Syllabus and Materials

Hello all, hope the break was refreshing for you guys, and you’re ready to start our Spring term. I have posted the syllabus as well as material for our first (or second) class. Attached is our term list of vocabulary, idioms, and worksheets for our class. You may print these as you see necessary. However, please read the attached articles, watch the video clips, and print the syllabus for next class session.

To begin, we will have a conversation about the value and role of education in society today. In preparation for this you will read the following article and watch the clips. We will be discussing:

  • Does formal education kill creativity and if so, how?
  • How can education be adequate for the 21st global century?
  • In your opinion, what skills should students know and understand for today’s global marketplace?

Print and Read the following article:

Watch this famous clip from the film, tHe Dead Poets Society:

And this highly impassioned music video:

Are central question you must come prepared to discuss is:

What is the value of education?


Syllabus Y1 UW Mott Spring

50 Phrasal Verbs

Presentation Rubric Mott

Self Evaluation Worksheet Mott

Mott Prospective Lesson Plan

Peer Review Worksheet Mott

List of English Idioms

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Assignment #10: After Holiday Break

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Wednesday our time in class will be spent on an oral activity, as well as introducing and discussing our new unit and our oral examination at the end of the term.

As promised, this is the assignment due when we return on 1/12, 1/14, respectively. For the weeks when we come back from Christmas, we will pick up from our brief recess by discussing changing family dynamics and how they hold up a mirror to society and the world at large. We will do cross-cultural comparisons between the United States and Poland, as well as other nations. Your vocabulary for this unit is provided in the list below. Please become acquainted with these words and phrases, as this will be factored into your oral examination. It is important for you to internalize these words however is best for you, and we will spend our class time integrating them into discussions and speaking exercises. Rote memorization will help you only in recall, not in the practice of these phrases- that must be done by trying them out.

For our class I would like us to concentrate solely on the first part of this unit. What is a family? How do family dynamics change with a society? Upon your return, please define the vocabulary terms, answer the questions below, and read and print the article. I also would like you to watch the youtube clip of the show “Modern Family”’

Read the Article and Watch the Commercial:

  • What was so controversial about this clip?
  • Why did people react this way?

Watch this clip of the popular American TV Series, Modern Family, a show that centers on an older man Jay who marries a younger Columbian woman, Gloria and adopts her son, Manny. As well as Jay’s gay son Marshall and his partner Cam, who adopt a Vietnamese baby, and Jay’s daughter Claire and her very normal, very “nuclear” family.

Please answer the following questions in preparation for our discussion:

  • What is a family?
  • How do families play important roles in shaping our worldview?
  • How do families reflect changing societal values and trends?

Family Tree Basics:

Your closest relatives are your parents: your motherand father; and your siblings (brothers or sisters). If your mother or father is not an only child, you also have aunts and / or uncles. An aunt is the sister of your mother or father, while an uncle is the brother of your mother or father. Your female child is called yourdaughter, and your male child is your son.

If your aunts or uncles have children, they are yourfirst cousins. (In English, the word cousin is used, whether the cousin is female or male.) Your female cousin is your mother (or father’s) niece, while a male cousin is the nephew of your mother and father.


When you marry, your husband (or wife’s) family become your in-laws. The mother of your spouse(husband or wife) is your mother-in-law and his or her father becomes your father-in-law. The term in-law is also used to describe your relationship with the spouses of your siblings. So the husband of your sister becomes yourbrother-in-law, while the sister of your husband becomes your sister-in-law. If you are a woman, you become thedaughter-in-law of your husband’s parents, and if you are a man, you become the son-in-law of your wife’s parents. The same term in-law is used for all generations. The husband of your aunt is still your mother’s brother-in-law, for example.

Grandparents / grandchildren

The parents of your parents are your grandparents – grandmother and grandfather. You are their grandchildren– either a granddaughter or a grandson. If your grandparent has a sister, she is your great-aunt. If your grandparent has a brother, he is your great-uncle. (And you are either his or her great-niece or great-nephew.)

The mother of your grandmother or grandfather is your great-grandmother. The father is your great-grandfather. If you go back another generation, the grandmother of your grandmother / grandfather is your great-great-grandmother. The grandfather of your grandparent becomes your great-great-grandfather.

Second families

If your mother or father remarries, you can acquire a new family and set of relatives. For example, if your father marries a second wife, she becomes your step-mother. Any children she already has become your step-sisters orstep-brothers.

If your mother or father remarries and has children, they become your half-brothers or half-sisters.

You might also hear people talking about their biological brother / sister etc, to mean a brother who is related by blood, rather than by marriage.

Types of family

nuclear family = mother, father and children: “The traditional British family unit is a nuclear family.”

single-parent / one-parent family = a family which only has one parent (because the parents are divorced, or because one of the parents has died): “There are more and more single-parent families in the UK.”

immediate family = your closest relatives: “Only immediate family members attended the funeral.”

extended family = your entire family: “The wedding invitations were sent to the entire extended family.”

close-knit family = a family where the members have close relationships with each other: “They are a close-knit family.”

dysfunctional family = a family where the members have serious problems with each other: “He comes from a rather dysfunctional family.”

blood relative = a relative connected to you by “blood” rather than through marriage: “She’s not a blood relative, but we’re still very close.”

Expressions with family

family gathering = a meeting / celebration of family members: “There’s a small family gathering next week.”

family resemblance = where members of the family look / act similar: “You can see a distinct family resemblance between the father and the son.”

to start a family = to start having children: “They want to wait a couple of years before starting a family.”

to run in the family = a characteristic that is common among family members: “Baldness runs in his family.”

to bring up / raise a family = to have and look after children: “It’s difficult to raise a family on one income.”

a family car = a car big enough to transport a family: “The Volvo Estate is a popular family car.”

family-size = large quantity item: “We need to buy family-size packets of biscuits!”

family-friendly = a policy that favours families: “This hotel is family-friendly.”

family doctor = a doctor who looks after general medical needs: “There are a number of good family doctors in this area.”

family man = a man who prefers to spend his time with his family: “John is a family man.”

family values = traditional ideas about what a family should be: “Some political parties often emphasise family values and the importance of marriage.”

family name = surname: “What’s your family name?”

Describing family relationships

Children often quarrel with each other, and these arguments – or squabbles – are often quickly resolved. In fact,sibling rivalry (the competition between brothers and sisters) is quite common.

More seriously, if arguments continue into adulthood, family feuds can develop where both sides can end up hating each other and even trying to hurt or destroy each other.

A person who no longer speaks to a family member is estranged from his / her family. Often estrangement is voluntary. However, if parents decide they no longer want anything to do with their children, they cut them off (= break off communiation), or even disinherit them. (Decide not to leave them anything when they die.)

Most people feel loyalty to their family, and will defend family members saying “He / She’s family”. There’s also a saying “Blood’s thicker than water” which means that your family ties are stronger than any other relationships.

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Assignment #9: In Class

Hi all, just to clarify, the lessons for this week will take place in class, and will serve as a continuation from last the listening assignment last week. We will do a part II, and some groups will finish the David Sedaris Clip and write a short comparison about these segments.

Your responsibility is simply to bring the articles from last week to class, as well as whatever notes you took on the listening segment “Santaland Diaries” in preparation for this week. Your assignments at this point should consist of in class work for this week, and our scheduled programming otherwise till be to finish our listening activities.

Other Stuff:

All journals should now be in, if I don’t have your journal by tomorrow I don’t want it! Again, deadline for this work is THIS WEEK, and it will still count as late. Otherwise, if you e-mailed me a journal I will confirm I received it today. On a positive note, the journals I have read thus far look good, and show some really nice insight! See you all tomorrow!

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Assignment #8


See what I did there? The same picture as last week…slightly satirized…

Well, as you have seen already, many paradoxes exist within the framework of American traditions. For the next few weeks, we will be discussing some of these paradoxes, as well as traditions in the United States and in Poland in regards to the holidays. This is an excellent time of year to put a finger on the pulse of a culture. What principles are important to people? What traditions have survived and why? When we really investigate, and peel back the layers, what do these things say about us as a society? Next week will be a listening exercise done in class, so preparation for this week will be minimal. As attendance has been dwindling in the past week, this listening exercise, and the questions following it, will be counted as a quiz grade, and you must be in class in order to complete the assignment.


I would like you to print out the article below, read it and bring it to class with 1-2 discussion points. The article itself is very short, but will help generate a conversation about consumerism, commercialism, and the holiday season.


The commercialization and consumerism of Christmas isn’t just an American phenomenon, it happens elsewhere as well. Please read and print the following article, and make SURE to watch the video, if you haven’t seen these things, you’ll be truly amazed at how people act.

For this article, please also write 1-2 discussion points, or questions regarding the information you find here. These articles are meant to give you some background on our discussions in class, so even if we do not get to do a close reading on them during class, they will function as sheerly informational. That being said, I have taken to collecting discussion questions to make sure those who attend class are getting credit, and to make sure you are developing thoughtful inquiries into these subjects.

I want to also stress that this unit will stretch over the course of the next two weeks, and when we return from break we will finish up with crime and human rights. If you have any late assignments for me, the final day I will be accepting them will be the week of December 8th. Journals look great so far! Those of you who came in for grades, some have already received e-mails, and those who have not will have their grades in class this week

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Assignment #7


Assignment #7:

To continue our discussion on criminality, we WERE going to work towards answering the essential questions of this unit, posted during the previous week. But then I realized it was Thanksgiving! So, for the moment, we are going to move towards something a bit lighter, as well as give you space to complete your journals with thoughtful responses. Let’s take a quick pause in this conversation about criminality and innate behaviors to celebrate/ discuss the American tradition of Thanksgiving, which is taking place next week. Thanksgiving is a time when Americans celebrate well…all of the things we are thankful for…friends, family, food and football. However, just like most things in America, there are several paradoxes that exist within this holiday. Those paradoxes are what we will be discussing this week.

In short, Thanksgiving is a tradition based on the first Pilgrims to come to America, and their peaceful feast with Native Americans. For this week, I want you to click on the link to the History Channel below. There are about ten different very short video clips, watch a few of them, whichever interests you, they’re 1-2 minutes each, and prepare to come to class qualified to tell your classmates least two facts/traditions about Thanksgiving. This way, you are learning some things on your own and exchanging information with your peers.

Please read and print this article as well, it takes you through a kind of crash course in Thanksgiving.

Here are some facts that may prove useful for points of discussion in class as well, and some pictures you might find amusing:

For our deeper analysis, please read and print this article:

Draft 3-4 discussion questions as well, based on ALL of the information you have for this week. These questions should be on a separate sheet of paper, as I will collect them and grade them for analysis, and comprehension of the article.

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Assignment #5/6

Are Criminals Born or Created?

Welcome to your next unit! In class for the next few weeks, our unit will be based not so much on crime, but instead on criminality. There is a distinctive difference here, as crime exists almost as its own entity. A crime could be anything from stealing a candy bar from a store, or driving on the wrong side of the road, rioting illegally or even taking the life of another. Quite a broad range! However criminality suggests that people are, of course, innately involved in the anatomy of a crime. It also hints that criminality is a characteristic which can be based on our learned behaviors within a society, or maybe it could be something else… Perhaps a genetic trait or a predisposition established without our knowledge or influence? So after our unit about technology and society, we are using what we have learned about each other and the world to segue into something a bit more serious. This unit we will based partially on our discussions from last week to address questions like:

Are criminals born or created? What makes a criminal? Does society make criminals, or is it an innate trait? Why do people commit crimes?

Like most of our other discussions, we will begin this with first trying to pin down or, define, exactly what criminality is…many of these discussions are based in the tenets of disciplines like sociology and psychology, and we will be bringing many of these texts and disciplines into our discussions.

For next week, we will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in class. So I want you to read and print the attached article. Come to class prepared to discuss certain sections of the article, with at least 4-5 bullet points which I will check for in class to make sure you have. I would also like you to write a brief 1-2 paragraph reaction to the article. I will be putting more responsibility on you to created and defend your own opinions and positions, and to start doing this your reaction to the article and the information presented within it is, of course, the most important starting point.

As far as in class goes, you are in charge of making this class discussion work, so make sure your discussion points truly reflect an understanding of the reading and that you are comfortable bringing them up with your classmates either as a whole class, or in small groups.

Here is a link to the article. Please print it and read it carefully, annotate for words and phrase you are not familiar with, and we will clarify them in class as well as do a close reading of certain sections before you are in charge of discussing this in your groups.

Other Housekeeping Stuff:

I still have many of your papers from “What is Writing” either you were absent, or we didn’t get to the distribution in class. Either come to my office hours, or remind me in class and I will try to give them back to any groups which did not yet pick them up.

Consider this your first formal request for your journals. They will be due NEXT WEEK. The week of November 24th I will expect you to drop them off after class and I will check for your entries or readings. If they are done on the computer, I’m going to ask that you print them and give them to me, this is easier for me to make comments on.

Last Week: Last week we had a brief discussion on the events of 11/11 and what exactly was happening. Since we stalled our a bit, I would like you to come to class prepared to explain the significance of these events in your own opinion. This is not a written assignment, it will simply be us circulating the room in our discussion, and you presenting our opinions on what exactly happened, why it happened, and what you think about it. 

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Just to clarify so there is no confusion, you will be choosing ONE of these projects to complete in class. You will be expected to come to class with some notes on which you would like to do, and work with your group mates collaboratively in class, in English.

Don’t come to class with a completed project! Your time in class will be to work on it with others. If you miss class, you will not get a grade for showing up the following week with a completed project. E-mail me with any questions, I hope this helps in ironing out the details.

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