domingo, 1 de noviembre de 2009

The Golden Gate Bridge is a well-recognized landmark in the United States. It spans the Golden Gate Strait - a mile-wide stretch of water
that connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge itself connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County on the other side of the Strait. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It is also one of the tallest.
The idea for a bridge across the strait had been around for many years, because San Francisco suffered from its isolated location. The only practical way to get across the San Francisco Bay
was to take a ferry. Planning for the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1916, but the design underwent many changes before construction finally started in 1933.
Joseph Strauss was the chief engineer in charge of the bridge project. However, he had little experience with the construction of suspension bridges. For this reason, other engineers,
architects, and designers made vital contributions to the design and construction of the bridge.
For example, the bridge owes its art deco style and distinctive orange color (“international orange”) to the architects Irving and Gertrude Morrow. Charles Alton Ellis, an expert on structural design, was the main engineer on the project, and did much of the technical work necessary to build the bridge.
It was not easy to get the project started. Financing had to be found, and there was much opposition to the very idea of a bridge. The U.S. Navy, for example, feared that a bridge would
obstruct ship traffic. The Southern Pacific Railroad, which ran the ferry fleets, feared
competition from the bridge.
Many experts did not believe that it would be possible to build such a long bridge under such
difficult circumstances. A suspension bridge of that length had never before been built. There are strong currents and heavy winds on the bridge site, which made construction dangerous.
The construction of the bridge finally began in 1933. The construction work set new standards
for safety – workers were among the first required to wear hard hats, and an innovative safety net saved the lives of nineteen men while the bridge was built. The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, when the bridge opened to pedestrians. (It was opened to cars one year later.)
The bridge was finished ahead of schedule and cost much less than originally budgeted.
Today, the Golden Gate Bridge has a main span of 4,200 feet (almost a mile) and a total length of 8,981 feet, or about 1.7 miles, making it one of the longest bridges in the world (it was the
longest until 1964). The bridge is 90 feet wide, and its span is 220 feet above the water. The towers supporting the huge cables rise 746 feet above the waters of the Golden Gate Strait,
making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument. Each steel cable is 7,650 feet long and has a diameter of 36 inches. About 40 million automobiles cross the bridge every year: proof
that the bridge serves a vital function.
There are foghorns to let passing ships know where the bridge is, and aircraft beacons on the tops of the towers to prevent planes from crashing into them.
Because the Golden Gate Bridge is the first sight for many people arriving in the United States
by ship, it is sometimes called the “Statue of Liberty” for the West Coast.

1. The Golden Gate Bridge ............... .
a. spans the San Francisco Bay
b. is the best-known symbol of the United States
c. spans the Golden Gate Strait
d. is painted gold and has a gold-plated gate at each end

2. The idea for a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait .............. .
a. was first suggested in 1916
b. was perfected by Irving Morrow in 1933
c. was around for many years before construction started
d. was first put forth by Joseph Strauss

3. The bridge proponents wanted to...........
a. give the West Coast a new tourist attraction
b. connect San Francisco to the land across the Bay
c. prove that the innovative project could succeed
d. compete with the ferry fleets

4. Safety innovations during the construction of the bridge included
a. hardhats and a safety net
b. foghorns and radar
c. aircraft beacons
d. all of the above

5. Put the right pairs together:
a. 7,650 feet e. length of bridge
b. 3 feet f. length of main span
c. 4,200 feet g. diameter of cable
d. 8,981 feet h. length of cable

6. Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, San Francisco suffered from
transportation problems. Why were different people opposed to building the

viernes, 19 de junio de 2009


Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At the time of the signing the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. The colonies were not happy with the taxes that had to be paid to England since the colonists did not have any representation in the English Parliament As the unrest grew in the colonies, King George sent extra troops to help control any rebellion. In 1774 the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress. The delegates were unhappy with England, but were not yet ready to declare war.In April 1775 as the King's troops advanced on Concord Massachusetts Paul Revere would sound the alarm that "The British are coming, the British are coming" as he rode his horse through the late night streets.
The battle of Concord and its "shot heard round the world" would mark the unofficial beginning of the colonies war for Independence.
The following May the colonies again sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. For almost a year the congress tried to work out its differences with England, again without formally declaring war.
By June 1776 their efforts had become hopeless and a committee was formed to compose a formal declaration of independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write the first draft which was presented to the congress on June 28. After various changes a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration, 2 - Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No, Delaware undecided and New York abstained.
To make it official John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence.
The following day copies of the Declaration were distributed. T Twice that day the Declaration was read to cheering crowds and pealing church bells. Even the bell in Independence Hall was rung. The "Province Bell" would later be renamed "Liberty Bell" after its inscription -
Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof
History of the American Flag
For more than two centuries, the American flag has been the nation's symbol of freedom and independence. It has represented these values in every town and city in America, in nations around the world and even in space. Here's a look at the historical development of the American flag:
May 1777
The Continental Congress visited seamstress Betsy Ross' store and asked her to sew the first American flag.
June 14, 1777
The Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act to establish an official flag for the new nation.
"Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
July 4, 1777
The birth of a new nation was heralded as the Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time.
January 13, 1794
Congress passed an Act providing for 15 stripes and 15 stars to appear on the flag.
April 4, 1818
Congress passed an Act providing for the addition of one star for each state admitted to the Union; the flag was to be changed on the 4th of July following the admission.
June 24, 1912
President Taft signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in six horizontal rows with eight stars in each row; each star was to have a single point facing up.� The additional star reflected the admission of America's 48th state, Arizona, into the Union.
January 3, 1959
President Eisenhower signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in seven horizontal rows of seven stars each in order to reflect the admission of America's 49th and 50th states, Alaska and Hawaii, into the Union.
August 21, 1959
President Eisenhower signed an Executive Order providing that the stars be ordered in nine staggered horizontal rows and eleven staggered vertical rows.
Each year on July 4th, , Americans celebrate their independence with fireworks and family gatherings.
All Americans are entitled to Independence Day off work - although some people have to work. (like policemen and firemen).
Independence Day is considered a Family Day with picnics, barbecues, fireworks, parades, to celebrate independence and freedom.
Americans proudly fly the American flag and spend the day with their families.
to read more:

martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

What do you Know about the Big Ben?
2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the Clock Tower, The Big Ben.
The Clock Tower you see today is not the first tower to be built in Parliament’s grounds.
The original tower was built in 1288-90 during the reign of King Edward I. It was located on the north side of New Palace Yard and contained a bell and clock. The bell, first named 'Great Edward' and later known as 'Great Tom', struck on the hour.
A second tower replaced the original in 1367. This was the first public chiming clock in England. By 1707, this tower was demolished. A sundial was put up in its place.
A terrible fire destroyed most of the Palace of Westminster in 1834. Construction of the Clock Tower began in September 1843. This is the iconic tower which stands today in the Houses of Parliament.
Dimensions: over 96 metres and 12 metres square Steps to belfry: 334 Steps to lantern (the Ayrton Light): 393
Contrary to popular belief, ‘Big Ben’ is not the name of the tower itself but the bell that chimes the tune. Some people claim that it borrowed its name from the heavyweight championship boxer, Benjamin Caunt. But it was more likely an affectionate tribute to Sir Benjamin Hall, who supervised the installation.
Big Ben’s clock mechanism was designed by London’s top barrister of the day, Edmund Beckett Denison and was quite revolutionary. It was the biggest clock of its time, and remains one of the world’s largest timepieces today.
At the base of each face is the Latin inscription

which translates as Lord save our Queen Victoria I.
Big Ben consists of one big bell and four smaller bells at the side. The big one is eight feet in diameter and weighs an incredible 13½ tonnes. Many people think that it is the heaviest bell in Britain – but it actually comes in third behind Great Paul in St. Paul's cathedral, and Great George in Liverpool.
The bigger bell is decorated with Royal Arms and portcullis of Westminster. It also has an inscription around the rim which reads:
This bell was cast by George Mears of Whitechapel for the clock of the Houses of Parliament under the direction of Edmund Becket Denison QC in the 21st year of the reign of Queen Victoria in the year of our Lord MDCCCLVIII.
Although there are no real lyrics to the tune, some simple words have evolved over the years:
All through this hour, Lord be my guide; And by thy power, no foot shall slide.

Big Ben is one of London's best-known landmarks, and looks most spectacular at night when the clock faces are illuminated. You even know when parliament is in session, because a light shines above the clock face.
The four dials of the clock are 23 feet square, the minute hand is 14 feet long and the figures are 2 feet high. Minutely regulated with a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum, Big Ben is an excellent timekeeper, which has rarely stopped.
This bell came originally from the old Palace of Westminster, it was given to the Dean of St. Paul's by William III. Before returning to Westminster to hang in its present home, it was refashioned in Whitechapel in 1858. The BBC first broadcast the chimes on the 31st December 1923 - there is a microphone in the turret connected to Broadcasting House.
There are even cells within the clock tower where Members of Parliament can be imprisoned for a breach of parliamentary privilege, though this is rare; the last recorded case was in 1880.
The tower is not open to the general public, but those with a "special interest" may arrange a visit to the top of the Clock Tower through their local (UK) MP.
You can see a video about The Big Ben

domingo, 10 de mayo de 2009

Poe's Bicentennial


I know most teenagers like mystery stories, for this reason, I have thought that my students will be interested in learning about Edgar Allan Poe .An American writer, who lived in the 19th Century and wrote a lot of mystery and horror short stories and poetry. Most of them have been used as scripts for films. He is considered the first writer of science fiction and the inventor of suspense stories. This year it is celebrated his bicentennial because he was born in 1802.
You can see some photos.
Watch the video of one of his stories.

viernes, 17 de abril de 2009

Improve your writing.
It is quite important to know and use the punctuation marks in a correct way in order to write good compositions. I am going to explain the punctuation rules in English and provide you some activities.
Punctuation is the use of marks and signs to separate words into sentences, clauses, and phrases in order to clarify meaning. When you speak, you can pause, stop, or change your tone
of voice to make your meaning clear. When writing, you must use punctuation marks such as
commas and question marks to make you be understood clearly.
Each punctuation mark can be used in many ways.
Period or stop(.)
- Use a period at the end of a declarative sentence.
I like fish and chips.
- Use a period to end an abbreviation.Mrs.
Johnson is our new neighbour.
Comma (,)
- Use a comma to separate three or more items in a series.
My favourite subjects are history, maths and French.
- Use a comma to separate independent clauses in a sentence.
Susan likes the beach, but Tom prefers the mountains.
- Use a comma to set off dates and addresses.
I was born on July 2nd, 1965.
Semicolon (;)
- Use a semicolon when two independent clauses in a sentence are not separated by a conjunction .
I got good marks in English; my sister failed.
- Use a semicolon between independent clauses in a sentence that are separated by any of the following transitional words or phrases: accordingly, consequently, for example, for instance, furthermore, however, instead, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, and therefore.
We decided to have a picnic; however, it rained and we couldn´t go.
Colon (:)
- Use a colon before a list.
We have to buy: apples, bread, milk, biscuits.
- Use a colon to divide hours from minutes.
I have an appointment at 12:30.
Question Mark (?)
-Use a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence.
Does she live in London?
Exclamation Mark (!)
- Use an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence to show strong emotion.
It’s delicious!
- Use an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence for emphasis.
You have to study harder!
- Use an exclamation mark after an interjection.
Apostrophe (')
- Use an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter or letters in a contraction.
It’s a beautiful girl.
- Use an apostrophe plus the letter "s" to show possession. When the noun finishes in an -s, it is only added the apostrophe.
That’s my father’s car.

Click on the websites to find writing activit¡es and improve your written Emglish.

miércoles, 15 de abril de 2009

This is a reading comprehension activity for my students of 1st of ESO and PCPI.

Nasreddin Goes Shopping
One day Nasreddin went to town to buy new clothes. First he tried on a pair of trousers. He didn't like the trousers, so he gave them back to the shopkeeper. Then he tried a robe which had the same price as the trousers. Nasreddin was pleased with the robe, and he left the shop. Before he climbed on his donkey to ride home, the shopkeeper and the shop-assistant ran out. "You didn't pay for the robe!" said the shopkeeper."But I gave you the trousers in exchange for the robe, didn't I?" replied Nasreddin. "Yes, but you didn't pay for the trousers, either!" said the shopkeeper. "But I didn't buy the trousers," replied Nasreddin. "I am not so stupid as to pay for something which I never bought."
Click on the correct answer
1 How did Nasreddin get to the shop?
-on foot
-by camel
-by donkey
-the story doesn't say
2 What did Nasreddin do first in the shop?
-He tried on some trousers.
-He tried on a robe.
-He tried on a hat.
-He greeted the shopkeeper.
3 What did Nasreddin try on next?
-a robe
-a pair of trousers
-a hat
4 Which item did Nasreddin like best?
-the robe
-the hat
-the trousers
5 How many people were working in the shop?
6 Why was the shopkeeper angry when Nasreddin left?
-He didn't take the trousers.
-He didn't pay for the robe.
-He didn't say goodbye.
7 What did Nasreddin actually pay for?
-the robe
-the trousers

miércoles, 1 de abril de 2009


We all know, teachers and students, how difficult the pronunciation of regular past simple is.
-ed ending
The past simple tense and past participle of all regular verbs end in -ed.
For example:
base form past simple past participle
work worked worked

In addition, many adjectives are made from the past participle and so end in -ed.
For example:
I like painted furniture.

The question is: How do we pronounce the -ed?

The answer is: In 3 ways - / Id/ or / t/ or / d/

If the base verb ends in one of these sounds /t/, /d/
unvoiced /t/
for example : want wanted / Id/
voiced /d/
for example : end ended /Id/
If the base verb end in an unvoiced sound /t/
for example
/p/ hope hoped
/f/ laugh laughed
/s/ fax faxed
/S/ wash washed
/tS/ watch watched
/k/ like liked

If the verb ends in a voiced sound /d/
for example
vowels play played
/r/return returned
/g/beg begged
/l/ travelled
/m/ dreamed

It is important to notice that it is the sound that is important, not the letter or spelling. For example, "fax" ends in the letter "x" but the sound /s/; "like" ends in the letter "e" but the sound /k/.

The following -ed words used as adjectives are pronounced with /Id/:
aged, blessed, crooked, dogged, learned, naked, ragged, wicked, wretched.

To practise the pronunciation you can click on the following links: