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Showing posts from 2009

How often do you find the right person? ONCE

You know, sometimes, just by chance, you find a film that makes you feel something special. This film is usually not a blockbuster so the fact that you see it is just fate. A friend of mine told me about Once, an Irish film I had never heard of, and I realised that I have to pay more attention to the not so famous and popular films we are usually encouraged to go to the cinema to see.

This 2007 Irish musical film is set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from the Irish band "The Frames", it tells the story of a busker (street musician) and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story.

Once received enthusiastic reviews and awards such as the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for best foreign film. Hansard and Irglová's song "Falling Slowly" received a 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the soundtrack as a whole also received a Grammy nomination.
To know more about this …


I say, I say, I say, Knock! Knock!Who's there?Robin.Robin who?Robin' you! So hand over your money!. For other Robin Hood jokes, click here (you'll find here most of the jokes used in the Robin Hood Xmas Pantomime we saw last Friday).

As ABBA said, 'money, money, money, always sunny in a rich man's world'. Why is money so important? Can't we just live with bare necessities? Well, money doesn't buy happiness (but does it help you to be happy?)
In this post, you are going to do some revision exercises about cleft sentences (Exercise 1, Exercise 2 and Exercise 3) and learn more things about Nauru (Nauru's natural phosphate reserves once made millionaires of the entire population. Now they're among the world's poorest countries). Some recommendations about films dealing with this issue will be provided.

Nauru: lonely planet
Nauru Official Tourism Website

Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was…


On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". But why did the inventor of the dynamite gave his fortune to these prizes? Surely he is a controversial figure: pacifist or "merchant of death"? Learn more.
I'm afraid another subject of endless controversy is that Barack Omaba was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize last Friday. This is bound to open a serious debate as to whether the award was deserved. The US president himself expressed his surprise and said he would accept it as "a call to action". Would you like to read some articles about this?
msnbc CNN The New York Times BBC News

Learn more about th…


Did we enjoy yesterday's panto? Yes, we did.!!! We cheered the goodies, booed the baddies, sang along, shouted out and enjoyed Robin Hood a lot. We ahhed when Robin kissed Maid Marian, laughed with Bear Necessity, and were shocked when Friar Tuck almost said "Triar F***!!! Thanks, MadridPlayers for a wonderful evening.

A Christmas pantomime is a musical-comedy play found in the UK. Traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences consisting mainly of children and parents, British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, cross-dressing, in-jokes, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo. There are a number of traditional story-lines, and there is also a fairly well-defined set of performance conventions. Panto story lines and scripts typically make no reference to Christmas. Plot lines are often 'adapted' for comic or satirical effect, and certain familiar scenes tend to recur, regardless of plot r…


Well, everyone. I hope that you enjoyed the Coupling episode this morning. Believe me, this British sitcom is absolutely hilarious. It is aimed at adults since the main topic is sex so you would think that it might be gross, but far from it, it's just great!If you want to know more about this superb sitcom, you can visit the following websites: BBC Coupling Coupling UK

And now, ready to LOL (laugh out loud)? Here you have three videos. The first one shows some of the best moments of this TV series. The second one is called Cushion Rage. Susan asks Steve to choose their new home cushions with her. At the shop, Steve can't stand it any more and gives a speech about their unusefulness. Finally, in the third video, Susan, Sally and Jane provide some handy hints on how to seduce a man. Magnificent, trust me!

Thanksgiving: Nov 26th 2009


Hey, guys. Did you know that Saturday November 28th is Buy Nothing Day (BND) in the UK? It's a day where you challenge yourself to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple: 24 hours without shopping. But, can you really buy absolutely nothing for just one day? It's not so easy. Can you actually go one whole day without transacting any business? Are you totally debt free? Do you have a cell phone? Of course, we should not push ourselves to attempt the impossible but we should think about how integrated these transactions are into our daily routines.

2006 ad

Consumerism: the musical

BIOGRAPHY /bai 'a:grafi/

As you have to choose someone who made or has made a change to the history of the world in order to write a biography, here you have some direct links with plenty of information.
the biography channel home
biography channel alphabetical
biography channel video clips

The model biography in your book deals with the suffragette Susan Anthony. As I was reading her biography, what came into my mind was the film Mary Poppins. Do you remember the children's mother? She was part of the suffragette movement. There was even a song, Sister Suffragette, about it. Fancy listening to it?

And, what about the memorable Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Beware, this is a trip down memory lane.


Have you ever wondered about the future of the book? Well, I have, and I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it being both a book and technology lover.
The advantages of the ebook reader are clear. For example, the newest Amazon Kindle 2 offers books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required. It reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight, it holds up to 1,500 books, you can read for days without recharging and you can also download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy. All this in a device as thin as most magazines and lighter than a typical paperback. Obviously, there are drawbacks too, the first one being that IT IS NOT A BOOK for a start.
Well, I'd like you to think about this for a while since we are going to deal with inventions that have changed history in our next lesson. For example, what about the bicycle? Some claim that it led to the women's liberation movement.
Anyway, if you want to know more about …

No more

As I promised, here you have some direct links in order to practise gerunds and infinitives. Besides, you can listen to the songs "Grafton Street" (which we listened to in class) and "Life is for rent" by Dido. Enjoy!

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4
Exercise 5
Exercise 6
Exercise 7

More things about singer and songwriter.

Grafton Street

Life is for rent


Hallowe'en (derived from "All Hallow's Eve," so called as it is the day before All Saints day) is celebrated on the night of October 31, usually by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets.
If you want to know a lot more about this celebration, don't miss the following links. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Reading and listening
More Halloween
Idioms and proverbs
Scary webquest
Interactive crossword
Interactive haunted house
Hookery cookery


The Great Pumpkin

Sing along! This is Halloween _ Marilyn Mason

/rɪˈvɪʒən əv fəˈnetɪks/

Hello, everybody. Welcome to the 2009/10 Avanzado 2 course at EOI Alcalá de Henares. Here we are again. Summer holidays seem to be so far away now. I hope you are all ready to work hard and have fun. We are on board now so fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your journey!

Well, my phonetics-lover students. Here you can find some direct links to do some exercises in order to practise English phonetic symbols and sounds. You know it is essential to be able to read the symbols in order to improve your listening and speaking so, what are you waiting for? And remember, remember the 16th of October (our Friday lesson), you made a promise I won't let you forget. See you on Monday.

English phonology: parts 01-07
The Sound of English and the International Phonetic Alphabet
Phonetic symbols and sounds
Cambridge English Phonetics (games)
Pronunciation tips by the BBC

Phonetic exercises
Minimal pairs and instant sound
Dictionary with instant sound And now, the fun part:

Karaoke time!

If after listening to this song (and singing along, of course) you don't learn how to pronounce the word "change", I don't know what else I can do, honestly (just kidding). Have fun!

Lyrics | Katy Perry lyrics - Hot N Cold lyrics

Welcome to London

Hello, dear teachers. In this post you'll just find a direct link to the BBC Learning English website in which there is an activity called "Welcome to London". Here, you can listen to different conversations (transport, hotel, work, shopping, eating out, etc) by two people who have just arrived in London and want to settle there. This exercise is so useful that you really can't miss it. I posted this link in my blog some time ago under the label "travelling". I suggest that you go through the archive or label sections in order to check previous posts that might be interesting for you. See you tomorrow!


The boat that rocked (Radio Encubierta in Spanish) is the last film I've seen (original version, of course). It is a comedy about a pirate radio station in the North Sea in the 1960s in the UK. At this time, the BBC was the only UK mainland licensed radio broadcaster playing little more than two hours of any kind of recorded music each week. In the story a pirate station called Radio Rock began broadcasting rock music twenty-four hours a day from a boat anchored off the coast of England in international waters. Hosted by a colourful band of disc-jockeys, it soon gains an audience of millions and angers the government in the process.
What else can I say? Made by the creators of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually, it's full of humour, good music and references to other films that you'll immediately recognise.


This is the welcome post for those Primary and Secondary school teachers that are learning English at EOI Alcalá this summer. Welcome to my blog! You are working so hard that you need some kind of reward. That's why I'll be posting things for you in my blog.

In this post you have some direct links to some grammar and vocabulary exercises so that you can practise what you learn in class. Enjoy!
Past simple 1 Goldilocks and the three bears -ed pronunciation
Members of the family Exercise 1 Exercise 2
Vocabulary: furniture
Pool of exercises

JOINING WORDS: ice-cream, I scream

You all know that in speech, words are not separated; they join together. Normally, we know from the context what a word is. For example, if I'm buying an ice-cream, that's what people understand (imagine they understood "I scream").

You also know that when one word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel, we should imagine that the consonant is at the beginning of the next word. For example, if I want to say "I liked it", I should imagine /ai laik tit/.

Well, without further ado, I'm going to show you a song in which this characteristic of spoken English is clearly marked. Pay attention to it and enjoy!!

The mystery city: NEW CLUE!

Hi, everyone. Long time no see. Well, let's start our game again. Where am I?

Clue 1. English is an official language in this country. Clue 2. Bollywood film industry was born in this city. Comments are eagerly awaited, you know!!!

Fun with English

Hello, everybody. What are you up to these days? It seems to me like ages since we last saw each other. Now I need your comments more than ever since it's the only way we can keep in touch so please, do!!

Well, the aim of this post is to introduce you to a new blog,, I've just found on the web. It's been created by EOI teachers from Madrid and it's full of ideas and direct links with useful information about leisure time in English. Particularly, I like the links about theatre, conversation groups, free online TV and the quizzes. All the links are listed on the right- hand side of the website.

If you have time, you can watch this video from the 1950s titled "Better use of leisure time". It's hilarious!

Keep in touch!!

The mystery city: THE ANSWER

So Hobart is it. Manoli, you're right again. Hobart is the capital of Tasmania and the second oldest city of Australia. If you want to know more about this city and other Aussie cities:
Hobart (Tasmania)

Do you remember the writer Bill Bryson? Well, he happened to write a book about Australia. It's called Down Under and, as The Daily Telegraph put it, it is 'as funny as ever'.
Extract from Down Under
Interview with Bill Bryson about his career in travel writing

Now, do you want to meet this witty writer? Here you have a close-up:

Manoli, I'm waiting for the next mystery city picture. Email it, will you?

The mystery city: CLUE 2!!

I hope you are ready to play this game again because here you have a new photograph and clue. Game on!

Clue 1. Where the bloody hell are you?
Clue 2. The only place where you can find a Tasmanian Devil in the wild

Bert and Ernie: You're it!

Today I'm feeling nostalgic again so I'm really sorry for today's post.

Do you remember Sesame Street muppets Bert and Ernie (Epi y Blas in Spanish)? I suppose you do. Well, here you have my favourite sketch, the one when Ernie plays a game of tag with Bert, who is reading his book. The game is called "You're it" (Tú la llevas in Spanish). Bert doesn't want to play but after Ernie saying "Bert's it" like a thousand times, he loses his temper and starts chasing Ernie.

Bert & Ernie: Bert's it!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this video and, I don't know about you, but for me it's always rewarding to see all these series from my childhood again, but now IN ENGLISH!!!

Anyway, here you have a direct link to the Spanish version.

How to... by the BBC

I think that, by now, you're all aware of the wonders of the BBC Learning English website. Well, believe it or not, I've found an amazing section in which you can listen to podcasts providing tips on how to speak better English. Believe me, it's worth a look. See ya!

All- time TV series

Ok, guys. Listen to this:

Don't tell me you didn't love this lady? Wasn't she cute? Jessica Fletcher, ahh... such memories!

After her husband's death, Mrs. Fletcher starts writing mystery novels (or whodunnits). Her novels become an immediate success. But this is not Mrs. Fletcher only talent. She also has a gift for solving murder mysteries. Well, when you come to think of it, murder seems to follow her around, which makes me wonder.
To be honest, I think that people should run away the moment they meet her because a murder is about to happen for sure.
However, in spite of this, I really loved this series. And, wait a minute, I just realized that, in fact, maybe the plot was not so simple, I mean, it could be a story inside a story. I'll explain myself. Maybe, the TV series is about the mystery novels she writes. Each episode is one of her novels in which the main character is a nosy lady who is a good observer (and likes eavesdropping a bit).

Anyway, any series is goo…

Inapropriate language?

Do you find the language in this ad so shocking? The British did. They found the words bloody hell inapropriate for an advert so they banned it from British television. Seeing is believing!

If you are an advert fan...
Advertising in America: 1850-1920
Ads in the 1960s
How ad slogans work
How TV affects children
Telly ads

And some vocabulary exercises, of course.
Quiz 1
Quiz 2

Finally, McDonald's best commercial ever:

Hilarious, isn't it?

Regrets, I've had a few

Today's post:
Start with Frank Sinatra and his song "My Way" (regrets I've had a few... I did it my way).

Practise gramamar: Wishes and regretsExercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4
Exercise 5
video with situations in context (it might help you understand the different uses of I wish. Worth trying)listen to a man thinking about regrets and what advice he might give to younger people.

Eureka! That's it!

This is what Archimedes, the Greek mathematician, said when he discovered that the volume of an object can be calculated by the amount of water it displaces. How did he make this discovery? Well, he was getting into de bath and the bath was so full that the water overflowed.

In this post, you will be able to watch some videos from the Science Channel that you might find interesting. I'll also provide you with some exercises to revise the use of quantifiers. So, let's get down to work, shall we?

To start with, why don't you have a go at the Eureka quiz? It'll be fun.

Time for vocabulary practice. Go through these exercises and the reading and video exercises will be much easier. Promise!
Science and inventions
Numbers and maths

Before watching the video, you can have a look at the following link. Here you can find information about the big 100 discoveries of our time. You might find the top 10 accidental inventions worth reading too.

Now, it's time for video watching. You …

DO YOU REMEMBER? All-time TV series

Since I promised to post some information about top TV series that I remember fondly, here you have the theme song of the one I've chosen for today's post.

Thank you for being a friend. Travel down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you're a pal and a confidant. And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew. You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Yes, The Golden Girls. Didn't you love them? Tart-tongue Dorothy and her salty Sicilian mother, Sophia, former farm girl Rose and Southern belle Blanche. This sitcom is based on the lives and interactions of these four older women whom have all been divorced/widowed, and are now roommates.

Now, would you like to know what Golden Girls character are you? Well, take this quiz to find out.

I've not chosen this sitcom, just by chance. Apart from loving it myself, I chose it in order to pay tribute to one of the actresses who has recently died.…


Guess what? I've found a wonderful website in which there is a section called 'Welcome to London'. Here you can follow two characters through a series of situations as they arrive and settle down in the city. What is really good about this is that you can listen to the typical conversations taking place when you are visiting a city (transport, hotel, shopping, eating out, etc). So, welcome!!
Welcome to London

Useful, isn't it? Well, here you have some links if you feel like practising count and uncount nouns again. See you!
Exercise 1
Exercise 2

Space stories

Hello, everyone. Would you like to do some revision exercises about the use of articles and listen to some funny stories about space and astronauts? Good, that's the spirit.

All right. First of all, here you have some links in which you'll find some exercises that'll help you with the use of articles in English. Enjoy!

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4

Well, after all the hard work, you deserve something good.
Firstly, you can read a newspaper article from abc news about astronauts taking ipods on their space trips. After all, they have plenty of time out there so they should use their time wisely and music is a great pastime.
What do you listen to on Orbit? Astronauts take ipods (from ABC news, NY)

Secondly, it would be a good idea to practise some listening. Here you have a link in which you can watch a news item about threat of space-craft debris. Apparently, NASA is concerned a satellite collision may harm the Hubble space telescope.
Threat of Space-craft debris (from…

Where am I? the mystery city

Hey there. Next mystery photo is here.

Clue 1. As the British they drive on the left.
Clue 2. The country takes its name from the metal copper.

Game on!

Where am I? the mystery city

Hey there. Time for the third mystery city. As Manoli guessed about Auckland, today I'm posting the photo she has chosen for us to play the game.
Manoli, you know clues are eagerly awaited. Thanks a lot!

You fell for it!!

The left-handed Whopper
Hello, everyone. Sorry about the practical joke I played this morning but it was worth it. You know, everything is allowed on April Fools' Day. Now, if you want to read about other hoax stories and have a good laugh, click on the this link and have fun!

The death of newspapers

Hi, everyone. Here you have a link with a radio interview about the future of newspapers. Are they going to disappear? Why? And what are the posible consequences?
The news item is called "A Shrug Goodbye" (meaning that people don't really care). Please, note that you can read the transcript while listening.
A Shrug Goodbye (on the media from NRP)

The Sound of English

The linguist David Wilkins summed up the importance of vocabulary learning when he said "Without grammar very little can be conveyed. Without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed."

Wilkins is right, of course, but one might add that pronunciation plays a very important role in second language learning, especially as far as English is concerned. You know that being able to pronounce English sounds is one of the keys in order to succeed in learning English. So, what are you waiting for? Why don't you start paying more attention to this area right now?

Yes, I want to improve my English pronunciation.

No, I don't want to improve my English pronunciation (watch this video, then)
After watching the video, I suppose you are having second thoughts about priorities, aren't you?

MARK TWAIN: If you don't mind, it doesn't matter

Hello. Here I am again because I've just noticed today's quotation and I simply love it, I mean, when I read it I thought it really original so my mind started working, ideas started to come and here you have my next post in which I'll give you some information about the author and we'll do some exercises related to the verbs mind and matter.

So, the quotation by Mark Twain is "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter". Clever, isn't it? The author is playing with the double meaning of the words "mind" and "matter" since these two words have different meanings depending on what part of speech they are, noun or verb.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was an Amercian writer, famous for the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Both the Mississippi River and the institution of slavery are recurrent elements in his writing. He was also very popular during his lifetime.
Wanna …

Where am I? the mystery city

Hi, everyone. I know that the first mystery city was no challenge for you. Let's see how you get by with the next city I've chosen. By the way, from now on, you are going to choose the mystery cities that I'll post in my blog. Whoever is the first to guess will be in charge of choosing the next mystery city and writing the clues on the comments section. You just have to send me the photo by email and I'll post it, what do you think?

Now, our second mystery city is...

Clue 1. It's the biggest city in its country.
Game on!

Are you still getting used to watching TV in English or are you already used to it?

Hi there. So, the post today is "Are you still getting used to watching TV in English or are you already used to it?" Good question, isnt' it? By now, you are likely to have a clear idea of the difference between these two verbs but, well, just in case, here you have some links for you to do some practice. Choose the ones you like best and have fun!!

Where am I? the mystery city

Clue 2. The land of kilts. Easy, isn't it?

Crime and punishment

Hey, would like to do some revision exercises? Exactly, why not? In this post, I suggest some vocabulary exercises about crimes and criminals. When you are done, it will be time for some listening practice and finally, I'll provide some scenes from an American TV series in which you can hear the lawyer saying something like "my client will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter". So, are you ready?

Vocabulary exercises. Please, have a look at the following website where you can find lots of exercises related to crimes and criminals. You just have to go through the different links and have a good time.

Listening practice. Click on the following link to do a multiple choice listening exercise about security systems (don't forget to listen to it again while reading the quiz script after checking your answers).

Watch a video. Now, you are ready for some…

DO YOU REMEMBER? All-time TV series

Hiya. As you are all well aware, I am a TV series fan and now I'd like to pay homage to some of the best TV series of all time. Every once in a while, I'll be posting some information about top TV series that plunge me into nostalgic moods.

How do you feel when you listen to the tune of the TV series you wouldn't miss for anything in the world when you were younger? But, before you carry on reading, let's watch the following video, shall we?

So, do you remember? Yes, it's Northern Exposure (1990), translated as Doctor en Alaska for Spanish television. Do you remember cute but obnoxious New York doctor Joel Fleischman? What about the town beautiful pilot, Maggie O'Connell, and his love-hate relationship with Fleishman? And we cannot forget the rest of Cicely's quirky characters: Maurice, Ed, Holling and Shelly, Chris and his radio programme, "Chris in the morning", etc.This show has been labelled as a dramedy (a balance between humour and serious con…

Music festivals

What kind of music are you into? Have you ever been to one of these huge music festivals which are held in different cities around the world such as Rock in Rio, Festimad and so on. What do you think makes these type of performances so inviting? Well, you can write about your experiences in the Comments section and if you would like to know about other famous music festivals around the world, I suggest the following link in which you'll find a quite interesting webquest. Just follow the different steps and you'll be a music festival expert.

Where am I? the mystery city

Hello, guys. "Where am I?" is a monthly post in which you, my dear students, have to guess the city represented in the photograph. Sometimes, I might give you a clue but the point is that you speculate about what the mystery city might be.
Shall we? Clue 1: Too soon for a clue, don't you think?


Hello everyone. Here I am, opening myself up to new technology. Well, God willing, I'll be posting listening exercises, comments, links, music and anything that comes into my mind.
This blog is aimed at all students of English, all EOI students and Laura's Avanzados in particular at EOI Alcalá de Henares.

I've been thinking about what to include in this first post for a while but I couldn't make up my mind. In the end, I thought that some exam tips would do (this year you are taking so many tests for Evaluación de progreso that I kind of feel sorry for you). Enjoy!