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.

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