11/30/2011 0 Comments
November Week 5
In most groups this week we talked about movies and cinema, and there are many things you can do to work on this topic at home. Obviously, you could watch a movie in English, with or without English subtitles. One option is Sideways on Friday December 2nd at 17:00 in the Filologia Salon de Actos at the UR.
At the English Learner Movie Guide website you can read background information and learn new vocabulary from specific films. Afterwards, you could write a review of the film or write about how you think movies and film influence people's behavior.
For those of you who like creative writing, Writing Forward has lots of prompts. You could try writing an alternate ending for a film you've already seen.
In a few groups, we reviewed the third conditional (you can check out this explanation and exercises). You also may want to review the grammar points of still, yet, and already.
A couple things about schedules: next week we don't have class on Tuesday December 6th and Thursday December 8th due to national holidays. December is a short month (I follow the school schedule), so if you don't want to miss hours, you could come to an extra class on Thursday December 15th or Friday December 16th. If this is something that interests you, please let me know and we will schedule a time!
Also, I would like to organize an extra activity for this month, but I would like to know your availability and preferences, so please fill out the online form. Oh, and mark your calendars, we already have a date for an extra activity after the holidays. One of our own tertulias students, Carmen, will show us the Wurth Museum in English on Saturday January 14th at 18:00.
Have a great week!
11/23/2011 0 Comments
November Week 4
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Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day!
As an extension of our conversations this week you can watch an easy video, read and take a quiz, or read about Thanksgiving Day myths. For more advanced learners interested in American Indians, you could watch episode 1 of the documentary We Shall Remain, (click CC for subtitles in English). For a critique of Thanksgiving from the Native American perspective, you can read Why I'm not Thankful of Thanksgiving. Per request, here is a link to my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and conversions.
For easier activities not necessarily related to Thanksgiving, Four Stories offers listening and reading comprehension activities.
We also talked about Black Friday (the huge shopping day after Thanksgiving) you can listen and read about it and if you want to try some writing, you could respond to one of the following questions. Some people think that we should change "Black Friday" to "Buy Nothing Day." Do you think this is a good idea? Is our society too consumerist? If so, what can we do to change it?
If you prefer more creative writing, you could try writing a well-known story from the point of view of a different character. What would Little Red Riding Hood be like from the wolf's perspective?
This week for original version cinema, The Quiet Man is showing at the Universidad de La Rioja (Filología Salón de Actos) on Friday November 25th at 17:00 pm and Nowhere Boy is playing at the Moderno on November 28th at 10:30 and 19:30
Next week is the first week of our Super Advanced Group which will meet Wednesdays from 17:20-18:20 so if you no anyone with a near-fluency level who doesn't want to lose it, spread the word!
11/16/2011 0 Comments
November Week 3
_On Sunday we had our first extra activity, a visit to the Ruins of Detroit photography exhibit at the COAR. The exhibit is on display until November 27th and I recommend it. There are many possible writing activities to accompany your visit: What do these photographs say about the American Dream? What surprises you about the images?.
The upcoming presidential elections this Sunday in Spain was an inevitable topic in many groups this week. To take this further as homework, you can listen (with transcript) or read online about the importance of the elections. You could write about what you think the most important issues are and why. Or, if you are one of the many people who expressed that they hate politics you could elaborate on why you have come to that point.
Some of you discussed ways to participate in the democratic process, like voting, strikes or protests. Do you agree with this infographic that social media are good for democracy?
Those of you who prefer more creative writing could narrate one of the most important days of your life from the perspective of someone else who was there. If you need ideas for new and interesting vocabulary, try GraphWords, a visual online thesaurus.
This week there are a few possibilities to see original version cinema. Educating Rita is showing on Friday November 18th at 17:00 at the UR in the Salon de Actos in Filologia. I highly recommend seeing King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters, a hilarious and entertaining documentary showing on Wednesday November 23rd at 19:30 at Centro de Caja Rioja on Gran Vía about people who are obsessed with classic video games. Plus, part of the documentary was filmed in my home state of New Hampshire! After seeing the film you can read a follow-up interview with the film's villain, Billy Mitchell.
Have a good week!
11/9/2011 0 Comments
November Week 2
The votes are in and it's official -- this weekend will be the first extra activity! On Sunday November 13th at 12:00 we will visit an exhibit at the COAR (Barriocepo, 40) with photographs by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre that document Detroit's decline and decay and we will discuss them together there. In preparation you can read about the photographers' work, look at infographics about Detroit (1 and 2), or listen to an ESL podcast that discusses Detroit.
As a writing assignment you can write a description or critique of one of the photographs, or answer the question, "Do you think that Marchand and Meffre's photographs depict only architectural ruins or America's decline in general?" Or if you would like to do some creative writing you could choose a famous photograph and write the story behind it.
One grammar point that seems to cause some confusion is the difference between for, during and while. You can read an explanation and do some exercises here. Furthermore, the British Council website can be a good place to practice grammar and vocabulary online.
11/2/2011 0 Comments
November Week 1
Hope you enjoyed the holiday yesterday and the long weekend if you were lucky to have the time off. Some of you didn't have class this week, but in many groups we discussed stress. You can listen online to an interesting episode of Radiolab about stress or an easier listening called Stress At Work (with transcript). In some groups an interesting question to write about came up: is technology making our lives easier or is it stressing us out? How can we limit its negative effects in our lives?
This week I found an interesting online resource, English Central. You can watch videos (for example, VOA news) with subtitles and you can even record yourself to compare with the original version. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
This week's original version cinema options: Bridget Jone's Diary at the Universidad de La Rioja Salon de Actos de Edificio de Filologia on Friday November 4th at 17:00, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Tuesday November 8th at 20:30 at the Moderno.
And last, but not least, I wanted to let you know that if for some reason you cannot come to class, you may join a different group for that week. There are 10 different conversation groups and if you let me know, it's usually not a problem to come at a different time (they appear below and on the website).
Have a good week!