Friday, March 25, 2011

Notebooks and Cellphones

Notebooks: On the bulletin board at the back of my classroom I have a list of class rules assembled from the "Class Rules" lesson the second week of school. One of the rules says:
I will come to class on time, with my materials, prepared to learn.
I ask them several times in the first couple of months exactly what materials that is talking about. They know it refers to a) notebook, to write things in; b) pen or pencil, to write things with; and c) brain, to know what to write. (While the class is Conversation, writing things out first gives them greater confidence in their generated language, especially early on.)

Despite all this, many classes have about 1/3 of students show up with no notebook. What's up with that? Well, anyway, this post is not going to complain, it's going to celebrate those who do bring their notebooks, particularly that genre of notebook with sappy or nonsensical English printed on them. To wit:

"Take you wonder by wonder; Open up your heart and greet the world as it is. We can always find joy and love wherever our eyes rest."

The small print makes up for the macro gibberish, being quite profound in its odd way: "We all have our own ability. The difference is how we use it.  If it's your limit, you can't exceed it; if you exceed it, it's not your limit."

Remember, a high school boy picked this out.

"A champion is someone who has won the first prize in a competition, contest, or fight."  Fair enough.
Cell Phones: Chapter two in our first grade textbook is about cell phones, so I've begun a three week unit on the topic.  Actually, this week is mainly an opportunity to do some research in Multiple Intelligences Theory, thinly disguised as a lesson on cell phones.  It is a follow-up to the research review I did in lieu of a winter camp when not enough students signed up.  The first activity is a dreary, lengthy inventory to help classify students in terms of their stronger/weaker intelligences (again, do find out about this theory, from Howard Gardner at Harvard, if you're unfamiliar with it.)

I introduced the activity with a Kim Yun-a Samsung Haptic commerical, seen at YouTube; Yun-a is Korea's figure skating champion, and a national heroine.  The point of the ad that I try to bring out is that she is not only a skater--she writes, she sings, washes her dog, and rolls around in her bed.  We all have many abilities, or kinds of "intelligence", etc, etc ...

Part 2 of the lesson is some light-on-the-English fun sparked by this Korean cell phone commercial (thanks, Nck!):

Thinking about their responses on the inventory, they are to create their own ideal smart phone with the features that they want most to have.  I give them a hand-out with a sort of blank cell phone on it, and they invent new apps and create icons for them, and provide English labels.  Of course, they're supposed to chat with each other in English during this process.  Here are a few results from classes so far:

Finding a person I want to meet, doing exams instead of me

"19" refers to restricted movies, a common meme, there's also a hotpack and a fan
Instead of an Apple product, this guy likes Grapes

I like the "sleep well" app (and its sheep icon), and the secrets box
Some of the more inventive apps include the anywhere bathroom finder, plastic surgery detector, find out if someone likes me, and the "heartbreaker".  "You sure you mean beartbreaker?" I asked.  "You want to leave sad, desperate girls behind as you go through life?"

"Yes," he said, with what I think he imagined was a rakish grin.  "They can lov-uh me, but I can heartbreak."


Chris said...

Given their reaction to your "teacup" comment last year, I'm afraid to ask how they interpreted your revelation that Yeon-A "rolls around in her bed"...

Tuttle said...

Good memory on the T-cup ...
I think there's only one interpretation intended, or even possible, from the shots of her in the bed. But they're tame enough for Korean TV, so they're okay for my classroom.

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

This is a fantastic lesson. Mind if I use it for an extra class around exam time? I'm sure they'd all love getting creative as long as it involved technology.

The English on notebooks is great. My favourite showed a simplistic cartoon bird - expressionless - below the following phrase: "Sometimes, I wish nobody told me I was adopted..."


Charles Montgomery said...


I used a version of that cellphone thing on my convo 3 students here at the Uni. They loved it.. went all network/cloud and created apps for the next decade..

remarkably flexible, that one..

JIW said...

Featured on a recent post in...