Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"Leaving home at 10", by Harry Garuba

This poem was published on The Guardian newspaper on the 11th of June 2018.  It is written by Nigerian author Harry Garuba and deals with a young boy going to a boarding school for the first time.

  • I have removed the past tenses. Can you reconstruct the poem?

Leaving home at 10
It ___________ (be) an old Peugeot 403
They don’t make them anymore
Tyres inspected, engine oiled, brakes checked
All in order as only an old Peugeot can be.
Its creaking body ____________ (hold) together by care,
My father _____________ (drive) me to the boarding school
In a small town one hour away from home …
My tears and the car _____________ (hold) through the journey
Through the pothole in my heart and the tear on the road
Through the window, I ___________ (watch) the world rush past
The houses and the trees and the streets and the names
I had known and loved, all running backwards, with
No time to pause for a goodbye, no time to wave
To the departing son leaving the embrace of home and hearth
We _______________ (arrive) over an hour later, father and son,
driving through the school gate to the dormitory
that was to be my home for the next five years.
Then my father ____________ (leave)… and, averting my eyes, I _________ (cry).
On initiation night I _______________ (recite) the prescribed words:
“I am a fag, a rotten green toad. I promise
to give up all my rustic and outlandish ways
and to become a true student of Government College, Ughelli.”
Soon after I _____________ (lose) the language of guavas and spirits
And ever since I have been boarded up in a new home,
A new language with neither spice nor bite.
I miss all the coarse and colourful words I can no longer use
The power and potency of the curse uttered with a gob of spittle
Let loose in the language of the body and the spirit
I miss the language that once _____________ (live) in my body.

  • I have removed the past tenses. Can you reconstruct the poem? 
  • Look at the expression was to be. Do you think  this expression refer to the past or the future? Do you know what it means?
  • Why do you think  the protagonist of the poem does not cry in front of his father?
  • What is the significance of the language in the poem? How does it connect to the history of Nigeria?
  • Think of other examples of going to boarding school in literature. Are they similar or different? Why do you think that is? 

Monday, June 11, 2018


Watch this video from the movie "Frankenstein" (1931) until minute 1:00.
What do you think will happen next? Write three sentences, then check if you were right.

Bonus: if you have watched "Guardians of the Galaxy", does this scene remind you of something?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Analyzing Black Panther

Besides being a really exciting film and one of the highest grossing films in US history, MCU film Black Panther is a great film to think about African culture and the effects of the African diaspora.

Its production design is loaded with references to different African cultures. If you want to learn more about them you can read the Twitter thread quoted here:

You can also check out production designer Hannah Beachler herself explaining how some of the scenes in the film were designed.
-What is an isicolo? What is an adinkra symbol? Why are they important in the entrance scene?
-What cultures are represented in the waterfall scene? (watch this with subtitles!)

You can also watch director Ryan Coogler's breakdown on how the casino scene in the movie was shot.

-How does feminism influence the way the scene was shot?
-What are the African references in this scene?
-What are the two contrasting concepts in it?

Here actress Laetitia Wright describes some of the science fictional and technological elements that appear in the movie.
-What's the main innovation in the new Black Panther suit?
-What are kimoyo beads? How are they used?

Finally, here's a more in-depth discussion of the symbolism of Black Panther. 
-Why are colonialism, internationalism and isolationism important for the movie? How do they relate to our own world?
-What are the main differences between T'Challa and Eric Killmonger? Why is T'Challa the better leader?
-If you have seen Infinity War, why are these ideas important in the next film? In your opinion, what would have happened on Earth if the ending of Black Panther had been different?

As a bonus, you can reward yourself with Kendrick Lamar's album inspired by the movie here:

This is the music video for the main theme song (includes subtitles):

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Conditional songs.

Can you identify which conditionals are these songs using?

Now look at this video. What conditional type are they using?


How about now? What conditional is Vegeta using?

Now look at them all together:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Watching Coco

Coco is a 2017 fantasy film. It was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Lee Unkrich wrote and directed the film, along with co-director Adrian Molina. It is the story of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera, who wants to be a musician but whose family hates music. After an accident during Día de los Muertos, he is sent to the land of the dead, where he will need the help of his great-great-grandfather to return to his family among the living.
The film was written by Molina and Matthew Aldrich from a story by Unkrich, Jason Katz, Aldrich and Molina, and the music was composed by Michael Giacchino and also includes some classic Mexican songs, like La Llorona.
Coco was  released in Mexico the weekend before Día de los Muertos, and in the United States on November 22, 2017. The film became immediately popular, and it won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for "Remember Me", as well as the Best Animated Film at the BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Critic's Choice Movie Awards, and Annie Awards.

Watch the next video on the link to know why the film has become so popular and received so many awards:

After watching the movie, think about what would have happened if:
  1. Miguel’s great grandfather hadn’t abandoned his family?
  2. Miguel’s great grandmother hadn’t forbidden music in the house?
  3. Miguel hadn’t discovered the secret in the photograph?
  4. Miguel’s grandmother hadn’t broken his guitar?
  5. Miguel hadn’t stolen Ernesto de la Cruz’s guitar?
Think of other moments in the film when the story would have changed completely if Miguel or another character had taken a completely different decision and write 3-5 more sentences in the 3rd conditional.

 Which Coco Character Are You?Finally, you can do this quiz at home.
It only takes a couple of minutes!

Which Coco Character Are You? 

After you are done, you can reward yourself later singing the bilingual version of "Remember Me":