At least, I am on holidays! I am happy to have three weeks of leeway so that I can enjoy my time of doing nothing and nothing. As a matter of fact, doing nothing for me means doing something, but not in a harsh. Actually, I have a project to think of, some VIDs (very important documents) to analyze and many others things to do. Having three weeks, I decided to reflect on every change that happened to me in a span of last 7-8 months. It is clear that everything is taking another direction in my life and I am feeling it now more than I have ever felt. Perhaps, that is the reason I am feeling myself like a guest even at home. I was absent for nearly a year, in addition, there are four years of city life. All these short periods off the village made their contributions to the changes in all. Not only me, but everbody is noticing it. I might have got too used to city life. But nevertheless, I am happy to be at home again.

Being there for three days, everything I have is guests to come or guest myself. I hope, these holidays will, somehow, help me to forget everything connected with study, job and work, job and work.

Getting too used to the University food, still cannot switch to cooking for myself. My parents are happy to have me at home and that’s why say nothing about it, but my relatives say that I became too lazy. I do not deny, it is true.)

Continuing yesterday topic about peer reflection, I would like to post some of the works done by my students. It is all about the comic book presentation they have watched before. All in all, I have 11 students in my group, and would like to share with you all their opinions.

When I saw my work posted in my teacher’s blog, I was glad so much. I even wrote that “it was like a reward for my little trying”. I hope, when my students will see these posts and find their own writing published, they would definitely feel the same.

And now, today I want to show you some other papers – reflections on the comic book presentation they have watched before.

One of my smart students writes,

1. Today we saw the comics book of Nazym, Balzhan and Zhanat. It is the story about mastermind, whose name is Mr.XXX. He wants to create new generation of new people, and kill the present generation. But team of NIS will save the planet. I like this comics, it has good design, attractive heroes, funny villains and a nice robot. There were so many explosions, fightings. Nevertheless, kindness defeated evil.

2. It was a classic story. There was nothing that surprised me, it was sometimes even predictable.

3. If the small robot have had a big power and could hypnotize people, it would have been more absorbing. Nobody knew that the robot was the main villain. But robot fell in love with one of the superheroes and became kind. The love saved the world!

A very good interpretation of the story, as we say, “so many people, so many minds”.

Here is another flow of ideas from my another student:

1. I liked the main idea and the way of making their comics, also their superheros. It is a very interesting and fascinating comic. The cartoons with superheros like “XXX man” are my favourite ones. They have done their comic in a very funny way, it was very colorful. Also, I liked the name of the comic ( It was called “2012”).

2. However, they have told shortly about their work. There were only five superheros. I think, it is not enough for a meaningful story.

3. Maybe, I might have changed the scenario of the story. I advice them to make comic more meaningful and complete. Altogether, it is ok for the beginning. I hope, there will the next edition of  “2012” Comic book. =)

The ideas and suggestions for the book presentation are different, but all of them have something to tell about the book.

As I have told you before, just a few days ago we practiced creating our own comic books. As a result of it we had one group ready with their book to the end of the lesson. If you had read my previous post, you’ll see, we had some time left so I asked the students reflect on what their classmates had done. After they had watched a book presentation, they were given papers to reflect on the presentation. Today, having all their papers in my hands and analyzing, I found out that there are many good ideas they have to say.

Actually, here is one of my student’s work.

(If you remember, there were three points to write reflection: what they liked, what they disliked and what they might change.)

1. Assuredly, I liked this comic, because there are a lot of bright colors. What I liked most is that they imagine themselves in characters of superheros in comics. I liked the design of a mini book and location of the main characters in the pictures too. Also, I liked that there was no death, because I prefer some peaceful stories. I was surprised when I heard the following in their story. For example, a robot called Mr. XXX (Mr. Egg) wanted to kill someone.

2. Really, I didn’t understand the main idea. Comic is incomplete. I haven’t seen activities or bad things from “evil sight”. When they demonstrated comic book, I was a bit bored, because it was a little bit not interesting. For example, if I saw it on the shelf of magazines, I  wouldn’t buy it. I disliked special effects, because there were a huge amount of them. In my opinion, it would have been more interesting if they have  included more actions to the story.

3. If I were the author of this comics, I would include more actions (Something like bad activities or fierce plans of Mr.Egg) and active protection of superheros. Also, I want to see supernatural abilities of them.

But in all, I liked the presentation, because it is difficult to imagine your own story, I think.

I don’t know how other teachers would have assessed this work, but I gave the highest point for the reflection and for the ideas, paying no attention to any grammar or vocabulary mistakes.

Still we will see what other students have written about the same book presentation, and hopefully will put it on my next blog posts.

As usual, I spent my morning at school with my students. It is the beginning of a new term for them, but for me – it is the last lesson this week. Telling the truth, I am happy to have three-weeks holiday. It would be enough to refresh my head and relax for the last several months I had nothing to do, but study and study and work. Sometimes, I seem strange even to myself. I advise people to do this or that, not to do this or that, but the same advise doesn’t work with me. I write posts about paying more attention to the friends and relatives, but if it comes to me – then I find out that I haven’t seen my family, relatives and most of my friends more than a half year. How can I write about the things I am doing myself? I thought. So decided to make last breath before going with my over have-nothing-to-do-but-relax-and-enjoy condition.

Instead, I have found out that my students still cannot switch from spring holidays back to the lessons. They also seem to need even more time for rest. This is what brought me to this idea.

Right now we have the theme of superheroes and on the last lesson we began writing our own comics book. About superheros. We do really plan to have some of them published so that even other students and even teachers can take and read them. The students were eager to start their book. Though, firstly, they hesitated a bit, I guess, they thought how comics and the English lesson could be combined. That’s why they listened to my further instructions and kept silence for a few seconds. Further, I said that it would be accomplished in the internet. I could notice their desire to start as soon as possible. There is a website in the internet, where you can create your own comics book and download it. It is called Superherosquad. Sometimes, there are topics impossible to talk about seriously. In such cases a teacher can use different entertaining sites as a.m.one. It would be more useful and appropriate for teaching if to ask the students to use new vocabulary, new grammar rule and so on. I showed my comics book idea in order to get them more interested in the lesson.

Comics

So the next time I’ll see how they managed to create their work – “Masterpiece”, as one of my students said “We want it to be our masterpiece”.

Today, we have already watched one of those works. As we had only one book ready and still had some time I asked students to reflect on what they have seen. The students were asked to write:

  • what they liked
  • what they disliked
  • what they might change

As a result, I had so many ideas about the book and even some possible continuations. Nevertheless, there are some other comics books the students will present in the next lesson. On my part, I want to say, it doesn’t matter what use in your lessons, the most important thing is whether students are learning from your lessons or not. Even other teachers have no right to judge your teaching style. Just a few days ago, a teachers from the same school, with 30 years of teaching background, told us, her colleagues, a very interesting case happened to her. She organized her English lesson through the method of applique. Giving instructions to the students in English and making them to draw and cut and cut, she taught them vocabulary. Unfortunately, the headmaster, who was watching the duration of the lesson, disliked it and criticized the teacher’s approach in front of the other teachers so that making them understand that such methods of teaching were not welcomed at school. If she only knew, she was wrong!

Right now, we manage our lessons in quite unusual ways, we walk around during the lesson, we create comics books, we sing a song, we dance, we have field trips and so on. There is no correct approach to teaching, but one a teacher considers right.

Recently, decided to go to the cinema to watch a movie in English called Hitch, instead I had another hitch, a real one.

Recently, Revision Park informed that it was going to run cinema evenings, which would show movies in English (that is quite new even for Astana). Surveying a definite amount of people with the help of inline questionnaire, they decided to show “Hitch”, starring Will Smith. So, to let the other people know about the existence of Movie evenings in English, they put the necessary information on the website. http://languageleader.kz/revision-park.html

In addition, the newsletter was put on facebook so that everybody would be informed and, hopefully, would inform other people too. So, having found out about the event quite before and received a message on facebook, I decided to go there and enjoy watching. Why not? Moreover, I invited a friend of mine to go with. He is a foreigner and I thought he might enjoy watching a movie in English. Of course, I told him that it was free. I thought, it was free (I did pay no attention to the little P.S. note after the letter). So, leaving the work incomplete for tomorrow, we went to the cinema.

I, somehow, didn’t manage time correctly, so we were late for the movie. (The usual thing that happens to me: even though I know that I am going to be late, I do not hurry or cannot hurry.) In addition, we found out that we need to buy a club card to enter.  The little P.S. note I missed paying attention to. The club card costs 5000 tenge for four visits or for four people for one visit. Imagine the situation of a person, who have come for free movie.)) (Now I hope I will have a club card for the next movie.) That was a hitch I had in order to watch “Hitch”.

Nevertheless, laughing to our situation, we went to another movie, though in Russian. A guest, I invited, knows Russian well, so we decided it would be a good practice for language.

The moral: if you go somewhere for the first time, try to be clued up.

I think, it is a good idea to show movies in English and hope, there will be more and more people interested in going there. Especially, those, whose daily life is closely connected with English. If you live in Astana and are also interested in watching movies in English, follow the link and find the necessary information. But, don’t forget to pat attention to P.S.)

There was a nice exhibition in the Palace Peace and Concord in Astana on March,  31. Amazing three painters had a chance to show their masterpieces to the wider audience.

The exhibition was organized by Contemporary Art Center “Kulanshi” and presented the pictures and photos of three American painters. They are Emily Mihalik, Yongi Chung and Sara Gail Burgess. Each painter has unique style of painting different from each other.

Above you can see a picture by Emily in the background. It was done in abstraction style and is called “Winter Birds”.

The picture is called Astana at night. It is abstraction, there are people, who understand it, there are, who don’t. For me this picture is the most meaningful, it is Astana.

This is the hall, where works by Sara Burgess were presented. The photos show Kazakhstan and reflect a part of Kazakhstan, where I was born and spent my childhood.

This is only a little part of what was presented in the exhibition. For more information about exhibitions, search for Contemporary Art Center :KUlanshi”.

As a result of Critical thinking course,  I have found out the difference between assessment and evaluation. They are similar, but different. In my lesson plan I used to write both assessment and evaluation for giving the students marks for the lesson. However, I knew that there was a difference between them. Initially, I thought that the difference was in the way of grading their job. I found the right answer for this question. If you still doubt with your understanding of assessment and evaluation, keep further reading. If not, good for you!

Evaluation and assessment both are ways of evaluating the work done. However, assessment is a part of evaluation.Yes, not vice versa. Evaluation is a way of assessing by giving recommendations, suggestions, feedback and reflection. Also, one can evaluate people’s work by rating in numbers. It is called assessment. In its part, assessment also comprises such activities as checking comprehension skills, following different criteria, making judgements, tracking the progress, analyzing outcomes, but the most important is whatever you check or analyze you give grades. As you might have noticed, in evaluation the grading is not compulsory. That is the difference. What do we USUALLY do after the lesson is over? We give the students marks. So, what is better to write in your lesson plan then assessment or evaluation?

The process of assessment is one of the most difficult in teaching learning. The students are modern and modern nowadays and they won’t think for long in order to approach the teacher and ask the mark she/he got. They are not like Soviet students, who were afraid of their teachers or got shy to ask something inappropriate. They are not like Soviet time students, who, if they see a teacher in the street (shop, theater), will definitely find another way to go so that they won’t run across the teacher. That’s why it is important to pay attention to how assessment comes to one mark in the end of the lesson. What is the most interesting is that assessment should be done during the lesson, but not after or in the end of it. Mostly, I do assessing after the lesson and sometimes find it difficult to give one mark for the student. I think, if I do it during the lesson , it will be easier. Perhaps, most teachers know it and do assessment during the lesson, but for young and inexperienced teacher while-the-lesson assessment was a new thing. A teacher can assess everything the students do and don’t. Once you learn to do during-lesson assessment, you won’t face difficulties in the end of the lesson. Fair assessment can be carried by different methods as observation, role play, written tests, quizzes and so on.

It is another process if a teacher evaluates his/her own job. It can be done by reflection on the lesson, where the students can effectively help a teacher. Simply, give students tables or question papers so that they can write what they liked/disliked about the lesson. Or there are some students, who do not want to disappoint their teacher and simply write “I liked the lesson”. In this case, a teacher can give another set of questions asking what activities they want to do again and so on. Students’ feedback about the lesson plays an important role in teacher evaluation.

If you still wish to get as more feedback for your lesson as possible, you invite your colleagues to the lesson so that you can discuss your GOODs and BADs after the lesson. Peer evaluation isn’t less important one. I hope, you found something new from this post or you have something new for me to suggest, you can share with me. Good luck with your lessons!