Tuesday, 29 November 2011


If you want to practise this grammar point and have some fun meanwhile, why don't you play battleships here? This is another online game from ESL Fun Grammar Games and this other one from englishmedialab.
For exercises, visit ego4u.
Finally you can do some of these tests, if you like: 1, 2, 3, 4.
These three tutorials might also help: 1 -2 -3.

This video shows you parts of songs where the infinitive and gerund are used ;-)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Use and Omission of the Article

(Unit 5B)

When do we use THE and when do we omit it ?
Visit this LINK and do the exercise!

Once upon a time a boy met a girl in the centre of the city.
They had an ice cream together, and then they went to the cinema to see a film. The film was called Eleven Years.

Click HERE to see Powerpoint presentation


Wednesday, 2 November 2011


There are a couple of common celebrations in Britain which you may not be so familiar with: Guy Fawkes Night and Remembrance Day, a.k.a.* Poppy Day. The former is celebrated on November 5th, the latter is on November 11th. To find out why, just follow the links from Wikipedia above.
This is a video of the Guy Fawkes celebration in Victoria Park in London. Enjoy! You can also visit our post last year here.
* also known as

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Hello again!

We'll soon revise how to structure them, but meanwhile, you can have a look at this post from Masterpapers or these instructions from eHow. In Custom Writing you can also find some good advice on what to do, what to avoid and some expressions that may come handy.

Now that Halloween is approaching, you will start hearing ghost stories and other scary stuff. However, if you would like to check for yourself if a house is really hauted (or maybe it's just your friends trying to terrify you), you can follow these steps to find out.

Finally, if you've still got what it takes, you can listen to some spooky stories here. When you click on the story, it takes you to the script, then you must click on "listen to the audio version". Try not to read anything the first time, please, just concentrate on what you hear. The second time you are allowed to read while you listen. OK? Enjoy!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

R U stressed?

Just do this test to find out...   Good luck!

To find out more on the topic, you can also watch this video where an expert explains what stress is, the physical and mental effects of being stressed, when it becomes a problem and when to seek help; it's at the end of the page, but remember to switch off the subtitles the first times you hear it (pressing "CC")

In any case, if you sometimes think you can't manage stress, you may need to watch this video from the NHS page, where an expert provides some techniques for managing stress.

So ... have you ever suffered / do you ever suffer from stress? Any symptoms? What did / do you do to deal with it? If you had a panic attack, what would you do? Please leave a short paragraph with your experience (and remember to sign it, please)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


A pool table? No, snooker!
Do you feel the test is just round the corner and you don't know what else to do? Don't panic and try some of these things:
These are the two of the listenings you have in your photocopy: ideal home and blind date.
For further speaking practice go here. It's for intermediate level.
To write a good blog post, follow these steps:
  1. have a clear idea of what you are going to write about (topic) and your goal (provide links, start a conversation, express an opinion...)
  2. come up with an awesome title
  3. think of your readers and try to hook them (humour, news, attack...) and to create a conversation! Communication is one of the main objectives. A good introduction is highly advisable! These comments will...
  • have a clear objective, i.e. make a valid point (give your reasons or examples, if necessary)
  • be part of a context (the post you are commenting on)
  • be brief and respectful
  • be signed, so that the blogger can comment back to you
  • be proof-read before submitted
     4. write a detailed post, but keep it simple and to the point. Add your thoughts and if you want people to
         comment, ask a question to your readers BUT only get out what’s really relevant to this particular post.
     5. you can make a list with bullet points and organize it into headings and subheadings
     6. use your voice, your opinion (be honest)
     7. check for spelling, grammar, and most importantly flow issues. Then edit the post (things like links to
         resources, underlining, bolding, etc.)
     8. if you add a picture, it will make it a bit easier on your readers’ eyes.

Now, why don't you leave a comment on any of the listenings above? What is your ideal home like? Have you ever gone on a blind date? Would you?

Monday, 23 May 2011


Hello again!
You have probably received your recordings... but you may still wonder... How can you get better? How to structure your monologue?
In the first place, THINK! Organise your ideas, so that you do not repeat things or omit important points. If you make notes, be VERY BRIEF and make sure you use them; otherwise you'll have wasted precious time. Your notes are only reminders; you cannot read from them!
As you speak, control the time limit, deal with all the points a little and LINK your ideas nicely, so that you make a speech and not a list of answers.
Remember to STRUCTURE your talk; you'll always need:
  • an introduction to the topic
  • a body, where you deal with all the points
  • a conclusion (which you often forget about)
Try to use gramatical structures and vocabulary of the level and please avoid basic mistakes.
You can listen to this podcast from Splendid Speaking, where they analyse a student's short talk. Two more examples analysed here and here.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Are you wondering how to do a good test? Here's some advice:


  • Do not get too hung up on trying to sound like a native speaker. Would you start learning the piano in an attempt to sound like Mozart? Just try to speak clearly and correctly.Avoid basic mistakes and use some "nice structures" and specific vocbulary. Short sentences are just as good (if not better) than long rambling explanations. Remember that you have to stop and breathe!
  • Get over any fear you might have of making mistakes. You will make mistakes, so be patient with yourself. Learning any language can be frustrating, but frustration won't help you, so let it go.
  • Grasp every opportunity you have to speak with people in English. Read short stories out loud and try to see, say and hear the words to reinforce your memory. Record yourself and play it back later, how does it sound?  
  • Don't worry about your accent too much. That said, people need to be able to understand you, so pronunciation and enunciation are important. Don't worry about sounding like a native, it is more important to speak clearly and pleasantly than it is to sound like the Queen of England - Even the Queen of England doesn't sound like she used to!
  • Record yourself, keep the tape and record yourself later, have you improved? Don't be shy - ask a friend to listen to the tape too. 
  • If you make a constant mistake in pronunciation, you should record the right pronunciation of that word and listen over and over again so that you will be familiar with it, or write down the pronunciation. Remember you can always check the pronunciation in an online dicitonary like
  • Try singing along to English songs. Lots of the major games consoles have karaoke games nowadays, like Sing Star on the Playstation. You can find some karaoke resources and ideas on the learn English through songs page.

3) SPEAK! Find English speaking friends:-
  • You might not be able to find any friendly native speakers where you live, but you can find English speaking people on the Internet! 
  • There are several internet based voice chat programmes out there: iVisit | Pal Talk | MSN Web Messenger | Yahoo! Messenger | Google Talk | Skype, etc.
  • Look for people with the same interests as you. It's no good asking everyone you meet to help you with your English, rather develop natural friendships based on your hobbies etc. Eventually you will make friends and they will be much more likely to give you correction / guidance.
  • Join an English club or conversation group. If you can't find one, talk to friends who are also learning English. Go out together for coffee and only speak English to each other!
  • If you can travel to an English speaking country, do it.
You will also find excellent advice in Dulce's advanced blog here.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Globe Theatre & the Royal Wedding

This is the video we saw in class, just in case you want to watch it again.
By the way, if you want to gossip a bit about the latest "wedding of the century), i.e. William and Kate's last Friday, go here. What do you think about it? Did you like the outfits of the bride, groom, guests, etc? Have you heard anything interesting about this event?

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Atlantic Landscapes (2)

This is a photo of a shepherd, Juan Alonso.

Juan is fifty-three years old. He was born in Juncalillo but now he lives with his wife in Artenara.

He gets up very early every day from Monday until Sunday. He gets dressed and doesn’t forget his hat. Then he has a cup of milk with gofio and cheese for breakfast. He has a hundred and twenty sheep and he goes to the fields with them every day. He sits down and takes care of his sheep. In the evening, he milks all the sheep with his wife and she makes cheese to sell.

He likes walking and practising “the jump of the shepherd” with his friends. He doesn’t like cutting the wool of the sheep.

Juan is a special person because he keeps the Canary tradition.
Yolanda García de la Fe  NB1

If I were a mother, I would look after my children
If I were a clown, I would make them laugh
But I am a tree, I can only wait and stare

If I were water, I would be rain
If I were the sun, I would warm up the world
But I am a tree, I can only wait

If I were a king, I would stop wars
If I were a rich man, I would give poor people a hand
But I am a tree, I can only cry

Carmen Rodríguez Díaz  NA1

In my opinion, the piece of music that could accompany the photographs is the music of Gladiator BSO. The song is "Now we are free" because it is very relaxing and strong too . . . and this music stimulates the senses. This piece has many musical instruments  a symphony orchestra), some strong instruments (horns, trumpets, percussion...).  I like the brass instruments for this. The composer of the soundtrack of gladiator is Hans Zimmer. He was nominated for an Oscar for his music in this film. The singer of Gladiator is Lisa Gerrard. She is Australian.

The music makes you think and reconsider many things. You can feel the immensity and power of nature, your life and the lives of others.

Natalia Ónega Hernández  NB1

Dear Roberto,

Thank you for your letter. I’m very happy that you’re coming to stay with me in March. I’m sure you ´ll have a good time.

I’m sending you these photos so that you know better where I live. I know you like agriculture and these photos speak a lot of the hard work the farmers here do.

The island territory is very mountainous and difficult to create land for agriculture. The farmers have to imagine how to exploit the natural resources.

I like the photo in the top left-hand corner because it is of a very mountainous area which has been used to grow vegetables and fruit. They use rainwater for irrigation. They have broken the rock and incorporated the land. This work has been done with their hands and animals for generations.

Agriculture is integrated with the landscape. I think it is possible to operate in the territory to good use.  

I also like the photo in the top left-hand corner because it is also a rural area and has been used by farmers for several generations for the cultivation of cereals. These cereals are not irrigated because water is not available in this place. The green dots you see in the picture are almond trees that grow on the edges of the land. The house you see in the picture makes the landscape bigger.

The two photographs were taken from a plane, from an overhead view. There are other interesting things you can see too when you come.

I hope you like them because I live here!

Warm greetings


Javier Gil León, NB2

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Atlantic Landscapes

A Piece of Music for the Acusa Plateau by Alicia Rodríguez Barrio (NB1).

The dance of El Vivo is a very ancient piece of music. It is an ancient piece of traditional music from El Hierro. They played it with a drum and castanets. The author is unknown, but Benito Cabrera took the score and made a version for the timple. Later, he sent it to the British composer, Peter Hope, who finished the work. It appears on the recording, “Ethnic”.
Benito Cabrera is a composer who was born in Lanzarote. He is a Canarian timple player, and he lives in Tenerife. He studies classical music and traditional Canarian music. Benito Cabrera makes a renewal of the Canarian music for the timple. He mixes musical elements from Celtic folklore and pop.
This piece of music reminds me of the ancient past when people lived more in accord with nature. It was a time when the landscape was not destroyed and people lived from the land. But at the same time they were difficult times to survive.
The echo of the music seems to repeat itself in the high mountains and it takes me to a distant time: the fight between the aborigines and the European conquerors of the island.

I don't know how to dance El Baile del Vivo, but if I knew . . .

The Goatherd by Guillermina Afonso Perez. NI1

My name is Juan Alonso. I'm not sure about my age. My parents were illiterate and lived very far away, in Artenara. Still today, I live in Artenara with my wife and my two children. I am a goatherd in the highest village in Gran Canaria. I've got about four hundred sheep and goats, and two dogs that help me take care of them. My favourite one is Negro; its mother is very old. It's obedient, lovely and very hard-working. The other day a tourist was here and he took a photo of me with my dog. It was cold but the sun was shining, and I was thinking about my wife and children.

My wife is able to write and read a little bit (I have no idea) but I would like my children to go to a high school and, why not? to a university. They will be the new Miguel Hernández.

Goatherds on Los Cuchillos Road, Gran Canaria, in 1928.


This has been my life since I was born until the day of my death.

I was only a seed when a boy called Sam planted me behind his house in Artenara in a great meadow. He took good care of me and every day, he visited me after arriving from school. Then, he used to tell me about his day, if he had had a good or a bad time and sometimes he sang to me his favourite song “Islas Canarias”. I was very happy every time I saw him. He watered me and saw how I grew more and more every day.

I couldn´t see anything yet because I was a little tree, but Sam used to tell me all the things he could see from that place (Roque Nublo, the Fraile Rock and even the Teide when the day was sunny) and used to repeat: “when you become a tall tree you will see the same things as me”.

A couple of months later, Sam started to lose hope because I didn´t grow as fast as he wanted. One day, he asked his father: “Daddy, how long does a seed need to become a tree?” His father smiled and answered: “Oh Sam, a seed needs a long time to be a tree, but don´t worry, we can go to the bookshop and  buy a book about trees in Gran Canaria, so you can know more about them”.

Ten years later...

During all this time, Sam came every afternoon to read a book sitting on my shadow. From there, we looked at the beautiful landscape that was in front of us. Moreover, we felt the different smells and how the breeze touched us. Everything was fantastic. However, one day Sam found out that  a housing estate was going to be built where I was. I knew it but Sam never told me so as not to hurt me. That was the last day Sam saw me.

Two days later, when Sam wanted to visit me, I wasn´t there. Instead of me, he found a truck, a crane and a big hole in the place where I used to be. The lanscape was never the same.

                                                           Carmen Rosa Torres García NA1

Friday, 1 April 2011


Hello again!
Here's a powerpoint to explain with this grammar point. I hope it helps you!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

FILE 5 (English File Intermediate Plus)

In this unit we are revising quantifiers and relative clauses. You can do some more exercises here and here

You can also do this crossword on animals. Besides, for further listening practice, you can do this listening from your MultiROM CD.

Remember you can do some more reading practice here, just choose the texts from unit 5.

We've also done some work on the environment. This is some simple vocabulary, and this is a more complex exercise. This is the listening we did in class about deforestation.

Friday, 4 March 2011


In file 4A we've seen how to describe clothes. If you want some further practice, you can gossip here to see who (according to the Mirror newspaper) were the best and wrost dressed actresses at the Oscars last Sunday. For difficult vocabulary, remember you now have a dictionary online in this page, just RIGHT-CLICK on it, so that you have it in a new tab and you don't leave the blog. For the actual list of winners, click here.
We've also practised passives, for further practice go here, or here. Theory and lots of practice here, here, here, and this link and this other one are on "to have something done".

Here's a song by Katy Perry which was sent to me by Sara for you to sing along and practise. Don't you love it?
In file 4B we'll discuss about men and women, but just to look at the fun side of it, you can watch this sketch explaining the differences between men's and women's brains. Hilarious!
part 2:

Did you like it? Any comments to make anybody? :-) 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I hope this presentation helps you in the future. Some of the ideas are also good for the speaking test.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


This is the presentation we saw in class; it will hopefully help you solve some common mistakes (they all come from your compositions, so it's worth a look!).
mistakes NI2

Friday, 11 February 2011


In File 4A we're discussing fashion, shopping, etc. Then you may be interested in browsing the British version of Vogue magazine. For the latest trends, go here.
This post by Teacher Melanie talks of last year's Fashion Week in New York City. It includes some interesting vocabulary.
You can also watch this video from Learn English, a great and easy way to learn some new expressions:

Now you can listen to these activities from the BBC page:
- "Buying a pair of trainers" and "Buying some jeans" are easy conversations, and you can complete the conversations
- "Where to shop in London"  and "Oxford Street crime" are readings with comprehension questions for you to practise
Then you can listen to this podcast from ESL Pod, but don't read the transcript until you've heard it at least twice! After the dialogue they explainall the vocabulary, nice!
Do you know what is the in thing right now? What would you NEVER wear, no matter how trendy? Please leave a comment...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Speaking practice

Hello again!

Now that we're doing the orals some of you feel the need to practise more, but don't really know how to. Please have a look at this post from EOI Guía, where they suggest lots of pages offering  language exchanges.

Another alternative is to try and make a little conversation group yourselves. Why don't you meet for a drink once a week after class? Just for fun! Even if there isn't a teacher there to correct your mistakes, you can still help each other, like we do in class. In any case, you'll be working on your fluency and losing that "stage fright" you seem to have... besides, you'll be making friends! If you are up to it, I can create a conversation group in our Facebook and you can start from there... Give it a try!

A third suggestion, watch this video giving you some ideas on how to make conversation with a stranger. It might be of help, you never know! In any case, it's good listening practice!

Any suggestions anybody?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Silence, I kill you!

Noel sent me this hilarious video, I hope you enjoy it...

If you want to read something funny and really odd, here's a piece of news about a cat being summoned for jury service! Have a good week!

Thursday, 13 January 2011


Would you like to improve your listening without too much effort? 

OK, here's something really awesome: if your browser is Mozilla Firefox, you can download a complement or extension called "Download helper" (absolutely free, as usual). Once installed, it will enable you to download any audio you hear, including podcasts!!!

Whenever there's something playing (or downloadable), these three little balls will start moving in your task bar. Just click on the icon and download the podcast. Try with this podcast from VOANEWS.COM (about learning with songs) or this other one from 6 Minute English  from the BBC: "Tea Drinking in the UK". Just play the "listen" button and watch the icon move, then just save it! If you want to read the script, it's on the right of the page.

A second option for you to practise your listening and your pronunciation, is to listen to songs. Where? You can either go to Youtube (and look for the songs with lyrics) or to , where some of the songs include the lyrics, like this one which I particularly like, Only Girl (In The World) by Rihanna. 

A third option is to install iTunes in your computer. It allows you to subscribe to your favourite podcasts and it downloads everything for you automatically every time you open it. There are losts of great podcasts you can subscribe to for free. You can download it from this page.

Now all you have to do is keep your podcasts in your iPod or MP3 player and listen to them while you're enjoying a walk along the beach, for example. Nice, isn't it? Enjoy! Please let me know if this helps you.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New Year's resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR and welcome back everyone!
Have you made any New Year's resolutions, or not yet? If you want to hear again the recording we listened to in class, visit the BBC page here.

Maybe one of your resolutions is to stop smoking, especially after the new anti-smoking law came into force on Jan 2nd.  This is what the BBC says about it. You can also read this article. This video from videojug proposes some techniques or tips to quit the habit.
What's YOUR OPINION? Please leave a comment (and sign it), speak your mind!

Finally, if you want to revise some narrative tenses, go here, here, here, here or here. This page and this one are also good practice. Good luck!