All posts by Naomi Epstein

Hi! I teach English as a foreign language to deaf and hard of hearing students in Israel and am a national counselor in this field. http://visualisingideas.edublogs.org

Don’t Box Me In! Teachers who “Bent” the Zoom Square – Anka

Anka Zapart online!
Anka Zapart, BKC IH, Moscow

My name is Anka, I am a teacher of English as a foreign language. I come from Poland but I have wandered around a bit and for the past twelve years I have been working in Russia, at BKC IH Moscow. This is where the pandemic and Zoom found me.

The biggest problem with teaching online that I came across was the one in my head. Although over the years I have worked with all the age groups and levels, my main area of expertise (and my passion) is teaching early years students, primary and pre-primary which is all about being physically present and involved, playing with flashcards, doing craft, using realia…Doing all that online sounded like the most ridiculous idea ever. EVER.

NOOOO!
Naomi’s photos

If we had had a chance to meet anytime before March 2020, you would have definitely heard me talk a lot about the disadvantages and the impossibility of teaching very young learners online. You’d have heard me say, too that I would never do that. Never say never…

Because March 2020 happened and we really had no choice, it was either ‘sink or swim’ and, like many of my colleagues all around the world, I decided to at least try to stay on the surface, despite having very (very )little of previous experience of teaching online.

I relocated to zoom, practically overnight, learning fast and learning on the go but also realizing that this is how we do it, as teachers. We become better in the classroom, in front, and with our students, finding out what we like and don’t like doing, what works and what doesn’t. In a way, it was like any other group/ coursebook /level / area from the ‘never done that before’ category, only on a large scale.

We shall prevail! Naomi’s Photos

In general, the older the students, the smoother the transition was. My teens probably didn’t even notice that the set-up was different (giggles) whereas with my primary, seven- and eight-year-olds, we needed more time for adaptation and more support and involvement from the parents. However, after the first three weeks, we had our new routine and, most importantly, the break-out rooms were under control and that allowed for pair-work and group work and more production.

My pre-primary kids were the biggest challenge but, also, probably, the biggest achievement of all. Initially, the parents refused to move online, despite a few trial lessons and demonstrations. They simply could not see how it could work with kids so young and, although it was a blow, I had to accept that. Accepting, however, didn’t mean giving in completely.

I’ll be back!
Naomi’s Photos

I talked about it with my administration and since we were all stuck at home anyway, with nowhere to go and not much to do, I offered my parents and my kids ‘online activities in English’. I did not dare to call them lessons and they were not obligatory. We would meet only for fifteen minutes, three times a week, to sing, to play, to do some storytelling. For my students, it was an opportunity to use English. For me, it was a fantastic chance to see how things can be done online and to experiment and to learn, guilt-free and stress-free because these were offered free of charge.

This is how we finished the academic year and when it was time to start a new level, all of my educational parents decided to continue, this time as a proper course. Some of them liked studying online so much that, much to my amazement, they were considering never going back to the offline school.

But they did, they all did and since September 2020, we returned, to our lovely classroom, to our carpet, to our flashcards and toys.

The honey pot!
Naomi’s Photos

The most beautiful memories of the online time are all related to just kids being kids and to the joy of teaching them (which simply reached new levels or different levels on zoom).

Kids showing us their rooms and their treasures. Kids bringing younger brothers or sisters or pets to say to ‘Hi’ to. Parents staying near but not intervening unless we really had a problem and a hand would miraculously appear to fix the mic or the page in the book. Kids rushing to class straight from the beach, with their hair still wet or moving the camera a bit to show us the ships moving slowly on the water behind their back or to prove that there really IS a cow grazing near. Teaching a lesson on fruit, waving bananas, apples, and lemons at each other, on both sides of the screen, or running to the other room to check with mum if she really likes riding a bike…

 

Overall, I have to say I am proud of what we did when we were online. It was not always easy but we learned, we made progress and we had fun. Personally, I liked it more than I would have ever imagined. Impossible is nothing? Perhaps.

Note: Anka has written more on this topic on her amazing blog “Funky Socks and Dragons”:

The Unthinkable or About choosing to stay online with VYLs.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Box Me In! Teachers who “Bent” the Zoom Square – Tami

 

Tami Assouline
Tami Assouline, Yehud Comprehensive High School
(as told to Naomi)

 

I’ve been teaching Sign Language to “hearing” students for more than 20 years. At the beginning of every new semester, the students are always surprised when they realize that their new teacher is profoundly Deaf ,  doesn’t use her voice, and there is no interpreter in class. I have never needed an interpreter during these lessons. I get the students to look at me, really look at me, and then they realize that they can understand me. As I teach them basic signs, such as colors and names of animals, they are also learning about communication and inclusion.

Then, suddenly, from one day to the next, I had to start teaching my classes remotely.  I didn’t know anything about Zoom nor did I really know the students. The second semester had begun a short while before and my new classes had not yet adjusted to the way lessons with me are conducted.

I was in a state of shock!

Zoom? (Naomi’s Photos)
Zoom -Shock
Naomi’s Photos

I had no idea what to do and asked my son for help.  Despite his explanations before my first lesson, I called him over urgently when the lesson actually began and asked: “Where are the students? Why can’t I see them? What are these black boxes?!”

The students weren’t turning on their cameras.

I can’t communicate with the students if I can’t see them.

You can’t teach sign language via a chatbox.

Tami at the computer in our English Room

It turned out that involving the homeroom teachers and even the coordinator to get the students to turn on their cameras wasn’t enough to smooth out communication problems that never existed in my lessons before. My husband and children were also using Zoom, the internet was slow and the connection froze for a second now and then. Missing out for even a second is enough to completely miss a hand movement, and cause confusion which led to frustration for everyone. Time was wasted until misunderstandings were cleared up and progress was slow.

The addition of an interpreter to the lessons changed everything. She could hear what the students were saying and alert me as needed and could voice what I was signing when it was needed.

Two!
Naomi’s Photos

While I always use a lot of drama in my lessons, I found that for remote learning I needed to be extremely theatrical and invent additional games so as to hold the students’ attention. I found these lessons to be far more exhausting than the ones in school.

A funny thing happened one lesson; I was teaching and some of the students were reclining on sofas or even in bed. Suddenly I see more and more students jumping to their feet and standing as straight as they could. That’s unusual! Then I realized that the principal had joined the lesson!

I invited him to stay and learn some new signs but he had to go visit other Zoom lessons.

I’m very glad to be teaching at school again!

Don’t Box Me In! Teachers who “Bent” the Zoom Square – Mina

Mina and her grandson, Noam
Mina Tzur – Yehud Comprehensive High School

I have been teaching English as a Foreign Language for 49 years now and have always found that my extensive experience has served me well. I have dealt with teaching through several times of crises and had confidence in my ability to surmount obstacles.

However, I had never dreamed that at the age of 74 I would need to learn how to teach remotely via Zoom.

In the beginning, it was extremely frustrating and made me feel that my real skills and abilities as a veteran teacher couldn’t help me cope with the new difficulties.  I felt that all of a sudden I had to acquire digital skills that I was not used to working with and that had little to do with good foreign language teaching.

But I couldn’t let my students down.

The way forward seems much harder now”       Naomi’s Photos

A good teacher knows when to ask for help!

While kind teachers on my staff at school were very supportive and helpful, they were dealing with their own challenges. The person who really taught me how to create a Zoom session, invite students and other such basics was a 15-year-old, who even made himself available for “immediate emergency assistance” when I was teaching!

I didn’t waste much time with complicated screen controls but rather focused on my old principles of insisting on discipline, manners, and lots of effort on the part of the student. That’s what kept me going.  I wouldn’t give up on the requirement to see their faces on the screen, rather than black squares. I expected them to enter class on time, answer questions, and do their homework. It took my 12th graders, who had been studying with me since the beginning of their 11th grade, time to realize that it was “business as usual”.  The moment they accepted it, we had great lessons and they did very well on their national exams.  Quite an achievement in times of a pandemic. In a letter that they wrote to me at the end of the year, they thanked me for insisting on quality studying, not giving up on anyone, and teaching the way they were used to learning in class. They specifically emphasized that even when learning via Zoom, they felt that we maintained a personal relationship, mutual understanding, and the feeling that I am always there for them.

Time to get to work!
Naomi’s Photos

Eventually, I can honestly say that I was proud of them for cooperating and proud of myself for managing to master skills that were so new to me.  The 12th-grade students were so generous in helping me cope with digital problems that arose throughout the lessons.

However, teaching the 11th-grade students, who were as new to me as I was to them, was a more challenging story.  They had a hard time getting used to my “old school” teaching and I had a hard time realizing that in addition to teaching the material, I needed to teach my students how to study in my class.  I sometimes had to convince a parent who was there, watching the lesson that I knew what I was doing. In the beginning, I felt as if there was a candid camera in the room…

Some amusing dialogues:

Why can’t I see your face on the screen  – – – – –  The internet isn’t working around town (very inaccurate!).

Why are you wearing your pajamas to the lesson? – – – – – I really chose my most beautiful outfit!

Where is your homework?  – – – – – –  My cat ate it up.

Looking back and judging by the results, this experience was meaningful too.

“And the Number Four is MAGICAL!” A Puzzle 4 the EFL Classroom

“Crazy” Numbers!
Naomi’s photos

Did you know that the number four is magical?

You didn’t?

Well then, perhaps your students are also unaware of the magical powers of the humble number four.

So here’s a puzzle that is particularly suitable for an EFL lesson. Both the complexity of the puzzle and the language level of the discussion can be scaffolded and adjusted to suit many levels, so I leave it to you to decide whether this activity is suitable for your students.


Begin by presenting the question:

The number four is magical. Why? What makes it magical? You have to find out.

Choose a number. Any number.

12?

Sure! No problem. So:

12  is 6  / 6 is 3  / 3 is 5 / 5 is 4 / AND 4 IS MAGICAL.

Choose another number.

98?

98 is 11  /  11 is 6  / 6 is 3  / 3 is 5 / 5 is 4 / AND 4 IS MAGICAL.

200?

200 is 10  /  10 is 3  /  3 is 5 / 5 is 4 / AND 4 IS MAGICAL.

30, 000,000? (students often like BIG numbers)

30, 000,000 is 13  /  13 is 8  /  8 is 5 / 5 is 4 / AND 4 IS MAGICAL.

So…

Why is 4 magical?

Feeling mystified? The students don’t know the answer yet?

What? Where? Why?
Naomi’s Photos

So…

The next step is to have your students write the figures as words on the board (or in their notebooks or a shared page when working in groups).

It should like this:

twelve? 

twelve is six  /  six is three  /  three is five  / five is four / AND FOUR IS MAGICAL.

ninety-eight?

ninety-eight is eleven  /  eleven is six / six is three  /  three is five  / five is four / AND FOUR IS MAGICAL.

two hundred?

two hundred is ten  / ten is three  / three is five  / five is four / AND FOUR IS MAGICAL.

thirty million?

thirty million is thirteen  / thirteen is eight  / eight is five /  five is four/ AND FOUR IS MAGICAL.

Why is 4 magical?

If students need an additional hint, draw little diagrams with arrows. Show them that ten is three, six is three, and two is also three.  What do the words “ten”, “six” and “two” have in common?

YES!
Naomi’s Photos
THE ANSWER

The number of letters in the words is the key. 10 is 3 because there are three letters in the word “ten”.

Four is magical because it is the only number which has the same number of letters as the figure it denotes.

Final Note

This puzzle works beautifully both in English and in Hebrew. I’m very curious as to whether the puzzle can be used in other languages as well.  Please try and see – don’t forget to let me know!

Eclectic Eight – Books Galore!

The next move…
Naomi’s Photos
“Autumn” by Ali Smith

Autumn is such a strange book. It’s the first of four ( one for each season ) and I haven’t made up my mind if I would like to continue reading. Smith writes really well. However, while some parts are interesting and even “deliver a punch”, some simply are not.

Naomi’s Photos
“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

Another “mixed-feelings book”.  Haig knows how to write in a very engaging way and the book is clever, but it also feels like an Aesop’s fable on steroids. The book is ON A MISSION to deliver a message (DON’T COMMIT SUICIDE) and it’s very clear where the plot is going. While I fully support the message, the first part in which the main character is introduced is so depressing that I wondered if a truly depressed person should read the book… Thankfully, not my call.

Have you seen Louis Valez? by Catherine Ryan Hide

While this book is also a book with a very strong moral/message (BE KIND!), I really enjoyed reading it. I believe it’s considered a “young adult” book. It’s completely engrossing and heart-warming, which it seems I needed a dose of. I was impressed that in various places where the author could have taken the story to “full kitch/schmaltz” mode, she didn’t. Nonetheless, very much a “feel-good read”.

Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee

I discovered this book on LIBBY. It is about several generations of women and their community of Chinese immigrants to Vancouver, Canada. It spans a period from the early days of railroad building to the present day. I enjoyed most of the book as there is a nice mix of history and family drama, but I found the last third of the book to be too “soap -opera-ish” for my taste.

Naomi’s Photos
Little Fish by Casey Plett

This is another book discovered on Libby.  Back to Canada, Winnipeg this time. A story of Wendy’s life as a transgender woman in the present along with revelations about her devout Mennonite grandfather’s past who may have secretly identified as a transgender himself.  The writing is engaging, yet it is often a difficult read as there are painfully sad parts. Also, some parts were too graphic for my taste.  I found myself rooting for Wendy as there is hope for a better future.


Naomi’s Photos
“Designing Your Life” by Burnett and Evans

Once again, I encountered this book on Libby. Since this past year of teaching with a pandemic has not been “fun”, I entertained some fantasies about other possible careers. While the first chapter of the book is shamelessly self-promotional, there is a lot of focus on “second careers” and important questions to ask yourself. I actually found it rather helpful in banishing thoughts of leaving the teaching profession.

Naomi’s Photos
“Naomi’s Kindergarten” by Ishai Sarid

I read this book in Hebrew. I see that the author has had several of his books translated into English, so this may be coming your way soon.  It’s a good book, very powerful. Sarid writes very realistically, I almost feel as if I had met the characters. There is a lot of sadness and injustice in the book, but there is kindness and hope too. I recommend it!

Naomi’s Photos
“Days in a Storm” by Michal Shalev

Another book which I read in Hebrew. This author has also had books translated into English – make sure not to confuse her with the famous author Meir Shalev!

It’s a clever story about intertwined lives, combining World War Two, Ultra-Orthodox, Espionage, and more.  While I enjoyed reading the book, it could have been much better. Instead of having certain parts of recollections of the characters sounding like they were reading data off WIKIPEDIA, why not have one of the other characters actually give this information as part of their conversation, after officially looking the data up? All the characters have cell phones!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There is Nothing Wrong with Their Eyes & WE Don’t READ With Our EARS – So No Problem, Right?

Naomi’s Photos

Well, I’m afraid not.

In many ways, we actually do read with our ears.

But then you actually KNOW that – the points mentioned below will getting you nodding in agreement.

Oddly enough, it’s the connection between this information and the difficulties many hard of hearing or Deaf students have when learning English as a foreign language, that seems to be less obvious to teachers.

One of the most frequent comments I encounter is: “There is nothing wrong with their eyes, is there? So there should be no problems with either vocabulary acquisition or writing skills”.

It doesn’t work that way. Let’s look at the following points you are familiar with, in the context of a child with a hearing loss:

Let’s take a look!
Naomi’s Photos
Reading comprehension skills are affected by knowledge of vocabulary (duh…)

Children in the EFL classroom are first taught to listen, speak (and even sing!) in English before learning how to read the language.  This is an attempt to imitate the natural order of language acquisition of a mother tongue.

Auditory input!

However, a child with a hearing loss in the EFL classroom faces a complex situation:

Cannot hear/see on the lips all the sounds teacher is saying

(especially if the children are singing & clapping, not to mention remote instruction!)

SO

Needs knowledge of the language to fill in the gaps of message that has been missed

BUT

Lacks the necessary knowledge of the new language needed to do so

AND

Has trouble acquiring the necessary knowledge

BECAUSE

Cannot hear/see all the sounds teacher is saying

This leads to many Deaf and hard of hearing students lagging behind significantly in the process of developing their vocabulary in English as a foreign language.

Is it a greehouse?
Naomi’s Photos
Reading comprehension skills are affected by general knowledge (“duh” point no. 2)

Think of a greenhouse. An actual greenhouse.

Now think of a Deaf or hard of hearing students who didn’t hear the advertisement on TV (which is left on for hours in some homes) for winter greenhouse melons or his mother exclaim that the greenhouse tomatoes are not as tasty as the summer ones.  This child may have completely missed the word greenhouse when the teacher warned the students never to enter one on a school trip.

“Incidental learning” – children born without a hearing loss are exposed to more language in context than they are explicitly taught!

THEN…

Our imaginary student learns about The Greenhouse Effect at school and learns the word in a context of an environmental issue.

But then  – confusion!

Faced with a reading passage on the future of farming, describing some ultra-modern greenhouses, the student has no idea what they are or where the ozone layer fits into the information. Some students go as far as to “forcibly” insert irrelevant facts known from the lessons at school because it makes more sense to them.

Gaps…
Naomi’s Photos
Reading comprehension skills are affected by the level of knowledge of students’ first language (“duh” point no. 3)

The teacher is using the context of going on an imaginary camping trip to introduce new vocabulary items in class. One of the words is causing a problem – the word “damage”.

When asked to give an example of how a student could damage her cell phone while camping, a student replied:

“She could lose it”.

Losing a cell phone and damaging it, are not the same thing.

However, simply translating the two words into the student’s mother tongue wasn’t clear enough.

It turns out that the student, in her mother tongue, only uses words such as “break”, “destroy” and “lose” and doesn’t really know what “damage” means in her first language either.

Babies begin hearing in the womb before they are born. After birth, It often takes time for a child’s hearing loss to be diagnosed, particularly when the hearing loss is not severe or profound. Some children develop amazing language skills in both their mother tongue and English as a foreign language despite the time lost during what is often referred to as “the critical period for language acquisition”.

But many others grapple with the consequences of these language gaps all their life.

In many ways, we actually do read with our ears…

 

Time for a Book! “Memorial” by Brian Washington

Things go around in unexpected ways… Naomi’s Photos
Memorial by Brian Washington

What an unusual and powerful book. I’m still thinking about it weeks (and several other books) later.

I never imagined that a book written with so many understatements brief acerbic sentences, along with generous use of the “F” word, would convey so much in such an engrossing way from page one.

Unlike some reviewers I encountered online, I believe that the central idea of the book is not really about the relationship between the two main characters, Benson and Mike. The book highlights how much working out your own identity and your relationship with your parents / your parents’ perspective, is needed in order to form your own long-term, stable relationships.

The book begins with an unusual situation that draws you right in – I just wanted to know more! The morning immediately after Mike, (a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant in Houston) brings his mother (who just arrived from Tokyo)  home, he flies to Japan to look for his estranged father who is dying.  This means that Mike has left his stunned mother and his lover Benson ( a Black daycare teacher with a knack for reaching out to “troubled” kids) alone together in their small Houston apt…

A very interesting read!

“My Name is Red” by Orhan Pamuk

RED!
Naomi’s Photos

This is a VERY special book – absolutely fascinating.

I’ve read other books by Pamuk and found them interesting but this one is “an experience”.

Be warned that it’s a “slow read”. Oddly enough this is not because the plot advances very slowly (though I admit, the book could have been a bit shorter…) but rather due to the fact that there are so many important details and an abundance of characters. The reader needs to stop and take it all in!

Mind you – characters are not limited to human beings in this book.  I never imagined a coin or a drawing could be so alive!

The story takes place in 1591, in the Ottoman Empire.  While it is a “whodunnit” murder mystery, the book vividly presents the tension between East & West as expressed through the role of art and artists. The complexity of finding the balance between artistic freedom and religion, of the desire to create vs the need to do things as they have always been done, how art reflects the relationship between God and humans.

One of my favorite parts was the presentation of what dreams are good for and how to use them!

Pamuk doesn’t glorify the past – life expectancy in those days sounds short and violent…

In short – read this book when you have time to savor each detail and let it take you on its journey.

Enjoy!

Saturday’s Book: “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennet

Naomi’s Photos

This is the first time this has ever happened to me on Edublogs – I spent an hour writing a 300 word review and it all disappeared suddenly. The site froze and POUF.

It’s gone!

In short:

This is a really good book. It draws you in from page one.

My criticisms are minor.

The writing is superb, the story is powerful and the issues thought-provoking.

The book deals with racism, with “passing” as white, with gender issues. Lots of mother-daughter issues.

It mainly deals with reinventing one’s life in very different ways.

It’s engaging and I recommend it!

On “Round Teachers” and Round Batteries

Round…

*** Note: A downloadable letter for students on the topic of batteries for electronic dictionaries can be found at the end of this post. The letter is in Hebrew.

The latest buzzword at our school is ROUND.

Reopening schools under the conditions deemed necessary due to the pandemic is a very complex thing, requiring things no one is used to.  Therefore, all of us teachers are asked to be ROUND.

Repeatedly.

Round – Round – Round

Personally, I think the imagery could be improved on.

Obviously, we teachers are supposed to be “rolling with the punches”, hence we need to be round.

But round things can easily roll away and get lost.

Round things aren’t particularly known for being flexible.

Aesop’s fable about the oak tree and the reeds comes to mind when we are looking for flexibility in challenging times.

How about “going with the flow”?

Go with the flow

 

However, since ROUND it is, let’s talk about round batteries and “round” teacher behavior when the lack of the aforementioned becomes a problem.

Round Batteries

All students today from 7th grade onwards may use an electronic dictionary on their EFL exams. Many students use these dictionaries during the lessons too.

All is well during the first year following the date of purchase, as the two most common models I see used today come with batteries that usually last more than one school year.

But then – the shocking revelation!

The dictionary isn’t “ruined” and you don’t need to buy a new one.

I suspect that it’s not just my Deaf and hard of hearing students who find the concept of a device that isn’t rechargeable totally incomprehensible. Particularly if one of the models requires (oh horror of horror) LITTLE ROUND BATTERIES…

“Wait a minute”, you say.

“One of the models can be plugged into an electrical socket, remember? ”

To which I must reply:

“Schools are obliged to do many things for the students. Providing rooms with multiple  desks close enough to electric sockets during exams is not one of its obligations.”

There’s no way around the round objects – they are needed.

Even in times of a pandemic, batteries are really easy to purchase. They are sold in a great many stores, including those which are deemed essential and always remain open.

A fact that is neither here nor there for those kids who have never replaced a battery in any device in their young lives!

AND WHAT ABOUT THIS PROBLEM?

At work…  (Naomi’s Photos)

Take a moment to think about those “model students”, well organized, responsible, and industrious, whose dictionary suddenly stops working in the middle of an exam.

A stressful situation indeed.

“Round” Teacher Behavior

“Round” as in being flexible and not dealing with the same problem in the same way with all the students.

Some of the points mentioned below are good for everyone, others are for certain students.

One

Show the students that the Oxford electronic dictionary displays the state of the battery when you go into the menu. Show them what AAA batteries look like.  I DON’T CARE IF THEY SAY “DUH”! I’m even tempted to add pictures of stacks of batteries by a cashier at a supermarket but haven’t gone that far yet…

When you announce a date of an exam, send the students a picture like this on your platform of choice as a reminder.

In relevant cases, send this explanation to the parents of students who use this model.

Two

Show the students the little round batteries CR2032 (two) needed for the  “Babylon -Texton” electronic dictionary.

I  have not located a battery indicator on this model. In addition, a small screwdriver is needed in order to replace the batteries.

I’m still looking into the question of which additional tools can be used to do this ( a coin doesn’t seem to work) and whether I should keep a little screwdriver in the English Room for this purpose.

Any suggestions?

Sometimes you have to grow up… (Naomi’s Photos)
Three

There’s a thin line between helping a student in times of need and “learned dependency”.

Some students really, truly, need you to give them a dictionary (or batteries) for the exam because of their dire home situation. Particularly in times of a pandemic.  Not that I have enough for them all… But I don’t make a fuss.

These students are often the ones who don’t say a word and don’t ask for anything.

Then there are the students who are just “testing the limits” – they won’t do anything about their dictionary unless it “bites”.

I hand them a printed dictionary if they show up for a test without a working dictionary. They hate that.

You may not be “on to them” the first time it happens but by the second time…

However…

A teenager who presents himself as ” such a poor thing“, who is unable to purchase batteries because they are not sold in the store right next door to his home (true story!) is a call for action!

I found that asking the homeroom teacher to send a message to the parents can be very effective in some cases.

Even if it results in having a student complain that “because of me” he had to spend  15 whole minutes walking to a store one afternoon!

Here is a downloadable letter for students:

Dictionary letter for students PDF

 

What do you do? Share your “round” advice!