Tuesday, November 28, 2017


“Social media can boost teen’s self-esteem – or foster depression”
By: Alison Pearce Stevens
Published: Science News for Students, Oct 12, 2017, https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/social-media-whats-not
Level of Difficulty: **
·         How social media effects teenagers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgdS7uKKMAE
·         Why I quit social media for a year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFSwDtspY5c  
1.       Read the first four paragraphs of the text and answer the questions:
·         Social interaction has undergone a radical change in recent years in that the traditional venue has been replaced by…
·         What major difference between the traditional venues for socialization and the modern venues is a cause of problems? The fact that…
·         The above issue may have serious repercussions for students in that …
2.       Read the section titled a filtered view and answer the questions:
·         We gain important insight into teenagers’ state of mind from the 2015 experiment. It is that…..
·         The distorted image teenagers present to their social circle is due to the fact that…
·         The down side of the above is that…
·         What conclusion can be drawn from the information provided thus far?
·         We understand from the 2015 study of eighth and ninth graders that the quality of the post/ the length of the post / the nature of the post / the seriousness of the post may have an effect on popularity.
·         What habit mentioned in this section may affect the state of mind of teenagers? Whether …
3.       Read the section titled “A place to connect and answer the questions:
·         What widely held prejudice was disproved by Marwick and Boyd?
·         There are physical / practical/ emotional / social reasons why teenagers hang out on social media
·         What major feature of online communication can cause serious repercussions?
4.       Read the section titled “Online Drama” and answer the questions:
·         The reason why the term online drama is used to describe confrontations online is the fact that………
·         What epithet do teenagers avoid using in this context?
·         The term online drama is used to alter perceptions / change messages/ adapt messages / promote understanding
5.       Read the section titled “Keeping It in the Family” and answer the questions:
·         Read the study Coyne and her colleagues carried out. Connecting with parents on social media benefits parents in that…
·         It also benefitted teenagers themselves in that their level of anti-social behavior was…(Provide a one word answer)
·         We understand from the text that social media is beneficial so long as …
Use all you have learnt to write an essay discussing the advantages and disadvantages of teenagers’ use of social media.
This extremely topical text provides a good all-round analysis of the use of social media by teenagers. The upsides and downsides are clearly explained. As a result the text should generate plenty of discussion and lead to a well rounded essay.
1.       The answers to the questions in this section 
·         Social media (such as instagram, snapchat and facebook)
·         Using social media to connect with others is kind of like having a private conversation in a public place.
·         They can feel cut out, judged, less connected and caught in online drama and cyber bullying
2.       The answers to the questions in this section 
·         Peer feedback plays a big role in how teens view themselves and each other
·         Teens present idealized versions of themselves online
·         Those carefully crafted profiles can make it feel like everyone else is living a better life than you are
·         Students’ use of social media may form distorted perceptions of their peers
·         The nature of the post
·         Whether they make upward or downward comparisons
3.       The answers to the questions in this section 
·         Kids no longer know how to communicate in person
·         Practical
·         Online conversations can stick around
4.       The answers to the questions in this section 
·         The confrontation between people is performed in front of an audience
·         Bullying.  
·         Alter perceptions
5.       The answers to the questions in this section 
·         It helped parents better understand their kids and what they were going through
·         Less
·         People don’t focus on how many likes or shares they have

Monday, November 27, 2017


Becoming vegetarian is not just a personal lifestyle choice; it could impact the whole world. Do your research to discover what would happen if everyone became vegetarian. When you have made plenty of notes, write an essay on the effects of this hypothetical transformation.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: https://theessayarchive.blogspot.com.tr/  
Familiarize yourself with the issue
Reading material to make notes on
·         What would happen if the world suddenly went vegetarian? http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160926-what-would-happen-if-the-world-suddenly-went-vegetarian
·         If everyone became vegetarian, would the world actually be better off? https://www.popsci.com/vegetarian-environment-health
·         Five things would happen if everyone suddenly stopped eating meat http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/five-things-would-happen-if-everyone-stopped-eating-meat-a6844811.html
·         What if the whole world suddenly went vegetarian? https://www.sciencealert.com/what-if-the-whole-world-suddenly-went-vegetarian
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         What Would Happen if EVERYONE Became VEGETARIAN

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Is it possible that overfishing, super germs, and global warming are all caused by the same thing? In 1968, a man named Garrett Hardin sat down to write an essay about overpopulation. Within it, he discovered a pattern of human behavior that explains some of history’s biggest problems (ted.com). Do your research to discover what exactly this famous economic principle means and write an essay describing the problem, the causes and the solutions.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: https://theessayarchive.blogspot.com.tr/  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         The tragedy of the commons https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp
Reading material to make notes on
·         If you can make notes on this text, you are ready for your freshman year: The tragedy of the commons http://science.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full
·         Hardin’s tragedy of the commons revisited http://tragedy.sdsu.edu/     
Videos to take notes from
·          Solutions: The tragedy of the commons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs2P0wRod8U Make sure to click “practice questions” and answer the questions.

Friday, November 24, 2017


The issue of net neutrality is being discussed widely in the US these days as a change to the Obama era laws are in the pipeline. The decision is due on February 26 but what do you think? Should the amendment be made or should the Obama era law be preserved? Do your research and write an argumentative essay
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: https://theessayarchive.blogspot.com.tr/  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Net neutrality explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p90McT24Z6w
Reading material to make notes on:
·         Net neutrality: what you need to know https://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now
·         Net neutrality explained: what it means and why it matters http://fortune.com/2017/11/23/net-neutrality-explained-what-it-means-and-why-it-matters/
·         Here’s how the end of net neutrality will change the internet https://www.wired.com/story/heres-how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-will-change-the-internet/ Make sure to watch the related video titled “Why you should care about net neutrality?”
·         13 Pros and cons of net neutrality https://vittana.org/13-pros-and-cons-of-net-neutrality Make sure to watch the related videos.  
Videos to watch and take notes from:
·         The arguments for and against net neutrality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3jeqTAjbWw
·         How the End of Net Neutrality Will Affect You
·         THIS Is What No Net Neutrality Looks Like

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Tuesday, November 21, 2017


“The line between truth and lies is becoming ever murkier, finds Melissa Hogenboom. There’s even a new word for a very different form of lying”
By: Melissa Hogenboom
Level of Difficulty: **
·         People Lie Constantly, Especially Online - Robert Feldman
·         Paltering: The Art of Lying Truthfully | Rogers et al 2016 | Social Psychology
1.       Consider the following examples. What exactly is Theresa May trying to do? Read the following and decide:
2.       We understand from the text that paltering is….
3.       It is illogical that we lie at all because…
4.       Which of the following would most people not consider to be lies? Why?
·         Husband to wife at the end of an average meal “That was delicious”
·         Center forward who missed an easy goal “I had a terrible cramp”
·         Student who did badly on a test to students who did well “I really messed up”
5.       In what way do Theresa May’s comments differ from the examples in question four?
6.       Watch the following: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/obama-birth-certificate-trumps-card-13326679  Why did so many people believe the conspiracy concerning Obama?
7.       Why is Trump’s response concerning housing discrimination considered paltering? Use your own words.
8.       Watch the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_z3FUjCVVA Paxman says “Did you threaten to overrule him?” In what way does Paxman’s attitude differ from the average person’s?(Your own words)Why would the average attitude be different?
9.       Read the following example from Lifehacker (https://lifehacker.com/watch-out-for-paltering-techniques-to-spot-a-lie-hidd-1787480207 ): For example, say you’re out buying a TV and a salesman tells you that one really expensive TV comes with 4Kand HDR, which makes it a good long-term purchase. None of those statements are technically inaccurate. The TV does have those features and they do make the TV relatively future-proof. However, the salesman leaves out that they have another TV on the next aisle with those exact same features for half the price. Nothing the salesman said was a lie, and you can even verify those claims, but they used that trust to sell you on a broader picture—namely that you have to spend a lot of money to get a good TV—that wasn’t really true. Examples like these prove that paltering…………………….. and the main reason is that ……………………….
10.   Watch the following video: https://hbr.org/2010/11/people-often-trust-eloquence-m.html There are a lot of people who really dislike Hilary Clinton. What might one reason be? Use your own words.
11.   We can blame parents for encouraging us to believe that….
Use all you have learnt about lying to write about how and why people lie.
This wonderful little text provides incredible scope for delving into a very complex issue. Videos have been worked into the questions to encourage students to develop the habit of doing further research as they read. The videos serve an additional purpose too: they help in the formulation of good inferential questions. The writing task should not be timed to allow students to draw on all the material.
1.       She is lying by telling the truth / She is misleading by telling the truth
2.       The grey area between truth and lies
3.       It costs us considerably more mental effort to lie than to tell the truth
4.       The first two. They are so ordinary and so expected that we just don’t notice them.
5.       Theresa May aims to manipulate or mislead
6.       Because it is difficult to spot a misleading fact when we hear something that on the face of it sounds true.
7.       Because “no admission of guilt” does not mean he was not guilty; it simply means he didn’t admit it.
8.       Possible answer: most people would not keep repeating the question. / Because social norms would prevent them
9.       Is common in everyday life (OR is commonplace) / it is seen as a useful tool
10.   Possible answer: She is a dodger / she is good at paltering
11.   It is at times fine and preferable to lie about things.

Monday, November 20, 2017


“Playing video games can strengthen abilities such as communication and resourcefulness”
By: Kathryn Hulick
Published: Sep 27, 2017, Science News for Students, https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/video-games-level-life-skills
Level of Difficulty: *
·         Ten ways video games affect your brain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hqkinlW_Hw
1.       Mathew Barr reached an interesting and rather surprising conclusion as a result of a study he conducted: playing video games ….
2.       The above is due to the fact that ………………
3.        What feature of video games develops skills that are demanded in the job market? The fact that…..
4.       What was the purpose of the study Barr carried out? To find out…
5.       The eight games to be played during the study were purposely / randomly selected to test………
6.       At the end of the experiment, was Barr’s initial hypothesis proved or disproved? How do you know?
7.       Why does Barr recommend that schools have video games as extracurricular activities?
8.       Oliver seems to feel that the enshrining of video games is unfair / indispensible / unnecessary / unavoidable because…
Fill in the blanks to complete this summary of the text you have just read. Use words and phrases from the text
Mathew Barr has had firsthand experience of the benefits of gaming and is now studying video games and gamer culture at the University of Glasgow.  He recently 1……. an experiment where he asked 2…………..to play 3…………games. Before the experiment, Barr required the subjects to fill out 4….. to check and see how good their 5………..skills were, how 6………..they were and whether or not they were 7………They had 8…………to complete the task and had to play a total of 9………..There were various different games but all of them provided opportunities for 10……………..The results of the experiment supported Barr’s initial……….because there was a marked………….in all the subjects’ scores. This prompted Barr to recommend that schools make games………. There those who disagree with Barr like Oliver feel that there other alternatives; i.e. other ways of ……………….the necessary life skills
Study the following power point presentation and write about the advantages and disadvantages of video games.
This straight forward text comes from a wonderful website which posts relatively simple science texts. The beauty is that vocabulary is also explained. These texts also give the opportunity to introduce students to inferential questions.
1.       can help someone get a job and advance in a career
2.       playing video games in a group can improve young adults’ communication skills and resourcefulness)
3.       video games require quick thinking
4.       whether gaming skills carried on into real life
5.       purposely / communication skills, adaptability and resourcefulness
6.       Proved/ After two months of playing video games regularly, students scores on communication skills, adaptability and resourcefulness improved
7.       Because they help break down anxieties and build confidence
8.       unnecessary / it is not only video games that develop skills
1.       Conducted, 2. 16 university students, 3. Eight video 4. A questionnaire, 5. Communication 6. Adaptable, 7. Resourceful, 8. Eight weeks, 9.  14 hours, 10. Conversation and cooperation, 11. Hypothesis, view, opinion, 12. Improvement, 13. Extracurricular activities, 14. Sharpening


Have you ever wondered whether we will still look the way we do in the future? Since our ancestors looked very different it might make sense to assume we will look different. What will these differences be and what will the underlying reasons be? Do your research and find out. Then write your essay.
Familiarize yourself with the issue

·         Timeline of World History: Pre-History-Meso-America. Silliman University. History 24-B. Prof.

         Pamate  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHbJ1Wv9zsw

Reading material and videos to make notes on
·         What humans will look like in a hundred years http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4061132/What-humans-look-like-100-years-Expert-reveals-genetically-modified-bodies-ll-need-survive.html Text plus videos and infographics
·         What will humans look like in a thousand years? http://www.businessinsider.com/what-humans-look-like-1000-years-2017-4 Text plus video
·         How the human face might look a hundred thousand years in the future https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2013/06/07/how-the-human-face-might-look-in-100000-years/#348dbdd85a96
·         What will we look like in the future https://australianmuseum.net.au/what-will-we-look-like-in-the-future
Podcast to take notes from
·         Will future humans look different? https://www.fwthinking.com/podcasts/will-humans-look-different.htm

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Go to the following link: http://grammar-monster.com/ and check out the easily confused words and common errors. This is a brilliant site for problems you are having with the written language. 

Friday, November 3, 2017


Machines still have a long way to go before they learn like humans do – and that is a potential danger to privacy safety and more.
By: Aviva Hope Rutkin
Level of Difficulty: **
·         The Truth Behind Artificial Intelligence | Andrew Zeitler | TEDxStMaryCSSchool
·         Understanding Artificial Intelligence and Its Future | Neil Nie | TEDxDeerfield
1.       Read the example of the self driving car. What conclusion can be drawn from this example? Where else could this conclusion be placed in the text?
2.       Look back at the first four paragraphs and match the vocabulary items with their meanings. There are more choices than you need:
The  vocabulary items: unbeknownst, far-fetched, adversarial, bamboozle
Meanings: unseen, with no knowledge of, opposing, ignorant, hard to believe, distant, hostile, attack, confuse
3.       AI is not as fool-proof as some may mistakenly assume due to the fact that…
4.       Read the description of human and AI learning to the end. Why might a machine confuse a panda with a gibbon or a school bus with an ostrich?(Two possible answers, find both) The source of the problem is the fact that…
5.       Now look back at the section you have just read starting “It’s something that is a growing concern..” and ending “Someone likely already has”. What subtitle would you give this section:
AI Can’t Think, The Downfall Of AI, The Loop Hole, Algorithms And The Brain.
6.       Access the following, scroll down and watch the video: Deep neural networks are easily fooled http://www.evolvingai.org/fooling. The basic reason why AI can make what seems to us, as bizarre mistakes is that AI sees ………………………………..
7.       The example of spam filters and how spammers get round them is provided to support the contention that…
8.       Look at the paragraphs beginning “What might this allow…” and the following paragraph. Where would you place the following:
·         There are various ways in which hackers could cause problems for AI
·         There are various possibilities that come to mind
9.       Now look back at the three paragraphs concerning adversarial attacks and the quote from Voyobeychnik. What subtitle would you give this section; mark the odd one out:
·         The possibilities are endless
·         Think it is safe? Think again
·         They can and they will
·         Tweak and enter
10.   Read the example of the glasses. This example is provided to show that adversarial attacks could be ……………
11.   Read on until the end of the text starting with “In the meantime…”. Two ways to improve algorithms would be to adopt a ……………………… policy and make programs …………… so that they can withstand an attack.
12.   What reminder is provided in the last section of the text concerning the role of AI in our lives?
Write an essay in which you discuss to what extent we will be able to depend on AI in the future.
AI is agreed to be a major development to be reckoned with in the future but will they be “the perfect oracles of truth” or will humans always need to be in the loop? The text discusses this issue and more by providing irrefutable technical reasons. It is a very topical issue and should lead to plenty of discussion.
1.       Artificial intelligence can be fooled
2.       Unbeknownst: with no knowledge of
Far-fetched: hard to believe
Adversarial: hostile
Bamboozle: confuse
3.       Algorithms are being used more and more
4.       Because the computer doesn’t pay attention to high level details / Because a computer doesn’t consider the whole picture ; The computer looks at the individual pixels of the picture
5.       The Loop Hole
6.       Psychedelic images of abstract patterns and colors (that look like nothing much to humans)
7.       Vulnerabilities exist and someone will figure out how to exploit them.
8.       At the beginning of the second paragraph, After the first sentence in the second paragraph
9.       The last one
10.   Positive
11.   A  “the tougher, the better” policy / more resilient
12.   Machine learning systems are a tool to do reasoning