After so many months of drought it is refreshing to see the rain - but I'm sure parents of young children will be finding it a challenge to keep them happy indoors. At least they need the opportunity to "run off some energy" - keeping them amused should not be too difficult with all the games, new toys, etc that would have been under the Christmas tree only a few days ago.
Yesterday I made some fig jam - Drunken Fig Jam, said the recipe though it was only a "normal" recipe with some added brandy. I also baked some shortbread biscuits - I had prepared the mixture on Christmas Eve - and planned to have the children cut out the shapes, but we didn't need anything to occupy the children on Christmas day.
So - while I caught up on some correspondence - thank you letters, I was only metres away from the bubbling jam and cooking cookies.
I'm yet to record my new year resoltuions and this year I have a few - so I will type them out and print them out and put the sheet somewhere. It will be more a "map" of where I want to go, and where I want to be in 2010.
I'm still planning to go to China in February - so am watching the fares to Shanghai. I'd like to go to Beijing, but I'll have to do that during the semester. Maybe alone. We will see.
I'd like to go via Hong Kong this time, as I've not been there, but the fare is more expensive - so again, I might try and wangle that for the return trip. Again, I'll wait and see.
During my Christmas shopping I came across a card game that I hope to play with family in the next week or so, but I think I can make it a very useful activity in my classes here in Australia and in China. It is a product of some clever Australians.
It is in a little pack that I bought at one of the book shops - it is called "The Art of Conversation" and has 100 cards each with three questions. They have created a game plan too, but I can see other things that can be done with it.
Conversation in English is one of the challenges for Chinese students. They have learned so much about grammar and vocabulary, but do not find it easy to put conversation together. We know some of the "stock phrases" that are common - but helping the students "think outside the square" is something I like doing.
In fact, I had a regular Monday night converstion club going in the "Green Cafe" on SPT Street within the university campus, and this game would be ideal for that.
However, it is not something that was created for ESL classes, it is something that I am sure would work well in small groups here to create stimulating conversation, which is what it was created for.
"The Art of Converston" comes in a neat box, with the 300 cards, and some instructions for us. As there are 100 cards anda total of 300 questions, you could play it with the same group over and over again, and not repeat a questions. I bought the pack for less than $20.
One of the cards has these questions "A living legend. Anybody come to mind?" and "Which food do you find most off-putting?" and " "Happiness" What comes to mind?" I'm sure readers will already have a few ideas of what they can say. It is well put together by the authors, Keith Lamp and Louise Howland.
You can find out more at their website www.taoc.com.au
A good family game.