Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

First I'd like to thank you for the interesting questions you asked Dorothea before and while she was visiting the class. She really enjoyed the visit and agrees with me that you make a wonderful class.

I hope you got something out of the lesson as well.

Then I'd like to wish you all festive holidays with your families and friends.
I'm looking forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

Merry Christmas
A Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Introductions from Agi

Dear Dorothea

I’m pleased that you will be our guest. Surely, it will be an interesting evening.

Firstly I will tell you something about me.

My name is Agi Holdener, I’m married since nineteen years and I’ve got four children. With my family I’m living in Sörenberg, it is a beautiful small village in the mountains. Now with the Christmas stars and the snow it looks sometimes like a fairyland.

I’m working as a teacher for about 70%. The most important thing in my life is my family and even though I like my job I’m sometimes dreaming about staying at home and doing only the housework.

The whole family likes sport, in winter we’re skiing and in summer we’re hiking.

My boys are interested in football and hockey and if I want to talk with them I should also be.

If I can find any spare time I spend it in reading. It is possible that I’m reading a whole rainy Sunday… if my family let me do it and one of the children is keen on cooking.

I’m looking forward to seeing you.

Best wishes


And now my questions

Ø What was your first impression from Switzerland when you have been visiting for the first time?

Ø What do you think is typical Swiss – and what is typical American?

Ø Illya lives in Switzerland since several years. Are there any points she has changed in her views?

Ø And last but not least – what is your greatest wish for Christmas?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Marie-Theres Kappeler

Dear Dorothea

I’m pleased that you will be our special guest Dear Dorothea

I’m pleased that you will be our special guest in the English class next Tuesday. Illya told us that you and she look very similar. Will we mix you up?

I’d like to introduce me briefly. My name is Marie-Theres and I work as a teacher in Emmenbrücke at the Krauer, where your grandson Dorian goes to school. I have lived in Emmen since 1980, originally I am from the eastern part of Switzerland. I’m 49, married and have two sons, 22 and 23 years old.

At the moment I’m busy with the preparation for my travel to Great Britain, where I’m going to stay for six weeks to improve my English, and the following voyage to Ethiopia where I’ m visiting different water and education projects. That’s why there are many things to be done at school and at home before I leave on the 27th of Dezember.

And now, what I’d like to ask you.

About American Christmas
Is cooking a turkey and the traditional side dish actually so popular in most families? Are there other traditional rituals connected with the dinner? Are there special traditional Christmas biscuits or cakes as the Mailänderli and Zimtsterne in Switzerland? Can you give us a recipe?

About getting older
In Switzerland men and woman get the AHV when they are about 63/65 years old (it’s changing at the moment). If they have an additional pension, they have some financial safety, if not, many of them live in poverty. Is there in the States something similar official pension from the state or is it all on private insurance?

About prejudice
As you certainly know, Swiss people have often general prejudice against American people in general. What say the American about the European (I don’t think the Swiss are specially mentioned)? And what do you think, could we learn from each other?

I’m looking forward to meeting you next Tuesday

Yours sincerely


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Nicole introduces herself

Dear Doro

I'm looking forward to meeting you. Two native speakers (two Illyas ;-)) in one classroom ... what a chance!
My name's Nicole and I'm originally from the eastern part of Switzerland. I moved in the area of Lucerne six years ago when I started teaching. I like this place very much, above all because of its more or less even landscape. Furthermore, the sunsets which I can see out of my living room are worth to be gazed as you can see in the picture.
I grew up in the Rhine valley between mountains up to more than 2000 metres high. In contrast to them, I enjoy here the far reaching sight from my home or as well from my classroom where I teach. However, when I go back to the eastern part of Switzerland to visit my family I enjoy the mountains every time as well!
How is your the landscape in your area like? What are the advantages of living in the United States? Why should a tourist visit the States?
Nowadays, Americans have a rather difficult position in the world. How does this fact affect your daily life? Or don't you feel any of these reluctances?
I'm curious about your answers ...

Have a nice day and a safe journey to Switzerland.

Best regards


Titus Bürgisser introduces himself

Good afternoon Dorothea

My name ist Titus Bürgisser. I was born March 14. 1961 and I am living in Emmen. I am married with Anita, a kindergarden teacher. We have three boys (11/13/14), two cats, 12 chicken, and about 35 rabbits.
As a former secondary school teacher, I am now working at the teachers training University in Lucerne. I am responsible for health promotion in schools and some national health promotion projects (school climat and sexual education in schools).
In my rare spare time, I play different music instruments such as the piano and the mandolin or I go for climbing in the swiss mountains.
Fortunately, winter is coming, because I adore living in the snow and sleeping in a igloo.

So I am interested to know, if there is already winter and snow in Seattle.
How do people spend their time in winter?
What are the most impressionate landscapes in Seattle? Are there places in nature, you like to go from time to time, because they are so beautiful?

I am pleased to meet you this evening!

Titus Bürgisser

Introduction Patricia

Dear Dorothea

My name is Patricia Christen and I live in Eschenbach.
I’m 22 years old and I teach a fifth primary class in Gunzwil. I’ve been a primary teacher for two years. I enjoy teaching children even if it’s sometimes hard work. In my leisure time I like to play the guitar, to cook, to read, to go out with friends and to do sport. In Eschenbach I teach sport lessons to 11 up to 15 years old boys and girls. Moreover, I dance in a gym-group every Wednesday and do sport together with friends every Monday.
As a grateful we’ve every year a special day for all sport teachers of the sport club ESV Eschenbach. In the afternoon we meet each other and improve our skills. After that we go out for dinner. This picture is from the dinner of this year on the “Alpgschwänd” at Pilatus. My friend Carmen is sitting in the background and I’m the other one.

I’ve a brother and a sister. Severin, my brother is 20 years old and Melanie my sister is 16 years old. My brother works in the local government in Emmenbrücke and my sister is a student. She goes to school to Baldegg.

I like talking English and I look forward to teaching English to children. This summer I was four weeks in Ireland. It was an absolute fantastic time.

My questions for you:

· What’s the biggest difference between Seattle and Lucerne?
· What do you miss on your holiday here in Lucerne?
· What would you like to take with you from Lucerne to Seattle?
· Why do you live in Seattle?
· What do you think is important for learning English?
· What do you do in your free time?

See you soon


Mascia Zemp's introduction

Root, 10 December 06

Dear Illya, dear Dorothea

My name is Mascia Zemp and I come from Ebikon, nearby Lucerne. Since about one year I leave in Root and I feel very well there.

I am 38 years old; I haven’t own children but a lot of them at school because I am a primary-teacher. Three hours a week I teach Italian at the secondary-school. I love speaking foreign languages and it’s why I am learning English. Perhaps the year after next I can start with teaching English but until then I have a lot to learn and to improve.

I would like to ask you some questions, dear Dorothea:

How did you feel, when your daughter Illya went to Switzerland?

Did you immediately agree with her or were you a little suspicious about her lives-plans?

What did you think, firstly, about her future husband and the different way of life of Swiss people?

How many times do you see Illya in one year? Do you miss her very highly sometimes?

What is your opinion about Mr Bush? Would you like to have another President?

I hope that my questions aren’t too indiscreet! J

I’m very pleased to meet you!



Introduction from Alexandra Zinner

Dear Dorothea

To get an introduction of me as a person you have to know some details about my self. I am 21 years of age and I am called Alexandra. There is one significant thing you have to know about my appearance - I have red hair and brown eyes.

Since the day of my birth on the 19th of February in 1985 I live in Lucerne. I am certain that the fact that on this 19th of February was carnival in Lucerne is the cause of my enthusiasm and fascination for carnival – but of course any the carnival in Lucerne I do like.

I am the result of a mixture from diffrent Germaine speaking courtiers of Europe, because I am not only Swiss I am also Austrian, what I am very proud of. My father’s family went after the Second World War to Switzerland and my great-grandmother went first from Bavaria to Austria. So through my vein flows Germaine blood too.

I work as a primary school teacher and I do this job now for the second year after the teachers college.

You know now what my profession is but you might be interested to hear what I am doing during my leisure time. As I kind of summary I can tell you that I really like to dance. This is my favorite sport and I do it passionately. Since about three years I dance ballet, before I started to do gymnastics what I still do. As a child I always wanted to learn Rock n’ Roll because my cosine danced it, but unfortunately there was no Rock n’ Roll dancing for Kids, so I never learnt it.


What is Seattle famous for?

Have you always lived in Seattle? If not where have you lived all over the world?

What do you like about switzerland?

What do you do? What is your profession?

What is in your oppinion the biggest advantage of living in the USA, compared with other countries?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Valentina Coppola

Dear Dorothea

I’m putting this short comment on the blog to introduce myself and ask you three questions.
My name is Valentina Coppola and I’m 23 years old. I live in Rothenburg, which is near Emmenbrücke, where your daughter Illya lives. As all in our English class I’m also a teacher and work in Gunzwil, a small village in the canton of Lucerne.
I was born in the South of Italy, where I lived for three years and then moved with my parents to Switzerland. I like to go every summer to Italy because of the wonderful beach and also to see my relatives and especially my eighty-six-year-old grandmother.
In my free time I like to ride my bicycle, play the guitar and travel to foreign places.

And now to the questions:
How would you describe Swiss people using three adjectives?
And the same question about American people?
Which object would you take to a lonely isle?

I’m looking forward to meeting you in less than two weeks.



Hello Dorothea

My name is Markus Meier. I’m 39.
I’ve been married to Bea for 8 years. We’ve got 3 children. Meret was born in 1998, Tom was born in 2000 and Hannah was born in 2004.
We’ve been living in Stans, canton Nidwalden, for many years.

I worked in quite different kinds of jobs after compulsory school. However, I’ve been working as a teacher in Ruswil for 9 years at the secondary school.

I used to do a lot of sport but I do very little now because of my work and family. Currently, I often look after my children.

In my spare time I like watching films (at the cinema), learning English and discussing and playing cards with my friends and neighbours.

What I’d like to ask you is:
You have been living in the USA since you were born, haven’t you?
Do you know Europe well?
I read some news about 9/ 11, was it a great change for the Americans since then or didn’t it change your daily life so much, did it?
Are you eager to have a female president of the USA like Hillary Clinton?
Have you had a second job when you raised up Illya?
Why did you choose this lovely name for Illya?

I’m looking forward to meeting you.

MM ;)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eveline Felder

Dear Dorothea

My name is Eveline Felder and I was born on 18th of May in the year 1980. At that time my mother was only 18 and my father was 20 years old. So as you can see, my parents were still very young and it was a big challenge for them to bring me up. Four years later my brother was born.

After primary school I was in secondary school for four years.
I wanted to become a hairdresser and I already had the promise of getting the contract for the apprenticeship in a salon.
During my fourth year of secondary school mother motivated me to take part in the entrance examination of teachers college. I thought it could be a nice change in my life. I saw it as a game, because I wasn’t confident to pass without preparation. During the exams I suddenly felt that it would be the right decision to become a teacher. From then on I hoped that I would pass the entrance test.
Fortunately I did!

During the study my parents divorced and I was living with my father and my brother for five years.

Now I am working as a primary school teacher in the Sprengi school in Emmenbrücke - it is situated in the neighbourhood of Illya - since 2002.

I’ m looking forward to meeting you.



How are you staying in contact with Illya? (By mail, telephone, …)

What do you like the most in Switzerland?

What do you like the least in Switzerland?

Illya told us that you once could speak German fluently. I’m interested to hear more abut that.

How do people celebrate Christmas in Seattle?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bee introduces herself

7th December 06

Dear Dorothea,

I hope you don’t mind when I’m not that formal. My name is Sabine, but you can call me Bee!

I was born in Lucerne in the year 1977. I’m the youngest of four children. We lost our father when I was three years old. My mother decided not to marry again.

I went seven years to primary school (I repeated one year). Afterwards I went to the secondary school for three years. Then I took the chance to become a teacher. I passed all exams of the Teachers College with success.

That was a time I had enough of school and I worked as a shop assistent. Then I went back to my roots and taught children in Zurich. That was a really hard job. Later I also worked as a security for one year. It was interesting but didn’t give me enough challenge!

Fortunately, I found in Emmenbrücke a place where I can work as a teacher again.

My appearance is not very conspicuous. But everybody can hear my laughing. I have red, middle-short hair. Actually I’m not really thin! I’ve got blue eyes and big lips.

I’m very excited to meet you. I wonder how you look and how you are!

Now to my questions:

· I’d like to know how you think about George Bush.

· Which is your favourite for the next President?

· Can you remember what you exactly were doing at the time point when the plains crushed into the Twin Towers?

· What is the worst thing that could happen in your life?

I’m happily looking forward to seeing you soon.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Summary 5th December 2006

At the beginning Illya remembered us that her mother, Dorothea, will visit us the lesson before Christmas. For this reason we should introduce ourselves and prepare questions. (As you can read at the bottom.)

In the first part of the evening Illya explained us how to go through the Reading Part of the Advanced Exam. She mentioned that it is necessary to use our skimming skills!
The duration of the reading part is 1h and 15 minutes.

Part 1:

  1. Read the whole text diagonal
  2. Read Part A
  3. Look at the questions and choose
  4. Read part B
  5. Look at the questions and choose
    and so on.

Part 2: Look carefully at the text before and after the cap and than chose the paragraph which fits best?

Part 3: Don’t let you get confused by the answers. It my have destructors in the phrases. You have to read between the lines!

Part 4: In contains more information than in the first part, but you have to work in the same way.

Then we practised Speaking Part 2 in which we have to compare, contrast and speculate about up to 6 pictures.
Firstly, we searched phrases for comparison, contrast and speculation. Secondly, we did the speaking practise in the coursebook p. 60.
Think with your mouth open! Prepare a phrase to start, because you get the pictures and you have to start immediately. Don’t waste a lot of time to describe the pictures!

We were still efficient ;-) and continued with a Listening in the coursebook p. 61. Before we heard the text we predicted what fits the gaps. This was a big help!

After the break we did the Register transfer in the coursebook p. 55 and we began the Reading p. 62/63.


  • Writing: Introduce yourself and ask questions. Rewrite one text you have written since the start of the course and hand it in with the original.
  • Review 4, p. 58/59 coursebook
  • Register transfer p. 85/86 coursebook
  • Complete Reading p. 62/63 coursebook
  • Paper 1: Reading; correct and count the points, Part 2 and 3 count double (until after Christmas)

Have a good time and see you!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

------The Visitor------

Where is this foreigner, this speaker of English, this mother of Illya? Oh where can she be?
Does she have a name? Of course! It's Dorothea F. Hayes

And who are you to ask?

Introduce yourself and ask Dorothea a question.
It may be answered here or when she comes to the lesson.

Feel free to do it in a post (a picture would be very nice!) or put it in the comments section.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Summary 28th November 2006

As usual we started punctually. Illya asked who would like to write the summary. …. And then there was a long silence in the class room. After a few minutes we discussed if the summaries are useful and necessary. There’s no doubt that it would be helpful for the writer – he or she can improve their writing skills. Another aspect is that anybody has a chance to get back and can see what was important for the writer.

The result of this discussion was that I write the summary. It was because it is not too hard – so I'll do it now.

Illya said that her mother would be with us during the last lesson before Christmas. What shall we do at this time? Now, everyone has the possibility to come up with some valuable ideas for this special lesson.

After it, we looked in groups of 4 people at the life maps and the drawings which we had done for homework. We had to find out which picture match with which writing. It was enjoyable and interesting.

The next point was a vocabulary exercise. No time to loose… we had to fill in the gaps with collocating words like invest, save, make and so on.

In groups of two we tried to find an example and a definition for each time word. And I recognised that I could save time if I organise my daily work, so maybe I have a lot of free time which I can invest in improving my English, and probably in the test I will not run out of time…..

Before we enjoyed the break, we had done a Listening task (p 126 in the coursebook).

Making notes could be helpful.

After a break we could practise the grammar part. Gerund or infinitive – that was the question.

Illya gave us the rules and the examples and after looking also in the grammar part in the book on page 219 we did a Practice Sheet and discussed about the solutions.

So I hope I’m in the know.

The last few minutes we looked at pg 56 and 57 and discussed in pairs about the meanings of the words.

And now in final step, I write the homework:

Vocabulary Coursebook pg 54 time

Writing Workbook pg 41 – 43

Reading Workbook pg 28 / 29

Invest time in looking at the blog….

I would just like to add that it was another very interesting, informative and well-structured lesson.