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December 19, 2012

All I want for Christmas is You

Watching movies in English

As we commented, another good way of improving your English is watching your favourite movies in English. These are the cinemas in Original Version in Madrid:

Althought distributed all around the city of Madrid, most of them are located downtown, among traditional cinemas and inside shopping centers. 

Plaza España gathers most of the cinemas in OV. There you can go to: Princesa, Renoir Plaza de España, Renoir Princesa y Alphaville. 
Have fun!

December 17, 2012

Mini Sagas

As commented in class, a mini saga is a short story told in 50 words. With some discipline and creativity, you can say a lot in 50 words. Find an example from below:

Love at first sight

John was a regular in that train. Today seemed different, probably because of Sally who was in New York for work. They started the conversation casually but both became very close in less than thirty minutes. They exchanged phone numbers, of course. John promptly called a day later – “Wrong number!”

I'd like you to be inventive, ingenious and write down your minisagas in the comment section. Don't be shy!

December 13, 2012

Charles Dickens: A biography

Dear all,

December 12, 2012

Christmas Shopping

Now that Christmas is approaching why not watch a video about Christmas Shopping in London? 
Think about the following questions first: 
  • What do shops in Spain put in their windows? 
  • Have you heard of any British shops? 
  • Where do British Christmas traditions come from? 
Now watch Amandeep visit Fortnum & Mason...from the British Council. 
Don't forget to do the activities below the video in this link.

December 10, 2012

The Globe Theater


Why don't you have a take a virtual look at the Globe Theater by the River Themes in London?

This is a modern reconstruction of  Sharespeare's theater. The original one was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613.

Both of them have thatched roofs.

December 09, 2012


This is a new word that has just come into the English language:

babylag also baby-lag or baby lag

noun [uncountable]
A feeling of being very tired and sometimes confused because of the lack of sleep caused by looking after a very young bab.

babylagged (adjective)

'It's a feeling all new parents are more than familiar with. Not enough sleep at night leaves you feeling like a zombie during the day; caring for your baby and yourself while continuously craving nice, deep sleep. Now it's got a name; Baby Lag …'
PR Newswire 17th October 2012

'I'm 82% babylagged! Basically I'm bloody knackered with a teething 9 month daughter, lively toddler, stroppy teenager, travelling husband and part time job!
forum post, 17th September 2012

December 06, 2012

Crack a joke

Dear NI2 students,
What is the longest word in the English language?
"Smiles". Because there is a mile between its first and last letters!

What's the definition of a pessimist? A pessimist is a well-informed optimist.

We listened to some jokes on Wednesday, why don't you read some in these links and then crack a few ones in class on Monday? ;-)  
For some Scottish jokes, visit this web page. Why not some British jokes, as well?

A cobbled street in Hampstead

A cobbled street in Hampstead, London
Hampstead (/ˈhæmpstɪd/ or /-stɛd/), commonly known as Hampstead Village, is an affluent area of London, England, 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of Charing Cross

It is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland. It has some of the most expensive housing in the London area. The village of Hampstead has more millionaires within its boundaries than any other area of the United Kingdom.

As you already know, we can find there The Spaniards Inn, a historic pub built in 1585. 

The pub also has a great literary heritage. Not only has it been mentioned in Dickens's The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it can count among its previous frequenters the artist Joshua Reynolds and the poets Byron and Keats.


Dear NI2 students,

As for the doubt that came up in class, mind that "delay" may be countable or uncountable: 

noun /dɪˈleɪ/ [C or U


when you have to wait longer than expected for something to happen, or the time that you have to wait.
This situation needs to be tackled without delay.
Long delays are predicted on the motorway because of the accident.
Airline travelers are experiencing delays of up to three hours. 
There has been a delay in the book's publication.

December 04, 2012

The Great Exhibition of 1851

Dear NI1 students,

As we're reading about Victorian time in England, let's have a look at the exhibition that took place in 1851 in London. As you may already know, there is a painting of such exhibition and the opening ceremony by Queen Victoria at the Juan March Exhibition in C/Castelló, 77.

In 1851 Great Britain was arguably the leader of the  industrial revolution and feeling very secure in that ideal. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London was conceived to symbolize this industrial, military and economic superiority of Great Britain.  Just representing the feats of Britain itself would have excluded many of the technological achievements pioneered by the British in its many colonies and protectorates, so it was decided to make the exhibit truly international with invitations being extended to almost all of the colonized world. The British also felt that it was important to show their achievements right alongside those of "less civilized" countries. 

December 01, 2012

Discover London

Dear NI1 students,

This is the web page where we need to find the information for filling in the blancks of "In and Around London": and
Is there any other place that you would like to visit after visiting this web page? 

As we talked about the House of Lords in class, have a look at it in this video:

November 27, 2012

From the East Coast with love


These wonderful pics were sent to us by Ana from NI1. She's travelling around New York and Philadelphia. What a wonderful trip, don't you think? 

November 26, 2012

La complu en la calle


This is link to a blog of professors who will protest against cuts in education by teaching on the streets on Wednesday 28th. Have a look at their schedule. You might want to join a class.

Andrea passed it on to me:


The Spanish Crisis, a different viewpoint

Dear NI2 students, 

As we commented on the inferiority complex on being Spanish these days, I'd like you to watch this video. Do you agree? What do you think about this topic? Have you changed your mind after watching it?

A Christmas Carol Pantomime

What a better way to celebrate Christmas than going to the theater?
The Pantomime is upon us again, and this year it is a Panto adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".  Book early to avoid disappointment - the details are on the poster.

We look forward to seeing you there!  Tell your friends! 

November 25, 2012

The Curious incident Webquest

Before start reading the next book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time", students in NI2 should try to find this information that we will comment in class:


  • Find information about the writer Mark Haddon.
  • What is Asperger’s syndrome?  
  • What are the signs of Asperger’s syndrome? 
  • How is Asperger’s syndrome different from other autism spectrum disorders?

November 20, 2012

NB1 role plays


I just wanted to share these videos from NB1 students at our school. They are my colleague Paula's students. Don't you think they are really good actors as well?

Tha Black Moon Bar:

Hilton Hotel:

November 17, 2012

Treasure Island

British Art from Holbein to Hockney

This is a great exhibition of British art that you can visit at Juan March, (Castelló, 77) from Oct 5 to Jan 20.

Britain seen from the North, 1981. Toni Cragg, Tate

A portrait of of the extraordinary scope and vitality of art in Great Britain since the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century through to the twentieth. This is the essence of this exhibition, whose title, Treasure Island, invokes that of an eminently British writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, being founded on a very simple conviction: namely, that the island has not been explored fully and that it conceals a real treasure in its art, its painting and sculpture, which, like almost every treasure, remains half-hidden, yet to be discovered.

The exhibition presents over 180 pieces – paintings, sculptures, works on paper, books, magazines, manifestos and photographs – produced by more than a hundred different artists, giving an account of the arts in Great Britain that makes manifest the power and particular significance of certain creators and works. 

This wealth of art is organised in seven sections, each corresponding to a different era: Destruction and Reformation (1520–1620), Revolution and the Baroque (1620–1720), Society and Satire (1720–1800), Landscapes of the Mind (1760–1850), Realism and Reaction (1850–1900), Modernity and Tradition (1900–1940), and A Brave New World (1945–1980).

November 16, 2012

That clauses

As some students have asked me about that clauses, I'll briefly mention here that a "that-clause" is a sentence that follows after verbs like think or say:
            I think that he'll be fine. 
            She said that her parents knew about her trip.

They also follow nouns to do with thinking or saying: advice, argument, hope, promise
, idea

            He made a promise that he would do all he could to help.
            I had a funny feeling that something was wrong.


We can always use a clause without the word "that":

            They admitted [that] they had made a mistake.
             I am sorry [that] you can’t come.

You can practice building more that clases in this exercise from Learn English at the British Council.

November 15, 2012

Language tip of the week: say

Here is some advice about  the patterns that can follow the verb say:

Unlike the verb tell, the verb say is never used with a personal object. If you want to refer to a personal object after say, use the preposition to:

✗ Perhaps people misunderstand what I want to say them in English.
✓ Perhaps people misunderstand what I want to say to them in English.
✗ He wanted to be examined by a civilian doctor after an army doctor had said him that it was serious.
✓ He wanted to be examined by a civilian doctor after an army doctor had said to him that it was serious.

The object of the verb say is usually direct speech or a that-clause which reports what someone has said:
‘That’s not true!’ she said, but her voice betrayed her.
Climate experts say that by 2100 rainfall levels in some areas may rise to five times what they are today.

Don’t use tell in structures like this:
✗ He told that the Japanese representatives tend to be less confident about speaking English.
✓ He said that the Japanese representatives tend to be less confident about speaking English.

More language tips:Language tip of the week: say | Macmillan

November 14, 2012

Europe's megastrike


Listen to this video from the CNN about the strike going on in Europe, not just our country. Answer this question: 
  • What are the reasons they give to strike? 
  • Concentrate on the words related to striking: demonstration, strike...
If we don't do something, who will?


November 11, 2012

Transcription Exercises


This is a web page that M.ª José from NI1 recommended. You can practice the transcription of words into the phonemic alphabet. Why don't you try? It's fun!



November 10, 2012

Unit 1 revision

Dear NI1 students,
I'd like you to review what we studied in the book in unit 1. 
Have a good day!

November 09, 2012

-ed pronunciation


This is an old post but I thought it would be useful to do these exercises now that we've reviewed how to pronounce regular verbs in the past:

November 07, 2012

Victory Speech: the best is yet to come

This a short extract from Obama's victory speech by the CNN.
What does he say? Who is he thankful for? What are the problems ahead? What are the achievements? Is he hopeful about the future?


November 01, 2012

Pronunciation Quizzes


Now that we've finished going over all the sounds in English, I encourage you all to work on these pronunciation activities from BBC Learning English. They are fun and you can also learn at the same time :-)

Unit 1 revision for NI2

Dear NI2 students,

In these days off, you may review what we learnt in the coursebook:

 Phrasal verbs in context

Idioms and collocation



You need Flash Player for these exercises.

October 30, 2012

Halloween Pumpkin Patch

November vegetables

These are the most typical vegetables in this season. Mind they have different names in American and British English:

AE                        BE
eggplant               aubergine
pumpkin   (Native of America)
squash                 marrow
zucchini               courgette

In the meantime, you can watch a recipe for pumpkin bread to celebrate Halloween:

October 28, 2012

The squeezed middle

is the new expression (or buzz word) in English. It is a noun and refers to people on average incomes who have less money than previously to buy the things they need because rising costs have not been matched by an increase in pay: 

'Many of these companies have built their brands on the backs of the country's middle-classes. But this swathe of society, caught between recession-proof top earners and low-income households, has come to be described as the squeezed middle in modern-day, austerity Britain.'
Wall Street Journal 8th October 2012

At MacMillan dictionary we have more info on this new concept which came up in 2011. Can you tell us what it means with your own words? Is that happening in Spain as well?

October 26, 2012

2012-2013 Calendar

Dear all,

This is the calendar of the current school year. You can download it here.

A love for Life

Dear NI2 students,

A love for Live is the book that we will comment in class on November 21st (put off). As it is about adoption and birth parents, why don't you have a look at some quotations from birthmothers, adoptees and adoptive parents?

How about this one from a birthmother? What does it mean? What do you think? Do you agree?
"A Birthmother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart"
Skye Hardwick

And this one from an adoptive parent?
"However motherhood comes to you, it's a miracle."
Valerie Harper
Adoptive parent

October 25, 2012

In and Around London

Dear NI1 students,
In and Around London from Vicens Vives is the first reader we will work with in class with NI1 students. The problem is that it is no longer available, so I recommend you check in; and some bookshops in Móstoles. Some students bought it at:
  • Puzzle C/ Pintor Rivera, 9, Móstoles
  • Cruceta, C/ Empecinado, 21, 28937 Móstoles
  • Alca, C/ Montero, 40, 28934 Móstoles

October 23, 2012

A theater play in English: The Good Doctor

You can enjoy some good theater in English in Madrid!! The Good Doctor is a theater play based on Anton Chekjov's tales.  

Teatro Liberarte
C/ Francisca Conde, 7
Metro: Valdeacederas/ La Ventilla

When: 11, 18 and 25th of November at 20:30
Price: 20 euros
At 10 euros

October 22, 2012

White elephants

Dear NI2 students,

I find this audio documentary very interesting as it is about our country. They use the idiomatic expression "white elephants", what is it? Can you guess? 

Spain's runaway to nowhere

  • What do you think of the situation described here?
  • Do you agree with this view from abroad about Spain?
  • Are there any other mistakes that were made in Spain in the past?

This documentary was downloaded from BBC assignment. It's a great idea to download the ones you are interested in to improve your listening skills.

October 18, 2012


Dear NI1 students, 

Why don't you watch the video we watched in class again? What action verbs can you hear? What do they say at the end, to finish the dish? 

You can watch more recipes in English in Videojug

October 17, 2012

Speed dating


This is the video we watched in class. Many thanks to my colleague Susana. 
It may also be a good idea to visit where you can find good speed dating questions.

1. She is a city girl but he is still getting used to the buzz and ______________
2. The girl likes going to  _______________________________ when she wants to unwind.
3. Their most important common interest is _________________________________
4. She´s embarrassed because she owns literally all the  ______________________
5. Since she left uni(versity) she´s not sure about her___________________________
6. His ideal first date consists of ______________ which proves her he´s a _________ type.
7. She likes the boy because _______________________________________.

October 16, 2012

Pheromone Party

Dear NI2 students, 

Pheromone parties are in these days. In fact, they are growing across America. They rely on biochemical compatibility to suggest good romantic matches. This is how pheromone parties work

In this video they talk about scents a lot, which words do they use to describe smells? Write it on the "comments" section below. After watching it, could you explain anybody what a pheromone party is?

Don't know why, Norah Jones

Dear NI2 students, 

Why not sing along with Norah Jones? 

October 15, 2012

How to reject Tactfully After a First Date

Dear NI2 students, 

As we dealt with speed dating in class, why don't you think of the expressions and vocabulary to reject a date?  
  • What ways do they speak about when rejecting someone? 
  • Do you think "fading away" is a good idea? 
  • What about "a white lie"? Can you mention an example of a white lie from the video?
  • Do you think these are good idas?

October 09, 2012

Studying in British Univerities

Dear students,
I think you may find this information useful if you want to study abroad.
Abierto al público (de 10h a 13h y de 15h a 19.30h)
Se admiten grupos previa inscripción. Contacta con
Sesiones informativas (plazas limitadas):
16:30 - Todo sobre la vida estudiantil, alojamiento, bibliotecas, descuentos, etc (inscríbete)
18:00 Tres de las más prestigiosas universidades en investigación de Londres (Imperial College, University College & King’s College), darán una conferencia sobre Estudios de Primera Clase en Londres (inscríbete)

Además de poder hablar con Universidades Británicas en los primeros puestos de los Rankings Internacionales, se incluyen sesiones sobre becas, cómo solicitar tu plaza, requisitos de entrada, etc. Si necesitas más información, visita nuestra página web, sección eventos.
Inscríbete! (y gana un iPad3, que se rifará entre todos los participantes)

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We are a registered charity; 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland). We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.