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Friday, 3 April  2009  Friday review

On Friday's English Bites we always review some of the week's stories.


Today we're going to look at some people with unusual pastimes - two men who like to hunt for ghosts, and one school teacher who's sailing around the world to teach children about life at sea.

First, let's visit Tasmania, the home of our ghost hunters.

PETER WELS: Tales of terror like those from the Port Arthur convict settlement, captured the imagination of Michael Phillips from an early age, they even played a role in his decision to move here.

MICHAEL PHILLIPS, GHOST HUNTER: Port Arthur mainly, there's about the ghost that strangled the construction worker and the little girl walking around and the ghost on the Richmond Bridge, were the main ones I heard.

PETER WELS: Michael and his friend, Drew McClelland spend their nights prowling through local cemeteries, historic sites and ruins. They're self-described ghost hunters, on the lookout for anything creepy, spooky or unexplainable.

DREW McCLELLAND, GHOST HUNTER: I got followed by an unseen presence. There were definitely footsteps that were following me. I thought it was the guys playing a joke on me, but they were still up here at the church thing waiting for me.

PETER WELS: Armed with camcorders, a stills camera and a microphone, Michael and Drew are out to prove that ghosts exist and can be found all over Tasmania.

DREW McCLELLAND: Leave one there and leave another one over that way, so you can still keep an eye on them with the still camera.

PETER WELS: They say investigating the paranormal requires an immense amount of patience. Often they'll spend up to eight hours in a cemetary or ruin, hoping to get a ghostly glimpse, and usually unsure whether they've captured anything until they return home they following day.

So they spend their nights in cemeteries, historic sites and ruins.

A cemetery is a place where people are buried.

A historic site is an old place, somewhere that has a lot of history.

A ruin is an old place, somewhere that has become ruined over time.

They think these are good places to find ghosts, especially at night.

Listen to what sort of equipment they use.

PETER WELS: Armed with camcorders, a stills camera and a microphone, Michael and Drew are out to prove that ghosts exist and can be found all over Tasmania.

They are armed with, or carrying, camcorders, a stills camera, and a microphone.

A camcorder is a combination of a camera and a video recorder - camcorder. We usually just call them video cameras.

A camcorder is used to take moving images - movies.

A still camera is used to take still pictures - photographs.

And they take a microphone, to record sounds.

So that's their equipment. In another story this week, we talked about equipment. It was Peter, the teacher with sea legs.

PETER BOLT (SCHOOL TEACHER): It's just the freedom. There's no motor running. It's just the wind. You have to be very conscious of the elements around you. The shifting of the boat, the shifting of the wind. That's how explorers got around the world, that's how people got here, it's using the wind and the sails and the ocean. You're really in tune. You're just a part of the elements out there on the ocean.

LAYLA TUCAK: Primary school teacher Peter Bolt, from Albany, is as comfortable on the deck of a yacht as he is in front of a class of ten year olds.
So when the Department of Education advertised for "a teacher with sea legs" to represent them in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race, he jumped at the chance.

PETER BOLT: I was excited by the concept and then of course once I was selected that just took my excitement to a new level. Potentially it is so brilliant in bringing the outside world and this adventure into the classroom.

LAYLA TUCAK: Mr Bolt will join the crew of the WA yacht westernaustralia.com, in the Philippines this weekend. Each of the ten 68-foot boats can carry up to 20 people.

PETER BOLT: It's close. It's very personal. You don't have a shower very often.

LAYLA TUCAK: While he'll endure all the usual daily rigours of open ocean sailing, he'll also be heading up a massive virtual classroom.

Mr Bolt will be logged into the Department of Education website that'll put him in touch with thousands of school students in Western Australia through an online forum.

PETER BOLT: They can ask me any range of questions in relation to the boat that could be anything from my own personal equipment and kit and how I manage that through to hygiene, through to cooking, how do you sail a boat, how do you get on with other people, what's your role on the boat.

The students will be able to ask a range of questions.

They will be able to ask him about his personal equipment - his own things that he took on the boat.

He's setting up a virtual classroom on the boat, so he'll need professional equipment too - the things he'll need for his job.

They'll be things like camcorders, still cameras and microphones as well, so he can send pictures and sound of his travels at sea to his students.

Let's listen to how he first got involved in this project.

LAYLA TUCAK: So when the Department of Education advertised for "a teacher with sea legs" to represent them in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race, he jumped at the chance.

When the Department of Education advertised for a teacher with sea legs, a teacher who can sail, he jumped at the chance.

To jump at the chance means to be enthusiastic about an opportunity, to be excited about the idea of doing something.

The word jump has lots of different meanings.

To jump can mean to leap in the air, and come down again.

Or it can mean to move suddenly, from being startled or shocked.

So the ghost hunters probably jump a bit too, creeping around in old, dark places.

To jump can also mean to go up suddenly. We say prices 'jumped' if they suddenly increase.

Or it can mean to move from one thing to another, quickly. If you jump around, it means you don't focus on one thing for very long.

Or to jump can even mean to suddenly attack someone.

And if something's jumping, it's means it's very lively and popular.

There are many other phrases that use the word jump, too.

You might tell someone to go jump in the lake. That's a rude way of telling someone to go away.

Or you could jump to a conclusion - that means to reach a conclusion quickly, before you have all the facts.

Or you could even jump on the bandwagon. That means to start doing something lots of other people are doing, to just follow the crowd.

And that's all for English Bites this week. If you'd like to jump into some more English practise, you can go to our jumping website anytime you'd like.



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English Bites - Friday review
story notes

captured the imagination
Something that captures the imagination is something that makes you very interested or fascinated by something.

Example: Digital technology has captured the imagination of a generation.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

ghost
A ghost is the visible spirit or soul of a dead person.

their
The possessive form is spelled t-h-e-i-r. Look out for the other two spellings in this story. The link below explains how they are all spelled.
more information: they're their there

prowling
Prowling means creeping quietly, trying not to be heard.

they're
The contraction of they are is spelled t-h-e-y-'-r-e. Look out for the other two spellings in this story. The link below explains how they are all spelled.
more information: they're their there

self-described ghost hunters
A ghost hunter is someone who looks for ghosts. Self described ghost hunter means that they describe themselves as ghost hunters.

creepy
Creepy means strange or unnatural.

spooky
Spooky means strange or frightening.

unexplainable
By unexplainable he means not able to be explained. We donít usually say something is Ďunexplainableí. We usually use the word inexplicable. If something is inexplicable itís not able to be explained.

there
When 'there' is not the possessive or the contraction it is spelled t-h-e-r-e. Look out for the other two spellings in this story. The link below explains how they are all spelled.
more information: they're their there

thought
Here thought is the past tense of the irregular verb think. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: think

armed with
To be armed with something is to have something that can be used to achieve something.

Example: Armed with his improved English, he applied for a university course in Australia.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

found
Here found is the past participle of the irregular verb find. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: find

keep an eye on
To keep an eye on something is to watch it.

Example: Keep an eye on the game so that we know when a goal is scored.

paranormal
Paranormal describes something impossible to explain - something that canít be explained by science.

whether
Follow the link below to find out the ways to spell the words pronounced this way.
more information: weather & whether

yacht
Notice the word yacht has an unusual spelling and pronunciation: Ďy-a-c-h-tí, yacht. Itís the only English word with this kind of spelling.


Department of Education
The Department of Education is the government department that looks after schools.

sea legs
Sea legs is the ability to feel at home on a boat, to be able to walk around on a boat without feeling unsteady or sick.

jumped at the chance
To jump at something is to eagerly accept it.

Example: She'll jump at the chance to go on TV.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

endure
suffer

rigours
Rigours are difficulties or hardships.

heading up
leading

Example: He'll head up the team.

virtual classroom
A virtual classroom is a classroom where there are no actual students. Itís a classroom that only exists online, or over the internet.

online
on the internet

range
variety

equipment
collection of things

cooking
what the food is like on the yacht

role
job
spotlight

What does it mean to say that somone's jumped down your throat and what does 'jump the gun' mean?

view the spotlight >
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