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English 6: Japanese Folk Tales and Paper Cranes

The final quarter of the school year is finally here and students are introduced to a new genre: traditional stories.  With the goal of internationalism in mind, we read stories from many different cultures through various genres, namely: myths, legends, and folk tales.

“The Crane Maiden”, a Japanese folk tale, was a perfect opportunity to talk about Japanese culture, traditions, beliefs, and literature.  The story has all the elements of a folk tale:

  1.  features human and animal characters
  2.  supernatural beings and events are part of the story
  3.  a lesson or message about life is presented

To start the lesson, students were asked to list down words they can associate with the word CRANE.  A variety of answers came up (symbolism, elegant, origami, hope) and one of the most common was “1,000.”  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a few of my students have read Eleanor Coerr’s “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”

For those who have not read the story, a short clip was shown to the class about a girl named Sadako who developed leukemia 10 years after the bombing of Hiroshima.  A friend of Sadako one day visited her in the hospital and told her if she makes a thousand paper cranes, she would survive.  Sadako died making only 600+.



Through the story “The Crane Maiden,” students learned the relevance of cranes in Japanese culture.  As an extended activity, students made their very own paper cranes.




Luckily, two students from my class are experts in origami.  They facilitated the making of paper cranes.


Sensei Chloe leading a group of 7 students.


Sensei Yoojin guiding her group in making paper cranes.

It was interesting to see how most of them challenged themselves in creating a difficult origami piece.  Nevertheless, they persisted. :)

At the end of the activity, some students donated their paper cranes for our bulletin board but there were some, too, who wanted to keep theirs to show their parents.  However, what made me prouder was how these students reflect about Japanese culture as they were making their paper cranes.  What stood out the most for me is one question blurted out by one of them:

“This is so difficult! How can you make a thousand of this?”



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English 7: To Kill a Mockingbird

According to Mari Lu Robbins, M.A., “Good literature never dies; it just gets better with age.”

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird truly fits this description.  Written in 1957 but published in 1961, this book has everything a reader could want in a book: wonderful characters, engaging plot, and inspiring and transforming ideas. (Robbins, 1999).

In their final quarter this year, students of Literature 7 will be taken to the world of Atticus Finch and his family at a time when racial divisions ruled the US.  Told in the point of view of a young girl named Scout, the story will take the students to a variety of topics such as success, heroism, conformity, family relationships, and most of all, injustice.

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Discussions for this novel will be done every Friday to give way to other literary genres we have yet to tackle in class.

Here’s the list of topics for the remainder of the school year.

lit 7


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English 6: Poetry in Spanish?

As this quarter comes to a close, students have shown readiness to identify elements, understand, and analyze poetry.  But before we finally conclude this quarter in poetry, the Grade 6 students were given another challenge: to show appreciation of a poem written in a different language.  To be specific, a Spanish poem by Sandra Cisneros was given to the class.

Rico's Hotdogs_Spanish        Rico's Hotdogs_Spanish_2


At first, they were given the challenge to read it by themselves.  As expected, the task proved to be difficult to them.  To facilitate appreciation of the poem, we called in the very amiable Ms. Karen Goyena, a Spanish-speaking teacher from the Social Sciences department.  As she read the poem, students were instructed to read along (the poem was uploaded in Edmodo).



Here’s the link for Ms. Goyena’s poem reading:

Although they did not understand the poem at all, they pointed out how much better Ms. Goyena’s reading of the poem is: clearer pronunciation and more emotion.  With that, I collected their thoughts about the poem: What do you think is the poem about? Here are the top 5 answers given:

  • Different kinds of hotdogs
  • How to sell hotdogs
  • Different hotdog toppings
  • Secret ads about hotdogs
  • Something that has reference to school

Unfortunately, none of them got the answer right, because how could they if the poem is written in Spanish?  To “remedy” the situation, an English version of the poem was given to each student which they are required to annotate and analyze.


good hotdogs good hotdogs_2


As the students start to annotate the poem by identifying sound devices, figurative language, and other parts of the poem that they find interesting or difficult, they have shown a clearer understanding of the poem.


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As early as 6th Grade, it was indeed a good time to introduce Works in Translation, one of the parts of IBDP Literature.

Special thanks to Ms. Karen Goyena for sharing a few minutes of her break time to read the poem in Spanish!

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IBDP Psych 11: Cognitive Level of Analysis

IBDP Psych 11 SL/HL kicked off the third quarter with the Cognitive Level of Analysis (CLOA).  To be specific, the class is focusing on one vital cognitive process which is memory.  Digging into the studies and theories of CLOA can be a bit dragging, hence, the students were given an opportunity to take a quick break and played a childhood favorite–the Memory Game.


Uno cards courtesy of my grade 6 homeroom class! :)


It was a close fight especially towards the end!


As it is almost the end of the quarter, the Psych students are not only mastering the concepts of CLOA but are also gradually being trained for their Psych IA, which is to conduct a simple experimental study.

In the learning outcome Discuss how social or cultural factors affect one cognitive process, students were paired and assigned one study to “modify” and conduct to the “participants”, ie, their classmates in Psych class.

Here are some of their modified simple experiments:

Esguerra and Gupta doing a Rogoff and Waddel (1982) experiment on culture and memory.

This modified version of the original study aims to find out if their participants, all “locals” of the 4th floor, will do better in a memory task if they were given one that was meaningful to them.  A miniature model of the 4th floor was created using blocks from the lower school library.  The participants were given 5 minutes to memorize the location of the of the objects, asked them to go to the library to read a few magazines as the “researchers” rearranged the objects.  After a few minutes, the participants were asked to come back and reconstruct the scene they had seen earlier.


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After analyzing the data gathered, Esguerra and Gupta concluded that the participants are able to remember the locations of objects when they are inside a classroom rather than outside.

Yun and Satriawan doing a Cole and Scribner (1974) cross-cultural study of memory


The “researchers”.

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Cheng and Antonio doing a Wang and Ross (2007) study on cultural and methodological considerations in cross-cultural research on memory.

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All in all it was a great opportunity for them to master at least one study for this learning outcome and to gradually improve their skills in conducting an experiment.  The feedback given do not only focus on the results of their “experiments” but also on the manner on how they conducted these experiments, such as giving instructions, preparing materials, and gathering of data, all of which may affect the reliability of the experimental study that they would conduct for their IA.

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IBDP Fil A: Pagtugon sa Republic Act No. 1425

Ang pagtalakay sa Noli Me Tangere ay tumutugon hindi lamang sa Prescribed List of Authors (PLA) ng IBDP Filipino A ngunit maging sa isa sa mga Batas Republika ng Pilipinas: Ang Batas Rizal RA 1425.   Layon ng batas na ito na iutos ang pagtuturo ng buhay at mga akda ni Rizal, partikular na ang Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo, sa lahat ng pribado at pampublikong paaralan at kolehiyo.

Bilang tugon, tinalakay ng aming klase sa IBDP Filipino A ang akdang tinaguriang nagpamulat sa kamalayan ng mga Pilipino nung panahon ng Kastila: ang Noli Me Tangere.

At upang lubos na ikalugod ng mag-aaral ang nasabing obra, minabuti naming panoorin ang bersyong opera nito na tinanghal sa Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas o Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).  Marahil ay mapalad kaming nakapanood nito bilang ang naturang palabas ay tumakbo lamang ng limang araw sa Pilipinas matapos ang matagumpay nilang pagtatanghal sa New York at Washington, D.C.



Ang pambihirang pagtatanghal na ito ay sinamantalang panooring ng maraming mag-aaral ng Filipino.  Agad na napuno ang Balcony section ng CCP dahil sa pagdagsa ng mga mag-aaral mula sa iba’t-ibang paaralan.  Marahil dahil ito lamang ang araw na may maagang pagtatanghal (2:00 pm), hindi nakapagtatakang dinagsa ang teatro ilang oras pa lamang bago ang umpisa.

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Bukod sa  napakagandang kwento tungkol sa pagmamahal sa bayan, ilan sa mga kahanga-hangang aspeto ng pagtatanghal na ito ay ang napakahusay na pag-awit at pagganap ng mga aktor, ang 53-piece symphony orchestra, at ang disenyo ng mga tagpuan at kasuotan ng mga gumaganap.



Isa din marahil sa hindi namin makakalimutang tagpo sa aming panonood ng Noli ay ang pagkakataong makasalamuha ang mga aktor.  Sa pagtatapos ng palabas, malayang nakihalubilo ang mga gumanap sa mga manonood na, gaya nga ng aking nabanggit, kinabibilangan ng maraming mag-aaral sa mataas na paaralan.

Ilan lamang ang mga ito sa mga larawang aming nakuha sa pakikihalubilo sa mga aktor:


Padre Sibila


Donya Victorina




Pilosopo Tasyo


Crisostomo Ibarra at Maria Clara





Jerry Sibal, Director and Stage, Scenic, and Costume Designer



Narito ang link ng nasabing batas:


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IBDP Filipino A: Si Akutagawa, atbp.

Ang pagpasok ng ikalawang semestre ay hudyat din ng pagtalakay ng mga bagong uri ng panitikan sa IB Filipino A Literature.  Hango sa gabay ng IB, ang mga akda ay magmumula sa mga sulating banyaga na isinalin sa wikang Filipino (Works in Translation).

Sa Filipino A HL, aming tatalakayin ang mga obra ng mga tanyag na manunulat na sina Ryunosuke Akutagawa mula sa bansang Japan, Pablo Neruda mula sa Chile, at ni William Shakespeare ng England.

Ang mga sumusunod ay ang talaan ng mga panitikang aming tatalakayin:

fila fila1




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English 6-7: Poetry Need Not Make You Feel Jittery

Third quarter is here! So what’s in store for 6th and 7th grade Literature? POETRY.

While it may not be exciting for everyone, poetry is an essential literary genre that English learners cannot just simply brush off.  This quarter, 6th and 7th graders will be presented with the challenge of understanding and analyzing poetry.  It may be a daunting task but we will persevere to make learning both bearable and fun.

Here are some of the studying tips and essentials for this quarter:

1.  Read in advance.  All poem titles will be given at the beginning of the quarter and it is your duty and responsibility to do read ahead of time.  Reading in advance will not only make you feel prepared but be confident as well.

2. Annotate.  This is an important part of reading and analyzing literature and it will be reinforced as we tackle poetry this quarter.  Writing marginal notes, highlighting, underlining, or encircling (and sometimes even doodling), is a good step in understanding what you are reading.  It will help you go back to ideas that may have confused you at the beginning and that can be clarified as you read further. Below is a sample annotated poem:


Image taken from Google.

The good thing about this is there is no right or wrong way of annotating.  The basic idea is for you to just “interact” with the given text.  So bring out those big guns and have fun! Here’s mine:


It doesn’t have to be this many! But if you like lots of colors, then why not?


3. Ask. Clarify.  It is always a good idea to ask when you are in doubt.  This is a reading skill that transcends as a life skill.

I can go on and on with tips on how you can ace poetry but I don’t want to overwhelm you before we even start.  So I’ll end with this for now and I would be happy to update this WITH YOUR OWN TIPS on how you succeeded poetry.

Have fun, everyone!



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IBDP Psychology SL/HL: A Fictional Case Study

The first semester exposed the students of IBDP Psychology to numerous researches, both qualitative and quantitative.  Aside from learning about each study’s aim, procedures, and findings, students were trained to evaluate these studies in terms of strengths and weaknesses.  It was a tedious process but the students rose to the challenge and proved to be knowledgeable to the basic know-hows of research writing.

As a fitting conclusion to the first semester, students were given a final summative assessment about writing a fictional case study.

What is a case study?

A case study is a report of descriptive information on data of research of an experiment, project, event or analysis. There are case studies that are particular to psychologists, scientists, and sociologists. Within those types of case studies there are individual theory, organizational theory, and social theory.

The purpose behind psychologist case studies are in seek in depth information about the human brain, behavior, or cognitive thinking.

Why fictional?

Although there is a strong desire to keep seeking for better understanding of human behavior, it is imperative that researchers put premium on ethics as well.  Since the students are not yet fully equipped to conduct case studies, a fictional character seemed the best “subject” for students to practice on.

The mechanics of the fictional case study was clearly presented to the students.  They were given a free-hand to choose any fictional character (from a book, movie, TV series, etc.) with a distinct characteristic that merits to be studied.

The students did not disappoint.  Below is the summary of their chosen character and a brief description for each:


At the end of the case study, students were reminded to evaluate their own study, thus paving way for them to reflect on how they conducted their fictional case study.

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English 6-7: On Essays and Short Answers


Image taken from Google

There is no better writing tip I can give than what is said in the posted quote.  Writing, while enjoyable to some, may be daunting to others.  Such statement is true for students across levels, regardless of background, orientation, or interest.  There is no better way to learn writing than by REALLY writing.

As a Language teacher for most of my career, I know that writing is a skill that indeed needs a lot of practice to polish.  As students move to the next level, teachers’ standards, requirements, and expectations become greater, too.  Nonetheless, the writing steps remain the same:


Image taken from Google


In the coming exams, students will once again be challenged to answer not only short response questions but full-length essays, too.  Grade 6 and 7 students have been trained in almost all summative tests to come up with essays that respond to a given prompt.

So how does one really get the much coveted A in an essay?  Let me share with you some  exemplar essays from the Grade 6 and 7 classes:


Grade 7, Chloe Que


Grade 7, Akex Go


Grade 6, Pranay Saini


Grade 6, Ianna Chua

Though short response types of questions may seem easy to produce, remember that there is always a direct answer to the prompt given.  Students should put in mind that to ace this test type, they need to ensure that they always check what is being asked in the prompt: Describe, Explain, Define, Discuss.  Also remember that when the prompt requires examples and citations from the text, they should be able to provide them as they form part of the criteria that will be checked.


Grade 6, Emma Lindroth


Grade 6, Chloe Hoesen



Grade 7, Lindsay Laude


Grade 7, Carlo Javier

You might ask: how are they able to come up with such answers? The answer is simple: just write.  Write a journal about your teen age struggles, a letter to a person you want to talk to right now but can’t, a diary of just your personal thoughts, a blog about your favorite video game, a micro-blog of what you had for dinner, and many others! It doesn’t matter who reads it (or if anyone reads it at all); what matters is you don’t stop writing so that when test day comes and an essay question is presented, writing should be second-nature to you.

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The Man with the 7-Second Memory

If you were born in the generation I was born in, you should have probably seen the romantic-comedy 50 First Dates.  I opened the class with a question if my students have seen this movie.  To my surprise, it didn’t even ring a bell to my IBDP Psychology students who were mostly born in year 2000.


Image taken from Google

A short discussion about this movie would have made a good opener for our learning outcome that day: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behavior.  Since none of my 6 students has seen the movie, I ended up giving the synopsis: a story of a playboy who sets his heart on romancing a girl, but she has short-term memory loss; she can’t remember anything that happened the day before. So every morning, the guy has to woo her again.  It is not what you can call a typical romantic movie plot because having short-term memory loss is not quite usual either.  

However, the BLOA in Psychology tells us that indeed, there is an interaction between cognition and physiology.  This can be seen in the case of Clive Wearing, a 70-year old English musician who suffered from amnesia after catching herpes simplex encephalitis, thus damaging his hippocampus.

In brief, here’s the study by Oliver Sacks (2007) about Wearing:


 Clive Wearing was a musician who got a viral infection – encephalitis.

  • This left him with serious brain damage in the hippocampus (biological cause), which caused memory impairment (effect on cognition)
  • He suffered from anterograde and retrograde amnesia


  • He could not transfer information from STM to LTM.
  • His memory lasted 7-30 seconds, and he was unable to form new memories.
  • Wearing still had the ability to talk, read, write, conduct and sight-read music (procedural knowledge)
  • Wearing’s episodic memory and some of his semantic memory were lost.
  • MRI scans of Wearing’s brain showed damage to the hippocampus and some of the frontal regions.


 The case of Clive Wearing provides insight into the biological foundation of different memory systems, which is a cognitive process.

  • Wearing’s case highlights the interaction between cognition and physiology as it establishes the link by illustrating the effect of physiological causes in the brain (brain damage occurring in hippocampi region, on the social and cognitive interactions of the individual.


To fully learn about the case of Clive Wearing, you may check out the link below for a documentary about the man that has a 7-second memory:

Clive Wearing, The Man with the 7 Second Memory