lunes, 28 de febrero de 2011

Oscar glory

This is the most thorough information I could get about last night's Oscar Awards and it comes from The Telegraph. You can find everything and for everybody here:

- Pictures
- Winners
- Gossiping
- Dresses
- Articles with comments
- Reviews
- Trailers

You will find reading (and listening) matter to get you through during the week.


Self-study activity:
Watch the opening scenes of the film Couples Retreat. How many of the activities can you name in English?

The clip belongs in a Russian blog and we can hear some voice-over comments in that language, but we shouldn't bother about that, as we still manage to hear the background music perfectly and the quality of the clip is really good.

Now, if possible, get together with an English-speaking friend or relative. If not, you can do the activity on your own.

How often do you do the activities below?

They are most of the activities that appear in the Couples Retreat clip.
Answer with adverbs of indefinite frequency (never, always, sometimes, rarely) or definitive frequency (once a week, twice a month, three times a year, every day).

I never ride a bike.
I kiss my children every day.

How often do you...

use your car?
kiss your partner or family?
go for a walk in the park?
ride your bike?
play games with your partner or family?
set the table or do housework?
give your partner flowers?
go late for work / school?
argue with your partner or your family?
vacuum the house?
go to parties?
go to the disco?
go jogging?
work out at the gym?
go to the beach?
take part in competitions?
hug your partner or your family?
take photographs?

This activity derives from one on the great Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals.

domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011

Rowling: The benefits of failure

Self-study activity:
Watch this excerpt from a lecture by JK Rowling at Harvard and say whether the statements 1-8 below are true or false.

1 Rowling failed to graduate.
2 Rowling became homeless at one stage.
3 For Rowling failure is fun.
4 Rowling always knew she would succeed.
5 If she had succeeded at anything, she would have never become a successful writer.
6 Some people never fail.
7 Passing examinations gave Rowling security.
8 Having no friends made Rowling fail.

You can read a transcript of the clip here.

1-4 F 5 T 6-8 F

Human planet

Ever since I started this blog I have tried to balance all my entries so that there's a little bit for everyone every day in the That's English! spectrum.

I was wondering what to include today to cater for Básico (elementary) students when I came across this BBC Human Planet video through DDeubel.

At this stage I feel it's far better than I say nothing else to let you watch this three-minute clip.

So apart from admiring the striking beauty of the clip, what is there to our English here?

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English speaking friend or relative and do a memory test. What can you remember from the video clip?

Students at different levels will be able to answer the question with a varying degree of depth, as in the picture above:
Two people are riding their horses. They have a bird each. (Básico)
Two riders are galloping across a snowy plain. They seem to be hunters, as each is holding an eagle. (Intermediate)

As a follow-up, after checking your answers, you can go over the clip again and freeze the video to try and describe each of the scenes as accurately as possible.

10 Things that will make you happy

This is a downloadable PDF from Yes magazine which I knew about through Larry Ferlazzo and from which we can benefit in a variety of ways.

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English-speaking friend or relative and do a prediction activity. List your top 10 key aspects to lead a happy life.

Then you can check your predictions against the magazine article, helping each other out with difficult words and expressions.

After reading, discuss to what extent you agree with the ideas put forward and how many of them you already do in your everyday life, and which would be withing your reach.

sábado, 26 de febrero de 2011

Life keeps getting better

Life keeps getting better, that holds for Christina Aguilera.

Self-study activity:
Watch this short video and try to find an answer to the questions that are captioned on the clip. You will discover it is no easy task, but you'll manage to get the general ideas of what Christina says.

You can read the transcript here.

50 interesting facts about Facebook

From Random Facts comes this easy read. We are presented with some statistics and some funny (peculiar) information about the oddities surrounding Facebook today.

Verbs in space

A verb is a word that shows action. A verb tells what the subject of a sentence is doing.

This information seems too obvious, doesn't it? You may be right, but at the same time you may change your mind after playing Verbs in Space. It might not be that easy to spot the verbs in the sentences.

Give it a go and enjoy.

Self-study activity:
Have your notebook at hand and note down the verbs the meaning of which you don't know. When you finish playing, look up the meaning of some of the verbs so that you can learn them.

H/T to DDeubel.

viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011

The Guardian video collection

The Guardian video collection is an interactive display which shows links to The Guardian's many travel videos.

It offers us the opportunity to find out about many places around the globe while we practise our listening skill with lots of videos of varying difficulty.


This is an interactive slideshow from The Sun Sentinel about the way fireworks work.

It is an easy and interesting read.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.

jueves, 24 de febrero de 2011

Franco and Hathaway

With the Oscar Awards ceremony just round the corner this ABC ad seems like the suitable video to set everybody in the mood.

No task with the video today. Simply watch it and enjoy it. You can read the transcript below.

Alright, Hathaway.
Let’s do this, Franco.
Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway must undergo intense training to enhance their agility, strength and speed.
New record!
And prepare for any emergency…
Truly this is a great year in film.
Wardrobe malfunction!
… before they can take on Hollywood’s most esteemed icon.
Oscar. Live Sunday, February 27th on ABC.

British records

This is a fun and enjoyable activity to practise the superlatives in English.

Self-study actitivty:
Watch the video that will come up after clicking on the imagine below.
Note down all the superlatives in the captions to help you remember the information about Britian later on. You can freeze the video to do so.
Then try to remember as much about the video as you can.
Use the same superlatives to talk about features in your town, area or country.

The names of the dead

Why is the Triangle Factory fire an important event in New York City and American history? Find out by reading this The New York Times article.

While you do so, answer these questions about it taken from The New York Times Learning blogs.

WHO recently confirmed the identities of six previously unidentified victims of the Triangle Factory fire?
WHAT is the story of the fire?
WHERE is the Triangle building? WHERE were the newly identified victims buried?
WHEN did the fire occur?
WHY is the fire an important event in New York City and American history?
HOW were these final five victims positively identified?

miércoles, 23 de febrero de 2011

Failing is living

Self-study activity:
This is a short motivating clip from Bluefish TV in which we are told about famous people who failed at some stage in their lives but who went on to succeed later on.

Watch the clip and enjoy it in the first place. Then fill in the blanks in the transcript below with just one or two words.

Dismissed from (1) _____ with a note that read, “Wasting your time.” She’s too shy to put her (2) _____ forward.
Turned down by the Decca (3) _____ who said, “We don’t like their sound, and (4) _____ is on the way out”.
A failed soldier, farmer and real (5) _____ . At 38 years old he went to work for his father as a (6) _____ .
Cut from the high school basketball team. He went home, (7) _____ himself in his room and (8) _____ .
A teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything and he should go into a (9) _____ where he might succeed by virtue of his (10) _____ personality.
Fired from a newspaper because he (11) _____ imagination and had no original ideas.
His (13) _____ died , he failed in (14) _____ twice, he had a nervous breakdown and he was defeated in eight (15) _____ .
If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.

1. drama school 2. best foot 3. recording company 4. guitar music 5. estate agent 6. handyman 7. locked 8. cried 9. field 10. pleasant 11. lacked 13. fiancée 14. business 15. elections

Highway code

Highway code is an online grammar game from Let's have fun with English. The game is a great excuse to revise must for obligation, mustn't for prohibition, can/can't for permission and should for advice.

Ideally speaking it should be played by four-to-six players, but I can't see any reason why we can't 'play' on our own. Ok, if you play on your own you will be revising modal verbs, but you might be killing all the fun.

Before we play, we must get familiar with the game by reading the rules. The rules page will give us access to all the other components of the game:
You need a driving licence that you can download if you wish.

You need to get acquainted with the road and traffic vocabulary as well as with the modal verbs. You can do all this from here, with the added bonus that there is and audio file for each of the vocabulary items, which will enable you to get the pronunciation right.

Finally, you are given the solutions to all the questions in the game.

So it doesn't matter whether you are on your own, or with a group a friends, or you are a teacher with a whiteboard or a computer room at your disposal. Highway code will help you revise your modals in a funny way.

How electricity works

With Learning Circuits we can learn the way electricity works. From an English learner's point of view, it is good reading practice while we get familiar with the name of everyday objects and increase our knowledge of something we usually take for granted.

Before we start off doing the activity, we must select the number of people who are doing the activity, choose a name, create our own character and choose a colour of our liking. This process will just take us seconds, so don't be put off by it.

The interactive activity is divided into six parts: The basics of electricity; circuits; diagrams; switches; changing circuits; and insulators and conductors.

In the first place we are given a short explanation of each of the six parts and then we move on to do an interactive activity. We also have a glossary at out disposal to check the meaning of difficult words.

H/T to Del Valle.

martes, 22 de febrero de 2011

Weather Channel accused

Self-study activity:
Watch this clip from The Onion about allegations against The Weather Channel and say whether these statements are true or false.

18 million Americans get their news from cable.
The Weather Channel misinforms viewers.
The weather is mentioned 4,000 times every day.
Temperatures of cities are shown 24 hours a day.
Religious fanatics are behind the Weather Channel.

You can read a transcipt of the clip by activating the subtitles on YouTube.

1. F (80 million) 2. T 3. T 4. T 5. F (business interests)

US Presidents in Google Earth

Google has published a new kmz file containing images and links to information about each former President of the United States. You can download the file and launch it in Google Earth or view it here using the Google Earth browser plug-in. The file shows where each president was from, offers an image of each president, provides a link to more information about each president, and shows how many states were in the Union when each president was elected.

All in all the presentation gives us good reading practice and background information of US politics and history.

H/T to Free Technology for Teachers.

Have got and have

The French teacher Mrs Haquet from Frenchfrog's Little English Pond has created this interactive book that can help us study and learn the differences between have got / have in the present.

Mrs Haquet's book starts by going over the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms of both have got and have, through the help of both the written and aural mode. Then she suggests some practical exercises for the students to put her explanations into practice.

The second part of the book has to do with vocabulary: Students get acquainted with vocabulary which has to do with the family and pets, which includes some practise for students to memorise it.

This vocabulary is finally used as a springboard to have additional practise with have got/have.

lunes, 21 de febrero de 2011

How babies learn a language

This is a short TED talk by Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences at the University of Washington, who talks about how babies learn one language over another, that is, by listening to the people around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world.

The critical period to learn a language is between 0 and 7 years of age. Patricia Kuhl talks about this critical period and investigates the brain process during this time.

Remember you can activate the English subtitles to fully understand the talk.

H/T to A Clil to Climb.

Being bilingual boosts brain power

We have been creating several entries which have to do with bilinguism and language learning recently. Here comes another one. This is an online internet article from The Guardian about the advantages of bilinguism for the brain's health.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.


Qwiki is a multimedia encyclopedia containing more than three million entries. Qwiki publishes narrated, illustrated, interactive reference entries. To use Qwiki, enter a topic in the search box or select a topic from the featured topics on the homepage. Then watch, listen, and read the Qwiki entry for that topic. Below your chosen Qwiki you will see a selection of related Qwiki entries. You can also find related materials by clicking the "Q" symbol that appears at the end of the Qwiki play bar.

And as the "wiki" in Qwiki implies, registered users can suggest videos and images to improve the reference entries. In the future registered users will be able to create their own Qwiki entries.

Qwiki could be a fantastic way for students to spot all kinds of information. For a lot of "standard" curriculum topics, Qwiki's entries provide a more engaging format for learning about those topics than that offered by textbooks.

domingo, 20 de febrero de 2011

Couples retreat

Couples retreat is a comedy that may have gone unnoticed for most film-goers. It is a comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a holiday. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort's therapy sessions is not optional.

Self-study activity:
We are going to watch a two-minute scene of the film. In this scene we'll get acquainted with the four couples of the film while they go through one of the therapy sessions.

This activity is really straightforward. Try to understand as much as possible, simply that. You can read a transcript of the scene here.

Spelling games

A Clil to Climb shows a number of spelling games that may help us revise the spelling of some common words. They have published four different versions of the game so far.

In the basic type of activity, players see a word on screen and when the word disappears, they have to type it in the box.

Part II presents a more sophisticated activity, as players sometimes listen to the word and they have to write the spelling of the word afterwards.

In part IV players have to decide between three different spellings of a word.

Whenever we misspell a letter in a word, the game warns us and tells us what the correct letter is.

Sometimes you have to 'play a game' between spelling and spelling to be able to carry on playing, which I found a bit distracting, but on the whole this series of spelling games is wonderful practice for Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 students, although Básico 2 can have a go at some words, especially in part I.

Learning a language

The machine goes on  presents us with this interactive poster (glogster) around the topic of the main points in language learning.

It is aimed at Básico 2 (strong elementary) students upwards.

By clicking on the different elements in the glogster we can go through a number of activities that involve most of the skills (reading, listening and speaking, yes speaking) while watching videos and reading online newspaper articles. We will also learn about learning strategies.

To do the activities comfortably, click on open the glogster.

Explore and enjoy!

Thank you once again, Daniela.

sábado, 19 de febrero de 2011

The Duchess

Self-study activity:
Watch this short BBC clip with an interview with actress Keyra Knightly and say whether the sentences 1 to 5 below are true or false.

1 There are a lot of pictures of Keira Knightley around.
2 The film has got positive reviews.
3 Keira Knightley is fed up with costume dramas.
4 Keira Knightley identifies herself with the character she plays.
5 Keira Knightley doesn’t want to go on stage.

You can check your answers by reading the transcript here.


Play this game and help Roger decorate his house.

You will be revising the name of furtniture items and colours while you are playing the game.

H/T to DDeubel.

Teenagers and cursing

Read this The New York Times article on how to deal with the bad language some teenagers use.

viernes, 18 de febrero de 2011

Pure chocolate

Self-study activity:
Watch this short video clip on a recent ruling by EU courts and complete the blanks in the transcript with just one word.

Is there such a thing as pure chocolate? Not according to the European Court of Justice which has ruled (1) ______ Italy in an ongoing dispute over the labeling of chocolate. According to the (2) ______ , the label should state whether the chocolate contains just cocoa (3) ______ , the traditional practice in countries like Italy, Belgium, and others or if it includes additional vegetable (4) ______ – often the case in places like Britain. But the (5) ______ determined the phrase “pure chocolate”, permitted under Italian Law, is a no-no, not conforming with (6) ______ EU rules on the subject, which had been enacted after a lively (7) ______ . Chocolate fans like Gustavo in Rome see nothing wrong in making the distinction.

The taste is more intense when there is pure cocoa and natural fats. You taste the difference.

But an EU spokesman welcomed the ruling, saying the bloc’s guidelines create a fair (8) ______ between Europe’s two chocolate cultures.

1. against 2. judges 3. butter 4. fats 5. judges 6. 1999 7. debate 8. balance

Amazing libraries

Amazing Libraries around the World is an amazing collection compiled by Sarah Parker which I discovered through Larry Ferlazzo. It makes an easy read for English students of all levels.

Just spend a few minutes admiring these temples of culture, civilizarion and architecture.

English diphthongs

This activity from Critina Cabal's web is the best way of studying and revising the English diphthongs I have ever come across.

The picture is self-explanatory: By going over a boy's features we can easily learn the English diphthongs. Remember there is one more diphthong which isn't shown on the picture, /ʊə/ as in tourist or poor.

As Cristina herself suggests, to make sure of the correct pronunciation of the diphthongs you can visit the English File online site or use one of the online pronunciation dictionaries that you can find here.

jueves, 17 de febrero de 2011

The Seven Secrets of Successful Language Learning

The linguist Steve Kaufmann, founder of Lingq has recently published on his blog The Linguist on Language seven short videos with advice on how to best learn a foreign language.

The tips he offers can open up new roads for some learners about the strategies to take when studying a language.

Self-study activity:
Before watching the first video, put in the time, let's have a prediction activity. If possible, get together with an English-speaking friend or relative and try to guess what Steve will be saying about the following:

- Time we should spend with the language every day.
- How long it takes to learn a language.
- What can you do to learn a language outside the class?
- Does classroom time matter when learning a language?

Now watch the video and find out what Steve has to say. The video only takes four minutes, and Steve's accent is really easy to understand, not to mention the fact that he repeats the information over and over again.

The other six videos on the series are:
Tip nº 2: Do what you like to do.
Tip nº 3: Learn to notice.
Tip nº 4: Words over grammar.
Tip nº 5: Be patient.
Tip nº 6: Get the tools.
Tip nº 7: Become an independent learner.

The advantages of being bilingual

This is a very interesting infographic form Voxy which shows in a visual and pedagogical way all the advantages of being bilingual.

They list three main advantages:
Cognitive advantages.
Economic advantages.
Cultural advantages.

Read and find out more in detail.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo.

Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel from Cambridge English Online is an online game with five options:
Rhyming words in two levels (one is harder than the other).
Capital cities.
Baby animals.

All in all I would say that their level ranges from early intermediate for the easier games, Rhyming words level one and opposites to a strong intermediate one, but I think that strong Básico 2 students can have a go at the easier games.

H/T to Del Valle.

miércoles, 16 de febrero de 2011

More details about the royal wedding

Self-study activity:
Watch this news clip from the MSNBC and say what this wedding-related vocabulary refers to:

bestman / maid of honour / bridesmaids / pageboys / dress / train / rings / red velvet cushion

Watch the clip again. Why are these figures mentioned?

29 / 26 / 25 / 8 / 3 / 7

For correction you can activate the subtitles or read the transcript from here.

2011 Grammys

Fill in the blanks in the paragraphs below, taken from Jon Pareles’s review of the 2011 Grammy Awards, A Mix of Genres and Generations.

You can use your own words and phrases, or choose from the scrambled list of the words or phrases that were removed and that you can see at the bottom. Another option? Read, or listen to someone read, the original article first, then fill in the blanks from memory. is a really interesting site for language learners to develop their speaking and listening skills especially at lower levels. Here are some of the advantages of the site they list:
Huge amount of audio content.
Normal and slow playback speeds.
Work on pronunciation and translation.
2500 common vocabulary and phrase items.
It is free.

Each English lesson (there are 100) simulates a conversation between the user and a native speaker. Users are put in a variety of real world situations and take part in conversations using the most frequently used English words and english grammar.

martes, 15 de febrero de 2011

Annual wave

Self-study activity:
Watch this short National Geographic video clip and say what the following words and phrases refer to:

once / thousands / 9 / dozens / 30 / no one

This is the transcript of the clip.
Once a year, thousands come to China’s Hangzhou Bay to witness a freakish sight – an annual tidal wave. Under the late summer’s full moon, the tide in the bay surges. Even in a normal year, it’s an awesome display.  But this is not a normal year. When the wall of water arrives, it’s more than 9 feet high, and it closes in fast. With a force like a locomotive, the wave sweeps dozens away instantly. Others try to out run it, only to be overtaken. In all, it engulfs 30 people. Amazingly, while a few barely escape drowning, no one is killed.

Cracking the credit card code

Almost 80% of consumers in 2008 used a credit card on a daily basis. There are consumers who know their credit card numbers by heart (makes online shopping and booking travel so much easier). But how many of you know what those numbers really mean? Contrary to what you may think, they aren’t random. Those 16 digits are there for a reason and, knowing a few simple rules, you could actually learn a lot about a credit card just from its number.

Find out the secret code of credit cards with this Mint infographic.

H/T to Tech the Plunge.

What do you like?

Practise the verb like with Ozmo on this short BBC clip. Ozmo and his friends tell us what food they like and what food they don't like.

Do you like bananas?
Do you like flowers?
Do you like green?
Do you like red?
Do you like soup?
Do you like pancakes?
Do you like grey?
Do you like pizza?

Watch the episode and answer the question. What do you like?

lunes, 14 de febrero de 2011

Eight St Valentine moments

I wanted to do something different for St Valentine's Day and here it is finally. I hope you enjoy it.

Self-study activity:
Watch eight short extracts (not longer than a minute) from the film Valentine's Day and answer the question corresponding to each of the clips.

Did the boy's dad ever give him any
good advice?
Has the girl announced at work that she
 is engaged?
Is Paula in crisis?
Does Kara have a boyfriend?
Where did the boy and the girl meet?
Why did she want to have sex with Alex?
What's the man's marital status?
How many menus are mentioned?
You can read the transcript of the clips here.
If you are in a Valentine's Day mood once you have watched the eight clips, you can have a go at answering some of the 100 questions that Breaking News English has compiled about the topic.

The show

Is life a maze? Is love a riddle? Is this a love song? Simply enjoy this fresh song, The Show by Lenka, and admire the pictures these Korean primary school kids made on the lyrics.

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

You can also see Lenka performing the song on this link.

Art attack

Art attack is a beautiful slideshow by DDeubel. You are presented with a number of famous paintings and you have to name the artist and the title.

Self-study activity:
Why don't you use the pictures in the slideshow to develop your oral ability? Get together with an English-speaking friend or relative to talk about the paintings. Pause the slideshow whenever you come across a painting that you like and give your opinion about it, say why you like it and describe it.

If there are people in the painting, decide a) who they are; b) their relationship with one another; c) what their relationship with the painter is.

If the painting or picture shows a location, imagine a) where it is; b) when it was painted or photographed.

Think about what happened a) before the scene in the painting or picture; b) in the moment that the painting or picture captures; c) after the scene in the painting or picture.

You can use these expressions:
This picture shows…
In this picture there is…
This picture is about (what + where)
In the [top/bottom] right/left corner I can see…
In the foreground / middle / background I can see …
On the left / right of the picture I can see…

If you want to sound like an art critic, you can use some of these expressions, replacing the words in capital with your own ideas:
This painting obviously symbolises the artist’s attitude towards’ LOVE.
Clearly this one was painted in the artist’s BLUE period.
It’s so EXPRESSIVE, so full of emotion.
This one really captures the essential nature of TIME, don’t you think?
The artist was obviously DEEPLY IMPRESSED when he painted this one.
Like all great art, this picture SAYS SO MUCH WITH SO LITTLE.
Don’t you just love the IRONY in this one?
COLOUR here is used to express INNER FEELINGS.

domingo, 13 de febrero de 2011

The force be with you commercial

Self-study activity:
Watch the ad but pause it at around second 36, when the father arrives home and the child runs past him. Predict what's going to happen next. Then play the ad on to check.

Now try and retell the ad in your own words. How many things can you remember?

As a follow-up to the activity before, here are all the actions that we can see in the ad. Can you put them in the correct order from memory?

The boy used “the force” on the car.
He tried to make the doll come to life
The mother and father smiled.
His mother gave him a sandwich.
The boy tried to start the treadmill.
The car started on its own.
The force worked!
The boy’s father arrived home.
The boy walked down the hallway.
The boy went to the laundry room.
The boy was in the livingroom with the dog.

Here's the key to the activity.

As you can see, there are a lot of regular verbs in these sentences. Why don't you practise reading them aloud? You can revise how to pronounce the regular verbs on this entry:

H/T to DDeubel for both the video and the activity.

174 newspapers a day

Do you think we are suffering from information overload these days? If so, you are not alone. This article from The Telegraph comments on the results of a study which concludes that we are exposed to the equivalent of 174 newspapers a day.

H/T to It's Magazines.

Sunday fun -Spin and spell

Spin and spell is a wonderful online vocabulary game which can help lower level students revise (and learn) vocabulary around five major topic areas: The house, food, clothes, animals and transport.

How to play:
Click on the picture of an object and you will hear the pronunciation of the word you have selected. Then choose the letters that form that word. You will be able to hear the way the letters you choose are spelt, so the game also helps us consolidate the pronunciation of the letters of the alphabet.

When you have finished choosing the letters of the word, click on 'submit' and the game will tell you whether the word is correctly or incorrectly written.

H/T to DDeubel.

sábado, 12 de febrero de 2011

Reel Wisdom

Reel Wisdom, lessons from 40 films in 7 minutes is a video I saw on . This is the way the video clip is described there:

"Looking for a heaping dose of inspiration but too lazy to crack open a self-help book? Look no further than Star Wars, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and 38 other movies that doled out useful life lessons without relying on Anthony Robbins or Matt Foley. Derek Stettler gathered clips from 40 classic flicks and compiled them into one awesome mash-up of reel wisdom."

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English-speaking friend or relative and watch the video. Try to name as many of the films as you can.

What films have you seen?
What were they about?
Did you enjoy them?
What are the life lessons you can learn from the quotes in this video mash-up?

St Valentine stories

Love may be a many splendored thing, but it’s not always easy to write about. In honor of Valentine’s Day, The New York Times thought they would offer some sentence starters to help.

Though most of the sentences they have chosen are opening lines from New York Times essays or articles about romantic love, they can also be used as jumping-off points to write about any kind of relationship. So whether you’re describing fondness for a friend, sentiment for a sweetheart, bereavement for a breakup, partiality for a pet, or even a soft spot for your skateboard, choose from among the 21 lines to get started.

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English-speaking friend or relative and after reading the sentence starter try to predict what might be happening in the story.
Then check out your prediction with the full story while you help out each other with vocabulary problems. You may also be prompted to talk about personal stories or friends' stories that somehow resemble the story you have just read about.

viernes, 11 de febrero de 2011

Interview tips

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English friend or relative and try to think about the kind of questions you may be asked at a job interview.

You are likely to have included the following questions on your list:
What are your personal interests?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Are you available to travel in this job?
To what extent will your personal life interfere with the professional one in this job?
Is all the information in your CV true?

Answer these questions and those you thought about with your friend or relative. Then watch these funny The Wall Street Journal videos and enjoy them.

What point are the videos really trying to make?

Elevator rules

How many times have you used a lift (British English) or an elavator (American English) in your life?
How often have you shared the lift or elevator with someone?
How many times have you had conversations with strangers in lifts or elevators?
What did you talk about?
How often have you been staring at the elevator ceiling or floor because you were absolutely uncomfortable in the lift with a complete stranger and you didn't know how to behave?
How many times have you preferred to walk up the stairs because you didn't want to share the lift with anyone?

If you identify yourself in some of the questions above, Elevator Rules is the right guide for you. Visit this website and learn how to behave and what to say in a lift.

Elevator Rules  offers twenty sound pieces of advice and is a short fun read to practise English with.

May has a big family

Have you got a big family? Have you got brothers? Have you got sisters?

Meet May's family and learn to talk about your family. Revise the verb 'have got' to talk about families and revise some basic family vocabulary with Ozmo and May.

jueves, 10 de febrero de 2011

Portia on self-image

Self-study activity:
Read this extract of an interview with actress Portia de Rossi and complete each gap of the transcript with only one word.

When I look in the mirror now, I still see things that I don't like but the difference is I'm not going to change my (1) _____ or change my (2) _____ in even the smallest way in order to try to fix whatever it is that I don't like when I look in the mirror . I just – I won't (3) ____ to change my body shape and I won't (4) ______ to make my thighs look a little bit (5) ______ . I like how I look; I'm comfortable with how I look. I'm very, very grateful to my body for not (6) _____ me for the way I (7) ______ it. Uhmm...I am lucky that I got through this unscathed... and that I don’t have any lasting (8) ______ because of this disorder. Uhmm, so now, when I look in the mirror, I kind of look from (9) ______ to (10) ______ overall and think “This is exactly who I am, and this is exactly what I’m supposed to look like.” “And I wouldn’t do anything to change that. Not anymore.”

1 diet 2 life 3 exercise 4 diet 5 thinner 6 punishing 7 punished 8 illness 9 head 10 toe

Teaching the time

Teaching the time is an interactive online game to teach and practise the basics of how to tell the time.

It starts off by giving a short explanation about how to tell the time in English (o'clock, quarter to, quarter past and half) and goes on to give the learner the opportunity to practise.

The game is for beginners, it is good fun and students will learn and practise effortlessly.

H/T to DDeubel.

The Daily What

The Daily What: News For Schools In Scotland provides very well-written and accessible articles about world-wide events. The articles have both shorter and longer versions available.

In addition, it offers interactives such as quizzes:  You must look for the red question mark on the right column to find these interactives.

The site has a lot of other features, but they are only accessible to Scottish teachers and students.

Self-study activity:
Make it a habit to do the interactive quiz on a regular basis. It just takes 5 minutes and you will become familiar with a current affairs issue while you develop your reading skills and vocabulary.

miércoles, 9 de febrero de 2011


Watch Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman’s talk about happiness in TED. He touches on how important it is how we end things, how important “ending” is to happiness. The remembering self is so important to happiness as it governs so much of our time.

Listen and think of the implications for our own life and how we should end what we start.

Remember you can activate the English subtitles on the video if you wish to do so.

H/T to DDeubel.

Flags of Every Country

Flags of Every Country is a site I learnt through DDeubel. It is an online visual encyclopedia of all the country flags in the world, with detailed explanations of what the colours and the symbols mean.

Enjoy a good read and learn about history with Flags of Every Country.

Sesame Street

I could never have imagined that the Sesame Street site could have such a wealth of resources for the English learner. Here you will find lots of videos, games and activities suitable for everybody.

You can choose different categories to select your videos and games and songs: By subject, by theme, by character. Witness the celebrities who have taken part in episodes. Get to know the Sesame Street characters in the Muppets tab.

Take some time to explore Sesame Street and enjoy it.