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Friday, 28 February 2014


This morning I was debating about whether or not I wanted to cook something; then my neighbors started arguing, first in an apt. and then in the hallway, so I thought, "What the hell, why not do laundry and cook at the same time?"

I wanted to make a veggie pasta salad, but by the time I cooked all the veggies (steamed in the microwave) there wasn't going to be room, so I settled for a pesto-veggie mix:

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Olympic Figure Skating Problems: Sign the Petition for Change

If you feel there was a problem with the judging at the recent Sochi Olympic women's figure skating finals, go to

and sign the petition for change.  As of this posting, 1.93 million people have done so.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Ladies' Free Skating Times

Here is the Sochi Olympics schedule:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Figure Skating: Free Skating

Tonight at approximately 3:30 am Korea time (so it is reported) Kim Yuna will defend her figure skating gold medal.  She was first last night in the short program.

Korea will undoubtedly be a nation of sleepy people tomorrow!

Figure Skating

Kim Yuna did great, but . . .

the best competition is still to come.

Cheers to her!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Figure Skating: Korea's Kim Yuna

In about 2 hours' time, at approximately 2 am Thursday, Korea time, Kim Yuna will defend her Olympics figure skating gold medal.

Almost everyone I know here will stay up late to watch her.

She seems to be handing the pressure well, but the eyes of the Korean nation will be focused on her . . .

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Fancy Coffee Shop

After we ate lunch today we went to a coffee shop.  Where I live you have a wide variety of places to choose from, for there are probably 20 coffee shops within 8 minutes walking in the city center (largely a pedestrian area).

We wanted a quiet place to talk, so we went to this place, which has a lot of enclosed booths with 1 or 2 tables and accompanying couches to sit on.  It's far different from Starbucks, which is located in the next-door building:

I'm not in love with the styling (ok, I'm not), but I like the walls and doors that provide some privacy and limit intruding voices. Next to the little lamp is a red buzzer to push for service.

Looking out the window,

on the far right you can see the subway station (which, in Gunpo, well outside of Seoul, is an elevated train station).  In the middle is a multi-purpose building which houses a cinema.

Korean Fast Food Restaurant

A friend and I went to a Korean fast food restaurant today.  It's a sit-down place, serving things like noodles, dumplings, bibimbap, and other Korean food, but the orders arrive quickly, maybe in 5 minutes.  It's a chain kind of place, so not 'homestyle' food, but there is a nice variety on the menu and it's relatively cheap.

Above: the side dishes are served first. From right to left: regular (cabbage) kimchi; sliced radishes (the big Asian radish which is mellow in taste . . . it's naturally white, but, while I don't like the added coloring or sugar, it's still good); cubed radish kimchi (not colored); bean sprouts (softened); and a slightly salty broth

Bibimbap served in a hot (sizzling) stoneware bowl; veggies on top (with an egg) and rice on the bottom

Fish cutlets with rice, coleslaw, and what looks like spaghetti (but the red stuff isn't tomato sauce--it's hot pepper sauce)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Classroom Whiteboard Writing: Stages of Growth

I like to have all of my students write on the whiteboard during class time.  I think it provides them with a sense of empowerment, along with models for notebook writing.  Whiteboard writing also provides a platform for the teacher to critique students' writing in a 'safe' manner, and, if started early in their language program, allows for noticeable development.

To start, I ask students to write their phonics words on the board, and we work on lowercase and uppercase letters, style, writing on the red line (as they do in their notebooks), etc.

Next, students prepare for phonics/vocabulary tests by writing both English and Korean words.

Then they start writing the words with accompanying sentences; in the beginning there are lots of mistakes, of course, but after students have done it for a while (a year or more) there is a lot of improvement and I, as the teacher, have fewer errors to correct (students write on the board, I correct, and they copy the sentences into their notebooks).

Then they reach middle school, and the students who have stuck with the program begin writing paragraphs and essay-like structures.  This provides topic ideas and developmental support (prewriting) for the 5-paragraph essays that they begin to write/type.

The above pictures may represent about 5 years of language development (it depends on the students, of course).  These are all pics from current classes, but I expect to see this kind of development from the students.

In almost every class students also write in their notebooks (and then repeat the exercise for homework).  

Both types of writing are beneficial, but in some ways they are very different, and I think students should experience and practice both types of classroom writing.

Monday, 3 February 2014

K-Pop and Plastic Surgery

Here is a 16 min. documentary about K-pop and plastic surgery: