28 December, 2011

An American in Paris


Переглядом та обговоренням чудової музичної кінострічки англійською мовою  "Американець у Парижі"  закінчився 2011 рік в інформаційно-ресурсному центрі "Вікно в Америку".
Музика композитора Джоржа Гершвіна вразила та створила святковий новорічний настрій у відвідувачів центру!
Щиро дякуємо нашому другу Джозефу Баттилезі за ідею відродження та допомогу в проведенні кіноклубу.

26 December, 2011

The new arrivals

December, 2011.
The information center “Window on America” Dnipropetrovsk is grateful to the Embassy of the United States of America, Public Affairs Section, for a wonderful donation - games, audio-books, DVDs, IIP publications and literature. These documents have replenished   the library funds and given the readers and visitors the access to the up-to-date information about the US.

The new arrivals include:

•    new editions feature films on DVD;
•    the complete collection of audio books about the adventures of Harry Potter;
•   
a selection of  board games for kids and adults. Among them such a famous game as “Scrabble”. This is a classic board game that requires to assemble words by using chip-letters. "Scrabble” – is not just a pleasant pastime. It is the best method to expand one’s English vocabulary! “Scrabble” is an effective and exciting method of learning English for all, regardless of age and language level.

 The new arrivals of the Window on America were presented to the colleagues (the  library staff) , readers and members of the English Speaking Club.


Have a look at more pictures, please

24 December, 2011

Christmas celebration

Today’s session of the English Speaking club was dedicated to the introduction of the some unknown in this part of the world details of Christmas celebration.
The club members read and translated an article about such element of Christmas decoration as nativity scene. The article revealed some historic facts about this phenomenon.
A nativity scene is a depiction of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
The term "nativity scene" typically implies a two dimensional depictions in film, painting, printmaking, and other media. However,  in the history of art and culture, as well as in popular use, this term  often refers to static, three dimensional, artistic, commercial or folk   art dioramas, or pantomimes called "living nativity scenes" in which real humans and animals participate.
Nativity scenes exhibit figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Joseph.
Other characters from the nativity story such as shepherds, the Magi, and angels may be displayed near the manger in a barn intended to accommodate farm animals. A donkey and an ox are typically depicted in the scene, as well as camels belonging to the Magi.

For today’s session the Club’s speaker Tamara created our own nativity scene which turned out to be a very unusual artifact, especially for the younger generation of the club members.
To better understand what is depicted in the nativity scene the club members were offered to read and translates the Christmas story in English. After that we have tested our knowledge of the Xmas story in the on-line quiz. The score was quite good – 13 correct answers out of 15.
To further challenge the club member’s knowledge of the Xmas topic they were asked to divide into 2 teams and solve a word search puzzle and a crossword in 15 minutes. In each team the beginners tried to solve the word search puzzle, while the advanced users completed the crossword. The right hand side team has coped with the task earlier and was proclaimed a winner of the Xmas completion.
At this moment Santa Clause appeared in the room, wished the audience Merry Christmas and distributed nice mementos of the Club’s Xmas session - replica’s of US dollar bills with funny inscriptions.
The fun continued with a traditional Xmas tea ceremony - with assortment of cookies which included the famous American chocolate chip cookies. A multitude of world musical hits about Christmas was checked on YouTube. Big screen projection of the favorite clips created unforgettable atmosphere!
The last session of the year turned out to be a great success!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!
The number of participants – 20 persons.

21 December, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's

The film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building.

Based on Truman Capote's 1958 novella of the same title, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961) is the story of a woman on her own making her way in the big city.  As stories go, it is short on plot but rich in characterization which may explain why its protagonist, Holly Golightly, has become Audrey Hepburn's most memorable screen persona.  In the hands of director Blake Edwards, the film neglects much of the book's foreboding edge, but gains an unforgettable comedic touch which actually helps accentuate the darker moments.  In addition, Henry Mancini's musical score and Hubert de Givenchy's gowns for Ms. Hepburn successfully uphold Capote's style when the story itself is forced to leave his writing behind. Like the protagonist at its heart, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is quirky, funny, bewildering, serious, sophisticated and bittersweet -- and as movies go, great entertainment.

Memorable Quotations:

    "Poor old cat.  Poor slob.  Poor slob without a name.  The way I look at it, I don't have the right to give him one.  We don't belong to each other.  We just took up by the river one day." --Holly.
    "I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together.  I'm not sure where that is, but I know what it's like.  It's like Tiffany's." --Holly.
    "Listen...you know those days when you get the mean reds?" --Holly.
    "The mean reds? You mean like the blues?" --Fred (Paul).
    "No... the blues are because you're getting fat or because it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?" --Holly.
    "Sure." --Fred (Paul).
    "When I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump into a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away." --Holly.
    "If I could find a real life place to make me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name." --Holly.
    "Thursday!  Oh no, it can't be!  It's too gruesome!" --Holly.
    "You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he give you... I must say, the mind reels!" --Holly.
    "You don't have to worry.  I've taken care of myself for a long time." --Holly.

18 December, 2011

English Language Teaching and Learning Resources

US Government Sponsored English Language Teaching and Learning Resources:



American Online English

http://americanenglish.state.gov



Voice of America Special English




Voice of America The Classroom






Online Interactive English Language Learning Resources for Young Learners:



Game Goo

http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html



Between the Lions




Learn English Kids (British Council)




ESL Kidsworld

http://eslkidsworld.com/index.html (Some free resources)





Misc:



Free printable flashcards




Boggle’s World/Lantern Fish




Discovery Puzzlemaker

17 December, 2011

The Golden state of California.

Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk was dedicated to the Golden state of California.
The floor was given to the California natives – PCVs Sam and Kathryn. They brought a support team of other Californians (Kim, Matt and Joseph) – we had 5 of them all together.
The girls prepared very interesting slide presentations about their respective parts of the state. They have surveyed the club members in advance and incorporated the most wanted info about California into their lectures.
The presentations included the facts and figures about California, its history, cultural diversity, climate, geography, nature, tourist attractions, gastronomic traditions, sports, life styles, etc. Each of the Californians present added his own details and explanations to help the presenters to convey to the audience the essence of being a Californian.
The audience on the other hand listened carefully to the information and asked a lot of questions. The inquiries ranged from the difference in North and South California accents to the real estate prices in most prestigious parts of California. Particularly interesting question was about the dangers of living in California.
Among them are earthquakes, fires and   poor security in some neighborhoods.
The session was a great success and the discussions lasted long after the official part was over!
The number of participants – 33 persons.

14 December, 2011

Tootsie

The romance сomedy "Tootsie" (1982) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.


An unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Director: Sydney Pollack

Writers: Don McGuire (story), Larry Gelbart (story), and 5 more credits

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange and Teri Garr
The Games that are gifts of the U.S. Embassy were presented to center visitors. 
Joseph Battilega explained  idioms from the film.

10 December, 2011

Walt Disney - American legend

Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk was dedicated to the anniversary of Walt Disney, whose birthday was on December, 5.
W. Disney is the visionary, whose desire for escape honed an innate sense of what people wanted to see on the screen and, when combined with iron determination and obsessive perfectionism, led him to the reinvention of animation.
It was Disney, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films, who transformed animation from a novelty based on movement to an art form that presented an illusion of life.
A retrospective of his most famous feature films -Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi was offered.
From the video interview by a British newspaper we have learned a lot of educational info about the film “Fatasia” and its role in the history of animation.
 We have listened to the interview with W. Disney’s biographer on the American news channel.
The on-line quiz about Mickey Mouse and its names in different languages was quite funny, but our score was not high.
The discussion continued and the club members shared their attitudes towards the characters and animations works by W. Disney. The most interesting was the story by a Ukrainian club member Victoria who was lucky to visit Disney Land amusement park in Paris. 
The US guests Sam, Kathrynne and Patrick told about their impressions of this world known tourist attractions in different American states.
As a final activity the Ukrainian club members told the American guests about the classical Ukrainian cartoons and popular characters – Cossacks who played football and the dog Pes who befriended a wolf.
The number of participants – 22 persons.

07 December, 2011

Adaptation

The film "Adaptation" (2002) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
A lovelorn screenwriter turns to his less talented twin brother for help when his efforts to adapt a non-fiction book go nowhere.
 

Director:
Spike Jonze
Writers:
Susan Orlean (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay), and 1 more credit »
Stars:
Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper 


06 December, 2011

U.S. Promotion of Diversity - CO.NXC program

15.30-16.30
Information and Resource Center Window on America hosted web chat in English (CO.NXC program, Kyiv-Dnipropetrovsk) with a representative of the U.S. State Department EUR/UMB/PPD Desk Officer Joslin Mack-Wilson.
She shared with National Mine University teachers of English, students, workers of the library her views on issues of cultural diversity and tolerance. Participants actively asked questions and received competent answers.
The number of participants – 15 persons.


Have a look at more pictures, please 

04 December, 2011

Chemistry: Matter and its Changes

Alexandra Myrgorodskaya, High School teacher:
Last month book display of new arrivals helped me to find information for teaching materials. Chemistry: Matter and itsChanges with its photos and electronic illustrations will certainly help the students to learn the fundamentals of Chemistry easily and in an interesting way. It is obvious that the authors put a lot of work to write their explanations comprehensively.  I think, studying an academic subject with books written in English is useful for both English skills and the Sciences.

Brady, James E., 1938 -
    Chemistry: the study of matter and its changes / James E. Drady, Joel W. Russell, Jonh R. Holum. - 3rd ed. - Hooboken, NJ. - 2000. - 1085 p. + appendix.

03 December, 2011

Golden State - California

Looking forward to the presentation about California by Peace Corp volunteer Sam Sachs we prepared a book display 'Golden State - California' about the history, geography and major attractions of the Golden State.

International Mountain Day

Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk was dedicated to the International Mountain Day.
To start the ball rolling the club members were asked to describe what they see on the International Mountain Day logo. Each person added own observation and we compared them to the official designer’s description. The perceptions of the viewers and the logo’s author proved to be somewhat different, but the club members learned that the description of an image can be executed on a much higher language proficiency level.
This year’s International Mountain Day theme will focus on Mountains and Forests.
It aims to raise awareness about the relevance of mountain forests and the role they play within a Green Economy as well as in climate change adaptation measures.
Healthy mountain forests are crucial to the ecological health of the world. They protect watersheds that supply freshwater to more than half the world’s people.
They also are the home of untold wildlife, provide food and fodder for mountain people and are important sources of timber and non-wood products.
Yet in many parts of the world mountain forests are under threat as never before and deforestation in tropical mountain forests continues at an astounding rate. Protecting these forests and making sure they are carefully managed is an important step towards sustainable mountain development.
The map of the North American mountains helped us to refresh in the memory the names of the US mountainous regions.
The video about the Rocky Mountains National Park impressed all the viewers.

We also watched several videos about the most famous US ski resorts on both coast - in Colorado and Vermont).
The information about the dangers to the mountains forests and was quite educational (mountain pine beetle, air and water pollution etc.).
 Rainforest phenomenon was well known to the audience; however, the video about temperate rainforests of Northern America mountains was a discovery to all.
The new terms learned from one of the articles allowed the Club members to describe the breathtaking photos of the mountains.
To round up the discussion we talked about mountains of different countries. Roland C. told about his favorite mountains in France.
Mohammed informed us about mountain regions of Algeria. Eugene P. told our foreign friends about the most fashionable ski resort in Ukraine – Bukovel’.

After the official part the club member Yana L.  gave us a long due  tutorial about buying staff on electronic auction site E-Bay. The clubmembers discussed their experience of using this site.


01 December, 2011

Thanksgiving Day at the school # 22

The head of Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk Svitlana Usenko visited the secondary school # 22.
The recently donated by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to the WOA centre electronic gadgets were introduced to the kids – iPad, Kindle. 
The useful resources   available at the WOA and presented to the school teachers and kids included the Rosetta Stone Language study program and E-Library (EBSCO etc.).The meeting also was dedicated to the Thanksgiving Day in the USA.
The slide show reminded to the kids the basic historic facts about this holiday. The Americans are celebrated with lots of craft activities. The creation of the Turkey – each pupil wrote on a feather shaped piece of paper for what he/she is grateful. The numerous feathers gave the Turkey a nice tail.
The meeting made the kids fascinated and attentive. It seems that everybody enjoyed to learn more about America, how people live and celebrate one of the biggest holidays.

The number of participants – 85 persons.
 

30 November, 2011

A River runs through it

The film "A River runs through it" (1992) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
 

A River Runs Through It is an Academy Award winning 1992 American film directed by Robert Redford and starring Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd. It is a period drama based on Norman Maclean's semi-autobiographical novella of the same name (1976).
Set in and around the city of Missoula in western Montana, the story follows two sons of a Presbyterian minister — one studious and the other rebellious — as they come of age in the time period between World War I and the Great Depression.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1993. It was also nominated for two other Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Music; Original Score. The film grossed $43,440,294 in US domestic returns.

A presentation “E-books and E-resources

The WOA Head Svitlana USENKO participated in the annual meeting of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast libraries’ directors.
She delivered a presentation “E-books and E-resources: challenges and opportunities for the libraries”.
The recently donated to the WOA centre gadgets were introduced to the local library professionals – iPad, Kindle. The useful resources   available at the WOA and presented to the librarians’ community  included  the Rosetta Stone  Language study program and  E-Library (EBSCO etc.).
The number of participants – 50 persons.

28 November, 2011

Thanksgiving Day at school # 39

The head of Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk  Svitlana Usenko visited the secondary school # 39. The meeting was dedicated to the Thanksgiving Day in the USA.
The slide show reminded to the kids the basic historic facts about this holiday. The glass model of the “Mayflower” ship in a bottle caught everybody’s attention and enhanced the atmosphere.
The Americans are celebrated with lots of craft activities. Kids were making of a turkey with the inscription “Give Thanks” from color paper. On the feathers of the turkey the kids wrote everything for what they are thankful to the God and fortune.
The last donations by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine  were also introduced –  electronic gadgets iPad and Kindle. They played the game Futaba and enjoyed it.
The number of participants – 35 persons (бібліотекар, вчитель, школярі – 33 чоловіка).

More pictures here 

24 November, 2011

Thanksgiving Day in the USA

Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk was dedicated to the Thanksgiving Day in the USA.
The slide show reminded to the club members the basic historic facts about this holiday. The glass model of the “Mayflower” ship in a bottle caught everybody’s attention and enhanced the atmosphere.
Our American guests Sam and Tondraya clarified some unclear situations about this holiday traditions in different states. The questions asked to the Peace Corp. volunteers about various aspects of the holiday - typical foodstuffs, menu, ceremonies, etc.
The video from You Tube illustrated the topic in more detail. We learned how to
·       save on buying food for the feast,
·       carve the roasted turkey
·       how to behave at the Thanksgiving table and keep up conversation.
 The American guests explained how the holiday is celebrated in school – with lots of craft activities.
This prompted the creation of the Club’s turkey – each person wrote on a feather shaped piece of paper for what he/she is grateful. The numerous feathers gave the Club’s turkey a nice tail.
On this day English Speaking Club speaker Tamara likes to meet the club members in the historic outfit of a Pilgrim lady.
This year she expressed the wish to have a Pilgrim gentleman at her side. So the club members formed two teams and started to create a hat for the pilgrim man.  Each team had its own designer. The Pilgrim model Vlad (also dressed in the historic outfit)   tried both hats on and made some funny photos with the Pilgrim lady.
The clubmembers voted for the best Pilgrim’s hat.

Once the official part was over we continued the tradition of the last year and had a collective dinner with turkey and traditional foods – pumpkin pie, Three sisters (beans), etc.
The session and the after party were enjoyed by all the participants and strengthened the Club’s team spirit.
The number of participants – 30 persons.
Have a look at more pictures, please 

23 November, 2011

Dances with Wolve

In honor of the Native American Heritage Month the film "Dances with Wolves" (1990) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic western film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a group of Lakota Indians.
Costner developed the film over five years, with a budget of $22 million. Dances with Wolves had high production values and won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. Much of the dialogue is in the Lakota language with English subtitles. It was shot in South Dakota and Wyoming.
It is credited as a leading influence for the revitalization of the Western genre of film-making in Hollywood. In 2007, Dances with Wolves was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.


19 November, 2011

International Men’s Day

The English Club session started with the introduction of the new comers.
Today’s session was dedicated to the International Men’s Day which is celebrated on November, 19.
The theme of 2011 is “GIVING BOYS THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE”.
We have read and translated an article about the actions that give boys the best possible start in life.
After that the following 5 challenges to the boys were introduced and discussed:
•    HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY
What are the reasons for boy’s higher likelihood of suicide?
•    EDUCATIONAL FOCUS
Why are boys in richer countries underperforming girls and also less likely to be in education, and why are tens of millions of boys in poorer countries still not completing a primary education?
•    TOLERANCE OF VIOLENCE
Why are we so tolerant of violence and abuse against men and boys ?
•    RIGHTS TO FATHERHOOD
How can we give boys a right to family life that gives them an equal opportunity to know and experience both their father and mother
•    REAL LIFE CHOICES
The number of participants – 20 persons.

16 November, 2011

Unforgiven


Today the Dnipropetrovsk  WOA  “Wednesday Movie Club”
The film "Unforgiven" (1992) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.
 
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: David Webb Peoples
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman.

...
As both director and star, Clint Eastwood strips away decades of Hollywood varnish applied to the Wild West, and emerges with a series of harshly eloquent statements about the nature of violence.
Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar-winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the ghosts of his own star past. Disgusted by Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's decree that several ponies make up for a cowhand's slashing a whore's face, Big Whiskey prostitutes, led by fierce Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher), take justice into their own hands and put a $1000 bounty on the lives of the perpetrators. Notorious outlaw-turned-hog farmer William Munny (Eastwood) is sought out by neophyte gunslinger the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to go with him to Big Whiskey and collect the bounty. While Munny insists, "I ain't like that no more," he needs the bounty money for his children, and the two men convince Munny's clean-living comrade Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to join them in righting a wrong done to a woman. Little Bill (Oscar-winner Gene Hackman), however, has no intention of letting any bounty hunters impinge on his iron-clad authority. When pompous gunman English Bob (Richard Harris) arrives in Big Whiskey with pulp biographer W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) in tow, Little Bill beats Bob senseless and promises to tell Beauchamp the real story about violent frontier life and justice. But when Munny, the true unwritten legend, comes to town, everyone soon learns a harsh lesson about the price of vindictive bloodshed and the malleability of ideas like "justice." "I don't deserve this," pleads Little Bill. "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it," growls Munny, simultaneously summing up the insanity of western violence and the legacy of Eastwood's Man With No Name. 

~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
...

12 November, 2011

"Chemistry - the Queen of Sciences"


Today’s session at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk was dedicated to the World Science Day for Peace and Development.
This year is also the International Year of Chemistry 2011 to commemorate the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to humankind.
The scientific atmosphere was enhanced by the scientific book display.
The comprehensive collection of colorful books emphasized the fact that “Chemistry: the Queen of Sciences”.

Club’s newcomer Valerij Shkuropat
Other exhibits represented the impressive collection of volumes about numerous scientific subjects – math, physics, geometry, biology, anthropology, environment, etc. Besides the textbooks and encyclopedia the biographical books about renowned scientists were displayed.
This amazingly colorful display evoked massive interest of the club members.


The theme of this year’s Science Day is ‘Towards green societies: equity, inclusiveness, participation’ and focuses on the role of science.
“Green Societies” means equity in science within all sectors of society, equity between men and women; equity between countries participating in and contributing to the global stock of knowledge.
In this context, inclusiveness means creative inclusive policy integrating the vision of people in science, including traditional knowledge systems in scientific processes while participation refers to creating opportunities for people to be involved in science and to participate in decision making in science.

Together with our American friends Mr. Joseph B. and Ms. Samantha S. we have watched videos and discussed the question of sustainable chemistry in the USA and Ukraine. The comparison was rather educational to all the participants.

The favorite activity – an on-line quiz about domestic chemicals – unexpectedly showed that the collective knowledge   scored a high 80% result – 8 correct answers out of 10. 


Club’s newcomer Valerij Shkuropat   continued the science topic of discussion with a presentation on “transhumanism”.

As proponents of self-improvement and body modification, transhumanists tend to use existing technologies and techniques that supposedly improve cognitive and physical performance, while engaging in routines and lifestyles designed to improve health and longevity. The facts presented by Valeriy were amusing and puzzling. His work was highly appreciated.

The number of participants – 30 persons.



Have a look at more pictures, please