Writing Prompt Wednesday

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Talk About It: Do you cook? Where? Why? Do you like to do it? What equipment do you use?

Level 1: Write a list of what you see in the top picture. Include feelings, adjectives, and verbs. Write a list of what you see in the bottom picture. Include feelings, adjectives, and verbs. Circle the things that are the same in both lists.

Level 2: Write 3 sentences that describe the top picture. Write 3 sentences that describe the bottom picture. Write 1 sentence that says how they are similar. Write 1 sentence that says how they are different.

Level 3: Write a paragraph that describes the top picture. Write a second paragraph that describes the bottom picture. Give each paragraph a topic sentence. In each paragraph, include information about where this kitchen is, who is in it, and what resources they have available.

Creative Writing: Imagine that one of the chefs from the top picture and the woman from the bottom picture meet and have a conversation. Write at least one page of their dialog. It does not have to focus only on cooking.

Academic Writing:
Read this article from The Guardian: Can You Picture Poverty Without Humiliating The Poor.
Write an essay describing the pros and cons of using images of people in poverty in journalism about poverty. Make sure it is in your own words, even though you just read an article about it. Include a paragraph that states whether you think the pros or cons are stronger, and justify your stance. Be sure to cite the Guardian article and any other sources you use to back up your opinions, even if you don’t directly quote them in your essay.

(MLA 8 Citation)

Elliott, Chris. “Can you picture poverty without humiliating the poor?” The Guardian, 29 Nov. 2015, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/29/can-you-picture-poverty-without-humiliating-the-poor. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.

 

Hand It In!

Hand in your answer to one of these prompts using the private form below.

I’ll email you back with two short comments: one thing you did well and one thing that needs improvement.

 

 

 

Photo Credit 1Skånska Matupplevelser on Flickr

Photo Credit 2: David Stanley on Flickr

This post appeared first at English with Emily.

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Ten Words About… Difficult Feelings

Vocabulary is a huge topic!

There are many word lists that can help. The Top 1000 Words in English is very useful, and so is the academic word list by Dr. Coxhead.

I thought I would make some short, themed, useful word lists for my students and blog readers.

Today’s list:

Feelings – Facing Difficulties

  1. frustrated
  2. stuck
  3. hopeless
  4. listless
  5. depressed
  6. overwhelmed
  7. devastated
  8. trapped
  9. discouraged
  10. terrified

Do you know all these words?

If you want to see definitions, related pictures, and get some practice, I made flashcards at Quizlet.com that you can use for free. Try it – it’s a great program.

 

Bonus: phrases about difficulty

  1. I’m having a hard time
    things aren’t going well; I’m discouraged
  2. I’m just spinning my wheels
    I’m stuck
  3. I’m in over my head
    I’m overwhelmed

 

This post appeared first at English with Emily.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

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Talk About It: What is this place? Is it somewhere you’d like to spend time? Do you have any experience growing things?

Level 1: Write a list of all of the things you see. What season is this?

Level 2: Use the future tense and comparatives to write 5 sentences about how this garden will look in six weeks. Write 2 more sentences about how it will look in the autumn and/or winter.

Level 3: Write a paragraph describing how this garden looks in the picture. Then write a paragraph about how it will change in the next year. Give each paragraph a topic sentence. Make sure to write in chronological order, use time words, and use appropriate verb tenses to show the change over time.

Creative Writing: Write a short poem about this garden. It does not have to rhyme.
If you are stuck, try writing a haiku:
Line 1 – five syllables
Line 2 – seven syllables
Line 3 – five syllables

Academic Writing:
1. Life Sciences – write a narrative essay explaining the process of photosynthesis. If you use a source, even your biology textbook, make sure to cite it!
OR
2. General – write an argumentative essay to convince the reader that gardening is (or is not) well worth the time and effort. Be sure to include a paragraph that brings in an opposing viewpoint and then refutes it.

 

Hand It In!

Hand in your answer to one of these prompts using the private form below.

I’ll email you back with two short comments: one thing you did well and one thing that needs improvement.

 

Photo Credit: Caroline on Flickr

This post appeared first at English with Emily.

Advice: Physical Problems

2993507037_b6cea87ba6Today’s advice is simple: if you have trouble seeing, hearing, moving, etc. – tell your teacher!

When I know a student of mine has trouble seeing, I can easily make fonts bigger on the computer screen, projector, and on hand-outs.

When I know that a student has trouble hearing, I can easily make sure to write down key points, speak a bit more loudly, and check for understanding.

When I know that one of my students has trouble moving, I can easily change classroom activities so that they don’t have to go anywhere. They can stay still and comfortable.

If I don’t know about these issues? I don’t change anything. And my students are uncomfortable and under-served.

Please let us know what you need!

 

Listen to Emily read this post. (A new window will open.)

Photo Credit: mike krzeszak on Flickr

Writing Prompt Wednesday

 

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Talk about it:

Level 1: Who is in the picture? Where are they? What are they doing? What else is in the picture?

Level 2: Write 5 sentences that describe what the children are doing. Write 2 sentences about what you think will happen next. Choose your verb tenses carefully!

Level 3: Imagine that the children in this picture are your children. Write a paragraph that explains what they are doing, if you approve, and what they should do next.

Creative Writing: Write one page of a story from the point of view of one of these children. Try to surprise the reader at least twice with the unique perspective of the child.

Academic Writing: Write a compare and contrast essay that compares this picture to one specific memory from your own childhood. You can use the block method or point-by-point. You can address three similarities, three differences, or two and one. Since this is about your personal experience, it is appropriate to use “I” in this case.

 

Hand It In!

Hand in your answer to one of these prompts using the private form below.

I’ll email you back with two short comments: one thing you did well and one thing that needs improvement.

 

Photo Credit: moonjazz on Flickr

This post appeared first at English with Emily.

Pronunciation Meets (Hides) Grammar

3792703838_76f1ce142eLast month I posted about helping verbs. I described how we use them. And I told you that they are the key to building English verb tenses.

Today, I wanted to tell you: helping verbs can be hard to hear.

Function and Content Words

We can divide all the words in English into just two categories:

  1. function words
  2. content words

Function words are grammar words. “The,” “was,” “if,” helping verbs, and so on. Yes, they need to be there. They make our sentences understandable and orderly, but they don’t make them different. In other words, they don’t really carry most of our meaning.

Content words carry the meaning. “Swim,” “chicken,” “cried,” “bought,” “stop.” They are super important. They are the reason we have chosen to say anything.

De-Stressing Function Words

English is a stress-timed language. This means that we stress and give extra time to content words. And we de-stress function words. It’s like word stress, but on the sentence level. It gives English its rhythm.

So I might write something like, “I am going to go to the mall later today.”

But if I say this to you in normal conversation, it will probably sound more like, “I’mgonna gotuthe mall later today.”

 

Helping Verbs Exist! Really!

I’ve heard from students directly and through other teachers that it’s hard for students to hear Present Perfect. Colleagues told me that some students think Present Perfect is almost never used. But it’s used a lot! They just have trouble hearing it.

Here’s what happens:

They learn in class that Present Perfect is “I have been to Russia.”

But what we say is “I’ve been to Russia.” This is a contraction.

But what many students hear is “I been to Russia.” The helping verb is so short and subtle that many don’t hear it at all. Students with native languages that don’t like to end words with consonants (Mandarin, Vietnamese, and others) have extra difficulty with this.

 

Connecting

My advice to ESL learners is to take both written and spoken English seriously. They are surprisingly different.

If you’re bookish, spend extra energy getting into conversations or watching English language TV. Listen hard for helping verb contractions. They will not be fully enunciated. Also, try reading sentences out loud in the spoken style, with a lot of contractions.

If you’re an auditory learner, take the extra time to go over written English and notice the verb tenses. Are you saying all of the helping verbs, at least in contractions? Do you write all of them? Try saying a sentence out loud, then writing it down with its fully spelled-out grammar.

A set curriculum or group classroom will probably not have just the right balance for you to connect spoken and written English. They’ll help! But pay extra attention to what you need, and don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for advice.

Listen to Emily read this post (3:30).  (A new window will open.)

Photo Credit: gfpeck on Flickr

This post appeared first at English with Emily.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

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Talk about it: What kinds of foods do you like to eat? Why? Are there any foods you avoid? Why?

Level 1: What do you see in this picture? Write a list of the foods and objects, and what color they are. For example, “green lettuce.”

Level 2: Write about your favorite meal. Write at least five sentences. What is it called? What is in it? Who cooks it? When do/did you eat it? Why do you like it? How often do you eat it?

Level 3: In at least four sentences, write about two foods you recommend eating. Use modals where appropriate. Make sure to explain the reasons for your advice. Then, write at least four more sentences about two foods you recommend against eating. Again, remember to use modals and to explain why.

Creative Writing: Imagine that this picture is the cover of a novel. What would the novel be about? Write a blurb (the paragraph on the back of a book) about this imaginary book.

Academic Writing: Write an argumentative essay for or against vegetarianism. Make sure to include a paragraph that brings in an opposing viewpoint, and then refute that viewpoint. If you use any outside sources, be sure to site them!

 

Hand It In!

Hand in your answer to one of these prompts using the private form below.

I’ll email you back with two short comments: one thing you did well and one thing that needs improvement.

 

 

Photo Credit: Freestocks.org on Flickr