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.











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.

Creative Writing: Hari’s Decision

Senior 4 was asked to write a diary entry from the point of view of one of the characters in the novel The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai.

As part of their assignment, they had to trace the different reasons why Hari decided to embark on a journey to Bombay. The factors could be varied, either internal or external.

Here is one of the responses to the task.

It was written by Josefina Zubizarreta.

Dear diary
I just can’t take it anymore. What has happened today is just outrageous, I’m tired of having to deal with my dad’s problems, all they do is backfire on my sisters and I.
I just can’t bear a second more of seeing my empty net, hoping for a job that might not even come. It’s been rough having to take care of Lila, Bela and Kamal. I’m just done, done with being an idle, lazy, clumsy village boy. I wanna go to Bombay, and that’s what I’m gonna do. I’ll leave and build up new hopes and dreams in this magnificent city, so full of life, of opportunities… I won’t spend any more time in this sad house, seeing my scared sisters, ill mom, drunk dad. I’ll just become another dead sole’d  drunk. I don’t want that for me, I’m different, a visionaire.

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.



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


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


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 2

Here go the questions Juli Molmenti, Cande Zufriategui and Santi Montoya have framed to fuel your analysis of the second chapter of the novel.

Read the chapter carefully and reflect upon the following aspects:

  • What do the people of Thul whisper about Biju? Why?
  • What does Bombay symbolize for Hari?
  • What plays is Lila invited to see? Do research into each of them. What is childhood like for Lila?
  • What unexpected arrival occurred in the chapter?
  • What is Hari’s relationship with the de Silvas?
  • What does Mr de Silva offer Hari?
  • What does the man at the factory predict about the future of thul?
  • What are Hari’s worries?

Discuss Indianness and postcoloniality in the following quotes. Choose THREE.

(As you discuss these quotes, pay special attention to the language used, the cultural aspects mentioned and how events/ descriptions/ characters/ places relate to the theoretical framework. You are welcome to intratextually connect these quotations with others in either this chapter or the first one.)

“Lila would go to the market at Thul today… After Bela and Kamal had left for school, she took out her best sari from the green tin trunk in the corner of the room she shared with her sisters, and wore that. It was pink and had a pattern of brown flowers on it, and a border of violet. It was quite a cheap cotton sari but she wore it so seldom that it still looked new and fresh. It made her feel much happier than when she was dressed in her everyday sari which was always either dark green or purple, a single unpatterned colour made of thick material.” (page 35)

“The village road leading to the market was lined with houses… But large or small, rich or poor, each had a sacred basil plant growing in a pot by the front door.” (page 37)

“Mina had nothing to do, it seemed – her parents were trying to find her a husband.” (page 38)

«He saw now that there were two or three possibilities… The men in Thul had never had to make such choices… he would have to make a choice no one else in the village had made before. How?» (page 48)

“… she always seemed to forget or else not recognize him. City people had poor memories, Hari thought, or perhaps they saw so many hundreds of faces in the streets every day that they could not tell one from the other.” (page 51)

“Yes, Christmas. Our teacher told us about it at school. It is the birthday of a baby who was born long ago in a stable… Like Krishna, who was born in a prison” (page 54)

“When he thought of all his troubles – his drunken father, Mr. De Silva’s insult, the lack of work an money – Hari wished he too could soar up into the sky and disappear instead of being tied to the earth here, trudging round the temple which was not even a pretty one. It was only a little cell of bricks with a painted idol of Krishna and his cows in it. Looking at it through the open door without going in, Hari remembered the shepherd he had just seen and wondered if he, too, played a flute like Krishna. Everything belonged here, everything blended together – except for himself. With his discontent, his worries and his restlessness, he could not settle down to belonging” (page 59)

Language. Look up the words in bolt. Explain their meaning IN CONTEXT.

“Biju would come waddling down to watch the work in progress. A small boy would carry a folding chair down to the beach from his house and plant it on the sand for Biju to sit on.  Biju would lower himself onto it very gingerly, twitching up his loose dhoti and sitting down very uncomfortable. he would obviously have been more comfortable squatting on his heels in the sand as the others did.”

Answers must be submitted any time before Wednesday, June 24th in a google doc shared with the members of this group and with me.

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?


““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)


“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)


Journey to Jo’burg: Travelling across Centuries of Segregation

Set during the Apartheid in South Africa, Beverley Naidoo’s Journey to Jo’burg triggered interesting discussions around the topic of segregation. Concepts llike discrimination, racism and, of course, segregation, inevitably came up in students’ thoughts and opinions.

So, after working on context, text and some intertexts, such as an article on «Pass Laws» in South Africa in the twentieth century and a poem by Wole Soyinka entitled «Telephone Conversation», students were asked to think about instances in history or in everyday life in which segregation, racism and/or discrimination could be identified.

You can explore their work below!

Guille Allende, Abril Lopez E. and Lucìa Paz worked on bullying as an instance of discrimination.

Mechi Anelo worked on the novel The Help and its film adaptation to illustrate segregation in the U.S. 

Cami Carnemolla and Valen Liotti analysed a song which provides a positive message regarding difference.

Diego Goldaracena and Lucas Posse delved into Nazi Germany’s frame of mind.

Vicky González Navarte and Jose Zubizarreta worked on a poem about the K.K.K.

Mati Grande and Santi Montoya made a presentation about Nelson Mandela and his life work against segregation.

Juan Landolfo and Pipe Reynal explored what life of an immigrant was like in the U.S. in the 1920`s by focusing on the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Juli Molmenti and Cande Zufriategui traced gay history in Russia and how homosexuality is still an issue nowadays.

Delfi Urso worked on Nazism and analysed a segment of the film The Wall.