Wednesday, December 30, 2015

World's oldest playable Bone Flute found in China- English lesson

 The world's most ancient playable flutes have been found in Henan China.  They been dated to between 7000 to 9000 years old, and they can still make music.  Six complete wing bone flutes carved from cranes have been found and parts of 30 others were also found.

You can hear a sample of one of the flutes here:

There are flutes with different number of holes, the one with 7 holes plays a scale that is similar to the Modern Scale of C or Do.

These flutes give an insight of the sound of music 9000 years ago.

This archaeological site was discovered in 1962, but has only recently been excavated. Researchers have found the flutes plus many other artifacts that tell us about life in ancient China.  Jiahu lies in the Central Yellow River Valley in mid-Henan Province and was inhabited from 7000 BC to 5700 BC. The site was discovered by Zhu Zhi, late director of the Wuyang County Museum, in 1962.

Only 5% of the site has been worked on with more digs scheduled for the future.

For more information go here:

wing bone
Modern scale
archaeological  site

playable say l
ancient An chent
flute say l clearly
artifacts R ti facts
scheduled ske juled
archaeologica R ke o log gi kal
Modern - hear the r
excavate  - X i vate
site - long i


Where were the flutes found?
How old were the flutes?
What is unusual about that?
What are the flutes made from?
Listen to the sound sample.  What does the sound remind you of?
When was the site discovered?
Why do you think they found the flutes only now?
What information can we find out about Ancient China from this site?
Have you ever been to an archaeological site?
What did you see there?
Which musical instrument do you play?
How long have you played it?
How long did it take you to learn to play your instrument?
Have you ever tried to play a simple flute? If not, would you want to?
Was it difficult for you?

Summary and Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - English teacher

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Persuasive Language Lesson Plan

Using persuasive language can be a difficult skill for ESL students.  They have need to learn both the vocabulary and how to use it.

Here is a worksheet that can help students to figure out which words are more persuasive than others. 

Assignment:  Write a persuasive e-mail to your brother asking him to do something that you know that he doesn't want to do

Sample e-mail:

Dear Sweet  Brother,

I so want to you come with me!  It will be an educational opportunity for you, a chance for you to get out of the office and enjoy life for a change!  Please, think of this as my gift to you for the past 5 years that I forgot to give you birthday presents!  Tell the newspaper that you are going on a fact finding mission with me and that we will write a wonderful travel article for the paper!  We are going to have a wild time!  Just do it for me, pretty please?

With love,


Now it is your turn!












Friday, December 25, 2015

How to use the Bagrut Module C as a conversation lesson

The Bagrut is the most important test in the Israeli School system.  The kids have to take tests in order to graduate from High School, and to enter into University.  This can be very stressful for kids in 11th and 12th grades who live in Israel.

I have found that if students study past tests, they are better equipped to pass the English test.  English is not a type of skill that you can do an overnighter, and expect to pass the test the next day.  You have to practice the skills, reading, comprehension, writing, and spelling over a long period of time if you want to pass the test.

This is the Module C exam from 2015, which was quite interesting in fact.

Do reading and answer the questions, Time yourself to be able to complete the exam in an hour and a quarter.  Good Luck!

If you want to use this text as a conversation lesson, then prepare these questions, and have a conversation with your English teacher.  (me?)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Debate Lesson Plan

This is a class debate lesson plan. You can change it to fit your country. For example compare New York and Los Angeles instead of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

It cab be used for Junior High and High School.
Have fun with your debate!

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach, English Teacher

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Old Wreck is found - News in Levels, Level 1

Even when you have students that are at a low level, you can still discuss the news with them, This is a site that has human interest stories in three levels.  Today I taught two cute boys via Skype, this story at a Level 1.

  Spanish = something from the country Spain
 sink = you wash your hands in the sink this is a noun
  sinks used as a verb The ship goes down into the water
  1700  Seventeen hundred
 1708 - Seventeen oh eight
 wreck - the remains
 bronze - copper and tin together  very heavy and sturdy


 Where did the ship sink?
 What was on the ship?
 What was the cannon used for?
  How many people died?
  What year did the ship go down?
 Why do find the ship now?
  Did they find it?
  What does the word want mean here?

Then, after asking all the questions, I asked the students to summarize in their own words the article.

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - English teacher 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How well does your country speak English?

How well does your country speak English?  Well it is a combination of factors.  One is if the native language of your country is similar to English or not.  Another factor could be how "open" your country is to speaking other languages.  France, for example is very proud of French and therefore most people don't like to speak other languages.  Belgium, on the other hand has three official languages, French, French and German, and since Brussels is the capital of Europe, English is also spoken.  How does your country tally up?  If you want at the bottom of the page, you can take one of their tests.  


 gender gap
cultural aversion
communicative approach,
 tourism industries

How important is English in your country?
How is English taught in your country? 
How can English teaching methods be changed in your country?
Which English skill is hardest for you to learn? 
Which English skill is the easiest? 
Which English skill do you use the most in your daily life? 
How do you learn best? 
What is your level in English? 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - English teacher 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bejing Smog - RED ALERT!

Today Bejing issued a "Red Alert" because of heavy smog in the city.  Well, as coming from Los Angeles, we have had many of these in the past.  But usually it was during the summer so it was so hot that you didn't want to do anything anyway!

What is the condition in Bejing?Visitors use mobile phones to take pictures and videos as they watch a flag raising ceremony at the Tiananmen Square amid heavy smog in Beijing, China.

construction work
to criticize 
climate change


What is the main cause of pollution in Bejing? 
What is the government doing to lessen pollution? 
Is it effective?  What do you suggest? 
Is pollution a problem in your city?
What can you do personally to lessen air pollution? 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finish the Story worksheet - English writing practice

This worksheet is so much fun!  It is perfect for this time of year, now that in some places it is beginning to get cold and snowy.  Well, here in Israel we never know if it will snow, last year we had three snowstorms, in December and in January, so now that it is at the beginning of December, you never know.  So this can help you plan for those snow days.

In this worksheet, students are given the first paragraph of the story, and they have to finish it.

A lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to start your writing

Oftentimes when faced with a blank piece of paper, or more accurately a new file blank word document, people go blank.  It's scary.  I have lots of ideas, but how to start?  Aren't there any prompts that can be used?

Well yes, there are.

These examples can be used when starting any kind of writing, a short story, diary entry, a blog post, a novel, and a newspaper article.  

Use this worksheet to come up with some example starting sentences. 

Now that you have done this worksheet, 

Write your own: 

1. ______________________________________





\Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach - English teacher 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense - Book Review

This is a book that everyone should have in their library.  It is a "how to" book that will help you in all sorts of ways.  Teach your children to analyze their speech, how to defend themselves against bullies and all sorts of verbal acrobatics.  I have the first one, and this book is another one in the series.  If you work in an office you NEED to have these strategies!

 I got my copy direct from the author, but you can get yours from Amazon.

Rachael Alice Orbach
English Teacher

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

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