If you like learning English, you are on the correct blog. Here you will be able to practise the language, share your experiences, give tips to other learners and find all the information you may need.

miércoles, 4 de junio de 2014

Happy ;-)

Well, at last classes are over and some of you are on the verge of finishing this academic year after doing the finals and passing them with flying colours ... or not.

I must admit that I'm extremely happy with the fact that this course is almost finished. However, you must bear in mind that for me, the worst part has begun: correcting and grading tests, hours of reading your writings, ... Anyway, it's not worth complaining about it -it's part of my job and I like it as well.

The thing is that since I got up this morning, I can't stop humming this song, the one I want you to listen to now if you want to share my happiness ...

Do you like it? Leave your comments on how it makes you feel.

lunes, 2 de junio de 2014

Up we Go!!!

Some days ago, I got the following text via email from a teacher in the EOI Segovia. I thanked her for it straightaway -it made me smile once again and now I want to share it with you.

When we are about to start tests, those horrible moments in which you have to prove that you have learnt some English throughout this academic year, cope with your nerves and feel confident, I'll bring UP one of my favourite moments spent in El Espinar and if you keep reading, you'll find out why ...

Going UP

I never knew one word in the English language that can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition:


Be sure to read until the end... You'll laugh.

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word,
and that word is 'UP.'

It is listed in the dictionary as an

[adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when

we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car. 

At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing

but to be dressed UP is special. 

And this UP is confusing:

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary.

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost

1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. 

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. 

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now . . ...

My time is UP!

Oh . . . one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?



Did that one crack you UP?

Don't screw UP. Send this on to everyone you look UP in

your address book . . . Or not . . .

It's UP to you. 

Now I'll shut UP!

So cheer UP and get in bright spirits to do your best at school the following days!!! 
Good Luck!!! 

domingo, 4 de mayo de 2014

Happy Mother's Day

 First of all, I hope all of you who are mums are having a really good day in the company of your families. I imagine you all have opened those wonderful presents your children have made at nursery school or primary school and you have already smelt those bunches of flowers you have been given.

By the way, the celebration of this day varies from country to country. In the UK, it's celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which was on the 30th of March. Whereas, in the USA, it's the second Sunday of May, which means that American children still have time to prepare their gifts, until the 11th of May.

Source: mothersday-2014.blogspot.com

Undoubtedly, it seems that a mother is one of the most important members of a family and everyone trusts her.As it is stated in the quotation above, we follow our mother's guidelines along our first years of life, we know that our mother will be by us in case we need her and she will always be like our best friend (well, there are some people who will never be able to live their own life without their mother's influence, though ;-) but that's for other reasons we aren't going to deal with today.)

Today, we are paying tribute to our mothers. I must say that I lost my mom at the age of ten, so I couldn't spend much time with her. However, she taught me the most important values and ways of behaving in such little amount of time and I'm extremely proud of that. Later in life, I've found out that she perfectly knew me and I can't avoid thinking what would have been different if She had been near me.

My mum was kind, generous and affectionate. She always knew the right thing to say or to do. She held my hand when I needed it. To sum up, she was like every other mother in the world.

I'm sure most of you have received this video via whatsapp but, in case, you haven't, here it is.

 So, are mothers from some sort of a different planet? How are you as mothers? What are your mothers like? Give them tribute by writing something about them. Your comments are always welcome.

viernes, 2 de mayo de 2014

Adjectives and Bob

Hi there,

We're back with a new entry, written by one of your classmates, Miguel from 2NI. He has succeeded in matching the purpose of the unit we are studying with one of his favourite singers. Congratulations, Miguel!!!

"A few days ago we were learning new vocabulary, new adjectives. We connect the adjectives with important figures in order to understand the meaning, and the difference among the adjectives. We talked about Leonardo, Picasso, Mandela, Obama and other well known personalities.

We can go over the adjectives by talking about a celebrity, for me, a person who assembles all the characteristics described in the learned adjectives. I´m going to write about Robert Allen Zimmerman, a name that to the majority doesn’t say anything, but everyone knows him by his stage name, Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew with the birth of Rock and Roll, driven by the influences of early rock stars like Elvis PresleyJerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard (who he used to imitate on the piano at high school dances), the young Dylan formed his own bands.

While studying at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, he began performing folk and country songs at local cafés, taking the name of "Bob Dylan," after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

In 1960, Dylan dropped out of college and moved to New York where his idol, the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie was hospitalized. Dylan visited Guthrie regularly in his hospital room; he also became a regular in the folk clubs and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village; and began writing songs at an incredible pace, including "Song to Woody," a tribute to his ailing hero.

He is ORIGINAL, his songs are different, authentic, creative, imaginative and genuine.
In the fall of 1961, after one of his performances received a good review in The New York Times, Dylan signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. Their first album, released early in 1962, was named “Bob Dylan”. The 1963 release of “The Freewheelin” marked Dylan's emergence as one of the most ORIGINAL and poetic voices in the history of American popular music. The album included two of the most memorable 1960s folk songs, "Blowin' in the Wind" (which later became a huge hit for the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary) and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

His next album, “The Times They Are A-Changin”, firmly established Dylan as the definitive songwriter of the 60s protest movement, a reputation that only increased after he became involved in one of the movement's established icons, Joan Baez, in 1963. Dylan began to be one of the most INFLUENTIAL singers of the second part of the 20th century. Dylan, as an INFLUENTIAL artist was able to change a generation mind, guiding lots of young people and being a meaningful and significant songwriter.

By 1964 he was playing 200 concerts annually, but had become tired of his role as "the" folk singer-songwriter of the protest movement. “Another Side of Bob Dylan”, recorded in 1964, was a much more personal, introspective collection of songs, far less politically charged than Dylan's previous efforts.

In 1965, Dylan scandalized many of his folkie fans by recording the half-acoustic, half-electric album “Bringing It All Back Home”. On July 25, 1965, he was famously booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he performed electrically for the first time. The albums that followed, “Highway 61 Revisited” (1965),which included the influential rock song "Like a Rolling Stone", my favorite song of the rock and roll history, and the two-record set “Blonde on Blonde” (1966) represented Dylan at his most INNOVATIVE, Dylan introduced something new, he introduced changes and new ideas, he is new and original. With his unmistakable voice and unforgettable lyrics, he brought the worlds of music and literature together as no one else had.

During these early years he was an INSPIRATIONAL leader; he made people think about themselves, he was a source of ideas and a creator of feelings of enthusiasm.
But Dylan is also a BRAVE person, when it was in the top of the success playing as a folk singer-songwriter, he was willing to do a big change. As I have already said, he was booed at the Newport Folk Festival when he performed electrically for the first time, and a year later, on the European Tour, in Manchester he was also booed when he began to play with his electrical guitar. You can see the images in a fantastic film “No Direction Home” directed by Martin Scorsese.

In this film you can see a CHARISMATIC person, how he attracts people, how Dylan influences and inspires the youth of the 60s. Without showing off, being a shy person, he is an enticing singer.
Over the course of the next three decades, Dylan continued to reinvent himself. He appeared in the movie, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”, a feature film directed by Sam Peckinpah. He also wrote the film's soundtrack, which became a hit and included the now-classic song, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".

Years after, in 1997 Dylan sang this song in front of the Pope John Paul II, another sign of being a BRAVE and courageous person. Not often we can see  rock singers and the hierarchy of the Church together.

After a painful split with his wife, Sara Lowndes, the song "Sara" on the album Desire (1976), was Dylan's unsuccessful attempt to win Sara back. But it was a number 1 hit.

Bob Dylan again reinvented himself, declaring in 1979 that he was a born-again Christian. The evangelical album “Slow Train Coming” was a commercial hit, and won Dylan his first Grammy Award.
Beginning in the 1980s, Dylan began touring full time, sometimes with legends of the music world, like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Grateful  Dead. Notable albums during this period included “Infidels”(1983); the five-disc retrospective “Biograph” (1985); “Knocked Out Loaded” (1986); and “Oh Mercy” (1989), which became his best-received album in years. And many other albums, -in his official website there are 61 albums.

There is no doubt that Dylan has been a CREATIVE person, not only because of the large number of albums produced, but also the large majority of the songs are composed, music and lyrics, by him. His lyrics have made him worthy of being nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His originality and the use in a new way of instruments like the guitar or the harmonica, or the accompaniments with all kinds of musical instruments, make him one of the most CREATIVE musicians of the last sixty years.

I think Dylan is also an EXEMPLARY person in the world of pop music, a world not always EXEMPLARY. But Bob Dylan is a model, an admirable musician. Look at the words that another singer said.

In 1989, when Dylan was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen spoke at the ceremony, declaring that "Bob freed the mind the way Elvis freed the body ... He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and changed the face of rock and roll forever."

In October 2009, Dylan continued to surprise fans by changing the subject on a new album. He released a Christmas album, “Christmas in the Heart”, comprising such Christmas standards as "Little Drummer Boy", "Winter Wonderland" and "Here Comes Santa Claus". Dylan's royalties from the sale of this album would benefit the charities Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK, and the World Food Program.

Dylan continued to tour throughout the first decade of the 21st century and in the second decade as well. He is in The Never Ending Tour. It’s the popular name for Bob Dylan’s endless touring schedule since June 7, 1988. Last year, when a reporter asked him when the Tour ended, and he came home, Dylan said that, What about at home? Now he is in Japan, but most of the time he is playing in small cities of USA.

And finally a personal vision of Bob Dylan. Within their world tour, in summer of 1984, Robert Zimmerman stepped on stage for the first time in our country, Spain. The scenario of the event was the field of Rayo Vallecano in Madrid, in the same concert another mythical band Santana and a Spanish group called Minuit Polonia as openers played. I could be present at the concert; I remember the heat and Dylan with a long frock coat as worn by some cowboys in western movies. The field wasn't full so I separated from my friends to approach the stage and see Dylan closer.

Source: Miguel's personal archive

Two years ago, Dylan was in Spain, he played at the Benicassim Festival, in Bilbao and at the Cap Roig Festival in Girona. The tickets for all these performances were very expensive. But near Spain, in the bullring of Bayonne, named Arena, in France I could see the concert. Dylan with a group of musicians that I've seen in videos playing twenty years ago, who looked to be the bad men from a western movie. Dylan, 72 years old, didn’t play the guitar, he only played the piano, the keyboard and the harmonica. On the piano was the Oscar he had won few years before. Bob Dylan continues to thrill audiences of all ages; I could see people from 15 to 70 years old.

Dylan is on the road, he plays more than 200 concerts each year, just as when he started in the bars of New York. Throughout his career he has accumulated countless awards, including the Prince of Asturias of Arts in 2007. A total of 61 albums have become a performance by Bob Dylan in more than a concert.

Dylan is a myth that continues making music, like over 50 years, for too many it seems always the same, but others believe he does something different every day. If you want to hear my favorite song by Dylan, well, below are the links. I'm not very original, the Rolling Stones magazine's list of the 500 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME, is headed by the song 'Like a Rolling Stone', lyrics and music by Bob Dylan."

Incidentally, the handwritten draft of this song will be auctioned today. There will be someone able to pay a lot of money for it.

Source: http://images.smh.com.au/2014/05/02/5392923/1398953216894.jpg-300x0.jpg

Thanks again, Miguel for bringing this artist to us. We really appreciate your hard work and patience to see this entry published.

OK, now your turn to comment on it. Do you like Bob Dylan? Do the adjectives suit him? Who would you consider a brave, innovative, exemplary, charismatic, imaginative, creative, inspirational, or original person?

lunes, 7 de abril de 2014

On, In or At

If I asked you what you find most difficult in English, I'm sure most of you would answer unanimously: PREPOSITIONS!

Well, this entry will try to help you with three prepositions of time, which you are familiar with but sometimes you find them a bit confusing. These prepositions are ON, IN and AT.

Check the mind maps below and then try to complete the sentences. 

Don't forget that the days of the week are written in capital letters.

The months of the year are also written in capital letters.
Remember that we say "at night" although it's a part of the day.

Complete the sentences with one of these prepositions to check if you understood.

1. I'm writing some examples _____ the moment.
2. As soon as I finish this entry, I'm going out to do the shopping. I'll be back _____ half an hour.
3. The academic course begins _____ October and finishes _____ 31st May.
4. I like walking round El Espinar _____ midday when it's warm and sunny.
5. _____ a few days' time the second term will be over.
6. We won't have classes _____ Easter but you are supposed to do some homework _____ the afternoons.
7. The classes at the Official School of Languages start _____ five o'clock and finish _____ about nine.
8. Not many pupils attend classes _____ Friday afternoons and evenings. ;-)
9. Mark and Allie always go out for a meal _____ their wedding anniversary.
10. I'll see you _____ the morning.

Is it easy or difficult? As always, it's a question of practice. The key to these sentences is on the first comment. Then leave your opinions or examples to show that you got it!

martes, 1 de abril de 2014

If at first you don't succeed, ...

As you already know this is a well-known saying but in case those pupils in the second level don't remember the ending of it, this is how it ends ...

Source: ambermaybe.com

Here's a video that encourages us to try and try again even when we are not successful the first, the second or even the third time.

In case you haven't heard from this Manisfesto HOLSTEE, here's a bit of their story. Holstee is a design studio from Brooklyn devoted to produce eco-friendly and sustainable goods such as stationery, posters, cards, frames, etc, that try to inspire people to live more happily and aware of the things we are surrounded by. This studio has survived hard times and that's why they want people to value life as it is.

I think that life and time have turned me into an incurable optimist who always sees the glass half full. A new person who thinks there's nothing in life so dreadful so as to give up because things are always bound to improve. What about you? Are you an optimistic or pessimistic person? Do you agree with the Holstee Manifesto? Why / Why not? Leave your comments.

martes, 25 de marzo de 2014

Making Up Stories

Last Friday, after the storytelling show we were reviewing the parts of a story and some fictional characters who are present in our everyday language. As part of the practice, pupils in 2NI had to write a short story with the different  parts: introduction, background, problem, resolution and a final comment or moral. These are the stories they came up with.

  • Enrique, Esperanza and Mª Angeles wrote this story about a proud achievement.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who didn’t like helping her mother at home because she preferred to play with her dog so her mother was upset with her.

Suddenly, one day her mother got very ill. She was lying in bed when the doctor came. He told the girl that her mother should rest for a month.

The little girl realised she wasn’t able to do anything by herself because she never listened to her mother. She thought about what to do for a long time and finally she decided to apologise to her mother and asked for help.

She began to do the housework although she didn’t do it very well. Every day she was improving and her mother was proud of her.

Since then, the little girl helps her mother every day and both of them are very happy together.

You should listen to your parents and help them at home because one day you’ll have to do many things by yourself.

  • This is an “overcoming-prejudice” story by Inma, Miguel and Vanessa.

Once upon a time, in a very near land there lived a beautiful girl, who liked sports a lot. One day she wanted to play with the boys but they didn’t allow her to do it. So she cut her hair and dressed in her brother’s clothes and told the boy that her name was Jack.

She started to play with the boys and  she did it very well, so she became really popular.

When the children realised that Jack was actually a girl, at first they felt annoyed but in the end, they allowed her to play because they needed her to win the match.

Give up your prejudices. It’s better to play together.

  • Andrea, Ceci and Marian tell us this story whose title is “Phineas’ Dream

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a very little mouse called Phineas, who wanted to drive a little fast car.

Then, he left his house and found a place where there were a lot of cars parked, which seemed to be abandoned. Phineas decided to drive one of them.

While he was trying to start the engine, suddenly he heard a big noise and he became really frightened so he hid under the seat.

The big noise was made by his mother who was knocking on the door to wake him up. Phineas realised that it had been only a dream so he felt relaxed.

  • Carmen, Irene and Jose enlighten us with “The Slave Horse

Once upon a time a little horse lived in a farm. He was very sad because he was tied.

Every day he saw a group of horses running in front of him, but he couldn’t run with them because he was tied. He dreamt of being free one day.

A few years later, someone cut its chains and then the other horses started running in front of him. However, he didn’t try to run after them.

After being tied for so long, he didn’t dream about being free any more because if you have been a slave for many years, you won’t be able to be free.

  • And finally, Alba and Santi wrote this blood-curdling story.

It was a dark and cold night when suddenly a strong noise scared me.

I went towards the desk to pick up a candle to check what was going on outside. I went downstairs carefully. Suddenly, I heard footsteps in the living room. Someone had broken into my house! So I went upstairs as fast as I could to pick my rifle. I decided to wait for the burglar in the shadow and close the door. The footsteps were closer and closer. As I put a finger in the trigger, the stranger entered the room. Then, I pulled the trigger and blew his head off.

I was still for a couple of minutes. Then I reached the corpse and looked at his face. That’s when I realised he was …

Well, thanks for your stories and make us consider some aspects of our human condition. It was worth practising. 
Did you like them? Would you like to tell us your story? Feel free to post it. We are looking forward to reading it.