Monday, 23 July 2012

A lesson on Idioms

Deeply disappointed with 4 Syafie for handing in 14 summaries instead of 29. Even the journals were not the full number it should have been. On top of that it was such a heaty day today and to have the last two periods (1.10-2.30 p.m) was a challenge. Mind you, all English classes for 4 Syafie are last periods. I really have to prepare for the classes because I need to keep them awake every lesson every week. I booked the viewing room which was cooler but I hadn't got my ppt ready so we had the lesson in class instead. At the end of the class, a student stopped me and asked whether he could send his journal next week (offering no apologies) and prior to that one other student said he left his journal in the hostel...sounds familiar? The conversation with the second student went something like this:

(at the corridor after English class...)

SS : Teacher, can I send my journal next week? (smiling)
T  : Why? (in a hurry right after class)
SS : I left it at home. I will be going back this weekend so I   
     can bring it back.
T  : Oh, this morning a Form One student told me the same thing 
     and guess what I said to him? Ask your mum to post it to 
SS : Post it?
T  : You heard me. POST! (left in a a huff)
SS : Post it? (speaking to himself)

Was I so cruel? They promised to submit their journals today after the weekend they spent at home for Ramadhan. To be honest, I struggled to keep the students focussed today. I don't think they meant any disrespect but sometimes I feel they don't respect me enough! Am I losing my students??? I was at the top of my voice all the time. The week before I had a lesson using a song and that too was met with  indifference.  I'm wondering what to do in future lessons...

Let me share the lesson on idioms we had today anyway.

Topic: Idioms
Time:  Double-period
Preparation:  1. Mahjong papers, marker pens, masking tape, idioms on cards (one idiom per group of 
                       3-4). Choose your idioms carefully so they can be presented visually.
                    2. A worksheet on mixed idioms.

Steps:         1. Show some idioms on board and ask for their meaning from SS.
                   2. Get SS into groups of 3-4 depending on the size of your class.
                   3. Give one idiom written on a piece of paper to each group and inform them not to let the
                       other groups know.
                   4. Allow 20 mins for group to draw idioms on mahjong paper. T explains or confirms SS
                       understanding of the meaning of the idiom given if necessary.
                   5. One representative will explain the picture drawn in front of the class and let the others
                       guess what the idiom is. In addition, the meaning of the idiom is also explained by the
                       representative with T's help if  necessary.
                   6. Stick the SS products on the wall in the classroom for a week or so so they can look at the                               idioms again.
                   7. Provide the worksheet to expose them to more idioms in the second period and discuss
                       SS responses.

Each group was given an idiom to draw.

the process..

To let the cat out of the bag.

To make a mountain out of a molehill

Smell something fishy

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush

A red letter day

A picture is worth a thousand words

Blood is thicker than water...cute!
The second half of the a way of reinforcement

But you know me being me......(the sentimental fool that I am) I L.O.V.E them all the same :) That goes for 4 Bukhari and 1 Qayyim too ya.

Do share if you have better ideas.
Happy teaching :)

The Thinking Teacher

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Nostalgia (1)

Nostalgic...the only word to describe my feelings when I looked at my old photos. I was spring cleaning for a new settee we had ordered for Raya and found many old albums. This particular photo was back in 1998 when I was doing my masters in the University of Birmingham, UK. It was early spring and I think Say Lee was the one who snapped this one. I remember flying business class to London with a group and then taking a bus to Birmingham. We rented a house in Selly Oak..let me see if I can still remember my housemates..Dayang (now Dr Dayang), Suhaila (Petronas student), Intan..Jamuna (who taught me how to make pakora). She's probably a very successful lawyer now. Oh I still remember their names :) after all these years. Sometimes we would frequent the Balti Indian restaurants nearby to try pilau rice, tandoori and the likes. Once in a while we would take the bus to Sainsbury but I usually felt contented with the Indian stores nearby. How I miss the old times...

Shakespeare Institute reminds me of Dr Susan Hunston (dissertation supervisor), Dr Kennedy, Dr Richard, Dr Michael Toolan, Corony Edwards, Prof Malcom Coulthard (THE authority then in Discourse Analysis)...good friends, Say Lee, Rahimah, Mubarak. We made it guys! We made good of the scholarship given to us. Incidentally, I met Mubarak (JPN Kedah) last year good to see him and oh..Rahimah in JELTA conference last July! Was it pure coincidence or God's will that her daughter (who was two years old in Birmingham) was sitting right next to me in the ballroom!

Thank you God for everything you have charted thus far in my life. I feel blessed :)

Shakespeare Institute, Univ of Birmingham

The Thinking Teacher

Lesson Study Publications by Teacher Division, MOE

I was privilidged to be a part of the Professional Learning Community: Lesson Study project with Teacher Division, MOE last year. Here are two publications I received for reference.My most recent involvement was a school visit to SMK Layang-Layang with officers from PPD Kluang last month.

The Thinking Teacher

First Aid Training by JPAM

Thanks to JPAM Kluang especially to En Hadi for sending 5 officers to demonstrate first aid to PBSM members in Sasem. I wasn't too happy with the attendance though. It's not easy to get these officers to come and I had to miss the session too due to a meeting. Am beginning to like PBSM although my experience with PBSM is next to nothing :) What I should've done was to combine all the uniformed bodies that day. Well, better planning next time and hope JPAM will still oblige...Thanks to Azie for handling the session.

The Thinking Teacher

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Date: 7 July 2012 (Saturday)
Venue: SM Sains Muar, Johor/SASEM

Been missing for a while...don't I miss blogging!

As part of its internationalisation programme, Samura (SM Sains Muar) invited me to conduct a public-speaking workshop for 19 students. It coincided with my school's first sports day but since Hida (the head of panel) had asked me months ago, I couldn't turn it down. I had a great time trying things with the talented students form Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia although at the back of my mind, I kept thinking of how Tuanku Hisamuddin's house was performing... After the heavy rain on the highway and one gory accident en route to Samura, I arrived thirty minutes earlier. The workshop lasted about two and half hours. Thanks for the invitation Hida, Zubaidah and the English Panel. The 'mee bandung' Muar was good Zubaidah, thanks and I had a great time :)

After the workshop yours truly broke all traffic laws by speeding home (am sure I will get a ticket just before Raya) just in time for the prize-giving ceremony. Alas, Hisamuddin was runner-up but I was so proud of them nevertheless. The main thing was we worked as a team and teacher-student bonded. I love these kids- all of them. Congrats and a job well done to Fitri@Ustadz, the captain ,all committee members- Syafiq James, Azamuddin, Daniel, Norazwan, Ikhwan, Hidhir, Setia Perkasa, Izzati, Farzana, Ummi, Anis, Atiqah, Lissa, Athira, Hazirah, Iskandar aka BONZER, Izzuddin, Hanif, Danial (4 Bukhari) and many more, teacher advisors (Syamsul- House Master, Azhar, Ema, Fariha). By the way, we won the march past and we were thrilled to bits!

our house :) despite the rain and mud..I love the sun guys!! thanks to Bonzer for the photo :)

The Hisamuddins had lunch in style- KFC!!  minus me (S.E.N.T.A.P- an expression I just learned from Izzati, 4 Syafie) hehehe...By the way I love the sun! It's pretty and attractive but sadly we didn't win "Hiasan Rumah Terbaik" sob sob sob :'( For the record, Hisamuddin amassed 14 gold medals, 13 silver and 13 bronze). I'm proud to post that Ikhwan from 4 Syafie was the best U18 athlete despite my disappointment that he had spent the previous night with other Hisamuddins decorating the tent till God knows when...small wonder that he lost the second gold medal that was rightly his the next day! And the fact that Azhar was right there with him that night did little to change anything. Bah!!!

Tuanku Hisamuddin 2012

However, Ikhwan did break the 100 meters record clocking 11.2 secs. WELL-DONE! And congrats to the U15 boys for winning the best team for the U15 category. In addition, Zulhimi Hamidi (2 Khaldun) and Arif (2 Khaldun) won three gold medals each. Well-done boys! Congrats too to the boys for winning the Boys Category team award.And yours truly kept her promise to award the gold medallists with RM10 each :)

Alas, the Sports Day is over, our very first...I will make sure I'm around the next time.
I thought our flag looked really nice :)

The Thinking Teacher

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lesson Study in SMK Layang-Layang

Date: 26th June 2012
Venue: SMK Layang-Layang

I arrived forty-five minutes earlier in SMK Layang-Layang to assist the PPD in the Bahagian Pendidikan Guru Professional Learning Community, Lesson Study Programme. Schools in band 6 and 7 have been selected for the programme and SMK Layang Layang is one of the schools in Johor. As a PR (Pakar Rujuk) for English Language, I assisted En Mohd Suffian Mohd Aris and En Musa (English Officer) from the PPD Kluang for a classroom visit. I enjoyed the lesson carried by Amalia, a young teacher who just started teaching for a month in the school. Post-observation reflection was held in the meeting room where all members of the English panel and officers reflected and gave their feedback on the lesson. Amalia had definitely put in a lot of effort in the lesson and executed it well. One thing I really liked was the video clip used as a set induction. It had lyrics accompanying it and this is very useful for rural students who may not comprehend the American accent. Not only was the video relevant to the teaching point (Recycling) but also clear and crisp. Overall, we agreed that the lesson achieved its objectives. Well-done!

the sert induction

a product for recycling

group work

En Musa (knowleadgeable other) from PPD Kluang

Amalia assisting her students

En Sufian (knowlegeable other) from PPD Kluang and Ms Wong, panel member

The Thinking Teacher

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Using the right tense in writing a story (4 Syafie)

It's been four days in a row that I have reached home at 6.00 p.m.  I can't help but ask does that make me a better teacher. I had to call the massage lady last night owing to a stiff neck...seriously, we need to relook what we are doing in school.  At the rate we're going, perhaps we should award a medal to the teacher who leaves school the latest! And oh! Not to mention the recent LDP we had...I was so angry about it all- being told at the last minute that the LDP committee was supposed to handle that! And not knowing it was some cookware they were promoting!!! How could we allow such an in-house? Business strategies are getting shrewder by the day!

I've not been able to post lately due to school work. Well, here's a lesson plan conducted recently in 4 Sayfie. Based on the mid-year exam, I found that most students were making plenty of tense errors even when writing stories. Some wrote as if they had not learned English grammar before... I decided to rectify this through a writing activity that went this way...

Activity: Using the right tense in a story
Materials: Select an introduction to a horror story (any suitable story will do), mahjong, marker pens,
                masking tape.
Steps: 1. Put students in groups and give them an introduction to an incomplete story (I used a horror story).
          2. SS discuss how to continue the story in about two paragraphs. (Allow more paragraphs if your SS
              are capable)
          3. Pay atttention to the past tense by giving sample sentences on the board.
          4. SS write continuation on mahjong paper and share the story in class.
          5. T edits the mistakes on the mahjong paper.
          6. Get individual students to copy the story.

Some problems faced:
1. SS handwriting on mahjong was a bit small for the those at the back to see.
2. Getting some SS focussed! (the restless ones if you catch my drift)

**Some hilarious and really gory versions were presented by students and I enjoyed listening to them. I will get some and post the stories here later.

What 4 Syafie did..

I certainly hope all that discussion, writing and presentation helped them understand why we need to use the past tense when writing narratives (stories). I surely didn't want to waste a lot of class time in discussion activities if they're not beneficial.

The Thinking Teacher