23 Dec 2010

Merry Christmas to all!! Digital story of the Nativity

I post this entry to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Espero que aprovechéis al máximo estos días y encontréis tiempo para descansar, pasar tiempo con la familia y amigos, viajar y empezar el nuevo año con energías renovadas.

I guess (and hope!) you all know the history of Christmas. I found a digital version of the story on the Internet and I wanted to share it with you. It's so good! I hope you enjoy it!


Listening ("Christmas is coming")

Hi everyone,

This week we only had one day of class: Monday 20th. We talked about Christmas and we saw the history of Father Christmas and Santa Claus. Then we listened to a conversation between a dad and his two children, a daughter and a son. They talked about Christmas presents and Santa Claus.

Click here to listen to their conversation again. Then do the activities below (at the end of the document you have the answers):
Christmas is coming


Merry Christmas to all! The digital story of the Nativity

I post this entry to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope you make the most of these days, find time to relax, switch off, spend time with the family, travel, and start the New Year with renewed energy.

I guess (and hope!) you all know the history of Christmas. I found a digital version of the story on the Internet and I wanted to share it with you. It's so good! I hope you enjoy it!

I would also like you to organise yourselves properly so that you can find time to revise / study English as well. Remember that we have one week of class before the exam, so you can ask me all the questions you have.

See you on the 10th January.

19 Dec 2010

Cardinal and ordinal numbers; prepositions "in", "on", "at"

Hi all,

Here you have the summary of this week and the last one (we only had one day of class - Thursday 9th).

On Monday / Tuesday we talked about fascinating festivals around the world. We saw a powerpoint presentation with three pictures (la tomatina, los san fermines and las fallas). You discussed them in pairs and then we saw them together.

Then we read the text in file 3D and we learnt how to say the dates, the months and the seasons. Remember that in English we say dates with an ordinal number: today is 19th December / December 19th. When we speak we say, "today is the 19th of December" (BrE) OR today is December the 19th (AmE).

Click here for a list of cardinal and ordinal numbers with their pronunciation.


8 Dec 2010

Air controllers' strike

As you know, the air controllers strike has been the focus of attention during the whole bank holiday, both in Spain and abroad. I guess you've all seen the Spanish news / read the Spanish newspapers and know about the reactions in our country. But how has the rest of the world seen the strike?

Well, here you have an article by The Guardian. It was published on Sunday and it gives a full account of the whole odyssey that started on Friday afternoon. The BBC also has some videos and telephone conversations of Britons that were stranded at the airport. Click here to watch / listen to them. Finally, here you have an article entitled "Your Stories", where several people tell their experiences at the airport.


27 Nov 2010

Some British festivities

Good afternoon!

How's the weekend going? :) Here you have the usual summary of the week.

Last week we talked about stress and we did a test to see how stressed we were. In class, some people were relaxed, but some of you are completely stressed out!!! We also revised some daily routines (please, study the Vocabulary Bank on page 147) and did some phonetic transcriptions on the board. Congratulations, you did them really well! :)

Then we read Louisa's story and we saw that she had a very stressful life. Then we listened to Simon (p. 31): his life is even more stressful!!

On Thursday we talked about the American festival of Thanksgiving, which is a very important celebration in the United States and in Canada.

Finally, we watched a video about traditional festivals in Britain. We talked about Guy Fawkes' Night (5th November), Pancake Day (sometime in February), St Valentine's Day (14th February) and Halloween (31st October). We'll continue watching it another day.

Have a nice weekend!

Oral presentations? No problem!

Hi all!

In every language course you'll have to prepare oral presentations. Some people don't like them too much because they suffer from fear of public speaking, or simply feel embarrassed to talk in a different language in front of a lot of people!

But remember that preparing an oral presentation is an excellent way to consolidate your grammar, learn new vocabulary, check the pronunciation of new words and discover gaps (lagunas) that you didn't even know you had!

I know speaking in public is difficult, especially if it's not in your language. But, hey, everybody feels nervous, even the most prepared people, so don't think you're the only one having a hard time. Try to relax as much as possible and enjoy your presentation.

I'm 100% sure you've devoted plenty of time to it, so don't let nerves spoil it: feel enthusiastic about your work and show us what you have conscientiously prepared!

Below you have a short presentation I've prepared for you. It explains why we feel fear of speaking in public, and I give you a few tips to overcome that fear. I hope it helps you out a little bit!

(To see the presentation better, click on play, and then "full screen". Advance the presentation by clicking on the arrow).


23 Nov 2010

Quite & very; telling the time; colours

Good afternoon guys!

Here you have a summary (resumen) of what we did last week: On Monday / Tuesday we did a test of Units 1 and 2. After the test we listened to the song Oh Pretty Woman, which inspired the title of the film starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

On Wednesday / Thursday we corrected Grammar Bank 3A and we learnt more adjectives to describe people (revise the Vocabulary Bank on page 146). Remember that we can use very and quite before the adjective:

       A: How old is your brother?
       B: Oh, he's very young. He's only 14.

       A: How tall is your father?
       B: Oh, he's quite tall, around 1.80 m.


19 Nov 2010

Some more listening practice

Hi there,

Here I leave you with two links for listening practice:
  • Click here to listen to Kevin talking about women. You have some online activities and you can also have a look at the transcription.
  • Click here to listen to a women who is running a business in Tanzania, Africa. Again, you have some online activities and you also have the possibility of listening with the tapescript.

13 Nov 2010

Some revision (numbers, informal introductions, verb "to be", present simple, the family)

Aquí os dejo algunos enlaces para repasar:
  • Numbers: leed la explicación (está muy detallada) y luego pinchad en el ejercicio que aparece al final de la página. Activad que os salgan números aleatorios (get a randomized number, all through to 1.000.000, cardinal numbers). Os saldrá un número que tendréis que escribir; la misma aplicación os lo corrige.
  • The verb to be: aquí tenéis una explicación muy completa en español. Parad de leer cuando lleguéis a "Pretérito".
  • The present simple: en este enlace os vienen explicados el presente simple y el continuo. Leed sólo lo referente al presente simple -no hagáis los ejercicios puesto que aparecen ambos tiempos.
  • Family: un juego de memoria y de pronunciación sobre los miembros de la familia.
Sería conveniente que le echárais un vistazo aunque sea rápido a los distintos enlaces. It will help you to consolidate things.

6 Nov 2010

Vocabulary related to jobs; possessive 's (Saxon genitive)

Good morning everybody!

As usual, here you have a summary (un resumen) of what we did during the week :)

With Basic Level D, we finished the unit about Natasha and Darren. Was their date (cita) a disaster or a success??

We also corrected some exercises to form questions in the present simple. Then we started the topic about jobs. We learnt vocabulary about jobs (please, see Vocabulary Bank page 144) and we read Annabel's interview: she's an artist and a musician, but she thinks her job is stressful and sometimes lonely...

Then we listened to an interview where three people guess a person's job. Can you remember his job? ... That's it: a footballer! With the questions in the interview, we played a game where we had to guess our job: do I work in an office?, do I earn a lot of money?, do I wear a uniform?, am I a politician? etc.


Study English with friends

Meet friends and study English together.
You can repeat your English vocabulary, do your homework together and help each other with English grammar. Studying with friends simply is much more fun.
It’s also a good oportunity to exchange ideas on studying in general. Maybe your friends have found out about a good way of studying more effectively. Or, who knows, maybe you can advise your friends on this?
All for one and one for all!

1 Nov 2010

Word order in questions (QUASI); Halloween

Hi all!

I hope you've had a great, great bank holiday! :) I'm sorry I haven't uploaded the class record before. Anyway, here you have it!

With Basic Level D we only had one day of class (Tuesday), and we talked about meeting people (where and how can you meet people? - at school/university/work; in a supermarket; on the Internet, in the street...). Then we read the story of Natasha and Darren, who met on the Internet and had a date. Unfortunately, they are very, very different (they have nothing in common!) and they do not make a good couple... :(

With their conversation, we learnt how to make questions in the present simple (remember: QUASI - QUestion word + Auxiliary + Subject + Infinitive). In the present simple, the auxiliary is do or does (for he / she / it): what do you study?; where does he live?; do you have a pet?


26 Oct 2010

Past Simple vs. Past Continuous; stative & dynamic verbs; -ed ending

Hello there!

Here I leave you with some interesting material from the Internet to revise some of the things we covered in class last week. First of all you have an episode from The Flatmates, a series by the BBC where they focus on different aspects of the English language.

Click on this link and you'll be able to listen to it (you'll see that you can listen either with or without the tapescript in front of you). After you listen, click on the "language point", where you have an explanation of how the past simple and continuous are used in the same sentence. Then you can practise doing the "quiz".


Sports idioms

Hi everyone!

How is it going?

In this entry I leave you with two videos about idioms related to sports (you can play them with or without subtitles). Remember that idioms are expressions whose meaning is different from the meaning of the individual words put together, e.g. "to smell a rat" doesn't mean that you're smelling a rat (!!!), but rather that you're suspicious about something.

In the first video you have idioms related to athletics ("a false start"; "to jump the gun"; "the front runner");


25 Oct 2010

Present simple; everyday activities; negative sentences; phonetic symbols

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry I took so long to update the blog this week (perdonad que haya tardado tanto en actualizar el blog esta semana). But, as we say in Spanish and in English... better later than never! :)

Last week we revised the contents of Unit 1 with pages 13 and 14 from the Student's Book; we also looked at vocabulary we can use on the plane and at the airport (workbook page 12 - para Nivel Básico D, subiré las respuestas del ejercicio esta noche).

We also learnt how to pronounce the 3rd person singular -s: /s/, /z/ or /iz/. Remember that in the present simple we add an -s to the verb if the subject is he she it. This -s changes to -es if the verb finishes in -x, -s, -sh, -ch or -o (esta regla también servía para la formación del plural). Todo esto lo tenéis explicado en el Grammar Bank 2A (page 124).


17 Oct 2010

An Introduction to Pronunciation

Last week I asked some of you to try and transcribe a few words... I was utterly amazed when you told me you had never seen phonetic symbols in your lives! Well, we have to put a solution to that! In class, we'll see symbols little by little, normally in pairs or triplets. However, just for you to have a general idea of how pronunciation works in English, here I leave you with two videos I've found on the Internet.

The two main ideas in the first video are that:
  • Good pronunciation is very important but... what do we mean by good pronunciation? Well, you don't have to sound like a native speaker. The only important thing is that your pronunciation doesn't impede communication. In other words, your pronunciation has to be clear enough for other people to understand.
  • There are many English accents, and any model is as valid. I personally have a British accent, but if you prefer the American, Canadian or Australian, to cite but a few, that's perfectly fine!


15 Oct 2010


This week we have seen the present simple and vocabulary related to everyday activities (watch television, do the housework, go to the cinema, etc.). We have also watched a video of two situations: on the plane and at the airport. We will continue with that next week.

Finally, we have also talked about what is typically British. We brainstormed the topic and then we saw some English customs and traditions. Do you think it is all true or are there clichés/stereotypes? For example, do all English people have tea at 5 o'clock? Do all Spanish people dance flamenco?

Have a look at the following video. What do you think? Is it a reflection of reality? I wait for your comments!

Have a good weekend!

7 Oct 2010

Numbers & dates

This week we have continued with numbers: We revised numbers from ONE to TWENTY and continued from TWENTY to ONE MILLION. We can combine those numbers to say any quantity.

Remember that we say dates in pairs: 1980 - nineteen eighty; except when we have double 0 at the end (1700 - seventeen hundred; 800 - eight hundred) and from 2000 to 2009 because we say the full number (two thousand, two thousand and one, two thousand and two...). When we have a 0, we say 'oh', like in telephone numbers: 1904 - nineteen oh four). In football, we say 'nil' (3-0: three nil); and in tennis we say 'love'(15 - 0: fifteen love).

We also did a Numbers Quiz and we revised countries, nationalities and useful questions with Mario Benedetti, an Italian student who went to Ireland.

On Wednesday/Thursday, we learnt possessive adjectives (my, your, his, etc.), vocabulary related to classroom objects and some more phonetic symbols. Remember: don't panic with pronunciation - we will see it little by little (poco a poco). And, please, if you find it difficult, do extra practice with your multiROM.

That's all for today!

See you all next week! ;)