Languages TEACHERS

Comment 0

English – 1st Quarter Culminating Projects


The end of the quarter means completed projects for students–and in English class, students creatively expressed what they’ve learned about the longstanding literary trope, Heroes. In Grade 7, students collaborated with the Grade 1 class to create a storybook following “The 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey,” in which their Elementary Buddies were the heroes of their narratives. Both older and younger buddies loved the interaction: 7th graders rose to the challenge of writing for an audience and applying their knowledge of the narrative structure, while 1st graders marvelled at the stories (starring them) that unfolded.

20190902_144033 20190902_144040

Meanwhile, Grade 9 focused on their critical writing skills, responding to the question: “What makes a modern-day hero?” Definitions varied from the connotative to the historical, while examples included activists like Nelson Mandela and Greta Thunberg, as well as ordinary citizens called by circumstance to do the right thing, such as local firefighters and doctors. Then, students immersed themselves in the world of rhetoric, and presented their essays as a persuasive speech. Their delivery was passionate, energetic, and reflected a larger understanding of how language can be used to convince others.


Comment 0

A Glimpse of the First Quarter

Two months have already passed since the opening of the school year. In the English classes, this means that the students have read a number of texts (or one whole book) and engaged in various activities to help them process the assigned readings. Our goal is to make the students critical of what they read, and at the same time, appreciate the power of language, and these past two months are necessary stepping stones towards those ends.

Grades 6-9 students have explored some timeless topics in literature such as myths and the hero’s journey. The Grade 10 students have been introduced to the more modern form of the graphic memoir. Following the new curriculum for IB DP Language and Literature, the Grade 11 students have learned more about global issues before analyzing both literary and non-literary texts tackling these problems. The Grade 12 have been analyzing how texts participate in the construction of concepts such as identity, knowledge, power, and community.

Here are some questions raised by the Grade 10 students while they sat in a discussion circle about Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis:

Grade 10

At a different time, the Grade 12 students looked into the nature of using street slang after listening to two prominent speakers with opposing perspectives. Afterwards, the students formulated questions and shared wonderful insights about the topic:

Grade 12 (2)

Such questions show the students’ growing understanding of language and literature, and we are all excited to see them improve as we go along!

Comment 0

English 7 – To Kill a Mockingbird

This quarter, the 7th graders read and studied To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. First, students partook in the K-W-L activity (What you KNOW, What you WANT to know, & what you have LEARNED) after reading an excerpt from the novel. Each week, students read assigned chapters and answered novel unit guide questions that acted as a formative.


A class discussion ensued on the major themes of the novel. Subsequently, groups were assigned chapters in which they created theme bank posters using evidence from the novel.



To review for the summative, students played a series of Kahoot games on the plot, setting, themes, and characters of the novel.


Students were led through the speechwriting process and learned about ethos, pathos, and logos. Afterwards, were asked to reflect how Atticus used these three rhetorical elements during the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Behavior for Learning Policy 2013 BN-JH704_bkrvwa_P_20150709105723

Students wrote, practiced, and presented their speeches to the class.

20190514_141011 20190516_112825 20190517_131443 IMG_7459 IMG_7462 IMG_7465 IMG_7469 IMG_7472 IMG_7474 IMG_7509 IMG_7518 IMG_7524 IMG_7525 20190516_114959

Students then reviewed for the final exam and watched the 1962 film of To Kill a Mockingbird during the last week of school.

IMG_7534 IMG_7535 to-kill-a-mockingbird.12917

Comment 0

English 9 – Satire and Society

This quarter, the 9th graders learned about satire and society. First, students were oriented and guided on the cause and effect essay. Students had an option of selecting a topic from a list or generating their own with guidance from the teacher. The students were guided through the outlining and first draft process of the cause and effect essay.


Students took notes on the background to Voltaire’s Candide and the characteristics of a satire while watching a short documentary. Examples of satire in various media were then shown and discussed as a class through a competitive game.


To review Candide’s storyline and sequence of events, students filled out a detailed plot diagram. Within the next two weeks, the teacher discussed each chapter of Candide while students took notes on the summary, analysis, textual evidence, and themes.

Plot Diagram

In groups, students presented mini-reports based on their assigned chapters.

20190503_105528 20190503_110736 20190503_110840 20190506_125814 20190507_083610

After they revised, edited, and submitted their cause and effect essay, they prepared for their oral defense and were given a series of practice questions to respond to regarding their research.

20190514_084444 20190514_085751 20190515_105318 20190515_110839 20190516_140154 20190516_141825 20190517_104819 20190517_105813 20190517_111025_001

After their oral assessment, students reviewed for final exams.

Comment 0

Rhetoric 9/10 (Writing and Speaking)

This unit began with students choosing one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph. From their chosen speech, they had to watch, analyze, and present it to the rest of the class paying close attention to purpose, audience, rhetorical techniques, and overall effectiveness of the speech. Students consulted with the teacher who provided them with feedback before their presentation. While students presented, the classmates wrote down comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

IMG_6143 IMG_6144 IMG_6146

The Chosen Inspiring Speech segued into the Global Issue Speech (the final assessment of the semester) in which students had to select a topic from the following list of global issues:


Lack of economic opportunity and employment

Large-scale conflict/wars

Inequality (income, discrimination)


Religious conflicts

Government accountability and transparency/corruption

Food and water security

Lack of education


Climate change/destruction of nature



If students wanted to select an alternative topic for their global issue, it had to be approved by the teacher. They also had an option of making a presentation through Google Slides, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, or props, or alternative approved visual for their visual aid to their speech. Once proposals were approved, they began researching their chosen topic. The following week, they were required to submit a reference list of at least four credible sources, with the attached summaries. In their speech, students had to integrate 5-8 rhetorical techniques, the persuasive techniques, and the presentation tips that they’ve learned into their speech. They also had to incorporate evidence from their research into their argument and had to pay close attention to purpose and audience. Furthermore, students were required to cite their speech in APA format. Throughout the weeks, students consulted with the teacher who gave them feedback on their sources, outlines, and first drafts. They revised their speeches based on feedback and rehearsed their speeches well enough until most of the content was memorized. Students submitted their final paper and delivered their speeches along with their visual presentation. The final paper served as a summative assessment, while the actual speech presentation served as their final exam. While each student presented, the classmates wrote down their comments in a peer evaluation sheet provided by the teacher.

IMG_7419 IMG_7422 IMG_7423 IMG_7426 IMG_7434 IMG_7435 IMG_7438 IMG_7439

For the last week of the semester, the Global Issue final paper and actual speech presentation marks were returned, and the teacher reviewed the performances with each student one-on-one. The unit ended with a series of documentary films on public speaking.

Comment 0

Rhetoric 9/10 – (Reading and Analyzing) Semester 2

The unit started off with students answering a prompt convincing or persuading a potential listener.


From this, the students were introduced to the three important elements of a Rhetorical Triangle (ethos, pathos, and logos) and watched a TED-ed video on the methods of persuasion.

Ethos-Pathos-Logos-768x611 p-l-e-768x432

Students then viewed a selection of advertisements for a variety of different products and analyzed how ethos, pathos, and logos were used to influence consumer decisions. Per advertisement, students individually answered questions on a given worksheet followed by a class discussion.

Toyota Ad Mercedes Ad

Through this activity, students learned how to provide reasons for their answers and to defend their chosen appeal with supporting evidence. In a group, students found their own set of advertisements, identified the rhetorical techniques used and their effectivity on the audience, and presented them to the class.

IMG_4514 IMG_4515 IMG_4516 IMG_4517

In addition to learning about effective rhetorical techniques, students were introduced to logical fallacies (errors in reasoning that weakened an argument), given a list of terms to discuss, and shown a video to reinforce what they’ve learned. Subsequently, students searched for three other examples of logical fallacies used in advertisements and had an option of answering a given chart or making a video for extra credit.

what-is-logical-fallacy-1691259-v5-5b75893bc9e77c005024c1ee (1)

Next, students deepened their understanding of the Rhetorical Triangle by analyzing Coretta Scott King’s speech where they had to identify the rhetorical techniques from the SMART Bank of Rhetorical Terms and evaluate their impact through a given chart. The speech was read orally by a volunteer after which students analyzed the speech in pairs using the Rhetorical Triangle.


A class discussion occurred after which students revised and added to their individual SMART charts as needed. For their assignment, students wrote a reflection evaluating King’s speech, cited textual evidence, and used their SMART chart as a guide to support their conclusions.

Students received copies of Marc Antony’s funeral speech (from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) and read along while they listened to the audio version. The audio was played again while small groups annotated the speech and took note of numerous rhetorical elements (ethos, pathos, logos, repetition, tone, connotation, irony, rhetorical question, syntax and more). Using their notes, students wrote a paragraph evaluating the effectiveness of the various rhetorical elements used in the speech. They then repeated this process with Ninoy Aquino’s 1983 Arrival (undelivered) speech.

xMark-Antony-Oration ninoy_aquino_by_astronok

The last assessment of the quarter was persuasive essay writing. Students applied what they learned in their previous speech analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of a speech by Severn Suzuki which they viewed. After submitting the final assignment for the quarter, students chose one of the speeches listed from “The 20 Most Inspiring Speeches in Film” by The Telegraph in preparation for the next unit.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 10.52.43 AM

Comment 0

English 9 – Introduction to Fiction (Quarter 3)

To start off the unit on fiction, students played a series of competitive fiction games. This was followed by a short video and lecture on Fiction vs. Non-Fiction.

The first short story of the unit was “The Last Leaf” by O’Henry. Students read along while listening to the audiobook and answered a comprehension/reflection sheet.

download (1)

Students were then put in groups and assigned a specific character from the story. Groups categorized each character based on character types and qualities (e.g. primary, a protagonist and dynamic), and presented their poster to the class.

IMG_4204 IMG_4205 IMG_4206 IMG_4207

Students were given a reviewer and orientation on the elements of fiction and Socratic circle, which led to a Socratic seminar on the themes of “The Last Leaf.” Subsequently, students completed a short-answer graded seatwork based on “The Last Leaf.”

20190117_140928 20190117_141654

The next short story is a classic in Philippine literature. Before reading the story, students brainstormed symbols of Philippine culture to gain background knowledge of Filipino culture before reading the text. While reading “May Day Eve,” students answered guided questions, which focused on the character and plot.


To give them a visual interpretation of the text, students viewed trailers and movie clips of “May Day Eve” before discussing the themes further in a Socratic circle.

20190117_141810 20190117_141908

Students were led to analyze and interpret the story through a group collage based on their assigned topic (imagery, symbolism, themes, and cultural references) and to share their findings with the class.


The types and elements of plot, characterization, and author’s purpose were dissected together as a class through a lecture, character-analysis table, and plot-ordering activity.

A short in-class essay ensued based on either “The Last Leaf” or “May Day Eve.”

Finally, students had a chance to write their very own Flash Fiction after listening to and learning about different types of flash fiction (romance, thriller, horror, science fiction, and fan fiction).

For the final stretch of the unit, students learned about the literary analysis, its essential elements, and identify (the below) on a sample literary analysis essay.

  • Creative opening/hook
  • Thesis statement
  • Topic sentences
  • Lead into textual evidence
  • Textual evidence (usually quotes)
  • Commentary
  • Transitions
  • Concluding sentences
  • Block quotation?

Five selected short stories (“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Footnote to Youth” by Jose Garcia Villa, “Karma” by Khushwant Singh, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov) were assigned with 2-3 students per story. Students read the story and answered questions in groups to test their basic understanding, application of the elements of fiction, and analysis of the story.

the_cask_of_amontillado_by_raineing_d60k4qr the-necklace-and-other-short-stories-2

The final assessment of the unit was a literary analysis, to which each student was assigned a devised and personalized question as guidance for their thesis statement.

After individual consultation with the teacher regarding their outlines and first drafts, students reviewed how to deliver an effective persuasive speech. In doing so, students watched three examples of IB literary analysis speeches and were tasked to “mark” the students against a literary analysis scoring sheet.

In preparation for their speech guides, students were given one-on-one feedback from the teacher.

During their final presentations, classmates wrote down comments on a peer evaluation sheet to be handed right back to the presenters for the purpose of constructive feedback.

20190312_084841 20190312_085818 20190313_103539 20190313_103749 20190313_105621 20190314_134850 20190314_135234 20190314_135950 20190314_141056 20190315_104816 20190315_105109

After the oral presentations, students submitted their final literary analysis essay.

In preparation for the next unit, students were oriented and guided on the cause and effect essay and started researching based on a suggested list of topics provided by the teacher.


Comment 0

English 7 – A Wrinkle in Time (Quarter 3)

The 3rd quarter began with a review of the five-point plot structure through a brief PowerPoint lecture, followed by an activity and mini-quiz. Students were then introduced to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and made predictions on what the novel would be about through a Word Cloud / Wordle. Students read chapters 1-7 of AWIT and answered two study guide worksheets. Following this, they were introduced to the different roles in a literature discussion circle (summarizer, commentator, language finder, illustrator, discussion facilitator, and reflector) and were grouped into their discussion circles. Students rotated roles and experienced all 6. Students were then asked to evaluate their performance as well as that of their peers in a confidential form.



Subsequently, students researched and chose a book to compare and contrast with A Wrinkle in Time, first approved by the teacher.

Next, students were oriented on the two different methods of compare and contrast (point-by-point method vs. block method) and given multiple examples for each as well as the breakdown of the structure. Students were guided on elements of fiction that they could incorporate into their Comparative Essay. They then created a Venn Diagram followed by an outline to be approved by the teacher before writing their first draft. After more feedback from their teacher, students completed their Comparative Essay. Students were put into one of 4 groups (plot, characters, setting, or themes) and were given a week to research their assigned topics with guidance from the teacher. When each group finally gave their presentation, other groups evaluated them through peer-evaluation forms to provide them with feedback that they can incorporate in the future.


20190222_130341 20190222_130426 20190222_131033 20190222_131106 20190222_131207 20190227_134647

Afterwards, students were oriented and introduced to the group creative writing task options (a diary entry, an additional chapter, an epic poem, a short story, or an alternate ending). In brainstorming and generating ideas, each group completed a graffiti wall for each of the options through the rotation. Finally, students picked a topic they were most interested in and completed their creative writing task with feedback and guidance from the teacher.

IMG_5483 IMG_5484 IMG_5501

Lastly, students learned the basic elements of film before watching Disney’s 2018 and Harrison’s 2003 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Students answered and discussed pre- and post-movie reflection questions before working on post-movie charts comparing the book to the film of their choice.


In preparation for the next unit, students reviewed racism, segregation, and southern tradition through a series of mind maps, class discussions, and reflection and comprehension sheets based on short videos.

Comment 0

8th Grade: The Metamorphosis


The students did a role play of the first part of Franz Kafka’s novella, The Metamorphosis

There are many things we take for granted in life until one day, we wake up and find them gone. This was what happened to the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s novella the 8th graders read for this quarter: The Metamorphosis.

Gregor Samsa, a hardworking salesman, woke up one day to find himself turned into a vermin. The 8th graders delved into the life of the Samsa family as they deal with the reality that their breadwinner turned into some insect and could no longer support them. Some of the questions the students had to think about while reading the novella were Did Gregor deserve what happened to him? Were his family’s response to their situation reasonable? and What life lessons does The Metamorphosis illustrate? among many others.


The students used Quizlet to help retain the vocabulary words in the novella.

More pictures from the role play of Part 1 of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis:

IMG-1409 (1)

The students did a roleplay of the first part of Franz Kafka’s novella, The Metamorphosis



Comment 0

6th Grade: The Giver

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world of “Sameness” where there’s no pain and suffering, but where the community is stripped of the freedom to choose and feel emotions?

This is one of the many questions the 6th grade students discussed during our second quarter where we read Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The novel follows the story of a 12-year old boy living in what seemed like a Utopian society in the beginning, but is revealed to be a Dystopian one as the story progresses.

IMG-0589To introduce the novel, the students were shown a picture of Jonas, the protagonist, holding a baby. They were then asked to write on post-it notes what they see, think, and wonder about the picture.  Their answers range from silly, such as “Why is he buffed?” to more observant ones such as “Why is he holding a baby? Is he trying to save him or trying to escape from something?”

One of the activities during this novel unit required the 6th graders  to write and discuss the rules that they have at home and in their community. Some had standard ones such as no use of gadgets at a certain time while some are more random such as they are not allowed to go in their house’s basement. They had a lively conversation about the different rules and we then related these to the rules that were enforced in Jonas’ community.


The students were given study guides that they should answer as they progress in reading the novel. The guides helped them understand the story better through analyzing certain events and characters. Some students were very honest in the beginning and declared that they really don’t like reading books, so it made me smile when some of them couldn’t wait to read until the end even though those chapters were not yet assigned. The novel further opened the discussion on how freedom to choose and feel emotions might also mean feeling pain.

It is interesting to note how the ending of the novel was polarizing. Either the student didn’t like it as the author didn’t explicitly say what happened to the protagonist in the end (whether he died or was able to escape from his community and save the baby) or the student liked how the ending was open-ended and was open to interpretations.

How about you? Would you rather live a safe, comfortable life where everyone is the same or a life filled with memories and color, but also one where there’s pain?