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Amparo Bertram

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05:34 pm: Hooray for Friday!
I filled out a field trip permission form for going to JCMU next week. That was the highlight of my day until after lunch, when had the students play the "Study Abroad Sugoroku" game I made up. I don't know what they thought of it, but I certainly got energized.

Then I had Listening. You know, I was just starting to look forward to having a solo lesson next Tuesday. I was starting to plan and list various listening activities I could try that would spice up the class a bit. And then today, my team-teacher announces in class that next Tuesday will be a self-study day. So, there goes that idea.

While reading through old teaching materials in the process of clearing out my desk to make room for my supplies, I found a note that the ALT was not originally supposed to be in the Listening class, but the current teacher requested it for the sake of pronouncing words. However, since I do not actually do any pronouncing words (there is a CD for that), it seems rather pointless.

Good news: I heard from one of my friends in Niigata that she's doing fine. Her city is farther to the southwest and didn't have any damage. She did say that aftershocks are continuing, even in the middle of the night, and that the roads still have a lot of cracks in them, but school is going on as usual.

Update: I just received a call from the library. Apparently my predecessor had checked out a library book long-term, and the librarian was calling to try to get it back because another patron wanted to read it. She told me the title, but it didn't ring any bells, and I couldn't find it among the books I kept here on the bookshelf. It was no doubt among the many stacks of books I got rid of after I moved in. <sigh> I felt really sorry for the poor woman. ...Not to mention that the incident has probably left her with a poor impression of foreigners.

I'm sure I also added to her confusion because I kept answering "no" in American style. In English, if the answer is in the negative, we answer "no"--regardless of the question. In Japanese, however, you answer "yes" if you are confirming the question, or "no" if you are contradicting the question. So, for example, we would have this exchange:

Librarian: Won't she be coming back?
Me: No.
<meaning "No, she won't be coming back.">
Librarian: You mean, she will be coming back?
Me: ...
<realizes the librarian heard "No, you are wrong that she won't be coming back.">

What's sad is that, even though I know this is a linguistic rule in Japanese, I keep doing it. It's a really hard habit to change.

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Comments

From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:08 pm (UTC)

"Study Abroad Sugoroku" game I made up

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Okay, so how does the game go?
Thanks,
Mom
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 12th, 2004 01:30 pm (UTC)

Re: "Study Abroad Sugoroku" game I made up

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First you draw a sugoroku board...which is just the Japanese word for a long line of squares you move a playing piece around, like any board game. I do it on the blackboard and use magnets as playing pieces. I mark each square with a letter that indicates what card the student must draw for landing on that space.

There are four categories of cards (and I color coded them red, yellow, green, blue, but that's just me). The red cards are quick-response, so they're things like "thank you" or "what's up?" Students have to be able to come back with the responses pretty much instantly, and they're generally short one or two word answers.

The yellow cards are simply "luck" cards, marked with an assortment of instructions to go forward or back one or two spaces. (I marked them with events like "your class has a party, go forward 2 spaces," but that's just dressing.)

The green cards are "study abroad situation" cards. They place the student in a situation that might be encountered during study abroad, and the student has to come up with a sentence to answer it. For example, "A friend invites you to a party, but you already have plans. What do you say?" or "Your head hurts, what do you tell your host parents?" The students have about 10 seconds to answer these.

Finally, the blue cards are "wild" cards. Some of them are simple, like "Talk about your favorite book or movie." Some require the student to give an opinion with a reason, like "What is your favorite animal, and why?" Some require the students to choose an opponent and ask a question, like "Ask an opponent's birthday. If the other player is older, go back one space. If you are older, go forward one space." Some are vocabulary testers, like "Within ten seconds, sing a line from a song that has a weather word in it." Some test knowledge of American history and customs, like "Name as many US Presidents as you can in ten seconds, and go forward that many spaces."

If the students can't do what the card says during the time limit, they have to go back to where they were before they rolled. The first one to reach the last square (or the one farthest in front when the bell rings) is the winner.

The drawback is that, while one team is playing, most of the other students chat. That's why I kept the time limit relatively short, so that I keep switching teams quickly. It also might help to have more questions that make the different teams interact.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 12th, 2004 09:24 pm (UTC)

Re: "Study Abroad Sugoroku" game I made up

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Thanks for explaining it. It sounds like fun to me, compared to what I do, like read from the book.

How many teams, and how many people per team?

I suppose it could be expanded to individual board games, like ten of them for the kids to play in groups of four, or something like that. I once had the kids make up their own board games in teams of four, but it took a couple of days for them to finish them. Then they rotated the boards and played different teams games. It was to review for a final exam. They knew the answers to their own boards, but not to the games that the other teams made. I used half a poster board (or was it a quarter sheet?), and address labels or manila folder labels ( I can't remember which, but the folder labels come with different colored stripes on them already) as the rectangles. I think we stuck them on perpendicular to the edges of the board and got about ten or more on each side of the board. The nice thing is, once they are made, they are available for use another time, if there is storage space for them. I don't remember what we used for playing pieces, either. Buttons could work. I think I just cut out small squares from corrugated cardboard and stuck different colored foil star stickers on them.

Do you throw a die to know what color you land on?

Love, Mom
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:November 12th, 2004 10:43 pm (UTC)

Re: "Study Abroad Sugoroku" game I made up

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How many teams, and how many people per team?

That depends entirely on how many students are in the class. This class had 25, so we divided them into 5 teams of 5. It really doesn't matter how you do it.

Do you throw a die to know what color you land on?

Yep. I bought a pack of dice and gave one die to each team.
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