Hi Everyone,

Yesterday we started with a challenge to guess what was going on in two photos that were real news stories.  We split up into two teams. One team got the answer and the other team tried to guess what the story was using only yes and no questions. Here are the photos:

Today’s conversation was about apps or applications that we all use on our phones and tablets. An app is a program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular function. We talked about what apps we have and what we use them for. Then we listed some categories for apps, like communication, entertainment, education, travel, music and more, and what apps are related to the categories.

We talked about apps for looking for romance – Tinder, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish.

Image result for tinderImage result for bumble    Image result for plenty of fish

Then we watched this film about a guy using an app to find love. Is this the way to find love????

After watching we described the guy in the film and speculated on if he would find love or not. We discussed whether or not these apps were replacing finding love in person, and whether or not these apps make finding a romantic partner less romantic. We also talked about apps as a community, and can apps tells us about someone’s personality or lifestyle.

Lastly we watched this talk about Litterati , which is an app for cleaning up trash in neighborhoods all over.Related image

The developer, Jeff Kirschner, describes his philosophy about why he designed the app and how it works. Take a look here:

We agreed this was a pretty good idea and clever way to clean up the planet!

So from love to litter, apps are everywhere!

Thanks for participating today and sharing your thoughts, ideas and insights!



Binomial Pairs

Hi Everyone,

Today we reviewed binomial pairs which are expressions containing two words which are joined by a conjunction, usually and or or.  Some examples are – soap and water, hot and cold, burger and fries, win or lose, now or never and now or later. Take a look at the review of binomial pairs we did together. To look up some of the meanings just go to The Free Dictionary online resource.

 Related imageNext we had some fun with a card matching game with binomials.

Today’s conversation was about binomial pairs and relationships – like husband and wife, mother and daughter/son/children, teacher and student/pupil, doctor and patient, and brother and sister. Our focus was on father and son. We took some time to describe the relationship between father and son, using lots of different adjectives, both positive, negative and neutral.

Then we listened to the audio of the film “Jordan and Norvin” which is about the relationship between a father and son. We talked about the dialogue between father and son and what images we might see in the film. Great job on describing the images in the film – very creative and imaginative. Take a look at the short film here:

After watching we described the relationship between father and son and agreed that the images were well suited to the script. Then we talked about the differences between the relationships of fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, and mothers and daughters and mothers and sons.  But, how do mothers describe themselves? How do kids describe their mothers?  After discussing these two questions we watched this film to see how mothers described themselves and how their kids described their mothers. Take a look here:

We talked about how the mothers and kids had such different views and the fact that all the kids were young and so their descriptions were sort of expected. The mothers generally were kind of hard on themselves and sometimes you just need to get a new perspective to change your situation. Life can be difficult and challenging , so it helps to have a different perspective. Image result for perspective quotes and take a deep breath

Thanks for your thoughts, ideas and participation in our conversation today!


Hi Everyone,

Today’s conversation was about choice – the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with 2 or more possibilities.  Image result for choice

We looked at some adjectives that go with choice – right, wise, careful, good, bad, wrong, difficult, and hard. Other adjectives are – free, first, second, consumer, popular, career, moral, clear, and multiple.

We looked at some verbs that go with choice – make, face, be faced with, offer, give, have no, and have little.

Next we discussed our personal choices that we make daily and some other life choices we’ve made. We may not realize it but we make lots of choices everyday throughout our lives. We talked about what type of choice maker we are – do we make choices quickly or do we take our time and think about our choices before making them. Making choices can be difficult when there is too much to choose from like at a store

or picking an item from a menu at a restaurantImage result for cheesecake factory menu

Then in pairs we asked each other some random this or that type choice options. It was a fun way to get to know each other through our choices!

We listened to a poem called “Choice” and after listening talked about the words in the poem and what it meant. Then we watched this video which goes with the poem “Choice”

Watch the video with the transcript of the poem, and you will see that the message of the film is that the writer of the poem has chosen to ask his girlfriend to marry him and she has accepted. We looked at the use of “choice” and “choose” in the poem and the ways choice is described.

Thanks for your participation and contribution to today’s conversation!

Image result for choice quotes


Hi Everyone,

Before we got into our discussion about today’s film, we did a fast review and practice of using “like” and “alike“. This table below gives a good summary of the meaning and usage:Image result for like and alike

Both like and alike have the same meaning, but we just use them differently in sentences and in speaking. Take a look at the practice we did together in class here.

Today we watched the short film “Alike” which is an animated film about a father, Copi, and his son, Paste.  Here is a screen shot from the film of Copi and Paste:Related image

There is no dialogue in the film which explores the ideas of life’s daily routines and the lack of creativity . Where can we find happiness in the daily routines of life? Before watching we reviewed some key vocabulary using these flashcards.

We tried to speculate on what would happen in the film and as we watched it we focused on the colors as well as the overall messages of the film. Take a look here :

After watching we discussed the idea of color in the film and the relationship between father and son , and their work and school, respectively. What made Copi and Paste alike? What were their lives like? Where did they live? When creativity and happiness is introduced with the violinist, all of a sudden, there is all this color? Why? Should a parent make sure that their child(ren) are happy? What does Copi do so that at the end, both Copi and Paste get their color back again?  In the end Copi knows he needs to teach his son to do the right things, but, he doesn’t want his son to live without happiness and creativity.Image result for alike

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas on today’s conversation.

Try to keep the color in your life!

World Heritage Day

Hi Everyone,

Today, April 18th is World Heritage Day. Image result for world heritage day 2017

World Heritage Day is a day that it’s founder UNESCO has established  to celebrate national park, cities, monuments and other sites deemed to be important to the preservation of human and natural environments. Check out World Heritage UNESCO site here .You can click the list of World Heritage sites and see the list  by country.

We had students from several different countries today and they told us about some of the site s in their home countries that were listed on the World Heritage List and why they have historical and cultural value. Some of you have visited the sites and described how they look, and some of the activities that take place at the sites. Thanks for your insightful information and descriptions.

We talked about the city of Katmandu, Nepal, which is on the World Heritage List, and how many of its buildings were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. The city suffered great human loss as well.Here is a video that shows Katmandu before the earthquake:

This video shows the vibrance, color, and activities of this heavily populated city. This next video shows the work and reconstruction that went on after the earthquake.

After watching this video  we talked about preservation and protection activities of these world artifacts and historical, natural and cultural sites.

Thanks for contributing your thoughts and ideas today! Happy World Heritage Day!

Wishes, Regrets, and Complaints

Hi Everyone,

Today we reviewed when and how to use expressions to talk about wishes, regrets and complaintsusing wish / if only….. + verbImage result for wishes, regrets and complaints

To express a wish – use I wish (that) / if only + past tense

To express a regret – use I wish / if only + (that) + past perfect



To express a complaint – use I wish (that) / if only + would Related image

Here’s a summary of the form and use of wishes, regrets, and complaints.

Take another look at the review we did together in class here.

Next we talked about some of our own regrets, wishes and complaints. We watched this video “Mind The Gap’ in which a woman has a strange habit, but, it reveals a lot about her life.

After watching we discussed why the woman, Margaret Laurence, went to the subway station – to listen to her deceased husband’s recording of the warning for riders on the platform to “mind the gap” between the platform and the train. But, one day the recording was the voice of a woman and not Margaret’s husband,Oswald. Margaret wrote to the train authorities, explained how she missed hearing her husband’s voice and they reinstated his voice for her.

We talked about the wishes, regrets, and complaints that we found in this film.

Great job everyone! Thanks for sharing and contributing to today’s conversation!

Try to practice the I wish phrases to express your own wishes, regrets and complaints!

Virtual Choir

Hi Everyone,

Today’s conversation was about music – music in nature and music in cyberspace or virtual music. Image result for music in nature

We talked about different types of musical instruments and different types of music.

Then we talked about feelings and emotions related to music.

When do we listen to music? Why do we listen to music? What types of music do we like?

We discussed the sounds we hear in nature – like the wind, waves crashing, certain insects and birds singing. Rain falling , waterfalls, thunder, leaves rustling on trees. We all agreed that there is music in nature. We watched this video about how musicians use nature sounds in their work.

In this video about midway through, there is a demonstration of a beating or drumming sound that has a great beat. It turns out to be the sound of a tree, which has been dried out and is now getting some water up its trunk and branches. Pretty cool! So sounds in nature are all around us.

Next we talked about virtual music, which is basically music created and produced by computers. It has become more and more popular and you can check out some virtual instruments  here. Anyone can play these instruments and you don’t have to leave your home or buy any of the instruments.Image result for virtual musical instruments

Virtual music provides access to anyone who is interested and connects people with a shared interest in music. It’s available anytime, and all the time.

It is considered a new art form producing a new type of artistic and audience experience. The traditional music performance is transformed!

Eric Whitacre, who is a composer and conductor, has a project called the Virtual Choir, which he stared in 2009. It is a global choir that joins singers from around the world who share their love of music using technology. Singers upload their videos and then they are aggregated into a beautiful and magical choral creation. Watch this video as Eric Whitacre explains his project, with great passion and emotion.

After watching we discussed Eric’s project and what we as viewers felt about it.  One important aspect, along with the creation of the music, was the sense of connection and community, or as Eric put it, even he felt an “esprit de corps” , a sense of pride, fellowship and common loyalty shared by members of a group.

Eric’s latest work is Virtual Choir 4 , Fly To Paradise” , which has 8,409 videos featuring 5,905 singers from 101 countries. Relax, sit back and enjoy it here:

We all agreed that this is a very exciting production and the images of the singers and animation are great. The music is engaging and some of us felt like we were flying! For more information about the Virtual Choir and more videos go to the website where you can even sign up to sing in the next Virtual Choir performance!

Image result for fly to paradise virtual choir

Thanks for your contributions, thoughts and ideas to our conversation today!

International Women’s Day

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday we focused on Women’s History, which is celebrated in March, and International Women’s Day, which is March 8th. We started our conversation by selecting women in history and finding out when they lived, what they accomplished and any other significant facts about them. Some of the women we honored were Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Asma Khader, Florence Griffith Joyner, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Simone Weil, Susan B. Anthony, Queen Elizabeth of England, Sojouner Truth, Indira Ghandi, Princess Diana, and Rosa Parks.Image result for women in history

International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for all their achievement and it is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments. Most importantly, it’s to look ahead to the potential and opportunities for future generations of women.

This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is “Women in the Changing World of Work” . We talked about current conditions of the global labor force and women. We discussed some of the issues that women face, including, pay inequity, access to jobs and opportunities, harassment in the work place, and general advancement and recognition.  Here are some of the facts we reviewed:




We talked about in our own countries what is the role of women in the labor force and how are women viewed and treated in their jobs and occupations. What has changed? What needs to change?  Then we watch this video that celebrates women and their innovations that changed lives


We wrapped up our celebration of Women by watching this video of a poem “Today I Rise”  as you watch it, read the poem here.

We talked about the poem, it’s message and meaning, and agreed that everyday we all rise! And lastly, this song is for all women, everywhere, everyday!

Every job is a woman’s job!

Photos: Vidura Jang Bahadur, Vidura Jang Bahadur, UN Women/Ryan Brown, Andrei Dolghier, UN Women/Ryan Brown, UN Women/Ryan Brown, UN Women/Joe Saad, UN Women/Joe Saad, UN Women/Joe Saad, UN Women/Dragana B. Stevanovic, UN Photo/Marco Dormino, UN Women/Ryan Brown, UN Women/Christopher Herwig, World Bank/Maria Fleischmann, Abbie Trayler-Smith, UN Women ECA/Rena Effendi, UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov, UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov, UNAMA/Fardin Waezi, UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov, CIAT/Georgina Smith

Finding Your Voice

Hi Everyone,

Today is the last day of February and also Mardi Gras, the annual parade and celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. Related imageMardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday”, which is the day before the celebration of Lent. There are special foods, like the king cake, and special costumes are worn in the parade and balls at many krewes (or clubs) around New Orleans. There is also lots of music and walking bands all around New Orleans today. Take a look at this video which shows some of the history and traditions about Mardi Gras.

Today’s conversation was about “Your Voice”. We use our voices to communicate and make lots of different sounds. Something we communicate are stories, so we use the narrative verb tenses, past simple and past continuous.Here is the quick practice we did of these two verb tenses.

Ok, now let’s get to our topic – Your Voice.  The human voice is various sounds made with our vocal cords and lungs. We all have various “tones” of our voices from low to high and everything in between. These “tones” can elicit  emotions and feelings. But, most importantly, your voice is your identity. (anytime you call a friend or family, you just say “Hi. It’s me” and everyone recognizes your voice).

We then discussed the expression “find your own voice” – which basically means to have your own opinion and be willing to express it : to have the courage to speak up. Here are 9 quotes about finding your voice that we discussed together. One particular quote was from the movie Dead Poets Society, where the teacher, played by the late Robin Williams, encourages his students to find their own voice , and find it sooner rather than later – watch it here:

We discussed how to find your voice, and how sometimes it can be difficult. We watched this video  by Allsion Shapira, who describes how she found her voice with her guitar.

At the end Allison says that finding your voice is not the ending, it is the beginning.

Lastly, we talked about voices and what we think of different types of voices. Do women have to try harder in the professional world to make their voices different to appear confident and in charge? Is their a difference between male and female voices? Why? Take a look at this video that discusses the issues that women from NPR face:

After watching we talked about the issues raised here by these women, and certain cultural issues that women in other countries face with “finding their voice” and being heard.

Thanks everyone for contributing to today’s conversation! See you next week!