Task 6: "The Story of Mother's Day"

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The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent (the 40 day period leading up to Easter*), "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.

During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration . People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. Ms. Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass ever year.

In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Chile and Belgium which also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.

Text taken from http://www.holidays.net/mother/story.htm

1. What do you or your family usually do for the Mother's Day?
2. Name a historical sequence from the first to the nowadays Mother's Day.
3. Who were Rhea, Julia Ward Howe, Ana Jarvis, Woodrow Wilson? What did they do?
4. What do you plan to do for your Mom this year?

DEADLINE: SATURDAY, APRIL 29th.

Trabajando en el computador acerca de computación

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Durante cuatro clases Curso Electivo de Inglés trabajó en el Laboratorio de Computación para desarrollar un proyecto sobre el aumento del vocabulario de computación siguiendo y dando instrucciones orales.

La primera clase fue teórica. Allí, los estudiantes revisaron una guía con vocabulario sobre Internet para conocer sus significados y fonética.

La segunda clase ellos trabajaron en el laboratorio de computación. Los estudiantes debían seguir instrucciones orales dadas por el profesor. Las instrucciones eran oraciones detalladascon el fin de usar el máximo del vocabulario dado.

En la tercera clase, los estudiantes trabajaron en parejas. Había una lista de 9 objetivos a lograr. Uno de ellos le daba al otro órdenes específicas para cumplir uno de estos objetivos, por ejemplo: "1. Pegue un una imagen de un perro en un archivo Word". Esto indicaba que el estudiante que daba las órdenes tuviese que encontrar una imagen en Internet, copiarla, luego abrir el programa Word, y finalmente pegar la imagen en el. La mayoría de ellos trabajaron bien y preguntaron mucho.

Las clases finales, fueron planificadas para tomar la evaluación. En parejas tenían que decirle al profesor 4 de los 9 objetivos dados y luego el profesor escogía 1 de ellos para evaluar. El profesor se sentaba con el ratón en su mano y esperaba para hacer exactamente lo que ordenaran hacer los estudiantes. Los resultados fueron excepcionales. Los estudiantes conscientemente usaron el vocabulario para dar las órdenes y asi lograr el objetivo.

COMENTARIOS
Público
1. ¿Qué piensa de la actividad?
2. ¿Tiene algunas dudas con respecto a ella?

Working with computers about computing

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During four classes the Elective Class of English worked in the Computer Lab developing a project about increasing computing vocabulary following and giving commands.

The first class was theoretical. There, the students checked a handout with
vocabulary about internet knowing their meanings and phonetics.

The second class they worked in the computer lab. The students have to follow oral intructions given by the teacher. The instructions were details sentences using the maximum of vocabulary given.

In the third class, the students worked in pairs. There were a list of 9 goals to accomplish.One of them told the other specific commands to accomplish one of these goals, for instance: "1. Paste a picture of a dog in a Word file". This indicated that the students had to find a picture in the internet, copy it, then open the Word program, and finally paste the picture in it. Most of them worked well and asked a lot.

The final classes, were planned to take the evaluation. In pairs they had to tell the teacher 4 out of the 9 goals given and then the teacher would choose 1 of those 4 to evaluate. The teacher was sitting down with the mouse in his hand waiting to do exactly what the students said to accomplish the goal.
The results were outstanding. The students onsciously used the vocabulary needed to say the commands.

COMMENTS:
STUDENTS:
1. How did you feel working with the computers in this way?
2. Did you learn anything? What?

Task 5: "Acne"

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Serious skin conditions affect around seven million of people in the UK alone.
They can cause significant emotional distress as well as physical discomfort.


What is it?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that causes spots.
Spots result from the build up of dead skin cells and grease that block the pores or hair follicles, typically on the face, upper arms, upper back and chest.

It is not contagious and is nothing to do with not being clean.
Hormonal changes, such as those related to puberty, menstruation and pregnancy, can contribute to acne.
Some medicines will also make it worse, including some contraceptive pills and steroids.

Who gets it?
Most people experience acne at some time in their lives, typically as young adults. Girls tend to develop it slightly earlier than boys - around the ages of 14-17 compared to 16-19 years, respectively.
Acne can occur later in life. Around five per cent of women and one per cent of men aged 25-40 continue to have acne after adolescence.

What are the symptoms?
As the pores of the skin become blocked, blackheads develop and small, tender, red spots appear. These can turn into pimples or whiteheads filled with pus.

What is the outlook?
Usually it is a mild condition, most commonly during young adulthood, and will resolve by itself. But for 15% of people it is severe.
The spots can become infected and cause significant scarring, particularly if they are scratched or squeezed.

How can it be treated?
Mild acne does not need treating as each inflamed spot will eventually heal. Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will help keep the skin healthy.
Keeping spot-prone areas clean by washing the affected area twice daily with an unperfumed cleanser can help. However, excessive washing and scrubbing of the skin will not help and may make the inflammation worse.

More severe acne may need treatment. The aim is to clear the spots and prevent scarring.
Treatments work by either unblocking blocked pores, reducing the amount of grease or sebum made by the skin, reducing the inflammation or fighting the bacterium that infects the lesions.
Creams, gels and lotions that can be applied to the skin are available to buy at pharmacies without a prescription. These usually contain antibacterial agents such as benzoyl peroxide, which also works by drying out the skin and encouraging it to shed the surface layer of dead skin.

There are several more potent oral tablets that can be prescribed by a doctor if the acne persists.

Make-up can be used to cover blemishes but heavy use of concealer may make acne worse.
Any scarring will improve with time. Laser therapy, chemical peels, dermabrasion and other treatments have been suggested for acne scarring.

Acne can be extremely distressing and it is important to seek help if you are anxious or depressed about it.

Article downloaded from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/4791176.stm

Questions
1. What do you think about the article?
2. Did you know something about the acne?
3. What do you do to fight against acne?
4. Write a list of 10 to 15 new words found in the text.

DEADELINE: April 21th, 2006, midnight.

Task 4: "Mobile phone TV begins in Japan"

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Mobile phone users in Japanese cities can now watch digital TV on compatible mobile phones for the first time.
The service is not the world's first, but it has the potential to be the biggest, by reaching more subscribers than in any other country.
Finding new phones in Japanese shops has proved difficult as only limited quantities have been produced so far.
Japan's 90m mobile phone users can already play video games, send emails and check websites on tiny handsets.
The new service has been carrying test transmissions for several months and will remain free while mobile operators assess its potential and the number of subscribers.
Broadcasters Nippon Television, Fuji Television and TV Asahi are among the companies which have signed partnerships with mobile operators.

'Preparing specific content'
"In the short-term, digital terrestrial broadcasting on mobiles with the same programming as normal televisions will be of little interest for us," said Masao Nakamura, the CEO of Japan's top mobile operator NTT DoCoMo.
"But we are getting ready by preparing new specific content for the service that could come into use later when new channels are available."
Japan's major mobile carriers say sales of compatible phones have been good, but they have not yet disclosed any figures.
Subscribers can watch up to nearly three hours of uninterrupted television with a normal battery.
1. What do you think about mobile-phones with all these gadgets included? Are they really useful?
2. Name all the functions that a mobile phone can have included nowadays.
3. Find the meaning of these following words:
reaching; assess; broadcasters; partnership; available; disclosed.
Remember, the deadline will be on Friday, April 14th.

TASK 3: 'How Telenovelas conquered the world"

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The telenovelas - Latin American soap dramas - are stereotypical, over the top and melodramatic - but, also, highly successful.
In fact, they are possibly the number-one form of human entertainment on the planet.
The facts are something to be reckoned with. This addictive formula has captivated audiences in Africa, Asia and Europe, and telenovela stars are mobbed at airports in Poland, Indonesia, China and the US.
Hundreds of millions of people watch telenovelas around the globe, everyday. Some go as far as saying two billion people - a third of the human race - are glued to these programmes on a daily basis.
But having been established on the simplest of formulas, they are now expanding their audiences by raising social issues.

'Love and logic'
Traditionally, most telenovelas tend to reproduce the same idea: one couple falls in love and have to fight disapproval and obstacles, until they end up together, usually on the last episode.
"You have the struggle between good and evil, between poor and rich, and this process of trying to finally fulfil your dream of a romantic relationship and live happily ever after," said Antonio La Pastina, professor of communications at Texas A&M University.
One indication of the degree to which they are taken seriously was given when women took to the streets in Venezuela protesting about a plot centring on a husband who cheated on his wife.
The writer was planning for the wife to forgive him in the last episode, but after he was threatened by some of the protesters in a grocery store, he changed the script to allow the wife to get a divorce.
Carla Estrada, one of the foremost telenovela producers in the world, said that a good script is the most important aspect of a successful telenovela.
"You need suspense, emotion, love and logic, in order to carry the story through 190 episodes," she said.
"It's not easy."
Sophisticated
According to some estimates, Mexico alone produces almost 3,000 hours of telenovelas each year, at a total cost of about US $250m - more or less the cost of, for example, the Hollywood film Titanic.
In the end, though, it is the audience who decides what really works.
"The telenovela has managed to create a very loyal market," Ms Estrada explained.
"They're loyal to a market that thinks of them. It's like having a daily date with someone.
"For some people, the telenovela is like their own life - and this is a continuing process that creates a feeling of belonging and identity."
And now, people are beginning to see the telenovela as a tool for social change.
Even the producing countries have now developed styles of their own. Venezuelan telenovelas are designed purely for entertainment.
Meanwhile Mexican ones tend to be the more melodramatic, and are very conservative. Colombian telenovelas tend to show the diversity of the country - with a feeling of more contemporary issues, like corruption, transvestites and greed, and with the use of irony and comedy.
It is worth remembering also that it was the Colombians who broke with the mould of telenovelas by producing the enormously successful Betty the Ugly, where the main character, as the name suggests, wasn't the prettiest girl in town.
The Brazilian soaps, however, are more sophisticated, with different stories, like human cloning or love between Muslims and Christians and more of the social realism.
When one soap - Family Ties - dealt with a character who needed a bone marrow transplant after getting leukaemia, the Brazilian attitude towards organ donation was completely changed.

Cultural influence
And beyond the world of dreams, some telenovelas, it seems, have began to push the envelope a bit further and deal with issues that before were considered taboo.
For decades, the main telenovelas producers in Mexico and Brazil were often criticised for being aligned with the political powers of the moment and not allowing any criticism of the government.

But the opposite is also happening, says Maria Luisa Alves, of Mexico's Television Azteca.
"They have started making more political telenovelas," she says.
"More controversial events are being included in the Mexican telenovela - and that is a new trend. They have featured homosexuality, having a child with special needs, abortion, and sex before marriage. In a very Catholic society, I think that is a lot to say on public television at prime time."
And the more global telenovelas become, the bigger the cultural influence they seem to have.
But regardless of the weakness or the strengths of this very Latin American product, the truth is that millions of people around the globe, love them.
"For an hour, six times a week, we can forget about our sorrows, our fears, our personal little mysteries - and embrace a wonderful love story that works as a balm for our souls," explains Carolina Espada, one of the main writers for Venevision, the main telenovela producer in Venezuela.
"Long live the Telenovelas."

Questions:
1. Did you know how popular were the american telenovelas around the world?
2. What do you think about them? Do you like them?
3. Why are the telenovelas so popular?
4. Write some new words you found in this article.

DEADLINE: Friday 7, April, 2006