Pearson Adult Learning Centre

Weekly Feature July 21, 2000

PALC Resources


Eight Student Writers

     Last week, English 10 students wrote about a most important person in their lives. Eight of them have graciously offered to share their writing with you. After each paragraph, Brad makes a comment, pointing out strengths and weaknesses. 

     The paragraphs are fabulous and paint a vivid picture of important people in a variety of lives. One important person is a teacher, a person who played a role many years ago. Another a caring friend. Yet another relates a story of lost relatives united. Enjoy the writers!

Meeting My Aunt: Maria My Husband: Nancy A Respectable and Helpful Person: Irene The Person That I Appreciate: Tracy
Charlie: Kitty A Dear Friend: Ali A Girl to Remember Forever: Jack A Special Friend: Christina

Meeting My Aunt

Maria 

     My trip to Croatia in 1978 gave me so much happiness and family value. It was summer, the beginning of July, after I had visited my first family. We were travelling to Zagreb . Just before we left, my father asked me to stop by my aunts that I had never met before. I was excited. It was morning: beautiful sunshine, fresh air. I knocked on the door and this lady opened it. She was telling me in a different language to come in. I entered her house where her husband and two daughters were sitting. Not knowing who I was, she looked at one of her daughters and looked at me and then again she looked at both of us. She opened her arms and screamed " You must be my Ivan's daughter that lives in Canada. You look like me daughter!" We both cried and laughed. We talked about life and missed times. She showed me her house and garden. We took some pictures and just looked at each other. She was wearing a sleeved brown dress with white pockets. The daughter who looks like me was wearing navy pants with a light blue t-shirt. Since then I have found and am still looking for my relatives where ever they are. After all these years, I still keep in contact. I write and phone. Just a week ago I found out that my second uncle lived in Surrey. I am looking forward to meeting him. I have a lot of important people in my life but I grow up with all of them.

Teacher's Comment: Maria begins with a good, strong topic sentence. Her second sentence begins the story and gives the setting. Details of setting are vivid in this paragraph. Also good is Maria's use of dialogue in a way to bring the paragraph to life. She ends on a slightly less strong sentence. The last sentence should reflect the topic sentence just a little more. A worthwhile piece of first draft writing. Back to Menu

My Husband

Nancy

     My husband is the most important man in my life. Last year, we had just immigrated to Canada, and I was notified by my doctor that I had cancer. How difficult it was when we heard the news! My husband gave up his investments in Taiwan because of my sickness. He lost lots of money so he could accompany me through every treatment process. He was not only taking care of me, but also taking care of my children. He did everything he had to do, but he never complained. He encouraged me when I felt so painful because of the side-effects, that I almost wanted to give up my chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He gives me hope. I never forget that he told me, "life is full of hard things, and we must be brave." Now I feel very well. I think I couldn't have gone through that time without my husband's support. I will cherish it all my life. In my heart, there is a love for which I can only be grateful.

Teacher's Comment: A heartfelt piece by Nancy. Clear details that show the hardship of the cancer diagnosis, rather than just telling it. The quote of her husband's words make him come to life. His actions make it clear why Nancy is "grateful" for his strength and commitment. Well done. Back to Menu

A Respectable and Helpful Person

Irene

     The Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937. My family all retreated to Ganshui from Nanking except for her, because she wanted to continue her university courses in Shanghai. I never saw her until we came back in 1945. A stern face with a pair of black framed glasses, dressed in old fashioned clothing, was the first sight that she gave me. I was the spoiled, youngest child in the family. Nobody could control my rambunctious, stubborn character but her. She was the principal in a high school; I feared her and respected her for her cleverness and professionalism. She brought me to the elementary school, and trained me to be independent, and punished me when I did something wrong as well. Often I complained from my heart, "you are not my mom." When I criticized others by my own impression, she advised me to spend more time to understand them. When I got angry at some matter, she taught me to relax. When I reflected things sensitively she suggested to me to be calm. For example I refused to register in a Catholic Middle School; nevertheless, I didn't have school to study in October except this school. She explained and taught me to accept different kinds of persons in a variety of religions. Therefore I grew up under her influence, so I have had many friendships and she paved an easy way to work happily and corrected my ill-tempered nature. I appreciate her and remember her forever, my elder sister 18 years older than I.

Teacher's Comment: A long ago memory that is brought to life by Irene's hard work. I especially like the words, "you are not my mom." It is good to see one teacher in this group of paragraphs. Clearly written, and with a nice ending on Irene's "elder sister". Back to Menu

The Person That I Appreciate

Tracy

     My husband is a considerate and responsible person. When I was 20 years old, I met him at my aunt's home. He always considered my feelings and took care of me, so I fell in love with him. Now, although we have been married for 22 years, he still helps me do a lot of things, such as cooking, cleaning the house and shopping. Besides, he cares about our children's school work and behaviour, so he often talks with them and listens to their opinion carefully. Therefore, when they have some difficult matter, he can give them suitable advice. I really appreciate that I have married at man who loves me and the children more than himself.

Teacher's Comment: A nearly perfectly constructed paragraph by Tracy. Although the details are clear, they lean a bit more toward telling than showing. Using a few more vivid examples, Tracy could expand the paragraph to include dialogue, or more visual description. Students might use this paragraph as an example of the basic structure. Tracy handles it very well.  Back to Menu

Charlie

Kitty

     An important person in my life is Charlie Wu, who is four years older than I. Since he has the same last name as me, he would like me to become his sister. He considers me to be his little sister. It was two years ago, in August 1998, when I first met him in Vancouver. It was my second time to Vancouver with my husband and I was pregnant two months at that time. We lived temporarily with my husband's classmate and he was another roommate. When I first met him, I had just come from the airport. I noticed he was wearing a blue shirt and short light pants. He looked very young and active. We simply said hello and told our names to each other. Later we found that we had almost the same opinions and feelings in many things. And we are also the same in most characteristics. It makes us to look like twins. We all think it is very wonderful. He is important to me because he gave me great help when I most need it, either when I was pregnant alone in Vancouver (my husband sent me here and then went back to China) or my difficulty in study.

Teacher's Comment: Solid prose from Kitty. Some action here that shows rather than tells. Setting and time is carefully done in this paragraph. The final sentence introduces new ideas, ones that would become part of the paragraph in the second draft.  Back to Menu

A Dear Friend

Ali

     In my life I have a lot of relationships, but above all these I have a few dear friends. Now I am going to tell you about my dearest friend whose name is BalCri and all my days in Canada I keep thinking of him. I met him in January 4th 1990 the first day in the university of Khartoum. I came from another town and I did not know anything about how to solve my problems and how to adapt and assimilate into the university society. He provided his assistance to me, gave me his time to enrol into university programs and moreover he invited me to live with his family for three weeks until I found a student apartment to live in. I liked him from my first impression because I think he is cooperative, honest, adaptable, ambitious, helpful and energetic, so generally he has good personal qualities. We spent three years together until I fled from my country for personal safety. We suffered together from persecution and harassment which we were subject to by the fundamentalist in Sudan. Finally we were dismissed from university for political reasons and I fled to Russia and he was arrested for 10 months. Now I miss him as I missed a part of my life, but I believe we will meet again with our hope to begin a new life.

Teacher's Comment: Many pieces of concrete description makes this a strong piece. Ali uses a kind of two part topic in his first two sentences. Probably the first two sentences could be combined. The concrete showing works better than the list of adjectives beginning, "cooperative . . . ." The final sentence should reflect the topic sentence more as well.  Back to Menu

A Girl to Remember Forever

Jack

     She was cute and nave. She wore a nicely fitted purple dress with a crimson scarf tied around her neck. Her short curly hair was black and shiny. With little make-up a dimple always showed on her pink cheek. I met her on a hot day in mid-summer in 1985. I did have a good impression of her during the interview where she was applying for the vacancy of the designer. A test of sketch drawing revealed that she was talented in creating the novel designs. She had a very keen sense of colour combination and intuitive ideas of ingenuities. I told her the offer of good payment and a comfortable working atmosphere. She never let me down during the following years working in my company. She worked not only as a designer, but also as a secretary. We joined the management meeting with marketing people in home office located in Rhode Island, USA. She followed me to every exhibition that were held in different cities all over the world. She was hard working, patient and creative. With her help and effort, we carried out the big project to finalize the fist prototype of rollerboard, a travelling case with two corner wheels and a pull handle in the field of luggage business. She is a girl that you never forget.

Teacher's Comment: Jack uses his storytelling ability here, so I won't judge this as an expository paragraph. As narrative, it works very well. The first sentence attracts us immediately, as does a memorable title. Many showing details offer us concrete ideas of the woman's character. Some variety of sentence length and type contributes to an easily read piece.  Back to Menu

A Special Friend

Christina

     She is a special and important person who changed my whole life, my best friend - Hedy. I grew up in a guy's only family. My brother, my nasty cousins, are all boys. I am the one girl in my entire relatives. I always thought I was a boy too. When I was nine, one student transferred in to our class. It was a sizzling hot summer, when I first saw her , she looked like cool ice cream to me, her long thin hair waved in the air, her pink dress matched her pale skin, and I could smell her hair passing by in the wind. She sat behind me and she passed a note for me; it was a love note, but not from her. Our class girls liked me very much because I looked like a handsome boy to them, even girls knew I was female. I was even confused for a while because a classmate pushed me to kiss another girl in class, and my mother kept my hair short like boys (she didn't have time to comb my hair; she worked hard like my father) and even when I went to a public washroom, people told me I should go to the men's room. Well then, I showed her the note after school when we took the bus together. She laughed hard and suggested to me, I should do what girls' do. I listened to her and tried to change; she corrected me and helped me at that time. Since then, we have been best friends.

Teacher's comment: Colourful prose indeed! Sensory details about colour, hair, and smell are powerfully used by Christina. Onomatopoeia in "sizzling" too. Very nice work. Work on a final sentence that more closely matches the topic sentence to improve this even more. Back to Menu

 

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