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:

The origin of the English word Easter probably comes from Eostre, who was the pagan goddess of spring. The pagans celebrated the arrival of spring. When the Christianity was introduced in Britain the two festivals were mixed. Although the Christian festivity replaced to the pagan one, some symbols of the spring festival remained, such as flowers, eggs, rabbits and bunnies, the pagans offered their eggs in grass baskets to the goddess Eostre.
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian church year. It begins with Good Friday. The Romans killed Jesus Christ in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago. Christians believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his Crucifixion.Why is Easter on a different day each year? This is because Easter Sunday is the Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring (21 March). Easter eggs, Easter Rabbit (Easter Bunny) and sending Easter cards are tradition not only in Britain. The cards are often in green or yellow or show baby animals, because lots of animals are born in spring. This tradition goes back to the 19th century. Nowadays, in Britain and in the USA Christian families attend to a church service in the morning, there is special music. People also send postcards to friends and relatives. They wear something new to celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring.
Before Easter British and American children decorate eggs with bright colours and beautiful designs. This tradition comes from Middle Ages in England and in ancient times eggs where the symbol of fertility and life.
On Easter Day in the USA there is the traditional Easter egg hunt, which was introduced by German immigrants long ago. Families go to the park and parents tell their children that the Easter Bunny hid many eggs in the park and they must find them and put them in colourful Easter baskets. As in all competitions the child who has found the biggest number of eggs is the winner.
Egg rolling is an ancient Easter tradition. On Monday children roll their eggs down a hill, the first egg that reaches the bottom of the hill without breaking is the winner. In the USA, the president invites children to roll eggs on the lawn of the White House in Washington DC.
There are chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and sugar eggs in all sweet shops. Hot Cross buns are a special Easter food. They are small sweet cakes with a cross on top. They are eaten on Good Friday in Britain.
There is a story of a widow whose son was a sailor. He asked his mother to bake him hot cross buns on his return on Good Friday. But he never came back. Every Good Friday his mother made a new bun for him and hoped that he would come back. She collected all the buns in a net. When she died her old cottage was replaced by a pub - "The Widow's Son" where the buns can be seen today. Every year a sailor adds a new bun to the collection in the net. Sailors from around Britain come to the pub and sing and pray for the widow.
Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,
one a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns.
If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns.

Now it is time to have some fun. Try to find the eggs.

miércoles, 11 de marzo de 2009

How to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day at school?

This is a complementary activity that can be carried out for teachers at school. Students will know about Irish culture and festivals.
The celebration will take place in the assembly hall and the teachers will go there every hour with their groups. They will be asked to wear something green because it is the colour of Ireland.

On the walls of the hall there will be hung posters about Ireland and Saint Patrick. The posters could be about the Irish Flag, the shamrock, the history of Saint Patrick, the most important cities of Ireland, the history of the Irish Island, Saint Patrick's Day parades,etc. The posters can be elaborated by the teachers or by students in previous classes or as homework.

Teachers will tell them the story of St Patrick, they will look at the Irish map and the posters.

In the classroom, students can also watch a video about Ireland or listen to a Celtic song.
Later there could be a debate about the similarities and differences between Ireland and Spain as well as the typical topics of the countries.
Students will be aware of different cultures and ways of life.

You can find information to carry out this task in the following links:

Here there are also some links to play on the computer.

martes, 10 de marzo de 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and although it is celebrated around the world, the information about his life is quite vague. Most information about St. Patrick has been , simply made up over centuries by storytellers. However, there are a some elements of his life about which most historians accept to be true.
Saint Patrick lived about between 432-461 A.D At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped from his native land of the Roman British Isles by a band pirates, and sold into slavery in Ireland. Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and turned to religion when he was alone. After six years of slavery he escaped to the Irish coast and fled home to Britain.
While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the voices of the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity.
After studying and preparing for several years, Patrick travelled back to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Although there were already some Christians living in Ireland, St. Patrick was able to convert to Christianity many people.
Patrick's mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. It is believed he died in the 5th century on March 17, which is the day St. Patrick's Day is commemorated each year.

How is it celebrated?
In Ireland
Ireland wasn’t the first country to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a parade and, up until 1970, pubs across Ireland closed their doors as a mark of respect for this religious occasion! It was, in fact, colonial New York City that hosted the first official St Patrick’s Day parade back in 1762, when Irish immigrants in the British colonial army marched down the city streets to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Dublin’s first St Patrick’s Day Parade is little more than 75 years old.
In 2009, the St Patrick's Day festival (March 13-17) in Dublin is celebrated in style, with music, street theatre, family carnivals and up to 4000 performers joining the fun.

With the origin being Ireland it is obvious that the Day is also holiday in the USA. But in Ireland, it is more of a religious holiday similar to Christmas and Easter. It is celebrated with parades, community feasts, charity show, the mass. The parades, shamrocks, and green beer are provided primarily for tourists. In fact, it has turned out to be one of the most celebrated events in Ireland and a major tourist attraction.

The early Irish immigrants like the English, Dutch, German, French and the likes, brought their traditions in United States. But it was not until 1737 that the immigrants really celebrated the Day.
It was in Boston where the Day was first celebrated in a public way. Gradually other states took it up. And it was New York that took out the largest ever St Patrick' s Day parade. Held since 1762.
The city of Chicago has developed a unique tradition of coloring the river water green. It started in 1962 when 100 pounds of green vegetable dye were added to its river, enough to keep it green for a week. The tradition has continued till date. Now, 40 pounds of a green food coloring keep the river green for only a few hours.
Irish community in various cities celebrate the Day with social and community works. Making charities, attending mass, promoting their own culture, and feasting with their foods.
To check what you know about Saint Patrick click on quiz.
To do some activities click here.

You can see a sample of Saint Patrick's parades.

viernes, 20 de febrero de 2009

English Phonetics

English Sounds
We all know how difficult it is to pronounce English, students need to have a clear idea about English sounds and practise a lot. For this reason, I have included this article for my students in my blog.

There are some links to study the theory and be able to distinguish between the different vowel and consonantal sounds and some links to do activities.

Click to listen all the sounds, listening activity.
In the following link, you can find pairs of sounds as for example: /I:/-/I/, /S/-/Sh/. If you click on the sounds, you will find more examples and you will be able to listen to the pronunciation. More activities listen and practise.

There are different sounds depending on the place of articulation, the manner of articulation , the way the air comes out. In this link, you can listen the sounds according to their features. English pronunciation.

For advanced students, they can learn about English pronunciation around the world they can click on the following links: American English, Canadian English.

If you want to have some fun , try this one hangman, matching pairs, mazes, shoot a symbol

To check your level in English pronunciation do the tests

You can find more links about English sounds (theory and activities) on the pronunciation corner.

lunes, 9 de febrero de 2009

English is confusing! What do you think?

Good evening, everybody!” said the teacher, Donna. “Where is everybody?” That was sort of a daily joke by Donna. Usually the class started with only two or three students present, and then filled up as the minutes went by. It was summertime. Summer school was only eight weeks long. Class attendance was always smaller than during fall and spring semesters.
“I don’t know, teacher. Maybe they late or no come,” said one student. “Maybe watching TV football tonight.”
“Is there a soccer game tonight? It seems like there’s a soccer game every night. Oh, well. Let’s get started, okay? We’re on page 36 in the workbook. Tonight we’re studying participles as adjectives. Students are always confused when they learn about the present and past participles, so we will practice this a lot. Tonight, we’re just going to practice the present participle.
“The present participle tells us what emotion or feeling the subject is causing. For example, ‘Grammar is boring’ means that the subject—grammar—causes an emotion of boredom. If we say, ‘The movie is interesting,’ we are saying that the movie causes a feeling of interest. If we say, ‘The roller coaster is exciting,’ we are saying that the roller coaster causes a feeling of excitement. Any questions so far? Am I confusing you? Is everyone confused?”
The classroom was quiet. Donna looked at blank faces. They were confused. She knew this would take a while. But eventually, the faster students would grasp it, and then they would help the slower students. By the end of the evening, most of the class would feel comfortable using the present participle.
Donna erased the board and put some new examples on it. She loved guiding her students through difficult topics like this one. She always felt a little bit thrilled when the look of understanding came to their faces.

Click on the links
Yes / No questions



To practise more reading

jueves, 5 de febrero de 2009

Saint Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day
I'm going to tell you about Saint Valentine's origins and propose you some activities to work with.
Saint Valentine's background
This festival probably began in Roman times. They celebrated Lupercalia on 14th- 15th February. This day every young man took out the name of a young woman from an urn, she was the man's sweetheart for one year, there were games and dancing, too.
In the 19th century this festival changed the name into Saint Valentine's Day. The reason could be the name of a Christian martyr, who died on 14th February 270. His name was Valentine, he secretly married soldiers to their girlfriends because the Emperor Claudius didn't like soldiers to marry since he thought they wouldn't want to go to war and die if they had a family. When the emperor knew what Valentine was doing, the saint was put into prison and died.
Nowadays the Cupid's residence is in the town of Loveland in Colorado in the USA. The post office receives lots of Valentine's cards from all over the world. The post office cancels the cards with the Loveland Colorado cancellation and stamp a picture of Cupid and romantic verses on the envelope and the cards are returned to the addressee again.
Since the 17th century sweethearts exchange cards and presents, nowadays couples send romantic mails and cards on the internet.
To know more about Saint Valentine's history watch the video.

Now it's time to practice listening skill, click on these activities

Do you like wordsearch?, try this one! (click on the activity to get it bigger)

Are you good at crosswords? (click on the activity to get it bigger)

If you want to send a card and write a poetry on it here there is an example

Valentine's Day verse
Roses are red, Violets are blue

Carnations are sweet,And so are you.

And so are they,That send you this

And when we meet, We'll have a kiss.

Roses red, Violets blue,

Darling sweet, I love you.
Postman, postman,
do your duty,

Take this to my loving beauty.
My pen is black,
My ink is pale,

My love for you, Shall never fail.
My love is like a cabbage,
Divided into two.

The leaves I give to others

But the heart I give to you.

Now, it is time to celebrate your Saint Valentine's Day!

sábado, 24 de enero de 2009

Message for my students

Welcome to my blog!
I'm going to explain to you how to use this blog. As you can see, there are two columns; on the right column you can find different points about grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, etc where there are links, where you can practise different aspects of English language.You have to click on the name of the activity. On the right column, there are articles about cultural aspects of Anglosaxon countries, they are quite interesting to know about history, literature, festivals, etc.Have a look on it and tell me about it in the class.

¡Bienvenidos a mi blog!
Os voy a explicar como utilizar el blog. Como veis, hay dos columnas; en la columna de la derecha poseis encontrar diferentes puntos sobre gramática, vocabulario, listening, reading, etc donde hay enlaces en los que puedes practicar diferentes aspectos de la lengua inglesa. Teneis que hacer click sobre el nombre de la actividad. En la columna de la derecha , hay artículos sobre diferentes aspectos de los países anglosajones, son bastante interesantes si quieres conocer historia, literatura, fiestas, etc. Echad un vistazo y contarme vuestra opinión en la clase.

sábado, 10 de enero de 2009

Burns Night



25th JANUARY 2009

Do you feel like knowing more about Scottish culture? Let's read about one of the most important traditions in Scotland is

Burns Suppers have been part of Scottish culture for about 200 years as a means of commemorating the poet Robert Burns.

Robert Burns is Scotland's most well-known and best loved poet. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire in south-west Scotland, on January 25th 1759, and Burns' Night is celebrated on his birthday.


Burns suppers are most common in Scotland, but they occur wherever there are Burns clubs around the world. At the end of the 18th century his friends started to celebrated the first suppers on the anniversary of his death, July 21, In Memoriam and, although the date has changed to 25 January until nowadays.


Host's welcoming speech
The host says a few words welcoming everyone to the supper . The event is declared open
The supper then starts with the a Scottish soup such as Cock- a- Leekie

The entrance of the haggis
The people are asked to stand to receive the haggis. A piper then leads the chef, carrying the haggis to the top table, while the guests accompany them with a slow handclap. The chairman recites Burns' famous poem To a Haggis, with great enthusiasm. When he reaches the line 'an cut you up wi' ready slight', he cuts open the haggis with a sharp knife.

Toast to the haggis
The guests now joins in the toast to the haggis. Raise a glass and shout: The haggis! Then the main course is served with neeps and tatties, a dessert course, such as clootie pudding or bannocks, coffee, etc. are also part of the meal, too.

At coffee time speeches and toasts take place. The order of these speeches and toasts are as follows.

Loyal toast
The host proposes a toast to the health of the monarch or to the leader of the country.

Immortal memory
One of the guests gives a short speech, remembering some aspect of Burns' life or poetry. The speaker is supposed to prepare a speech to entertain people. Everyone drinks a toast to Robert Burns.

The host will normally say a few words thanking the previous speaker for his speech.

Toast to the Lassies
The main speech is followed by a more light-hearted address to the women in the audience. Originally this was a thank you to the ladies for preparing the food and a time to toast the 'lasses' in Burns' life. The tone should be witty, but never offensive, and should always end on a concilliatory note.
The men drink a toast to the women's health.

Reply to the Toast to the Lassies
This is occasionally (and humorously) called the 'Toast to the Laddies', and like the previous toast it is generally quite wide ranging nowadays. In it a female guest will give her views on men and reply to any specific points raised by the previous speaker. Like the previous speech this should be amusing but not offensive. Quite often the speakers giving this toast and the previous one will collaborate so that the two toasts complement each other.
Some examples of these speeches.

Other toasts and speeches
Once the speeches are complete the evening continues with songs and poems. These should be a good variety to fully show the different moods of Burns muse. Favourites for recitations are Tam O' Shanter , Address to the Unco Guid, To a Mouse.
The evening will culminate with the company standing, linking hands and singing Auld Lang Syne to conclude the supper.

Have a meeting with Robert Burns click, you can listen to him talking about himself and their works.

If you are interested in 2009 celebrations click Burns' Night 2009