A special occasion

I thought it would be fine
to write my text in a rhyme;-)
Last lesson started well,
Mr R. corrected mistakes – oh hell;-)
The entries of Jo., Ca., Marieee(na ...
sorry, you know the rhyme... you know who I mean),-
everyone on a transparency.
We worked out what was wrong,
oh dear, it took quite long.
But there is no-one to blame,
the boat we’re sitting in’s the same;-)
further on it churned,
attention to Claudia we turned,
it was a detailed presentation
called: a special occasion.
A story Joyce Cary once wrote,
many thoughts are hidden and float,
Narrator and style, devices a lot -
And don’t forget the plot.
Little Jenny visits Tom
A boy who comes from
An extremely rich family,
but he’s really unfriendly.
What is even worse,
Tom's got a silly nurse.
But what came next:
The moral of the text:
Humans never amend
And in the end
Oneself is one’s best friend.;-)
(and of course, kids always do what they want;-))
Then again it went:
We decided on our further work -
let’s do something about New York.
The text was nice,
But showed the price
The whites must pay
For their skyscrapers so grey-
what the Indians feared
nature disappeared.
But now a christmas, so bright and merry,
I wish and don’t worry
I’m sure with a little ding-a-ling-a-ling
Santa or CK (Christkind) will bring
Some presents or just some mice;-)
To those who have been nice.
And before that I forget
Don’t blame the poet
For mistakes
She makes ...
Wrong grammar and false context-
you know when the text
doesn’t sound right and nice -
Then it's just my own stylistic device.
(and the rhymes, the rhymes, the rhymes...
after all to find a nice rhyme
takes a lot of time.)
Merry christmas and a happy New Year to everyone.

I wish you a merry christmas

Hey everybody!
I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
And of course, nice holidays!!! :-)

See you in 2005!!
bye, Janina

Season's Greetings

Here's wishing a

to everyone,
and a Happy New Year!



Tuesday's lesson was a very special one, as it was the last English lesson of the year 2004.
As all of us had written a "Deutsch - Schulaufgabe" for 4 hours before, we were very exhausted. So Mr. Ringeisen did us a great favour and corrected Claudia's handout instead of wanting us to do more demanding work, e.g. some creative writing. This way, we could relax from our test and were at the same time informed about some tricky words like the verb "to duplicate". We looked it up in the dictionary, where we found its definition: "to succeed in repeating sth."
Later on, Mr. Ringeisen gave us a very good incentive to return to school next year. Because of the fact that the English lessons on Thursday will be cancelled as we'll have to prepare the service, Mr. Ringeisen promised to show us a film - perhaps "Alice in Wonderland" - after the holidays.
As time had already advanced, we could only listen to two Christmas carols:
"Once in Royal David's City" and "O Come, All Ye Faithful", both of them common carols in Britain.
These songs prepared us well for the approaching Christmas Eve and finished our English year 2004.


problem: perseverance

The lesson on Thursday 12/16/2004 started with the last one of our short story presentations. Johanna and Marina presented Jean Rhys’ story “I used to life here once” on page 127 in our collection and gave information about the author’s life, the plot, the narrator, the protagonists, the style and the interpretation of the story.
Afterwards, Mr. Ringeisen again informed us about “Facharbeit” problems and asked us to contribute to the blog a bit more often.
In the second half of our English lesson, we listened to a “British humour” comedy sketch. It was about a pupil who wrote about the same item in all his exams, no matter what the question was: about his aunt’s parrot called “Perseverance”, or “Fifties”, or ... The teacher was telling the pupil off and the listeners of course thought he was angry about hearing the same story all the time. But indeed, he criticized a grammar mistake!
Later, we listened to excerpts from a radio game show called “Just a Minute”. There are about four members of a team who have to talk for one minute about a topic, for example “rules”, “forebears”, or “cheek”. But the difficulty is that it isn’t allowed to hesitate, to repeat a word or to deviate from the topic. If a member defies these rules, the others have to interrupt him by pressing a buzzer and go on talking themselves. The last ten minutes of our lesson we played this game in class. The first group talked about “apple”, the second about “snow”. I think is is not really easy to talk about one topic for one minute without hesitation, repetition and deviation – especially because the players get to know their topic only a few seconds before – but it is fun.


Mysterious Presentation


Yesterday our English course heard a well-prepared short story presentation held by Carolin and Cornelia. They presented the short story "Pygmalion" written by John Updike. Firstly, they gave an overview about Updike's life and his works. After that, there was a very detailed description of the story and its meaning. The name "Pygmalion" sounds a little bit strange for a man, I think. But the speakers also had an answer for that. Pygmalion is the main character in a Greek myth (which particularly Miriam must have liked), which is related to the story. In both texts, there is initially a man who is disappointed about his wife and both are then married to their ideal of a woman, after the men have formed them as they want them to be.
Not only literature deals with this kind of topic and myth, respectively, but it also occurs in popular movies, like "Pretty Woman".

I think that's all we did in lesson yesterday.

See you tomorrow,

Facharbeit and Lehrer

On Monday, we talked about our "Facharbeit". Mr Ringeisen told us how to compile a bibliography in the right way. It will be very important to know that because that can save a lot of time and avoid many problems. In the second lesson, Mr Ringeisen brought along some "Facharbeiten". Although they were quite old, it was interesting to look at them and to see how long they are and how much work the former pupils must have spent on them.
Then we listened to a song of Tom Lehrer's, which was very funny because of the Russian accent he put on (“Lobachevsky”). Finally, Mr Ringeisen showed us that Lehrer also made a "love song", without an accent, but you can't really call it a proper love song, because it's full of irony.
So see you tomorrow!


The Baby and the Alarm System

At the beginning of the lesson, Miri and Marina presented the short story "The Baby". They did it very well.
In my opinion, it's much too brutal to punish a baby so hard. I think, babies at such an age aren't able to differentiate between what's right and what's wrong. For this reason, the baby's father must change his mind, which he finally does.
While they were presenting their short story, the alarm system downstairs was set off, because somebody hadn't closed the door properly. Ann-Kathrin managed to stop the noise after a while.
After the presentation we talked about the text some of us had prepared for homework. We tried to translate some sentences which weren't really easy. In my opinion, the most difficult thing to translate was "I struck oil", which doesn't mean what some of thought: "Ich fand Öl" :-)
At the end of the lesson Mr. Ringeisen told us something about the artist William Turner and the Turner Prize.


"Tell me why I don't like Mondays" (John Bon Jovi, American musician)

In our lesson on Monday morning we first heard Carina's and Ann-Kathrin's presentation about Alice Childress's short story "The Health Card". They told us a lot about the story and also the background. In her stories, Alice Childress often wrote about topics like social justice, racial segregation and the rights of black people in general.
Concerning this story, we heard that in America lots of people - especially the middle and lower class and/or black people - don't have important things like a health insurance or a health card.

After this, we talked about English artists and musicians. Surprisingly, four people had decided to find out something about Andy Warhol, so we know quite a lot about him now. While artists often appeared more than one time (e.g. Michael Strang), we had a bigger choice of musicians. Famous persons like Irving Berlin, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Benjamin Britten were listed.
Marina told us about the composer of the music of the well-known film "The Lord of the Rings" and brought along a CD with the soundtrack, so we listened to the song "The Black Rider" at the end of this part.

Then Mr. Ringeisen had a very funny hitlist of English words that were looked up on a dictionary on the internet. He read some out e.g. "hurricane" (which is a bit surprising because I thought everybody knows what that is) or (my favourite word) "defenestration", which means "Fenstersturz" in German. That is also strange because we all knew this word only in the context of the defenestration of Prague, but have so many people heard about this historical thing recently and looked up the word?

At last we started to read something about sitcoms. It's in our book on page 13 and we're supposed to read the whole text at home.

so long


Art or not Art, that is the question! ;-)

Today’s lesson or our lesson today :-) started with Susi’s and Susie’s short story presentation. It was about “A Haunted House”, written by Virginia Woolf. A ghostly couple is looking for their treasure, their love. I agree with you, it is very romantic. Their biggest treasure is their love, how incredibly marvellous this must be! Where is my short story book? I think I have to read it!
I don’t know if the others also think so, but isn’t it shocking that many writers kill themselves? Richard Brautigan, for instance, Melanie and Barbara told us about him, died under strange circumstances, probably suicide, and also Virginia Woolf committed suicide by drowning in a river. How can this woman, on the one hand, write such a romantic story full of love, but, on the other hand, can’t get along with her own personality? This is very sad. But maybe that’s the reason why normal people aren’t famous writers; they are less crazy and too normal ... What do you think?

Afterwards we corrected the exercises about the usage of and differences between present perfect continuous and simple, and present perfect and past. Such exercises aren’t really difficult (You’ve got a hit ratio of 50 %! More than in a lottery!) but you have to apply the rules later, pay attention to your tense while writing something. English isn’t an amusement park, unfortunately.

But English lessons sometimes can become a real “art gallery”. Encouraged by an article in our Viewfinder book we had an exceptional discussion about art, its functions, its definition, kinds of art we like or dislike and so on. I liked it very much.
Art or not art, that is the question. Could it be art when a woman is sleeping in a bed in a museum? Some pupils have wished to have a bed for sleeping while they were visiting a historical museum of fossils :-) with their class, but have never thought of being a work of art then.
Our opinions differed. While some said that you don’t have to go to a museum in order to see somebody sleeping, above all because sleeping is a private matter, the others pointed out that putting something ordinary and private into the public provokes reactions and offers the visitors something to discuss. This relates to what Eva said:” It's art if it makes people stop and watch/look.” I think it is a good definition. People think about the idea behind it. What does the artist mean by it? Should the woman sleeping in the glass cube be a modern "Snow-White", waiting for her prince, like the young boy assumes in this article?
This article was published about nine years ago. Would you really think of provocation when you see someone sleeping in a museum today? You can watch "Big Brother" and see the people there not only while they are sleeping. Moreover, you see stars eating insects or having a bath in a basin full of cockroaches. Isn’t a sleeping woman in a museum normal compared to that?
These TV shows also make people stop (stop zapping) and watch. Consequently, can we say it is art?! What do you think?

Yours, Conny


Last Night of the Gerunds (25 Nov)

There was no short story presentation in our last lesson, so we started with a translation exercise. We had to do this as homework and at school we only corrected our suggestions. With this practise we brush up our less than vast knowledge of participle and gerund constructions. It was quite necessary for me. And I think or even hope there are a few of you who also have problems with that, because I have.
Then we listened to a song which was difficult to understand, because thousands of people were singing. It was a British national song that people like to sing at the last night of the Promenade Concerts ("Land of Hope and Glory").

Then we looked at the article "The Last Night of the Proms". It's about this great and huge music festival. Some people think this is too jingoistic and nationalistic. Someone, I think a British man or woman, tells us that it isn't so. He or she doesn't believe that anybody takes the songs "Rule Britannia" or "Land of Hope and Glory" seriously. And in fact it's a pretty serious concert.

The bad thing of this part of the lesson was that we had to translate the direct speech. That was quite complicated, because the constructions of the sentences was a little bit confusing. But I also don't think about the construction when I'm talking and I think you do neither. So I hope we won't have to translate direct speech in a test.

That was all I wanted to say. See you!

by Elisabeth


Dead Men's Grammar (Nov 18th)

The first part of our English lessons was taken by Maria for her short story presentation. It was about Chinua Achebe's "Dead Men's Path". Maria told us something about the plot of the story, which is very interesting. Besides she explained to us the function of the protagonist and the narrator. The two next points were the style and the stylistic devices. And finally, Maria gave us a very informative interpretation of the story.

After Maria's presentation, Mr. Ringeisen handed out a worksheet with grammar exercises for the tenses. The first few sentences were done in class, the rest was homework.

And in the last part of the double lesson, we talked about the text "American Visions" and the picture "American Gothic" on page 21 in our English book. We discussed the statements given in the text and tried to interpret the picture. We were interrupted by the end of the lesson and so we had something to do for next time.

by Corinna