Wednesday, 27 January 2010

time capsule

Each time I get in my car this winter, I feel as if I was boarding on a time vehicle. Due to some disruptions in the battery operation, I guess, the clock must have stopped and it shows the mysterious date of 1.1.1997 (not the year that the car had been manufactured; it's 2005, as I far as I remember) and the time of 00:00:00. That lasts during the whole journey, and not a single minute passes on the electronic display. Maybe it's a real moment when the time stops; maybe on my car I don't get any older and maybe - maybe I should think of making a business turning it into a "youth&beauty capsule", in which no signle wrinkle will show on your face. What's worse, on my tape recorder (yes, you've heard it right, an antique TAPE recorder, for tapes and not CDs) I play the audiobook by Maeve Binchy "Nights of Rain and Stars" (definitely not a literary Nobel Award candidate, but in English and it costed only 4 pln in a second hand clothes shop) from 2004, and the story is set in the middle of summer on a small Greek island. Which makes the whole matter of car driving even more fabulous.
My little refuge from -19 degrees Centigrade and less:)

board on - wsiadać (na statek, do samolotu, autokaru)
disruption - przerwa, zakłócenie
battery - tu: akumulator
display - wyświetlacz
wrinkle - zmarszczka
antique - zabytkowy
refuge - schronienie
degrees Centigrade - stopni Celsjusza

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

more postcards from ny

Radio Zet is definitely not my favourite radio station, but today it's so freezing cold that they can provide some heat with their lively music. So, tapping on my keyboard another translation of a lengthy text, I heard about some photos of the Big Apple from one of the radio's journalists. I liked two of them especially, the ones that somewhat remind of the Americans' mythical "no problem" attitude. And our last lesson with the OLC group. Enjoy.


Both photos by Marzena Chełminiak.

the Big Apple - nickname for New York

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

winter in 5th avenue

Moreover, I decided to check if my imagination of today and the 5th Avenue was probable, so I went elsewhere in the net. They don't seem t be down in the mouth, the Americans, but rather cheerful and attached to their national symbols as usual. Check the photo from today:

The original one is HERE.


Amazing how much you can learn from one single webpage. New York is cloudy today, but it's not raining. It takes a while to convert Farenheit to Celsius, but there's a separate website for that, too. So, it's about 4 degrees Centigrade in the 5th Avenue. Imagine that, people walking in nice overcoats and colourful headwear, some of them maybe even bicycling.
On that very same webpage I can also play hangman in search of new English words. Read the article of the day and improve my spelling. Afetrwards, check any word that pleases me. It'a all available HERE. I take the liberty to recommend it, although no one asked me for that.

That makes me wonder, of course, what teacher's or translator's life was like before the invention of the Internet. So, thank you, geniuses form CERN, who came up with that a few decades ago.

Don't know what the abbreviation CERN stands for? Simply google it. It's as simple as that:)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

do teachers love tests?

I've been busy these days writing tests for my students. Intermediate, upper-intermediate and the like.

If you think that writing tests is a trifle, a pleasant free time activity, a little diversion from everyday routine - you're wrong. It is also not an act of vegneance, a way to expose your students imbecility or to punish them for not working hard enough during the term. There are so many objectives that a good test has to meet, I believe, that writing it is really time consuming and exhausting. Whenever I write a test, I have to ask myself this essential question: Have I succeeded? Am I sure the input was clear and practised long enough to be tested? So, that's the first thing I need to bear in mind.

Second thing - is the context I am providing in the exercises on the appropriate level of difficulty? In other words: is the topic of the exercise designed for practising present simple and continuous on an equally simple level? Because I could make sentences about silkworm cocoons and then, would my rookies understand anything of it?

Thirdly, the exercises must be composed in such a way, that an intelligent student will learn from them the things he/she doesn't know or knows only slightly. Even if he/she happens not to understand every single word or phrase - the test must expose enough clarity and logic so that the students can figure some things out by themselves.

So, it's all not just a piece of cake. I'll have a cake now, though, as a reward for doing this excellent job of writing tests. I need calories, for soon I'll have to be checking how my students did in the test. But that's another story...

a trifle - igraszka
diversion - odmiana
an act of vengeance - akt zemsty
objectives = goals
silkworm cocoons - kokony jedwabników
rookie - nowicjusz
a piece of cake (idiom) = bułka z masłem
bear in mind - mieć na uwadze

Friday, 8 January 2010

bad morning

I don't know how about your New Year's resolution, but I have made just one - a very simple and, say, technical one. To improve our mornings, whichalways take the shape of mad rush, because we are already late to everywhere when we open our eyes. So I set my alarm clock 10 minutes earlier each day, in order to gradually arrive at the desired timing (if I suddenly decided to get up one hour earlier than usual, I would surely die of a heart attack). And with all the winter freezing temperatures, getting ready to kindergarten and work is not easy: all those clothes, jackets, overalls, plus caps and scarfs and mufflers that get lost and can't be seen anywhere - it used to drive me crazy. Today, however, the morning was almost perfect. Except for that part in which me and my husband found out that our son had left his kindergarten slippers in his self-made rocket (out of a cardboard box) at home.
To cheer you up a notch, I'm including this hilarious short scene:

Monday, 4 January 2010

back to earth

One of my brilliant students a couple of years ago came up with the idea of "New Year's Depression" and we devoted some time to exlopring this notion. I guess it was supposed to be something quite opposite to before-Christmas excitement, a kind of recovery after the cheer and joy and jingle bells, or, you might say, a hard landing in the crude, down-to-earth reality. Plus the winter landscape.
So, we have to join forces fighting it back. Describing everyday of an E.T. (English Teacher) might be a way.

come up with - wymyslić, wpaść na coś
notion - pojecie
recovery - także: odzyskanie przytomności
hard landing - twarde lądowanie
crude - surowy
down-to-earth - przyziemny
E.T. = extraterrestrial - byt pozaziemski