Thursday, February 28, 2013

I wish I was a Fisherman...

 'The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.' 

This quote brings to my mind a song from the past, to be more accurate, from the 80s. Those of us who were teens at that decade surely remember the fantastic sound of the violin played at the Fisherman Blues song, as well as at The Whole of the Moon. The band is called Waterboys and the name itself relates to the topic of the '2013 Reading Week'. The Waterboys are a band founded by the Scottish lead singer and guitar player, Mike Scott, and accounted major hits in the 80s with albuns such as 'This is the Sea' and 'Fisherman Blues'. If you are curious about this band's past and present, just follow this LINK. As a fan of the Waterboys, and particularly of this song, I can't help publishing its lyrics and suggest it as a resource to use in class during this special week. 

The Waterboys
More pictures @lastfm
I wish I was a fisherman
tumblin' on the seas
far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
castin' out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
no ceiling bearin' down on me
save the starry sky above
with light in my head
with you in my arms (...)

Continue HERE to read the whole poem 
and listen to the song.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sea Poetry for Teens

As mentioned on the previous post, everyday, during this week, a poem/quote about the SEA is read in every English language class. The following are a selection for teen students. The image credits for the first picture go to Urban Times Facebook Page and for the second

A Fish I Wish
Oh how I wish I was a fish to swim in the deep blue sea.
I would swim up and down and all around in laps of two or three.
There would be no rules to follow, all fun down here.
On land rules are trouble, a real pain in the rear.
Humans are not wanted down here and for them you must always look.
For they only want to see us fish dangling from their hook.
A sea full of wonder, yes that's the life for me.
Oh how I wish to be a fish and one day soon I'll be!

Maggie and Milly and Molly and May 
maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach (to play one day) 
and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, 
and milly befriended a stranded star 
whose rays five languid fingers were; 
and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: 
and may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone. 
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) 
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
Author: E. E. Cummings 
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sailing the Sea

This week, we are Sailing the Sea, at PineTree School.

'The sea, once it casts its spell, 
holds one in its net of wonders forever.'
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Photo credits: Jon Cornforth /
The Sea is this year's topic of 'Semana da Leitura' (Reading Week), which started yesterday, February 25th, and will continue with several activities until friday, March 1st. Poems about the Sea will be read throughout the week both in the classrom, at the Portuguese, English and French languagues lessons, and at the school library. A 'Literary Meeting' will take place today, in the afternoon, at the library, with the participation of History Teachers and 10th/11th form students, in which the topic 'Sailing the Sea' in our History will be discussed and appreciated. The Drama Club students will perform a play at the Closing Ceremony on friday, as well as the Dance Club students, who will delight us all with their creative performances.
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Brit Awards 2013

Image credits: Brit Awards 2013
Brit Awards 2013 ceremony took place in London, last wednesday, February 20th, where the biggest stars of the music world were honoured. Follow this link to know who were the winners of a stunning night, in which Ben Howard was acknowledged British male solo artist and Breakthrough act; and Emeli Sandé British female artist. Adele clinched the Best British Single prize for her James Bond theme Skyfall. She spoke only briefly via video recording from Los Angeles, where she is preparing for a performance at the Oscars. Muse opened the show with help from 60 orchestral musicians and pyrotechnics. But they lost out on the best British group and best British live act accolades. Robbie Williams holds the record for the most Brit Award wins with 17, including five with Take That. He went away empty-handed this year after being nominated for best British single for Candy and missing out on a nomination for best British male.
Source: The Telegraph (adapted)

                                                         Muse 'Supremacy' - BRITs 2013
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

A quote by Oscar Wilde

Picture via Paper Boat Press
Irish-born English author, dramatist, and poet, Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854, and died on November 30, 1900, in Paris, France. Oscar Wilde was part of the 'art for art's sake' movement in English literature at the end of the nineteenth century. He is best known for his brilliant, witty comedies including the play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and his classic novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. Read more at Encyclopedia of World Biography.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Using short films to produce writing

In one attempt to make my students enjoy producing a text, I showed them this short film on Valentine's Day, last thursday. Even though the students of this 10th form class are considered 'weaker' students and are not the most motivated/committed students in the world, it was kind of 'weird', yet very satisfying, listening to their mesmerised silence, as they watched the film. Bearing in mind that for most of them Valentine's Day was just a regular thursday in the week, everybody paid utter attention to the story of this Paperman. Making them write about what they had just watched was not as simple, but it was more appealing than when the topic is presented in this rather frequent way: 'Comment on...' / Write whether you agree or disagree...'. The films lasts 1:21 minutes and students were asked to tell the story, as if they were writing the script.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A quote by Dr. Seuss

A beautiful quote to explain the different meanings of the verb MIND, which can also be a noun and part of several idiomatic expressions.
Found picture via Google Images
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Monday, February 18, 2013

St. Valentine's Day is (not) over

Even though St. Valentine's Day was last week, our Facebook page, which so far has reached 590 likes, is still online. You are most welcome to continue visiting us, and writing your comments or publishing anything related to the topic 'love and friendship'. Let's endure the love season!

Content shared on Saint Valentine's at Pine Tree
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Oh, Romeo, Romeo

Many artists today use Romeo and Juliet as inspiration for their works. They even add some twist to the story to add humour to it. What if Romeo had lived in our times? Would this be Romeo and Juliet's true story?

A Drew Litton cartoon
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all our Friends and Readers!
Don't forget to celebrate the day by visiting our Facebook page, and posting your messages. But most of all, and most importantly, have fun and enjoy this lovely season!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

St. Valentine's Day Resources

Thinglink allows you to add clickable tags to any image on the web. With this tool I've gathered some resources which one can use in class for our lessons about St. Valentine's Day. When clicking over the hearts, you'll access pages with music videoclips, love quotes, a poetry forum, two short-films, a free greeting-animated cards website and an infographics about St. Valentine's Day. Hopefully, you'll find some of these tips useful.

Print screen of my Thinglink about St. Valentine's Day
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day

Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) takes place 47 days before Easter Sunday. Because the date of Easter Sunday is dictated by the cycles of the moon, Pancake Day can occur anytime between February 3 and March 9. In 2013 it takes place on February 12
Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. It's commonly known as Pancake Day because it represents a good opportunity to use such ingredients ahead of the fasting period. Pancake races and batter-based feasts come to London every Shrove Tuesday. Source: TimeOutLondon

These pictures were taken on February 21, 2012, and portray the Annual Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race in London. Now in its 15th year, the annual Pancake Race, which races money for the charity Rehab, sees teams of Lords, MPs and political correspondents racing in a circuit whilst tossing pancakes in a frying pan on Shrove Tuesday.

All pictures by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images Europe

In the pictures below you can see probationary (trainee) choristers from Salisbury Cathedral flip pancakes outside the cathedral doors after a lesson on the meaning of Shrove Tuesday and the approaching liturgical season of Lent.

                                                                                            Photos by Matt Cardy
Jamie Oliver, the famous British cook, is preparing a competition for February 12th - The Pancake Day Competition. All you have to do is watch the video below and follow the instructions.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Chinese Year of the Snake

The Year of the Snake is upon us and it is said to be a lucky one! This is how some media have referred to its celebrations before the venue occurred in London yesterday, February 10th: 

Time Out London
The Chinese Year of the Snake is imminent and, as usual, London's Chinese community will be celebrating in style. Festivities begin on February 10th at noon with an official opening ceremony in Trafalgar Square, followed by performances featuring music, Chinese dragons, lion dances, acrobatics and firecrackers. Expect the streets of Chinatown to be crowded with food stalls and cultural displays. Everyone’s welcome to join the public celebrations, of course.

Photo credits: PA
London's Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other 'Kung Hei Fat Choi' (or Happy New Year). Chinese New Year is a huge festival among Chinese communities in London and across the world. Based on the lunar and solar calendars, the actual date of Chinese New Year varies, but always falls between late January and mid February. Each year in the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Chinese New Year 2013, the Year of the Snake, falls on 10 February. (abridged) Watch a video of Chinese New Year 2012, the Year of the Dragon HERE.

Instagram Blog
Photo credits: Aphrodi Tea
Starting today, more than 1.5 billion people around the world will celebrate the Lunar New Year - a time for gathering with family, honoring ancestors, and eating! The holiday is celebrated at the beginning of the year in locations that utilize the lunar calendar, and this year marks the Year of the Snake, one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. In China, the Lunar New Year is celebrated as the Chinese New Year, or 'Spring Festival', and is one of the most important Chinese holidays. Instagrammers are sharing photos from the 2013 festivities, including traditions like giving children lucky money in red envelopes, hanging lanterns, setting off fireworks, and performing the iconic dragon and lion dances. 

If you want to know more about the Chinese Year, follow this link.
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A photo galery by The Guardian
Lunar New Year by The Big Picture
Year of the Snake by the National Post

Friday, February 08, 2013

Your entire life is online

As a reminder of the SID (Safer Internet Day), celebrated on the past February 5th, here follows an interesting, yet disturbing, video about our life online. Coincidentally, Facebook celebrated its 9th anniversay on February 4th.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Have you visited our FB page yet?

You have seen this poster at the entrances of our school main buildings today, haven't you? It is a reminder so that you don't forget Saint Valentine's is only ONE week ahead, and this year we're going to celebrate the venue on FACEBOOK! So, what are you waiting for? Visit us, like us, but most of all, enjoy the LOVE and FRIENDSHIP season!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I wish + Past Participle

Jeffrey Hill, the author of The English Blog, suggests THIS as an activity to make our students practise the construction 'I wish + Past Participle'. Bearing in mind that the Super Bowl was just three days ago, he considers this year's Super Bowl ad on Toyota a good resource for this sentence structure in order to express an impossible or unlikely wish (e.g. I wish I had more time to go to the gym). Jeffrey also adds to his post a lesson idea, some notes and the commercial transcript. Here follows the video and the link to Jeffrey Hill's tips.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

About the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season, while Super Bowl XLVII was played on February 3, 2013, following the 2012 season.

The day on which the Super Bowl is played, now considered by some a de facto American national holiday, is called 'Super Bowl Sunday'. It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most watched American television broadcast of the year. Super Bowl XLV, played in 2011, became the most-watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 111 million viewers and taking over the spot held by the previous year's Super Bowl, which itself had taken over the #1 spot held for twenty-eight years by the final episode of M*A*S*H.The Super Bowl is also among the most watched sporting events in the world, almost all being North American audiences, and is second to football (soccer)’s UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.

Because of its high viewership, commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast is the most expensive of the year. Due to the high cost of investing in advertising on the Super Bowl, companies regularly develop their most expensive advertisements for this broadcast. As a result, watching and discussing the broadcast's commercials has become a significant aspect of the event. In addition, many popular singers and musicians have performed during the event's pre-game and halftime ceremonies because of the exposure.

Nate Beeler / Cagle Cartoons
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The 4th of July

Monday, February 04, 2013

This weekend in the US

Groundhog Day - February, 2nd (Sat)
Today is the day that Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hibernation to predict via his shadow (or lack thereof) whether spring is here or we’re due for another six weeks of grey, cold, dreary New England winter weather. Today is Groundhog Day 2013, Saturday February 2, 2013, the day when thousands of people flock to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to watch a bunch of guys in tuxedos and top hats predict the weather for us. It’s a national holiday dating back to the 1800s and the first settlers of Pennsylvania, Germans who brought with them the holiday of Candlemas Day and its familiar phrase: 'For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day / So far will the snow swirl until the May.'
Groundhog Day 2013 continues an annual tradition now in its 127th year. As the folklore goes, if Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, we can all expect six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, however, we’re said to be in store for an early spring. According to the Inner Circle -the gussied up gentlemen who care for Phil year round- their lovable groundhog has predicted the weather correctly 100 percent of the time and drinks a special special elixir that’s kept him alive and kicking all these years by adding seven years to his life after taking a sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic. (abridged)

Well, apparently, we are lucky as this year Punxsutawney Phil didn't see its shadow, which means we are allowed to expected cooler winter days: 'And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, An early Spring for you and me.' (Source:

A MUTTS cartoon
Super Bowl XLVII - February, 3rd (Sun)
A memorable Ravens Victory
In one of the strangest Super Bowls in memory, the Ravens dominated the first half, were badly outplayed in the second half, and yet managed to survive for a 34-31 victory, the second championship in franchise history. Everything was going Baltimore’s way when a power outage delayed the game for 35 minutes, leaving players, fans and the news media confused. When play resumed, the 49ers seemed like an entirely different team and pushed the Ravens to the brink of a collapse. But Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense settled down and maintained control. Coach John Harbaugh of the Ravens proved to be a brilliant strategist, with an intentional safety on the team’s final possession all but guaranteeing the team’s victory. He made bold calls all game, making his younger brother Jim seem meek by comparison. Source: The NewYorkTimes (abridged)

Alicia Keys sings the national anthem
Alicia Keys is up to any challenge. She proved that in December during the star-studded '12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief' benefit show, which featured such all-time great rockers as Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Roger Waters and Paul McCartney, and she illustrated that point once again as she sang the national anthem at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans on Sunday. The 14-time Grammy winner, who is scheduled to perform March 10 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, delivered a dramatically different version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' It was the polar opposite of some of the high-flying vocal affairs of past Super Bowls, such as Whitney Houston's memorable tutorial in vocal gymnastics before the 1991 game in Tampa. Instead, Keys sat at the piano and crooned slowly at the start of the difficult number, handling the words with deliberate care. The rendition was sweet, soft and breathy, exuding a relaxed vibe that seemed nearly impossible for the occasion. Keys showed uncommon restraint at the start, eventually moving to a greater degree of passion as the song steadily built toward a powerful climax. It was, without a doubt, one of the more memorable national anthems of recent years. The pregame festivities also included a touching rendition of 'America the Beautiful,' performed by Sandy Hook Elementary School students, with substantial help from Jennifer Hudson. Source: (abridged)

Alicia Keys singing the national anthem / Getty Images
The halftime show
Beyoncé took to the Superdome stage Sunday night, performing in the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show. The pop star got fans of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers looking so 'Crazy in Love,' opening the most-watched musical event of the year with her 2003 hit. She later brought Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland up to the stage for a Destiny’s Child reunion. Source: (abridged)
According to Topsy, a social media analytics site, there were more than 749,000 tweets about Beyonce during the hour she preformed at the Super Bowl halftime show. ABC News is still awaiting Twitter’s official numbers, but Twitter confirmed to ABC News there have been more than 6 million mentions about the pop star on the service tonight. To say Twitter and Facebook users went wild during her performance is an understatement. Many typed away particularly furiously when she was joined on stage by Destiny’s Child members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. Source: (abridged)

Beyoncé at Super Bowl XLVII halftime show / Getty Images
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Friday, February 01, 2013

Saint Valentine's @PineTree

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Saint Valentine's Calling!
Get ready for St. Valentine's: it's only 13 days ahead! Celebrate this day at our school with your teachers of English and mates! Visit our Facebook page, hit a like, and post your message/image/video in English. Express your love and friendship to your beloved one(s) or to the school community. Have fun and enjoy the love season!
On behalf of 
your English Teachers 
GR 330

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