Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holidays in the Hills

I hope you are having great holidays. Perhaps you will get out to see the hills. Whatever you do, try to avoid getting stuck in front of a TV set. We were visiting some relatives in Santa Brigida at Xmas. As we sat in their tiny living, a dozen of us huddled together, chatting amicably (and way too loudly), the dreaded TeleCinco was blaring. It sure put a damper on the visit!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lourdes, the Public Health Care Liaison Officer

Lourdes has a great job, but she imagined herself looking for work and wrote a great letter of application. Many thanks to Lourdes.

Do you need a nurse? -- Lourdes

(We have been working on formal letter writing in our fourth year NIA class. Here is a great letter of application by Lourdes, a highly qualified nurse. Remember that we do not use contractions in this type of writing.)

Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to apply for the job that I have seen advertised on your website.
I graduated as a nurse in 1984 in Tenerife (Canary Islands), and I did a Masters in Public Health from the University of Havana (Cuba).
As you can see in my CV, I have been working as a nurse in primary care since 1985 in different health centers, and in two of the Canary Islands.
In the last 5 years, my work has focused on Gran Canaria, and basically as a liaison nurse in the most aged areas of the island. As you know, the figure of the liaison nurse is well recognized in Spain and elsewhere in the world.
I am very interested in this work, because in England the nurse plays a very important and recognized in the health care offered to the public. In addition, the Primary Care in your country is highly evolved, and I think I am qualified to take the job you offer.

Furthermore, I want to improve my English. I am studying to improve it, but I think working in an English speaking country, would help me learn the language faster.
I enclose my Curriculum Vitae. Thank you for taking the time to consider this application, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully,
Lourdes S

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Talk, talk, talk! Some Advice On Line

This is a great link for students who want to practice their speaking skills with a classmate.
I use the questions in class sometimes but there are too many to keep up with, you just choose a topic that may be of interest to you. Good luck and keep talking!

Seeing with my Ears

We have been rehearsing this song about blindness in our NB1 class. The chorus is quite catchy and we complimented our voices by signing it out with hand gestures. 

Seeing with my Ears (Tom Hunter) 

I was sitting in the kitchen, talking to a friend
When my friend said she knew there were cookies in the tin.
I knew she couldn't seem 'em, wondered how could she tell?
She must have seen them there by the way they smelled.

Seeing with my ears, seeing with my nose
Seeing with my fingers, seeing with my toes,
There's magic in the morning and big surprise
All the things I can see without my eyes!

Yesterday at school our teacher said we could begin
So she openned up the door and let an animal in.
We had to tell it what it was when the room was dark
I knew it was a dog because cats can't bark!

Last night in my bed, when I was fast asleep,
I saw some people in a field and 
They were playing with some sheep,
I was sleeping, it was dark, but do you know what?
There's lots of ways that I can see when my eyes are shut!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Amanda NI2A Descriptive Essay: My best friend

I met my best friend Adriana when I moved house. I was eight years old and she was ten, new neighbors and friends. She was bigger than me which proved useful because her experiences prepared me for the future.
She was much more confident than me, calm and quiet. I used to be impulsive and insecure, so our characters were perfectly complemented. 
We spent every weekend together; we even phoned or talked with walky-talkies everyday after finishing our homework. We sometimes argued and fell out for a few hours or days, like all friends, but finally we always made up again.
She is cheerful, amusing, sociable and the most important for me, reliable. She always stays by my side in difficult problems, helping me. We have a 17-year friendship and she knows me perfectly, even more than I know myself. She is more than a friend; she is my sister, my other half.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Profile of a Good Friend

I met my really good friend Jonay two years ago.  He is a hairdresser and started working near the restaurant where I work. Every day, he came to have breakfast and always ordered the same: an orange juice and a little sandwich. He  was a  hard-working young man who worked very long hours in his own business, always kind and nice,  but generally looked sad and I wanted to know why.

One day, I decided to take him a cup of coffee in the afternoon. He was so surprised  and I could not resist asking him about his strange sadness. Now, I realize I was a bit indiscreet, but he trusted me and said there was no love in his life. I could not believe it! 

You are sorrounded by love, your family and your friends , and you should to be more confident and love yourself every day, I told him. We talked about it for months and I lent him some books. He started going to the gym, enjoying the little things and meeting new people.

Nowdays, Jonay is a successful, cheerful man. When I feel nervous about studies or my job, I talk to him because I know he is a reliable, generous friend, and we feel much better after listening to each other just for a few minutes. And above all, I have learnt that a woman and a man can be friends. (by Jennifer NI 2)

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Ideal Room: my Sacred Place (by Lourdes)

I would like to have a very big room, a room with only a few things inside. I would use it to be alone and quiet, to work when I need to work. So, this room must contain the basics things for that.
It will have a table with a laptop, a printer and a chair, just the necessary equipment. Also, it must have a big carpet. A stool, a few cushions, something for listening to music. It is all I need to meditate.
I also would like it to contain curtains and two big pictures of deserts, one of them of sand desert, and the other of rock desert. And it will be painted a light green colour.
This place will be my sacred place.

by Lourdes of NI 2 

Magüi Visits Madeira

Last summer I went to nearby island Madeira with a true blue friend. We did not speak the language (Portuguese) but it is quite similar to our own so we did not have any problem.
The entire trip were fantastic, I really felt relaxed ( because the island is tranquil) and surprised because although it is a subtropical island like Gran Canaria it lacks beach areas. Madeira only has a few beaches along its winding coastline. There is a lot of water and green forests. The people look after the environment and are very kind to their island.
They have kilometres of canals around the island to take the water from the top of the mountains to the houses, some of which are near the sea. It is an interesting system.
Madeira boasts two different kinds of cows: happy and sad. The first roam the countryside grazing and looking contented. The second ones never go for a walk which I found a little strange.
I like gentle exercise so we walked amid the marvelous gardens with all kinds of flowers and fruit trees, you can hardly imagine. It is like paradise. This trip was the most unforgettable holiday of my life.
Magüi (NI 2)

Almudena's Trip to Lanzarote in 2003

It was 2003 and I was very stressed at work and had to stop and relax. So I went to Playa Blanca, on Lanzarote's south coast. In that amazing holiday adventure I discovered that interesting island. It was a fantastic, magic experience.
One day, I sailed to the nearby isle of La Graciosa on a small ferry. I also visited a lot of villages like San Bartolomé, Tías, Arrieta, Orzola, El Golfo and Mancha Blanca where the popular belief has it that the Virgin Mary stopped volcanic lava. In this place the church of the Volcano´s Virgin was built.
I loved Lanzarote's beaches, especially Papagayo. Timanfaya National Park was amazing, with its volcanic scenery. This place provided me peace, calm and relaxation. The only sound is the wind blowing through the lava.
But the region I adore most is Famara Beach. If you want, you can practice extreme sports like kite surfing. It is a very long beach but sometimes the tide may be a bit dangerous when the sea is too strong.
Every year I try to get back to Lanzarote, but those holidays in 2003 were the most unforgettable days of my life.
--- by Almudena (NI 2) 

Clear Language is Sincere Language! --- Orwell

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns  instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
– George Orwell wrote this in his extended essay entitled "Politics and the English Language" which was published just after WWII (1946)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sardinero Beach in Santander: Raquel's Unforgettable Holiday

(The students in NI 2 wrote about unforgettable holiday experiences. This essay was written by Raquel. It describes her first trip to see the sea. She comes from the north of Spain so this experience took place in the north. I have included a couple of vocabulary suggestions in bold face.)

The best holiday of my life was when I was fourteen and I saw the sea for the first time in my life at Sardinero beach in Santander, on the Bay of Biscay coast. As the weather was not great, I remember perfectly that were not many swimmers or sunbathers, just a few animal lovers walking their dogs.

I stopped, transfixed, in front of the sea trying to fathom how big and magic it was, watching the waves and listening to the sound of the sea. To my right, only water, to my left, the same; when I got down to the sand I was so excited that I took off my shoes. I ran until I reached the waterside. I tr really cold water. Then my family came to mind and I wished that they could be with me. I looked around me and saw nearby, under a hill, some sailing boats. In the background, on top of the hill sat the Magdalena Palace.

The sky was as blue as the sky and that was the most  unforgettable holiday of my life.

NOTES for Raquel and her classmates:
fathom = (descifrar) understand, comprehend
sound = (ruido) you could also use “roar” although there are many other adjectives available.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

CHARLES DICKENS: Great Writers series

According to the university lecturer in this week's lesson, Charles Dickens is one of the greatest writers in the English language. She mentions, in passing, that there are more than 2,000 characters in the author's novels and stories. Many of these fictional figures have been taken into the popular consciousness: the scheming Uriah Heep, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Serjeant Buzfuz the bullying barrister who gets Pickwick falsely convicted and David Copperfield, whose perilous life seems to reflect the many twists and turns of Dickens himself.
If you would like more information on Dickens, here is a great link:

For the CD track 12, these are the answers:
1. 1812/ 2. 1814 / 3. 1817 / 4. 1817 / 5. 1818 / 6. 1822 / 7. C / 8. A / 9. 1838 / 1840 … bicycle

Friday, October 28, 2011

14 Kilometros: Highly Recommended Film!

A couple of years ago, Gerardo Olivares filmed an incredible drama depicting the hardship and determination of three young people from central African who depart for Europe in search of a better life. They eventually get stranded in the desert with little hope of survival. Buba (Adoum Moussa) is an auto mechanic who lives with his brother Mukela (Illiassou Mahamadou Alzouma) in a poor village in Niger. As Buba is a talented soccer player, they decide to travel to Spain, where Buba might play professionally. They pay a smuggler $1,000 each for passage in the back of a truck headed for Algeria, where, they are told, they can find safe passage to Spain. En route, Buba and Mukela meet Violeta (Aminata Kanta), a teenage girl from Mali who is escaping an arranged marriage to an old man she hates. During the trip into Algeria, the three begin to have doubts about the smugglers, and their fears become reality when they're dumped in the desert fourteen kilometers from their destination. Buba, Mukela and Violeta are told they're only four hours from their destination on foot, but with no compass, they get hopelessly lost in the sandy plains with no idea of how to make their way to civilization. But with the help of Tuareg horsemen and unbelievable luck and courage, two of the travellers are able to push on.

As one reviewer commented, this film pays tribute to the bravery of many Africans who venture to Europe. It is also incredibly moving.

Going up?

I read this proposal somewhere and it tickled my fancy. It is drawn from the urban myth department.

Next time you are crammed in an elevator with three or four people. Address the passengers with this measured announcement.  "I am sure you are all wondering why I gathered you together here today."

La Gomera?

My new photography guru and Canary Island afficionado, Tachy affirms that you can actually see the distant peaks of La Gomera (beyond Tenerife) from Tejeda. Here is his evidence. Wow! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spooky Halloween Song by Bob Blue

I'm - not – scared

See this smile upon my face
That proves that I'm not scared.

1 I went into a big, dark house
I went there by myself.
It seemed to me as if it had
a ghost on every shelf.
A friend of mine was hiding there
and then I saw his head.
He jumped right out and shouted "Boo!"
and this is what I said:

2 One night when camping in the woods,
I heard a spooky sound.
I slipped out of my sleeping bag
to take a look around.
The night was dark, the shadows deep
A spooky, creepy night.
And this is what I shouted out,
while shivering with fright.

3 When I go out on Halloween
the spooks will be out, too.
And so I think I'll watch my step,
and so, I think, should you.
And if I get a little scared,
I'll keep in mind this song.
We're going to sing it one more time,
so you'd better sing along!


Bob Blue was a songwriter, singer, musician and primary school teacher who died a few years ago but left a legacy of wonderful, thoughtful and hilarious songs. I hope you enjoy this song which is taken from The Bob Blue Songbook.


Old Mr. Johnson had troubles of his own
He had a yellow cat that would never leave him alone
He tried and tried to keep that cat away
He gave it to a man going far, far away

But the cat came back the very next day
The cat came back,
They thought he was a goner
But the cat came back,
He just wouldn't stay away
They put it in a cotton sack and gave it to a girl
Who'd started on her bicycle to ride round the world
Well, over there in China a terrible wreck was found
She's singing now in heaven with the angels all around

They gave it to a man going up in a balloon
They told him to give it to the man in the moon
The balloon it burst and everybody said
Ten miles away they picked the man up dead

The man on the corner said he'd shoot the cat on sight
He loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite
He hid in the garden until the cat came round
And 97 pieces of that man were all they found

The Cat Came Back: Our New Class Song

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cave dwellers?

If you tell people you live in a cave ... they might get the wrong idea. This cave (from Fuerteventura) is quite spectacular but it is not for habitation, just for a visit. But be careful of the tides!

My Favourite Room is a Cave!

Visitors are surprised to find that some Canary Islanders, up in the hills, live in caves. In fact, these cave dwellings may be quite pleasant, as Tachy from NI2A, points out in his essay about a favourite room.

Our Cave: My Favourite Room

I live in Utiaca, in a detached house with a small garden. When you go inside the house, you can see a big cave which is my favourite room in the house. 

In fact, we use the cave as a living room. The temperature is constant all year long, so when the weather is cold or hot outside, can always find a pleasant place to be in our cave.

The cave has a door and a window but there is not much natural light inside. We keep many souvenirs in the cave. These bring back memories from our travels to India, Morocco, Papua New Guinea and other lands.

There is a large television in the cave, plus a bookcase, sofa and old pieces of furniture.

Best of all, in our cave living room, we find peace! (by Tachy)

Friday, October 21, 2011

NI2 Update

NI Students: 

We will finish the second unit in our text book next week.

To date, we have covered home and weather vocabulary in unit 1, as presented in other blog postings.  Now we are studying outdoor activities and descriptive language

 In the related grammar sections we have considered the different uses of present simple and present continuous, countable and uncoutables and the use of the definite and indefinite articles (the vs a/an).

We have also gone over postcard writing (informal letter) and descriptive language.

We noted the differences between interesting and interested, with several examples, including

thrilling  / thrilled
boring / bored
exhilarating /exhilarated
relaxing  / relaxed
annoying / annoyed

Thanks for visitng the blog and please comment whenever you have any doubts or suggestions.
Best wishes with your studies!
David Shea

CD Answers (Tracks 8/9/10)

ATTENTION: Students from NI2 

Here are the answers for tracks: 8, 9, 10 on the class listening CD:

Track eight: 1. B / 2. B / 3. B / 4. C / 5. B / 6. beyond the limits / areas of industry / 8. 100 vehicles / 9. collapsing / 10. work and scores 

Track nine: 1. 5 weeks / 2. have a party  / 3. September / 4. on holiday / 5. 2 weeks / 6. Saturday / 7. B / 8. C / 9. B / 10. A

Track  ten: 1. range / 2. the list / 3. catch him / 4. B / 5. C / 6. A / 7. B / 8. A / 9. C / 10. work and scores

Thursday, October 20, 2011

By the seaside...

A friend sent me this lovely photo of my favorite beach in the whole world: Las Canteras, the municipal beach of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Juan's favourite room: his artist studio

Juan, a local artist with international recognition, describes his favourite room for us.

My life is developing in different aspects, I feel good in every corner of my house, but I spend many hours in my studio. I bought my current house because I wanted to link the basement to the house. So, for the first time, I could have my home and studio in the same space!
The house has two floors from the main front view but has three floors from the rear façade, the surrounding hillside is sloped. The basement is very large and I connected it to to the house with steps that had not existed before. The original owners had to go around the block to get to the basement.
I removed the large doors to the old garages and built a glass wall to let in enough natural light. There are two spaces of 70 meters each that I connected. Beyond the stairs is the garage and storage area, and on the other side is my studio space.
How to furnish an artist's studio?
I have several artist's easels, which allows me to work on several pictures at the same time. I have a long rustic wooden table for painting procedures, I made it as a giant artist's palette, in the study there are many brushes and pigments everywhere, and there are many points of light according to the work to be done, the studio floor also serves for painting. Imagine how dirty it can be sometimes! But sometimes I'm watching and photographing it also because it looks like a painting.
I also have stools, drawing boards that I did myself also, running water taps and stuff that are good for nothing but join me in my adventures of creation. Oh!, I have a radio, really I need it!, I tune into classical music programs, I find that inspires me. Sometimes I work at the same pace as a conductor.
The back street is an old rustic road and leads through a wooded area known as Las Magnolias so I can indulge my artistic emanations. I rarely see anyone there, perhaps a neighbour walking the dogs. Ah! I forgot, riders often go with their beautiful horses taking advantage of the rustic surroundings.

The Fair for Somalia, thanks to all!

To EOI Sta B students and staff: 

You have probably heard that last week's fair for Somalia (Médicos sin fronteras) was a big success, raising almost 1,400 euros for the cause. I want to thank all the students who contributed items and "shopped" generously for their solidarity. Also I take off my hat to all the staff, Rafael, Liz, Alvaro and Ana and most particularly our new head of English Diane Boggs, for making this event such a success. Here is a photo of recent Medicos Sin Frontera activity in strife-ridden Somalia.

More CD answers for NI 2 students (tracks 6,7,8)

To the NI 2 students, here are the answers to the next three tracks on our first CD:

Track 6: 1-4 H,F,E,B (in any order), 5 A/ 6 A/ 7B / 8B/ 9A / 10B
Track 7: 1. Five / 2. 50%/ 3. 18 / 4. 14 / 5. In the first tutorial / 6. relevant / 7. (very) elegant / 8. not possible/ impossible / 9. excellent / 10. much better
Track 8: 1. B / 2. B / 3. B / 4. C / 5. B / 6. beyond their limits / 7. areas of industry / 8. 100

My thanks to Rafael, our CD guru, for the master sheets and prep time. You are a sage! -- David


Charlie who? Another pop icon from yesteryear!

If you have never heard of Charlie Poole, do not fret! But you can find a lot about this wonderful singer and band leader from the 1930s by scouting around in Google. For now, let's just concentrate on one song: The Baltimore Fire, although it is not my favorite.  The top of my Charlie Poole list is Milwaukee Blues although I am not sure if his version is the definitive one. Anyway, we will sing Milwaukee Blues another day!

Baltimore Fire: a Charlie Poole classic

This is a classic old song popularized by the great Charlie Poole from North Carolina. Charlie is long gone, but his wonderful songs live on. I hope you enjoy this tune. Let's sing it together!

1. It was going to a falls by a narrow
That I heard a cry I ever shall remember.
The fire sent and cast its burning embers
On another fated city of our land.

"Fire, fire," I heard the cry, from every breeze that passes by;
All the world was one sad cry of pity.
Strong men in anguish prayed, and calling loud to heaven for aid,
While the fire in ruin was layin' fair Baltimore, the beautiful city.

2. Amid an awful struggle of commotion,
The wind blew a gale from the ocean.
Brave firemen struggled with devotion,
But their efforts all proved in vain.

For more information about the song, go to this page on-line

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pay Me My Money Down!

This is Sam Love's wonderful version of our class song. Wow, I love her ukulele playing and singing! I hope you do too!


Here is a song we sing in class. I hope you like it! The G (sol) and D (re) are just suggested chords. It is quite simple.
[G]  I thought I heard the Captain say,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Tomorrow is our sailing day,
Pay me my [G] money down
[G] Oh pay me, oh pay me,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Pay me or go to jail,
Pay me my [G] money down

The very next day we cross the bar,
Pay me my money down,
He knocked me down with an iron spar,
Pay me my money down

I wish I was Mr Howard’s son,
Pay me my money down,
I’d sit on the fence and watch work done,
Pay me my money down

I wish I was Mr Jackson’s son,
Pay me my money down,
I’d sit in the house and drink good rum,
Pay me my money down
(This is a work song from the Georgia Sea Islands. The slaves there lived in isolation from the culture of the Southern United States and retained much of their West and Central African heritage. Even today, they speak an English-based creole language containing many African words and using similar grammar and sentence structure to those of African languages.)

Watch this space for CD stuff

We are making the most of the wonderful CD collections that Rafael prepares for every level. At the end of each week I will post the answers here and you can check your own work. Listen carefully!
Improving your listening skills will help your speaking and general command of the language.

CD 1 Answers for NI 2 Clases

To my Intermediate Students,  Here are the answers for the first four exercises of CD 1:
Track one: 3443/SE18PB/43/1963/Moore/ B/ C/ C/B / C
Track two: B/C/B/ July 1st/ cutting down / bad headaches / exciting adventure / expected/ determination/ road
Track three: 3 years/ job / Wales / A / C / C / B / B / A / C
Track four: Techniques and training / British economy / awareness / impossible / replying or responding / answering the telephone / respect / email code / brainstorm / countered 

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Tests This Week! October 2, 2011

On Thursday of this week, NI2B, the fourth year group will have a test on Unit One. The NI2A group (Monday and Wednesday) will have a similar exam on Friday. Study the vocabulary related to weather, home and also uses of "make vs do".

Likewise my NB1 groups will also have a short test on Thursday and Friday covering the simple expressions we have covered so far along with numbers. 

Good luck to all! -- David Shea

Friday, September 30, 2011

Frankly My Dear ..... more movie reviews

This movie is set in the USA, in the Deep South, during the US Civil War, also known as The War Between the States. It is a romantic drama but you can find elements of US history, too. It is the story of a stormy relationship between a man and a woman. The woman is called Scarlett O’Hara and her love for an impossible lover and of course, her real love for her land (Tara), the family plantation.

The main actor is Clark Gable, he plays a wonderful role, as Rhett Butler. He is in love with Scarlett, she loves him but she comes to realize it in the end of the film. Both of them are selfish and hypocritical, but also romantic, generous and good lovers. The movie is very long (3 hours).

For me the most important line sets , in the middle of the film when Scarlett, poor an desperated says : “As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again.”

Can you tell me what is the name of the film?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carlos Speaks on the Glories of Barcelona!

Our NI2 class was pleased to receive a visit from Barcelona-native Carlos who spoke about his home town. The other students interviewed the young Catalonian businessman specializing in industrial, wooden pallets. Although Carlos has lived in Las Palmas for three years, he spent the first 38 years of his life, growing up in the neighbourhood near Parc Güell in Barcelona (see photo here) so he obviously prefers the Mediterranean city. One student asked Carlos what the Catalan people are really like, a question which he found difficult to answer. He told us that although the Catalans are not as warm and bubbly as the Canary Islanders, they are very devoted to their friends and family. Indeed, once you have a Catalan friend, they are "true blue" (muy leal). Another classmate wanted to know why Barcelona is such an expensive city, especially compared to other capitals in Spain such as Seville or even Las Palmas. He replied that the standard of living (nivel de vida) in Barcelona is very high as its citizens earn a good wage. It was an honor to have Carlos speak to our class and we learned a lot from this experience, I think. -- David

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pass the Popcorn

We have been talking about favourite films. Together we came up with a game that involves guessing the titles based on student descriptions. Here are the results. Please note that a couple of films are described twice as some students coincided in their tastes. Good luck and thanks for playing along, movie buffs!

I like action films a lot. So, I am going to speak about a film that I have seen recently called ................................... It is set in a US Coast Guard academy. It has elements of action. In fact, I think that this film is considered an action drama. The main actor is Kevin Costner, he is a famous coast guard and he work as instructor of coast guard academy. I think the most famous line is “for others to achieve live.” Nauzet

The film is called …................ in which two musicians witness a murder. They flee the state in a female band disguised as women, but they will have a lot of problems. It’s set in 1929 in Chicago and Florida, is an American comedy. The main actors are Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, and the main actress is Marilyn Monroe. The film was directed by Billy Wilder. I think the most famous line is when Osgood, the old millionaire, at the end of the film says "Nobody's perfect." Gustavo

My favorite film is …. It is set in 1912 in the journey from Northern Ireland to New York City. It has elements of historical and romantic drama. This film was nominated for fourteen Oscars and it won eleven. The main actor is Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the role of Jack Dawson. He was a poor young man who could travel on the ship. The main actress is Kate Winslet, who plays the role of Rose Dewitt Bukater. She was a rich woman, who belonged to an important family. They fell in love during the trip, although they belonged to different classes. My favourite line is when the two lovers are about to be separated because the ship was sinking and the woman says: "I´ll never let go, Jack. I promise". Yurena

My favorite film since I was a child is …..................................... It's set in 1960s in a resort during a family's summer vacation in New York. The story is about a teenage girl (Baby) that starts a relationship with a dance instructor called Johnny against her father's wishes. Johnny's dance partner is pregnant and decides to get an abortion. This leaves Johnny alone and Baby agrees to take her teacher's place. She has to learn how to dance. It has elements of romance, drama and dancing. The principal actor is Patrick Swayze and the first actress is Jennifer Grey. Begoña

This film tells the story of a married but lonely Italian woman, living in 1960, who engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington who is visiting her county. He likes taking all types of bridges. This love happened when her husband and children were in another country. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood who also stars in a role opposite the main actress Meryl Streep. An important phrase is: “I don´t want to need you, because I can´t have you.” Carmen

I have never had a single favourite film but there is one that I always liked. It is ............... whose main actor is Sean Penn and main actress Michelle Pfeiffer. He plays a mentally retarded man with a daughter and social authorities want to take custody. Michelle Pfeiffer is a lawyer who tries to help him. I think the plot has elements of comedy and drama and shows the human side of people with mental problems. However, I think the film did not win any award although Sean Penn was nominated as best actor. Elisabet

One of my favourite films is ................. The mains actors are, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer and the child actress, Dakota Fanning. The plot is about a mentally challenged man, Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), he is about thirty-five years old but in his mind (or intellectual development) is only seven. He has got a daughter, Lucy (Dakota Fanning) but he has to take care of Lucy alone because his girlfriend left home. He has got friends that take care of Lucy when he cannot but for Sam, everything is difficult, he has to work long hours as a waiter and while Lucy is growing, she needs help in many things as her homework, she asks Sam many question he can´t answer. Sam feels increasingly sad and forlorn. He has to fight fo keep Lucy with him because the state wants a normal family for her. Sam met Rita (Michelle Pleiffer), a lawyer who helps him fight. I enjoyed this drama, the actors are fantastic, the music is very good, some of the songs are by The Beatles, the ending is also very positive. I definitively love this film. (Ana)

The movie ...................................... is set in the 1950s at the fictional Welton Academy, a conservative, aristocratic boys’ prep school. The film has elements of comedy, but also drama. The main actors are Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke, among other actors who plays Academy’s pupils. Robin Williams plays an English teacher who inspires his students to change their lives. The teaching methods of the new English teacher are unorthodox by Welton Academy. He used to take the pupils out of the classroom, in order to explain better the idea of "Carpe diem".
For instance, some of the more famous lines are: “O Captain, my Captain!” (from the Walt Whitman poem) and “Seize the day!”Aurora

One of my favourite films is …............................................... This movie was filmed in 1985 and was directed by Sidney Pollack.. It also won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. It´s a romantic drama about Karen, a Danish married woman who goes to live in Kenya at the beginning of the 20th century. She and her husband have a coffee plantation, but he is not a good person and he abandons her. Karen learns to love Africa and there, she find the love in a adventurous and independent hunter. The main actress is Meryl Streep, unforgettable, and the main actor is Robert Redford, sublime. It is a beautiful film based on a true story, very emotional, romantic and when you finish watch it you feel love for Africa. Isabel

My favourite film is ….......... because it is a major motion picture based on real historical facts. Besides, it involves several different matters I think are very interesting. Also the film's action is wonderful. The star and director is Mel Gibson. It is set in Scotland. In conclusion, this film is the best I have watched in my life. Hector

My favorite film is set in 1965 and it is a romantic drama. The main actor is Clint Eastwood and he plays a photographer of National Geographic magazine and the main actress is Meryl Streep who plays an solitary italian housewife married with an ex american soldier. They meet while he is taking photographs of the cover bridges in the Madison county and when her husband and children are in the Illinois county. They suddenly fall in love and the days they spend together are the most important in their lives. For me, the most famous lines are when he asks her to go with him because "this kind of certainty is only have once in the life". At the end she does not go to him but she always remembered him in her heart as her one true love. Raquel

My favourite film is ….................................... It has elements of comedy and romantic. The main actress is Reneé Zellweger. It is set in London. She has a small apartment and three friends, two girls and a boy. She plays a girl about thirty years old and she is single woman. She is looking for a perfect man and she wants to fall in love but the life is no bed of roses for her. Her parents live in another city. When she visits them, she meets a boy. He is an important lawyer but they don´t like much. She likes her boss but he likes a lot of girls. Finally the lawyer says her: “I love you like you are” and she falls in love. During the film, there are a lot of anecdotes very funny because she is a clumsy girl. This film has three parts (to date) and I have seen them all. Eli

One of my favorite films is …........... It has elements of comedy, romance and a little drama. The main actor is Hugh Grant and the main actress is Julia Roberts. The film is set in a beautiful neighbourhood of London (Notting Hill). He is owner of a book shop in this neighbourhood and there he met a famous star in the world and both fall in love. I’d recommend this fantastic film to watch with your sweetheart. Carlos B

One of my favourite films is a love story. It is set mostly in London. The main actor is Gary Oldman, and the main actress is Winona Ryder, but there are a lot of famous actors in the film. The film has elements of drama, terror and love. And my favourite line is when the main character says to the woman, "I have crossed oceans of time to find you." Iballa

It is set in Hawaii where Henry falls in love with an art teacher called Lucy. She has an illness and wakes up without a memory loss. It has elements of comedy, laughs and sadness but with a happy ending. The main actor is Adam Sandler and the main actress is Drew Barrymore. Henry tries to win Lucy's trust with his imagination. It’s very difficult because she can’t remember things that occurred the day before and Henry decides to go to the Arctic. Then, Lucy’s father give her a CD of The Beach Boys because she always sings the same song to remember Henry. Finally, she improves her memory and Henry comes back to Hawaii. After this, and after a lot of dates my favourite film is… Dara

It's set in two different timelines, it develops in a town in California. It has elements of scince fiction and adventure. Its main actor is Michael J.Fox, ha plays Marti McFly, a young boy who travels to the past by mistake in a time machine built by his friend, a scientific who is a little crazy. There he will try to get back to the present with the help of his friend who is thirty years younger. While the time machine is fixed, he meets his mother and by accident she falls in love of him instead of with his father. He has to join his parents again, so the timeline is the same. This film was so good, that they made two more parts. They used a Delorian as time machine, a famous car of that era. Roberto

The star is Meryl Streep and she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in this film. She plays the writer of a famous book about "the art of French cooking.”The other main actress plays the writer of a blog with the experience of cooking the 524 recipes in this book in 365 days.It is set nowadays and in the 1950´s in New York and Paris. It has elements of biography and comedy. Paco M

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weather Terminology (for Intermediate Students)

I have always been fascinated by the weather and its changing.
This fascination almost surely owes to my parents' encouragement.
My mother and father always described the weather for us in great detail
and it was believed that the changes of the weather affected
the human spirit.

Whatever the case, I hope this vocabulary section is useful to you as you study
English. - David

When we describe the weather, Spanish uses "hace" and "hay"
whereas in English uses
"to be" For example: It is sunny = Hace sol (literally it makes sun)
It is hot = Hace calor
It is very windy - Hace / Hay mucho viento

Asking about the weather:
what’s the weather like? = "¿qué tiempo hace?" or "¿cómo está el tiempo?"

Other set expressions
tomorrow will be dry = mañana hará tiempo seco
there’s been a change in the weather = ha cambiado el tiempo
let’s hope the weather holds out = esperemos que no nos falle el tiempo
the weather spoiled our plans = el tiempo nos estropeó los planes
it looks like it's going to rain = parece que va a llover
the bad weather is still with us = seguimos con mal tiempo
the garden could do with a spot of rain =
al jardín le vendría bien que lloviera un poco

you get better weather on the south coast =
en el sur hace mejor tiempo;

weather permitting = si hace buen tiempo
we’re hoping for good weather while we’re on holiday =
esperamos tener buen tiempo durante las vacaciones

I don’t like the look of the weather =
no me gusta cómo se está poniendo el tiempo

Meteorological Expressions (Taken from Weather Broadcasts)
a clap of thunder, a thunderclap = un trueno
a clear sky/day = un cielo/día despejado
a cloudburst = un chaparrón
a cold front = un frente frío
a downpour = un chaparrón
a flash of lightning = un relámpago
a flood = una inundación
a force nine gale = vientos de fuerza nueve
a frosty night = una noche de helada
a gale = un viento fuerte, una vendaval
a gust of wind = una racha
a hailstorm = una granizada
a light covering of snow = una fina capa de nieve
a shower = un chaparrón, un chubasco
a snowball = una bola de nieve
a storm = una tormenta, un temporal
a stormy day = un día tormentoso
a streak of lightning = un rayo
a sunny day = un día soleado
a sunny spell = un claro
a thaw = un deshielo
a thundercloud = un nubarrón
to become muggy = abochornarse
climate = el clima
to rain cats and dogs = llover a cántaros
cloud = una nube
cloudburst = un chaparrón, un aguacero
damp = húmedo
degree = grado
depression = una depresión atmosférica, una borrasca
dew = el rocío
flashes of lightning = un relampagueo
frost (white frozen dew) = escarcha
It's chilly today = hace fresquito hoy
fog = la niebla
to ride out the storm = capear el temporal
a weather vane = una veleta
blustery = borrascoso
a heat wave = una ola de calor
forked lightning = una culebrina
gale-force winds = los vientos (con intensidad) de tormenta
hailstones = los granizos, las piedras de granizo
haziness = la nebulosidad, lo neblinoso
he was struck by lightning = le cayó un rayo
hot = cálido
humid = húmedo
humidity = la humedad
it’s cloudy = hace nubes or está nublado
it’s drizzling = está lloviznando
it’s foggy = hay niebla
it’s frosty = está helado
it’s hot = hace calor
it’s misty = hay neblina
it’s muggy / clammy / close (Brit)= está abochornado
it’s raining = está lloviendo
it’s sleeting = cae aguanieve
it’s snowing = está nevado
it’s sunny = hace sol
it’s windy = hace viento, está ventoso
a breeze / a sea breeze = una brisa / una brisa marina
drizzle / to drizzle = llovizna / lloviznar
low/high-pressure = de bajas/altas presiones
mist = la neblina
the coastal area (used in weather forecasts) = el litoral
night dew = el sereno
rain = la lluvia
scattered showers = chubascos aislados (dispersos)
sea mist = la bruma
sleet = aguanieve f.
sleet showers = chubascos de aguanieve
snow = la nieve
snow showers = chubascos de nieve
sun = el sol
sunstroke = insolación
the outlook for tomorrow = la previsión del tiempo para mañana
the temperature = la temperatura
the weather = el tiempo
thunder = los truenos
to clear up = despejar
to flood = inundar
to frost = helar
to hail = granizar
to rain = llover
to snow = nevar
to thaw = deshelar
turbulence = la turbulencia
unsettled weather = un tiempo revuelto
wind = el viento
hurricane = un huracán

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

David's Email Address for my EOI Students

My email contact address for my students is

If you would like to contact me, this is the best place to write.

I suggest that in the SUBJECT heading you put your full name and also your EOI code (NB1C, for example).

Best wishes

David Shea


Dear Students,
For information concerning my classes this academic year (2011-2012), you should check this blog on a regular basis. I will keep the page updated each week with announcements concerning the upcoming assignments. You might find students' work from my four groups (NB1B/NB1C/NI2A/NI2B) or essays that I have written. My pen name is Delmar Lemming, by the way!
Anyway, you may want to know that this is my timetable:
Monday/Wednesday 17:00 - 19:00 NI2A
Monday/Wednesday 19:00 - 21:00 NB1B
Tuesday / Thursday 17:00 - 19:00 NB1C
Tuesday / Thursday 19:00 - 21:00 NI 2B

The classes are held in room 19 again this year and we are using the same textbooks as last year (as listed in the main page of the EOI Santa Brigida):

NB Cutting Edge Elementary Textbook and Workbook by Sarah Cunningham and Peter Moor (Pearson Longman).
NI Premium B1 Coursebook and Workbook by Rachael Roberts (Pearson Longman).
I look forward to seeing you in class and working together to improve our English.
Best wishes
David Shea

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Song for Tim

John McCutcheon's Song "Starlight"

This is a song I was learning last summer for a friend in the states. I intended to send it to him but he passed away suddenly and now I have to just sing this song to the stars.

All the best, Tim!

When the sky was new and the night was endless
And the world and we were young
The old ones strung the stars into stories
And a tale took every tongue
"See the North Star and the Great Bear
There's Orion, the hunter, on the horizon over there
Every once in a while he lets fly an arrow
And in the darkness some lost star is hurled" And they sang...

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

Out on the sea, with her sails a-billow,

A ship plows a lonely line
Out on the foredeck the eye of a sailor
Searches the heavens for a sign
"If I sight true and I sail right
"Keep the Cross on my shoulder and Polaris in sight
"We'll be safe in the harbor tomorrow night!"
The moon, like a beacon, does shine

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

And so, tonight, like some homesick sailor,

We too search the heavens for a sign
And, like my mother's own mother, I trace out the stories
To this young voyageur at my side
And we reach out and we dream long
We tell our tales, we sing our songs
And, like ancient stargazers, we travel along
On this midnight mystery ride

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

And it's one world and one sky

We get one time we get one try
And each generation it's the same question, "Why?"

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true

Starlight, star bright

First star that I see tonight
I wish I may I wish I might
Have my dreams come true