Monday, April 29, 2019

(Upper-Intermediate) What "Orwellian" really means

If you’ve watched the news or followed politics, chances are you’ve heard the term Orwellian thrown around in one context or another. But have you ever stopped to think about what it really means, or why it’s used so often? Noah Tavlin dissects the term.

Watch and takes notes. The share your understanding with a partner using the video with the sound off.


What "Orwellian" really means

What does it say in general about the word "orwellian"? It's common use.

What do you learn about Orwell's life?

What did Orwell believe about language?

What is Orwellian language?

What happens at the ministries of love, truth, peace etc?

What are joy camps?

What is newspeak?

What are thought crimes?

Why is the word "orwellian"n sometimes itself an "orwellian" word?

C1.3 Unit 5: A Good Life


Explore the theme of lifestyle and living

Read and evaluate a variety of fiction that in different ways examine the ways we live.

To think about the importance and influence of authors in our culture.

Explore the idea of utopia and dystopia

Read, present and discuss two recent articles about authors and their unpublished work being brought to light.

Listen to two TED Lessons: one on the notion of the "Kafkaesque"

To try out some writing ideas in the science fiction genre.


P 57: Learn and use a range of adjectives used to describe people

P 58: Learn about uses of adjectives

P 61: learn a variety of phrasal verbs (used in the context of lifestyle and living)

P 62: Learn different types of "cleft" sentence - a very common and useful sentence form in English.


Learn how to match words quickly with a synonym (Kahoot)

Work at our spelling of less common, literary words

To work at better conveying the meaning of a text when reading aloud.

Yay, Kahoot to start!

12 preview questions...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

(Advanced Film / Lit SPIN) The Sentinel





24 things

The Sentinel by Arthur C Clarke. Narrated by Siddig El Fadil.

Pre listening - read through these terms:

freighter (spaceships for freight)
crevass (deep gaps in the mountains)
skirting the foothills (exploring only the edges of the hills)
stupendous cliffs (very tall)
searing sunlight (very bright)
nightfall (the arrival of night)
pressurized tractors (with oxygen)
rugged landscape (rough hills)
capes and promontories (steep hills stick out over flat areas) 
a vast delta (flat land where water runs)
uplands (hills)
a galley (kitchen)
terrestrial (from Earth)
imperceptible haziness (not easy to see far)
molten crust (hot lava under the ground)
ramparts (steep slopes)
iridescence (brightness)
the observation turret (observation tower)
just enough to tantalize me (make me curious)
elusive (difficult to identify)
enigma (mystery)
presently (soon)
the laughing-stock (a fool)
degenerate ancestors (primitive)
folly (foolishness)
completely unscalable (impossible to climb)
ledge (shelf of rock)
our plan of ascent (plan to climb)
exhilaration (excitement)
had scarcely begun (only just)
many-faceted (with lots of different sides)
moss (grows on rocks etc)
a shrine (sacred structure)
the plateau (flat land high up)
ceaseless bombardment (non-stop hitting)
irrevocably doomed (without any hope)
apparition (ghost, mystery)
a single token of its existence (token = sign)
overexertion (trying too hard)
a sentinel (guardian, watchman)
the emissaries are coming (people on a special mission)

1. When and where is the story set?

2. Why was the narrator there?

3. What was the narrator's profession?

4. Who is Louis Garnett? Who is Wilson?

5. What happens while the narrator is cooking sausages?

6. Can you describe the object the narrator discovers?

7. Why did the narrator begin to laugh?

8. What happened in the end?

9. Who were the People of the Dawn?

10. What was the purpose of the Sentinel?

11. "the old are often insanely jealous of the young"

Why does the narrator say this?

Link to audio book:

The Sentinel


1. Why did the writer spend so much time establishing the scene before describing the ascent of the mountain?

2. Why do you think he chose to set it in the Mare Crisum?

3. Why did he choose for Garnet not to reach the Plateau with Wilson?

4. Could this story have been extended into a novel?

5. Does the story have a message?

(Advanced) The Cold Equations - by Tom Godwin, 1954

The Cold Equations (1954, by Tom Godwin) 

The story takes place aboard an Emergency Dispatch Ship headed for the frontier planet Woden with a load of desperately needed medical supplies. The pilot, Barton, discovers a stowaway: an eighteen-year-old girl. By law, all EDS stowaways are to be jettisoned because EDS vessels carry no more fuel than is absolutely necessary to land safely at their destination. The girl, Marilyn, merely wants to see her brother, Gerry, and was not aware of the law. When boarding the EDS, Marilyn saw the "UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL KEEP OUT!" sign, but thought she would at most have to pay a fine if she were caught. Barton explains that her presence dooms the mission by exceeding the weight limit, and the subsequent crash would kill both of them and doom the colonists awaiting the medical supplies. After contacting her brother for the last moments of her life, Marilyn willingly walks into the airlock and is ejected into space. 


1. Which will you spend most time describing - the ship, the planet Woden, or the nature of the mission? Why?

2. Who will be the central figure of the story - Barton or the girl? Why?

Match these parts of these story to the headings below:

a) The ship is headed for Woden 
b) Barton discovers the girl
c) Barton and Marilyn realise they have a dilemma
d) Marilyn talks to her brother
f) Marilyn is ejected 

The problem 
The development
The exposition

Which parts would you narrate quite quickly, which parts would you expand? 

Write some adjectives for Barton

Write some adjectives for Marilyn

Write some adjectives for Gerry

Write an opening paragraph for the story....

Student opening paragraphs (C1.3) to The Cold Equations

Colonizing planets always seemed like an unimaginable dream for mankind. It has become reality with this new planet, Woden. As with any new ideas coming to life, colonizing planets and outer space has inevitable pitfalls. People are dying and are encountering danger on the ‘brand-new’ planet, but this brown-haired girl with freckles like traced constellations was unaware of it. Her brother Gerry would call her the ‘reckless star’ because of her glazing desire to embark on seas she didn’t even know existed without worrying about the consequences. But in this story, she was more generally named Marilyn. Unfortunately, the reckless star was not welcomed to shine in the sky tonight.

With time we were told that anxiety and fear was everywhere on the planet Woden. People were saying goodbye to their families because of the illness they had to face. Medicine, the most important thing -  you wouldn’t think it is until your life depends on it. Thousands of calls screaming for help to Planet Earth were made every day. And we answered, we answered every single call.
The mission was assigned to me. I’ve been preparing for this kind of task all my career, so I wasn’t fearful or nervous, I just wanted to get to Woden and save the lives of those fighting back, and put an end to their living hell so the stories that I’ve had heard could be told as history in the future.

I woke up and I realized that my brother was gone. The only thing he left was a note saying that everything he was doing will be good for both of us someday. I was desperate and wanted to find out where he had gone. I decided to check his computer and I was shocked about what I just read. He had received an acceptance letter of a space program which was taking the people to another planet to colonize it. I was shocked. My brother was the only thing I had left, I couldn’t live without him. I promised myself that I would do everything to be together with him again.

It is all over the news, every day. Marilyn switched off the TV, because she couldn’t see it anymore. The frontier planet Woden was in desperate need of medical supplies and her brother was one of those people currently on this planet. For one week, she was trying to contact him without success when suddenly her phone rang. Marilyn picked it up. While listening to the anonymous caller, she ran upstairs, quickly stuffed some clothes in her backpack, grabbed her car key and stumbled outside, ending the call.
While driving to the meeting point, so many things ran through her mind...

Image result for cold equations

The actual opening section:

He was not alone.

There was nothing to indicate the fact but the white hand of the tiny gauge on the board before him. The control room was empty but for himself; there was no sound other than the murmur of the drives — but the white hand had moved. It had been on zero when the little ship was launched from the Stardust; now, an hour later, it had crept up. There was something in the supply closet across the room, it was saying, some kind of a body that radiated heat.

It could be but one kind of a body — a living, human body.

Read the story here:

 The Cold Equations

In this activity we made a frankenstein story...(each group in the class writes a diffent section of the story)

a) The ship is headed for Woden  / b) Barton discovers the girl

Everything was all right, and it had to be all right given many lives at stake, waiting for a savior. Barton, a veteran pilot, was headed for the frontier planet Woden in his Emergency Dispatch Ship with a load of deaperately needed medical supplies. About an hour after taking off, he somehow glanced at one of the control panels when he found out there was something wrong. The ship was overweighted roughly by ab adult human being, which meant there was a stowaway somewhere that sneaked into the ship right before the outset. A pilot who spent nearly all of his life, he knew exactly where to look, and in the cargo bay, he found the girl, who merely wanted to see her brother Gerry in the colony that had been out of contact for weeks. Her name was Marilyn.

c) Barton and Marilyn realise they have a dilemma

"Emergency! Emrgency!" cried Barton over the radio, "the fuel tank is too low for us both to make it - one of us has to be ejected into space". Marylin listened in horror.  She thought for a moment and then said "I know - let's decide through Rock-Paper-Scissors - best of three." "OK", said Barton, "but shall we have some hawaiian pizza together first?". He always played better on a full stomach. After the pizza they played and Barton won 2-3. "Damn", said Maylin. "Can I quickly call my brother?"
d) Marilyn talks to her brother

She picked up the phone and dialed. Hearing Gerry's voice made Marylin burst into tears. Gerry tried to calm her down and reassure her that everything was going to be okay. But it wasn't. As they were sayiong their last goodbyes the connection was abruptly cut off. 

f) Marilyn is ejected 

The doors of the airlock closed behind her, with a resounding shush. The air within the airlock was freezing cold, and truly makes you think of the chilling blackness of the empty space of the universe.

Suddenly a red clock above the outer door lit up, and red number slowly counting down from ten. She knew this was the end. But she had no true regrets, she got her chance of saying goodbye to her brother. Sad as she may be that she would never see him again, this was an interesting way to go. In a way she would be immortalized in the never-ending expanse of the universe.

C1.3 Review of words from the Kafkaesque and The Sentinel

General Questions on vocab from The Sentinel:

1. What do we call the smaller hills before the bigger hills?


2. What do we call the arrival of night?


3. What adjective do we use to describe rough rocky landscape?


4. What is another word for brightness?


5. What is another word for tower - especially one that is quite thin?


6. What is a word that means difficult to identify or pin down?


7. What's another word for mystery?


8. What word can mean "soon"?


9. What's another word for foolishness?


10. l____  (shelf of rock)

11. had s_______ begun (only just)

12. a s______ (sacred structure)

13. irrevocably d_______ (without any hope)


1. Poseidon
2. Prague

3. bureaucracy

4. Kafkaesque

5. arbitrary

6. anonymity
7. tyranny
8. perpetuate
9. bewildering
10. proceedings
11. vernacular
12. mundane
13. nonsensical
14. convoluted


1. freighter 
2. stupendous

3. rugged 
4. promontories
5. delta 

6. imperceptible 
7. haziness 
8. iridescence 

9. tantalise 

10 elusive 

11. degenerate 

12. folly 
13. exhilaration
14. many-faceted 
15. plateau 
16. ceaseless 
17. irrevocably 
18. apparition

19. emissaries 

(Advanced) What makes something Kafkaesque?

The term Kafkaesque has entered the vernacular to describe unnecessarily complicated and frustrating experiences, especially with bureaucracy. But does standing in a long line to fill out confusing paperwork really capture the richness of Kafka’s vision? Beyond the word’s casual use, what makes something "Kafkaesque"?

Before watching

Who is Poseidon?

Do you ever feel that life is absurd?

Have you ever been to Prague?

Have you ever had bad experiences with bureaucracy?

Have you ever worked in bureaucracy?

What are bureaucrats like? Write down some adjectives - positive and negative...


What makes something "Kafkaesque"?

25 question Kahoot






dr--m l-g-c


c--ght -p -n






str-ngth -f w-ll






--t -f n-wh-r-




c-me -p w-th

t- -nt-r th- v-rn-c-l-r


c-s--l -s-


-n p-rt


t-rn --t t- b-

-n th- f-rst pl-c-

b- sw-mp-d w-th


t-ll-ng (adj)





f-r th- b-tt-r

(Advanced) How to recognise a dystopia

Have you ever imagined an ideal world? The genre of dystopia – the ‘not good place’– has captured the imaginations of artists and audiences alike for centuries. But why do we bother with all this pessimism? Alex Gendler explains how dystopias act as cautionary tales – not about some particular government or technology, but the very idea that humanity can be molded into an ideal shape.


How to recognize a dystopia

Check you know the answers to these questions.

Who ruled Plato's Republic?

Who coined the word "Utopia"?

What is one of the earliest examples of dystopian literature? Which groups of society did the book satirise?

What keeps people happy in Brave New World?

What were the two common promises of modern utopian political movements?

Which novel influenced the novel 1984?

What is the movie Dr Strangelove about?

What does The Handmaid's Tale warn us about?

What anxieties have more recent dystopian fictions explored?

What do dystopian visions all have in common apart from pessimism?