miércoles, 26 de octubre de 2011

Using Podcasts to Learn English

A podcast is a digital audio file (it can be a video as well) that you can download as an mp3 audio so you can listen to it on your portable device (mp3, mp4, mp5 or iPod) or by using your own computer.
It usually has a topic and the ones I've chosen are related to Learning English. Here you have some of them (click on the link directly) :

  • http://a4esl.org/podcasts/: a list of podcasts with the text (click on Read the Web Page) but without exercises, as usual; however, they are quite easy to understand. Some are longer than others and some are more difficult.
  • http://www.podcastsinenglish.com/index.shtml : this is a good site with a lot of podcasts divided in levels and with activities but to use these activities you have to be a member, that is, you must pay for it. However, you can use the podcasts to practise on your own.
So here you have a lot of material to practise with listening. Remember there are many more listening comprehensions with proper activities on www.elllo.org, BBC Learning English or in la mansión en inglés. Have a look on the recommended links of this blog ( Useful Links the blue windows on the right).

Have a nice long weekend. See you in class!


Learning English with Music

If you want to practise English with songs I've found a site called lyrics training where you can find different videos with songs. They have a label indicating the level of English (easy-medium-hard) and if it is British or American English. Some of them are with translation into Spanish but there are some others which are with exercises of listening. The index is here.

Here you have an example with a funny song. Under the video you have an exercise of filling the gaps in 3 levels. You can practise a lot with it. Click here to listen to it. Have fun!

martes, 18 de octubre de 2011

CAN versus TO BE ABLE TO

Both forms are very similar but there are some differences between them. Let's see them:
  • CAN is a modal verb (so you can use it to express possibility, permission, ability or prohibition), an auxiliary (you use it for interrogative and negative forms) and defective (no -s for the 3rd person in singular and no infinitive or past participle forms). TO BE ABLE TO is an expression where the verb to be (the auxiliary) is followed by an adjective+infinitive with TO. See the difference:
She can't come with us, can she? but she's able to do it well, isn't she?
  • You use TO BE ABLE TO whenever you need a form you don't have with CAN, that is, infinitive or past participle:
I think I'll be able to see you tomorrow or Sorry, I haven't been able to do it yet

  • About the meaning there is a slight difference but if you are intereted maybe you should visit this grammar explanation here
If you want to practise, you can do these exercises:
  • exercise 1: it's connected to the previous explanation about grammar
  • exercise 2: for present, past, etc.
I hope it'll be of any help. If you can't understand the difference, please let me know in class.

See you in class.

lunes, 17 de octubre de 2011

Lesson 1: Play

Lesson 1 deals with music and this is an amusing way of learning English. Try to learn new expressions and vocabulary by using the lyrics of your favorite songs. All you need is to surf on the internet to find a video in YouTube in this way:

  1. Go you YouTube
  2. Look for the title of your favouvite song and add +lyrics like in this example: Can I have this dance+High School Musical+lyrics (click here for the link)
  3. Then you'll see the video with the words so you can practise and sing the song.
  4. Once you've heard the song a couple of times, look for another version without lyrics and you'll understand most of the song.
  5. You can do this with hundreds of songs. Try it!
If you are interested in this kind of karaoke, you can visit this section in my wiki:

http://startingenglish.wikispaces.com/karaoke

Use whatever song you like. It's very likely you can find it in youtube. Have a try!

See you in class!

jueves, 13 de octubre de 2011

Starting our course

Welcome to everybody. We are starting this school year and we're going to use this blog as a class diary to know what's on at class.

These first days we are revising the main contents of the previous level (NB1). We have seen:
  • numbers: time, years, numbers up to a million, etc.
  • letters: the alphabet
  • use of the auxiliary in questions: are you ...? do you...? can you ...? did you ...?
  • yes/no answers: yes, I am/no, I'm not ; yes, I do/no, I don't ; yes, I can/no, I can't, etc
Next week we're going to start with the new book. Try to get it as soon as possible. Remember the title is: English Unlimited Pre-intermediate (CUP)

See you in class!