Category Archives: Functional Writing
This is a small project I did with first year students which revised and assessed some aspects of the Functional Writing and Media Studies aspects of the course.
The PDF (which retains the original format) of the text below can be accessed here. The report format below is only one of several which can be used.
What are reports?
A report is a document which presents facts in a clear and logical way to offer the reader important information.
A report contains facts and information on a particular subject, and gives an account of some event or situation.
It draws conclusions and makes recommendations.
It is written objectively in a formal tone.
What are the main features of a report?
When you are writing a report, make sure you use the following headings.
- TITLE: Give the report a title.
- TERMS OF REFERENCE: Mention who requested the report and why.
- INTRODUCTION: Introduce what the report is about and briefly outline the aims of the report.
- PROCEDURE: How was the information gathered?
- FINDINGS: Present your facts and findings.
- CONCLUSION: The discoveries you made based on the findings of the report. Avoid giving your opinions on the event/situation/incident.
- RECOMMENDATIONS: Suggest some steps to take in response to the findings and explain your recommendations (why am I recommending to do this?).
- SIGNED: Include your name and the date on which the report was written.
Word Construction Activity
Use the letters below to make as many words as you can in 4 minutes. Words with less than three letters are not allowed. You can have a maximum of: three 3-lettered words and four 4-lettered words. No other restrictions.
Pocket Money Survey
To: Board of Management, Hogwarts.
Terms of Reference
This report was commissioned by the Chairperson of the Board of Management to examine the spending habits of the school’s first year students.
A survey was conducted to determine how the pocket money of first year students is spent. The average pocket money was given as €10.
We surveyed 100 students asking them to fill in the questionnaire, which asked:
How much of your pocket money do you spend on the following areas?
25th March, 2014.
Using the sample report as a guideline,
circle the errors in the draft report below
and write why you circled each one.
To: my school!!!
It was open every school day for noms from 11am to 11:15am and again from 1pm to 2pm.
Terms of references
This report was commissioned by the chairperson of the Board of Management to examine the performance of the school shop.
(a) There was an increase in litter near the cafeteria.
(b) Some old people expressed concern at the sale of so-called ‘junk food’.
(c) It was difficult to manage the long cues that frequently formed for food because we all want to go to there.
I would like to make the following recommendations:
(a) More litter bins should be provided.
(b) Teachers and some of the older students should help manage the queue.
The shop did grand this year. My recommendations would obviously make it even better.
Elizabeth Miervaldis Lemon 80>-<
Prepare a report on one of the following:
1. Reading habits of your class.
2. Sports in which your year participates.
3. The type of films your year like to watch.
4. Genres of music your year listens to.
5. Family sizes of your year.
6. What changes your class would like to see in school.
7. A topic of your own choosing (to be agreed with teacher).
Write a letter explaining what you’d like to write a report on. Introduce yourself, explain why you chose this, how/when you will carry out the survey and who will be surveyed. (Draft, then finalised letter.)
Write your report using the ‘Pocket Money Survey’ as a model. (Outline, draft and finalised report.)
Write and design a newspaper article based on your report. Use two/three columns, and include a headline, by-line, and one small picture with a caption. (First: outline the article and draft the design.)
Related past exam questions:
JC English (Higher), Paper I, 2008:
You are a member of your school’s Student Council. As there are now students from a range of different nationalities attending the school, your Principal has asked the Council to come up with some suggestions to help your school to develop as an intercultural community.
Write a report to be submitted by the Student Council to the Principal outlining your ideas.
JC English (Higher), Paper I, 2002:
The Transition Year Class in your school carried out a survey of how the students in third year spent an average of ten euro pocket money per week. Based on the figures supplied below, write a report on this survey for your school magazine.
Pocket Money Survey
Males Females Food / Soft drinks 3.90 2.40 Leisure goods/services 2.70 1.90 Clothing 1.00 2.40 Personal goods 1.40 2.30 Transport 1.00 1.00
This introduction provided the class with an excellent understanding of repetition and it enabled students to comment on its usage in all texts (poems included!). It also proved to be a good foundation for students when they were drafting their own speeches and elevated them to a level where they were thinking critically about how emphasise their points and how their speech would best engage their audience.
Students were given a copy of the below extract and I asked students what they knew about Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the students had a lot of information about him, so they introduced him and gave us plenty of context for the speech – even more detailed then what I had planned to say!
Before I played the audio clip, I asked them to write an ‘R’ in the margins whenever they hear any words or phrases that are repeated. I used this to prompt students to think about the use of repetition in speeches:
Why someone would repeat something during a speech?
What effect does it have?
Once we discussed this, we listened to the speech a second time – this time we underlined whenever Martin Luther King directly addresses the audience – i.e. using words such as ‘you’, ‘our’ and ‘we’. As with repetition, we discussed how and why this featured in speech writing (help the speaker connect with the audience, keeps the audience engaged, etc.).
Extract from ‘I Have a Dream’ speech
Address to civil rights marchers by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi. Go back to Alabama. Go back to South Carolina. Go back to Georgia. Go back to Louisiana. Go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
The next lesson followed a similar format. I asked what the students know about Obama, we recapped on the uses of repetition and directly addressing the audience, and continued like the previous lesson from there.
In Obama’s speech, I paused it just before “And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen…” to assess students’ understanding of anecdotes as we had previously covered this (an explanation and examples of course, not just a one-sentence definition). The pause also offered them a breather!
Extract from Barack Obama’s victory (“Yes we can”) speech in Chicago on November 4th, 2008.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Possible follow-up tasks might include:
asking students to pin-point themes or points which were discussed in each speech and then draw comparisons.
a break-down of how each speech progresses (i.e. the structure of the speech).