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May 30, 2012

Spanish stereotypes: statistics tell us they have Mondays, too

The sun, the beach and the noisy fiesta were commodities exploited to attract tourists – in real life, Spaniards work longer hours than most Europeans, writes Carmen Morán.
Read this text about Spanish Sterotypes and  express your opinion. Do you agree with the article? Are you surprised by the idea other European countries have about us? What do you think about the different regions and variety in Spain?

May 29, 2012

Kenyan Runners

Dear students,

I find this video on Kenyan runners really interesting. It was retrieved from Learning English.
And how about you? are you a resilient person? Make a sentence using "resilient"

You may download the worksheet and practice vocabulary a bit more!

May 27, 2012

Retail Therapy

Dear NI1 students,
From we can listen to Retail Therapy, an audio document which might help you prepare your speech on shopping: elllo #1075 Retail Therapy

Answer the questions on the righthand side of the link:
Vocabulary Quiz
Comprehension Quiz

How about you?:
What is retail therapy? 
How many items of clothing do you have?
Have you worn everything you bought?
Are you a shopaholic?

May 25, 2012

Relative Clauses

Dear all,

Find some practice of relative clauses in these links:
For NI1 and NI2:

Relative Pronouns and Relative Adverbs

For NI2:


Youth Unemployment

Dear all, 

I thought that this program from BBC Learning English is fantastic to be able to talk about work. 
What do you think?

To take away:

Revise and Check, p.83

Dear NI2 students,

This is the key for revision of unit 5:

1 have you read; 've started
2 have (you) been going; 've (only) had
3 've been looking for; haven't found
4 have (you) been doing; 've been working; 've planted
B 1 everything   2 all    3 every   4 all
C 1 no  2 None  3 any   4 None
1 ... I'm staying with is very nice
2 ... failed his driving test, which is a pity
3 ... we're staying in is very noisy
4 ... hear what she's saying
5 ... about the sales is that there are so many people.
A 1 bee   2 whale   3 kitten   4 calf   5 paw   6 wing
B 1 unfortunately   2 memorize   3 improvement   4 terrified   5 communication   6 useless   7 adorable
C 1 clairvoyant   2 future   3 horoscope   4 spooky   5 coincidence
D 1 blind   2 match   3 fit   4 lie   5 court

May 22, 2012

Strike today

Dear all,

I'd like to inform you that today I'm striking because I feel that if more cuts take place in Public Education, we won't have a possibility of studying in public schools and universities in the future. I firmly believe in the right of everybody, no matter their social or economic background, to be educated, i.e. everybody has the right to learn.

This protest is not only about me, at the end of the day I've already got a degree and a good education background. It's about you and the future generations to have what I had: the opportunity of studying languages and get a university degree. 

I'm terribly sorry about all those who will miss class today. But I'm thinking in the long term.

Spanish Teachers Strike at all Education Levels

Teachers at all levels of Spain's education system are on strike to protest billions in spending cuts enacted as part of an austerity drive.

Students are also taking part in the Tuesday strike, unprecedented in that all levels — from elementary school to universities — are taking part simultaneously.

Union officials said it was too early to give figures on how many teachers are staying away from work. All but three of Spain's 17 regions are participating.

Spain is struggling to cut its deficit amid fears that its public finances and troubled banking sector will cause it to need a bailout as Greece, Ireland and Portugal did.

The billions of euros in cuts in spending translate into fewer teachers, more students per class, fewer extra-curricular activities and higher university tuition.

May 20, 2012

Idiom: it slipped my mind

Please read the story below and then write the meaning of the English idiom. You could also try writing a sentence using the idiom.

Yesterday I had a Doctor’s appointment, but I didn’t go. The Doctor’s appointment was for 6pm. Yesterday, I finished work at 5pm and then drove home. In fact, I drove past the Doctor’s clinic, but I still didn’t remember my appointment!!! The appointment completely slipped my mind!!!!

ESL practice:
Question 1: What does the English idiom (slipped my mind) mean?
Question 2: Practice writing your own English sentence using slipped my mind.

NI1, Key to p 82-83

Dear NI1 students,

Find the key to Revise and Check on pages 82-83 in the coursebook:

1c         2 c       3 a      4 b       5 c
1 without locking     2 a few     3 getting up     4 to rent      5 big enough

1 government      2 reaction       3 happiness     4 possibility    5 qualifications
1 for    2 about    3 with      4 at     5 at      6 as
1 overtime     2 off      3 sacked    4 promoted     5 salary     6 contract     7 apply    8 self-emploed     9 resign

1 movement (it's /u:/)
2 afraid (It's /ei/)
3 prefer (It's /i/)
4 short (It's /ɔ:/)
5 resign (It's /z/)
employee  unemployed    responsible    temporary    experience


A 1 F    2 T     3 T     4 DS     5 F     6 T     7 DS     8 T     9 F
B a very advanced age: be very old
single-handedly: by himself, without any help
centenarians: people who are a hundred years old or more
in the shade: in the area that isn't in direct sunligh and is darker and cooler
use up: use complety, expend (energy)
multiplying: increasing

May 19, 2012

NI2 key to reading practice

Dear NI2 students,

You can check your answers with the following key:

1. A   2. H     3. C     4. B      5. E

6. C    7. B      8. C      9. C      10. B

11. leaving        20 known                    29 it
12. whatg         21 others                     30 likely
13. all               22 to
14. lives            23 followed
15. which         24 later
16. those          25 who
17. fearless       26 might
18. one             27 not
19. half             28 also

May 17, 2012

Diamond Jubilee: Spain's Queen Sofia cancels UK visit

Dear NI2 students,

This article from the BBC is about current Spanish and British relations.
Queen Sofia of Spain has cancelled a visit to the UK to mark Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee because of disputes over Gibraltar. 
What I find most interesting is the answers of British readers at the end of the article. What do you think?? You may also drop your own comments. 

May 13, 2012

Key to Reading

Dear NI2 students,

I'm posting the key to the reading activities for this long weekend:

PART ONE (Restaurant List):
1. B    2. A     3. i     4. G    5. F

PART TWO (Some New Help for the Exceptionally Gifted):

6. C
7. C
8. B
9. B
10. C

PART THREE (Colour):

11. FOR                             21. CONCENTRATING
12. WITHOUT                   22. DESPITE
13. ASPECTS                    23. AGES
14. WHICH                       24. AGO
15. IMPORTANT              25. NOW
16. SHONE                       26. BETTER
17. PRESENT                    27. PATIENTS
18. THEIR                          28. PRODUCTS
19. NEARLY                      29. AROUND
20. ONLY                          30. SO

May 10, 2012

The End of the Line

Dear NI2 students,

As we read about The End of the Line in class, I'd like you to have a look at this interview on Should we change the way we aet fish? Should we care about the fish served on our restaurants?

Deplete: to reduce the amount of something or the number of things, If we continue to deplete the Earth's natural resources, we will cause serious damage to the environment.
Depletion: reduction
Carbon footprint: the amount of land, energy, water, etc that a person or organization uses in order to exist or operate: Government is urging businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
Subsidy: money given as part of the cost of something, to help or encourage it to happen:
The company received a substantial government subsidy.

May 09, 2012


As some people asked me about how to practice speaking skills this summer, here are a few places to find people with the same interest. Check for updates!

- Individual
exchanges in classified ads section “intercambios” of In Madrid newspaper, but be very careful it’s not a sect or someone after sex. Don’t go alone the first time!!!

- Exchange Spanish-English over a coffee or a beer (same warning)

- Hola si buscas un
intercambio de francés, inglés o alemán de uno a uno, manda un email y te conectamos con gente de fuera que viven en madrid. Solo avisa de tus estudios y edad, para que te pongamos en contacto con alguien con similar intereses. mas info: Email: NEW!!!!

MADRIDBABEL: Meet Spanish/international people from over 30 different nationalities & exchange languages absolutely free at Café Madrid (c/ Escalinata s/n - metro Opera) every Wednesday from 21:30 till 2:00. Ask for Fran ( Welcome Back Party on Friday 5th at 9pm at El Barbu Club (c/ Santiago, 3, Metro Opera). Check our website:

International Travellers’ Tertulia (free) Meeting every Thurs. 9:30pm-2am, Café Madrid, C/Escalinata S/N (Metro Opera). Talk to people from all over the world! New members welcome. Antoine. E-mail: or
 - O’Neill’s. Join our group of Spaniards+foreigners in Madrid. Meet new people and practise Spanish, English and other languages for free.Tuesdays from10pm at O’Neill’s, C/Príncipe 12, Metro Sol/Sevilla. E-mail: or tel: 618 271 778. Youtube: Telemadrid david

- Grupo intercambio. Hi there! We are a group of people who meet on Sat. around 10pm for a language exchange (English-Spanish) over a drink. If you fancy coming, e-mail

- English conversation group on Sundays at 6.30pm in Café Comercial (Metro Bilbao). Practise English over a coffee and put a relaxing end to your hectic weekend. All levels welcomed. Email me at or call Oscar on 660 519 499. NEW!!!!

- Cultural and social international English-speaking group. Are you looking for new friends? We are an international English-speaking group (35 +) welcoming participative members. Talks, theatre and films, quizzes, outings, music and singing, Saturday lunchtime parties. E-mail us: or or phone us: 91 548 37 93 (10-11pm) / 628 420 155

- J & J Books and Coffee. C/Espíritu Santo, 47 Metro Noviciado 91 521 8576. Intercambio Wed-Fri 8pm

May 07, 2012


Dear all,

Have a look at these adventurous people from Galicia. M.ª Bel sent it to me!
Are you still up for some barnacles?

May 05, 2012

Phrasal Verbs

Dear NI2 students,

Why not review phrasal verbs in these links from New English File?

Phrasal verbs in context

May 04, 2012

Key to reading on p 73

Dear NI1 students,

This is the key to the reading on p 73 from our coursebook:
1 c
2 b
3 b
4 a
5 a
2. however / on the other hand
3. also
4. according to
1. also
2. However / On the other hand
3. According to
4. whereas
5. On the other hand / However

June Exam dates

Dear all,

These are the dates for the exams in June:

NI1 WRITTEN EXAM -> June 4th at 15:45
NI1 E, I -> Room 1
NI1 H -> Room 4

NI1 Speaking (Room 1)
NI1 I -> June 7th
NI1 E -> June 8th
NI1 H -> June 12th

NI2 WRITTEN EXAM -> June 14th at 15:45
NI2 F -> Room 1
NI2 G -> Room 2

NI2 Speaking (Room 1)
NI2 F -> June 19th & 21st
NI2 G -> June 20th & 22nd

I'll publish the pairs for the speaking exams very soon!

Unit 4 review

Dear NI2 students,

Find the key to exercises on page 67 from the coursebook:

1. dark curly hair     
2. Right
3. Whose are those hideous pink gloves?
4. Right     
5. They live in a gorgeous 16th century cottage.
6. Right
1. The more tired you are, the more mistakes you make.
2. The angrier she gets, the more she shouts.
3. The nearer the centre you live, the more expensive it is.
4. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll finish.
1. I hadn't gone          2. could       3. hadn't told you      4. would help             5. would play
1. to have them (the walls) painted
2. had it repaired
3. having it cut
4. had it cleaned

1. dressing-gown            2. cap            3. gloves           4. plain
1.  casual                        2. bargains     3. designer       4. discount
1. illogical                   2. immature          3. unsociable           4. insensitive              5. dishonest          
6. irresponsible           7. inconsiderate   8. unselfish              9. impatient                10. disorganized
1. cosy            2. tap             3. gate            4. dishwasher           5. detached house

May 03, 2012


Dear NI2 students,
I have a question for you, How do you want to be remembered?  
Watch the video and see what Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Thought Bubble: says about it!

Make notes using the following headings:
• An old lady in a shop
• Society and kindness
• What kindness requires
• A doctor and a patient
• Mankind
• A happy ending

What practical ways can we be kind to other people in our everyday life? Check this link to the website Random Acts of Kindness. Browse through the ideas about how to be kind and bring them to the class!

Retrieved from

May 02, 2012

Hunting Elephants While Madrid Burns

Perhaps the most inopportune hunting trip since Dick Cheney’s 2006 outing at the Armstrong Ranch occurred last week, when Spain’s King Juan Carlos broke his hip after tripping on a step at a hunting camp in Botswana.

Read more

Posted by Lauren Collins April 17, 2012

May 01, 2012

Go green!

Dear all,

Even though the Earth Day has gone by, everyday is Earth Day. Here you can find a few tips to go green, any more ideas!

Key to reading assignment

Dear NI2 students,

This is the key for the reading assignment for this long weekend!

PART ONE: Perfect Gifts
1. G     2. C     3. H     4. E     5.D

PART TWO: San Francisco
6. C     7.B     8. A     9.C     10.A

PART THREE (How to date online)

11. used                         21. other
12. our                           22. beware
13. without                     23. which
14. sorts                         24. distance
15. any                           25. specify
16. corresponding           26. when
17. touch                        27. that
18. most                         28. between
19. on                            29. of
20. still                           30. fancy

Keep enjoying the long weekend!