Thursday, September 20, 2007
As requested, on our last day we won't do much writing or grammar (because we've done enough of that!).
Let's return to the story about the world's tallest man. First, we'll do that second paragraph. I'll give you the first ten to fifteen minutes to compare your answers with other people's. After that I shall use some of the activities from the 'breaking news' website.
After the break we shall return to the latest developments in the 'Pumpkin' story.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
It was a nice day in the middle of autumn. The sky was clear and the weather was warm. I had finished meditation about 2 P.M.. Suddenly, I saw someone came into my room. It was unbelievable, but I could see through his body to a cupboard behind!.
He looked like a tall man but his body was transparent. A twinkling fluorescent light spread out from his whole body. He was waring a tight orange shirt with sleeves that were long enough to cover a little below his elbows, and his trousers were tight and just covered a little below his knees. Like a boat floating on the water, he moved softly and slowly in the air about one foot above the floor. He did not come straight ; he just walked in front of me for a short distance and then disappeared!.
Even through it was my first time for me to see what some people may call “a ghost” , I was not scared at all. It might be that he was nice and not awful. When he left, I remembered my merits, the good things I have done, offered them to him and wished him to be happy on his way.
I realized that, according to Buddhist knowledge, he was not a ghost or devil, but a kind of after-death being that can be found around the world.
There are many links in the news: one, two, three, four, five, six . . .
After the break we will take a look at the 'Grammar Hammer' sheet I've been meaning to share with you for several days. We will choose sentences to make incorrect models of.
Here is another story for you to correct. It has many errors. The original version is here.
Tallest Man in the World Gets Married
The worlds tallest man has marrying a woman who is just two-thirds his height and half his aged in a traditional ceremony in
Bao wore a special designed, traditional pale blue wedding robe under neath a decorative gold vest. He ride to his bride's relatives in front of a tomb in a wedding cart pulled by two camel. In keeping with Mongolian tradition, the bride's family tried to "stop" Bao reaching his bride, symbolizing the familie’s last efforts to protect her. Wherever, they soon changed their minds after he pleaded to see and Marry his intended the bride’s family were accepted him and offered tea. Which means he had been accepted in to her family. Bao entered the Guinness Book of World Records las year as the word's tallest person. He were average height until the age of 16. When he suddenly shot up to his current height. Within seven years.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
In 1991 I got my qualification as a project engineer. This job was a very big challenge. I had been training for six years to do it. My first mission was to conduct a flight test to solve the early buffet problem of a jet trainer.
There were ten out of sixty jet trainers which encountered early buffet problems. These ten jet trainers were prototypes. For some unknown reason, they tended to buffet earlier than other normal jet trainers when landing. Buffet is caused by air stream separation. Pilots would feel shaking on the stick when the jet trainer flies in a low speed approaching the runway. No pilot likes this!
I won't distract you from our main objective which is to celebrate the coming of spring with our own Language Centre Barbecue.
But to keep up honest, this is the work that will occupy us in the morning:
- A few sentences dictated from this morning's newspaper
- The same story from the paper for you to read and then rewrite in less than 100 words
- Check the narrative that I published on your behalf yesterday for errors and give them to me on a piece of paper
- Punctuate the 23 random sentences on the other worksheet, and check your answers by visiting this punctuation site. (There are many other sites for punctuation practice. I like this one the best, and also this one)
- Finally, I shall give you the information sheet that I forgot to give you yesterday. We shall look at it more closely tomorrow (after the resits).
Monday, September 17, 2007
Usually we played games by ourselves including throwing stones. The game was to see who could throw a stone furthest into the forest. We also made kites. Sometimes, we climbed up mountains and swam in the sea. We didn’t have money to buy things, and our parents always taught us we couldn’t steal things from stores. They said we must always pay before leaving. I kept this advice in my mind.
One day, when I was walking past the dump, I saw a beautiful doll inside a heap of rubbish. Even though the doll was covered with leftover food and was smelly, she was lovely.
I put the doll inside my rubbish bag and hid it under my bed. I was scared because I had taken it from the dump without paying. I had stolen the doll from the dump.
A week later, when I came back home after school, I discovered that my doll had disappeared. I saw my mother holding my doll and standing in front of me. I was so scared. I started to cry. I couldn’t stop until my mother used her hand to cover my mouth, and she asked me about the doll. I told her the truth and then my mother told me that the doll was rubbish from someone who threw it away. We didn’t have to pay for it.
It wasn’t a piece of rubbish - it was the first doll in my life. My mother didn’t blame me. In fact, she cleaned up my doll and allowed me to sleep with it.
After I got the doll from the dump, I discovered that it wasn’t only a dump for rubbish. It was a paradise for me. No matter if it was sunny or rainy, my mother would always be able to find me there.
We booked it at once and on Valentine’s Day in the afternoon, we set off in the car. Although it was raining heavily and was cold and windy, we were still happy and excited.
This trip took us about three hours, and finally we saw the flat in the distance. It stood in a huge wood between the town and the mountains. The forest reached as far as the mountain tops. We drove into the huge front yard, down a long wide cement road. We went to the door and knocked on it lightly. The door opened slowly. The owner, a small old woman, was wearing dirty working clothes, carrying a broom and dustpan.
We ran to the car, and drove to the town to look for a hotel to stay in. We were worried that it would be hard to find. Eventually we found a small hotel beside a church just as midnight was striking. “Happy Valentine’s Day” the manager said and then he gave us a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates. We were so happy and excited that we hugged and laughed.
I think “Seeing is Believing” is a good proverb. An advertisement picture is good, but we should not believe it completely. Sometimes it is not true.
I stopped the engine, got out and looked at the left side of the car. I found the door was damaged due to the carelessness of the young female driver. I asked her to ring the police, but she woudn't. She told me that she given me all the information about her car and her insurance company. I was worried, so I stopped a driver and asked him what I should do about this accident and then he told me that her information was enough.
When my son came back home, I explained to him what had happened and then he phoned her and got more details from the young woman. The next day, I made a claim to my insurance company. After two days, the company rang me to tell me to send my car to the panelbeating shop to be repaired. I did that and the shop arranged a temporary car for me.
Finally, I received my car as good as new. It took about three weeks until it was sorted out. I was very happy because I am used to driving my own car. When young drivers are careless, it can cause problems.
On the third day of our holiday, we went on a boating trip on a long and winding river. The river was deep and the current was strong. We were very excited and also nervous because we had never had any experience of this, and we couldn’t control the boat. We just floated along, and the boat circled around on the water. Suddenly we ran into a current, and the boat was quickly dashed against a rock.
At the time, I didn’t grip the rope well and fell into the water before anyone could reach me. I was terrified and frightened; I couldn’t catch up with the boat and was quickly swept away. Unfortunately I went into a whirlpool, and even though I was making a good effort to escape, I couldn’t swim out. I was tired and I thought I couldn’t survive much longer in the water, but luckily I got hold of a rock and clung desperately to it.
About twenty minutes later, the guide with an assistant rowed in a boat close to the rock. They threw a rope and shouted to me, “Hang on. We’ll get you out!” I tried to catch the rope many times, but it was still too far from me. Finally the guide dove into the water and brought it to me. Then I was soon taken to the riverbank.
When I recall the matter, even now I still appreciate the guide. I believe that it was the most exciting holiday of my life.
That morning, we got up early and met them at their place. We spent thirty minutes getting to theriver. After Paul put the boat in the water, he showed us how to put on the lifejackets, and then he patiently explained the safety rules to us. If the boat went fast, we would have to hold on tight. Then we were off.
We were ready to face the big challenge. The view of the riverbank was incredible. The ride of thrills, fun and excitement took us along a beautiful river environment, lined with native bush and sheer rock cliffs. Then the engines roared and we were pushed black into our seats. We sped down the river with the wind whipping our hair and water spraying all around us.
Paul span the wheel and made the boat spin 360 degrees. My stomach was churning and I was laughing so much. I heard the other people yell. Back down the river we hurtled. We sped around a corner and headed straight toward a bank. I closed my eyes. Suddenly, the engine started steaming and making strange noises and then stopped right in the middle of the river. All of us were frightened and worried. I was anxious that we would be stranded for some hours. Fortunately after twenty minutes, Paul got the boat up and running again.
Finally, we headed back to shore safely. We were all wet and exhausted. When we got on the bank and stood on the earth again, we had acheived the most exciting and wildest ride that we had ever had, and also we felt very happy.
It was a nice day which we have never forgotten. We had never go to try anything new, since the year we moved to New Zealand, so this memory stands out.
Before my birthday my dad bought a big birthday cake. I was very happy. "WOW! It looks very delicious and fantastic!" I shouted with joy. But then our dog jumped on the cake! The cake got out of shape. I cried and tears rolled down my face. The dog was very bad. I want to smack it. My mum said, "Don't cry! I'll make a beautiful birthday rice cake." She soothed me, to stop me crying.
Next day my mum made a birthday rainbow rice cake with eleven candles on it, and she also prepared a lot of food. My two brothers decorated our house with all kinds of coloured balloons, and they decorated my room with flowers and pictures, just like a house in a fairy tale. That day I received many presents from my friends and they all joined in singing happy birthday. After the party we played games for three hours. My eleventh birthday party had the largest number of my friends attending.
After the birthday party, I hugged my mum and I said to her, "I love you mum. You are the best mum in the world." My mum also hugged me tight. That night I dreamed of my birthday party.
Sometimes I am absorbed in memories of my childhood, and I want to return to my childhood when I see black and white photographs.
The memory of my eleventh birthday party still remains as an exciting event.
I first came to New Zealand in April, 2007. Everywhere was clean, not crowded and there were a lot of places to relax, so I was very impressed.
Even though New Zealand is peaceful, I have sometimes had some adventures. One day, I had to visit my relatives in Orewa. I had never been there before.
I set out at seven o’clock from Greenlane Road in Auckland and drove along the motorway. Carefully I checked signs because I didn’t want to waste any time losing my way.
Five minutes later, my aunt called me on my mobile, asking where I was. We talked for about two minutes, and then I saw two signs that I couldn’t tell apart. The first was “Nelson” and the other was “Newton”. I chose “Nelson”. After that everything became like a whirlpool.
I lost my way and drove for an hour around and around the city centre. I tried to find the right way, but I reached the Sky Tower instead. I had planned to visit here once, but not now. I kept driving past Auckland University and stopped my car to ask someone, but he answered too quickly for me, so I didn’t understand him.
“Try again,” I told myself. I drove along the road and saw a lot of boats sailing on the sea. When I was in Thailand, my friend told me that Auckland is the city of sails. When I saw them, I knew what she meant.
Fortunately, I saw the Auckland Harbour Bridge. That reminded me of the way to Orewa. Then I could find the sign to cross the bridge and reach my destination even though it was very late.
However, that morning was not so bad. It was an excursion that I have never forgotten.
After lunch when we were studying in the class room, somebody knocked on the door, we saw a policeman. He started investigate the incident. The drive of the car returned home for lunch, he opened the boot of the car and saw a hand. He had a poor heart condition of course he felt a terribly stressed. His wife called the police.
All the students were shocked and afraid by policeman’s visit. I thought “Oh dear! We are going to have a big problem!”
After class we had to write explaining this incident. I felt nervous and stressed, because every day the policeman came and asked over and over again what happened that day. I thought it would never end.
On the other hand it was a good experience for everybody, because we never did anything like this again.
It was many years ago, but I still remember everything which happened in my student life. I had an unforgettable and exciting time.
It took four hours to get there from Christchurch. We arrived there early in the morning. We were very excited. It was really warm and everything was completely different. As we went into the airport an old man was singing a song and playing a traditional instrument. A big Pacjfic woman brought a beautiful garland of flowers and put it around my neck.
We stayed at a gorgeous resortt. Werented a car and drove around the Island which only thirty minetes. Eveyday we enjoyed many kinds of activities such as canoeing, snorkeling, crab racing, dancing and coconut tree climbing. One day we went canoeing with some people, we decided to paddle to one spot which didn't seem dangerous. When we got there my children jumped into the water and tried to swim. They realized the water was very deep and started to panic. They tried to get out of the water but couldn't because of the strong current.
I also panicked and shouted loudly. I couldn't do anything because if I jumped into thewater it would cause more confusion.
Fortunately, three canoes came. One of the ladies stayed cal, and told me not to panic. Then she rowed to my children and helped them to get into their canoes.
After my children were safe, we went back to the resort. We decided to keep our of trouble so we stayed in our room until the final day. Although we had had a bad experience we had a good time there.
One day he was playing with a small ball in his room. At that moment I was cooking a meal in the kitchen and I tried to look in at him from time to time. Suddenly I heard him shout and I quickly went to the room. I found him crying and repeating 'the ball, the ball'. "Where is it ?" He showed me his mouth. I decided that he had probably swallowed the ball. I asked him, "Did you swallow it ?". He nodded his head and it seemed like he meant, 'yes'. "Are you suffocating ?" I asked, because he started to gasp.
Immediately I remember the advice of Dr Spock, a very famous and popular American pediatrician. I jumped up and put Alex in front of me and I started to press his chest. After a few minutes he cried with joy, "Ah...my ball" and pointed to the floor.
Only then I realized that it had been a misunderstanding. Alex had never swallowed the ball. He had only tried to show me what would happen, if he did. I started to cry and laugh happily at the same time. It was my first attempt at giving someone first aid and I will remember it all of my life.
I used to ask my dad many questions, so my dad looked at me and said, ‘I will tell you where the house is and how many bedrooms are there. Sometimes my dad was angry with my questions, but this day he was not. With a big smile he told me everything about the house and he answered all my questions.
I could not wait to see it when I knew there was a swimming pool. However, when our car stopped at the house I was shocked, because I saw a big dog standing in front of it, so I cried and I said to my parents, “Oh, what is that?” My dad said the dog belonged to the owner and he was supposed to stay outside in the backyard. I hated dogs, so I could not imagine how I could stay in the house with it.
Therefore I refused to spend the holiday at the house with that dog and I said to my parents that I was going back to the car, but my dad said, “He will not hurt you. He is chained up you. You do not have to go near him.” I went into the house and I tried to enjoy playing with my sisters.
After a few days I got used to listening to his barking and sometimes I looked out of my bedroom window at him. I even, tried to give him some food. By the end of the holiday we had became friends and I did not hate dogs any more.
Good morning, and welcome to the start of the last week of term.
I shall tell you the results of the narrative writing assessment that you did in morning class recently. Seven of you passed on the first trial, and I hope that the rest of you will do so this week. I am suggesting Wednesday for that.
After I inform you of the results, I would like the 7 of you that achieved to work elsewhere from 9 until 10.30. Your job is to find a computer and to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org your stories. Write them as a word document please, and attach them. Everyone will have a few errors to correct, irrespective of whether you passed.
In class I shall work with the rest of you to help you correct your own work. I will not do it for you, but you may submit your work as often as you like.
After the break please meet me in the computer suite. I want to upload your narratives onto this site. If you wish your story to be anonymous then that is okay. However, all of your stories are worth reading, and I think it would be a good idea to 'publish' them in this fashion.
Finally, here is an excellent site for you to continue improving your writing.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Internet was down up until about 30 minutes before class, so this is a rush job!
I dug out a couple of worksheets from 2005 - were you in my class then? Maybe George and Carol and one or two others were). Anyway, this is what we'll do:
I've printed you off a sheet with an article on each side. One of them is a bottom-up activity, where you inset the missing words. The words I chose are small ones, ones which are often overlooked in English class.
On the other side is an article about glaciers. The dictation I will give you comes from that. I want you to see if the phrases I give you exist in the article. I'm talking about meaning here - not the exact words.
After that I did a quick search for "Glaciers warming ESL". I found an idea for quick discussions, writings etc. We shall run with those.
I found a 2-min documentary that we can try to see, and if you are interested there are many resources listed at this site. (There's a bit French here, but don't let that put you off.)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
First, your narrative texts. Just to let you prepare, about half of you have achieved this the first time. The other half will need to do a resit as soon as possible - probably next Monday. I shall go over the main reasons for people not achieving their assessments during the first half hour. It is important that you know. Errors made include:
- inappropriate modelling
- too much poor grammar and/or spelling
- trying something new (no preparation, correction or practice)
- odd punctuation - full stops in the middle of sentences, commas and stops at the start of lines
- run-on sentences (trying to link sentences with commas)
- no clear paragraphs
- writing too much - 350 words! - (and not having time to correct)
- using a non-narrative text (or at least no clear resolution)
As for your tasks:
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Let's have a topic-related class today. The topic is 'Habits' - which is what you'll be talking about during conversation hour.
Yesterday I asked you about your on-line English habit. Today we'll look at all sorts of habits.
After some dictation I shall get you to do a brainstorm about that word. That will develop your mental agility - an important thing for using English.
I did a search with the terms 'habit and 'ESOL' and came up with five sites you might take a look at whenever you have a pare moment.
The first gives an alternate set of conversation questions.
The second is a friendly letter of advice for developing English learning habits.
The third is for teachers of absolute beginners of English.
The fourth is an interesting looking ESL learning site. The page you arrive at is all about the human body, healthy habits etc.
The fifth is an interesting article about lifelong learning.
But to get back to what we will be doing . . .
I discovered a one-page lesson plan for teachers on the Internet. That is the one I would like to try and work through with you. I have printed you each off a copy.
I guess that my habit is using my blog every day to teach my class!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Today students showed the class their favourite English learning sites:
Jack likes this listening site.
George wishes to work on grammar at this site. It also helps him with word order.
Prah likes this site because it has a range of topics and is easy to listen to.
Ken has a new site he likes. It is good for IELTS.
Safaa did not come to the lab, but she told us that this site with many things is her favourite.
Samantha thinks that this site, even though it is not about English, is useful in other ways.
William recommends this site. Marc Recommended it to him (me).
Consequently, after our dictation warm-up I shall get you in groups. I shall set you this task: share with everyone your experience with your favourite on-line English learning site. You need to tell the others, and you need to hear about each other's sites. In the computer suite today you may repeat your talk and show all of us where you like to go, and what you like to do. About 5 minutes for each person ought to do it.
As soon as I hear back about your assessment results I shall let you know. Any resits will need to take place as soon as possible. Because of that, your next exercise will be another grammar hunt. I shall choose a news story from this useful news site.
Finally, if we have time, I shall dip into the blue pencil case for a random conversation skill for us to practise.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
For the first part of this class I shall have you work on your own. I suggest that you work in pairs, and I suggest that you work with a new partner each time you change activities. This is so that I have a chance to give last-minute advice concerning tomorrow's assessment. After morning tea we shall check all of today's work together, and after that I feel that you deserve a delicious Food Festival. We'll finish ten minutes early so that we get the best seats!
Okay, let's go! Here's your list of activities:
- Single-words dictation
- True/false questions about the reading you received yesterday
- Conversation worksheet
- Listen and read for only 5 to 10 minutes to explore a website about brainfood
- Correct the last two paragraphs of the silly story I gave you yesterday
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The title of this post refers to the narrative I'm going to give you. It is a story that won't make much sense, story-wise. But it includes many of the error that you have made (yesterday I received 8 stories from you to check over). It makes sense, though, because it will make you think about how to correct the deliberate mistakes.
During the winter three years ago, my husband and I decided to go away. We went on a trip in a river. We enjoying the nature. I saw many boats sailed on the water. There were many penguins we could see them. I thought had a lot of place to relax. I was impressed in NZ. I didn’t want to losting the way. There were a lot of land. There was a crowed of travelers.
Please check before hand. We talked about 2 minutes. I also paniced. Fortunatly, three canoeing came. One of lady was staying clam. She rowed my children and helped them to mount on their canoes. We prepared anything for the trip. Just few minutes later, it broke. After one hour wait, they arrived. My luckily, I saw the bridge. That remind me of the way. That morning was not bad, it was my special excursion. Even now, I could still shiver.
I had ever planed to vist the
I was shock because there was a big and fat dog. The dog was very hate and I want to smack. I hate dogs so I can not imagine how I could stay with that dog. I was about to cried and a tearful my face. I huged m mum and I said to her, “I love mum in the world.” She soothed a crying me. After few days I listened to his bark. We became Friends.
We enjoyed special meals every times I’m not able to enjoy evey food, because I used to Chinese food during my life. I use to the varity food. Looks like very delicious. Only I ate fruits and water. After eat we played games. We watched the traditional island’s dance.Other things we'll do in this class:
- 5 minutes to prepare for student reps meeting
- Kung Fu dictation
- Conversation lucky dip
- Pair correction
- Final Toastmasters advice
Monday, September 03, 2007
It is easy to write to you everyday. What should we do?
- Dictation about breakfast. Safaa asked me about using 'had had' - so we had a mini-grammar session.
- I encouraged people to think about getting $100 for a food festival. We shall join this Wednesday.
- The topic for today is Moscow. We heard that Moscow is the world's costliest city.
- Now, here are some sites I've seen recently. One is about reading, one is about ESOL in general, and one is the listening that we discovered in the classroom.
Enjoy yourselves, and thanks for listening/watching/following me on the screen!