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The Writer Center , Kimberly Abels. Some exercises to improve writing skills. Many of these exercises can be used in short in-class writing assignments, as part of group work, or as incremental steps in producing a paper. Brinstorming

Free-writing Find a clock, watch, or timer to help you keep track of time. Choose a topic, idea, question you would like to consider. It can be a specific detail or a broad concept-whatever you are interested in exploring at the moment. Write (on paper or on a computer) for 7-10 minutes non-stop on that topic. If you get stuck and don’t know what to say next, write “I’m stuck and don’t know what to say next…” or try asking yourself “what else?” until another idea comes to you. Do not concern yourself with spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Your goal is to generate as much as you can about the topic in a short period of time and to get used to the feeling of articulating ideas on the page. It’s ok if it’s messy or makes sense only to you. You can repeat this exercise several times, using the same or a variety of topics connecting to your subject. Read what you have written to see if you have discovered anything about your subject or found a line of questioning you’d like to pursue. Organizing Drawing diagrams Sometimes it helps to look for the shape your ideas seem to be taking as you develop them. Jot down your main ideas on the page and then see if you can connect them in some way. Do they form a square? A circle? An umbrella with spokes coming down? A pyramid? Does one idea seem to sit on a shelf above another idea? Would equal signs, greater or less signs help you express the relationships you see between your idea? Can you make a flow chart depicting the relationships between your ideas? Drafting Clarify all questions about the assignment Before you begin writing a draft, make sure you have a thorough understanding of what the assignment requires. You can do this by summarizing your understanding of the assignment and emailing your summary to your TA or instructor. If you have questions about points to emphasize, the amount of evidence needed, etc. get clarification early. You might try writing something like, “I’ve summarized what I think I’m supposed to do in this paper, am I on the right track? Revising Talk your paper Tell a friend what your paper is about. Pay attention to your explanation. Are all of the ideas you describe actually in the paper? Where did you start in explaining your ideas. Does your paper match your description? Can the listener easily find all of the ideas you mention in your description?

Bully for you

Instructions: Read through the text, answer the questions that follow, then click on 'Grade Me!' to view your score The makers of a controversial computer game about bullying have decided to go ahead and launch it despite calls for it to be banned. In the game, players take on the role of a new students at a school and have to fight the bullies, by punching them or hitting them with a baseball bat.

Critics have said that the game encourages violence, but the makers deny this and say that, while there is violence in the game, it is just an amusing look at school life, besides which, the violence in the game is directed against the bullies to protect pupils who are being bullied. The makers also say that players will learn to stand up to bullies.

A British politician, a former minister, has called for it to be banned as it might affect the way young people perceive violence.

Anti-bullying charities have said that the game might make people respond violently to bullies, which might make things more complicated and result in injuries.


Q1 - The makers of the computer game decided not to release it. True False Q2 - In the game, the player takes on the role of a bully. True False Q3 - The game is set in a university. True False Q4 - Everyone agrees that the game encourages violence. True False Q5 - A British politician has spoken in favour of the game. True False Q6 - The politician used to be a minister. True False Q7 - The politician thinks it might make young people look at violence differently. True False Q8 - The anti-bullying charity thinks the game is good because it might make pupils stand up to bullies. True False Q9 - The anti-bullying charity thinks that people might get hurt because of this game. True False Q10 - The makers of the game have changed the contents before releasing it in the UK.

True False

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Papua New Guinea Reconciliation

In Papua New Guinea, the descendants of cannibals who killed and ate four Fijian missionaries in 1878 have apologized for their ancestors' actions. They held a reconciliation ceremony, which was attended by thousands of people, in the East New Britain province where they were killed. The missionaries were part of a group of Methodist ministers and teachers who arrived in 1875 to spread Christianity. The murders three years later, by Tolai tribes people on the Gazelle Peninsula, triggered angry reprisals. The English pastor who was head of the mission, George Brown, avenged the killings by taking part in an expedition that resulted in the deaths of a number of tribes people and the burning of several villages. Candles were lit in memory of the four. Fiji's High Commissioner in Papua New Guinea, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, accepted the apologies on behalf of the descendants."We at this juncture are deeply touched and wish you the greatest joy of forgiveness as we finally end this record disagreement," he said. The Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane praised the early missionaries for making the country Christian and called for more people to follow the guiding principles of the religion.


Q1 - The descendants of the cannibals are sorry about what happened. True False Q2 - Few people attended the ceremony. True False Q3 - The ceremony was held in the UK. True False Q4 - The missionaries were killed very soon after they arrived. True False Q5 - No one was punished for the killings. True False Q6 - The Fijian representative attended. True False Q7 - Ratu Isoa Tikoca was not moved by the ceremony. True False Q8 - Candles were lit to remember the missionaries. True False Q9 - Sir Paulias Matane resents the work of the early missionaries. True False Q10 - Sir Paulias Matane wishes that more people had religious principles. True False Tomado de :

Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets. The greeting cards of these students sometimes mention what they appreciate about each other.

The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.

While sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts is traditional in the UK, Valentine's Day has various regional customs. In Norfolk, a character called 'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. In Wales, many people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day) on January 25 instead of (or as well as) Valentine's Day. The day commemorates St Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. My Own Resources

Practice Reading Comprehension Texts One of the difficulties that a man has to cope with as he goes through life is what to do about the persons with whom he has once been intimate and whose interest for him has in due course subsided. If both parties remain in a modest station the break comes naturally, and no ill feeling subsists, but if one of them achieves eminence the position is awkward. He makes a multitude of new friends, but the old ones are inexorable; he has a thousand claims on his time, but they feel that they have the first right to it. Unless he is at their beck and call they sigh and with a shrug of the shoulders say: "Ah, well, I suppose you're like everyone else. I must expect to be dropped now that you're a success." That, of course, is what he would like to do if he had the courage. For the most part he hasn't. He weakly accepts an invitation to supper on Sunday evening. The cold roast beef is frozen and comes

from Australia and was over-cooked at middle day: and the burgundy -ah, why will they call it burgundy? Have they never been to Beaune and stayed at the H么tel de la Poste? Of course it is grand to talk of the good old days when you shared a crust of bread in a garret together, but it is a little disconcerting when you reflect how near to a garret is the room you are sitting in. Cakes and ale. W. Somerset Maugham. QUESTIONS. Reading comprehension 1. Could you explain what is courage necessary for? 2. What do they have for dinner? 3. Is it pleasant to talk about the past? Is there anything pleasant at all about it? 4. According to the writer, should friends be kept throughout a whole life? 5. Write down a composition about friendship. Use around 80 words. 6. Vocabulary: Garret means 1. a kind o room.

2. A kind of food.

Crust means

1. the inner part of bread.

2. the outer part of bread.

Burgundy is

1. meat.

To be dropped means

2. wine. 1. to be accepted.

2. to be forgotten.

7. Put the following sentences into reported speech with the introducing verb in the past tense. 1. Have you had anything to eat? We=ve just finished our dinner. 2. I hear that Ann was at the dance last night. What was she wearing? 3. The clock has stopped. Did you forget to wind it up? 4. Did you ring me up last night? 5. George is taking his exam in June. Do you think he will pass? 8. Combine the following ideas by means of a defining or non-defining relatives using a contact clause wherever possible. 1. This is the man. I gave money to him this morning.

2. Ann Boleyn was Henry VIII=s second wife. Henry executed her in 1536. 3. An old soldier sits begging on the pavement. His legs were shot away in the last war. 4. His stepmother was not very kind to him. He was living with her. 5. Last week I went to see the country town. He used to live in that town. 9. Complete the following conditionals. 1. If he had worked harder 2. He will not come unless 3. I should not have lost my money if 4. If you don=t visit me soon 5. If I met your friend John in the street Tomado de

Indian drummers

Shillong 1) __________ north east India 2) __________ the world record yesterday for the largest number of people 3) __________ the drums together. People travelled 4) __________ long way, many 5) __________ foot, from villages in the state in order 6) __________ in.

A total of 7,951 people played the drums at 7) __________ same time, over seven hundred more than the old record.

The state now 8) __________ two world records - it is the wettest place in the world as well.

Questions 1 in on at 2 breaks broke broken 3 play plays playing

4 a an 5 by


on in

6 join to join joining 7 the a 8 hold

as holds


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Open web page to listen the Reading. This








Carrots are grown on and in family gardens throughout the world. Carrots are easy to raise and easy to harvest. They taste good. And they contain a lot of carotene, which the body makes into vitamin A. When people think of carrots, they usually picture in their mind a vegetable that is long, thin and orange in color. But carrots come in many different are

and shapes. And not all carrots orange.

For example, Paris Market carrots are about five centimeters around. Imperator carrots are thin and about twenty-five centimeters long. And Belgian White carrots are, as their suggests,


For the best results, carrots should be grown in sandy soil that does not hold long time. The soil also should have

for a rocks.


To prepare your carrot garden, dig up the soil, loosen it and turn it over. Then, mix in some plant material



Weather, soil conditions and age will affect the way carrots taste. Experts say warm days, cool and a medium soil temperature are the best conditions for growing carrots that taste great. Carrots need to develop their full sugar content. This gives them their taste. If they are harvested too early, they will not have enough sugar. But carrots loose their sweetness if you wait too long to pull them from the ground. The best way to judge if a carrot is ready to be harvested is by its color. Usually, the the color, the better the


Most people do not know that carrots can be grown during the winter months. If the winter is not cold enough to freeze the ground, you can grow and harvest carrots the same way as during the summer


If the ground does freeze in your part of the world, simply cover your carrot garden with a the

layer of leaves or straw. This will prevent the ground from freezing. You can remove ground cover and harvest the carrots as they are needed.

Carrots are prepared and eaten many different ways. They are cut in thin pieces and added to other vegetables. They are cooked by themselves or added to washed,








. Or, once they are out





And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. For more agricultural advice, along with transcripts and archives of our reports, go to And our e-mail address is I'm Steve Ember.

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