Year 11 – January 20th, 2014

Using what you have learned from “How does the author _________?”, write ONE body paragraph in response to Q11 on your recent Literature Paper 1 mock exam:

How far do you think Gwendolen’s personality resembles that of her mother? Support your ideas with details from Wilde’s writing.

Note: You must revise this question slightly before you can respond to it effectively. The real question is, “How does Wilde suggest that Gwendolen’s personality resembles that of her mother?” Answer by referring to one of the literary techniques in your handout in a single well-developed paragraph. Be sure to begin your paragraph with a specific assertion about something Oscar Wilde does. (Questions are always general; answers must be specific!).

Due: by the end of the lesson today.

Post your paragraph on this blog. Category: Lit Exam Paper 1.

Year 10 – January 2014

To practice writing body paragraphs in a persuasive essay we are going to use the following essay prompt:

Discuss the importance of music, visual art, and literature in your life. Are they important? If so, why? If not, why not?

Your first assignment is to write a body paragraph in response to this prompt on the topic of music.

Post your body paragraph on this blog. Category: Body Paragraphs.

Remember that a body paragraph should begin with a clear, specific assertion (a claim that not everyone will necessarily agree with) followed by all the evidence and argument needed to persuade your reader that your assertion is correct. A well-developed body paragraph is usually around 300 words long.

Y11 – 23 September 2013

1. You will write a practice literature paper  in class one day this week.The question could concern any of the first three short stories.

2. All students should have already published responses to the first three short story prompts; if not, they must catch up no later than tonight. Students who have not caught up by tonight will have to come in to my classroom during half of the lunch hour each day until they are caught up.

3. Responses to the next two story prompts must be completed this week.

Reminder: All the short story prompts are in the sidebar of this blog.

Y10 – 17 September 2013

Write a personal response to “The Son’s Veto” on this blog. In your response, focus on one specific aspect of the story, and cite evidence from the story to support your assertion. Length: ONE body paragraph, 100-300 words.

Y10->11 Summer Holiday 2013

1.  Read daily—a total of 200 pages per week in books of the highest quality you can manage while still reading one page per minute. Slower than that means the book is too difficult: put it down and read something else. You need to read a) to absorb what written English looks like: spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.; b) to gain invaluable background knowledge, one of the most important factors in school success; and c) to expand your literary background, so that you recognise things when you read, instead of missing them. For book suggestions, check out my Independent Reading page, here: If you need further help, email me.

2.  When you finish a book, post a brief journal entry about it on this blog.

3.  Spend 30-60 minutes each week on This will help to build up your vocabulary with words that don’t normally appear in casual reading, but that you will need in the last years of high school and at university. Two 15-minute sessions, or three 10-20 minute sessions each week will do the job.

Y10 Chinese New Year Holiday

Re-read Paul Graham’s essay, “What You Can’t Say”, and write a letter to Mr. Graham discussing his ideas and arguments. Maximum length: 800 words (so focus on one aspect of his essay). Post your letter on this blog before the end of the CNY holiday.

Y11 Chinese New Year Holiday

Revise the literature texts: Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby, and the set poems.

Y11 Christmas Holiday

As this will be your last Christmas holiday before your IB Diploma Programme begins, you should a) read every day in a novel of your choice, and b) work on vocabulary using or, twice a week for 20-30 minutes each time. Also: remember that by June you should have read both Candide, by Voltaire, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

Y10 Christmas Holiday

DEAR reading, every day, 20-30 minutes each day. Vocabulary work on or, if you have time. Remember that by June you should have read The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.

Golden Week 2012

Both Y10 and Y11: Post your October 1 DEAR entry on the class blog, and leave at least 3 comments on other people’s posts.

Y11 only: Post second argumentative piece of Language coursework on the blog by 6 p.m., October 8. Topic: free choice.

March-April: Spring Break

Year 10

2. Post at least one DEAR entry on the blog, at the end of March.

Year 11

Re-read The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and the set poems for the literature exam.

January – Y11 Chinese New Year Homework

  1. DEAR: Read every day for AT LEAST 20 minutes—more if you did not read during the Christmas holiday.
  2. Coursework:

January – Y10 Chinese New Year Homework

  1. DEAR: Read every day for AT LEAST 20 minutes—more if you did not read every day over the Christmas holiday.
  2. Death of a Salesman: read and take notes on the the entire play. Be prepared to answer detailed questions about the play when classes resume.

November 28 – Year 11

You may write your practice coursework on either of these two texts.

  1. ‘A Night Performance at Golden Hill’ by Zhang Dai (Chang Tai). Prompt: The author uses a series of metaphors and personifications to develop his fascination with the moonlight. Analyze the passage to demonstrate how he employs different literary devices to develop this idea. Also, what effects do these images have on readers?
  2. ‘Winter Dreams’, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Prompt: Compare and contrast one aspect that ‘Winter Dreams’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ have in common.

Your practice coursework essay should be 500-800 words long, just like the real thing.

Copy the prompt and put it at the top of your coursework essay.

Please submit your practice coursework to me as an email attachment. (Either Word or Pages file formats will be fine.)

  • Font: Palatino, 12 pt.
  • Double-spaced.
  • Don’t forget to put your name on it.
  • Name your file “yourname-PCW-date.doc” or “yourname-PCW-date.pages”. Example: George’s essay should be named “George-PCW-3dec2011.doc”.
  • Due: Before leaving for the Christmas holiday. This will give me time to read and mark them over the holiday so they are ready for you when you come back.

October 27

Year 10: I have slightly revised the directions for DEAR posts. Please check the DEAR page (the link is in the link bar under the photo), read carefully, and come to class with any questions you may have.

Year 11: I have added a DEAR component for you. Please check the DEAR page (the link is in the link bar under the photo), read carefully, and come to class with any questions you may have.

Everyone should publish a new DEAR post this weekend, as it is the end of the month.

October 13-23  -  Year 11

Re-read The Great Gatsby. As you read, update and improve your notes on the wiki as needed. Post your second personal response to the novel no later than Sunday, October 23. In your second personal response you can focus on any aspect of the novel that particularly struck you as you read it for the second time.

September 16 – Year 10

Write one body paragraph, on a topic of your choice, following the guidelines we discussed in class, and post it on the blog. Category: Writing. Due no later than Sunday night.

September 5 – Year 11

Please write a brief personal response to each chapter of The Great Gatsby as you finish them (don’t wait until the end and write them all at once—that defeats the purpose!).

September 3 – Year 11

Blog post: write a personal response to Chapter I of The Great Gatsby.

September 3 – Year 11

Reading Schedule for The Great Gatsby:

Finished no later than Pages Chapters
Sept 3 22-34 II
Sept 4 35-45 III
Sept 5 46-56 III-IV
Sept 6 57-67 IV
Sept 7 68-80 V
Sept 8 81-92 VI
Sept 9 93-106 VII
Sept 10 107-119 VII
Sept 11 120-132 VIII
Sept 12 133-147 IX

August 25

Third blog post: What did you learn about poetry this week?

August 23

Please write two (2) separate blog posts:

1. Describe yourself as a reader. Label this post with the ‘As a Reader’ category.

2. Describe yourself as a writer. Label this post with the ‘As a Writer’ category.

August 2011

Welcome to IGCSE English! Major assignments will be posted here, with the most recent ones at the top.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments