Friday, 26 April 2013

PMR In house training

Date: 25 April 2013
Venue: Meeting Room 2

Thanks to Atifah for the in house training today despite the short notice. I hope it was useful for the teachers and that they had taken the opportunity to learn as much as they could.


The Thinking Teacher

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Descriptive Writing: Using Your Five Senses

One of the best lessons I've ever had to be honest! I think we had so much fun in 5 Bukhari today. Here's the lesson for you to try.

Duration: Double-period
Topic: Descriptive Writing (Describing a place)
post-it notes, A4 paper


1. Warmer: Provide each student with a post-it note. On the post-it note, write three adjectives to describe
    your partner next to you.
2. Stick the post-it note on your partner's back. SS mingle to find out the adjectives describing them. (5
    minutes) - the noise level was a bit over the top but the objective was achieved for this part of the lesson.        
    Some of the adjectives elicited were "arrogant", "fat", "fun-loving". Since I joined in the activity, Danial had
    to describe me and these were the words he chose to describe me-"rich" (LOL), "friendly" and "happy-

Danial's description of me...

3. Next, give each ss a blank A4 paper. Coloured ones are better but I ran out of them. Get ss to trace
    the outline of their hand on the paper. Then relate those fingers with the five senses. Get them to tell you
    the senses and write them on the board. The next step is to ask them to draw the five senses on each
    finger. They can write their name in the palm if they like. This activity is to sensitise them to the need to be
    vivid in descriptive writing, hence the use of the five senses. Here's an example:

4. Next, teacher writes a short description of a room on board and get students to identify the words/phrases
    that refer to the five senses. This was the passage I used (credit: 1119 English, Koh Suat Chin, Delta

   Ah Mui's room was very small and dark. Heng smelled cockroaches and urine. 
All the windows were close but some of the shutters were missing. The little 
baby was sleeping semi-naked on the cold, bare concrete floor. Loud Chinese
 opera music was coming from the next room.

5. Circle or underline the relevant words, if possible with different colours.
6. Next, put students in groups of 3-4. (I always change the composition of the group so students can learn
    as much as possible from different group members) Here is my list:
    a. A bedroom
    b. A Clinic
    c. A bus-stop
    d. A coffee shop
    e. Sea shore
    f. A doctor's waiting room
    g. A cinema
    h. A restaurant

7. Teacher lists out eight places (if you have 8 groups) on board. Each group chooses one place and
    describe the place in one paragraph using descriptive words/phrases. (20 minutes) Call a student from
    each group to read out his group's description. Comment on the description on the spot.
8. Get students to copy the description and submit to the teacher for evaluation.

Simple isn't it? The next lesson should be a follow-up of this lesson. Perhaps, ss can be given descriptive sentences and get ss to underline the descriptive words/phrases and then write a longer descriptive piece.

I left the class feeling satisfied (you know how some lessons 'fail' sometimes...) and really happy :) Objectives achieved! Go ahead, have a go and your feedback is most welcome. I would love this blog to be interactive  :)

The Thinking Teacher

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Vocabulary Activity

Here's a vocabulary activity you can try to add that variety to your lesson. There is no need to use the board for this activity. In fact, the students will enjoy working with their friends on this one. Just print out one handout per group and let them form as many words from the letters given. To make it slightly more challenging, add some 'rules'. For e.g. no two-letter words allowed or you can even make that three if your students are better. In addition, give ten points for words with more than five letters. Tally all the marks and announce the winners. Some chocs for the winning group will be great as motivation. And allow them to use the often do they use it anyway :)

Happy teaching :)

5 Syafie

the end result!

The Thinking Teacher

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Power of Drama (2) : The Scapegoat, SBP Southern Zone Drama Competition

Date: 6th April 2013
Venue: SBPI Selandar, Melaka

Although the drama team did not win anything, I'm so proud of them! We went through a lot to pull this through and I only have praise for their commitment and dedication. Well-done! Mariana (KB Bahasa) and I
drove to Selandar just to watch them perform. We stopped by JJ to get some food for the team- cakes,
biscuits, drinks. Iman was pleading for food the night before so...Now they are thinking of the state level competition but rumour has it that it's on May 11th. Unfortunately it clashes with the mid-year I believe they have some decision-making to do. I also had a great conversation with one of the judges (Zairul) and he pointed out how we can improve. He was very helfpful indeed!

The cast and crew definitely deserve mention:

Manager: Muhammad Afiq Hafizzuddeen Isam
Director: Amirul Amin Muhammad Daud
Audio and Lighting: Zainulariffin Affan Zainul
Potographer and Brochure: Muhammad Syazwan Jaafar
Props: Muhammad Ikhwan Yahya/ Muhammad Azammuddin Mohd Norman

Sultan Mansur Syah (Muhammad Nor Hakim Jawahil)
Hang Jebat (Syagiq Osmera)
Kirana (Nuralissa Jaslin Jasni)
Princess Hang Li Po (Nazurah Mohammad)
Seri Lela Wangsa (Fathin Syakila Johari)
Tun Pepatih Putih (Aliaa Nabilah Abdul Mutaali)
Si Putum (Wan Iman Nur Hakim Wan Hishamuddin)
Dancers: Rosini A/P Palanisamy Lingam/Taranisha A/P Vijayan

The Thinking Teacher

PPMP (1) meeting, SMK Simpang Renggam, Kluang

Date: 26 March 2012
Venue: SMK Simpang Renggam, Kluang, Johor

The first PPMP meeting was held today and chaired by Tn Hj Mohd Nor A. Ghani, Johor Education director. I certainly hope this is not the last. When it was my turn to speak I reported on a writing module the SPM PPMP is working on. As the chairperson for SPM English, I raised three matters:

  • the need to reevaluate the role of PPMP in the state- the role of PPMP has been producing module after module. There are questions as to whether these modules reach the schools and as to their effectiveness. I'm glad the Mathematics chairperson echoed my suggestion.My point was is there a real need for so many modules and is this the only role of the PPMP? We need to organise other things like conventions, ideas market, innovations etc. 
  • that schools rejuvenate it's co curricular activites at the school level- most schools only prepare students if there are competitions at the district or state levels.In this way, the English environment is kept alive in schools. This is in line with MBMMBI policy.
  • the quality of teacher's teaching and competency are more important- this can be achieved by having courses for teachers particularly when we have many new teachers and Heads of Panel now.

The first PPMP meeting chaired by Johor's Education Director, Tn Hj Mohd Nor A. Ghani

The Thinking Teacher

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Power of Drama

I've never underestimated the power of drama. I know that drama can do wonderful things to language learning and character development but I've always shied away from it. Fear factor? No. Untrained? Perhaps. Shy? More likely. The only time I was dabbling with drama was in a course with the Curriculum Development Centre some years back. I was lucky to have a little bit of exposure with Joe Hasham and Farida Merican themselves. One thing I realised was you have to let go in drama, something I find hard to do. This time around I was merely helping the students in their preparations while waiting for Fariha to be back. 
Gulp and Gasp...

This was my second session with them and tonight I felt a bond with the students and this must be how their drama teacher felt last year. And I felt really proud of them and what they are capable of doing. Yes, they've only trained the last two weeks. Not even two weeks due to the school break but their enthusiasm showed me how to enjoy myself and be young again. Haha! It's rejuvenating drama and it's fun to see them let their creative juices flow. The decision to tape them and then view their rehearsal tonight was accurate. They could see how they presented themselves and their gestures. All this because SASEM is taking part in the SBP Southern Zone Drama Competition this Friday in SBPI Selandar, Melaka. 

We still have a lot to improve but I see the benefits of drama in my very own eyes- how it bonds teacher and students, language practice, developing confidence, teamwork...the list goes on. I know the theories but to be involved first hand is a different matter altogether. Credit must go to Azhar for a great script. To all the cast and crew, keep up the good work. We still have a few days left before Selandar and I know you will give your best. Here's to drama!

Lela and Kirana


the end of Si Putum

Si Putum, Sultan Mansur Syah and Tun Pepatih Putih

Lela and Jebat

Li Po and Jebat

the whole cast

curtain call- proud of all of you!

The Thinking Teacher