Monday, 29 September 2008

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI


Salam and hi,
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends a happy and blessed Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Maaf Zahir Batin. Drive safely guys!! Ingat orang yang disayang!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Hari Raya Preparations


Salam and hi all,

I know we still have a week to Ramadhan and it's sort of 'improper' to talk about Hari Raya. But as a housewife, obviously I have to start thinking of the early preparations. My hubby does not worry about it because yours truly will do everything from ordering the biscuits, fruit cake, Rasyad's and Adibah's raya clothes, open-house etc. to cleaning the house (of course he helps with the cleaning- the fans are in dire need of cleaning!). Today I picked up Rasyad's baju melayu and paid RM75.00 as tailoring fee. The material itself was about RM80.00 Maybe it's cheaper to buy ready made? I've never bought a ready made baju melayu.

Tomorrow am picking up all the biscuits at Kak Lin's place and the fruit cakes at Kak Timah's house..don't ask how much it will cost. A bomb likely!! With the price rise in everything , obviously the Raya budget is also affected. I just hope that the biscuits are nice. You don't mind paying if they taste good. As you know, it's really difficult to find cookies that taste great nowadays despite the fanciful names and the price! Really. Am fussy about tarts especially. Somehow I am never satisfied with the taste of the tarts I've ordered. I had this dream of making my own tarts this year but alas it remains an elusive dream...with the just concluded SPM trial papers, I just have to forget the idea. I also have this dream of one day owning that Kenwood food mixture that can knead dough as well, you know, the one that costs RM 3300 ++? Hmm..I can afford it if I really want it but my hubby asked why I need such an expensive food mixer when they are cheaper ones...Well, I thought maybe I can go into baking if am ever out of a job you know...seriously hehe. I will own it someday and with my new Zanussi electric oven, I should be baking in style!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Teaching With Minimal Resources

Salam and hi,

For those of you who are teaching large classes and little time to prepare, here are some tips on teaching grammar using minimal resources and preparations.

DIY Grammar: 10 tips for teaching grammar with minimal resources

Each of the following ideas can be used in class with minimal or no preparation. They are ideal activities to review or extend grammar structures and require no special materials. Many of the ideas can be used with different grammar points, suggestions for the grammar follow each activity.

Personalised gap fill
Write six to eight sentences on the board which contain the target structure with gaps for the students to fill in. Write the words they must use at the top of the board. Use students’ names and details about them in your sentences. Students copy down the sentences, fill in the gaps with the words and then decide if they are true or false.
e.g. Susana’s parents ______ in Madrid.
GOOD FOR: tenses, adjectives or adverbs, comparatives, modal verbs

Error correction
Similar to 1 above, but write sentences with incorrect grammar. Again, use your students’ names, or perhaps your own. Ss must first correct the grammar, and then make the sentences true if the facts are incorrect.
GOOD FOR: tenses, adjectives or adverbs, articles, comparatives, modal verbs

Find the other half
Tell students they need two small pieces of paper. Ask students to write a two line dialogue using the target structure. They can take something from the course book if they like, or invent it themselves. They must write one part of the dialogue on one bit of paper and the other part of the dialogue on the other. Circulate and check a few to make sure that they are correct. Collect all the papers and redistribute them. Ss must find the other half of their dialogue. You can do this with longer sentences too.
GOOD FOR: almost any grammar (for dialogues, this in fact is more about coherence), longer structures like conditionals for sentences

What we did today
Ask students to work in groups of three. They must write a summary of the grammar that they have learnt for a student who is absent. They can include examples from the book or the teacher, or their own. If the students are a very low level, they could do this in their own language.
GOOD FOR: any grammar point – in fact anything at all that arose in the particular class!
Quiz
Write a few general knowledge questions including the grammar. You could make all the questions based on the same theme (history, music etc) or a mixture. Divide the class into teams and give them the quiz, either on a piece of paper or written on the board. Students then make similar quizzes for each other.
GOOD FOR: passive voice, comparative and superlative, past tense, there is/are, question forms
Find someone who
Divide the class into As and Bs. Ask all the Bs to write down a true sentence about themselves using the target grammar (you could provide a sentence stem for them to complete – see example below). Collect all of these. Mix them up and distribute them to the As. Review how to make a question using the grammar. Tell the As they must find the B who wrote the sentence and sit down next to them. This is particularly good for large classes with screwed down furniture.
Example:
B writes: After class I am going to go to the cinema.
A goes around the class asking: What are you going to do after class?
GOOD FOR: question forms, different tenses

DIY Jumbled sentence
Ask students to choose a nice long sentence from one of their grammar exercises in the coursebook or workbook. Tell them to take a piece of paper and rip it up into as many pieces as there are words in the sentence. They then write one word on each piece of paper. Tell them to mix up the pieces of paper on their desk. They then move over one place so that they are sitting in another student’s chair in front of a new jumbled sentence. Tell them they have a time limit (30 seconds or 1 minute) to put the pieces of paper in the correct order and make the sentence. When they finish, they can check with the student who made the sentence if they are correct.
Variation: To make it extra difficult, ask each student when making the sentence to add another piece of paper with an extra word that doesn’t fit into the sentence. The other student has to reorder the sentence and spot the “intruder” word.
GOOD FOR: structures with several elements (e.g. going to, perfect continuous tenses, conditionals), questions and negatives, adjective and adverb placement in sentences.

It’s your turn
Choose 3 students (volunteers) to sit at the front of the class. The rest of the students think of questions to ask the three (these can be based on the theme of the lesson). One student asks a question to the 3 volunteers. The first volunteer starts the answer to the question by saying on word. Then the second volunteer adds the next word, the third the next and then back to the first volunteer to add the next word in the sentence/answer. This continues until they finish the sentence. The teacher (or another student) can record the answer to look at later. Note: It is important that the volunteers only say one word per turn. At low levels they may wish to help each other, at higher levels the fun is when you make the next volunteer add more (i.e. by using link words like and, but, however etc).
GOOD FOR: word order, linking devices, verb agreements.

All the words
Ask the students to write down three English words (these can be their favourite words, words they recently learnt, words they think are useful, words from today’s lesson etc). Now ask the students to put their pens down and to stand up. They should then walk around the room (if this is not possible ask them to work in small seated groups) and exchange their words. They must not say any other words than their three + the ones they hear from other students (i.e. The first person they speak to tells them three words, they now have 6. The second person tells them 6 they now have12 etc). After a few minutes ask the students to sit down and write down all the words they have ‘collected’. On the board add a few ‘grammatical’ words such as and, the, a, he, she, have, has, do, does, am, are, is, etc. Tell the students they must now write as many sentences as they can but only using the words they have written down + the words on the board.
GOOD FOR: word order and sentence structure. Can be adapted to be good for any area of grammar by focussing the choice of words in the initial stage.


For more tips go to http://www.onestopenglish.com/

Monday, 15 September 2008

School Assembly

Salam and hi all,

Today was a really special day although I had mixed feelings- happy, excited, nervous, apprehensive, you name it - and all this made my stomach churn! My principal announced my recent promotion during the assembly. I wasn't sure how to react, just stood up and smiled! Another touching thing was the 'card' she printed with all the nice words on it and she placed it in my record book. Boy, am I lucky!! She is such a selfless person and will go all out to make you feel appreciated. Thank you God for giving me such a boss (there are not many around) and thank you for the promotion. It's extra special as as all this took place in this holy Ramadhan. And to really make my day, some students came to congratulate me as well!! What a day! Alhamdulillah.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Perkampungan SPM Sekolah Berasrama Daerah Kluang

Salam and helloo,

Am piecing the English module for this programme which will be held 17-19 Oct. Some co-facees have already sent me the materials but not all. We have to handle around 100 SPM students and help them with English as the SPM is drawing near. The previous year we had it in Spg Renggam during the Ramadhan but thankfully this year it's in October. I am happy to be part of this programme and be able to help students with their final preparations for the upcoming SPM.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The Good Language Learner


Salam Ramadhan and hi to all,

How about something more serious this time round...good exercise for the brain!

Are you a good language learner? What does a good language learner do in order to learn English? What does he bring into the language classroom? Does he have to speak it often or write it often? Do you think there is such a thing as a good language learner?
Here's what the language experts have to say on the matter:

According to Rubin, J., & Thompson, I. (1982) in their book 'How to be a more successful language learner', there are fourteen important attributes:

1. Good language learners find their own way and take charge of their learning. They determine the methods that are best for them as individual learners. They learn from others and experiment with different methods.
2. Good language learners organise their study of the language, and they organise information about the language they study.
3. Good language learners are creative. They understand that language is creative. They experiment with the language and play with grammar, words, and sounds.
4. Good language learners make their own opportunities for practicing the language inside and outside of the classroom.
5. Good language learners learn to live with uncertainty by focusing on the meaning of what they can understand, by not getting flustered, and by continuing to talk or listen without necessarily understanding every word.
6. Good language learners use mnemonics and other memory strategies to recall what they are learning.
7. Good language learners make errors work for them and not against them.
8. Good language learners use linguistic knowledge, including knowledge of their first language, in learning a second language.
9. Good language learners use contextual clues to aid their comprehension of the language. They maximize use of all potential contexts around the language attended to for enhancing comprehension.
10. Good language learners learn to make intelligent guesses.
11. Good language learners learn chunks of language as wholes and formalised routines to help them perform beyond their competence. For example, they may learn idioms, proverbs, or other phrases knowing what the whole phrase means without necessarily understanding each individual part.
12. Good language learners learn certain tricks that keep conversations going.
13. Good language learners learn certain production techniques that also fill in the gaps in their own competence.
14. Good language learners learn different styles of speech or writing to learn to vary their language according to the formality of the situation.

How many characteristics are already there in you? How many do you need to work on? Which ones seem the most imprtant to you? I think it is important that English teachers and students are aware of the characteristics above because such an awareness can lead to change in attitude and hence performance! To do well in English we need to adopt the right strategies and attitudes. Otherwise, we will probably take a longer time to master the English language.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sponges

Salam and hi to all,

Here's something I have used in the classroom to fill up the time in the English class. You may want to use this while waiting for the students to trickle in and settle down or at the end of the class with the last 5-10 minutes remaining. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. I learnt this from the internet but for the life of me, I can't remember the webiste!! Please do adapt the activities according to your local situation. Let me know how it goes ok!

SPONGES

Useful And Fun Activities For Vocabulary And Concept Development

§ To soak up every valuable time in the classroom
§ Can be use competitively; group competitions
§ Used as a form of brainstorming for initial teaching
§ Or as reinforcement
§ Used in relation to concepts and meaningful contexts
§ Vocabulary learning should focus on useable words

UPPER SECONDARY SPONGES

1. List the continents of the world.
2. Take a number. Write it. Now make a face out of it.
3. Name as many gems of precious stones as you can.
4. Write the names of all the girls in the class.
5. Name as man teachers in this school as you can.
6. List as many states as you can.
7. How many countries and their capitals can you name?
8. How many baseball teams can you name?
9. Write down as many cartoon characters as you can.
10. List as many kinds of flowers as you can.
11. Turn to your neighbour. One of you tell the other about an interesting experience you have had. The listener must be prepared to retell the story to the class.
12. List all the things in your dorm.
13. Write what you would do if you saw an elephant in the backyard.
14. Name as many kinds of ice-creams as you can.
15. List five parts of the body above the neck that have three letters.
16. List one manufactured item for each letter of the alphabet.
17. List as many nouns in the room as you can.
18. Write the 12 months of the ear correctly. Stand up as soon as you are finished.
19. Make a list of five things you do after school.
20. List one proper noun for each letter of the alphabet.
21. Write one kind of food beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
22. Name as many holidays as you can.
23. Name as many balls as you can that are used in sports games.
24. List as many U.S presidents as you can.
25. List all the work tools you can think of.
26. List as many models of cars as you can.
27. Name all the colours you know.
28. How many animals can you list that begin with vowels?
29. List as many kinds of trees as you can.
30. Name as many countries of the world as you can.
31. List as many personal pronouns as you can.
32. List as many kinds of transportation as you can.
33. How many different kinds of languages can you name?
34. You have five children. Make up their five names.
35. Name as many things as you can that are made of cloth.
36. Name as many things as you can that you can wear on your head.
37. Name as many movie stars as you can. Tell what movies they were in.
38. Name as many television game shows as you can.
39. Name as many politicians as you can.
40. Name as many breeds of dogs as you can.
41. List all kinds of sandwiches that you can.
42. Scramble five spelling words, trade with someone and unscramble them.
43. List as many kinds of soup as you can.
44. List all the places you find sand.


LOWER SECONDARY SPONGES

1. Make a list of the 10 largest things you know.
2. Name as many planets as you can.
3. List all the sports you can think of in x minutes.
4. List all the foods you can that have sugar in them.
5. List all the foods you can that have milk in them.
6. Name all the parts of speech given and give an example each.
7. Name as many airlines that you can.
8. Name the different sections of the newspaper that you can.
9. Name as many islands that you can.
10. Name as many kinds of fish that you can.
11. Name all the words you can begin with the prefix in.
12. Name all the countries that have the letter ‘e’ in them.
13. List the things you would buy if you were given RM100.00 gift certificate from Giant.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Problem solved!

Hi all,

It's been two days since i could get internet access at home. It's like my world really turned upside down!! Sent my new acer notebook to the shop but still failed. It was only this morning that my dear husband solved the matter. Silly me...typed the wrong password all this while!! I could kick myself.

Speaking of the internet, i wonder when the school is going to fix the router...since the term break, there has been no internet connection. The teachers in the staffroom complained to me and i've informed the school but till yesterday, still no access. You should stay in the staffroom for a bit and try connecting then you will know what i mean.

Here's my two cents worth-the internet should be made available to all staff. Even in remote schools this is available whatmore town schools and in this age! Teachers will not abuse it. All they want to do is to check their emails, the latest news etc. Of course there are teachers who don't bother using the internet at all but there are those who want to use it. I've spoken on the matter no less than three times... am so frustrated. The internet is a neccessity not a luxury!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Englishsmart

Hi all,

Today saw a group of us editing the end-of-year English papers in the library. This is what honest and hardworking teachers do ok. They build papers :) Amongst other things of course...Reached home at 6pm feeling exhausted. Now, study the following sentences and tell me which one is correct ok?
  • How much money does she has?
  • How much money does she have?
Tell me the answer soon...m not testing your intelligence. Just telling you that a syt (sweet young thing) newly graduated English teacher told me her answer to the question above. But I can't tell you yet. You tell me your answer first. Then we will see who is Englishsmart. The carrot? Hmm...who said there's a prize in it? Well, a chocolate maybe if you are the first person to answer correctly hehe. All the best!
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