Jun 10, 2010

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Lessons from the Karate Kid

I was able to catch an early screening of the Karate Kid and I loved it a lot! I don’t really remember much of the first three installments of the film, but this last one was a blast :-)

As usual, the teacher in me got to thinking about how I can use the film in my class. What really struck me about the film is that it is really more than just a story of karate (or should I say kung fu) but it’s a story about patience, perseverance and courage in the face of anything. On a personal level, it reminded me of the value of being centered and tapping into “quiet energy”. Another thing I was able to appreciate in the film is the reminder that life should be a balancing act between work and play.

The Karate Kid definitely has earned it’s rightful place in Teacher Ria’s shelf of movies to use when teaching class, particularly for leadership and self-development :-) Read more of my review on Karate Kid here.

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Feb 15, 2010

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Meeting the Greek Gods with Percy Jackson

I’ve always maintained that movies are great springboards for classroom discussions. The flick Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is definitely one of these movies. The story revolves around a young boy who discovers he is half man, half god and is accused of stealing his uncle Zeus’ lightning bolt. Through the adventures of Percy one gets to appreciate Greek mythology and ancient history.

Whilst I try to avoid recommending movies over books, I realize that for some learners, the visual stimulation of movies really just works better. Through movies I find myself able to get the students in a more active discussion, compared to me just telling the story or lecturing about things.

A few questions I keep in mind when choosing a film, however, are the following:

1. How accurate is the information in the film?

2. Does the storyline benefit the discussion in class?

3. Is this of interest to my students?

Overall, I often pick more modern movies as compared to old documentaries because it is more able to capture the attention of the viewer. I am not discounting the value of documentaries and classics but sometimes, students are just not able to relate to them.

Here are some movies I enjoy using in my classes and it’s corresponding theme/topic for discussion:

  • Human Development
    • Up
    • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Love, Relationships and Interpersonal Skills
    • Enchanted
    • Love Actually
    • Valentine’s Day
    • Juno
    • The Story of Us
  • Leadership and Self-Awareness
    • Gran Torino
    • Invictus

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Jan 24, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Lessons for Teacher | 2 Comments

Beyond the Blind Side: Harnessing a Child’s Learning Style

Every once in a while a movie comes my way that makes me realize the extent of my powers as an educator. The film The Blind Side is one of them. Starring Sandra Bullock in her Golden Globe Award Winning role as Best Lead Actress and Quinton Aaron as the future NHL Baltimore Ravens Pick Michael Oher, the movie reminded me about opening my eyes and embracing a child’s potentials by checking out my blind side. You see, as a teacher for almost ten years now, I cannot deny that many times I work by routine alone. Everything I do in class has become almost muscle memory that sometimes, I need to be reminded that not all students learn the same way. In essence, I tend to forget to check my blind side to see if all my kids are learning and if they’re not, what I can do to help them learn better.

The movie revolves around the story of a young boy dubbed Big Mike who, for all intents and purposes, was passed along through the public school system. However, after being given a scholarship in a private Christian school, his teachers saw how delayed he was in terms of academic competencies. Many of his teachers all but gave up on him and did not exert much effort to help educate him. All except his Biology teacher who saw a spark of potential in Michael. Because she believed he had it in him to learn, she tried to find a way to help harness his learning style. Because Michael refused to talk and would not answer test questions given to him, teachers assumed he was dumb and hopeless. However, when given oral tests, his Biology teacher saw that he knew the subject matter. He understood what was going on in class. Because of this, he began to flourish.

Teaching a class with over 40 students, which is the norm here in the Philippines, can definitely be a difficult task for a single teacher. We do not have the luxury of giving different kinds of tests to all our students depending on their learning styles. However, by simply making small concessions, we can help our students succeed, especially those who need the extra support. There are debates about this, nonetheless. Some will say it is unfair to other students if we make adjustments. Some will say that it gives those who receive accommodations an unfair advantage.

The discussions can go on but at the end of the day, let me pose this question: as a teacher, what are you willing to do to ensure all your students are learning to the best of their abilities?

For me, the answer is not always simple. Much as I would like to say I will make all adjustments necessary to embrace ALL my kids’ learning styles, I know I am limited by requirements in class and our educational system as well. One thing I know for sure is that I will do my best to encourage my students to do their best by being more sensitive to what my kids are feeling in class. I think with this, by building their self-esteem and helping them realize their potentials, I can help make a difference.

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Jun 29, 2009

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SM IMAX: The Ultimate Digital Experience

Stories come to life bigger and brighter at the SM Cinemas as they usher in the latest of their digital theaters, the IMAX at SM North Edsa. Old classics like Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and modern bestsellers such as Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will bring viewers to new heights as they see more, hear more, and feel more in this 3D cinema.

The IMAX at SM North Edsa is the second theater of this kind opened in the Philippines, the first of which is located at SM Mall of Asia. It is said that these theaters are the world’s most advanced digital theatre systems.

SM’s IMAX Theatre at North Edsa will open on July 16, 2009 with it’s screening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Other films to watch out for are as follows:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – July 16, 2009 (with exclusive IMAX 3D scenes)

As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.

Under The Sea 3D – August 2009

An underwater look at the diverse coastal regions of Southern Australia, New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific areas and the impact of global warming on the oceans.

A Christmas Carol 3D – November 2009

An animated retelling of Charles Dickens classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Avatar 3D – December 2009

A band of humans are pitted in a battle against a distant planet’s indigenous population.


How to Train your Dragon 3D – March 2010

Shrek Goes Fourth 3D – May 2010

Hubble 3D

Just today I showed a film in my class. This is testament to how much I have embraced technology as a teacher. This is definitely one teaching resource that will be included in my lesson planning :-)

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