jueves, 30 de diciembre de 2010

Words of the Year

The New York Times has published their pick of Words of the Year. Buzzwords in 2010 were vuvuzela, Belieber, double rainbow, inception, and many more.

Read all about it in this thorough article and grab the chance to update your English vocabulary with the newest words and expressions.

martes, 28 de diciembre de 2010

We remember... in 2010

The BBC has just released this slideshow where they review outstanding politicians, actors, sportspeople who have died in 2010. The slideshow is eight minutes long and optional captions to accompany the audio are available.

H/T  to Free Technology for Teachers.

domingo, 26 de diciembre de 2010

Using Menu Psychology to Attract Customers

Although this The New York Times article is a year old, its content is fully dated. Find out about the tricks restaurants use to attract customers on these special dates throughout the year. A good read, although a bit lengthy.

jueves, 23 de diciembre de 2010

My snowman's been stolen

This is a lesson by Mike J. Harrison that I have adapted here for people studying online.

Have a look at this Wordle about the theft on a snowman and try to make a sensible story with the vocabulary provided.
This is another Wordle with the story headline. Can you try and make a sensible headline with the vocabulary provided?
The full story is developed on the BBC site.

Watch this YouTube video where a police officer offers the underlying reasons that forced them to make the call public.

You can read a full transcript of the video together with the telephone call here.

martes, 21 de diciembre de 2010

A home for the future

A Home for the Future is an interactive display for The New York Times about a solar-powered home. Click on the photo and sound icons on the interactive image to learn about the features of a solar-powered home.

You can read the full article here.

sábado, 18 de diciembre de 2010

John Lennon

The John Lennon site is full of surprises. News, articles, videos... and there are plenty of offers to buy his CDs as we may well expect.

Don't miss, though, the BBC2 interview with Yoko Ono on the Imagine Peace site.

jueves, 16 de diciembre de 2010

How to build an igloo

Video from the NFB channel about how to build an igloo.

Should you google at dinner?

Read The New York Times article about the more and more widespread influence of the new technology, so much so that it is becoming a kind of addiction for some people.

martes, 14 de diciembre de 2010

Creative problem solving

We are all more likely to be successful in solving tasks if they are described as 'fun'. Some days back, The New York Times published a special edition on puzzles, including the article Tracking the Spark of Creating Problem-Solving.

As part of that special puzzle section, The New York Times has also included an intriguing interactive on sight.

Many thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for drawing my attention to this article.

Woody Allen

Listen to Woody Allen read his stories.

sábado, 11 de diciembre de 2010

The Disunion Blog

Next year the 150th anniversary of the start of the US Civil War will be commemorated. In preparation for the event, The New York Times offers The Disunion Blog. The blog offers images, maps, timelines, diaries, and some other material to illustrate the causes of the US Civil War and the ensuing war.

60 Seconds Civic

60 Second Civics is a daily podcast produced by the Center for Civic Education. Each 60 Second Civics episode offers a short lesson about US Civics. Along with each episode is a one question quiz about that day's episode. Currently, the podcasts are focused on a comparison of British Parliament and US Congress.

jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

Google Talks

The Google Talks channel in You Tube offers a wide range of videos where lots of renowned personalities of culture and politics give talks or are interviewed.

A lot of the videos are also subtitled in English.

Take your pick, improve your English and learn.

martes, 7 de diciembre de 2010

Interactive tour of The Galapagos

NOVA offers an interactive tour of the Galapagos Islands as they appear today and as Darwin saw them. The tour of the islands highlights the unique animals and geologic features on the islands. As visitors progress through the tour they can view view videos and images and listen to audio tracks about the islands. In contrast to the modern imagery of the islands, visitors can select the "What Darwin Saw" tour to view Darwin's sketches, excerpts of his writings, and listen to experts talk about what Darwin saw.

sábado, 4 de diciembre de 2010

What does an A mean?

This article form The New York Times on the marks or grades students are awarded at school has a number of gaps.

Fill in the gaps with a word of your choice or take your pick from the options given.

Spelling matters?

Is English spelling a problem for you? It won't be after you have watched this video, believe me.

jueves, 2 de diciembre de 2010

Obsessed with the Internet?

Are we obsessed with the Internet? Very few people will go as far as acknowledging it, which doesn't mean the internet doesn't take pride of place in today's life.

Watch this The New York Times video and judge by yourself.

martes, 30 de noviembre de 2010

Why can't we walk straight

Funny video from NPR which teaches us something about the sense of direction in humans.

Aids Day

1st December is Aids Day. To make people aware of this pandemia, a group of celebrities have agreed to take part in a shocking publicity campaign, as you may well figure out from the photo below.

Read this The New York Times article about Aids and about the campaign.

sábado, 27 de noviembre de 2010

Newsy videos

Newsy comes close to perfection for English students who want to keep abreast of the latest news developments. The news items come together with their transcripts, and each piece of news is a mash-up from different sources -ABC, BBC, NBC, and so on.

All in all Newsy is an excellent place to develop our listening skills in an easy effortless way.

Some New Yorkers want to lose their accents

Article from The New York Times that deals with the fact of how self-concious some New Yorkers are about their accent.

You can also watch an embedded video.

jueves, 25 de noviembre de 2010

12 ways to learn vocabulary with The New York Times

This article from The New York Times should be of interest to all English language learners, especially if they are preparing for an exam.

Farmer feeds families for Thanksgiving

It is finally Thanksgiving Day, but some people celebrate it differently... This farmer, for one, devotes the holiday to doing charity work.

martes, 23 de noviembre de 2010

Growing up digital

Superb work by The New York Times, where we have a look at the dependence of today's youth on everything digital.

First of all, read this online article to gain some background information about the topic.

Now, listen to a group of youths expressing their views on how important everything digital is for them.

Finally, listen to the teachers' views:

sábado, 20 de noviembre de 2010

An improbable baseball factory

New York Times article on baseball where we can practise the fill-in the blanks reading comprehension task.


Udemy is a free platform for teaching courses online. You must sign up first, or gain access to it through your Facebook account, if you have one. After that, just choose from the wide range of courses which are available, either through videos or slideshows or a combination of both.

I think Udemy is a nice site to keep in touch with authentic English while learning to do something else.

Video Games

Presentation by John Chatfiedl in TED Talks about the value and influence of video games in today's world. Remember you can activate the English subtitles if you wish to do so.

jueves, 18 de noviembre de 2010

Edge video

Edge video might turn out to be an interesting site for advanced English students. Lots of interview videos together with their transcripts of well-known people.

lunes, 15 de noviembre de 2010

Idea City

Idea City online is a real find. We can gain access to loads of talks by outstanding personalities from all fields without moving from our computer. The idea behind Idea City is somehow similar to that of TED talks, which we have already dealt with in a previous entry: top scientists, researchers, politicians, sports people, artists, writers and so on share a piece of their mind with the purpose of educating viewers for life.

sábado, 13 de noviembre de 2010

Immigration debate

Watch the embedded video on immigration and answer the questions about it that follow.

1- How are immigrants portrayed, according to the woman speaking?
2- What percentage of household has been done by immigrants in 2004?
3- Which are the results of the study mentioned by the woman?
4- How much is the deficit going to be according to the speaker?
5- Explain with your own words the meaning of the following words heard on this video shot: welfare state, dropout and domestic policy.

Andrew Wright's stories

Wonderful blog by story writer Andrew Wright. Here you can gain access to tons of stories. Hope you enjoy them.

jueves, 11 de noviembre de 2010

The story of stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad. The Story of Stuff is a twenty-minute look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.

martes, 9 de noviembre de 2010

Edgar Allan Poe

To mark the 161st anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death on October 7th, Open Culture posted the animated short film The Tell Tale Heart.

The Tell Tale Heart - UPA (1954) from J.F. Culhane on Vimeo.

Smart History

At Smart History you can find a great collection of artists, from the very beginnings to contemporary artists. On top of that, you have access to lots of downloadable videos with explanations.

domingo, 7 de noviembre de 2010

Class blogs

Class blogs seem to be getting fashionable in the teaching world, as this blog itself shows. But to what extent are they beneficial? This article from The Guardian sheds some light on the issue.


Idioms are one of the most difficult areas of English for students. We spend lots of time memorising them, and when the time comes, either we have forgotten them or are unsure about their use or use them wrongly. The BBC learning English site has this wonderful idioms section where we can learn a few of them while we develop our listening skills.

jueves, 4 de noviembre de 2010

Anglicisms in Spanish

Read this online article from the Macmillan Dictionary blog on the impact of English on Spanish and vice-versa.

Charlie Rose's web page

Charlie Rose's web page can be a very interesting site for advanced English students. Lots of videos on current affairs and reports on general interests topics, many of which are accompanied by their transcription.

Just to give you an example, why don't you want an episode of Charlie Rose's brain series as a follow-up to Straightforward's unit 2?

martes, 2 de noviembre de 2010


PBS is a very interesting place for advanced English students. As well as everyday news, the site broadcasts highly-interesting reports, many of which have transcripts.

domingo, 31 de octubre de 2010

Britain's worst teacher

From The Independent comes this article about Britain's worst teacher, who has been banned from the teaching job.

Professional podcasts

The British Council site offers English learners at intermediate and advanced level this series of podcasts that can help you improve your English, while they cover a large range of business and work fields. You can download the audio files, the transcript and a pack of activities with each podcast.

viernes, 29 de octubre de 2010

Some questions on education

Effective Questioning (subtitled) from ddeubel on Vimeo.

I remain a zombie

I remain a zombie is an online game that is played while reading the story of the game as a narrative story. It is a great way of getting everybody reading. Playing the game becomes a comprehension check.

miércoles, 27 de octubre de 2010

Smashing pumpkins

Fill in the blanks in the first several paragraphs of this article about pumpkin smashing. Use your own words and phrases, or click "read more" to choose from a scrambled list of the words or phrases that were removed.

Iphone artist

Great NYT video story about someone who uses an iPhone app to make sketches of people on the New York subway.

lunes, 25 de octubre de 2010


This is an article of Los Angeles Times about revenge, you may find some interesting ideas...

Job interviews

Monster in the U.S. has a series of interactive interviews for different jobs. They’re all text-based and only accessible to advanced English Language Learners, but they can come in handy when preparing for the real thing.

sábado, 23 de octubre de 2010

BBC Five Minutes

BBC Five Minutes is the site for us. It is a regular feature of the BBC website that regularly shows us light-hearted five-minute interviews with celebrities and well-known people.

The only snag is that the videos cannot be easily downloaded and there are no transcripts.

jueves, 21 de octubre de 2010

Melinda Gates on Coke

Listen to this talk Melinda Gates gave in the TED foundation. It is a bit lengthy, upwards of fifteen minutes, but it's well worth it.

TED has made it possible for users to read the subtitles of many of the talks. You just have to activate them in the corresponding window, but I'm sure you'll give the talk a go without the subtitles first.

martes, 19 de octubre de 2010

Education: Some questions

Watch this video brought to my attention by Life Feast, which raises some questions on the topic of education. It is a dense talk by Ken Robinson, made visually simple by the medium of animation.

domingo, 17 de octubre de 2010

Stephen Fry's podcast

This is an excerpt from Stephen Fry's podcast on language, animated by Matt Rogers of  Rogers Creations.

Click here to download the complete episode.

Thanks, Jeffrey Hill, for bringing my attention to this video.

sábado, 16 de octubre de 2010

Ellis Island

You can make a virtual tour of Ellis Island by clicking on the image below. The tour will allow you to know a little bit more about the topic of immagration to the States while your practise your reading and listening skills.

Later on you can do this interactive quiz on the topic.

jueves, 14 de octubre de 2010

Wrong headlines

From EFL Classroom 2.0 comes this slideshow with 40+ wrong headlines. They have been compiled by David from Jay Leno's Tonight Show.

I hope you enjoy yourself figuring out where the problem with each headline lies. Some of them are not easy, I warn you.

If you are interested in this feature of Jay Leno's show, just type in "Jay Leno headlines" in the search box of YouTube and you'll be able to watch the way the famous host deals with this part of his programme.

martes, 12 de octubre de 2010

Fun with phrasal verbs

Interesting slideshow by Janet Bianchini. Although it is intended for showing English teachers the way they can integrate technology in their daily classes, advanced English learners can benefit dramatically from all the vocabulary and explanations Janet provides us with.

Remember, at some stage language development is just a matter of an increase in our grasp of vocabulary and of being exposed to English as often as we can.

You may need to download the presentation to be able to watch some of the animations on the slideshow.

If phrasal verbs is your top priority, don't miss Phrasal Veb Demon, an extraordinary site by Spanish teacher Juan Antonio Pérez Herrera.

domingo, 10 de octubre de 2010

Bow Street Runner

Channel 4 brings us this interesting adventure based on the real Bow Street Runners created to fight crime and control the streets of London during the 18th century. Pick objects, talk to people and investigate in order to solve the crimes in the story. Being a free online game as it is, the quality is extremely rich. You will have a good time as you roam through the muddy streets trying to solve the mystery.

jueves, 7 de octubre de 2010

Madoff to be sentenced

Read this newspaper article from The Telegraph about the forthcoming sentence for Bernand Madoff.

domingo, 3 de octubre de 2010

What's Britishness

Watch the excerpt of BBC programme Panorama [up to 4' 15"] and say whether the sentences below are TRUE or FALSE.

1.       British citizens have to sit an exam about their Britishness at 18.
2.       The British flag is only allowed to be flown for 80 days a year in public buildings.
3.       There’s no equivalent in Britain to the 4th of July celebration.
4.       Historian A.H. Wilson thinks that Britain is falling apart as a country.
5.       Vivienne Westwood thinks that the Queen represents British hypocrisy.
6.       In the past the British have defined themselves for their empire and enemies.
7.       Roast beef is still a symbol of Britishness.
8.       Potteries, coal and steel are symbols of how great Great Britain was.


1. F 2. F 3. T 4. T 5. F 6. T 7. T 8. F

miércoles, 29 de septiembre de 2010

The Social Network

The New York Times presents us with this fill-in the blanks activity around the film The Social Network, which deals with the early days of Facebook.

Apart from the intrinsic interest in the article, you may wish to go through the activity, as it is a kind of reading comprenhension task you might have to do in your exam. You can find more activities of this kind here.

Here's the trailer to the film.

sábado, 25 de septiembre de 2010


Watch this Radiolab video and just enjoy it. You may agree with me about the striking power the images have on the viewer.

Now watch the video again and do the vocabulary activity that David Deubelbeiss suggests to us. It has to do with collocations. David has divided the video into eight different parts. You must decide which words and expressions that collocate with the head word in each of the sections are actually shown on the video. For example, for the first section, we can see the following actions on the video:

Play - play football, play ball, playground, play music, play fight, play the trumpet

You can find the activity worksheet here and the key to the activity here.