Last month I was reading Mark Kermode’s novel ‘How Does it Feel?’, which is a funny and interesing recount of his goal towards becoming a famous popstar. At a certain period of his life, the author enrols in a band that played skiffle, and I thought to myself ‘skiffle! What’s that?’ I hadn’t the slightest idea of what it was, so I googled it up and found, among many other interesting links, the one that I’ve turned into a listening activity for those that are loony about the history of rock bands. The video mentions big names like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and the Rollings, among many others, who had all apparently started off in the showbiz as kids playing skiffle in their sheds or even busking. Anyway, if you feel like doing a listening activity, just click on the button below and let me know if you found it interesting.
Before doing the listening, you might want to watch this video by Knob Town Skiffle Band on Youtube.
Many of my students constantly ask me what I think about Brexit and if this will affect me as a British person living in Spain to which I obviously answer that I AM quite concerned. But what I’m really interested in is how all this Brexit issue fits in with the idea of globalisation and free trade, so here’s a video activity that explores another, very different side of the story.
The video reports on interests that have little or nothing to do with ‘getting back the control of the UK’ and was released just before the elections in May. I think it’s really interesting and wish I had seen it earlier.
I’ve used the video to set up listening activity for Advanced and Proficiency level students. You may want to do the vocabulary quiz activity first to be able to cope with the video and after click on the listening activity that you will find underneath the vocabulary quiz.
There has been a lot of talk about the moon lately because fifty years ago man set foot on it. There also seems to be a lot of debate related to whether this actually happened or if it was merely propaganda due to the Space Race. Aware as I am that this information will most probably remain a mystery as well as providing a nice subject for an English class debate, I’ve used a video from BBC Earth to explore the topics of Science and Technology and The Natural World within the subject of space travel/exploration because this is one of the possible questions you could be required to deal with in a speaking test.
As an introduction, we’re going to see some idioms that use the words ‘moon and stars’. Afterwards, as a second step, I’ve posted an activity where you can try to predict some of the reasons why the moon is important for life on earth. A third step implies watching a video and doing a true/false activity related to the information you extract. But we’re not going to finish here, instead we’re going to listen to the same video again (although much more carefully this time), to develop listening strategies for very specific words you hear in the video as this activity is a filling the gap one.
Can we really deny this is happening? This beautiful island, populated many centuries ago by the Vikings is under threat. But just as Jason Box claims, ‘What happens in Greenland doesn’t stay in Greenland,’ meaning by this, that this is an issue that concerns the whole of humanity.
I’ve used this news from CNN as a listening activity for C levels. The video is of astonishing beauty as well as an alarming call to urgency.
So you thought you knew all about interior design and comfort at home, right? You thought that we, modern-day humans, had invented comfortable beds, hygienic bathrooms and all those things that make our homes tasteful and cosy. Well I have some news for you, because that is what I thought until I discovered Skara Brae.
Skara Brae is a Neolithic settlement consisting of eight stone-built houses located on the coast of Mainland (the Orkney Islands). Its origin dates from 3180 BC and was occupied by families for about 600 years. The theories that explain why its inhabitants left the village are several. Some historians say that this was caused by an abrupt climate change, while others claim that a violent storm forced the inhabitants to flee from the village leaving behind many of their belongings. Whatever the reason was, the result was that the village remained covered with sand and earth for many centuries and was forgotten until 1850 when a severe storm hit Scotland, stripping a large tract of land off the coast and consequently, uncovering the village.
It was then when the locals discovered the settlement that was in such a good state of preservation that it has provided a wide insight into the lifestyle of the people who lived there. Thanks to this, we now know what these people ate and did for a living. We also know that they had stone-made furniture and a primitive form of toilets. These folks really knew about comfort!
Skara Brae gained Unesco World Heritage Site status and is probably older than the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. It is also known as the Scottish Pompeii and is a ‘must visit’ whenever going to Scotland. However, when visiting, have in mind that strict rules are applied to visitors as the settlement is extremely sensitive to the effects of these, which could cause irreversible damage.
Have you ever felt that you couldn’t control a a strong drive to eat something? Are you one of those people that have to fight against themselves in order to avoid buying certain products on display at the supermarket? Do you often find yourself visiting your refrigerator, at late hours (while everybody is fast asleep), hoping, wishing and keeping fingers crossed that there is still, half a jar of chocolate spread left?
If you identify with these situations, you could be suffering from the effects of a behavioural addiction called food addiction. This addiction is characterised by a compulsive consumption of high fat and sugary foods that activates the reward system in humans, making them want more and more of the same thing. This doesn’t happen to be a coincidence as the food industry is well aware of this, and consequently, creates food that will be highly palatable for the great majority, despite the adverse consequences that this has on people’s health.
Here you have a listening activity from The National CBC News.