G12 Language and Literature: Preparing for Paper 1…

Next week we will have our final summative assessment for part one of the course: an in-class paper 1 comparative analysis practice exam.

To prepare, complete the following activities:

1) Read pages 56-57 and 61-66 if your textbook (Philpot, B’s ‘English Language and Literature for the IB Diploma’).

2) Complete activity 2.10 on page 67.  Make a note of these cohesive ties / linking terms – they will definitely help you to write a successful analysis essay.

3) Look at the example texts on the photocopy (handed out in class on Monday 18 November).  Analyse, annotate, make notes.  If you were going to compare and contrast these texts in an exam, what aspects would you talk about?  Which parts of the text would you use as illustration?  How would you structure your piece?  Make all necessary highlights and notes.

4) Have a go at writing a practice essay.  Normally, you would get a whole 2 hours.  However as we will be completing this in class next week you will only have 90 minutes.  (Pre-reading and analysis done for homework).

5) Look at a sample essay (available from me) and assess using the rubrics.  Then compare your assessment with that of an examiner.

Preparation complete!  As we are completing FOAs this week in class preparation time will be limited so you will need to start this process as homework this week.  Next Tuesday we will do step number 5 as a class (feel free to start as soon as you are ready though!), and we will do the exam on Wednesday morning.

Good luck!

Written Task 1 ‘Playlist’

  1. Select which topic that we have studied as a class that you find interesting.
  2. Choose which learning outcome(s) from that relevant section of the course.  Not all topics are relevant to all learning outcomes – be careful here.
  3. Find a primary source to base your creative response on.  In the literature parts of the course this will be the texts we read; in the language parts it will be a non-fiction text (ideally).  You could choose a text we have explored in class or another that is relevant to the topic.
  4. Analyse the primary source.  What are the key issues being raised in the text?  What key concepts / terms (from the unit) does it relate to?  Remember this is an English class!  Keep a close focus on the significance of language.
  5. Brainstorm at least three text types that you could write which would show critical thinking in response to this text.  The choice should be as authentic and relevant as possible.  (Talking about music?  Write an article in a particular music magazine!)  You must not write an essay (often, blogs and articles can be written as thinly disguised essays).
  6. Find an example(s) of the text you want to create.  Analyse it!  Look closely at the language / textual features and the effect on the audience.  Use ‘The Big 5’ as a tool as well (Audience/Purpose; Content/Theme; Stylistic Devices; Structure/Layout).  The more closely you can imitate / emulate the features of this text type, in a specific context, the better.
  7. Plan and write your text!  Don’t forget to proofread / edit (preferably aloud when you get the chance to catch awkward expression).  Remember: 800-1000 words.
  8. Finally, write your rationale, 200-300 words.

–       Place your written task in a particular context, so the reader can understand your aims better
–       Explain the task’s purpose and target audience
–       Explain / justify your choice of text type: why was this text type/context a suitable choice?
–       Explain the connection between the task and your course content (topic): How was your particular example relevant to one of the topics we explored in class?


* Written task 1 (HL) information

 * Written task 1 (HL) rubric

* Written task 1 (HL) proposal sheet

Due dates (also on Veracross):

First draft: Tuesday 29 Oct (first week back after holidays)
Fina draft: Wednesday 6 Nov (second week back after holidays)

Task 2 – Themes in Skellig essay

In class today we started our final task for our unit on Skellig.

First we brainstormed various themes that we thought Skellig explored.  Remember, a theme is a big idea or central topic of importance in a work.  It is often timeless and universal (like a concept), such as ‘love’ and ‘death’.

Next, we brainstormed how to go about planning for this essay.  This is what we came up with:

The tricky part is in figuring out what David Almond was saying about that particular concept.  E.g., ‘knowledge and wisdom’ – where does it come from?  How can it be best acquired?  What examples from the book show us this?

With the process laid out, we began our planning for the essay.  Time will be given in class for this assessment, and the due date is Friday 18 October.  Good luck!

(Resource: TSC for this task can be found in the Google doc share folder)

Personal letters- deconstructing

In class today we have started analysing personal letters in preparation for our upcoming assesment.

We started with a practice analysis, with the improbable scenario of describing an apple to an alien who has never seen one before.  By doing so, we found out that analysing means to ‘break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.’


Next, we did the same thing with some examples of personal letters.  Here are the features that we came up with.


Code Switching

An interesting anecdote about bilingualism, code-switching and identity.

As we move from our unit on language and power into our next unit (language and identity / social relations), there is a particular topic which is relevant to both, and will thus serve as a nice ‘bridge’: code switching.  What follows are some resources which will be handy during our lessons and they may also be useful resources for upcoming further oral activities or written tasks.

1. This article, entitled ‘Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch’, is published on a blog that focuses on this single topic: 


2. This article, also from the same blog, is entitled ‘How Code Switching Explains the World’. It is worthwhile reading and also has links to four video examples that are quite entertaining!


3. The following is a rather lengthy psychological experimental report that does have some easy to understand conclusions: 



  1. How is language used as an instrument to show social, racial, and class differences in various texts?
  2. When is language used to exclude?   To include?  Why?
  3. How does one’s use of language (e.g. dialect, accent, jargon etc…) define him or herself as an individual as well as part of a community?


  1. After reading the articles above and watching the four videos, choose one case study and one or more of the focus questions (i.e. Choose one of the videos).  Write a blog entry answering one of the above questions in relation to the text.  Provide a link to the video on your blog as well.
  2. For the second task, you will be given a newspaper article A or B.  Take it home, read (and annotate if you wish) and then summarise the article using the S-P-W routine (Sentence, phrase, word).  You must choose and quote one full sentence, then a phrase, then a word to summarise the article.  Bring back tomorrow to share with a partner who has read the other article.
  3. After sharing with a partner, complete the following questions individually in your notebook.

a)     In what ways do the articles celebrate language diversity?

b)     Are the articles critical of language diversity?  Language blending?  Language change?

c)     What are the possible reasons for people who ‘code switch’ to feel self-conscious about using language combinations in public?

d)    Why would linguists be interested in studying language change?

e)     What are the possible reasons for wanting to slow or stop the change of language use in a particular country?

f)      How should public education, in a given country, handle the instruction of the dominant native language?  How should educator s approach language variations?


Paper 1: Textual analysis (SL) information and outline

I have cut and paste the information relevant to this assessment from the DP Language A: language and literature guide.  The full guide is available in the class share folder on Google docs.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Weighting: 25%

Paper 1 contains two previously unseen passages from non-literary texts for analysis, of which you select one. You are to write an analysis of one of the texts, including comments on the significance of any possible contexts, audience, purpose and the use of linguistic and literary devices.

In addition, two guiding questions are provided, encouraging you to focus your response on aspects of the passage. A passage for analysis may either be a complete piece of writing or visual text, or an extract from a longer piece. The texts for analysis are not necessarily related to specific parts of the syllabus. Different non-literary text types are included, for example:

 – advertisement
– opinion column
– extract from an essay
– electronic text (such as social network sites, blogs)
– brochure (such as a public information leaflet)
– extract from a memoir, diary or other autobiographical text

You will be required to analyse and comment on the text in the light of their understanding of its possible audience and purpose. In order to achieve this, you need to analyse structure, language and style in addition to aspects such as text type, context, bias and/or ideological position.

There are many acceptable ways of approaching the analysis of a text. Regardless of the approach taken the analysis should be continuous and structured, and should include relevant examples from the text. Rather than simply listing formal aspects, students should focus on how such aspects are used to create particular effects, the recognition of which may contribute to a reading of the passage.

The paper is assessed according to the assessment criteria published in this guide. The maximum mark for paper 1 is 20.

This information is taken from the Language A: language and literature guide (for first examinations in 2013), available at: http://occ.ibo.org/


Analysing Texts – ‘The Big 5’

To analyse means to break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.

 1. Audience and Purpose
Context of composition

– Describe the time and place that this text was produced in.
– Who wrote the text?
– Why was the text produced? (purpose)  What makes you say this?

Intended audience
– Who was this text aimed at?  How can you tell?

Context of interpretation / reception
– What are your circumstances? (time and place)
– How do these factors influence your reading of the text?

2. Content and Theme
Content is what is in a text.  Themes are more what a text is about (big ideas).

 – Describe what is going on in the text (key features).
– What is this text about?
– What is the author’s message?
– What is the significance of the text to its audience?
– What is the text actually saying?

3. Tone and Mood
Tone refers to the implied attitude of the author of a text and the ‘voice’ which shows this attitude.  Mood refers more to the emotional atmosphere that is produced for a reader when experiencing a text.

– What is the writer’s tone?
– How does the author sound?
– What kind of diction does the author use to create this tone?
– How does the text make the reader feel? (mood)
– How does the diction contribute to this effect?

4. Stylistic Devices
Style refers to the ‘how’ of a text – how do the writers say whatever it is that they say? (e.g. rhetorical devices, diction, figurative language, syntax etc…)

– What stylistic devices does the writer use?  What effects do these devices have on a reader?

5. Structure / Layout
Structure refers to the form of a text.

– What kind of text is it?  What features let you know this?
– What structural conventions for that text type are used?
– Does this text conform to, or deviate from, the standard conventions for that particular text type?

Text types – some basic examples

I came across this Prezi when browsing for online resources about text types.  I think it is nicely put-together, and it might be a good place to start looking for ideas if you are given an opportunity for a ‘free choice’ assignment.  (For example, Written task 1 in SL and HL Language and Literature classes).

If you happen to come across more detailed or nuanced resources about text types, I would appreciate the links!


(Sorry – still learning how to embed things like Prezi!)  Maybe this app will help?
[gigya src=”http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”550″ height=”400″ bgcolor=”#ffffff” flashvars=”prezi_id=udkzscyxpkyt&lock_to_path=1&color=ffffff&autoplay=no&autohide_ctrls=0″ ]

Poetry was meant to be read ‘Out Loud’!

Poetry Out Loud is a wonderful organisation and website with lots of resources on poetry recital.

If you are preparing for a recital, looking for some tips on analysing poetry, or even if you a getting ready for any sort of oral presentation, there are some great tips here!

If you happen to find any particularly helpful resources or enjoyable poems/recitals I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Schools of literary criticism

While it may not be that useful at the moment, the following site will definitely come in handy when we begin to look at literature later this year.

There are also handy guides on reading, analysing and writing poetry.  Also, there is a section on subject-specific writing that may come in handy for other subjects.

Have a look when you get some time.  I hope it comes in handy later this year!