Thursday, January 30, 2014

Presentation 2 Autumn 2013 Last Class

Hello everyone,
Well, we've come to the end of this course. I hope you enjoyed it. I have enjoyed it very much. I'm very grateful to Clair Taylor and her students at Gifu Shotaku Gakuen University, and David Mearns, Brentson Ramsey and their students at Hisar Hazırlık High School in Istanbul Turkey for making this course very special indeed.
Today we are going to watch and listen to our final projects.
Thank you for being such wonderful students. I hope you will check your Voicethread presentations from time to time to see if anyone has left a comment for you, and I hope you will continue to use the internet for learning English, other languages and other things about the world.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Integrated English 2 Autumn 2013: Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four Extra Review

Hello everyone,
Well we have come to the end of the semester. Today we are going to try an experiment (実験). We are are going to try to collaborate(協力する) on a review document using Google Docs. Please click the link:
The University of Tsukuba IE-2 The Sign of Four Review.
Each group will make review questions for one category on the test. After that we will answer the questions.
Also, let's study vocabulary using Quizlet. UPlease click the link: Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four Vocabulary Flash Cards.
Good luck on the test!

Monday, January 20, 2014

CE-II Autumn 2013 Week 14: Online Grocery Shopping and Final Test Review

Hello everyone,
Today we are going to talk about customer service and online grocery shopping. Japanese shops are famous for good customer service. In Japan people say, "お客様は神様です (okyaku-sama wa kami-sama desu)", which means, "The customer is a god", right? In English we say. "The customer is always right!" Today we'll read an article about how customer service is changing in the United States. After that we'll read about online grocery shopping. I have never done any online grocery shopping, but I'm thinking of ordering some meat and cheese from The Meat Guy. It's difficult to find some meat in Tokyo, lamb for example. It's also difficult to find nice cheese. I love good cheese such as Cheddar. The Meat Guy is a company based in Nagoya that imports meat and cheese. Click the link above. Do you see any meat and cheese you are interested in trying? Would you ever order groceries online? 

Before we start, let's study some vocabulary. Please click the link: Cross Cultural Awareness and English 2 Vocabulary.

Finally, the test is next week Monday the 27th of January at 12:15 sharp. You can download your study guide by clicking the link. 

Have fun studying and good luck next week!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Integrated English 2 Autumn 2013 Weeks 13 & 14: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century

Hello everyone, Happy New Year!
Today we are going to watch a modern retelling of The Sign of Four. This version of The Sign of Four is an episode in an animated television series called Sherlock Holmes in the Twenty Second Century. In this series, Sherlock Holmes is brought back to life 300 years after his death. The reborn Sherlock Holmes solves cases with his partner Watson, who is a robot. Before we watch the video, let's study some vocabulary. Please click the link: Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four Vocabulary.

OK, now let's watch the video and do the quiz. Please click the link: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century - The Sign of Four.

If you enjoyed that video, perhaps you'll enjoy this one too - Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century - The Hounds of the Baskervilles.

Here are the dates for the final test:
Monday 4th period - 27 January
Tuesday 3rd period - 28 January
Wednesday 1st & 2nd periods - 5 February

Finally, here is your study guide for the final test:
There will be 50 multiple choice questions on the test. There will be vocabulary questions, and questions about the setting, characters, plot, and dialogue.
Study hard!

CE-II Autumn 2013 Week 13: Shopping!

Image by Caden Crawford
Hello everyone, Happy New Year! This is our first class of 2014. After today's class we have only two more classes. The final test will be held in the last class, which is on 27 January. I'll give you a study guide next class.
Today we are going to read an article about an interesting shopping mall. Can you think of any interesting shopping malls in Japan?  Before we read the article, let's study some vocabulary. Please click the link: Cross Cultural Awareness and English 2 Vocabulary.

Ok, now let's read the article and answer the questions in our text book.
Next week we'll talk some more about issues related to shopping. Have a nice week. See ya!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

OMG!! I've been tagged.

Image downloaded from Tea & Snippets
Happy holidays everyone!
I've been tagged, and I have been given a blog challenge, but what does that mean? Well to be "tagged" in a blog challenge is like being tagged in the school yard game called Tag. Tag is called 鬼ごっこ (Oni gokko) in Japan. I was tagged by a great teacher in Greece called Sophia Mavridi. Sophia challenged me to share 11 random facts about myself and answer 11 questions; then challenge 11 more bloggers by tagging them on my blog. 
So here is the task:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger- in this case it would be me…
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has asked you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
So here we go:
1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger
As I said above, Sophia Mavridi is a Greek teacher of English that I met at Wired in or Out: The 1st International ELT Symposium at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey in December 2012.  She teaches in Athens and she is in the process of completing a Master's degree at the University of Manchester with a focus on educational technology. Sophia is very kind and generous. She has shared recipes for delicious Greek food with me. I would love to work on a project with her in the future.
2. Eleven random facts about myself
  1. My full name is Michael Denley Francis Stout. If you include my confirmation name, my name is Michael Denley Francis Edward Stout. I'm named after all my fathers. Michael is my father's confirmation name and my paternal grandfather's middle name. Denley is my maternal grandfather's middle name. It was his mother's surname. Francis is the name of the priest who was the celebrant at my parents' wedding ceremony, and he was also the priest that baptised me. Edward is my godfather, and my sponsor at my confirmation. My name has often been an inconvenience. For example, when I got married in Japan, the staff at the city office where I went to register my marriage got confused because I have two middle names. No one has middle names in Japan, and they are under the impression that everyone else has only one middle name. Well, despite the fact that I had all the forms already filled out it took over an hour to get officially married. 
  2. It is very ironic that I became a teacher. I never wanted to go to school, and I never enjoyed school. It wasn't until graduate school that I enjoyed being a student. I look at this as a gift. I have had classes filled with students like I was, and I understand them.
  3. I attended 4 primary schools. From the age of 5 till the age of 11, I lived in a town near Toronto that was evolving from a rural area to a suburban area. Every time a new school was built I was transferred, but none of my mates were transferred, so I got used to moving and short-term friendships. This is probably why I've never been homesick living in Japan, but if we had Facebook in those days, i probably would still have a lot of those friends today.
  4. I used to be a night owl, but now I'm an early riser. I have no clue why I've changed.
  5. I have struggled with my weight most of my life. I was "husky" as a child, but I took up smoking as a teenager and suddenly I was slim, very slim. When I turned 30 I started to gain weight again. I couldn't lose it until I came to Japan with very little money. In the first 4 months I lived in Japan I lost about 15 kilos, because I had no money to buy food. Once I started earning more money I started gaining weight again, and after I quit smoking I gained even more weight.
  6. I like swimming. When I was in Grade 6 I belonged to the swim team at my school. I practiced every day after school. Despite this I didn't lose any weight. I was very slow. I was last in every race I participated in, but I still enjoyed it very much.
  7. I do not have a drivers' licence, and I never have. Based on the number of saplings I've run over on golf courses it's probably a good thing I don't drive cars.
  8. I am addicted to reading. I must read. If I don't have a book or internet I'll read adverts on the train or even the stuff written on a cereal box. When I first came to Japan, I learned the Japanese syllabary called katakana by reading adverts and signs while I was standing outside having a smoke.
  9. I have had some bad luck in my life, but I've also had a lot of good luck. For example, when I got hired by a language school in Japan, I was posted to a school in Ageo, a city north of Tokyo. That school had 10 teachers. Four of those teachers are still teachers today, three of us got Masters degrees in TESOL. A lot of what I learned about teaching I learned on the job at that language school and some of the best teachers I've ever met were teachers I met there. Most of the stories you'll hear about language schools in Japan will be negative, but my experience was very positive indeed. Guess I'm just lucky.
  10. While I was teaching at the language school I mentioned above, my trainer, Craig Stevens asked me if I wanted to go to a presentation offered by the local chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teachers (JALT). After that I joined JALT, enrolled in the Temple University M.Ed (TESOL) programme, became a secondary school teacher and eventually a university professor, and I served JALT in many capacities including Director of Public Relations.
  11. I received my first degree from the University of Windsor. The person who tagged Sophia, Doug Peterson, is an instructor at the University of Windsor. Doug Peterson and I follow each other on Twitter too. It sure is a small world, and it's getting smaller every day.

3. Sophia's questions and my answers
  • What was the conference you enjoyed the most in 2013?  I attended only two conferences in 2013, both overseas. I attended TOSCON13, which was a really good experience for me because it was the first chance I had ever had to present in my home town Toronto. I also met up with some friends from Japan. The other conference I went to was World CALL 2013 in Glasgow. At World CALL, I got to meet some of the great teachers who belong to my Personal Learning Network (PLN). So, it's a tie. They were both fantastic. I can't choose.
  • Facebook or Twitter? Why? I'm getting sick of both of them to be honest. Too many reasons to list.
  • Do you know any nickname(s) your students have given you? I'm sure they have some nicknames for me, and I'm sure I don't want to hear them. I've never liked any of the nicknames people have given me.
  • Do you prefer reading on screen or on paper? Depends. I love reading web pages and such online, but I also like reading books. I love the smell of a new book.
  • What’s the best blogpost you have ever written?  No clue. You tell me, I don't know. I don't write blog posts with that in mind.
  • Are you a morning or a night person? See above
  • Name 3-5 digital tools/apps that you use with your classes on a regular basis. I love Quizlet, Voicethread, and English Central.
  • What was the most unusual food you have ever eaten? What was it like? Wow, hard to choose. I've eaten a lot of unusual food. Perhaps the most unusual food I've ever eaten was Shirako (白子), which is called cod milt in English. It was OK, but I haven't gone out of my way to eat it again. I'll try anything once.
  • Have you ever lived in another country other than the one you live now? Where was it? Well I'm living in Japan now. The only other country I've lived in is my home country, Canada.
  • Imagine you won a scholarship to attend an ideal conference anywhere in the world. Where would that be? This is a difficult question to answer but I guess I'd have to say an IATEFL conference in London. That would be so so very good for me, or TESOL in Toronto, which is going to happen in 2015. I REALLY want to go to that conference!
  • What’s your biggest pet peeve? A pet peeve is a small thing that really annoys you. I can't think of anything small that annoys me. Big things annoy me, like dishonesty and hypocrisy.
4. My turn to tag in alphabetical order – hopefully you haven’t been tagged already 

5. My questions
  • Why did you become a teacher?
  • Do you do teacher research? Why, why not?
  • How important is music to you?
  • Where is your favourite place in the world?
  • Do you eat to live, or live to eat?
  • What's your favourite word (in any language, but if it isn't English, please transcribe the word in roman letters and tell us the meaning in English)
  • Can you share an "あそうか!" (Eureka) moment with us?
  • Can you give us an example of a time you learned something from a student?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Can you paddle a canoe?
  • What are your favourite novels?
...and that's all.
Happy New Year everyone!!!