Black Friday – what is it and how did it get its name?

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The day After Thanksgiving (Friday) is known as Black Friday. This also is unofficially or officially start of holiday shopping season. Almost all stores come out with sales to attract consumers to their stores. People stand in line hours before store is opened, to grab the bargain of the year. Almost every store has something that interests every one. For bargain hunters, if there is a biggest festival in a year, that would be, no doubt, the Black Friday.

Black Friday rumours and the truth – BBC Newsbeat

What is Black Friday and where does it take place? Wikipedia explanation

The dangers of Black Friday and how it is becoming more consumerist – BBC Newsbeat

What is Black Friday?

 

How Black Friday is becoming more and more consumerist:

Happy Thanksgiving

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On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. Today Thanksgiving is a very important holiday in the USA, families get together around a traditional meal and give thanks. 

What are the origins of this holiday?

Native Americans

Long before settlers came to the East Coast of the United States, the area was inhabited by many Native American tribes. The area which is now known as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island was the home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years . The native people knew the land well and fished, hunted, and harvested for thousands of generations.

The Settlers

A group of English Protestants wanted to break away from the Church of England. These ‘separatists’ initially moved to Holland and after 12 years of financial problems, they received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic to settle in a ‘New World.’ The ship spent 66 days crossing the Atlantic Ocean, intending to land where New York City is now located. Due to the windy conditions, the group had to cut their trip short and settle at what is now called Cape Cod.

Settling and Exploring

As the Puritans prepared for winter, they gathered anything they could find, including Wampanoag supplies. One day, Squanto, a Wampagnoag who knew how to speak English, visited the settlers.  After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people and they joined together to protect each other from other tribes in March of 1621.

The Celebration

The first  harvest celebration took place between the Wampanoag natives and the English men, women and children. The meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat, far from today’s traditional Thanksgiving feast. They played ball games, sang, and danced. Although prayers and thanks were probably offered at the 1621 harvest gathering, the first recorded religious Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth happened two years later in 1623. On this occasion, the colonists gave thanks to God for rain after a two-month drought.

The Myths

Unlike the pictures we see, the settlers didn’t have silver buckles on their shoes. Nor did they wear somber, black clothing. Their clothes were actually bright and cheerful. Many portrayals of this harvest celebration also show the Native Americans wearing woven blankets on their shoulders and large, feathered headdresses, which is not true. The Englishmen didn’t even call themselves Pilgrims.

Here are a few links to videos about Thanksgiving:

– kids explain what Thanksgiving is about on Newsround

– President Obama makes his last turkey pardon with a lot of jokes!

– a cartoon about the story of Thanksgiving http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faUYJ9fMiGg

– a song by Nicole Westbrook about Thanksgiving (I didn’t say it was a good song!! but it’s very funny!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSBq8geuJk0

– things you maybe didn’t know about Thanksgiving here: http://www.history.com/videos/bet-you-didnt-know-thanksgiving#bet-you-didnt-know-thanksgiving

– learn all about Thanksgiving Day (with vocabulary and text on screen) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG4XyNqUQxg

– The American Thanksgiving story (with subtitles) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BQSOkkoDjc

Modern Day Thanksgiving Traditions

Today Thanksgiving has become an important family occasion. Many people live far from family members and travel long distances by car, train, or plane to be with their loved ones. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year!

Thanksgiving dinner almost always includes roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, pumpkin pie. Before the meal begins, families or friends usually pause to give thanks for their blessings, including the joy of being united for the occasion. Some families include breaking the turkey’s wishbone as part of their celebration. The wishbone is found attached to the breast meat in the turkey’s chest. After the meat has been removed and the wishbone has had a chance to become dry and brittle, two people each take one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever ends up with the larger part of the bone gets their wish!

Each year at Thanksgiving, the President of the United States receives a gift of a live turkey . At a White House ceremony, the president traditionally « pardons » two National Thanksgiving Turkeys , allowing them to live the rest of their lives on a farm!  Or so they say!!!

Television also plays a part in Thanksgiving celebrations. Many families watch the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade includes marching bands, floats, songs and performances from Broadway musicals, and giant helium-filled balloons!

Watch about it here:http://live.wsj.com/video/macy-thanksgiving-day-parade/5F923FFE-A2AF-408E-81D6-7D73D9F1FFA9.html#!5F923FFE-A2AF-408E-81D6-7D73D9F1FFA9

and learn about the history of the parade here: http://video.about.com/travelwithkids/History-of-the-Macy-s-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-in-NYC.htm

 

The heroes of 9/11

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On the morning of 11 September 2001, 19 hijackers took control of four commercial passenger jets flying out of airports on the east coast of the United States.

Two of the aircraft were deliberately flown into the main two towers (the Twin Towers) of the World Trade Center in New York, with a third hitting the Pentagon in Virginia.

The fourth plane never reached its intended target, crashing in Pennsylvania. It is believed that the passengers and crew overpowered the hijackers and took control of the plane.

The Twin Towers were widely considered to be symbols of America’s power and influence. The Pentagon is the headquarters of the US Department of Defense.

Both 110-floor World Trade Center towers subsequently collapsed and substantial damage was caused to one wing of the Pentagon. Numerous other buildings at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan were destroyed or badly damaged.

The total loss of life on 9/11 was nearly 3,000, including the 19 hijackers. It was the worst loss of life due to a terrorist incident on US soil.

The days that followed saw a significant effect on world economic markets and international confidence.

 

Here are a few links to videos and articles about the events of 9/11 but also about the stories of the heroes we will never forget.

Various articles and videos of the events of 9/11 : History Channel

Stories of heroism : Business Insider

Heroism on 9/11 (video) : History Channel

Remembering the heroes: article

The lost hero of 9/11 : BBC radio programme  – excellent for listening practice (MYTHS AND HEROES)

Understanding the US Presidential Elections

One of the most covered topics in the news at the moment is the US Presidential Elections. So to start off this new school year let’s take a look at the process:

An election for President of the United States occurs every four years on Election Day, held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The 2016 Presidential election will be held on November 8, 2016.

The election process begins with the primary elections and caucuses and moves to nominating conventions, during which political parties each select a nominee to unite behind. The nominee also announces a Vice Presidential running mate at this time. The candidates then campaign across the country to explain their views and plans to voters and participate in debates with candidates from other parties.

During the general election, Americans head to the polls to cast their vote for President. But the tally of those votes—the popular vote—does not determine the winner. Instead, Presidential elections use the Electoral College. To win the election, a candidate must receive a majority of electoral votes. In the event no candidate receives the majority, the House of Representatives chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President.

The Presidential election process follows a typical cycle:

  • Spring of the year before an election – Candidates announce their intentions to run.
  • Summer of the year before an election through spring of the election year – Primary and caucus debates take place.
  • January to June of election year – States and parties hold primaries and caucuses.
  • July to early September – Parties hold nominating conventions to choose their candidates.
  • September and October – Candidates participate in Presidential debates.
  • Early November – Election Day
  • December – Electors cast their votes in the Electoral College.
  • Early January of the next calendar year – Congress counts the electoral votes.
  • January 20 – Inauguration Day

 

Here are a few links to articles and web sites to learn more about the Presidential elections and also the candidates

  1. The road to the White House – what influence do the media/social media have on the election? Why is money so important during the campaign?
  2. Meet the candidates
  3. Simple videos about the Presidential Elections
  4. Full description of how the election works on the BBC news page
  5. The latest results and a poll tracker : The Telegraph
  6. Donald Trump’s speech outlining his immigration policy: Arizona speech
  7. Where Hilary Clinton stands on immigration: immigration issue
  8. Where both candidates stand on immigration: video  (could be used for the notion spaces and exchanges)
  9. Detailed articles and debates on the CNN website
  10. The US presidential election explained : Euronews
  11. The electoral college: definition
  12. The power of the social media in the presidential debate: social media

Has the US media helped Trump get where he is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Préparation à l’épreuve écrite

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One week to go……time to do a bit of last minute revision!

Good luck!

Réviser avec des vidéos (5 vidéos avec de très bons conseils sur le site « les bons profs »)

 

 

Entraînez vous avez des sujets des années précédentes : ici 

Learn new vocabulary here: languagelearningbase

and here  (site un peu difficile pour se retrouver mais il y a beaucoup de listes de vocabulaire – utilisez la fonction « recherche »)

 

The Invictus Games

An ideal topic for illustrating the notion of Myths and Heroes, The Invictus Games are a project of Prince Harry’s: an Olympics-like sporting event for active duty military and veterans who are ill or have been wounded by war. Prince Harry decided to start the event after visiting the Warrior Games in the United States, and the first Invictus Games were held in London in 2014.

The name, too, comes from England. The games are named after the poem “Invictus” by English 19th-century poet William Ernest Henley, written as he recovered from a leg amputation. Its last lines have been quoted often by world leaders, including Churchill and Obama himself.

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For four days in Orlando next week, more than 500 athletes will challenge each other in 10 events, ranging from basketball, rugby and tennis for wheelchair users to archery and powerlifting. Fifteen countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, will send men and women to compete.

  • Read more about the Invictus story here
  • What is the Invictus foundation? Read here
  • What was behind Prince Harry’s inspiration to set up these games?

Even the Queen is taking part in promoting the event:

 

 The fact that the Queen and the Obamas take part in promoting the event could also be used to illustrate the notion of places and forms of power. The Queen playing a role in the promotion is a big boost to the event!

 

Conseils pour vous aider à préparer votre oral d’anglais

Les oraux approchent et vous êtes nombreux à poser des questions sur le déroulement de cette épreuve et comment vous y préparer.

Voici quelques conseils pour vous aider ainsi des vidéos (déjà postées l’année dernière) pour chaque notion.

  • Vous allez présenter une des quatre notions du programme de terminale. Il vous faut donc une problématique reliant la notion aux documents que vous avez étudié en classe ou que vous avez trouvé par vos propres recherches. Il n’est pas nécessaire de présenter tous les documents vus. Choissisez surtout ceux qui vous intéressent le plus et qui correspondent le mieux à votre problématique.
  • Présentez un plan organisé en plusieurs parties (introduction, deux ou trois arguments ou idées importantes, conclusion). Présentez vos documents et donnez aussi votre propre opinion sur l’article/image/vidéo et le message que l’auteur a voulu faire passer. Pour plus d’informations sur le plan voir cet article Préparer l’oral du BAC
  • Vous serez surtout évalué sur votre niveau de langue. Il faut donc faire attention à votre expression, votre prononciation et votre accent. Il ne faut pas apprendre votre « texte » par coeur!
  • Conseils (repris de mon autre blog) d’une professeur de lycée qui fait passer les oraux tous les ans sur ces quatre notions:  » Je souhaite attirer l’attention des élèves-candidats : il ne faut surtout pas que chacun se présente à l’oral et répète par coeur les définitions ou plans trouvés sur internet. Ca ne peut que vous desservir ! En revanche, si vous avez des difficultés ou des doutes, bien-sûr, c’est une bonne démarche que de s’inspirer ( avec discernement), j’insiste !) de travaux existants. Bon courage et bonne continuation à tous…Anne »
  • N’oubliez pas que l’interaction compte pour moitié de la note finale. Montrez que vous comprenez les questions. Prenez part à l’échange, montrez que vous vous êtes intéressé au sujet et que vous avez fait vos propres recherches sur le thème.
  • Il ne faut pas seulement restituer des connaissances apprises par cœur sans essayer de s’exprimer naturellement, spontanément sur la notion étudiée. Il est important de donner son propre point de vue, avec ses propres mots et être capable d’échanger en anglais avec l’examinateur.