Sunday, June 10, 2012

The History of English in 10 Minutes


This is a brief and fun summary of the History of the English Language. If you want to have a deeper view of this fascinating discipline, the following link has 5 amazing documentaries called The Adventure of English, which I hope you enjoy as much as I do. (scroll down the page).



Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Some of your amazing oral presentations have just been posted on the page above CAL so COOL (next to Read, Write, etc...).
Please feel free to send yours if you want them posted on our blog. So proud of you, CONGRATS!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Climate Change

Watch this National Geographic video on Global Warming: Global Warming 101

This is the transcript for the Global Warming 101 video. Listen and complete the blanks.

For 205 million years the Earth’s climate has fluctuated cycling from ice ages to warmer periods. But in the last century the planet’s temperature has risen unusually fast- about __________ degrees Fahrenheit.
Scientists believe it’s human activity that’s driving the temperatures up; a process known as GLOBAL WARMING.

Ever since the industrial revolution began, factories, power plants, and eventually cars, have burned fossil fuels such as oil and coal releasing a huge amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the _______________.
These greenhouse gases trap the heat near the earth through a naturally occurring process called `_______________________´.
The greenhouse effect begins with the sun and the energy it radiates to the Earth.
The Earth and the atmosphere absorb some of this energy, while the rest _________________ back into space.
Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere trap some of this energy and reflect it back, warming the earth.

Scientists now believe that the greenhouse effect is being intensified by the extra greenhouse gases that humans have released.

Evidence for global warming includes a recent string of very _______________.
Scientists report that 1998 was the warmest year in measured history, with 2005 coming in second.
Meanwhile, readings taken from ice cores show that the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane have hit their highest levels in the past 420.000 years.

Arctic sea ice is also shrinking. According to NASA studies, the extent of Arctic sea ice has declined about 10% in the _____________________.
As long as industrialized nations consume energy and developing countries increase their fossil fuel consumption, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to rise.

Researchers predict that temperatures will increase about 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by ___________________.
What is less certain is what _______________________ mean for the planet.
Some climate models predict subtle changes. Others forecast rising sea levels which could flood coastal areas around the world.
Weather patterns could change, making hurricanes more frequent.
_________________________ could become more common in warm areas and species unable to adapt to the changing conditions would face extinction.
Although much remains to be learned about global warming many organizations advocate cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impact of global warming.
Consumers can help. By saving energy around the house, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and driving fewer miles in the car each week. These simple changes may help keep the Earth cooler in the future.

Below you have a few Climate Change Glossaries to improve your vocabulary:




Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Al Gore's 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth was an international success. It raised awareness about environmental issues and caused a good deal of controversy along the way.

An Inconvenient Truth Gap Fill Exercise:

If you look at the ten hottest years _____________, they've all occurred in the last 14 years and the hottest of all was 2005.

________________ is that we are causing global warming.

I am Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States of America.

This is Patagonia 75 years ago and the same glacier today. This is Mount Kilimanjaro 30 years ago and last year. ________________ there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.

This is really not a ____________ so much as a ________________. Temperature increases are taking place all over the world and that's causing stronger storms.

This is the biggest crisis in the history of this country.

Early this morning Hurricane Katrina _________________ into New Orleans.

Is it possible that we should prepare against other _______________________?

From Paramount Classics comes a film that has shocked audiences everywhere they've seen it.

The Arctic is experiencing faster melting. If this were to go, sea level worldwide would go up twenty feet. This is what would happen in Florida. Around Shanghai, home to 40 million people. The area around Calcutta, 60 million. Here's Manhattan. The World Trade Centre Memorial would be ____________________.

Think of the impact of _________________________. And then imagine 100 million.

We have to act together to solve this global crisis.

Our ability to live is what is ______________.

Follow-up Discussion Questions:
Is global warming an urgent problem. Why/ why not?
What examples of freak weather can you think of in the world?
Can we do anything to improve the situation?
What are the consequences if we don't do anything?
Should this film be shown in schools?

An Inconvenient Truth Lesson Plan (with answers):
The Huffington Post:
Bjorn Lomborg: Al Gore 'Oversold The Message' Of Climate Change.

Why would a climate change activist dare to say that Al Gore "oversold the message" of global warming?
Bjorn Lomborg, author of the highly-controversial book The Skeptical Environmentalist, claims that Al Gore's documentary, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' was designed to scare us "witless."
Lomborg told The Huffington Post that the way Gore raised awareness around the issue of climate change "works very well as a scary way to get everyone's attention," but is an "incredibly poor way to make good decisions" about climate change.
"Unfortunately, for the last eighteen years, we've basically not been doing anything about global warming, because we're making these grand promises that we don't intend to keep."
So then what IS a constructive way to fight global warming, Bjorn?
There's a lot of amazing ideas. We look at a number of these in the film [the new documentary 'Cool It' which is in theaters November 12] solar and wind, of course, but we also look at growing your own oil fields through algae in the ocean, making artificial photosynthesis--a lot of other opportunities!
The trick here is to recognize that, because research is incredibly cheap, we should be funding all of these, and lots of them that we're not talking about. There are lots of great ideas! Most of them aren't working yet--they're much too expensive and most of them won't ever work! But that's okay, because some of them are gonna become so cheap, that they'll be the ones that are going to be parrying the rest of the 21st century.
Watch video interview here:

MORE CONTROVERSY. This link will lead you to an ESLCafe Forum, where you could participate in this controversial discussion about Al Gore vs. Bjorn Lomborg's ideas.

This video about the same topic and Lomborg's movie COOL IT will also make you reflect upon the issue:

So it's a fact Global Warming is happening, but some blame it mainly on human actions whereas others consider it a natural change. What do you think?
You've probably already written about it in this week's composition...


Thursday, April 12, 2012

This Calls for Celebration!

We've reached 10.000 pageviews since we started blogging last October!

Thank you for following WhimsiCAL!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Always Take the Weather with you...

Why Brits always talk about the weather

The weather is still Britain's favourite topic of conversation with three quarters of us discussing it more than anything else, according to research.

Pedestrians shelter beneath a Union Jack umbrella in central London: Why Brits always talk about the weather
Pedestrians shelter beneath a Union Jack umbrella in central London Photo: REUTERS
10:49AM BST 21 Sep 2009
It is so popular that even after England's football team beat Croatia to qualify for the World Cup, more men were talking about whether it would rain or shine. A mere quarter of men were chatting about football, compared with almost two thirds discussing the weather, according to a new study.
Researchers found our day to day lives are still characterised by traditional British activities like discussing the weather, enjoying fish and chips and drinking cups of tea. More than eight in ten of us believe tea is the ultimate traditional British drink, with everyone from the under 18s to the over 55s enjoying a cuppa.
When it comes to food, fish and chips is still seen as the ultimate in traditional British food. However one in five of us think curry has become a modern British culinary classic.

Dr David Lewis, a psychologist and Director of Research at Mindlab International, said we cling to traditions because they are comforting. He said: "These cultural symbols serve as the unshakeable foundation on which the British way of life is built. "Social and technological change makes many of us feel anxious and stressed because, by challenging accustomed ways of thinking and doing things, it undermines our sense of competence and self-belief. "Traditions offer a psychological 'comfort blanket' by appearing permanent and unchanging.  "By providing this sense of stability and predictability they help reassure us everything will turn out for the best, so encouraging a more positive and optimistic view of the future. "Traditions are also a source of tremendous pride. "By differentiating us from other nations they help create a unique identity, reinforcing our confidence in the attitudes and beliefs that make us typically British. "

The study was released today by British butter brand Country Life to celebrate the start of British Food Fortnight 2009 and involved a survey of 3,000 people.

From The Daily Telegraph, 2009.

Now see how much you can understand from this Weather Report in U.S Television:

Activities to practise with Weather topics:

-Definitions: with audio. VOCABULARY & LISTENING
-Weather in the U.S. PODCAST. LISTENING
-Weather Lesson BBC. With tapescripts and audio. READING, LISTENING
-Weather_fill in the blanks. READING
-Hot and Cold Idioms. READING & WRITING
-Weather Idioms. READING & WRITING
-Idiom Dictionary. Weather. READING & WRITING
-Weather_Idioms Quiz. READING & WRITING
-More Weather Idioms. READING & WRITING

(most of the above from TeachYa!.com)

Vocabulary Sheet:
Do you know that expression When in Rome, do as Romans do? Well, that's exactly what I would like you to do, right down here, posting comments.