Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is an 'A' script for Continuous Writing?

An 'A'script has the following features:

1 accurate language - few slips only, no serious errors like errors in tenses

2 accurate spelling across the board

3 precise vocabulary - do not be too obsessed with idioms and flowery phrases. many students use bombastic words but it is not suitable.

4 interesting and original...write from the heart

5 correct tone - if it is formal, then use a formal tone, if it is a friendly letter, then it should sound informal...

Jun, go ahead and write your imaginative essays but be careful about your errors. Do not write too long. Leave about 10 minutes for editing.

Answering your questions

If you are good in English, try to write an original piece instead of memorising. If someone else happens to write the same essay or if the examiner has read it before, then, you might get lower marks.
Some students memorise essays and produce a perfect piece. However, when examiners read their directed writing, their language is not as good as the continuous writing. Therefore, your marks for continuous writing will be lowered.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Continuous Writing


1 Do not memorise whole essays and try to fit it into the given titles. You may try to memorise certain phrases or interesting introductions but if your language does not match the directed writing, your marks will be pulled down.

2 Write about what you know. For example, if your interest is football, then write a story about football. If you like Korean drama, write something Korean, making use of your knowledge and vocabulary. Originality will get you more marks.

3 If you are quite weak in narrative writing, go for the reflective or factual essays.

Topics: How can I help save the environment?
What are the changes I would like to see in my school?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Revision - Part 2

The novel - The Pearl
5 elements to prepare:

1 Character - I like/dislike/admire

Prepare 3 reasons why you choose the character and give evidence from the story for each reason.

2 Theme - Greed destroys; Money is not everything; Love is important; The discrimination of the poor

Show evidence from the novel which depicts the particular theme..give three events/instances.

3 Setting - the place and time of the story (this has never been tested)

4 Plot - unforgettable event, important event, sad event, happy event

5 Moral values/ Lesson learnt - state the lesson clearly. Read the question carefully. Did they ask for one lesson or many lessons?

The question may also combine two elements.
For example: Describe an important event and a lesson learnt.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pearl - Revision

The Pearl

The following are the novels studied in the literature component in English Language:

Jungle of Hope - Keris Mas
The Pearl – John Steinbeck
The Return – K.S. Maniam

Choose an event in the novel you have studied which you find to be the most unforgettable event. Give reasons for your choice and, with close reference to the text, discuss the event. (Cloned – 2004 SPM)

The Pearl

The event that is most unforgettable in The Pearl is when Juana defies her husband to help save the family. She realises that the pearl has brought them more problems than happiness, and they need to get rid of it. She tells Kino that the pearl is evil and that it will destroy them, including her son. However, Kino refuses to listen to her. So, she decides to defy Kino and throw the pearl back into the sea.

It is still very early in the morning and it is still dark. Juana wakes up and moves quietly to the fireplace to get the pearl. She moves quietly out to the sea. Kino finds out and follows her quietly. When she realises he is after her, she runs and tries to throw the pearl back into the sea. Kino wrenches the pearl from her and strikes her face and kicks her. Juana stares at him with wide unfrightened eyes. Suddenly, someone attacks him and tries to take the pearl from him. In the fight, Kino takes his knife and kills him.
Juana quickly helps him and gets the pearl for him.

This event is the most unforgettable because it reveals how much Kino has changed, from a loving, contented husband to a violent abuser, all because of the pearl. Besides, it also shows me the resilience of Juana and her deep love for her husband. She has no anger for her husband even though he had beaten her. She understands him when he says, “I am a man.” She still follows him and obeys his orders. When she discovers he has killed a man, she even help him hide the body and get his pearl for him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Show, Not Tell

One of the ways to write better narrative essays is to use the technique - Show,Not Tell
Below are some examples which I have adapted from the internet.

Telling: The girls were excited.
Showing: Giggles and screams filled the arrival hall. Their hair were now damp with perspiration. They held tight to each other, trying to contain themselves. The moment was here.

Telling: The room was vacant.

Showing: The door opened with a resounding echo that seemed to fill the house. Cob webs once attached flowed freely in the air. The light revealed the peeling paint on the walls and to the silhouettes once covered by pictures. Faded and torn white sheets covered the furniture now drowning in dust.

Telling: The pizza was delicious.

Showing: Steam rising up off the melted cheese made my mouth water. At the first bite, my teeth sinked into the cheese through the tomato sauce and into the moist crust. I chew and swallow rapidly. Even the cheese and tomato sauce, sticking to my fingertips, begged to be licked.

Telling: She is angry.

Showing: Her hands held tightly to the sides of her table. Her jaw tightened. Her eyes flashed heat waves at me. She hissed at me, "I want to see you outside, right now."

Now, try to do the following:
Telling: The morning was beautiful.

Telling: The meal was delicious.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Basic To Complex

In order to write a good essay, students should learn how to write complex sentences.

1. Take a basic sentence:
Julie lost her bag.

2. Expand on it: (add an adjective)
Julie lost her pink handbag.

3. Expand again with additional information:
Julie lost her pink handbag in a bus station.

4. Combine two sentences:
Julie lost her pink handbag. She was waiting for her bus.
Julie lost her pink handbag while waiting for her bus.
Julie lost her pink handbag while waiting for her bus at the bus station.

5. Make substitutions:
Julie lost her handbag ...
Juan lost her mobile phone...etc.

6. Add information and construct a short narrative around the sentences students have created:
Julie was waiting for her bus at the bus station when she lost her handbag. She also lost her mobile phone and everything else in the handbag.

Now, try expanding the following sentences.

1 She likes to play badminton.

2 Cigarette smoking is hazardous to health.

3 A thief entered my house.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Journalling 101

These are some of my students' journal...To make it more special, wrap it with a colourful wrapper and decorate it. Make it your own.

If you cannot draw, then use pictures...browse through magazines and newspapers, cut any pictures that appeal to you...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Journalling Project begins today

Someone suggested that I should post the journalling prompt and discuss how to write the topic. So, we shall start with Journalling Prompt 1:

What are the things that you would change about your school?

you can comment on
- the rules and regulations
- the school environment
- the classroom facilities
- school hours
- sports
- extra class

So, get your pen and paper and start writing...
If you want me to comment or post your writing, just email them to me

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Improve your English through journalling

I have just discovered a free online journal which you can join.
sign up at https://penzu.com/ It is a personal journal and you can choose to keep it a secret or email and share with everyone in your class or whatever group you create.
I think this is a cool way to make sure you write everyday. You can even post pictures.
The fastest way to improve your English is to use the language everyday. Keeping a journal is one way. If you don't know what to write, just google journal prompts and there are thousands to choose from.

Monday, January 11, 2010


This is the best time of the year to start off any new resolution regarding your studies.Some advice as you begin to prepare for your English SPM

1 Know your novel well. Be attentive as your teacher reads or discusses the novel, chapter by chapter. Keep notes as you move along. Believe me, this is crucial when answering the essay question. Many students do not know their text well and end up writing factual errors.

2 Keep a journal. Write your observations about your world. Jot down any important events and happenings. Write your thoughts, opinions and questions.

3 Buy a newspaper and read daily. I recommend the 'Letters' page.

If you fail to keep your resolutions, take comfort from the fact that you can always begin again this Chinese New Year....
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