Tag Archives: Little Plum

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 #10: December 4th, 2009

  1. Assigned 1 paragraph of chapter 4 per student to translate into Japanese.
  2. Conferenced with each student to confirm outstanding assignments.
  3. When to do the make-up classes? I cancelled Nov. 6th class due to entrance exams at my home university. I will also cancel January 15th class in order to attend a conference. Official make-up days are Saturday Jan. 9th and 16th, however, many students said they were unavailable on those days. I asked all students to mark on their paper when and what days they would be available for a makeup class. Unfortunately, not all students can make any one day or time. However, most students are free on Tuesday 5th period. Therefore the first make-up class will be December 8th, Tuesday, 2009, 5th period (16:45-18:15).

Interactive Writing II Session #9: November 27th, 2009

  1. Mini-lecture on “Changing attitudes to children and the police in the U.K.”
    1. Write your notes in Japanese on your blog in 200 characters
  2. We read more of chapter 3 with individual students translating paragraphs. We read up to page the bottom of page 37.
  3. Homework: Write a summary of chapter 3 in Japanese in 200 characters, and post it to your blog by Wednesday December 2nd.

Interactive Writing II Session #6: October 30th, 2009

  1. Listen to my summary of chapter 1. Answer my questions.
  2. Write down/note these 7 questions, and answer them in English for homework. Post the answers to your blog AND give them to me next class (November 6th):
    1. What happened in your life when you were 7-10 years old? (E.g., when I was 7, my family moved to Algeria in North Africa. We lived in Algiers for 9 months. I did not play with the neighbours, unfortunately.)
    2. When you were a child, what kind of home did you live in?
    3. Did you have neighbours? Did the neighbours have children?  Did you play with them?
    4. Nona moved from India to England when she was 8. Did you move somewhere far away when you were growing up?
    5. Did you ever live next door to an empty house or flat? How did you feel?
    6. The house next door in the story “Little Plum” is made new, it is renovated. Has your home or a room in your home ever been renovated? Have you lived in a renovated house? How does it feel?
    7. In “Little Plum”, the girl next door has many toys and much furniture. How about you? Did you have many toys when you were growing up? Did you have a favourite toy? What was it?
  3. Read along with me as I read the rest of chapter 2. Be ready to answer my questions about the meaning of words and phrases.
  4. Homework exchange: show the picture and meaning that you looked up for homework.
  5. Collected:
    1. what kind of girl is Nona? What kind of girl is Belinda? (What are their characters like?)
    2. Diagram showing the relationships between the people in the story.
  6. Homework:
    1. translate into Japanese the section of chapter 3 I assigned to you.
    2. post on your blog the picture and the meaning of the word you looked up for last week’s homework. Do this by Wednesday Nov. 4th, 23:59. (Bring your paper to class next week Nov. 6th)
    3. post on your blog your answers to the 7 questions above.  Do this by Wednesday Nov. 4th, 23:59. (Bring your paper to class next week Nov. 6th)

Interactive Writing Session #5: October 23rd, 2009

  1. Plagiarism handout.
    1. Plagiarism is a serious offence in Western countries.
    2. How to avoid plagiarism?
      1. Summarise (key points only)
      2. Paraphrase (use different words to say the same thing)
      3. Report  (e.g. use quotation marks “…..”; Widdowson writes that “…..”; According to Widdowson (1983), …. ; etc.)
      4. ALWAYS give credit when you use someone else’s words, ideas, photos, etc: say where (and when) you got the information.
      5. Make a clear distinction between YOUR words and ideas and those of other people. 自分の考えや言葉と他人の考えと事がをはっきり区別しましょう。方法は今日配ったプリントに書いてあります。ご参考まで。
  2. We continued reading “Little Plum“, chapter 2 (p. 11 – p. 18 “how very, very sad.”)


  1. I gave each student a word or phrase. Look up the meaning in Japanese and find 2 or 3 pictures that illustrate the word or phrase. Print out and bring to class next week.
  2. Nona, Belinda, Anne, Tom, Mother, Father, Agnes, Mrs. Bodger, Mr. Tiffany Jones. Who are these people and what is their relationship to each other? Draw a diagram.
  3. What is Belinda’s character? And Nona’s? Use words and phrases from the text in your answer.
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Interactive Writing Session #4: October 16th, 2009

The writer, the written and the writing tool
Image by Ravages via Flickr

UPDATE: Test yourself! Try this vocabulary quiz about chapter 1 of Little Plum.

Test yourself! Try this quiz on some of the words we read today in chapter 2.

  1. Review of basic rules of English writing:
    1. 5 conditions for a simple sentence
    2. complex sentences + common errors (fragments, run-ons, and comma splices)
    3. the paragraph – unity, grouping of sentences, topic sentence, major supports, transitions.
    4. the essay (according to Andy Gillett) –made up of several paragraphs; introduction, main body, conclusion; all written about one main topic; needs to have a clear purpose; “you should present ideas you have learned but in your own words, and say something for yourself about the subject; the ideas and people you refer to must be made explicit by a system of referencing.”  (c.f. Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education )
  2. Show me your notebooks for “Little Plum
  3. Today, we will read the rest of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
  4. Take notes (in Japanese OK) about today’s mini lecture on British children’s author Enid Blyton.
  5. We will begin to think about research projects.
    1. Rumer Godden’s life
    2. Rumer Godden’s books for children
    3. Rumer Godden’s books
    4. Famous British children’s authors and books
    5. Compare 1 British children’s book with 1 famous Japanese children’s book
    6. Compare Rumer Godden with a famous Japanese writer for children
    7. Compare British books for children with Japanese books for children.
  6. We will learn about how to write a summary. From Andy Gillett’s page:

One of the most important aspects of academic writing is making use of the ideas of other people. This is important as you need to show that you have understood the materials and that you can use their ideas and findings in your own way. In fact, this is an essential skill for every student.

It is very important when you do this to make sure you use your own words, unless you are quoting. You must make it clear when the words or ideas that you are using are your own and when they are taken from another writer. You must not use another person’s words or ideas as if they were your own: this is Plagiarism and plagiarism is regarded as a very serious offence.

The object of academic writing is …  for you to present ideas you have learned in your own way. You can do this by reporting the works of others in your own words. You can either paraphrase if you want to keep the length the same, summarise if you want to make the text shorter or synthesise if you need to use information from several sources. In all cases you need to acknowledge other people’s work.


  1. Write a summary of Chapter 1 and 2
  2. Write your notes (in Japanese) to today’s talk, and post them to your blog by Wednesday Oct. 21, 18:00
  3. Visit Andy Gillett’s website Using English for Academic Purposes: A guide for students of higher education. Especially look at the sections on “Paragraph”
  4. Watch theses slideshows on paragraph writing and on summarising.
    1. slideshow #1
    2. slideshow #2
    3. Slideshow #3
  5. Prepare chapter 3 of “Little Plum”.
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Interactive Writing Session #3: October 9th, 2009

  1. Editing symbols worksheet
  2. Complex sentences worksheet (run-ons, fragments, comma splices)
  3. List of editing symbols (reference)
  4. Read most of chapter 1 of “Little Plum”.

You will need a notebook to take notes about vocabulary, British customs, history, etc., that come up in class as we read the “Little Plum” story.


  1. (from last week) Type a self-introduction letter using MSWord and using the letter format in the handout from last week. Send it to me by email as an attachment 添付ファイル
  2. Finish reading chapter 1.
  3. Read chapter 2 and prepare for next week:
    1. look up the words you don’t know
    2. make notes about things you learn

Today we read almost all of chapter 1 of  “Little Plum” by Rumer Godden. In order to get an image or understanding of what kind of place Britain is, if you have never been there, let’s use the Internet to do some virtual travel.

First, here are some pictures of a High Street:

  1. in Lincoln
  2. in Chelmsford in 1895 (over 100 years ago, but you see what a long history the “High Street” has)
  3. in Scunthorpe in 1973 (“Little Plum” was published in 1962, so this photo shows you what England looked like at about that time)
  4. in a pretty village called Pinner (don’t know where it is!), which shows some “listed buildings”, which means they are protected by law because they are old and beautiful,
  5. a high street in London.

What is a “market town”? It’s a town which is allowed to have a market (in the old days, the king’s permission was needed to have a market). Wikipedia tells us:

In pre-19th century England, the majority of the population made their living through agriculture and livestock farming. Most lived where they worked, with relatively few [people living] in towns. Therefore, farmers and their wives brought their produce to informal markets held after worship on the grounds of their church. Market towns were an important feature of rural life…  Market towns often grew up close to fortified places such as castles, to enjoy their protection. Framlingham in Suffolk is a notable example. Markets were located where transport was easiest, such as at a crossroads or close to a river ford. When local railway lines were first built, market towns were given priority to ease the transport of goods.

So, “market towns” are usually old towns with a history of people bringing things to the town to sell them. Here are some pictures of some market towns in England:

  1. Market Drayton
  2. Market Harborough
  3. Chipping Norton (“Chipping” comes from a Saxon verb meaning “to buy”)

Here you can see how hedges separate people’s property. Here’s a very old and pretty hedge. Here you can see how hedges are used in England to give privacy from the street, and here you can see how a hedge is used to give privacy from the neighbours.

Here’s an ilex tree, a kind of oak tree, in Chichester, UK. Maybe Belinda’s ilex is big like this? Here are some more ilex trees.

Here’s a picture of a gravel drive. This house is very old, much older than “The House Next Door”, I think.


  1. Here’s a picture of a house with a lawn and a hedge, and a “house next door”.
  2. Here’s another picture of a lawn and a garden, and
  3. here’s another one (this house is very old, from Shakespeare’s time!).
  4. Here’s a more modern one (notice the hedge)
  5. and another modern one in the university town of Cambridge

Some houses for sale in this photo. This house has been sold. This photographer would like to buy this house. How about you?  It has a garden, a hedge, a stream, paddocks (fields for horses)!

I found this photo of two “maiko” by searching for “little plum” on Flickr. Are these two “Miss Happiness and Miss Flower”?

The word “plum” has very different associations for English people than the word “ume” 梅 has for Japanese. Here’s a picture that shows you what many English people will think of when you say “plum”.