Thursday, December 22, 2011

Week Beginning Monday 19th December

This Week's Art

The Adoration of the Magi. A Yu Safronov.

My warmest wishes to everyone at Christmas! Looking forward to seeing you again on January 9th / 10th.

This Week's Message

This kindness boomerang video might be a little bit too sentimental, but I think the message is important. Not only at Xmas time.

source: Larry Ferlazzo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Week's Oral Assignment

NA1: You are invited to record yourselves speaking about ONE of the themes below and then send your work to me for assessment. Your monologue should be about 3 - 4 minutes in length. I shall be listening out for the following characteristics:
  • clear organisation and structure, and an appropriate variety of discourse markers;
  • vocabulary that is varied, concise and appropriate to the task;
  • pronunciation that is correct and intonation that is appropriate;
  • a fluent discourse with appropriate pauses;
  • a variety of grammatical structures appropriate to the advanced level;
  • an awareness of "audience".

Your writing task from Unit 3 is expressing your opinion about climate change. Now let's literally hear your opinion on one of these topics:

  • Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
  • It's better to travel than to arrive
  • Education is becoming less important
  • Any form of stereotyping is destructive
  • Rich countries should help poor countries
  • Television has made us a nation of watchers, not doers
  • Music is the poetry of the air
  • Children are our most valuable resource

New deadline for this assignment is Friday 13th January on the understanding that I cannot guarantee feedback before the January "prueba de dominio" exams. Importantly, do NOT WRITE OUT your work in order to read it as if it were a text from a book. This is supposed to be a spontaneous activity as well as constructive preparation for the oral exams. So take five minutes to prepare your ideas in note form and then start recording. A clear introduction and conclusion are essential. Do it quickly but efficiently.

This Week's Important News for NB2

The reading books for this academic year have arrived. They cost 6 euros each. We will start with The New Zealand File. You can buy it from Ana from Monday onwards. Please bring the exact money. You have to read and listen to the story and complete the activities for 16th / 17th January.

We also have to start thinking about our next oral assignment. This time, you will work in pairs. You have to do two assignments.

Assignment One:

Person A: interview Person B about his / her special job as a tour manager for a famous person. Importantly, you must introduce your work, for example, "Hello, Carmen! I want to ask you about your job." You should have a conclusion, too: "Well, that was very interesting. Thank you for your time."

Assignment Two:

Person B: phone Person A to explain why you cannot keep your date with him / her. Apologise to him / her, give your reasons and promise to do something else on another occasion.

Both tasks should last a total of 5 minutes, that is, about 2 minutes 30 seconds each.

Important advice: don't read your work; it should sound as spontaneous as possible!

Deadline = 13th January.

This Year's Photos

Chile's Puyehue volcano erupting
This is an amazing, but often disturbing selection of images from around the world in 2011. Didn't anything good happen?!

This Week's Astronomy

Nasa discovers two Earth-size planets outside our Solar System
Astronomers have spotted the two smallest, most Earth-like planets to be discovered outside our solar system. They are orbiting a star called Kepler-20 almost 1,000 light years away in the constellation Lyra. Reaching the two newly-discovered planets would take the fastest spacecraft more than 4m years. For more info, click here.

Source: The Guardian newspaper

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Week's Homework

NB2A:  do listening activities 1 - 9 of CD 2; do SB P 39 Ex 6 and 9; do Workbook and CD Rom Lesson 4C and 4D. The New Zealand File. Oral presentation.

NB2C: listening 1 - 4 CD 2; SB P 39 Ex 9 and 10; Workbook and CD Rom Lesson 4C.

NA1: reading comprehension test 3; correct consolidation test. Don't forget about oral assignment.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Week Beginning Monday 12th December

This Week's News

NA1: Consolidation Test of Unit 3 on Monday 19th December. We need to know the following:

Vocabulary:  crime and punishment; weather; parts of the car; parts of the bicycle.

Grammar:  passive (all forms); it is said that . . . ; he is thought to . . . ; future perfect; future continuous; zero conditional and first conditional; if / as soon as / when / unitl/ unless / before / after / in case + present; modifiers.

We will also do a listening exam in class on this day.

Please confirm on Monday in class that I have returned all the compositions from Unit 3. If you have been asked to rewrite yours, please send it to me by Wed 21st. Please note that from now on I will not accept any work outside the deadline.

This Week's Essay

Earth seen from Apollo 17

The Gaia theory was formulated by James Lovelock in the 1970s. This theory says that the Earth is like a big organism that regulates the natural environment to keep the necessary conditions for life. 

I believe that the Earth is telling us that we have chosen a wrong way to live on the blue planet and we must change immediately. Floods, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, earthquakes and tsunamis are some of the signals that show me that something wrong is going to happen.

I believe that we still can do something. For example, two years ago I participated in a project to save energy in buildings. I chose the bathroom to study how to save water. Every time we use the lavatory we consume ten liters of water. In a family with four members this is 58,400 liters for a year. Connecting the waste pipe from the washbasin to the cistern of the lavatory we can save all that water. It is easy, and Roca has manufactured a washbasin and water that they have called W+W.  The problem is that, at the moment, it costs 3,000 euros.

In conclusion, I believe that everyone can contribute to changing the world, but we are too lazy.

NA1 Pedro

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Week's Nature

Meerkats at Blair Drummond safari park, near Stirling, Scotland with an eye for a festive photo opportunity have enjoyed a taste of Christmas, with their keepers giving them stockings and baubles filled with treats … if you can call worms that. For more photos, click here.

Source: The Guardian newspaper

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Week's Topic

Everything you ever wanted to know about climate change . . .

In NA1, we've been looking at the theme of climate and climate change. I've just come across this fascinating interactive from The Guardian Newspaper; you may find it of interest.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Week's Homework

NB2A: SB P 34 Ex 4 and 5; listening 33 - 36; start reading The New Zealand File; think about how you are going to organise the next oral activity; do handout on the Present Perfect; workbook and CD Rom Lesson 4A.

NB2C: Listening 37 - 40; start reading The New Zealand File; think about how you are going to organise the next oral activity; do handout on the Present Perfect; workbook and CD Rom Lesson 4A.

NA1: Continue working on your workbook, of course! Start planning your oral presentation. Consolidation test of Unit 3 on Monday 19th December. We will also do a forma listening exam on this day.

This Week's Writing

5, Rue Bretonneaux
37000 Paris

30th November 2011

Dear Sofía,

Thank you so much for your letter.

My sweet friend, only a few weeks have passed but I miss you terribly. Is everything okay without me?

Last Monday I started my new job. The commute is too long! Every day, I take the bus next to my house, and it takes an hour to arrive! It's terrible! I have no time for anything.

The flat is wonderful! It is very big and it has a terrace near the Eiffel Tower. The furniture is from the period of the French revolution. In this house I somethimes feel like a distinguished lady: vive la revolution!

Fortunately, I don't have any problems communicating with the French people because I'm bilingual.

At the weekends, I have French cooking classes. Last week, the academy staff called Jamie Oliver. With him, we learned to cook a camembert cheescake! It was delicious!

Remember the plane takes only 40 minutes to arrive. I hope to see you soon.  Guillermo sends you a big kiss. He's studying French at the moment.

Anyway, that's about it for now.

Best regards,


PS: When you come next month, don't forget to bring a warm coat because Paris is very cold!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

This Week's Advice

The American jazz singer, Dianne Reeves is in town. She recommends NOT exchanging gifts this Christmas. Instead, she proposes that we sit together around the table with our loved ones and exchange (life) stories. What do you think about this?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Week Beginning Monday 5th December

This Week's Homework

NB2A: Reading Comprehension number 4; listening tasks numbers 25 - 28. Start thinking about our next oral assignment.

NB2C: Reading Comprehension number 4; listening tasks numbers 39 - 32. Start thinking about our next oral assignment.

NA1: Make sure you have completed SB P 42 - 43 (everything.)  Prepare P 44 - 45 Ex 1 a - 3; Page 2 of the Supplementary handout for Unit 3; start thinking about oral assignement; writing task for Monday 12th.

This Week's Writing

Our punctuation skills are not good. Go to this BBC site to learn how to improve!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This Week's Trees

A Norewegian Christmas Tree lights up Trafalgar Square in London
This photo is taken from The Guardian photo-gallery of Christmas trees from around the world; you can explore the history of Christmas trees here; discover what the History Channel has to teach us about Christmas here; check your Christmas vocabulary here and here; explore the tradition of the Caga tió here and here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Week's Homework

NB2A: Prepare for Progress Test and do listening Ex 21 - 24 for Wed 7th. Do Reading Comprehension 4 for Monday 12th. Complete Unit 3 in Workbook and on CD Rom.

NB2C: Prepare for Progress Test and do listening Ex 25 - 28 for Friday 9th. Reading Comprehension 4 for Tuesday 13th. Complete Unit 3 in Workbook and on CD Rom.

NA1: Reading Comprehension 2 for Wed 7th. Composition 3 for Monday 12th. (See SB P 49 Ex c.) Listening Test 3 for Wednesday 14th. Prepare SB P 44 - 45 for class on Wed 7th. It goes without saying that you continue to work on the exercises in your workbook.