Archive for June, 2010

My first poem

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 by estheruiwp

Glinting Machetes

I have wanted to write a poem all week, ever since Scott shared his “Bar Hopping” poem with us.  Then, Dave started writing some great poems, and now I REALLY want to write one.  So, I have been trying to decide what to write about – there are so many possibilities.

Shhh…something is wrong outside

An ominous huddled mass stands 10 feet from my window

The muffled moon casts a smoky glow

Something glints over a shoulder

Harsh whispers emanate an eerie evil.

Terror grows vines over my mind.

Thank God my sisters are asleep.

I creep into my parents’ room.

Thick darkness suffocates my terrified soul.

We fall to our knees and pray.

Continue reading


My least favorite writing experience

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 by estheruiwp

During my last year in preschool, before I entered kindergarten, my teachers told us that we were going to start writing.  I was not very thrilled about this idea.  In fact, I think I was slightly terrified.  I remember that they talked about writing for some time before we actually started writing, and, instead of making me look forward to the day of writing, I dreaded it.  I guess I had a bit of performance anxiety – even at that age!  However, once we started learning how to write, I think I enjoyed it.  We got to draw pictures and write short sentences underneath each picture.  I think we had learned the alphabet and how to write words before this point.  I don’t remember the details of what we wrote and how we learned how to write.

Using embedded sentences with 4th/5th Graders

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 by estheruiwp

Romeo was in love with Juliet.  Juliet thought Romeo was great, too.  Romeo and Juliet’s parents were not happy about their relationship.

Too Much Fun In the Library

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 by estheruiwp

In Breakthroughs: Classroom Discoveries About Teaching, Peter Trenouth, a high school English teacher writes about an activity he used with his students to strengthen their descriptive writing.  He had found that his students’ writing assignments were often “mired in hollow thought or stilted prose”.  Even “creative” assignments would come back “weak, either mechanistic or formless.”  He discovered that getting his students to write descriptive papers often solved this problem.  However, I appreciate how he asks why students should learn to write more descriptively, other than saying its to meet state standards or testing requirements.  He developed an answer:  descriptive writing should be “anchored in experiences” if they are to have meaning.  Meaning does not stand by itself and when we experience the sights, sounds, textures, and odors of life, and we describe them with language, we give meaning to life. Continue reading

Working with English Language Learners

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 by estheruiwp

I have worked with English Language Learners of all ages, ranging from a second grader to doctoral students as well as helping my mom with her master’s thesis and my dad with his doctoral dissertation. They have all been native Korean speakers, whose first language is Korean.  I think I will write about the doctoral student I am currently helping edit her articles and dissertation proposal.  I guess I’m in a slightly different position from the students I work with because I am most comfortable communicating in English but I am also comfortable speaking in Korean (as long as it is not in a formal setting because I lack a lot of complex vocabulary in Korean).  I am most struck by my student’s courage to study at the PhD level in a second language.  For myself and many other native English speakers I know, writing a dissertation is a daunting task but ask any of us to write it in another language, then, I think we would honestly be at a loss.  However, my student is very positive and approaches the language barrier as just one hurdle to deal with and she does this in a very matter-of-fact way.  She knows what she wants to say and knows her research inside and out, so it is just a matter of communicating it in a way that her audience can understand it.  As I read her writing, I notice that she tends to write in the language that I have come to associate with academic writing – writing that I sometimes have to read over and over again before I can make sense out of it.  I think this has something to do with Korean syntax.  Formal Korean tends to take on a very passive voice.  For example, it is the type of writing where, “the ball was thrown to me” rather than “John threw the ball to me.”  So, I find myself switching gears in my head as I read her writing – from trying to visualize what she is saying, to trying to connect it to anything I know.  Koreans also tend to struggle with using articles in their writing or using the correct article because we don’t use articles before a noun.  A monkey is “monkey” and “please pass the salt” is “salt to me pass, please.”  I still don’t know how to teach my students to use the correct article in their writing.  I think this is something that has to be innately learned through being immersed in the English language for a long time.  My dad still has trouble with it.

A personal childhood story

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 by estheruiwp

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

Dedicated to:  Elizabeth Slifer

When I was around 9 years old, I almost lost my two front teeth.  So, the song, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” almost became my childhood theme song.  We were living in Nairobi at the time on a large compound with many other young missionaries – it was very communal.  We had our meals together and worked together.  My younger sister and I shared a room, which was, now that I think about it, a converted porch.  Our room served as a bedroom, with our steel, green bunk bed on one end, and a dining room, with a small dining table on the opposite end.  The walls of the room were draped in long, slightly sheer curtains to cover what were actually long windows. Continue reading

Thoughts about my demo

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 by estheruiwp

Monday, June 21, 2010

I’m trying to put together my demo for teaching personal narratives.  As I research for materials that could potentially become my contentions, I have found a common theme running throughout the articles that I’ve found.  The authors say that having students write about their personal lives helps to validate them within the classroom.  Basically, I am beginning to understand how powerful personal narratives are in helping students to understand who they are in the contexts of their past, present, and future.  It is through writing about their lives that students can make sense of their past, present, and future.  Writing about our lives is a lot like storytelling.  Telling stories brings pleasure to the listener and, I believe, situates the story within a culture, time, place, and event, and, therefore, gives the storyteller a clear identity. Continue reading