Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Time - Holidays!

I guess you're preparing your next holidays but as you'll have plenty of time I thought you may want to practise your English for a while. The best way is using the useful links you have on this blog but I've chosen some readings for you. Remember you should write or speak about a short story or a book for the next exam in February. This is my choice of reading but if you want to read anything else, you can do it:

  • NA1
    • a funny story by Mark Twain - A Dog's Tale 
    • Vladimir Nobokov : Symbols and Signs
    • Toni Morrison : Sweetness
    • An article about culture and identity: Danish and Skandinavian people
    • If you want to choose something different, go to this link
    • This is a "present" for Christmas; common language mistakes that children have while writing: click here. If you fancy, go to the last exercise offered to NI1
  • NI1:
    • this is a web page with different topics but they are too short: click here
    • this has many short stories adapted and many have mp3 as well: click here
    • this is a page for English children about language in general with typical mistakes or error. Have a look but don't worry too much if you aren't able to do it: click here
See you after Christmas! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 to all of you.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Practising with Listening Skills

There are some links to work on listening on the internet. You can find some if you use Google to find them but you should do it by using this phrase:   listening exercises B1 or listening exercises B2
These are the links I've chosen, but there are many more on the internet. Here you are some and choose the level you need:
  • NI1 (B1):
    • celebrations ; more examples in this link: click here
    • an exemple for B1 level: click here
    • this is an example of PET exam, a bit lower than the one we usually have but it's useful

NI1 - Preparing the end-of-term exam

This entry is to practise with the exam you are going to take tomorrow and on Wednesday.This is an exam taken form the internet and the topics are about celebrations so it is a complement to the lesson we have just finish.

  • Listening comprenhension: the texts are here and the audios are audio 1  audio 2  audio 3 . Don't worry too much if the results aren't so good at first. This is an exam for the end of this level and a bit different from the ones we have in our school.
  • Reading part: here you are a test with different parts. As I told you our exam is just to check what we've done up to now while this exam is to check your level but it's a good example of what you can find at the end of the school year so we should start preparing it.
Remember you have a writing part; review in your textbook the models for writing and revise your corrected compositions to see what your typical mistakes are and work on them to avoid them.

I hope this entry is useful. See you in class!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

That's English! - Module 5 - unit 8: Back to School!

For those who can't attend the classes, here you are what we did in class:
Vocabulary revision
The topic of this unit is about education. You might have learnt some words or expressions you didn’t know before or the difference between two words which sound very similar or they are "false friends" like: pupil ≠ student,  title ≠ degree,  marks ≠ qualifications, public ≠ state school, single sex ≠ coeducational school
Other words or expressions which are interesting are: compulsory education, to be in detention, headteacher/principal, vocational education, school leaver, to miss/skip class or to fail an exam.

Activity 1
Work with your partner and compare Spanish and British Educational System. What are the main problems from your point of view?

Activity 2
What do you remember of your school days? What was your favourite subject? What kind of school did you go to? What did you use to do at school?

Activity 3
Think about the rules at school and try to add some more rules. Work with your partner.

Activity 4
When you were a child, what were you allowed to do? Ask your partner about things you could/couldn’t do: watching TV, coming back home late, having a party at home, smoking, being up until midnight, etc. Use sentences such as: I couldn’t be out at night until I was 18; when I was 12 I wasn’t allowed to go out alone, etc.

Activity 5
What skills/qualifications are necessary to do these jobs? Discuss with your partner about it saying sentences such as To be a doctor you have to study a lot, you need to be used to seeing blood but you needn’t be rich. Professions: pilot, nurse, pianist, truck driver, ballet dancer, footballer, animal trainer, teacher, car mechanic, writer, actor.


Grammar: modals
  • Obligation = Present: HAVE TO – MUST – NEED TO – SHOULD  + infinitive. Past: HAD TO – NEEDED TO + infinitive
  • Lack of obligation = Present: DON’T HAVE TO – NEEDN’T + infinitive. Past: DIDN’T HAVE TO – DIDN’T NEED TO + infinitive
  • Permission = Present: CAN – TO BE ALLOWED TO – TO LET – MAY + infinitive. Past: COULD – WAS/WERE ABLE TO – LET + infinitive
  • Prohibition = Present: CAN’T – NOT TO BE ALLOWED TO – MUSTN’T – DON'T LET + infinitive. Past: COULDN’T – WASN’T/WEREN’T ALLOWED TO – DIDN’T LET+ infinitive.
You may also go to this link which explains modal verbs: click here

Exercises to practise grammar; most of these links are pages with different exercises and different levels; have a look and choose the ones you feel more confortable: 

Merry Christmas Messages

Hi everybody!
Here you are a board to write your Christmas messages for our friends in Kolding (Denmark). Would you like to add yours?
Go to this link and join the padlet for Christmas. Remember you can do it in English or in Spanish, as many students there are learning Spanish as well.

Monday, December 12, 2016

NA1 - What's on tomorrow morning?

We've been longer than a week without class. I hope you've already read the short story I gave you. If not, you have time as it is really short but tomorrow we'll work with it in class.

Apart from that, we're going to work with some exercises that are not frequent in the book but we should practise. This is a special fill-in-the-gap exercise about suffixes. It's very useful for increasing vocabulary so please go to this link; although it's not very difficult, it might be a good start.

The same happens with this exercise about some typical mistakes: it's a lower level but it's good to review these things from time to time: click here.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NI1 - Present simple versus present continuous

the difference between habitual present (simple present) and continuous is clear. Have a look on this chart: click here. This other page is very useful as well: click here. You should do the exercises at the end of the web pages but here you are some more:

Monday, December 5, 2016

NA1 - Unit 3A: Narrative tenses

This lesson deals with the tenses we use in narrative, especially past tenses. Apart from the exercises you have on the book, let's see some more here:
  • an anecdote: click here
  • make up a spooky story by choosing the correct tense: click here
And here you have a short story with the audio to practise listening and check how to use narrative tenses: The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce; click here . If you find this story interesting you might like to read this text; click here

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NA1 - Some practice with listening and reading

Here you are some exercises to practise these skills.

For listening we're going to do this exercise in class. This first is supposed to be under your level (PET) so we'll start with it and then we'll go on with this one (FCE).

About reading here you are this exercise with filling the gaps, which can be open or with given words to choose . As I told you in class, this is an exercise not frequent in our textbook but very usual in exams. The first one is this (open cloze) and you have to do it in less than 10 minutes.

Another typical reading exercise is connected with word formation. This kind of exercise is good for increasing and improving your vocabulary so let's do one of them as an example. This is very usual in FCE exams.

Monday, November 28, 2016

NI1 - extra contents in unit 3

In this unit we've been working with modals: SHOULD, CAN, CAN'T, HAVE TO and DON'T HAVE TO. What is not on the book is the characteristics of some of them, especially CAN.

  • Remember that CAN is only present but it has no infinitive so you can`t say "to can". For this reason you have problems with tenses in which you use it as it happens in future tenses, so you use a synonym like TO BE ABLE TO + infinitive:
    • I'll be able to go to Paris next week  but not  I'll can go to Paris next week (it's wrong)

  • You can't use past participle either (3rd column of the irregular verbs) so you need TO BE ABLE TO again for perfect forms: present perfect or past perfect, for example.
    • I haven't been able to finish yet but not I haven't could finish yet.

  • The last difference is about meaning. You use CAN/COULD in a more general way (possibility, permision, ability, prohibition...) but TO BE ABLE TO is for ability and it means you are going to be successful and you can manage.


Another grammar content we've seen in class is the structure:
  • verb + object + infinitive: I want you to go there ("Quiero que vayas allí")
This is a typical expression of command or request and the usual verbs are: WANT, TELL, ASK, NEED, HELP, WOUD LIKE, etc. Go to this link for more information and you should do the exercise at the end: click here.

That's English! - Module 5 - unit 7: Cooking

Food and cooking are becoming more and more popular so it's a very common topic not only in Spain but in UK as well. This lesson deals with this so let's start with general questions and then we'll work with the specific points, especially about grammar.

General questions
  • Can you cook well? What's your favourite dish and how do you make it?
  • Have you ever been to a Chinese/Thai/Indian/Greek restaurant? What was it like? Did you enjoy the food? Why/why not?
  • What do you think about American food? Have you ever been to a Tex-Mex restaurant?
  • Do you know anything about the Mediterranean diet? Do you eat it? Why/why not?
  • Have you ever been on a diet? What was the experience like? Did you lose weight?
Grammar: quantifiers

If you want a further explanation about this grammar point, you can go to this link with a lot of examples; click here

If you want to practise with these quantifiers you can use these pages or exercises:
As a summary, here you are a diagram to deal with quantifiers:
UNCOUNTABLE* (+ singular)
COUNTABLE* (+ plural)
Some
any
no
(a) little
(not) much
too much
how much
Some
any
no
(a) few
(not) many
too many
how many

* I prefer using singular and plural to avoid problems such as coffee or coffees.  You have this sentence using both:  How much coffee do you drink?  ---- Too much, I think. I drink many coffees at work but I don't drink any in the evening. 

Grammar: giving advice (SHOULD/OUGHT TO/HAD BETTER)

These modal forms are used when you want to give advice or for strong recommendations. If you want to see the difference between these forms, you could go to this video with an explanation or go to this one for more examples. But if you need just an introduction about these modals, go to this link which also has examples and exercises.

Remember that when you use them you must be careful with the following verbal form, like in these examples:
  • SHOULD+INFINITIVE     If you want to lose weight you should eat less fat food
  • OUGHT TO+INFINITIVE    She ought to be careful with that knife
  • HAD BETTER+INFINITIVE    You'd better stay in bed if you don't feel well
But another form which is also used and it's not in your textbook is If I were you I wouldn't do it; remember the use of second or hypothetical conditional. The example is similar in meaning to You'd better not do it but this sounds a bit stronger than the conditional.

ORAL PRACTICE

  • Think of a recipe and explain it
  • I like/don't like cooking because...  (time / cleaning / shopping / my mum's cooking...)
  • ADVISE about: to do exercise, to buy a new telephone, to have a cold, to lose weight, to study a degree, to save money, to go on holiday...)
Here you are some exercises to practise with: exercise 1     exercise 2     exercise 3 : this is the one we did in class all together.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

NA1 - Unit 3A: Air Travelling

This unit deals with travelling and holiday so I think it's a pretty nice topic, don't you think so?
In the first part of the lesson air travelling is the thing so I think we could work with this link, especially with the flims French Kiss, which is a very funny film and there is a scene in which Meg Ryan is trying to get over her fear of flying. There is also a short reading giving some advice for the people who suffer from this phobia.

About grammar we're are going to work with:
  • narrative tenses with special attention to past perfect continuous: to start with you can use this video or this one, and you can use these links for a grammar revision: click here or  this particular one which is very long and precise so click here.
  • so/such ... that: you can use this grammar reference so click here. As a summary, you can use this link
If you want to practise with narrative verbs you should do it by reading as you'll find good examples,; by listening to stories or graded readers, for the same reason; by writing but remember to use as many tenses as possible, and by speaking you should take into account to use tenses and also references of time and place, to make a better picture of the story. We'll practice these last two skills in class.

See you in class!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

That's English! - Module 5 - unit 6: holiday

This is a very nice topic, isn't it? Let's start with general questions:
  • What kind of holiday do you prefer: a family trip, a relaxing holiday, adventure...?
  • How do you plan your holiday? Do you go to a travel agency or do you book everything on your own? Do you look for information before going away?
  • Where did you go last holiday? Give as many details as possible: when, where to, how long, how, the weather, the food, the people...
  • Where would you like to travel if you could? Why?
  • What are the main differences between a tourist, a holidaymaker and a traveller? (p.64)
About grammar, we have the first and second conditionals. If you want to practise, have a look to previous posts or go to these links:
  • first conditional is also called probable or possible conditional and it usually takes present/future tenses; e.g. if you don't hurry up you'll be late.  For exercises, click here , here and here
  • second conditional is called improbable or hypothetical conditional and it's like in this example: if I had a better car I could travel more. For practice you can go to these links: click here, here, here or here
  • If you like music, remember a famous song by Beyoncé: If I were a boy
ACTIVITY 1
In groups, one student starts with a probable conditional sentence such as If the weather is fine, I'll go to the countryside next weekend.Then the following student takes the result to use it for another first conditional: If I go to the countryside next weekend, I'll call my friend Peter. The round continues until you can't say anything else.

ACTIVITY 2
Then you should do the same with the second conditional, starting with If I could afford it, I'd buy a new car - If I had a new car, I'd go to France and so on.

ACTIVITY 3
If you want to practise with conditionals you may use this game with cards: go to this link . The aim is to join an "if"-card and an action-card. We'll play the game in class. Then you should try to turn the first conditional into a second conditional.

ACTIVITY 4
This link is another game we'll play in class. Again the idea is to finish an if-clause. This game uses first conditional but we can use it for second as well.

See you in class!


Monday, November 14, 2016

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

This lesson deals with leisure time. Let's start with common expressions about hobbies and leisure activities, especially with these verbs: LIKE - LOVE - ENJOY - DON'T MIND - HATE + -----ING

Activity 1
Explain to your partner what you like doing in your free time. Give details and say when, where, how often and why you like doing that; e.g. I love watching films on TV because it's cheaper and you don't have to spend time or money at the cinema. I usually watch a film at night, when I finish my dinner. I don't mind going to the cinema with friends because I enjoy going out with my friends.

Activity 2
Do the same with past tenses; you can speak about what you did last weekend or last holiday. Remember to give some clues about the activity.

Activity 3 (listening in class)
This is an exercise for listening; it's difficult but it's about the topic so that's the reason why I've included here: click here


Activity 4 (homework)
Here you are a link to practise reading comprenhension, like the one you'll find in the exam or more difficult. But don't worry because the questions aren't so complicated. Go to this link

In this unit you have quite a lot of grammar as well. One of the most difficult things is the use of -ing form or infinitive after certain verbs. To practise with this you can go to these links:
  • short explanation with exercises; click here
  • a page with exercises; click here
  • another explanation with exercises; click here
If you want to practise with listening, go to this link but watch the video in full screen; don't read the tapescript. Another example of spending your free time during holidays, click here


Thursday, November 10, 2016

NA1 - Unit 6B: Sleeping Beauty

In this unit we're working with USED TO + INF and BE/GET USED TO + -ING. Remember the second structure the form TO is a preposition so you must use a gerund. The difference between BE and GET is the same as the rest of adjectives: I got tired --- I was tired.

This is just a revision but what's new is the form WOULD in past tense. Here you have the link I showed you in class to read it calmly: click here but this link is much clearer; and this is another short explanation with more examples: click here.

About how our ancestors sleep, here you are an article which explains this: click here
If you want to get more information about the sleeping beauty syndrome, go here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Alcine 2016: Festival of Short Films

Next week we're going to the cinema. We'll see some short films in English. If yo want to know something else, here you have the link of the programme:

Monday, November 7, 2016

That's English - Module 5 - unit 4: Sports

This is a very common topic because we usually like sports and do exercise; what's more, to do exercise has become more and more important in our lives. Here you are some questions to discuss with your partner(s):
  • Do you play any sports? Which one? Why? (If not, give resons for not doing exercise)
  • Do you think to do exercise is important? explain your point of view.
  • What kind of sports do you prefer: individual sports or team sports? Compare both types and say advantages and disadvantages of both.
  • Have you ever been in a match as a player / as a supporter? What about the experience?
  • Choose one sport and describe it as much as possible.
You might have problems to know how to use GO-DO-PLAY; you can see this video to see the difference. To summarise and just in case it is not clear enough, remember the general rule:

  • you play games and you usually play with a ball (football, tennis, basket...)
  • you go+ ing (an activity): you go running, go skiing, go cycling...
  • you do exercise and activities based on exercises like yoga, judo, karate, aerobics...
If you want to practise some listening comprehension, here you have one about a sports centre: click here or  this other link. This link is the fanny video we show in class about squash click here

About grammar, this lesson pays attention to modals, especially those expressing probability and certainty. Here you are some exercises to work with MAY, MIGHT and COULD but there are some other modal forms included:
  • exercise 1   exercise 2  and click here to practise with more modals if you like
  • this song is a good example of the topic and of the modal CAN/COULD: click here to listen to Hall of Fame, the song of the Olympic Games in London.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Adjectives ending in -ED or -ING

As I explained in class, when you use -ED the meaning is a bit "passive" or you feel the consequences, but when you use -ING adjectives they are "active" and you focus on the action itself.
Here you are some exercises:
In a class we worked with subject questions, that is, when WHO or WHAT are the subject of the question and in this case we don't use auxiliary. If you want to have more information, to to this link to read the explanation and do the final exercise: click here

Monday, October 31, 2016

NI1 - Strange sports

In lesson 1 of your textbook there were some sports which were very curious. Here you are a video about one of the sports described in the book: click here
If you want to know anything about other sports, here you are a video with a very strange ones: click here
Enjoy the videos and try to do some exercise maybein a more traditional way. See you in class!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

That's English!- module 5 - lesson 3: Life in the future

As you can guess this topic deals with future tenses,especially with WILL and GOING TO. We are studying the difference between them but as you can see in your book, WILL is for undetermined events or predictions while GOING TO is for something planned or arranged. Sometimes you can use both with a similar meaning as it happens with predictions, but if you use "going to" it's due to the fcact there is more clear evidence for the prediction. Let's see both examples:
  • Tomorrow it will rain in the north of Spain: there is a possibility of rain. Mañana lloverá en el norte de España.
  • Tomorrow it's going to rain: there are many clouds in the sky and the weather is getting worse and worse so it's very likely to rain. Mañana va a llover.
If you think of these sentence,s the difference is similar to the Spanish use but we don't use future simple so often in Spanish. Nevertheless, the diference is not so big and you can use both in the same conversation. Here you have an example: click here

In some other cases, the use of one tense or another has different meanings:
  • something it's been arranged; e.g. I'm going to study a new language next term) 
  • however, when it's something not planned, just a sudden decision or not very sure we use "going to", especially with if-clauses;e.g. I'll start a new language next term if I have some free time or Don't stand up, I'll open the door
For further explanation and exercises, go to these links:
  • a listening comprehension about the future TV; click here  and this one is about education
  • these videos explain the future forms: click here and here
  • this is a link about grammar with exercises at the bottom: click here
The other point of grammar is about comparative and superlative forms. Here you are a link to see an explanation about this topic: click here or here. Remember that the rules for the spelling for past simple can be applied for -ER or -EST: consonant + vowel + consonant and the stress on the vowel, you should double the last consonant; e.g. big - bigger, sad - sadder, thin - thinner, etc.

ORAL ACTIVITIES

Use these questions as we did in class in pairs but take into account these questions may be used in the individual task of the exam.

  • What are your plans for next weekend? What are you going to do?
  • How will these things change in the future: education / technology (smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.) / television / housing, etc.
  • What changes will you make in your life: a new house, a new car, a new job...?
I strongly recommend using your mobile to record your performance. Remember to makke the question clearer by repeating the idea in a different way, by giving more information and not only a yes/no answer, making an introduction or summarizing or giving further explanation of your opinion...
See you in class!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

That's English! - module 5 - unit 2: Science

This topic is about inventions, discoveries, scientific research and so on. Let’s start with some questions as usual:
  • What inventions are the most important to you? Why?
  • What appliance do you most use at home? Is this your favourite one? Why?
  • Do you think science is changing very quickly? In what way?
  • There haven’t been too many women who have been inventors. Why do you think this is true? Can you remember any? (in page26 you have an example)
Here you have a listening comprenhension about amazing facts.

Another important fact is the pronunciation of -ED in regular past forms. Here you are a video to see how to pronounce it correctly: click here

Let’s do some activities to work with the main grammar points in this lesson:

PAST SIMPLE/PAST CONTINUOUS

Here you have some exercises:

ACTIVITY 1
Explain something that happened to you yesterday using WHILE/AS/MEANWHILE ; e.g.: While I was watching TV, my brother phoned me to tell me he was coming for dinner. I had to go to the supermarket to buy something because the fridge was empty.

ACTIVITY 2
The use of past simple and continuous is very common while telling stories. Think about one and write the main actions and then tell your story by linking them.

ACTIVITY 3
Listen to this story and try to summarize it after listening to it. This is Jack London’s story:
But here you have some more stories with MP3 audio:

USED TO

This form is used to refer an action in the past you don't do any more. Have a look these links:
http://www.englishgrammarsecrets.com/usedto/menu.php: a page with a good explanation and some exercises can be taken from http://www.michellehenry.fr/used_to.htm

ACTIVITY 1 
Work with your partner and say what you used to do as a child: at school, at home, with your friends...

ACTIVITY 2
Think about great changes in your town; what did it use to be like some years ago? What was it like?

ACTIVITY 3: “Past times were better” do you agree with this? In what way? Give reasons for your answer.

For present perfect and past simple uses go to the post for the other intermediate level within this blog.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

That's English! Module 5 - unit 1: Globalization

This is the plan for the lesson we'll have at school. I'll try to use the blog to show students who can't attend classes what we do in class. When you come to class, you should have seen the topic/the lesson before so you can work on what you have studied before. 

The structure of the class is:

Conversation Starters

Some people say the world is becoming a kind of "global village". Discuss with your partner about this idea of globalization, starting with the questions below:

1. What products do you use that were not made in your country?
2. What movies, songs or books do you enjoy that were not produced in your country?
3. Can you think of other ways that globalization has affected your life?
4. Generally speaking, do you think globalization has improved people's lives?
5. What has your country contributed to globalization?
Discussion Questions

Now try to have longer English conversations using these "open-ended" questions about globalization. It's not an easy topic, but do your best!

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalization?
2. What do you think globalization will be like in fifty years?
3. Do you think globalization will make us be all the same in the future? Why/why not?
4. Which countries might like or hate globalization the most, poor countries or developed countries? Give reasons for your answer.
5. How important is the Internet in globalization? Try to name positive and negative aspects of the internet regarding globalization.
Now let's practise listening with some videos on the internet:
Here you have exercises to practise grammar:
To finish with, remember to bring your weekly composition to practise with writing. Choose one of the suggestions you have in the lesson.

See you in class!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NA1-Lesson 1A

Extreme interviewing is the topic of this lesson. Here you are some videos and articles to know a bit more about it.

  • An article about extreme interviews; click here
  • a video about do's and don'ts; click here
  • Another article with kinds of interviews; click here
  • This blog entry deals with this topic and it has a funny video; click here

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Welcome to class!

Hello to everybody!

We're starting a new year at school (2016-17) and we have plenty of expectations, plans, activities, cultural events and so on to do during this course.
This blog is oriented to my students of NI1 and NA1 but everybody is welcome to use it if needed. This is going to be a help and a complement of our class so we'll use it now and then.
Let's start with the material. The textbooks are:
  • NI1: Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate (Pearson)
  • NA1: English File Upper-Intermediate Third Edition (Oxford University Press)
Apart from the textbook we'll use some other materials such as photocopies, games, graded readers, material from internet and so on.

I'm excited with the new course and I hope we all learn and enjoy a lot. See you in class!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NA1 - Had better versus I'd rather and Lesson 7A

In lesson 7A we are working with modals + perfect infinitive; here you are some links that might be useful:
 But apart form that we've seen the difference between had better and would rather;  click here

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 8: A Good Read

This is a topic about something that most people like: reading. When you are learning a language it's really important to use reading as a tool for improving your level: increasing your vocabulary, fixing grammar structures and giving you more confidence about the language you are learning.
But if you also use a book wit audio you can improve your English faster and further. The more you read the better for you and your English. Here you have some examples:
Apart from these reading links, remember to use these questions for oral practise:
  • What was your favourite book from your childhood?
  • what kind of books do you like reading? Why?
  • What was the last book you read? Tell us something about the plot, the main characters, the setting... did you enjoy it? Why / Why not?
  • Talk about a difficult day or a difficult time you have had recentrly. Use expressions of time.
  • Have you ever been in a book club? If so, what about the experience? If not, why not?
  • Do you ever read book or film reviews? Why (not)? What kind of information would you expect to find in a book or film review? Do you ever recommend books or films?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 7: Competition

Let's start with general questions:
  • Are you competitive? In what way? Is it a good feature or something negative in a person's character?
  • Is our society getting more and more competitive? Can you think of examples?
  • Are you competitive at work / with your siblings or family / friends / in sports?
  • Is there a goal you achieved in life? How did you manage to get it? Did you fail?
  • Tell us a disappointment you got because you gave up / you threw in the towel.
For practising listening comprenhension, here you are a very good blog from EOI of Zaragoza; this is the one we did in class: click here

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NA1 - Using the expression I wish... (unit 5B)

This is the link we saw in class to practise with I wish; click here. Some other exercises are here: exercise 1   exercise 2    exercise 3
This constuction is very useful for wishes and for regrets. You can practise orally with these exemples to practise:

Wishes  (past simple)
  • to change something in your physical appearence: I wish I were taller
  • to get something: I wish I had a bigger house
Regrets   (past perfect)
  • to change your past: I wish she had told me the truth
Complainsts   (would)
  • when you want someone or something to be different: I wish she would be nicer to me
Here you are the somg suggested in the book: Same mistakes  and another one by the same group One Direction I wish

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 6: How can I help you?

As usual let's start with questions about the topicc:
  • Have you ever complained about services in public places, restaurants, hotels...? What happened? 
  • Explained a time you didn't complain about something but you think you should complain about, starting with I have never lodged a formal complaint over ... because ...
  • Would you like to volunteer your time?
  • What are the most visited landmarks in your country and why it is so?
  • What is your experience with customer service? What do you like and what annoys you?
About grammar we worked with the structure TO HAVE/GET SOMETING DONE. You use it when you get a service so think of all the chances you have to use it in your daily life:
  • health: to have your blood tested, to have your leg x-rayed, to have your blood pressure checked, to have your sight tested...
  • devices: to have your movile fixed, to get your computer repaired, to have your tablet mended, to get your TV set revised...
  • other things: to have your watch fixed, to have your car serviced, to get your washing machine mended, to have your roof repaired, to have your tooth pulled oout, to have your hair done, to have your trees cut, to have  your suit drycleaned, to have your fringe taken up,  to get your garden tended...
To practise with this prompt, go to this link: click here, here and here

NA1 - Adjectives of feelings and mixed conditionals

Here you have the article I showed you in class about using adjectives; it has a list to enlarge your vocabulary: click here
About grammar, we've been working with 2nd and 3rd conditionals. You can see these exercises to practise but I'd rather you used them in your speech and in your writings. Nevertheless, here you are something about mixed conditionals: exercise 1     exercise 2 ( a list of exercises and at the end you have I wish)       exercise 3

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Contest of very short stories at EOI Alcalá de Henares

Here you are the link to vote for the best story in the contest organised by our school. Everybody is welcome to say if they like the stories. Please, click here

NI1 - Unit 6B: parts of the body

Apart from the vocabulary you have on the book, you may be interested in these links:
  • parts of your face: here
  • a video with the pronunciation: here
  • exercises: here  and here
The other thing we have in this lesson is about grammar: modals of duduction. Here you are some links to help you:
 Notice that the modals they use are might, must, can't and the forms could  and may are not so frequent. Remember that can is not use for deduction but for possibility.

If you want to see the video about Susan Boyle, click here

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 5: This is my space

In this lesson we work with decriptions of places. You'll find a large vocabulary, connectors for conditional sentences and modifiers to intesify the meaning of adjectives.

  • a list of adjectives for describing places: click here; this link has a lot of exercises
  • modifiers for adjectives: this is a link about the position and kind of modifiers; click here

Nevertheless, let's start as usual with general questions:
  • Describe a personal space you like / dislike at home. Use as many adjectives as possible. You can also use photos like these ones: click here
  • Describe a public space in your town and say why you like it / dislike it. Here you are some examples in Madrid : el Rastro, Paseo del Prado and some more.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in an open-plan office?
  • How important is it for you to have your own personal space?
  • Has your personal space necessity changed since you were a child? In what way?
Here you are a listening comprehension about eco-homes: click here. This one is about tourism in Goa (India): click here

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March, 17: Saint Patrick's Day

On March,17 it's Saint Patrick's Day. This festivity is very important in Ireland, the USA and some other countries with Irish origins. Here you are the videos we saw in class on this link.

Monday, March 14, 2016

NI1 - Unit 5B

This exercise is to work with no longer/any longer: click here. The other point of grammar is about USED TO+infinitive  and  BE/GET USED TO+-ing form: I used to cook ----- I'm used to cooking. If you want to do the exercise we saw in class, click here.

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 4: Faith

To be honest this is a very controvertial topic as it belongs to personal matters but it is also true that religion interferes in our lives. Here you have a talk in TED about religion; it's a bit long but it might give you a clue about this topic: click here.
In this lesson we are working with the connector YET. Here you are a link which explains the use of it: click here.
As usual, here you are an exercise to practice listening comprehension, although it is not about the topic of this lesson but it helps as practice: click here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

NA1 - Unit 4 A: Weather and Climate

Here you are some links to improve your vocabulary about this topic, one of the most recurrent in English and in our daily life. This is what we saw in class, just in case you want to revise it.
  • idioms about the weather: here you are a video and an exercise; this is the other video we saw: click here
  • this is the reading we saw in class about global warming: click here
  • here you are some links with short weather forecasts in youtube: click here 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 3: Can you keep a secret?

In this lesson we talk about having secrets, cheating and so on. There are some interesting questions in the lesson which haver been used in class. Revise them for the oral exam in May.
If you want to practise with listening here you have an exercise about the topic; it's quite easy but it's about cheating: click here
About grammar we are going to deal with inversion; here you have a link which shows you all the possibilities with other negative forms: click here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to Write Better

This is one of the most difficult skills and many students feel unconfortable by writing as they think it's a problem of being like an artist or having imagination or  having a gift, a toke. It's not so; most of it is just working and working on that. Here you are a link with good advice: click here
But the best way to improve your writing for an exam is following these simple steps:
  1. Read carefully what you are asked to do to avoid getting out of the topic. Check the topic from time to time to get stuck to it.
  2. Make a list, a diagram or a map of you ideas to organise your writing and remember it should be something like this:
    • introduction: say what topic you are going to talk about. (2-3 lines)
    • main paragraph: with the most general and important ideas (5-7 lines)
    • secondary paragraph(s): secondary ideas or examples; you could introduce your personal point of view here. (5-7 lines but not longer than the main paragrph)
    • conclusion: write a long sentence to summarize what you've explainded before. It should be different to the introduction but connected to it (2-3 lines)


Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Year : February, 29

Today it's a very special day and it won't be repeated in 4 years. It's 29th February and this is a leap year. If you want to know something about this, go to this link. If you want to know about strange traditions, here you are another link.
If you want to do this listening exercise (Upper-intermediate) about the topic, click here
Enjoy this leap day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

That's English - Unit 2: In the market

This topic is connected to business English and the vocabulary is very specific but useful. Nevertheless, as you are in an advanced level you should be able to speak about the topic using this vocabulary and expressions as it is a very usual topic for a conversation.
Let's start with general questions and then we'll see the grammar included in this lesson and the exercises to do.

  • What kind of business would you like to set up and run? Have you got any expertice to live on?   
  • What are the main problems to run a business? On page 23 you have DO's and DON'T's to success in business.
  • Compare two nationalities about doing business, how they make money; in the book you have Finns and Arabs but you may use Spanish, French, American...
In this lesson we work with connectors or linking words. If you want to practise you have this link with many exercises: click here and this is the exercise we did in class (click here) just in case you liked to do it again at home. Here you have another one.
About the reduced relative clauses, they are similar to Spanish so they shouldn't be difficult:
  • The man sitting at the table is my boss  --- El hombre sentado a la mesa es mi jefe
But sometimes it's not so similar like in this example:
  • If you have a problem this is the person to speak to  ---  Si tienes un problema esta es la persona con la que tienes que hablar
If you need a further explanation, you may be interested in this link which has exercises included; click here

To finish with, let's practise with business English; you may use this BBC link to practise and get familiar with this kind of English: click here. This is the short exercise we did in class: click here
and here you are some short exercises about business English: click here

Thursday, February 18, 2016

NI1 - Unit 5A: Sporting superstitions

This lesson deals with the topic of sports but in grammar we have seen the use of past tenses. Here you have a couple of exercises but be careful because past perfect continuous is included and we haven't seen it yet. I hope it will be helpful: exercise 1   exercise 2
If you want to practise with past perfect, here you are an exercise to do: click here

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

That's English! - Module 10 - Unit 1: Turning points

In this unit we're working with special events that make your life change. In page 10 and 11 you should talk about turning points in your life. As usual, let's start with general questions:

  • Discuss with your partner about turning points in your life such as starting your degree, finding a job, meeting your couple, having a child, moving to another town, buying your house/car...
  • What did you use to do but you don't do any more? Explain the reasons why you gave up doing it and say if the change has been for the better.
about gr4ammar, as you can see in the previous exercise, we are dealing with USED TO and WOULD. To explain the difference between them you can go to these web pages: click  here and here. This other link is a tutorial about this topic:click here. the short listening is here

NA1 - 2B

This is the reading about teenagers. As a curiosity, have a look at the end of the article and you'll find the way that some youngsters speak; click here
Here you are the video we saw in class related to the reading in this lesson. This is the initial part (click here) and this is the part talking about how to live on youur pension (click here)
In the grammar section we talked about the order of adjectives. This page has a good explanation about this and you can find exercises at the end; click here. If you need more exercises, here you are:
In this lesson we revise the topic of clothes so let's see going shopping as well. Here you are the listening we heard in class so you can practise on your own; clik here. This is another exercise but you have to use 2 links, this is for the questions and this for the audio (look for a symbol of audio about Ralf Lauren). The last one is about shopping; click here

NA1 - Preparing the exam and a film to watch

Today we've been working on how to prepare the oral exam. Let me remind you that next Thursday, February 18, we'll have the written part and then the following class day we'll do the oral test.
One of you has talked about a book which is very important in British literature: Three Men in a Boat. Here you have the link to the movie: click here

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NA1 - Unit 2A: Call the doctor?

This lesson is about illnesses and medical problems. To start with you should revise the parts of the body so here you are the drawing we saw in class: click here
You can find on the internet some good pages to learn more about this topic. Here you have some vocabulary exercises to work with, if you want. the one in the link is for intermediate students, but you casn find some more; click here.
The song Like a  Pill with lyrics is here.

NI1 - Unit 4B: Modals of obligation

We go on with modals and this lesson deals with obligation. As we saw with CAN, we'll find some problems with tenses and with meanings.
About tenses, remember that MUST is only for present; if you need past tenses you should use HAD TO, but be careful with the negative form which is DIDN'T HAVE TO. Look at the examples:
  • I must think about that  ------  I have to think about that  (very similar meaning)
  • I had to think about that  ------ I didn't have to think about that
About meaning, there is a slight difference between MUST and HAVE TO. This second is more an external obligation than the other. In negative the difference is bigger like in these exemples:
  • I mustn't think about that  -----  it's bad to do it
  • I don't have to think about that ----- it's not necessary to do it..
To understand this difference we saw this exercise in class: click here. However, in past tenses we use only DIDN'T HAVE TO with no difference between obligation or not necessary.
If you need more exercises about these modals, you should click here; but if you want to know some more meanings of these modals go to this page which also has exercise.

Although it's not exactly this level, here you are an exdercise to work with SHOULD and SHOULD HAVE ....; click here

As we sere talking about good manners, have a look this video about good manners in English; click here

Thursday, January 21, 2016

NI1 - Unit 4A: modals of ability and possibility

This lesson has a very important point of grammar: MODALS. The first thing we have to bear in mind is that a modal is a form used to express the way that the action is done. In this case we work with CAN for ability and possibility, so look at the examples:

  • I can drive quite well  ---  Sé conducir bastante bien (ability)
  • If you are tired, I can drive for a while  ---  Si estás cansada, yo puedo conducir un rato (possibility or offer)
The problem with CAN is that it has other characteristics:
  • it's an auxiliary so you use it for interrogative and negative forms
  • it's a defective verb so it has no infinitive or past participle forms; if you need these tenses, you must used the verb TO BE ABLE TO + infinitive: 
    • I've been able to drive since I was 20 --- Sé conducir desde los 20 años
    • I've never been able to drive  --- Nunca he podido conducir
    • I'd like to be able to ride a bike --- Me encantaría saber montar en moto 
Another important point of grammar is the use of -ING or -ED in adjectives. Remember we said it has a different meaning, sometimes the same as in Spanish:
  • The book is interesting so I'm interested in it: El libro es interesante así que estoy interesada en el. The form -ING is active while the form -ED is passive; other grammars say that -ING is connected to things and situations while -ED deals with people's feelings.
If you want to practise with this or learn more, here you are some exercises with explanations about the topic: exercise 1   exercise 2   exercise 3

Here you are the video about Alex Rawling and why he speaks 11 languages: click here

For the reflexive pronouns, you have this exercise; click here

NA1 (That's English! and official): Preparing the oral exam

The first thing I must say it that the oral exam should be as similar as possible to an ordenary conversation so keep in mind these tips:
  • keep a balanced performance: don't speak too much or too ittle. 
  • be collaborative: if you have a problem (a word, a wrong structure, a gap and so on), ask or give some help. It`s something positive in both ways.
  • make clear you're listening to the other(s) by summarizing the other's point of view. It helps you to introduce new structures like reported speech or conditionals and the other feels more confident and involved into the conversation.
  • sometimes it's good to repeat a question in a different way in order to emphasize, to get to the point or even to help your mate to understand better.
  • use phrases to sound more natural: to express your opinion (As I see, Personally, In my opinion...), accepting the other's opinion (You're right, I haven't thought aobut that before, Sounds interesting, I absolutly agree...) or disagreeing politely (I see what you mean but..., I don`t agree completely with that point, That's right; however,...)
  • start and finish the conversation: you may introduce the topic for starting and you might have a sort of summary to indicate you've finished.
  • pay attention to your pronunciation and the entonation. Be natural but if you tend to be flat it's better to overact just a bit.
Here you are some links to help you with some typical situations dring your oral exam:
  • how to change the topic: click here
  • how to express your opinion: click here
  • how to express agreement/disagreement: click here
To finish with, bear in mind that many of these expressions and tips work perfectly well in writing skills so take them into account when writing your composition.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

That's English! - Module 9 - Unit 10: Exam strategies.

I really recommend you to see this unit in detail as there are plenty of good tips. Nevertheless, remember we'll use the "general questions" we already saw in each unit for the oral exam, especially the task of a monologue. Have a look to the previous lessons in the blog to revise them.

Pay attention to the most difficult skills, the "productive" ones as these are the most remarkable when it comes to write a composition or speak about the topics given.  There is when you show clearly your own level of English.

Try to bear in mind you're in advance level so revise your writing for spelling or grammar mistakes as you are supposed to be able to correct them by yourself. Include vocabulary and variety because richness in vocabulary, structures and connectors is expected.

Regarding speaking skills, take into account the same tips and pay attention to what your partner is saying. Remember this is not a contest to see who is better but a simulated conversation so be collaborative, friendly and help your partner during your performance.

Try to keep calm. I know it's difficult but this is important in order to have a good exam. Nevertheless, good luck to everybody!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

That's English - Module 9 - Unit 9: Beauty is only skin-deep.

This lesson deals with physical appearance and personality. As usual, we'll start with general questions about the topic:
  • Is physical appearance important in our society? Give reasons and give examples if possible.
  • Are you worried about your outlook on life? Are you similar to your friends or quite different?
  • Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more popular throughout the world. Why do you think this is happening? Would you ever consider it to improve your appearance?
  • Think about a person you know: and describe him/her: What is your friend like? What are the most relevant physical features and in his/her character?
About grammar, we are working with WISH and IF ONLY. These forms can be followed by past simple, past perfect or "would". Apart from the explanation you've got in your gammar section, you can go to these links to see more examples and a further explanation: click here and here

The other topic you have on the grammar section is about compound nouns. Here you have alink which I think it's quite useful: click here

Monday, January 11, 2016

That's English! - Module 9 - Unit 8: Live to tell the tale

Some people love risks but some don't. Nevertheless, sometimes you get involved in dangerous ssituations and you have to sort it out. Here are some general questions to speak about this topic:
  • Think abut something dangerous you've done which was good fun and you're pleased you did it. Give general details and speak about how you felt.
  • Would you leave your job without having another one to go? Give reasons for your answer.
  • Some people are addicted to taking risks. why do you thinkd this happens? Is this your case?
  • What is the greatest risk you've ever taken? Tell us what happened.
  • Have you ever tried expreme sports? If so, which one and tell us about the experience. If not, explain your reasons for not doing it.
In this lesson you're asked to write about the craziest thing you've ever done or "something you feel strongly about". The most improtant thing with these kind of topics is to sound honest but to be balanced as well. Try to express the pros and the cons, give examples and try to be convincing with your personal point of view. Use the part of expressing objection in the grammar reference (p. 139)

Apart from this, pay attention to the use of WOULD to describe a typical behaviour or habit in the past. It's connected to the form USED TO+infinitive. Here you have a link that could hellp you: click here. The rest uses of WOULD are more familiar for you: as a conditional or as past form of WILL.