Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tito's Ideal Home

One of our students, Prudencio (or Tito, as he prefers to be called!) from Llanos de Maria Rivera, wrote a nice essay about his ideal home. Good work, Tito! -- David

My ideal home would be very huge. I would like my house to have very big windows, because this would allow more light to come in. My ideal home needs a very good central heating system because I am very sensitive to the cold. I would prefer that my home has a roof, and of course, it will be a detached house. I would like it to have a big garden and a garage. I would also like my ideal home to have a big swimming pool, because I like swimming very much. It would be nice to have a lot of enormous trees around my home and I would like to have a gym so I can do lots of exercise in the morning and after work.
By Prudencio (Tito)

Jose Luis Goes on Holiday

In the NI2 class, Jose Luis wrote a wonderful, detailed note to an imaginary friend Mary. He is going on holiday for a while and Mary has offered to look after his place during his absence. Of course, Mary gets to have a wonderful vacation in the Canary Islands. This is a nice first assignment for Jose Luis, a very cheerful student. Good work, Jose Luis! -- David

Dear Mary,

Just a few words to tell you some tips about the house. As you know, houses like this, by the sea, need some extra work on it, because of the humidity and salty atmosphere that deteriorate everything, especially metals and wall paint.

I lend you my home because I know you are a careful person like me. Anyway, please remind the following:

First of all, leave the windows and doors closed and set the alarm anytime you go out.
Remember to feed the dog twice a day. Its food is in the cupboard in the kitchen. There you will also find the food for the fish. Once-a-day should be enough for them.

I hope you will find everything you need. Just in case, there is a little shop at the corner where you can find almost anything you need.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any problem.

Have a nice stay and I hope you find a beautiful weather.

Jose Luis

P.S: Please water the plants twice a week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Classroom Perceptions

To my students,
You may have noticed that I prefer to have the desks arranged in a semicircle so that you are looking at each other and not just at the teacher. (NOT like the woman teaching in the class pictured here, by the way!)
Students have been kindly helping with the process of moving desks at the beginning of class. At the end of the class sessions (at 9) we need to re-arrange the desks again so they are back in their usual place and ready for the high school classes the following morning. As we share this classroom space with the high school, it is important to be thoughtful of the other folks, teachers and students, who also use this space.
The way we perceive our class has a big influence on how we learn. In a communicative language learning environment, we look to each other for many social activities in the classroom.
Thanks for your cooperation.

Save Paper and Energy (Ahorrar papel y energía)

To my students,
I hope the announcements I post on my blog for class will help save paper and energy. This should make our learning experience more efficient, too. Let's hope it works! -- David

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

"There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe
She had so many children
She didn't know what to do"
- Children's Nursery Rhyme

We are studying homes in our NI2 classes. This unit brought to mind a nursery rhyme I learned as a child. Fishing around on the Net, I found this photo which may inspire an essay. Here's a title:
Describe the most amazing house you have ever seen.

Write as many words as you like, but don't get carried away (¡no te pases!)
Regards and best wishes

Friday, September 18, 2009

Intermediate 2 Groups (IUNIT ONE: HOME COMFORTS)

Dear students of Intermediate 2 (both groups),
We are busy getting to know each other, learning names and making the most of our class time. We have sung a few songs and did some public speaking which should help us conquer our nerves.

In the Premium B1 textbook we are working on Unit 1 about HOMES. Here are some essay titles for you to write about if you need extra writing practice. Write 150 words for each:

1) Describe your ideal home.
2) Describe your favourite room in your house.
3) A friend is going to stay at your house for three weeks while you are on vacation. Write her a note with instructions about how to care for the place.

Good luck and keep studying!
- David

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


To my singing students!

I don't know much about this old cowboy song, except that it is a family favorite of us Sheas. It also has a lilting melody that is clearly Irish in origin. By the way, I don't think many cowboys actually used expressions like "I bid you adieu" but that's okay!

Hope you enjoy singing it. -- David

From this valley they say you are going,
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile.
For they say you are taking the sunshine,
That has brightened our pathways awhile.

Come and sit by my side, if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
Just remember the red river valley,
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

I've been thinking a long time, my darling,
Of the sweet words you never did say.
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish?
For they say you are going away.

Do you think of the valley you're leaving?
Oh, how lonely and dreary it will be.
Do you think of the kind hearts you're breaking?
And the pain you are causing to me?

(Irish Cowboy Song by James Kerrigan, apparently from the 1850s)

I'm - not - scared-- overcoming fear in the classroom

To all my students,

We have already begun to stand up and speak before the class. Addressing an audience, whether big or small, can be a formidable experience. Here is the wonderful Bob Blue song to help us overcome our fears. Relax and enjoy yourself in class. -- David

I'm - not - scared
I'm - not - scared
See this smile upon my face
That proves that I'm not scared.
I went into a big, dark house
I went there by myself.
It seemed to me as if it had
a ghost on every shelf.
A friend of mine was hiding there
and then I saw his head.
He jumped right out and shouted "Boo!"
and this is what I said:
One night when camping in the woods,
I heard a spooky sound.
I slipped out of my sleeping bag
to take a look around.
The night was dark, the shadows deep
A spooky, creepy night.
And this is what I shouted out, while shivering with fright.
When I go out on Halloween
the spooks will be out, too.
And so I think I'll watch my step,
and so, I think, should you.
And if I get a little scared,
I'll keep in mind this song.
We're gonna sing it one more time,
so you'd better sing along:

Note: spooky and creepy are roughly synonymous!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sherman's March to the Sea (Film Recommendation)

If you are a keen to watch a quirky film, Ross McElwee's classic Sherman's March. McElwee is a professor of film studies in Boston, Massachusetts but he is originally from North Carolina. In this semi-serious documentary, he chronicles the great tragedy that was General Sherman's march through the Southern USA during the Civil War of the 1860s. I plan to use the clip attached to help students come to terms with different variants of English. In this case,
we get a healthy dose of the US Southern drawl.

The Noted Rider

(Yikes! Here is a story that needs an ending. Please send me your ideas about how this very ancient tale reaches its logical conclusion. Thanks for your suggestions and imagination. -- Delmar Lemming, EOI resident story teller)
Once a famous nobleman galloped through...

    the forest on his horse. On one side of him, his wife was riding along on another horse and on the other side rode his trusted servant. They rode through the night as the moon was full and lit their way. Suddenly the moon disappeared behind some clouds and the three riders slowed their horses to a trot. Just then a gang of bandits jumped out from the bushes and attacked. They pulled them off their horses and chopped off the heads of the nobleman and his servant. Then they took the horses and all their money and rode off into the night, leaving the woman alone in the forest beside these two dead men. The woman wept in agony but the moon came out again and revealed a tiny stream that she had not noticed. As the moonlight danced in the flowing water two birds landed on a low branch just above the woman’s head. One bird tells the other that the mud of this stream is magic. If the woman takes the mud from this stream and rubs it in her hands with three leaves from the tree where they are perched, then spits into the mixture three times and chants the magic spell (the hocus pocus variety) she can then run the mud onto the dead men’s necks and put their heads back on. They will, the bird assures his mate, then be perfect well again. The birds fly away and the woman rushes to do as instructed. After carrying out the procedure she puts the heads back on.As predicted, the men are right as rain. The trouble is, in her excitement, the woman put her husband’s head on the servant’s body and the servant’s head on her husband’s body. My question is: who is her real husband?

Welcome Back!

It is great to be back here at the EOI Santa Brigida Blog where you will find lots of interesting information about activities and information to improve your English. You will also find some stories and songs you might enjoy whether you are learning English or not! Thanks for coming to the blog. David Shea (alias Delmar Lemming!)