Run or Walk To Save Lives

While billionaires start charitable foundations like what Bill Gates and his wife did with their financial services made available for the poor and the others giving very generous donations-those whose capability depends not on money chose to make a difference in their own little way.

A number of employees from Surigao City’s (Philippines) mining companies, government and non-government agencies, as well as some students and teachers from different schools have chosen to RUN/WALK the 3K, 5k, 10k for the CAUSE, “Run for humanity – I choose to run to save lives,” in the event called, “Million Volunteer Run 2” organized by Surigao City Red Cross last February 10, 2013 whilst most have been busy prepping for a surprise, planning, or booking for the Valentine’s Day.

They did it. How about you?

Details and Photo from Mary Mae B. Penera-Community Affairs In-Charge of PGMC

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How to Teach World Literature Without Books

Just as some of the other English courses that I’m handling here at Surigao Education Center, I also have come up with a World Literature instructional material that I and my World Literature students have been using during classes. I had it devised in 2008 with the help of some locally authored World Literature textbooks; had it submitted to our school’s academic review chair for evaluation and signature; filled out a form for it to be reproduced through risograph printing and then ring binding, before copies were made available for students at a reasonable price for use in World Literature classes. It’s kind of like one of the institution’s means of “generating income,” although I also get some part of it as “royalty.”

I had the instructional material devised with the following in mind:

At the end of the semester, students are expected to:

Cognitive Aim:

1. Explain what the country and its people are like through its literature;
2. identify literature of the world through famous literary figures; and
3. analyse famous literary pieces from each of the different literature of  the      nineteen countries.

Affective Aim:

1. Value the importance of knowing different countries and their people through  this course;
2. give importance to what makes each literature different from or similar  with the other; and
3. appreciate the wisdom imparted by the literature of the world more.

Psychomotor Aim:

1. Perform a famous  play of their own choice;
2. write a critical essay on a given literary piece; and
3. create a scrapbook showcasing each country’s literature’s most famous and distinctive literary figure and literary piece.

Values Aim:

1. Come by and develop social skills through group and pair work; and
2. manifest responsibility, self-discipline, cooperation and participation through class activities.

So when the material has already been made available in copies for use by students and instructor, classroom instruction went on really easy and stress-free only until review on the literary forms, their elements, and types which make up chapter one of the instructional material is over and done. When lessons got to some of the literature of the world (Saudi Arabia’s Arabian Nights, Greek Literature’s The Iliad, English Literature’s Hamlet, Russian Literature’s Crime & Punishment, French Literature’s Joan of Arc, German Literature in Schindler’s Arc, Latin American Literature’s Love in the Time of Cholera, as well as North American Literature’s The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow), instruction is still arduous notwithstanding the carefully devised instructional material. Although it includes each country’s literary background, when it comes to studying/analyzing/discussing the above-indicated countries’ famous/instructor-chosen literary output, the sessions get really difficult. This trouble is brought about by the unavailability of enough number of books (for instance, The Iliad by Homer) in our school’s library to accommodate the number of World Literature students simultaneously. Or worse, our small library, while it houses a number and a variety of reading materials, may not make some books available to students for it may only have one copy that can’t be taken out or no copy at all (like Schindler’s Arc by Thomas Keneally). This is one of those times when I get to wish for English classes in the States where English teachers/professors simply hand out books and/or novels to each of their students in the class to read as an assignment for the next session’s discussion. Like the ones I saw in some films particularly, if I’m not mistaken “Larry Crowne” starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts wherein the latter plays as a professor who handles a Speech class.

However, just as how I put an end to the tight spots I had in my other English classes in the past, difficulty has led me to think of ways and become more resourceful by getting on with my World Literature lessons and still achieve my objectives through materials (my collection of literary-based films) that are available:

Not enough Arabian Nights reading materials available for students’ Arabian Literature discussion preparation? Let them learn and at the same time enjoy Arabian Nights’ film adaptation of the same name. My students enjoyed at some of the funny scenes and were even enthusiastic during the discussion.

The Library has only one copy of Greek Literature’s “The Iliad”? Why not have a film showing of “Troy” starring Brad Pitt adapted from the Greek ancient epic poet, Homer’s “The Iliad” which has kind of a sequel called “The Odyssey,” also attributed to the epic poet himself.  Students will not only learn what the literary piece is all about but they will also be able, to in some way hone their conversational skills when they get to talk about the film with their friends.

No copy of Schindler’s Arc for German Literature that’s available? Tell the story in it more vividly through its film adaptation, “Schindler’s List.”

No copy of Latin American Literature’s Love in the Time of Cholera authored by the Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez;  of North American Literature’s The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving; of English Literature’s Hamlet by Shakespeare, of Russian Literature’s Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky; or French Literature’s Joan of Arc? Then it’s time for you to get resourceful too 🙂 I was, and I still am (at least in my preparation for January 2013 classes) by  TEACHING LITERATURE THROUGH LITERARY-BASED FILMS to make some World Literature sessions exciting, fun, and unforgettable for my students (not that I’m still teaching amidst the holidays 🙂 … just documenting a milestone in this so-called career). 🙂

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How Disney Reinforced Our Toddlers’ ESL

Unlike my two nephews (who started with only “basics on the wall”), the youngest in the family, my two year old nieces  Christelle Hakeena and Errah Jerelle (born only three months apart), started with both “basics on our wall” which we used with our nephews, as well as the educational programs on Disney since I only have decided for a cable subscription (in the family’s house) as an advanced Christmas gift for my oldest nephew Errvard Jerremiah more or less three years ago when he was about two or three years old. So when the girls were born, they already have both “basics on the wall” and the equally educational and entertaining programs on Disney.

Although both girls like watching ANGELINA BALLERINA, JAKE AND THE NEVERLAND PIRATES, SPECIAL AGENT OSO, CHIRO, HANDY MANNY, and JOJO, they both have their own favourite. The oldest Christelle Hakeena always looks forward to and lightens up when her favourite MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE is on. It’s an animated interactive children’s television series that stars Mickey mouse, Minnie mouse, Donald duck, Daisy duck, Goofy, and Pluto. It focuses on interacting with the viewer (which is kind of perfect for unlike our nephews, we’ve given our nieces not much attention as we have given the boys when they were younger) to stimulate problem solving. Each episode in the series has characters helping children solve a specific and age-appropriate problem using basic skills. True enough, I’ve seen its influence in my oldest niece, Christelle Hakeena’s actions. One day, I noticed her wanting to get something from the top of the fridge. Standing only more or less two and a half feet, she asked one tita (aunt) to get it for her with of course the function word “please” to express politeness just as she hears in the shows that she watches as well as the titas’ constant reminder of its use. Then asked another tita when one refused to do so with an explanation as to why she’s not getting it for her, until all have been asked but turned her down, she did what I can only label/call “her problem-solving skill in use” when she pulled out a plastic chair, dragged it to where the fridge is, climbed and stood on it to reach what she wanted to get. We were horrified seeing her in that position (standing on chair reaching up for something) and supposed to get angry at her instead we were thrilled by what she did when her first measure (asking titas to get it for her) failed. And when a tita helped her down she said “thank you, tita” but it didn’t save her from being reprimanded.

In other instances, I hear my oldest niece say “you’re welcome” to my youngest niece who says to her “thank you” for a toy or food that’s handed to her by her cousin. Or the latest I heard uttered by her is “oh my God” when something fell from her grasp.

The youngest, Errah Jerrelle on the other hand, knows the time slot of her favourite POCOYO and when the TV’s channel is different she calls for her mom and tells her she wants her Pocoyo who is the main character of the series and is about him who is a young boy that’s full of curiosity and is fond of playing games and discovering new things. The narrator usually speaks unequivocally to the viewers and to the characters as well which is really perfect and suits us just right especially when everybody’s busy doing something and can’t carry Errah around or attend to her. She gets to interact in each episode of the series which has Pato in it, a yellow duck who wears nothing but a small green hat. He has a fondness for gardening, and is often seeing watering plants and flowerbeds. Pato means duck in Spanish and also in our language, Filipino. It also has Elly, a pink elephant who always wears a blue back-pack, an equally entertaining character in the series. Perhaps this is where my youngest niece learned her distinctive “booty shake,” her asking titas, tito, mom, dad, cousins, and nanayla (grandma) for a “high five” by saying the words while raising an open palm and waiting for another, and of course, who wouldn’t forget the first time I heard her refusing to eat with lots of “no, no, no, no, no…” while shaking her head.

Disney, aside from it GIVES my siblings and my sisters-in-law TIME to do chores in the house while my nieces are ENTERTAINED by it, it also REINFORCES the girls’ ESL with the “basics on the wall” that they have inherited from the older boys.

Photos: Two year old nieces, Christelle Hakeena (three months older) in red head band in one photo and in “winnie the pooh shirt and jumpers” in the other; while Errah Jerelle’s in pink head band in the first photo and in white shorts and pink shirt in the other.

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Basics on the Wall Part II and Our Nephews’ Academic Performance

My brilliant nephews during their recognition last year: Errvard Jerremiah Javier-Penera, 4 years old, (right in both photos) RANKED NUMBER 1 in KINDER 1 class, plus a WORD SMART (ranks number one in spelling and other quizzes that have something to do with words) special award; and Travis Christoff  Penera-Adams, 3 years ol (left in both photos) RANKED NUMBER 2 in KINDER 1 class with BODY SMART (looks good in what he wears all the time) special award.

Basics on our house’s walls reinforced by our teaching the boys paid off with how they ranked in their classes last year.

Now that they’re a year older, EJ five (Kinder 2 in our city’s public special education class) and Travis four (Kinder 2 in a private religious school), play with each other and their toys while conversing or simply making remarks in straight grammatically correct sentences such as:

EJ: Travis, do you want one?

Travis: No, kuya (endearment for older boys). But look, do you like it?

EJ: It looks great!

Or there are instances when both of them are into their puzzle letters and they create words. Mind you, all the words that they form are correctly spelled.

EJ at five is already excellent in reading and even sometimes impresses me to the point of mentioning him when I am having my speech and oral communication class with disappointing tertiary students and tells them how articulate my 5 year old nephew is and how he sometimes teaches Travis how to read and correctly pronounce words although the latter already knows how to read and pronounce words only EJ would like to assert his being older and his knowing more than the younger Travis.

Lately, I have noticed that when the boys are not allowed to watch their favourite cartoon on Disney, they ask for pen and paper and I specifically notice EJ devising a quiz. The following was his work:

2               two                     five                    eleven
16             zero                    six                      sixteen
10             one                     eight                  ten

He showed what he created and asked me to answer it. He simply wanted me to encircle the right words by taking into account the numbers on the left. It impressed me although the penmanship could use some improvement.

We started reaping “basics on the wall’s” results last year and we are hopeful that the boys will still climb on stage ranking number one in their classes in the years to come.

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How to Start ESL with Toddlers

Our family started as a unit of eight members (tatay, that’s dad’s counterpart here in the Philippines aside from papa; nanay-mom’s equivalent other than mama; 6 siblings: 4 girls and 2 boys). Although we lost one member (father) due to separation (mom and dad parted ways when my siblings were very young). I (eldest) was in my second year in high school, and our youngest (boy) was only in 2nd grade. The family started to grow when most of my siblings started their own and decided to still live in the family’s house. Well, they have nowhere to go 🙂

The family’s now composed of:

Nanay (mom) – English high school teacher in Siargao Islands.
Me – English Language instructor at Surigao Education Center.
Tracy – mother of my part-American nephew, Travis Christoff who’s 4 years old now, she finished Secondary Education major in English like me.
Mae – finished Business Administration and now a community affairs in-charge at a mining company in a nearby town.
Peter Ervard John – father of two (Errvard Jerremiah, our oldest nephew who’s 5 years old and Errah Jerrelle who’s 2 years old), and currently finishing Secondary Education major in English.
Twinkle – wasn’t able to finish college but took up computer  engineering and dropped it in the first semester (teenagers).
BL – wasn’t able to finish college too, an undergrad of computer engineering but currently an envi-checker of a mining company where Mae our sister is working, and father to an only daughter, our oldest niece, Christelle Hakeena who’s also 2 years old like Errah only months older.
Jhie – high school mathematics teacher, wife to Peter, and mother to EJ and Errah.
Arn – nurse in the mining company where my siblings Mae and BL are also working, mother to Christelle Hakeena, and wife to our youngest brother, BL.

With Peter who will soon be joining us, the family will already have five teachers, four of whom majored in English. And although two are undergrads (my other siblings), bragging aside, they speak very good English; sometimes with accent like the natives have. We always get that from people we come across with and hear us speak the language. In fact, one of my friend’s remarked, we, (siblings) are blessed with tongue like the Americans’ (well, she exaggerates).

So when our first nephew was born, we were not only happy having the little one, but also anxious as to how he’s going to be at school and how he’s going to be as a kid surrounded by tito (uncle) and titas (aunts) who may not be achievers in class, nonetheless admired by teachers, classmates, and friends for being smart and having a remarkable skill in English. We were kind of pressured to preparing and educating our nephew at a very early age.

We started filling up our walls with posters on anything that’s basic such as: hand and power tools, animals, herbivores, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction tables, flags of the world, world and Philippine maps, Philippine national heroes, the Philippine national anthem, some useful insects, parts of a flower, synonyms, parts of speech, kinds of weather, the nervous system, Philippine national symbols, the solar system, shapes, and the latest wall chart of English alphabet.

These are on the family house’s walls when our oldest nephew turned one. We started teaching him the alphabet and numbers every time that we get to have time or chance like after giving him a bath and he’s towelled dry, we, titas (aunts) start pointing at his fingers and counting them and he mimics; or we start pointing at his body parts and ask him to name those. We kind of made it as a game for him.

We started to cultivate his interest in the posters on our walls and we didn’t fail for when he started to walk at a little over one year, he began to point at things on the posters kind of like asking us to name what was pointed out by him, kind of like turning the table and quizzing us instead of the other way around. Or when we fail to point at his body parts and ask him to name them after bath, he points at those parts himself and ask us to name them. Or out of the blue, he points at his father’s eyes, navel, or nose while at the same time saying the words (the body/face part’s name). Or he gets our attention, point at something on the poster, and names it himself. He gets motivated and does a lot of pointing and naming when he hears a lot of “very goods” from us his titas (aunts) and tito (uncle). He even amazes us when we’re simply watching tv and he hears Japan for example and he goes to the world map and points where Japan is.  Well, he points only at Japan, New Zealand, Philippines and Australia when he was younger (2-3 years old). Or when he gets to go somewhere with his NanayLa (grandma on our side) and sees something that’s familiar, he points at it getting his grandma’s attention and names it or recites it. People who get to see or hear him get amazed at how smart and articulate he is.Now that he’s five, using his mom’s mobile phone, he sends texts to his part-American cousin about going to “Maputo” capital city of Mozambique he’d seen on our world map. And he knows the capital cities of most countries around the globe. He knows more about it than most titas and tito. He even asked me about the language spoken in Kyrgyzstan. (Would you have asked such question?)

We definitely have not failed in our effort to educate our nephew at an early age and will certainly not get embarrassed by him instead be proud for wherever he may be, whatever he learned at home gets out with him and amazes people.

So when the girls (nieces Christelle Hakeena and Errah Jerelle) were born, we simply added some more posters and did exactly the same. Only, we’ve afforded our very first nephew a way better attention in his time than when the girls came. Nonetheless, we still have started ESL with all our nephews and nieces through basics on the wall.

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Grammatically Incorrect Status Updates on My Facebook Wall Part 3 and What My ESL Students Had To Say

Mark Zuckerberg may have started his “now billion-dollar” facebook with a number of advantages for its users to benefit from, nonetheless; it additionally has become a venue for another exciting not to mention educational activity at least for and by some students in this city (Surigao City, Philippines). Enriching English as a second language seems to have become one of those advantages that some of my students get from facebook and for some time now, I have been making it an added and endless resource of examples for my grammar classes thanks to another set of grammatically incorrect status updates in English on my facebook wall.

Although it’s not nice to put somebody’s mistake into scrutiny, pore over and talk about it, someone has to make use of them and turn the negative and the awkward feeling that one gets out of reading a grammatically wrong status update on his/her facebook wall into something constructive.

If in my last two posts of this series, I myself made the corrections for each faulty status update, this time,  I’d like those whom this post can reach to know what my students had to say about these updates and realize just as I have that while it’s generally accepted that professionals are far better equipped in the English language department and are expected to be accurate in it given the education they have as opposed to those who are still students, there are some, at least  some of my ESL STUDENTS who are impressively accurate in their grammar compared to a number of PROFESSIONALS whose posted grammatically incorrect status updates appear on my facebook wall.

Incorrect Status Update 1 – you did not gave me headaches kay buotan baja kamu….hmmmm

Student 1’s Correction (and what she had to say)
You did not GIVE me headache… – “Did” is one of the auxiliary verbs that help the main verbs tell what the subject is doing or has done. Although some auxiliary verbs require main verbs in the past participle such as “has,” “did” like most of the auxiliary verbs must be paired with main verbs in the base form such as “give.”

Incorrect Status Update 2 – Thank you mam, i can never forget the times that you helped me a lot while i am in USC all the way to my thesis writing and i am counting you as one of my great mentors of becoming a Montessori Teacher. I miss those times….

Student 2’s Correction (and what she had to say)
Thank you MA’AM, I can never forget the times WHEN you helped me a lot while I WAS AT USC all the way to my thesis writing. I am counting you as one of my great mentors… – The word “when” is the best to use since it comes after the noun “times;” because the sentence suggests that the action’s been done in the past, “am” is incorrect and has to be replaced with one in the past tense which in this case is “was” and when referring to an address or place the preposition “at” is the correct one to use instead of “in” which is a preposition that means “within.”

Incorrect Status Update 3- If I could sale furnitures international, I would!! 🙂

Student 3’s Correction (and what he had to say)
If I could SELL FURNITURE INTERNATIONALLY, I would. – The sentence suggests that the verb “sell” should be used instead of the noun “sale;” the noun “furniture” doesn’t get to have an “s” to make it plural instead it simply gets to have expressions added before it like “pieces of” or “some” just as what the noun “equipment” gets; and lastly, the word “international” functions as an adverb thus it needs to have an “ly” in the end.

Incorrect Status Update 4 – Don’t forget I do accepts any credit cards you have in your wallet 🙂

Student 4’s Correction (and what she had to say)
Don’t forget I do ACCEPT any credit cards you have in your wallet. – “Do” is an auxiliary verb that requires a main verb in the base form.

Incorrect Status Update 5 – Im wake up na mama, pls pick me up 😀

Student 5’s Correction (and what he had to say)
I’m ALREADY AWAKE mama, please pick me up. Or I’m AWAKE na mama, please pick me up. – The sentence suggests the of the adjective “awake” rather than using the verb “wake.

Incorrect Status Update 6 – …crawling in my new mat.

Student 6’s Correction (and what she had to say)
…crawling ON my new mat. – The preposition “in” means “within” which is not what the owner of the update is trying to say for it’s impossible. The preposition “on” is the correct one to use.

Incorrect Status Update 7 – For those who are interested please do not hesitate to message me anytime at your convenience time 24/7.

Student 7’s Correction (and what she had to say)
For those who are interested please do not hesitate TO SEND ME YOUR message anytime at your CONVENIENCE. Or For those who are interested please do not hesitate TO SEND ME YOUR message at your CONVENIENT TIME. – “Message” is a noun and shouldn’t be used as a verb unless English has evolved again and the word has been formally accepted to function as such; “convenience” is a noun and functions as such hence it doesn’t need the word “time” anymore nor “24/7” since it’s already suggested by the expression; however, when one uses the word “convenient” which is an adjective, this is when the noun “time” is needed.

Incorrect Status Update 8 – … I’m a businesswomen I know how things works. She was out of words….

Student 8’s Correction (and what she had to say)
I’m a BUSINESSWOMAN. I know how things WORK. She was out of words. – The article “a” is used with count nouns provided they are in the singular form otherwise, an article is unnecessary; the word “work” follows the plural noun “things” thus the verb should also be plural.

Incorrect Status Update 9 – Loving someone is the happiest thing that could happened in your life.

Students 9’s Correction (and what she had to say)
Loving someone is the happiest thing that could HAPPEN in your life. – “Could” is an auxiliary verb that requires a main verb in the base form.

Whereas selling items, spreading online death hoaxes and the like, starting charities, and swindling are the new-found activities that some people do using facebook, I and my students have found our own way of taking advantage of this social networking site-by using it as a means of enriching English as a second language beyond the four corners of the classroom.

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Narcissism, Antisocial Tendencies, and Some More Faulty Status Updates in English on My Facebook Wall Part 2

While some users take pleasure in the benefits they get from using Facebook such as remembering friends and relatives’ birthdays and being able to greet them on their timeline, keeping in touch with colleagues, sharing important moments, etc.; critics on the other hand, came forward with problems that they say Facebook creates.

Some say it encourages narcissism. Well, this has become evident on my wall where I get to see every update that every Facebook user in my list of friends posts on his/her timeline. Others may just be into it but I’m quite sure a few don’t realize that they already are being narcissistic.

Others say that Facebook causes antisocial tendencies and prevent people from communicating directly with each other. This could be true, but my Facebook wall implies otherwise.  Facebook users (at least the ones in my list of friends) take advantage of the site to plan outings, picnics, dates, parties, or ask friends where and when to hang out or relax and have coffee with them even after a day of being together from work. In my perspective, the site simply has given these people a means to set things up with their friends and/or relatives and has even increased these people’s connectivity.

A few even suggest that using this social networking site could be the source of relationship problems which has been questioned by some.

Whereas I- see erroneous status updates (especially by professionals) in English, although a bit funny (they commit such mistakes despite being professionals) it happens occasionally; nonetheless, committing such mistakes is still embarrassing.

Here’s Part 2 of the faulty status updates in English posted on my Facebook wall:

To all my students u can now inquire your grades just Text your <StudentNo>PRE send to 09999909394

Correct: To all my students YOU can now inquire ABOUT your grades just Text your <StudentNo>PRE send to 09999909394

…at bastie with dad relaxing for a very tiring day 🙂

Correct: …at bastie with dad relaxing FROM a very tiring day 🙂

Why you didn’t ask permission from me? I am planning to file an appropriate legal actions…

Correct: Why DIDN’T YOU ask permission from me? I am planning to file an appropriate legal ACTION…

In behalf of Surigao Education Center, College of Business Education, Department of Hotel and Restaurant Management. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Jane’s Lodge, Hotel Tavern Surigao, Gateway Hotel, Almont Beach Resort and Fiesta Resort Hotel for allowing our 1st year BS HRM students taking the subjects Introduction to Hotel and Restaurant Management and Housekeeping Management, to have their educational exposure in your hotel yesterday (August 11, 2012).

Comment: The first sentence is actually a fragment, meaning a group of words written and punctuated incorrectly as a complete sentence but one that doesn’t make sense so it has to be joined with the second sentence which will complete its thought.

…be trained but also they have to observe and glimpse the actual or real world of the industry they belong.

Correct: …be trained but also they have to observe and HAVE A glimpse OF the actual or real world of the industry…

…up to the stage as honor pupil or even as one of those honorable mentions, except, to claimed and received the Most Neat and Clean Award only…

Correct: …up on the stage as honor pupil or even as one of those honorable mentions, except, to CLAIM and RECEIVE the Most Neat and Clean Award only…

You really surprised us and you never told us that you have shared or contributed something out from that kids magazine.

Correct: You really surprised us and you never told us that you have shared or contributed something TO that KIDS’ magazine.

…we even thought we could not accomplished it but because of all your participation, dedication and passion in your chosen

Correct: …we even thought we could not ACCOMPLISH it but because of all your participation, dedication and passion in your chosen…

I know this is really embarrassing. Still, what can the woman do but turn the negative into something positive and that means “more examples for my ESL students.” 🙂

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