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Showing posts from 2015


Christmas traditions and customs

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: The story behind the oldest Christmas Carol (reading).
Even Charles Dickens gave it a prominent place in his classic novel, A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge showed a depth of his sad self in this paragraph from Dicken's classic: “ the first sound of 'God bless you merry, gentlemen, May nothing you dismay!’ Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost”.

New Year's quiz... about Scotland: Test your knowledge on Scot's Hogmanay!

Shall I jog your memory?

2015 Advent Calendar

Provided by Pearson:
From now on and right up to Christmas Eve there’s a special box to open up every day with a little Christmas-based surprise for you and your students, including things like: Christmas songs for your teen and adult students.Christmas crafts for the younger ones.Reading texts for this special time of the year.The origin of Christmas.Activities, recipes, jokes, tongue-twisters and much more… (just click on the image below)
Miranda. S03E02 - What a surprise! episode.

Phubbing: meaning (Blend: PHONE + SNUBBING)

How much do you phub? (with video)

Is phubbing ruining your life? Take this quiz

Phubbing: What it is and why it is turning you into a jerk

What is phubbing and is it ruining your relationships?

The phubbing conundrum

Phubbing and FOMO (FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out)

Did you get phubbed by your boss?

/s/ vs. /z/



PHRASAL VERBS: Your homework

Now, sing along!


Weird but quite clear videos of phrasal verbs in context. They are a bit long, though. Anyway, if you can spare some minutes.... They are going to carry on and on until you're dead!

If these videos go with your learning style, here you have more on the Papa Teach Me YouTube channel.

British accents in 11 great films
How to pronounce UK place names (the American speaker gets them all wrong! Such fun!)
Please, when you are planning a trip abroad, avoid mispronunciations of the names of places. Just check the correct pronunciation of the places you are going to visit on beforehand.
Anglophenia YouTube channel (Anglo + encyclopedia) Understanding British culture (for American speakers!!!) Illuminating!
Experts demand legal protection for accents: Reading activity Should discrimination based on accent be made a legal offence?
Global map of accents Archive
English accents and dialects Archive
UK sound map

Five lessons that will help sort out your British accent
Scottish accent: video + transcript

For watching this video with subtiles, click here.
Doctor Who: The greatest show in the galaxy

So, name three Scottish inventions. Oh, and you're going to say they weren't invented in Scotland. Yes. I don't know; depends what you say! Well telev…


The sounds of English (BBC Learning English). Videos for all the sounds. Really helpful! Example:

Useful tip: practise pronunciation using songs and sing along!!!

And Tell her by Kenny Loggins, with lyrics.

Finally, you know that when I tell you that English is a crazy language I'm not joking, hahaha...


Book your flight to Middle Earth (video + transcript)

Grammar practice: INVERSION
- Rephrasing
- Loads of exercises

Inversion from Luiz Otávio Barros on Vimeo.

For a post about kiwi accent, please do click here.

TVNZ. New Zealand TV (video news)
Radio New Zealand
New Zealand Herald (newspaper)
New Zealand News

ABC Australia (news + transcript)

PANTOMIME 2015: Peter Pan

We are going on Friday, December 11th at 19:30 but you can reserve tickets on your own here: Not to be missed!
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 relevance. (source: wikipedia)
Xmas pantomime Madrid 2014: Little Red Riding Hood Xmas pantomime Madrid 2013: Aladdin Xmas pantomime Madrid 2012: A Christmas Carol Xmas pantomime Madrid 2011…


Six degrees of separation theory

Six degrees of separation is now three

This theory actually reminds me of a gripping TV series: Touch

For old posts about Guy Fawkes Night, click here.

Gunpowder Plot Game

ALCALÁ DE HENARES AND GUY FAWKES NIGHT: Six degrees of separation (click on the links inside the presentation to expand your knowledge)

Does the name of this London tube station come from "Infante de Castille"? Read this article to know.

The Tudors: Catherine of Aragon and her daughter, Mary


Halloween corner:
Treasure hunt
Listening exercise
Reading exercise

History of Halloween: listening comprehension
Halloween quiz: spooky destinations
Halloween in the USA: listening comprehension
Learn English with songs: prepositions exercise

For older posts about Halloween, do click here.

C1 course (from February to May 2016)



Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Exercise 3
More practice
And a bit more...

Watch this video with extracts from TV series to be able to see this grammatical point in real context:

Listen to these two songs to practise past tense pronunciation and our grammatical point today:

Teacher: You copied from Fred's exam paper, didn't you ?
Pupil: How did you know ?
Teacher: Fred's paper says "I don't know" and you have put "Me, neither" !
Jokes for teachers )


Hello, boils and ghouls, time to get ready for Halloween?     (whooops, sorry, boys and girls, I meant)

Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven(interactive poem)

Summary.It is midnight on a cold evening in December in the 1840s. In a dark and shadowy bedroom, wood burns in the fireplace as a man laments the death of Lenore, a woman he deeply loved. To occupy his mind, he reads a book of ancient stories. But a tapping noise disturbs him. When he opens the door to the bedroom, he sees nothing–only darkness. When the tapping persists, he opens the shutter of the window and discovers a raven, which flies into the room and lands above the door on a bust of Athena (Pallas in the poem), the goddess of wisdom and war in Greek mythology. It says “Nevermore” to all his thoughts and longings. The raven, a symbol of death, tells the man he will never again ("nevermore") see his beloved, never again hold her–even in heaven.

For older posts on Halloween, please click here.


To belittle sb
To make a sincere effort (please, do notice the collocation)
To give it a shot


BEST OF BE FESTIVAL in Alcalá de Henares The Birmingham European Festival

The Madrid Players presents An Inspector Callsby J.B. Priestly. 

An Inspector Calls is a play written by English dramatistJ. B. Priestley, considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century English theatre.

Summary (and notes)
Character and theme
BBC - GCSE Bitesize: English Literature, An Inspector Calls

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). In the UK except Scotland, a qualification in a specific subject typically taken by school students aged 14–16, at a level below A level. The equivalent in Scotland is Standard Grade.
      a GCSE exam or pass  "you need five GCSEs"
An Inspector Calls (Complete BBC Edition, Bernard Hepton, 1982) by JB Priestley:

FREE ONLINE COURSES offers free online courses with American universities on different subjects, ranging from Humanities to Nutrition and Engineering. Well worth considering, don't you think?


De nuevo ponemos en marcha esta interesante actividad entre CCOO-Henares y la Bowling Green State University, destinada atod@s los interesados en mejorar su nivel de inglés. 
Como en otras ocasiones, los alumnos de esta Universidad compartirán con nosotros unos meses y ofrecen 1 hora a la semana de conversación.
Tendremos diversos niveles de conversación y cada uno podrá apuntarse al que le vaya mejor según su nivel.
Para establecer los días y los horarios, así como los grupos por niveles nos reuniremos:
HORA: 18:00H.
LUGAR: Local de CCOO del Henares (Vía Complutense, 19 en Alcalá de Henares)

2015/16: English C1 Level Course

For more information click on this admission and registration period link  or visit EOI Alcalá de Henares website.

BAFTAs 2015: Best British Shorts


GO SET A WATCHMAN, better off lost?

I've just finished reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, the we-don't-know-what-to-call-it (prequel, sequel,...) of our beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. After realising that Go Set A Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, maybe the best description is to say that it was a draft that, ten years later and with a change of perspective, turned out to be the Pulitzer-winning book we are so fond of. 
I don't really know what to make of it. On the one hand, it has been a literary trauma. On the other one, it makes you aware that life is complex and human beings are even more complex. If you decide to tackle it, first, be ready for some shocking revelations, Second, bear in mind it is only the draft of a beginner writer, in fact, just the seed for To Kill a Mockingbird, not a prequel or sequel or even a separate novel. And third, please do some research about the place and time, the Confederate States vs. the Yankees, etc. so that, at least, you can use some sense in u…


The importance of attitude: How changing your attitude will change your life.

The importance of your attitude on learning

Attitude problem?: Victor Kuppers at TEDxAndorralaVella
"Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will."
Even though in Spanish I really wanted you to listen to what he has to say: Never ever will we be able to change the hand we are dealt but we can ALWAYS choose our attitude, our ultimate freedom.

Ordinary Day song by Great Big Sea (a group from Newfoundland, "Terranova")
I'm free to be whatever I, whatever I choosesong by Oasis
Unwritten song by Natasha Bedingfield

"That's the attitude!", Ellen says to Michael J. Fox who talks about staying positive through Parkinson's, a disease he has been suffering from for 20 years but which hasn't prevented him from appearing on tv shows. One of them is The Good Wife in which he plays the role of Louis Canning, an opposing counsel …
Harper Lee to publish new book, sequel to 'Mockingbird'(video)To shill a mockingbird: How a manuscript's discovery became Harper Lee's "new" novel (The Washington Post) To Kill a Mockingbird sequel most pre-ordered book A Town Divided Over The Next Chapter Of An Iconic Harper Lee Book Really looking forward to July 14th!!!


Wh- ever phrases:

Grammar + practice
Exercise 1
Exercise 2

Exploring concession and contrast sentences

Now, allow me a personal walk down memory lane: I said maybeeeeee, you're gonna be the one that saves meeeeeee, and after aaaallllll, you're my wonderwaaaallll

Once I start to walk, I can't stop!!! So, don't stop me now, we're having such a good time!!!

There's no stopping me!!! Or you!!! Thank you for a lovely course. I'm honoured to have had you as my students. Now, never stop! Keep your English alive, no matter what! 
As a token of my appreciation:

Just as a reminder that so much can be done with so little. Outstanding!


BBC Skillwise website: giving a presentation
BBC Tallking Business: Presentations: Language Expert

How to make your presentations better without opening your mouth. Body language and voice tone account for 63% of communication (according to this article).

Tips for effective presentations

Tips on making presentations (by University of Kent, the UK's European University). 
Worth checking out the part "Advanced Presention Tips: the Art of Rhetoric": 

tricolon effector the rule of three (The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth)use of contrast(A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. Margaret Thatcher)use of similes and metaphors (A beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion. J.F.Kennedy)alliteration(Let it be our cause to give that child a happyhome, a healthy family, and a hopeful future. Bill Clinton)quotations(An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. Gandhi) 

Chris Anderson shares his t…