Monday 8 October 2012

6-Things To Do To Commemorate Indigenous Peoples On Columbus Day.

Commemorating Indigenous Peoples On Columbus Day

I posted up an earlier resource today on Christopher Columbus. On the 12th October, 1492; this well known explorer was said to have arrived as an immigrant to "the New World." 

I follow an organisation called 'Cultural Survival' and I would like to present their viewpoint on the discovery of the New World. Cultural Survival say that Christopher Columbus did not "discover" America. Indeed, there were native people already living there and the territory belonged to them as it was their homeland.

This reminds me of the issue of who discovered Macchu Picchu in Peru (see previous blog post on Macchu Picchu and the Macchu Picchu Multi Media Project). 

On Friday 12th October, let's remember and celebrate the People who are native to the America's. The above picture is a memorial tribute to the Indians in Chile.   Click on the title link and discover 6 things that you can do to support the causes of these people on Friday.  Activities vary from further reading, to making donations or simply spreading the word to your friends and followers so people around the world are better informed of indigenous issues.      

Report Warns Global Hunger is Imminent

Report Warns Global Hunger is Imminent

by Tara Banwell, English Club

  • development of vocabulary around topic of global hunger
  • mp3/audio file based on the Beddington Report
  • gap fill exercise
  • comprehension exercise
  • discussion idea

Organic Foods Have Same Nutritional Value

Organic Foods Have Same Nutritional Value

  • develop new and test existing vocabulary around the topic of food 
  • listen to an audio/MP3 file on the nutritional value of organic foods
  • complete a gap fill exercise
  • answer comprehension questions on the audio and written text
  • idea for discussion with fellow students, friends and colleagues

This Week In History

This Week In History

Christopher Columbus led the First Europeans to sail across the Atlantic.  On 12th October, 1492; he reached the New World or the current day Bahamas.

Click on the title link above and:-

  • listen to and read a short transcript about Christopher Columbus
  • test out and learn new vocabulary 
  • take a quick quiz

Sunday 7 October 2012

Phonemic Chart

Phonemic Chart

Follow the title link.  If you are a beginner/pre-intermediate English learner and following the British Council Elementary Podcasts I suggest for the time being only trying to focus on the consonant part of the chart. If you are a higher level learner or feel confident to do so; you could go on to the single vowel sounds and then the dipthongs (double vowel sounds) last as they are the hardest!

Download the phonemic chart and refer to it frequently. It will help you to improve your pronunciation.  Check out the exercise 'Using the phonemic chart for autonomous learning'.  It will help you a lot!

Try the other pronunciation activities, they are all very good and if you have an iPad there is a 'Sounds Right' application available to download for free.

BBC Learning English | Pronunciation Tips

BBC Learning English | Pronunciation Tips

by Alex Bellem

Click on the title link to:-

  • find pronunciation tips on voiced, voiceless and other consonants
  • posters on each consonant
  • video on each consonant
  • listen to individual sounds
  • download the full phonemic chart

Famous Female Mexican Painter

Frida Kahlo

An Introduction

In the British Council Elementary Podcast Series Programme 6,  the famous person discussed this week was Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican Painter.  She is truly a fascinating woman and here are some sources of information to help you understand her work and  her life.

The above website incorporates:
  • 6 biographical videos and a written biographical page. You may like to write your own biography on her life after you have read, listened to and watched these video's.  This could be a small group project where you take a small part of her life story each.
  • information, facts and the chronology of Frida Kahlo's life. You could assemble the information into a time line using this link -
  • a paint gallery  with over 70 self portraits to scroll through by Frida.  Perhaps you could arrange and edit these pictures into a Favourte 10 Frida Kahlo Painting PowerPoint Presentation, writing a summarising sentence about each painting and what it means to you.
  • A selection of quotes taken from what Frida said in her lifetime and her diary which she kept for the latter part of her life.  These could be made into a pocket book of Frida Kahlo Quotes.

My Favourite Quote

Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.”

In her diary she also wrote:

"Laughing and letting go and feeling lighter give one strength. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing "man" has, and I am sure that however much animals "suffer", they never exhibit their "pain" in open "theatres" or "behind doors". Their colours are truer than any image that any man may "represent" as painful.”

After her experiences in life, I am truly inspired by this incredible woman and her words.  It is a miracle that a person who suffered so much, had this amazing gift of valuing and living her life so fully. Awe inspiring!

The Film - Frida

Frida Kahlo's life was made into film starring Salma Hayak and Alfred Molina, as her husband Diego Rivera (the famous Mexican muralist).

Here is a film trailer to view at:-

And here is a written, online review for the film from Alex von Tunzelmann (The Guardian)

British Council Elementary Podcast Episode 6

TEFL Vocabulary, Grammar and Communicative Skills.

If you are a beginner (A2 CEFR level) these British Council Podcasts are excellent for getting you started.  As the week progresses I will post up other related work which will be appropriate for different levels of student ability.  If you are an Intermediate level of student you may want to use this resource to revise and then extend your knowledge.  Advanced students may just want to dip into the additional and other resources added during the week.

Go to: 

Find the audio link (MP3) right click and save it so you can listen to it whenever is convenient for you. The podcast comes with a support pack and transcript which is 22 pages long.  Use this link:
Download and do the exercises.

Main Contents of Podcast This Week

  • Telling a story - 'being late'.
  • What famous person would you like to meet and why? Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter
  • Vocabulary quiz - words beginning with (single consonant sounds)
  • Kazakhstan - a comparison of 'old' and 'new'.  Astana (capital city) versus traditional mountain scenery.  'Berkutchy' - a traditional eagle keeper or modern occupations.
  • Expressing an opinion - how 'green' are you?
  • Dialogue of Carolina from Venezuela when she is at university deciding what societies and clubs to join.
  • Telling/retelling a joke
Here is a summary of the main language points of the podcast. Try to get more practise with these language points during the week if you can:
  1. Use of the word 'like' as a verb, preposition and informal conversation filler.
  2. Informal language and phrases.
  3. Giving information to others.  For example: phone numbers, addresses.
  4. Use of the phrase 'as well'
I will follow up with work that is related through the week.  This work will be graded for different levels of student ability.

Friday 5 October 2012

BBC World Service - Witness, Fifty years of the Beatles

BBC World Service - Witness, Fifty years of the Beatles

Click on the title link above and listen to Beatles music clips (Love, Love Me Do; Please, Please Me and she Loves You) with an interview led by Simon Watts in 1962.  

The four young Beatles (Ringo, George, John and Paul) are interviewed as are George Martin and Brian Ebstein (their manager and stage manager respectively).  

Their 'natural sense of  humour' and 'love for fun' comes through really well in the interview as indeed do some of their 'character flaws'. 

The interview was conducted in a very different time era where musicians did as their manager and stage manager told them.  They dressed in suits as directed by Brian Ebstein instead of the jeans and leather jackets they had originally turned up for audition in.  

Very informative. Listen, sing along and enjoy!

Allergies and Genetically Modified Cow's Milk

Milk Allergies in Human Babies

This BBC podcast is concerned with genetically modified food and allergies.  Minor to severe allergies are described.  For example; hay fever, nut, egg and cows milk allergies in babies. The resource is suitable for advanced TEFL students.

James Gallagher has studied the immune system, body cells and allergy culprits. The podcast is based on his scientific report.

In baby cow milk allergies, the protein 'beta lacta globulin' has been found to cause RNA interference.  

Cows in New Zealand are now injected with a substance to stop them from producing the protein.  Their milk is therefore genetically modified but deemed suitable for babies to drink.

What do you think about genetically modifying cow's milk for babies?

Do you think it is a spectacular or unethical practise?

Listen to the debate on this podcast and form your own opinion.

If you need an online dictionary please use one of the following links:

Learning English - Words in the News - Life's big questions?

Learning English - Words in the News - Life's Big Questions?

Why have I been born?
- ponder life with a drink in a chair which utter words of wisdom

Click the title link and watch this interesting video story from a bar in Corigliano d'Otranto, Italy and become familiar with new English vocabulary. 


philosophy, ponder, utters, in demand, catch on

Shawshank Redemption “Cadena Perpetua” « TEFL Iberia

Shawshank Redemption “Cadena Perpetua” 

« TEFL Iberia

An excellent film about men serving 'life sentences' and their lives inside a US prison. 
Click on the title link and listen to Morgan Freeman's speech about 'rehabilitation'. 

Check out the meaning of the words in 'italics' using these online dictionary links.

  • In your own words, explain what a 'life sentence' is.
  • What does a 'rehabilitation programme' involve?
  • Find out what are your friends, colleagues, teachers and relatives views on 'life sentences', 'prisons' and 'rehabilitation'?
  • Do you think that a life sentence should mean that the sentence lasts for life or is there ever a case for 'early release on the grounds of good behaviour'?
  • Do you agree with the 'death penalty'? Explain your reasons.
  • What crimes do you think 'warrant' life sentences and what crimes do not? Complete two lists.

Click on the title link and think again about Morgan Freeman's response to the question of whether he thinks he has rehabilitated.

  • Do you think prison rehabilitates a person? Or do you think a person can feel that 'remorse' for himself or herself in his own time?
  • Does prison have other purposes such as a punishment, isolation .......? Discuss with your colleagues, family and friends.

Finally, think about the phrase 'prisoner of war'.  What does it mean?

"A famous prisoner of war was Fran├žois Mitterrand. He was a French president who was captured during the Second World War in 1940".

How many times do you think he escaped before arriving home in December 1941?