Language Skills Focus Archives

How Many Words?

Can you find 10 words hidden in “Winter Wonderland”?

1. ______________________________

2. ______________________________

3. ______________________________

4. ______________________________

5. ______________________________

6. ______________________________

7. ______________________________

8. ______________________________

9. ______________________________

10. _____________________________



The Hot Chocolate Mystery

Someone stole the marshmallows from all of the hot chocolate cups. But who?…You finish the story.

















PDF File


Snowflakes on Strike!

We’re on strike! We’re tired of freezing all the time and always falling down. Every day we lie around with nothing to do. We’re fed up with no pay, cold, windy working conditions and getting stepped on or brushed aside. But most of all, we’re tired of being eaten! Therefore, we, the Union of Snowflakes, refuse to do any more falling until the following demands are met:

















PDF File



Unscramble the following colours and then use the same colours to colour the picture.

1. ilevot    _________________________

2. elwoyl  _________________________

3. dre       _________________________

4. geern   _________________________

5. idniog  _________________________

6. uble     _________________________

7. gaeron _________________________

 PDF File


Winter Wonderland Word Scramble (Advanced)

zabilzdr        _________________________

pmuteaerert   _________________________

nwaooidsrnbg  _________________________

gnbgnatioog    _________________________

cokhye kpcu    _________________________

taconoiesdr     _________________________

Efbrayur        _________________________

behrietan       _________________________

rdiattion        _________________________

ewrtah          _________________________

PDF File


Winter Vocabulary

Read the poem and discuss new vocabulary.


Jack Frost (by Gabriel Setoun)


The door was shut, as doors should be,

Before you went to bed last night;

Yet Jack Frost has got in, you see,

And left your window silver white.


He must have waited till you slept;

And not a single word he spoke,

But pencilled o’er the panes and crept

Away again before you woke.


And now you cannot see the hills

Nor fields that stretch beyond the lane;

But there are fairer things than these

His fingers traced on every pane.


Rocks and castles towering high;

Hills and dales, and streams and fields;

And knights in armor riding by,

With nodding plumes and shining shields.


And here are little boats, and there

Big ships with sails spread to the breeze;

And yonder, palm trees waving fair

On islands set in silver seas,


And butterflies with gauzy wings;

And herds of cows and flocks of sheep;

And fruit and flowers and all the things

You see when you are sound asleep.


For, creeping softly underneath

The door when all the lights are out,

Jack Frost takes every breath you breathe,

And knows the things you think about.


He paints them on the window-pane

In fairy lines with frozen steam;

And when you wake you see again

The lovely things you saw in dream.

link to PDF


Winter Verbs

Fill in the blanks with a verb that makes sense and then compare with your classmates.

1. I ____________________ to build snow forts in the winter.

2. ____________________ your snow boots before coming into the house.

3. All this _____________________ is making me really tired.

4. I just bought a new sled. Do you want to go ______________________?

5. Can we _____________________ a snowman?

6. You should always ____________________ a helmet while skiing.

7. It’s always fun to ____________________ hot chocolate after playing outside in the snow.

8. Be careful not to ____________________ on the ice!

9. Can you help me ____________________ my skates?

10. Brrrrrr! It’s cold. It’s time to _____________________ home.

link to original PDF


Go home / Get home

  •  go home = the process of going home
  • get home = arrive at your house
  • Q: What are you going to do now?
  • A: I am going to go home. / I have to go home. / I want to go home.
  • Q: What did you do after English class yesterday?
  • A: I just went home. / I stopped by a bookstore and then went home. / I went to (place) to (verb)
  • Q: Where are you going after school / work?
  • A: I’m going home. / I’m going to a bar to meet a friend./ I’m going to my aunt’s place (apartment/house) to have dinner with her.
  • Q: How do you usually go home?
  • A: I go home by bus.
  • Q: What time did you get home?
  • A: I got home at midnight.
  • Q: When will Mark get home from work?
  • A: He will get home around 5:30.
  • Questions to ask your pen(key)pal or partner.
  • Q: How do you usually go home from work?
  • A: I usually bike home or (your answer).
  • Q: When you go out drinking with friends, how do you usually get home?
  • A: I usually take a taxi home.
  • Q: What time do you usually get home on weeknights? on weekends?
  • A: I usually get home at 2 on Saturday nights?
  • Q: What time do you usually get home from a date?
  • A: I usually get home at about midnight when I’m on a date. Midnight is my curfew* and if I’m not home by then, my dad freaks out.

*Curfew is a time that you must be home by. Some college dorms have curfews, and some parents enforce a curfew.


How Often

  • A: How often do you work out*?
  • B: Every day.

*work out = physical exercise, especially in a gym or fitness club, but also can include any exercise. “I had a great workout at the swimming pool this morning.”

How often = questions can be answered in many ways.

  • Every day (second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade, etc.)
  • Every second day
  • Every week
  • Every month
  • Every six months
  • Every year
  • Once a day (a second, a minute, an hours, a week/a month/a year, etc.)
  • Twice a day
  • Three times a day
  • Four times a day

In descending order of frequency

  • Always/Constantly
  • Usually/Often
  • Frequently
  • Normally
  • Sometimes
  • Occasionally
  • From time to time
  • Never
  • Most of the time
  • Most weekdays
  • Most evenings
  • Most Mondays

About or around is used if you don’t want to be exact, or can’t give an exact number.

  • How often do you go skiing?
  • About 6 times a year
  • How often do you go shopping?
  • Around twice a week

Answer the following questions:

  • How often do you work out?
  • How often do you surf the net*.
  • How often do you play computer games*?

Note: the plural is used because this is a generality. It is almost always used when speaking about computer games NOT computer game. So, don’t say, I like computer game-say, I like computer games. If you use the name of the computer game, just put the name.

Now ask your keypal these questions!

  • How often do you play Warcraft?
  • How often do you get angry? Why do you usually get angry?
  • How often do you lie? What do you usually lie about?
  • How often do you worry?
  • How often do you meditate?
  • How often do you scream?
  • How often do you read labels?

Saudi Arabia: Breaking the Curse of Black Gold.

Many years ago, the chairman of the First City Bank of Texas was visiting the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The topic of discussion was economics. The chairman asked the crown prince where he would prefer to live: a large country with a temperate climate, pristine peninsulas, islands, lush vegetation and abundant natural resources or a small country with no natural resources, sparse vegetation and an inhospitable climate.

The crown prince said – ‘the first, of course.’ ‘Well,’ said the chairman, ‘then you would be living in Mexico not Singapore.’

The crown prince nodded sagely before muttering ‘people’.

Indeed – people or the stock of human capital, makes GDP per capita higher in Singapore than the oil-rich Saudi Arabia. And this was perhaps the final thought that Dr Mohamed A. Ramady, associate professor of finance & economics at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, wanted to leave with his audience in his first lecture presented on Saturday 21 st January in the main auditorium of Al Yamamah College, Riyadh.

Titled ‘The Saudi Arabian Economy: An Overview’, the two hour lecture touched on many issues including privatization, the financial markets, WTO membership and globalization, the Saudi Riyal, education & training and future challenges and opportunities.

The lecture also highlighted the significant contribution Saudi women make in investments in the Saudi economy: 35% of bank accounts, 20% of corporate shares, 15% of private companies, 10% of real estate and 62 billion in bank deposits – in spite of longstanding social, institutional and legal barriers.

Publicly, women are also playing a more important role in the Saudi economy. The small economic delegation that accompanied King Abdullah to China recently consisted of female Saudi economists. According to Dr. Ramady, political observers in the kingdom have interpreted images of the women, broadcast on the national Saudi channel 1, as a sign of the growing trend towards the political, economic and social enfranchisement of women in Saudi Arabia. Of course, any change would be done in accordance with Islamic principles.

While there is no sign of the nearly 2 million barrels per day output that makes Saudi Arabia the world’s oil warehouse abating, Dr Ramady was keen to point out how oil dependency was influencing the type of society Saudi Arabia has become.

Some of the challenges that face the Saudi economy today include: a mismatch between the needs of private industry and the education & training of graduates, the volatility of the Saudi share market and its impact on consumer confidence, the restrained implementation of the Saudization program, privatization which is paternalistic and limited to 30%, low direct foreign investment in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Riyal and domestic monetary policy influenced by fluctuations in the US Dollar.

“So rich yet so poor” is a catch-cry often used to describe Saudi Arabia – rich in natural resources and yet poor in its capital stock of people. And people do make a difference. According to Dr. Ramady, per capita income in Saudi has not risen in the recent past and despite efforts to diversify the economy the country is still dependent on oil.

While the recent ascension of Saudi Arabia into the WTO has helped the government to focus on economic reforms to modernize the economy, Saudi Arabia is still regarded as a high-security risk by the international community. In fact, in a recent business environment rating Saudi Arabia was ranked 51 compared with the UAE at 13.

Wasta (nepotism) still has more currency in Saudi Arabia than professional or technical wherewithal. Most businesses are family oriented with a top-down, pyramid-shaped management hierarchy where capital raisings are internal, competition is with family members and accounts are largely unaudited. It was no surprise that the recent precipitous fall in the Saudi stock market index from 21,000 to 7,200 sparked suicides, disappearances and family disintegration.

Typically, a Saudi family business will have 3 sets of balance sheets: the Arthur Anderson accounts (largely meaningless), the tax department accounts (showing a loss, of course) and those accounts recorded by hand in ink stored in the family safe. According to Dr Ramady, what is needed for reform of the Saudi business sector is a larger public shareholder base, accountability and transparency – all of which would normally come with a public listing.

When Margaret Thatcher started selling off public assets in the 1970s she was using economics to achieve political goals. A middle class was created holding shares in public utilities and state assets. This made them stakeholders in the welfare of the country and it was hoped they would behave accordingly.

Similarly, an emerging Saudi middle class empowered with share capital in state assets and utilities would revolutionize Saudi business ethics and the prevailing two-tier class system of Saudi nationals and foreign national employees.

Presently, Dr Ramady noted, commercial transactions are driven by a win/lose mentality where, in a negotiation, it is expected that one party’s gain is the other party’s loss. This tribal model of business would change with the advent of widespread public share ownership amongst the middle class and the creation of wealth and its dividends from astute investment strategies and decisions.

With the increasing affluence and mobility of a middle class the rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses will come. In the USA, this sector accounts for 80% of the economy. In Saudi Arabia, it is expected that with the introduction of international standards, transparency, competition and the employment of Saudi women (represented as 55% of the population) the small and medium business sector could become the powerhouse of the new economy.

The future of the Saudi economy depends on how effectively the country diversifies away from its oil addiction, how well it empowers regional economies in the kingdom through targeted budget allocations and to what extent it fosters regional self-determination through municipal elections.

The climate for change is favorable: Saudi Arabia has stability in the political continuity of its traditions and laws of succession amongst the royal family. Moreover, the recent ascension of Saudi Arabia into WTO membership accelerates the process of economic reform. However, Dr Ramady cautions, change must be consensual.

Towards the end of his presentation, Dr Ramady related a story about one of his students. Having lost 3 million Riyals in the recent Saudi stock market crash (the market was overvalued with some returns as high as 150%), the 19-year old was almost inconsolable. After giving the student the benefit of his experience in these matters, Dr Ramady reflected that without a crash another generation of young Saudis would have been lost to the curse of black gold.

Moving from inheriting wealth to creating it, in a knowledge-based economy, is the challenge of modern Saudi Arabia.

Harry Nicolaides

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