Do I Really Need a Lawyer to Get a Trademark?

As an experienced Trademark Lawyer, I am frequently asked if individuals or small companies need an attorney to register for a federal trademark. The short answer is no — just as one doesn’t technically need a mechanic to change a car transmission or perform a major engine overhaul. Nonetheless, in both cases, hiring a professional is still advisable.

First, it is essential to conduct a thorough search of all available public records to determine if your proposed name and/or logo are confusingly similar to names or logos that are already being used in commerce by others.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website allows one to search public records online for free. However, smart businesses hire a third party research firm to conduct this exhaustive research for them. If you attempt to do such a search yourself, you will probably miss something, and that could create significant problems for you down the line. Further, there are multiple sources of information about unregistered, but still relevant “common law” uses that must be considered.

This voluminous research will undoubtedly reveal third-party uses that are somewhat similar in some way, shape or form to your proposed use. For example, if you are interested in using the mark “COMPUTER” in connection with jeans, there will be other marks with “computer” in them. Are they confusingly similar? That is the key question, and like most nuanced issues in law, it is often a matter of degree and professional opinion.

Once you are comfortable with the knowledge that your proposed brand name and logo are clear of any major, conflicting third party uses, there are a number of questions to still ask: Is the mark “generic”, that is, the name of the class of goods for which you intend to use it?

For example, one cannot trademark the brand name “computer” for use in connection with computers. However, “computer” could theoretically become the brand name of a pair of jeans, because in that context, it is actually “arbitrary” or “fanciful.” Other categories of marks are “merely descriptive,” that is, does it merely describe an attribute of the product you are branding? Is the term “suggestive,” that is, does it not describe but suggest a feature of the goods? A legal professional can evaluate this issue based on how similar cases were handled on the past.

If you are still comfortable with the mark as proposed, you would then file a formal application in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This application costs a fee of several hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars, based on the number of “classes” of goods or services that you intend to use the trademark in connection with.

Eventually, you would receive a response from an Examiner working at the Trademark Office. That Examiner would probably ask a number of questions about your proposed mark, and often will seek further clarifications about your application. BE CAREFUL. Whatever you say in response to these questions will become public knowledge as part of the government file.

Further, whatever you do in response to these Office Actions can limit or affect your rights later. For example, disclaiming a portion of the mark, or narrowing the classes of goods for which you are seeking a trademark, can come back to haunt you later. It is easy to give away your rights, but much harder (and sometimes impossible) to ever get them back.

So, to answer the recurring question, one does not technically need an attorney to apply for a US Federal Trademark on a new brand name that one intends to use in commerce. However, it is a long and complicated process, especially if you are unfamiliar with it. And like replacing a car transmission, it requires skill and experience.

Genital Wart Facts

Genital warts are a type of wart that are only found on your private parts of the body. The genital wart is one that will be easily recognized. Genital warts are also known as veneral warts and also as condylmata acuminata. Warts in this manner are caused by a skin infection, which is known as PHV infection. It is possible to have the HPV infection without having genital warts. Genital warts are often passed along during sexual intercourse, but not all those who have genital warts are going to know they are infected until the warts are bigger and a little more painful.

Warts are a virus, that can be passed by touching, sitting and skin to skin contact. The most common types of warts are seen on people’s hands and feet, which are a different form of a wart but are generally the same thing if you are wondering what genital warts really are.

Warts are associated with the tumors that form under and in the skin. The tumors are forms of the HPV infection, and will form warts as the body rids the infection from the body. If you have warts on the hand or on the feet, you are not going to spread this to your genitals. If you know someone who has genital warts, they are not going to give you warts on your hands and the same goes the other way around.

For the woman, if you have genital warts, they will appear on the inside and the outside of the vagina. If the woman has anal sex, the genital warts could appear an the anus, and the same is for the man. If a man is having anal sex with another, the genital warts could appear on the anus area as well.

The warts will appear in the same area, taking a long time to spread out. Sometimes the warts will disappear on their own, but only in rare cases often times the genital warts will spread becoming crusty and become large areas of warts over the private areas of a male or female. If you have genital warts, and someone performs oral sex, the genital warts can be transmitted to that person. Genital warts can be treated by a doctor, and with medications. If not treated, often times genital warts can become troublesome not only for the person suffering with them, but for people you love and want to share that special relationship with.

If you have sex with someone that you later finds out has genital warts, you most likely are going to end up with genital warts are well. It can take any where from one month to three months for genital warts to appear and become large enough for a person to notice them. Always protect yourself by avoiding having sex with anyone you don’t know or trust not to have genital warts.

You can find more info about genital warts on

http://www.all-about-genital-wart.com/

3 Ways to Create a Motivational Collage

One powerful collage theme is motivation! But in order to create a motivational theme you first need to write down a goal. Start with a simple goal that relates to something personal that you are working to toward.

For example, I often have freshmen students in beginning art classes create a goal collage on their major. Where do they want to go? Where do they see their selves after graduation.

Consider the following 3 simple steps.

1. Sort and gather images that will motivate you to reach a goal. For example, if you are remodeling your house only gather those images that relate to that process. This would not be the collage that has images of your last birthday party.

2. Think possible not impossible

It is easy to get discouraged when doing your collage if you think about cost and other limitations. Stay focused on your dream. It can happen. That is why you are creating a collage with a goal in mind.

3. Have fun!

Think out of the box. Mix your images with powerful and inspiring words that will help you achieve your goals,

So write out your goals. Start searching for your images and get started.

If you need help doing goal setting I have a great coach for you.

Send an email to cegoals@aol.com. She will work with you to create solid goal statements using the SMART method. That stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible.

And remember you can always contact me for any suggestions on your collage making process.

Energy Healing and the Sacred Art of Transmission

In a sense, we are all transmitting, or broadcasting energy all of the time via our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, as everything is energy and has frequency. Yet I wanted to go deeper here and share with you what I know to be possible, which I am referring to as the “sacred art of transmission” as it is a much more powerful, precise and rare spiritual and healing gift.

It is the ability to transmit spiritual, healing, and intuitive awakenings through look, touch, voice, or even mere presence. It has been over twenty years, but I will never forget my earliest memories of energy transmissions. While some happened through my spiritual teachers, many of them occurred during Reiki healing sessions, and then in teaching and attuning others to this awesome healing art.

Reiki Energy Healing Attunements are Transmissions

After I met my first spiritual teacher, I decided to take a Reiki workshop even though I had never experienced it myself. I was just so curious and my colleague had told me of her experience awhile back, but at that time I was not open, as I had no mental “box” to put it in and kind of shelved the whole concept.

I am so grateful I did. Because I noticed that while there were many great and wise people I knew who were meditating also with the same Master, and most for much longer than me, it was not common for anyone but the energy healers to expect to be able to transmit this potent energy and spiritual space. It was clearly a level of empowerment that I came to appreciate only much later. And it had to do with owning the ability to transmit energy, not just to sit in the energy.

In Reiki Level 1 there are 4 initiatory attunements, which I couldn’t possibly comprehend at that time. Reiki attunements are initiations or transmissions of energy that open the healing channels or energy pathways within everyone.

Yet I now come to realize that the Reiki Master is passing down the ability to awaken or open the healing channels that lie dormant within us all, through these specific attunements. In this instance, everyone else in class was tingling, but I feared I was a Reiki “dud” when we began to practice on each other, and everyone else’s hands were tingling, and I got nada, bupkis.

Until we got to the final two attunements. And something DEFINITELY happened. I actually heard and felt a spirit man initiating me, in addition to the woman teaching the class. When I asked who it was, I got that it was the founder, Dr. Mikao Usui, himself. I asked if he did all of the attunements with her, and she looked stunned. I can only guess that was not everyone’s experience.

Then it began happening: not from me but through me…

I have taught students, who have supposedly already taken Reiki classes with another teacher, and they were very surprised that they felt such tangible energy flow, or experienced such deep meditation states, expansion, and 3rd eye intuitive openings. I was surprised that they didn’t experience that with other teachers. It pains me, but there seem to be many people now teaching a much diluted version of what I received.

It is way more than just intention. It is more like you begin to embody the universal life energy. I now have two decades of validation that direct transmission is happening through me, and not just in Reiki attunements or private sessions. It begins to flow through you like water… and not just via the hands. One Reiki student was walking with me and we stopped at a small waterfall flowing into a pond. She gasped, and said that something was coming out of my eyes; a light, and it felt just like a healing session.

Another time, I met with a new neighbor and she was describing her chronic back pain. I felt deep compassion for her and wanted to help in some way, but it felt too early in the conversation to suggest a Reiki session. But she immediately felt relief, and asked “are you doing that thing you do, cuz my back feels better and better.”

Over time, the knowing what is possible, turns to probable. Now, with very little effort on my part I can align and focus my eyes, my feet, my heart, my thoughts and healing happens, calm serene stillness descends, light radiates. I used to be shy about stating these things, feeling like it was ego. But now I know I must tell you all what is possible for you, just as it became possible for me. I see my students stepping into this mind-blowing reality that they, too can transmit healing energy. There is nothing that delights me more!

Tips for Success During College

1. Taking a year off before starting college usually does not work; “find yourself” during the Summer after you graduate from high school. The best time to start and complete college is between the ages of 18 and 22. It is more difficult to start and complete college after these ages, because your responsibilities increase as you become older

2. Understand the number of classes and credits that you will need to graduate, and spread them over the number of semesters it will take for you to graduate; typically 8 semesters over 4 years. Note, some colleges refer to “units” and “semester hours”, instead of “classes” and “credits”. If you take classes during the Summer, you can lighten your load during the school year or graduate early. Note also, an increasing number of students are completing college over 5 years, instead of the customary 4 years.

3. Do not wait until the last minute to schedule your classes.

4. When choosing classes, take one tough class, two moderate classes, and one easy class; do not bury yourself by taking all difficult classes in a semester.

5. Spread your classes over at least 4 days per week. This will typically spread out your final exams. You want to avoid having to take multiple final exams on a given day.

6. Ask other students about their experiences with professors, and keep a list of the good and bad professors. Professors are also rated on the internet. Avoid the bad professors.

7. When scheduling classes, be cognizant of the location of such classes. You do not want to have to hurry between classes to avoid being late.

8. Get your books ahead of time whenever possible.

9. At the beginning of each semester, schedule all projects and exams; stay organized throughout each semester; utilize a written or electronic planner.

10. Turn your phone off while attending class, and while studying.

11. Spread your homework over seven days. Do not fall behind with your homework.

12. Review your class notes every evening, and add to them when necessary.

13. Before submitting papers, use the spell check on your computer and fully justify your papers.

14. Professors typically make themselves available during office hours, do not be scared to ask for help.

15. Do not skip classes; the professors usually emphasize the material that will be on the exams.

16. Some professors make available old exams at the library, or online; look at them when available.

17. When studying for an exam, study the material that you do not know, instead of the material that you do know. Do not always review the material from the oldest chapter to the newest chapter. Once in a while, start with the newest chapter and work backwards.

18. Two weeks prior to your final exams, your entire focus should be on completing your final papers and studying for such exams.

19. Prior to starting your first answer on any exam, quickly scan the entire exam so you can allocate your time between questions.

20. If you finish an exam early, take the time to check your answers before turning the exam in.

21. When it comes to choosing a major, pick something that you enjoy, something that interests you, and something that will allow you to make a living after college.

22. After you choose a major, be aware that higher level courses are not offered every semester. As a result, plan your schedule of classes accordingly, so that you do not have to attend an extra semester or two to complete your coursework.

23. Look for Summer internships to gain experience in your chosen field, and to prepare you for a career after graduation.

24. Treat college like a full-time job; you will need to commit a substantial portion of each day to attending classes and studying.

25. Keep a list of those professors who show an interest in your performance, and who you believe will be willing to provide you with a recommendation for graduate school or when applying for a job.

26. Begin your post-graduate work as soon as possible after graduating from college.

27. If you need to borrow money to go away to school, only borrow what you need. Alternatively, consider attending a community college for the first two years to reduce your outstanding student loans when you are finished.

28. Do not use your student loans to pay for Spring Break or other vacations; you will regret it later.

29. Alternatively, attending a four year college that you can commute to is also a viable option, which will also help you save for graduate school or life after college.

30. If you need to work part-time while attending college, accumulate your work hours over a couple of days if possible. This will reduce the downtime that is involved in preparing for, and traveling to and from, work.

31. If your parents are paying for your tuition, room and board, and meals, thank them repeatedly; they are making sacrifices for your benefit.

32. If you are leasing an apartment or house, read the lease closely before signing it. Immediately upon moving in, inspect the apartment or house thoroughly and submit a dated list of damages and repairs needed for the apartment or house. If possible, it would also be beneficial to take date-stamped photos or videos upon moving in, and after moving out, of the apartment or house. College town landlords are notorious for excessive repair costs and refusing to refund security deposits.

33. When moving out of your apartment or house, make sure to transfer the utility bills out of your name. Do not rely on roommates who may be staying in the apartment or house for an additional period of time. If these utility bills remain unpaid and end up in collection, they will damage your credit score for years.

34. If you live off campus, consider purchasing a meal plan so that you can eat at a nearby dorm between classes, so as to avoid the hassle of returning home for lunch.

35. Stay in touch with your parents and siblings. This will keep you grounded and you will feel more secure.

36. Ask your parents to keep your bedroom intact, so you have something to come home to, and feel comfortable in, when times get tough, when you become homesick, when you are home for the Summer and holidays, or when you just want to visit.

37. Get your rest. Treat college like a marathon, and not like a 100 yard dash.

38. Take a shower every day and wash your clothes regularly; it will cause you to be more desirable and efficient.

39. Learn to manage your time.

40. Limit the tattoos, body piercing, and gauging. If you do not limit the same, you will regret it when you get older.

41. Do not party like it is the last day of your life; everything in moderation, which includes Spring Break.

42. When you do party, do not get wasted; nothing good comes out of it.

43. Inevitably, the police will show up at a party that you are attending; show them respect and behave yourself in their presence.

44. Do not drink and drive. Note, being ticketed as a minor in possession can also be detrimental to your career.

45. Walk away from conflict. There is no need to get into a brawl over anything.

46. Avoid being involved in hazing. If you do get involved in hazing, use your common sense; make sure the person being hazed is not physically at risk.

47. If you become sexually active, practice safe sex and birth control. Remember, some sexually transmitted diseases last forever; and “no!” means “no!”.

48. Be a leader, not a follower.

49. There is no substitute for dedication and hard work; your effort should be 100% at all times.

50. To be successful, you need to grab the bull by the horns, stick your foot halfway up its rear, and try to control it.

51. Success during college, and obtaining a college degree, is your ticket to a better life. Do not waste the opportunity.

How to Program a Siemens S7-300 Programmable Logic Controller

Do you have a Siemens S7-300 Programmable Logic Controller that you are not familiar with but you need to program it NOW! Following is a quick set of instructions I have put together to help you get started programming a Siemens S7-300 PLC.

After loading the programming software and connecting a Siemens MPI cable between your programming computer and the PLC, open SIMATIC Manager by clicking the icon on the desktop. The STEP 7 Wizard: “New Project” window will open. It is easier to use the Wizard to setup communications with your PLC, but I chose to take the scenic route. I figured I would learn more this way. So, close the STEP 7 Wizard window by clicking Cancel. If there are any other windows or projects open, close them. We want to start with a totally new program.

Create a new project by clicking the new project button on the toolbar in the upper left corner of your screen.

The New Project window opens. Here you will see any existing programs located on your computer. Near the bottom of the window, you will see the Name: input form. Type whatever you want to name your new project and click OK.

A new window will open showing the name of your project at the top. You will also see your project in the window on the left hand side of the screen at the top. Right click your project and choose “Insert New Object”. Choose the device you will be programming. We will be using the SIMATIC 300 Station so choose that selection.

You will now see SIMATIC 300 appear in the right window of your screen. It should be highlighted blue. Click anywhere in the window to make the blue go away. Double click SIMATIC 300 and it will move to the left window and “Hardware” will appear in the right window.

Double click “Hardware” and two (maybe three) new windows will open. On the left will be SIMATIC 300 – (the name of your project). The window on the right will be the catalog of parts.

Look in the right window, the parts catalog, and click the plus sign beside SIMATIC 300.

Click the plus sign beside RACK – 300. Click and drag the Rail onto the left window. You will now see the Slots window appear. This is where we will place our PLC components.

We will first choose our CPU. Looking at the parts catalog, in the SIMATIC 300 tree, choose the CPU that you are using. We are using the CPU – 300 so click the plus sign beside that choice.

Now look at the front top left of your PLC. This is where you will find the PLC model. I will use CPU313C-2 DP as an example since this is the model PLC that I use.

Find this CPU in your parts catalog and click the plus sign. You will now see some part numbers.

Look back at your PLC. Locate the door covering the MPI port. This will be the bottom left side of the PLC. At the bottom of the door you will find the part number. The part number for the PLC I am using as an example is 313-6CF03-0AB0.

Find this part number in the parts catalog. You will notice this is another folder. Open it and you will see V2.0 and V2.6. Look back at the PLC, open the door covering the MPI port, and right above the MPI port you will see V2.6.3.

Go back to the parts catalog and click V2.6. Notice how a slot in the left hand window will highlight green. I believe it will be slot #2. (Slot #1 is reserved for power supplies.) This is where you will drag and drop your CPU. (Notice the software will not let you put the CPU in any other slot but slot #2.)

When you release the mouse button over slot #2, a new window will open, “Properties – PROFIBUS interface”. Click new, a new window opens, click Ok, and then click OK again. We are not setting up a network at this time.

You will now see your CPU and associated hardware listed.

Double click in the Slot that list your DI16/DO16 (Digital Input/Digital Output).

A window with three tabs will open. The first tab will be General, the second tab will be Addresses and the third tab will be Inputs.

Open the tab “Addresses”. We need to change the default addresses. Do this by unchecking the System Default button and changing 124 (or whatever address you have) to 0. Do this for both the Inputs and Outputs.

We now need to change the Node Address. Go back to the window where you double clicked DI16/DO16 and double click in Slot 2, the CPU 313-2DP slot.

The Properties – CPU 313C-2DP window will open.

Look down the window a little over half way and find the Interface area and click on Properties. Another window, “Properties – MPI interface CPU 313-2DP” will open.

Change the address to meet your specific criteria. I know that my laptop, which I am using to program my PLC, is always addressed as 1 and my target PLC is usually addressed as 2. You will probably be the same.

Now click MPI(1) and click OK. Click OK again to close the Properties window.

Save and Compile by clicking the icon located on the left of the toolbar.

Download the hardware configuration to the PLC by clicking the download icon located on the toolbar.

A window titled “Select Target Module” should open. Click OK.

Another window titled “Select Node Address” will open. You should see listed your node address for the PLC you are working with as you configured it in a previous step. If not, click view and click on whatever node address appears and click OK.

Switch back to SIMATIC manager (by clicking the tab on the taskbar).

Click on Options. Choose Set PG/PC Interface. Choose PC Adapter (Auto).

Click Properties. A new window will open, displaying either Automatic Bus Profile Detection or Local Connection. Click Local Connection and choose USB. Now choose Automatic Bus Profile Detection and change the address to 30. You can check your connection now by clicking Start Network Detection. If a new window opens displaying Network Type = MPI, Transmission Rate = 187.5kbps, you have established communications with your S7-300. Click Close. Click OK. Click OK.

It is now time to start programming. Looking at the SIMATIC Manager window, click the plus sign located beside SIMATIC 300(1), click the plus sign beside CPU 313C-2DP, click the plus sign beside S7 Program(1). Now click on Blocks and you will see System data and OB1 appear in the right window on your screen.

Double click on OB1 and a new window will open named Properties – Organization Block

Here you can choose how you want to program, in LAD (ladder), STL (statement list), or FBD (function block diagram). Choose which you want to use and click OK.

Double click OB1 again and the LAD/STL/FBD programming window will open.

You can now start programming.

I have these same instructions with pictures on my website at http://www.saturdayafternoonhobbies.com

Herpes and Pregnancy

Herpes, both oral and genital, are highly communicable diseases caused by the two strains of the Herpes Simplex Virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Genital herpes is transmitted sexually and is rarely transmitted from a pregnant mother to her unborn child, but could prove fatal for the unborn infant if it is transmitted.

It is possible, though unlikely that someone can transmit the virus through the placenta during pregnancy. If this happens, chances of the baby being born with a defect or a miscarriage increase.

The   transmission  also depends upon the stage of pregnancy in which the primary episode of herpes sets in. If the women had primary genital herpes during the first trimester, then there are less chances of the baby being infected. This is because it usually takes the body three to four weeks to buildup antibodies against the virus.

So if herpes happens at the onset of pregnancy, the body gets enough time to build up the immune system. As a result, these antibodies are also passed onto the baby. Generally, mothers can have a normal vaginal delivery.

But this is not so if the woman gets the infection in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. If the blood tests confirm that the women has never had herpes before the experts will recommend a caesarian delivery. This is because at these stages, the body does not get enough time to build up the immune system and the chances of  transmission  are extremely high.

It is easier to prevent herpes than it is to cure it. The highest risk to an infant comes from an infected mother who contracts HSV-1 or 2 during pregnancy and the best way to avoid this is by preventing this situation. Since Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, steps should be taken to ensure that you don’t transmit herpes during this crucial time.

Compromised Immune System – 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Immune Deficiency

Most of us never really think about what a strong immune system does for quality of life until something happens to weaken it. A compromised immune system means that germs that in the past have been pretty harmless now have the potential to be life threatening. Here are 7 answers to frequently asked questions about an immune system that is no longer functioning the way it should.  

1. What causes the immune system to become weakened?  Some people are born with the condition because of an abnormality in one or more cells, and this is called primary immune deficiency. Others acquire the condition because of poor diet, prolonged stress, consistent lack of sleep, lengthy use of steroids and/or antibiotics, certain types of cancers, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer.  

2. What are the symptoms? Frequent illness, recurring illness, and difficulty in getting completely better are some of the most common symptoms. If this becomes a pattern for any length of time, seek medical advice to determine the cause. Seeking professional help promptly gives you the best chance of restoring your health.  

3. Is there an effective cure? The answer to this question hinges on the cause of the problem. Many times an aggressive change in lifestyle can boost the immune system. By eating a healthier diet, eliminating chronic stress by changing jobs, career, or personal relationships, you can strengthen your body’s ability to stay well. For more serious causes medication is almost always involved and only your doctor can evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate answer for your chances of a cure.  

4. Are there certain diseases that leave the immune system weaker? Many of the childhood disease can diminish the body’s capabilities to stay healthy such as Chicken Pox and Measles. Luckily there are immunizations that prevent many more children from ever contracting these diseases. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis can also cause problems.  

5. Is this disease based on age or gender? No it is not. Infants can be born with immunodeficiency, and given the wrong set of circumstances anyone’s immune system can become compromised.       

6. Are there natural remedies that help? There are a number of things you practice daily that will help. The importance of clean hands can not be underestimated. Frequent washing of hands greatly reduces the amount of germs you contract. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, at the office, and with you all the time in a pocket or purse. Avoid large gatherings where exposure to germs increases exponentially. Don’t be too proud to wear a mask if you know you can’t avoid contact with someone who is contagious. Use an air purifier to remove airborne germs before they can cause problems.  

7. What kind of air purifier will help the most? A high efficiency particle arresting air (or HEPA) purifier is most effective. Designed to eliminate particulates as small as .3 microns it is a non-invasive way to keep your air clean. HEPA technology is the same technology used in hospitals to insure clean air. And with a compromised immune system, clean air is one of the most important things you can have.

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!