Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Surf's up: Inspiration, Admiration


I love animated movies. This one has a beautiful story about friendship, admiration and fighting for your beliefs. Besides, it is a lovely scene.

I. Work with a partner. Make a list of at least 10 people both of you admire. Make sure they are all from different areas/fields.

 II. Who have you most admired this year?Think about one person for each item below. Say who you admire and why.

A friend
A family member
A male celebrity
A female celebrity
A politician
A child
A sports person

III. Share your list in small groups.

IV. Discuss the questions.

1. Who did you look up to / admire most  when you were a child? Why did you have such admiration for that person?
2. Who do you look up to / admire most now?
3. Do you think you are a good role model?
4. Who do you think was a good / bad influence on you when you were a child?
5. Were you a good / bad influence on your friends?
V. Watch the movie segment and answer the questions.
1. Who is the role model in the segment?

2. Why is he so admirable?

3. Do you think he deserves the admiration? Why (not)?

4. How did he change the life of his admirers? 

4. Do you know anyone who has a similar story of admiration?  Share it with your friend. It does not have to be a surfer or a sports person.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Morning Glory: Commitment, Professionalism

This a great but overlooked movie. It has wonderful scenes and many of them are clever and funny. Make some time to watch it.

I. Discuss with a partner:

Here are four ways to show commitment at work, according to Christian Fisher. http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/show-commitment-job-12915.html

Bringing energy and initiative to your job every day shows commitment. Caring more about your work and your organization will show in the results you produce. Showing commitment can demonstrate your leadership potential to managers and lead to career opportunities.

1. Do you agree with this statement? What are some ways of showing commitment in your workplace?

     2. He also mentions four different features of commitment. Write the item on the top of each of the following paragraphs

1. Putting customers first
2. Professionalism
3. Keep motivation strong
4. Teamwork

a) _______________________________

Attending to the details of your job demonstrates your understanding and respect for the workplace culture. For example, being punctual and prepared when at work, respecting workplace property and policies or attending meetings when expected shows that you can handle job obligations. Respecting office rules regarding such things as dress code, personal phone use or office romances shows maturity. Too many breeches of workplace basics can undermine your credibility when your commitment needs to shine. Going beyond basics by putting in extra hours, taking up others’ slack and delivering extra service to others shows leadership-level dedication.

b) _____________________________

Striving for satisfaction shows your commitment to your employer’s objectives. Even if your job doesn’t involve interacting with threm directly, your job plays a role in keeping your organization’s clients base loyal and growing. Handling every task with the idea fresh in your mind that your work impacts consumers, company profits and your paycheck may also boost your pride in your work and lead to improved job performance.

c) _____________________________

Making significant contributions to any group task shows commitment to your work team. Displaying confidence in your ideas, skills and solutions is a trait that employers value. Being a reliable follower shows commitment to your team’s objectives and an understanding of the part you play in a bigger picture. Taking leadership roles and organizing team members to cooperate with each other, or collaborate with other groups, shows a commitment to big picture achievement.

d) ______________________________

Keeping yourself and your co-workers or subordinates excited about the job can show your commitment to the overall challenges and demands of your business. It can be challenging keeping up high performance standards. Encouraging employees to develop new skills, improve operations and process or take new risks to advance the business can awaken them, suggests Michael A. Olguin in his “Inc.” article, “Worn Out Employees? Five Ways to Crank Up the Energy.” Also, practicing and encouraging a healthy balance between work and personal life shows commitment to worker well-being that’s good for business.


II.  Watch the segment and answer the questions:

1) What are the interviewer's feelings about the job? How committed is he?

2) What about the interviewee's feeling about the job?

3) What is the real situation of the the TV program, Daybreak? What is it about?

4) What does the candidate do to promote herself and be hired?

5) Which of the four different features of commitment in exercise 2 did you manage to see in the young professional looking for the job? Give concrete examples for each one of them, if it is the case.

answer key:
Ex: 2

a) professionalism
b) putting customers first
c) teamwork
d) keep motivation strong


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bridesmaids & French Kiss: Fear of Flying - Expressing Likes and Dislikes

I love both movies. Bridesmaids is a wonderful, funny story with great acting. The scene from the movie French Kiss is priceless. One of my all  times favorites.

Complete the sentences below with things you like when you travel by plane (or bus, car, boat).

Expressing likes:

I love                                                            .

I like _______________________________.

I fancy ...                                                               .

I enjoy  ...                                             . 

I'm crazy about ...                            . 

I'm keen on  ...                                       . 

I'm fond of   ...                                                  . 

Complete the sentences below with things you dislike when you travel by plane (or bus, car, boat).

Expressing dislikes:

I hate                                                                  . 

I don't like                                            . 

I don't fancy                                  . 

I can't stand                                     . 

I can't bear                            .

 I can't put up with                 .  

I'm fed up with                    . 

I'm sick of                        . 

I'm tired of                          .

Watch the movie segments. Then write sentences, expressing the characters likes and dislikes. Do not use the words love/like/hate/don't like to express their likes and dislikes.

Ex: They don't fancy traveling by plane.



French Kiss


Work in Pairs:

1. How do you feel when you have to travel by plane?

2. How scared are you to fly?

3. What makes you scared while flying?

4. Would travel by plane if you had a dream of a plane accident the night before your trip? Why (not)?

5. Have you ever experienced a scary moment while traveling by plane? Share it with a friend?

6. Number from 1 to 5 the means of transportation you prefer using when traveling:

( ) plane
( ) car
( ) ship
( ) train
( ) bike



Friday, August 29, 2014

We Steal Secrets & The Fifth Estate: Wikileaks

We have been having a lot of news about Wikileaks on TV and it is hard to understand what they do, especially if you are not much into this kind of topic. However, it is an interesting and important issue, which can generate a great deal of conversation. It is a very current topic.  I recommend it for adults only.

I. Read the text about Wikileaks below. Then retell it to a friend, using your own words.

WikiLeaks is an international non-profit online organisation which publishes secret information and classified media from anonymous sourcesThe group has released a number of significant documents which have become front-page news items. According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is to bring important news and information to the public.Another of the organisation's goals is to ensure that journalists are not jailed for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online "drop box" is described by the WikiLeaks website as "an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to WikiLeaks journalists". Because of the sensitive nature of most of the information available on Wikileaks, authenticity is not just assumed. The Wikileaks community carefully vets all submissions, making absolutely sure that the innocent are protected and that the information is both secure and authentic.
Why is Wikileaks so important?
Wikileaks aims at being a safe place for airing documentation of corporate or governmental misdeeds. It is a safe haven for anyone, anywhere in the world, to submit sensitive information that can then be read by the public, with the ultimate aims being transparency and justice through public communication. 

 Edited from:

II. Divide the class into three groups. Group 1 reads THE GOOD, Group 2 reads THE BAD, and Group 3 reads THE UGLY.

THE GOOD: Complete transparency will not work in the industrial world but there is something to say for it in government. When government is dealing with its citizens, complete transparency ought to be the rule. Indeed, too much secrecy goes on in government regarding its dealings with citizens; otherwise, why would we need a Freedom of Information Act and be required to use it all the time in order to squeeze a little information out of the government? Unfortunately, this is not the secrecy that WikiLeaks exposed.

THE BAD: When you are dealing with opponents, it is certainly not in your interest to expose your strategies, your tactics or your private thoughts. Private industry understands this completely and its secrecy works to great advantage all the time. Take Apple as an example. Its product development secrecy makes for huge product launch successes. And if they didn’t do that? Their success would be diminished. In government, the same is true of opponents. Face it, the world is not made up of angels. There are evil people and even just plain people who want to protect their self-interest. To win against evil people or evil governments requires not sharing your strategies or tactics. When WikiLeaks shares all the inner thoughts, strategies and tactics with the world, the US negotiating position is severely weakened. The other parties have their secrets, but we have lost ours.

THE UGLY: If transparency were the rule in, say, State Department interactions, then people would have interacted differently. But State Department people felt that they could rely on secrecy to transmit their private thoughts and suggestions to their superiors and underlings. To have this trust broken is indeed ugly. With new technologies, people have to work around possible exposure. Emails are far from secure yet some people treated them as private conversations, much to their dismay when a court proceedings revealed everything. So people began using phone conversations hoping they were not tapped. Real security might only be found in one-on-one conversations in an open field. But most people using the “secure” system trusted that their conversations were private.

The State Department is one area, but the Defense Department is even more extreme. One cannot win wars without secrecy. The Chinese understood that 1000’s of years ago. And having WikiLeaks expose only one side’s secrets is only a way to assure defeat for that side. Because of the intention to do just that, the efforts of Assange and his organization are indeed treason. He must be prosecuted to the maximum extent and not just on rape charges.

Taken from worth-visiting site:

III. Group up one student from each of the groups and have them share what they understood in the passages.

IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions (You may watch the scene twice):

1. What do they say about Julian Asssange, WikiLeaks's founder?

2. Is the Internet a good place for secrets? Why (not)?

3. How did he collect the data, secrets and information from the Internet?

4. How do you assess Assange's intentions? Does he mean well or is he just a traitor to the USA?

5. What are some of the journalists opinions about Assange?

6. What's YOUR opinion about him and WikiLeaks?

7. What were some of the examples he gave about the actions of WikiLeaks?

8. Why was 9/11 such a turning point for Wikileaks?

9) How do you see the future? Will it be  easier or harder to keep political secrets hidden?


IV. Watch the segment from the movie The Fifth Estate and answer the questions.

1. What are the historic moments that you managed to identify in the segment?

2. What means of communication was used in each of the periods? How effective were they?

3. What were the communication limitations imposed by technology during those historic moments?

4. What do they say about WikiLeaks and Edward Assange?



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Escape from Planet Earth: Stereotypes

This is a fascinating animated movie. The story is gripping and their assumptions witty. I hope you like it.

A stereotype is “...a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996). 
The use of stereotypes is a major way in which we simplify our social world; since they reduce the amount of  thinking we have to do when we meet a new person. By stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes. Most stereotypes probably tend to convey a negative impression.  Positive examples would include judges (the phrase “sober as a judge” would suggest this is a stereotype with a very respectable set of characteristics), overweight people (who are often seen as “jolly”) and television newsreaders (usually seen as highly dependable, respectable and impartial).  Negative stereotypes seem far more common, however.

I. Discuss the questions with a friend.

1. Based on the description above, how would you describe the stereotypes of the following groups of people?

  • Americans
  • Brazilians
  • Muslims
  • Baianos (for Brazilians only)
  • Japanese
  • Doctors
  • Artists
  • Models

2. If you were a person from another planet and you had to describe your stereotyped vision of human beings to the people from your planet, how would you describe us?

3.  We also have a stereotyped vision of ETs. What is the image/characteristics of ETs?

4. Watch the movie segment and make a description of how humans are seen by the eyes of extra-terrestrials. Then decide which characteristics are true (or partially true) and why they have that point of view about us.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lone Survivor: Pushing Yourself to Your Limits, Motivation

This movie is a must. It is gripping from the first to the last scene. It is a must-see.

I. Read the quotes below about pushing yourself to your limits and motivation. In pairs decide what they mean and if you agree with them. Justify your answers:

from: http://addicted2success.com/motivation/23-rare-motivational-quotes-that-will-knock-your-block-off/

1. “No one said this would be easy, just know that nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment.”

‎2. ”Turn those dreams into ACTION …action turns into results… sooner or later you will be living the dream.”

3. ‎”Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit…. KEEP GOING!!”

4. “Hardwork can out-do genetics!!”

5. ‎”Our fears don’t stop death,… they stop life.”

6. “Kick yourself in the ass, or someone else will.”

7. “The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.”

‎8. ”I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy… I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

9. “Tears will get you sympathy, sweat will get you results.”

10.“You can have results or excuses. Not both”

11. “You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.”

12. “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.”

13. ‎“Failure does not mean defeat; to succeed you must fail first.”
II. Think about a situation in which you had to push yourself to your limit. Think about the situations below.

1. At sports

2. At school

3. At work

4. During a special moment in your life

III. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.


1. Do you think you would manage to accomplish the objective of that military program? Why (not)?

2. What strategies did they made use of to motivate the soldiers and keep them going?

3. Is that kind of training necessary for their future? Why (not)

4. Are they pushing themselves to their limits? What is the reward in the end? Do you think it is worth doing it?

5. Is it fair to treat people like they did in the segment? Why (not)?


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kindergarten Cop: Father's Day

This is a classic. Funny and thrilling. It takes place in Astoria, Washington, USA. I spent a few days there a few years ago and had a great time with friends. The city is lovely, and so is the movie.

I. Work in Small groups. First read the way some countries celebrate Father's day and then try to match them with the country.

1) Thailand
2) Mexico
3) Japan
4) South Africa
5) Germany


( ) It  is celebrated along with the birthday of the King  on December 5. The King is very much beloved and considered 'The Father of the Nation.' Tradition holds that everyone wears yellow on Father's Day, the "official color" of Monday, the day of the week the King was born. The children start the day off by presenting their fathers with a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine plant.

( ) It began in the Middle Ages as a religious procession. The celebration in modern days usually begins with a Male's only hike accompanied by wagons filled with regional food, beer and wine, which are pulled by the men. The gentlemen party has taken on a more urban tone, with men going to beer gardens to drink all day. Father's Day is always celebrated the Thursday about 40 days after Easter. They  organize a group of dads who enjoy golf, cycling or even wine-tasting and let Dad make a day of it.

( ) Similar to a typical Father's Day celebration in the U.S., children present their fathers with gifts such as flowers, cards, neckties and other novelties. They often enjoy picnics on Father’s Day, or spend the afternoon fishing in hopes of securing a catch for dinner. The emphasis of the day is on celebrating the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

( ) Flowers are an integral part of a Father's Day celebration. Children also give their dads handmade beer glasses and candies or a box of sweets. Lunch or dinner is almost always a dish of crab, prawns or other seafood. Personalized champagne and beer bottles and sandals also comprise many of the gifts. Fathers enjoy gifts of perfume as well.

( ) It is celebrated much as it is in the U.S. with prepared meals and distribution of gifts to dads or father figures in appreciation of all that they do for their families. As in the U.S., there is a strong emphasis on family values when celebrating Father's Day. There is a city-wide 21-kilometer race that takes place in an area of open-space used for hiking and jogging.


1, 5, 4, 3, 2

II. Watch the movie segment and answer the questions with a friend.


1. What is the game the teacher decided to play with the students?

2. What did the children talk about their parents?

3. Do they have a good interpretation of their dad's lives and jobs?

4. How do you assess a game like this in a classroom? The fact that many children do not know their parents would cause an embarrassment to those children? Explain it?

Prepare a speech about your dad. Make sure you include these questions while preparing your speech. Then make a presentation about your dad.

Talk about your dad. Who is he? What does he do? What are his greatest qualities? What would you change in him? How close is your relationship? Do you have a picture of your dad on your phone? If so, show it to your friends. What physical and personality traits did you take after your dad? How do you usually celebrate Father's Day? Choose one word that would best describe him.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman: French Revolution, Historic Moments

I. Work with a partner. The French Revolution is one of the most important historic moment of all times. Discuss the following questions.

1. What do you know about the French Revolution?

2. Did you study about this historic moment at school? Why do you think history should be taught at school?

3. Do you like studying history? What is your favorite/most most important historic moment of all times?

4. Would you like to have lived in a period in which radical changes are taking place?


Read the statements below and decide if they are true or false. The winner is the group with most correct answers.

1. The French Revolution took place in the 19th century.

2. France was one of the richest and most powerful nations in Europe before the French Revolution.

3. Only in Great Britain and Portugal did the common people have more freedom and less chance of arbitrary punishment.

4. A popular rebellion executed the king Louis XVI and, later, his wife Marie Antoinette.

5. Many factors led to the revolution.

6. During The American Revolutionary War. there was much contact between the Americans and the French, and revolutionary ideals spread between the groups.

7. The clergy wanted the Revolution to take place, which motivated peasants to rebel.

8. Food scarcity in the years before the revolution was crucial for the revolution

Watch the movie segment. Then  work in small groups.


1. Describe the scene.

2. What features in exercise I (True or False) did you manage to see in the segment?

3. What are the characters' social importance?  

4. Do you like this kind of movie? Why (not)?

5. What would you rather do? See a musical about the French Revolution, or watch similar stories as a drama, an animated movie or a comedy? Why?

 Answer key:

1. The French Revolution took place in the 19th century. (F - 18th century)

2. France was one of the richest and most powerful nations in Europe before the French Revolution. (T)

3. Only in Great Britain and Portugal did the common people have more freedom and less chance of arbitrary punishment. (F - Great Britain and the Netherlands)

4. A popular rebellion executed the king Louis XVI and, later, his wife Marie Antoinette.(T)

5. Many factors led to the revolution. (T) 

6. During The American Revolutionary War. there was much contact between the Americans and the French, and revolutionary ideals spread between the groups. (T)

7. The clergy wanted the Revolution to take place, which motivated peasants to rebel. (F)

8. Food scarcity in the years before the revolution was crucial for the revolution (T)