Thursday, 30 December 2010

Schemes of Work : Forms 1-5

Looking for schemes of work?

I firmly believe that your scheme of work must be tailored to your students' levels and needs. Therefore I have separate schemes of work for the different CLASSES that I teach. I am aware that many teachers prefer a standardised scheme of work but from experience, you will usually evaluate your class progress and may have to make changes to your scheme of work say in mid-term. I'd like to think of it as something flexible and needs to be revised from time to time.  Hence, it's best that you plan what's suitable for your own students.

Preparing the scheme of work is essentially our core business as teachers, so take time to do it either individually or collaboratively with your panel members. You could have teachers preparing scheme of work for the weaker classes and another group preparing for the better classes. That way, you take into account what your students really need for the new academic year. You will find that it's rewarding to actually plan your work  via your scheme of work and to work out your plan! Suffice to say that cutting and pasting someone else's scheme of work is something we must avoid :) I posted on this sometime back and suggested a format for it too. You may disagree with the format so feel free to adapt according to your needs.

Since many have requested via email for the 2011 scheme of work, I have uploaded them as a guide. You can refer to the schemes of work uploaded on the tabs above or the left sidebar.

Happy New Year!

To all my friends, students and blog visitors, 

I wish you Health...
So you may enjoy each day in comfort.

I wish you the Love of friends and family...
And Peace within your heart.

I wish you the Beauty of nature... 

That you may enjoy the work of God.

I wish you Wisdom to choose priorities...
For those things that really matter in life.
I wish you Generousity so you may share...
All good things that come to you.
I wish you Happiness and Joy...
And Blessings for the New Year.
I wish you the best of everything...
That you so well deserve.


Tuesday, 28 December 2010


PLAN- J stands for 'Piawaian Latihan Akademik Negeri Johor' which is a standard that has been prepared by JPN Johor for English teachers in the state. Teachers are expected to adhere to a certain standard with regards to the quantity and quality of exercises/tasks given to all students throughout the academic year. The document is also devised to ensure teachers take into account the type and level of exercises when lesson-planning.  

You can find the edited PLAN-J on the tab above or the left sidebar.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Superbook of Webtools for Educators

I've been reading a lot on web technology lately and how exciting it will be if I can use some of these in my classrooms. This is free and it can be downloaded from the link.

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators -

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

The new academic term is not too far way, one week left to enjoy your holidays before we are back to the grindstone. The final week of hols is usually that time of the year when I take stock of the year's happenings; the successes, disappointments, learnings and what I could have done differently. This reflection can make a big difference before I plan 2011. During the last week of the hols, I'm usually busy:

  • completing my schemes of work
  • updating the resource files for the forms I will be teaching
  • photocopying the materials needed for the first week of school - a stack of vocabulary materials will be given to 5S2 on the very first day of school itself. This time around I want them to start off straightaway with hard work!
  • updating the perfomance file for all the classes I taught in 2010
  • looking for online materials 
  • planning for ELDSS programmes

 In 2011 I'd like to:
  • try two innovations am working on at the moment- one at the class level and the other at district level
  • do less of the same
  • use a grammar module for my classes
  • use a vocabulary module for all my classes
  • give short tests after every grammar unit learned to check progress- something I couldn't do in 2010
  • manage the journal-writing more effectively
  • use more ICT
  • write a book for English teachers professional development
  • set up a MELTA chapter in Kluang
  • attend a short course on creativity  

      I hope 2011 will be a great year of oportunities and achievements for you and me!

      Thursday, 23 December 2010

      PTK Oh PTK!

      That was my last PTK exam and boy am I glad! Just found out I got a IV!!! And what an appropriate day to hear of this good news than my birthday. Alhamdulillah.

      Wednesday, 22 December 2010

      Reading Club 10: How to get from where you are to where you want to be (Jack Canfield)

      One of the best books I've read! Many invaluable lessons, examples, principles that are easy to follow and practice. I love the way Jack Canfield (the man who co-founded the Chicken Soup series) writes. His language is simple yet affecting. The book's format is also helpful- he explains a principle with the help of true success stories  from notable people (Bruce Lee, Jim Carey, Lou Holt, W. Clement Stone etc.) and  anecdotes from his interviews. Some parts just made me go AHA!  There are many books on how to be successful, but this the best I've come across so far. Some of the most memorable parts are:

      • How our brain works - 'scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they're learning instead that we respond to what the brain, on the basis of previous experience, expects to happen next.' Experiments conducted showed that our brain actually learns what to expect next- whether it eventually happens that way or not. Therefore, we often achieve exactly what we anticipate. This is why we must hold POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS in our mind. 'When we replace the old NEGATIVE EXPECTATIONS with more positive ones- when you believe that what you want is possible- your brain will take over the job of accomplishing that possibility for you. Better than that, your brain will actually expect to achieve that outcome.' 

      •  What others think about you is none of your business- I like this!! Do you know how much time we spend sometimes worrying about what people think about us? Jack quotes Dr Daniel Amen's 18/40/60 Rule, which is so true! When you're 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you're 40, you don't give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you're 60, you realize nobody's been thinking about you at all. The moral of the story is people are busy worrying about their own lives, and if at all they are thinking of you, they are are wondering what you are thinking about them!!! Think about how much time you've wasted.

      •  Successful people are action biasthey take action. 'Most people are familiar with 'Ready, Aim, Fire!' but the problem is too many people spend their whole life aiming and never firing! 'Does this sound familiar? Jack proposes that we quit waiting for: 
                             - perfection
                             - inspiration
                             - permission
                             - reassurance
                             - someone to change
                             - the right person to come along
                             - the kids to leave home
                             - a more favourable horoscope
                             - the new admin to take over
                             - an absence of risk
                             - someone to discover you
                             - a clear set of instructions
                             - more self-confidence
                             - the pain to go away

      Well, these are some important things I've learned. No regrets buying the book..the only regret is it took me five years to find this gem (first published 2005)! Well, better late than never :)

      Are You Still Playing Your Flute? (Zurinah Hassan)

      zurinah hassan
      I've received some comments/emails recently on the error in the published text for the poem 'Are You Still Playing the Flute'. Apparently the last stanza has not been included. The following are the original versions written by Zurinah Hassan herself taken from her blog Interpretasi.


      Are you still playing your flute?
      When there is hardly time for our love
      I am feeling guilty
      To be longing for your song
      The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo
      Uncovered by the breath of an artist
      Composed by his fingers
      Blown by the wind
      To the depth of my heart

      Are you still playing your flute?
      In the village so quiet and deserted
      Amidst the sick rice field
      While here it has become a luxury
      To spend time watching the rain
      Gazing at the evening rays
      Collecting dew drops
      Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers

      Are you still playing your flute?
      The more it disturbs my conscience
      to be thinking of you
      in the hazard of you
      my younger brothers unemployed and desperate
      my people disunited by politics
      my friend slaughtered mercilessly
      this world is too old and bleeding

      Is this the end of our love
      time is forcing us, as artists
      to live outside ourselves

      translated by Zurinah Hassan

      The original version:


      Masihkah kau bermain seruling
      walau waktu telah terlewat untuk kita bercinta
      aku semakin terasa bersalah
      melayani godaan irama
      lagu yang tersimpan pada lorong halus buluh
      dikeluarkan oleh nafas seniman
      diukir oleh bibir
      diatur oleh jari
      dilayangkan oleh alun angin
      menolak ke dasar rasa.

      Masihkah kau bermain seruling
      ketika kampung semakin sunyi
      sawah telah uzur
      waktu jadi terlalu mahal
      untuk memerhatikan hujan turun
      merenung jalur senja
      mengutip manik embun
      menghidu harum bunga.

      Masihkah kau bermain seruling
      ketika aku terasa mata bersalah
      untuk melayani rasa rindu padamu
      di kota yang semakin kusut dan tenat
      adik-adikku menganggur dan sakit jiwa
      bangsaku dipecahkan oleh politik
      saudara diserang bom-bom ganas
      dunia sudah terlalu tua dan parah.

      Di sinilah berakhirnya percintaan kita
      kerana zaman sedang menuntut para seniman
      hidup di luar dirinya.

      (Zurinah Hassan)

      For the poet's own interpretation of the poem go to Zurinah Hassan.

      Saturday, 18 December 2010

      Step by Wicked Step- Anne Fine

      A sneak preview into my book that will be published soon...


      • The novel is set in the modern 20th century.
      • The story begins on a wet, rainy night with storms raging in the sky as the five main characters make their way ahead of their classmates to Old Harwick Hall for a week-long field trip.


      • The story takes place in Old Harwick Hall which is a spooky Victorian mansion built hundreds of years ago.
      • It is described as 'absolutely private' and 'a towering mansion with dunce-hatted turret'. It has 'dark windows' and a 'huge oak and iron door'.
      • The Tower Room in Old Harwick Hall - a room equipped with beds pointing to the centre. This is the room where the five characters Pixie, Claudia, Ralph, Robbo and Colin first gather when they arrive.
      • A tiny room (' a tower off a tower') adjoining the Tower Room is where the characters discover a mysterious old diary belonging to Richard Clayton Harwick. The room is hidden by the frame of a bed but a pock-mark reveals its existence. The room is full of cobwebs and dust on the furniture. There are six vaulted windows, a lantern, candelabra, some books, cushions and a tiny carved wooden cow with three legs in the room.

      Plot Overview

      The novel is written in seven chapters. The first two chapters are without titles while the other five chapters consist of stories from the five main characters, Claudia, Pixie, Ralph, Colin and Robbo. In the story, five schoolchildren spend the night in the creepy Old Harwick Hall, as part of a school field trip accompanied by their teachers. The schoolchildren do not really know each other, but the discovery of an old diary in the tower room find themselves coming closer together as they actually have a lot in common. The novel is written in an autobiographical style where the five main characters, Claudia, Pixie, Robbo, Colin and Ralph take turns to tell their five distinct stories step-by-step, story-by-story. They share stories of their stepfather, stepmother and step siblings frankly and openly and how they cope with their own situations. Their stories have a mixture of happy and sad endings.

        Friday, 17 December 2010

        The CURSE?

        The title of the novel doesn't really appeal to me but the story is pretty interesting. As most of you  would already know by now,  'The Curse' (Lee Su Ann) is one of the Fm 5 novels selected for 2011 particularly for Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. Have you read the text in preparation for the next academic year? Or are you waiting for the workbooks to be published so you can take the shortcut? From experience, it's always wise to read the novel first before you start teaching. Synopsis are fine but it isn't the same as reading the book yourself.  

        Are you looking for modules to all the novels for Form 5 next year? Look no further. You can find the CDC modules to get you started since there are no books in the market just yet. Click the tab (on top) under 'literature' and the left sidebar under 'Literature 2011 Modules'.

        For Pahang,Terengganu, Johor, Sabah,Sarawak and Labuan

        Here's the blurb:

        In The Curse, Azreen takes time off from her studies in London, UK to return to her village in one of the legendary islands of Langkawi, to mourn the loss of her older sister, Madhuri. But as it turns out, she has to confront the mystery that shrouds her sister's sudden death in suspicious circumstances.
        Was it her imagination that Madhuri was in danger? Azreen felt a chill. The words that she had overheard the day before came back to her. Puan Normala had been talking to a few women and did not realize that Azreen was just in the next room and could hear every word.
        "You won't believe me, but I'm telling the truth. I saw her," hissed Normala. "It was no accident. It was murder. Listen to me and keep this in mind. This is just the beginning." A few women chuckled nervously. But Normala continued. "Laugh if you like. You'll soon see. We're all cursed."
        The summary:
        (Credit: Alan wong , STAR Publications)

        CERPEN is a word I haven’t heard of since I left school. It perfectly sums up Lee Su-Ann’s The Curse, the second prizewinner in the English Novel Category of the Utusan Group’s Young Adult Literature Competition of 2005. It has since been published and ready to enthral sceptics of local literature.

        The Curse showcases village girl Azreen, who takes a sabbatical from her studies overseas and returns to her hometown in her sleepy village in an island south of Langkawi. Her homecoming is greeted by the tragic death of her sister Mahduri, the fair blossom of the unnamed village. The incident leaves her parents traumatised, especially her mother, whose senility becomes more pronounced.

        In the aftermath of her sister’s end, possibly due to foul play, a strange pall hangs over the village. There’s the token ghostly figure in white. Making things worse with allusions of a curse is Puan Normala the village gossip, who is guaranteed to get under your skin.

        Sinking into that familiar fugue that follows the loss of a loved one, Azreen revisits memories of her youth, good and bad. She finds no comfort from her sullen father or delirious mother. Thankfully, at no point does our heroine go into Nancy Drew mode. Throughout the novel we are informed via flashbacks that our heroine is no typical village girl, even in her younger days: tomboyish, headstrong and not above talking back to her elders. Which might explain her estrangement from her parents.

        Main distractions come in the form of Mohd Asraf, the hot-headed village hunk, whom Azreen had a crush on in her younger days. There’s also the mysterious outcast, an old lady whom Azreen befriends. Spicing things further is Mahduri’s recent marriage to the village headman, the jealous fits of the headman’s first wife, and some livestock that shared the victim’s fate.

        Was Mahduri murdered? Is there really a vengeful spirit stalking the village? Will Azreen get the guy? Who, or what killed the animals? Will it ever stop raining? Are Mahduri’s parents Bollywood fans? And why won’t that irritating Puan Normala just shut up? I bet you’d like to know.

        At first glance, it doesn’t look like much. It is almost pocket-sized, and borrows a lot from existing works. Mahsuri legend? Check. Vengeful spirits? Check. Rip-off of Stephenie Meyer’s cover to New Moon, complete with bloodied white flower? Check. Script from a typical Drama Minggu Ini? Check. Compensation for all that comes in the believable portrayal of the rural Malay village and its inhabitants.
        The level of suspense is quite credible, but the execution is hardly subtle. Hints pointing to something sinister in Mahduri’s demise start falling like ripe durians about halfway through the story. Thankfully, they will all miss their mark, and we are thus spared from a predictable ending.

        Lack of originality aside, there aren’t a lot of issues with The Curse. Its small size is actually an advantage. It probably kept the author focused on telling the story without any added fluff – all the elements of one good story in one miniscule package. I’m still amazed at how the author pulled it off.

        The Curse is further proof that the local literary scene is neither dead nor moribund. This edition is a nice comfortable read for everybody – especially those with short attention span – as opposed to that 700-odd page international award-winning bestseller.

        Plus, it’s actually readable.

        Here's another review:
        (credit Fuziana)

        “The Curse” is about a girl, named Azreen, her parents and sister, Madhuri. Azreen, a strong-headed girl is studying in London but has to take a leave from her study when she receives the news about her sister’s death. She is curious about the cause of her sister’s sudden death. When she reaches home, her sister’s body has been brought to the cemetery. She overhears a village gossiper, Puan Normala talks about her sister’s death. Normala claims that her sister has been murdered and has shed white blood.

        On her return, Azreen discovers a few truths about her family and people around her. First she finds out that her sister has been in love with Asraf, and has planned to marry and divorced her husband, Hj Ghani. Second, Awang, the Shaman has actually caused the accident which his parents are involved in and causes her mother to become paralysed. Third, she learns that Madhuri is actually her adopted sister and the crazy woman is Madhuri’s biological mother. Fourth and finally, she discovers that Madhuri has accidentally been killed by her father.

        There is one old woman whom Azreen has turned to for emotional support. The old woman lives alone in an abandoned house in the jungle. Azreen learns a lot about life from this wise old woman. The old woman however dies in a fire started by Asraf who has blamed her for his grandmother’s death.

        At the end, Azreen returns to London to finish her study. She has learned a valuable lesson from her short break at her little village in Langkawi Island. She has learned to forgive others and to look ahead.

        My Comments:

        Although the novel is a far cry from the texts dealt with before (e.g. The Pearl), it has all the elements of a good novel: exciting plot, believable and interesting characters, familiar themes and plenty of wholesome moral lessons to learn. For one thing, it is lighter and more accessible to L2 learners.  In my opinion, what's most important is for a text to have a good story. Does this have a good story? Yes if we are talking about For 5 students. It should provide plenty of opportunities for teachers to exploit the text in interesting ways that will help students comprehend the text. It may not be written by the likes of John Steinbeck or Keris Mas and it may not portray the same depth  and  richness as 'The Pearl' for instance, but it has a good story suitable for seventeen-year-olds (although I wish it had none of the likeness to Mahsuri!)

        I much prefer stories to be fresh and unpredictable without  the slightest connection to a known tale (however vague that connection may be). However, I am aware that the plot is different from that of Mahsuri. I can already picture how some events can be turned into a simple play that will enhance understanding of the novel. Obviously, there are many possible text exploration activities that can be done with a good story. Explore! Discover!

        Happy reading :)

        Monday, 13 December 2010

        Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

        Teacher's will be familiar with Bloom's taxonomy but how many of us are familiar with Bloom's digital taxonomy? The old taxonomy comprises of Knowledge-Comprehension-Application-Analysis-Synthesis -Evaluation but the digital taxonomy has been fine-tuned to Remembering-Understanding-Applying-Analysing-Evaluating-Creating. I always have a copy of the original taxonomy in my record book for reference because it helps in preparing activities and questions at different levels. However, Andrew Churches has developed a  Blooms' digital taxonomy which  is more in keeping with Web 2.0 technology and I think it's very creative. It guides us in choosing the best Web 2.0 technology to use in the classroom for maximum impact. It's nice to see blogging right on top of the paradigm :)

        Tuesday, 7 December 2010

        Reading Club 9: Live Life with Spice (Eric. A. Waldburger)

        Some important learning points from the latest book I've read:
        According to the author, SPICE stands for:

                                            S  parkling
                                            P  assionate
                                            I   inspiring
                                            C  redible
                                            E  ngaging
        • the sky is not the limits...
        • punctuality
        • being humble despite your achievements- make humility your weapon of choice
        • your health is your number one priority
        • your temper has a safety catch. keep it on at all times
        • don't be a copycat, be creative
        • when complacent, you simmer, when hot, you sizzle!
        • living with a light heart will give you wings to soar to great happiness
        • seize the moment when it mattered most
        • reward will come to those who set out to achieve their targets with dedication, hard work, respect for others and fair play
        • smile the day away