Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Renoir: Impressionism, Creativity



Read the paragraph about Renoir:


Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s early work truly embodies the Impressionist style. Throughout the 1870s he worked with Monet studying light and movement, using broken colour to emphasis the sunlight hitting an object. "The Swing" is a great example of a painting that captures the essence of Renoir but also strongly embodies all the Impressionist features; light colours, delicate brush strokes and contrasting light and shadow. After he spent some time in Italy in the 1880s viewing classical and traditional art, he turned his attention to portraits and painting people rather than practising the plein air technique. This is often called his ‘Ingres Period’. Later on in his life he went back to using the thin brush strokes of the more typical Impressionist style, although he is often more abstract than many others. 

http://jenblacksheep.hubpages.com/hub/Impressionists-Artists-5-Facts-About-5-Impressionist-Artists-An-Overview


http://www.ducksters.com/history/art/impressionism.php

Work in small groups. IMPRESSIONISM QUIZ. Answer True or False. The group that guesses most correct answers is the winner.


1.  Impressionism began in France when a group of young and talented artists decided to rebel against the established art critics.

2.  Impressionists wanted to capture a moment in time. Critics said that their work was merely "impressions" of reality and the name stuck. 

3.The Impressionist movement began in the 1760s and became most popular in the 1770s and 1780s.


4. The Impressionists wanted to capture a moment in time.

5. They were more concerned with the light and color of the moment than with the details of objects they were painting.

6. They often painted outdoors and worked quickly to capture the light before it changed. They used rapid brush strokes and often used unmixed color to save time. They used unusual visual angles and common everyday subjects.

7. When a critic called the art "impressions", it was meant as in insult.

8. The established art community was outraged when the young Impressionist artists held their own exhibition in 1874.

9. Their paintings were perfect reproduction of nature.

10. Many of the artists fled from France to England during the Franco-Prussian war.

11. Impressionists often painted the same view or subject over and over trying to capture different moments in light, color, and time.

12. By the late 1880's Impressionism was very popular and many artists throughout the world were taking up the style.


1. T
2. T
3. F The Impressionist movement began in the 1760s and became most popular in the 1770s and 1780s. False - 1860s, and popular in 1870s and 1880s.
4. T
5. T
6. T
7. T
8. T
9. F - They were impressions, not reproductions.
10. T
11. T
12. T

Watch the movie segments and discuss the questions.


video

1. What characteristics of Impressionism can you see in the segment?

2. How did Renoir's seeing difficulties interfere with his work?

3. What kind of models did he have?

4. How did you imagine Renoir use to paint his picture. Was it anyways similar to the way shown in the segment?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wreck-it Ralph: Heroes x Villains

Wreck-it Ralph simply rocks. I love the film and its characters. You can't miss it.



I. Work in pairs:

1. Describe a hero in your own words. Do the same to describe a villain.

2. Think about two famous heroes and two famous villains. What are their personality traits and character?

3. Many people believe that movie/soap operas villains are more interesting than heroes. Do you agree with it? Give examples.



II. Give each student with a slip with one of the definitions below. Then form groups of four students and share what their texts talks about.



Hot Hero: impulsive, brave, sometimes foolhardy, generous, often impatient, gregarious or solitary, prone to wild temper, pride and defiance but also with a basic sweetness to them: a good character who struggles to be good, it doesn’t come easily. They are often immediately or soon attractive to other good characters, as they have a certain charisma. Can be momentarily tempted out of a hero’s trajectory by a clever villain of either type, playing on their impulsiveness.

Cold, or more attractively, Cool, Hero: reserved, thoughtful, often solitary, self-controlled, ironic, stoical, brave, but without the impulsiveness of the ‘hot’ type. Or else, much less commonly, they can be sweet, dependable, kind, apparently accepting but inwardly resisting. This type of hero often emerges unexpectedly and has less outward charisma than the ‘hot’ type. A ‘cool’ type hero is a good character whose inner integrity really grounds them, they are less easily tempted, but the results when they are tend to be worse than for the ‘hot’ type.

Hot Villain: impulsive, reckless, ruthless, violent, arrogant (the extreme end of pride), physically intimidatory, often bullying, yet calculating. A fearsome opponent, but out in the open: the wolf in wolf’s clothing, if you like. This sort of villain is not to be thought of as stupid: real villains are always intelligent, in books, unless they are minor villains of the henchman type. They often attract hordes of followers as they have a certain violent, dark charisma. Usually defeated by clever heroes of the ‘cool’ type, or less often, the ‘hot’ sort who have learned self-control.

Cold Villain: self-controlled, calculating, deceitful, manipulative, ironic, cruel, ruthless. This is the wolf in sheep’s clothing: for my money, the most frightening enemy. They are highly intelligent and imaginative and often emerge unexpectedly, and though they often have fanatically devoted followers, they generally do not have obvious charisma. But a villain of the ‘cold’ type can sometimes masquerade behind the mask of an apparently warm and charismatic heroic type—and this can be one of the worst of all!

III. Think about one character/person that would suit each of the descriptions above.

IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.



video


 1. Describe the scene.

2. Are they villains or heroes. Hot or Cold?

3. What are some video games heroes and villains you are familiar with?

4. Do you like playing video games? What kind of video games do you enjoy?

5. What are some famous Television villains that became famous in your country?

6. What are some famous heroes that became famous in your country?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Giver: Love



This is an excellent film. I loved its premise and the way the emotions were dealt with by the characters.  Don't miss it.

I. Work with a partner. Write down a definition of "love". You  may write more than one definition if you believe there are different kinds of love.

II. Read you definitions to the class.

III. Read the definition provided by a dictionary and check which definition is closest in meaning to the dictionary's.


1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from  kinship, recognition of attractive qualities,or a sense of underlying oneness.
2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair.
3. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
4. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction


IV. Read the quotes about love below. In pairs, explain what they mean and decide if you agree with them. Explain why.

a) Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’

b) In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.

c) The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched, but just felt in the heart.

d) There is no remedy for love but to love more.

e) In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.

f) You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

g) Love is to love someone for who they are, who they were, and who they will be.

h) You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

i) Goodbye without reasons is the most painful one.
Love without reasons is the most beautiful one.



video


V. Watch the movie segment. Discuss the questions.


1. What is their definition of love?

2.  How is life in a world without love?
3. Why do you think those people chose not TO live a life with LOVE?
4. What's the difference between the questions: "Do you love me?" AND "Do you enjoy me?"

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - THE GIVER

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gandhi: Gandhi



The most important time in Gandhi's life was the time he spent fighting for the independence of India.  Great Britain was a small country that owned India.  Great Britain owned the United States until 1776.  India wanted to be free just like the United States.  Gandhi spent his entire life fighting for India's freedom.  Gandhi's  longest fast was 21 days.  He fasted for the independence of India and for the war between the Muslims and the Hindus to end.


Answer key: All are true.

Read the quotes below. Decide what they mean and if you agree with them:


From:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2012/10/02/12-great-quotes-from-gandhi-on-his-birthday/

  •  “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 
  •   “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”
  • “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
  • “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
  • “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” 
  • “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”


 I. Watch the movie segment and answer the questions:
1. Describe the scene of the murder.

2. Describe Gandhi's funeral.

3. What did the reporter say about Gandhi?


4. What did you learn about Gandhi that you didn't know before this class?



video







 MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - GANDHI




Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Bag Man: Curiosity



I really liked this movie. I was intrigued by the content of the bag. It was a surprise to me. My students wanted to kill me, because I never told them what was in the bag, so they had to rent the movie if they wanted to know it. That's my contribution to Hollywood! By the way, this class generated a lot of discussion and debates. It was lovely!



I. Work with a partner:

What makes you curious? Rank the items from 1 (extremely curious) to 5 (not curious at all)

Life of celebrities

Discoveries about the outer space

Secrets

Gossip

Technology

Your neighbors

Your children's life

What people think

What your lover thinks

The existence of aliens/UFOs

What dreams mean

How/When you are going to die

Your future

Religion



 II. What do you understand by the expression: Curiosity Killed the Cat?




 Answer key:
"Curiosity killed the cat" is a metaphor used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.



III. Divide the class into two groups. Group 1 reads passage # 1, whereas group 2 reads passage #2. Then pair-up one student from each group and they tell each other what they read about:

PASSAGE # 1

Curiosity is an important trait of a genius. I don’t think you can find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, they are all curious characters. Richard Feynman was especially known for his adventures which came from his curiosity.

But why is curiosity so important? Here are four reasons:
  1. It makes your mind active instead of passive                                                                                                                                           Curious people always ask questions and search for answers in their minds. Their minds are always active. Since the mind is like a muscle which becomes stronger through continual exercise, the mental exercise caused by curiosity makes your mind stronger and stronger.
  2. It makes your mind observant of new ideas
    When you are curious about something, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas related to it. When the ideas come they will soon be recognized. Without curiosity, the ideas may pass right in front of you and yet you miss them because your mind is not prepared to recognize them. Just think, how many great ideas may have lost due to lack of curiosity?
  3. It opens up new worlds and possibilitiesBy being curious you will be able to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible. They are hidden behind the surface of normal life, and it takes a curious mind to look beneath the surface and discover these new worlds and possibilities.
  4. It brings excitement into your life
    The life of curious people is far from boring. It’s neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract their attention, there are always new ‘toys’ to play with. Instead of being bored, curious people have an adventurous life.
PASSAGE # 2

Tips to develop a curious mind:


1. Keep an open mind
This is essential if you are to have a curious mind. Be open to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Some things you know and believe might be wrong, and you should be prepared to accept this possibility and change your mind.

2. Don’t take things as granted
If you just accept the world as it is without trying to dig deeper, you will certainly lose the ‘holy curiosity’. Never take things as granted. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.

3. Ask questions relentlessly
A sure way to dig deeper beneath the surface is asking questions: What is that? Why is it made that way? When was it made? Who invented it? Where does it come from? How does it work? What, why, when, who, where, and how are the best friends of curious people.

4. Don’t label something as boring
Whenever you label something as boring, you close one more door of possibilities. Curious people are unlikely to call something as boring. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world. Even if they don’t yet have time to explore it, they will leave the door open to be visited another time.

5. See learning as something fun
If you see learning as a burden, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make the burden heavier. But if you think of learning as something fun, you will naturally want to dig deeper. So look at life through the glasses of fun and excitement and enjoy the learning process.

6. Read diverse kinds of reading
Don’t spend too much time on just one world; take a look at another worlds. It will introduce you to the possibilities and excitement of the other worlds which may spark your interest to explore them further. One easy way to do this is through reading diverse kinds of reading. Try to pick a book or magazine on a new subject and let it feed your mind with the excitement of a new world.

Taken from the awesome site:


http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/4-reasons-why-curiosity-is-important-and-how-to-develop-it.html


IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.



video


1. What do you think is in the bag? What makes you believe that?

2. Would you manage to do what was requested - transport a suitcase without knowing what is inside, especially if someone tells you not to look inside the bag? Why (not)?

3. How curious are you? What about your family?

4. How do you feel when somebody says he/she has something to tell you, but he/she  would like to do it in another moment?

5. Are you curious enough to go through your lover's cell phone messages, e-mails or calls? Why (not)?

6. What if someone searched your e-mails, messages or calls? How would you react to that?

7. What is your opinion about curious people? Is being curious a positive or negative trait?

MOVIE SEGMENT DOWNLOAD - THE BAG MAN

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mama: Theories of Cognitive Development and Language Acquisition - Piaget & Chomsky -

This is a scary movie, but the beginning is perfect for warming up topics such as the ones proposed on this post.
Read a short summary of Piaget's and Chomsky's theories of language acquisition. Then watch the segment and answer the questions. Although the segment is fictional, there are several registered cases of similar cases and outcomes. 

Taken from wikipedia

Piaget is one psychologist reluctant to ascribe specific innate linguistic abilities to children: he considers the brain a homogeneous computational system, with language acquisition being one part of general learning. He agrees this development may be innate, but claims there is no specific language acquisition module in the brain. Instead, he suggests external influences and social interaction trigger language acquisition: information collected from these sources constructs symbolic and functional schemata (thought or behaviour patterns). According to Piaget, cognitive development and language acquisition are lifelong active processes that constantly update and re-organise schemata. He proposes children develop L1 as they build a sense of identity in reference to the environment, and describes phases of general cognitive development, with processes and patterns changing systematically with age. Piaget assumes language acquisition is part of this complex cognitive development, and that these developmental phases are the basis for an optimal period for language acquisition in childhood. 



Chomsky - The capacity to learn a language is indeed innate, and, like many such inborn mechanisms, it is circumscribed in time. If a child does not learn a language before the onset of puberty, the child will never master language at all. This is known as the critical period hypothesis, which claims  that if somebody does not acquire a first language before a certain time (around puberty), they will lose the ability to acquire language. There are two versions of this hypothesis: The strong version states that language acquisition will be impossible after this point has been reached. The weak version states that acquisition will be difficult after this period has been reached.




video

1. Describe what happened to the children.

2. How do you think the theories are applicable in both cases?

3. They have spent the same amount of time away from society. How/Why are their behavior different?

4. How do you think their lives will be permanently affected?

5. How does the situation corroborate (or not) to the theory of the Critical Period Hypothesis?

6. Do you think the movie segment shown an accurate picture of what might happen to children who are isolated from the rest of the word? Explain it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ender's Game: Leadership

I. Work with a partner:

1. What are the qualities a good leader  must and must not have?

2. Can someone learn how to be a leader, or are they born one?

3. Do you consider yourself a good leader? Explain it.

4. Can you think of influential leaders? Give examples. 





II. Read the quotes below about leadership. Discuss with each other their meanings and whether you agree with them: 
"The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they
set for themselves."
Ray Kroc
"An effective leader is defined by results not whether they make
great speeches or is liked."
- Peter Drucker

 "The process of influencing others to perform a task by providing
purpose, direction and motivation."
- The Army
"Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.
- John Maxwell
"Leadership is someone who gives hope."
- Tom Peters

 "A true leader is someone who inspires others to become more
of who they truly are.  They bring out the talent in people and
have them put it to use over and over.  They inspire others to be
more than they ever dreamed of."
- Anthony Robbins
"A leader is someone that people follow."
- Warren Buffett

  "Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very  heart
of things, not the periphery."
- Warren Bennis
III. Match the adjectives that describe leadership and their meanings:

1. Responsible

2. Self-confident

3. Competitive

4. Bossy

5. independent

6. Ambitious

7. Sensible

8. Imaginative

9. Enthusiastic

10. Principled

11. Self-assured

12. Tough-minded


( ) People who like giving orders to other people

( ) people who always want to win

( ) People who trust their abilities or skills

( ) Worthy of trust

( ) People who have common sense and are practical

( ) has or shows great excitement and interest; 

( ) shows poise and confidence in your own worth;

( ) has high moral principles

( ) People you can trust or depend on

( ) People who want to be successful in life

( )  Faces facts and difficulties with strength and determination; realistic and resolute.

( ) People who are creative and good at thinking new ideas



Answer key:

Competitive - people who always want to win
Reliable -People you can trust or depend on
Responsible - Worthy of trust
Insecure - People who do not trust their abilities/skills
Self-confident - People who trust their abilities or skills
Independent - People who like doing things on their own, without help
Bossy - People who like giving orders to other people
Sensible - People who have common sense and are practical
Imaginative - People who are creative and good at thinking new ideas
Ambitious - People who want to be successful in life
Enthusiastic - Has or shows great excitement and interest
Principled - Has high moral principles
Tough-minded - Faces facts and difficulties with strength and determination; realistic and resolute
Self-assured - Shows poise and confidence in your own worth

IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.

video
1. What is a mind game in this case?
2. What personality traits does Ender have?
3. What do you think about their leadership training methods?
4. Which adjectives in Exercise III would you use to describe Ender?
5. Which adjectives would you use to describe the other leaders in the training?
6. What did Ender do that stood out the others?
7. Are they all effective leaders? Explain it.