Category Archives: 2010 WS

Writing Strategies II, Session #13: January 7th, 2011

Happy New Year

I took this photo over New Year while visiting Horyu-ji with my family. How did you spend the New Year’s holidays?

We have two classes left, Jan. 7th and Jan. 14th, then a final exam.

Here is the lesson plan for Jan. 7th:

  1. In groups, you will check your answers to the Study Questions for chapters, 13, 14 and 15 (Study Guide pages 39-44).
  2. I will call you up individually. 
    1. Show me your answers to Study Questions for chapters 10-12 (Study Guide pages 35-38).
    2. Show me the notes you took on your classmates’ presentations, Dec. 17th and 24th (if you still have them; you can show me next week, too)


  1. Answer the “Story Structure” questions in the Study Guide, page 45
  2. Translate your presentations into English
    1. Character study, or
    2. How we treat other people, or
    3. Curiosity.
    4. Another classic English children’s story from the ealry 20th century or before.
  3. Make sure you have correctly written the bibliographical data for the children’s story you read. You will need this in the exam (Jan. 21st). Here are two examples. Yours should be exactly like this:
    1. J.R.R. Tourukin. Hobbito no bouken. Trans. Teiji Seta. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000. Print.
    2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit. London: Harper Collins, 1979. Print.
Click the picture to see a larger version
Click the picture to see a larger version

Writing Strategies II, Session #12: December 24th, 2010

Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve

Today is presentation day.  What should be in your presentation? Read the instructions here: Children’s story presentation outline.

Thank you to all of you who presented today and last week. All these stories are classics of English-speaking culture.

Homework: Finish reading “The Magician’s Nephew” and answer the Study Guide questions for chapters 13, 14 and 15.

The Nativity

The story of the birth of Jesus Christ is called “the Nativity”. The Nativity story appears in only two of the four Gospels – in Matthew and in Luke.

The postcard above shows the Three Wise Men (also called the Magi) following the big star to the town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room at the inn.

The table below (from Wikipedia)  shows the main events in the Nativity story

Number Event Matthew Mark Luke John
1 Annunciation     Luke 1:26-38  
2 Visitation of Mary     Luke 1:39-56  
3 Joseph’s 1st dream Matthew 1:20-21      
4 Birth of Jesus Matthew 1:18-25   Luke 2:1-7  
5 Annunciation to the shepherds     Luke 2:8-15  
6 Adoration of the shepherds     Luke 2:16-20  
7 Infant Jesus at the Temple     Luke 2:21-38  
8 Star of Bethlehem Matthew 2:1-2      
9 Adoration of the Magi Matthew 2:3-12      
10 Joseph’s 2nd dream Matthew 2:13      
11 Flight into Egypt Matthew 2:13-15      
12 Massacre of the Innocents Matthew 2:16-18      

Preceding events

Nativity of Jesus

Follow on events

Writing Strategies II, Session #6: December 18th, 2010

Today is a make-up class instead of Nov. 5th. Thank you to those students who attended today. I hope you enjoyed the class.

We read a short essay on children’s writing by C.S. Lewis.

We listened to a couple of Christmas songs, one sung by Madonna.

This song was first recorded by Eartha Kitt:

Which version do you think is better? Which one do you prefer?

The second song we listened to today is  “Baby It’s Cold Outside”,  a classic duet written by Frank Loesser in 1944. He premiered the song with his wife. Here it is sung by Diane Reeves and Lou Rawls.

Writing Strategies II, Session #8: November 26th, 2010

Momoji, Nagano, Japan, October 2010
Momoji, Nagano, Japan, October 2010
  1. Reports from students who did  not present last time.
  2. What book did you choose from the list? (Many students chose “Robinson Crusoe”. I wonder why? Maybe it is a textbook in some other class…;0)
  3. Reading and translating chapter 8. Today, I used a slightly different technique. I asked questions about the text. These were not just comprehension questions, but questions designed to help students become more familiar with English by hearing many repetitions of the same words and phrases. What did you think of this? Send me an email or leave a comment here on the blog.
  4. Answering the study guide questions for chapters 8-9.
  5. Homework:

    Finish reading and translating chapters 8 and 9.

Writing Strategies II, Session #7: November 12th, 2010

In today’s session:

  1. Student presentations on the following topics:
    1. Story structure
    2. Character study
    3. Theme: how we treat other people
    4. Theme: curiosity
  2. Some comments or questions raised about the presentations:
    • Why does the Christian church say magic is bad?
    • Digory is a protagonist, but doesn’t he also do some things which cause problems for himself and the other protagonists?
    • Why is Aslan “kind”? What does he value?
    • Why do Polly and Digory and Uncle Andrew change?
      • Because they recognize that there is a higher power than themselves.
      • For Digory, that is first his mother, then Aslan (Aslan and Aslan’s wish is more important than Digory’s mother; Digory accepts this).
      • For Polly, she also realizes that Aslan and what he represents is more important than her own desires or fears.
      • Uncle Andrew does not understand what Aslan is but he realizes that Aslan’s power is much greater than his own and that he cannot compete against it. He is devastated by the unforeseen consequences of his actions and his interest in magic. He gives it up and becomes a more humble person.
      • Queen Jadis understands what Aslan is, but she rejects him. She never changes. She chooses power rather than accept Aslan’s superiority, even though it means death not life.
    • The Golden Rule is “Do as you would be done by”: do to others as you would have them do to you. This is aChristian precept, but it is also found in many other cultures and religions. That is why it is called the “Golden” rule. It is a moral principle.
    • Aslan uses magic. So what is the difference between Aslan’s magic and the magic of Jadis and Uncle Andrew?
    • Values. C.S. Lewis understood that values are very important. Science without clear moral values can become a terrible evil.
    • Two important values expressed in C.S. Lewis’ books are
      • recognition of and love (respect) for life
      • recognition of and love (respect) for God, the Creator of all things.
  3. Study Guide, Chapters 6-7, questions 1-5. We checked the answers to these questions.
  4. Homework.  For November 26th.
    1. Read chapters 8 and 9.
    2. Answer the study guide questions for chapters 8 and 9.
    3. Choose a book to read from the list of English children’s books which I gave out in class today (the list is also on the class blog). The books listed (with 2 exceptions) are books that C.S. Lewis had read.
      1. tell me the title as soon as possible and by Nov. 26th at the latest.
      2. You will make an oral and written report about this book on December 17th.
      3. You can read the book in English or in Japanese.
      4. Your oral report can be in English or in Japanese. (Reports in English will get up to 10% more points).
      5. You can choose a book not on the list, for example a book by one of the others listed. If you choose a book not on the list, please ask me first.
      6. You can choose a book by an author not on the list, but please check with me first.

Writing Strategies II, Session #4: October 22nd, 2010

Today in class:

  1. Study Guide p. 5 questions 10 & 11 (about curiosity): translate the questions and write your answers.
  2. Vocabulary – study guide pages 16-18. I won’t test you on the vocabulary, but I expect you to know these words.
  3. Study Guide page 19-20, questions 1-4:  translate the questions and write your answers on looseleaf paper.
  4. We read most of chapter 3 in class today.


  1. Study Guide page 45-7, Summary Questions: translate all the questions (1-10).
  2. Study Guide page 20-22: answer questions 5 – 14 (but NOT question 10) on separate paper (not on the Study Guide).

Cultural background.

Here are some photos of things that appear in “The Magician’s Nephew“.

A row of town houses in London. Digory and Polly may have lived in one of these. Can you imagine the tunnel under the roof, connecting all the houses in a row?
Case Side Half Open
Perhaps Digory’s penknife looked like this. He used his penknife to cut a mark in the grass so that they could remember which pool to take to go home.

Flickr has 5,976 results for a search for “wood between the worlds”. This phrase has obviously captured the imagination of a lot of people around the world. Which one do you like? This one?
The wood between the worlds.
Or perhaps this one?
wood between the worlds

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<a href=”” title=”The wood between the worlds. by timmenzies, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”The wood between the worlds.” /></a>

Writing Strategies II, Session #3: October 15th, 2010

Rolltop Desk
Image by Kamintra via Flickr

Homework: (for October 22nd)

  1. Answer question 9, Study Guide page 14. Write your answer as a comment on this blog (in either Japanese or English). Deadline is Wednesday October 20th, 6 p.m.
  2. Read chapters 3, 4, 5. If you do not read these chapters, you will be unable to take part in the class discussion next week.
  3. Study Guide p. 22: read questions 12-14 and read the Bible passages (in Japanese).

In today’s class, we:

  1. checked the homework (Study Guide p. 8),
  2. had a vocab quiz on the words on page 9,
  3. translated the passages on page. 11,
  4. filled in the table about Uncle Andrew on page 12,
  5. answered the questions on page 13
  6. answered questions 7 and 8 on page 14.
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Writing Strategies II, Session #2: October 8th, 2010

Update: Homework 2, 2. Everyone, please just write a summary of what the Bible says about magic. Do not write your opinion.

  1. Receive your copy of the Study Guide for this semester’s text.
  2. Deadline for all online assignments (blog comments, emailed reports, etc) is by Wednesday, 18:00.
  3. Today’s class:
    1. Read pages 8-13 of the study guide, and translated the questions into Japanese.
  4. Homework 2 (for next week, session #3, October 15th): read “The Magician’s Nephew“, chapters 1 and 2.
    1. Read the Book of Genesis in the Bible, chapters 1, 2 and 3. This tells the story of the creation of our world.
    2. (Study Guide, page 8, question #2) Read the passages from the Bible and answer the question in Japanese in one paragraph, and write your answer on the class blog as a comment. Deadline: Wednesday, October 13th, 18:00.
    3. (Study Guide) Look up the words on page 9. Test next week.
    4. (Study Guide) p. 11-12. Translate the quotations 1-5 into Japanese.
    5. (Study Guide) p. 13. Translate the questions 1-6 and answer the questions 3-6 (write your answers directly on the Study Guide).
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Writing Strategies session #13: Friday, July 16th, 2010

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
Image via Wikipedia
  1. Checked answers to quiz questions for chapters 15, 16 and 17.
  2. The homework 2 weeks ago was to compare the deaths of Aslan and of Jesus. Out of 23 students, only 1 student answered this question correctly. Why?
  3. Personal interviews with students about their outstanding assignments.
  4. Homework questions:
    1. Why is “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” still popular today?
    2. Why is this book studied at university?

Next week is the final exam.

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