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Home Study Assignments

Here are the assignment to do while you are on a home study or serving an In-School Suspension.

After 3 strikes - do Module 1

After 6 strikes (or the second time a student has reached 3 strikes) - do Modules 2 and 3 

Module 1:  Think about it, Accept Responsibility, Make it Right


“The only real mistake is the one we learn nothing from”. Anonymous

The headlines in the Toronto Star told the story:  “Fourteen-year old boy, crashes car killing his two 15 year old passengers.  People make mistakes.  The key, as your parents and teachers have probably told you, is to learn from your mistakes.  Sometimes, as the headlines above tell you, mistakes can be tragic and deadly.  The young person who made the mistake above could not ‘make it right’. 

The mistakes that most of us make are usually not so deadly.  But, if we do not learn from the minor mistakes we make, we may find ourselves making a mistake we will regret for the rest of` our lives.  Ask anyone who drives and they will likely have a story about their experience driving in winter.  Most inexperienced drivers know the shock of suddenly feeling their car sliding on black ice, out of control.

All drivers, if they are lucky enough not to be in a major accident, think about what happened.  What could they have done differently to prevent sliding out of control?  Most will admit they were going too fast for the road conditions.  Most will admit that they braked too hard.  Most will agree that they maybe should have put snow tires on their car.  Others will blame the weather, the car, the road that wasn’t sanded; brakes that didn’t work properly. They will not accept responsibility, and will not take steps to ‘make it right’.  You can be sure they will continue to make mistakes and one just might turn out to be deadly.

These assignments are your opportunity to think about your actions, to accept responsibility for them, and to make it right.  As you go through the assignments and exercises that follow, don’t rush through just to get them completed and over with.  Use this time to reflect on the actions that brought you to this program, consider the affect your actions might have had on others and think about what you can do to make it right for them and for you.

In most cases you will be asked to read articles, answer questions or complete activities.  Some articles and activities you will find on assigned web-sites.  In some cases you may be asked to read a poem, listen to song lyrics, read a short story or novel.  In most cases you will be given a variety of choices to complete the task.  You may choose the method that most suits your own learning style. 

Activity 1: Jake’s Story

 Read the following story.  Reflect on and answer the questions below.

It was still dark and cold when Jake managed to rouse himself out of bed.  Normally he didn’t mind cold mornings because his mom would be downstairs with a cup of hot chocolate.  It was their time to sit quietly before his little brother got up.  His mom would talk to him about anything really and before he knew it he was telling her about school, his worries about math, what he wanted to be when he grew up.  This morning was a Wednesday and his mom always worked nights Tuesday, so if she was really tired, she went to bed as soon as she got home about 6 o’clock. 

Jake got his little brother, Geo up, Geo was short for George, but that was too big a name for his 7-year old brother so everybody called him Geo.  Too late to make hot chocolate and too late for any breakfast, Jake had a math test first period.  He was worried about it, but this time he really had studied and he was looking forward to doing well and making his mom proud.  He could already picture her face when he showed her the test with a big A on it, well maybe an A-, but he knew she would be happy.  Geo whined and complained all the way to the bus-stop, he was hungry!  Jake finally gave in and went into the corner store and bought him a chocolate bar.  Darn it, as they were coming out of the store the bus drove past.  Now he would be late!

When the next bus arrived Jake was already stressed.  He watched Geo get off at his stop outside the school, and didn’t even wave goodbye as he usually did.  He arrived in school just as the anthem was playing.  Jake was about to ignore it and dash for his class when he spotted Ms. Magnusson the VP, she gave him the evil eye and he was forced to stand still all through the anthem, the creed and some student trying to promote yearbooks for $45. 

When he arrived at Mr. Vito’s door, just his luck, Mr. Vito shut the door.  This was signal he was late and had to get an admit slip.  Jake considered his options.  If he went to the office for an admit slip he would be late for the test, even worse, he knew this was about his 4th or 5th late, five lates and you get a suspension.  Maybe he could just go home and get his mom to call in and say he was sick.  Maybe he could just go to the coffee shop for first period and have his mom call and say he had a doctor’s appointment.  If he got an admit slip he knew he would miss at least 20 minutes of the test—would Mr. Vito give him extra time?  Jake doubted it, Mr. Vito was a good math teacher and he had helped Jake after school a number of times, but he was ‘by the book’, especially when it came to tests.

As Jake was considering what to do, the door to the classroom opposite opened and Brandon Tachoff came out.  “Hey Jake, what’s up”, Jake told him his sorry tale.  Brandon opened his hand, “I have something that will take the edge off, wanna join me?”  Jake was not into drugs, he couldn’t afford them, but he wouldn’t turn down a free offer.  “The washroom in the dungeon, next to the pool is safe”, said Brandon, “no teachers ever go there”.  Jake gave it some thought and he and Brandon walked down the tech wing and into the area where the pool was located.  The washroom, as Brandon had claimed, was empty.  Brandon lit up, dragged on the joint and then passed it to Jake.  Hold it a sec, said Brandon as he went into the bathroom stall.  Just at that moment Mr. Harvey the gym teacher was walking by the washroom when he smelled something unusual.  He stepped into the washroom and, wouldn’t you know, saw Jake with the joint.  Brandon picked up his feet and stayed as quiet as he could.  Jake quickly threw the joint into the urinal and watched it flush, but he knew Mr. Harvey had seen him.

There was nothing he could do but follow Mr. Harvey to the office.  Jake knew he was in trouble; he went over in his mind this terrible, horrible, no good day.  His biggest worry was his mom, he knew they would have to call her and she would be so disappointed in him. Mr. Harvey went into Ms. Magnusson’s office first, probably telling her all kinds of things about him. 

Finally, at least two hours later, two hours of sitting in the office with the secretaries looking at him in a strange way and students coming in and staring at him, he was asked to go into Ms. Magnesson’s office.  Mr. Yasny the Principal was already there.  Both Ms. Magnesson and Mr. Yasny looked angry.  “What were you thinking Jake?” said Mr. Yasny.  Jake didn’t know.  He looked down at his feet.  “If Mr. Vito had let me into class this morning none of this would have happened”.  “Where did you get the drugs?”  “What drugs”, said Jake.  He was now feeling sad, angry and annoyed, mostly at himself.  “Don’t even think of playing games, said Ms. Magnesson, Mr. Harvey saw you.  If you have any more drugs on you, you had better fork them over before we call the police”.  “Police!”  Jake was now terrified.  “Look I was only holding the joint for a friend”.  Big mistake.  “What friend, tell us who and maybe we can work something out here”.  “Ok, there was no friend, I just found it in the bathroom and I picked it up.”  “What were you doing in that washroom, when there is one right beside your classroom?”  “Well, it seems you are going to play games with us”.  I’m going to call your mother now and you can explain to her what happened.”

This was probably the worst thing they could have done to him.  Trying to explain to his mother with them all listening was horrible.  His mother was crying on the phone.  Jake was asked to leave the office while they talked to his mother.  Somehow she convinced them not to call the police, but she couldn’t do anything about the five day suspension he received, or the math test he didn’t get to repeat.



a)    Jake’s problems started when he was late for school.  Why do you think teachers and principals put so much importance on being on time for school?  List 3 possible reasons.

b)    Students give many reasons for being late.   Three popular excuses are car problems, waking up late, and missing the bus

 For each excuse write a response offering advice on how the student could have avoided being late.

 c)    What advice would you give Jake to make sure he gets to school on time?

 d)    When Jake arrived at his math class he had three options.  What were these three options?

 e)    One of the choices Jake could have made was to try to explain to his teacher why he was late and ask for permission to write the test.  Sometimes students have difficulty finding the right words to say in a situation like this.  Jake could have said something like this.  “Mr. Vito, I apologize for being late.  I know we are having a math test. I studied very hard for this test and would like to prove this to you.  Is there any way I could write the test and get a little extra time at the end.  I could write the test in AR, or stay a few moments at the end of the period. I am willing to accept responsibility for being late and any punishment you may wish to give me.”

 f)  Think about the other two situations when Jake had an opportunity to avoid the situation that got him suspended.  The first was to convince his little brother to get on the bus and get to school on time.  The second was to choose not to go with his friend Brandon.  You are to write a new dialogue between Geo and Jake, and between Brandon and Jake that changes the outcome in both situations. 

g)     Assume you are a good friend of Jake.  What advice would you give him to avoid making bad choices in the future?

h)    Now think about your own situation and the circumstances that led to your suspension.  In a format of your choosing (graphic novel, song lyric, short play or short essay), explain your story.

i)   The most obvious consequence for Jake was his suspension from school, but there were other consequences.  For example, his reputation at school, the hurt he caused his mother, the example he set for his brother.  Consider your own situation.  Other than getting suspended what other consequences do you think happened as a result of your action?


Activity 2:  Making Choices – A Day in the Life of a Teen

  • Click on the following website (control + click) 
  • Click on "E-Cigarettes: What You Need To Know”. 
  • Describe how e-cigarettes work.  
  • Summarize section on "What's Ahead"
  • Summarize section on "What are the risk for teens"
  • Summarize section on "What Is the Effect of E-Cigarette Aerosol (Vapor) on the Body?"
  • What do you think of E-Cigarettes?  Would you try them or are you trying them now?

www.scholastic.com/headsup      (click on the E-Cigaretter symbol on the middle of the page)


Activity 3:  Your Opinion – Young drivers should not be allowed to drive passengers.

As you read the following story think about what was done correctly and what mistakes were made by the driver and the driver’s friends. 

Driving Friends

You have finally got your G2 and you have permission to drive the family car to school and to your part-time job.  So far you have been really careful.  You make sure you are driving the speed limit and are very careful when parking.  Friday night there is a party and your friends ask if you will be the designated driver.  After a long lecture about not drinking and driving, your parents agree to let you drive to the party.  At 9 pm you pick up your friend Erin.  She gets in and buckles up – no problem.  Josh is next, he hops in beside Erin, he too puts on his seatbelt and they are soon chatting and listening to music.  The last person to pick up is Arvid. 

Arvid is a little older than the rest of you, and he sometimes gets in trouble, but he has been a good friend and he is a lot of fun.  When he gets in you notice he is a bit drunk, but that is OK, he’s not driving.  You ask him to put on his seatbelt, but he shrugs and says “no need, it’s just around the block”.  You say nothing and drive to the party.

All goes well, you drink cola all night and you still manage to have a good time.  Curfew is 1:00 and you want your parents to think you are responsible so you can have the car again.  You round up your passengers who are, by now, all more than a little drunk.  As they get in the car none of them put on their seatbelts, you say nothing because you don’t want to be a jerk.  Erin puts her feet on the back of your seat, it’s annoying and you tell her to stop, but she is too drunk to pay attention.  Arvid is in the front seat with you and he keeps reaching over to change the CD player – you are becoming quite agitated and disturbed by this.  He reaches over again and this time you look down for a second to grab his hand to stop him. 

At that moment your life changed forever.  You lost control of the car and hit a hydro pole.  Arvid was thrown out the window and killed.  Josh and Erin were seriously injured.  You were wearing a seatbelt and were not physically injured but emotionally you are a wreck.  Your accident caused authorities to suggest that there should be a law to prevent teens from driving teens.  The police and others suggest that young, inexperienced drivers should be banned from carrying passengers until they have had at least two years of driving experience.  They argue that driving is not a right but a privilege that comes with restrictions.  Others argue that this is age discrimination and teens should be given responsibility. 


What do you think?  Should young drivers have restrictions?  Outline what you think are the arguments for both sides of this issue.  When you have completed the outline write a short essay indicating your position.

Module 2: Differing Perspectives

When we are young we assume that everyone sees and feels what we do.  Young children are often called egocentric which means they see themselves as the centre of the universe.  As we get older we begin to realize that not only do other people feel differently than we do, but they sometimes perceive things differently than we do.  As we mature we realize that it is necessary in life to consider the perspective of others and to understand their point of view.  This maturity takes time and young people sometimes need help in becoming aware of how others perceive their actions and behaviour.  The incident that led to your taking part in this program may appear one way to you but be viewed entirely differently by your parents and teachers.  The purpose of this module is to help you understand the consequences of your actions on others and to help you understand different perspectives and points of view. 

Activity 1:  Different Perspectives

 Think back to the story of Jake you read about in Module 1.  To remind you Jake was suspended from school for five days because he was caught with drugs in the school washroom.  Jake had one perspective on what happened, but the other people involved may have seen the situation differently.  Think about the people involved with Jake that day, his mom, his math teacher, the teacher who caught him, his friend Brandon, the Principal. 

 a)    Choose two people from this group and answer the following questions from their point of view.  What happened?  What were you thinking of at the time?  What have you thought about since?  How have you been affected by this situation?

 b)    Think about your own situation.  Choose two people who were involved and who might see things differently from you.   Try to put yourself in their shoes and answer the following questions from their point of view.  What happened?  What were you thinking of at the time?  What have you thought about since?  What has been the hardest thing for you?  How have you been affected by this situation?


Activity 2:  Making decisions

We all find ourselves in difficult situations when we want to do the right thing but circumstances make it hard.  How would you deal with the following scenarios?  Write a short statement indicating what you would do in this circumstance.  What would be the right thing to do?  How would you feel about doing the right thing?

a)    You missed watching the hockey game with your friends to complete your math homework for next morning.  Before class your best friend, who did watch the game, asks you for your homework notes to copy.

b)    You have an ISU presentation due next day.  On your way home to work on the presentation, some friends ask you to play basketball with them.

c)    You are assigned a science project that is worth a lot of marks.  One of your friends asks if they can be your partner.  You have worked on projects with this person before and you know they are not reliable and you will lose marks.

d)    You are walking home from a late-night party, when one of your friends stops his car and offers you a ride home. It’s cold and you have a long walk ahead of you, however your friend has obviously been drinking.

e)    Posted on Youtube is a very embarrassing photo of one of your friends falling in gym class.  Your friend is very upset and thinks it was you who took the photo.  It wasn’t but you know who it was.

Think about how making a decision in each of these situations made you feel.  Finish the following statements:

 a)    When I think about responding to a friend in a negative way I feel……………….

 b)    Making the right choice makes me feel………………………..


Activity 3:  Role Models:  Overcoming Diversity

Terry Fox, Darius Weems, and Alwyn Barry, are three young men with one major thing in common.  They all faced enormous hardships and tragedy with courage and hope.  Research their stories and complete the assignments indicated below.

You can find information on these young men at the following sites:

 Terry Fox:  “Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope” - www.cbc.ca/news/background/fox_terry

 Darius Weems:  www.dariusgoeswest.com   www.youtube.com “Darius Goes West”

 Alwyn Barry:  www.thestar.com/article/285861 Goddard, John, “Alwyn Barry, 18, Filmmaker broke the stereotype on Jane-Finch”.  Toronto Star. December 15 2007  www.citynews.ca  Alwyn Barry-An incredible life video

Choose two of the following:

a)    Courage, Compassion, Friendship, Endurance, Community, Perspectives, Tragedy, Hope are some of the themes in the stories of the young people you have researched.  Choose one of these themes, or another theme you prefer.  Use a format of your choosing, e.g. rap, poem, poster, story, play, graphic novel, to represent or illustrate your theme. 

b)    Alwyn Barry wanted to change people’s perspectives of the Jane and Finch community.  What is your perspective of this community?  Where did this perspective come from?  Did Alwyn succeed in changing your opinion of the community and the people in that community?  Describe your community.  How would an outsider view your community?  Would their perspective be correct?  Why or why not?

c)    MTV decided not to ‘pimp’ Darius’s wheelchair.  Compose a letter to MTV explaining why you think this was the wrong decision. 

d)    Terry Fox has been called a ‘role model’.  What is a ‘role-model’?  Do you think Terry Fox was a role model?  Of the three young men you researched, which one would be a role model for you?  Explain.  Do you have any other role models?  Explain.  What could you do to become a role model for others?

e)    One of the concerns Darius Weems and Terry Fox shared was that people viewed them differently when they saw they were disabled. Some people feel uncomfortable around people in a wheelchair—they may see weakness, they may feel sad or embarrassed.  Do you think people would view Darius differently if his wheelchair were ‘pimped’?  Explain.  How would you ‘pimp’ Darius’s wheelchair—draw your version of a great wheelchair for Darius.  

Module 3:  Teenagers & Risk Taking


The last two modules you asked you to consider the feeling and perceptions of others.  This module asks you to reflect on you and choices you make that may harm you or hurt others. 


Activity 1:  Your Teenage Brain

What we know about the teenage brain might surprise you.  At one time, scientists thought that the brain was fully formed at the end of childhood, but recent research has showed that this is not so.  Your brain is constantly growing and changing.  The biggest changes in the brain are in the parts of the brain that are responsible for impulse control, judgment, decision making, planning and organization.  Interestingly, all the things we criticize about teenage behaviour! 

This area of the brain doesn’t reach full maturity until around age 25.  This is why, scientists say, teenagers tend to react to situations emotionally—from their gut—while adults are more likely to think before doing something dangerous or risky. 

To find out more about your brain check out the following website.  (Click on the sidebar “The Brain”, and check out the functions of the brain pop-ups). Answer the multiple choice questions below by circling the most appropriate response.  You may check the web-site for your answers. 



1.    The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that helps you plan ahead.  This part doesn’t finish developing until you are:

a)    18

b)    16

c)    20

d)    30


2.    The limbic system is responsible for:

a)    Feelings of pleasure and fear

b)    Precise movement such as typing or playing an instrument

c)    Smell and hearing

d)    Long term memory


3.    The motor cortex is responsible for:

a)    Basic functions like heartbeat, digestion

b)    Planning ahead and making judgments

c)    Long-term memory

d)    Precise moves, typing or playing an instrument


4.    The function of the brain stem is to:

a)    Help us with tiny movements such as typing or playing an instrument

b)    Help us smell, hear, form ideas, remember things

c)    Perform basic functions, heartbeat, breathing, digestion

d)    Perform large motor functions such as walking or running


5.    The Posterior Parietal Cortex is responsible for:

a)    Feeling, smelling and hearing, memory and ideas

b)    Feelings of pleasure and fear

c)    Long term memory

d)    Precise movements such as typing


6.    The function of the Hippocampus is to:

a)    Help store long term memories

b)    Perform basic functions, heartbeat, breathing, digestion

c)    Perform small motor functions such as typing or playing an instrument

d)    Help with large motor functions such as walking or running


 Activity 2:  Your brain – Use it or lose it

 Watch the following clip from YouTube and answer the questions below:

 www.YouTube.com  In search box, type “Adolescent Brain” posted by Kobrain.


 1.            How is the teenage brain different from the adult brain according to the clip?

2.            The brain has two main growth spurts, when are these growth spurts?

3.            In the clip the scientists were able to see inside the brain.  What new technology allowed them to be able to do this?

4.            What was most surprising to scientists about their findings when they imaged the brain of a teenager?

5.            Why is the frontal cortex of the brain called the ‘crowning achievement’?

6.            What is meant by the ‘use it or lose it’ principle?

7.            The clip talked about ‘pruning’ in the brain.  What did this mean?

8.            One of the scientists in the clip referred to the teenage brain as a ‘cruel irony’, what do you think he meant?

9.            Do you think teenagers are more emotional than adults?  Explain.

10.         What did you learn after watching this video?  Explain.


Activity 3:  Harming Your Brain

Because your brain is still growing it is important to protect it.  Serious concussions while performing dangerous sports can damage your brain and cause problems later in your life.  This is why professional hockey players, boxers, cyclists, snowboarders and other sports enthusiasts now almost all wear helmets. 

Another thing that causes harm to the teenage brain more so than the adult brain is the use of drugs.  Use the website, www.scholastic.com/headsup  for research, as well as one other source to complete one of the following:

1.            Create a poster warning teenagers of the dangers of drug use to their brain.

2.            Create a pamphlet using Microsoft Publisher (or other software that allows you to create brochures) to illustrate the harm drugs can do to the teenage brain.

3.            Assume that you have been asked to give a presentation to a Grade 4 class on the dangers of drugs on young brains.  Create a power-point presentation to present your information.          Be creative and use clips and music to enhance your presentation.


Activity 4: Your Learning Style

While some scientists are looking inside the brain for information about teenage brains other psychologists (scientists who investigate human behaviour) are looking at how teenagers learn. 

1.    To explore your learning style, go to the website cited below and answer the questionnaire provided.  You may find it easier to print the questionnaire and score it on paper.  The website provides instructions on how to score your learning style. http://lookingahead.heinle.com/filing/l-styles.htm

2.    Do you think your score reflected your particular learning style?  Why or Why not?

3.    Should teachers know a student’s learning style when assigning homework or assignments?  Explain.

4.    Another psychologist says that people are smart in different ways. You may have heard of the term ‘multiple intelligences’.  The list below shows the different intelligences.  Look at this list and think about your intelligences, list, in order of strength, the intelligences that most describe you. 

    • Logical/mathematical—number/smart (people who like puzzles and math)
    • Spatial intelligence—artistic/picture smart  (people who are good at the arts)
    • Bodily/kinesthetic—body smart (people who are natural athletes)
    • Musical—music smart (people who are good at music)
    • Interpersonal—people smart (people who understand others)
    • Intrapersonal—self smart (people who understand themselves)
    • Naturalist—nature smart (people who are drawn to nature)

 Howard Gardner, “Multiple Intelligences” 1983 


 Activity 5: Violent teens

 Read the following article adapted from:  Indepth: Crime Tumultuous teens.  CBC News Online, January 13, 2005

At the funeral of her son, the mother of a teen beaten and stabbed to death by other teens pleaded with youth in Toronto to end their spree of violence.  Youth violence, assaults, brawls, and even murder have shocked Toronto.  Is there a growing trend toward group violence in Canadian teens? 

According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Studies, youth violence jumped in 2000.  The overall violent crime rate increased 13% between 1993 and 2003, and groups seem to be increasingly involved.

Some people suggest that the increase in teen violence is the result of ‘zero tolerance’ policies in schools.  Others cite absent parents and poverty, some claim it is the result of the violent videos and movies teens watch today.  Most agree that the statistics may only show some of the picture, since they represent only the incidents that are reported to police. 

 One type of group violence that is becoming common is ‘swarming’.  Legal experts define swarming as: 

1. actions by a group,

2.  against one or several individuals

3. that include violence, harassment, intimidation or the potential for force or pressure.


Experts warn that young people may be especially susceptible to participating in swarmings because they tend to identify with a peer group, and are less able to stand up against the behaviour of the group.  As well, because the teens share responsibility for the violent acts, it makes it easier to carry them out. There is also evidence that the larger a crowd that gathers to watch a swarming, the more aggressive the offenders will become.  This may make large schools with hundreds of students more likely to experience swarming incidents.

The first serious incident of swarming took place in 1997, when 14-year old Reena Virk, was beaten and drowned by a group of youth in British Columbia.  Since then there have been many cases of swarming, including one involving a 15-year old boy, Matti Baranovski, who was beaten to death by a group of youth who wanted him to give them cigarettes and money. 

Another new term that is being used to describe teen swarmings is ‘taxing’.  This involves surrounding a teen and demanding money or valuables.  Recent school surveys indicate that more than half the elementary and secondary students in the Province of Quebec had been victims of taxing. 

1.            Do you think either ‘swarming’ or ‘taxing’ are a serious problem for teenagers today?  Explain.

2.            Given what you learned about the teenage brain, do you think teenagers can be blamed for this type of violent behaviour?  Explain.

3.            Do you think today’s teenagers are more violent than they were in your parent’s day?  Explain.


4.            What were the three reasons in the article for the increase in teenage group violence?


5.            Which of the three reasons do you think is most likely? Explain.


6.            What is the difference between ‘swarming’ and ‘taxing’.


7.            What would you do to prevent young teens from engaging in ‘swarming’ or ‘taxing’?  Make a list of at least 5 possible suggestions.


8.            In 2003 the Youth Criminal Justice Act was enacted.  You will find information on this act at http://canada.justice.gc type in Youth Criminal Justice Act.  Looking at the information on this Act, answer the following questions:


a.    The Youth Justice Act applies to what age?

b.    How old must a young person be to be tried as an adult in adult court?


9.            One of the rights of a young person under this act is not to be identified in the media or else where.  However, recently after the murder of 14-year old Stefanie Rengel, January 1 2008, friends of the victim included the names of the accused on Facebook. 


10.         Should young persons accused of a crime be identified in the same way as adults accused of a crime?  Explain.


11.         What should happen to the people who published the names of the accused in Facebook?  Explain.


12.         In light of media such as Facebook, is it possible to protect young offenders? Explain.



Activity 6:  The Baggy Pants Debate: Should baggy pants be banned.


Should the government be allowed to prevent you from wearing certain types of clothing?  This debate is getting attention because of baggy pants.  You have seen them, you might even wear them.  They are mostly worn by young men and are oversized pants that hang so low underwear is exposed. 


In some US states, local by-laws, or ordinances as they are called in the states, baggy pants are banned.  Supporters of the ban include some hip-hop artists who claim that baggy pants is a style that has its beginnings in criminal culture.  They say that because prisoners were not allowed to wear belts, for fear of hurting themselves or others, their pants always hung low.  This ‘look’ then became an indication the wearer had done time.  People who disagree with the ban, say young people have always worn clothing that annoys adults, and the baggy pants look is now just a fashion statement.  What do you think?  If you want to research this further you may access the Dr. Phil show where it was recently discussed.  www.drphil.com/shows  The episode aired Monday, January 28, 2008 and was called “The Baggy Pants Debate”.


a)    Create a pro and con chart indicating the points in favour of the ban and the points to be made against a ban.

b)    What do you think when you see a young person wearing baggy pants?  Explain.

c)    What do you think adults, parents and teachers think about young people who wear baggy pants?  Explain.

d)    Do you think the way a person dresses tells you anything about what that person is like?  Explain.

e)    Are you influenced by how people dress?  Explain.

f)     Are you influenced by the media, artists, sports figures, or actors in how you dress?  Explain.

g)    Create a bulletin board that shows different styles of teenage dress.

h)   Would you ban young people wearing baggy pants?  Explain.




Module 4:  Making Amends – Restoration


It is likely that you regret the actions that led to your being suspended from school.  In previous units you have been asked to reflect on those actions.  You have been asked to reflect on how your actions affected others and you have been asked to consider some of the reasons for your behaviour.  You may be feeling sad at disappointing your parents, or being away from your classmates.  You may feel angry at having to complete these exercises, angry at the situation you now find yourself in. It is easy to be confused about the difference between feeling sorry for ourselves and feeling genuinely sorry for the trouble our actions caused.  One way we can truly demonstrate that we are sorry for the harm we caused is to make amends.  We can make amends in many ways.  One way is to help improve our community, our country and ourselves.  In this unit you will discover how others have given back to their community and to think about how you can improve your community.


Over the next few days or weeks, depending on the length of your suspension, you will be expected to complete the following packages of assignments and activities. The purpose of these assignments is to help you learn from your mistakes, in particular to reflect on the conflict or problem that caused you to be suspended from your regular school. 


In most cases you will be asked to read articles, answer questions or complete activities.  Some articles and activities you will find on assigned web-sites.  In some cases you may be asked to read a poem, listen to song lyrics, read a short story or novel.  In most cases you will be given a variety of choices to complete the task.  You may choose the method that most suits your own learning style. 


When each module is completed please turn it into your supervisor.  Your work will be reviewed and it will be determined whether it is completed satisfactorily or if you need to be assigned additional work.  Take advantage of this opportunity to help you to be responsible and to succeed.


Activity 1: Consequences




Edwin Green and his friend Mandy were downtown on a Friday night.  They had nothing to do.  Both had been drinking Tequila stolen from Edwin’s Dad.  The two walked over to the school.  Edwin had been sent out of class that morning for talking and he was still angry with the teacher.  Bored and angry, Edwin persuaded Mandy to join him in breaking into the school and trashing his teacher’s desk and computer.  Once in the school they found the teacher’s room locked, but one of the computer rooms was open.  The two smashed all the computers in the class, and as the art room door was also open, they found some paint and threw it over the rest of the equipment in the computer room.  Next day the students and teachers were shocked by the vandalism.  In the cold light of day Edwin and Mandy were also shocked at the extent of damage they caused.  Other students were upset that the recently purchased computers were destroyed, and in many cases, students’ work was gone.  Although Edwin and Mandy agreed they had better not say anything to anyone, after a few days Edwin began to hint to his friends that he may have been the one to break in.  The next day police came into Edwin and Mandy’s classrooms, escorted them out of the building and charged them with vandalism, destruction of property, and trespass.




Edwin lived in a series of foster homes but has recently returned to live with his mother.  When cornered or frustrated he is prone to violent outbursts.  He did not understand the crime from the victim’s perspective, saying, “insurance will pay for it’.


Mandy is from a good and loving family.  She doesn’t know why she went along that night, she says she ‘just went ballistic’.  Mandy has been suspended from school a few times for being late and smoking on school property, but nothing like this.  Her parents, (her Dad is a local teacher) are devastated their daughter would do something like this. Mandy is extremely sorry for her actions but blames Edwin for giving her alcohol.  She claims she didn’t intend to do any harm when they broke in, but just got carried away.




a)    Describe in your own words what happened.


b)    If you were Edwin, what would you want to do?


c)    If you were Mandy, what would you want to do?


d)    If you were the students and teachers in the school what would you want Edwin and Mandy to do?


e)    Identify all the people who were harmed by this incident.

f)     What should happen to Edwin and Mandy? 


g)    Should Edwin and Mandy receive the same consequences?  Why or Why not?


h)   How could Edwin and Mandy make amends for what they did?


i)     If you were in a similar situation what things could you do to make amends?

Activity: 2 Chuckie’s Story – Making amends


Chuckie, whose real name is Phong Nguyan, came to Toronto from Vietnam when he was eight years old.  He and his mother moved into an apartment in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto.  Chuckie fell into the street life when his mother was at work and he soon became a gang member.  He was expelled from school in Grade 10 for selling marijuana, and carrying a BB gun.  Chuckie was featured in a CBC documentary called “Lost in the Struggle”, a documentary about the lives of young people growing up in poor neighbourhoods. 


To learn more about Chuckie, go to:  www.cbc.ca/fifth/lostinthestruggle


Click on the sidebar “Chuckie”.


Read the article about how Chuckie decided to make amends at:  http://thevillager.ca/printArticle/33889 Lisa Rainford, “Young man offers glimpse of street life to West Toronto Collegiate Students.” December 6 2007.


a)    Write a one-two page response to the story of Chuckie.  Include a summary of what happened to him, how he is making amends and what you think the future may hold for Chuckie.


Read more about Freshy and Brunz – Chuckie’s associates at : www.cbc/fifth/lostinthestruggle


Activity 3: Positive Attributes


When someone is described as being responsible, honest and optimistic we assume that the person is a good person with positive attributes.  But what exactly do these words mean?  What does a responsible person act like?  What do we think when we say a person is honest?  The following is a list of words that describe positive attributes: 













a)    Your task:  Create a chart with the following headings—Attribute/My Definition/Example/Dictionary definition.  Use the following example as your guide:


Attribute         My Definition                                    Example                                Dictionary     


Optimism       an attitude that         although Oprah had a hard                       a belief that  

                        sees the positive      childhood she always believed     good must

                        side of things                        things would get better                   prevail


b)    Aretha Franklin created a hit song out of the word RESPECT.  Choose one of the words from the list above and write your own song, poem, or poster to illustrate and explain the meaning of your word.


c)    Is there a person in your life who displays any of these positive attributes. Write a short paragraph describing this person and how you think they demonstrate these attributes.


d)    You are applying for a part-time job.  The interviewer wants references from your previous employer or one of your teachers.  What attributes do you think they would include in your reference?  What attributes would you like them to include?


Activity 4:  Responsibility


Read the following scenarios and think about what would be the responsible thing to do in each situation.  What would you do?  Explain your reasons.


a)    You have a group presentation due tomorrow.  You have all the handouts and overheads in your house.  The morning of your presentation you get a phone call telling you that the game you ordered is in.  To make sure you get your game, you must show up before 10:00.  This is when you are scheduled to do your presentation.


b)    You would really like to join the basketball team.  The team meets for practice every Wednesday morning. You have already agreed to do some of your volunteer hours at the school breakfast club on Wednesday morning.


c)    You find out that your friend is being abused at home. You were suspicious because your friend always had lots of bruises, which he explained by saying he fell playing hockey.  However, one day, at your friend’s home, his Dad got mad at him and hit him on the head.  Your friend begs you not to tell anyone as his Dad only hits him when he has been drinking and your friend doesn’t want to get his Dad in trouble.


Activity 5: Why teens leave school


According to researchers the following are the top reasons why students leave school before graduating:


  • Missed too many days to catch up
  • Friends not interested in school                                                          
  • Too much freedom, not enough rules
  • Failing in school
  • Had to get a job and make money


a)    What other things would you add to this list?  List three other reasons why students might leave school before getting enough credits to graduate.


b)    Subliminal is a Toronto-based rapper, architect and founder of the P.U.L.L. Project.  PULL is a literacy workshop Subliminal teaches in schools using hip hop to target a positive message.  Subliminal, was born Sean Maricette in Mississauga.  He saw the allure of the gang lifestyle first hand, but although his family was poor Subliminal saw the value of an education.  While his friends moved towards a life of crime Subliminal instead, decided to go to university and study architecture.  When he saw his friends getting into trouble with the law, Subliminal decided he didn’t want his life to go in that direction. 


He tells students that it is great to do hip hop and to be into music but he is convinced that a college education is important.  In his workshops Subliminal reaches out to young people with his music and his acting, but when he shows them slides of the gardens he has designed he lets them know that it is through education that they will have the best opportunity for a better life. 


Adapted from:   Ben Kaplan, “His Design for the Future”.  National Post.

Saturday, Feb. 2 2008.


For more information about Subliminal, visit www.myspace.com/akasubliminal.


c)    What is Subliminal’s advice about staying in school?


d)    The list above gave the top reasons why students wanted to leave school.  What answers could you give to students to counteract each reason?  For example, if a student says they have missed too many days to catch up, you could point out that there are credit-recovery programs in school that could help them catch up.


Activity 6:  Understanding statistics


Read the following article from Statistics Canada, The Daily, January 2008.


Study: Female offenders 2005

Females accounted for a small proportion of all alleged offenders in 2005 and, when they did offend, they tended to commit offences such as theft, common assault, bail violations and fraud, according to a new report.


The report showed that females aged 12 and older accounted for about 1 out of every 5 people accused by police services of committing a violation against the Criminal Code. The findings are based on data from a subset of 122 mostly urban police services located in nine provinces.


Almost half (47%) of these females were accused of committing a property crime, while another 28% were accused of committing a violation against a person. In comparison, 39% of males were accused of committing a property offence, and 34% were accused of a violation against a person.


Theft of property (other than a motor vehicle) was the most prevalent crime committed by females. In 2005, 291 females for every 100,000 in the population were accused of this offence, about half the rate among males.


Relative to other types of offences, the rate of fraud (84 accused for every 100,000 population) was also high among females. Yet, this was also half the rate among males.


Females were far less likely than males to commit homicide, robbery, sexual assault, breaking and entering, motor vehicle theft or mischief.


Rates among females were anywhere from 7 to 10 times lower, depending on the offence. For instance, for every 100,000 females, 13 were accused of robbery. In comparison, the rate for males was 110.


At the national level, the rate at which females were charged with violent crimes grew between 1986 (the start of the study's reference period) and 2005, with the steepest growth occurring before the early 1990s.


Among female youth, the charge rate for "serious violent crime" has more than doubled from 60 female youth charged per 100,000 population in 1986 to 132 in 2005. The rate among female adults moved from 25 to 46 per 100,000 over that period.


Serious violent crime includes murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm, unlawfully causing bodily harm, discharge of a firearm with intent, abduction of a person under 14 and robbery.




a)    What offences were females most likely to commit according to this report?


b)    What was the percentage difference between females committing a crime of violence and males committing a crime of violence?


c)    What crime were females most likely to commit?


d)    Compare the rate of robbery committed by males and females.  Which group is most likely to commit robbery?


e)    The rate of ‘serious violent crime’, by young women has doubled since the early 1990s.  What reasons can you think of for this increase? 


f)     Overall, in every category, men commit more crimes than women.  Why do you think this is?  Explain.


g)    Why do you think Statistics Canada is interested in collecting this information?  Explain.

Module 5: Affecting Change


Over the next few days or weeks, depending on the length of your suspension, you will be expected to complete the following packages of assignments and activities. The purpose of these assignments is to help you learn from your mistakes, in particular to reflect on the conflict or problem that caused you to be suspended from your regular school. 


In most cases you will be asked to read articles, answer questions or complete activities.  Some articles and activities you will find on assigned web-sites.  In some cases you may be asked to read a poem, listen to song lyrics, read a short story or novel.  In most cases you will be given a variety of choices to complete the task.  You may choose the method that most suits your own learning style. 


When each module is completed please turn it into your supervisor.  Your work will be reviewed and it will be determined whether it is completed satisfactorily or if you need to be assigned additional work.  Take advantage of this opportunity to help you to be responsible and to succeed.


In each of the modules you have completed so far you have been asked to think about what happened that caused you to be suspended from school.   The assignments and activities you have completed were designed to help you think about the people affected by your actions and to consider what you can do to make things right.  Making things right involves making changes in your behaviour to make sure you do not get in trouble again.  Making changes in our behaviour is never easy.  


The activities and assignments in this module will give you the opportunity to begin to think about who you are and what you might want to change.  What are your goals for your future?  How can you achieve your goals?  What actions can you take to improve your choices for the future?








Activity 1: Mind Map

One way of visualizing problems and possible solutions is to create a mind map.  In a mind map we organize our thoughts and ideas in the form of a graphic organizer rather than writing them down in a formal way.  The following is an example of one kind of mind map.

Text Box: Stay up too late                       

Text Box: Don’t like classesText Box: Influence of friends


Text Box: Problem: Skipping School


Text Box: Too many hours at workText Box: Hate mornings






This map is very simple and could include solutions for each of the excuses for the problem.  Create your own mind map of a particular problem you may have, e.g. getting into fights, arguing with parents, late for school etc.  Add possible solutions to your mind map.  Be creative!  Your mind map could be in the form of pictures, drawings, symbols.


Activity 2:  Choosing your direction


You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose

You’re on your own

And you know what you know

You are the one who’ll decide where to go


Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) excerpt from, “Oh the places you’ll go”


Dr. Seuss suggests that we are the ones to decide what direction in life we will go.  One way to help us decide what path to take is to make a life plan.  What do we really want out of life?  Do we want to be famous, change our world, raise a family, have a great career, travel? 


a)    Think about what is important to you and make a Life Plan Chart or Mind Map.  Your Chart or Mind Map could include the following headings, or you can make up your own headings.  If you are using a mind map, your centre should be titled “My Life Plan”.


  • Education:  What do you want to achieve?  Short-term may be successfully passing Grade 11.  Long term may be a college diploma or university degree.


  • Career:  List five possible careers.  Prioritize them according to your talents and attributes and your own interest.


  • Family:  Do you want to get married?  Have children?  What would your ideal family look like?


  • Social life: Is it important for you to have lots of friends?  A few close friends? What social activities would you like to do?  Join clubs, organizations, volunteer?


  • Travel:  Is travel important to you?  Where in the world would you like to visit? 


  • Activities:  Do you want to learn how to play an instrument, paint, learn to ski?  What new skills would you like to learn,


  • Dreams:  What would your dream job be?  Would you like to be famous?  Rich? Have a lot of power in your job?


  • Adventure:  Would you like to try out for Canadian Idol?  Climb Mt. Everest.  Walk in space? 



Activity 3:  Biography


The list below includes some famous people who have been successful in making the most of their abilities.  Choose one and research their biography.  (Or you may make your own choice with approval from your teacher)


a)    Retell their story in your own words, or in another creative format, e.g. screen play, magazine article, short graphic novel. 


Include in your story: How did they become successful?  How did they cope with failure?  How were they affected by outside events, e.g. war, politics, family problems etc.?  How did their story inspire or encourage you?


  • Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa
  • John F. Kennedy, former President of the USA
  • Steve Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
  • Steve Jobs, founder of Apple
  • Mark Zukerberg, creator of Facebook
  • Oprah Winfrey, TV hostess and actress
  • Sean Combs, artist and designer
  • Alicia Keys, artist
  • Barak Obama, US Senator
  • Jim Carrey, actor
  • Michaelle Jean, Governor-General of Canada
  • Oscar Peterson, Jazz musician
  • Romeo Dallaire, former general
  • Phil Fontaine, National Chief,First Nations


For more choices and help with your research see:  www.FounderBios.com

 www.worldathlete.com   www.woopidio.com   www.biography.com


Activity 4:  Who Am I?


You may know that you like sports and hate reading.  You may believe that you prefer being alone to being in large crowds.  Mostly, at this stage in your life you are in the process of discovering your unique personality. 


To help you think about your values, choices and personality type, answer the following questions.  There is no ‘correct’ answer, but you should give each question serious thought.


a)    Think of a person you admire.  (it could be a person in your life, a character in a book, movie).  Write down the qualities you admire in that person.


b)    You can take three people with you to live on a deserted island.  Who would they be and why?


c)    You can have three positive attributes from the list below.  What three would you choose and why?


d)    Describe an event in your life that made you happy.


e)    Describe a time in your life when you made a wrong choice.


f)     Describe a time in your life when you made the right choice.


g)    List ten things you enjoy doing. (e.g. snowboarding/reading/watching movies)


h)   If you could choose one talent, what would it be?  Why?


i)     What qualities do you value in a friend? 


j)      What subjects did you enjoy in elementary school?


Reflect on the answers you provided to the questions above.  What do they tell you about yourself?  Do you think your answers are a truthful representation of you?  Would a friend reading your responses be surprised by any of your choices?  Explain.



Activity 5:  Trust and Responsibility


Marion Jones, former champion track star and winner of 5 medals in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, recently admitted to taking steroids to enhance her performance in these games.  Jones had consistently denied taking steroids until it became clear her trainer and coach were going to testify against her.  Jones was stripped of her medals and was ordered to return her prize money.  Her team-mates in a relay race may also have to return their medals and prize money because of Jones’s admission. 


Roger Clemens, pitcher for the New York Yankees, has been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs by his former trainer, Brian McNamee and by team-mates Andrew Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch.  Clemens, under oath, at an investigative hearing, flatly denies that he ever used steroids or human growth hormone (HGH). However, after hearing the evidence and testimony from Clemens’ team-mates, Elijah E. Cummings, a representative from Maryland said to Roger Clemens, "It's hard to believe you, sir,"  "I hate to say that. You're one of my heroes, but it's hard to believe you."


Jones and Clemens are just two of a long list of athletes who have been accused of taking performance enhancing drugs.  For many young people star athletes are heroes and discovering that their heroes may have lied and cheated is very disappointing.


a)    Why do you think many top athletes lie about taking steroids even when the evidence is clear that they did?


b)    Why do you think we are disappointed when we discover our heroes may have lied or cheated?


c)    The reputation of Jones and other disgraced athletes has been ruined.  What is a ‘reputation”?  What happens when we damage our reputation?  Explain.


d)    When we say we trust someone, what do we mean?   


e)    How can we demonstrate that we are trustworthy after we have lied or broken a trust?


f)     What will you do to regain the trust of your teachers, administrators, parents or others who may have been harmed by your actions?

Activity 6:  Resolving Conflict

You enter your local coffee shop to buy lunch when you see a group of friends sitting around a table.  You are about to go over and say hi, when they look up and see you then they all suddenly start laughing. 


a)    You feel angry because you are convinced they have said something mean about you.

b)    You feel upset because you are not sure why they are laughing.

c)    You feel fine because you think laughing when they saw you was coincidence; they could have been laughing at anything.


If your answer is a) your response may be to confront your friends or leave the shop but feel angry all day and perhaps take your anger out on someone else.


a)    What do you think is likely to happen if you confront your friends in the coffee shop?


b)    What do you think your response might be if you chose b) or c)? 


c)    What do you think would be the best response to this situation?


d)    Create your own conflict scenario.  Identify three possible responses and suggest the pros and cons of each response. 


Activity 7:  Change – It Starts with You


The Golden Rule


I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change


“Man in the Mirror”, Siedah Garrett & Glenn Ballard, 1987, Music Corporation of America.  From:  Covey, Sean, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens”. Simon & Schuster: New York. 1998.


a)    Retell this verse in your own words.


b)    Identify one positive change that you would like to make in your life.


c)    List the steps you need to take to make this change a reality.


d)    What things might prevent you from making this positive change?


e)    What could you do to overcome any obstacles to your change?



Activity 8:  Retell, Reflect, Respond


Think back to the incident that caused you to be suspended.


a)    Retell briefly what happened.


b)    What have you learned since? 


c)    What has been the hardest thing for you? 


d)    What have you done to make things right?


e)    What have you learned from this mistake? 


f)     What have you learned from the assignments and activities assigned to you? 







Rubric for Module Expectations








The activities and assignments in the module were all completed.


Most of the module activities and assignments were completed.

Some of the module activities and assignments were completed.

Few of the module activities and assignments were completed. 


Completed activities and assignments demonstrated considerable effort

Completed activities and assignments demonstrated satisfactory effort


Competed activities and assignments demonstrated some effort

Completed activities and assignments demonstrated minimal effort

Self-direction and time management

Student was focused and on task

Student required minimal direction and supervision to remain on task


Student required some direction and supervision to remain on task

Student required direction and supervision to remain on task



proofreading spelling, grammar




Work was properly proofread and mistakes corrected


Few spelling and grammatical errors, work was proofread and most mistakes corrected


Some spelling and grammatical errors, some evidence of proofreading and correction


Considerable  spelling and grammatical errors with little evidence of proofreading