Monday, August 22, 2005

Reports: Information Texts (Factual Descriptions)

The purpose of a report or information text is to describe facts. You can describe people, animals, places, events and objects.

The person writing the report informs the readers about the characteristics of the person, animal, object, place or event being described.

The readers read reports to get more information about those people, animals, etc.

Because we are dealing with facts, things that are always true, the verbs are usually in the present simple.

Because we are describing, we often use the verbs to be and to have.

Because we are talking about those people, animals, etc in general-not in a particular point in time-the participants (the people, animals, etc described) are used in a general way. If we are talking about Kangaroos, for example, we say Kangaroos are marsupial..., we don't say that kangaroo is a marsupial.

You always start a report by introducing the topic you are going to talk about and telling the readers what that is (classification). You don't have to say Today I'm going to talk about kangaroos. You can start like this: Kangaroos are Australian marsupials.....

After the introduction you can have one paragraph to describe each different aspect (part) of the thing you are describing. For example one paragraph to describe what kangaroos look like, one to describe their habitat (where they live), one to describe their eating, procreating habits or characteristics.

The most important things to remember are:



    A statement of fact . It will include the name, group, topic: A Healthy Lifestyle is ..


    One paragraph for each different part.

    Exercise, what it is and examples

    Diet, what it is and examples

    Mental wellbeing, what it is and examples


    Simple present & relational verbs (be, have, includes, consists of,...)

    Swimming is good for ....Joggers have ... There are many foods....

    Generic nouns

    People... Doctors.... Children... A healthy diet...

    Noun groups (article+adjectives+noun)

    The mental health system...

    Circumstances of place (where), time (when)

    Twice a week ... . In the evening or at night ....

    Circumstances of manner (how)

    Everyone can keep healthy by exercising regularly.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005


    Our Class 2007 Webquest

    A WebQuest for Full Time 3-4


    After 4 weeks in the computer room, you have created a blog and you have used the class blog, Our Class 2007, to improve your English. They say the best way of learning something is to teach it. Would you be able to teach someone about blogs, podcasts and wikis to improve their English skills?


    Write a post in your blog that describes how to use blogs, podcasts and wikis to improve English in the 4 skills: reading, writing, listening & speaking.

    You can use the structure of a report or information text. These are texts that describe facts. You can have a look here for the structure and linguistic (language) characteristics of a report or factual description before you start writing your final report. But first keep reading.


    Search Our Class 2007, especially the last 4 weeks. Find specific examples of how anyone can improve their grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and speaking by using the class blogs, student blogs, wikis, etc. You may have to do a google (or sensei, altavista, Ask, etc) search for a couple of questions. That is part of learning on the Internet.

    To help you structure your explanation and get examples answer these questions:
    1. What is a blog? Who writes blogs in our class?
    2. What is a podcast? What is Patricia's surname? What does Patricia say is a good idea for ESL students? How many times was Andrew's house checked in Thailand before he could adopt? Who records the radio programs in Let's Talk? What is the latest radio program about in Let's Talk? What other titles can you see? Who interviews people for Sydney's People Podcast? What topics are there?
    3. What is a wiki? How many colleges are involved in our class wiki? What can we do in the wiki?
    4. What is a forum? How many topics have we discussed in our forum? How many people have participated in our forum?
    5. What is Voicethread? What can you do with it? Where is the koala in a Sydney building? What is the name of the student who found the koala? Who has said this: Be careful when you see them (kookaburras), They're not scared of anything?
    6. What is Walk, Run, Swim?
    7. What is the meaning of damper, Adam's Ale, fag & fair go?
    8. What topics cause disagreement between couples? What deadly disease is related to arguments between couples?
    9. What is 348 metres high, 3.6 kilometres long and 1.9 kilometres wide?
    10. Complete these sentences with the right article: cars use a lot of petrol. (General)
      people next door are very friendly. (Specific - people next door)
    11. The monitor of the computer should be The monitor should be .
      a. at elbow level
      b. at eye level
      c. clean
    12. What is the name of this in a computer screen?


    Write a report that describes different ways of improving your English by using the Internet and different online tools. Give examples with links, pictures, podcasts, videos, etc.


    Check this rubric that I will use to evaluate your blogging work. You can print it and take it home to try and achieve the highest level of performance by the end of this course.