Friday, March 10, 2017

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty: Dreams

Work in pairs:

1. Do you remember your dreams?

2. What kind of dreams do you have?

3. Do you have more dreams or nightmares?

4. Do your dreams come true?

5. Would you make a decision based on a dream you have had?

6. Would you change travel plans if you dreamed of an accident, for example?

7. Watch the movie segment.


 - What is his interpretation of the dream?

 - What is his psychologist's interpretation of the dream?

 - What is your interpretation?


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kubo and the Two Strings: Depression

What Are the Main Causes of Depression?

There are a number of factors

Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.

Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a "normal" response to stressful life events.

Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.

Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.


Everyone’s different and it's often a combination of factors that can contribute to developing depression. It's important to remember that you can't always identify the cause of depression or change difficult circumstances. The most important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms and seek support.

Watch the movie segment and make a guess of the causes of Kubo's mother depression? What should Kubo do? How does her lifestyle help or hinder her recovery?



Friday, February 10, 2017

San Andreas: Natural Disasters - Earthquakes

My guilty pleasure is natural disaster movies. It is a shame there have not been good ones around lately. This one is an exception, though.

Interview a partner:

  • ·         Have you ever experienced an earthquake or a natural disaster?
  • ·         When was the last earthquake that you remember?
  • ·         Has your house been damaged by an earthquake or any other natural disaster?
  • ·         What happens during an earthquake?
  • ·         What areas of the world have many earthquakes?*
  • ·         Is it possible to know in advance that an earthquake is coming? **
  • ·         Where is the best place to go during an earthquake? ***
  • ·         Is an earthquake always followed by a tsunami? ****
  • ·         What causes aftershocks? *****

Answer key:

* Earthquake danger zone map:

An earthquake zone is a region in which seismic activity is more frequent. It is impossible to predict earthquakes with precision and most high-activity earthquake danger zones are situated along the fault zones. Fault zones that are prone to seismic activity are regions of the Earth's crust are those areas where tectonic plates meet. Therefore, fault zones are also located around volcanoes. Some important parts of the world which lie in fault zones and where earthquakes are regularity are:

California through which the San Andreas passes and also the Hayward fault zone located in the San Francisco Bay, where the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates meet. 

Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province of Indonesia, is located on some of the world’s most dangerous fault zones.

Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, is located on major fault lines which lie in the meeting of the Iranian and Arabian micro-plates making it a highly dangerous region for seismic activity.

The country of Iran is located in the Alpine-Himalayan belt which is an active seismic zone.

Japan which is located on the convergence of many oceanic and continental plates has many densely populated cities of Tokyo and Yokohama.

Mexico is located on the convergence of three of the earth’s tectonic plates.

Similarly, Vancouver Portland and Seattle lie in the dangerous Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The Xianshuihe, Min Jiang and Kunlun fault lines also passes through China.

The Eurasian and African tectonic plate passes through the south of Italy making the country vulnerable to earthquakes.

** Scientists have tried lots of different ways of predicting earthquakes, but none have been successful. They have a pretty good idea of where an earthquake is most likely to hit, but they still can't tell exactly when it will happen.
However, the probability of a future earthquake can be calculated, based on scientific data. Scientists at the US Geological Society (USGS) estimate that the probability of a major earthquake occurring in the San Francisco Bay area over the next 30 years is 67%.

*** Indoors: Drop, cover, and hold on. Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against the interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not go outside!
Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards.
Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

**** Not always. It depends on the magnitude, the directions of the frictions, distance from the coast. How deep the epicenter was and many other variables.

***** An aftershock results from the sudden change in stress occurring within and between rocks and the previous release of stress brought on by the principal earthquake. Aftershocks occur in rocks located near the epicenter or along the fault that harbored the principal quake.


Watch the movie segment and say what you would  in that  situation. 
Do you ever think about how vulnerable a city or country you are visiting is to an earthquake or a natural disaster (San Francisco, Seattle, Italy, Chile, Japan, among others)?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Martian: Space Colonies

This is one of the best films of the year. Don't miss it.

Watch the movie segment and prepare yourself for a debate about the colonization of Mars by humans. 


Divide the class into two groups. One group - A - will be responsible to defending the idea of the colonization of Mars. The other group - B - will be against it.

 Group A - Read the argumentation that supports the endeavor. 

Group B - Read the argumentation against the endeavor.

Pros: (adapted from this awesome site - Don't miss it!

1. Its Similarity to Earth

Mars has water, frozen underground and at the polar caps. There is evidence that this water has, in the past and present, flooded the surface in liquid form. Signs of erosion can be found on the slopes of craters and volcanoes. Geological features resembling those on Earth suggest that Mars was once a wet and hospitable planet. A day on Mars is 24.5 hours long. Mars is a third the size of Earth, but it has as much land area as the seven continents combined. Its gravity is 2.7 times less than that of Earth: enough to remain flat-footed on the surface, but a low enough escape velocity to make launching from Mars relatively simple. 

With its similarity to Earth, there is a strong possibility that bacterial life (or something more?) exists on the planet. 
Mars is exciting because it offers scientists a view of how planets develop. Mars is billions of years older than the Earth, and its features are much more exaggerated. The largest canyons, volcanoes, and craters in the solar system are available for our study.

3. Its Economic Value
Mars is worth a lot of money. There are 144 trillion square meters of surface area, roughly the land area of the Earth, available for development. 
There is an abundance of rare metals on Mars such as platinum, gold, silver, and others. Shipping from Mars to Earth, as mentioned above, is much easier than the other way around.

4. Its Home for Mankind

It offers a backup plan for humanity. 
A colony on Mars is not far off. The time will come when Mars will not need Earth to sustain it.  We may be able to grow our own food on the planet in greenhouses, but what about wild animals, and birds, and fish, and rivers, and oceans? 


Adapted from this informative site. It is worth visiting. I learned a lot there.

1. Cold

You would agree that the center of Antarctica in winter is cold, not the best of places to set up home? Well Mars is far colder. At the Curiosity site, which is close to the equator, typical night time temperatures are -70 °C. Occasionally it drops to below -100 °C. It is often cold enough for the CO2 in the atmosphere to freeze out as dry ice. A human couldn't survive those temperatures without technology.

2. Vacuum

Mars does have an atmosphere, but it is so thin  it would count as a laboratory vacuum on Earth. 
A human would need to put on a spacesuit to survive the low pressure, never mind the lack of oxygen. The pressure is so low, your saliva and the moisture coating the interior of your lungs would boil.

3. Dust and Dust storms

Every Martian summer, roughly every two Earth years, you get a higher chance of global dust storms. These can last for weeks, and the light from the sun drops by over 99%. During the dust storms, then artificial light is needed in middle of the day to grow crops, and you won't be able to see anything. Solar power won't work.

4. Hard to make self sufficient - need for parts and supplies from Earth

There are lots of resources available on Mars. Mining on Mars will be hard to do, as hard as in space. You still need to use space suits because of the vacuum conditions. And however much you can make from native Mars materials, at least at present levels of technology, then many components and replacement parts will have to come from Earth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Theory of Everything: Stephen Hawking

This is a tearjerker with excellent acting. I admire Hawking very much, 

Work together:

1. What do you know about Stephen Hawking? What's your opinion about him?

2. What do you know about his health conditions? Does it make his discoveries less or more impressive? Or it just does not matter?

Read about his disease: Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures. He still hopes to make it into space one day.

3. Read about Hawking most important contributions and opinions about the world. Tell each other what his beliefs are and how you think his contributions might help the world.

Stephen Hawking's main contributions to the field of physics and cosmology lie in the studies of:

The origins of the universe and Time.

The Big Bang theory. The big Bang theory says that the universe of matter and energy began at a single point, which reached a critical mass, then exploded outward. The universe continues to expand.

The universe began with a gravitational singularity, which are more common in the universe than we think.

Stephen Hawking postulated the existence of radiation, emitting through the black hole and coming out the other side. This is now accepted science.

The universe has no space/time boundaries.

There is no god. he doesn't believe that there was a God who created the universe. He doesn't believe in any sort of afterlife; he doesn't believe in heaven or hell. He does, however, believe in a grand celestial order to things, could we but understand it. He believes that there is a grand design to all the systems of the universe, and to life itself.

Stephen Hawking is dearly beloved in the common world by sci-fi fans and outer space enthusiasts, because he is a strong proponent of the likelihood of extraterrestrial life.  He postulates that the earth has already been visited by extraterrestrial life in the form of viruses. We have a failure of imagination when it comes to extraterrestial life in fiction and in movies. We just can't imagine intelligent life that isn't humanoid, it seems. Stephen Hawking thinks that should we be visited by intelligent alien life, it might be the worse for us. "Like Columbus discovering America," he says. "That didn't turn out so well for the native Americans."

4. Watch the movie segment and prepare a speech that reflects your opinions about Hawking, and the pros and cons of his ideas. Have a reporter present the most important points of your discussion.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pelé, Birth of a Legend: Pelé

This is a film about  former Brazilian soccer player and hero, Pelé. Polemic, Pelé is loved and hated by many people, including Brazilians, especially because of his controversial opinions. He was famous and criticized, for example, when he said that Brazilians did not know how to vote. Time proved him right. This is a very good movie about the beginning of his career. Don't miss it. By the way, although I am Brazilian, I love Maradona and Argentinean soccer, our greatest rivals. To me, the best soccer in the world is played by South Americans Brazilians and Argentineans, our "hermanos". 

Work in small groups:

1. What are your favorite sports to watch and to play? Why do you  prefer them?

2. Do you like practicing sports? Ho often do (did) you do it?

3. What is your opinion about the way your country leads with sports?

4. Do you like soccer? Why (not)?

5. Most people who like soccer says that they like it because it is unpredictable and not always does the best or most expensive players win their matches, which makes the game extremely thrilling. Do you agree with those people?

6. Most people who dislike soccer say that players try to cheat the game, simulating fouls to deceive the referees and win a match, which makes the game less "clean" than other sports. Others say that players earn too much and do not make efforts when they represent heir countries internationally. What's your opinion about it?

7. Most people consider Pelé and Maradona the best players of soccer history? Do you agree with it? Who was the best? Or is there any other current player better then them?

8. Pelé is probably the most respected Brazilian celebrity of all times. What do you know about him?

9. Read the statements below and decide if they are true or false.

- He scored a total of 1,283 first-class goals, including 77 for Brazil.

-  He won three World Cups, two World Club Championships and nine Sao Paulo State Championships.

-  Pele was named after American inventor Thomas Edison, his real name being Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

- At 17, Pele became the youngest ever winner of a World Cup. He also scored twice in the final against home side Sweden.

- Pele was appointed as Minister of Sport in Brazil in 1995, serving until 1998.

-  He was voted athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1999.

- In 1997, Pele was given an honorary British Knighthood.

-  Pele said in 2006: "For 20 years they have asked me the same question, who is the greatest? Pele or Maradona? I reply that all you have to do is look at the facts - how many goals did he score with his right foot or with his head?"

-  Pele has helped raise millions of pounds for charitable causes including Great Ormond Street and Harlem Street Soccer.

-  "How do you spell Pelé?" the Times of London once declared. "G-O-D".

- Pele and Maradona are hardly friends. In 2010, Pele said of the Argentinian: “He is not a good example for the youth. He had the God-given gift of being able to play football, and that is why he is lucky." Maradona's response: “Who cares what Pele says? He belongs in a museum.”

-  In 2000, Pelé was named second in the BBC's "Sportsman of the Century" award. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali came first.

(Answer key: All are true)

10. Watch the movie segment and describe the scene. What does it say about Pelé?  



Friday, November 25, 2016

Chloe and Theo: Global Warming

I simply love this movie. It is thought-provoking and informative. Don't miss it.

The term ‘Global Warming’ refers to the rising temperature of the earth due to an increased amount of greenhouse gases. The scientific community as a whole has determined through all research that global warming is a problem caused by human influence. The burning of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases trap the heat from the sun and cause the temperature of our planet to rise. This warming of the globe could potentially alter sea level, crop yield and rain fall, and could increase the intensity and frequency of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts.

Work in groups:

1. Are you concerned about Global Warming? Ho will your city be affected by it?

2. Do you think it should be a world's top priority? Explain it.

3. How do you think global warming affects Eskimos? Think about concrete possibilities. What will the consequences in their everyday life.

4. Read the information below. Here you will see the consequences of global warming in their lives. Then watch the movie segment and see if you identify any of the problems presented.


Adapted from the essential site GreenFacts. Get informed by reading it.
  • The weather seems unstable and less predictable by traditional methods.
  • Snow quality and characteristics are changing.
  • There is more rain in winter.
  • Seasonal weather patterns are changing.
  • Water levels in many lakes are dropping.
  • Species not seen before are now appearing in the Arctic.
  • Sea ice is declining, and its quality and timing are changing.
  • Climate change is strongly affecting people in many communities, in some cases, threatening their cultural survival.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Moana: Women's Role in Society - Princesses

This listening activity with both top-down and bottom-up tasks is great practice and scaffolds a discussion on the role of women in society throughout time by using princesses as illustration. It was provided by Anna Silva, one of this blog's readers. Thanks, Anna, for such a fun and effective exercise. Share more!

I´ve been a teacher for more than 20 years. I teach children, teenagers and adults at Casa Branca Idiomas in Santos, São Paulo. I am sending this activity for warm-ups, follow ups or discussion.


1-  Listen to the  trailer and number the words in the order they are said:


2- Listen to the trailer and fill in the gaps:

Gramma Tala: For generations this peaceful island has …1… home to our family. But beyond our reef, a …2….. danger is coming! Legend tells of a …3….who will journey to find the demigod Maui. And ………4…….. they will save us all!

Moana: Maui?!

Maui: A boat! A -- aah!

Moana: Maui; shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and  …5… I am Mo--

Maui: Hero of men.

Moana: ……6…….?

Maui: It's actually "Maui; shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and …6….., hero of men."
I interrupted. From the …7…… -- "hero of men." Go.
I am not going on a ……8……with some little girl.

Moana:This is my ……9……., and you will journey to get--

Maui: Did not see that ……10…….

Moana: The ……11… a friend of mine.

Maui: First, we gotta go through a whole ……12….. of bad.

Moana: Kaka-- what?
They're kinda cute.

Maui: ……13……….!
I got your back.
It's Maui time!
Really? Blow ……14….. on my butt cheek.

Moana: We're going to the Realm of ………15……..?

Maui: Don't worry, it's a lot farther down than it looks.
I am still falling!

3 - Discussion:

·         Compare Moana to the other Princesses by Disney like Snow White, Cinderella and Bella.

·         Has there  been a change in the role of women as years passed by?

Answer Key:

   Teacher´s    sheet    Moana
1-  Tapescript
Moana Trailer [Official Version]
Gramma Tala: For generations this peaceful island has been home to our family. But beyond our reef, a great danger is coming! Legend tells of a hero who will journey to find the demigod Maui. And together they will save us all!
Moana: Maui?!
Maui: A boat! A -- aah!
Moana: Maui; shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, I am Mo--
Maui: Hero of men.
Moana: What?
Maui: It's actually "Maui; shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, hero of men."
I interrupted. From the top -- "hero of men." Go.
I am not going on a mission with some little girl.
Moana:This is my canoe, and you will journey to get--
Maui: Did not see that coming.
Moana: The ocean is a friend of mine.
Maui: First, we gotta go through a whole ocean of bad.
Moana: Kaka-- what?
They're kinda cute.
Maui: Moana!
I got your back.
It's Maui time!
Really? Blow dart on my butt cheek.
Moana: We're going to the Realm of Monsters?
Maui: Don't worry, it's a lot farther down than it looks.
I am still falling!
2-  Number the words in the order thay are said:



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Mr. Gacy: Death Penalty

A. Discuss the following questions in small groups:

1. Do you agree with capital punishment - death penalty? If so, under which circumstances?

2. What do countries do about people wrongly executed? What do you believe should be done?

3. Is capital punishment a deterrent to curb violent crime?

4. What do you think about the saying "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth"?

5. Should death penalty be applied to mentally ill criminals, especially those who cannot be treated and recovered to live in society?

6. What do you think goes on in the mind of the person who will be executed? What about the executioner's?

7. What is the most humane way to put someone to death?

8. What is the best alternative to execution?

9. Should the general public be allowed to attend the execution? Why (not)?

10. In Britain, you may be sentenced with a death penalty if you kill the Queen, but not if you kill your neighbor. What's your opinion about it? How fair is it?

11. What's your theory for why 98% of the people executed in the USA are male?

12. So, are you for or against death penalty? Explain why.

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:


1. Describe the scene:

2. What does the student want do do?

3. Do you think this is a good research? What can we learn from it?

4. What are the risks of such a decision?

5. What should happen to the main character of the scene?

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Runner: Oil Spills, Environmental Disasters

Nicolas Cage finally did a great movie again. It has a great plot and there are several polemic issues to discuss. I recommend it.


Inspired by the awesome site 

Work in groups of 3 students. Each student reads about one of the consequences of oil spills in the ocean. 

Student 1 :

1. Environmental Effects: First of these is the environmental effect. The animal life that lives in the water or near the shore are the ones most affected by the spill. In most cases, the oil simply chokes the animals to death. Others that live face a number of other problems. The oil works its way into the fur and plumage of the animals. As a result, both birds and mammals find it harder to float in the water or regulate their body temperatures.
Many baby animals and birds starve to death, since their parents cannot detect their natural body scent. Birds that preen themselves to get rid of the oil accidentally swallow the oil and die due to the toxic effects. In many cases, the animals become blind due to repeated exposure to the oil. Dolphins, sea otters, fish, countless species of birds and many oceanic mammals face these consequences. Countering these effects and cleaning the oil can take anywhere between a few weeks to many years, depending on the damage caused.

Student 2: 

2. Effect on Economy: The second major effect of the oil spill is seen on the economy. When precious crude oil or refined petroleum is lost, it effects the amount of petroleum and gas available for use. This means more barrels have to be imported from other countries. Then comes the process of cleaning the oil spill, which requires a lot of financing. Although the company responsible for the oil spills and their effects has to clean it up, there is a lot of government help required at this point.
The workers that are brought on board to clean up the spill face tremendous health problems later in life as well. Their medical treatment has to be paid for and becomes the responsibility of the government. Putting all the methods of recovery into place and monitoring them takes away resources from other more important work and hits the economy in subtle but powerful ways.

Student  3:

3. Effect on Tourism Industry: The local tourism industry suffers a huge setback as most of the tourists stay away from such places. Dead birds, sticky oil and huge tarballs become common sight. Due to this, various activities such as sailing, swimming, rafting, fishing,  parachute gliding cannot be performed. Industries that rely on sea water to carry on their day to day activities halt their operations till it gets cleaned.
One of the biggest oil spills seen in history happened during Gulf war when approximate 240 to 336 million gallons of crude oil flowed into the Persian Gulf. It was considered one of the worst disasters, beating the Ixtoc 1 Oil spill in Mexico. Recent major oil spill happened when an oil rig, Deepwater Horizon sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill released somewhere between 172 to 180 million gallons of crude oil into the environment. In the year 2010 alone, six oil spills were seen in the USA. Outside of the United States, oil spills have happened in Canada, Nigeria, France, United Kingdom and in China.

II. Without looking back at the text, tell your partners what you understood from the text. Then decide which one is the most serious and why.
III. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions below.


1. Describe the scene.
2. What are the consequences of this tragedy. Refer to the items you read in exercise I.
3. In your opinion, who is responsible for this act?
4. What is the right punishment? Who should be punished?
5. What can be done for this kind of environmental disaster not to happen again?


Thursday, October 6, 2016

TV Series for Learning Blog

I am very proud to share a blog about TV Series for Learning, developed by Ronaldo Lima Jr.  This is an awesome blog, and I am sure you will profit a lot from it. Make sure you visit it. You will be flooded with amazing ideas.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter: Lincoln

Work in groups:

1. What are the American presidents you know? What do you know about them?

2. What do you know about Abraham Lincoln? 

3. What makes a president unforgetable?  

4. Read the summary of Lincoln's major accomplishments and decide why he became so famous. In the group's opinion, what are his two major accomplishments?


1. Abraham Lincoln made the decision to fight to prevent the nation from splitting apart.

2. Abraham Lincoln was an unfaltering commander in chief during the Civil War which preserved the United States as one nation.

3. Abraham Lincoln's foreign policy was successful in preventing other countries from intervening in America's Civil War.

4. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of freedom for America's slaves. The document also allowed black soldiers to fight for the Union.

5. Abraham Lincoln was a strong supporter of the Thirteenth Amendment that formally ended slavery in the United States.

6. Legislation Abraham Lincoln signed into law included the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act, the National Banking Act, and a bill that chartered the first transcontinental railroad.

7. Abraham Lincoln set an example of strong character, leadership, and honesty which succeeding presidents tried to emulate. Barack Obama stated during his campaign that he would look to Lincoln as a model.

8. Abraham Lincoln gave a series of great speeches before and during his presidency including the House Divided Speech, the Cooper Union Address, the First Inaugural Address, the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural Address.

9. Abraham Lincoln wrote a series of famous letters including the letters to Grace BedellHorace GreeleyFanny McCullough, and Lydia Bixby.

Abraham Lincoln's quotes are among the most famous quotes in the world. Read them and discuss their meanings and if you agree with them.

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar”
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

"Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them."

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."

"Character is like a tre and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it and the tree is the real thing."

“Everybody likes a compliment.” 

“If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.” 

“A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.” 

Watch the movie segment and discuss with your partners the way Lincoln sees himself . Do you also think we are the way he sees himself? Explain it.