29 November, 2014

Thanksgiving Traditions in the USA

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the Thanksgiving Traditions in the USA. The session was especially remarkable for newcomers as it offered them new experiences.
The session started with a slide show.  The Club members had an opportunity to speak about Thanksgiving – they translated the facts and figures about American celebration and described images on the slides.
The most challenging task was given by the Club’s moderator Tamara Gavryliuk.  The presentation was complemented with the demonstration of an art object – a souvenir “A ship in a bottle”. The group was asked to describe the object and comment on the technique used in its production. The group easily recognized the miniature glass copy of the “Mayflower”, but the technique of putting a glass ship into a glass bottle lefts us all puzzled. The second tricky task was to translate the phrase “hereditary society” and discuss it with fellow club members.
 


The official part was followed by an Art-break. The club members were invited to visit the library’s Art department to enjoy the displayed paintings. The Club member Valentina Pogrebniak, a professional musician, performed several piano pieces by George Gershwin.
The second part of the session was arranged as a Thanksgiving party. The Club members prepared traditional American dishes and snacks. The highlight of the menu was baked Turkey breast cooked by the WOA’s Head Ms. Svitlana Usenko. The highlight of the desserts was pumpkin pie baked by Ms. Vlada, the club’s activist.
The Club members thanked the WOA staff – Svitlana and Tamara – for the wonderful conditions created for the English learners. The WOA staff thanked the American people and the US Embassy in Kyiv for their wonderful gifts to the WOA facility and Ukrainian community in Dnipropetrovsk.
In the heartwarming atmosphere of the Thanksgiving dinner the freshmen had a chance to know better the club’s activists. The session was most enjoyable and inspired all to build more bridges between American and Ukrainian people.
Number of participants – 26 persons.
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Teens' Thanksgiving Day party

American Teen Club members have gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving. The FLEX alumni Darya Gerasymova'13 and Anna Akastelova have briefly told a history of Thanksgiving Day and the way it is celebrated in the United States. Clubbers have brought some sweets to eat and everyone enjoyed watching a Thanksgiving episode of "Friends". Also members of the club were offered to participate in Marshmallow challenge. The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.
Number of participants – 12 persons.




28 November, 2014

Visiting Patriots again

Within the framework of the “U.S. Art Residence in Dnipropetrovsk” project the staff of the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) visited the local high school No. 28
School pleased us with the signs of Ukrainian patriotism: the state flag on the flagpole in the yard. The music lessons room impressed us with a real mini-grand piano in it. Music studies are taken very seriously at this school.
The objective of the visit was to introduce the students to the art of George Gershwin as a musical innovator with Ukrainian roots.
A two groups of senior students (8-9 years) was invited to the lecture. The WOA Head S. Usenko presented to them the “Window on America” Center and its free resources for studying English. Students were informed about the opportunity to study at an American university, if they have a high level of English language.They were also reminded about the hight student exchange program “Summer Work and Travel USA” and referred to respective Facebook page of the US Embassy in Kyiv.
 

The senior students watched several interactive slide shows about the background and the career of George Gershwin. The students already knew certain things about Gershwin. Today they have learned a lot of interesting facts about Gershwin’s innovations in music and about his impact on American culture.
The presenter T. Gavryliuk added a new aspect to the presentation. There is an opinion among the Ukrainian music scholars about the Ukrainian roots of the world famous lullaby “Summertime” by G. Gershwin. The story is similar to the rooting of the “Carol of the Bells” from a popular Ukrainian folk song.
The WOA staff member T. Gavryliuk presented several inter-active slide shows about the background and music of George Gershwin. The students were fascinated by the sounds of blues and musicals by George Gershwin.
To check the comprehension of the complicated material the students were asked to answer the questions of a quiz. They managed to give several correct answers, but they certainly need to learn more   about opera in general.
Participants number – 75 persons.
Have a look at more pictures, please

27 November, 2014

Thanksgiving celebration with friends

Within the framework of the “U.S. Art Residence in Dnepropetrovsk" the head of the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) Svetlana Usenko visited the local high school №39.
For the students of the 6th and 9th grades Svetlana Usenko conducted two lessons on the life and work of American composer George Gershwin.
At the beginning of the lessons the librarian congratulated the students with the Thanksgiving holiday which is celebrated today in the USA. The teacher Victoria Platonova, a longtime partner  of the DOUNB Library,  reminded the  children the main characters  of this holiday. They read and translated a philosophical quote about the importance of gratitude in the human’s life.
From the WOA’s slide presentation the students learned about the basic facts of George Gershwin’s life – his musical education, gradually developed music skills, cooperation with elder brother Ira, who wrote librettos for his musicals and opera.
The students listened to the best Gershwin’s tunes:"Rhapsody in Blues", Clara’s aria (the world known lullaby “Summertime”) from the opera "Porgy and Bess".
At the end of the lessons the students were informed about the diverse – printed, electronic, and most importantly free – resources for learning English. They were invited to join the American Teen Club on Saturdays at the WOA center. Participation in this club may help to visit the US as exchange students. Exchange programs “FLEX” and “Summer Work and Travel” require profound preparation from the interested candidates.
Students received a good start for the day, new cross-cultural knowledge and additional motivation to study English.
Number of participants – 60 people.





26 November, 2014

Air Force One

Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, offered screening of the film Air force one (1997) to all who wish to improve their language skills.
Air Force One is a 1997 American political action thriller film by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed and co-produced by Wolfgang Petersen. It is about a group of Russian terrorists that hijack Air Force One. The film stars Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman, as well as Glenn Close, Xander Berkeley, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, and Paul Guilfoyle. A box office success with generally supportive critical reviews, the film was one of the most popular action films of the 1990s, and sitting U.S. President Bill Clinton praised it.
 

Plot: Hijackers seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he - an ex-soldier - works from hiding to defeat them.



22 November, 2014

Grandma Moses

Within the frame work of the “U.S. ART Residence” project WOA Dnipropetrovsk arranged a monthly art session for the members of the GABFEST English Speaking Club.
The session was dedicated to the America’s most favorite naive artist – Grandma Moses. We started the session with reading and translating the New York Times obituary. Useful terms and descriptions of the Grandmother Moses paintings were introduced.
It was easier for the group to comprehend the information from the 20 minutes video about the life and art of Grandma Moses. The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed homely farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following. She was able to capture the excitement of winter's first snow, Thanksgiving preparations and the new, young green of oncoming spring.
Gay color, action and humor enlivened her portrayals of such simple farm activities as maple sugaring, soap-making, candle-making, haying, and berrying and the making of apple butter. 

The club members tried to describe some of the pictures and discuss the effect of the color scheme on the viewer. We also compared modern American naïve artists who paint in the same genre as Grandma Moses. Some club members were able to introduce Ukrainian artists’ names representing the naïve art. The bottom line of the discussion was that the human spirit can triumph at any age.
Number of participants – 25 persons.

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Gratitude

The FLEX alumni Darya Gerasymova'13 and Ganna Akastelova'13 organized a meeting for participants of American Teen Club (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine).
The topic was “Gratitude”. At the beginning the members of club have learned new vocabulary through Flocabulary.com, website presents unknown words in an interactive way through rap, allowing to remember vocabulary faster. 


After that, the club members actively participated in a discussion of Gratitude. Moderators have shown a video of social experiment, showing that if person expresses gratitude to the people they care about, it makes him happier. Everyone expressed their thoughts and shared with a group who are they thankful for and why. Participants were also reminded that Thanksgiving and talked about the history behind this holiday.
Number of participants – 11 persons.
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21 November, 2014

From the mines to art heights


Within the framework of the “From the mines to art heights” project the students of Mining University visited the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine).
The group was accompanied by the English language lecturer Mr. Brian Chung, the Fulbright academic exchange lecturer from New York.
The objective of the visit was to introduce the students to the American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes  with actors Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara starring.
The film was presented to students who wish to improve their language skills.
Plot: A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite of what the principal thinks of that.
Participants number – 11.
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20 November, 2014

SWT and American music

Within the framework of the “U.S. Art Residence in Dnipropetrovsk” project the students of school No. 141 major in studying foreign languages (with English as a priority language) visited the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine).
The objective of the visit was to introduce the students to the art of George Gershwin as a musical innovator with Ukrainian roots.
The WOA Head S. Usenko presented to them the “Window on America” Center and its free resources for studying English. Students were informed about the opportunity to study at an American university, if they have a high level of English language.They were also reminded about the hight student exchange program “Summer Work and Travel USA” and referred to respective Facebook page of the US Embassy in Kyiv.
 

The students watched inter-active slide show about the background and music of George Gershwin. The students were fascinated by the sounds of blues and musicals by George Gershwin.
To check the comprehension of the complicated material the students were asked to answer the questions of a quiz. They managed to give several correct answers, but they certainly need to learn more   about opera in general.
Participants number – 33.
Have a look at more pictures, please