Take a look at what English at Once was up to during a very busy Term 2. This write-up shows the wonderful array of contemporary issues covered in our awesome worksheets. Students can relate to current topics like these which help them to feel engaged while developing critical thinking and language skills. Of course, the worksheets also provide great opportunities for lively discussion and debate.

 Grade 7

The Grade 7s had a busy term with worksheets focusing on reading exercises and improving comprehension using entertaining and relatable texts.  Our first worksheet combined poetry, a cartoon and an article exploring issues of social media and a lack of socialising between teens.

Then, with the advent of the first-ever image of the black hole, the next worksheet was based on this momentous discovery.  Students took to space, improving their reading skills while also analysing poetry and a comical Madam and Eve cartoon.

Another worksheet focused on the hopeful story of Xolani Zingeni, the talented violinist studying at Buskaid in Soweto. We also looked at the poem “The Deaf Boy” by Marylyn Nelson and a cartoon to explore sound and rhythm in relation to language.

To help our students end off the term on a high, we treated them to a worksheet on Saray Khumalo, the first black woman to summit Everest. A poem and an advertisement showed how some people have to climb different kinds mountains every day of their lives.

Grades 8 and 9

Our worksheets for Grades 8 and 9 in term 2 focused on comprehension skills and grammar through introducing relevant content – newspapers articles, adverts and cartoons. At the beginning of April, the Grade 8s read about a book featuring the “worst alphabet ever”: an alphabet based only on silent letters. They would also have read about Richard Nzima who is a bookseller by day and who stays in a homeless shelter by night.

A story about Kgositsile Modisane kicked off the month of May. Modisane is the  “extroverted introvert” who is also the first gender-neutral ambassador for Lux. Also in this worksheet was a fun advertisement providing an original take on Cinderella. As the month moved on and elections drew to a close, the 116-year-old man who is still looking to “vote for a better life” made an appearance in our worksheets. Madam & Eve and the #Xsê campaign also made their marks.

In celebration of Africa Day, we explored the life and writing of the fearless young author Lerato Mogoatlhe who has given travel writing a new name through her book “Vagabond: wandering through Africa on faith”.  Lastly, we looked at an article about Trésor, the DRC car guard who is now a multi-platinum-selling artist and who recently won the award for best pop album of the year at the SAMAs. This worksheet also explored visual literacy and poetry through a cartoon and the poem “Poets go wishing” by Lillian Moore.

Grades 10–12

The senior grades had an exciting collection of worksheets between April and May. In April, moving towards the build-up of elections we focused on content reflecting persuasive techniques and examples of rhetoric using different election posters.

We moved on to look at sustainable energy and the climate crisis through on-screen media using a review based on the critically acclaimed film, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”. We also focused on the eight-part Netflix series “Our Planet”, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Using these reviews, our students and teachers had the chance to explore critical language awareness while simultaneously gaining more knowledge about the natural world.

We then shifted our attention to inequality and analysed the language and grammar in an editorial urging “Mr Prez” to “do right by SA” following the outcome of the elections and the impending cabinet reshuffle. We also integrated visual literacy into this worksheet by looking at “the world’s most unequal country” and Time Magazine’s front cover featuring the hauntingly accurate image of a location in Johannesburg. Visual and verbal details were linked through an analysis of the cover and a thought-provoking cartoon.

How to get these topical worksheets 

If you are tired of working with the same old material and want something fresh, interesting and relevant every week, simply email us at info@englishatonce.com. This might just put the zing back into your teaching 😊