Locating Lessons using Videos on this Blog

Naomi's photos
Naomi’s photos

Just a short post to say that I have finally made it easier to locate posts that describe lessons using videos. All these posts include downloadable worksheets, often several worksheets (different levels).

All you need to do is:

1. Look for the title “Categories” on the first sidebar on the right side of the blog’s homepage.

2. Click on “Video Lessons”.  All the posts describing the use of the videos and downloadable worksheets can be found there, one after the other.

Saturday’s Books: “Tenth of December” by Saunders & “Cain” by Saramago


This certainly has been a summer of eclectic reading, each book very different from the next one, which is just the way I like it. Though I must say I read less than I usually do over the summer. This post includes two books because my blog was “on vacation”.

I was so pleased to find an interview with the author at the end of the collection of short stories that make up the “Tenth of December”. Suanders is interviewed by David Sedaris. Each story was very easy to get into, utterly absorbing, yet disturbing. Each one I finished left me wishing that I was back in college and could discuss the stories in class. I couldn’t even put my finger on exactly why the stories disturbed me, which made me wonder if it was just me. The writing is such a pleasure, the stories are varied (some take place in the future!), then why am I left with a  feeling of disquiet?

The interview helped to clarify. The author intends to rock your world, to make you think of social issues, morality and more. He wants you to think of people and issues you might not usually think about .

I give a lot of my books away, but I’m keeping this one. Short stories, for me, are something that can be reread, especially when there is a lot to think about in each one.

“Cain” is a short book, and a quick read. Saramago uses the Biblical character Cain as his spokesman. Cain, whose punishment was to wander, becomes a time traveller under Saramago’s hand, participating in many Biblical events. Cain doesn’t like what he sees and makes his opinion of GOD quite clear. He has many dialogues with GOD until Cain finally interferes with GOD’s plans. The dialogues are witty and sharp and the ending is unexpected.

“True Love” vs. “Her”

Where is the flower going?
Where is the flower going?

This is a lead-in activity before we begin studying the story “True Love” by Asimov, as part of our literature program.

I don’t usually post activities until I have tried them out with the students. However, since the question of what the first weeks of the new school year will be like is so unclear, I don’t feel like waiting. At the moment we have been told that only some of the students will come each day (rotation) so that we can teach in classrooms next to the shelters and get to them in time.

Hopefully there will be a follow-up post.

I designed this activity for very weak students who must study this Asimov story. Not only is their English poor, their general knowledge is very poor too. They must watch the slideshow in class, then copy out the sentences that describe what both tales have in common.

I hope that making the connection to the movie “Her” (Spike Jonze) in their minds will help them understand that the narrator of this story is a talking-thinking computer. It’s not a hard concept to imagine nowadays. I deliberately did not include the fact that the story is an old one (1977) as I think it will really help the students if they imagine the computer Joe as a laptop or tablet, things they relate to. It’s not  important that Asimov probably imagined it as a huge mainframe thing filling a whole room.

I used EDpuzzle to crop a section of the official trailer of the movie. I chose this section because it works without sound. There is no need to understand the speech (which isn’t very clear for a weak student that CAN hear well) to see how happy the man is and that he is communicating with the cell phone. I also wanted the students to have the information regarding the movie, so that it will be clear that the clip is not from the story! 

Another reason I chose to compare the story to the film as it is a good opportunity to review one of the higher order thinking skills we must teach for the literature program; comparing and contrasting. It’s also a chance to review the very useful phrase “in common”. The students encounter it on their unseen exams.

Here is the slideshow. I hope it will work well!


Saturday’s Book: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Riggs

Reflections of 2 Dream Catchers
Reflections of 2 Dream Catchers

* I missed my blog…

This was a recommendation from Adele Raemer, and I’m grateful indeed. I enjoyed it! I received it as an audio-book gift and listening to it was a bit like a play. The excellent reader did accents, Welsh, Cockney and others! On the other hand, I understand the photos in the book are unique. I did download the PDF file that came with the book but have not had time to look at them properly.

It is a young-adults books. There are parts where this is very obvious. It IS a  coming-of-age story. But the book is well written, and surprised me a few times when I felt sure I knew what would happen. More important, there are layers of meaning and lots of things to think about here.

And a rocking good adventure story with suspense.

So when are they making a movie out of it?


Saturday’s Books: “Azazeel” by Ziedan & “Horsey” by Aini

When the crow calls... (Naomi's photos)
When the crow calls…
(Naomi’s photos)

Azazeel by Youssef Zeidan is an unusual book. It’s rather hard to describe. I”ll start with a quote from the back cover:

“Set in 5th century AD, Azazeel is the exquisitely crafted tale of a Coptic monk’s journey from Upper Egypt to Alexandria and then Syria during a time of massive upheaval in the early Church.”

While at times the book seems to go into a lot of detail regarding Christian theology, it is actually a historical novel about someone grappling with very universal questions, ranging from why is it so difficult for people of one religion to tolerate people who believe in another one, to why shouldn’t women be educated and influential. Also there’s quite a bit about why should monks have to stay away from women, but that’s not a universal issue. Hint, there are most certainly encounters with women in this book!

The book begins slowly but the pace picks up.

Reading about how the author’s book was received in Egypt, by Moslems and Copts (written by the translator into English) is fascinating.

The pic has nothing to do with the book, just took it today and like it! LOL!
The pic has nothing to do with the book, just took it today and like it! LOL!

Horsey by Leah Eini is completely different. It is a lighthearted engaging fable. She takes the basic storyline of “girl waiting for the man of her dreams to come riding by on his horse and rescue her” and gives it a feminist, funny and very horselike twist (if I say more about the twist I’ll ruin the book).  She plays with every possible phrase related to horses (O.K, I’m probably exaggerating. Many phrases). The book, written in Hebrew, takes place partly on a farm in Israel and partly in El Paso, Texas and the characters are larger than life. It was a good read for when I couldn’t sleep….