jueves, 24 de julio de 2014

Adapting together

Watch this New York Times video about Eve Hampton and Robert Pratt, who met while coaching wheelchair basketball at a summer camp.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

1 Both Eve and Robert are engineers.
2 Robert liked Eve for her extrovert personality.
3 Eve got disabled at 13.
4 Robert had his leg amputated in Iraq.
5 They both like being outdoors.
6 When they were in Glacier National Park, Robert grabbed a little mouse in his arms.
7 Eve doesn't mind people helping her.
8 Robert didn't really suffer when he got disabled.
9 Eve has gained confidence thanks to Robert.

I tend to plan things and tend to have the vision where I want to go do something and he… I don’t want to say you make my dreams come true but you do, everything I tell you I want to do you find a…
We find a way to do it.
We’re software engineers, that’s kind of what we do, we try to solve problems. We were camp counselors at San Diego, that’s a sports foundation camp.
He was coaching little kids in wheel chairs and anybody who is coaching little kids in wheel chairs is really cute.
You have this great bubbly personality I just love. There was something about you, I couldn’t, couldn’t forget.
When you have a trauma in your life, life for me becoming a paraplegic at 13, well I think I’m well adjusted now, that13-year-old is still part of who I am. Bob had a physical trauma too.
2006 while I was serving in Iraq as part of 1st Batallion Marines I was injured and got part of my right leg blown off. While recovering I was participating in some of the sports programmes. You know, I kind of learnt from doing that to see people beyond their wheel chairs, to see the person itself.
We’ve been really outdoorsy I think since much before we met, since little kids [Yeah.] and I think we recognize that in each other [Yeah.]
The past fall it’s been 75 days and nights camping in national parks. Yosemite…
Glacier, Yellow Stone, we went to the Badlands, Rushmore…
Oh, a little creek. You don’t really have your health guaranteed forever, you can’t just wait until retirement to go and do things like that. We’re able enough to do that now, so we did. When we were in Glacier National Park, there was this point in the trail that we came to and there was stairs leading up to this bridge, so I was like, okay, we’ll turn around, you know, sometime you can’t go any further in the trail and Bob says let me just see what’s ahead and he walks across the bridge and there was a moose standing there, so of course he comes back and he grabs me and takes me over the bridge…
Oh, they have wheel-chair height windows, or kid-height.
I don’t accept help from just anyone. In fact, like I actively resist people helping me most of the time but I think when you find a partner, then it’s okay to have them help you because that’s kind of what you do.
It’s locked.
Are you sure?
Yes, there’s a dead bolt.
Oh, sad.
You get frustrated when you’re disabled, you really do, you can’t run anymore, you can’t jump, I felt like self-conscious sometimes over shorts because everyone was staring at my right leg, and she helped me get over that.
I think he doesn’t always see me as an adult woman paraplegic, just sees me as this woman he loves [Yeah.], and so I see myself more as that, too. I think I’ve always been self-confident but to have someone who unconditionally loves you and to know that no matter what your physicality is, that they will love you. You don’t find that every day, really.
It’s true. Oh, Eve, I love you.
Are you trying to make this thing shake?

1T 2T 3T 4F 5T 6F 7F 8F 9T

miércoles, 23 de julio de 2014

Talking point: A disappointing film

In our weekly 'Talking point' section we continue focusing on the anecdote feature of Macmillan's Inside Out.

Today's topic is talking about a disappoint film we have seen. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that you ideas flow more easily when you get together with the members of your conversation group and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • What was the name of the film?
  • When did you go to see it?
  • Why did you go to see it?
  • Had you seen trailers or read reviews?
  • Was it hyped?
  • Why didn't it live up to the hype?
  • What did you particularly disliked about the film?
  • Who was in it and who directed it?
  • Were there any characters you could identify with?
  • Were there any characters who annoyed you?
  • What did your friends/family think about it?
  • Would you go and see another film by the same director or actors?
To get some insight into the topic, you can watch this video the top 5 disappointing films of 2013. Do you agree with the five movies CineFix has selected?

You can activate the CC YouTube subtitles, which will help you understand most of what is being said.

martes, 22 de julio de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Celebrity narcissits

In our Madrid Teacher series, three teachers discuss celebrities' obsession with appearance and plastic surgery.

Watch the video through to get the gist of what the conversation is about.

Watch the video again. This time pay attention to the following features of spoken English the three people use in the conversation.
  • Conversation fillers: Erm; Well; you know
  • Agreeing: Yeah, I know; Yeah, exactly; Yes, or course; No, it’s true; Yeah, absolutely
  • Repetition: For example
  • Paraphrasing what you have just said: I mean
  • Emphasising: honestly; really; absolutely; just; even
  • Vague language: or something
  • Use of like as a connector

Now it's over to you. Get together with a friend or relative, and give your opinion about the topic 'do you think celebrities are obsessed with beauty?', 'do you agree with the lengths some of them go to to look young and beautiful?'. Do not forget to use some of the features of spoken English we have seen in the Madrid Teacher video.

Erm, the other day I was reading this magazine. It’s one of the, those celebrity magazines…
Oh an intellectual …
Yeah, I know…relaxing after work.
I only read those in the dentist… when I go to the dentist, honestly.
Well, I’m not going to mention about that one, but… But I saw a picture of a celebrity and she, you know, it’s like that Sunday when you get up late, you don’t shower, you go to take the dog out…
With your tracksuit on!
Yeah, exactly. And somebody snaps a picture of her, put it in this magazine saying, 'look here she is with all the acne and look at how awful she looks' and in reality she looked fine. But I felt so sorry for all those celebrities that have to walk around all the time and put makeup on before they go anywhere and… I don’t know.
Well, it’s not only celebrities who are doing it. You get a lot of people who are just like concerned, so concerned about the way they look. I, you know, when I go to pick up my child from school, some of the people who go to pick up their children they look like they’ve really dressed up for that occasion. It’s just some people take their personal physical appearance really seriously, don’t they?
Well, you know, in some way I think it is important…
Yes, or course.
… but again, for example, you have to draw the line, for example, have you ever seen, for example, some men that have their eyebrows look better than mine. I mean, not that mine look perfect or anything…
Yours look fine!
…but so like if they’re so… if they’re plucked with such precision, you wonder, for example, should people look that perfect… always?
Also…  yeah, it’s like when stars have face-lifts it always looks really strange, doesn’t it? It makes their face look really unnatural, doesn’t it? They’re like almost “I’d rather look like that than natural.” And they probably know they don’t look natural but for them it’s more important for them to look the way they want to look rather than, …
Something normal.
Yeah… looking natural and normal.
No, it’s true. Lately as I’ve been watching TV or movies I notice it. And it really, it bothers me. She’s had her lips done or she’s had her eyes done. It’s quite clear.
Sometimes those lip jobs look absolutely ridiculous. They just look… you just think…
Like the Joker! Ha-ha!…
It’s like why did you…why did you bother doing that? You just look ten times worst than you did before. You’ve wasted your money and you just look ridiculous.
But in some way if you’re a movie star or something, you still need to do certain things…
Well, that’s what I was saying…
… in order to receive your money and for people to want to see you in the movie theatres. Maybe, maybe you look strange day to day but for the movie perfect. 
It’s perfect. Well, that’s what I was saying with this magazine I felt really bad for this girl. You know, to always have that pressure on you put on by society or the producers or directors I don’t even know. Each to their own, I guess.
Yeah, absolutely.
Everyone is beautiful.
Yes, and we all look perfect just as we are.

lunes, 21 de julio de 2014

University Of South Florida Drone Library

The University of South Florida (USF) students can go to the school library and check out drones because the library is trying to promote digital learning.

Self-study activity:
Watch the short video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

1 Students will be allowed to use the drones in autumn.
2 Architecture students will not need to use drawings any more.
3 Some people fear they might cause accidents.
4 Some people fear they might be used for illegal activities.
5 Only trained students will be allowed to use the drones.
6 The drones cost around $1,500.

You can see these little guys flying over places like parks and beaches, but soon you’ll see them flying around USF. The university's letting students checked drones out from the library starting this fall. Over to McLaughlin. He’s in the newsroom tonight with more details on that. Hi, Brendan.
Hi, Linda. Clearly libraries are not just for books anymore. At USF they’ve been trying to make all kinds of technology available to students, now including the remote-controlled drones that have caused so much excitement and controversy.
One of the USF Library’s first drone flights recorded this jazz performance from about 30 feet in the air. Today the staff showed off the device, now available for check out by students studying anything from engineering to environment science.
For example in architecture, they could also go over a structure and understand the various dimensions of it without having to look at drawings and kind of estimate.
Engineering student Rache Navite is intrigued.
I think that might be cool.
But one student in the actual library where they still keep books is skeptical.
I’m pretty sure it’ll just crash it somewhere, cause some sort of accident.
Amazement at what these lightweight camera toting quadcopters can do, that’s been tampered by safety and privacy concerns. They do crash frequently and people and are often more annoyed than amazed at the eyes in the sky.
There’s a drone here.
Hockey fans recently managed to knock a drone out of the air with a T-shirt in front of the Staples Center in LA. And at least one USF student even has concerns about inappropriate uses of drones on campus.
I don’t know, just creeping on other people or just like you know, lurking.
But Academic Services’ Director, Nancy Cunningham says anyone checking out a drone will be thoroughly trained and supervised.
You can’t just take a drone, check it out and do whatever you want. They’re going to be heavily controlled by our library staff.
The two camera drones purchased by the USF Library cost about $1,000 each, they’re high-end, and, yes like all checked out video equipment, you break it, you bought it.

1T 2F 3T 4T 5T 6F

domingo, 20 de julio de 2014

Extensive listening: Cheetahs, against all odds

The documentary Cheetahs: Against All Odds was first aired in 2009.  The documentary follows two cheetah mothers; both with varying circumstances, as they struggle to raise their families against all the odds. Among  the speedy animals, Cheetahs are the fastest. However, they are also the most vulnerable among the big cats. In the Serengeti Plain, cheetahs live uneasy lives. Females, living alone with their offspring, are exposed to the viciousness of more powerful predators.

Unlike male, females with the cubs search out hiding places to keep their young ones safe from predators.  One cheetah mother lives along with her five cubs. She needs a good fortune or considerable skills to raise its offspring. Another cheetah mother lives with her four cubs on termite mounds, which are excellent advantage from where danger and prey can be spotted.

You can read the transcript here.

sábado, 19 de julio de 2014

Reading test: Europe's Top 10 Most Unique Festivals

In this week's reading test the activity we are going to practise is heading matching. Read the headings below and match them with the corresponding festival 1-10 that you will find on the goabroad.com/ entry Europe’s Top 10 Most Unique Festivals. There is one heading you do not need to use, and A is an example.

A - All over the country - 9 (Festas)
B - Bending your elbow all day long
C - Don’t go if you are a bit sensitive
D - It is over in a flash
E - It took ages to get it over with
F - It was started as a way to kill time
G - Music everywhere
H - Not for lovers of peace and quiet
I - They had their own way in the end
J - You might regret it if you participate
K - People from all over the world

Busojaras (Mohacs, Hungary)

A - All over the country – 9
B - Bending your elbow all day long – 4
C - Don’t go if you are a bit sensitive – 8
D - It is over in a flash – 7
E - It took ages to get it over - 10
F - It was started as a way to kill time – 5
G - Music everywhere – 6
H - Not for lovers of peace and quiet – 3
I - They had their own way in the end – 1
J - You might regret it if you participate – 2

viernes, 18 de julio de 2014

Five Minutes With Juliette Binoche.

Actress Juliette Binoche talks for BBC's Five Minutes With... about preparing roles, the disadvantages of being a film star, the similarities between painting and acting and whether she considers herself to be an intellectual.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.

The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.

1 Certified Copy has already brought Juliette some award.
2 Actors' families resent the fact that the actor is travelling so much.
3 Juliette thinks directors should have the power on the set.
4 Juliette is confident that one day she will become director.
5 Throughout her career, the roles she has played have chosen her most of the times.
6 There isn't a specific way to prepare for a role.
7 Juliette's fondness for painting comes from her father.
8 Juliette relaxes by painting.
9 Juliette wasn't the intellectual member of her family.
10 Juliette is not always easy to get on with on the set.

Juliette, how are you?
New film.
Certified copy.
New film in a sense. New film to us, because you’ve already won the best actress at Cannes for it.
Right. But I’m happy to present it here.
Will it be possible to count down in French for us, please.
Cinq, quatre, trois, deux, un, zero.
Is it good fun being a film star?
It can be.
Are there any downsides?
Could be, yeah.
You’re not going to tell me?
I’d say when you feel you didn’t go as far as you wanted to because the director doesn’t want to do another take and all that at the end of the day you feel like you haven’t done exactly where you wanted to go, but otherwise I felt maybe guilty as a mother because you travel, you go back and forth, so you wonder whether it’s okay, but at the same time you can take your children with you, so it’s a…, but I’d say it’s a privilege to be an actor.
When you are on a set, who has the power, you or the director.
When there’s no feeling of power, that’s the best.
Would you be tempted to direct yourself?
I don’t see it as a bad thing. Tempted feels like you know a sort of a guilty thing, I think that it feels almost natural for an actor to direct.
So you might direct.
Do you feel you have chosen your parts in your career or have they chosen you?
Both, I think it comes together. It’s like somehow the wave and the sand, you know, it, it, there was no sand, there’ll be no wave, there’s no wave maybe no sand.
Do you have a favourite part that you’ve ever played?
That I have never played?
That you have ever played. The best part that you have ever played. Or is that impossible?
It’s impossible to answer, there’s several ones and I don’t put one against the other, they are all me and they went through me, yeah.
Do you prefer to play parts where you really identify with the character that you’re playing?
I think I always identify with them. It’s part of the compassion as an actor. For a part you have to have this bit, this pace of compassion in order to give yourself, give your heart.
How do you prepare, we’ve got plenty of time, how do you prepare for a role?
I would say it prepares me as much as I prepare them, the roles, but how do I prepare? Depends, each role is different, I have a different preparation each time because I’ve been working with people with directors, improvising, you know and not wanting to have a dialogue and all that, but sometimes I’ve been very precise technically because there’s a, a specific accent or things like that.
Your mother was a drama teacher and she trained you a bit, is that right?
Yes, she’s a source of inspiration, but she’s an actress as well, you know.
What do you think you would have done if you had not become an actress?
Paint, I think I could’ve done anything.
Your father is a sculptor and you paint, it’s one of your big passions.
Yeah, but somehow it didn’t come very much from my father because sculpting came later in his life…
Is that how you relax, how you switch off?
No, no, it’s the same as acting, it’s just a different medium, but it’s all the same plunge, the same jump into the unknown somehow and you, and you as you’re going inside you find , as it finds you as well, so it’s, it’s very much like acting for me.
Do you see yourself as an intellectual? You think a lot about things, and not just the parts that you play.
In my family my sister was the intellectual, so when some people think I’m an intellectual, it makes me laugh.
Politics. Would you say you’re very political?
When I can be, I am, but I would rather think more human than political.
Would you have a go into politics?
No, I wouldn’t.
So tell me, what’s the key to your success as an actress?
Taking risks….
Do you work very hard?
I do.
Are you quite easy to get on with on the set?
Depends what I need to play.
It’s like a riddle some of these answers, but tell me, your team work. Do you enjoy the team work, acting with other people?
I love it. I do love it. That’s why I chose to be an actress and not to be a painter.
What will your legacy be? Five seconds!
Go for it, love. You are just waiting for the five last seconds, that’s all those questions are just for thpse last five questions. It’s good, I enjoyed it.
Did you enjoy it?
Yeah, yeah. I loved the five, the last five seconds. That’s the truth of it all.
That’s where the real pressure hits.
Exactly, that’s why where you were like looking at… I was wondering why does he need to check so much. Now I understand, it’s like you die just before the last seconds. What do I need to say to you, whoever?

1T 2T 3F 4F 5F 6F 7F 8F 9T 10T