Thursday, November 29, 2007

The clock is ticking . . .

Good morning to everyone!

On the right is an image. If you click on it, you will be directed to a very interesting world clock.

Our class today will be divided into three periods, just as you asked for yesterday, Kwi-Ok. We'll start with George and Hannah's favourite (or is that 'favorite'?). Whatever. First, therefore will be 'whiteboard grammar', next will be the full 30-minute screening of the Body Language video. And then finally you will be doing some research and talking amongst yourselves.

How does that sound?

Right, let's get cracking!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

All bets are now off

It is proving quite difficult to follow my plan near the end of the year. Today I have a plan, but we may not follow it exactly. Let's play it by ear according to how many of us arrive.

Here is a clip that tests Americans' general knowledge. Can you do any better?

p.s. a knowledge of English is not always enough!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 21 - Hopes fade for the Indian Tiger

Following on from yesterday's surprise barbecue . . .

Don't you think that the tiger is an impressive-looking creature? What a pity that one day there will be none of them left, according to the story from Breaking News.

I'm going to give you two paragraphs. The first has grammar errors for you to find and correct. Last week you so enjoyed doing that, so I am repeating the exercise. In fact, all this week I shall provide more for you of what you most enjoyed during the year.

The second paragraph that completes the story has words missing. In some of your writing certain people miss out articles, verbs and even subjects. I think you know who you are! Anyway, this is for you.

For both exercises you can correct your work first by listening to the Breaking News story, and then you can check both your corrections and listening by reading the story online. I shall remind you to do that!

Another exercise that proved enjoyable for you on Thursday was continuing writing onto someone else's work. We'll have a chance to do that too. And then finally, before we have our last conversation hour of the year(!) I shall ask you how we can improve that hour in 2008

Tomorrow we'll learn about a water pipe breaking - has it ever happened to you?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nothing but feedback

Today in the shower I changed my plan for today's class. I have been meaning to give you all individual feedback, but haven't had the opportunity to do so. Since feedback is so important for you, especially if you are not returning to study English next year, I am going to devote this morning to it.

We shall look at all the important areas of English. I may set you tasks to do. The I shall tell you all how you are going, how much you have improved, and what you need to do if you wish to improve further.

That is it, really. There is nothing more that I plan to do. This will probably be the most important day of the year for you! I believe that correct feedback is more important than any of the assessments you have attempted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 20 - Listening to native speakers

Let's do a lot of listening today. First I have a video (that you may remember). Next we have Assertiveness. Will listen to each other in pairs to complete a matching exercise. Again, in pairs you will write pairs of sentences. Finally, you will hear some advice from students at another school of English.

The next topic will be the Indian Tiger.

Don't forget to tune into the BBC World Service.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 19 - Cell phone safety

The first part of today will be taken up with evaluation, and the last part with conversation. That leaves a spell in between to listen to the first part of the second assertiveness tape, and something about cell phone safety.

For cell phone safety, I'm going to get you to match up these tips with their headings (this advice is Canadian, so I've had to exchange left for right):

Be a Wireless Samaritan.

Don't Take Notes While Driving.

Drive Defensively.

Keep the Phone in its Holder.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road.

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel.

Know When to Stop Talking.

Never Dial While Driving.

Practise Off-Road.

Stay in Your Lane.

Take a Message.

Use a Hands-Free Model.

Use Speed Dialing.

Buckle your seat-belt and place all ten fingers on the steering wheel. Wrap them firmly around it, positioned at "10 and 2 o'clock" and keep them there while you drive.

Learn how to operate your phone without looking at it. Memorize the location of all the controls, so you can press the buttons you need without ever taking your eyes off the road.

If your phone is new, practise using it and the voice mail while your car is stopped. Practice will make you feel more comfortable - and safe - using it when you are on the road.

A hands-free unit lets you keep both hands on the wheel while you talk on the phone. Attach the microphone to the visor just above your line of vision, so you can keep your eyes on the road. You can then talk on the phone as if you were talking to a passenger.

Don't get so wrapped up in a conversation that you drift into the other lane. Pull into the left-hand lane while talking, so you only have to worry about traffic to the right

Program frequently called numbers and your local emergency number into the speed dial feature of your phone for easy, one-touch dialing. When available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.

If you must dial manually, do so only when stopped. Pull off the road, or better yet have a passenger dial for you.

Let your voice mail pick up your calls in tricky driving situations. It's easy to retrieve your messages later on.

Keep conversations brief so you can concentrate on your driving. If a long discussion is required, if the topic is stressful or emotional, or if driving becomes hazardous, end your call and continue when you're not in traffic.

Make sure your phone is securely in its holder when you are not using it. That way it won't pop out and distract you when you are driving.

If you need to take something down, use a tape recorder or pull off the road. If you have an electronic scratch pad on your phone, use it to record numbers while you are talking.

Wireless enables you to report crimes, life-threatening emergencies, collisions or drunk drivers.

Being in the right will not save you from a crash. You must be prepared for the unsafe actions of other motorists or for poor driving conditions.

The next topic will be on listening to native speakers.

Try this site today: Randall's Listening Lab (which we have looked at before).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 18 - A tunnel between Russia and the USA

On this fine Monday morning, I shall give you an interesting article to read. After you have read it, and after I have dictated the missing parts (whole phrases) I would like you to discuss the issue in small groups.

Afterwards I shall get you to write something on that same topic.

We cannot neglect the tunnel that the last post mentioned. I have selected some of the activities from the Breaking News site for us to try.

Tomorrow we will study cellphone safety.

There are good things to listen to at English Listening. Go to the free section.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 17 - Overwork

Isn't the picture on the left an interesting one?

I enjoyed yesterday morning when you asked me if we could spend time preparing for your group discussion in the afternoon. A teacher is very happy when students take initiative with their learning. I could see that you all made a lot of progress.

So today . . .

First we'll do some listening and/or dictation from our tapes on Assertion. I know that they are a favourite with you, Wea Ju.

I'll prepare a sheet with some of your own writing errors to correct - that covers grammar. Here they are:

Try and improve these sentences:

May be more women are more open mind than men.

It spent a expensive fee for a one month to learn driving.

I’m enjoying driving and listening good music on the way.

Water treatment have a few step the process to come clean.

Finally , the water continued with disinfection tank , where using chlorine.

Sometimes they drive to hit another car because they lost their concentration.

How long can we become a good salsa dancer, it depends on ones personality and the feeling of music.

When I droved my car to visite my friends house at Roslyn then an old driver hited the middle my car when I’m driving.

Some of women is afraid of driving because the traffic is too busy and many taxi men and motorcyclists are always not obey traffic rules and drive over speed.

I’m interested about driving follow limite speed if some one who has driven the car to look all limited speed it make them to reduce more accidents in New Zealand.

The next day, Monday, we'll study about a tunnel between Russia and the USA.

And if you want more work see the site: English Language Centre Study Zone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 16 - Children from Russia in California

Oh how nice to be able to work normally again! Let's resume our listening to Shayne and Patricia.

Yesterday I asked you to see and tell me which exercises concerning the Beijing item you would like to try. While I get that organized, please write a paragraph for me. The topic sentence is:

Beijing is busily preparing for the next Olympics, and the city is concerned about its image.

For today's topic I have sheet for you to read and decide which form each verb should be in.

The next day we will look at overwork, but we shan't actually be overworking!

At ABC Education Resources you can find many Australian things to listen to and read.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 15 - Beijing citizens learn Olympic manners

Good morning all. Please bear with me today - we have what I hope are our final assessment resits, after which we can breathe a sigh of relief. Normal English from now on, in other words.

Your mission should you accept it (from 9 until 10.30) is to gain access to a computer. Look around for an unoccupied computer suite; you may enter and use it. Send me a comment about anything recent on my class blog.

In particular, look at yesterday's lesson about Beijing. Look over the activities that they provide, and tell me which ones you think are most useful for us to do.

Tomorrow we'll look at Children from Russia in California.

Try the site: English Pronunciation. It has some good stuff.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 14 - Cultural differences

The sign of a good weekend is that you completely forget what you did (or what plans you made) the week before.

As a result, I don't know quite what we should do today. Pariya told me that there were three weeks to go to the end of the year, but there are four! Nevertheless, we need to think about completing the resits of this term's module's assessments. Results need to be provided in time for graduation. By the way, let me know if you would like to attend the graduation ceremony. We would need to arrange gowns for you.

After we hear about the 7-year-old-swimmer (last post's topic) I shall help prepare you more for your afternoon assessment: Group Discussion. I think I can help you a little with that. All sorts of topics spring to mind about safety for the young, competition, swimming as a skill, training, etc. There is another related article which wrings animals into the picture.

Tomorrow's topic, which relates today's, is Beijing citizens learn Olympic manners.

We'll search out the sites you found last Thursday, and then look at the site, Sounds of English, for pronunciation. The pronunciation is American.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Day 13 - Seven-year-old sets record

Good luck everyone, for your listening assessment at 10 a.m.

I'll try to lighten the mood in the hour beforehand. An article in today's newspaper caught my eye, and I'm sure it will amuse you too.

Between 11 and 12 I think the best thing for us to do is something different. I'll ask you to form pairs. Each pair will then draw a task at random.

Next week we'll start with cultural differences.

Finally, I like the appearance of the Virtual Language Centre, don't you?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day 12 Ten commandments for motorists

Today we'll take a break from listening about assertiveness, but not from listening!

Using yesterday's link to a radio programme about food and cooking I have prepared 25 questions you ought to be able to answer without too much trouble. My aim is to give you some last-minute practice for tomorrow's assessment, and to increase your confidence.

  1. What is the program about?

  1. What is William offered to eat?

  1. Are humans at the top or at the bottom of the food chain?

  1. Complete the expression: Food for ___________

  1. How was the interviewer able to interview Anita?

  1. What are cooking buses?

  1. You can fit how many people into the class – 6, 16, 32 or 60?

  1. Many children don’t know what fact about vegetables?

  1. Which verb often goes with the word ‘recipe’?

  1. Which preposition often goes with the word ‘recipe’?

  1. How can you take part in the competition?

  1. Which letter in the word ‘ingredient’ becomes silent when you form the plural?

  1. Complete these words: Essen____, Vit___, and Import_____

  1. What question did the interviewer ask Anita first?

  1. What ‘makes’ a good cook? (Say this in 10 words or less)

  1. What is Anita’s opinion about spending money on food?

  1. What prompted William to start cooking?

  1. Describe William’s meals with two of the adjectives he uses.

  1. Does William ‘make it up as he goes along’? What does this mean?

  1. How can you learn how to make the perfect omelette?

  1. Does the person on the phone come from Peru, Manchester, or does she come from Spain?

  1. What meat in is Wendy’s favourite dish?

  1. Complete:________ anything together and see ____________________

  1. Another word for a small job is ______________.

  1. What sound signals the end of the programme?

After the break you'll do some self-directed learning, starting with a piece of writing on driving.

Site for you today: Dave's ESLCafe. A Student and Teacher resource. Quizzes, slang, ‘idea cookbook’, discussion forums, etc. Check out the great links-with heaps of links to ESL sites.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Here's a short and easy-to-listen-to video clip about the 'benefits' of civilization.

Day 11 Food and cooking

We may not get around to working on this topic today. We seem to be doing more listening in preparation for the test than other skills.

Didn't we have a useful session in the computer suite yesterday? I have an idea to make our conversation hour more useful than usual today too.

After we hear more tips from Shayne and Patricia we'll roleplay and pronounce another interview from our favourite site of 800. You can always find it on this blog, but I strongly recommend that you make use of delicious.

Tomorrow the topic will be Ten commandments for motorists.

Try this site for size - to learn English - it allows you to try placement tests

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 10 - Neighbours fighting

Because of Internet problems I haven't been able to write this for a couple of days. Never mind, we'll continue from where we left off.

Dictation - Assertiveness tape continued. I shall encourage you to listen in 'chunks', not separate words.

Listening practice - One: I have some questions for you from the next part of the same tape.

Listening practice - Two: I shall prepare some questions on this listening exercise on the Internet. Please listen, then return to your desk to answer the questions so that others are not kept waiting too long. While you are waiting, do the writing exercise.

In the computer suite today you can prepare for tomorrow's topic: Food and cooking.

You should also see what you think about OZ ESL, an Australian site. Try the quizzes link.