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:

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to you all! I wish you success in all your projects and for those sitting their BAC this year I hope you pass with flying colours!!

To start the year off let’s look at a topic that is very much in the news at the moment: climate change, particularly after the COP 21 – the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris.

This topic can be linked to the notion of idea of progress : how is our world changing, what effect does increasing pollution have on our environment? How can we predict the sort of weather we are going to have and the impact the extreme weather conditions can have on our planet? It can also be linked to the notion of spaces and exchanges as well as places and forms of power: how can developed countries help developing countries to cope with climate change? How can the different countries work together to reduce the impact that pollution has on our environment?

Here are a few articles and videos about it:

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  • A BBC article about the impact El Nino is having on the world’s weather
  • A BBC article about the current flooding in the UK
  • An article from the Guardian on the floods in the UK and extreme global  weather

 

America’s Gun Problem

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Here is an excellent article about gun violence in the USA – a topic which is very much in the news at that the moment and that can be used to illustrate the notion « Places and forms of power ».

The article includes a video of Obama’s speech after the Umpqau Community College shooting, tables and explanations about the problem and a video showing how some American politicians go to extreme lengths to show their support for gun rights: Senator Ted Cruz (republican) cooking bacon with a machine gun (!)

Finally there is a section on how other developed countries have had huge successes with gun control (Idea of progress/places and forms of power)

The UK General Election – Thursday 7th May 2015

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On Thursday 7th May the General Elections take place in the UK. It is traditionally held on the first Thursday in May once every five years in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The 650 members of parliament (MPs) will be elected through 650 individual elections for a constituency. Each voter chooses a candidate in their area. The candidate with the most votes wins a seat in the House of Commons in the UK parliament, Westminster, London.

The main parties taking part in the election are the Conservatives (led by David Cameron), Labour (led by Ed Miliband), Liberal Democrats (led by Nick Clegg) and the United Kingdom Independance Party (led by Nigel Farage). The current Prime Minister is David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party. In the last General Election a coalition government was formed (also known as a hung parliament) with the Liberal Democrats because the Conservatives didn’t have an outright majority.

If one party wins more than half the seats (326) in the House of Commons, its leader becomes Prime Minister and forms a government. The Prime Minister’s official residence is at 10 Downing Street, London.

According to the Independant newspaper « Britain is heading for the most unpredictable general election in a generation as voters turn their backs on the established parties ». Support for the three main political parties is at an all-time low. So much so that it is possible that no single party will win a majority of seats in Parliament. The two main candidates are David Cameron – leader of the Conservatives and who has around a score of around 32% in the polls and Ed Miliband – leader of the Labour party who has around a 33% lead in the polls.  However there is growing support for smaller parties like the UKIP and the Greens. The UKIP wants to cut immigration to the UK and quit the European Union – according to some polls they could win 15% of the vote. The Green party could possibly win 15% of the vote.

To learn more about the General Election here are some videos:

How does the General Election work?

The General Election explained (Election 2010)

How does Parliament work?

What happens if no-one wins?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32235317

Les oraux approchent….. quelques vidéos utiles pour répondre à vos questions

Des vidéos très utiles et très claires avec quelques exemples pour l’épreuve d’expression orale.

(Source France TV Education)

Méthodologie expression orale

Places and forms of power

Myths and heroes

Spaces and exchanges

Idea of Progress

Des idées de problématiques pour les oraux (article mis à jour le 08.05.16)

Question Mark and Thinker

Vous êtes nombreux à me demander de vous aider à trouver des idées de « problématique » (key questions) pour vos oraux. Il n’est pas évident de proposer une problématique qui pourrait être utilisée par tout le monde car vous avez tous étudié des textes et documents différents. Je vais donc plutôt vous donner quelques idées de problématiques simples par notion… à vous de les adapter à vos textes et documents utilisés en cours.

Je vais mettre à jour l’article régulièrement – comme toujours sur le blog n’hésitez pas à proposer d’autres problématiques dans la partie « commentaires » – ça pourrait toujours inspirer les autres!

Myths and Heroes

What is a modern-day/contemporary hero? How have they made an impact on our lives?

How can an ordinary person make the world a better place?

Why are sports heroes so important in today’s society?

To what extent does Barack Obama represent the black American dream?

To what extent did Rosa Parks/ Martin Luther King/Malcolm X contribute to the improvement of black American’s rights?

To what extent do myths represent society’s values?

In today’s society to what extent is there a need for myths, something to believe in that is greater than we are?

What is the role of the media in the making of heroes?

Is it useful for society to have « superheroes »?

What is the role of the media in the rise and fall of certain « heroes »?

Why are myths and heroes so important to our society?

Spaces and Exchanges

What drives people to leave their country to go and live in another country?

Is the American Dream still alive? What attracts immigrants to live in the USA?

Has the Olympic ideal of fair play and tolerance been now replaced by money, drugs and politics?

What are the different conflicts that have shaped the US society? What effect have they had on the USA as we know it today?

What are the advantages of moving to another country to study or find work?

To what extent does travelling to a foreign country broaden our horizons?

What impact does globalisation have on international exchanges?

Why do refugees choose to leave their countries? What difficulties do they face?

In what way does travelling broaden the mind?

What difficulties do immigrants face when they arrive in a new country?

 

Idea of Progress

To what extent does new technology isolate people?

Are social networking sites a threat to our private lives?

How has the internet modified our social behaviour and changed the way we communicate?

To what extent does progress change our vision of the others and of the world? (thank you Jade!)

To what extent has technological progress made an impact on our environment?

Working from home – is it the end of productivity or the future of work?

How does modern technology affect today’s society? Does it have a positive or a negative effect?

To what extent has social progress over the past century led to an improvement in women’s rights?

What sort of social progress was made in the 20th century? How did it come about?

In what ways has progress made modern-day life better?

How has the internet changed today’s world?

How did the Civil Rights movement bring about progress in the USA?

What major technological/scientific breakthroughs have been made in the last decades and how have they changed our lives?

Are peoples rights progressing or regressing?

 

Places and forms of power

In what way does sport have the power to unite people in a way that little else can?

« Whoever controls the media controls the mind (Jim Morrison) » – how much power do the media have over us?

When power is misused how do people rebel against it?

In what ways do the social networks have power to influence public opinion?

To what extent can we say that schools and universities are instruments of power?

How powerful is the NRA (National Rifle Association)? How has it consistently succeeded in defeating new gun control legislation in the USA?

How have civil rights activists used nonviolent protest to bring about change in the USA?

Money is power and rare are the heads that can withstand the possession of great power (Benjamin Disraeli) : how far is this quote true?

What are the limits to power? In what ways can power be abused?

To what extent can education be a key to power?

With social networks and internet is it possible to limit the power of the media?

How do people exercise their power? What are the different tools used?