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Listen&Learn: The Great Depression

14th October 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • recession: a period of economic decline
  • stocks: shares in ownership of a company
  • drought: a period of time with little rainfall
  • unemployed: without a job
  • prairie: a wide area of flat land
  • migrate: to move from one area to another
  • welfare program: a program meant to help people in poverty

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Great Depression was a worldwide economic recession. It began in 1929 in the United States, when the of stocks decreased drastically. People who had invested their savings lost a lot of , and an overall decrease in spending caused many Americans to lose their jobs. This downturn quickly began to affect the rest of the world, because the United States couldn’t afford to with other countries frequently. This was a particularly difficult time for American farmers, who were also dealing with harsh conditions like droughts and dust storms. Many unemployed farmers from the prairie states began to migrate west in hopes of finding work. Throughout the recession, the American government worked to build welfare programs to help unemployed people. These programs contributed to the end of the Great Depression in 1939, around the start of World War II.

Comprehension questions

1. The year 1929 was

Correct! Wrong!

The year 1929 was the start of the Great Depression.

2. The Great Depression was a difficult time for farmers because

Correct! Wrong!

The Great Depression was a difficult time for farmers because they had to deal with economic struggles as well as droughts.

3. The government supported unemployed people by providing

Correct! Wrong!

The government supported unemployed people by providing welfare programs.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. The economic state of the United States (and many other countries) has changed a lot since the Great Depression. Do you think such a disastrous recession could ever happen again? What factors could cause this?

Transcript

The Great Depression was a worldwide economic recession. It began in 1929 in the United States, when the value of stocks decreased drastically. People who had invested their savings lost a lot of money, and an overall decrease in spending caused many Americans to lose their jobs. This downturn quickly began to affect the rest of the world, because the United States couldn’t afford to trade with other countries frequently. This was a particularly difficult time for American farmers, who were also dealing with harsh climate conditions like droughts and dust storms. Many unemployed farmers from the prairie states began to migrate west in hopes of finding work. Throughout the recession, the American government worked to build welfare programs to help support unemployed people. These programs contributed to the end of the Great Depression in 1939, around the start of World War II.

Listen&Learn: The “Rabbit Island” in Japan

23rd September 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • populated: inhabited; occupied
  • tourist: someone who travels to and explores different places
  • ferry: a boat meant to carry passengers across a short distance
  • mainland: the area of land that forms the main part of a country
  • theory: an attempt to explain something

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Okunoshima, a small island off the of Japan, is a place mostly populated by rabbits. The island is a tourist destination for people who want to spend the day with cute animals. Tourists can reach this island by taking a ferry over from the mainland. Although Okunoshima is mostly known for the rabbits that live there today, it is also a very site. The island was once used to produce chemical weapons during World War II. Back then, these weapon factories were kept so secret that Okunoshima wasn’t even labelled on Japanese maps. Many people believe that the island’s rabbit population is related to this history. A theory is that the military once brought rabbits to the island to test chemicals on, and a few rabbits were into the wild. Today, over 1,000 rabbits live there, and the population is only growing.

Comprehension questions

1. Tourists come to visit Okunoshima because of

Correct! Wrong!

Tourists come to visit Okunoshima because of the large rabbit population.

2. People can travel from the mainland to Okunoshima by

Correct! Wrong!

People can travel from the mainland to Okunoshima by ferry.

3. During World War II, the island was used to

Correct! Wrong!

During World War II, the island was used to produce chemical weapons.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Although it may sound like fun to visit an island full of rabbits, tourism has caused unfortunate consequences. People who feed the rabbits are contributing to an overpopulation problem that is harmful to the island’s natural ecosystem. How could tourism be regulated to protect the ecosystem?

Transcript

Okunoshima, a small island off the coast of Japan, is a place mostly populated by rabbits. The island is a popular tourist destination for people who want to spend the day with cute animals. Tourists can reach this island by taking a ferry over from the mainland. Although Okunoshima is mostly known for the rabbits that live there today, it is also a very historical site. The island was once used to produce chemical weapons during World War II. Back then, these weapon factories were kept so secret that Okunoshima wasn’t even labelled on Japanese maps. Many people believe that the island’s rabbit population is related to this history. A common theory is that the military once brought rabbits to the island to test chemicals on, and a few rabbits were released into the wild. Today, over 1,000 rabbits live there, and the population is only growing.

Summary: To Kill a Mockingbird

22nd January 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • publish: to make something available to the public
  • racism:  poor treatment of a person or group because of their race
  • lawyer: someone who gives legal advice or defends people in court
  • backlash: a negative reaction from a large group of people

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Summary: To Kill a Mockingbird

In 1960, American author Harper Lee published her first , To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was made into an award-winning movie two years later. The story takes place in the 1930s. It follows a young girl named Scout who lives in Alabama. Scout to learn about racism in her time when her father, defence lawyer Atticus Finch, receives backlash for representing a black man in court. This is for Scout and her brother, Jem, because they have to deal with insults from their friends, , and even family members. During this time, Atticus teaches them to all people, regardless of race.

Comprehension questions

1. The novel was published in

Correct! Wrong!

The novel was published in 1960.

2. The main character of the story is named

Correct! Wrong!

The main character of the story is named Scout.

3. Atticus received backlash because

Correct! Wrong!

Atticus received backlash because he was representing a black man in court.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird is still taught in many schools today. Do you think the issues in this novel are still relevant? Why or why not?

Transcript

In 1960, American author Harper Lee published her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was made into an award-winning movie two years later. The story takes place in the 1930s. It follows a young girl named Scout who lives in Alabama. Scout begins to learn about racism in her time when her father, defence lawyer Atticus Finch, receives backlash for representing a black man in court. This is difficult for Scout and her brother, Jem, because they have to deal with insults from their friends, neighbours, and even family members. During this time, Atticus teaches them to respect all people, regardless of race.

Origin of the New Year’s Celebration

3rd January 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock
Happy New Year

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • celebrate: to honour a holiday with a party or ceremony
  • festive: cheerful and exciting, especially because of a holiday
  • resolution: a goal for the new year
  • improve: to become better in some way
  • take place: to happen
  • introduce: to put something new into use

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Origin of the New Year’s Celebration

Today, New Year’s is a festive holiday celebrated all the world. The tradition began 4,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, where the people celebrated each year with an 11-day . Even back then, people made New Year’s resolutions. They believed that making to improve themselves helped to make sure the gods would stay with the kingdom. During that time, the celebration took place in March, but a new was introduced over 1,000 years later in Ancient Rome. Since then, New Year’s has mostly been celebrated on January 1st.

Comprehension questions

1. The tradition of celebrating New Year's began

Correct! Wrong!

The tradition of celebrating New Year's began 4,000 years ago.

2. The people of ancient Mesopotamia made resolutions because

Correct! Wrong!

The people of ancient Mesopotamia made resolutions because they wanted to make the gods happy.

3. Originally, the New Year's celebration took place in

Correct! Wrong!

Originally, the New Year's celebration took place in March.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Do you have any resolutions this year? How do you plan to achieve them?

Transcript

The Origin of the New Year’s Celebration
Today, New Year’s is a festive holiday celebrated all around the world. The tradition began 4,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, where the people celebrated each year with an 11-day festival. Even back then, people made New Year’s resolutions. They believed that making promises to improve themselves helped to make sure the gods would stay happy with the kingdom. During that time, the celebration took place in March, but a new calendar was introduced over 1,000 years later in Ancient Rome. Since then, New Year’s has mostly been celebrated on January 1st.