Thursday, March 26, 2015

Photography Vocabulary

Read and match the types of photography to the definitions below.
1 aerial
2 landscape
3 macro
4 monochrome
5 portrait
6 stock

a) Photography that captures different urban or natural spaces and scenes.
b) Photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. The focus of the photograph is usually the person's face, although the entire body and the background may also be included.
c) Photographs that are black and white or sepia toned. Sepia tones have a hue that resemble the effect of aging in old photographs (different shades of brown).
d) Close-up photography, usually of very small subjects. Normally the size of the subject on the negative is greater than life size.
e) Photographs of the ground from an elevated position.
f) Photographs licensed for specific uses.

Read and match the photography terms to the definitions below.
1 a point and shoot
2 darkroom
3 negative
4 viewfinder

a) A room where all light is blocked out as to allow for the processing of light 
sensitive photographic materials.
b) A compact camera with no additional manual settings or options. All settings are automatic, allowing users to simply point the camera at the subject and press the shutter button.
c) When the film is developed, it is a long strip of small negative images.
d) What the photographer looks through to compose and to focus the picture.

Read and write your own definitions for the photography verbs below.
1 to capture
2 to crop
3 to develop a photo
4 to frame the shot

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Culture Class: Visiting Winogrand

On March 15 our conversation class took the lesson beyond the classroom to an excellent exhibit at the Mapfre Foundation featuring the photography of the great American street photographer, Garry Winogrand. Students researched aspects of the photographer’s personal and professional life beforehand, which helped the class discuss, explain and analyze the photographs in depth. To sum up, we were all fascinated by the exhibit, a flashback of sorts into the tumultuous everyday life of the USA of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Documented from the personal and poetic lens of Winogrand, we saw and discussed the complexities of Winogrand’s photography and culture, at times ironic, iconic, humorous, tragic and deep. 
Here is Raquel’s reflection on the Winogrand photography exhibit. First, read the corrected version of Raquel’s response and then, below, the original. In pairs, find 10 differences between the two versions, i.e.: spelling, grammar, syntax, word choice, etc. Then, as a group, discuss the reasons for these changes.
Garry Winogrand’s photography is an interesting revelation for any curious visitor because it allows for a personal exploration of his work. It is a trip through the recent history of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, familiar to most Europeans thanks to literature, movies and TV shows.
Even more stimulating is trying to uncover the stories behind the photographs. The social context gives us some clues into the portraits of everyday life that Winogrand captured. On the streets of New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, his point of interest was the unstoppable rhythm of these places and the people who passed through them. That is the reason why Winogrand’s photos make the spectator want to know more about what was happening outside these frames.
Moreover, his photos show two very different, but complementary, perspectives. On the one hand, Winogrand has a great sense of humor that documents the more eccentric and unusual happenings around him. And on the other hand, he demonstrates a deep understanding of how personal, social and economic circumstances affect who we are.
The Garry Winogrand’s photography is an interesting revelation for any curious visitor because it allows to each one to find a personal way into his work. This way can be a full trip through the history of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, familiar thanks to literature, movies or tv shows.
But, even more stimulanting, is trying to discover the stories behind the social context and the frames that Winogrand put in each photo to the everyday. In the streets of New York, Dallas or Los Angeles, his interest was the unstoppable rhythm of any place and the people who passed through them. That is the reason why Winogrand’s photos make their spectators want to know much more about what was happening or about to happen outside these frames.
Besides this, his photos show two very differents, but complementary, sensibilities. On one hand, a great sense of humor to catch the more eccentric orunusual facts around him, astonishing at any moment, and on the other a deep sensibilitie for explaining in one take how the personal, social or econonomical circunstances affect who we are.

Special note to other Shanglish students : if you havent completed your summary of the exhibit yet, get on it! Please email me or leave it in the comments section below as soon as you can.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Introductions: by the class about the class

Welcome to the new trimester of English at Ondas! The grammar focus of our first two weeks has been interviewing skills and peer editing. Students interviewed each other, wrote an introduction about their partner and peer edited their written work. We discussed common grammatical mistakes, vocabulary, style and best practices as a class. 

Here are four of the final products, with two more coming soon. Well done, class!

Cristina introducing Paco
His name is Francisco José but he prefers to be called Paco. He's 35 years old.
He studied Economy and currently he’s working as a financial analyst. He thinks that you need to understand how Economy works to appreciate how financial markets and enterprises are affected by it.
On the other hand, he hasn't got any pets but he'd like to a dog (he prefers dogs to cats). He would have liked to have had a dog when he was a child but his parents didn't let him.
If you're interested in knowing what kind of music he likes, you'd be surprised to find out that he doesn't listen to any music on the radio! When he has the choice to select the radio station, he prefers to listen to the news.
If you'd like to know more about Paco, just ask him in our next class! ;)

Paco introducing Cristina
My classmate´s name is Cristina. She is 27 years old and she works in a family owned company which produces wine. She works in the customer service department managing different purchase orders. She also coordinates events.
She likes to go to the cinema and her favourite film is Noah's book. Today, many people are talking about 50 Shades of Grey and she has seen it. And although she liked it, maybe she expected more because the trilogy was more sexual.
Her favourite hobby is reading books. She loves it and she could read all kinds of books except historical books. When she does it, she gets bored.
Another of her hobbies is listening to music. As with reading books, she can listen to all different styles of music. However, her favourite music group is “the passenger”, which is from the UK and plays folk rock music.

Elvira introducing Raquel
Raquel is a thirty two year old journalist that works for a communication agency.  She is in charge of collecting diverse information about different companies. She also sends press releases. She has been working there for four years and she says she likes it very much.
However, her face changes when she talks about cinema and her previous job where she used to write film reviews. She loves going to the movies and, when she has the opportunity, she likes going to cinema forums to get completely immersed in the films. The last film she watched is “The imitation game” which is now showing in Spanish cinemas. But watching films is not her only hobby.
She also likes reading, not only in Spanish but in English too. When she chooses a novel to read in English, she usually chooses science-fiction novels such as “The hunger games”. She says she finds these kinds of stories very gripping and this style makes these books easier to read. Apart from this, she fancies doing puzzles and putting them in a frame to decorate a room. She also likes to give puzzles as a present.
Raquel about Elvira
Elvira is 33 years old and she is from Córdoba. She works for a Frequent Flyer programme. She is in contact with Iberia partners like hotels or car rental companies.
In her free time she likes going hiking. She has made different routes through Navacerrada, Cotos and La Pedriza, and she especially enjoyed when she went to La Granja in Segovia. Also, Elvira is learning to dance sevillanas and she would like to go to the Córdoba fair in May to practice all she is learning in her classes.
When she was a child her favourite book was 'The coming back' by Rosamunde Pilcher. It tells the story of a teenage girl during the Second World War and the difficulties she faced. 'The coming back' was the book that inspired Elvira to keep reading.
Today she usually reads books in English for practice. Her favourites are romantic novels (but nothing to do with books like '50 shades of Grey'). In her opinion, romantic novels are good for learning English because they are colloquial and they have entertaining and funny plots that make them easy to follow.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Martha Payne and the debate about school lunches

The conversation topic of today's class was school lunches around the world.

We also discussed how traditions in Spain have changed for younger generations, specifically talking about how, in Spain, the norm used to be that the majority of all primary and secondary school students used to go home every day for a lunch prepared by their moms.

Next, students read this article from a British newspaper about how Jamie Oliver gave Martha a very prestigious award. Students had to identify new vocabulary they found in the article and try to come up with a definition as a group. Here are the words, phrasal verbs, and idioms they identified:
burst in
top bird
to rub shoulders with someone
turn (something) round
to go without
rolled in

What are your thoughts on the topic? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Video Project: Final Product

Here is the final product of our student video project for the winter 2014-15 trimester, a culmination of our students progress throughout the trimester. 

Areas we work on in our conversation classes include pronunciation, listening comprehension, public speaking skills, developing confidence, expanding vocabulary, understanding and using idioms, and a variety of other oral expression skills.

In today's class we will discuss the outcomes of these areas. Lets watch the video again and identify a) strengths in these areas and b) what can be improved upon in these areas.

Part 1
public speaking skills
other oral expression skills

Part 2
public speaking skills
developing confidence
other oral expression skills

Part 3
listening comprehension
expanding vocabulary
understanding and using idioms
other oral expression skills

Have you read part one and part two of the making of our student video project? To see how the whole process works, click here.

Once again, a huge thanks to the talented Mr. Diego Cerezo for his camera work and post-production editing skills!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The making of our Student Video Project, part 2: lights, camera, action!

Stage, check. Cameraman, check. Preparation, check. Lights, camera, action!

Part two of our video project consisted of an individual pronunciation challenge. Each of the conversation class students had to choose a tongue twister poem at random and recited it on the spot in order to showcase some of the oral expression skills that they have attained throughout the trimester. 

One important lesson that students observed in this activity was that sometimes confidence can be just as important as practice when it comes to speaking skills. While some of the students became understandably nervous in part two, classmates helped calm their nerves in front of the camera, reminding each other to focus on body language, smiling and posture. 

When you watch the video, try to see if all our students stuck to the script, or if you can say these tough alliterations with such finesse. The lyrics have been included as subtitles in the video so that you can follow along.

The final chapter of the video project is the Remember that! quiz show. Here students prepared trivia questions for their classmates to answer. The content came directly from the topics covered in previous classes, i.e. oral presentations, expressions, idioms and vocabulary. Only the person asking the questions knew the correct answers, so the conversation and banter in this portion of the video is totally spontaneous and unrehearsed. 

This "raw material" gives a lot of insight into what each individual´s strengths and weaknesses are. In the next post we will see the finished product of the video project and look more in depth at what each student can improve, patterns of mistakes and overall intelligibility.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The making of our Student Video Project, part 1: Tongue Twisters

How does a pronunciation activity morph into a class project for a short film? Every trimester our Conversation Class students develop an original script for either a radio show or short film, which they practice and act out themselves. The material for the this audio-visual project is taken from the topics and activities that they have worked on in class throughout the semester. 

This trimester our Conversation Class students decided to do a three part short film film. Part one and two are focused on mastering some very tough pronunciation by reciting tongue-twisters. Part two was a student hosted quiz show which includes vocabulary, grammar and listening comprehension trivia from topics seen throughout the course.

Last week students saw the the tongue-twisters that they would be reciting for the first time, and trust me, they weren't the easiest. They decided to do a short performance of this one:
"A tree-toad loved a she-toad
who lived up in a tree.
He was a two-toed tree-toad,
but a three-toad toad was she.
The two-toed tree-toad tried to win
the three-toed she toad's heart,
For the two-toed tree-toad loved the ground
that the three toed tree-toad trod.
But the two-toad tree-toad tried in vain;
he couldn't please her whim.
From her tree-toad bower,
with her tree-toad power,
the she-toad vetoed him."

Bea, Cristina and Elvira (from left to right) with their first encounter tackling this tough tongue-twister.  Luckily their pronunciation was even better than their drawing!

The girls split the tongue-twister into three parts, practiced and memorized it. This week we filmed their short performance as the opening scene of the video project. 

Stay tuned for more information about part two of the video project and for the finished product.