Category: For my students

Describe these videos: wanted, asked, told, said practice

Friends, The Sopranos, Ace Ventura, Mr. Baseball – here are scenes I think are worth describing for students to practice reported speech, past tenses, story telling, etc.

Questions to answer before you start blogging

1. Audience analysis

Where will you publish your writing? If you’re publishing on an existing site, what does the owner and what do the readers want? If you’re writing your own blog, what kind of readers are you trying to attract?

2. Content

Knowing who you’ll be writing for should help you decide what to write about. Where do your interests coincide with the readers’ interests? This should give you a topic to write about.

3. Purpose

Now that you have an audience and a topic, why are you going to write whatever it is you have in mind? Hint: the answer is not to make money. Your purpose has to benefit the readers. Do you want to teach them something? Do you want to entertain them? Do you want to persuade them? How will reading your article be good for the reader?


Consider this blog entry on shopping at Trader Joes.


My audience – people who are worried about aging gracefully, who want to be healthy in their old age so they can continue to enjoy life. Mostly Americans so their diets and lifestyles may not have been the best throughout their lives.


Content – I had a reader ask me about food shopping at Trader Joes so choosing the content was easy this time. I happen to be interested in food shopping and buying healthy foods so our interests matched well.


Purpose – To inform or educate. Also to warn. You can’t expect everything or even most things to be healthy in a super market. And I want to persuade people to be careful when they shop and avoid some unhealthy foods.

And once I know who I was writing for (#1), what I was writing about (#2), and why I was writing it for them (#3), I was able to quickly come up with a fairly long (800 word) blog entry.

Advertising in school?

Discussion question: Should schools sell ad space inside the school building and/or on report cards and/or in the school buses?

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, a public school district in Colorado is selling ads on report cards and Utah has a new law allowing ads on school buses.

An example of a world schools government whip speech

I’ve seen many whip speakers struggle with the format of their speech. What does it mean to summarize the clashes?

This one starts at about 6:45

and then continues:

We start off the introduction. Then we get the three actors in the debate, also how he organizes his speech:




He summarizes Team England’s arguments and gives his team’s rebuttal (some new rebuttal and some summary like “we’ve already shown you that…”). Then we end with a summary. The speaker does a good job of summarizing the debate in his favor and explaining why his team won each argument or that some arguments were avoided by the other team.

Unfortunately, the 9th video (containing I presume the last few seconds of the government whip and the beginning 5 minutes or so of the opposition whip) seems to be missing.

Rachel’s interview scenes with Mr. Zelner from Ralph Lauren

Here’s the link to Rachel’s interviews with the Ralph Lauren guy:

Most of it is just silly, but toward the end she does lay out a few messages (courage and integrity). She doesn’t do a good job in discussing how the messages will help her on the job and she makes another mistake by saying, “I really want this job and I think I’d be pretty good at it.” You have to show why you’d be good at it by telling stories about your experiences; I think I’d be good at it is way too weak.

Extra credit writing assignments

1. Describe a typical day in the life of a 4th or 5th grade Korean kid. Be as detailed as possible. Instead of a typical day you may choose to describe a day you remember from elementary school that was somehow special.

2. Write a travel article for my travel blog. The subject should be “The best travel experience of my life” and while it should be personal it must also contain stats and an expert opinion that help you make your point. Please also include a picture with you in it of the travel destination. Remember this will be published so if someone else is also in the picture you must get their permission. Picture width should be 550 pixels.

3.Write about a Korean movie that you think foreigners should watch to better understand Korean culture. Find one or more clips from the movie on Youtube, link to the clip, and explain what’s happening in the scene and what it says about Korean culture. Include typical movie review information (actors, producer, director, year of release, box office success, critical acclaim, etc.) Once i have enough of these reviews I will start a website for them so hopefully one day soon foreigners will be reading your review and considering the movie you suggest.