Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Volcano Chronicles, or, Carbon Particles Are Way Sneakier Than You'd Think

We're back from our trip to Barcelona and Lisbon exactly a week later than expected, thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano that decided to spew a huge cloud of ash into the air the night before our scheduled departure from Lisbon on Friday the 16th. It closed down most of the airports in Europe (although Reykjavik's airport remained ash-free thanks to wind, which is one of the more ironic aspects of this story) and trapped hundreds of thousands of travelers in foreign cities. And we were part of it all!

There will be photos and stories about the craziness, but now I have to plan lessons and try to make up the week of classes I missed in the one week I have left of teaching. Yes, that's right, I only have a week left of teaching now, which is ridiculous. So! Stories about street food and beaches and football games and castles and trams and nightclubs to follow. ¡Hasta pronto!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Why Do They Let Me Teach Their Kids?

I play a game with my students to make them practice using "could" and "might" to speculate about situations, since French doesn't really have an equivalent. So I give them a situation and make them compete to try to come up with the most possible reasons, and I tell them that if their sentence makes me laugh, they get extra points. For my own personal amusement, I use the names of people I know. The following are actual student sentences, with the grammar cleaned up a little bit, elicited from the situation "Amelia is very tired today."
  • She might have spoken with her boyfriend. (When I said, "But that doesn't make you tired!" I got the most suggestive eyebrow raise I've ever received from a 15-year-old.)
  • She could have spent the night outside with a pink elephant in a gay bar.
  • She could take Russian lessons at night.
  • She might take wrestling classes at night.
  • She might have woken up in Africa.
  • She could have watched a TV show about tuna.
  • She might have been taken by a UFO.
  • She could have been in penguin-land, where it is night for 6 months.
  • She might have gone to a party with the rugby team.
  • She could have spent a torrid night with Brad Pitt, Jude Law and Johnny Depp in the same time.
Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up.