2009年9月1日 星期二

The Fall Semester in 2009

We only have one more week to go, then the new semester is about to start. I had a lunch meeting with my boss and other fellow teachers two weeks ago; I wouldn’t say it was a conference, it was pretty informal. Usually, my boss holds the meeting before a new semester starts. The purposes are informing the new curriculum as well as ideas and suggestions exchange. The office clerk told me that I might gain one or two more new students in my class, the rest of it would stay the same.

I’d like to thank Ms. Aiden Yeh, my instructor in Wen-Zao College and Mr. Terry Doyle, a professor in City College of San Francisco. They both left very positive and encouraging comments in my last posted blog. It is a pity that Aiden is leaving for her PhD in the U.K. Although, some students thought she’s very demanding on their school tasks, I still consider Aiden as the best teacher in Wen-Zao College. I really appreciate that she wrote the points about students’ improvements, “Now that you have implemented several lessons already, I wonder what sorts of learning improvements did you see from your students. Were there any? How did you know that they have improved? What were the signs of improvement?Those questions made me think of my teaching in the past and how I should adjust the way to improve my students’ learning.

Most of my senior students are retired; they come to community activity center or church to learn something, meet new friends or just for fun. According to my boss’s command, the classes should be interesting and fun; no more any pressure to them (Some of them have high blood pressure already.) Therefore, there are no quizzes; no tests but only fun activities. My class is so called “advanced” level, so they won’t go to the “higher” level class in the program. I have to admit that we don’t have any criteria to classify students’ levels. Even worse, after summer or winter break, a few of them would say they forget what they have learned. As a teacher, I should be more motivated no matter what the learners’ attitudes are.

In the very first class, I would like to have a fun writing activity as a review for my class. A sheet of unfinished story will give every pair of my students. The story goes like that: …The old couple baked a gingerbread man for Christmas. When the gingerbread man jumped out of the oven, it ran away…It wanted to cross the river, but there was a crocodile in the river… (Now, it’s your turn to finish the rest part of the story.) With this practice, I hope I can see how much English they still remember or forget.

In this semester, we would continue studying the reading, some travel English and movie class. Speaking of movie class, I’d like to thank Terry again. He did offer the very practical and fun materials for me. My students found it a little bit difficult, but they were inspired to keep studying more. I do have good relationship with my senior students. Actually, we learn and respect to each other. I like the words that Terry described, “You have warm relationship with your students and the class was joyful.” I like that expression. I suppose Terry also has a wonderful class; as I can see he is a very caring and warm teacher too. I’m expecting his blog or any stuff he is creating in the near future.

Cindy R Shih

2009年6月23日 星期二

Movie and Performance

It’s the last week of school for my senior students. On June 15, we did the Hen Skit rehearsal on the stage with simple costumes and setting. Some of my students were very talented and didn’t have any stage fright at all. We rehearsed the skit about three times as well as the song. They also gave a few feedbacks to one another.

On June 17, we went to, one senior student of mine, Mr. Wu’s home for the movie class. He has a well equipped audio-visual room for the family entertainment. We decided to move to his home for the movie class, because of the technical problems occurred in the church. But it’s just for this time; we would solve the problems before next semester starts. I was glad two thirds of the class attended. Having this extra class, I could get their feedbacks immediately for the following semester lesson plans. (Mostly, the students would be the same or we might gain a couple of new students.) After watching two times of “The Joy Luck Club” Part 1 ( The narrating introduction and the home party), they did the Activity 2 –Listening Comprehension ,Find out ten differences that you hear from the narrator, and the Activity 4-Answer these questions about this scene. (Multiple choice questions) They found these Activities were kind of difficult for their level though they did enjoy watching movies. According to their suggestions, I might give them the printed out lines of plot (offered by Professor Terry Doyle) or maybe just part of it beforehand during next semester.

On June 19, my students’ performance was the last show. It was going very well; they won lots of applause. One of other English class teachers, Christine, came ask for the Hen Skit plot and the costumes. She said she liked the performance my students did very much.

All the responses about my teaching I’ve got so far either from the students or other fellow teachers are positive. I told them that I got lots of helps and resources from my teacher Aiden Yeh in Wenzao and Professor Terry Doyle. I applied some ideas and suggestions offered by them. Not only my students improved but also I did. I’ve recorded the whole week classes and will combine them into one DVD. I’ll give one copy to Aiden and send another copy to Terry and keep the other one for myself.

Cindy R Shih

2009年6月9日 星期二

Rehearsal and Schedule for Last Week

June 8, I think the whole class had a very relaxed time today. We didn’t learn anything new, but rehearsed the “Hen Skit” and reviewed the idioms with pictures again. In next class, we’ll do the rehearsal with costumes on the stage; I hope everything would go well. We did run out of time to do the movie class, fortunately, my seniors students want to have an extra class that we can watch a clip of movie. So, the schedule for next week would be: Mon. June15 rehearsal, Wed. June 17 movie class, Fri. June 19 semester closing ceremony. Kau-Nan, one of my students would bring his notebook to the classroom that I can play “Joy Luck Club” movie with. And I’ll set the “you tube” film before the Wednesday class starts.

Cindy R Shih

2009年6月1日 星期一

Idioms' Pictures and Rehearsal

May 25, My American friend, Sharon, and my seniors students had interviews one another. Most of the questions for Sharon were like: “What’s your favorite food in Taiwan?”, “Do you like stinky tofu?”, “What’s your first image (impression) of Taiwan?”, “Have you thought about adopting a Taiwanese child?” My 60-year-old American friend, who has two adopted children -- one is American the other is Korean, responded, “I don’t thing I still have energy to adopt any kids.” She also answered all the questions they had for her. At the end, she asked them about their jobs and families. Some of them are homemakers, but they said they are “housekeepers”. So I made some examples regarding impression and image, also talked about the difference between housekeeper and homemaker in today’s class (June 1) as a warm-up.

According to Professor Terry Doyle’s idea and suggestion in the comment of my blog, on May 13 09’, he wrote: … that idioms may be best taught when we show a picture to accompany that idiom. ….. The idea is that the pictures serve as mnemonic aid.I applied this idea in today’s animal idioms review. (The pictures are attached below.) My students all agreed this idea helped them memorize idioms easily.I’ve recorded the idioms review and described what I’m doing with that recording. I also mentioned my instructors, Aiden and Terry, and the greetings from them to my students. The record would be combined with the following classes and burned into DVDs for the study.

We started doing the rehearsal for June 19 performance (closing ceremony). Most of them got a part. (The skit lines are attached below.) We also did the song “Put your head on my shoulder” practice with some movements. We’ll continue to do the rehearsal again next time. I hope we still have time to watch and learn something new from the movies, Joy Luck Club and Bella, teaching materials provided by Professor Terry Doyle.

Cindy R Shih

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Baskit

Narrator: The chickens are in the hen house. It is more difficult for them to lay eggs because they are no spring chickens any more.
Hen 1: When would you lay your next egg?
Hen 2: I don’t know. It would take me longer than before.
Hen 3: Ha! Ha! You are not young any more.
See! (Show them her new egg and then walk away.)
Hen 4: Look at my new egg! Isn’t it beautiful?
Hen 5: I think mine is more beautiful and bigger than all of yours.
Narrator: Finally, they all lay their new eggs, and talk about where to store their eggs.
Hen 5: Let’s put all the eggs in this pretty basket.
Hen 4: Then we can sell them in the market and buy other foods.
Housekeeper: No! No! No! Don’t put all the eggs in one basket. It is risky.
Hen 3: Where else can we put some eggs in?
Housekeeper: We can store some eggs in the cabinet.
Narrator: They agree with the housekeeper’s idea, but they forget to take the basket into the hen house. The next morning, a sneaky fox comes and steals the basket away.
Hen 2: We lost our eggs in the basket.
Hen 1: We didn’t lose the all eggs, we still have some in our cabinet. Our housekeeper is
very trustworthy.
All hens: Yes, we can always count on him.
Housekeeper: You can put your head on my shoulder.
(All sing, Put Your Head on My Shoulder !)
Animal Idioms' Pictures:

Monkey see monkey do No spring chicken As a sneaky fos at the hen house

Love me love my dog Raining cats & dogs The cat is out of the bag

2009年5月19日 星期二

Idioms Practice and Skit

May 18, today we started the class with reviewing the definitions or the meanings of the animal idioms we had learned last time. And then I let my seniors’ students work in pair on the practice paper below:Animal Idioms Practice:1. Mary is a very efficient person; she can kill two birds with one stone.2. Why everybody knows the secret? Now the cat is out of the bag.3. Janet’s mother told her, “Find a man to get married, you are no spring chicken.”4. The weather is weird, it was sunny this morning but now it’s raining cats and dogs.5. Before Claire and John got married, she told him “Love me, love my dog.”6. After you are retired, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It is risky.7. Sam is a very stingy man, whoever wants to borrow money from him, he would say, “When pig flies.”8. Look at the strange man over there! His act is as a sneaky fox at the hen house.9. The little kids are so cute; they copy their parents’ acts. It is like monkey see, monkey do.10. Ken was so hungry, he said, “I can eat a horse.” After eating, he was happy as a pig in mud.Skit:Since we’re going to perform at the closing ceremony on June 19, I came out a short story with a few animal idioms and combined with a song, too. (The performance will be recorded.)The story goes:The “no spring chickens” are struggling for laying eggs. It’s getting harder and harder to lay eggs, because they are not young any more. Finally, some hens lay some eggs, and those eggs become very precious. One of them says.” Let’s put all the eggs in one basket. In that way we can take them to the market for sell and buy other food.” The chicken housekeeper says,” No! No! Don’t put all our eggs in one basket that would be risky.” So they separate the eggs; some in the basket and some in the cabinet.Later on, a sneaky fox comes and steals the basket with eggs, he then runs away. The next morning, the chickens find out that their eggs in the basket have been stolen. One of them opens the cabinet and says to the housekeeper,” You are a very loyal and wise servant. We didn’t lose all our eggs because of your good advice.” Another says, “We can always count on you.” The housekeeper says,” Yes, you can put your head on my shoulder.” And they all sing the song “Put your head on my shoulder” together as the ending.I’ve announced to my students that one of my American friends, Sharon, is coming to visit and stay with me from May 22 ~25. She has agreed my idea that she would come to my seniors’ class on May 25 as a guest. She would answer all the questions that my students would have for her. I think it would be a great opportunity for my students to do their English listening and speaking practice.Cindy R Shih

2009年5月12日 星期二

Animal Idioms

May 11, today we got started with a small talk. The topics were like “How was the trip going?”(They didn’t have class last Monday), or “Did you have a special Mother’s day?” (We celebrate Mother’s day on the second Sunday of May.) Joseph impressed me a lot this time, he said “I bought a carnation for my wife and took the whole family to a restaurant.” He also joined the outing last Monday, he added “I went to Wong-lewing village where is famous for stewed pig leg.”

I’ve searched some animal idioms such as “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”; “it’s raining cats and dogs.””Let the cat out of the bag.”… and printed out for my class. They found those idioms funny and interesting. We studied them together and hoped that we could make a small skit from these idioms for the semester closing ceremony.

We learned a new song, actually old song—Last Waltz. I think my seniors students were pretty familiar with the melody that they learned and understood the lyrics quickly.

Cindy R Shih

2009年4月28日 星期二


We went through weird weathers in the past few days. It was about to put away coats, sweaters and even jackets, but suddenly the weather changed. On April 27, we got started with “cold” weather (maybe it’s just cool or warm in the States) as our warm-up. “How do you like cold weather?” I asked my seniors students. “I like cold weather rather than hot weather; hot weather makes me sweat.” Jean said. Lucille agreed, “I don’t like hot weather, either. Summer in Taiwan is so hot and humid, and I feel uncomfortable.”

Laura created a story with the same cartoon pictures from last class. Although it was just a common story, I was glad that she wanted to practice English with telling a short story.

Today, we reviewed the song “The Greatest Love” with flash cards. I gave my students, who were divided into two groups, two decks of same word flash cards. While the music was playing, they had to lift up the word flash cards. It seemed to be a small competition; I’d rather say it’s just a repetition. Repetition is very important for seniors’ class according to Professor Terry Doyle’s theory.

Next class on May 4, my seniors students are going out for an outing. That means: No school on May 4. I’ll think about a skit or songs that my students would perform for the last day of this semester, June 19. I hope I can come out with something creative.

Cindy R Shih