Glenn Kubish: Inside Coffee Outside

I’m not sure exactly when I started drinking coffee outside with these crazy humans but I started marking it on my calendar in April/2015.  I was a summer cyclist at that time and I was just starting to heal from my second fracture out of 3 in 10 months.  I was curious about meeting other cyclists to drink coffee outside.  Being part of this little community has changed my life for the better in so many ways!  Sometimes I’m alone in the dark but sometimes, I’m almost crying with laughter!

Sometimes, we meet for a Friday beer and a lot of laughter.

Sometimes, we meet for a Friday beer and a lot of laughter.

Doc Darren got a pizza oven that he could bring by bicycle so we had breakfast pizza outside one wintry morning!

Doc Darren got a pizza oven that he could bring by bicycle so we had breakfast pizza outside one wintry morning!

Sometimes, we meet on the southside to accommodate cyclists from the other side of the North Saskatchewan.

Sometimes, we meet on the southside to accommodate cyclists from the other side of the North Saskatchewan.

This community has so much diversity and zest for life. Once two or more of us are gathered, the passionate discussions begin.  It’s astonishing how much ground you can cover in a half hour or so, early Friday morning.  Hanging out with our crazy bike gang has motivated me to become a winter cyclist on all but the very worst days. Various members have enjoyed winter and summer bike races of various kinds.  A couple of us share a canoe.  Our age and career range is pretty wide.  If you have the opportunity to join a magical little community like this, grab it with both hands!!

The video:

Source: Glenn Kubish: Inside Coffee Outside

Rediscovering One of Edmonton’s Oldest Neighbourhoods Through Pokémon Go – The Yards

Since the launch of Pokémon Go a few weeks ago, all of the public areas around the city are much busier than usual, with “trainers” searching for Pokémon and picking up the necessary weapons to play the game.  The legislature grounds are continually full, and people wander back and forth on the Victoria Promenade (100 Avenue, east of 116 Street), as well as the Railtown trail, where 110 Street would be.  People love to share their stories and tips with strangers that they meet while playing the game.  It will be interesting to see if this remains a popular activity, once the days get shorter and colder, but it’s definitely helping people to discover what’s in their neighbourhood!

A gamer finds neighbourliness and heritage, alongside Drowzees, Zubats and the elusive Aerodactyl. Plus: Oliver’s top five Pokémon hunting grounds.

Source: Rediscovering One of Edmonton’s Oldest Neighbourhoods Through Pokémon Go – The Yards

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.

IMG_6824

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

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.

 

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen | Talk Video | TED.com

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen | Talk Video | TED.com.

TED talks are an excellent place to find short, clear speeches on many interesting subjects.  This 10-minute speech covers bad habits to avoid, good habits to use, a toolbox of communication skills, and public-speaking warmup.  The speaker is speaking UK English, and the vocabulary is at an academic level.

Introduce yourself!

Meeting new people is interesting!

Meeting new people is interesting!

Once you can ask people important questions like, “Where is the bathroom?”, one of the most important skills in a new language is introducing yourself.  In all of my classes, I ask students to introduce themselves (not “present” themselves) every time there’s a new student in class.  It’s obviously awkward for many students, even after plenty of practice.  Remember that when you feel awkward, the person you are talking to will often feel awkward and uncomfortable, as well.  Take time to practice a “script” that you can use, whenever you meet someone new.  The main information they will want is your name, your occupation, and your country of origin.  If you include a little bit more, like hobbies, family information, or personality, it will help the 2 of you have some ideas about what to talk about, next time you both meet.  Make eye contact with the person you are meeting, smile, and don’t speak too quickly.  Practice makes perfect!

Remember to listen when other people introduce themselves.  Find out something that you can ask them about later on.  If it’s your first time with a new group of people, it’s a good idea to write down their names, and 1-2 things about each person.  If you forget someone’s name, tell them you forgot, and ask them to tell you again.  People really like to hear their own name, so try to use it soon after you meet someone.  It will be easier to remember that way.

tell someone about yourself, and find out about them.

tell someone about yourself, and find out about them.

Let me introduce myself

• Hi, my name’s …………… OR Hello, I’m …………… (full name)
• You can call me OR Please call me ……………
(nickname, given name, English name)
• I’m from …………… (city, country)
• My first language is …………… and
I’ve studied English for …………… (length of time) at/in …………… (school/location)
• I’ve lived in Canada for…………… (length of time) OR
since …………… (date, year, month)
• I’m … years old. (This is NOT necessary information,
but it’s okay if you’re comfortable sharing)
• I’m a/an …………… (occupation)
• I’m working as …………… (occupation) at …………… (employer)
• I’m a …………… (faculty/ level) student at …………. (eg. University of Alberta)
• I study English because ……………
• In this class, I hope to/need to ……………
• I’m married/single/a mom/dad/engaged/single (This is NOT necessary information, but it’s okay if you’re comfortable sharing)
• There are … people in my family.
• They are …………… (locations, occupations, personality
• My father is a …………… and my mother is a ………………
• My hobby is …………………..
• In my free time, I also like ……………
• I don’t like …………………………
• My favourite sport is …………………..
• I enjoy eating/drinking ……………
• My favourite singer (or band/kind of music) is ……………..
• I like …………….. (movies).

Jobs

teacher policeman doctor
nurse builder architect
civil servant engineer social worker
secretary businessman shop assistant
manager fire fighter shopkeeper
cleaner postman waiter/waitress

Hobbies – Free time activities

• reading, painting, drawing
• playing computer games
• surfing the Internet
• doing yoga
• going to the cinema
• playing with friends
• playing soccer/tennis/golf
• going to the park/beach/…
• listening to music
• shopping, singing, dancing
• travelling, camping, hiking

Movies

action movie
comedy
romantic comedy
horror movie
sci-fi movie
war movie
thriller
animated cartoons

Because…
• … I like it a lot.
• … I think it’s important.
• … there are many things to see and do.
• … I have to.
• … it’s relaxing/popular/nice/…
• … it’s a lot of fun
• … it’s interesting

Here is a video with some nice, short introductions.  They don’t use contractions (I’m), which almost all Canadians will do when meeting someone new.

http://twominenglish.com/video/2-Introducing_Yourself_in_English_Learn_to_speak_english.html

Most university students’ English skills at rudimentary levels – News VietNamNet

Most university students’ English skills at rudimentary levels – News VietNamNet.

When I taught English in Viet Nam, I saw that most students had very weak communication skills.  Often, I could hear their other classes through the walls of my classroom.  I noticed that most Vietnamese English teachers taught “English class” entirely in Vietnamese!!  Students were very familiar with English grammar rules, because they spent most of their class time focussing on grammar.  However, it was nearly impossible for them to focus and understand the simplest questions or answers.  Because there is so much international business, there is a strong awareness that communication skills need to improve.

 

Learn about speaking and listening

This article is written to teachers, to help them to encourage students to have good conversations.  I think that there are a lot of good tips for students, to help you to understand more about the art of North American conversation.  In my academic class, we recently talked about the large cultural differences in conversational styles.  In cultures like Japanese cultures, all speakers take turns, based on age and rank, and there isn’t the back and forth style that is common in North America.  In some cultures, it’s disrespectful to make eye contact with someone who is older or who has a higher rank, whereas here, it’s seen as a sign of boredom, disrespect, or dishonesty, when speakers and listeners don’t look at each other.

Time to communicate

Time to communicate

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-your-students-conversation-allen-mendler

 

Video

A polite song about Canada

Canadians are very proud of our astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, who has lived in space, recording music while he was there.  His brother Dave is also musical and they collaborated on a musical tribute to Canada.  They make reference to a lot of things that are uniquely Canadian, like our habit of ending sentences with the word “eh”!  Listen and enjoy, it’s a very pretty song.  Check out the other videos too!

Passive voice: Simons: ‘Mistakes were made’ — Alison Redford’s phrase the sorriest excuse of all

 

Simons: ‘Mistakes were made’ — Alison Redford’s phrase the sorriest excuse of all

Simons: ‘Mistakes were made’ — Alison Redford’s phrase the sorriest excuse of all.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/08/07/barbara-kay-redford-sees-no-i-in-mistakes-were-made/

Newspaper editors are noticing grammar this week, as former premier Alison Redford leaves political office.  As both of these editorials note, when a politician says “Mistakes were made”, they are using the passive voice, and therefore, they aren’t taking any personal responsibility for those mistakes.  When we use direct voice, and take responsibility, we say, “I made mistakes”.

Both editorials point out some reasons why grammar makes a difference in communication.  The tense, the voice, the pronouns that are used can all change the meaning of what we say.  These are important communication tools.  Yes, it’s very slow, and not very exciting to study all of the points of English grammar, but it’s important if you want to communicate clearly and effectively!

If you want to learn more about, and practice this grammar, then follow this link.

http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/passive

 

Pow Wow Etiquette: 10 Rules to Follow in and Out of the Arena – ICTMN.com

 

I’ve posted information about many of the pow wows around Alberta.  For many non-natives (as well as for many people with indigenous heritage), attending a pow wow is new and unfamiliar, and you may feel nervous about what to do.  As long as you are respectful, and recognize that you are a visitor, things should go well.  Here is some more specific information.  This was written in the US, so some of the customs they’re referring to may be different here in Alberta.  If you have the chance to attend a pow wow, I strongly recommend it!

Pow Wow Etiquette: 10 Rules to Follow in and Out of the Arena – ICTMN.com.

Gallery

Summer studying fun

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Our school is located in downtown Edmonton, and there are many festivals and activities in the area, during the summer months.  Many times, it’s useful to get out in the community, in order to practice vocabulary and phrases, as well as … Continue reading