Before saying farewell to Easter, we have a genre piece that is worth a read and something to consider. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the booklet written by Alyce Bergey entitled The Beggar’s Greatest Wish. The book was written with one theme in mind: The greatest wish of one person.
Before going to the plot, ask yourselves this question:
If there was one wish that you had that you wanted badly, what would that be?
Everyone has one greatest wish, no matter the circumstances. Some who are crippled wish to walk again. Others suffering from poverty and other forms of adversity want to be rich. Those who fail constantly want to succeed just one. Yet most of us want peace after suffering from years of conflict, both home and away.
For the main character, Barthimaeus, an old man living in a one-room hut outside Jericho, he wanted to see, for he was blind and was a beggar wanting to find a place in the world, but was rejected by many. Day in and day out, he begged on the street and got next to nothing from the public. Every day he was ignored, spat upon, degraded and taken pity. Yet later in the story, his luck started to change beginning with him receiving a single coin and then culminating to his encounter with Jesus Christ, as He and his followers were walking down the streets of Jericho. He found the beggar and after learning what his wish was, his life changed for the very best.
Based on the story of Luke 18:37-45, the theme of the story was believing in miracles and how they can come true through faith and fate. Faith has to do in the belief that if one works hard and prays for the most important thing in life, it will come true. Fate has to do with encountering the unknown and having that wish granted. It can be through the encounter with the Lord or another person. It also has to do with certain events that puts the events in order of sequence that eventually culminates into one’s wish being granted. Expected or unexpected, each of us have a special wish based on our trials and tribulations which eventually come true through our own actions and belief. If we didn’t have them, we would allow our world to unfold in front of our eyes that would not be to our best advantage.
When Jesus died for our sins, He left us the belief that miracles can happen if we have the faith and courage to make it happen- if we pray and also do our service. It goes beyond the fishermen story when Jesus came from Heaven to give them fish to feed themselves and their families. It goes beyond Job’s struggles when he lost everything to famine and drought and he got that back. It even goes beyond our own personal wishes in real life- mine has to do with putting an end to global warming and polluting the oceans. While this book was written for children but has an explanation for parents, the theme is the same. It’s more of a question of what we have for our wish and what we can do to make it come true.
To close off this genre special, here are a pair of videos that was based on this story. I hope you enjoy and have a chance to read the story to your children:
What is a great teacher? What makes a teacher great? What is typical of a great teacher? If there was a secret ingredient to being great, it would be great to know about it. Yet if we knew, and we would try and follow it like textbooks, life would be boring, both in the classroom as well as on the street. Perfectionism would bring out the worst from those who strive for it and those who rebel against it. Life as a teacher would be portrayed as inflexible, intolerant and inhumane.
What is a great teacher? Can we follow the footsteps of those who had once ruled the hallways and classrooms of our school? Or read about their lives as we stumble across them on the sidewalks through monuments and Stolpersteine? Or reminisce about the teachers of our time growing up, over a beer or wine at a class reunion? Some say that our teachers set great examples and play a role in our development, but only a few remain close friends for life.
What makes a teacher great? It’s about what you learned from the teachers you had in school; from those who were close and helped you succeed. It’s about learning from your own personal experiences, remembering the stories told to you while growing up, embracing in your own faith, and developing your passion for the job. Molding it together and being prepared to share them with others.
What is typical of a great teacher? It can be best described as follows:
A great teacher enters the classroom like it’s a concert at Carnegie Hall……
……..and comes away with a standing ovation at the end of class.
A great teacher shows competence in his subject and confidence in his class….
…..and never falters to those who think they are better than he.
A great teacher is communicative, humorous and open-minded….
…..and the same goes to the students if it applied correctly in class.
A great teacher always listens to the needs of others……
…..and finds ways to cater to them.
A great teacher devotes his time and effort in his subject with a passion…..
…..so that the students can do the same when learning it.
A great teacher teaches the students what is good and what is bad in life…..
……and follows these examples, both on and off campus.
A great teacher is a great storyteller……
…..and uses it to teach the students the morals in life.
A great teacher always embraces in new things for the classroom……..
……and is never afraid to part ways with the old.
A great teacher is flexible and spontaneous……..
……and never follows the rules like a textbook.
A great teacher never holds back on his opinions and truths…..
……and is not afraid of the opinions and truths from his students.
A great teacher is always creative and tries new experiement….
…..as long as he and his students profit from them.
A great teacher always makes mistakes in class……
…..and should not be afraid to admit being human.
A great teacher is also a great mentor….
….being the guiding light for those who need it.
A great teacher is always there if the student needs help……
…..whether it’s big or small, in school or outside,
….a great teacher will always be your friend for life.
And when you have a chance to meet your great teacher- your mentor, friend and all- many years down the road, always remember what he taught you and why he got you to where you are today. After all, what he passed down to you, it’s your job to pass it down to your children of the next generation.
That is what defines a teacher a great teacher. 🙂
Author’s note: I had some great teachers growing up in Minnesota, but this one goes out to one who was an elementary school teacher and close friend of the family. I had her for the last two years before entering middle school and we became great friends afterwards. Many people knew her for the characteristics that I’ve pointed out here and it was through these key points where people like me took them and made use of them, both as teachers as well as parents and beyond. In her memory, this one’s for you with many thousands of thanks! 🙂 ❤
Here’s a fun but yet sobering reminder of our childhood that we had- the best times where we could take the chances and experiment, risk getting hurt but learning the lessons the hard way. The childhood of today has risks but in the sense of fear of taking these falls, the risks and trying new stuff.
The America I Grew Up in is a comedy gig by Jeff Allen, who compares his childhood to what is seen today. Can you list what he and his friends did for childhood examples? Then compare them to what you (as a child growing up) did. What was the same? What was different? What would you like to do what this comedian did? What would you do differently, had you had a chance to turn back the clock for one day?
Try that wherever you go, but not before watching this rather funny clip. 🙂
Before we get into this topic, I would like to introduce you to this clip of a stunning upset of Georgia Tech against Florida State in American football. Have a look at the clip and come up with some sentences using past tense.
While you are writing some sentences our topic for the use of time markers is solely American football. The sport was introduced in 1869 through a football game between two Ivy League colleges: Rutgers and Princeton. The game consisted of a round ball, two goal posts with an end zone each and lots of tackling. But most importantly, the rules introduced by William Leggett but later modernized by another Ivy League student, Walter Camp, would eventually be integrated into the rules used in today’s sport. The first professional league was created in 1892, yet the National Football League came into being in 1920 and counting the merger with the American Football League in 1969, is one of the oldest leagues in the world, with 32 professional teams and one of the most watched sporting events in the world, the Super Bowl. College football in America is just as popular as the NFL due to its income coming from sponsors, promotions and through college football games, including all the bowl games- most notably: The Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Citrus Bowl, etc. It also features the college marching band, which provides their home team with a round of support.
While we will get to football at a later time, have you had a chance to come up with some sentences to this upset?
Some of you may have taken the easy route and written the following down:
The kicker tried to kick the ball
The defender blocked the ball
Another defender picked up the ball
That defender ran it in for the touchdown
Georgia Tech won the game.
Some may have been more artistic in their sentence construction and wrote something similar to the following:
As the kicker was kicking the ball, it was blocked by the defender.
While the ball was rolling along, another defender picked it up. He was running towards the end zone when the players from Florida State tried to tackle him.
At the end of the game, the crowd was celebrating Georgia Tech’s victory.
This is where the grammar aspect comes in. The more artistic a sentence in English is, the more you can find some spots in grammar that warrant explanation. In this case, we have the words: as, while, when and a certain specified time, plus the verb forms of was + verb with –ing.
Source: SteelCityHobbies, taken in 2006 for flickr and wikiCommons
And this is our topic today: Time Markers involving Past Continuous Form.
Past continuous functions in a similar way as with present continuous, using the “to be” form plus the verb with the –ing ending on it. The continuous functions in a way that it describes what the person is/was doing in a time frame. The difference between present continuous and past continuous is the following:
Is/are + verb-ing => is watching; are doing
Activities that happen now/ at this moment
Future tense in connection with (short-term) planning
Was/were + verb-ing => was driving; were walking
Activities that happened during a certain time frame before or after a an event in the past tense that was finished.
1. I was watching TV when you called.
2. When you called, I was watching TV
3. While I was waiting for the train, my girlfriend called.
4. At this time last night, I was driving home.
5. As I was backing out, the driver hit me from behind.
The third difference between the present and past continuous forms are the time markers. There, when looking at the list below, one can see that there are more time markers in the former than in the latter, whereas the in the latter, the time markers there are used exclusively, while they are rare to use in the former.
(right) now, currently, at the moment, momentarily, these days, nowadays, at present/ at the present time/ presently, today, while, this (week, month, year), in this era/period…
While, when (as a dependent clause), as, during the time…., This time/period, certain specified time: last week, a couple days ago, on 23rd December, at 9:30 last night, etc.
One can also say that some of the elements in past continuous can also be used for past tense, yet one needs to pay attention to the context. That means normally, past tense is the primary verb tense used for sentences, whereas the past continuous is a supplement to the main sentence. Therefore it is normal to see a past continuous being used when the time markers of while, when, as and during are used, as seen in examples in the table above. They normally do not stand out alone unless a certain time period is used and serves as a “substitute” to the past simple verb tense.
I was walking to the grocery store last night. – Past Continuous
I walked to the grocery store last night. – Past Simple
I was walking to the grocery store last night when I heard a strange noise.- Possible
I walked to the grocery store last night when I heard a strange noise.- Not possible
When I saw the person breaking into the store, I called the police.- Possible
While I saw the person breaking into the store, I called the police.- Not possible
Exercise A: The Choice- Look at the sentences below and determine which highlighted part of each sentence is past simple or past continuous. Identify the time markers in each sentence.
Last night, our football team lost in the playoffs finals, and the crowd was heartbroken.
It happened when the quarterback was trying to throw the ball and it was intercepted.
The wide receiver was wide open as the quarterback was throwing the ball to him.
The linebacker, who was being blocked by an offensive lineman, suddenly reached up to tip the ball.
While the ball was bobbling in the air, another linebacker saw it and reached up to grab it.
After he caught the ball, he landed on the ground and started running.
As he was running towards the end zone, several offensive players of the opposing team tried to stop him.
When he saw an opening, he quickly broke free.
While he was running towards the end zone, the noise of the crowd got louder, as the fans were cheering for him.
He suddenly reached the end zone and scored, as the finals seconds ticked to zero.
After he scored, he collapsed and the other players ran towards him.
During that time, he was trying to gasp for air because he ran so hard and so fast despite his weight.
My team started crying because we were leading by one point with four seconds left on the clock.
The fans of the winning team was racing onto the field as time ran out.
I still cannot forget the game today, because we were so close to winning but we were facing frontal winds during the whole game.
Exercise B: Unscramble-Unscramble the following words and form a complete sentence using the correct verb tense (past continuous/present continuous/past simple).HINT: Identify the subject, verb and time marker first before proceeding with the sentence construction!
by 3 points
in the last minute
on the first play
during the game
(!): Two sentence construction: Bold printed words are for the first half of the sentence. Please unscramble those in the top row first before unscrambling the bottom half that is for the second half!
Exercise C: Fill-in
Using the verb in parentheses, complete each sentence using either the past simple or past continuous. !:Please pay attention to the time markers in each sentence.HINT: Identify them first before completing the sentence.
Theo _______________ the chip dip for the party when his best friend called. (prepare)
Clyde’s first day of football practice _____________yesterday at the high school football field. (begin)
While I ____________ busy bringing down the quarterback, a lineman suddenly ________ into me and _________ me down. (to be/run/knock)
After I _________ to the ground, I sprained my ankle. (fall)
Sam ____________the best football game of his career last season, as he ___________ three touchdowns, and his team won the state championship. (play/score)
We _______________ to meet friends at a tailgate party outside the football stadium when we ____________ a flat tire on our pick-up. (go/see)
Because we wanted to watch the Super Bowl, we _____________ a new TV three days ago. (buy)
While you _____________ with that damn chick over there, we _________do all the work to prepare for the party. (flirt/have to)
Jesse ____________ with her marching band at the Rose Bowl parade yesterday. We ___________ it live on TV. (march/watch)
A: What ________you _________ just now? (do- question form)
B: I _____________ a pizza. Glad you __________ because I need your help. (make/come)
A: That _______ a foul call! (to be)
B: Hey! Why are you shouting at the TV?
A: Because that quarterback was hit after he _______ the ball! And the referee ____________ it! (throw/ not see)
A: Hey coach! Why did you cut me?
B: Because you _____________the job I had asked you to do on this football team. (not do)
As the quarterback BJ was ________________the field, quarterback Jimmy ____________ the field to replace him. (walk off/ enter)
As Corey __________ the ball into the end zone to score, the marching band ran onto the field. (run)
The football players _________ the coach off the field while he __________ the trophy in his arms. (carry 2x)
Look at the following football videos. Can you try and construct sentences in past tense, using either past simple, past continuous or both PLUS the correct time marker. As a bonus, can you find which game winner came from a college football game? 🙂
Example 1: The Minneapolis Miracle
Example 2:The Immaculate Reception
Example 3:The Catch of the Year
Example 4: The Clutch and the Clincher
Example 5: The Big Interception
Example 6:The Lateral
Example 7:The Botch
Now that you had a chance to work with the time markers dealing with past continuous and its comparison with past simple and present continuous, the next order of business will be a quiz on American football, its history, culture and all the things many Europeans probably don’t know about. 😉
There have been some talk about the Fridays for the Future Demonstrations and all of the advantages and disadvantages of students walking out of school to demonstrate for climate change. On one side of the spectrum, skipping classes to demonstrate has had a resounding effect on politics and policies of each country, forcing governments to reconsider their laws and heed to the demands of the demonstrators. There are enough examples, big and small, that support this argument, including the top three that I have:
The college demonstrations in the US against the Vietnam War- Starting in 1968, these demonstrations, albeit bloody, resulted in President Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to run for a second term in office. He was replaced by Richard Nixon, who wound down the war efforts by withdrawing troops and contributing to brokering a deal between North and South Vietnam. The war ended when the North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon and the rest of South Vietnam in 1975, hours after the last US troops left.
The Monday Night Demonstrations in East Germany- Starting in September 1989, the demonstrations that started every Monday evening at St. Nicholas Church ended up becoming a nationwide demonstration demanding change to a communist system that was considered broken. The end result was the downfall of Erich Honecker on 19 October and the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November. In the end, the peaceful protest also marked the beginning of talks for a reunified Germany, which happened on 3 October, 1990, and the domino effect that led to the end of Communism in 1991.
The Parkland Massacre Demonstrations of 2019- After a shooting spree that resulted in the deaths of 17 people at a high school in Florida, a group of high schoolers started a protest to address the use of guns in the US and the lobby group NRA. The end result is a shift in tide from the right to have guns to the right to protect our children, even if it means voting out every single NRA supporter who rejects stricter gun laws.
But by the same token, many teachers and parents, as well as some politicians feel that skipping school to protest climate change is just a waste of time and that time should be spent discussing this in the classroom.
But as you can see in the TED-Talk speech by 16-year old Greta Thunberg, there has been too much talk and too little action. Many turn a blind eye for the sake of popularity and money. Too much money has been wasted for conferences and speeches. And when the situation becomes unbearable where even the youngest generation walks out to protest the changes in our environment which are slowly becoming irreversible, then the time for talk is over and the time to act is now. The talk looks at the origins of the Friday for the Future demonstrations and how it has evolved since she started the walk-out process at her high school in Sweden.
Watch or listen to this speech and ask yourself what can be done to stop the destructive changes that are taking place to our planet. There are enough things to be done without talking about it.
Right in time for the next Advent celebration to have, we have a really cool set of idiomatic expressions that deal with Christmas, regardless of if it’s in English or German. Have a look at the Guessing Quiz and its 15 questions and take a stab at it. The answers are at the end of the article.
Good luck and Happy Holidays! 🙂 ❤
Answers: 1. true 2. false 3. false 4. false 5. false 6. true 7. false 8. true 9. true 10. true 11. a. 12. b. 13. b. 14. b. 15. b.
And now, the answers to Part III of the Guessing Quiz on the Inventions and Inventors from Saxony. Are you ready to find out? 🙂
Part 1: Which of the items in the group were invented from Saxony. Choose the ones you think were invented in Saxony and explain your reasons why.
gas lantern tissue paper wrist watch band light bulb
mile marker tea bag sugar cookies steam locomotive
street food coffee filter personal computer daily newspaper
bicycle laundry detergent mouthwash telephone
brandy beer cap encyclopedia Bible
Gas Lantern- The first gas lantern for streets was erected in 1811 in the Fischergasse in Freiberg. The inventor: Wilhelm August Lampadius, who was a teacher at the Bergakademie (Now TU-Freiberg)
Wrist Watch Band- The watchband was invented for men in 1959 in Glasshütte.
Mile Marker- Adam Friedrich Zürner introduced the mile marker (in historic terms, mile posts) in 1713 to measure the distance between towns in Saxony. According to his geographical surveys he created, two post miles equalled 9.062 kilometers, an equivalent to two-hours walk. Today one can find 200 of these ancient posts, plus 60 distance posts throughout Saxony, including Leipzig, Geithain, Dresden, Großenhain and in the Lausitz region, just to name a few.
Tea Bag- R. Seelig and Hille Tea company in Dresden developed the first tea bag in 1929, which one will see in the boxes of tea in today’s grocery stores and supermarkets. The inventor was Adolf Rambold.
Personal Computer- Konrad Zuse invented the first personal computer, the Z3 in Berlin, in 1943. This was 14 years after he obtained his high school degree in Hoyerswerda, in northeastern Saxony.
Coffee Filter- Melitta Bentz from Dresden, developed the first coffee filter in 1908 with the goal of ensuring the last drop didn’t consist of coffee ground. The filter led to her creating the Melitta Coffee Company, which later moved to Munich. Melitta machte Kaffee wirklich zum Genuss. 🙂
Steam Locomotive- While Great Britain was the birthplace of the steam locomotive thanks to the inventions patented by William Murdoch (1784) and William Reynolds (1787), the first steam locomotive in Germany was the Saxonia, invented by Johann Andreas Schubert in 1838 and used for the country’s first rail line between Leipzig and Dresden.
Daily Newspaper- Two years after the end of the 30-Years War, the first daily newspaper was open to business in Leipzig, in 1850. Tim Ritzsch’s concept at that time was to inform the public of events in the city, six days a week. All done using the Guttenberg press. You can imagine how many people were hired to do the lettering and pressing at that time. 😉
Laundry Detergent- While in Saxony, one will be familiar with FEWA. It was not only an East German product, it was the first laundry detergent used for washing machines. The Chemnitz-based firm patented the first detergent in 1932; the inventor was Heinrich Gottlob Bertsch. It was perfect timing as laundry soap was not doing the (modern-day) washing machine, also invented in Saxony (in Schwarzenberg) 30 years earlier, any favors.
Mouthwash- When a person had bad-breath during the 1700s, the only solutiion was to wash the mouth out with soap. In 1892, Karl August Lingner solved that problem and invented the Odol Mouthwash. Today one will associate Odol with this unique invention which can be mixed with water and used for rinsing out the mouth, cleansing it of bad breath. So much for the soap and water unless your child swears a lot. 😉
Brandy- Christian Traugott Hünlich from Wilthen put Germany on the map with his creation of Brandy in 1842. It became so successful that it won a gold medal at the World Expo in Paris, 58 years later.
Beer Cap- Robert Sputh invented the modern-day beer cap in 1892. Yet unlike the screw cap that had been introduced by Pittsburghese Hymann Frank 20 years earlier, Sputh’s invention was tighter and required opening only with the bottle opener; not by twisting. 😉
Part 2: Find out whether the following items originated from Saxony or not. Mark each one with a Y (yes) and N (no). For each one from Saxony, guess at when it was introduced.
Thermos-flask (Thermoskanne)- YES; in 1881 by Adolf Ferdinand Weinhold of Chemnitz
Coffee cup (Kaffeetasse) NO
Pottery _NO-The art of making things of clay dates back to the stone age
University of Technology YES- The Technical University in Freiberg was founded in 1765 under the name Bergakademie (Academy for Miners). The TUF still exists today.
Cassette tape (Tonband) YES- Fritz Pfleumer, an engineer from Dresden, developed and patented this in 1928
Wine glass NO
Diesel engine NO
Toothpaste YES- Ottomar Heinsius von Mayenburg, a chemist in Dresden invented this product in 1907, under the name Chlorodont. It was the forerunner to present-day toothpaste. Ironically, it was the sucessor to another invention from Saxony, toothsoap, which had been created in 1852 by Adolf Heinrich August Bergmann, another pharmacist from Waldheim.
Cantilever truss bridge NO
35 mm Camera YES- The Contax was introduced by the Carl-Zeiss Company in Dresden in 1932 and innovated again in 1949. It was the forerunner to the present-day 35mm camera but with mirror reflex anf now with SD-card.
Part 3. Choose the best answer for the following questions below.
Homoeopathy, invented by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, focuses on the following two aspects:
a. Mentality and physical illness b. Pills and viruses
c. Ecstasy and psychology d. the brain and the body
2. Aktendulli, known as file fastenersin English, is used to…..
a. Fasten files in binders b. Build log cabins with dowels
c. Sharpen pencils d. Jack up the car in the event of a flat tire.
3. In what year was the freon (FCKW)-free refridgerator invented and where?
Part a. 1895 1935 1993 2003 2018
Part b. Schwarzenberg Scharfenstein Schlettau Aue Zwickau
4. The “Plauener Spitze” is in reference to this type of manufacturing of fabric?
a. Jeans b. Embroidery c. Baseball Caps d. Dress shirts
5. Which city in Saxony was the birth place of the ceramic-ware we still see at the pottery market?
a. Radebeul b. Dresden c. Meissen d. Riesa e.Leipzig
Bonus Question:The Göltzschtal Viaduct, as seen in the picture above, is the first brick stone railroad viaduct in the world. True or false?
False. It holds the title as the longest of its kind, and at one time, it was the tallest. Yet evidence points to another brick stone railroad bridge at Wurzen (east of Leipzig). Built in 1836, it is the oldest operating railroad bridge in Germany and still serves rail traffic today.
There are plenty of sources that focus on the inventions from Saxony. Apart from this book above, you can also click on the links below, where you can read up on the facts. All the quiz questions come from the two links.
This blog is the result of an idea that's in my head for already quite a time. I love languages, cultures, travel and lifestyle topics and would like to write articles about interesting topics related to these topics. This blog is more a project that I start for myself. Of course, I will be happy if my content is also a valuable source for others, so that we can share our ideas and experiences.