Week Eight


This week, one thing we did was to finish up our work on the Kanji Names Project, readying it to be launched. The following summary of the process involved in creating this project is reprinted from the About This Project page of the Kanji Names Project. In brackets, I've added a keyword notation of the "skills" I feel are involved in each step. (I put skills in quotes because some are actually techniques, while others are applications or practice, etc.)

  1. I gave the students an example of an explanation of my own daughter's name (which is a single kanji character). [SKILLS: reading English]
  2. Students wrote their own name explanations for homework. [SKILLS: writing English, following a model (perhaps a type of written discouse analysis followed up with an application of that anaylisis)]
  3. I read the papers, and returned them with further questions.
  4. During one class, while they were involved in using search engines for a class task, I asked them to come over to my desk one at a time to imput their name into the graphics program. (They couldn't do it themselves from their own computers because it is a Windows lab, and the font is for a Macintosh, so we used my Macintosh laptop.)
  5. I e-mailed them their name image as an attachment. [SKILLS: receiving an attachment, copying an attached file onto a floppy disk]
  6. Those with further questions asked on their homework had to pass the homework back in. [SKILLS: clarification, elaboration in writing (although there is still room for further elaboration and clarification; however, I believe it will be fruitful to ask them to undertake this at a much later date so that they can see what improvements have occurred in their own English abilities]
  7. In class, they created a html document using their name image and the text they had written for homework. [SKILLS: writing HTML, using reload button, etc.]
  8. They sent me these documents via e-mail as an attachment. [SKILLS: obviously, sending attachments via e-mail.]
  9. I put the documents on the Internet.
  10. In class, they each viewed their own pages for proofreading, and looked at other students' pages. They were given the option of expanding their own explanations after viewing others' pages; one student wanted to include an additional sentence. [SKILLS: further revision, evaluating own material -- it would have been nice if they had done this in more depth; perhaps a checklist or other kind of awareness-raising activity beforehand would have helped.]
  11. In one class period, students used search engines to find related sites. If they found one they judged to be interesting, they e-mailed me the page (using the Mail Document option from the File menu). I compiled these links and put them on the links page. [SKILLS: obviously, searching for information; also, reading in English, and critical evaluation of web materials for usefulness (I realize that the evaluation was not in-depth); furthermore, a new technique: how to e-mail an Internet page.]

The About This Project page gives more details about the reasons for this project, as well as outlining one of the problems we ran into.


We also spent one of the days playing games. I'd sent them the URL of a site containing 6 Shockwave games. (I'll write a memo to myself to post the URL here after I retrieve it off of my Windows machine -- these pages are mostly Mac-made at home.) The reason why we did this perhaps depends on who I have to report to <grin>. Truthfully, we did it simply for fun, and to use more Shockwave, although I recognized that the students would have to read English instructions in order to play. However, while watching them, I realized that they were honing mouse skills (don't laugh -- all but one of them had first used a mouse just eight weeks ago; their hand-eye coordination got much better during the games, and the quickness of their responses did, too. Also, I noticed that a few of the students who habitually glanced at their mouse while moving it, had stopped doing that.) Furthermore, it was true that many read the instructions for themselves, and could follow them. They, in turn, helped others. So, these after the fact observations should be taken into account should any other educators feel the need to provide a day of fun, underpinned with pedagogical justification.

(c) Bill Pellowe
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