Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

photo credit: danielmoyle via photopin cc
2013 was a great year with memorable moments, both professionally and personally! Let's hope for more of those in the almost new born 2014! May we have the resilience to overcome all the obstacles, and never forget that 'every dark cloud has a silver lining'! I now finish this post with 'Happy', a song by Pharrell Williams that says a lot about the importance of pursuing happiness: 'Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof', 'Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth', 'Clap along if you know what happiness is to you', 'Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do (...)'.  HAPPY 2014!



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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review

As 2013 approaches its end, here follows two videos that portray some of this year's most remarkable events: the traditional Google Zeitgeist and Jib Jab:



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Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Person and International Word of the Year

2013 is nearly over and I wouldn't like to finish this year's posts without mentioning two events that usually strike my attention: the election of the 'Person of the Year' by Time Magazine, and 'The International Word of the Year' by the Oxford Dictionaries.

'Pope Francis has been named Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2013. Pope Francis, who gained world praise in 2013, became the first Jesuit pope in March 2013 following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Time's managing editor Nancy Gibbs explained the magazine's choice, calling the Pope 'a new voice of conscience. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time, about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power,' she said. 'When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.' Read the full article HERE. As usual, cartoonists portray these venues in a very hilarious catchy way.
A cartoon by Randy Bish
'On November 19th, 2013, the Oxford Dictionaries announced SELFIE as the international Word of the Year 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year.' You might like to continue reading HERE. TIME Magazine also presented an article on this matter, entitled: Word of the Year 2013 - Twerk was robbed!'

As for me, 'selfie' is the well deserved winner of this title, due to its popularity in the social web. James Franco discloses 'The meanings of Selfie' in a fantastic opinion article for The New York Times: «We all have different reasons for posting them, but, in the end, selfies are avatars, mini-Me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, 'Hello, this is me.'» Read the full article HERE. Selfies have become so popular that every celebrity takes and posts lots of them either on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. But what were this year's most viral selfies? The first ever 'Papal selfie' and the 'Obama selfie incident' at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, respectively.

Pope Francis has his picture taken inside St. Peter's Basilica with youths from the
Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio. Photo: AP
Michelle Obama looks away as (L-R) British Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and US President Barack Obama take a selfie
 Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP
The phenomenon has become so intense that even Nativity scenes haven't escaped the 'selfie' craze.
A cartoon by Blower for Daily Telegraph
As a 'selfie' practitioner, I love this topic! I think these self portrays are a very funny amusing way of taking pictures, either of yourself, your family and friends, and even your pets! I take loads of them, and I can assure you those 'selfies' taken with the ones I love are moments/memories that I dearly treasure! Having said this, I hope you have had a Merry Little Christmas, and that you were on Santa's good list!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Joy to the world

Time for a short break to enjoy the holidays season! Merry Chrismas to you all!... I shall be back before the end of the year for a couple of posts about 2013!...


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Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Xmas Dinner @PineTree

To all my PineTree mates, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Robbie Williams tries to sing White Christmas

On this TV show, Robbie Williams, the once known as 'l'enfant terrible' of the former boys band, Take That, tries to sing 'Dreaming of a White Christmas' with Ant & Dec! It was a very amusing moment! I believe they all had a great time!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Three Wise Women

Due to the Christmas season, school ends tomorrow for a three week break! Students are happy but teachers still have a lot of paperwork until friday! So, to light things up, I will be publishing funny stuff about Christmas, so that I can keep up with this week's tough agenda!
Picture via Pro.T - Professional Development
Conferencefor English Teachers
(FB page)
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday 13th...

photo credit: Nebojsa Mladjenovic
via photopin cc
The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. It seems their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there will be two such occurrences in 2013, exactly 13 weeks apart) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date. Exactly how old this superstition is, it is difficult to say, because determining the origins of superstitions is an inexact science, at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork. Read full article HERE
Source: Urban Legends (abridged and adapted)

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Resources via Thinglink

This year, I've decided to gather some of last year's posts about Christmas resources, as well as 2011's, and some new ones on this THINGLINK. I hope you like it! Feel free to use it if you consider it's of worth value for your calsses!


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saint Peter & Nelson Mandela

To finish this series of posts about Nelson Mandela, I now share with you a cartoon I came across at the English Blog. As usual, the cartoon is followed by some useful information, in case you want to use it in class.

Image credits: Chappatte
BACKGROUND
When a soul arrives at the gates of heaven, Saint Peter, the gatekeeper, will look through the Book of Life. If your name is in the Book of Life, you may enter.
THE CARTOON
This cartoon by Chappatte from Le Temps, Geneva shows Saint Peter at the gates of heaven. Attached to the railings behind is a picture of him with a smiling Nelson Mandela, who has signed the picture.
EXPLANATION
Nelson Mandela has died and gone to heaven. We are meant to assume that since Mandela was such a special person, Saint Peter wanted to have a souvenir photograph taken with him, just like members of the public do with celebrities.
NOTES
In art (and cartoons), St Peter is usually depicted as a white-haired, bearded man in a blue robe, often holding a key or keys, which refer to Matthew 16:19. Following on from this, many paintings and literary accounts of Heaven show him stationed at the gate. There are traditionally two keys, one gold and one silver, representing the two conditions necessary for salvation: the silver key represents repentance, which comes from the person concerned; and the gold key represents forgiveness, which comes from God. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Forgiveness - a lesson tip

When I first saw this cartoon, I immediately thought I could use it in class. Bearing in mind my students' knowledge on Nelson Mandela's life, I would ask them what other words they would write under his footsteps. I know I would be delighted with their answers. The lesson would continue from that point, according to their thoughts and ideas. We could then write their suggestions on the board, and later on padlet, thus creating a memorial, a tribute to Madiba's life.

A cartoon by Rick McKee for The Cagle Post Cartoons
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Monday, December 09, 2013

Lessons from Nelson Mandela

Helena Aguilar presents for Edutopia 'Lessons from Nelson Mandela's Life and Legacy'. In THIS article, she highlights his compassion, courage and commitment, and suggests bucking her lesson plans for next week and teach a mini-unit on Mandela. She hopes she'd make the decision to teach what feels like an invaluable lesson on a rare and phenomenal human being, and, I quote, "(...) to honor his life, and memory, to teach our children about courage and commitment and the kind of leadership that transforms. This is far more than a 'teachable moment' for our children: it's also one for us, as educators; it's a moment when we can reflect on our core values and the struggles for justice and equality within our own field of work."

Image credits: venspired.com
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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting

Since 1947 the people of Norway have provided London with a tree out of gratitude for the support Britain gave the country in World War II. This year the annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in Trafalgar Square on 5 December at 9 pm. Decorated in traditional Norwegian style with hundreds of white lights, the lighting of the tree helps mark the start of the festive season in the capital. The tree provides a focal point for the Christmas Carol singing programme which runs from nine to 21 December and will remain in Trafalgar Square until early January 2014.
In visitlondon.com (adapted)

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree from last year (Westminster Council)
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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013

Alex Fitzpatrick wrote for TIME Magazine: 
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree All Lit Up for the Holidays. 
The world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit during a ceremony in New York City this Wednesday night. This year’s tree, a 75-year-old Norway spruce, is illuminated by 45,000 rainbow LEDs and features a 550 lbs., 9.5-foot-wide Swarovski crystal star on top. That’s just a bit more impressive than Rockefeller Center’s first Christmas tree, a 40-footer with a measly 700 lights.
The tree-lighting ceremony, which draws thousands of spectators to the Rockefeller Center each year, featured live performances from Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson and other artists.

Image credits: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Another view from social media manager and photographer Anthony Quintano is also reported on the article.

Image Credits: Anthony Quintano  
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

John Lewis Christmas Advert 2013

John Lewis this year's TV advert tells the delightful animated story of Bear and his faithful friend Hare. Set in a beautiful forest, poor Bear is the only animal that never gets to celebrate Christmas because he has to hibernate every year. However, this year is different. This year Hare has a brilliant idea. The commercial uses a unique animation style that combines traditional 2D hand-drawn animation, stop frame, and 3D model made sets.The story is set to a cover of Keane's 'Somewhere Only We Know' performed by Lily Allen. Source: Youtube (adapted)
If you want to know more about John Lewis and this video, click HERE.


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Monday, December 02, 2013

About Generosity and Giving back

Following-up the spirit of Thanksgiving, here follows a selection of ten videos entitled 'Random Acts of Kindness and Generosity. Amy Erin Borovoy, a contributor for Edutopia, wrote: 'Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for reflecting on the things you're grateful for, and it's a known fact that practicing gratitude is a valuable tool for building character. Some say the other key to the pursuit of happiness is gratitude's counterpart, generosity. So I thought I'd kick off the season of giving by shining a little spotlight on simple acts of kindness that can have a huge impact: I've gathered ten videos about people giving back, paying it forward, and helping others -- to inspire us all to do the same this holiday season and all year long.' (In Edutopia, November 22, 2013)
You can either watch the video playlist HERE, or view it on YouTube. The following is a random example of the selected videos.


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