Category Archives: 2016 AS

Academic Skills 2: Send me your best writing

Thank you for your essays. However, the department needs the data in order to publish your essay.

Please send me by email the data for your best writing (about New York, about Chicago, or your final essay which you handed in today).  You decide which writing you want to be published, and send me that data.

If I do not receive your data, your writing will not be published in the Academic Skills book next April.

Thank you in advance. Good luck and best wishes to you all.

Enjoy this life.

AS2, week 14, January 13th, 2017


Choose a topic from the textbook that you have not chosen yet. E.g.

  • Music (jazz, rock’n’roll, country, etc)
  • Cities in films (you can choose one city or one movie or write about several)
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • New Orleans

Write at least 2 pages of A4, in academic format, using photos, maps, illustrations, etc. Make sure you define your subject, and explain why or how your topic is important.

Today’s class

  • Student presentations on Chicago.
  • Quiz on pages 48 & 49.


Makeup class will be Wednesday, Jan. 18th, 5th period (16:45 – 18:15)

AS2, week 13, January 6th, 2017


Makeup class will be on Wednesday Jan. 18th, 5th period, room S405.


Read the chapter about Chicago and answer the 2 questions below. Remember, this class is Academic Skills, so your answer should be an academic answer. That means, complete, not just one or two details. As complete and accurate as you can.

  1. What is Chicago?
  2. Why is it important?

Today’s class

  1. Presentations by students about various paragraphs from the textbook chapter about Chicago.
  2. Some important background information which you should know. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, look them up. This is common knowledge.
    1. Where did the Mafia originate?
    2. Why were many of the early trading posts also forts?
    3. Why were the French in North America?

There are several films about Al Capone and the Prohibition era. Here is a list  of 10:

And here is a list of 25 Prohibition-era movies. The gang violence was one of the main reasons why Prohibition was considered a failure and eventually abandoned.

A very popular and well known movie about Chicago (but not about gangsters) is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, directed by John “Home Alone” Hughes.

Here’s (in my opinion) the best scene in the movie. “Danke Schoen” is of course German – many people of German origin settled in Chicago, as well as Italians – and “Twist and Shout” is a Beatles song.

Here’s a scene from “The Untouchables”.

AS2, week 12, December 16th, 2016


Read and prepare a short presentation on the Chapter 4 paragraph or paragraphs assigned to you in today’s class.

If you were absent today, please read and understand chapter 4 in the textbook. Quiz next class (Jan. 6th, 2017).

Today’s class

  1. Watch the clip from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Immigrant”: what do the immigrants fell when they see the Statue of Liberty and why? Write an academic (complete) answer.
  2. Watch the clips from “Far and Away”.
    1. Why do a) Joseph and b) Shannon want to go to the U.S.?
    2. What do a) Joseph and b) Shannon feel when they arrive in Boston?

AS2, week 10, December 2nd, 2016


Prepare your presentation (those students who did not present today).

Today’s class

Presentations by

  1. Tanigawa – California Gold Rush
  2. Kono – Times Square
  3. Yamagami – Mark Twain
  4. Noma – Greenwich Village
  5. Sakai – Prohibition
  6. Tani – Meryl Streep
  7. Furukawa – Statue of Liberty
  8. Yamaoka – Harlem
  9. Seto – Edith Wharton
  10. Otake – Golden Gate Bridge
  11. Adachi – Brooklyn Bridge
  12. Kano – Garment District (NY)
  13. Higashiguchi – Golden Gate Bridge

By the way, I’m selling some books in Japanese  very cheaply, including translations of “Tom Sawyer” and Huckleberry Finn”. Some books are just  one yen! If you want to buy one, send me an email.

AS2, week 9, November 25th, 2016


Prepare a 3-4 minute presentation on any topic of US history.  You can use any topic from the textbook or from the handouts. You can use the same topic as for your New York presentation if you want (but it must be 3-4 minutes long).

  • Use PowerPoint rather than the overhead camera, for clarity
  • repeat the key points several times during your presentation.
  • Speak slowly.
  • Remember the lessons you learned from watching the video today.
    • use simple English.
    • use words that you know (if you don’t know them, your listeners probably won’t know them either).
    • use short sentences.
    • speak key words
      • loudly,
      • slowly,
      • clearly,
      • with gestures
      • point to the picture, map, illustration, etc.
      • speak with life and passion.

Today’s class

Presentations by 3 students.

We watched an episode from a famous TV drama and made notes about how to communicate key points, how to be convincing and persuasive, and how to write (and speak) in English with few mistakes.

AS2, week 8, November 11th, 2016


Prepare your presentation (if you did not present this week).

Today’s class

Today is Armistice Day in Europe, marking the end of WWI and honouring those who died in that war and all the wars since then.

Presentations from most students on New York topics.

My comments about the presentations:

  1. Difficult to understand because your voices were too quiet or unclear.
  2. Use more pictures and maps.
  3. Talk less – let the pictures and maps “talk” for you.
  4. Show key points (names, dates, places, etc) in writing on a card or slide. Understanding ONLY through listening is very difficult, especially when you are listening in a foreign language.

AS2, week 7, November 4th, 2016


  1. Prepare a short (1-2 mins) presentation about the topic assigned to you from chapter 3 of the textbook. Use maps, photos, illustrations, etc. Use the textbook information but also find something new that is not in the textbook.
  2. Answer the questions about the movie “Far and Away”
    1. Why does Joseph want to kill the landlord Mr Christie?
    2. Is he justified?
  3. Presentation topics
    1. Robert de Niro and Woody Allen
    2. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island – how are they connected? (1 bridge, 1 tunnel, 1 ferry)
    3. Manhattan – Wall Street, Twin Towers, Ground Zero
    4. Chinatown
    5. Lower East Side
    6. Little Italy
    7. Garment District
    8. Greenwich Village
    9. Edith Wharton
    10. Henry James
    11. Mark Twain
    12. Edgar Allen Poe
    13. Harlem
    14. Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx

If you were absent today, please choose from these topics in the textbook:

  1. Central Park
  2. Rockefeller Center
  3. Times Square
  4. Broadway
  5. Lincoln Center
  6. Madison Square Garden
  7. Fifth Avenue & Upper Midtown
  8. Empire State Building
  9. Famous New York food

Today’s class

  1. Cause and effect.
    1. Why did Joseph’s father die?
    2. Why did large stones and timbers fall?
    3. Why did the horses hit the timbers?

AS2, week 6, October 28th, 2016


  1. Read the handout about the 13 English colonies
  2. Write a definition sentence about
    1. the 13 colonies
    2. the New England colonies
    3. the Mid-Atlantic colonies
    4. the Southern colonies
  3. Read again chapter 3, paragraphs 1-11 (not 10), up to and including the paragraph on Greenwich Village.
    1. Write a sentence giving the key points of each paragraph, 1-11.

Today’s class

  1. Cost of steerage to the US from England in the mid-19th century?
  2. What two types of ships were there then?
  3. Which was cheaper?
  4. How long did it take?
  5. Using the information in “In the Heart of the Rockies”, write a definition sentence for “steerage”.
  6. Watch the beginning of the Chaplin silent film “The Immigrant”, and write another sentence about steerage using information from the movie clip.
  7. Read chapter 3 paragraphs 1-11 (Greenwich Village).