Monday, 6 October 2014

Julius Caesar Audiobook

Please click the link below to go to the audio version of Act 1 of the play.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Julius Caesar Resource Sites

Please click on the links below:



Friday, 22 August 2014

The Back to School Countdown Begins......

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Book Lovers' Paradise

I recently discovered this book lover's paradise on 43 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10. When you step inside it is covered wall to wall with used books of various genres.In short there is something for everyone. You can trade and buy books. Chances are you can find one or two used text books on your back to school book lists.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Narrative Dialogue Class Work Solution

  1. Peggy said, "I have two cats. Do you have any pets?" 
  2. "I have two dogs, three fish and seven snails," said Joe.
  3. "I have two cats," said Peggy, "Do you have any pets?"
  4. "i'm not sure,"  said Sue, "if i know how to do this test."
         "Has he brought any papers home?" asked mother.
  1. "He shook the tree so hard," said Joan, "that the apples fell to the ground."
  2. "We are going to write an editorial today," said Mr Cumberland.
  3. "Get out of here," she said, " before i call the police."
  4. Dad said, " let's go to Eagle Park if it doesn't rain."
  5. "I've never been to California," remarked Jane.
         "Maybe my family will go this summer."

        Peggy said, "why are you here so early?"

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Lion and the Jewel

Monday, 19 May 2014


Review the notes on narrative dialogue on page 109  entitled 'Dialogue Format' of your text. Following this, rewrite the following sentences below and include punctuation marks, quotation marks and capital letters. 
  1. peggy said i have two cats do you have any pets
  2. i have two dogs three fish and seven snails said joe
  3. i have two cats said peggy do you have any pets
  4. i'm not sure said sue if i know how to do this test has he brought any papers home asked mother
  5. he shook the tree so hard said joan that the apples fell to the ground
  6. we are going to write an editorial today said mr cumberland
  7. get out of here she said before i call the police
  8. dad said let's go to eagle park if it doesn't rain
  9. i've never been to california remarked jane maybe my family will go this summer
  10. peggy said why are you here so early

Punctuation Quizzes

Complete the following quizzes:

Post your grade in the comment section below.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

CXC CSEC English A exam - Paper 1 topics

CXC English A exam paper 1 contains sixty (60) compulsory multiple choice questions organized into two (2) sections.

(Compulsory means that you have no choice, you have to do ALL the questions on this Paper.)

 Section 1
 Section one (1) is made up of twenty (20) separate multiple choice questions. In this section, you will be tested on the following skills:

Section 1 Skills

  • Comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Paragraphing

 Section 2
Section two (2) is made up of forty (40) multiple choice reading comprehension questions based on your understanding of  five (5) passages. The passages will consist  of,

1) One poem

2) One narrative extract

3) One expository extract

4) one persuasive abstract ( e.g. an advertisement, speech or letter to the editor)

5) one visual abstract (e.g. a table, diagram, map, chart, cartoon or advertisement)

In this section, you will be tested on the following skills:

Section 2  Skills

  • Comprehension
  • Inference
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation

Each question on this paper is worth one (1) mark. You should attempt to answer ALL 60 multiple choice questions on this paper. (If you don't know an answer then  guess!)

Friday, 16 May 2014


Monday, 12 May 2014


Dialogue isn't just about creating direct quotations from different characters. Sometimes dialogue is best when it's put into a summarized form, rather than the drawn-out form of an actual conversation.

There are several important things to remember when writing conversations like the examples above, which are called direct dialogue:
  • Do not use dialogue simply to convey information. Dialogue should set the scene, advance action, give insight into characterization, remind the reader, and foreshadow. Dialogue should always be doing many things at once.

  • Keep the character's voice in mind but keep it readable. Dialogue doesn't have to be grammatically correct; it should read like actual speech. However, there must be a balance between realistic speech and readability.

  • Don't use too much slang or misspelling in order to create a character's voice. Also remember to use speech as a characterization tool. Word choice tells a reader a lot about a person: appearance, ethnicity, sexuality, background, and morality.

  • Tension! Sometimes saying nothing, or the opposite of what we know a character feels, is the best way to create tension. If a character wants to say 'I love you!" but their actions or words say 'I don't care,' the reader cringes at the missed opportunity.

Formatting Short Story Dialogue

Format and style are key to successful dialogue. Correct tags, punctuation, and paragraphs can be almost as important as the actual quotations themselves.
The first thing to remember is that punctuation goes inside quotations.
  • "I can't believe you just did that!"
Dialogue tags are the he said/she said's of quotations. Very often they are mistakenly used as forms of description. For example:
  • "But I don't want to go to sleep yet," he whined.
While these types of tags are acceptable and even necessary at times, they should only be used sparingly. The dialogue and narration should be used to show the emotion or action stated in the tag. One of the most important rules of writing fiction is: show, don't tell.
Instead of telling the reader that the boy whined in the example above, a good writer will describe the scene in a way that conjures the image of a whining little boy:
  • He stood in the doorway with his hands balled into little fists at his sides. His red, tear-rimmed eyes glared up at his mother. "But I don't want to go to sleep yet."
Paragraphs are very important to the flow and comprehension of the dialogue. Remember to start a new paragraph each time the speaker changes within the dialogue. This helps the reader know when someone new is speaking (and who it is).
If there is action involved with a speaking character, keep the description of the action within the same paragraph as the dialogue of the character engaged in it.


Click on the links below to complete the following quizzes. You can leave your first name and scores in the comments section.



Monday, 5 May 2014


Hello my brilliant grade 10 students,

I hope you are having a productive day. Today you are expected to complete a number of tasks. These tasks are as follows:

  1. Review the elements of the story and take both quizzes by clicking on the links.
  2. Read the post entitled "How to Write a Short Story in 45 minutes" (LINK HERE) After you have read the posts please make the necessary notes
  3. Watch the Narrative Writing videos and make any additional notes
  4. Read at least one of the short stories which has been published
  5. Finally, complete the group story and place it on my table.
  6. After you have completed each task please click on the reaction (helpful, easy to understand, etc)  which best describes your experience. This is at the bottom of each post.  
Each member of the class is expected to comment and state if they have completed all the assigned tasks. Please leave your first name with your comment. 

Also include a brief statement which shares your thoughts on any of the tasks you have done. 

For Example: 
Miss Blair- Tasks 1-6 completed.  I did not like the ending of story 2 because............

Elements of a Story Quiz

Review the element of a story by clicking on this link and then take the quizzes attached below. Write your first name and score in the comments section below.

Elements of a Story Quiz 1

Elements of the Story Quiz 2

Short Story Videos

Sunday, 4 May 2014


Sample questions for CXC English A short story section (Paper 2, Section 3)

Answer length:
Your short story answers should be about 400-450 words - that is, they should take up both sides of a folder page. You should develop your short story in about 6 paragraphs. 1 paragraph for the introduction, 1 paragraph for the conclusion and 4 paragraphs to describe all the action in the story.
Question 1: Write a story entitled 'The Carnival Parade'.
Question 2: Write a story which ends with the following line, 'Now, I always lock the door behind me.'
Question 3: Write a story which illustrates the following proverb, 'Actions speak louder than words'.

Friday, 2 May 2014


This story was written in response to the following question: “Some people never give up. They keep going on and on.” Write a story beginning with these words.

“Some people never give up. They keep going on and on and on. People of this caliber have forged themselves a place in history’s archives, boys, and if you live up to the challenge, so will you. Do your country proud.”

THE words of the arrogantly confident field commander whistled through his ears as a landmine exploded behind him. The blast of choking sulphur and ash rocked him, sending him to his knees on the ground. The screeches of Arabic curses seared his mind; he closed his eyes and wondered, “Is this what going on means?” How ironic it was that the passionate speech, fired with patriotism, had been given what felt like centuries ago, on the soil of a country he doubted his feet would ever kiss again. How ironic that he, a humble field soldier, now gambled with his life and a dubious metallic weapon, on the battlefield of someone else’s war, while the illustrious commander was tucked safely home, no doubt commenting gravely on the exploits of ‘our boys out there’.

He struggled to rise to his feet at the same time dreading the visual Holocaust sure to assail him. The centre of the town’s once prosperous financial district had been transformed into a base of squalor and destruction, where blood ran in the gutters instead of water … oh, for a taste, a drop of water, the soldier thought, raising his eyes to the relentlessly blazing Middle-Eastern sun. Mere feet away from him, children garbed in tattered rags kicked at the remains of a decaying mongrel. The stench of putrescence that rose from its desiccated limbs ought to have made them vomit, but they surely had nothing to expel from their empty bellies save gastric acid. Surely these people were promised food from my country, he wondered, the benevolent gesture of a superior nation, confident of its victory? No … then it seems the first casualty of war is truth.

A sudden, horrendous shriek rent the oppressive, steamy silence; the soldier whirled around, hands clutching his rifle. A hideous figure that might once have been called a woman, except for the torture marks of poverty and suffering carved into her frame, staggered through the street. Her skeletal arms were raised to the blazing skies above as if in praise, yet the sorrow imbedded in her deep onyx eyes made it clear she had nothing to rejoice for. The soldier followed her line of vision, seeing a young girl, of perhaps five years old, being detained by one of his colleagues, some metres away. He remembered that some of the local

Suddenly, without warning, the soldier up ahead slapped the child resoundingly about the face. Her little neck jerked backwards, as her head bobbed from side to side with the force of his blows. Piteous, moaning sounds escaped her mouth. Horrified, the young officer called out to his colleague to cease abusing the infant, but his reaction was overshadowed by that of the woman.

Imprecations burst from her mouth as she sprang forward with more energy than her emaciated limbs could possess. Angry, violent flames burned in her eyes in the place of sorrow, as her bare feet slapped the gravel of the ground. She cleared the distance in seconds, snatched the weeping child from her oppressor’s grasp with a fierce snarl, like a lioness would make when she discovers one of her cubs has been maltreated. The young soldier was amazed to see that her soles were bleeding, that lesions and gaping cuts peered from the bedraggled fabric of her dress. He tried to remember if he had ever seen anyone so strong, wondered if the commander he had once idolized would behave like this, to protect something he loved. He stood in the middle of the street, applauding silently as the woman and child made a hurried getaway, past the rubble of a destroyed building. He turned his back on his enraged counterpart and began walking off.

The burst of gunfire rooted him to the spot; he prayed to a god he had stopped believing in even as he heard the other man mutter, “That’ll teach you, you blasted woman”. He continued to stand still as the other’s booted steps grew ever distant, fading into the background. Had he gone to slaughter more innocents, the soldier thought, is this the bleeding face of humanity laid bare?

The woman and child lay on the ground some distance away. Their bodies were folded together, intertwined with Death’s gentle hands into a final embrace. Their souls fled to a place where suffering was but a nasty memory, where freedom lasted forever. The young soldier, once lit with shimmering ideals, once burning with desire to fight, to win, stood looking at their bodies, for a second, for a year. Though he was not dead, he felt part of his own soul flee his body, in disgust at the sight of what people did to other people. He leaned over and closed the eyes of the woman, realizing bitterly that her example of ‘never giving up’ had been more real and pure than any exhortations of a vainglorious commander.

“You”, he said to her lifeless body, with more conviction than he had ever felt, “have taught me what it means to go on”.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


Question 5: A cold hand grasped his wrist as he slumped to 
his knees. 

Write a story which includes these words. 


This story is based on Question 5 above. 

A Miner’s Story 

The gold bearing plateau of the Guiana Shield is every miner‟s destination. But many times, it is also their doom. The rain forest holds a hellish hatred, a demonic grudge against all intruders, and batters them, strangles them, and eventually, destroys them. Amazonia is no place for man, and here, nature reigns supreme. 

The men trudged through the mud, in the sunken crater, 
somewhere in the middle of nowhere. All around them were trees, in excess of fifty metres high, ferns, creepers, moss and lianas. The world of vegetation was grey-green, alien to mankind, as the early morning fog hung low among the ferns. This team was here, for gold, but man cannot tame nature. All of them, faces haggard and mud-streaked, clothes torn with dried blood in dark spots, their rifles and digging tools already rusting with moisture were on death row. They had a fouled compass, no medicine, and half of the original eight-man team was lost; dead, in the middle of nowhere. 

Carl Royston shook his head, cursed under his breath. He was a young miner from one of the villages in the mountains, but he looked twice as old as he was now, as the men lethargically stumbled through the perpetual gloom in the barely penetrable rainforest. He glanced at Lewis, his number one rival. Lewis was a big, burly, bearded buffalo of a man. Lewis stared at him, scowled as they moved deeper into the bowels of the forest. Carl hated Lewis with all his heart, for reasons he chose not to remember. Now they were together, members of the same team in the heathen jungle. 

“Hold up, rapids,” was the call from Mason, up ahead. A 
cascading torrent was before them, foaming white water 
thundering around jagged black rocks on the riverbed. Funny, he hadn‟t heard it before. Carl brushed it aside. He had a fever anyway. The rapids sounded as if the floodgates of God had opened, especially from so close. „It‟s okay, boys,” Mason, the American prospector said. “We‟re crossing in a minute.” 

Carl hated Mason‟s accent. Why couldn‟t he speak like the rest of them? He stepped closer, to the edge of the water. 

From here, it sounded like a bullet-train tearing through a tunnel at three hundred miles per hour. He stared across the water that swirled with unearthly gyrations, to the opposite bank. Fifty feet of raging water, from bank to bank. His head hurt, and everything swam before his eyes for a while, and he felt nauseous. The tumult didn‟t help much, and he staggered. 

“You okay?” Lewis voice came. Carl glared at him and snarled. 

“If I was ...” He began, but Mason cut him short. “Okay men, let‟s cross.” 

The next few seconds flashed; then he was knee-deep in foaming water. The rapids unleashed their full fury, and spray flew, and Carl felt himself stagger under the assault, and foundered. A cold hand grasped his wrist as he slumped to his knees; water, foam and spray flew as the big man, Lewis, hauled him over to the other side, to safety. 


The graveyard was cold, dark and dreary. One weary old oak tree leaned over the entrance gate and broken battered headstones were scattered all around. I could hear the sound of the howling wind and the creak and groan of branches as they swayed in the storm. The smell of fear and rotting leaves filled my nostrils and I swallowed deeply afraid I would get sick.
As I walked towards my brother’s grave, I heard another noise. It was slow heavy footsteps. I turned. A tall muscular man was walking towards me. His face was tough & covered in stubble to hide the scars which criss-crossed his jaw.
“I don’t think this is such a good idea”, I shouted over the wind.
“It’s too late to change your mind”, the man replied in a low threatening voice. “Either we dig him up now or you spend the rest of your life wondering how he died”.
“Ok, ok”, I mumbled, afraid to say anything more in case the lump in my throat would cause tears to run down my face.
I could still remember the day those two army officers arrived at my house to tell me my brother was dead. Their cold hard faces gave little away when I asked how he died. “Killed in the course of duty” was all they would say. Everything else was “classified”. They handed me a letter from my brother, saluted, then turned and left, the click-clack of their shoes on the pavement slowly dying away. I stood frozen to the spot, dazed, confused and devastated. I finally opened the letter with trembling fingers but only one line stared back at me. “I’ll always be with you brother. Karl”. What did he mean? How could he be with me ever again? He was dead.
Now I leaned heavily on the rusty shovel in my hands and started to dig, determined to uncover the truth. The scar-faced man beside me began to dig at the other end and soon my brother’s coffin began to emerge from beneath the layers of sodden earth. Faced with this moment of truth, I began to panic. What if I was wrong? I knew Karl hated the army, I knew he wanted out. His girlfriend Sarah hadn’t turned up at the funeral, hadn’t contacted her family in the two months since his death. But maybe she just needed some space?
I looked down at the coffin as my hired helper tugged at the lid with a crowbar. With a loud snap the lid flew back revealing the frozen corpse inside. My whole body filled with relief – there was a dead man in the coffin. But it wasn’t my brother.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

How to write a CXC English A short story in 45 minutes

So, how do you write a CXC English A short story in 45 minutes?
Well, there are a lot of techniques for short story writing. Many of which will posted here over time. In this post, I just want to give you some "quick and dirty" tips for writing good short stories when you are not so good at it and you are under the pressure of time in the CXC exam room.

Tip 1: Write about the things that you know well.
It is easier, faster and smarter to write about the things that you know well.
When you choose a short story to write, try to stick to a story that you can connect to your own life and or experiences. When you do this, you don't have to reach into your imagination so much. You already know much of the story because you have lived it yourself or you know someone who has.

Tip 2: Write about one short event or short experience.
Write about one event, one moment in time or one emotional experience. When you make your story take place in a short space of time, or focus on one emotional moment, it is easier to start and end the story in 45 minutes. If you don't believe me, check out the CXC best short stories, each one is about an event that happens in a few minutes.

Tip 3: Make your sentences work hard.
Every sentence in a short story has to work overtime. It has to "double up" on what it does. It has to tell the story and build the mood or theme of the story at the same time. It's not just, " the road stretched in front of him", it's, "the road that stretched in front of him, seemed to echo the emptiness of his future". See? In that one sentence I not only talked about the road but I also related it to the character's feelings and future.
Please note that a sentence doesn't have to be long to work hard.

Tip 4: Use short sentences.
It is easier to read short sentences than it is to read long sentences. You don't want the examiner slowing down his reading to try to figure out what you want to say. You will impress the examiner more by using simple, clear language to tell an exciting story, than using complex language to tell a story he can't figure out.

Tip 5: Use simple words.
Sometimes exam candidates think that they need to use "essay language" to impress examiners. They use '10 dollar words' when '10 cent words' will get the job done just as good or better.
One way to tell if you are using 10 dollar words in your essay is to read your essay back to your self as you are writing. If you find yourself stumbling over words, change the ones that you are stumbling over for easier words.
If the essay does not flow smoothly when you are reading it to yourself, see where you can rewrite it so that it is easier to read.

Tip 6: If you are not sure, don't use it.
If you are not sure about using quotation marks and other punctuation signs when writing direct speech, don't use direct speech in your story. Make life easy for yourself, use normal sentences and write in paragraph form.
If you are not sure about the spelling of a word, don't use it. Use another word that you are sure you know how to spell.
This is an easy way to save some marks.

Tip 7: Do not write about sex (or a lot of unecessary violence).
The examiners really, really do not like when CXC exam candidates write sexually explicit stories. They have said this publicly.

Tip 8: Write neatly.
I know this sounds too easy but many people do not write neatly in exams. They are so busy trying to get everything down on paper within the time limit, they don't worry about neat handwriting. This is not a good idea.
When your handwriting is neat and easy to understand, you are reducing the work the examiner has to do to read your essay. This puts him/her in a good mood, you want that. I repeat, you want that.

Tip 9: Leave time to proof read your essay.
Leave 5 minutes out of your 45 minutes to proof read your essay at the end.
We all make mistakes. In the heat of trying to get the whole essay on paper, you may have made spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Take a few minutes at the end of the exam to clean up the essay and make sure it reads well (sounds good to your ear).
Well, that's it for now. If I think of any more tips, I will add them as time goes on.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Narrative Writing 1

Narrative is a report of related events presented to the listeners or readers in words arranged in a logical sequence.

A story is taken as a synonym of narrative. 

A narrative or story is told by a narrator who may be a direct part of that experience and he or she often shares the experience as a first-person narrator.

 Sometimes he or she may only observe the events as a third-person narrator and gives his or her verdict.

Elements of a Story


The sequence of events that happen in a story. The plot
usually happens in the order of: Exposition, Rising Action,
Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement.

Where and when the story takes place. The setting is the
geographic location of the story. When a character walks
from one part of a neighborhood to the other, the scene
changes, but the setting always stays the same.

The people, animals, or creatures in the story.

One character who is central to the story and all the
major events in the story.

The character who opposes, or goes against the main
character or protagonist. The antagonist tries to
prevent the main character (protagonist) from
succeeding or being happy.

Conflict is a problem that happens in the story. Usually, the
conflict happens toward the beginning of the story, at the
beginning of the Rising Action. There are different types of
(1) Person versus Person
(2) Person versus Self
(3) Person versus Nature
(4) Person versus Society
(5) Person versus Circumstance

The message that is in the story. Common themes are love, friendship, loyalty, faith, hope, forgiveness, sacrifice, honor, justice, truth, freedom.

Monday, 28 April 2014


Read the following poem carefully and then answer the questions set on it.
The Hawk
The hawk slipped out of the pine, and rose in the sunlit air:
Steady and still he poised: his shadow slept on the grass:
And the bird's song sickened and sank: she cowered with furtive stare,
Dumb, till the quivering dimness should flicker and shift and pass.
Suddenly down he dropped: she heard the hiss of his wing,
Fled with a scream of terror: oh, would she had dared to rest.
For the hawk at eve was full, and there was no bird to sing,
And over the heather drifted the down from a bleeding breast.
(a) Briefly state what happens in the poem. (2 marks)
(b) What does the following tell you about the bird? she cowered with furtive stare...(2 marks)
(c) Explain what is meant by ;the quivering dimness. (2 marks)
(d) Comment on the poet's use of each of the following:
(i) slipped
(ii) drifted (4 marks)
(e) Name one sense to which this poem appeals and quote a word or phrase in support of your choice. (2 marks)
(f) Identify a figure of speech and comment on its effectiveness. (2 marks)

Descriptive Writing 1

Watch the following video's based on Descriptive Writing and make the necessary notes.


Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions below it.
      Quiet and the night came early and Leonard sat there feeling a flicker of restlessness. He needed his books, a radio perhaps, he wasn't sure why he had been delaying going into Kingston to fetch his things. The pattern he had established of working on the house had completely absorbed him, but, he thought, stretching lazily, it was time to make the trip into town. He would go there the next day, get it over with. If he went like that, mid-week, there would be nobody there. He could simply pick up his two boxes and leave the key with the next-door neighbour. He would not have to face his parents and their angry comments, the small guilt-making jabs, 'after all they had done', giving up his job, 'such good prospects', to hide himself away 'in the depths of beyond', as they put it. And, of course, he could not explain. He could not say that the prospect of working to buy things did not interest him, of drifting into a marriage, much like theirs, did not interest him. It was all sound, solid, and it frightened him, the years stretching ahead, known even before they had happened. He wanted to make something very simple, very different, for himself. He could not explain because they were so proud of having lived out Grandma Miriam's dream, to be educated, professionals, a far remove from Grandpa Sam, travelling in on the country bus with his country talk and his bag of yams.

a) Why was Leonard feeling a flicker of restlessness (line 2)? (2 marks)
b) What does the phrase get it over with (line 12) tell us about Leonard's reaction to the idea of the trip into town? (2 marks)
c) How did Leonard decide to avoid his parents? (2 marks)
d) How did Leonard's parents feel about his chosen lifestyle? (2 marks)
e) What was Grandma Miriam's ambition for her children? (1 mark)
f) What does the last sentence suggest about Grandma Miriam's' reaction to the lifestyle of Grandpa Sam? (2 marks)
Total: 11 marks

Sunday, 27 April 2014


(a)(i)Who is likely to have said the following lines:
'Twill rot yu' teet'! (line 3) and Study yu' book! (line 11) (ii)What effect is the writer trying to create by using them? (3 marks)
Suggested answer(a) The words would have been spoken by an adult, possibly a parent.

Question(b) In what ways is the content of the first two stanzas (lines 1 - 15) similar?
(3 marks)
Suggested answer

(b) The content of the first two stanzas is similar in that they show the views/concerns of the adult with regard to the child. Also, both stanzas offer guidance from the adult.

Question(c) Why does the poet refer to leather jacket (line 12) and ;football boots (line 13)? (2 marks) 

Suggested answer
(c) The poet refers to leather jackets and football boots, items which we associate with the male, to indicate that these attract teenage girls.

Question(d) Comment on the poet's choice of the following words:
(i)Tinkly (line 4)(ii)dim (line 31) (2 marks)
Suggested answer
d)(i) Tinkly is an example of the figurative device, ono- matopoeia; hence it appeals to the sense of hearing. Children will be attracted to the sound of the paper.
(ii) Through the use of dim, the poet maintains the contrast between childhood and adulthood, innocence and experience.

(e) What do the following lines,
She'll see beneath the silver wrapper
Beneath the flashy football boots ... (lines 21 - 22) tell us about the young girl?
(2 marks) 
Suggested answer
(e) The lines tell us that the young girl realises later on in life that things are not what they seem to be. She would arrive at this position because of her maturity and experience.

Question(f)What is suggested by the poet in the last seven lines (lines 27 - 33) of the poem? (2 marks) 
Suggested answer
(f) The poet is saying that it is difficult for anyone to see why adulthood, with all its problems, should be preferred to childhood.
Total 14 marks

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Read the following poem carefully and and answer the questions which follow it.
Growing pains
My child-eyes cried for chocolate treats
And sticky sweets
'Twill rot yu' teet'!
Tinkly silver wrapper hides
How can a child-eye see?
This child-heart cried for mid-teen love
10A blow, a shove
Study yuh' book!
Leather jacket
Football boots
Are not the most sought-after truths
15How can a child-heart know?
So watch the young-girl-heart take wing!
Watch her groove
And watch her swing
She's old enough
20She's strong and tough
She'll see beneath the silver wrapper
Beneath the flashy football boots
She'll find the great sought-after truth
That child-eye tears are not as sad
25And child-heart pain is not as bad
As grown-up tears and grown-up pain
Oh Christ, what do we have to gain
From growing up
For throwing up
Our childlike ways
For dim
Grown-up days.

(a)(i)Who is likely to have said the following lines:
'Twill rot yu' teet'! (line 3) and Study yu' book! (line 11) (ii)What effect is the writer trying to create by using them?                                                                                                        (3 marks) 
(b) In what ways is the content of the first two stanzas (lines 1 - 15) similar?
                                                                                                                          (3 marks)
(c) Why does the poet refer to leather jacket (line 12) and ;football boots (line 13)?   (2 marks) 
(d) Comment on the poet's choice of the following words:
(i)Tinkly (line 4)(ii)dim (line 31)                                                                                                         (2 marks) 
(e) What do the following lines,
She'll see beneath the silver wrapper
Beneath the flashy football boots ... (lines 21 - 22) tell us about the young girl?
(2 marks) 
(f)What is suggested by the poet in the last seven lines (lines 27 - 33) of the poem? (2 marks) 
Total 14 marks

Friday, 25 April 2014

Reading Comprehension PRACTICE 1

Read the following extract carefully and then answer all the questions set on it.

Pita panicked. There was nothing he could do. He was trapped. Trapped with hundreds of others. The monster had come and was slowly, surely dragging them from the deep. He swam through the excited crowd to try the bottom. Then he tried the top again. The great monster had encircled them completely. There were millions of holes in its great hands, but none large enough. If only they were a little larger. Pita tried to push himself through one of the holes again. He squeezed and squeezed. Great tails lashed around him. Not only he but against his eyes. If only his head could get through. He pushed again, hard, and the pain quivered through his body.

There was nothing he could do. He heard the breakers roaring above now. That meant they were nearing the shore. Pita whipped his tail in fury. The monster was gradually closing its hands. There were cries now above the surface. Below, the monster grated on sand. The shore! They had reached the shore! Frantically, Pita flung himself against one of the tiny holes. He gave a cry as the scales tore from his back - then a cry of joy. He was free! Free!

He lunged forward below the surface. Down he sped, rejoicing in his tinyness. If he was only a little bigger, he would have been dying on the shore now. The fateful shore! There had been those who had actually come back from that world. This was one of the great mysteries. But some said they had been there, and had talked of that awesome place.

There was no more blood now. Down he swam. Deep, deep until the sound of the breakers was only a bitter memory, and the sea was not sandy but blue and clear, and until, far, far away in the distance, green with fern and the tender moss, he saw the rocks of home.

a) To whom or what does 'he' refer? (1 mark)

b) What effect is the author trying to create by using short sentences in the passage? (2 marks)

c) State ONE word which could describe Pita's feelings when he realised, There were millions of holes ... but none large enough. (2 marks)

d) Why does the author repeat 'squeezed' in line 6? (3 marks)

e) Who or what does the 'monster' refer to? (2 marks)

f) Why does the writer use 'fateful' to describe the shore? (2 marks)

g) Why does Pita utter a cry of joy? (1 mark)

h) Why was 'the sound of the breakers' a bitter memory? (2 marks)



a) To whom or what does 'he' refer? (1 mark) 
Suggested answer
a) 'He' refers to the fish or Pita

b) What effect is the author trying to create by using short sentences in the passage?(2 marks)
Suggested answer
b) The writer is trying to create suspense/tension/fast-moving action.

c) State ONE word which could describe Pita's feelings when he realised, There were millions of holes ... but none large enough. (2 marks) 
c) Alarm/anxiety/frustration/desperation.

d) Why does the author repeat 'squeezed' in line 6? (3 marks) 
Suggested answer
d) The word is repeated to show the tremendous effort the fish is making in its bid to escape.

e) Who or what does the 'monster' refer to? (2 marks) 
Suggested answer
e) The 'monster' is the net

f) Why does the writer use 'fateful' to describe the shore? (2 marks)
Suggested answer
f) The word is used because that is where the fate of the fish was decided/where death took place.

g) Why does Pita utter a cry of joy? (1 mark)
Suggested answer
g) Pita utters a cry of joy as he was now free.

h) Why was 'the sound of the breakers' a bitter memory? (2 marks) 
Suggested answer
h) It was the sound of the place where he would have died.


Computers and Education in America

Dudley Erskine Devlin writes his own commentary of computer technology on the rise in "Computers and Education in America." While all the optimists out there push the movement of Websites and constantly flash e-mail addresses on all advertising promising simplicity for our hectic lives and education for our children, Devlin retorts by saying, "In short, the much balleyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be realized." He believes that finding information and retrieving it from the Internet is long and tedious. The Internet is cluttered by commercialism, claims Devlin. He also points out how the information might be false when found. He believes claims that the Internet is democratic are false. The personal computer eats money and that plus the cost of Internet bills is too much for families. Although the Internet has nearly 20 million sites, there are not enough mentoring programs to lead students through the Internet. Besides, according to Devlin, kids will always prefer the TV and their friends over cyberspace. Even if kids were on the Internet they would be surrounded by commercialism and pornography. Finally, in the words of Dudley Erskine Devlin, "The cult of computers is still an empty promise for most students."

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Practice Question 2- Summary Writing

Summarize the passage below in 150 words. The model question will be provided tomorrow.

Computers and Education in America

In the last decade, computers have invaded every aspect of education, from kindergarten through college. The figures show that schools have spent over two billion dollars installing two million new computers. Recently, with the explosive increase of sites on the Internet, computers have taken another dramatic rise. In just five years, the number of Internet hosts has skyrocketed from 2 million to nearly 20 million. It is not uncommon for 6th graders to surf the 'Net, design their own home pages, and e-mail their friends or strangers they have "met" on the Web. Computer literacy is a reality for many junior high students and most high school students.

In the midst of this technological explosion, we might well stop and ask some key questions. Is computer technology good or bad for education? Are students learning more or less? What, exactly, are they learning? And who stands to benefit from education's current infatuation with computers and the Internet?
In the debate over the virtues of computers in education, the technological optimists think that computers and the Internet are ushering us into the next literacy revolution, a change as profound as Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. In contrast, a much smaller but growing number of critics believe that cyberspace is not the ideal classroom. I agree with the critics. If you consider your own experience, you'll agree that the benefits of computer literacy are at best wildly overrated. At their worst, computers and the Internet pander to the short attention spans and the passive viewing habits of a young television generation.

The technological optimists sing a siren song of an enchanted new land where the educational benefits of computers and the Internet are boundless. First, they boast that children can now access information on every conceivable subject. If little Eva or little Johnny wants to learn about far-away cultures, they can access sites from their own homes that will teach them about the great languages and cultures of the world.
Second, these starry-eyed optimists warble about how the Internet has created a truly democratic space, where all children--rich, poor, black, white, and brown--have equal access to information and education. Third, they claim that computers will allow students to have e-mail conversations with experts on any subject around the world. No longer will students be limited by their own classroom, their teacher, or their environment. Distance learning is the wave of the future, and classrooms will become obsolete or at least optional. In the words of John Sculley, former CEO of Apple Computer, the new technologies have created an "avalanche of personal creativity and achievement" and they have given students the "ability to explore, convey, and create knowledge as never before." Children who used to hate going to school will now love to learn to read and write, to do math and science. They will voluntarily spend hours learning on the Web instead of being bored to death by endless books and stodgy teachers.

Sound too good to be true? Let's examine these claims, one by one.

First, promoters of computer learning are endlessly excited about the quantity of information available on the Internet. The reality, however, is quite a different story. If you've worked on the Internet, you know that finding and retrieving information from a Web site can sometimes be tedious and time consuming. And once you find a site, you have no idea whether the information will be valuable. Popular search engines such as Yahoo! are inefficient at finding relevant information, unless you just want to buy a book on or find a street map for Fargo, North Dakota. Information is definitely available on the Web, but the problem is finding relevant, reliable, and non-commercial information.

Next, the optimists claim that the Internet is truly a democratic space with equal access for everyone. Again, the reality falls short.

First, access to an Internet provider at home costs over a hundred dollars a month, once you add up service and long distance fees. And then there's the technology barrier--not every person has the skills to navigate the Web in any but the most superficial way. Equal access is still only a theoretical dream, not a current reality.

Finally, computers do allow students to expand their learning beyond the classroom, but the distance learning is not a utopia. Some businesses, such as Hewlett Packard, do have mentoring programs with children in the schools, but those mentoring programs are not available to all students. Distance learning has always been a dream of administrators, eager to figure out a cheaper way to deliver education. They think that little Eva and Johnny are going to learn about Japanese culture or science or algebra in the evening when they could be talking with their friends on the phone or watching television. As education critic Neil Postman points out, these administrators are not imagining a new technology but a new kind of child: "In [the administrator's] vision, there is a confident and typical sense of unreality. Little Eva can't sleep, so she decides to learn a little algebra? Where does little Eva come from? Mars?" Only students from some distant planet would prefer to stick their nose in a computer rather than watch TV or go to school and be with their friends.

In addition to these drawbacks are other problems with computers in education. There is the nasty issue of pornography and the rampant commercialism on the Internet. Schools do not want to have their students spend time buying products or being exposed to pornography or pedophiles.
Second, the very attractiveness of most Web sites, with their color graphics and ingenious links to other topics, promotes dabbling and skimming. The word "surfing" is appropriate, because most sites encourage only the most surface exploration of a topic. The Internet thus accentuates what are already bad habits formost students: Their short attention spans, their unwillingness to explore subjects in depth, their poor reading and evaluation skills.

Computers also tend to isolate students, to turn them into computer geeks who think cyberspace is actually real. Some students have found they have a serious and addictive case of "Webaholism," where they spend hours and hours on the computer at the expense of their family and friends. Unfortunately, computers tend to separate, not socialize students.

Finally, we need to think about who has the most to gain or lose from computers in the schools. Are administrators getting more students "taught" for less money? Are big companies training a force of computer worker bees to run their businesses? Will corporate CEO's use technology to isolate and control their employees? In short, the much ballyhooed promise of computers for education has yet to be realized.
Education critic Theodore Roszak has a warning for us as we face the brave new world of computer education: Like all cults, this one has the intention of enlisting mindless allegiance and acquiescence. People who have no clear idea of what they mean by information or why they should want so much of it are nonetheless prepared to believe that we live in an Information Age, which makes every computer around us what the relics of the True Cross were in the Age of Faith: emblems of salvation.

I think if you examine your own experience with computers, you'll agree that the cult of computers is still an empty promise for most students. Computers, the Internet, and the Web will not magically educate students. It still must be done with reading, study, good teaching, and social interaction. Excellence in education can only be achieved the old fashioned way--students must earn it.
--Dudley Erskine Devlin

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