Blog Archives

READING ALOUD IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (1B2)

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF READING ALOUD IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE? IS IT A WASTE OF TIME?

Among many other benefits “reading aloud can help your pronunciation. Even if you already know how to pronounce the language pretty well, it is hard to fit your mouth and tongue around the foreign sounds. Reading aloud gives your vocal organs the exercise they need to speak without getting tired or stumbling. If you are still fuzzy on pronunciation, use texts with recordings on CD or MP3 files, and repeat after the native speakers. But following along in the book will give you added input over simply listening and repeating. Try to copy the intonation and rhythm as well. You will be using eyes, ears, vocal apparatus, and of course, brain — all at once!”

http://www.ehow.com/how_5528527_use-aloud-learn-foreign-language.html

SOME APPS CAN HELP YOU DO THIS WORK WHENEVER YOU DON´T HAVE THE RECORDING: READINGS ON YOUR TEXTBOOKS, GETTING READY FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS, ETC….

  • DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THESE WEBSITES OR APPS ?
  • WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR?
  • CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY SIMILAR APPS?

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http://www.acapela-group.com

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You can paste the text.(SUITABLE FOR IOS &ANDROID)

http://www.naturalreaders.com

TIPS TO IMPROVE PRONUNCIATION WHEN YOU´RE READING ALOUD

(BY my colleague JAVIER SANTOS ASENSI)

Step 1:  Find CONTENT WORDS in the fragment you have chosen and make sure you know how to pronounce them.

  • Even if meaning is different for different speakers, there are certain word categories that are usually more meaningful and therefore commonly stressed. They are often called content words: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, negative words, pronouns (demonstrative, possessive –mine, yours…, reflexive –myself, yourself…,  reciprocal –each other, one another , interrogative –who, what…), question words (where, how often, etc), intensifiers (too, much, quite, etc.) and modifiers ( numerals, cardinals, etc.)
  • Pay special attention to those words you are very familiar with. Are you positive you have not made a habit of mispronouncing them?  Check their pronunciation in your print or online dictionary or CD Rom
    • First locate the stressed syllable (long words usually have a secondary stress as well)
    • Then make sure you use weak vowels / Ə / and / I / in unstressed syllables
    • Is there any consonant or vowel sound that you have problems pronouncing?

Step 2: Check the pronunciation of GRAMMAR WORDS (also called function words)

  • Most times grammar words are not stressed. These include articles, determiners (the, some, each), auxiliary and modal verbs (do, have, be, may, will, etc.), one-syllable prepositions and conjunctions (to, from, of, and, but, etc.)   If they have a weak pronunciation form, use it instead of the strong form you might be familiar with (check the pronunciation of these words in your reference chart)

Step 3:  Are there any words you can contract?

  • Remember that contraction is a feature of spoken language. You do not usually contract words in more formal written texts.  If you are reading aloud you should try to contract whenever possible even if you do not see the contraction
  • Revise the most common contractions: in the reference chart your teacher will provide you with.

Step 4: Connect unstressed words to meaningful stressed ones in a logical way

  • First connect words into phrases (noun or prepositional phrases, etc.) in a logical way to avoid reading word to word and stressing every single word. These connected groups of words are often called thought groups
  • Then try and connect phrases into short sentences
  • Contracted forms as well as Word linking (connecting words ending in a consonant with the next word starting in a vowel or else words ending and beginning with vowels) will help us do it.  In British English final “r” will be pronounced if the following word starts with a vowel (linking “r”).
  • As a result the number of words in spelling and pronunciation will be absolutely different.

Step 5:  Make sure you respect punctuation marks: pauses and intonation

  • Periods (full stops) , commas, colons, semi-colons, parenthesis and the kind are realized as pauses in oral speech. These pauses will allow the listener to follow our utterance and ourselves to breathe.  Moreover, if you run over the sentence limit, your utterance will make no sense at all for listeners, for they mark the end of an idea, a piece of explanation or clarification, an example, etc.
  • Question and exclamation marks are realized as intonation patterns. Avoid flat intonation patterns, otherwise it will be difficult to make out your speech intention

RECORDING YOURSELF WOULD BE THE FINAL STEP AND PLAYBACK…. BUT WE´LL TALK ABOUT THIS IN ANOTHER POST…..

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WHAT´S IN A NAME? (1B2)

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Spanish parents win battle to name their newborn son ‘Wolf’

After a very public campaign, a couple from Madrid have been told they can name their son ‘Lobo’. Ignacio and Maria have won the battle to name their son, who was born on July 12th, Lobo – meaning wolf – after collecting nearly 25,000 signatures supporting them.

The couple had made their fight public after officials initially refused to allow them to register their son with the chosen name, initially because “it was offensive to the child” and then under the rules that it was only to be used as a surname.

The issue has made headlines in Spain and sparked debate over parents’ rights to name their child whatever they like.

But on Wednesday, the director general of the national registry announced that the name Lobo would in this case be allowed.

Javier Gómez Gálligo said the name Lobo was “considered socially acceptable” and therefore would be allowed. He also said the official criteria would now be reviewed.

The couple, from the Fuenlabrada suburb of Madrid, had referred the case to the Ministry of Justice and launched a petition on change.org that garnered more than 24,000 signatures.

“Do you, like us, think it is unfair that the criteria decided by an official has more relevance when naming a child than parents who will educate, guide and love that child for the rest of their life?” the couple wrote in the change.org petition calling for support.

The case had even won the attention of politicians with Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the Podemos party, speaking up for the parents.

“Wolf seems to me to be a beautiful and dignified name,” he tweeted. “If you can be called Paloma (Dove) or León (Lion) then why not Lobo (Wolf)?”….

https://www.thelocal.es/20160803/spanish-parents-win-battle-to-name-their-newborn-son-wolf

SHOULD PARENTS BE ALLOWED TO NAME THEIR CHILDREN AS THEY PLEASE? HAVE YOUR SAY!

22 Outlawed Baby Names From Around the World

CREATING INTERACTIVE “GETTING-TO- KNOW- ME PHOTOS” WITH “THINGLINK” (1B2)

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF “THINGLINK“?


THINGLINK invites students to connect audio, video, images, and text in one cohesive presentation.  Students will dig deeper into content through research to present knowledge and ideas as they learn, practice and demonstrate digital literacy skills in image creation, selection, content , creativity, tagging and sharing.

INTERACTIVE  “GETTING-TO-KNOW-ME “ PHOTOS

THIS IDEA IS NOT MINE. I HAVE YO THANK THE BLOG “STOP & LEARN ENGLISH”

Use  Thinglink  to create interactive photos.

Students choose a photo on their mobile. Each student should upload his /her image and add tags to help others get to know him or her. For example, create a tag or a link to a photo, video or audio file to describe his / her:

  • favourite subjects
  • hobbies or sports
  • ancestry
  • maps with places they´ve lived or visited
  • favourite song, band or group
  • favourite  TV show, website or game

CLICK ON THIS PHOTO TO HAVE A LOOK AT ONE OF MY  ATTEMPTS …..

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new-2THERE ARE APPS FOR YOUR MOBILE TOO….

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COME ON!! HAVE A GO!! I´LL BE WAITING FOR YOUR THINGLINKS!!!!

LET´S TALK ABOUT ME (ALL LEVELS)

WHO IS YOUR TEACHER THIS YEAR? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ME? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW?

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“EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY” AND AS “A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS“…..ALL THE PHOTOS BELOW CONTAIN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT ME. WHAT´S  THE LINK IS BETWEEN THE PHOTOS AND MY LIFE? AM I 29 YEARS OLD? DID I MARRY TWICE?…ETC….

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CLICK ON THE PICTURE ABOVE TO HAVE ACCESS TO THIS YEAR´S UPDATED AND INTERACTIVE PREZI PRESENTATION. UNFORTUNATELY I CAN NOT EMBED IT DUE TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS WITH WORDPRESS.

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1B2 (QUESTIONS & ANSWERS)

http://www.classtools.net/QR/qr_generator.php?fold=41&fname=YV4Uj&diff=0

https://goo.gl/teQeYd

1B1 (QUESTIONS & ANSWERS)

http://www.classtools.net/QR/qr_generator.php?fold=5&fname=beaQJ&diff=0

http://www.classtools.net/QR/questions_list.php?fold=5&fname=beaQJ&diff=0

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH QR CODES AS I MENTIONED IN A PREVIOUS POST?

CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO SCAN ALL THE QUESTIONS THAT MATCH THE ANSWERS OF MY PREZI SLIDE

PRESENTATION. (LET´S TALK ABOUT ME 2017-18)

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DESCRIBING A PICTURE (1B2)

IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE A PHOTO ON YOUR MOBILE IN DETAIL, WHAT KIND OF LANGUAGE WOULD YOU NEED?

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CLICK ON THIS PICTURE IF YOU WANT TO VISIT A WEBSITE WITH USEFUL LANFUAGE ON HOW TO DESCRIBE A PICTURE / PHOTO.

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YOU CAN ALSO TRY TO SEE THIS DOCUMENT ON DESCRIBING PICTURES AND PHOTOSDESCRIBING PICTURES

AND NOW GET READY TO DESCRIBE YOURS……

CAN YOU GET THE MESSAGE? (1B2 & 1B1)

WHAT´S THIS?
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IT´S CALLED A QR CODE AND THE ONE ABOVE IS ACTUALLY LINKED  TO MY BLOG (SEE IF IT WORKS!!!)HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM?

HERE´S AN INTERESTING VIDEO WHICH ILLUSTRATES HOW QR CODES WORK:

ALL YOU NEED IS DOWNLOAD A QR READER (e.g. I-Nigma | NeoReader | Kaywa) ONTO YOUR MOBILE DEVICE. SO, SCAN THIS QR CODE WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE OR IPHONE AND SEE IF YOU CAN GET THE MESSAGE. CAN YOU GET THE MESSAGE?

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DO YOU THINK OR CODES CAN BE USED IN THE CLASSROOM?

I´LL BE WAITING FOR YOUR COMMENTS. HOWEVER, IN THE MEANTIME ENJOY THIS SPOT AND HAVE FUN!! AREN´T YOU CURIOUS ABOUT IT?

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“THE CROWN”, A BRITISH TV SERIES ON NETFLIX (1B2, B2 C1, C2)

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Netflix‘s ambitious new series The Crown is the most expensive TV series to date, costing the streaming service over $130 million (via Daily Beast). A lavish – and thoroughly British – affair which sees the reunion of the creative team behind 2006’s Oscar-winning biopic The Queen, starring Helen Mirren. Screenwriter Peter Morgan and producer Andy Harries are here joined by Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry.

Taking its basis from Morgan’s 2013 play The Audience, the series is set to trace the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from her early years to the present day, balanced over the course of six seasons of 10 episodes each. The show promises to tell, “the inside story of two of the most famous addresses in the world – Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – and the intrigues, love lives and machinations behind the great events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/the-crown-netflix-most-expensive-show-ever-matt-smith-a7392911.html

AS MANY OF THE TEV SERIES ON NETFLIX ARE AMERICAN, THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD CHANCE TO LISTEN TO BRITISH ENGLISH AND KEEP UP YOUR ENGLISH DURING THE SUMMER. SEASON 1 IS ALSO ON ORORO TV WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

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BREAKING OUT OF THE INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU (1B2)

plateau      READING MY COLLEAGUE CRISTINA CABAL´S LATEST POST MADE ME THINK ABOUT MY OWN STUDENTS.MANY OF MY 1B2 STUDENTS THIS YEAR FEEL AS IF THEY´RE NOT MAKING ENOUGH PROGRESS, HAVING THE IMPRESSION THAT THEIR LANGUAGE LEARNING HAS SLOWED DOWN CONSIDERABLY  OR JUST FEELING THEY ARE STUCK IN THE “INTERMEDIATE PLATEAU”…(SENSACIÓN DE ESTANCAMIENTO),  BUT TO WHAT EXTENT IS THAT REAL?

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“As they move from basic to intermediate to advanced levels in language proficiency, many second-language learners will confirm that language learning does not always follow a smooth progression. There are times when progress seems to be marked and noticeable, as for example with many basic-level language learners. After their first 200 or so hours of instruction, they begin to break through the threshold of learning to become real users of the language, even if at a fairly simple level. Those who have experienced the transition to this level of learning recall the feelings of satisfaction and achievement that came as they found themselves actually capable of real communication in English.

However, once learners have arrived at an intermediate level of language learning, progress does not always appear to be so marked, and making the transition from intermediate to the upper-intermediate/advanced level sometimes proves frustrating. Some may feel they have arrived at a plateau and making further progress seems elusive, despite the amount of time and effort they devote to it.”

Let’s start with why this happens…

There are actually two reasons we might hit a plateau.

The first is that the better you get at a language the harder it is to continue improving. Take this statistic for example:

Just 3,000 English words are needed to understand 95% of everyday texts. Whereas the average native speaker has the ability to use up to 20,000 words.

That’s a pretty big disparity. What this means is that knowing 3,000 words will put you in the intermediate range of language learning, but it takes a lot more effort and a lot more words to become an advanced speaker.

The second reason is that whether you’re learning a new language, practicing a sport, or learning how to type on a keyboard—it’s not only the amount of practice that you’re putting in, but the type of practice.

When we first start to learn a language we progress very quickly, from barely knowing how to introduce ourselves to making complicated sentences in the past and future tenses. We reach an autonomous stage.

The autonomous stage occurs when we no longer have to consciously think about what we’re doing. In language learning, this might be the stage when you can have a conversation without pausing to find the right word or the proper grammatical structure.

Reaching the autonomous stage, however, does not mean that you’re now an expert. In fact, this is the stage where it’s easy to see your language learning falter, because you’re no longer being challenged to learn more.

So what can we do…

Now that we know why we run into these plateaus, let’s look at some ways we can move past them.

The first way is to simply change the way you think about learning a language. It’s important to understand that improving as a new learner is very different from improving as an intermediate learner. There are always going to be diminishing returns as you get better at a language. This doesn’t mean you’re not progressing.

It’s easy to feel like you’re making progress when you master all the tenses of “to be,” but it’s important to keep in mind that learning less common vocabulary and more complex grammar is just as important to becoming fluent.

Best of all, once you have an intermediate or upper-intermediate language level, learning becomes a lot more fun. You can have real world conversations, watch movies and enjoy more engaging books.

The second way to improve is to focus on how you practice. Since it’s easy to become a passive learner at this stage, you have to force yourself out of your comfort zone. Try talking about topics you’re not 100% comfortable with, read texts that challenge you, look up words you don’t know even if they’re obscure, and talk to native speakers at a natural pace.

Just like when you were a beginner: Keep studying, keep pushing yourself, and if you haven’t already, find a teacher who can keep you accountable to your language learning goals!

How can I climb higher?

Here are my top tips for escaping from the intermediate plateau.  They’re not rocket science, just basic advice gleaned from my teaching experience.

1)  Don’t give up!

2)  Keep expanding your vocabulary.

This means reading a lot and learning how words collocate (go together in semi-fixed expressions).  Doing this also helps with your grammar.

3) Excavate your ‘fossilised errors’!

You know those little mistakes that you make over and over again?  You probably have a collection of ‘You said… You should have said…’ error correction slips.  Make sure you understand why your errors are wrong and make a concerted effort to change!

4)  Immerse yourself in the language.  Do something in English every day.

5)  Pursue your interests in English!  If you’re into philosophy read philosophical works in English.  This will keep you motivated.

That’s all for now, I’d love to hear your tales of clambering off the intermediate plateau.

https://es.verbling.com/articles/Jon/the-intermediate-plateau-and-how-to-get-over-it-552ee4b35afee0982a1a82ff

IT MIGHT BE INTERESTING TO READ CRISTINA´S POST…BY CLICKING ON HER PICTUREplateau

A THANK YOU MESSAGE!(1B1 & 1B2)

 

THIS POST IS TO THANK  ALL MY 1B1 & 1B2  STUDENTS FOR THEIR HELP AND SUPPORT ALL YEAR ROUND. IT´S BEEN  A TOUGH YEAR FOR MOST OF YOU, I KNOW, I KNOW….. BUT I HOPE YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN WORTH IT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INVOLVEMENT AND COLLABORATION…. (AS WELL AS THE FANTASTIC BREAKFAST / BRUNCH  WE HAD TODAY…)

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IT WAS A PLEASURE TO TEACH YOU! HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR SUMMER AND DON´T FORGET YOUR ENGLISH!! IN A FEW DAYS I´LL PUBLISH A POST WITH IDEAS ON HOW TO KEEP UP YOUR ENGLISH DURING THE SUMMER. WE´LL MEET AGAIN!

 

 

 

1B2 STUDENTS (REVISION OF FINAL EXAM)

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REVISION  ( MAY FINAL EXAM  ) // SPEAKING TEST

AS I TOLD YOU IN CLASS (ACCORDING TO THE SCHOOL WEBSITE), IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR FINAL EXAM, YOU NEED TO COME  ON WEDNESDAY 17th MAY  TO OUR USUAL CLASS. I WILL BE THERE FROM 10.30 TO  14.00. IT DOESN´T MATTER WHICH GROUP YOU BELONG TO…. YOU CAN TURN UP AT ANY TIME

 

 

 
Smart Up Your English

LEARN NEW WORDS, EXPRESSIONS, PHRASES...

Helendipity Weblog

learn English and share your experiences (SERENDIPITY= the accidental discovery of something pleasant and useful!)

Adrian Underhill's Pronunciation Site

Practical Discovery of English Pronunciation

Smart Up Your English

LEARN NEW WORDS, EXPRESSIONS, PHRASES...

Helendipity Weblog

learn English and share your experiences (SERENDIPITY= the accidental discovery of something pleasant and useful!)

Adrian Underhill's Pronunciation Site

Practical Discovery of English Pronunciation