Friday, July 15, 2011 3 comments

Drilling on Writing Prior To PMR/SPM

PMR exam is just around the corner. I couldn't help but feeling so worried with my students' competence in writing compositions. I have gathered some ideas from my friends, who are also teaching English in other schools, on how they go about drilling essay writing to their students as a preparation prior to PMR/SPM. Here are some of the approaches that could be adopted/adapted based on the proficiency level of our students:

Idea #1:
  1. Get a good essay which is neither too long nor too short. 
  2. Give 1 copy to each student. 
  3. Ask them to read and understand the essay. Maybe you could get students to find the meaning of difficult words or focus on a certain grammatical item (Wh words / verb / noun / tenses / etc.) 
  4. Next, tell students to put the essay out of their sight. 
  5. The teacher then carries out a dictation activity in which he/she reads aloud the essay with the correct pronunciation and enunciation. At the same time, students need to listen and write down what they hear. This activity can be utilized not only to test your students' understanding on the essay but also in spelling and sentence structure. 
  6. Teacher reads aloud twice. 
  7. After the dictation is over, students correct their friend's work in pairs. Students would be very excited to correct their friends' mistakes. 
Idea #2:
  1. Analyse a model essay, how the parts of the essay is written.
  2. Drill students like mad on the format and elaboration of ideas. 
  3. Students write an essay based on the elaboration.
Idea #3:
  1. Pick a model essay that we would like to study with students.
  2. Erase some of the words/phrases from the essay. Let's say the essay is about recounting a flood incident. So, teacher could remove words/phrases which are related to flood. For example: flash flood, under water, inundated, rescue team, boats, relief centres, etc.
  3. Get students to brainstorm ideas on the topic. Teacher may write the ideas on the board.
  4. Then, give students a copy of the essay in which the words are erased.
  5. Students, in pairs or in groups, fill in the blanks in the essay with the words obtained from the brainstorming session. For weak students, teacher could provide more words option in which students could choose to fill in the blanks.   
  6. Finally, have students re-write the whole essay.
Idea #4
  1. Pick a model essay that we would like to study with students.
  2. Just like Idea #3, remove some words/phrases. In this activity, teacher could remove targeted grammar item such as prepositions, verbs, etc.
  3. Students write sentences based on the words/phrases given by using the missing prepositions.
Idea #5

  1. Give students a model essay. For example, an article about "A visit to an old folks home".
  2. Familiarize students with the format and the keywords used in the article. 
  3. Then, get students to write a similar essay. For example: Write an article about "A visit to an orphanage".
  4. Students refer to the model essay to help them write. 


If you have other interesting ideas that might work or have worked, share them here :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011 6 comments

Analysis Of PMR English Papers (2005 - 2010)

I did some analysis on the PMR English Papers from 2005 - 2010. Here are my findings.

Paper 1: Section D and E (Literature)

Topic
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
Life’s Brief Candle




The Dead Crow




The Lake Isle of Innisfree




Of Bunga Telur and Bally Shoes




The Pencil




How Dalat Got Its Name





Paper 2: Section A and C


Section A
(Guided Writing)
Section C
(Literature)
2005
Description of an event
Moral Value
2006
Informal letter – invitation letter
Opinion – Like/Dislike a story
2007
Story – bad experience
Characters – Two characters who work together to obtain success
2008
Speech – Safety measures in school
Plot – an important incident
2009
Article – Visiting old folks home
Characters – a relationship between friends
2010
Story – good deed
Characters – a good quality that you admire in a character

Based on the above analysis, I would like to make a forecast on what might come out in 2011's English PMR.

Paper 1: Section D - Life's Brief Candle

Paper 1: Section E - Of Bunga Telur and Bally Shoes

Paper 2: Section A - Article / Report / Recount / Speech / Talk / Letter

Paper 2: Section C - Could be anything from Plot, Theme, Moral Value, or even Characters. However, since characters had came out in 2009 & 2010, I doubt that it will be asked again this year.

Mind you, this is just a forecast. PMR candidates must do their revision in all aspects in order to succeed not only in English but also in other subjects. 

All the best!
Thursday, July 7, 2011 5 comments

Poem - The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats



The author
William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) was born in Dublin. He fell in love with Maud Gonne, an Irish Nationalist who fought for social justice. His love was not returned. He remained heartbroken till he was 52 years old, the age when he finally got married. 

Even though he was of English origin, he loved Ireland very much and thought of himself as an Irishman. His father, John Butler Yeats, was an artist and encouraged him to write poetry. Being a patriotic Irishman, he wrote many poems on the beauty of Ireland, its magic, folklore and political scenario. Apart from that, he wrote many poems for Maud Gonne, hoping for her love in return.

He was referred to as the greatest Irish poet. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He was appointed as the Member of the Irish Senate (1922 - 1928)


The poem


The Lake Isle of Innisfree



I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made,
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


What is the poem about?


The Lake Isle of Innisfree, Lough Gill, Ireland


The Lake Isle of Innisfree is about a person’s desire and imagination to leave the city and go to a peaceful place in the country. He wants to escape the harshness of modern living. In this poem, the persona wants to go to a small island in the middle of a lake. It is called the Lake Isle of Innisfree. The persona wants to live by himself in a peaceful place. He also wishes to be close to nature. He thinks of the things that he will do there. He will build a cabin and plant vegetables. He even imagines the sounds he will hear and the things he will see in Innisfree. The poem is about enjoying the beauty of nature and enjoying the peace and quietness the countryside can give us.

This poem reminds me of Louis Armstrong's masterpiece, What A Wonderful World. The song talks about nature, the world god has created and how wonderful life is. Let's listen to the beautiful music before moving on with the poem's meaning. Enjoy!


The literal meaning of the poem (The Paraphrase)


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
Meaning: The persona will get up and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there,  Meaning: There will be a small house build near the lake on the island
of clay and wattles made, Meaning: The house is made of clay and wattles.  Wattles are sticks twisted together as a material for making fences, walls, etc. Nine bean-rows will I have there,
Meaning: There are nine rows of bean plants near the house




a hive for the honey-bee;
Meaning: and a home for honey bees in the persona’s garden






And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
Meaning: The persona wants to live alone in the small house which is 
located in an open area where he can only hear the sound of the bees  buzzing .
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Meaning: The persona will have some peace in Innisfree. The persona  can feel the peacefulness relaxingly.
Dropping from the veils of the morning 
Meaning: The peacefulness starts when the morning is filled with mist to where the cricket sings;
Meaning: and the persona can hear the crickets chirping in the morning; (click on the above video to hear the sound of early morning crickets)
There midnight's all a glimmer,
Meaning: At midnight, the sky shines from the moonlight and the stars.  The persona can see a glimmer of light on the far shore.
and noon a purple glow, Meaning: The persona can feel the peacefulness in the afternoon when  the sun shines brightly. The shines from the sun looks purple. And evening full of the linnet's wings.
Meaning: The persona can also feel the peacefulness in the evening  where he can hear the sound of birds.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
Meaning: The persona will get up and go to Innisfree. He will stay there  for days and nights
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
Meaning: The persona hears the sound of the lake water lapping by the  shore. The sound of the lake water lapping is the sound made when the  water touches the shore gently and regularly, often making a soft sound. (click on the above video to hear the sound of lake shore waves)

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
Meaning: Whenever the persona stands on the road in the city where 
he lives I hear it in the deep heart's core. Meaning: The persona will think strongly about Innisfree




To download the booklet on this poem, click the following link:
Form 1: Poem Booklet for PMR 2011


References:

  1. Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (2005) Selected Poems And Short Stories Form 1. Kuala Lumpur. Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka.
  2. Mac, Yin Mee (2006) Extreme PMR Notes Literature Component Form 1.Selangor. Sasbadi Sdn. Bhd.
  3. Morais, Crescentia (2007) Selected Poems & Short Stories Light On Lit The Literature Component Made Easy. Petaling Jaya. Pearson Longman
Source of pictures (according to the appearance in this post)
Saturday, July 2, 2011 4 comments

Poem - The Dead Crow by A. Samad Said

The author

The Dead Crow is a poem written by Dato' A. Samad Said, whose real name is Abdul Samad Muhammad Said.

Dato' A. Samad Said

A. Samad Said was the first Malay author to successfully unite craft with art in his writing. The literary excellence of his work is a product of his consciousness in craftsmanship. He pioneered a new style of writing, simultaneously continuing the idealism of the Generation of the Fifties and renewing its approach to literature.

Born in Malacca in 1935, A. Samad Said is great Malaysian writer and has been honoured with the title of Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate). He has worked as a writer and journalist and now devotes himself completely to writing. The English translation of his novel, Salina (1975), achieved international recognition.

A. Samad Said was awarded national recognition as a Literary Pioneer in 1976 and received the Anugerah Sastera Negara (National Literary Award) in 1985.

The Poem

The Dead Crow

He saw a dead crow
in a drain
near the post office.
He saw an old man
gasping for air
and a baby barely able to breathe
in a crowded morning clinic.
This land is so rich.
Why should we suffer like this?

I want clean air
for my grandchildren.
I want the damned fools
to leave the forest alone.
I want the trees to grow,
the rivers run free,
and the earth covered with grass.
Let the politicians plan how we may live with dignity,
now and always.

The Dead Crow vs Earth Song
What are The Dead Crow and Michael Jackson's Earth Song have a lot in common? The song has an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war. Jackson and the world's people unite in a spiritual chant—"Earth Song"—which summons a force that heals the world. The strong messages about loving and protecting the nature are portrayed in The Dead Crow. Watch the following video clip from the song. 




What is the poem about?
The Dead Crow discusses what will happen if the environment is damaged. The persona is sad because people become ill and have breathing problems although their country is rich. The people are sick because the air is dirty and the environment is destroyed. If the people in that country are ignorant, selfish and continue to pollute and damage the environment, they may not be able to continue living in it.


Haze in Kuala Lumpur

Air pollution from a car exhaust

A crow is used as a symbol in this poem. A crow is a tough bird which feeds on rubbish/wastes and is able to live in a dirty place. In this poem, the persona found a dead crow which died due to a very bad environment. This shows that the country where the persona lives is badly polluted and can cause even a tough crow to die.

A crow

The future generations are represented by the baby and the older generations by the old man.The persona hopes that everybody should play their role to protect the environment.


The literal meaning of the poem (The Paraphrase)


He saw a dead crow
in a drain
near the post office.
MeaningThe persona saw a dead crow in a drain near the post office.

He saw an old man
gasping for air
Meaning: The persona saw an old man who need to breathe clean air


and a baby barely able to breathe
Meaning: The persona saw a baby who had problems to breathe easily.


in a crowded morning clinic.
Meaning: The persona saw the old man and the baby at a clinic in the morning. The clinic is full with patients.



This land is so rich.
Meaning: The country where the persona lives is wealthy because it is rich with natural sources.

Why should we suffer like this?
Meaning: Even though the country is rich, the people are ill due to environmental damage and pollution.



I want clean air
for my grandchildren.
Meaning: The persona wants clean air which is free from pollution for the future generation




I want the damned fools
to leave the forest alone.
Meaning: The persona wants the irresponsible people who cut and burn down the trees to stop destroying the forest.  

I want the trees to grow,
Meaning: The persona wants to see the trees to grow, 

the rivers run free,
Meaning: The persona wants to see the rivers flow freely without water pollution,

and the earth covered with grass.
Meaning: The persona wants to see the earth covered with green grass.



Let the politicians plan how we may live with dignity,
now and always.
Meaning: Let the politicians / authorities plan how the people in the country may live with dignity by taking steps to protect the environment.



To download the booklet on this poem, click the following link:
Form 1: Poem Booklet for PMR 2011


References:
  1. Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (2005) Selected Poems And Short Stories Form 1. Kuala Lumpur. Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka.
  2. Mac, Yin Mee (2006) Extreme PMR Notes Literature Component Form 1. Selangor. Sasbadi Sdn. Bhd.
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Song

Source of pictures (according to the appearance in this post)
  1. http://addin77.blogspot.com
  2. http://shu1229.blogspot.com/
  3. http://photos2848.myblog.it
  4. https://naturalunseenhazards.wordpress.com/
  5. http://www.cfsbc.ca
  6. http://wwwqismis.blogspot.com/
  7. http://www.stockphotos.ro
  8. http://www.buzzle.com
  9. http://storyformydoctor1.blogspot.com
  10. http://www.inriodulce.com
  11. http://nigeldickinson.photoshelter.com
  12. http://www.dynamicclimate.ca
  13. http://mynewshub.my
  14. http://nigeldickinson.com
  15. http://lyrfutures08.wordpress.com/
  16. http://www.asiaexplorers.com
  17. http://ranirofika.blogspot.com
  18. http://derqdnl.blogspot.com
  19. http://www.nidokidos.org
  20. http://www.vocnederland.org
  21. http://www.brainquotient.com



 
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