Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A New Year and New Hope in 2017

Why do we celebrate the passing of the old year and beginning of the new? Do our lives really change when a new year begins? Can they change?
I would like to believe that our good intentions on New Year's Eve have the ability to transform our lives through hope and good will. When we bid farewell to the old year  with the traditional Scots song "Auld Lang Syne" (which means "days gone by" or in a word-for-word translation "old long since"), we usher in the new year with hugs and kisses for family and friends and with plans for the future. I hope that the new year will be better not only for me but also for all of you. Happy New Year!

Vocabulary
intention(s) (noun) - plan(s)

transform (verb) - change
hope (noun/also sometimes a verb) - wanting something to happen
good will (expression) (adjective + noun) - kindness
bid farewell (expression) verb + noun) - say goodbye
usher in (verb) - mark the start of something

Vocabulary Exercise
Fill in the blanks with the correct vocabulary word.
1. When my mother leaves tomorrow, we will ______   ______________ .
2. The barber gave him a new hairstyle and _______________ the way he looks.
3. My _______________ is that my sick friend will feel better.
4. As a teacher, I like to ___________  ___ the new semester.
5. My family has the good  _______________ to adopt a cat.
6. New Year's Eve is a time for __________   ___________ towards friends and family.

Grammar Point
The personal pronouns in English include:
I/me/my
You/your
We/our
He/him/his
She/her
It/its
They/them/their

Grammar Exercise:
Which personal pronouns do you see in my paragraph? Write three sentences using personal pronouns.







Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My First iMovie: A Presentation about Online Learning

Here is the link to my first iMovie for you to see. It won't win an Academy Award, but it is only my first film: My First iMovie

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Bad, the Dead, and the Ruined

"The evil that men do live after them...." (Mark Antony in his eulogy for Julius Caesar in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar)

I often write blogs about my favorite television programs or movies. Today I finished watching the Netflix series Narcos, and I was reminded of the quote from Julius Caesar. The first two seasons of the series are about the Medellin Cartel and its founder, Pablo Escobar. The next season will be about the Cali Cartel. Escobar perpetrated an immense number of evil deeds in his 44 years. He is dead, his followers are dead, and many innocent people are dead. In addition to transporting his cocaine to the US that has ruined so many lives, he blew up an Avianca passenger jet to try to kill the future President of Colombia and many buildings around Colombia. And many people are still in jail because of their involvement in his business. "The evil that men do live after them" can be aptly be applied to him.

Vocabulary
  
Shakespeare (noun): William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright (a writer of plays). He is the most famous English writer of all time.

Narcos (noun, plural): drug traffickers (Narcos is a slang word in English derived from Spanish.)

perpetrate (verb): do, commit, carry out (usually associated with crime)

immense (adj): very large, great

ruin (verb): destroy, hurt very badly

involvement (noun): inclusion, being part of

evil (noun/adj): very bad

aptly (adverb): well

Vocabulary Exercise:




Across
3. drug traffickers
4. commit
5. an English poet 
 
Down
1. inclusion
2. very large
6. well
7. very bad
8. hurt very badly


Grammar Point; Some of the verbs in the passage are in the past tense, for example, finished, perpetrated, and ruined. The past ense of regular verbs is formed by adding -ed to the base form of the verb.
Grammar Assignment: Write five sentences using these three verbs and two other regular verbs in the past tense.


 The brilliant Brazillian actor Wagner Moura who plays Pablo Escobar in Narcos, followed by a photo of the real Escobar


Monday, September 21, 2015

Why I Prefer Autumn


When I think of the four seasons, I always remember autumn with the most fondness and look forward to it with great anticipation. Autumn brings with it not only a fabulous array of leaf colors, but also many other welcome changes. The first day of autumn usually falls on my birthday, so my family and friends are always ready to celebrate it with dinners, ice cream cakes, flowers, and fun. Autumn also signals the beginning of the academic year, so I receive a host of new students and academic challenges that I look forward to. Another reason I like autumn is the important holidays that it ushers in: Columbus Day, Halloween, Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving. Also, the weather in New York changes from hot and humid to pleasantly cool. Harvest sales crop up everywhere, and the farms have bright, crisp apples of all kinds, freshly picked corn, and other autumn treats. It is hard to imagine a better time of year.

What is your favorite season? Why?

Vocabulary
autumn (noun) -- fall (September 23 - December 21)
fondness (noun) -- love, affection
anticipation (noun) -- joy, hope
fabulous (adjective) -- great, terrific
array (noun) -- variety
signal (verb) -- points the way to
challenge (noun) -- problem, difficulty, trial
usher in (verb) -- bring with it
crop up (verb) -- are, are held

Vocabulary Exercise:
Cloze exercise: Fill in the blanks with the correct vocabulary word.

1. I love the ________________, which begins in September. It does not bring the ______________ of winter, when there is too much snow on the roads.

2. There is an ________________ of activities, such as apple picking, the decoration of pumpkins, and ___________ views of the many-colored leaves.

3. The autumn _____________ cooler weather, but the weather changes also __________ that winter is coming.

4. Farmers wait for the autumn with ___________________ and ______________ because it means that their fruit and vegetables have all finished growing.

5. Parties ______________ to celebrate Halloween.

Grammar Point: Adjectives are words that describe nouns. In the passage above, there are several adjectives: great, fabulous, welcome  .... Write three sentences about your favorite season using at least three of the adjectives from my paragraph.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Writing Improves Health

The results of some recent studies show that writing improves your health and the healing process. It is true for digital writing too, so blog away.See Writers Have an Advantage

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Great Writing Prompt

Unicorn Express: The Official Melbourne High Competition Writing Blog

A man walks into a bar and sees ...

A man walks into a bar and sees a familiar outline through the smoky haze. He moves silently towards the other side of the room and sits down at a table in the shadows near the back door. He doesn't look in her direction but feels her presence. He orders a high ball and spends some time studying the ice cubes as they begin to melt. When he finally looks across the room, he cannot find that splendid form, that tender silhouette he knows as well as his own. He finishes his drink and meanders towards the door, hoping he will see her, praying he won't see her. Suddenly, the door in front of him opens ...                   (Time's up)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Welcome to Grammar Class!

Welcome to the Structure and Application of American English! I know some of you already and hope to get to know the rest of you very quickly. This semester, for the very first time, our class has been scheduled in the model classroom. I hope that we will be able to make good use of the technology at our fingertips. For some people, grammar is very boring; for others, it is thrilling. What will it be for you? Only time will tell. I hope that the infusion of more technology in the course will give you every opportunity to practice grammar and find many games and activities for your future ESL students. Starting today, you will have the chance to blog about grammar and vocabulary yourselves.

I am looking forward to a great semester! Let the grammar begin!

Vocabulary
at our fingertips (prepositional phrase) --  easy to find, available (an idiom)
boring (adjective) -- not interesting
thrilling (adjective) -- very exciting
infusion (noun) -- adding
opportunity (noun) -- chance
to blog (verb) -- to write in a web journal (web + log = weblog = blog)

Vocabulary Exercise
Please fill in the blanks with the correct vocabulary word.
I was not interested in prepositions, so I thought grammar class was _____________. However, we played a fun grammar game that was _____________. Susan hopes there will be an _________________ to play it again.

My juice had an ___________________ of cranberries.
I had time to _________________ about my trip to Jamaica.
On the my computer, I can find information __________________________ .

Grammar Point
The indefinite article an is used instead of a when the noun after it starts with a vowel sound. Write two sentences using an + the two nouns on the vocabulary list.