Saturday, 31 December 2011

Auld Lang Syne


Burns’ original Scots verse
Source:   Wikipedia
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne,  my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i' the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie's a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

You might not hear this song again for a year. 
As soon as a big clock strikes midnight and the sounds rise with shouts of 'Happy New Year!', you are bound to sing it along while it is being played if you are in Britain, the States or anywhere else in the English-speaking world.
Written by Robert Burns, a lyric poet and Bard of Scotland, it was sent by himself in 1788 to the Scots Musical Museum, with a note that literally said: 'The following song, an old song, of the olden times, has never been in print'. 
Burns was interested in the Scottish culture, and collected old folk tales and poems. The song spread throughout Scotland, where it was sung to mark the end of the year, and soon to the English-speaking world, where it is sung to mark every new year.
The issue it claims is quite simple: should all those who we have known and loved be forgotten forever? Of course they shouldn't.
Should long times gone be never thought of? Of course, they shouldn't.
So, let's start a new year remembering all those people we've known and loved as well as all the times we've lived together, taking a cup of kindness.
¡¡¡¡¡BE HAPPY!!!!!

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Monday, 26 December 2011

Peter Jackson is back: The Hobbit

Peter Jackson has been busy in 2011. Do you know why? Would you like to find out what he has been doing with himself?
Well, then, watch some of his videoblogs on the making of The Hobbit.

The amazing prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a quiet and contented hobbit whose life is turned upside down when he joins the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves on their quest to reclaim some stolen treasure. It is a journey loaded up with danger and in the end it is Bilbo Baggins alone who must face the challenge, the most feared dragon in all Middle-earth.

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

In a season of calm weather, by Ray Bradbury

Included in A Medicine for Melancholy and other stories, In a Season of Calm Weather is a relaxing short story that will hook you from the very first excerpt:

George and Alice Smith detrained at Biarritz one summer noon and in an hour had run through their hotel onto the beach into the ocean and back out to bake upon the sand.

To see George Smith sprawled burning there, you'd think him only a tourist flown fresh as iced lettuce to Europe and soon to be transshipped home. But here was a man who loved art more than life itself.
"There . George Smith sighed. Another ounce of perspiration trickled down his chest. Boil out the Ohio tap water, he thought, then drink down the best Bordeaux. Silt your blood with rich French sediment so you'll see with native eyes!
Why? Why eat, breathe, drink everything French? So that, given time, he might really begin to understand the genius of one man.
His mouth moved, forming a name.
"George?" His wife loomed over him. "I know what you've been thinking. I can read your lips."
He lay perfectly still, waiting.
"Picasso," she said.
He winced. Someday she would learn to pronounce that name.
"Please," she said. "Relax. I know you heard the rumor this morning, but you should see your eyes-your tic is back. All right, Picasso's here, down the coast a few miles away, visiting friends in some small fishing town. But you must forget it or our vacation's ruined."
"I wish I'd never heard the rumor," he said honestly.
"If only," she said, "you liked other painters."
Others? Yes, there were others. He could breakfast most congenially on Caravaggio still lifes of autumn pears and midnight plums. For lunch: those fire-squirting, thick-wormed Van Gogh sunflowers, those blooms a blind man might read with one rush of scorched fingers down fiery canvas. But the great feast? The paintings he saved his palate for? There, filling the horizon like Neptune risen, crowned with limeweed, alabaster, coral, paintbrushes clenched like tridents in horn-nailed fists, and with fishtail vast enough to fluke summer showers out over all Gibraltar-who else but the creator of Girl Before a Mirror and Guernica?
"Alice," he said patiently, "how can I explain? Coming down on the train, I thought, Good lord, it's all Picasso country!"
But was it really? he wondered. The sky, the land, the people, the flushed pink bricks here, scrolled electric-blue ironwork balconies there, a mandolin ripe as a fruit in some man's thousand fingerprinting hands, billboard tatters blowing like confetti in night winds-how much was Picasso, how much George Smith staring round the world with wild Picasso eyes? He despaired of answering. That old man had distilled turpentines and linseed oil so thoroughly through George Smith that they shaped his being, all Blue Period at twilight, all Rose Period at dawn.
"I keep thinking," he said aloud, "if we saved our money .
"We'll never have five thousand dollars."
"I know," he said quietly. "But it's nice thinking we might bring it off someday. Wouldn't it be great to just step up to him, say 'Pablo, here's five thousand! Give us the sea, the sand, that sky, or any old thing you want, we'll be happy . . .
After a moment his wife touched his arm.
"I think you'd better go in the water now," she said.
"Yes," he said. "I'd better do just that."
White fire showered up when he cut the water.
During the afternoon George Smith came out and went into the ocean with the vast spilling motions of now warm, now cool people who at last, with the sun's decline, their bodies all lobster colors and colors of broiled squab and guinea hen, trudged for their wedding-cake hotels.
The beach lay deserted for endless mile on mile save for two people. One was George Smith, towel over shoulder, out for a last devotional.
Far along the shore another shorter, square-cut man walked alone in the tranquil weather. He was deeper-tanned, his closeshaven head dyed almost mahogany by the sun, and his eyes were clear and bright as water in his face.
So the shore-line stage was set, and in a few minutes the two men would meet. And once again Fate fixed the scales for shocks and surprises, arrivals and departures. And all the while these two solitary strollers did not for a moment think on coincidence. that unswum stream which lingers at man's elbow with every crowd in every town. Nor did they ponder the fact that if man dares dip into that stream he grabs a wonder in each hand. Like most, they shrugged at such folly and stayed well up the bank lest Fate should shove them in.
The stranger stood alone. Glancing about, he saw his aloneness, saw the waters of the lovely bay, saw the sun sliding down the late colors of the day, and then, half turning, spied a small wooden object on the sand. It was no more than the slender stick from a lime ice cream delicacy long since melted away. Smiling, he picked the stick up. With another glance around to reinsure his solitude, the man stooped again and, holding the stick gently, with light sweeps of his hand began to do the one thing in all the world he knew best how to do.
He began to draw incredible figures along the sand.
He sketched one figure and then moved over and, still looking down, completely focused on his work now, drew a second and a third figure, and after that a fourth and a fifth and a sixth.
George Smith, printing the shore line with his feet, gazed here, gazed there, and then saw the man ahead. George Smith, drawing nearer, saw that the man, deeply tanned, was bending down. Nearer yet, and it was obvious what the man was up to, George Smith chuckled. Of course . . . Alone on the beach this manhow old? Sixty-five? Seventy? -- was scribbling and doodling away. How the sand flew! How the wild portraits flung themselves out there on the shore! How ...
George Smith took one more step and stopped, very still.
The stranger was drawing and drawing and did not seem to sense that anyone stood immediately behind him and the world of his drawings in the sand. By now he was so deeply enchanted with his solitudinous creation that depth bombs set off in the bay might not have stopped his flying hand nor turned him round...

If you'd like to find out more about this imaginative writer of all times, do not hesitate to visit his site:

You can also listen to lots of interviews with the writer, such as the one below, dated 2009.

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About Belgium

You are going to watch part of a television programme about Belgium

For each of the questions in this worksheet, circle the right answer. Then, check your score.
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Is your child being bullied?

Read this article from BBC and answer the comprehension questions.

When you feel sure about your answers, check this answer key sheet.
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Merry Christmas to you all!

For once, I am posting a videoclip in Spanish, but do not get used to it, OK?

I just wanted to say: 'Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!'

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Thursday, 15 December 2011


Watch the video below.
 You are going to hear Robert Cialdini, a psychologist at Arizona State University, talking about advertising techniques. He identifies six principles which the sales industry uses in order to persuade potential customers to buy their products.

Take notes while you listen and explain what those principles consist of.

1 . Reciprocation 2 . Scarcity 3 . Authority 4 . Commitment 5 . Liking 6 . Consensus

Check your answers when you are ready.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Ghost Girl 3: Lovesick


Mónica Corrales, a B2 ESL learner at our school, is recommending us to read this third book of the series by Tonya Hurley.
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Communication skills

Ready to improve your communication skills?
Then, have a look at the tips below, and speak up!

If you'd rather have in another type of dowloadable version, click on this link.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The hottest place on earth

Watch the video clip below and try to answer the comprehension questions.

1. What kind of area lies in this valley?
2. What is this desert like? Perhaps ...
3. Mention what volcanoes and earthquakes continually do to earth.
4. What is the official label of this place?
5. Is the area populated at all? If so, who lives there?
6. What's the aim of the narrator's trip?
7. What does survival depend on in the community they're visiting?
8. Where will the journey take them first?
9. Which further step will they take afterwards?
10. How did the Afar call this place?

When you feel ready, check your result with this answer key sheet.
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Monday, 12 December 2011



- Adela, Adela. Come on, it’s time to wake up. Come on darling. This is your last day at school before Christmas.
- Oh yes, I Know. Oh! Mum please help me, my legs hurt.
- Oh darling, what´s the matter? We went to the doctor and everything is OK. You must wake up by yourself.
- No mum, I can´t, I´m telling you the truth.
- OK, OK I’ll help you.
- It´s enough mum, thank you, I’ll do the rest by myself.
Adela had been a charming girl, a good friend and a good student. In spite of her deficiency (she was born with a malformation of the hip) she was a happy kid, and had a lot of friends. Even when her parents split up five years ago she continued to make everybody happy around her.
Now Adela is fifteen, and she has begun to think by her own. Yesterday she was rejected by Danny, the boy she liked; and she spent all the evening thinking about that and about her mother:
            “I would like her to be here and tell her a couple of things, but she is not here. Sure! She is working. Oh yes, of course! Her job is more important than me. Even when she was pregnant it was. She might have thought the X-ray could affect me. If she had stopped working I would probably have healthy legs, and Danny would notice me. I could run and ride a bike. But I can only swim and walk. I’m tired of swimming ‘It´s very good for you’ she says. She doesn´t know how much I suffer. She doesn´t really care. She is only concerned about going out with that stupid man, Charlie. I can´t stand him! I can´t understand what she saw in him, he is rude and ugly. Why did she have to give daddy up?”
Adela had already gone to bed when her mother arrived home. Adela wasn´t asleep when she heard her coming into the bedroom: ‘Thanks Adela, thanks for being here, thanks for being my support. You always make me feel not everything is wrong. I love you’
-   Goodbye darling. Have a good day at school.
-   Goodbye mum, goodbye Oliver, have a good day at school.
-   Bye sister.
‘Mum is not working this afternoon, I´ll talk to her then. I´ll tell her I´m going to live with Dad’ –thought Adela-
On her way to the high school she met her best friend: Mary:
-   Hello Adela! How are you?
-   Hello Mary! I´m not feeling very well, I´ve realised a couple of things about my mum.
-   Your mother, what´s the matter with her?
-   It´s not fair. I don´t deserve a mother like her! What was my fault?
-   I can’t understand you.
-   She is guilty, guilty of my deficiency, guilty of Danny´s rejection, of going with another man leaving Daddy alone. Guilty, you know, guilty!
-   Are you trying to tell me you´ve realised something? I´ve never seen you so blocked. Neither you understand me. Of course, you´re not in my skin.
-   Definitely, that stupid boy, Danny, has blocked your mind completely. I don’t recognize the girl who is by my side. Do you remember two weeks ago when I came to school without my folder? I was blaming myself all the morning until you told me: “Of course, you are not stupid, you´ve only made a mistake, that´s all” You are always cheering and encouraging everybody around you.
Your mother could have made some mistakes, who hasn’t? No one knows if your problem was caused by the X-ray. I don´t know what happened between your parents, both of them seem charming. But they love you, and both of them are concerned about you and your brother.
Besides, Danny is a shallow-minded boy. You would not have any interesting conversation with him. He is only concerned about physical appearance. Have you noticed the way Marcos looks at you, have you realized he is always trying to help you?
-   Marcos?
-   ...
When Adela arrived home, she was really hungry, and when she opened the door, Oliver (her eleven-year-old brother) was finishing setting the table. The nicest smell in the world flooded the flat: baked chicken. Her mother was taking the potatoes out of the pan and the soup was already on the table.
-   Hello darling! Are you feeling better?
-   Yes I am.
After having lunch Adela was very tired, she went to the sofa and switched on the TV, there was a teenager party on it. She fell asleep and dreamed she was in a party; she was able to dance doing whatever movement with her hip. She was able to jump and she wasn´t limping. Danny was trying to hug and kiss her, she was really pretty. It seemed as if none of her friends noticed her and, of course, nobody showed joy because of her improvement. Mum and Dad stood aside. It seems as if they were unknown. There was  pounding music.
-   Adela, Adela, come on, we are going to put the Christmas tree –it was Oliver- . Would you like to see my marks?
-   Of course Oli, I know you are a good student.
-   Look, I have a 9.5 in Maths, it´s because you helped me.
-   Mum, I would like to talk to you.
-   What about? Tell me.
-   Have you thought about inviting Charlie to sleep and stay here when he wants? There´s no problem with me.
-   Is everything OK?
-   I´m better than ever.

By Rosa Mª Menéndez. Advanced level. Year 2

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Erick's best Christmas Eve


Once upon a time there was a boy called Erick who was really enthusiastic about celebrating Christmas Eve, but unfortunately he lived in a village where there were no children and people were not passionate about decorating their houses or even preparing a big meal for the rest of the family. They simply thought they had a lot of things to do, feed and clean the animals, tidy up the house, prepare food, so there was no spare time to share it with relatives or friends.

Erick was so disappointed that he decided to send a letter to Santa Claus in which there was only a wish: to celebrate the best Christmas party ever in his hometown. Once the letter was written, he gave it to his parents but they secretly read it and then they threw it into the garbage.

However, they did not know that tiny elves had been paying attention to the people’s behaviour along the whole year in order to inform Santa Claus, and one of these Santa Claus elves found Erik’s letter by chance. He became a bit sad when he heard Erik’s parents say,

            -‘This little boy of us will never learn that we have plenty of things to do here in our lands! We don’t have time!’

            Quickly, the elf ran away to the North Pole to tell the rest of his mates and Santa Claus about the situation and how sad the boy was. As Santa Claus always says: ‘Christmas is a time to share our love with our family and friends, singing, dancing, talking, and enjoying it ourselves as much as we can’.

            After reading the letter Santa Claus decided to make something extraordinary for the village that they would never forget. Each day of December the elves would visit the village at night and decorate it. The first day of December they would bring a Christmas tree, nobody in the village couldn’t believe it. The second day the elves would adorn it with tinsel, and so on with the streets, the shops,…

On Christmas Eve everybody kept on working but with a strange feeling. In the afternoon bells started to toll and Santa Claus came into the village riding his reindeers. People were surprised, because near the tree there was a huge table with delicious food for dinner. Santa Claus told the villagers that they needed to share time with the family and friends, and especially with the children, because Christmas is the best time to celebrate friendship and love. Erick, who could not believe what he was seeing, sat near Santa Claus. His wish had come true.

In the morning all villagers had their presents in their houses, but their best present was to spend Christmas Eve together. Since that day, they celebrate it every year, and decorate everything as well as they prepare a huge dinner all together. They try to spend more time with their friends and particularly with Erick, the little child of the town at that moment.

Mónica Corrales Marbán. Advanced level. Year 2
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The picture of Dorian Gray


I have chosen to read this book because it is a classic of English literature and a friend of mine told me that it was interesting to read.
It’s a fantasy novel that mainly deals with the themes of morality, hedonism, self obsession and bad influences.
The action takes place in the late nineteenth century in London (England), between the wealthy West End and the decrepit East End.
Wilde tells the story of an extraordinarily handsome young man named Dorian Gray, who is the subject of a painting by the artist Basil Hallward. Basil is greatly impressed by Dorian’s beauty and he thinks his beauty will end up in the cause of a new Art style.
During the last painting session, Dorian meets Basil's friend, Lord Henry Wotton, who opens his eyes to the brief nature of his own beauty. He tells him that he should develop a new sense of hedonism because he will grow old, ugly and repulsive with the passing of time and yet this beautiful portrait will hold his youth beauty forever. 
Terrified of aging, Dorian sells his soul in order to live a life of perpetual youth, and the portrait Basil has painted would become old instead of himself.
Henry's influence has a profound effect on the young man, who soon adopts his views as his own, abandoning ethical restrictions and seeing life in terms of pleasure and sensuality.
Dorian falls in love with a young actress of respectable talent, Sibyl Vane, who finally ends up killing herself as a result of Dorian’s behaviour. When he returns home, he discovers that the figure in his portrait now holds a lightly defiant facial expression. The picture will serve as his conscience, allowing him to live freely.
Afraid of the idea of having the secret of the painting discovered and, therefore, the true nature of his soul, Dorian hides the image in his attic.
Dorian finds a certain joy over the next years in committing sinful or pleasurable acts and watching the painting change; he loses none of his beauty or youth, but the painting grows old and ugly.
When Dorian is thirty-eight he meets Basil again, whom he hasn’t seen for a long time and finally shows him what has happened to his portrait. Basil is horrified and tries to make Dorian regret it, but Dorian kills him, and blackmails an old friend, Alan Campbell, to burn Basil’s body in the attic's fireplace. This action eventually compels Alan to commit suicide.
Dorian becomes increasingly anxious and then goes to an opium den to try to erase his bad feelings. Out on the street, he meets Sibyl's brother, James, who has sworn revenge on the man that drove his sister to suicide. Dorian tells him to look closely at his face; he could not have been more than twenty years old so he lets him go. Few days later during a hunting party, a man is accidentally shot and killed. Dorian finds out that this man was James. He decides that from this time on he will be good; and to do this, he must get rid of the constant anxiety and fear he has been long feeling.
In a fit of despair, he decides to destroy the picture with the knife used to murder Basil. Dorian's servants hear a scream, and when they come, they find a horrible old ugly man, only recognizable by the jewelry on his fingers, lying dead on the floor, the knife was plunged into his chest and the picture as it was, when it was painted.  
From my point of view, two parts are very interesting: the first is when Dorian notices a change in the portrait for the first time, after Sybil Vane’s death of. The second happens when Dorian attempts to "kill" the portrait but instead he kills himself.  
It was very interesting for me to read this book not only because of the story itself but also because of the way it invites you to read. The message lying within the novel is the weight of our own conscience. I have learned a lot of new words and expressions through my reading.
J. M. Suárez. Advanced level. Year 2 

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Languages in the world

Elena, B2 ESL learner, is telling us about her viewpoints on languages in the world nowadays.

Elena Rodríguez. Advanced level. Year 2
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Verbs of the senses

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QI Quiz

QI Quiz, or Quite Interesting Quiz is the successful British show hosted by Stephen Fry and starrring Alan Davies.
The quiz panellists rotate, apart from Alan Davies, who is a permanent panellist, and you can usually find well known British comedians taking part in it, although panellists from all sort of fields have come up to the show.
Faced up with obscure and different questions whose correct answers are bound not to be provided, panellists are compensanted with points for giving interesting answers, whether they are correct or not. On the other hand, if the panellist's answer is not only wrong but also regarded as pathetic, then points are deducted.

Watch a glimpse of one of QI Quiz episodes and guess if you could have been a panellist yourself. 
I'm sure que question is going to sound familiar.

You can read all about this TV show on QI: Dave.

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US jobless rates and Obama

Listen to this piece of news about US jobless rates and Obama. Then, answer the comprehension questions.

You can listen again to the news while you are answering:

When you are done, check your score.
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Why don't we take computer games more seriously?

Read  the following article and answer the reading comprehension questions.

When you are finished, you can check your score with this answer key sheet.
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I love them dearly but ...

Listen to Ann, talking about some of the members of her family. Go through the questions and choose the most appropriate answer for each of them.

When you finish, check how well you did; use this answer key sheet.

*From Inside Out. Level five. Student's Book
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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Graciela is sharing with us her opinion about the fourth book of this well known series about Greg.

Graciela Suárez. Advanced level. Year 2
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The Metamorphosis

A storyteller explains why he recommends this famous novel by Kafka.

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Starting the alphabet from 'O'

Elena has decided that 'O' is the letter she wants to know about in this series of alphabet detective novels by Sue Grafton, and that's way she's telling us about 'O' is for Outlaw, one of the novels by this American author featuring an investigator in California.

Elena Rodríguez. Advanced level. Year 2
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Friday, 9 December 2011

Rosa thinks The British Museum is falling down


Rosa Mª Menéndez. Advanced level. Year 2
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Storytelling: Brooklyn Follies


By Mercedes Martín. Advanced level. Year 2
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The statue of the happy prince, based on the original story by Oscar Wilde.


Once upon a time, there was a prince in a Northern country, who used to be very happy. When he suddenly died at a very early age, the Mayor and the royal court decided to purchase a golden statue of their beloved prince that the citizens would happily pay out.

There stood a lavishly decorated statue of their beloved prince, which they became very proud of. They placed it on a white marble column, ensuring each piece of land and every subject of the kingdom were within his reach. It was a grateful white stone image of a beautiful young man, gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, sparkly bright blue sapphires eyes, and gold-leaf-covered curly hair. He was dressed up with stunning diamond-encrusted apparel; he wore jet-encrusted shoes with shiny silver bucklers carefully crafted. And he was holding a golden sword, with a large red ruby glowing on its hilt.

It was Christmas time, and a little Swallow had been left behind by the flight of swallows during migration to Southern countries in autumn, for he had gotten in love with a Reed. As the time went by, he realized the Reed was very attached to her home, the river. On the contrary he missed travelling, and felt lonely. Then he decided to fly South.  He flew all day long, and at night-time he alighted at the feet of the statue of the happy prince. But just as he had fallen asleep, a drop of water fell on him, a curious thing, as the night was clear. Then another drop fell down. ‘I’d better look for somewhere else to spend the night’ - said the Swallow. And, as he was opening his wings to fly away, he looked up and saw tears running down the golden cheeks of the happy prince.”Why are you weeping, being so happy and beautiful? Aren’t you the happy prince?”-asked the Swallow.”I cry because when I was alive I did not know what sorrow was, and I never cared what was beyond the palace”,” I cry because now that they set me up here so high, I can see people´s pain, grief and unhappiness”. “I cry because it´s too late for me to pass fair laws that would help the poor subjects of my kingdom”.”Look, come over my shoulder, can you see that poor hut down the hill?”-said the prince. “Yes, I saw it this morning while I was flying over“-replied the bird”. “There lives a seamstress, whose little son is very ill. She has nor medicines, neither food for him. Now look, can you see that badly drained farm by the riverside? It belongs to a seven children widow farmer, whose flock of sheep and goat died of a dangerous disease. Can you see those children lying under the archway of the bridge? They just have themselves to keep warm. Can you see that writer? He can´t finish his novel as his house is too cold and he has no wood for the fireplace. He soon won´t have a place to live anymore.

“Would you pluck the ruby out of my sword-hilt and give it to the seamstress for Christmas?”, “I´m sorry”- said the Swallow. ”It may snow pretty soon, and I must be going South”. “Swallow, little swallow, would you stay with me just one night, and be my messenger? –required the prince.”All right, but just one night, then I must go, it is getting very cold, and I miss the Southern countries”. The swallow delivered the ruby for Christmas. Thank you swallow; ”would you pluck one of the sapphires out of my eyes and take it to the farmer for Christmas?”. And his friend helped him. ”Thank you Swallow; now, would you take each silver buckler, and give them to the children under the bridge?” And so he did. “Thank you Swallow”; “would you pluck out the other sapphire and give it to the writer for Christmas?”-continued the prince.”I can´t do that, Prince, you wouldn´t be able to see any more”.”I command you to, Swallow”-ordered the prince. And the swallow plucked the sapphire out and brought it to the writer.

As the morning came the swallow flew back with the Prince. ”You must leave now, it is getting too cold, and it may snow pretty soon”-said the prince.”No, I can´t leave you now that you are blind. I´ll stay with you, and be your eyes tonight”. The Swallow stayed and helped to deliver pieces of the wealthy statue to the poor people, until it was stripped of every treasure. And it started to snow and the Swallow fell asleep and died at the feet of the statue of the Happy Prince. Then the lead heart of the statue broke down. And the next morning, when the Mayor and the royal court saw the poor statue, they decided it was ugly and sad and the pulled it down.
 Mercedes Martín Panero. Advanced level. Year 2
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

The old man and the sea, reviewed by Graciela


Graciela Suárez. Advanced level. Year 2
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Let's imagine .... you'd like to learn more about conditional sentences and speculations, right?

Then, you are ready for this lessson, especially if you are an A2 That's English student and need some extra practice.

Have you installed Java and the Malted Web 2.0 plugin in your computer yet? If not, it's time to do so, since you'll need both in order to surf this lesson properly.

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Love and marriage

Ready to know a bit more about relationships and weddings?

If you are one of the A2 That's English students, you might be interested in this resource. 

In order to surf it properly, you'll need Java and the Malted Web 2.0 plugin in your computer.

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Eating habits

Cristina, one of the A2 That's English students at our school, is sharing her eating habits with all of us.


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Through the window


It is supposed to be a day where people meet but at eight in the afternoon the only thing that I could do was looking through the window.
It was not a good idea when I turned on the radio because I was listening to many Christmas carols on it so I decided to listen to the last Cold Play CD that I had bought on the street; it was too high, I could not listen to my steps on the old wooden floor.
With my old and smooth pyjamas on, I sat on the window sill with a quilt on my legs and I looked through the window.
The old owner of the small grocery was closing the shop while his wife was waiting for him and near there, some friends were drinking a toast for Christmas; when I looked down at the café where many people were laughing a delicious smell came into my room, it was like a beef stew my granny used to make on special days, probably it´s in my neighbor’s kitchen, where some children were nervous because they were waiting for Santa´s visit.
During the next ten minutes I imagined non real figures with the shadows that Christmas lights reflected on the street cobblestones.
But suddenly the song stopped and I realized my telephone was ringing; my mum reminded me I had to buy the last sweets she couldn’t buy that afternoon and I would try not to be late for my parents’ as I had done over the past three Christmas Days.
In the last view through the window I thought for few minutes I was one of those people who were on the streets buying the last things they needed and doing the same things as every Christmas Day in many places round the world: colored lights, sweets, Santa’s presents or heavy dinners.
Before going out of my home I had to convince myself of that special night with family and friends and not with all the material things that would surround us.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The British Museum is falling down

Hello, my name is Rosa María and I´m going to talk about the book: “The British Museum is falling down” written by David Lodge.

David Lodge is an English author born in 1935; he was brought up as a Catholic but has described himself as an “agnostic Catholic”. Catholicism is a major theme in his books. But this subject is addressed in his novels with irony and sarcasm.

The British Museum is falling down is a comic book which recounts a day in the life of a young Catholic couple in the sixties. The biggest problem they have to struggle with is their fertility because the Catholic Church doesn´t allow them to use contraceptives.

Adam Appleby wakes up distressed one November morning. He hasn´t finished his studies yet. He is preparing a thesis about English Literature. He is only twenty five years old, but he is already married with three small children. And his wife, Bárbara, could be pregnant, because her period is three days overdue.

Adams’s major wish is for Catholic Church to change its policy about birth control. In this way he could decide whether to have children or not. Or better, he could decide not to have children any more.

They are practising the “Safe period” method, which is the only contraceptive-system that Catholicism allows them to practise. But this is a mess with a lot of graphics and thermometers in which sexual activity is concentrated in less than a week a month. We can imagine the stress it leads to. Besides, this is a non-reliable method.

So Adam leaves home in distress. In the door way, he founds a mysterious letter addressed to him. He takes his dilapidated scooter and heads to the British Museum.

He arrives late at the library; there he meets Camel, a friend who is preparing a thesis “as long as anyone can remember”. Adam enjoys chatting with Camel about what they would do if they were “Prime Ministers”.
But he is very worried about his wife´s possible pregnancy, and phones her constantly.

In the phone booth, he has several adventures:
·     He meets a fat and rich American man, Adam gets him out of a couple of tight spots.
·    In another occasion Adam picks up the telephone and it’s an important message for the American man. Adam tries to phone the police in order to give him the message but there is a mistake and the policemen understand there is a fire in the British Museum.

When Adam reaches the museum and sees the firemen, he decides to escape as a fugitive. Then he opens the mysterious letter. It is a woman who has an unpublished book written by a dead Catholic author (Mr. Merrymarsh) whose literature is being studied by Adam. He goes to her house. There, the woman shows him the unpublished book, which turns to be an awful pleading about “sexual purity”.
Circumstances make Adam get enclosed with the woman´s daughter, Virginia, who is a teenager oppressed by her mother and who wants to give free rein to her sexual impulses…
On the other hand, Virginia has some stuff in which Merrymarsh shows his most impure side. She promises Adam to give him this stuff in exchange for sex.
If you want to know what happens then, you´d better read the book.

Much of action takes place in the library of The British Museum, which must be an imposing place.

I found the book boring and difficult to read. In the middle of it there are a lot of Adam´s dreams and meanderings which seemed absurd to me. Perhaps because I don´t understand English humour.

The central problem also seemed to me absurd, maybe it is due to the time in which we are living now. If you don´t really want to have more children, use contraception. Who cares what the Pope says?

On the other hand, I agree with David Lodge that Catholicism should change its birth control policy, and provide contraceptives to those disadvantaged areas in which they work helping people.
I should say I´ve never liked comic books, films or TV-programmes. Besides, English humour seems ridiculous to me.
Rosa Menéndez. Advanced level. Year 2

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