Friday, September 16, 2005

Vocab from unit 14

Annie’s story

Julie: Someone told me you are getting married soon, Annie.

Annie: Yes, I am, finally. I am marrying a solicitor. His name is Powell.

J: Where did you meet him?

A: Well, we used to go to school together, but we didn’t meet again until just recently.

J: I thought you were going to remain single all your life.

A: I was going to get married about ten years ago. Two brothers wanted to marry me but I couldn’t make up my mind which of them I liked more. Perhaps I should have tossed a coin!

J: So what happened?

A: Well, they quarrelled violently, and ever since they haven’t spoken to each other. They communicate by writing notes to each other. They behaved really badly towards me and I couldn’t believe how silly they were. I think they are both still behaving stupidly!

J: So how did you meet Powell?

A: He came round to see me just a few weeks ago to tell me that I had inherited some money from an old friend. Twelve thousand pounds! I couldn’t believe it! Anyway, Powell and I realised almost immediately that we get on very well. We went out together briefly and before long we were engaged.

J: And what about the brothers?

A: I don’t really care about them. Powell told me that at least they are talking to each other again. I’m just pleased that I am getting married and I can afford a nice expensive wedding. It’s all so romantic!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Our class photo

Vocabulary from Units 11 and 12

Remember the phrases in bold below are not just from your homework - they are the vocabulary that we have been looking at over the last few weeks.

Celebrations in NZ
The first Sunday in September is traditionally Fathers’ Day in New Zealand. Many people buy and wrap presents for their fathers. Lots of birthday cards are sold. Many shops advertise gardening equipment and electric appliances like electric drills especially for Fathers Day. However, I gave my father a recipe book as he actually enjoys cooking. Since he has retired, he and my mum share the cooking. He likes picking vegetables from his garden and having them for dinner. He also likes reading about history and my brother gave him a book about World War II and where NZ soldiers fought.

Getting rid of junk
I decided to clean out the garage last weekend. I was surprised at how much rubbish I had to get rid of. There was a huge variety of junk. My daughter came to help me, but she wanted to keep too many things. I was very firm and made her throw things out. Gradually we filled the trailer with things to throw away. There were all kinds of things that it wasn’t necessary to keep. The pile on the trailer slowly increased and by the end of the day I was able to take the trailer down to the tip.

Growing kiwifruit
Kiwifruit were originally grown in China and were first introduced to NZ early last century. The kiwifruit plant is a vine. Fruit are harvested in late autumn/winter. They are very healthy fruit, containing lots of vitamin C. NZ kiwifruit exports continue to increase, although kiwifruit growth is widespread in many other countries now. Some people think they are strange fruit, with their hairy skin and bright green flesh.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Keep writing!

How many blogs will you try to write each week in the next month?

You can write about anything you like on your blog - as long as you are writing in English.

Ideas for topics
  • things you have done, like a diary eg. an adventure that you've had
  • things you like/dislike/feel strongly about - give your opinions
  • review a book that you have read, or a film you have seen, or a restaurant that you have enjoyed
  • things we have discussed in class eg. independence for young people
  • writing about yourself eg. why you came to NZ or your future plans
  • write about your country eg. information for people visiting your country
  • suggestions for writing from the workbook - usually these revise grammar points covered in the textbook
  • thinking about your learning eg. setting goals for yourself like 'how many blogs will I try to write each week before we get to the exams?'
  • edit something that you have written in class that has been marked

Keep writing!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Useful URLs

What websites do you use often? Do you use a site to help you learn English?

Write in your blog about a website that you use frequently. Why do you use it? Why do you like it?

Make sure you give the link so other students can visit the site.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Student blogs around the world

Interested in looking at some other student's blogs?

Try some of the below. These are class blogs from around the world - go to the individual students' blogs in the sidebar and visit some blogs. Make a comment on at least two that you like. Make your comments positive, so that other people will feel encouraged about practising English. You could leave them your blog URL when you comment and suggest that they visit your blog.


Vocabulary from unit 9 and 10

He was involved in a serious car accident. The car was at least fifty kilometres over the speed limit when it came round the corner. It seemed incredible that no one was killed. The accident gave him a real scare.

At the moment Helen Clark is the head of the Labour party and prime minister of NZ. However, everyone is quite curious to see what will happen on the 17th September, which is election day. Don Brash is the leader of the National party and may well be the next prime minister.

Tom’s friends organised a surprise for his eighteenth birthday. One of them pretended to be a dead body on the road, and Tom and his friends stopped their car to see if they could help. Six of his other friends were hiding behind trees and they jumped out and told him to lie on the ground. Tom was absolutely terrified. They took him to one of their houses and sat him in the middle of the room and sang Happy Birthday to him. Unfortunately some of the neighbours thought they were terrorists. Although Tom has forgiven his friends, they are still worried that they might have to go to court!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Vocab from units 7 and 8

Being sick
My family has been really unwell lately. First, my husband had a sore throat for ages. He said it really hurt to swallow. When he finally went to the doctor, it was an infection and he got a prescription for antibiotics. My daughter complained that she felt sick and after the doctor examined her, he said that she had an ear infection. More antibiotics! And now, my son has a high temperature, a headache and says that his stomach hurts as well!

Planning a trip
Joe: You’ve been overseas before, Mark. Can you give me some advice about visiting Vietnam?
Mark: Sure, I went there quite recently so I could make some suggestions. Do you like adventure sports?
Joe: Actually, I don’t think I’m very adventurous. But I do love history.
Mark: Well, there are lots of historical sites and buildings and usually there are guides available who can speak good English.
Joe: Great. I’m also really interested in doing some shopping.
Mark: You’ll certainly pick up lots of bargains in Vietnam.

Going on tour
Tim is in a band called The Hot Potatoes. They did a tour of NZ last year for several months. Before the tour they recorded their second album, which has been quite a success. While they were on tour, their drummer got sick and had to drop out. Finding a replacement was difficult.
It’s a tough life travelling all the time and they got really tired of staying in a new town each night. In general, they were satisfied with the way the tour went, and are starting to talk about doing another one.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Using software

We have looked at two software programmes in the computer lab -

Issues in English 2
Tense Buster (Lower Intermediate)

Which do you think is most useful for you? Why?
Do you think software is a good way for you to learn English?

Tell us what you think by giving us your comments.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Vocab from units 5 and 6

Karen is talking to her friend about her new flat and flatmates.

K: So tell me about your new flat. What’s it like?

H: The house itself is quite big and my room is huge, so I can’t really complain about not having enough space. It’s a bit old, though. And it’s also very, very messy. I don’t think they spend much time on tidying up!

K: What about your flatmates? What are they like?

H: Well, James is a university student and he’s just lovely. He seems very generous – he offered to lend me some furniture until I get some of my own.

K: And your other flatmate? What’s she like?

H: Pat is a financial advisor – she’s good with money. She spends a lot of time at work and is always rushing off to one meeting or another. I think she’s quite ambitious. She seems to know a lot about the stock market and making money. She told me the other day the best way to invest my money!

K: What about organisation? Meals and things like that?

H: We have a roster for cooking and cleaning and we all take turns.

K: What do they do in the weekends? Are they at home a lot?

H: James plays rugby so that takes up his Saturdays. Unfortunately, last weekend he got injured in a game. He hurt his back and so he can’t play for a while.

K: Rugby’s a dangerous game, isn’t it? Do you think you’ll get on well with them?

H: Well, the atmosphere in the flat seems quite relaxed, and they are both very friendly. I think I will enjoy living there.

K: How did you hear about it?

H: Oh, my friend used to live there. She got married last month. It was a very romantic wedding. And immediately after that I moved in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Vocab from units 3 and 4

Shopping and me

I don’t really like going shopping in huge malls. I would rather go to small specialist shops even though they are often more expensive. I enjoy looking at unusual shops and I also like seeing stores that are different to the big chains like Whitcoulls or Farmers. Probably my favourite shops are bookshops. I would much rather buy a book than a fashionable pair of boots. I do like markets, even when they are really crowded.
The busiest shopping mall in the whole world sounds interesting though. I have never been to Poland, but would like to see why Nowy Swiat is so attractive. Some of the goods sound quite expensive, but you have to pay for good quality. Especially with clothes, it is nice to buy something that is not mass produced.

Was the house haunted?

They crept quietly downstairs, trying not to make any noise. Suddenly the floor above them creaked. John was so scared that he couldn’t think clearly. He just knew that he had to get out. Why was he in this house anyway?

Were there really ghosts here? It had been built last century, and some people believed that you could hear strange sounds coming from the house late at night. A clock chimed – it was exactly midnight. John felt something brush against his face. He screamed.

Immediately the lights went on – and he woke up. His mother was smiling at him. “You must have had a bad dream!” she said.

Listening site

Do you need more listening practice?

Use the software in the lab called Issues in English.

Try ESL Lab . There are lots of different topics as well as three levels for you to use to practice your listening. Two that are useful to go with the grammar in unit 6 are
Difficult - What is she like?
Where's the movie theatre?

Listening is all about practice! Try doing one of these every day.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Flatmates

The Flatmates is a new site to help students learn English. It is a soap opera about a group of students who share a flat in the UK.

Listen to a brief dialogue - new one every week.
Give your opinion.
Look at the language points.
Answer a quiz.
Talk about it with others online.
Get it sent to you every week.
Try it!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Comment on these questions

Do you like shopping? What sort of shopping do you like? Where do you like to go shopping?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Chunks of vocab

Check out how well you know these chunks of vocab.
Using chunks

Vocab from Units 1 and 2

Living in Auckland
NZ cities are not very crowded. Immigrants who come to Auckland are often surprised at how relaxed the lifestyle here is. The public transport system is not as huge as it is in bigger cities overseas. Some people miss the noise and the excitement of their home towns and think that Auckland is quite boring. It is certainly not as busy as a lot of Asian cities. The way of life is very different from a city like Calcutta in India, where I lived for several years.

The big tree
Every night when she came home from work, she noticed the tree in her new front garden. It was huge, and the branches went over the fence into the neighbour’s garden. The thing she liked best about the tree was that lots of native birds came and sang in it and built their nests in it.

One day, her neighbour came over and introduced himself. They had a conversation about the tree. He wanted her to cut it down, as he said that it blocked the sunshine and made his garden feel crowded. He said he would help pay for someone to cut it down. She knew that in autumn the falling leaves would probably be a big problem. In the end she decided to cut down the tree herself. Her neighbour was very happy and helped her to cut it up into firewood. At first she missed the tree, but now she has got used to it not being there.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome to our class blog

Welcome to our class blog for Term 3 2005. This is a website for us to use as a class. It will be used for

  • letting you know everyone's blog URL (web address)
  • giving homework answers
  • giving useful links to English practice websites
  • giving you information about things that are on around Unitec and in Auckland
  • giving information about the course eg. assessments
  • putting up vocab lists each week

Email one of the teachers (Deanne, Carrie or Karen) if you have a good idea for other things to put on this site.