atwood, in Survival, presents arguments on several thematic developments in Canadian literature. In this section of her book she discusses the Canadian author’s treatment of family relationships. Many authors are included in her analysis, including Margaret Laurence, Hugh MacLennan, Tom Wayman, Mavis Gallant, and George Bowering. However, Margaret Atwood makes no direct mention of Martha Ostenso in Survival.

Compare and contrast the themes developed in Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese with the above statements by Margaret Atwood. Why should, or should not, Atwood’s chapter on family relationships include reference(s) to Wild Geese?

©2014 Mr. D. Sader | Pingo Lingo | All Rights Reserved

ELA 20: Longing to Escape


The story is set in the 1920s. Judith (Jude) Gare, who is 17 years old, has a passionate and rebellious spirit. Her overbearing father, Caleb, seeks to control Judith through the relentless demands of farm work. Caleb’s tyranny intimidates Judith’s mother, Amelia, as well as Judith’s submissive older sister, Ellen. Lind Archer, a young woman who has come to teach in the local school, boards with the Gares. Sven Sandbo is Judith’s sweetheart.

For the rest of the day, Judith’s hands were of no use to her, so she slipped away with her dog, Pete, through the bush to a little ravine where a pool had gathered below the thread of a spring. Pete caught a scent and was off, and Judith was left alone.

It was clingingly warm, as before rain. Not knowing fully what she was doing, Judith took off all her clothing and lay flat on the damp ground with the waxy feeling of new sunless vegetation under her. She needed to escape, to fly from something – she knew not what. Caleb . . . Ellen . . . the farm the hot reek of manure in the stable when it was close as today. Life was smothering, overwhelming her, like a pillow pressed against her face, like a feather tick[quilt] pinning down her body.

She would have struck Caleb today had it not been for Amelia. Always pity stood in the way of the tide of violence she felt could break from her. Pity for Amelia, who would get what Caleb did not dare mete out to her, Judith.

Oh, how knowing the bare earth was, as if it might have a heart and a mind hidden here in the woods. The fields that Caleb had tilled had no tenderness, she knew. But here was something forbiddingly beautiful, secret as one’s own body. And there was something beyond this. She could feel it in the freeness of the air, in the depth of the earth. Under the body there were, she had been taught, eight thousand miles of earth. On the other side, what? Above her body there were leagues and leagues of air, leading like wings – to what? The marvelous confusion and complexity of all the world had singled her out from the rest of the Gares. She was no longer one of them. Lind Archer had come and her delicate fingers had sprung a secret lock in Jude’s being. She had opened like a tight bud. There was no going back now into the darkness.

Sven Sandbo, he would be home in May, so they said. Was it Sven she wanted, now that she was so strangely free? Judith looked straight about her through the network of white birch and saw the bulbous white country that a cloud made against the blue. Something beyond Sven, perhaps . . . freedom, freedom. She dipped her blistered hands down into the clear topaz of the pool, lifted them and dipped them and lifted them, letting the drops slip off the tips of her fingers each time like tiny cups of light. She thought of the Teacher, of her dainty hands and her soft, laughing eyes . . . she came from another life, another world. She would go back there again. Her hands would never be maps of rope-blisters and Jude’s were now, from tugging a calf out of a mudhole. Jude hid her hands behind her and pressed herself against the cold ground. Hard, senseless sobs rose in her throat, and her eyes smarted with tears. She was ugly beyond all bearing, and all her life was ugly. Suddenly she was bursting with hatred of Caleb. Her large, strong body lay rigid on the ground, and was suddenly unnatural in that earthy place.

Martha Ostenso


Literature often describes some aspect of the human desire to escape. An individual may desire escape from physical, social, emotional, or psychological circumstances. Whether the individual responds actively or passively to that desire affects the course of his or her life.

In this excerpt from the novel Wild Geese, Martha Ostenso uses descriptive details to convey to the reader a sense of Jude’s longing to escape.

What idea(s) does Martha Ostenso develop regarding the desire to escape? Develop your essay by providing specific supporting details from Wild Geese.

•FOCUS your essay on your controlling idea regarding escape. Provide only those details that develop and support your controlling idea.

•ORGANIZE your essay so that your ideas are clearly and coherently developed.

©2014 Mr. D. Sader | Pingo Lingo | All Rights Reserved