Seeing is believing!?---Ann

    "Seeing is believing", I think this not true.
    Few weeks ago, I have got an invitation from my college classmate. It was about her engagement party and there was a picture along with it. When I saw the picture, I was wondering "who she is? Do I know her?" I couldn't make sure until I saw the name on it.
    Cosmetics made her become the most beautiful bride in the world but also made her look like a totally different person. Cosmetics indeed is the most magic thing in the world. So guys, seeing is "not" believing.


Corrected Writing from the last three weeks

I thought I'd use this chance to try out a new website called issuu.com. I don't know if everyone will like looking at these documents this way, but I thought we could try it out. Here we go...
Nov 17

Nov 24

Dec 1


The movie " (500) days of Summer"

Last Saturday, one of my friends introduced a movie to me and said some of her friends call the heroine "bitch" after they watched it. But, it also touches someone's heart.

(500) days of Summer, it is not a romantic story said at the beginning of the movie.
Differing from other love stories,  it breaks people's expectancy but attracts them to see what will happen successfully.

The heroine, Summer, does not believe true love exists, because her parents divorced while she was a child.
But, she is a lucky girl who has God-given luckiness,. She always gets some fortune in her life.
When she met a boy, Tom, who believes true love exists, they soon fall in love.

From doubt to trust, Tom believes they are really a couple of lovers and true love does exist between them after they have further relationships. However, Summer still  thinks it is not true love, so they break up. After they break up, Tom loses his direction of life and lives dispiritedly, but Summer still lives as usual.

It is quite irritated for those people who have not watched it, if I tell you what the ending is of the movie.
But, I have to say, in my opinion, Summer is not a bitch, she is just a girl in most people's life who has more luckiness then us. Also, this movie was maken by using some special film making skills. It is very difficult for me to explain what skills be used in it,  as I am not a expert of film making. Hope everyone can has his/her own feeling after watching it.


How to stop the time

        Recently, I have been reading a book written by a Taiwanese packpacker, who choses to go travelling in developing countries. He mentioned about a lot of interesting things when he goes travelling in different countries, from Laos, to Vietnam, to Thailand, to Malaysia and to India. He suggests what you should do before the trip, like booking a place, learning to say some simple sentences in the language of the country that you intend to go, what should be brought. He also teaches you how to make a bargain. He uses his camera to stop the time, uses his smile to get acquainted with the whole world - eyes speak many words and a smile is a smile in any language.
       I like travelling and taking photos, too. Firstly, I think that when time passed, it never comes back, so whenever I have chance to keep those precious moment, I will take the chance. Secondly, it may be the first and also the last time I come to those places, so I try to keep as many memories about it as possible. Thanks to the invention of camera, it helps a lot. Thirdly, travelling is not only enjoying the scenery, but also enjoying the happy time with your friends and family. Same place, with different people, in different seasons may make you feel totally different.
       Like someone has said, there's no enternity, but there's everlasting moments, taking photos is one of the way that helps us stop the time.



Black Friday

Last week , I talked with our consultant in America through phone , and he told me the forth Thursday is their Thanksgiving day ( Nov. 26), and the next day is ‘ Black Friday “ .
I didn't understand that last Friday was not Nov.13th , why there is another bad Black Friday? He said Black Friday is their big discount shopping day which follows Thanksgiving. Retailers promote Black Friday as the day to start shopping for Christmas. Black Friday is often advertised with "Christmas Sales" as well as "Thanksgiving Sales". Many retailers open extremely early, most of the retailers typically open at 5AM or even earlier. It is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday (with the exceptions of those employed in retailing, health care, and banking). Many people are crazy to shop on that day and usually make a long list of items they want to buy. It is smart to shop with a group of friends . Split up and go to different stores and use cell phones to get items on each other's list to save time. Some items are provided on the web site as well. Black Friday brings the traffic in a heavy and serious situation, that’s why they call it “ Black Friday “. Isn’t that similar to the department store's anniversary sale in Taiwan ? Big discount attracts people and traffic.



Our class videos (Shot on Thursday, November 26, 2009)

Everyone did a really great job, I'm quite proud of you all! Here are the videos, in alphabetical order.












My altitude disease

Today, I would like to talk about my altitude disease.
I never think altitude disease will be a problem till I arrived in Tibet.
I have ever climbed about 14 high mountains of Top Hundreds in Taiwan. Those heights are all above 3,000 meters. And I never feel uncomfortable during climbing.
So my husband and me just drank some Hong Jing Tian herb tea.(紅景天)before the trip. We didn’t prepare too much to prevent the altitude disease.
PS: Hong Jing Tain seems to be "Golden Plant". It can increase oxygen in your blood.

When I got off the airplane and got in the bus in Lhasa Gonggar airport.(拉薩貢嘎) The altitude is 3569 meters. What a wonderful blue sky and fresh air ! I didn’t feel any uncomfortable except exciting. I was here in Tibet. But the tour guide repeated again and again that we had to slow down, took a rest , didn’t go anywhere, didn’t wash head, didn’t have wine to adapt the high altitude. We didn’t really care about his words. We thought everything will be ok.

Unfortunately, we knew what the altitude disease was after 2 hours when we arrived at hotel in Lhasa. I felt the floor was rolling and felt a little dizzy and headache. But it was not serious. At night, I spewed and I could not sleep well. My husband had the same symptoms as me expect spewing. But he had a little fever. He told me he had a bad sleep. He waked up frequently and had to breathe deeply to get more oxygen.

The next morning, we knew all members of our group had different kinds of altitude disease symptoms. Almost were dizzy,headache,some of were diarrhoea. And we all took some cold medicines during the midnight. We all thought the night was too longer to pass. One of us had gone to see a doctor at midnight and felt better. We still thought the symptoms were common. We could adapt it after 2 or 3 days. We could stand the symptoms. It proved that it was a right decision to see a doctor later.

In the third day, everybody felt better and my husband felt worse. He wanted to see a doctor after dinner. I certainly companied him to go to clinic although I felt better just can’t sleep well. After taking our temperature, we all got fever and I was more serious. Because my temperature was higher than my husband. It surprised me. So I had to be cured, too. Even I didn’t feel uncomfortable. The doctor gave me an injection and the other big drop. I lay on the bed with covering my coat and heavy bedquilt. I took the mask to breathe oxygen from a big bottle. The big bottle was as high as me. The doctor injected medicine into the drop two times. After 3 hours, we all sweated and had lower temperature. We could leave. It cost 300 RMB each one. The doctor noticed us that we couldn’t take a bath especially wash head till back to Taiwan. He gave us 3 days medicines. How an amazing medicine! There are 13 pills in each unit. But we still took it after meals and didn’t take a bath till leave Tibet.

It is an unforgettable and unique experience though I had to stand the altitude disease. But it is really worth. I strongly recommend everyone can visit Tibet one day in your life. It must impress you. Trust me, you can do it.



 We talk about this movie last week. Someone say good and someone don’t. I went to see this movie last week too. But today I’m not going to talk about movie itself, I just want to talk about the something change in our home or our planet. Everyone mention global-warming these day. But does anyone really care about our planet? We still drive cars and take airplane and eat “meat”. Maybe it is hard to change in such short time. But I think we should do something good for our earth. Not just save fuel or reduce carbon dioxide. This is not enough for our planet in these circumstances. We do too many thinks that is obey nature rules. Such as, we find the petroleum fuel and nuclear energy. I’m not going criticize anything we find or invent today. I just want to let everyone know any convenient stuff that we have need to pay. Even if just a tap-water. We need to pay it. So we should appreciate everything we get today, and do more.



In Memory of Black Bat Squadron:The Air Force 34th Squadron (by Vivien)

About 40 years ago, during the Cold War, the Taiwan Government wanted to get the support from The USA. On the other side, The USA government starved for the information of China and Russia. For this reason, ROC Air Force and the CIA established a special Ops Squadron, the 34th Squadron, to conduct electronic reconnaissance mission. The unit use Black Bat as the emblem, therefore the 34th Squadron was also known as Black Bat Squadron. You can see the emblem as below: The wings of the bat breaking through the red iron curtain represent the harsh difficulty of the mission. The Big Dipper is used to signify navigation, the 3 large stars and 4 small stars represent the 34th squadron. The reason for choosing the bat as the symbol for the squadron was that bats navigate by means of sonar at night, which is rather similar to the radar electronic detection work of the squadron.

When they carried out these tough and danger mission, the aircrafts must flied very low and was very easily caught by the spotlight or radar of enemy. As soon as you be found, you must be died because thousands of weapons would aimed at you at once! According to the official statistics recently year, there are 15 aircrafts crashed and 148 soldiers died, that is 2/3 personnel of the Squadron, between 1952 and 1972. But at that time, these brave guys were invisible and all the missions were denied by the government. So many young wives and their children lost their beloved without knowing the truth.

Last Sunday, I accompanied my grandfather, who is a member of Black Bat Squadron, to attend the opening ceremony of Black Bat Squadron Memorial Hall. The mayor of Hsinchu City and Ministry of National Defense hosted this ceremony. They also invited the surviving members of Black bats or other casualties’ matrons to share their stories. At the end, all the heroes included my grandfather was invited to walk onto the stage to be honored by everybody and sang the Air Force Song together. In the grey and rainy day, these old soldiers either stood with sticks or set on the wheelchairs but their song was still loud and clear. After so many years, they finally got the pride that they should be deserved long time ago.

At this moment, the tears came to my eyes. The only sentence floating on my mind is “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”


Shaolai Trial(梢來步道)-----Ann

    Last weekend, I went to the shaolai trial(梢來步道), which is located in the Major Snow Mountain Forest Amusement Park, with some of my colleagues. The total length of this trial is 15.5km. However, most of us are beginners of mountain-climbing, we just climbed up for 2.6km to an observatory then returned.

    When I was packing my stuff into my bag, one of my colleagues said the temperature would be 10 degrees Celsius. So, I wear 3 clothes on me, one of my clothes was a woolen sweater, and that was really killing me. "HOT" and barely could breath were the only two things I could feel. The trial was covered with some rocks and roots were exposed made me more difficult to climb.
    Although this trip was almost killing me, I'm still looking forward to the next trip.

    Here is the website, introduces this trial. Click and see it. http://www1.forest.gov.tw/NationalTrailSystem_En/TR_G_07.htm


Care about the animals who lives on earth as same as us -Rebecca

When I was university student, I had been to Phuket Island for my graduated trip. That is group travel by travel agent, but the members are all my classmates.
When we arrived in Phuket, there was a schedule to riding Elephant, but all of us didn't think too much, just got on the Elephant then walk around for few minutes.
Then we said bye bye, we even didn't turn back to see them again.
But now, I saw the video about the way they training Elephant, It’s a heartache.

Blow is the video and blog about the news

I didn't mean that the tourists are all cruel, just because they didn't know the truth, or didn't have good educated about how to love animals, I think we lack of this in Taiwan's education.
The animals will be tortured worse in the country which has worse economic problems.

Sometimes it makes me hate the human being.

Humanity overuse the resources of earth, cause the menace to other animals, then we said loudly that they need to work for us for its own survival. It is Ridiculous!!!

But it still has bright side of mankind. I found a website is coming from a farm which protects elephants as blow:
In this farm we also can close to the elephant instead of riding them, or watching them play tricks.
I found a man who put on his blog about the experience in this farm, the blog site is as blow

I wrote an e-mail to the farm, and they returned back so quickly as blow:

Dear Rebecca Chang,

Thank you for your interest in Patara Elephant Farm visit.

The trip "Elephant Owner For A Day" is a specialized and meaningful training trip with happy elephants and their babies. It's a great day out for visitors who want to be with, learn, take care for elephants and riding them bare back as what's an elephant owner would do daily. Trip is suitable for all especially lovers, friends, and family with children.(not for those who expect to see elephant dancing and perform tricks)

As we are a small farm and our farm is self-sustainable farm focusing on elephant breeding that can be assure you that your experience at Patara Elephant Farm would be more “personalize” rather than “commercialize”. By creating wonderful and unforgettable experiences, we would need the happy elephants. We do not treat our elephants like working elephants but instead we raise them as close to the natural ways as possible.

Also at Patara Elephant Farm, each of our elephant only perform its duty at the maximum of one trip for one person per day as their good welfares are our most concern (more can be explained during the trip). We are not positioning our farm as a mass tourist attraction that is the reason why we can only accommodate 10 persons per day. On top of that, you will be able to spend more precious time with our elephants and creating quality interaction with them during the trip. Moreover our program is more personalize and specialize based on one on one.

Yes, we still have availability in December for one day trip at this stage.

To make your reservation, please reply our email and let us know your preferred date. Please also let us know the hotel that you will be staying in so we can arrange transportation accordingly.(We can pick you up from any hotel in Chiang Mai. Our farm is actually locate within Chiang Mai. Only 29 km. form down town)

Since availability is limited at 10 persons per day, we suggest you make arrangement with us once your plan is finalized.

Cost for the trip is 5,800 baht/person including transportation, traditional Thai picnic lunch, and DVD photos of your activity.

Training is base on 1 on 1 with your own elephant. Please see more details at www.pataraelephantfarm.com

A private trip is also available at 11,000 Baht/person including also DVD movie of your trip.

We are looking forward to introducing you all to our elephant experience.

I know the December of this year, we all have a long holiday from 12/26 to 1/1, maybe we can put this speciall trip to our travel schedule.


"Another Inconvenient Truth"

   During class last week, we had discussed briefly the story about Wal-Mart Decade, explaining how truly big it is even in comparison with the other top retailers chains in the U.S. To change the subject from how much salaries for position at Wal-Mart associates may get and then discuss in shopping for organic and natural products for better life, and so forth. In addition, Simon, Cloudia and Syvin also shared their unique shopping experiences in different country or city individually.

   And we heard teacher Adam talked about the vegetarian diet solution concerning global warming. Actually, he follows a vegetarian diet not only for healthy life but for less pollution . I think, What is the link, the connection, between diet and global warming? I am wondering if it is true or not.
   So, after reading both of the article of "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollen and a related report which the title is "Farm to Table, with Less Pollution" by The New York Times; therefore, I realized what teacher Adam said in class is the other inconvenient truth. Take a paragraph from the report for example,

"The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes. "It remained the most problematic"

    By the way, a  great sales book named "The Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat", in this shocking and powerful book, Lyman uncovers the dangerous and potentially deadly practices of the cattle and dairy industry, including the same comments as what Adam told us in class last week. Mad Cow Disease!!!      

By Ralph


Korea Trend by Jenny Lin

Korea Trend.

Taiwan is flooded with Korea trend recently. So many soap operas on TV programs and it is also the guidance of fashion in Taiwan , especially in cloth, hair style and hair accessory. The Korea trend even effect the music field. From Rain to Super Junior and Wonder Girls, their songs and dance are so popular in Taiwan and even in Asia. From child to elders , many of them know and dance  " sorry sorry " by Super Junior " and "Nobody " by Wonder Girls.

I wonder why, so I took a look of these MV and found these songs really attract people. Both SJ and “Wonder Girls are all young bends , with uniform dance and easy melody to catch people's eyes and ears. I think that is the main reason to makes their songs and dance so popular in the world. To reflect over this circumstance, what can we do to make Taiwan well-known in other countries? Except cuisine.

- Nobody MV





My Home Town-南庄 Rebecca Chang

南庄 is a beautiful place to travel, even if the old street is different from the others
There is seldom people when i was child,but it became a tourists area in recent years
So I don't get used to the change at that time.

Many things change , more commercial there. but the view of natural still so beautiful.
Moutain.. River...Fresh air...
There are many home stays and coffee houses coming out, i have been there for some drink before,
you can have some tea or coffee and stay outside to see the view. Excellent!!

Made by hiki-tea condensed milk and small rice ball

[Tel ] 0937-402346

[Address]苗栗縣南庄鄉文化路6號 (Kitty-corner from Old Post Office) if you guys through the old street u will not find here , it's position is higher, u need to go upstair

This Bolg is made by the tourist that had experience of eaten our Ice

This Blog is made by my uncle

This is travel information made by Miaoli Township Office

How to get there?
1.Drive your car
2.By train
   Stop in 竹南 train station and there is a bus station to 南庄 just outside there


On supermarkets

It's late at night. I want to go to bed, but I still need to finish my English homework. It has been a while since I wrote my last essay on anything. Argh, it's so hard to come up with something interesting! Since we are still in the subject of supermarkets, I decide to share my obsession about supermarkets.

I love supermarkets! I enjoy going to all kinds of supermarkets and convenient stores. I do not cook and I am not a shopaholic. There are mainly two reasons. First of all, I love supermarkets around the world because a traveller can get a rough idea about the local life simply by a trip to the local supermarket. In the supermarkets, a person will find the food which the local people eat and use; therefore, it's a quick way to know a place.

Secondly, I love supermakets because one can kill time in those places just by checking the new stuffs out. It's always nice to stay in a supermarket while waiting for a friend or classmate. I am always happy to find new products from the shelves although I would not necessarily buy those new products. The fun is not about shopping. It would be more about enjoying the novelty in the daily life.

Supermarkets are definitely on my to-do list while travelling abroad. I can get familiar with the local life and enjoy finding new things there. I would recommend you to do the same next time when you travel.


Crying in asian grocery

After I lived in Australia around one month in 2005, Betty, my homestay's mom, took me to a shopping center. She thought I might want to buy some Chinese food, so she led me to an asian grocery and I could buy some snacks from Taiwan. It is a warm thought. So I just looked around and bought some snacks in that shop. Suddenly, I found there were 4 shelves filled up many kinds of instant noodles, including Japanese, Thailand, Korean and Taiwanese that I had often eaten in Taiwan before I came to Australia. Uncontrollably, the tear welled up in my eyes. I didn't know why I wanted to cry at that time? It may becuase I miss Taiwanese food too muah lo.
It took me around 30 minutes to choose which one I should buy, becuase I didn't have too much money to buy another one.

By Simon


Share with you my Tibet travel photos

There are too many photos.
Please choose your interesting item.



Organic food infornation

Two books introduce where to buy healthy food.




Two farms sell organic vegetables.



How to login with your own account

step1: use symenglish@gmail.com to login

step2:you can see『設定』『權限』,click it

step3:add the writer , key in your own account and invite it

step4:you will get a invitation mail ,confirm it,then you can login in with your own account

Try it!


Questions about our class blog~Iris

Q1:Could we login and use the same account at the sametime?
Q2:Can we use personal account to login this blog?


“How big is WAL-MART?” ---Ralph

Recently, I have been read a survey of America’s most admired companies in 2008 digested from the Fortune. According to the report, COSTCO、TARGET、WAL-MART are ranked in the top 20 in retailer categories.

In fact, I am so confused in distinguishing from COSTCO as well as TARGET to WAL-MART. Please provide me with a little bit of useful information, such as their “Market Strategy” 、“Pricing Strategy” or “How big is WAL-MART?” explaining
in class, if possible. Thank you.


Adam's English Resources

Hi everyone! This is an example post. I wrote this for another site, but I thought it might be useful to you also. It shows some of the websites I use as resources in my teaching. Try some of them out!

I've divided the sections into reading, listening, writing, and speaking resources, open source software, and internet resources. Each section is highlighted in yellow and may contain subsections. Enjoy!
Reading Resources
Finding good reading materials is sometimes a hard job because of all the junk on the internet. These websites are very good, and the content on the sites very useful.
This is a wonderful resource from the NYPL. If you live in New York or have a NYPL library card, there are even more resources you can access from their website, but just starting from this page you have access to many subscription websites through NYPL. Each link takes you to a different page with different types of books. I use Tumblebooks very often, they are picture books read aloud with animations based on the pictures. A number of the sites are scans of children's books, many in multiple languages. Storyline Online are videos of famous actors reading children's books. As long as you access from the above page, all of these sites are free.

This amazing resource by the British Council has not only weekly articles and activities, it has massive archives of past content, all of which you can freely download and use for teaching. I use the magazine most often. Each week a new article comes out, complete with comprehension activities, an mp3 of the article being read, websites about related topics, small quizzes, and teacher resources. The articles can also be downloaded in teacher pack pdf files with prepared activities. Other areas of the site have poetry, literature, information on taking standardized tests like the IELTS, and information about studying abroad.

This site is dedicated to short stories. Many of the stories are older, and so in the public domain. There are a number, however, that are written by users of the website or other contemporary writers. Stories are grouped by topic, and can be searched by length, author, rating, or date added. The games section of the website focuses on vocabulary from the most popular short stories. (Some of the games are quite difficult, but still fun to play with students.) This site is not focused on TESOL usage, but is still useful.

This site has all of the content of the magazine, but not all at the same time. However, it is very useful for finding longer articles to practice reading with. I find the vocabulary and general reading level of the articles in Reader's Digest suitable for many of my intermediate/advanced students.

Named after the inventor of the first printing press, project gutenberg was set up to scan public domain books and make them freely available on the internet, and also to ensure that out of print books in the public domain do not disappear. The number of books available is astounding. Many popular books also have audio books available.

I am a bit hesitant to put this link on, but it is a great resource. The idea for this website is a combination of gutenberg.org and a private library. "The Burgomeister" has scanned his large collection of modern (and still very copywrited) books, and will lend three to you at a time, with the understanding that you delete them at the end of two weeks, as if you were borrowing a book from a friend and return it when finished reading it. This seems to be fairly dodgy legally, but the books on the site are great. Use your discretion.

Listening Resources
There are many sites on the internet dedicated to listening exercises for TESOL/ESL students, so I will not touch on those particularly. Just search for ESL listening or TESOL listening on Google and you can find hundreds of sites with good resources. My list focuses on news sites and audiobooks.

This is a great site with many different types of listening activities. Some of the features, such as 6 minute English (see screenshot below) are weekly podcasts that you can download and listen to, while others are short soap operas (The Flatmates), grammar and idiom exercises, vocabulary from BBC Radio broadcasts, and teaching resources.

The CBC is not as centralized as the BBC in terms of its ESL sites. The one I have used the most is from the Ottawa CBC website. It offers 10 lessons ranked by difficulty, some with video from CBC television and some with audio from CBC radio. The vocabulary exercises and supplementary materials are quite good.

VOA Special English is a branch of the Voice of America broadcasting service that is designed to help English learners listen to and speak with an American accent. There are video and audio sections available. While I think their content and vocabulary used is very good, the speed of the reading, quite slow and unnatural, has always bothered me. This may be more suited to low/intermediate level students.

This website is focused on audio books and audio stories for children. There is a good sized collection and an archive that has all of their stories for download or streaming from the site. The text of each story is included on the web page. The quality of the recordings is excellent.

Librivox does for audio books what gutenberg does for books- takes public domain books and makes them available to the public for free. Librivox does this by having volunteers record requested books from gutenberg.org. The system seems to work very well, but the quality of the recordings is not always stellar. However, most popular titles have two or three versions, so you have some choice. A group of my students and I even volunteered to record a book- it was a great class project.

Writing Resources
Many teachers, including myself, give students journal writing as assignments. One of the hardest things for both teachers and students are thinking of good topics. This site has a long list of open questions that students can use as a starter for their journal writing.

This site is actually trying to sell letter writing software, but the list of 500 writing topics is perfect for writing practice in business writing or TOEIC classes. There are a few sections with free examples.

This is a list of creative writing prompts. I have not used these often as they are a bit more advanced, but work well in classes focused on writing or creative writing.

Speaking Resources
This is a bit more difficult to do on the internet. I have tried a few online speech recognition sites or programs that listen to your speech and evaluate how "correct" it is, but I have yet to find one that ranked my speaking as "correct." While I admit that I am from Missouri and may have traces of a southern accent, I think speech recognition software has many problems.
I use the internet as a chance for my students to practice speaking and then listen to themselves. There are two ways I do this, by audio recordings and video recordings. For most of my students here in Taiwan this is a big challenge, as they are afraid that people will see them or hear their mistakes, but I find it is very beneficial and increases students' confidence.

Video Recordings- Youtube
I am sure that most people have watched videos on Youtube at some time, but not as many have uploaded videos. To record my videos, I purchased a webcam from my local computer store and using the software which came with the camera started to record my students. Youtube is a nice site to upload to because it has no size limit for files, but videos must be less than 10 minutes long. They are also very easy to embed or share on other sites. Here is a video of one of my students, Smile, doing reading practice.

Another video site that I use is Viddler.
Viddler is an alternative to Youtube. I began using it because many of the companies I teach at block Youtube but not Viddler. The advantages are no video length restrictions, a slightly better video quality, and more embedding options. However, it has a 100 Mb size limit and is not as popular as Youtube. Here is a video of a group book report from one of my company classes. (Their report is about the book Matilda by Roald Dahl.)

Open Source Software

I have used Ubuntu Linux as my computer's operating system for the past three years. The main difference between Linux and Windows (either XP or Vista) is that everything in Linux is free, from the basic system to all of the software. (And Linux doesn't need antivirus software because it doesn't get infected with viruses.) There is a small learning curve when you first start to use it, but that is true of most worthwhile things in life! Below are two screenshots, the first is a basic Ubuntu desktop, the second is my desktop.

Open Office (openoffice.org)
Open Office is a free suite of office/desktop publishing programs similar to Microsoft Office. It is able to read and save in all of the Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .exl, .ppt, etc.) so if a friend sends you a word document, you can open, edit, and send it back as if you are using MS Office, but you saved $300! (This is available for Linux, Windows, and other OSs.)

Firefox Web Browser
This browser is also recommended on the TESOL department website. It is a free, secure internet browser that can be customized with many add-ons and extensions that enhance its abilities. There are versions available for almost any OS, including Windows and Linux. Like the programs mentioned above, it is open source, so if you understand how to code you can modify the program yourself. (I can't do that, but maybe some of you can.) It is updated frequently, and has become the #2 browser on the internet. I find it much safer than Internet Explorer.

Internet Based Resources
Google Products (gmail, reader, calendar, blogger, image search, etc.)
As you can see, I really like using Google's products. Really, you just need to sign up for gmail, and then you have access to all of these sites. (You use the same username and password for them all.) Gmail has a huge amount of storage for every address, so you never need to delete things, you just store them and search for them later if you want to see them again, like a google search of your email box.

Google reader is a convenient way to collect updates of websites you use often. A personal example is NPR's "This I Believe." I really enjoy listening to this show, and occasionally use it in class. I went to their website and clicked on the link to subscribe. One of the options on the subscription page was google reader. After clicking there, every week when the NPR website puts up a new episode, I can listen to or download it from my Google reader page, without going back the NPR site. It also, like gmail, keeps in storage all of your read items, so you can search for things you've read in the past and they will be brought back up.

Google Calendar is not the best calendar application, but it integrates well with gmail. The best thing about it is you can share calendars with others. One of the schools I teach at uses this to post announcements, and as I have subscribed to their calendar, I can see any of their announcements and upcoming events just by looking at my calendar.

Blogger is a wonderful tool that I use very often for most of my classes. I don't know anything about website design, but Blogger is so easy to use, you don't need to know. I have made blogs for most of my classes which are updated occasionally. This is a great way to interact with students or parents, and teaching students to make their own blog is a wonderful way to get them to write more. (Many of my students are required to put their homework on their blog, and I leave any corrections or suggestions as comments at the end of their post.)

Google Image Search is a fast, efficient way to find pictures on the internet. If you are designing a worksheet, activity, or test, this will help you find relevant pictures in a minimum amount of time. I use this daily.

This is a group of online office programs. While they don't offer as many functions as Open Office or MS Office, it has the advantage of keeping all of your documents on the internet so you can access, edit, and send them to others from any computer with internet access. (Google also has a similar service called Google Documents, but it is less complete than ZOHO. I use them both though.) My favorite of their huge suite of programs is ZOHO Notebook. It is very similar to MS OneNote, a wonderful program for students. In ZOHO Notebook, you can take notes by clicking anywhere on the page and typing, add images or videos, record your voice and make it part of the notebook, or draw freehand. Since my laptop is a Tablet PC I use the drawing part quite often. You can also share with others, with many different options. Below is a Notebook I used to take notes on the first DVD I received this semester.
Unfortunately, the DVD audio stopped at 1:16, so I didn't get anything at the end of the lecture.

This is a wonderful program that lets you import and edit the photos on your computer, then post them to a web album that you can share with other people. I use this as a way to publish students' work and share that with other students and parents. It is also a great way to share photos with family. (I use this to share our pictures taken here in Taiwan with my family in Missouri and Utah.)Below is a picture and link to one of my class albums.

Scribd is a site dedicated to making document sharing easy. You can upload a document or pdf file and scribd will turn it into a searchable flash object (like a youtube video) that can be shared in emails, embedded on other websites or blogs, or by directing someone to that documents address. I have used this site quite often to share a document with a whole class. The benefits are that you do not need to photocopy, print out, or mass email anyone, merely place the address or embedded document in a class site and everyone can access and download it. Below is a practice test I used in a TOEIC class last year.