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Interactive Writing II Session #14: January 15th, 2010

Cover of "Little Plum"
Cover of Little Plum

Today is the last class before the final exam (next Friday, Jan. 22nd).

  1. Hand in your re-written report comparing “Little Plum” with a representative, Japanese children’s story.
  2. Complete the “Little Plum” quiz.
  3. Hand in any other outstanding assignments.
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Research in English II Session #14: January 15th, 2010

Today is the last class before the final exam.

  1. Hand in your re-written report #2
  2. Finish the Australia quiz
  3. Hand in any other work outstanding.

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.

Interactive Writing II Session #13: January 8th, 2010

The Greengage Summer (1958), 1962 Pan paperbac...
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  1. Important announcement: the makeup class on January 19th has been canceled. Instead there will be class as usual on Friday, January 15th.
  2. Returned reports (“Comparison between ‘Little Plum‘ and (your chosen Japanese story)
  3. What does “compare” mean?  Compare – requires an answer that sets items side by side and shows their similarities and differences. A balanced (fair, objective) answer is expected.
  4. A fair comparison. Is comparing a novel with a picture book a fair comparison? Is comparing a novel with a movie a fair comparison? Is comparing a novel with a cartoon or manga a fair comparison?
    1. If you make an unfair comparison, you will draw false conclusions (as some of you did).
  5. Review of the criteria I use to evaluate your writing
    1. conventions of writing: sentence and paragraph structurepunctuation, etc.
    2. Vocabulary: rich, precise, correctly used.
    3. Grammar: basic and advanced structures, word order
    4. Organization: logically organized, correct use of paragraphs
    5. Originality: have you used your own words? Do you have interesting ideas or approaches?
    6. Academic writing:
      1. formal register:
        1. avoid “I”; your writing should be impersonal and objective;
        2. avoid contractions like “don’t”;
        3. instead of “And”, use “Moreover” or “In addition”.
        4. instead of “But”, use “However,”
        5. instead of “So”, use “Therefore,”
        6. be precise in your use of words
      2. citations (“according to ….”, (Krashen, 2003), etc.
      3. references / bibliography, including websites (give the name of the website as well as the URL, e.g. “Research, Reading & Writing http://sheffnersweb.net/blogs/classblogs/dwc/ and the date visited
      4. opposing arguments (both sides of an issue)
      5. logical thinking
  6. Quiz on Little Plum (we will finish this next class).
    1. Why did Belinda climb the ilex tree?
    2. Who saw “Little Plum” first?
    3. Who does Little Plum belong to?
    4. Who named Little Plum?
    5. What was the first “present” that Belinda asked Nona to make for Little Plum?
    6. What did Belinda use to get across to Gem’s window?
    7. What was written in the first letter Belinda wrote to Gem (not the one where she said sorry for crashing into Gem while roller-skating, but the one she wrote when she gave Gem her first “present”)?
    8. What did Gem write in reply?
    9. What did Gem do with Belinda’s first “present”?
    10. What was Belinda’s second “present”?
    11. What was Belinda’s message with her second present?
    12. What did Gem do with the second present, and what message did she write?
    13. What was Belinda’s third present to Gem, and what message did she send with it?
    14. What was Gem’s response? (What was her message and what did she do?)
    15. What was Belinda’s fourth present, and what message did she send with it?
    16. What was Gem’s response? (What did she do and what was her message?)
    17. What was Belinda’s fifth present and message?
    18. What was Gem’s response?
    19. What did Belinda do next?
    20. Who won the fight?
    21. Who helped Belinda safely off the ladder and how?
    22. Was Belinda punished? How? Why?
    23. Do you think Belinda should have been punished? How would you punish Belinda?
    24. Why did Belinda ask Mr. Twilfit for advice?
    25. What was Mr. Twilfit’s advice?
    26. When is the Japanese Festival of Dolls?
    27. Who was the surprise guest at the Doll’s Festival?
    28. What did Gem think of Belinda’s messages?
    29. What will Belinda teach Gem
    30. What will Gem let Belinda do?
  7. Details of the final exam:
    1. There will be 2 questions:
      1. a choice of 1 of 3 topics for a paper
      2. some questions about the story of “Little Plum”.
      3. You can bring anything into the exam room.
      4. You will need to prepare your paper before the day of the exam, and bring suitable materials.
  8. Homework:
    • Re-write your essay comparing Rumer Godden‘s novel for children Little Plum with a Japanese children’s story. You must
      1. write the full references for the two books you use (using the MLA style)
      2. make a fair comparison (i.e. compare a novel with a novel, not with a movie or a cartoon)
      3. use a formal, academic register (do not use slang, do not use contractions like “don’t”, etc)
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Research in English II Session #13: January 8th, 2010

Alice Springs, Northern Territory
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Welcome back, everyone, to the first of our last two classes in 2010.

Important announcement: the makeup class scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 13th has been cancelled. Instead, there will be class as usual on Friday, Jan. 15th.

Here is the lesson plan for today:

  1. I return the remaining #2 reports.
  2. Review of the criteria I use to evaluate your writing
    1. conventions of writing: sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, etc.
    2. Vocabulary: rich, precise, correctly used.
    3. Grammar: basic and advanced structures, word order
    4. Organization: logically organized, correct use of paragraphs
    5. Originality: have you used your own words? Do you have interesting ideas or approaches?
    6. Academic writing:
      1. formal register:
        1. avoid “I”; your writing should be impersonal and objective;
        2. avoid contractions like “don’t”;
        3. be precise in your use of words
      2. citations (“according to ….”, (Krashen, 2003), etc.
      3. references / bibliography, including websites and the date visited
      4. opposing arguments (both sides of an issue)
      5. logical thinking
  3. What does “discuss” mean?  Discuss – requires an answer that explains an item or concept, and then gives details about it with supportive information, examples, points for and against, and explanations for the facts put forward. It is important to give both sides of an argument and come to a conclusion.
  4. Topics for January, and details of the final exam.
  5. Australia quiz. Who or what are these (answer in 1 or 2 sentences):
    1. Alice Springs
    2. the Great Barrier Reef
    3. Canberra
    4. Stolen generation
    5. White Australia policy
    6. Pavlova
    7. vegemite
    8. Lamingtons
    9. RFDS
    10. Uluru
    11. Broome
    12. Bush tucker
    13. didgeridoo
    14. APEC
    15. What does Australia export apart from beef?
    16. How many foreign students does Australia have?
    17. Where did the new settlers who came to Australia in 2001-2 come from?
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Important announcement – Cancelled class canceled

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope you had a relaxing, refreshing and peaceful New Year.

Last class, I told you that I was canceling the January 15th class to attend a workshop.However, that workshop has been canceled, therefore there WILL be class on Friday January 15th. The makeup classes will be canceled.

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Research in English II Session #12: December 18th, 2009

Alone Across Australia
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Remaining reports: please introduce your report in English (title and subject), then in Japanese.

After introducing your report, please give the hard copy to your instructor AND email me your report. Thank you.

Report #2 presentations by

  1. Ms. Honjo on White Australia Policy
  2. Ms. Furuya on Aborigines
  3. Ms. Kido on Aborigines and Ainu
  4. Ms. Matsunaga on the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS)
  5. Ms. Miyata on the Rabbit Problem

After the reports, we listened to the audio for Unit 7 and answered the worksheet questions (Unit VII, Part 2).

Comments on the reports. I use the following rubric to grade your reports:

  1. Conventions of writing: sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, etc.
  2. Vocabulary: rich, precise, correctly used.
  3. Grammar: basic and advanced structures, word order
  4. Organization: logically organized, correct use of paragraphs
  5. Originality: have you used your own words? Do you have interesting ideas or approaches?
  6. Academic writing:
    1. formal register
      1. avoid “I”; your writing should be impersonal and objective;
      2. avoid contractions like “don’t”;
      3. be precise in your use of words
    2. citations (“according to ….”, (Krashen, 2003), etc.
    3. references / bibliography, including websites and the date visited
    4. opposing arguments (both sides of an issue)
    5. logical thinking

I grade each item on a scale of A to E, with A being “expert, exceeds expectations”, and E being “far below expectations”. D and E are both failing grades.

Today is the last class of this calendar year.

UPDATE: There will be two make-up classes in January: Jan. 12th (Tuesday 5th period) in the same room (S404) and Wednesday Jan. 13th 1st period (9:00~10:30) in room 205. I understand not everyone can attend the makeup class. If you can, that’s great. If you cannot, it is not a major problem. We will not use the textbook in the make-up classes.

FINAL EXAM: The final exam will be Friday, Jan. 22nd. You will write a short research paper about Australia. I will give you more details on January 8th (Friday).

See you in the New Year. Until then, Merry Christmas!

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Interactive Writing II Session #12: December 18th, 2009

Cover of "Little Plum"
Cover of Little Plum

Report #1: comparing Little Plum with a Japanese children’s story (500 words).

Please introduce your report to the rest of the class, in English and Japanese.

If you did not give me your report today, please email it to me as soon as possible.

Afterwards we listened to a well-known winter song called Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Make-up day #2: Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 2010, 5th period (same room).

FINAL EXAM: Friday, Jan. 22nd. More details next class, Friday, Jan. 8th, 2010 (also watch this blog). I will give you a choice of topics to write about, and ask you to choose 2. You will need to have finished reading the complete story of Little Plum by then.

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Interactive Writing II Session #11: December 11th, 2009

Today, we continued reading Little Plum. We read chapter 4.

Homework: Your report comparing Little Plum with a Japanese children’s story. For December 18th.

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Research in English II Session #11: December 11th, 2009

World War II, images of different aspects of t...
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  1. Report #2 presentations by
    1. Ms. Tanishima  on Foreign (Imported) Animals in Australia
    2. Ms. Tanaka on World War II
    3. Ms. Takeda on Royal Flying Doctor Service
    4. Ms. Chigira on Multiculturalism
    5. Ms. Kobori on Aborigine Culture (focussing on the didgeridoo)
    6. Ms. Ominami on White Australia Policy
    7. Ms. Kobayashi on Japanese in Australia
    8. Ms. Kawamura on Royal Flying Doctor Service
    9. Ms. Ho on Immigration Species and Mongoose
    10. Ms. Murai on White Australia Policy
    11. Ms. Kuranaga on Flying Doctor Service and Medical Services
    12. Ms. Minamide on Multiculturalism
  2. Some comments on the presentations:
    • What is the difference between “multicultural society” and “multiculturalism“? What does “-ism” mean? Multicultural society is a state of affairs or an actual situation; multiculturalism is a government or state policy.
    • There is a big debate about multiculturalism in Britain right now. The government of Britain has had a policy of multiculturalism for a long time, but some people say it has gone too far. For example, on October 28th, 2009, Melanie Phillips, a British journalist writing in the Daily Mail wrote an article entitled, The outrageous truth slips out: Labour cynically plotted to transform the entire make-up of Britain without telling us. The key points are below.
    • unintended consequences“. Human history has many examples of unintended consequences. The introduction of the rabbit into Australia is one example. The original settlers who brought rabbits with them to hunt and eat never thought that the rabbits would become such a huge problem in the future. The introduction of the mongoose in Okinawa is another example.
  3. Here are some key points from a recent article in a British newspaper (The Daily Mail) in which journalist Melanie Phillips argues that multiculturalism has been a deliberate policy of the British government to destroy the British identity.
    • In its 1997 election manifesto, Labour [Tony Blair‘s government] promised ‘firm control over immigration’
    • a landmark speech in September 2000 by the then immigration minister, Barbara Roche, … called for a loosening of immigration controls
    • For years, …the number of immigrants to Britain shot up apparently uncontrollably
    • the purpose of the policy … was to open up the UK to mass immigration
    • Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since 2001. Since 1997, the number of work permits has quadrupled to 120,000 a year.
    • Unless policies change, over the next 25 years some seven million more will be added to Britain’s population, a rate of growth three times as fast as took place in the Eighties.
    • The Government’s ‘driving political purpose’, wrote Neather, was ‘to make the UK truly multicultural’.
    • Melanie Phillips writes: “It was therefore a politically motivated attempt by ministers to transform the fundamental make-up and identity of this country. It was done to destroy the right of the British people to live in a society defined by a common history, religion, law, language and traditions.   It was done to destroy for ever what it means to be culturally British and to put another ‘multicultural’ identity in its place. And it was done without telling or asking the British people whether they wanted their country and their culture to be transformed in this way.”
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Interactive Writing Makeup session 1: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This class was to make up for session #7, Nov. 6th, which I had to cancel because I was busy with entrance exams at my home university.

We talked about the book “Little Plum”, for example:

  • What is this story called?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • When does it take place?
  • Where does it take place?
  • What are the dolls called?
  • Whose dolls are they?
  • Who knows much about Japan and why?
  • Does Gem have a pony?

Then we watched the beginning of a 1987 movie called Empire of the Sun, 太陽の帝国 , directed by Steven Spielberg and starring a very young Christian Bale. We watched the beginning up to where Jamie (Christian Bale) goes back to his empty home and finds his “ama” stealing furniture.  His parents are not there.

Empire of the Sun is based on a novel by a British writer, J.G. Ballard. The story is fiction, but is based on the author’s personal childhood experiences.

After watching the beginning of the movie, we discussed similarities and differences between Empire of the Sun and Little Plum.

Similarities:

  1. Gem is rich, and so is Jamie.
  2. Gem has no brothers or sisters; nor does Jamie.
  3. Gem has a chauffeur and a governess to take care of her; so does Jamie.
  4. Both stories have some connection between Britain and Japan.

Differences:

  1. Jamie is a British boy living in a foreign country (Shanghai in China)
  2. Empire of the Sun takes place before the Second World War (1939-1945). Little Plum takes place after the War, in 1960’s Britain.
  3. Empire of the Sun is based on the author’s own personal experiences. Little Plum is not based so much on personal experiences.

Express your opinion! Let me know what you think of today's class, the written materials, the activities, the teacher's lecture, etc. Have a question about English or about today's class? Click the words "Leave a comment" below, or send me an email. Thank you for visiting.