Feb 25, 2015

The Day after Tomorrow: Past Perfect x Past Perfect Continuous

This awesome activity was provided by Nina Hudd, an amazing teacher who also likes sharing,

Nina Hudd has been teaching English for over 14 years in England, Hong Kong and France. She currently runs her own English tuition company for all ages and ability from 2 years old to adult, absolute beginners to advanced.

A.      Preparation/discussion

Do you like disaster movies? Why/why not?
Why do you think disaster movies are so popular?
Do disaster movies serve any practical purpose?

B.      Watch the segment and identify the order of the actions below.

People have umbrellas up.

The man walks away from the café.

A police car is driving around giving information.

The policeman is hit on the head by a hailstone.

The man puts his case on his head for protection.

A man stops at a street side cafe and drinks some tea.

The man is talking on his phone.

The café owner closes his café up.

The man’s telephone rings.

Everyone starts running around screaming.

A hailstone hits the man and he falls down.

The policeman is arguing with an old man.

A motorbike drives into a shop window.

Consider which of these actions had finished when the hailstorm hit and which of these actions were taking place during the hailstorm. Some of the actions may have been continuing throughout the clip.

C.      Fill in the blanks with the past perfect or the past perfect continuous form of the verbs in parentheses. Consider carefully whether the first action was completed or taking place when the second action happened.

A man _____________ (drink) tea at a street side café when his telephone rang.
The man __________ (already, walk) away from the café when the first hailstone hit.
The café owner ___________(close) up his café before the hailstorm.
The policeman ___________(argue) with a man when the hailstone hit him on the head.
People ______________(walk) around with umbrellas before the hailstorm hit.
A man ________________(ride) a motorbike during the hailstorm but then crashed into a shop window.
The man _____________(put) his case on his head for protection but still got hit.

D.     Extension activity – read the article and reflect, referring back to the questions in section A.


If you were to look on the bright side, you could argue that we simply enjoy seeing things being blown to smithereens. "There's a kind of pleasure in destruction," says Sheldon Hall, co-author of Epics, Spectacles and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History. "It's the kind you get from building a sandcastle and then jumping on it as a child. When we watch those elaborate sets blow up in a James Bond film, we know that they're fake, so we appreciate the skill that goes into building them, and the same sort of skill that goes into their destruction. It's all part of the magic of the movies."
But it can't be a coincidence that the images in our multiplexes are so similar to those on the news, whether we're watching footage of Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami or the latest terrorist bombing. In these chaotic times, is it any wonder that we're drawn to films that reframe that chaos as an awfully big adventure?
"All around the world, people are aware of climate change," says Kramer, "That could underpin our sensitivity to stories that respond to such concerns. Let's not forget that Avatar came out on the very weekend that the UN's climate change conference in Copenhagen ended in failure. Avatar was probably consumed by more people in a short space of time than any other story in human history – and it was all about a military-industrial complex intent on ruining a planet."
That's all very well, but apart from making James Cameron even richer, do these mega-disaster movies have any practical purpose? Will Hollywood's doom-mongering prompt impressionable film-goers to change their ways? Well, possibly.
"One thing that a lot of these films have in common is the sense that the threat is not just to me and my family, but to everybody," says Kramer. "They tend to tell stories about isolated groups overcoming their differences to come together and solve their problems. And because these films reach different communities around the planet, they might just foster a sense of solidarity and prepare the ground for some sort of collective action in the future. They reach into us and respond to a need that we have – a hope that if we get together, we can make a difference.

Answer Key:

A man had been drinking at a street side café when his telephone rang.
The man had already walked away from the café when the first hailstone hit.
The café owner had closed up his café before the hailstorm.
The policeman had been arguing with a man when the hailstone hit him on the head.
People had been walking around with umbrellas before the hailstorm hit.
A man had been riding a motorbike during the hailstorm but then crashed into a shop window.
The man had put his case on his head for protection but still got hit.

Feb 15, 2015

The Internship: As a Matter of Fact / In Fact

I simply love this movie. It is most of teens' dream to work for a company with such innovative ideas for the workplace. I had a blast watching it. As a matter of fact, it pleases adults and teens. I used it to contextualize ideas to practice AS A MATTER OF FACT and IN FACT to contradict or correct previously stated ideas.

I. Rank the items below according to what you consider the most important features for your dream job. (1 - most important and the last one the least important)

( ) Challenging
( ) Good workmates
( ) Flexible working hours
( ) Safety
( ) Chances of promotions
( ) Comfort
( ) Long vacations
( ) Not wearing uniforms
( ) Fun
( ) Opportunities to travel
( ) Friendly boss

II. Group up with a few friends, compare your lists and justify your answers.

III. Watch the segment from the movie The Internship and describe Google's working conditions, select positive and negative aspects of working there, and what can still be improved. Finally,  decide if you would like to work there.

IV. What is the ideal job for you? What about the working conditions?


Both As a matter of fact and in fact can be used to modify or contradict a previous statement:


A: I hear that you're a doctor.
B: As a matter of fact (In fact), I'm a dentist.

A: Well, it may sound very straightforward to you, but in fact (as a matter of fact) it's all very complicated.

A:Would you agree with me that teachers should refrain from socializing with their students? 
B: As a matter  fact (In fact) I think it's a good idea for them to socialize - up to a certain point!

V. Contradict the information in the items before. Use AS A MATTER OF FACT and IN FACT to express your ideas.

A: Most of Google's employees wear suits and ties at work.
B: ______________________________________

A: Eating in Google's facilities can be very expensive.
B: ______________________________________

A: Most people who work for Google are middle aged.
B: ______________________________________

A: Only very young adults can be interns at Google.
B: ______________________________________ 

A: It is very easy to get a position at Google.
B: _______________________________________

A: Working for Google must be a dull experience.
B: _______________________________________

Answer Key (answers may very – As a matter of fact can be used interchangeably):

1. EX: As a matter of fact, most of them don’t wear suits and ties at work.
2. In fact, Eating in Google’s facilities is free
3. In fact, most people who work for Google are very young.
4. As a matter of fact, everyone can be an intern at Google.
5. In fact, it is not very easy to get a position at Google.

6. As a matter of fact, working for Google must be very exciting.

Feb 5, 2015

Delivery Man: WOULD - Different uses


1. What is a sperm bank? What are the services offered by a sperm bank? Make a guess if you have no idea.

2. Visit the site on this link, Then answer the questions that follow.

  • What is the name of the sperm bank?
  • What services does it offer?
  • What are the costs?
  • Do you consider it expensive? Why (not)?
  • What's your opinion about this issue? How ethical is it? 
  • What is the trend in the future? Will it be an ordinary service, like purchasing a new car or house?
  • Would you be a donor? Explain it
  • Would you consider using a sperm bank if you could not have children?
  • Are donors altruistic or just looking for some extra cash?
  • Should the donor's identity be revealed if the child wanted to know it? Why (not)?

I. Watch the movie segment. Vince Vaughn's character is the biological father of of those young people he interacts with in the scene. The kids, however, don't know it. 
Match the dialogs and a use of would to each conversation in the following exercise. Make sure you decide it according to the information presented in the snippet.

A- To give advice
B - To make an offer
C - To talk about regular actions
D - To talk hypothetically
E - A polite request

1 ( ) - I thought the young lady was not going to show up for her first day at work.
        - Well, that would not surprise me.

2 ( ) - I'm here for the music performance.
        - Would you like to sit down?

3. ( ) - What should I get? My toe nails polished or a haircut?
         - I would get the nails done.

4. ( ) - What did you do to motivate the tour guide?
         - I would attend his tour even when the weather was awful.

5. ( ) - Oh, Gosh. You hurt your back.
         - I'm fine. However, I would like to rest here for a while before I stand up.

II. Is 'd in these sentences would or had? Rewrite the sentences with the contractions.

1. He'd never treat any of those kids badly.

2. He'd forgotten how helpful he could be.

3. He wishes all the kids were successful. He'd be very proud of them.

4. He'd love to see them all happy.

5. The musician was very confident after  several presentations. He'd given the same performance many times.

6. He knew he had to jump off the trampoline to look courageous. He was sure he'd make it.

7. He knew he'd been saved by the lifeguard. That made him feel embarrassed. 

Answer key:

  • What is the name of the sperm bank?  The Sperm Bank of California
  • What services does it offer? Donor Sperm, Sperm Storage,  Semen Analysis, Genetic Consultation
  • What are the costs? It depends on the services required. From US$9,000,00 to US$35,000,00 - sometimes more depending on how long the storage will take.
  • The other answers will vary.
1. d
2. b
3. a
4. c
5. e


1. He would never
2. He had forgotten
3. He would be
4. He would like
5. He had given
6. sure he would make it
7. he had been saved