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Hi, everyone! I have finally managed to write something. I hope 2017 will bring many great things for all of us!
-TM, 2nd February 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Life as a Teacher in 2017

     Dear me, has it been that long since I first stepped foot in my school as a newly appointed teacher?

     Five years.

     Five years, which does not sound like a particularly long period for much senior teachers. Some of them have been in the field for ten, fifteen, twenty years. I know a few who have recently retired. They should have around thirty to thirty five years of teaching experience under their belt, I would think.

     Five years, which to those who have recently entered service, may feel like they would soon come the same mark without so much as a blink of the eyes. I'd started to think of retiring in my second year of teaching, come to think of it. The staff and teachers at my school used to joke about it.

     Five years, which to those who have perhaps recently graduated and are currently waiting to be posted (I must say I have no idea of the current situation. Are there any of you out there who are?) may seem like an eternity. After all, it took slightly more than five years (six for me) for you to have completed your studies in the training institutes. And now that you're waiting to be posted, which feels like it will never happen, you cannot possibly imagine what it would feel like to have been in the field for five years.

     And five years to me, which in a strange but real and relatable way that time works for everyone seemed to have passed so swiftly that I cannot see it go by without trying but also feels like a long, long time. To be exact, it is roughly equivalent to one fifth of my entire life.

     January 16th seems like it happened a long time ago. I have to actually sit down and recall what had happened on the day I reported for duty at the JPN. When I have managed to remember the details, though, I cannot help but muse at how anxious my friends and I had been. How much we had looked forward to getting posted.

     Now, five years later, I wonder how many of us are still teaching. Probably more than 90%, as I have heard of a few who had decided teaching was not what they wanted to and have left to do other things. I'm sure most are married, with children and perhaps less time to spend at school.

     In the five years that I have been teaching, I've also experienced a lot in terms of teaching and education. The kids who were in Year One when I came to the school are now in Year 6. Haslina and her friends went for their UPSR last year and are now in Form One in secondary school. I went to at least ten courses on KSSR, if not more. (I managed to go to KSSR courses every year, from the one for Year 2 up to Year 6). I went for a course on I-THINK, VLE Frog, LINUS and many more, all of which reflect the ever changing education system in the country. Last year, the new format for UPSR was implemented (I hope I can devote at least one post to this). This year, a revised version of KSSR for Year One started, with new textbooks, activity books and DSKP. My school was chosen to be in the Dual Language Programme which is akin to PPSMI. We were also chosen for something called the Highly Immersed Programme, which we have yet to understand what it is about but definitely know that it has something to with English.

     On a much more personal tone, I also came to understand what it feels like to be under constant pressure, heavy workloads, having sleepless nights and long hours at work and also how to be on the point of giving up on everything. Alhamdulillah, I did not.

     In short, a lot has happened. I'm sure you have been through a lot too. I cannot tell if people still blog or read blogs. I know many of my favourite bloggers have decided to stop blogging and turn to much easier ways of sharing such as Instagram and Facebook. I too, prefer to post on Instagram. It has occurred to me though, that one of my very few talents may lie in writing, and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter is a little limited in that sense. For one, too many people know me there. Here, most of the people who drop by have no idea who I am. And what amazes me is that the blog still manages to attract readers. There are visitors every single day.

     Which brings me to this conclusion- if there is good in something, keep doing it. I cannot promise to keep writing and sharing, but I do hope whatever I have posted is still of value to some of you. I have had so many people contact me personally, asking for advice and insights. Though I was not able to be of much help, I'm glad that we all know that there is something we can learn from one another.

     Let's continue to be part of that community of people who share, care and love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

KSSR Year 2 English Unit 1 (Phonics)

   A friend asked the other day if I've stopped blogging. I grinned sheepishly and replied that I've been too busy. Then I told her I was just being lazy.

   So here I am, haha. I just came to share some materials that I made today. These worksheets were actually based on page 3 of the Year 2 English Activity Book. I just jazzed it up a bit to make it slightly more interesting and also because I wanted my pupils to write the words more than once. (You'll know what I mean if you're familiar with the exercise in the book).

   I also created a similar exercise for slightly more advanced pupils. I have two or three groups in my Year 2 class this year. The pupils are so much better behaved than Haslina's class (refer to my previous posts labeled Delima diaries) and they are very good at doing their work. Some can already read most of the simple words in the textbook and they also work quite fast so I thought I might as well create a second worksheet which included sentences.

    It's up to you of course, how you want to use them. The download links are below and I've provided images as a preview for your convenience (though I'm afraid the quality of the images is poor, boohoo). I've to go, hope this post and the worksheet helps you!

lower level

intermediate level

Monday, December 23, 2013

UPSR: Tips for Teaching Section B in Paper 2

   Assalamualaikum and hello everyone!

   I'm sorry that I cannot do this consistently. I wish I could post and share what I know and have learnt as often as I can but I am either too lazy or busy doing something else. Please bear with me, dear friends. I have not even spent any time to customise my blog and it has been like this for the past two or three years. I think.

   This time I would like to share a type of exercise that you can use to teach your pupils to write for Section B in Paper 2. This exercise would be useful for weak pupils and for those who are just beginning to write for Section B.

   You will need to prepare the templates below for them. I shall provide the link to the PowerPoint and Word documents for the exercise so that you can download them and edit them to suit your class.

  First, read through the information provided in the exercises you wish to use with your pupils. If you wish them to transfer the information first into the table/space provided, then by all means do so. Then, depending on the type of information you have, read through the sample that you have prepared. Below is one sample my mentor prepared, which I edited a bit to suit my pupils:

   Since I prepared this for weak and average pupils, I made the sentences very simple. The point of this exercise is to help pupils write based on the example given. Then, provide templates with blank spaces for them to write in using the information for the two other options, such as shown below:

   And there you go! Easy peasy in syaa Allah. Hope this helps!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

How to Teach Young Children to Write a Simple Five-Line Poem

(skema giler tajuk, by the way)

I learnt this during a course I went to in KL. To cut things short, here is a simple way of teaching young children to create their own poems.

This method will create a five-line poem. Make sure your pupils have the basic on adjectives, nouns and verbs in the continuous tense. In order to be able to execute this well in class, you should try this out first.

First line
Write an adjective and your name. It is even better if the adjective starts with the same letter as your name.
For example: Super Sumaiyyah

Second line
Write two verbs in the continuous tense which describe the things that you like to do.
For example: Baking, reading

Third line
Write three things that you dislike. You can start off by writing just one word for each thing (a noun). Later, you can ask your pupils to write two words for each thing.
Example 1: smells, vegetables, worms
Example 2: funny smells, bitter vegetables, slimy worms

Fourth line
Write a four word sentence that describes yourself.
Example: I don't eat much.

Fifth line
Rewrite the first line of your poem.

And this is what you will get:

Super Sumaiyyah
Baking, reading
Funny smells, bitter vegetables, slimy worms
I don't eat much
Super Sumaiyyah.

Isn't it super easy and simple? I can't wait to try this out (yeah, I haven't). If you try this out, do share!

Selamat Berbuka for those of you who are fasting!


Friday, July 26, 2013

KSSR Listening & Speaking : Match-up Numbering

   I used to rather dislike teaching Listening & Speaking. For one, my first experience of teaching KSSR involved 2 Delima and boy what a time I had! From what I understand, in a L&S class you focus on teaching your children how to actually use the language in spoken form. This was not the easiest thing to achieve with 2D as they were more interested in copying (if they were interested in the lesson at all) and creating hoavoc in the class rather than actually sit down to listen and speak in English. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot of things from teaching them but it was NOT easy.

   This year I was given the responsibility to teach one of the Year 3 classes, 3 Zamrud. At first it was not that easy either- they were much brighter and rather more disciplined (I say rather because there are quite a handful of monkeys there too! Naughty things!) and I was still unsure of how I was supposed to conduct a good listening and speaking lesson. For one, would they be interested in doing activities which does not involve any writing at all in one class? Of course you can include some written activities in an L&S class but they should not be the main focus.

   How was I to teach them to speak the language and understand it? These are kampung children, mind you. Even the children whose parents are teachers watch Spongebob in Malay. (Rolls eyes in desperation). Seriously, watch Upin and Ipin in Malay as much as you like but cartoons with English audio should be viewed as so! Haiya how on earth are you going to improve your English ah! The only thing they keep saying is "Oh My English!" every time I speak more than a few sentences in English.

   Then, as Emily of Newmoon would say, I got The Flash. A flash of inspiration. A simple but practical idea. My children love love love games and they are rather used to starting a class with a simple game. Every morning when I walk into class that's all they think about. "What game are we playing today? So came the The Flash.

   The idea of this game (if you can call it a game) is to get children to partner up randomly and talk to each other using the dialogue or sentence structure given. Follow the steps below:

The Match-up Numbering Game

1. Teach the children a set of sentence structures according to you topic. For example:

Unit 10: A Ride in the Safari Park

Question: What animal is this?
Answer: This is a _______________.

Question: Where can you find it?
Answer: You can find it _______________.

2. Give each child one number.
   Let's say there are 28 children in your class. Start a child off to say '1' and the others should follow suit.

3. Write the numbers on the board.
   If there are 28 children, write 1,2,3,4 and so on up to 28.

4. Explain the rules.
   The teacher will call out two numbers. The first number will ask the questions and the second number will provide the answers.

5. Have a try-out round. Call out two numbers so that the children can see how the game is played. The first number to be called will ask the questions and the second number will provide the answers.

6. Always cross out the numbers you have called out. Make sure you call out random numbers so that it will be more interesting. My children found this part fun because they could not expect the person they would be partnered up with.

And that's it! Super easy and when I think about it, not that brilliant. But it helps to keep my children in focus and they love it. At first it was awkward for some of them and I got so frustrated because one or two just would not open their mouths. But now they're used to it and we have a lot of fun in our L&S lesson. I need to get more Flashes so that we don't get bored of this game. Haha.

To my Muslim friends and readers, I hope you are spending your Ramadhan productively, in syaa Allah. Take care!