2012년 10월 8일 월요일

Mnemonics needed!

I need to learn the following Korean cultural vocabulary for my co-teacher's Open Class. I want to make her look good, and I only have until tomorrow to learn them. I have to be able to name them when my students describe them.

Bok jumuni -- traditional good-luck money bag (bok/bag jew money)
Hanji -- mulberry paper so strong it can be used to make armor and so beautiful it was used for fans and wallpaper (Korean/han gee, it's great!)
Dockdo -- a cluster of islands and rocks contested by the Japanese and Koreans (dock at them, they're worth dough)
Yi Sun Shin -- Awesome admiral (Ye olde sun shine)
Taegeukgi -- the Korean flag ()
Mae samjoen bulsang -- Place famous for bas-relief Buddha carvings in rock ()
Park Tae Hwan -- Korean Olympic swimmer ()
Han ok -- traditional Korean domicile architecture (han/korean okay houses)
Jongmyo -- Confucian site for memorializing Korean kings and queens ()
Samulnori -- musical form played with 4 traditional percussion instruments ()
Nanta -- An acrobatic and dance group that makes music on kitchen utensils ()
Dangun -- Ancestor of all Koreans; if I get the mythology right, he was born of a bear who became a woman ()
Talchum -- mask dance that expresses frustration at being squashed by Confucian society ()
Changdeokgung -- Grand palace in Seoul, "East Palace," 70% destroyed by Japanese occupation ()
Pansori -- Female singer, accompanied by drummer, singing certain traditional stories that go on for hours (The pansori singer from the book)
Suneung -- High pressure Korean version of the SATs ()
Ganggansulae -- 5,000 year old traditional dance to bring a good harvest, danced by many women in a large circle ()
Seokguram -- Buddhist hermitage and grotto known for its carvings of Buddhas in living rock ()
Kim Yeon Ah -- Olympic figure skater ()
Kyongbokgung -- Largest of the royal palaces of the Joseon dynasty, located in Seoul, "Palace Blessed by Heaven" ()
Donguibogam -- Ancient Korean medical text, 25 volumes with anatomic drawings and diagnostic and treatment guide ()

2012년 10월 4일 목요일

The Obama/Romney Debate Pt. 1

I'm only responding to the things that leap out at me.

1. The whole question about creating jobs is nonsensical. The government can not create jobs, unless you count civil service jobs which do not create wealth but rather are parasitic. The government can meddle with the economy and hinder job creation or can get out of the way and allow job creation, and that's that.

2. Obama less than Presidential with the whole "Happy anniversary, Sweetie!" thing. He's *at work* during this debate. That's not the time for smoochie smoochie stuff.

3. Then Big O blathers a while about the past, then suddenly says it's "not about where we've been but where we're going." So why did he bring it up?

4. Big R goes off on the "Can you help us?" That's the OPPOSITE of the message he's supposed to be on. It's not about the government helping us, it's about the government getting off our necks.

5. Score one for Big R with "trickle down government." A big fat bonus check to whichever soundbite meister came up with that one.

6. Big O didn't answer Lehrer's question but instead went into his Mental Teleprompter.

6. Big O wants to "hire more teachers"? That's not the federal government's job! That's up to the individual school districts. As he goes on, he keeps talking about what "we" have to do -- meaning the federal government. It's not the federal government's job to do those things. It's energy companies that need to invest in developing new energy sources. (Keep especially in mind that "we" "invested" in Solyndra. Fat lot of good that did..)

7. Good job Big R in slipping in Biden's "crushed middle class" gaffe.

8. Big R nailed O on the whole redundant federal training morass. Comment about putting control in the hands of the workers was spot on.

9. They each keep going off on their own tangents rather than directly answering questions.

And I'm finding myself tuning them both otu.

2012년 8월 8일 수요일

Blame Mitt Romney!

In case you haven't seen the "Mitt Romney Killed my Wife" ad debunking, here it is:

What's not known is the number of things we can blame Mitt Romney for:

Mitt Romney shot Bambis mother

Mitt Romney killed Chan Wangs uncle

Mitt Romney blew up Princess Leias planet

Mitt Romney Took and Axe

Let me know if you spot any more.

2012년 7월 20일 금요일

My Favorites from the "You Didn't Build That!" Meme

First Week in Seosan

Well, I've finished my first week, and overall I think it went pretty well. I'm starting to get the feel of handling classes of over 30 kids who have memorized English vocabulary and drilled on English sentences but don't really understand or speak English. And I think my co-teachers are starting to trust me. Early in the week they were very involved, sort of babysitting the kids, translating a lot, etc. By the end of the week many of them would do their own extra end-of-the-semester work and just monitor and be on hand if the kids were struggling very hard or if a particularly difficult concept came up. One of the co-teachers exclaimed, "I think you were born to teach!"

In fact, they stopped protesting when I told the students that in MY class, we speak ONLY ENGLISH. I clarified that they could use Korean *when they needed help finding the right words to say something in English.*  I also clarified that I don't expect full sentences, that I know they'll be using pantomime and single words at first. I assured them that I would help them learn to put their own thoughts into English. The teachers and kids are very skeptical, but I think it can work, and much more quickly than the Korean teachers think.

Since their heads are chock-full of memorized English, and a lot of them can write in English fairly well, some of the classes will probably be able to speak quite a bit by the end of the year. My hope for the less skilled classes is that they'll lose their fear of trying to communicate with English speakers without using Korean. Either way, I think that the English Only Rule will be enforceable after two months or so, the same as for a preschool class in a hagwan. Yeah, the hagwan preschoolers spent much more time with me, but they knew less English to begin with. I'm not so much teaching the older kids English as I am teaching them to use something that they're already familiar with. It's almost as if a class of home-ec students had spent years reading recipes, measuring ingredients, sautéing onions, slicing carrots, and so forth, but had never actually cooked anything. They know the theory. Now it's time to put it into practice.

The trick will be coming up with lessons that reinforce the targets from the books. The problem is, after going through the books, I'm a bit bewildered as to what the goal is for each lesson. It's more like they have canned vocabulary and sentences for certain situations than that they want the kids to master a specific skill, such as being able to discuss simple future plans (I'm going to watch TV.), to describe simple past events (I ate kimchi, chicken, and rice for dinner.), describe a person (She had long brown hair and brown eyes, and she's wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans.) etc. It's hard to plan activities when you have no idea what it is they're supposed to be learning, other than the list of canned sentences that don't have much of a connection that I can see.

For summer class (about 2 weeks; then I get 8 working days of vacation!) Miss Song (a beautiful name for a beautiful woman!) wants the kids to publish a school newsletter.

I suspect that most of the kids don't actually write in English, but they write in Korean and then translate. I'll have to find out. Miss Song wants me to come up with some ways to do exercises to increase their writing skills before they start writing their articles, op-eds, etc. for the newsletter.

I'm trying to decide between two approaches: sequential (which is how Miss Song is planning right now to teach the class) and parallel. The advantage of sequential is that the kids will refine their skills before their first drafts, so that they don't become too attached to a poorly-written piece. The advantage of parallel is that it would give the kids the chance to refine their own work with minimal input from the teacher. Personally, I favor the second approach, because part of good writing is the re-write, and I want them to master that skill.

Miss Song will assign topics and the length of articles based on each student's existing skills. She's already very familiar with them. (I teach around 750 students, so there is simply no way for me to get to know all of them. ) By the end of class, of course, I'll know the 10 summer class kids pretty well, but then they'll be blending back in with the crowd.

On Monday I'll have Miss Song's preliminary lesson plans for the project, which I am to flesh out.

2012년 2월 27일 월요일

Money Can't Buy Taste, or Dressed for the Oscars

A novel idea: Attending the Oscars disguised as a tube of mascara.

I thought they only made bridesmaids' dresses in that color.

It's really very clever the way they bunched up the fabric at the hip to hide her parasitic twin.

The 1970s are calling. They want their dress back.

Nick Nolte failed his saving-throw versus brain drain but at least his hair is combed.

When in doubt just bunch a fitted sheet up into a skirt on one of Billie Jean King's old tennis outfits.

It's a shame somebody leached all the chlorophyll out of that kelp or it would have made a nutritious after-party salad.

This Bettie Page waxwork looks almost lifelike. Though I"m unclear on why she evidently has only one leg and why her bosom is framed by pieces of the Sidney Opera House.

Penelope was one of the many Hollywood beauties who wore stiletto heels to the dress fitting but opted to wear flats on the red carpet. Either that or there's a new style in dresses that don't actually open at the bottom.

This lovely little number was pieced together from the table skirts and lampshades at a bordello.

Meryl Streep was in a hurry and didn't have the time to have the fabric actually sewn into a dress. Toga! Toga! Toga!

You'd think Mr. Darcy's wife wouldn't be reduced to stealing a dress from an old trunk that used to belong to the Lennon Sisters.

Her dress is climbing up her neck and attempting to strangle her.

Gary Oldman looks goofy, sorry, and his date stole her dress from Morticia Addams.

Morticia's closet is still not safe.

Sandra Bullock has been reduced to raiding the estate of Margaret Dumont.

There was nothing left in Morticia's closet so she had to steal the draperies.

The dresses and the drapes were taken, but Morticia's shower curtain makes a passable dress.

The Addams home has been gutted.