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Can you prepare for the FET writing exam?

Yes you can! Read more to find out how …

Macrat has a number of writing resource packs which can assist you in preparing for the Grade 12 English Paper 3 exam. Although these resource packs are aimed at teachers, learners working on their own will definitely benefit by going through them, especially in a home-schooling environment.

Transactional Writing for FET
Transactional writing skills are of the utmost importance in today’s fast moving world. Practising these skills provides learners with the necessary templates for situations they are sure to encounter once they leave school.

The Macrat ‘Transactional Writing for FET’ pack provides a comprehensive guide for functional writing in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase. Given the wide range of possibilities for transactional writing in integrated teaching, this pack serves as a useful starting point from which you can develop your own material to suit your classroom needs.
Many of the writing activities have been drawn from previous issues of the Ratpack. To these we have added reference notes, a number of checklists for self or peer marking and where possible, assessment rubrics. It is important to remember that the general rubrics do not include unique features. A situational analysis of most transactional writing activities is required to ensure that a writing piece does include the logical detail specific to that situation and that the register and tone are appropriate for the circumstances presented.
We have included a number of group activities with themes which should provide learners with a sense of purpose when they write.  Group work encourages learners to work as members of a team, planning, organising and evaluating activities. Click here for more details.

Writing Exam Pack for FET
The Macrat ‘Writing Exam Pack for FET’ pack contains practice writing exams for Grades 10 and 12. (The Grade 12 paper can be adapted for Grade 11 if required.) A detailed memo is provided for the section on Transactional Writing in each paper. Click here for more details.

The Macrat Team

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Is ‘Life Orientation’ worth doing at school?

I recently stumbled upon a blog, written by a high school student, that discusses the benefits (or not) of the current Life Orientation curriculum. The piece raises some interesting comments, offers insightful observations and is well worth reading.

Having worked on the Macrat’s resources for Life Orientation, I would like to mention that the curriculum can be extremely repetitive, and as learners are exposed to Life Orientation in grades 4 – 12, I am not at all surprised that learners think it is a ‘waste of time’.

The writer of the blog, Elima, suggests a more practical, real-life approach to the goals identified in the CAPS. She says: ‘I also think, though, that the best way to educate kids about caring for the environment is to have a no-litter policy at school, or to plant gardens and such. The fact that we're not allowed to litter at my school (at all) has embedded itself much deeper into my conscience than reading three pages in a textbook. So the school should just practice what they preach. Just as with the morality section, social and environmental responsibilities are not so formal that they need to have much class time.’

I agree with this approach completely and applaud her desire to see Life Orientation as ‘a subject which would craft and produce people with some kind of direction in life and (with) a good idea of what awaits them, on top of being good citizens.’ As she so rightly points out, ‘Strong individuals and strong citizens - that's how the country grows, that's real nation building.’

I am proud to believe that Macrat has taken up the challenge, and the resources offered for Life Orientation provide less run-of-the-mill activities. Learning can be fun; insights don’t only come in the form of dull information or worn-out projects. Resources are available for grades 7 – 12.

If you are tasked with teaching Life Orientation, and are looking for some fun, adventure and true learning, give Macrat a try.

To whet your appetite, you will find two free worksheets on our website, one for Gr 7 and one for Gr 12.


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The Ratpack: your very own personal assistant in the classroom.

Receive a supply of photocopiable resources four times a year – what a treat!

Macrat’s very popular quarterly Ratpack relies largely on contributions from teachers. Many of the resources published in the Ratpack are tried and tested in the classroom and then forwarded to Macrat for publishing.

During 2014 we received an inordinate number of contributions related to war, the First World War in particular. Of course, this year marked the centenary of the First World War and it is hard to imagine that anyone has not seen or heard something about this in the press or on television. There has also been an upsurge of conflict in trouble spots around the globe which has caused many teachers to bring themes of peace and reconciliation into their classroom.

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – set in the Second World War – is a very popular text for Grade 8/9 learners. Download the free worksheet related to this novel and see a sample of what the Ratpack can bring you: receive 40+ pages of original, photocopiable resources four times a year! Subscribe today!

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Of Mice and Men

Or should that be 'Of Ratties and Women'?

We were horrified to discover that we had left out a chapter in our Absolution Study Manual – a prescribed IEB setwork for 2015/2016. We owe our author, Ingrid Barnsley, a huge apology for leaving out ‘The Critic’s Eye’ chapter. We have a whole team of proofreaders who check every last detail but unfortunately we missed this one. (We are human after all!)

Having considered various options we have decided to make this chapter available on our website so that everyone can have access to it. This chapter highlights what critics have said about the book. It provides useful quotes which can be used as essay questions or debating topics and well as hyperlinks to websites for further reading and research. Please download it from our website. We are sure you will find the references very useful.

Rest assured that we will correct the omission in future editions, and hope you will accept our humble apologies in the meantime.

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Tess appeals to our melodramatic natures, but still remains relevant in 21st Century.

Bowled over by the bizarre, yet intrigued by the behaviour portrayed in The Bold and the Beautiful? Think that the characters in Modern Family are marvelously mad and manipulative?  What about the great grisly (yet glorious) plot of Game of Thrones?

If you enjoy any of these television shows, you’ll love Tess of the d’Urbervilles too! The novel has all the elements of a good soapie: a dysfunctional family; a dashing, yet manipulative seducer; a naïve young girl at the mercy of fate; a hopelessly romantic hero; an illegitimate child and … murder! These are some of the ingredients found in this well-known tale by Thomas Hardy. While the novel is set in 19th century England and the rural environment might be unfamiliar, the story of an independent, spirited heroine striving to rise above her circumstances in a harsh, unfriendly world will not be. In addition, Hardy exposes the unfair gap between rich and poor, miserable working conditions and a world which is rapidly changing – issues that echo 21st century concerns.

Evocative prose weaves its magic so that the reader comes to know the characters intimately, traces the changing seasons and its moods, and senses the deep connection between people and nature.

You will rail against the injustice with which Tess is treated, empathise with her in the choices she has to make and perhaps even contemplate how you would have responded to the world in those days.

Tess is definitely worthy of study in our era!

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A Novel Project – a celebration of reading!

It is hard to imagine that not everyone enjoys reading, but as the adage goes ‘different strokes for different folks’. As not everyone shares this passion, BOOK WEEK, which is organised in September each year, aims to promote reading, especially amongst youngsters, in the hope of kindling the reading fire. As part of Book Week, Macrat has launched an exciting new resource pack entitled ‘A Novel Project’. The resource pack provides notes and assessment rubrics for teachers, plus seven tasks for learners, all of which are related to a novel that they must read. Suitable for Grades 7 – 9, the pack is fun, creative and should, hopefully, inspire interest in reading as learners share their experiences. You can download one of the tasks from our website.

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Do you want to help your child do well at school? How can you support your child’s teachers in what they do?

As parents, we put a lot of trust in teachers to do the best for our children, and we know that what happens at school is most successful when backed up by parental support at home.  For this reason, we really appreciate the little tips that sometimes come from the school – either at meetings, or in notices –about how we can help our kids with their learning, their organisational skills, and their overall self-esteem.

But have you heard of the wonderful series of little booklets called ‘Making the Grade’?

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Beggars Can’t Be Choosers!

Part of the IEB setwork selection debate

‘Eeeuw... a book about a creep who disposes of dead bodies!’
         ‘I am SO over apartheid books...’
                   ‘How can a foreigner capture South Africa’s mindset?’

And yet, when I asked these whiners if they had read ‘Absolution’, the answer was ‘NO’! Neither were they planning to read it. While I was longing to leap onto my soap-box and spring to the novel’s defence, I paused. I think I paused because I didn’t want to sound just like the grade 11s – I mean – the teachers of grade 11s!

You see, ‘Absolution’ is (in part) about the disposal of bodies; it is about apartheid and yes, someone from beyond our borders has captured many elements of what it means to be South African.

So, is that a reason to choose ‘Tess’?????

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