The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington
by Jennet Conant
This is what I’m reading now. For me the name Roald Dahl had always been associated with Willie Wonka and Charlie from the famous chocolate factory! I had no idea he was a dashing young British RAF pilot involved in “hush-hush” activities during WWII in Washington!
Persistence as Professional Development | The Line.
I read this post today and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I can identify with the feelings described here very strongly – so many projects and initiatives I’ve tried to implement over the years , devoting a great deal of energy, and only some of them made it htrough “the obstacle course”. Many of those that did were ones that did not happen at once and took more than one school year to be realized.
I thought I had learned to accept that I’m here for “the long haul” and its an achievement even if it happens a year later, but my reaction to this post was so strong that perhaps I’m still not there yet!
Oh – watch the video!
Larry Ferlazzo’s lists are a gold mine for eye-catching images. There are so many possibilities here! Just look at this as an example:
Here’s one I chose for starters (some of my pupils are studying architectural – draftmanship). They liked it! Once again, there are two versions, the “red” one is easier and uses Hebrew.
The Basket Building – blue The Basket Building – red
No, it is nothing educational like ” I made a child’s face light up when he understood the concept”.
Today I’m proud to report that I actually got the school janitor to come to my classroom. Not only did he disconnect the two flashing neon lights, he actually replaced one of them! I spend an inordinate amount of time getting him to keep “the bare necessities” in my English Room in good order!
Many pupils have dificulties in remembering or even accepting the fact that a word has more than meaning. With deaf students it is often a bigger problem, especially in a foreign language!
The word “save” is an example of a problem that I haven’t found a solution for. They all know, or rather KNOW that the meaning of “save” is the manner in which you prevent your data from being lost on the computer. And that’s that. Then they encounter sentences with other meanings of save they go off in wrong directions.
Regarding the word “test” I found a creative solution (well, at least with most of the pupils. Some remain in “don’t confuse me with the facts” mode). In Hebrew the word “test” in its English form has come to denote the driving exam for one’s driver’s license. Every other kind of exam is referred to by its Hebrew name. And thus I found references to driving appearing student’s work in totally unrelated contexts! I made cardboard signs for my pupils and whenever they take a test in class I place the sign “test” on their desks. There has been a dramatic improvement with remembering the meaning of this word!
But what about “save”?
I was asked today, once again, which electronic dictionary is better for students.
I dont’ know if posting specific names of companies is the right thing to do as I’m not affiliated with any commercial company – does anyone have any adice on that issue? But there are a few basic things to note:
1) See if it is capable of translating phrasal verbs such as “take place” – very important for pupils!
2) Type in an irregular verb in the past tense. If it notifies you that this is the past tense form of the verb (and gives you the present form) then that’s fine. DO NOT choose one that ignores these verbs and goes on to the closest matching word it can find.
3) Try typing in a word like “nose” or “sun”. If it gives you, as the first option, a translation using Biblical Hebrew – you don’t want that one!
4) If its really cheap – I hate to admit it, but that IS a bad sign….
I know we’re supposed to encourage responsibility and student-like behavior and I usually try to do that. However, some of these pupils are “special ed” in more ways than one. Mix that with the fact that I’m teaching deaf Israeli , Hebrew speakers, English as a FOREIGN language and it’s a tough subject, I must “pick my fights”. And so, like on this stormy day, you will find me handing out paper, pencils and most importantly – supplying a tissue box! I have other “battles to wage!”
“Last Chance to See” by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
My 16 year old, nature-loving son, had told many times I should read this book and for some reason I just kept postponing it. I kind of forgot who the author was and was kind of worried it would be boring. NO WAY!
I’m quoting from the back cover here because this is an apt description:
“After years of reflecting on the absurdities of life on other planets, Douglas Adams (you know, the one from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!) teamed up with zoologist Mark Carwardine to find out what was happening to life on this one…”
It is delightful to read and I was repeatedly amazed how by using COMEDY, Adams made some very serious points about the world!
My deaf students are extremely efficient texters (what an amazing invention the cell phone is for them!). Yet I know some of my students text while driving! “I can text without looking” they say! True, but what about the reply?
When I saw this ad I knew I had to use it!
Here are two versions I prepared, the “red” one is a bit easier and uses some Hebrew.
SMS driving red SMS driving
As I mentioned in my previous post, I find pictures to be a useful tool for improving reading comprehension skills at all ages – you just need to use appropriate pictures.
One of the most important skills that pupils must acquire is answering questions with answers that are relevant to the type of question asked. In order to have the pupils actually focus on understanding the questions we must separate the questions from the texts which are difficult for them. There are a number of ways to do this. Using pictures is one of my favorites.
One of things I do with high-school students is ask “Bagrut Type” (matriculation exam format) questions about an interesting picture. For example, take the question “Where could you find such a picture?” Many pupils tend to respond in a concrete manner; “I can’t find such a picture”. Yet they must relate to the fact that if its an ad, it would probably be found in a magazine or newspaper, etc.
Pictures are also useful for practicing questions using common tricky phrases such as “the woman looks pleased”. Pupils tend to think that the word “look” only has one meaning and confuse “pleased” with “please”.
Here is one example I use. In future posts I will add more. I’m afraid I do not know who drew this picture (I found it ,slightly torn,amng postcards left to me by another teacher) and will gladly give full credit if anyone does know!