Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trace effect

In class today a played a game called "Trace Effect", and we saw a movie called "Edward Scissorhands". It is a very cute movie, and I recommend everyone to see it! The game is made by the U.S. state department, and it is meant to tech students from age 12 to 16 about American English language, and American culture and society. It is also a way of for English learners abroad to use the language in a new way. If you want, you can try it for yourself here: http://americanenglish.state.gov/trace-effects

When you enter the game, you have to make an account. When you have done that, you have to wait for ages for the game to load so that you can start playing. It took way to long time to load, and I spent quite a lot of time waiting and eating chocolate. When it finally loaded in, I was pretty excited to start playing. But, I was quite disappointed. The plot is that Trace, a student from the future uses a time machine, and travels back to 2012, out time. But, the machine gets broken, and he has to find a girl called Emma Fields to be able to travel back. To find this girl, you have to complete many tasks. The game was very slow, and it consisted of a lot of walking around. Just walking and walking, looking for people, and looking for places. I was supposed to find a girl named Kit, and to do that I first had to find a library. Then I had to go to an office to get a student ID, an after that go back to the library. I thought I had completed a task, but then I had to go to a sandwich shop and deliver sandwiches. I did not really understand why I had to do this, and I really found it pointless, so I gave up after that.

I think the games used way to long time to start up. I waited and waited, and when I finally entered the game I expected it to be interesting. I think the game was to slow, because you have to walk around a lot, and it was repeating itself too much. However, I think it is a good idea, and that it could be a great alternative to regular learning/teaching if it is developed a bit more. I think it can be a great variety in school work, especially for younger kids. I think the age group is a bit wrong. It fits better for kids aged 10 to 12, even if it is a bit boring.

I will give this game a two on the dice, simply because it was to boring! Everything took way too much time, and I was bored to quickly. Also I believe the age group is wrong, but it is a good idea!

                                                          A two for now, but...

                it could get a five if it changes a bit, and changes age group to around 10 to 12.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Maria's story

I just read a story from WW2 called Maria's story. It was a very sad story, although it had a happy ending. Maria was 16, and lived in Poland with her family. They were not Jewish, but they lived in a Jewish neighborhood, so Maria had Jewish friends, and she spoke Jewish along with German, Polish and 3 other languages. The family had got on well with the Jews, as well as the Germans that lived in the area. Her father even owned a business along with a Jew. As the war started, the family sold their business, and moved to the countryside to a farm. One day, her mother was told that the SS was going to take her brother. He hid at another farm, but instead the SS took Maria. She was sent to a camp in Germany, and set to work at a factory along with many other girls. They were working under terrible conditions, and got only a slice of bread and some soup a day.
After four years as prisoners, they were freed by Americans. Many of the girls went to America and Canada, but Maria wanted to find her family, so she stayed at the camp and worked as interpreter at the red cross hospital for a year. During that year she met a young English man. they fell in love and got married, and moved to England together. After some time the Red Cross found her family in Poland, and they were all reunited.

On the pictures: polish refugees

If you want to read this story by yourself, here is the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/65/a3864765.shtml

Trafalgar Square Christimas Tree

Every year a huge Christmas tree is given to London, from the city of Oslo in Norway. This has been given since 1947, which means that this year’s Christmas tree will number 66. The tree is a gift and a token of friendship, a way of thanking for the help Norway received during WW2. The Norwegian king, Haakon VI, escaped to England when the war broke out, and the Norwegian government was set up in London. Many Norwegians escaped to Britain during the war, and great parts of the resistance movement was lead from London. 

The tree is called "The Queen Of The Forest", and it is usually a ca. 50 years old spruce, at around 20 to 30 meters high. It is cut already in November, in a ceremony attended by the Oslo mayor and the British ambassador to Norway, before it begins its long journey over the sea to Immingham in England, and from there by lorry to London. It is set up 12 days before Christmas, and that day is an important day of Christmas for many Londoners. It is a signal of the countdown to Christmas. There's carol singing, poetry performed, and the tree is decorated in a traditional Norwegian style, with hundreds of white lights. 

This sign is placed beside the Christmas tree. 

Approximately 3000 from the Norwegian military died during WW2, and in total approximately 9 500 Norwegians died during and because of the war. This is 0.32 percent of the population in 1939.
Britain, however, had 382 700 military deaths, and in total 449 800 deaths.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

11th Hour

Today, I saw the movie "11th hour". It is a documentary about environmental issues, how the nature works, and what we humans do to it.  It tells about global warming, and the fact that we humans are destroying our planet, without giving it a second thought. We are poisoning the seas and the air, and we are way too many people. Before the industrial revolution the only energy we used was the current sun light. This limited how much food we could produce, and we were never more than a billion people. Now we use ancient sunlight, oil and coal, we have much more energy to use. What will happen when we run out of these resources? I actually learnt a bit from the film. I did not know that deforestation is such a huge problem, and I did not know that the global warming has such consequences.

During the film, I tried taking notes. It was pretty difficult, because the film was about such a complicated and important subject. I tried writing by hand, on my computer, and on a shared Google document with many others.

I like wiring on my computer, using One Note. One of the reasons why is that I can edit my notes both during and after i'm done. It is easier to understand what I have written, because when I write quickly by hand, it often looks terrible. However, with a computer, I will always understand what I have written! Many computers also have some sort of auto correction system, so that if a make small typing mistakes the computer will fix them for me.

I also like writing by hand. I do not know why, but I feel like I learn much more by doing it that way. It may be just out of habit, because we always wrote like that on school before, and I am simply used to doing it that way. The problem with this way of taking notes is that I either spend too much time trying to write nicely, or I write quickly and end up not being able to understand my own notes a few minutes later.

I did not like writing on a shared document. We were too many writing at the same time, and all the notes ended up being deleted. It didn't really work, because there is always someone who doesn’t work.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This year I would like to nominate a blog in the edublog awards. I want to nominate this student blog, in the category "best student blog", www.englishsandvika.wordpress.com , written by Hanne. She has a very good blog, with interesting posts, a good layout and she has got very many hits!

I would also like to nominate a blog in the category "best teacher blog" : http://www.annmic.wordpress.com/ , written by my teacher, Ann.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


·        Do you think there is more pressure on how you perform/write when you use blogs instead of writing a paper for the teacher only?

I think there is more pressure, because many people can see it, not just me and the teachers. I don't really know if that is a good or a bad thing, because if write a good text that I am proud of it is fun if more people read it. However, if I make a terrible post I may not want others than myself to see it. 

·        Do you think the use of blogs reduces the difference between your work at school and your everyday life?
It is a bit weird to write a blog for school, because blogging is something normally would associate with 14 year old girls, but now it has turned more into a school thing. So, it still feels like school work, because this is not something that I want to do, and I would not sit down and write a blog post outside of school. But, I think it is a modern way of teaching, which I think is good. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Big Miracle an the Alaskan natives

I do not know whether the film gives a realistic view about how it is to live in Alaska. I do not really know anything about how it is to live in Alaska, but I guess it is pretty similar to living in northern Norway. Maybe some readers from Alaska could tell me how it is to live in Alaska for them.

I've recently seen the movie ‘’Big Miracle’’. It is about three whales trapped in the ice in Alaska. They have no chance of surviving, because the weather is getting colder, and their little breathing hole in the ice is slowly closing. The local Eskimos, the natives of Alaska, give them only a few days left to live, and want to hunt them down for food. But, as a news reporter makes a small story about them that is showed on national TV, the whales receive a whole world’s sympathy. Greenpeace activists, politicians, Eskimos, news reporters and normal people all cooperate to save the wales, however, with very different personal motives. 

Greenpeace is an international environmental organization. They say that they work to keep the ‘’earths life in all its diversity’’. They are known for working against thing like deforestation, global warming, over-fishing and nuclear weapons. They use non-violent means to reach their goals, such as demonstrations, giving out information, and direct actions. Greenpeace is a huge organization with more than 3 million members, which means that they can make a big influence, they have even been called the most visible environmental organization in the world. Here in Norway, they are specially working against the whaling. Like in the movie, where Greenpeace wanted to save the whales from being killed by the Eskimos.
The Eskimos, or the Inuits, are the native people of Alaska.  The traditionally live of hunting and fishing whale, seal, fish and other animals. They could even catch polar bears and musk ox. As there are no plants or roots growing in the areas the Eskimos traditionally lived, they used sea grass with the food. There are 20 different Inuit languages and dialects, however, some of them are critically endangered, and some are even lost. That led to the establishment of the Alaskan Native Language Centre, in 1972. The centre works on researching and preserving native literature and information about native languages. Today, many Inuits live a modern life, just like anyone else. The furry coats that we saw in the movie are not an everyday suit, they used as a ceremony, probably similar to the traditional Sami clothing in Norway. The Inuit culture has faded over the years, but, they still try to keep their traditional lifestyle, and the languages and traditions are taught to the children. 
                                                                                        An Eskimo family from 1915

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Death penalty

Formal text:

Death penalty is a punishment that has been use for a long time. As long as we can remember, death penalty has been a method to punish criminals. However, over the past century, many countries has abolished death penalty, and today only a few still practice it. Most of them are in Africa and Asia, but also USA still practice death penalty. In America, 33 out of 50 states still have death penalty. Every year around 30 to 50 persons are executed in USA, and even more are sitting on “death row”, the prison where prisoners sentenced to death are imprisoned. Over thousand prisoners are sitting in death row for many years, just waiting to die. 
The most common method of execution is lethal injections. This is considered to be the most human way of doing it. Other methods that is used is electrocution, hanging and shooting.
There are enormous debates about this form of punishment. Many organizations work hard towards abolishing death penalty. One of the arguments that is most used, is that death penalty is against the human rights.  They mean that even though a person has killed someone, we should not do the same to him/her, because we know better. It is also widely debated for death penalty, because it prevents and scares people from committing crime. However, it is not proven that countries with death penalty has lower crime rates than others.

Informal text:

Death penalty used to be a normal way of punishing criminals before. Today, most country do not use death as a penalty, but some still do. In USA, around 30 to 50 people are executed every year, and this is very many persons! This is truly a horrible way of punishment. And even worse, over thousands of people are sitting in death row, the prison where the criminals sentenced to death are. They are siting there, year after year, just waiting to be killed! I can’t even imagine how terrible is must be, locked inside a room, waiting to be killed.
Luckily, there are many organizations working against this, such as Amnesty and DPIC. They are working hard with telling people about why we shouldn't have death penalty in our modern society, and collect signatures as a demonstration against it. On their websites, they also have a lot information about this topic, which scares me to read. I read that a man was hanged in 1996. This is only 16 years ago! I thought that hanging was an old-fashioned way of execution, that no one any longer did, something that we hear about in old tales.
I hope that soon we will not have death penalty anywhere in the world!

These two texts shows the differences between informal and formal texts. The formal one, number 1  is written with full words and long sentences. It is objective, just presenting facts about death penalty. I have used words like "however" and "this is considered" instead of writing "I think that" so that it is objective.   The second one, the informal, is written with an easier language. Easier words, and shorter sentences. I also presented my own opinion in this text, I wrote things like " I can’t even imagine how terrible is must be", showing my feelings about this subject. In the informal text, I also used some abbreviations and contractions in the informal text, I wrote "can't" and "won't", but in the formal text I wrote "can not".

You can read more about this here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Today, we have compared different newspapers to eachother. We chose papers from USA, Jamaica and Poland.
Jamaica Observer, New York Times and the Polish newspaper Wyborcza, are three different newspapers, from three different countries. All three papers are big newspapers in their countries, and they write a lot about foreign news, especially when it comes to the presidential election I the US. Wyborcza writes a lot about Syria, and writes about how the rebels are doing etc. The New York Times also writes about Syria, but they are quite obsessed about themselves in foreign news, and don’t have a neutral point of view.
The Jamaican observer however, doesn’t write anything about Syria or other conflicts. But they do write about more local foreign news, like criminals in New York, and sports. When it comes to local news, the polish newspaper writes a lot about the government, and the prime minister, while the Jamaican newspaper are more obsessed with local criminality and culture. The New York Times are more focused with (as mentioned) the presidential election, school police, the jobless rate, and local “drama” between lawyers and politicians etc.

We found out that the newspapers are quite different, especially when it comes to foreign news. And while Wyborcza looks to be the most neutral, and most informative newspaper. The New York Times are obsessed with US-related news, and Jamaican observer focuses more on Jamaican news, and foreign local news.

Here are the links to the papers we used!
The New York times from USA: http://www.nytimes.com/
The Jamaican Observer from Jamaica: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/
Wyborcza from Poland: http://www.wyborcza.pl/

WHat is the most important news in your country?

Two Kinds & Lamb to the Slaughter

Today we have read two short stories, Two Kinds by Amy Tan and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. They were both very good short stories, even though they were a bit sad.  Me and my friends Ewa (visit her blog here: www.englishewa.blogspot.com ) and Amalie (www.amaliepaasandvika.blogspot.com ) worked together, and we decided to try to compare these stories to each other. This is what we discovered:

  • ·         First of all, the main characters in both the stories are females. In Two Kinds the main character is a young Chinese girl, and in Lamb to the Slaughter it is a woman, Mary Maloney, who seems to be a bit mad.

  • ·         The setting in both of the stories takes place in the family, in their homes. Only the family is included in the plot. This is typical for short stories, there are often few people.

  • ·         The point of view is from the main character.

  • ·         Poor communication can be found in both stories. The mother and daughter in Two Kinds have problems with communicating with each other, and agree on what is the best for the daughter’s future. Mary and her husband Charlie in the other story can’t communicate on their relationship, and this result in Mary killing him.

  • ·         We discovered that the conflicts in the stories both came as a result of the poor communication. The reason why the mother and daughter had such a conflict was because they had different opinions and had problems with communicating about this with each other. The conflict in Lamb to the Slaughter is that Mary kills her husband, and this wouldn’t have happened if they could communicate.

  • ·         The solution of the conflicts ends with death and killing. Mary feels like she has to kill her husband because she wants to leave him, and by that, he is not leaving her, at least kind of. The conflict in Two Kinds only ends when the mother dies, only then is the daughter able to forgive her, and see that she did what she did because she loved her.

  • ·         The theme in both stories is love. In Two Kinds it is about the love between mother and daughter, the mother wants her daughter to be famous because she wants her to have a bright future. In Lamb to the Slaughter it is about the love between wife and husband. When Charlie doesn’t love her anymore, Mary feels like she has to kill him, because he is her only love.

You can read the stories here!