News from the Year 6 class
In Year 6, students learned to develop their writing through the use of dialogue. Dialogue helps the reader get to know the thoughts and characteristics of the characters. It moves the story along, allowing the reader to relate to the characters while showing how the characters relate to, and influence, each other. Students were taught strategies by Mrs Esterhuizen in the English class to hook their readers using well-written dialogue. Here are two stories from our talented Year 6 budding authors.
Year 6 Teacher
Written by Rebecca Wiese
“You’ve got thirty seconds to explain to me what you are doing!” Zoey’s father asked angrily, tapping his foot.
“D-d-dad I, um, I was getting my riding helmet because I, umm, forgot it at the stable this afternoon and I—“ (of course Zoey was lying but her dad didn’t notice.)
“Do you have any idea what you put me and your mother through? We were so worried about you,” he said, his face softening.
“I know, I’m sorry and it won’t happen again. I thought that –”
“No buts young lady,” Zoey’s dad sighed. “Now come home to bed and no more sneaking out understand!” He started to walk to the car.
“Ok, I know,” Zoey sighed moving towards the car. As her dad was driving home he sat in silence, not realizing Zoey was not there.
“Zoey, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be hard on you back at the stables. I just –”
But Zoey wasn’t in the car. She had jumped out without her father noticing and ran back to the stable as fast as she could.
“Ok big guy, let’s try this again,” Zoey whispered, moving closer to her horse Twilight, trying to put the saddle on without the horse being spooked again. But the horse immediately reared and struck her on the back.
“What have you done now, Twilight?” Zoey whispered falling to the ground in agony. And then Zoey’s world went black.
Written by Leah Breet
“That’s too tight,” King Bertie said as the tailor pulled at the strings on his shirt.
“Sorry your majesty, but I need to get this outfit ready before the party tonight,” Sir Cuffman, the tailor, said.
“Yes, you’re right. I wouldn’t want to look untidy for Cameron’s birthday.”
A few hours into Cameron’s birthday party, the King was called into the kitchen. When he walked in there was a glass with a green liquid inside with a note next to the glass.
“Good day King Bertie, I have come up with a new mouth-watering drink just for you. Signed: Chef Herron.” The King read aloud to himself with a posh British accent.
“Oh my, this is delicious,” he said to himself, with wide eyes and licking his lips.
A few minutes later, Sir Cuffman searched through the crowd of people at the party and pulled Cameron aside into an empty room.
“The King is missing.”
“Yes, I last saw him walking into the kitchen a few minutes ago and he never came out, so I went in there and he was missing.”
“Well, have you searched everywhere?” Cameron said emphasising the word everywhere.
“Yes madam,” he said looking down, “but he was nowhere to be found.” Cameron sat down on the chair closest to her and buried her face in her palms.
“We need to send all the knights out to search for him,” she said standing up and leaving the room.
“Uh, y-yes ma’am,” Sir Cuffman said standing on his toes and leaning to her direction.
A few hours later Sir Cuffman and Cameron gathered all the knights and started counting them.
“Uh madam, Knight Felt is not here …”
In Year 1 the students study a range of text types and genres in their English lessons. The texts are carefully selected to include an appropriate balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The students are encouraged to actively explore, investigate, understand, use and develop their knowledge of English and in particular reading, writing, listening and speaking skills through the use of regular, guided group and paired work, independent group work and individual work.
Our Year 1 students recently read the story of The Jigaree by Joy Cowley. After much discussion and a great deal of imagination, the students then wrote their own story about meeting an alien.
At this stage of the year the students are encouraged to use punctuation, full stops and capital letters, in their stories and apply their phonic knowledge to spell words.
These are some examples of the stories.
My alien’s name is Bob and he has an oval body. He has one eye on his forehead. Also he has two legs and two hands and most of all, fat wings with spots on his fat wings. I took him home.
Once upon a time I went to the moon and I saw an alien. She has two eyes at the top of her head and she has two wings. Her name is Shaldan. We went to the planetarium.
I was at the moon when I saw an alien that cried because she had lost her mom and dad. So I helped her find her way back home. I loved her but I needed to let her go but she came back every time. She told me her name was Summer.
I saw an alien in the bin. He was peeking out the bin. I walked close then I went in his space ship. He drank juice. He had purple skin and he had a T-shirt with a skull. He went back to Mars and he went home. His name was ET.
My alien’s name is Jasper. I met him at the park. We had an adventure. After that he went to his house.
Year 1 Teacher
In Year 6, the students have been working on their descriptive writing skills as well as their ability to create a specific mood through word choice. They had an assessment where they responded to a photo that allowed them to either create a calm, relaxing mood, or one of fear and tension. Naluthando Mangaliso and Darian Iyer both wrote stunning pieces of contrasting moods. I applaud their talent and look forward to reading more from them in the future.
Yours in writing,
Year 6 Teacher
Tone: Calm and Relaxing
By: Naluthando Mangaliso
By the time I had set up my camp-fire to heat up my freshwater hake, I suddenly glanced up at the fire-orange, majestic sun, taking its decent like a cruising airplane. My eyes were glistening with eternal joy for this was no ordinary sight. This was a momentous view of the blazing cherry-red and apricot-orange infused sky.
The mild scent of the air swam into my nostrils and in the process polishing it like a priceless shoe. The sun-smoothed sand caressed my naked feet with love, and the music of the wind sunk into my ears as if a DJ was in my head.
There was one thing that stood out to me though.
This brunette-brown, young, vibrant tree was dancing with the music as if it was on stage and at the same time, it seemed to be giving me this joyous smile that warmed me to the heart like a mug of cappuccino.
By then the sun had descended and the moon was ascending like a jet, dashing on a runway. My now golden hake was inviting me to eat. It didn’t have to ask twice.
Tone: Fear and Tension
By: Darian Iyer
Slowly, I drifted downstream. The icy fog bit deep into my flesh while blood-red flowers glared at my soul. I was almost paralysed by the fact that this once luscious canal could turn into part of hell in less than a day. The convoy would arrive soon.
Beginning to cloud over the river was the fetid scent of decayed fish. I was close. While resting my aching bones, I gnawed on a ripe apple. Although being fresh and pure, the mere aura of the canal had diseased the taste of the fruit. Tasting like a pair of moulded socks, I spat out the vile thing. The cacophony of mutant animals were bullets to my eardrums. Feeling like my life had drained away, I thought of when joy and mirth ruled my life.
The trees waved in frustration, trying to stop me.
But my tenacity persevered.
Without warning, an arrow whizzed past my head, a horizontal bolt of lightning, just grazing my ear. The sentry howled with anger as my life essence dissolved it into a pile of ash. Nearing it, I noticed the dirt start to look almost like scorched flesh.
Oh wait… it was.
I was at the demon convoy…
As we come to the end of the term, the Year 5 classes are hardly winding down. Instead, they have been stimulating their imaginations, and developing their creativity, both outside and inside the classroom.
Our recent Outing allowed us to take a trip into History, as we visited a replica Victorian school. The Year 5 classes spent the day pretending to be Victorian pupils in a Victorian school. We developed a vivid picture of what the day-to-day life of a Victorian child would have been like. In the Cambridge curriculum, the focus in History is not just on learning facts – it’s about really forming a picture of what the world was like in the past, and our outing definitely helped us do that. Our Inting had a Victorian theme as well, the students had to decorate a table in Victorian style, and provide a Victorian High Tea to go on the decorated table. Apart from being mouthwatering, this helped us to imagine a different kind of Victorian experience – a very yummy one! It also reminded us of the novel we’ve been reading this term – Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter didn’t quite show up at this tea party – though there were some cool hats to be seen!
Our creativity, however, hasn’t only extended to life outside the classroom. Apart from reading novels together, the Year 5 classes have begun exploring a different kind of literature – namely poetry. Towards the end of the term, we began focusing on a particular kind of poetry: Haiku. A Haiku is a type of Japanese poetry, which is always three lines long. The first line is five syllables, the second is seven syllables, and the third is five again. This is a tough structure to work with, but the students rose to the challenge. It was really amazing how they managed to be free and creative within the rigid structure of the poem.
A Miserable Night
A miserable night,
Everybody is freezing.
They all went to bed.
– Ronan Macey
In Hogwarts towers
Students walk to their classes
Teachers lead them on.
– Kaylah Leach
One dark, moonlit night
Cars are driving in the street
Like snakes hiss and slither.
– Aiden Brandt
A Winter Morning
A Winter morning
The sound of snow falling down
In every colour
– Saumya Maharaj
A Spring Morning
A Springy morning
Flowers blooming from the ground
Birds chirping loudly.
– Teeyana Shaik-Mahomed
Year 5 Teacher
On Tuesday the 5th of March five of our senior students competed in the prestigious De Beers English Olympiad.
The De Beers English Olympiad is an English competition that draws over 8000 entries each year from around South Africa and its neighbouring countries. The competition is organized jointly by the Grahamstown Foundation and the South African Council for English Education (SACEE). The competition began as a small project in 1976 when Dr Malcolm Venter, a member of the Eastern Cape branch committee of SACEE was asked to organise an event locally. The first competition attracted 119 entries and the winner received a prize of R50. Today, by comparison, the top 3 candidates receive substantial cash prizes of R33 000 (1st place); R30 000 (2nd place); R27 000 (3rd place) broadening their opportunities for possible further study or travel.
The competition seeks to enrich learners, encouraging them to explore beyond the scope of the school syllabus. It encourages critical thinking and creative writing, promoting the study of English amongst first and second English Language speakers and actively increase the participation of candidates from previously disadvantaged schools.
The De Beers English Olympiad is distinctive in that, unlike other Olympiads, it requires learners to study a prescribed text, not found within the school syllabus. 2019 saw the students study short stories, collated under the title ‘A Twist in the Tale’. Each year a different genre is studied, and a new anthology and theme compiled by SACEE. The examination is then based on this theme and anthology. On receiving the prescribed material, we set up study groups to analyse the stories and our intimate group sessions allowed us to examine the texts on a level not always possible in the structured classroom environment. The competition also gives students the opportunity to work with other students in different grades; students from years 10-12 may enter the competition and watching students, who wouldn’t normally interact in a classroom setting, quibbling over different interpretations of a text was simply wonderful.
In ‘Wings for Bulbie’ (Patrick Waldo Davids) we read of a tortured but brilliant soul, a maths teacher hounded and ostracized by a community who cannot, and will not, understand him. ‘The Luncheon’ (Somerset Maughan) sees a young writer at the mercy of the most trying lunch companion imaginable. In ‘The Suitcase’ (Es’kia Mphahlele) a young man, down on his luck, takes a chance and claims a suitcase left on the bus he is travelling in- with disastrous consequences. Many of the stories had a distinctive South African flavour but all of them were honest reflections of human nature and proved to us the timelessness of certain themes and stories.
A massive congratulations to the students who competed on Tuesday! The examination was three hours long, plus half an hour of reading time. Entering into this competition is a commitment not taken lightly and I am proud to say that all the students displayed the effort and determination necessary to stand themselves in good stead.
I encourage more students to participate next year as this competition engenders a deeper appreciation of literature by providing insight into human nature and experience. It also offers students the opportunity to bond, not as classmates or students in the same school, but as students of literature, as lovers of stories.
High School English Department Head