First off, this week is our extra activity. We are going to meet this Friday April 26th at 17:00 to discuss an exposition and coffee. Please meet below on Calvo Sotelo on the street below our class space and we will go from there.
This week was world book day. We talked about the 100 Best Books of All Time. Have you read any of these? Why not try?
For listening, try an easy activity about children's books. More advanced learners may enjoy episodes about Books That Changed the World or JK Rowling's talk aobut Failure or a short story called Keesh by Jack London.
And as for reading, obviously the best would be to read some short stories in English. This site and the VOA sitehas many options, but you may like "The No Talent Kid" by Kurt Vonnegut or "Luck" by Mark Twain (with mp3). For easier short stories, check out Short Stories for Intermediate Learners. Or you may like reading about banned books in different countries.
For writing you could write a review of a book you've recently read or explain why you think reading is important. Many of you are teachers or parents -- what can we do to encourage our kids or students to grow up to be avid readers? Or, for those who are inspiring writers, try writing a short story of your own in English!
Don't forget that next Wednesday (May 1st) is a national holiday and there isn't class.
The straw that broke the camel's back
First things first, our extra activity for April will be next Friday April 26th at 17:00. There were equal votes for cooking and exhibit visit, but I haven't yet found a good space to do cooking so I will confirm the plan as soon as possible, but mark your calendars!
This week we worked with some idioms such as the final straw, speak of the devil, take it with a grain of salt, fish out of water, and many more in combination with some storytelling. We tried our best to incorporate some new idioms into our spoken English. There are many resources online to work with idioms, at 5MinuteEnglish 1Language, and ManyThings.
This week for listening, try the BBC Series The Teacher which explains many common idioms. For original version listening, try listening to a radio story in original version from audiofil.es or something from StoryCorps and see if you can pick out any idioms!
For reading, try this idioms exercise or play around with the site Eye on Idioms. Can you guess the right answer? Or try reading this Alien story and putting it in order. For original version reading, I suggest an article of your choice from The Feature or Arts and Letters Daily.
Last but not least, try writing a short story with the story prompt generator. Extra points if you can use an idiom!
Welcome back from Spring Break!
This week we talked about different "tribes" or groups, their different identities and roles in our lives.
For listening, try Seth Godin's TED Talk about Modern Tribes (available with subtitles in English or Spanish) or the recent episode Tribes from This American Life (listen with transcript).
For reading, try a news article about one of the last tribes to be found in the Amazon or in original version about the last contacted tribes. Or try reading about how the different classes of the U.K.
And last but not least, don't forget writing. Please describe a group that you feel apart of. How did you come across this group? Why is it important to?
This is the beginning of our third trimester for this school year. Don't forget that you're welcome to come to office hours Mondays 17:50-18:25, Wednesdays 16:45-17:20, Thursdays 9:00-9:30 or by appointment.
Happy Easter, Everybody!
This week in class we made a concerted effort to learn and incorporate some key phrasal verbs into our spoken English -- figure out, hang out, break up, check out, calm down, count on, drop by, fall apart, keep up, pass out, pick out, put off, run out, work out, warm up, get along. You can study a list of the 200 most important phrasal verbs here and quiz yourself.
For listening, try one of the activities at Phrasal Verb Demon or BBC Funky Phrasals. For original version listening, I recommend listening to the TED Talk of your choice (don't forget, they are usually available with subtitles in English and Spanish). Can you identify any phrasal verbs in the presentation? What do they mean?
For reading, try checking out this infographic or some of the games at Phrasal Demon or Ting, a reading exercise with phrasal verbs related to food. Try reading one of the conversations at Funky Phrasals, like this one about health.
Last but not least, for writing. As it is the end of the second trimester, I recommend writing a self-evaluation of your work this trimester, what you have learned and improved on and what you would like to get better at in the next trimester. Of course, any comments or suggestions about what you like or dislike about the conversation groups are welcome, too! Bonus points if you can incorporate a couple of phrasal verbs into the text.
Don't forget that next week is Spring Break and we do not have class!
This week we have our Extra Activity! We will have a tapas crawl in English on this Sunday March 24th at 20:00. We will meet at the Tastavin Bar in the San Juan street. You are welcome to bring English-speaking friends and family.
This week we worked with music in class, taking a closer look at Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues, Aretha Franklin's Respect, Otis Redding's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, The Clash's London Calling and Macklemore's Same Love.
For listening, I suggest you try listening and trying to understand the lyrics of some of your favorite songs! Youtube is a great resource, just put the title and lyrics in the search bar. Lyrics Training and SubInglés are also sites for this. For original version check out Inside Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues (mp3 and transcript).
For reading, try reading about Bob Dylan's Song That Changed the World. For original version reading, try some music websites and blogs like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NPRMusic, or BBC Music.
For writing, please analyze a song's lyrics. What do you think the artist is trying to say? What does the music sound like? Why do you like or dislike the song?
Last, but not least, don't forget that Easter Break is just around the corner! Next we have class as normal, but the following week (April 1st, 2nd and 3rd) we do not have class.
This week we practiced asking eachother questions in the form of an interview, playing the Expert Game and in some classes we also played Two Truths and a Lie. It's important to incorporate questions in the flow of conversation, so don't forget to try these skills out in future classes!
For listening, try your ear at one of these interviews from Many Things such as the interview with Lonnie (a homeless man) or the interview about what do you want to accomplish before you die. Those of you who are job-seekers may benefit from this job interview.
For reading, try reading a transcript of a job interview. For original version, try one of the great interviews of the 20th century,
For writing, please write a series of interview questions for someone you would love to get the chance to talk to. It could be a historical figure, a famous person, an ancestor. Try to ask interesting questions!
This month's extra activity will be next week. Please fill out the online form to let me know your preferred times and activities! Also, next week we will be working with music in class, so if you have any songs in English that you would like to look at, let me know!
Office hours next week will be Monday 17:50-18:25, Wednesday 16:45-17:20 and Thursday 9:00-9:30 or as always by appointment.