Poetry Prompts

Thinking about ways to get my students to write poetry or just simply write, I got inspired by a photo I took of my plants for Instagram. I thought of the well-known nursery rhyme “How does your garden grow?” It’s simple and at the same time thought-provoking.

A few questions immediately came to mind: How does your garden grow? Can a garden be compared to life in general? Do you let your garden be overrun with weeds? Who are the weeds in your life? Do they serve a purpose?

This would be either an excellent poetry exercise in which the students might find words to rhyme with weed, flowers, thorns, green, insects and so on, or a writing prompt to get them to reflect on people or situations in life.

It might be a good way to assess what my students are capable of writing. I could use it as a diagnostic exercise to introduce a poetry unit. The possibilities are endless. ~~~LMM


Life Lessons: Questions for this time of year

As an educator, I take advantage of every opportunity to teach some facts about life. In the process, I’ve learned some valuable lessons!

This is my most recent post from lmmolina97.edublogs.org

This is the time of year that we take to work on our spiritual side. It’s a good time also for getting our students to think about their actions and how they affect those around them. As a school community we go on a pilgrimage each year to visit churches or religious sanctuaries on different parts of the island. When we come back, I take advantage of the outing for students as English-language learners to express their feelings about the experience. The results are interesting and often eye-opening. I discover that some students are indifferent, others come back a bit changed but not so much. As leaders of an educational community and one with a Christian philosophy, are we doing our best to get our students to reflect on their attitude towards that philosophy? How are we doing? What can we do to get them more involved, not only in the school’s pastoral affairs, but in activities sponsored by their parishes? In a world that has globally changed (for better or worse), are we doing all that is within our means? If there is any progress in this area, how can we measure it? These are questions that are food for thought! What are yours? ~~LMMolina


EduBlog post: Reflections on Holy Week 2017

Publishing student writing with the Book Creator App

Through my Twitter feed, I just came across an app that I might be able to integrate into my classes. Using the Book Creator App students can not only create a book but a video as well.

which is a simple and easy stop motion animation app for iPad.



This course on Movies and Films

It’s been about a month since I started teaching the course on Movies and Films to 2 groups of Juniors and Seniors. I have one all-male group and the other group has only 2 females. This has put a bit of pressure on me as an instructor. The films I select will have to cater to the male point of view while keeping in mind that the female plays a strong role in many films. I admit it will be interesting as well as challenging. But as always, I’m up to a good challenge. Isn’t that part of a teacher’s job description?

We’ve watched a Coen brothers’ film: Hail Caesar! and Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me.  Both films have crude language and refer to poor life styles…drinking, sex, and the usual elements found in most films. Even though I teach in a Catholic school, I cannot in all honesty present films that avoid issues that will affect my students sooner or later in life.  They will be exposed to all sorts of situations, if they haven’t been already. So I’d like to think I’m “teaching” them to handle these life-altering events when they do confront them. At least, it just might help them put things in perspective. It could lead to some thought-provoking debates.  What better way of doing this than through a film which presents an issue that fires up the human soul?  ~~LMMolina


Traveling as a teaching resource

Whenever I get a chance to travel, the educator in me looks for any chance to incorporate the experience into her courses. This summer I took the opportunity to travel to England and during my two-week stay, I visited castles, manor homes, museums, antique shops, cathedrals, a film studio, a university city and of course, shopping malls. I tried to absorb as much as possible and documented everything through a number of photos (up to 700 something and still counting!).

What will I do with all the shots I took? So far I’ve organized them by place or attraction. How will I use them in my courses? Well, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter will definitely be used for my Movies and Films and technology courses! I got to see up close all the tricks of the film-making trade, from all the props used to the special effects in the popular Harry Potter series.

I could use my visit to Norwich Castle as an introduction to how Hollywood filmed movies based on medieval times. My visit to Stonehenge gives me the same idea.  How many movies have centered on the Bronze or Stone Age? Maybe for my technology course, I could get the students to show how the gaming movement has used these themes.

Both courses will benefit from my visit to the Imperial War Museums. War films have always been popular in Hollywood and the tech used to operate aircraft has advanced through all wars.

The visit to the royal family’s vacation residence would give the students an idea of how royalty lives and how it’s depicted in films.

My tour of London took me through many sites that have appeared in a number of films. The Jason Bourne, James Bond movies and London Has Fallen are just a few that come to mind.

Manor homes such as Audley End House can be seen in films based on Jane Austen novels such as Pride and Prejudice. To see this home up close and walk through all the rooms, imagining how Jane Austen or one of her characters might have felt, was amazing!

So all in all, I think my visit to England will be very useful for my courses! Don’t you think?~~LMMolina


What do we learn from films?

The movies

This year I was offered the opportunity to teach an elective course on films to a group of ninth graders. The main goal was reinforcing English-language skills through movies and at the same time integrating a bit of technology in the process. So far it’s been a wonderful experience. Each student created a blog where he documented his ideas about the films viewed in and outside of the classroom. I’ve learned a lot about each and everyone of my students. I’ve gotten an idea of how they feel on certain topics and why they feel that way. It’s been an eye opener, for sure!

I’m looking forward to teaching the course next year to another group of students, this time to 11th and 12th graders. Something I have to keep in mind is the content of the course. While I will not shy away from topics such as misuse of drugs or sex, I will take into consideration which films are more suited to students at that age level and the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Viewing a film is similar to reading a novel, only with visuals.  It has it pros and cons. When watching a movie, not much is left to the imagination unless the director is really clever. Reading a novel or short story lets the mind explore different scenarios.

Just like a good book, films can set the tone for a discussion of conflicts. They can also be used to discover how a certain scene can produce a variety of emotions or how a director plays on the emotions of a particular audience.

With movies, music and lighting set the mood and these elements subject the audience to feelings they might not even know they had. Sure, a good novel can do that, too. But a movie has a certain time limit and within that a director must do what a novelist might find difficult.

How do you feel about reading a novel as compared to viewing a film with the same plot? Which would you prefer? I guess it all depends on the topic and the interests of the person. With films and novels anything and everything is up for debate. That’s what makes it fun!~~LMMolina

Teaching “Two kinds” by Amy Tan

I thought this was an excellent post! I’ll be using it as a guide for my English class blog during the new school year!

Connected Teaching and Learning

Two Kinds” is a story in Amy Tan’s immensely successful first book, The Joy Luck Club. Tan intended the book to be read as a loose collection of interrelated stories, but it is often referred to as a novel. Several of the stories appeared in periodicals separately, many of them in Atlantic Monthly, which purchased the serial rights to the book prior to its publication. “Two Kinds” was initially published in the Atlanticin February 1989, one month before the book was released.

The Joy Luck Club The Joy Luck Club (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like all the stories in the book, “Two Kinds” is concerned with the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. In particular, Tan’s subject is the distance between mothers who were born in China before the communist revolution and thus have been cut off from their native culture for decades, and their American-born daughters who must negotiate the twin…

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Blogging: The “Write” Way!

When teaching students about blogging, it’s sometimes difficult to get them to grasp the concept. Blogging is a social thing but it cannot be compared to other social networking platforms.  Blogs can serve different needs. They can be used to inform or entertain readers. What a student wants to do with a blog depends on his or her need to convey thoughts about a particular topic. Their thoughts matter even if they’re only writing for a select group or only for themselves!

As teachers, we want to get the students to write about their topics as sincerely as possible. We want them to reach their own conclusions based on what they have read. How can we do that? I can only think of one way and it may be old-school: reading, writing, and revising! That’s what the writing process is all about.  Student bloggers must realize that blogging is about writing and revising what they’ve written. They need to express themselves as accurately as possible. Be it one or ten, a reader will expect nothing less.

To all bloggers out there: Are you prepared to research, write and revise before publishing?  ~~LMM

writing process

Blogs as electronic portfolios

This trimester the students in my blogging course will be creating a new blog which will be used as a portfolio.  Each will select an academic class he likes or in which he feels he does well.

What better way for a student to document his or her progress in a particular course than by blogging about it? It’s ideal in a way because the format lends itself nicely to the process. Entries can be on any learning experiences occurring during a class.

Let’s suppose a student was struggling with a math assignment and was finally able to master it.  An excellent entry would describe how he or she felt during the experience.  The student could even post the assignment on the blog and identify that which gave him satisfaction on completion.

A student could also upload a video of himself during an oral report. Photo galleries are nice features on a blog and they may include pictures of special projects that the student has worked on during the school year.   As he progresses through the blog he may reach a goal he has set earlier for himself. This achievement may inspire him and spur him on to set higher goals which in turn will stimulate further academic growth.

A blog portfolio will help a student reflect on his learning strategies. He’ll decide what works and what doesn’t; what he can change and how to go about it.

No matter which academic course the student chooses to blog about, he will gain a sense of security and feel that he can take on other challenges.

Check out the following site on portfolios if you would like to learn more.



Blogging and Classroom Tutors

peer tutoring
The blogging course is well on its way and most of the students are pretty enthusiastic about setting up their blogs. I know that they grasp the idea but I get the impression that they can’t seem to decide on what to blog about or how to get started. To help them along, I’ve had the students who have successfully set up their blogs show them to the rest of the class. They explain what they’ve done and how they did it. I have two or three students in each class section who have a handle on the process and serve as tutors for those who seem to be struggling.
Sometimes the best way to get students to learn something new is to have a peer explain in terms that makes it easier to understand. It’s a time-tested practice that never fails! ~~LMM