The 003 Blog (Fall 2006)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Two New Students in 003

Our class now numbers 14. Abdulaziz Al-Arwan from Saudi Arabia and Nazanin Khavari from Iran have joined us. Welcome to both of them! Now I have to add them to the slideshow I posted on September 13.

The class is going well. The students are now working comfortably with the SRA materials. They are advancing quickly through the Rate Builder levels and somewhat more slowly through the Power Builder levels. We have almost finished Part 1 in our grammar textbook and will have a test on all the present and past verb tenses next week. The students have already submitted their first writing assignment--a paragraph comparing the lives of writer Frank McCourt and jazz singer Diane Schuur--and have already been assigned their second composition, a biographical narrative. Everyone is coming to class, participating, and doing the work. What more could I ask?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Security Seminar

This afternoon, Officer Rich Pena-Ariet of the campus police came to talk to the students about staying safe, and keeping their belongings safe. He advised them to always keep track of their belongings--never to leave them unattended, when they might be stolen. He told them about the escort service on campus, which they can call if they feel uncomfortable walking alone, especially at night. He advised them to keep their doors locked at all times--not only when they are out, but also when they are at home. I remember a student of mine who told me that his television had been stolen from his apartment while he and his roommates were sleeping. Since they were home, they hadn't locked the door, and a thief just walked in and took the TV! They were lucky the thief did not do worse. It's terrible that we have to warn our students about crime, but it is better to warn them than to have them become victims of crime. A lot of the students asked him questions about drivers' licenses.

After the security seminar, we walked to our class in the Armory. As of next week, all classes that are not in the lab will have to meet in the Armory because we are losing our nice big bright classrooms in Holzapfel! :-( We are all sorry about that because our classroom in ARM, while it isn't a bad place, has no windows, so it is kind of depressing. I fantasize about painting a window on the white wall. Unfortunately, I doubt that the University would approve.

Jennifer and I got free Kertle posters at the Document Services office today. If Jennifer hadn't come to the afternoon class with her poster, I would have forgotten to go there! Thanks, Jennifer.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Walk Around Clopper Lake (Gaithersburg, MD)

Today is the first day of fall! My husband and I hiked around Clopper Lake in the state park near our house. The hike took two hours. It was a pleasant, cool day, but not very sunny. We saw lots of wild animals, such as Canada Geese, Whitetail Deer, a Great Blue Heron, and even a Red Fox! (I was not fast enough to get a picture of the fox.) Although we did not see any beavers, we saw some trees which beavers had felled with their sharp yellow teeth. (If you don't know what a beaver is, Google "beaver" (image).)

I took some pictures of plants, too. Milkweed is the favorite food of the Monarch butterfly, which migrates from the Eastern U.S. all the way to Mexico! Poison ivy is a vine which is common in the Eastern U.S. and which most people are extremely allergic to. If you touch it, you can develop a painful, itchy rash. I took some pictures of it so that you can learn to recognize and avoid it.

To play the slideshow, click on "Play (single arrow)." To advance to the next picture manually, press the double arrow. To see the album on the Bubbleshare site (larger), click on it or on the words "this album."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

William's Class Blog 2006: Otago Polytechnic School of Languages

William's Class Blog 2006: Otago Polytechnic School of Languages

This is a link to an intermediate ESL class in New Zealand. The students are from several different countries, and most of them seem to be immigrants (that is, they plan to stay in New Zealand). Your task is to look at their blogs and choose several (two or three) to comment on. Im your comment, include the url (web address) of your own blog so that William's students can visit it and comment.

Happy blogging!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lunch at Stamp Union

Today we all went to the Student Union for lunch together (well, almost all!). I showed the students the Food Coop, but most of them chose to eat elsewhere (they wanted meat!). I love the Coop because the food is healthy, cheap, and good, and because it reminds me of my own student days! Mercia, Amer, Cindy, Jennifer, Hyosung, and I found a place to eat together. Mohammed showed up just in time for the picture!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hello from the Eastern Shore!

This weekend, I am visiting my sister and her husband at their beautiful home on Maryland's Eastern Shore. I drove here yesterday with my daughter. The drive takes about two hours from my home in Gaithersburg. We passed College Park and took Route 50 east, past Annapolis and over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. My sister's house is on a large creek which flows into the Tred Avon River, which flows into the Choptank River, which flows into the Bay. As I sit here typing, I can look out over the peaceful water of Tarr Creek. It is very beautiful!

I have been reading your blogs and your comments on each other's blogs. It is nice to read the supportive comments you have left for each other! But many of you have not left comments yet. I hope you will do this before you come to class tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Impressions of Week One

Today is Friday, and we have already had six classes. I think things have gone well. We have lost one student and gained two. At the moment, we have twelve in the class, which is my favorite number for a class. That's because it is easy to have students work in pairs or in groups of three, four, or six students.

We managed to do everything I had planned for the first six classes. We had a balance of reading, writing, and grammar. We have had our first quiz and have started working on Power Builders and Rate Builders in our Reading Lab box. All the students have their textbooks, and we have begun working in them. I have also introduced the concepts of SQR, A.P.P.L.E., the writing process, sentence elements, and sentence types. These concepts will continue to be very important for us all semester.

Finally, every student has created a blog (although a couple of the links are still not working yet), and they have learned how to create and edit a post, leave a comment, and upload a photo.

It has been a very productive week!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

003 Student Slide Show

Here's a little slideshow I created using Bubbleshare. To see your classmates' names, move your cursor over the pictures.

It's easy to create albums and slideshows to post on your blog. I will teach you how very soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lunch at the Dairy


n., pl. -ies.
  1. A commercial establishment for processing or selling milk and milk products.
  2. A place where milk and cream are stored and processed.
  3. A dairy farm.
  4. The dairy business; dairying.
  1. Of, for, or relating to milk or milk products: the dairy section at the grocery store.

At the University of Maryland, the Dairy is a small restaurant which shares the Turner Lab building with the Visitors' Center, on Route One. It is open for lunch (between 10 and 4), and it serves University of Maryland ice cream, which is the best ice cream in the world! They have regular flavors like chocolate and pistachio as well as special UM flavors like Fridge Fever, Final Exam Cram, and Midnight Madness. They also serve hot and cold lunches: hamburgers, hot dogs, a daily hot dish, salads, sushi and wraps.

Today, I had lunch at the Dairy with Hsin-Hong, Se Young, Hyosung, James, Cindy, and Jennifer. This gave them the opportunity to discover a new (maybe healthier and quieter) place to eat lunch, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know them a little better, which was nice.

Also, the Dairy is located near the Armory. Since we have class in the Armory Monday through Thursday at 1:00, it's a very convenient place to have lunch .

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Second Day

Today was our first "normal" (not Friday) day. I introduced the SRA Reading Laboratory and the concept of SQR: Survey and Question before you Read. We began the Power Builder Starter. After lunch, we trekked down to the Armory to our afternoon classroom (a little windowless box!) and then back to Holzapfel to blog in the small lab. The students did a fine job on their first big posts!

We are losing Abdulmalik to the 004 class. :-( However, we are getting a new student tomorrow.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The First Day of Class

I met the class for the first time today!

Everyone came except for Mohammed. We already have a new student, Li-Shu (Jennifer). Half of the class is Asian (Korea and Taiwan), and the other half is Arab (Saudi Arabia and Qatar), so there is a nice balance to the class. I have asked the students never to sit next to someone who speaks their native language. That way, they will speak more English and (hopefully) make new friends from different parts of the world.

Today, I had the students give me a writing sample ("Who I Am and Why I Am Here") and take a reading placement test for SRA. Then we went to the lab and they each created their own English language blog! They seem like a nice group, and I am excited about the opportunity to work with them this semester.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The new semester is about to begin!

Yesterday, the new students took the placement test, and today was Orientation. I met many students, but I didn't know which ones would be in the class. This afternoon, I received my class list. There are ten students enrolled in UMEI 003: Saoud, Essa, Hyosung, Seyoung, Seung-Gi, Hsin-Hong, Mohammed, Chun-Yu, Abdulmalik, and Amer. Tomorrow is our first class meeting. I hope that together we can build a supportive community of English language learners.