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, 3/30: The Price is Right/I Wish…
March 30, 2008, 6:18 am
Filed under: ESL, lesson plans

Here, for your teaching pleasure:

Lesson 3 – The Price is Right! (lesson plan) 

Lesson 3 – The Price is Right! (PowerPoint) 

Lesson 4 – I Wish (all, incl. song)

Now in the archives as well. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 3/25: a two-copier-jam kind of day
March 25, 2008, 3:35 pm
Filed under: IGR Recommends, lesson plans, poetry, skool, students, teaching

Twice in ten minutes, if anyone’s counting.

2-4 – I Wish…

  • Famous American: Nina Simone
  • I could feel them dragging…this is such a confusing concept
  • liked song

1-6 – The Price is Right

  • well-behaved
  • responsive to numbers (but didn’t know million)
  • took threat of point subtraction seriously (GOOD)
  • WotD: discount

2-2 – I Wish

  • Famous American: Nina Simone
  • started class with genie scenario, kids were receptive
  • more “I Wish” examples necessary to fill time
    • ended up doing rhymes to finish class

2-3 – I Wish

  • Co-Teacher E thinks they need more time to practice
  • covered “I wish I could” and change of subjects (i.e. “I wish she could”)
  • Famous American: Nina Simone
    • find picture of Nina Simone that students will not compare to: giraffe, monkey, me

I’m beginning to realize that I should have paid more attention in fifth grade. My knowledge of grammar is roughly comparable to the Supreme Court’s knowledge of pornography: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. Teaching the subjunctive is really hard. On an unrelated note, I tried to take a shower and discovered that the tub is covered in a fine matting of hair. I have come up with a number of explanations for this scenario, and none of them hold up. Maybe I’ll go to the jjimjilbang tomorrow instead.

Reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma makes me want to be a farmer, which is a bad idea for so many reasons I don’t have time to list them all here. Less self-destructively, it also makes me want to learn more about Wendell Berry, who comes from my state, or one of my states, at least. I regret that I didn’t learn more about him when I was there – I have friends who have recommended him to me before, but I was not fully appreciative of Kentucky at the time. Well. Now I am.

In A Motel Parking Lot, Thinking Of Dr. Williams

Wendell Berry
<!– Wendell Berry poem –>


The poem is important, but
not more than the people
whose survival it serves,

one of the necessities, so they may
speak what is true, and have
the patience for beauty: the weighted

grainfield, the shady street,
the well-laid stone and the changing tree
whose branches spread above.

For want of songs and stories
they have dug away the soil,
paved over what is left,

set up their perfunctory walls
in tribute to no god,
for the love of no man or woman,

so that the good that was here
cannot be called back
except by long waiting, by great

sorrows remembered and to come
by invoking the thunderstones
of the world, and the vivid air.


The poem is important,
as the want of it
proves. It is the stewardship

of its own possibility,
the past remembering itself
in the presence of

the present, the power learned
and handed down to see
what is present

and what is not: the pavement
laid down and walked over
regardlessly--by exiles, here

only because they are passing.
Oh, remember the oaks that were
here, the leaves, purple and brown,

falling, the nuthatches walking
headfirst down the trunks,
crying "onc! onc!" in the brightness

as they are doing now
in the cemetery across the street
where the past and the dead

keep each other. To remember,
to hear and remember, is to stop
and walk on again

to a livelier, surer measure.
It is dangerous
to remember the past only

for its own sake, dangerous
to deliver a message
you did not get.

Sunday, 3/23: and hoping and praying and dreaming
March 23, 2008, 2:12 pm
Filed under: IGR Recommends, lesson plans, music

I’m currently trying to plan what appears to be the only ESL lesson in existence based on Skee-Lo’s “I Wish.” The plan is to teach my students a) the construction “I wish,” b) how to rhyme, and c) the word “baller.” I suspect, however, I’m going to end up using Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free,” which is also a good song, but one which mentions neither ballers nor Impalas.

In the meantime, I’ll try to post the Price is Right lesson soon. The election lesson needs some pretty serious modification before it can be put up.

And since I’m on the subject of Ms. Simone, I’ll go ahead and Recommend one of my favorite songs of hers:

Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddamn 

You can download most of the rest of that album here. I’m not sure why I don’t have all the songs.

EDIT: I went to Mass today in short sleeves, because it was the only remotely springlike outfit I could find, and HM asked me three different times if I was going to be cold. People at church asked me if I was cold. Complete strangers came up to me, rubbed my arms, and asked me if I was cold. HM had HB call me to ask if I was cold later. When I came home, HM asked me if I was cold. And now that it is 11:11 PM and I am wearing pants and a sweatshirt, HD just came in and asked me if I was cold today. I GET IT. Isn’t there a point in your life where how cold you are becomes no one’s business but your own?

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?

Tuesday, 3/4: New York City, capital of the world

2D – Guess Who?

Lesson: Introduce students to each other through question-based guessing game

  • Teddy Bear Barrette has switched over to rhinestones
  • but she’s doing her work!
  • Eun Jeong actually competed for tickets today
  • Future Vet*, Good Twin*, Super Woman* all present
  • surprisingly well behaved
  • next time don’t have teams come forward, make questions more difficult

2B – Guess Who?

  • Help Woman*, Kind Mother*, Field Trip, that girl with the pink glasses
  • not too participatory but generally good
  • guessing game doesn’t work as teams, maybe have kids find matches

2C – Guess Who?

  • Bad Twin*…oh God
  • those girls in the front need to QUIT talking
  • one of the choir girls still wants to be “social poverty designer” (Catholic girl)
  • Canada, Lisa Loeb*
  • having kids practice easy questions with each other, answer hard questions, find random matches worked better
  • new co-teacher less effective

I moved gyomushil (teachers’ office) yesterday and it was TOTAL CHAOS. Apparently it had not occurred to anyone working at or affiliated with my school to, I don’t know, do this stuff sometime before the first day of school.

In this room I could practically see my breath and I couldn’t feel my fingers to type; the windows were open and no one would allow them to be closed, so we all stood there, huddled around an ancient freestanding gas heater with a teapot on the top. The teapot, in case you were wondering, serves as a humidifier. Those of us who were not gathered round the campfire were counting to eight repeatedly and shouting my name; evidently there was some discrepancy regarding the desk I was supposed to have versus the desk I actually had, and while I was supposed to receive the eighth desk, which desk became the eighth varied depending on where the person started counting. Meanwhile, the students, teacherless, roamed our dirty halls like packs of hyenas, waiting for the first of us to fall. Did I mention that the first graders weren’t even there? I kept asking people if I could help – I couldn’t figure out what to do on my own, as everyone simply seemed to be moving each other’s stuff around and back again – and no one would give me directions, so eventually I just sat at my desk. Meanwhile, the teacher with the broken arm had the papers and folders she was moving propped between her coat and her cast.

My absence from this blog would be inexcusable were it not for the fact that a) I’ve been working for Uncle Sam, who possesses powerful Internet monitoring superpowers, for the past month, b) the Internet at my house on base was more fickle than a Korean middle schooler’s chosen favorite singer, and c) I got a bead stuck in the optical drive of my MacBook and had to have it serviced. Oops.

But anyway, I’m back. And reasonably sure that I can never work for the federal government. To illustrate this point, I would like to offer a series of questions I received from children at the American Corner (like a mini-Embassy) in Busan, via teleconference, during a presentation on American Food: Diverse and Delicious, followed by both actual and given answers.

Q: Who were the first immigrants to America? How did they start American food?

AA: Well, in the seventeenth century, the white man came and pretended to be friends with the natives for a while, but then he killed them off, took their land, and shot the animals and grew the crops that would become the basis of American cuisine.

GA: Well, in the seventeenth century, many immigrants came from Europe. They made friends with the natives, and from the bounty of the land, they all cooked food together.

Q: Why is American food so sweet?

AA: Because Big Food is filling it with high-fructose corn syrup!

GA: Because we have many immigrants from Europe, where they make very sweet desserts.

Q: Can you tell me the story of how New York City came to be your country’s capital?

AA: No.

GA: No.

*These are obviously my actual class notes, with changed names. Hopefully soon I will make a glossary of pseudonyms. In the meantime:

Bad Twin/Good Twin: These girls are not actually twins, but they look like it. One is good. One is not.

Super Woman, Kind Mother, Help Woman: attended winter camp, created Super Woman, Kind Mother, and Help Woman, respectively

Lisa Loeb: v. smart, a little morbid, has dyed hair and Lisa Loeb glasses, as well as a general Loebian aesthetic; I wave at her in the hall and she looks at me and shakes her head

Future Vet: started emailing me because she has a cat (rare in Korea) and I have one too; originally wanted to be a vet, but because this may be too difficult, is currently planning on being a “pet beauty artist”