Friday, November 13, 2009

EFL Game: Behind Your back

Before the game starts, show the class the series of flashcards you intend to use. Give descriptions for each one. Have one child at a time come up to the front. Using tape, stick the picture on the child’s back. I have the children yell, “Turn around!” and then the child turns around so the class can see the picture on his/her back. Have the children give descriptions of what is on his/her back. The child then has to guess what the picture is. (When playing in teams, you can give extra points if it is guessed in less than three guesses. You can also play that if the other team happens to say anything, they lose a point.)

This game can be played in teams or as a whole class depending on the age, class size, and so on.

Friday, November 06, 2009

EFL Game: Basketball

This game works best when played in teams and lets the students take a shot (with a soft toy or ball) at the trashcan or box. This game works best in teams. Ask a student from the first team a question, if he/she answers correctly, he/she gets a shot at the basket. If the student gets the ball in the basket he/she gets 2 points, if not they just get the 1 point from answering the question correctly. The team with the most points wins.

Friday, October 30, 2009

EFL Game: Balloon Pass II

Have the children stand in a circle. Without using their hands, have the children pass around the balloon. If a child happens to use their hands or is unable to keep the balloon afloat, the child must then say an English word. This game is great for reviewing words, themes and so on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Three Sources of Energy

Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns:) Sexual expression should not take place without love and a long-term commitment. In sexual relationships, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the the world into which you are bringing new beings.

--The Fourteenth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Twelve

Remember that the job of a toddler, and to some extent the job of all young children, is to taste, touch, smell, squeeze, tote, poke, pour, sort, explore, and test. At times toddlers are greedy, at times grandiose. They do not share well; they need time to experience ownership before they are expected to share. They need to assert themselves ("No," "I can't," "I won't," and "Do it myself"). They need to separate to a degree from their parents, that is, to individuate. One way they do this is to say no and not to do what is asked; another is to do what is not wanted.

If adults understand children in this age range, they will create circumstances and develop attitudes that permit and promote development. Self discipline is better learned through guidance than through punishment. It's better learned through a "We are a team, I am the leader, it's my job to help you grow up" approach than through a "me against you" approach.

Friday, October 23, 2009

EFL Game: Ball Passing (Buzz!)

This is a counting game. Have the students sit in a circle. The students pass around a ball while counting (1, 2, 3, etc…). When the number reaches 7 (or any random number) the student must say, “buzz!” You can play this game in which any number with the number (let’s say 7) must be replaced with “buzz” (7, 17, 27, 37, etc…) the other way to play is that with any multiple of the number (let’s say 7) must be replaced with “buzz” (like 14, 21, 28, etc…).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twelve

Sung to: "Ten little Indians"

T-w-e-l-v-e
T-w-e-l-v-e
T-w-e-l-v-e
Twelve eggs make a dozen


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Social Justice

Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

--The Thirtheenth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

The most important human endeavor...

The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.

--Albert Einstein

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Eleven

To avoid confusion when talking to very young children, give clear, simple directions in a firm, friendly voice. This will ensure that children are not overwhelmed with a blizzard of words and refuse to comply as a result.

Friday, October 16, 2009

EFL Game: Various Word Ball Pass

This game is played the same way as “Ball Pass”, but instead of letters, use the words; it is a great way to review. Students sit or stand in a circle and pass a ball around, saying a word when they get the ball. You can use words that need to be in a certain order, like the days of the week, the months of the year etc., or just random words (you can choose what part of speech you want to use, like nouns, verbs, adjectives, or whatever you can think of).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eleven

Sung to: "Row, Row, Row your boat"

E-l-e-v-e-n
Eleven is after ten
All you do is go straight down
And do it once again


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Protecting Life

Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.

--The Twelfth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Ten

Establish firm limits and standards as needed. Until a child is 1 1/2 or almost 2 years old, adults are completely responsible for his safety and comfort, and for creating the conditions that encourage good behavior. After this age, while adults are still responsible for the child's safety, they increasingly, though extremely gradually, begin to transfer responsibility for behaving acceptably to the child. They start expecting the child to become aware of others' feelings.

They begin to expect the child to think simple cause/effect thoughts (provided the child is guided quietly through the thinking process). This is teaching the rudiments of self-discipline.

Friday, October 09, 2009

EFL Game: Animal Race

You will need a bigger space for this game. Have your children sit in a row facing the front of the room. In the front of the room, have two chairs on each side of the room facing each other. They should be placed so that two students can sit on one side of the room, then get up and go to the other side of the room and sit down again. Pick two children and have them sit on the chairs. The goal of this game is not about who the fastest animal is, but who the best animal imitator is. Tell them to “slither like a snake, hop like a rabbit, swim like a shark etc…” Be sure to yell “One, Two Threeeeeeee…. Go!” The children will leap from their chairs and race across to the chairs on the other side. Have the rest of the class judge who the best animal was and write their name on the board. At the end of the round have the best animals race each other. This game also is also great when learning about transportation e.g. “fly liker an airplane, etc…”

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ten

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number ten is t-e-n
T-e-n, T-e-n
Number ten is t-e-n that spells number ten


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Right Livelihood

Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realize your ideal of compassion.

--The Eleventh Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Nine

If children have enough language, help them express their feelings, including anger, and their wishes. Help them think about alternatives and solutions to problems. Adults should never fear a child's anger:

"You're mad at me because you're so tired. It's hard to feel loving when you need to sleep. When you wake up, I think you'll feel more friendly."
"You feel angry because I won't let you have candy. I will let you choose a banana or an apple. Which do you want?"

This encourages characteristics we want to see emerge in children, such as awareness of feelings and reasonable assertiveness, and gives children tools for solving problems without unpleasant scenes.

Friday, October 02, 2009

EFL Game: Animal Noises

This game is great if you have the book Inside the Barn in the Country. You can find it on Amazon.com.

Cut out farm animals and laminate them. Make some headbands and put Velcro on the backs of the cut-out animals as well as on the fronts of the headbands. Take the same animal images used for the headbands and make large versions of them. Laminate them and put them on the board. Give each student a headband and an animal. (If you have a copy of the book Inside the Barn in the Country, read it to them, but any animal story will work, whether it be ‘Old MacDonald’ or ‘Goodnight Gorilla’). Have the children sit in a row facing the front of the class. Go through the animals on the board, reminding the children what noise each animal makes. Now start the game. Each time you point to an animal, have the child with that animal on their headband stand up and make that noise. The first time it is best to go slowly, but the fun of the game is to go faster and faster. As you go through the list the children get better and better, so then you can mix up the order of the animals so they don’t know which to expect. The faster you go and the more you mix it up, the more mixed up the children become, and the funnier it is for both you and the children.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Nine

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

N-i-n-e
N-i-n-e
N-i-n-e
And That spells number nine


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Standing Up to Injustice

Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community, however, should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

--The Tenth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Eight

For every no, offer two acceptable choices:

"No! Rosie cannot bite Esther. Rosie can bite the rubber duck or the cracker."
"No, Jackie. That book is for teachers. You can have this book or this book."

This encourages the child's independence and emerging decision-making skills, but sets boundaries. Children should never be allowed to hurt each other. It's bad for the self-image of the one who hurts and the one who is hurt.

Friday, September 25, 2009

EFL Game: All Aboard The Color Train

This game is best for the really young kids. Make different colored train tickets and laminate them. Hand out the colors to the children and loudly say “All aboard the color train!” Randomly pick a color. The children must give you that colored ticket to board the train. Have the children join face to back, each with their hands on the shoulders of the children ahead of them. Move around the room making train noises. You can also do this to music.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eight

Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

E-i-g-h-t
E-i-g-h-t
E-i-g-h-t
And that spells number eight


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mindful Speech

Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

--The Ninth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some Photos of My Trip to Hong Kong



To see some photos of my recent trip to Hong Kong, click here.

You can also see my 200 most recent photos on Flickr.

Warning: these are not artistic photographs, but rather amateur snapshots. I'm posting them in order to share them with friends and family, but anyone is welcome to take a look.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Seven

Avoid accusation. Even with babies, communicate in respectful tones and words. This prevents a lowering of the child's self-image and promotes his tendency to cooperate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

EFL Game: Airplane Competition

First, have your students make paper airplanes. Stand the students in a line, side by side and let them test fly their planes. For the competition assign different classroom objects for the children to hit with their planes. I use this game also when learning the body parts and various other themes. Have the students try and hit the specific part you tell them to. You can also ask a question first and only if they answer correctly are they given the chance to fly their plane. All these work well in teams, and my kids love it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Seven

Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

S-e-v-e-n
S-e-v-e-n
S-e-v-e-n
That spells number seven

From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Harmony in the Community

Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

--The Eighth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some Photos of My Trip to Hong Kong: Disneyland



To see some photos of my recent trip to Disneyland in Hong Kong, click here.

You can also see my 200 most recent photos on Flickr.

Warning: these are not artistic photographs, but rather amateur snapshots. I'm posting them in order to share them with friends and family, but anyone is welcome to take a look.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Six

Toddlers are not easy to distract, but frequently they can be redirected to something that is similar but OK. Carry or lead the child by the hand, saying,

"That's the gerbil's paper. Here's your paper."
"Peter needs that toy. Here's a toy for you."

This endorses the child's right to choose what she will do, yet begins to teach that others have rights, too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

EFL Game: Pass

Sit the students in a circle. Hold up a flashcard and loudly say what it is (e.g. “pen”…”). Pass it on to the student beside you, who in turn repeats it and passes it on to the next child. To begin with it is best to keep it slow, but it gets funnier the faster you pass out the cards because everyone is talking at once. To make it even more confusing, try and switch directions you are sending the cards out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Six

Sung to: "Jingle Bells"

S-i-x
S-i-x
That spells number six
Insects all have six legs
One, two, three, four, five, six

From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mindful & Joyful Living

Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.

--The Seventh Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Some Photos of My Trip to Hong Kong: The Big Buddha



To see some photos of my recent trip to Hong Kong (particularly the part when we visited the Big Buddha on Lantou Island), click here.

You can also see my 200 most recent photos on Flickr.

Warning: these are not artistic photographs, but rather amateur snapshots. I'm posting them in order to share them with friends and family, but anyone is welcome to take a look.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Five

In some situations, after firmly stating what is not to be done, you can demonstrate how we do it, or a better way:

"We don't hit. Pat my face gently." (Gently stroke).
"Puzzle pieces are not for throwing. Let's put them in their places together." (Offer help).

This sets firm limits, yet helps the child feel that you two are a team, not enemies.

Friday, September 04, 2009

EFL Games: Musical Hugs

This game is very similar to musical chairs, except everybody wins. Play some music and have the children dance around. When the music stops, the children find one friend to hug (explain the hugs must be gentle, nice hugs). You can make different rules, such as when the music stops the children must find someone new to hug each time. There is no actual English content to this game, but it is really fun for little kids (I wouldn't advise it with high school students).

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Five

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

F-i-v-e
F-i-v-e
F-i-v-e
That spells number five


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Compassion is Understanding

Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your anger and hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger and hatred.

--The Sixth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Photos of My Trip to Hong Kong: View From The Peak



To see some photos of my recent trip to Hong Kong (especially views from the peak overlooking the city), click here.

You can also see my 200 most recent photos on Flickr.

Warning: these are not artistic photographs, but rather amateur snapshots. I'm posting them in order to share them with friends and family, but anyone is welcome to take a look.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Four

Often, it's helpful to say something indicating your confidence in the child's ability and willingness to learn:

"When you get older I know you will (whatever it is you expect)."
"Next time you can (restate what is expected in a positive manner)."

This affirms your faith in the child, lets her know that you assume she has the capacity to grow and mature, and transmits your belief in her good intentions.

Friday, August 28, 2009

EFL Game: Line Up True or False

Put a line of tape on the floor and designate one side the "true" side and the other the "false" side. Have all the children stand on the line. Hold up an object or a flashcard and say something about it. The children then have to jump to one side or the other depending on the truth or falsity of your statement. You can play this game in teams. You can keep score by counting points or having the mistaken students sit out until the next game.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Four

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

F-o-u-r
F-o-u-r
F-o-u-r
That spells number four


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living Simply

Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungy. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

--The Fifth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some Photos of My Trip to Hong Kong: Victoria Harbor



To see a Facebook album of my pictures from Hong Kong (mostly on or around Victoria Harbor), click here.

You can also see my 200 most recent photos on Flickr.

Warning: these are not artistic photographs, but rather amateur snapshots. I'm posting them in order to share them with friends and family, but anyone is welcome to take a look.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Three

Offer a solution:

"Soon you can play with the truck."

One-year-olds can begin to understand "just a minute" and will wait patiently if we always follow through 60 seconds later. Two- and three-year-olds can learn to understand, "I'll tell you when it's your turn," if we always follow through within two or three minutes. This helps children learn how to delay gratification but does not thwart their short-term understanding of time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

EFL Game: Balloon Pass

Have the children sit in a circle. While passing the balloon around, have the children each say an English word. At first it is best if the children just say any random English word that they know, but after a round or two, assign themes to the game.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"
T-h-r-e-e
T-h-r-e-e
T-h-r-e-e
That spells number three


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Awareness of Suffering

Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images, and sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

--The Fourth Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taiwan sister county in thoughts of King County residents after typhoon Morakot

From: King County Council Communications
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 14:50:52 -0700
Subject: Taiwan sister county in thoughts of King County residents after typhoon

August 17, 2009

Metropolitan King County Council Chair Dow Constantine issued the following statement regarding the deaths, injuries and property damage last week in Taiwan's Kaohsiung County resulting from Typhoon Morakot. Kaohsiung County and King County (state of Washington) have had a formal sister county relationship since 1977.

"The people of King County are shocked and saddened to learn of the death and devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan and on the Asian coast-and that communities in our sister county of Kaohsiung County were especially hard hit. The people of Kaohsiung County remain in our thoughts and prayers as they work to recover from this disaster."

Seattle's Chong Wa Benevolent Association has established a trust account to aid victims of Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. Donations can be made at any Bank of America branch or sent to: Taiwan Typhoon Morakot Relief Fund, c/o Bank of America, 2380 80th Ave. SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. (Account #22413702; Bank of America WA 3-143-01-01).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number Two

State the "but":

"You want to play with the truck, but Jerisa is using it right now."
"You want me to stay with you, but right now I need to (go out, help Jill, serve lunch, etc.)."

This lets the child know that others have needs, too. It teaches perspective taking, and may lead the child to develop the ability to put himself in other people's shoes. It will also gain you the child's respect, for it shows you are fair. And it will make the child feel safe; you are able to keep him safe.

Friday, August 14, 2009

EFL Game: Alphabet Ball Pass

Have your students sit in a circle. Pass a balloon or a ball around the circle while reciting the letters of the alphabet. When a student receives the ball, he or she says the next letter. Once the letters have all been said, try and have the children each recite the letters, but not only their letter, but all the letters previously said. So, the first student would say, "A," and the next would say, "A, B." The third would say, "A, B, C," and so on. You can also try things like beginning with Z and going backwards to A.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Two

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number two is t-w-o, t-w-o, t-w-o
Number two is t-w-o
And that spells number two


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Freedom of Thought

Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

--The Third Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth Number One

Show that you recognize and accept the reason the child is doing what, in your judgment, is the wrong thing:

"You want to play with the truck but..."
"You want me to stay with you but..."

This validates the legitimacy of the child's desires and illustrates that you are an understanding person. It also is honest from the outset: The adult is wiser, in charge, not afraid to be the leader, and occasionally has priorities other than those of the child.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

EFL Game: Action Race

This is a game that the children absolutely love. Using actions like run, jump, clap, run, and so on, the children race from one point to another.

Have the children split into two teams and sit in two rows on the floor with a chair in front of the first person in line. One student from each team stands up beside his/her chair, and when you yell out an action, e.g. “jump!” the children must then jump all the way to the other side of the room and back to their chair. When the children come back and sit they must say “I can jump!” First student to get to their chair wins a point for their team. I like to give an extra point if they say the sentence properly, too. That way you can even out the points, so everybody wins. This is especially important to the younger kids.

Friday, August 07, 2009

One

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number one is o-n-e, o-n-e, o-n-e
Number one is o-n-e
And that spells number one


From my original post "Number Songs for Little Kids," where you can see songs for all the numbers up to twelve.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Truth Is Found in Life

Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

--The Second Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book
Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Shorty Method and the Lion's Roar

About a week ago I posted The First Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing. This precept is also known as the Lion's Roar because, according to the Buddhists, it represents the truth spoken loudly and clearly. It basically says not to get tied to any particular doctrine.

After I posted it, I started thinking it was a bit presumptuous (as well as pretentious) to be spouting off about Buddhist precepts when I'm not a Buddhist and my blog was named after my method of bowling.

So I'm going to try to make a connection between The Shorty Method, and The Lion's Roar.

Let's look at the precept in terms of bowling. Everyone has his or her own style of bowling. Last time I went to the bowling alley I watched the other bowlers that were around me. I live in Taiwan, and from my observation, Taiwanese bowlers tend to have highly stylized approaches. One guy started in a low crouch, then as he started forward, he swung his ball back high in the air and then as he released the ball he twisted his hand in such a way as to give the ball a back spin that caused it to make a broad curve as it approached the pins. He got a lot of strikes, but whether he did or not, his face never changed expression; he was a very serious bowler.

Then I observed my friends who were bowling with me. Most of them were much more straight forward, simply walking toward the lane and launching the ball in a more or less straight line. When they knocked down a lot of pins they spun around and laughed or clapped their hands. When they got a gutter ball, they looked sheepish.

Some people I saw obviously didn't know how to bowl very well. They walked up to the line and feebly swung the ball out into the lane where it dropped heavily and then rolled slowly toward the pins, usually ending up in the gutter. These people usually turned around quickly and walked back to their seats without watching to see if they knocked down any pins. They usually looked embarrassed, making me wonder why they chose to go bowling in the first place.

A little while later I heard a loud thump and some loud squealing from a few lanes away. I looked over and saw a small child who had just dumped the ball almost directly into the gutter. He had a look of absolute glee on his face as he ran around the lane. The person in the next lane had to wait a moment until the child's father collected him and got him out of the way.

Of all the bowlers I saw that day, the little child was obviously having the best time. He didn't care about the "correct" way to bowl. He didn't even care which lane his ball went down, or even if it went down any lane at all. He was caught up in the moment of what he was doing. The rest of us were having a good time, but I am sure that each person was hoping that, whether our techniques were "correct" or not, we would knock down as many pins as possible. Not knocking down pins, or feeling self-conscious about our abilities, detracted from the level of joy we experienced. We were bound to the idea that there was a "correct" method, and a "correct" goal to achieve. The little child, not having been socialized into that way of thinking yet, was able to experience almost pure joy at just being there, playing in the moment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Lion's Roar

Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

--The First Precept of the Buddhist Order of Interbeing, from the book Interbeing, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, June 22, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth

1. Show that you recognize and accept the reason the child is doing what, in your judgment, is the wrong thing:
"You want to play with the truck but..."
"You want me to stay with you but..."
This validates the legitimacy of the child's desires and illustrates that you are an understanding person. It also is honest from the outset: The adult is wiser, in charge, not afraid to be the leader, and occasionally has priorities other than those of the child.


2. State the "but":
"You want to play with the truck, but Jerisa is using it right now."
"You want me to stay with you, but right now I need to (go out, help Jill, serve lunch, etc.)."
This lets the child know that others have needs, too. It teaches perspective taking, and may lead the child to develop the ability to put himself in other people's shoes. It will also gain you the child's respect, for it shows you are fair. And it will make the child feel safe; you are able to keep him safe.


3. Offer a solution:
"Soon you can play with the truck."
One-year-olds can begin to understand "just a minute" and will wait patiently if we always follow through 60 seconds later. Two- and three-year-olds can learn to understand, "I'll tell you when it's your turn," if we always follow through within two or three minutes. This helps children learn how to delay gratification but does not thwart their short-term understanding of time.


4. Often, it's helpful to say something indicating your confidence in the child's ability and willingness to learn:
"When you get older I know you will (whatever it is you expect)."
"Next time you can (restate what is expected in a positive manner)."
This affirms your faith in the child, lets her know that you assume she has the capacity to grow and mature, and transmits your belief in her good intentions.


5. In some situations, after firmly stating what is not to be done, you can demonstrate how we do it, or a better way:
"We don't hit. Pat my face gently." (Gently stroke).
"Puzzle pieces are not for throwing. Let's put them in their places together." (Offer help).
This sets firm limits, yet helps the child feel that you two are a team, not enemies.


6. Toddlers are not easy to distract, but frequently they can be redirected to something that is similar but OK. Carry or lead the child by the hand, saying,
"That's the gerbil's paper. Here's your paper."
"Peter needs that toy. Here's a toy for you."
This endorses the child's right to choose what she will do, yet begins to teach that others have rights, too.


7. Avoid accusation. Even with babies, communicate in respectful tones and words. This prevents a lowering of the child's self-image and promotes his tendency to cooperate.


8. For every no, offer two acceptable choices:
"No! Rosie cannot bite Esther. Rosie can bite the rubber duck or the cracker."
"No, Jackie. That book is for teachers. You can have this book or this book."
This encourages the child's independence and emerging decision-making skills, but sets boundaries. Children should never be allowed to hurt each other. It's bad for the self-image of the one who hurts and the one who is hurt.


9. If children have enough language, help them express their feelings, including anger, and their wishes. Help them think about alternatives and solutions to problems. Adults should never fear children's anger:
"You're mad at me because you're so tired. It's hard to feel loving when you need to sleep. When you wake up, I think you'll feel more friendly."
"You feel angry because I won't let you have candy. I will let you choose a banana or an apple. Which do you want?"
This encourages characteristics we want to see emerge in children, such as awareness of feelings and reasonable assertiveness, and gives children tools for solving problems without unpleasant scenes.


10. Establish firm limits and standards as needed. Until a child is 1 1/2 or almost 2 years old, adults are completely responsible for his safety and comfort, and for creating the conditions that encourage good behavior. After this age, while adults are still responsible for the child's safety, they increasingly, though extremely gradually, begin to transfer responsibility for behaving acceptably to the child. They start expecting the child to become aware of others' feelings. They begin to expect the child to think simple cause/effect thoughts (provided the child is guided quietly through the thinking process). This is teaching the rudiments of self-discipline.


11. To avoid confusion when talking to very young children, give clear, simple directions in a firm, friendly voice. This will ensure that children are not overwhelmed with a blizzard of words and refuse to comply as a result.


12. Remember that the job of a toddler, and to some extent the job of all young children, is to taste, touch, smell, squeeze, tote, poke, pour, sort, explore, and test. At times toddlers are greedy, at times grandiose. They do not share well; they need time to experience ownership before they are expected to share. They need to assert themselves ("No," "I can't," "I won't," and "Do it myself"). They need to separate to a degree from their parents, that is, to individuate. One way they do this is to say no and not to do what is asked; another is to do what is not wanted.
If adults understand children in this age range, they will create circumstances and develop attitudes that permit and promote development. Self discipline is better learned through guidance than through punishment. It's better learned through a "We are a team, I am the leader, it's my job to help you grow up" approach than through a "me against you" approach.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Classroom

Monday, June 15, 2009

Number Songs for Little Kids

Yep. I'm still cleaning out the old EFL closet. These songs could actually be good for native English speaking kids as well.

I taught them to some really little Taiwanese kids (3-5 years old), and they loved them--though I doubt they really understood what they were singing.

It helps if you use them in conjunction with flash cards or something visual.

I stole them from a book, so sue me.


One
Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number one is o-n-e, o-n-e, o-n-e
Number one is o-n-e
And that spells number one

Two
Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number two is t-w-o, t-w-o, t-w-o
Number two is t-w-o
And that spells number two

Three
Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

T-h-r-e-e
T-h-r-e-e
T-h-r-e-e
That spells number three

Four
Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

F-o-u-r
F-o-u-r
F-o-u-r
That spells number four

Five
Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

F-i-v-e
F-i-v-e
F-i-v-e
That spells number five

Six
Sung to: "Jingle Bells"

S-i-x
S-i-x
That spells number six
Insects all have six legs
One, two, three, four, five, six

Seven
Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

S-e-v-e-n
S-e-v-e-n
S-e-v-e-n
That spells number seven

Eight
Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

E-i-g-h-t
E-i-g-h-t
E-i-g-h-t
And that spells number eight

Nine
Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

N-i-n-e
N-i-n-e
N-i-n-e
And That spells number nine

Ten
Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number ten is t-e-n
T-e-n, T-e-n
Number ten is t-e-n that spells number ten

Eleven
Sung to: "Row, Row, Row your boat"

E-l-e-v-e-n
Eleven is after ten
All you do is go straight down
And do it once again

Twelve
Sung to: "Ten little Indian"

T-w-e-l-v-e
T-w-e-l-v-e
T-w-e-l-v-e
Twelve eggs make a dozen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Driver's Morals and Knowledge of Traffic Safety [Multiple choice questions]

In case any of my devoted readers plans to try to get a motorcycle driver's license in Taiwan, I'm going to put some of the questions from the "Rider's Manual" here and in following posts.

The main problem with the "Rider's Manual" is that it isn't actually a manual--in fact, it doesn't contain any actual laws or regulations regarding how to drive in Taiwan. Instead, it is a long list of multiple choice and true/false questions. Since it never tells you what the actual rules are (nor are there explanations for any of the correct answers to the questions), all you can really get from the "manual" is what the rules aren't.

Nevertheless, some of the questions are amusing.

To make it more interesting, I will not provide the correct answers. Interested readers may post their answers as comments.

  1. When encountering police cars, you can
    a. break into a motorcade.
    b. speed up.
    c. not break into a motorcade.

    [The nice thing about that question is that it really makes it clear what a driver's responsibility is when he or she encounters police cars.]



  2. When riding, if you see an accident you should
    a. leave right now.
    b. stay and help the injured and be a witness.
    c. lie if the police inquire.

    [Note the distinction--this is what you SHOULD do if you SEE and accident, not what you actually WOULD do if you CAUSE an accident, in which case the answer is reversed.]

  3. The most important thing for a motorcyclist is
    a. the moral concept of paying attention to public traffic safety.
    b. slow down.
    c. to pay attention to road construction.

    [This one left me wishing for a fourth option.]

I think three questions is enough for now. I'll include some more at a later date.

Don't forget to submit your answers (these first three are pretty easy, but just wait! They get a lot more difficult).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I can't help quoting Einstein!

This guy was a laugh riot.

"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

A pretty good take on life, in my humble opinion.

Monday, June 08, 2009

EFL Games Continued

Telephone Game:
This is an old game, but there are many versions I like to play with my children, and they really love it. The easiest variation of this game is to have all your children sit in a circle and whisper a word to the student sitting next to you, who in turn whispers it to the next child. The last person to receive the message says it out loud and it is usually completely backwards to what it was to begin with. Another version of this game (which I prefer to play, because I teach ESL classes) is to have the class separated into two or more teams. Have the students sit front to back in chairs in 2 rows (everyone should be facing the board at the front, which needs to be a board they can draw on.) Whisper a word, or show the last child in each row a picture and have them in turn whisper it to the person in front of them the last child to receive the message then draws it on the board. The child who draws the correct object on the board wins a point for his/her team. I like to show each team a different picture, so that they aren’t able to copy each other, or cheat by listening in.

There Is/There Are:
To practice ‘there is’ and ‘there are’, give your children a list of questions. For the younger students it is better to keep the questions limited to about the classroom. The older children, if allowed, could run around the school, or even the schoolyard to answer the questions you give them. The questions could be:
How many windows are there in the classroom (or school)?
How many doors are there in the school?
How many teachers are there in the school?
How many classes are there in the school?
How many students are there in the class?
How many chairs are there in the classroom?

Time bomb:
For this game you need a timer (such as an egg timer or an alarm clock.) Set the timer and pass it to a student, ask him/her a question, once answered, have the child pass the timer to the next student, in turn does the same. The student left holding the timer when it goes off loses a life, or is out for the game (for my younger children, I have them write their names in the air with their bum, which they think is hysterical)

Tornado:
Have a supply of flashcards made (question or picture on one side, numbers or letters on the other), ‘Tornado cards’ (flashcards with numbers or letters on one side and a tornado picture on the other). Split the class into teams of two or more. Have the pile of cards at the front, picture (or question) facing down. Have a student come to the front and choose a card. If the card has a picture or question on the card, the child then tells you what the picture is of, or answers the question. If the child answers correctly, then he/she draws a line to draw a house, if the child picks a tornado card, then they blows down their opposing team’s house. The first team to complete their house wins.

What’s Missing? :
Have a series of flashcards (depicting just about anything you are reviewing) made and stick them on the board. Give the children a few moments to memorize what is on the board, turn the board around or cover it, and remove one of them. Ask the students “what’s missing?” if you are playing in teams you can play that the first student to guess what is missing wins a point for his/her team. There are many different ways I like to display the items, I have used a big fruit bowl and filled it with fruit, or, a closet filled with clothes… the options are unlimited.

Word chain:
Have the children sit in a circle. Say a word and have the child sitting next to you repeat that word as well as say their own word. This becomes a long chain of words and becomes quite confusing at the end. This game is great for learning the months of the year, the days of the week, or even each other’s names.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Digital Watch Operation Instructions

This is going to seem kind of weird, but I've posted the operating instructions for my digital watch here. The reason I did this is that I've had this watch for over ten years and never learned how to set the date or time or anything. Every time I've had to change anything (like when I've moved to a different time zone), I've had to dig out the owner's manual and look up the instructions. The manual is on a little strip of paper that came with the watch. The strip of paper is falling apart, and is very easy to misplace. Recently the battery in the watch died (the first time in ten years!), and I had to reset the time, but I couldn't find the manual at first. I finally found it, and now I'm posting it here so if I lose the paper copy again, it will still exist online.

Armitron Instalite

M239(5ATM)

Features

  • Normal time mode displays hour, minutes, seconds, day of week, month, and date
  • Water resistant to 165 feet
  • 12/24 hour (military) time
  • 24 hour alarm
  • Hourly chime
  • Chronograph with lap time to 1/100th of a second
  • US/European calendar
  • Instalite – night vision display

There are four buttons: A= upper left, B = lower left, C = upper right, D = lower right

Selecting features

  1. Normal time mode displays hour, minutes, seconds, and day of week

  1. Press A once. Chronograph mode appears. Press A again to return to normal time mode.

  1. Press and hold D. Alarm time mode appears. Release D to return to normal time mode.

  2. Press and hold C. Month and date appear. Release C to return to normal time mode.

  3. Press B (in any mode) to activate instalite – night vision display feature (electro-luminescent light). Display will remain lit for two seconds.

Setting Time/Calendar

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold A for two seconds. Press A again. Normal time seconds flash. Press D to zero out seconds. NOTE: zeroing out 30 or seconds will automatically add one minute to time.

  2. Press C. Minutes flash. Press D to advance minutes.

  3. Press C again. Hours flash. Press D to advance hours.

  4. Press C Again. Month flashes. Press D to advance month.

  5. Press C again. Date flashes. Press D to advance date.

  6. Press C again. Day of week flashes. Pres D to advance day of week.

  7. Press A to return to normal time mode.

US/European Calendar

  1. Press and hold C. Month and date appear.

  2. While pressing C, press D once to select European (date, month) calendar.

  3. Press D again to return to US (month, date) calendar.

  4. Press C to return to normal time mode.

12/24 Hour (military) Time

  1. Press and hold D. Alarm time mode appears.

  2. While pressing D, press A once to select 24 hour time.

  3. Press A again to return to normal 12 hour format.

  4. Release C to return to normal time mode.

Setting 24 Hour Alarm

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold A for two seconds. Alarm mode appears and hours flash. Press D to advance hours.

  2. Press C once. Alarm minutes flash. Press D to advance minutes.

  3. Press A to return to normal time mode.

Activating/Deactivating Alarm and Hourly Chime

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold D, then press C. The word ‘CHIME’ appears to indicate the hourly chime is now activated.

  2. Press C again. The alarm symbol appears to indicate the 24 hour alarm is now activated and will sound at preset alarm time for 20 seconds or until any button is pressed.

  3. Press C again to deactivate hourly chime.

  4. Press C again to deactivate 24 hour alarm.

  5. Release D to return to normal time mode.

Chronograph

  1. From normal time mode, press A to obtain chronograph mode.

  2. Press C to start chronograph timer.

  3. Press C again to stop timer.

  4. Press D to reset to zero.

Lap Time

  1. To calculate a competitor’s lap time, press C to begin timing.

  2. Press D to freeze competitor’s lap time. Internal stopwatch is still counting.

  3. Press C to freeze competitor’s final time.

  4. Press D to reveal competitor’s final time.

  5. Press D again to reset to zero.

  6. Press A to return to Normal Time Mode.

Instalite – Night Vision Display Feature

Press B to activate light. Display will remain lit for two seconds. NOTE: excessive use of light will shorten battery life.

Battery type: CR2025

Friday, June 05, 2009

Confucius on injuries and kindness

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Einstein on travel

I love to travel, but hate to arrive.

Monday, June 01, 2009

EFL Games: The Quickening

Pin the Tail on The Animal:
Have a laminated picture of an animal on the board. The animal should be missing a tail (or a nose, ears, whatever you like.) I use Velcro to stick on the missing body part. One by one have the blindfolded and dizzy children try and correctly stick the tail on to the animal (I give the children a good couple spins to disorient them first). This game is good for learning the parts of the human body, face, or just about anything and the children love it.

Scramble:
Separate the class into two or more teams. Put the entire alphabet on the board in a scramble of letters here and there. Have one child from each team come up to the board, when ready yell out a letter. The first person to find and circle the correct letter wins a point for their team. This game also works for numbers, words, or even pictures.

Shopping:
I play this game with my youngest class. They really respond to it even though it is really simple. This game can be used with a wide variety of objects or pictures of objects (plastic fruit and toys work well). One by one, I ask a student “What do you want?” (Or depending on their levels of English “What do you like?” or, “What would you like?”) The students then choose from the objects shown, and should in turn reply (e.g. “I want a banana:” or “A banana, please”) I then say “Here you are” and hand them the item they have asked for. This game is great for teaching “please” and “thank you” as well as reviewing objects. When all the objects are gone, you can then play the “May I have” or ‘Give me “ game.

Simon says:
This is an old game, but always a good one. I use this game to review body parts (e.g. “Simon says touch your knees”). You can change ‘Simon’ to your name to avoid confusion, or have the children each have a turn at being ‘Simon’ and change it to their names. When you give directions without saying “Simon says” then the children are not to do it, they are only to follow your directions if Simon says to do so. I play this game with objects in the classroom too. (I tell the children to touch he door, to lie on the floor etc…)

Snowballs:
You should have these snowballs pre-made before class with wet tissues (if wet tissues are too messy, anything heavy enough to fly that far will work, even paper airplanes). Have a series of flashcards on the board. Split the class into two or more teams. Have one child from each team stand up behind a line. Yell out an object shown on one of the flashcards at the front. Whoever gets closest to hitting the correct object, scores a point for his/her team.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"This Is Just To Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

- William Carlos Williams


In its economy, Williams' poem, "This Is Just To Say," takes a form typical of his work. It is only eleven lines long, with no line containing more than three words. In addition, the title functions as if it were the first line, furthering the poem's economy. The poem seems to be a simple note, perhaps taped to a refrigerator, notifying someone that the plums that she (no specific gender is referred to, but for the purposes of this essay I am assuming that the note-write is male and the plum-saver is female--mostly because the author is male) has been saving for breakfast have been eaten. The note goes on to ask for forgiveness and uses the sweet, cold deliciousness of the plums as a justification for the transgression. However, on closer examination, what seems to be a simple note begins to take on a deeper, more complex meaning. The poem becomes a metaphor for man's inability to resist temptation, and further, for his lack of remorse for his sins.

As mentioned above, the title of the poem serves as the opening line and gives us the impression that it is the introduction to a brief note. The word "Just" in the title has the effect of making us feel that the content of the rest of the note will probably be something of little importance and is only written as an afterthought or as a courtesy. It is as if the speaker is trying to diffuse what he thinks might become a contentious situation before announcing what has actually happened.

Stanza one explains what has happened. The plums that were in the icebox have been eaten by the speaker. There is little in this stanza that gives us insight to the speaker's motivations or feelings about what he has done. However, it gives us the triggering action that is the impetus for the rest of the poem.

Stanza two, on the other hand, reveals the true conflict. The plums that the speaker has eaten were being saved for breakfast by the person to whom the note is written. Further, the note-writer has a pretty good idea that this person is saving them as is evidenced by the fact that he writes in lines six and seven "you were probably saving. . ." The fact that the speaker knows that he has trespassed against the plum-saver begins to give us some insight to the true complexity of the situation. Also, the mention of breakfast in line seven makes it seem as if the plum-saver may have already retired for the night at the time that the note was written and the note-writer, perhaps coming home late or getting up early, has stumbled on the "forbidden fruit" and impulsively gobbled them up. The question of whether the note-writer cares that the plums were being saved begins to appear since, up to this point, there is no mention of remorse.

Stanza three begins with the words "Forgive me" (line 8), thus indicating that the note-writer does understand the implications of his actions. However, lines nine through eleven in which the note-writer describes the plums as being "Delicious/so sweet/and so cold" seem almost taunting as if the note-writer was trying to rub it in to the plum-saver that she has missed out on what she was saving, and further, tht it was worth saving because of how good it was. The fact that in stanza one "plums" is plural shows us that there was more than one plum. Therefore, the note-writer could have saved at least one whole plum while consuming one for himself. This indicates some degree of gluttony on his part. It begins to seem as if the note-writer was not only unable to resist the temptation of the plums, but he may have actually eaten them all on purpose as an act of aggression against the plum-saver. An additional hint that this might be true is the use of the words "so cold" to describe the plums. This choice of words brings to mind the saying that "revenge is a dish best served cold." Suddenly, as we finish reading this poem, the possibility that the note-writer is doing nothing more than taunting the plum-saver with the details of how good the plums were occurs to us. In hindsight, the entire note begins to take on a taunting tone.

Though there is ambiguity as to whether or not the note-writer had vengeance or aggression in mind when consuming the plums, it seems clear that he was unable to resist the temptation of what he clearly knew was off-limits. The fact that he went to the trouble to describe how delicious the fruit was indicates a lack of true remorse for what he has done and almost a revelry in his misdeed.

The strength of this poem lies in its ability to appeal to the reader on several different levels, both individually and simultaneously. using only twenty-eight words (thirty-three counting the title), Williams is able to conjure up images of things ranging from a simple note on the fridge to archetypal concepts of forbidden fruit and man's inability to resist temptation. In the poem's ambiguities we find questions as to whether the speaker is simply a gluttonous fool or a vengeful character bent on tormenting his adversary. It is not in absolute answers that the power of this poem lies, but in the fact that it has the ability to continually challenge the reader to plumb its depths.


I wrote this in November of 1993. In the last few weeks I've been teaching my high school American Literature class about the "moderns," including Williams. It made me think of this essay, so I dug it out and posted it here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Einstein Was A Funny Guy

He once said, "Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."

I think there are a lot of old ladies in Taiwan who would agree.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EFL Games Redux

Matching games:
There are so many different matching games I play with my children: Letter Matching Game: (Match the capitol letter to the minuscule letter.) Letter and Word Matching: (Match the first letter of a word to the picture.) Animal and Baby Matching Game: (Match the mother animal to its baby.) Animal Tops and Bottoms Matching Game: (Match the tops and bottoms of animals.) Footprints Matching Game: (Match the footprint of an animal to its owner.) Animal Home Matching Game: (Match where the animal lives, barn, forest, jungle etc…) Employment Matching Game: (Match the job or gear to its employee.) Numbers Matching Game: (Match the written number to the roman number.) The list of possible matching games goes on and on. Whenever the children make a match, I like to clap my hands and we all yell, “It’s a match!!” The younger ones especially get really excited.

Memory game:
I use this game all the time, when it comes to reviewing. Have large flash cards with a grid of 9 or more boxes on them. In each box have a picture of something you are reviewing. Ask the children if they are ready, ask them a few times to get them excited, and then quickly sweep the card across the front of the class. I do it very fast to begin with, but then I slow it down after a few. Ask the children what they saw, ask them what color it was, ask them how many there were.

Mother may I?
Tape rows of lines on the floor. Have the children line up, side by side behind the first line. Ask one student at a time a question (e.g. what does a cow say?) or show them a flashcard and ask them what it is. If the child answers correctly, then he/she can advance to the next line. The first child to reach the finish line wins. For the younger children, I make it so as they all win at the same time, and for the older children, I have 3 or 4 winners. This game is a great fun way to do review.

Musical Animals:
Cut out and laminate numerous animal shapes, larger enough to stand on. Play some music, and randomly stop. When the music stops have the children find an animal to step on. Go around the class and ask the children what animal they are stepping on and what sound that animal makes. You can play this game in the same way as you do musical chairs and remove one animal each round, eliminating one child per round. I have also played this game where instead of a picture of an animal, I use only the silhouette of the animal; it makes it a bit more challenging for the older kids.

Pictionary:
Everybody knows Pictionary, and even though it is an old game, it is also an old favorite. This game is great especially for doing reviews. Pick a student and show him/her a flashcard. The student then must draw the picture on the board and the other children then try and guess what it is he/she is drawing. This game is also great in teams.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What do sugarless gum and brown pants have in common?

I was reading something about sugarless gum recently that amused me.

I know, I live a boring life.

Anyway, it seems that some of the artificial sweeteners that are in sugarless gum are actually natural and come from plants. Xylitol is one example. It is a sugar alcohol that can be extracted from corn fibre, birch, raspberries, plums, and corn.

All very interesting, I know, but what is my point exactly?

Well, before I get to my point, let me back up to the sugarless gum thing. Why do people chew gum? I guess kids chew it because it is fun to gnaw on stuff, but a lot of adults chew sugarless gum (or any gum, for that matter) because they want to have minty fresh breath. If you are out on a date, or even just chatting with co-workers, you might pop an Airwave or a stick of Extra into your mouth just in case the last thing you ate left some lingering odors wafting out of your gob. Right now in Taiwan (where I live) there are three or four main brand names of sugarless gum on the market, all of which are promoted as having breath freshening properties, and it seems like everyone is hooked on chewing them.

Here's the part I find interesting. People chew this sugarless gum because they don't want to have bad breath, but what they probably don't realize is that the sweetener in the gum is sugar alcohol which doesn't break down in the small intestine, and so it can cause bloating, diarrhea and flatulence.

So, imagine you take a date to dinner and a movie. Right after dinner, you pop a few Airwaves into your mouth so she/he won't be turned off by your garlic breath. Then, as you chew away, about half way through the movie your stomach starts feeling all bloated. You realize that you really need to let one rip, but you can't because your date is sitting right there. So you hold it in and your stomach continues to cramp up and you chew harder because now you're really uncomfortable. Finally you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and you can't wait to get out into the open where you can relieve the pressure but when you do.... well, let's just hope you wore your brown pants that night.

Of course, this is a worst case scenario, but it could happen, and I bet that people generally don't realize that while they are trying to freshen one end, they are polluting the other.

I wonder which turns a date off quicker, bad breath or a fart...

Feel free to let me know what you think. Post your comment on The Shorty Method.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Okay, seriously, enough with the EFL games...

Island Hopping:
Make a series of oversized laminated flashcards. The cards should be large enough to stand on. Give each child a number of cards, depending on the number of students and the size of the classroom. Have the children one by one place a card on the floor and stand on it. The student is only allowed to stand on the card if they know the word for the image they are to stand on. The student to get through their cards first wins. This game can be used to review any words you have been teaching at that period of time.

Letter Puzzle:
Cut out and laminate the letters of the alphabet, to make it easier, I colored all the letters differently. Cut up all the letters into two or more pieces and hand them out to the kids. Call out the letters in alphabetic order and have the kids come up with their pieces and put the letter together. Sometimes having an example of the letter on the board is helpful too.

Letters, What’s Missing?:
This game works well if you have a series of magnetic letters, the kind you see on fridges when you were a kid, but laminated letters will also work. Put the entire alphabet on the board in order and sing the alphabet song, making sure to go slowly over the ‘L, M, N, O, and P…” Have the children hide their eyes or cover the board. Remove a few letters and ask the children to tell you what is missing. Discovering what is missing really takes them a while, singing the song repeatedly, and stopping at the missing letters really help.

Line Up True or False:
Put a line of tape on the floor and designate one side the “true” side and the other to be the “false.” Have all the children stand on the line. Hold up an object or a flashcard and say something about it. The children then have to jump from one side, or the other. You can play this game in teams, count points or have the mistaken students sit out till next game.

Machine:
This game is good for practicing and learning emotions and sounds. I usually have my students sit in a circle, as long as they are in a row of some sort it will work. Pick one student to start. Give that student an emotion or a sound to act out. The next student then copies that sound or emotion and adds one to it, as does the next. It becomes a chain of sounds or emotions that become really funny and complex. The students usually can’t remember what they have to do, and laugh a lot.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Overly Helpful Web Pages

Okay, I'm going to rant a little here, so you might just want to navigate away from this page.

Here's the issue: web sites that assume that because I am in Taiwan, I want to view the Chinese version of their site. Sure, that is a pretty safe assumption, but when I log into sites that I use all the time (like this one), it is really annoying when it comes up Chinese and I have to figure out which link to click on to get it back to English.

What I can't figure out with sites like Google and YouTube is why they don't put a really REALLY obvious link on every page where you can choose your language. Parts of YouTube have it, but other parts don't. Blogspot doesn't have it at all as far as I can tell.

It just seems to be common sense that if you are going to offer your web site in different languages you would want to make it possible for the viewer to choose between the languages offered.

So there!

Now I spent more time complaining about the problem than it actually takes to deal with the problem in the first place.

That's just great. And now I have to post this because I've invested so much time in writing it, no matter how foolish it makes me appear.

A Man Simply Cannot Conceal Himself

I came across another good quote from Confucius:

"Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself!"

I wish some of my students would read and try to understand this, especially the ones that I catch cheating, and then get angry with me for "picking on" them.

It surprises me how many people fail to understand that we are who we make ourselves to be through each of our actions. No one else is responsible for what we do, and what we do determines who we are (in my humble opinion).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rain at Hot Springs about.... oh... one year ago.

Last year about this time I went to a hot springs in northern Taiwan with some friends. While we were there, there was a sudden thunderstorm.




I have about 400 videos posted on YouTube, each of them at least as exciting and/or fascinating as the ones above. You can see them at mikemccool.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Large gosh-darn spider

Three years ago I posted a video on YouTube about a big spider I saw in my laundry room. I still get comments about it, and it has been viewed more than 10,000 times. I thought I'd share it with you here:



You can also click here to see it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Chapter in the EFL Game Saga

Ha, Ha, ha:
This is a contagious laughing game. Have the children lie in a zigzag formation. Each child lies with its head on the stomach of the next. The first child yells “ha!” and the next child yells “ha, ha!” and so on. Each child adds a “ha!” and soon everyone is laughing. This game can also be used to review the letters of the alphabet, numbers, whatever you chose to replace the ‘ha’ with.

Hot Potato Animal Charades:
Have a series of animal flashcards ready in an envelope. Have the class sit in a circle on the floor. While playing some music pass around a potato (or a ball, anything will work). When the music stops, in secret, show the child left holding the potato a flashcard of an animal. The child must act out the animal while the rest of the class guesses what the animal is. Encourage the children to get on all fours and make animal noises.

I Am You Are:
Sit the students in a circle or in a row. The students each say, “I am…”and then turn to the person next to them and say, “you are…” (E.g. I am Eun Jin, you are Jae Won…”). This game can also be played by saying I am he is, or she is, he is etc… the game can be sped up to make it more difficult. As simple as this game sounds, my children actually really enjoy it.

I Like:
Split the class in to two or more teams. Have 4 piles of flashcards ready on the other side of the room, two for each team. One pile of cards has nouns on them, the other, adjectives (you can have pictures or words, depending on the children’s level, e.g. fat, thin, or colors, yellow, red…) Tell one child from each team to go over on the count of three to run over and get a flashcard from each of their piles (2 cards). The students them must run back to you and tell you what they have in the form of a sentence e.g. if the student picks ‘orange’ and ‘elephant, they would then say: “I like orange elephants.” The first child back should get a point for his/her team, but another point should be given f or the best pronunciation.

I love:
Have everyone sit in a circle. This can be played with a ball, rolling it from one person to the next, or simply just by going around in order of how the children are seated. Start the round by stating something that you love (e.g. “I love ice cream”.) the next child then in turn sates what he/she loves and so on. To make the game more interesting, have the children not only say what they themselves like, but also what the last child said that he/she liked (e.g. “She likes ice cream, I like hot dogs.”)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Personal Philosophy

abide

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Good quotes

I came across a couple of good quotes today.

Einstein said, "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

Confucius said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

That pretty much covers the bases as to spiritual and earthly goals. At least it's good enough for tonight.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Will the EFL Games Never End?

Directions:
Draw a square grid on the board. Write a series of numbers or letters in the squares of the grid. Blindfold a child and have him come up and draw a circle around the correct number or letter according to the directions given by the rest of the class. This game is great for learning up, down, left, right.

Drawing Review:
This game is great for reviewing vocabulary skills. Have two squares drawn on the board. Have the students write their names above the squares. The teacher then calls out a word and the students draw it (it could be simple nouns e.g. “dog, ball, train…” or verbs e.g. “running, flying a kite, swimming…” or adjectives e.g. “a big elephant, a small mouse, a pretty girl…”) this game can be played in teams, the correct drawing wins.

Fetch and Say:
Make two teams and have them sit at opposite ends of the classroom. Have two tables, each with a basket. In the basket have flashcards of different objects on them. Choose two children, have them stand at the tables each with their basket and call out an object. The child must find the object and run over to the board and stick it on. When they stick the picture on the board they must yell “It’s a …” I give each team a point for saying the word correctly as well as a point to the first student to stick the picture on the board, this way you can even out the points and there are no sorry losers.

Funny Monster:
Have a pre made face on a piece of paper, one for each child. Have a deck of cards with different body parts on them and a die. Have the children one by one come up and roll the die, as well as pick a card. Each time a card is chosen and a die rolled, the children must draw that on their monster, (e.g. an eye was picked and a 4 was rolled, the students must draw 4 eyes on their monster.)

Grouping game:
Hand out a series of laminated cards to the children. Have the children then group together in pairs according to what card they have each been given. Tell the children all the motorcycles are to come to the front, then all the bused, and cars and so on. Encourage the children to say, “We are motorcycles,” and have them act like a motorcycle does.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Still More EFL Games

Clapping game:
Have all the children sit in a row or in a circle. Show the children a rhythm of clapping, (e.g. clap, knee slap, clap, and clap) and start the round by saying a word (it is best if you use themes: animals, foods etc…). The student next to you then has to, while keeping in the rhythm say a new word (within the same theme). If a child uses a word that as already been said, he/she is out for that round.

Color Circles:
This is a great game for really young children. Get some pieces of paper and draw a large circle on the inside of each one. Pin the circles on different walls of the classroom. Model the activity by saying “Blue!” and take a blue crayon and walk over to one of the circles and color a small part of the circle. Do this for each color you plan to teach. Each child should have their own circle and their own crayons. When a color is called out each child should color that circle a bit.

Color Bin:
For this game you need to have 7 or 8 little bins, paper cups, whatever you like that will fit the objects you decide to use. Each bin should represent a different color, and should have that color on the front of it. Have many different objects or pompom balls, several for each color. Place all the objects on a table in front of the bins and ask the children in which bin each object belongs. I let the children put the objects in the bin themselves and loudly we all say what color that is. I also like to say, “What color is it?” and say the wrong color, and try to place it in the wrong bin, this really gets a rise out of the children and keeps their attention.

Cross the River:
Place flashcards on the floor in a winding manner. Each card represents a stepping-stone in a river. As the students go across the river, they must say the name of the picture they are stepping on. You can play this game where you have two students racing across at the same time, each from opposite ends, or one at a time in teams. This is a great game for reviewing.

Copycat:
Stand in front of the class and demonstrate different movements, have the students copy you. After you have acted out a few different actions such as shaking your hands around or flapping your arms… invite a child to be the leader. One by one have the children come up, each moving in different ways and getting the children to copy them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EFL Games Never End

Body Parts Touching Game:
Have two decks of cards. Each card should have a part of the body on it; the more parts there are the better. Separate the class into two or more teams. One child comes up to the front at a time and picks a card from each pile. The child then must try and touch the body part shown on one card with the one shown on the other. Obviously some of these will be near or completely impossible, but they will also be very amusing. Every success, or near success, wins a point for his/her team. Another simpler way of playing this is to have two children come up and each picks a card. One child then has to touch the part shown on their card with the other child’s part (e.g. nose to knee, mouth to elbow.) Even though this game is very simple, my younger children love it.

Body Ball:
This game is not a favorite with my co/workers, but it is definitely a favorite with my students. Have a deck of cards ready with pictures of various parts of the body on them. Have a child come up and chose a card. Have the class tell you what it is a picture of and repeat it several times. Then have the child stand behind the line and throw a very soft toy or ball at that part of your body. I give my students three tries and rarely do they even come close to hitting the right spot. (You can play this game in teams.)

Body Letters:
You will need quite a bit of space for this game. Have the children lie on the floor and have them make letters of the alphabet with their bodies.

Bugs Go Marching:
Make some laminated bugs and have them so that you can Velcro or pin them to the children. When I made my bugs, I made them really colorful and silly looking, with stripes and polka dots… the sillier the better. Have the children pick out their bugs one by one and return to their seats. Have the homeroom teacher play the song “The Ants go marching” (or find a recording of it if you can). I always start the marching while singing “The bugs go marching one by one hoorah, hoorah…” While singing I march around the row of students seated in the middle of the room. When the next verse comes, grab a student and link them behind your back while singing the next verse “The bugs go marching two by two….” Every time you begin the next verse, have another student ink on. Encourage the children to yell the “hoorahs” and the numbers, the louder the better. (Another suggestion, I don’t even know the words to the song, and the students don’t care. I fill the words with “bum-pa-da-da-da-da-da-da-da…”) It is the counting and the “hoorahs” that are important.)

Chair Switch:
For this game you will need to make a series of necklaces, each with an image as a pendant. Only 3,4or 5 images are needed, since there should be many children wearing the same image. Whatever images you choose, you need to have a flashcard of them, along with one depicting all the images you use on one card. On chairs, seat the children in a circle. Play some music and encourage the children to sing along. When the music stops, show one of the flashcards. All the children wearing that image must change seats, if someone ends up in the same seat they are out (for the younger kids, I have them write their names with their bum in the air, they think this is hilarious!) You can show two cards at a time, and all those children have to switch seats, but the funniest is when you show the flashcard with all the images on it, because then they all have to scatter around switching seats, laughing, frantically.

Charades:
There are so many different versions of charades I play with my kids. It’s a great way to review 9 I like playing charades because it lets my shier kids get a chance at more out going.) I play it with topics such as: employment, emotions, vehicle, animal, insect, sport… the list goes on forever… all you need are some flashcards.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Couple More EFL Games

Various Noun Ball Pass:
This game is played the same way as “Ball Pass”, but instead of letters, use the words; it is a great way to review. You can use the days of the week, the months of the year etc…

Ball Passing (Buzz):
This is a counting game. Have the students sit in a circle. The students pass around a ball while counting (1, 2, 3, etc…). When the number reaches 7 (or any random number) the student must say, “buzz.” You can play this game in which any number with the number (let’s say 7) must be replaced with “buzz” (7, 17, 27, 37, etc…) the other way to play is that with any multiple of the number (let’s say 7) must be replaced with “buzz” (like 14, 21, 28, etc…).

Balloon Pass II:
Have the children stand in a circle. Without using their hands, have the children pass around the balloon. If a child happens to use their hands or is unable to keep the balloon afloat, the child must then say an English word. This game is great for reviewing words, themes and so on.

Basketball:
This game works best when played in teams and lets the students take a shot (with a soft toy or ball) at the trashcan or box. This game works best in teams. Ask a student from the first team a question, if he/she answers correctly; he/she gets a shot at the basket. If the student gets the ball in the basket he/she gets 2 points, if not they just get the 1 point from answering the question correctly. The team with the most points wins.

Behind Your back:
Before the game starts, show the class the series of flashcards you intend to use. Give a series of descriptions for each one. (This game can be played in teams or as a whole class depending on the age and so on.) Have one child at a time come up to the front. Using tape, stick the picture on the child’s back. I have the children yell, “Turn around!” and then the child turns around so as the class can see the picture on his/her back. Have the children give descriptions as to what is on their back. The child then has to guess what the picture is. (When playing in teams, you can give extra points if it is guessed in less than three guesses. You can also play that if the other team happens to say anything, they lose a point.)

Blindfold Bell:
I played this game with the children at Christmas time and called it “Blind Santa.” Have the children sit in a circle with one child in the middle. The child in the middle needs to be blindfolded and as a bell gets passed from student to student the blindfolded child in the middle needs to catch the bell. Depending on the age group, spinning the child around a bit first to disorient them is fun.

Blindfold Course:
Make an obstacle course in your classroom (use desks, chairs, pillows etc…) put a blindfold on a student and have the rest of the class guide him/her by using simple instructions (e.g. walk two steps, turn right etc…)

Blindfold Guessing:
Blindfold a student and have them guess what they are touching. This works great with little plastic animals and toy fruits. This is a great way to review, stationary, classroom objects etc…

Blindfold Guess Who:
Have the children sit in a circle. Have one child sit in the center, blindfolded. The children then one by one say “Who am I?” and the child in the middle guesses who is talking. I usually have each child guess from about three different voices.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More EFL Games

Airplane Competition:
First, have your students make paper airplanes. Stand the students in a line, side by side and let them test fly their planes. For the competition assign different classroom objects for the children to hit with their planes. I use this game also when learning the body parts and various other themes. Have the students try and hit the specific part you tell them to. You can also ask a question first and only if they answer correctly are they given the chance to fly their plane. All these work well in teams, and my kids love it.

All Aboard The Color Train:
This game is best for the really young kids. Make different colored train tickets and laminate them. Hand out the colors to the children and loudly say “All aboard the color train!” Randomly pick a color. The children must give you that colored ticket to board the train. Have the children join face to back each with their hands on the shoulders of the children ahead of them. Move around the room making train noises, to music is best.

Animal Noises:
(This game is great if you have the book ‘Inside the Barn in the Country’ Cut out farm animals and laminate them. Make some headbands and put Velcro on the backs of the cut out animals as well as on the fronts of the headbands. Take the same animal images used for the headbands and make large versions of them, laminate them and put them on the board. Give each student a headband and an animal. (If you have a copy of the book “Inside the Barn in the Country,’ read it to them, but any animal story will work, whether it be ‘Old MacDonald’ or ‘Goodnight Gorilla’) Have the children sit in a row facing the front of the class. Go through the animals on the board, reminding the children what noise each animal makes. Now start the game. Each time you point to an animal, have the child with that animal on their headband stand up and make that noise. The first time it is best to go slowly, but the fun of the game is to go faster and faster. As you go through the list the children get better and better, so then you can ix up the order of the animals so they don’t know which to expect. The faster you go and the more you mix it up, the more mixed up the children become, and the funnier it is for both you and the children.

Animal Race:
You will need a bigger space for this game. Have your children sit in a row facing the front of the room. At the front of the class, place two chairs side by side about a meter apart. These chairs should be on one side of the front and have the same on the left side so that there is lots of room between them. Pick two children and have them sit on the chairs. The goal of this game is not about who the fastest animal is, but who the best animal imitator is. Tell them to “slither like a snake, hop like a rabbit, swim like a shark etc…” Be sure to yell “One, Two Threeeeeeee…. Go!” The children will leap from their chairs and race across to the chairs on the other side. Have the rest of the class judge who the best animal was and write their name on the board. At the end of the round have the best animals race each other. This game also is also great when learning about transportation e.g. “fly liker an airplane, etc…”