Friday, 27 February 2009

Listening to Jokes

An older gentleman was playing a round of golf. Suddenly his ball sliced and landed in a shallow pond. As he was attempting to retrieve the ball he discovered a frog who, to his great surprise, started to speak!
"Kiss me, and I will change into a beautiful princess, and I will be yours for a week."
He picked up the frog and placed it in his pocket. As he continued to play golf, the frog repeated its message.
"Kiss me, and I will change into a beautiful princess, and I will be yours for a whole month!"
The man continued to play his golf game and once again the frog spoke out.
"Kiss me,and I will change into a beautiful princess, and I will be yours for a whole year!"

Finally, the old man turned to the frog and exclaimed,

"At my age, I'd rather have a talking frog!"

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Barbie. 50th Anniversary

Barbie celebrates her 50th anniversary this year. She may be hugely popular across the world but is she any kind of female role model? Does she represent a glamorous female figure which girls try to copy or is she simply a dressing up doll?

Join Kate and Jackie on this week's BBC programme as they discuss some of the controversy surrounding the doll and hear from some other women in London and their thoughts on the iconic doll.

When Barbie first went on sale in 1959, around 350,000 were sold in the first year. How many dolls sell today? Is it:

a) 3 per hour
b) 3 per second
c) 3 per minute

As you can see there is no audio player to listen to, but you can do it on the original page as there is a problem to download it.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Congrats Pe !!!

Penelope Cruz became the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar when she won the award for best supporting actress for her role in Woody Allen's 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' in Hollywood last night.
She was nominated in 2006 for her role in Pedro Almodovar's 'Volver', but, like compatriot Javier Bardem, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor last year for his role in the Coen Brothers' 'No country for Old Men' , had to wait for her second nomination before holding the statue in her hand.
Visibly nervous, Cruz made only a short speech, thanking the directors she has worked with for giving her the roles and dedicating her prize to everone in Spain who was sharing the moment with her and to all Spanish actors.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Recently a friend of mine visited the capital of Europe. What was it like and what did she think of it?
Find out by doing these four exercises:
Exercise one Pre-listening vocabulary
Exercise two Click on the words you hear
Exercise three Complete and listen
Exercise four Reorder the text

(by Caroline Brown)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Universe, Yours to Discover

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture and marks the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.

The aim of the Year is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover". IYA2009 events and activities will promote a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.

In 1609, Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist, performed the first observation of the "stars" using a telescope. The Moon was covered with craters, the Milky Way was made of numerous stars, satellites circulated Jupiter, Venus waxed and waned...
Even with a small telescope, only 4cm in diameter, Galileo found the sky filled with surprises that overturned the human understanding of the universe. In this "You are Galileo" project, you will use a telescope similar to Galileo' s and re-discover the surprises that Galileo found.
Take part in this project reading the brochure.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Passive voice VII

As you know from the last classes, in English, many sentences use the active form of the verb. The performer of the action, or the agent, comes first and is the subject of the verb that follows. The receiver of the action is the object of the verb, and it comes after the verb. For example,

The builders took down the shelves.The builders painted the wall
In these sentences, the builders are the agent of the action. The wall and the shelves are the object of the verb, the receiver of the action. The verb is in the active form.
The passive form is used when we want to focus attention on the receiver of the action, not on the agent of the action. In this case, the receiver of the action becomes the subject of the verb, which is now in the passive form. For example,

The shelves were taken down.The wall was painted
Go on reading with BBC Flatmates

After reading try the general quiz, quiz one, quiz two and quiz three.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Euthanasia: The Right to Die?

Europe is deeply split over how it treats its terminally ill. The divisions were exposed on one day in March 2008, when Belgian writer Hugo Claus ended his life under medical supervision in Antwerp and French former teacher Chantal Sebire died at home, having lost a legal battle to choose her time of dying.
Here, the BBC News website shows the patchwork of different laws in force across Europe.
Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium and Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden...

Another example is about Eluana Englaro, listen and read about her story, and you can follow other people's opinions thanks to the World Have you Say: The right to die?

Now, what do you have to say?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

St. Valentine... or Love is on the Air

It’s that time of the year when couples show their love for each other by sending cards, flowers and chocolates. But Valentine’s Day is not only about public displays of affection: in recent years it has also become big business. In the UK alone, more than £20 million is spent on flowers, whilst in the United States over $1 billion is forked out on chocolates.

Do you want to Know more about this sentimental or commercial day? Go on reading while you listen to the story and try the comprehension questions.

And try Samanthe Hague's page about the vocabulary of love or try the romance crossword!!!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Darwin. 200 Anniversary

On 12 February 2009, the BBC marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin with several radio programmes - part of the Darwin Season. See the programmes section below.

Play 'Devolve yourself!'Ready to journey back in time? Monkey around a little. Upload your photo and see yourself in a more primitive state.
Order your freeLife Tree online.
The theory which changed the world. How evolution created a revolution in our thinking.
Darwin's Struggle.The story of Darwin's twenty-year personal struggle that mirrored the natural world he observed.
Happy birthday Darwin.
The Origins of The Origin. Examining the connections between French and English evolutionary thought - and how giraffes evolved long necks.
The Natural History Museum
Remember his Beagle voyage.
And maaaany other things...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

How to Change your Appearance

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.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Passive voice VI: an Example

When you enter this blog you usually pay attention to the posts, and that's ok; I write for you to read, but you pay attention to the rest of resources you've got on both columns? Apart from 'This Day in History' section, you will find useful information about real facts and news on the 'In the News' section. Today you can compare the way Spanish newspapers and British programmes reflect this disaster, and at the same time have a look on the red expressions... they are well-known for you all, aren't they?

Arson Suspected in Australian Wildfires
More than 170 people have died in the wildfires sweeping through the Australian state of Victoria, and that number is expected to rise as officials press deeper into the disaster zone. Fires have also been reported in New South Wales and South Australia, but those blazes are said to be largely contained or burning away from residential areas. Bush fires are common in Australia, but these fires are being called the largest natural disaster in the country’s history. Several of the fires appear to have been lit deliberately, leading police to declare some incinerated towns crime scenes.
Continue reading...
Eyewitness stories...
Watch a video...

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Same Words Since 1992

Raised in Vancouver and Toronto, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been camping and hiking all her life. When she was 9 she started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. They were successful in many projects before 1992, when they raised enough money to go to the UN's Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Their aim was to remind the decision-makers of who their actions or inactions would ultimately affect. The goal was reached when 12 yr old Severn closed a Plenary Session with a powerful speech that received a standing ovation.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Would You Like to Clone Your Pet?

A wealthy couple in Florida have paid $150,000 for what a South Korean laboratory claims is the world's first commercially cloned dog. Lancelot Encore is reportedly an exact duplicate of a family pet that died last year. Andy Gallacher reports from Florida: Several years ago Edgar and Nina Otto froze the DNA of their dog, Lancelot. When he died last year, the couple were devastated and they decided to get a clone produced by a South Korean laboratory.
The biotech firm Best Friends Again claim that Lancelot Encore, as they've named the new puppy, is the world's first commercially cloned dog. The laboratory in South Korea, BioArts,includes a scientist that lost his research professorship at Seoul University in 2004, after fraudulently claiming he'd cloned human embryos and stem cells.
The new owners here in Florida say they're happy with their new dog and don't plan to clone any others.
It's thought that between three and four million unwanted dogs are killed at shelters across the US every year.

(From Andy Gallacher, BBC News, Miami)

Listen to the story.


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