Wednesday, 30 January 2013

On time

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What can you see in the image below? Can you describe it in pairs?


This image comes from a short film called On Time.

Before watching the film, discuss the following questions:

What do you think the short film is about? 
What story does the short film tell? 
What do you think you will see and hear in the short film? 
How does the image relate to the short film? 
Why is the short film called On Time?

Now, watch the film and compare your answers to the previous questions with what you see and hear in the film.



Did you like the film?
How did it make you feel?
Does the film have a message?


You are going to watch the film again; this time, concentrate on Arthur, the main character, and use adjectives to describe how he is feeling at different stages in the film: 

• at the beginning, when he is looking at the photo
• when the salesman shows him the case
• when he talks to the woman
• when he signs the contract
• when he boards the plane

Now, in pairs, talk about these questions:

Would you like to have this case?
How could the case be useful?
Could the case be used in a bad way?

Finally, ask each other this set of questions:



Lesson by Kieran Donaghy at Film English


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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pronouncing homophones

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Read the sentences, practise your pronunciation, and think of homophones. 
Can you say what the meanings of the homophones are?



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Sunday, 27 January 2013

The crossroads of the world

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Click on the hotspotsaround the image below, explore the content, and learn more about this wonderful American landmark.


Then, when you are ready, write your impressions and conclusions below, inside the Comments textbox. Include at least the following items:

What new knowledge you have gained about Times Square.
Explanation of the major theme, events and minor topics and issues.
Your discoveries as regards places and events.
Dates and historical knowledge.

Finally, when you are ready, go to our Talkgroup and make a tree-minute speech on Destination: Paradise; follow the instructions you will find there.


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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Augmenting The Union Jack

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What is the Union Jack

If you were told to think of songs that have something to do with this flag, would you be able to hum at least one?

Would you like a tip? Then you need your smartphones or tablets together with Aurasma.











Get the App: Get it on Google Play, or on the App Store.

Scan the Flag below, and unveil the tip! Then, leave your comments about what you have discovered. Don't forget to build up your answers and encourage others to reply and chat! More tips are also welcome, OK?


Finally, find out more information about the Story of the United Kingdom and the Union Flag.

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Monday, 21 January 2013

What are the advantages and disadvantages of augmented reality gadgets and apps?

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After working with Gadgets, Apps and AR, these are some of the conclusions the C1 bunch have jumped into.

Nacho



Juanjo



María P.




Ana




María T.



Orlando




Miguel


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Friday, 18 January 2013

Unbelievable, but unfortunately, true!

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When I first saw these signs, I just couldn't believe my eyes!

Then, I couldn't help myself and I had to instagram the snapshots.

Now, I was just wondering if you could put them in plain English for me, please, so that we can help the staff at the T2 cloakroom at Madrid - Barajas improve these signs, since at the moment, and as Professor Higgins says in Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, they 'incarnate insult to the English language'.








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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Olive says thank you

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Do you remember Olive, the 100-year-old British lady?

After receiving your compliments on her special day, now Olive is thanking you and all those who have taken part in the project activities and have sent their best wishes on such a special occasion.

Watch the video below and find our postcard.

Have a look at our board: The Value of Wrinkles.

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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Creativity in Education is not an option

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Why is Creativity important in Education? 
Discuss.

Watch this interview with Sir Ken Robinson and reflect on his beliefs and thoughts. Do you share them?



Then, answer the following questions:

1. According to Sir Ken Robinson, there’s a false assumption when people think about education. Which is it? 
2. How does that assumption show itself? 
3. What is the contradiction between politicians’ and business leaders’ responses? 
4. What kind of survey did IBM launch?
5. What was found out by means of this poll? 
6. Why were CEOs worried about that issue in terms of business running? 
7. What does creative teaching require? Why? 
8. Why is there a cultural imperative too? 
9. What sort of challenges do we face in our current world? 
10. What is a task for Education? 
11. What is the third big reason to go into creative teaching, and why? 

After listening to the interview, discuss with your mates:

Do you agree with Sir Ken Robinson?

Are you ready to transform Education?

How?

If you'd like to check how well you have done with the listening comprehension questions, you can use this answer key sheet.


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Monday, 14 January 2013

Passion for food? Passion for info?

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Do you love your food?
Do you love information?
Do you think food and information have something in common?

Let's watch the video below and find out.



While you are listening to the talk, think of the following items and take notes:

- What the topic and the various sections of the talk are.
- How the speaker organizes his speech and the relevance of such structure.
- The importance of the speaker's acquaintance with books.
- The reasons why he has developed a passion for food and for information.
- The age of 27: why is this a turning a point in the speaker's life?
- The merging points between information and food.

Then, think of your own answer for the question he is leaving us with: If you began to think of all the information that you consume the way you think of food, how different would your life be?

After watching the clip, discuss your viewpoints on the talk with your mates. Get ready to give feedback about your conclusions to the rest of the class.
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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fortune Teller

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Ready to know your future?

Then visit the Fortune Teller and do all the activities in this unit.


If you are a That's English student and are working with M. 6, U. 7., it will help you and provide you with extra knowledge.

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Gadgets, Apps and AR

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Gadgets. What is a gadget? Could you provide a definition for this word? Could you find examples in your everyday life?

Discuss with your partner:

1. Which gadgets have you got?
2. Which ones would you like to have?
3. If you could invent a new gadget, which one would you invent? What would it do? How would you call it?

Source: Flickr. Major Clanger's Gallery


Apps. What are Apps? Could you provide a definition for this word? Do you use any apps? If so, which ones do you use? What for?

Source: Flickr. Doug Belshaw's Gallery

Now you are going to watch a short film about a gadget or an app called Sight. What do you think an app called like that might do? What do you think you might see in the film?
Watch and notice what Sight does. Think of the advantages and disadvantages Sight might have.



Now discuss in groups:

1. What is Sight?
2. Would you like to have Sight?
3. What would you use it for?
4. How could Sight be misused?
5. Do you think that an app or gadget like Sight might be possible in the future?

________________________________________________

Have you heard about Project Glass? Let's watch a short video that explains what it is. While you watch, think of how Project Glass is similar to Sight.



Now, in groups, discuss about the following question:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of augmented reality gadgets and apps?

Source: FilmEnglish. Enter full lesson.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

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The curious incident of the dog in the night-time is a mystery novel written by Mark Haddon.



In this book the main character and the narrator of the story is Christopher Boone who is 15 years old and has Asperger Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth but he hates yellow and brown.
One night Christopher finds Mrs Shears’ dog, Wellington, murdered. Mrs Shears is his neighbour. When he approaches his neighbour’s house he sees that there is a garden fork sticking out of the dog. Christopher pulls it out and hugs the dog. Just then Mrs Shear appears and she starts shouting at Christopher since she thinks he has killed Wellington. When the police arrive they ask Christopher too many questions and too quickly. Consequently he rolls back onto the lawn and presses his forehead to the ground because there is too much information coming into his head from the outside world. A policeman takes hold of his arm and lifts him onto his feet but Christopher doesn’t like being touched so he hits the policeman.
At the police station Christopher’s father makes him promise he will stay out of trouble. However he still wants to know who killed Wellington and, besides that he is writing a book about the murder so he is continuously asking his neighbours about the incident.
Nevertheless Christopher discovers an amazing secret that his father had kept hidden for a long time.

I think this book is easy to read but hard to put down. Not only is it a gripping and fast-moving novel, but it also raises many interesting questions, such as how different life would be if a member of your family had Asperger Syndrome.

By Soraya.  B2


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Deaf sentence

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Deaf Sentence is a novel written by David Lodge, which tells the story of a retired linguistics professor, whose name is Desmond Bates. He has some difficulties is his daily life due to the fact that he has to wear a hearing aid since he is becoming deaf. Through the story, Desmond teaches us how "Deafness is comic, as blindness is tragic". As a result, he describes some funny situations and some unfortunate misunderstandings.
The author also describes to us, apart from other topics, how Desmond´s wife, Winifred, manages with his husband problems at the same time as she is so busy in her successful business, how Desmond is worried about his father, a 89-year-old person with hearing problems too, and who lives alone far from him, about some linguistics analysis or some historical aspects about the Eiffel Tower or Auschwitz.
This novel is worth reading since it is a thought-provoking, moving and funny novel, which you can't put down. So, I would recommend it to anyone who likes enjoyable novels.


By Julia. B2

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Leviathan, by Paul Auster

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If you don't know Auster, maybe you're thinking of a medieval story with sea monsters, ships and sailors. You'll be absolutely wrong. In Auster's novel we don't find anything about monsters, seas or similar things.
On the other hand there is a novel, which has the same title and written by Hobbes. This Leviathan could have some link with Auster's Leviathan. Auster, through his caracters, criticises the State, a State which Hobbes conceived and described in his work in the 17th Century.
The story starts when a man blows himself up by the side of the road in Wisconsin. In fact that man is Benjamin Sachs and his story is told by Paul Aaron, the main character, a writer who knows Sachs, a writer as well, and tries to explain who Sachs was.
The book is interesting and easy to understand. Maybe the main trait is that Paul Aaron seems to be an alter ego of Auster. The story is told in a biographical way. The characters are a bit complex, on the other hand the plot is easy. The novel starts as a detective story and goes down just in the middle but at the end it is so effervescent and pleasing.



Aurelio. Advanced Level. Year 2



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Monday, 7 January 2013

Ghosts of Spain

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Giles Tremlett is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He is the Madrid correspondent for the Guardian newspaper and a regular contributor to The Economist. He moved around the world from an early age and had his first taste of Spanish life when he lived in Barcelona for two years in the mid eighties. After a period in other countries, he returned to live in Spain at the beginning of the 1992 Olympics. He currently lives in Madrid with his wife.

His book “Ghosts of Spain: Travels through a country’s hidden past” (2007), was translated into five languages and sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.

 

In the words of William Grimes, of the New York Times, “Today, a little more than 30 years after Franco’s death, Spain might well be the happiest country in Europe, with a robust democracy, a booming economy, dazzling new architectural trophies and a health-care system that can take credit for Europe’s longest-lived citizens. The uneasy secret behind the miraculous shifting of gears known as la Transición (“the Transition”) is an unspoken pact to let the past alone, what one member of Parliament has called “forgetting by everyone for everyone.””

 

Of course, these words, written five years ago, are not a reflection of the current political situation of the country. But what I liked more of the book is how a foreigner can grasp the spirit of a country and how we can appreciate better our culture from another different point of view. For example, the author says “This country is famous for noise”. That sentence is something I always remember when I have travelled with students to a foreign country. Ten Spanish students in a wagon can be heard some miles away while a couple of very little French kids, for example, make almost any noise at all.

 

“Televisions can stay on in people´s homes all day long”, says Giles. It’s a real fact. “Spanish love of doing things en masse”, “gossiping is a national pastime” or explaining what does “enchufe” means (the art of being `plugged in”) are other sentences that deserve to be taken in account from this book. And he moves throughout the whole book offering a guided tour to modern Spain

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The Creeper

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It is a story of womanhood and in no way a bestseller.
It came to me by chance just before Xmas: one of my friends gave me a bunch of books she was going to throw away as a result of some cleaning and the lack of room for them on the shelves.
The Creeper tells the story of two women, Clara and Julia, who inhabit the same house, a beautiful colonial villa in northern Spain, within a century in between. It is written by Josefina Aldecoa.
A century apart means different kind of women: one married to a wealthy older man following the current conventions and the other, the independent buying the house a hundred years later to get away from the city. Two not alike female characters yet so similar in what they struggle for…their own identity.
The narrative space, the house and park, the passage of time marked by the changes in the landscape through the four seasons, affects women and causes both moments of reflection and either reaction or despair.
I enjoyed this vintage reading very much. I found it appealing as you can notice the parallel and the counterpoint of the two women in a very rich, accurate language full of images as that of the creeper which is there for you to discover. Besides it brings nature in and therefore it has an outstanding sensory nuance which I always find delightful.
It was a MUST for me!




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La Regenta

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“La Regenta” is a novel that was written by Leopoldo Alas, “Clarín”. The novel was first published in 1884. The author used Vetusta (Oviedo) as a symbol of hypocrisy and ignorance in the Spanish society of the late nineteenth century.
Ana Ozores is a young, beautiful and cultured woman married to the ex- magistrate of the city, Victor Quintanar. He is a good, educated man in his sixties that behaves more like a father than like a husband to her.
As he was appointed regent of Vetusta’s audience, Ana was known worldwide as “La Regenta”.
She feels physically and spiritually ignored by her husband. He spends his life hunting, breeding birds and reciting honour passages. Also, she feels absolutely frustrated in that stupid and hypocritical society.
Trying to solve her hesitations, she makes her confession to the priest Fermín de Pas, her spiritual guide. He is an attractive powerful churchman thirty five years old that falls in love with her. She is horrified and rejects him. On the other hand, Alvaro Mesía, the leader of liberal Dynastic Party, a superficial, elegant womanizer, becomes aware of Ana’s attraction to him. Finally she gives in to his advances and keeps an adulterous affair with him.

When the priest realizes that, he manages to awake Ana’s husband. As the heroes of the Spanish dramas he challenges Alvaro to a duel but is killed by a shot. Then Mesía abandons Ana and the city.

Finally, she suffers rejection and ostracism from her community.

By María Tomás. C1


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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mother tongue

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The book I have read is titled Mother Tongue, and it was written by Bill Bryson twenty years ago.
Basically, it is an essay about English and the way this language was growing along the centuries, from its origin to our days, when it has become the most important language in the world. In fact, the author tries to explain to us the different factors that have contributed to get English in the first position above all languages. Furthermore, the book is full of curious details that make reading it quite interesting.
In my opinion, Mother Tongue should be read by all the students who want to learn English because it could help them to understand everything regarding this language in a better way.




By Isaac. B2



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A storm of swords

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After having seen the first and second seasons of the TV series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which was recommended to me by my friend Javier, I could not wait until the next season and I decided to buy “A storm of swords”, which is the third book in a series of seven written by the New Jersey writer George R.R. Martin (sometimes referred to as GRRM).
I was very intrigued by the story and I was anxious to know what would happen with the main characters in the series.
The book picks the story up slightly before the end of its predecessor, “A Clash of Kings.”
The situation at the beginning of the book is the following: the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are still in the War of the Five Kings, with the remaining kings (Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Joffrey Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon) fighting to secure their crowns.
Civil war is destroying the common people. The ruling House of Baratheon and the major houses of Westeros include the following: House Arryn of The Vale, House Baratheon of Storm's End, House Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, House Lannister of Casterly Rock, House Martell of Dorne, House Stark of Winterfell, House Tully of Riverrun, and House Tyrell of Highgarden.
Stannis Baratheon's attempt to take King's Landing has been defeated by the new alliance between House Lannister (backing King Joffrey) and House Tyrell.
House Martell has also pledged its support to the Lannisters through the forces of Dorne.
Meanwhile, a large host of wildlings are marching toward the Wall under Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall", with only the small force of the Night's Watch in its path; and in the distant east, Daenerys Targaryen is on her way back to Pentos, hoping to raise forces to retake the Iron Throne.
My Spanish edition of the book is 1.160 pages long and the English paperback version is split into two books.
Even though I do not like reading novels, this book captivated me and I read it in less than a month, because the plot is absolutely fantastic, at least, in my opinion.
By Orlando. C1


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Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

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Paloma recommends this book by the famous American writer.



The narrator of this story is David Zimmer, a literature professor who has recently lost his wife and two sons in a tragic plane crash. He escapes from the world and spends his days drinking and watching television. He divorced society, quit his job and broke all contact with the people in his life.
One day he laughed while he was watching a Hector Mann's movie on television. That moment made him realize that there was still something inside him that wanted to live and he realized he needed something to occupy his mind with. So he decides to write a book about Hestor Mann and his movies. However Davis is unable to explain Hector Mann's disappearance in 1929.
Aparently there was no reason to disappear, Hector Mann has a promising career, he was handsome and popular with women. After publishing the book a friend from the past called and asked him to do a traslation of a French writer, Chateaubriand. David Zimmer also received a letter from Frida Spelling claiming to be Hector Mann's wife. She said she had read the book and wanted to know if he would like to come to New Mexico and meet Hector.
David initially believed the letter to be a fraud, someone playing a joke on him. But he received more letters and he started thinking maybe Hector Mann was still alive. Soon a woman called Alma arrived at his house to take him to New Mexico to see Hector by force if necessary. Alma told David Hestor Mann's story and why he had disappeared, how he had caused the death of a woman he loved, he had run away and assumed a new identity. After several jobs he started working in his lover's family. That set him on the road once more.
At the same time we are following two different stories: the story of Alma and David and the story of Hector and Frida Spelling. Both Hector Mann and David Zimmer are caught up in tragic and destructive events and both are seeking to find peace, to find a way to live with themselves and the world.
It is a thought provoking and emotionally stimulating novel. Auster makes the story easy to read and the story holds your interest. 
On one hand I find the detailed descriptions of Hector Mann's films tiresome, on the other hand it is an enjoyable story. On the whole I found reading The Book of Illusions entertaining and stimulating.

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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Storytelling

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The book I have just read is titled "What I talk about when I talk about running" and that almost explains the whole story. It's written by Haruki Murakami and can be considered as an essay about his passion for long distance running and how this helps him in his work as a writer.

He does not only talk about running, but also about how it has influenced his way of writing and his life.How something that just started as a way of keeping fit has developed as a key for his success as a novelist and how this practice fits with his character. He schedules all the trainings in order to get to the next race in the best conditions even now that he is in his 60`s.

The pages of the book are filled with anecdotes and feelings in which everyone who has ever run may see themselves reflected.
And something that stroke me was the fact that he does NOT recommend running to anyone. He claims that it is something you should do only if you want to. That is the way to enjoy running.

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