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