Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Breakfast Recipes: What do people eat in your area?

What is your image of the ideal breakfast? Having traveled to different parts of the world, I have seen that the meal isn't the same everywhere. Try these listening/video activities on the topic:

- http://esl-lab.com/breakfastrecipes/breakfastrecipesrd1.htm

 Then, describe a typical breakfast in your area? What do people usually have for breakfast? How does the local culture influence what people eat? Are there items you have for breakfast that people from other places might find unusual?

Please share your ideas.


Monday, February 15, 2010

New Language Videos - Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab

Hi everyone,

I have just created new language-learning videos on my Web site (www.esl-lab.com) on small talk, winter hiking, and winter camping, and they are some of the most interesting and exciting videos I have enjoyed creating so far. Take a look:

- http:/www.esl-lab.com/videoclips.htm

Here are the direct links to these video activities:

- Meeting People: http://www.esl-lab.com/invite/smalltalk-video.htm
- Winter Camping: http://www.esl-lab.com/camp/wintercamping-video.htm
- Winter Activities: http://www.esl-lab.com/hiking/winteractivities-video.htm

I am also adding Online Investigation Activities on my site to encourage critical thinking. You can learn more about his project at:

- http://www.esl-lab.com/tips.htm#online



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Challenges of Life: What things do you face and how do you deal with them?

All of us, sooner or later, will face some form of emotional, physical, or spiritual challenge in our lives that will test our limits of endurance. For some, it might be learning a language; for others, it could be dealing with the death of a love one. And still others may struggle with the pressures of daily life.

However, in most cases, learning how to deal with the challenges, frustrations, and disappointments of life helps build character, giving us the strength to move forward in life.

For me personally, many of those challenges are dealing with many day-to-day issues. Besides that, one of the things I enjoy (but is very challenging for me) is running long distances. Of course, I am very, very slow, but doing something that tests your limits and teaches you something along the way is what I like doing.

Recently, I participated in a snowshoe marathon. Yes, running in snowshoes up and down along the way in through some mountain trails. It was very hard, and I didn't win any prize, but even though I came in near the end, just finishing gave me satisfaction.

So, what about you? What challenges you most in life at the moment and how do you find the strength to continue on? Please share your ideas.


Randall running along a mountain trail

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Special Thanks to Visitors and Bloggers!

I just wanted to take a minute to thank all those who have contributed so much to this blog. Your comments and ideas have helped all of us, including myself, reflect more on not only language learning, but also about the world around us.

One particular blogger, Bruno De Matta, has contributed so many interesting posts that have been very enlightening and useful for all of our readers. Kan-u has been another active poster. I just can't express enough thanks. I also apologize if I haven't pointed out your own contributions; there are just too many of you to name personally.

Keep your ideas coming.

You might have noticed already, but I have these blog postings linked to my listening activities, so that after a student completes one of my conversations, he/she is encouraged to share ideas on a similar topic on the blog. Here is one example:

- http://esl-lab.com/credit/creditcardrd1.htm#post

With this particular blog post on credit cards, there are over 150 postings on the topic from around the world, and I hope that people will continue to share ideas.

Again, thanks.


Spelling: How important is it?

One of the challenges (joys) I have as a teacher is trying to instill in students the importance of careful work when they complete writing tasks as a part of any language class. However, there are students who tend to ignore spelling for any number of reasons including (1) thinking that the meaning of their message is what is most important, not spelling, (2) laziness, and (3) lack of training on some basic spelling rules.

However, imagine that you are applying for a job a company called Happy Travel, and in your letter to the company, you spell it "Haappy Travel." Do you really think the company will call you back for an interview? Of course not. Or imagine that you misspell your wife's/husband's/friend's name . . . again and again. How pleased will this person be?

Plainly speaking, spelling speaks a lot about a person's educational background/training and to what level they take care in their work.

So, what thoughts do you have on the subject? What factors affect a students spelling or writing beyond what I have mentioned? What techniques have you found useful in learning how to spell? Please share your ideas.