Teacher Training 5/21/16

Good morning teachers!

Intro task: please click on this link when prompted:


With a partner, decide on $150 worth of clothing to purchase.

  1. Please click on the following link when prompted:


2. With a partner, look at apartments available to rent on the first page (the first 100 listings).

3. Identify the meaning of the following words and phrases:


granite counters


ground level





4. Listen to this conversation about renting an apartment:


a. Practice the conversation

b. Practice again using information from the ads

5. Listen to this conversation and practice some more:






Teacher Training 5.19.16

Good morning teachers!

Today we will learn and teach more idioms, have a blended learning lesson through a TED Talk, and begin presenting our blended learning lessons to each other.

Warm up:

  1. With the idiom given to you by Chris, research what the word means, and prepare to teach it to your peers. Use may use the following sites to help guide your search:

2. Circulate and teach the meaning of your idiom to your peers.

3. Discuss LS Teachers Conference




Hello Teachers!


Today we will be observing some lesson plans from other teachers, planning our own blended learning lessons, and having a short lesson on the news and media (through TED Talks- another blended learning platform).


  • What kind of news do you think will remain important and be remembered in the future? For how long?
  • What kind of news does the mainstream media in your country focus on? Do you think this needs to change?
  • How do you think consumers affect mainstream news and media?

When instructed, watch the video found in the link below:

2. https://tedxesl.com/2014/03/16/alisa-miller-and-kirk-citron-does-the-way-we-think-about-news-and-media-need-to-change/

3.  When finished answer the comprehension questions that go along with the video:

  1. What types of news stories does Citron think will matter “in the long run?”
  2. Which news agencies does he mention in his statistics and examples?
  3. How many different areas of news does he mention? What are they?
  4. What is his pick for the news story of the year? Why do you think he considers it important?

4. Match the idiom to its definition


1. To be “drowning” in news. A. To continue to expand the borders of what is possible.
2. To matter “in the long run.” B. To quickly become unimportant and forgotten.
3. To “fall by the wayside.” C. To have so much news available that we can’t possibly process all of it.
4. To “push back the limits.” D. To be important for an extremely long time, or forever.


5. Watch the second video on the page: Alisa Miller’s TED talk

Comprehension Checking

1. According to Miller, what is one reason why world news coverage has declined?

2. What is the most common source that people turn to for their news in the United States?

3. What are the two main problems with news on the web that Miller talks about?

4. Does Miller think that people know less about the world simply because they are not interested?

5. Do more formally educated people generally know more?


Vocabulary- match the word to it’s definition

1. Foreign bureau     A. Two commonly utilized, independent news gathering organizations.

2. Coverage                B. For things to be connected to each other.

3. Associated Press & Reuters

C. A generic term for a news office operating somewhere outside its native country.

4. Interconnected          D: The total treatment of a particular issue, or of an area of news.

E. The sum of all news stories.


If there is time, work with a partner to go over the remaining idiom phrases and discussion questions.



Teacher Training 05/05/2016

Good morning Teachers!

Today we will continue to learn about creating a blended learning lesson, yet today we will do so through a lesson on idioms.

The lesson:

Overview | What do idioms and euphemisms tell us about our language and culture? What challenges do non-native English learners face as they try to master the English language? In this lesson, students consider the difficulties that English presents for the language learner. They then interview non-native English-language learners to learn about these struggles and to develop a deeper notion of their own linguistic challenges and how culture infuses language.

Materials | Computers with Internet connection, projector, slips of paper with idioms (see below), audio/video taping equipment (optional).

Warm-Up |

  1. Collect an idiom on a piece of paper from your teacher (Chris). Imagine you are teaching this idiom to your class and need to explain the meaning and common usage of it in an understandable way. (you might also include a drawing.)

Here is a list of many common idioms, some of which we will review today:

  • a fish out of water
  • a fresh pair of eyes
  • a piece of cake
  • a chip on your shoulder
  • all your eggs in one basket
  • the ball’s in your court
  • beat around the bush
  • between a rock and a hard place
  • air your dirty laundry
  • cut me some slack
  • dead as a doornail
  • fat chance
  • fight tooth and nail
  • hard of hearing
  • have your cake and eat it, too
  • heads will roll
  • jump the gun
  • just in time
  • make a killing
  • make a living
  • mean business
  • not all there
  • pay attention
  • pay your dues
  • shoot the breeze
  • shoot from the hip
  • take a stand
  • take it easy
  • under pressure
  • up for sale
  • virtual reality
  • wait for the other shoe to drop
  • watch your language
  • X marks the spot
  • you’re on
  • your turn

2. When you are finished writing your short explanation of your idiom, go around the room and share your expression and meaning with other classmates.

3. Quick discussion: Imagine that you were learning English for the first time. Would these expressions be challenging? Why? What do these expressions tell us about culture? Why might it be hard to comprehend these expressions for students from another culture?

4. After you have discussed the challenges, take a look at this slide show: “A Sampling of Chinglish.”

Then answer these questions:

-Why do you think these specific mistakes in translation were made?

-Have you ever made a mistake while studying or speaking a foreign language?


Reading | In the article “Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish,” the author Andrew Jacobs writes about the effort that Shanghai has made to eradicate public signage that misuses the English language:

For English speakers with subpar Chinese skills, daily life in China offers a confounding array of choices. At banks, there are machines for “cash withdrawing” and “cash recycling.” The menus of local restaurants might present such delectables as “fried enema,” “monolithic tree mushroom stem squid” and a mysterious thirst-quencher known as “The Jew’s Ear Juice.”

Those who have had a bit too much monolithic tree mushroom stem squid could find themselves requiring roomier attire: extra-large sizes sometimes come in “fatso” or “lard bucket” categories. These and other fashions can be had at the clothing chain known as Scat.

Go ahead and snicker, although by last Saturday’s opening of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, drawing more than 70 million visitors over its six-month run, these and other uniquely Chinese maladaptations of the English language were supposed to have been largely excised.

Read the entire article and answer the questions below.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. What has the Shanghai Commission for the Management of Language tried to accomplish for the last two years, and why?
  2. Why does Oliver Lutz Radtke, a “Chinglish” expert, defend mangled Chinese-English translations?
  3. What is the believed causes of “Chinglish” malapropisms?
  4. According to Jeffrey Yao, a translator and teacher, what’s the difference between desirable, lyrical mistranslations and maddening ones?
  5. In what other languages have you observed similar translation errors?

Activity | In this activity, you will work with idioms and expressions that have given you trouble, and you can interview native speakers or more advanced English-language learners.

You will be asking questions to learn about the process of learning English and to reflect on the relationship between language and culture.

Instructions: Revisit the idiom you translated during the warm-up. What does that idiom say about our culture? You might also consult a resource that provides the origins of such sayings, like Expressions & Sayings, Idioms & Axioms Currently Used in America or Phrases.org. (You might even look into the origin of “malapropism.”)

Once you have processed the connection, imagine if they came from a place where sports like tennis were either unpopular or not played at all. How would this expression have any meaning? Choose a few more to discuss, or work with a partner to pull out cultural meanings yourselves.

Next, generate interview questions that you could ask someone who has learned or is in the process of learning English as a second or foreign language. The questions should be about difficulties and challenges, as well as how language acquisition has been a window into a new culture.


  • Do you have any expressions in your language that a non-native speaker would have difficulty understanding due to a cultural difference?

When you are finished with your interview questions, you should conduct your interviews and tape or film them, if possible. Students should listen to or watch and transcribe the completed conversation, or edit it into a multimedia presentation.

Interviews should be shared in class, and students should compare the struggles and processes of the various people interviewed. To celebrate the connection made between the E.L.L. program or community language school, turn the sharing into a celebration where the groups can come together.

Going Further | Watch this slide show  “For Students Learning English, a World Apart.”

After the slide show, have a discussion about its relevance to your school. Is the E.L.L. program “a world apart”? Is there interaction between students in the E.L.L. program and in the rest of the school? If your school does not have an E.L.L. program, then tap into your community resources and find an organization where non-native English speakers are learning English and would be willing to do a community project with your classroom. See also our related lesson plan, Assimilate or Segregate?

Students might also create a “welcome kit” for the school E.L.L. program, including a list of anticipated linguistic difficulties as well as a list of common, school-specific phrases and words with simple explanations.

For more reading about the relationship between language and culture, assign students one of the following Times articles to read and reflect on:

“Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America”

“Listening to (and Saving) the World’s Languages”

“Indian Tribes Go in Search of Their Lost Languages”

“I, Translator”

“Pardon My French”

“Room for Debate: Will Americans Really Learn Chinese?”

“Room for Debate: The Chinese Language, Ever Evolving”

After you have read the article, respond to the following questions: Why would a nation or a people want to preserve its language(s)? How is language connected to culture? How does language connect or divide people?