Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tips on text organization

People and places

Revise your relative clauses and consolidate some vocabulary by clicking on the picture below and tackling all the tasks in this full lesson:

Alice, by Mª José Gasch. Advanced Level, Year 2

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is an enchanting Victorian oddity, a book whose remarkable dream world has captured the imaginations of diverse writers and film-makers since it was published in 1865.
This book broke from traditional children’s literature, which was expected to be realistic, educational and moral. Instead of that Carroll encourages imagination and his book doesn’t have a moral purpose.
The story involves a dive into the subconscious littered with nonsensical rhymes and literally crazy characters.
The novel opens with a bored and sleepy little girl, called Alice, sitting with her elder sister outside, until she sees a White Rabbit looking at his watch and talking to himself. Then Alice decides to follow him down a very deep rabbit hole. Thereafter Alice, who is curious, intelligent and ready to accept the impossible, moves from dreamy encounter into dreamy encounter in a wonderful underground world, watching nursery rhymes coming to life and fighting bloodthirsty monarchs made of cards. To overcome the obstacles she finds along the day, Alice uses magic potions, cakes and mushrooms to change her size. Finally Alice realizes that she has been asleep for a long time on her sister’s lap.
References to identity, knowledge and puns are recurrent subjects throughout the book. So, many times Alice’s identity is mistaken by other characters and she herself thinks that the reason of the bizarre situations she’s experiencing is that she has been changed into a different person. Again and again throughout the story Alice repeats the lessons she has learned at school, either because she feels the need to test herself, or because someone she meets wants to hear them. And the characters often get involved in long absurd discussions about the meaning of certain words causing crazy situations.
It was absolutely delicious to experience all these surreal adventures with Alice. I really enjoyed her tendency to take herself seriously and her poignant comments as much as her rather quick temper. I only found the parodies of popular poems from Carroll’s time a bit boring because they meant nothing to me.
I recommend this book to lovers of nonsense literature because it’s easy to read and although you have already watched many films about this story, reading the original book will make you enjoy amazing nonsensical dialogues and situations.

A review of Alice’s adventures, by Elena Rodríguez. Advanced level, Year 1


This is the story of a magical dream. The tale, written by the English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who was known by his literary pseudonym Lewis Carrol, was published in 1865 accompanied by Sir John Tenniel’s atmospheric illustrations.

Alice’s adventures commence when she falls asleep while she is sitting with her sister on a bench outdoors (we don’t know where the girls are). She appears in Wonderland after having followed a peculiar White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and a wide range of strange events begin to happen chapter by chapter. She meets fantastic characters and takes part in senseless incidents, from a race with a bunch of animals to a trial on the case of the stolen tarts. Finally, she wakes up from her curious dream and tells her sister about the adventures.

The odd things that happen throughout the novel are imaginative and surrealistic, like Alice’s unusual growing or shrinking every time she eats or drinks something; the absurd conversations with herself; or the subjects that the Mock Turtle had studied: mystery, ancient and modern. I think every page has something worth mentioning.

The book is a riddle with puns and linguistic reflections that become facts, such as when Alice is in danger of drowning in her own tears.

Although I really enjoyed these famous adventures and being aware of the fact that different interpretations could be made of the book, I don’t like at all the passage of the croquet game using live flamingos and hedgehogs to play with.

I wonder if the writer had dreamt of the story before telling Alice Liddell the first version during the boating, nevertheless he showed great ability to make up such a fantastic world.

As a conclusion, a remark told by my favorite character, The Cheshire Cat: They are all mad in Wonderland!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Alice in Wonderland, by Graciela Suárez (Advanced level, Year 1)

Alice in Wonderland

As a little introduction to Alice in Wonderland, we must say it is a book which mixes dream and reality in a fictitious place.
Satire and caricatures are used to criticize the social moment where the author lives.
Alice in wonderland is a book which links a girl’s involvement in adults’ world.

The book starts when a girl, Alice, goes after a white rabbit; From that moment on Alice lives some fantastic adventures: from eating a cake and, talking a caterpillar, a pig or a Cheshire cat or her playing cricket with the crazy Queen.
After all her adventures, she realizes that she had lived a nightmare; at the end she becomes aware the nightmare will be the future society.
The book is, in general, an easy book whose vocabulary is not so difficult; in fact there are many children adaptations of it.
Lewis Carroll explains a nightmare where a girl faces up with a new world for her, adults’ world and Alice is seen as the Victorian heroine.
The most outstanding chapter is the picnic with the hatter and I believe this chapter is a criticism towards British society and the tea tradition of a crazy country, as the Cheshire cat said.

Finally, I recommend this book because it is a wonderful world of a dreamy girl, an unpredictable novel where there is a clear criticism to Victorian education and society.

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, by Vicky García (Advanced level, Year 1)

When I was a teenager, I read Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland, but I didn´t really understand anything because I found it very difficult. Now I have tried to read it in English and it has been hard work again because of the vocabulary, the puns, the jokes and other things.
What was Mr. Carroll really thinking about when he began to write the book? Is this, in fact, the way he kept away from the ordered world of Mathematics? Was this story a refuge of madness from his very conservative personality and preference for order? These are some of the questions that I make to myself after reading it. My favourite parts, the most amazing ones in the book are Alice´s adventure in the kitchen, when she met a Cheshire cat who is always grinning, and the crocket game when the Queen was always ordering people’s beheading. The main trouble when you read this book is to keep attention while you are reading nonsense dialogues and a sequence of unfinished situations. In conclusion, it is not an easy book, and it is very difficult falling in love with it.

Alice in Wonderland, by Liliana García (Advanced level, Year 2)

This is a very famous book, which belongs to fantastic literature, very well – known for its originality and distinctiveness and – for that reason – it has attracted the attention of both children and adults since its publication.
It describes the adventures of a girl – Alice - in a chaotic and magical world called Wonderland.
The story begins when a very bored Alice listens to her sister´s reading in the garden.
Suddenly, her attention is drawn to a white rabbit that is crossing the garden not only dressed but watching the time on a clock. She decides to follow and pursue him through a hole in the ground. Thus begins a very long fall that gives the child time to think and remember many things.
When the fall is over, the girl is in a strange room surrounded by small doors that cannot be openned. Since that moment, her experiences will have nothing to do with logic and common sense.
Alicia has reached an absurd world where she will change her size frequently, after eating magic food, to the point of swimming in her own tears.
She will also meet animals and fantastic creatures with which she will be able to communicate and talk, she will have tea with strange characters or lull babies who become pigs. She will even play cricket with flamingos as bats under the watchful eye of a card-shaped queen that decides to cut the head of his lackeys for whatever reason that comes to her mind.
This is a puzzling book, bold for its time and very different to the usual concept of fantasy.
It is a recommended reading for its notoriety and celebrity.
However, I have never liked it because the author uses surrealism as a continuous resource and, even not finding unpleasant its unpredictability , I can´t help hating its caos.
It reminds me of whimsical dreams, and that probably reflects its excellence because history proves Alice has lived a dream and she wakes up when the leaves of a tree fall on her face while she is laying in her peaceful garden.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

State of the Union

Are there songs that represent the different and separate national musical identities of Britain?
We asked English musicians to name the songs that they feel define “Englishness”.

Read the article, choose the best answers and check your score.

Emissions targets set for delay

Read the following article from BBC News.

Choose the best answers for each of the comprehension questions you’ll find in its worksheet.

Finally, check your score using this answer key.

For further information about this issue and other interesting one, visit BBC News.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Who was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Watch some videos about St. Patrick and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on 17th March.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Photos from our special event on 14/03/2011

Jornada Cocina y Cultura. EOI Luarca

Court: Killer’s crime more cruel than punishment

Read the following piece of news from and choose the best answer for each of the questions there.

Then, check your score using this answer key.

Romance Fiction Trend: Amish Love Stories

You are going to read an extract from a Time magazine article about a literary phenomenon.

When you are ready, complete the assignment proposed and finally check how well you’ve done using this answer key.

Read more about this trend

Friday, 11 March 2011

Revising modal verbs

Click on the image below and work with this lesson so as to revise modal verbs; pay special attention to perfect modals.

Save our sounds

Click on the Save our Sounds map and listen to the sounds collected from around the world. Are there any from your country?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Listen to this recording:

Then, have a look at this worksheet and choose the best option for the questions there.
Finally, check your score using this answer key.

Comic relief

Listen to this recording:

Work with this worksheet and choose the best option for the following questions.
Finally, check your progress using this answer key.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Noun phrases step by step

1. Read about the structure of noun phrases and learn how to make strong ones.

2. Then, get some online practice on using noun phrases instead of clauses.

Pancakes, Crêpes and Frixuelos, by Jose M. Suárez

Three similar dishes, three different countries, by Cristina Morilla, Rosa Menéndez, Lidia Rubio, Noelia Rubio and José Manuel Sánchez

Pancakes, Crêpes, Frixuelos: is there any difference? By Eduardo García y Diego Sierra

Pancakes, Freixuelos, Crêpes, by Vicky García, Graciela Suárez, Elena Rodríguez, Jose M. Suárez

Boomerang generation

Listen to this podcast from British Council Learn English.

Then decide if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE:

1. The boomerang generation is an expression used to describe a popular new game
2. The interviewee Helen Campbell teaches at a University
3. All University students receive money from the UK government to study
4. The amount of student debt is decreasing in the UK
5. A typical first-time buyer takes five years to save for a deposit
6. Most young people living with their parents don’t pay any rent

Finally, check your answers using this answer key sheet.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Listen to this recording:

Then, choose the best option for each of the questions in this worksheet.

Finally, don’t forget to check how well you’ve done using this answer key.