Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NI1 - unit 3B: adjectives/verbs with prepositions

The use of prepositions in a language is one of the most difficult things to do and many times it's not logical the use of one preposition or another so the best way is by practising with exercises. Let's do some here:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reading Short Stories

These are some pages to practise with reading and listening. They are original version but easy to understand and some stories are graded:

NA1-unit 3B: The Use of Adverbs

Adverbs and adverbial phrases are really important in English as they give a better description of an action and the circustances; however, it's not so easy to use them properly and some of them are specially tricky for Spanish students.

To start with, have a look at this easy explantion of the function of adverbs and how to distinghish it from adjectives; click here and then you can follow with this one.

Once you've got a clear idea about this topic you should practise a bit so here you are some exercises to work on this subject: exercise

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NI1-unit 3B: Use of articles

The use of articles is not the same in English than in Spanish and sometimes it makes trouble to distinguish when to use it or not. Here you are some exercises to practise with articles:

A typical problem is to see the difference between next/ the next or last/the last. Let's have a look with these exemples:
  • exercise: click here
This lesson is dealing with stereotypes and here you are a song which treats this topic: If I Were a Boy by Beyonce; click here

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NA-1: lesson 3A: air travel

This lesson deals with some topics related to air travel. One of the speaking activities is about your feelings when you are on a plane. Here you are some videos about this topic: the fear of flying.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

That's English! - module 5 -unit 5: Leisure

This unit is about what you do in your free time so it deals with leisure, hobbies, reading, movies and so on. As usual, let's start with some general questions:
  • What do you like doing in your free time? When do you do it? When and how did you start that activity? How long have you been doing it? (Pay attention to the verbs expressing likes and dislikes, which are followed by -ING form)
  • Speak about a friend's hobby: what it is like, why your friend likes doing it, if you've ever tried to do it with him/her...
  • What's the best activity for summer? And the best for winter?
  • Have you ever tried a risky activity? What was that and why did you choose it? If not, why don't you fancy a risky activity? 
  • what is the most strange thing/activity you've ever tried? Describe your experience.
If you want to work with the vocabulary, you may want to see this page: click here
To see a model about what to say about your hobby, here you are a listening comprehension: click here

The grammar point of this lesson is about verbs expressing likes and dislikes followed by -ING form and verbs about orders, desires and commands followed by TO+infinitive. Here you are a short list to help you to remember them:


I love
I enjoy
I like
I don't mind
I dislike
I hate
I can't stand

FOLLOWED BY _____-ing
I wish
I want
I need
I'd like
I hope
I try

FOLLOWED BY to + infinitive

Monday, November 24, 2014

Watching TV series with subtitles

If you like to spend some time watching series on TV, here you are an opportunity to do it in English with the help of subtitles. Go to this link and enjoy your favourite one: click here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NA1-unit 2B: clothing

Although you've already dealt with this topic many times, there are still lots of words, verbs and expressions to learn. Apart from the ones you have in your textbook, here you are some links to help you:
  • a list of exercises: click here
  • this is a simple list with the translation into Spanish but it has many useful words; click here
Apart from vocabulary, we also dealt with the order of adjectives; here you are some help to practise with this topic:
Remember to use this order when you describe while speaking and writing. Practise as much as possible better than learning by heart.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Writing skills

To write properly is not as easy as one might think. You must keep some general rules in mind:
  • the content: be precise and say why you are writing, give relevant information and keep in mind who you are addressing to.
  • the structure: go from the most general information to the most precise, give examples if necessary and "guide" the person who is reading your text to the principal point. Use paragraphs to organise your ideas and connectors to link sentences.
  • richness: variety of vocabulary, of tenses, of connectors and so on. The person who is reading you should be pleased to read your text, if not he/she will stop reading it.
  • accuracy: you shouldn't make mistakes and you should use complex sentences in order to be more accurate. Punctuation is also important.
Remember these will be the four marks you'll get when I give you back your composition.

About how to write the text, the steps you should follow are these.
  1. Read carefully what you are asked to do: what do they want me to do? what  is this for? what piece of writing is this: a letter, an e-mail, an article ...? 
  2. Have a draft of your writing but DON'T write it twice because you won't have enough time and then follow it.
  3. Be sure you have paragraphs and there are enough (neither few nor too many) connectors
  4. Once you've finished, read it again to check it's understandable and correct the typical mistakes.
  5. Try to be precise, clean and neat in your writing.
To sum up, take into accaunt that the reader is not in your head and the only way to know what you want to say is by reading your piece of writing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NI1-unit 1B: Family

This unit is about family. Let's revise the most usual vocabulary with this video and here you have a list  if the main words with the phonetic symbols. After revising the vocabulary, you can practise with this page with plenty of exercises.

About grammar we are working with future forms so here you hve some exercises to work with:
If you need further information about how to use it, go to these links:
  • the use of WILL; to to this link
  • the difference between WILL and GOING TO; go to this link (a bit long and high level)
In the vocabulary bank we've also worked with personality; here you have a link with adjectives and sentences to give you examples (click here for the list and do this exercise   or this to revise) 

To finish with, here you are the song Our House

See you in class!

NA1-unit 1B

This unit starts with spooky stories and I've thouhgt it'd be a proper time for introducing Halloween. For those who like this kind of stories, here you have a link where you can read short stories related to this. Apart from those stories, you might be interented in the history of Halloween, its origin and so on; in that case, you should click here but if you want to see a longer video, click here.

The other topic in this lesson is about how to interpret handwriting, with a long listening on the textbook. If you want a short summary, watch this video which gives you some examples; click here

About grammar, we have the use of double comparative with the more/less ... the more/less. This form is quite usual to express cliches or idioms such as "the sooner, the better" or "the more, the merrier", which means the more people there are, the merrier they will be.

Here you have the link for the song Unbelievable and this is for the translation

To finish with, this is the link for compound adjectives I showed in class: click here

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NI1-unit 1A: Food

This unit deals with food, diets and so on and they also speak about the use of present tenses.

To increase your vocabulary you can use the vocabulary bank you have at the end of your class book and this video with phonetics, but you can also have a look to this video which shows you some useful partitives: click here
If you want to practise with vocabulary of food (although the level can be quite easy), you can go to this link with plenty of exercises: click here

Let's revise present tenses:
  • Simple present: click here
  • Present continuous: click here
  • Here you have the spelling rules for -ING (and for -ED): click here
To practise with present tenses you should do these exercises for revision:
Hope to be helpful! See you in class.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NA1-unit 1A: questions and answers

This unit is a revision of question formation. We should pay attention to the use of auxiliaries and when you don't use them. Here you have an exercise with a funny video at the end:click here.

Apart from the typical structure of a question, we have question tags and echo questions; if you want to know more about them and how to pronounce them you can go to this presentation; click here.

On page 6 you have a text about extreme interviews and I've found these videos that might interest you:
  • this is a very funny job interview; click here
  • this video is about body language; click here
                                                                                                                                                                      • this video is about how to have a good job interview; click here

Welcome to the new school year 2014-2015!

Hi! Here we are starting a new course and that's great. This blog has the aim to help you to improve your English and to have fun while learning. To be more helpful, I'll mark on the heading of the post which is the target level but you can use any post of any level you need or fancy.
To start with, here you are a video of the song Happywhich will make you feel good with this starting course. The first link is like a karaoke and then you can watch the original video here:

Because I'm happy...  Happy to see you in class!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Preparing the final exam

If you want to practise with the type of examns of certificate, here you are a good page with plenty of information about them; click here. However, you should bear in mind that your level is between NB2 (A2) and NI2 (B1) but this could be a way of preparing your final exam due to the fact that many of the exercises are similar to the ones you'll have in your own exam; the problem is the level.
If you want to practise with listening, remember you can use this page and if you want to practise writing, write a report (like the sampel you have in your class book) about a film you've seen recently.
See you next week!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indirect Speech

When we work with this topic we think of "transforming" direct into indrect speech or vice versa, but we should take into account how frequent it is in our daily life, especially when we "reproduce" a previous conversation. Let's see an example:
"Yesterday I saw Peter and he told me he was working in another place and that he wanted to move his apartment for a big house in the countryside. He said he had met a girl two years ago and he wanted to get married soon so he was looking for a new house. I gave him my congratulations and asked him if I knew the girl but he said he didn't think so".
We also worked in class with the structure: COMPLEMENT + INFINITIVE; let's see some examples:
  • "Don't close the window, will you?" --- She asked me not to close the window
  • "Can you come with me, please?" --- He asked me to go with him
To finish with, pay attention to the use of TELL and SAY; the first one is used with personal complement while the second goes without it as you can see in these examples:
  • Tom told her/Susan he had to work until late
  • Tom said he had to work until late
Here you are some exercises to work with this: exercise 1   exercise 2    exercise 3    exercise 4

Remember the exception of using TELL without personal pronouns: to tell the truth, to tell a lie, to tell a story/a tale, to tell a joke.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

That's English! - Module 6 - Unit 10: Stories and Legends

In this unit we are dealing with past tenses in different ways: past simple, past continuous, past perfect, used to and would. If you need more information about used to and would, go to this link
What is the main difference between WOULD and USED TO?

  • WOULD is used in repeated actions in the past and it's only possible with static verb
  • USED TO is referred to a habit in the past that you don't do any more.
When I was a little girl I used to go to the cinema with my parents and we would eat pop corn while we were seing the film.
I hope it's clear but don't worry too much; you'll be able to use it little by little.

Monday, April 28, 2014

That's English! Module 6 - Unit 9: Theatre

The title of this lesson is "The World Is a Stage" and it's about theatre. Apart from the vocabulary specific about this topic and some other shows, you can get words connected to expressing satisfacction or critisicism. As a summary here you are the principal adjectives used for doing this: 

Really possitive
Rather negative
Dull / Plain  


Remember these adjectives can be used in other contexts or for other general comments such as literature, painting, movies, etc.
To finish with, if you want to have a good idea about how to write a review, here you have a link which is quite useful; click here

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


We have started lesson 7A which is about Education. Here you have a video with a documentary about education; it's a bit long and not very easy but quite interesting: click here. If you want to increase your vocabulary, go to this link with drawings: here

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coming back after my workshop

I've got so many ideas to practise with you... We are coming back to class but we must take into account that we are finishing the course in few weeks so we should make an effort.
The other thing is that I want you to have another test at the end of this term, which means next week! so we have to hurry up this week to prepare the exam.
See you in class since tomorrow morning!

That's English! Module 6 - lesson 6

Hi, everybody!
This week we've got an important lesson because giving your opinion is a very natural way of speaking and it's pretty frequent to use it in your daily life. Let's see some pages to work with this topic:
  • A list with common expressions and an exercise to practise; click here
  • Another list but you can see the distinctions among ways of expressin opinions; click here
  • This is to express agreement, partial agreement and disagreement; click here
  • Video oriented to pass an exam but it's useful but rather long, to tell you the truth; click here
  • This PDF is to show you how to use these expressions while you are writing; click here
But I'm more interested in giving you practical exercises such as these ones:
  • Work with your partner (if possible)about these discussions; you must have a different point of view supported by reasons (even if you don't agree with your part in the dicussion): 
    • cats or dogs for a pet, what's better, more practical, nicer...?
    • a car or a bike in the city; your own transport or public transport
    • a house or a flat; living in the outskirts or in the city centre.
    • using cash or credit card; buying in a shopping centre or in small shops.
  • You can do the same exercise by writing your point of view.
Another important point in this lesson is the use of question tags; here you are a good explanation, click here or here if you prefer a video; but if you want to practise, click here
The most difficult thing is to do it while speaking and to give the right entonation. You can do it at home by recording to yourself; try it and you'll see how you improve.

Just to finish with, here you have a video about body language; I think it's quite interesting so click here; this other video is also quite interesting, but a bit longer; have a try and click here

See you in class!

Monday, March 24, 2014

That's English! module 6 - unit 5: visiting places

Here you have some exercises to work with the vocabulary of this lesson:

  • it's very easy but pay attention to the definitions: you'll find examples of passive voice and relative clauses; click here
  • this is a very complete vocabulary list of shops and places in a town (it's in American English); click here
About grammar, you are going to work with the future form WILL; I thinks it's better if you revise the main future tenses to see how to use each one properly. Use these links:
  • an explanation and exercises
  • something similar:
  • in this link you'll find future tenses that we haven't seen yet, but there are good examples of the ones you've already practised; click here
  • this exercise will help you to distinguish between WILL and GOING TO: click here
  • here you'll find more links with the previous kind of exercises: go to here
If you want to see the vocabulary and what you've learnt in practise, go to any link of tourist information and you'll find lots of examples; here you have some:
  • Helsinki: tourist information page, click here and if you want to see some videos go to youtube and watch videos like this or this long one
  • London: here you have some videos like this one (not very difficult and short) or this one (easy but long)
See you soon!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What to do this week

As I already told you in class, this week is going to be a bit different. First of all, we'll have class on Monday but we'll do some extra activities I'll give you to do.
On Wednesday you'll have class of conversation with Eduardo, as usual but there are some exercises I need you to do to practise these skills:

  • You should practise with cloze tests like the ones of this site; do at least number 2 and 3 and see the key of the exercises at the end; click here
  • If you want to practise with multiple choice (a,b,c option exercise), go to this link
  • you can practise with this exercise; click here
  • if you need a higher level, you might click here 
  • write an email to a foreign friend who wants to come to visit you. This person asks you when it's the best month to come. Answer him/her and invite him/her to come but try to include all the grammar points we have already seen in class up to now such as relative clauses adn passive, past and future tenses.

  • For those of you who can't come on Wednesday to practise with Eduardo, you should work on an exercise you'll be asked to do on Monday 31: you should prepare a short presentation about a historical character or a device, using sentences with passive tenses such as: "Columbus was born in Italy... he was given 3 ships to go to America... Indians were taken as slaves..." or "the mobile was invented in...At the beginning it was used to... Later its dimensions were reduced ... it was sold all over the world..."


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Relative clauses

A relative clause is introduced by a relative pronoun and it is used to explain or give some detail about something mentioned before (the antecedent). There are 2 types: defining and non-defining. But let's see how it works.
  • This is the flat where I live and Peter is the person who lives with me and whose car is parked outside.
The most difficult part of this grammar point is, as usual, when it isn't the same in Spanish:
  • Kerry is the mate I work with: here the relative pronoun has disappeared, something that/which doesn't happen in Spanish. 
Let's see some pages to work with this grammar point:
  • a page with explanation and exercises; click here
  • another example; click here
  • an exercise of rephrasing: use relatives to join clauses; click here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Passive voice

Passive voice is a grammar point which is a bit difficult for Spanish speakers when it's not used in the same way as Spanish; let's see some examples:
  • America was discovered by Columbus  --- América fue descubierta por Colón
  • A new road is being built near here  --- ¿Una carretera nueva está siendo construida cerca de aquí?  ---  Se está construyendo una nueva carretera cerca de aquí.
we use passive voice when we don't know the subject of that action, we don't want to say it or it's not necessary. Look at these examples:
  • The bank was robbed yesterday --- we don't know who did it --- Robaron el banco ayer
  • I've been told you have a new boyfriend  --- I don't want to say who told me that --- Me han dicho que tienes un nuevo novio
  • The book was published in 1998 --- there's no need to know who published the book --- El libro se publicó en 1998
There are plenty of examples in our daily life: made in China; the last film directed by Ridley Scott and starred by Barden is really good; credit cards are accepted; the thieves were caught; guests are requested to leave their room before 11 a.m.; smoking is forbidden in this area, etc. Notice that most of these sentences are used with impersonal forms in Spanish so an "exact" translation doesn't work.

The other important point is to have clear that passive voice must be used in a natural way, that is, in a context but not as a transformation from active to passive voice and vice versa. Use it when you need it but not only for the sake of grammar.

Nevertheless, here you are some links to work with but you should work on it in spoken English: : explanation of the passive voice and exercises at the end and some more
If you want to read the story we started in class, here you have the link:

See you, guys!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Listening practice - level B1 or PET

There are many pages on the internet to practice listening skills. Here you are some of them taken from a page which gives you examples of two types of exams: PET and IELTS. The ones we need to prepare our exams are these but maybe the level is a bit low:

Monday, March 10, 2014

That's English! Module 6 - lesson 3

This lesson deals with a large amount of words and a good way of learning is to use the words in the context. If you want to revise or increase you vocabulary about housing you may go to this link, for example: click here

Those who came to class have revised the use of quantifiers; if you want to practise with this you should go to this page and you should do some exercises: exercise 1  exercise 2   exercise 3  exercise 4

Another topic of this lesson is how to say large numbers; you can click this link. But 0 is one of the most peculiar figure in English; if you want to know how to say it, click here

Here you are a listening exercise about buying a house, so click here. This  other listening is about renting a house; click here. This is a video with a boy showing us his house; find it here

Just to finish with, you can read this post about the difference between amount, quantity and number; click here

See you in class!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A message in a phone

In unit 5B we've worked with social networks and how things have changed since we use moviles. Here you have a sort or dictionary of the most usual symbols or abbreviations used in moviles, taken by wikipedia.
Words in fullAbbreviations or SMS language
As far as I knowAFAIK
Away from keyboardAFK
ThanksTHNX or THX
Have a nice dayHAND
See youC U
So what’s your problem?SWYP
Tears in my eyesTIME
Sealed with a kissSWAK
Keep it simple, stupidKISS
Such a laughSAL
At the momentATM
What Are You DoingWYD
Where Are You AtWYA
Stop What You're DoingSWYD
By The WayBTW
You’re on your ownYOYO
As soon as possibleASAP
Oh My GodOMG
Hugs and KissesHAK or XOXO
Laughing out LoudLOL
Rolling On The Floor LaughingROFL or ROTFL
Secretly We Are GaySWAG
What Do You Mean By ThatWDYMBT
Loving the weather todayLTWT or LWT or LW
A mini SMS dictionary/glossary by Vodacom

Sunday, March 2, 2014

That's English! Module 6 - unit 2: lyfestyle choices

This unit deals with ways of life and big changes. About grammar you’re going to work with the use of the definite article and with both … and …; neither… nor …; either … or …

The definite article
As a very general rule, whe use the article as a determiner THE = THIS/THESE like in I saw a child in the street; the (that) child was small.
If you want to see other uses go to these links; click here or here. Notice you have the grammar explanation and exercises. You shouldn't learn the uses by heart but with the practice. If you want to practise  with more exercises, you can do these:

It is used for dual subjects or objects in this way: We both went to the party; Both Peter and Mandy went to the party; I saw both of them in the party.

Either … or … / Neither … nor …
These forms are like both sides of the same coin. On the one hand we have either… or … It’s used to indicate two alternatives: Either you or your brother is the responsible of this. The verb goes with the last subject. It’s also possible to use it as a complement: she lives either in Madrid or in Lisbon.

Neither … nor … is the opposite in the sense that both alternatives are not possible: Neither you nor your brother is responsible of this. As you can see, it’s the same form as the previous one but the opposite meaning.
There is still another possibility for this negative meaning and it’s the use of either with a negative verb. Let’s see the examples: I haven’t seen either George or Susan yet.

If you want to work with these forms, go to these links:
Exercise 1     exercise 2 : explanation and an exercise    exercise 3

See you in class!


What Carnival means:
It is an annual celebration of life found in many countries of the world. Its origin is hundreds and hundreds of years ago, when Italian started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent (Cuaresma). Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, so they called the festival carnevale (a blend between carne and festivale). As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous and this practice spread to France, Spain, Portugal and many other countries in Europe. When these countries went to America and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating carnival.
Although its origin is Catholic, little by little it was accepted or adapted to other societies, cultures and places.When African people and American Indian took contact with the Europeans they melted their own traditions with the Catholic ones, especially about music, dancing and colourful costumes, using beads, feathers, glitters and so on. 
Now it's a festival where people feel free to express happines and madness so it has became one of the most popular feasts in many places. It is sometimes associated to the idea of freedom and criticism so sometimes this celebration was forbidden.
Vocabulary you should know:
Lent - Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday - Ash Wednesday - Parade with carriages - Costumes, Fancy Dress - 

Some curious videos which are relared to Carnivals:
Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Saint Valentine's Day

I can't help giving you some pages to know something about this special day. Let me remind you that in English speaking countries this is not just a day for lovers but for anyone who loves anybody in one way or another. Here you have some links to read about this day:

Happy Saint Valentin's day!

Friday, January 31, 2014


In this lesson we are working with this modal form when it means ability and possibility (and it's also used for permission). Apart form the exercises on the book and workbook here you can do some more:
If you want to know what is the difference between CAN and  TO BE ABLE TO you can go to this link

Meeting People in Madrid

Some of you are interestied in practising English with foreigners. Here you are a kind of association to learn and practise languages. This is the email that have sent us. I hope you'll enjoy the meeting!
Dear friends:

In February we look forward to meeting you at our usual free international language exchange encounters every Wednesday from20:30 on and every Sunday from 19:00 on at Café Galdós (Los Madrazo 10 – metro Sevilla), which maintains its special offers for the attendees, as well as free canapés for everybodyThere you will practise languageswith people from all over the world, make new friends and have great fun. The coordinators will welcome you and introduce you to nice people in a very friendly and fun atmosphere. Awarded as Best Language Exchange of the Year by the European Vibe Magazine.

Furthermore, this month we will host two very special events: a greatInternational Night at Bernabéu Stadium on Friday 7, whose details you can find below, and a spectacular Wine & Arts Evening on Friday 21, about what we will inform you very soon.



On Friday, February 7th, MadridBabel invites you to its GREAT INTERNATIONAL NIGHT AT THE STADIUM, which will take place from 23:00 to 3:00 at the Real Café – Gate 30 of Bernabéu Stadium (Concha Espina 1 – metro Santiago Bernabéu).

There will be our usual fun and friendly international atmosphere, this time at one of the most famous stadiums in the world!

The entrance will cost €5, which includes a welcome glass of wine.

Reservation is not needed, you can bring all your friends; it’s going to be an unforgettable evening in a very impressive venue.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Let's Talk about ...

Many students have problems with speaking skills. The only way is to practise as much as possible and you have some possibilities:
  • Have meetings with some other students and talk about a topic: choose a subject and talk about that but it's better if you have prepared the vocabulary in advance. Pay attention to the structures needed (suggestions, invitations, expressing opinion, giving advice and so on)
  • Use skype to speak to other people, not only Spanish but foreigners as well.
  • Try to find conversation groups in the place you live or start one on your own.
If you need topics to talk about you can find some on the internet:
To finish with you should use English in a natural way such as going shopping, have a drink, talk about your family, your job or use the things you are interested in (sports, reading, art, politics, etc)

Monday, January 20, 2014

That's English! Module 5 - Unit 9: Invitations

In this lesson we work with invitations. You should keep in mind suggestions in mind as well because sometimes the same expression fits both actions. Let's have a look:

  • Why don't we go to the cinema? (suggestion and/or invitation)
However, let's see all the possible forms which are used for invitations:
  • Let's ...+ INFINITIVE
  • Why don't we ...+ INFINITIVE
  • Shall we ...+ INFINITIVE
  • Would you like to ...+ INFINITIVE
  • Do you fancy ...+ ING FORM
  • Do you feel like + ING FORM
  • Are you up for ... + ING FORM
  • How about.../What about... + ING FORM
Now we should see how to accept or refuse invitations:
  • Accepting:
    • Sounds good
    • Why not
    • That's a great idea
    • I'd love to
  • Refusing:
    • I'm afraid I can't ...
    • Sorry but ...
    • Another time perhaps
Eor exercises use these links: