Author Archive

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

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


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


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.


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.

Books to Movies!


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.

The Cat in The Hat

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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!

Bringing Facebook into classroom writing

by Johnny Ling Leh Wui

Facebook is quite famous among youngsters nowadays. People usually log in Facebook once a day. Since, Facebook is so addictive, why not use Facebook as part of your teaching.

There are a lot of things that can be done in Facebook. Fully equipped with its applications, teachers can actually set up an account specially used for academic purposes. Discussion group, for example, can be used as part of extended classroom learning. Students can discuss a certain topic or comment on others regarding their thoughts. The discussion perhaps can be used as set induction before the topic is being discussed in the classroom. It is just that such set-induction is done at home.

But why use Facebook?

1)      The application available in it makes it easier for teachers to assign tasks for students.The notification enable students to be alert with the upcoming updates. Teachers can use it as to keep an eye on the students’ progress in the tasks too. Students will be alert with what others have to say and make some comments based on it.

2)      Even if you want to insert videos in the discussion or articles in the internet, a click will do! Just click the button share through Facebook and the video is linked in Facebook. Isn’t that easy and convenient?

3)      The limitation in words in the Facebook helps to develop creativity among students. Knowing that they cannot write too long, the only expression that they can use to represent their meaning perhaps is by using idiomatic expressions. This can save a lot of number of words but meaning is still clear.


Video can be posted to provoke discussion among the students in Facebook discussion group

Try it! It is fun and new for English language learning.


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
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