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!

Skellig essay ‘playlist’

1)   Choose the theme you will be exploring.  Turn this word into a sentence explaining what David Almond is trying to say about that theme and how he is doing so.  This will be your thesis.  For example, you could use this sentence:

_________________________ is an important theme in the novel Skellig.  David Almond explore this theme through …(how)… He shows us that ….(what)…

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

Growing up is an important theme in the novel Two Weeks with the QueenMorris Gleitzman explores this theme through the maturation of the protagonist, ColinHe shows us that difficult events help us mature, and as we do so we become less self-centred and more thoughtful about the needs of others.

2)   Select three supporting points from the novel that help show us this idea.  You could focus on symbols, events, characters and their actions, relationships and so on.

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s behaviour at the beginning of the story
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke

3)   Topic sentences for body paragraphs.  For each of your three points, write a topic sentence connecting the topic of that paragraph with your thesis.

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

4)   Order your ideas.  These points need to be placed in a logical order.  Here are three options:

a)    Simple -> Complex: Basic information first, followed by increasingly specific and/or complex ideas

b)   Order of importance:  going from least important to most important, or most important to least important.

c)    Chronological: are events in a time sequence?  What comes first?  What comes next?

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’: Since he is growing up, going from immature brat (at the beginning of the novel) to mature and caring young man (by the end), it make sense to put the ideas in chronological order.

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

5)   Find illustrations / evidence.  Now, you need to find illustrative quotes from the novel to help show/support your topic sentence.  Look for interesting descriptions, character actions, dialogue and so on.  You should find at least one for each topic sentence.

6)   Next, explain each quote.  How does that example prove your point?  Might there be any other examples?  What else could you say about this topic?

7)   You have finished your body paragraphs.  Now all you need to do is create an introduction and a conclusion.



* Have attention grabbers, ‘hooks’* Include your thesis

* May outline points you will discuss

* May link to your first paragraph

* Refocus on main idea / thesis* Summarise points of essay

* Leave the reader with a challenge or poignant thought; link to the future?

8) Draft the essay in Google docs.  Don’t forget to proofread and edit (read aloud when doing this!)

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)

“If a paragraph was a burger…”

Students in grade 8 created a visual burger metaphor to show their prior knowledge and understanding about paragraphs.  Specifically:

1) What are the different parts of a paragraph?
2) What is the function / importance of each of these parts?
3) How do all these parts ‘fit together’ to form a cohesive whole?

After reviewing some PIE/PEE strategy notes, students should look back at the burger metaphor and compare ideas.  Complete a short ‘I used to think… Now I think…” in the comments box below re: paragraph structure.



1. What is a paragraph?


  • are made up of sentences (usually more than one sentence? 5-6 sentences?are usually about one “topic”/”part”/”segment”/”scene”

  • start on a new line; first sentence is indented (5 spaces/TAB)

  • have sentences which have something in common (each sentence leads into the next sentence)

  • separate different ideas (by grouping related ideas together)

  • organize your writing

  • organize the structure of your writing

  • make it easier to read/look nicer

  • allow the reader to come up for air/surface/take a breath

 2. Are there different kinds of paragraphs?


  • different genres have different “paragraphs” (organizational structures) – poetry (stanzas), songs (verses), prose (paragraphs)

  • fiction vs. non-fiction (articles, essays!)

  • purpose: e.g. introduction, conclusion, body paragraphs, descriptive, expository, dialogue…etc.

  • short/long (depends on the genre)

  • contains quotations/doesn’t contain quotations

  • sentences? – many/few, long/short/(a mixture), etc.

 Go to the next page (below) to learn more about the difference between paragraphs in fiction and non-fiction AND to look at a sample paragraph.

3. What is the difference between paragraphs in fiction vs. non-fiction (essay)?



Non-Fiction (essays)


Many different sizes

Same size (except for introduction and conclusion)


Purpose: describe setting, describe character, dialogue, action

Purpose: information about a topic, factual evidence (examples/quotations), analysis/interpretation


Structure (when do we switch to a new paragraph?): small scene change, character-to-character dialogue, time moving on (actions, new things happening)…usually chronological

Structure: one paragraph = one main topic/subtopic, one example (quotation) and one interpretation.  Use the PEA (Point, Example, Analysis) structure.

Writing Essay Paragraphs

Point – introductory sentence, topic statement, what you think about the topic, setting up your example…

Illustration / Example – quotation (PAGE NUMBER). Introduce with a COLON!!!

Explanation / Analysis – explaining the quotation – explaining the writer’s techniques/choices – prove your point

Throughout the novel, Michael is portrayed as a lonely and depressed young man.  His isolation is so obvious that it is recognized by his teacher, Mrs. Dando, who tries, although in vain, to cheer him up: “She took a fruit gum out of her pocket and held it out to me. A fruit gum. It was what she gave the new kids when they were sad or something” (12).  In this quotation, David Almond introduces the minor character of Mrs. Dando to demonstrate the visibility of Michael’s loneliness and unhappiness.  The fact that she gives Michael a fruit gum shows us that she is a kind person who is worried about him.  On the other hand, because this novel is narrated in first-person, through Michael’s character, we can clearly see that he finds this gesture shallow and meaningless.  His repetition of “a fruit gum” seems to imply a mocking tone and his recognition that she gives fruit gums to “new kids” who are “sad or something” shows that he does not appreciate what she is doing, because it does not help him deal with his problems.  What Michael is actually seeking is a close friend that he can talk to about the serious problems involving his sister and family.



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?

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!