“365 things to make you go ‘Hmmm…'”

This website is called Sparky Teaching, and it’s similar to the Two Minute Topic Talk ideas, but some of these topics require a bit more thinking and maybe even a little research.

Here are some that I think would be great writing prompts for students. Click on the images below to see the full question. You can even send your answer to the website and get it published.

Some of the questions are more like riddles:

And some focus more explicitly on language:

Anyway, there are lots of ideas to get you thinking and talking and writing in English.

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Wind-stabbing

Humor in a second language is hard. It’s hard to understand, and it’s even harder to imitate. This website might help. The Rising Wasabi is a satirical news site. You can call it “fake news” or you can call it a way to enjoy current news with your tongue firmly in your cheek (Not sure what that means? Guess first, then check here).

In Japanese, the word “satire” is 風刺, literally “wind-stabbing”. Do you know the etymology of that word? Can you find out?

Some recent articles:

“Abe Asks Merkel If She’ll Be Pouring The Beers At The G20”

“JLPT Examinees Prepare Last Minute Unanswered Question Strategies” (the JLPT is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test — 日本語能力試験 — something most non-native speakers of Japanese living in Japan have taken, or tried taking, at least once)

“Entire Carriage Looks At Gaijin As Announcement Is Repeated In English”

“Trump Scraps TPP Trade Deal For More Populist PPAP Barter System”

“UNESCO Adds Whole Of Japan To World Heritage List To Save Time”

“Feminist Gaijin Insists On Being Referred To As A ‘Girljin’”

‘Premium Friday’ Boosts Economy With Expenditures Under The Influence”

 

Auto Draw and other AI experiments

Have you tried Auto Draw yet? It’s a lot of fun, especially for people who get frustrated at their complete lack of artistic skills.

 

This morning’s attempt:

 

This made me laugh… My awful drawing and some of the things the AI thought I might mean:

I’m really not quite that bad at drawing, but doing it on a mousepad rather than a tablet and stylus — and before my morning coffee — is an excuse.

See some other AI experiments here.