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When was the last time you did something exhilarating, something that took your breath away because you had gone the extra mile? It seems that we tend to stay in our comfort zone despite the fact they say that all great things happen when we challenge ourselves. In this issue the positive psychology coach Homaira Kabir offers three ways to approach new opportunities (page 13). Quite often when we have a big dilemma in front of us, the very thought of it paralyses every fibre of our body. However, Homaira says, if we replace fear with excitement, then we will be able to live our life to its fullest. It is obvious that we, educators, should be bold in order to make our lessons fun and more meaningful. The American teacher Alice Savage shares with us why THEATRE could be the ideal group project and how beneficial drama was for her students (page 16). If you have already taken that avenue, then why don’t you have a look at Jeanne Bourne’s tips on how we can nudge our students out of their comfort zone (page 25)? I particularly like tip Number 7- “Make a Podcast or Radio Show” and this could be the next thing I will be experimenting with. But let me tell you how I challenged my students last week- we created a radio ad. Yes, we used a proper recording programme and special effects and I have to say that many voice-over artists would find our work quite professional. I do have to thank my husband though for teaching me a few tricks. Don’t worry, he works in radio. � It’s always handy when somebody you know could help you add a few strings to your bow.



I am always open to implement new ways in my teaching practice so that I can grow. Because of that I am able to help my pupils spread their wings as well. How about you?


05 08 13 16 25 29 39 42

The Preschool Mindfulness summit Outside your Comfort Zone? 3 ways to approach new opportunities with Excitement instead of Fear Theatre as the Ideal Group Project 8 Challenges to nudge students out of their comfort zone Carnival- Lesson Plan Speaking Activities The boat- Lesson plan

46 Mindful Kids Peace Summit 48 11 things GREAT teachers do 53 WORLD of LOVE Festival 54 Josie's poems 58 Easy English 66 Kids' corner 67 Fun with English



Over 25 experts including Dr. Rick Hanson, Dr. Ron Siegel, Whitney Stewart, Lorraine Murray and

January 28nd - February 1st 2019 Interviews start at 9am EST

many more share their ideas, solutions and tools to bring mindfulness to your home or preschool.

(New York) each day and will be posted for 24 hours


HTTPS://WWW.PRESCHOOLMINDFULNESSSUMMIT.COM/2019 For more info visit https://www.preschoolmindfulnesssummit.com 5

we Ken Paterson Look through your lesson plan, decide where you can take a small risk, and then take it!

Judih Weinstein Haggai In Special Education classes, expect to see results after 4 yrs!� This bit of advice helped me tame my own ego while expanding my reservoir of patience.

Eugenia Papaioannou I don't remember what best tip I have received, but I can write here one of my tips to EFL/ESL teachers in training sessions: 'You can't motivate your students just by asking them to be motivated; instead be self-motivated yourselves and love what you are teaching, and this will motivate them.

Mira Vernay Have fun yourself because if you're having a good time, chances are your students are too.

Mike Brand Never put an X on a pupils test, just question. This way the pupil sees only

s Be kind to your


the positive side. Leave the wrong answers blank.

Mandy Evans Be kind to yourself and know in your heart that at the end of the day you have done the very best you could for your students.


Philip Shigeo Brown

If you want to have your views published in “Inspirational English”,

"Fail to plan and plan to fail'. However,

answer our next issue's question:

remember that your lesson plan is not

What changes in the way you teach will you implement in 2019?

like an express train that takes you directly from A to B. It is more like a road map to guide you on your journey. So if you find something interesting, you may wish to take a detour or stay a little longer, whilst other times, you may simply decide to move on.

Send your answer to: info@englishwithrussie.co.uk

Hadi Ebrahimi "Teaching English As A Second Language" is a tool for increasing students' Emotional Intelligence! Why not a course book which teaches English and life lessons all at the same time? Why not kill two birds with one stone?! Why not a book which contains sentences more than a handful of: “Where do you come from?” “Waiter, bill please!” “May I see your passport?” or: “Open your suitcase! What do you have to declare?” Why not a book which inspires and encourages teenage students all over the world to stop and think and examine their lives and to learn and grow from it at the same time they’re learning a second language? Part of the reason for this undertaking is the fact that students already spend a great deal of time reading through material that really doesn’t benefit them that much in real life; that is in their job, intimate or romantic relationships and in their everyday communications and interactions. Unfortunately, most English course books don’t go beyond topics as restaurants, hotel reservations, getting around, food, declaring goods at the customs, currency exchange, customs, etc but they never teach/practice linguistic skills on how to get around in your inner world, that is in the realm of your feelings thoughts doubts & fears. I've been using the early drafts/printouts of the book in my own ESL classes. They've already been transformed into group therapy sessions where everybody is trying to take part and contribute something. Even the most reticent, shy or introvert of students have "Aha! Moments." It's a great ice-breaker and conversation starter! In the past all we had to work with was like: "Show me your passport; open your suitcase; what do you have to declare!?" "Waitor, bill/menue please!" [Netrual stuff] Or even worse, like: "Hey, let's go out for a dance tonight girls [and get laid, perhaps!]" [Downright bad influence] Now they are improvising: "I now understand why I always get attracted to bad, moody, isolator-personality-type guys because growing up, I used to tip-toe around my alcoholic father and learned to sorta become a 'fuser' and people-pleasing person!"




step outside of your comfort

zone means exactly what it says. Being outside your comfort zone means you are in a zone of discomfort, and when you are in this particular state of mind there are potentially a whole range of issues can be drawn in, like fears and anxieties which, left unattended can lead to all sorts of personal difficulties. Having said that if we were able to live permanently in our individual comfort zones there would be no information as to what constitutes discomfort ... no counterpoint. I am now going ´live´ in terms of writing this particular article and the reason for doing this is right at this very moment I am way outside my comfort zone ... let me explain. After overloading the capacity of my electricity and having my computer running at the time, when the power shut down my computer of course did the same. I live in southern Spain and as this scenario is not uncommon, like I always do, I reset the electric and switched the computer back on expecting it to reopen. That sadly was not the case and in the snap of a finger I was hurtled way outside my comfort zone as the dreaded Blue Screen´ came up, and from my scant knowledge of such things I knew I had a big problem. Still ´live´ with it being the last Sunday in November I realised finding an IT guy wanting to make a call was going to be a serious challenge. Recognising I was well outside my comfort zone, and how the deep state of anxiety I was in made me capable of making poor decisions, I managed to find a way to gather a string of positive thoughts together and after several calls, texts and e-mails I am extremely pleased to say an IT guy is on his way.


The world of household technology makes a substantial contribution to the number of individuals who spend time outside of their comfort zone, and when computers breakdown, one of man’s greatest achievements, the result can be likened to when you are standing at the side of the road with your car seriously sick, both of the computer and the car are capable of morphing into a collection of metal, rubber and plastic. Even although I have a good level of positivity and confidence going on that everything is going to be alright, the length of time I spent outside of my comfort zone, as short as it was, means I need to reset my mental processes and indulge in some serious personal TLC. I generally do this by going out for a walk, twenty minutes usually does it, and back ´live´ again I am pleased to tell you that 200 metres from my house I got a call from the IT guy and he´ll be with me in 15 minutes. As I stepped back inside my house the infamous quote accredited to Julius Cesar ´keep your friends close and your enemies closer´ came to mind, the reference being how we need to embrace both the positive and negative sides of our personality in equal measures. Now that I have introduced a very definite shade of drama to the proceedings I need to now bring you up to speed with where it comes from. In the daytime when I have work to do, like writing for Inspirational English for example, I organise my time so that I can sit in front of my computer and get the job done. Because I don’t possess a television come evening time when all the other elements of my working day is done, if I have no social activity to be part of, my computer converts to being my window to the world of downtime entertainment. I chose this route many years ago to free myself from the grip of the programme schedulers, and with catch-up TV and YouTube within easy access, I am able to choose what I want to watch and when I want to watch it, my evenings are spent nicely inside my comfort zone. 10 6

Back ´live´ we go and the IT guy is now in place in front of my computer and I am busying myself around the house patiently waiting for his prognosis. Back as writer guy I have just locked on to how this article may be coming across a bit me, me, me, but I have continued with it because I felt it was worthy for Inspirational English, and myself, if I were to explore a totally off the wall style of writing. Comfort Zones are of course a personal thing and by that measure are vastly different in their component parts and will, in all cases be directly related to your personal life experience. However what is a constant for all of us is to try to always be aware when being outside of your comfort zone is driving you, and when this situation is in place, do all you can to make your way back to home base. Back ´live´ again I have just been told that my computer is very sick indeed and needs to be taken back to the workshop and that I´ll be updated in a few days. In that precise moment OMCZ waved a large flag in my direction inviting me in and as I sit here writing this article for Marusya, by hand, I need to gather all my resolve for the coming days. As I sit and ponder the whys and wherefores I become aware of wanting to apportion blame as to how it all came to pass, but I am also aware that it is vital I create a plan of action that will take care of the situation as it now is, comfort versus discomfort. By managing all of the above well I will have the best possible chance of standing up straight and living in this very important comfort zone place, and going out for some fresh air and a much needed walk is a good enough way to begin the journey. Footnote: it is now 4 days on from my computer event and I am pleased to report that the IT guy did a marvellous job and managed to save all of my important files and documents.

AN OPPORTUNITY COMES UP AT WORK. YOU KNOW IT’S WHAT YOU WANT. YOU KNOW YOU CAN BRING VALUE TO YOUR ORGANIZATION. BUT IF YOU'RE LIKE MANY PEOPLE, THE EXCITEMENT SOON MELTS INTO FEAR. CATASTROPHIC THOUGHTS AND IMAGES INTRUDE YOUR MENTAL SPACE, WITH REJECTION AND RIDICULE LEADING THE WAY: "WHY WOULD THEY WANT ME?" "THERE'S MUCH BETTER TALENT AROUND." "I'LL JUST MAKE A FOOL OF MYSELF." When we let our fears speak realizing what a ride of a louder than our dreams, we let lifetime we missed—literally. them drive our decisions. And then we pacify our dreams by justifying our decisions: “It wasn't the right time.” “The opportunity wasn’t the right fit.” “I'll do it when I get a new skill or a new degree.” “I'll be ready when the kids start school or leave home.” The rational mind is a rationalizing mind—it may make us feel better in the moment, but sets us up for a lifetime of regrets.

Then there are those of us who challenge




approach opportunities despite those fears. We spend painful days




fighting with our minds and mustering the courage to show


up. By the time we do—if we do—we've lost much of the


excitement we once had for


the opportunity. Instead of speaking from the heart or


finding joy in our work, we

Some of us get so used to living judge our every word and



small that we don't even hear watch out for every sign of the voice of our dreams rejection. (And we invariably anymore. We live on autopilot, find it!) staying




opportunities because we've convinced ourselves that we don't have what it takes. For some of us, this convincing happened a long time ago, and we've fed our inadequacy by avoiding



since. We've handed over our lives







Our fears keep us focused inward. After all, we're trying to ensure our survival—even though it’s not under threat! Instead of wasting energy convincing yourself you’re safe, you’ll find it far more energizing to focus on how the opportunity helps you help others. What difference will you be able to make to their lives? How can your skills and talents answer a pressing need of theirs? This shift from "ego to eco," as Professor Jennifer Crocker at the Ohio State University calls it, is an excellent way to show up with confidence.

It’s practically impossible to not feel stressed when we step outside our comfort zone. There is uncertainty about what may follow, which initiates a physiological response that is outside our voluntary control. You have the choice of bringing your body back to a state of homeostasis through breath work, but this is not always practical in the moment. It’s far easier to channel the stress response toward desired action, given that neurochemicals like adrenaline are already present in your body. You can do so by telling yourself, "I can do it!" or, "This is great," before or during the experience.

When something excites us initially, it’s because our imagination has come on board. We see possibility and we're curious about the potential that lies ahead. And then...fear kicks in. Professor Dan Cable at the London Business School has found that we can reconnect to the initial excitement by being a little playful—something we don't normally associate with work. This may mean pretending you're a star just before your talk, striking a "power pose" before your interview, or even thinking of your boss in his or her pajamas before a meeting. By engaging your creativity and bringing some fun to the experience, you can happily keep your fears at bay.


Homaira Kabir is a recognized positive psychology coach and a researcher on women’s self-esteem. Find more information about Homaira’s work on her website https://www.homairakabir.com/.


Thunder claps, lightning strikes, and rain begins to fall as Jane and Margaret approach the bus stop. They are two students: one a model child with good grades, the other a bit of a misfit who doesn’t clean her room or get her homework done on time. But as an ordinary autumn rain turns into a natural disaster, the issue what kind of people we’ll really need in the future is called into question in a new way. This is the setting for Rising Water, a play written by Alice Savage for the ESOL classroom that uses the story of flooding in coastal cities as a backdrop to explore family dynamics in a crisis. As the story unfolds, the audience laughs at the familiarity of parent/child bickering and gasps at the increasing danger of a woman and her sick daughter trapped in the upstairs of a flooded house. In this production, the visceral audience response is revealing. Something rather stunning has happened. The actors’ classmates, teachers and friends are following the plot. They understand the pronunciation, and they empathize with the characters. These ESL actors have brought a story to life, and they have done it in English. To get there, however, they had to do some work. In this elective, an integrated skills through theater class, students took on the ultimate group project. In this Article, Alice shares her story regarding producing a full-on play with English learners.


English through Theater I felt incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to teach a course titled English through Theater because it meant that students knew they were going to experience drama—pun intended! The course was open to students in levels 3 – 5 (intermediate and above), and it quickly filled up despite the fact that it was scheduled for Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m! The 20 students enrolled were from various countries including Vietnam, El Salvador, Haiti, Japan, Congo, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Mexico, India, and Thailand.

This class really helped me. I want to take it again. Although I was happy that the course was popular, I immediately faced my first challenge. Rising Water is a seven-character play. What was I going to do with the extra students? I considered having a different cast do another play in the Integrated Skills through Drama series, but eventually I decided that it would be more practical to create three casts for one play. That meant that three groups of students would be working simultaneously on the same script with a couple of actors performing in both. This ability to work with the whole group on one play turned out to be a good decision for the following reasons:


Group Work and Community My next challenge was to create community. In theater, it is essential to create a safe space for practicing different voices, gestures and emotions, so we spent the first part of each class playing theater games. These role-playing, improvisation and guessing games helped students find different registers in English and physically locate the voice of someone who is worried, distracted, upset, happy, or sarcastic. Students practiced and performed these emotional messages in pragmatics-based role plays. (e.g., you are trying to arrange a date with two of your friends but there is a problem. They don’t like each other.) To check in with students’ feelings and perceptions, I used one-minute papers at the end of each class to learn what they liked and didn’t like. The feedback was largely positive as students reported that they felt they were developing useful interpersonal skills as well as getting to know their classmates and having fun. Another community builder was a rotating snacks list in which two students were responsible for bring treats each week. I’ve always found that there’s nothing like food for creating friendships. Small details like this helped them bond, and because often the food was from different countries, students could start discussions and try something new.

Casting: Pronunciation takes precedence My next task was to cast the play, and here is where pronunciation took precedence. I needed to give the lead roles to more comprehensible speakers and leave the minor roles for those who needed more work. To identify and sort them, it was necessary to take pronunciation more seriously than I had in previous oral communication classes. This is also why I decided not to let them choose their own roles. I took notes during activities and roleplays, and then settled on the idea of doing audition monologues. I wrote a set of ten short monologues, of about a paragraph each in length, to reflect the voices of different peoples’ experiences during Hurricane Harvey (on which Rising Water was based). Then I assigned the monologues to students and put them in practice groups to prepare as a team.

In theater, it is essential to create a safe space for practicing different voices, gestures and emotions, so we spent the first part of each class playing theater games. These roleplaying, improvisation and guessing games helped students find different registers in English and physically locate the voice of someone who is worried, distracted, upset, happy, or sarcastic.

Sid as Gordon 18

To support them, I added pronunciation lessons. Students identified the focus words that needed to be stressed, and they marked thought groups. The instruction was for them to practice saying the nouns, verbs, adjectives and emphasizers (really, so, not) more slowly and carefully than the grammar words, and to allow for pauses between the thought groups. They were also directed to think about how they felt and to communicate the emotion of the speaker. Students performed in a team line up with each speaker taking a turn. Performing with others reduced anxiety, and I was able to focus on individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. This gave me the confidence to assign roles. Because we had more females than males, I changed the genders of the leads for two casts, and those students chose new names.

Finding rehearsal time


While the students were preparing for their monologues, they also began work on the play. During the first few sessions, we read background articles and discussed the themes. Climate change and its effect on oceans was one conversation. Another was the teenage brain and the potential value as well as danger of impulsive risk-taking. Students shared stories and worked on the message. Eventually they decided they could use the story to get people thinking about how society needs to prepare for an uncertain future and that courage and empathy are at least as valuable as intelligence.

I have to admit that at first, the students just read through their scripts and then drifted onto their phones if I wasn’t with them. However, this did not last once I set a date for the performance because they realized they’d be acting for an audience…Around this time, leaders began to emerge who were able to play a vital role in keeping people on task and even generating new ideas and suggestions.

“Eventually they decided block, I organized the class into a rhythm in which we warmed they could use the story up with theater games and then moved on to language skills. to get people thinking We variously worked on pragmatics in role-plays, pronunciation drills and activities, about how society needs and reading and group tasks. During the second half of the to prepare for an class, we had rehearsals. Students broke into groups and read through the play, making uncertain future and that notes about their character’s feelings and objectives. As courage and empathy actors they had to look for clues about their characters and reflect on how these clues set up are at least as valuable as later behavior, e.g., Ajax’s father is just like Ajax, but he intelligence.” doesn’t see it and he gets himself into trouble. Because we had a four-hour


Giving Notes I rotated among the groups, listening and taking notes. At the end of the day, we gathered together, and I invited them to write and then share feedback on the experience. Then I gave notes on pronunciation and other elements that emerged from the rehearsal. I have to admit that at first, the students just read through their scripts and then drifted onto their phones if I wasn’t with them. However, this did not last once I set a date for the performance because they realized they’d be acting for an audience. I also gave them additional assignments such as creating a backstory for their character, designing a program and a poster, and planning costumes. Around this time, leaders began to emerge who were able to play a vital role in keeping people on task and even generating new ideas and suggestions. The poster advertised three showings, each with a different cast, one at 10 a.m., one at 11 a.m., and one at noon. Planning and designing this poster and the program made the production real as they had to work out the timing of each 30-minute performance with planning for the curtain call and then a break for the next group to set up.

t as Ajax Jane & Margare

Gordon Jane in

& Magnus

high water

Helping Students Learn to Act During rehearsals, I experimented with different approaches. On some days, I had people playing the same character get together and talk. Or I had actors with the same scene watch each other. Most days they did a run through within their group. This variety helped keep the rehearsals dynamic, but it was a bit of an uphill climb getting them to memorize their lines. They also did not like critiquing each other, so I made a mental note to do more training for peer feedback next time. We continued to work on pronunciation but also on projecting to the back of the room and working out how body language and movements provided a layer to the story that could support the words. One especially useful activity was having each cast move through the scenes without speaking. The actors made their entrances, gestured, and moved around as if they were speaking but they did it silently.


Some students also expressed performance anxiety and suggested we make a film rather than do a live show, but that was one suggestion I did not accept. I believe there is a magic between actors and a real audience, and I had faith that they would achieve it.

Gesture and Voice As we got closer to showtime, students became more serious about the play. Rehearsal started taking up more class time, and we still needed to do blocking (figuring out where students would make their entrances, stand, sit, and move so that they would not turn their back on the audience). We continued to work on pronunciation but also on projecting to the back of the room and working out how body language and movements provided a layer to the story that could support the words. One especially useful activity was having each cast move through the scenes without speaking. The actors made their entrances, gestured, and moved around as if they were speaking but they did it silently. Those watching could see the story unfold without hearing the words, and I believe this gave them confidence that the story would have emotional resonance. I often invited a few colleagues to come and watch now and then, and this also gave the actors a preview of performing. Finally we combined the words with the blocking and talked about how they could use the stage to emphasize and communicate important emotional messages. When the father asks his wife, “Are you and Ivy going to be alright?” it’s an important line because they won’t be. He has to say it clearly and with feeling. He has to make eye contact, and she has to decide whether she wants to reassure him or show she’s worried. By stopping for a beat to look at each other before he leaves, the actors set up tension.

ele Gordon Mrs. Pe

Will the Show go On? Then, as in all good theater stories, disaster struck. One student had a work conflict and had to drop out. Someone’s car broke down. Another had a visa problem and disappeared. The week before the performance, one of our most dynamic actors said he had to be at family wedding.

“I wish I had known that when I was scheduling the performance!” I said, but there was nothing I could do. The dates were set and the audience had been invited. Because we had three casts, however, other actors were there to play a part twice. One student ended up playing the role of the father in all three performances. Fortunately, he was excellent in the role and had learned all his lines.


Showtime When it was over, and the students bowed, people clapped enthusiastically and swarmed the cast for selfies. It rained on the day of the show, which was perfect for the play. Students came in wearing rain coats and carrying costumes in plastic bags. I traveled the hallways and watched them sitting with their scripts, running lines, walking up and down, and gesturing to the air. It was like being backstage in a real production. They didn’t want my help because they were preparing themselves mentally, so I left them to it. At 10 a.m. the first audience arrived and took their seats in the building’s most spacious classroom. There were about 20 friends, classmates, family members and teachers for each show, and despite the fact that there was a white board in the background and a minimal set, the student actors performed their play with passion. Perhaps there were a few scenes where the pronunciation was incomprehensible, or an actor forgot his lines, or the characters looped around a bit with the dialog before finding their place and moving on, but each time, they captured the audience’s attention. People watching murmured worriedly when the mother was trapped in the attic with her sick daughter, and they laughed at the smug pride of the science nerd. When it was over, and the students bowed, people clapped enthusiastically and swarmed the cast for selfies.


SarahIvy Evelyn

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I felt that students benefited not only from the opportunity to work closely with a play as a text for oral communication skills, but also from the soft skills they developed collaborating with each other on the production. I will definitely teach another time, maybe with a different play—and with a few tweaks of course. And I think the course will make again. In fact, one of my cast members came up to me afterwards and said, “This class really helped me. I want to take it again.”

Alice Savage has a Master of Arts in Teaching from the School for International Training in Vermont. She is currently a professor of ESOL at Lone Star College System, in Houston, Texas where she also does some teacher-training. She has published four books with Alphabet Publishing (http://www.alphabetpublishingbooks.com) , , and



Find out more about Alice and her work on her blog: https://englishendeavors.org/


p u e c i p r S u o Y h s i l g En ons s s le

From party games to board games, from TV show to card games, Larissa Albano adapts any playful activity to meet learners’ needs. The talented English teacher shares her knowledge and experince with educators all over the world through the workshops that she runs. For further information or to book your workshop, contact Larissa at:


Challenges to Nudge Students Out of their Comfort Zone By Jeanne Bourne

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary. It’s daunting.

selves, explore new ideas, and expand their horizons is just

It’s . . . well, uncomfortable. But if you are never taught or

as important a lesson as the English we teach. Here are a

encouraged or challenged to do it, you will never grow. You few ideas on how to give students a gentle nudge toward will just stay in your safe, complacent routine; doing the

making that first step outside their comfort zone, using EFL

same old things and never realizing what else is out there

as the means.

to experience. Helping our students to challenge them-


Carnival Having fun is not always easy. We might be in a situation where we would think it should come easy, and it might even be expected of us. But if it’s not working out, what should one do? line In the Flin Flon part of the world the winter starts early and lasts an eternity, at least for some. I don’t ever recall feeling unhappy about the long winter in the Canadian north, but it was good to see spring finally arrive. Until then I typically kept myself occupied. But that was not so different than the other parts of the year. 5







During my university years the winter was dedicated to my studies as well as the bulk of the seasons on either side of it. And usually the rest of the time was working in the mines up north, well, more specifically, in the smelter. I lived in two worlds – the industrial one and the academic one, and the two accompanying lifestyles were as different as the contrast of the two major seasons. I felt at home with both, although they each needed some adapting to at first. One year I was faced with the fact that the wages earned wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the rising costs. So I took a year off university to build up some leeway for the remaining time I had in my future studies. During that sabbatical I was still learning a lot of things, but they weren’t university-related. It was a good feeling to be free for a while, away from pending exams and assignments. I was back in the smelter, replenishing my bank account and my resolve to finish my studies the following year. My lifestyle was different and as I got to know some of the guys at work better, some new friendships blossomed. And I started getting invitations. One fellow promised to take me fishing in the Maritimes if I took a week’s vacation in April or May. Another hailed from the west coast and told me if I could manage to take a couple of months off in the summer time he would show me a unique experience every week, from four-wheeling up and down the mountainside and valleys, working on a farm, helping him build his cabin as well as living in inner-city Vancouver. Both those offers were wonderful, almost too good to pass up on, and if the winds had been blowing a little differently, I would have taken them up on their generous offers. I didn’t make it to either coast that year but I did make it to Quebec, to take in Carnival at the end of January. As I hadn’t worked a full 12 months in the smelter by the calendar year’s end, I was only entitled to a week or so of holidays in the new year. Short as they were, they were going to be well spent. The original plans were to go with my best friend but at the last minute he backed out. And that put me in the position of not knowing what to do. Much of the appeal of the anticipated adventure was sharing the experience with my friend. I had never travelled on my own before and it didn’t seem like it would be much of a holiday with no-one at my side. I was tempted to give up on the whole idea but before I did that I tried asking around, to see if anyone else might be interested in accompanying me. Most of them couldn’t see the reasoning for it – why go somewhere cold when it’s already cold here and you don’t have to pay to experience that! In the end I got my ticket anyway. I wasn’t so keen on going on my own, but I convinced myself that it was an event I wanted to see firsthand and that I should go. I had no idea that it would turn out to be a much more intense and even educational experience than what I had imagined.

maxenglishcorner.com a selected story from the Harvey Skidoo Tree Collection CARNIVAL ©2017

Written by Max Neil Maximchuk










maxenglishcorner.com a selected story from the Harvey Skidoo Tree Collection CARNIVAL ©2017


I booked a hotel in Quebec City and off I went to see this French cultural event. It was kind of exciting to see the ice sculptures, especially the ice castle with the floodlights at night. There were dog-sled races, and people singing and partying in the streets. I couldn’t believe the police allowed open liquor in the streets but in Quebec, at least for the carnival, it was perfectly accepted. You could even buy wine and beer, perhaps spirits too in little local grocery shops on the corners as well as in the supermarkets. Completely unheard of in (much) more conservative Manitoba. It was fun, listening to the music, being part of the crowd for different events, even singing along to some tunes that became popular over the carnival. But I also wanted to share it all with somebody, and sometimes I felt really alone. It made me feel a little depressed and closed. I would go back to my hotel room from time to time, but each time became more difficult. The feeling of loneliness contrasted greatly with the party spirit all around me and I started to think of returning back to Flin Flon early. I decided to give it a last shot. I have always been shy and that has closed some doors for me, but perhaps it was good in some unknown ways too. I don’t know. But I was tired of being stuck in my shyness, in my shell, however safe it immediately appeared to me. Then I had the bright idea of taking a timeout from all the festivities, and head out to Montreal. There I wouldn’t feel the obligation to be ‘happy’ and could look around at my own pace. The more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me, and in the end I opted to give it a try. If I still wasn’t enjoying myself, then I would return home. If it worked out, then maybe I’d come back to Quebec City to check out some more of the festival with my batteries recharged and my perspectives refreshed. Montreal was also a fascinating city. Many of the older buildings seemed to have personalities, seasoned and knowing, to have stories they had witnessed but would never tell. They were full of many nooks & crannies, surprises of detail, shades of colouring, a strong presence inviting me to walk along its streets to meet new discoveries. On one such journey I walked down some stairs leading off a sidewalk into a basement type of bar where they served you a great sandwich with a huge tall bottle of beer. I walked into the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, and had a long look inside. With nothing to hurry for I was able to take my time, sitting in a pew and simply taking in the volume and the presence of the space. I imagine it was just a coincidence, but I seemed to be all alone. No services, no cleaning staff, no tourists, no-one else occupying the pews and the space but me at that moment. So I took my time. I walked around. I stopped and looked closely at the detail. I looked back at what I had seen but from different perspectives. It was good in there. I came across a stairwell and ventured my way upward. Beyond the top I met the man who played the pipe organ. I apologized for barging in on him but he didn’t mind the intrusion and welcomed me over. We started talking and soon discovered we got on well, leading to a very long and varied chat that afternoon. He told me of his work, in and out of the cathedral, and his love of playing that magnificent instrument. He showed me how it worked, demonstrating his versatility with its many components occupying the space before him. Different compositions required different approaches and he proudly performed many a good example. It was like having a private concert accompanied by a first-hand commentary. The time passed both quickly and slowly but eventually it was time to part and we wished each other well in the new adventures awaiting us. When the evening rolled into the night I could feel some of the electricity in the air as the activity picked up in the streets. People leaving the theatre, going into restaurants & bars and taxicabs, all classes and types of people brushing past each other, covertly glancing at each other, laughing, thinking, speaking, listening, looking, moving – the currents in the street always changing. Somehow, I don’t know how, one fellow attached himself to me and I felt responsible for him. It could have begun with an innocent question to see if I had any spare change but it shortly developed into a series of conversations. Perhaps I felt encouraged by my earlier experience that afternoon and didn’t want to shrug somebody off so easily just because he was a vagrant. Perhaps too I didn’t have any special plans,









I’m not a person who seeks change, but it often finds me. And, I suppose, a tendency to put

maxenglishcorner.com a selected story from the Harvey Skidoo Tree Collection CARNIVAL ©2017


people to meet or even ways I had to conduct myself. I didn’t feel threatened by him, so I went along with the flow. This flow led us to a restaurant where I bought the two of us some good hot food to take the chill out of the winter air. This was followed with a new responsibility, of finding him some place to sleep. Of course he probably could have managed quite well without me, as he had done countless other nights, but I now felt responsible for him. I asked around, people in the street, phoned up missions and the like. Nobody knew or the places were closed with their early curfews. It was now getting quite late and I felt I couldn’t abandon him, coming this far already. So I invited him to come to my place. I’m sure the hotel management wouldn’t be too pleased, and not only from a financial perspective, but I didn’t intend to ask them. We entered the cozy warm room and we talked a while longer. By now it was very late and all I wanted to do was to get some sleep but as he was still quite active, I thought it better to humour him for a while before more strongly suggesting that we get some shuteye. The conversations, interesting at first, eventually deteriorated into frequent repetition, but they didn’t become scary until some time later. Perhaps one of the turning points was the increasing references from the Bible, becoming more intense on each occasion. It may appear obvious to you that there was more than a little likelihood that this fellow was not all that stable, given his circumstances. I admit to having a certain naivete, but the time we spent before, talking, eating, walking the streets assured me to some extent that the fellow who was now in my hotel room was basically fine, just down on his luck. The Biblical references now being freely shouted aloud, filling the room with his strong convictions and accusations made me question that earlier assessment. I did what I could to disarm his intense feelings and redirect the conversation to calmer waters. Fortunately that and a little assertiveness eventually brought him around. I ‘generously’ offered my bed for him to sleep in while I took the chair. At this point there was nothing altruistic at all in the offer. I just wanted him to safely sleep and while I wanted the same for myself, I prudently decided to keep myself awake until sunrise which wasn’t all that far away. Then I would have no qualms in escorting him out of the hotel after which we could both begin the new day. Separately. The sun did rise and I was able to coax him out of his comfortable bed. When I saw him leaving I was filled with relief and a greater need to catch a few hours sleep before embarking on any new adventures. My experiences with the vagrant and the man in the Cathedral helped break me out of my shell a little bit. While not necessarily any wiser, I did feel a little more seasoned and braver. It wasn’t a big change but enough to return to Quebec City and try it again. When I arrived, I interacted a little more with the people around me, at least occasionally. Sometimes I teamed up with a few people, not actually becoming friends, but more like temporary companions. Other times I just went with the crowd, joining in the festivities with them. And even when I was on my own, I didn’t feel lonely. That second turn of the Carnival helped make it a memorable trip and I later returned to Flin Flon, the smelter, my regular world of turning events with a slightly different perspective. I didn’t know it at the time, but it also helped me immensely when almost seven years later I was to meet even greater challenges during my first weeks of travelling on my own on the longest journey of my life.

myself in situations where changes can occur more easily has contributed to many an adventure I’ve experienced. You would think that after a lifetime of dealing with numerous changes, it would get easier. But it doesn’t. Only the knowledge that a willingness to explore new fields when the time is right can soften the blow and open a few doors. Then the changes become more welcomed. 31

Carnival Teacher’s Guide This guide is a set of suggestions of what you can do with your students regarding the story, Carnival. A summary of the steps to this lesson plan is as follows: 1) Set the scene - A few lead-in questions to orientate the students Choose one of the questions suggested in ‘A’ to get the students talking about some ideas that will appear in the story. ‘B’ is to briefly orientate the students to the physical setting. 2) Introduce the story - Have the students read various parts of the beginning of the story and answer the questions described below to help orientate them. Tell them that they don’t need to understand all the vocabulary in order to answer the questions or understand the story sufficiently to get something out of it. 3) Read the rest - Let the students finish the story, then answer the two questions. 4) Vocabulary look - A quick look at some of the vocabulary appearing in the story which could be useful when speaking about it in the discussion. Get the students to do most of the explaining (or guessing) of the meaning. 5) Post story discussion - Place the students in small groups (3 or 4) and have them participate in discussing one of the suggested themes. There is one placed in the student handout and 3 others suggested here in the Teacher’s Guide. If you like, there are also two possible role-plays to choose from as well.

NOTE: It is recommended that the language level of the students is at a minimum in the early stages of Advanced (they have already completed level B2 in Europe) or a very strong upper intermediate.

1. Set the scene A: Choose 1 of the following for an opening class discussion • Imagine you started a job last year and because you haven’t worked all that long, you’re entitled to only a week’s holidays this year. What would you do with your week of vacation? • Do you always do the same thing during your holidays? Have you ever done something very different or go on an adventure? • What are the advantages of spending your holidays in a comfortable, relaxing manner? What kind of holidays could somebody go on that would be less ‘comfortable’ and why would somebody choose that? 32

1. Set the scene B: The setting • Write ‘Flin Flon’ on the board and ask the students in what country would they find this town.

• Carnival is very famous and celebrated in different ways in different parts of the world. You could elicit what people do in Rio de Janeiro, in Venice, in New Orleans (where it is called the Mardi Gras). And bring the focus to Quebec City where there is a much colder version. How would the celebration be expressed there?

2. Introduce the story

Part 1

• Give the students a copy of the story. • Have them read the italicized sentence below the title. Elicit a couple of situations where one is expected to have fun and what one could do if it wasn’t working out the way you would expect. (If no ideas for situations, you could suggest: being at a party, celebrating Christmas or a family/work gettogether, going on a holiday.) • Tell the students to read the first five paragraphs (until the end of line 22). Make sure they stop at that point. (Fast finishers can reread what they have just read.) • Place the students in pairs. Tell them to not look at the story but speak with their partner to see what they can remember about the two offers the man received to spend his holidays with his friends. After they have recalled all that they can, they check back with the story to see if there was anything they missed. • Ask the class if they would like to try any of those activities if they were invited to come along.

2. Introduce the story

Part 2

• Tell the students to read the next two paragraphs (until the end of line 32). • Ask them what they would do in that situation where their friend backed out at the last minute. Would they go alone? Not go at all and just chill out at home for a week? Postpone the holiday and go with your best friend another time (and miss the Carnival)? Take up one of the earlier offers, but only for one week?


3. Read the rest • Give each student the Student Handout but they don’t read the questions until later. (This activity isn’t for exam practice, so they can get into the story first, then have a look at the questions.) • Tell the students to read the rest of the story and when they’re done, they can answer the questions the best they can. They should do it individually, then check their answers with another student when they are done. Confirm their answers by eliciting from the class what they have.

Q1: What was the narrator fed up with? (hint: it’s in the top half of the second page) Answer (line 48): “Being stuck in his shyness” In other words, he felt trapped, typically allowing his shyness to limit what he does and experiences. Q2: What did the homeless man do to make the narrator feel nervous? (3 things)

4. Vocabulary look • These 5 items are in the story. If the students know what they mean, they think of how they can explain them, especially in terms of how they relate to something in the story. If they aren’t familiar with them, they look at the sentences and the context they are in and try to figure them out. * to take somebody up on something (line 22) * to back out (of something) (line 26) * kind of (+ adjective/adverb/noun/verb) (line 36) * to be down on one’s luck (line 101) * to soften the blow (in the afterword) • After going over the pronunciation, give the students a few minutes to do the task. (They can confer in pairs if they like.) Then ask different individuals to communicate the meaning.


5. Post Story Discussion Encourage the students to explore the theme as much as they can and to use the recently covered vocabulary. • Suggested themes for discussion: (#1 is on the Student Handout) 1) The narrator stepped out of his comfort zone a few times in the story: a) when he decided to go on his trip alone, b) when he decided to leave the holiday he had planned (Carnival in Quebec City) to go to Montreal, and c) when he took on the temporary responsibility of looking out for the homeless man. What would you have done in each of these situations? 2) The narrator mentioned that being shy closed some doors for him. Can you think of some possible specific examples of what ‘doors’ might be closed (not necessarily only for the narrator, but for people in general)? (For example it could affect getting jobs or promotions, meeting or getting to know people, missed opportunities, not defending yourself as well as you could) He also said that it might have some benefits too, but he couldn’t appreciate them at the moment. How would being shy be something positive? (For example developing patience and tolerance, placing things into perspective, building up of determination and being selective) 3) Planned vs improvised holidays

4) Alternative holidays

What do the people in your group prefer and why?

Are there any that you definitely would or would not like to try? Are there other

alternatives that you have tried or heard about?

1- Work on an organic farm (every year a different kind of farm and in a different country) 2- You and your partner go to a city that neither of you has been to before. Have breakfast together then split up. Explore different places on your own then meet and talk about your adventures at lunch or supper. 3- Same idea as #2, except don’t say where you will meet or what time. Thinking about how well you know your partner, try to work out when and where and see if you’re successful. Best to do this only for lunch, and then have a definite meeting time and place for supper if you weren’t successful for the lunch meeting. 4- Stay away from the typical tourist attractions. Just walk down streets and occasionally talk and interact with people. See what happens. 5- Same idea as #4, but in a country where you don’t know the language. It may sound strange, but millions of people do this every year.


6. Possible role-plays

Groups of 2 to 4 people

• 1 Take turns with one of you being the homeless person and the rest of you interacting with him/her. Try it with the perspective that the homeless person wants something from you. S/He won’t take no for an answer and tries appealing to the rest in different ways. S/He’s very persistent and the others don’t want to be rude.

• 2 Situation: The manager was notified by the receptionist that an unpaying guest is suspected of staying in the hotel room. S/He knocks at the door and the tourist begins speaking but doesn’t open the door. Person 1: the tourist Person 2: the hotel manager optional Person 3: the vagrant optional Person 4: the hotel detective accompanying the manager ►There are also other stories with lesson plans found at http://maxenglishcorner.com/hst-harvey-skidoo-tree-series-homepage-mec/

►The following link provides some videos to get you better acquainted with Carnival in Quebec. Perhaps you might show one in class. http://www.oneschoolroom.ca/carnaval-de-quebec/

About Max Neil Maximchuk The author of the story and the accompanying activities which teachers can use in class comes from the small but interesting town of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada. Growing up there and later exploring beyond its boundaries has led him to numerous adventures and experiences which have shaped the many perspectives he holds and occasionally writes about. He has found his calling in teaching and deeply exploring this challenging profession has led him to even more rich and fulfilling adventures. You can find other stories with lesson plans at http://maxenglishcorner.com/ 36

Carnival Student Handout A couple of questions Q1: What was the narrator fed up with? (hint: it’s in the top half of the second page) Q2: What did the homeless man do to make the narrator feel nervous? (3 things)

Vocabulary look These 5 items are in the story. If you know what they mean, think of how you can explain them, especially in terms of how they relate to something in the story. If you aren’t familiar with them, look at the sentences and the context they are in and try to figure them out. • to take somebody up on something (line 22) • to back out (of something) (line 26) • kind of (+ adjective/adverb/noun/verb) (line 36) • to be down on one’s luck (line 101) • to soften the blow (in the afterword)

Discussion The narrator stepped out of his comfort zone a few times in the story: a) when he decided to go on his trip alone, b) when he decided to leave the holiday he had planned (Carnival in Quebec City) to go to Montreal, and c) when he took on the temporary responsibility of looking out for the homeless man.

What would you have done in each of these situations?

The story and the lesson plan have been kindly provided by their author Max Maximchuk. Find more teaching ideas by the author on his website: http://maxenglishcorner.com/


FCE/CAETalking about

Stepping out of your comfort zone

s h p a r g o P ho t

Look at these two photographs. They show people who have stepped out of their comfort zone. Compare the photographs and say where they could be and why they are doing it.

: When your partner has finished, say if you could see yourself in any of these situations and why. (20 seconds)

Look at these two photographs. They show people who are doing something unusual. Compare the photographs and say what challenges they could face in these situations.

When your partner has finished, describe briefly the most unusual place you have been to. (20 seconds)

Top left: asoggetti on Unsplash/ Top right: Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash Bottom left: Jared Rice on Unsplash/ Bottom right: Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash






Let’s write

Write a short story which ends with the quote below ( 140-190 words)

Write an essay with the following title ( 140-190 words)

Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is the best way to grow. 41

Lesson plan Language level: B1/B2 Learner type: Teens and adults Time: 60 minutes Activity: Speaking and writing Topic: Stepping out of your comfort zone Language: Speculating/ Narrative tenses/ Vocabulary related to “Boats” Materials: the image “The boat”( page 44)


Teacher’s notes I. Display the image (see page 44) and ask the students to write as many words as possible to describe it. For instance, vocabulary related to what they see, how the image makes them feel. ( 2 min) II.Put the students in pairs and let them compare their lists. If you want, teach some key vocabulary-

stern- the back end of a ship or boat bow- the front part of a boat or ship deck- the top outside floor of a ship or boat hull- the main, bottom part of a ship, that goes in the water A paddle- a short pole with a flat wide part at one or both ends, that you hold in both hands and use for moving a small boat A sailor- a person who sails a boat To steer- to control the direction in which a boat, car, etc. moves

III.The students continue to work in pairs. If they have any mobile devices or computers in the classroom, ask them to visit https://wheeldecide.com/ and create a quiz with the new vocabulary. They will have to write the definition of the new words. When they’re ready, ask them to swap partners with another pair and test each other by spinning the wheel. If you do not have access to technology, the students can write the definitions on small cards, then pick a card and ask their partner what the word is. IV. Discussion: • • • • • • • • •

Where does the man come from? Where’s the man heading to? Do you think he could be running away from something or somebody? Why is he on his own? Is it his own boat and has he stolen it? What does he have on the boat? How could he be feeling? What is he thinking about? Have you ever been on a boat? If so, how did you feel?

V.Let’s get creative Ask the students to imagine that they’re the man on the boat. They need to write a story which begins with the sentence:

“It was a cloudy Friday morning when I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone.” Tell the students that apart from using the right vocabulary, they also need to portray the man’s feelings.

Image credit: Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash

Homework Tell the students to prepare a 2-minute talk in which they should describe an occasion when they had to step out of their comfort zone.



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are looking for

Do you know any inspiring children,

and we will share their story. Just send

who are making a difference in your

us the story of your nominee (letter,

school or community? Nominate

video, artwork, poem, etc.) and why

someone to become a Hope Hero

they are inspiring to you!

Send your entries to: kaitlin@kidsunite4hope.org info@englishwithrussie.co.uk 47


things GREAT

Teachers do

Teachers shape the future of our world. They educate our future leaders, and the responsibility of our planet lies in their hands. Quite often we don’t give teachers the credit they deserve. I mean, first of all they spend all day with kids! Something that would drive most of us mad. But beyond that they do so much more. Not only do they teach our children but, because they spend more time with our children than we, as parents do, they are trusted with caring for their wellbeing, both socially, mentally and physically. They are a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a friend and a councillor to our children and while this may seem like enough of a job in itself, they also have to try and squeeze in some teaching along the way..

Gavin McCormack 48

First, they know every child’s name, not just in their class, but in the entire school, they say “Hello” to every child they meet and always engage in conversation where possible. “How are you? Did you watch the game? How’s your dad? You look cool today!”

They talk to children like adults. They reason with them and make them understand that yes, there are rules and expectations in school and this is why. “You can’t run in the classroom, not because I said so, because you might trip, fall into a shape pencil and stab yourself and because I care for you so much, I don’t want you to get hurt.”

They allow children to ask questions and investigate, and they don’t pretend to know everything “So that sums up our study of the human heart class!” Said Mr Johnson “Sir, why do heart attacks occur?” “Actually I don’t know, but how about you go and find out and tell us all next week!” This instils a sense of reality, responsibility and pride as the children get to feedback to the group. Allow them to be the teacher, allow them to be the expert in the field.

They make things real. If you are teaching Pythagoras and a child asks why we have to learn it. You’ve got an answer. If you’re teaching exposition writing you allow the children to write to an actual letter to a real person persuading them to do something. Make learning purposeful and real.


They practice what they preach. If you tell your class to be on time, dress smart, show respect, keep their voice down and show kindness and gratitude. Well you better be doing that yourself. Children are very observant and they will quickly pull you up on it and the old saying “Do Is just not good enough.

They tell stories. They tell their class about what they’ve been up to, how their evening was and what they’ve got planned. Children like to know you’re human, they like to know you don’t live in the art cupboard and that you do normal human things like shopping, watching movies and even that time you felt down or lonely. You’re a human being, let them know.

They trust their children. You explain to them that the classroom is an extension of their home and you should feel safe in here. “I’m going to leave my wallet on my table and my mobile phone on my desk, I trust you won’t touch it because you trust that when you need me I’ll be there for you. Mutual respect equals mutual trust and if and when that trust is broken it will be a huge learning curve.


They tell children that they matter, and so does their opinion. An opinion box on your desk where children can leave anonymous changes they’d like to see in the classroom is a great idea, a daily reflection card allowing children to express what they liked and didn’t like about that day is a great idea. They ask the class to anonymously review their teaching, you might think you’re the greatest, coolest teacher in the world, but how do you know if you’re never evaluated by the very people who look at you all day?

They share ideas with the wider community. A great teacher doesn’t create materials and keep them a secret so they look better than everyone else. They think of education as a whole, a world vision, a change for the future of mankind and with that, great teachers share great ideas and great resources. If they discover something that works, they shout it from the top of the highest mountain and throw photocopied samples from aeroplanes high in the sky so everyone gets a copy. Good ideas change lives.

This is the most important one of all and one that we only find very rarely. Great teachers don’t teach, they inspire. They don’t say “This is how you do it, now go do it”, they don’t say “Here’s the equation now solve it”, they don’t say “This is what it looks like now copy it.” They say “How do you think you do it, please tell me!” They say “Can you find the equation and please test it!” They say “What do you think it looks like?, go find out!”.

They step out of their comfort zone. They try new things. They’re not afraid of failure and they learn from these mistakes. Let the children know you’re trying something new and tell them it may go wrong. It encourages them to also step out of their comfort zones.


Josie’s Poems


LET MAGIC HAPPEN Children, listen carefully, There’s something you must do – And it’s not just something you should do, But I should do this too. Move from that pleasant comfort zone Into a brand new place: Look round for something different Or notice that new face. Don’t dig yourself into a rut And not try something new: There could be talents you may have That are waiting to break through. There could be people you have met Who’ve never seen your smile. There could be clothes you’d never wear ‘Because they’re not my style!’ There could be sports you’ve never tried Or books you’ve never read, ‘But I don’t think I’d like that sport!’ Is that the thing you’ve said? Magic comes not from a wand But by the things you do. Get out of that soft ‘comfort zone’ And try out something new. The opportunities will come: You’ll grab them if you’re smart. And New Year Resolutions Are a darned good way to start! 55

On the Sea of Life

Man’s like a boat on the ocean of life, That’s tossed by winds in tempests and strife. He seeks a safe refuge, a harbour of love, But watches dark clouds as they hover above.

Man’s like a boat that is tossed on the sea, That’s straining and thrusting but not always free. The horizon’s before him, waves beat on his hull, Whilst from high overhead comes the cry of a gull.

Your line of horizon – what hopes does it hold? What successes or failures will the future unfold? Man’s like a boat that is tossed on the sea, But unlike a boat makes his own destiny.


Chapter 17 Hi everyone, It´s Saturday morning and Russie and I are on the night train to Xi´an. We are sitting in a busy compartment. Apart from us there is an elderly couple who are dozing off in the corner. Opposite me a young French woman, called Manon, is sitting and she´s happy to practise her English with us. We have to whisper because we don´t want to disturb our companions. Russie is positioned by the window and she´s enjoying the beautiful sunrise and the lovely autumn colours of the trees that are passing by. She appears to be buried in her thoughts. I wonder if she misses her family back in England. Russie´s been in China for over a month now and I sometimes feel she gets homesick. “So where are you travelling to?” Manon asks quietly. “We´re heading to Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb near Xi ´an,” I reply, “I want to show my English teacher the terracotta army. It usually gets so crowded there, so we want to arrive as early as possible.” “Oh, I´ve never been there, “the French lady says. “I´ve heard that Emperor Qin Shi was very cruel.”

“Yes, we don´t think he was a fair ruler. He abused his subjects and mistreated the people who worked for him.” I explain. “Wasn´t he the emperor who initiated the Great Wall, Frank? Manon continues with her questions. I look at the sleeping couple and then I nod my head. I don´t really want to wake them up so I take out a guide book from my rucksack. It doesn´t take

me long to find the chapter about the Great Wall and pass it to Manon. I wish she had come to Beijing with us. Russie and I learned so much from our trip to the capital. It´s quiet for a few minutes and then the silence is interrupted by an announcement which informs us that we are approaching the Xi ´an station. At that moment Manon jumps off her seat and asks: “May I join you, guys? I would love to see the emperor´s tomb.” 58

Continued from previous page

Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures

Russie and I look at each other. We love

the kiosk to buy a hot drink and some

having company on our journeys so we

cheese sandwiches. We know that once we

wholeheartedly let our new friend come

are inside the mausoleum, we won´t get

with us. Once we get off the train at Xi'an

the chance to eat.

Railway Station, we take bus N 5, which will

Once we have our breakfast, we decide to

take us to Bing Ma Yong, the Terracotta

join an English-speaking group and their

Army Museum. It´s six o´clock and the

tour guide, a young man who speaks fluent

morning is misty. Light wind makes the air

English and introduces himself as Jack. He

chilly. Russie wraps her scarf tightly. Now I

is carrying the British flag in case someone

know why British women always wear a

gets lost. Jack gathers us and says that the

scarf. Luckily, we don´t have to wait long

tour will take about two hours. We need to

and soon we find ourselves on the way to

stay close to him and it´s important not to

the museum.

touch anything.

About an hour later, we arrive and happily

Somebody asks:

notice it´s not very busy. Russie queues to

“Are we allowed to take photos?”

get tickets, whereas Manon and I pop into


Continued from previous page

Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures

Jack says “Yes”, and reminds us that we

It took them thirty-eight years to complete

have to explore three pits so we should not


spend much time taking pictures. Before

We enter the first pit and I am astounded

we enter the first pit, our tour guide stops

by its size. The terracotta soldiers are

and tells us a little bit

standing in rows in front of

about the emperor and


why he decided to build

“Can you see that hole in the

the tomb.

middle?” the tour guide points

“Emperor Qin Shi was the

in the distance. “This is the

first emperor of China and

well that the farmers dug out

ruled it from 220 to 210

over 40 years ago.”

BC. He ascended the

The life-size warriors look so

throne when he was only

real. The average height is

13 years old. At that time

1.83 m. Their faces portray

the Chinese believed in

different feelings. Most of

after-life and the elite

them look quite serious,

were buried with their

others seem to be sad and

servants. However, people

buried in their own thoughts.

started criticising this

They wear stone armour and

human sacrifice and it

wielded real lances, swords

was decided to bury

and crossbows.

terracotta figures instead

Russie stops to read some

of people. As soon as Qin

information on the wall about

Shi became an emperor, he started

the army and the emperor. She is amazed

building his eternal home. So let´s go into

to find out that a construction of the whole

the first pit now. Pease, stay close to me.”

Chinese kingdom was built here. The

We follow Jack obediently. Manon tells me

emperor wanted to be protected in his

that she´s read in her guide book that the

after life experience so he had a lot of

tomb was

horses, chariots and a complete royal

discovered by accident in

1974 when a group of farmers were


digging wells.

The pit gets really busy so Jack kindly

“Did you know that 700, 000 workers from

invites us to proceed to the second pit. It

across the country worked on this project?

takes about a couple of minutes to get 60

Continued from previous page

Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures

there. When we enter, I see that it´s

“Didn´t the builders share the secret

smaller than the first pit. Most of the

with their friends and relatives?” Manon

warriors are in chariots.

continues with her questions.

“Isn´t it dangerous for us to be here,

“I know that it may sound awful but all

Jack?” somebody asks. “I´ve heard about

the builders were sealed inside the tomb

the booby traps around.”

and nobody could escape. The secret is

Our tour guide smiles and says:

buried there.”

“Don´t worry. The booby traps are in the Emperor´s tomb, which hasn´t been fully explored yet. Unfortunately, the excavators and scientists´ work has been postponed because of those traps. It seems that modern technology cannot locate them and it is too perilous to go in.” “I´ve heard about the rivers of liquid mercury there,” another tourist butts in. “is that true?”

I can hear some tourists expressing

“Yes, you´re right,” Jack explains, “The

their disapproval. It must have been

Yangtse and the Yellow River were

dreadful for those people to die in this

simulated in the tomb using liquid

way. I wonder where exactly the tomb is

mercury. The ancient Chinese believed

located when the tour guide tells us:

that mercury could make you immortal.

“The tomb itself is about a mile away

However, we don´t have much

from here. It´s covered with thick

information about it.”

vegetation. It hasn´t been opened for

Then Manon asks: “What booby traps

over two centuries.”

were used then?”

I find this story fascinating and think

“The traps were specially created to

about the time when I go back to school

protect the tomb. It is thought that they

and can tell my friends about the

form an elaborate system of crossbows

Emperor Qin Shi and the mysterious

and I am afraid we don´t know much

tomb. We love reading adventure books

about them. It is only through some old

and sometimes imagine we are great

texts that we could gather some


information about the traps.”

I notice Russie has stopped to take some photos of the chariots. I can´t believe


Continued from previous page

Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures

how realistic everything looks. I really want

“Frank, what´s that? Is it a ring?”

to go down and walk among the horses

I bend down and pick up the tiny shiny

and ancient vehicles. Suddenly I feel my

object, which now appears to be pulsating

left foot slip and I end up falling into the

with a glowing light.

pit. Oh, no, I´ll be in trouble. I look around

“Look, teacher, can you see this?”

and notice that nobody has seen what´s

So many questions pop into my head.

happened. At that very moment my

Then I feel tempted to put on the ring.

teacher spots me. I can see she´s about to

Surprisingly, it fits me. Perfectly! I show it

shout for some help when I make a sign

to Russie, whose eyes are now as big as

not to do anything. I feel so embarrassed.

dinner plates…

Russie reaches out to help me climb out of

“Frank, where are you going?”

the pit. However, she slips in as well. I can

I look at my body and see that my left arm

hear her groan and wonder if she´s hurt.

is slowly vanishing. Interestingly, there is

Fortunately, it´s only her hands that have

no pain. What´s happening? Russie grabs

been bruised.

my right hand to save me… but it´s too

“How can we get out, teacher? We need to

late, she’s disappearing as well. I start to

figure out a way to go back to the group

feel very weak and then everything begins


to spin and turns blank.

Russie nods her head in agreement. She looks around and tries to find some stairs.

Find out what happens to Frank and

Then she notices something sparkling on

Russie in the next chapter.

the floor.


Continued from previous page

Frank and Russie’s Little Big Adventures

a mausoleum -a special building made to hold the dead body of an important person or the dead bodies of a family human sacrifice-the act of killing one or more humans, usually as an offering to a deity, as part of a ritual. a booby trap-a device that is intended to kill or harm a person or animal, unknowingly triggered by the presence or actions of the victim a chariot-an open vehicle with two wheels, pulled by horses, used in ancient times in battle and for racing an excavator-a person who digs in the ground to look for old buildings and objects

Answer the questions: 1. Where do Frank and Russie meet Manon? 2. How did all of them go to the Terracotta Army Museum? 3. What instructions does Jack give to the tourists? ( find 3, please) 4. Why were the servants buried along with their master in ancient China? 5. How was the Emperor's tomb discovered? 6. What do the warriors wear? 7. Why was the Emperor buried with his horses, chariots and warriors? 8. What has prevented the excavators from exploring the Emperor's tomb? 9. Why is there scarce information about the booby traps? 10. Why is Frank excited about going back to school? 11. How does Frank fall into the pit? 12. What do you think happens to Frank and Russie at the end of the chapter? Will they travel back in time to find out more about the Emperor?

What do these numbers refer to? 3/ 13/ 1974/ 700,000/ 38/ 1.38


Across 3. shining and flashing with light 5. a small shop/store, open at the front, where newspapers, drinks, etc. are sold 6. a person who governs 8. to make a long deep sound because you are annoyed, upset or in pain, or with pleasure 9. to speak very quietly to somebody so that other people cannot hear what you are saying 10. a large grave, especially one built of stone above or below the ground 11. delayed

Down 1. that lives or lasts for ever 2. disappearing 4. people who work in another person’s house, and cooks, cleans, etc. for them 7. in an enthusiastic way 64

Angela stopped cryi ng and looked at Sh erry. “Can you help me, please?” she asked. “Certainly, I can!” Sherry replied. Angela didn’t belie ve her new friend. How could anyone been bullying her fo help her? It was im r months and even possible. Andy had the teachers were no “How do you think t able to stop him. you can help me, Sh erry?” Angela aske “I can’t tell you, “S d. herry said, “It’s a se cret.” Angela stared at he r in disbelief, but at the same time ther her strange new fr e was a feeling that iend and wondere she should trust d if considering the co she was supposed nsequences, she de to tell her mum ab ci out her. After de and never let her se d it was not a good idea. Her mum wou e Sherry again. ld be suspicious Her thoughts were inte “Is that keyboard be rrupted by Sherry’s chirping voice: sid Angela had complet e the wardrobe yours?” ely forgotten abou t the instrument th birthday. She look at her granny gave ed at it and said: her for her eighth “Oh, I haven’t play ed for a long time, Sherry. I’ve been to “Come on,” Sherry o upset with the sit said, “let’s play toge uation at school.” ther. It will cheer yo At first Angela refu u up.” sed but then though t it was not a bad idea keyboard and plac ed it in front of th at all. She cleaned the dust from the e bed so that they embarrassing, she’d could both play. O forgotten everything h dear, how remembered how m she learned in her music lessons. How uch she used to en joy them. ever, she also Sherry sat in front of the keyboard an d her fingers starte heard it before? It d playing a nice tu sounded so familiar ne. Where had she . “Do you know this melody?” Sherry as ked her. “It is on compositions. “ e of the greatest Be ethoven’s Angela remembere d that her music te ac he older students. It br r, Mrs Peterson, w ould play that tune ought back so man y pleasant memorie with some of the “It’s lovely. I wish s of happier times.” I could play it,” Sh e said out loud. “Oh, I can teach yo u, “Sherry suggeste d kindly. “It may ta “It doesn’t matter. ke some time thou Oh, that’s nice of yo gh” u, Sherry! Thank yo “Let’s begin now, “S u so much. When ca herry smiled. “ Are n we start?” you ready?” “Certainly,” shoute d Angela. “Would yo u show me the first That’s how Angela chords, please?” ’s first keyboard le sson started. She w carefully and pressin as listening to her g the keys with grea friend’s instructions t attention and curio skills and this chee red Angela up. sity. Sherry praise d her musical The girls were so in trigued by what th ey were doing, that th dark. ey hadn’t even notic ed, it had got “Oh, it is getting la te. I must go, Ange la. I have other th tomorrow.” ings to do.” Sherry said. “See you “Wait, please!” An gela said, but Sher ry did not hear her because, she had al ready left.



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Across: 1-compose, 4-hostess, 6-curious, 7-diminishing, 8-tremendously Down: 1-commotion, 2-courage, 3-stamina, 5-pressure, 9-massive, 10-disappointment

The man was a priest.

Image credit: back cover, pages 2,73 - Inspirational English page 11 - Peter Taylor pages 5 & 46-Helen Maffini pages 15-Homaira Kabir page 48-51-Gavin Mccormack page 23-Larissa Albano Page 54-Josie Whitehead Page 53- Bea Sieradzka page 18-22 Alice Savage pages 58-62- Frank Wang page 66- Sissy Ma front cover, pages 4,6,8-14,16, 24, 28, 38, 40, 41, 45, 52, 57, 65, 67, 68 https://spark.adobe.com Page 69- Pngtree Designed by Marusya Price

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Inspirational English, issue 47  

The new issue of the e-zine explores the theme of STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. It brings the following features: *Outside your Comfort...

Inspirational English, issue 47  

The new issue of the e-zine explores the theme of STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. It brings the following features: *Outside your Comfort...