Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What is Facebook?


Yesterday we indulged Lisa in her lesson idea. She wanted us to bring up the Windsor Star newspaper website and then discuss one or more of the articles. You chose the story about baby Joseph. At the end of the lunch period, June asked what you could do if you wanted to show your support to the family of baby Joseph. I said you could join the Save Baby Joseph group on Facebook. Then someone asked, "What is Facebook?"

Today's activity centred around that question: what is Facebook?

For the first half hour, we ate our lunches and read print-outs from Wikipedia in our first languages. Jun, Zhen, Bernie, Lisa and Wen read in Chinese while Svitlana and Lena read in Russian. Mihaela brought Mary down to introduce her to us. Fortunately, I happened to have printed out the Facebook article in Arabic, too!

After eating and reading in our first languages, we talked about the Facebook phenomenon in English. I asked you a few questions:

  1. What is Facebook?
  2. Who invented it?
  3. When?
  4. What does it do?
  5. How many people in the world use it?
  6. What do they use it for?
  7. Do you have a Facebook account?
Lena told us that Facebook is a social network. We talked about both of those words.

Bernie said that "social" means having to do with people and society. June said that a network means connections. That's exactly right!

Lena, Svitlana and Mary all said they have Facebook accounts. Lisa said that Chinese people don't like Facebook.

We talked about the many uses of Facebook: to connect with friends, to chat, to share ideas and photographs. Also, Facebook is being used to organize revolts against repressive regimes in the Middle East. Mary told us that Facebook is not allowed in Iran for this reason.

After covering all of this, we took a peek at my Facebook account. Lisa said that Chinese people really like QQ. Actually QQ is a chat and instant messaging application. Facebook is much more than that. I told you that through Facebook, I can get updates from my church and notices about special sales from my favourite stores. I also can see what all my friends are doing and thinking all through the day.

We posted a message to my Facebook page that said, "I am teaching my lunch and learn class about Facebook." We got one reply from a friend of mine! She said, "Hello, Kelly's students!"

How fun was that, eh?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Billy Joel - The Piano Man

After more than a week of telephone practice, we have a request for a song lesson. The song I have chosen for us to listening to and study for a day or two is called The Piano Man by Billy Joel.

Billy Joel was born in New York City in 1949. He began studying piano at the age of four. He recorded the album "Piano Man" in 1973. The song was his first "top 20" single and the LP was his first gold album. He had multiple top singles and award-winning albums in the 70s and 80s.

In 1987, he became the first U.S. pop star to bring a full rock production to the Soviet Union. He performed in Moscow and Leningrad. His concerts still attract sell-out crowds around the world.

Billy Joel is also recognized as a humanitarian and philanthropist.

Cloze of lyrics - can you fill in the verbs? (Asterisks indicate phrasal verbs.)

The Piano Man by Billy Joel

It’s nine o'clock on a Saturday;
The regular crowd _______________ in.
There's an old man _______________ next to me
Makin' love to his tonic and gin.

He _________, "Son, can you ___________ me a memory?
I'm not really sure how it ___________,
But it's sad and it's sweet and I ___________ it complete
When I ___________ a younger man's clothes."

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Sing us a song, you're the piano man.
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you've got us _____________ all right.

Now John at the bar _____ a friend of mine;
He ________ me my drinks for free.
And he's quick with a joke or to _________ _______ your smoke,
But there's someplace that he'd rather be.
He says, "Bill, I ___________ this is __________ me."
As the smile ________ __________ from his face*
"Well I'm sure that I _________ be a movie star
If I could ________ ________ of this place"*

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Now Paul ______ a real estate novelist
Who never ________ time for a wife.
And he's ____________ with Davy, who's still in the Navy
And probably _______ _______ for life.

And the waitress ______ ______________ politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned.
Yes, they're _______________ a drink they call loneliness,
But it's better than _____________ alone.

Sing us a song, you're the piano man.
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you've got us feelin' all right.

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday,
And the manager __________ me a smile
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been ___________ to see
To _____________ about life for a while.
And the piano, it _____________ like a carnival.
And the microphone ____________ like a beer.
And they _________ at the bar and _________ bread in my jar
And say, "Man, what are you __________ here?"

Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Sing us a song, you're the piano man.
Sing us a song tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you've got us feelin' all right.

Discussion of the song can be found here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Joe Canadian

Hello! Today Bernie sends his regrets. He had something he needed to do, but before he left he thanked me for teaching not just words but also Canadian culture. No problem, Bernie. I enjoy it! The rest of us said we were pretty tired of hearing that rap song over and over. So instead we watched the "I Am Canadian" beer commercial. I asked you to take note of the similarities between the two messages. What things do Jarrett and Joe both say? How are their attitudes similar and how are they different? We thought about that while eating, then at 12:00 we talked about it. We talked about stereotypes and what a lumberjack is. It seems both Jarrett and Joe are tired of being stereotyped, especially by Americans. They also seem tired of the fact that Americans don't know very much about Canada. Well, that was a hard text to tackle. It took us all week. Next time we need to pick something easier and shorter. We talked about Wen's idea of listening to a telephone dialogue. Everyone agreed that's a good idea, so that's what we will do on Monday. After that, Lisa has an idea for us to consider. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Windsor Rap Song

Hello! This week we are slowly working our way through the lyrics of the Windsor Rap Song. Bernie studied some of the vocabulary at home and reports that there is a lot of slang, which makes it difficult. Next time we will tackle something easier, okay? Wen says she would like for us to listen to a short news or radio broadcast, or some short telephone dialogues. I have some selections for us to choose from. See you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Ballots


Today we kicked off our lunch and learn club. We had a lot to decide today!

First of all, we discussed the purpose of the space and time together. You all told me that we have two purposes: eat lunch and practice English. I asked you if you know which one is the higher priority. Yes, you're right! Nick has told me that first and foremost, the space is for you to have a comfortable place to eat lunch. Secondary to this is a chance to practice English. That said, many of you are very keen to get to the activities!

The first thing we had to discuss was how to handle eating and learning in the same hour. Many people have said that they can't participate in a speaking exercise while trying to chew their food. So I asked you all if you would like to divide the hour into two parts: a time for eating and a time for the activity. Many of you nodded in agreement. You like that idea a lot.

Wen was concerned that our time together is very brief. She doesn't want to lose 30 minutes of it to eating. Esterline suggested that we finish eating by 11: 40 or 11:45, but Mindy said that gobbling your food down in a hurry isn't good for you. I agree. Rushing through your meal is not healthful and not mindful.

Zhen and Wen said that perhaps we could have something playing in the background while we quietly eat and listen. Then at 12:00, after I have also finished my lunch, we can start an activity related to the audio or video.

So then we brainstormed some ideas for things you want to see or listen to.

The next item up for a vote was how committed we are to speaking only English over the lunch hour. I put three choices on the board:

100% English, 95% English, I don't care.

We talked about what each one of these choices means, then I passed out the magnets. Each person got one vote (magnet). While my back was turned, you put your magnets next to your choice. Here we can see the results. You should be able to see nine little round magnets of different colours (yellow, pink, white, blue).

It looks like "95% English" won by a landslide.

Finally we used our last 15 minutes to listen again to the Windsor Rap Song. Tomorrow we will start discussing it stanza by stanza. I have a print-out of the words, which I will give you either tomorrow or Wednesday.

I think our "Lunch and Learn" Club is off to a fun start. See you tomorrow!