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Teaching Tips 121

Year 2007
Gadgets Galore

Year 2007

To ease into the New Year we have a couple of classroom activities. The first is the Year 2007 Quiz, & the second some quotes that were said during last year.

Have a go at the following questions:

1. Who won the Nobel Prize for Literature?

2. Which famous filmmaker died in July?

3. Which country shut down its sole operating nuclear reactor after receiving an oil shipment from a neighbouring country?

4. Which two 'i' gadgets took geeks by storm?

5. Who won the Formula 1in Brazil?

6. Who was stripped of many of her athletics medals after admitting taking performance-enhancing drugs?

7. What nationality was the photographer shot dead at point-blank
range by a Burmese soldier during the demonstrations against the
military by monks?

8. Who was beaten by Roger Federer, in his 5th Wimbledon win, in
the men's singles final at Wimbledon?

9. Where did Russia plant its flag?

10. Which football club does David Beckham now play for?

11. How much did Microsoft allow in its accounts for repairs and
replacements to faulty Xbox 360s?

12. Who asked us to believe that "hand on heart, I did what I thought was right"?

13. Which two countries joined the EU on January 1 this year?

14. What should you not call a teddy bear in Sudan?

15. Which politician was tragically assassinated at the end of
the year?

16. Who resigned as President of the World Bank in June, after
just 2 years?

17. Who was beaten by Nicolas Sarkozy in the final run-off to
become President of France in May?

18. Who, in April this year, became the first Russian leader in
history to die quietly in retirement?

19. Who put an amazing new ebook reader on the market & what is
it called?

20. Who won the Oscar for Best Actress?

21. Which adventurer went missing in the Nevada desert in

22. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

How many do you think you got right? Not too taxing but meant more as a spingboard into a discussion about the events & possible present & future developments & lots of speaking practice. The task could be aimed at reviewing & practising the language of present & past deduction, pus the language of dis/agreement etc... Clearly there are lots of events missing from the quiz so add in more to suit.
You can find the quiz online, with the answers at:
There is also a pdt download to print off.

The next task is maybe for the more advanced learner. The quotes are all blunders of one kind or another. The students work out what the blunder is - choose which ones to use to suit. You could choose groups of five to use as a warmer in the first few lessons of the year.

Quotes of 2007
From printed errors, inaccuracies and contradictions to radio and TV bloomers, Tom Tickell picks out 50 of the best – and the worst – quotes of 2007
Published: 31 December 2007

1: "Police shoot dead woman in car park"
The Metro, London

2: "Tibetan living Buddhas have been banned from re-incarnation without permission from China's atheist rulers"
The Times

3: "Man who killed best friend warned to behave"
Wigtownshire Free Press

4: "Brits will on average be enjoying 3.5 eggs each over Easter weekend. But over a quarter do not know why handing them out symbolises the birth of Jesus."
Press release from Somerfield, the supermarket chain

5: "Madeleine parents in the clear. New shock on DNA evidence"
Daily Express, 9 October

"Madeleine DNA evidence puts parents in the frame"
Daily Express, 10 October

6: "Profuse apologies for the full-page map we published last week as part of our British surveys supplement which appeared to put Dundee somewhere near Potters Bar, and Llandudno in five separate locations."
The Observer

7: "Riordan can score without a right or left foot."
Archie Macpherson, STV Scotsport

8: "Freehold shop and flats: Rare opportunity to acquire retail penises with superb flat located above"
Advertisement, North Devon Journal

9: "Cemetery could be a death trap"
Sleaford Target

10: "At least 551 government websites are to be cut to make access to information easier for citizens and businesses."
Press release, Cabinet Office

11: "Diouf is a master of the dark art of being a winger. He draws you in."
Graham Hunter, Sky Sports News

12: "A woman of 72 was questioned on suspicion of possessing cocaine when police found small white tablets in her purse, only to learn that they were artificial sweeteners for her tea."
Nottingham Metro

13: "Scotland are staring down the barrel of a wooden spoon."
Will Greenwood, Radio Five Live

14: "Grampian maternity services will continue to be woman-centred."
Grampian NHS Trust, blueprint for future services

15: "Climate Change: Britain under threat. Not in Scotland."
TV listing, Daily Express

16: "Farrell is made of steel and has a broken nose to prove it."
Sonia McLoughlin, BBC 1

17: "You do not see this sort of thing very often in Glasgow airport."
Peter Sissons on BBC news – as live pictures of a burning Cherokee helicopter and suicide bombers appeared on the programme

18: "If the ball wasn't where it was, he could not have played that shot."
Willie Thorne, snooker commentator, BBC

19: "Give me risk-free savings"
Advert from Northern Rock in July – two months before it suffered the first bank run since the 19th century

20: "Once you have thrown a javelin it is literally out of your hands."
Tessa Sanderson, Radio Five Live

21: "Towel catches fire"
Craven Herald - Pioneer

22: "Flaccid trunk paralysis in free-ranging elephants"
Headline on article by Everard Koch in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases

23: "House price boom over"
Daily Mail, front page, 31 May

"House prices still soaring"
Daily Express, front page, 31 May

24: "You've got to have eyes all over you in a game like this."
Graham Taylor, Radio Five Live

25: "Killer skunk floods London"
Billboard, London Evening Standard

26: "Newcastle youth ten pints bowling, Saturdays 10am, ages seven to 17."
Newcastle Chronicle Extra

27: "What a great goal with his so-called right foot."
Derek Johnstone, Radio Clyde

28: "Brown flies out to meet Merkel and will see Bush later."
The Guardian

29: "We felt we needed an umbrella organisation to help flood victims."
Mary Dhonau, Sky News

30: "Assembly calls on Mayor to make rubbish decision"
Press release, London Assembly

31: "This is a major event in world history."
Producer Avi Lerner on news that Al Pacino and Robert de Niro will work together, BBC Online

32: "Cambridge have won the boat race. Oxford were second."
Geoff Twentyman, BBC Radio Bristol

33: "Today is the day that Tony Blair steps literally into the history books."
Tom Bradby, ITN

34: "Man with false leg hit with toilet seat"
Watford Observer

35: "The umbilical safety cord of the transfer window has been shut."
Dominic Johnson, Virgin Radio

36: "Woman stranded when bus was late"
Western Morning News

37: "Tory MP Andrew Pelling was suspended from the party last night following his arrest on suspicion of assaulting his wife. A party spokesman said the whip had been withdrawn from the MP."
Daily Mail

38: "It's like he's got velvet gloves on his feet."
Iain Dowie, BBC 1

39: "Police think Maddie is dead"
Sunday Express 12 August

"Madeleine: She is alive"
Daily Express, 13 August

40: "Toilets male, female and disabled at the top of the stairs"
Notice at Cadbury World

41: "Due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to publish a horoscope column today."
Newcastle Journal

42: "A Worcestershire restaurateur had refused to put a no-smoking sign in his brassiere."
Worcester News

43: "I'm looking at an empty cattle market. About a week ago, this would have been full of 20,000 sheep, but now there's not a sausage to be seen."
Natasha Peach, Radio Oxford

44: "Police called to pull up drunk's knickers"
Billboard, Weston and Somerset Mercury

45: "Husband back from the dead: picture"
Billboard, London Evening Standard

46: "Sniffing glue can't be more than playing cricket"
Somerset Standard

47: "A win is a win, except of course when it's not a win. Then it's not a win."
Venus Williams, BBC 1

48: "Kidnappers release former 'Citizen' reporter"
Gloucester Citizen, following the release of the BBC's Alan Johnston

49: "I do some DIY. At present, I'm hand-painting Chinese wallpaper in our principal guest room."
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, The Observer

50: "Pervert, 27, male, Gosport. Seeks female for unspeakablebeastliness – possibly romance."
Personal ad, Private Eye 12-31T00:00:01-00:00

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If you are getting your Christmas lessons together, you can find a few ideas here:
and there's a plan at:
Also check out:

Lists are great to help us focus. People like making lists, lists of things to do or lists that help make a decision. Then there are lists made for the sake of it, lists made to help remember the good things we have experienced. I know, a list on the good things about lists:

Some advantages, in no particular order:
1. They help us focus.
2. They help to prioritise.
3. They provide objectives, leading to action.
4. They are fun & easy to make.
5. They help you remember.
6. They provide a benchmark to refer to.
7. They are useful for simply storming ideas - unordered lists like this one.
8. They can prepare you - ('Good luck occurs when careful preparation meets coincidence' ).
9. When you have written your list, you feel you have achieved something.

No, let's not have a list of disadvantages, about how depressing they are when we see them two months later & no changes have happened. Let's keep a positive spin on this.

This is the time of year when lists start to appear in the press. Time magazine is one of the first to publish their definitive lists of 2007. Here are the different lists they have published:

* Top 10 News Stories
* Top 10 Underreported Stories
* Top 10 Photos
* Top 10 Editorial Cartoons
* Top 10 Asia Stories
* Top 10 Mideast Stories
* Top 10 Religion Stories
* Top 10 Crime Stories
* Top 10 Oddball News Stories
* Top 10 Campaign Gaffes
* Top 10 Most Popular Stories

Arts & Entertainment
* Top 10 Movies
* Top 10 DVDs
* Top 10 New TV Series
* Top 10 Returning TV Series
* Top 10 Non-fiction Books
* Top 10 Fiction Books
* Top 10 Songs
* Top 10 Albums
* Top 10 Live Performances
* Top 10 Theater Productions
* Top 10 Museum Exhibits
* Top 10 Graphic Novels
* Top 10 Children's Books

* Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs
* Top 10 Scientific Discoveries
* Top 10 Green Ideas
* Top 10 Natural Disasters
* Top 10 Man-Made Disasters

Business, Tech & Sports
* Top 10 Worst Biz Deals
* Top 10 Best Biz Deals
* Top 10 Websites
* Top 10 Gadgets
* Top 10 Toys
* Top 10 Video Games
* Top 10 Sports Matches
* Top 10 Sports Moments

Pop Culture
* Top 10 Quotes
* Top 10 Buzzwords
* Top 10 T-shirt Worthy Slogans
* Top 10 Viral Videos
* Top 10 TV Ads
* Top 10 Magazine Covers
* Top 10 Fashion Trends
* Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves
* Top 10 Breakups
* Top 10 Scandals
* Top 10 Awkward Moments
* Top 10 Animal Stories

You can find them all here:,30576,1686204,00.html

End of year lists are a nice way to look back on the past year & also to help us feel that we have lived an interesting year at the same time. And of course, great material for classroom use.

Here's a list of some of the things you can do with them:
1. The most obvious use would be to give out select lists & the students discuss whether they agree with the ranking.

2. Alternatively, the students begin with the title of the list, think of some of their own favourites & then order them, & then compare them with the magazine's ideas.
All this makes for interesting free speaking practice. It can also focus on specific language areas such as the lexis of the lists under discussion, ranking language, opinion & negotiation language.

3. And then students can design lists & others can guess what the
title of the list is.

4. With the choice of lists above we have assumed that the students are familiar with the chosen Time lists. A different approach would be in introduce lists that you think they won't be so familiar with. The students read & discuss what they know about the things in the list & then you could feed in some more information, from a simple Google, that could then extend their ideas & provide skills & language practice.

5. Then you could get into more personalised lists. The students could make a list of the top ten important things that happened to them for the past year, things that they would like to happen in the coming year, New Year Resolutions for 2008 etc...

6. And then connected to the Resolutions could be their language learning resolutions, things that they are going to take on board next year, or things they might concentrate on even more.

So now you've got to write a list of things that you're going to do with lists with your different classes.
Happy list writing!

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Inspector Gadget
Gadgets Galore

A couple of chances to win some books this week.

I love finding articles that have several sections to them that can be used in different ways with different levels. A short while ago I came across '101 gadgets that changed the world' on the Independent newspaper website ( It's a really interesting article with the term 'gadget' being used in its rather broad meaning, & could really have been substituted for 'invention'. It is really long so please go to the following link to view it:
There is a pdf download link there as well.

So at the start of this season of goodwill we thought we would combine giving away some of the books we have reviewed on the site with this week's Tip. All you have to do to be entered in the draw is to send in one, several or many ideas on how to use the text with any level to the email address given below. The ideas can use the whole text (!! - it's very long & there are a couple of entries that might not be suitable) or any part of the text.

It would be great if we could get 101 ideas together to match the article's 101 gadgets. The more ideas you send in the more chance you have of winning one of the following:

Once Upon A Time - Morgan & Rinvolucri (CUP)
Dictation - Davis & Rinvolucri (CUP)
Lessons From Nothing - Marshland (CUP)
Personalising Language Learning - Griffiths & Keohane (CUP)
Extensive Reading Activities for Teaching Language - Bamford & Day (CUP)
700 Classroom Activities - Seymour & Popova (Macmillan)
Global Issues - Sampedro & Hillyard (Oxford)
Using Newspapers In The Classroom - Sanderson (CUP)
The Internet - Windeatt, Hardisty & Eastment (OUP)

The ideas sent in will be added to the article page at the link above & also on the forum entry blow.

If you are getting your Christmas lessons together, you can find a few ideas here:
If you have more ideas, please do send them in & we'll add them to the list. You will also be added to the book draw above.

Please send ideas for the gadget article or the Xmas list to:


Michael Berman, a regular contributor to our articles section, is offering each unit of his business book 'ON BUSINESS AND FOR PLEASURE - An Upper Intermediate Course For Business English students'.
Each unit will be up on the site for only a month to download free of charge.
Link to download:

Michael has a new book out 'The Nature of Shamanism and the Shamanic Story'

The book makes out a case for the introduction of a new genre of tale, the shamanic story, which has either been based on or inspired by a shamanic journey, or contains a number of the elements that are typical of such a journey. The stories featured are the Book of Jonah from the Old Testament, two traditional stories from the Republic of Georgia–The Earth will take its Own and Davit, a contemporary German tale Bundles, and the Korean story of Shimchong, the Blindman’s Daughter. By making use of textual material from a number of different cultures and times, the intention is to highlight the pervasive influence shamanism has had and to show how the “new” genre being proposed is a universal one. The research questions addressed include:
1) defining what shamanism is, deciding whether it should be classified as a religion, a methodology or a way of life
2) considering whether a case can be made out for the introduction of a new genre of tale and, if so, what its characteristics are.

To buy Michael's book:

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