Thursday, 4 April 2019

Imagining a different city

How do we see the city in which we live? What will it be like five or ten years from now? Do we dare to imagine it could be different? In short, what kind of environment do we want to live in? How should we move around the city, and how could we make it more livable?

To help you consider this important issue, here are two relevant articles:

1. The story of how Seoul, a city of almost ten million people, reinvented itself by converting a major highway into a riverside park. There were winners and losers of course, but most people now agree that this ambitious project has vastly improved the quality of life in the city centre.

2. A very recent article (in Greek!) by a scientist at the University of Crete Museum of Natural History, setting out his views on how our city could be transformed.

Having read both articles, write a blog post responding to some of the points raised in the second article (in English, of course!), and offering your own ideas on what kind of Heraklion we should be striving for.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Computer room time

1) Visit this post: International Day of Poetry 21st March: Dead Poets’ Society

Also, have a look at this poem:

Watch the videos, read the two poems and write down your thoughts in a comment, answering the question:

Why do we read and write poetry? How will the inclusion of poetry in the national school curriculum help the development of the young minds?

(Remember to turn the profile you are using for this blog from a Google+ one to a simple Blogger profile if you are currently using your Google+ information to sign in here, as this platform is soon to be shut down. Go to the settings of your account to fix this.)


2) Figures of speech: An activity

Read the definitions and leave a comment with as many example sentences as possible.


3) (if there is still time left) Read this National Geographic article concerning the environment - ECPE Challenge Unit 8 central focus: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Friday, 22 March 2019

International Day of Poetry 21st March: Dead Poets’ Society

Have you seen the exceptional “Dead Poets’ Society” starring Robin Williams? These are certain scenes of the film related to this day.

Understanding poetry:

Why do we read and write poetry?

Against conformity:

Carpe diem lecture:

O Captain, my Captain!

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 
                         But O heart! heart! heart! 
                            O the bleeding drops of red, 
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
                                  Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; 
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills, 
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding, 
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; 
                         Here Captain! dear father! 
                            This arm beneath your head! 
                               It is some dream that on the deck, 
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, 
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; 
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells! 
                            But I with mournful tread, 
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies, 
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

Wikipedia link to the poem:!_My_Captain!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Figures of speech: An activity

An extract from a post on

A common figure of speech often uses an inanimate object to give a figurative instead of a literal meaning.

Very often we use similes and metaphors to express an idea or concept. Idioms are another type of figurative speech.

Figure of speech examples

We often use an object to create emphasis. For example, “It’s raining cats and dogs” and “I’ll give you a hand.”

If you are a writer, you are using words and expressions both literally and figuratively all the time. You might be trying to create verbal irony, express human qualities or add colour to your text.

Some forms use word order or repetition, such as, “In the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Others can use a chiasmus, where the second part of the expression is balanced against the first. For example, “you should work to live, not live to work.”

Exaggeration, or hyperbole in literary terms, can quickly turn literal language into figurative. “I have a million things to do at the office today”, or, “it cost me an arm and a leg.”

The opposite, of course, is understatement. “It’s only a scratch” when referring to a deep or nasty wound. Or, “It’s a little fresh today” when the temperature is well below zero. Or, “Tiger Woods was a half-decent golf player in his prime.”

Other figure of speech examples include euphemisms.They are a very common form of saying something in a way that is not as blunt or direct. He passed away instead of he died. I’m going to let you go to replace you’re fired. Or, it fell off the back of a truck, when in fact, it was stolen.

Some expressions use alliteration, where a consonant sound is repeated. Examples include, “I’m as busy as a bee” and “It’s as dead as a doornail.”

Cartoon by Ella Baron in the Times Literary Supplement on Twitter.

Did you know? Figures of speech in the picture above:

1. Put all eggs in one basket = Having all of your resources in one place; putting your money or hopes or future into one thing

2. Wear one's heart on one's sleeve = display one’s emotions openly

3. An ace up one's sleeve = a surprise or secret advantage, especially something tricky that is kept hidden until needed.

4. The joker in the pack= If you describe someone or something as the joker in the pack, you mean that they are different from the other people or things in their group, and can be unpredictable.

5. Don’t trust one's own shadow= not believe or trust people easily

6. Coming out of one's ears= (figurative) very numerous or abundant. (As if people or things were coming in great numbers from many sources including unlikely ones.)

7. Spill the beans= reveal the secret

8. Red herring= A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion. 

 9. Big cheese= the most important person

10. Time flies= time passes quickly

11. Piece of cake =very easy to be done

12. Can't make an omelet without breaking an egg= If you say you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, you mean that it is impossible to achieve something important without there being some bad effects. Note: `Omelette' is usually spelled `omelet' in American English.

13. Like a cat chasing its tail= chase (one's) tail To take action that is ineffectual and does not lead to progress. Refers to how a dog or a cat can exhaust itself by chasing its own tail.

14. Tie the knot= to get married

15. To be born with a silver spoon in your mouth or born with a silver spoon in your mouth= If you think that someone has a lot of advantages because they have a rich or influential family, you can say that they have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

16 Bird’s eye view= a view from a high angle as if seen by a bird in flight or an overall or cursory look at something

17 A stitch in time saves nine= if you sort out a problem immediately, it may save extra work later 

18 Tough nut to crack (plural tough nuts to crack) = A problem that is challenging to solve. (idiomatic, by extension) A situation, person, group, etc. which is difficult to deal with. (idiomatic) A place, opportunity, etc. to which it is difficult to gain entry. An amount that is difficult to finance.

19 Ride one’s coattails= To benefit from someone else's success; to use someone else's success as a means to achieve one’s own.

20 Get cold feet= hesitate or have second thoughts about sth

21 Sth is full of holes= Unsound or flawed; having many faults that do not stand up to scrutiny or criticism. Alludes to a leaky, porous vessel—hence the related expression, "doesn't hold water."

22 The cherry on the cake= A desirable feature perceived as the finishing touch to something that is already inviting or worth having. Related Idioms : a bite at the cherry. an attempt or chance to do something.

Taken from here.

23 Kick the bucket = to die, pass away

24 Hit the nail on the head= do or say something that is precisely right

25 Cat got one's tongue= Used when someone has nothing to say.

26 An earworm= (informal) a song that you keep hearing in your head

27 Pull your socks up = If someone tells you to pull your socks up, they want you to improve your behaviour or work.

Now visit these websites to find out about the surprising origin of most of these idioms. Then, use this information to write as many example sentences as possible in the comments below.

The Idioms - Largest Idioms Dictionary


Idioms and phrases - The Free Dictionary

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Helpful writing corrections by Ben

Study the following recent examples from your writing. First correct any obvious mistakes, then suggest alternative ways of expressing the ideas given.

In conclusion, the death penalty does not contribute in the enhancement of the society by reducing criminality, and certainly convicts criminals, who may be innocent. This punishment must be abolished in all countries of the world, because it is cruel and unnecessary.

In conclusion, the death penalty does not contribute to the enhancement of society by reducing criminality. Still worse, innocent people may end up losing their lives in the event of a mistrial. There should be no place for such a cruel, ineffective and excessive form of punishment in the modern world. 

What could be added to this paragraph to make it more persuasive? 
One common characteristic of experts is that they express their opinions, and with their knowledge and experience can demonstrate and support them. This lends them prestige, and indicates the fact that they know a lot about specific matters. Moreover, the fact that someone has the support and recognition of their colleagues proves that their opinions are important and that they are specialists.

One trait common to many experts is that they are not afraid to express their opinions, and use their knowledge and experience to demonstrate and communicate them to others. A case in point was the outspoken world-class physicist Richard Feynman, who conducted a simple experiment on live TV to prove that faulty O-rings were responsible for a disaster on the NASA space shuttle. His straightforward, irrefutable argument showed exactly why he was rightly acknowledged as one of the world’s leading scientists. 

How could this idea be made clearer?
Because, sometimes, some people are trying to trap somebody and get this person killed by faking evidence, the criminal record, the motive and the unfinished business of this person should be found.

There may be occasions on which innocent people are framed; in such instances it is vital that their previous conduct, possible motive and any other information be taken into consideration during the trial. The presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of the criminal justice system in most countries, and should always be borne in mind. 

What is the main problem here?
On the other hand, people can be very dangerous sometimes. They would might be involved in gangs, they would might be serial killers, which means they are committing all those things because it is their job, they might get very well paid or they promised valuable things.

On the other hand, there are those who are prone to dangerous criminal behaviour. They may get involved in gangs or become contract killers. In both cases they are most probably motivated by short-term material gains to live a life of crime.

And here?
The main reason for people – young and old – opt for joining a group is to have somebody that can understand, rely on and open up to them. 

The main reason why people of all ages choose to join a group is to find others with similar interests, who...

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Free Posters Celebrating Mighty Women Role Models

The History of English

The English language spoken today has evolved over a period of approximately 1500 years, or better since the arrival of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes on the shores of England around the 5th century. 

They brought with them various Germanic languages that would gradually evolve into the English we speak today. 

During those 1500 years, the English language has added or ‘borrowed’ words from many other languages to create a rich, complex and sophisticated language. In some cases, an existing English word has been replaced with one from a different language, in other cases the new word has been added as a variation or alternative to the English original. 

English is now a language full of ‘loan words’.

Friday, 25 January 2019

ECPE Challenge Unit 6: Big Brother

By way of introduction to the topic of surveillance and privacy in this Unit, let's get one thing straight: Big Brother is not just the name of an inane reality TV show. In fact, that show takes its name from one of the best-known novels of the 20th century, George Orwell's 1984.

In case you are unfamiliar with the book, here is a simple video summary:

Now that you have grasped the story, can you see any similarities between the world described by Orwell and modern life? As the New Yorker magazine asks, "Are We Living in 1984?" Think about it, and help to make this post grow...

Posted by BP