Curious George

In Japan, he’s known as George the Monkey (おさるのジョージ). Easy to understand, but not as descriptive.

Did you know that he escaped the Nazis during WW2? Here’s the story:

I was looking around for something else related to Curious George and found a couple of easy-to-read articles:

“Curious George celebrates 76th birthday”

“85-year-old cycles from home to library every day”

The second one isn’t really about the character; it’s about this elderly man’s energy, inquisitiveness, and love of reading. Towards the end of the article, it says that people who know him were asked to liken him to a character in a book. One person said he was like Curious George.

That leads to a writing prompt for people who like to read fiction: Which character in fiction do you most resemble? How about a parent or grandparent or a teacher or coach? Or an eccentric neighbor?

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Exploring Hogwarts

For Harry Potter fans — you can explore this 3D version of Hogwarts. It’s filled with “hot spots” to discover trivia about the stories. You do have to sign up with an e-mail address to access the site.

Here’s one example:

Writing prompt:

Have you seen similar explorations for other books or movies you like? If you were to choose one book, movie, manga, or series to give background trivia like this for, what would you choose? What kind of trivia would you add?

“365 things to make you go ‘Hmmm…'”

This website is called Sparky Teaching, and it’s similar to the Two Minute Topic Talk ideas, but some of these topics require a bit more thinking and maybe even a little research.

Here are some that I think would be great writing prompts for students. Click on the images below to see the full question. You can even send your answer to the website and get it published.

Some of the questions are more like riddles:

And some focus more explicitly on language:

Anyway, there are lots of ideas to get you thinking and talking and writing in English.

Not just any bookstore

This is not just any bookstore. This is *the* bookstore. If you ever get to Portland, Oregon, this is the place to spend an afternoon. And maybe you’ll meet Arnold.

“Do something not once, not ten times, not a hundred but a thousand times, then that’ll make you a master of what it is you’re doing.”


  • Where’s your favorite place to spend an afternoon?
  • Where’s your favorite bookstore, cafe, or library? Does it have any interesting characters — regulars who are interesting in some way?
  • What skill are you trying to improve? Are you at the “ten times” level or the “hundred times” level? Or more?