Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today we talked about the vocabulary word taboo.  The Cambridge Learner's Dictionary defines "taboo" as "something that you should not say or do because people generally think it is morally wrong, unpleasant, or embarrassing."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Music Monday: Eenie Meenie

Today, we learned about American pop star Justin Bieber and his song "Eenie Meenie."

"Eenie Meenie" is from a children's rhyming game.  Children use the game to choose people or things. The words to the game are:

"Eenie meenie miney mo
Catch a tiger by the toe
If he hollers, let him go!"

The first words of "Eenie Meenie" are "She's indecisive, she can't decide." In the song,  Justin and Sean Kingston sing about a girl who can't decide on a boyfriend.  In the video, the girl goes to two parties looking for a new boyfriend.

You can watch the video here.

We watched an interview with Justin Bieber on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  From the interview, we learned that Justin started performing when he was 12 and is extremely popular with young people in America.
Jay Leno

Justin is famous for his voice, his hair, and his ability to make young girls scream with excitement about his music!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Defining Nouns in English

Today's lesson was about how to describe nouns (명사) when we forget the exact word. For example, if you forget the word calendar, you might say "it's something you use to know the date" or "it's something you use to remember appointments."

Also, we talked about the idiom "in other words," which helps us describe things.  You can use it to describe something in two ways, to say the same meaning with different words.
1. Example: “He’s ecstatic.  In other words, he’s very happy.”
2. Example: “She’s a librarian.  In other words, she’s someone who works at a library.”
We began with the question "what is something that you do every day before school?"  In other words, "what do you always do before school?"

In my class, I prefer to define words, in other words, to explain the meaning, rather than give the Korean translation.  Although it’s easier for me to say “Definition: 정의,” you will learn better if  I say “Definition: an explanation of the meaning of a word.”

Here are some ways to describe nouns:

Person:  This is someone who __________s
Example: This is someone who catches criminals and stops crime.

Person (only 1): This is the person who __________s
Example: This is the person who sings “Poker Face.”

Place:  This is somewhere you can _______
Example:  This is somewhere you can prepare food in your house.

Thing:  This is something you  ___________
Example:  This is something you eat in Korea on the 3 hottest days of the summer.

To practice describing/defining nouns in English, we played a game.
Each team got a paper with 3 nouns on it, and one blank space.  In the blank space, the table chose a person, place, or thing to describe.
Teams had 5 minutes to write and 5 minutes to edit (especially articles & subject-verb agreement) a description of their noun.  
Then each group read 2 of their definitions, and other groups guessed what was being defined.  Stickers to whomever guessed correctly!

Here are a few example descriptions.  Can you guess what noun they were describing?
1. This is the person who is the current president of the USA.
2. This is somewhere you can see the Vice Principal.
3. This is something you use to eat noodles, rice, and other food.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Today's idiom was "get your head in the game!" It means "you should focus."
For example, in High School Musical, Troy should focus on basketball. During basketball practice, he's thinking about a girl and about singing. His basketball would improve if he would "get his head in the game." Watch the video for "Get Your Head in the Game" here.

Today, we also played Grammarball! Grammarball is a great game that focuses on practicing The Big Three. In Grammarball, you have a scrambled sentence. You must order the words, change the verb, and add any missing articles. For example:

"boy / English / handsome / well / [to speak]" must become "The handsome boy speaks English well."

The Big Three

The Big Three

Today, new students were introduced to The Big Three.

The Big Three are 3 grammar points that are difficult for Korean students learning English. They're difficult because they are three places where English and Korean grammar are very different. The Big Three are:

1. Articles
  A book, an apple, the best student

2. Subject-verb Agreement
  I eat but he eats
  I study but she studies

3. Tense (past, present, future)
 Yesterday, I ran. 
Now, I am running.   
Tomorrow, I will run. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Goals & "One Step at a Time"

Today, we talked about goals. We talked about long-term goals, semester goals, and daily goals.

Jordin Sparks' song "One Step at a Time" is about goals, too. The song tells us that if you have a very big goal, you can reach it by dividing your goal into small, easy pieces. You can watch the video again here.

Maybe you have a big goal, like being fluent in a foreign language. That's great! But sometimes, it can feel like your goal is too big, and you want to give up. Instead, take it one step at a time. Make smaller goals, like "By the end of the semester, I want to be able to understand American pop songs without Korean subtitles. So today, I'll listen to the #1 song and look up any new words in the dictionary."

What piece is missing between you and your goal? What can you do today?

The best goals are specific and have a deadline.
For example: "I want to speak English well" is not specific (구체적인), nor does it have a deadline (마감).
"I want to know the meaning of 30 new words by the end of the week" is much better!

Some people remember the rules about being specific and having a deadline in a special way. They try to have "SMART" goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable (meaning "possible"), Relevant, Time-Bound.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome to Conversational English Class!

Welcome, new students!

I was so happy to meet 61 new bright, happy, and enthusiastic students today. They made some great answers for the game "Two Truths and One Lie." I was laughing all day because they were so fun and funny!

In the game Two Truths and One Lie, you say 3 things about yourself, but 1 is not true. For example:

1. Miss Kaye studied Latin in high school.
2. Miss Kaye was on the robotics team in high school.
3. Miss Kaye has been to Japan twice.

The first two are true, but the last one is a lie -- I have never been to Japan!