ELPAIS.com - in English

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lyrics Training

Wonderful site which provides songs and lyrics as a way of improving your listening and spelling abilities.

It's called Lyricstraining.com and it's simply superb. Check it out!

PS. Thanks to Dolors Permanyer for pointing it to us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guideline for written papers on readings

Please follow this guideline for your written papers on readings:

·    Papers must have a cover stating the title, the subject, the author, and the class.
·    Use white paper and a font of size 12. Arial or Courier New are good fonts. Avoid fancy fonts.
·    Chapters must include:
o       Table of contents.
o       Introduction to the paper (1 page max.)
o       Biography of the author (1 page max.)
o       Summary of the plot (1 page max.)
o       Brief description of the main characters (2 pages max.)
·        Physical
·        Personal
·        Role in the novel
o       A thought on style and language (1 page max.)
o       Personal conclusion (1 page max.)
·        Did you enjoy the reading? Why? What did you like best? and least?
o       Quotes (if any)
o       Bibliographic reference
·        Title, author, edition, publisher of the version you are using.
·        Same for any other book you maybe referencing.
·        Full URL (http://...) from any reference you maybe using coming from the Internet.

·    Use images or colour if they help or improve your work. Don’t overdo it.
·    It is a good idea to use quotes. If you do, use inverted commas to indicate them (‘…’). Then use a sequenced suprescript (xxx2) and list the pages at the end on a specific annex.

·    MOST IMPORTANT: use simple and clear language. And run the spell check.

Guideline for oral presentations

Please follow this guideline for your oral presentations:

1. Choose the topic with your teacher.
2. Find more than one source for your information:
·     Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com)
·     Britannica (http://www.britannica.com/)
3. Write your own text. Use the information you find, don’t just copy fragments.
4. Check your text.
·     English Grammar (http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/)
·     Spell check your text.
5. Prepare your presentation (rehearse your presentation)
·     Go to Internet and check this for guidance:
6. It must contain:
ii.       Title, subject and author(s)
iii.     Brief summary (index)
iv.      Introduction
·    Why this topic?
·    Popular examples or traces
·    Related topics
v.        Main section of your work
·    If it is a generic topic:
o       Main characteristics
o       Examples
·    If it is a novel:
o       Biography of the author
o       Plot summary
o       Brief description of main characters
·    If it is a song:
o       Biography of the artist
o       Lyrics. Main idea of the song.
vi.      Audiovisual samples
·    Audio
·    Video
·    Photo…
vii.    Conclusion
·    Main ideas
·    Personal opinion
·    Reasons to choose this topic
viii.  Final image (if it is a digital presentation)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Telling a story

Telling a story is an art form. I have found this web (Storyline Online) where some excellent readers tell us stories. Their voices and the atmosphere they create are simply magic. They offer captions (subtitles). Use them.

Please go there and listen to a story. Then leave a comment. 


P.S. Thanks Dolors Permanyer for taking me to this website. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flash Quizzes for English Study

Studying and revising your grammar and vocabulary has never been so much fun. Go here, and boost your learning.


PS. The image used here was taken from this web. All rights belong to the authors.

Fun, fun, fun in the English class

I just discovered a web that allows us to create comic strips. It's called Stripgenerator.com. Try it. I just registered and created this:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Voices 4 - Online activities

Click here to access the online activities for Voices 4.


Alive 3 - Online activities

Click here to go to the online activities for the Oxford Alive 3 book.

There are a few activities so you can play & practice the contents of the units we are working.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to make a good Power Point Presentation

We have all seen examples of presentations that are not so good.

They have too much text, too many images, or too many colours. Or they have a messy look. Or they are too "full".

Here you can download a very clear example of the basic things to remember to write a good presentation. It belongs to the web of Save the children, a non-profit organization.

    1. Slide 1: introduction
    2. Just a few clear & simple slides
    3. Final slide: conclusion

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Irregular verbs

Sooner or later, everyone learning English has to learn the Irregular Verbs.

Here you have several links to help you.

1. A list of all irregular verbs grouped in a way that makes it easier to learn them.

2. A flash card solution with most of the verbs you need to know. Here there are 10 verbs to learn. You can find the rest here. You need to scroll down. It's after exercise 37.

3. A game of Snakes & Ladders to practice the verbs you learn.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Reinforcement - Dialogues 1 & 2

For reinforcement, here you have our initial dialogues:


A: Hola!

→ Hello!

B: Com estàs?

→ How are you?

A: Estic bé, i tú?

→ I'm OK, and you?

B: Estic bé. A on vas?

→ Fine. Where are you going?

A: Vaig al gimnàs. Vols venir?

→ To the gym. Do you want to come?

B: D'acord.

→ OK.

A: Som-hi!

→ Come on / Let's go.



A: Bon dia.

→ Good morning.

B: Bon dia. Qué vols?

→ Good morning. What do you want? / What would you like?

A: Vull una coca-cola i una pizza gran.

I want / I'd like a coke and a large pizza

B: Vols la pizza de carn o de formatge?

Do you want / Would you like your pizza with meat or with cheese.

A: La vull de formatge.

I want / I'd like it with cheese.

B: Vols alguna cosa per postres?

Do you want anything / Would you like something for dessert?

A: Sí. Què teniu?

→ Yes. What do you have?

B: Mira. Són a dins de la nevera.

→ Have a look. They are in the fridge.

A: Ah, d'acord. Vull un gelat de maduixa.

→ Ah, OK. I want / I'd like a strawberry ice-cream.

B: Aquí tens.

→ Here you are.

A: Gràcies.

→ Thank you.

B: De res.

→ You're welcome.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reggae music in context, a presentation

Last week, we covered Gothic art through the ages with our students in 4th ESO A.

Today, we are looking at reggae music with our 4th ESO B students.

It was a bit of a short session, and that shows in the different degrees of concision we can see on the different slides.

Take a look and feel free to add your comments.

To see the presentation, please click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gothic art through the ages, a presentation

Some of the students in 4th ESO A have been working on this presentation this morning. With a little help from the teacher, this is the final result.

It is a useful way to understand how a presentation needs to be made:
  • Clear
  • Simple
  • Easy to read

Please understand that the majority of the text is NOT on the presentation, but on the notes and words expressed by the person presenting the topic.

A presentation is not a text, it is a SUMMARY which can complement the basic information with images, videos, audio, graphs, etc.

We will be making some more. For now, this is the work we did today.

Enjoy and learn the origin of this love of the dark...

Click here to go to a Presentations server and watch the presentation.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Series we are watching: Heroes (4th of ESO)

Our 4th of ESO students are watching the hit series Heroes.

Here you have some useful links, read and learn some more about this contemporary TV hit.

1. Wikipedia entry for Heroes
2. Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) entry for Heroes
3. A dedicated fan page:

Series we are watching: Fame (3rd of ESO)

Our 3rd of ESO students are watching the 80's hit series Fame.

Here you have some useful links, read and learn some more about this TV classic.

1. Wikipedia entry for Fame
2. Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) entry for Fame3. A dedicated fan page

Watching subtitled videos is a good idea

As part of the course, we have joined a project that is trying to prove that watching subtitled videos improves our learning of a foreign language.

It belongs to the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission and it is called: "Subtitles and language learning" and you can see its home page here: http://sublanglearn.utu.fi/

Our way to participate consists of watching a series throughout the year at a rate of one chapter (45 minutes) every two weeks. We watch it in the original language (English) and use subtitles in Spanish.

The core idea is this: watching videos in the original version with the help of subtitles we can understand easily is a good help to our learning of the English language.

Simple, and true. And fun.

How to install and use Audacity


In order to install Audacity, you need to download the program and some extra files.

1. Go to Audacity's web page (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/) and click on the "Windows" link.

2. Click on "Descargar" (download).

3. Click on the "Instalador" file corresponding to your Operating System.

4. Select "Guardar archivo" (Save file).

5. When the download operation is complete, double-click the downloaded file (audacity-win-unicode-1.3.12.exe, remember the numbers may change if the file has a newer version) and follow the normal install steps.

6. Your Audacity is correctly installed. Now we need to add one little file that is really useful.

7 . Go back to the "Descarga" (Download) page on step 3 and click on "Codificador LAME MP3", and follow the instructions until you find this file: audacity-win-unicode-1.3.12.exe (remember the numbers may change if the file has a newer version). Download this file.

8. Double-click the file and install it.


9. Now you have Audacity AND you can export Audacity files as MP3.

10. Start Audacity and record a sample of your voice. Click on the Record button and start your sound. When you finish, you can click on the Stop button.

11. Now you have a sound track. You can listen to it by clicking Play. The other buttons (Pause, Home and End) allow you to "navigate" your recorded track.

12. To save a track, click Archivo (File) and Exportar (Export). Save your file with the MP3 type.

You can now record sound as many times as you want.


Home recordings

We have been working with our voice in the English Classroom. We use the Audio CD that comes with our book. Like this:

1. We hear the audio version of our text, so we listen and read. We pay attention to difficult words.
  • We use Windows Media Player (or other player you have)
2. We record our voice reading a small part of the text.
3. We play back our voice, so we listen and read. We verify the quality of our performance.
  • Once again, we use Windows Media Player (or other player you have)
4. We repeat steps 1-3.

After several attempts, our reading performance improves and we can move on to a different section of the text.

Murder at Coyote Canyon, by Gina D. B. Clemen

Our 4th year students are reading "Murder at Coyote Canyon", by Gina D. B. Clemen. Below you will find some useful links:

- Murder at Coyote Canyon

- California

- The Chumash people

White Fang, by Jack London

Our 3rd year students are reading "White Fang", an adapted reader based on an original novel by Jack London.

Below you can find links to pages about:

- Jack London

- White Fang:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day One

Hi, folks.

Today we are making our official debut.

This is a blog for everyone at the Institut de Vacarisses.

It's in English. Yes, in English. You know, THAT language.

It's all for posting materials we may find useful or interesting (or both).

So if you want to, please subscribe to this blog. We need to fine tune it to make it a useful and entertaining tool. You can help. Please do.

See you for now.