Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Charlie Chaplin.

This last week, in history, we have been looking at Nazi Germany. Over the topic we have looked at the Nazi regime, Hitler, how Hitler came into power. as well as what life was like for Germans under the regime. We have also been looking at Charlie Spencer Chaplin, and who he was, and how his work has given us an insight into the Nazi Germany topic, particularly his film 'The Great Dictator'.
Please enjoy the presentation, and keep checking for more posts! 

Charles Spencer Chaplin

Childhood and early career.
Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in London, England, on April 16th 1889.
Charlie was thrown on his own resources before he reached the age of ten as the early death of his father and the subsequent illness of his mother made it necessary for Charlie and his brother, Sydney, to fend for themselves.
Having inherited natural talents from their parents, the youngsters took to the stage as the best opportunity for a career. Charlie made his professional debut as a member of a juvenile group called "The Eight Lancashire Lads" and rapidly won popular favour as an outstanding tap dancer.
Charlie started a career as a comedian in vaudeville, which eventually took him to the United States in 1910 as a featured player with the Fred Karno Repertoire Company.
When the Fred Karno troupe returned to the United States in the fall of 1912 for a repeat tour, Chaplin was offered a motion picture contract.

Independent career
 When his contract with Mutual expired in 1917, Chaplin decided to become an independent producer in a desire for more freedom and greater leisure in making his movies. To that end, he busied himself with the construction of his own studios. This plant was situated in the heart of the residential section of Hollywood at La Brea Avenue.
Early in 1918, Chaplin entered into an agreement with First National Exhibitors’ Circuit, a new organization specially formed to exploit his pictures. His first film under this new deal was "A Dog’s Life". After this production, he turned his attention to a national tour on behalf of the war effort, following which he made a film the US government used to popularize the Liberty Loan drive: "The Bond".

Chaplin’s films

His next commercial venture was the production of a comedy dealing with the war. "Shoulder Arms", released in 1918 at a most opportune time, proved a veritable mirthquake at the box office and added enormously to Chaplin’s popularity. This he followed with "Sunnyside" and "A Day’s Pleasure", both released in 1919.
In April of that year, Chaplin joined with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith to found the United Artists Corporation.
However, before he could assume his responsibilities with United Artists, Chaplin had to complete his contract with First National. So early in 1921, he came out with a six-reel masterpiece : The Kid, in which he introduced to the screen one of the greatest child actors the world has ever known - Jackie Coogan. The next year, he produced "The Idle Class", in which he portrayed a dual character.

Then, feeling the need of a complete rest from his motion picture activities, Chaplin sailed for Europe in September 1921. London, Paris, Berlin and other capitals on the continent gave him tumultuous receptions. After an extended vacation, Chaplin returned to Hollywood to resume his picture work and start his active association with United Artists.
Chaplin’s films
 Under his arrangement with U.A., Chaplin made eight pictures, each of feature length, in the following order:
A Woman of Paris.
The Gold Rush.
The Circus.
City Lights.
Modern Times.
The Great Dictator.
Monsieur Verdoux.
A King in New York.

The Great Dictator.
When writing "The Great Dictator" in 1939, Chaplin was as famous worldwide as Hitler, and his Tramp character wore the same moustache.
He decided to pit his celebrity and humour against the dictator’s own celebrity and evil.  He benefited – if that is the right word for it, given the times – from his “reputation” as a Jew, which he was not – (he said “I do not have that pleasure”).
In the film Chaplin plays a dual role –a Jewish barber who lost his memory in a plane accident in the first war, and spent years in hospital before being discharged into an anti-Semite country that he does not understand, and Hynkel, the dictator leader of Ptomania, whose armies are the forces of the Double Cross, and who will do anything along those lines to increase his possibilities for becoming emperor of the world.
Chaplin’s aim is obvious, and the film ends with a now famous and humanitarian speech made by the barber, "speaking Chaplin’s own words“.
Now enjoy the film!

Monday, 18 April 2016


In some of my music lessons, we have looked at Beat-boxing, its history, its influences as well as some examples of beat-boxing and how it is performed. I regret to say that something has gone wrong with the formatting of this blog but I have uploaded it as best as I can and will make sure the same thing does not happen next time. Thanks!

Influences on Beatboxing

nNorth American early rural music, both black and white, religious songs, blues, ragtime.
nSome forms of African traditional music
nAncient Chinese traditional music
nIndian tradition
nCeltic tradition
Where Did It Begin?
nElements of beatboxing have
 been present in many cultures
nHarlem, New York
nDoug E. Fresh is
 often referred to as the first
 human beatboxer
n The rapping technique
 has been in many
 American musical genres for
 100 years or more.

 of Beatboxing

n"Human beatboxing"
 in hip-hop originated in
n"beatboxing" is
derived from the copying
of the first
generation of drum 
machines, then
known as beatboxes
What is 

nVocal percussion
nThe artist
 imitates electronic
 drum sounds,
 trumpet, etc.
nThey control their 
breathing to 
make certain

use their bodies
 as a

Record of

 under the
 direction of
Shlomo (UK) on the set of Guinness World

 and Paul
 both used
s (before
 it was
 known as

 nBiz Markie-born in New Yor
xing in

n In
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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

England in Victorian times.

Another topic we have covered in Social Science is Victorian England. In this presentation we looked at England under the reign of Queen Victoria and what it would have been like living under her reign.
Enjoy the presentation and keep practicing your English!
England in Victorian times!

Victorian Era: 1937-1901
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death, on 22 January 1901.
Victoria became queen in 1837 at age 18.
Her long reign until 1901 was generally characterised mostly by peace and prosperity.
There were no great wars during her reign.
During the Victorian Era!
Britain reached the height of its economic, political, diplomatic and cultural power.
The era saw the expansion of the second British Empire.
Historians have characterized the mid-Victorian era (1850–1870) as Britain's 'Golden Years
Why was the Victorian Era prosperous?
There was prosperity, as the national income per person grew by half.
Much of the prosperity was due to the increasing industrialization in textiles and machinery.
Increasing industrialization of trade and engineering that produced profits for British merchants and experts from across the globe. 
Peace in the Victorian Era!
There was peace abroad and social peace at home.
There was no opposition to the British empire.
The Chartist movement, peaked as a democratic movement among the working class in 1848; its leaders moved to other pursuits, such as trade unions and cooperative societies.

Why was the Victorian Era peaceful?
The working class ignored foreign ideas like Karl Marx, and joined in celebrating the new prosperity.
Employers typically were paternalistic, and generally recognized the trade unions.
Companies provided their employees with welfare services ranging from housing, schools and churches, to libraries, baths, and gymnasia.
Middle-class reformers did their best to assist the working classes aspire to middle-class norms of 'respectability.'
More issues during the Victorian Era.
Taxes were very low, and government restrictions were minimal.
There were still problem areas, such as occasional riots, especially those motivated by anti-Catholicism.
The housing and conditions of life of the working class in town & country were still a disgrace to an age of plenty.
From what years was the UK in the Victorian Era?
How is the Victorian Era characterised?
Can you name some of the countries in the British Empire?
Why do you think workers were so happy in the Victorian Era?
Has there ever been any periods of prosperity and peace in Spain? 

In music, we have looked at various types of music, with one of them being classical music and the orchestra. For my music students I made a presentation looking at all the families of instruments in an orchestra, as well as looking at a how they sound, and a few famous composers and performances. Here's the presentation. Enjoy and keep your English up!

What is an Orchestra?
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble used in classical music that contains sections of stringbrasswoodwind, and percussion instruments.
Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone.

For 20th and 21st century compositions, electric and electronic instruments can be used.
Orchestras are usually led by a conductor who directs the performance by way of visible gestures.
The conductor unifies the orchestra, sets the tempo and shapes the sound of the ensemble.
Orchestras play a wide range of repertoire, including symphonies, overtures, concertos, and music for operas and ballets.

Types of instruments.
The typical symphony orchestra consists of four groups of related musical instruments called the wood winds, brass, percussion, and strings (violin, viola, cello and double bass).
 Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and electric and electronic instruments.

Listen to the string family in the video.
How do they sound and what instruments sound similar and different?
Listen to the video of the percussion family being introduced.
How do they sound different to the string family?

Why do they sound different?
Listen to the video of the Woodwind family being introduced.
How do they sound compared to String and percussion?
Listen to the video of the Brass family being introduced.
How does this family sound compared to the others?
Here is how an orchestra sounds when it is being played together, composed by a conductor!
Can you tell me when you notice each family being introduced for each orchestra?
Here is a peice by John Williams, one of the most famous conductors in the world!! Can you recognise some of these very famous peices of music?

Orchestra does not always have to play classical music!
The instruments can be used in many genres of music and create their own unique sounds!
Here is an Orchestra conducted by Pete Tong an English DJ who uses the instruments for dance music at the RADIO 1 IBIZA PROM!

Scottish Independence.

In the past year the UK has held a referendum on whether or not Scotland should be independent from the UK. Here is a presentation about the referendum I did for my Social Sciences class. Enjoy, and please keep checking for further posts! 
Nationalism in the UK
The Independence Referendum:
On the 18th of September 2014, the UK held a referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country.
The majority voted NO, to keep Scotland as part of the UK, with 55.3% voting to stay, and 44.7% voting to leave the UK.
84.6% of people turned up to vote, the highest recorded for an election.
The Scottish referendum bill was passed in Novemeber 2013 and a total of 4.3 million people were able to vote.
For and against Scottish independence
“Yes Scotland” was the main campaign group pushing for Scottish independence.
“Better together” was the main campaign group in favour of maintaining the Union.

Many other campaign groups, political parties, business´, newspapers and individuals were also involved, with the majority against independence. 
Problems with independence
Many issues were raised about Scottish Independence, such as:
What currency would Scotland use.
Public expendature – Pensions, Public costs etc.
EU membership.
And North sea oil.
Sturgeon and the SNP.

Are there any similarities or differences between Scottish independence and the independence of Catalonia?