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December 24, 2009

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Cold Weather Brings Xmas Chaos to Europe

Most Europeans pray for a white Christmas. This year they have a little more of the white stuff than they hoped for. Freezing cold weather and snow have brought death and disruption across the continent. Over 100 people have died in the sub-zero temperatures. The icy conditions have brought chaos from Moscow to Milan. People have frozen to death in their cars or lost their lives in traffic accidents on roads that resemble skating rinks. The arctic weather has come at the worst possible time. Millions of people are heading places for Christmas. With no end in sight to the big chill, many people are going to be stranded this holiday time. Moscow was hit very hard. Muscovites experienced the worst snowfall in their city for over a century.


Travellers trying to get in or out of Britain are particularly angry. They are furious that a little snow has brought a halt to trains, planes and automobiles. Winter storms closed down the Eurostar trains connecting London to Paris and Brussels for three days. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at train stations with nowhere to stay. The situation was no better at the airports, with many closing and hundreds of flights cancelled. The roads did not escape the turmoil. Thousands of drivers abandoned their vehicles by the side of the road because it was too dangerous to drive. Canadian tourists did not quite understand. Shane Lansdon from Toronto said he failed “to see how just five centimetres of snow can bring a whole country to its knees”.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. COLD WEATHER: Walk around the class and talk to other students about cold weather. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

praying /cold weather / sub-zero temperatures / chaos / traffic accidents / Christmas / travelers / being furious / winter storms / passengers / canceled flights / tourists

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. CHRISTMAS: What does Christmas mean for you? Complete this table. Show your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard.

 

How much this means to me

Why

Religion

 

 

Winter fun

 

 

Presents

 

 

Parties

 

 

Holiday from work

 

 

Eating

 

 

4. CHAOS: Students A strongly believe Christmas is more like chaos as each year passes; Students B strongly believe Xmas is becoming more relaxing.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. XMAS PRAYERS: How important are these? Rank them and share your rankings with your partner. Put the most important one at the top. Change partners and share your ratings again.

  • nice weather
  • world peace
  • getting all the presents you want
  • fluency in English
  • a happy and healthy 2010
  • to know God more
  • to meet the person of your dreams
  • a cure for all diseases

6. SNOW: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘snow’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Europeans are praying for a white Christmas because they want snow.

T / F

b.

Temperatures across Europe stayed just above zero.

T / F

c.

Many drivers decided to test icy road conditions in ice skating rinks.

T / F

d.

People living in Moscow saw the heaviest snowfall in over 100 years.

T / F

e.

Bad weather has stopped a lot of transportation in the United Kingdom.

T / F

f.

There were no trains between London and Paris for three days.

T / F

g.

Many people left their cars next to the road because it was safer.

T / F

h.

A Canadian tourist saw British people praying on their knees.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

the white stuff

a.

trapped

2

disruption

b.

below

3.

sub

c.

stop

4.

resemble

d.

get it

5.

stranded

e.

interruption

6.

particularly

f.

angry

7.

furious

g.

look like

8.

halt

h.

snow

9.

turmoil

i.

especially

10.

understand

j.

confusion

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

Most Europeans pray

a.

the big chill

2

people have died in the sub-

b.

better at the airports

3.

roads that resemble

c.

for over a century

4.

no end in sight to

d.

halt to trains

5.

the worst snowfall in their city

e.

its knees

6.

a little snow has brought a

f.

thousands of passengers

7.

Tens of

g.

for a white Christmas

8.

The situation was no

h.

their vehicles

9.

drivers abandoned

i.

zero temperatures

10.

bring a whole country to

j.

skating rinks


WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Most Europeans ____________ for a white Christmas. This year they have a little more of the white stuff than they ____________ for. Freezing cold weather and snow have brought death and disruption ____________ the continent. Over 100 people have died in the ____________-zero temperatures. The icy conditions have brought chaos from Moscow to Milan. People have ____________ to death in their cars or lost their lives in traffic accidents on roads that resemble skating rinks. The arctic weather has come at the ____________ possible time. Millions of people are ____________ places for Christmas. With no end in sight to the big chill, many people are going to be stranded this holiday time. Moscow was hit very ____________. Muscovites experienced the worst snowfall in their city for over a century.

 

 

 

heading
frozen
across
hard
pray
worst
hoped
sub

Travellers trying to get in or out of Britain are ____________ angry. They are furious that a little snow has brought a ____________ to trains, planes and automobiles. Winter storms closed down the Eurostar trains ____________ London to Paris and Brussels for three days. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at train stations with nowhere to stay. The ____________ was no better at the airports, with many closing and hundreds of flights ____________. The roads did not escape the ____________. Thousands of drivers abandoned their vehicles by the side of the road because it was too dangerous to drive. Canadian tourists did not quite ____________. Shane Lansdon from Toronto said he failed “to see how just five centimetres of snow can bring a whole country to its ____________”.

 

 

cancelled
knees
halt
situation
particularly
understand
turmoil
connecting

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Most Europeans pray for a white Christmas. This year they have a little more _________________ than they hoped for. Freezing cold weather and snow have brought death and disruption across the continent. Over 100 people have _________________ temperatures. The icy conditions have brought chaos from Moscow to Milan. People _________________ in their cars or lost their lives in traffic accidents on roads that resemble skating rinks. The arctic weather has come at the _________________. Millions of people are heading places for Christmas. With _________________ to the big chill, many people are going to be stranded this holiday time. Moscow was hit very hard. Muscovites experienced the worst snowfall in their city _________________.

Travellers trying _________________ of Britain are particularly angry. They are furious that a little snow has _________________ to trains, planes and automobiles. Winter storms closed down the Eurostar trains connecting London to Paris and Brussels for three days. Tens of thousands of passengers _________________ train stations with nowhere to stay. The situation was no better at the airports, with many closing and hundreds of flights cancelled. The roads did not _________________. Thousands of drivers abandoned their vehicles by the side of the road because it was too dangerous to drive. Canadian _________________ understand. Shane Lansdon from Toronto said he failed “to see how just five centimetres of snow can bring a whole ___________________”.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘cold’ and ‘weather’.

cold

weather

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • white
  • sub
  • frozen
  • millions
  • end
  • worst
  • halt
  • tens
  • stay
  • escape
  • side
  • knees

STUDENT COLD WEATHER SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about cold weather in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

COLD WEATHER DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cold’?

c)

Do you like cold weather?

d)

What are the best things to do in the cold weather?

e)

Do you ever pray for snow (or any other kind of weather)?

f)

Has weather ever disrupted your plans?

g)

What experiences do you have of sub-zero or icy conditions?

h)

Does it need to be snowy to be a real Christmas?

i)

Are you heading anywhere for the holidays?

j)

Would you like to see record snowfalls where you live? What would you do?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you know of / think about British weather?

c)

Is your country good at dealing with severe weather conditions?

d)

What are the best and worst things about cold weather?

e)

What would you do if you were stranded at a train station for three days?

f)

What experiences have you had of driving on icy roads?

g)

Do you understand the Canadians who did not understand how Britain cannot cope with snow?

h)

When was the last time your country was brought to its knees?

i)

What does Christmas mean to you?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Santa Claus?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Most Europeans (1) ____ for a white Christmas. This year they have a little more of the white stuff than they hoped for. Freezing cold weather and snow have brought death and disruption across the (2) ____. Over 100 people have died in the sub-zero temperatures. The icy (3) ____ have brought chaos from Moscow to Milan. People have frozen to death in their cars or lost their (4) ____ in traffic accidents on roads that resemble skating rinks. The arctic weather has come at the worst possible time. Millions of people are (5) ____ places for Christmas. With no end in sight to the big chill, many people are going to be stranded this holiday time. Moscow was hit very (6) ____. Muscovites experienced the worst snowfall in their city for over a century.

Travellers trying to get in or out of Britain are particularly (7) ____. They are furious that a little snow has brought a halt (8) ____ trains, planes and automobiles. Winter storms closed down the Eurostar trains connecting London to Paris and Brussels for three days. Tens (9) ____ thousands of passengers were stranded at train stations with nowhere to stay. The situation was (10) ____ better at the airports, with many closing and hundreds of flights cancelled. The roads did not escape the turmoil. Thousands of drivers abandoned their vehicles by the side of the road because it was too dangerous to drive. Canadian tourists did not (11) ____ understand. Shane Lansdon from Toronto said he failed “to see how just five centimetres of snow can bring a whole country to its (12) ____”.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

prays

(b)

play

(c)

plays

(d)

pray

2.

(a)

continent

(b)

incontinent

(c)

continental

(d)

containment

3.

(a)

conditioner

(b)

conditions

(c)

conditional

(d)

conditioning

4.

(a)

alive

(b)

live

(c)

lives

(d)

lively

5.

(a)

mouthing

(b)

nosing

(c)

heading

(d)

eyeing

6.

(a)

hardly

(b)

hard

(c)

hardy

(d)

hard up

7.

(a)

angrily

(b)

anger

(c)

angers

(d)

angry

8.

(a)

to

(b)

at

(c)

of

(d)

from

9.

(a)

at

(b)

of

(c)

by

(d)

to

10.

(a)

non

(b)

know

(c)

no-no

(d)

no

11.

(a)

quiet

(b)

quit

(c)

quite

(d)

quote

12.

(a)

knees

(b)

shins

(c)

ankles

(d)

heels

WRITING

Write about cold weather for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the cold weather in Europe. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. COLD WEATHER: Make a poster about cold weather. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. STRANDED: Write a magazine article about people who have been stranded for three days at a Paris railway station because of 5 cm of snow. Include imaginary interviews with a passenger and a railway boss.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Canadian Shane Lansdon. Ask him three questions about his cold weather experience in England. Give him three suggestions he can pass on to British authorities to help them deal better with cold weather next time. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

T

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

the white stuff

a.

snow

2

disruption

b.

interruption

3.

sub

c.

below

4.

resemble

d.

look like

5.

stranded

e.

trapped

6.

particularly

f.

especially

7.

furious

g.

angry

8.

halt

h.

stop

9.

turmoil

i.

confusion

10.

understand

j.

get it

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Most Europeans pray

a.

for a white Christmas

2

people have died in the sub-

b.

zero temperatures

3.

roads that resemble

c.

skating rinks

4.

no end in sight to

d.

the big chill

5.

the worst snowfall in their city

e.

for over a century

6.

a little snow has brought a

f.

halt to trains

7.

Tens of

g.

thousands of passengers

8.

The situation was no

h.

better at the airports

9.

drivers abandoned

i.

their vehicles

10.

bring a whole country to

j.

its knees

GAP FILL:

Cold weather brings Xmas chaos to Europe

Most Europeans pray for a white Christmas. This year they have a little more of the white stuff than they hoped for. Freezing cold weather and snow have brought death and disruption across the continent. Over 100 people have died in the sub-zero temperatures. The icy conditions have brought chaos from Moscow to Milan. People have frozen to death in their cars or lost their lives in traffic accidents on roads that resemble skating rinks. The arctic weather has come at the worst possible time. Millions of people are heading places for Christmas. With no end in sight to the big chill, many people are going to be stranded this holiday time. Moscow was hit very hard. Muscovites experienced the worst snowfall in their city for over a century.

Travellers trying to get in or out of Britain are particularly angry. They are furious that a little snow has brought a halt to trains, planes and automobiles. Winter storms closed down the Eurostar trains connecting London to Paris and Brussels for three days. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at train stations with nowhere to stay. The situation was no better at the airports, with many closing and hundreds of flights cancelled. The roads did not escape the turmoil. Thousands of drivers abandoned their vehicles by the side of the road because it was too dangerous to drive. Canadian tourists did not quite understand. Shane Lansdon from Toronto said he failed “to see how just five centimetres of snow can bring a whole country to its knees

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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