Advanced C1 listening · B2 · C1 · Idioms

Listening Advanced C1: Do We Really Need the Moon?

Image Jason Blackeye

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.

B1 · B2 · Listening · phonetics · songs

Learning English pronunciation with songs: I’ll Keep you Safe

A great way to learn English is watching a film, but the thing is, how many of us have the time to watch films these days? I mean, I can hardly remember the last time I was able to relax on my settee with this intention, let alone watching one in a foreign language!

Definitely, present-day duties just don’t seem to understand our needs, do they? So, unless we can plug vocabulary, stress patterns and pronunciation into our brains just like those guys did in The Matrix, we’ll need a backup plan.

Why not try listening to music? It’s easy and fun. You can do this, working, cooking, driving, walking the dog, writing or whatever (as long as it doesn’t make you get up and start dancing). Music can also teach us structures that we need to get our tongues around, and a great number of songs have really catchy tunes that we’ll enjoy trying to understand and even learn.

Here I’ve exploited the soundtrack from the movie Up by Disney. The song is I’ll Keep you Safe by Sleeping at last. It´s a wonderful song along with a beautiful video (watch out! It could make you quite emotional! ) and although the title is great for dealing with ‘will’ used for promises, here  I’ve exploited it to practise some of the English sounds and to help students become more familiar with phonetic symbols. If you haven’t  seen anything about phonetics yet, you may want to brush up a bit on them before doing the activity (you’ll find plenty of introductory activities if you click on the menu Phonetics and English sounds).

Anyway, hope you enjoy the lesson.

PS If you don’t see me around much lately, it’s just that I’m SO STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSEDDDD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!!!

Click for the activity

B1 · B2 · culture

Culture quiz: How much do you know about British Christmas?

Trafalgar_Square_Christmas_tree8
Picture from Wikipedia

I say British because Christmas is celebrated almost all over the world and obviously, everybody has their way of doing this. If you’re from a country but you live in another one (like me), you will most probably blend both traditions which means that on Christmas Day you might eat a typical Majorcan soup for starters and have turkey as main dish, just to set an example. It might also mean that you have to behave extra-well if you want both, Santa and the Three Kings to call round, but it will also sound a bit awkward for relatives back in England when you tell them that you are still feasting and celebrating when they have already got back to their daily routine at the workplace and have probably been on a diet for the last fortnight (getting rid of those extra Christmas calories). Anyway, whatever you do and whatever your beliefs are, I think Christmas is a lovely moment to enjoy time with your loved ones and to reach out to those you haven’t seen for some time just to remind them how much you love and care for them. That for me is what really matters at Christmas, don’t you agree?

Here you have a Christmas quiz on some cultural aspects from British Christmas. I hope you enjoy it.

Ho, ho, ho!!!!

Take the quiz
A2 · B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: appointment – date

Appointment/date

In Spanish and Catalan we usually use ‘cita’ for when we have arranged to meet somebody for professional advice and for when we when we have arranged to meet somebody for leisure.  However, these  two words are very different in English.

Appointment is the word we should use for professional advice like when we go to the doctor for health reasons.

Date is the word we should use for reasons related to meeting somebody for fun or leisure (even if it ends in an argument 😉   )

Look at these examples and after do the quiz.

A – How do you feel today? 

B- Very happy because I have a date with Mick and he’s the so gorgeous!

 

A- How  do you feel today?

B- Quite bad. I have a very bad backache and I have to get an appointment with my doctor.

Take the quiz