Sunday, 5 November 2017

Let's Use Hot English Magazines in Classroom

I have been using the articles and activities from the HOT English Magazines for quite sometime now. My form 4 and 5 students like the activities from these magazines very much. This is because the activities and articles are close to the hearts of teenagers. Besides learning the language, students definitely get to expand their knowledge in various issues. I have also used the materials from these magazines to design writing tasks. All the tasks were proven to be successful. 

I am sharing some of the magazines here so that all teachers and students can benefit from them. 

Please click on the links below for different editions of Hot English Magazines. 

Hot English Magazine issue 90 
Hot English Magazine issue 91 
Hot English Magazine issue 92
Hot English Magazine issue 93
Hot English Magazine issue 94
Hot English Magazine issue 95
Hot English Magazine issue 96 
Hot English Magazine issue 97
Hot English Magazine issue 98
Hot English Magazine issue 99 

Let's make our lessons hotter with Hot English Magazines...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

A Collection of Essays

I am sure many form five students are having jitters right now, some might be panicking not knowing what to do. Be calm. At this point, the best thing to do is to read and develop vocabulary and ideas from good sample essays. The following are some 'A+' sample essays that I used in my lessons. Feel free to download them and share. Please be reminded that these are not spotted questions.

Good luck and all the best! 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Continuous Writing : Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology

The sample composition below elaborates the advantages and disadvantages of technology.  If you are preparing yourself to write a factual essay, the composition below will be very helpful. I noticed that many students are unable to write a good factual essay due to two reasons ; 

a) lack of knowledge on the subject 
b) lack of vocabulary related to the subject

If you are preparing yourself to write a factual essay, it is important for you to ensure that you are fully equipped with the knowledge and vocabulary. Without these two, your  written work will fail to impress your teacher. 

In order to do that, all you have to do is read on the subject related as much as you can. Besides, you also have to do the most important thing, which is practice your writing skill. The essay below has four parts ; the introduction,  advantages, disadvantages and  conclusion 

 The introduction. I very detailed introduction on technology which further leads to the advantages.

The next paragraph starts with the keyword 'The advantages', this shows that the writer is showing the he is going to elaborate on the advantages of technology. The phrases used in this paragraph are quite impressive.

The word 'however', indicates that the writer is about to elaborate the disadvantages of technology. I like sarcasm shown by the writer ; 'increasingly loud chorus of dissenting voices'. These phrases are to die for and it shows that the writer has demonstrated good writing skill and excellent use of vocabulary. 

The writer ends without the use of 'in conclusion' or 'to conclude'. However, as you read the first sentence of this paragraph you would find that it is the tone used in this paragraph and it is written in such a way that anyone who reads it would understand that it is actually a conclusion.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck in your SPM!

Sing to the Dawn (Sample Question and Answer for SPM)

This is a sample question and answer for the novel Sing to the Dawn.  Students are to write about a decision made by a character in the story and further discuss whether they agree with the decision by giving concrete examples from the novel. I hope the sample answer below will be helpful.

It is important to highlight the keywords in the question and use them while writing the answer. This will serve as a signpost to indicate that you are actually relating your answer to the question. 

It is important to give a clear picture of what you are going to write further by pointing out the main issue. It is advisable for you to do so in the first paragraph. Do not waste time by writing lengthy introduction and synopsis  (you do not get marks for that). The writer has highlighted the main answer for the question which shows that 'I am going to write about an important decision made by Kwai'.    

While writing your answer, it is also essential for you to elaborate the 'decision made' in detail. It is important to elaborate the situations that has led the character to make such a decision before moving on further. 

The next paragraph elaborates further on the decision made. It also ends with the writer's stand. In this case the writer agrees with Kwai's decision. Thus far, we have seen that the write has clearly explained 'the decision' made by Kwai by relating the decision to a few events in the story. Next the writer, has to elaborate the reasons for agreeing with Kwai's Decision. Let us look at the first reason. 

This is where your HOTS skills need to be used.  You have to relate the evidence to the decision made and wrap it up by including your own thoughts. Now let us look at the next reason. 

The coloured (in yellow) sentences are the 'singposts' which show the readers what the writer is going to do next. This is a good way to write as the essay will be more organised. 

The most difficult part in this question is to give reasons for the decision made by the character. This is because you have to link the decision to the reasons and justify the decision made. In this piece of work the student has given three reasons for agreeing with Kwai's decision which is well elaborated and beautifully justified with good examples from the story. 

I hope this is helpful... Good luck for your SPM. 

Credits to Ho Lee May (5S1)

Friday, 28 July 2017

We are in the news!

Organising a national level competition was never easy but we managed to pull it off. All the hard work was paid off when we won the competition. Being the teacher advisor at the same time managing the event was not easy, to read more about our competition please click here.  

Directed Writing : Informal Letter

Informal letter has not been tested in SPM for quite sometime. I think students need to get prepared from all aspects rather than spotting questions ( I have never spotted questions). Here I would like to share a sample.I hope this will be helpful to those who are preparing for SPM English this year. 

The Format 
Students are to write an informal letter, describing their holidays. This piece of work requires students to use descriptive words. It would be easier for students if they are exposed to some examples of descriptive words before they are given the writing task. 
A brief introduction will do 
The first content point is elaborated with precise descriptions
It is always important to have some background knowledge on the topic that you are working on. Students who have better knowledge of the topic will have more things to write. Therefore, it is important for students to read more to develop their knowledge on different things. 

You do not need to use proverbs and idioms in your essays if they are irrelevant. Proper elaboration with good structure and choice of words are the most important. I have noticed, some students are too obsessed with idioms and proverbs that they use them for the sake of using them without even knowing the meaning. 

Also remember to 'call a spade a spade'...

That is all for now,....

Happy writing!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Directed Writing :Writing a Formal Letter

The last time formal letter was tested in SPM was in 2013. From then, rumours have been circulating that formal letter will not be tested in SPM anymore. Whatever it is, students should always be prepared and taught to write formal letter. Students need to learn to write a formal letter not only for examination but also to apply for  jobs or to handle formal events in future. This article will show you a sample of a formal letter written to invite a guest for an event at school

Format of a formal letter 

The task below contains 12 content points need to be written in the formal letter. The columns has been divided into three. For many it may seem to be nothing but the three columns are actually 3 different levels that students need to handle while writing a formal letter.  The first column is easy but the second and third column requires higher order thinking skills (HOTS).  

It is always important to remind students that writing a formal letter requires the use of formal form of the language. The main purpose of the letter should be stated clearly in the first paragraph. 

The next paragraph elaborates details of the event. The rubric requires students to elaborate the date and time, venue, number of participating schools and the teacher in  charge. It is important to take note that all the content points should be elaborated in sentences. Do not write in point forms. 

The next idea elaborates other information. This part of the task is difficult to elaborate if students do not understand the key word such as 'key address'. It is not a plain sail to elaborate all the three content points given below with coherence. However, with more practice it can be done. 

In the paragraph below, the idea on sponsorship request is developed with much explanation on how both parties can benefit from it. This is one good way of elaborating the ideas. Here the idea is developed with maturity. 

The next paragraph, elaborates the reasons for the competition being organised. Every content point is elaborated with supporting ideas which are relevant to the task. 

The elaboration continues to the next paragraph with the student adding on another two reasons of her own as required in the task. Students should take note that when they write their own ideas there should not be any over - lapping of ideas. Try to think of writing something that is different from the rubric. 

The paragraph below shows the ending of the formal letter. Students do not have to write a lengthy ending for a formal letter. Writing ending for a formal letter is rather different. All you have to do is to say some nice words expressing gratitude and appreciation. 

That's all!!!

 Happy Teaching, Happy Learning and Happy Writing!!! 
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