Writing with details

Today I wanted to get you to expand on your writing and tweeting. I asked one friend of mine on twitter what was new and he wrote 7 tweets. He had lots of English practice from those tweets. Isn’t that wonderful?

Below is an example of expanding thoughts. It’s still concise, but has many more details.

“Today I went walking in my neighborhood with my family. We saw many frogs and crabs. We went to the playground and my kids played on the seesaw. It was really sunny outside. After playing, we took a drive down to the ocean. We hung out at the beach and watched the waves. I was so beat! Finally, we went home and I put my kids to bed. It was time for some alone-time. I watched movies and read a book by myself. It really helped to relax me.”

My challenge to you is for you to write a comment or a tweet me and really describe everything you did today in your free time.

At a DVD rental store

Want to learn about how to talk to a clerk at a DVD/video rental store? Keep on reading!

Clerk – Hi, may I help you?
You – Yes, I’m looking for a movie…
Clerk – Which one?
You – I think it’s called, “The Razor’s Edge?”
Clerk – Oh yes, I know that movie. It’s in aisle 3 on the left-hand side of the aisle.
You – Thank you so much.

So, you’ve gone and found the movie. Now, it’s time to talk to the clerk again.

Clerk – Oh, I see you’ve found it.
You – Yes.
Clerk – Can I see your membership card?
You – I don’t have one.
Clerk – Fill out this form and show me your driver’s license.
You – Okay, here you go. I’m done filling it out.
Clerk – Great, let me get a copy of your driver’s license.
You – Okay.
Clerk – Here’s your license and your new membership card.
You – Great.
Clerk – I’ll check you out now. How would you like to pay for that?
You – Here you go.
Clerk – Is this credit or debit.
You – Credit.
Clerk – You’re all set. Just sign here.
You – Thanks.
Clerk – Thank you!

As you can see, if you want to rent a DVD from a store, you’ll need to have a membership card. However, lately grocery stores have DVD rental vending machines, so you can skip the rental stores all together if you’d like. Of course the DVD selection is not as good.

Practice the dialog a few times and change some of the answers to make it sound more like something you would say! Let me know if you have any questions.

Useful Rhymes

There are a few rhymes/poems that English speakers say often to help remember simple things. Here are a few of them that I use often.

Do you need to unscrew a lid or turn a faucet, remember this saying:
Righty tighty, lefty loosey

Can’t remember how to spell certain ‘ie’ words, here’s a good one that native English speakers are taught in school:
I before e except after c. (Unfortunately there are many exceptions to this rule like neighbor.)

How many days does May have? Memorize this poem and you’ll remember…
30 days has September, April, June and November,
All the rest have 31, except for February – the shortest one. 28 is all it stores, ’til leap year gives it one day more.

How to write a sequence of events…

What do you eat for breakfast in the morning? Do you eat the same thing every morning?

I eat cereal almost every day. Yes, I know that’s boring. But, I buy different kinds of cereal. Sometimes a rice cereal in the shape of hexagons, sometimes frosted corn flakes, or maybe a peanut butter ball cereal. Regardless of the kind, it’s the same routine every morning.

First, I take out a bowl from the cupboard. If there are none, I take a clean one out from the dishwasher. I put the bowl on the counter. Then, I walk to the fridge and I take out the skim milk. I pour the cereal in the bowl, followed by the milk. Next, I carry the bowl and walk to the drawer with the silverware. I open it and grab a spoon. Finally, I walk to the table, sit down and eat it.

And there you have it, my breakfast routine. What’s yours? Try to say or write out your breakfast routine, using words like “first, then, next, lastly, finally, etc.” This is good practice for writing out sequences.

Believe it or not, this is very important to do if you’d like to get a job in the United States. Lots of companies have a question like this to see how you write things in steps. For my current job, I had to answer this question: “How do you brush your teeth?” What they are looking for are details! So practice here to make sure you can give those details in English!

More Slang for the Soul!

DUDE!!! This has to be one of my favorite words to say. You can ask any of my friends. I say it all of the time. What does it mean? It’s slang, and it means ‘man or person.’

Here’s how you can use it:
Dude, what are you doing?
Instead of saying the person’s name, you can just say ‘Dude…then the rest of the sentence. In order to say this, you should know the person you are saying this to fairly well. This is the same with most slang. You can use it with your peers/friends.

I am giving you props for that story you wrote. It’s great!
This means you are impressed with their work and you are giving them recognition.

This town is the armit of South Carolina.
It means that it is an undesireable place.

bent out of shape
Don’t get so bent out of shape. I was just joking.
It means that someone got really upset about something.

He is bonkers. He just jumped off of that tree.
It means crazy.

come up for air
He has been working so hard that he really should come up for air.
It means take a break.

That was a great flick, I watched last night.
It means movie.

get it
I told her 2 times, but she still didn’t get it.
It means to understand.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is also called St. Paddy’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. It’s celebrated on March 17, every year. It’s celebrated in many more countries than only Ireland. It is a very fun day in the United States. Even though it is an Irish Catholic holiday, almost everyone celebrates it these days.

In this post I’m going to concentrate on how we celebrate it in the United States. First of all, you should wear green or some kind of Irish clothes. If you don’t wear green you might get pinched. I remember this from when I was in elementary school and got pinched one year by many classmates because I forgot to wear green on St. Paddy’s day.

There are lots of Irish Pubs in the states and this day is huge for them. They have gigantic parties and everyone drinks beer, even green beer. these parties last into the wee hours of the night. They are so big that the parties don’t stay in the pub, they overflow into the streets.

For youngsters, they can buy green ice cream or shakes at many of the fast food restaurants.

Many cities, including mine, have big St. Patrick’s Day parades. Also, cities dye their rivers or water fountains green.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For more information on this holiday go to: http://entangled.com/2010/03/14/st-patricks-day-in-ireland-vs-the-united-states/

What American kids do after school

After school in the USA there are tons of activities in which boys and girls can participate. There are sports, clubs, academic competitions, and band. These activities are called extracurricular activities.

The first category is sports. Children can start participating in sports as early as they would like. They can play these sports in high school: football, golf, tennis, swimming, basketball, baseball, track, volleyball and a few others. Football is by far the most popular sport. But, not all schools offer all of the sports. Some of the poorer and smaller schools don’t have as many sports offered. Then you compete with schools in nearby towns. And if you win enough competitions, you an compete in a state event and win scholarships for college.

There is also cheerleading. It is considered a sport. But, the life of a cheerleader is for a whole other post.

There are many clubs kids can participate in as well. There is Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. And cub scouts and brownies for younger kids. In those groups, they learn how to go camping, fishing, tie knots and do a lot of outdoor activities. They earn patches that they can then put on their vests or other clothes. For fundraisers, Boy Scouts sell pop corn and Girl Scouts sell cookies.

There is also a club called 4H. Me and my siblings were in this club when we were younger. They have activities and contests for cooking, sewing, growing vegetables and more. It’s a club for all ages of children.

There are also academic competitions. They have lots of contests for kids from kindergarten until their last year in high school. The youngest students have a competition called story telling. They are told a story and then they have to tell the story back to the judges as best as they can. They have contests like: music memory – where you have to listen to and memorize classical songs, who composed them and their titles. They have spelling and math contests. They also have poetry reading contests, as well as debate contests. You compete for a place on the team in your own school and then you go to competitions with other schools.

Band is another activity that kids can participate in. Depending on the school, you can start band at different ages, the norm is about 5th grade. You get to choose the instrument you want to play. You can then either buy the instrument or rent one. Practice takes place during 1 period during the school day, but also there are times outside of the school day where the kids will have competitions. You start doing marching band when you are in high school. This is where you learn how to march in the middle of football field during a football game.

There are other extracurricular activities as well, but these are the most noteworthy ones.

Knock Knock…

Time for some English fun!

Have you ever heard of Knock Knock jokes? Do you know what to say when a person who speaks English says “Knock knock?”

Here’s what you do…
Person A: Knock knock…
Person B: Who’s there?
Person A: Abe
Person B: Abe who?
Person A: Abe c d e f g h i j k l….
Now this is where Person B can laugh at the wonderful (bad) joke that Person A just told.

Here are a few more knock knock jokes that you can tell your friends…

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Abbott who?
Abbott time you answered the door! (Get it? Abbott sounds like ‘about’)

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Bean who?
Bean fishing lately? (Bean sounds like been.)

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Leaf who?
Leaf me alone! (Leaf is like leave.)
Yes, these are ‘bad’ knock knock jokes, but that is the point. The sillier the joke the better!

Beach Vocabulary

I went to the beach the last 2 days and I took some pictures in order to teach some English beach vocabulary! It’s useful because Spring is just around the corner!

The beaches I went to were on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. This first pictures is a group of beach toys for playing in the sand. There are some buckets (or pails depending on where you live in the United States), shovels, a rake, sand castle molds and more. Here is a picture of my finished sand castle. Not a bad job, not a great job either. Here is a picture of a sand dollar that my son and husband found on Isle of Palms. Here is a picture of a seashell. There are oodles and oodles of perfect seashells on both beaches!My house is the one in the middle! (Okay, only in my dreams!) These are beachfront houses. Only worth a several million each. You can see the sand dunes too (the grassy part). We are not allowed to walk on the dunes because they protect the beach from eroding. Here are some sea gulls. This is a picture of a working lighthouse. It’s not your normal shape of a lighthouse, which makes it unique.

Here is the beginning of the sunset. A beautiful ending to a beautiful weekend!