I Hope My Son Is Happy

My son, Giako, came home this week singing “Because I’m happy, clap la-la-la-la….” .

He explained that his second grade class was learning the hook (i.e. chorus) to Pharrel William’s song this week.

I bumped into his English teacher, Matilde, on thursday and we agreed that I would create this video clip for the class to help them memorize the song.

Try singing along with your kids.

I hope it makes you Happy:-)




Darling, I am here for you.

In 2014, I’ve decided to write about the people that inspire me. I wrote about the Dalai Lama last week.

Thich Nhat Hanh is next.

His best selling book ‘Living Buddha Living Christ‘ is a must read. He is a peace activist, buddhist monk and renowned author.  In this interview, Oprah asks him questions about his Childhood, Vietnam, Martin Luther King, Terrorism, Conflict & Mindfulness. He shares the 4 little mantras that can make us a little happier. They seem so simple. Why are they so tough to put into practice? Have you got the answer? I hope you become more mindfully present after watching this video clip.

Read the 10 questions below. Watch the clip & try to find the answers to the questions.

  1. How old is he in this video?
  2. How many books has he written?
  3. Where does he live today?
  4. How does he respond to stressful events?
  5. Why were his parents reluctant about him becoming a monk?
  6. How does he define the Beginner’s Mind?
  7. Why couldn’t he go back to his country?
  8. How do you perform Deep Listening?
  9. Is there ever a place for anger?
  10. What are the 4 little mantras that can make us happy?

How do you check your answer?

  • Share this video with a friend and try answering them together.
  • Set this as a homework activity for English class.
  • Post your answers here & we can correct them together.

Can you ask these questions to someone you know? Interview that person & then get interviewed in return.

  1. Did you know Thich Nhat Hanh before today?
  2. How did the interview make you feel?
  3. What did you like most about what he said?
  4. Did you dislike anything about the interview?
  5. Would it be difficult for you to follow the 4 simple Mantras? Why?

You can like & share this post with a friend if you found it useful.


p.s. this post was a mix between English & Mindfulness training. I thought I’d try a double whammy!



Etymology: To Break The Ice


breaking ice

breaking ice (Photo credit: NapaneeGal)




I kicked off a new course this week. I always plan a few  activities that help people to relax at the first lesson. These activities are called icebreakers. That got me thinking. Where does this idiom come from? It is actually pretty intuitive to understand but when did people start using it as an idiom?

What does ‘To Break The Ice ‘mean?

To say or do something that helps people to relax and begin talking at a meeting, party, etc.  The corresponding noun is ‘icebreaker‘.

What is the etymology?

The ice in question is metaphorically that on a river or lake in early spring. To break the ice would be to allow boats to pass, marking the beginning of the season’s activity after the winter freeze. In this way, this expression has been connected to the start of enterprise for abour 400 years.

How do we use it in context?

  • I broke the ice by telling them about my hometown.
  • Playing 20Questions is a nice way to break the ice at a lesson.
  • What icebreakers do you use to start a meeting?

Can you repeat the sentences you hear?


You can like this post  if it was useful & share it if you want it to be uesful for someone else!






What’s your take on the meaning of life?


Can this kid be real? He is 9 years old. He philosophizes on the meaning of life, the universe & our destiny like a big person. Zia Hassan, a multimedia artist, interviewed this little boy to get his take on the meaning of life. I could not have answered half of the questions because my consequential approach to life would have stopped me from answering spontaneously. Great post by Stombo & his team.

Galaxies are so large that stars can be consid...

Galaxies are so large that stars can be considered particles next to them (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fluency Builder:Language is quite simple so here are the questions that you could try to answer with your friends or a teacher.

  • Describe yourself in relation to the universe?
  • Are there life forms on other planets?
  • Are there multiple universes?
  • What is the meaning of our lives?
  • Are the events in life pre-destined?
  • What kind of space do sports and music have in your life?


English Phraseology: An Italian Easter

English: Lindt Golden Bunny (Barcelona), 6 de ...

With Easter being just around the corner, I planned this blog post in honor of this joyous spring feast. I remember wearing my crochet white knee-high socks, floral-printed dress and shiny ballerinas on Easter Sunday. No matter how cold it was in Montreal that spring, this was my outfit.

Reason for Reading:
I found a very interesting article on EASTER in Italy. I thought it would be cool for Italians to learn how to explain their traditions in English & non-Italians could discover what Easter in Italy was like. Here is the article: Pasqua: Easter Lunch In Italy

Flower Lingo:
Here are my top 5 favorite Traditional Easter Flowers. Click on the link and see what they look like. This activity can easily inspire your Easter bouquet.

Easter Idioms:

  • Lorenzo didn’t want to pick on Harry but his friends egged him on. (i.e. to encourage or dare someone to do something that may be unwise or dangerous.)
  • The investor regretted putting all his eggs in one basket. (i.e. Do not risk everything by placing too many hopes on one thing)
  • My boss is really nervous in this period. When we work together, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells.(i.e. to do something cautiously, try hard not to upset someone)
  • Jane didn’t come home last night. Her dad stayed up waiting for her. He’s hopping mad. (i.e. to be really angry)
  • Jerry’s parents started saving up for his college tuition long ago. This nest egg is waiting for him.(i.e. an amount of money that is saved over a usually long period of time to pay for something in the future)
  • I hopped on the bandwagon this spring and switched to a smart phone. (i.e. To become involved in an activity that has gained popularity recently)

Easter Tongue Twisters: Listen and Repeat

Each Easter, Eddie eats eighty eggs.

Baby bunnies bounced bright balls beyond Bunnyland borders

Fluency Builder: Discuss the following questions with your friends or teacher.

  1. What do you like most about Easter?
  2. Have you planned anything special for this Easter?
  3. Do you observe lent? Do you fast on Good Friday?
  4. Have you ever taken part in an Egg Hunt?
  5. What’s your favorite Easter dish?
  6. Do you prefer chocolate bunnies, hard-boiled eggs  or jelly beans?

Hope this special Easter post got you ready to speak about this festivity.

Happy Easter everyone!


Philip Philips: Gone, Gone, Gone

I was watching American Idol and Philip Philips performed this song. He blew it out of the park…POW! Thought you’d like the song. Let me know if I’m right.


When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight
If you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe
To make you well, to make you well

When enemies are at your door
I’ll carry you away from war
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering
To make you well, to make you well

Give me reasons to believe
That you would do the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby, I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet
And if your well is empty
Not a thing will prevent me
Tell me what you need, what do you need

I surrender honestly
You’ve always done the same for me

So I would do it for you, for you.
Baby, I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone.
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone.

You’re my back bone,
You’re my cornerstone
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving
You’re my head start,
You’re my rugged heart
You’re the pulse that I’ve always needed

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating (x3)
Like a drum my heart never stops beating

For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
Baby I’m not moving on,
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone.
I love you long, long after you’re gone.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating (x3)
Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.
I love you long after you’re gone gone, gone.

Vocabulary Boost:

  • High and dry: in a helpless position
  • To cheat: to break a rule or law to gain an advantage for something
  • To beg: to ask for something in an emotional way when it’s needed
  • To bribe: to try to get a person to do something by promising something valuable
  • To dangle: to hang
  • To suffer: to feel pain
  • A well:  a hole in the ground that holds water
  • A backbone: strength and courage
  • A cornerstone: something of fundamental importance
  • A crutch: something a person uses too much for help and support
  • A head start: an advantage that you have or get when starting something
  • A rugged heart: tough or strong love
  • A pulse: steady movement of blood caused by the beating of your heart
Philip Phillips

Philip Phillips (Photo credit: rocor)

Fluency Builder: Answer the following questions with a teacher or a chat buddy

  1. Have you ever heard of Philip Philips?  What’s this song all about?
  2. Do you watch American Idol?
  3. Does anyone in your family play a musical instrument?
  4. Has anyone ever left you high & dry?
  5. Who is the corner stone of your department at work?
  6. Have you ever used crutches?


p.s. this one goes out to GC

Run by Snow Patrol


‘Run’ has to be one of the best songs in Snow Patrol’s repertoire. I feel in love with it immediately. I’ve heard so many interpretations of the lyrics ranging from family ties to break ups. Do you like the song? What do you think Gary Lightbody was trying to say? What’s your favorite Snow Patrol tune?




I’ll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You’ve been the only thing that’s right
In all I’ve done


And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we’ll make it anywhere
Away from here


Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I’ll be right beside you dear


Louder , louder
And we’ll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can’t raise your voice to say


To think I might not see those eyes
Makes it so hard not to cry
And as we say our long goodbye
I nearly do


Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I’ll be right beside you dear


Louder louder
And we’ll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can’t raise your voice to say


Slower slower
We don’t have time for that
All I want’s to find an easy way
To get out of our little heads


Have heart, my dear
We’re bound to be afraid
Even if it’s just for a few days
Making up for all this mess


Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I’ll be right beside you dear


English: Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland of...

English: Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland of Snow Patrol – Tempe, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Vocabulary Boost:


  • Barely : with difficult
  • Every single time: never once without
  • To make it : to succeed, to survive
  • To run for our lives: to save yourself
  • Hardly: with difficult
  • Raise your voice: increase the volume
  • We are bound to:  We will certainly
  • To make up for : to correct or recuperate




p.s. This post is dedicated to Anna L. who suggested I post it. Great choice Annarella…10Q!!


Ask Task: A Vegetarian Speaks

ask taskWe asked Inés Reynoso (Mexican American) about living a vegetarian lifestyle. She tells us the difference between being vegan and vegetarian. She shares her opinions as to why we shouldn’t eat meat & she lists ingredients that can substitute meat in our diet.

Play the interview and try to listen for the following expressions:

  • Flesh – soft parts of an animal that you eat
  • The way I see it – my views are
  • Ideally  –  in a perfect world
  • If you wonder – if you ask yourself
  • To shut it out – to block it from your mind
  • Free- range eggs – eggs that are laid by chickens that are free to move around and not trapped in a cage
  • To forgo – to give up the use of something

English: Vegetarian food

Listening Quiz:

1. What do vegans avoid eating?

2. Who should we be trusting about what to eat?

3. Can we actually find all the nutrients we need from non-animal products?

View the transcript to check your answers by clicking here  A Vegetarian Speaks

Fluency Practice: summarize what you’ve heard for your teacher or classmates. Are you a vegetarian? Tell your story.

Share the Ask Task with your friends.


Guess It Game Jan 14th 2013


Listen, imagine and post your answer!

[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/1155137-guess-it-game-jan-14th-2013.mp3]