A group made to mentor two classes whose geographical distance from one another plays only a small role in how close they are.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tiffany... & Friends

Well I was thoroughly happy to see a project when I scrolled through Tiffany's blog. Seeing that they focused on physical survival I decided to send them in a different direction. You can see the post here and the project here.

Hello Tiffany, Christian, Skyler and Brianna!

I had a look at your project and thought that it was pretty good. You have a few grammatical errors here and there but nothing incomprehensable. As I was looking through it I saw the many aspects of physical survival that you pointed out. Now they did not only have to survive physically but mentally. In your opinions what kept them going through that experience, what kept them from going bonkers?

Student Mentor

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Well before I completed this comment on Brianna's blog, I attempted to verify whether Graeme had already commented on her blog recently or not. It just so happens that he has in fact posted a comment on a blog by Brianna... though that comment pertained to a different Brianna (phew). Anyway, the basis of this comment lies within the post here.

"Hello Brianna,

It's really great to see how you've succinctly identified not only how you have grown due to the completion of this project, but also where improvements could be made for future endeavors.

Do you think that if this project were entirely oriented around a single classroom (and not over the internet in any way) you would have received the same overall benefit from the project? How do you think that manipulating the way a project or assignment is to be completed alters the educational value of the project? Do you think that completing such projects in the same manner each time takes away from the intrigue and benefit of the project in any way? What about a task requiring a unique approach or method to complete?

Now as I stated earlier, you've successfully identified any downfalls you encountered during this project and how they can be compensated for in the future, but I think you should heed your own suggestions and future tasks head on and really think about them prior to starting another task. If you continually think about what went wrong last time before you start with a new task, it would probably contribute to your progression as a student or with almost anything that you may encounter.

Take care,
Student Mentor"

Not entirely sure when I'll have free time again in the near future, but my next comment probably will not be until then (though I'll probably post a few during the break).

Monday, December 17, 2007


Comment to Christian, can be viewed here.

Hello Christian,

When I looked at your post the fact that you put an image there made me relate this to my current experiences. At the moment I'm preparing for my S4 English exam and one of the tidbits we really have to look out for and analyze is imagery. I am curious to know why you chose the skull imagery, is there more to it then just the obvious?

Auf wiedersehen!
Student Mentor

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Like Chris I think I may have been a tad overzealous here...

Hello Vanessa,

I have recently been immersed in a couple aspects of writing lately and would just like to share a bit of the knowledge with your response here.

At one point you say, "I think that the word that fits in the most in chapters eleven and twelve is the FRIENDSHIP. I think that this word is best for these two chapters because of the note that Johnny left to Ponyboy.", do you notice anything that could be changed to make that more interesting to the reader?

The repitition of "I think" could be avoided. Repitition is good in some situations for stylistic punch but should be used sparingly lest your piece sound like writing by numbers (a reference to that coloring by numbers we probably did when we were far younger). Instead you could use a couple of different starts to those sentences to make them more interesting: "In my opinion ...", "My comprehension is that... ", "I'm convinced" and if your like my fellow mentor Chris, "From thorough analysis my cognitive pathways have found... " (he writes pretty scientifically), but still it is interesting if you can understand what is said because it is different.

Another tidbit I'd like to take up with you is something called verb-tense agreement. The two sentences, "It showed that they were really good friends. This really shows that they love each other as friends.", sound conflicted. This is because of the way the word show is used. In one it is referring to the past the other is referring to the present about the same topic at the same time. Kind of hard to be done and doing at the same time... get my drift?

Au revoir,
Student Mentor

Can you reply here as well as at:
Having a *really* rough time seeing comments on these blogs.
Thank You!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I think I might have been a tad overzealous when I was commenting on Michael's blog, but the thoughts consistently poured out. Here is the comment, and you can find this comment and the corresponding post here, hope it was a great one.

"Hey there Michael,

Good job with your post summarizing these two chapters, though there might be some grammatical errors that you can fix. I find that writing a lot, even outside of school, tends to contribute to your progression and skill with using language in meaningful yet elegant methods. Also, I think you did a great job staying concise and right to the point with the ideas in your post.

Now, as I read through your post, I was particularly intrigued the statement: “The sounds of the shot then the pain and suffering you can hear is painful…” Did you intend for this statement to be entirely literal or did you attempt to implicate something deeper? Have you ever learned anything on double meanings? And if you really did intend this to be an implicit emotional conveyance, do you think that you can apply emotions that you felt or feel have a great connection with to any other events in these chapters?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to imply deeper meaning, in fact it might give the audience more insight into the significance of your statement and might even be used to project it’s true meaning or any accompanying moods or emotions that may be applicable. I find it to be good habit to try to expand the methods in which you approach your writing endeavours and in any way try to say as much as you can with as succinctly as possible.

Note that if there is any vocabulary present in my comment that you might not be familiar with, it would probably be a good idea to research then to help expand your overall language skills. Don’t be deterred by large words; try to let them entice you to pursue more knowledge.


Darn it, I forgot to indicate that I'm a student mentor. =/ Though I hope that someone informs him or that he is already aware of this fact.

Monday, December 3, 2007


From a couple lines in this I'd have to say this girl is a wonderful writer. The one line I quoted struck me so I decided to prod for some more info. You can view it here.

Hello Katie!

I'm glad to see that you enjoyed the book. I'm sure your future read-throughs will bring you many hidden details and deeper meaning.

You say, "The word that I would choose would be survival, I chose this word because they made it through a tough part in life, they fought for who they wanted to be and who they were, they tried…they won…they survived.", do you think that the people who died in a way survived as well? Is a short noble life one that is better than a long one of cowardice but overall good living?

Student Mentor

P.S. Can you please post your response under the Katie post of http://advicethroughetherealwalls.blogspot.com/ as well as here because I'm having a *really* hard time seeing comments on these blogs.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Decided that I'd mix Brandon's obvious liking of videogames (see post after the one linked) with the observations in his post (which was very impressive). You can see the comment here.

Wow, great post! From what I can see your a pretty bright kid. So I won't spare the hard questions.

You say that his [Ponyboy's] senses are dulled from all the traumatic experiences. Do you think that virtual experiences (video game/movie violence) can end with a similar kind of psychological numbing?

The experiences you have in life and how you respond to them give one definition of who you are; how have the experiences Ponyboy has gone through define him (What kind of person has it made him)? So how do the experiences and how you react to them in video games and movies define/effect us?

Student Mentor


My first mentoring comment for the "Thinwalled classroom" blog, and I must say that it took a while to analytically dissect the students' posts to find something I could constructively comment on to help them with their educational endeavors. This first post was in response to a post on Tyler's blog which can be found here, in which he presented a synopsis of the final chapters as well as his interpretation of the story's finale. Here is the comment in full:

"Hello Tyler!

First off, I’d like to say that you did a good job summarizing of the final chapters of the novel. In fact, it turned out to be a great review of the novel for me (it’s been quite a while), so I thank you for that! (= There was one thing that caught my eye in your post, however.

Towards the conclusion of your post you stated that “Survivel best tells these chapters”. How do you believe that this characteristic (Survival) fits the ending of the story more so than any other? What idea or event in the final chapters of the story do you think best signify survival? Moreover, how do you think that the story or it’s ending would have changed if survival didn’t play such a large role in these chapters?

Don’t be discouraged to think outside of the box or to try to take on a unique perspective on something. It’s great to expand the way you look at things, since there isn’t always one definite way to approach an idea or concept.

Take care,
MrSiwWy - Student Mentor"

I know the format is very similar to Graeme's, but I thought consistency throughout the blog shouldn't hurt anyone.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Post on Brianna's response to the end of the novel. Really latched on to how she didn't want this book to end. Love that kind of book. You can see her post here.

Hello Brianna!

Seems that you really liked this novel! You say, "I really wished there was a chapter 13", well what would be in it? Are there any loose ends in the story that are not covered? Anything that you'd like to know more about? If you had free reign on one last extra chapter what would you add personally?

Student Mentor

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Second mentoring post, can see a problem in the future, lack of ideas pertaining to a small set of subjects... will have to be creative. You can see the comment here.

Hello Keplyn!

I was skimming through your post and this caught my eye:

"... the definition of frienship once again is: the state of being a friend; association as friends: to value a person’s friendship."

In this definition of friendship you use the root word (the word the other is derived from) and the word itself in the definitions. Is this the best way to define a word? Take this for example:

Ataraxia - the state of being ataraxic

Do you know what ataraxia really is from that definition? In the case of friendship we can assume that most people will know what a friend is so using friend in the definition is probably okay. But try to define friendship without using friend or any of it's other forms. It's a bit harder but would be clearer to anyone who doesn't know what friendship or friends are (even though those people may be few and far between).

P.S. Look up ataraxia, a bigger vocabulary never hurts

Saturday, November 17, 2007


First comment on the "Thinwalled classroom" blogs. Kind of weird switching off math and turning on English online, requires a bit of different thinking. You can see it here.

"Hello Hannah!

First off I'd like to say that this is a great post as it refreshed my memory of this book very well. Secondly, your word for these chapters is "Friendship" and you linked it to Wikipedia. It gives many different viewpoints (some debatable) on what friendship is but what is yours? (What makes a friend, difference between friendship and acquaintance and so on...). Lastly, did your name is a special sort of word/phrase? You should find out what type it is, a couple other examples are "racecar" and "Was it a cat I saw"?

Student Mentor"