diumenge, 13 de juny del 2010

April Fools' Day

April Fools’ day or All Fools’ day is a day celebrated in various countries on April the 1st. Some of these countries are: Great Britain, Germany, United States, France, New Zealand,…
Nowadays this day is not considered a bank holiday, it is more a cultural tradition than a religious celebration.

The origin of this celebration is uncertain, there are some theories about it, the most important is the adoption of the new Gregorian calendar in 1564 A.C, by the Edict of Roussillon. Till then, citizens of Europe were using two different systems (Julian and Christian). This situation was very confusing, some countries celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1st and others on March 25th.

The celebration can last till 12 pm or 12 am, depending on the country. In some countries like New Zealand, the U.K., Australia,… jokes last till noon, if someone plays a trick after that time he will be called an April fool. This is the reason why only morning editions of newspapers in England have a fake front page. In some other countries like France, Italy, Ireland,… jokes last all day.

In Spain is a little bit different. Aprils’ Fool Day is called by the Spaniards “El día de los Santos Inocentes” (The Day of the Innocents) and it is celebrated on December 28th.

Jokes are done everywhere, on TV shows, newspapers, radio, internet,… Some examples:
“The Sun” announced the development of a new edible edition of the newspaper, it would have a specific area that could be tasted.
In the 50s a dutch radio program assured that the Pisa tower had fallen.
In 2003, several Korean and Chinese websites informed about the death of Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft. Because of that news, Microsoft’s stocks fell 1.5 points down.
In 1980 the BBC channel announced that the government was studying a proposal of converting the Big Ben clock into a new fashion digital one.

Activities to do in class:
Learning about April Fools' Day
Knowing the history of this celebration
Knowing the different traditions of a foreign culture.

April Fools' Day
English humour
History of the celebration

1) In the morning before all the children come to class, the teacher could glue some coins to the floor. When the children come in, we can expect anything. After a while, we can explain to them, especially to those who tried harder, that it was a joke because that day is April Fools' Day. Then we can teach them a little more about that day.
2) We can put a few drops of red food colouring into a milk carton. Then we ask the children to drink some milk. We will observe their reaction and we will try to explain what could happen. We are sure they have a lot of theories, surely some great ones. Then, we tell them the trick and the reason why we put it (their April Fools' Day).
3) After 1) and 2), we can recommend the students to practise these jokes at home:
- Change the salt with the sugar if someone is going to use the sugar. To hide and to observe the results… Then they can explain to their families about April Fools' Day.
- To set the alarm clocks 2 hours before the time your brother or sister normally gets up, you will laugh, thought he or she won’t. Then you can explain to him or her about April Fools' Day.

diumenge, 30 de maig del 2010

Get fun!!!

A trick of the Twits
One week after Ms Twit came ballooning down, she was still plotting how to take revenge on him. Her husband had gone too far. She was horribly angry and very furious. She realized that her husband wanted to lose sight of her. But Ms Twit was very smart.
Just like every morning, she went to the garden and talked to the monkeys. From now on, there is no more upside down practice she told them, you are going to start digging, digging for a grave.
On Tuesdays Mr. Twit used to go out of the house to smear the Big Dead Tree with his special glue to hunt the poor birds. On Wednesdays he used to pick them up from the tree. That was the day Ms Twit chose to start her plan. As she had perfectly calculated, it took five days to the monkeys to dig a huge deep hole in the earth. It was located just two meters far from the Big Dead Tree, but on its way. Once the monkeys had finished their job, the little old witch spread some branches on the floor. They made a perfect trap.
During those days, Mr. Twit apologized to his wife for his behavior and she accepted it as if nothing had happened. That reaction put him on red alert. What the hell was she thinking about? I must prepare myself, something very bad is coming. That Tuesday, Mr. Twit had a bad feeling. Today is the day, he thought.

Before he went to the tree, he stood in the pond and caught several frogs. He knew they were Ms Twit strongest fear. Then he went back to the house, while Ms Twit was with the monkeys, he set all the frogs free inside the house. He closed the door, took the ladder and went straight to the Big Dead Tree. That was the moment Ms Twit had been waiting for. The time passed very slowly. Suddenly the horrible man disappeared in front of her. A few tears started running down on her face, then a lot more. She couldn't stop crying with happiness. She remembered that she had a camera, where could it be? She thought. Inside the house. She went to get it and as soon as she opened the door, thousands of frogs were jumping against her body (in fact they were just trying to escape from that dry place). That was too much for her, she was terrified and her heart stopped pumping for a few seconds. She totally freaked out, she ran and ran and felt into the hole.
Incredible, that was the first time in their lives, they had played a trick on each other at the same time. They were very annoyed, because they had drawn. At that point, the Twits had to join forces and get out of there. The wife climbed on her husband's shoulders and reached the surface. Once out of the hole, she threw a rope to Mr. Twit and helped him to get out. From that day, they only played tricks on the rest of the mortals, but not on each other.

You can watch the video: :

Compulsory education should be extended up to 18 years old

The Minister of Education, Angel Gabilondo, introduced the possibility of extending compulsory education up to 18 years old. This proposal has generated a controversial discussion in our society.
First of all, I would like to enumerate the advantages of this proposal. The most important is the improvement of Spanish education. In other words, Spanish students will have the possibility to study two years more than they do nowadays.
As a general rule, 16 –year- old students have not decided yet what to do, whether to finish their compulsory studies and start to work or continue studying the baccalaureate. So they would have more time to decide about their future.
There are also several arguments against this option, for example: late beginning of working experiences, bored students in classrooms, overcrowding in high schools, mixture of voluntary students and some who have been obliged by law.
Some politicians think this is a temporal solution in order to reduce young people’s unemployment rates.
In my opinion, this proposal means more than a reduction of unemployed young people. I believe in education so I can see the positive effects of extending compulsory education.
Nobody can deny the favourable connection between education and our society’s improvement. More education means more possibilities, better employment, a more developed society.
There is also another question to be asked, what should the Government solve first, improving the present compulsory education or extending it up to 18?
This question is debated without a general consensus by politicians, teachers, parents and students.

My opinion...

Foreign language learning for young and very young children

Before thinking why Spanish students have to study English in Infant Education, the question should be: Why is English so important in our lives? Because nowadays, English has become the International language, spoken worldwide.
After this explanation, I would like to enumerate the advantages of introducing a foreign language to young or very young learners.
Firstly, children’s ability to enjoy learning. If teachers motivate English learning in their students, young students will be able to learn voluntarily. Teachers should try to make it as much fun as possible, by singing, playing and doing meaningful activities.
If young students learn something by having fun and enjoying it, it will be easier and more positive for them.
Secondly, young children’s aptitude and ease to learn. The younger you start learning a language, the easier it will be to learn it. For instance, it is not the same to start learning English for a child as for an adult and the difficulty and the results will vary.

Turning to disadvantages, it is difficult to find any, however there are people against learning English as a foreign language in Infant Education. They think another language can confuse young children.

Of course, I am in favour of starting to learn English as a foreign language as soon as possible. It is obvious, the sooner you start, the better you will learn.
I am convinced CLIL projects, ICT and other projects will be positive to improve English skills ( speaking, writing, listening, reading ). Although there were not any of these projects when I was a child, I learnt a lot of vocabulary and verbs, singing and playing. I can still remember some of the songs I learnt 20 years ago.
Being conscious of the importance of English in our lives, we should ask politicians about the bad results of English in Compulsory Education and the measures to be taken.
Why has been English important in my life?

When I was 8 years old, I started to learn English. I have learnt it playing and singing so I have so nice memories.
Nowadays I think you need English for everything, when you travel, on the Internet, music and films. You can find it everywhere.

dimarts, 16 de març del 2010