Blog Archives

“THE STITCHER LIST”: PODCASTS ON THE GO TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS (1B2)

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TheStitcherListblog2

Stitcher is a smartphone app that lets you aggregate radio shows and podcasts, stored on your phone for on demand listening or streaming from the web.

Listen to over 65,000+ radio shows and podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, Android or PC -anytime, anywhere

Get the freshest episodes of your favorite podcasts and radio shows streamed directly to your smartphone or iPad – no downloading or syncing. From NPR’s Fresh Air to Adam Carolla, WNYC’s Radiolab to the Wall Street Journal, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow and more, Stitcher organizes and delivers the world of talk radio fresh daily. Listen whenever and wherever you want.

Create Your Own Radio and Podcast Playlists

“Stitch” together your favorite shows into customized station playlists and save them for easy access. Create a news playlist for your morning commute, and a comedy playlist for the weekends. Browse or search through over 65,000+ different shows, or select a pre-set station from Stitcher’s editors like Top 20 Comedy shows, Top 20 News & Politics shows and much more.

Discover New Radio Shows & Podcasts

Let Stitcher give you personalized recommendations based on your listening preferences. Enjoy This American Life? Stitcher lets you see what other listeners of This American Life also like to listen to – you’ll have new favorites in no time. Let Stitcher help you discover

THE PAST PERFECT (1B2)

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OSCARS 2017 (ALL LEVELS)

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The 89th annual Academy Awards is around the corner, taking place next Sunday, 26th February at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles….

 

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“Every year there’s that one movie that wins all the acclaim, all the awards, all the notices, and seems to suck the air out of the room for everyone else. This year, La La Land is that movie, pulling off a clean sweep of top honors at the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, and the BAFTAs. Next stop: the Oscars, where it’s nominated for a record 14 nominations (tying the record set by All About Eve and Titanic) and is the odds-on favorite for Best Picture, among a whole host of other awards. If and when it wins, it will be the culmination of one big fat La La Land lovefest.

The Damien Chazelle–directed, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone–starring homage to classic Hollywood movie-musicals has been hailed as returning the bygone genre to its golden-era glory—“at a time when musicals seldom grace the big screen, La La Land is practically a miracle,” one review gushed—and enchanting audiences in that pure, old-fashioned kinda way. “During one musical number, when fireworks start going off in the sky,” swooned the Miami Herald, “you can feel them going off in your head, too.”

But does the movie really deserve all of this hype?”

http://www.vogue.com/article/la-la-land-oscars-hype-emma-stone-ryan-gosling

  • SHOULD “LA, LA, LAND” WIN THE BEST PICTURE OSCAR AWARD?
  • DOES THE MOVIE REALLY DESERVE ALL OF THIS HYPE?

HAVE YOUR SAY

HOW EFFECTIVE IS “LANG8” FOR WRITING TASKS? (1B2)

IN A PREVIOUS POST IN NOVEMBER I TOLD YOU ABOUT “LANG8”, A LEARNING PLATFORM WHERE NATIVE SPÈAKERS CORRECT WHAT YOU WRITE. DO YOU REMEMBER?

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bigupdateanimJUAN, one of your 1B2 classmates,  TRIED IT AND WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE WITH THIS TOOL:

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“In my opinion it´s a very interesting and effective tool, considering that when you upload a text people don´t delay in making comments.
However, there are some risks as always on the internet, as the information you get may be right or not depending on the person who has corrected you.
It’s fine in order to have an extra revision, but I’d rather be corrected by someone I trust.
Despite this, It´s worth a try.
I also wanted to warn you that it is addictive! Once you start helping to correct texts in Spanish, written by Japanese, English or German people, you can´t stop!”

I HOPE YOUR WORDS ENCOURAGE SOME OF YOUR CLASSMATES TO TRY IT! THANKS FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION!!!

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SOME OF YOUR CLASSMATES LAST YEAR TRIED IT AND I´VE CHOSEN ONE EXAMPLE OF THE ASSIGNED INFORMAL EMAIL: THE STUDENT´S FIRST DRAFT (IN BLUE) AND THE SAME EMAIL CORRECTED (IN BLACK).

I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THE CORRECTED VERSION IS NOT 100% PERFECT BUT, ANYWAY….. I´D LIKE YOU TO COMPARE BOTH VERSIONS AND ASSESS THE RESULT. HOW EFFECTIVE AND USEFUL DO YOU THINK IT COULD BE FOR YOU IN THE FUTURE?

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IF YOU REALLY WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING SKILLS IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE IT A TRY.

GOOGLE DOCS: A GREAT TOOL FOR REAL TIME COLLABORATION (1B2)

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WE´RE GOING TO WORK ON COLLABORATIVE WRITING THESE DAYS. A GREAT TOOL FOR YOU COULD BE GOOGLE docs. TO SHARE DOCUMENTS AND FILES. HAVE A LOOK AT THIS VIDEO

The main things students will get from this video are :

  • How to create a Google doc and share it with their peers.
  • How to give editing access to collaborators
  • How to identify what other collaborators have added to the document
  • How to chat with collaborators
  • How to bring other people (non-collaborators) into the conversation

THESE IDEAS COME FROM “EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY & MOBILE LEARNING”

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED IT? HAVE YOUR SAY AND MAKE COMMENTS ON THIS SUBJECT

 

“CUE PROMPTER” A TOOL TO REHEARSE YOUR SPEECHES (1B2)

WOULD YOU LIKE TO FEEL LIKE A FAMOUS TV STAR?

This little tool is a cueprompter. My students need to give a speech  and I find this little tool can help them a lot monitor the time it takes them to give their speech as it has adjustable speed feautures.
How to use it
♥Copy/paste the text into the prompter text window
♥You can set screen size, font size and colour
♥Start the prompter and adjust the speed
♥ Use the Space Bar to stop/start the cueprompter

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IT´S AS IF YOU WERE WORING ON TV AS A NEWSREADER!! BUT REMEMBER THAT THIS IS JUST FOR REHEARSING AT HOME: YOU CAN´T USE IT DURING YOUR ORAL PRESENTATION IN CLASS.

THIS POST IS FROM CRISTINA CABAL´S BLOG. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR GREAT IDEAS!!

TUTORIAL

WATCHING AUTHENTIC TV IN ENGLISH (B2, C1, C2)

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Television is great for learning English. The pictures make it easier to understand than the radio and because you can see who’s talking, you get a better idea of what people mean. Just watch their “body language”!

Watch programmes that you find enjoyable and entertaining – whatever you watch will help you to improve your English. Ororo.tv is great but I´ve written about it before…Why don´t you try watching tv online? CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

http://www.watchallchannels.com/british-tv-html/

This website is mobile friendly so you can watch it on any device.captura-de-pantalla-2016-10-26-16-08-37

Here’s a  guide to learning as much as possible while watching English television:

Only watch programmes you find interesting. Learning English should be fun – not something you have to force yourself to do. If you have a passion for football, watch matches or the sports news. A variety of programmes is best, anyway.

Keep a notebook near to your television, so that you can jot down any new words or expressions that you hear. This is especially useful if the programme you are watching has been subtitled into your language.

Try to watch English television regularly. Even if you can only watch 15 minutes a day, you’ll be amazed how much you learn.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything – English television is normally aimed at native English language speakers. Programmes often include difficult words and expressions. If the programme you’re watching is full of unknown words, just concentrate on understanding the general meaning.

Even cartoons and children’s programmes are useful when learning English and quiz shows are useful for learning how to ask and answer questions in English.

Keep a note of television programmes and presenters that you find easy to understand and try to watch them regularly. Doing this will increase your confidence and give you a sense of achievement. (http://www.english-at-home.com/business/learn-english-with-television/)

Whatever you like to watch the most important thing is that you sit back and enjoy. Learning English should be a fun activity, especially during the summer season, and it’s amazing how much more we can learn when we’re relaxed.

 

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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NEWS & CURRENT AFFAIRS WEBSITES BY CRISTINA CABAL (B1,B2, C1)

IF YOU WANT TO KEEP UP YOUR ENGLISH DURING THE SUMMER AND / OR  IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH, WHY DON´T YOU FOLLOW MY COLLEAGUE CRISTINA CABAL´S ADVICE AND READ HER AMAZING POST ON THIS?

The 8 Best Audio/Video News and Current Affairs Websites to Learn English.

CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW TO VISIT HER WONDERFUL BLOG AND READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!

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LISTEN TO THE RADIO IN ENGLISH (B2, C1, C2)

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LISTENING TO THE RADIO COULD BE A PERFECT ACTIVITY FOR “EXTENSIVE LISTENING” TO KEEP UP YOUR ENGLISH DURING THE SUMMER…

http://www.internetradiouk.com

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio

“Are you sick of learning English with boring textbooks?

Do you spend a lot of time at or near a computer?

If so, you can really maximize your time by listening to online radio stations in English. This is one of the best and most effective ways to improve your English listening skills, while also getting accustomed to the speed and tone of native English speakers.

Not only will careful listening improve your listening skills, but you’ll also gain speaking fluency and better pronunciation.

 

“EXTENSIVE LISTENING”  INVOLVES

  • listening to (or being involved in) massive amounts of text
    text which learners can understand reasonably smoothly
    high levels of comprehension
    listening without being constrained by pre-set questions or tasks
    listening at or below one’s comfortable fluent listening ability

EL is NOT …

  • listening for specific information
    listening for the exact words of a phrase or expression
    listening for details
    listening to mimic a text

Follow this simple guide and learn some great tips to improve your English with the radio.”

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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