4/18/2012 1 Comment
April Week 2
Welcome back after the break, I hope you all enjoyed the Easter holidays.
First off, don't forget that this month's extra activity is Saturday April 21st at 11:00 we will visit Gonzalo Gonzalo's boutique winery in Fuenmayor. The price is 10 euros which includes the visit, tasting, and a bottle of wine. If you are interested, please read more information and sign up online. In preparation, you may enjoy reading about the winery in English.
This week's topic was crime and punishment. You may enjoy checking out some infographics about this topic such as Economic Crime Around the World (looks like Spain is number 5 on the list!) Organized Crime, Homicides Worldwide and Crime in America.
There are several options for listening this week. Listen-A-Minute has an easy listening activity about crime (mp3, quiz and transcript) and cyber crime (mp3, quiz and transcript). For more difficult, try an activity about home security that includes a quiz and transcript. There are some interesting TED talks about this topic, such as How People Become Monsters and The Myth of Violence. Don't forget that you can turn on the subtitles in English and Spanish!
For reading, try some short articles about crime like Call Me! and Is that Bubbles? Or read about which countries have the top murder rates. Advanced readers will enjoy articles about the Trayvon Martin Shooting, Burgled in Philly, and The Caging of America.
Creative writers could write about a crime from the perspective of the criminal or the victim. Or you could muse about how governments could help reduce crime.
This week there is original version cinema at the Filmoteca Rafael Arzcona (Sala de Gonzalo de Berceo). They are showing Brick on Tuesday April 24th at 19:30 and If... on Wednesday April 25th at 19:30.
--The prisoner is not the one who has commited a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. -- Henry Miller
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4/6/2012 0 Comments
April Week One
Happy Easter, everybody! Keeping with the upcoming holiday, this week we discussed Easter, traditions, and religions. In some groups you had questions about the many different religions from the United States.
For reading, first try a reading comprehension activity about Easter. Because the topic of religions in the U.S. came up in many different groups, you may be interested in an article called Who Are the Amish?. Lastly, you could read about the world's strangest traditions.
Try listening to this activity explaining some of the origins of Easter traditions in English speaking countries (mp3and transcript). More advanced listeners may enjoy This American Life episodes Heretics (mp3 and transcript) and Pray (mp3 and transcript)
Don't forget about writing. You may want to explain one of the traditions from Spain in your own words (maybe something from your hometown's festivals) and your opinion of it. Are there any traditions that you couldn't live without? Can you think of any traditions you think should be forbidden? Or you could write about a childhood family tradition of yours.
By the way, did you know you can read some articles from El País online in English?
Don't forget that there is no class next week and that classes resume on April 16th. Enjoy your holidays and happy travels!
4/2/2012 2 Comments
March Week 4
Before getting down to business, I want to tell you about this month's extra activity. The original plan was to visit a winery on Saturday but there has been a scheduling conflict, so we will postpone that trip until April. Instead, we will meet on Friday March 30th at 18:00 to visit an exhibit and discuss it. Email me if you would like to come!
We continued our practice with the third conditional by reimagining the past using sentences like "Would Eastern Europe still be communist if the fall of the Berlin Wall hadn't happened?" For most students this structure is a little clumsy, so I recommend you review the grammar at home. You could try checking out the view and exercises at grammar quizzes and this quiz.
For listening, the BBC has some good audio links with quizzes about using "I Wish I Had Gone" and the correct pronunciation of the Past Perfect. Advanced learners should check out the most recent episode of This American Life called Switched At Birth (mp3 withtranscript). What do you think the mother in this story should have done? How could the situation have been different?
For reading, try reading these dialogues using the third conditional or read the article A Very Bad Day. Advanced readers may apprecaite the Newsweek article aboutWhat If 9/11 Had Never Happened?
I recommend you practice some writing with this structure. You could try writing a "domino" story like we did in class. For example, If the fall of the Berlin Wall hadn't happened, Germany would not have been united. If Germany hadn't become a united country, maybe it wouldn't have joined the European Union. If Germany hadn't joined the EU.... and so on and so on. Or you could try writing about a pivotal moment in your personal life, and how your path would have been different if it hadn't turned out that way!
Don't forget, next week is the last week before spring break There will be no class on April 6th, 7th or 8th. Classes resume April 16th.