Thursday, April 23, 2015

Globe Trotters

Photo by JR in The New York Times

The life here is very beautiful. I eat the tacos in Sunset Park. They have halal tacos there, and they are very delicious. I like to go to Times Square. I like all the carts, the tall buses. Everything is nice, and it's very crowded. I feel safe in crowds. I like the lights, like I fell into heaven.
Check out this lovely and inspiring photo essay by the French artist JR in the Times today. There are 16 portraits of immigrants in our city, and each person shares his or her perspective on life here. I'm sure you'll find interesting ways to use this material in class!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Everyone's Upstairs Neighbors

This short video is entertaining, and could be used in a few different low-prep ways in class. Some ideas:
  • Give students a list of common prepositions. Ask them to write sentences describing what the neighbors are doing using some prepositions from the list.
  • Have the students write an imaginary letter to these upstairs neighbors using modal verbs to make polite requests and suggestions.
  • Ask the students to share stories about strange experiences with their neighbors. Vote on which story is the strangest!
Thanks to Rebecca V. for suggesting this video to us!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Activity Roundup: Bill Cunningham on Spring, 3 Words for NYC, and a Brooklyn Food Tour with Anthony Bourdain

Welcome to the spring term! Here are some activities you can use in class.

This installment of Bill Cunningham On The Street looks at some signs of spring. I designed an activity that encourages students to generate vocabulary related to spring, then asks them to focus on specific vocabulary used in the column. They will then read the column, watch the video clip, and complete comprehension questions. Some of the verbs the activity examines are in the Academic Word List, so this activity is useful for students in intermediate and high levels.

3 words for NYC from Cokau Lab on Vimeo.

This is a short video using very simple (yet authentic) language, and I designed a companion activity that can be used with students in very low levels. First, the students take notes on what they hear in the video; then, they have the opportunity to compose and share their own "3 words for NYC."

This last activity asks students to think critically about the diversity of cuisine in New York City using three Brooklyn restaurants as examples. There are some listening comprehension questions that help the students to understand the short clip. Then, there are four discussion questions - or possibly writing prompts - that get students to think more critically about the history and culture of food. This activity is appropriate for students in intermediate to high levels in any skill area.