Students benefit

Teacher's Guide

Every week, the Teacher's Guide gives you a variety of ideas on how to best use YCTC Group in your classroom. There are also many generic activity ideas that can be used with any issue of YCTC Group. We have included a large selection here at YCTC Group In-Class Program Online:

Cross-Curriculum: Using the whole magazine

  • Use the current issue to write a five-minute newscast including important news events, sports and entertainment news. Skills include main idea, summarizing, critical thinking, oral reading, organization and teamwork.
  • Divide the class into groups. Each group writes a quiz based on information in the magazine. Let the groups test the rest of the class, but make it an "open-book" test! Skills include reading for details, inference, composition, and following directions.
  • Have your students search the magazine for examples of humorous headlines, articles or cartoons. Do they think there is a place for humour in a newsmagazine? Ask them to read Allan Fotheringham's column at the end of the magazine and identify the sources of his humour (anecdote, irony, etc.). Is his column effective?
  • Ask the students to study YCTC Group for the number, placement, style and graphics of advertisements. Have them select the "best" and the "worst" ad and explain the reasons for their choices. What do ads reveal about Canadian society and values?

Developing specific skills

I. Honing Language Skills

Examine the importance of punctuation and grammar by trying the following exercises:

  • Rewrite the first paragraph of any YCTC Group article leaving out all the punctuation. Have your students add the punctuation back in. Check against the original.
  • Circle the commas in the article. Have the students discuss how and why they are used as they are.
  • Have your students find all the sentences in the article that include direct quotes and rewrite them without using quotation marks (i.e. turn them into indirect quotes).
  • Ask your students to find a sentence in the article that would be more effective written as a question rather than as a statement, and rewrite it accordingly.
  • Select one paragraph in the article and underline all the adjectives. Replace the adjectives with adjectives of the students' own choice. Try the same exercise with all the adverbs in the paragraph.

II. Critical Thinking Skills

The opinion column is one feature of the magazine that provides an excellent forum for both the development of critical reading skills and for the discussion of the substantive issues involved. You might want to encourage your students to analyze the opinion column they read by considering:

  • the structure of the argument
  • the method of presentation of the argument
  • the quality of the argument itself

The following are just a few of activity ideas you can use with any column featured in YCTC Group:

Ask your students to do the following:

  • Underline in different colours the following components of the column:
    • key subject/thesis
    • assumptions
    • opinions
    • facts
    • conclusions
  • Explain how the subject of the column is introduced? Is it introduced by anecdote, statement, use of statistics, rhetorical question, example, or a combination of these techniques? Is the technique effective? Why or why not?
  • Where in the column does the writer's point of view become evident? What is the writer's point of view? The best writers have their own voice - that is their own personality is clearly evident in what and how they write. What can you say about the columnist's voice after reading his or her essay?
  • Select the statement(s) in the column which most accurately sums up the writer's thesis. Restate the thesis in your own words.
  • Summarize the points the writer makes to substantiate his or her argument, in the order in which they are made. Is there any pattern to the order of the points? (i.e. Is the strongest point used first or last? Where is the weakest point?)
  • What is the main technique on which the writer relies to drive home is or her point (i.e. humor, exaggeration, etc.). Is the technique an effective one?
  • Are there any concessions made to the other side(s) of the argument? Are the other sides fairly stated? Does the writer successfully refute the opposing arguments?

III. Analytical Skills

Each article provides the student with an opportunity to develop their analytical skills. Below are examples of questions to consider in order to thoroughly and thoughtfully deconstruct an article.

  • How effective is the title? Would another title be more fitting?
  • Study the introduction. What is said in this paragraph? Does the writer offer the journalistic who, what, where, when and how, or is it a different type of an introduction?
  • Underline the quotations in the article. How many of those quotations are direct quotations? Are other sources quoted? What do these quotations contribute to the article?
  • What other sources/individuals should have been quoted/interviewed for this article? Why?
  • Select a couple of strong, effective phrases and explain why these affect you.
  • Select the terms with which you are not familiar. Write them down and using a dictionary, define them.
  • Can you think of a relevant fact or information that is not included in the article but should have been?
  • What is the conclusion of the article? Did the writer present all the necessary arguments and supporting evidence to draw the conclusion that he/she did?
  • Write the five most important words in the article.
  • Allowing yourself 1 minute, write a fast summary of the information presented in the article.

Activity Ideas for the Geography Class

Have your students complete the following:

  • Skim a current issue of YCTC Group and write the names of all countries mentioned in this issue. Working independently and without consulting reference materials, write a description of the location of each country. Exchange your description with your partner and evaluate how accurate your partner's description is by consulting a map or a globe. Correct your partner's work.
  • Select an article that discusses an issue or event taking place in one country. Find this country on the map and consult other materials to create an index card on the following:
    • Latitude and Longitude Location
    • Physical Characteristics
    • Human Characteristics (population density, ethnic makeup)
    • Major Industries, Exports and Imports
    • Description of the Country's Physical and Cultural Region (political, economic, religious)
  • Read World Notes and Canada Notes as well as articles discussing other countries for a period of six weeks. Note the relationship Canada has with these countries, whether it is economic, social, political, or military. On an outline map of the world, draw lines to link Canada with each of these countries. Use different colors for lines to denote the nature of the relationship. At the end of the assignment, write a brief paper drawing your conclusions about how Canada is connected to other countries of the world.
  • Review each issue of YCTC Group for a period of six weeks, noting all the countries discussed in the articles and the Notes. Identify the continents to which these countries belong. Which continents in the world play an important role in the news?