What’s This Website?

Let us respond with a question of our own:
Ever had a question about academics, course selection (High School), post-secondary (applications and scholarships), school teams, clubs, after-school programs, the Math Dual Program, school events, and more? This is where you will find people to answer those questions for you!

Our Ask Box will be open between 7:00am on Monday and 1:05pm on Friday; answers will be posted between 1:20pm on Friday and 11:00pm on Sunday. On holidays and days when the school is closed, our Ask Box will too be closed.

To submit a question, simply head over to the Questions page and submit a question!

If you want to know more about us, head over to our “About Us” page!

If you just want some resources on post-secondary, mental health and various other subjects, head over to the “Links and Resources” page!

Use the search bar if you’re looking for something specific!

 

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Regarding AP courses

Question: Hi! I just wanted to ask that if you are coming to FFCA for the first time and you are a 10th grader and never had experience in FFCA before grade 10, and want to see if AP suits you or not, then can you take AP classes in the second semester of your 10th grade in order to see if AP would be best for you in future. Thanks!


Hello and thank you for contacting Let’s Talk, FFCA!

A quick note about AP classes, these classes cover everything that is covered in the regular course curriculum, with some additional information. For example, Science 10AP will complete the entire Science 10 course, with extra time devoted to some Grade 11 concepts. It is seriously important to note that any AP course is a huge time and effort commitment, one that can easily pull your grades down if you are not studying regularly and staying on top of course material. Take my word for it and do not take AP courses just because someone thinks it is better for you, only if you are genuinely interested in learning about a topic at a faster rate.

To address your question, I would like to provide you some information about AP in grade ten. To begin, AP Science is arguably the easiest of the AP courses to take in Grade 10, and provides some very helpful information about all of the 20 level sciences. AP Math is decidedly a bit more difficult, but contains concepts that are vital to Math 20 and beyond. AP English is a huge jump from regular English 10 (However, It is only offered in the first semester), and has proven to be arguably the most difficult AP course to be in. Contained in it is lots of reading, lots of work, but a huge knowledge payoff.

All the AP courses available in FFCA are Science 10AP, Math 10AP, English 10,20,30AP. Physics 20 and 30 AP, along with Chemistry 20 and 30 AP are offered depending on how many people sign up for them.

Grade ten is the best time to see what AP courses fit you the best. I am not entirely sure how new arrivals into FFCA make their course selections, but I would certainly recommend contacting our guidance councillor Ms. Geran. (shelly.geran@ffca-calgary.com), in order to get your AP classes in the second semester, if that is what you wish. This is not guaranteed, however – you may have to end up taking some AP courses in either semester.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Thanks for reading, and I really hope you enjoy being at FFCA!

~Areeb

Exam Bank

Question: What is the school login info for exam bank?


Exam bank is an online site that has study materials and practice tests that can be used to help prepare for exams.

The username is: ffcahs 

The password is: desks

Best of luck on exams,

Sydney 

Grade Averages

Question: I’m a grade 9 student and I have 90s in all my core subjects as well as my options and second language classes. I have a low grade in phys ed, will that affect anything?


The biggest thing to remember here is that having one low grade – as devastating as that can be – is not the end of the world, and in fact may affect you very little.

If the rest of your marks are high and if you only have one of two classes that you do poorly in, it won’t greatly affect your average because your abundant good marks will keep you flying high. The worst that can happen with having a low grade in Phys Ed (which I relate to!) or any other course for that matter is that your report card average might suffer a couple percents.

But that’s it. There are no scary consequences for having one bad grade. It can be tough when you’re trying to do everything perfectly, but we all have to remember that our little mistakes or shortcomings aren’t going to haunt us for years to come.

When it comes to applying for awards or scholarships, as far as I know, you’re often able to select which courses and which grades you apply with. So if you don’t want this gym mark to be seen, it doesn’t have to be – not to mention that you’ll never have to submit your Grade 9 report card.

It’s really in 10, 11, and 12 where grades begin to matter more – especially in Grade 11 and in the first semester of Grade 12 – because those are the marks you’ll be applying to universities with. Don’t stress too much about this for Grade 9 – though it’s great to cement a solid work ethic

Don’t stress too much about all of this for Grade 9 – though it’s great to cement a solid work ethic now, because it will serve you well in the next few years.

In summary, your one bad grade won’t have any lasting effects on your record. Hope this helped!

Best wishes,

Ziyana K.

Option of Full Year ELA

Question: What happens if someone is in dash 2 LA? Do they have to take summer school or do an extra year in high school? Thanks


If you are taking -2 ELA, individuals are not required to do another year of high school, nor are they required to do summer school. At FFCA, you have the ability to take full year ELA (so ELA -2 in Semester 1, and then ELA -1 in Semester 2), as it can be beneficial for your learning.

I do acknowledge that there can be a stigma around the -2 stream, but by basing it off of what YOU feel is best, it will have the ability to provide some big rewards. The reason why individuals consider taking full year ELA is because it provides a continuity and consistency in your ELA skills, which is important to build upon to prepare for higher grades. The one drawback to having full year ELA is that you will lose an elective option the following year.

If you are considering taking ELA -2, I recommend starting a conversation with Ms.Geran, just so you are aware of what ELA -2 entails, and how it will affect your scheduling or timetable. And because course selection is coming within the next month or two, being as well educated and informed of your options can help you make the best decision.

Ultimately, your choices are:
1) Do ELA -2 in summer school
2) Do full year ELA during school (but lose an elective spot)
3) Do ELA -1, and don’t take -2 (but please consult with Ms.Geran on your options)

Kind regards,
Aaron

Higher Level Courses in University 

Question: Hello! I’m interested in pursuing my BSc at the University of Calgary. They recommend me to take Physics 30 and/or Math 31. I want to take Physics 30, but I’m scared they’ll automatically put me in a higher level course in my first year. What should I do?


Daniel:
Hello and thank you so much for your question!

Since we don’t have any first-hand experience with post-secondary education, we have contacted Ashley, one of our alumni-founders/creators of this site! She says to not worry about being placed in a higher level class because everyone in first year sciences follows the same structure of introductory coursess. Also, you get to choose and build your schedule. However, if you would like to pursue a specific course, you are more than welcome to, but it isn’t really necessary.

If you would like additional information that is more specific to your own aspirations and inquiries, I recommend seeing Ms. Geran!

I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming exams and pursuit of post-secondary education!

Deconstructing the Stress Behind Writer’s Block During an Essay/Personal Narrative Writing Assessment

Question: When writing a timed essay/narrative, how do you stay calm under pressure and come up with ideas quickly without taking up too much time to plan? Also how do you deal with writers block? Lastly, what happens if you aren’t able to finish writing the piece in time?


Hey! Thank you for your question. I understand how difficult it is to stay calm under pressure but the best thing you could possibly do is take 30 seconds to just breathe, once you’re able to control your breath you can better focus on the task at hand.

Furthermore, you have asked about how to come up with ideas on the spot, personally I would offer that you should seek out inspiration the night before a personal narrative- read some blogs or watch some innovative ted talks- soak in ideas and find something that interests you that is open-ended and you can play with. If this still doesn’t work for you, think about the prompt in relevance to your life and how can you now write from your own experience?

In terms of a critical essay, my best advice is to really understand your plot and the evolution of the protagonists in your novel to be able to write about them. Look at some exam prompts and jot some notes down about each as to how you would answer them in relation to your selected novel. The more do this, the more you are better able to understand your novel and apply your knowledge to questions of matter. Basically, what I am trying to get at is with writing an essay or a narrative it should not be an “on the spot affair” if you actually put work into preparing and understanding your novel, you will easily be able to manipulate any prompt to work in your favour.

However, if you are still extremely stumped in the moment, think about what you’ve already written in class and try to see if there is a way to use that prompt to answer the question you are currently given. For an example, let’s say your current prompt is: “How does an individual deal with adversity?” and maybe you’ve already written an essay in class on the prompt, “How does one’s ambition impact an individual?” A good exam tip is to connect them both if you’re prepared as a writer to do so. So perhaps if I was writing about Macbeth I could talk about how his ambition blinded him from reacting rationally towards adversity. This is definitely a stretch and I’d only really offer this to you if you’re prepared to attempt something new and challenging. If you are not, that is also okay, start by jotting down notes about the prompt and then find points that interconnect with the plot/characters of the novel you have studied. Once you get your pen on the page you will be good to go, the more you sit pondering, the more time you waste.

Okay so moving on to writer’s block, honestly the best way to move past it is to seek out inspiration. Don’t wait till you are in the exam room to move past it. Like I said earlier read some blogs, listen to some spoken word poetry, watch some Ted Talks- allow yourself to delve into some thought-provoking art and reflect upon it. It’s not enough to just read a few blogs or watch a few videos, put effort into journaling and responding to what you’re experiencing. Once you do that, I assure you the writer’s block will disappear on its own. But also, relate all of this back to you, ask yourself: how and why does this affect me? When you begin to ask questions, you’re already stimulating thought.

Lastly, if you don’t finish your essay or narrative on time it will still be taken in and will be graded. Whatever you’ve written including your planning will be taken into consideration. You will not get a zero for not finishing, the quality of work you produce is what you’ll be graded on. That being said, it is important for you to strive to meet the exam expectations- it only makes you a better writer and critical thinker.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them or come and talk to me if you see me around in the hallways. I’d be happy to offer any help or support that I can.

Sincerely,
Malika

The Three Sciences

Question: Is taking all 3 sciences hard?


Spencer: Taking all 3 sciences isn’t too difficult, though having extra core courses may take some extra organization to do well in all 3. I found that juggling all 3 wasn’t too difficult, and I enjoyed what the three courses offered, though it can be a bit overwhelming towards the end with the later exams, but if you work around those times in your schedule, it isn’t too bad.

Sports, Sports, and More Sports

Question: What’s it like being on a sports team?


Sam here and I’ll be answering your question about sports! So generally, in my opinion, all the sports teams aren’t usually very hard to try out for. Usually when one makes the team, that’s when the vigorous training starts. Some sports, like wrestling and cross country, don’t require you to try out as those teams are more with the idea of,”the more the merrier.” Track is also similar to ,”the more the merrier” system, however, the coaches will pick the athlete who trained the hardest for that specific event, or is best suited. There are many sports teams in FFCA, however the ones I will talk about are the teams that I were on for the last two years: cross country, track, badminton, and about a half a season of wrestling.

 

Personally, cross country was not very difficult. Practice for cross country takes place Monday-Wednesday. Then the race day would follow on Thursday. Since cross country is really just running, the coaches would have us run to different places throughout the three days. Tuesdays would usually be hill runs, while Monday and Wednesday were just regular routine running. However, since cross country is a long-distance running sport, we would usually run more than we have to. For example, junior girls only had to run 3km this year, but we would usually run 5-6km during practice, sometimes 7 depending on where we are going. Cross country is a team where anyone can honestly join, whether you the fastest runner, or the slowest. It’s also a great team to be in as you make new friends and are able to build any stamina that you might need.

 

Track, depending on what events you are trying out for, can really vary from easy to difficult training. Regardless if you’re trying out for running or not, the team runs either 2 laps in the north field, or 1 Terry Fox lap around the school. Of course all three types of events (throwing, jumping, running) have different type of training so you are able to improve on the specific event that you are trying out for. Also depending on which coach is coaching that event, they may give you different advice that will help. Track practice usually varies; this year it was Tuesday and Thursday after school, and then Tuesday-Thursday during lunch. You don’t have to show up to all of the practices, as they are quite lenient on it, however, it is recommended that you show up to as many as possible so that you are able to improve before the actual tournament day.

 

Badminton is an amazing sport that encourages you to develop teamwork and communication skills between your teammates and coaches. Depending on if you’re on the junior or senior team, the practices usually varies. Junior badminton practices are generally during lunch and after school, while senior practices are only after school, generally for one and a half hours. For the senior team, some practices would start right after school, while sometimes it would start at 5 and go all the way until 6:30. The junior badminton training wasn’t really all training; it was where you are able to have fun and learn new techniques from other peers. The senior team, however, is generally more focused on the training aspect. During training, we focus on the techniques of clearing, smashing, drop shots, foot movement, etc. from all our coaches and using those techniques, the entire team is able to improve tremendously over a short period of time.

 

The last one I will talk about is wrestling. Although I can’t give as much insight on wrestling as I can on the other sports, the training we go through can be hard when you first start is, but as the season goes by, you understand that it’s to help you become better at wrestling, get stronger, and to help ensure that you don’t get injuries. Wrestling practices generally take place after school, as we have actual wrestling mats that we use during practice. During practice, the team goes through a series of wrestling techniques and strategies that help enable you to become better at wrestling. We tend to learn these strategies because our coach last year talked about the idea of how strength might not always be advantageous, but techniques are too.

 

Hope this has helped on your inputs on sports!

Behind the Scenes

Question: If i don’t want to act in one act, but i still want to be involved in some way, what can i do?


Nilave:

If you don’t feel like acting, there’s always Tech. Technical theater is a course that basically makes the performing arts community so dazzling, and there are a multitude of roles involved in tech so brace yourself. If you’re involved in lighting you’re in charge of brightening and dimming, and changing the colours of the lights on cue, for sound its more or less the same, just with music and sound effects. Other roles like Running crew are in charge of the actual set movement during the performance, its more of a physically demanding role because you generally have to lift and move sets before, during, and after the performance. Set designers are the crew of artists who actually get to make the sets for the production.

Stage managing and Directing are also options, but the one-acts are only directed by the grade 12s who’ve taken drama 30. Stage managers are usually chosen by Ms. Orchard, Mr. Halas, Mr. Belcourt and the director of the one-act play.


Claire:

Tech also builds a wonderful sense of community. The friends and family you create will stick with you throughout all of high school, and often beyond that. As well, it is incredible to watch a show go from bare-bones rehearsal to full show. It is a perfect choice for someone who doesn’t want the stage, yet still wants to be involved.

Performing Arts

Question: What is choir like and can I join it even if I’m already in grade 10? Also, is it too much to have on my plate if I take one act and choir?


Sam:

Hello!

Choir is amazing class where you get to bond with all the other singers that are also in that class, regardless of age. Choir is a class that takes place after school from 3:30-5:30, usually with a 5-10 minute break in between. I would say from my experience that not only are you able to bond with other people, you’re also able to become more open and learn many aspects about you that you’ve never noticed before. It doesn’t matter what grade you in when you join choir because if it’s your first year doing choir, you’ll automatically be put in choir 10 (unless you’re in grade 9).

Regarding Musical and One Act, from a TECH PERSPECTIVE, as long as you are able to manage your time wisely, it will not be too hard to handle. Tech for musical usually starts around October (September is usually when the actors start) and that’s when we usually learn about all the lights, the audio boards, and all the positions within the tech crew. Over the course of 3-4 months, both techs and actors bond together like a family. For One Act, tech starts generally around mid to late March. Then a couple weeks before performances start, we get our role and will be put in a play for that specific role. Although I can’t say much about the acting perspective of musical and one act, I will say that overall, it was not very difficult to manage everything. If you are going to try out for Musical or One Act, I’d suggest that (FROM A TECH PERSPECTIVE):

1. Always have homework with you. There are times when we won’t be needed to do something very important so that would be the best time to review or do some homework.

  1. Let the teachers know beforehand! Ask them for your homework a week in advance if you can so you are able to pull ahead of the class so you’re all caught up when musical or one act is done instead of trying to catch up after it’s all done. That way, you can ask your teachers or peers to help you with anything you need.
  2. Make sure you do have the time in your schedule to come on weekends because both actors and techs have to go to school on some weekends to rehearse as well.

As long as you are able to manage time wisely and are very organized with all your subjects, especially if you’re taking AP, I feel that it would not be too much on your plate. Many people in choir doing both Musical or One Act as well so it’s honestly a great experience! Hope to see you try out for both musical and one act next year! Choir too! Break a leg!


Daniel: What it really comes down when taking any kind of after school performing arts is:

Do I have the time and commitment to do all of these while keeping up with academics?

As someone who was a part of these for two years, it is definitely risky being after school every single day of the week (even weekends if you do One Act) because you are decreasing the amount of time you have to get work done. You do also miss a week of school during performances. Although, it is encouraged in One Act and Musical that if you have nothing important to do, do homework. From my experience of doing the technical side of One Act compared to acting last year, tech does require you to stay later than the actors but it’s a really cool experience. In the end, it really is up to how you manage your time and energy. What’s really important is knowing yourself and your limits.

Don’t let these bring you down though!! Being part of the performing arts family is one of the best things you’ll never regret. Not only do you learn about ways to improve your craft, but also ways to improve your own life. Truly, the amount of growth you get from these experiences are unbelievable. Ms. Orchard has worked hard to develop a community where we can all be joyful despite the troubles outside that drama room door. It’s true that we all bond and become a very tight family. If you ever need help, many people in this family are there to help because we are sort of going through the same act of balancing (pun intended). I’ve done One Act, Choir, and Musical for the past two years and what I’ve concluded is that staying on top of academics isn’t that difficult even if you’re in AP. On the note of workload, there are tests involved such as memorization and knowing the notes and rhythm of the songs which again shouldn’t be that difficult if time is budgeted correctly. It really isn’t much but a lot of time is sacrificed. Also, if you’re really dedicated to stay in the arts, it is a great motivation to stay on top of school. I’m looking forward to potentially seeing you in the drama room and having you in the fam!!


Faith:

My experience being in drama or in fact taking other performing arts like choir, one act, musical, etc. is such an honor. You learn new skills, you create a family, meet new people who will not judge you and accept you for who you are, and last, but not least, you are being taught by teachers that care and by teachers that know what they are doing (they specifically studied and majored in these classes!). Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

BUT, I must admit it takes a lot of commitment. Some people can handle the school workload and take on extra curricular classes, but for others it can be quite difficult. I suggest you take the time to think about whether or not you’re responsible enough to add more things on your “to-do” list. There will be times where it is possible to finish some homework during rehearsal (depending on what you’re planning to take) but most of the time homework will have to be done at home and you may have to stay up at ungodly hours of the night or even morning to finish it.  As someone who is going on in grade 11 as well, I cannot say it will be easy juggling everything but whatever performing arts course you take, I guarantee you will have a life-changing experience you’ll never forget.

When do They Start & End?
Choir is for the whole school year (September – June) and there is practice every Tuesday (for Girls) and Wednesday (for Guys) at lunch
Musical is in the first semester (September – December)
One Act is in the second semester (February – May)