Writing prompts and basics

  • Writing prompts (currently not updated)

Here is a padlet with interesting news items, book excerpts, etc. It will be updated as I discover interesting documents so go back to it regularly!Feel free to choose one of them and write a piece about it that you can hand out to me to be assessed.


  • Basics

Temps et aspects

Temps (représentations graphiques)

Verbes irréguliers classés


Reported speech verbs

  • A decade in review:

The Washington Post

– NPR (American politics, protests, science)

Stories of the decade (NPR) (Snowden, Opioid epidemic)

Looking back at the tumultuous 2010s (Vox)

A century in review: Time Magazine’s “Woman of the year”: 100 women

  • 2019 in review


The New Yorker

The Washington Post


  • 2018 in review

2018 according to…

The Atlantic.

Time Magazine

The New Yorker


Of the use of foreign languages

A mother mouse was taking her large brood for a stroll across the kitchen floor one day when the local cat, by a feat of stealth unusual even for its species, managed to trap them in a corner. The children cowered, terrified by this fearsome beast, plaintively crying, “Help, Mother! Save us! Save us! We’re scared, Mother!”

Mother Mouse, with the hopeless valor of a parent protecting its children, turned with her teeth bared to the cat, towering huge above them, and suddenly began to bark in a fashion that would have done any Doberman proud. The startled cat fled in fear for its life.

As her grateful offspring flocked around her shouting “Oh, Mother, you saved us!” and “Yay! You scared the cat away!” she turned to them purposefully and declared, “You see how useful it is to know a second

Of the arbitrariness of French spelling

American politics

  • Infographics forecasting the outcome of the 2020 election race (The Economist, 2020)
  • A funny piece about what this year’s October surprise may be (The New Yorker, May 2020)
  • A recap about the most striking October surprises since 1800 (The Smithsonian Magazine, 2016)
  • A podcast analysing Trump’s behaviour and its potential advantages (France Culture, 2020)
  • A podcast series about how Trump’s predecessors have influenced him (France Inter, 2020)
  • A regularly updated post about the evolution of Trump’s popularity (Five Thirty-Eight, 2020)
  • The American political system (ppt)
  • Lawmaking process (click to enlarge)
  • Here is an animation showing the repercussions gerrymandering has had so far (City Lab, 2019)

Source: https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/07/maplab-where-fight-against-gerrymandering-goes-now/593212/

Space exploration

  • An article about how the new space race compares with the original one (The Economist, 2018)
  • An article about the new contenders in the current space race (The Economist, 2018)
  • An article about Britain’s hidden role in the space race (BBC, 2017)
  • Statistics about this field (Statista)
  • An article about Space X’s next projects after the successful launch and docking of its manned Crew Dragon spacecraft (Ars Technica, May 2020)
  • Video documents:
    • An overview about the prospects for 2020:

    • An explainer by The Washington Post about Trump’s reasons for wanting a space force:

    • A TED talk about who the winner of the space race was:

    • An explainer about the original space race:

Movie corner

Space Force (TV series), 2020

The Expanse (TV series), 2015-present

Interstellar, 2014

First Man, 2018

The Martian, 2015

Doctor Strangelove, 1964

Women’s fight for rights

  • Current issues:

    • A TED talk about how movies teach manhood:


The Angel in the House - 1858
The Angel in the House – 1858
    • Bad Romance: Women’s suffrage:

-> Explanatory notes about it.

-> The corresponding posters (source):

un-women-ad-1_495x700-jpg un-women-ad-2_495x700-jpg un-women-ad-3_495x700-jpg un-women-ad-4_495x700-jpg

Movie corner

Mrs America (TV series), 2020

Suffragette, 2015

Made in Dagenham, 2010

The Handmade’s Tale (TV series), 2017

Hidden Figures, 2017

The environmental crisis


    • An article in which the Guardian editorial teams explain why they changed the language they use to speak of the environmental emergency (The Guardian, 2019)
    • An article about how pandemics and the environmental crisis are intertwined (The Guardian, 2020)
    • An article explaining why climate refugees cannot be returned home (The Guardian, 2020)
  • Resources:
    • Earth Overshoot Day is coming earlier as the years go by: Wikipedia and article about last year’s
    • An article and another one about how water increasingly leads to conflicts (The Guardian, 2020)
    • An article explaining how the climate crisis will change your plate in 2050 (The Guardian, 2019)
  • About the importance of biodiversity:
    • An article about how much an ecosystem is worth (Quartz, 2020)
    • A column about the 6th mass extinction (CNN, 2017)
  • Solutions:
    • An article about the divestment movement (The New Yorker, 2018)
    • An article explaining why and how a green growth is possible (The New Yorker, 2019)
  • Policies:
    • An article about Theresa May’s commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2050 (The Guardian, 2019)
    • An article about Britain’s decision to stop fracking (The Guardian, 2019)
    • An article about the Trump Administration’s decision to bypass scientific advice when crafting policies (The New York Times, 2019)
    • A non-comprehensive list of the way Trump changed environmental policy between 2017 and 2019 (The National Geographic)
  • Explainers about the Green New Deal:
    • Vox, 2019

    • The Guardian, 2019

      • Last Week Tonight, 2019

  • Extinction Rebellion:
    • A debate about whether they are heroes or villains (Good Morning Britain, 2019)

Movie corner

  • The Eleventh Hour, 2007
  • An Inconvenient Truth, 2006

The coronavirus crisis

  • Bill Gates’ 2015 analysis (at the time of the Ebola outbreak) which is often referred to to account for government’s idleness in the five years since then:

  • Healthcare:
    • An article about why the US was not ready for the crisis (The New Yorker, 2020)
    • An article about how the crisis has put the US healthcare system to the test (The Economist, 2020)
    • An article about how the crisis sped up the transfer of some of the NHS’ responsibility to the private sector (The Guardian, 2020)
  • The environment:
    • An article about how the crisis is tied to the environmental crisis (The Guardian, 2020)
    • An article about how biodiversity in Britain suffers from the standstill the outbreak has put the world at (The Guardian, 2020)
    • A report about such consequences (NPR, May 2020)
  • An article about Trump’s decision to defund the WHO (The Atlantic, 2020)
  • An article about how the crisis is driving people into dire poverty (The Guardian, 2020)
  • Freedom and the crisis:
    • A report about how the handling of the crisis is also a civil rights issue in the US (NPR, May 2020)
    • An article about Elon Musk’s reaction to shelter-in-place measures (Vanity Fair, May 2020)
    • An article about how autocrats may benefit from the crisis (The Economist, 2020)
  • Reports about how the coronavirus crisis is expected to affect various countries (France Inter, 2020):
  • Relief measures:
    • The CARES Act (USA) (wiki)
  • Videos about the economic repercussions of the crisis (The Economist, CNBC, 2020):

  • Working from home: the new normal?

City life

  • Gentrification:
    • An article about why gentrification is a natural evolution (The Guardian, 2014)
    • A balanced case for gentrification (NPR, 2014)
    • Arguments in favour of gentrification (NPR, 2014)
    • Arguments against gentrification (NPR, 2018)
    • In Washington:
    • In Harlem
      • In 2015

      • In 2018

  • Redlining (made illegal in 1968 by the Fair Housing Act)
    • An article about the consequences of redlining (The New York Times, 2017)
    • A humourous (but reliable) explanation of the process (2020)
    • A more serious explanation about urban segregation (NPR, 2018)

    • A concrete case

  • Gated communities: an article about the threat of gated communities (City Lab, 2013)
  • Smart cities:
    • An article advocating low-tech cities (The Guardian, 2020)
    • An article about how cities get smarter (BBC News, 2014)
    • An infographic representing potential smart evolutions (les-smart-grids.fr):


    • An infographic showing how smart shopping could become (BBC News, 2014):

2014_High street 2_0

  • Green cities:
    • Read about the concept of “garden cities”
    • A set of guidelines for sustainable cities (issued by the company Energy Innovation) to give you some ideas on the matter if you need:


  • A podcast about the famous walled city of Kowloon (now destroyed but an interesting case study)

Movie corner

Various visions of tomorrow’s cities in movies.

  • Blade Runner (1982)

  • Gattaca (1998)

  • (TV series) Westworld (season 3, 2020)