Small group assignment: The Teacher’s Guide


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Here was the rubric for the teachers guide assignment:

  •  Introduction to the year, things to watch out for, how to manage classrooms, routines that work, etc.
  • Unit Plans for topics (see example)
  • 2 Lesson Plans for each unit (inclusive of reading, writing, listening, speaking
    • follow format
  • Include materials, pictures, instructions, and examples of finished products.
  • Stay away from textbook material, use the textbook as a guide
  • include links to web resources
  • include scans of books or materials used
  • word format (so I can easily format and put them together to publish)

Small Group Assignments: the guidelines


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One of the things that I think has been most successful this year was the small group assignments. I will outlay the assignment so that future posts about it are more relevant. Each group was made up of teachers who primarily teach that year (1, 2 and 3). Here are the guidelines:

Team Assignment Guidelines

Choose a team name

Elect a team leader who will:

  • direct team meetings
  • make sure everyone has a job
  • make sure tasks are completed on time

Meet once a month for 1.5 hours. You can decide when to meet, but you need to let me know the dates + times so I can get calling letters sent and so I can arrange my schedule also.


We will have 1 whole cluster workshop a month

3 things teams will work on (all will be part of your portfolio)

  • a teacher’s guide for year 1, 2, or 3 (see guidelines)
  • book reports (to be shared during our whole cluster workshop, at least 1 chapter per month)
  • a workshop to be shared with the cluster by the end of the year on a randomly selected topic


LibraryThing and school libraries


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I wish I had pictures right now of the way some of the school libraries look. Here are some of the things that I’ve noticed:

  • disorganized
  • not in use
  • barely existant
  • clean and tidy, organized, but few books (very little relevance)
  • a complete disaster

In better shape are the SAL rooms (self access learning). Being the bibliophile that I am, the state of the books made me want to cry. So, I’ve been working with teachers and will be working with library teachers to get things a bit more organized. After going through a lot of information about library organizing software or online databases I found LibraryThing.

This is the best online database I could find that suited our needs. I was able to look up most of the books (and some are a bit obscure) by just imputing titles.
I will be training some library teachers how to organize their stocks.

The next task is to devise a check out system.


Group Meetings: Discussions and Confusions


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This week the three small groups met to discuss their book reviews, the teacher’s guides and the workshops they are each planning.

Group one had an interesting discussion about the differences in classrooms in different education systems (primarily US vs Malaysia). We talked about the disadvantage US students face not learning a second language early on. We talked about the setbacks most teachers face in the classroom and what we can do to overcome them. They are almost finished with the teachers guide, and have a workshop plan. They have been reading “Welcome to the Aquarium,” by Julie Diamond.

Group 2 met on Wednesday and discussed the book, “Developing More Curious Minds.” By John Barell. The discussion was also stimulating. I outlined the book reviews into several parts.

  • Chapter Summary
  • Interesting points
  • Opinions and extensions
  • Key Words

When we got to the key words for the chapters we were discussing (those are words they want defined or explained further), we discussed: smithy and patricide. Smithy was in the context of a very metaphorical phrase quoted from Joyce. It was a great discussion because we got to pick apart the metaphor. Patricide led to a discussion about the roots”patra” and “cide.” They were able to come up with other words using these like, “patriarchal” and “homicide.” Eventually the explanation of patricide led to a discussion of the Greek play, “Oedipus Rex.” All that from just two words!

Group 3 is a bit behind due to scheduling, and not all members being present for all meetings. On top of that, the book they are reading is more practical than theoretical, so the discussion was then more practical than in depth. The book is, “See me After Class,” by Roxanna Elden.

They discussed her frank language in the book, and her very practical advice for common problems teachers face. They mostly agreed with her points. We need to work on getting the teachers guide complete, and review unit planning (which is the topic of their workshop). Confusion led to a better discussion on what it means to unit plan, as well as inciting additional research.

And onward we march!



Information on Corporal Punishment in Education


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A selection of useful websites and electronically available resources
Classroom Management Online –
Committee on the Rights of the Child (2001), General Comment No.1 on “The aims of education”,
Committee on the Rights of the Child (2006), General Comment No.8 on “The right to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (articles 19, 28(2) and 37, inter alia)”,
Council of Europe (2007), Abolishing corporal punishment of children: Questions and answers, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing,
Education World –
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children –
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (2009), Prohibiting corporal punishment of children: A guide to legal reform and other measures,
Gordon Training International –
Learn Without Fear –
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education –
South African Department of Education (2000), “Alternatives to Corporal Punishment: The Learning Experience”,
UK Department for Education and Skills (2005), Learning Behaviour: The report of the Practitioners’ Group on School Behaviour and Discipline,
UNICEF (2001), Child protection: discipline and violence,

Hands on Lesson: Making a restaurant menu

Ongoing lessons using hands on activities and role playing. This lesson comes from Unit 6 KSSR Year 2, Delicious Food. Here are some pics of the kids enjoying making their own menus to use in the role play:

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Objective: Students will be able to act out a restaurant scenario using vocabulary words and sentence structures

Materials: plain paper, markers or colored pencils

Procedure: Review words that students know about food. Make a chart on the board.

food               drinks

Talk about and explain these vocabulary words: menu, table, chairs, food, drink, eat

  • Go over sentence structures on pg. 45
  • guided role play with teacher
  • explain to the students they are going to work in groups to create a menu for their own restaurant. It should have a name, food, drinks, and prices. They can also decorate with pictures.
  • split the students into groups, hand out materials, and supervise menu creation.
  • role play a restaurant scene using student created menus.

listening: hearing vocab, participating in role plays

speaking: role plays
reading and writing: menu creation and use
Language Arts: Menu creation

In class assessment:

5 all students on task, menu is neat and precise, good participation in role play
4 most students on task, menu is accurate, good participation in role play
3 some students on task, menu is acceptable, ok participation in role play
2 most students not on task, menu is sloppy, poor participation in role play
1 students not on task, menu is not acceptable, no participation in role play

group assessment:

     group name     students in group     menu score     role play score
ex. Star Cafe          student 1                    4                    3
                              student 2
                              student 3
                              student 4
                              student 5