There is a common pattern among my students when talking about their English skills, and which of their skills are stronger and weaker. Most students complain that they don’t speak as well as they would like to, and/or lack the confidence to … Continue reading
We’re continuing on with Learning Outside the Box with Instagram series and featuring an Instagram star, Dan aka (*also known as*) @ betterenglish. I think I first noticed Dan and his videos months ago, and they immediately stood out (*got … Continue reading
Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings to you, wherever you are in the world and to whatever you may or may not be celebrating today. Even if you aren’t decking the halls (decorating your house) with Christmas … Continue reading
Today’s post fills me with excitement because it combines a few things that I love: teaching English outside the box, utilizing Instagram for learning, and Inglês Feito à Mão’s creativity! If you’ve been following me for a while then you know how much I … Continue reading
Today seems like the perfect day to share with you some English expressions and English idioms related to shopping, since this weekend marks the busiest shopping time of the year. Not only do we have Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving, … Continue reading
The first photo I shared in week 3 of #nostalgicnovember was taken in New Zealand. Spread across a bright green, rolling hillside were thousands of off-white dots. These off-white dots looked almost like a vast cotton field. The green grass that peeked from underneath the white specks appeared so bright because of the way its horizon met an almost white sky, an overcast day with one large, luminous cloud covering the sun. When you look at the off-white dots up close, you can see they are not specks of cotton, but sheep. Thousands of sheep danced around the field, in an enclosed area right off a dirt road. This is what I imagine when I think of driving through the countryside on the South Island of New Zealand.
I want you to try and imagine this photo, if you haven’t already, by using the descriptive language to “paint” yourself a picture. You can utilize the many adjectives (bright green, rolling, off-white, vast, overcast, large, luminous, etc..) to bring life to the nouns (things). You can think about the personification* I used to imagine what was happening (the grass peeked, thousands of sheep danced), and apply the comparisons I used to understand what to envision/see in your mind (looked like a vast cotton field). Finally, I gave details in my description that would allow you to visualize concrete things in the photo ([the] horizon met [the] sky, the sheep, an enclosed area, dirt road), make sure these find their way into your photo.
You are going to see the photo that I was describing below, but I want you to really try and imagine it first to see how powerful descriptive language can be in writing and communication. Learning how to and becoming comfortable with descriptive language will enable you to express yourself more effectively, and use your English language in a more meaningful way. This week on my Instagram photo challenge, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice this skill. Why? Well for 2 reasons. The first is you will have the opportunity to read my posts (@jenesl760), Wanderful‘s posts (@sheswanderful), and other Instagramers, so you can see how we all use descriptive language. You can learn and expand your vocabulary, while improving reading comprehension. The next benefit of participating in the challenge is that you will have the chance to practice writing and using your own descriptive language. Practice makes perfect, right? So apply these new skills and practice using them; plus if you share with me, I will give you personal feedback! A final bonus that’s really amazing is one lucky participator (someone sharing posts, tagging us, and using #nostalgicnovember) will win a prize pack from me and sheswanderful.com! (WAHOO!)
A quick English lesson before we see my photo…
off-white [noun] a color that is a slightly gray (grayish) white – often used as an adjective
dots [plural noun]: small round mark (usually a circle)
vast [adjective]: very large in amount or size
peek [verb]: to look at something from a hidden place; to look at briefly
specks [plural noun]: a very small spot or piece of something
luminous [adjective]: very bright, filled with light
enclosed [adjective]: being surround by something, such as a wall or fence
to paint (one’s self) a picture [expression]: to imagine an image in one’s head and visualize it as if it were a real photo or picture
personification [noun]: a form of figurative language, when a human characteristic is applied to something that is not human (like an object or animal)
Personification Examples & Explanations:
As mentioned, personification is when a writer (or someone) gives a human characteristic (a verb, for example) to a non-human thing. In my photo description, I applied the verb PEEK when talking about what the grass was doing. Peeking, or “looking”, is a human characteristic because humans have eyes that can see and look at something, the object, grass, cannot. So I used this verb to help describe how the grass was “looking out” from underneath the sheep, how the grass was essentially looking from a hidden place which was below the sheep. This can help you visualize how little of the grass may be showing, or how many sheep (white specks) there actually are. Additionally, I described the sheep as dancing around the field. We know that a sheep, an animal, doesn’t really have the ability to dance (move to the rhythm of music), so this human characteristic was used to describe the way they seemed to move around (be spread out) across the field.
Other examples of personification:
“I am so hungry that I hear my lunch calling my name!”
“I could hear the leaves whispering in the wind today.”
Emily Dickinson used a few personifications, with adjectives and a verb, in this example: “..”Where bashful flower blow, and blushing birds go down to drink, and shadows tremble so..”
Now that you have imagined my photo, and an idea of how to use descriptive language, take a look at my first scenery picture. Was it close to what you imagined? What was the same, what did you image differently?
It’s time to practice what you’ve learned in today’s lesson and share your own photos now with me and Wanderful over on Instagram. Participating is easy, remember all you need to do is:
- Go to Instagram and make sure you follow me and @sheswanderful
- Post your favorite scenic landscape from the past and hashtag #nostalgicnovember and tag the two of us so we can see
- Be sure to use as much descriptive language (as mentioned above) as you can for even more practice
- See if your photo is a feature on our page, we’ll tag you so you will know!
- At the end of the month, we’ll announce the prize winner
I hope you enjoyed your lesson today, and please share with someone you know studying English to help them too! Sharing is caring. Happy Monday and as always,
Happy Studying! ♥
You read the title, so you know what we’re about to do! But first, I’d like you to close your eyes and imagine the most delicious dish (meal) you’ve ever had. What did it look like, smell like, taste like? Was … Continue reading
Happy Hump Day English learners and lovers!
Welcome to week 2 of the August Learning Plan, 7 days dedicated to SPEAKING! This is something that the majority of English learners want to practice, something that I get asked about all the time. If you are someone who wants to..
- improve conversational abilities
- gain more confidence in speaking
- improve your pronunciation
- find out more ways to practice speaking in English
- naturally improve your grammar in use
- learn with me
…then this is the week for you! You can connect with me for group conversation classes by visiting English Outside the Box (activity 1), and check out the pronunciation post tomorrow (activity 3). However, today’s post is all about the Instagram/YouTube video speaking challenge! The video you are about to watch below is also EXTRA special because I am also introducing to you a new blog contributor, Isadora! She is also completing the YouTube challenge, so we wanted to upload our video together.
How can you participate in the Instagram/YouTube Challenge?
- Grab your phone or camera, and take a video introducing yourself and 1) talking about your next vacation and 2) talking about something you learned last week.
- UPLOAD and POST it for me to see!
- If it’s under 15 seconds then upload it on Instagram, and make sure to tag me @jenesl760 and use the hashtag #auglp
- If it’s longer than 15 seconds (or you don’t have Instagram) then you can post in on my Facebook wall, or upload it onto yours and tag me @EnglishOutsidetheBox. Don’t forget to use #auglp so I can DEFINITELY find it!
- Your final option is to upload it onto YouTube and send the link to me to: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact tab on this website.
Why should you participate in the video challenge?
It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you will (probably) be stepping outside your comfort zone, which is a great way to push yourself to better speaking skills! Remember as Tony Robbins says, “if you don’t what you’ve always done, you’ll get where you’ve always gotten.” If you are an English speaker you can upload a video in English, to help other learners, or you can upload a video in any language you are learning! Fun, huh?!
If you are reading this post later than week 2 of this learning plan, don’t worry! You can participate in this challenge anytime. In fact, I encourage you to continue practicing speaking, making videos and uploading them, so you continue learning and improving. You can still tag me and I’ll still give you some feedback!
Good luck! I look forward to seeing your videos, and Isadora and I hope you enjoy ours! See you soon and ..
Happy Studying! ♥
Hey! Calling all Portuguese speakers! Você fala português? Melhora sua pronúncia aqui com meu curso: “Pronúncia de inglês para nativos de língua português” para só $5. Visit: http://bit.ly/auglp-pron ((Do you speak Portuguese? Improve your pronunciation here with my course: “English Pronunciation for Portuguese Speakers” for only $5))
Don’t forget you can take lessons to improve your pronunciation with me and English Outside the Box, just send me an e-mail through the contact form or visit: www.englishoutsidethebox.com/learn-english.html for more information.
Hello my “out of the box” readers! I hope this day finds you feeling happy and magical! Today’s post is to share with you yet another way I am connecting you with learning opportunities “outside the box”, outside the norm, … Continue reading
Join me on Instagram and/or Facebook to connect through the power of words. Make June more exciting, find the beauty in words and how many interpretations there can be. These photo challenges are a great way to start paying more attention to what’s around you, you can feel inspired by life’s most simple objects, and if English isn’t your first language, you can maybe practice some new vocabulary 😉
To participate, follow/friend me on Instagram: @JenESL760 or Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenESL760
Next, snap a photo of what represents each day and make sure to hashtag #JensESLblog and tag me so I can see!
Miss a day? That’s okay! Double post #latergram on the same day or just look forward to the new day’s challenge…
Don’t have these forms of social media? What year are you living in?! 🙂 Jokes aside, feel free to post on your blog, and include a pingback to let me know.