Visit from Mt. Vernon Institute

Our business class that does design thinking had the privilege of hosting a group of high school students from Mt. Vernon Institute.  We got to show them around campus and we spent some time discussing how we might collaborate in the future.

I am looking forward to seeing what we can do together and I am reminded of one of my favorite sayings – “It takes a team to make a dream work.”

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Comparisons: Practice with as…as


Comparison 1: as…as.  We will look at comparisons and we will start off with one of the most common comparisons, as…as.  Now what can go inside

as adjective as

as adverb as

as many plural noun as

as much noncount noun as

When doing this type of comparison, first look to see if it is equal or different.  Let’s look at a simple example.

My brother is tall.  My oldest nephew is very tall.  Are they equal or different?  They are different obviously.  Now the second question you need to ask is what grammar do we have?  Do we have an adjective, adverb, plural noun or noncount noun?  We have an adjective. We know an adjective can go in between as adjective as.  Then we need to see which one is less.   Here my brother is less tall.  So if they are different, you need to put the one that is less first.

My brother isn’t as tall as my oldest nephew.  (In formal writing, you would need to make it parallel.  We will talk about that later).


Let’s look at the chart below, which was taken from this site,

Let’s compare some of the uses of time.


writing vs. making the margins very small.  Now what was the first thing we needed to do?  We need to see if they are the same or different.  They are different.  Then the second thing we need to do is see if we have an adjective, adverb, plural noun or noncount noun.  What do we have?  which one is less.  Well we are comparing time.  It is noncount and we can use the word time.  What do we need before the noncount noun – as much time as.

Now which one is less?  Writing.

We don’t spend as much time writing as we spend making the margins very small.

Let’s let you do some.  1) See if it is the same or different. 2) see what kind of grammar structure you have – adjective, adverb, noncount noun or plural noun 3) then see which one is less.  Please look at each of these two comparisons and try to write sentences.  You can write them in the comment section or on a separate sheet of paper.

1.Writing and crying because you are going to fail your class




2.Writing and Facebook



I’ll give you the answers tomorrow. Have a great night.  I’m going to crash because I’m tired.



Answers to Earlier Practice for Slang: Emotions

Please do the following matching exercise.  

1.____d_what’s up with that?                                   a.too much work

2.___e__I’m pissed off.                                                 b.tired

3.__f___He’s freaking out.                                         c.little sad

4.__c___I’m bummed out.                                      d.surprised

5._a____I’m swamped.                                               e.angry

6.__b___I’m beat.                                                            f.go crazy in a good or bad way

Slang: Weather Practice

Please answer the following questions about slang related to weather:

How can you say it’s raining a lot?

How can you say it’s raining a little?

How can you say you got really wet because of the rain?

Now answer these questions that are not slang but are related to weather:

What is worse – a tornado or a hurricane?

What is worse – a watch or a warning?

What is hail?

In a thunderstorm you have thunder and lightning.  Which one is the sound in a thunderstorm?

Which one is the light you see?

Don’t forget:  If you plan to live in a city in the US, make sure you know what dangerous weather they may have and what you should do to keep yourself safe.





Slang: Emotions Continued

Please fill in the following expressions in the appropriate blanks:

bummed out

going to crash

pissed off


what’s up with that

freaking out

I’m beat

Conversation 1: Tonight was one of the quarterfinal games in the World Cup. 

A: The Brasilian team lost. _________________________?

B: I am _________________ that they lost.  I kind of just want to go to bed and forget it all.

Conversation 2: 

A: I am so ______________ at how Brasil played.  I am just so upset.

B: You needed someone to bite the German players and maybe that could have helped.

Conversation 3:

A:  I didn’t watch the game.  I was ______________________.  I had too much work to do.

B: It’s probably better.  It wasn’t the best game to watch.

Conversation 4:

A: One of my former students posted on Facebook every few minutes.  He is totally_____________ because he’s Brasilian.

Well, _________________________.  I’m going ____________________.  I need to get some sleep.

I am sorry for my Brasilian friends and students but they did make it to the quarter final and their best player was injured.


Slang: Weather

In this post, we will look at weather related vocabulary.  Most of what we will look at here will be slang.  However, there are some vocabulary words related to weather that aren’t slang but I just want to make sure you know.

If you are going to be studying at a university in the U.S. whether it is for ESL and for your major, make sure that wherever you choose to go that you check out what the weather there is typically like.

Let’s now look at some vocabulary for weather.   Please note that the slash mark (/) means they are synonyms, close in meaning.


Raining a lot – It’s pouring.

Raining a little – it’s sprinkling/it’s drizzling.

When a person gets totally wet because they got rained on – I’m soaked.


Freezing rain – It’s sleeting.

I’m cold - I’m freezing/I’m so cold/I’m freezing to death

Very little snow -There are some snow flurries.

A lot of snow – They’re in a blizzard.


Lightning – the bright light you see in the sky that can hurt you during a thunderstorm

Thunder – the sound

thunderstorms – a combination of thunder and lightning

Hail – solid rain. Keep watching and you’ll see the solid rain, the hail.

Flooding – lots of water in an area at once. 

Tornadoes –

Hurricanes- these are much more dangerous than tornadoes although tornadoes are dangerous. Hurricanes can produce a lot of tornadoes, cause flooding, and just totally destruction in a VERY large area.

Tornado watch/warning/hurricane watch/warning.  A watch means that the conditions are possible for a tornado to occur.  A warning means that a tornado has been sighted in your area.  You need to get to safety immediately.  A hurricane watch means that the conditions are possible for a hurricane.  Typically with a hurricane warning, there is much advanced warning and you need to make sure that you do NOT stay in the area when you get advanced warning but leave.

Earthquakes - there are technical definitions but you probably are familiar with earthquakes.  It is when the earth shakes. The severity of earthquakes are measure on what is called the Richter scale.  An 8.1 earthquake is much more dangerous than a 5.1, for example. 1989 Earthquake in California – 

There are many other types of violent weather like tsunamis, typhoons, volcanoes or an avalanche.


Slang: Emotions Practice 1

Please do the following matching exercise.  

1._____what’s up with that?                                     a.too much work

2._____I’m pissed off.                                                   b.tired

3._____He’s freaking out.                                           c.little sad

4._____I’m bummed out.                                           d.surprised

5._____I’m swamped.                                                    e.angry

6._____I’m beat.                                                                f.go crazy in a good or bad way



Advanced Listening, Outside Listening Assignment 1, What Every Parent Should Know

Please go to the following link, listen to the lecture and take notes. Make sure you have a plan in that you use an outline.  After you take notes and the lecture is over, please put in outline form.


You can find the link here,  or

A brief note about the speaker:

The presenter gave this talk at TedxAtlanta in May of 2014.  Her talk was focused on closing the 30 million word gap.  What is that?  A previous study by Hart and Risley concluded that some kids heard 30 million fewer words by their 4th birthday.  Fitzgerald gave some great and practical information for parents, educators and anyone who cares about poverty and children.  You really don’t want to miss this lecture.

Please read here her bio here:

For more information:


Slang: Emotions

Let’s look at our first theme, Emotions.

Here are some of the most popular expressions for these emotions:

Angry:  Ticked off/pissed off

Little sad:  I‘m bummed (out)

Too much work:

I’m stressed out


I’m swamped


Tired: I’m beat/I’m wiped out

I’m going to crash – I’m so tired that I have to go to bed.


what’s up with that?

you gotta be kidding?/seriously?

Go crazy in a good or bad way: freaked out

For Fun and Inspiration


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