Saturday, 12 March 2011

Ma Huaqi - Eat.Think.Write.


Story Arts Online
This site is geared towards general literacy skills through story-telling, but also includes lesson plans and activities suitable for Lower Secondary Literature. Some interesting ones include:
1. the teaching of narrative elements (character, setting, time, etc) through a story creation + telling.
2. reverse engineering of morality tales using proverbs ('wisdom tales without a plot') as starting points for narrative creation.

NACAE: National Association of Comics Art Educators
Rating: 4/5

NACAE provides resources for teaching comics art as a medium, as well as using it as a platform for teaching aspects of literature. Site includes syllabi, lesson plans, and class activities for adaptation. There is, again, a focus on content creation and adaptation, with activities like this. Suitable after adaptation for Secondary levels 1-3 (anytime not near the 'O's).
Rating: 5/5

The Workshop section provides analysis-focused lesson plans and activities complete with text for the teaching of poetry. The rest of the site provides an overview of poetry and its aspects that include styles, techniques, forms, criticism and theory. Links to texts are also available. This a web resource catered to the teaching of advanced learners, probably at JC level. While heavy adjustments need to be made before employing some of the teaching resources here, it will probably be worth it hence the 5/5.


I is very much like no order in:
  • writing
  • food
  • music
  • strategy games
  • the aesthetics of nonsense
Rationale: Food is a big part of life as well as of Singaporean culture, and almost everyone holds some particular set of preferences in taste, flavour and texture. Students are likely to respond readily, if not consciously and critically, to the food they taste. Connecting this to conscious reflection, language, and expression seems a good way to build a critical awareness in terms of language. Also, writing about food and tastes moves the student away from the shadow of right/wrong responses in the classroom.

I would like to use food and writing concurrently for teaching criticism as a creative act. Perhaps a way to do this is through engaging students in the act of writing their own gastronomic critique of foods like:
  • a trio of assorted chocolates each (thanks Roald Dahl.)
  • foods with strong/sharp flavours or unique textures (chempedak, chives, mangosteens, etc)
  • their own favourite dish, or a canteen food review
Emphasis will be placed on sensory information and ways of describing it, as well as expressing a view and supporting it. This will be followed by sharing and a moderated exchange of comments/suggestions between students. Another option is to use
  • a fruit that is related to a poem
which may be useful in easing students into writing a follow-up response to the poem or other food poems. We can compare and identify the ways in which the senses are stimulated by the descriptive language of the poem/s.

But essentially I don't see this approach as applicable to any particular text, as it is an exercise in criticism through a process of conscious feeling, thinking, and expression.

*Hyperlinks provided for illustration and convenience. My sincere apologies if it has annoyed you, unless I meant it to.


  1. you are so Eat. Pray. Love.

  2. Not sure whether you can pull off the 'criticism as a creative act' but certainly using food as stimuli for creative writing. Think you need to think through how to make this more specific depending on what texts you choose and the intention of the lesson.