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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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Skeleton Dance

   This is one of the videos that I used in class, and it's really good if you want to insert some fun into your lessons. I love it, and the children... well, they were hooked the moment the skeleton came out!

   I was actually looking for an interesting video that could help me teach my Year 3 pupils to remember their left and right hands. This was after a disastrous lesson that we went through (which is a very, very long story so I won;t talk about it here). Now, I wouldn't exactly say that this video helped them to remember their left and right hands (and feet, for that matter!) right away, but it certainly got them interested in the lesson.

   There are two versions of the video. In the first version, the skeleton shakes his own left and right hands in accordance with the lyrics:


   The second video is a mirrored version of the first one. This means that the skeleton puts up his LEFT hand while singing about the RIGHT hand, while putting up his RIGHT hand when he sings about the LEFT hand. If I'm not mistaken was made after one of the comments suggested  a mirrored version so that young children could follow the skeleton's hands without being confused about which hand to put up in order to follow the song. 

   This video makes a great set induction, and you can also wrap up the lesson with it. If your children's level of English is pretty good, they'll probably be able to sing along to the lyrics when hearing it for the second time. If it's not, you can just let them stand up and dance along with the skeleton. 


   I've also tried it with the Year 1 and Year 2 pupils, and they loved it! So try it out, and let me know what you think! Let's dance!

   [I collected my portfolios and record books from the practicum unit a few days ago. I hope to be able to share some useful things with you soon. Look forward to it!]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Under The Sea Sing-a-long & The Silent Game 2

   When Blogger went down and took two of my posts with it, I gave up on writing and let my blog get a little dusty.

   Well here I am, forcing my brain to think and my fingers to type. I always take a long time in producing even the shortest post, so the fact that the 'lost' posts took some time to be completed is rather depressing. Yet I know that I cannot be hampered by such a small challenge. If I'm ever going to succeed in making my pupils write in the future, I must be able to do it willingly myself.

   So here goes. This time I'd like to share a video that I used with my Year 3 pupils. I liked this video because of its colourfulness, the rather comical voice that sings the song and the fact that it's related to the theme that I was teaching Year 3 at the time- the Sea World.

   Sea World is the third unit in the Year 3 textbook. I was itching to get to Unit 4, which was 'Pets and Animals', but Sea World was very interesting. It pretty much challenged my brain to think of interesting ideas to teach, but I still feel that I did not push myself to the limit. I stuck with old-fashioned ideas- but it was this unit that helped me to get nominated for... well, something.

   I used this video as a Set Induction for the day's lesson. I thought I'd turn it into a game, so I did. I did not want a complicated game, as a Set Induction is only meant to be between 3 to 5 minutes long.

   Remember my Silent Game with Year 1? I changed the rules a little to suit Year 3. If you've read some of my old entries (this, this and maybe this), you may have some idea about Year. They can be such angels, and at times they're little monsters.

   Anyway, back to the game. In a previous lesson, I had taught Year 3 the names of a number of sea creatures. So, just to make sure they would do some thinking and show some reaction to the video, I asked them to put up their hands whenever a sea creature that they liked appeared on the screen. The  only rule was they were absolutely forbidden to make any noise whatsoever.

   Here's the video:

   Now it may sound simple enough- just putting up your hands and making sure your mouth is shut, but for children who LOVE to speak, it's quite a challenge. Alif, for instance, has a lot of trouble keeping his mouth shut. Each time an animal that he liked appeared on the screen, he would jump up and say in his high pitched voice, "Aah!! Aah!" (which I suppose means he liked the creature. Putting up a hand was not enough).

   It was a simple game but they enjoyed it. Their English was not that good to be able to sing along to the song while they watched it for the first time, but they liked it. I discovered that most of the boys loved the stingray, and the girls, being girls, liked the gentle dolphin. I suppose the stingray, with its long deadly looking tail appealed to the boys. I have to admit it is one cool creature.

   As always, if anyone ever tries this, I welcome feedbacks and comments. If you have a blog or story about your pupils, drop a comment- I'm always interested.

   Warning: There are some grammatical errors in the song lyrics in the video. I wasn't focusing on grammar so I was too lazy to do anything about it.

   It's a bit late, but Happy Teacher's Day! I just got an sms from Kak Yana, who's the class teacher for Year 1 at SKP. She said they remembered me and wanted to give me a present! Awww... what sweeties. I'll dedicate a special post (and probably more!) on Year 1 soon, Insya-Allah. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Silent Game 1 - useful for keeping your class quiet! (or not)

   I was thinking of what useful things I could write, and I suddenly remembered this game that I invented in order to help me gain some quiet and peace in class. It worked... well enough, I guess.

   The idea popped into my head when I was taking a relief class with Year 1 at SKP. Now, I've had a little experience with Year 1 pupils when I went for SBE at SKP.

   (Wait a mo', I just remembered. Both schools that I went to, for SBE and teaching practice, have the same initials- SKP! Well, the one I went to for SBE is SK Palekbang in home sweet home Kelantan while the SKP I went to for teaching practice is SK Pegoh. What do you know... huh? I wonder if I'll go to another SKP when I start teaching... anyway...)

   From my SBE experience with Year 1, I realised that you have to be really active in class. I mean, really, really active. If you've read about the Year 1 pupils at my school, you'll understand why.

   Anyway, during a particular relief class with Year 1, I wanted to show them how to make animal masks. At first I had planned to give them some worksheets to work on, but as soon as I began to take them out, the children began to complain and turn on sour faces. They were tired of worksheets. They wanted to do something interesting.

   So I gave way and sent the class monitor to get some fresh sheets of drawing paper from the staff room. So we waited. Now, it's a dangerous thing to have nothing to do in class. You must always have some sort of activity so that the children don't start getting noisy and rowdy. In a sudden burst of inspiration, I invented the Silent Game.

   It's quite simple and can probably be implemented for 5 minutes or so before the children start getting noisy again. But trust me, with these particular group of children,  5 minutes of silence is a blessing... a great blessing.

   The game goes like this.

   (1) Explain to the children that they will play a simple game. In this game, no noise must be made. They are absolutely forbidden to talk or even whisper.

   (2) The teacher will asks some simple Yes/No questions.

   (3) If their answer is YES, they must put up their right hand and do a thumbs-up while smiling.
        (Don't ask me why, like I said the idea came out of nowhere)

thumbs up!!!!!!

   (4) If their answer is NO, they must use their arms to form an 'X'. (Again, don't ask me why).
-couldn't find a suitable picture-

    And that's it. Yeah. Haha. I hope you're not too disappointed.

   It actually worked quite well, because the children were so determined to stay quiet that some of them bit their lips. (You could actually add one rule, in that anyone who makes a single noise would be punised, or something). It also took all their will not to shout out or make a noise. When I played the game with Year 1, I could see that it took a lot of effort for them to hold themselves from jumping up in excitement.

   The trick is to ask interesting questions that relate to the children. When it's interesting, you can see them getting all excited.

   * You can probably invent questions depending on your creativity
   * It helps if you start the question with a short introduction or even story

   Question: I have a pet cat at home. (If you have a story then blablabla...) Do you like cats?

   If you want to make the game short and simple, then just ask a bundle of questions at one go.

   I also used this game with Year 3, but in a different way. But that, is another entry, haha.

   p.s. 1 - If you're able to exude that spirit and excitement when you're with children in class, even the simplest game can become interesting :)

   p.s. 2 - If anyone does try this game, I'd be really interested in knowing the outcome, so drop me a line through your comments!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I miss my kids...

   I'm supposed to upload useful things on this blog, such as lesson plans and tips on teaching (yeah... a yet-to-be-officially-announced-as-a-teacher giving tips..hah!) so that this blog  can more or less be useful to people who read it, but I don't feel up to it right now.

   Right now, I rather miss my kids non-stop chatter. I was always complaining about how they talked too much. The real truth is... I like it when they talk a lot! They tell me things, and I like it because it means they're not afraid of me. However, it became a problem whenever I had to prepare to be observed.

   Anyway, I thought I'd reveal my sweethearts to the world today! (Hopefully it helps to mask my laziness to post anything useful). Just pics today. Later when I feel more 'rajin' I'll write some things about some of them- just for the sake of sharing my experience in teaching rowdy 9 year olds who just want attention- and given it, work really well during lessons.

Left to right: Alif, Syukri
Alif's my personal favourite.
What can I do? I'm a bit biased, haha.

Left to right: Amirul, Syhami, Syahrizan
Naughty boys. Rasa nak jentik je all the time :P

Left to right: Aisyah, Noriza & Aisyah
The two Aisyahs are besties

Left to right: Adina, Suhana
Eza particularly likes Adina, whom she says is very cute
They're both in pemulihan, but sometimes they're spirits in working rivals that of the others

   Only one of them is missing- Imran, who's pretty much the star in the class when it comes to English (And from what I know, all the other subjects too). He was absent a lot, including on my last day at school. Nak kena dak Imran nih!

   I've been wanting to buy a camera ever since I started SBE... but that wish is yet to be fulfilled. So far I just make do with my camera phone which produces 'okay' photos, but how I long for that camera!

   Camera or no camera, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't take enough pictures when I was at SKP... huhu. Masa SBE bukan main lagi snap2. Masa practicum entah kenapa hilang semangat ambik gambo...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


   I was in the campus last week. As I waited for my employer (my employer... yeah... but nope that story has no part in this blog) in the car park behind Anjung Hikmah I saw a number of young people standing around in groups looking nervous.

   Ah. I thought. These young people are waiting to be interviewed for the PPISMP programme. Later, my employer explained that it's now called the KPLSPM (what a mouthful!) which stands for Kursus Perguruan Lepas SPM. Oh. There were also candidates waiting to be interviewed for the PPC (Program Pelajar Cemerlang) as well.

   Wow. I shook my head and sat back in my seat. Six years ago, I also went through the same thing. Six years ago. That's a long, long time. Well, it is for someone who's only lived for 22+ years. Six years is about a third of the time that I've spent breathing.

   Memories. It's strange how they can be jerked into life. I remembered how nervous I was when I went for my interview. Siap pakai blazer! Tak tahan. Semua Dad's idea la tu. The problem I was too small (probably looked a bit under-nourished as well)  and looked too much of a kid and the smart black coat, instead of making me look skema and professional, only blanketed me and make me look out of place. Sigh. I don't exactly have good memories regarding my interview, but hey, I'm here now.

   I remember I met Awatif for the first time. Later when I got to know her, she said she noticed me and thought, "Sapalah budak skema ni." Haha. At least ada gak oghang kata aku skema. Menjadi gak bolezer tuh. Awatif is a great friend, and one of my favourites although she may not know it. She's one of the most hardworking in the cohort, which explains why she got nominated for 'Cemerlang' during practicum. Yeah. Cool, huh. She's also one of the people I really enjoyed working with- remember those productions we had, Watap? (But of course she doesn't read my blog. I doubt she even knows it exists).

   Anyway, back to the interview. When I said I saw young people, I mean young people. Seriously! Well, they didn't exactly look young (kids nowadays look really mature) and people still think I'm in Form 4... but the thought that I took the interview 6 years ago really kicked me into reality. I'm old! I've basically completed my studies. Just waiting to be posted. I'm old!

   Well, let's talk about something useful. I'm not sure who reads my blogs, and at the same time the interviews for KPLSPM are probably way over, but just in case some teacher-wannabe stumbles upon my blog, I've listed some tips on what to do in order to prepare for BPG (Bahagian Pendidikan Guru) interviews based on my own experience. This was 6 years ago, but I think it always more or less goes the same way.

   1. Dress smartly, in a way that shows that you're ready to become a teacher
   - There's no need to wear anything fancy. Girls usually wear baju kurung and covered shoes, while boys usually go for collared shirts and smart pants.

   2. Read up on the latest education news
   - Thankfully I read the news on the morning I went for the interview. They asked me if I read the newspaper, and I was able to answer. Well, sort of anyway.

   3. Read up on basic info concerning the Cabinet etc.
   - My dad got me a poster that listed all the important people in the Ministry. They didn't ask about it, but one might as well be prepared.

   4. Polish your knowledge on the subject you're going for
   - If you're aiming to be an English teacher, you might as well show them that you can actually use the language, right?

   5. Be confident and brave
   - Not an easy thing to do, but just try to show that you're confident. Meet the eyes of the interviewer(s) and answer their questions as confidently as you can.

   6. Smile
   - It won't hurt to smile a bit. Just don't go all giggly sudahla.

   And that's about it for the tips. All the best!

Friday, May 6, 2011

SBE/ROS - Portfolio/Logbook

   I mentioned in my previous entry that I produced a +-300 pages of portfolio or logbook. It does sound rather overwhelming when I think of it, but then again you should know that we were required to go for SBE/ROS for ONE MONTH.

  From what I hear, people usually only spend at the most two weeks in school for SBE/ROS. We  spent ONE MONTH. Yeah. I don't know why, I guess IIUM and maktab arranged for it to happen that way. My friends from other teacher training prorammes at the maktab said they only spent one or two weeks at school, and they do it several times, in stages. The same goes for their practicum. We, on the other hand, do both SBE and practicum at one go. One month for SBE and three for practicum. Gilo. Haha.

   Hence the +-300 pages for the SBE portfolio. I think that's pretty okay compared to some friends who had over 400 pages! Lagi hebat! It's no wonder so many of my friends got As for their SBE. And since SBE was the only course we signed up for for that particular semester, (and SBE was a 2-credit hour course) a lot of people got 4 flat for their gpa. Congrats guys! (it's a bit late for that, but anyway...)
So did I! So did I! I got an A for SBE, but trust me- it's no biggie and nothing to brag about.
I'll let you know why in my next post.
   Anywa, in this post I'd like to 'citer sikit' about the portfolio that we produced for SBE (sorry I'm tired of writing 'SBE/ROS', but they're the same thing really). The truth is we did not really get a lot of info on how to prepare them during the briefing. We were told to look at the samples produced by our seniors, but I was too lazy to do it, so I just did what I thought was necessary and I got an A (haha) so I guess what I submitted was okay.

  Basically what you have to put into the portfolio is any information that you can get about the school. Anything ranging from the school management to the panel documents. Since I was a B.Ed TESL student, and we were used to producing reports and assignments in English, I planned to prepare the portfolio in English. However, most of the information I retrieved was of course in Bahasa Melayu. So what I did was to prepare a bi-lingual table of contents, which you can download and take a look at here (see how generous I am? hehe):

SBE Portfolio Table of Contents (bi-lingual: English and Malay)

   This was what I did- your portfolio could be planned and arranged in a different way. As far as I know, students in my programme are given a free hand in doing it. If your are, then make sure that you arrange everything as neatly as possible. Prepare relevant dividers so that it's easy to flip through your portfolio and take a look-see at things according to their categories. You can divide the portfolio into several chapters like what I did for mine (refer to the table of contents).

   There are a number of things that you have to prepare to be put into the portfolios:

   1. School information
   - Just collect basically anything info that you can find on the school. One Tip that I can share is that as soon as you've settled down at school and got to know who your guiding teacher is, ask for the 'Buku Pengurusan Sekolah'. (There might be a different name for it, so ask). As far as I know all schools have it. Usually the Buku Pengurusan Sekolah will have all the info that you need on the school, but if it doesn't, you'll have to search manually. (This is the part where you have to 'pandai-pandai buat baik dengan cikgu2'.

   2. Reports on Observations
   - This is something that you are required to do. You have to choose to observe any teacher carrying out his/her TnL (teaching & learning) activities in the classroom. Make sure you ask for permission first. Some teachers don't like the idea of being 'observed', so make sure you ask them really nicely. As far as I know, you can ask to observe on any subjects, but it may help to focus on your major subject (which i my case is English) because it'll give you an insight on what you will have to deal with when you teach.

   3. Lesson Plans
    - Don't forget to ask for the lesson plans that the teacher used for the classes you observed. Put them in the portfolio/logbook. The LPs are usually very short and simple, not like the ones we have to prepare for assignments and during practicum. If you can, ask for the worksheets used as well.

   4. Pictures
   - Make sure you take lots and lots of pictures of the school. You can include:
     (i) School facilities
     (ii) School compound
     (iii) Teaching and  learning activities
     (iv) School programmes - meetings, Teacher's Day, PTA meetings etc.
     (v) photos of the pupils! and teachers too, if you like

   5. Other related stuff
   - This can be almost anything, ranging from your punch card, attendance list, relief class memos etc.

   If you have a chance to be on the committee for some programme then grab the chance! The purpose of SBE is really to get oriented with the school environment. Since you're going to be teachers, you might as well get used to it.

   I hope this helps if you're a bit stuck on what to do for SBE. Remember the requirements are probably different for different programmes, but this might help any of my juniors who've been asking me, hehe. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. TTFN.

SBE/ROS - Journal Writing

   Some of my juniors are currently doing their SBE/ROS at school, and a few inquired about what they were supposed to do during this course. Since most teacher trainees are, as far as I know, required to undergo SBE/ROS at school as part of their training, I thought I might as well share some information that I have based on my own experience. By saying that, I also mean that other programmes may carry out their SBEs differently, and if anyone would care to share, it'd be really good.

   Probably the main difference between SBE/ROS and teaching practice or practicum is that during SBE/ROS, you don't have to teach. Instead, you go to school to get yourself in touch with the school environment. Basically, you have to make observations and reports which have to compiled and submitted.

   For my SBE, I made a daily journal for the whole month I was at school (yes, that means 20 entries) and a +-300 pages of portfolio. There's no need to look stunned, let me explain. In this entry I'll explain about the journal writing. I hope it helps!

       Daily journal
Journals are useful- even if they're not the easiest things to write in!
       Basically, what you have to is write a daily account of your experience in school. Since a lot can happen in one day, what you should do is choose one particular incident that particularly made an impression on you. This can be anything- ranging from your first experience attending a meeting, filling in for an absent teacher and others. In fact, I remember the lecturer who briefed us for SBe giving a rather comical example of an experience that we could write about. He said that say a bull comes into the school compound and turns the school into an uproar, we could write about what the teachers or staff did to solve the problem.

   So, if you encounter a pupil who throws up in class or whatever, you can write about that too (but it probably won't be a very pleasant thing to describe, haha). Your written account should be formal, just like how you write your assignments. It's not exactly easy to be formal, I suppose, because journals are meant to be like diaries, and diaries are personal. You write what you feel and stuff. It's okay to do this, I guess- just don't get too personal. Remember, you lecturer's going to read them!

   Always start with a short introduction of what you're going to write. Then, describe the event that you're focusing on. Maybe write a bit about the strengths and weaknesses if it's relevant. Finally, write a conclusion to the entry, as in what you learnt from the experience and so on.

   I'd include an example if I could, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to since they were submitted as reports. Besides, they were not that good and were probably written without following the guidelines above. BUt I'll think about it. It might be useful for anyone who needs to see it, so we'll see. If you like though, you could take a peek at some of my earliest entries which were written based on my own SBE. They're pretty long, and not what I submitted as journals, but you may get the basic idea of what it's about. you can check them out here: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Entry 4.

   You can either type or write your journal entries down- but of course it depends on what your lecturer wants. Be sure to ask.
Given the choice, I definitely chose typing- saves time plus my handwriting's not worth speaking about

   Oh, and I have a short piece of advice that I'd like to give. Yes! Follow this advice if you know what's good for you- I didn't, and had to suffer because of it! Haha! Make sure you start writing from the very first day. In fact, write them down everyday before you go home, if possible. Write when the experience is still fresh in your memories- it'll be easier to analyse and think over things. If you leave them until the last minute... well, like I said, I suffered. Like this:

You definitely don't want to end up like this! Haha

   That's it for today. I thought I'd write about the portfolio, but nah... i'm pretty much done for the day. Hope this little bit of info helps!

p.s - I do apologise for my rather meager efforts in putting up pictures! The truth is they are too much of a bother, and I don't really care because I feel that it's my writing that's important, not the pictures. However, I noticed that I like looking at pictures when I visit other people's blogs, though of course what they write appeals more to me. So I put some pictures up- so that you won't turn cross-eyed after you finish reading!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Results, results, results!

   This post doesn't really have anything to do with school or teaching, but it does have to do with the part of my life that's labelled 'teacher trainee' and 'student'. As it is, the results for practicum will be out after 5.00 p.m. today and I am super nervous!

   Even after we went back to maktab for our fourth year, we still had to check our results through the IIUM portal. Today will be the last time that we have to do so. I simply can'y believe that I have made it through 6 long years of training. People are always shocked when I tell them that my programme is a six year course. Six years. That's a long time. Imagine what you went through from Standard 1 to Standard 6.

   I hope all my friends will do well. I know for certain a number of people who will definitely get First class. I wish all the others the best as well. Yet again, after thinking about it, it is awesome to get a high CGPA and all, but it doesn't exactly determine that you're going to be a good teacher, does it? One can be good when it comes to theories and stuff, but practical training is a whole different matter altogether.

   Whatever my results, I am truly blessed for the six years of experience and learning that I went through. Those 6 years weren't just about learning how to become a teacher. They were also learning about life and how to become a person. I have learned so much, and if I were to list down the names of everyone who have contributed to the person I am today, I'd probably still be typing by the time the results come out.

   Thanks everyone. Thank you Allah.