“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” – David Thornburg

30 March 2009

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)

28 March 2009

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?

27 March 2009

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 know more? The Mark Twain House & Museum

Well, turn for practice. First of all, go through the first link so that you can understand the difference in meaning of "I don't mind" and "It doesn't matter", will you?
Maybe, this link will also help: www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic36370.html

Exercise 1
Exercise 2 (more confusing words)

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!

23 March 2009

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?

17 March 2009

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 real English.
Close to home is a legal drama in which Annabeth Chase is a criminal prosecutor with a near perfect conviction record. In the episode "Parents on trial" from Season 1, Annabeth must combat the defense’s strategy of putting the victim’s parents on trial by claiming their lifestyle and the father’s relationship with the defendant is to blame for their son’s death. Now, Annabeth must find evidence that will convince a jury that the defendant is guilty of the murder of Baily, the 6-year-old boy. Watch the following video and let's see how much you can understand.

Grammar exercises. Before tackling these exercises, read this fragment from the trial:

Lawyer: "I have two independent witnesses who would say that you told them that you were worried about money and terrified about having another child."

Child's father: "I might have said a few things but I never said that."

Do you remember the use of past modals to make deductions or speculate about past actions? Do you? Anyway, here you have two links in which your find a couple of exercises to do some practice in case you might need it.



Well, you're done. How do you feel? I hope you enjoyed this lesson and found it useful. See ya!

16 March 2009

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 content) and it certainly has humorous elements together with more serious topics. I still remember the episode when Maggie's boyfriend is killed by a satellite that fell from the sky. At the funeral, everybody tries to feel sorry for him and for Maggie, who is said to be cursed (four former boyfriends were also killed in strange circumstances), but, when they see the satellite protruding from the coffin, all of them burst out laughing in spite of Maggie's anger.

Well, what else can I say? You know that watching TV in English is essential for you to improve your English level. So, what are you waiting for? There are plenty of films, sitcoms and TV series in general that you like and watch so why not in English? Believe me, it's much more fun.

Wanna know more? http://www.moosechick.com/ (by the way, do you know what a moose is?)

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?

15 March 2009


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!