Heads Up

Level: all levels

Today I’ll share a great app for getting students to speak, and spark a little friendly competition at the same time.

Heads Up on the AppStore

Just to give you an idea of what it is, here’s a video of it being used.

Ideas to use in class

What I like to do is get students working in teams of two and have them play one round each, accumulating points for each correct answer. As the round goes on, make notes of any words they miss or don’t know, and assign them to search what they are for next lesson.

The app offers a great number of decks with different categories, though I find the more effective ones to be Just for kids and Act it out (there are also decks about food, animals and geography, but most words will be difficult for students, especially the younger ones). You can purchase a customizable deck in which you can compile any vocabulary you may be working on at a given time, which makes the €0.99 investment worth your while.

 

Smoothie Challenge | Rosanna & Molly Pansino

Level: lower-intermediate (B1)

Lesson plan for teachers: I thought I’d post this video which I have used countless times in my lessons. A harmless challenge to try at home (as long as you keep the ingredients harmless), I usually show this video and ask students to write down the ingredients as they see and hear them, and then have them speculate on who they think won the challenge.

Ankubu | Phantom frame

As some of you may know, music has always been a key element in my life. Well, I thought it was time to kill the selfishness and start sharing what I feel are the best tunes out there, so feel free to stop by every once in a while to see what’s new.

I’ll start with a dear friend of mine, who makes incredible electronic music, the type that can carry you up and away if you listen to it right.

You can catch him live in the Pordenone area at times, so if you like what you hear, follow him and his collective on Facebook.

Ghost City Collective

ANKUBU

Website under construction

As you may have noticed already (and as the title of this post indicates, duh!), the site is still under construction. It will take some time to get it up around 100%, but after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

So sit tight and, most importantly, be patient. I promise it’ll be worth it 😀

If you have any requests, feel free to comment, if they are reasonable, I will consider them.

 

Pop Culture

Let’s see how prepared you are about pop culture, with this quiz:

So, how did you do? Are you pop-savvy or do you need to watch more videos or listen to more songs? Either way, kudos on completing the quiz.

Now it’s time to consider this: what aspects of pop culture were the questions about? Brainstorm for a few minutes.

  • Music
  • Films & TV
  • Celebrities
  • Toys & Games
  • the Internet
  • Language
  • Arts
  • Sports

How many of those did you think of? I’m sure a few of them were new. 🙂

Well, it’s time to go deeper into an important aspect of today’s pop culture: memes. As you have seen from the quiz, a meme is an image, video, catchphrase or idea, usually of a humorous nature, that goes viral. I am sure you see a lot of these every day, but just to give you a few examples:

Images

Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NSKl5ZjPYQ

And, finally, here are some additional resources for you to check out.

In case you’re feeling creative, you can create your own memes at IMGFLIP Meme Generator

Cyberbullying

We have already spoken about peer pressure, it is now time to look deep into what it can degenerate into.

First, consider these words:

  • harassment
  • stalking
  • denigration
  • impersonation
  • exclusion

What do they mean? Can you use them in a sentence?

We will discuss the idea behind this short and see if we can come up with a script for one as well. So, bring your ideas!

Finally, here are some true stories of cyberbullying:

http://puresight.com/Real-Life-Stories/real-life-stories.html

We will read and talk about them in class, so take a few minutes to prepare for the discussion: which story impressed you the most? Why? What would you have done?

 

Peer pressure

This topic is central to your lives, and, unfortunately, it’s often in the news in its evolution: bullying and cyberbullying. Before we get deep into this discussion, though, I think it’s important we see what peer pressure is and how it works. To that end, please listen to this interview with Brett Laursen, PhD. You will recognize some of these segments from the activity we did in class, so I hope you will not have any issues in reading it.

Speaking of psychology: peer pressure

As part of our second lesson on this topic, you will be divided in groups and assigned a real inspirational story of peer pressure: your assignment is to read the story, understand it and create a short dialogue, imagining what the protagonists of the story did and felt, and prepare to act it out before the class. No drama skills are necessary, just a will to not take yourself too seriously.

Peer pressure: some true stories

Finally, speaking about peer pressure, here’s Kendrick Lamar performing his song The art of peer pressure. Lyrics are in the link below the video.

The art of peer pressure – LYRICS

Globalization

Day 1

It’s all about globalization: the good, the bad and the ugly of it, what made it possible and how it has changed the world. To get familiar with the concept, here’s a very interesting article taken from the Udemy website, which is your first assignment:

Pros and cons of globalization: controversy and discussion

To help you fully understand the article, ask yourselves these questions before you read:

  • What aspects does G. involve?
  • What made it possible?
  • What are its main features?
  • What are its consequences?

In class we’ll do an activity in which I’ll ask you to explain these different concepts. And since it’s here, in writing, there are no excuses for not doing it! Unless, of course, your computer dies, the battery in your smartphone explodes and your town library closes due to lack of funding. And even in that case, the Meduna shopping center had free WiFi. 🙂

Day 2

Now that you have familiarized with the key words and concepts of the topic, it’s time for your second assignment. But first, an introduction is in order: the following video is taken from a YouTube channel called Crash Course and it offers what the name suggests, i.e. courses on specific subjects done very quickly (crash). In this video, the speaker is John Green (the guy who wrote The fault in our stars and Paper town). The language will be challenging at times (especially the speed), so I strongly recommend you use subtitles and take your time in watching it. Don’t be afraid of pausing it, going back and listening to it again. This is training, and in training you do things over and over again until they come naturally.

In class, I’ll be asking you comprehension questions and expansion of ideas on this video. I find that working in groups can really help, so go ahead and organize yourselves as you seem best works for you.

I also encourage you to check out the other crash courses available on their channel, you might find something you’re interested in. From time to time, you’ll find some suggestions in the VIDEO section of this site.

Well, that’s all for Globalization for now, we’ve only scratched the surface, but I hope it can make you curious enough so as to go deeper in the subject.

See you guys in class.

 

 

Blog introduction

Hey you!

I’m Peter David Medley, an Italian-American English teacher and tutor, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of my students. And if you’re one of my students, you’re hopefully interested in the things I will post on this site.

Feel free to bookmark it and come back even if you don’t have assignments: I’ll post any article, video or quote I feel suitable to reach the goal of making learning English a fun and effective undertaking.

Say what?!

Yeah, that’s right: it can be fun. After all, you’ve met me in person and know I’m a goofball, so don’t act all surprised.

‘nuff said, more to come

Peter

Creativity

“Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value”

 

Click here to view the Interactive transcript

Nowadays, dear young boys and girls, a lot of you seem to be indifferent to creativity, and the result of that is that you’re preventing an important skill from developing, a skill that can help you in life, both in the present and future. Did you read the quote above? Do it, and memorize it. It is taken from Sir Ken Robinson‘s TED talk Do schools kill creativity?, and I think it gives a clear idea of what creativity is. By the way, here’s your first assignment:

What do you think Sir Ken Robinson means with that quote?

Now, you may be thinking: “What does creativity have to do with learning English?”. The answer is simple: being creative means not being afraid of making mistakes, and the fear of this is what stops most of you from speaking English. You are terrified of being incorrect, of saying something that may make you look stupid to the eyes of your peers, or of the teacher, with the result of having a bad mark. Well, the sooner you understand this is nonsense, the better. Learning a language is a journey that takes time, effort and mistakes as well: it’s called learn by doing, and in doing you’re destined to be wrong from time to time. But, those errors can help you understand what is correct, and as a result you’ll start to understand what mechanisms govern the language and make them your own.

Trust me: it works.

Well, now it’s time for your second assignment: watch the video of Sir Ken Robinson in his well-known talk Do schools kill creativity? and while you’re watching, make notes on the following points:

  • girl in drawing class
  • dancer anecdote
  • hierarchy of subjects in school system
  • making mistakes