Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week Beginning Monday 25th October


 Witches, bats, owls . . . there'll be a lot of those flying around this weekend. If you want to find out more about the history behind Hallowe'en, go to Dulce's blog. Alternatively, check out what they're reading about  at EOI Guía.

Do you think this Celtic festival should be celebrated in the Canary Islands? Why? Why not?

This Week's Homework

I assume you have completed all the exercises in Unit One of our Workbook. Mon / Wed group, make sure you have completed everything from Pages 20 to 23 of our Student's Book, including Grammar Bank Pages 134 - 135 2A. Please also do the Reading on SB Page 24.  If you have class on Thursday, do Reading on Page 24 and make sure you know the vocab on Clothes and Fashion, P 148.

This Week's Science

It's Hubble's twentieth birthday in space this week. For more info, click here.

This Week's Technology

"Book" Part 2. It's in German, this time.  Don't forget I'm expecting your Reading homework on 2nd / 3rd November. Enjoy!

This Week's Idiom

"When I heard the bad news I was knocked for six."

Beach Cricket

When you are knocked for six, it means that you are completely devastated. It comes from the highest scoring in cricket, a very popular sport in many Commonwealth countries, especially England, the West Indies and Pakistan.

This Week's English Speaking Countries

The Commonwealth of Nations

Queen Dancing by Beryl Cook

Unit 2 of our textbook looks at nationalities. We've been considering geo-political names in English, and we were asked to explain the British Commonwealth. Here is some info to help us.

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and previously known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states. All but two (Mozambique and Rwanda) of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire.

The member states co-operate within a framework of common values and goals. These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace. The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status.

The head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth II. (No wonder she dances!) The official language is English. The estimated population (2005) is 1,921,974,000.

Source: Wikipedia

This Week's Grammar

We've been looking at the Present Perfect. We saw how we use this aspect of the verb in English to look back on past experiences without saying exactly when they occurred. We considered different monuments or geographical features which still exist today and thought about their life.


Maspalomas Lighthouse
You have seen golden dunes
and then hotels

You have seen fishermen
and then tourists

You have lived quiet nights
and then noise and madness

You have seen a paradise
and then a desert

Church of Saint John, Arucas
You have seen doves of peace
You have seen lovers inside
You have seen a cross
You have seen new projects and old ideas
You have seen one hundred years of our history
You have seen workers of blue stone
You have announced death when your bell tolls

Las Canteras beach, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

 You have seen the dreams of children
You have seen the walk of the elderly
You have seen the sea on the sand
You have heard the sea against the water's edge
You have known the son, the father and the grandfather
You have known hatred and love

This Week's "Strange But True"

"God Bless America!" But which?

When someone from an Anglo-Saxon culture talks about America, he or she is usually thinking of  the USA. When someone from, say, a Latin cultural background speaks of America, he or she usually has in mind a country like Venezuela, Mexico, Chile . . . So now you know!

This Week's Prepositions

Into / Onto

Phantom cat jumping onto a chair

  • We use into and onto to talk about directions and destinations - where things are going.

          She's in  her bedroom getting dressed. (She's inside her room.)
           She went into her bedroom to get dressed. (You actually picture her entering the room.)

          The cat is on the chair.
          The cat jumped onto the chair. (You actually picture the moggy leave the floor.)

  • The opposite of into is out ofHaving finished dressing, she walked out of her bedroom.
  • The opposite of onto is down from. The cat jumped down from the wall.

  • We also use into for change.
          When she kissed the prince, he changed into an ugly frog.
          Can you translate this into Spanish?

  • What's the difference between into and in to? And onto and on to? See here.

This Week's Art

The Holy Chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
I've been listening to a fastinating series on BBC Radio 4. It's called A History of the World in 100 Objects. The programme I've just heard was about the Holy Thorn Reliquary which you can see at the British Museum. It  (supposedly) houses one of the thorns from Christ's crucifixion crown. This crown was brought to Europe by Louis IX of France. Unlike other devout aristocrats of the time, this Medieval king actually paid for his precious relics of the Passion. Indeed, he handed over the pricely sum of 135,000 livres. In contrast, the Holy Chapel (see left) which he built to display the relics cost a mere 40,000 livres.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week Beginning Monday 18th October

Blog News

No blog this week as I'm preparing our Consolidation Test. We will do these tests on a regular basis on finishing each unit in our textbook. They will consist of the vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and cultural areas which we have studied not only in our Student's book but in the handouts I've given you and on our blog.

The Monday / Wednesday group will have their test on Wednesday 20th October; the Tuesday / Thursday group will have theirs on Tuesday 19th.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week Beginning Monday 11th October

If you have not received your corrected composition from me yet, please let me know!

This Week's Homework

Mon and Wed Group: Student's Book Page 15 Activity 6a, b, c, d, e and f; do Grammar Handout Ex 1C; make sure you have done Pages 132 - 133 1C; start revising for our Consolidation Test on Wed 20th October.
Tues and Thurs Group: make sure you have completed everything up to and including Page 18 of the Student's book, the three grammar exercises on our handout and the vocabulary tasks on Health and Medicine. Revise for the Consolidation Test on Tuesday 19th October.

This Week's Nature Corner

The national flower of England is the rose. The flower has been adopted as England’s emblem since the time of the Wars of the Roses - civil wars (1455-1485) between the royal house of Lancaster (whose emblem was a red rose) and the royal house of York (whose emblem was a white rose).

This Week's Idiom

A Bird In The Hand by Beryl Cook
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" means that it is better to have a small real advantage than only the possibility of a greater one. This idiom refers back to medieval falconry where a bird in the hand - a falcon - was a valuable asset and certainly worth two in a bush - the prey - (or a hundred flying overhead!)


This Week's Photo

Miners winched to freedom in Chile.

This Week's English Speaking Country

Royal Couple by Beryl Cook

Captial city:  London
Offical languages:  English
Recognised Regional Languages:  Cornish
Ethnic Groups (2007):  88.2% White; 5.7% South Asian; 2.8% Black; 1.7% Mixed race; 0.8% Chinese; 0.7% Other
Demonym:  English
Government: Non-devolved state with a constitutional monarch
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
Prime Minister of the UK:  David Cameron MP

This Week's Preposition

At the Bus Stop by Beryl Cook.

Sometimes, we confuse "at", "in" and "on" when we're taking about a place.

We use "at" when we are talking about position at a point.
"It's very hot at the centre of the earth."
"Turn right at the next corner."

Sometimes we use "at" with a larger place if we think of this as a point or a stage on a journey or as a meeting place. Compare:

"The plane stops at London for an hour." (a point on a journey.)
"She lives in London." (Somebody's home.)
"Let's meet at the club."
"Let's meet at Jane's house."

We very often use "at" before the name of a building when we are thinking, not of the building itself, but of the activity that happens there.

"Eat at Dino's; the best food in town!"
"She's not here; she's at the office."
"At" is used before the name of a city to refer to that city's university.

He's a student at Oxford.

"At" is also used before the names of group activities.

at a party; at a meeting; at a concert; at a lecture; at the football match.

Source: Swan, M. 2000. Practical English Usage. Oxford, UK: OUP

Test your kowledge of "at", "in" and "on" here.

This Week's Art

Clubbing by Beryl Cook
This week's artist is the English painter, Beryl Cook. She became famous for painting slightly large ladies going out on the town in short, tight dresses. Born in 1926, she initially did not show much artistic talent in her youth. However, she soon became fascinated by the way people looked and dressed. Later, while living in southern England, she ad her husband used to frequent bars and clubs where they enjoyed watching the flamboyance of drag shows. This was another inspiration which has affected her style.

Panto Dame

In many ways, her work has echoes of the Colombian figurative artist, Fernando Botero.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week beginning Monday 4th October

This Week's Homework

Monday and Wednesday Class: Workbook Pages 4 to 10. Student's Book up to Page 11 and including the corresponding grammar and vocabulary exercises at the back of the book. Complete exercises 1A (making questions) and 1B (auxiliary verbs) in the grammar worksheet.  Complete the exercises in the vocabulary worksheet on "Health and Medicine".

Tuesday and Thursday Class: Workbook Pages 4 to 9. Please make sure that you have also completed all the activities on Pages 4 to 11 in the Student's Book. (This includes the Vocab. on Page 146.) I also gave out a grammar worksheet on Tuesday. You will be expected to have completed exercises 1A (making questions) and 1B (auxiliary verbs).

This Week's Technology

Have you chosen your novel for our first reading assignment yet? If not, see me.

This Week's Word

"We got rid of the kids: the cats were allergic!"


If you hug someone you put your arms round them, usually to show that you love them.
  • When Anne saw Tom get off the train, she ran towards him and hugged him. She was so pleased to see him after all these months.
It can also mean to hold something very close.
  • It was freezing, so she hugged the hot water bottle close to her chest.
Check out the things that we can hug
  • hug someone you love
  • hug an old friend
  • hug your knees
    (= pull them up to your chest)
Compare hug and cuddle
Cuddle also means to put your arms round somebody to show you love them. However, we use cuddle to describe a gentler action.
  • You cuddle a new-born baby.
  • You cuddle your girlfriend or boyfriend when you are feeling romantic.
  • Two men, who are old friends, hug each other when they meet.
  • A father hugs his adult son when they say goodbye.
Check out these expressions
  • If you hug the wall, you stay close to the wall as you move round the room.
  • If a boat hugs the coastline, it stays very close to the coast.
  • If new clothes hug your body, they fit very well but very tightly. It's a body-hugging outfit.
  • It's lovely to see you, son. Give me a hug!
Check out related words
  • hold
  • cuddle
  • squeeze
  • embrace

This Week's Idiom

"As mad as a hatter!"

Meaning: to be completely mad.

Origin:  mercury used to be employed in the making of hats. This was known to have affected the nervous systems of hatters (hat makers), causing them to tremble and appear mad.

This Week's Quote

"You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince (or princess)."

This Week's English Speaking Country


Capital:                                      Ottowa
Largest city:                             Toronto
Official languages:                  English and French
Recognised regional              
Languages:                               Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Cree, Dëne Sųłiné, Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun,
                                                   Slavey and Tłįchǫ Yatiì
Demonym:                               Canadian
Government:                           Federation, parliamentary democracy, and constitutional monarchy
Monarch:                                 Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General:                  David Lloyd Johnstone
Prime Minister:                       Stephen Harper

Source: Wikipedia                  

This Week's Nature Corner

The Beaver

This large, nocturnal, semi-acquatic rodent is known for building dams, canals and lodges (homes). It is the national animal of Canada because trade in its fur played an integral part in the development of this country. Because it is famed for its industrialness, the English verb, to beaver, means to work hard and constantly.

This Week's Photo

Birdport, Dorset, in the south of England, played host to the Hat Festival, which was celebrated last week. It is the first of its kind in Britain. It was the brainchild of the Englishman, Roger Snook, proprietor of Snooks the Hatters. As well as hats, his shop also sells snuff, suspenders, pyjamas, socks, cummerbunds and "many other accessories for the well-dressed gentleman". Are the British mad, or what?!


This Week's Preposition

Which preposition do we use after the verb, "arrive"?


The officer arrived at the girl's house mid-morning.

The Dutch arrived in China in 1601.

Vermeer arrived home.

What is the rule? Check here.

This Week's Art

Officer and Laughing Girl by Johannes Vermeer

The images by this Dutch Baroque painter speak of domestic interior scenes of middle class life. But his pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.  The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of Dutch sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelains so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time.

Source: Brook, T. 2008. Vermeer's Hat. London, UK: Profile Books Ltd.