Blooming is a long process but I LOVE IT!

As teachers to be, we are constantly challenged to not carry out the normal chalk and talk lesson. Instead we are to explore ways to make lesson interesting and engaging for the pupils. I think it is the years of spoon feeding from young I was having quite some problems when I was introduced to new methodology like cooperative learning and etc when I entered teacher training college. I am sure my teachers last time do not do things like these. But I see the point of doing it because I am the outcome of that kind of education so I do not want the next generation to be the same.

So what are the seven things that we need, to ensure a lesson engages the pupils and lead them to polish and upgrade their higher order thinking skills?

1. FUN!!!!

Having the fun elements in lessons definitely grabs the attention of the pupils. And needless to say, pupils would rather have a fun and engaging lesson rather than a boring and passive lesson.

2. Personal


Malaysian schools are often packed with around 40(max) pupils in a class. This is very bad because pupils feel like they are not special at all and it actually causes them to lack the motivation to perform well. Hence, I think the teacher should put in more effort to personalize the classroom and also try to give attention to all pupils equally.

3. Think

 

I think this is an important thing in life which is TO THINK! The education system has been spoon feeding the pupils all the time, causing the pupils to lack the higher order thinking skills. That is why I seriously feel that the pupils need to be taught how to think and not just follow and swallow whatever the world throws at them.

4. Assessment

This applies for both teacher and pupils. Teacher  needs to know how to self- assessed and also teach the pupils to assess themselves correctly. Most of the time the pupils assessed themselves by the As that they get but that is not the right way of assessment. They need to learn to assess themselves in a holistic manner.

5. TECHNOLOGY

Technology has become so part of our life that instead of blaming it and looking at the negative aspect, i think we should look at the positive aspect and utilized it to make the best out of it.

6. Real life learning

Learning should not be confined within the four walls of the classroom only. Instead it should be more than that and teachers are the ones who can plan and execute this kind of plans that enables the pupils to learn and glean from the environment around them.

7.  Peer learning

No man is an island. I think that quote does not sprout out of nowhere without any meaning. I believe children learn from each other without us realizing it. That is why, we should ride on this trend and encouraged peer learning.

 

All the 7 things listed would be of great help if we could use it in classroom. And just to add in a comment.

After using the wordpress to write my blog for the first time, I TOTALLY DISLIKE IT!!! I still prefer windows live writer where I can work freely.

We are on the topic of e-book again! =) So I went back to search through my files and found my e-book. I was laughing my head off when I went through my e-book again. My e-book had the my own voice recording and also one of my friend’s voice over one of my character. So after going through it again I found some amendments that I can make to improve it. The topic of my e-book is “Let’s go shopping!”

I tried to keep it simple since it was for primary 2 kids. The aim of my e-book was to emphasise on the types of fruits and vegetables. So I made it very simple and it was clean and simple but I do not think the pupils will like it so I decided to add in some interactive questions and made it more interesting by adding in some element of guessing. I also add in more cartoons so that it was not so plain. Pictures speaks louder than words. So look at the pictures for better understanding.

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So this is the e-book I did before. I made it very simple and clear but I think it is not that interesting.

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In the end, I decided to cover up parts of the pictures with shapes and let the pupils guess before I show them the answer. I added in some cute pointing cartoon characters to make it more interesting and more colourful. You can just look for those pictures online. There are tons of them.

So what do you think? Is these improvements enough? Or there are other ways to improve it? I am open to more suggestions… Your suggestions would be great and it would be part of peer learning together!

I WANT U TO LEARN!!!!

I thought of one of the commercials on coffee where the woman shouted at the guy saying: “ I WANT YOU TO TRY!!!” If I am not mistaken it is some brand of white coffee. Gosh, imagine us doing that to the kids we will teach next time. I had seen teachers doing that and I had seen the effect on the pupils. Different children have different learning styles and also intelligence. So it is wrong of us to force the children to learn according to the way we want them to learn. That is why some clever guy came out with this whole concept of personalized learning. We as teachers need to learn to cater to the different needs of the pupils.

Looking at the whole list of tools provided, I chose the tool called Storybird. I really like the tool and I even created my own e-book and published it. You can check it out because I created the book with a lesson in mind.

http://storybird.com/books/who-is-living-in-that-cave/?token=mhz7x7

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image I love the way they made it so easy to make an e-book. It was fun dragging the pictures around and adding in my own storyline. Although I may say it is rigid in terms of the fonts[you cannot change the fonts] but the pictures provided is cool enough to ignore that wordings.

I spent about less than an hour to come out with a 14 page story.

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My lesson goes like this:

Year: 2

Proficiency: Average

Title: Who is living in that cave?

Activity: Reading lesson

This activity is suitable for while reading. The teacher divides the class into pairs for them to work together for the activity. Teacher gives out task sheets for this activity. The pupils are supposed to read and then complete the task sheet together in pairs. The task sheet contains simple comprehension questions. The pairs have to read together and complete the task sheet. The pupils are supposed to help each other with the task sheet. After they are done, the teacher asks the pupils to exchange their task sheets with other pairs. Teacher then gets the pupils to read the story together. Teacher then asks a few volunteers to come out and give the answers and discusses with the class.

I want to be a MILLIONAIRE!

When we were given this task, I suddenly remember all the time that our family spent sitting in front of the television to watch this television program. Our family will try to guess the correct answer to the questions asked. Hence this game show is very much loved by my family and I. So when I looked through the templates given, I was amazed at the people who actually came out with this kind of template. Thinking about the amount of time they need to spent doing it just amazes me.

One thing I learnt while looking through the three templates is that there are good and not so good power points. I was scrutinizing the three templates and checking out which one was the best and I have to admit the third one was the most pretty well done one. When we sat down as a group to decide to use which one and I straight away recommended the third one because it is so well done that we just need to change the background and the theme to suit our needs and the rest can maintain the same.

It was definitely not an easy work to come out with templates like that but I am grateful for the people who actually did it. We then discuss on what we like to do and even changed the theme. The game show and the copyrights had been sold to Sony Pictures Television International and now we can see different versions of this game show as it is adapted according to the country that bought the rights to do the game show in their own country. Malaysia also ran the game show from 2000 to 2002. So I guess a lot of people are familiar with the game. Even board game based on the game show was released in 2000. It was fun adapting the template to suit our topic. I think it would be great fun for pupils to play too.

Looking at how some of our friends literally changed and came out with their own game based on their own topic was kind of  intimidating and it makes me wonder whether we really did a great job or not. I guess being a teacher is definitely going to be a tough job and it requires lots of patience and hard work.

So to my dear friends, are you all ready for it? It is only months away to being in the real world….. ARE YOU READY?

Feedbacks…….

We were all required to feedback on our friends work. The whole feedback thing was great because it gives each one of us the opportunity to state our piece of mind instead of a group feedback. Although I think some people will complain about it but I think it was a good way to keep us focus and pay attention to the group who was presenting. It also requires us to think and be critical when we are listening to the presentation by different groups.

Games!!!

This is the best homework so far which is writing about games. I personally love to play games a lot. But due to my computer problem I was not able to play games offline or downloadable games or even games like The Sims and etc. I thanked God that my eldest brother refused to fix it for me[he is a computer engineer] because if not I would be spending day and night playing those games. Looking at the theme that we need to do for this blog post, my mind started running through the games that I had played before and also the ones that I am playing now. (Most of it is short online games like games on Facebook) I realised that most of it is more suitable for girls only like Mall world, Saloon Street etc. I was thinking to recommend a game like CSI: Crime City on Facebook, but I find that the level of English and also the storyline are not really for primary kids. But if you are someone who loves CSI, I would recommend you try out the game. Although it is like most of the games where you get bored after solving a few cases because you tend to find out who is the killer when you are halfway through the case. Still I would recommend that you try it out.  (Click on the image to try it out)

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After reflecting and going through the current games, I decided that it is not so useful and applicable in a lesson so I went online and search for games and guess what…..

I ENDED PLAYING GAMES FOR THE WHOLE DAY!!!!

And eventually I did not even started on the blog post. So after knocking my head and forcing myself to stop giving excuse like this game is fun and continue playing, I am down to getting this blog post up.

The game I would recommend is called Super Supper 5. (Click on the image to go and experience the game!)

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First off, it tells you that you need to complete all the recipe as fast as you can. Then it will bring you into the kitchen where the cooking takes place. There is a clock ticking at the bottom so you have to bare in mind to do things quickly. There are different cooking utensils in the cupboard. (Go explore it yourself)

imageThen when you press the green arrows at the right side, it will bring you to the place full of cupboards which have food and also utensils and also a fridge(with lots of things inside) and also an oven. 

image The other side of the arrow brings you to the dining table where you placed all the dishes that you are done cooking.

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Targeted learners: Year 4

Facilities: Computer lab with computers and also a projector

Language focus: Action words/verbs (slice, cook, stir, cut and etc)

Language objectives: Pupils will be able to read and follow the instructions to prepare all the dishes.

Reasons for choosing this game: Although it is not very pleasant looking and plus the animation can be improved but I like how the whole game can be used for a whole lesson. I would break it down into different stages and explain more in detail below.

For pre-teaching, I can use the game to teach them the action words by showing them the actions like cutting, chopping and stirring and lots more.

image It shows the action of chopping and also has sound effect of the chopping action.

So it would be great fun and  great teaching aid compare to the conventional picture cards and words cards.

For the production stage, the teacher gives the pupils some time to prepare all the dishes required to make a sumptuous dinner and let the pupils compete to see who can finished it the fastest.

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I love this game because the teacher can actually used it to revised lots of words like the different type of food and spices.

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Other than that, the teacher also can teach the utensils used for cooking purpose.

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All in all, I really think that it is a good game which can be used in a lesson and make learning fun instead of the “usual”  way.

My choice of ICT tool

After looking through the list of ICT tools provided, I choose this website called Myths and Legends. I totally love this website. I love stories and I believe in cultivating good habit of reading. This tool is excellent in helping me to spread the good news of reading.

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Myths and legends

The function of this tool

This tool is like an online e-book where there is a whole collection of stories about myths and legends. I like reading stories, hence that is why this tool jumps out at me and without knowing, I spent quite some time going through a lot of stories before I realised I need to be doing the review. It is fun and exciting to read through the different stories. There are simple stories for younger readers and also stories that are for older readers. That is why this website is a cool one and I believe can be utilised to cultivate the habit of reading in the children.

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I went exploring the website wanting to know the full potential of this ICT tool and I was glad to find the story creator. I was ecstatic to find this tool and I played around with it. This is an amazing tool that is very useful for us teachers and not only that I thought that this can be used to encourage the children to write stories. This tool provides so many resources for us to play with. 

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The limitation of this tool

The limitations are bound by the theme of this ICT tool. This website is all about myths and legends, hence the characters and the different things provided by the story creator are mainly “very old” meaning it is more suitable for stories set in olden times.

Another limitation that I found out about this tool is that all the myths and legends happened mainly in England. I have in mind to add in some myths or legend from our part of the world. Some Asian myths and legend would be great. I can maybe encourage my pupils to add in some local myths and legends.

When can I used this tool?

Like I said earlier this tool is good for cultivating reading habit. So this tool can be used in reading lesson or listening lesson. I can definitely used it in my lessons for older pupils. Other than that, it can be set as a homework for the pupils to create a story of their own imagination, or ask the pupils to look for local myths and legend and try to put up the story using the story creator.

The user-friendliness of this tool

I totally love this website because of how good and user-friendly it is. It loads very fast(don’t know whether it is my connection speed) and there are audio recordings for the stories. The links works well and the story creator does not take ages to load. Other than that, it provides simple links and instructions which is great because it will not be too complicated for primary children to understand.

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Other that that I love the resources that the author allocates for teachers!!! I feel so grateful to the creator of the website for being so thoughtful for teachers!

image Suitable for which standard?

This tool  is more suitable for older children maybe 10 and above. I would used it for younger ones if they are computer literate and if they already have a better command of the language.

 

Overall I give this tool a 5 star rating because of the many advantages and benefits it provide for teachers and pupils alike. I definitely will try using this tool in my teaching next time!

PACK IT ALL UP???

Tpack-contexts-small 

Gosh… it has been quite awhile since I saw this diagram again. But I should say that our previous ICT class has been quite successful because I can remember the basic principles of TPACK until now. It has been ingrained into my head and it comes naturally now when I think of preparing a lesson. Hence, a big salute goes to all the ICT lecturers who taught us in the previous semesters! 800px-Female_officer_saluting

What is TPACK? TPACK is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

From what I understand is the integration of all three: Technological, Pedagogical and content knowledge into a lesson. That is why I love the diagram so much. It is easier to understand looking at the diagram rather than reading whole chucks of information from the internet and getting confused over who says what. The importance of knowing what is TPACK is so that we can be an effective teacher in the 21st century where everything is related to technology.

Due to the restrictions of using ICT in my school during practicum, I still try my best to integrate ICT using the resource that I have which is my partner’s laptop and my speakers. [I own a computer so that is why I cannot carry it around. So I am really grateful towards my partner who lend me her laptop whenever I need it.]

This lesson is carried out with my Year 1 pupils. Because there are lots of pupils who come from Malay speaking background, I had to plan my lessons to suit their level of proficiency.

TPACK IN MY LESSON!

The topic of my lesson is: ABOUT MY BODY

Technology Knowledge:

I used laptop and speakers for the lesson and the rest of the teaching aids are posters, hand bands and also task sheets which I also used the computer at home to prepare.

Pedagogy knowledge:

Pedagogy would be the flow of my lesson.

Set induction: Fix the boy game

Presentation: Teaching using flash cards and TPR method(Total Physical Response)

Practice: Sing song and do actions

Production: Match the correct pictures and make simple sentences with guidance.

Content knowledge:

The language focus of the day is verbs. [walk, play, run, jump, hop]

So here is my lesson and my explanation on how I actually integrate TPACK  in my classroom.

I started off with set induction where I played a game with them called “Fix the Boy”. I put up a poster of a boy with missing body parts and the children have to “fix” him by sticking the correct body part to the poster.

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Pedagogy knowledge —> Content knowledge: In this stage I used the pedagogy knowledge that I know which is recalling using game instead of the conventional way of asking “So what did I teach you last lesson?” I used this game to get them to recall the body parts that they had learnt previously.

Technology knowledge —> Pedagogy knowledge —> Content knowledge: How I integrate all the three is how I used computer to split out the body parts and printing it out piece by piece and put blu tag behind so that the pupils can stick it on the poster. Through the technology and pedagogy knowledge I was able to extract the content knowledge that I taught the pupils the week before. 

Due to restrictions by wordpress, I am not allowed to post the song. So sorry… I can tell you the song title and if you are interested to get it can email me. The title is called “Da da da” by Cyndi Wang. She is a chinese singer from Taiwan.

In the practice stage I used the instrumental song for the pupils to practice the verbs that I taught them in the presentation stage. I looked for the instrumental of a Chinese song and used Audiocity to loop the parts that I want to repeat so that the pupils can have fun singing and acting out the actions.

Song

Walk, walk, walk

I walk with my legs.

Walk, walk, walk.

 

Play, play, play,

I play with my legs.

Play, play, play.

 

Run, run, run,

I run with my legs.

Run, run, run.

 

Jump, jump, jump,

I jump with my legs.

Jump, jump, jump.

Hop, hop, hop,

I hop with my legs.

Hop, hop, hop.

Pedagogy knowledge —> Content knowledge: I am taught to make a lesson as interesting as possible. Learning can be done in so many ways. It does not have to be reading from the textbook all the time. So this time I integrated song into the lesson. I put all the content into the song hoping that they can learn the content knowledge through the song which they did because they had no problems during the production stage.

Technology knowledge —> Pedagogy knowledge —> Content knowledge: I integrated all of the three content into this stage of the lesson so that the pupils can gain the content and also have fun in the process of gaining the content. By using the technology available I can make teaching more interesting compare to the old conventional way. With the enhancement of my teaching, the content can then be easily absorbed by the pupils. So the technology actually benefit both the teachers and the pupils.

So that in the end I would say that why different individuals or groups are researching and coming up with better ways to educate the children is to benefit both the teacher and the children. Technology is already part of our lives, we cannot ignore its existence. We cannot say it is too complicated and time consuming so we should abandon it. We are clever human who had advanced to such a level, hence as teachers we should not think of how time consuming it will be but we should think of how we can minimise the time consuming part, NOT THE TEACHING itself. So let us work harder for the future of our next generation!!!

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