It doesn’t matter that we’ve moved to Daylight Savings Time, we are all actually on “Corona time”.
Who knows how long this will last…
Now that my Deaf and hard of hearing adolescent students (some of whom NEVER do any school work at home) have to study from their bedrooms/living rooms or kitchen tables, I needed an amusing prompt to enable me to discuss study habits with them.
It turns out having a blog is quite useful for finding forgotten goodies. I learned of this video years ago on Sandy Millin’s Blog.
Just what I was looking for.
I can use it with all levels because this video works best without sound and without students reading the captions.
All you need to do is watch the video and ask the students what they do. The video is very clear.
The mustard dripping on the notebook is a great touch!
Honestly, even if your students hear EXTREMELY well, you don’t want the sound here.
I did prepare a written “companion” to the discussion because I need that with my students. I’m not sure I can call it a proper worksheet because the level of complexity is mixed. But it wasn’t designed to be done by a student working independently. In any case, I’m adding the downloadable file below.
I enjoy a book that is so engaging that it “takes me” to another place and time period – the best way to travel while staying at home, right?
At first I thought both of these books were giving me that experience.
But I discovered that to be a mistaken assumption.
Only “Where the Crawdads Sing” kept me completely absorbed in the tale of the life of Kya, a girl who was abandoned as a child and grew up in the marshes of North Carolina. The descriptions are so vivid, that this totally unfamiliar (to me! ) landscape is brought to life. There are also some very interesting facts about nature, which are cleverly woven in to match the plot without slowing down its progress.
Perhaps not every turn of events is totally believable but that really didn’t bother me a single bit. I went with the currents and let the author lead the way.
Certainly, a great book to read when you aren’t supposed to leave the house!
I was pleased when I began “The House of Spirits”, I’ve enjoyed several books you could define as “magical realism” and was completely prepared to go wherever the author wanted to take me. Particularly as I don’t know much about Chile and it’s history and felt much more interested in that compared to what is going on in the world nowadays.
The book follows the life of the Trueba family, clearly a “larger than life” family, a rich family complete with daughters possessing unusual qualities, old women with unusual skills and unfamiliar superstitions, uncles with schemes for getting rich who manage to die twice and more.
Wikipedia says the book follows the lives of four generations of the Trueba family. I had to consult Wikipedia because I abandoned the book after generation three hit puberty.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
It became very repetitive.
There was way too much focus on the unsavory character of Esteban (who married into the family) and endless extremely detailed descriptions of his cycles of sexual desire and senseless violence.
So many disasters befell Esteban that I hoped the story would continue at some point without this character, (you know, move onto the next generation?) but he was invincible.
I read more than half the book and then quit.
**** I’ve almost finished another book – post coming soon!
The sudden shift to online teaching has caused us all to look for more materials.
So this is a short post just to share a reading comprehension worksheet for students, which doesn’t require reading a text. The task focuses on the skills of comparing/contrasting, inferring and “supporting your answer”.
I don’t know who actually said it first, but it seems that a great many people invest a great deal of effort in proving the veracity of this old adage.
My Deaf and hard of hearing students (ok, “MOST of’ , there are notable exceptions) prefer a different version:
“If all else fails, don’t do it .”
Reading the instructions doesn’t even enter into the equation. In ANY language – not just in English as a foreign language!
I encourage, I point out the instructions, sometimes I refuse to help unless they read the instructions, but without my intervention, the instructions usually remain unread. Perhaps 10th grade is a bit late to start working on the importance of “reading instructions”, but I haven’t given up yet.
Now that schools have closed because of THE VIRUS, I have discovered that I now have a golden opportunity (we have to be optimistic and look at the bright side, right? ) to get these students reading instructions!
Over these first crazy days of trying to adjust to online learning with my students, who are not only at every possible level there is, but all their schoolbooks are the classroom I have learned three useful tips.
At least I’m learning new things every day!
Start them off with a task that has two parts. What needs to be done in the first part consists of an exercise of the sort where it is very very obvious what needs to be done. Such as the following Live Worksheet, on the topic of words and phrases that I see often on national exams and confuse my students.
With a live worksheet, the students can do a worksheet online and check their answers on their own, while using content made by their own teachers. The students know exactly what to do.
**** You can see it here, but if you want to try answering it to see how it works, use the link here in green letters : Confusing Words and Phrases
2. The second part of the exercise involves reading a simple instruction. If the students ignored it, you can first praise them for getting the first part right. Builds confidence! My own students were asked to send me translations of this completed exercise.
If your students DO send you a question, don’t answer instantly. Wait a bit. Besides the VERY important message that you want your students to understand regarding you not being on call EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY, let them look at the exercise on their own for a bit. When they don’t get an answer right away, they might actually try again. Try it!
3. When you respond to the question, first ask them to explain exactly what was it in the instructions that was unclear to them, which part or which words. That makes both you and the students reread the instructions.
There’s a good chance that the students will now know exactly what to do.
If not, then YOU, the teacher, may realize that the instructions could be improved.
I’d much rather reflect on how the book I recently read ties in with “Women’s Day” (March 8) and what it has to do with me being a teacher, than dwell on the question of whether we’re going back to school as scheduled in two days despite the CoronaVirus.
Stressful times indeed.
Now, don’t get me wrong – “The Mermaid Chair” is a good book and I do recommend reading it.
But I didn’t think so at first.
The book seemed to start off with such a worn-out situation that I was seriously considering moving on to another book. A woman, who supposedly has a “perfect” marriage (smart, good looking husband with a good income) and a lovely daughter, is very unhappy. She has to leave everything in order to “find herself”. The woman does not work outside the home, she wanted to be an artist but can’t find her “voice’.
So there I am reading the first part of the book and thinking “Really”? Leave the house, get a job, interact with people – who says that developing an independent career, a part of your life that is totally your own, has to contradict being married? Isn’t it obvious that today there are plenty of women who enjoy both? ”
I even imagined the main character becoming an art teacher working with special needs children who finds that helping others express themselves through art can be very rewarding. Particularly rewarding when you have a supportive family to come back to after some of the difficult days at school.
These thoughts led me to think about “women’s day’ and my choice of career. I will be eternally grateful to the women who fought hard to ensure that teaching was not one of the truly few respectable professions a woman could enter.
I became a teacher because I chose to be a teacher, not because there were no other options available.
As a female teacher in the national school system, I have never ever experienced any sort of discrimination based on gender, simply because the majority of teachers and administrators are women. There are no differences in salary to worry about and my opportunities to develop within the system have nothing to do with gender.
I am also fortunate to be able to come home to a family who expresses interest in what I do and perceives my job as my chosen carreer, not just as a source of family income.
This year, in these tense times of THE VIRUS, “Women’s Day” reminded me to count my blessings! Having a family I love and a job I enjoy are great blessings indeed!
To get back to The Mermaid Chair – the book is much more complex and far more interesting than it seemed to me to be in the beginning. I won’t give you any more spoilers, but Sue Monk Kidd writes in a very engaging way, there are story developments I did not foresee and my “complaints” were resolved as I learned more.
I’m really glad I read the book.
Teaching English as a FOREIGN language to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students