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M1U1 school life in the UK
Going to a British high school for one year was a very enjoyable and experience for me .I was very happy with the school hours in Britain because school starts around 9 a.m.and ends about 3.30 p.m.This means I could get up an hour later than usual ,as schools in China begin before 8 a.m. On the first day ,all of the new students attended an assembly in the school hall .I sat next to a girl whose name was Diana .We soon became best friends. During the assembly ,the headmaster told us about the rules of the school . He also told us that the best way to earn respect was to devote ourselves to study and achieve high grades . This sounded like my school in China . I had many teachers in the past year . Mr Heywood , my class teacher , was very helpful .My favourite teacher was Miss Burke--I loved the lessons that she gave in English Literature .In our class there were 28 students .This is about the average size for British schools . We had to move to different classrooms for different classes. We also had different students in some classes , so it was a struggle for me to remember all the faces and names. I found that the homework was not as heavy as what I used to get in my old school . However , it was a bit challenging for me at first , because all the homework was in English . I felt lucky , as all my teachers gave me much enjoyment and I enjoyed all my subjects: English , History , English Literature, Computer Science , Maths , Science , PE ,Art , Cooking and French. My English improved a lot , as I used English every day and spent an hour each day reading English books in the library . I usually went to the Computer Club during the lunch break , so I could send e-mails to my family and friends back home for free. I also had an extra French class on Tuesday evenings .Cooking was really fun as I learnt how to buy ,prepare and cook food .At the end of term we held a class party and we all had to cook something .I was glad that all my classmates were fond of the cake that I made . Students at that school have to study Maths , English and Science , but can stop studying some subjects if they do not like them , for example , History and French . They can choose other subjects like Art and Computer Science, or languages such as Spanish and German. Though it did not look very beautiful when it was finished , I still liked it very much . I missed Chinese food a lot at lunch .British food is very different . British people like eating dessert at the end of their main meal . After lunch , we usually played on the school field . Sometimes I played football with the boys . Sometimes I just relaxed under a tree or sat on the grass. I was very lucky to experience this different way of life .I look back on my time in the UK with satisfaction , and I really hope to go back and study in Manchester again .

M1U2 Home Alone
Act one Mom and Dad arrive back from vacation a day earlier than expected. The curtains are closed and the living room is dark when Mom and Dad enter. Dad: It’s so nice to be home! Mom: Yes, I can’t wait to surprise the boys! Suddenly a door opens and a soccer ball flies through the room. Eric runs in after it, followed by a big dog, walking very slowly. Eric: Mom! Dad! You’re back early! (looking around room, sounding frightened) But, but--- you weren’t supposed to come home until tomorrow! The dog slowly walks to Mom and Dad. Mom: (bending to touch dog) Eric, he’s so tired and hungry! (looking at table) The money with which you were to buy dog food is gone, but Spot looks so hungry! What did you do with the money we left? Dad: And look at the room --- garbage all over the place! Where is your brother? (shouting angrily) Daniel! Daniel: (running into room) Mom, Dad, I can explain--Dad opens the curtains and light comes into the room. The room is in a mess, with pizza boxes on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. In the corner, there is a garbage can around which are pieces of garbage and waste paper. Mom and Dad both turn towards Daniel. Dad: (sounding very angry) Listen to me, young man---- we left you in charge! We thought you could act like an adult, but look at the mess. I don’t know why the house is so dirty--Mom: Daniel, we thought you were an adult, a person who would make good decisions……. Dad: How can we trust you any more? We won’t tolerate such behavior in our house! Daniel: ( shouting) Stop shouting at me. I’m still a teenager! Why is everything always my fault? Daniel runs into his bedroom and shuts the door angrily. Mom and Dad look at each other as lights go out. Act two, scene one Daniel and Eric’s bedroom. Eric sits on his bed. Daniel has his arms crossed and looks upset. Daniel: They never even gave me a chance to defend myself. I hate them! Eric: You don’t hate them. I can tell them we had an emergency. Then they won’t be mad anymore. Daniel: No, don’t tell them anything. Anyhow,they didn’t trust me. They don’t deserve an explanation . Let them think what they want. Eric: But Daniel, if they knew that Spot was sick and we used the money to take him to the clinic---

Daniel: And that we spent all of yesterday waiting there for him and that is why we had no time to clean the house --- but no Eric, why didn’t they ask me what happened instead of shouting at me? Act two, scene two Mom: Do you think we were too hard on Daniel? Perhaps there’s a reason why the house is a mess….. Dad: Maybe, but now that he has been so rude to us, I feel like we have to punish him or he won’t respect us. Mom: Oh, why does this have to be so difficult? Mom sighs. End of act two.

M1U3 Dying to be thin...
Hi Zhou Ling How are you? I haven’t heard from you for weeks. Is everything OK with you? Do you still go to the gym every day? I used to go to the gym three times a week, but I don’t work out any more. I know another way to stay slim. Looking good is important to women, isn’t it? Most young women want a slim figure these days, especially here in Canada. I’m trying to lose weight because I’m so ashamed of my body. Since I’m preparing to act in a new TV show, I’m taking weight-loss pills called Fat-Less, which are quite popular among young women here. I hope to lose at least 10 kilograms. I take two pills a day and don’t need to exercise. The pills really work! I’m becoming slimmer and slimmer. I’ve lost 7 kilograms in the last two months. However, sometimes I don’t feel so energetic. My mother, who you met last year, keeps telling me not to take them because they are dangerous. She says health is the most important thing, and I agree, but then I look so slim at the moment. Write soon! Love Amy Dear Zhou Ling Things change so quickly! I’m now in hospital recovering from liver failure. I regret taking those weight-loss pills. They contain a harmful chemical that cause my liver to fail. The doctor told me that I would die if I couldn’t get a new liver. My mother is a match, but she is too old for such a long operation. I thought I was going to die. Then the doctor found that someone in your country, whose name is Li Dong, was an exact match for me.. He donated more than half of his liver to save my life. I was very lucky, wasn’t I? I’m feeling better now. I follow my doctor’s advice and exercise for at least half an hour every day, and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. People should look after their bodies. My mother is right: don’t damage your health for a slim and attractive figure. It isn’t worth it. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the way we look, should we? I hope to hear from you soon. Love, Amy

Dear Amy My computer was broken so I couldn’t read your two e-mails until today. I’m so sorry to hear about your problem, but I’m glad you’re feeling better and are recovering. You’re right. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about our weight. I think you look great as you are, and you’re a wonderful person. I know that the pressure to stay slim is a problem, especially for an actress. However, your mother knows best: nothing is more important than health. It’s the same in China—many people, some of whom are not overweight at all, are always going on a diet or taking weight-loss pills, which are often dangerous. I hope they can learn from your story. Love Zhou Ling

M2U1 Boy missing,police puzzled
Police in America have stepped up their search for a fifteen-year-old-boy ,who went missing two days ago in Dover,New Hampshire.People have shown great interest in his disappearance due to sightings of puzzling lights in the sky and reports of alien visit around the time of his disappearance. Justin Foster,a high school student,went missing last Friday night.At first,Justin's mother,who went to sleep early that evening because of a headache,thought that the teenager was spending the night with a friend.Mr Foster,who was working that night,was surprised that his son did not tell anyone that he was staying out late.When Justin did not show up at the family lunch the next day,Mrs Foster became worried and told her husband to call the police. However,police found that Justin did in fact return home on Friday night at about 11 p.m.That evening at 8 p.m. ,Justin left home to play baseball with two friends,who both say Justin went home after the game. Witnesses also say they saw Justin walking towards his home at 10.45 p.m. Justin's sister,Kelly,says she heard her brother return home at about 11 p.m. 'I was getting ready for bed.'she said.'Justin went straight to his room.I didn't see him but I heard him putting on his favourite CD.That's when the lights came.' According to Kelly,a bright light then appeared according to her window. At first,the young girl thought it was the light of the full moon, but then she realized it was moving and coming closer.'I pulled back the curtains and saw a large spaceship flying outside.It had multi-coloured lights all around it and there were many windows.Standing inside were lots of white-skinned,strange-looking creatures with large black eyes. I was frightened.'Kelly said that the spaceship then moved around to the side of the house,towards her brother's bedroom. 'I heard Justin shout,and then the UFO just disappeared. I haven't seen Justin since. I am sure the aliens took him,but my parents said I was only dreaming.' Some people in Dover also say that they have seen aliens.'It happened to me!' said Mavis Wood.'The aliens took me away so that they could do research on me.Luckily, they returned me to my home. I think Justin was taken away by them too. They are interested in us. I still have nightmares about them. I haven't been sleeping well since I returned home. The whole experience was very frightening. I even get frightened when I hear a plane fly over.' Police have not ruled out the possibility that Justin was taken by aliens, but are also looking into other possibilities.'Sometimes, people make up such amazing stories,'says Detective Sam Peterson, who has taken charge of the case.'So we've been looking at other possibilities too,such as murder. We will not give up until we find convincing evidence.

M2U2 An adventure in Africa
30 June Dear Aihua How are you? Sorry I haven’t written for so long. I’ve been quite busy arranging my holiday with my older brother, Colin. Colin and I plan to spend a few weeks travelling before he goes to university. We’re going to visit so many exciting places and do lots of extraordinary things. We will go to Africa first. I can’t wait! Have you ever been there? We leave London on 15 July, and we’ll be taking a flight to Morocco, in northern Africa. We’re going to ride camels through the Sahara Desert. It’s the biggest desert in the world―about the size of the US! I expect it will be very hot, dry and dusty there. We’ll be travelling by camel with local guides, camping in tents and sleeping on the ground. I’ve heard that, in the Sahara, there is no shade during the day, and the stars seem especially brilliant on clear nights. I’ll bring a flashlight with me so that I’ll be able to see in the dark. Altogether, the trip will take six days. That means I’ll have to sit on a camel for almost a week―how uncomfortable! I hope my camel likes me! After the trip by camel, we’re going to travel down the River Nile. We’ll start at Lake Victoria. A little way down the river from Lake Victoria, the water gets quite rough. So, we’ll go white―water rafting. It’s quite dangerous, but very exciting! You have to wear a helmet and a life jacket for protection, just in case you fall into the water. Then, we’re going on a trip to see wild animals in Kenya. We’ll live with the local people in their villages, and drink whatever they do, including cow’s blood! Do you think I should drink it? Since we’ll be walking for almost two weeks, I’ll need to buy a large backpack in advance to carry my supplies of food and water. During the day, we’ll walk across the land, following the tracks of wildlife such as elephants, lions and giraffes. We’ll try to get as close as possible to the animals, even though they’re dangerous, so that we can take some really good photographs. But don’t worry about me. Our guides will have guns with them for defense―they can use the guns to scare the animals away if they come too near. I really want to see an elephant up close, and Colin wants to see a giraffe. After that, we’ll be moving on to Tanzania, where we’re going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Mountain climbing can be very tiring, and many people feel sick as the atmosphere gets thinner, so Colin and I will make sure that we will get plenty of rest. The Africa part of our trip will take about four weeks. Afterwards, we’re going to the Himalayas. I’ll send you postcards from all the different places we visit! Love Toby

M2U3 The Curse of the mummy
Howard Carter is one of the most famous explorers the world has ever known. He was brave and adventurous. He loved to visit new places. During his lifetime, he discovered many amazing things. Howard Carter did not go to school but was taught to draw by his father, who was an artist. He was bright and curious about the world outside his hometown. In 1891, at the age of 17, he set sail for Alexandria, Egypt. By the 1920s he had become an explorer searching for the tombs of the Egyptian kings. He found several important ones. Inside the tombs he found jewels, gold and the preserved bodies of dead kings. These preserved bodies are known as mummies. In 1922, Howard Carter made his most amazing discovery of all, in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. He had received money from Lord Carnarvon, a British man who was very interested in Egypt. Carter’s team was working at a place near a city called Luxor. There, they found the tomb of King Tutankhamun. It was the most important tomb that had ever been found. ‘The tomb contained more riches, gold and jewels than any of us had ever seen before, as well as the mummy of the king,’ said Carter. ‘By the time we left, it was empty. We emptied the tomb of everything it contained━ we were rich and famous right away. However, not long after the tomb had been opened, people in Carter’s team began to fall ill and died strangely. Upon entering the tomb, Carter’s lucky pet bird, which had led him to the place, was eaten by a snake. Then, a few months after Carter had opened the tomb, Lord Carnarvon, who was also present when the tomb was opened, fell ill with a fever and died in Egypt. At the moment of Carnarnon’s death, the lights went out in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Back in England his dog died at the same time. George Gould, a friend of Carnarvon, went to Egypt after hearing of his death. He too visited the tomb, and had a high fever the following day. Twelve hours later, he was dead. Carter’s secretary, Richard Bethell, died of heart trouble four months after the tomb was opened. Arthur Mace, another member of the team, also died shortly after the discovery. Within seven years, 21 people who had something to do with the opening of the tomb died. Howard Carter, however, lived on and died at the age of 65. Some people say the deaths were just coincidence. Others believe that they were the result of the mummy’s curse, which punishes those who enter the resting place of the dead. However, still others believe that there is a scientific explanation. Inside the tombs, there are many viruses. When a tomb is opened, fresh air disturbs the viruses. If breathed in, they can result in illness or even death. Today, when scientists examine mummies, they wear special clothing to protect themselves. What is certain, though, is that the mystery of Tutankhamun’s tomb has never been fully explained .



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