Archive for March, 2011

Fun Mazes

ACTIVITY

Giving Direction: Solving Mazes

Time: 60 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Level: Intermediate

Instruction:

  1. Before the activity begins, teacher had a short discussion with the students regarding vocabulary used in giving directions.
  2. Then, teacher explains the activity to the students and what they are expected to do.
  3. Students are divided into pairs.
  4. Each pair will be given a task sheet (maze) to be completed.
  5. One student will give direction whereas the other student will listen to the directions given by his partner in order to solve the maze.
  6. After a maze is completed, students change their roles and complete another maze given by teacher.
  7. After that, students compare their answers with other students.

After the activity, teacher conducted a short discussion again with the students on what vocabulary that they employ in giving directions to their friends and the difficulties encountered.

This activity allows students to practice their listening and speaking skills. At the same time, students have to incorporate appropriate grammar and vocabulary while giving instructions to their partners. Thus, this activity helps students to enhance their vocabulary as it creates an opportunity for the students to use the language in their conversation (giving direction).

There are varieties of mazes that can be found on the internet. Here are examples of simple but fun mazes that can be used for kids of lower and intermediate students. Printable Mazes For Kids


Listening on the Net!

By: LEE CHEN PING (A126076)

In an ESL learning context, listening means to understand, recall and respond to speakers’ implicit and explicit meanings. Strategies to enhance listening skills are techniques or activities that contribute directly to the comprehension and recall of listening input. In other words, listening strategies can be classified by how the listener processes the input. Therefore, first of all, a teacher should conduct the listening activity in the classroom around a contextualised task. Contextualised listening activities are connected to real-life task and will give the listener an idea on what information to expect and what to do with the information after the listening process. For example, asking students to listen to a short radio broadcast to obtain information would be authentic and applicable in real-life situation.

Next, listening skills can be enhanced when the teacher defines the activity’s instructional goal and types of responses. Recognising the goals of listening comprehension will help students to formulate appropriate listening strategies. The students will be able to identify specific details of the message, determine the major facts about a massage, differentiate between main ideas and supporting details; and finally reproduce the message orally or in writing.

The third strategy to enhance listening skills among students is that teacher needs to check the level of difficulty of the listening text. It is very important to ensure that the information presented is well-organised. Listening will become effective when the text is presented in natural chronological orders, which have an informative title with obvious organisation – main ideas first, followed by details and examples. This will enable the students to conceptualise what they have heard and organise the information in their working memory easier.

So, I have discovered a great free website to enhance listening skills. AGENDA Web. They provided various types of free topics for students to choose.

Not only that, there are also recorded audio for students to practise listening. The files of the audio are very small and this makes the audio loading quite fast and convenient. The picture below shows the media button to control the audio from this website.

There are also tapescripts from the audio presented. The picture below shows an example of tape script of “Cloning Pets”.

There are also some exercises given based on the audio text. Exercises such as vocabulary, cloze, crossword puzzles, true/false and MCQ are included to give students variety in choosing the exercise that they prefer.

All in all, this website is a joy to visit for those who want to practise their listening skills 🙂


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


Learning to Speak English in Interactive Games

Standing on the brink of an golden age of technology, language learning has taken a major shift where computer-based learning is beginning to gain prevalence all around the world. When it comes to learning English language, four of the major language skills one has to master in order to gain proficiency in the language are speaking, writing, reading, and listening.  Conversing in English would not be an easy task for some of the English learners where they would struggle for the right words to articulate. However, elearning company has offered an advanced alternative in learning to speak English.

Learning to speak English deluxe is developed by elearning company with the collaboration of language experts as well as university language professors. It is meticulously designed to meet the needs of English learners. On top of that, this software offers more than 25 interactive activities where English learners will engage in conversations to hone their conversational skills. Some of the primary focuses in the learning activities are conversation, pronunciation, simulations, vocabulary and grammar. These are some of the most important aspects in speaking as one has to learn to choose the right words and articulate it in the correct pronunciation.

Apart from that, the software has included a flexible immersion system where it allows users to choose the learning path that suits individual learning style. The learning system is integrated with real-world context and one can even converse with native speakers using engaging interactive videos and speech recognition tools. This is exactly the software that would serve as an effective teaching aid in conducting an English speaking class. Now, students no longer have to conform to the majority in learning to speak English. One can learn to speak the language in one’s preferable way to achieve better competency of the language. In short, learning to speak English is never an easy task but technology offers better alternatives to facilitate everyone’s needs in learning to speak good English.

 

Yu Ching Hung


Teaching Literature: Potato People

By LEE CHEN PING (A126076)

As the Malaysia Form 2 students are learning “Potato People” by Angela Wright in their literature component, I realised the need to expose the background and historical setting for that story. Well, “Potato People” takes place in 1840s at Ireland where extreme famine occurred because their staple food, potatoes were attacked by fungus. People were left starving and death was common. Moreover, the English colonisation has worsened the whole situation. Therefore, most people tried to escape to America in order to survive.

The historical context above is not mentioned in the story. The story straight away starts with famine and the escape to America. Therefore, I believe most of the students will be wondering why there is famine and what had happened. If teachers are able to explain in detail about the history of Ireland, students will be able to understand the “Potato People” better.

So, I have created a short video about “The Great Famine” in Ireland. This video is quite short but very informative. Teachers are most welcome to use it for their set induction.


Enhance Speaking through Choral Speaking

By LEE CHEN PING

When students think about choral speaking, often they will be afraid because of the long, long script that they will need to memorise. This is the wrong perception that we, as teachers need to change. Choral speaking can always be done in a classroom setting and it can be so much fun if a teacher is creative enough. A teacher can always use classical nursery rhyme in a choral speaking. It has the advantages of being short, easy vocabulary, and constant rhyme where students can remember easily. If a teacher can add few actions into the choral speaking, it will be superb as it enhances students’ memory in the combination of actions and the script.

Based on experience, I have tried a short choral speaking with my classmates back in the year 2010. There were 3 nursery rhymes that we used. When the lecturer taught us the action, the whole choral speaking was turned into a fresh vibe. Everyone is so excited to redo the whole choral speaking again and again. In less than one hour, we had all memorised the script and the action. So, this is our script.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!
Hickory Dickory Dock.

A sailor went to sea sea sea
To see what he could see see see
But all that he could see see see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea

Left, right, left
Left, right, left
I had a good job but I left
I left because nothing went right
Left, right, left

This is our choral speaking performance during the Institute English Open Day 2010. After we had finished the choral speaking, there were many teachers approached us asking for the script and to teach them the actions. I guess teachers all knew students will be very excited with this activity 🙂

 

 

Left, right, left

Left, right, left

I had a good job but I left

I left because nothing went right

Left, right, left


Teaching Grammar in a Fun Way

By: JOHNNY TIANG KAH HOE (A126075)

For the course work fulfillment of Action Research GV 3053, my group partner and I have conducted several teaching sessions in Impact Learning Tuition Centre with six lower secondary pupils. In our first teaching, we taught our pupils “simple past tense”. We applied two teaching methods in our lesson. Both methods used video downloaded from YouTube.

In the first video clip, students were first told what “Simple Past Tense” is. Then, examples are given to them in order to let them have a better understanding. This process is clearly a top-down approach. It lets the students to get the general idea of the past tense before they further explore the details concerning “simple past tense”.

In the second video clip, students were shown some funny actions that were done by cats. At the end of the video, we asked the students to recall the actions they saw are in the video clip. We wrote down all the students’ answer on the white board. After that, we aided the students to change the actions they mentioned into past tense form. We summarised the section by telling the students what “simple past tense” is. Therefore, it is a bottom-up teaching approach.

Our students were much more active during the session we showed them the second video compared to the first video clip. In my opinion both top down and bottom up teaching approach is useful in helping the students to learn. It depends on the students’ learning style to decide which approach is better. In our case, the students are from lower secondary form, so, there is a need for us to guide them from bottom to conceptualisation.