Applying For the Job: Using Work Simulators in the L2TL Classroom

The EFL Situation

ESL/EFL teachers will immediately recognize the theme of “jobs” as a staple of almost all ESL/EFL textbooks. Even very young students in most places recognize that their parents work or that there are people in their community like police officers or restaurant workers. It is this, assumed, shared understanding that makes “jobs” a very tempting content-subject for teachers.

However, most textbooks have a hard time, or fail completely, to contextualize and situate the content – jobs – with the language use the students should be learning. The following image is a very, very typical type of assignment that language learners might get. It seems well done. It provides images that associate directly to words and contextualizes the jobs in specific places (e.g. teacher – school). How or in what situation the student should need to use the language in the worksheet isn’t even a topic of concern. In fact, the only place such a task will be useful is in the ESL/EFL classroom context itself. Making activities like the one below very hard to transfer to real-world language use, to say nothing about its use in talking about or in those jobs or places.

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The one where I get Final Fantasy VII into a lesson

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In my 7th graders textbook, the reading portion for our current chapter is focused on art history and linguistically on color/feeling words and “makes me feel” type phrases.  They are taught to associate colors with feelings and then make a commentary on a piece of artwork. (“The blue colors in this picture make me feel calm/sad/relaxed.”)

I am reminded of my high school Jazz class where my director tried to get us to develop at least a sense of perfect pitch.  Part of the exercises included listening to notes individually, over and over, trying to associate or think of a color that you identify with that sound.  I never did develop perfect pitch, but that is hardly the fault of my director.  The exercise wasn’t wasted either, as I was recently reminded of it by a ESL Teacher friend here in South Korea, who did a similar lesson with her students.

Since the students are familiar with making associations between feelings and colors, I thought I would add sounds into the mix.  I grabbed four songs from Final Fantasy VII (yes, a video game).  Video game or movie compositions are good because the music generally evokes specific feelings by design. This makes the whole exercise of sound-feeling association less ambigious (while still free and creative).

Using the music from musician Nobuo Uematsu is also wonderful, because he is highly talented and the music is exciting to listen to, even though it is instrumental.  (My students were asking for Kpop by the end of the lesson,  but no one seemed bored by the music).  For my purposes, I used Sephiroth’s Theme, Cloud’s Theme, Aerith’s Theme and the Fighting music.  I tried to pick music that started in one area of the feelings spectrum, but it could be difficult to differentiate the “love” of arieth and “confidence” or “happiness” of Cloud’s theme.

Here’s a little taste of Mr. Uematsu:

I played each song for the students, asking them to just listen and after each song, they told me what colors they “saw” and the feelings the felt.  After the first song, I explicitly reminded them of the phrase “this song makes me feel ______” and asked them to use it.

To reinforce, I used a trick I like to help them remember all the parts of a phrase.  I assign three parts to the phrase,

“this song (1) makes me feel (2) __________ (3)”.  

This draws the students attention to anything they may have forgotten while also covertly teaching grammatical phrases ( ‘this song’ is a noun phrase.  ‘makes me feel’ is a verb phrase and (3) is the object complement).  I then repeat the phrase and with each part, I lift a finger, so that I have three fingers lifted by the end.  Then, when the students practice using this phrase, I don’t have to wait for them to finish, or interupt them to provide meaningful feedback.  As they speak, I lift fingers, indicating that they are on track or if they have missed a piece.

So, for example, if the student responds with “makes me feel sad!” I lift two of the three fingers (each finger maps 1 to 1 with the phrase, so they will know which piece they have forgotten to include).  After awhile, I stop using my fingers and only start doing it again, if they fall back into one word answers.

The students seemed to enjoy the lesson, and at the end we examined the board (now full of feelings and colors) and I told the students that the music comes from a story.  By just looking at the words, I asked them which song they thought represented the main character, the bad guy, etc.  I was sort of surprised that it was pretty clear from their lists that the first song was Sepiroth’s Theme and that the 3rd song was Cloud’s.  I finally disclosed where I got the songs from, but Final Fantasy VII is too old for these youngsters, they hadn’t even heard of it.

Final Fantasy Colors, Feelings and Sounds

Materials Needed:

Pictures to associate colors with feelings (anger  happiness sadness fear warm-up)
Four sample songs (of any genre or type). (Fighting loop Cloud’s theme Aerith’s Theme Sephiroth’s Theme)
Whiteboard, or some way of writing down for the whole class to see
Powerpoint

Performance Objectives:

Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT): associate colorful pictures with feelings.  Students will organize their thoughts and activate their lexical memory by individually writing down as many color words and feeling words that describe the pictures.  They will evaluate in pairs by comparing their word lists and finally class-wide, the color/feeling words will be presented.

SWBAT understand and prepare for listening and associating sounds with colors and feelings by a short introduction by the teacher using language, gesture, and an audio-visual (powerpoint).

SWBAT associate music with colors and feelings without knowing anything a priori about the music.  In pairs students will discuss which feelings and colors they felt and saw and then the teacher or a volunteer will organize the words and write them on the board under “song #1”.

SWBAT express their feelings using the phrase, “makes me feel” to describe their feeling words to the second song.  Before playing song #2, the teacher will write the phrase, “this song makes me feel ________” on the board and says the phrase while gesturing to their heart on the word “feel”, followed by a mimic of any emotion.  Students will repeat the exercise for song #2, making use of the phrase “this song makes me feel _________”.  For the 3rd song, the teacher will erase, “makes me feel” and repeat the exercise.  Finally on the 4th song, “this song” is erased, and the students must perform the communicative act from memory.

SWBAT use the feeling and color words they said to describe the story the songs convey.  As a class, the students will discuss themes like, “fear” and “love”.  When the discussion ends, the teacher will reveal where the music comes from.

Before Class:

Ensure each song is ready to be played and which portions of the songs you wish to play for maximum effect.
Ensure you are familiar with the gestures and miming that you will use to help with student comprehension in the introduction, presentation and evaluation.

Warm-up: (5 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT associate colorful pictures with feelings.  Students will organize their thoughts and activate their lexical memory by individually writing down as many color words and feeling words that describe the pictures.  They will evaluate in pairs by comparing their word lists and finally class-wide, the color/feeling words will be presented.

A.    Instructional Strategy:
individual, pair, class work
B.    Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual
C.    Task Description:
Following up on prior lessons, reactivate the students memory of color/feeling associations by showing a series of pictures which explicitly express simply feelings (sadness, anger, happiness, love, etc.).  Have the students label a piece of paper on one side as “FEELINGS” and the other “COLORS”.  Draw the students attention to the facial and body language of the pictures and any dominate colors.  Gesture that they should think (point to head, rub chin) of as many colors (point to many colors), and feelings (mimic sad/happy) and then write them down (actually do this on the board).  Give the students 1-2 minutes.After a time, tell the students to work in pairs and grow their list to as many feelings/colors as they think are appropriate for each picture.  Ask for volunteers to describe their color/feelings.  Write them on the board, and give the students a moment to copy any words they may not know.  Clarify any feeling/color that most students may not know (e.g. ‘agony’ or ‘cyan’).

 Introduction: (1-2 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT understand and prepare for listening and associating sounds with colors and feelings by a short introduction by the teacher using language, gesture, and an audio-visual (powerpoint).

A.    Instructional Strategy:
lecture
B.    Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual
C.    Task Description:
Using a simple powerpoint or other visual, explain that the students will take the words they know for feelings and colors and use them to describe music.  Following the powerpoint, explain that they will listen to four different songs and describe the colors the music makes them “see” and the feelings it makes them feel.  Explain that the songs are related and that at the end they will discuss why or how.

Presentation: (10-15 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT associate music with colors and feelings without knowing anything a priori about the music.  In pairs students will discuss which feelings and colors they felt and saw and then the teacher or a volunteer will organize the words and write them on the board under “song #1”.

A.    Instructional Strategy:
lecture, individual, pair, class work
B.    Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual
C.    Task Description:
To begin, start with the most unambiguous (in regards to feelings) song of the four.  You are helping the students understand how this activity works.  Tell them to clear their minds, close their eyes and just listen.  Don’t write anything, don’t say anything.  Just pay attention to the music.  Play the song for them and let them be silent for a moment after. And then in pairs discuss/write down what colors they saw and feelings they felt.Ask for volunteers and write their answers on the board under the title “song 1” separated under colors and feelings.  If they seem hesitant, or unsure, give a few examples and maybe a counter-example (if the song is intended to provoke anger or fear, ask the students if ‘happy’ is appropriate).  Be careful with counter-examples, as this activity necessarily depends on the students free-thinking and creativity.  At the same time, the purpose of the activity is language learning.  So dance that dance.

Practice: (30 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT express their feelings using the phrase, “makes me feel” to describe their feeling words to the second song.  Before playing song #2, the teacher will write the phrase, “this song makes me feel ________” on the board and says the phrase while gesturing to their heart on the word “feel”, followed by a mimic of any emotion.  Students will repeat the exercise for song #2, making use of the phrase “this song makes me feel _________”.  For the 3rd song, the teacher will erase, “makes me feel” and repeat the exercise.  Finally on the 4th song, “this song” is erased, and the students must perform the communicative act from memory.

A.   
Instructional Strategy:
individual, pair, whole-class
B.    Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual
C.    Task Description:
Before moving to the second song, write “this song makes me feel _______” on the board.  Separate the phrase into three parts and label them ‘This song (1) makes me feel (2) _________ (3).  Lift up three fingers and have the students repeat as you lift a finger as they say each phrase.To reinforce, read some of their feelings from song #1, holding your fingers up, say, “This song (lift a finger) makes me feel (lift another finger) nervous (lift the third finger).”  Give another example.  Call on or ask a volunteer to say how song #1 makes them feel.  As they speak, hold up all the fingers that they express. (If they say, “the song makes me feel happy” hold up three fingers.  If they just say “happy” just hold up the third finger.  Prompt until they give the full phrase).
After, play the 2nd song and repeat the exercise.  When working in pairs, circulate and make sure the students are using the phrase, “this song makes me feel” when talking with their partner.  Ask for volunteers and use the finger gesture as necessary to help prompt the students use the full phrase.  After all the feelings/colors are written for the 2nd song, erase “makes me feel” from the board, have the students repeat the phrase and gesture as necessary.  Listen the 3rd song, repeat process.  Erase the phrase from the board before listening to the 4th song.

Application: (10 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT use the feeling and color words they said to describe the story the songs convey.  As a class, the students will discuss themes like, “fear” and “love”.  When the discussion ends, the teacher will reveal where the music comes from.

A.    Instructional Strategy:
pair, whole-class
B.    Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual
C.    Task Description:
After listening to the last song, admire the amount of color and feeling words the students have come up with (the board should be quite full).  Point out to the students that the feeling and color words change from song to song.  Some songs seem to make them feel more nervous or happy or sad.Tell the students that the songs create a story. Ask which song they think represents the protagonist (use simple language “good guy”).  The antagonist? The climactic scene? Love interest?  Allow them to discuss each question in pairs or small groups and then discuss as a class.  This final portion is more free-discussion, try not to limit the students participation or critique language-use.  Instead promote fluency and listening-skills.

Before class ends, reveal where the music came from and see if the students’ guesses about the characters/feelings/music are correct.

Language Exchange Lament (and a lesson plan for Listening)

There is a popular method for informal language learning here in South Korea (and I’m sure other places) that goes by the name “language exchange”.  The name is appealing.  It suggests a business-like approach to the learning of a language, a fair trade in which you give and then take equal shares of a product.

LanguagePartners5

This is what people think is going to happen at a language exchange

Unfortunately, “language exchange” is probably a misnomer for the most part.  Rarely do two people at these events exchange equally and often what is exchanged isn’t exactly a product of the greatest quality.  Most exchanges are, after all, informal events.  So I suppose they can be forgiven on that point.

Language exchanges suffer from two problems, 1) generally one language is favored and 2) if by chance one language isn’t favored, then language acquisition is ignoring a very important piece of the “four strands”, namely, listening.  In language exchanges, what normally is done, is each participant speaks in the target language they are trying to learn to a native speaker of that language.  So I would speak to a Korean in Korean and they would speak to me in English.  This is a fine drill in itself, but it ignores entirely the very important skill of listening and receiving authentic feedback (note: I’m not talking about overt feedback like, “say this instead” or “that was really good!” but covert feedback.  The type where you say something, it is understood and the other person responds authentically.  This sort of feedback is vastly under-acknowledged and far more important than overt feedback).

What actually happens

What actually happens

Of course, other types of language exchange combat this problem by designating a time limit and specifying that during a certain amount of time only English will be spoken and then only Korean in the next time period.  Of course, these events are usually only a couple of hours long and it can be difficult to regulate these periods effectively. If done correctly, this type of language exchange satisfies my complaint.  It is my experience (having visited several different language exchanges around Seoul) that this does not happen regularly.  English is usually the dominate language used by everyone.  I have found one exchange where Korean is the dominate language and I continue to frequent that exchange, though like I noted before, it’s hard to call it an exchange, as I don’t really give anything in return, just take.  I suppose maybe friendship is my gift, not a fair trade, I think!

So what does “listening” look like in a language class as opposed to an exchange?  Well, here’s my go-to method.

Ordered Sentences and Pronunciation Distinguishing

Materials Needed:
pronunciation Powerpoint slides (or pictures that you can hold), listening material (audio or transcript to read), copy of transcript cut into individual sentences for every (or groups of) student(s).

Performance Objectives:
Students will be able to (SWBAT) distinguish between two similar sounds ([i] and [I]).  This is accomplished first by repeating real words after a native speaker.  The speaker draws attention to the position of the articulatory tract.  Using fake words, the speaker draws attention to the sounds by elongating them.  Students mimic the speaker.  Students are then given three minimal pair words (fake or real) one of which does not contain [i] or [I] and the speaker says them one after another.  Students must say which word doesn’t contain [i] or [I].  Students are then given two pictures, each representing a minimal pair of [i]/[I] words.  The speaker says one of the words and the students will point to the picture that represents the word.

SWBAT put the transcript of an audio piece in the correct sequence by listening to a full recording of the transcript.  Students will have a pre-determined amount of times they can listen to the recording. Students will evaluate their performance in pairs, by comparing with their partner how they ordered the transcript.  As a class, the transcript will be read.

SWBAT listen and repeat the transcript (or a portion) from memory.  Students will follow the teacher (or a leader) in a rote-repeat fashion once.  Students will repeat again, waiting 3 seconds, then 5 seconds, between hearing and speaking.  Finally, students will attempt to repeat the transcript (or portion) purely from memory.

SWBAT produce the transcript (or a portion) following a native-speaker rhythm.  Students will follow the teacher (or a leader), repeating the transcript.  The teacher will emphasize stressed syllables within words and stressed words within phrases.  Students will mimic the teacher’s technique.  Students will produce the rhythm again first waiting 3 seconds, then 5 then 10 between listening/seeing and speaking/doing.

Warm-up: (1-5min)

Objectives: Students will prepare their articulatory tract for correct pronunciation by stretching their mouth.

Instructional Strategy:
lecture, whole class work

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual, kinetic

Task Description:
Students will follow the teacher (or a leader) in stretching their articulatory tract by alternatingly rounding and stretching the lips, opening and closing the mouth, sticking out and putting in the tongue, moving the tongue side to side and finally by doing a vowel chant (a,e,i,o,u).  Finish with a yell if you’d like!

Presentation: (1 min)

Objectives: Prepare students for what the class will be about

Instructional Strategy:
lecture

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual

Task Description:
Using a powerpoint, or some other material, describe to the students the tasks for that day.  Explain briefly the key objectives, which is successful listening.

Practice: (10-15 min)

Objectives:
Students will be able to (SWBAT) distinguish between two similar sounds ([i] and [I]).  This is accomplished first by repeating real words after a native speaker.  The speaker draws attention to the position of the articulatory tract.  Using fake words, the speaker draws attention to the sounds by elongating them.  Students mimic the speaker.

Instructional Strategy:
lecture, whole class work, individual work

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual

Task Description:
Using a text, or a prepared powerpoint, draw the students attention to the specific sound (in this case, the [i]/[I] distinction).  Show them words that change only when that specific change happens (e.g. a minimal pair) such as ‘heel/hill’ or ‘seat/sit’.  Using several examples, have the students repeat after a native speaker (or someone in the class who can produce the minimal pairs well enough.  It might be better for the students to hear a non-native speaker produce the sounds correctly, in order for them to hear or believe they can produce the sound themselves).

From there, move on to made up words (this focuses the attention purely onto the sounds, without any interference from semantic or lexical questions).  Slow down the sound, have the students say just the sound for a few seconds and then finish the word (i.e. siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-t/ seeeaaaaaaaa-t).  Speed up slowly.

Pronunciation Powerpoint

Practice: (10-15 min)

Objectives:
Students are then given three minimal pair words (fake or real) one of which does not contain [i] or [I] and the speaker says them one after another.  Students must say which word doesn’t contain [i] or [I].  Students are then given two pictures, each representing a minimal pair of [i]/[I] words.  The speaker says one of the words and the students will point to the picture that represents the word.

Instructional Strategy:
lecture, individual work, whole class work

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual, kinetic

Task Description:
Following the powerpoint, show three words which are minimal pairs, two of which have [i] and [I] and the last which does not.  Say the words in order and have the students decide which word does not have [i]/[I].  (Another option is to say the words in a random order and have the students order them 1,2,3).

Finally, show two pictures on the screen which represent a [i]/[I] minimal pair.  A picture of a ‘hill’ next to a picture of a ‘heel’.  Say one of the words and have the students point or gesture to the correct picture. Repeat several times with various word pairs.

Presentation: (10 min)

Objectives:
SWBAT put the transcript of an audio piece in the correct sequence by listening to a full recording of the transcript.  Students will have a pre-determined amount of times they can listen to the recording. Students will evaluate their performance in pairs, by comparing with their partner how they ordered the transcript.  As a class, the transcript will be read.

Instructional Strategy:
whole-class work, pair work

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual, textile

Task Description:
using a prepared script or audio have the students listen to a conversation or monologue of one or two paragraphs, depending on level.  Have the students listen through once.  Before listening, prompt them with questions to answer after listening like, “what is the main idea?”  “who is speaking?” “what are their names?”  “what is the main problem?”  After that, discuss briefly the answers.  Next, hand out the cut-up scripts to the students.  Have them spread them out and look at them.  They can begin putting them in order if they think they know.  Tell the students they will have 2 or 3 opportunities to listen to the recording before you begin again.

Listen to the audio.  Pause between turns to allow the students to think about the order.  After 2 or 3 listenings, have the students compare their order with a partner.  Have them reconcile any differences.  After that, go through with the class the correct order (have the students read them in order, one student per sentence, for example).

Below is a gallery of my own attempt at using this activity.  I used the Intermediate listening activities from a very useful website for learning Korean called “Talk to Me in Korean“. It is the Iyagi – Intermediate lesson. It is a little bit above my Korean level, so it took me a little longer to get it finished, and I used a lot of dialogue.  For my Middle School Students, I will use anywhere between8-15 sentences, but not more than that usually.

Practice (10 minutes)

Objectives:
SWBAT listen and repeat the transcript (or a portion) from memory.  Students will follow the teacher (or a leader) in a rote-repeat fashion once.  Students will repeat again, waiting 3 seconds, then 5 seconds, between hearing and speaking.  Finally, students will attempt to repeat the transcript (or portion) purely from memory.

SWBAT produce the transcript (or a portion) following a native-speaker rhythm.  Students will follow the teacher (or a leader), repeating the transcript.  The teacher will emphasize stressed syllables within words and stressed words within phrases.  Students will mimic the teacher’s technique.  Students will produce the rhythm again first waiting 3 seconds, then 5 then 10 between listening/seeing and speaking/doing.

Instructional Strategy:
whole class work, pair work

Sensory Learning Style:
audio, visual, visual

Task Description:
using the same script the students used for the ordering activity, read the sentences one by one (or choose a couple of sentences or dialogues to work on) with the students repeating. After going through once.  Repeat the activity, only have the students wait 3 seconds before repeating.  Do the activity again with 5 seconds, and then 10 seconds.  If it is a dialogue, you can try to have the students do it from memory (they will have the sentences in front of them from the ordering exercise, if they need them).

“I don’t understand why I have to follow this textbook”

I don't understand

Teaching from a textbook can be frustrating.  It provides safety and structure but limits creativity and,as we have seen, can’t always be trusted to provide authentic data-driven input.  The above picture is part of a section I am required to teach called the “communication spotlight”.

In the beginning, I really liked this section because it provides so little material that you would be crazy not to produce your own.  If you simply followed the book, you’d just be doing repetition drills.  The teacher’s book sometimes has suggestions, but not always.  When I first began teaching here, I would take these grammar points and just create my own lessons.

Those lessons, of course, were not guaranteed to be worth-while.  I was (am) a new teacher.  And at one point, early on, my co-teacher asked that I “stick to the textbook” a little more closely.

Since then, I’ve had a real struggle trying to teach the “communication spotlight” beyond doing simple repetition.  (Though, I think my co-teacher would be perfectly happy if that’s all I did.. /shrug).

But now that I’ve swung from both sides of the issue, I do a little better at both honoring the book (read: my co-teacher) and actually doing something worthwhile.  That solution usually has three parts  (if I have enough classes).

1. Repetition.  Teacher-directed drills.  This is a fluency activity.  I start slow, start with small chunks, break up the phrases into their syntactic parts, emphasize certain phonological features (like what is known as “linking” words.  Those familiar with phonology know it as resyllabification and the *no coda constraint) and finally work on speeding up fluency.

2. Comprehension. Analyze the words, provide more examples (doing twitter searches is great here.  I had a friend ask if “kickass” meant “cool”; so instead of sending her to a dictionary to see “cool” next to “kickass” somewhere else on the internet, I sent her to twitter).  And find visuals.  Guide students through identifying meaning to making guesses and responding.  I like to do a speaking drill here, like concentric circles.

3. Conversation.  Using the language authentically, within a community of equals, safely and freely.  The textbook usually doesn’t make an appearance in this part.  (Note: at this point, there should probably be a re-visit to “fluency”.  I haven’t quite gotten that part worked in).

If I don’t have time, what gets cut is the repetition/fluency.  Though, in my opinion that is a bigger problem than it sounds.

The textbook also has a reading section, which I don’t teach; that, in part, tries to reinforce the listening/speaking material in the chapter.  At best, it provides manufactured examples of the language structure in an unnoticeable way.  At worst, the texts read like the most false, hammed-up drivel possible.

don't understand

This is the reading from the relevant chapter.  I put this somewhere inbetween pointless and ok.  The title is “I don’t want to fall behind” and is written in dialogue format between a boy and his Mother.  The weird way the mother talks about “falling behind” is ok, because I don’t have to deal with it.

For the language that I do have to be worried about, I think the examples are pretty good.  They are almost invisible. And of all the manufactured examples given in the textbook, this is the most relateable to the students.  (fighting with your parents).  It also provides plenty of context, something the “communication spotlight” does not do.

I might put one of my recent attempts at a pronunciation lesson up here (I kind of liked it, but I am not sure the students were on board).  But for now, I want to share a communication lesson.  Those are the most fun anyway.

In the circle of teachers in my area, a series of photos recently went around of one of our more experienced teachers lessons whose title was, “If you could tell the world one thing, in one sentence, what would it be?”.  I’m not entirely sure what the lesson covered exactly, but the teacher posted a bunch of pictures of their students with their sentences written on pieces of paper.  Sort of like this:

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It seemed like a fantastic lesson, in which some of the students were funny, some were superficial and some were extremely poignant.  The students addressed everything from the meaning of life to their favorite k-pop group.  They touched on the Korean education system, the situation with the North and love.

So I, like all good teachers, borrowed the idea and morphed it to my situation.  The grammar structure, “I don’t understand ____.”  easily adapts to this type of thinking discussion.  Here’s how it went:

I don’t understand

Materials:

Visual preparation in some form.  Collect some pictures that visualize things that you don’t understand (death, computers, foreign languages, cultural phenomenons).  You will also need blank sheets of paper for the students.  Along with any artsy materials you want (makers, paints, pictures).

Performance Objectives:

The students will be able to: use the canned phrase “I don’t understand ___” to express befuddlement, exasperation, genuine curiosity and/or frustration.  This will be done by guiding the students through multiple examples and practice sentences.  Students will organize their thoughts via branching diagrams.

Students will be able to apply the correct “wh-question” word to complete the phrase, “I don’t understand [how/why/what/when/where] _________”.  Using the teacher’s examples as a guide and completing practice examples from the teacher and their own creation.

Students will express their own ignorance/confusion/what-have-you by creating one single sentence that expresses what they “don’t understand” about the world.

Warm-up

The teacher will introduce the topic for the days lesson by presenting a question for the students.  “what is one thing you don’t understand about the world?”  The teacher will check for comprehension, clarifying any words for the students. — My students checked to make sure “world” meant the same thing as “earth” and since I had highlighted “one thing” they asked what “thing” meant.  We spent a few minutes describing all the “things” in the classroom. (which, as you can imagine, was a lot of things.  I emphasized that thoughts and actions can be things too. (i.e. anger, north korea, war).

Presentation

Before taking their answers, present several things that you don’t understand.  Highlight important words. (wh-words, verbs, etc.)  “I don’t understand how to speak Korean”

“I don’t understand how computers work”

“I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people.”

“I don’t understand why Psy is soooo popular.”

Provide visual explanations and make sure students understand all the words.

Practice

Allow the students to produce examples on their own freely, and eventually direct the students to draw a circle on their paper and ask them to give more examples of things they do not understand.  –In my class, most of the examples were related to North Korea, school and, for some reason, drugs– Ask them to produce sentences of the examples they provide.

Give the students 5 minutes to continue thinking of things and working on their brainstorming.  Allow them to work individually, in pairs and groups if you have the time.

Evaulation

Have the students flip over their paper and write one sentence to the world about something they don’t understand.  Provide an example. –Mine was, “I don’t understand why Psy is so popular”–  Some students defended Psy, some agreed with me and others wanted me to defend myself.  At this point, I made it clear that this wasn’t about “making an argument”, but just expressing yourself.– (though, if you’ve got the time, you could go into a discussion mode where students ask each other questions about their statements).

Circulate around the students, answering questions, give advice, ask questions.   Ask questions, ask questions!

Finally, for those that finished more quickly than others, I began photographing them with their paper.  I didn’t manage to get to all of them, and not all of them wanted to be photographed (a real shame, since they did some great work).

Conclusion

The students really liked this lesson.  It didn’t give them as much opportunity to really produce output, and I think there is room for improvement there, but (almost) everyone participated fully in the lesson and they did produce something. So, I’m counting that as a win.

Most impressive about this lesson though, is they seemed to truly grasp the idea that this language structure gets at.  Which is, they saw beyond the idea that “I don’t understand” only means, “please explain”.  But that it goes deeper than that.  Any given student produced work that showed examples of un-answerable questions, criticism of their school culture, frustrations and general pondering.

Which is all more than they might have understood from the book, which makes it sound like the only proper (and expected) response is something like, “oh i’m sorry!”.  When in fact, no response is just as valid to this type of construction.

Describing Nature

Wall-E-Wallpaper

I don’t know what to say about the school schedule over here in Korea.  It is, all at once, breathtakingly stupid and perfectly reasonable.  I don’t know whether to rise up and fight it or applaud it (though I will certainly do neither).  The school year here ends on Christmas Eve (right after final exams) and then the students have the month of January off.  Then, in the middle of February, the students come back for 1-2 weeks.  The purpose is for the kids to get their test scores back (which takes all of half a day).  The students then circulate through the classrooms and.. pretend to learn? There is a reasoning that says this is an opportunity for students to get feedback on their skills and do some remedial work or extra work.  Mostly it seems they watch movies.

In fact, during one class with my graduating 9th graders, they put on a movie (in Korean, not English.  I’m not complaining, just pointing it out.) and when the class ended (but the movie had not) the teacher from the next class period came to the room, told the students they could stay and then watched the movie with us.

I don’t mean to say this teacher was lazy or wrong.  In fact I think it was as good a use of time as anything else.  She is a really nice person and a good teacher.  That’s what happens when you put one week of school randomly in the middle of two very long breaks.

The next thing that happens when the school is between semesters is that I am not informed about anything.  I understand there is a big language barrier (and I am working on it, some are incredulous) and that the school does a good job making sure I have a space and resources to work.

Nevertheless, at some point it can no longer be legitimately called a ‘quirky cultural difference’ when, as I show up to work (8:30am) when no classes are in session, I am greeted and told there are students in my classroom and that I am going to teach a conversation class for the rest of the week.  At some point, it just becomes douche-bagery.

I much prefer to work within a schedule (and I always have) and so the spontaneous and random changes that often happen are not exactly my idea of fun; but I am also a decent worker and will adapt.  I can still manage my job, even if things aren’t how I like them.  In that spirit, I threw together this lesson for the conversation classes.

In this lesson, the students will spend a good length of time using the English ability they have to be as descriptive as possible.  There is essentially only one kind of activity in the lesson and it is recycled a few times over, in progressively more difficult and interesting ways.  This iteration focuses on nature (and could go even further into Environmental protection), but that is mostly just a framework to work in.  This same lesson could be used with any set of pictures or any framework.

Descriptive Nature

Conversation

 Materials Needed:

  • Several pictures depicting nature, cities and pollution
  • Paper or whiteboards for drawing
  • Movie Wall-E

 Performance Objectives:

SWBAT activate and list words and phrases familiar to them relating to nature and the environment.  This will be done by presenting a series of pictures, some of nature, cities and pollution.  Students will be schaffolded until they are presented with a final picture that they will control the descriptive process entirely.

 SWBAT describe a picture to another student who cannot see said picture using only English.  Students will use the words activated from the warm-up to help their partner draw a picture of the visual they are presented with.  Students artwork will be used to compare between pairs of students how describing in some ways may be more effective than others.

 SWBAT describe a scene from the movie Wall-E to a rotating partner.  Half the students will watch a scene, and then it will be played again while they describe it to a partner who will try to draw it.  At semi-random intervals, students will rotate one space and continue describing and drawing.  At the end, the pictures will be compared to the actual scene.  Switch roles and Repeat.

 Before Class:

Ensure that there are enough materials for drawing and that the pictures for reference are available.  Also prepare the movie Wall-E loaded at the correct scenes.

 Warm-up: (10 min)

Objectives: SWBAT activate and list words and phrases familiar to them relating to nature and the environment.  This will be done by presenting a series of pictures, some of nature, cities and pollution.  Students will be schaffolded until they are presented with a final picture that they will control the descriptive process entirely.

 Instructional Strategy:  pair-work, whole class

 Sensory Learning Style:  visual, audio

 Task Description:

To begin the class, present a particularly vivid (but still describable) picture of nature.  Let the students look at it for a moment and then inform them that they will list all the words and phrases they know that describe the picture.  Perform a quick demonstration, describing a couple of aspects of the picture (colors, shapes, phrases) to give them an idea.  Perform a comprehension check.  Ask students, “What are you going to say about the pictures?”

 Give the students 2-3 minutes to look at the picture and think of words.  Begin the conversation yourself, draw attention to a specific area or thing in the picture and ask probing questions about that thing.  “What is this? (a tree) What color is the tree? (green) Is the tree big or small?  What is the shape of the tree?  Are there any other colors in the tree?”  Continue guiding as needed.  Point out another area and let the students direct the conversation more and guide less.  As the students speak, write the words on the board to give the students a visual of words they may know, but not know how to write.  Leave on board for entirety of class.

 Using more pictures, repeat process until upon presenting a picture, students offer up words and phrases spontaneously.  Provide a couple of new words and/or phrases the students may not know.

Presentation: (20 min)

Objectives: SWBAT describe a picture to another student who cannot see said picture using only English.  Students will use the words activated from the warm-up to help their partner draw a picture of the visual they are presented with.  Students artwork will be used to compare between pairs of students how describing in some ways may be more effective than others.

 Instructional Strategy: Pair-work, classwork

 Sensory Learning Style: visual, audio, textile

 Task Description:

Organize the students into pairs, have one of the pair face the board and the other opposite of their partner, so they cannot see the board.  Explain that you will show another picture and that the partner that can see the board, will describe (using as many words and phrases) the picture to the student that cannot.  The blind student, using a whiteboard or a piece of paper, will draw the picture based on their partners description.  Perform a demonstration with a picture from the warm-up.  Have a student face away from the board and describe the picture as the student draws. Emphasis that students may only use English to describe the picture.  Perform a comprehension check, pointing to another pair, “What does this person do with the picture? (describes it).”  “Can they use Korean? (no).”  “Can this person look at the picture? (no).”

 Show the first picture, and let the students begin.  Circulate and help any students who are having trouble beginning.  In order to maintain the description in English, if you hear Korean, enforce some sort of consequence (make the students start over, erase their whiteboard, have them switch partners, etc..).  Same thing if the blind partner looks at the picture.  Make sure the punishment isn’t seen as diminutive or judgmental.

 After 5 minutes (or when the students have finished describing/drawing) have the students present their pictures to the class.  Discuss why some pictures look the way they do.  What words or phrases did the student use to get their partner to draw more details or more specific details (did you give spatial directions? “on the right there is… above that there is…”)  Switch roles, present a new picture and repeat the activity.

 Practice: (20-30 min)

Objectives: SWBAT describe a scene from the movie Wall-E to a rotating partner.  Half the students will watch a scene, and then it will be played again while they describe it to a partner who will try to draw it.  At semi-random intervals, students will rotate one space and continue describing and drawing.  At the end, the pictures will be compared to the actual scene.  Switch roles and Repeat.

 Instructional Strategy: pair-work, class conversation

 Sensory Learning Style: audio, visual, textile

 Task Description:

Explain to students that we will move on to video now.  Show the movie title (wall-e) and explain that we will do the same activity as before, but differently.  In pairs, students will watch a scene from the movie, while they try to describe what is happening to their partner.  Emphasize that they will get more than one chance to see the scene.  Next, explain that in this activity, students will rotate partners every minute (or so) and that they must continue describing the video to their new partner (who is drawing).  Perform a demonstration with a different, shorter, scene and a couple of students.  Describe the scene to one student who is drawing.  After a few minutes, say, “rotate!” and have a student next to you step in and start describing to the person drawing.  Continue only until the students get the idea (which should be quickly).

Perform a comprehension check. “What does the partner watching the video do? (describes it).” “what does the other partner do? (draws).” “what happens when I say, ‘rotate!’? (we switch partners).” “Does the person drawing rotate? (no).”  Emphasize that the same rules apply about using English or glancing at the video.

 Begin, circulate and enforce the rules, help and motivate the students.  Make sure to keep the scene playing.  Stop the scene if needed to provide input or answer questions.  At the end, present the pictures (which should vary moreso than the picture input).  Have the students switch roles. Repeat.

Potential scenes:
Opening scene, polluted Earth (1:00-6:00)
Space Dance (57:00-1:00:00)
Robot Rebellion (52:30-55:00)

Pictures:

The Hero’s Journey – Winter Camp day 2

Day 1 Lesson here

Journey - Trials

For me, my winter camp finished today.  It was a four day mis-adventure, but my co-teacher was really pleased with how it went.  My version of “The Hero’s Journey” involved some discussions about what it means to be a hero, some examples of heroes and a lengthy (multiple day) dive into the ideas of “ordinary” and “special” which was suppose to culminate today with the students thinking about their own “special” and “ordinary” worlds and how they interact with them.

Unfortunately, after a break, my co-teacher got to talking about famous Korean actors and singers and why it matters that they are dating and why people are upset because they went on a date while the guy was suppose to be serving in the military and how famous people get special privileges and yada.. yada.. yada..  I am sincerely amazed he cares at all.  but we did get into an interesting discussion about whether or not your superiors should be punished for your mistakes.  Maybe a topic for “thursday nights“.

Because of this side-adventure, the students never came back after the break and my winter camp ended on a strange shrug and a vocal, “meh.”

I’m posting all the information today for the day 2 lesson.  This lesson goes over the parts of The Hero’s Journey dealing with “trials, approach, and Crisis”.  The climax, I suppose, of most hero stories (though not necessarily so.. I get sort of confused after this point, what exactly happens next or what is classified as what).  It’s a fun lesson that incorporates the idea of “daring” people to do stuff, good times.  It also has the potential to make students (and yourself) think about the trials in your own life.  The things you fear.  Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure that you seek.”  It’s a potentionally profound idea to explore for students, if they are willing.  Many will not be.   This lesson needs to be fun however, as it is necessarily the “dark” portion of the hero’s story (at least for the movies and examples I picked out).  I don’t want the students sad or serious the whole time.

Lesson Plan

The Hero’s Journey – Day 2 Lesson plan

Materials

The hero’s journey – day 2 presentation worksheet

The Hero’s Journey – Day 2 maze practice

the hero’s journey – day 2 evaluation worksheet

The Hero’s Journey – Winter English Camp Plan

journey-game-screenshot-1-bThis week, I am supposed to be conducting a one to two week English camp here in Northern South Korea.  Part of an NETs contract here  is to organize and run a winter and summer English camp.  These events vary in importance, but from what I can gleen from my colleagues on the intrawebz; generally it’s a two week, 4 hours a day affair.  Usually the NET runs the camp by themselves and is generally a low-key, fun-type of event.  Lots of people seem to be doing cultural tourism.

A few weeks ago as I was getting ready to plan my camp, I was scouring the internet for something I could do.  I mean, the only real knowledge I have is linguistics and even that is debatable.  I’m not sure how the kids would react to learning about syntax trees and writing in IPA (regardless of how useful it would be).  But I came across a beautiful video on TedEd.  It was a short, 5 minute video on “The Hero’s Journey”.  I remember hearing about this when I was in high school, but I’ll admit I didn’t pay attention very well.  But it struck as ideally suited for the organization of an English Camp.

The Hero’s Journey, or the Monomyth, is the underlying framework that all “hero” stories follow and was put together by Joseph Campbell in, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  Now, I will probably say some stuff here concerning Cambell’s monomyth that is laughable (I probably already have), lets just keep in mind that I’m approaching this from a Language Acquisition perspective.

What I intend to do here, is provide all the information, data, worksheets and lesson plans for performing this English camp.  It’s going to be irrelevant to many people, but hopefully some fellow lonely travelers on the ESL educators trail can use it (at least in part, or to build off of).  Sadly, I myself will not be able to do the one thing I wanted to most, at least as concerns this blog; I will not be able to give post-lesson critiques, as my winter camp has been commandeered by my superiors.  I now have 1-2 hours, maybe, for four days.  Enough to do something, but not nearly on the level of what I intended.  I will finish all the materials in the hope that someday I can try it out.

Materials:

Day 1 Lesson Plan

The Hero’s Journey – Day 1 lesson plan

Day 1 worksheets

Hero’s Journey – departure airline ticket

Hero’s Journey – personal story template

Hero’s Journey worksheet – day 1 – departure

American Culture – Indie Music

Lesson Plan – Indie Music

Background
Indie music in America is gaining in popularity and is an interesting contrast to pop music. If you were to ask an American who the biggest music stars are, they could probably name a few. However, if you asked who the major record labels were, most Americans would have no idea.  While the music may be similar, the styles between indie music and pop music show some interesting contrasts that offer an opportunity to discuss pop culture and counter-cultures.

Performance Objectives
SWBAT compare and contrast pop music with indie music. Using audio/video clips and interviews from Koreanindie.com, students will compare their knowledge of kpop music to the music of kindie

SWBAT compare and contrast kindie music with American indie music. Using audio/video of American indie bands and music, students will compare their understanding of indie music worldwide.

Materials
Youtube videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_Ng4xdBFs&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePr3OH7xGRY

Print-out interviews and worksheets based on the website koreanindie.com http://www.koreanindie.com/category/interviews/mini-interviews/

Before Class
Make sure you have your videos up and ready. This includes the videos from the last part of the lesson.
Have your interviews for the practice printed-out and ready to be distributed to the groups
Have their questionnaires ready as well.
Set up the internet and projector

Warm-up (5-10 min)
Objective: Get students thinking in categorical ways by brainstorming their favorite artists and which record labels they belong to.

Learning Strategy
Visual

Teaching Strategy
Small Group work

Task Description
Organize the students into small groups or pairs. In small groups have the students write down the big three record labels in korea. Under each record label, have them write down as many artists or groups they know of. To help them along, provide some visuals (pictures) of famous Korean singers/groups so that the students can at least guess.

After 2-3 minutes, invite the students to write down their lists on the board. If any of the artists from the visuals are left out or not in the right label, you can correct them if you would like or leave it.

Introduction (3 min)
Objective: Students will be introduced to Korean Indie music. The tasks and objectives for the class will be established.

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Lecture, video

Task description
Introduce your class to a Korean indie artist (like milktea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh_Ng4xdBFs&feature=related)

Ask your students if they know which record label Milk Tea goes under? Do they know MilkTea from anywhere? (they did an OST of the song in the link). Introduce to the class the topic of Indie music and the tasks they will complete for that day.

Presentation (20 min)
Objective: Students will compare and contrast Kpop with Kindie music. This will be done by using one music video that was produced for two different audiences (kpop and kindie).

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Lecture, small group work

Task Description
Remind your students of the music video they just saw. Ask them what was different about it? What do music videos usually have in them? (lots of dancing, choreography, special effects,

expensive and exotic costumes). What did the MilkTea video have? (scenery in a park, simple design, normal clothes, no “pretty” or “cutesy” make-up).

Have the students draw a line down a piece of paper. One one side, write “indie music” and on the other “Pop music”. Explain that the class is going to watch the same song again, but a different music video. Ask the students to write down the things that are different about this music video compared to the first. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePr3OH7xGRY )

If needed, show the first video again. Give the students 1 minute after the video to write down their thoughts (in Korean and/or English). Have the students get into groups of 2-4 and talk about what was different between the two videos. After 2-3 minutes, have the students write down 2-3 sentences in English that compare the two videos (The first video was in a park, the second was a Cartoon. In the first video, the singer was dressed more casually, in the second she was dressed-up, cutesy).

 Practice (20 min)

Objective: Students will introduce to the class various Kindie stars by using a hand-out of an interview with a K-indie star. They will read the interview and answer basic questions about it.

Learning Strategy
Audio, Visual

Teaching Strategy
Small Group work

Task Description
Using the website koreanindie.com, select several interviews from the “mini-interview” section. http://www.koreanindie.com/category/interviews/mini-interviews/

Print out the interviews and give them to the students along with a questionnaire for them to fill out. Have the read the interviews and answer the questions (Note: some of the interviews have Korean and English, for lower level readers, that might be more accessible.) After the groups fill out their questionnaire, they will introduce the artist to the class and then watch a music clip from that artist.

This task will require the teacher to select which interviews to use and also, based on the interviews, which questions to ask. So make sure to prepare these worksheets before hand.

(Example Interview)

–From koreanindie.com–

I’d been trying to keep track of Lang Lee since learning that she signed with Somoim Records, attempting to read her comics for Your Mind Bookshop, but even so hadn’t really listened to any of her more recent efforts. During my few weeks in Korea this summer I got a fresh copy of her first album in my hands. A few days later my husband and I headed out on a road trip around the country, and though we had plenty of CDs packed we found ourselves returning to 욘욘슨 (Yon Yonson) a number of times. By the second listen it was already a favorite with me and on the second day my husband declared it was destined to become a classic. Curious to learn more about Lang Lee and the work behind the album I approached her with a few questions that were generously rewarded with rich answers.

You’re a musician, illustrator and teacher. How do they all connect to you and each other?

저는 음악을 하고, 일러스트레이터로 일하고, 단편영화를 만들기도 하며 때로 가르치는 일도 하고 있습니다. 제 삶에서 이것들이 진행된 순서는 그림-음악-영화-가르치는 것 입니다. 그림을 그릴 땐 머리와 손을 주로 사용합니다. 저는 종이에 펜, 크레용 때로는 컴퓨터로 그림을 그립니다. 꽤 정적인 일이고, 적은 공간을 사용합니다. 음악을 만들 땐 머리와 양손, 목소리와 박자를 맞추는 몸동작을 씁니다. 흥에 겨우면

춤을 추기도 합니다. 집 안/무대 정도 크기의 공간을 사용합니다. 영화를 만드는 일은 머리는 물론이고 온 몸을 사용해야 합니다. 처음 시나리오 쓰는 과정이 지나면, 이후론 많은 사람들을 만나 대화하고 설득하는 일이기 때문에 움직임의 반경이 아주 큽니다. 가르치는 일은 조금 다른데, 이것은 창조적리고 생산적이라기 보다는 사회에 공헌을 하는 일이라고 느껴집니다. 가르치는 일 외에는 모두 나만의 세계를 창조하는 일입니다. 저는 그림이나, 영화, 음악을 만드는 것으로 스스로 경험한 사회를 재현하고 재해석해 새로운 세계를 보여주려고 합니다. 모두 하나의 목표를 가지고 하는 일이기 때문에 각 장르마다 정신을 분할하여 쓰지는 않지만, 시간은 분할해서 써야 합니다.

I make music and I also do illustrations. I also make short films and these days I started teaching. The drawing came first and then I made songs, and then I shot short films and then through chance teaching jobs came along.

When you draw or paint you only use your hands and your head. It’s a very sedated job. I only use paper, pen and crayons and I sometimes use computers too. The whole process takes up very little space.

When making music you use your head, your hands and your body. Sometimes you dance while you’re actively in the process. You use your whole room when doing this.

When you make a film, you use your whole body as well as your head. Once the scenario is done you meet a lot of people to get the thing going so the physical space you roam about is quite large.

Teaching is quite different. Teaching isn’t as creative or productive but it gives you a sense of ‘giving back’ something to the community.

Apart from teaching, these activities are all something that I do to create a certain world. Through illustration, music and film, I try to recreate the world that I’ve experienced with my own interpretation. And because these are all essentially with the same objective, I do not deliberately divide my mind between different activities. I do however have to divide time to achieve things within these activities.

제가 가장 공을 들이는 일은 영화를 만드는 것입니다. 영화는 창조한 세계를 시각/청각/공감각적으로 가장 확실하게 보여줄 수 있는 일이기 때문입니다. 영화는 또한 만들고 난 후, 관객과 함께 앉아서 감상할 수 있다는 것이 특히 좋습니다. 음악을 공연할 때는 공연하는 것과 감상을 동시에 할 수 없기 때문입니다. 평소 그림을 그리고 음악을 만드는 것이 후에 한 편의 영화를 만드는 데 좋은 연습이 됩니다. 공간세팅, 스토리보드 그리기, 구도 잡기, 색보정, 사운드편집 뿐만 아니라 영화에 쓰일 음악도 스스로 만들 수 있습니다. 저의 정서적인 치유에 가장 도움이 되는 것은 노래를 만드는 일입니다. 그리고 만약 하는 일 중에 하나를 포기해야 한다면 그림을 그리는 것을 포기할 것 입니다. 그림은 제 손목에 너무 많은 무리를 주기 때문입니다.

Where I put my most effort is making films. It’s because it is the form where you can most clearly show people the world you’ve recreated. I also enjoy the fact that you can enjoy your outcome with the audience being seated next to them. One thing that always gets me is that when I play music in front of people, I will never be able to experience my own show as a member of an audience.

Drawing and making music becomes a valuable experience when making films. When you’re doing pre-production artwork or story boards, getting the right angles, getting the sounds and colours right, making nice graphics – it helps. You can also make your own music to your film.

But what comforts me immediately is making songs. If I had to give up one activity of the three, I would give up drawing. It’s bad for my wrist.

Your lyrics all carry somewhat eccentric stories. Where do you find that inspiration?

저는 밤에 잠이 오지 않으면 앉아서 혹은 누워서 하염없이 말을 합니다. 기운이 있으면 기타를 잡고 아무 코드나 치면서 혼잣말을 합니다. 그러다 보면 기타의 반복되는 멜로디에 맞춰 음이 생기고, 내뱉는 말들이 스스로 가사처럼 정리가 되기도 합니다. 제가 잠이 안 올때 주로 하는 말은 연애와 죽음에 관련된

것들입니다. 제겐 이 두 가지가 삶에서 가장 이해가 안 되는 것들입니다. 왜 연애가 잘 되지 않을까? 왜 나는 언젠가 죽어야 되는 걸까?

When I can’t sleep at night, I lay in bed and just talk to my self. I grab my guitar and play any old chord while I talk. After repetition this becomes a song, and the scattered words become lyrics.

그렇게 만든 곡은 ‘이상한 일’, ‘일기’, ‘내가 만약 신이라면’, ‘너의 리듬’ 등이 있습니다. 때때로는 친구에 대해 생각하거나 책이나 영화를 본 것에 대해 생각하고 그것을 혼자 말하다가 노래로 만들기도 합니다. (잘 알지도 못하면서-다자이 오사무<만년>, 하하하-커트 보네거트<고양이 요람>, 욘욘슨-커트 보네거트<제5도살장>, 삐이삐이-영화 <더 코브>)

Perhaps the two most important themes in my life are relationships and death. Why is my relationship going bad? When will I die? These questions I cannot understand. There are also songs where I think about specific friends. There’s also songs that I got the inspiration from books. “Hahaha” was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, and “Yon Yonson” was inspired by Slaughterhouse-Five.

What can you tell us about your work on Yon Yonson?

1번과 2번의 질문에서 알 수 있듯이, 나에게 있어서 음악의 가장 근본적인 목적은 (주로 밤에 나타나는) 나의 정서적 문제들을 잠재우는 것 입니다. 또한 음악은 (영화나 그림과 달리)정규 교육의 과정이 있었던 게 아니었으므로, 그것을 만드는 데 있어서 직업/프로 의식으로 임하지 않았습니다. 녹음을 시작하게 된 계기도 ‘만든 곡을 잊어먹지 않기 위해’ 였고, 후에는 스스로 녹음하고 편집하는 과정에 재미가 붙었던 것 뿐이지, 이것이 어떠한 형태로든 사람들에게 알려질 것이라는 의식을 한 적이 없었습니다. 그렇기 때문에 노래를 녹음하기 시작한 2008년부터 현재까지 동일한 방법으로 녹음을 계속해오고 있습니다.

The reason why I make music is because I want to put to rest my emotional difficulties that I have. It does not feel like it is a job, nor did I never approached it as one.

The reason why I started recording songs was because I didn’t want to forget the songs I wrote. I never was conscious about how this would be heard to the wider audience. Therefore I still record the same way I used to since 2008.

장비는 2006년에 산 맥북 한 대와 그 내장 마이크, 그리고 가라지밴드라는 맥북에 기본으로 깔려있는 프로그램을 사용했습니다. 다른 방식의 녹음경험이 거의 없었기 때문에(스타워즈 컴필레이션에 실린 로쿠차 구다사이를 녹음할 때 외: 친구의 녹음실에서 녹음을 했습니다), 처음 이 앨범에 관한 레이블 미팅을 했을 때 레이블은 데모음원을 듣고 재녹음을 하지 않는게 좋겠다고 말했습니다. 나 이외의 청자를 고려하지 않은 녹음방식, 그 어설프지만 올곧은 혹은 잘 몰라서 순수한 느낌이 좋다고 생각했던 것 같습니다. 솔직히 말하면 아직까지도 음악인으로서의 프로의식이 없는 편입니다. 그것이 앞으로 문제가 될 지도 모르겠다고 생각합니다. <욘욘슨>이 발매된 이후 약간의 프레셔를 느끼고 있습니다. 그동안 꾸준한 노래연습과 기타연습을 하며 음악을 만들어 오지 않았기 때문입니다. 공연의 좋은 퀄리티를 위해 앞으로는 연습을 제때제때 해야하나, 생각하는 것만으로 벌써 압박이 느껴집니다.

I used a 2006 MacBook and it’s internal microphone and GarageBand. I didn’t know how else. When I had my initial meetings with my label, they thought that this had an effect that it sounded more original than amateur, so they didn’t want me to be re-recording these songs.

To be honest, I still don’t have that sense of professional-ness. Perhaps that might become a problem from this point on. I do feel a bit of a pressure now after the release of Yon Yonson. I haven’t been practicing constantly as I perhaps ought to, and it makes me wonder whether I should. Even thinking about it gives me a bit of stress.

With Yon Yonson gathering songs that were all written at least two years ago, do you also have plans to release any more recent music?

나는 2008년 초에 처음 만든 곡인 로쿠차 구다사이 이후로 지금까지 20곡이 넘는 노래를 만들어 놓았습니다. 그중에 어떤 곡을 <욘욘슨>에 실을지는 제작자인 소모임 레코드의 김경모가 결정하도록 했습니다. 그는 나름의 기준으로 13곡을 뽑았는데, ‘비슷비슷한 풍의 곡이 중복되지 않도록’ 유의했던 것 같습니다. 또한 최근에 만든 곡들은 거의 제외시켰습니다. 처음 노래를 만들고 녹음하기 시작한, 제일 어설프고 순수한 곡들을 먼저 내보이고 싶은 이유겠거니 하고 생각합니다. 때문에 개인적으로는 당연히 실릴 줄 알았는데 탈락한 곡들도 있었습니다.

Since 2008 I made about 20 songs. I asked Kyoungmo of Somoim Records to pick the songs that would go onYon Yonson. He laid out the sequence of the songs too. He had a certain rule in doing this, and I think it was so that no two songs were too similar, and also to not have the more recently recorded songs on this album. I think this was because he wanted to put out the early recordings first. There are songs that I thought they would make it on the album but didn’t.

아직 다음 앨범에 관한 이야기를 한 번도 하질 않았기 때문에 어떻게 될지는 모르겠지만. <욘욘슨>에는 실리지 못했지만 공연 때 자주 부르는 곡들, 개인적으로 앨범에 못 실려서 안타까운 곡들이 있기 때문에 만들겠다는 마음만 있으면 뭐든 나오게 할 수는 있을 것 같습니다. 여전히 잠 못 이루는 밤에는 2번에서 설명한 방식으로 노래를 만들어 부르고 있습니다. 이십대 후반이 되어서 인지 지금에 부르는 노래들은 더욱 슬픈 이야기만 담고 있습니다. 로쿠차 구다사이 같은 발랄한 곡은 앞으로 다시는 나오지 않을 것 같습니다.

We haven’t discussed about our next album so I’m not sure what will happen. But there are songs that I sing on stage that didn’t make it on Yon Yonson, and also songs that I do want to put out so, I think we can make it happen in the near future somehow.

I still write songs as how I described earlier. And as I’m getting older the lyrics are getting a little more sadder, so I don’t think there will be something light-hearted as “Rokucha Kudasai” again I’m afraid to say.

(–Questionnaire–)

1) Yang Lee is a musician, what else does she do besides make music?

2) Where does she find inspiration for her music?

3) How did she first record her music?

4) What are her plans for future music?

American Culture – Thanksgiving

–It has been awhile since I have uploaded anything and so I thought I would share a little of what I have been working on.  The great “American Culture Project of 2012” has been, mostly, a disappointment.  The great opportunity for research and epic lesson planning has turned into a mad-dash to meet a deadline (which was yesterday! haha.. ha.. ahhh… shit).   The deadling kept getting moved up and up and up until I really didn’t have a chance to change my gameplan, it’ll be finished today; half-assed.  Oh well.

What follows is my entry for Thanksgiving.  It begins with a short essay on Thanksgiving, followed by a lesson plan based on understanding multi-culturalism.  To be honest, the lesson plan that I developed here is so general as to work for *any* cultural event or idea.  Maybe that’s a good thing.–

–American Culture – Thanksgiving–
The thanksgiving holiday is one of the most beloved celebrations in the United States and Canada (though distinct, separate events in each country, both culturally and historically).  Thanksgiving has remained a traditional holiday and avoided much of the commercialization that is found in other holidays, like Christmas or Valentine’s day in the United States.  Thanksgiving is rooted in the very origins of the colonizing of the American continent by England.  And although the factual history of the original event is almost completely unknown, Thanksgiving has been standardized and nationalized by hundreds of years of celebration.

The American thanksgiving has its roots in the Puritans (a sect of Christianity) who were religiously persecuted in their home of England.  Because they would not follow some of the laws in England in regards to religion, the Puritans were given permission to leave England and settle in the America’s.  This journey has become something of an Origin Myth for the United States, and many of the fundamental beliefs of Americans about themselves and their culture stem from the Puritans leaving England, seeking religious freedom.  A common theme of public discourse in America to this day.

Upon landing in Virginia, the Puritans and the others who came with them began settling the land. In 1621, in order to give thanks for a good harvest, a day of thanksgiving was observed.  This thanksgiving celebration was different from what the Puritans usual celebrated as a religious “day of thanksgiving”, though the 1621 event is certainly influenced by the Puritans Christianity.  It was, nevertheless, a celebration that was different than a usual Puritan “thanksgiving” celebration.  To begin, the feast lasted over three days, which was unusual for a Puritan “thanksgiving” celebration.  In addition, the puritans had come in contact with the Wampanoag Native Americans, who were also invited to participate in the celebration with the Puritans.

The Wampanoag helped the new colonists establish themselves in America by showing them how to fish for eel, and how to grow produce, like corn.  This was done mostly through the efforts of a few Native Americans who had learned English when they were enslaved by Europeans, but who had made their way back to America.

Because the Puritans did not celebrate annual holidays (such as Christmas or Easter), this “first” thanksgiving was not made an annual event for another 40 years.  By the 1660s however, the colonists of early America had established two annual celebrations, one to celebrate the harvest in the fall (thanksgiving) and another day of fasting after the winter had ended and the spring planting was to begin.  Since 1660 however, the celebration of Thanksgiving has been annually celebrated and the traditions associated with Thanksgiving have remained largely the same.

In modern times, part of what makes Thanksgiving such a beloved holiday is that it is not celebrated publically like other holidays like the 4th of July (independence day) or even Christmas.  Thanksgiving, while a national holiday, is observed by individual families centered around a meal.  In remembrance of the Puritans first thanksgiving, most American families will have a traditional meal that consists of foods that are supposed to have been part of the first thanksgiving.  Namely: potatoes, bread, corn, cranberries and as the centerpiece, a turkey (which are indigenous to the American continent).  Ham is also sometimes served in addition, or as a replacement of turkey.  A bread dish called “stuffing” is also traditionally served and comes in a variety of types.

Because Thanksgiving is focused on the family, what the family traditionally serves on thanksgiving can and does change significantly.  Some families may not eat any of the traditional foods, this is not seen as a disgrace to the holiday in part because thanksgiving is focused inwardly, on the family, and not outwardly, on the public or nation.

In addition to the dinner, Thanksgiving is a time of remembering what good things the family has experienced over the last year, giving thanks for those things.  Religiously, many families say a prayer, expressing gratitude to their deity.  Secular families may express what they are thankful for over the dinner table, either in a formal fashion (i.e. before the dinner begins, each participant says something they are thankful for) or informally, as a normal discussion while eating.

While Thanksgiving is inwardly focused on the family, there are some national events that occur on thanksgiving that are very popular.  The most prominent celebration is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, held in New York City.  The parade is a simply a celebration which includes many different kinds of floats, most famously their balloon floats of various pop culture icons.  Marching bands from high schools and universities are invited to play at the parade and various pop culture stars sing and perform.  It can be difficult to see the connection between the parade and thanksgiving itself, which has led to the saying that the parade is, “on thanksgiving but not of thanksgiving.”  Indeed, much of the parade is focused more on the upcoming Christmas season, often featuring at least one appearance of the mythical “Santa Claus”.

Another cultural event associated with thanksgiving, though not necessarily in the spirit of Thanksgiving, is American Football.  Traditionally, at least one game is played on Thanksgiving in the National Football League (NFL) by the Dallas Cowboys and some other opponent, often the Washington Redskins (a key rival of the Cowboys) or the Miami Dolphins.  The tradition of playing on thanksgiving was started, however, with the Detroit Lions.  Because these games are held on Thanksgiving, they are called the “Turkey Bowl”, a reference both to the traditional dish (the turkey) of Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl, the national championship game of the NFL.

Thanksgiving is not celebrated by all Americans however.  In particular, many Native American tribes view the Thanksgiving holiday as a European celebration of the destruction and genocide of many Native American tribes.  While the first thanksgiving in 1621 was a friendly event between the Native Americans and the European Puritans, it did not take long for the westward expansion and settlement by the colonists pushed the Native Americans off their lands.  This was done by many means, most notably by means of warfare and also by means of disease.  European diseases decimated thousands of Native American tribes, which left many weakened and easily dominated by colonists.  Native Americans were often put on forced marches across thousands of miles, other were systematically killed in what we would call today, a genocide. The most famous event of this type is call, “The Trail of Tears”, which thousands of Native Americans were forcibly marched thousands of miles in the middle of the winter.  Thousands died.

With this history in context, many Native Americans today have a separate celebration on Thanksgiving, which they call “A National Day of Mourning”.  Those that participate in the National Day of Mourning organize peaceful protests of government spaces and famously hold a meeting on the island of Alcatraz, an old prison off the coast of California.  These meetings include speeches and traditional dances and ceremonies performed by the tribes.  The goals of those who participate in the National Day of Mourning are to educate others on Native American history, which is often not adequately taught in public schools.

Lesson Plan – Thanksgiving

Background

The Thanksgiving holiday can be a good opportunity to invite your students to think about what it means to live with and respect people of very different cultures.  This lesson fits well with grammar focused on comparatives, but can work well within any grammatical feature the students are working on (present and past participles, conjunctions, etc).  Be creative and adapt your students grammatical content to fit a broader discussion about multiculturalism.

Performance Objectives

Students will be able to (SWBAT) compare and contrast the American thanksgiving with similar cultural events around the world.  Using what the students know (like Chu-seok), students will acquire new vocabulary to comprehend and speak about the American thanksgiving.

SWBAT synthesize the information given in two audio visual short videos.  Using small groups, students will divide the responsibility for answering several questions that will explain the American Thanksgiving.

SWBAT use a Venn diagram to organize their knowledge of thanksgiving in America, compared with Chu-seok in Korea.

Materials

Powerpoint presentation

http://www.waygook.org/index.php/topic,44407.msg286798.html#msg286798

Venn Diagram Maker

http://www.softschools.com/math/venn_diagram/venn_diagram_maker/

Before class

Set up the powerpoint so that it is ready for the class.  Prepare the videos and use them as you wish. (you can search Youtube for other videos as well.  Key words like “the real thanksgiving” are helpful for finding funny or informative videos.

Have the venn diagrams ready to be distributed.

 Warm-up (5-10 min)

Objective: Students will be introduced and will activate their prior knowledge of thanksgiving-like festivals around the world.

Learning Strategy:

Visual, audio

Teaching Strategy:

Small group work

Task Description:

Following the powerpoint (link given above), introduce the many different cultural thanksgivings from around the world.  Have students write down everything they know, all the words they know, to describe Chu-seok.  Ask students why they think so many cultures have a holiday like Chu-seok/thanksgiving.

Introduction (1 min)

Objective: Introduce to the students the topic of the class and the what the plan, or the objectives, are for that day.

Learning strategy

Audio, visual

Teaching Strategy

Lecture

Task Description:

Introduce to the class the main topic of the lesson, which will focus on vocabulary for talking about Thankgiving dinner in America, followed by some videos that talk about thanksgiving.

Presentation (15 min)

Objective: Students will acquire new language needed to talk about how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Dinner.

Learning strategy

Audio, visual

Teaching Strategy

Lecture

 Task Description:

Follow the powerpoint.  Hand out the Venn diagrams.  Ask the students the different questions as they come up and follow the pictures as it explains the different side-dishes and main-dishes involved in thanksgiving.  For each new vocabulary word, have the students write them in either the “American only” circle, or in the middle circle if it is a food that you would also eat in Korea for a holiday like Thanksgiving.

After going through the vocabulary, have the students compare their venn diagrams with each other.  Do they have different answers? Why? If students disagree on whether or not an item is something they eat for Chu-seok, it can be an opportunity to talk about how different people within a single country (like Korea) may celebrate holidays differently.

Activity 2

Objective: Students will watch two videos and synthesize the information in small group work.

Learning Strategy:

Audio, visual

Teaching Strategy:

Small group work, whole class work

Task description:

Follow the powerpoint.  Introduce the two videos that will go over some history of the first American Thanksgiving.  Assign the students into groups using numbers (1, 2, 3, 4), each of which will pay attention and answer one question about the video (change the difficulty or complexity of the questions based on your own students needs and your preferences).  After watching the video and answering the questions to both videos, have the groups work together to add to their venn diagram.  What things are unique to the American Thanksgiving based on the videos? What do they share in common with Chu-seok, if anything.

After the groups have done this, have all the 1’s get together (and 2’s and 3’s and so on).  Have them talk even more about the venn diagram.  Each person in these new groups will have focused on a different part of the videos and can help their group have a more complete view of the American Thanksgiving.

Evaluation (15 min)

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of American culture and also their ability to recall and use the target language of the class.

Learning Strategy:

Visual

Teaching strategy:

lecture

After students complete their venn diagram, have a class discussion talking about and using the venn diagram to compare the American Thanksgiving with Chu-seok.  Draw a venn diagram on the board and have the students share their answers.  (Depending on the level of the students and what grammatical features they have learned, they can use comparatives, or simple structures like past or present tense).

Giving directions – “How to draw a Chibi”

I’ve been wanting to document some of my better attempts at teaching by providing the basic lesson plans in this space. Some of my more elaborate plans are still in the writing stages, but I had a sort of impromptu lesson that turned out very well that I thought I would share the details of:

 Chapter 9 Lesson Plan

Fun Cartoons – giving/hearing directions

grade level 1 (7th graders)

Class Background:

Students have been in chapter 9 for about a week. The first lessons were focused on giving spatial directions via egocentric vocabulary (left, right, ahead, behind). Students performed listening comprehension tasks via Drill Downs, production tasks by giving directions to various locations in the school. Students were introduced to how to draw cartoons in a previous lesson that was provided by the book.

Materials Needed:
Internet, projector, whiteboards (sufficient for groups of 4), markers, erasers

Performance Objectives:
SWBAT follow the directions of a cartoon-drawing tutorial found on YouTube. They will both hear and see the drawing and will follow along, drawing the cartoon themselves with the video.

SWBAT produce oral directions for drawing the cartoon using language useful for directions (First, next, and then). Students will work in groups of 4 to organize a complete set of instructions for drawing the cartoon by writing down their instructions on a whiteboard.

Before Class:
Have the projector ready, youtube loaded and whiteboards are easy access.

Warm-up: (5 min)
Because this was a somewhat impromptu class, I did not have a well-planned out “warm-up” that would have helped the students perform the tasks. If I were to add a warm-up, it would look something like performing a short drill down, in which the students themselves do the directing or some such activity. Haven’t really thought this one through yet!

Presentation: (10 min)
Objectives: Students will be prepared to hear directions by introducing language useful in “how to” direction-giving exercises. This includes language like, “next, and then, finally”. This will be accomplished by assisting the video that will be used throughout the lesson.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Class lecture

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual

C. Task Description:
Explain first to the students that they will be watching a “how to” video that will show them how to draw a simple Manga character called a “chibi”. (protip: don’t talk about ‘manga’ with the Korean kids as they might go off on a “booo Japan!” rant). Explain that you will write down the directions together for the first part (the drawing of the head). Perform a quick comprehension check asking, “What are going to watch? What are we going to do while we watch?”

As you stop the video to write down directions, introduce the language, “first, next, and then, finally”. Draw students attention to this introductory words. As you progress, leave draw a line and ask the students to fill it in. By the end of this section (the drawing of the head) the students should be able to give the last couple of instructions in their entirety.

Practice: (20 min)
Objectives: Students will be able draw and complete their instruction list by watching the video (from the beginning to the end). In groups, the students will collaborate to finalize a list which will be synthesized in a class comprehension check at the end.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Small group work

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual, textile

C. Task Description:
Explain that we will watch the video from the beginning again. The students are invited to finish their lists if they want, or to follow along drawing the chibi on their own papers. Stop the video when it begins the drawing of the body. Tell the students they should focus on writing directions for the body and that after they will get into groups to talk about a final list of instructions for the body. Perform a comprehension check to ensure understanding. Walk around during the activity to reinforce comprehension, in the case the students get distracted, or forget the goal.

After the video finishes, have the students get into their groups with their whiteboards to write up a list of instructions, making explicit the use of “first, second, next, and then, finally’ to link their instructions together. Circulate to reinforce directives and keep students on track. At the end, bring the students together and ask the class to provide their answers. They will diverge from step to step, make this explicit that there is more than one way to direct the drawing (some features can be draw before others and vice versa). Reinforce the idea of “no one all-perfect correct way”. Evaluate the students ability to use the new vocabulary, but do not interrupt fluency to correct or draw attention to it. Let the students speak and speak to them authentically. Use the evaluation to understand how much more the students need to direct instruction.

I actually did this activity along with the students, drawing and writing down directions as I circulated.  I cheated and practiced beforehand, but I wanted the students to feel like they had an example of the “correct” way of doing the activity, in case they still didn’t understand and were too afraid to say anything.

Evaluation: (5 min)
Objectives: Students will be given a new “how to” to perform as homework.

A. Instructional Strategy:
Individual work

B. Sensory Learning Style:
Audio, visual, textile

C. Task Description:
Using QR readers, the students will be given a new assignment to watch a How To video about how to fold a paper airplane. Students will follow the directions to fold an airplane and then write down all the instructions, like the lesson. Students will bring both their instructions and airplane to class for the next lesson.

Application:
I have no application for this lesson in particular. But the driving goal for the multi-lesson task is to have the students present a self-directed “how to” either in writing, video, audio or class demonstration.

— What I really liked about this particular lesson, even though it doesn’t adequately cover the methodological bases that should move the students towards acquisition, is that it focused the students, unbeknownst to them, on language.  While following along with the video, the students would ask questions like, “what is a half circle?” “what do you call this (eyebrows, blush, etc..).  This is gives me an opportunity to engage the students in reflective questioning.  They asked me, the “expert” and then I would reflect the question back to the class.  Inevitably, the class has almost all the answers that I, the “expert”, would have.  The only thing the class seems to lack there is the confidence to know this is the case.

In addition to this, I got an opportunity to teach a bit of spelling.  Spelling is not my favorite aspect of language.  I don’t feel the same affinity for written language as I do for spoken language.  But in teaching, I’ve found that my students are extremely fearful of making errors.  That’s not a good thing for education in general, but particularly in language learning, taking risks and making errors needs to be a celebrated part of learning.  With the fear of mistakes fully engrained in their heads, whenever I give a task that requires writing (as a secondary task to the main, communicative, task), I usually get inundated with, “teacher! How do you spell ____??” for 20 minutes.

I taught the kids the concept of “guessing”, but more in the style of hypothesizing.  And everytime they ask me to spell something, I tell them, “guess.”  They usually scowl at this, but they don’t protest anymore.  During this lesson, one student asked how to spell “eyebrow”.  Their struggle  was particularly with the “brow” part of the word, and in that part, the struggle was with the vowel-glide, ‘ow’.  I told her to guess and then after I finished with the main task (getting the class consensus for how to draw the character), I told the class that there was a spelling question.  The dialogue is pretty lengthy, but the essential idea is that I ask the students all the possible ways to spell ‘eyebrow’.  They gave me ‘eyebrow’, ‘eyebrou’, and ‘eyebrau’.  So they were pretty close, and those three spellings can overlap in some pronunciations, or at least come so close that an ESL learner would not perceive the difference.  I asked the students to give me other words that use ‘au’, ‘ou’, and ‘ow’.  They came up with, “mouse, wow, now, our”.  They had a hard time with ‘au’ so I gave them ‘caught’ (and showed them it was the past tense of catch, “I caught the ball, yesterday.”).  And added ‘ought’ to make the ‘ou’ more obvious.

I then had the students say the words in order, adding ‘brow’ after each spelling.  ‘mouse, our, brow’, ‘wow, now, brow’, ‘caught, brow’.  This was done without *my* speech being the focus.  They said the words themselves and I would repeat it back after them.  They quickly realized that ‘au’ didn’t seem to work, but they were a little conflicted on ‘ou’.  This is where I introduced, ‘ought’.  With that word, they knew pretty quickly the correct spelling, but more importantly, they spent time trying to discern between vowels and glides that they may not spend much time thinking about.  Which in my opinion is the real linguistic benefit of the exercise.  In addition, they are given a tool for figuring out spelling on their own, a flawed tool, to be sure (comparing ‘caught’ and ‘ought’ for some dialects, like mine, would make it hard to tell why there is a spelling difference), but one that can at least make them feel more comfortable guessing.  We’ll see if it catches on.