Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thank you for another year of exciting activities. More to come in 2016. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blackhat: Hackers - Blackhats, Whitehats, Grayhats and Bluehats

A black hat hacker is an individual with extensive computer knowledge whose purpose is to breach or bypass Internet security. They are computer security hackers that break into computers and networks or also create computer viruses. The term “black hat” comes from old westerns where the bad guys usually wore black hats and the good guys wore white ones.“Black hat,” “white hat,” and “gray hat” can also refer to behavior. For example, if someone says “that seems a bit black hat,” that means that the action in question seems unethical.

I. Read the paragraphs below and make a guess. Complete the blanks with the expressions below:


A) ______________________are also known as crackers or dark-side hackers. They violate computer security for personal gain (such as stealing credit card numbers or harvesting personal data for sale to identity thieves) or for pure maliciousness . They fit the widely-held stereotype that hackers are criminals performing illegal activities for personal gain and attacking others. They’re the computer criminals.

B) ______________________  also identify security weaknesses; but, instead of performing malicious attacks and theft, they expose the security flaw in such a way as to alert the owner that there is a breach so they can fix it before someone can take advantage of it. They are sometimes paid consultants or actual employees of a company that needs its systems protected. They’re the “ethical hackers,” experts in compromising computer security systems who use their abilities for good, ethical, and legal purposes rather than bad, unethical, and criminal purposes.

C) ________________________  don't work for their own personal gain or to cause carnage, but they may technically commit crimes and do arguably unethical things. They might attempt to compromise a computer system without permission, informing the organization after the fact and allowing them to fix the problem. While they didn’t use their access for bad purposes, they compromised a security system without permission, which is illegal.

D) ________________________  educate Microsoft engineers and executives on current and emerging security threats as part of continuing efforts to help protect our customers and secure our products, devices, and services. They serve as a great opportunity for invited security researchers to informally connect with Microsoft engineers who are passionate about security, furthering a bidirectional exchange of ideas at the event.

Inspired by the informative site:


Answer key: Black Hats, White Hats, Gray Hats, Blue Hats

II. Work in pairs:
1. How do you compare Black, White, Gray and Blue hats? Are they all criminals?
2. What should their punishment be?

3. How can this kind of crime be addressed?
4. Watch the movie segment and decide:

  •       What kind of hacker does the segment show?
  •       What crime did he commit?
  •       What were the consequences of his act?
  •       What should his punishment be?
  •       Should the government reduce his sentence if he decides to use his knowledge to prevent other hacker attacks from happening? Explain it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

7500: Personal Space

Although this is a horror movie, this scene, of course, is light and it can be used with all audiences. However, in order to prevent the youger ones from being curious and renting the movie, I recommend you show it only to adults.

Personal Space - This air space around us is a private area that we consider almost as an extension of our body. Personal space is the distance that you keep between yourself and another person. It varies widely between cultures.

I. Work in groups:

There are actually many psychological and physical effects that are immediately activated when someone is getting too close, invading your personal space. They cause us to behave a little different than usual, some examples (not all of them must occur). Discuss how you would feel, and if the following reactions would apply to you when someone invades your personal space. Think about traveling on a crowded airplane or/and a stranger asking you for directions.  :

●     Extreme self awareness – suddenly you forget how to act 'naturally'

●     You limit movements and gestures

●     You reduce eye contact

●     You turn aside or away from the intruder

●     You immediately take a step back or get away from the intruder

●     You adopt a defensive position – folded arms, less smiles, tense posture

●     You stop the conversation entirely

Inspired by:

It's important to understand the personal space requirements of a different culture, so that you're not perceived as rude (by standing too far away) or pushy (by standing too close).
Personal space also includes touching. In Mediterranean and South American cultures, touching is an important part of conversation and connecting. If you don't touch others, you'll be considered cold. However, in Eastern countries, touching is often considered taboo, and you'll offend your colleagues if you pat them on the back or touch their arm.

II. Read the information below and decide if you agree with them and why. 

  • Women are more sociable than men: they get social cues better, more emotionally expressive and are generally better than us men when it comes to emotional communication. It's only natural then that women     will feel more comfortable being closer to each other than men.

  • Men are more territorial and aggressive by nature and will keep more distance from other men, but when it comes to women we will usually prefer to get a little closer.

  • "Distant" cultures (northern Europe, US, and many other westerns cultures) tend to keep more personal space and use less touching than other more 'warm' cultures.

  • Asian cultures are characterized by more accommodating accepting attitude when it comes to personal space, the theory says it's due to more crowded living conditions.

  • Other cultures including south Europe, Middle East and South American's are considered to be more 'warm' by nature – touch and close proximity are more welcome and socially accepted.

  • Your status has a huge effect on your personal space size and demand.It's no surprise that the first class seats are bigger and have more space per individual.

  • What type of social situation is this? Is it a cocktail party? Is it a staff meeting in the boardroom? A fishing trip with some friends? In each of these situations you'll act and keep your space differently. Even if these are the exact same people.

 According to the site above, all of them are true, and I definetly agree with them.

III. Watch the movie segment and discuss with your friends:


1. Where is the couple from?

2. Why were they so worried about who could seat next to them?

3. Who was more worried? The man or the woman? How do you know?

4. How did they react when they felt their personal space invaded?

5. How did the "intruders" react?

6. How would you have  reacted?

7. How would someone from your country react in that situation? Would their reaction be the same as yours or the couple's?

8. Have you ever traveled with someone that invaded your personal space? Share your stories. 


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Deep Web: Deep Web

Watching this documentary opened my eyes to a situation I was not familiar with. Discussing it with my students was a great conversation genarator and we learned a lot about the topic. 

What we commonly call the Web is really just the surface. Beneath that is a vast, mostly uncharted ocean called the Deep Web. The Deep Web (also known as the undernet, invisible Web and hidden Web, among other monikers) consists of data that you won't locate with a simple Google search.
No one really knows how big the Deep Web really is, but it's hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) of times bigger that the surface Web. This data isn't necessarily hidden on purpose. It's just hard for current search engine technology to find and make sense of it.


You thought you knew the Internet. But sites such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram are just the surface. There’s a whole other world out there: the Deep Web
It’s a place where online information is password protected, trapped behind paywalls, or requires special software to access—and it’s massive. By some estimates, it is 500 times larger than the surface Web that most people search every day. Yet it’s almost completely out of sight. Much of the Deep Web’s unindexed material lies in mundane data­bases such as LexisNexis or the rolls of the U.S. Patent Office. But like a Russian matryoshka doll, the Deep Web contains a further hidden world, a smaller but significant community where malicious actors unite in common purpose for ill. 

I. Work in pairs:

Talk to your friends about the following questions:

1. What do you use the Internet for?

2. How much time do you spend on the Internet?

3. What are the risks of using the Internet?

4. What is the good side of the Internet?

5. Should the government control or forbid certain sites? Why?

II. Do you think buying the following items on the Internet is possible? If it is possible, should they be forbidden? How and why?


III. According  to this informative site http://www.popsci.com/dark-web-revealed , here a few things you can buy on the Deep Web. Discuss if and how this trade can be addressed. What should happen to the people who run those sites?

1. Drugs
Individual or dealer-level quantities of illicit and prescription drugs of every type are available in the digital underground. The Silk Road, the now-shuttered drug superstore, did $200 million of business in 28 months.

2. Forged Papers
Passports, driver’s licenses, citizenship papers, fake IDs, college diplomas, immigration documents, and even diplomatic ID cards are available on illicit marketplaces such as Onion Identity Services. A U.S. driver’s license costs approximately $200, while passports from the U.S. or U.K. sell for a few thousand bucks.

3. Firearms, Ammunition, and Explosives
Weapons such as handguns and C4 explosives are procurable on the Dark Web. Vendors ship their products in specially shielded packages to avoid x-rays or send weapons components hidden in toys, musical instruments, or electronics.

4. Hitmen
Service providers—including a firm named for the H.P. Lovecraft monster C’thulhu—advertise “permanent solutions to common problems.” For everything from private grudges to political assassinations, these hired guns accept bitcoin as payment and provide photographic proof of the deed.

5 . Human Organs: In the darker corners of the Dark Web, a vibrant and gruesome black market for live organs thrives. Kidneys may fetch $200,000, hearts $120,000, livers $150,000, and a pair of eyeballs $1,500.

 IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:


1. How does the Deep Web work? Talk about the examples they give and the risks that the Deep Web can cause to society. Finally, discuss how the governments can change this situation. Should there be Web restrictions or control, like in North Korea and China, for example? Or is it just the consequence of democracy and freedom of thoughts? Prepare a speech to justify your points of view.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pompeii: Pompeii

Pompeii has an amazing history and its site is truly worth visiting. The movie tries to show a bit of that historical eruption. Pompeii is an open air museum and knowing about its history is enriching.

I. Let's play a game. The teacher reads the statements that will follow. The students receive two tags written TRUE and FALSE. When the teacher finishes reading each sentence, the students raise their tags together when the teacher says GO! If a student raises the tag after or before the teacher says GO!, he can't score a point. 

1. Mt. Vesuvius is still one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.

2. Although the eruption caught people off guard, the signs had been coming for years.

3. The eruption was catastrophic, lasting from 10 to 12 hours. 

4. We know much of what happened from an eyewitness account.

5. Thousands of people were buried alive.

6. There were various attempts to rebuild the cities.

7. It had happened before.

8. It can't happen again.

9. The eruption of Vesuvius was quite sudden, and many of Pompeii’s inhabitants lost their lives while going about their daily work.

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.


1. Describe the scene. What were people doing during the eruption?

2. Do you think people realized what could happen to them? Why (not)?

3. How do you think the inhabitants of that area would react to the same event nowadays?

4. Why do so many people still live near volcanoes, knowing an eruption could kill them at any given moment? 

5. What are the threats nature imposes to your living area? What are your major problems (volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, cyclones, pollution, avalanches, sand storms, fire, drought, etc)?

GAME: Answer key:

1. T

2. T

3. F 
It lasted more than 24 hours.

4. T 
There is a detailed account of the eruption thanks to Pliny the Younger, who was a Roman administrator and poet. He watched the eruption from afar and questioned survivors, and then wrote of the event in letters to his friend Tacitus. 

5. T 
At that time, around 20,000 people — manufacturers, merchants, and farmers — lived in Pompeii, and another 5,000 lived in Herculaneum. Many of the people who did not flee when the eruption started were buried alive by ash and other molten material. It is estimated that about 16,000 people died in the eruption.

6. F 
There was no attempt to rebuild the cities

7. T 
Though the Romans didn’t know it at the time, Mt. Vesuvius had erupted catastrophically at least twice before.

8. F

Mt. Vesuvius is still considered an active volcano. The most recent eruption occurred in 1944, and experts believe that a massive eruption could happen again soon, posing potential danger to the more than 2 million people who now live in the area.

9. T

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Quiet Ones & Magic in the Moonlight: Supernatural


By definition, a supernatural or paranormal phenomenon is an event that defies explanation in terms of the typical human experience. In other words, it is something that science can't explain; at least not yet. 

Discuss the questions with a partner:

1. Do you believe in supernatural activities? Justify it.

2. Here are some supernatural phenomena know around the world. Do you believe them? Why do so many people believe them? Talk about each one of the phenomena below:

Adapted from:

- Ghosts - might be considered the grand-daddy of paranormal experiences. Everyone has some level of curiosity about what happens when they die. Is there really life after physical death? Are spirits capable of communicating with the living? 

Haunting - paranormal experiences that are typically attached to a location. 

Poltergeist : A type of energy that attach to people, causing unusual mayhem and activity wherever an affected person goes. Objects moving by themselves, cupboard doors opening on their own and projectiles thrown by unseen forces all fall under the heading of poltergeist activity.

Intelligent haunting: The classic type of haunting where a spirit attempts to interact with living beings at a particular location.

UFOs: Has Earth been visited by beings from another world? Does life exist beyond the earth's atmosphere? Have contacts been made? Have people been abducted by UFOs?

Cryptozoology (Cryptids) : A fascinating branch of paranormal research is all about animals as yet unidentified and cataloged by conventional science. Big foot, The Monster of the Lake Ness, Chupacabras ...

Myths and legends - This category includes famous legendary creatures such as werewolves, vampires, zombies... 

Metaphysical Phenomena: Reincarnation, telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance...

* Watch the movie segment from Magic in the Moonlight and answer the questions:



1. What kind of supernatural phenomenon is shown in the segment? What can she actually do with the powers?

2. Do you believe she has supernatural powers? Why (not)?

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having such a supernatural power?

4. Would you like to have that ability?

* Watch the movie segment from The Quiet Ones  and answer the questions:



1. What kind of supernatural phenomenon is shown in the segment? What can the boy, Michael,  actually do with the powers?

2. Do you believe she has supernatural powers? Why (not)?

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having such a supernatural power?

4. Would you like to have that ability?



Friday, September 25, 2015

The Good Lie & Home: Jokes

The Good Lie is one of my favorite movies. It is a touching story and the drama the characters are involved with is food for thought. Home is animated movie that everyone must see. It is funny and the music is just wonderful. I recommend them both.

Jokes are a form of verbal humor, including one-liners, riddles, and other things that make us laugh. It is a funny, made-up story with a punchline told by one person. 

It is distinguished from an anecdote, which may be a funny story and have a punchline, but is about a real or true incident. Because it is a form of story, it has some of the attributes of a story, such as a beginning, middle, and end. 

Jokes structures:

The Setup — Establishes the premise of the joke by providing the audience with the necessary background info. The setup should be as tight as possible.

The Punchline — Wham! The laugh line. The setup led the audience in one direction, and you surprised them by suddenly going off in a different direction. That twist, that element of surprise, is a punchline’s chief ingredient.

Understanding a joke involves background knowledge necessary for making the inferences to get the joke (a matter of pragmatics). If the listener does not understand the culture, behavior or the context of the joke, he/she may not understand it.

I. Watch the movie segment from the great movie The Good Lie and answer the questions that follow.

The Good Lie

1. What is the setup of the joke?

2. What is the punchline?

3. Did the characters understand the joke? Were they familiar with the pragmatics of the joke?

4. In your opinion, is this joke funny? (Why (not)?

II. Watch the movie segment from the movie Home  and answer the questions that follow.



1. What is the setup of the joke?

2. What is the punchline?

3. Did the ET understand the joke? Was he familiar with the pragmatics of the joke?

4. In your opinion, is this joke funny? (Why (not)?

III. Write down a joke you know (or invent one) and tell it to the class. Don't worry if it is not funny at all. However, you must include the setup and the punchline.


Original comic strips are copyright Paws, Inc. and are used here only as a vehicle for education.
Creative Commons License

Setup- Garfield, the lazy cat, is working out.

Punchline - So much for "push". Tomorrow we work on "up".

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Big Hero 6: Innovations in the Workplace

This is certainly one of the best animated features in 2014. The movie's plot is sensational and breath-taking. I recommend it to all ages.

A clear focus area.

When running an innovation workshop in the workplace, it’s important to know the difference between creativity and innovation. Whereas creativity has no boundaries, innovative ideas have to meet certain organizational criteria. These criteria are determined by leaders or sponsors within each organization. They could include ideas that:

  • ·   Will provide value to important customers.
  • ·   Help the company become more profitable.
  • ·   Support the organization's strategy and values.
  • ·   Solve important business or operational problems.
  • ·   Create new markets, or new products or services.
New knowledge

To get at team to think creatively about the future, you need to provide them with a new way of looking at the world.
You need to supply them with information that will show them that the old way of doing things no longer applies - and that their customers’ expectations are changing, and new competitors are emerging who are doing things differently.

  • What is changing in the global economy.
  • New technological innovations and social networking trends.
  • New social trends.
  • How your industry is changing.
  • What your competitors are doing.
  • What delights and frustrates your customers.
Ask the right questions.

Innovation is more than just creativity. We need our groups to be imaginative in a way that helps them to create ideas that will meet the criteria they will be judged on. What strengths do we have in our team, department or organization? How can we use these strengths to create new products or services for our customers?

I. Read the three main points of innovation in the workplace above, watch the movie segment, and discuss the questions that follow.


1. What is the workshop about? What kind of company is it?

2. What is the major difference between Hiro's and the other inventors' projects?

3. How do you view the difference between INNOVATION and CREATIVITY in the segment?

4. What was he offered?

5. What's your opinion about Hiro's project?

6. How would you describe Hiro's project. check the items you believe apply to his product. Explain how/why it they apply to the situation.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rapa Nui - Easter Island's Moais: Easter Island - Mystery

This movie is not so good, but  it shows a lot of interesting facts and behavior of the people who once inhabited the Easter Island.

The 887 giant statues on Easter Island have turned one of the most isolated islands in the world into one of the most well known—and most mysterious.

Answer the quiz: Don't miss visiting the awesome site

Fun Triviahttp://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz2758681f95628.html

 Where is Easter Island located?

a - Indian Ocean
b – Atlantic Ocean
c – Pacific Ocean
d – Caribbean Sea

What is the meaning of "Moai", the famous rock statues on Easter Island?
A -  Stone Tatues
B – Living Faces
C – Rock Heads
D – No smile

What is the original name of Easter Island, their people and their language?
A – Rapa Nui
B – Repa Hoa
C – Rapa Iti
D – Raparenga

How do you say "Hello" in Native Easter Island language?

A – Mahalo
B – Aloha
C – Iorana
D – Maururu

In terms of weight, what is the name of the largest completed statue on Rapa Nui?

A – Pukao
B – El Gigante
C – Paro
D – Rano Raraku

After the statue was fully erected and in place, a pukao was placed on top of the statue. What was a pukao?
A – A Garment
B – A Religious Symbol
C – A  Topknot
D – A Ring

Answers - Pacific Ocean, Living Faces, Rapa Nui, Iorana, Paro, Topknot

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:


1. Describe Easter Island.

2. How are they moving the statues?

3. Do you think that is the real way they moved them? Why (not)?

4. What are the workers expectations? And their leader's?

5. What is the leader's decision?

6. Do you think that is the real reason why there are so many rock faces on Easter Island?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Bucket List: Bucket List

This is a touching, emotional movie. I truly recommend it. This scene is simply a must! Jack Nicholson at his best!

Bucket List - Definition:

A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".
I need to remember to add skydiving to my bucket list.

I. Take turns asking each other the following questions:

  • What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die?
  • What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • Which countries, places or locations do you still want to visit?
  • What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  • Who do you want to see in person?
  • What experiences do you want to have / feel?
  • Are there any special moments you want to witness?
  • What would you like to say/do together with other people? People you love? Family? Friends?
  • What do you need to do to lead a life of the greatest meaning?
II. Individual work. Make a bucket list of 10 things you would like to do (or people you would like to meet, projects you would like to develop, etc) before you die. Let's suppose you have unlimited resources for your dreams, but very little living time.

III. Group up in trios. Share your lists and come up with a new list with 10 items selected from your lists. You all must agree on the items. Then share them with the class.

IV. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions:


1. Describe the scene.

2. Why did the character decide to make a bucket list?

3. What's on the list?

4. How do you explain the choices?

5. Would you select the same things? Why (not)?

6. How do they feel while skydiving? Isn't it too dangerous for people at their ages?

7. What would the top priority of your bucket list be? Justify it.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Book of Life: Day of the Dead

I love the Mexican culture and the way they celebrate the Day of the Dead. This movie is really cute and worth a try. Enjoy it.

The days of the dead are a truly celebration of life. When children dance with caricatures of death, eat skull sugar molds and learn to respect that life is brief, they learn there is a circle to life and to not fear death and then are free to enjoy and appreciate every moment. It is celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd.

Talk to a partner:

1. How do you celebrate the Day of the Dead in your country? Is it a happy or sad day?

2. Do you think it is important to celebrate the Day of the Dead? Why (not)?

3. Do the people in your country have the following Day of the Dead Traditions? 

  • The most common way to celebrate it is to put an altar in the home to welcome the spirits who are believed to return on this date.
  • Visit the cemetery. Before the Holiday, they clean and do any necessary maintenance.
  • Think of your dearly departed and their favorite food, what they liked in life and keep them present on the day of the holiday.
  • make sugar skulls
  • Decorate the party with colorful skulls.

4. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions


1. Where did the children go on the Day of the Dead?

2. What did they learn about the Day of the Dead?

3. How is "La Muerte" described?

3. What's your opinion about Mexican Day of the Dead? Do you prefer the way it is celebrated there or the way it is in your own country:? Why?

4. Do you think there should actually be a holiday to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Monday, July 20, 2015

American Sniper: Gratitude

I liked the movie a lot despite the way the main character is portrayed in the story. Clint Eastwood is a great director and made a highly effective movie. I just did not like the points of view regarding the sniper's personality and heroism. Well, that's me. The film is really good and this scene is a perfect introduction to the topic GRATITUDE.

Gratitude: The feeling of showing or expressing thanks, especially towards another person. It is also a central component of most religions, They encourage gratitude towards others, but specially towards God. It is also one  of the most effective methods for increasing long-term life satisfaction.

Talk to a partner;

1. Do you like showing gratitude towards a person? How do you do it?

2. Do you think people show gratitude the way they should? Why (not)?

3. Decide if you think these statements are true or false. Justify your answer.

  • Gratitude brings us happiness because it boosts the feeling of optimism, joy and pleasure.
  • Gratitude reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Gratitude is good for our bodies because it lowers blood pressure, and makes us less bothered by aches and pain.
  • Grateful people have more hours of sleep.
  • Gratitude helps people recover from traumatic events, such as post-war trauma.
  • Gratitude makes relationships stronger, bringing people closer together.
  • Gratitude is good for kids because they feel more connected to the community.
4. Watch the movie segment and describe the scene.

5. Why is the war veteran so grateful?

6. How does he show gratitude?

7. How does the main actor react to the veteran's gratitude demonstration?

8. What would you do if you were the handicapped war veteran?

9. What would you do if you were the "hero"?