Archive for February, 2011

How to teach writing skills

It is undeniable that writing is the ultimate task that students abhor the most in language learning. Lets watch a video on strategies that Laura Minnegerode, an expert, employs to teach writing skills.

That’s all for today.

Have a nice day people!

Umi Athiya Yusop (A126085)


Speaking: Group Presentation Using Slide Shows

By: LEE CHEN PING (A126076)

In an ESL learning context, speaking skills encompass articulating competently and creatively to explore, develop and sustain ideas through talk. Creating classroom speaking activities will develop students’ communicative competence. However, there are strategies need to be employed by a teacher to incorporate a purpose and information gap and allow multiple forms of expression among students. You cannot ask students to speak something that is unrelated to the academic purposes. It is good if students draft and rehearse what they want to report to the whole class later. Teacher then goes around advising students on language, suggesting phrases and helping students to polish and correct their language. The emphasis is on clarity, organisation and accuracy of students’ speaking skills in using the language. Giving an opportunity to rehearse ideas before they contribute them to the class can support students who are hesitant or need longer time to organise their thought.

“Group presentation using slide shows” is about a group of students working on a topic of interest and presenting them to the class using slide shows. The presentation can be in between 5 – 10 minutes. Students are given a few days earlier to prepare so that they can be confident during speaking. This will also reduce wrong usage of grammar and struggle with words.

Why this activity is done in a group? This is because each group member can contribute in different areas such as internet research, slides design, grammar check, and presentation skills. It is always good if a group of students have their own strength and combine them together to create a dynamic group. Also, the group presentation can help other students enhancing their listening skills as well. It is important for the teacher to ask questions to the students about the presentation so that they will listen attentively. Group presentation also promotes extensive reading where students will do some extra reading outside of the classroom. Rewarding students who presented well will increase their motivation to do better next time.

Although many teachers think that this activity is very time consuming, it only takes up to 60 minutes if there are 6 groups presenting their 8-10 minutes slides. The preparation of the presentation should be done outside the class to encourage self-learning and independent-learning. While doing this task, students will also indirectly learn more about technology and softwares.

Some of the suitable titles for secondary students are:
1)      Hobbies / Interests
2)      Technology
3)      Entertainment
4)      Famous People
5)      Interesting Places
6)      Favourite Books / Magazines
7)      Latest Issues

The above topics are just a guideline for the teacher. If students can come out with their own interesting topics and relevant to the academic purposes, teachers are most welcome to accept them.

Let’s teach grammar via interactive games!


Teacher Patrizia


For this week, I’ll introduce an interactive game which teachers  will find it very interesting to be carried out as grammar lesson in the classroom. I believe that teaching grammar via games will get students to participate in the lesson more and will definitely change their perspective that learning grammar is actually not boring and mundane. I have found this website: which offers tons of free downloadable interactive games which can be manipulated and can be used to make learning grammar so much fun! Below are few snapshots that I’ve got from the website and it is called ‘Grammar Quest’ and trust me, the games are all very user-friendly. Why not check it out and give it a try? It wont hurt..:)


Fun Grammar Games and Interactive Exercise Online

Hello and welcome to our website.

I am Umi Athiya Yusop, a teacher in the making and I am one of the authors of this blog. Since this blog aims to help English teachers to find learning resources, today I would like to share with all of you a useful website that could motivate students to learn grammar.

For the past week weeks, I have gone to a primary school in Bangi once a week to complete my Action Research assignment. Just so everyone knows this assignment requires me to select a teaching technique, teach a few students who are willing to participate, and see the effectiveness of the chosen technique in at least a month.

From the ice breaking session I had with the students, I found that the students hated grammar. Mundane teaching technique adopted by their teachers seems to be the major reason of their fear and hatred of grammar. According to them, their teachers teach grammar by explaining the forms and rules and then drilling students on them. And normally, when the teachers think the students have grasped what has been taught, the students will be given countless grammar worksheets to be completed, in order to test  and enhance their understanding- which I believe the part that bores the students the most.

Since grammar is their major problem, I opted to teach them grammar.

I consider myself lucky because while I was cracking my head thinking of alternatives to make my lessons memorable and fun, I came across this website called ESL Games World. ESL Games World is a website for English teachers as well as for students. This website offers a range of interactive grammar games and exercises.

The below is present tense vs. past tense game

Some games in this website provide  explanations if the students make mistakes.

I have integrated the games provided in this website in my lesson and the feed backs that I got from my students so far are all very pleasing. They are more motivated to learn grammar and it seems to me that my students have somewhat improved their grammar. Therefore, I highly recommend this website to all English teachers especially those who wish to integrate technology into the teaching of grammar.

Till then,

Have a nice day!

Umi Athiya Yusop (A126085)

5 interesting ideas on how to teach Grammar to ESL students.

I found this website which is pretty interesting:

Grammar shouldn’t be taught “by the book”. At least not in teaching English as a second language. That’s not what students are there for. They don’t want to know all of these rules; they’re not interested in them. They want to learn English. They want to speak, read, and write in English. So, how do we as ESL teachers teach them essential grammar and give them what we need, rather than boring them to death with “the rules”. So, here are 4 fun ideas to teach grammar:

1. Action!

Nothing shakes them up better than getting them out of their seats. When you see your students daydreaming, not paying attention, or simply bored, tell them to get up and form a circle. Now, this simple exercise works great to teach numerous grammar points, but here’s an example:

Say you want your students to practice the simple past of regular or irregular verbs. Grab a small ball or bean bag and say a verb out loud; toss the ball to a student who will have to say its past form. He or she tosses the ball back to you and you choose another student. Whenever a student makes a mistake, he or she has to leave the circle. The last student left standing gets a reward sticker or other prize. You can say a sentence in affirmative, and they have to supply a question, or vice versa; this activity can be adapted to any grammar point.

Taken from :

2. Celebrity Profiles

An awesome way to teach and practice any verb tense is through biographies. Try this activity to contrast the simple past and present perfect tenses. Find out which celebrities or sports stars your students admire. Then find a short biography or write one yourself summarizing a celebrity’s main achievements. Read the bio with your students and make sure they understand the differences. Point out examples that clearly illustrate this: “He starred in his first hit film in 1985. But he has worked in 20 hit films throughout his career.”

3. Celebrity Photos

Another way in which you can use your students’ interest in certain celebrities. Cut out celebrity pics from entertainment magazines (in fact, I recommend stocking up on a big pile of photos to use in a variety of activities). Use these pictures to teach comparatives and superlatives: “Katie Holmes is taller than Tom Cruise.”; “Shakira is more talented than Ricky Martin.”; and it works great with comparative adverbs: “Shakira dances better than Ricky, too.

4. A or an?

This activity works great with beginners, including small children. Cut up a list of several words that either take “a” or “an” and mix them up. For very young learners, you may use pictures instead of words. Then divide students into pairs of groups, and have them put the words in two piles, depending on the article. Once they have their piles ready, ask them if they can figure out the rule by themselves.

By far the best ways to teach any type of grammar is through the use of either realia or real life settings and contexts. Why would a student be motivated to learn the conditional tenses if he has no idea why he’s learning them, in other words, he doesn’t understand when and where he’ll have use for them? When teachers use real life settings and objects students will know the grammar structures they learn will be useful for them.

Taken from :

Adapted by Manpreet Kaur

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

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

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.

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 :