Two nights in Manila

If you can visit another country, you should do it! I had the chance for a very short visit to Manila in the Philippines and it was really interesting. My friend and I visited Guam Island for a week and we transferred planes in Manila so it didn’t cost any more money to stay there for 2 nights.  We stayed at a hostel near the airport and we arrived pretty late in the evening. The next day, we spent the whole day looking around Intramuros, an old Spanish walled city, the museum and main park, as well as Mall of Asia (a lot like West Edmonton Mall)!  We travelled by jeepney, which was very cheap, to get around the city. We saw very poor areas and we also took a train to visit a big mall with very expensive stores. There was a lot of history in the city and there were also many American businesses. I was very surprised to see so many guns because every business and building had guards with guns. For a short trip, I saw a lot!

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

Gallery

Winter words: vocabulary for winter equipment

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Edmonton winter can start very early some years, and very late other years.  However, this year, our winter has already started! On Friday, the beginning of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the snow started to fall, all the way from Edmonton … Continue reading

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

23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

The title of this post is meant to be ironic. It’s not true that Edmonton is the worst city in Canada. In fact, it has the largest park system in North America, tons of recreation facilities, and non-stop festivals in fun. You can stay away if you want, but you’ll miss out, if you do!

What’s so great about a mall, anyway?

Source: 23 Reasons Why Edmonton Is The Worst City In Canada

The Best of Edmonton

The students in my low intermediate class are studying about shopping, and they have learned a lot about using comparative and superlative adjectives. Here, they share some of the best places that they have found around Edmonton.

I like Edmonton because the society is relaxed. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname, Canada’s Festival City. In Canada, it’s the most popular city for festivals.

Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction in Edmonton, which is the largest living history museum in Canada by area.

If you stay in a hotel, the most expensive is The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and it has four stars. The price is $228.44 and that doesn’t include taxes and service fees of USD 28.03.

Here in Edmonton, you have to pay more GST (like VAT or HST).

If you want to buy the least expensive fruits and vegetables, No Frills is the least expensive grocery store.

If you want to visit a mall, West Edmonton mall is the biggest in Edmonton. Before, it was the biggest in the world but now it is only the most popular. You can find anything, you like there.

Hello! I’m from Brazil. Now I live in Edmonton, and I have stayed in Edmonton for five months. I haven’t had a long time to make great suggestions, but I’m enjoying my time a lot. Edmonton has a lot of great festivals in the summer. You should go to the Heritage Festival, Taste of Edmonton or Fringe Festival Theater. Most festivals are amazing for families or on your own. Taste of Edmonton and Heritage festival both have food, but Heritage doesn’t have drinks with alcohol. Taste of Edmonton has a specific location for tasting wine and beer. Heritage has a lot of different traditional food and dances from all over the world. This is fantastic because you can learn a little about the culture of other countries. At the Fringe Theater Festival you should watch a presentation of arts on the street, for example, magic, acrobatics, or juggling outside or inside. If you watch theatre inside, you paid too much money. You can see pictures, handicrafts and snacks if you take more time.

I have some other suggestions for the best restaurants, nicest hotels, best department stores, most unusual markets and the most interesting museums. The best restaurant you should try is Rick’s. If you can spend more money, you could try Lux steakhouse. I don’t know a lot of hotels, but you could try Matrix Hotel. This hotel is downtown, and it has breakfast and a nice environment. The best mall you could visit is Southgate because it has a lot of stores, clothes, house, shoes, sports and others things. If you like to walk and have time, you could go to South Edmonton Common. The most unusual market you should go to a farmers’ market on Saturday on 104 Street. The most interesting museum near Edmonton is in Drumheller. You should visit Telus World of Science or Drumheller Museum to see the dinosaurs. In Edmonton, there are a lot of different places for you to visit.

When you arrive in Edmonton you should go to West Edmonton Mall. In West Edmonton Mall, there are a lot of cheap shops and expensive shops, so it depends on what suits you. In West Edmonton Mall, you can buy whatever you like. You can buy all kinds of clothes, electronic products, toys, souvenirs, and food. Also in West Edmonton Mall you can spend your time pleasantly. The most unusual markets are Costco and Sobeys. I always go there. The best Chinese restaurant where I was is, “Double Greeting Wonton House”. This restaurant looks ugly, but there is good food! In my opinion, the nicest hotel in Edmonton is the Hotel Macdonald. I was there for a moment and I saw a cool dog there. In the lobby, there is a model Hotel Macdonald building built with Lego. I was at one festival in St Albert. This festival was about old cars and a lot of people brought their own old cars and drove them around my street. For me, this was amazing because cars in Poland are different than Canadian cars.

Places to visit when you are in Edmonton:

When visiting Edmonton, you shouldn’t miss:

If you visit with children you can’t miss the most interesting park, “Fort Edmonton Park”!

Another park is “William Hawrelak Park”, and this is the most beautiful park in summer and in winter.

The best and the nicest Hotel is “Fairmont Hotel Macdonald” but it is also the most expensive.

The most interesting market is the “Farmers Market” in Old Strathcona. But there are many other interesting markets in the city in the summer.

“The Royal Alberta Museum” is the nicest museum in Edmonton.

But if you want to buy something, you can visit the biggest mall in America: “West Edmonton Mall” and after that, you can eat in the best restaurant in Edmonton: “Sorrentino’s Restaurant” or in the most unusual restaurant, “Louisiana Purchase” where you can eat crocodile.

I hope you enjoy your visit.

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics | PhraseMix.com

A lot of my students are very interested in fashion, shopping, and makeup.  There is a LOT of vocabulary about these subjects, but you can learn it pretty easily if it’s important for you.  I recommend that you look for English fashion magazines, which contain a lot of photographs.  Generally, there will be a very detailed description of each of the styles that are in the book, including colours and styles.  Many women’s magazines also contain a lot of ads and articles that relate to cosmetics.  Take some time to browse, if fashion is important to you!

Aaron’s Phrase Mix covers a lot of English expressions and idioms, and you can follow Aaron on Twitter @phrasemix

English for talking about makeup and cosmetics | PhraseMix.com.

 

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.

Video

Entering a new country: Customs & Immigration, Student Writing & Videos

Palm Springs Airport, California

Palm Springs Airport, California

Travelling by air from one country to another usually means that you will need to understand some English.  English is the international language of transportation, and it is used on most international flights, as well as in the airports.  Here are some of the stories that my students wrote about their air travel.

 

A Trip that you took by airplane:

I’m from Brazil. I came to Edmonton. The date of the flight was March 17, 2015. I departed from Brazil at 11:00 A.M and arrived in Edmonton at 3:00 P.M the next day (March 18). I bought a one-way ticket, because I’m staying in Edmonton for a long time. I had connections from Belo Horizonte to São Paulo, São Paulo to Toronto, and then from Toronto to Edmonton. I used a travel agency to book my flights. After I made my reservations, I needed to request a new passport and a visa to stay in Canada. It took 45 days to release my visa for a four-year stay. I needed to go to a doctor for an exam and send my documents to the Canadian Embassy. My immigration interview was in Toronto. I needed a new check-in and to have a conversation about why I’m staying in Canada. My permission wasn’t possible for a long time because I don`t speak English. This is important for immigration.   The pre-flight instructions in Brazil were the same as in Canada. When I arrived at the airport, I needed to take my baggage to the check-in counter and get my boarding pass with my passport. After that, I went through security and I wasn’t allowed aerosol, dangerous materials, or smoking on the flight. For security, we had to turn off all electronic devices and put on our seatbelts before departing from the airport.

 

1/My last trip that I took by airplane was last week when I went to Vancouver.

My departure was from the International Airport of Edmonton. For this travel, I took WestJet airline, and it’s a Canadian company.

I arrived early at the airport because I like to take my time. My flight was on time. I took my luggage to the check-in counter and I got my boarding pass. I ate something in the departure lounge.

When I arrived in Vancouver Airport, I took a taxi to the city’s downtown. During my visit, I took a ferry to Victoria city. It’s a very beautiful and peaceful city!

2/I travel a lot, and for me it’s in America where the immigration staff control a lot. So when I travelled to San Francisco for a road trip in California, I spoke to a customs officer and immigration. I showed them my passport and I answered all the questions.

 

I’m from Harbin, China. I left China and came to Edmonton on April 27 by myself because my husband had to work in Edmonton. At that time, I couldn’t speak English. I could speak Chinese in Beijing International Airport and the steward on the flight could speak three languages. I felt ok about that. However, when I arrived in Vancouver, I had to visit the immigration officer who spoke English. They had to ask me some questions, but I didn’t understand. They showed me some papers and I had some answers in Chinese. I showed them my passport, immigration paper and answered the questions. Luckily I was allowed to enter Canada, and I could go to my next flight to Edmonton. A friendly guy did me a big favour. He helped me go through security and I arrived at the departure lounge. I saw my husband when I arrived in Edmonton. I had good luck on my trip. I met a lot of friendly and helpful people on my trip

My trip to Marrakech, Morocco: I went with my friends for a presentation project at the University Cadi Ayyad competition of International Marketing Days. On Sunday, I departed, and we met each other at the airport. I took the train to go the airport. Before that, I got up at 6:00 because my flight was at 9:30. I arrived at the airport, and I saw my friends so we took our suitcases to the check-in counter. Then we went through security and sat down in the departure lounge. After the announcement at our departure gate, we got up, and we passed by an agent, and showed him our boarding pass.

When we arrived in Marrakech, after showing our passports to the customs officers, the school delegation met us, and then we went to the hotel.

 

My flight

In December when I went to visit my boyfriend, I took some planes, and my flights were from Guadalajara City, Mexico.

In Guadalajara my flight took off at 7:45 pm and I had to arrive two hours before, so that I could take my luggage to the check-in counter and pass through security. When the hour arrived, I went to the gate where my plane was departing from. Then I showed my boarding pass to the agent and got on the plane. I had a good flight but that night was very long, because I didn’t sleep in a bed. I was in the airport all night, I had to take my luggage to the check-in counter at 3:30 am for my other flight.

 

3 weeks ago, I arrived at Edmonton International Airport from Spain.

The flight attendant gave me the immigration documents. I wrote them in French because I don’t know English. In the airport, the agent spoke English and he asked, “Do you speak English or French? I answered, “No. I don’t speak English or French”.

The agent asked why I was visiting Edmonton. I answered, “Because I’m visiting my boyfriend”.

How much time will you visit Edmonton? “I will return to Spain on September 2”.

What is your job in Spain? “I don’t have a job, I’m studying”.

I didn’t go to immigration at the airport.

 

My flight

On June 25, 2015 I arrived at the airport in Gdansk, about an hour before my flight at 1300 hours. I had a flight to Munich, Germany. In the airport I received a boarding pass and I went to the gate. In the plane, the flight attendants were very friendly. I really liked this flight. In Munich, I didn’t have enough time. I had to go to the gate very fast. My next flight was to Toronto. It was a very long flight, but I wasn’t bored because I read my book. In Toronto, it was very hard because I had a conversation with an officer. I had to go to pick up my suitcase because next flight was a domestic flight to Edmonton. It was very bad because I sat next to an awful girl. The girl coughed and bounced around all the time. It was late and I wanted to sleep. I was very tired and she gave me no rest! I was very angry. When I arrived in Edmonton I went to arrivals to pick up my luggage. My aunt was waiting there already. She drove me to my uncle’s home. My uncle couldn’t pick me up because he was at work, about 800 kilometers from Edmonton. It was very late and I went to sleep.

 


 

When you fly to a new country, you will have to go through several interviews, especially with Customs and Immigration Officers.  This is often very stressful since you may not understand the questions you are being asked.  Stay calm and pay attention.  Sometimes, another passenger or officer can help you to answer your interview questions.  These videos will help you know what to expect.

This video takes you through all of the steps when you are entering the United States.  It’s not an ESL video, so some of the words may not be familiar.  However, they are words that officers may use, so it’s useful to check words you don’t know.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see an audioscript.  Repeat sections that are confusing.

This is a video by a Brazilian ESL teacher.  She speaks slowly and clearly, and many of the questions and answers are written on the screen.  The only problem was that she pronounces the word “customs” like “costumes”, clothes that you might wear for Halloween.

Here’s a short and simple set of questions and answers.

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.