I’m in the process of moving to Typepad; the new site can be found here. Many thanks to WordPress, a wonderful site, host, and supporter. The only reason for the move is to be with a platform that will let me explore the world of css/html with my blog. So thanks, WordPress, and I’ll see you on the other side…..
Archive for the 'General Ramblings' Category
Tags: Powerpoint, Spanish
The dog days of August signal the end of Summer School, and a short pause before the madness of another ‘real’ semester.
But every learning exercise has its own reality, with moments of tension and drama, and Spanish 102 is no different. Today was the day for my ‘oral presentation’; my three minutes in front of the class, alone but for my powerpoint presentation, an opportunity to declaim on a subject of our own choosing.
Yes, not only did I have to memorize about 381 words, but I had also to present audio-visual support! No big deal for you corporate warriors, or you students who have been doing slides since you were old enough to mash keys. For those of us in a certain age range and career skill sets, PowerPoint has always been something to be afraid of.
In the end, of course, it wasn’t that bad. Office 2007 makes PP fairly straightforward, and, well, I have been a fairly big boy in the corporate sense, so putting together a presentation isn’t a totally new concept. I was slightly pleased to see that, for all of its horrors, my business life did help me put together something with a little more, ahem, polish that some of my classmates.
There was, naturally, one student who did not bring a thumb drive with his slides; no, he went to his website and linked to a presentation that include complex graphical manipulations. But, you know, it was about food in Peru. The only thing missing was the music……
On a side note, I went to the bookstore to pick up the last book needed for my fall classes. While there, I couldn’t help but look at a business statistics textbook for a class that I will likely take in a semester or two. Not like any statistics textbook I have thus far encountered; no calculus, no integrals or derivatives, just a CD with Excel and many, many sets of statistical problems that will have to solved using Excel and, yes, PowerPoint.
Tags: Families, Spanish
French, when I was taught it lo those many years ago, had a straight-forward vocabulary that described the family unit. The list of words was short, matched my American concepts, and was learned without any great strain.
Modern Spanish seems to reflect the new reality, and it is interesting to see how my book handles the changes.
A partial list of the English equivalents:
step-brother and sister
half-brother and sister
step-father and mother
single father and mother
Seems like my new language has kept up with the times……..
Posting has been light, likely due to the fact that I am trying to memorize vocabulary, verbs, and grammar, as well as trying to learn the pronunciation of words that often look just like English, but sound so very different. Given that I start in Spanish with no previous classtime, I am somewhat surprised by how much I have picked up in just two weeks of class. Whoever said that learning a language was best done by immersion was right, mostly. Every day, for one hour and 45 minutes, in class, and lots of study daily. It helps that our professor, who normally teaches much higher level Spanish courses, converses with each of us every day. He is building our ability to hear more complex Spanish, understand it, and respond accordingly. 25% of our grade will come from an oral evaluation at the end of the term. Even with that, quizzes and tests that include an oral portion which requires us to answer questions based on his words are still very tough for me.
Let me just note for you Spanish speakers that I am finding el peritite confusing, and I have developed a strong dislike for irregular verbs. Not until today did I figure out that a verb could be irregular if only one conjugation, in one tense, was different from the standard declension or spelling! Now that I have that clear, learning the patterns of spelling that produce irregular conjugations will be much easier.
Also, unlike the years of elementary school and high school French that I took, today’s curriculum introduces us to cases and grammar in a much different way. Now, it’s all about learning the rules for specific cases, not memorizing tables and applying them to lists of verbs. I’m not saying it’s more effective, but it does seem to work.
But, bottom line, I’m thankful to be in classes this summer that rely on memorization, hard work, and perserverance. During this mathematical sabbatical, I am rebuilding the confidence that I had begun to lose in the Spring. Abstraction distraction (if I may) was doing me in. This work, at some level, gives me the confidence to believe that I can handle Biology. If I can memorize, and work hard, I will do it.
Don’t think we can make the same claim about that third calculus class, though.