Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Getting way better

The Stethoscope

We are still sick.  So, we started giving each other advice on some common health problems. After a brief check up of our medical history and our attitudes towards disease prevention, we talked about the operations we have had, our visits to the hospitals, our broken bones, our regular check- ups, and our visits to the dentist. We also mentioned our fear of injections and other things that come with getting sick. Just as in the previous class, talking about these things is better than experiencing them.

The following part was really interesting because we reviewed our knowledge of geography and history and we learned a bit about the history of medicine. I bet many of you did not know the Arabs were so important in the development of medicine. We took this chance to see a bit of geography to connect the Arab’s pioneering discoveries.

Right after that, we jumped to uncover the milestones of modern medicine. It is amazing to see how much progress has been done in such a short period of time. On the other hand, some developments that took place quite long ago are still so relevant today. That was certainly a good way of wrapping this saga of getting sick: with a good doctor and the right treatment.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting Sick and Getting Better

Lemon tea for colds
 Getting sick is a subject that is very different from the one we have been talking about (traveling). It is one of those things that we would rather talk about than experiencing. So, in our first class of the week we did exactly that: talked about getting sick and getting better. We started our class by surveying our classmates on colds and what they (or their mothers) do to fight them. We did discover some different ways of fighting back if we succumb to the cold virus. This lesson seems very timely once the cold vaccination campaign is at full speed. Cold is a common disease and we all had lots of cold facts to share: some history on the colds we have had and the remedies we use to battle them. Once we shared our knowledge on colds, it was time to make some discoveries. It is always interesting learning like this: contributing with what we know, and right after that, learning something else. Therefore, we learned some very interesting facts about the common cold. Among these facts, I found interesting to discover that there about two hundred viruses that can cause colds. I really thought there were fewer. This might be one of the reasons why we still have colds: too many viruses to kill.
  Made with #XnSketch @xnview
 After suggesting remedies and being amazed by the numbers for the common cold, we moved on to talk about common symptoms of not only colds, but other health problems. At this point we learned how to show concern if something is wrong with those around us and describe our symptoms to a doctor or a friend if we need to. After that we discovered some other ways of treating health problems. We wrapped up by learning how to give advice and sharing the knowledge we have on home remedies to fight sore throats and other common diseases. Well, just hope you guys do not have to try on the remedies we discovered for a long time. Getting sick is one of the worst that can happen to us, isn’t it?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Finally Traveling

toronto city hall
                                            photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

It seems that now, at least in our learning journey, we went a bit further from home. After exploring some of the possibilities and consequences for our travel plans, we moved into the real thing: the subject of tourism and traveling. We first explored images of a variety of destinations through pictures and conversations. We also saw how varied people’s tastes when it concerns traveling can be when some of you came across things such as medical and disaster tourism. Culinary tourism seems kind of fun, especially for a person that only knows how to make chocolate chip cookies like me. By the way, he is the  Cookies Recipe some of have been asking for.

Since we were not really having the pleasure of really going to the wonderful destinations we would like to, we explored unreal conditionals and saw how we can talk about imaginary situations. It was nice to walk around and see your reactions to all those unreal scenarios we explored in the books and in the conversations that you had with your classmates.

To wrap up, we saw a video on how cheap travel began. I don’t know about you, but I would really travel more often if it weren’t so expensive. Well, I just hope you continue learning English and use your knowledge to make connections and explore the world. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Away from Home - Planning a Trip

In the second lesson of the week we went a bit farther from our homes. We started exploring how we can prepare for a trip. We kicked off our learning adventure with the world of guide books. Generally what we do when we decide to go to a place we have never been before is try to get some information about the place in a guide book. So, we saw some famous guide books and samples of their descriptions of Thailand and San Francisco.

Right after that, we listened to conversations between tourists and travel agents getting information about destinations, tourist attractions, and what to do on trip (which you discovered is different from a journey, a drive, a ride, and a tour).

Around the World 1957 Travel Guides

When planning a trip, we usually think about possible future situations and consequences of decisions or actions. So, it was time to revisit the first conditional and think about the consequences of taking a certain course of action not only when we travel, but in our lives in general once we are always making decisions, aren’t we? I love traveling, but I always say to myself “If I travel light, I won’t be dragging a huge bag in airports” or “If I buy the ticket earlier, I will get a discount.” Of course the weather is also present in our predictions and affects our traveling or weekend plans. We did explore consequences in many ways trough practice activities and a board game.

We wrapped up our adventure with an excerpt about a film called “The Beach.” This one telling a story of a trip that was not as good as the main character (played by Leonardo di Caprio) had expected. So we also learned that sometimes we should not believe in every information people give us about a given place. I guess the end reaffirms the value of guide books, travel agents, and above all the value of being informed about our destination. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

At Home - Animals and How Much We Know About Them

...non fidarsi è meglio - my scared cat / gatto

In our first class this week we continued to explore our homes. Now we moved a bit away from our cities, official residencies, and luxuries palaces to take a look into our backyards. We decided to delve into the world of animals and more specifically our pets and domesticated animals that inhabit our surroundings.

 We started with a general view of the morphology of some animals big and small, but very interesting and most of them familiar to us. After learning how to name some animal features in English, we moved on to talk about the pets we had as children. In my childhood I had a great variety of pets because I spent most of my infancy in farms. So, I had cats, dogs, goats, and even chicken. It was good to hear you share your experiences with your pets with your classmates.You also mentioned very funny names of cats and dogs. Some people do names their dogs and cats after people.

 After chatting about our pets, we moved on to explore the world of cats through a short history of this fascinating animal and some interesting stories of some cats around the world. I think you really liked to know that cats have been around us for so long (9,000 years). One of my passions is archaeology. I am always amazed by reports of how animals and plants were domesticated by our ancestors.

 After reading these stories you had a chance of sharing similar ones with your classmates. Well, being so urban you probably do not have so many pet stories to share, but it is always worth doing some archaeological work on your memories. I hope you guys enjoyed the journey that was so close to your homes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Lock Ness and Monster and Our Next Writing Task

Well, we had a nice meeting last class. I found it nice because we discovered lots of important information about many places. First, while we worked on passive voice we surfed through bits of history and stories about some buildings a around the world such as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the Buj Al Arab in Dubai. We also talked a bit about the Loch Ness Monster as an introduction to see a short snippet of the Water Horse (a nice fictional story about the monster). The Lock Ness (oops, Pacific Ocean) Monster? Later we exchanged advice on our favorite and less favorite places in Brasilia. Right after that, we read a nice e-mail of a girl talking about her little old town in Slovakia. While we read this we corrected some mistakes in her e-mail and prepared to write our next composition. The topic this time is sure one that you have lots of information about: our city Brasilia. One of our blogging partners, Ivona from from Croatia, wrote a nice post about her city that coincidentally is the same region and might serve as an inspiration for you to write yours. While doing this remember to use passive voice to talk about some of the features in our city and avoid making the mistakes she did while doing her task, but if you do, you know I will point them out and give you chance for correcting them on your second draft. Entardecer na ponte So, I am looking forward to seeing you at the oral test and also to reading your written report on Brasilia and what it has to offer to tourists and to its population. Let's see how you guys tame the monster of writing. Photo credits: kw.traveller via photopin cc Zanini H. via photopin cc