Play in the Halloween Haunted House

Halloween or Hallowe’en is a contraction of Hallows’ Evening and is celebrated on the 31st of October every year.

Traditional activities include carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, dressing up in Halloween costumes and going trick or treating.

Halloween is a fun time for telling scary stories, watching horror films and visiting haunted attractions.

This year English Teacher Online invites Rust fanatics to play in the Halloween Haunted House created by Dippy on the XP Coin Rust Server.

What does Trick or Treat Mean?

Trick-or-treating is when children dress up and go house to house, asking for treats such as candy with the question, “Trick or treat?”

The word “trick” implies a “threat” of mischief on the homeowners if no treat is given.

What Costume Can I Wear?

There are many popular Halloween costumes such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils.

Nowadays, many younger children prefer to dress up as popular movie characters, superheroes or princesses.

What Games Can I Play?

One common game is apple bobbing in which apples float in a large basin of water and the player must use only their teeth (no hands) to remove an apple from the container.

Another traditional game involves hanging up syrup-coated scones or biscuits on strings. Players must eat the swinging treats, without using their hands, from the string.

Ghost Stories

Telling ghost stories and watching horror films are popular activities at Halloween parties. New horror films are often released just before Halloween to take advantage of the holiday and television specials with a Halloween theme are also very common.

 

So what’s your favourite Halloween activity or costume? Please share your ideas in the comment section and Happy Halloween!

Wai Kru Day Reading Comprehension

A sweet smell fills the air as I walk through the canteen. Students busily gluing and arranging flowers with a gentle buzz of anticipation. Soon it will be Wai Kru Day so English Teacher Online invites you to enjoy this Wai Kru Day reading comprehension.

In the Thai language, “wai” means to bow and “kru” means teacher. So on a Thursday in June each year, Thai students celebrate Wai Kru day. They show their gratitude and respect by bowing to their teachers in this famous old Thai festival.

Flowers of Wai Kru Day

Four different flowers are used when making the ‘Paan Wai Kru’ a traditional tray with pedestal. Each flower has special symbolic meaning consistent with learning, knowledge and wisdom.

Ixora (called khem in Thai) are flowers which have pointed buds while closed, and is the symbol for sharp wit and common sense.

Bermuda grass (called ya phreak) is a resilient plant that grows quickly. It symbolizes perseverance and the ability to learn.

Popped rice (khao tok) is the foundation flower that covers most of the ‘Paan Wai Kru.’ It is the symbol for discipline.

Eggplant flowers are also used as their heavy fruit bow low to symbolize respect and humility.

Wai Kru Day Ceremony

For generations, Thai students have combined these flowers to make the most beautiful tributes in honour of their beloved teachers.

Class by class (starting with the eldest) the students walk onto the stage on their knees with their heads bowed down until they reach their teachers who are sitting on chairs. The students then bow to their teacher and offer them their flowery bouquets wrapped with incense and candles.

Each teacher receives the flowers and touches the student’s shoulder while offering advice or encouragement. After the ceremony, the teachers take their bouquets to decorate all the staffrooms, offices and classrooms in the school.

Everywhere smells amazing on Wai Kru Day but the best part is, we get the morning off class!

Wai Kru Day Reading Comprehension

Read the questions and answer using full sentences.

1. When is Wai Kru Day celebrated each year?

2. Why is Bermuda grass used and what does it symbolize?

3. Why are eggplant flowers used?

4. What are the bouquets wrapped with?

5. What happens to the flowers after the ceremony?

What’s your favourite part of Wai Kru Day? Please share your best answers in the comment section.

Loy Krathong Reading Comprehension

It’s November full moon so English Teacher Online presents our Loy Krathong Reading Comprehension and Song Lyrics in English – to help you understand and talk about this beautiful Thai festival.

Loy Krathong Song Lyrics

November full moon shines
Loy Krathong, Loy Krathong
And the water’s high, in local river and the klong
Loy Loy Krathong, Loy Loy Krathong
Loy Krathong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
We’re together at the klong
Each one with his krathong
As we push away we pray
We can see a better day

Loy Krathong Reading Text (written by T.Steve)

Once upon a time there was a young brother and sister named Putter and Bam.

“My favourite holiday is Loy Krathong”, said Putter one November day as they sat making their krathongs.

“It’s the best. I am so excited”, Bam replied, “Please pass the banana leaves Putter, I need to cover this stem completely.”

They covered the banana stem with banana leaves; cut some more leaves into small triangle shapes and fixed them around the edge of the stem. In the middle of the Krathong they placed a flower, a candle, some incense and a small piece of their hair. They also put a 10 Baht coin in the krathong too.

“Hurry up Bam,” cried mum, “We’re ready to go.”

Putter and Bam got in the car and they all drove to a local temple next to the river.

“Be careful with your krathongs”, said mum, “You’ve both done such a great job, you don’t want to break them now.”

Bam and Putter carefully carried their krathongs through the temple grounds. There was an amazing smell of incense in the air and everyone was carrying beautiful krathongs.

“Don’t fall in you two”, laughed dad as Bam and Putter knelt by the side of the river and slowly lowered their krathongs into the water. As they pushed the krathongs downstream, they both said a little prayer, “We are so lucky to have this river.”

 

Loy Krathong Reading Comprehension

Q1. When is Loy Krathong celebrated each year?

Q2. How did the children make their Krathongs?

Q3. Where did they go to release their Krathongs?

Q4. What did the children say as they released their Krathongs?

Please write your answers in the comment section and I will mark them all personally.

Fantastic Festivals In The World

A festival is a day or period of time set aside for feasting (eating lots of food) and celebration, such as the Songkran Festival in Thailand.

This week, English Teacher Online proudly presents Fantastic Festivals In The World. You will learn how to research – to find information about a festival that you have never studied before.

 

When you research your festival you need to answer these questions.

What is the name of the festival?

When is it celebrated?

What are the main traditions of the festival?

What costumes do people wear at the festival?

What ceremonies take place?

What does the festival symbolize? (Why people do it?)

What special food (recipes) do people eat at the festival?

Anything else you think is important and why?

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Diwali is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Skeletons are scary, right? Not if you’re celebrating Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Offering food to dead relatives and having a family party in the graveyard is quite a normal festival in Mexico.

Sopporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) in Japan began in the 1950s when school children built six snow statues in a park. Today, the festival attracts over 2 million visitors who come to celebrate the festival of snow and ice.

Holi is a very old festival with lots of legends and myths. This colourful festival is celebrated by Hindus in India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Maslenitsa or Pancake Week in Russia isn’t just a festival for visiting friends and eating lots of food. There are many traditions associated with each day of the week.

La Tomatina or the Tomato Throwing Festival in Spain also attracts many people from around the world. The festival includes parades, fireworks, music, dancing and a paella (rice) cooking contest.

You can also search for other Japanese Winter festivals,  Tenjin MatsuriSakura Cherry Blossom festival or some Spring festivals … or Google to find out more information about some of the festivals below.

Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
Smear yourself with vitamin enriched mud from the Buryeong Mud Flat in July. Paint yourself with mud at the Mud Square, become a scientist and invent soap and aroma oil at the Experience Booth.

Battle of Oranges, Ivrea, Italy
The Orangiere on their horse wagons, will fire oranges at the revolting masses; who will fight back with courage and gallantry.

El Colacho, Spain
One year old brave babies, all tightly wrapped are laid on the ground; and Colacho men in red and yellow attires, jump over them (no harm) and thus carry away the evil.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, England
A 9lb (4kg) round chunk of cheese rolls down the Cooper Hill, and people run down to catch the high speed cheese. Watch the video for more details.

 

Night of the Radishes, Mexico
Enormous radishes are displayed in Zocalo, Oaxaca City; and artists intricately carve out strange figurines on 23rd December at sunset.

Running of the Bulls, Spain, July
Is it a festival or just a dangerous race; where you are chased down the streets by raging bulls!

Of course there are many other fantastic festivals in the world for you to research. Just make sure you collect all the information so you can write about 100 words.

You will need to research 2 new festivals in week 8. They can’t be from Thailand and they must be from 2 different continents.

Good luck and as always ask lots of questions.

What Is An April Fool?

You’ll need to understand English culture if you want to become fluent in English so I’m writing cultural lessons such as, what is an April fool and how to write a poem for your Valentine.

This lesson teaches you about the history of April Fools’ Day, gives examples of some of the best jokes ever and helps you plan your own April Fools’ Day prank. Remember to say, “April Fool” when you are ready to announce that you have tricked someone on April 1st this year. If you have any questions, please email Steve@englishteacheronline.org or leave a comment at the end.

When Did April Fools Begin?

The origin of April Fools’ Day probably dates back to the late sixteenth century when the Gregorian calendar was introduced into France. Before 1582, the Julian calendar was used and April 1st was traditionally New Year’s Day.

Some people were slow to use the Gregorian calendar and didn’t realize that New Year’s Day had been moved to January 1st. Those who continued to celebrate it on April 1st became the butt of jokes and hoaxes, such as having a paper fish placed on their backs and being called “poisson d’avril,” April fish. (The April fish symbolizes a gullible person as a young easily caught fish.)

April Fools’ Day has links to the ancient festival of Hilaria, when Romans would dress up in disguises. It is also around the time of the vernal equinox (first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere) when Mother Nature is said to have fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

How Did It Grow So Big?

April Fools’ Day took off in Britain during the eighteenth century and in Scotland turned into a two-day event. The hunting of the gowk (cuckoo bird) started on April 1st with people being sent off on fake errands. Tailie Day followed on April 2nd when people would pin a tail or “kick me” sign on unsuspecting fools.

Through the years many elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes have emerged. Newspapers, radio, television and websites have all participated in bizarre hoaxes to fool their audiences.

World Famous Spaghetti Tree Prank 1957

One of the most famous hoaxes of all time is probably the Swiss Spaghetti harvest of 1957. The highly respected BBC documentary show Panorama produced a program claiming that Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti harvest. The footage of farmers harvesting their “spaghetti trees” fooled huge numbers of TV viewers.

 

Tower of Pisa Falling Over 1960 

Dutch news reported that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was actually falling down in 1960. It caused worldwide shock until everyone realized it was April 1st again!

San Serriffe Nation Prank 1977

One of my favourite pranks is San Serriffe in 1977, when a seven-page supplement appeared in the Guardian newspaper. It described the small republic nation of San Serriffe, several semi-colon-shaped islands in the Indian Ocean. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital city was Bodoni while its leader was reported to be General Pica. Only a few people noticed that everything about the island nation was named after printing expressions. The Guardian was busy all day with readers seeking more information about the sunny holiday destination. The success of this hoax is said to have launched the love of April Fools’ Day in the British tabloid press.

Penguins Learn To Fly 2008

In 2008, the BBC produced another amazing hoax claiming that penguins had become bored with the cold Antarctic winter and had evolved the power of flight. Their video showed flying penguins migrating thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America. A second video later revealed how the hoax was made.

 

Confusion Over the Fools’ Fool

In 2016, the French news agency AFP wrote that the Chinese government had banned April Fool’s Day in China. Apparently, Chinese media claimed it did not conform to China’s cultural traditions nor core values of socialism. It asked people not to believe, create nor spread rumours. The article finished with a smiley emoticon. For many people the fun of April Fools’ Day is trying to figure out real news from all the hoaxes.

Pranks We Can All Do

This year I was inspired by Bored Panda’s funny April Fool pranks. My favourite is to plant a grass garden in your co-worker’s keyboard. It works best if your boss has some new keyboards that she is planning to replace in the office.

Split the top off the old keyboard and carefully fill the bottom with a shallow amount of water. Scatter about 100 grass seeds in the water and replace the top of the keyboard. In a warm dark space, the seeds should sprout quickly. If you are concerned that your co-worker will notice, you could use a spare keyboard to grow the seeds and switch it at the last moment or night before.

When you reveal the joke, remember to say “April Fool” – it’s the traditional way of taking credit for the prank.

So what will you do this April Fool’s Day? Try to keep it safe and respectful but please have fun too. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.

Are you ready to practice what you’ve learnt with a native English teacher?