Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I have a new blog!

Hello World!

I have just started a new blog with my students here at the University of Calgary. I am now teaching for the LEAP program. That is the Learning English for Academic Purposes program (it's part of the faculty of education). It's a lot of fun, and my students are really great. If anyone is ever bored, they should have a look at my new blog and say hi to me and my students.

Stay cool!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Here is a picture of me in the Tottori Desert. Holy cow was it hot. Luckily this desert is in Japan, and we could have a shaved ice before we died. I had a Japanese Pear shaved ice . . . it's famous in Tottori!


It's a holiday today! I love long weekends. I haven't really done anything today, but yesterday I had an awesome day. I went to Tottori prefecture. My friend and I borrowed his Dad's car and we went to see the Tottori Sand Dunes. They were totally amazing. I felt like I was in the middle of the arabian desert or something After that, we went snorkling on the Japan Seaside. We snorkled along the coast through a lot of little islands, and I saw a lot of fish and other cool sea creatures. I was a bit freaked out at one point because we swam into an area that has a lot of jelly fish, but luckily none of them stung us. We also snorkled in some caves an a tunel along the coast. It was amazing. I wish we could have stayed on the Japan Seaside for a week, but we had to give the car back to my friend's dad. As a present to my friend's family we bought them a huge watermelon from Tottori prefecture and some shallots. They were really pleased, and they are going to lend us the car again next Sunday so that I can see as much of Japan as possible before I go. Stay tuned for the pictures of the Great Tottori Sand Dunes!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

20 Things to Check for Writing a Better Essay

Does your thesis statement adequately state your main idea?

Does the thesis statement contain an opinion about the main idea?

Does the thesis statement indicate the structure of your essay; that is, does it contain your controlling ideas?

Is the thesis statement the last sentence in your introduction?

Do your supporting ideas (topic sentences) show your attitude towards the main idea?

Are your topic sentences connected to the thesis statement?

Do you have good supporting details that are connected to the topic sentences and the main idea?

Do you have enough supporting details?

Do you need more examples?

Is there enough evidence in your essay to support your main idea?

Is the evidence you have used convincing?

Are your main body paragraphs long enough?

Are all the paragraphs logially connected to each other?

Do the sentences flow together?

Do you need transitions to make the sentences clearer?

Is the purpose of your essay obvious?

Are you able to convey your message to the reader?

Is your introduction interesting? Will it make people what to read your essay?

Does your conclusion start with a strong concluding statement?

Is your conclusion convincing?

Does your conclusion end with three or four added thoughts or comments that are connected to your topic?

English II Final Essays

This is how I am going to mark your final essays.

Composition 5 points
- The student focuses on central ideas with an organized text.
-Paragraphs are well developed with topic sentences, supporting sentences and concluding sentences.
-There is an effective introduction that includes a thesis statement in the appropriate place.
-There is an effective conclusion that includes a concluding statement in the appropriate place.
-Ideas follow an effective principle of organization – e.g. least interesting to most interesting, smallest to biggest, less important to most important, etc.
-The ideas prove the writer’s thesis statement or topic sentence.
-The writer uses examples as appropriate.

Style 5 points
-The student has chosen appropriate vocabulary.
-The student has used a wide range of vocabulary.
-The student uses a variety of sentence structures.
-The student writes appropriately for his or her audience.
-The student uses effective transitions between sentences, ideas and paragraphs.
-The student uses formal academic English.

Mechanics and Usage 5 points
-The student uses standard word order.
-There are no run-on sentences.
-There are no sentence fragments.
-The student uses coordinators and conjunctions effectively.
-There are no awkward sentences.
-The student is able to use standard grammatical structures.
-The student is able to use standard word meaning.
-The student uses effective capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

Presentation 5 points
-The homework is presented in an acceptable manner.
-The homework is not crumpled or folded or smudged.
-The student uses A-4 paper.
-The homework is typed.
-The homework is double spaced appropriately.
-The student uses appropriate formatting (paragraphs with indentation, correct margins, title, name, class, etc.)
-The student uses correct citations where necessary.

Content 5 points
-The information in the essay is interesting and relevant.
-The information is factual.
-The information used is appropriate for the text.
-The topic is interesting and well developed.
-The essay tells the reader something.

Total 25 points

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I just erased my last post!

Hello world,

I just erased my last post, but if you didn't read it, don't worry about it! It was all about how I was going to mark my students' essays, but I have changed my mind, and now I am going to do it a bit differently. Basically, it is going to be based on composition, style, usage, presentation and content for a total of 25 points. I can't wait to read the essays, it sounds like some of the students are going to be writing about some very interesting topics. It's going to be great!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I can't believe how soon this semester is going to be over! I guess time flies when you are having fun!

Holy cow, it rained a lot this past weekend. I'm leaving soon, so I am trying to visit all the places I think I should see before I go back to Canada. This last weekend was my weekend to go up Osaka Tower. It was really cool. There was a strange god at the top of the tower . . . Billiken. I'm not sure if he was a real god or not though. I thought maybe he might be a god just for the tourists. I wonder if people really pray to him. I did see lots of people throwing money into the box infront of him.

He's pretty scary looking, isn't he? Anyway, when I was up at the top of Osaka Tower, I saw a kind of park, and my friends told me it was Tennoji Zoo. I had never been there, so we all decided to go to the zoo after the tower. It was pouring with rain, but we still went. The animals looked a little bit sad in the rain, and I hated the cages that the monkeys were in. I felt really bad for them, because it was like a prison for monkeys, and they have never done anything wrong. I wish they could have had bigger cages. It's cruel. The penguins were okay though. They had a nice big enclosure, and they looked pretty happy swimming in their pool, but then again, I don't think it takes much to make a penguin happy . . .

Finally, I ate kushiage . . . it was so good. All you can eat for under 2000 yen! Yum!

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's too darn hot!

So here I am, sitting with the air conditioner going full blast. I feel so guilty, like I am sucking all the energy out of the earth. I tried not using the air conditioner for so long, but in the end I lost :-(

I went to Osaka this past weekend, and I had the best okonomiyaki! It was so good! I went to Yukari, in Umeda, and I had the mixed okonomiyaki with noodles. After that I went to the movies to see the movie "50 First Dates". It was pretty good . . . in fact, it was so good that the two girls sitting beside me (I didn't know them) couldn't stop crying! It was supposed to be a comedy, but it got pretty soppy and romantic at the end. I guess I'm not romantic enough because I didn't cry. Anyway, the movie was pretty good. The next movie I want to see is Star Wars Episode III . . . I heared it's awesome!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

You know, I just don't understand computers. I am in the computer lab with class 3 right now, and we were all going to blog about our favourite songs or pieces of music, but half the class wasn't able to login to blogger.


Why not? That's what I'd like to know. It's especially weird because the class before me was able to blog with no problem. I must have offended some blogging gods somewhere and they decided to punish me. Oh well, now half the students are free writing in Microsoft Word, and the other half are blogging.

It's strange, because living in today's technological world, we just expect everything to work with no problem, but when something doesn't work it is always shocking. Anyway, I hope that this blogging problem sorts itself out pretty soon.