27 December, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

Today’s session of the English Speaking Club GABFEST (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the conversation about “New Year traditions and New Year’s Resolutions”.
The first part of the session was dedicated to the description of the Ukrainian way to celebrate the New Year’s Eve. The club members recollected the traditional Ukrainian menu with champagne; the tradition to see off the old year; the final countdown after the Presidential address to the nation on TV,
the fireworks and all night partying. The group formulated how the celebration is different this year when the country is at war.
New Year ’s Eve celebration is the USA is a bit different .The group was demonstrated the videos of the New Year’s eve in Time Square in New York. The tradition of the ball drop was new even to the fluent speakers at the Gabfest Club. The tradition of the
«Auld Lang Syne»... singing was introduced to the group .The line from the song about New York impressed everyone – “…if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” – and explained why crowds of tourists are attracted to the city that never sleeps.
One more American tradition was introduced to the club members. -
New Year's resolution. It is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit.
A key element to a New Year's resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings. The club members were offered to translate top 50 funny American New Year resolutions. This was a challenge to the majority, as some of the resolutions were difficult to translate due to the play of words.
The session was very educational and proved to be very informative.
Number of participants – 25 persons.

24 December, 2014

Christmas eve

The Drama Fantasy Family film "It’s A Wonderful Life" (1946) was presented to all who wish to improve their English language skills.
It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945. The film is now considered one of the most popular films in American cinema and due to numerous television showings in the 1980s has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

Despite initially performing poorly at the box office because of high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television in many households. Theatrically, the film's break-even point was $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: "Although it was not the complete box office failure that today everyone believes ... it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were."

It's a Wonderful Life is considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. It was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, placing number 11 on its initial 1998 greatest movie list, and would also place number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time. Capra revealed that this was his personal favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season.


Students from the local school No. 40.

Within the frame work of the “Discover USA” project Window on America Dnipropetrovsk arranged an introductory session for the 7th year students from the local school No. 40.
The WOA’s Head Svetlana Usenko explained to the students the mission and the objectives of the center. She also presented the free resources available to all who wish to improve their English skills. The information was illustrated with the promotional video of the WOA Center.
The group was offered several slide shows about the USA. Two regions of the USA were presented – the capital city Washington (DC) and the state of Louisiana. The students were impressed by the curious facts about creole culture and charmed by Zydeco music.
The US art was introduced through the story about the films of Charlie Chaplin – the star of American silent movies. The students had a chance to tell the WOA staff about their favorite books and movies. It turned out that the students are preparing dances and songs to perform during the school week of the English language.
The group was invited to visit WOA again and demonstrate their musical numbers in front of the Gabfest English-speaking Club members.
Number of participants – 23 persons.
Have a look at more pictures, please

23 December, 2014

Grandma Moses - 3

Within the frame work of the “U.S. ART Residence” project Window on America Dnipropetrovsk arranged an art session for the students from the local school No. 23.
The session was dedicated to the America’s most favorite naïve artist – Grandma Moses.
The WOA’s staff member Tamara Gavryliuk initiated a conversation about symbols of success. The bottom line of the conversation was – success can come to a person at any age. And Grandma Moses is a vivid example of such a case. The students were offered to watch a documentary about the life and art of Grandma Moses which introduced them to her manner of painting. The WOA’s Head Svetlana Usenko shared interesting facts 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 global fame. Bright color, action and humor enlivened her portrayals of simple farm activities.
The students improved their speaking and auditing skills and enriched their vocabulary with art terms.
The bottom line of the discussion was that the human spirit can triumph at any age.
Number of participants – 18 persons.

22 December, 2014

Xmas flowers in USA and in Ukraine

Euphorbia pulcherrima, a native of Mexico, was adopted in America as a Christmas staple. It was named after the US ambassador in Mexico, Joel Poinsett, in 1825. The diplomat brought this brightly colored plant to his home state of South Caroline and facilitated the spread of it in the US. The love of the poinsettia didn't reach Europe until the 1960's.
Schlumbergera bridgesii, a native of Brazil, is the Xmas flower popular in Ukraine. Eleven months of the year the Christmas cactus is an unprepossessing plant with flat, grey green, segmented leaves. In month twelve though, it blossoms with impossibly beautiful, delicate flowers at the end of each articulated leaf. The colors range from dark red to creamy white. Hues of pink, salmon, and magenta are often readily available.
Have a look at more pictures, please

20 December, 2014

The world details of Christmas celebration

Today’s session of the GABFEST English Speaking Club (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the introduction of the some unknown in this part of the world details of Christmas celebration.
The session started with the Christmas greetings from Santa Clause (club member Igor). For small talk we have chosen the topic about Xmas flowers. We have compared the staple Xmas decoration in USA and Ukraine. Euphorbia pulcherrima, a native of Mexico, was adopted in America as a Christmas staple. Schlumbergera bridgesii, a native of Brazil, is the Xmas cactus popular in Ukraine. The round table of the Gabfest club was decorated today with such plant. It had beautiful, delicate flowers at the end of each leaf.

In the main part of the session 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. To better understand what is depicted in the nativity scene the club members were offered a slide show with a task - to read and translates the Christmas story. Our American Guest Mr. Jason was invited to the session and contributed to the information about the US tradition of Xmas celebrations. The club members had a chance to tell Jason about Ukrainian traditions of Christmas and explained the differences.
During the art break the group had a chance to sing the popular Christmas carols while club member Valentina accompanied them on the piano.
The fun continued with a traditional Xmas tea ceremony - with assortment of cookies. A multitude of world musical hits about Christmas was checked on YouTube. Big screen projection of the favorite clips created unforgettable atmosphere!

Number of participants – 27 persons.