Group three

Group Three Thursdays 10.30 – 12.00  Upper Intermediate,

Bibliothek, Gemeindehaus, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Gemeinde,

Onkel-Tom-Straße 80, 14169 Berlin

To find out what to do for next week, scroll to the bottom!

This is a group of people who are interested in all the usual things which will help them improve and remember their English. Some want to use their English travelling or talking to visitors, some need it for relatives-in-law and some…….

A lot of the time they are talking in groups of twos and threes.





Welcome to 2016 – and Neil McGregor’s  ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’

which is published as a book made from his 2010 broadcasts on BBC. Here are the useful links either to download as a pdf or to look up individually:

links for ‘´McGregor A History of the World

1) Home:

So here you can find the podcasts, lists, pictures (but not directly the transcripts)


= list of 100 objects and possibilities of getting to other pages


= where you can go to download podcasts of McGregor’s talks

4) In order to find a transcript you need to go to

then choose the episode or object you want,

click onto that

then scroll to the bottom of the4 page and

click on: “Transcript

Read the programme transcript“ – which will take you to the individual transcript.

 the Victorian Teaset –



the Lewis Chessmen –

We have now finished with Tim Harford and his 50 ideas at least for the moment. . After Christmas we will be talking about George Orwell to whom a statue has just been erected outside the BBC. I will order books for us all at Buchhandlung Born in the Ladenstraße.

Welcome to 2018!

We are going to be talking a bit about George Orwell

including his short story ‘On Shooting an Elephant’, his fairy story ‘Animal Farm’ and the dystopia 1984.

We  have read and talked about ‘Animal Farm’ and will also have talked about ‘On Shooting an Elephant’ by Easter.

On April 12th we’ll be talking about one chapter out of 1984 which is about language and then on 19th, before some of us go to Scotland, we can round off our readings of Orwell for the moment.

Please read this for April 12th Newspeak (text from Ch 5, ‘1984’)


Still within the context of Orwell’s ideas I would like to practise listening – listening to an interview between a BBC reporter and Daniel Ellsberg.

Here is most of the interview for you to look at it before 17th IF YOU WISH.witness the pentagon papers ellsberg transcript

Here is the interview (9 minutes) if you would like to listen to it at home Ellsberg witness

We’ll listen to it together on 17th May (and probably start to talk about Universal Basic Income)

We are then changing our emaphasis and before reading something new, probably ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry, I would like to talk about Universal Basic Income because we have often mentioned it.


Now we have talked about UBI, about protecting children from danger and next week (June 7th) (via supermarket sweep historical legacy)we will get round to talking about the meaning of our nation’s historic legacy for ourselves. Then we will move on to Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ not because it is great literature but because it throws up a few similar topics – we’ll start to look at it probably on 7th, too.


The twelfth of July 2012/2018: For Christa and Monika

Twas the 12th of July 2012:

My Thursday commitments I’ll shelve*.

I know what I need:

To talk English and read;

In my now fallow** English I’ll delve***.

Six years ago two of you came:

Over Sixties’ became the new name.

We must learn’ you both said,

We have talked, we have read:

And now more of you do just the same.

And so we were born: ‘Over Sixties’:

Your English not good? Here we fix it.

Some left and more came,

It is never the same,

But we’re glad we are all ‘Over Sixties’.

You all seem to like coming here

And know there is nothing to fear

So with hard work and chat

You know what you’re at

May we go on for many a year!

Dear Christa, I must say ‘We miss you’

Not just me, the others do, too.

We hope you’re OK,

In the autumn you’ll say:

Yes, now I have energy new!’

(*aufschieben **brach liegen *** mich vertiefen)

Welcome to 2019 – 

in the hope that I  can look after the website better and that we will have stimulating times together.

We will surely be looking at some of Neil MacGregor’s talks on the subject of LIVING WITH THE GODS:

These can be found at

We have so far looked at the introduction to the book and the chapter called Festivals (chap 15). We’ll look at the table of contents and decide together what else we are interested in.

To start the new year I am planning to talk about 2 short stories that are fun – if also social criticism: On 10th we read chopin story of an hour  and on 17th we’ll be reading  chopin silk stockings 2sprachig.

On 24th we talked round your summaries of the Silk Stockings – you did very well!    We also talked about a school inChina which functions in many ways by face recognition and we also talked about our experiences of learning musical instruments.

On 31st January we’ll be talking about an excerpt from Michella Obama’s autobiography: M O 10 M O 12 M O 14 M O 16

(Those are 4 pages : 10 – 16). Here is the glossary:: vocab Michelle Obama Learning the piano. 


After reading about Michelle Obama learning to play the piano (and a little bit more)  I’ll give you the first chapter of Neil MacGregor’s ‘Living with the Gods’ to read for 14th Feb.

. As it is his introduction to what he is trying to say in the book I’m sure we all need it. Here is the text. It consists of several pages, each a pdf which you have to click onto:

Lion Man 1 pp 2,3   Lion Man 2 pp. 4,5     Lion Man 3 pp 6,7      Lion man 4 pp 8,9     Lion Man 5 pp 10, 11                                             Lion Man 6 pp 12, 13

I will print these out for you but they are here if, for any reason, it could be useful!  Here is the glossary: the beginnings of belief glossary

Thank you for the discussion on 14th – more has been going through my mind since! (What is magic? SOmething we look up to or down on?)

On 21st Feb I was away. On Feb 28th we talked about Kipling’s ‘The Cat that walked alone’:

Please see what you think of the narrative technique (addressing the reader), the old-fashioned language
and what pictures form in your head while reading. (You might make notes!)

March 7th: Please read the second story in your dtv book: How the elephant got its trunk (or similar). On March 7th we will also read another story that you haven’t prepared, as a little play, and then listen to it being read in different accents. On 28th we read a short biography of Kipling. Next week I’ll give you a longer one to take home and spend more time on.

On March 14th we talked about an article about Kipling and especially the ‘Elephant’s CHild’ but also the Rhino. We listened to the end of the story and you also read it.

For March 21st you will read the second story in the book about the origin of (letter) writing.

I am going to give you a poem by Kipling about a camel or the camel. poem camel’s hump  It very much reflects the time at which it was written (1902). I‘d like you to practice reading it at home – and next week (28th) we‘ll listen to the story of how ‘the camel‘ got its hump – and prepare to move on to reading ‚Another Brooklyn‘ by Jaqueline Woodson.

I am away the following week (April 4th), there won’t be a class on Maundy Thursday (before Good Friday) and I am also away in early May (with the other group) so we’ll start reading the short novel that you already have at home: Another Brooklyn.

(Since the rebooting of the website I don’t know where to find the underlining. If anybody has any ideas they would be very welcome!)

Later in the spring we’ll read the small book : Another Brooklyn  by Jaqueline Woodson together.

We also plan to read a second chapter by MacGregor and I suggest that ‘Living with the Dead’ is something that affects us all. Here is the text, again in bits: Scan0001 Scan0002 Scan0003 Scan0004 Scan0005 Scan0006 Scan0007 Scan0008

and here two pictures in colour: 1) ming dynasty ancestor portraits the man wears a prominent badge that indicates his rank – or perhaps that of a descendant   2) This is the Tower of London and Remembrance of the dead in the two world wars, p 80  in the book.