… on heroes

Some links to  video and audio documents seen in class or to go further and train your oral comprehension skills.

A 6 minute English podcast .

A transition from the American Dream to the men who built America,







And women, almost forgotten…

or famous and influential,

about IoT

Make  up your opinion on this hot new topic, the Internet of Things.

Some articles  from The Guardian and The Economist





And some videos



…about Halloween


Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash


I know that was yesterday, but it’s never too late to learn something new isn’t it? So let’s start with some numbers.



Some history  and more details about Jack O’ Lanterns from History.com

Try your pronunciation with those Tongue Twisters

Halloween Tongue Twisters

  • He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
  • Creepy crawler critters crawl through creepy crawly craters
  • Dracula digs dreary, dark dungeons.
  • Ghostly ghouls gather gleefully to golf on ghostly golf courses.
  • Gobbling gorgoyles gobbled gobbling goblins
  • Horribly hoarse hoot owls hoot howls of horror in halloween haunted houses.
  • If big black bats could blow bubbles, how big of bubbles would big black bats blow?
  • If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
  • Professional Pumpkin Pickers are prone to pick the plumpest pumpkins.
  • Transylvanian Tree Trimmers are trained to trim the tallest Transylvanian trees.
  • Several spooky slimy spiders spun sulking by the sea
  • The ochre ogre ogled the poker.
  • Which witch wished which wicked wish?

Spooky PoemI wish to wish the wish you wish to wish,
But if you wish the wish the witch wishes,
I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.


Learn more about the Halloween Superstitions

Halloween Superstitions

by S.E. Schlosser

Halloween Superstitions
Halloween is a time when common superstitions, folklore, myths and omens seem to carry more weight, due to a thinning of the wall between the physical and supernatural worlds.  A superstition is a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck.  Below are some common Halloween superstitions. 

Bats:   If you see bats flying around your house on Halloween – inside or out- it is a sign of ghosts and spirits nearby.

Black cats: Black cats have often been identified as witches’ familiars.  Crossing paths with a black cat on Halloween could be a sign of a witch nearby.  If you hurt a black cat on Halloween and you’ll have seven years of bad luck. If a black cat meows on your porch or near a window, a death will soon occur in the family.

Candle snuffing:   If a candle lighted as part of a ceremony blows out, it is a sign that evil spirits are nearby.

Cemeteries:   If you hold your breath while you drive by a cemetery, evil spirits can’t enter your body.  When passing a graveyard or a house where someone has died, turn your pockets inside out to make sure you don’t bring home ghost in your pocket.  There is an old superstition that says the body which is put in the first grave dug in a new graveyard is always claimed by the devil.

Coffins:  It is said that anyone who lies in a coffin, even for fun, is inviting death, and that no item of clothing belonging to a living person should ever be placed on a corpse when it is placed in a coffin, for as it rots in the grave so will the rightful owner decline towards death.

Crossroads:  If you go to a crossroads at Halloween and listen to the wind, you will learn all the most important things that will befall you during the next twelve months.

Footsteps:  If you hear foot steps behind you on this night, don’t look back. It may be the dead following you. Turning back could mean that you will soon join the dead.

Ghosts:  If you see a ghost, walk around it nine times, and it will disappear.

Halloween birthdays:  Children born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second sight, which includes the power to ward off evil spirits.

Jack O Lanterns:   A burning candle inside a jack-o-lantern on Halloween keeps evil spirits and demons at bay.

Owls:  Many people used to believe that owls swooped down to eat the souls of the dying. If they heard an owl hooting, they would become frightened. A common remedy was thought to be turning your pockets inside out and you would be safe.

Spiders: If you see a spider on Halloween night, it means that the spirit of a dead loved one is watching over you.

Tolling bells:   It is said that if you ring bells on Halloween, it will chase away evil spirits.

Warding off Spirits:  You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits.

Wind:  On Halloween Night, it is believed that those people who are destined to die within a year will hear a sigh that is carried by the wind which blows over the feet of the dead.

Witches:  Put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night to meet a witch.


And why not choose your favorite Halloween Joke Here

More information on the American Folklore website.


English on the go


Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash


Now we have a little bit more time to practice your English in a fun way  on your mobile devices, so I selected a few games, apps or websites where you can compete against yourself or other learners all over the world.

First to come is an app called Quiz your English, an excellent way of practicing your grammar and vocabulary skills, it’s fun and not that easy.  A lot of it is is free and I think it’s an excellent way to prepare exams.

Then, another app and website called Memrise, it focuses on vocabulary and enables you to learn, discover and make lists.

Battaking, is another app to help you learn new words by matching them to images. This one is simpler, but simple is not bad and there are words you may not know.

Games to learn English offers a variety of games.

The British Council offers courses, exercises and games  to improve your language skills.

Have fun and enjoy your holidays.

…about immigration


As we close  this first theme, here are a few more documents which you may choose to watch, read or listen to.

You may of course use them for your presentation, or not.

First a timeline of immigration to the United States and  a documentary on Ellis Island

To go further on the story of SreyRam Kuy

Or on Chinese immigration,

Proposals on immigration from the new administration and  poets’ reactions on the current policy and their take on Emma Lazarus’ poem.

Imagining what a city would be like without illegal immigrants.

And finally, another kind of migration

There might be more documents to come.

Working on your oral comprehension

Photo by Matthieu A on Unsplash

Understanding the news, a movie, a song is one of the skills that stresses most students. Nothing strange about that, once you’ve heard it, it’s gone, you have to be quick, to make sense of a few or more words to get the meaning of what is said and in many situations, there is no way to rewind.

However, it is a part of all our language exams, so here are a few sites where you can train, practice and improve your listening and understanding skills.

I’ll start with two sites which provide “slower” news, and scripts.

VOA (Voice of America) provides many ways of improving comprehension and learning vocabulary. There’s also a YouTube Channel, Listen and read along based on VOA news with a script you can follow.

Same thing for News in levels.

If you like karaoke, music, singing along or just another way to practice English, try Lyricstraining.

One website I like a lot because, there are many videos and audios, different levels, interesting subjects, and the speakers are not always native speakers, is Elllo.

CNN10 is obviously a reference, international news for students in 10 minutes, quizzes to check your weekly news and scripts.

BBC  provides so many excellent services to help students learn English that I can’t even begin to list them. I encourage you to browse through the BBC Learning English, section especially 6 Minute English and take your time, you can search by level or by programmes.

If you feel comfortable I would advise listening to the BBC Global News, 30 minutes of news and reports.

Last but not least, there’s the Ted.com website, talks about so many subjects that you will necessarily find one that will appeal to you.

There are also zillions of YouTube channels to help you, and here is one:

California Land Surveyor Association

Ronda Darby

We worked on the following  video:

And here are some follow-up exercises, first some vocabulary that you can learn and test yourself on HERE

Then a simple exercise to check your knowledge of relative pronouns HERE

And finally, if you want to know a little bit more about the four United States Presidents represented on Mount Rushmore, three out of which were considered to be surveyors. You can read this short article:

Who Are The Famous Surveyors At Mt. Rushmore? Who Was Left Out?

Who was left out?









Well, the school year begins and I hope you’re rested and ready to start. We have a lot to do and not much time.

So first, here is a recap of what you’ll be expected to do this year, for those who are in their second year, the others well, prepare yourself.

And here some resources to help you find your three documents.

Some reading suggestions


Photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash

I’m sure you have plenty to do during your holidays, however here are some reading suggestions found online. They may even be useful throughout the year or even later if you feel like reading some good books in English.

The Summer Reading Flowchart
Brought to you by Teach.com

You can also try the  100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time from Time Magazine

You might also want to try the  three books all students entering Stanford must read before starting the year, it’s all about environment this year.



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