Making questions

Helmut and I are using some of my teaching materials here so he can improve his English. We’ve never spoken English with each other, because I’m an English teacher and there’s always this slight feeling of hierarchy in a teacher-student relationship, which doesn’t do a marriage any good. But here we are, and he wants to work on his skills, so we do. Anyway, the materials I’ve brought along include my very favorite ones, namely a set of grammar cards published by Brain-Friendly Publications, a publisher dedicated to Accellerated Learning, “whole brain” teaching, NLP, Suggestopedia and so on, written and illustrated by a wonderful teacher and teacher trainer, Mark Fletcher. This publisher now has e-books, too, but both my husband and I are hands-on types, and having cards on the table or on the beach towel is simply lovely.

Yesterday he had me in stitches (Freunde, that means: laughing my head off) as we worked with a card that asks the student to make questions to go with answers that are given on a card (and the teacher then needs to answer the questions). The answers Helmut had to work with were:

  • No. I’ve got an awful headache.
  • Very well, thanks. I’m almost finished.
  • You switch it on and press the ‘start’ button.

I’m not going to tell you what his questions were. And, no, I didn’t get the answers “right”.

The Police: Roxanne

This song is still amazing after over 30 years. Don’t you love early videos of great bands? They’re working their butts off jamming and the audience is sitting there like so many dead ducks.

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don’t have to sell your body to the night
Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light
Put on the red light, oh

I loved you since I knew ya
I wouldn’t talk down to ya
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won’t share you with another boy
I know my mind is made up
So put away your make up
Told you once I won’t tell you again it’s a bad way

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
You don’t have to put on the red light
Put on the red light, put on the red light

song of the week :-) englischlernen mit liedern

Englischlernen mit Blogs is as easy as 1,2,3

If you are practicing English online by yourself, here are three lovely blogs written especially for you to start with. Each one is special in its own way:

1. Der Englisch-Blog

Dieser Blog von Markus Brendel ist auf Deutsch geschrieben und erklärt täglich entweder einen Ausdruck oder eine Frage aus der Grammatik. Gestern hat Markus beispielsweise das sehr aktuelle Thema “Dienstwagen” präsentiert, und ich habe mich total nach Washington, DC versetzt gefühlt, wo die dicken schwarzen “official cars” mit Tatü, Tata! durch die Straßen düsen. Nicht zu verwechseln mit dem “company car”, den Dolce fährt. Und heute geh’s um den Begriff “mad as a hatter” aus Alice in Wonderland.

2. Bite-Sized English

Toby features great topics of everyday life, like getting ready for a baby (which I think he is doing right now) as well as very practical, specialized business English topics. He provides a daily podcast and a worksheet to print out. Often he will feature the same topic several days in a row as a series, so you can really concentrate on it. Right now the topic is cars, or “Automotive English“. I wonder whether he’ll be doing something on having your car stolen?

3. Nik’s Daily English Activities

If you like gadgets and online tools and want to play with all of these fun things, Nik Peachey‘s blog is the place to go. He used to be a jazz guitarist, and I think it shows in his love for experiments. Nik’s very focussed on tools that really help you learn, and his blog for teachers is my main guidebook through this brave world of online learning. Learn to understand English accents, from America to India, using the best of the web, the Speech Accent Archive of George Mason University, in his latest post. Or, to stay on topic, play the eye-opening game in his post on “Driving and Listening to English“.

And those are just three to start with! There are so many, and I promise to feature more. Please have a look at my blogroll “englischlernen” for some of my favorites.

Wenn Sie etwas Spezielles suchen, kann ich Ihnen ja vielleicht einen Tipp geben. Auf Twitter (http://twitter.com/annehodg) folge ich vielen Lehrern mit tollen Blogs. Sie haben echt was zu bieten. Also: Fröhliches Surfen!

Stealers Wheel: Stuck in the middle with you

Gary Rafferty and Stealers Wheel sang this way back in 1972, but the feeling is universal, isn’t it? “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you!” Life can be a circus. If you’re stuck, well, I hope you find a way out of the situation.

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you..

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self-made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin’,
Slap you on the back and say,
“Please… Please…”

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self-made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin’,
Slap you on the back and say,
“Please… Please…”

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

englischlernen mit liedern :-) learning english with songs

To make a beeline for something

When you’re going straight and fast towards a goal you make a beeline for it. And do bees make beelines, too? They sure do. This is no mean feat, but it’s vitally important, because like the geese they’re on a knife-edge energy budget. The straighter their beelines, the less energy they expend. Get a buzz from the flight of this bumble bee, especially seconds 0:50-1:20.

From the BBC Earth YouTube Channel:

Amazing wildlife video explaining the fascinating technology behind some of the world’s greatest nature photography and how this technology can be used to help us learn more about the behaviour of animal species. Watch this video to learn more about the behaviour of the bumble bee, including its long flights at high speed and its unerring ability to fly in straight lines – Bee Lines! Great video from BBC wildlife show Animal Camera, hosted by Steve Leonard. Visit http://www.bbcearth.com for all the latest animal news and wildlife videos and watch more high quality videos on the new BBC Earth YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/bbcearth

to make a beeline for sth – etw. schnurstracks anpeilen
no mean feat – keine geringe Leistung
knife-edge – Messerklinge
to expend energy – Energie verbrauchen
to get a buzz from sth. – sich v. etw. positiv anmachen lassen, etw. genießen

Question: Which skill would you like to develop?

There comes a time when you realize that you’ve been working hard in one direction or area and have become quite good at what you do. Generally it happens in the middle of what my husband Helmut calls “die Schuftphase” (when you’re slaving away at full throttle). So you’re being very productive in your current position. That’s a critical time, because when you start marking time – or not moving forward – you really need to ask yourself what comes next.

Have you thought about developing any special skill, something that you haven’t had time for before? It might be work related; you might want to skill up. But equally likely it will be more general and have to do with opening up new vistas. I’m thinking about a few different areas I’d like to develop. I’ll tell you about them in this week’s podcast. How about you? Write or tell me whether you are thinking about professional development or perhaps about getting more involved with a hobby of yours. Or could it be that you’ve already started?

to slave away – schuften, malochen, sich abrackern
at full throttle – mit Vollgas
to mark time – auf der Stelle treten
to skill up – zusätzliche Fertigkeiten erwerben
to open up new vistas – neue Perspektiven auftun


Was ist das Blogprojekt? Mehr dazu unter Englischlernen mit Anne!

islandweeklycover300 Subscribe to the Island Weekly podcast by RSS or in iTunes. Set up your own blog by sending an e-mail to post@posterous.com

I’m in the doghouse

I’m in the doghouse with Google – they’ve taken my site off for 30 days because it was hacked and so I don’t meet their standards. My personal Lent – at least it’s not 40 days :-)

Englisch lernen/ BC: animated explanation of the idiom “I’m in the doghouse” here.

Why are poor outsiders called “dogs”? “Slumdog Millionaire” is causing anger in India because of the word “dog”. Maybe over there a dog has a real “dog’s life”. But all of the dogs I know have it really good.