Wednesday, October 30, 2013

For my fellow history geeks, from youtube:
(No political point to this one, just an interesting history documentary, for those who like such things.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Lee Harvey Oswald’s lonely childhood: No one imagined he’d kill the president 

 Either this is deliberately meant to be tongue-in-cheek, or this is possibly the worst headline writing of all time.
Even assuming adult anti-social behavior can be predicted from childhood, killing the president is a rather specific thing to ask anyone to have imagined.
Is it supposed to be news that when Lee Harvey Oswald was a boy, nobody predicted he would kill the President?
Are we supposed to be surprised that his neighbors weren't sitting on porch watching him come home from school and saying to each other: "Mark my words Tom, one of these days that boy's going to kill the president."

Other article title ideas:
The lonly childhood of Christopher Columbus: His childhood neighbors never imagined he'd one day accidentally discover a continent while searching for a trade route to India
Edward II's Childhood: None of his childhood friends ever guessed he'd one day be killed by having hot pokers shoved up his anus. 
Joan of Arc's Childhood: None of her teachers ever imagined she'd one day be burned at the stake.
Robespierre's Childhood: When they were kids, none of his school friends ever imagined he'd one day unleash a reign of terror on the country.
....That's all I've got for now.  Other ideas?

Update: Some of's commenters are already ahead of me in pointing out the absurdity of this headline:
There's a word for a person who looks at a child and says "I imagine that someday he will kill a president": Crazy.

It's like how nobody looks at you and suspects you will one day shoot the Orelanist Dauphin. 

“Phil in the photocopy dept has a funny look about him. Think he may intend the Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand. Tell HR.”

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Time for another edition of: People I Know in the News....

Controversial Dam Approved on Cambodia-Laos Border
Laos pushes ahead with Mekong dam without consulting neighbours

The Southeast Asia director of International Rivers quoted in both pieces is an acquaintance of mine. (A friend of a friend to be precise, but I'm still counting her among the people I know.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mark Twain on God--excerpts from his memoirs.

It isn't really news that Mark Twain hated Christianity.  His collected writings on the problems of Christianity can fill a whole book.
But, whether it's new news or old news, the excerpt Salon printed is still worth a read.  It reminds me a lot of Thomas Paine's style in The Age of Reason.
Which I suppose is not surprising because Mark Twain was a big fan of The Age of Reason (W).

Our Bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless exactness. The portrait is substantially that of a man—if one can imagine a man charged and overcharged with evil impulses far beyond the human limit; a personage whom no one, perhaps, would desire to associate with, now that Nero and Caligula are dead. in the old Testament His acts expose His vindictive, unjust, ungenerous, pitiless and vengeful nature constantly. He is always punishing—punishing trifling misdeeds with thousand-fold severity; punishing innocent children for the misdeeds of their parents; punishing unoffending populations for the misdeeds of their rulers; even descending to wreak bloody vengeance upon harmless calves and lambs and sheep and bullocks, as punishment for inconsequential trespasses committed by their proprietors. it is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading, by contrast.

We brazenly call our God the source of mercy, while we are aware, all the time, that there is not an authentic instance in history of His ever having exercised that virtue. We call Him the source of morals, while we know by His history and by His daily conduct, as perceived with our own senses, that He is totally destitute of anything resembling morals. 
We deal in a curious and laughable confusion of notions concerning God. We divide Him in two, bring half of Him down to an obscure and infinitesimal corner of the world to confer salvation upon a little colony of Jews—and only Jews, no one else—and leave the other half of Him throned in heaven and looking down and eagerly and anxiously watching for results. We reverently study the history of the earthly half, and deduce from it the conviction that the earthly half has reformed, is equipped with morals and virtues, and in no way resembles the abandoned, malignant half that abides upon the throne. We conceive that the earthly half is just, merciful, charitable, benevolent, forgiving, and full of sympathy for the sufferings of mankind and anxious to remove them. Apparently we deduce this character not by examining facts, but by diligently declining to search them, measure them, and weigh them. The earthly half requires us to be merciful, and sets us an example by inventing a lake of fire and brimstone in which all of us who fail to recognize and worship Him as God are to be burned through all eternity. And not only we, who are offered these terms, are to be thus burned if we neglect them, but also the earlier billions of human beings are to suffer this awful fate, although they all lived and died without ever having heard of Him or the terms at all. This exhibition of mercifulness may be called gorgeous. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

More Japanese oldies on Youtube:
This 1963 Japanese song,Washington Park, I always thought had a catchy melody.
I was never sure whether it was a Japanese original, or if it was a cover of something else, until I heard a hip-hop version of it recently in a bar.  So I decided to search the Internet.
It turns out the song was originally recorded as an instrumental song back in America.
But it was funked up a little bit by James Last in this version here.
And that version in turn was sampled for this hip-hop song by French hip hop group Chinese Man.
It's a repetitive musical hook, I know, but I like it.  I think it works quite well as hip-hop.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teaching Journey to the Center of the Earth

            These are my thoughts on teaching Journey to the Center of the Earth to an ESL class.

            In the case of The Outsiders,  the book became part of my reading list because it was already part of the curriculum for the class.  In this case, the order was reversed.  Because I was already reading this book, I ended up suggesting this book for the class curriculum.

            Given that in my previous post, I gave Journey to the Center of the Earth a somewhat lukewarm review, I suppose I should explain why I suggested it to my students.
            It happened like this….
            Each level of our advanced English class has to read one novel per term as part of our extensive reading program. 
            Traditionally, level 6 usually reads The Diary of Anne Frank
            However, I got an e-mail the day before class started saying that the previous term the teacher and the students had been frustrated with The Diary of Anne Frank, (apparently the students had found it boring) and Anne Frank was no longer on the curriculum.

            (Confession: I’ve never actually read The Diary of Anne Frank.  So I can’t say whether it should have remained on the curriculum or not.  If anyone has any thoughts, let me know.)

            Anyway, I got this e-mail one day before class started, so I had to throw something together in a hurry.
            It was extra work on my part, and yet it was the kind of extra work I enjoyed.  The possibilities excited me as I thought about all my favorite books.  Should I have the students read Treasure Island?  Or Peter Pan ?  Or Tom Sawyer?  So many choices.

            A lot of the teaching methodology books I’ve been reading lately suggest that classes function best when the teacher gives the students more of an active role in choosing the curriculum (both Ellis  and Scrivener mention this).  So, I eventually decided to present my students with a list of 8 books, and let them vote on which one they wanted to do.

            The list had to be thrown together in a couple hours, but I managed to quickly think of 8 books that I thought would be suitable.
            I also put Anne Frank on the list, because I figured why not give the students an opportunity to vote the book back onto the curriculum if they wanted to.

            And Journey to the Center of the Earth made it onto the list as well. 
            At the point I was writing this list, I was only about 25 pages into Journey to the Center of the Earth.  I had yet to form the full opinion of this book that I expressed in the previous review.  All I knew was that I had enjoyed a version of this story as a child, and that I had recently enjoyed Around the World in 80 Days by the same author.

            I gave the students a few days to discuss the options, and I also had them read the first page of all 8 books to get a feel for them.  And then we had the vote.
            I ended up using this list in 4 different classrooms (3 classrooms of level 6, plus I decided to use the same list in the advanced reading class). I fully expected each class to vote for a different book, and I was expecting to have to prepare 4 different lesson plans for each book.
            However, the classes all voted with remarkably consistency.  All 4 classes voted to do Journey to the Center of the Earth
            This made my job easier because I only had to prepare lessons for one book.  However, after I got a couple hundred more pages into Journey to the Center of the Earth, I began to realize how boring much of the book was, and I began to regret that I had suggested it in the first place.
            However, as it was too late to backtrack now, I decided to try and minimize the damage.  The first thing was to decide not to have my students read the unabridged version, but instead the easy English version from Oxford Bookworms (a publishing line specifically designed for students of English as a second language).

            The second thing I attempted to do was to try and kindle as much interest in the subject matter as I could, on the theory that if I could excite the imagination of the students about the general subject, the story would be that much more enjoyable.
            Also, since general world knowledge of many Cambodian students is lacking, I also like to sneak as much general world knowledge into my English lessons as possible.

            So I prepared a hand-out in which I tried to explain some of the geography of Europe during the 19th century, and also explain the scientific theories behind the book.

            In retrospect, I now think I that I went about this all wrong.
            In retrospect I think I spoiled too much of the story for my students by telling them too much too soon.
            But, my ideas on how to teach this book were still evolving.  The opinion I expressed in the previous post, that Journey to the Center of the Earth is best enjoyed if you don’t know anything in advance, was an opinion I had not yet fully formed.

            If I had it to do over again, I would have saved much of the extra information about the book until the end.  Instead, I should have tried to ignite interest in the book by using some general discussion questions, like the pre-reading questions in this Penguin teaching aid here [LINK HERE]

            Ah well, live and learn.

            At the end of the class, I asked the students what they had thought of the book, and asked if, now that they had read the book, they would recommend it to the next incoming class.
            The opinion was not unanimous, but then it never is.  (I’ve learned that you’ll never have a book that all the students will like.  No matter what the book is, there will always be some students who like the book, and some students who hate it.)  A few of the students said that the book was boring and pointless.  However, the majority of the students said they liked the book, and that they would recommend it to the following class.

            I’m going to use this post as a dumping ground for all the teaching materials I prepared for this book.  However, as with the previous post, there will be spoilers here, and I recommend you don’t read it if you haven’t read the book first.

            According to the structure of the syllabus, there were 3 classes throughout the term given over to discussion of the book.  Students were assigned to read a certain part of the book by a certain date, and then we would discuss it together in class.  Plus there was one day of class time spent introducing the book, so altogether we spent four classes on it.

Below are all the materials I used with the book in the following order:
1. Handout with the 8 book options
2. Introductory Handout
3. Discussion Questions
4. Vocabulary Games
5. Quiz Game
6. Link to an Article I Never Got to Use

1. Handout with the 8 book options
            First, below is the handout I prepared with the 8 options for the books that the students were to vote on.  (Unfortunately I pretty much give away the whole plot of the book in my synopsis, which, as I said above, if I had to do it over again, I would do differently, and even would probably have chosen a different picture, since the picture I used gives away the most exciting part of the book.)

Graded Readers: The Options
1. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1942-1944)

Description: This is not a novel--this is the real diary of a girl.  She was Jewish, and she lived during a time when Jews were being killed in Europe.  This is her day to day story

Advantages: This story is 100% real.  Everything in it actually happened and it's a real diary.  Also the girl is in high school when she wrote the diary, so she was around the age of many of you now.

Disadvantages: This is a depressing part of European history, and the story has a sad ending.  Although Anne Frank's story is interesting in general, sometimes the day to day details of her life can be a bit boring to read.  Last term's EAP 6 students reportedly didn't enjoy this book.

2. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (published 1883)

Description:  The most famous pirate story in the English language, originally published in 1883 as a boys'adventure book.

Advantages: a children's story, simple sentences and straightforward story, lots of adventure.

Disadvantages: The book is a little bit old so it uses some old vocabulary.  Also the book contains a lot of vocabulary related to sailing and ships, and a lot of pirate slang.

3.The Adventures of Tom  Sawyer by Mark Twain (1876)

Description:  A mostly humorous story about a boy named Tom Sawyer who lives in the American South.  He is a very mischievous boy and causes lots of trouble to his family and teachers.  He also goes on lots of adventures.

Advantages: Lots of humour and adventure

Disadvantages: Much of the humor is based on an understanding of American society.  It may be difficult for Cambodian students to understand the humor at times.  Also a lot of slang and rural American English is used in this book.

4.  The Jungle Book By Rudyard Kipling (1894)

Description: A collection of stories about animals in the jungle, mostly centering around the human child Mowgli who grows up with the animals.

Advantages: This book was originally written for children, so the sentences are simple.

Disadvantages: Because of the style of the book, and because it is old, much of the language can be a bit formal.

5. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1911)

Description: One of the most famous children's stories in English literature, this story has just about everything a child could want in one story: pirates, Indians, animals, mermaids, fairies, and magic.  The style of the book is very humorous and ironic

Advantages: A very funny and adventurous book

Disadvantages: A lot of the humour is based on irony or satire of British culture, and it may be difficult for Cambodian students to understand the humour.

6. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)

Description: Nowadays, thanks to advanced science we have a pretty good idea of what is buried deep underground in the center of the Earth.  However, back in 1864 when Jules Verne first wrote this book, nobody had any idea what was buried deep underground.  So Jules Verne just imagined what he thought might be under the ground, and  he imagined a world of strange forests, prehistoric creatures, giants and dinosaurs all under the ground.  As our heroes journey deep into the earth, they encounter many strange things underground.

Advantages: A simple story, lots of fun.

Disadvantages: some science and geology vocabulary.

7. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1873)

Description: Nowadays it is very easy to travel around the world by airplane, but before airplanes travelling took a long time.  This book was written in 1873 before airplanes.  In the book, a rich Englishman bets his friends that he can travel around the whole world in 80 days.  Then he has to race around the world to win the bet.  The story is mostly written in a humorous style.

Advantages: Simple plot, straight forward story, and teaches about the world.

Disadvantages: Geographical knowledge is necessary to follow the plot.

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

Description: A story about racism in the American South told from the perspective of a young child.

Advantages: Published in 1960, this is the most modern book on the list, and it uses the most modern language.

Disadvantages:  A lot of this book takes place inside a courtroom, and uses some legal and courtroom vocabulary.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
June 12, 1942
                 I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.
Comment added by Anne on September 28, 1942:
                So far you truly have been a great source of comfort to me, and so has Kitty, whom I now write to regularly. This way of keeping a diary is much nicer, and now I can hardly wait for those moments when I'm able to write in you.
                Oh, I'm so glad I brought you along!

Sunday, June 14, 1942
                I'll begin from the moment I got you, the moment I saw you lying on the table among my other birthday presents. (I went along when you were bought, but that doesn't count.)
                On Friday, June 12, I was awake at six o'clock, which isn't surprising, since it was my birthday. But I'm not allowed to get up at that hour, so I had to control my curiosity until quarter to seven. When I couldn't wait any longer, I went to the dining room, where Moortje (the cat) welcomed me by rubbing against my legs.
                A little after seven I went to Daddy and Mama and then to the living room to open my presents, and you were the first thing I saw, maybe one of my nicest presents. Then a bouquet of roses, some peonies and a potted plant. From Daddy and Mama I got a blue blouse, a game, a bottle of grape juice, which to my mind tastes a bit like wine (after all, wine is made from grapes), a puzzle, a jar of cold cream, 2.50 guilders and a gift certificate for two books. I got another book as well, Camera Obscura (but Margot already has it, so I exchanged mine for something else), a platter of homemade cookies (which I made myself, of course, since I've become quite an expert at baking cookies), lots of candy and a strawberry tart from Mother. And a letter from Grammy, right on time, but of course that was just a coincidence.
                Then Hanneli came to pick me up, and we went to school. During recess I passed out cookies to my teachers and my class, and then it was time to get back to work. I didn't arrive home until five, since I went to gym with the rest of the class. (I'm not allowed to take part because my shoulders and hips tend to get dislocated.) As it was my birthday, I got to decide which game my classmates would play, and I chose volleyball. Afterward they all danced around me in a circle and sang "Happy Birthday." When I got home, Sanne Ledermann was already there. Ilse Wagner, Hanneli Goslar and Jacqueline van Maarsen came home with me after gym, since we're in the same class. Hanneli and Sanne used to be my two best friends. People who saw us together used to say, "There goes Anne, Hanne and Sanne." I only met Jacqueline van Maarsen when I started at the Jewish Lyceum, and now she's my best friend. Ilse is Hanneli's best friend, and Sanne goes to another school and has friends there.
                They gave me a beautiful book, Dutch Sagas and Legends, but they gave me Volume II by mistake, so I exchanged two other books for Volume I. Aunt Helene brought me a puzzle, Aunt Stephanie a darling brooch and Aunt Leny a terrific book: Daisy Goes to the Mountains.
                This morning I lay in the bathtub thinking how wonderful it would be if I had a dog like Rin Tin Tin. I'd call him Rin Tin Tin too, and I'd take him to school with me, where he could stay in the janitor's room or by the bicycle racks when the weather was good.

Monday, June 15, 1942
                I had my birthday party on Sunday afternoon. The Rin Tin Tin movie was a big hit with my classmates. I got two brooches, a bookmark and two books.
                 I'll start by saying a few things about my school and my class, beginning with the students.
                Betty Bloemendaal looks kind of poor, and I think she probably is. She lives on some obscure street in West Amsterdam, and none of us know where it is. She does very well at school, but that's because she works so hard, not because she's so smart. She's pretty quiet.
                 Jacqueline van Maarsen is supposedly my best friend, but I've never had a real friend. At first I thought Jacque would be one, but I was badly mistaken.
                D.Q.* *Initials have been assigned at random to those persons who prefer to remain anonymous. is a very nervous girl who's always forgetting things, so the teachers keep assigning her extra homework as punishment. She's very kind, especially to G.Z.
                 E.S. talks so much it isn't funny. She's always touching your hair or fiddling with your buttons when she asks you something. They say she can't stand me, but I don't care, since I don't like her much either.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
1. The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow
SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow--a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-- Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the capstan bars. Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that he carried, and when my father appeared, called roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard.
"This is a handy cove," says he at length; "and a pleasant situated grog-shop. Much company, mate?"
My father told him no, very little company, the more was the pity.
"Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me. Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. I'll stay here a bit," he continued. "I'm a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up there for to watch ships off. What you mought call me? You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at-- there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold. "You can tell me when I've worked through that," says he, looking as fierce as a commander.
And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. The man who came with the barrow told us the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of residence. And that was all we could learn of our guest.
He was a very silent man by custom. All day he hung round the cove or upon the cliffs with a brass telescope; all evening he sat in a corner of the parlour next the fire and drank rum and water very strong. Mostly he would not speak when spoken to, only look up sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a fog-horn; and we and the people who came about our house soon learned to let him be. Every day when he came back from his stroll he would ask if any seafaring men had gone by along the road. At first we thought it was the want of company of his own kind that made him ask this question, but at last we began to see he was desirous to avoid them. When a seaman did put up at the Admiral Benbow (as now and then some did, making by the coast road for Bristol) he would look in at him through the curtained door before he entered the parlour; and he was always sure to be as silent as a mouse when any such was present. For me, at least, there was no secret about the matter, for I was, in a way, a sharer in his alarms. He had taken me aside one day and promised me a silver fourpenny on the first of every month if I would only keep my "weather-eye open for a seafaring man with one leg" and let him know the moment he appeared. Often enough when the first of the month came round and I applied to him for my wage, he would only blow through his nose at me

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


No answer.
No answer.
"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!"
No answer.
The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked THROUGH them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service -- she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:
"Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll --"
She did not finish, for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat.
"I never did see the beat of that boy!"
She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and "jimpson" weeds that constituted the garden. No Tom. So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted:
"Y-o-u-u TOM!"
There was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small boy by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight.
"There! I might 'a' thought of that closet. What you been doing in there?"
"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What IS that truck?"
"I don't know, aunt."
"Well, I know. It's jam -- that's what it is. Forty times I've said if you didn't let that jam alone I'd skin you. Hand me that switch."
The switch hovered in the air -- the peril was des- perate --
"My! Look behind you, aunt!"
The old lady whirled round, and snatched her skirts out of danger. The lad fled on the instant, scrambled up the high board-fence, and disappeared over it.

Jungle Book  by Rudyard Kipling
It was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon shone into the mouth of the cave where they all lived. "Augrh!" said Father Wolf. "It is time to hunt again." He was going to spring down hill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined: "Good luck go with you, O Chief of the Wolves. And good luck and strong white teeth go with noble children that they may never forget the hungry in this world."
It was the jackal--Tabaqui, the Dish-licker--and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more than anyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets that he was ever afraid of anyone, and runs through the forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and hides when little Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia, but they call it dewanee--the madness-- and run.
"Enter, then, and look," said Father Wolf stiffly, "but there is no food here."
"For a wolf, no," said Tabaqui, "but for so mean a person as myself a dry bone is a good feast. Who are we, the Gidur-log [the jackal people], to pick and choose?" He scuttled to the back of the cave, where he found the bone of a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking the end merrily.
"All thanks for this good meal," he said, licking his lips. "How beautiful are the noble children! How large are their eyes! And so young too! Indeed, indeed, I might have remembered that the children of kings are men from the beginning."
Now, Tabaqui knew as well as anyone else that there is nothing so unlucky as to compliment children to their faces. It pleased him to see Mother and Father Wolf look uncomfortable.
Tabaqui sat still, rejoicing in the mischief that he had made, and then he said spitefully:
"Shere Khan, the Big One, has shifted his hunting grounds. He will hunt among these hills for the next moon, so he has told me."
Shere Khan was the tiger who lived near the Waingunga River, twenty miles away.
"He has no right!" Father Wolf began angrily--"By the Law of the Jungle he has no right to change his quarters without due warning. He will frighten every head of game within ten miles, and I--I have to kill for two, these days."
"His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for nothing," said Mother Wolf quietly. "He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our children must run when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are very grateful to Shere Khan!"
"Shall I tell him of your gratitude?" said Tabaqui.
"Out!" snapped Father Wolf. "Out and hunt with thy master. Thou hast done harm enough for one night."
"I go," said Tabaqui quietly. "Ye can hear Shere Khan below in the thickets. I might have saved myself the message."
Father Wolf listened, and below in the valley that ran down to a little river he heard the dry, angry, snarly, singsong whine of a tiger who has caught nothing and does not care if all the jungle knows it.
"The fool!" said Father Wolf. "To begin a night's work with that noise! Does he think that our buck are like his fat Waingunga bullocks?"
"H'sh. It is neither bullock nor buck he hunts to-night," said Mother Wolf. "It is Man."

Peter Pan Chapter 1


  All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
  Of course they lived at 14 [their house number on their street], and until Wendy came her mother was the chief one. She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you discover there is always one more; and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there is was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner.
  The way Mr. Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been boys when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her, and they all ran to her house to propose to her except Mr. Darling, who took a cab and nipped in first, and so he got her. He got all of her, except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and in time he gave up trying for the kiss. Wendy thought Napoleon could have got it, but I can picture him trying, and then going off in a passion, slamming the door.
  Mr. Darling used to boast to Wendy that her mother not only loved him but respected him. He was one of those deep ones who know about stocks and shares. Of course no one really knows, but he quite seemed to know, and he often said stocks were up and shares were down in a way that would have made any woman respect him.
  Mrs. Darling was married in white, and at first she kept the books perfectly, almost gleefully, as if it were a game, not so much as a Brussels sprout was missing; but by and by whole cauliflowers dropped out, and instead of them there were pictures of babies without faces. She drew them when she should have been totting up. They were Mrs. Darling's guesses.
  Wendy came first, then John, then Michael.
  For a week or two after Wendy came it was doubtful whether they would be able to keep her, as she was another mouth to feed. Mr. Darling was frightfully proud of her, but he was very honourable, and he sat on the edge of Mrs. Darling's bed, holding her hand and calculating expenses, while she looked at him imploringly. She wanted to risk it, come what might, but that was not his way; his way was with a pencil and a piece of paper, and if she confused him with suggestions he had to begin at the beginning again.
  "Now don't interrupt," he would beg of her.
  "I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office; I can cut off my coffee at the office, say ten shillings, making two nine and six, with your eighteen and three makes three nine seven, with five naught naught in my cheque-book makes eight nine seven -- who is that moving? -- eight nine seven, dot and carry seven -- don't speak, my own -- and the pound you lent to that man who came to the door -- quiet, child -- dot and carry child -- there, you've done it! -- did I say nine nine seven? yes, I said nine nine seven; the question is, can we try it for a year on nine nine seven?"
  "Of course we can, George," she cried. But she was prejudiced in Wendy's favour, and he was really the grander character of the two.
  "Remember mumps," he warned her almost threateningly, and off he went again. "Mumps one pound, that is what I have put down, but I daresay it will be more like thirty shillings -- don't speak -- measles one five,

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
On the 24th of May, 1863, my uncle, Professor Liedenbrock, rushed into his little house, No. 19 Königstrasse, one of the oldest streets in the oldest portion of the city of Hamburg.
Martha must have concluded that she was very much behindhand, for the dinner had only just been put into the oven.
"Well, now," said I to myself, "if that most impatient of men is hungry, what a disturbance he will make!"
"M. Liedenbrock so soon!" cried poor Martha in great alarm, half opening the dining-room door.
"Yes, Martha; but very likely the dinner is not half cooked, for itis not two yet. Saint Michael's clock has only just struck half-pastone."
"Then why has the master come home so soon?"
"Perhaps he will tell us that himself."
"Here he is, Monsieur Axel; I will run and hide myself while youa rgue with him."
And Martha retreated in safety into her own dominions.
I was left alone. But how was it possible for a man of my undecided turn of mind to argue successfully with so irascible a person as the Professor? With this persuasion I was hurrying away to my own little retreat upstairs, when the street door creaked upon its hinges; heavy feet made the whole flight of stairs to shake; and the master of the house, passing rapidly through the dining-room, threw himself in haste into his own sanctum.
But on his rapid way he had found time to fling his hazel stick into a corner, his rough broadbrim upon the table, and these few emphatic words at his nephew:
"Axel, follow me!"
I had scarcely had time to move when the Professor was again shouting after me:
"What! not come yet?"
And I rushed into my redoubtable master's study.
Otto Liedenbrock had no mischief in him, I willingly allow that; but unless he very considerably changes as he grows older, at the end hewill be a most original character.
He was professor at the Johannæum, and was delivering a series of lectures on mineralogy, in the course of every one of which he broke into a passion once or twice at least. Not at all that he was over-anxious about the improvement of his class, or about the degree of attention with which they listened to him, or the success which might eventually crown his labours. Such little matters of detail never troubled him much. His teaching was as the German philosophy calls it, 'subjective'; it was to benefit himself, not others. He was a learned egotist. He was a well of science, and the pulleys worked uneasily when you wanted to draw anything out of it. In a word, he was a learned miser.
Germany has not a few professors of this sort.

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814. He was one of the most noticeable members of the Reform Club, though he seemed always to avoid attracting attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except that he was a polished man of the world. People said that he resembled Byron--at least that his head was Byronic; but he was a bearded, tranquil Byron, who might live on a thousand years without growing old.
Certainly an Englishman, it was more doubtful whether Phileas Fogg was a Londoner. He was never seen on 'Change, nor at the Bank, nor in the counting-rooms of the "City"; no ships ever came into London docks of which he was the owner; he had no public employment; he had never been entered at any of the Inns of Court, either at the Temple, or Lincoln's Inn, or Gray's Inn; nor had his voice ever resounded in the Court of Chancery, or in the Exchequer, or the Queen's Bench, or the Ecclesiastical Courts. He certainly was not a manufacturer; nor was he a merchant or a gentleman farmer. His name was strange to the scientific and learned societies, and he never was known to take part in the sage deliberations of the Royal Institution or the London Institution, the Artisan's Association, or the Institution of Arts and Sciences. He belonged, in fact, to none of the numerous societies which swarm in the English capital, from the Harmonic to that of the Entomologists, founded mainly for the purpose of abolishing pernicious insects.
Phileas Fogg was a member of the Reform, and that was all.
The way in which he got admission to this exclusive club was simple enough.
He was recommended by the Barings, with whom he had an open credit. His cheques were regularly paid at sight from his account current, which was always flush.
Was Phileas Fogg rich? Undoubtedly. But those who knew him best could not imagine how he had made his fortune, and Mr. Fogg was the last person to whom to apply for the information. He was not lavish, nor, on the contrary, avaricious; for, whenever he knew that money was needed for a noble, useful, or benevolent purpose, he supplied it quietly and sometimes anonymously. He was, in short, the least communicative of men. He talked very little, and seemed all the more mysterious for his taciturn manner. His daily habits were quite open to observation; but whatever he did was so exactly the same thing that he had always done before, that the wits of the curious were fairly puzzled.
Had he travelled? It was likely, for no one seemed to know the world more familiarly; there was no spot so secluded that he did not appear to have an intimate acquaintance with it. He often corrected, with a few clear words, the thousand conjectures advanced by members of the club as to lost and unheard-of travellers, pointing out the true probabilities, and seeming as if gifted with a sort of second sight, so often did events justify his predictions. He must have travelled everywhere, at least in the spirit.
It was at least certain that Phileas Fogg had not absented himself from London for many years. Those who were honoured by a better acquaintance with him than the rest, declared that nobody could pretend to have ever seen him anywhere else. His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing whist. He often won at this game, which, as a silent one, harmonised with his nature; but his winnings never went into his purse, being reserved as a fund for his charities. Mr. Fogg played, not to win, but for the sake of playing. The game was in his eyes a contest, a struggle with a difficulty, yet a motionless, unwearying struggle, congenial to his tastes.
Phileas Fogg was not known to have either wife or children, which may happen to the most honest people; either relatives or near friends, which is certainly more unusual. He lived alone in his house in Saville Row, whither none penetrated. A single domestic sufficed to serve him. He breakfasted and dined at the club, at hours mathematically fixed, in the same room, at the same table, never taking his meals with other members,

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

            When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.
             When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.
            I said if he wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson. If General Jackson hadn’t run the Creeks up the creek, Simon Finch would never have paddled up the Alabama, and where would we be if he hadn’t? We were far too old to settle an argument with a fist-fight, so we consulted Atticus. Our father said we were both right.
            Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some members of the family that we had no recorded ancestors on either side of the Battle of Hastings. All we had was Simon Finch, a fur-trapping apothecary from Cornwall whose piety was exceeded only by his stinginess. In England, Simon was irritated by the persecution of those who called themselves Methodists at the hands of their more liberal brethren, and as Simon called himself a Methodist, he worked his way across the Atlantic to Philadelphia, thence to Jamaica, thence to Mobile, and up the Saint Stephens. Mindful of John Wesley’s strictures on the use of many words in buying and selling, Simon made a pile practicing medicine, but in this pursuit he was unhappy lest he be tempted into doing what he knew was not for the glory of God, as the putting on of gold and costly apparel. So Simon, having forgotten his teacher’s dictum on the possession of human chattels, bought three slaves and with their aid established a homestead on the banks of the Alabama River some forty miles above Saint Stephens. He returned to Saint Stephens only once, to find a wife, and with her established a line that ran high to daughters. Simon lived to an impressive age and died rich.
             It was customary for the men in the family to remain on Simon’s homestead, Finch’s Landing, and make their living from cotton. The place was self-sufficient: modest in comparison with the empires around it, the Landing nevertheless produced everything required to sustain life except ice, wheat flour, and articles of clothing, supplied by river-boats from Mobile.
            Simon would have regarded with impotent fury the disturbance between the North and the South, as it left his descendants stripped of everything but their land, yet the tradition of living on the land remained unbroken until well into the twentieth century, when my father, Atticus Finch, went to Montgomery to read law, and his younger brother went to Boston to study medicine. Their sister Alexandra was the Finch who remained at the Landing: she married a taciturn man who spent most of his time lying in a hammock by the river wondering if his trot-lines were full.
            When my father was admitted to the bar, he returned to Maycomb and began his practice. Maycomb, some twenty miles east of Finch’s Landing, was the county seat of Maycomb County. Atticus’s office in the courthouse contained little more than a hat rack, a spittoon, a checkerboard and an unsullied Code of Alabama. His first two clients were the last two persons hanged in the Maycomb County jail. Atticus had urged them to accept the state’s generosity in allowing them to plead Guilty to second-degree murder and escape with their lives, but they were Haverfords, in Maycomb County a name synonymous with jackass. The Haverfords had dispatched Maycomb’s leading blacksmith in a misunderstanding arising from the alleged wrongful detention of a mare, were imprudent enough to do it in the presence of three witnesses, and insisted that the-son-of-a-bitch-had-it-coming-to-him was a good enough defense for anybody. They persisted in pleading Not Guilty to first-degree murder, so there was nothing much Atticus could do for his clients except be present at their departure, an occasion that was probably the beginning of my father’s profound distaste for the practice of criminal law.
            During his first five years in Maycomb, Atticus practiced economy more than anything; for several years thereafter he invested his earnings in his brother’s education. John Hale Finch was ten years younger than my father, and chose to study medicine at a time when cotton was not worth growing; but after getting Uncle Jack started, Atticus derived a reasonable income from the law. He liked Maycomb, he was Maycomb County born and bred; he knew his people, they knew him, and because of Simon Finch’s industry, Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town. 

2. Introductory Handout
            Next, here is the introductory handout I made for the students after we had chosen the book.
            A couple points:
            First of all, it remains a point of confusion to me whether Jules Verne is more respected in the French speaking world or in the English speaking world.  I’ve gotten contradictory information on this.
            The version of Journey to the Center of the Earth that I recently read (Collins Classics, Harper Press, London, 2010) says in its publisher’s introduction:
            Curiously Verne was thought of as an auteur pour les enfants in France. His fascination with futuristic science and fantastic situations was seen as rather puerile and fatuous alongside the serious and heavyweight novelists of his time, such as Honore de Balzac.
            In Britain it was another story. Scientific and technological progress had shaped the success of the British Empire and people were consequently far more open to Verne’s flights of fancy. He anticipated phenomena that seemed quite likely to occur from the British point of view, because they as a nation had been responsible for the lion’s share of advancements in science and technology that the world then enjoyed.
            However, the publisher’s introduction in this online PDF of Journey to the Center of the Earth  says the exact opposite

In France, Jules Verne is not the same person as in Britain. South of the Channel, Verne is recognised as an authentic, nineteenth-century writer with a proper set of Collected Works. Since the 1960s, any surprise, condescension or irony at reading or studying the Voyages extraordinaireshas disappeared, even among those who never actually buy any books. Balzac, Stendhal, Verne, Zola: the odd man out, the least integrated into Gallic national culture, is the Italianate Stendhal.
But in the English-speaking countries it is rare to meet adults who will admit to liking Verne. He is a children’s author, a writer of science-fiction, a poor stylist, at best responsible for films starring James Mason. His works may be fiction, but certainly don’t count as literature. He is short-trousered, not really French, and has nothing to say about the ‘human condition’.
            So which is it? 
            In my handout to the students I tried to split the difference by simply saying that Jules Verne was also very popular in England and not saying anything at all about his legacy in France.

            Second point—rereading this handout now, I’m slightly embarrassed at how repetitive it is.  (Rod Ellis, in SLA Research and Language Teaching, says that one of the characteristics of teacher-talk in ESL classrooms is repetition to ensure students understand.  I guess that this has snuck its way into my writing as well.)

            Thirdly—as science is not my strong point,  I am somewhat out of my depth when explaining it.  Most of the information on the hollow earth theory—why it appealed to people of Jules Verne’s time, and why it is now disbelieved— I got from the Wikipedia page, and this website here.  I re-worded some of it to make it easier to understand for ESL students, but it’s largely just a re-work of information that comes from these websites. 
            Because the science section of this handout relies so heavily on these websites, I’ve decided not to steal their content by reposting the same things here.  So I’m omitting my science section from the handout below.  Instead just follow the above links if you’re interested.
            As all this information from the Internet, I’m not even 100 percent it’s accurate.  (Which probably means I shouldn’t have used it.  But I didn’t really know where else to look for information.)

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
            Jules Verne was a French author who lived from 1825 to 1905.
            Jules Verne was one of the first authors to write in the genre of science fiction, and he helped to invent the genre.  He is most famous for the books Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, and From Earth to the Moon.
            Science fiction is a genre which takes known scientific concepts or technology based on scientific research and then imagines what might happen or could happen in a fictional (not real) story.  Sometimes the stories are just for fun, but sometimes the stories can help scientific progress because they use the imagination to explore areas of science that are yet unknown.  This helps to focus popular attention on potential areas of scientific research, or to suggest solutions to scientific problems.
            Indeed, Jules Verne is famous for imagining many technological scientific innovations before they happened.  In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (published in 1870) Jules Verne wrote about modern military submarines, and underwater breathing apparatuses years before they were actually invented.  In From Earth to the Moon(1865) Jules Verne imagined how human beings might travel to the moon over 100 years before it was actually possible.
            Since Jules Verne was a Frenchman, All of his books were originally written in the French language.  The English version of the book, which you are reading now, is a translation.
            However, although Jules Verne was not originally an English speaking author, his books have always been very popular in English speaking countries like England and America.  In the 1800s, scientific and technological progress had shaped the success of the British Empire.  New scientific inventions like the steam engine, the railway train, and the telegraph were beginning to change history and open up a new era of technological innovation which excited British and American people.  Therefore the ideas of Jules Verne's books were very popular in English speaking countries because they imagined things that were not yet possible at the time, but that seemed like they might be possible in the future like advanced submarines and space travel.  For this reason, Jules Verne's stories have always been considered classics in English as well as in French.
The Science
            Although Jules Verne was able to correctly anticipate many scientific ideas (space travel and submarines), unfortunately over the years not all of his scientific ideas have turned out to be correct, and Journey to the Center of the Earth is based on scientific theories that have now been discredited.  The story can still be read as an interesting adventure or fantasy story, but not as science.

This section omitted--see above.
(For more information on the hollow Earth theory, see and

Geographical and Historical Notes
            The book starts out in Germany, and the two main characters (Axel and Professor Lidenbrock) are both German.  However they soon travel to Iceland to begin their journey to the center of the Earth.
                Nowadays Iceland is an independent country, but in the 19th Century Iceland was still controlled by the country of Denmark, so to get to Iceland Axel and Professor Lidenbrock must travel to Denmark first.  (Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark, and Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland.  Danish is the adjective used for the people and language of Denmark, Icelandic refers to the people and language of Iceland.)

                All the countries in Europe speak different languages, so when they travel from one country to another language is an issue.  Nowadays English in the language of international communication, but in old Europe it was very common to use Latin as an international language, which is why sometimes characters will use Latin to communicate in Denmark or Iceland.
                The geology of Iceland is unique and of particular interest to geologists. Iceland lies on the geologic rift between the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. The Island itself is the result of a Volcano first erupting from the ocean about 16 to 18 million years ago.   The result is an island full of volcanos and other geothermal phenomena such as geysers.

                Many fjords punctuate Iceland's 4,970 km long coastline, which is also where most settlements are situated.  A fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity. The word comes to English from Icelandic.
Style of the Book
                Modern readers will likely find Journey to the Center of the Earth a bit slow.  Because the book is older, it moves at a slower pace than modern novels.
                Also, as in all of his books, Jules Verne was very meticulous about the story.  He wanted to set out a believable story of what could happen underground based on scientific theories of the time.  (We now know these scientific theories are false, but Jules Verne didn't know this when he wrote the book.)  So he wrote about a scientific expedition as he imagined it would take place.  Much time is taken in getting to the Earth's entrance, and then once the explorers enter the Earth, the story precedes slowly from there.  It takes some time before our heroes truly enter the depths of the Earth and encounter strange and exciting lands.  Some patience is required in reading.
Reading Options
                You have some options for reading this book.  Please pick the option which is most enjoyable for you.
                The original story is available as a PDF online:
                The PDF has a long introduction, so jump down to page 32 to begin reading the first chapter.
                You can read this book online, or have it printed out at your own expense from a local print shop. 

                You will also be provided with a Graded-Reader from ACE.  The Graded Reader is mostly the same story, but uses simpler language, and removes many of the minor details and scientific explanations.
                If you find the original story too difficult, you are invited to read the Graded Reader instead.  However be aware that you will be missing some of the details of the story.  If it is important to you to read all the details, you should read the original book.
                Also, try and challenge yourself by reading at least one chapter out of the original book before switching over to the Graded Reader.

                There is also a comic book version of this story on-line.  Go to:
                Use keyboard commands "Ctlr +" to make the pictures bigger so that they are easier to read.
                When you want to go to the next page, click the mouse.
                Because the comic book omits many details, you should not use this as your main way to read the story.  Rather, you should read the Graded Reader or the original text first, and then check the comic book later to make sure you have understood everything.

                For the first assignment, we will read:
                 chapters 1-16 from the original book,
                or chapters 1-3 (pages 1-28) from the Graded Reader
                and pages 1--5 on the comic Book version

3. Discussion Questions
            This is a handout of the discussion questions I used for the first class discussion day.  Most of them come from this Penguin teachers guide.  I chose only the discussion questions that would be relevant for the Oxford Bookworms version, and only those likely to generate discussion.  Also, as different English translations of Journey to the Center of the Earth use different character names, I had to change all the character names to match the version my class was reading.

1. If you could be an expert on anything in the world, what would it be? To what lengths would you go to gather information?
2. Describe the differences in personality between Axel, Professor Lidenbrock, and Hans.  Which person do you think you would be more like in the same situation?
3. If your parents or some one else whom you trust and love wanted you to go on a hazardous journey, how would you react? Compare your reactions to Axel’s as you read the novel.

4. What would be too scary for you to do—what is your limit? Would you be willing to go up in space; beneath the ocean?
5. What were your greatest childhood fears? Did they have to do with the dark, with heights, with speed, with going downhill rapidly, with monsters or very large beasts, with being caught in a natural phenomenon such as a tornado? Share your fears and tally the class’s fears to see what most people consider scary.

6. What do you know about the plant and animal history of the world? In groups piece together what you know about the earth’s early evolution and the eventual extinction of some animals and plants.

7. One assumption of this novel is that exploration for new knowledge (i.e. through trips inside and on the earth) should not be questioned. Discuss with your group: is it worth going on dangerous journeys or otherwise risking your life to advance scientific knowledge?

8. Iceland was the setting for many chapters at the beginning of the story. Why do you think Verne selected Iceland as the site for a descent into the earth? Why did he give so much information about the culture and customs of Iceland? What impression do you think he was trying to create through his use of this country?

4. Vocabulary Games
          (All of the vocabulary here comes from the Oxford Bookworm version of Journey to the Center of the Earth.)


All of these vocabulary words come from the first 3 chapters of Journey to the Center of the Earth--graded reader version.
Cut out the cards and shuffle them.  Divide students into groups of 4.  Put the cards in the center face down.  The first student takes a card from the pile, and gives the definition of the word.  The other 3 students try to guess.  The first student to guess correctly gets to keep the card and receives one point.  The next student to the right picks up the next card, and play resumes.
Variations: As some of these words are a bit obscure/difficult, allow students to cheat by looking in their books, or using dictionaries, or giving the first letter as a hint, or all of the above.  In this case, have the students play multiple rounds, and gradually increase the strictness of the game by eliminating these cheats.

Magnifying glass

All of these vocabulary words come from the first chapters 4-7 of Journey to the Center of the Earth--graded reader version.
Cut out the cards and shuffle them.  Divide students into groups of 4.  Put the cards in the center face down.  The first student takes a card from the pile, and gives the definition of the word.  The other 3 students try to guess.  The first student to guess correctly gets to keep the card and receives one point.  The next student to the right picks up the next card, and play resumes.
Variations: As some of these words are a bit obscure/difficult, allow students to cheat by looking in their books, or using dictionaries, or giving the first letter as a hint, or all of the above.  In this case, have the students play multiple rounds, and gradually increase the strictness of the game by eliminating these cheats.
5. Quiz Game
          This was for the final day.  Here are the rules:
            The class is divided into 3 teams.  Each team is given 10 points to start with.
            The categories and the numbers are written up on the board, but not the questions.  The teams will chose a category and a number and bet a certain amount of points before hearing the question. If they get the question right, they gain those points.  If they get the question wrong, they lose those points.
            Explain to the students beforehand that the difficulty of the questions is at random.  1 is not necessarily the easiest, and 5 is not necessarily the hardest.  Explain to the students that some questions will be very very difficult, and some will be ridiculously easy, and that a certain amount of luck is involved in the game.
            An extra note: I had a colleague teaching at the other campus doing the same book, and I forwarded this game to him.  Since the questions and answers are all written out on paper, he got the idea of having a couple of the students act as quiz masters while he just watched.  I thought this was an excellent way to make the class more student-centered, so I adopted that for the next class.  It worked reasonably well, although I did have to insert myself a couple times into the class to tell the other students not to use personal insults at the quiz masters when they got a question wrong.

Jules Verne


The Story
The Science

Jules Verne
1. Which country is Jules Verne from? (France)
2. Name at least one other book written by Jules Verne: (Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, From Earth to the Moon, Mysterious Island, et cetera)
3. Jules Verne is often called the father of what? (Science Fiction)
4. What year was Jules Verne born? (1825)
5. What year did Jules Verne die? (1905)

1. What is the name of the girl Axel loves? (Grauben)
2. What is  the maid's name? (Martha)
3. What is the name of the Icelandic guide? (Hans)
4. What is the professor's relationship to Axel? (Uncle)
5. What is the professor's relationship to Grauben? (godfather)

The Story:
1. Initially Axel didn't want to go on the journey.  What convinced him to change his mind?  (Grauben told him he should go.)
2. Which character got lost in the tunnels? (Axel)
3. Who found the underground water? (Hans)
4. When the characters finally emerged from the volcano, where were they? (Stromboli, Sicily)
5. After the professor and Axel saw the giant, with the head as big as a cow's and hair on it like a lion, what did they do? (They ran)

1. What country and city are Axel and Professor Lidenbrock from (Hamburg, Germany)
2. What country do Axel and Professor Lidenbrock travel to in order to begin their descent into the earth? (Iceland)
3. In the 19th century, Iceland was still controlled by which country? (Denmark)
4. What is the capital of Iceland? (Reykjavik)
5. What is the capital of Denmark? (Copenhagen)

The Science:
1. Professor Lidenbrock refers to the theories of which famous English scientist? (Humphry Davy)
2. What are the names of the two extinct creatures who battle in the underground sea? (Ichthyosaurus and Plesiourus)
3. What is the scientific instrument used to measure pressure? (Manometer)
4. What is the scientific instrument used to measure temperature? (thermometer)
5. What had been found in 1863 in Abbeville in France?  (A human jaw bone)

1.  Wood that has been turned into mineral by the action of the sea water is called what? (fossilized)
2. An instrument that is used to tell the direction? (compass)
3.  A kind of pre-historic elephant (mastodon)
4. A simple boat made by tying pieces of wood together. (A raft)
5. A rock formation that hangs down from the roof of a cave: (stalactite)

1.  Who was the science master at the Reykjavik school? (Mr. Fridriksson)
2. The fish that was caught in the underground ocean had no what? (eyes)
3.  The strange forest near the underground ocean was made up of what? (giant mushrooms)
4. What happened to the compass?  (The needle points south instead of North.  During the storm on the Lidenbrock sea, the fireball magnetized all the iron on the raft, and also changed the poles on the compass.)
1. What did they name the underground river? (Hansbach)
2. What did they name the underground sea? (Lidenbrock sea)
3. What did they name the underground Island? (Axel Island)
4. What did they name the underground port? (Port Grauben)
5. What was the name of the Icelandic man who had first gone to the center of the earth? (Arne Saknussemm).

6. Link to an Article I Never Got to Use
          The Oxford Bookworm version of this book thankfully removes some of the racism attitudes when Jules Verne calls the negro countenance the lowest savage.
            However, the book still retains the part where the professor identifies the skeleton as Caucasian just by the shape of the skull.
            As a counterpoint to that, I wanted to use this article which says that it’s impossible to accurately tell the race of someone based on their skeleton.
            Unfortunately, we ran out of time and I never got to use this article.  So I’m just posting the link here.

"Alas, Poor Yorick ... or Is It Othello?"Can you tell a person's race from his or her skull?

Link of the Day
On Atheism, Religion, and the Scientific Method