Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Girl Who Lived Alone

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's worksheet helps students understand sequence of events. It is  a short story about Juana Maria, the girl described in the book Island of the Blue Dolphins by author Scott O'Dell.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!


This is a true story about a girl who lived a long time ago. Her name was Juana Maria. Juana Maria lived on a small island with her people. An island is a body of land that has water all around it. This island is near California.

Juana's tribe fought with another tribe from far away. There was a lot of fighting until Juana’s people decided to leave the island. Juana and all her people got on a ship to leave the island. Suddenly, Juana's little brother left the ship to get something. Her brother did not return in time. Juana did not want to leave her brother alone. She jumped off the boat and swam back to the island, to be with him. Juana and her brother were the only two people on the island.

Things went well for some time. Then, one day, Juana’s little brother was killed by wild dogs. After that, Juana lived alone on the island for a long time. She had no company except her dog. Juana had many challenges, but she learned to take care of herself.

After twenty years, some people came to the island from America. They saw Juana and took her to America with them. They named her Juana Maria. No one knew Juana’s language so she spoke in signs. Juana used signs to tell people her story. Sadly, Juana died some weeks after she left the island.

Since that time, people have been interested in Juana's story. They have tried to find her cave on the island. Some authors also wrote about Juana Maria in books and newspapers.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

6 Tips to Spot a Liar - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday from Riyadh!

Kingdom Centre in Riyadh

I arrived in Riyadh a few days ago, in the middle of the night, with three kids in tow. Thankfully the kids slept most of the way! My husband met us at the airport, sleepy but happy to see us. I was worried about handling customs without my husband there, but thankfully everything worked out alright. The visa official asked me a few polite questions, smiled at my kids and - voila! - we found ourselves on the Kingdom side of the fence 15 minutes after arrival.

We are all still quite jet-legged. My body thinks it's Monday morning, but it's actually Sunday night here! That said, I have discovered two things about Riyadh.

1) Riyadh is really big! Huge, in fact.  

2) Riyadh has a lot of malls.

They must have every store you could want from Paris, London, and New York. I breezed through Dior, Christian Louboutin, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Marc by Marc Jabos, and Coach in one evening - not that I bought anything, mind you! Yet, even though I was dazzled by all the stores, I felt a pang of homesickness as I thought of my simple street and the leaves turning colors, back home.

This week's article is not about Riyadh, though I do hope to have something in honor of my move, soon. Today's worksheet came out of trying to get my kids to 'fess up more while making trouble at the grandparents' this past summer. It'll be a long journey for them and me, I know. However, I hope the article will be relevant for ESL students.

I've made arrangements to start teaching soon; I already miss being in the classroom! I'm looking forward to testing out my worksheets myself. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear any feedback from you about any of the activities that you've browsed or used from my blog.

As always, thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

How to Spot a Liar
Have you ever spoken to someone and had a feeling that they were lying to you? We've all experienced this feeling at one time or another. However, you do not have to worry any longer. Here are some tips to help you figure out if someone is lying to you or not. Most of us feel unhappy about lying. As a result, we may do things that we do not always do. Here are some behaviors you may see in a person when they are lying.

1. Eye Contact 

Liars tend to avoid eye contact when they are lying. This is often because they feel guilty about their lies. Some liars will have too much eye contact. They may do this because they want to convince you that they are telling the truth.

2. Touching the Nose 

Liars tend to touch their noses when they lie. This is because blood rushes to the cheeks and nose when people lie. The person who is lying will then touch this area.

3. Looking up or down 

A person tends to look away. This may be because they are busy thinking about their story.

4. Crossed Arms 

People often feel stressed when they lie. They may cross their arms to make themselves feel better.

5. Fidgeting 

A person who is lying tends to move around a bit. They may play with their hair or their watch. They may clasp their hands or brush something off of their shirt.

6. A Serious Face 

People who are lying find it difficult to smile. This is because their minds are too busy thinking. They cannot use their mental energy to be pleasant. A serious look could be a clue that the person is lying.

To download the worksheet for this activity, please click below.

Thank you for visiting!

Faiza Raintree

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Russian Automaker builds 27 million cars! - ESL Article

Russian Automaker builds 27 million cars!(Российская компания строит 27 млн. автомобилей)

What do you think of, when you think of Russia? Many people think of snow or fur hats. Some people think of borscht, or beet soup.  Most people don't think of cars when they think of Russia.  A Russian automaker may change all that! 

La Priora Hatchback

The automaker AvtoVAZ made its 27 millionth car some time ago. It is the La Priora hatchback, and costs around 9,000 euros.  That is about 11,000 USD. AvtoVAZ is Russia's largest automaker. They started making the La Prioria hatchbacks in 2007.

With the coming of capitalism, there has been many changes in Russian life in the past many years.  Russian people are more affluent now.  This means they have more money and more things. There are more luxury goods like cars.  There is more money in the hands of the people.  

These changes allow people to build businesses and create jobs. This helps to raise the standard of living for Russian society. Russian people are ready to enjoy the benefits of these changes. They are slowly moving to a higher standard of living.

Speaking Practice - Class/Group Discussion
Now that Russia is producing more and becoming wealthier, how do you think life in Russia will change?  How will these changes affect Russia's economy, society and culture?

1. Why do you think Russia reminds some people of snow and fur?
2. What is a Russian soup that is made from beets?
3. How many La Prioria Hatchbacks could you buy with $30,000? How much would you have left?
4. What kind of economy did Russia have before?
5. What are some good changes that have come with capitalism? Does the article mention any negative changes?
6. Why are people able to buy more things now?
7. What is meant by "standard of living"?

* Imagine that you had $50,000 to spend. How would you spend it? What would you buy? How much would you save? Make a list and share it with a friend. Compare your lists with each other.
* What is a car that you would love to have? Describe it and why you want it.
* What does capitalism mean to you? Does capitalism equal wealth, in  your mind?
* What kind of government does your country have? How is it similar to the government of the United States? How is it different?
* THINK & WRITE  Do you think there will be increased pollution in Russia? What do you think will happen to gas prices with all these new cars on the road? Is more technology always a better thing? Why or why not? Use the vocabulary words from this article, if  you can.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's A Good Life, Charlie Brown! - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article is on that famous comic strip, Peanuts. I grew up with Peanuts and still enjoy it tremendously, today. Peanuts has grown from a simple strip to a cartoon and icon that is used on everything from cupcakes to greeting cards. I hope your students enjoy the week's article.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

Charlie Brown
It's A Good Life, Charlie Brown!
Who hasn't heard of Peanuts? Peanuts is one of the most famous comic strips
in the world. It was started by Charles Schulz, in 1950. A comic tells a story using cartoon drawings and words. Peanuts' main character is that simple guy, Charlie Brown. It has been running since 1950, for more than 60 years!

Charles Schulz loved to draw cartoons as a child. He was also very good at it. 

In fact, Schulz was so good that his friends often asked him to make cartoons for them. 

Before starting Peanuts, Schulz drew single-panel cartoons for newspapers. Each strip was separate from others like it. He did a strip called Li'l Folks. Schulz tried to sell Li'l Folks to large newspapers, but no one was interested in it. He then reworked Li'l Folks into Peanuts as we know it today. United Feature Syndicate liked his Peanuts format and asked Schulz to do a weekly strip.

Peanuts was different from other comics of its day. Peanuts' comic strips were all about the same characters. Readers also liked that the strips continued from week to week. People loved the stories told in Peanuts comics. In fact, Peanuts became so popular that other people began to imitate it.

There are four main characters in Peanuts: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy. 

1) Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown is the boy next door, a boy with a big round head. He is around 5-6 years old during most of his Peanuts life. Charlie Brown tried and tried to kick a football, but never really made it. However, he never, ever gave up

2) Snoopy

Snoopy is Charlie Brown's dog and perhaps more famous than his owner! Snoopy was spunky and successful at whatever he did. He was different from Charlie Brown in this way. 

3) Linus

Linus is Charlie Brown's best friend. Linus was caring and artistic. Schulz used Linus to reach out to the sensitive and artsy people in his audience

Charlie Brown tries to kick the football.

4) Lucy 

Lucy is Linus' bossy older sister. She was mostly selfish and cranky, but she could be kind to Linus. Lucy believed that she could do anything.

Charles Schulz achieved many things through his strip. 

Schulz made women feel that they could be powerful and demanding. He included an African American, Franklin, as a playmate. Franklin also attended school with white children. This was at a time when many people wanted African Americans to have their own schools.

Peanuts grew from a small idea to the most popular comic strip ever. Charles Schulz died in 2000, only days after his last strip. He will be missed by his fans around the world.


1. What is a comic strip?
2. What is a single-panel cartoon?
3. How was Peanuts different from other cartoons?
4. How did Peanuts first start out?
5. Who are Charlie Browns two best friends?
6. What is one way that Schulz influenced others, through his comic strip?
7. For exactly how many years did Charles Schulz do the Peanuts strip?


* Choose two Peanuts characters. Tell how they are similar and how they are alike.
* Choose a favorite Peanut strip and write about it.
* Draw your own comic strip and exchange with a classmate.
* What is your favorite comic strip? Describe it and explain what you like about it.

* THINK & WRITE Many artists believe that art has many purposes. What are some purposes that art fulfills? Art has been used to make a statement, be it religious, political, or social. In what ways did Schulz make a statement through his comic strip?

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this activity, please click below.

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