Food glorious food, our topic of conversation for this week! This theme brought many things to the table: cooking, eating healthily, organic and local food, growing food, recipes, cultural eating habits and obesity. There are many ways to extend it to your homework.
First, try reading. If you're interested in Michael Pollan's advice "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants," read his complete essay. Or you could try reading the article "12 Things you Should Definitely Buy Organic". For an easier reading exercise, there are some good articles at Breaking News English (1, 2, 3 -- you can listen, read and play games with all articles).
As for you listening, you can hear about the problem of obesity (mp3 with activity and transcript) or Jamie Oliver's TED talk about his dream to teach every child about food and nutrition (available with subtitles and transcript).
When it comes to writing, one option is to check out these photographs about how families eat and shop in different countries and then write a description or reaction. Another would be to write your favorite recipe, remembering to use imperative forms. And finally, if you prefer creative writing, describe the most memorable meal you've ever eaten in great detail!
Now that you're all hungry, you could try reading a following a recipe online. Personally, I like epicurious.
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.
First off, thank you to everyone who attended the extra activity on Saturday at the Wurth Museum and a special thanks to Carmen for her fantastic explanations! Remember, you may want to consider writing about your impressions of the art or your favorite or least favorite piece as a follow-up activity.
This week we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr., given that Monday was MLK Day, also known in some states as Civil Rights Day. First, you may want to read a bit about his biography (this easy exercise includes comprehension activities). For listening, you could check out a segment of his "I Have a Dream" speech (with transcript), listen about the Civil Rights movement (mp3 with transcript) or watch a documentary called Freedom Riders online (click CC for English subtitles).
This week for writing you could try begining a composition with MLK's famous words "I Have a Dream" or do some creative writing in which a character feels discriminated against.
Of course, talking about civil rights led us to many other topics like segregation, discrimination and cultural differerences. In the spirit of cultural understanding, one of our students recommended watching a documentary online called Life in a Day.
This Sunday January 22nd at 19:30 they are showing original version cinema at the Breton Theater. The film is called Melancholia, you can watch the trailer and read a review online.
_Happy New Year, I hope you've all enjoyed the holidays. I know I did -- my trip to the United States was fantastic and now I'm ready to dive right in to the second trimester of the 2011-2012 year.
_In many groups this week we discussed New Year's Resolutions and motivation. Go ahead and read this infographic explaining common resolutions or listen to this podcast about the topic. After, you could explain in writing why you think so many people fail at keeping their New Year's Resolutions. Are they a waste of time?
Resolutions brings us to the topic of motivation. You can watch a fascinating video online called Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us or read about the Science of Motivation and how to motivate yourself to learn English. So, why not write about what motivates you. Or, for those who prefer creative writing, try writing a short story with a wintery setting.
_This week is our visit to the Wurth museum -- Saturday January 14th at 18:00. We will check out the museum's collection along with the current exhibition by David Rodríguez Caballero (you can check out his website in English). I highly recommend this, not only because of the wonderful art, but also because one of our own students works at the museum and will explain a couple things in English! Please fill out the online form if you are interested, especially if you would like to carpool. You are welcome to bring friends or partners to the event, as long as they agree to only speak English!
_Next Wednesday January 18th at 19:30 there is original version cinema at the Centro Cultural Caja Rioja on Gran Vía. They are showing a fantastic documentary, Grizzly Man (check out the trailer) about Timothy Treadwell, who lived with bears in Alaska.
And now that you're all motivated and have made resolutions to improve your English in 2012, don't forget that there are lots of resources to take advantage of! I still have office hours every Monday, Wednesday and by appointment and am happy to correct your work. Keep it up!