Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This week we begin a new unit on gathering information. While browsing some of the links I get from various sources, I found this. This text- The Future of Communications - is quite appropriate, and there are many many more texts to read!

First read the story. If you have problems, you can read the abridged story, but try the original. The first exercises work on the basics and then become more and more complex, for example with sequencing.

Your turn is for you to add your own opinion about the topic.
Even better, you can also do this on the blog in the form of a comment.

The article was written at the beginning of 2000. How have things changed since then? What has come true and what hasn't? What is now accepted as normal? What further developements do you expect in this area?

I hope you will take this opportunity to contribute and comment on what others have to say.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Summary 24th October

Since I failed to designate someone to write a summary, and since quite a few participants were missing or had to leave early, I've put myself in charge for this week.

First, I wrote down 2 words which should always be spelled correctly as of now!!!
another (1 word) and
being from to be (no relation to the buzzing bees!)

We went over some letter writing language as well. I will start a wiki page and you may, of course, add to it. - Formal letters

After going over the task and information for a letter to the editor of a newspaper (pages 21-22)it was decided that the folowing information was necessary - a correction of the information and a request to rewrite the article in the newspaper. There was, in fact, a letter already written, but much too informal, so it needs to be rewritten as well - as homework, of course :-)

Next there was negotiation of what 5 things should be put into a time capsule. For this different ways of expressing agreement, disagreement, and everything in between were given (I'll see if I can make another wiki page for that too). Here are just a few:

Oh, absolutely!!! I see your point, but ... Are you sure about that?
We see eye to eye on that. Yes, but.... I don't really see how ...

Time flew; the break, too. Listening came and went, then we talked about past tenses.

past simple- not bound to time (which is why they often have time phrases); used for statements and facts relating events that are over and done. I arrived home late yesterday.- the present simple is basically the same, just not in the past . I get home late on Mondays.

continuous times show duration ~~~~~~ and can be interrupted by shorter actions (the continuous supplies the time frame for these. I was watching TV.
I was enjoying the show when the dog attacked the cable and ruined the TV.

Present perfect - Up to or relating to another time, often the present. It could imply a possibility for the future.
I've never gone diving before (this is my first time)
I've never been to Asia (but maybe I'll make it some day).
I've just banged my toe (Sh**! that really hurts!)
I've done all my chores. Can I go out now?

Past perfect has the important job of keeping the chronology clear.
If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.
He had never seent that girl before, but he new in an instant that she was the one. but
After he married her, they went to Paris for the honeymoon. (clear chronology- one thing after the other)

More on tenses next week, but you can look at the end of unit 2 to find some revision.

Finally, homework :-)
Finish unit 2, including th writing.
I also gave some homework from a worksheet and the activity book, which we decided to use for the class (okay, I did, but everyone agreed)

For those who couldn't come this week, we are looking forward to seeing you next week (informal, likely and hopefully planned)


Friday, October 20, 2006

Money, money, money … Summary 17 October 2006

After two weeks of holiday everybody was full of enthusiasm and curious about the evening. As usual we learnt lots of interesting and useful things. I will note the most important points.

At the beginning we made a brainstorming about weather words and expressions such as “a cloud on the horizon”, “to be snowed under”, “to freeze your buns off” and more. Then we could hardly wait to talk to each other about our absolutely marvellous and awesome holidays. Illya listed a few expressions for the reason that we could not only talk about our “nice holidays” but also about our incredibly enjoying time we had.

After that we continued with a class activity which consisted of a very ordinary but useful topic: time and money. Every student got either a comment or an answer and everyone had to look for his or her partner. As all had found each other we got a work sheet which we answered with our partners.

Before doing the listening part in our books (p. 18) we made an oral exercise. The task was to compare three pictures (which were taken about 50 years ago) with the present. Then the very interesting listening exercise followed, it was about time capsules. The text was quite funny, it was unbelievable what a particular Dr Thornwell Jacobs put in his time capsule for our posterity (e.g. kitchen utensils, a Donald Duck doll, fruit made of papier maché or beer).

At the end we got to know useful things about how to write a formal or an informal letter. We had to put together two dissected letters and try to find out which one the informal and the formal letter was. In order to not forget these differences we noted the most important expressions in our notebooks (e.g. I’m writing to ask you a favour. è informal / I have a further request. è formal)


- Writing task: complete the formal letter (B) on the worksheet about Timson’s Historical Tours and finish both letters. Write it on the backside of the sheet.

- Book p. 20: Language focus 1: study the meaning of tenses

- Book p. 23: Reading: check your speed rate (section 1: ca. 178 words)

- If you have enough time: book, p. 27

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Summary 26.September

At the very beginning, Illya awarded all of us because of the writings she had got. She tried to convince us that she really liked reading them. She also mentioned the correction key she has given. If we would like to rewrite a text after her correction, she offers to correct it again. She spoke also about the advantages of handwriting or e-mailing of scripts: Handwriting is what we are going to do at the exam, if we send it by e-mail, we’ll get it back quite faster, …and the word spelling programme points the wrong words out … It’s our choice!

Before repeating the names Illya told us that Maggie had quit the course and joined in one in Sursee. But not only she was missing, five participants dropped in later.

To warm up we started working out the meaning of several up and down words. They are all now on the wiki, go, have a look and practice!

Discussing the homework’s reading task Illya advised us slowly to begin reading faster and faster. Then we made groups of four and gave our prepared speeches about success in life. The group gave feedback to the speaker about structures, vocabulary and confidence in speaking. Regina, Anita and Patricia were encouraged to give their speeches to the class. They did it very well! Illya gave the speakers her feedback and important points to notice for the one-minute-speaking at the exam:
· Structure what you’ll say: First say, what you’ll say; then say it; finally say what you have said.
· You can start with a question, with three main points you will mention…
· Use wide and accurate vocabulary.
· Take care of rhythm and flow of language. Think with your mouth open!
· Show confidence. Nobody at the exam is interested in your feeling, you just have to seem confident!

By doing the listening on page 12 we acquired some knowledge about Alfred Nobel, his foundation and some famous winners of the Nobel prize. We practised predicting before and note taking while listening.

Illya showed us four different Grammar books and we could compare the chapter about modal verbs. Afterwards she gave her comments about each book.
· “Advanced Language Practice” specifically prepares for advanced (and proficiency) exam. It includes Vocabulary and tasks like “English in Use” at the exam.
· “Advanced Grammar in Use” gives lots of practice and is similar to “the blue Murphy”
· “Exploring Grammar in Context”: There are interesting exercises that want you to think about grammar rules.
· “Grammar for English Language Teacher”: It’s a very good grammar reference book, and it’s very useful if you are teaching older pupils, it shows you typical difficulties of learners.

Eventually, we got some homework:
· Page 14/15: Writing. You find advice how to organise the writing on page 15. Study the example and copy bits of words in your writing. It enrich your language. Use also the wordlist on page 209 and the language of possibility on page 210. Send your text by e-mail or bring it next time.
· Have a look at page 14: Extension.
· Complete Unit 1 from page 14 up to page 17.
· Don’t forget practise reading e.g. on BBC and improve your speed.
· Do the crossword puzzle on wiki
· And add your comment or post to the blog or wiki.

Another lively and busy English evening ended at nine o’clock. Have a nice time and enjoy your holiday!