Learning English with Scrabble

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As part of my English ECA this term, students have been introduced to various board games.  One of them is Scrabble.  Students put letters together to form words scoring points for themselves.  There are many of benefits of playing this word game, notably spelling and the use of known and new vocabulary.   Students also develop the social skills of taking turns, patience, and fairness.
What I see my students enjoy the most is their usage of high frequency words (Dolch Sight Words).  Playing Scrabble helps them strengthen their English communication skills and fosters competitiveness and confidence among them.  As an ESL teacher, I believe Scrabble would provide ways for students and teachers to expand their verbal repertoire.  Furthermore, it is a pleasant way for students to learn words for their English classes.

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While playing Scrabble, the use of an online dictionary (iPad) has proven to be essential for my students when searching for a word or checking its proper spelling.  Exploring the digital dictionary exposes them to new vocabulary and its definitions, as well as 21st century research skills.   Online dictionaries speak the word for students to practice their pronunciation, as well as show synonyms and antonyms.  When the students form a questionable word, they have to check the dictionary to see if these word actually exists, and in some instances, it does!

Scrabble lightens the mood and allows the students to de-stress after a long day and enjoy their second language experience in a fun way.

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Pizza Express Visit

Today, we went on a field trip to Pizza Express, in Mongkok East, as part of our ECA.  The children had the opportunity to visit a working kitchen and experience first hand, what it is like to create one of their favourite foods.  While preparing an individual pizza, each child learned the various names and the process of adding numerous ingredients (sauce, vegetables, cheese and meat choices).  They especially enjoyed watching the changes, stage by stage, that occurred during preparation and baking.

Other highlights included dressing in traditional chef uniform and eating their pizza creation at the end.

A huge thank you goes out to Miss Lai, who helped coordinate this event and Vincent, from the IT department, who donated his time to accompany us on our trip.  I also want to thank our students who were well-behaved and represented our school so well.

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Sports Day 2017

CNEC Ta Tung’s annual Sports Day held at Kwai Chung Sports Ground last Friday, was not only fun, but contained numerous, challenging events for our students to excel at.
Children had the opportunity to test their skills and compete with each other in a variety of games. The high-spirited sportsmanship displayed by the students in the stands added to the enjoyment and excitement of the day.
As always, Sports Day was extremely well organised by our PE Department. Thanks to Mr Wong and Ms Lai for hosting the event and to all my other colleagues for playing their part in ensuring that everything ran smoothly.  It was a festive day, one that truly showed the best of our students.
Sportsday 2017

Celebrating 45 years!

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December 2016 marked CNEC Ta Tung’s 45 anniversary of its founding.

In order to mark such important occasion, the school planned various activities throughout 2016 and culminated with a dinner celebration which included activities, games, prayer and anecdotes from former teachers and alumni.

I count myself not only lucky, but honoured to work for this school.

 

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English News…

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Old Hong Kong… New Ideas

Primary Four students took on an ambitious project that involved all classes visiting the Hong Kong History Museum over a six month period as an extension of their English unit of study, titled Old Hong Kong.  In their groups, they planned what aspect of old Hong Kong they wanted to explore, assigned roles including a narrator or emcee, took videos and pictures with an iPad, and brought it altogether using iMovie.

 

Students were taught to:

  • plan their visit with questions and decisions about what video and pictures should be included
  • assign key roles of narrator, photographer, writer, reporter, etc. where necessary
  • use specific grammar structures  and target language which they learned in their unit of study
  • develop positive group member skills
  • use the basics of iMovie and the camera feature on an iPad

 

At the end of each video, students were given the opportunity reflect and express how they felt about the trip and what they had gained from the experience.

Thank you to the English Panel Head, Ms Lai and to the Primary Four class teachers for their constant support throughout this unit of study.

My Friend Activity

P2 students have been reading the big book, My Friend, Oscar, which is about friendships.  In this activity, students present their friend with a series of short answer questions.  In the preparation for this activity, the students were guided by a worksheet that helped them interview their friend for key answers.

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My Friend Interview Sheet.

Students practice presenting with their friend working on their enunciation skills, volume, and expression.  These skills develop with time and confidence.  This activity also deepens their friendships, as well as gives them a skill set to use when they meet a new friend, or classmate (for next year!).

We will try using the iPads to video some similar activities so students can have greater control over their video, location, timing, video angle, and to use some of the editing features of iMovie.  This will build their technology skills and confidence, especially peer-to-peer support and teaching each other.

This video is a collection of the student pairs from this P2 class.  I’m very proud of their risk-taking, collaboration and success!

Cooking Creations ECA

Procedural writing is a valuable text type tool to help students organize their thinking, planning, and their end product.

Getting  my students to prepare food through an ECA, allowed them to discover new flavours,  foods, and boost their second language skills by putting them into action.

In order to get them to learn key vocabulary and food preparation steps, I  introduced them to the Toca Kitchen 2  app.  This app allowed to them to actually simulate food preparation, write the steps, learn the key vocabulary, and test their final product by feeding one of the characters.

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They also had the opportunity to visit Pizza Express and prepare their very own pizza.  It was valuable experience to follow oral instructions while creating their own pizza.  It not only allowed to try something new but also boost their self-confidence while honing their English speaking and listening skills.

‘Crabs on a Rock’ Rocks!

Students in P2 performing ‘Crabs on a Rock‘ in a Readers’ Theatre fashion.

One of the best ways to engage ESL students and teach them to read with comprehension, expression and  fluency is through Reader’s Theatre.

Reader’s theatre is a strategy that combines reading practice and performing.  Reader’s Theatre gives children a real reason to read aloud, it’s fun!

As you will notice from my videos,  it does not require extensive preparation, fancy costumes, props, sets, or memorisation.

This reading style allows children to act out a story as many times so they come to understand all of its nuances.  Also, it enables them to get past a superficial literal level.

With Reader’s Theatre, they’re not only reading and fully understanding a story, but most importantly, they’re living it.

Sports Day – Let’s Play!

What a great way to start Spring with our annual Sports Day event!  The children had a great morning participating in running, relay, skipping and many other races; something for everyone.

Sports Day allows children to showcase many of the skills they have learned in physical education classes.  This day was made extra special by the large turn out of proud parents, and the cooler weather.  I was amazed how well the children demonstrate what it is to show good sportsmanship, team spirit, and cooperation.  It gave me a subtle chance to interact with the students in English in a less formal environment compared with the classroom.

Well done to all the children and thank you to all of the teachers for organizing such a meaningful event.  The students and parents see that physical education and organised competitions are valued as part of a holistic approach to school life.

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