I was reading the journals that my students wrote over the past two weeks. This group is clever and actually understood what I meant when I said make it interesting. So instead of the all-to-frequent lists of what they did that day, these entries were all about specific stories and specific things that are important to them or interesting or funny.
One student (For all the obvious reasons I won't tell you his name, but on the first day of class, I had the students introduce themselves and play a name game by saying an adjective that starts with the first letter of their first name. His adjective was Dreamy. We all had a really good laugh.) was writing about what countries he would like to visit given time and money, and commented that he would have to go somewhere English-speaking. Because the only other language he knows is a tiny bit of Spanish, specifically how to ask where the bathroom is. But then he noted, "But they would have to actually take me to the bathroom, because I can ask the question, but I wouldn't understand the answer."
I thought that was pretty funny, because people seem to think they are so accomplished when they can ask where things are. But listening and understanding are important too.
4 years ago