I see the sea? This week, in one of our biggest Pronunciation Clinics yet we learned about homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same when we say them, but they have different spellings and also different meanings. Can you think of any homophones? Some homophones are pretty well-known, such as ate/eight, sea/see, and be/bee, but other ones surprised the group of students. Many people found out that they had been saying the word “pear” incorrectly. A homophone of “pear” is “pair.” We also learned other ones like threw/through, so/sew, caught/cot and more. Learning about homophones can help you to improve your pronunciation because you can learn to say difficult words. You also can realize that, unfortunately, words in English don’t always sound the way they are spelled. Another thing you can find out is that you might be saying words incorrectly and, therefore, making them homophones. For example, some of the students couldn’t pronounce the difference between “tree” and “three”. These words are not homophones, but if you don’t say the [th] correctly, they could accidentally sound similar. Also, the words “bear” and “beer” are not homophones. They have different vowel sounds. But, “bear” and “bare” are homophones. Next week, come join our free pronunciation class so that you can learn about things like homophones and also practice saying words in English!
Last Friday we had a fantastic International Festival and 6-Month Anniversary celebration for EC Miami. If you haven’t already seen our pictures, look on Facebook. We started off the celebration by doing our regular graduation ceremony and we also had a raffle to choose a person who wore the most orange. Our winner, Anna from Italy, wore some bright, orange sunglasses. After the official ceremony and the important activity of singing “Happy Birthday to EC” we started eating. Students brought food from their countries and EC also contributed pizza and cake to the celebration. We tried a coconut dessert from Brazil, sushi and fried chicken from Japan, pasta from Italy, chocolate and cheese from Switzerland, tortilla from Spain, and much more. All of the students had fun tasting the different foods. Some students also had a lot of fun “eating their faces.” The special 6-Month Anniversary EC Miami cake had a picture of the students on the front. So, students tried to find their face and get a special piece of cake with their picture on it. As the celebration finished up, the graduating students said goodbye to their EC friends. People kept eating the remaining food and some student started dancing to the music. It was a great time and we are so happy that EC Miami is 6 months old!
After a great soccer match a few weeks ago against another English language school on the beach, we decided to play again versus yet another language school. This time we met at Flamingo Park and played 8 on 8. It was a great match and EC Miami won! The teams disagreed about the final score, but it was either 2-1 or 3-1 depending on who you ask. We had a fantastic turnout for the game with almost 30 students attending and we were excited to have such a great cheering section in addition to super athletic players. The players worked together very well and they were led by some of our fearless Brazilian students. Unlike last time when we only had a few people, this time EC Miami’s soccer team had too many people and we had to use a lot of substitutions. We needed the subs because it was extremely hot. Our cheerleaders were doing a little more tanning than cheering with all of the hot weather! In the end, everyone had a great time and we were happy to leave Flamingo Park as champions for the day. Now, we have to see what other teams in South Beach aren’t too scared to play our EC Miami team!
Tomorrow, as all of our students should know by now, is a national holiday in the U.S. and we will not have classes. EC Miami will be closed, but it is a great opportunity for you to join native English speakers at Independence Day events and fireworks displays. Here are some important things to remember on the 4th of July in Miami Beach to have a safe and happy holiday. 1) This is a celebration about the U.S. so you will see many people wearing red, white, and blue and many families having reunions, BBQs, and/or picnics. You can join in the fun too by buying a U.S. flag and watching the fireworks on the beach. The fireworks display in South Beach starts at 9 p.m. and it is best to watch it on the beach. The fireworks are set off near 8th St. and Ocean Drive. There will also be free concerts earlier in the day at the same location. Remember that the bathrooms on South Beach are closed at night, so don’t try to use them around the time of the fireworks! 2) Shooting off your own fireworks is illegal in Florida. If the firework is more than a small sparkler, it is not allowed by law. Any personal firework shot into the air is illegal and the person shooting it could go to jail or have to pay expensive fines. Therefore, you should watch the fireworks display instead of setting off your own. You may see some people shooting off fireworks, but they are not supposed to do this. 3) The classic thing to eat on July 4th is hamburgers and hot dogs because they are super yummy American foods. Find a place to have some of these American classics. Forget your diet for the day! 4) …
Every time we have a new Teacher of the Month, we also have a new Student of the Month. This month the lucky student is Christina who is in Michelle’s Intermediate class. She is from Zurich, Switzerland and has already been in Miami for a few weeks. Keep reading to find out more about Christina and about Michelle’s opinions of her student. Christina’s Miami Recommendation: Miami is a great and a big city. A must do is the sight-seeing tour include a boat tour. You can see Star Island and the nice skyline of Miami. I recommend you to hang on the beach when the weather is nice or go to cinema when the weather is bad. On the evenings you have a lot of choices of bars and discos. On the weekend you can go to Bahamas or Key West. Enjoy your time here – it’s a great city and school! Michelle’s Comments about Christina Christina is a great student to have in class! She is never afraid to go first when we do presentations or reading out loud. She is willing to overcome her insecurities and make mistakes for the greater good of learning and is great to have on your team if you’re playing a game. Christina is also very willing to help a fellow student in need if they look like they are struggling. She takes the responsibility of learning English and runs with it.
Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month, Michelle, who teaches the Intermediate class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Michelle is originally from London and many students love to hear her British accent. Some EC Miami teachers like to compare the “correct” way to say words in American versus British English. Let’s find out more about Michelle! Michelle’s Miami Recommendation GET OFF SOUTH BEACH!! Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and go to Wynwood for Art Walk or even go really wild and go camping in the Flamingo Everglades National Park. You can camp out on the beach under the stars and even see the Milky Way. If you want something closer to home you can rent a kayak off the bay and paddle to Monument Island. Michelle’s English Tip DO SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY! You never know when you will have that same opportunity again. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be worried about making a mistake, imagine that you actually get it right. Try going to a fitness or yoga class in English and see how good you do even if you don’t understand everything, neither do other people in the class. Remember, you are not alone.