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Saturday, 28 July 2012

My Favorite EFL/English Skills Website

I chanced onto this website a while ago, and I want to share it, for several reasons.

1) It is free.  And I mean this in all sense of the word, because sometimes I type "free printable worksheets" into Google and I still get sites that ask me to register.  Excuse me, but that is not "free". (I'm controlling myself from going off on a principled rant here.) (FYI: there are no worksheets on this website; that was just an example.)

No registration.  No password.  And the site is .org, which is in itself a huge plus.

2) It's well-organized.  Nice lists.  (You might be surprised at how few ESL websites are clearly organized.)

3) It has lots of online vocabulary games, from beginner-level to more advanced.  It also has listening/reading activities for upper-level students.  I don't like all of the games, but there are lots to choose from.

Here it iis:

I told all of my students that I would like them to try it out over summer vacation; since I know some moms (with good reason) freak out at the mention of "computer games", I typed up a little note for the students to take home and urged them to look at the site with their moms.  I also had students from several classes do the games online at school during break times.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Shark Themes

I'm not really sure how I got onto the shark theme with some older classes (6th grade, middle school), but I think it started when I saw this news item:

Then, a class had to learn vocab about kayaking, so I searched and found this:

And then I happened upon this video, which I tied into a lesson on "Success and Happiness", in this case an example of the negative:

There's so much more out there . . .

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Long Day

It's late, it's been a long day, and I'm going to bed soon, but first a few pics . . . these are from the main Seoul bus terminal in Gangnam (a big place . . . most westerners have no idea, since they don't primarily travel by buses, but think about several hundred buses parked in one place, with 20 or so leaving every 15 minutes, and all of the supporting infrastructure/businesses that might entail . . . ) . . . anyway, one little lunch place in the midst of all of that hustle and bustle serves up this food:

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Steak Dinner

When I visited some friends last week they cooked a delicious American-style dinner:

Rice Fields in Summer

Here are a couple of pics of some small rice fields on the edge of a city south of Seoul:

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Korean Wedding

I went to a wedding yesterday--American woman and Korean man--the second that I have been to in Korea.  It was very nice and well-planned. (I do have to say that Korean wedding culture is way too obsessed with picture-taking.)

The wedding took place--as do many/most--at a "wedding hall", which is just that, a facility for weddings, not a religious place.  The outside of the 4-5 story building wasn't pleasant, but the large room where the wedding took place was very nice.

My co-worker's wedding was religious in nature.  In fact, there were two pastors, since it was bilingual.

After the ceremony there was a buffet dinner, which was large and offered up a variety of good food.

End of Korean Drought?

Last Thursday night we got rain--a lot of rain.

More rain than was needed at one time, especially following a drought.

It rained--medium heavy--for about 9 hours.  I guess it was pretty much all of the rain that we had not gotten for the last two months.

I heard that the southern parts of Korea were hit pretty hard with agricultural damage due to flooding.

Sigh. I've been reading the weather news about the U.S. and and other parts of the world; lately it seems like it is one extreme or another.

Maybe it's because of:

A. Global warming (thanks, industrialized nations!)

B. President Assad of Syria killing off 16,000 of his people in an effort to retain power.  (Russia and China: thanks for stepping up!)

C. Millions of Americans buying 'Big Gulp' sodas; the resulting mass carbonation asphyxiates Mother         Nature, and the resulting loss of control unleashes cataclysmic forces.

D. Some other factor.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Students and Vocabulary

Often, in class--especially since I teach a number of writing classes at our English academy--students will ask me for help with vocabulary.

"Teacher, how do you say ______ in English?"

Before, I used to resort to a dictionary.

But that was time-consuming and rather unproductive.

Now, I tell them,"I don't know.  What is it?"

Sometimes it is easy; if a student asks me, "How do you say "참 치" in English?", I can help, because "chamchi" means "tuna"(a food I like to eat).

I kind of make a game out of it, and the process often involves drawing on the whiteboard.

We're not talking about simple words like "ceiling" or "eyebrow"; those can be communicated with gestures.

Rather, what if a student is writing a story in class and wants to know how to say "prison" but doesn't know the English word for it; that's when the whiteboard comes in handy.

I've gotten good at helping students with vocab, but there are some things that I don't know or can't guess.

Friday, for example, a girl asked me, "Teacher, how do you say ______ in English?"

She tried to explain it to me, even drew a picture on the whiteboard, but I was confused, so I sent her to the office (a last resort).

She came back with a post-it note that said "experience".

No wonder I couldn't give her the word.  She wanted to write, "I experienced the music."

It's a learning process, which is part of what I like about teaching.


How do you capture a penguin?


Cut a hole in the ice.

Sprinkle peas around it.

When the penguin comes out to take a pea, kick it in the icehole.

(Ha ha!)