Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Take This Short Hunger Quiz -- and you’ll feed a child!

Take This Short Hunger Quiz -- and you’ll feed a child!

Today is World Food Day so take this short hunger quiz.  Simply, click on the title link and answer five questions on hunger. It only takes a couple of minutes, it will help you practise your English and a child somewhere in the world will be given a hot meal!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Becoming a Diné Navajo Medicine Man

Becoming a Diné Navajo Medicine Man

"Join Clayson Benally as he shares the importance of Medicine Men within Navajo culture and explains the complexity of their practice".

A video from http://explore.org/

This Week In History

This Week In History

A resource from EnglishClub.com with a vocabulary activity (Wordchecker), an article to read, a video to watch and then a quiz to complete testing your understanding of the task.

17 October 1961

Protesting Algerians Shot Dead In Paris

French police kill up to 400 people marching in support of Algeria's independence.



Information from Learn English and an Exercise from the British Council

Determiners are small words used in front of nouns in English. They indicate whether you are referring to something specific (definite) or something more general (and indefinite).

Determiners are explained further in the title link; they are subdivided into two types general and specific.  

  • We use a specific or definite determiner when we know exactly what we are referring to:
Examples of specific determiners are:
the definite article : the
demonstratives : this, that, these, those
possessives : my, your, his, her, its, our, their

  • We use general determiners to talk about nouns without saying exactly who or what they are:
Examples of general determiners are:
the indefinite articles : a, an
a few
a little


Click on the title link, read through the information.  Then sort a list of determiners into two groups.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Noun Phrases

Noun Phrases

Noun phrases can be made up of nouns, quantifiers, determiners and adjectives. 

Find out more with this grammar resource provided by the British Council.

  • Firstly, check that you understand what each type of word is.  Match each type of word with some examples.

- noun                                some, all, both

- quantifier                        older, taller, younger

- determiner                     some, a lot of, many

- adjective                        dogs, house, people

  • Secondly, you need to understand that noun phrases are made up in different ways.  For example:

- you can have just a 'noun' in a noun phrase

- or you can have a 'determiner + noun'

- or a 'quantifier + noun'

- or a 'determiner + adjective + noun'

- or a 'quantifier + determiner + noun'

- or you can have all 4 types of word - 'quantifier + determiner + adjective + noun'

  • Finally, click on the title link.  The exercise in the task matches the noun phrase in brackets to the patterns.

Business and Ethics

Business and Ethics

Manchester is a city in the North West of England which has been renowned for it's cotton mills for many years. The trade is part of it's people's history and roots!

This resource comes from the British Council Learn English website.  

"The primary goal of a company may be to make money but some companies nowadays also recognise that they have a responsibility towards the society in which they operate".

Read the case study of a current Manchester company set up in the 1920's called James Carston. Today this company have evolved their business plan to the current day and make their shirts from 'fairtrade cotton'.  This is sourced from an organisation of Indian farmers.

  • Read about ethical business and choose the correct company profile from 3 choices.

  • Decide whether the statements in the comprehension activity are true or false.

  • Finally, match newly acquired business words and expressions to their correct definitions.

Episode 7 Elementary Podcast from the British Council

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

  • Talking about families.
  • What famous person would you like to meet and why? Muhammed Yanus a famous Bangladesh man who won the Nobel Peace Prize  for setting up a bank lending small amounts of money to poor people.
  • Vocabulary quiz - words beginning with (single consonant sounds)
  • Cairo (capital city of Eygpt) and travelling around by taxi.
  • Expressing an opinion - what is your favourite way of travelling?
  • Dialogue of Carolina from Venezuela when she is ill with a cold and goes to the pharmacy for medication.
  • 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 verbs 'sound' and 'look' when having a conversation with a friend who is ill.
  2. 'False friends'  - words which sound similar to English ones in your own language but have a very different meaning.
  3. Adding the phrase 'if you don't mind me asking' to make a request for information sound more polite
  4. Use of the phrase 'bless you'
I will follow up with work that is related through the week.  This work will be graded for different levels of student ability.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Culture Secrets - North - Canada - News - CBC Player

Culture Secrets - North - Canada - News - CBC Player

from CBC.ca Player

I loved these videos when I came across them. There are 14 of them in total.  Some are presented in English and some are presented in other indigenous languages with subtitles in English. Click on the title link to access all 14 and then click on the video you want to watch. 

They describe the aspects of culture that are important to each of the 14 northern people featured.  I haven't watched them all yet but am sure to do so. They are fascinating!

From Laakuluk Williamson Bathory's  raven mask dancing showing her connect, collaborate and share her culture through dance; to Romeo Saganash (Cree Politician) guiding and sharing his home away from home in Quebec City; and Kiera-Dawn Kolson of Yellowknife, a Tso'Tine-Gwich'in artist and motivational speaker.  

They are truly inspiring and illustrate perfectly how to value cultural diversity in society allowing people to present their own stories.  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Childhood Memories

Home Videos of the Queen's Life Revealed

Prince Charles reflects on some old film footage taken by his mother and father.  Absolutely adorable film footage of Charles as a baby playing with his mother and later at the beach playing with Princess Anne.

A comment was left a few days ago:

"Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL!"

A delightful story!  Please feel free to add your own experiences of 'beach' or 'childhood memories'. 

Here is a personal photograph of me as a small child on a donkey at Blackpool Beach. Donkey rides on holiday used to be popular when I was a child.

How Does Stress Change the Meaning of a Sentence?

How Does Stress Change the Meaning of a Sentence?

Have you ever watched a film or listened to a song in English and have known all the words but still not been able to understand what you have heard. 

This video illustrates why. It takes a sentence and looks at 'stressing' different words implying different meanings.  The meaning of the sentence changes a lot depending on which word is selected .  Adam creates some very different sentences without changing any of the words.  He goes on to look at the word 'really' and by using different intonations he implies different meanings in different social situations. 

An excellent intermediate resource focusing on speaking and oral skills.

Documentary Follows Native Students Learning and Preserving Tewa Language

Documentary Follows Native Students Learning and Preserving Tewa Language

Do you know that every 14 days an indigenous language is lost somewhere in the world?

Click on the title link above and follow a documentary by Aimee Broustra following a group of teenagers in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The teenagers are involved in learning Tewa, a pueblo language to help in creating a film due to be showcased in Albuquerque, New Mexico tomorrow (Friday 12th October, 2012).

The title documentary link describes the work of the 'Young Ancestors' and Laura Kay Eagles (a 7th grade literature teacher) at Santa Fe Preparatory School in New Mexico. 


  • Read the documentary link above about the learning and preservation of the Tewa language and culture.
  • Watch the video of the trailer of the film on the same page.
  • Visit http://theyoungancestors.com/TheYoungAncestors/Home.html and follow the news tab to receive updates on how the film is received. 
  • Read this quote taken directly from the Young Ancestors website.

    "This is a story that needs to be shared and supported to ensure that the era of globalisation does not become synonymous with the tyranny of English language and American culture, of endless strip malls and BP spills.

    Without a multiplicity of languages and cultures, we risk living in a country and in a world in which everything has become homogenised, and white washed, a place in which uniqueness and diversity have ceased to exist"

    Discuss and debate the case for speaking globalised languages such as English, Spanish, Mandarin and the case for preserving local indigenous languages and cultures.

    Activities suitable for Upper Intermediate Learners.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Commonly Confused Words in English: TO, TOO, TWO · engVid

Commonly Confused Words in English: TO, TOO, TWO · engVid

Click on the title link and find a video lesson on the correct usage of to, too and two with Valen. You can then take a quiz to test your understanding of the lesson.