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Thursday, December 15th, 2011
1:31 am - sweet home

a beautiful idea of making something countable and fastening to develop motor skills an counting

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Friday, July 15th, 2011
11:37 am - The list of books to read for book club
Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard: Shakespeare in Love: A Screenplay (1998)
Philip K. Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) (The film Blade Runner (1982) is very different from the original text )
Tracy Chevalier: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Rose Tremain: The Way I Found Her
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
Donna Leon: Through a Glass, Darkly
Kingsley Amis: Lucky Jim
*John Grisham: The Pelican Brief
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (Black Cat or any edition)
Michael Crichton: Jurassic Park (Macmillan or any edition)
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations (Macmillan or any edition)
*Gaston Leroux: The Phantom of the Opera (Penguin or any edition)

Have downloaded Philip K.Dick. But not sure that would be able to read from the screen :(

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Friday, July 4th, 2008
9:24 am - oracle partition. handmade.
I've almost finished a project which seems very important. Last year the customer refused to pay for standard oracle decision for splitting large tables (partitioning). We had to create something similar on the java-application side. It works and there's expected a serious improvement in data processing at least for new data. Now we are waiting for stress-test result.
I did most of the job all by myself. Though the idea how to split these data wasn't mine, I investigated it thoroughly and found a general decision which should help us a lot when the next splitting demanded. On the application side i did my best. On the database side there wasn't much job and we did it together. I'm glad it's almost over and that would be really very interesting to watch the result.

Will I get any feedback? In terms of career I mean.
The problem is that in IT a woman has no right to make a mistake. The lightest bug is a serious failure if made by a woman. Is that the specific of Russian IT?

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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
10:54 am - job vs babies ?
There is a new girl in the office. Looks like a 27 but really is 31. The amazing thing is that she has three kids!!! Three!!! All boys, all go to kindergarten. The youngest one is 3.
I'm 30. I have just one kid and the job in the same office, which I'm afraid of giving up for a couple of years because of career and relationships and losing background bla-bla-bla. (The worst thing ever is to start the same job from the beginning over and over again).
There's been no right time for the the second baby for 3 years already :(.
I guess I'm really going to give up the job and getting pregnant. At least after getting driving license.
God, please let it be twins!

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
6:56 pm - Dr.House
I love Doctor House.
First couple of episodes didn't impress me though. On the third I had a thought that I could possibly be addicted. I got addicted, on the fourth.
Could I not like Hugh Laurie? I used to dislike his Wooster.
Unshaven and "miserable" (is he really?) Dr. House is charming. Because of his sarcasm, I suppose, plus clearly shown well-concealed sympathy to people.

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
4:46 pm - From Young Learners by Sarah Philips (Oxford)
1. What should Very Young Learners learn?
... On the physical side, children need to develop balance, spatial awareness, and fine control of certain muscles in order to perform everyday actions (dressing themselves, cleaning their teeth, colouring, drawing, and writing).
... Social skills: children need to develop a series of characteristics to enable them to fit into the society they live in, to become aware of themselves in relation to others, to share and co-operate, and to be assertive without being aggressive.
... children need to learn how to learn

The younger learners are the more holistic (entire, integral) learners they will be. They respond to lang according to what it does or what they can do with it, rather than treating it as an intellectual game or abstract system. So they don't make the analytical links that older learners do (???????)

2. Activities
Bear in mind:
- The activities should be simple enough to understand what is expected of them;
- The task should be within their abilities (but sufficiently stimulating for them to feel satisfied with their work);
- The activities should be largely orally based
- Children of 6-7 years old are often not yet proficient in the mechanics of writing in their own lang.

Activities that work well :
- games and songs;
- TPR;
- tasks that involve colouring, cutting, sticking, modelling;
- simple repetitive stories;
- simple repetitive speaking activities that have an obvious communicative value.

3. Ideal classroom zones:
- an area of easily movable desks and chairs;
- an open space for action songs and games;
- a quite corner for reading or self-study;
- a table and notice-board where the children's work can be displayed.

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
8:24 pm - perceive music
Valera turned out to have the 2nd part of Michael Flatley, which included the best track, my favourite track I had lost years ago.
On listening I suddenly realised that I was able to enjoy the music again, I mean, I was able to cry :) I remember I used to be, but my pregnancy averted me completely from listening to any music. Even the most favourite tracks had suddenly lost the ... dimension? Became flat and unimpressive. Or rather I lost the ability to follow the tune and "watch" the instruments like .. like individuals? Yes, I'm sure now that I perceive the music as a room where different voices almost visible are talking, chatting, murmuring, shouting. I'm not sure but it seems to me that this image had been installed in my mind long before I tried the psychedelic (OK, I did it once but that was useful and interesting). But when I did I saw it clearly at once, that I'm "watching" the music.
When I got pregnant most of my mind was carried away by the new life inside me and I can't afford paying much attention to any outside things. So music voices had died, I stopped hearing them. It seems that now, when at last I've sent my daughter to kindergarten I can say Hello! to them once again :) HELLO!!!!! :)))

Recently I've had a discussion with my paragliding instructor about music. He says that music helps him to concentrate on his work (not instructing the students I suppose :)) I said I couldn't listen to music when I had to concentrate but I failed to explain why.
Because music fills all my head! It settles down there and lives! It's everywhere, there is no room for thoughts or images other then connected with it!
This concerns only the tracks which move me. But if they don't then what would I listen to them for?

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Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
7:08 pm - books
Darren says:

terry pratchett...... well i have never read any of his books so i cannot possibly comment, but i know a lot of people have... maybe i am slightly too young, i think he was more popular in the 70's the same as monthy python... it all seems too silly for me

a bit of fry and laurie ... is kind of along the same lines...i am probably slightly too young to have seen it on television and so trying to watch it now... it just doesn't seem 'right'

They are both extremely clever people though... maybe i am just too stupid to understand their humor

So the question still is: to read/watch or not to read/watch :) Or rather to search/download or not :)

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Thursday, July 5th, 2007
6:52 pm - my work
It's wonderful that i have not mentioned it at work that I have an English version of LJ as well. It's going to be the place where I can write down everything concerning to my work and my colleagues in detail without doubts ;) But hence the posts have to be in English.

First of all, I'm so lucky that i don't know people who prepare templates for me... They are lucky too, BTW. Otherwise i'd kill them. And eat them.
Secondly, I'd kill some more people in the office, whom i know well enough to take revenge on.

But all in all I like this place so much! I like being here, working, writing some stuff which then is tested by testers (i can kill them too!) and then is included in the next release, and then is used by students and unstructors all over the world.

The only thing i really hate is that work makes me forget about my kiddy, my darling. Which in its turn makes me feel guilty :(((

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Thursday, June 21st, 2007
7:12 pm - my head is empty vase
On my going home for lunch I always think in English about things I may put in here. There seem so many things!
But now when I'm sitting in front of my computer I have nothing to say.
:(( Probably I'm too tired. It's time I left for home.

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Friday, May 25th, 2007
12:50 pm - at work
The worst thing ever at work is when you have to stay in the office having nothing to do and pretending you're busy or at least you are not using Internet for your private affair, which i'm surely doing now. As I'm a new employee I'm not in charge of something durative, but have to solve certain local problems like fixing bugs or extending the packages for converting data, and other things like this. When finish, i wait for the next problems redirected to me from "elder comrades" busy with some "seious problem".
On Wednsday I unexpectedly completed the job. They haven't thought I would manage to complete the task so soon and were greatly surprised but still ... today is Fridday and i have not got the things to do yet! That's killing me.
Moreover, a co-worker came to me and told me that i would work on the project with him soon, when i would have done the current task. I told him: I've DONE it ALLREADY!!! He paused for a while in amazement and quitely suggested not talking about it and asking for 3 more weeks for that task. THREE WEEKS!!!! What am I supposed to do for three weeks?! Pretending I'm busy? With what? Oh, I guess I am in for a deep depression :(

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Thursday, May 24th, 2007
12:12 pm - Flowers for Algernon by David Keyes
I've listened "Flowers for Algernon" up to the end. It takes me three days. A great device this phone with mp3player is!
I had known the plot, so there was no surprise about Charlie becoming a retarded again. But it was painful to listen to the last chapters, I was almost crying. I had not expected the book was so sincere and moving. May be the author partly achieved it by choosing the form of reports (which is practically a diary, but written for people to read it).

Though I knew the story more or less there were some unfamiliar episodes which seemed important for me.
First of all, Charlie's mother, her desire that he would be normal (she even named her second child Norma). But the desire doesn't come from her love to her son, but from her obssession to "keep up with the Jones". When Charlie failed to live up her expectations, she punished him which affected his development badly. And still he managed to forgive her. He also forgave his sister who used to hate him.
Then Alice and their relationship. Now when I've finished, the development of their relationship seems to me logic but i couldn't predict it in detail. May be because I looked at her through Charlie's eyes, because this was His story. But I don't like her anyway.
Well, i think that the process of "getting smart" and developing emotionally (and loosing happiness as a result) is carefully and truthfully described. With the help of different means! - grammar, syntax, vocabulary. Everything is changing! That was the real pleasure to see how the author employs all these means and what an impression it makes!
But the reverse process when he starts forgetting things, and especially while he was waiting for the beginning of the process - that was so tense emotionally that didn't allow to pay special attention to linguistic means. And may be that is the strongest part of the book.
I like the plot because it's interesting, and clever and leaves some room for me to think about.
I like the language, because the author masterfully uses it, it wonderfully serves the aim to reflect the state of mind of Charlie as well as his emotions which is also important as he is growing up and developing not only mentally but emotionally as well.
I like the form of the book, I think it contributes a lot to the creation of an image.
I like the end though sad but logic.
And i like how the author depicts his characters - not flat, but round, psychologically accurate. What they feel and how they react seem motivated, explainable, understandable.

And I also like the actor narrated the book, Jeff Woodman.

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Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
5:02 pm - translations for Obraztsov Puppet Theatre
I did it! My translations were approved and will be published soon. Moreover, the theatre's going to pay me about 70$ for 2.5 pages, which seems too much!
Honestly there was not much to be proud of. Grammatically the texts were pretty simple, the point was I should carefully check a lot of proper names - countries, cities and puppets. The Internet came to my rescue as usually. I wonder how people could translate without it? I've failed to find only one puppet (Bachehon from Kazakhstan) but i suspect there is no english mentioning of it in the Internet or probably at all. Who's heard abut Bachehon?

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Thursday, May 3rd, 2007
9:25 am - that letter of Charity Foundation
The letter which I translated for Spivakov's Foundation has worked! Yesterday a pleasantly sounded woman from the Obraztsov Puppet Theatre phoned me and asked for a translation of a booklit about the Obraztsov Museum. She said she knew - I was a good translator, so she'd like to give me this text because she was hoping that i would manage to preserve "the atmosphere of mystery" and "the charm of puppets". Well...
I don't know how she's come to the conclusion!!!!
I can feel the atmosphere of the text, that's true, but i definitly can NOT create or "preserve" it! I feel panic at the thought of having to translate a serious - REAL - stylistically coloured text.

Nevertheless I said - yes.

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Thursday, April 19th, 2007
2:54 pm - The order of "grammatical" bits
According to Roger Brown kids learn grammatical phenomena in the following order:
1. The -ing ending of verbs: he's running
2. The preposition in: It's in the box
3. The preposition on: It's on the table
4. The regular plural ending -s: cats and dogs
5. The irregular past tense form, such as went
6. The -s ending on nouns, which expresses possession: the boy's car
7. The full form of the verb to be, when it is the only verb in a sentence: Are they there? Is he ready?
8. The definite and indefinite articles
9. The regular past tense ending -ed: he jumped.
10. The regular ending for the 3rd person form if the verb, in the present tense -s: he walks
11. The irregular ending for the 3rd person form, as in he has/does
12. The full form of the verb to be, when it is an auxiliary verb in a sentence: are they running?
13. The shortened form of the verb to be, when it is the only verb in a sentence: he's ready, they're there
14. The shortened form of the verb to be when it is an auxiliary verb in a sentence: they're coming, he's going.

As for passive constructions according to David Crystal children get able to understand them rather late, closer to their 6-7 year.

Arina knows ONLY plural -s, though probably the prepositions as well. We've trained them a lot, but i'm not sure whether she remembers them or not.

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Friday, April 6th, 2007
3:19 pm - Europa by Tim Parks
I've recently finished reading it. Actually I looked through the last chapters very rapidly because I was too tired of the over-reflective main character. Besides his infinite reminiscents started to slow down the tempo when the events vice verse became going rapidly, so I couldn't bare it anymore and just followed the plot skipping the tedious reflection.
If I read it in my native language I would have stopped at the beginning.

Next time I should find something less personel and pessimistic. Something like Rumpole.

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007
2:21 pm - Making Things Approach
Last Friday we attended Macmillan ELT Seminar.
Once again I made sure that native teachers and their understanding of Communicative Approach are excelllent for (Very) Young Learners. Adults and Young Adults would barely learn a lot. Now I realize that what we had at our University while we were going through Galperin's book were the best lessons ever.
Speaking about kids I was greatly impressed by Amanda Cant's masterclass, titled something like "Be Flexible (for Primary Teachers)". She has a real knowledge of children's psychology, she is creative and I just fell in love with her.

Her lecture had a very simple structure. First of all she said that her idea of teaching kids came to Making Things Approach (or Arts and Crufts Approach). I was very glad to hear this, because after studying a great deal of books and forums I made the same conclusion. But when she explained and (what more important) showed what she meant... well... that was amasing!

The next thing was the benefits of this approach. There were several things I hadn't think about:

1) the feeling of making an achivement is very important for kids (yes, ok), BUT they understand the "achievement" quite differently then the teacher (which is not so obvious untill you're told about it). For a teacher the language is on the first place, so the progress in language acquisition is significant and evaluated. For kids it's difficult to see this progress, because each lesson they have new words and constructions. Usually they are not aware about their success in learning. So here Making Things comes in handy.
Kids come to class with empty hands and at the end of the lesson they have something nice which they've done themselves!
2) Making Things IS NOT so important for language practice (!) You can start your lesson from making something and then make great play with this thing. (I used to think that crafts can be practised at the end of the lesson, just to fasten new words. This idea of the lesson, based on some toy created by kids at the very begining, seems more logic and useful for me now).

Then Amanda listed the drawbacks: too many materials should be prepared, too much time is demanded and probably wasted, too little language is practised, too much native language is spoken in the classroom. Just messy fun and nothing more!

Then she simply showed us, how to do the crafts with kids avoiding these drawbacks.
The main idea is to divide the whole activity onto small STEPS and CONTROL the children.

And then the fun began. She said: Put your hands on your shoulders, please! Watch! DON'T DO anything!!! Watch!!!
Not all the teachers followed her instructions ;)) But she insisted.
So the activity was the following - we had to fold the sheet of paper in two, then put our hands up with this ready piece to demonstrate that we had completed the step. Then put our hands on our shoulder once again to watch the next step. We folded 3 sm on the both sides, then put a finger inside every corner and pressed so the rectangles appeared in the corners.
At last we got a nice English house. Exactly semi-detached ;)
We drew the roof, the windows and so on (practising There is, There are). Then she gathered the houses and stuck them on the blackboard, added some trees, flowers, some weather elements. Well actually any outdoor topic would be discussable with these nice hand-made houses.
Though indoor topic is also appropriate - kids can draw the rooms inside the house and on the back side they can draw a garden.

In one little house which kids've made themselves in 5 minutes the teacher can find a great variety of possible topics to practise, and a cultural aspect (semi-detached + garden) to discuss.
The main things are SMALL STEPS and CONTROLLING KIDS. Well, it's a little bit different from the idea I was going to introduce into practice with my future class, but I like it very much!

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Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
2:14 pm - From Listen to Your Child by David Crystal
An English child's utterances consist of a 'tum-ti-tum' rhythm, which contrasts with that of a French child: this, in turn, displays more of the 'rat-tat-rat' rhythm characteristic of French speech. A Chinese child begins to sound more 'sing-song'.
Just thinking what kind of "melodyc utterances" a Russian child produces?

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Sunday, March 4th, 2007
1:19 am - Off we go!
We have completed the first two units + introductory unit. Next week we have a break. Tomorrow we are off to the lake of Baikal for skiing, taming my snowboard and simply having rest. At last!
Arin is doing great! The last class we played the game "My under-the-table house" ;) She made there a little cosy house and had some guests, they - knock-knock-knocked to the door, she (all by herself) invited them "Come in!" and so on ;)

Las week I wrote to Darren to thank him again for sending me the Teddy'sTrain teacher's book. It seems so that I have started a fruitful cooperation. He was very glad to hear from me and promised to help me with my kindergarten job. Though the question of the empty vacancy is stil unsettled I've started active preparation: borrowed some relevant books in the British councel library, made a wishful list of items i'd like to buy or download, bought 2 picture dictionaries for the age of 2+ and 4+. I have some certain ideas on the issue. After coming bacl will try to formulate them.

I've also completed and sent back the translation of the letter from the Spivakov's Foundation to the GenevaWorld Foundation. If they like the translation they'll make me an offer (I hope for part-time or doing-at-home work)!

So the week was saturated with positve english-orented events. I hope it's a good sign.

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Monday, February 19th, 2007
4:04 pm - Arin's English
Couldn't help wondering - Arin makes progress so rapidly!
We started 2 weeks ago. By that time she had been able to say Hello!, Good by!, to count up to 5 (Kids' Zone), to say and translate Take him away! (Muzzy) Off we go! (Muzzy again) she knew piglet, a dog, a clock, a cup.
So she knew some words and phrases, which she never or rare used in every-day life.

Now... well, now the situation is quite different. Sometimes she starts speaking English. For example, when I ask her to count something she demands to specify the language :) Though she had been able to count in English previously, she would have never thought about it. Now the language seems to become a part of our life.
Yesterday we went to my parents-in-law. Arina's grandmother gave her a kid's set of dining-room furniture and different plates and dishes. Having played enough with all the items Arin invented another game - she made up a train from the chairs and started singing "Teddy's train! Teddy's train! Chuf-chuf-chuf".
And there are other examples. Honestly I didn't expect that :)

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