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Our Hometown

The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

The hometown is the town you lived in for your early childhood.

How is the place different from any other place? What was special about your hometown?

Were there any special rituals (actions) that people did. For example, in my town the fire siren sounded at lunchtime (noon) every day and the dogs started barking. Also, the principal rang the bell (a large silver bell with a handle) to bring us in from the playground.

Was anything special about language? Did people talk in different ways there or in different accents, for example?

Think about foods and the work that people did in your town.

Walk around your town in your imagination and who do you meet?

Student Examples

Student One

When it was exactly noon, the siren sounded from the fire department in my community every day. Therefore, people knew that it was twelve o’clock by the siren and wanted to eat lunch.

Use an introductory phrase to help show us the time, “When it was noon.” This is a good technique.

The word “everyday” together is an adjective and must modify a noun. We could say everyday wear.

Also, it rang at night and people couldn’t be on the street by law.

If you must stay home at any time by law it is called a “curfew.”

Student Two

The urbanized, air-polluted, over-populated Taipei City is my hometown.

We discussed whether to add an “and” after “air-polluted” and decided that it sounded better and kept the parallel structure for us without. Also, we talked about using hyphens in our compound adjectives, unless it has become a word. It is a “backwards” sentence, too, which gets the reader’s attention (especially the first sentence).

Student Three

There was a river in front of the village. I liked skating with the children in the village on the icy river in the winter. I used a small cart my grandpa made for me and sat on it, pushing myself along with two sticks.

We replaced “to skate” with “skating” as it sounds better in the sentence. Also, we separated the detail about the cart made by the grandfather as it was a special piece of information that deserves its own sentence.

Student Four

The Beijingers have the habit of talking about others’ business (gossip). When they get together, they will ask each other how much money he or she earns, what interesting things have happened, and what they like or dislike.

You could say the first sentence like this: “Beijingers love to gossip.” The connotation of a word is important. To us, “gossip” is mostly negative. If this talk is positive and normal in a culture, perhaps a different word is needed to describe the behaviour.

Teacher Sample

 My Hometown: Morden, Manitoba

I grew up for my first seven years in Morden, Manitoba, a small town about 120 kilometers south of Winnipeg near the U.S. border. One way my hometown was different from any other place was that it was very flat. When it rained too much, the ditches would fill up with water and when they did, sometimes the water would come into the basement of our house. And because it was flat, you could see a long way, especially when you reached the edge of the town. That was special, too. To reach the end of town, I needed to walk for about five minutes!

One ritual I remember well is the noon siren. I always knew when it was 12 o’clock when the siren sounded and all the town dogs started barking. At school, the principal would come out with a large silver bell to ring us back into class. We had two recesses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I remember they were 20 minutes long. But we had longer school days there in Manitoba, compared to Burnaby where I moved at age seven.

Another difference was that we burned our paper garbage in big metal barrels. As a little boy, I was very interested in that. The boy next door was named Bernie and since he was big enough to do the job, he burned the garbage. I told my mother that it was funny his name was Bernie!

One very special thing about my small town was that I felt very safe there. One day, when I was seven, I rode my bike to see my father at his work. His work was probably five kilometers from my house. After I saw him, I rode further around the experimental farm where he worked. It was very exciting to travel by bicycle all around my small home town.


More Tutorials

Idiomatic Verb and Preposition Combinations

The Best Gifts

Our Earliest Memories

Our Hometown

What We're Reading Now

Simple Sentences (Noun and Verb)

Writing about a Favourite Place

Making Sentences Longer 2

Writing about the Rain

Writing about a Person

Writing about Lunch

Writing about Snow

Making Sentences Longer

Food Words

Weather Words