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December 27, 2014


Read and listen to this dialogue containing a lot of vocabulary related to concerts.
Source: Hot English Magazine.

December 25, 2014

The empty stocking

Listen to this Christmas story. I hope this didn't happen to you. :-)

December 23, 2014

T&T group American Cities presentations


These are the dates for Tuesday & Thursday group:
  1. Nikola Tesla                                            - Jan 8-  Juan José C
  2. Frank Lloyd Wright                                  - Jan 13 Jorge R
  3. The Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum   - Jan 15 - Alberto B
  4. Fallingwater House                                 - Jan 20 - Violeta P
  5. The Apollo Theater                                 - Jan 22 - José Ángel C
  6. Louis Armstrong                                      - Jan 27 - Rafael N
  7. Laurence Ferlinghetti                              - Jan 29 - Esther C
  8. Golden Gate Park (S Francisco)             - Feb 3  - Verónica M
  9. Cable Car Museum (S Francisco)           - Feb 5  - Raúl C
  10. Elvis Presley                                            - Feb 10 - Verónica M A
  11. Pete Seeger                                            - Feb 12 - Marcos C
  12. Los Angeles and Hollywood                   - Feb 17 - Elena L
  13. The French Quarter (New Orleans)        - Feb 19 - Manuel C

M&W group American Cities Presentations

This is the list of presentations for January and February. You may want to start reserching these days.

Nikola Tesla

Jan 12

Ana L

Frank Lloyd Wright

Jan 14

Judith A

Jan 19

José Antonio P

Jan 21

Aurea C

Jan 26

Patricia M

Louis Armstrong

Jan 28

Sebastián C

Feb 2

Esther M

Feb 4

Mónica C

Feb 9

Pedro L

Elvis Presley

Feb 11

Paz C

Pete Seeger

Feb 16

M.ª Antonia M

Los Angeles & Hollywood

Feb 18

Loreto F

The French Quarter (New Orleans)

March 9

Ángel F

December 22, 2014

'El Gordo': The world's biggest lottery

Al Goodman reports on Spain's 'El Gordo' lottery, which has the biggest lottery jackpot in the world at about $3 billion.
Source: CNN Added on December 22, 2014

Billion: the number 1,000,000,000 : one thousand million
Drawing: an act of choosing something (such as a winning ticket) from a group without knowing which one you are choosing.
One winner takes all

Speech on Nikola Tesla

December 21, 2014

Christmas Homework


I'd like to remind you that we are going to read American Cities for Christmas, more especifically chapters 2, 3 and 4 on New York and Chicago.
When coming back we will be correcting the following exercises:
  • p 13, ex 1,2
  • p 14-15, ex 3,4, 1
  • p 24-25, ex 1, 2
  • p 26, ex 1
  • p 36-37, ex 1, 3, 4
  • p 38, ex 1
  • p 48, ex 1, 2

December 18, 2014

Tesla, a visionary man


This is Ana's presentation on Tesla. She'll present it on Monday 12th in January.

December 16, 2014

Greek Portraits


This Leonor's fastastic presentation on portraits in ancient Greece.

December 14, 2014

History of Christmas

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature.

Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion.

Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. December 25–Christmas Day–has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

December 13, 2014

11 things we don't need any more!

These are things that will probably disappear soon. Do you want to listen to the text as well? Can you think of anything else that may soon stop existing? How about teachers? Will they become extinct?

December 12, 2014

Birth of democracy

This is Jose Antonio's presentation  about Birth of Democracy in class yesterday, wonderful, isn't it? Remember you can use this avatar to pronounce difficult words.

December 11, 2014

Short story writing competition at Macmillan


I find these stories fascinating. They were shortlisted to 13 and over competition.
You may also download the PDF

December 10, 2014

An evening with Sam Shepard


This is about the theater play in English we will be able to attend on Thursday 18th at 19h.

December 07, 2014

Is being alone the new freedom?

After Reading this text, what do you think?

Published de
Alone Loneliness
I have to admit that being a parent leaving in such a frenetic world, I enjoy my time on my own…a lot! The FreeMe Project is very much about finding time for oneself in order to connect with what we really want in each of our roles.  But when does loneliness really mean self fulfillment? Even if I personally love being alone, I am not really alone…I mean I don’t suffer from loneliness. I am surrounded by people I love and share interest with, and I have my family living with me.
Today loneliness is a truly worldwide phenomenon, with, in France, 34% of the population leaving on their own vs. 6% in 1962.
Behind this new sociological phenomena, there are different reasons that are worth knowing:
  1. Emancipation of Women – The way to independence by women has had of course a big role to play. No need to depend on a man, contraception and sexual liberalization have made it easier for a woman to decide to live on her own.
  2. Self-development Focus – Love yourself before you love someone else. A more selfish society and the quest for self development have made it a second choice to share our life.
  3. Era of New Technologies -Technologies have filled in our relational emptiness. You can now be alone but connected to others. See the incredible –even addiction – success of social medias.
  4. Wealthy societies – in the past, it was almost impossible to survive on your own.  Nowadays, the wealthiest countries are the ones showing the highest rates of people living on their own with Sweden at the top of the ranking (47%).
When loneliness rhymes with isolation and no love, it can be a real drama. But it looks like nowadays it has become a choice and a new way of life that involves fulfillment as stated in my post on Childfree lifestyle.
It is clear that when in a couple, if we feel trapped by the other, there is no freedom. Being alone means automatically regaining freedom. So, when reflecting upon this phenomenon, here are some questions I would like to raise: Does it mean that, by being more fulfilled individually we are actually killing the couple? Or does it mean we are reinventing the concept? It is not anymore about looking for my second half but instead looking for my parallel?
I have grown up listening to my grandma saying: Better alone than in Bad Company…it looks like this has been taken very seriously by our society. I still personally believe we like being together, being with others and collaborating. That it can be difficult to be alone if you don’t choose it.
But we should never forget that at the end, the very end, we are always alone. We need to be able to face ourselves in order to stand on our feet and loneliness is about this, learning to know ourselves. What do you think?

December 05, 2014

Buzzwords from Mcmillan


These are new concepts that came into the English language this year. What do they mean? What's your favourite expression?

December 04, 2014

Greek Pottery

This is Luz's wonderful presentation about Greek pottery:

December 03, 2014

School Cultural Day

On Dec 18th we will celebrate a cultural day at our school and these are the activities that will take place:
17h   Mystery at Embajadores School  (Room 13)
(A detective ghymkhana)
18:30-19:00    Bring your dishses for our Food Contest
19h    Theater Play in English: Once Upon a Time in the West. An Evening with Sam Shepard (IES Cervantes)
20h    Awards for all contests  (IES Cervantes)
20:15 Taste all multicultural dishes from the Food Contest (Rooms 15 and 14)

Prizes will be awarded to both winners and participants!! (Room 13)
You may have a look at the whole program in this piktochart ->


This is Susana's presentation about Socrates. Well done!

December 02, 2014

The Ebola outbreak

As the school is organizing a market to raise money to fight Ebola, I'd like you to listen to this documentary from 6 minute English.  Syringe with blood
Scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against Ebola

The Ebola virus has killed hundreds of people in West Africa. The World Health Organisation has allowed the use of drugs which have not been fully tested.
Rob and Feifei discuss the use of these new drugs on patients. Who gets the drug? Who is to blame if they feel worse? Listen to the programme.

This week's question:
The virus Ebola got its name after a river in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But when was it discovered? Was it in:
a) 1966
b) 1976 or
c) 1986
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.

November 30, 2014

Cooking contest

For our Cultural Day on December 18, the school has organized a cooking contest. If you want to participate, you should cook a dish from an English speaking country. Check out this pinterest board for new cuisine and all-time-favourites. Dishes will be assessed not just for their taste, but their presentation as well.

Where: Room 15 and 13 between 16:30 and 19h
What: Sweet and savoury British or American Recipes
Jury: a school member, a student, a teacher
Prizes: English learning materials. Everybody will receive a little present for taking part in the contest.

November 29, 2014

Nikola Tesla


We are going to organize an English visit to the exhibition about Nikola Tesla at Telefonica Foundation. Tesla (Smijan 1856- New York 1943) was a Croatian immigrant researcher in the USA. He explored technologies which were far ahead of his time, like robotics, vetical takeoff aircraft, remote controlled weapons, low energy lightbulbs, alternative energies and wireless electricity transmission. 

After watching this video, you may answer the questions in the following quiz:

November 28, 2014

Tow truck


I'd like to make clear the difference between tow truck (AE) or breakdown truck (BE) and crane as they share the same word in Spanish:
Tow truck (AE) Breakdown truck (BE)

What the people of the Amazon know that you don't

"The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle," says Mark Plotkin, "It's the isolated and uncontacted tribes." In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest's indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge. 
Interactive transcriptInteractive transcript

November 27, 2014

Bet you didn't know, Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!
Why not learn about the background of this popular American festivity?

November 26, 2014

The sphinx

This is part of Sara's presentation in class yesterday: 

November 25, 2014

November 23, 2014

November 22, 2014

Ulyses and Polyphemus

This is Aroa's presentation in class. BTW the visit to Mediterranean was fantastic and we all learnt a lot. Thanks for coming!!

November 20, 2014

The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

I’ve learned several foreign languages as an adult. I was able to learn French to conversation fluency in 17 days using the following techniques. Note that I had previously learned Spanish to fluency so this was not my first foreign language.

In summer of 2005 I stayed with a French friend in a tiny village in the Beaujolais region of France. No one in the village spoke English and, since my friend knew I had an ambitious learning goal, she refused to speak to me in English as well.

I set up a routine where I did the same things every day. In the mornings, I woke up and wrote out longhand the regular and irregular verb tables for 1.5-2 hours. I managed to get through an entire pad of paper in two weeks. I still believe that writing things out by hand is the best way to memorize things.

While I wrote, I would listen to Michel Thomas’ language learning mp3s. On the CDs you listen as he teaches French to other English speakers. It’s really helpful to hear other students make mistakes that you can learn from, just like a regular classroom environment. In two weeks I listened to the foundation, advanced and language building courses twice.

I would run for 45-60 minutes in the early afternoon in the French countryside listening to catchy French music. Music is a great way to learn the intonation of a language and train your facial muscles as you sing along. I had lunch with my friend and her French friends everyday. As they refused to slow down when speaking to me in French, it was learn or starve!

In the afternoon, if I wasn’t playing darts or Boules with my French friends, I was reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in French. Reading the children’s books you read as a child is a great hack to learning new languages. Firstly, the language used is simple and secondly, knowing the story helps you to guess the meaning of new words and avoid using a dictionary. Surprisingly children’s books are more entertaining in a foreign language.

I spent at least an hour writing basic essays about myself which I had my French friend check for errors. When you meet new people you inevitably get asked the same things: “Where are you from?”, “What do you do?”, “Do you like France?”. By learning ready-made answers, you get to practice what you learned and build up your confidence.

Another good tip is to learn the filler words. These are the words and phrases people say then all the time between sentences (alors, en fait, etc.) but have no real meaning; allowing you to buy time in a conversation and increase your confidence.

After 17 days I left the small town and went to Paris. I met a girl in a coffee shop and we started talking. After a few minutes, she asked how long I had lived in France. When I told her I had been learning French for 17 days, she swore that I had lived in France for at least a year.

Hopefully there are some useful tips you can use in your learning. Let me know and bonne chance!

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the best ways to learn a language as an adult?

"Viatge a Itaca" by Lluís Llach

Mariano recommended this Catalan musical version of Ithaca. Don't you find it wonderful?

November 16, 2014

Swift, Beyonce Topping Music and Money Lists

Let's listen to this news from VOA. Remember that you can participate in the comment at the bottom of the post:

Words in this Story
celebrities – n. famous people
mega  adj. very popular, successful, or important
legendary – adj. very famous or well-known Now it’s your turn to use these

In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar. Comment (1)

November 12, 2014


This is Marina's wonderful presentation on Prometheus:

November 11, 2014

Always a family


Today we'll listen to a moving story from Story Corps. You may visit this site for more short stories.

November 07, 2014

Human Towers, Built for Independence

By RAPHAEL MINDER 11:07 AM ET Catalonia’s tradition of castell building has become a rallying point of national pride as the region goes into a straw vote on independence from Spain. Activist Brings Catalans Together as They Seek to Secede 9:10 AM ET

November 06, 2014

Remember, remember


Thanks to Andrea who reminded me of the 5th of November. She's currently enjoying an Erasmus scholarship in the UK .

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England's overthrow.
But, by God's providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James's sake!
If you won't give me one,
I'll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

November 05, 2014

November 04, 2014

Pronunciation tips


I'd like you to start working with vowel sounds on these BBC Learning English links:
  • Unit 1 - Key and Pin
  • Unit 2 - Book and Do
  • Unit 3 - Door and Coat
  • Unit 4 - Egg, Cat and Cup
  • Unit 5 - Sock and coat

  • From myths to reason


    These are the topics we will present in class during the months of November and December:
    1. Heracles and the lion from Nemea
    2. Ulysses and the sirens
    3. The sphynx /sfiɳkx/
    4. Greek Pottery
    5. Eros and Psyche
    6. Portraits

    You may find more information in these links and videos: