Friday, April 27, 2018

Write About a Time in the Past Worksheet

(TESOL Worksheets--Projects)
Google: docs, pub

Group number_____

Group members: ____________________________________________

Time period in the past:______________

Place: __________________

Research about:
fashion and clothing

entertainment (books, movies, music)

Sports, Games, and other ways people enjoyed themselves

Politics and History of the Period


Ferdinand the Bull--Interesting Random Facts

Remember that children's book Ferdinand the Bull?  Turns out it's got an interesting political history behind it.  Via Wikipedia.

In 1938, Life magazine called Ferdinand "the greatest juvenile classic since Winnie the Pooh" and suggested that "three out of four grownups buy the book largely for their own pleasure and amusement".[1] The article also noted that Ferdinand was accused of being a political symbol, noting that "too-subtle readers see in Ferdinand everything from a fascist to a pacifist to a burlesque sit-down striker".[1] Others labelled the work "as promoting fascism, anarchism, and communism".[5] The Cleveland Plain Dealer "accused the book of corrupting the youth of America" while the New York Times downplayed the possible political allegories, insisting the book was about being true to oneself.[7]
The book was released nine months before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and was seen by many supporters of Francisco Franco as a pacifist book.[8] It was banned in many countries, including in Spain (where it remained banned until after Franco's death).[7] In Nazi GermanyAdolf Hitler ordered the book burned (as "degenerate democratic propaganda"), while it was the only American children's book available for sale in Stalinist-era Poland.[7] It received particular praise from Thomas MannH. G. WellsGandhi, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.[3] Following the 1945 defeat of Germany during the Second World War, 30,000 copies were quickly published and given out for free to the country's children in order to encourage peace.[7]

So, this popped up in my Facebook feed today, and completely ruined my mood:
We're doomed': Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention's funny, isn't it?  Every 6 months or so, I'll see one of these articles (or hear an interview) about how the human race may not survive until the 21st Century.  And it will have me depressed for weeks.
And then gradually I'll forget about it, and then spend all my time obsessing over comic book movies or Star Wars again.

Given the seriousness of the crisis, it's kind of amazing how little we think about it, huh?

I have a friend who explained this to me through an evolutionary perspective.  Our ancestors were built to deal with the immediate threat of predators on the Savannah.  We can't plan around long term threats.
I guess the other theory is that we have to block this kind of stuff out to keep our mental sanity.

...speaking of which, in order to be able to sleep tonight, I watched this as an antidote to the article above.

Al Gore: The Case for Optimism on Climate Change (TED 2016)

(...for my review of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, see HERE).

Avengers: Infinity War

(Movie Review)


* Wow, these Marvel movies, huh?  Every time they keep upping the ante.  And every time I keep thinking they can't possibly pull it off.  And yet they keep pulling it off.

* Related to the above point:
When I first heard that Marvel was doing a movie about all the heroes fighting Thanos, I thought, "Well, okay, but you can't possibly build an interesting story around that."
And then they went ahead and built an interesting story around it.
Not only that, but it's clear now that they've been setting up a lot of the pieces for this movie over their last several movies, in order to get all the characters to exactly the spots they needed to be for this movie to work.
It's quite clever really.
Often when I get out of a Hollywood movie, I think to myself, "Well, geez, I could have written that."
In this case, looking at all the clever set-ups and pay-offs that have cumulated in this movie, I'm thinking to myself, "I definitely couldn't have written this."

* The movie is almost all fight scenes, but to give credit where credit is due, the fight scenes are really awesome.

* Lots of fun seeing all these characters from different movies meet each other for the first time, and finally interact.

* Lots of humor.

* So, I was a big comic book geek in my youth.  
And as a comic book geek, one problem that I often noticed is that the more bizarrely powerful the heroes got, the more bizarrely powerful the villains had to get in order to make it interesting.
Particularly with team-up comics (like Teen Titans or Justice League) the combined power of the heroes is so powerful that they usually have to invent some sort of god-like villain in order to create any kind of stakes.
But the problem with an omnipotent villain is that :
1) the story quickly becomes pretty ridiculous, and 
2) it creates all sorts of plot holes--mostly along the lines of "Well if he had the power to do that in one scene, why didn't he have the power to do it again in another scene."
Thanos is a classic example of this problem.  A practically omnipotent villain, who acquires the power to alter reality, and move in time.  
I'm pretty sure that if you went through and analyzed this story carefully, it wouldn't be full of plot holes.  Thanos's powers did not seem consistent from one scene to the next.

Mixed Bag
 * So, no Hawkeye or Ant-Man in this movie, huh?  Given all the other superheroes this movie was juggling, I hardly missed them.  But still, I wonder why they didn't work in some sort of brief cameo for them?  What do you suppose was the behind the scenes reason?

* So, we all know Spider-Man and Black Panther aren't really dead.  Of course they're not dead, we all know that more Spider-Man and Black Panther movies are in production.  So they can't be dead.
So that attempt to make us think they were dead is really kind of pathetic, isn't it?
I was tempted to put this in the negative column, but then eventually I decided that this wasn't really Marvel's fault.  They can't really do anything about the fact that the big budget Hollywood movie machine is too much of a behemoth to keep anything secret.
It's a losing game trying to build tension about characters who we know have more franchise films coming out, but I guess I don't blame them for trying.

* Since this film ended on a cliff-hanger, full judgement on the success of this story will have to wait until part 2 comes out next year.
Obviously we know most of the superheros will be resurrected somehow (see the above point).  But how?  Will it be in a cheap cop-out way, or will it be in a way that feels authentic to the story?
And how far reaching will this resurrection be?  Will characters that were killed earlier in the movie (like Loki or Gamora) also be resurrected?
Since it was already established in this movie that the infinity stones control the movement through time, I'm a bit worried the resolution will involve some sort of going back in time.
Generally I really hate the idea of going back in time to resolve plot points.  (Exceptions can be made for movies where the whole premise is about going back in time to fix something--like Back to the Future.  Then it's fair enough, because that's the premise. But if going back in time is just an addendum at the end of the movie, then I don't like it.)
But we'll have to wait and see I guess.

Rating :
9 out of 10 Stars--Quite possibly the best super hero movie ever.  Certainly the most ambitious super hero movie ever.  Close to 10 out of 10 stars, but it loses one star for 2 reasons--the godlike villain problem, and the cliffhanger ending.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

English World 6 Unit 2 Vocabulary

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--English World 6)

Google Drive Folder HERE
Unit 1 Vocabulary Slideshow: slides, pub
Quizlet Handout: docs, pub
Crossword Puzzle: drive
Crossword Puzzle answers: drive

English World 6 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 6 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 6 Unit 2 Vocabulary

English World 6 Unit 2 Vocabulary

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Present Simple Conversation Prompts

(TESOL Worksheets--Present Simple)
Google: docs, pub
(These are cut up and posted around the room.  The students walk around the room in pairs and talk about these questions together.)

What do you do every morning?

What do you like doing in your free time?

How often do you exercise?

How many books do you normally read in one year?

Where do you usually go on holiday?

What time do you usually eat dinner?

How long does it take you to get to school or work every day?  How do you travel?  What do you usually do while you’re travelling?

How do you feel now?  Why?

What do you usually eat for breakfast?

What do you usually do on Sunday afternoons?

How often do you take the bus?

How often do you take a trip to the beach?

How often do you use your phone?

Vlog: The Books on My Shelf Part 3: The Books I Haven't Even Started

Vlog Playlist HERE

Monday, April 23, 2018

Describe a City Project

(TESOL Worksheets--Projects)
Google: docs, pub

Group number:_____

Member names: __________________

City name: ____________________________

5 places to visit in this city:

Name of place
Adjectives you can use to describe this place
Why should you visit this place





Saturday, April 21, 2018

Worksheet for Planning a Trip Project

(TESOL Worksheets--Writing, Speaking, Projects)
Google: docs, pub

Group number:______

People in your group:_______________________________________

Imagine you are a tour guide.  Plan a tour to bring your classmates on.

Where will you go?_________________________________

What should you bring with you?____________________________________________

Plan the trip:






Friday, April 20, 2018

Crossword Puzzle for Spelling Plurals: "s" or "es" plural spellings for nouns ending in "o"

(TESOL Worksheets--Spelling)
Question sheet HERE
Answer sheet HERE

Has anyone ever seen that old 1951 movie "I Was a Communist for the FBI" (W)

It's an old McCarthy era right-wing propaganda film.
I've never seen the whole thing, but it used to be on cable TV a lot back when I was in college.  (I think they were running it partly as a joke, partly as a time-piece).  So I caught some bits and pieces of it.
There was one scene that has stuck in my mind all these years--at one point, the main character is giving a speech about why he's making all these sacrifices for the anti-Communist cause.  And he says he's doing it because "...I want to go on living in a country where you can walk around with your head up high, where you can talk back to cops, and where you can holler out loud in print..."

It struck me as strange even back in the 1990s.  A country where you can talk back to cops was decidedly not the country that the right-wingers wanted.  Weird to think that in 1951 this was actually a conservative value.

The irony has stuck with me over the years as news story after news story has demonstrated that in America, you can not talk back to cops.  If this ever was America at one time, that America is long gone.

What's ironic, then, is that in actually communist countries you can totally talk back to cops.  Or at least in communist Vietnam, where I'm currently living.
Several videos have gone viral (mostly on Facebook or on Vietnamese media) showing angry Vietnamese motorists shouting and even hitting the police.  And appearing to get away with it.
In the Expat Forum page, people often write things like, "Wow, if you did that in my country, you'd be killed."

How ironic, then, that in democratic America, you are putting your life at risk whenever you confront the police.  And in communist Vietnam, you can totally get away with it.

I wanted to share some these videos, but I'm having trouble finding them on Youtube. (I think many of them are only on Facebook--several more are probably titled in Vietnamese only).  I found one video--posted below--and that will have to suffice for example.  You'll just have to take my word for it that there are more like this.

Okay, now in the interest of honesty, I should probably tell you that while I was searching for the above video, I found several other youtube videos that undermined my thesis--videos of Vietnamese police being overly aggressive.
I guess it's hard to generalize too much.  There are probably police that are overly timid in both Vietnam and America, and there are also police that are overly aggressive in both Vietnam and America.

But what you don't see in Vietnam is reports of police shooting people.  From all the videos I saw, it looks like the Vietnamese police either don't carry guns, or don't ever feel the need to draw them.

Actually it's like that in a lot of countries.  In England, Australia, and many countries in Europe, the police don't carry guns.

Of course the police have to  carry guns in America.  I understand that.  There are so many guns among the general population in America that the police have to arm themselves for their own safety.

But then here's the second irony:
People who take an insurrectionist interpretation of the second amendment often say that the 2nd amendment is necessary to prevent a police state.  But, in fact, the 2nd Amendment is why we have a police state.  There's no problem of police shooting unarmed civilians in England, Australia, Japan, or Communist Vietnam.
But in America...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hurricane for IELTS

(TESOL Worksheets--IELTS Reading)
Google: drivedocs, pub
[This is a variation on the Hurricane Game .  I made this to illustrate how the Hurricane Game could potentially be used to review IELTS test rules and test strategies, for a workshop I did on Making IELTS Fun.  (I'll post the whole workshop soon).  For the purposes of example, this game repurposes questions I had previously used for different activities in a lesson on IELTS Express Upper Intermediate Second Edition Unit 1 Reading p.10-14 ]

Teacher’s Key (The students cannot see this.  The students only see a blank grid drawn on the whiteboard).  All of the questions here come from IELTS Express Upper Intermediate Second Edition Unit 1 Reading p.10-14.  The students have studied this lesson beforehand.

Change points with another team
Matching Headings to Paragraphs: What do you have to do for this task?

(Answer: You are asked to find a suitable paragraph heading from a list to match to the appropriate paragraph.)
Matching Headings to Paragraphs: Which one is correct?  There will be more paragraphs than headings, or more headings than paragraphs?

(Answer: More headings than paragraphs.)
Matching Headings to Paragraphs: There are two types of headings.  What are they?

(Answer: Headings that summarise the information of a paragraph, or headings that pick out key information in the paragraph.)
Matching Headings to Paragraphs: What are distractors?

(Answer: Wrong answers.  This might include supporting information that comes from a paragraph, but it is not the main idea of the paragraph.)
Summary Completion: What are the two types of summary completion?

(Answer: You have to complete the gaps with the exact words from the passage, or you have to take words from a given list.)
Summary Completion: Is spelling important?

(Answer:  Yes).
Summary Completion: What should you always check for?

(Answer: The maximum word limit).
Summary Completion: You have to select the best word or words based on which two criteria?

(Answer: Meaning, and grammatical compatibility.)
Short-Answer Questions: Which is true?  The order of the questions will be the same as the order of the passage, or the order of the questions will be different than the order of the passage?

(Answer: The order of the questions will always be the same as the order of the passage.)
Change points with another team
Short-Answer Questions: What should you focus on in the question?

(Answer: Keywords).
Steal all the points from another team.
Short Answer Questions: TRUE or FALSE.  The keywords in the question are usually exactly the same words as in the passage.

(Answer: False.  Synonyms and paraphrases.)
Lose all your points
Change points with another team
Short Answer Questions: TRUE or FALSE.  When you write your answer, you should use synonyms and paraphrases.  

(Answer: FALSE.  Use exactly the same words as the passage as far as possible.)
How long will the reading test last?

(Answer: 1 Hour).
How many passages are in the reading test?

(Answer: 3)
Will you have extra time to transfer your answers onto the answer sheet on the reading test?

(Answer: No)
What involves running your eyes over the text quickly to get a general idea of the text?

(Answer: Skim)
When looking for specific information in the reading text to answer questions, you need to  __________ the passage to locate relevant keywords.

(Answer: Scan)

Example Game Play
Teacher: Okay, team 1, your turn.  
Um… B3.
Teacher: Okay, how many points do you want to bet.  You have 100 points now, so you can bet up to 100.
50 points.
Teacher: Okay, Matching Headings to Paragraphs: What do you have to do for this task?
You are asked to find a suitable paragraph heading from a list to match to the appropriate paragraph.
Teacher: That’s right.  You get 50 points.  You’re at 150 points now.  Team 2, your turn.
Teacher: Good news.  You hit plus 200.  So you get an extra 200 points, and you’re at 300 points now.  Team 3?
Teacher: And how many points do you want to bet?
Teacher: Okay.  Fill in the missing blank: When looking for specific information in the reading text to answer questions, you need to  __________ the passage to locate relevant keywords.
Teacher: Sorry.  You lose 75 points.  That brings you down to 25.  Team 4, you can steal the 75 points.  Same question. The police have caught the men.  The men stole my car.
Teacher: Excellent.  That’s 75 points to you.  And, you get your turn now.  Which box do you choose?