Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rain Man and the rest

William's podcast

Give it a listen!

Rain Man

Enjoy! -- William Otte Lucas

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

About a boy

Welcome to the second day of the week.

This Tuesday, before conversation hour, I have three things for us to do:

  1. Read a couple of pages from Password about addresses and other personal details. This will include a short grammar exercise.
  2. Listen about BookCrossing and how it affects us. We shall view the introduction of 'About a Boy'.
  3. Thirdly, I want to follow up on yesterday's topic. Log onto Flickr and explore everyone's photos. The keyword I want you to use is 'illusion'. Everyone should make a comment about one interesting photograph each.

Monday, May 28, 2007

How is your viewing and listening?

Good morning to you all

Today we'll spend all of our time in the classroom; we won't go to the computer suite for the next couple of weeks. The reason is that I would like to prepare you better for the formal letter writing assessment on 7 June.

Therefore, this Monday, this Wednesday, next Monday and next Wednesday from 11-12 we'll be concentrating on letter writing. Any level three people in AM3 who wish to will join us for that (those) hour(s).

Right, then. Today's work. I have some listening for you to do, and some viewing. (Actually, the listening
includes viewing too.)

Do you remember the body language tape we started looking at on Thursday? I hope so, because I would like you to jog each other's memories in the same groups we last formed. On a large sheet of paper I shall ask you to list the main points that you remember.

Then, well view the first 15 or so minutes of the video, from the start, so that you can check and add to what you remembered.

Finally, you'll add to your notes more about the new material that followed on.

As for the viewing, I shall ask you to look at a short video. Research has shown that there is a difference between how accurately people from different backgrounds, ages and genders do this.

No, don't look now! Please read these instructions carefully first:

  • View the video only once
  • Do not talk about it to anyone
  • Count how many times you see the basketball being thrown only by the people wearing white tee-shirts. (Ignore how many times the people wearing black tee-shirts throw their ball).
Okay then, go ahead and view this video.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Even monks have bad days

Hello everyone

What's on the agenda for this morning?

Well, I would like you to do some speaking, reading, writing and then listening. (No formal letter writing today!)

First of all, form groups with people you don't usually sit with. Three or four tops, please. Try to answer the following questions:

  1. Have you seen 'Speed'?
  2. When is 'the dead of night'?
  3. Do you know what 'pepper spray' and 'tear gas' are?
  4. What does it mean 'to be on stand-by'? Can you give an example?
  5. Please explain 'running a red light'.
  6. What is a 'joy-ride'?
  7. Does 'going for a Sunday drive' hold any appeal for you or your family?
You might enjoy listening to part of a song called magic bus. Just scroll down to number 7 and click on 'listen to a sample'.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hey! Nice Wednesday (not the weather)

G'morning class. It's my youngest daughter's birthday today- Iacinta is 15 years young. That makes me feel happy.

Are you happy? You will have completed your first attempt this term at writing a formal letter. I asked you to start that yesterday, before any teaching on the topic.

You looked at several formal letter writing models yesterday on the Internet, so you know that in real life there are many 'correct' ways to set such a letter out. Structure is largely a personal matter. I've suggested one way for now, just so that we all do what is expected of us in the next assessment.

Often it's all about following the rules. Sometimes the rules don't make much sense, but we obey them anyway so as not to make waves. Kick up a fuss only when the issue is an important one for you, otherwise you create stress for yourself - that's my advice for the day.

Okay then, the thing I would like you to do now is to read this short article. Where does it come from? Who is it about? How does it relate to the illustration above?

At lunchtime you have the opportunity of listening to a 'Body Technician Master'. The information flyer is up on the wall. I thought that a related article would be useful for you to read.

After morning tea we will look at formal letter writing again. I shall do some teaching (for a change?). We'll look at some aspects of the body.

p.s. Now, don't be too distracted by this widget. Instead, please take a look at yesterday's post and read what I wrote about Pariya Williams sending an e-card to her friend in hospital.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Get well soon

Good morning. I have ten minutes to write this post - what a rush!

Anyway, you will take a look at three articles from this morning's paper. One of them will interest you more than the others. Your task, after reading, is to practise writing a formal letter. You will need to give me this, by 10.30 if possible.

Since the three articles are of the what-is-the-world-coming-to? type, I would like to cheer you up a little also.

I saw Pariya using the website of a Thai hospital to send her friend an e-card. Have you ever sent one? If you go to their website, then choose 'contact' and then select send a patient an e-card, you will be cheered up I am sure.

There, I managed to create this post in just 5 minutes - a record!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Prison for beginners

Today I'd like you to listen to this podcast, but not all of it! Just listen to the story about the prisoner; it starts 1.48 into the broadcast.

After everyone has heard it, I will then ask you some questions to check your understanding.

I shan't ask if any of you have ever been in prison, but I will ask you to imagine what it would seem like. In Milton, in today's newspaper, people actually paid for the privilege.

Please write a few paragraphs for me about what you would find the most difficult things to cope with if you were in prison.

Do you know about a man here in New Zealand who was recently released?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Good luck for today's test!

Hello AM4.

What's new?

What's up?

The answer to both of those questions is: today's assessment - reading a procedural text. Please listen to what I have to say...

After listening would you kindly write a comment on Podomatic? Just scroll down a little way and you will find the comments box. There also seem to be emoticons for you to use. Why don't you experiment?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Embed podomatic

Click here to get your own player.

Podomatic (try and try again)

Hello class.

Remember when I said I wanted to include listening in this term's posts?

Well, here is another attempt. If you listen to this link you will discover the topic we shall talk about on Wednesday the 16th of May.

The Daily English Show

Hello good people

I was sent an interesting link to a website about learning English. I thought that you ought to take a look; perhaps you'll choose it as a favourite for daily listening.

You can click on the hyperlink above or type in

After listening to the approximately 4-min video, I would like you to write what it is about.

Afterwards, in your own time, you may explore the rest of the website. I have still to do that too.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Crude Impact

As your listening today, I have selected a film clip for you to see. It is about 10 minutes long, the first part of the documentary Crude Impact.

I know that this topic is quite depressing. However, I think it is good for you to view for the following reasons:

  1. You already know something about the topic, so it will be easier for you to understand.
  2. The language used is clear, slow and well-supported by images and graphs
  3. It is the duty of Otago Polytechnic to inform its students on issues of sustainability
  4. It could be vital for you in the future

On Youtube the other 8 sections of this documentary are also available for you to see

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The 'topic' of the day - well, for today and tomorrow - is Invention.

I entered the words ' common invention' into Google and clicked on the first site that I saw. I shall ask you to open a hyperlink in that page and find out what is there.

Have a nice day, as they say in the USA.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A good (if worrying) half hour listening

A good listening resource that lasts half an hour on the Oil Peak topic we looked at previously might be useful to you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

With a Bang or a Fizzle

The second term of the year has just begun, and there are changes. For one, I no longer teach two classes. Previously I taught AM4 in the mornings for four days a week, and PM2 after lunch in the afternoons on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. But now, from the start of this term until the end of the year, I lose my afternoon class, gaining extra work at the Student Learning Centre from Monday through to Wednesday, in the afternoons, and all day Friday. My employment level has risen from 0.75 to 1.0 for the duration.

A second change I had wanted to make is to use Podcasting in this blog. I had wanted to record information and instructions for AM4, so as to improve my students' listening skills. I had intended to use Podomatic for that, but somehow I am unable to record my voice. Perhaps there is a firewall that prevents that. However, I haven't given up. I have asked I.T. for help, and a kind man named Michael will see what can be done.

An interesting topic - issue, rather - is one that I have only recently become aware of. Search 'oil peak' and you will soon see what that is. On the first day of term during the one hour a week that my class spends in a computer suite, I asked everyone to do a search and look at as many as 10 sites before returning to the one they liked the look of most. This was just to raise their awareness, so that in class the following day (today) we could continue with that topic.

Today I entered 'oil peak ESL' and discovered a series of 8 English lessons that are on the topic. They seem to be part of the Dave's ESL Cafe site. Then, with 5 minutes to go before class started, I discovered an oil peak game that tries to predict and prepare for the eventuality that an oil crisis may almost be upon us. It is scheduled to take 30 days starting from 30 April 2007 - today, by gum, because of the time difference!

It's scary stuff, but I believe that as ESOL teachers it is important to inform our students and help them become aware of issues that, because of language barriers, may otherwise pass them by. Nevertheless, an article that begins:

Dear Reader, civilisation as we know it is coming to an end soon . . .

I'm curious to know what others think (and concerned).