The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend.

Burlington Books

This is an adaptation of the funny and entertaining novel by Sue Townsend, a British writer who knows and depicts very well the British society and institutions. Adrian Mole is one of her best known characters and has featured many of her novels. In this one, we learn to know him at the age of 13 and 3/4. It starts at the beginning of the year with his New Year Resolutions and a complicated family life.

I hope one of your New Year Resolutions is to read this short and funny book for your English class;  to get the most of it remember that you can download the mp3 recordings of the reading of the book at Burlington Books; you can also answer the questions at the end of the book and send here any comments or questions.

Happy New Year!!!!!


Gmail Motion

Today I am showing you the newest innovation by Gmail. They say that more than 80% of  communication is achieved through body languange and that sitting at a desk typing and moving the mouse is not a natural position for the human being; so, they have created Gmail Motion. This tool is able to interpret body movement as commands (orders). 

For instance: if you want to read a message, you have to do as if you were opening an envelope and this tool which obtains the image from a webcam will interpret it as your order. Watch the video, it explains it clearly. 

This is an impressive tool, but I do not know if it will be able to change our way of relating with machines, what do you think? Leave your comments and tell us!!!

Remember, if you like the post and/or the blog, click on the MacMillan badge (top right) and vote for Close your books, please, it only takes a minute!!!

Update 31st December 2012: Just in case you had not noticed, this is a joke, have  a look at the date: 28th December, is Saint Innocents' Day in Spain and we celebrate it by playing tricks on other people. I hope you   had fun!!!


Sergio Ramos, olé!!

I want to wish my students and all the people who read the blog a  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with  Sergio Ramos' video and I have some good reasons to do so. I know many people are laughing at it because his English is not perfect, but I want to highlight how brave and generous he is.
He wishes the Christmas to all the children of the Real Madrid Fundation school, he says:
"Hi, I hope you all had a good time playing football at the Real Madrid Fundation school. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"
He does it in a way that all the people can understand him. When we talked about the video in class, some students said that he should not have done it, that someone else should. I told them I did not agree, I think a language is to communicate with people and he achieves that, I always encourage my students to talk even though they do not do it perfectly, that is the only way to get better; as Einstein would say:
"It is not that I am so smart, it is just that I stay with problems longer"
I encourage you to keep trying and you will get better.
Merry Christmas and A happy new year!!!!


Love English Awards

MacMillan Dictionary Blog
I have been nominated as Best Blog at the Love English Awards at the MacMillan Dictionary Blog. This is a great honour and a very satisfying and rewarding moment for me. If you like the blog, I would like you to vote for it, it is very simple, you just have to click on the "vote" button next to where the name of the blog is.
I want to thank you in advance and also for reading the blog and making it what it is today. LOL


Merry Christmas from IES Tartessos

If you want to hear Santa Claus wishing you the best for your holidays in my name, click on Oddcast and you will hear him. You can also do your own interactive Christmas card at Chatty Santa.

I want to thank Aurora Jove because I found this web thanks to her wonderful blog Think in English.

How do you congratulate people for Christmas? Do you use e-cards? Which ones?


Practising English with Apps 2: Johny Grammar's Quiz

British Council

As I told you, I am going to show you another app . It is called Johny Grammar's Quiz. This is a very fun and entertaining app also designed by British Council. In this app, you can practice things we see in class in a very easy way. You have a menu subdivided into three:
  1. Spelling quiz
  2. Grammar quiz, and
  3. Vocab quiz
In the spelling quiz, there are two stages: in the first one you say which word is correct; and in the second one, you have to point out the one that is wrong and rewrite it again correcting it. The grammar and vocabulary quizzes are divided into three different levels: easy, medium and hard. The grammar quiz has got four different cattegories depending on the level you choose, for instance modals or conjunctions (on the hardest level), infinitives or gerunds (medium level) and irregular verbs (easiest level). The vocabulary quiz has got ten different categories including phrasal verbs, idioms, food, small talk and so on.

You can practice for hours with this free app for Android. You can also enjoy yourself at the same time. Try it and tell us!! Please, those of you who downloaded the Wordshake app and are literally hooked on it, leave your comments so that your mates know it is true!!

Remember, if you like the blog or this post and think others will like it too, they will find it easier if you push the g+ bottom below or on top right. Thanks!!!


Practising English with Apps 1: Wordshake.

British Council
In a few days (just 5!!!), we will have much more free time. That is the reason why I am presenting  you this new serie of posts: Practising English with Apps.  In this serie, I am going to show you apps that I have come across and that I think are very good to practise English in a fun and entertaining way and/or apps that treat a specific issue, such as vocabulary, grammar...

I am starting today  with Wordshake, this is a free app that you can find at Google Play and it consists of building words of more than three letters with 6 or 9 random letters in a given time (1 or 3 minutes) depending on the level you choose. You get more points the longer the words are. This is a fun way to learn new vocabulary because when you finish, the app makes a list of the words you built but also of all the possibilities that you had, so you see many new words or revise many that you already know but did not have the time to see.

It is quite fun and takes so few time that you can play with it almost everywhere!!
Do download it!! Then, tell me, how many points did you get?

If you liked this post and/or the blog, please remember to g+ at the top right of the page so that more people get here!!! Thanks!!!


A narrative: James Blunt's Stay the Night.

We are already finishing the term, so we are going to relax a little with this song by James Blunt, a British singer and songwriter with a really special voice.  I have chosen this song because we have been treating past tenses (past simple, continuous, present and past perfect, would, used to...) to talk about narratives.

 It's 72 degrees outside, zero chance of rain
 It's been a perfect day 
We're all spinning on our heels, so far away from real In Californ-i-a  
We all watched the sunset from our car, we all took it in 
And by the time that it was dark, you and me had something, yeah! 
 And if this is what we've got, then what we've got is gold 
We're shining bright and I want you, I want you to know 
The moon is on it's way, our friends all say goodbye
 There's nowhere else to go, I hope that you'll stay the night 
 Wooooah, you'll stay the night, wooooah yeah 
 We've been singing Billie Jean 
Mixing vodka with caffeine 
We've got strangers stopping by 
And though you're out of tune 
Girl you blow my mind, you do
 And all I'll say is I don't wanna say good night and if there is no quiet corner to get to know each other then there's no hurry I'm a patient man
 As you'll discover, ah! 
Just like the song on my radio said, 
We'll share the shelter of my single bed
 But it's a different tune that's stuck in my head 
And it go o oes... 

First listen to the song and read the lyrics, then try to picture the time line, that is, try to figure out and tell me which actions happen first and which ones after and send me a comment. I hope you enjoy the song and the video with all its heat!!!


My first scones

Yesterday, as the long week-end we have enjoyed was coming to its end, I decided to try and cook something that I love since I went to Ireland. What you see in the photo is what they call scones and it is a bun half bread half sponge cake. They usually have it at tea time with jam or marmalade, but we also had it at pubs during lunch, accompanying their fantastic soups.

I followed this recipe I took from the BBC, and I must confess they don't taste like the ones I had in Ireland; even though it was eight years ago I can still remember their flavour. I think the problem is I didn't have self-raising flour so I used baking powder instead and I guess I didn't put enough quantity because the buns didn't raise, so they are a bit stale, too stiff to be eaten nicely : ( Though the flavour is Ok, and they look good, don't they?

Next time, I will try adding more baking powder or try to buy some self-raising flour!!! If they are good, I'll try the cheese scones!!

Have you ever tried scones? Did you like them?
Do you have a better recipe? If you do, please let me know!!!


Improving reading comprehension in secondary education(ESL)

We are having our Reading Comprehension tests next week, I know, it is such a pain!!! But I am going to give you some tips to work on them.

What should you do first?PREDICTING!!!
Have a look at the title and any pictures that accompany the text, also count the paragraphs. The title normally tells you the topic of the text, pictures give a lot of information which is not in English!!!! Each paragraphs brings up a new idea on the main topic. Now that you have some information, think about what ideas will come up and better than this, what words, expressions, even grammar and textual features...

What should you do next? UNDERSTANDING!!!
Read the text one paragraph by one and try to understand the main idea of each one and how it relates to the main topic (understanding a text has a lot to do with understanding what it is talking about, that is the world to which it makes reference). Don't worry about the words you don't understand, try to figure them out; two good ways are: trying to relate it to a word you know (whether in English or Spanish) or trying to fill the meaning gap - this can be fun, teachers should practise this in their classes more often. It is also important to take into account textual references such as those of personal pronouns and others.

What should you then? GET DOWN TO WORK!!!
Now it is time to read the exercise you have to do in order to show that you have understood. What do you have to do? There are different types of exercises which go from the fill-in gaps to the question answering or from multiple choice questions to finding synomyms or opposites... Depending on your level, your teacher will ask you to do different tasks. Many teachers ask students to answer questions, so it is important that you know your wh-words!!! Go back to the text and look for the information you need.

You can get deeper information on how to develop reading skills in your own language and others if you go to How to improve reading comprension. You have many corrected instances at English for Everyone.

Will you follow these tips? 


World Aids Day

World AIDS Day - 1 December
Unfortunately, it is important to remind people that AIDS is still an illness that we can get if we are not careful.  UN has set a day to focus on the illness and promote the knowledge about its symtoms, prevention, diagnosis and treament; it is on 1st December (last Saturday).

Even though we may not know anyone with this illness, it is important to remember that it exists. If you want to have a closer look at it in class with students or students alone at home or with their parents, there is a good website on the subject, it is called E-School Today.

There are also pages that treat this issue in depth:
Have you done something at school this year related with this day?


Modern Classics: The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are a Californian group that started back in the 19690s. They are famous for being one of the first rock vocal groups. They talked in their lyrics about the beach, surfing and having fun, so their songs made people have a good time and forget about their problems. Just like the Beatles, they are part of those modern classics that changed music into what it is today.

They were so famous at their time that groups were created in Spain to sing their songs in Spanish, these are called tribute bands, such as The Summer Boys. They even have their own official fansite in Spain called The Beach Boys Spain. The Beach Boys are actually celebrating their 50th anniversary singing on tour.

Did you know them? Do you like them?