Saturday, 18 February 2012

As busy as a bee

     During Week Six, engaging large classes and adding Interactive essences to PowerPoint Presentation are the main focuses. I was really much more relieved when seeing that making a PPT was the task of this week. I have used PPT on many occasions, but there definitely leaves a lot to be desired on making the presentation as interactive as possible. I made a PPT on Kenya for the CC club to help the students gain more understanding of their partner school’s homeland. I hyperlinked a couple of key words to other slides with examples of the target vocabulary. However, I had doubt over the timing where I should insert the vocabulary explanation slides. I am not sure if I presented the slides in the proper place so that I wouldn’t jeopardize the pace of the ten questions challenge. 
       I like the idea of Think-Pair-Share a lot. It is handy but quick to get students involved. This Thursday, British Council in Taipei did filming on a Pre-While-Post lesson plan with one of my eighth- grade class. I also applied Think-Pair-Share in the end of the class session. I didn’t do the pairing discussion. Instead, I had every five students as a group discuss on the reading we covered. Then the groups were encouraged to pose questions based on their comprehension of the reading and the other groups competed over who spoke out the correct answers first. Both the group who posed a question and the group who got the right answer earned a point. To my amazement, two students from different groups, who always get less than 20 out of 100 in a test, raised their hands and worked out the answers with their teammates. I made the rule that the winning team got chocolate to enjoy but ended up with chocolate candy for everyone but extra cookies for those two highest-point winning groups. They did an excellent job by including everyone in the competition. That counts so much more to me. What’s as wonderful is that one of the students who have above-average command of English but tends to be restless in class showed great leadership in managing his group. I pulled him aside after the filming and gave him the compliment he deserved. Guess what? He remained involved in the next English class on Friday. It’s impossible to make every single student “love” a certain teacher, but if we observe the whole class with a caring attitude and we spend a little extra time to voice our feeling or feedback, there might exist the key to the students’ heart. As for my final project, I was still somewhat lost (truth be told), but reading over Janine’s post “…integrating technology into projects is a wonderful use of the tools, but does not make a project per se. A project will always end in a student-generated product or performance and in which students have used language in a meaningful way. So asking students to do online grammar exercises, for example, might be very useful but does not constitute a project.”, I have gained a clearer picture of what the final project should be composed of, but also somewhat overwhelmed by the challenges in making the project done.Brain exerting time, brain exertng time!!


  1. Dear Gladys,

    Wow, your reading lesson was superb. Congratulations! Your students did have lots of learning in a competitive way. It was very nice of you to give prizes and compliments to your students. I'm sure that you have a good rapport with your students. I also really like to do 'Think-Pair-Share' activity when I post the questions. I think it is not only good for engaging students but also promote more students' talking with confidence. I agree that our instructor surely described a clear insight of PBL and what it really means for students' learning.

    Good luck with your project!

    Best wishes,
    Zun Phyu

    1. Dear Zun Phyu:
      I did have a wonderful week with my students. Think-Pair- Share is really simple to integrate into the class activity but great in making interaction happen during class. If you are interested, I can forward the lesson plan designed by the British Council to you.

  2. Hi Gladys, I also love your story of how your class went this week. I just wanted to make one point of clarification regarding projects. In this case, YOU are doing the project in the "student" role, so what you turn in at the end (your report) is the student-generated product. This doesn't mean that you need to design a project for your students necessarily. For example, if you wanted to just incorporate Nicenet into your teaching, that's perfectly fine and enough. I know it's difficult to constantly transition between the role of teacher and student, but in this case, I, as the "teacher," have designed the project you will engage in as the "student." I hope that makes sense! If not , drop me an email!


  3. Hi Vilma!

    This is the first time that I have read your blog, but I decided to look it up now that we are partners (you, Kaori and I)! I enjoyed your self-reflection very much, you have a wonderful way of describing a lesson and the methods you have tried. I think that one of the key reasons why students learn and are active when engaged in the think-pair-share task is that they are personally involved and communicate with each other orally. Many weaker students are actually quite adept at speaking English and can gain much-needed confidence as a learner when successfully winning a competition such as you described. Oral communication in classes is emphasized in Finland, most of the writing and written grammar exercises are done at home. Even grammar is studied orally and students teach each other using A & B cards.

    By the way, if you need help coming up with an idea for the project, let me know. Maybe you could take this oral perspective and come up with a task for your students writing speeches, for example. Take a look at, maybe you could get some ideas there!

    1. Sorry, you are obviously Gladys, not Vilma! Either way, everything I said still applies and now I'm off to find the real Vilma! Good luck with everything :)