Sunday, August 31, 2014

Long Slow Runs can benefit your Fitness Level - English Lesson

Just about any kind of regular exercise can help you increase your fitness level.  You need to get out and move.  But what do you do if you don't like swimming, jogging or bicycling?  Here is another way to get out and get into shape!

Read this page and prepare to speak about it with your English teacher!

Key Terms
programme  - program 
runner's high
working heart rate zone
marathon race
rehearsal run
bang on target
demanding additional workout


What are the overall health benefits of a long slow run? 
When in the best time to do this run? 
How often?
What is better about running slowly, as compared to running fast? 
Why should you practice at your marathon pace? 
How far should you run during your practice runs? 
What is important about a rehearsal run?
How much should you increase your run each week?

Case Study

You are preparing for the Annual Marathon race in your city.  What steps do you do in order to get ready for the race?  How far in advance do you start to train? When do you schedule yourself do practice?  What diet do you put yourself on?  What is your reason for running the Marathon?  
What do you do on the day of the race before the race starts? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Does raising the Minimum Wage really help the Poor? Business English lesson

Does Raising the Minimum Wage really help the Poor?  Conventional wisdom says that it does. You give poorer workers more money and they are able to meet their needs better.   Sepember 1st is Labor Day this year, so Mayor Eric Garcetti  of Los Angeles  my hometown, wants to raise the minimum wage.  

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

Key Terms
called for goosing
is typically sold
business magnate and philanthropist
would help lift people out of poverty
shrinking share
six figures
government diktat
working poor
savvy politician 
economic intervention

What percentage of workers actually earn the minimum  wage? 
Are they all poor people? 
How long do workers work at this low wage?
What is a better way to benefit poor people? Why do poor workers stay at the minimum wage?
What is the goal of raising the Minimum Wage?  To help poor people, or to help workers? 
What do the politicians say about it?
Did you know about Labor Day and what it stands for? 
What was your first job?  What did it pay? 
What tasks did you have? 
Did you like the job?  How long did you work there? Why did you leave? 
What job do you have now? How did you get it? How is it different from your first job? 

Case Study
You feel it is time for a raise at your job. You have a meeting with your boss next week to ask for the raise.  Role play with your teacher the points that you want to say to convince that you are worth more money in your job. 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Personality trait that will take you far - English Lesson

We all want to be famous and be successful.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was one magic personality trait that would be a good predictor?  Well, there is.  

Read this article and be prepared to discuss it with your English teacher (me)

Key Terms
primary dimensions
cradle to grave
five-factor model of personality
long-wed couples.
delay of gratification
negative association

According to the article, what does conscientiousness mean?  
What do conscientious people excel at? 
How do they approach a difficult task? 
What are the health benefits? 
How are they rewarded in school and work? 
What is the drawback of conscientious people?  
Can you be conscientious and creative? 
Can you teach a child to be conscientious? 

Are you a conscientious person? Why or why not? 
What creative activities do you do? 
How do you integrate all your different activities? 
How does society reward conscientious people? 
How does it punish creative people?  
Can you change your personality traits? Why or why not? 

Case Study
Name a famous person that you admire. Is that person a conscientious person, or a creative person? What other personalitiy traits does this person have? How did that person become famous?  What special thing can they do? Would you like to do the same thing?  How long did it take for fame to come to this person?  How much help did this person receive?  

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Time for a Digital Detox! Get away from it all - English lesson

We now spend more time in front of a screen than we do sleeping, but is anyone doing anything about it?  Surprisingly enough, there are programs and "vacations" out there that can help you kick the habit if only for a  short time.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher (me)

Key terms
Internet addiction disorder 
personal willpower
capitalize or capitalise
have sprung up
 bucolic setting
laughter therapy
 thatch roof
expelling all traces of radiation
 two millisieverts
gold panning
tech temptations
morning journaling

What are the withdrawal systems of people who stop using technology. 
What does the Unplugged Weekend, offer people? 
Why is the phone handing over ceremony important? 
How did Kim Beckett feel about turning back on her phone? 

What kind of accommodations Where do you sleep when you go to the Maldives? Why is this surprising?  Who does the cooking?  

Which one of these places would you want to go? 
Would you have the willpower to turn off your phone by yourself for a weekend?
What do you use your phone for most of the time? Would it be a problem  to be disconnected for a while?
Do you feel over connected?  Do you ever just "take a break" from the digital world? 

What is the reaction of your on-line friends?  How do you stay in touch with the office when you go on vacation? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to make a great First Impression - Business English lesson

No matter what people say, First Impressions count. They count a lot.  If you make  good First Impressions, chances are that you will be more successful in business. Can you leave it up to chance?  This article says that there are 6 strategies that you can follow to help you.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms


it comes to 

The room buzzes 
add value
authentic connection
trite topics
current mindset
window of opportunity
conversational watering can


According to the article,  what is a good way to start a conversation at a business conference?
What subjects do you need to bring up?
What is the best way to introduce yourself?
What does this quote mean to you? If you’re not adding value, you’re just taking up space. 
What is your natural style of communication?
What is your "Anthem?"
If you had to sum up your outlook in life, in one sentence, what would it be?
Which questions do you ask people at a business conference? 
Why should you take the lead in starting a conversation?  

Case study:
You are at a business conference for the first time in your field.  Sitting next to you is a colleague who you have spoken to over the phone only once, but who could be very important to your business.  Start the conversation with this person and get them to be interested in your product.  Play the scene with your English teacher 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Toronto even bans e-cigs! English lesson

Even e-cigs, once thought of as the answer to smokers in public are being banned in public areas in the United States.  E-cigs, or electronic cigarettes don't produce smoke and others supposedly don't even smell them when they are being "vaped."  They don't have the ash, no smell and have no tobacco.  But they do provide nicotine to the user, and it looks kinda like a conventional cigarette, but not really.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher:

Key Terms

marathon session
conventional smoking 
nicotine delivery
stricter oversight

Why do you think that the city council wants to ban e-cigs?
in your opinion, why did the Mayor,Rob Ford, vote against the proposal?
Where can't a person "vape" an e-cig?
What are the dangers of these type of cigarettes?
Why do the regulators want to crackdown on the sales of these types of cigarettes? 
Do you know anyone who has "vaped" these types of cigarettes?
What benefits does the user get from this product? 
What are the risks? 
Do you think that nicotine should be a controlled substance?  

Role play
You are at an outdoor event and a person at a table next to yours is "vaping." There is not a ban in this venue, but you can smell something strange in the air. Play the scene with your teacher. 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cure for Cancer on the Horizon - English Lesson

Israeli researchers have found a possible cancer cure process, two species of mole rats, blind and naked, live far longer than other rats and fight off cancers.   This could pave the way to find a way to cure cancer in humans.

Read this article and be ready to discuss it with your English teacher

Key terms
spontaneous cancer
induced cancer
It’s a long way off
gene extracts

What is surprising about this research?
Which animals are the researches using? 
What other animals have been used in the past?
How long do you think it will take until a specific treatment will be available? 

What other cancer treatments are you familiar with? 
What is the problem with the current treatments? 
Would you want to volunteer for experimental treatments to get rid of cancer?
Would you want to try a vaccine against cancer?

What do the doctors say how to prevent cancer?
Do you know of any one who has, or has had cancer?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can you paint like Vermeer? A video to watch. English lesson

Johannes Vermeer, or Jan Vermeer was not as well known in his lifetime as he is now. His paintings, however have taken on a life of their own, inspiring books, movies and now a documentary.  One book, imagining Vermeer's creation of the painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring was a glimpse into the daily life of 17th century Delft, Holland. 
This book, Girl with a Pearl Earring, written by Tracy Chevalier was  also made into a movie. 

The latest investigation into Jan Vermeer's life is this new documentary now making the rounds by Tim Jensen. 

Watch the video and then read the text. Be ready to discuss it with your English teacher. 

Key terms. 
Camera Obscura

What do you know about Jan Vermeer? 

Have you ever seen a camera obscura? 
Why was this a surprising development in the 17th century? 
What was the usual way of painting in Vermeer's lifetime? 
What was different about his paintings? 
Does the fact that he used "technology" detract from the genius of the paintings? 
Would you like to paint like this?  Do you like to go to museums?  Art Galleries? Why or Why not? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fast Breakfast in, Ham and Bacon out! English lesson

Kellogg s the breakfast cereal maker has taken a big loss over the past year.  This echos a trend across the breakfast industry. Cereals and orange juice sales have decreased, while yogurt and egg sales have increased.  Why is this happening? W

Read this article and  discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms:
the helm 
remains constant
 feeding frenzy
take-out breakfast
 touting breakfast
fighting obesity
weight down
halo around breakfast
 waste away
the narrative

According to the article, what is the most popular breakfast.
What do you eat for breakfast?
 What did your mother eat?
 What did your grandmother eat? 
According to the article, why is breakfast important?
What is the traditional breakfast in the USA?
Why are take-out breakfast so popular? 
Why has bacon and egg sales been on the increase? 
Why do some people eat a big breakfast? 
Have you ever skipped breakfast?  
How did you feel? 
Do you think that breakfast is important? Why or why not? 
What does the research say about eating breakfast? 
Why does this add to the confusion? 
Have you ever had a take-out breakfast?  Why or why not? 
What would you answer on a  survey about breakfast? Why or why not? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Can we trust the Corporations to keep the Environment Clean? English Lesson

Everyone has a responsibility to safeguard the environment.  In the United States and Europe, there are many safeguards to protect the environment. But what happens in China?

Read this article and be prepared to talk about it with your English teacher.

Key Term: 
on the scene 

What was so surprising about the river turning red? 
What is the normal situation with this river? 
How long did it take for the river to turn red?
What is the effect of the red water? 
Which types of industries can cause this type of red water?
Can we trust the Corporations to keep the environment clean?
What other questions would you like to ask the scientists?

What laws does your country have to safeguard the environment?
Can this happen in your country? 
What are the punishments to a company that pollutes the environment? 
What do you do to protect the environment? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why is the house so dirty? Don't blame the Mom!

Part of the American Dream is to have it all, kids, cars and a clean sparkling home.  Well, even for stay-at-home moms can't do it all. Every time you clean one room, another gets dirty, especially when the kids are babies, but believe it or not, teenagers can make messes too! This article answer the age old question: Why is the house dirty?

Key Terms
snarky smile
What really sucks 
 clutter piles
random installments 
 hanging out
justifiable excuse
the dynamics of the family
pitching in
hit home

What is the stereotypical attitude toward people who have messy houses?  Who are the main people who make the messes?  What is the cause?  Why is the mother always to blame?   What does a mother with small children do all day?  How do you teach children to keep their rooms clean?  Does it work? 
Is your home messy?  Who is the main person who does all the cleaning?  How do you feel about the mess in your home?  Do you get upset about it?  What does your Dream Home look like?  

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Driverless cars are not only Science Fiction!

We've seen James Bond with his driverless car.  Actually he controlled the car with a remote control.  But these "driverless cars" are much more.  You might be able to send your car to pick up your kids from school, while you are at work,  you might be able to sit in the passenger seat and get some last minute work done while the car takes you to work, you might even be able to take a nap in the back seat while your car drives you to your vacation!  The possibilities are endless. What can a driverless car do now? 

Read this article and then discuss it with your English teacher.

Key terms:
highway autopilot
decommissioned naval base
testing and qualifications
working prototypes
what’s driving him
serial entrepreneur

What is the main reason that people would want a driverless car?
What realistically can  this driverless car really do? 
Do you think that $10,000 is a good price for the sensor? 
Which car model can this work on? 
Why is that a problem?
How many units is Cruise company going to take orders for? 
What is the difference between this system and a cruise control system?  
What are the similarities?
How long does it take to work with a car manufacturer? 
Why is this a problem? 
Would you use this system in bumper to bumper traffic? 
How long is Cruise going to test the system? 
Is this enough time?  
Would you want to buy one of these systems to put in your car?  
Why or why not?  
What advantageous does it have over a regular car?   
Would you buy this type of car if you got a discount from your insurance company? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach Professional English teacher

Diamonds aren't Rare at all! English lesson

Diamonds are the symbol of love, that's how it has always been right?  Maybe not? 

De Beers Consolidated Mines had to figure out a way to get people to buy diamonds.  Find out why and how in this article that you will speak to your English teacher about!

Key Terms:
driven up
cultural expectation
sudden flood
 inflated prices 
ingenious marketing strategy 
crystallized carbonite
run-of the-mill 

more rare 

Why did De Beers want to drive up the price of diamonds? 
Why do we accept a cartel to market and sell diamonds when other industries can't have one?  '
How did De Beers get diamonds into the common culture of love?
What is the stereo-typical expression of getting engaged? 
Would you want or expect to give a diamond to your betrothed?  
How much would you spend on a diamond? Is it worth it? 
What precious stone do you like?  

What do you think about cubic zirconia stones?  
Or costume jewelry that looks like diamonds? 
What do you assume when you see a women who wears a "diamond?"
How has the Internet age changed the conception of value of a diamond? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, Professional English Teacher 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Microsoft may do the Unthinkable to get you to upgrade to Windows 9

There have been many versions of Windows Operating System.  Actually, my favorite has been XP. The functions were clear, and it was easy to save files where you wanted them to be saved.  Windows 8 is more for a "touch screen" mentality. But, I don't have a touch screen computer, so the Metro section is slow and hard for me to use.

Maybe Windows 9 will give us back some functionality?

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher:

Key Terms:
upgrade option 
internal codename
hit the web
packed in
Patch Tuesday


According to the article, what is unthinkable about Microsoft's plan? 
Why do they want everyone to have the same operating system? Would an upgrade deal make you want to move to Windows 9?  Does the absence of the start button in Windows 8 bother you? If you have Windows 8, do you use the "Metro" side?  Why or why not? Do you usually download all the updates?  Do they help you? What features do you want to see in an operating system? 

By Rachael Alice Orbach one of the teachers on this website:

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...