Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slife of Life #31 - Thank you

The past month has been a roller coaster; a month of high's, fevered writing and searching for topics. A time of sharing slices and snapshots from our everyday life. Our team would like to thank, Stacey, Anna and their amazing team for providing us with the opportunity to take part in this amazing initiative. We will definitely continuing our "slicing".

Graphic resource
Thank you post it notes.

This is for today's slice

Monday, March 30, 2015

Slice of Life #30 - 33 Careers in a one year!

After graduating from high school, I chose to pursue computing courses whereas many of my girlfriends went to teachers college. Eventually,  I worked for a multinational corporation managing a  money-market computing area. It was a high stress job; I dealt with many people Australia Wide, in addition you were on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The job had many highs, was rewarding and exciting.

For some reason, managing so many people, was like having my own "class" of students. Not only did you "manage" staff, you guided, nurtured and provided a supporting role. After 13 years, I had the chance to follow a different career path,  although daunting I returned to University and gained teaching  qualifications. Now 17 years later I know that I made the right choice.

I know that current research highlights the fact that in one's lifetime, it will be common for today's graduates to follow three careers. It was with great interest that I read an article where a young woman (Gail Nash) gave up her career as a lawyer and tried 33 careers in one year to find her dream job. Gail chose diverse job options such as Kindergarten helper, handyman, Eco Company Ceo to name a few. What job did she chose in the end? None of them she started her own company!

Gail Nash - 33 careers in one year
Kids Wearing costumes - Getty Images
Dream job - Next Exit - Getty Images

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Slice of Life #29 - My personal brand

Now, that Spring Break is upon us I have time to reflect and catch up on outstanding issues other than school work. This weekend I have had spent time with my doctoral dissertation chair and another doctoral candidate. During the weekend, we spoke at length about "personal branding".

Last year, I attended an Apple Distinguished Educator   (ADE) conference here in Kuala Lumpur. One really interesting topic that we discussed, reflected, collaborated and began creating was our own "personal brand".

With the prevalence of social media, we were advised that  it is prudent to have a personal brand. Research has shown that if you want to stand out in a crowd, it's all about who you are and what you would like to be recognized for. Companies and people will seek you out because they have heard about you. In addition through word of mouth and association you will receive many positive comments.

To do this we did some reflection with paper and post - it - notes as our tools.  We were asked to use 5 post it notes, note down one - two words on each post it and then drawn an illustration that best describes the words. Quite a challenging task as I am the worlds worst artist, in addition I find it so difficult to define who I am, a jack (or jill) or all trades master of none. I have many diverse interests and passionate about so many issues and causes.

What did I chose to describe myself?

A Technology Risk Taker who likes a challenge
Knowledge Sharer
Ever Changing Transformational. 

Resources :

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Slice Break #28 - Spring Break - Yeh

   I must admit when my colleague, Mrs. Peters  suggested entering the Slice of Life Classroom blogging challenge, although excited I was not sure if our classes could continue blogging for 31 days straight. 
By the end of March 124 grade 6 students will have written 31 slices each , that equals a staggering  3,844 blog entries! 
To date, I'm so proud that we have take part in this initiative and as educators we  have witnessed many positive outcomes:-

- Students like to write about their life
- Students writing fluency has improved
- Studentws like a global audience
- Students are excited that other students can read their musings, and provide comments. 

As spring break is upon us, we know that there is a possibility that the slices may be slow, however, stay posted to read our latest updates.

Resources :

Friday, March 27, 2015

Slice of Life #27 - Building Resilience #2

Yesterday during class, our students had the opportunity to review an amazing documentary narrated by Mr. Patrick Fuller (Asian Pacific Communications Manager) from the International Federation of Red Cross / Red Crescent Society (IFRC). 

As outlined on their website, the IFRC " is the world's largest humanitarian network that reaches 150 million people in 189 National Societies through the work of over 13 million volunteers."

Currently, all Grade 6 students are working on an integrated curriculum unit #Resilience. The documentary , provided detailed insights on mitigation and highlighted the crucial role that NGO's carry out during disaster preparedness and response.

Some interesting facts that we learned today :-

  • 40% of the worlds natural disasters occur in Asia.
  • In 2011, there was 136 reported disaster events in the region (73% were weather related).
  • The economic losses were the highest in monetary terms ( 276 Billion Dollars). 

In terms of Disaster Preparedness, the IFRC work closely with communities to educate people. A crucial piece in this puzzle is educating people to not only understand the different types of disasters, but also how a community can be impacted. Data from the Tsunami that occurred in 2004, revealed flaws in ineffective warning systems, and indeed the fact that people did not recognize signs, such as, receding tides. The IFRC work closely with communities and conduct vulnerability and capacity assessments, thus allowing communities to take a learning role. In collaboration with IFRC villages map out their houses and surrounding areas, looking for areas that may be vulnerable in natural disasters; for example, houses near rivers in areas prone to flooding. Next, all stakeholders sit down and plan their capacity to cope in natural disasters. They examine the resources that are available and facilities. Education for the people is provided through first aid training, disaster preparedness programs and organized evacuation drills.

In the documentary, Mr. Fuller mentioned governments in the region are realising through cost analysis data, that money spent on disaster preparedness lessens post disaster outlay. We witnessed first hand, initiatives that have been implemented such as coastal mangrove planting in Cambodia, and in rural Philippines, the building and maintenance of sea walls, the construction of a bridge to connect villages so that children can attend school, and families can visit markets and medical clinics.

Clearly, the IFRC documentary provided students with a myriad of information that could be used in their Impact Countries proposals plus ideas and opportunities to be reflected upon.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slice of Life #26 - Gratitude

Gratitude, such an interesting word; it's origin stems from Latin "Gratus", meaning thankful, pleasing. 
Related words grace, grateful, gratis, gratuitous and congratulate. 
For me I have so much to be thankful for :-

1.  Amazing Family
2.  Amazing Colleagues
3.  Fantastic Students
4.  Working at ISKL
5.  Having the opportunity to actually live and work in  Malaysia
6.  Experience different cultures
7.  Good health (crossing fingers)
8.  The opportunity to pursue my passions
9.  The opportunity to share my passions
10. Supportive community

So in closing, like Piglet my heart holds a large amount of Gratitude .

Graphic Source 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Slice of Life #25 - Creatures of Habit

Today's inspiration for the Slice of Life #25, is inspired by a graphic posted by the hosts of the Slice of Life Initiative.

Today's slice is dedicated to my AM routine.

I'm sure as humans we all have routines, whether its our morning routine, when and how we brush our teeth or just simply an evening ritual. I guess that we are all creatures of habit. 

My morning routine, gives me a great start to the day. Waking up to a peaceful quiet house, cool morning air, and the haunting melodies of calling of prayers from a myriad of mosques in close proximity. Still dark, I make my lemon tea and porridge and settle in to read the latest news online.  I savour the stillness and the quietness for half an hour more before I wake my daughter for school. I review blogs, answer emails, tweak lessons, If ever I wake up late ( very rarely), my whole routine is thrown out the window, I suffer for the rest of the day. 

Graphic Source:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slice of Life #24 - Building Resilience

Today's slice of life is dedicated to our integrated curriculum unit #Resilience.
The focus for my slice today, is ways in which you can build resilience.
According to the American Psychological society there are 10 ways to build resilience :-

1. Make connections. 

2. Avoid seeing problems as problems

3. Accept that change is a good thing

4. Make goals and move towards them

5. Look for opportunities of self discovery

6. Take action

7. Nurture a positive view of yourself

8. Keep things in perspective

9. Be hopeful

Finally, and most importantly take care of yourself. 

Last year during SOL, I happened to showcase two amazing people who show #Resilience, this is their stories ...

I tell my class that my art skills are not strong. I am so envious of people who can just pick up a piece of paper and pen and create a masterpiece. When I was in middle school, in art class we had a elderly teacher who was German with a very strong accent who had definite ideas about what a piece of art should look like. She nurtured students with "talent", and the rest of us were left to muddle through the curriculum. Needless to say, I was not inspired. 

So, it was with great interest, that I read a news story last year about a lady (Pip Taylor) who had developed an amazing ability to draw after suffering a brain injury. She suffered serious bruising to her brain when she tripped and fell on some stairs. The brain is such an amazing organ; so much so that when your brain receives trauma another part of the brain "takes over". 

This story provided a connection to another video that I had seen a few years ago. The video highlighted the talents of a young man named Stephen Wiltshire, an artistic savant who draws from memory. His sister described that "drawing for Stephen is like air and water for us. He cannot live without it." "Every aspect of what he sees comes alive on paper, watching the ink on paper is like fine embroidery". 
Stephens motto " Do the best you can and never stop".
Truly an amazing, inspirational young man. 

Pip Taylor
Getty Images - Building ideas
American Psychological Association

Monday, March 23, 2015

Slice of Life #23 - List makers

Today's slice is dedicated to lists. Making a list about your passion, your things to do, shopping, wish list,  or just simply that you felt as if you needed to write a list. 

I do have a confession, yes I am a list- aholic. I cannot function unless I have a list, whether it be for home or school, I need that giant sticky note to make my life complete. It is not so much that I love list making, rather that I juggle so many balls in life that I simply would forget to complete things otherwise. 

This whole idea of lists, got me thinking and searching for examples of lists related to my passion:-

1. In Twitter, a list is a group of users. You can create your own lists or join others.
2. In HTML computer programming an unordered list has bullet points, an ordered list is numbered.
3. Each year, the MIT Technology review creates lists for 10 breakthrough technologies. 
4. In 2015, Magic Leap (virtual reality 3d technology) was listed as number 1. 
5. The Bionic eye was at the top of the list for technological inventions in 2013.

Graphic Source - Michaelangelo's Shopping list for dinner

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Slice of Life #22 - Ode To Procrastination

For today's slice, I thought that I would write an Ode to Procrastination. As I write I'm sitting at home working on a proposal for my doctoral dissertation. On Monday my advisor will arrive in Kuala Lumpur, after travelling from Boone, Iowa, and will be spending a week with me.  Dr. Walrod is a human dynamo, pro-active, intelligent, caring and nurturing. She keeps me accountable and honest. 

I have another 10 pages of research to add before she arrives, however, I wanted to share a little secret, even though I appear organised I do tend to procrastinate, especially if I need to complete a  task I'm not interested in or have trouble engaging with. I set myself small goals, 40 minutes research, 10 minutes break. I tidy my work area, clear the desk, even dust the desk. I check grades, add grades, anything but work on what I should be doing. 

Procrastination is such an amazing word. According to Etymology Online, it stems from Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinare "to put off till tomorrow; defer, delay".


Ode to Procrastination

Relaxing, knowing I have time
Counting the days to complete a task
Preferring to do anything else
Looking at due dates, buying time
Leaving the task to the last minute
Enveloped in stress
Vowing to never procrastinate again!
Proposal completed

Graphic Source

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Slice of Life #21 - #Resilience with Virtual Technology.

As my class knows, I have a passion for technology, any pilot programmes, new gadgets or just ideas usually are implemented in my classroom. Last week, an interesting article appeared on my desktop, the notion of virtual reality for a father to witness his third child's birth. 

I couldn't help but make connections to the ISKL Community. Living as expatriates in our community offers amazing opportunities in life, but often, families can be separated by distance.

Many of my students have parents who often travel for business; my husband is usually away from Kuala Lumpur for 2 - 3 weeks of the month. Missing important events, band concerts, parent conferences and plays, however, we know that in the long run we have a common goal and even though at times absences can be difficult it tends to make the homecomings that much sweeter. 

Not only does virtual technology offer opportunities to lessen the distance, it also allows people to experience new adventures. Using technology, Samsung opened a Dive Store in the middle of Australia, where there is no access to the sea. What people experienced with their technology is amazing. 

Enjoy the journey.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Slice of Life #20 - Welcome Ji Li, Jiang author of "The Red Scarf Girl"

This week our 6'ers (as well as faculty) have had the distinct pleasure of welcoming and listening to the life story of the author Ji Li, Jiang.

Her memoir is the true story of a family's determination to stay together during one of the most terrifying era in China's history - The Cultural revolution.

As a 12 year old, Ji Li had an extremely happy life and dreamed of one day attending a prestigious acting school, only to have her whole world turned upside down. Ji Li recounted her story to an auditorium of 6th graders who were visibly affected by the issues and atrocities that Ji Li was forced to face and eventually overcome. 

At the end of the Cultural Revolution Ji Li had the chance to leave China and immigrated to the United States, she arrived with no money, could not speak English and did not have a job. She found a job as household help with a family.Through this the family were interested in her plight, and often asked her to recount stories from her childhood. They urged her to write a memoir, and thus The Red Scarf girl was created.

We were honored and humbled to listen to Ji Li's amazing story.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slice of Life #19 - What is #Resilience?

Todays slice honours our grade 6 students, their enthusiasm, and inquiring minds.

Over the past few weeks , all of our Grade 6 students have been gaining knowledge and understanding through an integrated Humanities, Science & Social Studies Unit - #ResilienceStudents are grouped into #Resilience  Communities  and use Essential questions as a guiding lens  to explore; 

  • What does resilience look like?
  • How do we create a culture of prevention?
  • How does interdependence create a sustainable future?
The challenge for the groups is to create a proposal to persuade representatives of the UNISDR to fund disaster preparedness.

In Science and Math students have been learning about the Ring of Fire, plate tectonics, earthquakes, analysing data and applying mean, medium and mode. 
In humanities we have been focusing on the Disaster Preparedness Cycle plus economic, social and environmental factors that affect communities prone to disasters. 

I like the fact that students are making connections, and are excited about the ways in which Humanities, Science and Math concepts can be integrated. 

I'm very proud that they have risen to the challenge!

Today in class we completed our second socratic seminar on our exemplar country Japan. All the 6'ers were well informed, articulate and showed their knowledge and understanding of the process. Bravo!


   View of the classroom during discussions. 

A students laptop screen with sticky notes written during the seminar ( Thank you Sasha) 
Graphic Source

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Slice of Life #18- The Color Purple #Resilience

#Resilience the color purple strong and proud
Nestled between the hues of read and blue
Purple worn by emperors, and dignitaries
Sensitive, compassionate, understanding of others 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slice of Life #17 - Personal Narrative

Approaching the ward with trepidation, the plain lettered sign ONCOLOGY  menacingly pointed me in the direction of the ward. My feelings could not be described, on one hand I wanted to run, on the other I wanted to stay strong, and kick those cancer cells to oblivion and beyond. I simply wanted to fight those cells that had invaded my body, wanted to eradicate them forever. As always prepared, crossword in hand, ipod and headphones I had my tools by my side. 

In no time at all, my fears were settled by the professional, caring, team of nursing staff who deal daily with patients from all walks of life,  battling the same demon. All too soon, I realized that I was but a youngster, someone who was blessed to be given what was described as preventative doses of the toxic chemicals needed to fight this dreaded disease. I chose a bed that was shrouded in sunlight, and hunkered down for the blood tests, needles and finally the chemotherapy drip. All the while, gently closing my eyes, listening to my favorite songs, and visualising my healing journey. 

Graphic Source 

* Many thanks to Hugh, one of my students who suggested the topic. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Slice of Life #16 - Writing without sight

Our 6'ers today had the opportunity to write a short piece of prose that highlighted senses. The challenge write the paragraph without including any details related to sight. 

The smell of chocolate permeates the air, accessing childhood memories in the deep, dark recesses of my mind. The staccato scream of middle schoolers combined with the slamming of locker doors fills the corridors. Inside the air-conditioners bring the temperature of the classroom to arctic conditions. The aftertaste of peanut M&M's rest on the tip of my tongue, giving me pleasure, encouraging me to begin the class. 

Graphic source

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Slice of Life #15 - I Believe

Last year, when my students were working on The Slice of Life initiative,   I arrived home from school, while my high school aged daughter was working on a credo for English. 

The base word credo , has interesting etymology ( origins) . It is derived from Latin, and means "I believe", "To put ones heart" "A formula or statement of belief". I was so moved by Abhi's credo, that I wanted to share it with you all. 

I Believe

I believe in music.
I believe in the rhythm of the simple truth of words,
And the people who speak them;
But only once.

I believe in the ending colors of the day
And the new beginning in the songs of the birds.
I believe in learning,
Not in school,
But in mistakes,
And the comfort of hugs from the ones you love.

I believe if you do not pull the weeds
From the garden,
The flowers will never grow
And when you are caught between
Who you are
Who you want to be,
I believe
You find clarity.

I believe in embracing the future but,
Acknowledging the past.
I do not believe in god,
But I do believe in enlightenment,
And I believe that there is always

Something to be thankful for.

by Abhi Narsiman
March 19th, 2014. 

Graphic Source
Getty Images 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slice of Life #14 - Gimme Five - Let's move

Just last month in our middle school our home group theme was healthy lifestyle. We brainstormed ways in which we could make small changes to our life, for example, reduce sugar, tweak our daily routine to include more exercise outside and generally be aware of the processed foods we eat. Along with this for four mornings we took part in activities, such as yoga, field exercises, gym games and jazzercise. 

This morning when I opened Facebook this morning, I received three different articles about an initiative supported by the first lady, Michelle Obama. Michelle appeared on one of my favourite talk shows - Ellen.  

The campaign highlight by Michelle Obama is part of her "Let's move" initiative that seeks to get people to lead active and healthy lifestyles. Such a great follow on from ISKL's Healthy Lifestyle month. 

Many of my students love the song that they danced to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars.
What a fabulous way to start the weekend. Take care. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Slice of Life #13 - Tiny Poems

Today in class for their SOLs, students had the opportunity to write a "Small Poem" - inspired by the poetry of Valerie Worth. 

My tiny poem is dedicated to my erasable pen, life would not be the same without it!

Erasable pen

Purple and regal
Standing upright 
Strong, Poised
Ready for action
A click away

Touching the paper
Leaving an imprint, 
Eraserable mistakes
Relief at hand

Italic Script
Admiring the penmanship
A dying art
One click
And it is gone

Graphic Source

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Slice of Life #12 - Pet Peeves

Let's be really clear, I love teaching Grade 6. There are so many benefits to being a teacher. First and foremost the students. You get to meet another 120+ students each year. You get to know their likes and dislikes, you share their enthusiasm and stress. Also, you can watch them from a distance as they grow into young adults. Often, they end up being your Facebook friends and  share with you snippets from their University and work life. 

On the down side, the number of meetings. It's true we get planning and meeting time, but I would much rather be working with students. We have team meetings, grade level meetings, curriculum meetings and faculty meetings. It takes up so much time. So many things to do, so little time. 

Graphic Source:
Jesus holds a business meeting

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Slice of Life #11 - Descriptive Writing

She strode purposefully into the meeting room, filled to the brim with males. Dressed in business attire, skirt, jacket, silk shirt and coloured patterned scarf, strategically knotted around her neck the whole outfit complimented by sensible beige working shoes. Her hair snow white, professionally coiffed, trimmed and styled, designed for efficiency and time saving while preparing for the work day. She lowered herself to the assigned chair, and meticulously arranged the "tools of her trade"; Glasses on a chain, a leather bound notebook, gleaming fountain pen, perfectly aligned in the small space allocated for her. Ready for the battle. 

Dedicated to Marie Smith. 

Graphic Source - Mentor Cloud

Monday, March 9, 2015

Slice of Life #10 - Is handwriting dying?

I'm sitting at my computer at home, late at night working on what will be a dissertation, some 200 odd pages of research; the culmination of endless hours of reading, research, and application of knowledge gained during courses.

Even though the journey, which will end by December this year, will have taken me 7 years, it is been an experience of life long learning, deadlines and at times headache inducing stress. Would I change this, definitely no.

Interestingly, as I type, I often reflect on my experiences at school, no technology, computers, cell phones, where we used snail mail and handwriting. Where handwriting was treated as an art, rather than a scribble on a page.

Last night, when I was taking a short break from research, I happened to check my facebook, lo and behold two articles appeared on my wall, one relating to handwriting and the other the use of technology (In particular laptops)  in a university  classroom.

Interestedly, as a humanities teacher I do feel that the art of handwriting is dying a slow death, in middle school only 5 years ago the majority of assessments / assignments were written by hand, fast forward we use google apps for everything from email, to text documents, presentations and slides.The New York Times Article succinctly states evidence from research that presents the notion that students who do often write by hand gain skills; "When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas". Do I see this in the classroom, I can emphatically answer yes. 

Next, the second article I would like to highlight revolves around the issue of no tech note taking. The article first gained notoriety when a University lectured tired of students focusing on their laptops rather than on the content during class. He took the brave stepped and banned laptops from this class. He believed that after his experiment, the students notes and assignments were of a much higher quality. 

So the dilemma continues. 

Graphic Source - Michael Mabry

Slice of Life #9 - Disasters

Our class today began by reading an excerpt from the book "Tsunami - Hope, Heroes, and incredible Stories of Survival". Today's Slice of Life is dedicated to the individuals globally that have been affected by disasters, providing us a snapshot into the human spirit, not only through what they endured but also celebrating those who triumphed.

Students had the following choices for today's slice :-

1. Imagine that you are animal, you sense that a natural hazard is coming.  What kind of animal are you? Where do you live? What do you do? Where do you go? Why?

2. Using the 2004 Earthquake and Tsunami as your topic, Just write. Reflect, Tell a story, share a memory. 

3. Resurrect an piece of writing from your journal, related to disasters. 

For me I have chose to write about bushfires, coming from Australia this is a huge threat every summer. 

The smell of smoke pervades the air
 choking, clawing its way through the corridors
 enveloping everything in its path. 

Forcing, tortured breaths, its recipients gasping for freshness
The fire spitting, wind howling, 
Roaring to a crescendo, searching for unwilling victims. 

Sirens blaring, panic and chaos
Years of memories 
Gone in an instant
From the ashes hope rises. 

Graphic Sources

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Slice of life #8 - Social Media in the news

With the advent of technology, it is a fact that our world has changed. Mobile technology, iphones, twitter, Instagram have given people globally, instantaneous access to news stories as they happen. As stated by the Disaster Resource Guide Website, "In a world of increasing interconnectedness between individuals and companies across the globe, social media continues to evolve and play a larger role in day-to-day life".

Think back to almost one year ago, when the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared enroute to Beijing, China from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We watched and waited, feeling sick to our stomachs realising that lives had been lost. Many faculty and students aware that the were frequent travellers on this amazing airline. Malaysian Airlines, like family to many of us. As the hours and days past, social media kept us informed. Now, fast forward one year relegated to a minor heading on websites as the search continues.  

No answers or news
Families Devastated
Scouring social media
Emotions raw

Six degrees of separation
Relationships revealed
Connections uncovered

Fast forward one year
Vast oceans searched
Families not able to move forward
Lives in limbo

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Slice of Life #7 - Songs that rock our world!

I have many students in my class who love listening to music. One of my students,  Laurie loves mixing different genres of music. I have a vision of what his future holds. Today's blogpost is dedicated to the songs of the 80's.

Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney was an amazing experience. Sun, Surf, Sand  were crucial for survival. Lazy hazy days at the beach in summer with friends, surfing, tanning and hanging out.

Along with the beach, we often listened to live bands. Narrabeen's Royal Antler Hotel was a favorite place to hang out. In summer, when the hotel was packed with people (usually 3,000) , they would open the retractable roof to let fresh air in. From Inxs to Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel, the Antler would be packed with teenagers every weekend. 

Not only was I influenced by the bands I saw, when I met my husband he had a huge interest in music, we had a gigantic record and cd collection and would often spend hours listening to music on the weekends.

The songs that I have chosen remind me of our middle schoolers - a time of great mental and physical growth, experimentation, empathy, solidarity and friendship; and eventually discovering what their place in the world is.


Graphic Source

Friday, March 6, 2015

Slice of Life #6 - Malaysia will amaze you

Today's blogpost is dedicated to the Black Tipped Coral Reef Shark, commonly found in the warm waters of the East Coast of Malaysia. Living 3°N from the equator certainly has some major advantages . The diversity of animals and wild life that we are exposed to are unique.
As an avid scuba diver, I am very fond of the black tipped reef shark, it is one of the most abundant sharks that inhabit the east coast of Malaysia. At first glance menacing, but majestic. It is characterised by the black tips on its fins. They love to swim in the warm shallow waters and are often found close to reef ledges and sandy flat areas. Interestedly, reef sharks prefer to stay in the same area for 3 -4 years at a time. The sharks often swim in schools.

I am doubly blessed as I have the chance to see the Black Tipped Coral Reef Shark in action on our Middle School, week without walls initiative - Malaysia Week.

Graphic Source

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Slice of Life #5- Multi-genre quick write

Todays Slice of Life is inspired by ideas presented in Soul Pancake. Student were provided the opportunity to create a "Multi-Genre Visual" on a thematic topic of choice. 

The Example Provided to students was based on Happiness. Many Thanks  to Mrs. Peters for her creativity and collaboration! 

Mrs. Narsiman's - Multi Genre Quick Write

Graphic Source 
Tolerance multi genre - 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slice of Life #4 - Explode the moment

Today's slice of life, allowed the students to free write, then review and apply  a strategy called "Explode the Moment". This allowed the 6'ers to have some creative license over their writing. They were encouraged to brainstorm their own memorable moments to "explode" , and to reflect on how they  describe their moment by using vivid, and sensory language. 
The students had the time to brainstorm ideas in their writing journal, highlighting what they saw, and felt through their actions.

Plunging into the aquamarine void, I gingerly scan my surroundings with wonder. Fastidiously, checking my gear is in place after the not so elegant back-flip off the stern of the boat. Mentally, visualizing a checklist;  mask secure, BCD tight, and weight belt firm. A swarm of butterflies invade my stomach, causing havoc with my nerves. Negotiating and making deals with my conscience, stay calm, relax,  watching and waiting for the universal signal. Telling my heart to be calm. Th dive master, all eyes on her, leisurely raises her right thumb, the descend signal. Finger pressing oh so gently on the deflation mechanism,  I slowly regulate panicked breathing. The steady inhaling and exhaling of oxygenated breath, sounding like Darth Vader. Time stands still as my ears begin to adjust to the pressure on my downward journey, my eyes look skyward, as bubbles explode on the surface. It seems life a lifetime, but only twenty seconds has elapsed while I venture and enter my new surroundings, ready to explore the rainforests of the ocean. Our week without walls - Malaysia Week.

Graphic Source - ISKL Malaysia Week, 2014.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Slice of Life #3 - Ode to Grading

It's interesting when you look back at writing that you completed a year ago. Same time last year, I was sitting at home grading. Tonight, I'm lying in bed, laptop, air-conditioning on nice and comfortable. I am feeling moments of deja vu. 

I'm working g feverishly to complete my grading, as I know that I have a lot of other work to complete as well.  Some two weeks ago, 6A students completed a document based quiz, I have reviewed and graded Part A, but now I have 40 expository paragraphs on the topic "Conflict in the Tibetan / Chinese region'. As I wade through the reading the paragraphs before writing comments, I need a break so this blog post is dedicated to grading .

According to Etymology online, to GRADE, has its humble etymological origins from Latin gradus "step, pace, gait, walk;" figuratively "a step, stage, degree," related to gradi "to walk, step, go,". This makes perfect sense, a grade for an assignment should reflect student growth, steps toward mastery.

Students, stress and strain
Poring over paragraphs
Waiting in anticipation
For the final grade

Teachers, stress and strain
Poring over paragraphs
Comments and feedback flying
Ready to assign a final grade

All too soon
The cycle begins again
Stress and strain
Seemingly never ending

Getty Images:
Bright light on stair case 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Slice of Life - #2

Today's slice of life is dedicated to Tiny Stories. Last year, Mrs. Peters. learned about Tiny stories and shared the information with the rest of the Humanities Team.

Mrs. Peters' wrote...Actor, artist Joseph Gordon-Levitt, wondered what it would be like to collaborate creatively with artists from around the world. Gordon-Levitt’s seed of wondering grew into a collaborative production company called hitRECord that he and his brother, Dan, contribute to and manage. One result of hitRECord are the ‘tiny stories’ that are written, illustrated, and sometimes animated.

In class today, you will have the opportunity to write your own tiny story..

Mrs. Narsiman's Tiny Story ....
                                 Torturous children
                                 Stepping, stomping, straddling 
                                 Probing, leaving behind dirt and grime
                                 Imprinting on my heart
                                 Scarring me for life

Graphic Source 
Mrs. Narsiman's iphone.