martes, 18 de diciembre de 2012

Christmas is here!

It's Christmas time and I'd like you to see some typical things at Christmas in English speaking countries. Here you have some  videos, carols, texts... I hope you'll enjoy a lot next holidays! These sites are for the smallest at home:

  • A video for children: the one we saw at class. Click here
  • Jingle Bell karaoke for children: click here

jueves, 13 de diciembre de 2012

future tenses

If you want to work with future tenses you can go to these links and do these exercises:
Here you have some exercises to practise:

Speaking about ARTS

I love this topic so I'll try to give you some material to work with. To start with, here you have a file with vocabulary connected to the subject. Click HERE to open it.

Here you have a couple of sites aobut arts, but not the official one but as a hobby:

Art is also a business and it makes a lot of money. Here you have an example:

lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2012

Preparing Christmas recipes

Here you can find some recipes for Christmas. Have a look and try one (or all) of them. Click HERE
But if you want to have a great time as a kid or with your kids, go to this link and you'll find a lot of activities for Christmas, including some carols for children:
Hope to see you in class!

sábado, 1 de diciembre de 2012

How to practise speaking in Alcala and Madrid

There is a chance to practise English with native speakers here in Alcala. Here you are the place where you can find people to exchange conversation:

  • THE GREEN IRISH PUB  C/ Empecinado nº 7. They meet on Wednesday and this is the information a kind colleague at school gave me: Durante la temporada 2012 / 2013 se va a proceder a realizar unas jornadas todos los miércoles de intercambios de conversación en Ingles y/u otros idiomas. El Método de los cursos se realizara de la siguiente manera: 1) Locución de un tema sugerido en Ingles. 2) Hojas para alumnos con el texto de la locución. 3) Pequeñas preguntas a rellenar por el alumno. 4) Discusión acerca de las preguntas y el tema de conversación. 5) Búsqueda de significado del vocabulario con diccionario Ingles-Ingles. Tanto para las personas interesadas en mejorar su nivel de Ingles como para las personas que estén interesadas en mejorar su nivel de Castellano el temario sugerido en Ingles es válido para hablar del tema en Castellano e Ingles y en cualquier otro idioma. Cada día se ofrecerá un tema de conversación acerca de asuntos del día a día, tanto como un viaje en Avión y todo el vocabulario que implica como alquilar un Apartamento, ir al Medico, un Taller de reparaciones etc…. El horario estará comprendido en dos cursos / locuciones desde las 20:30 a 21:30 y de 22:00 a 23:00
  • There is another Irish pub where there is exchange of conversation and Trivial in summer is Whelan's in Plaza de los Irlandeses, close to c/ Mayor and I think they meet on Tuesday evening, but I'm not very sure.
  • The last possibility is thanks to the community service of All Saints Church in c/ Libreros but I don't have much information about it.

I've been sent this link about exchanging conversations and experiences with other students in Madrid. They have events and some meetings to talk to other people. I don't know much but abut it but you can have a look into it and then you'll tell me how it works.
Another possibility is here in Alcalá but just for university students I gess but I don't know if it works well. The links are:
In Madrid there is a group for exchanging conversation called Multilinkual. . They meet on Tuesdays at O'Neill's (c/ Príncipe 12 - metro Sevilla o Sol) and on Thursday at Beer Station (Cuesta de Santo Domingo - metro Callao). The group is open so you can go whenever you want and if you need help you can ask David, the responsible there, to help you. You'll find people from everywhere and you can exchange English or other languages because many people are foreigners.

miércoles, 28 de noviembre de 2012

Present simple + Working

In this unit we work with present simple and the topic of working and we can use a file I did for That's English!, although it's for an intermediate level. Go to this link and you'll find explanations and exercises to do:

There is also a link about articles, if you want to see it and do some practice.

If you want to practise the song  Please, Don't Go we saw in class here you have the link:

See you in class!

lunes, 19 de noviembre de 2012


Last week we had the chance to see 5 short films in English. I enjoyed them a lot and one of my colleagues has a good reference of the films. Go to this link to see or remember what you saw: click here and look for the post on November,12.
If you lost the photocopy I gave you or you want to read it, go to this link. See you in class!

Present Simple versus Present Continuous

To start with I usually called present simple as habitual present because it shows better when we use this tense. It's referred to habits, routines, general truth or similar statements, while present continuous is referred to a particular moment of an action or something that happens in a particular time or period of time.
Have a look these examples:
   What do you do?  ---  I'm a teacher; I teach English at school
   What are you doing this week? -_- I'm explaining present tenses to my students
In many occasions, habitual present is used with frequency adverbs such as usually, often, hardly ever, sometimes, etc.
If you want to practise with these tenses you can do these exercises:
  • exercise 1: a good explanation about both tenses with exercises at the end
  • exercise 2: another longer explanation but it's useful for the examples and it includes many special cases such as havethink, want, etc. Very few exercises but interesting.
  • exercise 3: short simple explanation and some exercises to practise
  • exercise 4: a filling the blanks exercise
  • exercise 5: a very complete page with grammar and exercises at the end.
See you in class!

Working with Phonetics

Some students want to practise with phonetics and a good way of distinguishing phonemes is with pair words, that is, two similar words with a little difference in pronunciation. If you want to practise with this kind of exercises go to this link: When you click on one of these pairs you are sent to some exercises to pronounce. Have a look and practise as much as possible.
 This other link is a chart of the sounds in English:
If you want to know something peculiar about the different pronunciations of English in the UK, Ireland, America, Australia, etc. you should go to:
But if you want to practise and go further with phonetics you can go to this link with examples and exercises
Have a nice practice!

martes, 16 de octubre de 2012

Some web pages we used in class

This week we have started with our classes but we've been working with the introduction. I told you there were plenty of material to work with English and here you have the ones we've seen:

Nevertheless, when you want to look for something on the internet you can go to google and click what you want and then add +ESL

miércoles, 10 de octubre de 2012

Do you like Spongebob?

This is one of my children's favourite cartoon and I found this video with one of the songs of Spongebob. It has the subtitles and I think it's queite easy to understand. If you want to have a good time with your children, have a look with this video but remember there are many more in youtube. Have fun!

Peace in the world

Surfing on the internet I've found this video made by a person from Israel; I think it's pretty good for the message so when someting is interesting it's much better to do some listening practice with it.
The first link is the video itself in the original version, without subtitles. Although he's not a native speaker of English I think it's quite correct and it can be understood quite well. This is the link:

This second link is the same video with subtitles in Spanish, just in case you want to know the exact meaning of the message
If you want to hear some other messages of peace, go to this famous song: Imagine
I hope you'll enjoy this post. See you.

jueves, 4 de octubre de 2012

Stress in a sentence

One of the most difficult things we have while learning a new language is to change the way we pronounce, especially the stress (acento/golpe de voz). Have a look in your English books and you'll see it's something quite common in the pronunciation section.

If you want to "sound natural" you should pay attention to where the stress of the sentence is. The general rule is that you stress on those words which are really important in meaning within a sentence or the ones you want to emphasise; e.g.: What are you doing?   I'm working at my office   At your office?It's my office

If you're interested in knowing some more details and some oral examples, go to this link of Hablar mejor en inglés; click here to go directly.

There is also a long but useful explanation on BBC Learning English. Click here to visit the page

Hope it'll be useful. See you at school soon!

sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012

Revising modals and some idioms

Here you are a page with a good explanation of the difference between the most common modals: CAN - COULD - MAY - MIGHT. It's in Spanish and it's also quite clear, with a few examples, so you can have a look to check your knowledge of English modals. There is a list of idioms or common expressions which are quite interesting as well. To go to the link, click HERE. Once you've read this, try to do some exercises like the ones you can find here:

  • exercise 1 : quite easy but it's some practice
  • exercise 2 : some more exercises
  • exercise 3 : this page is to go further in your practice and more modals are included. There is a tutorial and exercises. It's quite useful. 
As you can see the level is not so high but it's worth revising simple things from time to time to check you still do them properly.

See you in short time!

PD: this post is also available on the other blog I have for intermediate students: 

miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2012

Practising some listening activities (NB1-NB2)

I've found some links with exercises from an interesting blog. The activities are easy and simple but I think it's good to refresh easy things to check you've already known them. The level is for NB1, but students of higher level might do them as well.Enjoy the exercises and click HERE

jueves, 20 de septiembre de 2012

Coming back

Hello to everybody!

Here we are again after holidays, with new projects and trying to refresh our English. Although I haven't done too much on holiday I'd like to give you some links to start with:

  • Pronunciation: in this link you have some tips (pequeños consejos) to pronounce English better. It's in Spanish but it's quite useful. Click here

  • Writing: how to write an e-mail in English. This link is not for learning English eaxactly but it's for learning how to do it properly. The tips are very useful even if you write e-mails in Spanish, and it gives you clues (pistas) to do it better. The page is in English but I think you won't have problems to understand it. Click here

  • Music: here you have the song "Someone I used to know" with lyrics. It's quite useful to refresh your past tense and a good example of the expression "used to", something you did in the past but you don't do any more in the present, like the meaning of this song. Click here

I hope to see you at school. Remember we start class in October.

lunes, 25 de junio de 2012

More practice for listening

Here you have a page for listening. It has some exercises which can be useful as you have vocabulary, true and false exercises and filling the gaps, although I haven't checked how it works and the level properly. Have a look and you'll tell me if you like it or not.
I'll give you more material for summer holidays.

martes, 5 de junio de 2012

Some tips for preparing the oral exam

Remember you are going to take the exam in groups of 2 or 3 people and there are two taks:

  • TASK 1 : an interaction with the examiner so you should anwer his/her questions, but remember to explain everything you say. Be active and don't use just monosyllabel answers
  • TASK 2: you should get an agreement about a topic. Don't be too pushy and let the other people speak. Address to the others to ask for information, explanations, opinions, etc. When you say something try to explain your point of view in different ways, giving examples, talking about your experience and so on.
Take into account not only grammar but entonation and fluency; don't rush but don't be silent, either. Try to use a variety of structures, tenses and vocabulary to enrich your speaking part.

Correcting mistakes

Here I've got some links to correct typical mistakes made by Spanish speakers. Be careful to correct them and write them correctly several times to fix the right structure. These are the ones for elementary level:
If you feel really confident you could go to the intermediate level; click here:

To finish with, here you have a link to a blog for a Spanish secondary school where you have the most typical mistakes related by the teacher Miguel Sánchez:

I hope this will help you

Some exercises that may help

Here you have some exercises to practise with very simple conversations but they could help you to get confident:

I've also found this link joining grammar and functions, that is, what point of grammar you use in each situation. This could help you to understand grammar and how it works:

viernes, 1 de junio de 2012

Practising listening comprehension

Here you have some examples of PET exams; I've chosen the parts which are more similar to the ones you have in your own exams. I hope this helps you:
Here you have some more practise:

jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

Practising with reading

Here we have some pages with graded reading exercises but be careful because they're not the same as the ones we have for the exam:

martes, 29 de mayo de 2012

Improving your speaking

The only way to improve your speaking is to practise. If you are lucky and you can do it with native speakers, tha's great but most of you can't so you should do it on your own or with your mates.
Here you have some tips to work alone:

  • Prepare your speaking before: pay attention to the structures required and the vocabulary (suggestions, advice, explanations, etc.)
  • Record yourself while speaking: watch the time and then you'll be able to correct yourself, no only the mistakes but the entonation, fluency, richness, etc.
  • Once you've done that, do it again to improve the first performance. You'll see you've done it better.
Here you have a link which has a performace of a student of nivel básico 2. It gives you a clue about what to do to practise on your own:

Improving your writing

When you want to improve the way you write, you should pay attention to the following problems:

  • structure of the composition: think that the person who is reading the paper doesn't know what you want to say. Write to be read and understood at first.
  • following the line: guide the reader so use linkers, references, examples and so on to let the reader follow you throughout your writing.
  • variety: try to avoid repetitions, use synonyms, contraries, different types of sentences to make your writing more interesting
  • mind the mistakes: especially with spelling, tenses, adjectives and nouns, singular and plural forms and so on.
To practise with that last part, remember to leave some minutes in the end to check and correct your mistakes. Use these links to help you:

martes, 22 de mayo de 2012

Preparing the certificate exams

Here you have all the sites you can use to prepare the exams. You should look for the language and your level within the page:

Web pages to learn English

The following are some websites that may help you with your process of learning English in a more autonomous manner. I found them at EOI Salamanca and I think they could be useful for you. Let me encourage to check them out in order to see which ones are best for you, althoygh there are many you've already known because we've use them in class or on the blog.
National Public Radio (US)
CBC (Canada)
Dave’s ESL Café
English for Internet
The Internet Public Library
Grammar and Writing
Agenda Web
English at Home
E.L. Easton’s Page
Learn English – British Council
BBC Skills Wise
Curso inglés
World English
English learner
Auto English
English exercises online
Vaughan radio station
Online dictionary
Videos and games

domingo, 13 de mayo de 2012

Official certificate exams in Asturias

These are the certificate exams of Asturias. Have a look and try to practise with them but remember they could be differente from the ones we've got in Madrid.

viernes, 11 de mayo de 2012

Revision of pronouns - introducing relative pronouns

Sometimes it's good to revise things we already know to check we don't have problems. That's the reason why I've seen this presentation really useful. But it introduces something we haven't seen very well and we should revise in class next week: relative clauses using relative pronouns as linkers. Here is the presentation:
Once you've seen this, go to this other presentation about the relative clauses (oraciones de relativo) but don't worry too much if you can't understand everything because we'll see it in classs next week. About relative clauses go to:
If you've been able to understand most of the explanation, go to these links to practise but remember you should practise these sentences by saying them aloud to get used to them:

I hope this entry will help you but I'll revise this in class. However, if you've alredy seen all these explanations we'll do it very quickly. See you.
PD: for those who love exercises here you have a huge amount with different levels

domingo, 15 de abril de 2012

Someone like you

One of my students asked me about this song and I must say it's one of my favourite ones so here you have an exercise to practise:

"There's nothing quite like the ___________________ when you listen to the song ___________ by someone you don't know, you've _____________ met but somehow she's managed to _______________ exactly how you've felt in a _______________ moment in your ____________ -
This next artist has __________ able to do this ___________ after ___________. And it's for that ______________ she's carrying number one in astonishingly ________ counties. If you've ________ had a broken heart, ..... (sorry, but I don't understand the last sentence)
I hope you'll have a good time doing this exercise. See you in class.

Revision of tenses

We've been working with tenses this first week to revise what we've already seen upt ot know. Just in case you want to do some more exercises here you have some links:

I hope this practice will help you to revise tenses. See you in class and 

sábado, 17 de marzo de 2012

Passive voice

In lesson 8 we've stated to use the passive voice. The passive voice is formed in this way:
TO BE (tense)   +   PAST PARTICIPLE (meaning)
We've seen in class that this form is much more frequent in English than in Spanish because it's used instead of impersonal sentences in Spanish. Take into account it's not possible to have a verb without its subject in English so when this subject is not important, not known or not said we should use passive voice. Have a look at these examples:
  • Most people say...   =   It is said ...     (Se dice que....)
  • We can speak English here   =   English is spoken here   (Aquí se habla inglés)
  • They opened a new exhibition yesterday  =  A new exhibition was opened yesterday (Ayer se abrió una nueva exposición)
  • Someone sent an email yesterday   =   An email was sent yesterday   (Se envió un email ayer)
  • Someone has sent a letter to Susan   =   Susan has been sent a letter  (A Susan le han enviado una carta)
Some other typical expressions or examples of passive voice are:
  • This book was published in the UK 
  • The conversations are being held in secret (Las conversaciones se están llevando en secreto)
  • America was discovered in 1492 (América fue descubierta/se descubrió en 1492)
  • The film is directed and starred by G. Clooney 
  • I've been told you're getting married next Monday (Me han dicho que te casas el lunes que viene)
  • John was given the job after the interview (A John le dieron el trabajo después de la entrevista)
If you want to see a page on the internet explaining the passive voice here you have this link:

To finish with here you are some exercises to practise:

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2012

Markets in London

Open air markets are vey typical in London or big cities. Some of them are very famous so if you want to know something about them go to this link.

If you want to practise with the topic of shopping here you have some useful links: : a listening about what to do when you buy something and you have a problem: how to complain, what to do, etc.
A bit difficult but interesting.

martes, 6 de marzo de 2012

The use of will (lesson 7)

WILL is the typical form of future (simple future) but in Spanish we have a tendency to overuse the form "to be going to". Let's see the difference between them.

We use WILL for:

  • predictions
  • offers
  • promises
  • requests/orders
  • plans
  • intentions
  • it's a similar meaning to "want to" although it's not exactly the same
If you need a longer explanation, go to this link (click here). You'll have a lot of exercises at the end of that page.


lunes, 5 de marzo de 2012

Visiting Alcalá de Henares

Here you have some sites to read and practise with unit 7. I think it'll sound more familiar if we use our own town so you'll have a model to follow when you describe Alcalá. Have a look:

jueves, 1 de marzo de 2012

Asking and giviving directions

Orientation is very useful for travelling and you need to ask and to give directions. Here you have some useful links to work with this:

lunes, 27 de febrero de 2012

Using conditional sentences

There are several ways of the conditionals in English. Here you have a diagram:

Type 0 or
General truth; you can substitute if for when

If you boil water
it evaporates
Type 1 or 
Possible condition; it is likely to happen

If I have time
I’ll go to the cinema
Type 2 or
Improbable condition; it is very hypothetical this could happen

Simple past
If I could buy a new car
Simple conditional
I’d take a van
Type 3
(not included)
Impossible conditional; this is referred to the past and it is more connected with regrets

Past perfect
If I’d known you were coming
Perfect conditional
I would have made your favourite dish
(not included)
The condition is a regret but the results are in the present
Past perfect
If I’d thought about that twice
Simple conditional
I wouldn’t have so many problems

When we talk about using present or future, it means that they might be in the simple, continuous, perfect or perfect continuous form, depending on the message.

Now you can do these exercises to practise:

You can have a lot of examples of conditional in songs; here you have some:
  • UNREAL CONDITIONAL: "If I Were a Rich Man" with susbtitles; click here
  •  Another exaqmple: "What if You " click here

jueves, 16 de febrero de 2012

Carnival is wonderful celebration, full of musicand fun. Here you have some activities to enjoy this festival.
Dictionary Activity – CARNIVAL - working with words
1. What are the main ingredients of a pancake?
2. When is Shrove Tuesday?
3. What is another name for Pancake Day?
4. What do people use to throw their pancakes, in a pancake race?
5. A float is a special carnival vehicle. It has other meanings. Which of these people does not use a float:
a. a swimmer                    b. a fisherman                   c. a farmer
6. How do people move in a procession? (an adverb)
7. People wear masks in a carnival. Which of these collocations does not exist?
a. party mask                    b. death mask                   c. oxygen mask                d. face mask
8. How many days does Lent last?
9. What is Ash Wednesday?
10. Is the word carnival pronounced the same in both US English and British English?

Go to this video which talks about British Pancake race and fill in the gaps of the activity (intermediate):
1. Lent is a time for _________________ things.
2. Shrove Tuesdays is the day for cleaning out the _________________________.
3. Pancake races appeal to people’s ___________________ nature!
4. Everyone’s got ‘a ___________________ tooth’!
5. People in Britain have been celebrating Pancake Day for __________________ years.
6. The tradition started in ____________________ when a woman ran to church holding a  _________________!
7. Donald O’Kelly is planning to give up __________________________ for Lent.
8. Pancake Day is a time to _________________________.
The answers for these exercises are below these other exercises of listening

Here you have a listening about Venice; there are a couple of exercises to do with it:


Dictionary Activity – CARNIVAL
1. Flour, eggs and milk. Go to this video to make a pancake: (easy)
Pancakes are thin cakes made from a batter of milk (or milk and water), eggs and flour which is then cooked in a frying pan or on a griddle until golden brown on both sides. You can buy special pancake pans which are shallow and non-stick with curved sides. French pancakes are made slightly thinner and are called crêpes. Scotch pancakes are small and thick, usually cooked on a griddle and sometimes flavoured with sultanas or raisins. American pancakes are normally served at breakfast. They tend to be light and fluffy, served in generous stacks with bacon and maple syrup. There is also the Russian blini, Chinese pancakes served with Peking duck, Italian crespelle and so on. Pancakes are traditionally eaten in the UK on Shrove Tuesday.  ( taken from: )

2. The day before the beginning of Lent.
3. Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras.
What is Mardi Gras?   :   Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove TuesdayCarnival, and even Pancake Day in the UK, is an annual festival which will be celebrated on 21st February in 2012. Falling just before Lent, it traditionally marks the last opportunity for fun and feasting before 40 days of "self-denial". Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" in French (Remember that meat is forbidden during Lent, at least on Friday).
Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls. The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the Middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA)
Mardi Gras Video  :   Here's our latest video for little kids, with a Mardi Gras mask theme. Can the kids work out who's behind the mask?      Who's Behind The Mask?
4. A frying pan. Here you have a Pancake race :
5. (c) a farmer
6. slowly; instead of “procession” it is more usual the word “parade” (desfile)
7. party mask
8. 40 days; Lent means “Cuaresma
9. The first day of Lent
10. No   /ˈkɑːrnəvəl / (American English);   /ˈkɑːnɪvəl/ (British English) But none of them is in plural.

1. giving up           2. fridge                 3. quirky                4. sweet                5. five hundred          6. 1445 / frying pan              
7. pancakes          8. Indulge   (Loolk up the words in a dictionary if necessary)

domingo, 5 de febrero de 2012

The difference between BEEN TO and GONE TO

Here you have a useful presentation on powerpoint about the difference between BEEN TO and GONE TO when you use present perfect. I think it's quite clear and you can  have some practise as well. Click on the link

Hope it helps you!

Preparing certificate exams

Some people are looking for exams to practise with in order to prepare your final exam to get the certificate of "nivel básico". Here you have the links to take the sample exam in Euskadi. Remember it's not the same as the one we have in the Community of Madrid but it helps to practise.


jueves, 19 de enero de 2012

New Seminars

Today there has been published some news about seminars in English on the noticeboard of the class (you have a copy below). They are partly paid by the European Union and if you want to know more about it you must go to the links or ask at Vicedirección:

Personas adultas ( * 18 años) *Consultad bases.
Seminarios Grundtvig sobre cualquier tema: arte, salud, lenguas, etc.

Fecha límite propuesta por el organizador.
Entre 5 y 10 días. Fechas según organizador, entre el 1/09/12 y el 31/08/13
La ayuda se ingresa a la institución organizadora, y cubre viajes, alojamiento, manutención y costes del seminario.

 No hay límite en cuanto a número de seminarios o talleres a solicitar.
 No hay que solicitar subvención. Los interesados presentan solicitudes directamente a la institución organizadora.
Prioridad a personas de grupos sociales desfavorecidos.
El Catálogo de talleres y seminarios está por publicar (Catálogo´12) no obstante se puede consultar el del año pasado porque todavía hay talleres que se pueden realizar en el 2012. En el enlace: 
Para más información dirigirse a Vicedirección en esta Escuela Oficial de Idiomas en horario de tarde Miércoles de 18.00 a 18.30 y de mañana Jueves de 11.30 a 12.00 h o al personal de Programas Europeos en la DAT ESTE (Calle Alalpardo s/n).