Wednesday, December 19, 2018

B2.1 - Reviewing for lessons 1-2-3-5-8 (Empower B1+)

Here are some links that may help you with the gramar points we saw term. Have a look:
Here is a link with differen exercises to practise examd. You have different levels and the four skills: this is the task 2 listening of the exam but you can find many more in the home page if you click on the  different labels.

About Christmas, this is the video we saw in class: click here
The typical list of traditional carols: click here
Another tradition: Mr Bean video 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

B2.1 - Conditional sentences

In lessong 5B we deal with zero and first conditional. In class we saw all the types and we insist on using the name rather than the number of conditional:
  • zero or general conditional: if you have a problem you call an expert
  • first or probable/possible conditional: if you have a problem, will you call me?
  • second or improbable/hypothetical conditional: if you had a problem, you could call me
  • third or impossible conditional (a regret or complaint about past events): if you had had a problem, you should have called me
If you want a good summary, you should visit this blog: click here

Here you are some exercises to practise with the connectors:
Apart from IF, WHETHER and UNLESS, there are some other connectors such as AS LONG AS, PROVIDING, PROVIDED THAT, SUPPOSING etc.. This is a page with many connectors but some of them are more connected to time clauses than conditionalsd: click here, here and here

For increasing your vocabulary you might use this page with how to say ainimals in masculine, femenine, the sound and the place they live: click here

Sunday, December 9, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - unit 10: Superstitions and Fears

Not all the superstitions are the same in all the countries; there are differences but what they have in common is that they are true for many people. Let's start with the general questions:
  • Do you have a lucky number, item of cloth or object? Do you believe in lucky objectss? Give reasons for your answer.
  • Are you a supersitious person? Do you have lucky charm you use before important events?
  • Do you think Spanish people are supersititious? Is it a problem of nationality, age, religion or sex? Compare different groups of people according to supersitions.
  • What's the difference between a fear and a phobia? Think about some examples.
  • Do you suffer from any phobias? Do you know anybody who suffers from one?
  • Were you afraid of anything when you where a little child? Do you still have it?
  • Do you have any scary story that happened to you?

Activity 1
In p.102 there is a gramar point about describing repeated and typical behaviour. You should use WILL for the present and WOULD for the past, like in these examples:
  • An actor won't wear yellow clothes during a performance because it means bad luck
  • Pelé would kiss the ground every time he won a match
Using this model try to think about some activities for you:
  • getting up in the morning  -  going to school as a child - playing with my brothers/sisters - something you used to do before an exam - something you do on Sunday
Activity 2
In p.105 there are some proverbs. Choose one o those or pick up one from the ones given below and try to explain it to your mate (taken from this site):
  • "Two wrongs don't make a right."
  • "The pen is mightier than the sword."
  • "When in Rome, do as the Romans."
  • "No man is an island."
  • "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."
  • "Better late than never."
Activity 3
Here is a video about superstitions: click here for the video. After watching it, discuss with your partner the following questions:
 Which of these superstitions are similar to those in your country?
 Which are different?
 What are the things that are considered unlucky?
 What are the things that are considered lucky?
 Do you think that there is truth behind superstitions?

Activity 4
What about you? Discuss with your partner if you are a superstious person and why you think so. Compare your attitude with the one when you were younger. Have you changed a lot? In wahat sense? Give reasons for your answers.

Activity 5
Some people think they are going to be lucky and they will be able to change their life. Here you have a video about luck: click here
What do you think this story is about? Would you do something like that? Why/why not?

Activity 6
This is another video with a programme talking about luck: click here

See you in class and... Good luck with your exams!
Remember we have class next week with unit 11 which is a revision and a lesson to review the module 7. See you next week

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

B2.1 - Environment

To see the vocabulary, here are some links to help you:
  • This one is in English and the translation into Spanish: click here
  • These others are more examples of lists of words connected to the topic: here or here
  • This link has other pages with different topics related to environment: here
  • If you prefer images, here are some videos about the topic: here (very visual), here (a typical class) or here
These videos also give you an idea about how much we should take care of our planet:
  • This about plastic: click here
  • Mother Nature: click here
  • About global warming: click here

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

B2.1 - Word formation

We are going to work a little bit with word formation so to deal with this grammar topic here you are some links to help you:
  • typical suffixes in English: click here
  • adjectives to make nouns and verbs (long - length): click here and here is the one we saw in class; or go to this video to listen to the explanation
I include here the use of WHETHER: here you are the video we saw in class and this is a grammar link to read about this topic and to this one to see examples.

See you in class!

Monday, November 26, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 9: Science Fiction

Let's talk about the future and imagine how many posibilities there will be in 20 years time or so. As we do in every lesson, let's start with the general questions to discuss with your partner:
  • In what ways will life be different by the end of the 21st century? Pay attention to different aspects such as transport, communication, city life, medicine and health, education and so on.
  • Do you think life exists on other planets? What would that life be like? Should we reserch on that to check if we are alone in the universe or is it a waste of money and time? Should we keep on such search?
  • What changes will you see in Spain in 50 years time? Take into account social, economical and physical changes, especially in everyday life.
  • Do you think technology will help us in the future or will it be a drawback for humans? Give reasons and/or examples for your answer.

Activity 1
Discuss with your partner about your future in  10 years time about the following topics:

       Family     Work/studies     Travelling     A flat/a house     Where you'll be living

Try to use all the future tenses with sentences such as: In 3 years time I'll have finished my degree at university and I'll be looking for a good job in a big company. I'll try to find a new house and by the end of 2019 I'll be living on my own.

Activity 2
What are your feelings about the future? Are you hopeful or scared about future? Talk about the dangers and the advantages of using technolgy. What will change in our future?. Make predictions using WILL and then we'll compare your feelings and your predictions with the rest of the class.

Activity 3
Here you are a listening about homes in the future: click here
This video is about what you'll be doing in 5 years time: click here

Activity 4
This is a link with cards to speak about future. You'll see different forms and tenses to express future. Work with your partner with these cards and pay attention to the tense you use each time. Click here

Activity 5
Imagine you are a fortune teller. Predict or guess what is going to happen to your mate in a short term, in 5 years time, in 10 years time... To help you with your task, you can use this video or if you prefer you can go to this link.

About grammar, this unit deals with future tenses. If you need more practise here you are some useful links: a good exercise or you can do this one with all the tenses. This one is quite long and you also have this link to grammar explanation or this one here.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Phonetic symbols and English sounds

Some of the students aren't familiar with phonetic symbols. There are different charts and you have one example at the end of your textbook but this is another example: click here. If you prefer using the material provided by CUP, do go to this link. This other link has a lot of material.

If  you want to read an article about the difference between English adn Spanish you may go to this link and have a look: click here.

There are a lot of videos to help you and these are some examples:

  • for consonants: this one   
  • for vowels they can be short or long so these videos can help you; this one is very easy and this deals with pronunciation and it gives you many examples: click here. But also you have this one for short vowels and this one for long vowels.
  • To work with the most difficult vowel sound /ǝ/ you may use this video or this one.
For thosse who are in higher levels you know there are some other problems to sound natural such as how to connect or link words (here you are a video or this pedagogical one), this video is with some hints about how to do it, or this one to speak more fluently, or this one which compares Spanish and English.

For higher levels, have a look on this video which works with the difference between long /i:/ and short /I/: click here

B2.1 - Verbs followed by infinitive or -ING

In lesson 8B we worked with verb pattern, that is, if a verb is followed by infinitive or gerund. We saw some different ways to learn them, so use the links you'll find below to help you with this  grammar point:
  • Using a list: here you are some examples  list 1 (short and easy)   list 2    list 3 and then make your own list or chart. You may make groups of synonims or contraries to help you to memorise the verbs.
  • Doing exercises to memorise:  exercise 1    exercise 2    exercise 3    exercise 4 (list of exercises)    exercise 5    exercises 6
  • Watching videos about the topic like this one or this one
  • Using the verbs with personal experiences (practising on your own): I enjoy watching films and when I don't feel like reading or I don't fancy going to the cinema, I watch a film. I hate being rung at that moment but I don't mind having something to eat. I'm keen on watching detective series as well.
  • Doing exercises of rephrasing: exercise 1 (you can find some other exercises if you go to the links shown on the left of this page)     exercise 2 (a bit more difficult)     exercise 3 (similar to the previous one)
Hope this is useful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

NB2.1 - Shopping

Here you are the web page we saw in class with different vocabularies: click here

I know this sounds weird but sometimes we don't revise typical situations we are supposed to have learnt and we don't improve them properly. I'd like you to have a look to these videos to see and check what you already know and what you can improve by adding expressions, vocabulary or just taking into account that this is American English instead of British. Here you have the links:
  • buying shoes; click here
  • buying clothes; click here
Anyway, I hope it'll be useful.
See you in class!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 8: Crime

As usual, we'll start with general questions about this topic. Here you are some questions to work on with your partner(s):
  • What are the main crimes in your town/country? Have you ever been a victim of one of those? If so, explain what happened to you.
  • Do you think prison is an effetive form of punishment? What other forms of punishment do you know?
  • Do you think cybercrime is a big problem in Spain? What about downloading? Is it a crime?
  • Are there any measures to be taken to avoid or reduce the crime rate in our society: more severe laws, more or longer punishment, more help for people who are at risk of exclusion, educational measures...?
Activity 1

Imagine you have been burglared and a police officer comes to your house. Have a role play in which you are the victim and your partner is the police officer. Give as many details as possible about what you've been robded. Then change roles and in this occasion you are the police officer and you've been mugged in the street or pickpocketed when you where on the bus. Ask questions to get details. what happened, when, where, what items you were stolen and so on.

Activity 2

Think about a detective story, novel or film you've seen recently and tell the story to your mate. If you don't remember one, try to make up a detective story about a famous detective such as Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Agatha Christie's strories and so on.

Activity 3

Here you have some listening exercises to practise:
  • a short exercise about crime: click here
  • this is a funny video about a crime: click here
  • this is a very easy listening about a "perfet crime": click here
  • this is a short text with audio including some words about crime and punishment: click here
  • this a very long one but it's divided in 4 exercises: click here
Activity 4
About grammar this unit deals with non-defining relative clauses, which are the ones in which the relative pronoun can't be replaced by THAT. They are like an explanation and they go between commas (as if it were a comment or an added explanation). Here you are an exercise to see the difference between defining and non-defining relative clauses: click here.

Let's practise with this. This game is called Taboo and you can't say the word in your card or very clear clues. Describe the object or the person you have in your card so you should use WHO, WHICH or THAT, like in this example:
  • a screwdriver: it's a tool which/that you use to fix two things toguether. You need a screw, which is a piece of metal similar to a nail, but you also need another piece with a hole in the middle (someting similar to a little ring) to fix it. - destornillador

Activity 5

To work with vocabulary of crime and punishment, here you are some exercises to practise:
Here you have an entry on a blog about this topic; it has some videos and vocabulary: click here

Activity 6

To finish with, remember you use passive voice while talking about this topic (reviewing this grammar point from previous lessons). Let's see some examples by ansering these questions:
  • Have you ever been stolen on a bus or on the train? What were you stolen? Did you reported the theft? What happened in the end?
  • Has your house ever been burglared? What happened? What were you stolen?
  • Have you ever been mugged in the street? What happened? Were you hurt?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

B2.1 - To Have/Get Something Done

Remember that at the revision of unit 3you have an exercise about how to use HAVE. In class we saw the difference between HAVE and HAVE GOT and the typical mistakes we make by using them, and we also saw the structure TO HAVE/GET SOMETHING DONE. Let's work on it.
To see a bit about how to use it (the grammar point), go to this link.
If you want to do some practice, here you are some:
We also did an exercise with the structure: TO HAVE/GET SOMEONE TO DO SOMETHING. In this case you have the person who is going to do the service, so the structure changes as it is not a passive any more; this link leads you to a blog entry which explains this: click here. Here you are an exercise to do: click here. Pay attention to the infinitive which can be with TO or without it. 
Then compare the previous exercise with this one. You'll see that it's not you who did the action but somebody else; however, you don't know or don't care who was exactly the one who did it.

Hope it's useful. See you in class

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NB2.1 - Reported Speech

This topic is a typical grammar point but I'd like you to see it as a natural way of speaking. We use it very frequenltly in our conversation in Spanish and it's very usual in English as well. You must be logical and you'll find this topic much easier than expected. A list of changes is already in your own book. Here you are a video explaining this point, click here, but it's rather simple for you. However, for a good but long explanation, click here. Remember you can do some exercises at the end of the explanation. If you need more exercises you can find plenty of them on the internet but I'd rather you use it in your daily life, in your habitual speech. The typical situations are:
  • to retell a conversation on the phone: Yesterday my mother called me to ask me if...
  • who doesn't like gossiping? : Last weekend I saw Peter with a wonderful girl but she wasn't his girlfriend so then I asked him who she was and he said...
  • a piece of news has a lot of examples as well: According to the news, the government said they were going to ...

Let me remind you that direct and indirect speech are very common in our daily life as well as in the news. If you read or watch some news you'll see it. Click here to check it: BBC news. Another webpage which is very useful is VOA (Voices of America): click here

Monday, November 12, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 7: Help the World (B1.2)

This is a very humanitarian topic as it deals with NGO's and organisations focused on helping people or the planet. Let's start with the general questions:
  • What are the main charities or NGO's in Spain? Do you support any of them? Why/why not?
  • Do you think these charity organisations are necessary? Try to find pros and cons.
  • Have you ever taken part into an event to raise money? What was the experience like? How did you feel? Would you do it again?
  • What do you think about famous people who give their support or their image to raise money for these organisations? Do you agree? Do you think it's just marketing?
Activity 1
Some people think that charity is not the solution of a problem and it makes the problem last longer. What's your opinion? Discuss this with your partner and try to find different aspects of this topic.

Activity 2
About grammar, we are going to work with the construction I wish + past simple and If only + past simple. They are used to express wishes and desires for the future so choose some of the below suggestions and tell your partner(s) about them:
  • to buy a new car    to have a better/bigger house      to live abroad      to go on a luxury trip   
  • to speak other languages     to win a lot of money      to get a gap year at work/your studies
Activity 3
The other structure is with past perfect tenses (If only/I wish + past perferct) and it is used for regrests or complaints as it is referrred to the past not to the future as the previous one. Use the same examples but use them as if you were upset because you didn't do those things at the right time.

Activity 4
Here you are a listening comprenhension about charity. Do the exercise and then comment about what you have just heard. Click here

Activity 5
Some charities are more popular and have more supporters than others. Discuss with your mate about raising money for homeless people or for unsheltered animals. Try to give reasons for your answer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

ALCINE: Short Film Festival. November, 2018.

Remember we'll meet on Friday November, 9th at 9.30h to get in altogether to the cinema. I'll wait for you at Teatro Salon Cervantes, in the city centre. Be on time, please.
This is the programme:
  • Flea (Vanessa Caswill): here you are a trailer and this link will help you to understand the film: click here and here
  • Negative Space (Ru Kawahata, Max Porter):  this is the trailer and this link shows you some facts like the numerous awards, the same as this one
  • Poles Apart (Paloma Baeza): here you are this link with information about this film.
  • The Next (Jamie Jones): this is the trailer and a bit of info here
  • We Love Moses (Dionne Edwards): here you are this review and this is another review
See you there!

B2.1 -

In class we saw this link for ANY MORE and STILL: click here. If you want to practice, do this exercise.
There are doubts about the difference between anymore - any more - any longer. I've found this post so click here. There is another link which deals with this problem as well: click here. I hope it'll help you.

Monday, October 29, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 6: Films

The topic of this week is really appealing, isn't it? Films (or movies as Americans call them,) is one of the most typical entretainment for everybody all over the world.

As usual, let's start with some questions taken from your textbook (exercise 11, p.62):
  • What kind of films do you enjoy the most? Why?
  • What is the last film you've seen? What was it about? Did you enjoy it?
  • Are there any types of films you can't stand? Why?
  • Do you follow any film festival? Do you usually see films rewarded with an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Lion of Venice or any other award? Are these festivals necessary?
  • What do you do to choose the film to see? Do you read film reviews? Do you ask anybody about the film?
  • Do you prefer watching films on DVD at home or going to the cinema? Explain the main differences in your opinion.  
Activity 1
Talk to your partner about the main differences between European or Spanish films and American ones. Explain which ones you prefer and give reasons for your answer.

Activity 2
Revise the vocabulary of this lesson and try to find a definition with your own words of these terms:
  • blockbuster - dubbed films - feature-length - selected for screening - to release - indie films
Activity 3
Here you are a listening comprenhension exercise with an ordinary conversation about movies; click here. This other exercise is about inviting someone to the cinema; click here. Both are a good example to practise with your partner later. 

Activity 4
About grammar, we deal with an important point: passive voice. Remember it's much more usual in English than in Spanish and it has the function of impersonal forms in our language. Here you have a link with a long explanation and exercises at the end: click here. You should use it in your writing but also in your speaking as it is very usual. Rephrase these sentences using passive tenses to see how frequent it is in English:
  • Someone stole my movile yesterday
  • Many people say American films are much better than Europeans
  • Somebody gave me this packet for you
  • Someone told me you have a new job
  • They opened a new exhibition about PicasPica
Activity 5
To practise for the exam, here you are an exercise of gap filling. The topic is different but you can find many examples of passive voice; click here.

Hope to see you in class!

B2.1 - Narrative tenses

In lesson 3A we are working with narrative tenses. The tenses we saw are simple past, past continuous and past perfect, used for telling a story, an anecdote or something that happened to you.
There are many exercises to practise with them and here you are some of them:
  • a short story talking about a personal experience: click here
  • this is another text in order to use narrative tenses: click here
  • and another one: click here
  • these are very similar exercises but past perfect continuous is included: click here and here
As I told you in class, it's very important to practise with pronunciation for past, not only with irregular verbs but regular -ED ending as well. Here you are a very interesting link with some information about this topic: click here

If you want to practise with phrasals, here you are some exercises:
  • exercise 1: you can choose the level and then go further to improve your knowledge
  • a video to explain phrasal verbs: click here
  • this other video talks about phrasal versus prepositional verbs: click here and this is another example
As this lesson is about relationships, here you are a funny video with informal English with phrasal verbs which are not the ones you're used to:
  • To gross out - to pick on you - to hang out - to find out
To watch the video about to have a crush on somebody song children, click here 

Hope this will be helpful. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 5: Social Classes (B1.2)

Althouhg this topic seems to be a bit difficult, we should deal with it and it has many possibilities. Let's start with the general questions on this lesson:
  • What does a social class mean to you? If you had to choose, which social class is yours?
  • Are there events, sports or places that are popular with a particular social class in Spain? (For example: football, basketball, bullfighting, cinema, theatre...)
  • What kind of discriminations are there in our country? Compare this situation with other countries such as the USA, the UK, France, Germany...
  • What struggles for rights do you remember? Some ideas: against segregation, equal rights between men and women, to get a welfare state (estado del bienestar), compulsory education, healthcare for everybody, sexual discrimination, etc.
Activity 1
What makes a person change their social status: education, money, popularity and success...? Discuss with your partner and try to get an agreement on the topic.

Some people think that education or going to university is one of the best ways to change your social class to belong to upper classes. Here you are a listening comprenhension about Education. After doing it, let's talk about how important it is to rise in society. This is the exercise

Activity 2
Here you are a lot of questions related to discrimination. Discuss with your partner about some of them. Adapted from

  • Have you ever been discriminated against? What happened to you? What was your reaction? Have you ever discriminated against anybody?

  • Why do you think discrimination exists? Why do people discriminate?  What could you do to reduce discrimination?  What would you do to cope with discrimination? Why do we treat people differently? Is discriminating against a certain group of people ever justified? What do you think about quota or possitive discrimination?

  • Do you think males and females are equal?  Do men earn more than women? Why?
  • What king of sexual discrimination do you know? 

  • Why is it that when children are small,they discriminate against other people that are not the same size and color as they are? Is discrimination something natural? Are our children going to live in a less discriminated world? 

Activity 3
Some people say that trade unions are going to disappear in a short term. Do you agree? What are the main consequences of that fact? 

Activity 4
About grammar, this lesson deals with connectors. Here you are  a good explanation with an exercise at the end. Click here

Happy Halloween (31st October)

If you want to know about Halloween, here you are the link to wikipedia: click here. Another posibility is to hear (or read) this introduction (especially for NI1) to the topic: click here. Here you have some funny activities just in case you are interested in the topic:

  • a short video with vocabulary of the topic; click here or this one
  • a video about the history of Halloween: click here and also here
  • some idioms about "dead": click here
  • if you want to know something about this festivity related to history, go to this link or to this alternative one
  • this link is rather difficult but it's quite interesting, with ghost stories and videos with the text below, so you can use them for both reading and for listening; click here
This is an exercise of listening. Although they say it is for advanced students, there is a simpler version. Have a try and click here.

If you have children, there are lots of sites on the internet to get ideas. These are a couple of them:
But Halloween is famous for its parties, which are not only for kids but also for adults. If you are thinking of organising a party you might visit these sites:
  • For adults: you have this or this
  • For kids: this is one and this is another one
I hope to be helpful for all of you. Have fun and enjoy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Preparing and writing stories for Halloween

One of the most typical things in Halloween is to tell horror stories, something scary, spooky. Sometimes the story is really short, like the ones you can find on this site, but if you really like this sort of stories here you have a page which includes many of this kind; click here

There is going to be a competition of scary tales in class. If you want to take part, write a spooky story no longer than 150-200 words. Here you have some help to do it:
  • a PDF with questions to help you with the story: click here
  • this is another link with steps to be followed while to write your spooky story: click here
Good luck for everybody!

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 4: Modern Family

This unit is about family and how this has changed in the last decades. Let's start with the topic with general questions to discuss in class:
  • What changes have you seen in families since the 1950's?
  • Which of these changes is the most remarkable and why?
  • What are the main problems of being a single parent? Are there any advantages?
  • What is the "boomerang generation" (described in your textbook, p.43)? Could you guess other reasons for coming back your parents' home?
  • Compare your parents' family and the new models of family. What are the main challenges for "modern families"?
Modern Family is a very famous TV series and here you are an interview with the principal stars. They answer their audience's questions  about their characters but also about family and many other subjects in a humorous way: click here for the video. Try to do it directly and then use the subtitles.

About grammar, there is a reference to reminding things and promising. Let's use it in oral practice:

Activity 1
Work with your partner and think of all the things a person should do in your house to keep it in good conditions until you come back from holiday. Tell aloud these actions using:
    • Don't forget to...       Remember to...       Let me remind you to....
You can watch this video to see the meaning and use of these verbs: click here

Activity 2
On p.42 you have a revision of making suggestions and how to accept or refuse them. Let's work on this point by doing exercise 8 on that page and then we'll make some suggestions for these other situations:
  • Your friend wants  to go on holiday for a week but she/he doesn't know where to go yet ( to the beach, a city break, a cottage in the country...)
  • It's your friend's birthday and you want to prepare something special for him/her (eating out, cinema, a surprise party...)
It's your father's or mother's birthday and you don't know what to buy as a present
Activity 3
On p.43 there is a current topic about living at your parents' home. Discuss with your partner about this and tell your own experience. Think about pros and cons of living with them.

Activity 4
As usual, here you are an exercise of listening (filling the gaps). It's not difficult but it's a help for getting used to doing this kind of exercises for the exam. Click here

Activity 5
Here you are another listening about raising children. We'll do it in class and then we'll share our opinion on the topic. The exercise is here

In the final exam of this module you'll find an exercise of filling the gaps in he reading test. Here you have a link with two examples to practise: click here

Hope this post is useful for you and see you in class.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

B2.1 - Present perfect simple and continuous

Let's practise these forms we've already seen in class with some exercises:
  • write the correct form: here you have a long explanation of grammar and an exercise with 15 sentences to fill in with the correct form.
  • this video is worth a visit: it's a native teacher explaining with examples the difference among different verbal forms related to present and past. You'll like it. Pay attention to the fact that this teacher has a lot of videos on YouTube about gammar, vocabulary, etc.
  • some more exercises
  • on this page you can find some exercises at the bottom. Try to do them to practise.
I hope you'll enjoy doing these exercises. See you in class.

Monday, October 15, 2018

B2.1 - Work

In unit 2 we dealt with job interviews and we saw 2 videos in class but there are more as you can see:
  • Some tips to be successful in a job interview: click here
  • This video is about soft skills: click here
You also have these listening exercises to practise: click here for the first one and this is the other one

Sunday, October 14, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 3: The Older Generation (B1.2)

This lesson deals with the topic of elderly people, which is pretty actual. As usual, we'll do some activities to practise oral skills in class.

General questions
  • Do we take care of aour elderly people? What measures can be taken to make them feel confortable in our society?
  • Would you live with your parents when they were unable to do it alone? Give reasons for your answer
  • Have you ever lived with an eledrly person? If so, what about your experience. If not, what problems would you face by sharing your home with them?

Activity 1
Discuss with your partner what means to be part of the older generation. Use the questions below:
How old should you be to consider yourself an elderly person? What means to be old? Do you know elderly people? What do they say? How do they feel?Are there any places where they prefer to live?

Activity 2
Try to work out what advantages and disadvantages you can find about being old. Share your ideas with your partner. Speak about elderly people in your country. What are their popular pastimes, their hobbies? Do they travel a lot? Where do they go? Do they help their children? How do they do it?

Activity 3
Read these statements with your mate and say what you think about that. Give reasons for your answers or the pros and cons of each sentence:
  • Younger people don't respect the older generation or they should do it at least.
  • Elderly people should be looked after by their own family.
  • When you get older you can't do many things. You should accept it.
  • You are as old as you feel. You can do whatever you like, no matter your age.

Activity 4
Have elderly changed a lot in the last 50 years? In what way? Think of your grandparents' life and elderly people nowadays. What are the main differences between them?

Activity 5
Let's practise with the third conditional, also called "impossible conditional". You use them as a complaint or a regret about a past event. Here you are a link with some third conditional sentences to finish: click here. You can do it alone (at home) or with your partner (in class).

  • Regrets from your past: If I'd studied/practised more, I'd have got better grades/qualifications
  • You missed your frined's birthday party. Think about possible sentences such as: If I'd been able to go, I would have met Peter's new girlfriend
  • Complaints: use the 3rd conditional to finish the following sentences sentences
    • If I'd known you were coming...
    • I would have told you the truth if ...
    • If I had had the money...

Activity 6
In this unit it's explainded how to pronounce perfect conditionals and perfect modals (page 35, exercises 3 and 4). To help you with this, here you are a video with an explanation and examples on this: click here

If you are interested in this topic about elderly people and aging here you are an article from the BBC: click here

Listening practice

Listen to this podcast about Aging Population from BBC Learnin English. Besides, here you are an exercise of multiple choice from ESL: click here; and this one is another post (take the fast option).

Monday, October 8, 2018

B2.1 - unit 2: Present Perfec and Past Simple

Present Perfect
  • it focuses on the result of the action and this result happens in the present time: I've already eaten, thank you.
  • the reference of time is not precised and it usually means up to now: I've seen that fillm many times; I think I've seen you before.
  • this tense usually goes with expressions like 
    • JUST
    • FOR and SINCE.

Present Perfect Continuous

This is a tense that also connects past actions with the present time but it has the idea of a continuous action. For Spanish speakers it's very easy to translate to the expression "llevo haciendo eso durante/desde hace mucho tiempo" like in this example: I've been living here since 1998.
To see a further explanation you can go to this link; at the bottom of the plage you'll find some exercises like the one we did in class: click here

To practise with the use of FOR and SINCE go to this link

Past Simple
  • it focuses on the past action; it's usually referred to memories or past events. The refence of time is quite clear so it goes with expressions such as : 
    • (time)___ AGO; 
    • LAST ____ ; 
    • IN ___  ; 
    • WHEN ____ , 
Here you can find some useful links to practise with these tenses but the best way is to do it speaking:
Remember how useful it's to refresh your knowledge of irregular verbs from time to time. As we did in class, you can do it in these ways, if you fancy:
  • Alphabetical order: say as manu verbs as possible starting with letter...
  • According to the pattern of the verb:
    • A - A - A (the easiest pattern)
    • A - B - B (the most frequent)
    • A - B - C (mind the pronunciation!)
    • A - B - A (not many)
  • Topics:
    • daily routines
    • money
    • learning
    • senses
Listening practice
Here you are some exercises to work with:
  • Inside Google's office: click here
  • A filling the gaps exercise: look at this video
  • Not exactly the topic but another kind of activity: click here

Sunday, October 7, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - Unit 2: Good science, bad ethics? (B1.2)

In this unit we are going to speak about how development can be something good or something to be aware of. About grammar, we'll see purpose clauses. Besides, there is a review of connectors and how to use them to join and connect all the ideas expressed in a text.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do NOT have class on October, 9 (it's holiday in Alcalá). Next class we'll work with unit 2 and 3. Thank you. See you next week in class.

General Questions
  • Do you think there is a "good science" and a "bad science"? Give reasons for your answer
  • Do governments and/or society set boundaries to science? Which ones?
  • Can you think of a dilemma connected to science or medicinesuch as the use of stem cells, palliative cares, who is worth being save or what to do with terminal ill people?

Activity 1
Which advances mentioned below do you think are more necessary? Discuss with your partner and give reasons for your answer.
  • Advances in biotechnology, especially the use of stem cells.
  • Safer, faster transportation
  • Improvements in information technology: is it a necessity or an addiction?
  • The use of IT: new devices and how to use them
  • Space travel, as the last frontier and even as a touristic destination
Activity 2
The use of purpose is very usual in spoken English. Let's work with some examples. Find some sentences which express the meaning given below:
  • To say the use or purpose of something:  A hammer is a tool for .... (-ING); a camera is something you use to .... (INFINITIVE); an umbrella is something people use so that they ...... (followed by A SENTENCE); we use medicines in order not to ..... (INFINITIVE)
  • To say the reason for doing something: I started doing exercise to feel better. The doctor told me to do it little by little in order to avoid health problems. I trained more and more so that I could take part into a competition. I did it hard for geting the first price.
Try to do the same with your partner. Share your examples.

Activity 3 (use of conditional sentences)
In this unit there is a review of zero conditional or general truth conditional sentences (if-clause with present simple and main clause with present simple as well). Let's work with second conditionals or hypothetical/conditional sentence (simple conditional - simple past). Here you are some questions to work with your partner:
  • What happens when you want to lose weight?  If you need to be slimmer you can do exercise; if I were overweight, I'd try to eat less
  • What can you do to learn a language?
  • Professional athletes need to take drugs to boost their performance.
Activity 4 (listening comprenhension)
Listening comprenhension exercise. You'll here some news about cloned animals. Fill in the blanks with a missing work. Click here
This other exercise is very useful to review passive voice. Although it is not in this unit I think it'll be a good help to refresh your grammar with this exercise: click here

See you in class!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

B2.1 - Expressing Purpose

This is the first link we saw in class: click here. Nevertheless, if you want further explanation, you may use this link: click here

Here you are some exercises to work with: exercise 1     exercise 2    exercise 3

This other exercise is to use it in your writing: click here

Friday, September 28, 2018

That's English! - Module 7 - lesson 1: Our planet (B1.2)

This unit is focused on improving your vocabulary in order to be more accurate when you describe a place, especially about geographical features. Let's start with this vocabulary and here you are some exercises to do:
  • an easy exercise to stat with: click here
  • a list of exercises: click here
General Questions
Work with your partner and answer these questions. Give as many details as possible:
  • Do you prefer to live in the countryside or in a city? Why?
  • To get relaxed do you go to the country or to the seaside?
  • Describe the most beautiful landscape you've ever seen
  • What city in the world is your favourite? Why?

Activity 1
To start with here you are a listening exercise about Canada. Pay attention the way they describe the country and the use of adjectives. Do the exercise here

Activity 2
Work with your partner(s) and describe a place you have visited. Try to be as precise as possible and use the vocaburay you've learnt about geographical features. Don't forget to use adjectives to express your emotions in your description:
amazing - spectacular - gorgeous - lively - incredible - breath-taking - vast - peculiar - outstanding -unspoilt - unique - impressive - awesome - astonishing - bustling

Here you have an example of a description of  a well-known place: Paris. To do the listening comprenhension, click here and then use it as a model for your own descriptions.

If you want to know more adjectives related to nature, here you have an exercise: click here

Activity 3
This listening exercise is very easy but it's a good exemple to see what you could do to describe your own country. First, do this exercise (click here) and now try to expalin to your mate(s) the geographical features and climate of Spain/your country or a place you know well.

Activity 4
In your textbook, in page 9 exercise 6 you are asked to describe the place you grew up. Besides, tell us how much or little that place has changed. When your mate is working, make questions to get more details and make the conversation more lively. Use questions such as:

  • What do you remember best about that place and why?
  • Have you ever come back there? If so, what feelings did you have? If not, why not?

Activity 5
Work with your partner(s) to explain the main differences between the north and the south of Spain, or between the coast and the plateau in our country. Then we'll share your opinion aloud.

Activity 6
According to what you have read on your textbook, what place of the world you'd like to visit and what place you couldn't go to or you wouldn't stand going to. Give reasons for your choice.

Here you are an example. If you want to know more about Australia, go to this video.

See you in class!

Welcome to That's English! - NB1.2: module 7 and 8

Great to see you again and welcome to the newcomers!

From now onwards we'll be working with a lesson every week . You should have seen the lesson before coming to class, especially the grammar points and the vocabulary in order to practise. This blog is for my students and here I'll show you what we're going to work in class: activities, grammar exercises, videos, extra material...

These activities, especially the ones for practising speaking skills, are the base for the oral exam at the end of each module. You may prepare this exam with the general questions and the exercises given in the blog.

You know that it's not compulsory to come to class, but it'll be very useful and it's the best way to practise your speaking. We expect you'll attend class as much as possible to improve your English.

Thank you for your attention and see you in class!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

B2.1 - Expressing your opinion

To express agreement or disgreement, here you are a web page as an exemple, but there are many of them. It's really important to sound more natural and accurate while speaking so try to use a large variety of these starters.

Another way of expressing agreement and disagreement is using expressions such as:
  • me, too; me, neiter
  • so do I; neither do I
Go to this page we saw in class and do the exercise at the bottom to review what we saw in class: click here. If you need further practise or explanation, go to this video

In this lesson (1C-Empower B1+) we are also working with present perfect as well. As this is a revision, you may have a look at this page but I think you should see it in context and especially when you compare it with tenses which are a bit misleading such as present perect and past simple; if you need any help, go to this site or this one.

B2.1 - Present Simple versus Present Continuous

To work with these tenses, you may use previous entries lik this or you may find exercises if you look for them on the internet.
About the spelling, you can revise the general rules about adding sufixes:
      • Consonant + Vowel + Consonant in the final syllabel, the last consonant must be double;  e.g.: win --- winner, prefer --- preferred  shop --- shopping
      • When the verb finishes in -E,  you drop the -e and add the sufix; e.g.: write --- writing,  cold --- colder, start --- started 
For extreme and gradable adjectives you can go to this video we saw in class: click here. If you want to read some grammar explanation, go to this page: click here. Another example can be found here. Remember to use these adjectives when you describe things, places, people...

To revise the collocations for DO and MAKE you may use this web page  but you can search or the internet many more; nevertheless, here you are a video (not very appealing but useful) with some clues about how to use DO and MAKE: click here. This video is much more entretaining. Here you are some exercises to practise:
To practise some listening comprenhension, here you are an exercise from British Council for B2.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

B2.1 - Making Questions

We've already seen in class the way of making questions. Let's practice a bit with the grammar we worked with. Here you are some exercises to help you:
  • a long explanation with a good exercise at the end of the web page: click here
  • this exercise is quite simple but it may help you: click here
  • this is another exercise to do: click here
  • and another one: click here
Once you get confident with the grammar, try to practise with them. Here you are 2 examples:
  • A typical way of using subject questions is having a survey: Who has any pets at home? Who went to the cinema last weekend? Who can drive? What happens if you boil water up to 100ºC?
  • When you ask about hobbies, likes and dislikes, routines, etc : Who likes sports? Who gets up early in the morning? Who hates rock music?
  • For the object ones you may ask questions about another person: What kind of music do you prefer? Who do you speak to when you have a problem? What books have you read recently?
As we are dealing with communication and speaking, here you are a TED talk I like a lot: click here

Friday, September 14, 2018

Starting the new school year!

We're starting our new year (2018-19) and apart from the text book we'll need to make some personal effort to improve your English. Here you are some recommendations so you'll be able to do it on your own and at your pace:
  • Read a piece of news in English every day: it'll take you little time and you'll be updater at the same time. If you have an intermediate level, you could use this link of VOA (Voice Of America): click here. If you are in a higher level, you should go to an international edition of a newspaper like The Gardian or Le Monde in the English version, although it's rather difficult to understand.
  • Talking is one of the most difficult things to do on your own but not impossible. Take advantage of all the tools you have with IT (the internet, moviles, ipads, etc.) . You could use hangouts, phone calls or  Skype to have a chat with your mates from time to time. You may speak about your holidays, what you've been doing, your plans... You might even use wassaps using the microphone and send messages to your mates telling them what you've done, a book you recommend, a film or a place you liked and say why you recommend it. Why don't you have a conversation group? You may meet from time to time to have a coffee and to talk about a topic. If you need help with the topics, let me know and I'll help you.
  • Write an email to your mates or a diary explaining your experiences. Your're not a proffesional journalist but if you write down every week you'll realise that you do many things although you might think they're not so relevant. Remember: the more you write, the better you do it.
  • Listening skills are very easy to practise thanks to the internet. Remember you've got some links on this blog (go to useful links on the right bar)  but you can use other links or look for some new webpages. Another possibility is to read a graded audiobook (from the "useful links" as we) and then listen to the audio when you've finished with your reading; listen to it when you're going for a walk, lying on the beach, cooking... and you should do it again some time later to check how much you remember. On the internet you can find many listening exercises if you serach in this way:
    • Listening exercises+B2 (better a higher level than the one you are)
  • But if you like grammar like me, you can use all the previous posts we've got on this blog or some others you may find. If you need something in particular you should search it on your own by introducing the topic in English or the search bar; e.g B2+Exercises+passive
You've got class again. This school year is going to be a wonderful challenge with all the changes we've got and I'm eager to see you again; maybe you are not in my classroom any more, but you may attend class in next room. Nice to meet you if you're a new student and nice to see you again if you aren't.

Enjoy your classes!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Useful links to improve your writing

I'v tried to find some web pages to help you with your writing. Here you are some links:
  • a general idea about how to write, click here
  • useful linkers and connectors: click here
  • this is about paragraphs: click here
  • a link to work with spelling, including exercises: click here
But what you have to keep in mind is some general tips which are pretty simple:
  • Be logical and coherent: don't take anything for granted and explain well what you want to say.
  • Organise your text and use paragraphs for that.
  • Use variety in vocabulary and structures; avoid repetitions.
  • Check your composition before hand it in.
I'm sure you're going to do it really well. See you son!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Preparing oral exam for Advanced Students

Some students asked me for typical expressions to use while having the oral exam. I've tried to find something to help you and these are my suggestions:
  • let's review something we saw for the previous oral exam in our blog: click here. For the indiviual part of the oral exam, have a look to the tips below.
  • use this link to a blog in which you can find useful language for oral exams, such as starting or closing conversations, fillers, expressions of agreement and disagreement, contrast and so on: click here
  • this link could help you to prepare and give your speech: click here
  • Remember you can use your notes but you CAN'T read them so avoid writing complete sentences on your piece of paper and use key words instead to remind you your main ideas.
  • Organise your speech with introduction, main ideas and conclusión. Make sure you have included all the points required in your task and control the time.
  • Try to keep calm, don't rush when you are speaking; you'll make more mistakes and it'll be more difficult to understand you.
  • When you explain an idea, give examples to support it and to increase your oral production.
  • Use your entonation and even your body language (eye contact, your hands, etc.) to support your speech and to sound interesting. If you don't believe in what you're saying, why should the examiner do it?
I'm sure you'll do well at the exam. No doubt!

Possessive and Saxon Genitive

Here you are a post about this topic, which is one of the last points of gramar we saw. It is oriented to NA2 but other students with a high level of English might find this interesting.

There are some expressions in which you use possessives that are not familiar for Spanish students. Here you are two links to help you with special uses of Saxon genitive:
  • this one from BBC Learning English: click here
  • this is for unusual cases: click here
See you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Listening practice

For different levels: click HERE
Intermediate level: clik here  and here
Short dialogues with natural English; although they say it's intermediate it could be considered higher because it's fast and with accent: clik here

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cartoons to learn English

One of your mates has given me this link to watch animation videos and you can use them to practise. They speak a bit fast and the level is high (especially for those who are in intermediate level) but it's fun to watch them. This is the link: click here (TheOdd1sOut).

But if what you need is to practice with exam format listening exercises, yu might go to this other link with different topics: click here.

Hope to be useful!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

About phrasals

I prefer to speak about multi-word verbs or verbs with particles. However, I showed you in class how to distinguish phrasal verbs and this is useful to know if they are separable or not.

Here you are the link to see a bit more about what I explained in class:
  • For a general explanation: the difference between prepositional and phrasal verbs: click here but if you want to have a much larger explanation, try this.
In my opinion, the best way to study this point of grammar is starting by the particle. There are more particles and more verbs, but here you are some links to start with:
But you can also learn them in alphabetical order; the problem is that eventually you come across a complete dictionary. If you want to have a try, you can go to this link. Another not so depressing list is this one.

The other page you can use is this one which has exercises; don't worry if you don't know all of them. Try it from time to time to remember them: clik here. As I've already told you the best way is to practise with them so here you are a link with exercises and here you find some more and here.

If you want to do more exercises, remember to search them on the Internet: phrasal verbs exercises+B1 or B2, depending on your level.

See you in class!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Some problems with modals (NI1-NI2)

There are some modals which are tricky because their meaning is very similar or because they are different from what we say in Spanish:

  • The difference between MAY and MIGHT: click here or here
  •  TO BE ABLE TO and CAN: go to this link to see the little difference in meaning and to this video to see how to use it

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NI1 - Revision of modals

In lesson 10C there is a new modal MIGHT but we're going to revise all of them to practise for the exam and to have them clearer.

First of all remember a modal is a verb used to say something in a determinate way (modal is Spanish means modo de decir as well). Then you should pay attention to the grammar characteristic: is it an auxiliary or not?. This means that not all the modals are auxiliaries:
  • You don't have to wear a uniform at work but you can't wear tra CAN iners
As you can see HAVE TO needs an axiliary for the negative form whiledoesn't need it because it's itself an auxiliary. If you want to know more about their characteristics you can go to this link.

To finish with, keep in mind there are few of them which use infinitive with TO: HAVE TO, OUGHT TO and USED TO; the rest use bare infinitive, that is, without TO.

Here you are some links about grammar to help you with MODALS:
  • this is a list of modals and their use: click here
  • this is another list:
    • can – ability, permission, possibility, request
    • could – ability, permission, possibility, request, suggestion
    • may – permission, probability, request
    • might – possibility, probability, suggestion
    • must – deduction, necessity, obligation, prohibition
    • shall – decision, offer, question, suggestion
    • should – advice, necessity, prediction, recommendation
    • will – decision, intention, offer, prediction, promise, suggestion
    • would – habit, invitation, permission, preference, request, question, suggestion

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

NI1 - Unit 9A - Animals: vocabulary and 2nd conditional

If you want to know how to say your favourite animal in English you can go to this link

Remember there is a good exercise for speaking on the textbook (p. 69) with this topic and the use of second conditional. Here you are some examples and you can use other tenses as well:
  • If you were an animal what animal would you be?
  • If you went on a safari, what animals would you like to meet or take a photo?
  • If you wanted to have a pet at home what would you like to have?
  • Are you alergic to any insects? Have you ever been stung by an insect? Have you been bitten by an animal?
Many people think that animals are connected to personality so here you are a link for Chinese zodiac; have a look and see if you agree with the description: click here

The other typical problem is animals in danger of extintion: lynx, whale, polar bear, bees, panda bear, tiger, rhino...

Some animals are representative of a party or a group: an article about Donkeys and Elephants or the Black Panther Party.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NI1 - Units 8B and 9A: 1st and 2nd type of conditionals

Although most of you have learnt conditional sentences as zero conditional, 1st, 2nd and 3rd type, I'd rather give them a "name" which helps them to be identified more easily:
  • general truth 
  • probable or possible conditional
  • improbable  or hypothetical conditional
  • impossible conditional
If you want a good explanation about all types of conditional you have this link, but we are going to work with the first 3 types:

TYPE 0 General truth; it always happens.
You can use WHEN instead of IF
If you heat some ice
it melts
TYPE 1 Very probable. When the condition occurs, there will be a reaction. Present
If you have a problem,
future – present – imperative
I'll help you
the teacher can help you
call me, please
TYPE 2 Improbable but still possible to happen.
The possibility is more uncertain.
There is a special use with WERE
Past simple
If you had a problem

*If I were you
Simple conditional
I could help you
the teacher would help you

I wouldn't go out today

Here you are some exercises if you want to practise with this grammar point:
  • a link with all the types, but you can choose what you want to do: click here
  • another link with many exercises: click here
  • this is a useful presentation about the use of conditionals: click here
  • if you prefer a video, click here
  • if you like music, here you have a video with examples of songs which use conditionals
  • this video is with songs and grammar expalantions as well: click here
But the best way is to practise by speaking and using them in your daily life, especially some expressions such as:
  • If I were you, I wouldn't do it
  • What would you change if you could?
  • I'd love to do it if I could
  • If you need further information, please let me know
  • Don't worry; I'll do it (if I can)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Visiting Alcalá de Henares

Next FridayMarch 2 we have a study visit throughout Alcalá and I've asked my students to prepare some information about a relevant place: histoic facts, a beautiful place, a memory, a bar you like, a bakery for "costrada" and so on.
If you need some information about our city here you are some web pages to get details and facts:
  • a visit in the old town: click here
  • a lot of pictures and vocabulary: click here
  • a pdf guide with a lot of info: click here
If you need further information you can ask for a guide ate the tourist information desk at Carvantes Square. Nevertheless, don't worry because there will be a lot of things we'll know thanks to your mates. The meeting point is at Cervantes statue (in Cervantes Square) at 9.45am
I'm sure we'll enjoy a lot. See you there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

NA2 - Working with conditionals

This lesson 6B deals with conditionals. To have some more information here you are some links to help you to revise this grammar point:
About pronunciation, here you are a video which shows you how to pronoun the third type conditional.; click here

To finish with, here you are the three songs heard in class are: