RUE Episode One: Intro to Train Unit

Intro to Train Unit
Via Rails Canadian train in Jasper National Park. Today we watch the Intro to Train Unit.

Improve you English!  That’s what Ramping Up your English is all about. In Episode 1, we introduce our content unit and begin our language activities.

 Intro to Train Unit: Welcome to a series of episodes that feature video clips and direct instruction to help intermediate English Learners reach higher levels of proficiency.

The Journey Ahead

As we explore exciting rail journeys, the greatest journey is the one you’re taking to elevate your level of English proficiency. As with all our episodes, this introduction is for English Learners from all language backgrounds who have already passed the beginning stages of learning English, and want to advance further. The intermediate stage can seem like being stranded at a train station between one’s place of departure and the destination. Ramping Up your English is designed to get you moving again toward your goal of higher English proficiency. That journey begins right now. Welcome aboard!

Language Objective: Use your background knowledge about a subject to understand part of a visually supported presentation on that subject. Write a list of things you see in a video presentation (in your target language if your can; in your home language if you must). Use cognates and context clues to theorize the meaning of repeated vocabulary words.

Academic Content Objectives: Transportation: Become familiar with the general concept of Trains and Railroads.  Recognize and name the components of a railroad transportation system.

Watching this Episode

You can see Episode 1 on my You tube channel, Ramp Up your English. Click here to see Episode 1.

Click here to watch Episode 1 on  All episodes of Ramping Up your English are here, and you can even download them. All episodes of Ramping Up your English are licensed under Creative Commons. All are free to use this program in their own non-commercial productions as long as I get credit and others have access to under the same conditions.  Let’s look at the episode by segments:

Click Here for Segment 1 only

Click here for Segment 2 only

Click here for Segment 3 only

Segment One:  Explained my approach and philosophy.  Viewers saw an introductory video clip. Click here for a link to that video on The only assignment was to Make a list of what you saw in the video Clip. This was a fun segment for me and my crew.  That supports my approach to make learning English as stress-free as possible. Here are some things from the video that could be listed:

I saw people

I saw smoke

I saw a train

I saw big engines

I saw tracks

Segment 2: In Segment 2, I had viewers estimate how many words they understood in a longer theme clip (Click here for the video from, thereby performing a self assessment to be compared in the future with a clip of similar language level.  The assignment was to Make a tally of understood words, or estimate a percentage of the narration that was understood.

Example: I understood about 60%.  April 4, 2015

Segment 3:  Here we introduced some basic unit theme vocabulary after viewing the video clip Trains Into 2.  Trains Intro 2 can be seen on Click here. The basic unit words were: Train, Railroad, Freight, and Passenger.  I modeled an approach to learning the meaning of unfamiliar words using context, provided by previous knowledge and the video clip.  I also listed the words: Commuter Train, Coal Train, Freight Containers, and Conductors.

Train = sounds like “tren.”  Saw many “trenes” in the video

railroad = 2nd part of word…road is camino.  Surface of which the train moves?

freight = Don’t know.  Sounds like “fright”

passenger = same as pasenjero in Spanish?


The homework assignment is to use context clues and previous knowledge to find the meanings of these words.

Commuter train

coal train

freight containers


Use your knowledge and clues in the video clips to find what these words probably mean.

Watch all three segments of Episode 1.

For features of the program that follows, see Episode 2.

Note to PEG programmers: This episode is available on the PEG website for use in your market.