Browsing articles from "septiembre, 2013"
Sep 25, 2013

Virtual MOC Section 2

For Friday 27/09. We will do feedback in class. That means, we will read some of your posts, answer questions and try to improve on your work. Section 2 is individual work, since it is homework.

See you on Friday!


Re-read the descriptions of:


(a)   the trees and the undergrowth in paragraph 2, beginning ‘The river seemed …’;


(b)  the monitor lizard and the Brahminy kite in paragraph 4, beginning ‘We stopped by …’.


Select words and phrases from these descriptions, and explain how the writer has created effects by using this language.


[Total: 10]


Read Passage B carefully and re-read Passage A. Then answer Question 3, which is based on both passages.


Passage B


In this passage the writer explains why animal life in the rainforest is not what one might expect.


Animals of the Amazon forest


When I tried to think of all the animals I wanted to see, those old travellers’ tales kept flooding into my thoughts, the tales of weird and dangerous creatures everywhere in the forest. But reality is not like this. In the forests, most animals are small. The problem of moving through trees when danger threatens has prevented any really large animals surviving for long within the forest proper, particularly anywhere far from water. Most animals are highly camouflaged, which creates a problem of its own: how does each recognise its mate? Moving around in daytime would make the camouflage useless, so most animals stay motionless during the day and only move about at dusk. Then it is more difficult to be seen, but they can be heard. That is why the forest is hushed by day but noisy with recognition signals by night.


On my first afternoon I walked through the Amazon forest, along an overgrown trail which would eventually return to the river. I reached a fork in the path and, as the way to the right seemed to move towards higher forest, I followed it. It was not far from a stream, and knowing that there was more likelihood of seeing animals a bit larger than insects the closer to the water I got, I trod carefully and stared intently into the dark middle distance. My intentness was rewarded. Something about 50 centimetres long darted out from the right and raced ahead of me into the dark forest. It was a rodent, a paca, unmistakable with its brown flanks spotted with white. I must have walked close to its daytime hide-out and frightened the creature. Pacas are right to be fearful, for their meat is very tasty and they are hunted by Indians for food.


I looked around me and saw hundreds of trees, a few of the many millions in the forest. I had seen just one paca. That, I thought, would be that, for the rest of the walk. The chances of seeing anything larger were exceedingly slim. The reason for this lies in the extraordinary adaptations that all creatures have been forced to evolve to survive in this waterlogged forest.


What would be simple ground beetles in other parts of the world here have comb-toothed claws to cling to tree leaves, since heavy rain and flooding demand a means of escape upwards into the trees. In the Amazon, birds whose Old World relations spent a long time on the ground are adapted to perching and have long, curved claws to ensure a solid grip on the branches. Frogs, which in other lands hatch out as tadpoles in ponds, find no such still waters here and instead lay their eggs in the bromeliad flowers. Here there is the only fully aquatic marsupial in the world, the water opossum, with webbed feet for swimming (the female’s pouch somehow protects her young as she swims).


Then there are the monkeys, which seem more at home in the trees than monkeys anywhere else – indeed many never come down to the ground at all. They are different from Old World monkeys and some have developed an amazingly useful fifth limb, a prehensile tail. On the underside is a patch of sensitive skin, like the palm of the hand, which turns these animals into super-acrobats of the trees.



3      Summarise:


(a)   the problems that animals have in living in the Amazon rainforest and the ways in which they adapt themselves, according to Passage B;


(b)  the description of the river in Passage A. Use you own words as far as possible.

You should write about 1 side in total, allowing for the size of your handwriting.


Up to 15 marks are available for the content of your answer, and up to 5 marks for the quality of your writing.


[Total: 20]

Sep 24, 2013

Virtual MOC Section 1

Welcome the virtual MOC. This task is set to be done in pairs.

You have to read the text and answer question 1 at the end of the text. Your answer must be posted as a comment below the text. 300-350 words.


Passage A


In this extract Redmond O’Hanlon describes a journey into the jungle by canoe. James, a poet, has been eventually persuaded to accompany Redmond.


Into the heart of Borneo


At midday we climbed into our dugout canoe and set off up-river towards the interior. After about ten miles the fields gave way to well-established secondary forest, and then the primeval jungle began.


The river seemed to close in on us: the 60-metre-high trees crowded down the slopes of the hills, almost to the water’s edge, an apparently endless chaos of different species of tree, every kind of green, even under the uniform glare of a tropical sun. Parasitic growths sprouted everywhere, ferns fanned out from every angle in the branches, creepers as thick as legs gripped each other and tangled down to the surface of the water, their tips twining down in the current like river-weed.


The river itself began to twist and turn too, the banks behind us appearing to merge together into one vast and impenetrable thicket, shutting us in from behind. At the same time, the trees ahead stepped aside a meagre pace or two to let the river swirl down ahead. The outboard motor set on a wooden frame at the stern of the canoe pushed us past foaming little tributaries, islets, shingle banks strewn with huge rounded boulders, half hidden coves scooped round by whirlpools. Here the river was clear, deep green from the reflection of the trees. We really were voyaging upriver! I thought it was an optical illusion, but the canoe was actually climbing up a volume of water great enough to sustain an almost constant angle of ascent, even on the stretches of water between the jagged steps of the rapids.


We stopped by a pile of driftwood to hide a drum of petrol to be retrieved a few days later on the return journey. A monitor lizard, reared up on its front legs, watched us for a moment with its dinosauric eyes and then scuttled away between the broken branches. A Brahminy kite, flying low enough for us to hear the rush of air through the primary feathers of its wings, circled overhead watching us, its flecked- brown belly white in the sun. Then the bird soared away, mewing its shrill call.


Further up, the rapids became more frequent and more turbulent and, at each one, heavy waves of water would crash over and into the boat. James, sitting opposite me on the boards in the centre of the canoe and facing upstream, was reading his way through the poems of the 18th century writer Swift, a straw boater on his bald head, his white shirt buttoned at the neck and at the wrists.


‘Some of these poems are pretty feeble,’ James would mutter, displeased.


‘Quite so, but – er – James?’




‘Rapid 583/2, Green Heave, strength six-out-of-ten, is approaching.’


With a second or two to spare, James would shut his book, mark his place with a twig, slip it neatly under the edge of the tarpaulin, sit on it, shut his eyes, get drenched, open his eyes, squeeze the water from his beard with his right hand, retrieve his book and carry on reading.


Every 450 metres or so, a lesser fish-eagle would regard us with its yellow eye, flying off only as we drew almost level, flapping gently just ahead of the canoe to the limit of its territory.


James, his huge head laid back on the hump of our kit under the tarpaulin, was having one of his five- minute snoozes. The vein on his right temple was throbbing, a sure sign that his brain was awash with extra dissolved oxygen, and that some piece of programming, vital to the production of a future poem, was in progress.




An eye opened.


‘What is it?’


‘Just this – if you do see a log floating upriver, let me know.’




‘Well, not the one that attacks you. Not up here. But an old book I read said we might see the freshwater species. The four-and-a-half-metre one with the one-and-a-half-metre snout and all those teeth.’


‘Really, Redmond,’ said James, raising himself on an elbow and looking about, ‘you’re absurd!’


1       Imagine that you are James. Write an entry in your journal, intended to be read by members of your family when you get home.


In your journal entry you should:


•       explain how you feel in this environment

•       comment on your relationship with Redmond

•       express your thoughts about the next few days of this adventure.


Base your journal on what you have read in Passage A. Be careful to use your own words. Begin your journal entry: ‘Sometimes, I wonder what I’m doing here…’.

Sep 22, 2013

Diary/Journal entries revision notes

Senior 4!

We are now in the final countdown. We’ll be working with MOCS more often. Read these notes and example on Diary/Journal entries for Wednesday 25/09.

Diary entries revision notes

diaryandjournal entries

Sep 21, 2013

Environmental issues 4.0

Finally, the VIOLET team will close the environmental issues vocabulary hunt. Due date is Friday 27/09. Remember to post the glossary as a comment beneath this post, don’t send it by mail.

japan nuclear report tapescript

Sep 20, 2013

Argumentative essay writing

Senior 2! As promised, here are some tips on argumentative writing. Watch the video. You can check the transcript also.

How to write an Argument essay VIDEO


Video Transcript – Argument essay


Sep 17, 2013

Environmental issues 3.0

And here we are! Back to the round of environmental issues vocabulary hunt. This time it’s the GREEN team’s turn! Listen and pay attention. Provide the glossary specified in the file after the tapescript. Due date is Friday 20/09.


Rainforest tapescript and glossary

Sep 6, 2013

Discursive/Argumentative writing

Discursive and Argumentative writing

Hello S4 students!

We have now read and talked about the layout and structure of Discursive and Argumentative essays. We went through the notes and you have examples you can read and analyse to help you as a guide to your own writing. So now it is your turn! Your assignment is to write a Discursive or an Argumentative essay on ONE of the following topics:

Capital Punishment

Shcool Uniform

Animal rights

Nuclear power as an alternative energy source

The importance of art in education


Observe that I am only proposing a list of topics, NOT a list of possible titles. I will NOT accept topics as titles for your essays.

You MUST formulate either a motion or a statement in relation to the topics, e.g. «The city should open a public hospital for pets», (as a statement for an argumentative essay), or «Is Nuclear Power our best option in the search for alternative energy sources?» (as a proposition for a discursive essay)

Remember to use the viewpoints (historical, social, economic, moral, religious, logical, etc. any viewpoint that helps you organize your ideas)

TURN IN DATE IS 18/09. That means, our next class, which is in 12 days’ time.



Sep 4, 2013

Practice Subordinating conjunctions!

Follow the link to the quiz! How many did you get correct on your first try?

Subordinating Conjunctions practice Quiz

Can you complete the whole chart by hart? Try it!

Subordinating Conjunctions 5 minute-game!