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Things in bloom
Ah, spring. Grass growing, flowers blooming, trees budding. For those with allergies, though, this explosion of new life probably inspires more dread than joy. So what’s behind this annual onslaught of mucus? Eleanor Nelsen explains what happens when your immune system goes rogue. source: Ted Ed

Ted-Ed Lessons

We love animated Ted- Ed lessons! They are high-quality lessons and feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by animation. There are hundreds of them and can be found here

The lessons can be used to create an almost infinite amount of learning activities: existing lessons can be customized,  you can build your own lessons around a video selected by or made by yourself and the lessons can be used individually or in the classroom.

We like them best for  classroom use because we like to combine them with speaking activities. 
  • Make a selection of the animations, but not too many (you need to create an account for this). Being spoilt for choice is usually counterproductive.
  • Ask your students (individually or in groups) to select the animation they would like to see most or ask them to make a top 3. They should discuss this in English (groups) and/or explain their choice (individually/groups). 
  • Decide on the order in which to show the animations.  
  • Show the animation. Ask the students who selected it whether they liked it or not and why.
  • After watching each video (WATCH) there is the possibility of answering some questions about it (THINK), reading some background information (DIG DEEPER) and discussing the topic (DISCUSS)
It is a surprisingly effective to combine listening and viewing plus speaking in this way. And the classroom participation is excellent. The only setback is that is not so easy to clear answers from a lesson page in your account. Ted Ed suggests creating a separate copy of your own lesson for each class period with our "Customize This Lesson" tool. Click for more information on the button below: How do I manage my Ted-Ed lessons.
How do I manage my TED-Ed lessons?

More on TED

Listening comprehension in a foreign language requires quite a lot of skills in order to be an effective listener. The English Classroom has created 4 listening and viewing comprehension quizzes using Ted Talks. These are not the animations but the longer talks. The questions are either vocabulary questions testing your knowledge of and/or preparing you for the words used in this TED-talk or listening and viewing comprehension.

Ted Talk The surprising science of happiness by Dan Gilbert (advanced)

Ted Talk The magic washing machine by Hans Rosling (intermediate)

Ted Talk Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy (advanced)

TED Talk What if you could trade a paperclip for a house? by Kyle MacDonald (intermediate)

photo by Patricia Bosboom


Spring is here again. Perhaps not as we would wish it yet 😉 but still. 


Louise Gluck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

New links on the website

Surprisingly, many students seem to be having difficulty writing 'there' , 'their' and 'they're' correctly. That is because they are homophones. They sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. So we thought it useful to construct a page explaining the difference and presenting some useful exercises. It can be found here >>

Sometimes links disappear from the web and it sometimes seems easier just to make our own exercises instead of finding similar ones on the web.  

So here are two brand-new exercises on the difference between CAN and CAN'T and one on NUMBERS.

Swan and Shadow

John Hollander

source: Poetry Foundation
The Corona virus is not taking a spring break and therefore neither are we. Still hope springs eternal. And new life is never far off in spring.

Enjoy this season of hope!
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