49 - Operation Spy!
In this lesson Ms. Weaver has asked Anna to help with
Operation Spy. Her mission is to learn all she can about
spying. She learns by going to the International Spy
Museum in Washington, D.C.
Watch the video and then do the activities on this page.
Anna: It is no secret that Washington, D.C. has spies. Well, it should be a
secret because spying is secret. But it’s not a secret. There’s even a spy
museum! The International Spy Museum has created an amazing collection of spy
things! And today, we will see them! My boss, Ms. Weaver, has sent me here … on
Ms. Weaver: Hello, Anna, are you there?
Anna: That’s her. Yes, Agent Peacock. This is Agent Flamingo, reporting for
Ms. Weaver: Agent what? Look, Anna … I mean, Agent Flamingo, I want you to learn
all you can about spying.
Anna: You mean, collect intelligence?
Ms. Weaver: Yeah, it’s for our new show -- “D.C. Secrets.”
Anna: You've got it, Agent Peacock. The mission is safe with me.
Ms. Weaver: Oh, okay, great. Just be back by noon.
Anna: Agent Peacock, I’m at an air duct!
Ms. Weaver: Yes, spies sometimes sneak down air ducts.
Anna: I have never snuck down an air duct. It’s dark and small. I’m afraid of
dark, small places.
Ms. Weaver: You can do it, Agent Flamingo. You know, spies aren’t afraid of a
Anna: Right. It’s just an air duct -- a dark, small air duct. Okay. I’m doing
it, Agent Peacock! I am sneaking down a long, dark, small air duct. I’m having a
little trouble breathing.
Ms. Weaver: Just keep going, Agent Flamingo. Think of the team!
Anna: Okay, I will think of the team. I’m thinking of the team, Agent Peacock! I
did it! I did it! I sneaked down an air duct. That was a little uncomfortable.
Ms. Weaver: Good!
Anna: What's the next mission?
Ms. Weaver: Umm … have you ever cracked a code?
Ms. Weaver: Well, go learn. Spies use their brains.
Anna: Got it! I’ve never cracked a code before. Let’s try, Agent Flamingo! This
is really hard. I'm still trying to crack the code. I've cracked the code! I've
cracked the code, Agent Peacock! My brain really hurts.
Ms. Weaver: Great. Umm, Agent Flamingo, now answer this question: Do spies have
to be in good shape?
Anna: “Yes,” Agent Peacock! Spies have to be in really good shape! Can you hear
Ms. Weaver: You’re breaking up, Flamingo.
Anna: The International Spy Museum is awesome! Agent Peacock, I completed the
Ms. Weaver: Great. Great. Now, I have another very important mission for you.
Anna: Got it. See you back at H.Q.!
Ms. Weaver: Yummy! You brought my lunch! Thanks, Agent Flamingo!
Anna: Mission completed. Agent Peacock!
(Amelia makes a face.)
Ms. Weaver: Don't ask.
Special thanks go out to the International Spy Museum for letting us film in the
Now practice listening to only the audio portion of the conversation.
In this video, learn how to say the new words. Then compare the present perfect,
present, and past verb tenses.
Use this video to learn about how Americans pronounce the reduced forms of "has"
and "have' in the present perfect verb tense.
- agent -
n. a person who tries to get secret information
about another country or government
- air duct -
n. a duct or pipe for air to flow through to
the rooms of a building
- brain -
n. the organ of the body in the head that
controls functions, movements, sensations, and thoughts
- breathe -
v. to move air into and out of your lungs
- code -
n. a set of letters, numbers or symbols that is
used to secretly send messages to someone
- collection -
n. a group of interesting or beautiful objects
brought together in order to show or study them
- complete -
v. to finish making or doing (something)
- crack -
v. to find an answer or solution to (something)
- duty -
n. something that is done as part of a job
- flamingo -
n. a tall wading bird with mainly pink or
scarlet plumage and long legs and neck
- H.Q. - abbrev. headquarters
- n. a place from which something (such as a
business or a military action) is controlled or directed
- intelligence -
n. secret information that a government
collects about an enemy or possible enemy
- mission -
n. a task or job that someone is given to do
- operation -
n. a set of planned actions for a particular
- peacock -
n. a male peafowl, which has very long tail
feathers that it can spread like a fan
- secret -
n. a fact or piece of information that is kept
hidden from other people
- shape -
n. a physically strong and healthy condition
- sneak -
v. to move quietly and secretly in order to
avoid being noticed
- spy -
n. a person who tries secretly to get
information about a country or organization for another country or
In this lesson, Anna learns about a job that many people
think is exciting. Have you ever thought about doing a
job that is different from the one you have now, or the
one you think you will have when you finish school?
Would it be more fun or more exciting? Tell us about the
job. Write about it in the Facebook Comments section
below. Then practice three verb tenses and learn about
how your friends practice speaking English.
lesson activity to get the printable PDF version. The
page opens to a new window.
Voice of America
English conversation lessons. 30
lessons focusing mostly on communication and
lessons are for intermediate students.
This is a collection of 30 situational conversations
which focus on a wide variety of communicative and
natural encounters in English....these
lessons are for beginning students.
This is a collection of 36 situational conversations
which focus on spoken American English in a relatively
lessons are for intermediate students.
This is a collection of 30
situational conversations. Each conversation is
accompanied by language notes....these lessons are for