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Literacy Blog

World Poetry Day

Every year, World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21st March. Here are some amazing poems from our Grade 7 class:

I stand up

And walk

Around and around

The same place

Half sleeping, slow

I am a sloth

Isolated and lazy

After December

I am spring that is hyper and clumsy

Every year, never changing

I am ice

Fragile and emotional at times

9th period has ended

I go home

I am midnight

Calm, silent and alone.

By Doy, Grade 7


When I close my eyes, I find myself.

I’m the mysterious garden, you pass by everyday on the way to school.

The one just think about for just one second,

Only to be forgotten.

I’m like a pallette

A unique set of colours constantly changing


I’m winter

The beginning of something unpredictable

I feel like a gong

My voice destructs everything in sight


When I open my eyes,

Everything becomes a blur.

By Keona, Grade 7



Have you heard of R.E.A.D.?

R.E.A.D is a simple step-by-step framework used when working through mathematical problems.

The question is the starting point when gaining understanding to a mathematical problem. As Mr. Dan, a maths teacher at Hanoi International School, often says ‘the question is your friend’.


Read is the first, and most important stage for identifying barriers which may stop students answering the question. Whilst in this stage, students should define all the key terms which they see and start forming a mental plan for which mathematical concepts they are going to select and apply in order to solve the problem. Students are encouraged not to rush this stage, it’s vital to understand everything before you begin.

Extract is the stage of setting up the solution. Taking out all of the relevant information and structuring your workings out so that the whole solution will flow like a logical story from beginning to end. The focus is on detail here - it doesn’t pay to take shortcuts. Students are encouraged to make an estimate here; this prediction can often remove fear, as the student now believes they know what the outcome ‘should’ roughly be.

Act is arguably the stage which most students prefer, but it is only done effectively when the first 2 stages (Read & Extract) have been completed thoroughly. Here, the focus is on getting the answer. This should be precise and include evidence of constant checking for silly little mistakes which cost students so dearly.

D does not stand for ‘done’, it stands for decide. This is where students must use their reasoning skills to decide if their answer makes sense in relation to the context of the question. The estimate made during the extract stage can be very valuable here. A grade 8 student put it you must use your logic and think ‘Does this look correct to me?’. This includes re-reading the question and deciding if the outcome makes sense. If not, then the student must begin their ‘detective work’ to find the error and fix it. Many students would panic here; but because they are familiar with the process of R.E.A.D, they just simply go back and start again, cross referencing their original solution as they go. The mistake could be a mathematical one, or it could be that they have applied the wrong mathematical process, and need to rethink their approach.





How to Read a Poem

Many students are put off poetry, thinking it’s too difficult or too boring because it demands your full attention. Nonetheless, reading poetry opens up your imagination. It’s really fun to read, and the rewards of fully understanding a poem can be quite fulfilling! Here are our top 5 tips on how to read poetry, so you can have a thought provoking experience.

Top 5 Tips

  1. Read the poem several times first. Read it aloud and in your head. Don’t annotate, don’t highlight any words. It’s important that you simply read the poem and get a feel for it.
  2. After reading, note down your initial thoughts. Who is the speaker? What situation is presented? If the poem is a question, what is the answer? What does the title suggest?
  3. Research about the author. Researching about the author might enable you to understand more about the poem. Who are they? Does their backstory influence the poem?
  4. If a friend of yours has read the poem, try discussing the poem. Ask for their opinion on the poem, and give yours.
  5. Never be intimidated by the poem, regardless of its title or length. Calm down, you’re not trying to unlock the secrets of the universe. If you can’t understand the poem entirely, it’s completely fine!

Overall, reading poetry has its benefits! Some benefits include:

  • Improved verbal skills and memory: Reading a poem can enhance your vocabulary especially if you discuss it with friends and peers.
  • Improved long-term brain health: Studies suggest that people who recall and memorize poems are less vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
  • Improved critical thinking: Poetry always improves the reader’s critical thinking by forcing them to think deeply and between the lines. This skill benefits students. Poetry readers are more likely than non-poetry readers to analyze bias and viewpoint by themselves

There are several obstacles and barriers the reader must face in order to fully understand a poem. Readers can overcome some barriers they face when reading poetry by following the tips given above. The thing that makes poetry unique and special is the way it’s written. Most poetry has the main idea expressed in a non-literal way. So, if you can’t fully understand a poem, accept it. You can’t always understand a poem completely, but you can definitely enjoy its artistic expression.

Bibliography:

  1. Shmoop Editorial Team. “How to Read a Poem.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008, www.shmoop.com/poetry/how-to-read-poem/how-to-read.html
  2. “How to Read a Poem.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 1 Oct. 2015, www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/how-read-poem-0
  3. Matus, Douglas. “The Benefits From Reading Poems.” Pen and The Pad, Pen and The Pad, https://penandthepad.com/benefits-reading-poems-3849.html
  4. Vardavas, Stephanie. “Why Is Poetry So Difficult to Understand?” Slate Magazine, 25 Feb. 2015, www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2015/02/25/why_is_poetry_difficult_to_understand.html



Our 4 Favorite Media Literacy Hacks

This week our Grade 12 English B students shared some hacks on how to tell the difference between real news and fake news on social media:

Kohei: “If a post on social media links to a website, check the domain name. If it’s a .com, the company have have a vested interest in getting you to believe some fake news.”

Yuna: “Look at the comments people have posted under the news item. Rational, sane comments can indicate that the news is real”

Kun Ho: “Check the publisher. Some news companies are openly biased”

Yu Jeong: “Try to find other, unrelated sources that can confirm the news. If you can’t, then you’re probably reading fake news”


About Us - Literacy Blog

Literacy education is our central aim. Building proficient and independent learners who have an interest in reading and writing in English. This blog will be the tool in helping students at Hanoi International School improve and develop their literacy skills. There are an array of skills that coincide with being both a proficient and independent learner of English literacy and this blog will focus on four specific elements that enable students to do just that.

  • Employ strategies when they don’t understand
  • Write to demonstrate understanding
  • Think deeply about what they read
  • Read fluently and for pleasure

First and foremost, this is a student led blog. Students sharing personal experiences in their progress for English proficiency. Students will share what works for them and how they deal with the challenges that arise when studying English literacy. More than anything this will be a place to share strategies and share success.