Monday, September 25, 2006

Back again

Sorry to be so quiet, but others have been working for me ;-)
Actually I had major computer problems and the only solution was to get another one. Now Im trying to gather together all my necessities from the old computer and put it on the new one - its not very easy, I can tell you! And to top it off, I installed the wrong keyboard, so no apostrophes, and exclamation points in the wrong place* (see?)

Actually, Id like to draw you attention to the wiki. You may have noticed that not just I have been adding pages. Two fellow teachers pitched in, and I strongly recommend that you take a look at them. Ive also added two crossword puzzles to have a bit of fun with, but no cheating* ;-)

You probably noticed the words and phrases in bold. This idea was given to me by John Potts (thank you, John*), one of the impromptu authors. These are common phrases and vocabulary that would be useful for you to try to use as well.

Finally, if you havent tried yet, use the comment function to comment on any of the posts. Its especially motivating for those who wrote them and they will be sure to comment on yours as well :-)

PS- how many missing apostrophes can you find?

Summery 19 September 2006

Summery 19/9/2006


This lesson we start with only ten people. With a tennis ball we repeated the names and what each person said last time. Now I really hope to have the names in my mind! During this game our missed classmates dropped in and finally we were nearly complete. We get our coursebook! We wowed as it reached as at last. Then Illya explained us the important things about it. At page two and three you find a contents map. On the next two pages is the introduction. At the end there is additional material. This part contents a wordlist. It’s a very good one! Stick them into your mind. After the additional material is a small grammar reference. At last you can read through the Listening scripts.
We got also a key book to the coursebook. It’s necessary to correct our homework our self and to ask only questions about our homework in class. If we work like that we wouldn’t spend a lot of courstime by correcting our homework.
Furthermore, we’re getting an exam book after halftime of our course. Illya is recommending us buying a grammerbook as well for our own. She takes some exemplar with her next time so we can have a look at it. She writes a short summery about each book on wiki, to give us a help for our decision. Thanks a lot.
Even so there is an exercise book which belongs to our coursebook. If you’d like you can also buy this one for doing more exercise in your free time.
However, we’ve worked last Tuesday a lot too. First we corrected our homework about the weather and Titus said the poem by heart. After that our topic of this lesson was up’s and down’s. We put in order some title for “up” and “down”. Every of this title we wrote after under a paragraph of an article. I hope that everybody is in English now up and coming.
Finally we started with our coursebook. We learnt useful language about
Very happy like delighted, elated, overjoyed and thrilled;
Sad or wanting to cry like tearful, miserable, close to tears, weepy,
Nervous or worried like anxious, tense, on edge, apprehensive

Using these words we had to speak about four pictures by comparing them. Important for comparing pictures or talking about pictures is, that we talk about the feelings and thoughts of the people in this pictures and what happens at the moment to them or has happened/ will happen to them.
We did also the reading on page 7. First we had to write w-questions down. Then we had to skim through the text on the next page in three minutes. After that we answered our questions and the questions on page nine by scanning the text and finding the answer.
For finishing class we listened to a story with the title “Indian breaks hot-air balloon record”. We answered false and true questions and with the second listen we filled in gaps.
It was a further funny and instructive English evening. Thanks Illya.

Our homework for next class:
Book p.10-11 and 42-43
Complete the worksheet “Rising to the top”
Prepare a short speech (< 1 min.) about “success in Life” take the notes on paper (Indian breaks hot-air balloon record) speaking for help. Exchange your ideas with someone by mail or our blog.

Friday, September 22, 2006

As it is in Heaven


As it is in heaven

It’s a must for everybody who wants to watch such a marvellous and touching dramatic and humorous film.

The story is based on a famous star conductor who finishes his international musician’s career after a heart attack. He goes back to his “life roots”, the place where he grew up. Settling in the small Swedish village, he buys an old former school building and wants to start a new life. A short time after, he becomes the conductor of the village choir which sings very badly at the beginning. In this choir there are different singers, who have special characters. Some of them are witty, others are strong believers in God and one of them is physically disabled. But each of them plays an important role in this choir. In the choir’s rehearsal there are ups and downs. But the rehearsal is a very important part of their simple lives. Most of them had never left this village. Nevertheless, they take part in a choir competition abroad.

Firstly, I loved this film due to picturesque film scenes and the story, which contains countless humorous sequences of ordinary life. Secondly, I was very impressed by the good amateur actors and actresses. Thirdly, the funny and tragic story has a vivid atmosphere. In addition, the film shows how people first suffer from the “small village life” – everybody knows and controls each other – but at the end they free themselves little by little.

It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen for the last 10 years.

It’s at the Atelier cinema in Lucerne (the 48th week).

Written by Markus Meier

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The British Council- a useful site


The British Council has a great website with lots of useful language learning sites, games and srticles, similar to BBC Learning English. It's called the 'LearnEnglish central'. Hmm Sounds quite similar, doesn't it.When looking through this site there is an extremely useful option you can use with it. You can double click on any word and you will find a dictionary entry.

Have a look around and I'm sure you'll find something interesting to do!



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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Whether the weather... Summary 12. September 06

After some starting problems because of the technical tools, Illya explained us the Blogg and how to use it.
Then we spoke about efficient reading and that this has different aspects, like language, content, speed, attention, incomprehensible vocabulary, prediction, background information, motivation, purpose and strategies.
After the discussion about the responsibility for these different aspects between the teacher and the students, our next topic was the weather. Not only did we learn different weather words, we also learnt a nice poetry with the similar meaning to ‘come rain or shine’.

Whether the weather be wet
or whether the weather be not
whether the weather be cold or
whether the weather be hot.
We’ll weather the weather.
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

We also listened to a pod cast with the same topic.
But firstly we also discussed how we can listen. For listening in English it is the same as reading in English. It is important to try to find the meaning of unknown words by listen to the whole context. To listen to audio books and reading the story at the same time is a good method to learn to listen and understand in English.

As I already said the topic of the listening was the weather. But not the weather in general but the comparison of the weather in Minnesota and LA. While in LA the weather is nearly the same every day, in Minnesota they have hot and humid summers and bitterly cold winters. The speaker spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of the climate in these different areas.

As homework we have to finish the sheets we got, to listen to the second pod cast and also to write a text about the weather and using a lot of different weather words.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A musical element

Since this class seems to enjoy music so much, the link of the week is to the English Language Listening Lab Online, also known as ELLLO.
As the name says, it's a listening lab, but you will also find a section called SONGS. Have a look and enjoy!

And, if you want to leave a comment, click on Post a comment. There you can write your comment, choose your identity, which will probably be 'other' at the moment. Then there is a code for you to write in. This is to keep spams out. And then click on 'Publish'. You won't immediately see the comment, but it will be published some minutes after.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CAE group started: Summary 5. September 06

A very motivated and sympathetic group startet CAE studies with teacher Illya Arnet-Clark.
We started immediatly, speaking to each other, presenting ourselves and asking al lot of questions to get more informations about the group. The result of our research: An average group member gets up at 6 o'clock in the morning, likes going back to nature in his spare time, is still dreaming of wunderful holidays and has never done crazy things.
Illya gave us a lot of informatin about CAE exams and explained the structure of the training during the CAE course.
After a break, we collected several types of texts we can use to get information. Then we got to know two techniques that help to extract imporant information out of a text in a short time:
Scanning is a method, to find a specific word or text: For example I am looking for a name in a telephone book.
Skimming is a method we learned and trained: You are skimming a text, when you want to find out quickly, what ist the most important informaion in this text.
At last, we trained a technique, to understand words we didnt kwow before. "Reading clues" is an ability, to find out the meaning of a unknown word with the help of the context in which this word is placed. It works pretty good and it's a lot of fun!
This first evening was interesting, I already learned a lot. I'm looking forward to go on learning in this group!
See you on tuesday ! Titus