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‘Clay’ing away – Part 2

September 17, 2012

I was quite surprised by the feedback i got after posting pictures of the plasticine project that i did with my kids on facebook XD

I had warm messages, phone calls, and my parents even told me that they were inspired and further carried out in their own classrooms and also in Sunday School lol.

Well, I used the plasticine for another two of my classes, so here’s just some sharing on how plasticine can be incorporated in our teaching 😉

(btw, someone commented that i should ‘credit’ from where i got my idea from… oh well.. sorry to disappoint you but usually i get my own inspiration and sometimes i love to think it was God-given wisdom, on how to make my classrooms fun.. and more often than not, the ideas come like 10 minutes before my classes, and i had to ditch the originally lesson plan and just go with my guts. Don’t worry, if i do learn or adapt some strategies from others, i would definitely give them the due credits. So, i hope i answered your question, mr/miss anonymous.)

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Fun Clay Part 2 started when i went into my 5A5, and saw only 8 out of 32 kids attended school that day. Obviously they are in no mood to discuss summary, so i quickly ran off to get my plasticine stash and some coloured papers. After brainstorming with them ‘events’ that happened in their Form 5 novel – Catch Us If You Can by Catherine Macphail, i listed down 8 of those events on the board, and got them to choose individually which ‘event’ they wanted. I had to actually give them the sentences and English and got them to re-read with me a couple of times since a few of them are actually illiterate and mainly very weak in Bahasa Malaysia, let alone English.

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So after they happily chose their ‘events’, i broke the news to them that they had to recreate the scenes using the plasticine i brought. They totally stared at me in disbelief! lol. Even so, it did not take them long to be ‘very into’ this lil project, and you can see their faces lit up while kneading the clay, rolling it, cutting it. Two boys told me they never even played with plasticine before!!!

the round thingy is actually a crystal ball!

(by just looking at their handwriting, you can see that my kids do have difficulty in even just copying down the letters… something that really saddens me and makes me question what happened to their education for the past 10 years!!!)

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Ann Chee is just this really sweet boy who respects certain teachers.. yea.. certain.. lol.. However he is very weak academically, failing in all his subjects, even mandarin (his mother tongue). But look at his work, how detailed he could be. He even remembered that Granda stole the Corsa from a parking area, hence he made the other vehicles as well!

Here’s a closer shot of his very small handwork

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Then i got the boys to rearrange the sequence of the events. So they were discussing while transferring the miniatures carefully.

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This is my personal fav of the lot. Love the lil details!

Chen Siong (the one who did the above scene) was actually a transferred kid. He was quite a rebel when he first got here. Prided himself for having a flair in vulgarity, bad attitude, and caused a lot of trouble for most teachers. Then… he got into a relationship… lol.. and became quite a sweet lil kid! He totally matured, and became responsible of his actions, and found a purpose to study. Though he was probably among the weakest in class, he always finishes my homework, and asks when he does not understand!

So, do not just dive into the assumptions that teenage love is ‘bad’, and would ‘impede studies’, but learn to be an adult figure who could guide them as they explore their this attraction/ need for intimacy phase of theirs.

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and here are my boys! Two of them were camera shy and refused to be in the picture lol. Well, it was the most ‘muhibah’ class i had, as they were all sharing the materials and helping each other to complete the task 🙂

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Now we move on the Lesson #3

After a long day at school, followed by nadia’s open house in the late afternoon, i had to rush straight to my Year 4 tuition class. But i knew what i was going to do with this group of kids and was quite excited about it

After ‘creative story-plotting’, and ‘re-creating scenes of a story’, how else could i use the plasticine?

Yup, i got my lil kiddies to create their alien friend, for a show-and-tell!

One would think that getting lil kids to do craft would be a breeze but unfortunately our education system has been producing passive learners who are too afraid to be different or think out of the box. Imagine my frustration when they first gave me answers such as naming their alien friends with names of people they know, or listing ‘playing football’ as the alien’s favourite hobby @___@

I had to stop them, and gave them examples of how i want them to just be creative: Stop giving  human or cliche traits but go crazy with their ideas. Then only you have answers like ‘eating chalks’ or ‘cooking worms’ for the aliens’ hobbies.

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for these group of boisterous and energy-filled kiddies, i let them take their lil aliens back, much to their delight!

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So yea, will be resting from using plasticines for now… mainly because i ran out of them lol.

All three lessons were really fun-filled and by the end of the day, my kids used English to complete the tasks and my lesson objectives were achieved. So i would highly recommend to just try this out in your own classrooms, and i would so love to see the results from your students too 😉

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