23 Nov 2012

FCE Test Practice ONLINE! :)

Hi again,

Looking for materials that some people from 5º CAL had asked me for, especially reading, I have come across a website with several real FCE tests that you can do online (awesome!!).

Because there's quite a lot of material there and I don't want you to feel overwhelmed, I'll regularly make a selection of tests for you to do during the week/weekend, or whenever you manage to put some time aside. Here you have three of them.


Culture; Thanksgiving

Hi everyone!

On Tuesday we discussed some intercultural experiences we had had, either in Spain or abroad, and which provided us with insights into other people's cultures, but also our own.


21 Nov 2012

Reading; Videos and Indian cuisine; Skyfall

Hi there!

As usual, here I post a summary of what we did last week along with some other complementary/extra material that you may find useful.

Last week we started Unit 3. We began talking about places and travelling, and discussed some sights that we thought were overrated. I've found a link on the Internet about the "10 most disappointing Attractions in Europe". Check it here!


20 Nov 2012

"Top Ten Beaches in the World" - thanks to Pablo Suárez

Hi everyone,

I hope your week is off to a good start! :)

The other day we talked about places and discussed sights that had lived up to our expectations, sights that hadn't, and also places we felt guilty about not having visited. Pepe (5º CAL) talked about the Cies Islands, and that reminded Pablo of an article by The Guardian entitled "Top Ten Beaches in the World".

Here you have the link.

Check out for number one! :)

Thanks for sharing, Pablo.

11 Nov 2012

Some pronunciation practice

Hi again!

Do you remember that at the end of unit 1 we saw the differences between the sounds /æ/ and /a:/? Well, here you have two videos to revise those sounds, and practise with some words!


Work conditions; must / have to / don't have to / mustn't

Hi everyone!

How was your weekend? I hope you enjoyed it, although the weather wasn't too good!

In this entry I post a summary of what we did last week, and also some extra material you might find interesting.

On Monday we did a little bit of revision and we also started Unit 3 talking about jobs. We did an activity where you had to write a job for every letter of the alphabet. Some letters were a bit difficult, but you almost (casi) completed all the alphabet! :) We also learnt some expressions such as flexible working hours, opportunities for promotion, sick pay, holiday pay, etc. Make sure you learn them!


"Big Bang Theory" - thanks to Elena Cavero

Hi again!

Can you remember that the other day we came up with different expressions using colours?
  • To feel blue
  • To be green
  • To see red
Well, Elena from 5ºA has found this fragment from an episode of "Big Bang Theory" (hilarious series, by the way! Highly recommendable!), where they talk about the colour of lonely.

I'm not allowed to embed it here, but here you have the link. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks, Elena!

Child prodigies; Españasmus

Hi! How's the weekend going? I hope you are making the most of it! :)

In this entry you have a brief summary of what we've done in class this week, together with some other interesting material you might find useful. This week we've mainly focused on speaking and listening, although we've done a little bit of grammar as well: like and as and collocations in 5º CAL; expressing opinion in 5º A. (Please, note that I cover the same areas with both groups, but sometimes on different days).


3 Nov 2012

Videos so far: Baumgartner; Bullying; "Friends"

Hi again!

I've been thinking and I don't consider it worthwhile to post everything we've been doing during the past few weeks, but at least I wanted you to have the videos we've watched in class, so that you may watch them again at home.

The first one we saw was the one about Felix Baumgartner. Click here to watch it online.

The other one we have watched so far is the one about bullying. Click here to watch it again.


Past simple & past continuous; Halloween

Hello everyone,

In the previous entry I posted some information to revise Unit 1. Here I do the same with Unit 2!

In this unit we have talked about fast food, first meetings, love and relationships, stories and how to start and finish a conversation!

About grammar, we revised how to form the past simple and the past continuous, and when we use them. Be very careful with the pronunciation of the -ed past. The rule "PoKaSH FiCHaS Te Doy" can help!


Subject questions; jobs; free time

Hi again!

In this entry I'm going to post some information to revise Unit 1, and then I'll do the same with Unit 2.

At the beginning of the course we did several activities to know each other (some of you met for the first time!), and in the third week you did your first oral presentations. In groups of 3, you talked about someone important from an English speaking country. Thank you once again for your truly great effort :)

Below (abajo) you have a brief summary of the main grammar and vocabulary we have seen in the unit, so that you can revise at home and do some activities on-line:


26 May 2012

Cultural differences; animated history of Coca-Cola

Hi everyone!

In these last two weeks we've worked with the book, but especially with photocopies. Make sure you revise the vocabulary and grammar carefully.

Last Friday we had class and we watched a video about cultural differences among countries as regards handshaking and other body language. I've just found a video by National Geographic where a group of Africans travel to the United States... You can imagine the cultural shock! Watch the video and you'll see (most of it is subtitled as the African accent is extremely strong):


13 May 2012

My Sister's Keeper; cloning food

Hi everyone!

I hope you've had a nice weekend! It's been scorching hot, so maybe some of you have already started to enjoy the beach! :)

On Tuesday we started talking about some questions related with science and then we discussed some moral dilemmas. One of them had to do with modifying embryos so that the born child would be compatible with his/her brother/sister. This reminded me of the film "My sister's keeper" (2009), a film I thoroughly recommend. I post the trailer below for you to decide whether you want to watch it or not!


Just / already / yet; passive voice; clothes

Hi everyone!

I hope you've had a very nice weekend! :)

Last week we had the test on the book The Last Sherlock Holmes Story. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I personally found it very interesting: it is said that Sherlock Holmes was Jack the Ripper! If you want to learn a bit more about this serial killer, you can watch the film "From Hell" (2001), with Johnny Depp. In original version, of course :)

That day we also did an activity called "Can you think of...?" And you had to think about two things you could swim across, two things you could go through... etc. Make sure you revise those prepositions!!


5 May 2012

Pronunciation of -ed ending; used to

Hello everyone!!

I hope your weekend has started well!! Although the weather is miserable... I hope the wind goes away soon! :)

In the last two weeks we've finished Unit 9, where we talked about everyday problems, problems with neighbours, adjectives of feelings, how to make invitations, etc. We also revised how to pronounce -ed at the end of words. Remember the rule:

/t/: PoKaSH FiCHaS
/id/: Te Doy
/d/: the rest


Conditionals; crime; Jack the Ripper

Hi everyone!

I hope your weekend is off to a good start (nice expression to learn!), although the weather is absolutely miserable!! Let's hope this howling wind goes away soon!

Last week we corrected the unit about "The Natural World". It's a lot of vocabulary, I know, but, remember, take things calmly: sit down, select the words you don't know, copy them in your notebook and check them regularly.


24 Apr 2012

International Day of the Book

Hi again!

As you all know, yesterday was the International Day of the Book.

I've just found this video from the Book Council in New Zealand, whose aim is to promote reading.

Watch it till the end, even if you don't understand what the man is reading. It perfectly shows the magical and unique effect that reading has in our heads :)


First conditional; infinitive of purpose; "The Show Must Go On" (song)

Hi everyone!!

Last week we started Unit 9 and we talked about everyday problems. We also learnt the first conditional, which is used to talk about things that are probable to happen:
If + present simple, will. For example: If I have time tonight, we'll go out OR we'll go out if I have time tonight
We saw other words that can be used instead of if, like whenbefore, after, until and as soon as.

Click here for a basic explanation of the first conditional, and here if you want some more details. And if you want to practise with some online exercises, click here.


16 Apr 2012

Learning styles

In our last session we talked a little bit about Multiple Intelligence Theory and different learning styles. If you want to listen to the audio again, click here. Below you have the transcription.

Learning Styles TRANSCRIPT


Curious laws in other countries

On Wednesday we had one hour with Leah and you talked about the political organisation of the United States.

I was surfing the Internet to look for information about that and I found some very curious laws! Below I post a few of them. Believe it or not, they are still in law books today, but some of them are absolutely ridiculous!!! :) - For a whole list, check this link.


Ku Klux Klan vs. Spanish "Semana Santa"; learning styles

Hello everyone!

Last week we came back from our Easter holidays. I hope you come full of energy! We only have the last months of the course in front of us!

On Monday you told me about your holidays, and then we talked about the similarities between our nazarenos and the members of the Ku Klux Klan. We read a text that told us that there wasn't any relationship at all between them. After that, we learnt about different Easter traditions in other countries in the world.


13 Apr 2012

Ku Klux Klan; learning styles; extreme weather conditions

Hi everyone!

This week we've started the 3rd term... Hope you're all eager to start your engines! Only the last months remaining in front of us :)

On Tuesday you told me a bit about your Easter holidays and then we talked about how foreigners, especially those coming from the States, see our Semana Santa. We read a short text about the Ku Klux Klan and we also watched a National Geographic video (original link here). I post it below, with the activities and the corresponding answers.


1 Apr 2012

Some curiosities of the English language!

Hi there!

Today I leave you with some curiosities of the English language!

Curiosities in English

"Stewardesses"  is the longest word typed with only the left hand. 

And "lollipop" is the longest word typed with your right hand. 

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.        

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "MT".

The sentence:  "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. 

The words 'racecar,' 'kayak'and 'level' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left (palindromes). 

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous":  tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order:  "abstemious" and "facetious."

"Typewriter" is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Well, now you know (a little) more than you did before!! :)

If you like things like this, check the category curiosities in the blog!

29 Mar 2012

My grammar lab

Today I came across this funny video promoting the website and which defends the use of correct grammar when you speak/write English. As you know, grammar is definitely not everything, but it is a very important part of the language, its bones, as it were. I'm sure you understand all of it :)


17 Feb 2012

Comparatives & superlatives (powerpoint presentation)

Good afternoon everyone!

Here you have the summary of the last two weeks (I couldn't update the blog last weekend).

Last week we learnt some personality adjectives and we revised them on Monday, together with (junto con) adjectives to describe physical appearance. Congratulations! You have quite a good memory! :) Then we revised the use and form of the comparative and superlative:


Ways to look; "Falling slowly" (song)

Hello everyone!

Last week we did an interesting photocopy with idioms of comparison (e.g. as fresh as a daisy; as deaf as a post; as blind as a bat, as hard as nails, etc.). Make sure you revise this vocabulary!

We also did a little game in pairs to revise some of the phrasal verbs we have seen so far. As a word of advice, have a separate section for phrasal verbs in your notebook. Apart from the translation (if you use translations), try to think of another synonym verb (e.g. give in - surrender) and always, always include a example to see the phrasal verb in context.

We also continued with the book and corrected the exercises on pages 68 and 69. The one about "ways to look" was a little complicated, so I gave you a handout with their explanations.


6 Feb 2012

English cream tea; real English sounds; Inside Out videos

Hello everyone!

Last week we had three days of class (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)

On Monday we corrected one exercise that we had left (que nos quedaba) about be going to (ex 6 page 45) and we listened to two possible pronunciations: /gəʊiŋtə/ and /gᴅnə/. Remember that the second is used when we speak at a natural rhythm in English.


Verb + -ing; English cream tea; creatures in the ocean

Good morning!

Last week we started talking about the ideas we have of different countries (stereotypes) and we saw that more often than not they are overgeneralisations that do not correspond to reality. You worked in groups and thought about the stereotypes we have of the British, the Americans, the Germans and the Spanish. Then we worked with a text called "What every visitor to England should know".

After that, we learnt the different uses of the -ing form of the verb and we practised with several exercises:

Uses of verb in -ing


30 Jan 2012

Planets; "Imagine", by John Lennon

Good morning everyone!

Last Monday we started with an activity called: "Are you telling the truth'?" You worked in pairs and we learnt interesting vocabulary like: Oh, you're lying! You're not telling the truth, are you?  Some of your stories were really good, and we discovered we had some celebrities in class!

After that, we corrected the photocopy about will and be going to and we learnt the pronunciation of the contracted form 'll. Also, remember the difference between want () and won't (əʊ)

Finally, we listened to the song "Imagine", by John Lennon. Here you have the original version:


Listening to English at home: SONGS

Hi there!

I take advantage of this post to tell you about a very useful link with songs in English: Here you can listen to plenty of songs with the lyrics in front of you!

You have different songs classified according to their level of difficulty (you'll see that the website is extremely updated):

When you click on a song, it starts playing and the website also suggests other subtitled songs by the same band. You also have the possibility of listening to songs with online activities.

So this is yet another possibility to listen to English outside the classroom! :)

"Invictus"; Events and celebrations

Good morning everyone!

Last week we continued with your oral presentations, which were incredibly well-prepared and enjoyable to listen to. Thank you once again for your hard work.

In Avanzado 1 A Luisa talked about South Africa, and I couldn't help but think about the 2009 film Invictus, which relates South Africa's story in the last days of the Apartheid, with Nelson Mandela becoming its president after gaining freedom from prison. Soon afterwards, the 1995 Rugby World Cup took place, and South Africa won, erecting itself as a new and strong nation where blacks and whites could life together.

It was just a sports competition, but it became a symbol meaning that South Africa was once again back in the world, and that difficulties, obstacles and injustice can be surmounted.

I watched the film not long ago, and I looked for information on the Internet to see how much of it was true. I was amazed to see how faithful it was to reality. I post a video below, which is 100% represented in the film. It might not mean much to you now, but if you watch the film, it will certainly send shivers down your spine:


23 Jan 2012

The best job in the world; modals in the past

Hello everyone!

On Tuesday we talked about ideal jobs and we practised the vocabulary on page 44. After that, we watched a Sky News video about what some people called "the best job in the world" (I'm afraid you can listen up to second 56; there's no sound afterwards).


17 Jan 2012

A piece of news: bungee cord snaps

Good afternoon, everyone

I've been having a look at the news today, and I've found one you were commenting on in class last Thursday. We talked about bungee jumping, and someone mentioned the case of a girl whose rope had broken. Click here for the report and video from BBC news.


14 Jan 2012

Listening to English at home: PODCASTS

Hello again,

As promised, here I post some information about podcasts!

In case you have never heard of podcasts, it's a digital media which consists of an episodic series of files (audio or video) to which you can subscribe. This means that every time there is a new podcast, they will tell you. Normally they last between 2 and 10 minutes, although there are some which are longer.

The best way to find podcasts is using the programme iTunes, which you can download from the Apple Store (it is compatible with both Windows and Mac). Once you install it in your computer, open it and on the left side you'll find something similar to this:

Click on iTunes store, and then select the option "podcast". You'll find a screen similar to this:

There you have a very complete list of podcasts you can choose from. If you already know what you are looking for, you can search according to category, choose if you want video or audio podcast, look for a specific one, etc.

When you find a podcast you like, click on it and then on "subscribe/subscribirse". Everytime there is a new one, it will automatically download to your iTunes.

To listen to your podcasts, simply click on Library --> Podcasts (left column). You can also copy the podcasts to your iPod, MP3 player, a CD, etc.

Try it: you'll see that it's not difficult at all, and it's incredibly, incredibly helpful. Besides, you can learn English while listening to something of your interest!

What else can you ask for? :)

If you want some recommendations, check What podcasts can I listen to?

The Simpsons (original)

Hi there everybody!!

I hope your weekend is off to a good start!! (= I hope your weekend has started well)

On Monday we had our first class after the Christmas holidays and we did a speaking activity in groups. You had to ask your partners about:

  • The best people last Christmas
  • The best place last Christmas
  • The best moment last Christmas

After that we asked if it was important to be with the family at Christmas and we watched a video about new technologies and communication at home. The BBC programme "Panorama" did an experiment at a Primary School in Manchester: they took away the telly (TV), video games, mobile phones, etc. and analysed the children's and parents' reactions. Very interesting!!


New Year Resolutions; 50 things to do before you die

Hi there!

I hope your weekend is off to a good start! :)

On Tuesday we had our first day after the Christmas holidays and you told me a bit about what you had done. After that, we talked about New Year's Resolutions and how long people normally stick to them. Let's see how you manage this year! :)

Below I post the photocopies we worked with. Make sure you revise the expressions on the last page!
New Year's Resolutions

After that, we watched a video from the BBC entitled: "50 things to do before you die". I haven't been able to find the exact same video online, but I have found the clip corresponding to the NUMBER 1 thing to do: swimming with dolphins. Check it out below (you'll see that what we saw in class was only a summary of the entire video!).

On Thursday we had one hour with Leah and you worked on The Thirty-Nine Steps. You revised the most difficult vocabulary playing "taboo", and Advanced Level 1 A also revised the main characters and events in the story. Remember we have the test next Tuesday 17th January. You won't have any problem in passing if you have read it conscienciously.

Finally, we corrected the text on pages 43 and 44 and together as a class we revised the grammar/vocabulary part of the December written exam. Remember that an exercise of that sort is what you'll also find in the exams in March and June.

And that's all for now!

Have a nice weekend and see you on Tuesday!