The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald

Many people start to study Engish when they are making a big change in their lives. Maybe a partner is taking more education, a parent has remarried and moved, home feels too dangerous, or your marital status has changed.  This is a great article about 6 people from Calgary who had to make job changes.  Your identity changes a lot, along with your employment status and where you live.  Read for some good ideas about how to “reinvent” your life.

We talked to six Calgarians up to their necks in the messy, but necessary, business of professional transformation.

Source: The Game of Life: Six Calgarians chose to reinvent themselves after losing their jobs | Calgary Herald

How to use the internet to improve your listening skills

Because I’m teaching in an English-speaking country, some students learn to listen and speak very quickly and confidently. However, I also teach many students who spend almost all their time outside of school communicating only in their first language.  Even if they work, they often work in a place where there is very little spoken communication.  Some of those students look terrified every time I open my mouth.  They don’t have any confidence at all about their listening skills.  Those students will need to do more listening practice outside of class.  Here are some great tips for improving listening, especially later in the post.  There are also great ideas for ESL teachers to introduce listening.

 

Are your students struggling with authentic listening activities? Below is a brief guide I wrote to help my EFL students overcome both confidence issues and poor strategic choices when doing indepe…

Source: How to use the internet to improve your listening skills

3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Pokémon GO has only been available in Canada for about 10 days, but it’s become extremely popular, in a very short amount of time.  Players should pay attention to their surroundings, and they should be considerate of people who live and work near Poké Stops & Gyms, where you collect weapons and have battles.  Unlike other video games, players have to get out and move around their communities to play Pokémon GO.  It’s very interesting to see how much exercise players are getting, and how much interaction is happening, when players meet each other.  So many strangers have given me advice about how to play!  Think about some skills that you want to learn and how you can use Pokémon GO to help you learn those skills.  Prepositions are one area of vocabulary and grammar that are often difficult to learn.  Ask for advice and give it about where to locate Pokéstops, gyms, and monsters! Find new places around your neighbourhood, as well as when you go someplace new.

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A Pokémon gym in Fort Assiniboine, AB, also the world’s largest wagon wheel & pick!

Educators from around the web offer ideas for incorporating Pokémon GO into the classroom.

Source: 3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Reading Print Books versus E-Books: Student Writing

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My students asked me to choose a topic for them to write about, so I found the subject of e-books versus printed books, a common topic for a standardized language test.  We read an amazing article for inspiration, and that may have influenced everyone’s choice, but you can see that there were many perspectives offered on the subject.

We cannot say that e-books can completely replace printed books. With technology, there is a big change; in fact, a revolution has come into our lives. Some people say that in the future, printed books will vanish because of eBooks. Electronic books are more convenient and more efficient. In some ways, e-books seem more useful but it’s hard to collect them for a long time while print books are collectable. And if you really love books, you don’t want to lose your collection. Print books are always favorites and famous because of the different experience of reading them and owning them. Attractive and beautiful covers and lots of details on the book, make it easy to select a good printed books. In short, for book lovers, print books are always their first preference.

Printed books are not going to die.

 

Some people say that we are not going to use printed books in the future, because we need to care for our environment, and because computers will replace paper books as well. However, I think printed books will never die, due to several reasons.

First of all, printed books are collectible and reviewable, while e-books are not easy to collect or review. Sometimes, people choose physical books because of the beauty of their book covers; meanwhile, e-books do not have physical beauty. We can review printed books easily, however, if we need to review an e-book, it is not easy to find a particular passage.

Second, printed books have provenance and we can share them. We are able to use old or valuable books, which have belonged to someone else. In addition, we can borrow or lend paper books if we want to share them. However, we cannot possess any e-book for a long time even if we really like it.

Overall, there can be many benefits to using e-book or computers, such as avoiding deforestation and instant access to information. However, there are many advantages to having printed books such as collecting, sharing and having some memories. Therefore, paper books cannot be replaced by e-books.

Printed Books vs e-books

I like to read printed books rather than e-books. Printed books are always convenient for people because they don’t need any electronic device. Readers don’t need to spend money on the internet or find a charger. Lots of people look at a book’s front cover. If there are good cover pictures, they like to choose that book. So the front cover also helps readers to choose the book. Some people like book collections too.

Printed books last longer. They can stay in the family from one generation to the next generation. People read those books with great interest and passion. We have one Ayurvedic book, which my grandmother’s dad used. He gave that book to my grandmother, she gave it to my dad and my dad gave it to us [my brother and me]. It is not in good condition but some words are written in it by my great grandfather and we like to see his handwriting. So, books can always last a long time, with great memories.

Some people like to collect books. There are so many different kinds of books we can see on the shelf. We can also find a mini library . We can read those books anytime and anywhere. Sometimes we can get good solutions from these good books. If we read print books, they give us satisfaction.

Blind people can read books, which are written in their language (Braille). They cannot easily use electronic devices. It is good for them to see the world by books. If we see a book lying on the table, no matter whether we are interested in reading that book or not, we will take the book and flip the pages. In this way, people can create interest in reading and writing.

I prefer printed books for school students because otherwise they can become distracted by electronic devices. Some people are not familiar with e-books, so for them also, printed books are like a heaven. Considering all these points such as printed books last longer, interesting cover pages, as well as passing books from one generation to another, I am strongly in favor of printed books.

Printed vs. digital books

Since the first appearance of e-book readers in the year 2000, a battle embarked between the sales numbers of printed and digital books. Even though digital copies bring certain advantages to our lives, especially with the future possibilities of technology, physical copies will still remain in people’s lives. Perhaps they will have different or extended purposes other than only reading their content.

One of those reasons is that printed books can be collected. The collection does not only incorporate the simple possession of books it also contains the possibility of keeping memories and stories in connection to these books. A novel that was read to someone by a loved one who has already passed on, a documentary read on one of your travels around the world, or simply a book you enjoy while sipping your coffee on cold winter days next to your fireplace.

Furthermore, printed copies not only allow you to read them, they also give you the chance of marking and highlighting important passages, paragraphs or interesting quotes. You either want to keep them as a reminder but also to share them with other interested parties. This is also one of the magical impacts that a physical book has on the experience of a reader and the way that people can build special and personal relationships with these books. These books can be reminders, give you comfort or make you laugh in times when you are sad.

Moreover, the process of selecting your book in a bookstore is like walking in a meadow of flowers. The shelves are full of different publications, where each one looks more interesting than the other and still you have to make a choice. The different and exciting criteria that fall into a readers’ consideration can only be found in printed versions. For example, a book’s cover, the chosen paper, the paper’s thickness, the fonts used for the copy text, the book’s weight and smell are attributes that make them individual, when compared to others.

Despite the fact that e-readers and e-books are constantly on the rise, paper books bear a certain value for readers that digital copies will never be able to replace. This could be either the remembrance of special happenings, the former possession of your relatives or a keepsake or comfort to go to in difficult times. Not only the possession of books brings the readers enjoyment, it is also the strolling through libraries and bookstores, smelling the air of used paper and carrying the weight of old stories that will make most bookworms smile, bring a sparkle to their eyes and force them to keep them for a lifetime.

 

This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

Nature is nurture for me. There are many stresses in modern life, but when I can spend even 15 minutes in a natural environment, I begin to relax and deal with things more effectively. This is a beautiful article showing how nature is used for wellbeing in many areas of the world. Even if you don’t want to read the very interesting article, you can enjoy the lovely images.

When we get closer to nature, be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree, we do our overstressed brains a favor.

Source: This Is Your Brain on Nature — National Geographic Magazine

The Road To Impact – BioLite

I have mentioned previously that I’m very excited about my BioLite cooking system that I use for camping and for BBQ. As soon as I saw this great new innovation, I needed to have it! In the beginning, it was a little bit frustrating, because you need to use wood for your cooking, and the wood at a campsite is often wet, and hard to start. However, I learned to carry dry kindling with me, and once a fire ignites, it is easy to keep the fire going with the generator and fan. Food cooks and water boils quickly and conveniently, and I don’t need to buy or carry fossil fuels, in order to enjoy my camping meals. This video shows you a little bit about how the technology is being used to improve the lives of families in developing countries, where cooking is often a dangerous and difficult activity. When I think of creative solutions, BioLite is often one of the first products that I think of.

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Ready to make a dried meal

An honest look at the business of change and what it takes to bring Energy Everywhere. Learn how your purchase has a direct impact on our mission.

Source: The Road To Impact – BioLite

Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

If you want to read some very good quality writing, as well as learning about all kinds of amazing adventures around the world, then I highly recommend that you look for “Outside Magazine”. This article is very long, and includes a lot of information that might be confusing, but it’s the best analysis that I’ve seen for how various eating choices affect the environment. If you are planning to take a language proficiency exam, or if this is an interesting subject for you, I recommend that you read this article. Maybe you might want to read a couple of paragraphs/day, instead of trying to read the whole thing in one sitting. Get the main idea first, and then look up words that are unfamiliar to you.

The endless cascade of nutritional information—about localism, vegetarianism, veganism, organic food, the environmental impact of eating meat, poultry, or fish, and more—makes the simple goal of a healthy, sustainable diet seem hopelessly complex. We talked to scientists, chefs, and farmers to get the ultimate rundown on how you should fuel up.

Source: Eating Right Can Save the World | Outside Online

Memories from my past~student writing

My Favourite Places

I can say that I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in a small city among many cousins who were the same age as me. My mother is from a small town near my hometown, where we have a lot of relatives. We visited it every 6 months. The city is called Palermo, and it has several rivers, fields, trees, and good places to share time with your friends and family. Its environment is perfect for raising children. My cousins and I used to go to the river every weekend for swimming and making up new adventures and stories. We ran around the town playing different games such as soccer, hide and seek (it was the most common and exciting game for us), and parades. Moreover, we visited an uncle who lived on a farm, where all the family sat around a fireplace to listen to his old stories about ghosts. It was a great family moment, but at the same time, scary.

My other favourite place was my paternal grandmother’s home. She lived on a small farm, surrounded by nature. It did not have rivers, but instead, it had a lot of trees. I had good adventures with my 3 brothers in that place. We climbed trees to reach fruit, for instance, guayabas, mangos, avocados, mangas (it is a big mango), and guanabanas. Sometimes, my brothers made mischief and my grandmother always got mad. However, she calmed down quickly and we continued playing. She told us stories about when she was younger. We really enjoyed the time we shared with her.

Although I loved and enjoyed every moment with my brothers and cousins in those wonderful places, I hated the mosquitos. I had to wear repellent and long-sleeved T-shirts every single day. Otherwise, I could get painful and itchy hives. In spite of my precautions, I always got hives. Other bad memories about my adventures with my cousins are when my twin cousins pushed me into the river in deep areas with a strong stream. Luckily, their father, ‘’other uncle’’ always rescued me or I did it for myself, but finally I learned to swim and my cousins grew up. Therefore, this event only happened a couple of times.

To sum up, I enjoyed my childhood, sharing time with my cousins and brothers. So, if somebody asks me about how many friends I had as a child, I would say that I had few friends because most of my time was spent with my family.

A “Near-Death” Experience

I grew up in a small city close to Avignon, south of France. My city is surrounded by nature. As a child, I loved biking around with my friends, building tree houses or dams on the river. I have this nostalgic memory about this dam we built with my friend Remy. We were 12 and it was the summer season. Because school was done, we spent our whole time playing outside. Unfortunately and unusually, it can be rainy some days during the summer. When that was happening, we were pretty bored with Remy. However, during this boring rainy afternoon, we decided to plan what to do the next day. We thought it could be a great idea to build a dam, so we figured out where to do that, and what we would need. We decided a location not too far away, because we would have to bring stuff. Then we prepared all the equipment we needed in the garage at my house, such as ropes, wood planks, and nails. Also, because it was a big project, we prepared snacks and beverages for the big day and we also thought that taking our swimsuits could be a good idea. We were really excited about our project. After completing the preparations, we agreed to meet the next day at 10 am at my home.

Then the day came. Remy arrived at 10 and we loaded our bikes with our materials. The adventure could start! After biking for twenty minutes, we arrived at our chosen location. It was a small river, stuck between two vineyards. After the rainy day, that day was a shiny day and it was already really hot even though it was only 11. Taking our swimsuits was definitely a good idea! We also had chosen this location because lots of bamboo was growing there. In addition to our wood planks, it would be the perfect material to build our dam. We started working by cutting bamboo and gathering rocks. However, we had an incident. Remy got a splinter in his hand. It was really often that we got those when we were building something with wood and it could ruin our plans, because that was painful. Anyways, we couldn’t give up our project so we had to operate. I was the doctor and I had to take the splinter out. Without the necessary material I was thinking that I couldn’t succeed and our day would be ruined. By chance, I managed to take the splinter out. Even now, I realize it was not an exploit for this particular day. It was vital, and succeeding made me really proud. After several hours of work, the dam was almost done when suddenly we heard someone yelling at us. It was a furious farmer with a rifle (gun) who was running towards us. In the beginning, we didn’t understand why he was so mad but because of our fear, we just grabbed all the stuff we could and we biked away as fast as we could. Unfortunately, we left behind a hammer, our snacks, and one towel. My parents weren’t happy about that. We understood later why the farmer was mad. Even though it was just a game for us, our dam blocked and slowed down the river and the farmer needed the water for his crops. Now I laugh about this story but when it happened I was scared to death and because of this story, it took Remy and me several years before going back there.

One summer vacation that changed my husband’s opinion

 Most average people spend all their lives running somewhere or for something. Someone is running to work because he or she is late, parents are running to school to pick up their children, another is running to buy a meal at a store, or I am running to a gym and running here and there all my life. But the most important thing is to enjoy every moment of our lives, because you can’t buy happiness with money.

One day, I stopped running and we decided that every year, our small family would travel to a new place. Two years ago, my husband and I went for summer vacation to Christina Lake in British Columbia. Our route to Christina Lake took almost 12 hours to drive and 971 kilometers on highways number 2, then number 22, and finally we drove on #3. Because my husband is the only one who drives, we stayed at Fernie for one night. Fernie is a small mountain town that has saved the Wild West style in their downtown. There, we had the most delicious ice cream from a local store, “Happy Cow”. During our trip, we saw a few old ghost towns and a very old mini-museum.

When we got to Christina Lake, we were surprised, because we saw that it was a very small town with a big and beautiful lake. Canadians say, “Christina Lake is one of the best-kept secrets in British Columbia”. For the whole week, our busy lives changed to lazy and relaxed lives. Every day, we had a regular cup of coffee with our neighbours. There was a very friendly squirrel, which visited us every morning. During the day, we went swimming and had our lunch on the beach or in a local café. One day it was cloudy and we went hiking on Cascade Gorge Trail and by the Christina River. In the evening, we usually stayed in the campground and cooked our supper on the barbecue. I almost forgot, one evening we had a country music concert at the campground. It was the most romantic night under a starry sky. And finally, when we came back to Edmonton, my husband said, “I learned how to enjoy life”. I just smiled because it had taken me a few years to convince him that we should stop running and have a vacation every summer. At this moment, I knew it was a new beginning for our family. It was the most fabulous time for our family, and we still discuss every pleasant moment of our trip to Christina Lake.

 

 

Roots and English Words

One of the reasons that I have chosen to teach ESL as a second career is because of my lifelong fascination with words.  Words have brought me so much joy in my life.  Reading has always been one of my favourite activities, first in print, and more recently in audiobooks.  When I listen to music, I’m only drawn to songs with interesting lyrics.  The harmony and melody are very important, but I’m only really interested when the words of a song are meaningful in some way.  I only took Latin for 1 year, but I’ve always been grateful that my early teachers took time to point out the patterns in the English language.  They helped to notice prefixes (word beginnings) and suffixes (word endings), and to recognize the roots of many common words.  When we know a little bit more about the origins of a word, we can understand much more about its meaning, as well as pronunciation and usage.  As I studied to teach ESL, I was fascinated to learn that most of our food and government vocabulary came from the Norman French when they controlled England.

I hope that this webpage will help you a bit in your journey to understand new words.  Often, the new word will have some clues that will help you to guess at the meaning.

Roots and English Words.

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library

We are very lucky here in Edmonton because the library sells many of their used books, several times a year, in a massive sale.  All books cost only $1-2 each, and they have books of every variety available, including cookbooks, kids’ books, and science and nature books.  I always take my class to the sale, since you’ll never have another opportunity to buy such high-quality books so inexpensively!  Reading for pleasure is an excellent way to improve all of your language skills, especially vocabulary and grammar.  When you own the book, you can write in it, and make notes about what you read, allowing you to read quickly for the main idea, and then go back to read more deeply for understanding.

Books2Buy | Edmonton Public Library.

Video

What do you think about trash?

Garbage is everywhereIf you want to study English at a higher level, especially if you want to take a language proficiency test, you are almost sure to find information about trash. Other words with similar meaning are: garbage, waste, rubbish, refuse, or discarded material. Everyone throws away materials that they don’t use. What happens to it after that? Different jurisdictions take different approaches to the problem of waste, including landfills, recycling, composting, or burning garbage. Here are some interesting videos about the subject.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/2662525″>Sustainable Dave Explains Worm Composting</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user919573″>Sustainable Dave</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Farmers and gardeners are very worried about the lack of rain and high heat in Alberta.  These 2 news stories talk about the conditions.  See what new vocabulary you can find.Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation.

Parkland County east of Edmonton has de­clared a state of agri­cul­tur­al dis­as­ter.

A com­bin­a­tion of drought and grass­hop­pers have dev­as­tat­ed crops in the re­gion, the county said in a news re­lease Tuesday.

County of­fi­cials will re­quest a dis­as­ter re­cov­ery program be set up by both the prov­in­cial and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments.

Local homeowner worried about grasshopper infestation