Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Compliments & Comparisons, Day 3

Compliments and Similes

Here are some examples of the "compliments" that came out of the simile compliments lesson. I wish I'd collected everyone's, but I only thought of doing it after the first class went. They're pretty awesome.
From class 2-1:

"His brain shines like a star."

"Your body is as thin as paper."

"Your eyes are as black as seaweed."

"Your lips are red like a red-bellied frog."

"Olivia smiles like Mona Lisa."

"Jessica's head is as small as a bird."

"Olivia is as smart as a bear."

"Who's existence is as amazing as Luke?"

"Hosung's motion is as cuty as little pet."

"Sewoon's emotions are as deep as the black hole."

"His wisdom is as wise as sage."

"He's humanity is as good as saint."

"Laura smiles like a halloween character (pumpkin)."

"Your lips are as thick as Jolie's."

And Class 2-2:

"Charlie's brain is as smart as a computer"

"Charlie's brain flows like a river."

"Dean looks like a lion."

"Ethan's eye is as big as a frog's."

"Dong Won is as tall as a tree."


It's Wednesday.
It's 8:24am, I haven't started my first class, and I'm already exhausted.

BUT when I go home today, I will return home to a be-couched apartment! That's right, my big jolly green couch arrived yesterday, thanks to JJ's kindly volunteering to meet the delivery guy 'cause I get out of school superlate. So now I have accomplished ALMOST all of the Apartment Things that I set out to do -- clean it, put American food in it, buy it an oven, a couch, and a big fat TV. It feels like a real apartment now! Which is good, since I'll be living in it until the end of next July.

OK, time to green tea my way into being a tolerable human being in front of my students. Believe you me, though, this is one of those days where I'm counting down the hours till I can go home and pass out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"No Air" by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown (Cross-Posted from teaching blog)

Today, first grade students watched the video for "No Air," a duet between Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown.

"No Air" uses metaphors and similes to talk about how difficult it is to be apart from someone you love.

A metaphor is a way of describing something by comparing it with something else that has some of the same qualities.

  • Example: He is so tall! He's a giant.

A simile is a phrase that compares two things, using the words "like" or "as."

  • Example: The test room was as silent as a graveyard.
You can watch the video for "No Air" again on Youtube here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lesson Plans for This Week

Time: 50 minutes
Prep: low (print worksheets and load youtube video)
Tech: high (computer hooked up to TV/projector)
Song: "No Air" by Jordin Sparks, featuring Chris Brown
Video link: here
Handouts: lyric worksheet, attached, with a reverse side on metaphors and similes (don't stress, it's super-simple)

1. Greetings and check-in. Question of the day: what did you do during Chuseok vacation?
2. Introduce the song. This didn't take long, as apparently Chris Brown is famous, and my kids know who Jordin Sparks is because we did "One Step at a Time."
3. Play the video once. Ask them for general thoughts on it (happy or sad, genre of song, etc).
4. Pass out the worksheet and play it again. And a third time. And a fourth time. It's a tough song! Check in with them after each one -- my classes on average had about 30% filled in the first time, maybe 60% the second time, and 80% the last. Yep, Chris Brown needs elocution lessons like whoa. :roll:
5. Correct answers with the class. If there are any answers that zero students got (apparently #5 is the stickiest of them), then replay that clip of the song until someone gets it. Tell them to bring their worksheet to the next class.

Time: 50 minutes
Prep: low (print compliments worksheet)
Tech: high (re-play "No Air" vid)
Handouts: "compliments with similes," attached
Objectives: Ss will understand the difference between "literal" and "metaphorical," will learn the phrase patterns "[subject] is as [adj] as (n.d.) [noun]" and "[subject] [verb] like (n.d.) [noun]." Ss will also learn some cultural differences between Korea and America in giving and receiving compliments.

1. Review the song from yesterday. Play the video again and have them sing along with the chorus.
2. Remind them that this song compares the feeling of a break-up with the feeling of having "no air." This song has many comparisons. It has two types of comparisons: metaphors and similes.
3. Have them turn over their "No Air" worksheet to the back. On it is an explanation of metaphors and similes and 10 examples that they have to categorize as a metaphor or simile. It's simple stuff, the vast majority of students seemed to get 8+ right.
4. Correct the metaphor/simile worksheet
5. Pass out the "Compliments with similes" worksheet. Instruct them to use the sheet to make compliments (in my class they complimented the 3 other students at their table and 1 celebrity). Give them 10 minutes to do this. Walk around and help. Tell students who finish early to turn their page over and look at the "How To Take a Compliment" do's and don'ts.
6. Briefly go through the do's and don'ts
7. Have students read compliments to each other and practice accepting them graciously.

Variation: You might be able to do the Tuesday lesson as a stand-alone. If so, I'd suggest filling the time left by the review of the song by having them to "good" and "bad" examples of how to take a compliment. Comedy will no doubt ensue.
Bonus: I skimmed through this before I talked to them about cultural differences with compliments. It's pretty general, but also interesting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pictures of the first meal and the first dessert with the new oven. JJ roasted a chicken and vegetables (DELICIOUS) and I made garlic bread and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

Yesterday I made chocolate cream puffs. It's the first time I ever tried to make a legit custard (for the filling), and it came out great. I now have tupperware filled with chocolate pudding in the fridge. MMmmmm.

Today I'm making banana bread. One big one in a loaf pan and one small round in the rice cooker. Necessity is the mother of invention, and thanks to the months living here before I got the oven, I discovered that I actually really like rice cooker banana bread :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Chuseok!

Happy Chuseok 2010!

Thanks to Chuseok falling on a Wednesday this year, Koreans get to enjoy almost a full week off. I plan to spend mine studying, baking, and taking full advantage of everything that my apartment has to offer. Yep, that's the downside -- everything is closed. From the smallest restaurant to the pharmacy outside the hospital, Korea shuts down for Chuseok.

On Friday, I'm headed up to Seoul to see Susan and Ben, ex-ETAs who are doing supercool stuff in the big city. Can't wait :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Monday: "Just the Way You Are" and Compliments (Cross-Posted from school blog)

Today, first grade students talked about compliments.
We listened to Bruno Mars' song "Just the Way You Are." In this song, Bruno gives his girlfriend compliments. He thinks she is beautiful, smart, and has a sexy laugh. But she is not confident, and she rejects his compliments. He is disappointed because she does not accept his compliments.

Korean people and American people use compliments differently.

In Korean culture, it is very common to reject a compliment, like this:
Girl 1: You look pretty with your hair up like that.
Girl 2: No, I don't. I look like an old woman.

But in American culture, it is less common. Americans use compliments

Instead, Americans often return a compliment, like this:
Girl 1: You look pretty with your hair up like that.
Girl 2: Thanks. Your hair looks great, too.

Americans also often respond by adding information to help continue the conversation, like this:
Girl 1: You look pretty with your hair up like that.
Girl 2: Thanks. I got it cut at a new place near my apartment. They're great - would you like to come with me next time?
Americans often use compliments to begin conversation or build friendship.

To learn more about comparing Korean and American compliment styles, look at the article outside the English classroom. It reviews scientific studies on Korean and American compliments.

To watch Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" video again, click here.

Monday? More like FUN-day!

Okay, okay, the title may be a smidge misleading. It isn't that this Monday is inherently exceptionally awesome -- in fact, it's cloudy, unbelievably humid, and all around pretty gross outside -- but instead, this is the only day that I'm working this week! Huzzah and three cheers for Chuseok, "Korean Thanksgiving"!

Everyone seems to be in a good mood today. It's not a half day or anything, but everyone's got the rest of the week off, and teachers in Korea get very, very few days off. So pretty much everyone is happy and life at CSHS is good!

Some examples:

-My principal left a box of "traditional Korean mountain wine" on my chair this morning. Pretty neat.
-I brought in 3 rounds of banana bread -- one for the principal, one for the teacher's office, and one for Mr. Moon, the saint of a computer teacher who drives me to school every day. One of the teachers asked me for the recipe! a DUDE teacher. Awesome.
-My package from home finally came today! After problems with customs and FedEx and whatnot, it's taken about 3 weeks to get here. Now I have some little gifties from the parents, a much-needed pair of black flats, and several even-more-needed study books for the GRE Lit test.
-My oven is coming at 5pm today :)
-After lots and lots of miscommunication, my cheap-o futon-y couch has been re-ordered, and will hopefully arrive within 3 weeks. yay!

Today's Lesson:
"Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars, and a few discussion questions on gracious ways to accept compliments.

Lunch: japchae (clear sweet potato-based noodles), pajeon (scallion pancake), rice (obvi), spring onion & cucumber kimchi, ddeok (sweet rice cake, in this case with yummy spiced sesame filling)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14 Lesson

Lesson of the Day: Speed quiz.
Video of the Day: N/A
Lunch: Dixie cup of 5-flavor tea, a hunk of whole pan fried fish, rice with beans in it, radish kimchi (pass), bibimguksu (like...sweet veggie & kimchi angel hair? sort of...)

1. Students continue writing reviews. I feel bad about this, because we were all so over doing that work, but they didn't finish writing in the last class I didn't want to have them start something and end up not having them finish, me never look at their stuff, and for them to feel like their work from last class was worthless.

2. Remind them to edit their reviews, with special attention, as always, to
i. articles
ii. subject-verb agreement
iii. tense (past, present, future)

3. Pass back their corrected pop quizzes, review things that many people got wrong (ex: they had to define "rebel" and I got answers like "someone who can't work well" "someone who is a bad person" "a person who fight against bad things." And always a few kids who confused a rebel (n) with to rebel (v). Probably 60%+ got it right (I defined it as "a person who acts against authority or does not obey rules"), so I feel bad they have to sit through the review, but I try not to dwell.

4. Tell them they're great, and play speed quiz.

Speed Quiz is an oldie but a goodie -- I somehow managed to hold out for all of last semester without using it for the first graders. I wish I had the creativity to save it for midterms or finals season, but I just don't. I needed to fill 35 minutes, and it works great for that. I used a new version that JJ made this time, which took out the outdated Korean pop culture/political figures that kids don't know (pop culture time runs at approximately 2x the speed I'm accustomed to in America, so high school freshmen have no clue about stars that were popular in, say, 2006)

Unintentional Poetry

A found poem gathered from 1-3's pop quizzes

It seems that he is a rebel
He always seems unsatisfied.
She is rebel but she is kindness
Flash forward stop the accident!
To prepare future that is not good.
I'm not a rebel, because I just require a right farely.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lesson Plans before Chuseok Break: 4
Lesson Plans before Conference/midterms break: 7
Weeks until GRE English Lit Test: 8

Today's Lesson


1. Greetings and chitchat

2. Pop Quiz on the idioms/vocab from last week ("to wait tables" "rebel" the noun, "to brace oneself," "flashback" & "flash forward")

3. Reading excerpts of reviews of Taylor Swift's "Mine," and writing their own reviews that include an opinion about whether they agree/disagree with a review and why.

Package Arrived

Today I finally got my hands on one of the two packages my parents sent. This one has two study books for me: The Great Code: The Bible and Literature by Northrop Frye, and Gilbert & Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic, that wonderful, seminal (ovarian?) book often touted as the first major work of modern feminist literary criticism. I've read essays and excerpts, but never got around to the whole thing. And now I can!

Now, if only I can get my second package released from Customs....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Music Monday: Taylor Swift "Mine" (Cross-Posted from my School Blog)

This week, students listened to Taylor Swift's new song, "Mine."
In it, Taylor Swift imagines what her life will be like in the future. She imagines that she is happily married with children and looking at the past. She imagines that when life is difficult, they will sit together and remember the happy history of their love together.

Here is a picture from the video, of Taylor Swift's imagined husband and son:

After listening to the song and discussing the video, we talked about some new vocabulary and idioms from the song.
To wait tables (v): to serve food/drinks, to act as a waiter
Rebel (n): a person who acts against authority or does not obey rules
To brace yourself (v): to prepare yourself for something difficult or bad
Flashback (n): A fast, clear memory
Then, students wrote and performed dialogues using at least 2 of the 3 new vocabulary words from the song. They were very funny!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Busan today and yesterday.
Got an early start on Saturday, and KTXed in by 11. Then we met Keeran and David and went to a bookstore -- really more of a bookstore/bodega hybrid -- and I happily picked up a beat-up 4th edition two-volume Norton Anthology of English Literature. Gotta have that bad boy for the GRE business.

Then on to the beach! It was really nice to get some time at the beach, though it was mega-crowded and the water was pretty gross in a lot of places, trash swirling around the shore. But still -- beach!

We went back to the beach at night after dinner, for some twilight drinkin' and snackin' on the water. Semi-classy, you know how we roll.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kimchi Fried Rice

Lunch today:

Stuff In There:

1+ cups leftover kimchi
~ 3.5 cups of 2-day-old rice (the rice cooker magically keeps it tasty)
Maybe a cup of 2 kinds of mushrooms
Half a can of tuna
Half a zucchini, diced small
An onion, diced small
Gochujang (Korean pepper sauce)
Fried Egg

Conclusions: DELICIOUS

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesdays. Ho hum.

Wednesday. Ugh.

On the way out the door this morning, I squinched my pinkie between two parts of the keypad lock. I swear the first thing I thought was "yep. It's Wednesday all right."
Well, actually the first thing I thought was "AAAUUGHHH!!!" but that was the first thing I thought after that.

I got to school, and sho' nuff - my dependence on ETAB is starting to leak through
First class of the day is still allergic to fun, despite the fact that a few of my favorite students from last year are in that class. They just can't seem to stay awake, or get into the spirit of the thing. It's a room of second semester senior party poopers. I'm pretty sure one of the kids in the back was just doodling penises with mustaches for the entire 50 minutes.

But things are looking up -- my second class was creative and fun. Lunch with the third graders was a good time, as always (though I forgot about buying/making them a treat until just before lunch. Fortunately, I had an emergency chocolate stash at my desk, so I gave them 3 bars to split between the 6 of them). And the toughest part of the Wednesday marathon really only lasts till lunch, after which I get an hour-long break to regroup before my last 2-hour class of the day, so ...breathe. It'll all be over soon -- soon it'll be Thursday!