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)
(a) little
(not) much
too much
how much
(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.


  • 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
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.

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.

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.

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