Reah's Blog | Education, Language, Technology

Use an English Visual Dictionary When Learning Nouns

By on Sep 5, 2011 in Education, English Language |

When learning new English nouns—the words that refer to people, places, things, or ideas—a visual dictionary will help you retain the words in your mind effectively. It’s just like when a child learns what the word apple means, a parent will show the child an apple or an image of an apple to help the child create a mental image of an apple, which is usually a red fruit (sometimes it’s green!). So next time the child sees the actual fruit, she will remember to call it apple. There are more nouns that are uncommon than apple, however, and you will likely want to see images of these nouns to remember them. Thus, you may want to use a visual dictionary in this situation. The highly-recommended visual dictionaries that you can look for copies in your library or bookstores are: Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary by Merriam-Webster (Oct 1, 2006) Ultimate Visual Dictionary by DK Publishing (Oct 31, 2011) One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia by Peter Chrisp (Jun 16, 2008) There is also an online visual dictionary from Merriam Webster, and you can access it here: http://visual.merriam-webster.com/. Their online dictionary has more than 6,000 images from different themes such as House, Arts, Clothing, and Society. I actually owned a children visual dictionary when I was around 8 years old. And I really enjoyed learning the English words by looking at the pictures. You can’t learn all the nouns conveniently from a visual dictionary though. The nouns that refer to ideas or concepts need more special attention; because in most cases, these nouns cannot be easily represented by one image and requires further explanation. Internet and freedom are two good examples of such nouns. A mind map, however, can do the trick to explain these...

101 Ways to Improve Your English – For Non-native Speakers

By on Sep 5, 2011 in Education, Language | 9 comments

Having English as a second language, I played kids vocabulary games, watched English TV shows with captions on, read English books aloud, and thought in English all day—all so I can be fluent in English. How hard can that goal be? Hard but fun! And as if those “hard-but-fun” activities are not enough to accomplish my goal, I created my own word games, made bike riding an educational activity, and tested myself on how many English words I could spell correctly in an hour. The last one sounds overboard, don’t you think? But I did it. Let’s say it was the product of too much enthusiasm (and free time?) Ha! That activity made me a better speller though and it is just one of a few examples of what you can do to improve your English too. In fact, at the end of this article is a 101 list of activity ideas, so be ready to fill your to-do lists and desks. No need to do all the activities listed at the end of the article. No rush too. Just pick out those that match your learning style, personality type, or level of proficiency. You can even just select the ones that use materials commonly found online, at home, at school, at work, or in the library. And if you want to do it with your family and friends, choose the activities that require interaction with other people. Now, enjoy reading the 101 activity ideas to improve your English and do not forget to take notes of those activities you want to do. For your convenience, you can download and print the pdf version of this article so you can write your notes on it. By using images and drawings 1Use an English visual dictionary to learn words referring to people, animals, places, and things. 2Use images to learn descriptive words. 3Take photos or draw scenes and items you see every day, then write their captions in English. 4 Label images indexed in Google Image search. 5 Use Google Translate and Google Images together to learn names of places and things. By using your first language 6 Keep and use English dictionary with you that translates to your first language. 7 Translate words, phrases, and sentences you always use in your first language. 8 Translate questions you commonly ask in your native language to English. 9 Translate your local TV shows to English at Viki.com. 10 Translate songs written on your native language to English. 11 Fill a jar with strips of paper containing random sentences written on your native language. Then once a day, draw a strip of paper from the jar and translate the sentence to English. By using real items 12 Learn new words from reading English texts printed in product labels or packaging. 13 Label things found in your house or in your office. 14 Hold or point to the actual item when you are describing it. By using videos 15 Watch English TV shows. 16 Watch English TV shows with English captions on. 17 Watch news from English-speaking news channels. 18 Watch English videos that teach you how to do things. 19 Watch movies and shows without English subtitles. 20 Watch free lectures that interest you at AcademicEarth.org. 21 Watch English video lessons online. 22 Watch free English documentaries online. By listening 23 Listen to English radio shows, commentaries, and advertising. 24 Listen to the correct pronunciations of words online. 25 Listen to English audio books, which you can probably find in your local libraries. 26 Listen to English podcasts. Through Lists 27 Master the 1000 most commonly used English words. 28 List and memorize new English words and phrases you think you will be comfortable using. 29 List and group words that are in any way related or similar to each other. Through music 30 Learn from singing popular English songs like those from the Beatles and Abba. 31 Sing English nursery songs. 32 Listen to songs made for teaching English grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Through games 33 Play Scrabble. 34 Play Boggle. 35 Answer English crossword puzzles. 36 Play word guessing games. 37 Play English typing games. 38 Choose English as the default language of computer games you play. By reading 39 Keep and use an English dictionary with you that has sample sentences. 40 Read English books and magazines regularly. 41 Read English webpages that write about topics that interest you. 42 Read book and product reviews in Amazon.com. 43 Read comments written by English native speakers online. 44 Take the meaning of the word from how it is used in the text you are reading. 45 Read blogs that publish tips on English usage, grammar, and vocabulary. By learning English patterns and word usage 46 Learn and master the basic patterns in English grammar. 47 Compare English grammar with that of your first language. 48 Learn the rules of parallelism and practice using it. 49 Learn how to use modifiers, and practice using them. 50 Learn how to use phrasal verbs and idioms, and practice using them. 51 Get any copy of the best grammar books. 52 Learn English spelling patterns. 53 Spell English words on paper or spell it out loud, over and over again. 54 Research and familiarize yourself with slang words and phrases. By speaking 55 Spend an hour reading English texts out loud. 56 Recite English words...

How to Delete a Gmail Account

By on Sep 5, 2011 in Google |

Here’s an old video I created about two years ago where I showed how to delete an unwanted Gmail account. I may have to update this video since there is a new interface. Take note that this is just the Gmail account, not deleting the whole Google account.

Did the tips help you pass the LET?

By on Aug 30, 2011 in Education | 15 comments

The Licensure Exam for Teachers is going to be held soon. Just less than a month! Please come back here and share your experiences and feedback, especially if the tips and resources posted in this blog have helped you pass the exam. For reference, I listed below the links that were published specifically for LET takers. 10 Tips on Passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) More Tips When Taking the LET LET Exam – Online Educational Resources as Reviewers Review English | Resources for English Major Test Takers TLE Reviewer: Technology and Livelihood Education Download LET Pointers to Review Guides | Licensure Exam for Teachers Pre-Spanish Education in the Philippines Piaget’s Cognitive Stages...

Halloween Tidbits: Facts or Fiction

By on Aug 30, 2011 in Miscellaneous | 1 comment

Are you tired of doing things over and over again, and willing to try something new? Moreover, do you have the guts to meet “new friends”? Well, read further more! Why not leave that chair and take off your clothes? Wear it inside out and start walking backwards to where the roads meet. Then if you’ll wait until midnight , luckily you’ll meet a witch! (Warning: If you are eager to continue, then, fine.) If you are one of those people who tremble, scream, and run away upon seeing a…ghaghaghost….then, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near your doorway. In case you haven’t done this yet and you see a ghost on your way, grab a key and throw it to him. Eventually the ghost will disappear. By the way, one of the indications of a ghost nearby is when a candle flame suddenly turns blue. You don’t have a candle, huh? Better stock up and use one. Otherwise, you’ll never know. Another thing about ghosts is that they don’t have shadows and leave no footprints. (Comments please!) Now, let’s talk about cats. It is believed in North America that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck while a white one is good luck. In Britain and Ireland, however, it’s exactly the opposite. On the other hand, if time will come that you start to dream of becoming invisible, take a look at your cat for his bones are your token of achieving it. Just be ready to sacrifice your cat’s life. Longing for your dead loved ones? Hey! They are just watching over the ceiling after they had finished weaving their webs. If you crave for more “ghostly superstitions”, this article could not satisfy you anymore because it has reached its end. Why not search for Halloween-born babies. They might tell you more since they are known for sighting spirits and communicating with them. Revision of an article that was first posted in the Junior Pharos (in MCU) circa...

A Short Essay about Friendship

By on Aug 4, 2011 in Essays |

Gaining Gold Coins All of us need true friends to turn to. As we share our failures and triumphs with them, we experience the warmth and joy. When I was in sixth grade, one of my teachers taught the class a song that goes “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” As my classmates and I sang this song, its essence did not concern me. It’s just an ordinary rhyming song for graders anyway. Eight years later, however, singing this song made me feel regretful. Its meaning struck me. From the time I was in sixth grade until I turned twenty, I hadn’t kept a chest of gold coins. I had broken friendships that may had lasted a lifetime. I neglected the presence of my old friends whom were sincere and true. Is this the end? No. Don’t cry over a bottle of spilled milk, they say. Losing a number of old friends, however, is worth crying. Crying for something for which we are to blame and can never gain back. Many of us only realized how important our old friends are to us once they are not around anymore. Though we may see them once in a while, it will not be easy to gain them back, especially when trusts were broken. So, to start keeping a chest of gold coins, we just start over again finding new friends.  It’s never too late. Just don’t do the same mistakes again. This is a revised version of my article that was first published in CEU’s school paper (ca....

Pre-Spanish Education in the Philippines

By on Jul 31, 2011 in Education | 3 comments

Below is a mind map to represent the education in the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived. Use this for your reviews or a quick way to understand education of the Philippines during the pre-Spanish period. Sources for this Mind Map: Wikipedia’s Education in the Philippines DepEd’s Historical Perspective of the Philippine Educational...

More Tips When Taking the LET

By on Jul 29, 2011 in Education | 41 comments

I already wrote 10 tips on taking the Licensure Exam for Teachers, but I remembered something last night that I missed sharing. It is about my experience when answering some math questions. Anyway, here’s tip #11: When trying to solve math problems manually (paper and pen), make an effort to organize your solutions. At any empty corner of the solution you just wrote, write the number of the question that solution was for. Then encircle this number or use any symbols you would like. Then, box the entire solution with the number in it or at least separate that section with a line from the other solutions you have. This way, if you are unable to solve a problem quickly you can easily go back to it later on and see what you already have done for that question. You don’t have to do this with every math question you are trying to solve. Do this with questions you decided to give up at that moment. And another but not related to just Math, tip #12: Do not spend a lot of time answering one question when there are still a lot of questions you may answer right quickly. This is a paraphrasing of my Tip #8 from my previous article, but there’s an addition to it. Keep a section of your scratch paper, if you have any, and name that section “skipped questions” or just “skipped” with the appropriate subjects. Put the numbers of your skipped questions here. Later on, when you have time, go back to those skipped questions and cross a number out once you finish answering it. If you are allowed to write on the test booklets, just go ahead and mark that skipped question with a star or an “x” mark, so you can easily find these questions when you are going over the test the second time. Tip #13: Be careful with questions that have conditions such as “not”, “except”, “including”, “never”, “only”, “best”, and other similar words. It’s been a while and I didn’t have my old LET reviewers with me in my current location, so I can’t verify if there are really questions that have these words. But I took some multiple choice exams in the past year and there were questions that contained these words. The tip is: Read and understand the question thoroughly. You can rephrase the question as well, and maybe by doing that, you will understand it better. When you missed reading the word “except” in the question, then your answer is most likely wrong. Trivia: One question that I haven’t forgotten is a question about the side view mirror of a car. The reason I think I remember it until now is because I decided to verify my answer once the test was over (I was not that observant you know and didn’t pay much attention reviewing mirrors or lenses). Now, when I’m in a car and happens to look at a side view mirror, I remember that question. Well the question is: “When you look at a car’s  side view mirror, is the image you are seeing closer?” Whatever the actual question might had been, I found out that what you see in the side view mirror is closer than you think. They appear farther and smaller. As an object go closer to the mirror, it appears bigger. A vehicle’s side view mirror typically has a convex lens. I don’t remember what I answered on that question. I think I was just curious to research after the exam was over. Read more about curved mirrors in...