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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:

    November 03, 2014

    Mediterranean from Myth to Reason


    Last weekend I visited the Mediterranean exhibition at the Caixa Forum. As I loved it, I thought we could also go as a group so I'm arranging a visit in English. I'll let you know more about it. In the meantime, I encourage you to take an online tour of the exhibit:

    November 01, 2014

    The future tenses

    Kerry J Marshall
    As we have talked about the expression of future in English, it would be nice to keep practicing in these links from Oxford University Press:

  • Future forms: going to, present continuous, will / shall (1)
  • Future forms: going to, present continuous, will / shall (2)

  • Each other:
    Vocabulary: Personality