Wednesday, May 20, 2009

English composition part2

For the first time yesterday, I learnt from Lesley-Anne that they are only given 1 hr 10 mins to write both the situational writing and continuous writing compositions in an exam (I know, I know, sotong mum again). I was astounded. No wonder she seems to make an abundance of punctuation and spelling mistakes because once again, there's a time crunch. Let's say they take 15 mins to do the situational writing piece, then they're left with under an hour, during which time they're expected to think of a story, plan, write it out in a coherent and interesting manner, and check? Wow.

Anyway, as promised, I'm posting one of the compositions Lesley-Anne did this year. This composition is Lesley-Anne's best (in terms of marks) to date. She came home and told me excitedly that she had gotten 30/40 - it was significant to her because it was the first time she had hit the 30 mark threshold. Up to that point, I had hardly read her compositions *blush* so when I read this one, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately struck by the fact that her use of the English language had become more sophisticated compared to a year ago.

This was the picture, followed by the composition (again, reproduced in its original form with mistakes):

My Mischevious Side

As I walked into the barber's with my Mom to wait for my turn for a haircut, I had a flashback to the day where I showed my mischevious side. No doubt I was given a tongue-lashing and was punished after that incident. No, it is not an elaborate prank I performed. It only involved a pair of scissors.

That school day, I walked into class to find a huge crowd gathering around Jane, my classmate. I guessed that she was probably showing off again as usual. I was right. When it comes to this kind of things, I usually am.

I really hated Jane. She is just a show-off. I recalled an incident where she was the only person in the class who got an 'A' for her essay. During recess, she walked around the class showing every single person her essay. Not only that, she passed off comments like "See? I'm the only person to get an 'A'. Then again, it's nothing out of the ordinary when I'm gifted with good looks and of course, smarts".

My thoughts were interuppted when the school bell rang, signalling the start of lessons. By the way, if you are wondering what Jane was bragging about this morning, it was her new haircut which supposedly was done by the best hairdresser in town.

At this moment, Mr Eng, our art teacher, came in. After the class settled down, he started teaching us how to make a collaige. Soon, everyone was lining up to get the art materials provided. As I was lining up, I saw Jane strutting down the classroom with her art materials, flicking her inky, black hair in the process. Seriously, why does she do that? She is just plain irritating.

When we all had our art materials, we got down to work. Jane, who sat beside me, starting cutting her white paper neatly into strips. As I looked at my black piece of paper, I imagined Jane flicking her hair about but shook the image out of my mind. When I was about to cut it, a mischevious idea came into my mind.

I picked up my scissors and... "Snip!" This was followed by an ear-piercing scream echoing throughout the class. As I looked at that thick lock of hair on the ground, I grinned.

However, my grin was wiped of my face when the teacher approached. "What happened?" he asked in a worried tone. Before I could even open my mouth to explain, Jane shouted "This horrid boy cut off my hair! Oh my beautiful hair! It had to be cut off by this monster!"

The expression on the teacher's face changed. My, my! If looks could kill, I would be lying in a coffin right now.

Now, it is obvious what happened next. I was given a harsh scolding and a long lecture. Even when I mentioned how vain Jane was, the teacher gave me another long lecture about tolerance. However, I gave in and even felt repentent. I apologised to Jane, not expecting her to forgive me. This was one rare occasion when I was wrong.

I was shocked. "Why?" I said, my eyes growing as big as dinner plates. She replied "You can't expect a good girl like me who has all the character traits in the world to not be forgiving? Won't Mom be proud! I even forgave a monster like you!"

Sigh. Looks like she was still vain Jane. I wanted to shout that she lacked the character trait called humility, but I controlled myself. However, being an optimist, I found a silver lining in this cloud. I had learnt about thinking before I act and I learnt to be tolerant.

I came back to earth as I heard the barber call my name. I walked over to him, the events of that day still lingering in my mind.

In p6, there is no evaluation form attached with the composition. Instead, the teacher writes her comments at the end of the compositions. Here's what she wrote for this particular one:
  • gd! Consistent use of characterisation to drive the plot
  • gd to see you using foreshadowing and building suspense
  • some apt use of vocabulary but continue to work on use of expressions
  • where possible, paragraph dialogue
  • gd use of paragraphing
  • watch spelling
  • gd effort!
Again, the comments refer to the specific use of literary elements, which is constructive. Thereafter, the kids have to write a reflection after, detailing both their strengths and where they can improve in terms of plot, use of language and characterisation.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing. Looks like you don't have to teach her composition. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, or was it Andre that you needed to teach. haha, got all mixed up

monlim said...

Haha, yes it's Andre. Sorry, may I know who you are?

Anonymous said...

Just a passer-by. you can call me T. :)

elan said...

Impressive. It's obvious LA has inherited your gift of writing.
Thanks for sharing this. I only get to read my own sons' compositions and the stuff that is in enrichment books (very stilted and "safe") and So I don't really know how other P6 GE students write.

monlim said...

Elan: I know what you mean, I've not read other kids' compos too so we can only go with our gut and whatever the teacher says in gauging our kids' standards.

Lilian said...

Really excellent, love it! Brian and I read this together and had a good laugh. She has such a gift for writing, like you!

It was so funny that part when Vain Jane turned around and said haughtily how magnanimous she was to forgive a little monster like the boy!


monlim said...

Thanks Lilian! I'm sure L-A will be very pleased to know you and Brian were entertained :D

Alcovelet said...

Mon, I couldn't understand when you said the other one wasn't so good. But now I do - this one is spectacular! She made Jane stick to her character through and through, which is so plausible and real. Yup. Flashes of you are showing through!

Well done, L-A!

breve1970 said...

I love it! Its an excellent piece of work, L-A! You have a real gift for writing!

Mon, kudos to you too for imparting such skills to your daughter.

monlim said...

Thanks ladies! Ann, I don't think I imparted anything to L-A, haha, she just enjoys writing and developed the skills on her own. But I must say she has a terrific English teacher this year.

Anonymous said...

L-A wrote all that in 1hr & 10mins, Impressive!!! This is good stuff. I am going to print it out & let both my gals read it. Thanks for sharing Mon.


Anonymous said...

Mon, if by P6, my princess writes like L-A, I can sleep well every night until PSLE...LOL


monlim said...

Thanks for the encouragement! QX: no lah, this is just ONE compo and it's her longest one and the highest mark she received. It's not always like that, I guess depending on how inspired she feels :)

Anonymous said...

Honestly even as adults, we have our good days and bad days. It is obvious all the reading is doing her good in terms of the mastery of the language for writing.

I am sure alot of her inspiration will come from looking at you as a role model. :D


peace~ said...

Hi Monlim,

Need help urgently. My gg is in P5 GEP, weak in almost all subjects. Not interested in studying since joining GEP, spending all time in computer. Attitude also change, become very rude towards parents and withdraw. What can I do??

monlim said...

Hui Pei: That must be very worrying. I don't know you or your situation so I'm not sure I'm qualified to dispense advice. Here's what I can offer:

If it were me, I wouldn't worry so much about the academic performance (since GEP is tough, many kids don't do so well). I would focus on the attitude change and try to find out the root cause - is she going through something? Influenced by some peers? P5 is a tough age, the kids go through a roller coaster of hormonal changes, esp if they've hit puberty. Try to show that you're concerned about her well-being and draw her out. (Limit computer time if you have to, make sure you know what type of activities she's engaging in there).

Open communication is still the most crucial. I suspect once you've sorted out the attitude bit, the work might improve too. At this age, they really hate nagging or anything that's seen as exerting authoritarian parental control, so you'll probably need to exercise some balance.

I wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im also a P6 GEPer. L-A did quite a good job in it, i can say. the highest I got was 28/40

Anonymous said...

The compo was well written but the highest i've ever gotten was a 32/40.
But i do have a very huge flaw... the flaw of not having any link in the story>_<

Deepa said...

Hi, while browsing, i came across psle model composition 2002-2007, multinine corporation, victoria publications.. Any idea/help appreciated about this book.. I can see some post linled to this book in your webpage but could notfind it.. Where is it available.. Thx

monlim said...

Deep: I don't think I would have provided any such link, so can't help. Sorry!

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