Teaching with TV series – MAKE IT OR BREAK IT

I’m currently teaching English to a 15-year-old girl and she is fond of gymnastics. This is why I’m teaching her English with Make it or Break it, an American television drama series set in the world of competitive gymnastics. Usually I make a vocabulary list for her, than we watch 15 minutes of one episode without subtitles. While we’re watching I ask her questions in order to check if she’s understanding everything. Then I give her 10-15 sentences with some gaps she’s to fill in and two sentences to translate from Italian into English. After learning English with this method for one year she got a B2 certification, so I must say I’m proud of her and I verified this is actually an effective method. Of course, I’m not just teaching her English with this TV series. Sometimes, we read newspaper articles or we watch a TED-Ed video, etc. but in my opinion, teaching with TV series is the most effective way to get teenagers focusing on learning English without getting stressed. She is not getting bored and she’s learning kind of easily. 

Season 2, episode 8:

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TO BE ON THE FENCE => unable to decide about something.

Another example sentence: I was on the fence till you showed up, but thanks for helping me decide.

Season 2, episode 9:

to-get-a-hold-of-somebody-meaning-vocabulary-femfy-free-english-materials-for-you

To get hold of somebody: to contact or find somebody.

Another example sentence: I got hold of the father, and he said the boy wasn’t there, and he doesn’t know about this yet.

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Listening Activity – Halloween History

Happy Halloween! pumpking halloween.png

Yesterday I watched this interesting video by National Geographic on Halloween so I decided to share it with you. As always you’ll find a vocabulary list below and a comprehension activity. I hope you’ll enjoy it :-).

VOCABULARY

COMMUNION (with somebody/something): the state of sharing or exchanging thoughts and feelings; the feeling of being part of something.
Ex. Many people who live in close communion with nature are superstitious.

PRANK:  a trick that is done to someone usually as a joke.
Ex. Jackie’s pranks were starting to annoy her colleagues.

PATCHWORK: a thing that is made up of many different pieces or parts.
Ex. So the world is this complex patchwork of regions.

OCCULT: magic or supernatural.

TO STITCH WITH:  to make (something) out of many different things
Ex. They stitched red and blue ribbons onto their hats.

TO SPAN: to last for a particular period of time, especially a long period.
Ex. His career spanned half a century.

TO SPREAD: to cover, or to make something cover, a larger and larger area.
Ex. The European flu continues to spread throughout the UK.

VEIL: something that covers or hides something else.

TO GATHER:  to bring (things or people) together into a group.
Ex. The children gathered their toys (together) and put them away.

TO FROWN ON SOMEBODY/SOMETHING: to disapprove of somebody/something.
Ex. The company frowns on dating among employees.

TO MERGE:  to combine or make two or more things combine to form a single thing.
Ex. He has plans to merge his own company with another one.

DECEASED: dead; no longer living.

THE FOLD: a group of people with whom you feel you belong or who share the same ideas or beliefs.
Ex. We are hoping that these policies will bring reluctant voters back to the fold.

FAMINE: a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat.

EXTORTION: the crime of making somebody give you something by threatening them.

BRIBE: something valuable (such as money) that is given in order to get someone to do something.

Free PDF version: listening-activity-Halloween-vocabulary

Watch the video, then try to answer these questions

1. Who originated Halloween traditions? What did they celebrate on October 31st?

2. Why did they lit huge bonfires and gathered around them?

3. When did the Vatican decide to merge this holiday with a church holiday?

4. All Saints day was known as …

5. What does ‘hallow’ mean?

6. When did Halloween become a ‘dangerous holiday’?

7. What was originally ‘trick or treat’?

Free PDF version: Listening-Activity-Halloween-questions

Answers: Listening-Activity-Halloween-answers

 

Listening activity -What’s the big deal with gluten? by William D. Chey – TED-Ed

Yesterday, I came across this Ted-Ed video and I found it quite informative. It’s just 5 minutes long and it isn’t difficult to understand. As you can guess reading the heading, it’s about GLUTEN, allergies, and intolerances. On Ted-Ed‘s website, you can find other listening activities on the video. 

Below a vocabulary list you should read before watching the video:

cereals-visual-vocabulary

Image source

BIG DEAL: something that is very important.
Ex. This was a really big deal for me.

RECENTLY: not long ago
Ex. I received a letter from her recently.

DIETARY: related to your diet.
Ex. This kind of dietary behaviour needs to be stopped immediately.

CRAZE: an activity, object or idea that is very popular for a short time.
Ex. The new dance craze is spreading.

INSOLUBLE: not able to be dissolved in a liquid.

DOUGH: flour mixed with water, and other ingredients that is baked to make bread, cookies, etc.

TO MOUNT: to activate; to launch.

MILD: not strong in action or effect.
Ex. Your friend had a mild heart attack.

TO IMPAIR: to make something weaker or worse.
Ex. Smoking can impair your health.

RASH: a lot of small red spots on the skin that is caused by an illness or a reaction to something.

FORTUITOUS: happening by chance; not planned.
Ex. My presence here is fortuitous.

PDF version: what-is-the-big-deal-with-gluten-vocabulary

Fill in the gaps in the following sentences:

  1. Maybe you’ve recently seen the phrase “gluten-free” on food ________________, or take-out menus, shampoo bottles, apartment listings, the _______________of your shirt, on a hammer, as a lower back tattoo, or in your friend’s resume.
  2. Next time someone starts telling you about their newfound freedom from gluten, here are some questions you can ask, and the _________________ answers that your friend, being a reasonable individual making educated _________________choices, and by no means just following the latest diet _________________, will tell you.
  3. What is gluten? Gluten is an insoluble protein composite _________________ of two proteins named gliadin and glutenin.
  4. Gluten is found in certain grains, particularly wheat, rye and _______________ .
  5. Gluten is responsible for the elastic consistency of and the chewiness of _______________ foods made from wheat flour, like bread and pasta.
  6. For some people, these foods cause problems, namely wheat allergy, celiac _________________, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
  7. Wheat allergy is an uncommon _________________ that occurs when a person’s immune system _________________an allergic response to wheat proteins, leading to mild problems, and in rare cases, a potential dangerous reaction called anaphylaxis.
  8. Celiac disease is an _________________ disease, in which eating foods with gluten leads to inflammation and damage of the lining of the small intestine.
  9. This impairs intestinal function, _________________ to problems like belly pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, weight loss, skin _________________, bone problems like osteoporosis, iron deficiency, small stature, infertility, fatigue and depression.
  10. Celiac disease is present in one in every 100 to ____________persons in the U.S.
  11. The most effective _________________ is a gluten-free diet, which helps heal intestinal damage and improve symptoms.
  12. Gluten sensitivity’s _________________ in the general population is unclear, but likely much more common than wheat allergy or celiac disease.
  13. For example, it may be the case that gluten can activate the immune system in the small intestine, or cause it to become _________________.
  14. The human intestine can’t _________________ or absorb fructans, so they make their way to the large intestine or colon, where they’re fermented by bacteria, producing short-chain fatty acids and gases.
  15. Another possible explanation behind gluten sensitivity is the ________________ effect.  This occurs when a person believes something will cause problems, and because of that belief, it does. It’s the opposite of the more well-known and much more ____________________ placebo effect.
  16. So a better name than non-celiac gluten___________________might be wheat _____________________.

PDF version: whats-the-big-deal-with-gluten-fill-in-the-gaps-without-answers

Answers: what-is-the-big-deal-with-gluten-answers

 

Get along

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More example sentences:

  • I don’t get along with Sebastian, we have nothing in common!
  • The reason you don’t get along is because you have different values.
  • I like her so much! We are getting along well.

Another meaning of ‘TO GET ALONG’ is ‘to manage’, ‘to cope’, ‘to make progress while doing something’.

Example sentences:

  • I’m not getting along well with my schoolwork. I need to work harder.
  • How are you getting along with your work?
  • I just can’t get along without a secretary.

SYNONYMS:

to-get-along-synonyms

Source

8 Practical ways to help refugees – Reading comprehension

An interesting article on how to help refugees by Melissa Fleming and published on IDEAS.TED.COM . Are you doing something in order to help refugees? If you have other ideas, share them in the comments below.

I’m teaching them Italian 
https://www.facebook.com/113824145324888/photos/pcb.1337847106255913/1337846886255935/?type=3&theater
and I hope I’ll be able to help them in this way. I find it both rewarding and informative. It’s fascinating getting to know them and their stories, helping them integrating with locals.

Here a vocabulary list for making it easier for you to read the article 8 practical ways to help refugees:

  • To show up: to arrive where you have arranged to meet somebody or do something. 
  • To take notice: to give attention to something. 
  • Steadily: happening or developing in a continuous and usually gradual way. 
  • Drifted: moved slowly, especially as a result of outside forces, with no control over direction. 
  • Stranded: left in a place without a way of leaving. 
  • To thrive: to flourish; to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc.

  • To exacerbate: to make something worse. 
  • Shunned: to ignore someone and not speak to that person because you cannot accept their behaviour, beliefs, etc. 
  • To exploit: to treat a person or situation as an opportunity to gain an advantage for yourself. 
  • Outpouring: an expression of strong feeling that is difficult to control. 
  • To enrol: to arrange for yourself or for somebody else to officially join a course, school, etc. 
  • Raffle: an activity in which people buy tickets with different numbers, some of which are later chosen to win prizes, that is organised in order to make money for a good social purpose.

Read the article, then try to answer the questions below it:

Melissa Fleming of the UN’s Refugee Agency shares some ways to help refugees right now.

When a million refugees showed up in Europe this past year, the world began to take notice of a problem that has been steadily growing before our eyes. Ten years ago, 38 million people had been driven from their homes because of war or persecution; right now that number stands at over 65 million. That’s equivalent to the population of France … drifting, stranded, with little hope of returning home, and few chances to thrive in neighboring countries.

In Europe, the lack of a unified system to manage the influx of refugees and migrants is exacerbating the problem. People are either welcomed or shunned. They can face fences of barbed wire or cheer locals. Around 50,000 people are stranded in Greece, waiting to be relocated to other European countries or sent back home.

On the streets of European cities, I have seen both remarkable generosity and irrational fear. People carry signs with the slogan “Refugees Welcome”; others set asylum homes on fire. While many push for values of tolerance and openness, others are full of fear, afraid of the arrival of so many people from a different continent, with different religions and cultures. Opportunistic right-wing politicians exploit these fears to make gains in elections.

People often ask me what they can do to help. It’s certainly possible to do small, practical but meaningful things to combat the feeling of helplessness that can all too easily become paralyzing. Already, I’ve been struck by the overwhelming outpouring of meaningful acts of kindness by individuals, local charities, religious groups and students who have made their way to borders and train stations to help arriving refugees and migrants (check out the inspiring work done by a team on Lesbos to coordinate efforts to greet the 5,000 refugees arriving on the Greek island every day). Their message is clear: they stand for a Europe that offers refuge to victims of war and compassion for those who are seeking a better life.

Click here to keep reading the article: http://ideas.ted.com/8-practical-ways-to-help-refugees/

Answer the following questions:

  1. A decade ago, 38 million people had been forced to leave their homes, for what reasons?
  2. Is Europe having issues in managing refugees and migrants?
  3. Why are some people scared of refugees?
  4. What are the 8 possible ways to help refugees suggested by Melissa Fleming?
  5. Where did the refugees Welcome Initiative start?
  6. How many entrepreneurs started a catering company with refugees chef in France?
  7. Someone started a football team for refugees and migrants, in what country?
  8. What did the What Design Can Do Refugee Challenge do?
  9. What’s doing the organisation United Invitations?
  10. What Universities offered funds and scholarships to refugees worldwide?
  11. Do you have other ideas for helping refugees? 

 

 

 

Get rid of

to-get-rid-of-meaning-phrasal-verb-femfy-free-english-materials-for-you

‘Get rid of’ is an INSEPARABLE phrasal verb.

Example sentences:

  • She’s trying to get rid of us.
  • I can’t get rid of my phone until John calls.
  • I just can’t bring myself to get rid of this old dress because it has so many good memories attached to it.

 

 

Listening activity – ART/ARCHITECTURE – Andrea Palladio (video by The School of Life)

I’m sorry I haven’t been sharing resources for a while, but I’ve been very busy lately.
This is a listening activity based on the video ‘ART/ARCHITECTURE – Andrea Palladio’ by The School of Life. I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the video. If you want to test your listening skills, try the fill in the gaps exercise below the video, you can also download a printable pdf version.

Art_architecture - Andrea Palladio - The School of Life - Visual Vocabulary - Free English Materials For You - femfy

VOCABULARY 

Located: Something or someone that is located in a specified place is in or at that place.
Ex. Our target is located somewhere on the second level.

Stonemason: a person whose job is cutting and preparing stone for buildings.

Stonecutter/ stone carver: a person who cuts or carves stone.

A handful (of somebody/something): a small number of people or things.
Ex. We’ve got a handful of professional soldiers like myself.

Setback: an unanticipated or sudden check in progress; a change from better to worse.
Ex. There has been a slight setback in our plans.

To emerge: to appear by coming out of something or out from behind something.
Ex. A mole emerged from a hole in the ground.

Virtue: a good moral quality in a person, or the general quality of being morally good.
Ex. Patience is a virtue.

Dignity: calm, serious, and controlled behaviour that makes people respect you.
Ex. Try to maintain your dignity, no matter what they call you.

To line up: to form a line; to put into a proper and systematic order.
Ex. They will all have to line up behind you.

Unworthy: lacking merit or value.
Ex. This Tosk is unworthy of such a noble description.

Barn: a large building on a farm where animals, crops, or machines are kept.

Stable: a building where horses or farm animals are kept.

To disguise: to change the usual appearance, sound, taste, etc., of (someone or something) so that people will not recognize that person or thing.
Ex. And I’ve configured the shields to disguise our visual profile.

Utilitarian: designed for use rather than beauty.
Ex. Their furniture was very plain and utilitarian.

To compensate: to provide something good as a balance against something bad or undesirable.
Ex. Nothing will ever compensate for his lost childhood.

Collected: calm and in control of your emotions.
Ex. Even in a life-threatening situation, the captain of the ship was collected.

Poised: showing very calm and controlled behavior.
Ex. Try to be more poised and confident.

Reliably: in a way that you can trust to be accurate.
Ex. Moreover, following this method would require significant adjustments which cannot be reliably quantified.

Distinguished: characterized by excellence or distinction; eminent.
Ex. You’re a government major, inspired by your distinguished aunt.

Cement: a fine grey powder made of a mixture of calcined limestone and clay, used with water and sand to make mortar, or with water, sand, and aggregate, to make concrete.

Harmonious: having a pleasant tune or harmony.
Ex. It will become a harmonious eco-friendly space.

Resonated: to continue to have a powerful effect or value.
Ex. Her speech resonated with voters.

Underlying: used to identify the idea, cause, problem, etc., that forms the basis of something.
Ex. Insomnia may represent an underlying physical or psychiatric disorder.

Advocate: a person who upholds or defends a cause; supporter.
Ex. The European Parliament has always been an advocate of inland navigation.

Downloadable PDF file: Andrea Palladio – Vocabulary

Watch again the video and try to fill in the gaps in the following sentences:

1.   Andrea Palladio was born at the end of November in _______ in Padua.

2.   He was an apprentice ______________ and later stone carver.

3.   Over the next 40 years of his working life, Palladio designed 40 or so villas, a couple of town houses and a ______________  of churches.

4.   For most of his career he had a mix of professional successes and ______________.

5.  Palladio thought we should build in order to ______________  good state of mind in ourselves and others.

6.   All the elements in a room are centered, balanced, ______________.

7.   He only uses simple geometrical ______________. Generally the walls are ______________  and there is little furniture.

8.   Palladio was ______________  with making sure that every element for building fitted perfectly with every other.

9.   One of the ambitions of Palladio’s architecture was to give greater ______________  to parts of life that had been ______________ regarded as unworthy.

10. Rather than being hidden and set at a distance these ______________  buildings are presented as ______________  and important.

11. He wasn’t disguising the ______________  reality of the farm, rather he was demonstrating its ______________  dignity.

12. We need serene ______________  and confident buildings precisely because we’re not reliably like that.

13. Ideally, architecture ______________ our better selves, the ideal building is like the ideal person.

14. There’s a practical guide to digging ______________  and how to judge the quality of cement and the reliable ways of constructing ______________  and laying floors.

15. The fancy surrounds are not the ______________  thing. Without them the window opening will still look ______________.

16. He went on to provide a wide ______________  of rules for making buildings ______________.

17. Palladio saw himself as a ______________, he was simply following a set of rules which others could follow too.

18. He was working against the idea that architecture ______________  a special genius.

19. Buildings are ‘palladium’ when they are devoted to ______________, harmony, and dignity on the basis of rules which can and should be wildly reused.

20. It’s then, they display the same ______________  ambition of which Palladio is a central advocate and ______________.

Downloadable PDF file: Andrea Palladio – Fill in the gaps – Without answers

Downloadable PDF file: Andrea Palladio – Fill in the gaps – Answers