Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Some Pictures of the locations

Big Bookshop

Big Bookshop

Old Empress Theatre. Area around Big Bookshop.

Clementi Swimming Pool
SIPM Consultants Pte. Ltd. (2007). Institutional & Recreational. Retrieved from

Area outside Clemeti Swimming Pool

Clementi Bus Interchange. (2009). Retrieved from Wikipedia: Clementi_Bus_Interchange

Area outside Clementi Police Station.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Different Way of Addressing Literacy: Moving Image in the English Language and Literature Classroom

This workshop was really designed to help teachers incorporate moving images into the EL classroom in relation to the new EL syllabus.

Some notes "pasted" from the workshop;

Workshop outline

-An introduction to film terms
-Practical ways of using film to teach analytical skills, structure and character
-Approaches to teaching literature through film
-How to use film and media to enhance writing and creativity

Intended outcome of the workshop

-Consider a range of materials and teaching approaches in using film and media in the classroom to support students’ writing and creativity
-Feel confident about using film and other media in the teaching of the writing and representing strand of the English Language Syllabus 2010

Examples of literary techniques(in reference to LO4 {Writing & Representing} of new EL syllabus)

twist in the tale
withholding information for suspense

direct speech
interior monologue
behaviours reflecting personality

Important terms that aid in using moving images for the teaching of EL

- Mis-en-scene:
A French term for ‘what’s put in the scene’. Establishes mood and atmosphere and can express the inner life of characters through the interplay of props, actors, use of colour and light, the way these elements are composed.

-Diegetic sound:
Sounds that are part of what’s going on in the screen (footsteps, thunder, car horns…)

-Non-diegetic sound:
Sound that is not part of what’s going on in the screen, such as the soundtrack. Can be used to indicate character’s state of mind or to generate audience response

Other important factor to include are the angles and the effects it has.

Some suggested use of film is the EL classroom include teaching the narrative structure through film. Either through the 3-part structure
- hero faces a problem which they want to solve but there are obstacles
- hero tries everything but they all dont work, hero is failing
- the hero finds a solution, film ends


In the caseof the worksheet provided, uncovering the typical conventions found in a horror movie, spy thriller or monster movie.

Also included among the suggested activities are:

-narrative writing through the use of storyboards,
-watch and predict
-Movie and text comparison

Again, most of the activities here are more inclined towards teaching of literature rather than EL per sae. In terms of EL, film provides an excellent and rich resource to study the narrative form as well as an alternative form of expression.

Assessments for Learning

There is nothing new here.

AfL is defined as

‘The process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.’

Quoted from Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles by the Assessment Reform Group 2002

The main point that struck me was really the notion that AfL should be embedded as part of the lesson. It is part of a normal everyday lesson and not something that should be specifically scheduled, like a class test.

The speakers shared a number of strategies for adopting AfL in the classroom. The materials are in hard copy and are with me.
Some quick activities include:

1. Traffic Light cards
- Good for quickly showing understanding
- Not good because you cannot check for misunderstanding. Using the cards gives a false assurance that all your students have understood your instructions.

2. Individual small tabletop whiteboards
- This was used for quick quizzes and as a tool for quick communication with the teacher. I like this idea and can see its merits in the classroom. However, given that we are into 1-to-1 computing, i'm wondering if there is a more "SST" way to do this. That is, my leveraging on ICT tools and the macbooks.

3. WALTs and WILFs
- Suggest that every lesson begins with the WALTs (We Are Learning To....) and the WILFs (What Im Looking For...). This is so that the students are clear about the lesson objectives and it makes it easier to provide feedback.

Other areas they touched on included Good questioning techniques and effective grouping strategies. Good questioning techniques are in line with Bloom's Taxonomy. Grouping strategies illustrated was De Bono's thinking hats although the resource pack has a list of others.

Some of the key principles from this approach, i feel, are already part of the UbD that we are adopting. These include sharing the learning goals with the students, checking for understanding and principles of authentic assessments such as providing feedback.

Softcopy of the presentation slides are also with me.

Good reference source introduced include

Multiliteracies in Print Media: Analyzing Language and Image

This workshop is about semiotics (The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation) and bringing images into the classroom . The speaker tried to tie in the fact that images have already been part of the education system. He points to the use of symbols in science and maths. He also points to the fact that words are mere images, codified by culture, to have a common meaning.

Image literacy is also important, according to him, because it aids in our understanding of the visual presentation. This is no where more apparent than when trying to read a sign in a foreign language (

This workshop then set out to to help teachers develop a common language from which we can teach visual literacy. "The language of making meaning from print media".

The speaker tried to introduce the concepts and essential properties of multi-semiotic texts which creates integration of pictures and words as more than a mere occurrence.

He provided a tentative framework for analysis of inter-semiotic text. This is divided into two categories, 1, Meta-functions and 2 - Cohesion

The bulk of this workshop is irrelevant to the classroom as a resource for direct application. However, the ideas that are very applicable from this workshop is the relationship between image and text in providing meaning.

E.g., Exponential texts-Newspapers and adverts, how image can shape perspectives, and appeal to or challenge our values and beliefs. It is important to know how the content creators choose to use images. And to not let our own opinions be too swayed by the symbiosis between image and text.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ELTS - Xtranormal

This workshop is really about using a web2.0 tool, xtranormal.

Xtranormal is a web based animation tool with the capacity to display expressions and emotions.

As a tool, it provides a quick and easy way to create custom animations without the hassles previously associated with animations. All information is also saved on the websites servers eliminating the need for large storage devices.

Additionally, the software allows for reediting after publishing. Thus, this would allow the teacher to give feedback and students can make the necessary changes.

However, in order for the works to be published, the video must first be uploaded into Youtube before publishing it to a blog.

Verdict: Good novelty tool. Maybe an assessment option for creating narratives and characterizations. Otherwise, its better suited for literature than purely EL.