Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Week's Important News

NB2A: Progress Test on Unit 3 on Wednesday 7th December. NB2C: Progress Test on Unit 3 on Friday 9th December.

This is what we need to know:

  • have to / had to
  • present simple / present continuous
  • activity and state verbs
  • jobs
  • employment
  • word building
  • argue / discuss / fight

Real World:
  • how to apologise. (e.g. "I'm sorry but I can't go to the cinema tonight.")
  • how  to give a reason for (not) doing something. (e.g. "I have to take my parents to the airport.")
  • how to make a promise. (e.g. "I'll phone you tomorrow.")
  • how to write an informal letter.
PS: Don't get stressed if you can't come to class on this day. We can come to some agreement.

This Week's Homework

NA1: Prepare SB P 42 (everything) and Grammar Bank P 136 - 137 Section 3B. Make sure you have also prepared P40 Ex 1.  Reading Comprehension 2 for Wednesday 7th December; Composition Three For Monday 12th December; Listening Test Three for Wednesday 14th.  Work on Dolphin Music for 27th January 2012.

NB2A: Reading Comprehension 3 for Wednesday 30th; Writing Test for Wednesday 30th. Prepare SB Page 32 Ex 1 and 2. Listening Comprehension Ex 21 - 24 for Wednesday 7th December. Consolidation Test of Unit 3 on Wed 7th. Do Lessons 3B and 3C in Workbook and CD Rom.

NB2C: Listening Exercises 21 - 24 for Thursday 1st; Prepare Workbook P70 - 71 (or P 64 - 65, depending on your edition) "Staying in Touch". We will do Ex 6b as part of an exam in class. Reading Comprehension 4 for Tuesday 13th. Do Lessons 3C and 3D of Workbook and CD Rom.

Week Beginning Monday 21st November

Friday, November 25, 2011

This Week's Important News (3)

Avid readers on the underground in London
NA1 (only): This year's Readers (Dolphin Music and Dragons' Eggs) have now arrived at the School. If you'd like to buy a copy with CD, they cost 8 euros each. Please see Diane on Monday.

This Week's Important News (2)

NB2: We are finishing unit 3. As you know, at the end of each unit, we do a Consolidation Test. We will do it very soon, so be prepared! This time, we will do it in small groups. That way, you can help each other to learn.

This Week's Important News

On Wednesday 30th November and Thursday 1st December, NB2 will do a writing task in class. You have to imagine that you have moved to another country. You have to write an informal letter to a good friend about your new life. You have to give the following information:
  • where you now live;
  • your new job;
  • your new commute;
  • a new language.
To help you do this activity, look at the Reading and Writing Porfolio 1 - Staying in Touch - in your Workbook. If you have the new Workbook, look at Pages 70 - 71; if you have an old version, look at Pages 64 - 65. Do the exercises, check your answers, and plan what you are going to write. Askk me if you have any problems. We will talk about the exercise in more detail in class on Monday or Tuesday.

This Week's Festival

American actress Virginia Gibson in a glamorous version of puritan costume, rides a giant Turkey, circa 1952.
The fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day in the USA. If you'd like a general overview of Thanksgiving, click here. Who were the Pilgrims? Find out here. If you'd like to know more about The Mayflower, click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Week's Video

In our Advanced class, we've been looking at the theme of crime and punishment. I think this video is about self-inflicted punishment. It's taken from an Indian "talent" show. Personally, I could only watch the first 3 minutes. What do you think of it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Week's Homework

NB2A: Listening Test Ex 17 - 20 for Monday 21st; Do SB P 26 Ex 1, 3, 4 and 6 and SB P29 Ex 6. Reading Comprehension Test 3 for Wednesday 30th November. Do Workbook and CD Rom Lesson 3B. Importantly, do the Reading and Writing Portfolio 1 - Staying in Touch - from Ex 1 to Ex 6a on Pages 70 - 71 OR 64 - 65, depending on the edition of the Workbook that you have. We will do Ex 6b (Write an informal letter to a good friend about your new life) as part of a writing test in class on Wednesday 30th.

NB2C: Listening Tests Nos 17 – 20. Reading Comprehension number 3. Workbook and CD Rom Lesson 3A, 3B and 3C. If you did not come to class on Thursday or Friday, make sure you complete all that you can of Lessons 3B and 3C in you Students' book. For Tuesday 29th, prepare SB P 32 Ex 1 and 2.

NA1: Make sure you have completed P 36 - 37, including Vocabulary Bank. Page 38, including Grammar Bank 3A, should be done as well. Do P49 "Expressing your opinion." Ex c - the actual writing activity - is for Monday 12th December. Note carefully the title of your work. Do Page 1 (everything) of the Handout for Unit 3. Do Listening Test 2 for Monday 28th. Prepare SB Page 40 (reading) and Vocabulary Bank P 150 (weather.)

Week Beginning Monday 14th November

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Did You Learn about Vampires?

The Abbey in the Oak Wood by Caspar David Friedrich

Sincerely speaking, there was nothing that Milena said I didn’t know. Well, she said that Stoker was English but he was born in Ireland so I suppose she made a little mistake. In fact I have to say that I’ve been a vampire freak since I was a child and everything related to vampires appeals to me, especially the figure of Count Dracula. Actually, every year for carnival or Halloween I dress up in a Dracula costume.

I think I have read the story of “The Prince of Darkness”, written by Bram Stoker, three or four times and I’ve got a special edition of the film version on DVD besides a lot of movies on my computer.

I don’t know the reason why I’m so fond of Gothic horror stories; maybe it’s the atmosphere because they always take place in castles steeped in mystery and darkness… If I had to choose a destination in Europe I would choose Romania for holidays.

In conclusion, I felt very happy when I found out that a specialist would give us a lecture about vampires but a little disappointed because this didn’t give me a new focus on the issue. Don’t you agree?

Expédito NA1

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Week's Homework

A typical excuse that English school children make for not giving their homework to the teacher is: "I'm sorry, the dog ate it." Please make sure that your dog doesn't eat yours! (Sara in NA1 is in special danger: she has SEVEN dogs!)

NA1: Listening Test Audio CD2. Test number One for Monday 21st November. Don't forget the Reading Test fot this date, too. We've started Unit 3. Do SB P 36; P37 Ex 2 a. Prepare SB P 38 Ex 4a, b, c, d and e.

NB2A: If you did not come to class on Wed, make sure you have done SB Pages 24 - 25. Homework is SB Page 26 Ex 1, 2, 3 and P 27 Ex 4a, b, c, d and e. Remember that you must give me the Reading Test 2 on Monday 21st together with the Listening tests 13 - 16. I'm also expecting your oral presentation (see below).

NB2C: Prepare SB P24 Ex 1, 2,and 3; P25 Ex 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.  Reading Test 3 is for Tuesday 29th Nov. If you do not have a copy, ask me. Remember that you must do Listening Exercises 13 - 16. Don't forget about your oral presentation (see below).

This Year's Readers

The School can order these books for you. See Diane a.s.a.p.

NA1: These are the readers (with Audio CD) for 2011 - 2012.  Dolphin Music is a science fiction novel set in 2051. CONTROL, the government of Europe, keeps everyone happy in a virtual reality where music made by dolphins gives exquisite pleasure. When Saul Grant, a writer, discovers the truth about the music, the illusion is shattered. He soon sets out to free the dolphins but CONTROL is aware of his actions and will stop him at any cost.

Dragons' Eggs focuses on Tendai, who comes to live in an isolated African village. Tendai is a runner, a dreamer and a storyteller. When landmines turn his world upside down, he runs, dreams and tells stories to try to deal with a terrible tragedy. It has been described as a gripping story of victory over man-made evil, and of a young man who never gives up.

+ + + + + +

The School can order these books for you. See Diane a.s.a.p.

NB2: The New Zealand File and How I Met Myself are our stories for this year (both with Audio CD). The first book is about a British spy, Ian Munro, who was suddeny called to a secret meeting in New Zealand. He senses that he is being followed. Who's following him? And why is the coded information he is given so secret that others are prepared to kill for it? Can Munro escape and crack the code?

How I Met Myself  opens on an icy winter's evening in Budapest. John Taylor is on his way home from the office when a man runs into him and knocks him over. The man turns to say sorry and John is amazed at what he sees: the man is John's double. The double rushes away but leaves no footprints in the snow. Over the next year it becomes clear to John that the meeting was no accident and that his double has a very important message to give him.

This Week's Oral Assignment for NB2

In the oral exam, you are required to give a short monologue on a specific theme. It lasts for about 2 minutes.
Choose ONE of these options:

SB Page 17 Ex 8 or SB Page 19 Ex 10.

Use the prompts to give a talk which lasts for 2 minutes. Record it on your ipod / mobile phone and send it to me by email.

Please note that I shall be listening out for:

·       Content. Did you cover all of the points?

·       Organisation and cohesion. Do you have an introduction and a conclusion?

·       Interesting and appropriate vocabulary.

·       Good pronunciation. Can you hear the /t/, /d/ or /Id/ of the past tense? Can you hear the “s” of the 3rd person singular present tense?  Can you hear good pronunciation of “th”? Can you hear any negative words?

·       Fluency. 

·       Good grammar.

·       Appropriate register. (Not too formal; not too informal.)

IMPORTANTLY, this is a SPEAKING activity and not a READING activity.

Deadline for NB2A is Monday 21st November; deadline for NB2C is Friday 25th November.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Seven Natural Wonders of the Canary Islands

Paz (NB2) says that she has been in love with the dunes of Maspalomas since she was a little girl. And who can blame her?

Sunset at Sardina

Ana Elisa (NA1) took this photograph. She loves to see the sunset at Sardina. Isn't it a magical view?

Pedro (NA1) has sent us this old photo taken in a corner of the Laurisilva forest in the Canary Garden, Gran Canaria. It contrasts greatly with my first impression. When I visited the Laurisilva forest in La Gomera for the first time, I found it cold and spooky. Maybe it was because it was a particularly grey day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Week's Nature

Iguazu Falls, Brazilian / Argentinian border

Idaira has sent us this video about the new 7 Wonders of Nature. Thank you so much!

If we were to run a competition about the 7 Natural Wonders of the Canary Islands, which places would you nominate? Why don't you send us a photo, too? (My personal choice would  be the Cola del Dragón as seen from Agaete. I remember the first time I saw it from the bus window I almost stopped breathing; I was so captivated by its beauty.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

This Week's Important News

NB2A will do their Consolidation Test on Unit 2 on Monday 14th. NB2C will do it on Thursday 17th. We will do it individually. We will look at the following items:
  • Past Simple of regular and irregular verbs (positive, negative and questions);
  • Past Continuous (positive, negative and questions);
  • when we use the Past Simple and when we use the Past Continuous;
  • vocabulary associated with relationships;
  • when / so / because / while.
We will also do a Reading Comprehension and, if there's time, a Listening Comprehension.

NA1 will do their Consolidation Test on Unit 2 on Monday 14th as well. We will look at the following items:
  • using adjectives as nouns;
  • order of adjectives;
  • narrative tenses, past perfect continuous;
  • so / such . . . that;
  • adverbs and and adverbial phrases;
  • confusing adverbs and adverbial phrases;
  • clothes and fashion;
  • air travel;
  • vowel sounds.
NA1 will do the test in small groups.

This Week's Homework

NB2A: Reading Test 2 and Listening Tests Ex 13 -16 for Monday 21st November.

NB2C: Reading Test 2 for Thursday 17th November; Listening Tests Ex 13 - 16 for Tuesday 22nd.

Week Beginning Monday 7th November

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Week's Important News

We are coming to the end of another unit in our textbook. Remember that we always do a Consolidation Test when we finish each unit. Be prepared!

This Week's Art

A Man Tricked by Gypsies: Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci: painter at the court of Milan is the title of a new exhibition at The National Gallery, London. To celebrate this, The Guardian Newspaper  takes a detailed look at some of the Renaissance master's most admired drawings – from grotesque caricatures to sublime nudes. Click here to view the interactive.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Week's Words in the News

Listen to the BBC's video about freak weather conditions in New York and learn some new vocabulary.

This Week's Homework

NB2A: Prepare SB Page 20 Ex 1, 2, 3 and 4a. Start preparing your monologue. Make sure your workbooks are up-to-date. Do corresponding exercises on the CD Rom. Prepare SB Page 21 Ex 8.

NB2C: Prepare SB Page 19 Ex 10; SB P 20 Ex, 1, 2, 3 and 4a.

NA1: If you did not come to class, make sure you have completed pages 24 - 26. Prepare p 28 - 29 Grammar 1 parts a - e. Ideally, you are working hard on all the activities in your workbook and have now completed everything as far as lesson 2C. Don't forget the written assignment on p 33 section d for Monday 14th. Complete the vocabulary worksheet on Air Travel; do Page 2 and Page 4 of the Supplementary Handout for Unit 2. You have a Reading Test to complete by Monday 21st. Ask me if you do not have a copy of the test.

Monday, November 7, 2011

This Week's Photo

The volcanic eruption off El Hierro, as photographed by NASA

In July 2011, volcanic tremors began on the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands. By September, many tourists evacuated the resort island, fearing a volcanic eruption. In early October, an underwater volcanic vent began erupting, sending ash and chemicals into the sea and causing muddy discolouration of the waters south of the island. Reports from a recent underwater survey by a Spanish research vessel revealed the presence of an eruptive vent and crater about 500 feet (150 metres) below the surface, accompanied by submarine 'pillow' lavas – pillow-shaped lavas that form underwater. The vent location was marked by brownish discolouration off the south tip of the island. Currents diluted and dispersed the volcanic material to the south and west.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper

This Week's Curiosity

The German magazine, Speigel online offers us a curious photo gallery of pedestrian signs around the world. Click here.

Source: Larry Ferlazzo

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Week's Important News

There'll be no class on Friday 4th November for NB2C because I'm going to a congress in Las Palmas. Please take advantage of this extra time and use it constructively to revise what we've seen and what we'll be looking at next week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Week's Pronunciation

You might be interested in this dictionary. Apparently, it's got all the words in the world. Pronounced.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Week's Reading and Listening

You might enjoy listening to and reading this article about the scariest night of the year.

Source: listen to English, learn English

This Week's Answers

Here are the answers to Milena's quiz.

  1. Our speaker comes from a spooky place called Transylvania.  (False and true.)
  2. he learned many languages to help her study vampires. (False. But she loves learning languages.)
  3. The term vampire comes from the Romanian language. (False. It’s origin is not known but scholars think the word came from  Serbian and entered the German and English languages from there.)
  4. Vampires are dead people who died in strange circumstances. (True.)
  5. Elizabeth Bathory was a Romanian countess. (False. She was Hungarian.)
  6. One of Elizabeth Bathory's handmaids was a witch. (True.)
  7. Bram Stoker was an English writer. (False. He was Irish.)
  8. Bathory’s legend played a major role in the creation of the character of Count Dracula. (False.)
  9. The character of Dracula is based on Vlad the Impaler. (False.)
  10. Nosferatu is a Romanian word for vampire. (False.)
  11. Dracula must remain in the grave during the daytime. (False.)
  12. Dracula wore a cape. (False. He was dressed in black, but Stoker never said that Dracula wore a cape.)
Thanks to David for drawing up the questions and organising Milena's visit.

    This Week's Homework

    NB2A: Do pages 1 - 4 of the handout on Past Simple. Check your answers. Remember that you have to do the listening exercises 9 - 12 and the reading comprehension (2 texts) as well. Make sure you have completed P 18. Prepare P 19 Ex 4. Do Workbook Lesson 2B; do CD Rom Lesson 2B, too.

    NA1: Do Page 1, Activity B of our grammar handout for unit 2. Please note that the written assignment for this month is SB P33 Ex d; deadline is Monday 14th November. Kindly send your composition as an attachment to make things more efficient for me. Study the vocabulary on P122, Section 2.1.  Prepare SB P 24 (everything) and P 25 Vocabulary. Make sure you have prepared Grammar Bank Section 2B P 134 - 135.

    This Week's Festival

    A BIG thank you to everyone who brought food and drinks to our Halloween Cocktail; the delicious Spanish omelette with piquillo peppers was a "wicked" (cool) idea!

    Did you you know that there has always been a close association between food and the dead? If you're interested, read the article below and discover more. It's adapted from this source.

    "For thousands of years, in many, many cultures throughout the world, there has always been a close connection between food and the dead: in Ancient Egypt, the dead were buried with honeycakes to eat in the afterlife; in the Netherlands, “doed koeks” were consumed by the mourners at funerals; Sicilians welcomed their dead with cartocci and tatu; and in Mexico, el Día de los Muertos is still a very important celebration where the favourite food of the deceased is placed on family altars and decorated with bright orange flowers.

      In Ireland, when Halloween was called samhain, the Irish had an absolute feast on this day: fresh meat and black pudding were plentiful, and the druids – Celtic priests – munched nuts, apples, and probably the occasional magic mushroom, in preparation for contact with the other world. But this all changed when Christianity came. All Hallow’s Eve became a day of fasting, and meat and meat products were banned. Today, vegetarian food is still popular. Typically, the Irish make colcannon – a very warming dish of cabbage, potatoes and leeks, Boxty, which are potato pancakes, soul cakes, made from white flour, butter, sugar and sultanas, and bairin breac, which is a deliciously nutritious sweetbread with a ring of good fortune baked into it."

    Week Beginning Monday 23rd October