Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas time and some reflection about Christmas and New Year

Here you are some videos to know a bit more about Christmas:
  • this short video is about curiosities on Christmas celebrations click here (NI1)
  • this is about the history of Christmas: click here
  • this is about carols or Christmas songs: click here
  • this is one of the most famous carol with lyrics: click here
But are you fed up with Christmas, eating so much, family meetings, wasting money and so on? Here you are a funny text with an exercise of filling the blanks: What we hate about Xmas (a difficult text for NI1 but you can try)

If you want to have a good time, here you are the famous video about Mr. Bean at Christmas.

Soon we'll start a new year and it's time for New Year's Resolutions. Here you are a link where you can find out about New Year's celebrations and traditions all around the world; click here to see the video.

As a New Year's resolution, this might be to improve your English by learning some proverbs or idioms. Here you are 5 examples to start with: click here

Hope to see you after Christmas holidays!

Monday, December 4, 2017

MAKE versus DO

This is a very difficult point but here you are a good link to start with: click here. Here you are the exercises we did in class: this one has a long explanation and an exercise at the end and this is the other one with the groups instead of lists.
The best way of learning is to do exercises so here you have some:

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NA2 - Writing an Article

Although you have some information about how to write an article in your textbook, I've also found this helpful guideline to do it and it contains exercises to make it clearer. You should click here. I know it's quite long (12 pages!) but I think it's worth reading it, especially the beginning of the guide with the principal tips for writing a good article.It has exercises with the answer key at the end so I hope it'll be useful for you.

Something a bit shorter but also interesting is this link which will give you some advise, sentences to use and a model of an article. Focused on FCE, it can be applied to our exams.

This is the last link I'll give you. It's very simplified so it could be a good summarize of the topic.

See you in class!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving: 4th Thursday of November

This is a great tradition in America but it's also celebrated in other places. Here you have a video if you want to know a bit about it. It includes vocabulary: click here. If you want to know something about the history, here you have some more videos:
  • this is for intermediate level: click here and this one is with subtitles in English
  • this video is a bit longer but not much more difficult; click here to see it
  • if you want to know something aboutmThanksgiving around the world, click here

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ALCINE - Short Film Festival in Alcala

On Friday (November,10th) we're going to see some short films at Teatro Salón Cervantes. For those who can't go and to have a programme for the ones who are going, here you are some information I found on the internet about the short films:

JAMIE by Christopher Manning
A trailer about the short film:
A video of the director showing and commenting the film:

REFUGE by Leticia Agudo


TÊTE A TÊTE by  Natash Tomkin
A video with the director explaining the making of the film:

I'm really interested in your comments about the films. See you in class!

NI1 - Using Last and The last (next / the next)

This is a difficult point but remember the general idea I gave you in class:
  • THE LAST and THE NEXT is connected to the position, as when you say the first, the second, the next and the last; e.g. The last person to come will have to lock the door.
  • LAST is a reference of time, especifically to past, while NEXT is referred to future; e.g. Last summer I went to Ireland       Next week I'll visit my parents
Do this exercise to practise.

I also include some exercises to practise with SO, BUT, BECAUSE and ALTHOUGH:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NA2 - Vocabulary (Work) and some practice for the final exam.

I 've just come across this exercise about phrasal verbs related to work. It's quite interesting so I houhgt you might like to do it: click here

I tried to find a good explanation about the difference between SALARY, WAGE and INCOME and this is what I found: click here

For fill-in-the-gaps exercises I have this link if you want to practise for your final exam.

For Listening practice here you are this blog with a lot of exercises: click here.

See you in class!

Practising Listening skills

Apart from the links you have in this blog, I've just found this page for fill-in-the-gap exercises. It has different levels but they are not difficult and quite short so you can do them quickly. Click here

Monday, November 6, 2017

NI1 Using the prepositions AT, IN, ON

Prepositions are very difficult because every language has a different way of using them and there are many exceptions. As a general rule, we could say:
  • IN is used for periods of time and for the inside part of buildings or places; e.g. in the kitchen, in July, in summer, in 2012....
  • ON is used for things on the surface of something or for days; e.g on the wall, on the table, on Monday, on 3rd November, on holiday on New Year's Eve...
  • AT is for specific places but not always a "physical" one and it's for exact times or festivities; e.g. at Christmas, at 3.30h, at work, at the station, at Gino's...
To work with this difficult topic, let's do some exercises, although most of them are related to time: exercise 1    exercise 2    exercise 3    exercise 4   exercise 5    exercise 6    exercise 7  

I hope this will help you. See you in class.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

NI1 - Past simple and past continuous

Althouhg both tenses are very similar to Spanish tenses they`re not used in the same way. Remember that you have two simple forms in Spanish ("iba" and "fui") while we only have one in English. Besides you should be able to use the two tenses in context. Let's have a look on the way of using these two tenses:
  • BBC Learning English: an clear explanation click here
  • this link has a quite long explanation but it could help you a lot and there are some exercises at the end of the page: click here
But the best way of learning how to use them is to do some exercises. Try to do these ones:
exercise 1    exercise 2    exercise 3

Just to finish with, here you are a video about sense verbs and the difference between static and dynamic verbs. This distinction will help you in the use of progressive or simple forms: click here

See you in class!

NA2: How to use connectors

In this unit we are dealing with connectors and linkers and this is related to subordinate clauses. Apart from the grammar reference you have in your textbook, here you are some links to help you. I hope they'll be helpful.

As an introduction, I strongly recommend this article from BBC in which they say how important is the use of linkers to "sound" more natural and to improve your speaking and writing skills: click here but there are more links withing the article that you should visit as well.  Here you have a practical example of the use of linkers: click here

In class there was a doubt about how to use though, especilly at the end of a sentence. Here you are a link by BBC Learning English that could hel. p you: clik here. And this is the video we saw in class, just in case you like to see it again.

If you want to practise you could use these exercises, although some linkers haven't been used yet in class: exercise 1   exercise 2    exercise 3  exercise 4  exercise 5   exercise 6    exercise 7   exercise 8  exercise 9   and this last exercise for correcting mistakes.

As usual, here you are an exercise for listening practice (filling the gap): click here

Just to finish with, here you are a link to a Spanish blog which gives you a practical list of linkers and connectors translated into Spanish, so they could be of nay help: click here

Friday, October 27, 2017

NI1 - The use of simple past

In lesson 2 we are working with simple past. We have already seen the difference between regular and irregualr forms and we worked with the pronunciation in both. Then we saw different ways of learning/reviewing irregular past:
  • using the first letter: "Irregular verbs starting with... L" (much better if you do it as a competition with your partner or a friend)
  • using topics: verbs conneted with money (spend / buy / get / steal / lose / pay); with schooling (learn, teach, read, write, speak, do...); with ordenary actions (eat, drink, sleep, have, take, go, wear...) or senses (hear, see, other topics: verbs of senses / schooling and learning verbs / daily activities / movement...
  • according to the pattern: A-A-A, A-B-B, A-B-C or A-B-A (remember the photocopy I gave you in class) Here you are a video which explains the groups and it gives you the principal verbs as examples, and then this link with a list of verbs grouped by pattern.
Another problem is the rules of spelling. To review them, click here.

Just in case you lose the photocopy I gave you in class, here you are a traditional list (in alphabetical order) with the neaning in Spanish: click here or here (mind the phonetics in this last link!)

To finish with, here you are the typical questions you'll find in an oral exam to practise past tenses orally. If you do it alone, say it aloud and record your performance with your movile:
  • What did you do last weekend / yesterday? Try to be precise so tell us what you did on Friday night, on Saturday morning/evening and on Sunday. To speak about yesterday explain what you did in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.
  • Where did you go to last holiday? How did you get there? How long? Where did you stay?What did you do there? Did you do anything special?
  • Tell me an anecdote that happened to you and try to cover these questions: What happened? When? Where? What happened in the end? How did you feel? Why?

Monday, October 23, 2017

NA2 - How to learn idioms

This week we've been dealing with idioms and we've seen some of them. One of the most difficult things by using them is to do it in a natural, proper way. My recommendation is to start with those which are familiar to you because either they are in your mother tongue or because you use them a lot. Here you are some examples:

  • You can't judge a book by its cover  -  Hit the nail on the head  -  Give the benefit of the doubt  -  Taste of your own medicine  -  Curiosity killed the cat  -  Miss the boat  -  Kill two birds with one stone  -  A hot potato  -  A white lie  -  It's a losing battle  -  Flesh and bone
  • Out of the blue  -  Costs an arm and a leg  -  To hear it frm the horse's mouth  -  To make ends meet  -  Filling a bit under the weather  -  The last straw  -  Once in a blue moon
Here you are a couple of links to see more idioms: this is one and this is another

I include a listening exercise of filling the gaps to practise a little: click here

Saturday, October 21, 2017

NI1 - Present simple versus present continuous

In these first lessons of our book we are dealing with present tenses. Here you are some explanation and exercises to practise.

PRESENT SIMPLE or habitual present is used to speak about ordinary actions, something you usually do (habitual actions). That's the reason why this tense is normally related to frequency adverbs (usually, hardly ever, never, often, sometimes...) or similar expressions of time (once a week, from time to time, every Monday, every other week...)

PRESENT CONTINUOUS or present progressive is used for actions which are being performed at that moment or for a period of time (actions in progress). It also has a sense of future when you are very sure that the action is going to take place in a short time (dates, arrangements...)

Let's see some examples:
  • I always go to work by car but today I'm going by bus.
  • I usually play tennis with my friend Tom but tomorrow I'm playing with Susan.
Here you have some links to work with:  
  • this web page has a long but clear explanation and many exercises at the end: click here
  • this link has grammar points and some exercises: click here
  • try these exercises: exercise 1     exercise 2       exercise 3 
Hope this heps you. See you in class!

Friday, October 20, 2017

NI1 - The difference between HAVE and HAVE GOT

Some students asked me about this confusing point. Here you are some explanations and a couple of exercises to help you.

The main difference between them is that HAVE is a simple form and HAVE GOT is a compound or perfect form. This means that with HAVE you need an auxiliary, like any other verb, but with HAVE GOT the auxiliary is have.
Let's see these examples:
  • I have a dog  ----  I've got a dog
  • She DOESN'T have a car  ----  She HASN'T got a car  (a different auxiliary)
  • DO they have any children?  ----  HAVE they got any children?
  • No, they DON'T  ----  No, they HAVEN'T
The other difference is about meaning. HAVE is used for possession and as a sinonym of take, especially in American English but HAVE GOT is used only for possession in British English:
  • I've got a big house   but   I have a shower every morning (British English)
  • I have a big house    and   I have a shower every morning (American English: no difference)

But this works only in present simple because in the rest of the tenses this doesn't happen like that:
She is having a lot of problems She isn't having many problems Is she having any problem?
He has had a problem He hasn't had any problem up to now Has he had any problem up to now?
PAST SIMPLE I had a car I didn't have a bike Did you have a car?
With modals I can have a pet I shouldn't have a dog May I have a cat?

So if you check in the list of irregular verbs, you'll see that the three columns are like this:

HAVE / HAVE GOT           HAD         HAD        Tener, tomar, tener que

Here you are some links to practise with this grammar point:
exercise 1     exercise 2

Monday, October 16, 2017

Welcome to the school year 2017-2018!

Hi to everybody!

Here we are another year with this fantastic adventure: learning English at EOI. I'm delighted to be with you again for either those students I already know or those I've just met.

This blog is just a tool to help you in your learning, especially with grammar and vocabulary, but also with extra activities. If I find something interesting, I'd like to share it with you.

As you can see, every post will be targeted to the groups of students I'm teaching to but everybody is welcome to go to a higher or lower level if you like or you need it.

Hope to be useful and see you in class!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Preparing the final exams: Correcting Mistakes

I 've found these pages for correcting mistakes so I think you could use them to practise for the exam, especially for the writing part. You have to write the right answer and then you have the explanation when you clik on Answer:
  • Intermediate level: click here and here
  • For a higher level, click here
For the oral exam the typical difficulty is to do it fluently and with few mistakes. Let's focus on the main problems:
  • fluentcy and entonation: try to say full sentences and mark a rhythm in your performance; don't rush, say a couple of sentences qhen you speak and try to sound natural
  • accuracy and avoiding mistakes: learn some structures which are useful, mind tenses and use a good vocabulary, especially with the topics of the book
To practise on your own, use your mobile to record your performance, especially the individual part, and try to practise with other students by Skype or by phone.

Reading is not very difficult but if you wnat to practise with cloze tests you can go to this link  and this one for multiple choice for intermediate level. Forn higher levels, you can use this other link by choosing advance level. For advanced level, you can use this other link as well.

If you want to practise with listening comprenhension, you can go to this page for intermediate level and this other for advanced level.

I hope this post will be useful for you all.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

NI1 - Passive voice

Let's see the grammar point: passive voice. There are plenty of links about this but the general rules are these:
  • Passive voice is much more used in English than in Spanish; it's a way of solving the impersonal form in Spanish: Se dice que... Se ha inaugurado... Me han dicho... Se habla inglés
  • The verbal form is quite simple: TO BE + PAST PARTICIPLE; the auxiliary takes the tense and the past participle takes the meaning: The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday
  • We use passive voice for 4 main reasons:
    • when you don't know the subject of the action: A bank was robbed yesterday
    • the subject is not important but the action: English is spoken here
    • if the subject is hidden on purpose: I've been told you're engaged, is that true?
    • when the subject is too general: It is said that English are cold but it's not so.
Remember it's much more used in English than in Spanish as this is a way to avoid "impersonal" sentences such as: "América se descubrió en 1492", "se dice que es muy importante" , "se habla alemán en esta tienda" o "me dieron esto para tí":
  • America was discovered in 1492
  • It is said that it is really important
  • German is spoken (in this shop)
  • I was given this for you.
If you go to the news you'll see many examples of passive voice. Let's see some of them: BBC news
If you want to work on this grammar point, here you are some links:
  • quite long explanation with exercises on the different tenses of this form; click here
  • a traditional way of practising: active into passive and so on; click here
  • it's also quite traditional form of explanation with examples; click here and here for transformations.
If you want to read a further explanation, you can go to this post about passive voice or go to a previous post in my blog by clicking here.

To sum up you should take into account that passive voice functions as the impersonal form in Spanish and it's much more frequent and natural in English than in our language.

See you in class!

Monday, May 8, 2017

NI1 - Adjectives with a preposition

You can do practise this grammar point in two ways:
  • focusing on the preposition: go to this link
  • focusing on the adjective: here you have a list
As you can see there are many adjectives and many prepositions so you can do it in whatever way you like but the best option is to practise as much as possible. Here you are exercises:
There are a couple of things you must keep in mind:
  • when you have an action after the preposition you must use -ING form, as it happens in Spanish; e.g. I'm good at writing but I'm worried about taking the final exam.
  • sometimes an adjective can take different prepositions; e.g.   I'm bad at maths  ---  I'm bad with computers  ---   Smoking is bad for you
Apart from this grammar point, we saw something that was a bit confusing for you:
  • COMPARISON: She is as tall as me  ---  She is taller than her brother (you compare)
  • CONTRAST: She is so tall that she could play basket (you remark something)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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

General questions
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you like those stories? And fairy tales?
Do you remember any legend? Think about El Cid, la Santa Compaña, La Dama de la guadaña, etc.
what are the main characters of a fairy tale? What do they represent? (go to Activity 5 to read about this topic)

Activity 1
Think about a fairy tale, a legend or something similar and tell the story; pay attention to details and the questions you need to frame the story: where, when, who, how, what happened, why...

Activity 2
What did you use to do/go on holiday when you were a child?

Activity 3
Think about an anecdote or a strange event that happened to you. Explain it to your mate and give as many details as possible.

Activity 4
Think about an important character and try to tell his/her story: Don Quixote, Picasso, Ramón y Cajal, Isabel de Castilla...

Activity 5
If you want to know about symbols in fairy tales you may use these two links: this one is about the main characters; the other one is about the typical stories and their interpretation.

Preparing the exam
  • Revise the grammar and the vocabulary for both oral and writing parts.
  • When you are writing remember to have an outline of your composition but don't write it twice because you don't have enough time. 
  • When you finish, read your own composition and pay attention to the most typical mistakes: the -s for the singular 3rd person in present, adjective berfore nouns, no plural for adjectives, most modals without to, tenses according to the reference of time and spelling.
  • When you are in the oral exam, try to speak slowly and clearly; if possible, repeat the question in another way to clarify, listen to your mate and be collaborative; try to use as many tenses and vocabulary as possible.
  • To practise with oral exam you could use the general questions you find in each lesson in this blog. If you could record and check your performance, you'd improve it a lot.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 9: The world is a stage

General questions
Do you prefer going to the theatre or the cinema? Why? From your point of view, what are the main differences between these two entretainments?
What is the main problem for theatre? Why isn't is so popular?
Did you used to go to the theatre as a child? Do you stil do it?
When was the last time you went to the theatre? Did you enjoy it?

Activity 1
Discuss with your partner about these questions and try to find the reasons why theatre is not so popular. Compare theatre to cinema and remark the main differences.

Activity 2
Speak about the main problems to make theatre more successful in our country. Think about the pros and the cons of going to the theatre.

Activity 3
theatre can be used with educational purposes as a therapy (see the article below) but aslo as a tool for learning, especially for learning a language. These are some examples:

  • role play: a doctor and a patient; a shop-assistant and a customer; a receptionist and a guest; a waiter and a customer; a police oficer and a thief; a parent and a child; two friends chatting ...
  • entonation: to produce a sentence in different ways taking into account speed, pitch, feelings...
    • I love going shopping on sales with my friend Laura.
  • using mime for performing and speaking about that performance or as a game (Guess the film)
  • storytelling: telling a story which could be invented or retold in that occasion

Activity 4
You can use these listening exercises to revise about this topic.
  • About theatre in general, we have this article: click here
  • About The Globe in London: click here
  • Cats in a video: click here

My favourite place in Alcalá de Henares

We are preparing a study visit around Alcalá in which you should speak about a place you like in our town and explain to your mates why you like it or give us a piece of History about that place.

To help you to prepare it here you are a link with a guide and with some information on wikipedia. Don't forget to use the outline I gave you in class and to bring it to the visit.

To finish with, here you are more videos about Alcalá de Henares: this general one, ans this one made by Jesús.

We'll have a good time!

Monday, April 24, 2017

NI1 - Lesson 10: Take care! (Past continuous+ used to)

In this lesson we are going to work with past continuous so it may be interesting if you have a look to this link, which has exercises at the end. In this other link you havea short summary of past simple and past progressive with exercises as well: click here

Apart from that you can do these exercises to practise with this tense and to distinguish it from past simple: exercise 1 and exercise 2

The other point of grammar is USED TO + infinitive to express an action in past you did quite often in the past but you don't do it any more. Here you are a link with an explanation and to practise with some exercises: click here.

See you in class!

NA1 - Lesson 6A : Gerund and Infinitive Pattern Verb

This is is one of the most  difficult parts in this level because you must learn by heart when you use one or another, or even both. Nevertheless, there are some general rules to help you:
  • verbs of likes and dislikes are usually followed by -ing form: enjoy, don't mind, hate, fancy, feel like, love, etc.
  • verbs of order, requests and commands are usually followed by infinitive: want, order, wish, ask, hope, etc.
  • after verbs with particles we use -ing form: give up, keep on, talk about, look forward to, etc.
  • sometimes there is an infinitive for purpose after the principal verb: she came to see me
Apart from the list you already have in the textbook, here you can find some lists of verbs:
The best way of learning this point of grammar is by doing many exercises. Here you are just a few of the possible ones you can find on the internet if you look for them on your own:
  • exercise 1 (gerund or infinitive?)     exercise 2 a good list with exercises at the end (British Council)     exercise 3 a long list of exercises with levels      exercise 4 a huge list of exercises with differnt levels
  • verbs followed by both; exercise done in class, click here

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NA1 - Working with a short story: The Landlady by Roald Dahl

In class we're going to work with this short story. This will be a topic for discussion, for increasing vocabulary and for doing collaborative work. Here you are the link for the short story:
Once we've read and "seen" the story, let's work with it. We are going to write a review about it. Here you are a link to explain how to do it: click here; but you can also use this one, with an example. To finish with, here you are a summary to help you: click here

See you in class next day to go on with this story!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

That's English! Module 6 - lesson 8: The Art World

Art is a topic that many people don't find so interesting but it's true that when you go on holiday or get away to a town you always try to visit museums, art galleries, sculptures in the street or parks, music and so on.
If you go to a museum it's very common to have a guide talking about the works of art you have in front of you so you need the vocabulary to understand as much as possible. If you want to practise, here you are some sites:
  • the Prado Museum: click here
  • British Museum for children: click here
  • 15 different curious works of art: click here
Activity 1
Discuss with your partner about modern art. Do you like it? Give reasons for your answer.

Activity 2
Have you ever been to a museum? and to an art gallery? what kind of works of art do you prefer? Why?

Activity 3
You have been given a photocopy with blanks about art. Do this activity with as a listening comprenhension. If you want to hear it at home this is the link.

Activity 4
Turn the page and write about modern art. Then correct yourself with another colour.

In this lesson you also have two quite important grammar points: the position of adverbs and passive forms. Let's work with them.

Position of adverbs
Depending on the adverb, you should put it in one place or another of the sentence. The frequency adverbs are always in front of the principal verb; if you use it with a compound verbal form, the adverb is between the first auxiliary and the principal verb. Let's see some examples:
  • I usually go to work on foot; however, you are always taking the car to go to work.
The other common adverbs are manner, place and time, and they usually go in this order. For Spanish speakers I usually give this memory aid: MaLeTa, that is, Modo-Lugar-Tiempo. But let's see some exceptions you should take into account:
  • Verbs of movement need first the place you are going to and then how and when. Look at the example: I went to the shop very quickly but it was close.
  • When you use an adverb which is just ONE word, this can be placed as a frequency adverb, that is, in front of the principal verb or after the first auxiliary: I immediately realised she was sick. 
  • When the adverbial form is not just one word but a phrase, this should be in the beginning or at the end of the sentence: I saw Pete last Saturday morning.
If you want to know something else about the position of the adverbs, go to these links:
  • a simple explanation with exercises; click here
  • the 4 types of adverbs, their position and exercises to practise; click here
  • here you are another link with exercises at the end; click here
Let's see the other grammar point: passive voice. There are plenty of links about this but the general rules are these:
  • Passive voice is much more used in English than in Spanish; it's a way of solving the impersonal form in Spanish: Se dice que... Se ha inaugurado... Se descubrió que...
  • The verbal form is quite simple: TO BE + PAST PARTICIPLE; the auxiliary takes the tense and the past participle takes the meaning: The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday
  • We use passive voice for 4 main reasons:
    • when you don't know the subject of the action: A bank was robbed yesterday
    • the subject is not important but the action: English is spoken here
    • if the subject is hidden on purpose: I've been told you're engaged, is that true?
    • when the subject is too general: It is said that English are cold but it's not so.
Remember it's much more used in English than in Spanish as this is a way to avoid "impersonal" sentences such as: "América se descubrió en 1492", "se dice que es muy importante" , "se habla alemán en esta tienda" o "me dieron esto para tí":
  • America was discovered in 1492
  • It is said that it is really important
  • German is spoken (in this shop)
  • I was given this for you.
If you go to the news you'll see many examples of passive voice. Let's see some of them: BBC news
If you want to work on this grammar point, here you are some links:
  • quite long explanation with exercises on the different tenses of this form; click here
  • a traditional way of practising: active into passive and so on; click here
  • it's also quite traditional form of explanation with examples; click here and here for transformations.
If you want to read a further explanation, you can go to this post about passive voice or go to a previous post in my blog by clicking here.

To sum up you should take into account that passive voice functions as the impersonal form in Spanish and it's much more frequent and natural in English than in our language.

See you in class!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 7: Play time!

This week we work with games, giving instructions, giving explanations and so on. Here you are the activities will do in class just in case you want to revise at home.
About grammar, you should revise modals and grammar points connected to rules, orders, commands, strong recommendations, etc. Some examples are:

  • MODALS: must or have to (obligation), can and to be able to (possibility), should or you'd better (strong recommendation)
  • TENSES. imperative and the form LET'S, used to (habits is the past), present tenses...
  • CONNECTORS: Once you've done this..., Before starting.., After throwing the ball...

Activity 1
Work with your partner and think about what games you like playing, what you used to play as a child and if you still play it, how long you've been playing it.

Acitvity 2
Guess the game: ask your partner as many questions as possible in order to find out the game he/she has in mind (p.71)

Activity 3
A friend of yours is going to have a weekend getaway with their family/some friends. Give as many suggestions as possible about where to go, what to do, where to stay and so on. To finish with this activity you may tell your mate the last time you went to a leisure park or you spent a weekend away.

Activity 4
Taboo is a very popular game. Describe something written on a card without saying the word and your partner has to guess it. Then swap your roles.

Activity 5
We did the role play which is in page 77. You can practise with it and you can also practise with individual questions with exercise 9 in this same page.

We saw a video in class about the Tower of London. Click here. If you use the subtitles, remember there are quite a lot of mistakes.  You can also practise with this video about Beyoncé; click here

See you in class!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

NA1 - 5B: Suffixes for Adjectives

In this lesson we've reviewed the use of -ED and -ING; here you are the list I showed you in class but remember it's just a list and the best way of learning is by using them.

The more you use word formation the larger your vocabulary and you'll also be able to be more precised and to avoid repetitions.

Enjoy the exercises and try to find more on your own!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 6: First Impressions

Last week we worked with this topic and here you are some general questions we used in class:
  • Do you think everybody makes a good or bad first impression? 
  • What are the best ways to make a good impression? 
  • Have you ever met someone you hated right away even though you didn't know them? 
  • Have you ever been wrong by judging a person for your first impression? 
  • Are you worried about the first impression you make? What do you do to improve it?
We also worked with some activities like these ones:

Activity 1
Work with your partner and think about 10 characteristics or features you pay attention to when you get a first impression.

Acitvity 2
Think about 5 good questions to know your partner. Then make these questions to your mate and let your mate do the same with you. For example: If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why? or What are your strengths and your weaknesses?

Activity 3
Imagine you're going to a job interview (for a shop-assistant, a clerk, a nurse, a teacher and so on) and you are the interviewer. Make questions to your mate. Then swap your roles.

Activity 4
Have you ever got wrong about somebody because of their appearnace? Share your experience of being wrong due to your first impression about someone and tell us what happened in the end. 

We are going to watch a couple of videos in class. This first video is about polite questions in a job interview but it's a bit easy; it's useful for revising what you already know; click here
This one is a good example of a job interview although it focus on compound adjectives; click here

Monday, March 27, 2017

NI1 - Giving and Asking for directions - Unit 8: Places

To ask for directions is quite important, especially if you travel to a place you don't know. But giving directions is also important if you want to help people while they visit our country. Here you are the links we saw in class:

  • how to give directions: vocabulary, expressions, prepositions and so on; click here
  • a listening with some examples: click here
  • another useful link: click here
  • this video is to work with American vocabulary: click here
  • a link with exercises to work with a map, prepositions, vocabulary and so on: click here

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 5: Going Places

This unit is about getting around a city and it's very useful for travelling. Let's see the general questions as usual:
  • Dou you usually go away at weekends? Do you always go to the same place or do you go to new places? When was the last time you went away? Describe it.
  • What kind of cities do you prefer? What is your favourite town in Spain and abroad?
  • What things could you improve in your own town: facilities, transport, traffic, etc?
Activity 1
Imagine you have a friend or family visiting your town. Suggest places to visit and things to do. Work with your partner and then swap roles. Here you have a video about Madrid if you need some inspiration!

Activity 2
Work with your partner and compare two interesting towns you know well such as Madrid and Alcala/Seville/Barcelona/etc. If you don't know the towns chosen by your partner very well, ask questions about places to visit, why that town is so interesting, the tourist sites and so on.

Activity 3
There are some exercises on the book to do with your partner. They are on p.52 (exercise 11) and p.57 (exercise 9). Practise asking information about transport or tickets to museums, exhibitions, theatre... Swap roles.
Here you are a video with an example and this easy exercise with a listening comprenhension about buying train tickets. Here you have another exam of buying a train ticket; click here. The last practice is a long activity with plenty of material; pay attention to the last part with listening, vocabulary and other activities.

Activity 4
Let's use this presentation to work with descriptions, including interesting vocabulary and helpful questions to orgaise your ideas: click here. You may also use the following point:

Useful Vocabulary
When you are describing anything you usually need a lot of adjectives so here you are just some:
amazing - huge - peaceful - quiet - lively - outstanding - incredible - exciting - amusing - pleasant - interesting - enjoyable - spectacular - breathtaking - overwhelming - colourful
dull - boring - crowded - isolated - busy - unconfortable - dreary - ugly - dreadful - suffocating - disgusting - unbearable - tedious

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NI1 - Lesson 8: The use of the articles and countable/uncountable nouns

The use of the article we saw in class is simples as we explained it:
  • indefinite article: A car (singular): just one   ----   SOME cars (plural): a few cars
  • definite article: THE  car (singular): that specific car  ----  THE cars (plural): those cars
Apart from this general rule, we have to take into account some uses:
  • We use THE with :
    • places in plural: the Nederlands, the USA, the Arab Emirates, the Alps, the Canary Islands, the Himalayas, etc.
    • with specific countries: the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom
    • with rivers and seas/oceans: the River Thames; the Pacific Ocean
  • We DON'T use THE with certain places such as lakes, mounts: Mount Everest, Lake Victoria
About COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE nouns we have to take into account that the uncountable nouns are always in singular: you say the sugar, some sugar but NOT 3 sugars. Have a look this chart which could help you to understand the problem about countable and uncountable nouns and how to use the quantifiers.
Here you are a chart to help you with quantifiers:

COUNTABLE* = plural
SOME Some people are worried I need some sugar
ANY (?) Did you see any books on the shelf? Did you need any sugar for the recipe?
ANY (-) I didn't take any photos I didn't have any time
NO I have no photos in my bedroom I have no time to miss
A FEW There will be a few friends for dinner XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
MUCH XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX I don't have much time
MANY I don't have many friends XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
HOW MUCH XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX How much sugar do you need?
HOW MANY How many children do you have? XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
A LOT OF I have a lot of friends I have a lot of time
ENOUGH I have enough friends I don't have enough money

*When the countable noun is singular you use the indfinite article A+singular or the definite article THE+singular; e.g. a car the car.

Here you are some exercises to practise:  exercise 1 (done in class)     exercise 2 with a list of exercises about quantifiers and countable/uncountable nouns   exercise 3 another list of exercises
 If you are interested to know something about Canada, here you are some videos:

  • An introduction with photos: click here
  • Something about the country: click here

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

That's Englilsh! - Module 6 - Unit 4: Books, Books, Books

The topic is reading and most people like reading, don't you? Here we are the general questions as usual:
  • What kind of books do you read? Tell us about your habit of reading: what, when, where, how long, how much, etc.
  • Do you take advice from reviews or from a friend's opinion?
  • What is the last book you read? Tell us about it and if you'd recommend it.
  • What are you reading now?
About grammar we are working with relative clauses; here you are some links that may be useful for you:
  • the British Council page: click here
  • Perfect English page: click here
  • Just in case you had a problem, here you are a page in Spanish: click here
Let's practise with this point of grammar with a list of exercises in different levels: click here

Activity 1
Use the cards with objects given by the teacher and describe it to your mate without saying what it is. You should use expressions such as it's something (that) we use to open tins or it's a place where you go to buy food. When your mate guesses what it was, swap roles.

Activity 2
You write some names or things which are connected to your favourite food, the best film, a book you loved, a place you visited, etc. Your partner should guess the reason for that word or person. Do the same but this time your partner starts. As an example:  pizza
You wrote pizza because that is the dish (that) you like most    or     That is the dish (which) you ate yesterday. 

Activity 3
Look around and choose a thing which is in the class and say sentences saying where it is or what that thing is like. Use relative pronouns and prepositions like in the example:
It is something that is on the wall and close to the door; it's an object (that) the teacher uses to explain and to write on ...  The whiteboard.

Activity 4
You're going to be given some pictures and you have to imagine you are an archeologist from the distant future who is digging them up. Describe the object and its apparent purpose while avoidnig what you really used that for using  sentences such as "This is a tool (which was ) used to make noise in special occasions" (a saucepan) or you can describe it as what it is "It's something you use to fry or cook".

Listening activities: a city break
Here you are some listenings about different places to visit in UK but some other exotic places as well; most of them have exercises . Do as many as you like.
  • Bath: click here
  • Cambridge: click here
  • Edinburg: click here
  • Cardiff: click here
  • Mexico City: click here
  • Some facts about London: click here
  • Some tips to go to London: click here

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NA1 - Lesson 4A: Eco-guilt

In this lesson we will work with future perfect and future continuous. Here you are the links I showed you in class to review this grammar point:
Vocabulary about environmental problems: click here

In class we have seen the form TO BE LIKELY TO+infinitive; here you are an explanation about how to use it: click here.  In the BBC Learning English website you have this comment:
it's likely that + clause

Likely is quite often used with it as a preparatory subject:
  • It's unlikely that this afternoon's session will last very long. It should be over by five o' clock.
  • It's more than likely that I shall see Chris in Cambridge. I am almost certain to bump into him, in fact.
be likely to + infinitive
As an alternative, we can use the be unlikely to + infinitive construction with a normal subject, but probable cannot be used in this way:
  • This afternoon's session is unlikely to last very long.
  • I'm unlikely to be back late from the meeting.
  • Are you likely to be staying in when you get back?
It is this realisation of likely that is used in your example, Reinhard:
  • The authorities are likely to be hard pressed to respond to the disaster.
Note that if we wanted to use probably as an alternative in these examples, it would need to re-phrase them as follows:
  • This afternoon's session will probably finish quite early.
  • I shall probably be back quite early from the meeting.
  • Will you probably stay in when you get back?
  • The authorities will probably be hard pressed to respond to the disaster.

Another way of explaining the problem with LIKELY and PROBABLY using translation:
  • Likely = posible o probalbe. It's an adjective and it's followed by TO+INF as you can see in these examples:  It's likely to rain  I'll be likely to go to your party   She was likely to arrive on time
  • problably = probablemente. It's an adverb and it's used with future: I'll probalbly go to your party; however, the chance of going seems to be more remote or more unlikely
  • bound = "destinado a", "tied to" and many other meanings. I'm bound to go to your party. It's a bit informal and it means that the action is going to happen for sure.
Here I found another way of explaining the difference among similar terms, taken from this link:

Maybe: you use this word when you are not sure. It could be a "yes" or it could be a "no," and you are not certain.
For example: 
- "Are you going to Janet's party tonight?"
- "Maybe, I haven't decided yet."

Possibly: It's like saying "maybe."
For example: "Renovation will take two weeks, possibly longer."

Likely: something that is likely sounds logical and has very good chances of being true.
For example: "Spain has 117 points, and Italy has 42 points. It is likely that Spain will win."

Probably: this one is pretty much like "likely." They basically have the same meaning, but a different usage.

"Likely" is an adjective, and "probably" is an adverb. 
You would say: "It is likely that Spain will win" and "Spain will probably win."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

That's English!: Module 6 - lesson 4: Books, books, books!

The title of this lesson is "Books, Books, Books!" so guess what's this about...
Reading is one of the skills that a student must practise while learning a language. Why is reading so important? From my point of view this skill helps you to fix structures, to enlarge your vocabulary and to crystalize typical sentences you can use in your language performance, especially in speaking and writing skills.
Here you are some examples how to improve your reading:
  • Try to use readings adapted for your level: if the text is too easy or too difficult you can`t get interested in it and you're likely lo leave it. the best way is to use adapted versions.
  • Use different kinds of material, not only literature such as magazines, leaflets, texts from the internet, articles...
  • If possible, take texts with audios, to practise reading, listening and phonetics with the same material: first, read the text and try to guess the meaning of the difficult words; then, use the listening without the text to practice listening comprenhesion, and when the text is clear for you, use the text with the audio to fix the pronunciation and entonation.
Here you are some pages to work with reading:
  • For those who love Harry Potter,go to this link; click here
  • Many general pages have a reading section, like these ones: click here, here , here or here
But for many people, reading is just a pleasure, something to have fun. In that case, you have plenty of sites to read texts, especially classic short stories or other texts. Many of them are not adapted but you know the story as it is a classic:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 3 - There's no place like home

As usual, let's start with general questions about this topic:
  • If you moved to a new house, what features would you consider most important?
  • What's your favourite room in your house and why?
  • Have you ever been involved in works at home: redecorating, changing electrical wiring, a new bathroom...? What was your experience like?
  • Think about the main problems you can have at home (or in your hotel room!) and discuss with your partener about how to solve them: a leak, a blocked drain, a leak...
Here you are some exercises to review the vocabulary of housing: exercise 1
You can also visit this blog with adjectives to describe

Activity 1
Imagine you are in a hotel and you have problems in your room. Ring the reception desk to complain: a blown fuse, a leak, a blown light bulb (or burnt out light bulb), a blocked drain ...Then exchange roles.

Activity 2
Describe your house and what you'd like to change. If you've made any works recently explain what you did and what it was like to do it. Then exchange roles.

Activity 3
Imagine you want to rent an appartment for 6 months in Great Britain; you go to an estate agent's to hire what you need. Then exchange roles.

Activity 4
Discuss with your mate about the main problems of the housing bubble and the following housing crash. Is it important to have your own house? Is it better to rent a house?

Listening exercises
  • Go to this link to hear some videos about this topic. The problem is that the vocabvulary could be a bit specific and there are no activities or exercises connected to these videos. Click here
  • This link is a conversation about housing complaints, with a listening exercise included but rather difficult; click here
  • This link has lots of models about housing: renting an apartment, problems at the flat, etc. Click here

Here you are an article about the problem of housing in Spain. The level is a bit high but you can find very useful vocabulary

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

That's English! - module 6 - unit 2: Lifestyle choices

Life can change in many ways for different reasons. Think about those reasons and discuss with your partner how life might change due to them; you may think of these among some others:
  • Having children  /  a new job, especially in another town / a serious illness / to break up with your partner / winning the lotto / meeting an important person in your life
Have you ever been in one of these situations? Do you know anybody who has? Which of these reasons do you think is the most important for you?

Activity 1
Describe your lifesyle to your partner giving details about where you live and work, your hobbies and free time, what things you'd like to change in your life and why and some of your plans for the future.

Activity 2
Working with vocabulary: choose 5 words from this unit and ask your partner about the meaning and then think about a sentence using that word; e.g.: neighbourhood - sources - compassionate - challenging - choice - belief - to trust - to feed - staff - living off-the-grid

Activity 3
Describe a person you know well (as you can find in your textbook in exercise 4 p.21) using as many adjectives as possible and then explain why you've chosen that person.
You can also do this listening comprehension exercise; click here

Activity 4
What do you prefer ...? Choose between the options given below and explain your choice:
  • Living in a big city / living in a small town or a village
  • Working for a big company / working on your own
  • Living in a flat in the city centre / living in a terrace house in the suburbs
In this unit we are working with indefinite pronouns; here you are some grammar explanations like this one  or this, and some exercises:
The other point of grammar is about neither / either / both and here you are some good explanations; the one from BBC Learning English, this simpler one or this longer one. Once you've seen the explanation, here you are some exercises:

Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday

Today we start with Lent but yesterday it was Mardi Gras, which is a famous festivity in America, especially in New Orleans. Here you have a video of National Geography: Mardi Gras. This is another video, with longer speeches and a bit of history if you want to practise.

Another typical feast is Shrove Tuesday, which is the Tuesday before Lent as well: click here to know what this is and some useful vocabulary; and this link is just an example to explain it, the same as this one.

Monday, February 20, 2017

NA1 - Some Practice for Listening

Although you have this link in the blog and I'm not very sure about the level, let me recommend this listening as it's not very frequent to find this type. It's one of headings: go to this link

Sunday, February 19, 2017

That's English! - Module 6 - unit 1: Getting Better

We start a new module and a new lesson as well. It's about health, going to a doctor, alternative medicine, going to a chemist's and so on. Let's begin with the usual general questions:
  • Do you have good health? What do you do to be healthy?
  • Do you prefer traditional or alternative medicine? Do you believe alternative therapies work?
  • Have you ever tried alternative medicine? Which one? What was the experience like? Would you like to try any?
  • Have you ever tried to lose weight? Explain your experience to your mate.
About vocabulary connected to this topic, here you are some useful links:
  • a very large vocabulary list but be careful with the pronunciation (phonetics is not included)
  • here you are a vocabulary of the human body: clic here
  • a long list of exercises about the topic
For pair work, a common activity is to perform a role playing in which one student is a doctor and the other is the patient. Then you exchange your roles. Pay attention to these aspects:
  • symptoms and how long for
  • ask for details: habits, recent changes, diet...
  • ask/give advice to solve the problem
Another typical situation is going to a chemist's because you have a problem: do the same but this time you are a chemist and the customer.

Here you are some listening exercises:   exercise 1  (going to a chemist's)   exercise 2 (about health)     exercise 3 (going to the chemist's)    exercise 4 (going to the doctor)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Saint Valentine's Day

This post is a "romantic" contribution to Saint Valentine's Day. Here you are some short stories and some quotes about love. I hope you'll enjoy them.
  • short romantic stories: click here
  • romantic messages: click here
If you want to know something about Saint Valentine's Day here you have some videos:
  • a video about the story of Saint Valentine: click here or this one
  • Saint Valentine's day in America: click here or here
  • This is another video with some interested facts; clic here

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NA1 - Lesson 6B: Reporting Verbs

In this lesson we ork with the topic of news. The language used on the news is quite difficult because there are a lot of omissions and the vocabulary is more precise than usual.
If you want to practise you should go to the international editions of newspapers, which are a bit easier to understand and they have really good articles to read. Here you are some examples:
I've found this listening about news, with headings so you can practise for the exam: click here

For the grammar point of this lesson, here you are some exercises to practise with reporting verbs:
See you in class!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

That's English! - Module 5: Preparing the Exam

The exam is quite close and we should revise all the grammar, the vocabulary and anything included in this module 5. The writing part (a composition) and the oral part, which has two exercises. You have to solve a situation in pairs and then an individual question for each student. That's what I usually do, but other teachers may do something completely different.

To practise with the oral part, remember to revise all the questions or the speaking exercise we've done in each lesson. Remember to use correct forms, a variety of structures and as much vocabulary as possible. But you also have to speak calmly, with certain entonation and to give details.

If you want to practise with listening, here you are a couple of examples:
For writing skills, remember to get stuck to the topic and think of an organised composition:
  • introduction: a couple of lines for intoducing the topic
  • first paragraph: develop the principal idea
  • second paragraph: secondary ideas and/or examples
  • third paragraph: your point of view, if required
  • ending or conclusion: two or three lines to sum up your composition or to end it
To improve your writing, try to use a large variety of vocabulary, structures and tenses and avoid repetitions. Be clear and remember I can't guess what is not written. Pay attention to your writing and once you've finished with your composition, read it and focus on the typical mistakes: -s for the 3rd person in singular, every verb with a subject, modals with or without to, tenses and so on.

Good luck, anyaway!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NI1 - Lesson 5: Comparative and Superlative Forms

In this lesson we are working with comparative and superlative adjectival forms. Here you are some links that may be useful for you:
  • grammar rules and explanations like this one or this. If you want further explanations with modifiers, click here
  • exercises
We saw the difference between AS and LIKE:
  • AS goes with a sentence and it means that is really that
  • LIKE goes with no sentences and it menas similar to
Here you are a list of exercises to practise: click here

Connected to comparison there are 2 similar contructions which are difficult to understand:
  • What is your father like? ----- a description, something in general: He is tall, with brow hair and brown eyes, very talkative...
  • How is your father? ---- the answer only needs a comment as it is something puntual, something that is happening now: He is fine, thanks.
To finish with, remember the rules for spelling:
  • ending in -y -----   -ier : happy - happier dry - drier (dryer means secadora); but shy - shyer
  • ending in Consonat+Stressed Vowel+ Consonant ---- you doubble the last consonant: thin - thinner, hot - hotter but open - opener (although it means abridor, pay attention how you avoid double the consonant; the same happens with other suffixes like -ED or -ING)
About the comparatives/superlatives like clever or simple  the rule says you should say cleverer or simpler but most of the native speakers say more clever and more simple.

If you need any further explanation, let me know it to have a post about that.
See you in class!

Monday, January 16, 2017

That's English! - Module 5 - unit 10: Dating

This unit deals with dating and meeting people. The vocabulary is connected to personality so here you are a complete list of exercises to work with this topic; click here

About grammar we're working with BE GOING TO + INFINITIVE in two ways:
  • future of intention or plans, so these exercises will help you: click here and here you have a video. To see the difference with WILL, you can use these exercises: this one or this and a list of exercises here
  • predictions with clues (this one is also possible with TO BE ABOUT TO + INFINITIVE)
Let's work with speacking activities in class; discuss with your partner about these questions and give as much information as possible:
  • Have you ever been to a blind date? What was it like?
  • Do you think dating agencies are good or bad? Think of the pros and cons (use the information you had in the textbook)
  • What do you think about using internet for personal relationships? Do you know any similar situation? What happened?
  • Speak about an anecdote in which you felt weird or embarrassed or on the contrary you felt really happy about such experience.
  • Althouhg this topic is about dating, it deals with character so what features do you appreciate in a person to be your friend?
  • Talk about the first time you met your best friend or your partner. Give details abotu the place you met, what you did on the first date, why you went on going out with that person and so on.
Here you are a listening comprenhension about a class reunion: click here
This is another exercise but this time is about clothing: click here