28 February, 2014

Taras Shevchenko - 200

"Ira Aldridge  - Kobzar’s American Friend" and "Kobzar’s Testament Riddle"
On February, 28 the staff of Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) were invited to school #22. Our long time partner, the English language teacher Valentina Shvydka invited Svitlana Usenko and Tamara Gavryluik to talk about Taras Shevchenko’s biography facts.
They conducted 4 lessons for the students of various ages (approx. 125 students, 6-8-9-10 grades). Svitlana Usenko informed the students and their teachers about the books and resources of the Oblast Scientific Library named after the Slavic apostles Cyril and Methodius.
All the participants of the event were acquainted with the "Window on America" Center. The Center will be useful to all English language learners.
 

Tamara Gavryluik offered to the following interactive presentations with vocabulary tasks were offered to the attention of the students.
The following activities were offered to the attention of the students:
•    Slide show «Ira Aldridge  - Kobzar’s American Friend»
•    Slide show “Kobzar’s Testament Riddle”

The presentations were both educational (enriched vocabulary) and enjoyable .
Number of participants – 135 (teachers of English – 10, pupils – 123, librarian – 2).





27 February, 2014

Taras Shevchenko - 200

"Kobzar’s American Friend"  and "Kobzar’s Testament Riddle”
On February, 27 the Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) was visited by a big group of senior students from local school # 141.
An informative slide shows «Kobzar’s American Friend» and “Kobzar’s Testament Riddle” was presented to the group. A set of quiz-type questions reminded the students the basic facts of Shevchenko’s biography with the focus on his talent of a portrait painter. This allowed to introduce to the students the personality of Ira Aldridge who ordered a portrait by Taras Shevchenko.
They were offered a slide presentation “Kobzar’s Testament Riddle” that offered a new approach to the background of the classical poem “My Testament”. The local historian D. Synytsia analyzed the text of the poem and suggested his own interpreting of the facts. According to the researcher Shevchenko wanted to be buried in the vicinity of the modern Dnipropetrovsk city.
In the slide show we took a fresh look at the poem’s text and found confirmation to D. Synytsia’s hypothesis. It really seems that after a visit to Ekaterinoslav region and the exploration of the Cossack heritage the poet wanted to be buried on a Scythian mound (“on mohyla”) with a view on the greatest Dnipro river rapid – the Insatiable, aka Roaring. Both objects are located not far from Dnipropetrovsk city. The hypothesis is supported by the original Shevchenko’s painting and the memoirs of the local dwellers about the noise produced by the rapids (before they were submerged in the water reservoir).
The new facts from Kobzar’s biography impressed the group. The kids were thrilled by the Testament’s riddle that caused so much confusion and deprived the city of the nationwide Shevchenko Memorial.
Number of participants – 21 persons.

Have a look at more pictures, please 

Meriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionaries



One of the top US Dictionaries – Meriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionaries – contains an article on Taras Shevchenko’s biography.



26 February, 2014

The Candidate

In view of the up-coming elections in Ukraine the Wednesday Movie Club (Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) offered the screening of the film “The Candidate”.
The Candidate is a 1972 American satirical drama film starring Robert Redford and Peter Boyle, and directed by Michael Ritchie.
The screenplay, which examines the various facets and machinations involved in political campaigns, was written by Jeremy Larner, a speechwriter for Senator Eugene J. McCarthy during McCarthy's campaign for the 1968 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Plot: Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.
Director: Michael Ritchie
Writer: Jeremy Larner
Stars: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas
The demonstration of the film was advertised in the local newspaper “Visti”(News).
Number of participants – 8.

Kobzar’s Testament Riddle

On February, 26 the Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) was visited by a group of 6th year students from local school No. 23 (majoring in English study).
They were offered a slide presentation “Kobzar’s Testament Riddle” that offered a new approach to the background of the classical poem “My Testament”. The local historian D. Synytsia analyzed the text of the poem and suggested his own interpreting of the facts. According to the researcher Shevchenko wanted to be buried in the vicinity of the modern Dnipropetrovsk city. In the slide show we took a fresh look at the poem’s text and found confirmation to D. Synytsia’s hypothesis. It really seems that after a visit to Ekaterinoslav region and the exploration of the Cossack heritage the poet wanted to be buried on a Scythian mound (“on mohyla”) with a view on the greatest Dnipro river rapid – the Insatiable, aka Roaring. Both objects are located not far from Dnipropetrovsk city. The hypothesis is supported by the original Shevchenko’s painting and the memoirs of the local dwellers about the noise produced by the rapids (before they were submerged in the water reservoir).
The new facts from Kobzar’s biography impressed the group. The kids were thrilled by the Testament’s riddle that caused so much confusion and deprived the city of the nationwide Shevchenko Memorial.
Number of participants – 8 persons. 


«Ira Aldridge - Kobzar’s American Friend», session - 5

The Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) was visited by a big group of senior students from local school # 23 (majoring in English study).
An informative slide show «Kobzar’s American Friend» was presented to the group. A set of quiz-type questions reminded the students the basic facts of Shevchenko’s biography with the focus on his talent of a portrait painter. This allowed to introduce to the students the personality of Ira Aldridge who ordered a portrait by Taras Shevchenko.
 


Ira Aldridge gained fame in the 19th century as one of the most prominent African-American Shakespearian actors and the first American actor to perform in Russia.
Unable to obtain major roles in the United States because of his race, he was forced to emigrate to further his acting career. In 1858 Aldridge made a tour of Russia and was introduced to Shevchenko in St. Petersburg. The memoirs of the witnesses informed the audience about the friendly atmosphere set in Shevchenko’s studio during Aldridge’s posing sessions. 

 
The painting by L. Picard illustrated the moment of friendly communication between two talented people with sad background of slavery and serfdom.
The unknown fact of friendship between the American and Ukrainian geniuses was a surprise to the audience. The students enriched their vocabulary with new art terms, examined and described Shevchenko’s paintings and appreciated the art talent of the iconic Ukrainian poet.
Number of participants – 45 persons (43 + 2 English teachers).


22 February, 2014

President’s Day in the USA - 2014


Today’s session of the Gabfest Club Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the celebration of the “President’s Day” in the USA.
The group was offered several You Tube videos that reminded them the names of all the US Presidents and their main achievements. The format of this “White House History” video (a funny song ) was enjoyed by all the present club members. We have learned about a book project “Living in the White House” and discovered some unknown to us facts about the events in this symbolic building. The video of the news corporation explained to us why the celebration of the President’s Day is important for the American Nation. The interview of the White House Chef  revealed some interesting facts about the life of the acting US President and his family.
 

The Club had a surprise visit from an English-speaking foreigner. Ms. Maud is a French lecturer working in Dnipropetrovsk. She lived in the USA for 2 years and shared with us her experiences. The group asked her numerous questions about her English language skills and travelling in the USA.
The session was educational and boosted the club members’ motivation to study English.
Number of participants – 25 persons
.

Focus on the vocabulary

Today’s American Teen Club’s session (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was focused today on lexicology. The Club’s moderator Dasha Gerasimova, FLEX graduate, suggested several linguistic games about confusing words. Dasha tried hard to explain the difference between the nouns and verbs that seem to be alike.
For the speaking activity the moderator offered to watch and discuss the video “Humans of New York”. This short film introduced the club to the multinational and multicultural population of the Big Apple.  Several mind challenging games with matches forced the group to brainstorm for the correct answers.
Participants number – 7 persons.


21 February, 2014

Ira Aldridge - Kobzar’s American Friend, session - 4

February, 21 is the International Mother language Day.
 On this day the WOA Centre invited a group of senior students from local school # 23 for a discussion about the phenomenon of Mother Language in English. The discussion’s focus was on the personality who mapped the Ukrainian language on the world chart of languages – the great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.
The student’s visit started with a speech of the WOA’s Head S. Usenko about the Centre, its background and resources. She also informed the students about other divisions of the DOUNB Library where students can study languages.
An informative slide show «Kobzar’s American Friend» was presented to the group. It reminded the students the basic facts of Shevchenko’s biography with the focus on his talent of a portrait painter. This allowed to introduce to the students the personality of Ira Aldridge who ordered a portrait by Taras Shevchenko.
Ira Aldridge gained fame in the 19th century as one of the most prominent African-American Shakespearian actors and the first American actor to perform in Russia.
Unable to obtain major roles in the United States because of his race, he was forced to emigrate to further his acting career. Arriving in England in 1824, on October 10, 1825, he debuted as the first black actor at London's Royal Coburg Theatre.
 

In 1858 Aldridge made a tour of Russia and was introduced to Shevchenko in St. Petersburg. The memoirs of the witnesses informed us about the friendly atmosphere set in Shevchenko’s  studio during Aldridge’s posing sessions. The painting by L. Picard illustrated the moment of friendly communication between two talented people with sad background of slavery and serfdom.
The unknown fact of friendship between the American and Ukrainian geniuses impressed the audience. The students enriched their vocabulary with new art terms, examined Shevchenko’s paintings and appreciated the art talent of the iconic Ukrainian poet.
Number of participants – 23.



19 February, 2014

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine offered screening of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) with George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson starring.
Plot: In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)
Writers: Homer (epic poem "The Odyssey"), Ethan Coen



«Ira Aldridge - Kobzar’s American Friend», session - 2

To the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko's birth

«Ira Aldridge  - Kobzar’s American Friend» for students7th grade, school # 23
 




17 February, 2014

Ira Aldridge - Kobzar’s American Friend, session - 1

«Ira Aldridge  - Kobzar’s American Friend» a library events series to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko – the great Ukrainian poet.
The WOA Centre started a series of library events in English to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Taras Shevchenko – the great Ukrainian poet.
Today the WOA Centre was visited by a group of 9th year school children from the local high school # 23 (the school majors in the study of English).
An informative slide show was presented to the group. It reminded the students the basic facts of Shevchenko’s biography with the focus on his talent of a portrait painter. This allowed to introduced to the students the personality of Ira Aldridge who ordered a portrait by Taras Shevchenko.
Ira Aldridge gained fame in the 19th century as one of the most prominent African-American Shakespearian actors and the first American actor to perform in Russia.
Unable to obtain major roles in the United States because of his race, he was forced to emigrate to further his acting career. Arriving in England in 1824, on October 10, 1825, he debuted as the first black actor at London's Royal Coburg Theatre.
In 1858 Aldridge made a tour of Russia and was introduced to Shevchenko in St. Petersburg. The memoirs of the witnesses informed us about the friendly atmosphere set in Shevchenko’s studio during Aldridge’s posing sessions. The painting by L. Picard illustrated the moment of friendly communication between two talented people with sad background of slavery and serfdom.
The unknown fact of friendship between the American and Ukrainian geniuses impressed the audience. The students enriched their vocabulary with new art terms, examined Shevchenko’s paintings and appreciated the art talent of the iconic Ukrainian poet.
Number of participants – 11.



15 February, 2014

Our Olympic Hope

The topic of today’s session of the GABFEST Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was “Men’s Day” because in Ukraine   there is tradition to honor Army men in February. We wanted to talk about qualities a “real” man should possess.
The guest of the club was a local Olympic hope Pavel  Merezhko  – the  junior World   Champion in yachting  and a member of American Teen Club. For 5 years Pavel is a member of the Dnipropetrovsk Yachting club. Yachting is a dangerous sport and only brave people go in for it. The club members played the roles of international reporters and asked Pavel numerous questions about his background, achievements in sports, travelling to other countries. 


The most fluent club members acted as Pavel’s interpreters and rendered his answers into English.  Pavel’s imaginary press conference was enjoyed by all the participants.
 

During the second part of the session the group answered a list of questions about heroes, their importance for the society, the local heroes, personal heroes, accidental heroes, unsung heroes, etc. The club members were urged to illustrate their answers with real life examples.
 

To wrap up the session we mentioned the 75th anniversary of the cult American hero – the Superman. The short video and funny editorial cartoons about Superman were discussed to end the session.
Number of participants – 22 persons.



St.Valentine's Day and homophones

Today’s session of the American Teen Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was moderated by FLEX graduate  Dasha Gerasimova.
The club meeting took place after St. Valentine’s Day and triggered discussion about this popular holiday. The PP presentation about the background of the holiday was offered to the group. They learned some funny facts about celebrations in the USA. The sound track to the presentation was  perfect American English pronunciation.
For vocabulary activities Dasha prepared an on-line test about homophones. A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The  words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of "rise"), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. The winners of the test received bonuses- “Love is…” chewing gum with a little message with a quote about love.
 

One more phrase “a soul mate” was introduced to the group. Its meaning was illustrated with short excerpts from movies where popular actors gave definitions of a soul mate.
Number of participants – 8 persons.


12 February, 2014

Shakespeare in Love

Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine offered screening of the film Shakespeare in Love with Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush starring.
Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Madden, written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard. The film depicts a love affair involving playwright William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) while he was writing the play Romeo and Juliet. The story is fiction, though several of the characters are based on real people. In addition, many of the characters, lines, and plot devices are references to Shakespeare's plays.
Shakespeare in Love won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench).
After the screening the club members had an emotional discussion about the film.


10 February, 2014

Students NMetAU «Discover USA»

Window on America center (Dnipropetrovsk / Ukraine) continues its project “Discover USA”.
Today the Center was visited by a big group of the first and second year students from the National Metallurgical Academy. The students’ major is “Technical Translation”.
Students had an opportunity to learn more about the modern library – full of electronic books, catalogues and gadgets.
WOA Head Svitlana Usenko introduced them to the Window on America center history, its language activities and numerous academic exchange programs in the USA.
For spoken activity staff member Tamara G. offered the students a topic about “Urban Living in the USA”


The choice of the topic supported the similar material from the students’ academic curricula. The group was informed about the project initiated by the NYC Mayor Mr. Bloomberg last year. The information was illustrated by several videos. Besides providing smashing sights of Manhattan the films illustrated translation difficulties from English into Ukrainian.
To wrap up the session WOA’s Head S. Usenko invited the students to join the centre’s Clubs and explore the current book display “U.S. Outstanding Men”.
Number of participants – 43 persons (41 students and 2 lecturers).
Have a look at more pictures, please


 

08 February, 2014

Urban Living

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (Dnipropetrovsk / Ukraine) was dedicated to the topic «Urban Living». As city dwellers in Ukraine many club members consider their living conditions inferior – with not enough living space. Today we explored the topic of urban living and tried to compare affordable housing projects in Ukraine and in the USA.
To start the ball rolling we watched a video about the Soviet «Khrouschevkas» – cheap  houses from prefabricated  blocks that allowed millions of Soviet people to improve their living conditions after WW2. 
It turned out that in New York City a similar project was initiated last year by Mayor Bloomberg. The «My Micro NY» building will be the first multifamily building in Manhattan to be built entirely from prefabricated modular pieces. The Mayor stated: «The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations».
The group watched several videos illustrating the topic of space-optimizing in modern urban life. Micro-living phenomenon triggered heated debate about strong and weak points of the «affordable housing» projects. The group was particularly impressed by the videos about a transformable flat displayed in the Museum of New York. The videos with tips about living in tiny spaces were also enjoyed by all the present.
The session was very educational and urged some interested club members to explore the topic further - for their own home improvements.
Participants number – 27 persons.