The Best Investment Funds for 2014 and Beyond?

Here we go one step beyond the basics and suggest that the best investment funds for 2014 and beyond could be funds that invest money in alternative investments. You can debate whether diversified stock funds or bond funds will be the best funds to invest money in, but your best investment could be funds that invest money in alternative investments like gold, oil, and maybe even real estate stocks.

Informed investors know that you should invest money in more than one area in order to have a diversified portfolio. Most investors think that the best investment strategy is to own the best funds, and that your only choices are diversified stock funds and bond funds. Few have a handle on the arena called “alternative investments”. Where do you think the smart investors will invest money when neither stocks (in general) nor bonds look attractive and safe investments are paying record low interest rates?

The top dogs look around for opportunities that are “outside of the box” in search of their best investment alternatives. Welcome to the world of alternative investments. As an average investor trying to find the best funds you might want to broaden your horizons as well. If our economy continues to be lackluster and interest rates rise in 2014 and beyond both diversified stock funds and bond funds could take a hit. So, where can you invest money for higher returns if things turn sour in 2014 and/or 2015?

Gold is not cheap anymore but it is well below its highs as I write this. Gold funds invest money in stocks in the gold and silver mining industry, and they took a major hit in 2013. Historically, gold has been one of the best investment alternatives in times of high uncertainty and crisis. Gold funds might be one of the best funds if things get ugly in 2014 and beyond. They may or may not be your best investment, but adding them to your portfolio at this time to add more diversification could be a good idea just in case.

Another alternative investment that’s a candidate for best investment ideas: oil and other natural resources. Your best funds to invest money in here and keep things simple are called natural resources funds. They too have proven to be good performers when the stock market in general is having a rough time. You might think that gasoline prices at the pump (and oil prices) are high now, but think back a few years. Prices can always go higher, even in a bad economy.

And then there’s real estate as an alternative investment. This industry has recovered from the financial crisis lows, in no small part due to low interest rates. What will happen if rates climb as the economy sputters? Investors usually invest money in real estate with borrowed money. The truth of the matter is that interest rates are still low by historical standards. Real estate funds can be one of your best investment alternatives as investors rush in to buy before rates climb further. The best funds here invest money in real estate investment trusts and other companies in the real estate sector, like home builders. Caution: when rates rise significantly the real estate industry can sputter.

Why do I suggest that the best funds in 2014 and beyond could be those that invest money in specialized sectors like gold, natural resources and perhaps real estate? Historically, in bad times for the economy and stock market in general these industries can attract money as investors search for the best investment alternatives to invest money in. Both stocks (in general) and bonds are selling near historical highs. Bonds have been on a thirty year roll, and stocks have climbed 150% in less than five years. Neither looks cheap by any standard.

In your search for the best investment alternatives to make your money grow, sometimes you need to look outside of the box. You need to invest money so that some of it is safe and available for future opportunities. And in times like 2014 and beyond it’s a good idea to further diversify into alternative investments. The simplest and best investment vehicle for the average investor is mutual funds. The best funds to add to your portfolio are those that can swim against the tide when it goes out.

Online Parenting Classes – Is it Merely a Convenience?

The internet has changed the living habits of everyone who uses it. Since virtually, every piece of information that anyone can require is freely available on the internet, people have gotten addicted to it. Most of the parents are so caught up in their busy lives that when their children start to misbehave, they feel helpless and seek help in resolving their problems. Well, now there are online parenting classes available and a number of parents are using these classes to help them in handling their children better. The internet now also supports multimedia streaming, and psychiatrists now run online parenting classes videos on their websites.

In case you do not want to consult a child psychiatrist or join group therapy classes, or just feel shy of discussing the problems that you are having with your child, you can easily find such types of classes on the World Wide Web. On some of the sites, there is an introductory video that plays, and if you feel that the councilor can help you in solving your problems, you can sign up.

Online classes can be watched at your convenience, which is why they are gaining popularity. You are no longer bound to drive on a fixed day for a parenting class meeting. The other great advantage of online parenting classes is that all the leading councilors have their websites; therefore, you get to pick the councilor that you think is the most suitable one for you. This being able to pick a councilor of your choice is a very big convenience. The other advantage is that of privacy.

You can watch a counseling video at your convenience and you can also send emails to the councilor and get private help on any particular problem that you might be facing.

Most people who have opted for online classes have found them to be quite helpful and have helped in developing a better parent/child relationship. It is not only the convenience that has made online parenting classes popular; they are proving to be extremely beneficial even otherwise.

Most parents face problems with children and at times do not know how to handle a particular situation. They also fear that if they handle a situation incorrectly, it might adversely affect the child. Many parents turn for help to other parents in solving parent/child problems.

Some people have access to the internet but not to a parent councilor; in such cases, online parenting classes are a big help and convenience. The very fact that you can pick and choose a councilor makes the online parenting classes worthwhile and a great help for the parents in dilemma.

The online councilors reply promptly to emails; therefore, you do not have to wait very long to get sound and helpful advice from them. Another big advantage of online parenting classes is that you can set your own pace. So, you are not a member of a group who has to follow or adhere to a specific schedule. These are some of the reasons why online parenting classes have become so popular.

The Basics Of Avian Flu

Bird flu or avian flu is an influenza virus type that normally infects birds. However, it can also infect other animals including pigs. Wild birds are natural hosts to the virus and normally don’t get sick from it. But domestic animals such as chickens and turkeys could be severely affected. Humans, on the other hand, can be infected with influenza types A, B, and

C.

Genetic changes and sharing can occur under certain circumstances. This could happen in crowded conditions where poultry, pigs, and people live in close quarters. This change could allow a virus to turn into more infectious to humans. This could also mean that the virus can more easily transmitted from person to person. This is precisely when a pandemic could break out.

The avian flu’s jump to humans was first detected in 1997. Though there have been around 60 human deaths reported, they have been due to transmission from animals to humans. Migratory birds have been detected with the virus and these cannot be caught and killed – these birds have alreadd carried the virus to Europe and Africa. It is difficult to predict when the pandemic could break out – It all depends on when that genetic shift (from birds to humans) takes place.

For now, there has been no detection of this virus in the U.S. It is however possible for travelers to be infected, but most of cases in humans have been in those with closer contact to birds than a casual traveler has. Since the infection occurs via fecal-oral route, people are advised to reduce their risk while traveling by avoiding bird markets, zoos, and areas in parks, where there could be high concentrations of bird feces.

Countries that are the most vulnerable to this flu are Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia, due to their high concentration of bird markets. Other areas include Thailand, China (south and north), Tibet, Kazakhstan, Russia and

Mongolia.

Symptoms of bird flu in humans have ranged from typical flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to eye infections and pneumonia. If you feel you’ve been exposed, there are a couple of treatment recommendations available today that you may want to discuss with your doctor. Until these are tested in a pandemic, however, their true efficacy is unknown. There are currently no vaccines available, but many companies are working on them.

More information on Avian Flu and preventive measures can be had from Avian Flu Protection [http://www.avianfluprotection.org.uk].

Start With a School Radio Station

My 15-year-old nephew asked me, “How and where to practice and develop one of the working skills during school time?” My first thought, at that moment, was “College radio station”.

At 16, I joined my college radio station and began my job as an editor for an online music program. From that day, I have become acquainted with terms such as noise, sound, broadcast, frequency and so on. Luckier than many people, with that job, I could earn money for my living, besides gaining very much experience and building up many good relationships which can support my current and future career. And with such experience, now, I can give advice to my nephew or any youth who wants to start a career and develop their skill, knowledge in working.

Well, let me think about what we need for a college radio station. If just listing out, we might think that it’s too simple and easy: a studio, or source of program, and the   transmission  lines. If you are beginners, don’t think you can do much and all but step by step. It was really difficult at that time when we began with various odd pieces of equipment. We started using the easiest means of  transmission  by broadcasting in the school canteen, in classes. And later, we added more ways to reach the audience. We concentrated on serving our school and at the same time extended to other colleges in the same area. Actually, the running of our school radio station was based on fund-raising and sponsorship money. Besides some necessary equipment such as Mini-discs, computers, recorders, we faced a bigger problem for a long time looking for an old, affordable multi-track mixer. We didn’t have the advanced and efficient equipment to support our work.

The first broadcasting show of ours was a two-hour program divided into 3 smaller sections. The first one was “Hello Morning” with 3 tiny bulletins of 3 to 5 minutes each. In these bulletins, we presented all good and happy news. The second section was “Music Dedication Program”. We compiled a few collections of music and one by one was presented everyday. The third one was “School loud speaker” during which we announced important events of the school for the following week. Day by day, the program was extended and the coverage of the program was enlarged.

We received more orders from many schools for radio storytellers, puppeteers, live music programs, music festivals, and etc. The students who worked in the radio station were really in situation in which we could practice and develop the skills of drawing up plans, solving problems, devising strategies and many more. Two years later, our radio station was presented with a big gift from a local station: a voice changer software and a music editor software. These advanced softwares helped us handle our job properly. Instead of needing many students to join in dubbing for a story or a drama, now, we just need two “technical operators” and two students to make the dubbing. The old weak multi-track mixer was “retired” and the music editor.

We learnt how to apply these efficient tools in work. Of course, we found them very useful and interesting. We could easily record, remix music, add sound and effects, change one voice into many others. These jobs used to require many people and much time . However, applying our computers and these softwares, we could do the job well with just 4 or 5 people.

We spent much time, thought and labor in this extra-curriculum job, but we loved it. We made school lessons more interesting and exciting. We created a different way for children to gain experience and helped them make a presentation in a new way. We made a radio program which was considered the “voice” of students, pupils in the school. We sent meaningful music messages to friends, teachers, and so on.

I join my current company, a provider of voice changer and music editor softwares, because of many reasons. One of these reasons is that I want to support many college radio stations. My friends who used to work with me in our school radio station are all having good jobs in professional.

We are very happy to give advice and guidelines to youth in starting a school radio station or a home music studio.

One of the first advices from me is that “Don’t wait until tomorrow what you can do today”. Seize any chance you have, start with your dream, step by step, and you can see a clearer road for your future.

Homework Organization For Students (And Their Parents)

I spend a lot of time at my seminars and workshops, on the phone and via email discussing the subject of homework organization. Actually, I spend a lot of time listening to parents complain that their children’s homework disorganization is driving everybody crazy!

Many students have such a hard time getting it together that by the time they finally sit down to do their homework, they are exhausted. No wonder they don’t want to do it! Getting organized will help alleviate exhaustion, bad attitudes, procrastination and rebelliousness.

Homework organization just makes life easier for everyone.

These are the homework organization tips that I use as a student, teacher and parent. Print this list and read it with your children. Then, post it on the fridge and refer to it often so that everybody (parents, kids, babysitters, grandparents) will be on the same organized page.

At School:

  • Write down every, single homework assignment in one place. I strongly recommend using a bound or wire notebook- definitely NOT a loose leaf binder. I don’t care how careful you are, pages will fall out, and then what? You won’t know what to do nor when to do it! A plain notebook is fine, but a datebook or calendar is the best. Some schools even provide these to students. Use it.
  • Write down homework assignments as you get them. This is mostly for older students that change classes and teachers, but it is a good habit for everyone. If the teacher says, “Oh, tonight I want you to read Chapter 4,” write that down in your notebook.
  • Write down every, single due date for a project or paper- even if you have a handout or syllabus. Handouts disappear (I think they hang out with loose socks), but you will still know what to do and when to do it if you have everything written down in your homework notebook.
  • Keep ALL of the day’s homework assignments together in one place. Don’t have a special place or page for math, another for writing, etc. You want to see everything in one spot.
  • Check your homework notebook Three (3) Times A Day: Before you leave school (or each class), double check to make certain that you have everything (books, paper, materials, etc.) that you will need later.

At Home:

  • Before you start doing your homework, look at your notebook and make sure that you are doing the right assignment, the right page, etc.
  • Before you put everything away, take one more quick look. Did you do everything? Good!
  • Make a decision about where you will put your completed homework: into a binder pocket, a special homework folder, etc. You may decide to have a color-coded folder for each class. If you choose to use folders, I strongly recommend using 3-hole punched folders and keeping them together in a 3-ring binder. Whatever you choose, stick to it! Don’t put your homework in your a binder today, a folder tomorrow… And, never, ever fold your homework into a book or throw it loose into your backpack! Shudder!
  • Use your Magic Homework Box. You do have one, don’t you? The Magic Homework Box is a box with all of the homework supplies and materials a student needs on a regular basis. These supplies only come out of the Magic Homework Box during homework time, so you always have what you need. Now, that’s magic!
  • Clean up as soon as you are finished with your homework. Now, not later! Put completed pages in your homework folder, then put the folder and homework notebook in your backpack. Not only will mornings will be less crazy, you won’t have to sit in class knowing that you did your homework and forgot it at home (doh!). Don’t forget to put away the dictionary and any other books you may have used.
  • Remember to put everything back into your Magic Homework Box. In my house, homework is not “done” until everything is cleaned up and put away.
  • Keep your backpack organized. Throw away all of those candy wrappers and random pieces of paper. Keep one area or pocket filled with a few items (pencils, a sharpener, maybe a calculator) so that you can do your homework anywhere- maybe even before you get home! Remove any graded test, project, report or paper that your teacher has taken the time to return to you. Why? You might need it to study for a test, for a portfolio or for a project. You can throw everything away at the end of the semester or the school year, but until then put each item in its own subject file, but NOT in the homework folder. Remember, homework folders are ONLY for completed homework that is ready to be turned in!
  • Don’t give up! They say it takes 21 days to form a good habit. If you forget to do something on this list, don’t stop trying. Hey, maybe if you remember to write down all of your homework or clean up for 21 days in a row, your mom or dad will do something extra nice for you! (Parents, that was a hint!)

A Note to Parents about Homework Organization

Please remember that your job is to give your children organizational tools and show them how to use them. Your job is NOT to organize your child’s homework! So, in the beginning, you might check your son’s homework notebook to make sure that he is writing down all of his assignments in one place, but you would never dream of calling the teacher and checking. You might watch as your daughter copies the science project due dates into her homework notebook; you will not do it for her.

Yes, I know that it is hard to let go- I’ve been there! But, we want our children to be organized and independent learners, right?

You can do it!

(For more information about recommended homework organization products and The Magic Homework Box, please see site information below.)

5 Universal Precaution Measures to Prevent HIV Transmission

Universal precautions are safety measures that are followed for the prevention of the spread of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and other bloodborne pathogens. All samples of blood and body fluids are to be considered infectious while dealing with them. In fact, it was after the discovery of HIV that universal precautions became known to be extremely important in a healthcare setting.

As an employer, it is a major responsibility to ensure that all your health care workers are adhering to universal precautions. While treating patients of HIV or AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus), all employees must have an open mind and focus on leaving all prejudices behind, following universal precautions as usual. There is no room for mistakes for such cases.

Here are five measures to prevent the  transmission  of HIV infections:

• Personal Protective Equipment: Your health care employees must be taught to always use protective clothing when handling HIV/AIDS patients. Protective gear like face masks, gowns, gloves and goggles must be used during occasions where chances of accidental splashing of blood and fluids are high. It is essential to change gloves between patients and procedures to avoid contamination. Make sure all gloves and gowns are in good condition without any holes or tears.

• Equipments and Instruments: Needles and sharp instruments must be used carefully while using them on HIV patients. If any of your health care employees gets an accidental cut or prick, immediate treatment should be started. Gloves are essential as they provide protection. Despite wearing gloves, all sharps must be handled with special care and later disposed in a sharps-container.

• Mouth-to-mouth breathing: Sometimes an HIV patient may have a sudden cardiac arrest and require administration of artificial respiration. Even though there is only a negligible chance of spread of the virus through the saliva, it is still good to be careful. There is a greater chance of  transmission  if the patient has developed a wound in the mouth. Your nurses and doctors must wear gloves and give rescue breaths through respiratory devices in such situations.

• Hygiene: Good hygiene habits must be practiced in your health care facility at all times even while dealing with normal patients. Gloves must be donned before treating a patient and afterwards must be taken off carefully and placed in marked containers. Hand washing with antiseptic soap is a must after handling any patient. In the event of any body fluid touching your skin, a disinfectant must be used.

• Injuries: You must make a rule that any health worker with personal injuries like open wounds or broken skin must avoid dealing with such patients. In case they have to, they must properly cover the injured area to decrease the chances of contracting the infection.

HIV infection results in AIDS, which is a fatal disease. There is no absolute cure for it and therefore great emphasis must be given on strictly following precautionary measures to prevent its spread. Other than the above measures, you must keep your health care employees aware of the latest protective measures used. Following these simple universal precautions can save lives and must not be taken lightly.

An Introduction To Birth Control

The dictionary defines birth control as “a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant.” Birth control has become imperative in today’s world, due to the global rise in population, need for family planning and also to safeguard oneself from unwanted pregnancy.

There are various methods of birth control that one can adopt, including the withdrawal method, or coitus interruptus; barrier methods like condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or contraceptive sponge; chemical methods like contraceptive pills, contraceptive patch, or the progesterone-only pill (POP); intrauterine methods; fertility awareness methods and more. Other than the preventive methods, one can also adopt abortion methods like surgical abortions, chemical abortions and herbal abortifacients to end unwanted pregnancies. Some permanent birth control solutions are surgical sterilization, which includes tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men.

Although there are many alternate methods of birth control available in the market, the most commonly used methods are contraceptive pills and condoms. Contraceptive pills or oral contraceptives consist of a pill with doses of synthetic hormones like progestin or estrogen, taken orally by a woman to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive pills are considered to be a reliable mode of preventing pregnancy, but can sometimes also result in certain side effects like obesity, headaches or depression in some women. Condoms were traditionally manufactured for men but now are available for female users. Condoms serve a dual function, as they not only help in avoiding pregnancy but also prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.

In Canada and the US, contraceptive patches are also fast gaining popularity. A woman applies contraceptive patches on her skin for a week, and they release synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. They act in the same manner as contraceptive pills. Contraceptive patches in Canada and US are sold under the brand name Ortho Evra, and are sold only by prescription.

With the advances in science and technology, we might witness new innovations in birth control methods; however, in order to choose the right mode of birth control one must consult one’s doctor.

Diflucan Yeast Infection

Yeast is a type of fungus that may be present normally over the skin. The specific type of yeast that causes many a diseases in human is Candida albicans. This is a normal flora, mainly showing their presence in the moist areas of human skin like armpits, mouth, groin, sexual organs (both in male and female) and fold of the buttocks. It is seen that 20-50% of any normal healthy female carry yeast in their vaginal area.

Candidiasis, or yeast infection can be localized to the skin or there may be severe systemic infection in patients having reduced immunity. These patients usually suffer from AIDS, cancer or cancer patients receiving chemotherapy drugs.

It is estimated that almost 75% of the female population will suffer from vaginal yeast infection at any point of their lifetime. This is again aggravated by previous or secondary bacterial infection like Gonorrhea and protozoal infection like Trichomonas. Some external irritants like vaginal douches or the internal hormonal disturbances derange the normal vaginal flora and there is excess production of the acid producing bacteria like lactobacilli. Regular intake of oral pills, pregnancy, stress, vaginal sex immediately after anal sex and private part lubricants containing glycerin are some predisposing factors of vaginal yeast infection.

Men can also suffer from genital yeast infection. The causes are unclean prepuce, engaging in excessive anal sex and not cleaning after that.

Oral candidiasis can occur in immunocompromized patients. This may also transmit to any person if engaged in oral sex with the infected partner. Long standing diabetes is one of the most contributory factors of oral yeast infection.

Use of antibiotics and steroids (which lowers the immunity) is the two most common causes of yeast infection of mouth cavity and private parts due to indiscriminate use by the doctors and also by the quacks. To kill this offending fungus we need some medicine called antifungal agents. Diflucan is one of them.

Diflucan, or scientifically known as Fluconazole, is an imidazole related antifungal agent which shows primary a fungistatic (inhibiting the growth of fungus) action. But in higher concentrations, Diflucan can also acts as a fungicidal agent (killing fungus). It helps to destroy the cytoplasmic membrane of the fungus and the fungal growth is retarded.

Bioavailability of Diflucan is not affected by presence of food in stomach. After absorption, it promptly shows its presence in skin, tears and urine. The concentration here are at least 10 times more that in sputum, saliva and vaginal fluid. This delineates the excretory process of Diflucan through urine and sweat. This is the reason Diflucan is preferred by doctors treating the cases of skin and vaginal yeast infection.

Patients having irregular heart rate and liver diseases must not take Diflucan as there may be aggravation of the problem. Although Diflucan is well tolerated generally, people can suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea infrequently.

The major complications of Diflucan are reduced urine output, ulcerative condition of the lips and gums (Steven-Johnson’s Syndrome). Presence of Diflucan is noted in the breast milk, so nursing mothers should not take this medicine. Diflucan can lead to fetal malformations, therefore the pregnant mothers and those who are planning to have a baby in near future should avoid using Diflucan.

Diflucan is a good medicine in Yeast infection but the side effects are the restrictive factors for the wide use of this drug.

Best Cold Sore Treatment – What is A Successful Cold Sore Cure

In this article we will look at a few different types of medicinal remedies that are available and are considered to be the best cold sore treatment that is available today to achieve a cold sore cure.

1. Viroxyn

This is a new approach in helping to treat herpes and does not rely on the patient taking the medicine internally. It has been designed to specifically attack and disrupt the lipid coat of virus and is best described as being a germicide rather than the normal anti-viral treatment. Many say this is the top approach on the market.

As it is a virucide you apply it directly to the lesion and this will then kill the virus. This type of treatment works faster than many of the other types of drugs available which have to work their way through your stomach into the bloodstream and which are then able to deal with the sores and will only interefere with the viruses reproduction which has caused the eruptions in the first place. This is why some call it an effective remedy.

Unlike the other treatments that are available which will interrupt the genetic code of herpes and eventually stop the virus from growing, Viroxyn strips the lipid coating off the virus and then kills it when it comes into contact with an affected area.

2. Zovirax or Acyclovir

This is taken as an episodic treatment and can reduce the severity of the outbreak, as well as shorten its duration and also shorten the time during which the herpes virus is detected on the skin’s surface in a similar way to Viroxyn.

Because it is an episodic treatment it should be taken 5 times a day and can also be used as a suppressive treatment which will help to reduce the number of cold sore outbreaks a person has. If you wish to use it as a suppressive treatment you will need to take 2 tablets 3 or 4 times a day but it is best to speak to your doctor to get the specific dosage in order to treat the cold sores correctly. This medication has it’s own defenders as the best fever blister treatment on the market.

However with Zovirax there are a couple of common side effects which you may suffer from and these are nausea and diarrhea. When you consider a cold sore cure, you must keep in mind the side effects in making an evaluation.

We have provided details on a couple of the best cold sore treatments that available, but it is up to you to research both natural and prescription treatments and use a plan that you feel comfortable with in your search for a herpes cure.

9 Fun Speech Class Activities

Speech classes are a lot more fun when everyone gets involved with special activities! Try some of these ideas to warm up your next class:

  1. Impromptu speaking. Give students various topics for them to speak on without any preparation. The topics should be relatively easy at first, such as “What is your favorite movie and why?” or “If you could only eat one food for a month, what would that be?”
  2. Lost on a deserted Island game. Present the scenario: Following a ship wreck, the entire class has been stranded on a deserted island. Each person is allowed to bring one object to the island. Have each student describe what that object would be and why. (You can extend this into a team-building activity by breaking into teams and have each team figure out how to creatively combine their items to increase survival).
  3. Tongue Twisters competition. Have two people come up at a time and take turns repeating a tongue twister. “unique New York” “Red Leather, yellow leather.” Faster, and faster. When someone messes up, they sit down and a challenger comes up. Someone can keep score with the class roster.
  4. Dramatic alphabet or numbers. Students can “lecture” the class by reciting the alphabet or counting to 30, but with gestures, drama and eye contact. A, BCD! E, F, G… , H? I, JKL-M… , etc.. You could emphasize the eye contact by adding this activity: the speaker is to make and hold eye contact for at least 3 seconds per person. All the students raise their hands. When the speaker initiates eye contact with someone, that person mentally counts to 3 and then lowers his or her hand, letting the speaker know that the 3 seconds is up. The speaker can then move onto someone else. You could even make it a competition.
  5. Dramatic reading. You, of course, could pick an intriguing passage, or you could do something like having them read definitions outloud, just to make it silly by being dramatic.
  6. Transitions exercise. Pass out 3 slips of paper to each of the students-and have some categories written on the board. (Places, People around the school, Foods, TV shows). Ask that each student pick 3 of the categories and write a word that falls into that category. Then collect the slips in a container. Each student goes up to the front of the room in turn and picks a slip and starts talking about whatever is on that slip. Then, after a little bit of time, you pick another slip for the student and say, “OK, Amanda, your next topic is… ” and then the student’s job is to transition from the one topic to the next. It’s OK for the audience to help. It’s OK to offer another topic if the student is stuck. Using “apples” and “New York City” as examples, transitions can be phrases such as: Now that I’ve told you about the health benefits of apples, let me tell you about the health benefits of living in New York City. Finally, let me tell you how New York came to be called the Big Apple.
  7. On the other hand. Have 2 students come up. Ask one student to speak “for” a topic and then the other person to speak “against” the same topic.
  8. One word story. Line up 7-10 students in front (actually it’s better if they stand in a circle) and have them tell a non-rehearsed, non-thought out story one word at a time, cycling to the beginning until the story comes to a somewhat logical conclusion. The key is that each person can only say one word at time and this includes the boring words like “and” and “the.” You could start the story by saying something like, “One.” (The logical thing to come next would be “day,” but it certainly could be something else).
  9. Sell a product. Have odd objects for students to “sell” to their classmates. You can introduce the FAB format and ask them to use it. F=Features, A=Advantages, B=Benefits. The focus should be on the benefits. Toilet paper, anyone?

Add a few fun activities and see the interest level soar in your class!