Writing: Try some creative writing this week with one of the following prompts:
You have had a strange feeling for a few days now. Today you’ve been feeling very energetic and tired at the same time. You sit, exhausted and full of energy, at your desk. Your arm has been itching. It’s killing you now. You look at your forearm and see it for the first time. Something is moving under your skin. It is shifting around. Your muscle spasms and you realize there are dozens moving toward the surface.
You open your eyes to complete darkness. The last thing you remember is the dog running out into the road, the brightness of the day light, and your car headed off the road. As your head clears you realize you are hanging upside down. Your feet and legs are completely mobilized. You can hear something breathing in the room.
Your driving on a country road. It is late at night. You are far from home. You realize, as you check your mirrors, there is a man you do not know, hiding on the floor of your back seat.
It’s 3 am. Your room is dark, but you can see that there is someone, standing at the foot of your bed. You can just make out that he or she is wearing a clown costume, and you are pretty sure, from the glare and the little bit of reflection, that it has a knife.
At 3 am you wake up out of a very sound sleep. You hear the ice cream truck outside of your house. And you realize, the sound that woke you up, was the sound of your 4 year old daughter, letting the screen down slam, as she left the house.
You are running late. After quickly getting ready, you rush out of the house and to your car door. A sound gets your attention, and for the first time this morning you look at your surroundings. There is a fully grown male lion, just a few feet from you. Your car door is still locked.
You are falling. The 737 is a 100 yards above you. You hear the rush of the wind, and it’s so cold. You realize you are still holding your baby.
The worst cramps you have ever had set in on your biceps. Your arms are twisting. You feel your ankles popping. It came on so suddenly. You drop to your knees, looking through your bedroom window, you see the full moon. You hear a little voice behind you, “Mommy?” (or “daddy”)
You are frozen with fear. You open your eyes, the tent is dark. But you can feel the heavy weight of a large tarantula covering one eye. Through the other eye you can see the shadows, from the moonlight, of 100s if not 1000s of other spiders covering the tent.
The man leans into you. There is a dark red almost black color to the whites of his eyes. He is so close his nose is almost touching your nose. You can feel his breath when he says, “We all have it in here. We are all infected.
This week we based our conversation on a muder mystery set on the Orient Express Train. We looked at several suspects and numerous clues to try to figure out what really happened on that fateful night on the train.
For original version check out some great true crime podcasts about murders. The most famous and well-known podcast in this category is Serial Season One, but you could also check out Criminal. Or, for something really good check out the whole You Must Remember This Series about famous murderer Charles Manson.
Reading: Learners should try a reading text about a mystery here or a mystery for everyone (link to PDF).
Why not challenge yourself to something in original version? Try to solve any of the many mysteries from Mysterynet.com or a fascinating article from the New Yorker about a Renaissance Murder Mystery.
Writing: Try some creative writing this week with one of the following prompts:
A group of young adults gets together to rent a cabin for a weekend. They drink and party, and the next morning one of them is found murdered. In the months that follow, the friends suspect each other and question themselves. Who did it? Will they figure it out before the police do?
A newlywed receives word that his or her spouse was killed in action. A few months later, the widowed protagonist starts receiving communications that could only be from his or her dearly departed spouse.
The protagonist buys an antique trunk from a junk shop and discovers a mummified body inside—a body that was murdered.
First off, I'd like to invite you to this month's extra activity, going to see a film in original version this Thursday October 19th at 22:00 at 7 Infantes Cinema. We are going to see the film Mother! starring Javier Bardem, it looks like an interesting thriller by the director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. Check out the trailer here. If you would like to participate, please email me to get tickets. We will meet for a drink and conversation at 9:15 and go to the movie at 10.
This week we practiced using the past tense with two main tools: our own personal timeline, and talking about the changes in Spain over the last century. Check your mastery of the past tense with this diagnostic.
Writing: For writing this week, the focus is on the past tenses, of course. You could write about your daily life when you were 18 years old, your first love, your parents or grandparents lives before you were born, or how Spain has changed in the last 100 years. The point is to really focus on the past simple, continuous, used to, etc.
This week we talked about natural disasters, from tsnunamis to floods to earthquakes. We discussed what to do when faced with one and what are some of the factors that play into the destruction. Now on to your homework!
Listening: So there are several things you could do to practice some listening this week. First, check out an ESLVideo for learners about Natural Disasters or an adapted listening exercise called 72 Hour Emergency Kit.
Writing: This week for writing, try one of the following prompts:
Natural disasters occur every day all over the world (hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, blizzards, floods, mudslides, etc). Which one do you think is the most destructive and why? What are some ways people can help prepare themselves in the event of this devastating natural disaster? Be sure to include details about the most devastating example of this disaster.
Or, for some more creative writing, how about this:
A natural disaster sweeps through a town. Describe the events following.
Welcome to the 2017-2018 schoolyear at Meetinghouse! I'm very much looking forward to working with you students this year. As in other years, we usually use the first week to get caught up after the summer and then to reassess our goals in English for the coming year. It's a great time to revisit some of the resources that I recommend, so here's the master list of how to use online resources to support your English goals.
Listening: Here are lots of links to places to practice listening both adapted for learners and original version. Find at least one you like and get into the habit of listening to things in English regularly. Remember to incorporate both active and passive listening.
Original version blogs and websites: Blogs are a fantastic way to explore your interests and study English at the same time. There are blogs about everything: culture,TV and film, music, cooking, science, the possibilities are endless! If you need help finding websites about your interest, please let me know!
Writing: There are lots of ways to keep writing on a regular basis. Start a blog or diary about your daily life. Or follow my weekly writing prompts.
This week for writing I recommend writing a text about your English goals and how you plan to incorporate English in your life this year. Be specific! What problems do you think you may come up against?
As always, send me your writing and I will correct it. Write on paper or on the computer, whichever is more comfortable for you.
Grammar: There are tons of sites out there to help you review and challange your grammar. Try some of the ones below.
Vocabulary: I suggest you study vocabulary with the Quizlet sets that I have prepared, so take a look and consider downloading the app onto your phone or tablet, so if you are interested, please register online. Other resources are: