July 4th: History and celebrations

July 4th: History and celebrations

July 4th, 1776 was the day 13 British colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and formed a new nation. Learn about the history of the US from an American and a Brit. (Do you think we’ll agree?) We’ll also show you how we celebrate July 4th today.

You’ll hear why, in our opinions, we think:
– Americans wanted a divorce from Great Britain
– the founding fathers were treasonous/brave/far-sighted
– taxation without representation was the core issue (or not)

We’ll also describe how we celebrate today with things like parades, street parties and fireworks.
And along the way they’ll share some of their favourite (and easy) traditional recipes for a great July 4th party.

July 4th is Independence Day in the US.
And it’s a public holiday. So in this video we’ll look at what American’s are celebrating and how they celebrate it.
They’re celebrating leaving Great Britain.
So in this video you’ll hear our different opinions about the history.
And we’ll show you how we like to celebrate the holiday today.
This is going to be our very personal take on history.
Vicki’s British and I’m American so we’ll probably disagree.
Back in 1776, there was no United States. But down the East coast there were 13 British colonies.
Now, on July 4th 1776 – the 13 colonies declared independence from Great Britain and came together to become a new country.
So basically they committed treason. Treason is the crime where you’re disloyal to your country or its government.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
So the declaration of independence was basically a divorce document.
So why did you want a divorce from us?
Well, you were making us pay taxes when we didn’t have any representatives in the British parliament. We had taxation with no representation.
OK, here’s the thing.
You didn’t stay in the colonies. You kept moving west and claiming more land, land where Native Americans were living, and land the French said they owned. You caused a war.
She means the French and Indian war. It happened earlier.
Yeah, and we helped you win it. And it cost money and the British taxpayers had to pay for it. And when we said, ‘Hey, Americans, can you contribute too’, you said ‘No, we’re not paying taxes.’
Well, you didn’t fight the war for us. You were just interested in trade and making money.
So the one key thing to remember about this is ‘taxation without representation’, and that was the cry going forward.
They had a lot of cries going forward.
A cry going forward is like a battle cry. It’s a phrase that a group of people use to encourage one another when they’re working and fighting together.
I mean I think they had quite a lot to complain about because you had Great Britain with King George and Lord North was the Prime Minister at the time, and in order to… to administer the colonies, you had to rely on boats, sailing boats. So if you needed a new law, or you needed to appoint someone new then you would have to put a letter on a ship, and wait for them to respond and then it would have to come back, so it was a kind of inefficient way, I guess, to govern.
Well, worse than that, there was a British governor in each of the thirteen colonies, not an American.
Well, you had a lot of local government though as well, and some of the people that the British governors were appointing were of the colonies.
Well right, they were British loyalists.
What? Hang on, that’s another thing, isn’t it. It wasn’t that all Americans felt one way. You were very divided. There were a lot of people who wanted to stay connected to Great Britain and actually, that’s what the Declaration of Independence is about. It’s a list of complaints about the British government and it’s designed to remind Americans what they were fighting for. It had to unite them.
So that was the job of the founding fathers.
You’ll hear that phrase a lot. The founding fathers. And they’re a group of men who included people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson…
And Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin.
From Philadelphia.
And they set up the government and created the government of the United States.
These men knew that what they were doing would be treason in Great Britain. It was really dangerous. They would be killed if the British caught them. The Founding fathers were very brave and far-sighted.
Far-sighted means they understood what might happen in the future
They thought ahead and planned for it. It was pretty far-sighted in the eighteenth century to say all men are created equal.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
And the rest is history.
We fought the British until 1781 and we won.
Thankfully those wars are all over. And now July 4th is an excuse for a great party.
We do have wonderful celebrations. We have parades in every town, every big city.
What is a parade?
Oh, a parade is groups of people who are performing as they march down the street. Sometimes there are high school bands. And there are fire trucks and firemen. In every town, in every city, there’s a parade of some kind.
Have you ever been in a parade?
Oh yes I have.
Really? I didn’t know this.
Well, when I was a young boy I was in the boy scouts, and we marched in parades in our city. We marched perfectly. We were terrific marchers.
OK. And then outside the cities, often there are fair grounds, aren’t there?
Oh yes, it’s a wonderful time to have amusement rides, and fun foods that you would eat?
Oh what?
Well we have funnel cakes. Funnel cakes are basically dough covered by confectioner’s sugar.
OK, I’ll tell you what else you have. Candy floss?
She means cotton candy.
OK, but you would eat that?
I certainly would.
And what about snow cones. I don’t know what they are.
Oh, well, snow cones are crushed ice dipped in a flavored syrup of some kind.
So are they sorbets?
No, not at all. It’s just crushed ice dipped in syrup.
Oh right. OK.
You have to have cold drinks on July 4th because it’s really hot.
This is one of our favourites.
The trick is to freeze cubes of water melon.
And then you put them in here with some fruit juice and whizz them up.
You can also make that drink with lime juice and make water melon margaritas.
So for us in Philadelphia, there’s a big parade in the morning, and then there’s a big party on the Parkway.
The Parkway (the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) runs from City Hall all the way to the Art Museum. It’s a very wide boulevard, modelled partly after the Champs Elysees in Paris.
There are lots of street vendors. Vendors are people who sell things. So they might sell food or drinks, and other stuff.
Basically it’s about a lot of people having a lot of fun.
There’s usually some great dancing that’s going on. You get a lot of local performers there. And then in the evening, in front of the Art Museum, they have famous artists performing in concerts.
Some of them included Pit Bull last year, Nicki Minaj.
Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and it’s all for free.
And back in the day they had people like the Beach Boys.
The Isley Brothers.
And we’ve been out there and people are dancing in the streets, we” we’ve been dancing in the streets.
It’s a lot of fun.
But not this year.
Because of the corona virus, the celebrations are happening online.
Normally we have friends around for a party and we cook a lot of food.
Yes. The traditional food, I think, is hot dogs and hamburgers.
You got it.
And Jay makes lots of hamburgers. You make a big batch.
A batch is a large amount of food that’s produced at one time.
What is your secret ingredient?
Ah, the secret ingredient is… don’t tell anybody, OK? The secret ingredient is a little teriyaki sauce, a little bit of garlic powder, and a little bit of oREGano, or as you would say, oreGAno.
That’s right. And then I take them up to the roof deck and cook them on the grill.
And I make lots of salads, so green salads, tomato salads, coleslaw.
And don’t forget my favorite.
Builder’s salad.
Builders salad. What’s in a builder’s salad.
We call it a builder’s salad. I don’t know why. Basically it’s just all the vegetables you can find in your fridge, and you chop them up and you mix them with mayonnaise and it’s lovely.
Except we use vegan mayonnaise with the vegetables, so I can eat it too.
But the big, big, big finale of July 4th is fireworks, right?
The Art Museum’s just over there. They have a hige fireworks display and we can see it from here.
This year, unfortunately, there’ll be no fireworks.
But we can have some sparklers.
On our deck. Happy July 4th.
Happy fourth.
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storytelling past continuous dog rescue stories

Storytelling, the past continuous and dog rescue stories

Watch 4 true dog rescue stories about puppies found on the streets of Manila and learn how their lives turned around. You’ll see sick little puppies transform into happy healthy dogs and learn how to tell a great story in English at the same time.

To tell a good story you’re going to need the past simple and the past continuous. The past simple is great for describing the main events in a story but the past continuous adds extra information that can bring a story to life.
It’s useful for setting the scene and describing the background, so it’s great for giving reasons, and explaining why things happened. And it can also explain the timing of events.
You can use it to describe:
– when actions happened – so actions that were going on around a point in time.
– things that were happening at the same time – simultaneous actions
– actions that got interrupted – long actions that were stopped by another shorter action
In short, the past continuous helps make stories better!

Everyone likes listening to a good story, but can you tell a good story?
Story telling is a really useful skill.
It gets you invited to lots of dinner parties.
And it’s useful at work too. Sometimes stories are a good way to explain why you want to do something.
So today we’re looking at a grammar structure that will help you tell a good story.The past continuous.
Also known as the past progressive.
And we have some great stories for you as well.
We have four special stories today.
They’re all about dogs and puppies, and they’re all set in Manila in the Philippines.
And they’re all true stories.
And very heart warming.
Let’s jump straight in and hear the first one.
See if you can spot examples of the past continuous.

Meet June. Today he’s a very happy dog, but his life used to be very different. Two years ago, when he was just a puppy, he was living on the streets of Manilla. He had wounds all over his body and he was drinking water from the ground.
People scared him and he didn’t like it when a dog catcher picked him up. But that was when his life turned around. He spent a month at the vet’s getting better and then he went home with Hazel, his new owner. Now he’s probably the most fashionable dog in Manila.

Past simple vs past continuous

Did you spot the past continuous?
I was just looking at the dog. He was so cute.
I know it’s hard to think about grammar when you’re focused on a story, but let’s see what happened.
Most of the time when we’re talking about things that happened in the past, we use the past simple.
It’s pretty straight forward. You add -ed to the main verb, you form the negative with didn’t and irregular verbs have special forms.
But we heard another past tense form too: the past continuous. We can use it to talk about actions that were in progress at a specific time in the past, so here it’s 2 years ago.
We form the past continuous with the past form of the verb be – so was or were – and then the -ing form of the main verb.
I have a question for you. Why do we say had here and not was having?
It’s because the verb have describes a state here, not an action. State verbs don’t normally have continuous forms. We’ve made another video about that if you’re interested.
I have another question.
Why do we use the past continuous when we’re telling stories? Why not use the past simple all the time?
Great question. The past simple works well when we want to list things that happened. But stories get more interesting when we use the past continuous too, so the past simple AND continuous.
Why’s that?
The past continuous brings stories alive. It adds extra information and helps us paint pictures in our mind. Let’s hear some more examples.

It was a busy day in Manila. The sun was shining and everyone was hurrying to work. Michael decided to take a different route to college, and something caught his eye.
A young puppy was limping along the road. He looked very sick and he was starving.
Michael found him some food and water, but he couldn’t afford to adopt him because he was supporting both himself and his younger brother through school.
So he turned to his friends for help. He posted a message on Facebook with a map of the dog’s location and asked everyone to share it.
The message made its way to the US where Geri picked it up. She contacted her friends in the Philippines and found someone to take Jay to the vet.
Jay was suffering from mange, a skin disease that made him lose his fur. He was always scratching because his skin was itchy, but not any more. Jay was adopted by Ninfa and just look at him now. What a bundle of lovely white fur and what a happy dog!

Hey that dog has the same name as me!
Yes, they called him Jay because apparently, in Chinese culture, the letter J is lucky.
He was a very lucky dog.
Indeed. But let’s look at how the we used the two past forms.

Storytelling and the past continuous

Notice how the story started. The sun was shining, everyone was hurrying to work. We often use the past continuous like this at the start of stories to set the scene. We use it to give the background and context for the story, and then when the action starts, we switch. For the events in the story we use the past simple.
But when we’re describing a scene, we use the past continuous, like this. The past continuous paints a picture of what things were like, so it’s very effective at the start of stories.
And another thing. Sometimes we want to give reasons and explain why something happened or didn’t happen. The past continuous is useful for that too. We use it to give context, so here we learn why Michael couldn’t adopt Jay. He was he was supporting himself and his brother through school.
Michael couldn’t afford to adopt Jay because he was supporting both himself and his younger brother through school.
Another example. Why did Jay lose his fur? It was because he was suffering from mange. So ‘he lost his fur’ is an event but we use the past continuous to give the background and explain why.
So the past continuous sets the scene and gives context to a story.
That’s a good way of thinking about it. Past simple for the events. Past continuous for the context and background.
And the past continuous can tell you about the timing of events.
What do you mean?
Well, let’s watch another example.

Erika was a stray dog that visited the parking lot outside Fernando’s office. She was super friendly and loved to be petted.
Every day, when Fernando was going into work, Erika was sitting outside, waiting to greet him. And when he was leaving at night she was there again, waiting to follow him to his car and watch him drive away.
Then one day, Erika showed up with a friend, Chance. Chance was very thin and he was suffering from mange. Fernando was worried about how sick he was. He knew he wouldn’t survive long on the streets, so he decided to take them both to the vet.
It was easy to persuade Erika to get into the car. She trusted him, but Chance was frightened. But by the end of the day, he’d relaxed. He seemed to know he was safe.
Fernando adopted both of them and today Chance is a very happy dog and a lot fatter. Sadly Erika passed away last year, but Chance still lives with Fernando and some of other stray dogs that Fernando has rescued.

So Erica has died.
Yeah. She had a special place in Fernando’s heart.
We know how he feels.
It’s tough when a dog dies. I still think of Carter all the time.
Carter was a dog we had that died.
Notice we have two actions happening at the same time here. We can use the past continuous for both actions and it shows they were happening simultaneously. That can be useful when you’re telling a story.
When we use the continuous form of a verb, it can express duration and repetition. So it indicates an action continued for a length of time, and possibly that it happened again and again. And that’s what we’re seeing here. Two actions happened simultaneously and also repeatedly. Fernando kept going to work and leaving and Erika was always there.
You could switch the word ‘when’ for ‘while’ in this sentence and it would mean the same thing. And you could also change the order of the two clauses and it would mean the same thing as well. These are two long actions that were happening at the same time.
So the past continuous adds information about timing. It shows an action had length and duration.
We’ll often use the past continuous for long actions and the past simple for short ones.
And that can be very useful for telling stories.
How come?
Sometimes long actions get interrupted or stopped by short ones.
We need another example. Let’s have our last story.

Nobody knows what happened to Bella. She was probably hit by a car while she was crossing the street.
When Lance and Anzhelika found her she was lying at the side of the road and she couldn’t move.
They took her to the vet but the news was bad. Bella had a spine injury and the vet said she would never walk again. So Lance and Anzhelika found a solution. Bella is mobile again and look at that smile!

What a great story!
She’s amazing.
It started so badly but then it had a happy ending.
And we had some great examples of the past continuous.
The long action here is ‘Bella was crossing the street’. And it was interrupted and stopped by a short action. She was hit by a car.
Notice we use the past continuous for the long action and the past simple for the short one.
This is another sentence where you could reverse the two clauses and the meaning would stay the same.
And also, you could change ‘while’ for ‘when’ here. But notice that you couldn’t say ‘while she was hit by a car’.
We can use ‘when’ with the short action or long action. But we only use ‘while’ with long actions.
Another example. The long action here was ‘lying’. When they found Bella they picked her up and took her to the vet, so the long action was interrupted or stopped by the short one. Past continuous – past simple.
I think we need a quick summary.
That sounds good.
OK, to tell a good story you’re going to need the past simple AND the past continuous. The past simple is great for telling the main events in a story but the past continuous adds extra information that can bring a story to life.
It’s useful for setting the scene and describing the background. So it’s great for giving reasons, and explaining why things happened.
And it also describes the timing of events.
You can use it to describe when actions happened – so actions that were going on around a point in time.
And to describe things that were happening at the same time – simultaneous actions
And to describe actions that got interrupted – long actions that were stopped by another shorter action
In short, the past continuous makes stories better!
We want to say thank you to all the lovely dog rescuers who have let us share their stories in today’s videos.
They were so inspiring.
If you’ve enjoyed them, please give this video thumbs up and share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our future videos.
Bye everyone.

what's inside a Christmas cracker

What’s inside a Christmas cracker? Let’s see!

What are Christmas crackers? They’re a British tradition. Just about everyone has a cracker with their Christmas meal.

And what’s inside a Christmas cracker? Watch us pull a cracker and we’ll show you. You’ll also learn some Christmas cracker vocabulary along the way.

There are always three things in a cracker – a paper hat, a joke and a novelty.

We’ll show you hats that don’t fit, corny cracker jokes with puns that will make you groan and some typical Christmas cracker novelties.

You’ll learn the history of Christmas crackers and lots of vocabulary like puns, corny and fickle.

Click here to see another video about Christmas traditions. 

What’s inside a Christmas Cracker?

Do you know what this is?
Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
We’re going to tell you about a British tradition today.
And you’re going to learn lots of vocabulary along the way.
This is a British Christmas cracker and it’s an important part of a British Christmas dinner.
They’re not a tradition in the US, though Vicki’s found some in the stores here.
Yes. But I never know if I’ll be able to find them here so I get them delivered from England, just to be sure we’ll have them.
She orders them every year.
They’re very pretty. Sometimes we put them on the Christmas tree as decorations, but when we’re having our Christmas meal everyone gets a cracker.
Cracker means something different in American English.
What’s that?
Well, it’s something you eat. This is a cracker.
We call them crackers in British English too.
And we also have firecrackers They’re fireworks that go bang!
We usually call them bangers. But I think the explosion is how crackers got their name.
In 1847 there was a confectioner in London called Tom Smith. A confectioner is someone who makes cakes and sweets.
She means candy.
He introduced London to French bon-bons, sweets wrapped in paper and tied with a twist. And they were very popular. He had competition though, so to increase sales he added a motto – a little piece of paper with a message.
Like you find inside a Chinese fortune cookies.
Then later, Tom Smith had another idea. He took out the sweet and put a gift inside instead.
It was a very good idea.
And then in 1860 he added an explosion and the cracker was born!

Oh, so that piece of card had some chemicals on it.
Yeah. There’s one inside every cracker. A cracker is just a hollow cardboard tube.
Can you pull a cracker on your own?
No, you have to pull it with someone else. One person holds one end and the other person holds the other, and we tug at the same time. To tug means to pull hard.
One, two, three!
When you pull a cracker, one person always wins, and you won.
Yes, I won this one. Now there are always the same things inside a cracker. There’s always a hat.
A paper hat, huh?
Uhuh. It’s like a crown. And you wear them when you’re eating your Christmas dinner. Like this. They’re always too big for you. They always gradually go down like this.
Yeah. They are always too big for me.
They fall off a lot of people’s heads. They’re average size and they don’t fit anyone.
And there’s always a joke inside, right?
Yes, yes, yes. OK. Hang on. There’s a joke here. What delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas?
Err, Err. Shark-Claus?
Well think about… think about the sharks.
Err, Err. Tooth-Claus? I give up. What?
Oh right, of course. I’ve got another one here. What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
The jokes are often puns. A pun is a joke that’s a play on words.
Perhaps there’s a word that has two different meanings. Or perhaps there are two different words that sound the same.
Like Santa Claus – claustrophobia.
Claustrophobia is a fear of being in very small spaces.
Like a chimney.
Exactly. Erm. I’ve got some more. OK, what do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?
Err. A… a Christmas cracker. A Christmas quacker.
I got it. I almost never get them.
I know but you’ve got better over the years.
Cracker jokes are often corny jokes, so old jokes you’ve heard before.
They’re the sort of jokes where you might not laugh. You might groan instead.
A groan is a long deep sound you make when you’re in pain.
And you can groan with pleasure too. Let’s have another one.
What did Adam say the day before Christmas.
OK. We call the day before Christmas Eve – Christmas Eve. So he said ‘It’s Christmas Eve!’
Urgh! That’s terrible!
What do you get if you cross a bell with a skunk?
A bell with a skunk.
A bell skunk.
And your clue is it’s a popular Christmas tune.
Errr jingle smells.
Jingle smells!
I got it!
Listen. If you have any good jokes for us everyone, please leave them for us in the comments. And we can share them perhaps in a video.
They don’t have to be about Christmas.
And there’s always a novelty inside – so some kind of small object. This came flying out of the cracker.
Oh well this one is a top. You spin it.
So I’ve got some things here that I saved.
Where did you get these?
I kept them from last year’s Christmas dinner.
You kept them?
Yes. I knew I wanted to make a video about them. They’re very typical novelties. So we often find toys in the Christmas cracker. There you are.
Oh. A deck of cards.
And what about these. I don’t know if you can see them. They’re marbles and they’re little glass balls that you can play with. Did you play with marbles when you were a child?
I did. We played with marbles when I was a kid and you would always shoot them out and try to hit the other kids’ marbles.
That’s right, and if you hit the other one’s marbles, you could win their marble.
That’s right.
I used to play with my brothers and I never had any marbles left at the end of it.
I thought you lost your marbles a long time ago.
What? To lose your marbles means to go crazy. OK. If you’re hot at the dinner table you can have a fan to cool yourself down.
I bet you can use it to cool the turkey.
If your dinner’s too hot.
The novelties are normally very cheap so they’re not something you keep.
And here’s another one that’s very common. There’s a little jigsaw puzzle here. You see. You’ve got all the pieces. So the children can sit at the dinner table and they can do the jigsaw puzzle if they start to get bored.
Sometimes I’ve seen expensive crackers with expensive novelties, like silver penknives or gold jewelry but I don’t want them.
You don’t want nice gifts?
No, I want games you can play – novelties that are fun for the kids.
So don’t spend your money on expensive crackers.
This is my favourite. It’s actually a fish. It’s red and it’s like a piece of cellophane. And what you have to do is put it on your hand and we see what happens. And then according to what happens I know what you’re lik, you see. This is a fortune teller fish.
Oh, the tail’s going up. OK, the tail…
Look it twisted together. Both ends. Look at that.
OK, a moving tail means you’re independent.
But if the head moves as well, it means you’re jealous.
Uhuh. Is there something you want to tell me?
No. And if it’s both… hang on. Oh. And if it’s both then it means you’re in love.
It’s both. Enough. Enough.
Do you want me to try it?
Oh Jay. The sides have curled in.
Oh curling sides means you’re fickle.
Fickle! Fickle means I can’t be trusted. I keep changing my mind. I’m not reliable.
The thing about Christmas crackers is they solve a problem.
What’s that?
Christmas dinner is a long meal and you’ve got adults and children and sometimes the kids get bored. But the jokes and novelties keep them amused.
They’re things to play with.
So that’s it. Now you know about Christmas crackers.
Do you have anything similar in your country?
And how do you keep the kids amused when you’re having a big family meal?
OK, we should wrap this up.
Yeah. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
See you all next Friday everyone. Bye-bye.

Halloween vs. bonfire night

Halloween vs. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night.

Halloween is a big holiday at this time of year in the US. Folks are carving pumpkins to make jack-o’-lanterns and getting their costumes ready for trick-or-treating.

Halloween is growing in popularity in the UK, but the big event for us is Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes. It’s a celebration of a historical event from 1605, when a plot to assassinate the king was thwarted.

You’ll hear about both celebrations this video and learn about British and American traditions. Our friend Jennifer describes how her family celebrate Halloween in the US and Vicki tells the story of Guy Fawkes.

Have you seen our other video, with scary words for Halloween?

Halloween vs Bonfire Night

Hi, I’m Vicki and I’m British but I live in the US now, and this season of year is what I call autumn, but Americans call fall.
America and the UK both have a have a special celebration at this time of year, but they’re different.
In the US it’s Halloween and in the UK it’s Guy Fawkes night, or Bonfire Night. You’re going to learn about both celebrations in this video and you’ll also learn vocabulary along the way.
To help me, I’m teaming up with my friend Jennifer, from Jennifer ESL. Jennifer’s American and she knows lots about Halloween. And I’ve got lots to tell you about Guy Fawkes, and British history. We’ll also to show you some family photos, and when we’ve finished, you can decide which holiday you think is best.
OK Jennifer. You can go first because Halloween comes first.
That’s right. We celebrate Halloween on October 31st.
Halloween combines different traditions and lots of fun. Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, and it’s actually been around for centuries in one form or another. Halloween has ancient Celtic roots, so the holiday came from what is now Ireland, the UK, and France.
At this time of the year, when the warm summer ends, and the cold weather sets in, people believed that the line between the living and the dead blurs. That’s how Halloween came into existence.
So the living and the dead get mixed up! Is that why people think of ghosts and zombies and scary creatures at Halloween?
Yeah, when the tradition first started, some people thought that wearing costumes would scare the real ghosts away. Today both children and adults participate in Halloween simply for the fun of dressing up and wearing costumes.
Dressing up is a huge part of Halloween in the US. The costumes can be scary, funny, beautiful… whatever you’d like. Take a look.
Oh that’s your kids! Wonderful!
In the UK, if we dress up, we generally dress as things like Dracula, or Frankenstein or mummies – so costumes that have a spooky theme. But in the US, people dress up as anything they want. It’s part of the tradition of trick-or-treating, isn’t it?
Yes. Trick-or-treating is a community event. It’s a lot of fun to see families all around the neighborhood celebrating in costume and giving out candy. For about two hours, kids go from door to door in costume. They know which houses to go to because families turn on their porch lights to signal that they’re participating in Trick-or-Treating.
The kids ring the doorbell if no one’s already waiting at the door. Each time they say, ‘Trick or treat’, and receive candy. No one plays tricks, by the way. It’s just a custom to say ‘Trick or treat’, like a greeting or a request for candy.
Often the adults giving out candy are dressed up too. Parents who are waiting back near the street remind their children to say thank you for the candy. Parents also hope to get some of that candy later, or at least I do!
Now, sometimes my students ask if Halloween is a religious festival or a celebration of the devil and dark forces, but it’s not. It’s just an excuse to party. I think it’s my favourite American holiday now.
How can you live in the U.S. and not love Halloween? It’s a huge deal for my children and me. We get ready a few weeks in advance because it takes time to prepare our costumes and decorate the house. And don’t get me started about carving the pumpkins! I can go on and on about the time it takes to make jack-o-lanterns.
Jack-o-lanterns. You’d better explain what they are.
That’s what we call the pumpkins after we carve them and place candles inside to light them up at night. Traditionally, we carve a scary or funny faces, but in more recent years, it’s become fashionable to carve different things.
Some people are really good at it. I’m learning, but it’s not easy to cut through the hard shell.
I know. I’m very impressed. They’re really hard to make.
I wonder if people in the UK have as much fun around this time of the year?
Well, when I was growing up, we didn’t pay attention to Halloween. It was no big deal. It’s growing in popularity now but it’s still a small holiday compared to the U S.
In the UK, we like to party a few days later on the fifth of November. That’s when we have Guy Fawkes night, or bonfire night.
This is a celebration of a historical event and it dates back to the year 1605. King James was the King of Great Britain and some people planned to assassinate him – so to kill him.
They got barrels of gunpowder and hid them in the British parliament building and waited for the king to arrive.
So it was a plot. They planned to blow up the building and kill the king.
However, the king’s supporters heard about the plot. They searched the building and discovered a man, called Guy Fawkes, hiding in the basement under the building with 36 barrels of gunpowder.
So the king was saved and the people of London celebrated by lighting bonfires. That’s how the tradition started.
Every November the fifth we have bonfires and lots of fireworks. When I was a child, bonfire night was probably the most exciting night of the year.
Preparations started a week or two before. We’d go to the shop and buy big boxes of fireworks and very importantly, we’d make a guy. A guy is a kind of effigy or model of Guy Fawkes. We’d get some old clothes, stuff them with newspapers and sew them together so they looked like a human body. Then we’d build a bonfire, put the guy on top and set fire to it.
Vicki, are you the little girl on the left?
Yes, that’s me! I think I was about 8 or 9 years old.
The stuffed guy reminds me of a scarecrow. We use scarecrows on farms to scare away the birds. Here in the US, scarecrows have also become common fall decorations. We don’t burn them though!
Looking back, it was quite dangerous because our garden wasn’t very big. Most people these days go to big firework displays instead. They’re a lot safer.
Wow. Talk about strange but oddly fun traditions! Do any of you have the tradition of building a bonfire? What fall holidays do you celebrate? Tell us in the comments.
Yes, and don’t forget to subscribe to both our channels. Happy Halloween everyone! Bye!

This video includes an image of Standard fireworks published by ‘Epic Fireworks’ which can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicfireworks/4820206541. It is available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (cc BY 2.0) licence.

Click here to see our other Halloween video and learn lots of spooky words.

Potato Chips with ESL students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA)

Potato Chips with ESL students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA)

We’re proud to present a video called Potato Chips that we made with students studying ESL and filmmaking at the New York Film Academy (NYFA).
It includes some useful slang and informal English expressions: stressed out, chill out and screw it.
The students came up with the concept for the video and they were our cast and crew. They were also a joy to work with.

Click here to watch more of our stories and songs

Potato Chips with ESL students from the New York Film Academy (NYFA)

We have something very special for you today.
Last month we collaborated with students from the ESL school at the New York Film Academy.
They’re studying English and filmmaking at the same time.
The students came up with a concept for a video and we shot it together at the YouTube Space.
They were our cast and crew and we’re very proud to present their story today!
You’re going to hear some informal English expressions and slang, so keep watching and we’ll talk about them on the other side.
Great, let’s roll the video.

Hey, is everything OK?
Not really.
What’s going on?
I have so much to do.
Oh you’re stressed out.
Hey, hey. Calm down. Relax.
No. I need to get to work.
No, no, no, no. You need some ‘lazy skills’.
Lazy skills?
Yes, so when you’re alone and you want to chill out. Let me teach you.
So show me how you sit on this chair. No. It should be more like this. Yeah. It’s better. You need some practice. Second step. Eat some chips.
No thanks.
Come on…
Mmm. It’s delicious. I love it.
No, but you should eat like a pig. Watch me.
It’s perfect! Now step three. OK. Let’s dance!
No, no, no, no.
Dance, dance, dance. Yes! You can. You can. Come! Here! Ah no, you should be more relaxed. Now follow me. Yeah.
Mmm. Ah. I feel so good. I’m much more relaxed.
Yeah. What we need now is a party. Let’s call some friends.
I don’t have any friends.
Don’t worry. I do.
Hi everyone. Come in.
How are you?
I’m fine.
Hallo. Hallo. Hallo. Thank you for inviting us. We love a party!
It’s great to see you, Mao. We’ve brought some drinks and chips.
Oh thank you. So I want you all to meet my friend Sherry.
Oh, where’s Sherry?
This is a great apartment, Mao.
Thank you.
It’s a great party too. Have a chip, Sherry.
Thank you.
She is very hungry.
Hey, let’s put some music on.
That’s a great idea.
Sherry, Sherry, Sherry. It’s so embarrassing!
That’s what you taught me right? Just have fun! Come on.
Oh. Yeah. Screw it!

Ha! Wow! They were terrific, weren’t they?
Yeah, it was such fun to work with them.
Now what about the language we heard?
There were several expressions we should look at. The first one was stressed out.
Let’s hear it.

What’s going on?
I have so much to do.
Oh you’re stressed out.

Stressed out is an adjective and it means you’re so worried and tired that you can’t relax.
We can also say stressed, with no out.
Yes, but when we’re speaking informally to our friends we often say stressed out.
If you’re stressed out you need to calm down and chill out.
Chill out. That was another one.

You need some ‘lazy skills’.
Lazy skills?
Yes, so when you’re alone and you want to chill out. Let me teach you.

Chill out is informal as well.
Yes, it means spend time relaxing, so you’re not tired or nervous.
Now what about those lazy skills? We don’t usually use that phrase.
Yes, this was a joke. The joke works because of the word skills. Skills are normally things we work at.
A skill is the ability to do something well. We have to learn and practice to develop skills.
But we don’t have to practice to be lazy. We just have to do nothing.
We don’t say lazy skills, but we do say relaxation skills. Breathing and yoga can be relaxation skills.
And they’re things we have to work at. Not like eating potato chips.
OK, one more.
Yes, this one is really informal – it’s slang.

That’s what you taught me, right? Just have fun! Come on.
Oh. Yeah. Screw it!

Screw it – it’s slang and it’s pretty rude slang.
It’s something we only say when we’re with friends – close friends.
Don’t say it to your boss.
OK, so what does it mean?
It means I’m giving up. I’m not going to try any more.
Yes, if we’ve been trying to do something and it’s not working, we can say ‘Oh screw it’, and then stop trying.
So it’s like I don’t care any more. I’m not giving any more time or thought to this.
Yeah, Screw it. I’ll stop.
But be careful who you say it to.
OK, if you’d like to see more of our videos, make sure you subscribe.
And share them with your friends so they can learn English too.
And that’s it for today
But before we stop I want to say a BIG thank you to the ESL students at the New York Film Academy.
I think they’re all going to be stars.
See you next week everyone.
Bye now.
Click here to watch more of our stories and songs

dog shelter story

A dog adoption story with two essential phrasal verbs

Here’s a dog adoption story to steal your heart. Learn how to use the phrasal verbs turn out and come up with and lots of other vocabulary in this holiday video.

Dog Adoption Video Script

Hello everyone. We’re celebrating the holidays this month, so in today’s lesson we’re going to have a Christmas story. We’ll look at a couple of phrasal verbs and some other vocabulary too.
Let me introduce you to my friend Geri. At this time of year she sends us a Christmas card with a picture of her dogs. Geri currently has seven dogs. Seven! But I’ll let her tell the story.

I started making Holiday Cards after I first adopted my dog from a shelter in 2008. Every year, my Holiday Cards are getting bigger and bigger.
It started with Lou, who was so puppy-like, the shelter staff thought he was just two years old. He turned out to be a senior, a 10-year-old, but nevertheless he was the perfect dog.
My next dog was 15-year-old Bitty Bear, who had no idea he was old, had warts, no teeth and several medical issues.
Then came Cisco who was saved from death row.
And so my holiday card had three old gentlemen with me.
And then there was Benji, who I saved after he was dumped in shelter with a broken leg. And then came Selena who was stuck in a rescue for six months because she was plain-looking.
Even with Lou and Bitty Bear gone, my family continued to grow. I adopted Dora, who was left in the yard without food for days at a time by her former owners. My next dog, Fluffy, loved to pose for pictures and videos and he figured in two of our two holiday cards.
And then came Spencer. Spencer, to this day, is very anxious dog, except with me.
Lastly, I adopted the duo of Dino and Tino. I was only going to adopt Dino but Dino turned out to be blind and Tino was his seeing eye dog!
My friends have been taking the photos I have been using for my holiday cards, year after year. And so for 2017, here is the holiday card we came up with. I think we’re all going to have a very merry Christmas.

Did you understand everything? Let’s look at some of the vocabulary Geri used.
Adopt – this means she took the dog into her family. We can adopt dogs and we can adopt children. What else can we adopt? Tell us in the comments if you think of something.
And a shelter – that’s is a place where people put dogs that have no home. It’s sometimes called a rescue too.
Let’s hear what Geri said about her first dog again.

It started with Lou who was so puppy-like, the shelter staff thought he was just two years old. He turned out to be a senior, a 10-year-old, but nevertheless he was the perfect dog.

Turn out – this is a phrasal verb and it means to happen in a particular way, and we often use it when something happens that we don’t expect.
So Geri expected Lou to be 2 years old, but then she discovered he was ten. He turned out to be ten. That’s pretty old for a dog. And her next dog was even older.

My next dog was fifteen-year-old Bitty Bear who had no idea he was old, had warts, no teeth, and several medical issues.

What do you think warts are? They’re small hard lumps on your skin, caused by a virus.
You don’t need to know this word. It’s not a common word so forget it. Make room in your head for more useful words.
Bitty Bear had medical issues – health problems. We often use the verb ‘have’ with different health problems – so with pains, diseases and illnesses. We can have headaches, we can have the flu, we can have diabetes, and warts. No, forget that word!
OK. Bitty Bear was fifteen years old. Could you say Bitty Bear had 15 years? Is that correct? No. In some languages you can, but not in English. We’d say he was fifteen years old or he was fifteen. And we can’t say fifteen years. It’s fifteen years old or fifteen. I don’t know why. It just is.
OK, the next dog.

Then came Cisco who was saved from death row and so my holiday card had three old gentlemen with me.

A row is a line of something – a row of houses, a row of trees, a row of seats in the theatre. Can you think of more kinds of row. And can you guess what death row is? It’s a line of cells in a prison where they put people who are going to be killed. So prisoners who have committed very serious crimes. But here Geri’s talking about the dog shelter. If nobody adopts the dogs, they’re often killed. Luckily Geri saved Cisco when she adopted him.
OK, next one.

And then there was Benji, who I saved after he was dumped in shelter with a broken leg.

What’s the missing word? It’s dumped. To dump means to get rid of something that you don’t want any more. Benji’s owner didn’t want him so he dumped him in a shelter.
We also use this verb when we’re talking about dating. If you don’t like your girlfriend or boyfriend, you can dump them. Finish the relationship.
OK, next one?

And then came Selena who was stuck in a rescue for six months because she was plain-looking.

Plain or plain-looking means not pretty, so I’m surprised because I think Selena looks quite pretty. What do you think? I expect you know the verb ‘stuck’?. If you’re stuck, you can’t move. So it means Selena couldn’t leave the shelter or rescue.
The next dog we met was Dora, she was pretty too, and then after that we met Fluffy.

My next dog, Fluffy, loved to pose for pictures and videos and he figured in two of our two holiday cards.

To pose – it means to stand in a particular position in order to be photographed. And figured. This is a verb here and it means to play an important part in something.
OK. Another dog.
Do you remember this one? His name is Spencer and he’s very… anxious. Anxious means nervous. He’s always worried about something.
And now the last two dogs.

Lastly I adopted the duo of Dino and Tino. I was only going to adopt Dino, but Dino turned out to be blind and Tino was his seeing eye dog.

Dino is blind so he can’t see, and a seeing eye dog is a guide dog that sees for him and helps him.
Can you guess the missing words? You heard them before.
It’s ‘turned out’ again – that phrasal verb. She didn’t expect Dino to be blind, but it turned out he was.
Now there was another very useful phrasal verb she used. Can you remember what it was?
It had three words.

And so for 2017, here is the holiday card we came up with. I think we’re all going to have a very merry Christmas.

If we come up with something we produce something. Often it’s an idea, or answer to a problem. So they came up with the idea for a nativity scene.
And that’s it. Now you know the story of Geri’s dogs. Which one did you think was the cutest? And have you ever adopted a dog from a shelter? Would you like to? Write and tell us in the comments.
And have a very, very merry Christmas everyone. Happy holidays!

Holidays around the world

Christmas and New Year’s Eve Holidays around the world

Celebrate the holiday season with us. Learn about some of the things we do at Christmas and the New Year in the USA, in the UK and in Australia.
In this special holiday video Vicki is joined by two friends to share stories of different holiday traditions and customs around the world. You’ll meet Jennifer of JenniferESL and Emma of MmmEnglish and you’ll learn about Christmas trees in America, English Christmas turkey dinners and Australian New Year’s celebrations.
If you have holidays you celebrate, then we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Click here to see more stories and collaboration videos

Holiday Season Video Script

This lesson is very special.
Today we’re going to travel round the world together and you’re going to learn how we celebratethe holidays, Christmas and the New Year, in the US, in England, where I come from, and in Australia.
You don’t want to miss this!
Today you’re going to meet two of my friends, though I think you might know them already, because they make YouTube videos too!
There’s Jennifer, from Jennifer ESL, who’s American. And there’s Emma from mmmEnglish and Emma’s Australian.
And we thought, if we get together, we can show you how we celebrate the holiday season around the world.
So are you ready to travel with us? Let’s get going.

Christmas just wouldn’t feel the same without a Christmas tree. I live in Massachusetts and here in New England, it’s easy to find a Christmas tree farm.
Many people buy a real evergreen tree every year.
Other families, like mine, have an artificial tree.
My children and I start decorating for the holidays in early December.
We put on music, we put up the tree and then we decorate it with ornaments, lights and candy canes.
The days are short, so we get to enjoy the Christmas tree lights in the evening.
The really magical moment is Christmas morning when we find gifts from Santa Claus under the tree, and in our stockings, that are hanging from the mantel of our fireplace.

Let’s go over some key vocabulary.
Real and artificial are opposites when we’re talking about Christmas trees.
A real tree grows in a forest or on a tree farm.
And artificial tree comes in a box, so you have to assemble it.
‘Put on’ is a phrasal verb. If you put on some music, you cause it to be heard.
Let’s put some music on. Let’s put on some holiday music.
‘Put up’ is another phrasal verb. When you put up a tree, you erect or build it.
When are we going to put the tree up?
Did you put your tree up already?
Stockings, at one point, were regular old socks. But today they’ve become much larger and decorative.
Kids like big Christmas stockings because they can hold more treats from Santa.
When are we going to hang the stockings? Did you hang up your stockings already?
This is the mantel. As you can see, it’s like a shelf above the fireplace.
People often place photos, clocks and knick-knacks on the mantel.
At Christmas time, it’s where the stockings are hung.

Ooo, that’s interesting. In England, we usually hang our stockings on the ends of our beds, so we can start opening our presents the moment we wake up.
But let me tell you about my Christmas Day.
I get up early on Christmas morning to make some stuffing.
I mix up sage, that’s a herb, breadcrumbs, and onions.
And that sticky stuff I’m adding is peanut butter. Our dog loves it.
This mixture is called stuffing because we stuff the turkey with it – put it inside.
Turkey is a very traditional English Christmas dish and it takes a long time to cook.
But that’s good because I have a lot of other stuff to do.
There’s more food to prepare and the family are coming so I need to get everything ready for the meal.
When the turkey is cooked, Jay takes it out of the oven and it looks great, so everyone congratulates him.
Great job Jay, and Vicki, of course.

Do you remember what I put inside the turkey? It was stuffing.
If you stuff something, then you fill it.
So you saw me stuffing the turkey with stuffing – filling it with the mixture.
But stuff has other meanings too.
It’s an informal word that we use a lot in spoken English.
Sometimes it means substance. So, for example, that peanut butter was sticky stuff.
Stuff is a very vague and nonspecific word. WE use it if the name of something isn’t important, or if we don’t know the name.
So if you want to know what a substance is called, you can ask ‘What’s that stuff?’
We also use stuff to talk about actions and jobs, and again, it’s nonspecific.
So when I said I had stuff to do, I meant jobs. But I didn’t say what jobs exactly. It was just a group of different things.
One more stuff word? After we’ve eaten a big British Christmas dinner, we feel stuffed. ‘I’m stuffed!’ is an informal expression and it means full of food.
OK. That’s enough stuff about Christmas. Let’s go to Emma and find our about New Year in Australia.

While Christmas time is about family and food, New year is about letting your hair down and celebrating with friends.
We reflect on the year that’s finished and we wish each other luck and good fortune for the year to come.
Here in Australia it’s summer time, so our New Year’s celebrations are usually outside – at the park, at the beach, on a boat or at someone’s house.
We’re usually drinking champagne or other alcoholic drinks, and everyone is excited and in a festive mood.
Around New Year’s Eve, you’ll hear this question a lot: What are your New Year’s resolutions?
At the start of a new year we make promises about how we’re going to do better for ourselves in the following year.
We promise ourselves that we’ll exercise more, or lose weight, or learn a new language, or any other skill.
But, to be completely honest, most of these resolutions… they get broken within the first month of the year.
Of course, the highlight of New Year’s Eve is the countdown to midnight, when the year officially changes.
During the final ten seconds of the year we count down from ten to one, out loud, at the top of our lungs.
And then we call out, ‘Happy New Year!’ and hug everyone around us, whether you know them or not. And of course, that’s when the fireworks begin.

OK. Let’s take a closer look at the vocabulary that I used.
I said, ‘to let your hair down’. Now this expression is used when you want to relax and enjoy yourself and behave much more freely than usual.
I also said, ‘a festive mood’ and we use this word festive to describe someone’s feelings when they’re happy and excited because they’re celebrating something special, like Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving, or even a birthday.
Ooo, what about a New Year’s resolution? A resolution is a promise to do or not to do something to try and improve yourself.
There are a few collocations that you need to remember when you’re using ‘resolutions’ – verbs that are usually used with this noun, like make, have, keep and break.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? If you do, share them in the comments.
Do you usually make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t keep any of my New Year’s resolutions. I usually break all of my resolutions by the end of January. I’m hopeless!
I also used the noun highlight, which means the best part.
The highlight of the night is the best part of the night.
I mentioned the countdown, but I also used the phrasal verb, to count down, and that means to wait for something to happen.
When you’re watching the clock and you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen, you’re counting down the minutes until something exciting happens.
The countdown is a compound noun and it looks different. The two words are together.
And finally, at the top of our lungs. And this just means… well this is an idiom, and it means as loudly as you can possibly say something.
At the top of your lungs.

Happy Holidays and happy studies everyone.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Happy New Year!

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halloween english

Halloween English. Learn 21 spooky and creepy words

Halloween English! Come shopping with us at the Halloween store and learn 21 words you need to talk about this American celebration. You’ll find words about costumes, decorations, scary creatures and more.
You’ll hear three English words we use to talk about our fears. Scary , which means frightening. Spooky , which means strange and frightening. Spooky things can make us think of ghosts. And creepy . If something is creepy it makes us a little nervous and frightened. It’s not a pleasant feeling. A good way to learn their meanings is to see the words in use in the video. Enjoy!

Click here to see lots more vocabulary videos
Click here to see our songs and stories videos

Halloween English video script

Hello everyone. You’re coming shopping with us today!
Yeah, we’re going to the Halloween store.
Halloween’s great in America. People buy costumes – clothes that make them look like somebody else. You can be anyone you want.
Do you want to be a pirate?
Or Michael Jackson?
Or Elvis Presley? The King.
If you want, you can be a superhero.
When you buy your costume, don’t forget to buy your accessories. They’re the extra things that make your costume great.
If you’re going to be a chef, you’ll need a big chopping knife.
And if you’re going to be a pirate, you’ll need a sword.
You might want a mask that covers your face, or maybe a wig to cover your hair.
And if you’re a policeman, you’ll need hand cuffs.
At Halloween people decorate their homes with pumpkins. They’re like big orange vegetables.
We cut holes in them to make a face and put a candle inside. Then they become jack o’ lanterns. They can look pretty evil.
And people decorate their homes with other things too.
Yes, spooky things. Spooky means strange and frightening. Skeletons. Yes, we decorate our homes with skeletons – they’re spooky.
This Halloween store is pretty spooky.

Is it cold in here?
Yes. You don’t think there are any ghosts here, do you? Like spirits of dead people?
No, of course not. Ghosts don’t exist.
Oh good because that would be creepy. If something’s creepy it makes you a little nervous and frightened.
I’ll tell you what’s creepy. I feel like we’re being watched.
Yes, like there’s a evil eye or something.

Spiders are creepy. We associate them with Halloween.
Yes. And bugs! They’re creepy too!
And another Halloween creature is bats. Bats! They’re creepy.
They’re scary too. Scary means frightening!

When I was a kid, I read scary stories about witches. You know, women who ride around on brooms and they have magic powers .
But witches don’t really exist. Everyone knows that.
Well I know that now. What’s in that box?
It’s a Werewolf. A person who becomes a wolf when the moon is full.
Can I see?
Jay, I saw a grave and a grave stone and then a big hand came up.
Oh that was a zombie – someone who’s half alive and half dead.
A zombie!
And there are vampires here too – creatures who drink your blood. But don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.

Hey. I enjoyed that.
Yeah. If you liked this video, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Have a great Halloween everyone.
Bye. Bye-bye.

Do you think the wig suited Vicki? Click here to see a video about the verbs fit and suit.
Click here to see lots more vocabulary videos
Click here to see our songs and stories videos

21 Halloween English words

Could you remember the 21 words? They were costumes, accessories, mask, wig, pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, spooky, skeletons, ghosts, creepy, spiders, bugs, bats, scary, witches, brooms, werewolf, grave, gravestone, zombie and vampires.

copper coffee pot

A proper copper coffee pot – an English tongue twister song

Can you say a proper copper coffee pot three times fast? This tongue twister song is for English learners who want to improve their speaking and pronunciation. ‘All I want is a proper cup of coffee’ will get your mouths moving, improve your diction and best of all, it’s a whole lot of fun.

Proper Copper Coffee Pot Lyrics

All I want is a proper cup of coffee.
Made in a proper copper coffee pot.
You can believe it or not.
But I want a cup of coffee from a proper copper pot.
Tin coffee pots or iron coffee pots, they’re not good to me.
If I can’t have a proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot, I’ll just have tea.
All I want is a proper cup of coffee.
Made in a proper copper coffee pot.
You can believe it or not.
But I want a cup of coffee from a proper copper pot.
Click here to see some students trying this tongue twister.

April Fools

Can you spot a lie in English? Happy April Fool’s Day!

April Fool’s Day is April 1st, a day when we play jokes on our friends and family and try to get them to believe something that isn’t true.

In this video, five English teachers get together to see if they can fool you! Happy April Fool’s Day!

Click here to see another collaboration video for World Story Telling Day.
Click here to see more story and song videos.

April Fools Day Video Script

Ready for an April Fool’s Day lesson?
Wait. Does everyone watching know what April Fool’s Day is?
I can sum it up in a single line: it’s a day when people play silly jokes on one another.
Right. We try to fool friends and family. And it’s all done in fun. And when people discover that it’s a joke, the joker can say, “April Fool’s!”
So five of us teachers have come together to see if we can fool you.
We’re each going to ask a true-false question. Some of us will tell the truth. Others are going to try to fool you.
Do I look like a person who can handle weapons?
Actually, I know how to use three types of weapons. True or false?
I briefly studied tae kwon do. And that’s when I learned how to use a long staff, a short stick, and nunchucks. Double and single.
Did you hear how I stated my list? A long staff, a short stick, and nunchucks. A common pattern is to use rising intonation on all but the last item of a list, as in one, two, and three. We use falling intonation on the last item.
For more information and practice, please check out my lesson on intonation patterns for stating lists and presenting alternatives.
I’m from the United States of America but do you know which state I currently live in? Well, if you follow ‘go Natural English’ you probably know the answer. I live in Missouri. True or false?
The answer is false. I made one of the Go Natural videos in Missouri when I was visiting family. My father lives there. But I am not from there and I don’t currently live there. But you can see the video I made and learn about how to use words stress correctly to sound more like a natural English speaker.
I went to graduate school to study Linguistics. True or false?
False! I went to graduate school to study opera singing.
Check out this video I made about intonation in American English and how it can help you sound more native. I have a short clip of me singing opera in that video!
I’m British and this is my husband, Jay. He’s American.
That’s true!
So he says tomahto and I say tomayto.
Is that true or false?
It’s false! It’s the other way round.
I say tomayto and she says tomahto.
So watch our video on British and American pronunciation differences to learn more.
Check this out. I used to work at a fish market. True or false?
True! Actually I worked at a fish market for six summers when I was a teenager.
Did you notice the rhythm while I was speaking? Did you? When we speak we stress the words that are most important for people to understand. Those words are on the beat in English. The other words – usually little grammar words – they shrink, they get smaller, or link together. That’s the shrinking and linking. If you’re interested in this topic – so important for practicing English – please check out this video I made.

Check out everyone’s YouTube channel and make sure you subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/collolearn


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Click here to see another collaboration video for World Story Telling Day.
Click here to see more story and song videos.