Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is good writing?

If we want to teach writing to our students we have to have standards
 about what is good writing.
How do we judge good writing?
There are three categories of writing that the teacher and the student
 have to be aware of.
The first is content.
The content has to be interesting, the writing has to have a message.
 If there is no message in the writing, whether it be an e-mail, an essay
or a story, there is no reason to write.
The content has to be coherent.  The ideas must be developed and clear.  
The writing has to be relevant to the topic.  If the assignment is to write a
 restaurant review, then don't give a recipe.   The writing has to be clear.
Your readers need to be able to follow your train of thought.

The second category is technique or skills of writing.  These skills include
 spelling, punctuation, syntax (word order) vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure.
 English is not forgiving if a writer doesn't follow these technical rules.

The last category is form.  This category is also concerned with rules.
This could also be called the page layout. How does the page look to the reader?
 The layout is different for different kinds of writing.  If you are  writing a
formal letter, you have to use the formal letter layout.  A newspaper article
 has to conform to the newspaper space, an essay has to have paragraphing and a title.

Nowadays, more students hand in essay that are typewritten, but here a note
 about font choice is necessary. Choose a font that is readable, and not too fancy.
 You want the reader (maybe your teacher) to focus on your ideas and not be
distracted by a fancy font.

If you do hand write you writing for the teacher to evaluate, then make sure
 that your handwriting is neat and easy to read.  Many times I had to spend
too much time trying to figure out a students' handwriting.

If you pay attention to these three broad categories, you will become a good writer. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yosef Story Part 2

"Yosef" - his other stepmother would call. "Yosef"  you are going to be late for Cheder!"
"Yosef" - his other stepmother Bilha would call, "Yosef! Everyone has already eaten up all the pita that I baked this morning! All that is left is the stale bread from yesterday!

Finally, Leah, Yakov's chief wife would call Yosef, "Just because you are your father's favorite doesn't mean that you can take advantage! Your mother Rachel in Gan Eden can't protect you forever!"  Come and eat and go to Cheder.
But Yosef would not listen and many a day he want to school hungry.  But the other brothers  would not let their brother starve and his best friend Benjy would always sneak an extra pita for his older brother.

But one day, precious children, listen to this, Benjy forgot to bring extra food, and Yosef never watched his temper either in those days. he thought nothing of getting angry.  It was natural for him to raise his voice, he was the best at everything, he knew his Aleph Bet at the age of two and a half, he could speak, 3 languages by the age of six, and by the age of 17 he knew how to speak 70 languages!  But you know all that already my precious children, you go to Cheder too, and learn all about Yosef in class. But Yosef, he also knew some secrets that you and I don't know and will never know.  He knew why the trees grow here in this place, and not in that one, where deep buried in the earth are gold and diamonds but he never told anybody.  He boasted about his secrets so much that his other brothers, the sons of Leah, they number 6 you know, they would circle him and stare at him until he stopped to boast.  Yosef's father, Yakov never was told about Yosef's boasting, but he knew anyway. But even wise old Yakov had no idea what to do about it.

Then came a day that the brothers decided to end the boasting. They knew about  a deep hole, just big enough for a man to stand in. Oh, my precious  children learn from the deeds of others but sometimes don't do the same, judge whether it is good or bad first.
These six brothers, the sons of Leah, she was a bitter woman, the only man she loved was her husband Yakov, but alas, his heart was for his long dead second wife. Even after all this time, he still mourned her. The first love is often the strongest, and hard to let go, even more so because she had died in childbirth of the youngest son, Benjamin. "Ah, had Rachel never asked for the Dudaim, she would still be alive!"  Yakov would often wish.  So Leah, she saw this in Yakov's eyes on certain days, mostly on Benjamin's birthday.  There was never any music, harp or flute on Benjy's birthday, as it was the yarzeit of Rachel.

Benjamin was also wise, and he knew the reason and in his own way, accepted his father sadness, and made it his own.  the two would sit side by side and sigh. One for a wife, and the other for a mother.

Yosef was not the same however, he was make of different feelings, not sensiteve at all.  The brothers, you remember my precious children, especially the six sons of Leah wanted revenge.  A dangerous emotion if you ask me!  As you remember they  dug a hole in the ground, the job was to watch the sheep, they were older you know after school and Yakov had many many sheep, not the pain kind that were white, with only two horns, but he had magnificent sheep.

Yakov kept special spotted and striped sheep with the many curvy horns, some had up to 6 horns on the head!  The wool was soft  of different colors, each sheep was a work of art, and at market fetched a good price too.  Especially the rams, but he would sell only so many, they were his secret, Yakov knew how to cause them to sire the best offspring. He had learned this art while he was minding the sheep of Lavan, his father in law. I'm sure that you know that story however.

So the six brothers. made Yosef  fall into this hole, all of them walking abreast in order to round up the sheep, Yosef yelled and yelled, and only when he was quiet did the brothers take him out. So now you know that later when the brothers sold Yosef for 20 pieces of silver, it was not the first  time.  Things always happen like that  a sin doesn't come to a pious person all at once, it creeps upon you a little at a time, first the brothers drop Yosef into a hole, but they took him out. But the second time they sold him. Oh, my precious children, if only Yosef hadn't been so boastful, he wouldn't have been sold, and the Hebrews wouldn't have gone down in the Egypt, and become slaves!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Idioms Make many, much, remember and remind.

make, many, much, remember, remind.

Make often means to produce or create something that was not there before.

Make a bargain - two people agree about money

We made a bargain when we bought that car, we've never had any trouble with it. 

Make the bed - straighten sheets and blankets 

My daughter has to make her bed in order to get her allowance. 

Make believe - imagine

Young children make believe with toys and other household items such as pots and pans! 

Make a mistake - to err  

I'm afraid I made a mistake on my taxes, I hope I won't have to pay a big fine! 

Make a fire.  - light a fire. 

The Indians made fire with flints and stone, but today we use matches. 

Make noise - to cause a loud sound 

Please don't make noise right now, Jill has a migraine headache and 
needs to rests in the next room. 

Make a statement - to release a statement to the press. 

The President is going to make a statement this evening at 7:00pm on national TV. 

Make war - to cause armed conflict

I don't understand why nations have to make war instead of negotiations. 

Many - We use many before or to replace countable nouns - 
actual items that you can touch. 

The number of cellphones is increasing, many more cellphones are sold today than five years ago.  -
 we can count cellphones, it is a physical thing. 

Much -  We use much before or to replace uncountable nouns  There is much more
 traffic on the roads today than ten years ago.    Traffic is an uncountable noun, 
we can't count traffic in general.  

Remember - is conjugated like a regular verb, We use remember to mean recall.  
I didn't  remember to go to my dentist appointment today at 2:00pm. 
I'll have to make another appointment. 

Remind is to cause to recall 
Remind me to pay the telephone bill tomorrow, I'll have the money in the bank then. 

Exercise :  Write 10 sentences using each of these words at least once











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