Fireside Tales – Chapter Four

It’s time for the fourth part of Simon and Penguin’s Fireside Tales.

If you haven’t seen the first three chapters, you can catch up in less than ten minutes. You can find chapter one here, chapter two here and chapter three here.

As always, you can download the transcript with a glossary so you can follow as you listen. After you have watched the video, use the quiz to test your understanding.

Chapter three concluded with biologist Edward Wilson and his two companions standing on the edge a huge crevasse. How can they get past in order to continue their journey to the Emperor Penguin colony? Watch chapter four to find out.

Chapter Four- At the Colony


Quiz

How well did you understand the story so far?

Try and answer these questions. You can watch the video again.

1. The last 35 kilometres were especially difficult because…

  1. the volcanoes were in the way
  2. there were only about 100 penguins
  3. it was dark all the time
  4. they had to find a way past very big cracks in the ice

2. Why were the penguins standing close together?

  1. To protect against the cold
  2. Because they were afraid of the explorers
  3. To protect against predators
  4. To pose for selfies

3. Why did the explorers give up on their first attempt to reach the colony?

  1. There were too many crevasses
  2. They were attacked by an Orca
  3. The penguin eggs were too big to carry
  4. They could not climb down a cliff

4. Why do the penguins keep their eggs on their feet?

  1. The eggs are too big to sit on
  2. To keep the eggs warm
  3. To protect the eggs from predators
  4. Because the female birds are far away at sea

5. The male penguins do not eat for two months as they incubate the eggs.

  1. True
  2. False

 


DOWNLOAD  Transcript and glossary (pdf)

DOWNLOAD  Quiz (pdf)


 

 

Answers

1d, 2a, 3d, 4b, 5a

 


 

Do you want to know how the journey continues? Come back next month for chapter five.

 

Fireside Tales – Chapter Three

We are halfway through Simon and Penguin’s Fireside Tales. That means we have arrived at chapter three.

Have you seen the first two chapters? If you haven’t, why not watch them now; they are only three minutes long. You can find chapter one here and chapter two here.

As always, you can download the transcript with a glossary so you can follow as you listen. After you have watched the video, use the quiz to test your understanding.

At the end of chapter two, we left biologist Edward Wilson and his two companions shivering in their tent trying to decide whether or not to continue their journey. Watch chapter three to find out what happened next.

Chapter Three – Trial by Ice


Quiz

How well did you understand the story so far?

Try and answer these questions. You can watch the video again.

1. Why did the explorers have to stop so often?

  1. To eat and drink
  2. Because they were lost
  3. To take action to stop frostbite
  4. To rest

2. Why did Garrard have problems with his vision?

  1. Because he was snow-blind
  2. Because he couldn’t wear his spectacles due to condensation from his breathing
  3. He was short-sighted
  4. The ice on his face got in the way

3. How many hours did they travel each day?

  1. Nine
  2. Seven
  3. Eight
  4. Two or three

4. In a blizzard, what happened to the temperature?

  1. It decreased slightly
  2. It fluctuated between -40°C and -61°C
  3. It increased a little
  4. It went up a lot

5. The explorers slept well during the journey.

  1. True
  2. False

 


DOWNLOAD  Transcript and glossary (pdf)

DOWNLOAD  Quiz (pdf)


 

 

Answers

1c, 2b, 3c, 4d, 5b

 


 

Do you want to know how the journey continues? Come back next month for chapter four.

 

Fireside Tales – Chapter Two

It’s time for chapter two of Fireside Tales.

If you missed chapter one, you can catch up here.

Don’t forget, you can also download the transcript with a glossary so you can follow as you listen. After you have watched the video, use the quiz to test your understanding.

In chapter one, we learned the background to the ‘worst journey in the world’. In chapter two, Simon and Penguin begin the story of how the three explorers walked across Antarctica in the winter of 1911.

 

Chapter Two – The Journey Begins


Quiz

How well did you understand the story so far?

Try and answer these questions. You can watch the video again.

1. When do emperor penguins lay their eggs?

  1. Early spring
  2. The middle of winter
  3. Autumn / fall

2. Why did Dr Wilson decide to walk to the penguin colony?

  1. Because sea ice made travel by ship impossible at this time of year
  2. Because there were no aircraft
  3. Because he needed the exercise
  4. Because he didn’t want to frighten the penguins

3. Why did Dr Wilson take two companions on the trip?

  1. To help him pull the sledges
  2. Because he was lonely

4. Which one of these sources of light did they not have during the trip?

  1. Direct sunlight
  2. Starlight and moonlight
  3. Torches
  4. Candles and matches
  5. The Aurora

5. The explorers were optimistic about reaching the penguin colony.

  1. True
  2. False

 


DOWNLOAD  Transcript and glossary (pdf)

DOWNLOAD  Quiz (pdf)


 

 

Answers

1b, 2a, 3a, 4ac, 5b

 


 

Do you want to know how the story continues? Come back next month for chapter three.

 

Fireside Tales – Chapter One

Welcome to our new series of videos: Fireside Tales.

It’s the middle of winter here in Europe. The days are dark and cold so it’s a perfect time to sit around the fire and tell stories.

Here, on the Stratford Teachers blog, you can watch the videos and test your listening comprehension.  You can also download the transcript with a glossary so you can follow as you listen.

There are six videos in this series. We will release a new one every few weeks. If you want to know when each new video is ready to watch, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Here is Chapter One of Fireside Tales. Simon tells the story of the events of another winter far away and a long time ago.

Chapter One – The Mission


Quiz

How well did you understand the story so far?

Try and answer these questions. You can watch the video again.

1. Where do Emperor Penguins live?

  1. Britain
  2. Russia
  3. Antarctica
  4. The South Atlantic

2. Who was the leader of the 1902 expedition?

  1. Edward Wilson
  2. Emperor Penguin
  3. Robert Scott
  4. A Russian explorer

3. How heavy is an Emperor Penguin?

  1. Up to 130 pounds
  2. Up to 60 kilos
  3. At least 45 kilos
  4. No more than 45 kilos

4. In which year did “the worst journey in the world” happen?

  1. The year 2000
  2. 1911
  3. 1902
  4. 1840

5. Why did Dr Wilson want Emperor Penguin eggs?

  1. To find out how birds evolved from dinosaurs
  2. To complete his egg collection
  3. So that the expedition could have eggs for breakfast
  4. Because he liked penguins

 


DOWNLOAD  Transcript and glossary (pdf)

DOWNLOAD  Quiz (pdf)


 

 

Answers

1c, 2c, 3d, 4b, 5a

 

Merry Christmas from Stratford Teachers

Stratford Teachers round hte Christmas tree

Merry Christmas to everybody from all of us at Stratford Teachers.

2017 has been a good year for us. As well as teaching hundreds of online lessons, we’ve also delivered face-to-face courses here in Stratford upon Avon, proof-read an academic thesis, and helped people in China to practise their English pronunciation.

Next year we will continue to provide our popular and flexible online lessons and adding to our blog. We are currently planning a new pronunciation course which wil combine online, face-to-face learning with specially designed videos and interactive exercises.

Is there anyway we can help you to improve your English? Contact us to talk about it.

Here’s a little Christmas present from us to you. Test your knowledge of English prepositions by decorating our Christmas tree .

START HERE

Decorate the Christmas Tree

(Note this doesn’t work in Microsoft browsers. Please use another browser such as Firefox or Chrome.)

Linda, Simon, Barney, Joy, Louise & Stephen

 

 

Giving directions – interactive

Imagine this situation. You are visiting a friend. It is your first visit to this town. You want to send a package home but how do you find the post office?

You ask your friend for directions, of course.

Try our new interactive exercise and see if you can follow his directions to the post office.

START HERE

Giving directions instructions

START HERE

We are creating more and more interactive materials for our blog and to support our language courses. If there is a particular area of language you think we should focus on, please use the comment box below or contact us with your ideas.

 

Naval-inspired idioms

Cutty Sark - Greenwich, London
Cutty Sark is a clipper ship, used to transport tea from China to Britain. She is on display in Greenwich, London.

During a recent trip with Linda to Greenwich in London (famous for Greenwich Mean Time, the Naval Academy and Royal Observatory), Joy discovered some interesting idioms connected to ships and the sea.

Exercise 1

First , can you match the idiom with its origin?

1) First-rate

2) All at sea

3) No room to swing a cat

4) To push the boat out

5) Show your true colours

 

a) Helping a seaman push a boat into the water was an act of generosity or kindness.

b) Naval ships sometimes used foreign flags to disguise their identity at sea. Just before a battle, ships would show their own flag (also known as colours).

c) A ship which carried at least 100 guns and was the largest and most powerful type of ship of the Navy.

d) Relates to the practice of whipping with a cat-o’-nine-tails (a kind of whip with several ‘tails’).

e) Early navigators could easily become lost when out of sight of land as it was hard to work out their exact position.

 

Answers

1 c  2 e  3 d  4 a  5 b

 

Royal Naval College - Greenwich, London
Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London

Exercise 2

Today, these idioms are no longer associated with ships and the sea.

Read these sentences and choose the correct modern meaning for the idiom.

1) Congratulations! You’ve done a first rate job setting up the new order system.

a) useful
b) high quality
c) quick

2) When I first started here, I felt all at sea, but everyone was so friendly I soon settled in.

a) confused
b) excited
c) unhappy

3) She’s just bought a flat in London, but considering it cost £250,000 there’s no room to swing a cat!

a) it’s luxurious
b) it’s very small
c) it’s expensive

4) Don’t worry about the cost – you only get married once – let’s push the boat out!

a) have a party on a boat
b) invite a lot of people
c) spend a lot of money

5) Although I’d met him before, it was only when we started working together that he showed his true colours.

a) saw his real personality
b) saw he was a nice person
c) saw he didn’t like me

 

Answers

1 b  2 a  3 b  4 c  5 a

 

Ship in a bottle in Greenwich, London
Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. On display outside the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.

If you’ve never been to Greenwich, it’s definitely worth a visit – we met up with one of our ‘old’ students from Switzerland there. The National Maritime Museum has many fascinating exhibits, including Nelson’s uniform from the Battle of Trafalgar, with the hole made by the bullet that killed him!

If you have visited Greenwich, we would love to hear about your experience. Leave a reply below.

Do you want to learn English idioms? Send us a message.