"American Pie" for the 4th Of July

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." John F. Kennedy "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thomas Jefferson

This week's vCST session focused on 'American Icons', in light of it being 'Independence Day' on 4th July.

We invited members to attend the group with a photo of their own American icon - their favourite person, living or dead. After introductions, we asked members to say why they rate that person so highly.

We asked members what they think of America and Americans generally? Have they ever visited or holidayed there? Have they a favourite place to recommend?


Next, we completed these well known phrases, about or inspired by America, together (by way of a shout out) ...

Independence DAY

Stars and STRIPES

Star spangled BANNER

As American as Apple PIE

Let the cat out of the BAG

Piece of CAKE

Fanny PACK

Jump on the band WAGON

Sit on the FENCE

More bang for your BUCK

Spill the BEANS

Take a rain CHECK

Go cold TURKEY

The whole nine YARDS

I smell a RAT

It's not rocket SCIENCE

Break a LEG

Knock on WOOD

It knocked my socks OFF

Straight from the horse's MOUTH

Plenty more fish in the SEA

Working the graveyard SHIFT

I could care LESS

Put lipstick on a PIG

Long in the TOOTH

She's a KEEPER

First BASE

Ballpark FIGURE


Don't be such a wet BLANKET

Under the WEATHER

I'm a Yankee Doodle DANDEE

Tell me about IT

Shoot the BREEZE

Blow off STEAM

Call it a DAY

Bite the BULLET

Chill OUT

Hair of the DOG

YOU SAY POTATO Next, ask members to guess at the alternative American words for everyday English words. Maybe just select a few of them? Biscuit - COOKIE


Crisps - CHIPS

Aubergine - EGGPLANT

Courgette - ZUCCHINI

Spring onion - SCALLION

Beetroot - BEETS



Coriander - CILANTRO

Porridge - OATMEAL

Treacle - MOLASSES

Mincemeat - GROUND BEEF OR PORK (Remember the 'Trifle' episode of 'Friends')


Ice lolly - POPSICLE

Sweets - CANDY

Alcohol - LIQUER

Candy floss - COTTON CANDY


Jelly - JELLO

Trainers - SNEAKERS

Jumper - SWEATER

Tissue - KLEENEX

Nappy - DIAPER


Vacuum - HOOVER





Underground - SUBWAY

Pavement - SIDEWALK

Zebra crossing - CROSSWALK


Chemist - PHARMACY

High Street - MAIN STREET

Lorry - TRUCK

Estate car - STATION WAGON

Motorway - HIGHWAY

Flyover - OVERPASS

Diversion - DETOUR

Car park - PARKING LOT

Petrol - GAS

Boot - TRUNK

Bonnet - HOOD

Queue - LINE

Post - MAIL

Post code - ZIP

Timetable - SCHEDULE

Rubber - ERASER


Mobile phone - CELL PHONE

Takeaway - TAKEOUT


Holiday - VACATION

Autumn - FALL

Noughts and crosses - TIC TAC TOE

Football - SOCCER

Tick - CHECK

Full stop - PERIOD

This lead us to our first song - ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (You Say Tomato ... )’, from the 1937 movie 'Shall We Dance' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOILZ_D3aRg

(There's a great roller-skate dance sequence after the song in this film clip. Maybe discuss memories of roller skating with members before moving on?)


We then moved on to the pictures and music quiz. This week's virtual prize was a hot dog!

(Simplify as necessary, e.g. give initials or first names and words. Encourage story telling. Reduce content to just photographs and songs if members are finding it difficult to engage in answering questions.)

There are some classic songs interspersed, so your group can have a good old singalong.

1. Who is this actor and cultural icon?

He lived 1931-1955.

What was the name of his most celebrated 1955 movie? - 'Rebel ....... . .....'

Quote: "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

2. Who is this film producer?

He lived 1901-1966.

What animated character was his most famous creation? - ...... .....

Quote: "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

3. Who is this actress and princess?

She lived 1929-1982.

For which 1954 movie did she win a 'Best Actress Academy Award' for? - 'The ....... ....'

Whom did she marry in 1956? - ...... .......

Quote: “...You don't get anything for nothing. Everything has to be earned, through work, persistence and honesty.”

4. Who is this singer songwriter?

Born 1941-

What are his two most celebrated songs (1963 & 1964)? - 'Blowin' .. ... ....' & 'The ..... .... ... . .......'

Quote: "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet."

5. Who is this jazz trumpeter and singer?

He lived 1901-1971.

What was his nickname? - '.......'

For which 1964 song did he win a Grammy Award? - 'Hello .....'

Quote: "I never want to be anything more than I am; what I don't have, I don't need."

SINGALONG. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBrd_3VMC3c

6. Who is this actress?

She lived 1908-1989.

For which 1935 and 1938 movies did she win 'Best Actress Academy Awards'? - 'D........' & 'J......'

She famously had a hostile relationship with which co-star? - .... ........

Quote: "Without wonder and insight, acting is just a trade. With it, it becomes creation."

7. Who is this astronaut?

He lived 1930-2012.

What date was the moon landing? - .. .... ....

What was the name of the landing craft? - '... .....'

Quote: "It's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind."  

8. Who is this most decorated Olympian of all time?

His nickname is 'The Baltimore Bullet'.

Born 1985-

How many Olympic medals did he win in his glittering competitive swimming career? -

Quote: "You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get."

9. Who is this former US President (2009-2017)?