Archive Materials — Vol. 1

Adam Fitzgerald
24 min readSep 4, 2019

Hello Students,

At the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye in Northern Scotland (the Highlands) while living in the UK earlier this year

As many of you know, I have been teaching for years- so I have many, many resources I want to continue to share with students. My wife Jessica & I just moved back to the US from the UK, so we are now living in the Detroit area in Michigan after living in Edinburgh, Scotland for the last year.

My wife Jessica & I have been together since 2012, we are both writers & love to travel.

I’ve been teaching for over 10 years, this last year I’ve been teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) online to many students all over the world — Italy, China, Brazil, the US, the UK, the EU, South Korea, etc.

For many months I was emailing students materials, then I realized it would easier to post materials here on this website to share with everyone faster. So, I am slowly going through the process of creating an “Archive” of materials so my students can go through my website to find a wide variety of resources to study English from at any time.

Obviously you do not have to read everything I send you, I’m just hoping to give you options. Again, if there is ever something specific you want to focus on, feel free to email me links! My work email is & my personal email is

For this first archive posts I have included here all the materials I sent to students during the months of January, February & March in 2019. Apologies if there are any repeated links or old stories that are no longer relevant, but there are a lot of materials here that are useful for studying English — articles, stories, songs, lyrics, videos, TED Talks, grammar help, vocabulary, slang, idioms, expressions, quotes, history, science, philosophy, psychology, etc.

Hopefully you are able to learn about interesting topics of your choice while also using & improving your English skills. Happy studying! :)

January 2019

This piece from BBC is about “WhatsApp” — which is a great piece of technology for communication

This piece is about a confrontation that recently took place in Washington D.C. between Native Americans, African American Isrealites and young white republican conservative high school kids from Kentucky — feel free to watch the video footage of the encounter

This is another article from NPR (National Public Radio in The US) about the Mexico-America border wall dispute and how it affects Native Americans

Hopefully these articles are what you had in mind, I am interested in discussing whatever you want.

I have also included links to several articles I have written over the years.

This link leads to a piece I wrote about Education being the foundation of society:

This is another piece I wrote, detailing my teaching experiences:

This is a column I wrote about respect, and how vital it is in and out of classrooms:

Feel free to email me or contact me via Skype anytime.

I am also a musician — I play guitar, bass, write songs and I sing — I have a band in Detroit called Shady Groves, if you are interested in listening to our music our songs can be found on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube, etc. Here is a link if you are interested

— you can follow Shady Groves on Spotify here —

February 2019

Here are a few links to different materials we could discuss during our next class — feel free to investigate what you want — obviously you do not have to read everything I send you, I’m just hoping to give you options.

Here is an article about how (supposedly) the UK has emergency plans to evacuate the Queen and The Royal Family out of the country if there are protests or intense riots in London once Brexit officially goes through and the United Kingdom seperate from the EU on March 29th:

This is an interesting article about sleep and how some professional athletes sleep:

This is an article from NPR about Russia, the US, a nuclear arms treaty and how peace pacts made from the Cold War are starting to disintegrate (But we are not supposed to worry? Supposedly?)

Some of my students have been sending me ‘TED Talks’ so we can discuss a wide range of topics during class — once upon a time TED banned a few different presentations becuase the presenters’ views did not “properly align” with modern scientific views (such as the rare few scientists who disagree with widely accepted principles such as conciousness being limited within the brain, Einstein’s theory of relativity, etc.) but ironically these “banned TED talks” are some of the most popular presentations online now — so I wanted to share an especially interesting short talk by one of my favorite living scientists and philosophers — Dr. Rupert Sheldrake — who is famous for his theories on “Morphic Resonance” and “The Science Delusion”
- by no means do you have to watch this, but if you are interested here is this link:

For fun, sometimes I will share some of my own writing with you, if you are interested —
This is a column I wrote about the importance of setting goals:

Hopefully some of these pieces interest you, if you would rather read or discuss something else, I am always open to suggestions and happy to participate in discussion on any topic.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read these emails and making the effort to practice your English with these materials. Hopefully you find the links I am sending helpful — if you ever have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime.

If there is anything specific you would like to focus on during our next class, please let me know — you can send me links to articles, videos, songs, exercises from the Coach website, things you are working on at your job — whatever you feel will be the most useful for you to improve your English, I am happy to help in any way I can.

Again, you do not need to read every article I send, or watch every video — I am simply trying to provide options so you can practice your English skills with whatever materials interest you the most — so, feel free to choose and study from any of the links below so we can discuss what you studied in our next class.

This is an article from NPR about the current crisis going on in Venezuela:

This is an article from the BBC about education, young people living at home for longer and the effects this has on the housing market:

Here is an article from the BBC about herbal remedies — quite an interesting in article about how so many plants can be used as medicines:

One of my students recently asked me about the proper way to use the phrase “used to” so I wanted to send this link to my other students because I thought it might be helpful or useful for you -

I also wanted to send some additional links to other grammar materials — specifically involving verbs & verb tenses — one of the harder aspects of a language to master — if you follow this link you will find a plethora of resources — you can click any of the terms to get an entire read out explaining the verb tense with examples —

For starters, I thought we could work on Past Tense —

Even more specifically — we could focus on using the “Simple Past” tense to start —

Or, if you are familiar with this already, you can choose which verb tense you would like to focus on in upcoming lessons — additionally, we could focus more idioms and expressions if you wish, just let me know.

This is a link to a TED Talk presentation given by an “English language expert” about “Three Secrets You Need to Know About Spoken English” — some people find her speech condescending, others find her words and ideas helpful, so I am interested to hear your opinions on this presentation if you have the time to watch this video -

As promised, I have included a link to another piece I wrote — feel free to read if you are interested —
This is an article I wrote about attitude and perception:

Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication — it is a pleasure sharing these interesting and insightful conversations with you. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead. Contact me at any time if you need anything — if you need to reschedule a class, Global English has asked that you please contact this email —

In addition to my work with my band Shady Groves back home in Detroit, I have also slowly started releasing “solo” material under the project name “Quells” and playing shows by myself as Quells here in Scotland — so, if you enjoy our Shady Groves music…

Shady Groves

about =

& music =

I have started an online archive of sorts, putting together different songs from throughout my career as a songwriter — so if you’re really bored or a really big fan of music, feel free to check out the assortment of my music, demos, instrumentals and other assorted songs from my catalogue here —

(you don’t have to listen if you don’t want!)

I’ve also had a dream of starting a record label for years, and last year I finally took my first steps toward making this a reality — I launched “Underflow Records” — which I hope will become an international collective of artists, musicians, producers, public relations experts and talent management. We already have a lot of talented people involved and the goal is to connect creative people who might not get the attention they deserve on their own so we can help each other.
You can listen to the songs we post and the songs we like from other artists here:

I also make mixes (also called “playlists”) of different songs I like and upload them online as one large file — so then people can listen with no interruptions from advertisements :) — here is a link to one mix if you are interested in some eclectic songs of all styles and eras:

By no means to you need to listen to any of this music, I just enjoy sharing the gift and joy of music with other people, whether the music is my own or just music I enjoy — I think music (like most art) is an amazing way to connect people in a positive way :)

Hopefully you enjoy these materials or find them interesting and / or useful.

This is an article from NPR about electric cars vs. gas-powered engines:

This is an interesting article from the BBC about new limitations for Facebook:

This is an article from NPR about Syria and the weapons used in different attacks:

This is another TED Talk — this one focuses on understanding body language:

Here is a short reading on vocabulary — specifically focusing on commonly confused words (potentially VERY helpful for English learners):

Here is another similar list:

And one more list of commonly confused words in English:

As promised, here is another piece I wrote — this one is about sharing compliments:

Here are some resources regarding Prepositions — hopefully these materials help!

Feel free to email me if if you have any questions. Have a great week!

Again, if you don’t have time this week that’s fine, we can go over these next week. Thank you so much for your dedication to the learning process and for studying the materials, reading these emails and practicing your English. If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to email me anytime.

Hopefully you will have time to look through these materials eventually and perhaps take notes about new things you learned, questions you have, words or phrases that are new or confusing, or any other points you would like to discuss. I look forward to catching up soon.

March 2019

Several of my students have voiced interest in articles about technology — so I have included this link to a piece from NPR about the ethics of new technology:

& also this article about propoganda, hate-speech and moderators on Facebook

This is an article from the BBC that ties together two of my favorite topics: music & education -

I have received many questions about conjunctions from different learners, so here is a link to a resource explaining this element of English grammar in a clear way:

I’ve also had a lot of questions about causitive verbs — Here are some links with explanations and examples:

Recently I found a great website that is a great resource for Vocabulary if you are interested in testing your knowledge or expanding your word database —

Many of my students have been enjoying learning from the Ted talks videos. Recently I watched a presentation about learning languages by someone who speaks many different languages — he explains his tips for learning a language.
The speaker has a great idea (“Shower Conversations”) — practiing the new language you are learning by speaking it out loud by yourself and envisioning a conversation where you have to speak on both ends of the conversation — so, if you ask yourself a question in English, you also have to answer yourself in English.
As the speaker mentions, this is a great way to determine where the gaps are in your “knowledge pool” so you know what you need to focus on to improve or what particular words you still need to learn.
Here is the link to the TED video:

One of my students recently shared this great resource with me — it is a search engine for idioms — so if you ever encounter a phrase, or an expression, or idiom you do not know, you can type it in here to learn about it — if you are interested in learning English idioms & expressions this is a great resource —

I have included some of my own writing here if you are interested -

This is an article I wrote about the importance of setting goals to keep your life on track and mark your progress — I sent this out to a few students recently but not to everyone, so if you were looking for something to read for English practice, I thought this might be interesting and hopefully inspiring. Even with a big goal like learning English, it’s important to focus on the smaller steps and “taking it one day at a time” to work toward your goals.

This is a link to an article I wrote in 2016 when the killings of African-Americans by US police was at an all-time high, and that dreadful election was unfolding — 2 recent things that have drastically shaped how the United States currently is — my message remains the same —

division is not the answer, education is

Some of my students have requested “less serious” articles to read — so I have included a few different links here -

This link is to an NPR story about the sad, weird things desperate individuals do within the state of Florida in the US (some very odd, funny stories)

& this link is to a music website called Pitchfork that recently wrote an article on the artist Natlaie Merring who goes by the name “Weyes Blood” with her music (I’m not crazy about her music, it’s a bit melodramatic — but she has a great voice and she collobroates with many indie musicians I enjoy )
Even for those not interested in music, Ms. Merring seems like an educated individual and the interview may offer some insight into modern-day America from the perspective of a 30-year-old musician — many issues from climate change to world politics are dicussed in a casual way in this article if you are interested.

Some of my students have expressed interest in music — I think it can be a fun and useful exercise to listen to a song, read the song’s lyrics and try to decipher them together — so, I am inlcluding links to one of my favorite songs ever — the song is called “If I Ever Feel Better” by a band called “Phoenix” — I am hoping this is extra inspiring for you because this band is French but they sing and write all their lyrics in English — (wow!)
The sheer amount of words in this song is impressive enough but the music and the lyrical content really make for a memorable tune, I hope you enjoy the song & the words:

music —

lyrics —

Here is an article from NPR about the current evolving situation in Venezuela.

Here is a short article from the BBC about a woman who recently jumped a barrier at a zoo to take a picture of a jaguar — and of course, she was attacked.

Here is an article from NPR about a very popular young female politician on the rise in America and her “Green New Deal”

Here is a link to a TED Talk about behavior, communication and success -

I had some students asking about phrasal verbs — so I have included some materials to help with this element of grammar.



As promised, I have included some of my own writing -
Here is an article I wrote about my grandparents and the importance of positive role-models to inspire education:

Here is an article I wrote during the 2016 election — if you decide to listen to the song below & read the lyrics, this piece will ties together with that nicely to give you a more complete context.

I’ve also included a link to another song — this artist goes by “Father John Misty” — his real name is Josh Tillman — he used to play drums in one of my favorite bands called “Fleet Foxes” before he went solo. He is a very interesting character — he was raised in an intensley religious household in the Eastern United States, then moved out West to leave his restrictive religion behind and become an indie musician — now he is very humorous, cynical, intelligent, satirical, ironic and sometimes dark.
Now — this song is considered offensive to many people (especially those who are religious or political — I do not wish to offend or depress anyone! His views do not exactly match mine — obviously :) ) so of course you do not need to listen to this, but the lyrics are intensely deep, so they could prompt an interesting discussion. This song was released in the wake of the disastorous 2016 election — again, this song is dark, somewhat depressing, and cynical, a bit ridiuclous- but also slightly inspiring — he’s incredibly talented, despite his malaise.
Hopefully you enjoy!

Here is the song (the video goes with the song pretty well):

Here are the lyrics:

If you wish to change our scheduled meeting times please email me or contact — feel free to email me anytime if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

There’s a lot of focus on our planet right now in the media, which is a great way to spread awareness of the issues facing our species and planet worldwide, so I wanted to share some of these articles with you for our upcoming lessons either this week, or next week, or whenever you can find the time to read which of these you prefer.

Here is an article from BBC about the program “Blue Planet” which has spread a lot of awareness about our oceans

Here is an article from NPR about what foods you can focus on to help the planet — “For a healther planet eat these 50 foods”

Here is a short article by BBC detailing the Nobel Peace Prize nomination for the teenage girl from Sweden

In relation to that, I thought I should share the TED talk she did in relation to this topic — it’s very short, less than 12 minutes

Here is another article from NPR — this one focusing on the historic damage done by the recent cyclone in Africa

As you may or may not know, both my wife & I are vegan — which means we use no animal products (except properly gathered honey from sustainable beekeepers and their organic, local farms) — we eat no meat, no dairy, no eggs, nothing from animal — and we usually try to buy organic. The meat industry is one of the worst industries in the world in relation to climate change -

Here is a statistic from PETA — (here’s the link to the accompanying article & their video if you’re interested)

— there are many incredible documentaries on this topic — I highly recommend watching “WHAT THE HEALTH”

“Nearly half of all the water used in the United States goes toward raising animals for food. Here’s proof that meat wastes water: It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat. Only 25 gallons of water are required to grow 1 pound of wheat.” — PETA

To put that in perspective almost 30% of the people on our planet do not even have access to clean drinking water.

So, in relation to health and saving our dying world, I wanted to share an article I wrote a few years ago about being vegan

My wife has an entire website about our lifestyle — a food / travel / health / lifestyle blog of sorts — about our travels, our health, our writing & our dreams to become published authors, so here is the link to her website if you are intersted in any of these topics (my female students especially seem to enjoy my wife Jesica’s website, but the beauty in her writing is how many topics she covers — there is something for any type of person, man or woman, young or old — you can even “search” for whatever topic you are interested in at the top of her homepage)

If you are interested in a different topic — here is a TED Talk about a man on a mission to sound like a native speaker even when he’s still learning a new language -

For our grammar topic, I thought we could do something a little bit easier and focus on contractions — something simple but important

This link leads to several charts concerning contractions —

For anyone who hasn’t had time to check out The Idioms website, it is well worth saving this site as a resource -

One of (arguably) “the best bands in the world today” (and one of my personal favorite groups) is a band called “Tame Impala” from Australia led by one cheif songwriter, instrumentalist and producer named Kevin Parker — Tame Impala just recently released a new song, their first new material since 2015 — it’s a good song and the title focuses on one of my favorite concepts — “Patience” — so I thought it might be fun to share this new song and if you have time we can disucss the lyrics, which include such platitudes as “time waits for no one”

song —

lyrics —

If people focused more on patience, understanding, respect, education and health (for the planet, the animals, the children, the future) we would be in a better place in regards to so many worldwide issues. All we can do is try to learn from our mistakes and move toward a better future.

I hope you had a good weekend and I hope you have a great week ahead. I look forward to our next conversation. Keep in touch and let me know if you need anything else for class or if you have any questions, I’m always here to help. Thank you for taking the time to read these long emails and the materials within!

To sign off email from now on I will leave you a quote as “food for thought” — or something to think about and maybe discuss if you have any questions or contemplations you would like to share. Here is a quote from one of my favorite philosophers of all time, Marcus Aurelius — his book “Meditations” truly changed my life and I highly recommend reading it, or even getting it as a coffee table book to flip through once in a while.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” — Marcus Aurelius

​​​​​​​Take care.

Best regards,

Adam Fitzgerald