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January ’15 in review

Today @douglasawesome and I decided to write responses to the same questions, a la Everett blogging questions.  So we went to @tommie 's site for ideas and found that they were too specific for us to use today (what's the manatee cup, guys?).  So, since we just came out of our japanese class with Yasushi-san, we decided that is a good start.  I've followed up my response to those questions with another one to reflect on the month of January.

Question:  What’s your favorite thing about learning Japanese?

Answer:  I really enjoy seeing how my experience of learning Chinese has made me a better student of Japanese.  The whole idea of learning the katakana alphabet seems so much more appealing now than the thousands of independent words I need to know in Chinese.  There is Kanji in Japanese too, and I find it interesting to learn how similar and different these are between the to languages.  I guess I’m just a huge fan of HISTORY!

List: five things you are grateful for this week.

  1. Playing Coup with friends – the best thing about playing with ALC kids is that we aren’t afraid to try to adjust the rules each game.  This is fantastic because it really helps us see how the rules work and also allowed us to KNOW the rules.  There were some things we tried, even though we thought we knew they would make the game totally unbalanced.  Often, they did (like having 6 cards each!!), but playing it out and exploring how it fails was really interesting.  Actually, check out this card game if you haven’t.  Totally inspiring that it was a kickstarter funded game that made more than 3000% of their funding goal!! wow.
  2. Learning Japanese with Yasushi-san – I was really grateful not only for digging into what little I can remember from my two years of studying Japanese, but also for being able to see how language learning can work in an ad-hoc informal classroom context.  I spoke with Yasushi about this after the class, he does mostly private tutoring for adults, which I’ve also experienced as an adult ESL teacher.  I was torn between believing that this creates free dynamic play opportunities for testing out the language in ways that is interesting to us as learners and also feeling like it was too chaotic to do focused study.  The chaos was playful most of the time, but I felt that there was a lot of energy going into avoiding focus time.  Yasushi did a great job with keeping light and playful and also being able to get more focused when requested for challenging questions (grammar!).
  3. Living walking distance to the school – on Tuesday, when everyone else stayed home because the school was closed, Vic, @failspy (javair!) and myself came into the school, snow be damned! We watched an hour of John Taylor Gatto and played lots of games of COUP!
  4. Playing guitar at school – I’m really glad that there is a guitar just floating around in the ALC because I’ve started to play it/practice riffs while doing other things.  This is something I always wished I’d done: snuck in guitar practice while being partly involved in other activities.   I played it today during the Change-Up meeting and was still able to contribute meaningfully to the conversation when I felt moved to speak.
  5. My local Barber -‘Nando’- yesterday I got my haircut for the second time by this guy.  He is great because the whole barber shop is just buzzing with the local energy of the community.  He is getting his brother to be his apprentice, which is totally funny to witness because his brother is very loud (he shares all his opinions with the whole store, often yelling them out) and Nando has to keep reminding him of the next steps that he needs to do in order to be an apprentice.  It’s an uphill battle for Nando, but that’s part of the charm of this place – it fills up with everyone’s overflowing energy/lives.  I almost want to ask if I can apprentice to him myself (hey, he has some cool, useful skills!) if only to be a part of that energy more.

Question: What did you do this month that you want to carry forward into February?

Answer: I’m really excited that I’ve made a start on some positive study habits as regards my Chinese study and my playing guitar.  If I could have it my way this is what I would spend hours and hours doing everyday, as long as I can find fun ways to make it ‘fun’ as a game.

I’ve been trying to continue to introduce activities to the kids that I think they will enjoy, but I guess I keep having this mindset of trying to set up a regular class.  I wanted to do some improvisation class or something and when I offered that I had something very different to how it ended up.  We ended up playing the ‘warm-up’ game for the entirety of the time that we spent on that – that’s how the “Yes, Let’s!” (or should it be “Let’s Yes!” …) game got started with @bear and the cloudhouse gang.  I want to play that game again, though I don’t want to set time just for playing that game.  Perhaps it would work to use that as an end of day game? Or maybe a morning warm-up before focusing on kanbans?

I’ve really enjoyed this blogging session.  I hope that blogging ‘questions’ together is something that I can do again next week with Douglas and maybe even others.  I’m interested to read his post now, because I already have a way into the topic! I will make a note to offer this at set-the-week – Blogging Questions group during Blogging time on Fridays!

I started doing some research into Augmented/Alternate Reality Games – ARGs – and am getting the ideas together in my mind for how we can make something here at the ALC.  I’m pretty inspired about this as an idea.  But also this Miranda July (oh how I love her!!) video:

Can’t wait to see what February has in store for me! @abram@abbyo be sure to watch Miranda July and maybe I can find a copy of her new book!! yay!

One comment

  1. Tommie says:

    The Manatee Cup is a league of legends round robin tournament that the four of us are participating in. It’s also worth mentioning that the tournament was made, and being held by our friends at our last school: The Clearwater School.

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