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!