11/30/2013 0 Comments
November Week Four
Easy as Apple Pie
In honor of Thanksgiving (and the fact that I'll be very busy in my kitchen this week in preparation for it), we discussed cooking and looked at several different recipes and cookbooks. There are many specific cooking words, so you may want to review the difference between chop, strain, boil, and bake at Cooking Verbs, Cooking Vocabulary, Cooking Instructions Vocabulary. Also, don't forget that we usually use the command form of the verb in recipes.
Learners could try some exercises like Baking Cookies, Dinner Time or the more advanced Cooking Expressions. For original version, check out some cooking videos: Video Recipes with Chef John, Sorted Food, or Martha Stewart's Cooking School.
You should try reading some recipes, start with a mind map about how to make a pancake, how to make a bean taco or how to make a banana milkshake. But for original version, I recommend you check out the numerous wonderful food and cooking blogs out there! I love Smitten Kitchen and Chocolate and Zucchini. And for the ultimate resource on recipes, check out Epicurious, they have everything!
Maybe it's obvious, but the best writing exercise for this is to write your own recipe! Try to expand your vocabulary, don't say cut, but chop, slice or dice. So go ahead and write your favorite recipe.
December Extra Activity
If you would like to participate in December's Extra Activity (2nd Annual Yankee Swap and Christmas Extravaganza), please fill out your schedule preferences online, as I would like to find the date that works for the most people possible.
"I think careful cooking is love, don't you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who is close to you is about the nicest valentine you can give." --Julia Child
11/20/2013 0 Comments
November Week Three
That Drives Me Up the Wall!
First of all, thanks to all of you who showed up at the Extra Activity last week, we really had a great time at the museum. It was a great chance to see the renovated building, the collection and to practice speaking English with fellow classmates.
This week we talked about all those things that drive us crazy: our pet peeves! Things that annoy us, bother us, and bug us. Our lists were long and varied, some of you hate bad spelling or grammar, others hate aggressive drivers, and several of you complained about people who use their phone while they're talking to you.
There are a few things out there that learners could try listening to, such as Pet Peeves, Ruth's Pet Peeves (mp3 and transcript) or the more advanced Annoying Coworkers . For original version, listen to a segment of This American Life about an Astronaut's pet peeves (listen with transcript). Or if you want to really be annoyed, watch some of those horrible Annoying Orange Videos. But you have been warned, they live up to their name!
Don't forget to practice your reading. Learners could try reading a text about Bad Habits or a dialogue about Pet Peeves. If you're looking for something in original version there are several articles out there about scientific studies about annoying behaviours: Our Facebook Friends are Very Annoying, or any of the many articles from the Complaint Box Series at the New York Times.
Don't forget to practice writing. This week you could write a composition about something that really drives you nuts. Why? Under what circumstances? Or respond to this question: Do you have any advice for dealing with difficult, moody, or “toxic” people?
“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson.
11/14/2013 0 Comments
November Week Two
This week is our extra activity! We are meeting on Saturday November 16th at 17:00 in the Plaza de San Agustín to visit the Museum of La Rioja. Feel free to bring along a friend (remind them that the even is all in English of course!)
Now, getting down to business....This week we tried our hand at giving advice. We looked at a few different situations written into an advice column and gave our own answers. If you would like to review some of the vocabulary, structures, and expressions used when politely giving advice, review the information at BBC, Making Recommendations, or Advice Idiom Notes and Exercises.
For learners, try the podcast Good Advice (available with transcript), or the Elllo Listening Game Pro Advice. For original version, I'd like to share a video by Tim Minchin that a student sent me. It's a graduation speech that he gave in Australia, and I happen to think his advice is spot on! What do you think?
Moving on to reading, learners could try reading the article called Advice for Staying Warm. If you're looking for something in original version, why not try some of the classic advice columns, like Dear Prudence, Dear Sugar, or Ask a Dude.
For writing this week, you could try writing your own answers to an advice column. Pick one of the questions from class, from the links listed above, or try answering one of these questions:
"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. -- Oscar Wilde
11/6/2013 0 Comments
November Week One
This week we talked about innovation and inventions, the things that have changed our lives: microchips, bar codes, can openers, washing machines, cell phones, Internet, video games... What would we do without all of these inventions? Now that you've been inspired to think outside the box, take a look at the homework for this week.
For learners, try the news article over at VOA: Scientific and Engineering Inventions Save Lives (available with transcript) or watch a video about the 5 Laziest Inventions. For more of a challenge, I recommend original version options such as the PBS Inventor's series (you can turn on the captions for subtitles!) or one of the many TED talks that touch on innovation.
Let's not forget to practice reading. Learners may enjoy an article about a prize-winning invention or the activity Mystery Inventor (which incorporates listening, too!). There is also an interesting article about the 3D Printed Gun. For original version, read about the Science Museum's Top 10 Objects or the New Yorker article about how good ideas spread.
For writing this week, visualize yourself as a ground-breaking inventor. What would your invention be? Describe it with strong adjectives and explain how it works and moreover, how it would change our lives!
"Invention is the most important product of man's creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of the mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs." -Nikola Tesla.