Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Trick OR Treat?

How much do you know about Halloween?
Enter the British Council page with lots of frightening games,a magazine article, a story, trivia and much more... or try this test!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Karl Marx is Back in Fashion Again! I

Karl Marx is back in fashion again! That's the view, at least, of one of Germany's biggest leftwing publishing houses, Dietz, which says that copies of Marx's best-known works have been selling very well since the start of the current global economic crisis.

Listen to the story.

Bankers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your bonuses, big houses and Caribbean holidays; and now that so many are unemployed, you've finally got time to read Karl Marx's dire warnings about capitalism.
That's how today's London Times newspaper puts it, parodying the workers' rallying call that opens Marx's 'Communist Manifesto'.

And there may be something in it, because according to German booksellers, Marx's seminal works are suddenly in demand again after a lull of many decades.

Visitors to Marx's German birthplace of Trier have soared this year to forty thousand; the curator of the town's museum of Marxism is quoted as saying he's lost count how many visitors he's heard mutter that Marx was right all along.

Free market critics of Marxism, of course, have long argued that socialism leads to poor quality goods, authoritarianism, the gulags and the rest; but for now, certainly as long as the credit crunch lasts, the pro-lending expansionists are likely to stay under as dark a cloud as their Marxist rivals.

Words from the story:

dire = very serious , parodying = imitating in a funny way, workers’ rallying call = words which made workers unite against capitalism, seminal = original and influential , lull = period of quiet or lack of activity, curator = person who looks after a museum or exhibition, authoritarianism =
a system in which people must obey the government, gulags = prison camps, especially for people who disagree with the government, pro-lending expansionists = people who think that you can develop the economy by lending money, to stay under as dark a cloud as =be as unpopular as.

Do you want to know more of him? Read why Karl Marx is the man of the moment

Monday, 20 October 2008

Laptop Learning in Italy

When I told my students to take part in our own class-blog for learning, some of them showed their doubts about their ability to find suitable material on-line, and it is true if you surf in the web without help.
Things are changing in teaching and some educational authorities are taking into account new technologies to help students improve their general knowledge in specific subjects. An example is this BBC article about educacion in Italy.
Children at a school in Italy have today begun an experiment to replace all their books with personal computers. The pupils involved will each be given a special laptop that contains their entire curriculum. From Rome BBC correspondent Duncan Kennedy reports:

Listen to the story.

Until today, the Don Milani di Rivoli elementary school in central Turin was like any other. Children turned up, got out their books and pens and began the process of learning. But now, in what's being described as a unique experiment, 60 fifth-grade pupils and a number of third-graders, will start using computers only.
The mini-laptops, which run Windows software, all have a full curriculum programmed into them. The pupils will use the computers to do all their reading and writing. Security systems within the laptops mean the children's access to the internet is strictly controlled. The machines weigh less than a kilogram, can be dropped from a height of 1.5 metres and are waterproof.

Instead of spending the equivalent of 700 dollars a year on books, the laptops, built by the Italian company Olidata, cost less than 400 dollars. One of the teachers involved in the scheme says that, for the first time, schools will be able to verify in a scientific way how a computer alone can improve the learning process. The experiment, which has the backing of parents, is due to last a year.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Travelling after Death?

Actor James Doohan played the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He died in 2005 but recently his remains made a short visit to space. Doohan was one of the increasing number of people to request a Post Cremation Memorial Space Flight and in this BBC programme we find out a little bit more about this service which sends the ashes of the dead into space, the final frontier.

Before you listen to the programme look at the following comprehension questions. You can hear the answers in the programme. Check your understanding by trying the quiz below or reading the Tapescript

1: When was the first series of Star Trek screened?
2: How did NASA commemorate the Star Trek series?
3: Which other person connected with Star Trek had his remains sent into space?
4: Gordon Cooper's remains were also sent into space. Who was he?


Try the quizz

Vocabulary from the programme

the final frontier =the last unexplored area - space. The phrase was used at the beginning of each Star Trek episode.
iconic = very famous, well known and respected
in its infancy =a new thing
catching on = becoming popular
NASA = acronym for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the government organisation responsible for the space programme in the US
cremation =the burning of the body of someone who has died. After cremation what is left is called the person's 'ashes'.
remains = the ashes or body of somebody who has died
a will =the legal document in which people write what should happen to their money, possessions and remains after they have died
a growth industry =a new business which is getting bigger and becoming more popular
an unmanned rocket =a rocket which does not have any crew, there are no (living) people on it

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Spanish Covers (tapas)

Enjoy this 'From Lost to the River' Menu

The Casa Gallega

Octopus to the party (pulpo a feira)
Corageous potatoes (patatas bravas)
Huge air spray with grelos (lacón con grelos)
Canes and little ones (Cañas y chiquitos)
Drink from the boot and the big joint (beba en bota y en porrón)
Thin Uncle Joseph (Fino Tío Pepe) and Thin Fifth (Fino Quinta)
They will pass from Navarra (Pacharán de Navarra)
Wines from the River Ha and the Valley of Rocks (Vinos de Rioja y Valdepeñas)

Today´s menu:
Female Jews with Thief (Judías con chorizo)
Pretty to the Iron (Bonito a la plancha)

Special Opening Promotion:
One mug of bleeding if you buy a Little Joseph of Veal (Una jarra de sangría por pedir un pepito de ternera)

Animation Activities:
Little Football Contest (Concurso de Futbolín)
He-dominated Tournament (Torneo de dominó)
Primitive Lottery Cudgel (Porra de lotería primitiva)
Youyou contest by couples (Concurso de tute por parejas)
Madrid Aiport available to play on the tables (Barajas disponibles para jugar en las mesas)

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Painted Veil

After subscribing Speak Up Magazine, you can watch some of our films from the library . One of these is 'The Painted Veil' which stars Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. We listen to a BBC interview, how the film is different from the classic English Somerset Maugham’s novel on which it's based.
Vocabulary from the programme
to be obsessed with something = to be unable to stop thinking about something
old-fashioned = not modern, more typical of a time in the past
pace = speed, vintage = old, and of high quality and lasting value
delivery = way of speaking, superb = excellent
to end up = to finally be, a changed person = someone whose behaviour and character has changed a lot, especially improved



Sunday, 12 October 2008

Bear Convicted of Stealing Honey

A court in Macedonia has convicted a bear of theft and criminal damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper. However, there was an empty dock, and no handcuffed bear. This report from BBC Paddy Clark:

Listen to the story (Click on the right button to open the audio player in another window while you read)

The case was brought by an exasperated beekeeper after a year of vainly trying to protect his beehives from the marauding bear.
For a while, he kept the animal away by buying a generator, lighting up the area, and playing thumping Serbian turbo-folk music. But when the generator ran out of power and the music fell silent, the bear was back and the honey was gone again.

The beekeeper decided to go to law, and the bear was tried in absentia. The court agreed he had a case and found the bear guilty. But because the animal had no owner and belonged to a protected species, it ordered the state to pay for the damage.

The bear, meanwhile, remains at large -- somewhere in Macedonia.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Robin Hood; the Outlaws Revenge

The Sheriff and his henchmen rule Nottingham with an iron fist... One hope remains, Robin Hood and his gang of outlaws have a plan up their sleeve and only you can help them make it work. Play the game

This is a BBC series full of excitement, if you want to watch the interviews, learn about the characters, the episode guide and much more enter its site.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

'It is never too late!'

When you try to speak in English, do you feel uneasy?
Don't be afraid of this new language pronunciation and try BBC pronunciation tips, it is never too late!

Here you will find information about:

The sounds of English
There is a system of symbols for writing the sounds of English. We have a guide to these symbols and also videos to show how to pronounce each of the sounds.
There are also activities to practise identifiying the difference between certain sounds which may sound similar.

Features of English
Information about different elements of English pronunciation.
There are also interactive and downloadable exercises to help you build your understanding of these areas.

Interactive quizzes to test your knowledge of and help you learn about English pronunication.

Three radio programmes from 2005 on the topic of pronunciation. You can download the full programmes along with the script and audio examples.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sunday, 5 October 2008

World Teachers’ Day

Sunday October 5th is World Teachers’ Day, a day to celebrate teachers and teaching.

This September, hundreds of thousands of teachers will be meeting a new group of students in the classroom.
One of them is 21-year- old Nicky Blair, the son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Nicky is going to be part of Teach First, a charity organisation in Britain.
Teach First sends top university graduates to work in deprived and difficult areas in Britain. Nicky will be facing a group of tough students from Manchester’s inner city. Teach First says that their program helps develop leadership skills for the teachers, and provides good role models for the students.

Have you ever thought what it’s like to be a teacher with a difficult class?

What kind of teacher would you be?

Click on this activity and and you'll find out.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

How to Hand in Essays Properly

After your first essays last week I think you should take into account these instructions:

1.- Use black or blue ink, never use pencils.

2.- Don't write between lines; your ideas need more room to surprise your teacher.

3.- Clear handwriting; your mark depends on your teacher's ability to read and understand your text (no cap letters nor even a mixture: you know about it)

4.- Use margins; your time at primary school finished a long time ago. Please, use wide margins so that your teacher can leave helpful comments and suggestions.

5.- Be serious: fifteen-minute-essays are not enough for 2nd BAC. Use a draft before the final version.

6.- Your dictionary is also your friend: look for new words and synonyms (you know your teacher loves them).

7.- Each essay is a new step to improve your writing, so revise your mistakes to avoid them next time, and ask your teacher about them if you have any doubt.

8.- Your teacher doesn't enjoy nightmares: after so long studying English you mustn't make such terrible mistakes.

9.- Write a list of your Do's and Don't's (things I do well/ things I won't do again).

10.- Read as much as you can: learning is your goal.

Have a look on a selection of your first essays. Find out those mistakes YOU ALL have and enjoy some original ideas.

Remember you can change the the view size of this PDF.

Friday, 3 October 2008


Japanese text reads: 'Do not throw garbage away here if you do not live in this building'

Thursday, 2 October 2008


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