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Materials related to my 2012-13 classes at Xiamen University

Sister-pages:   Home Up Great Ideas Vocabulary Freshmen-Materials Vocabulary Basics KMU Vocab-grads KMU Vocab-sophomores Group Presentation Group Project Details

(▲ Links to the pages at the same level as this page. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

English Listening/Speaking for Freshmen--Fall 2012 & Spring 2013

Instructor: Mr. Michael Krigline, MA        Xiamen University,  International Economics and Trade

Click "refresh" (刷新) in your browser to upload the most recent version of this page; I often change things before quiz/exam time.

Quick links:    Movie Report format      Spring term vocabulary (or scroll down toward the bottom)       Test-exam Preview             


Vocabulary and Key Topics (to help with exam review)


*key terms, =bold shows one-word synonyms (be sure you know how to spell both words)

SA=things to study, which may be a “Short Answer” (or True/False, Fill in the Blank, etc) question on the quiz/exam.

Fall Semester     Click here for "Great Ideas" vocabulary lists


When we read articles in class, you will need to be able to create two types of questions:

*information questions ask about things written in the article (facts, quotes, statements, numbers, dates, people...), so your partner can find the answers in the text

*opinion questions are related to the text, but you cannot find the answers in the text; the answer will give your partner's opinion or an answer based on outside knowledge (things learned somewhere else)


For young Chinese, an English name can be Super

(vocabulary for our second day of class)

*abbreviation: a short form of a word (etc. for etcetera/and so forth), expression (i.e. for “that is”), title (Dr. for Doctor), name (NBA for National Basketball Association), and so forth (缩写, 缩略词)

astrological: related to the stars and their influence on people

(Chinese) character: a single Chinese pictograph (汉字)

circulated: to be sent around (a class, etc)

*connotation: the feeling or idea suggested by a word

to enroll: sign up to enter (a college, etc)

*esp.: abbreviation for “especially”

*Mandarin: the majority “Han” Chinese language

phonetic: related to the sounds of speech

pitfalls: hazards, serious problems


*quirky=unusual (and often humorous or interesting)

*rite of passage: important event as sb grows up


*to rub shoulders: to spend time with sb, esp someone important or famous

sages: sb who is very wise, esp. with traditional wisdom

*to snap up: quickly select or take

swells: grow quickly (like a wave)

*synonym: a word with the same meaning as another word

*urban: in a city

*to adopt: to formally accept sth in a permanent way (eg adopting a child)


Vocabulary for “thoughts about peace and success” lesson

*alternative=choice; one thing instead of something else

spectacular: amazing, dazzling, awesome

intermittently: off and on; sometimes

to execute: to put into use (this can also mean "to kill with the authority of a government/leader/etc")

*disposition (a disposition for sth): temperament; one's character traits that influence behavior

Other terms you might find helpful (look them up if you don't know them): hostilities, quarrels, harmonious, contentment, serenity, slumber, elevating, absence, aggressive, violence, correspondent, gradually, eroding, barriers, benevolence, confidence, negotiation, to exploit, potential, guarantee, fruit, distant


Critical Thinking

*critical: involving careful judgments or thoughts about sth (Note: unlike “criticize”, “critical” can be both positive or negative)

we don’t bother to: we don’t make any effort to (e.g., due to trust or laziness) [e.g.: Many people don't bother to count their money when a bank teller gives it to them, because they saw the teller count it three times!]

*memorization: the practice of putting things into your memory (e.g., learning a poem by heart)

*take at face value: accept without thinking (“face value” is the worth shown on money, stamps, etc.—“face value” is the same, even if it is fake, so the common use is “don't take things at face value”, which means “look deeper, or do some research before you accept something as 'true'”)

*biased: having strong beliefs about sth, which affects your viewpoint (esp. when such view keep you from listening to anyone with a different perspective)

to challenge sb: to ask questions about, or ask for an explanation of sb’s opinion/evaluation/answer/etc.

shaky (to look pretty shaky): to appear rather weak, unstable, incomplete, etc.[e.g.: That table looks pretty shaky, so I wouldn't sit on it.]


Improving Your Study Methods 


*to indicate: to show or point to

complementary: related to sth even though they are different

the flow of sth: a steady forward movement, especially in relation to the way ideas build on each other during a speech, lecture, book, etc.

*passively: not actively; without being involved or interested (She listened passively, without thinking about what she heard.)

*the big picture: an overall, general view of things; a situation viewed from an outside, general perspective

reminders: things that help you remember (e.g., remember a major point, a date, an event, or a place)

*transcript: an exact word-for-word written copy of a speech, play, TV show script, etc.

verbatim: word-for-word without leaving anything out or changing anything (“The press printed verbatim his speech.”)

*abbreviation: (缩写, 缩略词): a short form of a word (etc. for etcetera), title (Dr. for Doctor), name (NBA for National Basketball Association), and so forth

to revise: to change sth in order to make it better or more accurate (in BrE, to revise can also mean “to study sth again” but Americans do not use it this way)

fragment: a piece; an incomplete part of sth

the meat of sth: the most important part or main idea (of a speech, book, movie, etc)

particular: specific or carefully chosen

*to review: (AmE) to look again at something you have studied (British equivalent: revise)

senses: your five natural abilities to see, hear, feel, taste and/or smell

*to compile: to add together, or to put information together in one place

to gauge: to judge or measure carefully (a gauge is an instrument or device that shows a measurement, especially in relation to minimum or maximum, such as a fuel gauge in a car)

*prior to=before

*extracurricular: (adj, only before noun) additional activities, clubs, jobs, etc., that students do but that are not part of someone’s studies

to integrate: combine in an effective way

*to analyze: to carefully examine, esp. in terms of something’s relationship with other things

procedure: method; the best way to do something

*pertinent=relevant; directly related

a sitting: one continuous amount of time (i.e., how long you sit without standing up)

interruptions: distractions; things that unexpectedly stop what you are doing

to recite: to say sth out loud from memory, or in order to memorize it (i.e., to know it so well that you can repeat it perfectly)

to cram (for a test): to quickly learn a lot of material so that you can use it on an exam (even though you will probably forget it soon after the exam)

confident: certain or sure (esp. about your ability to do sth or about the truth of sth that others are not sure about)

*methodically: in a step-by-step way

(leave it) blank: empty; without writing

*to skip sth/sb: to choose not to do something you should do, like attend a class, answer a test question, read an assignment, report for work, or eat a meal

*to panic (panicked, panicking): to react in a strange (not logical or appropriate) way because of fear (Notice the unusual spelling of past/continuous verb forms; “They panicked when they heard rumors, which caused a panic in the community.”)

*essential=necessary; extremely important

*frustrations: things beyond your control that cause you to feel irritated, upset, or frustrated [you feel frustrated when annoyed because you cannot change a situation, understand something you are supposed to do, lack control, etc. (students have given these translations: 憋屈, 惘然, 失意的, 气馁, 灰心, 沮丧, 失望)

to put forth: (1. AmE) to give extra effort in order to accomplish sth; (2. formal) to give, suggest or produce sth


Common abbreviations:



i.e.=that is

e.g.=for example


ASAP=as soon as possible

RSVP=please reply/respond (from French)

BrE=British English

AmE=American English



*English punctuation marks (you should know all of these)

’ apostrophe; friends, friend’s    

* asterisk or star

(    )  (AmE) parenthesis, parentheses

         (BrE) rounded brackets   

[   ] (AmE) brackets    (BrE) square brackets

: colon              

; semi-colon                             

! exclamation point

. period

, comma           

/ slash              

? question mark

“      ” quotation marks  

‘   ’ (AmE) single quotation marks

… ellipsis                     

- hyphen                      

-- (or –) dash

_ underscore

underline (a line under text for emphasis)

italics (text in this format for emphasis)


Comparisons (College English book 3)

*comparative: the form of an adjective or adverb that shows a change when something is considered in relation to something else. Comparatives show “increase/change”.

*superlative: a term that expresses the highest degree of sth. Superlatives show “extremes”.

*complicated: complex; difficult to understand because it involves many related parts

*feast: a large meal, often connected with a celebration

*season: a period of time, such as “fall” (Sept-Nov) or “the Christmas season” (all of Dec.)

*secular: not religious; not related to sacred practices/gods/faith/etc. (与宗教无关的)

signal (signal words): important; acting as a sign

tidy (tidiest): neat; not messy; free from clutter or trash

*to differ (from): to be different in some way (note the grammar: “These things differ IN many ways.” “This differs FROM that in age and value.”)

wholemeal: 全麦

kiwi fruit: 猕猴桃

cucumber: 黄瓜

shrimp: 虾

cabbage: 包白菜

soy/soybean: a high-protein, healthy Asian source of food and oil (大豆)

asparagus: 芦笋

celery: 芹菜


SA: I've already given hints about what to study, including vocabulary (esp. synonyms), key discussion questions, the 5 R's (and other things on the "Improving Your Study Method" handout), and oral exam questions.

For the final exam, you should also be familiar with the benefits of Readers' Theater, and you should know the main things that happened in The Grinch.


Don't forget to learn "Great Ideas" vocabulary for the chapters we have studied, and also learn vocabulary for The Grinch


SA—Before the final exam, be able to talk about “readers’ theater”; what is it, and how can doing role plays or presenting dramas help one’s English?


Oral interview/exam; 25 points (fall 2012, XMU freshmen)

         Each student will get up to 25 points this term for “oral ability,” and your oral interview (group discussion) will help me decide how many points you deserve. Your performance and participation during class (role plays, etc.) will also influence this score.

         Interviews will be done in groups of four or five (at a scheduled time, at dinner or as explained later), talking together about one of the topics below. Each group will have a leader (as shown on the class list). Your group will get together to choose two possible topics. When you arrive for the scheduled time, your leader will tell me your two choices and I will choose one of them. The leader will also phone (or SMS) each group member a few hours before your appointment to be sure no one forgets!

         When your time comes, I’ll ask questions and try to get short answers from each person. I may also interrupt to ask for clarification or additional comments. Group members should also feel free to comment on each other’s statements (not interrupting, but more like a conversation). You can get together to practice this before you meet with me. However, a few previous groups have created a script for their “conversation”—this is NOT what I want, so they lost points. You can think of questions in advance, but it better not sound like a rehearsed “role play.”

            The oral exams at the end of the term will last 10-15 minutes. Your grade (25% of your term grade) will reflect your ability and willingness to speak English.


Shopping (Great Ideas 3)

Do you prefer to buy “the latest fashion” or “classic” clothing? Why? Do you and your roommates prefer to spend your money on things you will keep for years, months/days, or just minutes? (examples might include a date, dinner, haircut, snacks, a bike, clothing, computer, CDs…) Give examples by talking about a recent purchase. Most students don’t have a lot of money, so does that make them “wise” shoppers or not? Explain. Pretend that your partner is a visitor to Xiamen; ask questions and then give him/her advice about where to shop. Pretend that your partner’s parents have invited you to spend a weekend at their home; ask questions about his/her hometown so you can plan your visit. As a group, choose something other than clothing. Where do people go to buy this and how to they make decisions about what to buy? Where you like to go shopping, and why do you choose that place over other places? If you suddenly won a ten thousand RMB, what would you do with it and why?


International Holidays in China

In the past few years, more and more Chinese people have been doing something special to enjoy western holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Some people/stores put up holiday decorations, others give gifts, throw a party, and even go to church (esp. at Christmas or Easter). Unique Chinese “holiday traditions” have even started, such as giving apples on “ping an ye” (i.e., Christmas Eve, which is not done in any other country). Discuss the positive and negative aspects of celebrating international holidays like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentines’ Day. Pretend that you want your partner to celebrate one of these holidays with you; what would say to him/her? (This will be a two-way conversation!) Pretend that your partner is your aunt or grandfather, and have a conversation about this topic. (Think about how older Chinese people feel about western holidays.) If you think “smaller” Chinese holidays (other than National Day, New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival) are becoming less important, give practical suggestions for giving them more attention.

Movie Discussion: The Grinch

Tell us one way in which the Grinch was "mean". Why do you think the Grinch was so mean, and why did he hate Christmas so much? Talk about Cindy Lou. If you didn’t know the end of the story, would you have said she was foolish to go visit the Grinch, or brave, or naive, or something else? Why do you think she did what she did? [Most Whos thought Cindy should leave the Grinch alone, but she went anyway.] Tell us about a time when you (or a friend) did something “against popular advice.” Did the situation turn out good or bad? During the movie, we saw a lot of people (or Whos) change. Each member of your group should choose one the following, and tell us about the changes in this/these Whos: the Grinch, Dad, Martha, Mom (Betty, and her lights), the people of Whoville. [In China, many people think of “Christmas” as a “new” or “western” holiday; to them it is just a chance to get together with friends, have a party, go to a bar, etc. Some people in the west think of Christmas as a children’s holiday, or as a time when they need to buy or give a lot of presents. Traditionally, Christmas is a religious holiday to celebrate God’s “greatest gift” to the world: the miraculous birth of His son, Jesus Christ.] After seeing this film and talking about Christmas in/out of class this year, what do you think “Christmas is all about”?

       As stated above, each student will get up to 25 points this term for “oral ability,” and your oral interview will help me decide how many points you deserve. Your performance and participation during class (role plays, etc.) will also influence this score.

25: near native-speaker; exceptional (this is very rare)

24: excellent

22: very good

20: average

18 to 16: below average to poor

14: merely adequate

Spring semester                           Click your "Refresh" button (刷新)  to be sure you are looking at the most recent changes.

Don't forget about Great Ideas (4,8,9,10 before the quiz, then 11 & 15), and Mindyburg

Movies: The Russians are Coming; Unstoppable

She Recalls, He Forgets: True or False?

*the big picture: an overall, general view of things; a situation viewed from an outside, general perspective


*gender: general term for male/female (whether people, animals, language components, etc)

a sharp (memory): not fuzzy; clear & vivid; detailed

spatial: a relationship in terms of the position, size or shape of things. e.g., how odd-shaped objects look from different angles or the route from place to place

*statistically small: a "statistic" is numerical information, so "statistically small" means "an insignificant number of times" (5% at the most)

*the upper hand: an advantage; a more powerful position

a weak link in the chain: a part that isn't as strong as other parts, like a "weak link" in a chain


The Problem-Solving Model   

*options=choices; other things that could be done in a particular situation

Optional vocabulary:

situation: the setting or conditions related to a particular problem, place, event, etc.

verbally: spoken rather than written

to come up with: to creatively think of or find sth (an idea/solution/plan/etc)


SA--This six-step model can be used to solve common problems in business or in any profession.

1. Define the problem and set the goal

2. Brainstorm any options you might have

3. Evaluate your options

4. Make a plan of action

5. Evaluate how your plan of action is progressing and modify if necessary

6. See if you want to add anything new, and continue to evaluate and modify until the goal is reached.

Boa Boa Problem-solving Activity

*conveniences: [plural, often “modern conveniences”] things that make life easier and more convenient, especially indoor running water, plumbing (toilets), electricity, and electric appliances

*tropical: related to or happening in the hottest parts of the world (e.g., around the equator)

equator: the "line" around the center of the earth, half way between the north and south poles (赤道)

*climate: the normal weather conditions in an area (rainy, cold, dry, etc.)

*commerce: related to buying/selling/trading goods and services; a government department responsible for regulating business and trade


Titanic/Molly Brown  

*the bridge: the place where a ship’s officers control (steer) it, also called the helm

CQD: “Come Quickly, Distress”; an older code used for an emergency (see Morse Code)

crows nest or look out: the place high above the ship where crew members watched for ice, land, and other ships

diamond tiara: a small jeweled crown worn in rich ladies’ hair (one movie uses this as a symbol for wealth)

*fate: a force that is believed to control your life, similar to destiny (the purpose of your life) and luck (aspects of life you have no control over) -- “We are together again; it must be fate”

first class: the most expensive tickets on the boat; also the most luxurious section

*a fortune: a lot of money -- “her husband made a fortune from a gold mine”

*gossip: a mixture of facts and guesses about personal matters (often more untrue than true)

*iceberg: a floating “mountain” of ice that had drifted from the north pole; remember that there is more ice under water than you can see, which makes icebergs very dangerous

ice pack, field ice: terms related to the presence of icebergs and smaller pieces of floating ice

*immigrant: someone permanently moving from one country to another (not for a visit, but to live there)

[better definition] -- *immigrant: a person who leaves his home country, to settle and legally becomes a citizen of another country.

*infamous: well known for bad reasons or because of a very bad reputation (such as a famous criminal)

*”in a pickle”: a pickle is literally a sour food (泡菜), but this idiom means "in an unpleasant situation" -- “That left us in a pickle”

*”in your condition” or “in a delicate condition”: a way to say that someone is going to have a baby (Mrs. Astor was pregnant--going to have a baby)

lifeboats: small boats designed to help people get off a ship in case of emergency

Marconi or Marconi-gram: a message or the machine used to send messages by code using radio signals (now called a telegraph)

*Morse code (the verb is morsing): a series of signals (dot and dash) used to send messages by radio or flashes of light

*mourning: a time of sadness or respect for someone in your family that has died

*mug/mugshot: picture of your face, often taken by the police (“Your mug has been in the [news]papers”)

[better definition] -- *mugshot (or “mug”): picture of your face, esp. as it appears on an ID card, drivers’ license, or police record (“I recognize you! Your mug has been in the newspapers.”)

*nightmare: a bad and frightening dream

*SOS: “Save Our Ship”; a new code (in 1914) for requesting help in an emergency (see Morse Code)

slump: bad posture, the opposite of standing or sit up straight; “don’t slump”

*statutes=laws -- “We have complied with the statutes of the British Board of Trade.” (that is, we have the required number of lifeboats on the ship)

steerage: third class; the cheapest tickets on the boat (since many immigrants were crossing the Atlantic at this time, this was the biggest section of the ship)

Tux/Tuxedo: a man’s formal suit (in America, only rich men own one; others rent them for weddings/etc.)


Discussion: What do you think caused this tragedy? (Historical note: there is no single “right” answer, but there are several major contributing factors. Try to list as many factors as your group can think of.)


UA (Akron) Students Spend Spring Break Helping New Orleans

sultry: hot and wet-feeling

*volunteer/volunteering [adj, n, v]: sb who chooses to do something to help others, or the act of providing this help (often without pay, or doing a task that others don’t want to do).

relief efforts: work organized to help after a disaster

*ravaged: badly damaged

*nonprofit (group): an organization that uses its money or resources to help needy people (instead of investors, etc)

*to renovate: to make useful again; to fix a room, building or other structure in a “like-new,” useful way

*to defray (costs): (normally passive) to pay on behalf of another, esp. when sb is unable to pay for something needed

*auction: a sale where people compete for items by offering higher and higher prices

rustic: rough or simple, like sth used long ago or away from civilization

bunking: sleeping




Everyone should know how to write correct conditional sentences with “if…then…”: you need to use the  “past perfect” tense. had+past participle (see below)

If Will had kept his phone off, then his train would have fit into the siding.

If Dewey hadn’t gotten out of the cab, then the train wouldn’t have gotten out of control. (trains can’t “lose control”, but people can…)

--past participle [countable] technical: the form of a verb used with the verb 'to have' in perfect tenses (for example, 'I have eaten'), or with the verb 'to be' in the passive (for example, 'it was changed'), or sometimes as an adjective (for example, 'a broken leg')

had been, had called, had obeyed, hadn’t risked, had sped,

had trusted, had arrived, had fallen, had set, had seen…

Note: Most pp are regular (risk, risked, have risked; call, called, have called; leave, left, left), but some pp are irregular (swim, swam, have swum; set, set, set; get, got, gotten; fall, fell, fallen; see, saw, seen)

Note: I may also accept modal conditional sentences, that use a modal plus have instead of had. Example: If the Russians could have spoken better English, then they would have caused fewer misunderstandings.


(continued in the other column)



Valentine’s Day:

to transplant: to move sth from one place to another (implication: this is not “easy” since the transplanted plant/body part/family may suffer in the process)

*precise=exact; clearly expressed

*to execute (execution): to kill someone with the authority of a ruler, government, gang leader, etc.

*to urge: to strongly ask (often in hope of getting sb to act in a positive way)

paramount: of first importance

the Milky Way: a faint band of stars (actually caused by looking toward the outside of our dish-like galaxy, called the Milky Way galaxy)

*sentiments (often plural): an expression of one’s feelings, emotion or opinion

*to make a big deal of sth: to treat sth as especially important when many others consider it less important

*jewelry: small things like rings, earrings and bracelets that people wear for decoration (金刚石?)


*sacred=holy; of the utmost value according to religious teachings (the opposite of “secular”)


The Science of Happiness

1. Happy people remember good things in their lives.

2. Happy people notice good things in their lives.

3. Happy people do kind things.

4. Happy people take the time to say thank you.

5. Happy people take time for friends and family.

6. Happy people learn to forgive.

7. Happy people stay healthy.

8. Happy people learn to deal with problems.


The Persuaders (Advertising; Great Ideas 15)

SA--What are the qualities of a good print advertisement? How does that differ from a good TV ad?

--A good ad gets your attention.

--It gives you reasons to buy or use something.

--It makes the product look or sound as good as possible.

--It makes you think in a different way.

--Effective ads connect the product or service to something you already like or respect.

--Print ads often contain more facts than TV ads. Effective TV ads often try to be funny or especially memorable (images, music, motion). Both use “stars” to promote things.


Shanghai to get camp for Web addicts

*adolescents=teenagers;  youngsters [old-fashioned]

*addicted: unable to stop taking or doing something (a drug, habit, etc) [an addict is sb who is addicted]

*camp: a structured program with organized activities, games, lessons, crafts, etc., often designed to help children learn a moral lesson or gain a useful skill while having fun

*to recruit: to look for people to join your company, school, army, etc.

*to be considered for sth: to be evaluated in order to determine if you can do sth, are suitable for a job, etc.

*an alias: a false name

*to bury oneself in sth: to give all of one's attention or energy to sth

*to skip class: to choose not to go to class without a good reason (AmE, also "playing hooky")

*frustrated: you feel this way when annoyed because you cannot change a situation, understand something you are supposed to do, lack control, etc. (students have given these translations: 憋屈, 惘然, 失意的, 气馁, 灰心, 沮丧, 失望)

*intervention (process): a method that gets involved (literally, “in the middle”) in order to produce change, especially to prevent or treat sth bad.

*volunteer (adj, n, v): without pay; sb who chooses to do something to help others, or the act of providing this help

to patrol: to check on things in an area with some regularity, like police officers who frequently walk through a neighborhood to be sure there is no trouble or no one in need


Don't forget vocabulary for the Mindyburg story (click here), "Great Ideas" vocabulary for the chapters we have studied, and the movies The Russians are Coming and Unstoppable.


SA--You should also review the lists that have been on the screen many times, including things that contributed to the "Unstoppable" crisis, and the ways that communication devices were used in the film.



Oral interview/exam; 25 points (spring 2013, XMU freshmen)

(See above for general information and instructions)

The Russians Are Coming

Talk about the use of non-standard English in this film. How much of the Russian-English could you understand? What does someone’s English level say to others? Who was your favorite character, and why? [Dad, Mom, Pete, Rozanov, Alexei, Allison, Operator, Chief, Fendall, the Russian Captain (or pick someone else!).] What is "bravery", and what is the difference between being "brave" and being "foolish"? Be able to give examples of bravery and foolish behavior in the movie. Why didn’t the Chief want to believe what the Operator told him about the Postmistress? When Walt told the deputy police officer "the truth" about the Russians (who were trying to borrow a boat to get off a sand bar), why didn't anyone listen to him? Talk about ways that someone’s past actions affect their future. When there was a standoff beside the submarine, one accidental push of a gun trigger could have started World War 3! Partner task: Pretend that you are the captain, and your partner is the police chief—and neither side has any weapons; calmly discuss how to resolve the situation. Tell us what could have been done to prevent this standoff. Look at the “introduction” on the study guide. Discuss how “this film shows us the effects of national pride and international fear, as well as what universal compassion can do to help us overcome our differences”?

Health & Happiness (GI 10)

Many things affect our health, including stress, habits, exercise, and happiness. Describe how some habits affect health, or tell us about your own “healthy” habits. Do you think that employers should provide exercise rooms at work, and time off to use them—why or why not? Since we know that humor and “happiness” are healthy, what can employers, teachers and the government do to promote them? Doctors say that stress can be linked to more than half of our medical problems. What makes you feel stress, and how do you handle it? Partner task: Pretend that you are very worried about an unhappy or unhealthy friend; explain the problem to your partner, who will make suggestions on how to help your friend. At your first job after college, which would you choose (and why): good pay and medical insurance, or better pay with no medical insurance?

Unstoppable Discussion

First, describe one of the characters and say why you chose this person. What are the positive and negative aspects of making rookies stand out (such as by wearing a “yellow vest”)? Orally, quickly list the big and little factors that contributed to this near-disaster. Choose one of the “little” factors in the story, and tell how this contributed to the problems and/or solutions in the film. Connie’s English is more “standard” than the way many African-Americans talk in the movies (and certainly better than the Russians in our other film!). What do you think the script writers were trying to tell us, by the actors’ use of English? Partner task: Discuss the use of phones/ipods/personal devices while at work. One thinks this shouldn’t be allowed, but the other thinks they are all OK. Explain your position. Discuss the way the news media covered this event, and how it would have been different in China. Is “live coverage” a good or bad thing? Frank admits that he’s risking his life, even though he has been “fired”; Connie and Will also openly risk being fired. Why? Who or what makes these people act this way? What do you think about this quote: “No one has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends”? Who do you think said it? Is it true? Explain how it relates to this story.

The Internet

What are the good things about the Internet? What are the bad things? Does anything about the Internet frustrate you? Which side has more, the good side or the bad side? What can be done to strengthen the good things and reduce the negative aspects? Do you ever use the Internet to help improve your English? If so, tell us what you do and talk about how effective/helpful it is. If not, why not? Comment on the problem of addition to the Internet or to computer games. Do you think this is a serious problem? Why or why not? Do you think employees should regulate the use of phones/computers during work hours? Partner task: one of you heard that the government fined someone for causing an accident while walking and using an iPhone. One of you thinks this is a good law and the other doesn’t—explain your position. When your children are old enough to use a computer (age 4? 6? 10?), what will you do to protect them from the bad things on line? How do you think the Internet (and computers in general) will change over the next 10 years?


Possible future lessons:


Obesity threatens Chinese people

*[medical] complications: [countable, plural] unforeseen negative results; additional illnesses while a patient is already sick

diabetes: too much sugar in the blood


*epidemic: a large number of cases of an illness, occurring at the same time

*incidence of: occurrence of; number of times sth happens (esp sth bad like disease or crime)

*to indulge: to let yourself have sth you enjoy but (usually) that is bad for you if you get too much

kilogram: a metric unit of weight (公斤)

life expectancy: the length of time sb is expected to live (often expressed as an average for some group of people, people with a certain disease, etc.)

*nutrition: the content of food from a health point of view (good nutrition means eating the right mix of food to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and everything else needed for good health)

*obese, obesity: to be so fat that it puts health in danger

*onset: start (esp of sth bad like a disease, winter, “old age,” etc.)

*patient: a sick person, under the care of a doctor

*physician=doctor (formal term)

poverty: the situation or experience of not having much money; being poor

*proportion: part of sth, in relation to the whole or to sth else (比例)

*respectively: in the same order as what you just mentioned (For boys, 14 percent are obese and 13 percent are overweight, with the proportions for girls nine and 11 percent, respectively. That is 9% obese and 11% overweight)

twin: two similar things, children, etc.

[to be] vulnerable [to]: to be able to be easily harmed or damaged

*the ______ community: all of the people associated with a certain job (the medical community, the academic community, the business community)


Thoughts about Success

to portend: to foretell or warn in some way; to be a sign of sth bad that is coming

*prerequisite: something (an object, quality, course...) needed before something else can happen

to empathize with sb: to share the feelings of sb

Other terms you might find helpful (look them up if you don't know them): seminar, esteem, risk, forgiveness, to criticize, to interfere


Garbage and Pollution: the terrible cost of development

*garbage=trash (BrE: rubbish)

*to generate (generated): to produce or create (often a large amount of sth that is not countable, such as trash or electricity)

*rural: not in a city; not urban

*landfill: the garbage dump; the place where a city puts the trash it collects



*organic=natural; produced by living things, as opposed to things that are man-made (man-made or inorganic things include chemicals that make plants grow or kill bugs)

*to contaminate: to do sth that yields a harmful effect, such as making a river dirty through pollution

combustion: burning, esp to produce heat or an explosion

*premature: before the normal time

to consume / consumption: to use time, energy, goods, etc / the amount of energy, oil, etc., used 

microscopic: extremely small, such as things you can't see without a microscope

*lungs: the organs you use to breathe (肺脏?)

*respiratory: related to the lungs or breathing

scarcity: not having enough; rareness

*chronic: a problem or illness that lasts a long time, and can't be easily cured

to render (has rendered): to cause or express something in a particular way (render emphasizes the resulting condition) (Development has rendered this land useless. Please render this essay in English. The court rendered a favorable decision.)

to shrink (has shrunk): to make smaller, often in a negative way

microorganism: an extremely small living thing; a microscopic organism

*domestic: within one's own country (domestic problems), family (domestic violence) or home (domestic appliances)

blunt: spoken in an honest way, even if it hurts or offends others (blunt is also the opposite of sharp)

*to recycle (recycling): to put used objects or materials through a process so that they can be used again



Movie Report Format


(See handouts for specific assignments related to our class; but if I don't tell you otherwise, here is the format for Movie Reports. Unlike the sample below, I expect students to fill one page while doing this report.)


Work with your partner to complete this report. You two will get one grade, so be sure both of you are satisfied with the answers/grammar/etc. (After you write it, you can also ask other friends to check grammar/spelling/etc.) Use your own words, not something from the handout or Internet. It must be typed and double-spaced, using a 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font. Keep your answers simple; each item needs only about three sentences (see the sample). Do not use more than one page.


1. Describe two main characters.

2. Describe two major problems or issues, and tell how the problem/issue was resolved.

3. Tell me about your favorite part. (Each partner will write two to four sentences)


See the sample below (which is double-spaced, using a 12-point Times New Roman Font).

To see how I mark Movie Reports, click here to go to my "correction key" page.




This resource was created for our students under my understanding of "fair use" for educational resources.  

© 2013 Michael Krigline, all rights reserved. As far as I am concerned, people are allowed to print/copy it for personal or classroom use.

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