From the Library
American Life by Vicky Shipton was first published in 2001. It has had some small updates since then, but some of the information inside will not be recent. However, it is a really good book for seeing how much America has changed over 20 years.
It’s a level 2 book from Pearson so students can probably finish it in about 30 minutes. It’s around 3000 words long and has 26 pages. The book is full of photos and illustrations, in addition to lots of fun facts and bits of history.
If you don’t know much about America this little book is a really nice place to start.
SQ1 Original Content – The Opioid Crisis in America (CEFR B1/B2 Level)
In America, there is currently a big problem with people misusing painkillers and becoming addicted to them. In one 12 month period between 2020 and 2021 more than a 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. However, many of these people are not the stereotyped drug addicts we see in movies and TV shows. These are everyday people who became addicted to prescription painkillers after getting a prescription from their doctors. In particular, many people blame big pharmaceutical companies for aggressively and irresponsibly marketing very powerful painkillers for ever day use. It is a real tragedy that affects many communities across the US to this day.
Want to Learn more? – Book Recommendation for Advanced Students and Teachers
If you are interested in learning more, the book Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe is a fascinating non-fiction account of the history of the Sackler Family. This comment sums it up beautifully,
“A brutal, multigenerational treatment of the Sackler family… Keefe deepens the narrative by tracing the family’s ambitions and ruthless methods back to the founding patriarch, Arthur Sackler…His life might be a model for the American dream, if it hadn’t arguably laid the foundations for a still-unfolding national tragedy.” – Brian Mann, NPR.org
Study Tips – Anki Software
When I came to Japan I didn’t speak any Japanese at all. I wasn’t a fan of manga or anime either. As a result, I hadn’t had much exposure to Japanese language and I found it really, really hard to learn and remember new words. Kanji was especially tough.
I often went to cafes to study for two or three hours at a time. However, hours later I could not remember most of the new words I had learned. Writing was a big help, and so was watching western TV with Japanese subtitles turned on. The biggest help though was learning about the software application called Anki. It’s free software, although on a smartphone or tablet it costs about 3000 yen.
Anki is memorization software. It is popular with language learners and medical students in particular. Here is a youtube introduction for Japanese speakers.
I still use Anki today and I find it very helpful for picking up new vocabulary. The main benefit of Anki is its use of spaced repetition (click the link for the Japanese wikipedia page). This approach is now used in many different learning applications. If using Anki seems too difficult for you, please try a simple vocabulary application that makes use of spaced repetition.