Saturday, April 30, 2016

Complete IELTS Bands 6.5-7.5, Listening Transcript p.66-67

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks)


As I've mentioned before, I have the habit of actually typing out the transcript myself if I think it's buried in the back of the textbook in small font in an inconvenient place.

In this case, here is the transcript for the listening on page 53 of Complete IELTS Bands 6.5-7.5, which I typed out myself so my students could have better access to it.

Google (docspub)

Good morning, everyone.  So--we’re looking at animation technology today...something we’re all very familiar with from seeing blockbuster films such as Toy Story and Shrek.  But, um, I'd like to start by looking at how animation began, and how the technical side of things developed.

Not long after the invention of the first camera by Thomas Edison in 1889, a photographer by the name of J. Stuart Blackton developed the first technique for animated film.  It consisted of a series of drawings and, er, he drew a number of “funny faces” and then filmed one after the other.  This gave the impression of motion and changing facial expression.  But it was a very slow process and a long way from being anything like a film.  Then a Frenchman, Emile Cohl, moved things on a bit by using scenes and figures cut out of paper instead.  This meant things could be done more quickly.  It was possibly to build up a small scene, though a very large number of cut-outs were required to do this.  And, of course, it was all still taking place during the era of silent film.

Eventually, Walt Disney came along.  He wanted his film characters to look more “real” and so he found ways to do this.  Er, it took weeks to produce a single film sequence, but in 1928, the first talking animated film came out that had been made using hand-painted slides known as “cells”--these were placed one on top of the other and then quickly removed.  And that first film launched the career of Mickey Mouse--if you remember him.  Disney then went on to produce the first full-length color animated film in 1937--Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs--which earned him the first of his 37 Oscars.

Animation changed very little over the the next 50 years or so until the advent of computers and the work of a company called Pixar.  Pixar Animation Studios was a graphics group until Steve Jobs invested 10 million dollars in the company.  Now it has become a Hollywood icon, with earnings of over 6.3 billion dollars and numerous film awards.  In fact, Pixar’s films act rather like a timeline of technological developments in computer graphics. So, let’s have a look at some of them.

Pixar’s debut feature film was Toy Story, and this was the first film to be completely animated by computers.  When it was released in 1995, many features of the film were seen as outstanding. It is still considered to be one of the most significant achievements in the history of film animation.  A later film, Monsters, Inc., which came out in 2001, added a new animation feature, which was the on-screen representation of animal fur.  This helped to enhance the appeal of one of the film’s central characters.  Two years after that, the award-winning film Finding Nemo--a tale of the lives of some very appealing and visually enchanting fish--pioneered new techniques in digital lighting, which were used to create realistic-looking water.  This was an essential feature of the film.  Many scenes took place underwater and relied on a certain level of brilliance and clarity throughout. Had they got it wrong the entire effect would have been lost.  And a film called The Incredibles in 2004 brought with it credible human characters and advances in the simulation of crowds.

So each of these films introduced new types of physical phenomena, and these days 3D animation can re-create most real-world scenarios.  Yet cinema audiences have increasingly high expectations. So how do companies like Pixar plan to meet the challenges of the future?

Well, firstly, studios still struggle to create digital humans that audiences like. Up to now, they’ve been criticised for looking robotic.  So the focus for producers now is on simulating more realistic human skin and more detailed facial movement. Both developments are bringing close the day when there will be convincing digital actors on screen.

A second aspect that Pixar hopes to improve on is the speed at which they can actually produce each frame of animated film.  Things have moved on, but the time it takes to do this is basically staying the same.  Faster computers help, but work done by companies involved in the production of video games is also hoped to improve things.

A further challenge is colour. Pixar is looking ahead to how it can better use its colour palettes and produce more brilliant images.  And lastly, the company is hoping to build on methods to stylise its images in films. It seems reality has been the goal for many years, but now they are also trying to break new ground and come up with other concepts. The result could be a new breed of animated films that don’t look real or like anything that has gone before.

Now let’s take a closer look at...



Friday, April 29, 2016

Life Elementary Textbook 8B Global Fashion p.96-97

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Elementary)



Quizlet (docspub)

Life Elementary 8B Global Fashion
https://quizlet.com/_27sm37

Life Elementary 8B Global Fashion
https://quizlet.com/_27sm37

Life Elementary 8B Global Fashion

https://quizlet.com/_27sm37




Thursday, April 28, 2016

Life Elementary Textbook 8A The Faces of Festivals p.94-95

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Elementary)



Quizlet (docspub)

Life Elementary 8A The Faces of Festivals p.94-95
https://quizlet.com/_27hm18


Life Elementary 8A The Faces of Festivals p.94-95
https://quizlet.com/_27hm18


Life Elementary 8A The Faces of Festivals p.94-95
https://quizlet.com/_27hm18


Life Elementary 8A The Faces of Festivals p.94-95
https://quizlet.com/_27hm18

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag

(Graded Reader)

Another book from my childhood that I'm repurposing for the ESL classroom.

It worked relatively well.  On the plus side, there was a lot of repetition in this book, which will hopefully help the students absorb the structures.

On the negative side, there was some difficult low frequency vocabulary (scraggly, clawed, homely).

There was a lot of synonyms in this book for pretty (pretty, beautiful, lovely) which I was worried would confuse the students, but actually they got through it all right.

This book can be found on amazon.com here.

I also used this video in class to supplement the book.


Here are some supplementary teaching materials I made when teaching this book in my classes.  These materials don't really work too well independently of the actual book, so you'll need to get a copy of the book to use these.

PowerPoint: 1. (slidespub) 2. (slidespub)

Worksheet: 1. (drivedocspub)  2. (drivedocspub)

Link of the Day
Chomsky on Liberalism

Monday, April 25, 2016

Life Elementary Textbook 7E The Digital Nomad p.89

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Elementary)



Quizlet (docs, pub)
Discussion Questions for lead-in (slides, pub)



Paper for the final writing activity (docs, pub)
I also used the so, because activity linked to in a previous post for this lesson.



Life Elementary 7e The Digital Nomad
https://quizlet.com/_25vcwr


Life Elementary 7e The Digital Nomad
https://quizlet.com/_25vcwr


Life Elementary 7e The Digital Nomad
https://quizlet.com/_25vcwr


Life Elementary 7e The Digital Nomad

https://quizlet.com/_25vcwr





Write about your most recent trip.  Talk about where you were, when it was, who was there, and what happened.

Remember to use “so” and “because”.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Life Elementary Unit 7 Review p.92

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Elementary)



Quizlet (docspub)

This is a combination of all the previous quizlets that I used for Unit 7.  I use this as homework for the review lesson of Unit 7 on page 92.

Review Unit 7
https://quizlet.com/_26o93t

Review Unit 7
https://quizlet.com/_26o93t

Review Unit 7

https://quizlet.com/_26o93t

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Topic Lesson: Elementary, Plan Your Own Trip

(TESOL Worksheets--Topic Lesson)

This is a lesson I used to review the material in Unit 7 of the Life Elementary Textbook, which had the theme of travelling, and the grammar point of comparative and superlative adjectives.
However, I think it also stands on it's own as in independent topic lesson, so I'm posting it here as something independent.

The lesson plan basically follows the slide presentation.
First, there are various lead-in questions about students experiences travelling, and what they want from a vacation.  These are all done in pairs, with class feedback afterwards.

Then, students are given four trips (on the handout) and match these trips to the pictures (on the slide show).

Then the detailed information about the four trips are posted around the room, and students have to walk around the room and collect information about the various trips.

Then there's some vocabulary work, that is done on a worksheet and feedback on a PowerPoint.

Then, students are put into groups and design their own tour.

They are then assigned a partner from a different group, and they have to tell their partner about their tour.

Then the various tours are posted around the room.  Students are given comment cards to leave under the tours, and with a partner, they read about the different tours, and post their comments underneath.

Finally, each group presents their tour to the class, and the class votes on which tour they want to go on.  The group with the most votes wins.

The Google Slides is here (slides, pub)


All of the worksheets are in one document. (drive, docs, pub)



1. Come and join us for a mountain climbing adventure.  You’ll see beautiful scenery as you hike up the mountain.  There will be plenty of adventure and exercise.  And also plenty of fresh air.  You’ll definitely get healthy. 

2. Four days and nights on the most relaxing beach ever.  Come out every day and sit in the sun with a nice cool drink.  Listen to the waves.  Build a castle in the sand.  Eat our delicious sea food.

3. Spend 5 days hitting all the best shopping centers in Bangkok.  We’ll guide you around and show you the big shopping malls, and the little street markets.  Make sure you bring your money with you.

4. Come see some of the most beautiful rain forest around.  Walk through with our guides, and see the waterfalls, trees, and tropical flowers.




1. Come and join us for a mountain climbing adventure.  You’ll see beautiful scenery as you hike up the mountain.  There will be plenty of adventure and exercise.  And also plenty of fresh air.  You’ll definitely get healthy. 

2. Four days and nights on the most relaxing beach ever.  Come out every day and sit in the sun with a nice cool drink.  Listen to the waves.  Build a castle in the sand.  Eat our delicious sea food.

3. Spend 5 days hitting all the best shopping centers in Bangkok.  We’ll guide you around and show you the big shopping malls, and the little street markets.  Make sure you bring your money with you.

4. Come see some of the most beautiful rain forest around.  Walk through with our guides, and see the waterfalls, trees, and tropical flowers.

Mountain Climbing Adventure:
Come and join us for a mountain climbing adventure.  You’ll see beautiful scenery as you hike up the mountain.  There will be plenty of adventure and exercise.  And also plenty of fresh air.  You’ll definitely get healthy. 
Place: The mountains
Time: 1 week of hiking.
Price:              Flights $200.
                        Guides: $50 a day’
                        Food: $20 dollars a day
                        hotels: free—(You’ll sleep in a tent in the mountains.)




Beach Resort Relaxation
4 days and nights on the most relaxing beach ever.  Come out every day and sit in the sun with a nice cool drink.  Listen to the waves.  Build a castle in the sand.  Eat our delicious sea food.
Place: The beach
Time: 4 days and nights
Price:              Flights $200
                        Hotels: $50 a night
                        Food and drinks: $75 dollars a day




Shopping in Bangkok
Spend 5 days hitting all the best shopping centers in Bangkok.  We’ll guide you around and show you the big shopping malls, and the little street markets.  Make sure you bring your money with you.
Time: 5 days
Place: Bangkok
Price:              Flights: $100
                        Hotels: $30 a night
                        Food: on your own
                        Shopping: on your own




Nature Walk in the Rain Forest
Come see some of the most beautiful rain forest around.  Walk through with our guides, and see the waterfalls, trees, and tropical flowers.
Time: 1 day hike
Place: the rainforest
Price:              Bus: $10
                        Tour Guides: $20


Vocabulary: Match the word to the definition


1. tour_____

2. vacation_____

3. hotel_____

4. guide (noun) _____

5. guide (verb) _____

6. price_____

7. scenery_____

8. relaxing_____

9. place_____

10. join_____
A). a visit to and around a place, area, or country

B). a position, building, town, area, etc

C). making you feel relaxed

D). to do something or go somewhere with someone

E). to help someone go somewhere

F). the attractive, natural things that you see in the countryside

G). someone whose job is to show interesting places to visitors, or to help people get somewhere

H). the amount of money that you pay to buy something

I). a place where you pay to stay when you are away from home

J). a time when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax




Design your own tour.
(Be sure to include: Where the tour will go to, what people will do on your tour, How much it will cost, and why people should join your tour)

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Check one:
I want to join this tour_____
I don’t want to join this tour_____

Why:_________________________________________

Check one:
I want to join this tour_____
I don’t want to join this tour_____

Why:_________________________________________

Check one:
I want to join this tour_____
I don’t want to join this tour_____

Why:_________________________________________

Check one:
I want to join this tour_____
I don’t want to join this tour_____

Why:_________________________________________

Check one:
I want to join this tour_____
I don’t want to join this tour_____

Why:_________________________________________


Friday, April 22, 2016

Life Elementary 7F Women in Space p.90-91

(Supplemental Materials for Specific Textbooks--Life Elementary)



Quizlet (docspub)

Life Elementary 7F Women in Space p.90-91
https://quizlet.com/_266ggk


Life Elementary 7F Women in Space p.90-91
https://quizlet.com/_266ggk


Life Elementary 7F Women in Space p.90-91
https://quizlet.com/_266ggk


Life Elementary 7F Women in Space p.90-91

https://quizlet.com/_266ggk

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

(Graded Reader)

Yet another book that we're all familiar with, and yet another book that I'm not reviewing on its general merits, but talking about it's suitability for the TESOL classroom.

The language in this book is decidedly NOT graded for  English learners.  There's a lot of low frequency vocabulary (like "gnashed their teeth").
And, something I never noticed before I used this book in the classroom, it uses a lot of run on sentences in which the main subject of the sentence is not always immediately clear.  For example, the opening sentence (which in the book is spread out over several pages)

The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him “WILD THING!” and Max said, “I’LL EAT YOU UP!” so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
And yet the book has the advantage that all picture books do--the story is immediately evident from the pictures.  Even if there were no words at all, simply looking at the pictures on each page would let you know exactly what was happening.

So, I'm happy to report that my this story held my students attention.

Although, they were disappointed by the ending.  "So, what happened teacher?  Was it all a dream?"

The best I could respond was, "I don't know.  Maybe."

Actually, now that I think about it, I had always been disappointed by that ending when I was a child as well.  As an adult, I don't mind it.  But as a kid, I always hated stories that were all someone's dream.  And furthermore, I always hated ambiguous endings when I was a kid.
Once again, I wondered how many of the popular children's classics are actually geared more towards the adult sensibilities of the parents than those of the child.

This book is available on amazon.com here.

Here are some supplementary teaching materials I made when teaching this book in my classes.  These materials don't really work too well independently of the actual book, so you'll need to get a copy of the book to use these.

PowerPoint: (slidespub)

Worksheet:  (drivedocspub)

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky Lenin, the USSR and the Predictions of Bakunin

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Complete IELTS Bands 6.5-7.5 Unit 6 Quizlet

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks--Complete IELTS Bands 6.5-7.5)



I use quizlet as optional homework for vocabulary.

Google (docspub)

Complete IELTS Band 6.5-7.5 Unit 6
https://quizlet.com/_26kry3

Complete IELTS Band 6.5-7.5 Unit 6
https://quizlet.com/_26kry3

Complete IELTS Band 6.5-7.5 Unit 6
https://quizlet.com/_26kry3

Complete IELTS Band 6.5-7.5 Unit 6

https://quizlet.com/_26kry3

Monday, April 18, 2016

English World 3 Vocabulary for Unit 6

(Supplementary Materials for Specific Textbooks)


Following from a previous post, here is the Google Slide Presentation for the Vocabulary from Unit 6 in English World 3.
Supplemented, of course, with a quiz from quizlet (docspub)

Google (slidespub)


English World 3 Unit 6 Vocabulary
https://quizlet.com/_26gkpd

English World 3 Unit 6 Vocabulary
https://quizlet.com/_26gkpd

English World 3 Unit 6 Vocabulary
https://quizlet.com/_26gkpd