KA VOICECAST for Wednesday, October 1st (2014)

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KA News

STORY TIME- The Witches by Roald Dahl

  • Key vocabulary words
  • Listening comprehension questions
  • Listening comprehension Q&A

 

KA News for Wednesday, October 1st

KAIS International School and Kikokushijo Academy will be opening new facilities in Toritsu Daigaku offering a daytime international school for students grade 1-8 that will be called KAIS Elementary and Middle School (KAIS EMS). As the new building will not be available until 2015, KAIS will on a limited basis offer its grades 3-6 program at Kikokushijo Academy’s facilities in Jiyugaoka.  Classes began on September 15th.  The facilities are adequate, with a fine library, functional classrooms, and an overall warm atmosphere. The program will be high-quality and individualized, utilizing a combination of traditional, proven teaching methods, including Kikokushijo Academy’s highly successful English program, as well as progressive and holistic educational practices focused on encouraging creativity, curiosity, self-confidence, and a general positive outlook on life. Small group homework tutoring for all subjects, including Japanese language, will be a key feature of the school, as will dynamic theme-based modules that synthesize literature, history, music, art, and other disciplines. For more information and questions to frequently asked questions, please follow the link below.

 

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is now available as a correspondence course for students who live abroad or outside of the Kanto area. This is a serious, results-oriented program for students who wish to pass essay exams for junior high, senior high, university or the EIKEN, TOEFL, or SAT exams. Distance Learning students will write and revise weekly essays, complete grammar assignments, and build vocabulary to raise the register and effectiveness of their writing. Each student will correspond with a Personal Writing Tutor, who will guide the student through the course by email.

Students wishing to participate in the Distance Learning course must have:

• Access to the internet

• A computer with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

• A strong desire to improve their writing.

For more information about this exciting new program, please contact Kikokushijo Academy or follow the link.

The KA Kids International Preschool in Tama Plaza is still accepting applications for children aged 3-6 for the 2014/2015 academic year. Children who sign up for the KAIP program will be introduced to the fast-paced, advanced reading and writing program with teachers trained in the Read Write Inc. Phonics method, currently exclusive to Kikokushijo Academy. For general information and answers to frequently asked questions, please follow the link to the KA Kids International Preschool Page.

 

The new season of KA Wordcast, which began on September 2, focuses on improving your listening and comprehension skills.  KA Wordcast:  Listen Up!  should help those of you preparing for entrance and other exams with challenging listening passages, questions, and key vocabulary words.  Listen Up! will air every Tuesday.   KA Wordcast:  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs airs twice a month on the 5th and 20th of each month.  Lesson 27, scheduled to air on October 5, will cover various phrasal verbs and expressions based on the word WALK, so be sure to tune in!

 

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Celebrating Roald Dahl Dahlicious Dress-Up Day! Aidan dressed as Granny from The Witches

1. PLOTTING

PLOTTING is the progressive form of the verb to PLOT, which means to secretly make plans to carry out an often illegal or harmful action.  Plan, scheme, concoct, and conspire are some close equivalents.  Let’s listen to how it used in the passage you have a better idea.

A REAL WITCH spends all her time plotting to get rid of children in her particular territory. 

 

2. SCHEMING

Like PLOTTING above, SCHEMING is also a verb that means to make plans, especially in a devious way or with intent to do something illegal or wrong.  Synonyms for SCHEME include plot, conspire, and plan.  It is used like this:

…her mind will always be plotting and scheming and churning and burning and whizzing and phizzing with murderous bloodthirsty thoughts.

 

3. STALK

As a verb, to STALK means to pursue or approach someone or something stealthily as in this sentence from the passage:

Very carefully a victim is chosen.  Then the witch stalks the wretched child like a hunter stalking a little bird in the forest. 

Synonyms for the above usage of STALK include creep up on, hunt, trail, follow, and shadow.

Nowadays, when you hear that a person is STALKING someone, it means that he or she is harassing someone with unwanted attention.  A STALKER is a person who does the harassing.

 

4. ABSURDITY

ABSURDITY is the quality or state of being ridiculous or unreasonable.  Some synonyms include ridiculousness, foolishness, unreasonableness, ludicrousness, and stupidity.  Listen to this example.

Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion.

 

5. QUIRK

QUIRK is an adjective that describes a person or situation that is characterized by peculiar or unusual traits.  Some useful synonyms include eccentric, unconventional, bizarre, peculiar, and outlandish.

But there are a number of little signals you can look out for, little quirky habits that all witches have in common…

 

Now that you have a good understanding of some of the tricky words you’ll be hearing in the passage, let’s listen to the passage.  Now remember, you will be tested on your listening comprehension afterwards, so make sure you listen carefully and take notes if you need to.  But don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.  If you would like to listen to the passage a second or third time, a PASSAGE ONLY track is available on the website.

The Witches PASSAGE ONLY TRACK

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Tiana dressed as the Grand High Witch from The Witches on Roald Dahl Dahl-cious Dress-Up Day.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl

 

A Note About Witches

In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.

            But this is not a fairy tale.  This is about REAL WITCHES.

            The most important thing you should know about REAL WITCHES is this.  Listen very carefully.  Never forget what is coming next.

            REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women.  They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.

            That is why they are so hard to catch.

            A REAL WITCH hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more sizzling and red-hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.

            A REAL WITCH spends all her time plotting to get rid of children in her particular territory.  Her passion is to do away with them, one by one.  It is all she thinks about the whole day long.  Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman or driving round in a fancy car (and she could be doing any of these things), her mind will always be plotting and scheming and churning and burning and whizzing and phizzing with murderous bloodthirsty thoughts.

            “Which child,” she says to herself all day long, exactly which child shall I choose for my next squelching?”

            A REAL WITCH gets the same pleasure from squelching a child as you get from eating a plateful of strawberries and thick cream.

            She reckons on doing away with one child a week.  Anything less than that and she becomes grumpy.

            One child a week is fifty-two a year.

            Squish them and squiggle them and make them disappear.

            That is the motto of all witches.

Very carefully a victim is chosen.  Then the witch stalks the wretched child like a hunter stalking a little bird in the forest.  She treads softly.  She moves quietly.  She gets closer and closer.  Then at last, when everything is ready…phwisst!…and she swoops!  Sparks fly.  Flames leap.  Oil boils.  Rats howl. Skin shrivels.  And the child disappears.

            A witch, you must understand, does not knock children on the head or stick knives into them or shoot at them with a pistol.  People who do those things get caught by the police.

            A witch never gets caught.  Don’t forget that she has magic in her fingers and devilry dancing in her blood.  She can makes stones jump about like frogs and she can make tongues of flame go flickering across the surface of the water.

            These magic powers are very frightening.

            Luckily, there are not a great number of REAL WITCHES in the world today.  But there are still quite enough to make you nervous.  In England, there are probably about one hundred of them altogether.  Some countries have more, others have not quite so many.  No country in the world is completely free from WITCHES.

            A witch is always a woman.

            I do not wish to speak badly about women.  Most women are lovely.  But the fact remains that all witches are women.  There is no such thing as a male witch.

            On the other hand, a ghoul is always male.  So indeed is a barghest.  Both are dangerous.  But neither of them is half as dangerous as a REAL WITCH.

            As far as children are concerned, a REAL WITCH is easily the most dangerous of all the living creatures on earth.  What makes her doubly dangerous is the fact that she doesn’t look dangerous.  Even when you know all the secrets (you will hear about those in a minute), you can still never be quite sure whether it is a witch you are gazing at or just a kind lady.  If a tiger were able to make himself look like a large dog with a waggy tail, you would probably go up and pat him on the head.  And that would be the end of you.  It is the same with witches.

            Kindly examine the picture below.  Which lady is the witch?  That is a difficult question, but it is one that every child must try to answer.

Which lady is the witch?

            For all you know, a witch might be living next door to you right now.

            Or she might be the woman with the bright eyes who sat opposite you on the bus this morning.

            She might be the lady with the dazzling smile who offered you a sweet from a white paper bag in the street before lunch.

            She might even—and this will make you jump—she might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment.  Look carefully at that teacher.  Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion.  Don’t let that put you off.  It could be part of her cleverness.

            I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch.  All I am saying is that she might be one.  It is most unlikely.  But—and here comes the big “but”—it is not impossible.

            Oh, if only there were a way of telling for sure whether a woman was a witch or not, then we could round them all up and put them in the meat-grinder.  Unhappily, there is no such way.  But there are a number of little signals you can look out for, little quirky habits that all witches have in common, and if you know about these, if you remember them always, then you might just possibly manage to escape from being squelched before you are very much older.

***

The first five questions will be MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE and based on FACTUAL CONTENT.  Listen to the question carefully and mark your answer.  Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.

 

1. Real witches are difficult to catch because they look like ordinary women.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

2. A real witch could very well be

a) your teacher.

b) the cashier in a supermarket.

c) a secretary typing letters for a businessman.

d) all of the above.

 

3. Every country in the world has an equal number of witches.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

 

4. The motto of a real witch is to

a) make one child a week disappear.

b) scare children so that they will be quiet.

c) offer children sweets.

d) knock children on the head.

 

5. What makes witches dangerous is the fact that she doesn’t look dangerous.

a) TRUE

b) FALSE

Now that you have completed the first section of questions, let’s move on to section two, which will be based on some of the vocabulary you’ve heard in the passage.

 

1) Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

A REAL WITCH spends all her time plotting to get rid of children in her particular territory. 

In this sentence, the word “territory” is most similar in meaning to

a) terrain

b) island

c) region

d) domain

 

2) Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

A REAL WITCH hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more sizzling and red-hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.

In this sentence, the word “hatred” is synonymous to

a) loathing

b) reluctance

c) aversion

d) regret

 

3) Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

Then the witch stalks the wretched child like a hunter stalking a little bird in the forest.

The word “wretched” from the above sentence could be replaced with one of the following words and still hold the same meaning.  Which one?

a) poorly

b) impoverished

c) unfortunate

d) despicable

 

4) Listen to the following sentence from the passage.

She treads softly.  She moves quietly.  She gets closer and closer. 

In the sentence above, “tread” means to

a) walk

b) stomp

c) flatten

d) trample on

 

5) Listen to the following sentence.

“Which child,” she says to herself all day long, exactly which child shall I choose for my next squelching?”

What is the nearest definition for “squelching” from the sentence above?

a) a wet, sucking sound.

b) to crush or squeeze

c) to forcibly stop something from growing.

d) to reject something.

Listening Comprehension Answers 

 

True/False and Multiple Choice  1) a    2) d    3) b    4) a    5)a
Vocabulary Based  1) c    2)a     3)c      4)a     5)c

Listening comprehension is a very important part of your English learning process, so it’s probably a good idea to get as much practice in as you possibly can.  You can do this by talking with your English speaking friends, watching English television programs and movies, listening to the radio—the news channel, say, or if you’re really ambitious and want to test yourself, you can always tune into KA Wordcast Listen Up!  There are currently five lessons available on the website and more are coming each week.  The Listen Up! podcasts are also great if you would like to boost your vocabulary.

Tune in to KA Wordcast:  Listen Up!  every Tuesday!

 

If you would like to learn more about how you can identify a real witch from ordinary women, Roald Dahl’s famous book, The Witches is available for you to check out in the KA Library.  It has also been made into a film starring Angelica Houston as the Grand High Witch, and Rowan Atkinson, aka Mr. Bean as Mr. Stringer, the manager of the Hotel Magnificent.

 

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