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An excellently written weekly journal

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An excellently written weekly journal

Week 1

On this day, August 22nd, 2018, the evening class for the Reading and Writing in English course took place at the Islamic Center at Murray. The basis of this class was to facilitate the familiarization of the students with the discordant components and prerequisites of the course. The class lasted for one and a half hours.

The first thing that I did was to welcome the students to the course by introducing myself as their teacher. This was followed by a succinct but sufficient elaboration of the syllabus and what it entails in terms of objectives and requirements. I immediately saw the curiosity shown by the students in the course and this prompted me to explain the various benefits of the course such as the knowledge they will acquire in terms of reading and writing in English among others.

I took ample time to emphasize the importance of formal assessment through the performance of the students in assignments and examinations. Notwithstanding, I assured those concerned that commitment and active participation in class and in the entire coursework in general would render the activities and tests easy and fun to do. I gave hard copies of the course outline that were distributed among the students so that they could easily refer to the requirements and objectives and see if they have achieved them.

Given that this was mostly an introductory class, I focused on presenting information that was crucial to the students in terms of discerning what is expected of them throughout the course. Moreover, since social interaction is a key component of fostering English learning, I conducted a session at the end of the class whereby the students introduced themselves in English and welcomed each other to the course. This was quite productive.

Week 2-An excellently written weekly journal

The class was held on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 as scheduled. As per my lesson plan, I prepared the lesson activities and brought hard copies of the lesson objectives, as well as, rough work papers for the students to practice their English.

The class followed the format outlined in the lesson plan whereby the students took part in the reading sections of the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. The students also provided answers to questions about Wilbur, the pig, Fern Arable and Charlotte, the spider. They also identified the unique punctuation utilized in the sentences in the book, as well as, identified and elaborated the discordant themes and stylistic devices used in this story. As required by the course outline, the student provided summaries of what they understood from the reading and the storyline. I realized that employing warm-up activities was effective in getting the students ready for the lesson and the bottom-up technique worked effectively in enabling the students to discern the contents of the class.

I have learned that the first class is extremely vital in setting a good pace for the course in terms of how the teacher gets the students ready for meeting the requirements and objectives. Based on this understanding, I made sure that this class relayed the prominent components of English reading to the students. By reading the sentences out loud, the students were able to assess their diction and pronunciation, as well as, how they incorporated punctuation marks in their reading. In as much as I made a lot of corrections while the students were reading so as to give the correct pronunciation of words and meaning of phrases. Overall, the students did well in the first summary attempts and this encouraged me to approach the next lesson with a lot of positives.

Week 3-An excellently written weekly journal

The class was held on Wednesday, September 05, 2018 as scheduled. As per my lesson plan, I prepared the lesson activities and brought hard copies of the lesson objectives, as well as, rough work papers for the students to practice their English.

Building on last week’s reading lesson, this week also involved reading and analysis of the book The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. In this class, the students answered questions about Santiago, the young boy, and the big fish. They also spent a few minutes identifying the unique punctuation used in various sentences in the book. Having worked on identification of themes and stylistic devices in the last lesson, the student experienced less difficulty identifying stylistic devices and themes in this week’s reading. Moreover, they showed an improved understanding of the text in their summaries albeit there were differences in the level of understanding of the English language exhibited by the students. I intervened in the situations whereby the students needed help comprehending the text.An excellently written weekly journal

Notable outcomes of this class were the increased understanding of English words and punctuation marks, as well as, the plot and themes in the reading. This improvement mostly came from the active social interaction in the class and the ease with which the students relate with each other. I realized that when the students find humor in their mistakes when reading out loud in class, they are more willing to learn and seek help in areas they do not fathom well. Moreover, the class proved to be productive in terms of instilling the basics of writing in English in form of summary writing. By writing the summaries, it evinces that the students are able to understand English text and communicate this meaning.

Week 4-An excellently written weekly journal

This class was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 as scheduled in the course outline. I prepared my lesson activities, as well as, those to be undertaken by the students. I carried hard copies of the lesson objectives, worksheets for the students to use and this week’s reading The Giver.

As has been the routine, the class commenced with a warm-up whereby the students looked the handout and understood what was required of them for this lesson. The warm-up exercise also involved students asking questions about things they do not understand in the handout and speaking freely about what they thought of the characters in the assigned reading. From the last two classes and this one, the warm-up exercise has shown immense success in getting students not only ready for the class but also excited to learn novel concepts in English reading and writing.

This week’s class was the last class on assigned readings. As such, its main objective was ensuring that the students evince complete grasp of English reading concepts by reading The Giver. Specifically, the students took turns to read the pre-selected excerpt from the book and answered questions about Jonas and hos group while identifying the punctuations, themes and stylistic devices utilized in the sentences. The students showed immense improvement in the mastery of punctuation use, correct grammar and identification of themes and stylistic devices in the storyline and this indicated that three weeks spent on sharpening their reading skills produced the desired results.

A notable outcome of this class was the effectiveness of social interaction in learning. I used to emphasize on the content of the lesson and objectives rather than how the content is delivered to students or how they learn it. However, this class has taught me just how effective social interaction is to learning how to read and write in English. This is because the students were able to relate the content of the book to their lives by comparing some of the themes and stylistic devices used in The Giver  with similar situations that they have encountered in real life. This enabled them to not only grasp reading and writing skills faster and easily but also planted these novel concepts firmly in their brains. At the end of this lesson, every student was able to read in English as for their level.

Week 5-An excellently written weekly journal

This class was held on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 as scheduled in the course outline. I began by preparing my lesson activities, as well as, activities to be undertaken by the students during this lesson. I took hard copies of the lesson objectives with me to class and distributed worksheets for the students to utilize.

As has been the norm, the class began with a warm-up only that this lesson combined the warm-up activities with an introduction to punctuation. The warm-up exercise entailed students asking questions about what they do not understand in the handout and how punctuation is utilized in English. Since the last three classes about reading had touched a little on punctuation, I was impressed by how the students have substantial information regarding punctuation with some going to the extent of giving examples in their explanations.

The main objective of this class was to ensure that every student grasped the meaning of punctuation in English and where to place punctuation marks such as periods, colons, semi-colons, commas, quotation marks and apostrophes in sentences. The students evinced immense improvement in the utilization of punctuation marks from the previous three lessons and were also able to construct correct sentences that had various punctuation marks.

Again, social interaction proved to be critical in helping the students learn English. This is because in as much as reading and writing in English are the core pillars of this course, it is important for the students to be able to come up with their own sentences and communicate with each other by speaking in English. As such, this class involved both oral and writing activities to assess the students’ understanding of punctuation in English. At the end of this lesson, all the students had a commendable grasp of punctuation in English and were able to apply this knowledge orally and in writing.

Week 6-An excellently written weekly journal

This class was held on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. I took the time to prepare the lesson activities and listed all the activities that the students were to undertake during the class. So, as to ensure that all students were up to speed with the prerequisites of this lesson, I distributed hard copies of the lesson objectives, as well as, worksheets to be used by the students.

Following the warm-up session whereby the students perused the lesson objectives and asked questions about the areas they did not understand comprehensively, I showed the students some letters and asked them to study the content. Displaying these letters to the students and asking them to refer to the content as the lesson progressed proved to be an effective way of teaching them the structures of both formal and informal letters written in English, as well as, their purposes and areas of usage. At first, the students experienced difficulty differentiating between formal and informal letters. However, different samples of the letters proved effective in helping them write both formal and informal letters without experiencing difficulties.

At the end of this class, I wrote a sample formal letter and sample informal letter on the whiteboard to the students inviting them for dinner at my house. I then took them through a step by step process of replying to formal and informal letters. This process proved to be extremely effective in helping the students grasp the concepts of letter writing in English; skills that they could utilize when applying for jobs and communicating with their friends and families.An excellently written weekly journal

Week 7-An excellently written weekly journal

This class took place on Wednesday, October 3rd, 20,18 at the MIC as scheduled in the course outline. The first thing I did was to prepare the lesson activities in advance by listing all the activities that the students were to undertake during the lesson. Upon arrival in the class, I handed out hard copies of the lesson objectives or requirements to the students and distributed worksheets for the students to use for the class activities.

A brief session at the beginning of the class was allocated to warm-up activities such as the students reading the lesson objectives and asking questions about the prerequisites that are not clear. The class then proceeded to an elaboration of email writing whereby I attempted to utilize the same communicative source and format that are based on actual emails. Showing these real emails to the students and performing some class drills on email writing contributed to the better discerning of email structure, for instance, salutation, body, and ending or closing phrase.

In as much as I am used to using more contextual samples and giving exercises based on modeling written emails, I found this technique extremely effective in informing the students how to differentiate and write both formal and informal emails. To ensure that this knowledge of email writing was sustained by the students for future use, I employed a non-arranged structure of email writing and gave the students exercises of writing both formal and informal emails so as to build a protracted and fervent remembrance format.An excellently written weekly journal

At the end of this class, I wrote a sample formal email and sample informal email on the whiteboard to the students. I then took them through a step by step process of replying to formal and informal emails. This process proved to be extremely effective in helping the students grasp the concepts of email writing in English; skills that they could utilize when applying for jobs and communicating with their friends and families.

Week 8

The Midterm exam was held on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018, in the recreation and education hall as scheduled in the course outline. The aim of the midterm exam was to assess the performance of the students after seven weeks of learning. The students were provided with hard copies of the midterm exam after I ascertained that all students were present in class. I reminded the students before the test commenced that next week’s class would go on as planned without any postponement.

At 7:15 p.m., the midterm exam commenced and students completed the exam within the allocated time of 90 minutes. In my observation, the students undertook the exam well without any cheating or unnecessary movements. I asked the students if they understood the questions and instructions and they gave an affirmative answer.

The grading technique or system that I used for the midterm exam involved a table that specified discordant parts of the exam. For the grammar section, I tested the students on their comprehension of punctuation marks, as well as, how and where they are used in sentences. Also included in the grammar section was a part of speech test that entailed asking the students to identify and state whether the underlined words in the sentences were adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, articles, pronouns, conjunctions, and prepositions. To test the students’ understanding of punctuation, letter writing, and email writing, I integrated a writing test section in the midterm exam. In this section, the students were required to write brief formal and informal letters to the school administration and classmates respectively. The last section of the midterm exam entailed a reading and writing test which had two passages. One passage was an excerpt from the book The Giver whereby the sentences were expected to read the passage and answer the questions at the end of the passage.

The grades of the students evinced positive results in terms of understanding the content of the course. For instance, in the grammar section, the highest score was 9 points and the lowest score was 6 points out of 10. The writing section produced the best results with the highest score being 10 points and the lowest score being 7 points out of 10. However, in as much as all students scored average or more than average in the reading and writing section, the results were an indication that more practice is still required to help students understand the English texts they read.An excellently written weekly journal

In the reading and writing section, the highest score was 7 points and the lowest score was 5 points out of 10. It appears that albeit the students can read English sentences, this does not mean that they fathom the meaning of these sentences comprehensively. As such, certain students ended up answering irrelevant questions that were different from those provided in the exam sheet. Overall, the best performing student attained a score of 26 points out of 30 while the least performing student obtained a score of 20 points out of 30.

Based on the performance of the students in the midterm exam,  the emphasis will be placed on helping the students better understand the text so as to improve the accuracy and relevance of their answers. As such, I will expose the students to more reading and writing class activities and improve their report writing, essay writing, research writing, and synopsis writing skills.

Week 9-An excellently written weekly journal

The class took place on Wednesday, October 17th, 2,018 at MIC as scheduled in the course outline. I prepared for the lesson activities in advance by writing down all the activities that the students were to do during the lesson. After arriving in the class, I handed out hard copies of the lesson objectives or prerequisites and ensured that each student received a copy. I also distributed worksheets for the students to utilize for the class activities.

At the beginning of the class, a brief session was allocated to warm-up activities, for instance, students reading the lesson objectives displayed in their hard copies and asking about the requirements they did not understand well. I then proceeded to give an overview of what research proposal and research writing entail. As I explained some the concepts of research writing, I realized that this was a topic that almost all students took a keen interest in since they are required to write research papers in most of the units they are undertaking at the ESL of level 3 and above. Thus, I took the time to explain the difference between quantitative and qualitative research and elaborated what the students needed to consider so to distinguish between the two types of research. I also gave examples of research topics that the students could explore in writing their research papers. Along with that, I provide students with an article to let them read and write through modeling the research steps.An excellently written weekly journal

At the end of the class, I chose two research topics, that is, one quantitative research topic and one qualitative research topic and took the students through a step by step process of conducting the research proposals and research papers while outlining all the sections they needed to include in the papers. I gave the students a brief session to reflect on what they learnt today and give examples of research topics. I was satisfied with the responses of the students and gave them a simple research writing task.

Week 10

The class took place on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 at the MIC as scheduled in the course outline. As the norm, I went through my lesson preparation ritual of noting down all the activities that the students were to undertake in this class. When I arrived in class, I handed out the hard copies of the lesson objectives and worksheets I brought with me and made sure that each student got his or her personal copies.

Having seen the positive effects of warm-up activities in previous lessons, I ensured that today’s warm-up activities were even livelier. Apart from the students reading the lesson objectives and asking questions about certain requirements they did not fathom well in the lesson objectives, I asked the students to describe their past week. While the students narrated their past week encounters, I simultaneously introduced the lesson’s topic, that is, resume and curriculum vitae writing. I started by explaining the difference between the two prominent documents. I then elaborated the discordant sections of a curriculum vitae and resume, for instance, personal information, educational background, work experience, references, hobbies, and interests.

The highlight of the class was in the actual writing of curriculum vitae and resume. I wrote a sample curriculum vitae and a sample resume on the screen while taking the students through the correct format and way of writing these documents. I noticed that many students had questions regarding the format of the documents, especially those who read various articles on the Internet regarding how to write a resume and a curriculum vitae. I took the time to explain to them the right way of writing these documents while using the examples on the whiteboard. At the end of the lesson the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson and since every student understood the points put across, I asked them to demonstrate their discernment of this lesson’s concepts by writing sample curriculum vitae and resumes.

Week 11-An excellently written weekly journal

The class took place on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at the usual place, that is, MIC as scheduled in the course outline. I began by going through the lesson requirements and noting down all the activities that the students were to engage during the class. The first thing I did when I arrived in class was to hand out the hard copies of the lesson objectives, as well as, worksheets to be utilized by the students for the class activities.

I realized that the students preferred writing essays rather than research papers since they contemplated the former to be simple and easy to complete. However, I told them that essays require just as much seriousness as research papers even though they have a simpler format. In addition, I mentioned that there are various types of essays that have discordant prerequisites. To build on this point, I explained the various components of essay writing with a special focus on persuasive essays and argumentative essays. Having given an elaborate description of these essays, I gave the students various topics to distinguish which ones were argumentative essays and which ones were persuasive essays. I also took the students through the class activity of writing their own essays, reviewing them and correcting them using the right formats. At the end of the lesson, the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson.

Week 12-An excellently written weekly journal

The class occurred on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, at the normal venue. Prior to the beginning of the lesson, I wrote down all the activities for this class and prepared the materials required for the class. When I arrived in class I gave the class the hard copies of the lesson objectives and worksheets to ensure that all students received copies of both the worksheets and lesson objectives.

I asked the students to recall what they learned in the second, third and fourth lessons of this course. The answers provided by the students reassured me that they indeed grasped every concept of reading and writing. Consequently, I informed the students that today’s lesson would build on these concepts, but focus solely on synopsis or summary writing. During the warm-up session of this class, I asked the students to share their thoughts on synopsis writing and writing general so as to set the mood for the lesson. This exercise proved to be quite useful since I was able to get a rough idea of the students’ understanding of synopsis writing and decided to build on their already amassed knowledge.An excellently written weekly journal

For the class activities, I played a clip of the movie Frozen and issued the students with instructions on writing a synopsis about the clip. I also asked the students to ensure that they do not just summarize the plot, but write their own understanding of the clip and incorporate all the stylistic devices we learned earlier. The students were also provided with an excerpt from one of the class readings, that is, The Giver and asked to write a synopsis of the excerpt. At the end of the lesson, the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson.

 

Week 13-An excellently written weekly journal

The class took place on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at the MIC. As has been my norm, I took time to write all the activities that the students would undertake in class and prepared all the class material that I needed to use for this class. The first thing that I did when I entered the hall was to distribute hard copies of the lesson objectives while exchanging pleasantries with my students. I also distributed the worksheets that the students needed to complete the class activities.

I took time at the beginning of the class, that is, during the warm-up and introduction session to refresh the minds of the students on the concepts of the research proposal and research writing that we tackled in a previous lesson on week 9. I pointed out that a vital component of research that we did not talk about at large or in detail in that lesson was referencing and in-text citation. As such, I explained to them that this class was to be based solely on proper referencing and in-text citation. The reaction the students were quite positive since a number of them they were not fully familiar with the proper way to put references and in-text citations in research papers.

I started by elaborating the various paper formats such as APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Turabian, and ASA among others. As the lesson proceeded, I demonstrated how to put in-text citations and write references in discordant formats including MLA, APA, Harvard, and Turabian among others. So as not to confuse the students I gave practical examples on the whiteboard and also showed them samples of sentences that have in-text citations and references at the end of the research papers for an article, books, newspapers, web pages, videos, films and journals cited among others. The students evinced an extensive understanding of the concepts of in-text citation and referencing. At the end of the lesson, the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson.

Week 14-An excellently written weekly journal

The class was held at the MIC on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 as stipulated in the course outline. My preparation for the lesson entailed noting all the activities that I would guide the students in performing and ensuring that I had all the materials I would use in this class. Since this was a public reading lesson, I only carried the class reading for this class, that is, The Old Man and the Sea and my marker and laptop. When I arrived for the lesson, I immediately gave the class the hard copies of the lesson objectives.

I began this class on a lighter note by telling a joke “If you look under your chairs, you’ll find that there is nothing there.” The students laughed at the joke, but they were even more cheerful when they heard that the lesson would only entail reading. Nonetheless, I quickly reminded them that the reading would be done publicly, that is, every student would be required to stand and read aloud to the rest of the class. The objective of this exercise was to sharpen their reading skills and improve their communication skills in terms of pronunciation and diction.An excellently written weekly journal

As the students read aloud, I noticed that the students’ reading had improved immensely since the second, third and fourth lesson when they were required to read assigned articles. I only took time at the end of a student’s allocated reading time to make few corrections regarding the pronunciation of certain words since most students corrected themselves when they realized they had made mistakes in their reading. The lesson was not only enjoyable but full of positive interaction and jokes. As such, I told the students to continue the trend by reading at least one page in the text to each other as an assignment. At the end of the lesson, the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson.

Week 15-An excellently written weekly journal

The class was held at the MIC on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, as stipulated in the course outline. My preparation for the lesson involved writing down all the activities that I would guide the students in performing and ensuring that I had all the materials I required for this class. I arrived in class before the exact time for about 20 minutes to set up the couch for my supervisor as she will attend the class to monitor my teaching classes. I begin the class by giving the hard copies of the lesson objectives and worksheets to the class.
I began the class by warming up the class and trying to connect the class with real-life examples, I used the past weekend events such as Thanksgiving and Black Friday to report it. after then, I start by telling the students that this lesson had connections to previous lessons, that is, research proposal and research writing, synopsis writing and essay writing. This is because report writing entails various aspects of these lessons in terms of the concepts utilized in writing good reports. Nonetheless, I was quick to mention that report writing has its unique format that is not similar to essays or research papers. In order to make the students discern this point comprehensively, I provided different samples of reports that I showed to the students on the whiteboard so that they could see the format used.
The students presented a lot of questions regarding the format and structure of reports since they had encountered various reports that seemed to have distinct formats and structures. I took time to answer their questions and evince them the basic format and structure of a report which they could use as a guideline or template to complete the reports they wrote in class about internships, visits to places or buildings, as well as, academic reports. I also assigned the students to write a report about anything related to their majors to see how they structure it, reading it followed. At the end of the lesson, the students reflected on what they learned from this lesson. An excellently written weekly journal

 

Week 16

 

The Final exam was held on Monday, November 26, 201, in the recreation and education hall as stipulated in the course outline. The objective of the final exam was to evaluate the performance and prowess of the students in English language after fifteen weeks of learning. I distributed hard copies of the final exam to every student after confirming that all students were present in class for this exam. I took time to thank the students for their smooth cooperation for the entire duration of the course, as well as, their willful participation in the class activities and completion of assignments. The students gave positive responses about my teaching and how they gained a lot from the course.An excellently written weekly journal

The final exam started officially at 7.00 p.m. and the students finished the exam within the allocated time of three hours. Based on what I observed, the students completed the final exam well devoid of unnecessary movements and examination irregularities. The only request made by the students was to be given regular updates of the remaining time before the official completion of the exam. I decided to give five thirty-minute updates from the beginning of the exam to the end of the exam. Thus, the students went through the exam smoothly without even raising questions regarding the exam questions or instructions. However, to be certain, I asked the students whether they discerned all instructions and questions to which they responded with an affirmative answer.

Based on the performance of the students in the final exam, I can deduce that they acquired and understood the basic and slightly intricate concepts of the English language that are applicable in academic and social settings. I took time to answer any questions about the course after the exam and provided information about program that the students could enroll in to sharpen their spoken and written English. I also wished the students well in their endeavors.An excellently written weekly journal