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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017


credits: CDN4
Thanksgiving is celebrated today, November 23rd, as always in the fourth Thursday of this month, all across the USA and Canada and precedes Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days in the USA.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an Autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.


THANKSGIVIG AT PLYMOUTH

credits @ mbeinstitute
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers - an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.


credits @ ucls-chicago
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

THANKSGIVING BECOMES AN OFFICIAL HOLIDAY

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
 

THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS
credits @ fashionpill
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

Source:  The History Channel (abridged and adapted)

You may also check relevant multimedia resources on this topic @:
You can get ELT resources (further info, lesson plans, printables, posters, slideshows, recipes, graphs, crafts, colouring pictures and greeting cards) on the topic @:

Sunday, 19 November 2017

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning combines face to face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to form an integrated instructional approach. In the past, digital materials have served in a supplementary role, helping to support face to face instruction. The goal of a blended approach is to join the best aspects of both face to face and online instruction. Classroom time can be used to engage students in advanced interactive experiences.  Meanwhile, the online portion of the classes can provide students with multimedia-rich content at any time of day, anywhere the student has Internet access, from school to the coffee shop or the students’ homes. This allows for an increase in scheduling flexibility.
In addition to flexibility and convenience for students,  there is evidence that a blended instructional approach can result in learning outcome gains and increased enrollment motivation.
The following scheme, from the blog Free Technology For Teachers, sums up how an educator can take advantage of using tools, such as a blog or a wiki, as a complement of traditional ELT:

Monday, 30 October 2017

Halloween 2017 Class Activities

Can you match these frightful, spooky idioms with their meaning?


1. I don’t recommend that horror film. It will scare the living daylights out of you!

2. My old car finally gave up the ghost, so I’ll have to buy a new one.

3. When she saw the dark shadow in the in the moonlight, she was scared stiff.

4. What’s the matter? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost!

5. Oh, don’t be such a scaredy-cat. Nothing bad is going to happen.

6. That spooky old house gives me the creeps.

7. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. It will come back to haunt you.

8. No one lived there anymore. It was a ghost town.

MEANINGS:
be a mistake
very frightened
coward
make (someone) uncomfortable
make (someone) scared
very white, pale
deserted
stopped working 


IDIOMS ABOUT FEAR

If you want to get the full text by BBC Learning English, you can click here.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Feeling superstitious this Friday 13th?

According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century.The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in Henry Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.
Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve Gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.
If you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you're in for a whammy of a year. This  unlucky day is the second of three for 2012. Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up. In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.
If you're not scared of Friday the 13th, you should be scared of the word used to describe those who are: friggatriskaidekaphobics. (An alternative, though just as tongue-twisty, word for the fear is "paraskevidekatriaphobia.")
For a superstition, Friday has long been considered an unlucky day - according to Christian tradition, Jesus died on a Friday.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in the USA, about 17 million people fear Friday the 13th. Many may fall prey to the human mind's desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events.
"If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind," psychologists say. "All those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored."

Source: Live Science

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Happy World Teachers' Day!



We miss you, Steve...


photo credits: Charis Tsevis @ FlickR
Steve Jobs left us six years ago, but the world cannot forget his incredible genius. Without you, Steve, it's even more difficult to "Stay hungry. Stay Foolish."
Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, to Joanne Schieble (later Joanne Simpson) and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave their unnamed son up for adoption. His father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian political science professor and his mother, Joanne Schieble, worked as a speech therapist. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents married and had another child, Mona Simpson. It was not until Jobs was 27 that he was able to uncover information on his biological parents. As an infant, Steven was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs and named Steven Paul Jobs. Clara worked as an accountant and Paul was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist. The family lived in Mountain View within California's Silicon Valley. As a boy, Steve and his father would work on electronics in the family garage. Paul would show his son how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby which instilled confidence, tenacity and mechanical prowess in Steve. While he has always been an intelligent and innovative thinker, his youth was riddled with frustrations over formal schooling. A prankster in elementary school, Jobs's fourth-grade teacher needed to bribe him to study. Steve tested so well, however, that administrators wanted to skip him ahead to high school—a proposal that his parents declined.
Not long after Jobs did enroll at Homestead High School (1971), he was introduced to his future partner, Steve Wozniak, through a friend of Wozniak's. Wozniak was attending the University of Michigan at the time. In a 2007 interview with ABC News, Wozniak spoke about why he and Steve clicked so well: "We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people, especially back then had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests. We both had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in the world. ..." Apple Computers After high school, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
Lacking direction, he dropped out of college after six months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes. Jobs later recounted how one course in calligraphy developed his love of typography. In 1974, Jobs took a position as a video game designer with Atari. Several months later he left Atari to find spiritual enlightenment in India, traveling the continent and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. In 1976, when Jobs was just 21, he and Wozniak started Apple Computers. The duo started in the Jobs family garage, and funded their entrepreneurial venture after Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak sold his beloved scientific calculator. Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive and accessible to everyday consumers. Wozniak conceived a series of user-friendly personal computers, and—with Jobs in charge of marketing—Apple initially marketed the computers for $666.66 each. The Apple I earned the corporation $774,000. Three years after the release of Apple's second model, the Apple II, sales increased by 700 percent, to $139 million.
In 1980, Apple Computer became a publically traded company, with a market value of $1.2 billion on the very first day of trading. Jobs looked to marketing expert John Scully of Pepsi-Cola to help fill the role of Apple's president.
However, the next several products from Apple suffered significant design flaws resulting in recalls and consumer disappointment. IBM suddenly surpassed Apple sales, and Apple had to compete with an IBM/PC dominated business world. In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM compatible. Scully believed Jobs was hurting Apple, and executives began to phase him out.
In 1985, Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO to begin a new hardware and software company called NeXT, Inc. The following year Jobs purchased an animation company from George Lucas, which later became Pixar Animation Studios. Believing in Pixar's potential, Jobs initially invested $50 million of his own money into the company. Pixar Studios went on to produce wildly popular animation films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar's films have netted $4 billion. The studio merged with Walt Disney in 2006, making Steve Jobs Disney's largest shareholder.
Despite Pixar's success, NeXT, Inc. floundered in its attempts to sell its specialized operating system to mainstream America. Apple eventually bought the company in 1997 for $429 million. That same year, Jobs returned to his post as Apple's CEO.
Much like Steve Jobs instigated Apple's success in the 1970s, he is credited with revitalizing the company in the 1990s. With a new management team, altered stock options and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. His ingenious products such as the iMac, effective branding campaigns, and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again.
In 2003, Jobs discovered that he had a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare but operable form of pancreatic cancer. Instead of immediately opting for surgery, Jobs chose to alter his pescovegetarian diet while weighing Eastern treatment options. For nine months Jobs postponed surgery, making Apple's board of directors nervous. Executives feared that shareholders would pull their stocks if word got out that their CEO was ill. But in the end, Jobs's confidentiality took precedence over shareholder disclosure. In 2004, he had a successful surgery to remove the pancreatic tumor. True to form, in subsequent years, Jobs disclosed little about his health.
Apple introduced such revolutionary products as the Macbook, iPod,  iPhone and iPad, all of which have dictated the evolution of modern technology. Almost immediately after Apple releases a new product, competitors scramble to produce comparable technologies. In 2007, Apple's quarterly reports were the company's most impressive statistics to date. Stocks were worth a record-breaking $199.99 a share, and the company boasted a staggering $1.58 billion dollar profit, an $18 billion dollar surplus in the bank, and zero debt.
In 2008, iTunes became the second biggest music retailer in America-second only to Wal-Mart. Half of Apple's current revenue comes from iTunes and iPod sales, with 200 million iPods sold and six billion songs downloaded. For these reasons, Apple has been rated No. 1 in America's Most Admired Companies, and No. 1 amongst Fortune 500 companies for returns to shareholders.
Early in 2009, reports circulated about Jobs's weight loss, some predicting his health issues had returned, which included a liver transplant. Jobs had responded to these concerns by stating he was dealing with a hormone imbalance. After nearly a year out of the spotlight, Steve Jobs delivered a keynote address at an invite-only Apple event September 9, 2009.
In respect to his personal life, Steve Jobs remained a private man who rarely discloses information about his family. What is known is Jobs fathered a daughter with girlfriend Chrisann Brennan when he was 23. Jobs denied paternity of his daughter Lisa in court documents, claiming he was sterile. Jobs did not initiate a relationship with his daughter until she was 7 but, when she was a teenager, she came to live with her father.
In the early 1990s, Jobs met Laurene Powell at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. They married on March 18, 1991, and lived together in Palo Alto, California, with their three children.
On October 5, 2011, Apple Inc. announced that co-founder Steve Jobs had died. He was 56 years old at the time of his death.

Source: Bio.TrueStory (slightly adapted)


Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address in 2005

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Teaching & Learning is 6 years old today!

Teaching & Learning was born six years ago on a rainy afternoon, just like today! It doesn't seem so long ago, and yet so many things have changed...
We intended to give suggestions of ELT resources and Web 2.0 tools applied to English language teaching, gather some practical examples of students' work and discuss their relevance/success in class context, create an interaction tool with Students/ other Teachers and keep close to Steve Jobs' motto: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” as we believe work can be done with pleasure and it can be much better if we don’t forget about enjoying it and adding a pinch of foolishness!
More than 740 posts and 130000 hits later, we believe those objectives are being achieved.
T&L audience is growing every day, it comes mainly from the USA, the UK, Russia and Portugal, but also from the United Arab Emirates, China, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Guatemala, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. 
THANK YOU for reading T&L, for supporting it and above all for being here! I would also like to thank all those who spend their precious time commenting and giving important feedback!
This whole experience is a pleasure for us, so we intend to keep on going, posting more about Didactics, English, Culture, Students’ tasks and foolish things, too, of course! We hope to see you all around here a year from now… 

Six years and counting… STAY HUNGRY. STAY FOOLISH. 

Let's celebrate... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEACHING & LEARNING!

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