Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Jan 19 -- Ryosaikenbo

Hello. I want to go over the reading, but I am a little worried. In class on Tuesday, I noticed a lot of.... silence in groups while reading Ryosaikenbo and the work on the different questions seemed to take a lot longer than I expected. Perhaps we will start off today by taking a few minutes to discuss our feelings, concerns, thoughts about the subject of the article first before we discuss the content. So let's start off today by thinking back to what each of us thought about the reading and the questions. Let's try to get beyond general statements like "I liked/didn't like it," "It was very interesting/difficult/confusing," and explore the reasons for our feelings. You might start with 'I liked/ didn't like it,' but then tell us why and be specific. What did you think of the reading (and/or the questions and/or the discussion group set up) and more importantly why did you feel this way. Next, what suggestions would you make to help create a more communicative exercise out of this assignment?

Be honest, be focused. Notice I have left this short writing assignment (you will have until 12:55 to finish) open so even if you were absent on Tuesday, if you read the assignment, you should be able to participate. If you didn't read, your writing should be short, 'i didn't read.' post this, I will give you minimal credit (better than a zero) and then spend the time before our discussion reading!

After posting, we will spend a few minutes on comments about the assignment, then we will (hopefully) begin exploring some of your answers to the questions. Finally, we will discuss next week's classes and what we want to do... your ideas are valued and i want to hear fro myou on this. Lots of opportunities for people to speak in calss, Everyone should get a 5 today! Everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Jan12th - Social Change

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Some thoughts and photos to start off the class, our assignment is below (the redish-looking text)

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
Welcome back to the blogs! Aren't you just thrilled to be back?

As I mentioned in class, it has been a busy month and I felt I wanted to share some pictures with you of some of my better moments. As I said on Tuesday, we had a houseful of people. My father, Temre's parents, her sister, and of course the four of us. We did alright really. A friend lent us her apratment for my dad and T's sister to stay in so our house was never too terribly crowded. Except at dinner. Anyway, these shots are from the snow-day in Kyoto. My father and I rushed out of the house to get up there and take photos. So did everyone else! Still, it was good fun.

Even before all the people came, Isaac came home from the hospital.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

We were a little worried how Naomi would react but as you can see, she was pretty okay with the idea of a new brother. She was very gentle, liked to hold him, and always tries to give him his binky (pacifier) when he cries, which, I might add is amazingly infrequently. So my immediate family is doing alright and adjusting well to each other.

Well that was fun. Now we should probably get to work.
I want to start us on a new issue today, namely, social change. Here is your assignment. You will have about 10minutes to look, think, discuss with others, however you want to develop your thoughts and/or come up with a response. Then, we will take about 10 more minutes to write a response. Finally, we will discuss your responses. Ready?
Our topic is "Social Change." Think about recent headlines and articles in the news media: newspapers, telvision, the Internet, and other sources. Once you have an idea, thought, in your head, I want you to write one positive and one negative side of a social change that they have heard or read about recently.

ex. Young Japanese People are becoming more self-expressive and this is good because while in the past, Japan was innovative and dynamic, has become rather stagnant and resistant to change and is in danger of being left behind.

Some forms of self-expression are agressive and argumentative, like the boy who lit a firecracker at a crowded "Coming-of-Age" ceremony this Monday, and then when asked to leave by "The Great Sasuke" argued with and, with his firend supporting him, almost attacked the ex-wrestler.
Please write your own responses on the blog and be prepared to share in groups and with the class. After this, we will look at this next (and probably final) unit in our book.

At the end of class, I will ask for your help in deciding our assignments for the end of the semester: either from this book or from ... another source, or other suggestions you have.

PhotoBlog Assignments: We have.... two more photo blogs to do, and I am out of assignments. So here is the deal. Students will be free to take any photos they wish and write about them. Show me what you are thinking aobut or seeing in your lives these days. Or... wait, I gave you an assignment for this week, didn't I? Saving Grace, right? Well you can do that if you wish or do a photo of anything else you wish to. Free writing, free photo blogging for the last two weeks... woo woo! Go bananas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

uh oh -- Homwork for Tuesday

You know what, I don't have everyone's email address! So I am putting the links up on our KGU ESL3 site.

These are links to the story, that you can download. You can also stop by my office and pick up a copy when I am around. In fact, I will hang the folder of the story on the board next to my office. Finally, I will put a comment in everyone's blog alerting them of this situation.

Sorry guys (and gals) my head is not... in the game and I appologize. Maybe this is what it feels like to get old. What a depressing thought.

It's a ... boy?!?

It's a.... boy?!?
Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
A picture, because some of you were curious. Not much to see here, really, sorry. Give us a year, we will be a lot more interesting!

Today, I would like to have you write reflection on last Tuesday's class. If you weren't there, maybe you can tell us what you were doing ... :) we missed you. For those of you who were in class, well what did you think? I am specifically interested in your thoughts on:
  • the reading
  • the questions
  • the discussion
and finally,
  • the issue
Take a few minutes (10-15minute), collect your thoughts, and write down some of your ideas, suggestions, criticism, new thoughts, whatever on the issue and the class. Remember, I am thinking of using this text next year in my ESL class. The final question I wish you to consider is: do you think this text and this lesson plan is appropriate for an ESL class? Why/why not?

After this, I hope to have a short conversation, in groups, sharing yoru thoughts, then I will ask people from their groups to share their thoughts. Seemed to work in class on Tuesday.

Finally, with any time left (hee hee) I hope to get back to our book and the final section of Unit8.... must... move forward!

Ok. Let's learning!

p.s. homework: I have a short reading for you. an old, american short story that is purrrrrfect for this time of the year. what do you think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Welcome to December!

I am curious to know which communication style you prefer and in what situation you prefer it. I would say in my class, most of you are pretty well reserved: you don't usually wish to offer your opinions or speak up in the whole class setting, and yet in small groups, you often chat away at great length. So I would say in large groups maybe many of you prefer to be reserved.

Well what about at your house, in your home with your family. Are you reserved or not? Why / Why not?
Explore your communication styles at home and the reasons why you adopt this style, then choose a situation that you are the opposite to how you act in your house (for example, if you are expressive in your home, then choose a setting where you are not so expressive, and vice versa -- reserved at home, choose a situation you are expressive). Explain why you are different in this other setting. What causes you to feel more expressive and/or more reserved depending on the setting, the people, the situation.

After this, we will have a short conversation about this. I am curious to hear your answers. Below is my example, please feel free to read it.

Personally, I am pretty reserved at home, both now and when I was young. I think it is becuase both of my parents are quite talkative and I am an only child. Maybe there I felt there was already a lot of focus on me, and at home, I tended to be rather quiet -- no loud music, a lot of reading or watching movies but usually on my own. Outside, well let's see in class I have never had any shyness or reserve. I have always been very expressive and talaktive in class. When I was younger, I was always getting in trouble in class because I never NEVER could shut up. I liked to ask questions, and answer those that I could. When we were suppose to work, I would often talk to my neighbors. I was a real chatterbox, and I was often punished for it. My primary school teachers would have loved all of you ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

11/24 Turkey Day!

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
Back home in the States, they are celebrating my favorite holiday today. Here, we celebrated the "5th Annual Thanksgiving in Japan" yesterday. Most often, Thanksgiving is considered a 'family holiday' where everyone rushes home for the long four-day weekend (Thursday & Friday vacation), but as people nowadays are more likely to live further from home (sometimes even across the entire country) is becoming more common for friends to celebrate Turkey Day together. We had a wonderful get-together with about 20 people. Sadly, we didn't get many good pictures so here are some from our Thanksgiving celebration in Kanazawa, 2003. Different place, but same basic priciple: we ask everyone to bring a "traditional Thanksgiving dish," and something to drink. We (usually a friend or myself) cook and carve the bird. Then we all sit around and eat. And eat. And eat some more. It's gooooooood!

So I'm curious about your favorite holidays; how, when, where, and with whom you celebrate your special day(s). I'd love you to share some of your thoughts about your favorite days of the year, why, and what you do at these times. I'd like you to take about 10 minutes and discuss your favorite holidays with the people sitting near you, sharing ideas is a good way to get ourselves ready to write. Then, I will give you about 15minutes to write a paragraph about your favorite holiday. If you finish early, feel free to read up about Thanksgiving at this link.

Originally uploaded by skawt_p.

Once we finish the writing, we will choose to either work on Unit8 or discuss holidays, (Thanksgiving - if you want me to lecture, your favorites if you are willing to share...) If we work on U8, "Communication Styles," we will be continuing to discuss the differences between expressive and reserved with a couple additional activities before we look at the book, page 31.

Ok so that's the plan. Let's get to it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

11/17 Etiquette

Consider the following quote.

"Manners are especially the need of the plain. The pretty can get away with anything."
- Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)

First describe what it means - what is the message, can you make it more clear? Then explain the reasons you beleive it to be true (or not). This should take about 15-20minutes.

Following this, we will (hoepfully) as a class, share ideas about our suggestion to Ms. Jones' questions. Below, you will find her letter and questions, just to remind you of what we are talking about. I am hoping for detailed responses here, not just the basic (don't wear your shoes in the house, we use chopsticks at dinner, I think these are pretty common knowledge, but what other standard etiquette rules might she want to know? Discuss it, be specific then let's share our thoughts.

Dear Ms./Mr. Manners,
I am an American college student visiting Japan for the first time. I will be living with a host family there, and need to know how to act polite. Can you help me? I wrote some questions below. Thank you!
Mary Jones

Ms. Jones’ questions
  1. How do I greet my host family?
  2. What should I bring as a gift?
  3. What important ‘house rules’ are there?
  4. What is the proper way to eat with my family?
  5. Is there anything else I should know?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

11/10 Is this polite?

To start class, I want you to pull our your homework and place it on top of your computer so I might give you credit for it. Then go on to the next assignment: the reading& writing below.

I found this article in the paper on the succession to the throne in Japan, and it got me thinking. In my country, we don't have a supreme ruler that is chosen by their lineage/family lines, at least not like you do in Japan, or they do in England, or many other european countries. Not only am I curious about the issue, I am even more curious what you all think of this issue, and this argument by Prince Tomohito. Take a few minutes to look over the article (not read it, I'm not sure we have time to read it) then take about 10minutes to write a response. Questions you might consider are
  • Do you agree or disagree with Prince Tomohito's position? Why?
  • Do you personaly think Aiko should be allowed to become the Empress of Japan? Why/Why not?
  • Is this an issue of concern to people today?
  • Is this an issue that should be discussed/talked about/fought over in legislation or should the government of Japan be focused on other issues?
After you finish writing, you might want to take a few minutes to read over fellow students comments. I will then break you into smaller groups to discuss this issue. We might even talk about it as a class. Once we finish, we will look at our homework. Following this, if there is time, we will work on page 28.