lunes, 2 de diciembre de 2013

About Thanksgiving ....

Last year I had the honour of getting someone who has enjoyed many celebrations of Thanksgiving Day to write about her experience. Here you have a link to it.

jueves, 28 de noviembre de 2013

Red letter days

Dear students,

It is an important date in the Anglosaxon world today.

I would like you to do some research.

What day is it today?
Where is it celebrated?
What does it consist of?
And any other things you want to add about it.


It is well known that prepositions are a rather hard task when we study English. Let's see if this can be of any help.

jueves, 24 de octubre de 2013

food for thought

 This is something I have seen on Facebook. I would like you to learn the meaning of the title of this post, and then write a composition about your reaction to it. 

lunes, 21 de octubre de 2013

one year later ....

I remember how I was in two minds before launching this blog. On the one hand, I was rather shy to do it, I didn't think I could make it possible, but, on the other hand, I felt I had so much to share with you, so many things we didn't have time for in class.

Today  I want to thank the one who encouraged me, helped me with the templates, or was there for me  when I was lost. And then, I want to thank YOU, students, and readers  who make me want to go on,  and find time to share  English stuff with you making it a challenge for you to study, improve on or enjoy this language.

jueves, 17 de octubre de 2013

martes, 1 de octubre de 2013

let´s practice our pronunciation

Now a new school year begins we have lots of good intentions. I hope among these good plans you have, there is some room for  your English pronunciation.

You have a link  to practise some words but ... I would really like you to use the comment box to share  the ones you have problems with.

miércoles, 4 de septiembre de 2013

Back to business

Dear students,
We are slowly getting back to our routine. After crazy June and lazy July and August, I would like to resume our activities on the blog. 
Since the last posts  were about the new skyscrapers in The City in London, I have decided to share this curious piece of news with you. I hope you like it.

martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

The Shard (listening exercise)

And, to finish with "Ordinary Words, No Ordinary Buildings" we are going to listen to the audio that appears in Speak up magazine number 333 track 4 about that building.

In the pic you can see -with a little effort- The Gherkin, The Grater, The Walkie- Talkie and  The Shard.

Answer to these questions from the listening:
  1) In which London neighbourhood can you find The Shard?
  2) Who is Renzo Piano?
  3) Why is it called 'The Shard'?
  4) Although all we can see is glass, what is the centre of this building made of?
  5) Where are the offices located?
  6) What can we find on the top of the offices?
  7) Where in the world can we find most of the Shangri-La Hotels?
  8) Is it possible for people to live in the Shard? Give a full answer.
  9) Why are the viewing galleries so unique for those who visit it?
10) What other important landmarks in the world is The Shard compared with?

lunes, 27 de mayo de 2013

take a break

Now that you are revising for your final exams, take a break and listen to this song. You will remember this structure with no effort.

miércoles, 24 de abril de 2013

No ordinary buildings (Ordinary Words 2)

London's skyline has sure changed in the last few years with new skyscrapers such as the Gherkin, the Walkie- Talkie, the Cheese Grater or the Shard.

You can enjoy the panoramic view of the last one just  with a click

martes, 23 de abril de 2013

World Book Day

How do you get on with books?
Today I would like you  to write about the effect books have on you.

lunes, 8 de abril de 2013

Ordinary /wɜːdz/

Do you know the meaning of these words?

Look them up in a good monolingual dictionary and then use your grey matter to find out what they have in common.

Please leave your answers in the comment box.

jueves, 21 de marzo de 2013

World Poetry Day

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

lunes, 18 de marzo de 2013

“Thank God her last name was Austen…” *

When we start reading in English – because we want to improve our language skills or simply because we enjoy reading – there are some names we cannot skirt: Shakespeare or Virginia Woolf, for example. But in fact, there are some sentences that for their witty, work-of-art, amazing construction become a part of the language they were written in and even though we might not have read the book, they’re always there to remind us of that lack on our general knowledge.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man 
in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

As foreigners we may not even recognise the sentence, but I can assure you that only a few British wouldn’t be able to repeat by heart the first line in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Maybe it’s the amazing writing, maybe the almost human characters, probably the sense of humour. Reality is that the allure of this book is still another “truth universally acknowledged”.  And it is 200 years old.
I decided to write this post as a reminder of that event.

Can I ask you some questions you can answer on the comment box? They’re pretty plain, don’t worry.
- Does the name Jane Austen ring a bell?
- Have you read Pride and Prejudice?
- Have you seen the film or the 1995 BBC award-winning series?
- Have you ever fallen in love with Lizzie or Darcy?

I could go on and on about it, I could; however I don’t want to bother you or cause that you close the page. So, if you allow me, I’ll give you – at the end - some links where you could go on reading (if you choose to do so), but I firmly advise you to become a part of this amazing world Austen invented for us all, by reading the book (hopefully), watching the BBC series or even watching the adaptations may them be from Hollywood, Bollywood or BBC itself. 

More reading:

“The library held all the Eng lit classics […]. I had no idea of what to read or in what order, so I just started alphabetically. Thank God her last name was Austen…”
In Winterson, Jeanette Why be happy when you could be normal?, Vintage, London, 2012, pg. 37.

viernes, 15 de marzo de 2013

Red Nose Day


Today is Red Nose Day ....                  
                                and your task is .............
to find out what it is about.

Leave your answers in the comment box.

martes, 12 de marzo de 2013

Idioms, idioms, idioms

Today, I'd like  to make you work a bit. To start, I'd like to ask you if you know what an idiom is and once we know that, I want you to write here, in the comment box your favourite idiom and tell us why you like it and if you use it.

lunes, 18 de febrero de 2013

Oscar's Season

Do you like cinema? Do you go often?

If you are a true fan this is, definitely, your month, because the Oscars are coming up. We could chat about it, couldn't we?
- Are you one of those who watch the Academy Awards Ceremony live?
- What is your favourite Oscar winning film, director and stars?
- What film deserved an Oscar as best movie and didn't win it? What actor or actress?

And how about testing our colective trivia knowledge???
- Do you know why they are called The Oscars?
- How many academy awards did Charlie Chaplin win?
- Who were the eldest and the youngest actor/actress to win an academy award?
- Which movie won the most awards and which one had the most nominations?
- Who's the actor/actress who has more awards won? And who's the most nominated one?

jueves, 14 de febrero de 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Whether you are in love or not, you are going to fall all over again with this little Warbler.

And then, read a bit about this day published in Speak up magazine number 330 in an article from the British Council.

sábado, 26 de enero de 2013

A great unknown

 You are bound to know this image and yet, there is so little we know about it. The 26th of January is a red-letter day for them. Speak up magazine 329 publishes an article you might enjoy.

Straight from the horse's mouth

Many Australians, including me, have complicated feelings about Australia Day.  On the one hand, many of us feel shame at celebrating on a day that is increasingly recognised as a sad moment in history for Australia's indigenous people, the Australian Aborigines, who call it Invasion Day. In recent years, people have suggested changing the date on which Australia Day is celebrated, naming January 1st - the date of Australia's Federation - as an alternative. 

On the other hand, Australia Day for most people is a fun holiday. It's celebrated in the middle of summer, so the weather is normally hot, and many people like to celebrate by having a barbecue on the beach. Nearly 80% of Australians live close to the coast, and the beach is a part of people's lives, even in big cities. Most city beaches have public barbecue areas, but you have to get up early if you want a good location - they are normally all taken by mid-morning by groups of families and friends. My friends and I normally hold a barbecue at a beach right around the corner from where I used to live, Coogee Beach. Some people like to play games, like frisbee or beach cricket, and of course it's nice to take a swim on a hot day.

The food at Australia Day parties can be as simple throwing sausages on a barbecue, or people might cook up traditional Australian foods. This website contains a collection of recipe suggestions for Australia Day parties, including old favourites such as:
- sausage rolls and meat pies, popular types of meat pastries
pavlova, a dessert made of meringue, cream and fruit, originally created in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova
damper, a type of bread made by early settlers on an open fire
lamingtons, a traditional Australian cake

On the day before Australia Day the Australian of the Year is announced. This year's winner is Ita Buttrose, a journalist and editor, but previous winners have included sportspeople, doctors, scientists, human rights lawyers and Aboriginal Activist. 

Another very popular event on Australia Day is the countdown of the top 100 songs for the year on the national radio station, Triple J. Young people all around the country have parties to listen to the countdown, which goes right through the day. Some people place bets on which song will win the year's countdown. Last year's winning song was "Somebody I Used to Know" by the Australian singer Gotye - you have probably heard it on the radio here.

Over the years, Australia Day has become for many a celebration of multiculturalism - the idea that people from many different countries and cultures can live together in harmony. On Australia Day, Citizenship Ceremonies are held in which recent migrants pledge their loyalty to Australia and its laws. I have had several friends - from places like South Africa, India, and Scotland - take the citizenship oath, and it's always moving to see the newest Australians being officially welcomed to the country. It's a reminder that being Australian isn't just about where you were born - it's also about the thousands of people who come to Australia every year in search of a better life.

miércoles, 9 de enero de 2013

Celebrating Underground

Has any of you seen today's doodle? Well, actually, you should have. It's really neat the way the Google guys decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, you can read something about that on this link. However, I'll paste the image to our little blog so you can all see it, not needing to go here to do so.
Isn't it great???

Well, I'll leave you something more to read and listen: 
- The Guardian sent Stephen Moss on a journey along the  longest, busiest, reddest tube line of them all; 
- the official website of the Tube gives us a lot of info too; 
- and, of course, BBC couldn't let the day pass without showing us the celebratory stamps and helping us understand where and how everything started (in this report) or how this amazing invention changed the city.

Hope you all enjoy the trip I'm proposing to celebrate this day with the British and comment about it.

martes, 1 de enero de 2013

Happy New Year!!!!!

Midnight... The last 12 seconds of the year that ends... Some eat grapes, some swallow raisins, some watch a huge ball drop in the town where all dreams come true. Ask for 12 wishes (one for each gong) or just make hopefull new year resolutions. May you all have someone to kiss and hug and may all your wishes be fulfilled. 
I'll leave you with Lea Michelle singing Auld Lang Syne, a nice tradition of the English speaking countries.