Senin, 21 November 2011

Student English Project: Glitter in the Bottle

Student Description

Jessy is a six-year-old student who studies at Penabur International School, Bandung, Primary 1. In weekdays, she spends her time studying at school from 8 AM to 3 PM and additional lessons such as English, Mandarin, Kumon, Art and Craft Lesson, and Drawing Session. On weekend, she is provided with Piano Lesson. I come to see her every Monday and Friday at 5 PM and during those times, we spend time discussing the homework most of the time, preparing for the test, reading, and making project. Because the lesson starts in the evening, she is often quite tired, especially on Monday, after a long day at school. So, on Friday, I usually focus on her homework for the upcoming week, giving reviews, reading book time or making project while on Monday, I focus only on homework and tests and relieve her tension at school.
Personally, Jessy is a smart, lively, artful, and intelligent student. Her enthusiasm in learning new things especially things dealing with art and craft and English is quite high. She is a very easy going, expressive, and creative little girl but at the same time, her expressions can lead into agression. She needs experienced teachers who can be her teacher and her friend at the same time.

Science Project
Age Group: 6-8 years old students
Time: 40 minutes ++
  1.  Language: listing, following instructions, developing vocabulary and logic
  2. Others: memorizing details, understanding science
  1. High bottle. It can be soda, champange, beer, mineral water, or syrup bottle as long as it has transparent glass so the students can see inside of the bottle. Do not forget the cap.
  2. Filling stuff. For example: glitter, beads, metalic confetti, small buttons, small shells or stones, pearls, or even money or rings to make it look interesting.
  3. Baby oil or vegetable oil to fill the bottle.
  4. Super glue to seal the cap. Teacher is supposed to do this activity.
  1. Preparing the materials. Introduce the materials to the students. Let them know the materials by giving a chance to touch the materials.
  2. Clean the bottle. Ask the students to clean the bottle they have in the sink. A washing instructions are needed. Then let the bottle dries by itself.
  3. Fill in the bottle. with filling stuff. Ask the students to manage the filling materials and ask them to measure how much filling stuff will be taken into the bottle. A funnel may be needed to help young students fill the bottle. After the filling is done, explain to the students that we are going to take the most important thing, filling the bottle with the oil.
  4. Fill in the bottle with the oil. Fill the bottle with baby oil or vegetable oil until it is almost fully filled and save some space for the air. If you want to see the filling stuff more easily, use baby oil.
  5. Seal the bottle. After you and your students are done filling up the bottle, seal the cap using super glue. You need to be extra careful. The teachers may let the students do this with guidance.
  1. Fill in the bottle with half oil and half water. Explain to the students why oil and water cannot be mixed each other.
  2. Use only two materials, the metalic confetti and a small button. Ask the students to find the button by shaking the bottle.
  3. Use thematic concept: Christmas, Birthday, Graduation, Halloween, etc. You can add small plastic spiders, fake eyes, or food coloring.
  4. Do some more experiences by changing the type of oils. Different types of oil can affect the movement of the filling stuff.
Anticipated Problems:
  1. Students mess up when filling the bottle with filling stuff and oil. They should be provided with tissue or newspaper to absorb the excess oil.
  2. Guide the students when they seal the cap with super glue.


Preparing the materials

Pose, as always :)
Help your students fill in the bottle before they do it independently.

Glitter base


Outside look. Super colorful!
Inside the bottle

Go go go! Don't spill it up!
You may add some more glitter if you like.

Kamis, 17 November 2011

The Beauty of Pluralism in the Name of Love

"Why did God create us differently if He only wants to be worshipped in one way?" Annisa asked. "That's why God creates love, so all the differences can be united," replies Cina.

            That is a piece of dialog from the movie Cin(t)a, an independent Indonesian movie that pictures an inter-faith relationship. Cina is an 18-year-old Catholic, who was born in Tapanuli, North Sumatra while Annisa is a 24-year-old Javanese Muslim. They are both studying architecture at a university in Bandung. Cina and Annisa love each other, but their age, different ethnicity and, most of all, religion, create borders between them. The director was bold enough to put the interfaith marriage as the ending of the story. Cin(t)a was launched by Industri Film Independen Indonesia Sembilan Matahari Film in National Film Theater, South Bank, Belvedere Rd, Greater London, on May 29th, 2009.
            Adi Panuntun, the director, finished this movie in 2008. He presented a new paradigm about interfaith relationship in Indonesia which is still considered taboo in Indonesian culture. A new phenomena is arising when the Public Relation of Cin(t)a, Ardanti Andiarti stated that the audience was quite enthusiastic on the launching this movie on Facebook, including discussing the religious issue. It was obvious that the interfaith marriage phenomena started to be commonly accepted in our society.
            Getting married is one of the important stages of living that happens everywhere. Regarding the importance of marriage, views from religious, traditional, and normative aspects should be taken into accounts. Marriage is believed as a strong bound connecting a man and a woman to build a family or household system. In order to make a strong bound, a deep commitment is needed between the couple. Regarding the importance of marriage institution, Undang-undang Perkawinan No.1 tahun 1974 pada pasal 2 ayat 1 states that the union between a man and a woman is considered legal if it is done based on the couple’s religion. Basically saying, if it is official seen from religious views, then it is also considered official in the civil marriage.
Interfaith marriage has been a never ending topic discussion in Indonesian culture. According to the positive law in Indonesia, it is clearly declared that the interfaith marriage is undesirable. Yet, as a nation-state with a pluralistic society, Indonesia is rich in race, ethnicity, and religion. A survey on the spread of religion in 2010 shows as follows: 85,1% from 240.271.522 Indonesian citizen are Islam, 9,2% Christian, 3,5% Catholic, 1,8% Hindu, and 0,4% Buddhist. Based on the facts given, interfaith marriages, sometimes, are inevitable since people interact each other in certain kind of society. Unluckily, reality tells us that marriage policy in Indonesia is still biased due to the contextual interpretations. Many debates about the legality of the interfaith marriages but up until now, this sensitive issue is said to be in the middle of nowhere.  
Speaking of legality seen from the religion perspective, almost all of the religions are in opposition to mixed marriages, especially interfaith marriage. However, it is still debatable in among religions that interfaith marriage is legal since the changing society from a conservative to a modern era. It is widely believed in almost all religions that interfaith marriage is forbidden, based on a belief that this kind of marriage would only generate problems in marriage life than good things especially when it comes to overcoming intern problems and raising the children.
Historically, people from India, China, Arab, and Portugal came to Indonesia as traders but at the same time, they brought their culture and spread their origin taste in this country, including language and religions. Some people apparently valued the origin taste as religions where they lay on their principles of life. Interfaith marriage is one of the product of assimilation in Indonesia at the past time. As the time goes by, the growing and developing information as well as technology of communication in globalisation era sooner or later change the worldview yet many conservative people still hold their believes as something that cannot be compromised.
            Indonesian society is now swifting its way of life from conservative to modern era. As a result, different perspectives and paradigms are commonly found in setting the rules, including marriage policy. According to Alex Inkeles, a modern society has characteristics as follow: (1) accept new things and open to change. (2) speak up the opinions about themselves or other things outside their environment dan behave democratically. (3) value times and future oriented, rather than past oriented. (4) have plan and organization. (5) confident. (6) count every single thing. (7) value other people’s lives. (8) believe more in science and technology. (9) believe that achievements follow the acceptance in a society.
            The citeria above may be the reasons why this society started to change its way of thinking from conservative to modern. Bakdi Soemanto, who lectures at Pusat Penelitian Kebudayaan dan Perubahan Sosial Universitas Gajah Mada, explains about how the society is changing. People is now living in a multidiciplinary era where everything is connected to each other. The community cannot live by merely relying themselves on a single principle. Soemanto said, we are entering a new era of pragmaticism where everything is valued by its utility or value. We should not be narrow minded if we want to understand how this universe works because sooner or later the ultimate science will be supported  by the other science.
CP Snow, a sucessful physicist and also a novelist argued that every aspect of life contains several aspects at the same time. Even Einstein conducted research both romantically and passionately. The most important thing is, there is a huge difference between religion and religiousity. Religions trap people in law and rules but religiousity embodies the nature of the religion itself. When we are in the nature of religions, we can be more open minded and befriend everything or even everybody including people and their own believes.
            Above all, the practice of thinking lead us to an understanding now that interfaith marriage is in a big consideration. A survey conducted in 2007 at Mahkamah Agung Republik Indonesia Direktorat Jendral Badan Peradilan Agama showed the top three reasons in getting divorce are inharmoniousness, inresponsibility, and financial problems. It is not clearly stated the reason of different arguments are caused by interfaith marriage. So then, back to the couple itself. Marriage is just one of the stages in life. Our life now is basically the accumation of our decision we made in our past time. A well known quote in the movie Forest Gump, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." The choice is all yours.

Jumat, 04 November 2011

Reading Strategies:
Surveying, Skimming and Scanning

As far as reading at university is concerned, the most important thing is for you to be aware of different strategies that are available to you and to use the correct one in the correct situation. It is a bad habit to start to read an academic text by going right to the beginning and continuing to read every sentence one after the other, looking up every word you don’t know in a dictionary.

Firstly you need to make sure that the text is something you want to read! Imagine you want to move to a new house, or you want to buy a new car and you go to see this new house/car to see if you want it. What is the first thing you do? Well, I think the first thing you do is look at it from the outside to see if it is what you want. Don’t you stand back and look at it from different angles to see if it meets your needs? If it looks OK, then you go inside and start to investigate it carefully.

Similarly with an academic text you have to make sure that it is what you want before you go inside it – that is, before you start reading it carefully. The ‘stand back and look at it from different angles’ is essential. This is when you look at the title, the author, when it was written (what we sometimes calling ’surveying’ the text) and you skim and scan it. When you scan a text you are looking through it quickly to find key words or information. After scanning a text you should know if it has references to things you want to know about. Skimming is looking quickly through a text to gain a general impression of what it is about. You can often do this by reading only the title and sub-titles of a text, and the first sentence of each paragraph.

You can do all this type of reading without using a dictionary! Remember the house – you haven’t stepped inside it yet, you are still looking at it from the outside. Surveying the text (title, author, date, etc) and skimming and scanning are essential academic reading skills for you and for native English speakers too who also need to develop these skills. The trick is to have the confidence to jump through a text ignoring whole bits of it. It may seem strange to you to do this. It may even feel like you are cheating! But it is an essential element to being an ACTIVE reader.

Reading is a skill that is used in all subject areas and can greatly increase or decrease a student’s success in the classroom. Some reading strategies are summarized below:

Activating prior knowledge

Activating prior knowledge is a reading strategy that occurs before the student is introduced to reading material. The teacher uses a prereading activity, which can be done in the form of a journal or class discussion. This enables the reader to make connections between something they already have knowledge of and the new knowledge from the text.


Clarifying is making the meaning of the text clear to the reader. This reading strategy is used throughout reading. Students can be taught to ask questions, reread, restate, and visualize making the text more comprehendible.

Context Clues

Context clues is using words surrounding an unknown word to determine its meaning. This reading strategy can be taught in conjunction with vocabulary. Students should be encouraged to use context clues for an unfamiliar word while reading before immediately reaching for the dictionary.

Drawing Conclusions

Drawing conclusions is a reading strategy that is done after reading. To draw conclusions means the student uses written or visual clues to figure out something that is not directly stated in the reading. Teachers can facilitate this reading strategy by creating leading questions that relate to a reading. Students then respond with their own opinions, thoughts, or ideas that is based on information from their reading material.


Evaluating is a reading strategy that is conducted during and after reading. This involves encouraging the reader to form opinions, make judgments, and develop ideas from reading. Teachers can create evaluative questions that will lead the student to make generalizations about and critically evaluate a text.


Inferring is giving a logical guess based on facts or evidence presented using prior knowledge to help the reader understand the deeper meaning of a text. This reading strategy is conducted during reading. An activity to practice inferring with students is to take a sentence from a text. Then, have students state the explicit meaning of the sentence as well as the inferential meaning.


Predicting is using the text to guess what will happen next. Then the reader confirms or rejects their prediction as they read. Predicting is a reading strategy that done before and during reading. A technique to apply to this reading strategy is to use the Think, Pair, Share method. Have the students form predictions, share with a partner, and then participate in class discussion.


Rereading is a reading strategy that gives the reader another chance to make sense out of a challenging text. For practice, have students reread a passage to check for understanding and model when rereading can be helpful.


Restating is a reading strategy where the reader will retell, shorten, or summarize the meaning of a passage or chapter, either orally or in written form. This reading strategy can be performed during reading.

Setting a Purpose

This reading strategy is started before reading. Setting a purpose provides focus for the reader. You can introduce this reading strategy by having students read directions for a reading task and list the requirements. Students then need to determine why they are being asked to read. Eventually, you can start to encourage students to set their purpose when reading independently.

Skimming and Scanning

Skimming and scanning are reading strategies that can assist a reader in getting specific information from the text. Students should be taught appropriate times to skim or scan, such as looking for a specific answer, and inappropriate times to use scanning or skimming, such as when reading to comprehend. Skimming is a reading technique that is used to get a quick “gist” of a section or chapter. Scanning is a reading technique that is reading quickly to locate specific information. You can first introduce skimming and scanning by brainstorming a list of textual clues that will help students, such as bold-face type, capital letters, dates, key words, etc. Practice skimming and scanning can be practiced with short passages to gain mastery.


Visualizing is a reading strategy that encourages students to use mental images that emerge from reading the text. This is done during reading to aid in understanding. This reading strategy can be introduced by reading aloud a descriptive passage while students close their eyes and imagine how it looks. Students then draw or write what they see and justify how the text supports their image.

This is in no way an exhaustive list of all reading strategies. It is up to you to choose appropriate techniques for your reading activity. Varying these reading strategies will increase the student’s comprehension, retention, and command over the subject matter.

In short, we can say that strategies that can help students read more quickly and effectively include:
  • Previewing: reviewing titles, section headings, and photo captions to get a sense of the structure and content of a reading selection
  • Predicting: using knowledge of the subject matter to make predictions about content and vocabulary and check comprehension; using knowledge of the text type and purpose to make predictions about discourse structure; using knowledge about the author to make predictions about writing style, vocabulary, and content
  • Skimming and scanning: using a quick survey of the text to get the main idea, identify text structure, confirm or question predictions
  • Guessing from context: using prior knowledge of the subject and the ideas in the text as clues to the meanings of unknown words, instead of stopping to look them up
  • Paraphrasing: stopping at the end of a section to check comprehension by restating the information and ideas in the text


A Key Success of TOEFL Exams


Section 1: Listening Comprehension
Part A: Short conversations. The conversations are between two people. After each conversation, a third voice will ask a question about what was said. You must find the answer to the question in the test book.
Part B: Longer conversations. The conversations are between two people. After each conversation, a third voice will ask some questions about what was said. You must find the answer to the question in the test book.
Part C: Oral readings. These may be about any subject. There are several questions about each reading or conversation. You must find the answer to the question in the test book.


Section 2: Structure and Written Expression
Part A: Multiple choice answers to complete sentences. You must choose the best way to complete the sentence in formal written English.
Part B: Sentences have four words or phrases underlined. You must choose the one underlined part that is incorrect in formal written English.
1. In the past 200 years, the earth’s atmosphere __________ enriched in carbon dioxide.
(A) becoming
(B) have become
(C) becomes
(D) has become
The answer is (D). The present perfect tense is usually used with the phrase in the past + [time] (e.g., in the past 3 weeks, in the past 2 hours).
2. In some religions, people fasts for a period of mourning.
             (A)                        (B)          (C)             (D)
The answer is (B). Because people is a plural noun, the verb fast should reflect the plural subject.
3. None of the nutrients in soil _________ found in sand.
(A) are usually
(B) that is usually
(C) is usually
(D) typically
The answer is (C). None is the singular subject of this sentence, and the verb should also be the singular is.
4. Many old elephants they die after they lose their teeth and can no longer chew food.
                                   (A)              (B)              (C)                   (D)
The answer is (A). Having both Many old elephants and they causes the sentences to have a repeated subject.
5. Most countries spend a large portion of their budgets __________ for their citizens.
(A) education provided
(B) provide education
(C) to education provides
(D) providing education
The answer is (D). The sentence can be correctly completed by the gerund phrase providing education. None of the other three choices would form a grammatical sentence.
6. A adult elephant has so little hair that it appears almost hairless.
     (A)                           (B)                        (C)                  (D)
The answer is (A). The correct form of the indefinite article before a word that begins with a vowel (a, i, e, o, or u) is an.


Section 3: Reading Comprehension
You must read selections in the test book and answer questions based on what is stated or implied in the readings.
Example 1:
The mayfly is a dainty insect with lacy wings and a slender, forked tail that trails behind it in flight.
In this sentence, there are several words you may not know: dainty, lacy, slender, forked, and trails. However, the number of words that you don’t understand is sufficient (enough) for you to understand what the sentence is about:
The mayfly is a ---------- insect with ---------- wings and a ----------, ---------- tail that ---------- behind it in flight.
This sentence is a description of an insect that can fly and has a tail.
The same technique can also help you figure out meanings of more complex sentences by looking at the same meanings of word parts, for example:
Example 2:
Coastal areas dilute and filter out large amounts of waterborne pollutants, protecting the quality of waters used for swimming and fishing and as wildlife habitats.
With this sentence, if you simply skip over the words or parts of words that you do not understand, you might have:
Coast-- areas ------ and ------ out large amounts of water----- pollut---s, protecting the ------ of waters used for swimming and fishing and as wildlife --------.
Even with several important words in this sentence omitted, it is still possible to figure out that “coast (take) out large amounts of water pollution, protecting the waters used for swimming, fishing, and wildlife.” This is the basic idea of the sentence. However, there are several key words that you must know to understand the sentence: coast, pollution, protect, and possibly wildlife .


Many who take the TOEFL don’t get the score that they are entitled to because they spend too much time dwelling on hard questions, leaving insufficient time to answer the easy questions they can get right. Don’t let this happen to you. Use the following system in Section 2 and 3 to mark your answer sheet:
1. Answer easy questions immediately.
2. Place a”+” next to any problem that seems solveable but is too time-consuming.
3. Place a “-“ next to any problem that seems impossible. Act quickly. Don’t waste time deciding whether a problem is a “+” or a “-“.
After working all the problems you can do immediately, go back and work your “+” problems. If you finish them, try your “-“ problems (sometimes when you come back to a problem that seemed impossible you will suddenly realize how to solve it). Goodluck!

Kamis, 03 November 2011

Respon Esai Kebangkrutan Moral

Artikel berjudul “Kebangkrutan Moral” pada Pikiran Rakyat Jumat, 27 Mei 2011, merupakan salah satu tinjauan kritis yang baik untuk dibaca oleh para pendidik generasi penerus bangsa ini. Ditulis oleh seorang anggota Dewan Pendidikan Tinggi, Alwasilah, artikel ini adalah cerminan dari rapuhnya tiang pendidikan di negeri ini dalam menghadapi gelombang gaya hidup modern yang berkembang pesat dewasa ini. Di dalam esai ini, saya akan mencoba menanggapi beberapa pemikiran penulis dengan berbasiskan pendidikan karakter bangsa.
Alwasilah menulis mengenai bobroknya moral bangsa Indonesia ini ditinjau dari aspek pendidikan. Secara objektif, penulis memberikan kritik tajam terhadap sistem pendidikan di Indonesia. Salah satunya adalah terhentinya pendidikan karakter ketika seorang siswa mulai menapaki dunia perkuliahan dimana dia akan difokuskan untuk membangun keahlian diri demi karir vokasionalnya. Kemudian, visi dan misi pendidikan formal yang  secara filosofis benar dan mulia tidak bisa berkembang dan berbuah baik. Hal ini dikarenakan dia tumbuh pada ranah budaya pop yang mana kemudian siswa disuguhi dengan konsumerisme, hedonisme, dan globalisasi.
Melihat keadaan moral bangsa Indonesia seperti yang sudah dituliskan dalam kritik pendidikan tersebut, saya mendukung pemikiran penulis bahwa tenaga pendidik mempunyai peranan besar dalam membangun generasi penerus bangsa. Pendidikan karakter seharusnya tidak boleh berhenti sampai akhir hayat dan yang terpenting, pendidikan karakter itu juga harus direfleksikan kepada para mendidik itu sendiri. Saya setuju bahwa paradigma guru harus diubah dari membuat siswa itu pintar menjadi membuat siswa yang berakhlak mulia.
Coba refleksikan pertanyaan “Apakah gurumu sudah mempunyai akhlak yang baik sehingga kamu memberikan kepercayaan kepadanya untuk membimbingmu menghadapi dunia?” kepada guru itu sendiri. Menurut saya, menjadi guru adalah komitmen mendidik seumur hidup. Tetapi faktanya, masih banyak tenaga pendidik yang menjadikan profesi guru adalah ladang untuk mencari penghidupan, harga diri, kehormatan, dan kemudian status dan peran sosial terlebih pada tingkat perguruan tinggi sehingga mereka lupa pada tugas mereka yang sebenarnya.
Di dalam artikel ini juga Alwasilah mengemukakan ide Tobat Akademik. Bukti pertama yang penulis kategorikan sebagai indikator ambruknya moral bangsa adalah dengan lemahnya penggunaan bahasa daerah dan bahasa Indonesia dikarenakan adanya imperialisme bahasa asing. Menurut pandangan saya, adalah terlalu dini jika bobrok tidaknya moral bangsa Indonesia dilihat dari segi budaya berbahasa. Jika diposisikan sebagai manusia, generasi penerus bangsa ini diibaratkan sebagai remaja yang sedang gencar mencari jati dirinya.
Bangsa Indonesia dipaksa tumbuh berkembang di jaman global yang serba instan dimana segala sesuatunya dituntut untuk cepat dan praktis. Sungguh disayangkan, di dalam proses membangun pilar moral yang kokoh, lembaga pendidikan di Indonesia masih banyak yang lebih mempercayakan tenaga asing sebagai pendidik generasi bangsa. Hal ini terlihat dengan semakin banyaknya sekolah yang mengusung paham dwi bahkan multi bahasa yang dilandaskan pada kualitas internasional. Jelas sekali bahwa bangsa ini masih terlalu silau dengan euphoria modernisme sehingga apapun yang berbau asing akan diberikan penghargaan lebih dan selalu melihat diri sendiri salah.  Di sinilah tugas pendidik profesional diperlukan untuk menjadi “ibu” yang bisa menyaring dogma imperialisme dan membimbing generasi selanjutnya ke arah yang lebih baik yakni, manusia yang berakhlak mulia sesuai dengan nilai kebudayaan Indonesia.
Menurut Dedi Supriadi, profesi guru masih sedang bertumbuh dan tingkat kematangannya belum sampai pada apa yang telah dicapai oleh profesi-profesi tua seperti contohnya kedokteran, hukum, notaris, farmakologi, dan arsitektur. Sungguh disayangkan, semua ilmu ini berkembang dengan sangat pesat di dunia Barat. Di dalam bukunya yang berjudul “Mengangkat Citra dan Martabat Guru”, Supriadi mengemukakan bahwa di Indonesia, seorang sarjana pendidikan atau sarjana lainnya yang bertugas di institusi pendidikan dapat mengajar mata pelajaran apa saja, sesuai kebutuhan guru mata pelajaran di institusi tersebut. Hal inilah yang menurut saya pada akhirnya menjadi sebuah paradoks, imperialisme itulah yang kemudian kita butuhkan sebagai wacana untuk mengembangkan diri.
Harus diakui bahwa Indonesia tertinggal jauh dalam hal keilmuan. Tantangan bagi bangsa Indonesia adalah bisa memposisikan budaya pop menjadi wacana sebagai sarana untuk perkembangan pilar moral di negeri ini. Dengan tetap memegang teguh nilai-nilai kebudayaan Indonesia, seyogyanya kita bisa menjadi bangsa Indonesia yang berakhlak mulia di masa depan.