Thursday, December 31, 2009
When we study a language, we also do the same with its literature, history, culture, music, art...all disciplines go together linked through a means of expression. As we do our best to improve our productive (speaking and writing) and receptive (reading and listening) skills in English, let's mix them on this activity. First, you'll watch a sequence taken from the famous 90's tv series Northern Exposure. Pay special attention to the interaction between cultures. Then, try to write down a title which summarises the performance and the audience's reaction. Finally, try to find a historical frame to the show by answering these questions:
-Which peoples/countries are involved?
-Where and when could the action take place?
-Is there a story within a story? Why?
You can use all the information you need, but remember to find the underlying message they want to give us.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
* Nun–nisht, "nothing"–nothing happens and the next player spins.
* Gimel–gants, "all"–the player takes the entire pot.
* Hey–halb, "half"–the player takes half of the pot, rounding up if there is an odd number.
* Shin–shtel ayn, "put in"–the player puts one marker in the pot
The game may last until one person has won everything.
Build your own Dreidel
Spanish cut-out version
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This celebration, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, and may occur from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
On the other hand, if you want to follow his footsteps and revive his voyage, just get ready and have a look at The route of Washington Irving
Thursday, November 26, 2009
On the picture, the first Thanksgiving meal of the Pilgrims, at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.
Although it's considered a secular holiday, its origin was religious. It was a time to give thanks for the first harvest after the arrival and settlement of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower and express gratitude in general.
Nowadays, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. The typical Thanksgiving dinner, a roasted stuffed turkey in cranberry sauce, baked beans, creamed potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie gathers families and friends around.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every person in the world should follow a balanced diet and do some physical exercise to be healthy. However, there are thousands of people who are not aware of its importance for the prevention of some diseases, such as diabetes. For that reason, the International Diabetes Federation together with its member associations has launched a campaign to promote an early diagnose at all ages, paying special attention to children. If you are interested to know where you can go to learn more about diabetes and the campaigns carried out in your country, here you are a link that may be helpful:
INTERNATIONAL DIABETES FEDERATION
Monday, November 9, 2009
On the occasion of the imminent release of the 2nd. part of the successful Twilight's saga in cinemas, New Moon promises to become a blockbuster this autumn. Moreover, this event has also attracted the most reluctant readers as it has turned out to be one of the most appealing titles of fiction, keeping suspense until the very end. This fact has brought about Twilight to be read all over the world. In addition to this phenomenon, we must bear in mind a film only takes a couple of hours to tell a story. So, if you want to know what really happens in this new episode, don't wait to be told! This is my recommended book for this holiday. I hope you enjoy it!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
As it's next in time, I'd like to take the chance to remember one of the most significant festivities in Canada from this blog, Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is held on the second Monday of October in Canada to celebrate the close of the harvest season.
The Canadian Thanksgiving Day came about because of a combination of traditions. Before the first Europeans arrived in North America, the farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time. The farm workers filled a curved goat's horn with fruit and grain to give thanks for their harvest having been a good one. This horn was called Horn of Plenty, and the farmers who arrived in Canada to start a new life took this tradition with them.
In Newfoundland, in 1578, the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony to thank their survival after the long journey.
Since then, Thanksgiving is the best occasion to share with the family and the beloved ones the joy of being grateful to life. In Canada, there is not an exception!! Canadians are welcoming hosts and they enjoy this date with plenty of food; you can also try one of them following this delicious traditional recipe. Bon appétit!
How To Make Pumpkin Pie
Monday, September 28, 2009
"We meet vices by chance. They visit us as guests. In the end, they stay as masters". Confucius.
Every Friday night, streets tremble with fear for what is coming upon them. What could be regarded as a fashion, going on a drinking binge, is becoming a habit among more and more teenagers.
It seems to be the case that the comsumption of alcohol has increased in the last five years. As alcoholic drinks are quite espensive, younsters are used to going shopping to buy them at the cheapest price. These days, young people start drinking alcohol as early as age twelve. Moreover, once they go out with their friends, they are more likely to be influenced by what they may think about them. Then, they obsess with showing off, and they end up getting addicted to some stimulant to get rid of their restraint.
In the same way, it is very common to meet a lot of people drinking on the sidewalks. The problems appear when they get to extremes. At weekends, as many as three teenagers in five admit to drinking for the sake of it. Their aim is to be on a high quickly to behave in a more outgoing manner. Behind this behaviour we can find a lack of self-esteem or other psychological disorder. However they reassure they can't do without alcohol. In the long term, they become dependent on it, but who is to blame for this chaotic situation?
If parents feel uneasy, the neighbours of the areas where these teenagers spend their evenings are even angrier with those who leave the ravages of the weekend on their streets. In fact, many neighbours also complain about the disturbances they produce. This unrest has gone to such an extent that authorities have forbidden drinking on the street in many countries. This measure has not been welcome among younger population either. We hope we will amend the situation and find solutions to this social phenomenon.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Every year, at the beginning of autumn, the most famous folk and beer festival, the Oktoberfest, takes places in Munich, Germany. This time, the event will be held from 19th September to 4th October. For beer lovers and tourists in general, Munich has the best Bavarian gastronomy and cultural offer. Among the attractions, there are parades, carousels, shows and beer tents where you can taste the daintiest bretzel in sweet mustard and all kind of German delicatessen to go with any kind of beer. This year is the 176th anniversary of Munich Oktoberfest! It starts third Saturday in September and only after a traditional ceremony. The ‘Wies’n’ festival originates from the wedding feast for Crown Prince Ludwig and his bride in 1810. The ‘Wies’n’ publicans, set off at 11am on their colourfully decorated floats pulled by horses, make their way along Schwanthaler Strasse towards the Theresienwiese. The first barrel of beer is personally tapped by the Lord Mayor at 12 noon and on Sunday, starting at 10am, groups in traditional garb from all over Europe march to the Theresienwiese. The blissful, beer-laden festical lasts for a total of 16 days and six million people attend each year. Although other Oktoberfests are celebrated worldwide, this is the one. The entry to the festival is free and everybody is welcome in any tent. Remember seat reservations are hard to get. Here you are a guide to the festival where the best tips about accommodation, transport, tickets and so on are given. You can't miss it!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
After having spent a lovely summer break, many children have woken up earlier than usual these days. They have to get ready to go back to school. This time the course starts with many issues brought out into the open. They vary depending on the country: the school-voucher program available to all Swedish students contrasts with Indian literacy projects for slum children. Although Education (with capital E) is settled in the Chart of Human Rights, many African students and teachers face not only a lack of materials, but also a lack of access to teaching and learning resources. Northwards, not very far from there, in Spain, the economical situation makes harder the return to schools as the amount of money the parents have to spend on school materials exceeds the medium families' expenses.
But, what's the icing on the cake?
Don't you figure it out? Yes, flu, swine flu (H1N1).
Although Health Authorities plead for hygienic measures and vaccines for its prevention, the medium have created a sense of distrust to what we learn about this new virus. In fact, we'll have to wait and see how it works, whether it does as a common flu or not. Meanwhile, I want to share with all of you an internet report I was sent some weeks ago where this topic is shown from a different point of view. I've found it only in Spanish, I'm afraid. If you have it in English, please, let me know. Welcome to school!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
BBQ Recipes: How To Make Miso Glazed Barbecued Duck
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Left: I'm half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott.
Right: The Lady of Shalott. Both painted by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917).
The Lady of Shalott tells the story of a woman who lives in a tower in Shalott, which is an island on a river that runs, along with the road beside it, to Camelot, the setting of the legends about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Every day, the woman weaves a tapestry picture of the landscape that is visible from her window, including Camelot. There is, however, a curse on her; the woman does not know the cause of the curse, but she knows that she cannot look directly out of the window, so she views the subjects of her artwork through a mirror that is beside her. The woman is happy to weave, but is tired of looking at life only as a reflection. One day, Sir Lancelot rides by, looking bold and handsome in his shining armor, and singing. The woman goes to the window to look directly out of it, and the moment she does, she knows that the curse is upon her. So she leaves the tower, finds a boat at the side of the river, writes The Lady of Shalott on the side of the boat, and floats off down the river toward Camelot. As she drifts along, singing and observing all of the sights that were forbidden to her before, she dies. The boat floats past Camelot, and all of the knights make the sign of the cross upon seeing a corpse go by, but Lancelot, seeing her for the first time, notes, "She has a lovely face."
The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?
Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower'd Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."
There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
And moving thro' a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed:
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.
All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash'd into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.
And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance--
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right--
The leaves upon her falling light--
Thro' the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.
Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken'd wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.
Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.
Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross'd themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
The Arthurian legend has inspired to many poets. This has been the case of The Lady of Shalott, written by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
This poem was first published in 1832, when Tennyson was 23 years old, in a volume called Poems. Up to that point, Tennyson had received great critical acclaim and had won national awards, but the critics savagely attacked the 1832 book, mostly because of poems such as "The Lady of Shalott" that dealt with fantasy situations instead of realistic ones. Fantasy is what we shouldn't wipe out from our lives. Fortunately, his play has overcome the passage of time. The Canadian singer, Loreena McKennitt based her homonym song on Tennyson's poem. Of Scottish and Irish descents, she's famous for writing, composing and performing world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. As a harpist, pianist and composer, she has found in traditional and classical plays her source of inspiration for her lyrics. Among the most famous ones, Tennyson's, Shakespeare's, Lampman's, St. John's (of the Cross), Blake's, Yeats' and Noyes'.
Like in ancient times, poetry is still sung like minstrels did. Enjoy this beautiful song and pay attention to the rhyme.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tomorrow, "La Tomatina" will take the streets of Buñol, Valence, Spain. A settled tradition nowadays, it all began long time ago.
It was on the last Wednesday of August 1945, when the young people of that time were in the village square, where the “Tomatina” is celebrated. As the local authorities and the music band were parading during a festival of “giants and big-headeds”, a group of these young people who wanted to participate in the festival pushed the other young people who were wearing costumes. One of the young people fell on the floor, and when he got up he started to hit everyone there, so everybody started fighting. Nearby there was a vegetable market stall in the street with the boxes of vegetables ready to be sold. The young people started to throw tomatoes to each other until the police took control and stopped that “battle” and ordered the responsible party to pay for the damages.
The following year, the young people of the village repeated the “battle” but they brought their own tomatoes from home. Again this was broken up by the local police. After repeating the same celebration during consecutive years, the festival was non-officially established. These people did not imagine that they had established a tradition that would grow year by year.
In the beginning of the fifties the festival was forbidden by the City Hall of Buñol. But it did not stop some people from repeating the event and they were imprisoned. The village asked for the festival to be allowed and they insisted so much that finally the local authorities agreed to allow it. Each year there were more and more people participating in the festival, they had their pockets full of tomatoes and they were ready to throw water to each other, to jump in the fountains and to participate in other ‘loutish acts’. The problem was that this battle also involved the people who were only interested in watching and sometimes there were important people being ‘attacked’. So the festival was forbidden again.
In 1955 and as a protest the people celebrated ‘the tomato funeral’, a big demonstration where the villagers carried a coffin with a big tomato inside and they were accompanied by the band of music playing funeral marches. In 1957, the festival was definitely allowed and nowadays the City Hall organises and promotes this festival which made them famous all over the world.
The festival became popular all over Spain due to the Javier Basilio’s report, broadcasted in the TV program Informe Semanal.
Since 1980, the City Hall supplies the people with the tomatoes, and every year more and more tons of tomatoes are used, also there are more and more visitors.
On the 27 August 2002, the General Tourism Office awarded the Tomatina of Buñol with the title of
Source: La Tomatina 2009 webpage
Sunday, August 23, 2009
On the photo, Mike Oldfield (1953, Reading,Berkshire).
Songs are a very good way to put into practice all the English we have studied. On this occasion, I've chosen a famous song by Mike Oldfield composed long time ago, I confess, but it won't become old-fashioned because of its catchy rhythm and its extraordinary mixture of styles.
Its title: Moonlight shadow. (From the album Crises, 1983).
Why Oldfield's? Because he has developed and fused Music from all over the world together with Electronics so as to prove that innovation is not imcompatible with tradition...in the 1970's!!!! He can be considered a forerunner of electronic music. Since then, many musicians have followed in his footsteps.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
As I told you before, Scotland is the best place to travel to in August because of its vast cultural offer. The International Book Festival takes from 15th-31st. August. This festival is well-known as it achieves to join the most acclaimed writers of the moment. Moreover, there are many performances entertaining the visitors. Are you next?
For more information:
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Friday, August 14, 2009
Although its film adaptation is being released this month, the bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife was published in 2003. It is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. She tells the love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Many critics have labelled it as science fiction and romance. Despite this classification, after its reading, we can watch the film and then, compare both versions. Only then, we can declare it's a good adaptation or if it's just a distant reminiscence of the novel. Anyway, cinema becomes the best showcase for literature. It is a very effective lure for attracting new readers. This has been the case of blockbusters such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings or Twilight. Let's wait and see how The Time Traveler's Wife works. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Perseid Meteor Shower (also known as the Tears of St. Lawrence because of the date of this phenomenon) will let us see about 200 shooting stars per hour.
The Tears of St. Lawrence can be watched from 20th July to 19th August, reaching its peak tonight. They consist of a pile of meteors as a result of the disintegration of Swift-Tuttle comet. This shower is the most popular and the most observed in the Northern hemisphere. It will have its highest activity between 19.30 and 22.00 hrs.
The Perseids are named after Perseus' constellation as the radiation seems to come from there. At its peak, balls of colourful fire and sparkling meteors can be noticed far from the city lights.
In addition to this popularity, it has a remarkable historical relevance because it marked a turning point on Astronomy when it was officially recognized there was a correlation between comets and shooting stars.
In 1862, two astronomers, Swift and Tuttle, discovered a wonderful comet that made a long orbit around the Sun in a 120 year time. Thereafter, it was named on their honour.
If you want to learn more, you can visit this interesting webpage. You'll know all the forthcoming events...because it's written on the stars!!!
International Year of Astronomy 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Going a step further in the history of music. That's what they might have thought when they took this photo for the sleeve of Abbey Road, as this one turned to be the last work in the Beatles' career as a group. Since then, 40 years afterwards, they are still present.
Happy 40th anniversary!
You will notice there are all sort of Beatles' imitators. Legoland and The Simpsons made their own tribute to the band from Liverpool.
Tourists keep on visiting this street in London where their recording studio was set and The Beatles were then photographed.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Despite its weather, Scotland has a warm-hearted busy lifestyle. Indeed it's reflected in its interesting cultural agenda for the summertime, which attracts people from everywhere. As its festivals are well-known, I'll be publishing all the information I get during this month. This comic strip is just an advance.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Who could imagine under this peaceful photograph there are over 6000 people hooked on their computers, as shown on the picture below?
Can it be real? Yes, it is! During seven frenzied days (27th.July-2nd.August), 12/13 hours a day, over 6000 people from all over the world are participating in all kind of activities related to Computing and its uses on Science, Medicine and everyday tasks. By this time, I am staggered!
This Campus Party is divided into 4 sections:
- Digital leisure
If you are interested (you'll have likely become my hero by now), here's a selection.
You can't miss:
-Show on Overclockers (Modding) from Germany, Latvia and Spain.
-The Robotics workshop and competition.
-Lecture about Medicine on Space.
-Desarrollador_es Prizes, with Paulina Bozek (Singstar's creator).
-Getting started into Arduino.
-Challenges CP Labs.
-You are the star! (Online series created by Campus' participants.
-Hip-Hop, Cooking Soul workshop.
-Lecture on new techniques of animation and a director on the net by Rodrigo Blaas and Nacho Vigalondo.
-Ping Pong Photo competition.
-Getting started into simulation.
-Workshop: How to build a flight deck to pilot from home.
-Traffic controllers in action. PC and PSP official competitions.
So, if you love Computing, why don't you take part in this party? The only thing you need is your computer and your camping equipment to spend several days with people who enjoy the same as you do. Ooopss! I almost forgot! If you know or even best, learn how to change a logo from a blog, please, post it to me!!! I'll be delighted to face the challenge.
For more information:
(Sorry, it's in Spanish).
Campus Party 2009, Official Webpage