Friday, June 26, 2009

Toyo Gakuen University Travel English Unit 16: Can I send this airmail?

Today we are going to learn English we can use at the post office.
First, let's watch a funny British video about a post office.

Click here for some useful vocabulary:

Click here to learn how to address an envelope:

Ok, now click this link:
Now, let's do a practice test. Click this link:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Introduction to Business English 1A: Sales Presentation Project

Today we will prepare for your sales presentation. You will give your presentations next class.
First let's look at a video of two American university students giving a presentation. This presentation has many problems. Watch the presentation. Do the following tasks:
1. Make a list of the problems you see.
2. Think of 2 ways this presentation could be improved

Ok, let's study some vocabulary. Click this link:
Now lets start. Click here to download your task sheet:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shibaura Institute of Technology Writing 1A: Students write about their ideal partners

Sleep Sundays..., originally uploaded by seanmcgrath.

Here are some more examples of the writing that SIT students are doing. This time the topic is "My Ideal Partner". Enjoy!

Kazuma's ideal partner

What kind of partner do I want? First, I want a partner who is playful because I’m serious. I think that balance is important. Second, I would like a partner who likes sports because I like playing sports, and watching sports. We should be able to enjoy sports together. Third, I would like a partner who thinks an interesting life is important because I so think that.

Mitzuhiro's ideal partner

What kind of partner do I want? First, I would like a partner who is good at cooking because I like to eat culinary delights. I'd rather eat at home than dine out. Second, I want a partner who is generous because I dislike impatient people. When I fail at something, I'd rather have a partner who is nice to me than one who painfully blames me. If my partner blames me when I am depressed, I don't want to be together. Third, I would like a partner who wears nice clothes. I don't know fashion well, so I want my partner to teach what kind of clothes suit me.

Hiroshi's ideal partner

What kind of partner do I want? First, I want a partner who is talkative because I like to talk with my partner a lot. Second I would like a partner who is good-looking because I like pretty girls. Third I'd like a partner who cares about fashion because I think my partner will look in fashionable clothes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Toyo Gakuen University Travel English Unit 15: How would you like to pay?

west edmonton mall
Today's topic is shopping! This picture is a picture of the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Please click the link:
Read the Simple English wikipedia article and answer the questions below.
  1. When was the West Edmonton Mall built?
  2. The West Edmonton Mall is the________ largest mall in the world (a) 1st (b) 2nd (c) 3rd (d) 4th
  3. How many stores and services are in the West Edmonton Mall?
  4. How many people shop there?
  5. What are the attractions?
OK, now click here:

Next, click here to see a clothing and shoes size converter:
What's your shoe size in the U.S., U.K. Europe, Australia?
What are your clothing sizes in U.S., U.K. Europe, Australia?

OK, now write a comment. If you could go to the West Edmonton Mall what shops would you like to visit, and what attractions would you like to visit?

Toyo Gakuen University: Freshman English 2 – Reading: Unit 5: Hollywood Kids

Today we are going to read about the lives of teenagers in the U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K.
Here are the links for today's lesson:
Unit 5 vocabulary and an article about teens in the U.K. -
An article about teens in Canada- What teens really think

How about teens in Japan? Please leave a comment. Tell me about teens in Japan.

Shibaura Institute of Technology Writing 1A: Students write about their special places Part 2

Here are some more paragraphs about special places written by Shibaura Institute of Technology students. Enjoy.

Shunsuke's special place

Next to my high school there was a McDonald's. One day when I was a student, my friends and I were hungry and bored after school. We thought that we would buy 100 hamburgers from McDonald's, because we wanted to make a funny story. We paid ten thousand yen and started to eat the hamburgers. Thirty minutes later, many people surrounded us and took pictures. The clerk cheered us on, but finally we could not eat all the hamburgers. I was impossible for only five people to eat a hundred hamburgers.
Shunsuke K.

Katsunori's special place

Near my house, there is a public park. One holiday when I was an elementary school student, some of my friends and I looked for a good place to play baseball. I said to my friends, “There is a park near my house. That is a nice place for baseball.” So we went to that park, and started playing baseball. I was not good at playing baseball then, so I had no hits. When I fielded as an outfielder, one of my friends hit the ball to my position, but I lost sight of the flying ball because the day was a very fine day, and the sun was shining brightly. When I was looking up in the sky, the ball fell and hit me on my head! My friends laughed and said, “You got a different “hit”!”

Kousuke's special place

My special place is my school-road. When I was a high school student, I found four cats. I took them to my house. I wanted to keep them but I could not. One of them had a sickness. I took it to an animal hospital. I consulted the doctor about what I should do. He was very kind. He took care of them. I was very happy but I was sad because I wanted to keep them. They were very cute but I decided to say good-bay. One day, I had a telephone call. They got an owner that would take care of them. I was very happy. I want to see them again.
Kousuke T.

Yuta's special place

There is a small park near a house. I played soccer there with a friend when I was a primary school child. My friend kicked the ball into the rice field next to the park. I told this to the old man in the farmhouse and apologized, I got the ball with a stick from a tall tree. I gradually made friends with the old man after a while. I talked to him. I still meet him in the neighborhood and get along well with the old man
Yuta N.

Kouki's special place

Next to my home was a small hut. One day when I was a high school student, I played with my friend in front of this hut. I wanted to climb on the roof of this hut. When I was able to achieve this goal, I felt supremely satisfied, but I soon noticed a problem. I asked myself, “How do I get down from here.” There weren't any stairs or a ladder. I couldn’t get down from there. The only solution was to jump off the roof. However, this hut was about 2.5 meters tall. I felt fear. Time was getting on, and eventually it was night, and a noisy crowd gathered around the hut. I was impatient about this. I finally took courage, and I jumped off. I hurt my foot at that moment, but I healed soon. This incident became a lesson. I shouldn’t take a thoughtless risk.
Kouki H.

Toyo Gakuen University students have written about their special places too! You can see writing by student's in Sarah Louisa Birchley's class here: English Elective Writing 9A/9B
Please leave a comment.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shibaura Institute of Technology Writing 1A: Students write about their special places

The students in the Writing 1A class at Shibaura Institute of Technology are doing great work this year. Over the next few weeks I'm going to post some of their work on this blog. We are using Writing from Within Intro by Curtis Kelly and Arlen Gargagliano. I really like this textbook, and I usually don't like textbooks.

In class we do the exercises and tasks in the textbook and then the students write a first draft. They send their first drafts to me by e-mail. I check them and error code them. The students then edit their first drafts using a bilingual English - Japanese Grammar Error Code Key that I have given to them. After that we review some points in class. Then the students exchange their first draft with a partner for peer feedback. Finally, they write a second draft and e-mail it to me for final assessment.
The examples below are edited versions of the students' second drafts. Most did not require much editing. Sometimes I have left in some vocabulary that might seem a bit unnatural when I'm not sure exactly how to interpret what the writer wants to say. I have tried to respect each student's voice. I have decided to edit them for two reasons. First, I hope that my students will compare the edited version with their second draft and notice the differences. I think this will help them to improve their writing. The second reason is that the students are sensitive about their mistakes. They don't want them dispalyed to the whole world. Even great writers have editors to help them. I don't see a problem with editing my students' writing before it is published. So then, here are some examples of my students' writing. Enjoy!

Yuko's Special Place

My special place is my elementary school, which is about 3 minutes on foot from my house. What happened there was when I was in 2nd year. I was playing with my friends after school. I don’t remember exactly what we were doing, but I think we were playing on the monkey bars. Then, I slipped from a bar, and fell. I slammed my left arm into the ground, and my bone broke. It hurt so bad, and I cried a lot. This is one of my most painful memories, though it’s also a nice memory, because when it happened, my friends helped me, and I knew the preciousness of friends.
Yuko I.

Yuri's Special Place

My high school is in the country. There are a lot of trees and fields near my school. I was going to school in the morning, and I saw my friend sitting in the street. I was worried about her, so I ran up to her. When I got to her I was very surprised. There was a tanuki with her. She was feeding a rice ball to the tanuki. I asked her, "What are you doing? Is that your lunch? She said to me, "Yes, but he looks so hungry. Look! He's eating it. He's so cute. I felt happy too. This is my funny memory from high school.
Yuri K.

Masako's Special Place

When I was a junior high school student, I went to an elementary school for a work experience as a teacher. I taught second year students, and read a picture book to them. I had a very good time. After my stay at the elementary school, all the students in the class gave me a lot of letters, and I became very happy then.
Masako I.
Tomohiro's Special Place

My special place is a park in front of my house. When I was a child, I practiced riding a bicycle without the training wheels with my father in the park. I disliked this because I fell down many times. I was discouraged many times, but my father encouraged me. At last, I could ride a bicycle alone. When I could ride a bicycle for the first time I felt very refreshed. I thanked my father. Now I like riding a bicycle because of this experience.
Tomohiro K.

That's all for now. I'll post some more soon. Please leave a comment. I know my students would appreciate hearing what you think of their writing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Smells like Togaku Spirit: The English Lounge Jam at Toyo Gakuen University

Every year the students and teachers at Toyo Gakuen University have a jam session in the English Lounge. This year was the best. Here are some pictures from the jam session.
Togaku Gospel Group at the English Lounge Jam 09
The jam session began with Togaku's Gospel Group. They were very enthusiastic!
Mr. Stout and Mr. Hardy sing "The Good Ol' Hockey Game"
I sang a Canadian classic by Stompin' Tom Connors, The Good Old Hockey Game, with Mr. Hardy.
Mr. Wigus and Eleanor
Mr. Wilgus and Eleanor also joined the fun.
Rock on
Mr. Hardy, Eleanor and Hidenori sang a song together. Mr. Hardy often made Eleanor smile.
Takamasa sang a Nirvana song with Mr. Hardy. He sang very well. Mr. Hardy sang very passionately.
Mr. Hardy and Takamasa rock out
Takamasa also played bass.
Takamasa on bass
Chrissie, an Aston University student from Leeds, England, also joined the fun. She sang and played guitar.
Chrissie smiles 'cause Mr. Hardy did something silly
Mr. Hardy, mr. Stout and Chrissie sing "I'm a Believer"
Some other students participated in the jam session. I have not posted their pictures because they have not given me permission to do so.
The jam session was great. Please leave a comment telling me what you thought of the jam session.

Toyo Gakuen University Travel English Unit 14: Could you tell me when we're there please?

Today we are going to learn about using public transportation. Little by little, technology is making it easier to use public transportation. In many countries, including Japan, Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, the stops are announced in English and other languages. Here's video of written and audio announcements on Toronto's street cars.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Toyo Gakuen University Homestay English 2009 Mid-term Exam Study Guide

The midterm exam is on Wednesday, the 17th of June 2009. The midterm exam will have 3 parts:
Part 1: Vocabulary.
Click this link: TGU IE2 Homestay Midterm Exam 2008 List. and do the lessons on

Part2: Multiple choice questions about Units 1 - 4 in your textbook.

Part3: 2 short paragraph answer type questions. You will be asked to write one or two paragraphs for each question. Your answer should be between 50 words and 100 words.
Here are the questions:

*Describe a homestay trip that you would like to do in the future. Include the following points:
  • Where you would like to do a homestay.
  • Why you want to do a homestay.
  • How you would prepare for the homestay.
  • The type of homestay family you would like. For example: an older couple with no children, or a young couple with young children.
  • What you would like to do during the homestay.
*Describe two problems that you think you might have during a homestay. Why do you think you will have these problems? What will you do in order to overcome these problems?

Study hard and good luck!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Memories of JALT CALL 2009 at Toyo Gakuen University

Here are some pictures from the 2009 JALT CALL conference at Toyo Gakuen University Hongo campus. The conference was a great success thanks to the hard work of Andy, Sarah, Clair, and some Toyo Gakuen student volunteers. Everyone was very impressed by Toyo Gakuen. One teacher said that he'd like to teach at Toyo Gakuen! Enjoy!

 This photo was taken by Daniel Beck. Mr. Beck is an ELL teacher and he is studying at Temple University Japan now. Temple University Japan is my alma mater. I have blurred the faces of the students in order to protect their privacy.

Toyo Gakuen University professors Sakamoto-sensei and EEDC Director Harada-sensei

Andy making a point

Collegiality: Togaku instructors and Joe Heilman

Saturday, June 06, 2009

JALT CALL 2009 at Toyo Gakuen University Hongo Campus

This year the Japan Association of Language Teaching (全国語学教育学会) Computer Assisted Language Learning Special Interest Group (CALL コンピューター支援言語学習) conference is at Toyo Gakuen University's Hongo campus in Tokyo. Many Toyo Gakuen teachers and students are working at the conference this year. I am making a presentation. I will present some projects done by my students and I at the Nagareyama campus. You can see my presentation below.

I will post pictures and video from the conference soon. I hope to see you there.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Toyo Gakuen University Travel English Unit 12 - What would you like to drink?

Steamwhistle Beer, originally uploaded by mick62.
Today we are going to learn useful English for talking in pubs and at parties.
First, let's review last lesson. Click this link: Passport Online Activities.
Now let's do a webquest. Do a Google search. What is the legal drinking age is these countries: The U.K., The United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Cambodia.
Now let's learn about "small talk". Small talk is very important at the pub or at a party.
Let's watch a video.

Now let's review by doing a practice test, and reviewing vocabulary.
Thanks for a great lesson!

Toyo Gakuen University Freshman English 2 - Reading Midterm Exam Study Guide Semester 1 2009

Your mid-term exam will by next Friday 12 June 2009. Here's a study guide to help you prepare for the exam.
The exam will cover units 1-4: pp. 6, 7, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31. The exam will have questions testing:
  • Reading skills
    • Identifying the topic (pp. 6, 7)
    • Making comparisons (pp.15, 15)
    • Making inferences (pp. 22, 23)
    • Choosing the best summary (pp. 30, 31)
    • Reading for details
    • Scanning - this will be a one-minute scanning task. Use the handouts you got in class to practice.
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
    • Verb forms (p. 21)
    • Making negatives (p. 24)
    • Word families (nouns, verbs and adjectives, p. 24)
Here are some more webpages to help you prepare:
Study hard, Enjoy learning and Good Luck!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Toyo Gakuen University: Introduction to Business English 1A Unit 4 and Mid-term Exam Study Guide

Today we start Unit 4: Travel and revise for the mid-term exam. The mid-term exam is next Thursday 11 June 2009.

Landing in Tahiti

Lesson Goals
To be able to:
  • Use can and can't correctly
  • Demonstrate understanding of a reading about a business hotel.
  • Listen to telephone conversations and public announcements for specific information
  • Make a booking and confirm it

Part 1: Vocabulary
Part 2: Revision pp. 31-33
Part 3: Unit 4 - Travel pp. 34-39
Part 4: Making a booking
Mid-term Exam Study Guide

The exam covers Units 1,2,3, and 4, pp. 6-40 (テストの範囲は ユニト1-4 です).  The exam will include listening, reading and writing.
  • Do Unit 4 on the self-study CD ROM
  • Do the iKnow, Dictation and Brain Speed lessons on 
  • Study the writing file on p.130
Good Luck!!!