Episode 1: Commuting

Commute – origin of the word from the Etymology dictionary:

mid-15c., “to change, transform,” from Latin commutare “to often change, to change altogether,” from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + mutare “to change” (see mutable). Sense of “go back and forth to work” is 1889, from commutation ticket “season pass” (on a railroad, streetcar line, etc.) the US term for a season ticket (because the daily fare is commuted to a single payment).

The podcast has a number of ideas that you could turn into classroom activities:

1. The Voxpops – What’s your commute?

Lindsay asks the questions ‘What’s your commute?”.  You can use this as authentic listening material, setting your class questions such “how many people actually answered the question? How many different forms of transport are mentioned? Who has the longest commute?

2. Questions for speaking

In the opening conversation Lindsay and Shaun used these questions use them after the activity described at the end of the pod.

Do you commute to work?
How long is your commute to work?
How do you get there?
How would describe your feelings about the commute?
What’s the best part or worst part of commuting?
What do you do during your commute?
How far would you commute for a dream job?

These would make suitable questions for a pair or group speaking activity. If you want more questions you can find some on:

http://iteslj.org/questions/commuting.html and http://www.englishwithjo.com/english-conversation-traffic-commuting/

3.  From our conversation

In our conversation about commuting we mentioned everything from getting younger to jet packs. All of these things came from articles on the Internet. You can choose the article that most appeals to your class and use it with them as an authentic text.

1. 10 things a commute does to your body

2. How a bad commute is worse for women than men

3. Could your daily commute really make you younger? 

4. Will technology help us escape urban commuting hell?

5. Think YOUR commute is cold? The engineer, 56, whose daily 17-mile cycle in -10 degree temperature freezes his eyes OPEN

4. The end of pod activity

Write the letters of the word ‘commute’ on the board and ask students if they know what it means. Explain it, then ask them to make an acrostic poem. An acrostic poem is a form of writing where the first letter of each line spell out a word. For commute you could have Cars, Overcrowded, Metro, Madness and so on. See if the students can come up with an interesting acrostic that conveys their feelings about commuting. You can follow up with the question from 1.

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