Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We lucked out!  Our power was out for only a day and the only storm damage was from a branch that fell and crushed part of a fence between our house and the neighbor's.

It looks as if the two library locations where I teach are open today, so we'll have class tomorrow.  I really hope all students got through with minimal difficulty.

Before we lost power, I posted a few messages on edmodo for the benefit of the high intermediate group.  Even though only one student responded, I hope it got others paying attention to language as they waited the storm out (especially since class was cancelled yesterday!):
"If you're safe and dry, then this is a good opportunity to notice storm-related vocabulary! Many common words and phrases will be repeated often in the coming week. If you notice a new word and then see it used again and again in a real situation, it will stay in your memory. I will post some interesting language here (as long as we have electricity!). If you see any new words, please share and we can discuss them." 
"To hunker down : the literal meaning of this phrasal verb is to stand with your body very close to the ground, with your knees against your chest. The figurative meaning is to get ready for a dangerous situation and then wait for the danger to pass. If you Google "hunker down hurricane sandy", you will see many example sentences!" 
"To ride (something) out : when there is a difficult situation that you can't avoid, you do the best you can until it passes. "We will stay at home and ride the storm out." Google "ride out hurricane sandy" for real example sentences." 
"To make landfall : to reach land after traveling over the ocean. This phrase was originally used for ships. It is now used mostly when talking about storms. 'Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall this evening.'" 
"Uh oh, our lights are flickering. We may be losing our electricity soon! (We say "uh oh" when want to express that something is a problem.)" 
"Here's a fun one: "cabin fever". We say we have cabin fever when we have to stay indoors for many days. We get bored and a little crazy! That's cabin fever."
One student observed that she noticed the verb "to pound", as in the headline "Storm Pounds East Coast". 

This reminds me of how VOA Learning English uses facebook.  It's not only a good resource for our students but a good model for a teacher who wants to include online communication in class.  In a recent post, they put up a recently-received spam message and asked learners to post corrections!

I think, since my group is relatively small, that we should set a standing chat time. perhaps once a week ...  

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