This week we talked about Europe, and even though the European debt crisis was the main topic, we also talked about the geography, traditions, and people of Europe. Do you know all the countries in Europe? Try this quiz. Or you may like this time lapse video of how Europe as we know it today has evolved.Now, on to the homework!
First, for listening try the BBC listening about the Youth Unemployment Crisis or German Help For Greece Waning (mp3 with transcript). More advanced learners could check out Europe, After the Vote Against Austerity (with slower and faster speeds).
For reading, try a reading comprehension activity about the European Union or for those more advanced, Europe. For "original version" reading, check out the whole section about the European Debt Crisis at the New York Times.
And finally, for writing, please write about how the crisis is affecting you and how you think it is changing the relationship between countries in the EU. Would you ever consider moving to another country to find work? Do you think other countries have a different opinion of Spain now?
This week we also practiced some spelling and saying big numbers (million, billion, trillion). There were some questions about differences between British and American billion, but nowadays both countries use the same word 1,000,000,000 is a billion. Also, if you want to practice some grammar there are some good games over at Road to Grammar.
--Europe was created by history, America was created by philosophy. --Margaret Thatcher
First things first, please don't forget to fill out the form online about your preferences for this month's extra activity. So far only 5 people have responded, so if you're interested, fill it out! I will let you know the plan ASAP (as soon as possible).
This week our conversation revolved around bullying and I recommend you try some of the homework activities to continue your work at home. First, give reading a try. You can check out some infographics to familiarize yourself with the topic: Student Bullying, School Bullying Outbreak, orTeens' Cruel World of Social Networking. Breaking News English has an interesting article about bullying in the U.K. (with easier and harder versions), or the article at VOA calledWorried That People are Laughing at you?. For "original version" reading, you may be interested in reading about theMitt Romney scandal or about When Bullying Turns Deadly (Time Magazine).
For listening, check out Listen-A-Minute about Bullying andCyber-bullying. Over at ESLPod, there is an activity about enduring hazing. More advanced learners should try listening about Former Bullies (note that you can select slower or faster speeds to listen) or an interview at English Central with Lady Gaga, "Bullying Stays with You."
Lastly, don't forget to do some writing and have me correct it! It's a great way to find out where you may need to review some grammar points. What do you think, should bullying be treated like a crime or just normal kids' behavior? What would you do if your child were a victim of bullying? Creative writers could try to write a piece from the perspective of a bullying victim who wants to seek retaliation.
Next week there is original version cinema at the Cañas movie theater. They are showing the Tree Of Life from May 21st to May 27th at 20:00.
"Courage is fire and bullying is smoke." -- Benjamin Diraeli
Since last week's topic was jobs, it seemed natural to segue to the topic of stress, something we all experience and have something to say about. Not only did you have a lot to share about stress in your life, but also some good ideas of how to prevent or reduce the modern malady: massage, therapy, mediation, and a drink with friends.
Now, to the homework! Let's start with listening. Learners can try Beating Stress, a reading comprehension activity. More advanced learners may like a National Geographic video about the Science of Stress, Killer Stress, or the longer episode of Radiolab called Stress. People who are interested in mediation and mindfulness techniques may likeHeadspace
Read the article Get Stressed, Get Old or Good Health. Another possibility is to fill out the quiz, How Stressed Are You? or about How Much you KNow about Stress
Now, try some writing. You could write about what you could do to reduce or better manage stress in your life, or you could try some creative writing based on a stressful situation (at work, a break up, or a near death experience).
It's time to start planning this month's extra activity. Please fill out the online form with your preferences and next week I will confirm which it will be.
Finally, I know some of you have exams coming up. Don't forget that if you would like to practice for the oral exam, I have office hours (Mondays and Wednesdays 16:45-17:15) or you can make an appointment.
This week in honor of May Day (International Workers' Rights Day) our conversations revolved mostly around work -- what we love, hate and wish would improve about our jobs. As this is such a ubiquitous topic, there are many resources out there to practice listening. Start at Randall's listening lab where they have exercises for easy, intermediate, andadvanced students. Or try "Words and Their Stories" about the origin of the word Mayday (with mp3). For "original version" listening, try The Job That Takes Over Your Life on This American Life (transcript)
For reading, try an easy reading comprehension activity about job hunting or an activity about negativity at work orlooking for a job. More advanced students should try readingan article from the Guardian about the history of workers' rights day.
This would be a great time to write your C.V. or resume in English or pratice writing a cover letter for a job you would like to apply for. Or write about your worst experience at work, your dream job, or how your boss could be a better boss.
On Tuesday there is original version cinema at the Filmoteca Rafael Arzcoa (Sala Gonzalo de Berceo). They are showingTyrannosaur on Tuesday May 8th at 20:15.Now, get to work!
Best , Kelly
--"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one." -- Oscar Wilde
In honor of World Book Day (April 23rd) we talked a lot about reading, books, and authors. It was great to hear your thoughts and recommendations about your favorite and most hated books.
For listening, try an easy activity about children's books. More advanced learners may enjoy episodes about Books That Changed the World or JK Rowling's talk aobut Failure or a short story called Keesh by Jack London.
For writing you could write a review of a book you've recently read or explain why you think reading is important. Many of you are teachers or parents -- what can we do to encourage our kids or students to grow up to be avid readers? Or, for those who are inspiring writers, try writing a short story of your own in English!
And as for reading, obviously the best would be to read some short stories in English. This site and the VOA sitehas many options, but you may like "The No Talent Kid" by Kurt Vonnegut or "Luck" by Mark Twain (with mp3). For easier short stories, check out Short Stories for Intermediate Learners. Or you may like reading about banned books in different countries.
Don't forget that next Tuesday (May 1st) is a national holiday and there isn't class, but Monday is a normal work day for me. If you need to change your schedule or make up lost classes, please get in touch, I am happy to accomodate whenever possible.Best,Kelly--"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." --Frederick Douglass