Christmas carols

Hi everyone. Tomorrow we will be learning some Christmas carols (songs).

Away in a Manger

You can hear this being sung here:

Words to Away in a Manger

O Come all Ye Faithful

You can hear this being sung here:

Words to O Come all Ye Faithful

While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night

You can hear the song here:

Words to  While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night


You will be able to sing these carols on December 13th at the Carols by Candlelight at Whitehorse City Council

and on December 24th at 7pm and 11pm in our Family Carol service and Midnight Christmas service (see details below ‘Christmas Activities’).

2009 Christmas Activities

You are all invited to these activities!

St Thomas Burwood, 44 Station St, Burwood

(All activities there unless another address is given.)


Saturday December 5th   10-12 noon Final ESL class for 2009

Please bring a plate of food to share for our Christmas morning tea


         Sunday December 6th      6pm ESL service in the cottage.


         Sunday December 13th:  10am Family Christmas Musical (Cathy will be playing piano for this service and her children will be part of it. A great family event)


                      8pm Carols by Candlelight at Whitehorse City Council

Whitehorse Centre Soundshell, 397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading


                   Monday 14-Thursday 17 December ‘Road to Bethlehem’


 Outdoor play of the Christmas story at Central Rd, Nunawading
7:00pm to 10.30pm Ticket booths will open at 6:00pm for free tickets..

Phone line is open 9am and 5pm – Monday November 30 to Friday December 11               PHONE (03) 9264 7770 FOR BOOKINGS OR ENQUIRIES.

We will go as a group one night. Please let Jan know if you want to come.  She will be at all the activities.  Please contact her if you want to go.

  Sunday December 20th:   6pm BBQ & Carols in the car park at Church.  Please bring meat to cook for yourself..

 Thursday December 24th:  7pm Family Carol Service. Cathy will be going to this service and you are welcome to come back to her house for supper afterwards.

11pm Midnight Christmas service

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday February 13th for ESL classes next year   

Lesson for Saturday 28th November – Making and Eating Christmas Food!

We had lots of fun in the kitchen at St Thomas’ on Saturday, making small pancakes called Pikelets. We hoped to make some nice Christmas food in the kitchen, but I practised at home, cooking the items in the photos, and found that they would take too long to make in class.  I did make 18 yummy mini-Christmas Puddings though and brouught them to class to share with everyone for morning tea – see the Second Photo.

We made the pikelets /paIklts/ using this recipe:

Pikelet Recipe

Vocabulary:  electric frying pan, sift, mix, sugar, bowl, sieve, pour, whisk, wooden spoon, tablespoon, tea-spoon, milk, flour, self-raising, cup


  • electric frying pan
  • large bowl
  • tablespoon,  teaspoon, wooden mixing spoon
  • whisk
  • sieve

Ingredients  (for about 16 Pikelets):

  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1.5 cups of self-raising Flour

Procedure :

  1. Turn frying pan on, to preheat to ‘High’ (about  on the dial saying 1 to 10).
  2. Sift (with Sieve) the flour into a large bowl (to remove lumps).
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Break the egg carefully into the flour, avoiding the introduction of egg-shell.  Mix a little bit with the wooden spoon.
  5. Add 1cup of milk and start to mix the ingredients with the whisk (beater) or electric blender.
  6. Add enough milk while mixing to enable the mixture to be poured into the frying pan in small amounts.
  7. Pour tea-spoon-sized dollops of mixture onto the hot frying pan.The dollops will settle into small pancakes which we call pikelets.
  8. As the pikelets cook bubbles will appear in the mixture.  When bubbles appear all over each pikelet turn it over with a ‘flipper’ and cook for another couple of minutes.  Check for a light brown colour.
  9. Put the pikelets on a plate to cool.
  10. Repeat for the rest of the ingredients.
  11. Add butter and jam for yummy presentation.



Food to Make and Eat - Yum!

Food to Make and Eat - Yum!

Christmas is coming!

Today we learnt about Christmas. First we heard from classmates about festivals in their countries – the Spring Festival in China and the Spring Festival in Iran. This was very interesting!

We also found out that in China Christmas is starting to be celebrated among younger people with Christmas trees, Santa, decorations and presents. In Iran it is celebrated only by Christians.

The first Christmas

We read the story of the first Christmas (about 2000 years ago) together. This is from the Bible. You can read ‘An Angel tells about the Birth of Jesus’ here  

Then try reading ‘The Birth of Jesus’ and ‘The Shepherds’: Here’s a picture: mary, joseph and baby

Then you can read about ‘The Wise Men’ here

Hope you enjoy it!

Key words about Christmas

 Angel (messenger from God)

Mary (Jesus’ mother)

Joseph (Mary’s husband)

Bethlehem (the town Jesus was born in)

Nativity (means ‘birth’)- you can see ‘Nativity scenes’ in shopping centres in Australia showing Mary, Joseph, the baby, the shepherds, the star and the wise men. I brought along a Nativity Scene to class. Christmas cards also often have Nativity scenes on them.

Saviour (someone who saves or rescues people – in the Bible it means someone who rescues people so they can be forgiven by God and live a new life with God)

Prophet (someone who tells the future, or gives a ‘prophecy’. In the Bible it means someone who speaks words from God)

Now we know why you often see Angels and stars on the top of a Christmas tree!

Christmas in Australia

In Australia many people don’t know much about the first Christmas. Christmas in Australia is about presents, family, children and food! Children are told about Santa Claus (orginally a Christian holy person called Saint Nicholas) who they believe lives in the North Pole and comes to give them presents on Christmas Eve (December 24th). He rides a sleigh pulled by reindeer and comes down the chimney. When I was young I was worried that our chimney was too small! Lots of children leave out some carrots for the reindeer and a glass of milk and biscuit for Santa. They are thrilled in the morning when they have been eaten! Children leave out a sock or stocking and in the morning it is full of sweets.

On Christmas day (25th December) most people have a big meal with their families. This includes roast turkey, baked ham, roast veggies (Australian for ‘vegetables’), Christmas pudding. Some families have seafood and pavlova (favourite Australian dessert). Next week we plan to try doing some Christmas cooking!

Boxing day

On Boxing day (26th December) there is the tradition of the Boxing Day Test Match – a game of cricket which people go to watch and relax.

There are also the Boxing Day Sales – the big shops have big sales and huge crowds almost run over each other trying to get in the doors!

Finally there is the Sydney to Hobart yacht race –  see

Lots of people in Melbourne will go down to the beach for a holiday, so the roads will be full of cars!

You are invited to Christmas carols

Lots of Australians still enjoy singing Christmas carols (special songs about Christmas that we only sing at Christmas time). This year, we will be going to the City of Whitehorse Christmas carols (with candles) on the evening of Sunday 13th December. See Everyone from our classes is invited. It should be great fun!

You are also all invited to Carols in the Carpark at Station Street (where we have our classes) at 6pm on the evening of Sunday 20th December.

Finally you are all welcome to come to a family Carol service at Station Street at 7pm on Thursday 24th December (Christmas Eve).

If you go to all 3 you will learn the carols really well!

An invitation to Christmas at church

You are all invited to experience something of Christmas at our church here where we have our classes. On Sunday December 13th at 10am there is a family Christmas musical. My children will be in it! It will be a special fun church service for families and children, with music and songs telling about the Christmas story.

On Thursday 24th December at 11pm is a special Christmas Eve service. You will hear some of the Bible that we read today and sing some Christmas carols. Everyone will be excited about Christmas tomorrow.

On Christmas day 25th December at 8am and 10am there will be Christmas services here. Everyone is welcome to come and experience Christmas at church Australian-style.


Barbie dolls

For our lesson on 7/11 we started with some conversation.  The conversation cards can be found here:

Barbie dolls

We talked about Babie dolls. Some of us had one when we were growing up, and some of our children now have one!

We listened to a conversation between Gihan and Wendy. Have a listen here: wendy, gihan and barbie

We practised copying what each person says, listening for intonation (words which go up and down in tone). This would be good to do at home!

We used the Barbie worksheet as we listened.

Here’s the written Wendy Gihan dialogue so you can follow it while you listen and use it to practise.

Alex catches marlin


Hi everyone. This week we listened to Alex, from Sydney, talking about fishing for marlin.

Alex and marlin

You can find the podcast here:

You can also watch Alex’s video of the catch.

We answered the questions on the link and practised copying the dialogue ourselves.

This would be great to do at home! Here’s the transcript: Alex catching marlin transcript 

Up and down

We noticed the way Australians often use a rising voice if they have not finished what they are saying.

e.g. [italics go up, bold go down] ‘My name is Alex Zichari. I am Rosa’s nephew. I’ve known Rosa all my life. …I thought that it’d be fitting for you people to see a bit of Australian culture.’  ‘Culture’ goes down because it is the end of Alex’s comments.

We practised the dialogue with a partner, trying to copy the way Alex’s voice goes up and down.

Try to listen for this and talk like this during the week, too!

Statement/ question/ surprise/ anger

The same words can mean different things depending on whether the voice goes up or down.

e.g. ‘She has blonde hair’

Statement: the last word goes down. She has blonde hair.

Question: the last word goes up. She has blonde hair.

Surprise: the word that shows what’s surprising goes up. She has blonde hair. [Shows you are surprised – you thought it was a different colour]

Anger: the words are spat out of the mouth very strongly.

Try to listen for the different sounds this week.

Summarising academic language

We looked at a very difficult article on US-China-Australian relationship (for university course reading) and discussed how to summarise it.

The abstract at the start is very helpful. The conclusion at the end is also good to look at carefully.

Watch out for the 1st sentence of each paragraph which will set out the topic. e.g. ‘The first area which is contributing to the dilemma is…’, ‘The second area is…’, ‘The third area…’.

In academic articles, try to ignore all the extra words and clauses and find the main verbs in the sentence. e.g. ‘While the rise of China and the question of Taiwan are often cited as main causes of US-China discord, this article argues that the American neoconservative policy on China, underpinned by a belief in both military strength and moral clarity, is integral to this growing competition and is, by extension, partly responsible for the emergence of Australia’s predicament.’

Look at each of the sections between the commas – the 1st section ‘While…US-China discord,’ is not the main point of the sentence because it is introduced by ‘while’.

This article argues  is the main subject and verb. What does it argue? Look for only the main words and try to ignore the extra words – that the American neoconservative policy on China…is…responsible for …Australia’s predicament.

If you underline these main words and write them down in note form you will have summarised the sentence.

Notice how sentences are broken into different parts by commas, and try to follow the main subject-verb-object through the sentence.

 Good luck!

For next time – This football life

If you can, you might like to watch an entertaining TV program about a guy from Hong Kong staying with an Australian family and learning all about footy. Watch it at

Have a good week!

Today’s lesson



Hi everyone.

‘Hi Dimitra!’

Today we had fun listening to a dialogue between Dimitra and Rosa. You can listen to it at the following link

We answered the questions on the link and discussed whether we would stay in this country or return to our home country if given the choice. If you weren’t at the class, you are welcome to listen and comment. We also practised repeating each line of the dialogue ourselves – this would be good to do at home.

Which words matter?

We talked about the way important words were stressed. We discussed the ‘intonation’: which words went up in tone, and which went down e.g. ‘I’ve always lived in Sydney, ever since I migrated to Australia’ – the word ‘Sydney’ goes up in tone, to show that it is not the end of the sentence. If Dimitra only said ‘I’ve always lived in Sydney’ then the word ‘Sydney’ would go down in tone to show it was the end of the sentence.

If you want to listen to other podcasts the link is on the left of our blog: ‘ESL interview podcasts’.


After the break we played a matching game with phrasal verbs. An online version of these games is at (the numbers start from beginner and go to advanced)


We also wrote a short paragraph introducing ourselves and I corrected it. We noticed the difference between ‘I live in Burwood’ and ‘I study at Deakin’ (not ‘in Deakin’). We chatted to each other to practise talking about ourselves.

If anyone would like to write a short paragraph about themselves they can add it as a comment here (just use your username).

Have a good week!