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The Wonderful World of Disney December 20, 2010

Posted by americanex in English Club.
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Last Sunday, we dedicated our English Club to talk about Walt Disney. And who reminds us most of Walt Disney? Why, Mickey Mouse of course! See the photos below to see how much fun we had!

When I was a little girl in America, Sunday night was a special night. At my house, our family would gather together in front of the television to watch The Wonderful World of Disney.

The Wonderful World of Disney was a television program that played movies made by the Walt Disney Company. The movies were always heart warming, funny and perfect for adults and children.

The Walt Disney Company has grown bigger and bigger since I was a little girl. It now includes Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Stores, The Disney Production Company…the list goes on and on.

Walt Disney was more than just the company he created, he was a man with a dream. When he was young, he studied art. He dreamt of working in animation.

Mr. Disney was born in Chicago in 1901 but his family soon moved to  Missouri, and that is where he grew up. As a child, he loved art and nature. At 18 years old, he joined the Red Cross and served his country  during the war by driving an ambulance in France.

When Mr. Disney returned home to America, he packed his suitcase and with $20 in his pocket, he headed to Hollywood. In 1932 he made is first color cartoon called Flowers and Trees. In 1937 he made The Old Mill. But it wasn’t until 1937 that he won acclaim with his full length animated musical feature – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

When Snow White was first released, the United States was deep in the Depression. Still, the film made and unbelievable $1,499,000!

Mr. Disney’s next movies were Pinocchio., Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. Then, in 1954 he launched his television program, The Wonderful World of Disney. His program was one of the first to be televised in color in 1961.

Another of Mr. Disney’s dreams was to create a clean, well-organized amusement park. That dream came true in 1955 when he opened Disneyland Park.

Let’s talk about Mickey Mouse now – the most famous of Walt Disney’s characters and the spokesperson for Disney World and Disneyland.

Mickey Mouse was born in 1928. His first movie as a screen star was Steamboat Willie. It was a “talkie,” meaning, the characters actually talked. This was all new and exciting in 1928!

In 1955, Mickey Mouse had his own television show – the Mickey Mouse Club, which included young children who sang and danced. They were called Mouseketeers.

To see a clip of the Mickey Mouse Club, click on the link below.Guess who was once a Mickey Mouse Mouseketeer? Justin Timberlake!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNK5KzI48mM

I have often heard it said that Walt Disney is an “icon” of the America Dream. The success his parks, television shows, cartoons and family fun is equal to no other in the world.  We are lucky Mr. Disney followed his dream.

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New Year’s Day Superstitions December 9, 2010

Posted by americanex in holidays, Uncategorized.
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There are many New Year’s traditions in both America and Ukraine. But have you ever thought about the New Year’s superstitions? There are many! Below are a few we have in America.

  • It is good luck to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  It is said that the person who eats the peas will have good luck and financial riches. Where in the world did this superstition come from, you ask? Well back in the days of the early frontier, when many parts of the United States was unsettled, p, black-eyed peas were fed to cows because they were cheap and plentiful. One very harsh winter, supplies could not make it to the early pioneers and rather than starve to death, they ate the black-eyed peas meant for the cattle and they survived.
  • When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, everyone makes a lot of noise. People blow on horns, cheer, set off fireworks. Why? It is believed that the noise scares away evil spirits and you then can start the New Year free from evil. It was believed that evil spirits hate loud noises.  Although today most people do not believe in evil spirits, the tradition to make noise at midnight has stayed with us.

  • Kissing at midnight is another superstition. In olden times it was believed that if you kiss your true love at midnight on new Year’s Eve, you will live with have love and happiness all year-long.

  • Do not lend money on New Year’s Day because if you do, you will be loaning money out to people all year-long. Also, do not pay off a loan on New Year’s Day for the same reason – you will be paying on loans all year-long.

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  • Don’t wash dishes or clothes on New Year’s Day. Why?  Because if you do, you will loose a loved one. They will be washed away from you forever. 

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  •  To insure you will work successfully, or be successful at work all year, make sure you do successful work on New Year’s Day. But don’t work too much…if you do, you will be working constantly all year-long.
  • Make sure you do not cry on New Year’s Day. If you do, you set the tone for the whole year….you will be crying and sad all year long.

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  • Don’t break anything on New Year’s Day – not a dish, not a toy, nothing. Because breaking something will mean that you will have bad luck for a year.
  • At midnight on New Year’s Eve, open your windows. The superstition  is you must open your windows so you can let the old year out and the new year in.

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  • Don’t take anything out of your house. If you need to empty the trash or garbage, do it before New Year’s Day. Otherwise, you will have people leaving you or you will be losing things all year. So do not let anything go out of your house on New Year’s Day….including you. Someone must step foot in your home before you step foot outside!

Are there any New Year’s Day superstitions in Ukraine? Send me an email and I will publish them on this blog!

People with Disabilities December 7, 2010

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.
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I am from America, and in America we have people from every corner of the world. There are people from Mexico, China, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Canada and Hungary to name a few. There are old people, young people, rich people and poor people. There are also a lot of disabled people.

What does it mean to be disabled? It means that a person has either a physical problem, such as they cannot hear, see, speak or walk. It also includes people who have a mental problem such as Autism or mental retardation. Or they can have a problem learning which is called developmental delay. A disability can be:

physical

mental

sensory

emotional

developmental

People can be born with a disability, or it can occur from an accident or injury to their brain. There are 54 million people with some type of disability living in America. And of that number, 6 million are school children with a disability.

I recently went to School #18 with another Librarian to speak with students in the 7th form about disabilities. Some pictures from our visit are below. We talked about many things, including the many organizations in America that work to help people with disabilities. There are 1,500,000 different public charities organizations in the United States.  For example:

  • American Association of People with Disabilities – this organization helps to make laws that protect people with disabilities. There are many laws in America that insure people with disabilities are not discriminated against – to make sure they can get a job no matter what their disability is. And there are laws to insure that people can enter public and private buildings even if they cannot walk.
  • Easter Seals – provides services, education and outreach so people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in any community in the United States. Easter Seals has 13,000 people working to help disabled people, as well as thousands and thousands of volunteers.
  • TDI – Which stands for Telecommunications for the Deaf. This organization promotes equal access to media for deaf people. So people who cannot hear can still use a phone with special technology.
  • Special Olympics – The Special Olympics is an international organization started in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It began with the idea to bring together mentally disabled people to compete in games on Ms. Shriver’s lawn. The next event was well-organized and held at Chicago’s Soldier’s Field where normally baseball is played. Today, more than 3 million athletes of all ages from more than 170 countries compete in the Special Olympics. The Oath and Motto of the Special Olympics is:

    “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

In 2005, the Summer games were held in Japan; the 2007 Summer games were held in China; the 2009 Winter games were held in America; and the 2011 Summer games will be held in Greece.

Many laws are written to help and protect people with disabilities; it includes the ADA and the EEOC.

The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was established in 1990. This Act is a group of laws that provide equal opportunity and protection under the law for disabled people. The laws ensure that disabled people can have employment, transportation, state and local government services, rights around housing, education, voting and access to public accommodations.

The EEOC is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing Federal Laws that make it illegal to discriminate against people due to their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.

I believe that disabled people are treated with respect in the United States because the our government established laws to protect the rights of the disabled and enforces penalties for breaking these laws.

New Words to Learn

(for help learning these words, click on www.mirriam-webster.com)

disabled

disability

Autism

mental retardation

developmental delay

organization

discriminated

charities

access

promotes

Olympics

enforces

accommodations