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67 segments Intermediate Male
The Copperpod tree was in full bloom. Vibrant and vivacious it swayed gracefully from side to side, sending down a shower of copper yellow petals.

“Gosh, you’re beautiful!” exclaimed the other trees.

The Copperpod tree stood up straight and rustled its leaves, clearly enjoying the attention.

A gust of wind blew through the forest causing all the trees to bend westwards.

“Oh no…my flowers!” cried the Copperpod tree, trying its best to stand still.

Another gust of wind sent the trees swaying the other way.

“That’s enough!” said the Copperpod tree, as a bunch of flowers fell from its top most branches, “I’ve just about had enough!”

All the other trees turned to look.

“Now look here Mr. Wind, I refuse to dance to your tunes anymore! I wish to sway by myself! Not the way you want me to!” said the Copperpod tree firmly.

A gentle whisper broke out among the trees.

The wind stopped blowing. The din of dead silence rang through the forest.

A moment later the wind swept through the air again. It circled around the trees and made a whooshing sound. But it never touched the Copperpod tree.

The Copperpod tree watched the other trees giggle as the wind tickled their branches. Then it turned the other way and admired its flowers. Out of the corner of its eye it looked to see if any tree was watching. But they were all dancing with the wind.

The Copperpod tree tried to ruffle its flowers. But it couldn’t. It tried to shake its branches. But it couldn’t. It tried to lean closer to the other trees. But it couldn’t. All it could do was stand still.

“Gosh, you’re beautiful!” said the trees.

A few days later, the Copperpod tree opened its tired eyes with a glimmer of hope. But the other trees were looking elsewhere. They were looking at the Gulmohar tree, which was ablaze with fiery red flowers. It was scattering its petals in the air like tiny sparks of fire. The wind blew around it; tousling its branches and making its flowers flush an even brighter red.

Nobody paid any attention to the Copperpod tree which was all bent now. There wasn’t a single copper yellow flower on it. Dried flowers and leaves still clung to its branches.

The Copperpod tree let out a groan. Its trunk was hurting from standing so still. It longed to sway at least once! But the wind refused to even come near it.

“Alright, Mr. Wind, I’m sorry! The truth is that I need you,” sighed the Copperpod tree. It felt a slight waft of air near its side. The wind had come closer to listen.

“I know I’m a big beautiful tree, with lovely flowers and healthy branches and a nice strong trunk. But all that doesn’t matter, if all I can do is be still!” said the Copperpod tree.

“I want to sprinkle my petals over the little children that sit beneath me. I want to reach out my branches and kiss the sky. I want to stretch and protect the people that take shelter under me. I want to dance again. I want to be a living, breathing tree that sways with the wind!” the Copperpod tree hunched lower, unable to even stand up straight anymore.

A gentle breeze floated over the Copperpod tree. It started out at its roots, awakening them from their slumber. It travelled upwards wrapping itself around its trunk and permeating through its gnarled branches. It gave the tree a little shake, causing its dried flowers and leaves to fall away. It nuzzled the little flower buds which started blooming. The wind encompassed the Copperpod tree in a giant hug and swayed with it in a soft gentle dance.

The Copperpod tree threw its branches around the wind and danced like it had never danced before!
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  |  9786 learners#General #Stories

25 segments Advanced Female
Hello everyone. I'm the counselling administrator here at St. Ive’s College and I’ve been asked to come and talk to you about our counselling team and the services that we offer. We have three professional counsellors here at St. Ives: Louise Bagshaw, Tony Denby and Naomi Flynn. They each hold daily one-on-one sessions with students, but which counsellor you see will depend on a number of factors.
If you’ve never used a counsellor before, then you should make an appointment with Naomi Flynn. Naomi specialises in seeing new students and offers a preliminary session where she will talk to you about what you can expect from counselling, followed by some simple questions about what you would like to discuss. This can be really helpful for students who are feeling a bit worried about the counselling process. Naomi is also the best option for students who can only see a counsellor outside office hours. She is not in on Mondays, but starts early on Wednesday mornings and works late on Thursday evenings, so you can see her before your first class or after your last class on those days. Louise staffs our drop-in centre throughout the day. If you need to see someone without a prior appointment then she is the one to visit. Please note that if you use this service then Louise will either see you herself, or place you with the next available counsellor. If you want to be sure to see the same counsellor on each visit, then we strongly recommend you make an appointment ahead of time. You can do this at reception during office hours or by using our online booking form.
Tony is our newest addition to the counselling team. He is our only male counsellor and he has an extensive background in stress management and relaxation techniques. We encourage anyone who is trying to deal with anxiety to see him. Tony will introduce you to a full range of techniques to help you cope with this problem such as body awareness, time management and positive reinforcement.
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  |  9886 learners#General #Speeches

So, I was walking along the street, on my way to work, as usual, but for some reason I was in a hurry. I wasn't really sure why I was in a hurry. And then I realised that I was holding a banana in my hand. I didn't know why I was holding a banana in my hand, but I knew that the banana was really important for some reason. The banana had something to do with the reason that I was late, and in a hurry. It was a really important banana, only I didn't know why the banana was so important. Then I met my Aunty Ethel on the street corner. It was strange, because I hadn't seen Aunty Ethel for about twenty years.

Hello, I said to her. I haven't seen you for about twenty years! I was really surprised to see her, but she didn't seem surprised to see me. Be careful with that banana, she said. And I laughed, because I knew that it was a really important banana, and yes, I had to be careful with it. Aunty Ethel decided to walk to work with me, which was a problem because I was late and in a hurry, and she walked really, really slowly. Then, when we went round the corner, there was an elephant blocking the street. It depends where you live, I guess, but in Manchester it's pretty strange to see an elephant blocking the street. The strange thing was, though, that I wasn't really that surprised. Oh no, I was thinking, another elephant blocking the street, what a pain. Especially this morning when I'm late and in a hurry, and with Aunty Ethel, and this really important banana. Then I started to get really worried, and then I woke up.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank goodness for that I thought. How strange dreams are, I wonder why I was dreaming about elephants and bananas and Aunty Ethel. The radio was already on. The radio comes on automatically at 7 o'clock, to wake me up. I looked at the clock. It was already ten past seven. I had to get up quickly. I went into the shower, and I could hear the news on the radio. I couldn't hear it very well, but there was a story on the news about an elephant who had escaped from a local circus. The elephant was causing a lot of trouble walking around the town. I thought this was an incredible coincidence, but then I realised that I had probably heard the news story on the radio when I was half-asleep. That was why I was dreaming about an elephant. I quickly got dressed and went into the kitchen to get some coffee before I went to work. I work for a film company. We get ideas for films and film scripts, then we try to produce the films. I thought a film about an elephant in Manchester would be great.

There was a note on the kitchen table. It was from my wife. Don't forget to buy bananas on your way home from work today, it said. It was a good job she had written the note, because I had completely forgotten about the fact that she has to eat a lot of bananas because of the crazy diet she's on at the moment. I tried to remember to buy bananas on my way home from work, and rushed out of the house. As I was walking down the road my mobile rang. It was my mum. Hello mum, I said. What are you ringing at this time for? I've got some sad news, I'm afraid, love she said. Do you remember your Aunty Ethel? Just about I said, But I haven't seen Aunty Ethel for about twenty years.

Yes, well she was very old, and I'm afraid she died last night. She'd been very ill, I told you a couple of weeks ago. That's sad I said.

So there I was, walking down the street, late for work, thinking about Aunty Ethel and bananas and elephants, and of course I realised that it was all exactly the same as my dream. And as I started to think more about this, I realised I was walking more and more slowly, and I looked down and saw that the street was turning into hot, wet, sticky toffee, and it was sticking to my shoes, and the quicker I tried to walk, the slower I went I looked at my watch and saw that my watch was going backwards. That's OK, I was thinking. If my watch is going backwards, then it means that it's early, and not late, so I'm not late for work at all and then I woke up. Again.

Now this was strange. This was very, very strange. I got up and pinched myself to make sure I was really awake this time. Ouch, the pinch hurt. This meant I really was awake, and not dreaming this time. It was early. I wasn't late. The radio alarm clock hadn't come on yet. It was only half past six. My wife was still at home.

Have you got enough bananas? I asked her. She looked at me as if I was crazy. What do you mean bananas? She asked. I thought you had to eat lots of bananas for your special diet. I have no idea what you're on about! She said. Why, do you think I need to go on a diet? Do you mean that I'm fat? No, no, no, not at all, by the way, have you heard anything about an elephant? An elephant. Yes, an elephant which has escaped from a circus. We live in Manchester. There aren't any circuses in Manchester. And there certainly aren't any elephants. Listen, are you suffering from stress or something. You're working too hard on that new film you're trying to produce, aren't you? Perhaps you should just stay at home today, take it easy. Perhaps you're right, I said. I'll just phone my mum. Why do you need to phone your mum at half past six in the morning? Oh, nothing important, I said Well, I'm off to work. See you later, and take it easy today, OK.

OK. I phoned my mum. Hello mum. Hello love. What are you calling this early for? Do you remember Aunty Ethel? Of course I do, but I haven't seen her for about twenty years or so. How is she? I've got no idea. Why on earth are you worried about your Aunty Ethel who you haven't seen for twenty years. Oh nothing, bye.

I made a cup of tea and went back to bed. Perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps I should just relax and take it easy today. I phoned up my boss. Listen I said. I'm not feeling too good today, perhaps too much stress with the production schedule of the new film project. That's a shame said my boss. We've just got a really exciting new idea for a film. I wanted to talk to you about it today. It's a kind of action movie. It's a great story. You have to hear this, an elephant escapes from a circus in a big city, and it has eaten some strange, radioactive bananas, so it's going completely crazy. They eventually manage to stop the elephant by covering all the streets with sticky toffee, so that it can't walk. I see I said. And where does my Aunty Ethel come into it. Aunty who?

I hung up the phone, and hoped that I would wake up. Soon.
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  |  9903 learners#General #Stories

Amelia Earhart was born in 1897, in Kansas, USA. Even as a child she didn't behave in a conventionally feminine way. She climbed trees and hunted rats with her rifle, but she wasn't particularly interested in flying. She saw her first plane when she was 10, and wasn't impressed at all. But she was very interested in newspaper reports about women who were successful in male-dominated professions, such as engineering, law and management. She cut them out and kept them.

During the First World War she worked as a nursing assistant in a military hospital, and later started to study medicine at university. Then, in 1920, Amelia's life changed. She went to an aviation fair with her father and had a 10 minute flight in a plane. That was it. As soon as the plane left the ground, Amelia knew that she had to fly.

So Amelia found herself a female flying teacher and started to learn to fly. She took all sorts of odd jobs to pay for the lessons, and also saved and borrowed enough money to buy a second-hand plane. It was bright yellow and she called it Canary. In 1922 she took Canary up to a height of 14000 feet, breaking the women's altitude record.

In 1928, Amelia was working as a social worker in Boston when she received an amazing phone call inviting her to join pilot Wilmer Stultz on a flight across the Atlantic. The man who organised the flight was the American publisher, George Putnam. Amelia's official title was commander but she herself said that she was just a passenger. But she was still the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic. She became famous, wrote a book about the crossing called 20 Hours, 40 minutes and travelled around the country giving lectures. George Putnam was like a manager to her, and she eventually married him in 1931.

Then, in 1932, Amelia flew solo across the Atlantic, something that only one person, Lindbergh, had ever done before. Because of bad weather, she was forced to land in the middle of a field in Ireland, frightening the cows. She broke several records with this flight, the first woman to make the solo crossing, the only person to make the crossing twice, the longest non-stop distance for a woman and the shortest time for the flight.

Now she was really famous. She was given the Distinguished Flying Cross another first for a woman, wrote another book, and continued to lecture. She also designed a flying suit for women, and went on to design other clothes for women who led active lives.

Amelia continued to break all sorts of aviation records over the next few years. But not everyone was comfortable with the idea of a woman living the kind of life that Amelia led. One newspaper article about her finished with the question But can she bake a cake?

When she was nearly 40, Amelia decided that she was ready for a final challenge, to be the first woman to fly around the world. Her first attempt was unsuccessful the plane was damaged but she tried again in June 1937, with her navigator, Fred Noonan. She had decided that this was going to be her last long-distance record breaking flight.

Everything went smoothly and they landed in New Guinea in July. The next stage was from New Guinea to Howland Island, a tiny spot of land in the Pacific Ocean. But in mid flight the plane, navigator and pilot simply disappeared in the bad weather.

A rescue search was started immediately but nothing was found. The United States government spent 4 million dollars looking for Amelia, which makes it the most expensive air and sea search in history. A lighthouse was built on Howland Island in her memory.

Amelia always knew that what she did was dangerous and that every flight could be her last. She left a letter for her husband saying that she knew the dangers, but she wanted to do what she did. People today are still speculating about what might have happened to Amelia and Fred Noonan. There are even theories that they might have landed on an unknown island and lived for many more years. Whatever happened, Amelia Earhart is remembered as a brave pioneer for both aviation and for women.
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  |  8987 learners#General #Biography

Of the fifty states in the United States, forty-nine are located on the mainland of North America. The other state is Hawaii, which consists of several islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is known as an especially beautiful and interesting place. The Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanic eruptions that pushed molten rock, called lava, above the surface of the ocean.

Some of the islands no longer have any volcanic activity, but there are still active volcanoes on two Hawaiian islands, Oahu and the big island which is known simply as Hawaii. One of these volcanoes, Mauna Loa, still erupts sometimes, with spectacular explosions of lava. Another volcano, called Mauna Kea, is now dormant. These volcanoes are both very tall and reach over 4000 metres above sea level. The air above Mauna Kea is so clear and thin that scientists use the mountain as a base for observing the stars. The islands of Hawaii are located in the tropics, and they are known for their beautiful weather. The temperatures are usually in the range of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, and the days are usually sunny. This weather allows people to enjoy swimming and surfing on the beautiful beaches of Hawaii.

Despite the sunshine, most of the islands also receive enough rainfall to support many beautiful flowers and trees. The first people to live in Hawaii were Polynesian groups who arrived from other islands in the Pacific, well over 1000 years ago. The islands were visited by European explorers during the late eighteenth century. During the early nineteenth century, the islands became unified under a single king. However, during this time, many Hawaiians died from diseases that were brought by European and American visitors. The Hawaiian islands are excellent places for growing sugar cane and pineapples. In the late eighteenth century, some Americans began large farms, called plantations, in Hawaii.

The Americans eventually gained control of the government, and Hawaii became a territory of the United States. The United States built a naval base on the island of Oahu, at Pearl Harbor. This base was attacked by Japan in 1941, but it was soon repaired. The naval base is still in use today. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there was great demand for labour on the sugar and pineapple plantations. People came to Hawaii from many lands, and Hawaii became a place of many cultures. The native Hawaiians mixed with people from places such as Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, and Puerto Rico, as well as the mainland United States.

Today, many Hawaiians can claim a diverse heritage. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States, with the city of Honolulu as its capital. Today, there are more than one million people in Hawaii, more than half of whom live in Honolulu. Each year, many more people visit Hawaii as tourists, to experience the beauty of these islands.
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  |  9084 learners#General #Essays

Many people admire the paintings and sculptures that artists create. Some very beautiful paintings and sculptures were created by two men who lived in the same country at the same time. These men were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. They both lived in Italy around the year 1500.

Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for his painting called the Mona Lisa. This is perhaps the best known painting in the world. The Mona Lisa shows the head and shoulders of a dark haired woman. When people look at this painting, they are often captivated by her smile and by her eyes, which have a look of mystery. Another painting of Leonardo's is called The Last Supper. This painting shows a famous scene from the Christian religion. In this painting, Jesus Christ is seated at the middle of a long table, with his followers the disciples seated around him. Many of the paintings that were created at this time have a religious theme.

Leonardo was not only an artist, he was also interested in engineering. He actually worked for some time as an advisor to a military leader, helping him to develop new machines for use in war. Leonardo also made rough drawings of machines that are similar to those that were invented much later, such as submarines and helicopters. Obviously, Leonardo was an extremely creative man.

Michelangelo was about 23 years younger than Leonardo. In addition to being a painter, Michelangelo was also a sculptor, and many experts consider him the greatest sculptor of all time. One of his most famous sculptures is David, which is a statue of a young man who was a famous figure in the Bible. Another great sculpture of Michelangelo's is called the Pieta. The Pieta shows Mary, mother of Jesus, holding the baby of her son across her lap.

Michelangelo is also famous for painting the ceiling of a church known as the Sistine Chapel. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Julius, asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of this new church. This project required many years of hard work, and the Pope complained that it took too long. However, when the work was finished, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was covered with beautiful paintings of many scenes from the Bible.

Fortunately, many of the works of Leonardo and of Michelangelo can still be seen today in the art galleries of Europe. During the past 500 years, the color of the paintings had faded somewhat, but in recent years, some work has been done to restore the paintings to their original appearance.
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  |  9174 learners#General #Stories

If I was walking down the beach one day and I happened to bump my toe on a magic lamp I would pick it up and rub it if it was a real magic lamp, but I don't believe that there really is a magic lamp, a genie would pop out in a cloud of smoke and he would call me master. He would say that he would grant me three wishes. I would have to think very hard about those wishes because I wouldn't want to waste them I don't think I'd want millions of dollars. Money doesn't buy happiness or so they say. I might wish for good health because if your health isn't good You won't be able to enjoy anything. Some people might wish for beauty, but beauty is only skin deep. Some people would wish for a mansion, or a beautiful car or a big boat. I don't want any of those things. Some people would want fame. Some people would want talent. Some people would wish for happiness. That might be a good thing to wish for. Yes, maybe I'd wish for health and happiness, but what would my third wish be? I could wish for something enormous, something global. I could wish for world peace. That would be a wonderful thing if somebody could grant me that. Yes, that would probably be my third wish. It's too bad there aren't any genies inside magic lamps. I won't get my three wishes. I can still work toward getting my wishes. I can eat well and exercise to stay healthy. I can be involved with a lot of things and be with my friends to stay happy. I can volunteer my time to different organizations to help achieve world peace. I can do my fair share in my community to help others. That's how I can get my three wishes, not through a magic lamp. I can only get what I want through self-determination and hard work. That is the key to getting your wishes fulfilled.
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  |  8988 learners#General #Statements
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