Sweet Masterpieces


I taught a group of 9 Turkish children, ages 9-11, for a month this summer.  We learned to speak basic English:  numbers, colors, animals, places, and questions with answers.  For our last day, I printed out a book for them with spaces where they could draw pictures, color, and write things they learned.

“I take photos with my camera.  I write stories.  I mix the words and photos together to make books, and you can do this, too,” I encouraged them.  They looked at me with their sweet, feisty eyes, and I realized,

We are all a masterpiece, like a book of words and pictures.


Walk with Me to Turkey’s Kar Tepe Mountain

I was teaching basic English to private language school students on weekends when I decided it was time for a field trip. Since I had often stood in Izmit, Kocaeli by the banks of the Marmara Sea and looked up at the distant mountains, I thought of traveling to Kar Tepe, the tallest peak in Kocaeli and home to a five-star hotel and challenging ski resort.

The only way to get up the mountain is by car, since the buses only go to the village of Kar Tepe at the base of the mountain. The paved road is well cared for, thanks in part to business from wealthy Istanbul residents who want to ski at the closest location. One of my students offered to drive our small group, and we left early on a Saturday morning in September. Continue reading

Weekly Writing Challenge: Grammar

Well, I have a Master’s degree in English from San Diego State University, a credential, and 20 years’ experience teaching, so I don’t have problems with grammar or punctuation.  I really learned it when I had to teach it!  Now I teach English in Turkey, and it is sometimes a challenge to explain the strange English grammar to the Turks.  Here is a photo of my Turkish students gathered around my old laptop.  They look happy.  I guess I taught them well 🙂


I write this on the board for my Turkish students to illustrate passive voice. They always laugh.

Passive voice: The cat was killed.
Active voice: I killed the cat.

I explain that the cat was my mother’s, and I didn’t want to admit that I accidently killed it when I ran over it with my car. Passive voice is great if you want to avoid taking the blame for something. It’s clever, like politicians.