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Showing posts from 2012

SEA: Stories of European Adults

Hi, everyone. Your lovely teacher, together with other EOI Alcalá teachers, takes part in a Grundtvig Project called SEA: Stories of European Adults. This project focuses on storytelling (I'll tell you all the particulars after Christmas) and it will enable you, my dear, dear students, to communicate with other students of English from Czech Republic, Denmark and Finland (our European associates).
Tomorrow, before our Christmas celebration party (so please, don't be late), I'll give you all the details about your username and password to enter WIGGIO ( Wiggio allows group members to share and edit files, manage a group calendar, poll your group, post links, set up conference calls, chat online and send mass text, voice and email messages. Each group member can define how they want to keep informed of group activity. Wiggio groups are private groups used solely for personal, academic, extracurricular, commercial, political, or charitable purposes.
If you are…


Christmas traditions: Santa Claus, Christmas tree, Mistletoe, the Candy Cane, etc.
Christmas around the world (or here).

By the way, do you know that Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas in the UK? And have you ever heard of Christmas crackers?
If any of you is planning on talking about Christmas crackers on Thursday's speeches, you should know that I'll take one to the school so that you can show other students how it works.

For previous posts about Christmas, click here.

Now, check part of an episode about Christmas from Are you being served?, a 1970s British comedy. You'll find all the British Christmas traditions here.

all around me
children playing
having fun
it's the season
love and understanding
merry christmas everyone

Time for parties and celebration
people dancing
all night long
time for presents and exchanging kisses
time for singing christmas songs

We're gonna have a party tonight
I'm gonna find that gi…


Hey, check this out:

How do you pronounce words like NIKE, LEVI'S, IKEA, LEICESTER, NORWICH or VAUXHALL? What about MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY?

How you say... actors and actresses post


Blooming English: My blackberry is not working listening and vocabulary exercise.


BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID ("Dos hombres y un destino" in Spanish) Do you remember the scene in which Paul Newman and Fay Dunaway are sharing a bike with herself on the crossbar and Newman steering? Absolutely lovely! Raindrops keep falling on my head  And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed  Nothin' seems to fit  Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling  So I just did me some talkin' to the sun  And I said I didn't like the way he' got things done  Sleepin' on the job  Those raindrops are falling on my, head they keep falling  But there's one thing I know  The blues he sends to meet me won't defeat me  It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me   Raindrops keep falling on my head  But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red  Crying's not for me  Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'  Because I'm free  Nothing's worrying me.
Fancy knowing a …


After Patrick shows up at Sally's apartment to "save" her from an imaginary spider at three in the morning, they both remember how they first met at a Susan's office party. Their versions differ slightly, as Sally's memory ends with her in Patrick's arms and Patrick's memory ending with a drunk Sally and him kissing to the Spiderman theme. At the end, Sally and Patrick decide to stop spending so much time together, as nothing will come of it. (Sorry about the subtitles)

Coupling post on Nov. 2009


A bit late, though.

For previous Thanksgiving posts, click here.
And this year's Thanksgiving post is... 

Arlo Guthrie - Alices's Restaurant song: Lyrics here.

Every Thanksgiving radio stations all over the country play the song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (Alice’s Restaurant for short) off the album “Alice’s Restaurant” from singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie. The song was released in 1967, and it’s been tradition ever since then to play it each and every Thanksgiving.
But what’s the story behind it? Why do people love this song? “Alice’s Restaurant” recounts Guthrie’s true Thanksgiving Day adventure as a satirical, deadpan protest against the Vietnam War draft. On November 25, 1965, the 18-year-old Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins, 19, were arrested by Stockbridge police officer William “Obie” Obanhein for illegally dumping some of Alice’s garbage after discovering that the town dump was closed for the holiday. Two days later, they pled guilty in court. 
For more in…


If you have tickets for A Christmas Carol pantomime in Madrid, this information might come in handy. Here you'll learn about pantomimes: what they are, what the essential elements are, type of characters (the goodies and the baddie) and so on. Naturally, A Christmas Carol baddie is ... Ebenezer Scrooge ("Bah! Humbug!")
Xmas Panto Madrid 2012 Guide
Nov. 26th, 2010 post about A Christmas Carol


Forget Me Nots
I Remember (please, do note the pronunciation of -ed endings)
The Way We Were (from The Way We Werefilm)

Memory Lane (Tim McGraw)

Lyrics here

Memory (Elaine Paige, Cats musical)


Hi, everyone. Here goes the first ad for Tuesday's discussion of symbols and images in advertising. You can post your links in the comments section below.

By the way, this ad is also a reminder of what happens when you change just one sound in a word. IT'S NOT THE SAME! Do you remember the "Patética Fonética" video?
You see? I just killed two birds with one stone:))


Linking words list

How to begin a new paragraph: linking words and phrases

Sentence-combining skills

Writing skills

Connecting words: loads of exercises

Linking words quiz

Guide to Grammar and Writing (amazing website, don't miss it!)

Hence, Thus and Therefore
- They fell in love and hence they married.
- She was early and therefore had to wait out in the cold.
- Many governments intend to develop new energy-efficient transportation technology and thus reduce their reliance on imported oil.

Learning English: The Flatmates
Episode 64: listen to the episode, use the 'hide the text' option, check the language point (linking words) and do the quiz.


The Hobbit: an unexpected journey (2012)

Air New Zealand, the airline to Middle-earth: Hobbit safety video

Transcript here.

The Hobbit: What has made the book such an enduring success?

The Hobbit trailer:


1. Rite (Michael Pearce, 2010. UK. 17 min.)

Mike takes his estranged son out for his birthday; a man desperate to prove he’s changed. But drink and the simmering violence of match day in London brings out the worst in him over a long, difficult afternoon for father and son.

Michael Pearce, BAFTA nominated for Rite.

2. Fixing Luka (Jessica Ashman, 2011. UK. 12 min.)

In a ramshackle cottage beside a forest, Lucy and Luka live with their parents. Every day, Luka drives his sister mad as he happily performs obsessive, nonsensical routines with sugar cubes and thimbles. Watching his antics, Lucy thinks her brother is broken but when she’s given the chance to fix him, will she take it?

Fixing Luka - Jessica Ashman (Winner Best Animation, Best Visual and Film Of The Night 2011)

3. Sunny Boy (Jane Gull, 2011. UK. 11 min.)

Danny and his overprotected father live in a world of darkness due to his rare skin condition. He longs to be a regular teenager playing football out in the sun. When Danny rece…


To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story of Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, in 1930's Alabama. Through their neighborhood meanderings and the example of their father, they grow to understand that the world isn't always fair and that prejudice is a very real aspect of their world no matter how subtle it seems. The Student Survival Guide Literature Study Guide To Kill a Mockingbird at a Glance

Movie Trailer (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbirdaudiobook


Remember, Remember the 5th of November The Gun powder, Treason and Plot I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason  should ever be forgot What's Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night)? Now, explained by Horrible Histories: Bonfire Safety Tips: Bonfire Night with the fire brigade in North Wales: If you want to know more, click here. And for a bit of history with humour: HORRIBLE HISTORIES - The Tudors Song HORRIBLE HISTORIES - The Wives of Henry VIII HORRIBLE HISTORIES - Mary Tudor Song


Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 

2009 Halloween post

Finally, don't miss Lenore, the cute little dead girl, episode 2



A fresh start

Invictussoundtrack from Paul Kelly's Peace

Invictus Trailer

Although South Africa had been torn apart by apartheid for decades and Mandela himself had been imprisoned for more than 25 years, he came to power with a hope for peace and unity for his country. With the 1995 Rugby World Cup set to take place in South Africa, Mandela seized upon the opportunity to use the Springboks, a team synonymous with the old separatist South Africa, to achieve unity through sport. “Using rugby to try to unite South Africa was a huge political gamble on Mandela’s part. Along with gaining the trust of the whites, Mandela also had to have the support of the blacks,” says Nauright. “Part of what he was trying to do was based on the belief that the Springboks would be successful in the World Cup. He took a risk and it paid off. “ (taken from Mason Media Blog)
Francois Pienaar was born on Jan. 2, 1967 in Vereeniging, South Africa. In 1993, he joined the national rugby team, the Springboks (The S…

PATETICA FONETICA: it's not the same

Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Laredo, thank you for the Patética Fonética videocasts. Keep up the good work! And you are absolutely right: IT'S NOT THE SAME:
Ship or sheep?
60 minimal pairs (listen and repeat)

Patética fonética 1.1
Patética fonética 1.2
Patética fonética 1.3
Patética fonética 1.4 Part 1
Patética fonética 1.4 Part 2
Patética fonética 1.5 Part 1
Patética fonética 1.5 Part 2
Patética fonética 1.6

Last but not least, previous posts dealing with pronunciation practice. Enjoy!


Thank you, a nonymous, for this brilliant suggestion. Just what you, my dear Avanzado 2 students, needed in order to practise inversion. Keep up sharing ideas, a nonymous!!!

Here you can listen to the song and read the lyrics at the same time:

If you prefer the official music video, click here.


Dear students,
welcome to the 2012/13 Avanzado 2 course at EOI Alcalá de Henares. I hope you are all ready to work hard and have fun too. So, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your journey!

Textbook, bibliography and links


HORRIBLE HISTORIES is a historical sketch show, based on the successful books by Terry Deary.

HORRIBLE HISTORIES - The wives of Henry VIII (Terrible Tudors)
You may know that Henry VIII's first wife was Catherine of Aragon. Catherine was born at the Archbishop's Palace in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, on the night of 16 December 1485. She was the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, the so-called Catholic Monarchs. Mary I (AKA Bloody Mary) was Henry and Catherine's only surviving daughter who became Queen of England and Ireland in 1553. Guess who she married? Philip II of Spain, the king who asked the architects Juan Baustista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera to build the Escorial Palace in Madrid. That's why if you visit the Houses of Parliament in London, you can see a picture of Philip II in the Royal Gallery.  If you go to London, don&#…


After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING'S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice. The King's Speech movie trailer

Hear the actual speech …

I THOUGHT A THOUGHT: TH pronunciation


According to BPS Research Digest, as sighted in the May 2008 addition of PSYCHOLOGIES Magazine, the answer to the age old question of learning a language, "might lie in a song...The researchers concluded that we find it easier to remember words if they're set to music, partly because it's more emotionally engaging, but also because the words are structured in a way that makes it easier for us to 'segment' the information and store it in our memories".


Conditional sentences practice:

Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
Exercise 4
Exercise 5
Now, doing grammatical exercises is all right but it's much more fun to practise conditional sentences in a different way:

Conditional sentences in The Big Bang Theory
Conditionals: examples in songs If you had a million dollars song + game A parody of "If I had a million dollars": If we had some global warming

Some lyrics extracts:
If we had some global warming we wouldn't be 20 below
If we had some global warming I wouldn't be shovelling snow
If we had some global warming I wouldn't have to drive this giant truck
If we had some global warming we wouldn't have any cares
If we had some global warming we'd have some nice greenhouse effect 
If we had some global warming maybe we'd have some palm trees 
If we had some global warming maybe we'd have aligators 
If we had some global warming we could throw our windshield scrapers away
If we had s…


History of 4th July
A History of US: Independence WEBISODES This is a wonderful website where you can find everything you need to learn about the American Revolution. There are 9 webisodes plus an introduction, just choose a segment from the webisode menu and read the text. Do notice that there three icons. If you click on the 'see it now' icon, you can see real documents from that time. If you click on the 'hear it now' icon, you can listen to some of the things the protagonists said.
And much more at

CNN article and video: America celebrates Independence Day (July 4th, 2012)

Saratoga's All-American celebration sounds like a lot of fun:

Now, here you have the song we listened to in class this morning:


Thanks EOI Laredo for this wonderful iniciative.


What is an idiom?

Dictionary of English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions
Self-study idioms quizzes
Idioms in music (Lady Gaga)

Why don't you listen to these songs and try to point out the idioms you hear?

give or take a few

working like a dog, sleeping like a log

And what do you make of this one? I find it hilarious!!!

Lyrics here.
call a spade a spade
How does the singer pronounce 'vegetable'?



/Ә/ or schwa

I thought love was
Only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else
But not for me
Love was out to get to me
That's the way it seems
Disappointment haunted
All my dreams

And then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her
If I tried

I thought love was
More or less a given thing
The more I gave the less
I got, oh yeah
What's the use in trying
All you get is pain
When I wanted sunshine
I got rain

And then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her
If I tried
What's the use in trying
All you get is pain
When I wanted sunshine
I got rain

And then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her
If I tried

Then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
Now I'm a believer
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah


Be honest, how do you pronounce Sean Connery, Gwyneth Paltrow or Tyrone Power?

And what about fashion brands? How do you say Nike, Levi's or Chanel?

What conclusion have you reached? Is English language chaotic? Read and listen to the following poem "The Chaos of the English Language" and then you tell me.
It's not so bad, isn't it? Just joking!!


Fancy revising comparatives and superlatives? Well, all you have to do is ...
Please do notice the following expressions that have already appeared in class:
- turn up (phrasal vb.)
- out of the blue (idiom)
- never mind
- stay away (phrasal vb.)
- beg (pronunciation of /g/)

More songs with phrasal verbs and such? Sure! Here you are:

- I won't /wəʊnt/give up on us
- rough
- tough
- a lot at stake
- we're worth it
- cave in

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”


1.Discovering English culture

2.London webquest

3."Who is tired of London is tired of life"(Samuel Johnson)


1.Survival English for travellers

2.Survival English
3.Welcome to London

     4.    Travel English (amazing website)

     5.    Slow London (radio programme)


There are nine million people in a city full of historical landmarks, _________________ can be viewed from a cruise on the River Thames.
Westminster Abbey has been used for all the coronations since the year _____.
The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Egyptian Obelisk and Buckingham Palace continue to be on any tourist itinerary.
There is a fascination with Kensington Palace _______________ are still placed for the late Princess Diana.
Harrods is a famous department store with price tags just as fancy.
Double-decker buses and ____________ phone booths are the city trademarks.
Memorabilia of the Royal Family is everywhere including the recognizable ___________ of the Horse Guards.
There are…


Get phrasal verbs video (with subtitles)
Phrasal verb rap song:

Phrasal verbs in songs 1:

Phrasal verbs in songs 3:

Phrasal verbs in songs 4:

Phrasal verbs in songs 5:

Phrasal verbs in songs 6:

Phrasal verbs in songs 7:

Phrasal verbs in songs 8:

Phrasal verbs in songs 9:

Phrasal verbs in songs 10:

Phrasal verbs in songs 11:

Phrasal verbs in songs 12:
And now, do listen to this fantastic song:


Checking guests in and out (with audio)
Hotel reservation (listening and vocabulary exercises)
Hotel check-in (listening and vocabulary exercises)
Hotel dialogues
Booking a hotel room (with audio)
Checking out of the hotel (with audio)
At a hotel (sample conversations with audio)

Learn English: AT THE HOTEL video (with English subtitles)

Checking in at a hotel video (1/4)

Getting hotel information video (2/4)

Having problems with the room video (3/4)

Checking out from a hotel video (4/4)

And now, a bit of fun. Here you can see a 3-minute video from Fawlty Towers. Mrs. Richards, a very annoying guest, checks in and then, the nightmare for Mr. Fawlty starts.

Guess what? Mrs. Richard is not happy with her room so she complains to the manager:


Video explaning -ed pronunciation:

Here you have another video with a clear explanation too:

And another one:

Video with short explanation and rap

Fancy some practice?

Exercise 1:

Exercise 2:

Exercise 3 (with sound):

Exercise 4:

Past simple pronunciation quiz:

Irregular verbs pronuciation with sound:

Now, the fun part and you know what that means: SONGS!!!!!

Song 1: The Boy Does Nothing

Notice the way she says: 'Does he brush up?' Never brushed up&#…