"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality" (John Lennon)

Monday, October 31, 2011


The History of Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays with origins going back thousands of years. It has had many influences from many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman's Pomona Day, to the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days. Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their favourite. It was "he" who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the "season of the sun" and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold." On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes were extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, used to meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest and they used to light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness began. When the morning arrived the Druids gave an ember from their fires to each family who took them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.
The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced "sow-en"). The festival lasted for 3 days. Many people walked around in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival became the first Halloween.
During the first century the Romans invaded Britain. They brought with them many of their festivals and customs. One of these was the festival known as Pomona Day, named for their goddess of fruits and gardens. It was also celebrated around the 1st of November. After hundreds of years of Roman rule the customs of the Celtic's Samhain festival and the Roman Pomona Day mixed becoming the most important autumn holiday.
The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made November 1st a church holiday to honour all the saints. This day was called All Saint's Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church made November 2nd a holy day. It was called All Souls Day and was to honour the dead. It was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils. But the spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early customs. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. Over the years the customs from all these holidays mixed. October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow's Eve, and then Halloween. The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences.

Trick or treat, Smell my feet Give me something good to eat !!!

The history of "Trick'O'Treating" can be traced back to the early celebrations of All Soul's Day in Britain. The poor went begging and the housewives gave them special treats called "soulcakes". This was called "going a-souling", and the "soulers" promised to say a prayer for the dead. Then the custom changed and the children became the beggars. As they went from house to house they were given apples, buns, and money. During the Pioneer days of the American West, the housewives gave the children candies to keep from being tricked. The children would shout "Trick or Treat!".

Origins of Jack O'Lantern
An Irish tale tells us where the origins of the name Jack o'lantern came from. There once was a man named Jack who liked to play tricks on people. He lived a long, mischievous life. One day he tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved the image of a Holy Cross in the trunk of the tree. This trapped the Devil up the tree. Jack made a the following deal with the Devil: he would let the Devil down the tree, if the Devil promised never to tempt him again. After Jack died, he was not allowed into Heaven because of his evil ways. He was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the Devil. The devil gave him a single ember to light his way through thedarkness. This flame was put inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing. As Jack walked his neverending journey as punishment for his trickery, he carried a burning coal inside a turnip to help him see along the roads everywhere he travelled. Soon he was known as "Jack of the lantern" or Jack O'Lantern. In Ireland, turnips were used originally. However, immigrants to America, found pumpkins more plentiful than turnips. The Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

Dear students here you read about Halloween now try to answer to these questions.
Answer the questions
1. When is Halloween?
2. Which culture influenced the holiday of Halloween?
3. When did the Celts celebrate New Year?
4. What was Pomona day?
5. What did the housewives give to children during Pioneer days?
6 Who was Jack?
7. What did he carve in the trunk of the tree?
8. Who did he trick?
9. What did the devil give him to light his way?
9. Do you celebrate Halloween? Why?
Watch this video and enjoy the short poem!
And now have fun with this online game

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Penfriend Project 2011-2012

This is the second year we send letters to Spanish students of IES Vega del Guadalete in La Barca de la Florida, Spain. 

The main aims of the project are:
- to create contacts with European students;
- to improve the use of English as a Foreign Language;
- to create real chances to use English;
- to write letters (using pens and paper!) to discover the pleasure of talking about oneself, of knowing other people, of receiving letters.

Some weeks ago 3rd year students and I created a prompt for the first letter to send to our Spanish friends.

Writing a letter

Your address

Dear friend,
Opening greetings
Text of the letter
Closing greetings
Via I Maggio, 1
05024 Giove

12th October 2011
Dear friend,
- How are you? / Is everything ok?
- I'm fine / I'm ok. I hope you are fine too.
  • My name is ….
  • I’m …. years old and I’m a boy/girl.
  • I live in Giove. Giove is a small village in Umbria and it is near Rome. In Giove you can see……….
  • I’m tall/short and slim/plump, I have got blue/brown/dark eyes and long/short straight/curly/spiky brown/blond/dark hair.
  • I’m generous/shy/lively/talkative/friendly, nice/lazy/kind/unfriendly/happy/bad-tempered/a sportsman
  • In my family there are … members: my mum, my dad, my brother, my sister ……
My mum is a housewife, my dad is a doctor.
  • In my free time I play football. I play it three times a week on Monday, Tuesday and Friday/everyday. My favourite football team is Juventus and my favourite football player is Vidal. I like him because I think he is a good player.
  • I have dance lessons, watch TV, listen to music, play cards, meet friends ……
  • I like listening to music and my favourite singer/band is……..I don’t like ……
  • My favourite actor/actress, ………
  • I often wear black jeans/skirt/…. and white t-shirt/jumper…
  • I have got two dogs: Pinco and Pallino.
  • I go to school everyday from Monday to Friday. My favourite subjects are ……… I don’t like ……. because ……
  • And what about you?
  • Who’s your favourite singer …..?
  • Have you got brothers and sisters?
  • Have you got pets?
  • Do you like going to school?
  • Can you send me your photo?
  • That’s it for now.
Write soon.
Bye bye.

Then each student personalized the letter at home, I corrected it and they copied the letter using writing paper. 

 Yesterday morning I went to the post office and sent the first letters!

The project has officially started,
on board!

Friday, October 28, 2011


This the map we brainstormed together with students of III D. Most of the words refer to their parents' jobs.
You can exercise to talk about jobs following these example:

A doctor treats people
A doctor needs to be good at treating people
A doctor has to be good at treating people

You can also use adjectives:  

A doctor has to be patient and careful

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meeting our Polish friends

This morning we met our Polish friends online. As we did two weeks ago with our Turkish friends, we went to the computer room logged in in TwinSpace and chatted with our new friends.

The students talked about their favorite sports, singers, actors and football players.

They worked together and had the chance to agree on what to ask and, where needed, they also helped each other, or  asked for the teacher's help.

They really enjoyed the activity and have already become a bit more confident in using English as a "real" language.

Well, you really did a very

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jobs game

This morning with class III D we went to the language room and we brainstormed all the words we could think of about JOBS so that we created a mind map.
After that we played a matching game.

Jobs game
1. There are two set of cards: set 1 jobs and set 2 skills, adjectives or abilities.

2. The jobs cards are put face down and the other cards face up on the desks.

3. Students take turns to take a card from the jobs cards set and choose a card from the table.

 4. If a student can't find a suitable  card for the job says "I pass".

5. The winner is the student with more cards.

Afterwards we played a variation of this game:
1. each student has some jobs cards;
2. when the teachers says "go" the students try to match their jobs with the cards on the table.

3. the winner is the students who matches their jobs first.

Follow up
When the students finish to play they make sentences like these:
A doctor needs to be patient.
A chef has to be good at cooking.

How are you today?


The game we played using feelings and emotions follows these steps:
1. the teacher gives each student a card with a feeling on it;
2. the students gather in a circle;
3. the teacher asks the questions: "How are you today?"
4. the students answer "I'm ...." according to the word in the card and show the card:
5. then they go back to their desks, swap cards and work in groups of three or four asking and answering the same question;
 6. when they finished asking and answering they write the words of the group in their exercise book;
7. the students exchange cards with all the groups and repeat points 5 and 6 until they write all the words.

Friday, October 21, 2011

First postcards ready!

Postcards ready! 

All the students of class I D wrote a lot of postcards to introduce themselves so we can send some of them to each of the schools (in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Turkey) that are part of this project. 


No connection, no problem!

Yesterday we were supposed to meet our Polish friends but the chat room wasn't working so we changed plans and, as we were in the computer room the students started writing info about themselves adding blog entries in Twinspace.

 They simply wrote names, ages, nationalities, favorite subjects at school, favorite singers, actors and so on.

So even if we couldn't get in touch with our Polish friends, we worked on the project and at the same time the students had the chance to review and improve the English expressions they already knew trying to be as much accurate as they could, cooperating with each other and having a good time as well.

It was a nice experience for me too and I had been running from a student to an other trying to answer both their linguistic and technological questions!