Angela's English classes

Exercises, resources, tips, ideas and a dose of fun


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Alphabear: Word it out!

 

Word games are perhaps not as popular as other bright 3D strategy games flooding Playstore and Istore. Nonetheless, Alphabear is a quite popular app. Basically, you have to spell words by selecting letters on a grid. Not only that, you must also prioritize your letter choices. Leaving letters unused for many turns makes them turn into bricks which take away space from the board which doesn’t let the bears that appear on it expand. The bigger the bears, the higher your score.

The game is free and you can play offline, too. Besides, it has adorable minimalst kawaii-style bears you can win if you score the necessary points. I have read many people (and that includes me) get hooked on it and it gets incredibly challenging as they progress through the game. This might just make you try harder and feel like looking up words.  I definitely think it’s worth giving it a try and checking your vocabulary. You might find new words when  trying to sort them out. Play and learn!

Check out the developer’s website,  Spryfox.com, to watch Alphabear’s trailer!

 

Origen: Alphabear

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Intermediate 5, Unit 2, Lesson 2: Noun clauses

The lesson about noun clauses contained a lot of information that might be condusing at first. You can try with the exercises first until you feel more confident. After that, I suggest you read more examples and explanation if you still have doubts.

Balance picture retrieved from pixabay.com


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Aesop’s fables free online course at ALISON

I really enjoy free online courses and this time I have found a course that might be considered attractive to many since it is about Aesop. I have read and heard many of Aesop’s fables as a child. However, I hadn’t researched about the author. Do you remember reading his fables? Perhaps some of the most famous are The Crow and the Fox and The Lion and the Mouse.

This free online course teaches about him and  it aims to remind us of the lessons in the fables and to reflect on how we can apply them on our everyday life. What is more, you can work on your vocabulary and reading skills.

It is free (no regisration fees are applied), self-paced (you can start and continue anytime you want) and it has quizzes you can retake if your answers were wrong. You will find nice artwork, too. Moreover, you can get certified. Here is part of the course description:

CERTIFICATION

To qualify for your official ALISON Diploma, Certificate or PDF you must study and complete all modules and score 80% or more in each of the course assessments. A link to your Diploma certificate will then appear under the My Certificates heading of your My Account page.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On completion of this course you will have read 60 Aesop’s fables and you will be able to identify and, demonstrate an understanding of, the moral or lesson that applies to a selection of those fables.

Link to the course:

https://alison.com/courses/Aesops-Fables

Featured Image:

“Mintonbluefc2” by Minton’s Pottery – http://www.creighton.edu/aesop/artifacts/tiles/mintonsbluetiles/index.php. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mintonbluefc2.jpg#/media/File:Mintonbluefc2.jpg


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Intermediate 5 – forget, remember, stop with infinitive and gerund

Gerund or infinitive after “forget”, “remember” and “stop”
Gap-fill exercise: http://www.bnv-bamberg.de/home/ba4613/flg/englischinteraktiv/gerundinfinitive4.htm

Explanation and exercises with more verbs:

http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/gerunds-and-infinitives-verbs-4.html regret

http://www.englishexercises.org/makeagame/viewgame.asp?id=5401

Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper and then check:

http://www.fiestaesl.com/gerinf4_different_meaning_remember_stop_try.html

Choose the correct answer:

http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/268.html

Listen to Shakira’s song, Can’t remember to forget you. Complete the following statements:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GRWiy9UFL4
What I tend ____ when it comes to you
I can’t remember _____ you
I keep ____ I should let you go
I never seemed ______ so stupid
The only memory is us ______ in the moonlight (o
What I’m trying ______ is not to forget

Read the lyrics, check your answers and sing!

http://www.metrolyrics.com/cant-remember-to-forget-lyrics-shakira.html

Lyrics on the screen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6lyJMr0pQw

 


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Double and repeated comparatives – Intermediate 8

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Write the correct comparative forms

http://www.englishexercises.org/makeagame/viewgame.asp?id=8517

http://www.tolearnenglish.com/exercises/exercise-english-2/exercise-english-44965.php

http://englishpage.free.fr/dossiers/anglais/COMPARATIVES/repeated%20comparatives1

http://www.esl-lounge.com/level4/lev4doublecomparatives.php

http://www.grammarnehttp://www.esl-lounge.com/level4/lev4doublecomparatives.phpt.com/ghtml/adjectives/exadjand1.htm

PDF with answer key:

http://4englishfun.com/1314docs/Adjectives/DoubleComparatives2.pdf

Examples and exercises:

http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/themore.html

http://speakspeak.com/grammar-articles/better-and-better-more-and-more-repeating-comparative-adjectives-to-show-change

 

London – picture retrieved from pixabay  88x31


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How do you say ___ in English?

Students are usually filled with questions and they always enjoy discoverying vocabulary that relates to their daily lives, especially slang. There are some words I have been asked about many a time. Below I have listed them with their meaning and an example sentence.

namesake (tocayo/a)

someone or something that has the same name as another person or thing.

One of my school teachers’ first name was Graciela which is my middle name. Sadly, we didn’t get along and I didn’t want people to know she was my namesake.

craving (antojo)

a very strong desire for something.

Honestly, I am unable to recollect if I had cravings during my pregnancy. It is said that pregnant women have  intense and unpredictable cravings.

sore loser, informal (Perú: picón/a)

someone who doesn’t take defeat well, especially one who complains. 

Several people dislike losing. Problems arise when some do not want to accept they have  lost. If you lose, don’t become a sore loser . Try to have fun!

hit man/ contract killer (sicario/a)

a person who is paid to kill someone.

It a pity this term is here. Some months ago there was news about contract killers or hit men murdering politicians or diverse victims of mafias.

henpecked, informal (pisado)

a man dominated by a woman, especially his wife

I believe that the use of this term is more than often unfair. When in a relationship,  both parts must make some sacrifices and spend quality time together. Agreeing with your wife’s or girlfriend’s requests isn’t a manifestation of domination. A henpecked man is dependent and easily controlled by his wife.

To my mind, people should stop using sexist terms as this one. Wives who are victims of violence or psychological abuse by their husbands can even put their lives in risk. It is a serious issue to bring under discussion. On the contrary, when the opposite happens –  a man being harassed by his spouse – it isn’t taken seriously.

capricious (caprichoso/a)

not logical or reasonable : based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict.

As a teen I could be very capricious and change my mind suddenly. Like small children who might want something even if it’s bad for them, such as lots of candy.

Tupperware ® container

containers from a brand of plastic containers used for storing food.

I have just started taking my lunch to work in a plastic container. In Spanish we call this type of food storage boxes tappers. The name comes from Earl Tupper’s plastic products. Nowadays Tupperware is a brand name people use as a generic name for food storage boxes.

Notice that Rubbermaid doesn’t address its products as Tupperware ones.

http://www.rubbermaid.com/Category/Pages/Category.aspx?CatName=FoodStorage

Mischief, uncountable noun  (travesura)

All Children make mischief without bad intentions. My daughter draws on the wall or uses the shampoo to blow bubbles and makes mischief out of curiosity and fun.

Since my students are Spanish speakers it’s inevitable they notice similarities between both languages. At times they just opt for constructing nouns, adjectives or verbs as if they were cognates -words that have  the same origin or roots and the same meaning. For instance, the word animal which differs in pronunciation or invitation which is written similar to invitación. It’s so common for beginners to substitute the  -ción ending for –tion in an attempt to speak more fluently but then they get some funny words or words that actually exist but with a different meaning from one language to another. In other words, false cognates or false friends.

The most recurrent in my classes are:

Question, verb (cuestionar)

to express doubt about.

A number of learners ask whether they can question me when they mean ask.  

Actually  (en realidad)

Numerous people believe I am Chinese. Actually, I am Peruvian with a Japanese background.

You will find tons of information on false friends online. Therefore, my main interest was writing in regard to other frequently asked vocabulary.

A simplet quizlet set to review and check pronunciation:

http://quizlet.com/_u71dc

Related links:

http://spanishcognates.org/

http://spanish.about.com/cs/vocabulary/a/obviouswrong.htm

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57195/50-spanish-english-false-friend-words

It’s enjoyable to learn some new words, but you must be careful how you use them.


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Writing: Express an opinion on animal treatment – Intermediate 7

The pre-writing task was done in class. In order to convince or persuade people it’s essential to include facts, evidence and expert’s opinions. Do some research when you have made up your mind about the issue you will deal with.

Writing Strategies:

Using Evidence to Strengthen Your Arguments (from Prof. Allison Pease’s Writing Center workshop)

Extra Writing Skills Practice

ZOOS:

Reuters: zoos

National Geographic: interview – San Diego zoo

Arguments for and against zoos

Zoos and conservation

A mother’s view on zoos and an alternatives

ANIMALS IN ENTERTAINMENT:

BBC: using animals in entertainment

 PETA animals in entertainment factsheets

ASPCA animals in entertainmente

Pros and cons of animals in circuses

Animal conservation organizations in Peru:

These organizations provide alternatives to get in touch with wild animals

Fundación Ballena Azul – Peru

ORCA – Peru

Mundo Azul

Amazon Shelter

 Next remember to follow these steps when writing:

  1.  Think about the introduction. State what the situation is in an impersonal way.
  2. Think of at two or three reasons to support your opinion.
  3. Reflect on the possible arguments against them.
  4. Work on your conclusion. You final statement expresses your personal opinion.
  5. Write a draft. Use the ideas you wrote in your plan. Make sure you include the grammar and vocabulary from the unit.
  6. Use a formal style: no contractions or colloquial expressions. Formal style – Yale University
  7. Check for grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes.

Featured image:

“Animal Rights Memorial – Sherborn, Massachusetts – DSC02932 (cropped 2)” by Daderot – Daderot. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animal_Rights_Memorial_-_Sherborn,_Massachusetts_-_DSC02932_(cropped_2).jpg#/media/File:Animal_Rights_Memorial_-_Sherborn,_Massachusetts_-_DSC02932_(cropped_2).jpg


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Subjunctive -Intermediate 10

I suggest you review the lesson by practising online.

xplanation and exercise – Englishclub

multiple choice exercise – University of Bristol

Subjunctive quiz 

Examples and exercise

Rewrite the statements 


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Art -why do we have to talk about it?

Art is everywhere. It can be anything or everything, something or nothing for some. Art is also a topic in many books we have to deal with. It can become thrilling or dull depending on how we present it to the class. I recall sharing experiences with colleagues and we thought the artists and pieces of art introduced in the unit weren’t very motivating for people who don’t adore art. By the time, you read this you must think there DO exist ways to stimulate your students. The aim today is only to show you some findings that will interest you and your students as well. In addition, I am sharing a simple lesson plan for a Speaking lesson. I hope you find it useful.

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Interesting ad image by brewbooks retrieved from Flickr licensed underdescarga

Guido Daniele-  Handimals

CC image courtesy of Sébastien Barré on Flickr

Another Flexible Paper Sculpture by Li Hongbo  (at Klein Sun Gallery, NYC) #lihongbo All paper, stretching.  by Sébastien Barré on Flickr licensed under creative_commons_license_logo

Li Hongbo video

http://artboom.info/sculpting/flexible-paper-sculptures-by-li-hongbo.html

“Storker metro”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Storker_metro.jpg#/media/File:Storker_metro.jpg

Clear Tape art by Mark Jenkins 

AIM: students will be able to talk about art by using descriptive adjectives and by expressing their opinion on pieces of art.

Level: Upper Basic,Intermediate /Contents: Art / Skills: Speaking/ Interaction patterns: pairs,groups

Teaching aids: realis- handicrafts, pictures, drawings (made by the teacher), pictures, video, questions worksheet

I)ANTICIPATORY SET:

1.show students some drawings and handicrafts you have made (don’t make them perfect!). Have sstudents looks at them, touch them. In pairs discuss which they like.

Honeycomb technique – DIY tutorial

2.Ask students : In your opinion, can my artwork be presented in a museum? Why (not)?

provide some input:

original/creative/special/imaginative

common/ordinary/imperfect,flawed/inferior

List of Descriptive Words to Critique Art

II)PRESENTATION:

  1. Do you visit art galleries? why(not)?
  2. What type of art do you know? ideas on board
  3. Which artists know do you? elict information.
  4. What about the following artists? Show pictures.

In pairs discuss the materials and the procedures to make the artwork. Students share ideas with class, clarify if necessary.

4.video: present comprehension questions. Then have students watch and discuss their answers in pairs.

Worksheet with answers

  • What do people think when they first see Li Hongbo’s sculptures?
  • What can his sculptures do?
  • When did his interest in paper begin?
  • What inspired him to create his sculptures?
  • How many sheets of paper did his man sculpture need?
  • Which aspect is important for a sculpture’s balance – depth, width, mass or  center?
  • What could happen if this aspect isn’t right?

5. Vocabulary: look at the pictures and match with the verbs.

III) PRACTICE:

1.Critical Thinking questions:

  • Do you believe art is only in art galleries?
  • In your opinion, can anybody do art?
  • To your mind, what makes someone an artist?
  • Do you believe  today’s modern artists better than the artists in the past?
  • What have the artists we have talked about obtained through their work?
  • What have the spectators obtained?

model:

I believe art is something only very skilled people can do. I can do something innovative but it might not look so nice. Besides, if I wanted create something similar to what we saw I would need a lot of practice.

I liked the artwork we saw. Thanks to it I was entertained and it motivated me to continue with my hobbies. Perhaps I create something interesting and I can sell it!

input:

where: streets, houses, parks, people’s bodies,buildings,stadiums, hospitals,restaurnts,salons, etc

what we can get from it :

recognition,fame,money, satisfaction,personal growth, motivation,inspiration, entertainment

it can help :

  • learn about yourself,other cultures, other ways of thinking
  • your children to eat (food art)
  • people to express themselves
  • deliver political/social/ecological messages
  • teach a subject
  • develop skills

IV)REFLECTION:

We have talked about art. Now think and reflect with your partners: Why is art important?

Extra reading for you or your students:

V)PROJECT:

Groups: Together choose one artist and create a similar piece of art with a personal message. They could also innovate and use their own ideas or mix ideas,too.

Bring it to class or bring the materials and explain:

  • your reasons to choose the artist
  • the process to create you art
  • the message you want to deliver

This lesson plan is simple as you can see. Adapting and improving it depends on you and I am sure there are tons of creative people out there.

I have to thank my students (again) for insipiring me!

Featured image: Brush

88x31


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VOA Learning English

USA VOA sticker

Tweeting around I came across VOA. They started following me or viceversa. Then, after some of their tweets I realized it’s a helpful resource for learners and teachers. VOA has more than one site and they have resource in different languages. The site provides lessons divided into two levels, 1 and 2. They  have news and their scripts with highlighted words that are explained on the bottom of the script. People can also make comments on the news and await for feedback.  It’s awesome to have the chance to practice and be assessed for free! I’ve read some responses that have been written  one or two days after being posted. In addition, they have videos.

Perhaps you are thinking that news are boring. VOA has divided their news into topics: World,America,Health,Entertainment,Business & Economics,Science & Technology. There will be something that suits your interests. Another interesting feature I found was ‘Words and Their Stories’ which explains American English expressions (audio and script,too.)

VOA’s website

VOA pronunciation guide

Talk2us Skype call-in show

Talk2us schedule

Confessions of an English learner A place for you to practice your writing. They post a weekly prompt, to give  a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing. I haven’t read any comments, though. I’ll try writing something myself to see what people respond.

They also offer a free Wordbook with some explanations about parts of speech and  informative images.It’s a simple and comprehensible dictionary with 1500 Words used by Voice of America’s Special English Announcers. It has a Special Words & Information section including  basic business and computer terms, thus it contains maps and some diagrams.

Another  resourceful site to add to the list  is American English,  a website for ESL teachers and learners  managed by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. If you browse VOA websites you can find nice surprises.

You can’t get enough from VOA. Try  VOA Interactive Learning: Wordbooks. So many learning opportunities!

Other sites they have :

VOA youtube channel captioned videos!

http://voalearningenglish.org/ daily news reports with subtitles. English in minute: idioms explained in a minute

The use of the images and logos on this post is intended for noncommercial and educational purposes. The images were taken from http://learningenglish.voanews.com/