Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to write an outline

Oh, no, it's "the dreaded 'Outline' assignment time"!  

Okay, just because this idea gets a lot of grief (and hits) on this site by desperate students (I was once a D.S.), here's a sample.  I ALSO recommend you look at my post on thesis statements and also topic sentences.

That's all an outline REALLY is: a thesis statement plus the breakdown of each paragraph's topic sentence background.
Oh. Why didn't they tell us (me) that when I was younger?
(It was too easy to explain it that way, I think.)

Note:  for a GOOD outline to work, THINK (and write down) WHY/WHAT makes the idea important--why the idea of the thesis is unique; why it matters; how it has value, importance, or SOME other special quality--then GENERALIZE those ideas as the thesis. DON'T use them in the thesis--SAVE them to chop apart in each topic sentence! THAT alone will help you broaden out the sub-paragraphing needed to create the rest of the outline format.  (That means "You use the topic sentences to expand the paragraph...."). "Gee, Mr. Lopate...this works."  (Yep.)


An outline breaks down the parts of your thesis in a clear, hierarchical manner. Most students find that writing an outline before beginning the paper is most helpful in organizing one's thoughts. If your outline is good, your paper should be easy to write.

The basic format for an outline uses an alternating series of numbers and letters, indented accordingly, to indicate levels of importance. Here is an example of an outline on a paper about the development of Japanese theater.  (Yes, I modified this from the original; the thesis was too bland. I underlined my inclusion of three unique concepts to add some more "power" to the outline itself.) 

I. Thesis: Japanese theater rose from a popular to elite form based on social and cultural, historical, and religious influences (some unique to Japan) and then returned to a popular art form.

The thesis is stated in the first section, which is the introduction.

II. Early theatrical forms
A. Bugaku
B. Sarugaku
C. Primitive Noh
D. Authors and Audience
III. Noh theater
A. Authors
B. Props
1. Masks
a. women
b. demons
c. old men
2. Structure of Stage
C. Themes
1. Buddhist influence
2. The supernatural
D. Kyogen interludes
E. Audience
IV. Kabuki
A. Authors
B. Props
1. make-up
2. special effects
C. Themes
1. Love stories
2. Revenge
D. Audience
V. Bunraku (puppet) theater
A. Authors
B. Props
C. Themes
1. Love stories
2. Historical romances
D. Audience

The body follows the introduction, and breaks down the points the author wishes to make.
Note that some section have subdivisions, others do not, depending on the demands of the paper.
In this outline, II, III, & IV all have similar structure, but this will not necessarily be true for all papers. Some may only have three major sections, others more than the five given here.

VI. Conclusion
Your conclusion should restate your thesis, and never introduce new material.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

GrammarZilla will take the bite out of grammar!

What do you get when you mix Godzilla with
King Kong?
Why, of course!  
"GrammarZilla!"  Go ahead and take a bite out of grammar! 

GrammarZilla says, "Are these errors on your paper? Don't take a bite out of your grade."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (video & music)

Dedicated to ALL the hungry little caterpillar boys and girls who grow into wonderful amazing butterflies.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ping the Duck: A children's story of China

A classic children's story dedicated with love to Jerry and Sunny, two children whom I tutor on Saturday morning, and their parents. "La-la-la-la-lei!"

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Creative Business English marketing concepts for Asian students

My Jiangxi University Chinese students are great at math problems and economics concepts--but for their Business English midterm group presentation, they have to conjure up a marketing scheme for a product. THIS is something they're not familiar with: how to brainstorm something and put it into a format (Powerpoint) whereby they can show the concept/idea and then put together a "let's sell it" plan. For one thing, they need to learn how to FIND an idea and how to see its potential. This is where I come in with Western thinking--and years of experience in marketing and sales--and what I call "Fluid Learning teaching strategies."

I found this video--and previewed it with them. It has five terrific ideas. They liked four of them, but didn't know how to see the "futuristic potential" of where they could take them as a marketing plan or direction. Again, this is where my Fluid Thinking style of teaching comes into play:

  • The first idea is like Ironman's Jarvis personal electronic assistant. That was easy enough for them to grasp its potential.
  • The second idea is a mini projector. They understood that easily enough too.
  • The 3D holographic phone really startled them, especially with its potential for viewing items to buy online and for playing games. (But I wasn't finished with that--and saved my ideas about 3D technology.)
  • The tablet-bracelet made them sit up in their chairs. THIS was the first one I viewed with them--and I noted, "It's WATERPROOF." They ALL wanted this one--but I added this idea to the "do later" list that I was building.
  • The ultrasonic cleaner also met interest by the girls, especially because they have no dryers in their dorm rooms (or my apartment!). 
And here's where I went with MORE ideas aside from these (I offered these as possibilities: THEY have to develop the marketing PPTs for the midterm). First: take the tablet-bracelet and make it 3D. That is a separate idea in itself. Next: take the tablet-bracelet in 3D and integrate it WITH THE mini-projector. My questions to them: "Where could you go with THIS IDEA?"

My responses: a 3D wearable tablet that can project onto a screen 100cm x 100cm. It's got potential for gaming, online viewing of merchandise--and even better, for simulated lessons for sports (soccer, ping pong, tennis, golf, basketball), and driving or even piloting lessons ON A LARGE SCREEN or wall. So with Fluid Learning, I showed them ideas, then expanded those ideas into new directions, and then showed them how to brainstorm these into possible further Powerpoint presentations for a marketing strategy for a new invention. 
And welcome to the Creative Classroom with Mr. Lopate!

Oh. The idea about the hydrosonic washer? I said, "How about a portable hair dryer just like the ones you girls are using: that uses the same technology--to dry your clothes instantly and without wrinkles?" Sign me up for one! Just let "Jarvis" remind me when I need to take my clothes out of the washing machine.

Monday, March 21, 2016

CFA Level I Study Session

CFA Level I Study Session: (open this link)

... III. Study Session #15. Topic: Portfolio Management - Risk Considerations. Instructor: Prof. John M. Veitch, CFA. Notes: Mark Ferrari, CFA

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gustave Eiffel's Private 300m-high apartment in the Eiffel Tower structure

This is about a lifestyle, history, architecture, art, and how it all came together in a most fascinating way. And here's another look of it: that's 90 stories up and living in a small space. Almost 1000 feet, or 300 meters. There's an apartment up there in the Eiffel Tower that was the private place for its builder. He entertained up there, and it was sought after (but refused) for rental to anyone by rank, title, or financial offer.
Eiffel Tower Secret Apartment for Builder