Monday, April 30, 2012

The Lost Colony.

In 1587, one hundred and eighteen Englishmen and women landed on Roanoke island, off the coast of North Carolina. They chose Roanoke because it was near the mainland ( el territorio de un país o continente que no incluye las islas) , but being an island it was easier to defend .The climate was good for growing many different kinds of food and the sea all around was full of  fish. The leader of the group, John White, went back to England after a while to get more provisions.When he returned, several months later, he found the island deserted : there was no trace ( rastro) of anyone, except one word carved (tallada ) on a tree : "Croatoan".No one knows what happened to the people there."Croatoan " was the name of an island to the south , where a friendly native tribe lived . Colonists might have tried to reach that island. However,  a big storm  kept White from (impidió) travelling south to search on Croatoan for the colonists, and he returned to England. White never returned to the New World. Since then, people called this abandoned settlement ( asentamiento, colonia ) "The Lost Colony".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Greatest Treasure

Peter finds a treasure map  and sets out on a long adventure together with several animals (  a lion,an eagle, a sheep ,a camel and a turtle) . What will they find together?
Watch this children's story once and then a second time reading it aloud.Then tell us  about what your greatest treasure is  ! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

We Love You, Iran and Israel

Internet in general and the social networks in particular have proven to be very powerful tools to inform and organize people. Facebook and Twitter played a big role in mobilizing people during the Arab revolts of last year. Here’s a new initiative by an Israeli man called Iranians, We Love You to foment peace between the two nations. 

Hi, I’m Ronnie. I’m 41 years old. I’m a father. I’m a graphic designer. I’m a teacher. I’m a citizen of Israel and I need your help. Lately, in the news, you can hear about a war coming, a big one. The government is talking about destruction, self-defense, like this war is not about us.

Three days ago, I posted posters in Facebook. The message was simple: Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we love you. Attached to the poster, I wrote a few words: To the Iranian people, to all fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters. For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other. We must hate. I’m not afraid of you. I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. No Iranian ever did me any wrong. I never even met any Iranians, just one in Paris in a museum, nice dude. I sometimes see here on TV, an Iranian, he’s talking about war. I’m sure he doesn’t represent all of the people of Iran. If you see someone on your TV talking about bombing, be sure he does not represent all the people of Israel.

So within 24 hours, people started sharing the poster on their Facebook. Within 48 hours, the Iranian people start responding to the poster, and share back their love to us. Hundreds of message arriving from Iran telling the Israeli people telling the Israeli people, we love you back. The day after, we were on TV and in newspapers, proving that the message was travelling, travelling fast. Okay, now we want to make sure that the message reaches everyone, not only in the Facebook community but everywhere. This is a message by the people to the people. So please donate and help us spread the message. Thank you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Potato Cakes

Here are the instructions for a really easy recipe :  potato cakes.


400g   potatoes
125g   flour  ( harina)
  40g   butter (mantequilla) 
  40g   grated cheese  (queso rallado)


1- Peel (pela)  the potatoes and slice (cortar en lonchas)  them.
2- Put the potatoes in a saucepan  (cazo) with some water and a bit of salt and boil  (hierve) them for 20 minutes.
3- Mash (haz puré)  the potatoes.
4- Put the mashed potatoes, the flour and the butter or margarine into the bowl and mix them with a fork (tenedor) .
5- Make 12 round potato cakes with the mixture ( about 1 cm  in thickness  , en  grosor  ).
6- Fry the potato cakes in a frying pan (sartén)  until they are brown  ( doradas) on both sides.
7- Cover the cakes with the grated cheese.Put them in a dish and keep them warm in the oven.

Enjoy  !

Note. We write : 400g potatoes. But we say: four hundred grams of potatoes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Easter Bunny

There are many customs associated with Easter. In the UK, Easter Sunday used to be called Egg Sunday. In many cultures, the egg has symbolized rebirth. Many centuries ago, bird eggs were stolen to be used as talismans or to be eaten in rituals. The symbol of the Easter Bunny, highly popularized in the United States, has its origin in a pagan festival for the goddess Eastre, worshiped [1] by the Anglo-Saxons. According to myth, one day she wanted to fascinate some children by turning a bird into [2] a rabbit, which began to lay eggs that she gave to the children. Germans introduced this symbol to the U.S., where Easter was not celebrated until after the Civil War. This ancient tradition has evolved and now is kept alive in a more playful way. Chicken eggs are boiled [3] and painted with very bright colors and designs. And chocolate eggs are hidden outside the house for children to look for.

Of course, having chocolate is a popular Easter tradition. We’ve been told that chocolate is unhealthy for us. However, in moderation, chocolate can actually be good for you. Chocolate makes people feel good because it contains a chemical called theobromine, which stimulates endorphins. Releasing [4] these chemicals in the brain creates a feeling of well-being [5]. So make sure you eat a healthy amount of chocolate this Easter!

[1] venerado, [2] convertirse, [3] hervidos, [4] liberar, [5] bienestar

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stone Soup

One day a tramp (vagabundo) came to an old woman's house."Excuse me", said the tramp. "I'm very hungry. Can you give me something to eat ?" But the old woman was very mean (tacaña) . "Go away," she said."I haven't got any  food." "Oh", said the tramp. "That's a pity.I've got a magic stone (piedra) .I can make soup with it.But I need some water." "Well, I've got a lot of water." said the mean, old woman. "A magic stone, eh?". She fetched a big saucepan (cazo) of water.The tramp put the stone into it.After a while he tasted the soup."Mmmm.It's very good," he said."It just needs  a bit of salt and pepper." The old woman fetched (fue  por) the salt and pepper.
"Mmmm. That's better," he said."It really needs a few vegetables.It's a pity you haven't got any vegetables." "Oh, I can find some vegetables." said the old woman. She ran into the garden and brought back some potatoes, carrots, beans and a big onion. The tramp put the vegetables into the saucepan. " Is it ready now ?" , asked the woman."Almost," said the tramp."It really needs  a bit of meat.It's a pity you haven't got any meat,"."Oh, I can find some meat ." said the old woman.She ran into the  kitchen and came back with some ham and some sausages.The tramp put them into the saucepan.
"Right," said the tramp. "Ican't see the stone anymore.So the soup is ready.It's a pity you haven't got any bread." "Oh, I've got some a bit of bread," said the woman.She ran into the kitchen and came back with a loaf of bread,some butter and a piece of cake.She put them on the table.
The old woman tasted the soup."Mmm.This stone soup is delicious and you made it with just that magic stone."
When the tramp left, he said." Here is the magic stone.You can keep it." "Oh thank you." said the old woman."But remember." said the tramp."For the best stone soup, you need a bit of meat, a few vegetables and a bit of salt and pepper , too."

Note: we use " a bit of" with uncountable nouns and  "a few" with countable nouns. But we can use "a lot of "  with countable and uncountable nouns.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day

If you ask about April 1 in Spain, you won’t get a special response. However, in many European countries and in North America, there is a tradition to spend the day making jokes with friends. It's called April Fool's Day, the equivalent of December 28 in Spain. This tradition began in France. Until 1582 the new year was celebrated for eight days beginning on March 25 and ending on April 1. When King Charles IX introduced the Gregorian calendar, the new year started on January 1. Since the means of communication back then were lacking, people did not hear about the change, or simply decided to ignore the new date. As a result, these “ignorant” people were teased [1], and so began the tradition of tease people on this day.

One year, the BBC showed a joke documentary on April Fool’s Day about the spaghetti harvest [2] in Switzerland. After seeing the farmers picking [3] spaghetti from the trees, many people telephoned to ask how they could grow [4] their own spaghetti. The BBC replied that they should place a sprig [5] of spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best!

There are various expressions using the word fool. Two popular ones that mean more or less the same thing are to play the fool and to fool around. This means to habitually make jokes and try to make people laugh even when sometimes it isn’t appropriate. A popular idiomatic expression is a fool and his money are soon parted. This means that a person who isn’t careful with money spends it quickly, often on unnecessary things. If you make a fool of yourself it usually means that you have said or done something embarrassing in public. Don’t worry. It happens to all of us!

[1] Se tomaron el pelo, [2] cosecha, [3] coger, [4] cultivar, [5] ramita