Monday, December 29, 2014

The US immigration system is broken - Obama wants to fix it!

The United States was started as a nation of immigrants. Everyone came from someplace else.  The pull of the "Golden Medina" as we say in Yiddish, fueled the economic boom in America throughout the years.  But now, there are too many people answered the call, and they have come illegally.  These people don't pay income taxes, yet they take advantage of all the services of the United States.

Read this article to see what Obama is trying to do!

Key Terms
took office
 to secure
to the back of the line


What is the major problem with immigration in the United States?
Which taxes do they pay?
Which taxes don't they pay?
What process does Obama want to see happen now?
What is the final goal of the current system?
What does Obama's want to see happen?
Why doesn't Congress pass a bill about the immigration problem?
Is there a big immigration in your country?
What is your government doing to help the immigrants?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbah- Professional English Teacher

Thursday, December 25, 2014

J.K.Rowling reveals how she feels about Draco Malfoy's character

J.K.Rowling successful Harry Potter series has become a classic,  I read a fantasy book recently, that even mentioned a character from the books as part of another story.  The word Muggle has even entered the modern vocabulary!  Read the latest about the series!

Key Terms

published- two syllables 
fictional - three syllables
acknowledge- three syllables
position - three syllables
damaging- three syllables

What does J.K. Rowling feel about Draco Malfoy?
What does this article add to our knowledge of Draco?
According to the story, why is Draco bad?
How does the relationship between Draco and Harry mirror what is going on in the outer story. 
Why do girls like the character of Draco?
Why does Draco have blonde hair, and Harry black hair?
In which book does Draco show he doesn't want to murder people?
Do you think that Draco and Harry will be friends?
Which names did she choose from mythology?
Which is your favorite character in the series?
Do you see other sides to the characters? Are they all one dimensional?
One of the most interesting characters is Snape.  Tell me about him.
Are there other characters who are multidimensional?
Have you read other of J.K.Rowling's writing?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Obama wants to establish relations with Cuba

Does normalizing relations with Cuba sound like a good idea?  It seems to me that it would boost the whole economy of the Caribbean, and help Cuban-Americans feel that they are more accepted in their home country as well as in their adopted country.  There were secret talks even with Pope Francis!

Read this text and be prepared to speak about it with your English Teacher.

Key Terms
 historic shift
profound differences
 in a civilized manner
economic ties
easing restrictions
unilaterally end
abrupt use
major obstacle
long-standing ban
annual cap
five decades
Sen. = Senator
 hailed as heroes
bypassed local censorship

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla  

Senator Marco Rubio - Republican Senator from Florida
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev  - 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Democratic Senator from Nevada

What do you know about this subject before reading the text?
How will normalizing relations between Cuba and the USA help them?
What will be the restrictions even with the new relations?
What will help Cuban residents the most?
Who would be the first tourists to Cuba?
Does your country have normal relations with Cuba?  Why or why not?
Did the economic embargo affect the United States?  Cuba?
Would you want to visit Cuba?
How can the Cuban government improve Human Rights?
Do you think that Cuban should be on the "supporters of terrorism list?"
What other steps need to be taken now?
Do you think that the United States should try to change Cuba's political system?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Monday, December 22, 2014

Russia's economy is on the verge of collapse !

Putin has worked for the past 15 years to stabilize the Russian economy, but now it seems to be on the verge of collapse as investors are losing hope and moving their money elsewhere, even to Japan!
In order to stem the tide, the Central Bank of Russia has raised interest rates.  Is this going to be enough?

Read this webpage and be prepared to discuss it with your English teacher!

extraordinary development
held mostly steady
sharp interest rate hike
deep recession
worsened living standards
inevitably rise
 imported goods
financial meltdown
defaulted on debts
wiped out
 buoyed by 
 economic stability
easing of sanctions
 constructive choices

What is this article about in general?
What does raising the interest rate do?
Why did the Central Russian Bank raise the interest rates?
What is the problem when the dollar - ruble exchange rate changes too fast?
Is Putin still popular in Russia right now?
What is he doing to avert the crisis?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mediterranean diet could help you live longer - English Conversation

I heard an Oprah Winfrey show where she had a guest who was selling a pill to get longer telomeres.  But as this article shows, you don't have to take a pill, just eat the Mediterranean diet!

Key Terms
leukocyte telomere length
cardiovascular disease

cellular ageing  


Why do you think that this study is significant?

What is the Mediterranean diet? Have you heard it about it before?
Would you change your diet based on these finding? 
What type of lifestyle is conducive to living longer?
Which food in the Mediterranean diet do you like the most? 
If you had to give advice to someone, how to stay healthy what would you say to that person?
How much fish do you eat a week?
How much poultry  do you eat a week?
What about fresh vegetables?
Do you think that you have a healthy diet?
What is the connection between health and longevity?
How much risk does a person have of cardiovascular disease if they eat a healthy diet?
Who chooses the menu in your home?
How many meals does your family eat together? 
Which foods do you eat for lunch and dinner? 
How important is breakfast for you?  What do you eat for breakfast?
What is the  difference between older people's diets and younger people's diet? 
How often do you eat candy?
Do you keep track of the foods that you eat?
Do you keep track of the amount of calories that you eat? 
How important is exercise to you? 
How often do you exercise?
Who in your family is overweight?
If not, why is that? 
Do you like to eat pizza and junk food? 
How often do you eat these foods?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Can you tell if a picture is taken with a Digital Camera or a Cellphone? English conversation Lesson

Ever since I had a Nokia Smart Music Phone, I have been taking pictures and putting them up on the Internet.  I had a Canon Snap Shot camera, but now my Galaxy Note 2 gets much better pictures and videos.   Here is an article that pits both types of cameras against each other.  Can you tell the difference?

 Key Terms
blue-footed boobies 
 elephant pudenda
grim-faced pack mule
aforementioned gear
ore out-of-way 
lugging around
noble instinct
photocentric trips
Aperture shows
two visual anchors
getting the better of
big rig
het up

What equipment did the author take with him on his latest trip? 
Which was the most useful for him? 
What advice did Reid give the author?
How were the cellphone pictures received by the audience at the show on the boat?
How much money did the author spend on extra lenses and equipment? 
Does he feel that it was worth it? 
What type of photography do you do? 
Which equipment do you use? 
How often do you take pictures? 

Here is a link to my photo blog of Jerusalem

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 1st is National AIDS day, but we this year we can really celebrate!

National AIDS day was established many years ago to raise awareness about this chronic disease.  I remember that I once wrote a paper  for a university class at UCLA that AIDS was the modern disease that had the possibility to change the genome of the human race.  There will be people who are immune to the disease, and those who succumb to it.   What is happening now with AIDS? 

Read this article to find out

Key Terms

campaign group 
keep AIDS at bay
advocacy group
preventable disease
around the corner
global level
easily stall
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
antiretroviral drugs
dramatic improvement
domestic budgets
injecting drug users

How is the day recognized in your country? 
What does the author mean when he says that it is the "beginning of the end" of the AIDS pandemic? 
Are there many AIDS sufferers in your country?
How many AIDS sufferers are there world-wide?
What other health threats do we have in the world today?

Monday, December 8, 2014

English Vocabulary in English

Even English speakers need to improve their vocabularies. 
Here are a few to study and start to use in your everyday speech.  One way to remember new words is to create a mind map of words that call this word to mind. Answer the questions, and then go back over these words at least three times. Good luck!

1.  Narrative:  Noun   a story.   
Mr. Smith read the class a narrative written by a soldier in the Second World War. 

Narrative -- story  --- narrative -- first person narrative -  narrator 

 What is a narrative that you have enjoyed reading or listening to? 

2. Patriot - Noun - someone who loves and support her or his country. 
 A great patriot of the American Revolutionary War was Paul Revere. 

Name a patriot of your country?  What did this person do?  When did the person live? 
Why do you remember this person? 

3. Charisma -  Noun - Charm or appeal    
Politicians often have charisma, otherwise they wouldn't get elected. 

Name a person who has charisma in your city.  Does anyone in your family have charisma? 
What is the negative of charisma? 

4. Ancient - Adjective  - from a long time ago. 
The remains of Rome are ancient.  

What is something ancient that exists in your country? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach Professional English Teacher 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Is it difficult to find Heros nowadays? English lesson

Heros may be a vanishing breed, In the Internet age, everyday we hear about bad news, but good news can be hard to find, or even boring.  Read this article to find out about modern superheros that we can look up to!

Key Terms
 grime fighter
 comic book.

According to the audio, what did Finn try to do at home when he was a kid? 
Why are firefighters often thought of as superheros? 
Why is Chitabatman special? 
When did he start to do his mission?  
What does Mr. Full Moon do? 
Why is this interesting? 
Why does he do this?
How do you think that the Internet has affect our perception of heros?
Which type of ordinary people would you consider a hero?
Which political figures in the world today could be a hero?
Tell me about some of your heros. Say who the person is, what did the person do, and why you admire this person.
When did Superman first appear in a comic book? 
In your opinion, Why did the creators change him from a villain to a good guy? 

Lesson plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Are Robot Security Guards the answer? Business English Lesson

Microsoft has ordered robot security guards to patrol its offices in California.  What can these robots really do?  What type of actions can they take?  These questions and more will be answered when you read this interesting article.

Key Terms
strategic work
beefed up 
 natural calamities 

How will this robot move around?
What will it do when there is a bump in the road?
What will these robot security guards do? 
What functions would you like them to do?
What would the laser beams do?
What kind of natural calamities could the robot deal with?
How would  the face scan information be used?
How would they alert people about a security problem?
What potential problems do you see with the use of these robots?
Would a robot like this be useful for your place of work?
What other types of robots would you like to have at home?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Greetings in English - English lesson

It is very important to vary how you say hello in English. Most English speakers don't use the same phrase all the time, unconsciously they change according to the situation, or the person they are speaking to.

Read this article and discus it with  your English teacher

Key Terms
slang expressions

Which phrase do you use most often?  Wny?
Which phrase was new to you?
Will you use this new phrase more now that you have learned it?
Do you use formal English or slang most of the time? Why?
When you speak, do you plan out your speech ahead of time?
Do you usually "think on your feet?"
How do you practice speaking with a teacher or a friend? Why?
How far ahead do you plan what to day when you are in a business meeting?
Is this different when you are with friends?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Thursday, November 27, 2014

IELTS, TOEFL. and Bagrut Spelling Tips! When to write on L and when to write 2 LL

If you are preparing for any type of writing test, then you have to know how to spell very well.  This can be difficult to prepare at the last moment, so take time before the test to go over all types of spelling rules.  It can be very difficult to remember when to write one l or two, so here are some spelling tips for you.

If you have a word, that ends in the l sound, and it is one syllable, then you need to put two ll

full, all, bell, tall, till, ill, still

But if you add another syllable to the word, and the l sound is at the end, then you only put one l

careful, cheerful, until

If you have a word that usually has two ll  like all and well  and you add another syllable after it, then one l is dropped

already, also, although, always, welfare, welcome,

Some words with one l get another when an additional syllable is added:
cancelled, cancelling, signalling, metallic.

But there is always an exception in English:  signaled has only one l

One word that has a   difference between American usage and British usage is

traveller, is the UK spelling with two ll and traveler is the USA spelling.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Friday, November 21, 2014

Couple 'fined" 100 Sterling for bad review on a website! Business English

Business runs on good referrals and satisfied customers.  I even heard in a store here in Jerusalem yesterday the maxim "The customer is king!"   This was very heartwarming, as I come from a business background of customer service at JCPenney, where I trained sales people to give good customer service.  But this incident of bad service shocked and surprised me. 

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher 
Watch the video as well. 

Key Terms 
to charge
booking document 
scrap the policy 
public protection 
come across
out of the ark 
run a hoover
didn't expect the Ritz


What is your definition of good customer service? 
Does this vary according to which industry?
How could this hotel have provided better customer service, without spending lots of money? 
What do you think about their policy of adding 100 Pounds if people write a negative review? 
What happens if you receive faulty goods or bad service?
Do you complain or write a negative review?

Tell me about a time that you wrote a complaint letter about bad goods or services.  What happened? 
What did you mention in your complaint?
Do you feel we all have the right to complain without reprisals?

What do you think about this couple who went to the business websites to advertise the bad service that they received? 
How should have the hotel respond to this complaint? 
What is Trip Advisors'  policy about bad service? 
Have you used Trip Advisor's to see hotel ratings? 
Do you feel that the comments are fair? 
How do you deal with an angry customer? 
Has the level of customer service risen or fallen since the economic crisis?
Has the quality of goods risen or fallen recently? 
Are there still "Premium" customers?  Do they care about price? 
What do you think about price controls? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Super- Commuters? How long is your drive to work? English lesson

Many people live in the city, sort of close to their jobs, while others live far away, but rent a room or a studio apartment near their jobs, and on the weekends fly home.  This is a trend that is growing, and believe it or not can be cheaper than the daily commute!

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
traffic fumes
 leisurely lunch 
faraway homes
 cost of living 
 maintain residency 
work-life balance

According to the text, why do some people choose to "super commute?"
How do they organize their work week? 
How many "super commuters" are there in the world? 
What is the average number of kilometers that people commute? 
What happens to the income when you super-commute? 
What would make you want to super commute?
Would it be worth it for you? 
Is there a typical job that people super commute to? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

European Space Agency - Probe lands on a comet! - English Lesson

The European Space Agency has succeeded to land an unmanned probe on a comet!  The comet is on its way toward the sun, so the probe will be able to document all the chemical and physical changes that will occur as the comet comes close to the sun. This is a historic landmark moment, or is it?

Read the article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
ground controllers
joint effort
icy treasure chest


What is the goal of this space flight?
Why is it important?
Which countries contributed to the mission?
How far away is the comet from Earth?
How close will the comet come to the sun?
How much money did the mission cost?
Is the cost worth the knowledge that will be gained?
Have you ever seen a comet?
Which scientific advances have been made because of space exploration?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Remembering the Berlin Wall - 25 years later

The only thing that I remember about the Berlin Wall coming down was the Pink Floyd Rock Concert and the song The Wall.

Key Terms
“part of the folklore”
"iron curtain" 
 “complete surprise” 
 bear the consequences
 “for the overall setting” 
“won against all those 'isms'


What was it like living in Germany for the author while the Berlin Wall stood? 
What was the feeling when the Wall came down? 
How did people view each other after the Wall came down?
Do you live in a country where there is a wall? 
How do you feel about the Wall in your country? 
Does it help the political situation? 
Does the wall have economic effects?
Does the Wall affect you personally? 
Should the Wall in your country come down?  
What would happen if it didn't? 
What would be the immediate effects? 
What would be the long term effects?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Science of Wearing the same thing everyday- Business English

Wearing the same thing every day can sound boring. Or can it be a uniform?   There are a variety of reasons why people would choose to wear the same thing everyday. For me, it is useful that my daughter has to wear her school uniform.  All the girls have the same clothes, it takes away one item of competition that can be devastating to the image of a young girl in school if her family doesn't have the money to keep up with the Jones' with the latest fashion.

Key Terms
 have in common
 pare down 
 business perspective
blew up the Internet
 famed writer 
 convincing science
 brain power
decision-making process 
tires you out
 a brand
 trademark look
 overall mystique


Why do Obama, Steve Jobs and Homer Price all wear the same thing?
What does it add to their lives? 
Does it detract anything?
What does the research say about wearing the same thing?
What do you wear to work everyday? 
Do you change into different clothes when you come home? 
Do you wear different clothes for different activities?
Does wearing a uniform make a person feel more in a "role?" 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Sunday, November 9, 2014

General Strike on the Way in Belgium? English lesson

It took the Belgians a while but they finally woke up and on Thursday Nov. 6th they staged a General Strike.  The strike turned out to be violent, a number of policemen are in the hospital, there were over 100,000 people in the center of Brussels.  They are protesting the right wing government, that there are not enough jobs, and unemployment is high.   I was told that there will be another strike in December.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher.

Key Terms
little publicity
ambitious reforms
programme- UK spelling , USA spelling program

What is the strike about?
Why did it take so long for a government to form?
What is the main aim of the government?
Why does the government want to raise the retirement age?
Which competences should be transferred to the regions?
Which ones should be kept for the Federal government?
What is significant about the fact that the new government does not include socialists?
Do you think that Charles Michel will be able to negotiate with the strikers?
What was his last job?
What experience does he have in government?

Lesson Plan  by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to enjoy your trip while stuck in the Airport - English Lesson

Have you ever been stuck in the Airport?  Some people are able to take the delay in stride, while others get very upset.  In fact, if you are stuck for more than eight hours going to or from Israel, or your flight was cancelled, you may be able to get compensation!  Go to this link and check it out!  For the rest of us, who are stuck only for a short period of time, read more here:

Key Terms
 scan down 
 serious torture and agony
make the best of it
down time
required documents
 window shopping
deadly project
front to back
packing strategically
cozy jumper

When was the last time you were stuck in an airport? 
What happened with the plane? 
How long were you waiting in the airport?
How did you pass the time? 
Which of the strategies given in the text, have you followed in the past? 
Which one would you want to take advantage of in the future? 
Which one is the least convenient for you? 
Which one is the most exciting for you? 
How often do you travel? 
Which do you do more, traveling for business or pleasure?
In your opinion, are planes delayed or cancelled more now or in the past? 
Do the airlines really pay compensation? 
If your flight were delayed more than eight hours would you try to get compensation from the airline? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

A Video A Day Helps You Learn English - Bucket List

What is a bucket list?  Well, you have to watch the video to find out, Don't worry, it will only take a MINUTE!  Well, three minutes be...