Friday, 25 December 2009

Santa's Stories

Santa Claus is an iconic figure we see a lot of at this time of year. This week on BBC programme Kate and Rebecca share their memories of the jolly bearded figure and hear from someone who is employed by a department store to dress up and pretend to be the festive character himself.

This week's question:

Where does Santa Claus live?

a) The North Pole
b) Iceland
c) Norway

Listen out for the answer in the programme!


6min santa audio for web au bb by begonals

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Telling a Story

When telling a joke, a story or relating an anecdote something strange can happen to English grammar. In this BBC programme we hear how and why present verb forms can be used to talk about past actions.
Listen to the story.

If you have problems enter the BBC original page.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Fruitcake

Historic Fruitcake
The fruitcake is an often-maligned Christmas treat. Some people love them, while others have made fruitcakes the objects of every sort of holiday joke. People who enjoy fruitcakes are sometimes considered so crazy by the general population that they’ve even been dubbed “fruitcakes.”

So what is a fruitcake? It is a heavy cake full of fruit, and nuts, held together with a little heavy cake or bread and lots of sugar and alcohol. This special holiday cake is also one of the most labor intensive items you can run across often taking months to make.

According to Et Tu, Fruitcake, “Food scholars date fruitcake back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. According to some historians, Egyptian fruitcake was considered an essential food for the afterlife and there are those today who maintain that this is the only thing they are good for. In ancient Rome, raisins, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds were added to barley mash, making the fruitcake not only handy and lethal catapult ammunition, but also hearty compact foodstuff for the long campaigns waged by the conquering Roman legions.”

The fruitcake as we know it seems to have hit it’s peak of popularity and taken it’s heavy form in Victorian England, where it became a staple of high tea.

Samples of Fruitcake through the years:
Gugelhupf - German turban cake. Filled with raisins, lemon and orange peel, almonds, and spices, this fruitcake inspired when the Turks overran Vienna, is served on Christmas morning.

Bara Brith – Welsh Fruitcake. A fruit-filled bread that originated in Wales is traditionally made with raisins, currants and candied peel.

Panettone – Italian Fruitcake. One of the softer versions of fruitcake, panettone is a yeast bread filled with chopped dried fruit.

Questions to Ponder
1.- Have the change in the ingredients used in today’s fruitcake caused the
decline of the popularity of the fruitcake?
2.- How old is the oldest fruitcake? (Hint: Read “Fruitcake is Forever” below.)
3.- Are you on the “I love fruitcake”, or “I hate fruitcake” side of the argument?
4.- Would fruitcake make a good item for your home emergency kit?
Learning Links
Civil War Fruitcake Recipe Source: American Civil War Recipes
Bara Brith (Welsh Fruitcake) Source: Britain Express
Old English Fruitcake Source: Pat’s website

Monday, 14 December 2009

X-mas Game: Whose Present...?

Santa and Amy have a bag full of presents, but who are they for? Help Santa and Amy deliver the children's presents in time for Christmas.
And if you haven't written your letter to Santa yet, try this one and don't forget to post it!

And when you finish school you can visit Santa in his North Pole's webpage.

Friday, 11 December 2009

How to...Conversations I

On BBC page we can find some information about how to make a conversation.
These programmes have useful language for when you're chatting to someone. They include:

- extending a conversation
- closing topics
- talking about things you like
- talking about things you don't like
- expressing no strong feelings
- responding to compliments
- telling someone about a funny incident

And you can try out the language you have learned with the quizzes at the bottom of each page.
You can download the story on paper, the audio or even subscribe to any programme's podcast.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Freddie Mercury's Video

Eighteen years after the death of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, the people of Feltham in west London are preparing to honour him with a commemorative pavement star.
Mercury was born Farrukh Bulsara in Zanzibar, 1946, to parents originally from Mumbai.
He went to boarding school in India, and along with his family moved to west London in 1964 where he enrolled in art college and embarked on his musical career.
The star's 87-year-old mother, Jer Bulsara, spoke to BBC Asian Network's Dil Neiyyar about her memories of her famous son.(Continue reading)

Monday, 23 November 2009

False Friends

You have learnt some words called false friends which looking similar in two languages or dialects they are different in meaning.

For example:

Actual / Real (The English equivalent for the Spanish actual is: present, current)
Actually / Ciertamente, verdaderamente, en realidad, en efecto. (The English equivalent for the Spanish actualmente is currently, nowadays, at present)
Advertise / Anunciar. (The English equivalent for the Spanish Advertir is: Warn).
Advise / Aconsejar. (The English equivalent for the Spanish Avisar is: Warn).
Agenda / Actividades, programa del día. (The English equivalent for the Spanish Agenda is: Diary).

Complete your personal list visiting Miguel Llop's page and then try this hot-potato exercise

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes, Britain's most notorious traitor.
After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.

Do you want to know more about this tradition? Enter Woodlands Junior School web page and learn about this festivity: the History before the Day, Bonfire Night in England and fireworks.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Apostrophe + s for Possession

In English, we add an apostrophe + "s" to show possession. Have a look on these rules to understand this point.

1.- Add 's to the singular form of the word (even if it ends in -s):
the owner's car , James's hat (James' hat is also acceptable)
For plural, proper nouns that are possessive, use an apostrophe after the 's':
The Eggles' presentation was good. (The Eggles are a husband and wife consultant team)

2.- Add 's to the plural forms that do not end in -s:
the children's game the geese's honking

3.- Add ' to the end of plural nouns that end in -s:
houses' roofs three friends' letters

4.- Add 's to the end of compound words:
my brother-in-law's money

5.- Add 's to the last noun to show joint possession of an object:
Todd and Anne's apartment

Note that we do not use apostrophes with the possessive pronouns hers, its, ours and yours, but we do use them with possessive pronouns that end in "-one" or "-body":
Give the cat its dinner Those books are ours.
It must be somebody’s Everyone’s papers are on the table.

Try these exercises to solve your doubts:
Quizz 1 /quizz 2 / quizz 3 / exercises 1 / exercises 2 / exercises 3 / exercises 4 /exercises 5.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Halloween or Something Similar

Try a Halloween Quiz; How much do you know about animal icons of Halloween?
Visit an Animal Parade and vote for the best costume.
Black cat puzzles: See how fast can you solve these creepy puzzles.
And much more in this Animal Planet page.

And if you are brave enough, discover our Trick or Treat test.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Sing like a Pirate

Born in 1530, the Pirate Queen Granuaile was raised in an Ireland where English law was usurping Gaelic sovereignty. She refused to submit to authority and raided merchant ships bound for Galway Bay. According to legend, she fought off English troops besieging her stronghold by melting the roof and pouring molten lead on her attackers. The stories of her resistance, spread by ballad singers for centuries, became a symbol for Irish nationalism. Irish-American folk singer Dan Milner adapted one such political broadside, "Granuaile," for Smithsonian Folkways' newly released "Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea."

Hear the Granuaile and The Ballad of Ó Bruadair / Out on the Ocean

Music courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways, the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Little Britain and Red Nose Day

Yesterday we were talking about Red Nose Day Celebration.
Have a look to the Little Britain's version and enjoy.
Then tell me:
What were the two girls playing to?
Why did the mother get angry about?

As we couldn't insert that video, watch this one instead. Little Britain and Mr T:

Monday, 19 October 2009

Family Words: The Simpsons

How many things you know about this family? Do you remember the vocabulary about family? Try this quiz and enjoy.

Friday, 16 October 2009

How to Wash a Cat

Click on the image to enlarge.
"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Radio News

If you want to listen to real English Radio you can visit BBC Radio Podcast.
Here you'll have a piece of last 9th BBC radio news script:

Descargar mp3

Hi there, I'm Hayley from Newsround. It's Friday the 9th of October.
First - a big church service was held today in London to remember all the servicemen and women that died in the Iraq war. Hundreds of soldiers who fought in the conflict, as well as the Queen and the Prime Minister gathered at St Paul's Cathedral to pay their respects....
Mimi's dad fought in Iraq in 2004. He's safely home now, but she still remembers what it was like when he was away...
Next - President Barack Obama has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The award is given to someone who is thought to have done the most for world peace in the past year. It was given to Obama because the judges thought the President was doing a very good job of building better relationships between countries. But this is not the only Nobel Prize - there are awards for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine and Psychology. But what if you're really good at something that isn't included in these categories? We've been asking school pupils at Longsands College in Cambridgeshire, what new Nobel category they would most like to see.......
And finally as part of the ongoing mission to find out whether there is enough water on the moon to allow people to live there - the US space agency NASA has deliberately crashed a rocket into the moon. The idea is that the crash will throw up loads of material - which a satellite will then study for traces of water. Nasa scientists say finding water would make the possibility of living on the moon much more likely.
OK, that's all from the Newsround team. We're back on Monday.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Geography Class: Countries, Flags....

Do you remember the names of the countries in the European Union? If not you can revise them in this exercises thanks to another teacher Isabel Pérez.
If you want to practise your knowledge about Geograpby in the English speaking world, try these:
Countries and Cities

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Special Students

This year we are going to work with a very, very special student called Brais. He can't use his pencils like the rest of us, so we are going to give him special pages to learn and enjoy.

Welcome Brais to our school!

Days of the week
Names and pronouns
To Be
Easy English

Monday, 5 October 2009

Teacher's Day

5 October is a day to celebrate teachers and the central role they play in guiding children, youths & adults through the life-long learning process. This year, World Teachers’ Day will focus on the role of teachers within the context of the global financial and economic crisis and the need to invest in teachers now as a means to secure post-crisis regeneration.

It is critical, during these difficult times, to seek mechanisms that protect the teaching profession. It is also crucial, despite the crisis, to ensure that investment in teachers is sufficient and proportionate to the demands made upon them. It is the teaching force with its knowledge, experience and foresight which can bring new insights to global solutions. Join us in celebrating this!

Learn about jokes ,quotes, songs, and many other things on this day.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Playing with... the Weather

What's the weather like in China? And what's the weather like in Egypt? Listen to the weather news and put the weather symbols in the right places.You only have to drag the symbols to the flags in British Council Kids

Some other practice:

Thursday, 17 September 2009

New Year

This year some of my favourite students have just entered university, so this year we'll try new things for lower lewels.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

2nd YEAR

ImageChef Word Mosaic -

Happy Birthday Blog and thanks to all of you, visitors!!!!!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Scarlet Stockings Spy... on 4th July

Philadelphia 1777 is no place for the faint of heart. The rumble of war with the British grows louder each day, and spies for and against the Patriots are everywhere. No one is above suspicion. Still, everyday life must go on and young Maddy Rose must help her mother, especially since her father’s death at the battle of Princeton and now with her beloved brother Jonathan off with Washington’s army. But when childhood games become life-and-death actions, Maddy Rose is drawn ever deeper into events that will explode beyond her imaginings. As young America stands on the very brink of its fight for freedom, it becomes clear that even the smallest of citizens can play the largest of parts, and that the role of patriot has nothing to do with age and everything to do with heart.
Teacher's guide

I had the Lookybook version embeded but there is a problem with this page. Sorry!
But you can try this quiz to check your knowledge how much you know about this story.

Monday, 29 June 2009

The Tower of Hercules has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage

The Tower of Hercules has served as a lighthouse and landmark at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. The Tower, built on a 57-metre-high rock, rises a further 55 meters. It is divided into three progressively smaller levels, the first of which corresponds to the Roman structure of the lighthouse. Immediately adjacent to the base of the Tower, is a small rectangular Roman building. The site also features a sculpture park, the Monte dos Bicos rock carvings from the Iron Age and a Muslim cemetery. The Roman foundations of the building were revealed in excavations conducted in the 1990s. Many legends from the Middle Ages to the 19th century surround the Tower of Hercules which is unique as it is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity.

Its inscription on the World Heritage List brings an increase in public awareness of the tower and of its outstanding values, thus also increasing the tourist activities at the area.
Thanks to UNESCO.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson: Goodbye!

What happened with Michael Jackson's heart? Lastest information in CBS

Thursday, 25 June 2009

New English Classes on Video

Some of our students have travelled with EF to learn English at the same time they have fun in an English-speaking country, and now you can learn thanks to their 5-minute videos. You can subscribe to get them all.

And if you want to read the tapescript at the same time you listen:

ANNA: Excuse me, I have to leave early.
COLIN: OK. How come?
ANNA: It's my niece. She's at the airport. She's on her way to Japan. She said the travel agent gave her the wrong itinerary. She said she has to make three connections to get to Japan, and it will take two days to fly there.
COLIN: It's gonna take two days? What's the problem?
ANNA: She has to fly to Rome, then Paris, then Singapore and finally Japan.
COLIN: Really? She's going to Paris, and she needs to change planes in Rome and then Singapore?
ANNA: No, it's Rome first and then Paris second.
COLIN: That doesn't make any sense. That's a bad itinerary. Why do you have to go to the airport?
ANNA: She told me she has to pay a $100 fee to change her ticket. She doesn't have any money.
COLIN: It sounds like she didn't prepare very well, doesn't it?
ANNA: No, she didn't. But she is a teenager, and she hasn't traveled before. But unless she changes her ticket before her departure. . . she'll go to Rome, and she won't be able to get a direct flight to Japan.
COLIN: Why not just call the travel agent?
ANNA: It's 6:15. They close at 6:00.
COLIN: Well, hurry up. You don't want to get there after they've made the boarding announcements.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Mildred and George: Lovely, Aren't They?

George Roper and his wife Mildred have to leave their home in South Kensington when they receive a compulsory purchase order.
They move to an executive housing estate in Hampton Wick, Middlesex, where their new next-door neighbours are estate agent Jeffrey Fourmile, his wife Ann and their son Tristram.

Can you describe the characters? What is your opinion after watching this episode?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Anne Frank's Anniversary

It's a long time since I wrote for the last time, I've been too busy, but I'm here again to remember you about Anne Frank. Anne was a Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis with her family in a secret annex above her father's office building. During her two years in hiding, she kept a diary characterized by poignancy, humor, and tart observation. Her family was betrayed to the Germans in 1944, and Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Her diary was later recovered and has become an international bestseller, translated into over 60 languages. To whom did Anne address her diary entries?

Do you want to know more about her diary? Try this webquest and learn.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Doubts on English Pronunciation?

Try Tim Bowyer's howjsay, a free online Talking Dictionary of English Pronunciation: Enter the word you want in lower case and when it appears in pink, mouse over it to hear it spoken as often as you want. Each word is individually pre-recorded and both American and British spellings are provided.
This dictionary will be a work in progress for many years to come, so please do not condemn it yet for its limited size. Judge it rather on the entries to date of high-frequency words such as "do" or "has". And please feel free to criticise, report errata, and make suggestions.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Big Ben Anniversary

Big Ben, arguably the world's most famous clock, celebrates on Sunday 150 years of keeping London on time. The British landmark has lived through war, bad weather and disasters.
Big Ben is the 14-ton bell inside the world's largest four-faced chiming clock, although most people use the name to describe the tower that houses it.
The clock is perched on a 96-meter (310-foot) elegant tower at the Westminster Bridge end of the Palace of Westminster.
The Victorian masterpiece, which provides distinctive chimes known as bongs, was voted Britain's favorite monument in 2008. It has been featured in films such as "101 Dalmatians" and "Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix."
Big Ben has been disrupted a few times over the years for various reasons, including weather and breakages. Its bongs went silent for about two months in August 2007 to allow a crew to repair its mechanism system.
During that time, the rest of the clock was running on an electric system. It was fully restarted again October 1.
The clock pays tribute to Britain's royal history: It has a Latin inscription of the phrase: "O Lord, save our Queen Victoria the First."
The ornate masterpiece has some quirky features.
The hour hand, which weighs 300 kilograms (661 pounds), is made of gun metal while the minute hands are made of copper sheet.
The minute hands would not work when they were first made of cast iron because they were too heavy. The clock started working on May 31, 1859, after the lighter copper hands were installed. The origins of the landmark's name are obscure. Some say it was named after the 1850s heavyweight boxer Ben Caunt while others suggest it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, a former member of parliament. Hall, the commissioner of works in 1859, was responsible for ordering the bell.
Alan Hughes, the director of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry that made the bell, prefers the latter.
"I suppose I like it chiefly because it was a nickname of a man who was big and loud and pompous, and never used one word if 27 would do," he said in a 2008 interview.
Hughes' company also made America's Liberty Bell and a number of others for cathedrals and churches around the world.

If you want to check your knowledge about UK and its symbols, try this webquest and if you want your own Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, click on the image ... and use scissors, glue and patience!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron. She was taught by Mary Somerville, a well-known researcher and scientific author, who introduced her to Charles Babbage in June 1833. Babbage was an English mathematician, who first had the idea for a programmable computer.

In 1842 and 1843, Ada translated the work of an Italian mathematician, Luigi Menabrea, on Babbage's Analytical Engine. Though mechanical, this machine was an important step in the history of computers; it was the design of a mechanical general-purpose computer. Babbage worked on it for many years until his death in 1871. However, because of financial, political, and legal issues, the engine was never built. The design of the machine was very modern; it anticipated the first completed general-purpose computers by about 100 years.

When Ada translated the article, she added a set of notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating certain numbers with the Analytical Engine, which have since been recognized by historians as the world's first computer program. She also saw possibilities in it that Babbage hadn't: she realised that the machine could compose pieces of music. The computer programming language 'Ada', used in some aviation and military programs, is named after her.

Reading Comprehension Test.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

The History of Internet

Tomorrow is the International Day of Internet.
Have anyone ever imagined we would get to this point?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Story Telling

Would you like to listen to famous american actors and actresses reading stories?
Enter and even subscribe to Storyline Online and enjoy all of them!
After listening to Al Gore, Hector Elizondo, James Earl Jones, CCH Pounder, Elijah Wood, Pamela Reed, Melisa Gilbert and others' stories you can try some activities.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

How to Listen to Other People's Problems

Click on the image to enlarge.
"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Shakespeare in a Crossword

How much do you know about Shakespeare? Try this crossword and find out.
Follow the instructions and read carefully the clues.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Welcome to the Human Body Learning Experience

Within Discovery Channel we learn about diffferent topics, science, animals, technology...
Today we can enter our own body and test our sight, sensations, strength and brain power, enjoy this trip to yourself!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Listening to Jokes: A Cute Dog

A man walks into a shop and sees a cute little dog.
He asks the shopkeeper, "Does your dog bite?"
The shopkeeper says, "No, my dog does not bite."
The man tries to pet the dog and the dog bites him.
"Ouch," he says, "I thought you said your dog does not bite!"
The shopkeeper replies, "That is not my dog."

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Bo, the New White House Puppy

It’s official: Bo is indeed living with the Obamas. The White House blog has published official first puppy photographs. Mr. Obama’s daughters reportedly named the puppy Bo:

"Malia and Sasha chose the name, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because first lady Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley."
(Get it? Bo … Diddley? the singer?)
The Whashington Post described the dog as “a handsome little guy” with “tuxedo-black fur … a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee.” Before deciding to give the dog a home, the Obamas arranged a meeting between Bo and the girls, The Post reported:

"Bo charmed the first family. He sat when the girls sat, stood when the girls stood. He made no toileting errors and did not gnaw on the furniture. Bo has, after all, been receiving lessons in good behavior from the Kennedys’ dog trainers. These lessons have been taking place at a secret, undisclosed location outside Washington.
Bo, though he was raised elsewhere, already has a keen sense of who’s in charge inside the Beltway. When the president walked across the room during the visit, Bo followed obediently."

Read the first interview to Bo and see the White House page about the rest of Presidential's pets.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Leonardo da Vinci

As the protoypical "Renaissance Man," Leonardo da Vinci pursued a multitude of interests, hobbies, studies, professions and — of course — artistic endeavours.
Ever wanted to compare yourself to this Great Master?
Take the quiz to see how your personality compares to Leonardo's multifaceted and complex character.
And if you want to learn more about this character enter into the timeline of Leonardo da Vinci's life and work.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Songs and Conditionals

Thanks to Absolute English we learn that Nora Jones' Painter is about conditionals. Practice this structure listening to her song and:

1. Revise the grammar
2. Exercise one
3. Exercise two
4. Exercise three
5. What would you do if..?

"If I were prime minister of India"- BBC News Online asks the people on the streets of India what they would do if they were prime minister.
Read some of the messages written in this "If I were prime minister of India " section. Find and correct as many mistakes as possible in If clauses

Friday, 3 April 2009

Hawaiian Waves

Clark Little grew up on the north shore of the Hawaiian island Oahu, one of the focal points for the development of big wave surfing. He has dedicated his life to producing photographs of the inside of waves, images usually reserved for only the most intrepid surfers.
Listen to an interview on Good Morning America.

Would you do the same in our Pantin Classic?


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