Thursday, November 22, 2012

H.G. Wells: The Invisible Man

Wearing A Cloak Of Invisibility 

If Jesse were invisible, he would go to Spain and help his favorite soccer team win against the other team. He would be their invisible goal keeper.

If Jerry were invisible, he would go to the bank and steal money and then go kiss the girl he loves. 

Ethan would push Nash forward when Nash faced Maggie- his true love.

If Nash were invisible, he would do research on how to be invisible so that he could be invisible any time.

Mike would fall in love with someone he likes, and if James were invisible, he would catch the thief to save the world. Alan plans to find his friends from middle school, but Ann would sleep in the dorm until lunch.

Michelle would enjoy free travel around the world. 

Surprisingly, Tina would be a killer. 

William would pay more attention to the people he likes, and Steven plans to take a photo of himself and send it to his blog. Charles would like to be a super-spy like James Bond. 

And finally, Cullen would perform an invisible grand theft auto in Beijing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Slowly Ascending

This is how I feel every morning when I take the 

elevator 21 floors down, down...

THE elevator continued its impossibly slow ascent. Or at least I imagined it was ascent. There was no telling for sure: it was so slow that all sense of direction simply vanished. It could have been going down for all I knew, or maybe it wasn’t moving at all. But let’s just assume it was going up. Merely a guess. Maybe I’d gone up twelve stories, then down three. Maybe I’d circled the globe. How would I know?

Murakami, Haruki (2010-11-17). Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (p. 1). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love Your Country With Rationality

Note: I assisted my students with their speech for tomorrow’s flag-raising ceremony. Listen to what China's future leaders have to say!

Today, our theme is: Love your country with rationality.

Tomorrow, we are going to welcome a significant day that we Chinese will never forget.

At midnight on September eighteenth, 1931, the Northeastern Army awoke to the blaring sound of bombs. The Japanese Empire bombed railroads near Liuhu in Shenyang province, and accused the Chinese Army.

With this excuse, the Japanese army bombed the barracks of the Nortnheastern Army, capturing the city of Shenyang. Half a year later, Northeastern China was occupied by Japan. That was a great shock to the whole world and a symbol of Japanese aggression, which was called the Incident of Nine Eighteen. The national humiliation was something we Chinese would never forget.

14 years! Bleeding 14 years!

The Northeast, the Central Plain and then the Songhu Area, were captured one by one. This great country was suffering and wailing. A bloody river spread through the mainland. We sacrificed 35 million lives to win the war!

This was a horrifying war. But we weren’t afraid of countless sacrifices; We Chinese got together for the first time to fight aggression. During the most desperate time, the power was building from the bottom of every Chinese citizen’s heart. The power was the desire for a peaceful life and for justice.

The mist of war has been cleaned off, but the alarming memories are still in our hearts.

Peace is not free. At the moment, it’s 81 years later, but still a painfully aching day.

I am sure all of you know about the event of the Diaoyu Island. It’s a question shaped by history. I should begin from the failure of the Qing Empire in the JiaWu naval battle. As a vanquished country, we gave some of our islands to Japan, including Diaoyu Island. After that, Japan was defeated during World War Two, and the United States asked Japan to give the island back to China. All of these countries reached an agreement that said Japan would help manage the Island. Today, how dare you Japan claim that Diaoyu Island as your national island?

How dare you regard China’s sovereignty as nothing!

Premier Wen said:

”The dignity that Chinese people and the government used to struggle for freedom is treasured during tough times; We are strong as steel.” Diaoyu Island belongs to China geographically and historically. So, we won’t take any steps back on the argument about the territory and sovereignty.

What we have to remember is the island is ours according to history. The destiny of a country depends on its people. We should defend our sovereignty positively.

However, impulse and anger won’t show the true heart of the country. Instead, having a responsible heart and a calm mind that can help you judge right or wrong are needed! Students and teachers, let’s change the love to our country into the power of study in order to make a stronger China! We will be pillars of the country both rational and logical.

Incident nine eighteen, we still remember and we will remember for all time. Keep the humiliation in our mind and love our country with rationality and calm.

Speakers: Jason Qian class 1 and Jason Ni class 2

Flag raiser: Mao Yuying class 1

Saturday, September 15, 2012



The students in my literature class are studying the short story “Disguise” by Jean Fong Kwok. In the story, the main character, Mrs. Chen, is an immigrant from China who lives in New York City. Mrs. Chen can’t speak English and gets lost in a dangerous neighborhood. I asked the students in one of my classes to write about a time they have felt confused or misunderstood when speaking a foreign language. Here are several responses from the students to this writing prompt. The kids are reflecting on their first two weeks of school. Their responses serve to remind me that as a teacher, I am also responsible for students' emotional and social well being. The writing is in the students’ own voices.

Kevin, Class 3, 4-B

I land up in a strange city. In there, I don’t feel completely at ease in the strange surroundings. Without any money or friends, everythings make me confused. Nobody knows what I say. Being a lonely man is too bad. I am anxious.


In fact, my English isn’t very good. So in class, I can’t understand some words. So sometimes I don’t know what teacher means. When he asks me questions, I’m nervous. I was worry if I can speak English well.


At this week, we had 4 science classes and I usually didn’t know what’ the meaning of it. Once he taught us a lot of things, and then he asked me to answer his questions, but I really didn’t know what the answer because I didn’t know what he taught me, so I couldn’t answer the question. He told me to pay more attention in class. He thought I can answer the question but I didn’t listen carefully. I felt shamed during that time.


I was sad when I disunderstand the English. When I in class, I feel bore because I can not understand it at all. And I didn’t want to ask others for help because it will disturb others and I didn’t want to ask teacher, too because I don’t know what I should say. I feel lonely and helpless.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Thoughts on a Still Night - Li Bai 

Before my bed, the moon is shining bright,
I think that it is frost upon the ground.
I raise my head and look at the bright moon,
I lower my head and think of home.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Rare and lovely like a feathered or aquatic member of an endangered species: #4 in the list of desired student outcomes reads as follows-

A student should develop and increasingly demonstrate creative appreciation for the visual, literary and performing arts. 

Can we implement this outcome countrywide in China? : ) 

across the entire global community?

Woodstock School

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Oracle Bones

Review: Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler 

If you read Oracle Bones while you are living in China, as I did, Hessler's insights and observations concerning the culture create a context for your own personal emotional reactions to the country and the people. 

For example, I asked several ex-pats about their adjustment experience during their first three months of life in China, and I received a similar response from each one of these ex-pats. Everyone, including me, shared a feeling of isolation and depression for that initial period of adjustment. Unlike other countries where I have lived, no Chinese co-worker or acquaintance extended a hand of friendship or a bridge of cultural support. Everyone I met seemed too busy with work or family concerns to notice me. Hessler's passage from the chapter "Hollywood" expresses my exact thoughts on the matter. 

"Without a sense of a rational system, people rarely felt connected to the troubles of others... In part, this was cultural- the Chinese had never stressed strong community bonds; the family and other more immediate groups were the ones that mattered most. But the lack of a rational legal climate also encouraged people to focus strictly on their own problems... A foreigner inevitably felt even more isolated." 

I decided not to study Chinese until I knew I would be in the country for more than one year, but the sadness of being linguistically alienated from the company of over a billion people by a barrier of words and characters is overwhelming at times. I admire Hessler’s acquisition of the Chinese language during his Peace Corps training and his description of the language learning process in the chapter “The Voice of America.”

“First, you established basic sentence structures and vocabulary, the way a painter might initially outline a portrait’s fundamental elements. Over time, you acquired more sophisticated words and phrases, attaching them to the existing foundation. It felt like living in a rough sketch of the world where new details appeared day by day.”

Overall, if you are an ex-pat living in China, enjoy the insight Hessler will give you on your own experiences- enriching the time you spend in the country. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Changzhou B12 Bus Stop, Friday, May 04, 2012

I was on my way to Wanda Plaza when this warning sign entered my awareness. The feelings I experienced while trying to fully comprehend the meaning of the sign were common in my daily life here: wonder, confusion, an oppressed sense of squashed freedom, more confusion, and at last- a realization that I must construct my own meaning from a bad translation.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


White Jade in a Xi'an Shop Window

Definition of NEPHRITE from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
the commoner and less valuable kind of jade that varies in color from white to dark green or black

Jade -To become weary or spiritless.

April 29, 2012 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Simulated Oxygen

Why would parents strap a simulated oxygen tank for scuba diving crafted from balloons on to their child' s back? 

While looking for Megan and her tai chi master. we stumbled across this little girl. I wonder... if she fell into the water, would she float? and for how long? 

Red Plum Park in April 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Linda Ho- You are as articulate as you are wise my friend.

At its most extremes, I do not think rationality can co-exist with unyielding loyalty. Despite my doubts and preferences for "sanity," I unconsciously respect/admire those who possess that irrationality.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Brainstorming Beauty

I shot this photo with my phone camera, so I apologize for the blurry perspective.

That day in class, my senior 3 students had finished reading seven articles in a synthesis unit about beauty for the AP Language and Composition exam.

We were struggling to find the definition of ideal beauty.

Your contributions to the dialogue are welcome.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sweet - Bitter

The great moments of heroism and sacrifice are rare. It is the little habits of commonplace intercourse that make up the great sum of life and sweeten or make bitter the journey. - George Orwell

Father forgive us for what we must do. You forgive us and we'll forgive you. We'll forgive each other until we both turn blue, then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven. - John Prine

Liberty and Social Anarchy

Lady Liberty

[I think differently about these concepts in China than I did in the United States, but that's probably not surprising.]

The passage is taken from 'The Rule of the Road', an essay written by a twentieth century essayist.

A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and with no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for pedestrians, but she replied: 'I'm going to walk where I like. We've got liberty now.' It did not occur to the dear old lady that if liberty entitled the pedestrian to walk down the middle of the road, then the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everybody would be getting in everybody else's way and nobody would get anywhere. Individual liberty would have become social anarchy.

There is a danger of the world getting liberty-drunk in these days like the old lady with the basket, and it is just as well to remind ourselves of what the rule of the road means. It means that in order that the liberties of all may be preserved, the liberties of everybody must be curtailed. When the policeman, say, at Piccadilly Circus steps into the middle of the road and puts out his hand, he is the symbol not of tyranny, but of liberty. You may not think so. You may, being in a hurry, and seeing your car pulled up by this insolence of office, feel that your liberty has been outraged. How dare this fellow interfere with your free use of the public highway? Then, if you are a reasonable person, you will reflect that if he did not interfere with you, he would interfere with no one, and the result would be that Piccadilly Circus would be a maelstrom that you would never cross at all. You have submitted to a curtailment of private liberty in order that you may enjoy a social order which makes your liberty a reality.

Liberty is not a personal affair only, but a social contract. It is an accommodation of interests. In matters which do not touch anybody else's liberty, of course, I may be as free as I like. If I choose to go down the road in a dressing-gown who shall say me nay? You have liberty to laugh at me, but I have liberty to be indifferent to you. And if I have a fancy for dyeing my hair, or waxing my moustache (which heaven forbid), or wearing an overcoat and sandals, or going to bed late or getting up early, I shall follow my fancy and ask no man's permission. I shall not inquire of you whether I may eat mustard with my mutton. And you will not ask me whether you may follow this religion or that, whether you may prefer Ella Wheeler Wilcox to Wordsworth, or champagne to shandy.

In all these and a thousand other details you and I please ourselves and ask no one's leave. We have a whole kingdom in which we rule alone, can do what we choose, be wise or ridiculous, harsh or easy, conventional or odd. But directly we step out of that kingdom, our personal liberty of action becomes qualified by other people's liberty. I might like to practice on the trombone from midnight till three in the morning. If I went on to the top of Everest to do it, I could please myself, but if I do it in my bedroom my family will object, and if I do it out in the streets the neighbors will remind me that my liberty to blow the trombone must not interfere with their liberty to sleep in quiet. There are a lot of people in the world, and I have to accommodate my liberty to their liberties.

We are all liable to forget this, and unfortunately we are much more conscious of the imperfections of others in this respect than of our own. A reasonable consideration for the rights or feelings of others is the foundation of social conduct.

It is in the small matters of conduct, in the observance of the rule of the road, that we pass judgment upon ourselves, and declare that we are civilized or uncivilized. The great moments of heroism and sacrifice are rare. It is the little habits of commonplace intercourse that make up the great sum of life and sweeten or make bitter the journey.

Adapted from an essay by George Orwell

Monday, March 05, 2012

Journalism Resources

Journalism - AP 3 Resources/Assignment

Source 1.
Moyers, Bill. "Bill Moyers: "Our Democracy is in Danger of Being Paralyzed"." Democracy Now. Democracy Now, 24122004. Web. 5 Mar 2012. .

Source 2.
"Mission, Philosophy: College of Arts and Sciences." Our Philosophy of Journalism Education . University of South Florida. St. Petersburg, Florida. Online Reading .

Source 3.
The Story of the Three Little Pigs:

Source 4.
Rusbridger , Alan. "Guardian Newspaper Blog, Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger Explains the Thinking Behind the Guardian's 'Open' Approach to Journalism."Guardian [London] 29 02 2012, blog page. Web. 5 Mar. 2012. .

The Guardian’s Three Little Pigs Open Journalism Campaign

Source 5.
Society of Professional Journalists Online, High School Essay Contest 2011: Topic- Why is it important that we have news media that is independent from the government?


First Prize, $1,000 Scholarship to Erin McDonough of Bishop O’Connell High Schools in Arlington, Va


Second Place, $500 Scholarship to Shaj Mathew of Huntington High School in Huntington, Md.


First of all, why pudding?
I was a private chef for a young man, and he asked me one day to make pudding, and I said, "Okay, I can do that." So I make him pudding, and he loves it. He gives it to his friends and family, and they love it. And I kept getting requests to make pudding. So one day as an off-handed joke, I said to him, "This is just like crack. I should just sell it."

Clio Goodman, Pudding Chef, On Opening Her Shop Puddin' By Clio
Huffington Post, March 5, 2012
Lori Fradkin

Monday, February 27, 2012

Critical Reading Activity AP English

This photograph by Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda was awarded first place in the World Press Photo Award competition for 2011.

Re: Critical Thinking Exercise for AP English

Hello Class,

Part of the critical thinking process is context. Please look at the photo we discussed on Monday in class of the mother and son in the mosque. Here is the link to the photo (number one). Then, read number two so you can develop a context for understanding the photo. Finally, critical thinking involves connecting the story or photo, in this case, to additional information that will help you understand the meaning.

Number three will give you background on why the people in Yemen are rebelling against their government, and number four gives you factual information about the country of Yemen.

My questions to you are: Do you think this photo helped cause social change/revolution in Yemen? What was the photographer's message? What do you think the photographer, Samuel Aranda, wanted his audience to think or feel when they saw his photo? Why do you think it was voted the BEST photo of the year by the World Press? (These are all critical thinking questions that are commonly asked in American university classes.)

1. World Press Photo of the Year

2.. The Story Behind the World Press Photo on the BBC, February 21, 2012

3. And, recent news from Yemen on the status of the revolution and the election on the BBC, February 21, 2012

4. BBC Country Profiles on Yemen - facts about the country

Two important questions I want to add to the homework:

1. How did your ideas, assumptions and inferences about the photo change after you read the information in links one through four?

2. Why is it important to keep an open mind while you read?

New information is being created in the world every second. It is important that we keep an open mind and be willing to be flexible with our ideas and thoughts as new information becomes available to us! Have a great day!

Educational P.S. because I believe in a good postscript. After one week, ask your students to search the term "Yemen" on Google News. Discuss the fluidity and ever-changing nature of knowledge. The students will realize that the situation in the country changes day by day, hour by hour. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Lady Angels in India

Ladies Room at the Gandhi Museum in Madurai

Ceiling Fans at the Dreams Beach Resort in Varkala

Temple Greeting from Hampi

Little Angel Bus in Mamallapuram

Monday, February 20, 2012

Waiting for Guffman (1996)

It's a Christopher Guest appreciation night. A Mighty Wind blew through my apartment earlier this evening. Now, I am Waiting For Guffman. And later tonight, This Is Spinal Tap will serenade me to sleep!

Corky St. Clair: I was shopping for my wife Bonnie. I buy most of her clothes and Mrs Pearl was in the same shop! And it just was an accident you know, we started talking... about panty hose, she was saying... whatever that's not the point of the story but what the point is is that through this accidental meeting... it's like a Hitchcock movie you know where you're thrown into a rubber bag and put in the trunk of a car, you find people. You find them. Something, is is it karma? Maybe. But we found him, that's the important thing. And I got Bonnie a wonderful pantsuit.

IMDb Quotes

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mixing Ingredients

Image Courtesy of Erich von Lawrence

Durga Power

Stone for carving beautiful Hindu deities is piled high in the city of Mamallapuram on January 23, 2012.

Durga was carved in stone in the city of Mamallapuram. She has eight or ten hands, which suggest that she protects the devotees of Hinduism from all directions.

Hanuman Temple in Hampi - February 2, 2012

Hampi is the birthplace of the monkey king Hanuman. Hanuman plays an important role in the Indian epic the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, Sita, the wife of Prince Rama, is kidnapped by the demon Ravana. Hanuman commands his army of monkeys to build a bridge from India to the island of Lanka where Sita was being held captive.

Prince Rama rode into Lanka on Hanuman's shoulders and fired an arrow into Ravana, killing the demon and liberating Sita.

The Hindu deity, Ganesha, is in human form with the head of an elephant. Ganesha represents the power of the supreme being to remove obstacles and ensure success in human endeavors.

I call on you Ganesha to clear the obstacles in my path!

[sticker on a car in Southern India in February 2012]

Reading Goethe in China

I never guessed that I would be reading Goethe in China. The image on this attached book cover portrays the Modern Library Publishing House's representation of the plot. Sublime, romantic, angst-filled content awaits readers living on every continent. My students selected a novella that speaks to the heart of hopelessly romantic young men and women in Chinese society in 2012 just as passionately as it spoke to the youth living in Germany in the eighteenth century.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Mystery of Love

Excerpt from The Washington Post, February 14, 2012

"Love Remains the Mystery of Life" by Joel Achenbach

The Greeks had a nice vocabulary of love, starting with agape, the unconditional love, and eros, the passion that may involve a flaring in the groinal region, and philia, the friendship love, and more. Modern writers find all kinds of words to describe the shadings of love.

“According to Sternberg (1988), for example, types of love are determined by various combinations of passion, intimacy, and commitment. Possible combinations result in romantic love, infatuation, companionate love, liking, fatuous love, empty love, and consummate love.”

Couples neurologically regulate each other through their eye contact. At first, early in the relationship, the eyes are key to the flirting, the fun, the connection. Then if you get married, you get caught up in all the management part of life, and people stop having fun and stop having eye contact.

It's never entirely clear where sex fits into a discussion of love. You can have love without sex, and sex without love. The experts tell us that women fall in love and then want to have sex, and men want to have sex and then fall in love. In the long run, somehow, supposedly, it all works out, collectively, for the species. We all get along, because, through divergent evolutionary needs, we all wind up co-signatories on a mortgage.

But there are outliers, exceptions, mutations, perversions, distractions, digressions, transgressions. If it weren’t for transgressions, we’d have no literature. Anna Karenina; Hester Prynne; Madame Bovary; every John Updike character.

[Leave it to literature to create the mutations. Hurrah for my academic discipline!]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Beep Beep Vroom Vroom


I failed to reach the goal of carrying a motorcycle license in the year 2012, but I did rent a scooter for two days in Goa. Buzzing around exploring the coastal beaches, I memorized the plate number- 7582- so I could identify my scooter in crowded parking lots. Tim, a fellow traveler from Great Britain, gave excellent driving advice, which I followed meticulously. Slowing down to a crawl on gravel and sand and keeping both hands on the brakes kept me safe in a beeping mass of motion. An hour after climbing on to the scooter, the rules of the road were becoming clearer, but I still swallowed hard while learning to trust other drivers who zipped by my un-helmeted head brushing my arms with their cool tailwind.

2013 is my year for a dirt bike complete with the American license.

Kids tuk-tuking it to school in Madurai.

Five Is My Lucky Number

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Peace of Hampi

I had not realized how life in urban China has taken a toll on my need for nature's calm and silence. Strolling through the rice paddies surrounding Hampi and spending time beside the slow flowing river hidden among the boulders gave me solace and the respite my soul needed from car engines, crowded buses, neon signs and the hustle of city life in Jiangsu province.

Guru's Song

Ever wonder what to do to pass the time when riding the rails in India? This is what my group of wandering/wondering minstrels devised. Although Naveen left his guitar behind in Kochi, despite the lack of instrumental accompaniment, he still sings like an angel.

Bringing a deck of cards can also help pass the time as the lush landscape of Southern India flies past the train window.

Lotus Blossom

I bought a lotus flower, which I then fed to a hungry cow for a snack. The cow gobbled the petal and stem and rainbow happy karma flowed into my life.

This shot was taken near Demon Mahishasura's statue on the Chamundi Hill in Mysore.

Kerala Kathakali Centre Fort Kochi

Kathakali Dance in Fort Kochi, India
January 29, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sensual India

Contemplating Life in Madurai City - January 24, 2012

Indian Dance Festival in Mamallapuram - January 23, 2012

Riding the Rails in India

Mango Tree Restaurant Shoe and Cat Bed in Hampi
February 3, 2012

India: January 22 - February 9, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

saying "water, water"

日期: 2012年1月18日,周三,下午11:27
主题: Hi Billy: I need water.

Hi Billy,

I hope you are relaxing and enjoying the holiday. Tom and I need drinking water for our apartment, and Reuben does too. We don't have any drinking water to use for drinking and cooking. Could you call the man at the school who can help us get 2 bottles of water for our kitchens.



Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 12:09 AM
Subject: 回复: Water will come this morning at about 9:30-9:40am

Hi, LJ,
Pls also inform Reuben that three bottles of water for each floor will come this morning at about 9:30-9:40am.

I asked the water-sending worker Mr. Qian (His cell phone no. is : 18915007065) to go to the school to put the water either in the kitchen or outside the front door of each floor if the front door does not open.

Pls check at it in due time and email me for confirmation.

If you still need water in future time, pls call Mr. Qian directly, saying "water,water",.He might understand for his only job is sending water to every office, dom and classroom.

Best wishes!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Room for Sleeping in the Cloud - Suzhou


New buds grace these branches at the Couple's Garden Retreat on January 3, 2012 in Suzhou.

Year of the Dragon

I tend to forget that the catalyst to any change I ever want to make is simply me. We have the control to remake our habits, to take at least some step to be the person we want to become, to act in ways we admire. “Our own life has to be our message.”
We shouldn’t rely on other people to propel us toward this, shouldn’t wait for an accident to push us into action. It takes effort to change and to start that change now. But I want to live in a way that won’t give me nightmares.

Heidi Go Seek Blog, Heidi Howland

Sources of inspiration are everywhere in life- in the bowl of ice cream that causes me to close my eyes and enjoy a moment of creamy pleasure, in the sound of my mother's voice echoing with advice through the corridor of time, and in the relationships we chose to forge with others- especially our significant others. My boyfriend and I are both setting off on separate journeys for the spring festival holiday. Before he left China, he spent several days with me in my tiny apartment outside the city of Shanghai. The night before he left on his trip, he cooked dinner for me and five of our friends. We went shopping together for the ingredients, and I served as prep cook under the guidance of his calm and assured voice scuttling around the kitchen happily doing his bidding. My knowledge of things culinary is restricted to the bile and bitterness my mother passed on to me when she tried to meet the standards of my grandmother's soup spoon and homemade fruit pies and consistently failed. In the kitchen, my mother was never good enough.

Watching Jon wash the dishes as I sat around the table with our female friends enjoying a steaming cup of jasmine tea after the meal was finished, I was proud of the man I had chosen. Linda and Charo-Summer asked where I found a man like Jon.

"Can you find a Jon for me?" Linda said.

Reuben, Linda's boyfriend, was not pleased with her comment, so I just laughed, but surrounding my thoughts was a warm glow radiating from a relationship that's blending human ingredients into a catalyst for affirmative and upbeat change in the year of the dragon.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Wisdom from my students: former and present

Grading essays and allowing myself to be too distracted by Facebook. I sometimes have trouble understanding my students' meanings, but they seem to understand each other, and this makes me happy! Facebook post on Tuesday, January 10, 2012-

We can’t acquire true knowledge from the tedious and formulate hard working; On the contrary, the most impressive skills are gained from the interests and the soul on the deep. - David, Senior 2

David, Senior 2 continued - Although the typhoid boy got heavy sick, he didn't fright to die but pursue the happiness in the world.

Steve's response to David: I like these. The real face of life is difficulties in a piece of peace.

Perhaps I should remember Mr. Cummings once again at these moments:

[e.e. surprised me on the page tonight

haven't seen him since Brazzaville
perhaps a reminder
the best gesture of my brain
is to forget good grammar and
proper punctuation
from time to time]

and pay attention to the
Asian beetle in a mild state of confusion
shuffling around my computer keyboard
her orange spotty curiosity
now in the palm of my hand
now on the number 3 key

Sunday, January 08, 2012

my old friend e.e.

since feeling is first
e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

[e.e. surprised me on the page tonight
haven't seen him since Brazzaville
perhaps a reminder
the best gesture of my brain
is to forget good grammar and
proper punctuation
from time to time]

Saturday, January 07, 2012

On the other hands,

Learning with Joy and Humor
...what students learn with joy keeps a long time in their minds and is hard to obliterate from their memories. - Jim Cheng, Senior 2
Least but not last... - Michael, Senior 2
He [Frank McCourt] would never deceive his students and no doubt, he was honest. - Bill, a student who cheated on this assignment, Senior 2

In response to the writing assignment for Frank McCourt's memoir “Typhoid Fever” from the novel Angela's Ashes


You are required to write a minimum of 3 pages to 5 pages in this essay. If you want to write more than 5 pages, that is acceptable. I encourage students who want to take the AP Language and Composition exam to write more pages. The first draft of the essay is due on Monday, December 26, 2011. A first draft means that this essay will have mistakes. You will be expected to correct the mistakes in the first draft and write a second draft after I return your paper. The writing processing is about revising and rewriting multiple times.

For the essay, you must read and understand the short story “Typhoid Fever” and the “Meet the Writer” information on page 234 in addition to the article “The Education of Frank McCourt” by Barbara Sande Dimmitt on page 235.

In the essay, you are required to use one key passage from the story “Typhoid Fever” and one key passage from the article “The Education of Frank McCourt” to support your ideas. You may use more than one passage from EACH story, but one is the minimum. The reason that we annotate the story and article is so that we can become better readers and writer and use our annotations to help us generate ideas for our essays.

If you plan to take the AP English Language and Composition exam, I would advise you to work with more than just two sources in your essay. If you want to take the exam, you should be reading four or five sources about Frank McCourt and using the information from them to write your paper. I will send you additional sources if you plan to take the AP exam.

The questions for the essay are as follows. Choose one.

1. (question 11 on page 238) Explain why you would- or would not- want Frank McCourt as a writing teacher.

2. Compare your view and idea on writing with Frank McCourt’s view. Explain why you agree or disagree with his view of what good writing should be.

As always, if you have questions, ask me.

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What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.