Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hard time for a teacher

Dear Students,

I am having a hard time! I want to go to England for in-service training, and after hours and hours of filling out forms and writing, it looks like I can't get the funding I need. That's why I'm having a hard time.

On a happier subject, this blog may soon have a few photos taken with my soon-to-be-bought point-and-shoot digital camera! That's exciting. I also hope to use its video feature to record roleplays in English lessons, play them back and let students comment about themselves. I wonder if any teachers who might read this blog have tried doing that?

And...that's it for now!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Students, especially dear horticulturists, here is a lovely portrait an anther (20x) of your "friend" arabidopsis (thale cress) the little grass whose genome was identified in 2000. As you know, it is used in plant genetic research. Even if you're not excited about horticulture or genetics, this is a great photograph! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Dear Students,

What can you imagine? There isn't enough imagination in the world today! It's time to stand up and imagine good things, so please start here on the blog. Information is good; imagination is better.

I'll go first. I imagine that by the end of November I will be happier! I imagine that I will be able to

speak up when I see a problem

(phrasal verb: speak up

1. To speak loud enough to be audible.

2. To speak without fear or hesitation.) .

What can you imagine?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not-so-small Talk

Hello, Students!

I'm just winding up a long weekend, like the rest of you. As I was looking through the list of links on the right here, I realized what a "mixed bag" it is. I hope all my students will find something useful there.

SMALL TALK  is the topic I am thinking about now. How do you make small talk? You know, the chitchat that everybody does at times--in an elevator, waiting for late students to join the group, while copies are being made, etc.

Some people think small talk is stupid! They always want to say serious things about serious topics. I don't believe that's good, because small talk is not really "small" -- it is a good way to know another person better or just enjoy and relax a bit.

My favorite small talk topics are:

  • what you did on the weekend/holiday,
  • a good or funny anecdote,
  • and surprises (like gifts you got, something that has surprised you recently at work or in your family, etc.)
What are your small talk topics?

But... NO politics or strong jokes!

Go to this useful link to learn how to make small talk with anyone. Small talk is fun, because you never know where the talk will go--it depends on you and the other person's interaction.


Here's small talk in action!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just returned from Prague!

Hello, students!

Well, Prague was exciting. We walked all over the city and saw lots of beautiful buildings. The setting is a bit like Budapest, but lots of things are different. And the beer is heavenly!
Before Prague, I went to a teacher training "camp" in the southern Czech Republic. I met lots of people, most of them teachers like me. We shared ideas and stories, and learned about Ireland past and present.

What about you? What have you been doing this summer?


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Here I go again!

Hello, students!

I hope you are enjoying the long summer days, but don't forget, we just started the month of August. What are you doing in English? I hope you are reading something good, or listening to English lyrics in your favorite music.

Next week I will be in the Czech Republic at a teacher training camp. The main topic is Celtic culture -- all about Ireland: the country, its history, music, dance, and language. I want to meet new people and learn about teaching methods, too. Most of the participants are from the Czech Republic, but some are from Hungary, Poland, and other countries.

I will write about my experiences when I come back.



Keep on studying!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gone for a Week

Hello, students!

Well, it's summer, and the time has come for a little trip. I am going to dance camp from June 29 to July 3.

Please write 5 questions for me about my summer trip. Post them in comments, and I will try to answer everything, even the difficult questions!

Now here is a writing task with present simple verbs:

What is your ideal job? Make it REAL! Imagine you are in your ideal job, and write sentences, for example:

I work in a big company in London. Every day I go to work by train. I start at 8, and my first task is ...

Some verbs you can use: wear (clothes), organize, manage, call, discuss, decide, be tired/worried/disappointed, write, read, send, receive, design, help, etc.

See you later, alligators!


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Welcome to this blog. I hope it will help you learn English, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Today: READING - looking for information on a website.

Please look at the links list. Your first task is to click on the official Judo website. Find the answers to these questions. Write them in a comment.

1. When was judo first practiced in Japan?
2. When was "modern" judo invented? Who invented it?
3. O-goshi is a throwing technique. Find the names of 3 other throwing techniques and write them in your post.
4. Find one more interesting fact on the website and write it in your post.

We will talk about judo in our next lesson.

Goodbye for now!