Friday, 25 December 2009

Santa's Stories

Santa Claus is an iconic figure we see a lot of at this time of year. This week on BBC programme Kate and Rebecca share their memories of the jolly bearded figure and hear from someone who is employed by a department store to dress up and pretend to be the festive character himself.

This week's question:

Where does Santa Claus live?

a) The North Pole
b) Iceland
c) Norway

Listen out for the answer in the programme!


6min santa audio for web au bb by begonals

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Telling a Story

When telling a joke, a story or relating an anecdote something strange can happen to English grammar. In this BBC programme we hear how and why present verb forms can be used to talk about past actions.
Listen to the story.

If you have problems enter the BBC original page.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Fruitcake

Historic Fruitcake
The fruitcake is an often-maligned Christmas treat. Some people love them, while others have made fruitcakes the objects of every sort of holiday joke. People who enjoy fruitcakes are sometimes considered so crazy by the general population that they’ve even been dubbed “fruitcakes.”

So what is a fruitcake? It is a heavy cake full of fruit, and nuts, held together with a little heavy cake or bread and lots of sugar and alcohol. This special holiday cake is also one of the most labor intensive items you can run across often taking months to make.

According to Et Tu, Fruitcake, “Food scholars date fruitcake back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. According to some historians, Egyptian fruitcake was considered an essential food for the afterlife and there are those today who maintain that this is the only thing they are good for. In ancient Rome, raisins, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds were added to barley mash, making the fruitcake not only handy and lethal catapult ammunition, but also hearty compact foodstuff for the long campaigns waged by the conquering Roman legions.”

The fruitcake as we know it seems to have hit it’s peak of popularity and taken it’s heavy form in Victorian England, where it became a staple of high tea.

Samples of Fruitcake through the years:
Gugelhupf - German turban cake. Filled with raisins, lemon and orange peel, almonds, and spices, this fruitcake inspired when the Turks overran Vienna, is served on Christmas morning.

Bara Brith – Welsh Fruitcake. A fruit-filled bread that originated in Wales is traditionally made with raisins, currants and candied peel.

Panettone – Italian Fruitcake. One of the softer versions of fruitcake, panettone is a yeast bread filled with chopped dried fruit.

Questions to Ponder
1.- Have the change in the ingredients used in today’s fruitcake caused the
decline of the popularity of the fruitcake?
2.- How old is the oldest fruitcake? (Hint: Read “Fruitcake is Forever” below.)
3.- Are you on the “I love fruitcake”, or “I hate fruitcake” side of the argument?
4.- Would fruitcake make a good item for your home emergency kit?
Learning Links
Civil War Fruitcake Recipe Source: American Civil War Recipes
Bara Brith (Welsh Fruitcake) Source: Britain Express
Old English Fruitcake Source: Pat’s website

Monday, 14 December 2009

X-mas Game: Whose Present...?

Santa and Amy have a bag full of presents, but who are they for? Help Santa and Amy deliver the children's presents in time for Christmas.
And if you haven't written your letter to Santa yet, try this one and don't forget to post it!

And when you finish school you can visit Santa in his North Pole's webpage.

Friday, 11 December 2009

How to...Conversations I

On BBC page we can find some information about how to make a conversation.
These programmes have useful language for when you're chatting to someone. They include:

- extending a conversation
- closing topics
- talking about things you like
- talking about things you don't like
- expressing no strong feelings
- responding to compliments
- telling someone about a funny incident

And you can try out the language you have learned with the quizzes at the bottom of each page.
You can download the story on paper, the audio or even subscribe to any programme's podcast.


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