This week we transformed the classroom into a TV Interview show! We took turns being celebrities, famous people and journalists, and were graced by the presence of people such as King Juan Carlos, Belén Estéban, Marcel Barceló, Janis Joplin, Homer Simpson, Mona Lisa, Beyoncé, David Bisbal, Javier Bardem, Christopher Columbus, Rafa Nadal and others.
For reading, try one of the many texts about celebrities and historical figures at Famous People English. Or for "original version reading" pick one of Time Magazine's 10 Questions.
For listening, check out one of VOA biographies with transcripts or try your hand at understanding one of these celebrity interviews or interview with Steve Ryan about learning a foreign language.
For writing, please write a letter (in proper letter format, please!) to a celebrity or famous person. Tell them why you are writing, why you are a fan (or not!) and ask them a few questions. If you have time, you could also try imagining their response to you.
This week there is original version cinema. The UPL has organized a showing of Take Shelter on Thursday November 29th at 19:30 at the Moderno Theater. On Friday November 30th at 17:00 they are showing The Man Who Would Be King at the UR.
First off, this week is our Extra Activity: Coffee, Tea, and Poetry on Friday at 17:00 at our normal class space. We will enjoy a cup of something warm and dicuss a poem together. Please confirm your attendance in an online form.
This week we practice some common expressions in English to used to convince someone of something and to express your strong convictions. We used debates and pretended to be the angel and the devil on someone's shoulder to convince them to act one way or another when facing a moral quandry. You may want to review the expressions used to give an opinion or support an opinion.
Now this week for reading, try Opinions. For reading in "original version" I recommend you look at some of the arguments at debate.org about topics such as Is Underage Drinking Ever Okay? Should humans be cloned? or Is Climate Change man-made?
For listening, try Medical Experts Debate Value of Alcohol Use. More advanced students could try BBC activity about argue, persuade, and advise.
Don't forget the writing! You could write out a dialogue of a debate between two people responding to one of these topics:
Last but not least, this week there is original version cinema on Friday November 23rd at 17:00 they are showing the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe at the University of La Rioja.
Oh, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
This week we tried our hand at improving dynamic conversation, specifically we practiced interrupting eachother and asking questions. You can review the vocabulary and expressions common to English conversation. Also, some of you may need to review question tags.
For reading, try reading some people's conversations and dialogues that also explain some common idioms, such as Are You a Regular? I´m Through Working Overtime, and It's My Treat.
Try listening to Katia's Weekend or a conversation about getting traffic tickets. For "original version" listening, you may enjoy StoryCorps, where many people tell their anecdotes. They have some animated adaptations of stories and they are available with subtitles in English such as: Facundo The Great.
And finally, try writing a dialogue where one person tells the other a story of something important that happened to them and the other interrupts with questions and comments.
This week there is original version cinema on Friday November 16th at 17:00. They are showing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at the University of La Rioja.
Also, if you are interested in participating in this month's extra activity, please tell me what your availability is in this online poll.
Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with one another so we may have some conversation.
As you all know, this week we discussed the 2012 US Presidential Elections in class, looking at the electoral process, the key issues, and various ballot propositions. And most of you have probably heard that Barack Obama has been elected for four more years. For general information about the elections, check out Google's Election Explorer.
For reading, try Presidential Elections Reading Comprehension, Elections Dialogue, or 10 Election Oddities Explained.
For listening, try AP Interactive Electing a President. For "original version" listening, you may enjoy the recent This American Life episode, Red State Blue State (with transcript).
For writing, you have a few possibilities. First, you could write about whether you think it's important to vote and why or why not. Or explain what you would do if you were president, which is a great chance to practice the conditional form, which I know you all love.
Finally, this week there is original version cinema. On Friday November 9th at 17:00 Casino Royale will be shown at the University of La Rioja. On Wednesday November 14th at 20:15 they will be showing Vanya on 42nd Street at the Filmoteca of La Rioja.
Happy Halloween! This is probably my favorite time of year and it has been a really fun week sharing scary stories and talking about fear, ghosts, superstitions, etc. Many of you had some really creepy tales to tell!
For reading, you could read about the Origin of Halloween, but I recommend reading some original version Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (such as The Thing, Bloody Fingers or Harold), or Wikipedia Entries to Read in the Dark. A few of you asked about the originals of jack-o-lanterns. You could read the article Why Do We Carve Pumpkins? to find out why!
For listening, try ESLPodcast about Halloween, Halloween: Holiday of the Dead (mp3 and transcript). More advanced students should try original version materials: listen to H.P. Lovecraft's story The Picture in the House
Those of you who enjoy music may like listening to a radio program about scary songs in rock and pop history on NPR, Sound Opinions and All Things Considered.
For writing, try your hand at writing a scary story. It can be something that happened to you or purely fictional. To keep up your pronunciation practice, you should record yourself telling the story.
Oh, and have a wonderful holiday weekend!
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. -- H.P. Lovecraft