martes, 29 de julio de 2014

Madrid Teacher: Guess where I went on holiday

A group of Madrid Teachers are playing the yes/no game. They are trying to find out where one of them went on holiday by simply asking yes/no questions.

This is a fun video for students at intermediate level, but strong Básico 2 students may benefit from it, too.

To begin with, watch the video through to get the gist of the conversation and the game. Watch the video through more than once, if necessary.

Now watch the video more carefully and note down the questions on the video. You may need to pause the video so that you have the time to write the questions down.

Once you've got all, or most of the questions, see if you can remember what the answers were.

Finally, get together with a friend or group of friends and guess where everybody went on their last holiday by asking yes/no questions.

Did you fly to this holiday destination?
No, I did not.
Ok. Is it in the United States?
No, it is not.
Is it in North America?
No, it is not.
Is it in Spain?
It is.
OK. And is it a location by the ocean, by the beach?
Is it on the beach?
For some of the time.
Did you stay, stay in a city?
Also for some of the time.
Ok. And did you swim?
Did you, did you do other kinds of water activities?
Water sports?
Is it on the peninsula? The place, is it on the peninsula or on one of the islands? The Iberian peninsula?
Yeah. Yes. Sorry. The Iberian peninsula. The mainland. Mm-hm.
OK. And did you stay in a hotel?
No, I did not.
Were you camping?
No, it was in between. I stayed in lodging houses.
Did you go alone?
I went alone, yes.
Did you come back alone?
No, no, I didn’t.
Did you, you didn’t fly so, did you take a bus?
I did.
Did you meet some friends there?
In the beginning, yes, and then I made some friends.
Was the night life good?
Also in the beginning, yes!
But not at the end?
No, at the end it wasn’t a night life thing.
And did you go there for a special occasion?
Huh, not special occasion like we normally think of but, that was the time to go.
Was, was there, like, a festival going on there?
You know, it’s Spain. I’m sure there was. But that’s not why I went.
OK. Is this, is this place historically significant?
Yes, many of the places were historically significant.
OK. So, we’re talking about more than one destination.
So, did you tour several locations?
I did.
But it’s in one region in Spain?
One specific . . .
Yes. To be honest actually four regions.
OK. Wow!
Did it take a weekend?
No, much more.
A week? A month? Two weeks?
Three weeks.
Three weeks.
Did you do it last August?
No, I did it last July.
Did you visit museums during your trip?
That’s a good question. I don’t think so.
Did you visit any bars?
Yes, yes, I did.
Did you do any dancing?
Yes, I did, in the beginning.
Did you try anything different, like new food?
Oh, yeah. The whole thing was different, new food, new activity. Yes.
And was there a particular activity you were doing?
For example, was it a cycling tour?
OK, skateboard?
Now, you’re getting further.
Did you walk on the Santiago, El Camino de Santiago?
You’ve got it, brother.
From Irun to Unquera, which is on the border of Cantabria and Asturias.
Cantabria. . . Asturias. Yeah, it’s beautiful. So you, you walked on the north coast? Did you enjoy it?
Do you recommend it?
Do you feel that you have changed as a person?
I did. I certainly did while I was there, but then you get back and slip into your normal routine once again.

lunes, 28 de julio de 2014

If Youre Scared of Snakes, Don't Watch This

Watch this National Geographic video about the snakes that gather at the Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba, Canada, which is considered the largest gathering of snakes anywhere in the world.

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 Adults are usually more afraid of the snakes than children.
2 Temperatures are scorching hot in the area.
3 During winter, snakes live very close to the surface.
4 It's very unusual in that part of Canada to see sinkholes with so many snakes.
5 Female snakes are bigger than male snakes.
6 Males fight among themselves to get a female.
7 There have been a few accidents with snakes at Narcisse.
8 In the past people tried to eradicate snakes.

People come from all over the world just to see the snake dens here.
A lot of children are a little more willing to hold the snakes and to interact with them. Sometimes the adults are a little more apprehensive which I think is kind of odd. That it’s almost like the fear of snakes has been built into people as they grow up.
I do not like snakes because they are a little unpredictable.
And.... Uh...yeah. I’m doing a terrible job pretending that I like snakes.
Here in the Inner Lake of Manitoba, Canada is the by far the largest aggregations or concentrations of snakes anywhere in the world.
The Inner Lake of Manitoba is so plentiful, or why snakes are so plentiful here really goes back to the geology of the area. Temperatures can reach 50 degrees below zero. And so a snake, being a cold-blooded animal, they have to be able to survive those winter temperatures. So that here in the Inner Lake region the limestone bedrock is very close to the surface. So that allows the cold and the water to crack and fissure the limestone, and it makes great big sinkholes. And that enables the snakes to get below the frost line during the winter.
There is a very limited number of these den sites. So all the snakes in the area have to go to that den site that’s in their region. And so that’s how you end up with literally tens of thousands of snakes being in a sinkhole that might be the size of the average person’s living room.
It is actually very difficult for the males to find a female because if you look from a snakes-eye-view, you just see kind of a sea of living spaghetti and you’re looking for a slightly bigger piece of spaghetti then all the rest them. They’ll detect the female sex pheromone. The males are very easily able to then go past all the other pieces of spaghetti, if you will, and home in on the female.
Often times when the group of these courting males all gather around one female trying to be that lucky guy that’s going to mate with her, they’ll get so wrapped up they can tumble down literally like a ball. So people call them mating balls.
Even though there is tremendous competition for mates, the males are not fighting with each other, they don’t have dominance hierarchies, they don’t have territories set up like other animals would do in a similar situation.
Let’s get a picture in front of the big snake, okay?
I like to call them the ambassadors of the reptile world. They’re a great way for people to interact with wildlife.
Look at mommy and smile!
The garter snakes don’t have teeth and they feel cool when you touch them and stuff.
So they don’t bite you. They just kind of move around in your hand really fast and stuff.
Awesome job, you guys.
Obviously all the snakes here are harmless. The dens here at Narcisse have been set up through Manitoba Conservation. And the boardwalks have been made and they’re regulated. So it is a nice place for people to come visit with minimal impact on the denning sites themselves.
Way back at the turn of the century and even through the 20s and 30s and 40s, people had a pretty bad attitude about snakes and tried to clear them out. Just times have changed a lot. I think people are much more environmentally- conscious.
Really and truly, having these healthy number of snakes means your living in a healthy environment.

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

domingo, 27 de julio de 2014

Shot for going to school

Schoolgirl Malala Yousafi was just 14 when she was shot for campaigning for girls' education in Pakistan. Nel Hedayat travels to the areas where the Taliban are targeting schools to report Malala's story and meet other schoolgirls who have been attacked for wanting an education.

This is a documentary that BBC aired last year. The YouTube CC subtitles are 100% reliable.

sábado, 26 de julio de 2014

All Ears English

Gaby and Lindsay help us with (American) English by publishing podcasts four times a week on their site All Ears English. Every week the podcasts respectively deal with vocabulary, American culture, strategies for learning English and with motivation and inspiration to learn. The level is suitable for intermediate to advanced English students.

On the downside, the transcripts are only available through subscription, although I feel they are good value for money.

Each podcast lasts around 10 minutes, and Gaby and Lindsay make a point of inviting guests to take part in their podcasts, which contributes to the variety of accents and ideas for students to improve their English.

viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

Five Minutes With Dame Vivienne Westwood

A few years back, Vivienne Westwood was interviewed for BBC's Five minutes with.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate students.

1 At what time of the day is the interview being held?
2 What did Vivienne do before the interview?
3 What is The vanishing face of Gaia about?
4 What was Vivienne's childhood like?
5 Note down two tips she gives for fashion in recession times?
6 What is Chaos point? What is it about?
7 How does she clean her bras?
8 Where does she get her inspiration from?
9 What does she answer to the question about how the British dress?

Nice to see you, Vivienne. Looking fantastic.
Yes, really good to see you, nice to see you, yeah.
Have a seat. What do you think about the clock, do you like it?, Do, do you think it's high fashion?
I don't know, it looks like clock and it’s a big one, and I don’t know if this works.
I hope so, I hope so. You see, you see. That’s part of the fun, well, it’s a giant alarm clock. Let’s start.
How are you?
I’m well, I have just giving this sort of talk (2) and then… sorry.
It’s quite late in the evening (1).
Sorry, yes, sorry. And it went well, and I’m pleased
You're reading from your manifesto that you’ve written (2).
Yes, yeah, yeah. I’ve tried the most important thing about it that I was trying to do is to convey a sense of urgency about the dangers we face from the ecology (3)and I have really, the most important thing I can say quickly is read James Lovelock’s book The vanishing face of Gaia, you've got to.
You've always been very passionate about current affairs issues, haven’t you? You see yourself a bit of a freedom fighter I think.
I'm, you are right and I'm a bit embarrassed at having admitted that, but but even as a child that is what seemed to mark me out, is what I've understood about myself, yeah.
What sort of childhood did you have, Vivienne?
An ideal childhood, a mother who just adored me, living in the countryside (4).
This is in Derbyshire.
Yeah, the boundaries keep changing, it was in Cheshire at the time, 12 miles from Manchester but the bottom of the Pennants most fantastic countryside, yeah.
Have you got any top tips for fashion in a recession?
Dress up, wear your old favorites over and over again, don't buy new clothes, take the tablecloth but look great, you've got… by less, choose well, okay, and, and add things and just do it, make it very personal and don't buy all this generic clothing that just needs lots of time in the washing machine (5).
And how do you know what to wear on any given evening, how do you choose from your array of clothes?
Well, I have not, I don't take something from every collection but I do borrow it and so I'm very, very fortunate, I've, I can look different all the time…
Oops someone is coming in the door, carry on Vivienne, carry on.
What are you wearing tonight?
Can you just shut the door then? Sorry, ‘cause I get so easily distracted. I'm wearing the…
This is the glory of five minutes though.
Yeah, yeah.
Any interruptions we just hammer on ahead. Okay, tell me, Vivienne.
This is from a collection called Chaos point because we're at this chaos point. It was a lot to do with the Brazilian jungle. I don't know whether this looks like the Brazilian jungle. It reminds me slightly of tribal things and body painting and then (6) I don't know, it's just it's just this great, great dress that is just, you know, you can I don't know you you sort of, it's a bit bondage.
Can you tell me something, you (told) what you said earlier, you spoke earlier about you never wash your bras. Is that true? I can’t quite believe it.
Yeah, because I, I my husband uses our washing machine, I've never actually used it ever, and I just wash little bits of things said that get dirty but a lot of the time but if it got a grease spot, just put talcum powder on it, absolutely disappears (7), it’s brilliant, and I, of course I wear these particular bras that give me a bit more uplift than, than I’m due, I, I don't wash them, otherwise they're not very nice after. I just put talcum powder on them to clean.
Where'd you get your inspirations for your designs, do you have a muse?
I think that without culture, without a deep interest in the most wonderful models of excellence that the human race has ever produced, I don't think you can have ideas. This is why people run out of ideas because it's like having a fridge with no food in it. You have to get your ideas by studying art and the way people saw the world in the past (8).
I've got a confession to make. This clock is so unclear, I don't quite know whether we’re four minutes in or five minutes in, so if we are five minutes in, you get a bonus minute, we're going to carry on. Tell me about your hair color. What’s the inspiration behind that?
Well I don't know, I just… I don't have any inspiration. I just, just… the way… what I do is I just put henna on it, a bit of bleach where the brown still is and then and then henna.
When, when you walk around…
…and that makes it kind of natural you put henna, mix it with flour because then you could control it, doesn't get too shocking.
We’ve only got 25 seconds. When you are out and about in London or in other cities or in the countryside in the UK, what do you make of the way the Brits dress, what do you make of the way we dress in this country?
Well mostly I don’t notice people. I only noticed people when they look great and usually it’s older people that can look wonderful. I saw a man at a concert last night, a music concert and he just looked brilliant (9)…
I have to interrupt but time is up, time is up and the alarm didn’t even go off, so I think maybe we did do six minutes.
Okay, alright.

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.