Tuesday, May 09, 2006

She knows!

One of my students emailed me this piece of writing, which was not an assignment; she was just compelled to write it:

The great inspiration from the end of the film Miracle Worker is still vibrating through depth in my heart. And I can tell other student in the classmates felt the same way as I did. When the book closes in my bed late night, when the film ends in the class room with tears, I could not stop thinking about the consequences. I was like a reader who wonders if there is another page or scene. “And then? So? What happened after that?” This article shows me small hole where I can look into her life little closer. At the first of the article there was a story about “water scene” where Hellen finally got to know what water is. I bet this is the biggest part of the book and film. As she explained, she could feel something wonderful and cool flowing over her hands. I think water is most definite material people can easily feel because of its temperature, liquid sense of touch. I think it is lucky that the thing that helps her was water. From the start to end of the article, I just can’t believe Hellen wrote them. While I was reading through it, I felt little bit nervous and exciting and also peace of mind. (peace of mind from that she is doing fine more than any other people although she is deaf and blind,.) I do respect her. As she felt like wards make the world blossom, it is exactly same to me. For me, I had really hard time to speak in English when I was in the US for the first time. I totally understand her mind. As my numbers of vocabulary are increasing I feel more confident and sometimes I can’t believe myself speaking in English. That makes me feel like speaking more and more. And also, I had great teacher and I think I was lucky and I am so thankful. (Thank you, Ms. Davis!! I like your way of teaching voca, and way of bringing feelings in the story we’ve never existed.) Also, other parts of story I really impressed are when she learns from natures. As Hellen said in the article, she was learning from nature and she finally got to know how much world is delightful!! Yes, I can’t forget the scene Hellen makes big big smiles on her face when she feels little small E.G.G, and tiny tiny life came out from. When she plumed into brook, she was even cute!! I think Nature is like her second hometown because above reason, also, it is important place where she found friends like birds and flower, and feel happy. She was getting knows that there are great things in the world.
There is one thing I couldn’t found out answer so far in my life, but Helen knows that in the article what love is. I was just so touched about Annie Sullivan’s definition of “love’.
So beautiful. And I thought I would love someone or something like Clouds, who provide shade when sunshine is so strong, and sweetness with rains. ☺
Finally, I strongly felt, I am so thankful to my parents and many teachers. I am healthy, I have ears to hear, I can distinguished tone, I can copy whatever I heard. I learn fast. Whenever I fail, they give me cheers rather than blame which helps me to start again. Sometimes I am so ashamed about myself, and grumbling about myself, now I totally changed. I will have more confidence and enthusiasm, I will never stop working hard. I am not afraid about my shallow knowledge as long as I have lots of good parents and teachers.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Final Notes on The Miracle Worker

Last week we finished The Miracle Worker. I think the students enjoyed it. They certainly impressed me with their understanding and analysis of the play, its characters, its themes.

We watched the end of the movie, and they were transfixed. I've seen it before, but I couldn't help crying; the scene where Helen realizes that w-a-t-e-r means something is so moving.

And I don't think I was the only one who cried.

We had such poor sound quality with this movie, though. I think it was the VCR, not the DVD, but I'm not really sure. Anyway, because of that I didn't do any listening exercises with the film; it wouldn't have been fair. The film was really a support for the reading we did, and, I suppose, a kind of reward for doing it. After we read aloud in class, and had some discussion, the students could see it realized fully on film. It was good.

I also leaned heavily on vocabulary this term--in part because I found a great vocabulary list online, words from The Miracle Worker that were found in recent SAT tests. I thought that was a good sign, that possibly these words would also show up on the TOEFL, and that they were probably commonly used in English texts of various types. I think it's true, because I have noticed many of these vocabulary words, in books, newspapers and magazines, since we've been focusing on them in class.

Another thing I chose to do with the vocabulary was to get the students to learn the various parts of speech through the different forms and usages of these words. I think that at least some of them got something out of that effort and will be better readers, writers, and--drum roll, please--TOEFL takers next week. I sure hope so, anyway.

One student told me he thought the vocabulary was a waste of time, that it wouldn't do him a bit of good with his major.

"Oh, come on," I said. "Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think." No, I'm kidding. That hurt. I think he's wrong, though. I think this vocabulary will serve him well.

I loved the class. I tried to make the vocabulary fun by having groups make up stories using the words, then telling their stories while other students filled in the blanks with those words.

Discussion was okay, but the same small group of students always spoke. If I had had more time, I would have had a circle discussion in which I posed a couple of questions and had every student say one small thing. This always works for me. The quiet ones have plenty of ideas, just aren't brave enough to speak unless it's demanded.

I did have some small-group discussions, which worked better. When it's more intimate, and there's background noise, more people will risk talking.

Another fun thing was storyboards. For each act, I had each student make pictures of important scenes. We did this after the reading and before the film viewing. I just love those pictures, and I'm still trying to think of a way to use them. This idea was not an original; I found it on a website, public television or something.

One thing I kept doing in class, which I would like to apologize for, is that I would say Helen when I meant Annie, and vice-versa. I'm sure that drove people crazy.

The final test will be the same form as the first two, except that the vocabulary will include all that we studied, about 60 words. So, Part 1 is parts of speech, Part 2 fill-ins, Part 3 match the quote with the character, Part 4 Essay question. Oh, I gave the option to take Part 4 orally, and one person will do that.

Another term ends, another group of students will be missed on Monday morning. Again, this group impressed me; they were so smart, articulate, and thoughtful. I'm glad to know that they will be the leaders of the future. I trust them to do a good job.

And I also wish them all astronomically high TOEFL scores, enshallah (sorry about the spelling)!