viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2015

Christmas Greetings

We are getting close to Christmas time, are you ready for singing Christmas carols, flashy decorations, endless shopping, crowds and huge dinners? 
Christmas is a happy time for some but a sad or stressful one for others. 

 If you want to have some fun, watch this parody of a known carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" 


Extra activities
* watch the real carol  "The twelve Days of Christmas"

* If you feel like  doing more activities on Christmas or watching Mr Bean videos, click here

* For games,videos, trivia etc go to XmasFun 

* A special video about Christmas celebrations
* For webquests: Christmas 
                            New Year 

* To know more about different New Year celebrations in other cultures, check in this blog

I hope you enjoy these activities and I wish you 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! 

domingo, 25 de octubre de 2015


On October 30th we celebrate the anniversary of a night that panicked America, do you know what I mean?

The anniversary of a famous broadcast by Orson Welles and his colleages of the  Mercury Theatre on the Air. 

Listen to the whole broadcast here ( thanks to Awesome stories) 

They performed a lively and shocking broadcast of the novel "The War of the Worlds" by H G Wells, where Martians were invading the Earth and destroying everything they saw. 

It was supposed to be a six-day broadcast but people who didn't listen to the beginning of the show because they tuned in late, considered it a piece of the news broadcast,  thought it was real and panicked. Some tried to flee from the city, other hid in their basements and began collecting all the food and water they could.

People were easily influenced at that time because of the rising of dictators such as Hitler and the big depression they were suffering after the 1929 crisis. 
Orson Welles wanted to show how mass audiences could be manipulated in times of political crisis, as they could believe everything they listened to.  

Welles had to hold a  press conference the next day to explain everything. 

H G Wells (1866 -1946). This English novelist, teacher, historian, journalist was one of the first writers of science fiction, he wrote many novels such as "The Invisible Man", "The Time Machine" where he showed new scientific discoveies and inventions. In the next link you can listen to him on the radio    H G Well's speeches on radio  

The Novel " The War of the Worlds"  1895-97 was published as a series and was set  between London and Surrey. The Earth is invaded by cylinder-shaped Martian machines with destroying rays. Humans make an efford to fight them. 
In the novel we can see some scientific advances such as the rocket and others and some believe this criticises the British imperialism and the Victorian prejudices, fears and supertitions of that time. 
There are lots of series and films either about the novel or Welles' dramatization.  

The World of the Worlds  Trailer of the film 2005 

viernes, 16 de octubre de 2015

You used to.....



Listen to the song and fill in the blanks with proper past tenses

Now and then I think of when we __________(be) together
Like when you said you _______(feel) so happy you _________ (can) die
_________ (tell) myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we _________ (find)that we could not make sense
Well you ________ (say) that we would still be friends
But I'll admit that I was glad it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never ____________ (happen) and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know
Now you're just somebody that I used to know
Now you're just somebody that I used to know

Now and then I think of all the times you _____________(screw) me over
But ________ (have)  me believing it was always something that I _______ (do)
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know
But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
And you didn't have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don't need that though
Now you're just somebody that I used to know
(I used to know)
(Now you're just somebody that I used to know)

Now listen to a parody of the song, Does it make sense to you? 

“Why did I have to learn this stuff? It has never come in handy, never used it for nothing.” 
  1. On a scale from 1 (not at all) to 7 (completely agree), how much do you agree with the singer’s sentiment? Why or why not?
2. What things you consider irrelevant in the educations you are getting?
*  Some facts about the last song:  
Millard Fillmore ( 13th President of USA) 
Iambic ( type of metrical line in traditional English verse)
AP Bio ( Advanced Placement Biology)
The Scarlet Letter ( a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne)  
Cotton Gin ( machine which separates cotton fibre from its seeds)
Farside cartoon appropo ( opportune drawings)
SohCahToa ( mnemonics for sine, cosine and tangent of an angle)

miércoles, 29 de julio de 2015


We all know about New Year's Eve and how it is generally celebrated on Dec 31st. It makes us think of Christmas, but did you know that there are other dates for New Year's Eve depending on the culture, the religion or others?. 


It is celebrated in New Zealand and it lasts a month, it coincides with the rising of the Pleiades before dawn in June. For Maori people it means a new phase of life, these stars are like little eyes that watch over the people and the land, the word Matariki means tiny eyes. 

The Pleiades or Seven Sisters is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus. It is one of the nearest and most visible star clusters to Earth at night. 

The festival is a time for the Maori people to come together and celebrate rituals, share food, music and hospitality. You can attend the Matariki Festival in Auckland or the Kapa Haka ( the Maori performing arts festival) and enjoy music, theatre, poetry or traditions. This is a time for showing heritage and cultural identity. 



The Islamic New Year is the first day in the Islamic lunar calendar.
Traditionally, Islamic New Year begins with the first sighting of the new Moon crescent in the month of Muharram, so date may vary with location.
It is a sacred month and some Muslims fast on or around the 10th day of Muharram, also known as the Day of Ashura. It differs from one country to another.


The Chinese New Year is celebrated at the second new moon after the winter solstice and falls between January 21 and February 19 on the Gregorian calendar. Chinese months follow the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. 

In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare and celebrate the New Year, people travel long distances to gather with their family.  Chinese children dress in new clothes, usually red. People carry lanterns and join in a huge parade led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength. According to legend, the dragon hibernates most of the year, so people throw firecrackers to keep the dragon awake.

In the Chinese lunar calendar each of the 12 years is named after an animal. According to Legend, Lord Buddha asked all the animals to come to him before he left the earth. Only 12 animals came to wish him farewell, and as a reward Buddha named a year after each one.


In September or October, Jews believe that God opens the Book of Life for 10 days, starting with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and ending with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). During these days, the holiest in the Jewish year, Jews try to atone for any wrongdoing and to forgive others. A ram's horn trumpet, known as the shofar, is blown before and during Rosh Hashanah and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur.

People attend synagogues, greet each ohter, recite poems and eat spaecial food such as dates, pastries, stuffed vegetables, apples with honey or pomegranates and others. 


In Thailand, a special three–day water festival on April 13–15 marks Songkran, the Buddhists' celebration of the new year. Parades show huge statues of Buddha that spray water on passersby. In small villages, young people throw water, ice cubes or even flour at each other for fun. People also release fish into rivers as an act of kindness.

At Songkran, people tie strings around each other's wrists to show their respect. A person can have as many as 25 or 30 strings on one wrist, each from a different person. The strings are supposed to be left on until they fall off naturally. People visit temples or wats to meditate or pray and help the monks.

Some more History
Ancient Greeks began their new year with the new moon after June 21. Before the time of Julius Caesar the Roman new year started on March 1. In most European countries during the Middle Ages the new year began on March 25, the day of the Feast of the Annunciation.

More New Year Traditions

  • Indonesia also has two New Year celebrations — the official one on January 1 and another on the Islamic New Year, whose date varies from year to year as we have explained before.
  • The Russian Orthodox Church observes the New Year according to the Julian calendar, which places the day on January 14.
  • In Vietnam the new year usually begins in February.
  • Iran celebrates New Year's Day on March 21.
  • Each of the religious groups in India has its own date for the beginning of the year. One Hindu New Year, Baisakhi, comes sometime in April or May.
  • The Koreans celebrate their New Year the first three days in January.


sábado, 28 de marzo de 2015

Portmanteau Words

A word formed by combining, blending the sounds and meanings of two other words is one of the artistic and creative ways to develop the language. The reasons? to make fun, to describe a new reality, to express dual ideas etc.
Although a portmanteau word's meaning is different from the meaning of each of the words it combines, its new meaning relates to each of the combined words, and it expresses something new and different about them.
Don't confuse it with compound words which do not involve just parts of the stems of the blended words but the complete ones joined together ( earrings- ear+rings)
They are also called "centaur words" or "blends"

A portmanteau word was first described by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass ( 1871) , when he explains the meaning of the unusual words in the poem Jabberwocky .This is a case of “two meanings packed up into one word.” (inspired by the French word for a suitcase with two opposite compartments)  
Humpty Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first ... if you have the rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say "frumious."

They refer to different topics or uses and some become outdated easily. Below you can see some examples and topics.

- BIOPIC ( biography+ picture) a film about someone's biography
- ANIMATRIX ( Anime+ Matrix)
- TELEVANGELIST ( television+evangelist) an evangelist priest on TV
- NEWSCAST ( news+ broadcast)
- COSPLAY ( costume+ play)  a costume that resembles a character from fiction/ cartoons
- DOCUDRAMA (documental+drama)
- SITCOM (situation+comedy)
- TELETHON ( telephone/ television marathon) 
- BRUNCH ( breakfast + lunch)
- FRAPPUCCINO ( frappé+ cappuccino)
- HAMWICH ( ham+sandwich) 

- SCREENAGER ( screen+teenager) an adolescent obsessed with screen entertainment
- FRENEMY( friend+ enemy) a supposed friend but fake. 
- WORKAHOLIC  addicted to work
- SHOPAHOLIC  addicted to shops 
- BANKSTER ( banker+ ganster) dishonest and predatory banker
- FEMINAZI ( feminist+ nazi) extreme militant feminist
- CELESBIAN ( celebrity+lesbian)
- HASBIAN ( has been a lesbian) 
Sometimes you find pormanteau words refering to couples
- BILLARY ( Bill and Hillary Clinton)
- BRANGELINA ( Brad Pitt+ Angelina Jolly)
- MERKOZY ( Angela Merkel+ Sarkozy) 
- SPANGLISH ( Spanish+ English)
- CHINGLISH ( Chinese+ English)
- FRANGLAIS ( French + English)  

- MOTEL ( motor+ hotel)
- OXBRIDGE ( Oxford and Cambridge)
- LOOBRARY ( loo+library) 
- FLOORDROBE ( scattered clothes on the floor of a teenager's room mainly),  does it ring a bell to you? 
- SEXTING ( sex+texting)
-  SEXPLOITATION ( sex+ exploitation)
- SEXPERT ( sex+ expert)
- SMIRLING ( smoke+ flirting) people meeting outside to smoke and discovering that they have  more things  in common 
- CAMCORDER ( camera+ recorder) 
- CHUNNEL ( channel+ tunnel)  
- AVIONICS ( viation+ electronics)
- MOPED ( motor+pedal)
- SKYJACK ( sky+ hijack)  
 - BIT ( binary+ digit)
- WEBINAR ( web+ seminar) a lesson on the web
- INTERNET ( international+ network)
-  EMOTICON ( emotion+ icon)
- MALWARE ( malicious+ software)
- SKYPE ( sky+ peer to peer)
- PODCAST ( ipod+ broadcast)     

- JEGGINGS ( jeans+ leggings)

Used in tales and cartoons

- GRUFFALO ( grizzli bear+ buffalo)
- LIGER / TIGON ( lion + female tiger)
- BEEFALO  ( cow + buffalo)  


- BODYLICIOUS (body+ delicious) something extremely pleasant  ( Thanks to Beyonce)
- HANGRY a state of anger caused by lack of food
- METROSEXUAL ( metropolitan+  heterosexual) a man who appears to be concerned about 1. aesthetics
- CHILLAXING ( chill+ relaxing)  calm, relaxing 
-  FANTABULOUS ( fantastic+ fabulous)

  Portmanteau words have been used a lot by writers (Dickens, James Joyce) and remember that many of the brand names are also blended words

PALMOLIVE ( palm+ olive)
MICROSOFT ( microcomputer+ software)
MEDICARE ( medical +care)


Now that you know a lot about blended words, get ready to practise and create them 

1.  CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE A WORKSHEET,  download it, complete it  and give it to your teacher. 


miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2015



We study conditionals in class doing lots of activities, translating, watching presentations and so on, but here you have some activities to enjoy them a bit.
Anyway, if you are interested, you can see my Prezi presentation clicking here.

The top ten Conditionals Song Lyrics

Complete the sentences
If I never had a cent...
If it hadn't been for Cotton-Eye Joe...
If my true love was gone....
If I get locked up tonight...
If I can't have you.....
If you go...
If you don't know me by now....
If I knew you were coming....
If I were a boy...
If you leave me now...
 Songs using conditionals ( with comments and explanations) 
Conditionals with the Big Bang Theory 
 If you like music, here you have a list of songs to learn and enjoy
Songs for learning 1st conditional Frank Sinatra / If You Go Away (lyrics)
Simply Red / If You Don't Know Me By Now (lyrics)
Cyndi Lauper / Time After Time (lyrics)
Beautiful South / I'll Sail This Ship Alone (lyrics)
Songs for learning 2nd conditional Red Hot Chili Peppers / If (lyrics)
Eric Clapton / Tears In Heaven (lyrics)
Enrique Iglesias / Hero (lyrics)
The Beatles / If I fell (lyrics)
The Beatles / With A Little Help From My Friends (lyrics)
Beyonce Knowles / If I Were A Boy (lyrics)
Gwen Stefani / Rich Girl (lyrics)
Barenaked Ladies / If I Had $1,000,000 (lyrics)
Hoobastank / If I Were You (lyrics)
Joan Osborne / One Of Us (lyrics)
Norah Jones / Painter Song
ABBA / Money Money Money (lyrics)
Johnny Cash / If I Were A Carpenter (lyrics)
Songs for learning 3rd conditional Lisa Stansfield / Change (lyrics)
Gloria Gaynor / I Will Survive (lyrics)
Taken from: