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English Detective, Issue #3 December 31, 2012
December 31, 2012
Monday: About this issue:
This issue begins with a discussion about setting SMART goals. (That’s goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.)
Wednesday you can work with some of the vocabulary from that article, and Thursday combine vocabulary and grammar practice: using the future tense to talk about goals and plans.
Friday there’s a little about the common American New Year’s tradition of making resolutions, with suggestions for how you can try out this new year’s tradition by writing about your own goals or resolutions.
Monday of week 2 you can practice the future tense (with a few more examples of resolutions.) Tuesday there is more grammar practice with ‘will’ as well as other modal verbs. Wednesday you can read a short essay about learning from failure and continuing on to success. It is based on selections from two famous graduation speeches.
There’s a link Wednesday to the 2008 Harvard University Commencement Address by J.K. Rowling (the famous author of the Harry Potter books for young people). The essay also uses a very brief selection from Steve Job’s Stanford University speech in 2005. That whole commencement address will be one of the readings in the next issue, as it is in fairly simple English and contains so much to think about.
So does Rowling’s speech, but it’s a little more difficult. I felt some might find it hard to understand, so I have just given the section about learning from failure. There's also a link if you would like to read and listen to the whole speech.
Thursday there is a chance to practice that vocabulary about success and failure, as well as to watch an excellent short video about famous people who failed before they went on to succeed.
Friday there’s a quiz to review the words you have learned.
In the last issue of English Detective, there was a vocabulary activity using a list of important human inventions and discoveries. I suggested you should choose five that you think are most important, and write a few sentences in English explaining why. Here is my response:
My choices would be (starting with the most important after fire, farming, and the wheel): writing, the discovery of electricity and microorganisms, the gasoline engine, and the computer. I think they are all important for human history (obviously, or I wouldn’t have chosen them), but I would choose writing as number one in importance for human civilization.
People could have invented other technologies for preserving our thoughts if we didn’t have paper or publishing (or phones and radio), but some system of writing is essential to share thoughts across time or distance, so that human knowledge and ideas would not be lost.
People could also use other methods of transportation, and they have found other ways to treat illness, but I would say the discovery and harnessing of electricity has been extremely important. After that I would say the gasoline engine, the discovery of microorganisms, and the invention of the computer have had the most far-reaching effects on human civilization.
We are only beginning to see the effects the computer can have on communication (including the quick advancement and spread of scientific knowledge and of political opinions), education, international relations, business and trade.
Your First Clue: Vocabulary we’ll Emphasize (Study Most) in this Issue
Week 1: achievement, attained, constraints, criteria, establish, expansion, goal, identify, image, jobs, labor (or labour- British English), objective, previous, resolution, resources, specific, target
We also will study these related words not on the Academic Word List (AWL): accomplish, successful
Week 2: attitudes, benefits, commenced, energy, eventually, financial, foundation, inevitable, location, priority, rejected, security
If you already know most of the words, work on the ones you aren’t so sure of, or enjoy the readings and take a break from intensive study this week. There will be a whole different group in the new newsletter.
Click here for links to readings and activities from Tuesday (Jan. 1) to Friday
Click here for links to the second week's readings and activities.
Coming January 14, 2013: Steve’s Jobs: “Do what you love,” a brief biography of Thomas Edison, and more reading and practice with words related to creativity, technology, and innovation.
Have a productive and happy new year!-- Cathy
P.S. If you’re not already getting English Detective, you can start a free subscription by completing the form here.
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