Proyecto de blog de aula para alumn@s y profesor@s

Friday, 30 May 2008

Bunch of Flowers

Dear students

I'd just like to thank you again for your lovely bunch of flowers and the card you've given me.

I've been really moved (=emocionada) by your messages and I'd like to tell you that such feedback is really helpful for me to improve my teaching.

Thank you also for the nice time yesterday having something to drink. Perhaps you could start a Thursday evening English meeting... some beer, nice company and a little bit of English, sounds like fun!

I'll post some exercises to revise verbal tenses at the weekend ok?

Thanks again and see you in a week.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Last Day

Dear students

Today is our last day in class...

I've just posted this entry to tell you that I've enjoyed this year a lot and I'm very grateful because I've learned many things from you as well.

You know you can contact me per email just in case you have doubts or questions before your final test.

Here you are some exam tips.
Best of luck!


Writing exams is sometimes a problem for students, but there are some suggestions which can help students to make better exams.

Before the exam, check the time and place of the exam to be punctual and sleep and eat well. And don’t drink too much alcohol the day before, that’s the worst thing you can do before an exam!

During the exam, read everything first, underlining important words and the instructions. Many students feel initially that they cannot answer any questions adequately, but this is a common reaction. In this point, relax is very important. Then, the order to answer the questions is: easy, favourite and, finally, difficult. Another advice is to answer all the questions because the first 50% of marks are easier to obtain than the next 50%.

A very important point is to plan the answer. Perhaps you think it is stupid, but don’t forget to read the instructions carefully! Use about 10 minutes to plan the words and sentences to answer the questions. Think: ‘is the answer logically explained?’ and ‘am I answering to all important points?’

When you write your answers, check the language you are using. Did you forget to write any subject (for example, ‘it’)? Did you forget the famous third-person ‘s’? Is the word order in your sentence good? Are you sure about the spelling of a particular word? A language exam is not a honesty exam and you will not be penalised if you tell the examiners that you are twenty-nine years old because your don’t know how to say or write thirty.

If you have to do a multiple-choice exercise (a, b, c or d) don’t forget that examiners can choose the same letter successively for the correct answer. Many students start to feel confused and worried and they choose another letter. Don’t do that! Your comprehension is more important than the order of letters. If the multiple-choice exercise is based on a text, don’t choose and option just because the same word appears in the question and in the text. This type of exercise is used to check your comprehension of ideas, not of single words.

Be relaxed in the speaking exam. The questions and topics you have to speak about are normally based on you and on the activities you have done in your course. Meet your oral exam partner to speak about the topics you've covered in class. And of course, make sure you understand your examiner’s instructions well. If not, you can always ask for clarifications!

The most important thing in the listening test is concentration. Read the options and instructions carefully. Examiners sometimes give options which match more or less the information from the recording. For example, a person says that she is going to be late for the meeting and the question is: T/F Finally, she was late for the meeting. What would you answer?

Monday, 26 May 2008

One of the Lads

Hi everyone

Tomorrow we will deal with your last story from Frozen Pizza, so here you are a review about One of the Lads by Mariló from group L

The title of this story is ‘One of the Lads’ and it suggests a story about a gang of young boys who study in the same school.

The story is about Luke Thomas, a Chelsea supporter who belongs to a gang of troublemakers: Luke himself, Big Dave, Mick, Gerry and Steve.

Luke copies the rest of the gang so completely that his teachers and his parents believe that he is the same as the others. None of them pass any exams so they leave school without any qualifications, but Luke decides that he wants to be a carpenter and so his new teachers and his parents are very pleased and proud of his work. However he can’t share out this feeling with the gang because “the lads”, as they call themselves, only think and talk about fights.

One day, they decide to visit Amsterdam and watch England - Holland, and this day everything changes for Luke. He decides to go back home and accept a job from a handmade furniture company. He hadn’t said yes yet because I had known that the lads wouldn’t agree to it.

As regards the story's linguistic interest, the author‘s style is informal. She uses everyday words in the dialogues and a lot of adjectives in descriptions, for example: “Dave put his glass down firmly on the table that was damp with spilt beer”.

Some new words I’ve learnt from the story are:

  • Verbs: mutter (murmurar), swear (jurar), nodded (asentir con la cabeza).
  • Noun: crowd (tumulto).

I like this story very much because it’s about a teenager who decides to change the things that doesn’t like in his life and abandon the gang.

I recommend this book to all type of persons that think that changing their lives is very difficult

Friday, 23 May 2008

Role Play

Dear Students:

Please have a look at the following youtube links to listen to some advice as to what to do and what no to do in your role play task.

The type of exam they're talking about is not exactly the same as your interaction task and it all seems quite old fashioned, but in my opinion it's quite easy to understand these women, so at least you can practice some listening.

Have a nice weekend!


Saturday, 17 May 2008

Relatively Speaking

Dear Students:

I've gathered some links which contain exercices on relative clauses just in case you need further practice.

Click here to work on defining and non-defining relative clause distinction.

Click here to work on non-defining relative clauses only.

Click here to work on pronouns 'who', 'which' and 'that'.

Click here to work on relative pronoun omission.

Click here for more exercises on relative pronoun omission.

Click here to take a short test on everything.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Old Oak Bowl

Hi everyone

As you may already know, the next story you have to read is 'The Old Oak Bowl'

Jose María from group L has written the following review, so I hope it will help you with your reading...

The story I’ve written about is “The old oak bowl”. It’s about an English man called Robert Walker who is a history schoolteacher. He is old, and his life is a bit boring. Robert thinks that people have to behave properly all the time. This is the reason why he doesn’t say his opinions about some topics. For example, he firmly believes that English people are only the people who have English ancestors.

In the story, we can see how he thinks and how he acts in different situations. His favourite hobby is to restore old wooden pieces. In fact, although he restores a lot of other people’s objects, he doesn’t accept any money and only says “it’s just my little hobby”. In one of these cases, a woman gave him an old oak bowl from about the thirteenth century, and Robert fell in love with it.

That night he had a dream. There was a monk with the bowl. It contained some herbs and the monk was speaking a strange language. When he told his dream to another history teacher, the teacher told him that the language the monk was speaking was probably French, because in 1066 there was a Norman invasion and a lot of foreigners arrived to England. Moreover, he told Robert that “Robert” is a Flemish name. Robert couldn’t accept it, because it contradicted his strong beliefs. But the following week, he took some books from the library and investigated about it. It was true! He couldn’t believe it! After this discovery, he continued reading a lot and he finally had to accept it. Most of the English people were, in fact, “foreigners”. This changed the way he saw things, and he asked himself if it was time to retire and spend his time restoring old wooden objects.

In my opinion, it is a good story because it shows the main character’s personality very well and his beliefs about an actual and controversial topic: immigration. It shows us different points of view about it and I think this is a very good thing. The language is not very difficult and it can be easily understood. In conclusion, I recommend you to read this story.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Spanish for your Nanny

Dear students

Who says language teachers are not socially commited? Here you are an example of how a Spanish teacher fights the typical attitude of high society women...

Have fun and a nice bank holiday too!

(Thanks to Eloísa for this video. More sketches in www.monkeywithashotgun.com)