Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Voice Threads - Connect with people around the world

Looking for a place where you can interact with people around the world, plus practice your speaking, listening, and reading skills? Try Voice Thread, a great web site where you can post a picture, record yourself explaining something about the picture, and then receive comments about it from other internet users. Try it - it's free!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are your actions Earth-friendly?

How earth-friendly are your actions? Are you conscious about how your actions affect the environment? Compare how you live with others in your area and find out what your ecological footprint is by taking this quiz. You can take the quiz in many different languages - but do it in English if you are an English student! :)

Post your comments here to see how other English speakers around the globe rate in comparison to you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Easter (Pascua)

Here in Ecuador, today, Jueves Santos, and tomorrow, Viernes Santo, are the big days. Families will gather around the table to share in big bowls of fanesca, followed by a dollop of thick mashed potatoes and rice pudding for dessert. Much like Thanksgiving in the States, Ecuadorians will eat until they can eat no more, and then have one more bowl of fanesca.

Fanesca is a complex fish soup made of all sorts of spring harvest items: pumpkin and squash, beans, peas, corn, peanut sauce, even hominy or lentils in some families. Of course, you mustn't forget the dried salt cod, the main ingredient in the dish! Topped with fried sweet plantain, hard boiled egg, and fritos, small fried dough balls, this dish requires a lot of preparation. Sometimes the whole family gets involved shelling beans and cooking the grains beforehand, which makes it easier on the cook and helps build lasting bonds over the food.

It is very different from how Easter is typically celebrated in the States. Usually the Easter bunny has a show, and then everyone will hunt for eyes: plastic or previously dyed eggs. Families will often go to church in their Sunday best - typically new clothes bought for the occasion. Some may have an Easter brunch, while others will celebrate with a larger meal. The traditional fare is ham and potatoes, and possibly deviled eggs (you have to find something to do with all those dyed Easter eggs).

However you are celebrating the coming of Spring, have a happy break and spend lots of time with family and friends!

Pics from www.catholiccommunications.ie and www.simplyscripts.net, respectively.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Visualize the tenses with cartoons

Here is a web site to check out. This web site not only shows you, through colorful, interactive cartoons, the way tenses are used in English, it also gives step-by-step rules of how to form the structure and when to use it, as well as common phrases used with the tense. For example, in the case of future perfect, common phrases are: until, before, by the time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy day to all the Irish out there, and happy día del santo to all of you named Patrick! May the luck of the Irish always be with you!

So, how do the Irish (and non-Irish) celebrate? With parades, drink, food, music you name it! Show a little spirit today and wear some green. Have some cabbage with your meal in honor of the day.

For die-hard Catholics celebrating Holy Week, this article may be of interest. Apparently, Holy week takes precedence over saint days, so, technically, today is not St. Patrick's Day at all.
Tell that to the millions of Catholics round the globe that are celebrating this day with a pint and something green... or, even better, a pint of something green. :)

Pic from www.jupiterimages.com.

Top pic from stpatricksday2006.blogspot.com. Bottom pic from http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iTq6K6kn_ggV1MfJofKgU6qTeImA.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

World Book Day

All the readers out there may be interested to know that today is World Book Day. All across the UK and Ireland today, school kids will be celebrating this day with a book. Not only does the day help raise awareness of the importance of reading, but it also provides an opportunity for people to talk about the books that have moved them. But World Book Day isn't only for kids - go to the Spread the Word link and get good recommendations on books for adults.

Visit the official web site to find even more to whet your appetite: games, competitions, and book tokens (for those of you living in the UK or Ireland).

In honor of today, we'd also like to share a great resource for readers. What Should I Read Next? is a web site that will recommend books based on your favorite authors. Discover new authors and books by typing in a book you love or enjoyed and then choosing another from the list of authors you'll be given.

And, for those of you who love quizzes and trivia, check out this quiz on the Guardian. How much do you know about the literature of the different continents? Put your mind to the test!