This is what i call creative writing

by Johnny Ling Leh Wui

Who says that writing has to be all in papers. With the latest technology, we can even integrate technology into our writing.

Hereby, what I am suggesting here is to create creative learning environment in classroom. What I am promoting here is to use storyboard as a form creative writing. Why using storyboard? Well, first, of course, it is fun. Secondly, it promotes creative thinking – students have to think of what to put in (sentences, video, pictures).Creative a video does not mean just to put the pictures in and it is done. It also has some connection with writing process – planning, developing and publishing. Besides, since schools nowadays are all provided with ICT, why not utilizing them? All day work makes Jack dull. As English is already dubbed as bored language subject by most students, it is the time to make a change!

So here is a free website that student can access through internet and create their own movie in the web. Besides it is for FREE!

a) Jaycut

b) Photo Story 3  http://www.photo-freeware.net/microsoft-photo-story-3.php

What can be done here? Well you can ask your students, instead of transforming theirs in writing lengthy essay, put their ideas into video making by adding some extra into it. Although, this is something that cannot be done in academic field, well, I personally think that having this a performance assessment would be great and once in a while giving students some entertainment in writing. All the best

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My Book Cover

Since all my classmates are doing book cover, I feel that it is an opportunity for me to learn how to create a book cover too just in case when I am working in school and people ask me to design a cover for my school magazine.

Anyway again because I love music so much, this book cover is all about music. This is what I have created.

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Creating Poster

My passion towards music has given me the inspiration to create a poster about music. Therefore, this is the poster that I have created. It took me a lot of time to create even a simple poster like this.

Concept of the poster
This poster is about a charity performance that is conducted by a group of orchestra. The poster is rather simple because it is a formal occasion. Thus, as seen all the images and the wordings are formal. I cannot deny that there are a lot of application that can be used in Photoshop to create a poster but is not applied here due to its formality which suits the subject of the poster.


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Sort the settings!

by Johnny Ling Leh Wui

Materials: a set of items of various settings (classroom, kitchen, living room, town, etc)

Language focus: present simple, giving instructions

Procedures:

1)      This is a pairwork.

2)      Give two sets of pictures of different setting.

3)      Each student will be arranging the setting that they have according to their own will.

4)      For example, student A is arranging the arrangement of the furniture in the living room and student B on classroom setting.

5)      Begin, by getting student A to give some description to student B based on her arrangement of the setting in living room. Student B with a set of pictures of living room furniture will try his or her best to arrange accordingly to the description given by Students A.

6)      After 5 minutes, they both change roles. It is now student B turns. Student A will now listen to Student B on his or her description of his classroom arrangement.

7)      In the end both check their arrangement and see if their arrangements are the same.

Comments:

This is an activity that trains students to listen and interpret the message more carefully. Often, not all of us listen during conversation. We merely just hear. Therefore, there is no proper understanding in the listening task that we are having. Such exercise above can train student to be more concentrate while listening to their friends. Beside it also gets to train the students in sentence constructing – based on the description they give to the listeners. By looking at their friends’ reaction while arranging the setting, they would know if their description (sentence construction) is of accurate or is of lacking.

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Books into Movies!!!

by JOHNNY LING LEH WUI

I personally think that the major problem with reading lesson now is that the text is not interesting enough. Usually, what is given is just an article gotten from some magazines and text books. It is of no wonder why students lose their interest when it comes to reading lesson because the text itself is not fantastic enough. Besides, the articles given may not cater everyone’s interest. For example, not all of us like non-fiction reading materials. Some may love fictions. Therefore, the best way is to give students the latest movie books or stories!

There are several reasons why movie books can be made as part of reading lesson.

1)      You get students to read more (extensive reading) – the length of the text.
2)      The books are far more interesting than the articles – everyone knows the story – shared topic to talk with each other
3)      The discussion can be expanded. Higher level of questioning skills such as analyzing and reasoning. – characterization and the cultural background. This also enriches students’ knowledge not only in the present but also the past.
4)      Students can compare the movie with the content of the original story in the book – how certain description in the book is portrayed in the movie
5)      The movie provides students a sense of background knowledge in the story book – this ease the reading progress and helps in imagination

Usually a movie can arouse people’s interest in reading the text. Like me, I am only sometimes attracted to the book when I know the content and watched it. This is because I know there must be differences between what is portrayed in the movie and the book. Therefore, there are a lot of reading materials that have changes into movies. You might want to try some of it. But remember, choose stories that are appropriate to their age and the length of the text that are suitable for their proficiency.

Below are some discussion that you can have after reading and watching.

1)      Compare the differences between the book and the movies in terms of
a.      the plot – cultural and time setting|
b.      the characters – the characteristics
2)      Discuss the issue in the story – the intended message

*Some of the story books are guided with some questions at the end of the story. Perhaps teacher can select some of the questions for the students.

REMEMBER: What we want the student to do is not just to look for information in a reading. We want them to really interact with the story so that TRUE READING is achieved!

Here are some of the story books that are made into movies.

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Create your own movie

by Johnny Ling

Teaching isn’t that hard for teachers. They have the information and the knowledge. However, what is bothering them is the way to get sources for teaching especially teaching aids. Even if we want to use video for teaching, not all the videos available is appropriate or up to our expectation. In short, they will never fulfill our needs.

So, why not start becoming a director of your own. You don’t need actors or actresses (unless you have one). All you need are pictures that are related to your working video and you can create your own masterpiece.

I still remember when we were back in our teacher training college; we had an assignment which required us to come out with a digital presentation. What we did was to get the available pictures (reference books, internet) and use them to make video. Of course, the cartoon or the subject in the pictures could not move. What can be done is through animation. Background music would be lovely too to accompany the video to make it more lively and interesting. Therefore, it is simple and does not consume much of your time.

Here are some softwares that can be used to make your own simple movies for teaching.

a)      Photo story 3

c)      Window movie maker

d)     Jaycut

With this, you will have something extra in your teaching!

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Students lack of vocabulary? Get them Longman Dictionary: Essential Activator!

by Johnny Ling Leh Wui

The suggestion provided here is not for advertising purposes but rather as a means to help teachers to gather more sources in teaching their students writing.

A user-friendly dictionary when it comes to writing.

This is a highly recommended dictionary to all the students who are trying to build up their vocabulary. I had this dictionary when I was in Form 5 and only lately I remembered when I detect my students’ weaknesses in searching for words while teaching them writing.

The major problem that students are facing in writing is their choice of words -vocabulary. As English is their second language, they would have difficulty in expressing themselves in writing. As a result, most of their writing are dull filled with repeated same word for different expressions which eventually affects the quality of their writing. Therefore, it is not that students do not know how to write but rather due to their  linguistic threshold which holds them back from improving.

Thus, it is highly recommended to all students to use Longman Essential Activator. It is  user-friendly for it contains all kind of words to help one to express their idea in writing. Its functions are more or less like thesaurus but the words are more of common and daily use.

For example, if you want to find the way a person walks, and the only word that you know is “walk” just look for it in this dictionary and it will give you a list of action related to walking such as wander, stroll, limp, trudge etc. Mind you, not only it supplies students with a wide coverage of words, it also provides definition for each word and teaches students on how to apply the words in their writing (examples are given in the dictionary).

Sounds so easy ridiculous? Buy one and try it! I have to admit that this is the fastest and easiest way to learn basic English vocabulary (highly recommended for those who do not read a lot). At least, the basic vocabulary would help them not only in widening their vocabulary but also their writing.

For more review on this dictionary
please visit :  http://www.tefl.net/reviews/longman-essential-activator.htm

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Art and Craft as part of Reading?

by Johnny Ling Leh Wui

There are a lot of reasons why a student dislike reading lesson very much. First, students are shame to read aloud in the class. Secondly, the activity is always related to answering comprehension questions. Reading, asnwering, reading and answering. Nothing more!

It indisputable that reading is all about testing their understanding about a certain text given to them. In fact, supplemented by the exam-oriented society, it pressures most teachers into focusing only the academic angle of education, omitting the fun in reading. But is that all  reading can offer us?  Why not try to turn reading into something more fun and yet still require students to read (fun reading!)

Integrating Art and Craft in Reading!

I could not agree more that when I was in primary school, I was only interested in singing, drawing or colouring – anything that has got to do with art or performance. It was the only catalyst that pushed me towards studying and it worked eventually. However, a teacher must be careful in selecting the order of the activities (either before, during or after reading) to prevent losing the  main purpose of reading . Perhaps the suggested activities bellow are more suitable to be conducted after reading as the closure. The activities of course has to be suitable according to their age.

Activities suitable for primary students.
Primary school students are very enthusiastic when it comes to hands on learning. Therefore, any activities that are related to art is suitable for them. What is being focus here is the language usage in the activity while reading is just subordinate towards their learning.

For instance, provided that children are reading a text on how someone is celebrating his or her birthday. The teacher perhaps can ask the students to use their creativity on how they make a birthday card for the birthday boy or girl in the text.

To make it more interesting, perhaps the teacher can change it into pop ups card.

Other examples of activities are:

a) finger puppets  or character headbands
E.g.: designing their own puppets or headbands and come out with a role
play according to the story line in the text

b) drawings
E.g.: could be anything (picture of their family, their friends) which is related
to the text

c) colouring
E.g.: based on the text, the students colour the picture according to the
descriptions

d) my story book
E.g.: create their own little short story book (with drawings and pictures)
based on the text given (teacher may provide them with printed
pictures)

e) vocabulary mobiles
E.g. : a collection of vocabulary in terms of drawings found in a text.

Vocabulary mobiles of fish. It could be others such as vegetables, animals and flowers.

Activities suitable for secondary school students
It is advisable for teachers to choose activities that will encourage students to constantly referring to the text or require students for extended reading outside of classroom in order to accomplish them. For example, advertisement designing and poster designing.

The poster above, for instance, does not only test students understanding about the activity that is stated in the text but also enhance students’ creativity in coming out with the motto to be inserted into the advertisement.

Other examples are such as:

a) Webpage designing.
E.g: information webpage such as Global Warming awareness webpage.

b) Designing games out of the article.
E.g. : treasure hunt by getting the hints from the article

c) Dramatizing
E.g. : miming or short role play – to get the insights of the characters in
the text

d) Singing
E.g. : conducting singing session related to the text
(before or after the reading as set induction or closure)

e) photo story
E.g: using certain software to create a electronic storyboard based on a text (story or documentary)

And others, as long as the activity is suitable and meaningful.

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All in one click – Good source for teaching

I found a website which consists of a lot of stuff about English learning. It is all in one. This would be a nice website for teachers to get their source for teaching aids.  The website consists of :

a)      Multimedia English courses

In this section there are a lot of video about learning. It is all 3D animation teaching students various themes mainly all the themes in our curriculum such as social, technology, health and people. For each video, there are some exercises provided and full texts are given too for reference. The exercises consists of Multiple choice questions, matching exercises, and short answer questions.

Animated video
Text can be hidden or viewed
Exercise

b)      English language courses

There are a few categories according to students proficiency – children, beginners, elementary, intermediate, advanced and English test. Each section has tutorials on grammar (noun, adjective, preposition etc), functions of English language (aplologize, requests and instructions etc),  vocabulary (around town, countries and nationalities etc) and dialogues of different genres and topics (meeting people, about town-sightseeing, describing people etc).

List of items
grammar notes
English usage and its functions in everyday life

c)      English for business

English for business studies such as investing, marketing, the office, and about computer

d)     EFL exam practice

A sample of exam used in EFL examination according to level of examination from Key English Test (KET), Preliminary English Test (PET), First Certificate in English (FCE), Cambridege Advanced English (CAE), Cambridge Proficiency English (CPE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Stages and Level of English Examinations

e)      Reading practice

Includes a list of stories such as literature for reading which is weekly uploaded such as the Jungle Book, Sherlock Holmes etc. It is also divided into three levels elementary, intermediate and advanced level of proficiency.

Insights of the reading materials

f)       English language game

Divided into two types – that can be played online and that can be downloaded and play in your own computer

Games selection

For more information please log on http://www.english-online.org.uk/backindex.html

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Lecture 3 – ASSURE

We were taught about how to incorporate ICT into teaching and its benefits. Well, I can’t deny that it is useful when it comes to teaching for it will attract students attention. Besides, it saves a lot of time (on our teaching) but spend more time on designing our ICT teaching aids. Well, it’s okay. I believe it can be reused in our future teaching – bersusah-susah dahulu bersenang-senang kemudian.

Not many teacher are dedicated to do so - not much because it is too troublesome for them but rather due to paucity of school facilities.

 

Asking students to move to computer lab would have taken too much time. Therefore, it is understandable why most teacher would still prefer teacher-centered method.

 

a great experience because I wasn’t teaching school students actually. I was teaching “senior adults” – range of age between 25 – 40++. Cambridge English ESOL

 

 

But i do believe in using ICT in teaching. I still remember how ICT helped me a lot when I was working as a part-time tuition teacher back in my hometown.

 

I use my father's LCD to teach in class

The tuition, well, does not have ICT and therefore, I had to use my own laptop and LCD projector (belongs to my dad). This is what I think teachers in this Millennium should possess. Although expensive, helps a lot later. So, my friends (cohort 5) you might as well consider of buying one – not really expensive nowadays , it costs the same price as your handphone actually ^^ *wink*

This group of students are not all Malaysian – they are foreigners who are eager to learn English to improve their communication skills. Therefore, there are communication barrier between all of us. What did I do?

I have students from China, Arab Saudi and Thailand

This is when ICT brings a lot of benefits to teachers. Not only it help to teach what you wish to convey, it also helps students to activate their schemata and learn at the same time. I used ICT in showing them a lot of pictures and played some games. It did bring lots of fun.

That’s why I strongly believe the use of ICT and I could see that they are improving a lot in terms of their vocabulary. So proud of them and thanks to the use of ICT.

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