This week we focused on pronunciation! Start by checking out some of the general pronunciation resources I recommend:
Learners can try some of the many exercises over at Many Things Pronunciation or 8 Tips for British English Pronunciation. For listening comprehension try this activity about accent reduction.
For original version try how to learn any accent with Amy Walker.
Learners can try 7 Tips to Drastically Improve Your Accent, or Pronunciation Tips.
For original version, read some accent tips for actor or from the NYTimes: Unlearning to Tawk like a New Yorker.
Now it's time to make a plan. What steps will you take to improve your pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation? What can you do daily or weekly? What are your goals and how will your reach them? Please write an action plan of how you are going to improve.
This week I took a bit of a back seat as our conversation moderator and encouraged you to lead the conversation -- especially asking questions and making comments to keep the conversation going.
Learners can try some listenings from over at Free English Conversations or everyday conversations.
For original version, I recommend listening to some of the best interviewers out there. I love Ana Sale from Death, Sex, and Money and Marc Maron. Pay attention to the ways they keep the conversation rolling!
Learners can try an article about how to improve your conversational skills.
For original version, check out this article about 6 science based conversation hacks to make people like you.
Choose one of the topics of conversation over at ITESL. Write a dialogue between two friends, from opening to closing. How do they respond? Do they ask eachother questions? Be detailed!
Our topic this week was art and artists. We looked at several artists' works and tried to use our language skills to describe them.
Learners can try a listening exercise called Understanding Modern Art or listen to Biographies about Famous Artists (click mp3)
For original version, watch the Guardian's animation What is Art For? or the podcast Why Make Art?
Learners can read about a pension who lashed out at a work of modern art.
For original version, check out any of the many great works about art over at longform.
Take a look at Google's Cultural Institute, a digital museum of sorts. Select one piece of art, describe and tell me how it makes you feel. Do you know anything about the artist?
Write a review of the art.
This week is mother's day in the U.S., so our topic this week is family and ancestors. We talked about our own families and many topics revolving around those who are nearest and dearest to us.
Learners can try a Randall's Listening Lab activity about Our Family Roots or an ESLPod episode about Getting Along with the Family.
For original version, you could watch a TED Talk, such as The Family I Lost in North Korea and the Family I Gained.
Learners can read an article about how more fathers are staying at home in the U.S.
For original version, read on of David Sedaris' article Now We Are Five or the Man Who Mistook his Hat for a Meal.
Try one of these writing prompts based on family:
1. Recall and write a detailed account of your most embarrassing moment with your mother, step-mother, or other mother like figure.
2. Describe the time around the moment you realized that your mother and father were in fact not perfect or normal.
3. Write a story of your older brother or sister beating you up or you beating up a younger brother or sister. If it never happened, make it up.
4. Describe this event: finding out the true nature of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and your first confrontation with your parents afterward.
5. In a detailed manner, write about the day of and the day after your little brother or sister was born.
6. Evaluate your place with your entire family. The starving artist? The slacker? The underachieving genius? Label your role and start labeling the other members of your family as well. Explain the labels.