“Poinsettias”, by Beverley Naidoo

Dear Senior 4,

As promised here’s the file to the story I mentioned in class, “Poinsettias”, written by the same author as of Journey to Jo’burg.

Read it focusing on the issues we have been dealing with: Racism, Segregation, Apartheid, and whatever else the text sparks off in you.

We’ll discuss it next Wednesday, April 6th, so bring a print out to class with your notes and highlights.

Enjoy it! And reflect…

Dani

Poinsettias

Group Conferences

What do these “conferences” entail?

They consist in meeting and assessing one’s learning process. It’s an opportunity to critically reflect upon the work done, the effort made and the goals achieved. It’s an/other – and perhaps final – instance in which we can decide what we directly want to aim at so as to make further progress, either in the short or in the long run.

As these conferences entail self-assessment (i.e. evaluating yourself, your performance in the subject – or at school in general), it is very important to COME PREPARED.

Before meeting, it is essential for you to take the following steps:

  1. Collect all your pieces of writing.
  2. Organise them according to either chronological order or genre.
  3. Put together all the drafts corresponding to the same question.
  4. Read feedback. Find recurrent mistakes. How can you make up for them?
  5. Focus on paragraphing and sentence separation: How can they be improved on? Think of the following aspects: topics; development of ideas; punctuation; linking devices.
  6. Focus on vocabulary and make lists of the following items you are to use in your compositions: 5 linking devices, 5 different ways of expressing opinion, 5 reporting verbs, 2 expressions that trigger inversion, 3 words that express effect, 5 descriptive items.
  7. Reflect upon the genres you feel most comfortable with. What option will you choose in part 2 of paper 3?

So, get ready for Monday, October 28th. It’s the class right before you sit for your English Language IGCSE. You’ll be getting together with me and some of your peers.

Below you can peep into group formation:

Group 1: Mati, Cami, Juan, Lucía

Group 2: Mechi, Clara, Vicky, Cande, Juana

Group 3: Delfi, Lucas, Felipe, Valentina, Balta

Group 4: Diego, Tadeo, Abril, Julia, Santi

I’m sure you’ll make the most out of this experience as you’ll share your learning process with others and get to listen to them as well.

Getting ready for exams

As you all very well know, IGCSE’s are round the corner. It’s a moment of great anxiety, so we need to make the most of the time we have at hand.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

  • get hold of all the written work done so far and go over it:

      What feedback did you get? 

                                      Are there recurrent mistakes?

                                                                     Have you respected layout and organisation?

                             Have you used punctuation marks appropriately?

Have you employed a wide range of linking devices?

                                                                 How could you improve on your pieces?

  • revise all the linguistic content covered along the year and choose between 10 and 15 expressions which you consider will enhance your output. Check their collocations, study them hard and make sure you include them in your compositions;
  • make lists of features that are typical of each gEnRe. What makes an article / narrative / discursive composition / etc. a good one? You can visit the BBC gcse website to help you with some ideas;
  • keep practising!

Regarding the last point, here go some files. Remember it is NOT compulsory to work on them. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt you to try one last time before the exam takes place.

I attach the marking scheme corresponding to each paper as well. The idea is that you check your responses against the assessment criteria. You can do this On yOUr OwN, with a classMATE and/or with ME. I strongly suggest you try all the options – and in that order. The more feedback you get, the more critical you’ll become of your own work and the better you’ll do.

PAPER 1

1 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_s12_in_11 TEXT

1 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_s12_ms_11 MARKING SCHEME

1 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_s12_qp_11 QUESTIONS

PAPER 2

2 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_s12_ms_22 MARKING SCHEME

2 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_s12_qp_22 QUESTION PAPER

PAPER 3

3 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_w12_ms_32 MARKING SCHEME

3 PRACTICE SELF ASSSSMENT 0500_w12_qp_32 QUESTION PAPER

REMEMBER: Those of you sitting for CORE will be completing PAPER 1 AND PAPER 3 while those of you sitting for EXTENDED will be completing PAPER 2 AND PAPER 3.

Do not hesitate to contact me should you have any doubts.

IGSCE Responses to Paper 3

Hi, everyone!

Here go the pieces your classmates wrote as a response to the May/June 2011 Paper 3 Exam.

SECTION 1

Letter

Dear producer,

I am writing to you because I heard the interview with the editor of Worlds Wonders. I enjoyed it, and found it very interesting because both had the opportunity to express their ideas, which are really opposing.

On the one hand, the editor explains that he first published the book almost as a consequence of a friend´s curiosity. He then adds that he continued publishing it because, in his opinion, it is a source of information for people who want to discover strange and extreme facts. Moreover, as it has always been a best seller, he decided to update it every year. However, he argues that he has judgment when choosing the facts that will be included and, for that reason, he has to limit some of its content. In addition, he is now working in an online version to cover the market needs.

On the other hand, the interviewer doesn’t share the editor´s argument, because he believes that most of these records are dangerous for humans, not only for those who want to achieve the record but also for any third party that may result victim of the action. He offered a very clear example of this when he mentioned “idiots” carelessly speeding. He even refers to the freak shows of the 19th century which were prohibited some years later.

Finally, and after listening and considering all these reasons, I was able to form my own point of view. I definitely feel myself more identified with the interviewer than with the editor, because I realized that the editor´s view is purely commercial, and he doesn’t care at all about the safety and health of the people. I believe the people should not buy this book in any format, and as a consequence the editor may stop publishing it, as it won´t be profitable any more.

I really hope you read my letter,

Camila Carnemolla.

By Camila Carnemolla

SECTION 2

Argumentative / Discursive Writing

2.a Are you glad to be living at the present time or would you prefer to have been alive in a
previous historical period? Explain the reasons for your choice.

Each historical period has outstanding characteristics that make them special and unique. In the past, it was great that people were much more connected to nature, because of the lack of technology that nowadays distracts people from their surroundings and distances them from natural environments. In the present, most of the people live in modern cities that change constantly and are not connected to nature at all. However, technology is full of great inventions that makes people’s lives much easier.

 

On the one hand, in the past, as I said before, because cities weren’t modern, you could be more related to nature and appreciate its beauty. It was much more common to live in and be related to natural environments. Besides, living a long time ago also had the advantage of living more relaxed. It wasn’t as it is nowadays that people are always in a hurry. This is because now, thanks to the internet, everything can be done faster, so jobs have become more demanding and bosses want everything done quickly. Jobs took longer before, which made people be more calm and not as stressed as now. Besides, because technology has advanced so much, a lot of jobs have become more complex. Furthermore, another point that makes the idea of living in the past great, is that there wasn’t contamination, when now it is a terrible social problem.

 

On the other hand, the present also has a lot of good points. First of all, nowadays the life expectancy is higher than in the past, specially because of the better life quality and the constant progress in medicine. Besides, technology is now an essential factor because it makes everyone’s life easier, as in an instant you can get information about anything. Technology, especially the internet, is used every day by a lot of people who work, learn and also buy things with it. Also, technology improves talks with friends, specially the ones who live far away, as you can make a videocall and talk with and see them while you are in different countries. Besides, social networks facilitate relationships between people. Furthermore, the fact that someone can take a plane and, in a few hours, be in another continent is amazing, when before it was impossible, or very expensive.
To conclude, I think that each historical period has its advantages and disadvantages. However, I am happy living in this period because of the advantages I have just expressed.

By Diego Goldaracena

Description

3.a You arrive on an island. Write a description of your first impressions of the place and its people.

As I left the wooden boat where I had been travelling for what seemed like years, I decided to sit on the lonely shore and take a good look at the island where I had landed.

 

The water around me was as clear as crystal and as blue as the sky above me. The deep blue sea was just a step away. I was awe-stricken by what I was seeing. Right before my eyes, there was a place filled with neverending golden sand, as if the whole island was made out of gold itself. Shimmering blue waters sparkled in the presence of the sunlight. The waves were crawling gently to the shore.  The air was pregnant with the smell of salt. The salty mist kissed my sunburnt cheeks. The murmuring of the waves was hypnotic.

 

Green trees could be seen all around the island; flowers growing nearby had a honey sweet smell. At a long distance, I could see a blue waterfall rolling down a phantom-white mountain.  It looked like a wall of blue satin mixed with silver. The water ended in a beautiful serenity-pool. As I looked up, I saw a seagull cruising through the air, climbing the waterfalls and disappearing from my sight.

 

Up to now, the sky had been postcard-perfect, but it was changing. Its beautiful shade was beginning to darken. All of a sudden, the sky was as black as coal. There was a storm coming.  I knew I had to find a safe place to be.  Moments later, I heard a pitter-patter on the nearby rocks. I ran. Puddles began to form as the rainfall became heavier. The beauty of the forest comforted my heart. I sheltered myself under an old tree, hoping to escape the showers. The grass was soft. Raindrops began to drip from the leaves and fall on my head. Then, the rainfall became more intense. So much rain was falling that the sound reminded me of a helicopter. Eventually, the noise became lower.
The sun appeared slowly through the clouds and I felt safer. The image was so amazing that it stays with me to the day. It’s not often you get to see a sunrise-gold beach. That was my honor as I contemplated at the jewel-blue sea. It was a heart-warming experience.

By Bruce Donald

The Village by the Sea – Chapter 1

These questions and quotations will guide our analysis of the first chapter of the novel (on Tuesday, June 9th).

What was Lila doing so early at sea?

What’s the family like? What did it use to be like?

What would you say is the significance of Mon Repos?

What are Hari’s worries? What do they foreshadow?

How does this first chapter portray childhood and family life in Thul?

What cultural aspects could you trace in your reading of this first chapter?

Discuss:

““Hah.” Hari laughed, not believing a word. How could the hill and the temple disappear? It had been there all his life and his father’s and grandfather’s as well. Ramu was surely telling a tale “We’ll see,” he said.” (p. 12)

“Change would not come suddenly or quickly to their home and family, but it would come. She had to believe that it would come.” (p.17)

“There was silence then. But the silence was not calm and lovely, it was full of fear and anger and nightmares.” (p.34)

Language:

“But again the large woman who had so much money tied in her belt won. ‘Six,’ she said flatly; and without waiting for an answer from the tonga-driver, she climbed in with the basket. The tonga creaked, the horse staggered, but the tonga-driver set his cap at an angle, cracked his whip and set off at a trot up the sandy path along the creek to the highway where the woman would sell the fish to a lorry driver come to collect fish from the villages, or else get into the bus and go to Alibagh bazaar to sell it herself. The other women bickered over what was left, and Hari turned away – there was nothing more to watch.” (p.28)