Daniel’s back :D

Hi!

It’s been a long time since I last wrote on this blog (it was 2010 when i posted that thing about description!).  I admit it and am really sorry because I have abandoned this play-ground.  XD

So, I promise that I’d try to post and update more often.  

And as an apology, I’d like to introduce you to this great site: Wordle!

Read this brief description the site provides for its visitors: 

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

So, basically you insert an article or a text, and then you create a word cloud like this one I made the other day.  It’s on Global Warming.

You can print it, or if you want to edit it, you can simply print-screen the site, and paste it in your word processor program.  

What I like from Wordle is the interesting layout and you can also customize the colors of your words.  Also, it has an awesome collection of fonts (and I love it much, my favorite one is Grilled Cheese XD).

Word Cloud can really help you in your teaching.  You can use it to teach vocabulary.  Perhaps you want to teach your students a list of new words.  So, instead of giving them a list of conventional 1-10 or 1-20 new words, you can input the list into Wordle, with some modification like repeating some words so that they appear bigger than others, and create the cloud.  Your students will going to love it more.  Or you can also use it to introduce a topic of a text before your students read it the text.  It’s like giving the cloud and asking students to guess what the text will be about. 

Well, enjoy playing with Wordle, and don’t forget to leave your comment or ideas if you want to add more about how you use this site!  :D

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[WRITING] Description

Hi!

So, the first type of text I have discussed here is exposition, my favorite.  Well, for now, we’re going to study more about description.  Okay, let me give you one simple descriptive text.

My best friend, Kiki

I enjoy my friendship with my best friend, Kiki.  Kiki is a modest, but fun boy.  He is fifteen years old and sits in the same class with me.  His father is Sundanese, but her mother is Chinese.  Kiki has short black hair and slanted eyes.  Most girls in the class, even those from the other classes, like him because of his cute, gorgeous face with dimples on his cheek.  Well, he is surely the star of the third graders in my school.  Kiki is good at sport, and in fact he is in the school football team.  He practices with the team twice a week.  Kiki and I often spend our time together, playing chess (our favorite game) or watching films at my home.  We are movie-freaks, and we both love action films.  Kiki is a brilliant student too, and he becomes my biggest competitor in class.  Nevertheless, we are still best friends.

So, my first question: what does this text tell us about?

Yes, it describes the characteristics of Kiki, the writer’s best friend.  You can read about Kiki’s physical look, his family, his hobbies, activities, and others.

Here, in description, you only talk about one particular thing.  Descriptive texts are different from reports; and I will explain the later more in the next post. You can describe someone, a public figure, a historical hero, your pet at home, your bedroom, your school, a city or town, a particular building or landscape, etc.

When you write a descriptive text, enrich it by writing more about these things:

  • the physical look or appearance, i.e. face, hair, complexion, body, size, shape, color.
  • background information, including family, study, occupation, or location.
  • behavior and activities,
  • achievement in the past, or significance, especially when you are describing a public figure, or a famous person in the world.
  • if you are describing a place, you can talk about what you can find and do there.

Here’s another, longer example of a descriptive text about Borobudur.

Borobudur

Borobudur is a Hindu-Buddhist temple located near Magelang on the island of Java in Indonesia.  Built in the 9th century under the Sailendra dynasty of Java, it was abandoned in the 11th century and partially excavated by archaeologists in the early 20th century.  Influenced by the Gupta architecture of India, the temple is constructed on a hill 46 m (150 ft) high and consists of eight steplike stone terraces, one on top of the other.  The first five terraces are square and surrounded by walls adorned with Buddhist sculpture in bas-relief; the upper three are circular, each with a circle of bell-shaped stupas (Buddhist shrines).  The entire edifice is crowned by a large stupa at the center of the top circle.  The way to the summit extends through some 4.8 km (some 3 mi) of passages and stairways.  The design of Borobudur, a temple-mountain symbolizing the structure of the universe, influenced temples built at Angkor, Cambodia.  Borobudur was rededicated as an Indonesian national monument in 1983 following extensive reclamation, aided by the United Nations.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

So, what do you think about this text?  Quite challenging, right?  And it is more concise.

Want another?

Gregory, by Barbara Carter

Gregory is my beautiful gray Persian cat. He walks with pride and grace, performing a dance of disdain as he slowly lifts and lowers each paw with the delicacy of a ballet dancer. His pride, however, does not extend to his appearance, for he spends most of his time indoors watching television and growing fat. He enjoys TV commercials, especially those for Meow Mix and 9 Lives. His familiarity with cat food commercials has led him to reject generic brands of cat food in favor of only the most expensive brands. Gregory is as finicky about visitors as he is about what he eats, befriending some and repelling others. He may snuggle up against your ankle, begging to be petted, or he may imitate a skunk and stain your favorite trousers. Gregory does not do this to establish his territory, as many cat experts think, but to humiliate me because he is jealous of my friends. After my guests have fled, I look at the old fleabag snoozing and smiling to himself in front of the television set, and I have to forgive him for his obnoxious, but endearing, habits.

http://grammar.about.com/od/developingparagraphs/a/samdescpars.htm

You might notice some language features appearing in descriptive texts.  Here are some:

  • description usually uses present tense, or if it talks about people or thing in the past, of course it will use past tense.
  • nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases are common in descriptive texts.
  • to describe more about the things or people, you can use adjectives.  You will find black and straight hair, slanted black eyes, a muscular body, soft brown fur, large red flowers, strong high modern tower, etc.

So, are you ready to write your own descriptive texts?

Wait for my next explanation about another genre of text, similar to description: REPORT.

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[JOKE] English is a stupid Language

Lets face it
English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant;
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
And while no one knows what is in a hot dog,
you can be pretty sure it isn’t canine.
English muffins were not invented in England;
French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted.
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly.
Boxing rings are square.
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads,
which aren’t sweet, are meat.

If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing.
If the plural of tooth is teeth,
One goose, two geese.
So one moose, two meese?
Is cheese the plural of choose?
One mouse, two mice; one louse, two lice,
One house, two hice?
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth
If the teacher taught, why didn’t the preacher praught,
Or the grocer groce, or hammers ham?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?
Why do people recite at a play,
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship…?
Have feet that smell and noses than run?
How can the weather be as hot as hell on one day
And as cold as hell on another

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down,
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

English was invented by people, not computers
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)
That is why
You get in and out of a car, and on and off a bus.
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible.
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
It starts,
But when I wind up this poem,
It ends.

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Simple Past – NEGATIVE and QUESTION

Hi all!

Let me tell you something…

Heacy Rain CLipart

Last night, it was very cold.  It rained heavily.

Well, I did not go anywhere.  I only stayed at home.

My girlfriend did not phone me.  Poor me.

I did not watch the television;  there was a blackout!

It was a sad night.

So those sentences tell what I did not do last night.

Look at the red words.  They indicate past tense.

When you make NEGATIVE sentences in past tense, you use DID not.

What about the blue verbs?  Yes.  When we use DID not, we no longer use the past form of the verbs.

Okay, now, how do we make question with past simple?

Simply, you put the DID before the subject, or after any question words (if you use them).

Study the following examples.

  • Did you sleep well last night?
  • Did you buy any eggs from the supermarket?
  • Did you enjoy your holiday?
  • What did you do this morning?
  • Where did you go last Sunday?
  • Why did you cry yesterday?

Again, all verbs are in their base form; you no longer use the past simple form in negatives and questions.

Do you want to try some exercises?

Download this file.

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Simple Past – POSITIVE

What did you do last night?

A Kid Reading in Bed

I read some books.  After that I watched a serial on my laptop.  Before I slept, I read a comic.

Well, look at the words in bold.  They are all in their past form.

When we want to tell events or actions in the past, we use SIMPLE PAST.

Study these examples:

  • Yesterday, my mom cooked me my favorite meal: chicken noodle.
  • Last week, the students visited Prambanan Temple in Jogja.
  • In 1945, Indonesia got its independence.
  • We studied English yesterday.

There are two types of past verbs: REGULAR and IRREGULAR.

For REGULAR verbs, we add -d/-ed to make the past form.

study — studied, visit – visited, close — closed, open — opened.

IRREGULAR verbs do not have any special patterns.  Below are some of them.

cut – cut , sleep – slept , read – read , get – got , keep – kept , do – did , go – went.

If you want to know more about irregular verbs, you can check this link, this one, or this one 🙂.

OK, I’ll give you some more examples.

  • My brother went to church last Sunday.
  • We prayed before we slept last night.
  • This morning I ate a sandwich and drank some milk.
  • When I was 10, I liked to play with my friends in the yard behind my home.
  • My friends came to my birthday party and we had a really great time.

See the word in pink?  Yes.  It is the past form of TO BE.  We have am, is, and are for present, and for past, we have was and were.  Read these examples.

  • Last night, I was in my friend’s home.
  • Yesterday, we were very happy when we were at Ambarukmo Plaza.
  • Mymother was in the kitchen this morning when you came.
  • The students were in Computer Lab this morning, so the classroom was empty.

More?  Well, wait for my next post…🙂

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Exposition: A Sample Essay

Below is an example of exposition. A simple one.

Mobile Phones and the Benefits

People used to send letters to communicate with others, and then Graham Bell invented telephone which make communication easier. When mobile phones were created, it became much easier to contact people living far away from your place. Nowadays, more and more people have their own mobile phones, gadgets that apparently become must-to-have ones. It is undoubted that mobile phones have bring some benefits for people life.

First of all, communication is much easier and faster with the aid of mobile phones. While letters may take days or even weeks to reach the addressee, you can just call someone in a second with mobile. If you know the number of the person you are going to call, then it is very easy to make a call. You do not need to get the operator to put you through the people you want to talk with. Making an overseas call is also easy and fast using mobile phones. Even nowadays, you can use the 3G-call in which you can see what the person you are talking to is doing.

Cell Phone in your Hand

Next, mobile phones, or cell phones, enable us to send text-message, a useful service that is popular not only among young people but also adults. Although limited to a number of characters, text message is often cheaper than making a phone call. If you want to send short information, or get to know what your friends are doing, then you can just text them. With MMS, you can also send pictures, voices and other multi-media files within your message. It is indeed fun to text-message.

Another reason is that mobile phones also provide entertainment. When you are bored and you want to listen to music, you can play it from your cell. Also, consider playing games with your mobiles; it is very fun and refreshing for your tiring day. Many cells now also have camera that enables you to take picture anywhere. In addition, some types of the phones also have the Net connection service. So, you can browse and go online with your mobiles.

More and more companies are competing to invent their new types of cells which offer many facilities and services. It is because, as we see, mobile phones, as a part of our lifestyle,  give us many advantages.

Notes:

  1. In the first paragraph, we have what is so called as Thesis Statement (the sentence in bold); it contains your main topic you are discussing (here, mobile phones) and a controling idea (bring some benefits).
  2. In the next three paragraphs (second to fourth), each contains a topic sentence that control and focus your discussion in each. Still, the topic sentence also has its topic (mobile phones) and controlling idea (easy and fast communication, text-message service, entertainment provided in mobile phones). The topic sentence.

    Remember
    : each topic sentence should relate to and develop the supports for your Thesis Statement. Also, each paragraph should only talk about the topic sentence. Do not go beyond what the topic sentence suggests.
  3. A concluding paragraph summarize your discussion, and it restates your Thesis Statement. Do not just rewrite or copy your Thesis Statement, but try to express the same idea using different sentence. It is also important that you do not bring or suggest another new topic in your conclusion.

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Present Simple (1)

What do you do everyday? Think about your activities.

OK, let’s see:

You wake up at 5. Then, you take a bath and, next, have your breakfast. After that, you go to school, or university, and then you go back home at about 2 in the afternoon. Do you take a rest afterward? What time do you usually take a bath again? Well, what do you do at night? You watch TV till 10 at night, then you go to sleep.

Well, that is your daily activities.

Now, let’s see our new friend’s, Liza’s, daily activities.

Lizas image

Liza

Liza gets up at 5 in the morning. After she prays, she takes a bath. Then, she has her breakfast–her favorite is sandwich–and after that she goes to her campus. She studies at campus from 9 to 1. She usually takes the public car to go home. At home, in the afternoon, she usually helps her mother prepare the dinner. At about 6, after she takes a bath, she usually reads and prepares for tomorrow’s lesson. She likes watching TV at night (she is a fan of Smallvile). Well, usually she reads before sleeping. She loves reading novels.

So, do you pay attention to the words in bold?

Well, both texts use SIMPLE PRESENT. You use it to tell:

  • daily habit or activity
    I wake up at 5 every morning.
    My father does not read newspaper in the morning.
    My uncle usually goes back home at 7.
  • facts or truth
    Water freezes at 0 Celcius and boils at 100.
    A cat does not eat vegetable because it is a carnivore.
    Most Indonesian people eat rice as their staple food.
  • general things or information
    My father likes listening to country music.
    Do you believe in ghosts?
    What do you play in your band?

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