Sunday, March 25, 2007

Agricultural show & Winner of What country is this?

Today we'll concentrate on speaking practice and learning how to use Audacity.

Some of you wanted a tutorial on basic blog functions. You can find a tutorial, Adding links and images on the right sidebar. It is a video that you have to download to your desktop. If you want a printed version, you can read/print this worksheet on how to add pictures or this one on how to add links.

Before we start with Audacity, listen to your very first podcast in Let's Talk: Introductions from Semester 1, 2007 FT students. William's students are going to listen to it and they may even try to send us recorded messages. Read his instructions here. It's very exciting, isn't it? Good work!

  • Later we'll correct the language of our Forum. Thanks to all the participants. It was very interesting to read your thoughts on such an important topic (multiculturalism).

  • But first....... IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

We've got 2 winners of our picture guessing competition, What country is this?. The first absolute winner is Marta and she is not even in our class! Marta used to be in Marion's class last year and had her own blog with links to our class blog. That's how she heard of the guessing challenge. You may remember her from her visit to the computer room last Tuesday. She's been working at this for days. Read her emails or post entries below.

The other winner is Dan from our class. He's also been working very hard at trying to find the answer. I think he enjoyed the ride and we may ask him to set up a pictorial guessing game for us, as he is such a good photographer.

Please read Marta's emails and blog entries from the past 2 weeks.

Congratulations, Marta!

These are links to your blogs,
including Dan's blog, with the answers you gave:

Congratulations, Dan!

  • The Easter show is approaching. If you want to go, you can plan your day trip beforehand by visiting their website, Easter Show. And if you have time, you can do this worksheet from last year: Easter Show by one of our teachers (Nadia).
  • Splendid Speaking is a podcasting site form the UK. Its master (the person who publishes it) has asked me permission to publish a link to our Let's Talk podcasting site, so that his students can contact us. I said yes. It's a great way for ESL students to communicate with one another across the world. It will help you improve your listening and speaking skills tremendously!
Do you know the names of these flowers? Which one is an Australian native?


Thursday, March 22, 2007

State elections over

Balmain electoral polling booth on 24th March 2007

Last Saturday were the state elections. Australians went to their local polling booths to exercise their right and responsibility as citizens. Can you find anything in this picture that makes you say something about our electoral system? (write in your blogs)

Today's work:

  • Forum: Last week's discussion about multiculturalism to celebrate Harmony Day
  • Write an email to William's class in New Zealand and send it.
  • Go to Let's Talk, a website where we will publish your radio programs. Listen to Marielle's first radio program and the introductory Semester 2 Students as examples of what you can do. Today we will work on our introductions, either individually or in pairs. Later on we will start working on your radio programs.
  • Recording your voice: I will show you how to use Audacity to record your voice onto the computer. You can record a brief introduction of yourself and/or a classmate. On the right sidebar there is a permanent link to a tutorial, in case you need to read it when you try doing it at home.
Work to do later or at home:
  • Time4English: Go to Grammar Book,letter T and do the tense exercises that follow the blue ones you did last week: Tense - Future - will & going to, Tense - Past continuous, Tense - Present perfect
  • I'm going to give you a table with all the work that you should have on your blogs. You can start working on catching up with your blog portfolio!
What's on: Information about interesting things in Sydney, Kogarah, etc
  • Sydney in the dark:Earth Hour. What is it? How can you take part in it? What do you think about it? Are you going to do it? You can write a post about this.

Games: Exotic country.
Many of you have had very interesting answers. Nobody from this class has got the correct country yet. These are the countries that are not correct: Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Belize, China, North America, Australia, or Mexico. The continent Africa is not correct either. I'll give you a final clue: The name of this country is related to the name of the person who got to that part of the world in 1492.

If you want to relax and improve your mouse skills, you can do these exercises on
Mouse skills. I've placed a permanent How tos link on the right sidebar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy 75th Birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We did it! 101 Ways to Improve Our English Outside Class!
Check it out here. With all your answers and the ones from my previous students and your help in class to put them all together, we have reached our goal of 101 ideas on how to improve our English skills when we are not in class. They are divided into the 4 skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing, but a few of them are general, so I put them at the beginning. They are all your ideas, so read them and put them into practice!

  • Some of you wrote very good answers about the photos my brother took in his recent trip to an exotic destination. Nobody has guessed the exact country, so I've left a few clues in your comments. It is neither Africa nor China! Read the clues in your classmates' blogs and some of Marion's students' blogs and also see if this helps you guess the name of the country.
  • Today I want to give you time to read William's students emails and reply to them. He sent a general list of emails. You can put them all in a group or distribution list in your contacts/addresses book. So, start work by reading your received emails and answer them. I'll help you if you need me to.
  • Last week we didn't have our forum. Check it out this week. Harmony Day is approaching, we live in a very multicultural country, we had a look at my brothers photos from another multicultural country, so the topic is very relevant: multiculturalism.
  • Time4English: Go to Grammar and then to the letter T. Get the Tenses Chart and print it. Now you can start doing the exercises. Today you could do the five light blue tense exercises.
  • Have you published your thoughts on last week's photo of an old man in a classroom in Kenya?
Did anyone do the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk last Sunday? If you did, tell us about it in this post comments.

Happy 75th Birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Well done Classes! Last week's forum nearly achieved its aim.

Four Skills Pictures (click to make it bigger)

Between the two classes, Marion's and our one, we got 80 ways to improve our English outside class. Some of them are repeated, so we may try to get rid of the repetitions and add them to this list from a couple of years ago: How to improve your English outside class. Check it and let me know if you want to help put the 2 lists together.

How are your emails to William's students going? He has sent you one with a very good link to practise your pronunciation. We decided to send everyone all the emails. That means that everyone gets more practice. But when you get an email addressed only to you, if you prefer to write to that person only, reply to that person only, don't click on reply to all.

What about your report on your hometown? Now you know how to form noun groups (article+adjective+noun), so you can still improve your text.

One of my brothers has recently been on a holiday to a very exotic place. These are some of the photos he took. Can you guess where were they taken? In your blogs, write your answer and write about the photos. What can you see? What are the people doing? How do you feel looking at them?

  • Harmony Day is approaching. Visit the government site and write in your blog about it. What is Harmony Day? On the left, click on What's On? On the map of Australia, you can see What's on in your area? Check if there's anything on in Kogarah. How do you think we can celebrate? Write your ideas in this post comments.
  • Go to Time4English. Ask me for the username and password. Go to Lower Intermediate, 5 Cultures and listen to 5D When Cultures Meet. We will talk about this in our forum.
  • Go to the Forum and answer today's question about cultures. This will be one of the ways we celebrate Harmony Day.
  • Listen to Lisbeth's podcast if you didn't have time last week
That's all. Have fun!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

101 Ways to Improve your English outside class

The list below is the one we put together after getting rid of the repetitions.

Practising English in general:
1. You can study English at TAFE or AMES(CESOL or CSWE)and do all your homework! If you want to work extra time, you can go to the Learner Support Centre.
2.You can marry an English native speaker if you are single. Easy way to learn English quickly!


1. Listen to the radio while you do the dishes.
2. Listen to the radio when you cook.
3. Listen to the radio in the car.
4. Watch T.V. after dinner for about 20 minutes
5. Watch the news every night.It will help if you read the newspaper before watching the news. You will understand a lot better.
6. You can listen to the radio when you cook.
7. Listen to the TV when you do your housework.
8. You can watch TV with teletext.
9. You can watch children's shows.
10. You can watch DVDs and read the subtitles in English.
11. Listen to people on the street.
12. You can go to the church to listen to the Pastor talk about Day by Day with God.
13. You can listen to some songs when you do your homework.
14. Listen to the people on the street.
15.Go to church and listen to the pastor talk.

16. You can talk with your family.
17. You can talk with your friends.
18. You can talk about the weather.
19. You can talk about your countries.
20. You can talk about your family.
21. You can talk about TV programs.
22. You can talk about movies you’ve seen.
23. You can talk about your life in your country of origin.
24. You can ask for directions.
25. You can give directions.
26. You can go to church and talk with different people. Chat to other church goers.
27. Speak at home for least 2 hours .(English of course).
28. You can speak in the shop with the sales assistant.
29. You can talk to the waiter at a restaurant when you order your food.
30. You can ask the waiter about how the food is cooked.
31. You can talk about recipes with your friends.
32. You can leave a message on a phone answering machine.
33. You can talk on the telephone.
34. You can phone trades people when things need to be fixed.Trades people sometimes talk very fast!
35. You can phone the real estate agent if you need anything to be fixed.
36. Repeat sentences from DVDs.
37. Record a program from the radio, listen to it many times and repeat to improve your pronunciation.
38. Repeat new words many times.
39. Work as a volunteer at a community centre.
40. Work as a volunteer at a Primary School.
41. Work a s a volunteer at a nursing home (aged care centre)
42. Do things by yourself. For example go to the doctor's alone.
43. Help another person go to the doctor's or to hospital.
44. Tell jokes to your classmates.
45. Have a party and invite people who speak English well. Invite your classmates as well, so that they too can practise.
46.Go for the Australian citizenship interview.
47.Build your own business.
48. Talk to other parents and teachers at your children's school.
49. Go on excursions with different groups of people.
50. Talk to people while waiting for the bus or train.
51. Talk in English even to friends from your own country.


52. Read the labels in clothes.
53. Read newspapers or magazines when you while for a doctor’s appointment.
54. Help your children with homework.
55. Read and write the e-mails in the computer every day.
56. You can go to the library to read novels.
57. You can read every day about current events in the newspaper.
58. You can go on the Internet and read about many things.
59. You can read about popular pop stars.
60. You can read about important people.
61. Read the newspaper when you travel in a train.
62. Read the newspaper on the bus.
63. You can read the ads (specials, cars, etc) in your local newspaper.
64. You can read novels.
65. You can read poetry.
66. You can read teletext when watching TV.
67. You can read the subtitles on SBS movies.
68. You can read the subtitles when you go to see a foreign movie.
69. You can read subtitles when watching DVDs at home.
70. You can read magazines.
71. You can read the information on food packets.
72. Read recipes in our class blog.
73. Read recipes in magazines.
74. Read cook books.
75. Read instructions on electrical appliances.
76. Read instruction for your medicine.
77. Read the doctor’s prescriptions.
78. Read the signs and billboards on the streets.
79. Read the signs in a shop.
80. Borrow text books from the library
81. Read stories to your children in English.
82. Read children's books yourself.
83. Use a dictionary
84. Read each other's blogs.
85. Study with your children.
86. Read advertisements on public boards. For instance on a bar notice board, TAFE student Association, etc.
87. Read phone messages.
88. Read your class notes every night.


89. You can write recipes.You can write a note to your teacher.
90. You can write about your day in your diary.
91. You can write letters to your friends or family.
92. You can fill in forms, like the TAFE enrolment form, joining the local library form, medicare form, etc.
93. You can write a letter applying for a job.
94. You can write E-mails.
95. You can write in the computer.
96. You can write your shopping list and check the spelling in the shop.
97. You can write postcards.
98. You can write invitations.
99. You can write birthday cards.
100. You can write sympathy cards.
101. You can write on the Internet: in blog comments, in your blog, in forums and in chat rooms.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Can you see the bridge climbers?

View from the bridge pylon

On Sunday 18th March is the 75th anniversary of the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There will be big celebrations in the city. Read about it here. If you want to walk across the bridge that day, you have to register here. For more information on the Bridge, you can check the Pylon Looklout website. We went on an excursion last year because my students were interested in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but climbing it is so expensive! The Pylon Lookout is much cheaper than climbing the bridge. Can you find out how much is it? What's the difference in price?

  1. A different type of bridge is the one we can build across the Tasman Sea. What is this? It's the body of water found between Australia and New Zealand. There are some ESL students in New Zealand that would love to hear from you. You can visit their class blog, William's Class Blog, read what they wrote about their first day in class and write to them by sending an email. You can also write to the whole class in their classblog comments. Tell them about yourselves, your life in Sydney, etc. and ask them to visit your blog. Soon we'll be recording a message for them.
  2. Marion's class is going to participate in our forum. It will make it more interesting. This week they have already started a new discussion. It is a challenge. Go to the forum and answer the question. The challenge is that you are not allowed to repeat any of the other students answers! This means that you have to read what everybody else has said. So go there early...
  3. Listen to Lisbeth's podcast. She is one of our teachers. I think you will enjoy listening to her conversation with myself and my 2006 students.
Well done to all of you, including Marion's students, who wrote the answers about the beach signs, your thoughts about the text on the Aussie Cozzie and the comparison between 2 pictures from the pictures of Aussie Cozzies in different years. Please read my comments and correct your language.

I've received some of your reports on your hometown. They are getting much better and as you can see, your language improves with each draft. Keep them coming!