Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is Happiness?

Six Minute English discussed this very question on April 9. Listen yourselves and try to answer the lead question: which is the happiest country?

And here are a few more questions:

1. Why is Rebecca happy today?
2. What makes her happy? (2 things)
3. What makes the first speaker happy?
4. What, according to the first speaker, is the main problem with happiness?
5. What's the second speaker's attitude to happiness?
6. What two things does the second speaker say lead to happiness?
7. What does the second speaker not mention?
8. After what point does money not buy us happiness?
9. What is Britain's position in the Happiness List?

Now listen to Six Minute English. Did you learn any new words?
Did you answer This Week's Question correctly?

Post your answers to the Tag Board or the Comments section at the bottom of this posting.
More soon!
- Mike
PS Many thanks to Agostino for his comment about the English Language Listening Lab. He is an example to us all!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Leave a Comment

Hello everyone.

Here's a brief reply to an enquiry: someone has asked how to leave a Comment on this Blog.

Most people use the Tag Board when space is not a problem. For longer comments, or replies to specific posts (such as this one), there is a specific Comment link.

You'll find the Comment link just below any posting. It will show "Comments" and be preceded by a number indicating the number of comments already left - usually 0 (zero)!

1. Now, just click on the Comments link. A smaller, new window opens. Type your message in the Comment window.

3. Next, choose an Identity. The easiest options are Name/URL and Anonymous. In Name/URL, you just write your name. If you choose Anonymous, please do write your name at the end of your message, in the main message window. It is always nice to know who is leaving a comment.

4. Finally, you should be asked to read some characters displayed in coloured letters on the screen, and type those characters into a special window. This device prevents 'bots' and Spammers from automatically posting comments, often of a dubious nature.

5. Click on "Publish Your Comment" - or the equivalent, depending on the system language chosen for your computer's operating system.

That's it! Your comment will appear very shortly.

Recent comments have been written by:
Micaela, Peppe, Maria-Laura, David and former student Serena.
Recent Tags have been left by:
Andrea, Paola, Gianfranco, Alessandro, Giorgia, Peepe, Carolina and Gianni.

This is gr8, but there are many more people who could have left Comments or Tags.
Where are they??

More very soon,
- Mike

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Easter 2009!

A very happy Easter holiday to all readers. See you again next week.

- Mike

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Your Ideal House

Hello everybody.
In Level 3 we have been exploring Ideal Homes. See New English File Intermediate, Unit 4B, pages 58-59, then page 65.

To find out more about what makes an Ideal Home for many people, read the Financial Times online, and turn to Weekend: House and Home. The latest ideal home is described by designer Yves Behar, who lives in California.

Whatever level you are - 3, 4 or upwards, read on and try my suggestions:
Look at 'Editor's Choice', on the same page, for more interviews with people who describe their ideal homes.

Now, how about either:

  • Describing your current home and saying why you like it - or not, as the case may be;

  • Saying what you would look for in an ideal home.

Look at the questions the interviewers ask in order to get some ideas. Good questions might include:

  • Are you a city or country person?
  • What attracted you to your current home?
  • Which facilities can’t you live without?
  • Is entertaining important to you?
  • Which is your favourite room?
  • Have you made any changes to your flat?
  • What makes a home?

When you have finished, use the comments facility at the end of this post to record your ideas.

The best ideas will get an Honourable Mention on this Blog from me, and a pint or 'Aperitivo' next time we go out after lessons!

- Mike

Friday, April 03, 2009

The April 1 Spaghetti Harvest

Watch the BBC video below and see if you can answer the questions:

1. What is unusual about this spring?

2. How do spaghetti farmers feel in the last two weeks of March?

3. Where is most of Italy's spaghetti grown?

4. How is the spaghetti harvest celebrated?

Post your answers in a Comment or on the Tag Board!

More soon,

- Mike

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Newspapers Online

Dear all,

Some days ago I posted a message with a long list of newspapers in English that you can read on the Web.

I have now added these to the Links column on the right. You'll find them about halfway down the page, below "Connect With Other People" and above "Dictionaries".

I have not quite finished the job but plan to do so very soon.

I am also planning a few changes to the appearance of this Blog. So watch this space! and keep coming back.

Many thanks to all those of you who have answered the Six Minute English questions. Gianfranco of Level 4B was the first person to answer correctly, at 16:47 on 1 April. So when we go out one evening, I'll buy him a pint!
- Mike