Inspire and Advise

Hi Everyone,

What a beautiful, sunny and warm day it is! This is graduation season at the many colleges and universities here in Boston and Cambridge. Related imageThe graduation ceremonies all full of traditions, and a way to honor and congratulate all the students. In addition to awarding diplomas to students, there are also commencement speeches that offer advice and inspiration to graduates as they head off into the world.

Today we focused first on inspiration.Who inspires us? What inspires us? Where do we get inspiration? Image result for inspiration in a canWe can be inspired by nature, the planet, heroes, kindness, books, movies, music, lectures and much more. We are also inspired by our parents, family and friends, students, teachers, religious and political leaders, and many historical figures. Inspiration has a positive effect on our behavior and emotions. 

We agreed that people in our lives and other humans often give us inspiration. We watched this video of a conversation between Blanca Alvarez and her daughter, Connie. They talk about their struggles and challenges in life and how it led to inspiration. Take a look here: 

Image result for icing on the cake

icing on the cake means something that makes something good even better

After watching we talked about how Blanca inspired her daughter to achieve success in her life by watching her mother and father deal with the challenges of coming to the United States and starting a new life.

As Connie says at the end of their conversation “For me watching you go to school with two kids and trying to make ends meet that was the biggest inspiration for me to finish college. So, it’s the most important thing for me having gone to college and I feel like anything I do from here on out is ok, because I’ve already achieved my dream. Everything else is icing on the cake.” 

Now, for the advice part of today’s topic. As we mentioned earlier this is graduation season and that means lots of graduation speeches. We watched this 2 minute video of the best 2016 commencement speeches. 

The clips are brief and fast, but, there are some inspiring advice offered to the graduates and lots of congratulations! (Remember that advice is a noun – pronounced with an “s” sound; and advise is a verb – pronounced with a “z” sound)

Next we watched this video which was originally a column in the Chicago Tribune published in 1997, 20 years ago. It was written to offer advice to graduates, and as we watched it we listened to the advice and thought about whether or not it is still relevant today, 20 years later. Take a look here:

We discussed the advice and then in groups shared some of the pieces of advice and decided which we thought was the most important. We also discussed some of our own advice we would also offer to graduates. So, inspiration can be in actions, and words.    Nice job everyone!!

Words of the day

arm in arm (idiom) : next to each other with the arm of one person linked at the elbow to the arm of another person                                                                                     An elderly couple walked down the street arm in arm, and it showed their closeness together.

exhilarate (verb) : to cause (someone) to feel happy and excited                                    We were exhilarated by the news of his promotion to manager.

bulky (adjective) : large and difficult to carry or store : of a person : large and muscular                                                                                                                                      It’s always a challenge of where to store all my bulky winter coats and sweaters!

Remember to relax and practice! 



Wear Sunscreen

Hi Everyone,

Well it’s a beautiful, sunny and warm Friday here – a great start to Memorial Day Weekend! We began this morning with a quick review of the 8 parts of speech:

We talked about when to use them and discussed some examples. Then we split up into small groups and did a crazy exercise using parts of speech and putting them into a short story. Great work everyone!

Today’s topic was Wear Sunscreen. This is Memorial Day weekend, and in addition to honoring those who served and died for our country and freedom, Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to summer, and a time of lots of graduations from the schools, colleges and universities in the area. We talked about our experiences with graduation ceremonies and all the tradition and activities. One important part of the graduation ceremony is the commencement speech. This is the speech given to the graduates which congratulations them for their academic achievements and also offers advice, empathy, and sometimes, humor as the graduates embark on their futures. Here is a short video we watched of 2015 commencement speeches –

We talked about many adjectives that describe these commencement speeches, and how they make us feel. Then we watched this video made from a commencement speech in 1997 (almost 20 years ago). There is a lot of advice offered in the video. Take another look here – 

After watching we discussed the advice given, which we liked the most and the least. We agreed that it was all good advice, and even after 20 years it was still valid and valuable. Wear Sunscreen!!

Words of the day

shut-eye (noun) : {informal} sleep                                                                                           After all the late nights and graduation parties, I’m sure there are lots of students that could use some shut-eye.

smidgen (noun) : {informal} a small amount                                                                           That cake looks so yummy, but I’ll have just a smidgen of it with some ice cream.

breezy (adjective) : windy : informal and lively                                                                     Students may have a breezy outlook on life, now that school is over for the year.

Happy Memorial Day!

Remember to relax and practice.

Don’t forget the sunscreen!