Monday, March 30, 2020

Birds of a feather Flock Together: Daily Vocabulary

(TESOL Worksheets--Daily Vocabulary)

Youtube Video--Google: docs, pub--quizlet--Slideshow (slidespub)
(This is re-purposed from my lesson on proverbs).



Birds of a feather flock together
Youtube: https://youtu.be/IK8LZqfHcd0
Quizlet: https://quizlet.com/_89emgw

Vocabulary
animal, as, bird, birds of a feather flock together, come together, conversation, example, famous, feather, flock, for example, form, hang, hang out, hear, imagine, lover, mall, noun, poetic, proverb, rest, rhyme, saying, shorten, similar, the rest, verb, vocabulary, unsaid, usually, wise

Today’s vocabulary is a proverb. A proverb is an old, wise, famous saying.  Today’s proverb is Birds of a feather flock together.  Birds of a feather means birds which have the same kind of feathers, or the same kind of birds.  We don’t usually say birds of a feather.  We usually say the same kind of birds.  But birds of a feather flock together  is poetic because feather and together rhyme.  So birds of a feather, meaning the same kind of birds. Flock has two meanings.  As a noun it can mean a group of birds, so a group of birds is a flock, or as a verb, it can mean to come together, often used with animals.  So you could say the birds flocked, meaning the birds came together.  Sometimes we can use it with people as well, for example the students flocked to the shopping mall.  But usually it’s used with animals.  So birds of a feather flock together meaning the same kind of birds come together.
What does this mean as a proverb?  It means that people like to come together, or to hang out, with other people who are similar to them. For example, imagine this is a conversation: She loves playing sports and all her friends are also sports lovers.  Well, you know what they say, birds of a feather flock together.  So because she likes playing sports, she likes to hang out with other friends who like the same things, or who do the same things.
You may often hear this proverb in a shortened form.  Some people may just say birds of a feather and then leave the rest of it unsaid.  So, for example: Well, he’s really into music, and all his friends are also music lovers.  You know what they say: birds of a feather.

Vocabulary
animal - something that lives and moves but is not a person, bird, fish, or insect:
She's a real ___________ lover.

as - used to describe the purpose, job, or appearance of something or someone:
She works ___ a waitress.

bird - an animal that has wings and feathers and is usually able to fly:
Dawn was breaking and the _______s were singing.

Birds of a feather flock together - people of the same sort or with the same tastes and interests will be found together.

come together - to form a group:
People from many different areas have ________________ to try to find a solution.

conversation - a talk between two or more people, usually an informal one:
We had a ______________ about football.

example - something that is typical of the group of things that you are talking about:
This is a good ___________ of medieval Chinese architecture.

famous - known or recognized by many people:
She is a ___________ actress.

feather - one of the soft, light things that grow from and cover a bird's skin

flock - a group of birds or sheep:
This is a _________ of geese.

flock - to move or come together in large numbers:
Tourists are _________ing to the beaches.

for example - used to give an example of what you are talking about:
Some people, students ______________, can get cheaper tickets.

form - the body or shape of someone or something

hang - to fasten something so that the top part is fixed but the lower part is free to move, or to be fastened in this way:
He usually _______s his coat on the hook behind the door.

hang out - to spend a lot of time in a particular place or with a particular group of people

hear - to be aware of a sound through your ears:
I could ________ his voice in the distance.

imagine - to create an idea or picture of something in your mind:
__________ being able to travel in space.

lover - someone who is very interested in books/cats/dogs/music, etc:
She's a real cat ___________.

mall - a large, covered shopping area

noun - a word that refers to a person, place, object, event, substance, idea, feeling, or quality. For example the words 'teacher', 'book', 'development', and 'beauty' are _________s.

poetic - relating to poetry:
This is __________ language.

proverb - a famous phrase or sentence that gives you advice:
This is an ancient Chinese ___________.

rest - a period of time when you relax or sleep:
Why don't you have a ______?

rhyme - If a word _________s with another word, the end part of the words sound the same:
'Moon' _________s with 'June'.

saying - a famous phrase that people use to give advice about life:
Have you heard the ___________, "misery loves company"?

shorten - to become shorter or to make something shorter:
Smoking _________s your life.

similar - Something which is ______________ to something else has many things the same, although it is not exactly the same:
The two houses are remarkably ______________ .

the rest - the part of something that remains, or the others that remain:
I'm not sure I want to spend __________ of my life with him.

verb - a word that is used to say that someone does something or that something happens. For example the words 'arrive', 'make', 'be', and 'feel' are ______s.

vocabulary - all the words that exist in a language, or that are used when discussing a particular subject:
Computing has its own specialist _____________.

unsaid - not said, although thought of or felt:
I know she's put on weight, Michael, but some things are better left __________!

usually - in the way that most often happens:
I __________ get home at about six o'clock.

wise - A _______ person is able to use their knowledge and experience to make good decisions and give good advice.

Daily Vocabulary: ESL Listening

(TESOL Worksheets--Vocabulary, Listening, Comprehensible Input)

Google Folder--Youtube Playlist--Quizlet Folder

A Fool and his money are soon parted--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub),
Absence makes the heart grow fonder--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
* Ain't--Youtube Video--Google: docspub-- Slideshow (slidespub), Playlist--Songsheets: Ain't Got No I Got LifeAin't No SunshineAin't no Mountain High EnoughI ain't Marching Anymore
All roads lead to Rome--Youtube Video--Google: docspub
Better late than never--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
Birds of a feather Flock Together--Youtube Video--Google: docspub--quizlet--Slideshow (slidespub)
Familiarity breeds contempt--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
* How are you doing?--Youtube Video--Google: docspub
It is better to give than to receive--Youtube Video--Google: docspub  Slideshow (slidespub)
Many hands make light work--Youtube Video--Google: docspub--Slideshow (slidespub)
Opposites Attract--Youtube Video--Google: docspub -- quizlet-- Slideshow (slidespub)
Out of sight, out of mind--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones -- Youtube Video--Google: docspub-- Slideshow (slidespub)
The early bird catches the worm-- Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence--Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
The pen is mightier than the sword-- Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
* Too many cooks spoil the broth--Youtube Video--Google: docspub--Slideshow (slidespub)
When in Rome, do as the Romans do-- Youtube Video--Google: docspub Slideshow (slidespub)
You can't have your cake and eat it too-- Youtube Video--Google: docspub--Slideshow (slidespub)



Given how much of ESL teaching has moved to being online the past couple months, I've decided to up my online teaching game by starting a daily vocabulary series.
The daily in daily vocabulary may prove to be overly ambitious.  Part of me is thinking I've got so many other projects that I'm currently behind on at the moment, I really have no business starting a new one.  But in the end I've decided it's better to give it a try than not to try at all.  We'll see whether or not I'm able to keep it up.
Links to all the relevant folders and playlists at the top.  I'll also be indexing the entries at the top of this post.
And I'll also be indexing these at my other website:
https://sites.google.com/view/reading-and-listening-practice/home
From NHK:
Japanese Comedian Shimura Ken dies from Coronavirus

Oh wow!
When I lived in Japan (2001-2009), this guy was on TV all the time. 
Japanese TV, at least when I lived in Japan, was notorious for having only about 10 TV personalities who would be on every show.    Shimura Ken was one of those guys.  He was on TV just about every time you turned it on.

I think this is the first time that I actually recognized the name of someone who died from coronavirus.  Even though I didn't know Shimura Ken personally, he was a fixture of Japanese prime time living rooms during my time in Japan.  So this whole coronavirus thing now feels a little bit more real.

...reading the article about Shimura Ken, I'm just now realizing he had been a member of The DriftersThe Drifters were a musical comedy group in Japan in the 1960s and 70s.  Being a huge fan of Japanese oldies, I actually knew who they were, and even had some of their music.  (In fact, I mentioned them before on this blog).  But I had never realized Shimura Ken was one of their members.  Although according to the article, he was not one of the original members.  But still

Zundoko Bushi - The Drifters

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Links to Videos about the Beach Boys

Confession: I have never been a Beach Boys fan.
This, despite growing up surrounded by Beach Boys fans.  My dad was a huge fan.  My sister went through a Beach Boys phase.  And my best friend and roommate in college was also huge into the Beach Boys.
But I just couldn't get into them.  I didn't hate them, necessarily.  If a song of theirs came on the radio, I could groove to it for a while.  But I also tired of them very quickly. 
I think this is because in the 1980s the Beach Boys were so overplayed on oldies stations that I just grew up being overly familiar with their songs.   (Sidenote: I've been living outside of America for so long now that I'm out of touch, but I'm given to understand that this is no longer the case.  Beach Boys songs are no longer played on the radio all the time like they were when I was growing up.  Is this true?)

Later, when I got big into the Beatles, I learned that the Beatles were huge fans of Pet Sounds.  Also my roommate and best friend from college was also a Pet Sounds fan.  So I tried my best to get into Pet Sounds, but I had a hard time digging it.  The hit songs from Pet Sounds were just as over-played on the oldies stations as everything else, so I was already sick of them before I even knew about the album.  And the minor tracks on Pet Sounds were too melancholy for me.  (My college roommate used to put on Pet Sounds as music to go to sleep with, but I just remember it keeping me awake with all these depressing sounding songs.)

I'm not a complete monster though.  I do really like Good Vibrations.  That's the one Beach Boys song I never got sick of.  I always turned up the volume on the radio whenever Good Vibrations came on.  (Good Vibrations was produced in the same period as Pet Sounds, but released as a separate single.)

GOOD VIBRATIONS (HD) THE BEACH BOYS


And, when I started getting interested in the history of the New Left, I also discovered Student Demonstration Time by the Beach Boys.  Which I really liked when I was younger, and still dig today because of its raw bluesy feel.



...but, yeah, aside from those two songs, I've never been much of a Beach Boys fan.

However, I've always found the story of the Beach Boys fascinating.  All the family drama.  The infighting between Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Brian Wilson and his struggle to make Smile.  The whole incident with Charles Manson.  Dennis Wilson's tragic decline and  death.  I mean, there is a lot of material here for a great drama.

Recently I've been going down a rabbit hole of watching Beach Boys documentaries on Youtube.  (I don't remember what started it.  Who remembers how these Youtube rabbit holes actually get started?)
If you, like me, are interested in the drama behind the Beach Boys, you'll find these videos fascinating.  (And hopefully it will give you some distraction during these days of self-isolation.)

First off is an attempt to explain the genius of Pet Sounds to us cretins.  I'm still not a huge fan of Pet Sounds, but after watching this video, I at least have a better appreciation of what Brian Wilson was trying to do.


...then, from the greatest album of the Beach Boys to the worst album, here is:


There are a few cheap shots taken in this video, but overall I found it very entertaining.  In fact, I've been a fan of this whole TRAINWRECKORDS series by Youtuber Todd in the Shadows.  I love a good take-down of a bad music album, and it's also always interesting to hear the stories of hubris behind them.  This video also does a good job of explaining why Mike Love is such a hated figure.

Next is the story of Dennis Wilson, which is also fascinating:


...and then, if you've got room for one more Beach Boys documentary, this last one is a good one to cap it all off with:



Addendum:
The Beach Boys were the first rock band I ever saw in concert.  We were at a family vacation at an amusement park somewhere (Six Flags? I don't remember actually). and it turned out the Beach Boys were playing a concert at that amusement park that night.  My dad wanted to, so we all got tickets.  It was sometime I think in the late 80s, so I'm not sure who the lineup would have been at that time.  No Dennis Wilson certainly, possibly no Brian Wilson.
Anyway, I remember spending most of the concert feeling bored.  I also remember thinking to myself, "I should be having a much better time.  I'm at a rock and roll concert, after all.  Why am I feeling so bored?"  
This was a feeling that would re-occur again several times later as I got older and went to several other music concerts on my own initiative.
I've since come to the conclusion that if a band is going to play a song exactly the way it sounds on the music album, I'm much happier just listening to it at home than going through all the trouble of going to a music concert.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The African Queen: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/05/african-queen.html

Wow, can the news get any crazier?
Here are a few of the crazy stories I saw my friends sharing on Facebook:

From Yahoo news:
Seattle NPR Station Says It Will No Longer Carry Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings Live Because Of Misinformation
...wow!  And this is our President, folks.
Of course, Rachel Maddow made a similar point several days ago.  The amount of misinformation that Trump is spewing at the press conferences is so dangerous that it is going to cost lives, so the networks should stop broadcasting it.
Trump Irresponsible, Dangerous w/Lies & Happy Talk On Fed. Coronavirus Help | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC


...and then in other shocking news:
After Trump Attacks Whitmer, She Says Vendors Aren't Sending Desperately Needed Coronavirus Supplies "They're being told not to send stuff to Michigan."
...wow!

And then, another friend posted this on Facebook, noting the irony that it was the conservatives who warned us that there would be death panels if Obamacare got enacted into law:
From Gizmodo: Teen Who Died of Covid-19 Was Denied Treatment Because He Didn't Have Health Insurance
This same article also contains some disturbing allegations about how Covid-19 deaths are being under-reported.

Lastly, thanks to Whisky, who left this video in a comment to one of my previous posts.

Turns out the guy is from my home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  And, also I'm trusting that this is useful information.  (I totally have not been doing any of this.  But I'm going to start.)

PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic – UPDATED!!!



Update: March 29, 2020
So, apparently the video I linked to above is largely disinformation.  Thanks to the comments for alerting me to this twitter thread here.  Also this article, which I saw on Facebook: How to disinfect groceries from coronavirus? Don’t leave them outside, N.J. experts warn.  It's mostly harmless disinformation, but the main things to avoid are:
(1) don't leave your food outside and
(2) don't wash food with soap.
For number 1, I'm going to give the video the benefit of the doubt and assume the video was talking about a West Michigan winter day.  (It's often colder outside than it is in the fridge, so you totally could leave the groceries outside in the West Michigan winter.  But don't do it in warmer places, obviously).
For number 2, I feel like I kind of knew that already.  But this coronavirus has made all of us a bit crazy, I guess, and so when I was watching him wash the fruits, I thought, "Well, whatever you've got to do to kill the virus, right?"
Amazing how a few days in self-isolation changes everything.
Remember back in October when I was complaining about my daily commute to work?  As it turns out, being stuck in the apartment all day is actually worse!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Friday the 13th: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/05/friday-13th.html

My Recommendations for Surviving Self-Isolation

So, is there anyone else out there who is:
(A): Currently self-isolating, because it's the right thing to do, but also...
(B): Feels like there going out of their minds, and doesn't know how much longer they're going to be able to keep this up?

...all of us, right?
Well, I was thinking what could I contribute to providing distractions for people, and I decided to post some links to all my lists of recommended media:

* My 10 Best Fiction Books (from 2006 to 2016)
* My 10 Best Non-fiction Books (from 2006 to 2016)
Classic Books Which Are Actually Fun to Read
My Favorite Historical Fiction Books
My Favorite Narrative History Books
* My 10 Best Movies from 2007 to 2017
* My 10 Best Movies of all time

Addendum:
Podcasts, Youtube Series, Radio Shows, Etc
and Sharing Music I Like

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A History of Violence: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/05/history-of-violence.html

From CNN.com
President Trump is as popular as he's ever been right now
Here's an indisputable fact: President Donald Trump is as popular today as he has been since his first day in office.
In a new Gallup poll, 49% approve of the job Trump is doing as president while 45% disapprove, matching the highest his approval rating has ever been in Gallup surveys. A Monmouth University poll released on Monday showed Trump at 46% approval, again the best he has done in that poll in more than three years.
What accounts for Trump's rise? Simple: His response to the coronavirus crisis
 ...I don't know what to say.  Except, perhaps, that I think this is officially the moment a little part of me died inside, and I lost all hope for America.
It's been a very bad past 4 years, but up until this moment, I think I was still holding out some hope that America would come back to her senses.  But if this, of all things, doesn't make people realize that Trump is unfit for office, well then there's just no hope.

Update, March 26, 2020:
A friend of mine, reacting to the same story on MSNBC, offered this analysis on Facebook:
This is wildly irresponsible journalism, and in these historic times, it's dangerous. These polls are always harebrained publicity stunts, but the stakes are higher. Check out the methodology. The Gallup Poll, for instance, has 1,020 respondents. That's about twice the size of my high school graduation class. Barely more than half (536) have jobs. I shit you not. Interviews are done over landlines (in 2020!!!) and mobile phones. So, this news story is based on the opinion of 1,000 people A) don't work B) use landlines and/or don't have caller ID and C) willing to spend 20 minutes on the phone talking to a stranger. In other words, your elderly uncle who worships Trump but can't operate the TV remote is driving the news cycle.
If you read the fine print, it's nonsense. But there it is on MSN...
Okay, um, in light of that, perhaps my initial reaction does seem a little bit hyperbolic.  Mea culpa.  But in my defense, it was right there on CNN.  Lesson learned, I guess.  Be skeptical of even the main stream media sources.
James Holder's Star Trek Book Tag!



I've become addicted to watching Steve Donoghue lately.  I find his talking style very interesting to listen to. 
He is (as Phil Christman pointed out on his blog years ago) the ultimate nerd--with an obsessive interest in everything.  He's just as happy talking about DC comics or Star Trek as he is talking about Church history or ancient Greece or Regency romances.

As someone who spent much of my youth obsessing over Star Trek, it's interesting to hear Steve Donoghue's reminisces about what it was like to watch the original series when it first aired.  (Steve Donghue is old enough to remember.)

Also, interesting to hear that the book that got him into book reviewing was none other than Rabbit Redux by John Updike.  He says the book was so terrible that he had to tell people about how awful the book was, and that's what caused him to publish his own book review.
My own review of Rabbit Redux is here.  I gave it a mixed review at the time.  (I was probably too kind to it initially.)  But the more time passed, the more the book irked me, and later the book made it onto my list of worst books honorable mention category.  As I said at the time:
Rabbit Redux by John Updike (review here) Old Man John Updike writes a book complaining about how those young people won't get off his lawn.  And also how young teenage girls love to have sex with middle-aged men.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

From Tuoi Tre News:
Foreigners’ disdain for face masks worries Vietnamese

...anyone who's been to Asia knows that these surgical face masks are everywhere.  This was true even before the corona virus.  (I remember almost 20 years ago getting into debates with my Japanese co-workers over whether or not the face masks did any good in preventing colds.)
But it is something that the locals believe in.  Which is why I've started wearing them everywhere myself now, just to try to ease the mind of the people in my host country.
And who knows? Maybe they do some good.
Modern Classics Summarized: Stranger In A Strange Land


I enjoyed this sarcastic summary of Stranger in a Strange Land.

I read and reviewed this book myself back in 2006.  Although I'm not proud of my review.  To put it mildly.  In fact, I really cringe whenever I go back and read my old review.
I think part of the problem is that back in 2006, I was philosophically sympathetic towards free love.  Or at least, I wanted to be philosophically sympathetic towards free love.  But something inside of me was telling me that even though the philosophy sounds very good on paper, this wasn't how the real world worked.  And that confusion resulted in a incoherent review.

If I had more of a critical spine, I perhaps could have written something with a bit more intelligent analysis.  Something like the above video did.

I only vaguely remember the book at this point, so I don't remember it well enough to critique the video on its faithfulness to the source material.  But I'm going to trust that it is.  The parts I do remember seem to be faithfully represented on the video.

Love it or hate it, Stranger in a Strange Land is a modern classic of sorts.  So it's probably something you should be familiar with if you want to sound intelligent at cocktail parties.  I recommend just watching the video instead of reading the book.

Friday, March 20, 2020

You've probably already seen this, but on the off chance you haven't, it deserves to be read in full.  (It's a short article.  It will only take you 3 minutes.)
From the New York Times:
They. Sold. Their. Stock.
They could have made a difference, but they made a profit.

The article includes a quote from another piece by Tucker Carlson, which I'll also reproduce here:
Tucker Carlson, Fox News:
[Burr] had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a prime-time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever’ for coronavirus. He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent. Now maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Letters from Iwo Jima: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/letters-from-iwo-jima.html
I'd been thinking about writing a blog post about the situation in Vietnam these days (just in case anyone is interested) but discovered that someone else has already written the update on her blog.  So I'll just link to that instead.
COVID-19: ON THE GROUND IN SAIGON

Friday, March 13, 2020

Why We Fight: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
https://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2006/08/update-on-stuff_29.html

...and now another "Hey! I know that guy!" entry, when the guy is actually myself.
I was quoted today in Tuoi Tre News.  (According to Wikipedia, Tuoi Tre is "the largest newspaper in the country")


My bit: 
"The high standards at ILA constantly make me want to teach better. Because of the constant expectations of high quality, I have developed a lot in my career. Only in ILA, I have learned specific courses on cultural differences and how to teach Vietnamese children. We are really proud of this ecosystem. At this challenging time, ILA still provides the best conditions to focus our expertise on students and parents," said Joel Swagman, one of the ILA's oldest and most experienced teachers.

Classroom Survey Pre-Written Questions

(TESOL Worksheets--Any Grammar PointPresent Perfect)
Google: docspub

The specific example linked to above is for the present perfect, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.  The example above is a modified version of a survey I had posted previously.
Students have a list of questions (using target grammar) and have to survey several people in the class.  (Note: This is considered replication practice because the focus is on repeating a question that uses the target grammar.  In the example linked above, the target grammar is present perfect, and the practice comes from repeating the question.  However if the focus of the activity is on students giving a personalized response to the question, and the response uses the target grammar, then this becomes semi-controlled practice).

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Intermission: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/intermission.html

Speed Dating: Present Simple Habits and Routines

(TESOL Ideas-- Present SimpleAny Grammar Point)
Google: docs, pub
The specific example linked to above is for the present simple, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.  The example above is a modified version of a speed dating activity I had posted previously.
The discussion questions are put onto different cards, which are cut up before class.  Each student is given a set of cards, which they put face down on their desk.  Students sit opposite their partner, and then flip over the first card and talk about the question for 2 minutes.  At the end of 2 minutes, the teacher announces that the time is up (or a buzzer sounds) and  the students have to change seats.  Then, with their new partner, they flip over the next card, and talk about it for two minutes.
The seating pattern is usually two lines of chairs facing each other, or one inner circle facing an outer circle.  Seating arrangements will vary depending on your classroom set-up, of course.
More: Hey! I know that guy!

My high school swim team teammate Jeremy Konyndyk, who I just linked to recently, is famous again after a twitter thread of his went viral, and was retweeted by Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Domino: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/domino.html

Find the Person Who is Most Similar/Different to You: Freer Practice Activity

(TESOL Ideas-- Any Grammar Point)

Students are given a topic, and encouraged to speak about it at length.  The topic should be one which encourages the use of the target language (e.g. past simple “Talk about everything you did yesterday”, going to future “Talk about your plans for this weekend”, present simple “talk about your daily routine”, second conditional “talk about everything you would do if you had a million dollars” etc.  Students typically require some planning time to prepare before they are ready to produce, so give them a couple minutes to think about it. 
Then, students have to go around the class, and listen to as many people as they can.  They must try to find one person in the class who is the most similar to them, and one person in the class who is the most different to them.
This can also be done as a writing activity.  In this case, post the student writing around the room, and each student will go around and read the writings to try to find who is similar to them and who is different.
Variation: Find the Lie
This is similar to the above activity, but in this case each student is encouraged to slip one lie into their talk.  As they walk around the other room talking to other students, the other students have to try to guess what the lie is.  (Note: This is similar to the semi-controlled activity  “2 truths and 1 lie” game, but in this case it is freer practice because it is taking place at the extended discourse level--i.e. instead of just giving 3 unconnected sentences about what they did yesterday, a student is telling the whole story about everything they did yesterday.)

Monday, March 09, 2020

The Insurrectionist by Jules Valles: Book Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/insurrectionist-by-jules-valles.html

...and now I'm all in for Bernie Sanders

I won't lie, I was pretty disappointed when my first choice, Elizabeth Warren, dropped out of the race.  (I still think she would have been the best choice, but, life moves on.)
So, now I'm fully supporting Bernie Sanders.

As I said in my post on Elizabeth Warren, I agree with Bern'es platform 100%.  The only thing I have serious concerns about is his age and his health.  But Bernie's main competition in the primary, Joe Biden, is 77 to Bernie's 78.  So as far as picking between them, that concern is pretty much void.

I know Bernie's platform would never get enacted by a Republican congress.  But as Phil points out (in a piece of his I've already quoted from once before):
I've had people condescendingly explain to me that Bernie won't be able to keep all those promises he makes once he's in office. Gee, y'think? "Congress is full of Republicans. They'll call him a communist and refuse to work with him." Of course they will. As they would Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigeig,  certainly Elizabeth Warren. They'd even be shameless enough to do it to Bloomberg. They did it, after all, to Clinton. They did it to Barack Obama, a self-proclaimed "Eisenhower Republican" who went on bended knee to them year after year, begging them to help him cut Social Security and Medicaid. This obstructionism saved their brand from the near-death it experienced in the late Bush years and they'll definitely keep doing it. Any Dem President faces the same level of opposition from the other party. The only strategic question is whether the Dem you want up against all that is one who has narrow or tepid support, frosty relations with unions and activists, and an unwillingness to use executive orders ... or one who will play hardball from Day One while flanked on all sides by millions of enraged poor people with nothing to lose. Personally, I want the one whose followers are ready to do a general strike. 

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Freddy Vs. Jason: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/freddy-vs-jason.html
Yet another: Hey! I know that guy!
Although in this case the "guy" in question is myself.

Some background... because of school closures in Vietnam (due to the Coronavirus) many educational institutions have been experimenting with some form of online teaching.  As education is a big business in Asia, this has interested the news media.
For background on the issue generally, see this article from the VNexpress: Teachers, students struggle to connect as coronavirus drives online education

At my institution, I agreed to help out with a photoshoot to advertise our online classes.  The story was then picked up by Thanh Nien (which is, according to Wikipedia, "a Ho Chi Minh city-based newspaper in Vietnam. In 2009 it was the second most circulated newspaper in Vietnam, with an average circulation of 300,000.")  And a photo of the back of my head appeared accompanying the article.

https://thanhnien.vn/giao-duc/he-sinh-thai-hoc-truc-tuyen-giai-phap-cho-mua-dich-covid-19-1187405.html?fbclid=IwAR30PqjvdV8OfoQuYe0w9a8OeP_WsnV446MriJ3BeIe1Vg_fKamkX5uykqo
The article is all in Vietnamese, but you can view it on Google Translate HERE.

Scrambled Sentences: Present Perfect Continuous

(TESOL Worksheets--Present Perfect ContinuousAny Grammar Point)
Google: docs, pub

The specific example linked to above is for the present perfect continuous, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.
Students are given a sentence in the target language in which all the words are out of order.  The students have to write the sentence in the correct order.  (For example, present perfect continuous: “We / painting / have / been / house / the”, which the students must unscramble as “We have been painting the house.” )

Unscramble the sentences below:

1. We / painting / have / been / house / the


2. in / been / has / the / pool / She / swimming


3. have / drinking / been / They / afternoon / coffee / all


4. morning / been / sleeping / all / have / We


5. exercising / been / gym / has / He / in / the


6. in / been / have / park / the / walking / They


7. been / have / grandma / letter / my / I / writing / to / a


8. You / time / reading / that / for / long / book / a / been / have

Answer Key

1. We have been painting the house
2. She has been swimming in the pool
3. They have been drinking coffee all afternoon
4. We have been sleeping all morning
5. He has been exercising in the gym
6. They have been walking in the park
7. I have been writing a letter to my grandma
8. You have been reading that book for a long time

Today in: Hey! I know that guy!
From The New York Times (yes, THE New York Times) comes an article from my former team mate in the high school swim team.
Trump, His Eye on the Border, Overlooked the Coronavirus Threat: His insistence that the danger was overseas and could be kept out led officials to downplay the disease’s spread and the need for tests. By Jeremy Konyndyk
(P.S.--Jeremy was one of the smartest guys I knew in high school.  I've previously mentioned him before on this blog HERE and HERE.)

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Picture Identification: Choose the pictures that match the sentence

(TESOL Worksheets--Present Simple PassiveAny Grammar Point)
Google: docs, pub

The specific example linked to above is for the present passive, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point. The images are not mine but found from Google Images search.  I had previously used these same pictures in a different lesson on the passive HERE.
The students are given a sentence in the target language, and must choose the picture which matches the sentence.

Circle the correct picture:
1. The hamburger is eaten by the person.
Z:\Teachers\Joel.Swagman\YL 8\Module 4\Lesson 15\pictures for passive voice\ieathamburger.jpg Z:\Teachers\Joel.Swagman\YL 8\Module 4\Lesson 15\pictures for passive voice\hamburgereatsme2.png
2. The person is eaten by the hamburger.
Z:\Teachers\Joel.Swagman\YL 8\Module 4\Lesson 15\pictures for passive voice\ieathamburger.jpg Z:\Teachers\Joel.Swagman\YL 8\Module 4\Lesson 15\pictures for passive voice\hamburgereatsme2.png
3. The man is bitten by the dog.
4. The dog is bitten by the man.


Friday, March 06, 2020

Finished: Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers by Kathleen Graves (A bit busy these days, but I'm hoping to find time to write the review before too much time goes by.)

Video Review HERE

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Yamoto: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/men-of-yamato.html

Sentence Formation from a Scaffolding Device: Present Continuous

(TESOL Worksheets--Present ContinuousAny Grammar Point)
Google: drivedocspub

The specific example linked to above is for the present continuous, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.
Have a scaffolding device where students choose from different columns to form sentences.  Students can ask each other questions and answer them using the scaffolding device.  To make this more controlled, give the students all the language they will need on the scaffolding device.  To make this less controlled, students have to add additional information.  In the example linked above with present continuous sentences, this scaffolding device could be made less controlled by deleting the final column with the objects, which the students would then have to supply themselves.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Correct the Sentences: Present Perfect

(TESOL Worksheets--Present PerfectAny Grammar Point)
Google: docs, pub
The specific example linked to above is for the present perfect, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.
Students are given a list of sentences that contain mistakes.  They have to find the mistake in the sentence, and then change the sentence so that it is correct.
This can be done on a worksheet as a paper and pencil exercise.  But it is also common to gamify it.  This exercise can be gamified as: Grammar Auction, Board Race, Garbage Man, Grass Skirts, Hurricane, etc.

Some of these sentences are correct, and some of these sentences have mistakes in them.  Find the sentences with mistakes, and change them so that they are correct.

1. I have never eaten octopus.

2. I have went to China.

3. She have seen that movie already.

4. I have read that book already.

5. She hasn’t been to Europe.

6. They have lived here for 2 years.

7. We have studying English for 2 years.

8. They have buy a lot of food.

River World: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/river-world.html
New Coronavirus Problem Should HORRIFY You

Monday, March 02, 2020

The United States of Leland: Movie Review (Scripted)



Video version of an old post (as I explained about HERE)
For the original post, see:
http://joelswagman.blogspot.com/2007/04/united-states-of-leland.html

Sentence Heads Second Conditional

(TESOL Worksheets--Second Conditional, Any Grammar Point)
Google: docs, pub
The specific example linked to above is for the second conditional, but the general activity can be used for any grammar point.
Students are given the beginning of a sentence, which they must complete using the target language in a way that is true for them.  For example:  2nd Conditional “If I had one million dollars…”.  They then compare answers with a partner, and discuss which of their answers are similar, and which are different.

Complete these sentences so that they are true for you.

1. If I had 1 million dollars...

2. If I met a ghost...

3. If I was invisible...

4. If I could fly...

5. If I were President...

6. If I were a giant...

7. If I were famous...

This made me laugh, so I thought I would share it.  Hopefully someone else will get a chuckle out of it.
After having abandoned Don Quixote for several months, I've been trying to pick it up again.  (I've only got about 200 pages to the end.  I will finish this book.  I will.)
Because it's been over 2 years since I started this book, I'm beginning to forget what was in the beginning.  So I've been listening to the audiobook on Youtube to try to review what happened in the earlier part of the book.
The audiobok is available freely on Youtube by Librivox recording.
If you're familiar with Librivox, you know that they make free audiobooks of books that are in the public domain with volunteer readers.
I remember when I first discovered Librivox years ago.  Free audio books on the Internet?  That seemed like the greatest thing ever.  I love free audiobooks.
But then after 2 minutes of listening to Librivox, it was suddenly obvious why Librivox could never replace commercial audiobooks, and also equally obvious that there's a reason why commercial audiobooks use professional voice actors.  The average person just can't read outloud in a way that is engaging to listen to.
Well, you can't blame the good people at Librivox for trying.  They're just ordinary volunteers doing their best, and they're putting it all for free on the Internet.

...oh wait!  This is the Internet, where everyone feels like the act of clicking on content entitles them to something, and if you're not giving them professional quality content for free, then you are are the worst person ever.



And many other comments of the same type.  See also many other comments of the same type on part 1.

Really, what can you do but laugh?