• two students today

1) verbal “telling” of drafts for “con man” paragraph (see (1) in 06.11 entry)
2) discussion of news stories (both students made brief reports.)

• • ASSIGNMENTS 06.18 (for submission 06.28)
1) paragraph in response to the topics given in the “ story exchange” activity for “Giorgio Angelozzi
2) find a news story (from somewhere!) and be ready to report on it verbally in the next class.

• two students today

1) general conversation
2) supplementary questions on Bradley Fowler.

1) write a draft of a paragraph in response to the topics given in the “ story exchange” activity for “Giorgio Angelozzi” Be ready to report on your draft (verbally, not by reading) in the next class.
2) read the story “Darlene Wagner” and do the vocabulary quiz and the multiple-choice questions
3) find a news story (from somewhere!) and be ready to report on it verbally in the next class.

• one student today

1) the assignments from the previous class had not been done by the one student who was present nor had the absent student submitted any work so;
2) the class time was devoted to working on and correcting the punctuation exercise “The Man Who Cheated Me” (from the “extras” page of “Giorgio Angelozzi”)

1) (OLD ASSIGNMENTS) do the assignments for 05.28 (see previous entry)
2) (NEW ASSIGNMENT) read the story “Bradley Fowler” and do the vocabulary quiz and the multiple-choice questions.

• two students today

• • SUMMARY 05.28
1) supplementary questions on “Fauja Singh”
2) vocabulary exercise: words to sentences/stories (based on twenty words taken from vocabulary quizzes of first five pairs of paired stories)
3) there was no discussion of Error Sheet #4 because I’d already corrected one student’s work and the other one had not done the exercise

NOTE: neither student had really done assignment #1 (see assignments, 05.28 below); this led to a repeated explanation of what was expected, and an impromptu assignment based on a BBC item I found while trying to demonstrate the ease with which such articles can be obtained:
- read this article: “Pakistan detains Axact chief Shoaib Sheikh over ’fake degrees’“ and report.
I gave them only four or five minutes to read the (short) article, but their reports indicated that they both had at least a pretty good idea of what the story was about.

1) read Giorgio Angelozzi (and after finishing, read the two updates)
2) do “Words to Story Activity for “Fauja Singh” and “Giorgio Angelozzi”” (and remember this is a story telling activity not a writing activity; don’t put anything on paper at any point)
3) do Error Sheet #5
4) REPEAT: do “BBC reporting exercise” (see (1) 05.20)

• • THE NEXT CLASS WILL BE AT 11:00 a.m., (UTC -4) Thursday, June 4

• one student today

• • SUMMARY 05.20
1) supplementary questions on “Fauja Singh”
2) “general knowledge” discussion about recent history of “Middle East” prompted by “extra” question on shouts of “Saddam” and “Osama”
3) student read draft of paragraph on care of handicapped (final to be submitted next week)

1) go to Middle East section of BBC News site and find article (or video) to study and report on for next week’s class
2) do error sheet #4
3) continue with review of words in vocabulary quizzes for the first ten paired stories (“Gabriela Byrne” to “Richard Coman”)

• two students today

• • SUMMARY 05.13
1) supplementary questions on “Richard Coman”
2) retells of “Richard Coman”
3) vocabulary review exercise for paired stories 1-5 (make up story using randomly chosen words)
4) backwards expansion drills for “Richard Coman”

1) read “Fauja Singh” and do vocabulary quiz and multiple choice questions
2) prepare to give oral presentation of plan for writing assignment due 05.27: topic A or B, on the page, “Writing Activities for ‘Richard Coman’ ” (This could be done with an oral presentation using notes or by reading a draft aloud.)
3) continue with review of words in vocabulary quizzes for the first ten paired stories (“Gabriela Byrne” to “Richard Coman”)

• two students today

• • SUMMARY 05.06
1) brief discussion of the technical quality of the listening, “Loggers vs the Asheninka,”
2) oral questions on “Loggers vs the Asheninka,” (teacher to students) using a pre-prepared list of “supplementary questions”
3) retells of paired story, “Melissa Crawford” (each of the two students retold approximately half the story
4) oral questions on “Melissa Crawford” (teacher to students) using a pre-prepared list of “supplementary questions”

• • ASSIGNMENTS 05.06:
1) write a paragraph on one of the “story exchange” topics (A. or B.) on the conversation and writing activities page “Melissa Crawford”
2) read “Richard Coman”; do the vocabulary and multiple-choice questions; and be prepared to re-tell the story in class

• four students today

• • SUMMARY 04.29
1) most of the class was devoted to conversation coming out of the assigned vocabulary activity on “Dorothy Stang” (see entry of 04.22). This was a success even though not all the students had done the work. (Still a long way, however, from the sort of teacher-independent inter-student conversation which an exercise like this is intended to provoke.)
2) toward the end of the class the students tested the new listening activity, “Loggers vs the Ashéninka”. Since one student didn’t have earphones it wasn’t really possible to test it during the class (beyond just making sure that everyone could hear it and that it was loud enough).

• • ASSIGNMENTS 04.29:
1) Listen to “Loggers vs the Ashéninka”. If you don’t understand it clearly the first time, keep listening until you feel you have understood as much as you can. (The listening is approximately ten minutes long.) Then send me a short e-mail telling me how well you understood and making any other comments on the exercise that you may have. Then write a transcript of a part of the listening that you find particularly interesting or easy to understand. Be prepared to read this transcript aloud in our next class.)

2) If you haven’t already read “Melissa Crawford,” do so. Do the vocabulary quiz and the multiple-choice quiz. And be prepared to participate in a re-tell and to answer questions in the next class.

• only one student but a successful class which proceeded according to plan

• • SUMMARY 04.22
White Snake: discussion of “White Snake” punctuation exercise
• Dorothy Stang: conversational work on supplementary questions for “Dorothy Stang”
• Edwin Chota: impromptu listening activity on “Edwin Chota”

• • ASSIGNMENTS 04.29:
1) • “Dorothy Stang” vocabulary exercise:
- if you haven’t already read “ Dorothy Stang” carefully, read it
- make a list of six words in the story which seem particularly important or interesting
- prepare at least one sentence (don’t write it down, just keep it in your head) for each of these words in which you make a connection between that word and something in your past life. (For example, if you chose the word “grazing” you might say something about how the word reminds you of childhood car trips you took with your parents during which you were impressed by the sight of cows and horses grazing in fields.)

2) • “Melissa Crawford:”
- read the story “Melissa Crawford” and be prepared to retell it in class
- do the vocabulary and multiple choice questions for “Melissa Crawford”


questions on “Felipe Arreaga:”
The idea was to begin with a set of prepared, and quite detailed, questions on “Felipe Arreaga.” But I soon realized that only one of the students seemed to know the text well, so I gave them five minutes to look at it. After that we spent the rest of the hour working on the questions. (Eighteen of them.) This went well. The only problem was that I did too much of the talking/ (There was some conversation, but it was mainly between me and one or another of the students.)

• assignments for 04.22:
A) (previously assigned) The "White Snake punctuation exercise (mentioned in last week’s log.) (Print it out and do it on paper; when you’re finished look at the “key” on the next page.)
(1) read “Dorothy Stang.” As you read the story look up any words that you don’t know (or that you’re not sure of) and make a careful note of their meaning; later, in preparation for a vocabulary activity in next week’s class, make a list of six of the words you have looked up which seem particularly important or interesting.
(2) begin to prepare for vocabulary quiz at some point in future on the vocabulary on the first three pairs of stories in the second series of “paired stories” (see the reading directory)

presentations and conversation concerning “Wangari Maathai” writing assignment (see assignments section in 04.01 entry):
there were only two students today; however it was a successful class, and this first part, which lasted about forty minutes, was particularly successful. Both students spoke clearly, and interestingly about the material they had gathered, and both had questions and replies to offer. The only problem was that in one case there was much too much material and something of a lack of focus on any particular aspect of the situation being described.

“Wangari Maathai” vocabulary activity:
the remaining class time was devoted to working together on the “Wangari Maathai” vocabulary activity which I had forgotten to give as an assignment last week. With a little help from me, this was done quite easily despite the difficulty of the exercise. Of course, I have no idea as to how well even the best students in the class would have done working on their own.

• assignments for 04.15:
A) (repeated from previous week) 1: (optional) Fukushima listening if you haven’t already done it (see assignment section for 03.25); 2: Felipe Arreaga if you haven’t already done it (see assignment section for 03.25). B) (new) “The White Snake” punctuation exercise

conversation re Wikipedia article on Wangari Maathai:
this was fairly successful; at least there was some genuine inter-student communication based on a reading of parts of the article. (For example: one expressed dismay over the fact that WM left her children with her husband when she got divorced.)

• presentation of verbal drafts for “Wangari Maathai” writing assignment (see previous entry):
this was moderately successful at least in the case of the two students who showed that they had taken the assignment seriously. They both had an excellent basic idea, but in one case there was very little sign of thought about how this basic idea might be developed, with details etc., into a well-structured content-carrying paragraph.

technical problems:
three of the students had problems maintaining their connection. They think this is because there is a problem with their wi-fi connection. I’m wondering if perhaps it has something to do with the operating system or version of Skype they’re using. The most serious problem is not the instability of the connection because it seems this that can quite easily be re-established; it’s the fact that when they try to re-connect they call me but if I answer their call then the group conversation is ended. One of the three doesn’t have this problem; she explained that she reconnects simply by returning to the “page” of the conversation and then asking to return (or something of the sort). Because I’m so ignorant of Skype, and not sure of exactly what she means, I’ve asked her to explain her method to the other two.

• assignments for 04.08
a) assignments carried over from last week: 1: (optional) Fukushima listening if you haven’t already done it (see assignment section for 03.25); 2: Felipe Arreaga if you haven’t already done it (see assignment section for 03.25).
b) new assignment: write draft of paragraph in response to one of the three paragraph topics on Wangari Maathai reading activity page and be prepared to read it aloud in class.

The first attempt at getting students to carry on a real conversation with each other. This was based on last week’s assignment: looking at first section on the writing activities page for “Wangari Maathai,” choosing one of the paragraph topics and taking the first preparatory step toward actually writing a paragraph — thinking, without writing anything down about what you might say in a paragraph on the chosen topic and getting ready to discuss your ideas with the other students in the class. This exercise went remarkably well. All four students who participated in the class had thought about what they wanted to say and all succeeded in conveying their thoughts to the others. There was also an encouraging amount of question and answer activity between the students — certainly enough to convince me that this sort of activity, and this sort of material, are pedagogically practical.

vocabulary review: some time was spent reviewing vocabulary from Wangari Maathai, but this was done too casually and without proper preparation (just a matter of picking a word from the vocabulary quiz and inviting students to come up with a sentence using it). Possibilities for future improvement: using one or another of the vocabulary review exercises from Morgan and Rinvolucri Vocabulary or a fill-in-the-blanks exercise based on sentences from newspaper archives or concordances.

assignments for 04.01: (1) read “Felipe Arreaga” and do vocabulary and multiple-choice quizzes.(2) do further preparation for paragraph in response to paragraph assignments in “Wangari Maathai” writing activities (don’t write the paragraph yet but be ready to give a verbal version of it to other students); (3) (optional) look at Wangari Maathai Wikipedia page; if you have any comments or questions, you’ll be given a chance to bring them up in the next class; (4) (optional) listen to “Fukushima anniversary” (earphones are recommended) and (a) send me an e-mail message saying how well you understood and also mentioning any technical difficulties you had; (b) write a summary of the listening and send it to me for correction.

• 04.01
detailed discussion of “Wangari Maathai” (including impromptu comprehension questions)

first class of new term: • general introductory conversation;
Fukushima anniversary listening activity