Intrepid Girl Reporter

Wednesday, 5/28: and perhaps more importantly

1. Shin Jung Hyeon

2. Would You Rather lesson plan (note: this has been quite successful)

3. Would You Rather ppt

4. Would You Rather wksht

5. Scenes from a Restaurant lesson (also v. successful, but don’t bother giving your students food unless they are not ungrateful little hoodlums like mine)

6. Scenes from a Restaurant ppt

7. Scenes from a Restaurant video (feat. Grover as a waiter with a giant hamburger; hilarity ensues)

And since I’m mentioning the Restaurant lesson and the lessons in general, allow me to make a couple of points:

a) I used the menus from Ramsey’s, which is a fine establishment that you should make it a point to visit should you ever find yourself in Lexington, KY. I’ve only ever been to the one on High Street, but I can wholeheartedly recommend their Hot Brown and anything involving white gravy, as well as the pie, which is not on there but is worth making a trip for on its own. I prefer the mixed berry, but one of the Good Brown Daughters (with whom I usually go) says that there’s nothing but the brownie pie for her. Also, these menus are good for ESL classes, as they have a lot of food that students will imagine as stereotypically “American” while including some regional stuff. Also, fairly simple.

b) If you use these lessons and I don’t know you, please do leave me a comment telling me how you liked them. I’ve been bad about responding in the past, partly because I’m still foggy on a few of WordPress’s technicalities (for example, will you be notified if I respond?) but I really do like hearing from people who use these. I will start responding to comments. I promise.


Tuesday, 4/9: syllabillables
April 8, 2008, 1:02 pm
Filed under: ESL, games, lesson plans, skool, teaching


Here’s the previously discussed syllables lesson.

And here’s the PowerPoint (not mine), the worksheet and its key.


The lesson plan.

The PowerPoint and worksheet

The YouTube video (in case the ppt embed doesn’t work)

This lesson is popular beyond all reason. For smarter kids, maybe add an insult lesson, because they’ll be insulting each other anyway.

Sunday, 3/9: 2nd Semester Lesson 1 (2nd Grade Middle School)
March 9, 2008, 5:02 am
Filed under: games, lesson plans

Lesson 1 (2nd Grade): Guess Who?

Friday, 3/7: in the octobus’s garden
March 7, 2008, 4:01 am
Filed under: actual transcripts, ESL, games, looks like, skool, students, teaching

Q: If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A: Octobus

– student 

Things I am already in trouble for, as of 9:02 AM:

  • wearing a skirt that is too casual
  • spilling water on said skirt
  • not wearing socks

2L – Guess Who?

  • I Want A Woman With A Kind Heart (we’ll call him Kind Heart), Danny*, that kid who looks like a teddy bear, the one who was too cool for 1-11, one of the sweet kids from 1-11 who looked alike (was he the one who cried?)
  • ❤ ❤ ❤
  • kids in back too chaotic, so maybe next time pass out papers when they’re still sitting down

2-I – Guess Who?

  • smart but too loud/verging on obnoxious
  • good: Monkey!*, Dwight Shrute*, my favorite kid from last year’s Tuesday classes
  • not so good: the kid with the crush on me (“Channing,”)*, Smartass, Smartass Accomplice, Tiny Tim*, the other lookalike kid from 1-11, TWO of my Thursday Nightmare Trifecta kids*
  • at Visiting CT (we’ll call him Co-Teacher F)’s suggestion, I just read the cards, and the kids liked it fine

2-E – Guess Who?

  • watch some girls – maybe more advanced than previously suspected?
  • The Cutest Student Ever and The Other Cutest Student Ever (who got a Magic Stick straight perm that makes her look like some sort of Beatle)
  • that girl who looks like Miguk Sister
  • the girl who said she was looking for a man as attractive as a teddy bear in her personal ad
  • pretty quiet but not dumb

It is impossible to eat chop chae bap, which is noodles and rice. Aside from the fact that it’s a double carb load, neither spoon nor chopsticks can be used successfully.

I should add at this point that PCT is GONE, which makes my life a lot easier. I will continue to refer to ACT by her given pseudonym, and the rest of the co-teachers will be Co-teachers B through F.


Danny, Monkey and Channing all have names that sound like their pseudonyms, and each of them resembles their name – i.e. Danny looks like a Danny, Channing looks like a Channing, and Monkey…well, a really smart-alecky funny one, but a monkey nonetheless.

Tiny Tim is at least six inches shorter than everyone else and used to hobble around on a wooden crutch.

Dwight Shrute looks like Dwight Shrute.

The Thursday Nightmare Trifecta Kids are the ones who were friends with Min Ho, except that, unlike Min Ho, they’re really good at English, which means that they tended to get less attention for their antics. No more.

you, my darling, would make a terrible pioneer.

Live from the gyomushil (teacher’s office) again, where it is marginally less cold than yesterday. These classrooms have no heat – only the teachers’ offices have any sort of climate control – and I find myself bundling up every day to teach. Soccer said she wore a hat all day yesterday in class. The teachers here daydream about how American schools have central heating/cooling. To be honest, that’s not what I thought I’d miss, but now I, too, think longingly of thermostats, of the ancient furnaces that lined my high school’s halls. Yes. This is the state to which I’ve come.

I got Eun Jeong, the whiniest and sullenest of many whiny and sullen girls, to participate MULTIPLE TIMES today, during a too-good-to-be-true, only-in-the-movies lesson – the other girls were even hooting and hollering at her, so impressed were they that she decided to brush that dirt off her shoulder and join the rest of the world. She was still late to class, but I’ll take what I can get. I wrote my own Thanksgiving lesson*, because a) PCT is already teaching her classes the standard version, b) they’ve probably heard it before, and c) a lot of the lessons I found online were either inaccurate or culturally insensitive – for example, crowding kids into a small space and comparing it to the Mayflower is a lot less likely to work here in Korea, where everybody’s crowded and lives in a small space anyway. I feel like the kids would miss the point. Besides, as we all know, the story of Thanksgiving that we have has a few holes in it, like, you know, the centuries of mistreatment that the white man eventually inflicted on the natives, and the fact that no one even knows for sure if they ate turkey. (Although we do know that they prayed and fasted. I’m sure my kids are interested in that.) So we played a game about tolerance to illustrate exactly how it feels to be hated on, and we talked about old pilgrims and modern-day pilgrims (i.e. refugees), and they were SO into it. I could see them getting it. They know we still have a world in which there are pilgrims, and because of that, they are doubly thankful for the fact that, as one student wrote, “we have happy.”

Which was good, because my second class was a nightmare. I tried to get my low-level second graders to imagine what they’d bring on the Mayflower and they were all like, “mp3!” I told them – the ones who even bothered to do the worksheet, at least – that if that was all they brought, they’d starve, because you can’t eat music. My grandfather used to tell my mother, my grandmother, and I that we would have died in short order on the Oregon Trail. Now I am experiencing a small taste of his contempt.

Notes from Seoul: I got in Friday carrying a bag containing at least twenty pounds of tangerines, and, being late for my interview thanks to the worthless baggage people at Gimpo, took Soccer up on her offer to take my oranges. This proved to be a mistake on her part, because those oranges were really heavy, and she didn’t end up seeing me again for the rest of the night. After having taken a taxi that a) got stuck in traffic and b) charged me more money than I had, necessitating a stop at an ATM, I made it in for the Interview with the Internship, where they introduced me as “the girl who’ll be interning with us,” which means, I guess, that I got it. I was scheduled to meet Scooter and Oregon at the Seoul National University 치하촐 (subway) stop – a stop that necessitated a 45-minute journey, in heels that were too big and weren’t even mine, on a subway on which I could not move – only to find that they had actually meant the Seoul National University OF EDUCATION, which is a totally different stop and is also within walking distance of my original location. Needless to say, I got off the tube and immediately started yelling at Scooter, which was great, because I had been in communication with Oregon, not Scooter, and so he had been unaware of the entire debacle save for the fact that I was late. Then we went to get some non-Korean food in Hongdae, but the taxi driver took us to Kongdae instead, which was not helpful in the least. By the end of the night, however, we had: eaten Thai food, found a mysterious convenience store with the best candy EVER, been stopped in our tracks by both a giant construction crane and a man in a wolf costume, and met a sushi chef/sometime DJ and hip-hop enthusiast who introduced himself as – no joke – DJ Ham. We lost Scooter, who went back to the apartment where he was couch-surfing, but then he called us to say that a) he couldn’t find his way home, but b) he had found ₩10,000 (about $10USD) on the street. It was that sort of night.

So it looks as though I’ll be in Seoul this winter, which is a prospect to which I look forward. I like Seoul, even though it’s really, really cold. I’m not entirely sure about The Internship yet; I’m still waiting on a few things, but it looks good as of right now. And now I’m safely home in Jeju, ready to talk about travelers some more.

Note: I want to start doing something where I post something cool every day, something I like, which will both give me an incentive to post more and provide alternative reading material for those of you who get tired of reading about the smaller details. Here is the first thing, courtesy of Brendan: One Laptop Per Child. This is the kind of thing I want to be doing with my life. Okay, Miguk Oma? I am going to graduate school to figure out how to implement ideas like these in different countries. That is my life plan.

*I’ve uploaded the lesson plans and powerpoints I’ve been using – I think I’m going to start doing that from now on. If you do choose to use it, try to give me a heads-up re: how it goes.

intermediate Thanksgiving lesson (pilgrims/refugees)

intermediate Pilgrims powerpoint

low-level Thanksgiving lesson

low-level Pilgrim powerpoint

October 25, 2007, 6:36 am
Filed under: actual transcripts, ESL, games, life on Jeju, skool, students, teaching

Korean students (and by “Korean students,” I mean “three of the classes I’ve had so far today”) LOVE word searches. Personally, I don’t understand this. I hate word searches. I can never find any of the words, and they don’t require any sort of knowledge or skill – just brute looking-force. And as we all know, I’m far too lazy for that. But today classes 1H and 1F finished their travel posters with a good deal of time to spare, so I Googled “halloween word search” and came up with one from Ben & Jerry’s – of all places – and they were the quietest I have seen them possibly ever. 1H in particular is a headache – there are these three students who are always late, always talking, and always disrespectful, and while two of them speak decent English, one is really, really struggling. So I pay more attention to him, because I suspect that part of his acting out stems from his lack of understanding, but then it looks like I’m picking on him. I have to figure out something to hold his interest. Meanwhile, for those of you who went to My College, one of his friends looks like a certain Japan-obsessed, possible-Asian-fetish-possessing old disaster of mine. Seriously. He has the mullet and the weird cheekbones and everything.

Yesterday’s lesson went okay – I got class 2J, one of the Noise-O-Meter classes of two weeks ago, to repeat the date after me and describe the weather, which is more than they’ve ever done before. Two Truths and a Lie worked far better than I Love My Neighbor, probably because it didn’t involve them moving desks, which they clearly cannot handle. 1K, however, is quickly morphing from a class that amuses me into a class that I’d rather drive nails into my feet than see. It was in 1K that a group of students, drawing their Egypt travel poster, added breasts to their camel and labeled it “GIRL camel!”, along with a grotesque King Tut mask that was accompanied by the caption, “This pharaoh is very disgusting. ^_^” Then they asked me to: describe where the chest was on the body, go home with one of them. Periodically I would hear them shout, “Sex!”

I tried 2T&aL with 1G today and it worked fine – one of my students, it turns out, likes rice and pizza but does not like chicken, and even I believed the lie – and with 1H I just let them finish their posters and do the word search, but with 1F and 1E my students finished their posters AND the word search (overachievers), but without enough time to do the full “characteristics” lesson I had planned. As a result, I made up a lesson on the spot, switching the description focus to monsters, which went over really, really well, probably because my students feel a certain kinship with them. I wasn’t sure which second grade class I had today – because I cannot keep track of the numbers always, I tend to think of them by student, and I couldn’t remember if today was Eighties Ricki Lake or Crazy Hair. It was Crazy Hair, and while the monsters discussion wasn’t a wild success – I don’t know if there was ever a moment when everyone was paying attention – I scored a first in that I got Crazy Hair herself to participate. We worked on is/has/like sentences, as in My monster is…fat. My monster has…seven eyes. My monster likes…the dark and I got responses ranging from “My monster likes poop poop” and “My monster likes nose water” to “How do you say ‘people meat’?” These were GIRLS. I can’t wait to see what 1L, which is probably my smartest class of first graders, comes up with tomorrow.

more from English Classroom I
October 24, 2007, 3:43 am
Filed under: actual transcripts, ESL, games, skool, students, teaching

From “Two Truths and a Lie”:

I am smart

I am goblin

I am orc

Working on “I am, I have, I like” sentences today:

I have a girlfriend

I like the sense of justice

(as a set:)

I like bear

I have a bear socks

I am a bear

I thought it might be a case of mistranslation, until he drew a picture.

Trying to give up using Korean in the classroom cold turkey. It’s hard. Short Jeong, today, during “Two Truths and a Lie”: “Well, maybe they know the answer, but they do not want to raise their hand.” Suggestions, Short Jeong? I gave you games.


Give three statements about yourself. Two of them should be true and one should, uh, not be true. Have students take turns giving statements and guessing. Good for: writing, speaking (esp. because students should strive to make the lie not be obvious). Also encourages creativity.