Monday, November 4, 2013


In Flanders Fields is a poem written by a Canadian, John McCrae. He wrote it during the World War in 1915.  He was sad when he wrote it. He wrote it after a close friend died in the war. John McCrae never returned from the war. He died of pneumonia in France. It was 1918 and the last year of war.

John McCrae wrote the poem by the grave of his friend. His friend and hundreds of other Canadian soldiers are buried in the cemetery, Flanders Fields, in France. He begins the poem,

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row

 I learned In Flanders Fields in school as a young girl. My mother learned it in school as a young girl and my daughter did too. It is a famous poem read for Remembrance Day.

Now you will learn more about Remembrance Day
  • First, go to search in the right margin.
  • Type the words, Remembrance Day.
  • Then choose "Scavenger Hunt".
  • Finally, find the answers to the questions.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hot, Dry Summer

Real Canadian English will be 'on vacation' this summer and will be back with new posts in September. Prepare for a hot, dry summer in Canada. Here is a forecast for the July, August and early September. Also, learn some interesting facts about Canadian weather. Press here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers.  Canada and parts of the world have had an unpredictable winter. Canada had an unusually mild winter while some places in Europe were unusually cold. Now spring is here. What is your weather prediction for the spring?

I was looking at some older posts. I thought you might like to see, Speaking: The Weather. Yes, it offers some common words and expressions for talking about weather. Also, it includes a video and on April 9, 2009, Toronto had snow! So enjoy those beautiful spring days because the temperatures can be up or down. And if too many rainy days get you down...... remember, April showers bring May flowers.

Try April 2009, Speaking: The Weather 

Friday, March 16, 2012

What would you do for millions of dollars?

This short film, Black Button, has been around for awhile. It's a bit scary, but the message is clear. The young man must make a choice. What choice would you make?

1.  What does the man behind the desk have in the briefcase?

2.  What must the younger man do to receive the briefcase?

3.  What other object does the older man offer?

4.  What does this object do?

5.  What are three questions the younger man asks before making his decision?

6.  Do you like the ending? Why?

7.  Is there anything you would give up for a lot of money?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day

                                           Happy Valentine's Day !

In Canada, many people celebrate Valentine's Day. It is not a paid holiday or a religious holiday.  People go to work or school as usual. It is a day to be romantic. Many couples celebrate Valentine's Day in the evening. Even the young children show their love. They give Valentine cards to their classmates and teacher.

What do you know about Valentine's Day? Try this quiz.

1.   Roses are a) romantic  b) a kind of flower  c) both

2.   Valentine was  a) a Roman Emperor  b)  a god of love  c)  a saint

3.   Cupid is  a)  a kind of flower   b)  a very good person 
       c)  the god of love

4.   What does Cupid shoot at people?  a)  hearts   b)  arrows
       c)  chocolates

5.   In a Leap Year,  how many days does February have?

6.   Canadians send  a)  thousands  b)  millions  c)  billions   of cards

7.   The most popular colour for roses on Valentine's Day is 
       a)  yellow  b)  pink  c)  red

8.   A Valentine's  gift that smells good is .......

9.   Another popular gift tastes sweet and comes in a box.
           Do you know what it is?

10. Do you know this saying?  True love is for  a)  fairy tales
           b)  movies   c) lovers 

Other posts for Valentine's Day: 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Toy Story: Andy's Toys

Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 are three popular animation movies. Andy grows up in these movies. He starts as a young boy in Toy Story 1. In the final movie, Andy is getting ready to go to college. Woody and Buzz Lightyear are Andy's favourite toys.

Many children had these toys when they were growing up. Here is a comparison of the old and new Woody and Buzz.  Which do you prefer? The old or new Woody? The old or new Buzz?

Toy Story 1, 2, 3

Did you see all three animation movies? I did and so did my children. My teenage kids grew up on Toy Story. Around fifteen years ago, Toy Story 1 was introduced. In 1995, computer animation was new and exciting. Toy Story 2 came to the theatres in 1999 and the final movie came out in 2010. In the first movie, the main character, Andy, is a young boy and in the last movie, Andy is all grown up and ready to go to college. In real time, the young viewers of the first Toy Story are about college age now.

For many North American children born in the nineties, their childhood memories include Andy's toys. Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 are about the adventures of Andy's toys. In Toy Story 3, the toys are worried because Andy must decide what to do with his childhood toys.

Here is an introduction to Andy's toys. Try this quick quiz on Toy Story.

1. Woody is a cowboy. True/False
2. Buzz Lightyear is an action figure. True/False
3. Buzz and Woody are Andy's favourite toys. True/False
4. Mr Potato Head is married. True/False
5. Rex is a dinosaur and Ham is a pig. True/False
6. Woody's girlfriend is the cowgirl called Jessie. True/False

Was this an easy quiz? I hope so because all the sentences are true!

In this video, you see the people behind Toy Story. They talk about making Toy Story and enjoy being back together for Toy Story 3. Like Andy, they too are a lot older. After you watch this, try the listening quiz below.

1. The director, Lee Unkrich, says
a) Toy Story is a classic.
b) I love these characters.
c) The actors are old now.

2. The producer, Darla Anderson, says
a) Woody and Buzz Lightyear are a great duo.
b) The characters are beloved.
c) Both of the above.

3. The actor, Tom Hanks, says
a) The story is full of misadventure.
b) Toy Story has humour and love.
c) Playing Buzz has been fun.

4. The actor, Tim Allen, says
a) The actors have become friends.
b) The characters are part of the culture.
c) Hanks doesn't know his lines.

5. Woody, Andy's oldest toy, says
a) Some day Andy will finish college.
b) Some day Andy might return home.
c) Some day Andy might have kids.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where's the Snow?

It's the middle of January and the temperatures are above zero.  What season is it in Toronto?  Winter?  Where is the snow?  Where are the blizzards? Hmmmm.........

Today it rained all day, yet we usually have snow by now. Most years, the first snowfall is in November but it melts. Sometimes, we have fresh white snow for the Christmas holidays. Usually, the snow starts to cover the ground in December or January. We can have snowstorms into March, and there are even blizzards in April some years. Canadian weather is difficult to predict!

Winter 2009, there was lots of snow. Take a look at January, 2009.  Press the two titles below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music Monday: Christmas Carols

Jingle Bells............... Can you finish the line?   How about this one? Silent night..........  You can sing these Christmas carols this holiday season, or maybe you prefer to listen to recordings of them. Also, it's always a treat to hear choirs singing the Christmas carols.

 Here is my favourite, The Christmas Song, by Nat King Cole. He did several versions of this song from the forties, fifties and the early 1960's. Unfortunately he was a smoker and died young, but his song continues on each Christmas.

I'm not the only person who loves this song. In 2004, The Christmas Song was the most popular holiday song with women age 30 to 49.*  So, why is it my favourite? My father loved to play this song, and I guess the next generation can't help but enjoy this gifted singer's voice and his wonderful song.

Listen again and follow the words. It's full of Christmas tradition.

How much do you know about holiday traditions?
 True=T   False=F

1.   Many people roast nuts called chestnuts in the fireplace.   T/ F

2.   Jack Frost is ice cold, but he is not a real person.   T/F

3.   Goose is more popular than turkey for Christmas dinner.   T/F

4.   The mistletoe plant is hung at a door for people to kiss under.  T/ F

5.   The young children believe in Santa Claus.      T/F

6.   Santa brings toys and candies to the good boys and girls.      T/F

7.  The excited children look in the sky for Santa and Mrs. Claus.   T/F

8.   Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are popular greetings.    T/F

* From Edison Media Research: What we learned from testing Christmas music in 2004

Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday: The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a popular song because it easy for people of all ages to sing. It starts, 
"The first day of Christmas, 
my true love gave to me....." 

Each day for twelve days this lucky woman receives a special gift. The words are easy, but it is difficult to remember all twelve gifts and the order of the gifts. Listen to the song, then see if you can remember the twelve gifts.

1.   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   a pair of pear trees
b)   a partridge in a pair tree
c)   a  piper piping

2.    On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   two turtle drums
b)   two French hens
c)   two turtle doves

3.   On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   three French hens
b)   three free chickens
c)   three Lords a leaping

4.   On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   four French birds 
b)    four cawing birds
c)    four calling birds

5.   On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   five olden rings
b)   five gold rings
c)   five golden rings

6.    On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)    six maids a milking
b)    six geese a laying
c)    six geese swimming

7.    On the seventh day of  Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)    seven swans a laying
b)    seven swans a swimming
c)    seven geese a swimming

8.   On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   eight ladies singing
b)   eight maidens leaping
c)   eight maids a milking

9.   On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   nine ladies leaping
b)   nine ladies dancing
c)   nine lads a leaping

10.  On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)   ten lads a leaping
b)   ten ladies  a singing
c)   ten lords a leaping

11.  On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)  eleven pipers playing
b)  eleven pipers piping
c)   eleven piping pipers

12.  On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a)  twelve runners running
b)  twelve pipers piping
c)  twelve drummers drumming

****lords and laidies are part of the high society of England