“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” – David Thornburg

26 July 2012


HORRIBLE HISTORIES is a historical sketch show, based on the successful books by Terry Deary.


HORRIBLE HISTORIES - The wives of Henry VIII (Terrible Tudors)
You may know that Henry VIII's first wife was Catherine of Aragon. Catherine was born at the Archbishop's Palace in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, on the night of 16 December 1485. She was the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, the so-called Catholic Monarchs. Mary I (AKA Bloody Mary) was Henry and Catherine's only surviving daughter who became Queen of England and Ireland in 1553. Guess who she married? Philip II of Spain, the king who asked the architects Juan Baustista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera to build the Escorial Palace in Madrid. That's why if you visit the Houses of Parliament in London, you can see a picture of Philip II in the Royal Gallery.  If you go to London, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Palace's interiors and Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. It's really worth it. 

Here you have a preview. Isn't it amazing?

"Westminster Hall is the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate. What makes it such an astonishing building is not simply its great size and the magnificence of its roof, but its central role in British history. In and around the Hall, grew up the major institutions of the British state: Parliament, the law courts and various government offices. Closely involved in the life of the nation since the 11th century, a journey through the Hall's past is a journey through 900 fascinating years of our history."
If you are not visiting London soon...Online tours
Trinity College in Cambridge, founded by Henry VIII and an example of Tudor architecture

More horrible histories?

25 July 2012


After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.
Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING'S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.
The King's Speech movie trailer

Colin Firth on Ellen: (just before he won the academy award, the Oscar):
 Colin Firth winning Best Actor:  
"I have a feeling my career has just peaked. My deepest thanks to the Academy. I'm afraid I have to warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings. Somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage.

So I'm going to do my best to be brief with my gratitude first for being on this extraordinary list of fellow nominees. Something quite formidable and possibly the greatest honor of this. All the crew and my fellow cast members, those who are not here, and those who are, Geoffrey, Helena, and Guy, whose virtuosity made it very very difficult for me to be as bad as I was planning to be. And David Seidler whose own struggles have given so many people the benefit of his very beautiful voice and Tom Hooper for the immense courage and clear sightedness with which he interpreted that. The men who finessed this to the screen, Gareth, Emile, Iain, Xavier, and of course, Harvey, who first took me on 20 years ago when I was a mere child sensation.

And all the people who have been rooting for me back home. Also Jessica Kolstad, my friend, Paul Lyon-Maris, and Chris Andrews for bearing with me through some of the less fortunate moments as well as the good ones and my very fortunate friendship with Tom Ford who to whom I owe a very big piece of this. And to the Anglo-Italian-American-Canadian axis, which makes up my family and Livia for putting up with my fleeting delusions of royalty and who I hold responsible for this and for really everything that's good that's happened since I met her. Now if you'll all excuse me, I have some impulses I have to tend to backstage. Thank you very much."

Colin Firth surprises Ellen with his Oscar:

20 July 2012


According to BPS Research Digest, as sighted in the May 2008 addition of PSYCHOLOGIES Magazine, the answer to the age old question of learning a language, "might lie in a song...The researchers concluded that we find it easier to remember words if they're set to music, partly because it's more emotionally engaging, but also because the words are structured in a way that makes it easier for us to 'segment' the information and store it in our memories". 


10 July 2012


Conditional sentences practice:

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4
Exercise 5
Now, doing grammatical exercises is all right but it's much more fun to practise conditional sentences in a different way:

Conditional sentences in The Big Bang Theory
Conditionals: examples in songs If you had a million dollars song + game A parody of "If I had a million dollars": If we had some global warming

Some lyrics extracts:
If we had some global warming we wouldn't be 20 below
If we had some global warming I wouldn't be shovelling snow
If we had some global warming I wouldn't have to drive this giant truck
If we had some global warming we wouldn't have any cares
If we had some global warming we'd have some nice greenhouse effect 
If we had some global warming maybe we'd have some palm trees 
If we had some global warming maybe we'd have aligators 
If we had some global warming we could throw our windshield scrapers away
If we had some global warming maybe we'd use less fuel
If we had some global warming we'd have a longer growing season which could stop world hunger

04 July 2012


This is a wonderful website where you can find everything you need to learn about the American Revolution. There are 9 webisodes plus an introduction, just choose a segment from the webisode menu and read the text. Do notice that there three icons. If you click on the 'see it now' icon, you can see real documents from that time. If you click on the 'hear it now' icon, you can listen to some of the things the protagonists said.

And much more at http://www.michellehenry.fr/july.htm

CNN article and video: America celebrates Independence Day (July 4th, 2012)

Saratoga's All-American celebration sounds like a lot of fun:

Now, here you have the song we listened to in class this morning: