Wednesday, September 30, 2015

John Adams 2nd President of the United States History Lesson

John Adams was the 2nd President of the United States  There was a rivarly between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, although they both helped the United States win independence from England

grew up  - past tense
influential - he was very powerful
  like a priest, but Protestant
signed - to write your name.
advocate  - works for an issue

signed  i is long
emphasis em pha sis
intelligent in tell I gent
Europe Ur up
accomplishment  a kom plish ment
divided  hear all the d's
Revolution. re vo lu shun
coincidences co in si den sis


What state was John Adams from?
What was John Adams most known for?
What job did John's father want him to do?
What profession did John want to study?
Which university did he study at?
What document did he work together with Thomas Jefferson?
What precedent did John Adams start with regards to foreign wars ?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Write your own story. English writing skills lesson

When you write your own story, you can use a typical plot, you add your own characters, setting and time frame.  

Your assignment:  
Give the characters names.  
Decide whether they will be happy, sad, nervous.  
When does this story take place? 
Where does it take place? 
How long does it take for the action? a day, a week, a year? 

A person sees a villain do something bad to an innocent bystander. This is a problem, dilemma or conflict for the person.

He or she tries to stop the villain, but the villain seems to escape. This is a point of tension, because of the possibility of failure.
The protagonist then makes a valiant effort and catches the villain.
The victim is grateful and rewards the protagonist.

Start the story with an interesting "hook." 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ben Franklin - American History

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most influential people of the 19th century.  He never was President, but instead he was the American Ambassador to France, the Postmaster General, among other things.

Read this link and discuss it with your English teacher

What facts of Benjamin Franklin were new for you?
Which ones show how much he cared about other people?
Why did he publish the Almanac?
Why didn't he run for President?
What musical instrument did he invent?  What was it used for?
What was remarkable about his discovery of electricity?

Homework: Write a paragraph about one of Franklin's accomplishments and why you think it was important.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Edmund Halley English conversation lesson

I can make the claim that I saw Halley's Comet.  Yes, it was in 1976, and this time the comet was not so spectacular as it must have been in 1910,  this comet makes its orbit around the sun every 76 years. But what about the man who we remember by its' name?  Edmund Halley who is known  as the discoverer of the comet did many other things as well.

This site gives an introduction to his life,

but this one has even more details, look down a about a fourth down the page and look up Edmund Halley.

Where was he born?  What year was he born?
How old was he when he entered college?
What was his profession? 
What did he discover about the comets? 
Where did he do most of his work cataloging stars?
When did he die? 
When did the comet come back? 
Why do we call the comet by his name? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bartolomeo Cristofori the inventor of the Piano

After reading this article, I have a much better appreciation for the piano as I sit down and pound out some beginning songs.  ( not after 8pm, please the downstairs neighbors have a baby).  It was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori. The other keyboard instrument the Harpsichord is very nice, and has a beautiful tone, but it cannot get louder or softer.  Musicians wanted to be able to put more expression into their playing, so the search was on for an improved tone. 

This link gives the bare basics,

This link give more details:

Key Terms

hammer mechanism instrumental  the spinettone, a kind of harpsichord, and the more original oval spinet  enhanced or dampened the sound


  • When did Bartolomeo Cristofori invent the piano? 
  • Why did it become popular?
  • What is the mechanism that make its sound unique?
  • Who did he work for? 
  • How many pianos that he built are still in existence?
  • Which keys were black and which were white on the first pianos?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Secret Garden Chapter 5

In Chapter 5 Mary settles into to living in the house on the moor.  She doesn't have anything to do, as she is the only child around the house, so she goes outside every day.

What does Mary learn as she roams outside in the garden?
Why doesn't she go out to the Moor?
What animal does she meet?
How do the two relate to each other?
What does Ben Weatherstaff do when he sees the two interacting?
What does she try to do?
Does the animal react?
How does Mary feel when she hears from Martha about Mrs. Craven's garden?
How has she changed from when she was living in India?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach  - Professional English teacher

Friday, September 18, 2015

Write your own fairy tale! Here is the plot and the characters:

Create your own fairy tale! Use magic, potions, witches, giants, sword fights.

Setting: An English speaking forest kingdom, 500 years ago.

King Laziman - He used to be very smart but lately he is under a spell and is very lazy.

Magic Mirror that can talk, but often speaks in riddles that people doon't understand.

Witch Mixiup - Witch who used to be a princess, but was put under a spell to be a witch, but she mixes up the spells. Her spells can be very funny.

The villian - Maxiup He owns a magic sword that wants to be owned by the lazy king.

Loneslone - The King's brother, used to be lazy but now is full of energy, he is the opposite of  his brother the king.

The giant - Giantus - Giant who eats the kingdom's sheep.  Loneslone tries to save the sheep but is kidnapped by the giant instead.

Plot: The story is about a lazy king who must break a curse, find a magic mirror, and outwit a witch to escape an abusive giant.  Things are complicated by the villain kidnapping the main character's

OK, so here are the characters and the plot Let's see what you can do!

Type your story in the comments section below!  Have fun and good luck!

If you want more plots then go to this

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Count Alessandro Volta

Count Alessandro Volta invented the first battery.  He used the idea from Luigi Galvani who was working with frogs.  Nowadays, we are dependent upon our batteries, Whoops, I have to plug in the laptop, computer it is only at 10%!

Read this fun website about Count Alessandro Volta!

a noble family
a current
a wet battery called a Voltaic Pile
 closed the circuit

What is a "volt?"
What is his most famous invention?
What other fields did he work in? 
Why did he work with frogs?
Explain the action of the Voltanic Pile. 
Why was it a pile?
Why was it filled salt water?
Why does it work?
How do you close a circuit?
Who made Volta a Count? Why?
How is this battery similar or different from our batteries?
What was this invention used for? 
Was this invention used to store power? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Animal Farm by George Orwell Study Questions

Animal Farm by George Orwell has become a classic in political "fantasy."  We are studying the book, and I am writing study questions as we read the book.

Here is a study guide that you can also do as we read the book:


Why do the animals rebel?  How is it similar to the Russian Revolution?
What do they do first?
Why do they leave the house intact?
What role do the pigs do with the farm work?
What is Boxer's attitude toward the farm?
How does he set an example to the other animals?
What does the 7 commandments remind you of?
What commandments would you write?
Which commandment will be broken first?
Why do the pigs criticize the mare when she wants the ribbons?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jamestown settlement- American History Lesson

People often think that the Pilgrims were the first European settlement in the New World, but actually the Jamestown settlement was earlier.

Read the story here:


Why did the settler's come to the New World?
What were they looking for?
Did they find it?
Where did they build the settlement?
Why did they call it Jamestown?
When did the first settlers come to Jamestown?
Why was life difficult for the settlers?
What was the name of the leader of the colony?
What were they looking for?
Who married Pocahontas?
Would you have wanted to live in Jamestown?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

James Clerk Maxwell - Science English Lesson

James Clerk Maxwell was one of the giants of the 1800's his work formed one of the basis of the modern world.


Where did Maxwell attend University?
What physical process do his equations describe?
Why are his equations important?
Which other physicist admired Maxwell's work?
Where was he appointed as a professor?
How did he describe the rings of Saturn?
Which other fields did he contribute?
What is his legacy to the modern world?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

American History The Pilgrims

The myths surrounding the Pilgrims sometimes will surprise us.  But the truth is even more interesting! Even though I learned about this time period in school, when I went to this website, I learned some new facts!

 to leak - water coming into the ship
to crew - the sailors who sail the ship
 ashore - go to the coast
engraven  carve

originally hard g
Pilgrims pil grims
crew -  cru
time long i
native - long a
tribe - long i


Why were the Puritans unhappy with living in England?
Where did they move first?
Why did they leave?
What was the name of the ship that took them to America?
In what year did they sail?
Where did they land in North America?
Which tribe of Indians helped the Pilgrims learn how to farm?
Who was the first governor of the Pilgrims?
How long did the first Thanksgiving feast last?
Who was invited?
What drink was served?

Why is religious freedom important?
Explain why the pilgrims felt they had to have a new place to live.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

The Secret Garden Chapter 4

In Chapter 4, Mary arrives at her uncle's house.  She is still angry and hateful about life and about her environment. In this chapter we will see a little opening in Mary's character as she begins to explore the garden.

How does Mary react to the servant, Martha?
Why does Martha seem surprised that Mary wants help to dress herself?
How does Mary speak to Martha?
What is the first thing that Mary is pleased about in the new house?
Why does Martha speak in dialect?
What interests Mary about Martha's brother?
What does Mary do when she finds out about the secret garden?
Why doesn't Mary eat the food that Martha brings her?
What does the robin redbreast symbolize?
What does Ben Weatherstaff's name symbolize?
What job does he do?
In what way does Mary start to be interested in others?

Homework: Write a the letter that Martha writes to her relatives in London about the new girl who she is taking care of.  Include her plans for Mary's development.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Secret Garden Chapters 2 and 3 - English literature

I have grouped these two chapters together because they are part of one unit.  Mary leaves India and is on her way back to England. She goes by ship, and has to spend the voyage with a poor family.

Mary is sent to England, after the death of her parents. How does she feel about this move?
Who does she go with?
What does she feel about her traveling companions?
How do they feel about her?
Why is the Nursery Rhyme so fitting?
How does Mary feel about this nursery rhyme being sung to her?
How does she make her feelings known?
How does she react to the news about her uncle?
What parts of the news does she like, dislike?
What are Mary's feelings about Mrs. Medlock?
How does Mrs. Medlock feel about Mary?
Does it come out as pity or hate?
How does Mary feel after this journey?

Homework: Write a diary entry the Mary writes while she is on the ship. Include her feelings toward the other people on the ship.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher

CFE Picture Comparisons

CFE Speaking Part 2

Answer these questions about the pictures 

I'd like you to compare and contrast these photographs, 
saying how you would feel walking on each of these paths.
Remember,   you have only about a minute for this, so don't worry if I interrupt you. Alright?

How to prepare for the FCE Part 2 Speaking test

In order to prepare for this test, you should practice speaking English as much as possible. I believe that someone who is almost fluent would also have to practice because we are not used to speaking about pictures for a minute straight!

 You get to speak for one minute about these pictures.  Good luck! 

Here are the questions to answer about the pictures:
What topic are both photos connected to?
How are these pictures similar?
How are they different?
Where do you think these pictures are taken?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of life in the countryside?  In a big city?
Where would you prefer to live?  Why?

Extra questions:
Talk about the place where you live
Do you know your neighbors?  Are relationships with neighbors important in your society?
If you had grown up in a different city, how would your life have been different?
Would you prefer to live in a really old historical city, or a really new modern city?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Christopher Columbus - History English conversation lesson

Christopher Columbus was not the first person to see the "New World" but he found the trade winds that make it possible to sail there.  This is a short article suitable for kids to get a background about this famous explorer.


 to finance
monumental efforts
 fruitless results
 hit the open seas

Christopher  - kris to fer
Genoa Je no ah
eventually e ven tu ly
Indies In des
Indonesia In do ne sha
finance fi nanse

acquiring a kw ar ing 
denied de nied
monumental mon u men tal
Isabella Iza bella


What did you already know about Christopher Columbus? 
What country was Columbus born in? 
What was his early profession? 
Why did he want to find a way to the West Indies? 
Which king and queen finally gave him money to go on his trip? 
What island he he land on first? 
What are the names of the three ships that Columbus took with him on his voyage?
How many miles did the ships travel each day?  
What is funny about the crew's fears?
How long was the voyage? 
Where did he think he was?
Where was he actually?
Why did he name the peoples he found Indians? 
What title was he given? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English Teacher 

Animal Farm by George Orwell Chapter 1

When I first read Animal Farm the summer before I started 8th grade, I thought that it was a nice story about animals taking over a farm.  But then we studied the Russian Revolution of 1917 in school and I saw the book in a whole new light!

Key Terms
he had been exhibited
s steadiness of character
cynical remark
mincing daintily
 hideous cruelty
bare minimum


Why does Old Major call the meeting?
What is the significance of Mr. Jones being drunk?  Why does he take a last glass of beer? 
Why is Mrs. Jones mentioned?  What is she doing?  Is this ladylike? 
What is the significance of describing all the animals and where they sit? 
How does the author establish the characters of each species? 
Why does Old Major start the meeting with the word Comrades?
What are his major complaints?
Are they justified? 
Who do the animals work for? 
Who gets the benefits?
What vision of the future does Old Major show for the animals? 
Is it reasonable? 

Now take a look at this children's book: Farmer Duck:  It is a similar story based on Animal Farm, but really written for kids.

What similarities do you see between the two books?  
What differences do you see between the two books?  
What message are we giving our children when we read this book?  
How was Martin Waddell influenced by George Orwell?  

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - Professional English teacher 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Old bones found in Peru

Even beginning students want to have interesting news to study that doesn't use very many hard words.  This is a lower level 1 text.  After reading this, and understanding it very well, the student can go up to level 2 and then level 3.  This is a good way to reinforce the vocabulary.
So today we are going to study some archaeology.


Where did this take place?
What did they find?  Explain.
How old are they?
What else did they find? What is on the other find?

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...