Dec 14, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

My dear friends,

I'm going on vacation now. I really need to rest and recharge the batteries. Salvador and its beaches are waiting for me. I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a perfect 2014. New posts are coming up in January 2014. See you soon!

Dec 7, 2013

Upside Down: Compound Adjectives

This is a love story. The premise of the plot - two twin planets with inverse gravities - is amazing. The setting is awesome and the scenes in which the characters are literally upside down are fascinating.

A. Watch the movie segment and rewrite the phrases below, using compound adjectives.

1. They are adapted to the  basic laws of double gravity that will never change.

2. An object weight can be offset by the other planet because of the concept that its matter is inverse.

3. One day Adam climbed the mountains so high and experienced an event that changed his life.

4. The view from the mountains had a look that was very ominous.

5. Eden was a pretty girl that had blond hair.

6. Eden had a fall that threatened her life.

7. The movie had many scenes whose visuals are attractive.

B. Discuss these questions:

1. What are the complications of a relationship like the one of the characters?

2. What are the advantages?

3. How do you compare those planets to the Earth?

4. What does the Earth and those twin planets have in common? Aside from the gravity laws, how different are they?



Answer key:

1. They are adapted to the never-changing laws of gravity

2. An object weight can be offset because of the inverse-matter concept.

3. Adam experienced a life-changing event.

4. It was an ominous-looking view.

5. She was a blond-haired girl.

6. Eden had a life-threatening fall.

7. The movie has many visually-attractive scenes.

Nov 30, 2013

42: Etymology

The word etymology is derived from the Greek etumos which means real or true. The ending ology suggests the study/science of something, as in biology or geology. And that is the etymology of etymology. It is the study of the origins of words; how they evolved. 
The Ancient Greek word hippos means horse. And potamus means river. Hence hippopotamus literally means river horse.

A few other parts of words derived from Ancient Greek are tele (long distance), micro (small), phone (speak), and scope (look). From these come such words as telephone, telescope, microphone, and microscope.

I. In small groups, come up with a definition for the following words. Then try to imagine its origin. Be creative!


II. Before watching the segment, make a guess about the origin and meaning of the following words:


Sympathy - Origin

a) Latin
b) Anglo-Saxon
c) Greek
d) Germanic
e) Persian
f) Slavic

Sympathy - Meaning

a) to love
b) to suffer
c) to mercy
d) to sin
e) to help
f) to lose

Philadelphia - Origin

a) Latin
b) Anglo-Saxon
c) Greek
d) Germanic
e) Sioux
f) Apachian

Philadelphia - Meaning

a) Brotherly Love
b) Mother Nature
c) North Sunset
d) Land of the Children
e) Winds of Hills
f) Green Plain

III. Watch the segment and check your answers.



Answer Key:

II.  Check your answers below:

During the time of the Crusades the members of a certain secret Muslim sect terrorized their Christian enemies. These acts were carried out under the influence of hashish, and so the killers became known as hashshashin, meaning eaters or smokers of hashish. Hashshashin evolved into the word assassin.

"Utopia" is ancient Greek in origin and means "Not" + "Place"; in other words, "nowhere".

The ancient Roman word salarium has developed into today's word salary, which is the money we earn from employment. The Roman were originally paid in salt. The Latin word for salt is sal.

Comes from the Czech word robota, meaning "forced labour" or "hard work".

This word for a fun festival is related to such words as carnal and carnivore. It originated as a word for a festival  in which the eating of meat was forbidden. Carnival literally means the withholding of meat.




Nov 23, 2013

Wanderlust: Metaphorical x Literal Meaning

I have been adding posts about figures of speech and pragmatics. This one contrasts literal and figurative meanings, important nuances of language.


Figurative and literal are terms that signify whether language complies with its accepted, dictionary definition (literal) or whether it diverges from its generally accepted meaning by the use of symbolism, exaggeration, or other device (figurative). Literal language strives for one, clear meaning, while figurative language seeks to add layers of meaning that require interpretation. The particular devices a writer employs (for example, metaphor, simile, or personification) are referred to as figures of speech. 

By Chegg

I. Watch the movie segment. Then take a look at the statements selected from the snippet. Finally, decide if they have literal or figurative language.

Money Buys Nothing

Literal or Figurative?

You Can't Express Your Feeling by Sending a Letter through a Fax Machine

Literal or Figurative?

II. Discuss these questions:

1. Why did the characters disagree about the meaning of the sentence "money buys nothing'?

2. What did both of them have in mind when they expressed their ideas? Who do you think is right?

3. What does the character mean with "you can't express your feeling by sending a letter through a fax machine"? 

4. Come up with some figurative ways to say the following sentences.

- She died.

- She's very ugly.

- He's extremely handsome.

- He's very rich.

- That car is very powerful.



Answer key:

Money...      (literal)
                    You can't ... (figurative).

3. He means he wants the couple to stay in the community.

Nov 9, 2013

The Croods: Possessive ('s) and Vocabulary - Family

I simply love this family, The Croods. The movie is awesome and it is wonderful to talk about family. I used their family tree to practice the use of possessives ('s).

I. Work in pairs:

1. Talk about your family. What do they do and how old are they?

2. Do you have pictures of your family in your cell phone? Show them to a partner and tell him/her where they are and what they are doing there.

3. Who are you closest to in your family? Justify your answer.

4. What would you change in your family?

II. Watch the movie segment and complete the blanks with the name of the characters.


Ex: Gran is Ugga's mother . 

1. __________________ is Grug's mother-in-law.

2. ________________ is Eeep's brother. 

3. _________________ is Sandy's sister.

4. __________________ is the family's pet. 

5. __________________ is Sandy's brother.

6. __________________ is Ugga's son.

7. __________________ is Ugga's husband

8. __________________ is Grug's wife.

9. __________________ is Gran's granddaughter.

10. __________________ is Eep's grandmother.

III. Complete the blanks with the name of the correct character and ('s).

1. Ugga is ______________________ mother.

2. Grug is ______________________ son-in-law.

3. Hunk is _____________________ grandson.

4. Eep is ______________________ daughter.

5. Grug is ______________________ father.

Answer key:


1. Gran
 2. Hunk
3. Eep
4. Belt
5. Hunk
6. Hunk
7. Grug
8. Ugga
9. Sandy
10. Gran


1. Hunk's / Eep's / Sandy's
2. Gran's
3. Gran's
4. Ugga's
5. Hunk's / Eep's / Sandy's

Family Members


I. Warm-up

1. Pair up students and ask them to stand back to back. The Teacher says the name of a family member and they have to turn around, clap their hands, touch their partner’s hands and say the opposite of the word.
2. Ask students if they have pictures of their family in their cell phone. If  they don’t, ask them to get a drawing or another project they’ve made about their family to show it to their partner while they talk about their family. Model the sentences on the board.
    EX.: This is my ___________. His name’s _____________. He’s _____ years old.

              This is my ___________. Her name’s _____________. She’s _____ years old.

 II. Students watch the movie segment

III. Divide the students into two groups and number them within their groups. Place pictures of the movie characters facing down on the floor. Call a number and project the sentences from the box below on the board. The students who are called have to find the picture on the floor that completes the sentece correctly. He/She says the sentence out loud and then all the students repeat it.

1. ________________ is Eep's brother. 

2. _________________ is Sandy's sister.

3. __________________ is the family's pet. 

4. __________________ is Sandy's brother.

5. __________________ is Eep's father.

6. __________________ is Thunk's mother.

7. __________________ is Sandy's grandmother.

8. __________________ is Thunk’s father.


IV. Students fill in the blanks.

1. Thunk is Eep's __________________. 

2. Eep is Sandy's __________________.

3. Belt is the family's _______________. 

4. Grug is Thunk’s _________________.

5. Gran is Sandy's _________________.

6. Ugga is Thunk's _________________.



Nov 2, 2013

Bridesmaids & French Kiss: Expressing Likes and Dislikes - Functional Languade

I love both movies. Bridesmaids is a wonderful, funny story with great acting. The scene from the movie French Kiss is priceless. One of my all  times favorites.

Complete the sentences below with things you like when you travel by plane (or bus, car, boat).

Expressing likes:

I love                                                            .
I like _______________________________.
I fancy ...                                                               .
I enjoy  ...                                             . 
I'm crazy about ...                            . 
I'm keen on  ...                                       . 
I'm fond of   ...                                                  . 

Complete the sentences below with things you dislike when you travel by plane (or bus, car, boat).

Expressing dislikes:

I hate                                                                  . 
I don't like                                            . 
I don't fancy                                  . 
I can't stand                                     . 
I can't bear                            .
 I can't put up with                 .  
I'm fed up with                    . 
I'm sick of                        . 
I'm tired of                          .

Watch the movie segments. Then write sentences, expressing the characters likes and dislikes. Do not use the words love/like/hate/don't like to express their lokes and dislikes.

Ex: They don't fancy traveling by plane.


French Kiss

Oct 26, 2013

Morning Glory: Expressing Opinions, Functional Language

This is a wonderful segment with multiple possibilities, especially if you want to talk about TV shows. Because TV is a controversial topic, I used it to make students practice expressing opinions in a genuine manner, not using the expression "I think...". I. Watch the movie segment and discuss these questions in small groups.

RATINGS: a list of television and radio programmes showing how popular they are

 1. What were the changes she decided to implement in order to raise the TV shows ratings?

 2. Why did the ratings go up?

 3. Are there TV shows like the one in the segment in your city? What are they? Do you watch them? Why (not)?

 II. Let's practice expressing opinions without saying the expression "I think...". Of course that saying it to express an opinion is fine, but you can enrich your language if you use certain ways to vary your language production. This is called functional language. What can you say instead of "I think" ? I would say

In my opinion
To my mind
I am of the opinion that
I hold the opinion that
As far as I'm concerned,
I understand that
From my point of view, 
I'm not sure, but I suppose
That's an interesting question, 
I believe that

Now work in small groups and express your opinions about the questions below. YOU MUST NOT USE the expression "I think". You must also use all of the expressions above to answer the questions.

 1. Do you think TV ratings help improve TV programs or does it have the opposite effect, lowering the quality of TV shows?

 2. What do you think about her strategies to raise the ratings?

 3. Do you think that the higher the TV show's ratings are the better the show is?

 4. What were the best and worst changes she made in the TV show? Explain it.

 5. What's your opinion about this kind of TV show?

 6. Give examples of TV shows with very high TV ratings, but that you consider stupid.

 7. Give examples of TV shows with very high TV ratings, and that you consider extremely clever.

 8. What's your opinion about Brazilian (your country) TV?