Category Archives: Academic Skills

AS2: Week 9, November 30th, 2018

Homework

Prepare your book and movie presentation, if you have not done your presentation yet (today, Nov. 30th).  Dec. 7th class has been cancelled.  Makeup class will be on Saturday Dec. 15th (not Dec. 8th as I announced in class.) For presentation guidelines, see last week’s blog post here.

Everyone must do their book and movie presentation twice. If you did your book-and-movie presentation Nov 30th or earlier, please do it again on Dec. 14th.

  • You must
    • include historical background and
    • say what readers can learn about American history from the movie or the book (or both).
    • Give the key points.
      • A point is “the important or essential thing”.
      • A key point is “the most important or essential thing” about the movie and the book.

Today’s class

Student “movie and book” presentations.

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AS2: Week 8, November 16th, 2018

Homework

  1. Write 3 paragraphs comparing Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and Fred Astaire’s “Girl Hunt Ballet” music videos.  Use your own English. Don’t copy and paste.
    1. Paragraph 1 – introduce Michael Jackson.
    2. Paragraph 2 – introduce Fred Astaire
    3. Paragraph 3- compare the two music videos, focusing on the similar points.
  2. Start preparing your book and movie presentation.  All presentations must be done by the next class, Nov. 30th. There is no class on Nov. 23rd, so Nov. 30th is the last chance.  For presentation guidelines, see last week’s blog post here.

Today’s class

 

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AS2: Week 7, November 9th, 2018

Homework

  1. Read chapter 2 for a quiz next time.
  2. Start preparing your book and movie presentation. All presentations must be done by Nov. 30th. There is no class on Nov. 23rd.
  3. All presentations should
    1. be 4-5 minutes long,
    2. use Powerpoint or handouts
    3. include 3-5 key points
    4. include a summary of the presentation contents (given at the end)
    5. include a glossary (Japanese explanation) of key words
    6. include a list of references
    7. include some sample scene(s) from the movie and sample quotes from the book.

Today’s class

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AS2: WEEK 6, November 2nd, 2018

Homework

  1. Read chapter 2 for a quiz next time.
  2. Start preparing your book and movie presentation. All presentations should
    1. be 4-5 minutes long,
    2. use Powerpoint or handouts
    3. include 3-5 key points
    4. include a summary of the presentation contents (given at the end)
    5. include a glossary (Japanese explanation) of key words
    6. include a list of references
    7. include some sample scene(s) from the movie and sample quotes from the book.

Today’s class

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AS2: WEEK 5, OCTOBER 26TH, 2018

Homework

  • If you did NOT present today, choose one of your homework questions (about chapter 1) for a presentation next week (November 2nd)
    Presentation length: 1-2 minutes
  • Choose one movie and one book from the lists and prepare a presentation about it for November. Presentations can be done anytime from Nov.  9th onwards.

Today’s class

  • Student presentations on questions about chapter 1

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AS2: WEEK 4, OCTOBER 19TH, 2018

 Homework

  1. Choose one of your homework questions (about chapter 1) for a presentation next week (Oct. 26th)
    1. Presentation length: 1-2 minutes
  2. Choose one movie and one book from the lists and prepare a presentation about it for November.

Today’s class

  1. Sentence correction
  2. Mini-lecture on
    1. The first Americans
      1. From Asia via the land bridge
      2. Different tribes had different lifestyles depending on the environment and climate
        1. Eskimos in the frozen north
        2. Iroquois in the forests and lakes of the East
        3. Navajo in the dry desert areas
        4. Aztecs and Mayas in what is now Mexico and Guatemala
        5. The Incas in what is now Peru and the Andes mountains
    2. The Viking colony
    3. Christopher Columbus
      1. Ponce de Leon
      2. Hernando de Soto
    4. The Virginian and Plymouth colonies

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AS2: Week 3, October 12th, 2018

Homework

  1. Choose one question from the list about each of the 3 sections below, research the answer and write it in one paragraph. Bring to class next week.
    1. Atlantic Coast
    2. The Midwest
    3. The Louisana Purchase
  2. Write a summary in your own words of each of the sections of the textbook below:
    1. The Midwest
    2. The Louisana Purchase

Today’s class

  1. Write and choose a question about the section “The Atlantic Coast”.
  2. Map of the 13 Colonies: fill in the names.
  3. Summarize the section “The Atlantic Coast” in your own words.

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AS2: Week 2, October 5th, 2018

Homework

Finish reading chapter 1 and write a research question you have about each section. Bring to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Review quiz about the origins and meaning of academic writing
  2. Textbook pages 4-5
  3. Textbook chapter 1 pp 6-7. Example questions:
    1. How many states were there at the beginning of the 19th century?
    2. What was the population of the US in 1860?
    3. Why was the first attempt at a colony in Virginia?
    4. Why was it called Virginia? Who gave it that name?
    5. Why did it fail?
    6. Why did the Founding Fathers come to Massachusetts
  4. How to write academically
    1. Start with a question (“What is a good life?”) or a doubt (“Is the earth REALLY the centre of the universe?”). YOUR question, not someone else’s.
    2. Check the meanings of key words: don’t rely on your “image” or some vague understanding. Use an English-English dictionary and try to find the root or original meaning in order to properly understand the word(s) objectively, not subjectively.
    3. What is important thing, the one, unique characterstic that makes this different from other things?
    4. Connect new knowledge to your existing knowledge, e.g. to what you know about Japanese culture and history. E.g. How big is Japan compared to the US? What was happening in Japan when the Pilgrims came to Massachusetts in 1620?
Map from https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/colonies.htm

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AS2: WEEK 1, September 28th, 2018

Hi, and welcome to Academic Skills second semester.

I hope you enjoyed the summer vacation.  I made a short trip to Lake Biwa and Nagano. How about you? You can let me know in the comments.

This semester, the theme is history of the USA, and the textbook is

This semester, we will also read some simple stories about the USA and discuss them.

There will be a presentation by all Academic Skills class representatives on Thursday December 20th  16:45 (5th period) in the Rakushinkan. We will choose one representative from this class on Friday December 14th.

Like last semester, students will do 2 presentations (before Dec. 14th) and 1 final essay (due Jan. 25th, 2019) on topics of American history.

Homework

  1. The important thing about (2 from your American list) is that ….
    1. E.g. “The important thing about New York is the Statue of Liberty”, or “The important thing about Lincoln is that he was president during the Civil War, he ended slavery and he was assassinated.”
  2. The important thing about academic writing is that…

Today’s class

What is academic writing?
What do you know about USA history?
  • People
  • Places
  • Events
Why Sheffner does not take attendance
  • In my British university, there was
    • No attendance taken
    • no credit system, instead, there was a test/exam system:
      • a test at the end of the first year
      • “finals” at the end of the 3rd (final) year
      • no graduation certificate, but instead a degree certificate
    • Therefore I don’t put much emphasis on attendance but rather on the work that you do.
    • If you miss a class find out what we did (see this blog) and do the work
Academic writing
  • Plato’s academy
    • Not a school, more a community of learners, people who like to discuss and think about big questions, e.g. “what is a good person? How to live a good life?” etc.
  • Scientific revolution (Europe, 16th/17th centuries
    • Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, etc.
    • Questioning: is the earth really the centre? If so, there must be objective, sensory evidence.
      • I.e. looking for more than religious belief
Story
The Important Book (photocopies)
  • Read
  • Fill in the table
  • What is the meaning of “the important thing”?
  • Do you agree?
Pick 1 or 2 objects from the list that you disagree with and write what you think is the important thing about it.

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.

AS1: WEEK 15, JULY 27TH, 2018

Today’s class (final)

  1. Check your final report for formatting before handing it in.
    1. If you have not already done so, please email me your final report as soon as possible.
  2. Answer these questions using the textbook chapters 3, 5 and the Dossier. If you were absent, please email me your answers as soon as possible.
    1. Who invented the telephone?
    2. Who invented nursing?
    3. who invented television?
    4. Who invented the World Wide Web?
    5. Who invented the steam engine?
    6. Who discovered penicillin?
    7. Who invented the theory of evolution (2 names)?
  3. Answer these questions
    1. If conditions in the cities and factories were so bad, why did people work in them?
    2. If conditions for children in factories were so bad, why did children work there?
    3. Who paid for the cities to become safer and healthier, and how (where did the money come from)?
    4. Who paid for the ‘free’ education and how (where did the money come from)?

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.