Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy 2013!


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Friday, 28 December 2012

Sweet Tribeca Spot


Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Soda Shop in Tribeca.

Watch the video about this cozy spot and answer the questions.

1.    What’s the first impression, according to the presenter, when walking into the Soda Shop?
a.    It hasn’t sold candy for years
b.    It’s an old store in need of modernizing
c.    It’s like going back in time
d.    It’s got candy that no kid likes any more
2.    Where is the store placed?
a.    Below a hotel
b.    Below Canal St.
c.    Below Broadway
d.    Below several chambers
3.    Does the Soda shop open in the morning?
a.    Yes, for school kids
b.    Yes, for hotel guests
c.    Yes, to serve brunch
d.    Yes, to serve hot chocolate
4.    Name some of the shop specialties
__________ cream
Lime __________
__________ and hot chocolates
5.    What kind of candy do they store?
a.    Traditional candy
b.    Waxy candy
c.    Modern candy
d.    Edible candy
6.    What sort of dinners do they offer?
a.    Trendy dinners
b.    Nostalgic dinners
c.    Family dinners
d.    Sweet dinners
7.    They’ve got a best customer that asks for a __________ coke every day
a.    Diet
b.    Low-calory
c.    Genuine
d.    Cherry
8.    What was egg cream said to have in it during the Depression?
a.    Heavy cream and egg
b.    Heavy cream and soda
c.    Sour cream and egg
d.    Skimmed cream and soda

9.    Why was that said to people who’d buy it in the street?
a.    To make it more delicate
b.    To make it more pricey
c.    To make it tastier
d.    To make it more elaborate
10.  Put the steps to make NY egg cream in the correct order from 1 to 6.
a.    Spin it vigorously and keep the head white
b.    Add sparkling NY seltzer
c.    Top it up with more seltzer until it runs down a little bit
d.    Add 1 ½ to 2 shots of chocolate syrup
e.    Two or three inches of iced cold milk
f.     Head it with the steady string of the seltzer

When you think you are ready, check your score using the answer key sheet.
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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The best of friends


Picture from The best of friends.

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy Birthday, Olive!


100 years, 100 postcards? 100 proposals? WRINKLES

Ignacio Rodriguez
Happy birthday, Olive! I have enjoyed so much listening to you. I hope to hear another chapter of your life on your next birthday. Take care of yourself. You are lovely!

Isaac Cernuda
Congratulations on your 100th birthday, Olive! I will try to follow your healthy way of life, it seems that it works! Take care of yourself.

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Why The World Didn't End Yesterday

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

What will your Christmas dinner be like?

Is this what you think a traditional British dinner consists of?

You might be surprised! Read the article below on BBC Food and find out why.

Christmas dinner: How traditional will yours be?

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Xmas Greetings

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Can you translate it? Into English, I mean

If you can post the exact words he is uttering, but in proper English, you get an extra point at the end of the term, so hurry up and post your comments

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Unused Words

, is your window to a richer language. 

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Monday, 17 December 2012

Internet Use and Reading Habits

How are social networks influencing youngsters' reading habits?
Listen to some C1 ESL students talking about this issue.







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The power of pen and paper

Are you a strong believer in the power of pen and paper?

Watch this Ted-Ed talk and think of an answer for the questions below:

Does Hannah sound proud of her mum?
Do you feel close to her viewpoints about her visits to the P. O. Box? Do you know anybody who might feel the same?
Can you think and talk about personal experiences of the kind?

Let’s watch it again and try to answer the following questions:

What were her college mates doing while she was waiting for letters?

What kind of piece of writing would her mum usually send?

What happened to her when she moved to New York?

How did she try to overcome the situation?

What did she do to disseminate her initiative?

What was the immediate response?

What does she promote today?

What strikes her most about the letters?

How does she describe her generation?

Can you summarize her conversation at the subway?

Can you explain what the three stories regarding the people below are about?

A lady and her husband:
A girl from Iowa:

A man and Facebook:

Which parts is she dividing letter-writing in?

What makes letter writing an art form?

Now watch it once again, read the transcript if you need to do so, and dig deeper into discussion:

Letter writing. 

Do you write letters?
Do you ever get personal letters in your P. O. Box nowadays?
If not, would you like to get some?
Are social networks doing away with pen and paper?
Do you think Hannah’s initiative is a good one?
Would you join it?

Finally, it is your turn to write. Write a piece entitled The World Needs More Love Letters.

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Recipe for Christmas

Essential ingredients: 

 - 1 Kilogramme of memories.
- 2 cups of smiles
- 4 spoonfuls of dreams
- 150 grams of hopes
- 5 cans of fondness
- 40 packets of happiness
- 1 pinch of craziness
- 100 grams of excitement
- 8 bottles of love
- 3 glasses of enthusiasm


 • Firstly, take the preserved memories of your first Christmas holiday. Add the smiles which appeared on your face when you put up the big Christmas tree and the Nativity scene with your family.

• Then mix the dough with the enthusiasm and fondness that you felt when you heard carols being sung and saw the decorated streets.

• Next, let us mix the happiness that you experienced at the special dinner on Christmas Eve.

• Immediately after, put in the pinch of craziness and sprinkle the excitement that happened when you opened your presents that Santa Claus had left.

• Stir in your hopes, dreams and love to begin a Happy New Year.

• Finally, distribute the mixture in equal portions to feast on this wonderful memory forever.

 Eat up!


Never again have I lived such a magnificent Christmas as the ones when I was a child. This is the reason why I would like to share my recipe for Christmas with you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Forget about multitasking, try monotasking

Are you a multitasker or a monotasker? 

Define yourself and find reasons for your self-definition.

Now watch the video below.

After watching

Discuss in groups

Give personal examples of multitasking activity results, illustrate them with as many details as possible.

Think of the advantages and disadvantages of being a supertasker.

What, if any, is your multitasking reality? Would you like to downgrade it?

Now, let’s put his advice into practice: focus on just one task, and turn your digital senses totally off. Are you able to do that? If so, what task are you focusing on and why? Have you found your monotask spot?

Finally watch the video again, if you need to do so, and activate the transcript if necessary.

Source: video from TedEd.

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Writing about Spain


I am writing about current Spain.
Foreign people think Spain is bullfights, "siestas", "sangría", party and hot weather. I don't agree with this. Many Spanish people don't like bullfights or having a nap. For example, I hate bullfights and I almost never have a nap. As regards weather, it isn't hot in all Spain. The North of Spain is cold in winter and it is usually raining. The South of Spain is warmer than the North.
I quite agree with people who say that Spaniards are very outgoing. If you want to go out, you should come to Spain; but I don't think we are lazy, we work all week and then we enjoy the weekend.
Nowadays, the main worry of the Spanish people is the economic crisis, because we are in a very bad situation.
In conclusion, Spain is seriously affected by the financil crisis so don't expect to find a job here.
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The Facebook generation has given up on reading

Listen to this radio programme:

Practise your listening comprehension skills using this worksheet. If in trouble, read the transcript.

When you are done and ready to check your score, have a look at the answer key sheet.

Audio file and photograph from NPR.

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Animals count

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The best of friends


Think of the answers to the questions and statements below.

Define what a friend is for you.

Do you keep friends from your childhood, nursery, or school days?

Do you think true friendship can be experienced between a man and a woman?

How often do you meet your friends?

Are your friends important for you? Why/ Why not?

How important are they, compared to your family?

Draft a piece of writing that includes at least your answers and any other detail you may consider interesting for the topic.

Then, write about 100 words on The Best of Friends. Try to be as coherent as possible, linking paragraphs appropriately and using rich and varied vocabulary and structures.

After you finish your writing, go to our Voxopop Talkgroup and record a speech about The best of friends.

When you are done, share your writing and the link to your audio message as a comment to this entry.

Illustration from GoodJoe.

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Intonation in exclamations!

Would you like to practise saying some common exclamations with What and How? Then, you are ready to try the set below.

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Monday, 3 December 2012

If I only had five minutes to live


If I only had five minutes to live…One of the things I could do is walking through a desert just in case I could find a magical lamp and ask the genius for more time as one of my desires. Perhaps that’s not the expected answer, then, I’ll think of another one.

It’s said that before you die you’d have to do three important things at least in your life: to plant a tree, to write a book and to have a child. I’ve fulfilled the three in different ways. I planted several trees throughout my life and some of them have succeeded. I have a daughter and a son. And I have written several blogs (a book in a way) and I participated in several books writing some chapters or parts of them.

If I consider these three important “challenges” I have to admit that creating a new life is the most marvellous thing a human being can be engaged in. That’s why the answer has to take this hierarchy into account.

Then, I’d spend my last five minutes speaking with my children and I’d convince them to plant as many trees as they could in their lives, to have some kids to show them how to live in a wise way and I’d tell them to write a book with pieces of advice for the next generations in order to create a better world for them.

A list of “100 things to do before you die”, if you want to think of other “tasks”.
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What I would do in the final-5-minute countdown

What first comes to me is the idea of celebration: a gathering with my loved ones to say “this is the end of it” in a particular funny farewell. No way in such a short period of time. I hope -if ever this situation comes true to me- to have a little more time…please!

What would I do in the final countdown? I actually find it hard to bear both the topic and the situation itself.

Although it is unlikely to happen I think I would rather do just the opposite, being the case I am not overcome and stunted at the same time. No hustle and bustle but simple, vital and feasible things. Saying goodbye to family and friends and especially to those really meaningful in your life; those at present are not aware of it for some reason or another. Then, if I were still in time I would relax outdoors by the honeysuckle and listen to one of my favourite singers at sunset. Good memories-the greatly loved and treasured- and a drink would bring me calm in attempt to forget all the rest.

I would like it to become a precious occasion too.
I am afraid time has gone….see you!
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What would you do if you had only five minutes to live?

The “Tick tock” video made me remember one of “The Simpsons” famous episodes in which Homer, after eating sushi made from the fish “fugu”, was told that he may have been poisoned. Homer quickly goes to the hospital, where the Doctor informs him that he is indeed very likely to die. The doctor says that nothing can be done for him and he’s going to expect five stages before dying. The first stage is denial: No way, some mistake must have been made. I'm too young to die. I'm not ready to die. The second is anger: You are out of control. Anger is directed at everyone and no one in particular. After that, comes bargaining: You are willing now to promise to do specific things provided that you are given more time. Then depression: You are fully aware that death is inevitable. Finally acceptance: You become more tired and weak. You realize the battle is almost over.
Homer does not die in the end and the episode has a happy ending but I am really convinced that these five stages are very close to what it must be like in real life.
Anyway, we should be aware of who we are or which lifestyle we would like to lead, no matter what that entails or what people say.
I could easily send a funny message to my friends saying: “Hello fellows, it may sound weird but it’s not a joke, I've been just informed that I am going to kick the bucket in a few minutes. Have a good rest of your lives. I will be looking forward to seeing you on the other side. Bye.”
However, I strongly believe that all of us would eventually react in a very different way to what we think right now, considering that this is a hypothetical situation, not the real think.
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Animals that can count


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Talking your way to top

The importance of being able to speak in public: body language, timing, your target audience.

Read this text, learn about it all and show your reading comprehension skills at the same time, too!

When you are happy with your answers, you can check your score using this answer key sheet.
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Cyberbullying is not cool!

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Stop cyberbullying

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If I only had ...

If I only had five minutes to live, what would I do? In fact, this is a very difficult question for me, a nearly fifty-year-old married man and father of four children. I Wish I would never have to face such a problem. However, if I were at home with my family it would be much more difficult to face this situation. I would give a kiss to my kids and ask them to look after their mother. A message saying “Goodbye, I wish you all the best” would be sent to some of my friends and a great hug would be given to my wife. I think I would not have enough time to do more. And now, an idea to consider and think about: we know that some day we're going to die, but we do not know when. I'm sure that if we knew when we were going to die all our latest thoughts would focus on our loved ones. And, in case you were a religious person, perhaps you would spend your latest minutes of life saying a prayer. There is a famous saying that says: "Whoever does not reconcile with death, cannot have a completely full life." Therefore, we have no justification for making last minute changes in our lifestyle just because we know that our death is coming. We have to enjoy daily life, living it as if it could end at any time: Carpe diem, as the ancient Romans said.
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Saturday, 1 December 2012



This undoubtedly seems to be a fishy question since, if answered broadly (“I would do this or that; I would tell everybody what my real feelings and thoughts are towards them”-the same way the guy does in the short film Tic Toc) it would be warningly signalling  you are not making the best out of your worldly existence. In fact, it would seem as if you were leaving things unsolved along your life´s path.  I would dare and go a step further by adding: “My dear friend, you are not being fully true to your own Self! Though, I must admit I am not either!

Nevertheless,  I am fully aware of the fact this world of ours forces us to behave, more often than not , in a completely different way from that we would really wish to.  Laying the blame for it on those so hatred social conventions we are expected to fix to in order to avoid either isolation or social stigma seems to comfort us. So, not only do we sheepishly  follow the rules unquestioning their validity, but we also keep an eye on our herd mates so as to avoid any attempt of rebellion on their part. But, when it does happen, when someone has the guts to rebel and challenge the rules, we can´t help but envying him because he is truly keeping to his Inner Self!

Personally,  since I think Life has given me enough chances to do the things I´ve ever wanted to all throughout my life, no doubt I would address those five minutes left to my beloved ones, just letting myself delight in their warmth before leaving this world,  and  telling them  non-stop how much I love them and I will always do. 

In a nutshell, we mustn´t forget that every morning the shrieking of our alarm clocks, though deeply irritating,  does announce that we have been awarded an extra day. So,  do not waste it!  Put a broad smile on your face and have a huge "thank you" shaped in your lips! It´s worth it!
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