I wasn’t expecting many students to be in the classroom when I entered 2 Gem today, seeing as I knew they had their PE lesson just before my English periods. (Actually, who has their PE lessons after recess?! A little odd, don’t you think? :/) But even with that expectation, I wasn’t expecting a mere NINE students to be in class! @.@

When I inquired more, they said that the rest were either absent, or involved in olahraga. Ah. Well. It’s olahraga week, or month, I think. Many students are involved, and it’s really hard to keep track of who’s involved in what, and when @.@ And I did not want to spend too much time on that, and compromise those who are present in class—they deserve a proper lesson.

To start, I also wrote everything that we have done in class so far, and which ones are supposed to be in which of their books, as I had done with 1 Best. The purpose was because I also suspected that a lot of their work is either not completed, or missing. I guess that is the problem with using handouts. And I’ve used a lot of them in my lessons! :/ Well, to justify myself, handouts save time in copying—time that weak students like these can use to actually focus on the content matter. For example, instead of spending so much time copying mindlessly, they can instead think or work out if  the subject ‘she’ goes with a verb that has ‘s’ or no ‘s’. Do you get what I mean?

I want them to focus on the content, rather than on the mechanical aspects, like writing. But then again, copying and writing sometimes do help to solidify what they’ve learned. But that is why I sometimes include rewriting the sentences in the handouts. Otherwise, they would conveniently forget that I told them to rewrite the sentences I gave them =.=

Anyway, housekeeping matters aside, I started with the discussion of their mid-term paper. However, I was horrified to discover that they had actually passed up their question papers together with their answer sheets. I, however, was only given their OMR sheets that were marked using the machine! So, where were their question papers?! @.@ Because of that, I found it rather difficult to discuss the questions with them, since they had nothing to refer to. But because there were only 9 of them, I made them sit closer to the board, and to me, so I could show them the questions I was referring to. Still, not great. :/

However, I picked only certain questions to discuss with them and especially focused on phrasal verbs. Their poor vocabulary is definitely one main reason that so many of them did not do well. And of all the elements of the English language, I think that phrasal verbs are one of the most difficult. It’s because you either know the meaning, or you don’t. And the knowing, comes from reading widely, which I doubt they do 😦

Phrasal verbs like, “worn out”, “broke down”, “show off” I wrote them on the board and told them to copy them into their Vocabulary books with the meanings in BM. So, they could write “letih/penat”, “menangis” and “menunjuk-nunjuk” respectively. The main point is so they understand, and can remember these words. When I saw some of them were not copying the words down, or writing anything down, really, I scolded them. I told them what is the point of being so interested about their marks when they don’t pay attention or make an effort to find out why they got wrong?! I told them, very frankly, “I don’t care if you failed. The point is to learn, and to improve. If you get 13% now, but get 20% in the next test, I see that as improvement! As progress! You should learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them.” They were quite sober after that.

There were quite a number of other phrasal verbs that were not found in the test that we worked on together, and I was very happy when they asked me things like, “Teacher, what is the difference between ‘show off’ and ‘show up’?”. This shows that they have read some of these phrases, and they are interested to know. I am always so happy when they ask me these kinds of questions 😀

After that, I discussed previous exercises I had given them on Past Tense and Subject-Verb Agreement with them. I wrote the answers on the board, and they checked their own work. Of course, when they hand their books in, I will check them again. But this is for discussion’s sake.

Then, we played a GAME! 😀

It was strangely coincidental that when I had first entered the classroom, one of the boys asked me, “Cikgu, hari ni main game ke?” And I had smiled to myself, knowing what I had already planned, and said, “We’ll see, we’ll see.” 😉

Basically, it is a quiz; one that I designed with questions on 2 topics: Subject-Verb Agreement (SVA) and Simple Past Tense (PT). I had already prepared 20 items, 10 of each, for them to “draw” from. Here are the items:

Subject-Verb Agreement:

1. Khairul and Fahmi (has/have) the same jersey.

2. She (d0/does) not like Mathematics.

3. You (is/are) the tallest boy in the class.

4. Samad (has/have) two younger sisters.

5. The children (climb/climbs) the monkey bars all the time.

6. My parents (like/likes) to walk in the park every day.

7. I (drive/drives) to school in my Honda City car.

8. My brother and I (enjoy/enjoys) going to the cinema.

9. The mouse (run/runs) into the hole in the wall.

10. These baskets (contain/contains) oranges from Australia.

Past Tense:

1. My brother * (drink) too much water this morning.

2. I * (cut) myself with a pair of scissors by accident.

3. They * (be) sick yesterday.

4. We * (ring) the doorbell and waited.

5. He * (drive) to Malacca last week.

6. The dentist * (pull) out my tooth last month.

7. Our family *(enjoy) ourselves at the zoo.

8. My mother * (apply) some medication on my cut.

9. Zul * (pay) a fine because he was late to school.

10. Pn. Rosmah * (cook) chicken curry for her husband’s dinner.

Now, the quiz is rather normal, really. But the novelty was: how we chose the categories.

What I did was, I used a roll of cellotape to stick two slips of paper for each “side”: Simple Past Tense, and Subject-Verb Agreement.

After doing that, it will look like this:

So all the students had to do was, spin it (or flip it–like a coin–as some of them did), and whatever was facing up would be the category they would have to answer a question from! 😀

Well, I didn’t think I could make a die big enough, nor did I have the materials I needed to make one at hand… So I guess you could say, I improvised! 😉

Yeah, the students laughed at my creation, but it certainly caught their interest. 😛 And it is definitely something they can’t say they’ve ever done before, can they? 🙂

But what made me happiest was when they were able to answer all of the questions right! (We had time for 12 questions, 6 for each group.) True, some discussed with their team members for the answer, but the very fact that they were able to discuss, because they had some knowledge of the rules that can be applied, made me really happy! I tested them at every turn I could. When they said the past tense of “ring” was “rang”, or the verb that agrees with “Khairul and Fahmi” was “have” and not “has”, I questioned them, “Are you sure? Are you VERY SURE?” Most of them were able to answer quite confidently.

I cannot truly describe how I feel. Dare I say that they are making progress? That they are actually improving? 😀 Sure, they might still be a little shaky here and there, and sometimes they do get confused. But at the very least, they know something, they have some basic knowledge of the grammar rules, of which I can now always refer to even when we’ve moved past this topic for good.

I was realllyyyyyyy very happy with these bunch of kids—MY kids :’)

I told them I was really happy, and that I would get them something as a reward. I bought them Choki-Choki treats! (They actually requested for it =.=) Which I will be absolutely delighted to present them with when I see them for class on Thursday :DDDDDD

My boys are getting better! 🙂

p.s: Regarding *Zaki, he was not in class today—involved in olahraga methinks. So I still have no idea on the effect of The Talk with him. Will I see a difference on Thursday?

p.p.s: Choral Speaking and Choir practices start tomorrow. I am nervous, and afraid at the same time! I’m solely in charge of the Choir (nerve-wrecking!) and Sun and I are both in charge of training the Choral Speaking students for the competition, which is in about a month. I think I’m going to pass out from the pressure T.T