Saturday, 27 February 2010

What is the difference between classic and classical?

There is a lot of confusion between the use of these two words, and quite understandably so!

Classical generally refers to something related to a specific time in the past when the thing we are talking about was at its best, or was the most characteristic.

The most common expression where classical appears in is undoubtedly classical music.

European classical music, strictly speaking, refers to the music of the years between 1730 and 1820, although the term 'classical music' did not appear until the early 19th Century. Beethoven (1770-1827), Mozart (1756-1791) and Haydn (1732-1809) are examples of classical music composers.

Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Dvořák (1841-1904) and Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) were actually composers of the Romantic era (1815 - 1910).

However, if you asked me who my favourite classical  music composers are, I'd say Dvořák, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky. In other words, most of us use the term 'classical music' to refer more to the style, form and instrumentation of the music rather than merely the period.

Likewise, expressions such as classical Latin, classical Sanskrit, and classical Chinese all refer to its form of a certain period. Of course, classical is used to refer to other things like dance, costumes, poetry, etc, and they will all refer to a particular historical period.

On the other hand, classic refers to something which is very good, something which is very typical, or something with a timeless quality.

"They are a classic case of keeping up with the Joneses syndrome" means they are a typical example of that syndrome.

"The Godfather is now widely accepted as a Martin Scorcese classic" means that this film is a masterpiece of Martin Scorcese's.

"My favourite music art form is classic rock." Classic rock generally refers to music around the hippie era (mid 60s to early 70s), although it could loosely refer to rock music which is 'old', but which is still popular.

Perhaps in time to come, classic rock will be termed as classical rock, but for now, classical rock is used to refer to the form where the two genres combine, as in Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

External Anatomy of a Fish

This activity is a labelling game where you have to identify these parts:

dorsal fin
pectoral fin
anal fin
caudal fin
pelvic fin
operculum (gill cover)
lateral line

Please come back here to leave a comment after you've played the game.

The amazing picture below of Synchiropus splendidus Mandarinfish was taken by Luc Viatour.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle - What goes into which containers?

If you're asked what the three R's are and your reply is 'reading, writing and arithmetic', then your age is showing! The three R's are now more likely to mean reuse, reduce and recycle! So, be honest, are you recycling-literate?

Most of us know the importance of recycling, so I won't bother you with the details of that here. On the other hand, how often have you held something in one hand, scratched your head with the other, and asked yourself, 'Now, in which bin have I got to put this?'

Recycling can be a very expensive and complicated process, and unfortunately, there is no international agreement on what gets to be recycled. Rules vary between countries and even between councils. So, it's best to consult your local authority. However, having said that, some basic guidelines do exist; therefore, I've created a quiz to test your recycling knowledge.

It's based on the rubbish disposal system used in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: yellow bin for plastics, blue for paper, green for glass and grey for the general rubbish. If bins in your area are colour-coded differently, just select your answers accordingly. Some of the questions have explanations attached to their answers. Before you can begin the quiz, you will have to key in a user name. This is just for me to identify you. If you are paranoid about this, just key in a nickname. The user id can be left blank, but perhaps a school name would be useful. The e-mail address is also optional: if you key in your email, the result of the quiz will be mailed to you.

Items such as electrodomestic products, furniture and metal have to be handed in at specific recycling centres. Check with your local authorities. In Spain, they are called 'Puntos Limpios' and you can find the nearest one to where you live here:

There are 2 in Las Palmas: one in Polígono Industrial El Cebadal and the other in El Batán.

For the Spanish speaking readers, Repsol has a useful flash animation on recycling:

Before you begin the quiz, watch this funky video, and learn the song! The lyrics are below the video.

Three, it's a magic number
Yes it is, it's a magic number
Because two times three is six
Three times six is eighteen
And the eighteenth letter in the alphabet is R
We've got three R's we're going to talk about today
We've got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If you're going to the market to buy some juice
You've got to bring your own bags and you learn to reduce your waste
You've got to learn to reduce
And if your brother or your sister's got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we've got to learn to reuse
And if the first two R's don't work out
And if you've got to make some trash
No, don't throw it out
Recycle, we've got to learn to recycle,
We've got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Because three, it's a magic number
Yes it is, it's a magic number
Three, three, three
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3,
It's a magic number

This post is dedicated to all the teachers & students of IES Los Tarahales.

Click on the icon below to begin the quiz. Be patient if it takes a while to load. I'm using a free hosting service, so it isn't exactly fast. Perhaps the Canarian Consejería de Educación will subsidise a paid hosting service for me...hint, hint...

To start the quiz, click on the image below.

Games for Education, 游戏学英语

Monday, 22 February 2010

Object Pronouns Quiz 2 (Elementary)

For those who need some more practice with object pronouns, try this quiz. Click on the image to begin the game.

Games for Education, 游戏学英语

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

E-World: Wifi? Worm in a trojan? ICT terms you want to know but are afraid to ask!

The purpose of this post is not to familiarise you with all computer terminology (for this, there are lots of online dictionaries available), but rather to highlight some of the most common problematic words, and to provide you with some fun activities to test yourself.

First and foremost, what do we call the study of computers? A lot of Latin speakers use 'informatics', an obvious translation from their own language. While the word actually exists in the English language, it is not a common term used to describe the study of computers. We would normally use computing, computer science, information technology, computer studies, or ICT.

The 'C' in ICT is often mistakenly translated as 'computer'. ICT /ˌaɪsiːˈtiː/ is actually an abbreviation for information and communication technology, and is a subject that deals with computers, electronics, and telecommunications.

Then, we have the buzzword of the decade, wifi. This is not pronounced /'wi:fi:/, but rather /ˈwaɪ faɪ/. While, originally, wifi wasn't supposed to mean anything at all, it is now thought of as an acronym for wireless fidelity, much like hifi for high fidelity.

So, have you got a laptop or a notebook? These days, they are used to mean the same thing, although notebooks are theoretically lighter and thinner than the original laptops. Netbooks are even smaller and lighter (about half the size of notebooks) and are designed primarily for internet access and wireless communication.

Web browsers (shortened to browsers) and search engines also cause confusion sometimes. Browsers are programs that allow you to go from one website or one web page to another on the Internet. Examples of browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

A search engine, on the other hand, is basically a website that you use to search for information available on other websites. Examples of search engines are Google, Yahoo, Altavista, Ask, and Bing.

Finally, you've heard of them, but can you tell the difference between a virus, a worm, and a trojan?

A virus is normally an executable file, which means it may exist on your computer but cannot infect it unless you run (open) the program. Most viruses are spread unknowingly by sending them as attachments in emails. Like human viruses, a virus can be mildly annoying, e.g. changing your desktop, or it could erase all the information on your hard drives.

Worms, however, are far worse than viruses in the sense that they have the capability of multiplying, and travelling without human action. They use information in your computer; for example, they could duplicate themselves and use your address book to send hundreds or thousands of worms to everyone listed.

A Trojan Horse (or trojan) is the "least" harmful of the three. It cannot replicate itself nor does it infect other files. It normally masquerades as a legitimate program, but when opened, can cause such damage as destroying all your files.

For you to familiarise yourself with some of these terms, you can now do some, if not all, of the following activities.

The first activity is a word search. The words are at the bottom of the page. Try to do the puzzle without looking at the words first. If you still can't find them all, you can look at the keys here.

Do you remember all the words? Have a go at this crossword puzzle. The keys are here.

Now, you're ready for this following activity!

Click on the image below to start the labelling game.

Chiew's blog: Games for Education, 游戏学英语

Saturday, 6 February 2010

What is an ecosystem?

Chiew's ESL EFL CLIL Games Juegos Activities Actividades blog: ecosystem


An ecosystem is a community of all plants and animals in a particular area, and the way they depend on each other, either directly or indirectly. It includes plants, trees, animals, microorganisms, water, soil, and people.

Everything that lives in an ecosystem is dependent on the other elements that are also part of that system. If one part of an ecosystem disappears or is damaged, it has an impact on everything else.

Ecosystems can be as large as a tropical rainforest or a desert, or as small as a pond or a hedgerow.

Examples of ecosystems are coral reefs, rainforests, deep seas, savanna, tundra, and even urban centres such as our cities.

Now, see if you can identify the ecosystems featured in this labelling game. If you think you are quite familiar with the concept of ecosystems, you can try the second quiz at the bottom. Don't forget to post a comment!

Click on the image below to start the labelling game.

Chiew's blog: ESL EFL CLIL Games Juegos Activities Actividades for Education, 游戏学英语

Monday, 1 February 2010

Jobs: Jack of all trades

Last updated 4th April 2010: Online version of crossword puzzle can be found here.

Downloadable word search and crossword puzzle on jobs. If you need the keys, they are available in Slideshare as well as Scribd.