Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year!

May the New Year bring all the health, happiness and light we need...

T&L wishes you a very happy 2016!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Very Merry Christmas!

"Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Down where the sea and the city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights keep shining on"

To all our friends, readers and visitors, the warmest wishes of a very MERRY CHRISTMAS, this year, every year!...

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

found pic @ Crosswalk
Thanksgiving is celebrated today, November 26th, as always in the fourth Thursday of this month, all across the USA and Canada and precedes Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days in the USA.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an Autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.


found pic @ mbeinstitute
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers - an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

found pic @ ucls-chicago
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

found pic @ Google images
Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

found pic @ fashionpill
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.


photo credits: US Embassy in London
Thanksgiving Day in the United Kingdom is celebrated as a harvest festival. This day is a religious honouring to convey a feeling of gratitude to God for the year's plentiful and fruitful harvest and thanking family and friends for their love and support. The day is celebrated by preparing a special meal of large roasted turkey, which is a native American species, along with cranberry sauce, stuffing, with veggies. A variety of different pies with apple, mincemeat, pumpkin and pecan form the dessert menu. Gifts are also exchanged on this day which include flowers, jewellery, baked cookies, candy and wine. 
Many towns and cities stage spectacular parades on this day. Many people are on the roads to enjoy the decorated floats, the costumes, the music and the heavy balloons.

Source:  The History Channel (abridged and adapted)

You may also check relevant multimedia resources on this topic @:
You can get ELT resources (further info, lesson plans, printables, posters, slideshows, recipes, graphs, crafts, colouring pictures and greeting cards) on the topic @:

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!

A very eerie and sweet Halloween for all T&L followers and readers. 
A sweet "witchy hug" for my friends, who made my best Halloween moments ever. 
Below you can watch the story of Winnie, the Witch. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Happy Birthday! T&L is 4 years old.

Teaching & Learning was born four years ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon! It doesn't seem so long ago, and yet so many things have changed...
Our main targets were: giving suggestions of ELT resources and Web 2.0 tools applied to English language teaching, gathering some practical examples of students' work and discussing their relevance/success in class context, creating an interaction tool with Students/ other Teachers and, above all,  keeping close to Steve Jobs motto: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” as we believe work can be done with pleasure and it can be much better if we don’t forget about laughing, enjoying and adding a pinch of foolishness!
Let's now hope T&L audience continues to grow every day, 
Thank you for reading Teaching & Learning, for supporting it and above all for being here!
Four years and counting… STAY HUNGRY. STAY FOOLISH. 


Let's celebrate down old sweet memory lane...

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

T&L Summer Break 2015

It has been a year full of new experiences. Now it is high time to have a break and relax so that we can face the new school year with perseverance, energy and creativity.
If you are on holiday, too, enjoy it to the fullest. If you are not, we hope your August is calm and pleasant. Either way, see you soon!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A very happy 'São João'!

found pic @ Meus Escritos
Every year, on the night of 23rd June, my city - Porto - becomes lively and crazier than ever. Thousands of people come to the centre and to the most traditional neighborhoods to pay a tribute to São João Baptista, in a party that mixes sacred and profane traditions.
The festivities have been held in the city for more than six centuries, yet it was during the 19th century that Saint John's day became impregnated in the city's culture and assumed the status of the city's most important festival.
In fact, the party starts early in the evening of 23rd June and usually lasts until the morning of 24th. The traditional attractions of the night include street concerts, popular dancing parties, jumping over flames, eating barbecued sardines and meat, drinking wine, vases of swet basil with rhymes (manjericos), releasing illuminated flame-propelled balloons over Porto's summer sky and hitting people in the head with small plastic hammers (martelinhos) or with wild leek (alho porro).
found pic @ EHMA
At midnight the partygoers make a short break to look at the sky at Saint John's firework spectacle. The show is increasingly sophisticated with the fireworks being associated with themes and multimedia shows. 
The party has sacred roots but is also mixed with pagan traditions, with the fireworks embodying the spirit of tribute to the sun. 
One could expect the firework to be the climax and mark the end of the festivities. Yet, it is quite common for us to keep celebrating until 3 or 4 in the morning. Younger people take it even a step further. They walk from Porto's riverside core - Ribeira (for instance the parish of São Nicolau up to the seaside in Foz or to Matosinhos where they wait for the sunrise near the sea! So, let's go because I'm expecting this weekend to be memorable!
Source: Wikipedia (abridged and adapted)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

May 13th - Our Lady of Fátima's Day

Today is a very special day. 98 years ago, three shepherd children experienced the apparition of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, at Fátima. The three children were Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The apparitions at Fátima were officially declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church. Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima events. John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following an assassination attempt on the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima, 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him to the Roman Catholic sanctuary at Fátima, Portugal and it was placed in the crown of the Virgin's statue.
On May 13, 1917, Lúcia described seeing a lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun". While they had never spoken to anyone about the angel, Jacinta divulged her sightings to her family despite Lucia's admonition to keep this experience private. Her disbelieving mother told neighbors as a joke, and within a day the whole village knew. Further appearances were reported on June 13 and July 13. In these, the lady asked the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation and make personal sacrifices to save sinners. According to Lúcia's account, the lady also confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima.

To know more about Our Lady of Fátima and this special place, visit the page Santuário de Fátima.