The following listening activity is based on an ABS News video. If you are preparing for IELTS or CAE this will be a great exercise to test not only your listening comprehension but your vocabulary knowledge too. The video is about the frigid conditions in the US at the end of December.
Before watching the video, read the following words and try to guess their meaning if you don’t know it yet.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – TO DROP
After that, try to fill in the gaps (you have to conjugate the verbs), even not knowing the meaning of all the words. Think if the missing word is a verb, a noun, an adverb, or an adjective, this will help you.
The following step will be watching the video. This isn’t an easy one, they all speak really fast, so probably you won’t be able to fill in the gaps while watching the first time.
You can find the answers in the PDF file.
SKIN – THREATENING – BUNDLED – PLOUGH – FORECAST – TO DIG – COLD SNAP – SNOW BLOWER – ICICLES – DANGEROUS CHILL – TO TURN – DEADLY – UNBEARABLE – TO DUMP – OVERFLOWING – DROP
We begin with that ___________________________ taking hold of half the country tonight.
Part of Pennsylvania and New York still _____________________ out from under five feet.
And now the Arctic invasion across most of the lower 48 states. This fountain you see right there behind New York Public Library, mostly ___________________ to ice.
And take a look at the _____________________ for New Year’s Eve, the coldest in more than 50 years.
When the ball ___________________ in Time Square the wind chill could meet minus 4 and for millions feeling the cold there’s much worse snow in the forecast as well.
Tonight the 200 million Americans _____________________ from head to toe.
That dangerous ________________________gripping more than half the country.
The cold could be __________________, especially for the very young and the very old.
Extreme weather is more than an inconvenience, it remains a serious and potentially life _________________________
Shelters __________________________ with people trying to escape the frigid temperatures.
And in Cotton, Minnesota, an _______________________ 41° below 0.
It feels like your __________________ is gonna be on fire.
Dave S. had to hire a ___________________ to unbury his car.
Heavy snow packed on rooftops, ______________________ nearly everywhere you look.
N. today pushing his _________________________ clearing his home.
All day truck after truck, we’ve seen them coming here, ______________________ their loads. Some of these piles are 12 feet high.
This video is hilarious but at the same time, it reveals a view of our times that I find realistic. It is about the amount of money people spend in order to get an education. They feel it is essential because “What kind of job can you get without a proper education, without a degree?”.
It is true, in most cases, you will end up unemployed, with a loan to pay out and frustrated. But then, it is up to you. If you are a creative and brilliant person, you will find a way to make a use of the knowledge you acquired, the education you paid for. You cannot find everything on the Internet. I believe the Internet is like an ocean of information, if you do not know how to swim, if you do not know how to row, you will not go far, you will drown.
Higher education gives you a kind of awareness, it gives you the oars which are vital when you know how to use them. At university you learn critical thinking, you have the possibility to meet like-minded people. Chances are, you will also meet teachers that will not be able to arouse your curiosity, arrogant and with narrow minds, or not able to do their jobs. But if you are lucky, you will meet teachers able to guide you. When you become acquainted with these wise individuals, then it will be worth it and it will change your life.
I agree with this man regarding the amount of money we have to pay in order to get an education which I find excessive too. Education should be free, or at least accessible to those deserving it, those willing to commit to studying hard in order to expand their views, to increase their possibilities.
Then, there is nothing wrong in deciding not to carry on studying after high school, practical jobs are not useless, quite the contrary. We should have the possibility to decide what is the best option for us, depending on our skills, strengths and aims in life.
If you work hard, you like your job and you find it rewarding, you are lucky, not to be judged because you do not have a degree. Being smart has nothing to do with a certificate, with a piece of paper.
I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the video.
To declare: to say or state (something) in an official or public way.
Innate:a quality you were born with, not one you have learned.
Dependent:decided or controlled by something else — + on orupon.
To achieve: to succeed in finishing something or reaching an aim, especially after a lot of work or effort.
Tuition:the act of teaching something, especially to one person or to people in small groups.
Loan:an amount of money that is given to someone for a period of time with a promise that it will be paid back.
To afford:to be able to buy or do something because you have enough money or time.
Purveyor:a person or business that sells or provides something.
Wisdom: knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life.
Elder: used to refer to the older of two people (such as a father and son) who have the same name; a person who has authority because of age and experience.
Sage: someone, especially an old man, who is very wise.
To set apart:(phrasal verb, separable)to be a quality that makes (someone or something) better than or different from other people or things — usually + from.
Buggy: a light carriage pulled by a horse.
Hire: to employ someone; to give work or a job to (someone) in exchange for wages or a salary.
Entrepreneur: someone who starts a new business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.
To let go: to make someone leave their job.
To lack: to not have something that you need, or not have enough of it.
As always, I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the video. You can find a pdf version of this listening comprehension below.
To skyrocket: to rise extremely quickly or make extremely quick progress towards success. Ex. Lipstick sales in South Korea have skyrocketed this year.
Fourfold: four times as big or as much. Ex. According to recent figures, 34000 people are infected, and the most aggressive form of the virus, HIV 1, which was unknown in the country until the 1990s, has increased fourfold in the past 13 years.
Slums: a poor and crowded area of a city where the buildings are in bad condition.
Pollution: the process of making air, water, soil etc dangerously dirty and not suitable for people to use, or the state of being dangerously dirty.
To sustain: to provide what is needed for (something or someone) in order to live, to exist, to continue, etc. Ex. She wasn’t capable of sustaining close relationships with men.
Ungrounded: not based on facts. Ex. The socioeconomic exclusion of women, based on ungrounded discriminatory social definitions of female and male roles, affects not only women and their human rights but also the development of sustainable economies and the protection of the natural environment.
Unprecedented: never having happened before, or never having happened so much. We are confronted by an unprecedented situation.
To overrun: to enter quickly and be present in (a place) in large numbers and unwanted. Ex. The enemies overran thecity last night.
Worse off: having less money or being in a more difficult situation. Ex. The rent increases will leave us worse off.
Sanitation: the systems for taking dirty water and other waste products away from buildings in order to protect people’s health. Ex. A lack of clean water and sanitation were the main problems.
Goods: things that are produced to be sold.
Widely: to a large degree; a lot; by a large number of people; in or to many places. Ex. Taking notes while listening to a lecture is an important strategy that students use widely for increasing attention and retaining content.
Flourished: to grow or develop well. Ex. The Etruscans had flourished from the seventh to the first century B.C.
Emancipation: the process of giving people social or political freedom and rights. Ex. Religious fundamentalisms have had a tremendous negative influence on the processes of women’semancipation.
Supply: the amount of something that is available to be used. We have a good and lasting supplyof fresh water.
To lead: to show someone where to go, usually by taking them to a place; to be in control of a group, country, or situation. Ex. Simplicity can lead to greatness and the concentration of one’s powers.
To drop: if a level or amount drops, it becomes less. Ex. Temperatures will drop tomorrow after another scorching day.
Spike: a sudden, rapid increase in something. Ex. Public Health officials in the region warned schools about a spike in flu viruses.
To overlook: to see something wrong or bad but decide to ignore it. Ex. I don’t want to overlook any opportunity.
To catch up: to do something that should have been done before. Ex. New Member States will have a unique possibility to catch up really fast and sometimes to avoid some of our previous mistakes.
From scratch: from a point at which nothing has been done yet. Ex. Actually, maybe we should start again from scratch.
Answer the following questions:
How many people were living on Earth in 1940?
When was the legend of overpopulation born?
What is the demographic transition?
When did the first stage of the demographic transition occur? What happened in this century?
What were the main features of the industrial revolution?
What were the main features of the second stage of the demographic transitions?
What about the third stage?
What is the average of children per family today?
How many years did it take developed countries to reduce fertility from more than 6 children to less than 3? What about Bangladesh?
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 :-).
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 anotherone.
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.
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:
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.
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.
What is gluten? Gluten is an insoluble protein composite _________________ of two proteins named gliadin and glutenin.
Gluten is found in certain grains, particularly wheat, rye and _______________ .
Gluten is responsible for the elastic consistency of and the chewiness of _______________ foods made from wheat flour, like bread and pasta.
For some people, these foods cause problems, namely wheat allergy, celiac _________________, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
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.
Celiac disease is an _________________ disease, in which eating foods with gluten leads to inflammation and damage of the lining of the small intestine.
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.
Celiac disease is present in one in every 100 to ____________persons in the U.S.
The most effective _________________ is a gluten-free diet, which helps heal intestinal damage and improve symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity’s _________________ in the general population is unclear, but likely much more common than wheat allergy or celiac disease.
For example, it may be the case that gluten can activate the immune system in the small intestine, or cause it to become _________________.
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.
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.
So a better name than non-celiac gluten___________________might be wheat _____________________.
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.
• 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.
Video made by In a Nutshell, a Munich-based YouTube channel, and design studio.
In my opinion, this is a very informative channel, great for English students and teachers. This is why I suggest that you check it out: In a Nutshell.
The video I picked for today’s lesson is about nuclear energy and it’s the first of a trilogy. It won’t take you long to watch it since it lasts about 5 minutes. As always, you should read the vocabulary list before watching the video. After that, you can test your listening comprehension answering some questions.
Before watching the video, I suggest that you ask your students what do they know about Nuclear Energy and what do they think are the pros and cons of it. Are they against or for nuclear energy? Can they justify their answer? Ask them to write down their reasons and if you have enough time, made a mind map with all the pros and cons.
Frustrating: making you feel annoyed or less confident because you cannot achieve what you want. Ex. It’s frustratingwhen you’re not on the same page.
Get/come to grips with something: to start to deal with a problem, situation, or job that you have to do. Ex. We need to get to grips with our different world views.
Spin-off:something useful that results from work done to produce something else. Ex. The World Summit on the Information Society produced valuable results; it also had a spin-off, a focusing effect.
On your feet:in a good position or condition.
Ex. Experts say the economy should be back on its feet any year now.
Hangover: a letdown, as after a period of excitement.
Ex. The students hadn’t recovered from their summer break hangover yet and did terribly on their first test.
To stick with something: to continue to do or use something, and not change it.
Ex. If you’ve found something that makes you happy, you should stick with it.
To skyrocket: to increase quickly to a very high level or amount.
Ex. Housing prices have skyrocketed in recent months.
Dazzling:very attractive or exciting.
Ex. The actor has had a dazzlingcareer.
Pace: the speed at which something happens.
Ex. Since the elections of 1998, the pace of reform has been impressive.
Underdog: in a competition, the person or team considered to be the weakest and the least likely to win.
Ex. It was a surprise to everyone when the underdog won the match.
Nuclear fission: a process in which the nucleus of a heavy atom is split apart.
After watching the video, try to answer the following questions:
1. What did private companies think about nuclear power? 2. When did nuclear power’s success finally come? 3. What were the advantages of the light water reactor? 4. What does a water reactor do? 5. Is the water reactor the safest one? 6. What happened in 1979?
7. When did the Chernobyl catastrophe take place?
8. What’s the situation today?
The 11th episode of English4Gamers is out! In this episode, we keep playing Donkey Kong Country (1994), a platforming video game. As always, I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the episode. There is also a fill in the gaps exercise (with downloadable version and answers) to test your listening comprehension.
NEMESIS: an opponent or enemy that is very difficult to defeat.
Ex. The superhero fought her nemesis for years.
SCATTERED: placed or found far apart.
Ex.The toys were scattered all over the room.
PRECISE: exact and accurate.
Ex. Thanks to Marilyn’s precise directions, Louis and Natalie found the house without any problems.
HUGE: very large; very great in size, amount, or degree.
Ex. They live in a huge house.
TRICKY: difficult to deal with.
Ex. It’s tricky to learn to ride a skateboard, but you never forget how.
SEVERAL: more than two but not very many.
Ex. He arrived several hours ago.
TO RETRIEVE: to find and bring back something.
Ex. Linda hoped she would be able to retrieve her files after her computer crashed.
This is a listening activity based on The School of Life’s short video (about 7 minutes long)“LITERATURE – Jane Austen”. This activity is aimed at students who have an English level between B2 and C1 (Upper Intermediate and Advanced).
I suggest that you read the following vocabulary list before watching the video. Under the video, there are two exercises (with answers) and a writing practice suggestion.
AMBITIOUS: having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous; having ambition. Ex. She was ambitious enough to aim for the company’s presidency.
STERN: very serious; severe. Ex. Journalists received a stern warning not to go anywhere near the battleship.
CONSCIOUS: awake, thinking, and knowing what is happening around you. Ex. When I took the exam, I was conscious that my parents were expecting a lot of me.
DIGNIFIED: serious and somewhat formal; having or showing dignity. Ex. Even when very old, he was very dignifiedin appearance.
WELL OFF: moderately rich. Ex. They must be well off if they can afford to buy a house there!
TEMPTED: to want something or to want to do something. Ex. “Would you like some more pie?” “I’m tempted, but no thank you.”
STRUGGLE: a long effort to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems. Ex. The people of this country will continue in their struggle for independence.
TO CONDEMN: to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong. Ex. We strongly condemn this attack against our allies.
TO OVERCOME: to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount. Ex. To overcome one’s weaknesses.
INCOME: money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc. Ex. He has a very high annual income.
TO FELL APART: to break into pieces (often used figuratively). Ex. I feel as if my family is falling apart.
TO SUPPLY: to furnish or provide (something wanting or requisite). Ex. Tosupply a community with electricity.
WEALTH: a large amount of money or valuable possessions that someone has. Ex. Thewealth of a city.
ELUSIVE: hard to find or capture. Ex. Police are trying to track down the elusive criminal, who has so far avoided all their attempts to capture him.
SNOBBISH: like a snob (a person who respects and likes only people who are of a high social class). Ex. He’s a snobbish rich kid.
GREED: a selfish desire to have more of something (especially money). Ex. He was a ruthless businessman, motivated by naked ambition and greed.