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Issue 32 19th

December 2016

A bimonthly e-magazine for inspiring English teachers

Dear reader, This last issue of 2016 brings the spirit of Christmas. For me the festive season is all about: warmth, togetherness, sharing and “tiny tots with their eyes all aglow”! So how can we best keep the glory of Christmas? It seems that Wilferd A. Peterson has found the secret:


03 05 06 09 11 14 15 17 21

Pantomime Christmas Cracker Jokes Story Time

“By rediscovering the faith and simplicity of a little child, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. By being still and listening to the angels sing within our hearts. By quietly evaluating our lives according to the Master's standards as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. By reaffirming the supremacy of the spirit in man's conquest of himself. By rededicating ourselves to the Master's ideals of Peace, Brotherhood, and Good Will. By resolving to give ourselves away to others in love, joy and devotion. By using the light of Christmas to guide us through the darkness of the coming year…”

Happy holidays!

Positively English Easy English Discussion Time Kids’ corner Fun with English Christmas Competition 2

Phil Hoyles, an actor & entertainer Image Credit:Phil Hoyles

With Christmas around the corner, more and more British people are heading to the local theatres for some festive fun. Today we are talking to Phil Hoyles, who takes part in the Pantomime show in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

A Pantomime is a type of musical comedy stage production, primarily designed for family entertainment. Pantomime has an extensive theatrical history in Western culture and draws its origin from 16th century Italy. It was established in England in the early 1800s and is still performed throughout the UK, normally during the Christmas and New Year season. Modern pantomime includes songs, jokes, comedy and dancing. It also uses men dressed as women who are known as “Dames” and is loosely based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participating form of theatre, in which the audience sings along with certain parts of the music and shouts out phrases to the performers.

Hi Phil, Thank you very much for being my special Christmas guest in “Inspirational English”. You tend to wear many hatsbeing a great radio DJ and an entertainer, but today I would like us to talk about your passion for acting. What is it that draws you to it? “I enjoy creating and working on characters, over the years I have played various roles with different characteristics. I really enjoy getting into character and not being myself for a couple of hours. Also the costumes I wear can be great too. I especially love comedy as “I like it” when the audience watching get involved and laugh with you" Christmas is a special time for British families and one of the reasons is IT’S PANTO TIME. Adults and children look forward to seeing their favourite light-hearted performances. Would you tell us why PANTOMIMES still manage to attract such a big audience for local theatres?

"It is the only time of the year when Mums and Dads can take their children to the theatre. The whole family can go together. It's just a great Christmas treat for everyone young and old. I think panto attracts people because we all love classic fairy tales such as Aladdin, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc, so people like to see these being bought to life in front of their eyes"

This year you are taking part in “Aladdin”. It’s been seen by many people all over the country but how do you bring a new spin to it? We try and keep it true to the original story that everyone knows. All the elements of the story are in there. We have a flying carpet in the show which is great site to see. I think we put a new spin to it by being very topical and some up to date songs in there as well" Pantomime tends to be very traditional, the audience expect certain things to happen, and certain stories to be used. Is it a Cont. on page 4


a challenge to incorporate these traditions with the way that you see the character needing to be played? "To be honest it's never a challenge. Pantomimes all over the UK have basically the same traditions that audiences know and love. To do any pantomime without these traditions would not be a pantomime. People expect to be shouting out "he's behind you" and "oh no he isn't, oh yes he is"......every panto is different to each other but there are similarities in some of the routines involved." Would you tell our readers about your character? "I play the part of Widow Twankey who is Aladdins mum; she also has another son called Wishee Washee. She owns the launderette in Peking and is a great character to play. She is very larger than life and tries to get her sons back on

some producers like to keep to the traditional pantomime instead of messing around with the format too much." Most readers of the magazine are non-native speakers who find it nerve-racking to speak in public. Do you get stage fright and how do you overcome it?

track as Wishee is very silly, and Aladdin is bright but spends his days daydreaming about one day meeting the Princess" Do you think that pantomimes have changed in the last decade and how? "I don't think it has changed. It's a British tradition and if it isn't broke then don't fix it. You can keep the production current by including some modern pop tunes as well as

"I do get nervous yes but when I go on stage then the nerves go. It's the adrenaline which keeps you going. Once I'm on stage and the audience are joining in and laughing with you, there is no better feeling. I've done this along time now that it's second nature for me. The nerves are good yes, but once you been on stage a few times, in my case I've been in the entertainment business for over 15 years then the nerves do eventually go"

Thank you, Phil!

Image Credit:Phil Hoyles 4

Christmas Cracker Jokes

On which side do chickens have the most feathers? The outside.

What's white and goes up? A confused snowflake.

He had low elf-esteem.

A do-you-think-he-saw-us!

Nullam loremissapien, tempus ac, What athlete warmest in winter? fringilla at, elementum sed, purus. A long jumper. Duis molestie pede. Aliquam dapibus ipsum

>> 5

STORY TIME Image credit http://www.clker.com/

The Gold Wrapping Paper Before reading The following words appear in the story. What do you think it is about?

Accident, shoe box, girl, father, wrapping paper While reading Read the story and p

a) The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger. b) An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there. c) Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!" d) As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

(cont. on page 11)


e) Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. f) The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full." g) As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoe box she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoe box. h) But when he opened the shoe box, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady," he said harshly, "when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside the package!" Author unknown

1. Would you finish the story differently? How? 2. What is the best Christmas gift that you have ever received? Who gave it to you? 3.What do you wish others this Christmas?


Image credit: Inspirational English


A Special Christmas Gift Lesson Plan Language level: A2, B1 Learner type: young learners, teenagers Topic: Christmas and relationships Time: 45 min Materials: video (M & S 2016 Christmas ad ) This is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5QPXhStb5I

Image credit:http://www.freeiconspng.com/

Step 1: Put the students into small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions: 1. Do you think Mrs Claus helps Santa? If so, how? 2. What advice do you think she gives Santa when he leaves the North Pole on 24th December?

Step 2: Play the video until 00:36 to check the students’ answers. Step 3: Tell the students that the video is about 6-year-old Jake and his older sister Emma. Ask them to brainstorm different problems that siblings have. If appropriate ask them to share some of their problems. Play the video till 1:20 and see if any of their ideas are mentioned.


Continues from page 9 Step 4: Write the following questions on the board and ask the students to predict what happens next. Then play the rest of the video. What do you think Jake wants Santa to do? How will Mrs Claus help him? How will she get into Jake’s house? What present does she deliver? Step 5: Discussion 1. 2. 3. 4.

Why didn’t Mrs Claus want Santa to know about her mysterious trip to London? Why did Jake want to surprise his sister? What present would you like Santa to bring for your brother/sister? What is the best Christmas present that you have ever received?

Step 6: A few Christmas symbols appear in the video. Divide the students into groups again. Ask them to remember as many symbols as possible. If you want, run a competition and set a time limit (2 min). Then play the video again and check. Key: Sleigh, reindeer, Christmas tree, present, mince pies, stocking, fairy lights, tinsel, baubles Step 7 Ask the students to give you more examples of Christmas symbols. Write all words on the board and play BINGO to practise the vocabulary. Homework: Ask the students to to create a crossword with the Christmas vocabulary.

Image Credit: Inspirational English


Frank & Russie’s Little Big Adventures Chapter 2 It’s Friday morning and a delicious smell wakes me up. I quickly go to the kitchen to see what Russie is cooking. I see she is making pancakes. Yummy! We don’t often eat them in China. I expect to see some chocolate spread or maple syrup but my teacher says we will have them with some lemon and sugar. What?! No way! You can’t believe it but the combination is really tasty. I know Russie has planned lots of fun activities for us today but I really look forward to the official Christmas lights switch on. It’s 5pm and we are ready to go into town. When we arrive there, we see lots of people gathered around a stage, where Christmas music is being played. I can recognise one of them “Jingle bells”. What immediately draws my attention is the reindeer. I wonder if Rudolph is here. I can’t see any red nosed reindeer. I start humming the popular Christmas song.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose and if you ever saw it you would even say it glows. Half an hour later the music stops and I can see the mayor on the stage. Everyone starts the countdown: 10, 9, 8... 1. The Christmas lights are on. The trees around look so beautiful. I feel as if I’m in a fairy tale. It’s magical. As soon as the lights go on, I can hear singing. A group of children of my age are approaching and they are wearing Christmas hats. Russie tells me they are Carol Singers, who sing traditional Christmas songs. We are given the lyrics to the carols so Russie and I can sing along.

On the following day Russie reminds me it is Christmas Eve and we need to decorate the flat. She takes out all the Christmas decorations from the cupboard. We have a big Christmas tree in the living-room and decorate it with lots of tinsel, baubles, bells and of course a star on the top of it. It’s beautiful! Then Russie says: “Oh, I nearly forgot. I have to make mince pies for Father Christmas!” She adds that traditionally children leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph on Christmas Eve. Cont. on page 12


So we head to the kitchen where I help my teacher make some mince pies. I think it is not difficult to make them. We need: An apple, a lemon, some flour, butter, sugar, an egg and a large jar of mincemeat. No, we are not going to make biscuits with “minced meat”. We will use “mincemeat”, which is a mixture of currants, raisins, sugar and apples, typically baked in a pie. After we bake the mince pies, we have one each and I find them really tasty. Of course, we leave one for Father Christmas. Finally before we go to bed, Russie hangs a Christmas stocking by the fireplace. I wonder what Santa has got for me.

It’s 6 am and I get woken up by some singing. I look through the window and I can see some carol singers. It’s magical. Then I remember “It’s Christmas Day” and I’m excited to see what Santa has left for me. I am sure my name is not on his “naughty” list. I quickly get up and go to the living room where I find Russie’s family. Nick, Russie’s husband says: “Look, Frank, Father Christmas has left lots of presents and there’s a big one with your name.” When I unwrap the present, I see a soft jumper and a nice pair of gloves. I love them. Russie’s got a cookery book and Nick has got a warm scarf. It’s time to cook now. I am getting really hungry but I realise we have to do a lot of work. First we start with “pigs in blankets”. Don’t worry, we are not going to wrap up a whole pig. It’s a little sausage wrapped in some bacon. Sounds yummy to me. Nick says he has already put the turkey in the oven so it is roasting nicely and he has also made some cranberry sauce to go with it. “What can I help you with?” I asked. “You can wash the vegetables- some carrots, Brussels sprouts and potatoes and then chop them finely. Then you can put them in that saucepan to boil for 30 min.” Russie says. Meanwhile Nick has made some Yorkshire pudding and Russie has laid the table. It’s 1 pm now and we are all starving. I spot something shiny on the table. Nick explains that these are Christmas crackers. We will pull them after our dinner. Of course, there is a Christmas hat for all of us. We all sit at the table and enjoy the Christmas meal. I find the turkey very delicious but I don’t enjoy the cranberry sauce very much. I think it will make me sick. I decide to leave some room for the dessert later. After the meal we pull the Christmas crackers and read the cracker jokes. Mine says:

“ because there’s a “mile” between the first and the last letters.

Afterwards we play a game, called Charades. Nick explains the rules to me, which seem quite easy. I see that the game will test my English so I am happy to join the family. Hurray! I have won! Cont. on page 13


Finally we have our dessert- mince pies, a piece of Christmas cake and some pudding. I love the pudding the best. I want to take some of it to China and share it with my parents.


This is our Christmas pudd


I am so grateful that I can celebrate Christmas in England. Happy Holidays! See you next time.

Read the story and put the events in the right order: a) Russie and Frank make some mince pies. b) Christmas cracker jokes are read. c) The family cooks Christmas dinner. d) Everybody plays games. e) Frank sees Carol Singers in town. f) Frank learns how British people eat pancakes.



Christmas Traditions A study of how December 25 has changed during the past two decades found rustling up home-made decorations and putting a tangerine in stocking toes were falling out of favour. Carol singing and putting a coin in the pudding are also on the endangered list of Christmas Day traditions. But customs which have stood the test of time include sitting down to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, pulling Christmas crackers and leaving a mince pie out for Santa Claus. And new rituals that have crept in over the years include wearing Christmas onesies, drinking craft ales and playing video games with the family.

LET’S SPEAK What’s your favourite Christmas tradition? How does your family prepare for Christmas?


KIDS’ CORNER Hi everyone, Do you remember me? I am Jimmy the squirrel.. I’ve got a new Christmas hat. Look, everything is covered in snow. Now I need to decorate my Christmas tree. Do you like it? Did you say “No”? Oh, dear. I have forgotten to put up the Christmas decorations. Would you help me decorate it, please? Look, I've got:

A star

baubles bells

An angel


Fairy lights Image credit: http://www.clker.com/


Can you spot the error? Find the answer on page 18

Image credit: Inspirational English


Across . feeling less confident or enthusiastic about doing something . feeling sorry about something that you have done . to ask somebody for something especially in an anxious way because you want or need it very much . special despite something that you have just mentioned . in a cruel, severe and unkind way Down . worried feeling ashamed difficult to manage with because there is not enough

All words in the Crossword come from the story on pages 6 & 7 in this issue

Image credit:http://www.freeiconspng.com/




Image credit:http://www.freeiconspng.com/


What are the bells decorated with? Image Credit: https://openclipart.org, dashell Answer from page 16: It is not REEFS, it is WREATHS


Make sure, you don’t get your tinsel in a tangle this Christmas!


Can you come up with a witty caption to this photo I took in France over the weekend? 20










Do you want “Explore English with Russie” to reach other inspiring teachers and students who love the language? Then why don´t you become one of my agents and work with me? For more information, please, contact me at: info@englishwithrussie.co.uk


Answers from Issue 31 Story time - page 10 1-but, 2- when, 3- while, 4- Because, 5- though, 6- also

Let’s practise- page 12 1-proud, 2-differences, 3-violence, 4-rectangular, 5-jealousy, 6-strong

Easy English- page 15 1-NI, 2-T, 3-F, 4-NI, 5-F, 6-T

Easy English- page 17 Lettuce

Crossword-page 19 Across 1-self-esteem, 3-caring, 5-cruel, 6-dumb, 8-trait Down 1-spy, 2-tease, 4-nod, 7-brag

Photo Quiz- page 20 hawthorn

Russie’s head-scratcher-page 21 Violet. From the colours of the rainbow.

Image credit pages 2,511,12,13,19,20: Inspirational English


See you next year!

Contact details: info@englishwithrussie.co.uk http://www.englishwithrussie.co.uk/

Image Credit front & cover: Tsvetelina Bonova

Profile for Marusya Price

Inspirational English, Issue 32  

This issue is packed with Christmas resources

Inspirational English, Issue 32  

This issue is packed with Christmas resources