Friday, March 1, 2019

Traveling Around the World? Try Airbnb and save up to $55.

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Iceland cabin and  the "Northern Lights"
Image result for iceland cabin

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. One of the reasons I wanted to teach English was to travel more. I love seeing new places and seeing new sights. My family is getting ready to  travel to Iceland, a beautiful country in the northern Atlantic Ocean.  Iceland has recently become a very popular tourist destination because of its amazingly beautiful scenery with waterfalls, geysers and lava flows; vast open spaces, and interesting, abundant wildlife. (This post contains affiliate links)
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Iceland Horses

The interesting thing about Iceland and lodging is that there are not a lot of hotels. This has led to many people renting out parts of their homes, all of their homes, or building cabins on their property. 
However, we all know that traveling can get expensive. One way to reduce the cost is to find deals on lodging (hotels, homestays, inns, bed and breakfast, etc.)

Therefore, for my readers, I am including a link to up to $55 USD off of Airbnb lodging anywhere in the world for first time accounts. They offer many cool lodging spaces in wonderful places around the world. Airbnb allows people to rent out parts of their house, rooms, or even a whole apartment, and many times at  lower prices than hotels. This is significant in Iceland because in tourist season, the price of hotels goes way up, and the amount of hotels available goes way down.

Another cool thing about Airbnb is that you can meet new people in a new culture instead of just staying at a hotel in which you don't talk a lot with local people in their normal every day lives. Staying at people's homes also allows you to see parts of the country that you would never see if you just stayed in the hotel areas. There is also a good rating system that tells you how other people liked the lodging in the past, and there is accountability if someone doesn't deliver the services that were promised.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

English Video Discussion - Crazy Guy gets Stung by Scorpion

This discussion uses a lot of conditionals like "what would you do?"

Key Vocab:
Epipen- Medicine to stop your heart from racing after an animal sting
Lethal - Can kill you
Venom - a deadly liquid in animals that they attack with
Swelling - After an injury, the blood rushes to the area of the body and makes it get bigger.

Pre- Discussion:
Do you have scorpions where you live?
Have you ever been stung by a bee, wasp, or other insect?
Would you ever do something crazy to get more attention for your Youtube videos?

What kind of reaction did Coyote have to the scorpion sting?
Would you have done what he did? Why or why not?
Would you have done what he did for money? How much?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Five Ways to Start a Presentation Effectively

Here is a narrated video I created to teach you how to effectively start your presentations! Sometimes it is hard to know how we should start a presentation, this video and slide show gives five ways to make that happen.

In this video, I go through examples of each type of starter, then I make sure that I give an example of how to use them. I hope this will be of great help to you in starting your presentations.

For teachers, if you would like to use this lecture for your classes, here is the downloadable worksheet for the lecture. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

English Video Discussion - The Afterlife

This is a beautiful video showing how far a parent would go to be with his or her child. It is sad, but it is also hopeful and touching.


  1. What are some beliefs that people have about the afterlife (after you die)?
  2. How would you feel if you could see someone you had lost to death again?

Post -Discussion:

  1. What did the father do?
  2. Why did he do it?
  3. Would you have done the same thing? Why or Why not?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Five Free Ways to Improve your English Now!

Many times, we want to do something important, like lose weight, exercise, or learn a skill, but we put it off for another day. One day becomes two, then three, and a year later, we haven't even started. That's the reason why I wrote this post. I want you to start improving your English today! This post is focused on giving you steps that you can take right now to help you achieve your English goals and your career goals.

1.  Entertainment: What kind of movies/TV shows do you like?  Crackle is a service by Sony that has all free full length, high-quality, legal movies to watch. They have an app on Android and Apple as well.  I would recommend Crackle if you don't have access to Hulu or Netflix, or can't spend the money on those services right now. Choose one show/movie and commit yourself to starting to watch the entire movie or season/all episodes, starting today. This will greatly expand your vocabulary and knowledge of idioms as well.   Use the subtitles to increase your reading and listening abilities. When you feel that you are confident enough, drop the subtitles.

If possible, sign up for a pay service like Netflix, Hulu, or some other movie/TV show streaming service. They have newer content, better phone apps,  and more features to their sites. Use the subtitles to increase your reading and listening abilities.

 If you are interested in how to watch media sources like these to improve certain areas of your English, please check out this post on How to Watch Movies to Learn English. Other sites like "Daily Motion," "Vimeo, " "PBS Video" or "Short Film of the Week" are great to watch movies and films in your interest area.

2. Gamify your English:  How many people have you heard say, "I just love learning English. It is so fun!"? I bet  you haven't heard too many people say that. I sure haven't, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Some students may think that language learning has to be boring. It doesn't! Great sites are available to learn English in a fun way. Try apps like Memrise, Duolingo, and Babbel to help you to be motivated. Each one of these has its benefits. I find that Duolingo is more for phrases and general language knowledge, but Memrise is more about learning the rules of the language. Babbel has both a paid and free service. Another great free site is Games to Learn English. 

My favorite site to show my students  and to use with them is Quizlet, which is a free service (for students) that has thousands of flashcard sets that students can use to study their English.

So, start with a site like Duolingo,  Quizlet or Memrise today, and see how it motivates you to study harder.

3. News:  If you commonly check the news, change the way you get your news. Place an English site as your homepage in your browser today. If you usually get news from a site in your country, change the language in your browser settings. Also, try out some really great resources like Readlang, a chrome app that allows you to click on any word for a definition and create flashcards from each word clicked. See a sample below from English to Spanish.

Sites like also have features that allow you to be able to click on text and change the language. Another great upcoming site is, a site that creates quizzes and practice from CNN news stories every day.

4. Podcasts:  Use  services like iTunes or Castbox for Android to download podcasts on your
preferred topics in English.  The great thing about Castbox is that you can download your podcasts with a Wifi Signal, then listen to them later while you are on the go. Also, you can slow the speed down if the speaker is too fast. Listen while you drive to work, walk through town, or when you are in a boring class (just kidding!).

The most important thing in choosing a podcast is to find a subject you enjoy or can be useful to you.  Also, if there is a story you know in your language, find the English version on an audio book service like Audible and listen to the story in English. Your familiarity with the story will allow you to pick out a lot of new vocabulary and phrases in English. 

One very interesting Podcast I enjoy is called "Hardcore History" by Dan Carlin. Another popular one is called the "Walk," which is a story in which the listening is the main character and "walks" through Scotland on an adventure (I don't know if I can fully recommend it as I just heard about it). Let me know if it is any good.

5. Conversation Apps:  It is one thing to learn rules and grammar in a language, but it is an entirely different thing to be able to have a conversation. However, that is the main point of why many people want to learn a language. There are a few free apps like Tandem and HelloTalk that allow speakers to pair up with native speakers from all over the world. Many times these speakers want to learn your language as you practice theirs, so it is a good exchange. Both Tandem and HelloTalk are available through the App stores in Google Play and the Apple Store. Download one of them today!

We have a saying in English: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This means that in order to achieve a big dream, you have to take an action in that direction. So, I encourage you to watch a movie in English on Crackle, download one of these apps, find a great podcast, but do something!

Please let me know below any other ideas of how you improve your English below in the comments section.

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