Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler is a former Major League baseball player who is now in charge of the L.A. Dodgers’ minor league operations. He has lots of interesting thoughts about health, diet, exercise, and workplace relationships that he shares in brief snippets on this blog. Worth a look. (Note: Kapler does, very occasionally, use salty language that may offend some people.)

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Paul Graham: “What Doesn’t Seem Like Work?”

Another nice little essay by Paul Graham. As always, he is interested in what typically goes unnoticed. This one may help you—if you are young enough—think about what sort of career would suit you.

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Portrait: CW2

Please publish no later than Friday, June 20th, your Language Coursework descriptive piece (CW2) based on the painting you chose.

Category: “Lang: CW2 Description”.

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Y10 —> Y11 Summer Work

Required of all students DEAR reading 7 days / week Freerice vocabulary work 3 days / week Optional work #1 Revise all the set texts (stories and poems) that we have studied in class this year. Optional work #2 Read all the set texts (stories and poems) that we have not yet studied. Optional work #3 Read some essays by George Orwell and/or Paul Graham as models of good writing. Optional work #4 Follow the advice given in “How to improve your English”.


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Instructions for the Literature exam (Y10, May 2014)

Instructions to Candidates


•Time allowed: 1 hour 30 minutes

•There are two sections in this examination:

SECTION 1: POETRY tests your knowledge and understanding of the poems from your list of set texts that you have studied up to this point in the course.

SECTION 2: PROSE (SHORT STORIES) tests your knowledge and understanding of the short stories from your list of set texts that you have studied up to this point in the course.

•You must answer TWO questions, one from SECTION 1, and the other from SECTION 2.

•You should […]

Dylan Thomas reading ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’

If you would like to listen again to Dylan Thomas reading, try this YouTube video:

(No video, just an unidentified old photo, but the sound is the important thing anyway.)

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Year 10 End-of-Year Examinations

Year 10 exams will be given beginning May 23rd.

Language: a complete past paper. To review the structure of the Language exam, look over the past papers you have and read this:

Literature: A modified Paper 1 with two sections, one about poetry, the other about short stories. (There will be no Paper 3, and no Paper 1 questions about drama, as we have not yet studied our set play.)

Poems to revise: Wordsworth, “Sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”; Halligan, “The Cockroach”; Bhatt, “A Different History”; Hopkins, “Pied Beauty”.

Stories to revise: “The Son’s Veto”, “Her First […]

The Lord Peter Wimsey Novels

Dorothy Sayers, Whose Body? (1923); Clouds of Witness (1926); Gaudy Night (1935). Sayers is one of the authors recommended in my list of “higher-quality popular fiction”.

     Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy Sayers’ fictional amateur detective, is a sort of aristocratic Sherlock Holmes, updated for the 1920s and ‘30s. As his name suggests, he is funnier than Holmes—almost too funny to take seriously in his first appearance (Whose Body?, 1923)—but like Holmes he has a dark side. In Wimsey’s case it is not a melancholic temperament and drug addiction, as with Holmes. Instead, Wimsey suffers from recurrent bouts of “shell shock” (today’s […]

Voltaire on English Comedy

(The original was written in French.)

Don’t desire me to descend to particulars with regard to these English comedies, which I am so fond of applauding; nor to give you a single smart saying or humorous stroke from Wycherley or Congreve. We don’t laugh in reading a translation. If you have a mind to understand the English comedy, the only way to do this will be for you to go to England, to spend three years in London, to make yourself master of the English tongue, and to frequent the playhouse every night. I receive but little pleasure from the […]

Empty as a bass drum

     Take music out of my life? No, please, just take my life. When I was eight or nine years old Mr. Granzer, the junior-high band teacher, visited our class with a clarinette, a trumpet, a French horn, a saxophone, and a snare drum. He wanted us to pick an instrument and sign up for lessons. I took the form home and showed it to my mother, who figured that whatever I chose, it would last no more than two weeks. Better to choose the cheapest option, she thought, which turned out to be drums: a pair of sticks and a […]

Six essentials for the Literature examinations

Answer the question! Plan before you write! Make the first sentence of each body paragraph a specific assertion. Write in the present tense. Write short, simple sentences. Only one idea per sentence! Include page or line citations, properly formatted, for every reference to the text. Be the first to like.

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Write a book review, win a prize

But hurry! The deadline is September 16.

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Seamus Heaney dies

The author of ‘The Early Purges’, among many other poems, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, has just passed away, age 74.

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Year 11s: Please check your email

I have sent you an email message about summer reading.

Many thanks,


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Romanticism Project

English Romanticism William Wordsworth: Kim, Tanmay, Shawn Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Mizuki, Da Ye, Rebecca William Blake: Eric, Jun Ho, Hyeong Jin Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Lord Byron: Eric, Jun Ho, Hyeong Jin John Keats: Kim, Tanmay, Shawn J. M. W. Turner: Sunniva, Denise, Janani

American Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott: Mizuki, Da Ye, Rebecca

French Romanticism Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Jesse, Guillaume

German Romanticism Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and The Sorrows of Young Werther: Jesse, Guillaume Ludwig von Beethoven: Sunniva, Denise, Janani

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Cinderella (Rebecca, Da Ye, and Mizuki)

See if you can view their Book Week video by clicking on this link:


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Summer Language coursework

Dear Year . . . 11s! ;^)

Just a reminder about your coursework for IGCSE English Language. Here is the requirement from the course guide:

Assignment 1: informative, analytical and/or argumentative. Assignment 2: imaginative, descriptive and/or narrative. Assignment 3: a response to a text or texts chosen by the Centre. The text(s) should contain facts, opinions and arguments. Candidates respond to the text(s) by selecting, analysing and evaluating points from the material (reading objectives R1–R3). They may write in any appropriate form they wish. Different candidates in the same teaching set may choose to respond in different forms.

The goal […]

David Copperfield

(Mid-book entry.)

Inspired by Eric Wu and provoked by the recent drama based on Charles Dickens’ fat novel, David Copperfield, I decided to re-read it for the first time in many years. I was struck by how much the England of David Copperfield resembles the China of today. Here, for example, Copperfield’s aunt comes to London from her home in the country and eats very little. Why? She doesn’t trust the food.

Supper was comfortably served and hot, . . . and consisted of a roast fowl, a steak, and some vegetables, to all of which I did ample justice, […]

Reading grows your brain

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Year 11s, don’t forget . . .

. . . to add your notes to the Gatsby wiki, here:

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

Write it up before you forget everything! ;^)

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First 2 blog posts

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.

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Welcome to IGCSE English!

I am looking forward to this year at DCS, my first here after seven years at SSIS. I hope you are, too!

I hope that most of the writing you do in the course—apart from final assessments—will be posted on this blog, giving you the chance to practice writing and try out ideas in a supportive space, and to learn from each other’s work. The more you use these opportunities to read and comment on your classmates’ posts, the more your own writing and thinking will benefit. However, if computer access is a problem for some of you, we may […]

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