Saturday, 11 August 2018

INTERNET SAFETY - THE ADVENTURES OF KARA & THE SMART CREW














In the UK, the organisation Childnet has produced a series of five videos to introduce different aspects of internet safety to 7-11 year olds. These cartoons illustrate 5 e-safety SMART rules and include a real life SMART Crew of young people, who guide the cartoon characters in their quest, and help them make safe online decisions.

Let's start with a quiz to discover how smart we are online.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

FRANKENSTEIN AT 200 - 5 VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW + VIDEO & WORKSHEET




Elle Fanning as Mary Shelley (2018)

1.  THE OVERREACHER 


Victor Frankenstein is defined "The Modern Prometheus" in the subtitle of the novel. As Prometheus defied Zeus stealing the fire from him to bring it back to Mankind, the Swiss scientist protagonist of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel defies any natural law and God himself for his great ambition: to create, not to generate, life. To give life to an inanimate body.

Both Prometheus and Dr. Frankenstein are OVERREACHERS, special  types of rebels who

 - try to go beyond the limits imposed to Mankind by God or Nature
-  are moved by great ambition
 - are usually punished with death (not Prometheus, since he was a Titan, a semi-god)

Saturday, 7 July 2018

SHAWN MENDES ON ANXIETY, SUCCESS AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD (B2 ACTIVITIES)



Shawn Mendes is a global phenomenon. He began his meteoric rise to fame as a teen posting song covers on Vine and YouTube, then as a young artist on Island Records. He is only 19 and earlier this year was named one of Time's most influential people in the world.

Friday, 22 June 2018

KAZUO ISHIGURO, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY - READING, LISTENING, WRITING ACTIVITIES (B2 - C1)


Kazuo Ishiguro won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature . Ishiguro has met incredible acclaim for his seven novels, which include Never Let Me Go and The Buried Giant. Probably Ishiguro's most beloved book is The Remains of the Day  (Man Booker Prize,  1989) which was adapted into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in 1993. The movie is one of the Merchant-Ivory classics with A Room with a View and Howards End. 

The story is told from a first person point of view. The narrator, Stevens, a butler, recalls his life in the form of a diary while the action progresses through to the present. Much of the novel is concerned with Stevens' professional and, above all, personal relationship with a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

LET'S WORK ON THE NEWS: EMMA GONZALES & THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES MOVEMENT



Since the mass shooting on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, in which a former student of the school killed seventeen students and staff with a legally acquired semiautomatic rifle, several of the survivors have become veteran public speakers. Among them 17-year-old Emma Gonzales who, during the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C., galvanized the crowd  with her words and, especially, with her silence.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

NOTES - FROM THE TUDORS TO THE STUARTS


When Queen Elizabeth I died with no heir in 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England. It was the beginning of the Stuart Dynasty.


James I Stuart 1603-1625

  • James was the son of Mary Stuart who had been condemned to death by Elizabeth I in 1587
  • As James the VI of Scotland he united the two kingdoms of England and Scotland under one crown with the name of James I
  • He was a protestant, unlike his mother
  • Like the Tudors, he worked with a small council of ministers
  • He only summoned Parliament to ask for money
  • He surrounded himself with Scottish favourites and his court was disreputable, corrupt
  • That caused a pessimistic view of human nature we can recognize in the works of two famous playwrights of the time, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare (especially in his last works: Henry VIII , Othello, Macbeth, The Tempest)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

WUTHERING HEIGHTS AND ITS BYRONIC HERO


A scandalous novel by a clergyman's daughter

Emily Brontë  was a clergyman’s daughter. She grew up in a remote part of England, in Howarth, a tiny village in Yorkshire.  She didn’t like to travel. When she left home she became ill. She never married and she died at the age of 30 having published her only novel and some poetry.

Wuthering Heights was one of the most shocking novel in English literature. When it was first published in 1847, it created a firestorm of protest. It was called “one of the most repellent book ever published”. One critic said it should be burnt. The protest only settle down when the second edition came out and the author was revealed to be the daughter of a parson from west-Yorkshire. How had a parson’s daughter created such a threat to civilized society as Heathcliff, a   hero driven by sexual passion and vengeance and, instead of a proper Victorian heroine,  she gave the world a married woman who runs around on the moor in her nightgown with her lover. The reading public was shocked. Shocked. But the novel has never been out of print and has had many film  adaptations. 


Sunday, 5 November 2017

HOW CAN WE FACE THE FUTURE WITHOUT FEAR? - LAYOUT OF A SPEECH


It's a fateful moment in history. We've seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism -- all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. "Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?" asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."

Friday, 3 November 2017

MACHIAVELLI AND ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND


European Influence of Machiavelli

The influence of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527) on European poliical and philosophical thought and literature was immense in the 16th and 17th century, particularly with his famous treatise on politics and statecraft: Il Principe (written 1513 - published 1531). This fame, however, was very much contrasted both in Italy and in Europe.
In Italy, Il Principe was officially condemned by the Church at the Council of Trento (1545) and in 1559 the book was finally included in the Indice dei Libri Proibiti because of its atheism and anthi-religious doctrines. In many European countries, on the other hand, Il Principe was considered to be he instrument of Jesuit propaganda against Protestants and Catholics because he was the first to separate politics from ethics or religion. In his treatise, Machiavelli portrayed not the ideal ruler but the kind of ruler that emerged from a study of past and present history.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

NOTES & WORKSHEETS FOR MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING


Date and Sources

Much Ado About Nothing marks Shakespeare's greatest achievement in comedy with As You Like It and The Twelfth Night. The date of its first performance was 1598 and it was probably printed two years later. A story by Italian author Matteo Bandello is the source of the plot (as it happened for Romeo and Juliet too). Shakespeare read Bandello in the French version by Belleforest in his Histoires Tragiques.

Themes

The central part of the action turns on two main plots: the Hero-Claudio plot, which is a conventional story belonging to the tragi-comedy type, and the Beatrice-Benedick plot, belonging to the comedy of wit. In this way we are offered differrent views of the same reality, views which we might call respectively romantic and realistic, in whose clash and interrelatio lies a great part of the substance of the play. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

ON MILLENIALS, TECHNOLOGY & HAPPINESS

Imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work, feel safe while they are there, and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves. This is what Simon Sinek believes we can achieve working hard...




WORKSHEET

Monday, 25 September 2017

OUTSIDERS & OUTCASTS: HOLDEN CAUFIELD FROM J.D. SALINGER'S THE CATCHER IN THE RYE


Read the conversation between Holden Caufield (16), the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye,  and his little sister,  Phoebe. He has just come  back home after escaping  from the last college he was expelled from and after wandering around New York City for a few days... "Old Phoebe", 10 years old, wants to know why he escaped and disappeared . She asks him if there is anything he likes in his life, because he doesn't seem to like anything...

The Phoniness of the World 


"You can't even think of one thing"


"Yes, I can, I can"


"Well do it, then"


"I like Allie", I said. "And I like doing what I'm doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking , and thinking about stuff, and - "

Friday, 1 September 2017

THE ARTHURIAN LEGEND IN DANTE: PAOLO AND FRANCESCA


Dante’s use of the Arthurian legend

By the late 13th century the Arthurian legend and its stories were so well-known throughout Europe that Dante could use them for one of the most famous episodes of his Divina Commedia: that of the tragic love and death of Paolo and Francesca (Inferno, Canto V). Dante placed the two lovers from Rimini in the ring (girone) of the lustful (lussuriosi). Virgil, who is Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatory, first points out to Dante some of the famous figures in the ground of the lustful: some of them come from classical history and literature  - Helen of Troy, Dido, Cleopatra; others – such as Tristan – come straight from the Arthurian legend.
Tristan, one of the bravest knights of the Round Table, is there because of his adulterous love for Isolde, wife to King Mark of Cornwall – who was Tristan’s uncle and who finally killed him.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

ALIKE, THE STORY OF COPI & PASTE

"Alike" is an animated short film directed by Daniel Martínez Lara & Rafa Cano Méndez. In a busy life, Copi is a father who tries to teach the right way to his son, Paste. But...what is the correct path?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

WILL: 21st CENTURY SHAKESPEARE

Jamie Campbell Bower and Laurie Davidson as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare in TNT drama series

William Shakespeare is one of the most widely known authors in the world and in history,  but we actually know very little about the man. For instance, we know very little about his life during two major spans of time, commonly referred to as the "lost years": 1578-82 and 1585-92. The first period covers the time after Shakespeare left grammar school, until his marriage to Anne Hathaway in November of 1582. The second period covers the seven years of Shakespeare's life in which he must have been perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.  The TV series “WILL”, which premiered on TNT on 10th July 2017, in a very imaginative way, tries to fill in the seven years’ gap. 

WILL tells the wild story of young William Shakespeare's  arrival onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London -- the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s a contemporary version of Shakespeare's life, played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

TEACHERKIT: THE BEST APP FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT


The Teacher job is very stressful. It's not a small thing to be responsible for an entire generation of students. Teachers don't just share knowledge with their class, they form the way kids think and perceive the world. Managing one or more classes is a serious endeavor and takes a lot of time, will and experience. There are a number of things you need to pay attention to and luckily there is a solution for that. TeacherKit is a powerful app that allows teachers to manage their class with ease. What TeacherKit is and how it can help you, we shall see in this article.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

WONDER, YOU CAN'T BLEND IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT




It was published in 2012 and since then over 5 million people have read it.  Anyone who's read #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER by R. J. Palacio has fallen in love with Auggie (August) Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.  A movie based on the book is coming soon starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THAT? PRONUNCIATION LESSONS BY EMMA & LUCY



While learning to speak English,  pronunciation is probably one of the biggest frustrations we may experience.
But here are two lovely young ladies ready to help us in our journey through awkward combinations of letters and sounds.
Emma and Lucy have many videos on their Youtube channels with useful pronunciation tips. (HERE and HERE)