Wednesday, January 28, 2015

EuroStar Closed because of Smoke

The Eurostar is one of the main transportation mainstays nowadays. People go across the Channel under it everyday.
It had to be shut down last week because of a lorry fire.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
smouldering load
holiday makers
suspended its services


How often do you travel on the Eurostar service?
Have you ever done the same travel by boat? Why or why not?
How long does it take to go from France to England?
What do you think about the services?
Which method of transportation do you like the most?
Which method do you travel on the most?
How often do you travel on bullet trains?
What would you do if you were told that the Chunnel was closed?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama's State of the Union Speech - English conversation

The State of the Union is a very important speech in the United States.  This year it was interesting because of what was said and also what was omitted.  We get to hear about the new plans  and old plans that are being discarded  This year the President himself leaked to the media what he was going to talk about so it wasn't such a surprise.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
generates rising incomes
makes the effort
middle-class economics
 their fair shot
key themes
 try to dodge the evidence
massive disruptions
public approval ratings
buildup to the speech
joint session of Congress
partisan gridlock
a tactical change
play “offense
cede much ground
bully pulpit
tone and tenor

Which new proposals did President Obama introduce in this speech?
Is this the right venue to introduce new legislation?
Will his free community colleges really help?
Do tax increases on corporations really help the economy?
What about tax increases on the rich?
What measures will Obama take against terrorism?
What measures will he take against cyberterrorism?
What benefit will the common person receive from the government?
What actions will the Administration take against Global Warming?
Which areas will the Democrats and Republicans work together?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Toddler shoots himself with Father's gun. English Conversation

Firearms in the hands of the wrong people. I can think of two categories Children and Terrorists.  This past week we have hear of both types of tragedies.   How do we prevent these events from happening? gunn

One, we do need some kind of gun control, to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists.  Second, for those who do need a gun, there has to be clear rules about how and where such firearms need to be stored.  In Israel, where all the soldiers have guns, they are required to have them on their person at all times.  Do we hear about accidents?  Not really.  The rules are very clear!

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher!

Key Terms
shoots himself
kills himself
380 caliber handgun
 glove compartment
 pulled the trigger
light weight
police tape 

Which people should own a handgun?
Where should the guns be stored?
Is there a safe place in the car for a gun?
According to the article, why did the father have a gun?
Do you think that it was necessary for him to have a gun?
How could have this tragedy been prevented?
What do you think about handguns?
Have you ever had a gun?
Have you ever shot a gun?
What are the laws in your country about guns and gun ownership?
Which laws  should be changed in your country regarding gun ownership?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Five ways that you are gambling with your money Business English

Financial money management is very important.  This article suggests that the way your deal with your credit cards can be very risky.  The way you take a mortgage can  also effect how much money you will pay back.

Key terms
standing order
utility bills
monthly budget
deferred debit
immediate debit
debit card
credit card
adjustable mortgage
fixed-rate mortgage
withdraw money
postal bank

Do you have a month budget?
What do you do if you spend more than you make?
What do you do if you have an emergency and need to cover the expense?
What type of loans do you take?
Have you ever borrowed from your credit card?
What type of credit card plan do you have?
What type of large appliances have you bought?
Did you ever buy the extended warranty?
Have you ever fallen for any of these "gamboling" schemes?
Do you set aside money and put in a savings account?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finally! Restaurant workers get a living wage at a Pittsburg restaurant

To help pay my personal expenses when I was at UCLA, I worked in an on campus restaurant, the Cooperage.  I started in the pizza section, then bussing tables, and I ended up a shift manager of the bussing tables section.  It was hard work, and we didn't get tips because it was a self-serve university setting.  We got paid a bit above minimum, and the shifts were at most two hours at a time.  There were so many students who wanted to work, and the hours were shifted around our classes.  But most people who work at a restaurant are really paid very poorly and they live on the tips.  Here is another view of how one restaurant owner is solving the problem.

Read this article and watch the short video, discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
 base salary 
 which vest
 compensation plan
blanket 20% service charge
 breaking down whole animals 
fermenting vegetables 
on site


What do you feel about tipping? Who do you tip?
 Taxi driver, hairdressers, hotel & service staff?
When you go out for a meal do you always tip?

What do you think about the service in a typical restaurant?
Do you think other restaurants should follow this pattern?
What is the traditional way of compensation at a restaurant?
How much do you have to add to the  bill at a typical restaurant in your country?
Is working in a restaurant a hard job?
What would the bi-monthly meeting do for the workers?
Do you leave big tips or small tips?
Is is fair to the worker?  The business? The patrons?
What will be the compensation package at Bar Marco?
What will they do differently? 
How will this affect the profitability?
How will this affect the "culture of the workers?"
How will this affect the customers?
Will there be more customers?  Less?
Would you like to go to this restaurant? 
If there was a similar restaurant in your city would it be successful?
What else would you like to change about the restaurant industry?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What do you do after a fire? English Conversation lesson

How do you prepare for a fire in your house?  I have never had a fire in my own apartment, but one Friday night there was a fire on the floor below in our apartment building.  The renters lit their Shabbat candles, went out, leaving the window open.  The candles fell over and the fire smoldered and burned until 12:00pm the fire department was called.  They had to break the burglar-proof door down, but the fire was contained in that apartment and didn't spread.  What did my husband and I do?  We went directly to an insurance company and bought coverage for our apartment.   We were lucky.

Read this article and discuss it with your English teacher

Key Terms
ous combustion
 St. Elmo’s fire 
chaotic scene
flames going
large leap of faith
 multiunit buildings
complex claim
caught off guard
space heaters
electrical cords
adjustergut renovation
jacked up
 coverage buckets 
 loss of use
establish ownership
national franchise

What is surprising about how Mr. Slutskin's fire started?
Why would you think that he would be able to deal with the aftermath of a fire?
What was disturbing for Mr. Sluskin while the firefighters were putting out the fire? 
Where did they stay after the fire?
How long did it take for them to go back home?  What did they do in the meantime? 
Do you think that the insurance company gave them enough money? 
Why would more fires start in the colder months?
How can that be prevented?
How do you prepare for a fire?
Do you have a smoke alarm in your house? 
What kind of fire insurance do you have?
What would you put into a fire-proof box?
Which of your possessions is most important for you to insure?
Has any of your friends or relatives been the victim of a fire?
What did they do?  Did they have insurance?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Solar Power will go portable by June 2015! Technology English lesson

I have always dreamed of having solar power in my hand.  Whenever some gadget would come out that would be solar powered, I bought it.   I had a solar powered battery charger, for AAA batteries.  Nope, didn't work.  Next I tried a solar powered Bluetooth, it was ok, but powered better by the wall.  Now however, this might not just be a shot in the dark, but the real thing.

Read this article for the next best Solar powered: Generator!

Key Terms
electrical system.
life comes to a halt
 communications disconnect. 
sourcing the fuel,
 rampant looting

Who would most benefit from this invention? 
Would you consider buying one? 
How would you use it? 
How did the inventor get the idea for this invention? 
How is the company raising the seed money?
When will the product be available on the market?
How long will it provide power? 
What type of devices will work best with the invention? 
How heavy will the device be? 
Do you think that this will be very successful? Why or why not?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to raise a sensitive child - English Conversation Lesson

How do you raise a sensitive child?  This article and video has some very good points about parenting.   Be prepared to discuss this with your English teacher.

Key Terms
 helicopter parenting
standardized tests
predictor of success
 commitment, loyalty and intimacy 
adult roles

What did you find most useful in this article? 
Who or what has influenced your life choices most, is it your family and upbringing or your environment?
Can a caring loving home override lack of financial stability?
What is your earliest memory?

Were there certain fashions that were popular when you were a child that you wanted, but your parents didn't want to buy it?
How did your parents explain it to you? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Do you Hate your job? Here's what to do - Business English lesson

Does going to work give you a headache?  Is your work just so boring that you could scream?  Well, it doesn't have to be that way.  Here are tips you can follow to help you make the best of a bad situation, or even turn it around. 

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

Key Terms
The old adage
throw in the towel 
job lined up
employed significant other
physically/emotionally abusive
crucial addition
flexible work schedule
career changers
career niche
first point of contact
informal informational interviews 
coffee meetings

What do you like about your job?  
What do you dislike? 
What can be changed?
Do you have enough money saved up so that you can quit?
Do you really hate your job or is it just the circumstances surrounding it?
What could you change about your job if you could?
In this economic crisis is it really sensible to change your company right now?
Are there other jobs in your industry available
What can you do to make your current job better? 
Who can you speak to? 
Are there parts of your job that you really like? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Learn Business English  with Rachael on line: Learn English on-line with Rachael

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Make up New Words English lesson

We need to make up new words in English.  The easiest is to "steal" words from other languages, you can compounding, toothpaste,  Blends, and many other ways to make new words.

This is the transcript of the talk, so after you have seen the talk, if you didn't understand any word, then read the transcript.

Which of the ways to make new words, are new to you?
Which one have you heard of before?
Which one have you used yourself?
What are new words that you have heard recently?
What are the consequences of using new words?
Have you ever made up a new word?
What part of speech is best for making up a new word?
Which new words did J.K. Rowling make up?  Who uses her new words?
Do you use unusual words in your daily life?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

A Video A Day Helps You Learn English! Too Many Bananas! Indian Accent

A Video A Day Helps You Learn English! Too Many Bananas!  Indian Accent. It can also be useful to listen to English spoken in different p...